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  • 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

    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.

    Alisha says: "Great Book a must read for every American!"
    "Where have all the young men gone?"

    This is a piercing, courageous book that connected a lot dots for me. Michelle Alexander lays out a compelling, sturdily reasoned case that may explain a lot of very sick things in our society. The “war on drugs,” incentivizing biased police enforcement, unfair stereotyping of minority youth, prison profiteering, and fear of discussing racial issues are not the only perpetuating factors. Anyone who cares about social justice would appreciate this book. It interestingly written, although a bit repetitive and I believe the author could have said more about how the system perpetuates crime and violence. The reader Karen Chilton is one of the best I have heard in many hours of listening.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Twelve Years a Slave

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Solomon Northup
    • Narrated By Hugh Quarshie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Hugh Quarshie reads the extraordinary autobiography of Solomon Northup. His harrowing true story, first published in 1853, was a key factor in the national debate over slavery prior to the American Civil War, significantly changing public opinion on the topic of abolition. It tells the horrifying tale of Solomon Northup, an educated, free black man living with his wife and children in New York State, whose life takes an appalling turn when he is kidnapped, drugged and sold into slavery.

    Joel says: "What an Experience"
    "Hugh Quarshie performance -- strongly recommended"

    After seeing the movie, I wanted to read or hear the book and had to decide which of several versions to go with. So glad I selected the Hugh Quarshie performance. I can't imagine a better reading. It felt as though I was hearing it straight from Soloman Nothrup, including some of the pronunciation nuances.

    Believing this understanding should be part of every American's education, I have read a number of very enlightening slave narratives/histories. I do agree with another reviewer who said that Northrup's story, because it is told from the perspective of a free as well as enslaved man, is special and builds a helpful bridge that a 21st century free person can relate to. Normally I wouldn't say this, but I do recommend seeing the movie before reading the book. In this particular case, it enhanced my ability to "see" what was happening.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Alex Kotlowitz
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This national best-seller chronicles the true story of two brothers coming of age in the Henry Horner public housing complex in Chicago. Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers are 11 and nine years old when the story begins in the summer of 1987. Living with their mother and six siblings, they struggle against grinding poverty, gun violence, gang influences, overzealous police officers, and overburdened and neglectful bureaucracies. Immersed in their lives for two years, Kotlowitz brings us this classic rendering of growing up poor in America’s cities.

    Caro says: "Six stars"
    "Six stars"

    Don't know why I had not read this before. This book went on to become a nonfiction classic, often assigned in sociology classes. Written in the 1980s, it is -- sadly -- all still true. Not an easy reality. Told thru the eyes of children. Complicated. Unbiased. There is no better narrator than Dion Graham, who was especially able in bringing this story home.

    Recommended for the same people who appreciate Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. You might also like Gangleader for a Day.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Rachel L. Swarns
    • Narrated By Claudia Alick

    Michelle Obama's family saga is a remarkable, quintessentially American story - a journey from slavery to the White House in five generations. Yet, until now, little has been reported on the First Lady's roots. Prodigiously researched, American Tapestry traces the complex and fascinating tale of Michelle Obama's ancestors, a history that the First Lady did not even know herself. Rachel L. Swarns, a correspondent for the New York Times, brings into focus the First Lady's black, white, and multiracial forebears.

    Caro says: "A unique look at history"
    "A unique look at history"

    I definitely agree with the person who described this book as "epic in scope and beautifully rendered." Rachel Swarms was expecially adept in portraying the family members within their historical context, bringing alive not only these particular individuals but nameless others who shared their experiences.

    I couldn't help thinking that this book is a special gift to the Obama daughters. But even if the subject had not been the family of a woman I admire and respect immensely, I would have appreciated reading about the various people who were uncovered in the book. It was fascinating to see how decades of family history were pieced together from records and memories that were often scanty.

