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Amazon Customer

Otsego, MN USA | Member Since 2008

126
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 258 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
6

  • The Big Rock Candy Mountain

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Wallace Stegner
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (558)
    Performance
    (340)
    Story
    (335)

    Bo Mason, his wife, and his two boys live a transient life of poverty and despair. Drifting from town to town and from state to state, the violent, ruthless Bo seeks his fortune in the hotel business, in new farmland, and, eventually, in illegal rum-running throughout the treacherous back roads of the American Northwest.

    Heimo says: "deeply moving rollercoaster ride"
    "Early American Life - Great Story!"
    Overall

    This is a long read (listen), over 25 hours. If it were on T.V., it would be quite the mini-series. I almost bailed on the story early on because it looked like it was shaping up to be a romance story. Well, I am glad I hung in there because it was not.

    Written in 1943, this story chronicles the life of a family from the early 1900???s. As the husband purposes to strike it rich with various enterprises that promise quick money, the family quickly becomes nomadic. Drifting from poverty to short lived wealth, the family is always on the move living in tents in the middle of nowhere to comfortable city life with various iterations in between. A true to life (even though it was fiction) tale of early America in the west. It was a fascinating and intriguing read.

    The characters were flawed and at times not very lovable but the story got better the further along it went. It was interesting to gauge the family dynamics and how they evolved. In the end, love and to some extent, forgiveness prevailed. I could relate to how this road called life ends up throwing everyone a curve-ball to some extent.

    Did it end up that everyone lived happily ever after? No, but they always hoped for a better life. In the end, our lives aren't defined by your social status and what stuff you end up with. It is much deeper than that. I loved the style of writing and the prose that Wallace used. I would highly recommend this book.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Jane Eyre [Brilliance Edition]

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Charlotte Bronte
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1130)
    Performance
    (826)
    Story
    (837)

    After a sad and neglected childhood as an orphan, Jane Eyre was hired by Edward Rochester as governess for his ward. Jane was pleased with the quiet country life at Thornfield, with the beautiful old manor house and gardens, with the book-filled library, and with her own comfortable room. But there were stories of a strange tenant, a woman who laughed like a maniac, and who stayed in rooms on the third floor.

    bebe says: "a book that can be heard/read again and again"
    "Great writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a terrific book. The writing was amazing. I don't know how authors can write such dialog. The intellectually stimulating conversations between Jane and Mr. Rochester was outstanding. I listened to the audio book and was thrilled with the narrator who made the characters come to life with her realistic portrayal of them. I was able to understand the motives of Jane, her convictions, and her appeal. I understand why Mr. Rochester was attracted to her.

    I also watched the 2011 movie after I listened to the book and was thoroughly disappointed. I would highly recommend the book and in particular the Brilliance Audio edition.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Cheryl Strayed
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2930)
    Performance
    (2569)
    Story
    (2573)

    At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

    Marci says: "I Miss Her"
    "Oh, so close . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book had so much potential and, indeed, portions of it were very good. It is an autobiography of the author, Cheryl Strayed. At age 45, she decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) as an escape and a way to find herself after her mother dies, and she divorces her husband. She has various affairs and gets hooked on drugs (heroin). Her life is a mess and the hike is a way to start anew. I am a hiker, and I really enjoyed the narrative when she is hiking. The story goes back to her mother, her married life (which wasn???t bad), and her affairs throughout the story. I wasn???t a fan of the regular use of the language throughout the book and her graphic verbiage used to describe the ???sex??? she had with others. She F*@% him, and F*@% him, and F*@% him. You get the drift. I get she had affairs, but why the strong language? Why do you have to tell us you haven???t even masturbated once during your hike? Who cares! You can get the same point across without all the hyperbole. I just about bailed on the book a few times.

