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Elizabeth

A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!

Bellevue, WA, United States | Member Since 2007

94
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 142 reviews
  • 464 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 37 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
6

  • The Orchardist

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Amanda Coplin
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (477)
    Performance
    (401)
    Story
    (396)

    At the turn of the 20th century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a reclusive orchardist, William Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots as if they were loved ones. A gentle man, he's found solace in the sweetness of the fruit he grows and the quiet, beating heart of the land he cultivates. One day, two teenage girls appear and steal his fruit from the market; they later return to the outskirts of his orchard to see the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, the girls take up on Talmadge's land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion.

    Marcia says: "Beautiful, rich, sweeping tale, not a fairy tale."
    "Enjoyable, touching and beautiful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story of an orchardist (imagine that) in Central Washington at the turn of the 20th century. Spanning some 40-ish years, you learn more about Talmadge, how he lives is mostly solitary life, and how two young girls had a great impact on him. The author is adept at creating empathy with the characters and feeling the deep emotions each experiences.

    I especially enjoyed the book because I know the area, the small towns where the story takes place, and I could envision the scenes as the author described them.

    The audio version has excellent narration and was well worth the listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Champlain's Dream

    • ABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By David Hackett Fischer
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    In this sweeping, enthralling biography, acclaimed historian David Hackett Fischer brings to life the remarkable Samuel de Champlain - soldier, spy, master mariner, explorer, cartographer, artist, and Father of New France. We remember Champlain mainly as a great explorer. On foot and by ship and canoe, he traveled through what are now six Canadian provinces and five American states. Over more than 30 years he founded, colonized, and administered French settlements in North America.

    Jonah says: "Excellent Narration - Illuminating History"
    "A dream to listen to"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fischer's biography of Champlain is a great read and provides further knowledge and insight into the life of this early French explorer. Having spent time in Upstate New York and other New England states as a child, a recognized many of the places described in the book and I enjoyed adding to my historical knowledge of places I've been. I knew little of Champlain prior to reading the book, and I now view him as not only an explorer of lands, but more importantly as an ambassador to a new world. According to Fischer, unlike many of his contemporaries, Champlain went to the new world, and its inhabitants, with open arms, interested in building relationships, not war. There is much we can learn from Champlain and apply to our lives today.

    As always, Edward Herrmann's narration is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Parkland

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Vincent Bugliosi
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    This audiobook follows a group of individuals making split-second decisions after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital, the chief of the Dallas Secret Service, the cameraman who captured what has become the most examined film in history, the FBI agents who had gunman Lee Harvey Oswald within their grasp, and Vice President Lyndon Johnson who had to take control of the country at a moment's notice.

    Elizabeth says: "Great narration, great book"
    "Great narration, great book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Let's begin with the narration: Edward Hermann is one of the best narrators around, and I often choose books because he is the narrator. He once again delivers a fabulous reading that enhances the story being told.

    Parkland is the detailed look of the four days in November 1962 when the Parkland Hospital became a central part of the story of the JFK, and then Lee Harvey Oswald, murders. The story is greater than that of the hospital, and the details and what seems objective retrospective look at what happened were fascinating. JFK's assassination seems to be one of the most dissected moments of US history, with many assumptions and inaccuracies perpetuated through the years. Bugliosi addresses some of these, and offers reasonable explanations as to why some of the decisions were made the way they were, even though 50+ years later we still debate the decisions. I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Tender Bar: A Memoir

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By J.R. Moehringer
    • Narrated By J.R. Moehringer
    Overall
    (320)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (85)

    Torn between the stirring example of his mother and the lurid romance of the bar, J.R. tried to forge a self somewhere in the center. But when it was time for J.R. to leave home, the bar became an increasingly seductive sanctuary, a place to return and regroup during his picaresque journeys. Time and again, the bar offered shelter from failure, rejection, heartbreak, and eventually from reality.

    Jim E says: "A Good Deal and a Good Deal More"
    "Mostly intriguing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Interesting memoir of a man and his bar. Moehringer shares his upbringing and the influence of the local bar on his life, the examples (both positive and negative) that were offered there, the encouragement and discouragement he received, and his longing for belonging. It certainly offered an interesting social commentary about the sense of belonging in our society and it encourages me to think about where we might find that outside of a bar.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mary Poppins: The Mary Poppins Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By P. L. Travers
    • Narrated By Sophie Thompson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (54)

    Here is the timeless story of Mary Poppins, the world's favorite nanny, and her magical adventures with the Banks family. Mary Poppins is like no other nanny the Banks children have ever seen. It all starts when their new nanny is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house, carrying a parrot-headed umbrella and a magic carpetbag. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins.