    On the down side, I had some difficulty following the chronology via audio. It was difficult to keep up with the generations, especally as the narrative is not linear but doubles back many times to pick up various strands. This audible selection should come with a pdf giving a graphic family tree and as many photos as possible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I'm Down: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Mishna Wolff
    • Narrated By Mishna Wolff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Mishna Wolff grew up in a poor black neighborhood with her single father, a white man who truly believed he was black. "He strutted around with a short perm, a Cosby-esque sweater, gold chains and a Kangol---telling jokes like Redd Fox, and giving advice like Jesse Jackson. You couldn't tell my father he was white. Believe me, I tried," writes Wolff. And so from early childhood on, her father began his crusade to make his white daughter down.

    TXgirl says: "great listen..."
    "Entertaining . . . and more"

    Engaging and funny! Then it took a few turns and became a poignant coming of age story. Overall, excellent and unique. I want to hear more from Wolff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bossypants

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Tina Fey
    • Narrated By Tina Fey

    Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told....

    Warren says: "Tina Fey broke my new SUV"
    "The Best"

    When it comes to books written by comedians and funny people, I've read every one I could get my hands on, including Steve Martin, Jon Stewart, etc. -- and this is the BEST. Better than funny: smart and honest (even when she lies). I'm going to listen to it again.

    But where is that pdf???? Is that a joke?

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Nora Ephron
    • Narrated By Nora Ephron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Nora Ephron returns with her first book since the astounding success of I Feel Bad About My Neck, taking a cold, hard, hilarious look at the past, the present, and the future, bemoaning the vicissitudes of modern life, and recalling with her signature clarity and wisdom everything she hasn’t (yet) forgotten. Filled with insights and observations that instantly ring true - and could have come only from Nora Ephron - I Remember Nothing is a pure delight.

    Caro says: "Ha ha"
    "Ha ha"

    I am so tired of publishers claiming that a book is hilarious. This one is not hilarious, but is much more. Whenever I am exposed to Nora Ephron, I am entertained by the way her mind works and the way she can express life’s nuances – sometimes saying just what I would have said if I were brilliant. I enjoy her juxtapositions: opinionated self-doubt, funny terror. I always gain a couple of insights into myself and the way people work. I really enjoyed this read. And, like I Hate My Neck, it seeds in just enough reality to make one’s heart stop.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • 101 Ways to Transform Your Life

    • UNABRIDGED (57 mins)
    • By Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
    • Narrated By Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

    On this inspirational audiobook, best-selling author Dr. Wayne W. Dyer offers you 101 ways to make your life more fulfilling and enjoyable. You'll love listening to Dr. Dyer's transformational thoughts.

    Sherri says: "Easy Listen"
    "Not the best Dyer"

    The sayings were pretty much what I expected, but the background music was loud and annoying.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Freedom: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jonathan Franzen
    • Narrated By David LeDoux
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul - the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter - environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man - she was doing her small part to build a better world.

    Lawrence says: "Believe the Hype"

    Maybe not The Great American Novel, but definitely a great depiction of the dilemmas and complications of our post-modern lives. With answers.

    My only complaint is that the narrator, David LeDoux, was way off in his voice of Lilitha, making her seem like a puppet or Disney character.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Babbitt (Dramatized)

    • ABRIDGED (12 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Sinclair Lewis
    • Narrated By Ed Asner, Ed Begley Jr., Ted Danson, and others

    This epic of the booming 20's captures the relentless culture of American business. A classic novel about conformity in small town America - celebrated for its comic tone, statire, and vivid dialogue. L.A. Theatre Works, then a fledgling radio theatre company, completed Babbitt in 1989. This production was so well received that L.A. Theatre Works has since become the world's premiere radio theatre company.

    Caro says: "A nice change of pace"
    "A nice change of pace"

    The LA Theatre version was a nice change of pace from straight audiobooks, and the cast was awesome.

    Unlike another reviewer, I did not mind the introductory material on each segment; I thought it was helpful.

    I had read Babbit in college, but remembered only a caricature. This gave me the opportunity to "reread" the book from a different point in life.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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