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Debra B

Member Since 2009

25
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 47 reviews
  • 116 ratings
  • 362 titles in library
  • 60 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
24
FOLLOWERS
2

  • Lost for Words: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Edward St. Aubyn
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (67)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (60)

    Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose novels were some of the most celebrated works of fiction of the past decade. Now St. Aubyn returns with a hilariously smart send-up of a certain major British literary award. The judges on the panel of the Elysian Prize for Literature must get through hundreds of submissions to find the best book of the year. Meanwhile, a host of writers are desperate for Elysian attention: the brilliant writer and serial heartbreaker Katherine Burns; the lovelorn debut novelist Sam Black; and Bunjee, convinced that his magnum opus, The Mulberry Elephant, will take the literary world by storm.

    Debra B says: "Witty, and the narrator is perfect"
    "Witty, and the narrator is perfect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of the wittiest books I've read in a long time. I am not an insider to the world the author describes, but it didn't prevent me from feeling like I knew the various characters, and thinking the whole thing was terrifically funny. Except for a few spots, it wasn't burst out loud funny; it was more all of the little interjections from the author and the perfect little plot twists that made it so enjoyable. The various characters are perfect: they weren't too over the top, as they sometimes are in parody. I know there was a start, middle and end to the book, but I admit I was so caught up in the character portrayals that the plot seemed secondary. I may listen to this again, because the wit comes at you fast and furious, and I probably missed some good stuff. The narrator's voice was absolutely drenched with highbrow sentiment, and he was great. It was almost like he was the one who wrote this book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Classic Tales of Hauntings

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Bram Stoker, Ambrose Bierce, Lafcadio Hearn, and others
    • Narrated By Hayward Morse, Liza Ross, Garrick Hagon, and others
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Sixteen classic stories from masters of the genre: "The Judge's House", by Bram Stoker; "A Jug of Sirup", by Ambrose Bierce; "The Reconciliation", by Lafcadio Hearn; "The Woman With a Candle" by W. Bourne Cooke; "The Ebony Frame", by E. Nesbit; "On the Northern Ice", by Elia W. Peattie; "The Haunted Doll's House", by M. R. James; "The Old House in Vauxhall Walk", by Charlotte Riddell; "The Underground Ghost", by John Berwick Harwood; "Haunted", by Anon (from Tinsley's Annual); plus five more....

    Robert says: "Great Stories and Narration!"
    "Classic vintage ghost stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    These stories were more fun than seriously creepy. They were probably pretty creepy in their time, though. The characters and situations are all pretty stock by present day standards.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A 1000-Mile Walk on the Beach: One Woman's Trek of the Perimeter of Lake Michigan

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Loreen Niewenhuis
    • Narrated By Loreen Niewenhuis
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    In 2009, Loreen Niewenhuis walked completely around Lake Michigan. This audiobook chronicles that journey, a 1,000-mile walk around the world's fifth-largest lake. The audiobook explores both the geology of the lake and the measure of a person - a woman, married, mother of two sons (who joined her for portions of the walk). But most of the walk was done solo, an adventure in discovery of self and place. Niewenhuis conveys a sense of the magnitude of the lake she loves, a place so elemental to the four Midwestern states that form its shores.

    John S. says: "Impulse purchase that paid off"
    "Not edgy, but enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As someone who has spent a lot of time around the Great Lakes, I found Loreen Niewenhuis's trek interesting. She was strongest when she spoke about ecology and environmental issues. I say this not to raise the flag for this important cause, but as someone who has always been curious about what I was seeing out there. This book filled in some blanks for me. All in all, this book has a pleasant, friendly tone, especially since it's read by the author. And while this was a hearty trek, it's not fraught with the kind of peril encountered on the Appalachian Trail. So, not a lot of drama.

    For my tastes, there could have been more description of the many moods of the lakes, and of the scenery. Sometimes I wasn't even sure how close she was to the lake. But I'm glad she did it, and it's a little crazy that we don't have more of a hiking path for people who want to do the same.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hold the Dark: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By William Giraldi
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    At the start of another pitiless winter, the wolves have come for the children of Keelut. Three children have been taken from this isolated Alaskan village, including the six-year-old son of Medora and Vernon Slone. Saken with grief and seeking consolation, Medora contacts nature writer and wolf expert Russell Core. Sixty years old, ailing in both body and spirit, and estranged from his daughter and wife, Core arrives in Keelut to investigate the killings.

