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Member Since 2015

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 274 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015
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  • Ship of Fools

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Katherine Anne Porter
    • Narrated By Grace Conlin
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (14)

    In the summer of 1931, a cruise ship sails for Bremerhaven, Germany. Among its many diverse passengers are a Spanish noblewoman, a drunken German lawyer, an American divorcee, a pair of Mexican Catholic priests, a number of Germans returning to their homeland from Mexico, and a corrupt, avaricious company of Spanish singers and dancers who scheme to defraud the other passengers of their money.

    Amazon Customer says: "Terrific reader."
    "Terrific reader."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Grace Conlin does a terrific job of narrating the story. The novel itself is actually more a series of short stories more than a coherent novel. But the characters are memorable and many parts of it are engaging. The themes of pre-WW II German culture and anti-Semitism are explored well. Her insights about marriage and relationships are spot on. Definitely engaging even if it doesn't have a compelling overall narrative.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Return of the Native

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Thomas Hardy
    • Narrated By Alan Rickman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (208)
    Performance
    (162)
    Story
    (150)

    Eustacia Vye is cut off from the world in her grandfather's lonely cottage. Clym Yeobright seems to offer everything she dreams of: passion, excitement and the opportunity to escape. However, Clym's ambitions are quite different from hers, and marriage only increases Eustacia's destructive restlessness.

    Doggy Bird says: "Might Be My Favorite Audiobook of All Time!"
    "Powerful story, Rickman is great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Return of the Native rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best, and I've listened to dozens of them. It took me awhile to get into the book because it starts with lots of descriptions of the landscapes, etc. But once the plot got going, it became a riveting story.


    What other book might you compare The Return of the Native to and why?

    Not surprisingly, it's similar to other Hardy novels -- Jude the Obscure, Tess of d'Urbervilles, Mayor of Castorbridge, etc. Unlike some other Victorian novelists, Hardy was unafraid to let very bad things happen to good people. But his characters are unforgettable. Eustacia, Clym, Thomassin, Diggory...


    Have you listened to any of Alan Rickman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Never heard him read a book before, but I'd love to hear another. He did a fantastic job at the end of the book, keeping the suspense and drama moving forward.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The final scenes when Eustacia tries to leave Egdon Heath was amazingly told. As suspenseful as any page-turning thriller.


    Any additional comments?

    Well worth the time and money. I'd read the book in high school, some 50 years ago, but didn't understand why it had been assigned. Definitely had to have lived as an adult to understand how insightful the book is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lord Jim

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Conrad’s Lord Jim is the iconic story of a romantic young man and his struggle with guilt and self-loathing. The novel begins with Jim’s earlier life as a ship’s officer. He and the other crew members abandon an imperiled vessel and its passengers after a mysterious collision reveals a dangerous bulge below the water line. But the ship does not sink and Jim survives to face an official inquiry. He is stripped of his license and faces universal scorn and the reality of his own guilt.

    Amazon Customer says: "Narrator hard to understand"
    "Narrator hard to understand"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The story sounded interesting, but I found the narration too difficult to follow. He apparently tried to create a distinctive voice for Marlowe, the main character of the book. But it was in such a way that I simply wasn't willing to continue reading. I'm sure the story was good as I liked Heart of Darkness and other books of Conrad's.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Charlton Griffin’s performances?

    Possibly. But I didn't like listening to the Marlowe character.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Michelle Alexander
    • Narrated By Karen Chilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (537)
    Performance
    (468)
    Story
    (468)

    In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans.

    Jeremy says: "An essential read. A horrifying reality."
    "Profound insights, easy to read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The New Jim Crow the most enjoyable?

    Absolutely riveting analysis of what's deeply wrong with our society. I learned so much about how the war on drugs has destroyed the black community. It has everything: lots of facts and statistics, compelling anecdotes about the human toll of the policies, and historical context that explains how things have happened. The final part of the book was incredibly eloquent, bringing everything together.


    What other book might you compare The New Jim Crow to and why?

    The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer. Both books look very much beneath the surface to explain what is happening in our country.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    How the war on drugs was a backlash from the Civil Rights movement that created a new system of racial injustice.


    Any additional comments?

    I want to do something to change the system of mass incarceration as a result of reading this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shantaram: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Gregory David Roberts
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (582)
    Performance
    (538)
    Story
    (537)

    Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum-security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend Prabaker, the two enter Bombay's hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.

    Mickey says: "Probably the best performance I've listened to."
    "Great narrator, weird author"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Needed a good editor. Lots of it was overwritten, a reflection of the author's overinflated ego.


    What was most disappointing about Gregory David Roberts’s story?

    Too much gore and violence. The author loves telling about the bloody details of various knife, gun, or fist fights. At first it's fascinating, but by the end of the book, it is revolting.


