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Dawn McDowell

Salem, OR USA

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 41 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By David Sedaris
    • Narrated By David Sedaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3153)
    Performance
    (1145)
    Story
    (1162)

    In his newest collection of essays, David Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives, a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is another unforgettable collection from one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today.

    FanB14 says: "Read on...Hilarity Ensues"
    "Funny, and touching"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Time flew when I was listening to this book. Sedaris tells stories that are funny, moving, and deeply personal, about his family, his partner, and especially himself. He doesn't just talk about the bright side, either; there's parental moodiness and neglect, at least one lost and wayward adult sibling, and his own raging case of OCD to deal with. I didn't know his family was so big because I'd only heard of Amy (whenever she's on one of the late night shows, I tune in just to see what she's wearing). Sedaris is a very talented humorist, and I look forward to reading (or listening to) more of his work.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Jesse Boggs
    Overall
    (4447)
    Performance
    (1905)
    Story
    (1925)

    Who understood the risk inherent in the assumption of ever-rising real-estate prices, a risk compounded daily by the creation of those arcane, artificial securities loosely based on piles of doubtful mortgages? Michael Lewis turns the inquiry on its head to create a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his number-one best-selling Liar’s Poker.

    Jill Pagano says: "Finally, I understand what happened!"
    "A tough job, but he pulled it off"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A few years ago, when I opened up The Great American Novel by Philip Roth, I thought I wasn't going to last long with the book because it was about baseball, and to quote an old friend, "I'd rather watch ice cream melting on a hot sidewalk than watch baseball" (or read about it). It just proves how good Roth was that he got my attention and held it all the way through. He made a story about baseball interesting to me, and now Michael Lewis has actually made the subprime mortgage crisis interesting to me. The story he tells here is illuminating and dramatic, with a cast of colorful and sometimes unlikely characters in pivotal roles. Jesse Boggs does a wonderful job reading this story, which turns big finance into big drama.

    Although the housing collapse and financial crisis severely affected many people, it's just the kind of thing that would ordinarily be pretty darn boring to read about, especially when you get down to the nitty-gritty of CDOs and credit default swaps. I will say that in just a couple of places things dragged on a bit too far in terms of detail or repetition, but this was a minor problem and I can't take away any stars for it. Michael Lewis is my Philip Roth of financial nonfiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The White Tiger: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Aravind Adiga
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1957)
    Performance
    (794)
    Story
    (791)

    Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Balram tells us the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life - having nothing but his own wits to help him along. Through Balram's eyes, we see India as we've never seen it before: the cockroaches and the call centers, the prostitutes and the worshippers, the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger.

    With a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn't create morality and money doesn't solve every problem.

    Mark P. Furlong says: "Entertaining, thought-provoking, darkly funny"
    "An emotional rollercoaster through modern India"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A fascinating story of rampant corruption and the caste system, alive and well in modern India, and a man who has to break all of the rules (and at least a few laws) to get out of it. Adiga can make you laugh and also feel despair for the future of humanity, sometimes on the same page. The emotional experience was similar to what I went through reading Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt, another of my favorite books. John Lee does a fantastic job with the narration and adds a lot to this entertaining and sometimes sobering story. This book kept my attention from beginning to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Middlesex

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Eugenides
    • Narrated By Kristoffer Tabori
    Overall
    (6198)
    Performance
    (2359)
    Story
    (2385)

    In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry-blonde classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them - along with Callie's failure to develop physically - leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, she is not really a girl at all.

    Christopher Allen walker says: "Great Pulitzer Winning novel!"
    "They had me wrapped around their pinkies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a perfect match of author and narrator. Eugenides is a master of language, weaving together the forward movement of the story effortlessly with elaborate and colorful descriptions in minute detail, without ever taking the detail over the line into tedium. Kristoffer Tabori probably made this book even better to listen to than to read, bringing the voice of each character fully to life. I was caught between wanting to know how the story would turn out and not really wanting the book to end. I haven't yet read anything else by Eugenides, but I hope his other books are as good as this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • At Home: A Short History of Private Life

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2682)
    Performance
    (1395)
    Story
    (1401)

    Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.”

    Tina says: "Another wonderful Bryson"
    "Disappointing for a longtime Bryson fan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read many of Bryson's books and enjoyed them all - A Walk in the Woods, The Lost Continent, Notes from a Small Island, the one about his trip to Australia, and the one about his move back to the U.S. after 20 years living in England (I don't remember the titles of the last two). In those books he was observant and informative and also very funny.

    I have a feeling I would have done better with At Home if I had been able to read it instead of listen to it. I didn't like Bryson's reading style, and I think he's one of those authors who should not read their own books. Also, I found myself drifting off and daydreaming during many extensive passages describing rich and powerful people and how they spent their vast sums of money. Much more interesting were the descriptions of regular people's lives in their homes and just how difficult those lives could be in the years before the modern comforts we all take for granted became available to the majority of us.

    Basically, this book was really inconsistent, with Bryson holding my attention, then losing it, and back and forth, all the way through. All of his previous books I've read I would have given at least 4 stars and maybe 5, but this one's only a 3.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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