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Gila

Oakland, CA, United States | Member Since 2007

26
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 21 ratings
  • 436 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Hungry Tide

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Amitav Ghosh
    • Narrated By Firdous Bamji
    Overall
    (240)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (72)

    Internationally best-selling author Amitav Ghosh, winner of the Pushcart Prize and numerous other prestigious accolades, pens a sweeping novel full of romantic adventure. Favorably compared to the masterworks of Joseph Conrad and V.S. Naipaul, The Hungry Tide is an atmospheric tale set in a world of wondrous sights...and terrible danger.

    Elizabeth says: "One of the Best Audio Books I've Read"
    "Ghosh just gets better and better"
    Overall

    I enjoyed this book so much. What truly surprised me was Ghosh's ability to write such a sensitive and believable female character, and even fully imagine her reaction to the overbearing, patronizing male characters. As always, the extensive research and detailed settings pay off in a big way. The hours passed happily while listening to this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Calcutta Chromosome: A Novel of Fevers, Delirium & Discovery

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Amitav Ghosh
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    From Victorian India to near-future New York, The Calcutta Chromosome takes listeners on a wondrous journey through time as a computer programmer trapped in a mind-numbing job hits upon a curious item that will forever change his life. When Antar discovers the battered I.D. card of a long-lost acquaintance, he is suddenly drawn into a spellbinding adventure across centuries and around the globe, into the strange life of L. Murugan....

    Laura says: "What fun!"
    "An early work, all the threads do not tie together"
    Overall

    I LOVE Amitav Ghosh and have listened to everything he has on Audible. Without a question, he has improved over time. This early novel contains many of the ingredients that make him great: fascinating historical research into obscure but important scientific topics, multiple characters, a sprawling view of India. The storytelling is quite good, but the novel seems truncated. It's a fraction of the length of a more typical Ghosh novel, and I'm not sure if he just had to publish it under a deadline... it just doesn't quite come together. Where is the rest of the novel? I was just getting into the story!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Peter Hessler
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (295)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (139)

    In the summer of 2001, Peter Hessler, the longtime Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, acquired his Chinese driver's license. For the next seven years, he traveled the country, tracking how the automobile and improved roads were transforming China.

    BARRY says: "Excellent book and narration"
    "Haunting"
    Overall

    I would have given this book 5 stars if not for the narrator. The material is extremely interesting, and a real page-turner, which is not common in non-fiction writing. The choice of voice actor however is inappropriate, and took a lot of determination for me to get over and keep going with the book anyway. I really had to grit my teeth for this one - impersonal, sounds like he's giving a generic sales pitch, not reading a personal and engrossing sociological account. I now want to read all of Peter Hessler's books, but the narrator holds me back.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Magicians: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Lev Grossman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3125)
    Performance
    (2354)
    Story
    (2371)

    Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.

    Kyle says: "Not an average book"
    "Incredible voice actor, mediocre novel"
    Overall

    The setup for the novel is fun, but doesn't get very far. It suffers from many of the flaws of fantasy fiction written by men: the setting is detailed, the battle scenes richly imagined, and none of the relationships are believable. Not the romantic ones, not the parental ones, not ones with teachers - not one relationship rings true. But oh, the voice actor! Possibly the very best voice actor I have yet listened to on audible. Wow.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Housekeeping

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Marilynne Robinson
    • Narrated By Becket Royce
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (236)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (77)

    A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone, set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck and their mother drove off a cliff to her death.

    dm says: "Beautiful"
    "Terrible narrator"
    Overall

    I really loved Gilead, but couldn't get into this book because of the intolerable narrator. I don't normally have this reaction, but her wooden reading style is more suited to the evening news. Maybe. Totally vapid reading style. Too bad, as now I'll have to wait for time to read the hard copy... because I still love this author.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Believers

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Zoe Heller
    • Narrated By Andrea Martin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    When radical New York lawyer Joel Litvinoff is felled by a stroke, his wife, Audrey, uncovers a secret that forces her to reexamine everything she thought she knew about their 40-year marriage. Joel's children will soon have to come to terms with this discovery themselves, but for the meantime, they are struggling with their own dilemmas and doubts.

    Annie M. says: "Great writing, not-so-great narration"
    "Who would want to hang out with these people?"
    Overall

    I was excited about this book because I truly enjoyed Zoe Heller's last book. However, the characters in this family are so nasty and dysfunctional, so completely unlikeable, that I couldn't bear to spend any more time in their wretched company. Their ugly family exchanges could not hold my interest and I had to put the book down.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Eric Weiner
    • Narrated By Eric Weiner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (425)
    Performance
    (160)
    Story
    (165)

    Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness". This uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is.

    Ben says: "Brew your coffee, get some cookies"
    "Couldn' get through this one"
    Overall

    I was excited about this book because I'm very interested in positive psychology. But I don't want to hear the information through this author's NPR-style "grumpy" stance... ugh. Beware the word "grump" in the title!

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Junot Diaz
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Staci Snell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2294)
    Performance
    (1009)
    Story
    (1018)

    Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuku: the curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

    Kathleen says: "Fabulous listen"
    "Fun to listen, but Dominican history is gruesome"
    Overall

    The language is fun, but Dominican history is hard to stomach. Still an enjoyable book.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Sea of Poppies

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Amitav Ghosh
    • Narrated By Phil Gigante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (295)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (114)

    At the heart of this vibrant saga is an immense ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, its purpose to fight China's vicious 19th-century Opium Wars. As for the crew, they are a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.

    Evelyn M Kloepper says: "ignorance may be bliss"
    "listen with bated breath"
    Overall

    phenomenal performance by Phil Gigante, deserves an award for sure. Fascinating history, meticulous linguistic research by Ghosh pay off in a big way. Can't wait for the next installment! And can we please get audio productions of all of Ghosh's past work?

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Essential Anais Nin

    • ABRIDGED (43 mins)
    • By Anais Nin
    • Narrated By Anais Nin
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    From her famous diaries, which she began in 1914 at the age of 11, Anais Nin reads passages that reflect the recurring themes of her work. In a slow, clear, heavily accented but hypnotic voice, Nin draws the listener into her spell-binding stories of a highly personal world as she paints a vivid picture of a woman as artist and self. This is an extraordinary, historic, archival, and memorable recording that will speak in a fresh voice to new generations.

    Victoria says: "A Gem"
    "heavy accent hard to understand"
    Overall

    I was excited to see this recording listed, but it's difficult to understand with Anais Nin's heavy accent, which means I've not been able to get through it.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful

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