    As I kept reading, I was captivated by how the journey was making her stronger and really molding her as a new person. She was a novice hiker and packed her pack too heavy and could barely hike a few miles in a day in the beginning, and eventually going 20 miles in a day. She lost half of her toenails and strengthened her body. There was enough story there to balance out the other crap. I was waiting for the finish, thinking it really made a difference of who she had become. It ended with a fizzle. No really strong revelations. No big ah-ha moment. No lesson learned. Very disappointed with the ending. Overall, it was just okay.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By John J. Ratey
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    Overall
    (2534)
    Performance
    (1577)
    Story
    (1558)

    Did you know you can beat stress, lift your mood, fight memory loss, sharpen your intellect, and function better than ever simply by elevating your heart rate and breaking a sweat? The evidence is incontrovertible: Aerobic exercise physically remodels our brains for peak performance.

    Kathleen says: "Spark"
    "Could have been more concise, but pretty good!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a very interesting book. The amount and types of chemicals released by the brain during exercise is pretty amazing. The ability of the body to fix itself is pretty remarkable and it starts with some pretty common sense. Our bodies were meant to move. Or current society is geared around NOT moving. We stay indoors, we sit in front of our computers and T.V. and then wonder why we have so many ailments.

    The book does get bogged down at time with technical jargon that gets in the way of the real story. It does help with his credibility, but most of it could have been eliminated.

    Overall a worthwhile read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Mitchell Zuckoff
    • Narrated By Mitchell Zuckoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1229)
    Performance
    (934)
    Story
    (945)

    On May 13, 1945, 24 American servicemen and WACs boarded a transport plane for a sightseeing trip over “Shangri-La,” a beautiful and mysterious valley deep within the jungle-covered mountains of Dutch New Guinea. Unlike the peaceful Tibetan monks of James Hilton’s best-selling novel Lost Horizon, this Shangri-La was home to spear-carrying tribesmen, warriors rumored to be cannibals. But the pleasure tour became an unforgettable battle for survival when the plane crashed. Miraculously, three passengers pulled through.

    Janice says: "Facinating history"
    "So much potential . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had high hopes for this book, but walked away disappointed. The story was fascinating and had a lot of potential, but . . .

    It got bogged down with details that were not pertinent to the story. The author went to excruciating lengths to tell us the most minuet details on even the most minor characters. Right when I was getting into the flow of the story, we took a rabbit trail on a particular person. When they were born, who their parents were, where they went to school, etc. Then in the next paragraph, that person is no longer apart of the story. This happened over and over. The story could have been shortened considerably and flowed much better if this was corrected.

    Overall, it had potential, but just didn't have the punch it could have.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Christopher McDougall
    • Narrated By Fred Sanders
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4597)
    Performance
    (2363)
    Story
    (2398)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Want to join the “superhumans”? Luckily you don’t have to run to catch up with them, thanks to McDougall’s and Sanders’ inspiring (and motivating) journey through history, science, physiology, health, entertaining characters and unlikely friendships. Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure.

    Corey says: "Amazing read - even for non-runners"
    "Barefoot running here I come!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Where is the 4.5 button? I guess if I had to choose between a 4 and a 5, I will choose the 5. I am not an avid runner, but my wife is. I am not sure why I was drawn to this book, but I truly enjoyed it. It is about this group of ultra long distance runners called the Tarahumara. They are a Indian tribe in the Mexican Copper Canyons. They are very reclusive but they are know for running distances of 100 miles or so and without injuring themselves. An average of 65-85% of all runners get injured and run much shorted distances. So what gives? The Tarahumara run in sandals and bare feet. We, on the other hand, run in all sorts of cushioned shoes to help correct all sorts of running quirks. Over-pronation, under-pronation, high arches, etc. According to Runners World Magazine, only 25% of the population have a "correct foot". Really? So 75% of the people need to have orthopedic shoes. That's what today's running shoes are. I find it ridiculous, and so does the author.

    If feet are allowed to correctly assess the surface they are running on (barefoot or minimal shoes), they will give you instant feedback on what is right and what is wrong. Your feet will also get strengthened because they are not being babied. This may seem counter intuitive, but this leads to better posture, strong feet and less wear and tear on your joints.