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. But I would after listening to this one. He is able to depict an incredibly wide variety of characters and accents. An absolutely superlative performance.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Probably not. Too much violence.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Within a Budding Grove: Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Marcel Proust, C. K. Scott Moncrieff (translator)
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (51)

    Remembrance of Things Past is one of the monuments of 20th century literature. Within a Budding Grove is the second of seven volumes. The young narrator, experiencing his youthful sexuality, falls under the spell of a group of adolescent girls, succumbs to the charms of the enchanting Gilberte, and visits a brothel where he meets Rachel. His impressions of life are also stimulated by the painter, Elstir, and his encounter with another girl, Albertine.

    Darwin8u says: "One young nubile girl and then another ..."
    "Mesmerizing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found myself mesmerized by this book. Proust is a master of describing the intimate details of his thinking. Very little happens in the book outwardly. Essentially the narrator tells of his summer in a town on the Norman coast. And the characters, including the narrator, aren't particularly admirable. But it's absolutely fascinating to listen to his riffs on a wide variety of subjects, from sexuality to arts and artists to creativity to memory. Very hard to describe, but it's like listening to someone describing the incredibly interesting things they see inside a microscope looking at human character. The reader is good. Definitely kept my interest alive.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Eric Metaxas
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1742)
    Performance
    (1198)
    Story
    (1222)

    A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Führer and was hanged in Flossenbürg concentration camp at age thirty-nine. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the twentieth century.

    Alan says: "Very Moving"
    "Gripping story, well-told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What an incredible story! It reads almost like a thriller. Bonhoeffer's fight with the Nazis extends more than a dozen years. I learned an incredible amount about how some brave Christians stood up to Hitler. Although they ultimately lost the battle, they clearly won in the long run because of their principled position. The reader does a terrific job of keeping your interest because he's clearly very passionate about the story. You never get the idea that he's just reading a text. Anyone who wants to learn more about the reality of life under the Nazis should read this book. Can't recommend it highly enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cain

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Jose Saramago
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (45)

    In this, his last novel, Saramago daringly reimagines the characters and narratives of the Bible through the story of Cain. Condemned to wander forever after he kills Abel, he is whisked around in time and space. He experiences the almost-sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, the Tower of Babel, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Joshua at the battle of Jericho, Jobe's ordeal, and finally Noah's ark and the Flood.

    TL says: "god awful narrator"
    "Intellectually interesting, emotionally empty"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A retelling of the biblical story of Cain and Abel, as well as Adam and Eve, Noah's ark, etc. Saramago's writing style is engaging because it's so unusual. But his iconoclastic attitude towards the Bible and religion wears thin after a while leaving this reader at least wanting more depth and less caricature. Worth reading if you want something quick and mildly diverting. At least Kevin Pariseau does a great job of bringing the characters to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Master and Margarita

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Mikhail Bulgakov
    • Narrated By Julian Rhind-Tutt
    Overall
    (473)
    Performance
    (343)
    Story
    (343)

    The Devil comes to Moscow, but he isn't all bad; Pontius Pilate sentences a charismatic leader to his death, but yearns for redemption; and a writer tries to destroy his greatest tale, but discovers that manuscripts don't burn. Multi-layered and entrancing, blending sharp satire with glorious fantasy, The Master and Margarita is ceaselessly inventive and profoundly moving. In its imaginative freedom and raising of eternal human concerns, it is one of the world's great novels.

    beatrice says: "Baffling and original"
    "Faust on steroids"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bulgakov's imagination is incredible. This is Faust on steroids. The basic plot line revolves around the devil coming to Moscow in the Stalin era. If you can accept that as the premise, you'll enjoy this highly entertaining, often laugh-outloud funny book. Despite the sometimes outrageous scenes, the book will also make you think about such issues as good and evil, Pilate vs. Jesus, Soviet secret police, etc. No wonder my Russian friends tell me this is the most popular novel among today's Russians.

    Julian Rhind-Tutt is just fantastic as a reader. He has a different voice for the many different characters, making it easy to follow a Russian story where everyone seems to have at least three different names.

    Highly recommended.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Dinaw Mengestu
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Ethiopian émigré Dinaw Mengestu is a skilled observer of people who offers a colorful debut work of fiction. Insightful and swiftly paced, this novel evokes past and present in the course of its compelling narrative. It's the `70s, and one D.C. neighborhood is undergoing big changes. In the mix is Ethiopian grocery owner Sepha Stephanos - a man with a complex past who fled his homeland after seeing his father brutalized by themilitary. He hopes for new prospects in D.C.'s gentrification process.

    Lisbeth says: "Great book, wonderful reader"
    "Compelling story, excellent narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well-told story of an Ethiopian immigrant who runs a corner grocery store in Washington, DC. The characters come to life in Dion Graham's narration. Especially good is his African accents as well as the various American characters. High recommend it as an engaging story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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