    Debra B says: "Alaska is the star of this book"
    "Alaska is the star of this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is set in Alaska, and the author does a terrific job in bringing the land to life. I'm not always able to see the surroundings in other books as well as I did in this one. The characters and the story did not pull me in quite as much, although the book did start out strong. It's about primal, animal natures (in humans and wolves), and the author takes this very interesting underside of the human condition in a direction that may not please everybody. What is primal to some may seem senseless to others. I wished some of the characters had their beliefs challenged more - not to change them, but just to make it more interesting. At the end, there could be more resolution, so if that bothers you, you might not like this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just After Sunset: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King, Jill Eikenberry, Holter Graham, Geor
    Overall
    (1036)
    Performance
    (380)
    Story
    (384)

    Just After Sunset - call it dusk, call it twilight, it's a time when human intercourse takes on an unnatural cast, when nothing is quite as it appears, when the imagination begins to reach for shadows as they dissipate to darkness and living daylight can be scared right out of you. It's the perfect time for Stephen King.

    J says: "King scores another coup"
    "At last! Short stories that aren't boring!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A good collection of stories of everyday life, but naturally, with a macabre bent. Stephen King knows how to take middle class/upper-middle class problems - almost boring by definition - and give them the twist that will fill you with unease. Things are not what the seem. None of the stories were gory, but all of them messed with your mind. The sheer volume of blood spilled in horror stories usually keeps me away, but this one wasn't so bad. The stories all had a long buildups, but mostly, I was only aware of the mounting tension, and of an intense desire to know the outcome.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By David Miller
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (470)
    Performance
    (431)
    Story
    (429)

    In 2003, software engineer David Miller left his job, family, and friends to hike 2,172 miles of the Appalachian Trail. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail is Miller’s account of this thru-hike from Georgia to Maine. Listeners are treated to rich descriptions of the Appalachian Mountains, the isolation and reverie, the inspiration that fueled his quest, and the rewards of taking a less conventional path through life. While this book abounds with introspection and perseverance, it also provides useful passages about hiking gear and planning.

    Phillip says: "Most Informative Book on the AT"
    "Adventure and endurance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this book inspiring, and never boring. I don't want to make a big thing of it, but like other commenters, I sometimes wanted to know more about what was going on inside of his head. It's quite a feat walking the entire trail like he did, and I couldn't help but be very curious about his mind-set. But still, he is forthcoming enough, and in general, he seems to know what the reader would want to hear about. The narrator didn't seem quite right (a tad stodgy?), but it didn't get in my way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By David Shafer
    • Narrated By Bernard Setaro Clark
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (33)

    The Committee, an international cabal of industrialists and media barons, is on the verge of privatizing all information. Dear Diary, an idealistic online Underground, stands in the way of that takeover, using radical politics, classic spycraft, and technology that makes Big Data look like dial-up. Into this secret battle stumbles an unlikely trio: Leila Majnoun, a disillusioned non-profit worker; Leo Crane, an unhinged trustafarian; and Mark Deveraux, a phony self-betterment guru who works for the Committee.

    Michele says: "A Light-Hearted Paranoid Thriller"
    "Lots of wry humor, and some techno-intrigue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was more a humor book than edge-of-the-seat thriller. I loved the mix of characters, and how keyed in the book was to contemporary life and all the inherent tensions. I'm not sure if it was the author's intention, but the three main characters all screamed out "Mellennials!" to me. Prototypes of a generation or not, they seemed to have grand-ish expectations that were fated to run smack dab into cold reality, which was part of the humor of the book. It also helped that the narrator was totally on board with the tenor of the book. Things move along at a good pace, which is surprising because there isn't that much going on in terms of thriller intrigue.

    One thing, though - I was expecting more of a focus on the struggle between the bad guy Committee people and the good guy Dear Diary people. As it turned out, there is a long build up to it, and even then, things are not entirely resolved. Will this book be part of a series?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Ben Macintyre
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (138)
    Performance
    (124)
    Story
    (121)

    Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain's counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War - while he was secretly working for the enemy. And nobody thought he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby's best friend and fellow officer in MI6.

