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Barbara

Jupiter, FL, United States | Member Since 2010

25
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 162 titles in library
  • 26 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Perfect: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Rachel Joyce
    • Narrated By Paul Rhys
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (92)

    A spellbinding novel that will resonate with readers of Mark Haddon, Louise Erdrich, and John Irving, Perfect tells the story of a young boy who is thrown into the murky, difficult realities of the adult world with far-reaching consequences.

    Emily - Audible says: "Oh Wow!"
    "Perfect is Perfect!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by the same author and enjoyed this one even more. It is a story that starts small and then keeps moving, gathering strength as it goes along, until the very nice ending. There are little treats all along, like a character who refers to items by their brand names to make them seem special and separate from the other items in that category. The characters are very likable, even the antagonist. The narrator has a delightful British accent and reads it as if he is telling a story. I was sorry for it to end, and I wish Rachel Joyce had another book I could read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    Overall
    (4953)
    Performance
    (4369)
    Story
    (4393)

    In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks. Gladwell begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago.

    Cynthia says: "The Art of (Unconventional) War"
    "Not Gladwell's best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a big Malcolm Gladwell fan, but I was a little disappointed by this book, both the content and the performance. I didn't find his arguments very compelling, for example the ascertain that dyslexia can produce success because, as kids, these people have had to try so hard to do everything. Sure there are a few outstanding people who have dyslexia, but what about those who aren't outstanding? His argument seems to be that "this works this way . . . unless it doesn't." Not as tight and well-argued as his previous books. His reading of the book is not so great -- it's like he isn't enjoying it very much either. I'm glad I bought it and listened to it, but I was expecting more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Girl in Need of a Tourniquet: Memoir of a Borderline Personality

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Merri Lisa Johnson
    • Narrated By Erin Bennett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    An honest and compelling memoir, Girl in Need of a Tourniquet is Merri Lisa Johnson’s account of her borderline personality disorder and how it has affected her life and relationships. Johnson describes the feeling of "bleeding out" unable to tell where she stopped and where her partner began. A self-confessed "psycho girlfriend," she was influenced by many emotional factors from her past. She recalls her path through a dysfunctional, destructive relationship, while recounting the experiences that brought her to her breaking point.

    Barbara says: "Chaotic, disturbing, meaningless"
    "Chaotic, disturbing, meaningless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a professor of psychology and thought this would be informative and interesting, but I must be honest to say that I did not understand what was going on. I am not a clinician, but I do teach about personality and attachment. This was a stream of consciousness with little grounding in time or space. I guess that may been what the author was getting at, she does have a psychiatric disorder, but after an hour of listening, I realized I wasn't going to learn anything and was not going to be entertained. I gave up. Wish I could return it. If you want to read a good memoir of a person who is grappling with a mental health disorder, read Andrew Solomon's "The Noonday Demon." He is knowledgeable, a terrific writer, and gives a very compelling account of how depression affects all aspects of a person's life, but also the gifts one receives as a result of this struggle. The reader ends up admiring Solomon, liking him, and wanting to learn more about his life.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Sheri Fink
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (654)
    Performance
    (575)
    Story
    (581)

    In the tradition of the best writing on medicine, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the listener into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days.

    Cynthia says: "Five Days in Hell/Years in Purgatory"
    "Unbelievable but True!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had heard about some court cases after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, pertaining to the possibility that some people were euthanized in hospitals and nursing homes. I didn't know the outcome. This author brings us the facts of this time -- five days -- after Katrina left and the city began flooding due to broken levees. She describes it day by day, using the words of the various people who were at the hospitals. I ended the book wondering what I would do in their shoes. It resulted in many conversations with nurses I know and adult children of nursing home patients. The last chapter describes new practices put into place for future natural disasters, but it left me slow to criticize what choices people make in critical situations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10164)
    Performance
    (9302)
    Story
    (9320)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Outstanding Book and Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an excellent story that spans many years and many places, from the upper east side of New York to Las Vegas to Amsterdam. An adolescent boy experiences a life-changing tragedy and then stumbles into the world of art forgeries, antiques, drugs, blackmail, unconditional love, and the Russian mafia. Although none of these things especially interest me, I enjoyed the book a lot from the first sentence of the first page to the last. It is probably one of the best books I have listened to in the last 5 years. The narrator reads in a way that makes him actually disappear and lets the story just enter your brain. He does the accents of the rich private school kids, the Russian teenager, the bimbo girlfriend of his father, the Greenwich Village art restorer, and more, so well that you can picture them in your mind. I bought two copies of this book for gifts and recommended it to my book club.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Little Friend

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By Karen White
    Overall
    (357)
    Performance
    (266)
    Story
    (264)

    From the author of The Secret History comes a dark, suspenseful novel of lost childhood. Harriet Dusfresnes is a child in Mississippi, haunted by the murder of her brother when she was just a baby. He was found hanging from a tree in their backyard; his killer was never identified, nor did the family ever recover. Only Harriet's teenage sister might have seen what happened that day, and she has blocked it out from her memory.