    fred says: "For a change the movie is better than the book"
    "Timeless story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Quite enjoyable and I understand why this story captivated Walt Disney and countless little children. As with any book-to-movie, there is more in the book...who knew Jane and Michael and twin siblings? Travers' imagination was strong and the story of Mary Poppins, and her impact on the Banks family is still valuable today.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Invention of Wings: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye, Sue Monk Kidd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4802)
    Performance
    (4373)
    Story
    (4364)

    From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women. Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world - and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

    Jan says: "Historical Fiction - beautifully quilted!"
    "Another great book from Kidd"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to the book, and it is an outstanding listen, with two different narrators voicing Sarah and Handful. I continue to enjoy Kidd's books, her attention to detail and her ability to weave a great story. As Sarah and Handful grow up, each exploring their own limitations, hopes and moments of courage, I was caught up in their story and wondered how I might have responded to their challenges, whether I be Sarah or Handful. This book is well worth the read/listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Piper Kerman
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2212)
    Performance
    (2011)
    Story
    (2027)

    With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money 10 years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to 15 months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 - one of the millions of women who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system.

    Mark says: "My favorite book of the year, so far"
    "Enjoyable, but not amazing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an interesting book and challenged assumptions I had about our prison system and they type of people I'm them, some assumptions I wasn't consciously aware I had until reading this book. Kerman's story is told in an authentic manner, and while she addresses some of her biases, it does not come across in a preach-y manner. I think it's rare to get the insight she offers in a mostly objective manner that is as popularly read as this book is. I don't think I'll bother with the tv show; I don't want to suffer the perversion of the book into something more flashy for tv. I don't think this book is for everyone, but if you're up for a nonfiction tale of our modern day prison system, then by all means, grab this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Love Life

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Rob Lowe
    • Narrated By Rob Lowe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (369)
    Performance
    (347)
    Story
    (345)

    Love Life serves up another delicious selection of intimate stories and observations from Rob Lowe's life, told with humor, warmth, and brutal honesty. After writing his acclaimed debut effort, Lowe felt he had more stories to share and many more friends to introduce. The result is a touching memoir about the business and craft of acting, the pitfalls of success, family, love, and much more.

    LESLIE DOHENY-HANKS says: "Insightful, interesting and uplifting"
    "Not as good as his first book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this book, narrated by Lowe, and I would let him read the fine print on my prescriptions to me. Dreamy. Content-wise, this is not as strong of a read as his previous book, however there were stories and insights to enjoy. I am particularly appreciative of how he talks about his wife of 22+ years with love and reverence. It's refreshing when so many celebrities go through wives like the go through toothbrushes. Bravo, Rob. If you put out another book I'll probably listen to that one, too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By David Laskin
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Cantor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    In the latter half of the 19th century Laskin's great-great-grandfather, a Torah scribe named Shimon Dov HaKohen, raised six children with his wife, Beyle, at the western fringe of the Russian empire. The HaKohen family split off into three branches. One branch emigrated to America and founded the fabulously successful Maidenform Bra Company; one branch went to Palestine as pioneers and participated in the contentious birth of the state of Israel; and the third branch remained in Europe and suffered the Holocaust.

    Elizabeth says: "Great potential, but doesn't quite make it"
    "Great potential, but doesn't quite make it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book looks at three branches of the same Jewish family from pre-WWII Europe and the three routes they take--emigrating to America, Palestine, and staying in Europe. Each branch had a different outcome. The book is the result of the author's research into his own family. I liked, but didn't love, the book. I had a hard time tracking some of the family members and their stories, and I felt the writing was, at times, cumbersome.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (971)
    Performance
    (889)
    Story
    (899)

    >When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.

    Tango says: "Beautiful story, beautifully written"
    "Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Generally, I enjoyed Anthony's story of how he integrated an angry elephant herd into his refuge in Africa. Sometimes it came across as overly self-indulgent, but for the most part, it was an encouraging and interesting read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Reconstructing Amelia

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Kimberly McCreight
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (487)
    Performance
    (437)
    Story
    (441)

    When Kate, single mother and law firm partner, gets an urgent phone call summoning her to her daughter's exclusive private school, she's shocked. Amelia has been suspended for cheating, something that would be completely out of character for her over-achieving, well-behaved daughter. Kate rushes to Grace Hall, but what she finds when she finally arrives is beyond comprehension. Her daughter is dead.

    FanB14 says: "Gossip Girl"
    "Mixed feelings"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Amelia plummets to the ground from the roof of her school. Was it suicide? Homicide? That's what you explore in Reconstructing Amelia as Amelia's mom, Kate, searches through emails, texts and social media to learn more about her daughter's life and how she may have ended up splayed on the ground next to her school.

    The storytelling mechanism is interesting, and certainly timely for the technology age we are in. It made working your way through the book interesting and a bit more "real" for how our teens today live.

    What I struggled with was where I felt the story wanted to place blame. I am a high school educator and, admittedly, am sensitive to the unreasonable expectations families, media and society in general put on schools for what we "should" control, monitor and provide consequences for, many (most?), of which are unreasonable and undoable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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