    Anyway, my biggest take-away is that our bodies were perfectly designed to run and we don't need any assistance in fixing all these mistakes in it. The author, through assertions from "experts" cite how our bodies evolved to do what it does. I do take issue with all this evolution b.s. This is a perfect example of trying to fix something that was never broken. In fact, the running shoes of today are actually causing the problem. Studies have shown that the more expensive the shoe, the higher incident of injury.

    It was a great story of ultra-runners mixed in with some great facts on running shoes. There was some language issues, so be prepared for that. Otherwise a great book.
    1 like

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mockingjay: The Final Book of The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26296)
    Performance
    (20222)
    Story
    (20406)

    Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena live, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge....

    Sue Schreiber says: "A very satisfying ending"
    "The best of the bunch"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a satisfying conclusion to the series. The overall writing is still very much YA, but I did get hooked into the story line and was riveted throughout. There was some gaps in the story, but not enough of an issue to cause a distraction.

    Even though the ending wasn't the classic hero reaching the pinnacle of existence, I really liked it. The hero didn't get the ticker tape parade, didn't become president, didn't live in the lap of luxury with the big house and many servants. She went home alone, to her destroyed district, without her family and started rebuilding her life. I can relate to that.

    In real life, hero's might have their moment in the spotlight, but then they blend back into the woodwork and lead a fairly normal life.

    If I had to rate the three books, this one was my favorite followed by "The Hunger Games", then "Catching Fire".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Earth Abides: The 60th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By George R. Stewart
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Connie Willis
    Overall
    (1377)
    Performance
    (839)
    Story
    (858)

    A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he'd either dreaded or hoped for.

    V. Sharol says: "Thought provoking and entertaining"
    "A Great Book!"
    Overall

    The premise of this book reminded me of "The Road" but not so graphic. The book revolves around a man "Ish" who lives through a epidemic that wipes out almost the whole world. Though he does not witness the epidemic, he emerges from living in solitude in a cabin in northern California to see it's after effects. No one is around. He proceeds to slowly build a small community over the ensuing 40+ years. A very well written account of life, starting over. The book was written in 1949, as such there is no graphic content and the story shines through. Highly recommended and very well narrated.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Yann Martel
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (217)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (80)

    When Henry receives a letter from an elderly taxidermist, it poses a puzzle that he cannot resist. As he is pulled further into the world of this strange and calculating man, Henry becomes increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey named Beatrice and Virgil and the epic journey they undertake together.

    S. Connors says: "Excellent writing and reading, but..."
    "Plodding Along . . ."
    Overall

    It was a Holocaust parallel (they keep reminding you), but it was pretty week. A couple of animals that were stuffed had a story to tell through a taxidermists voice. As Simon says' "I guess I just don't get it". What was the point of the torturing of animals? Yes, the Holocaust was gruesome, but this had no redeeming value. A lot of boring background work for 50 minutes of interest, but still a poor ending. Not one of my favorites.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Defying Hitler: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Sebastian Haffner
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (281)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (59)

    When the famous German author Sebastian Haffner died at the age of 91 in 1999, a manuscript was discovered among his unpublished papers. The book was begun in 1939, but with the advent of World War II, Haffner had set it aside. His family made the decision to publish it, and the book became a best seller in Germany in 2002. Spanning the period from 1907 to 1933, it offers a unique perspective on how the average educated German grappled with the rise of Hitler.

    Douglas says: "Great Read"
    "A Great Surprise"
    Overall

    This book was very surprising. It was a memoir that read like a fiction account. It was very fascinating to read the account of the what it may have been like for the German populace during the years between WWI and WWII. How could have they succumb to the Nazi regime? Why didn't anyone do anything about it? I was surprised to hear about how Germany was first systematically taken over, almost like they were the first country to fall to the Nazi's. It sure makes you think that we are not all immune from this happening. You see how they get put into positions of becoming helpless, effectively trapped. The striking comment to me was that it seemed "demonic" in nature. How else could you have explained the subtle but persistent evil that slowly embraced them. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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