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Alan

ratings
124
REVIEWS
5
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
14

  • Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Anna Funder
    • Narrated By Denica Fairman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (166)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (119)

    In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany. In a country where the headquarters of the secret police could become a museum literally overnight, and one in 50 East Germans were informing on their fellow citizens, there are thousands of captivating stories.

    Jane says: "Important book"
    "A stunning achievement."
    Overall

    This penetrating look at life in East Germany, seen from the perspective of an outsider, is saturated in heartbreak, courage and a fractured senses of safety.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Novogratz
    • Narrated By Jacqueline Novogratz
    Overall
    (84)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (55)

    The Blue Sweater is the inspiring story of a woman who left a career in international banking to spend her life on a quest to understand global poverty. It all started back home in Virginia, with the blue sweater, a gift that quickly became her prized possession - until the day she outgrew it and gave it away to Goodwill. Eleven years later in Africa, she spotted a young boy wearing that very sweater, with her name still on the tag inside.

    Alan says: "A Heartfelt Testament"
    "A Heartfelt Testament"
    Overall

    While the central tenet is allied with those held by academics like Dambisa Moyo and William Easterly, who argue that development aid (not to be confused with humanitarian aid) is a hindrance more than a service, Jacqueline Novogratz’s ‘The Blue Sweater’ is a personal, reflective and deeply humane testament to the power of economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Partly a heartfelt reflection on her years in Rwanda, before and after the 1994 genocide and partly a lighthearted memoir of a young activist trying to find where she is welcome (and more amusingly, where she is not) in the world around her, this book is a warmly toned, inspiriting guide to making a difference in our communities.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Elephant Vanishes: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By John Chancer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (162)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (63)

    A collection of off-the-wall short stories by Japan's leading contemporary novelist. An elephant vanishes; hunger drives a couple to rob McDonalds; an insomniac wife wakes in a different world.

    Jennifer says: "Beautiful Collection"
    "Some haunting gems."
    Overall

    Two extremely haunting stories, "Sleep" and "Barn Burning", buoyed up this whimsically scattered collection of short stories.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Spencer Wells
    • Narrated By Spencer Wells
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (140)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (46)

    This new book by Spencer Wells, the internationally known geneticist, anthropologist, author, and director of the Genographic Project, focuses on the seminal event in human history: mankind's decision to become farmers rather than hunter-gatherers.

    Roy says: "The Costs of Civilization"
    "Flawed but interesting."
    Overall

    Pandora’s Seed, while containing all the essential ingredients to make me giddy - Natufians, evolutionary history, the rise and fall of empires - never quite congealed into a focused or inventive text. Because of its breadth, it skipped quickly between topics without any of the depth and insight that a reader expects from an expert-in-his-field like Spencer Wells. The overall effect of such a scatter-shot tour of the agriculture revolution, is that of a mash-up of the works other more inspired texts of authors such as Jared Diamond, Michael Pollan and Karen Armstrong. Still though - Natufians!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms,and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Simon Winchester
    • Narrated By Simon Winchester
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (322)
    Performance
    (181)
    Story
    (185)

    Atlantic is a biography of a tremendous space that has been central to the ambitions of explorers, scientists, and warriors, and continues profoundly to affect our character, attitudes, and dreams. Spanning the ocean's story, from its geological origins to the age of exploration, from World War II battles to today's struggles with pollution and overfishing, Winchester's narrative is epic, intimate, and awe inspiring.

    Andy says: "a whale of a book"
    "More of, brilliant, same."
    Overall

    Simon Winchester once again charms with an inspired framework and ever lilting tongue, wrapping the deep history of the Atlantic Ocean in beautiful language, personal narrative and a sprinkling of Kiplingesque turns of phrase. My only disappointment is that Winchester occasionally speaks with undue authoritative confidence about some ‘facts’ of history and science, without putting them in their rightfully muddied and complex context.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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