    Sam says: "Couldn't put it down"
    "Narrator distracts from the story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just finished The Goldfinch and enjoyed it immensely, so thought I would enjoy The Little Friend. It is set in the south and the narrator has a very distracting southern accent. I am a southerner myself, but could not identify what the accent was supposed to be. But the worst part was that every sentence sounded like it had an exclamation point at the end(!) It was so artificial that I could not pay attention to the story. I quit after a few chapters and bought the hardcover book.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • One Summer: America, 1927

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1469)
    Performance
    (1327)
    Story
    (1312)

    One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.

    Mark says: "Why 1927?"
    "Bryson is a great writer, but . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a very good book. Bryson weaves together the worlds of politics, aviation, sports, entertainment, crime, invention, and business to give a snapshot view of the United States in 1927.. It works very well and is a pleasure to read. However, Bryson should stick to writing. I had just listened to several books read by actors, and there is a big difference between a professional voice and an amateur. With Bryson, the listener is distracted by his uneven accent -- where is he from, California? with a touch of Brit? Canada? I kept thinking of the characters on Saturday Night Live's skit, "The Californians."And it is just not smooth. The wrong words are emphasized in the narratives and it is really distracting. I finally bought the book and started from the beginning to read it myself. I loved it!

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Aviator's Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Melanie Benjamin
    • Narrated By Lorna Raver
    Overall
    (654)
    Performance
    (572)
    Story
    (580)

    For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.

    Audrey says: "The Megalomaniac's Wife"
    "What a woman!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The only things I knew about Ann Morrow Lindberg were that she was the wife of the guy who first flew across the Atlantic Ocean and that their first baby was kidnapped and murdered. Even without those two events, Ann Morrow Lindberg would have been worth a book. Her story, and her observations about her own life, are timeless and give encouragement and counsel to women of all ages. The narrator is wonderful. It seemed a little slow at first, but I think that is a reflection of the times. Soon the listeners feel that they are present in the 1930s and are listening to Ann tell her own story. I recommended this for our book club, along with Ann's own book, A Gift From the Sea.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The World until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Jared Diamond
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (370)
    Performance
    (298)
    Story
    (299)

    Most of us take for granted the features of our modern society, from air travel and telecommunications to literacy and obesity. Yet for nearly all of its six million years of existence, human society had none of these things. While the gulf that divides us from our primitive ancestors may seem unbridgeably wide, we can glimpse much of our former lifestyle in those largely traditional societies still or recently in existence.

    Barbara says: "A visit with our ancient ancestors"
    "A visit with our ancient ancestors"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jared Diamond is patient with the non-academic reader. He presents his intriguing ideas in story form with a minimum of statistics and dry facts. He shares his insights from a long career of living among primitive people in several areas -- mostly Papua New Guinea. He tells about the similarities and differences of their lives compared to ours. Then he asks, "Could they have been onto something that we could revisit in our own lives?" It is a good question and one that stays with the reader long after the book is finished.

    One example: in primitive groups, children spend a lot of time in age-mixed groups which allows the younger kids to learn from the older ones and the older ones to feel pride and accomplishment when they teach the younger ones. In our culture, children are separated into age-specific groups and taught together by an adult. The age segregation continues outside school in team sports and play dates. With small families, some children do not have experience with children of other ages -- often until they become parents themselves. As I was reading this, my 10-year-old grandson was playing with his 1-year-old cousin, showing her new ways to play with her "baby" toys. She was delighted with his attention and soon turned her push-car upside down as he had done, spinning the wheels with her hands. Later, the 10-year-old went to a museum with his 20-year-old cousin to see dinosaurs. The 20-year-old grew up in this town and had visited the museum many times, so he was an expert in the eyes of the 10-year-old and he seemed to enjoy the adulation.

    This book made me think about the "advances" we have made in our culture and question it. Most of it has been good (sanitation, public health, medical care) but some of the old ways have merit and deserve examination. After all, they were in practice until "just yesterday" and helped us survive and evolve to what we are today.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Rachel Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Broadbent
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3208)
    Performance
    (2852)
    Story
    (2859)

    Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack is a letter addressed to Harold from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in 20 years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person.

    FanB14 says: "Wonderful Walkabout"
    "Overall nice little story that leaves you thinking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Harold is such a guarded, proper Englishman whose only coping skill was to "stay calm and carry on" when tragedy hit earlier in life. Now that he is retired, there is not much "carrying on" to do and he has to deal with the memories. He does this in a very bizarre way, but it all makes sense as the book goes on. The narrator is excellent and although the book drags a bit at the end, it is a very nice little story and you will think about it long after it's over.


    What other book might you compare The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to and why?

    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Harold's meeting with the blue-eyed businessman at the train station.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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