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J. C. Edens

Georgia, USA | Member Since 2011

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 7 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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  • Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Peter Hessler
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (67)

    A century ago, outsiders saw China as a place where nothing ever changes. Today, the country has become one of the most dynamic regions on earth. In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the human side of China's transformation, viewing modern-day China and its growing links to the Western world through the lives of a handful of ordinary people.

    Michael Moore says: "Another Excellent Work"
    "Believe the other reviewers - bad pronunciation!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This book was recommended to me by another China-lover, who had also spent a decent amount of time there. It was dry, and that was tough for me, but the narrator also butchers many pronunciations of Chinese words, and even to my American ear, it was painful. I bought this book ignoring the warnings, thinking those must be people who are very fluent. (I have taken about 2.5 years of Mandarin Chinese courses and spent a few months there years back.) But no, if you've ever studied Chinese, his narration will drive you INSANE. If you haven't, well then, you might enjoy this saga of new and old China.


    Would you recommend Oracle Bones to your friends? Why or why not?

    See above as well; I recommend it for the history and present-day juxtaposition of China. That's why I was interested. I found it too dull for my liking. If you've spent time studying the language, beware of this narration.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Peter Berkrot’s performances?

    Yes, so long as it's not a book heavily based in an Asian nation.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Rebecca Skloot
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Bahni Turpin
    Overall
    (3908)
    Performance
    (2476)
    Story
    (2502)

    Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells, taken without her knowledge, became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first immortal human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than 60 years.

    Prisca says: "Amazing Story"
    "Impactful story, great narration, WOW."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I read this audiobook a couple years ago, but recently pegged it for my upcoming April book club reading, so I'll get to read it again, and this time discuss with friends. When I read this the first time, I was gushing about it to everyone. Highly recommend as a great read on women's health, 20th century medical history and innovation, changing medical rights and legal rights to our own bodies, and a saga of one African American family still struggling with a legacy that would confuse many. The author's own role in this story is also a great component, as she must navigate these complex, heavy waters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Novella Carpenter
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (233)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (152)

    Novella Carpenter loves cities - the culture, the crowds, the energy. At the same time, she can't shake the fact that she is the daughter of two back-to-the-land hippies who taught her to love nature and eat vegetables. Ambivalent about repeating her parents' disastrous mistakes, yet drawn to the idea of backyard self-sufficiency, Carpenter decided that it might be possible to have it both ways.

    Sarah says: "Not an instruction book but a fun read"
    "I was really excited at first, then lost interest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Farm City?

    While at first I really loved the odd collection of neighbors and her interesting little block in urban Oakland, they eventually became uninteresting and there to make a hippie's story more colorful. I was very gung-ho rooting for Novella, urban farmer, but I just lost interest after awhile in her farming antics. It might just be because I don't have a huge frame of reference for the experience. Someone who is into farming, and urban farming, might truly connect with her and her struggles. I live in a total urban jungle and my grass is public parks, which I love because I don't have to garden or mow them. So maybe I'm just not the right audience.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I didn't have any complaints about the performance. That's a big factor for me before I buy an audiobook. She was good.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Shining

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2005)
    Performance
    (1866)
    Story
    (1885)

    Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote...and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

    Kristin says: "Don't expect the movie..."
    "I've listened twice, it stays gripping & exciting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Shining again? Why?

    Yep, 2013 was my second listen to this book, in fact. I love the novel version of this story (though I'm a big fan of the movie as well) for its wonderfully frightening elements, many of which did not make it to the movie version.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Got to be Jack Torrance. I read somewhere that the movie version of Jack Torrance is a man having failed, at career, at staying sober, at being a strong husband, while the actual original novel version of him is a man trying to improve his darkness, his failures, and his demons. He's not too far gone, and it's an exploration of his downfall, which is not inevitable.


    What does Campbell Scott bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The fantastic dialogue between Jack, Wendy, and Danny, as well as each of their inner monologues fabulously brought to life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Onion Field

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Joseph Wambaugh
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (191)
    Performance
    (129)
    Story
    (123)

    Hollywood. Saturday night. A broken taillight leads to a routine traffic stop. It shouldn’t have changed the lives of the four men involved, but it did. The Onion Field is the frighteningly true story of a fatal collision of destinies that would lead two young cops and two young robbers to a deserted field on the outskirts of Los Angeles, towards a bizarre execution and its terrible aftermath.

    Avalon says: "Haunting"
    "Stunning true crime tale from the 1960s"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    My dad recommended this book to me, as he spent 25 years in law enforcement, and said it was particularly affecting. The case in this book reverberated across police departments the nation over, impacting the way many of them interacted with dangerous people. I see why Joseph Wambaugh went on to do this full-time, because the story is gripping, and we get a great sense of all four of the lives and perspectives of the major players involved in the story.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Yes! I try not to look up too many details of a true crime story as I'm reading or listening to it, since I don't want to spoil certain pieces. So I only looked this up in greater detail once I knew who died/the main incident.

    "The Gardener" is an excellent device for driving the story. If you get this audiobook, you'll meet him and know what I mean.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Not because it was happy, but the actual events The Night in the Onion Fields are WONDERFULLY written and read. You feel the same stress and fear and confusion all these men must have felt.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I felt quite sad for Karl Hettinger. It seemed a deep tragedy equally as much for the ones who DID make it out of the Onion Field, who carried that burden far and long. Though I didn't feel very much sympathy for him, Jimmy Smith is portrayed as the unlucky, dumb, complex person he probably was.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Green River, Running Red

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Ann Rule
    • Narrated By Barbara Caruso
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (194)
    Performance
    (155)
    Story
    (157)

    In the most extraordinary journey Ann Rule has ever undertaken, America's master of true crime has spent more than two decades researching the story of the Green River Killer, who murdered more than 49 young women. Green River, Running Red is a harrowing account of a modern monster, a killer who walked among us undetected. It is also the story of his quarry -- of who these young women were and who they might have become.

    Parusski says: "Suspenseful and chilling"
    "Barbara Caruso's narration is great!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Green River, Running Red?

    Well-written and well-read account of the 20+ year saga of the Green River Killer. I wound up buying the mass market paperback copy too, just because I did want to see the photos of the victims and other accompanying photos that are in there. Long but didn't drag like some audiobooks can, because of Barbara Caruso's great reading.


    What does Barbara Caruso bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I felt like she was my friend who just happened to be an ex cop and crime writer, sitting me down and telling me this epic saga. She's not actually Ann Rule, obviously, but that doesn't matter. Something about the tone of her voice is calming. You can't just anyone narrating the gruesome events covered in this book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Catching Fire: Hunger Games, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28828)
    Performance
    (22052)
    Story
    (22196)

    Katniss Everdeen continues to struggle to protect herself and her family from the Capitol in this second novel from the best-selling Hunger Games trilogy.

    FanB14 says: "Dissent Rules"
    "The performance makes this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Catching Fire again? Why?

    The audiobook has been far more pleasurable than the actual book. When I read the paper copy, I was annoyed with the young adult level and mediocre writing. But it's a fantastic story, so I kept with it. All that goes away when Carolyn McCormick is narrating the tale for you. I got totally lost in the tale and she's consistent with the voices of each character. EXCELLENT and I would definitely listen again.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The narrator and the great tale of rebellion, love, and distopian struggles.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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