    Michael Eaton says: "The Greatest Spy -- Ever Discovered"
    "Some answers to a shocking deception"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a fascinating book, and answered a number of questions I'd always had about Kim Philby. For one thing, just how does that work, exactly, going to MI6 everyday and pulling a lie of that magnitude over everybody's eyes, day after day? This book lays it out as well as any I have read about real-life spies, and it goes a long way to connecting the dots of character and action. It read like a spy novel, although it was unexpectedly depressing in parts, because unfortunately, this is all real.

    Ben Macintyre did a good job keeping an objective tone throughout. He challenged some of Philby's beliefs and assumptions, but when he did, it came across as reasonable inquiry.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Rosie Project: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Graeme Simsion
    • Narrated By Dan O'Grady
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1593)
    Performance
    (1459)
    Story
    (1456)

    Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a "wonderful" husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical - most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver. Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent - and on a quest of her own....

    Margaret says: "A fun listen"
    "A perfect little comedy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I usually try to stay away from stories billed as "heart-warming," and worse, "feel-good," but there is no resisting this one. The author does a great job showing the world through the protagonist's eyes (who has Asperger's, we are all but straight out told), while at the same time, giving the reader a pretty good idea of how things surely must look to everybody else. I laughed out loud in parts, and got choked up in others. It's a funny, light book, but I never found it silly; I would have stopped reading it if I had. Also, it doesn't treat Asperger's as a completely negative condition, and we are invited to look at the other side of that coin, as entertaining a lesson as I've ever had. Good narrator, with an ear for the subtleties that are moving the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Coroner’s Lunch: The Dr. Siri Investigations, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Colin Cotterill
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (448)
    Performance
    (376)
    Story
    (373)

    Laos, 1975: The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over this former French colony. Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old Paris-trained doctor, is appointed national coroner. Although he has no training for the job, there is no one else: the rest of the educated class have fled.

    Jane says: "a splendid story"
    "It's way over in Laos, but you'll know the people"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This popped up in the Recommended For You section, and I thought I would try it. This was a charming book, with characters that came alive fairly easily for me, considering how distant Laos is, and how little I really know about it. It seems that people are the same everywhere. I was never really sure how tightly the author was basing the book on real people and real situations (supernatural aside), but I'd love to know. As far as the supernatural elements go, it wasn't overly done, and it melded surprising well with the storyline. The main character, the coroner Dr. Siri, is a genuine wit, and there is a steady stream of dry humor, helped along considerably by the droll voice of the narrator, Clive Chafer. It was a very good pairing of actor and book. The mystery story itself was OK; it wrapped up in a bit of a jumble at the end. But no matter. I'll probably read the next one in the series sometime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (766)
    Performance
    (683)
    Story
    (684)

    Goodwin describes the broken friendship between Teddy Roosevelt and his chosen successor, William Howard Taft. With the help of the "muckraking" press, Roosevelt had wielded the Bully Pulpit to challenge and triumph over abusive monopolies, political bosses, and corrupting money brokers. Roosevelt led a revolution that he bequeathed to Taft only to see it compromised as Taft surrendered to money men and big business. The rupture led Roosevelt to run against Taft for president, an ultimately futile race that gave power away to the Democrats.

    C. Telfair says: "Wow! Patience Rewarded!"
    "They were friends, they were enemies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is what history is to me. When I pick up a biography/history book, I like it to be like this one: heavy on the characters, but also a scholarly look at the issues of the day. I appreciate how Doris Kearns Goodwin can sift through all the material, and bring it together in one giant, forceful story.The friendship that dissolved between Roosevelt and Taft is fascinating, and is at the center of the book.I could listen to stories about those two all day. There is also a lot about McClure's magazine and the new journalism, and the pivotal battles with Rockefeller and the Trusts. Through it all, there are friendships, alliances, and falling outs.

    The book is long, but in this case, it's a plus. Edward Herrmann is a good choice for narrator - he has the gravitas, and the kind of voice that you can listen to for a very long time. I thought I knew something of this part of history, but there was a lot I didn't know, or hadn't seen presented in quite this way. Really enjoyable, and definitely worth my time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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