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Jan

Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.

Member Since 2011

1004
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 203 reviews
  • 440 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 50 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
111

  • I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Malala Yousafzai
    • Narrated By Archie Panjabi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1293)
    Performance
    (1132)
    Story
    (1138)

    When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York.

    Jan says: "So much more than expected..."
    "So much more than expected..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Malala opens her heart, family, neighborhood, religion, history and culture to our understanding in her simple, insightful voice. Nurtured as an equal by her educator father she started as a young child to advocate education for street children. As the Taliban invaded her beloved Swat Valley and closed girls schools, she became the face and voice of the girls in open defiance of their rulings. Did you know she has been nominated for the Noble Peace prize? I didn't. I couldn't put this book down and it helped me to understand the Pakistani view of recent historical events such as the war in Afghanistan and the killing of Ben Ladin. After reading I did an internet search and watched videos of her talks and "liked her" on her Facebook page which has pictures of the school, her family and valley. What a wonderful young woman - who made a difference and will continue to do so. This book is a keeper, I will read again.

    43 of 43 people found this review helpful
  • The Day of the Jackal

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Frederick Forsyth
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (885)
    Performance
    (618)
    Story
    (612)

    One of the most celebrated thrillers ever written, The Day of the Jackal is the electrifying story of an anonymous Englishman who in, the spring of 1963, was hired by Colonel Marc Rodin, operations chief of the O.A.S., to assassinate General de Gaulle.

    Darwin8u says: "Tight & fantastic political/cat-and-mouse thriller"
    "History or Fiction?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a daily special I picked up because of the familiar name... not knowing anything about French history, Charles de Gaulle, Frederick Forsyth or the movie... and I didn't take time to read the reviews.

    I tried to read the book several times and got lost in the first chapter... this time I finally made it to the second chapter where the story becomes interesting and I couldn't stop. While reading I began to wonder if I was reading a very well researched historical crime or fiction, but refused to check it out on Wikipedia until I finished the book. I think my lack of knowledge made the book better because I didn't know how it was going to end. That said, the book might be a little dated but it grew on me and I'm glad I read it. Certainly the movie couldn't begin to cover the complicated plot.

    A bit of sex and some violence, but then the Jackal is a paid assassin... I wasn't sure who I was hoping would come out on top, the brilliant assassin or the quiet and determined policeman.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bunkers

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Nicholas Antinozzi
    • Narrated By George Kuch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (13)

    When tragedy strikes and as the world begins to crumble around him, Mark SleepingBear decides that it's high time to renovate his grandfather's Cold War era fallout shelter. As conditions deteriorate, Mark struggles with the decision to share his bunker, should the need arise, with his neighbors. For years, Mark has isolated himself from these people. After he shares his secret, his neighbors decide to build their own bunker, a massive shelter, constructed with comfort as the number one priority.

    Jan says: "Almost.... but then no way"
    "Almost.... but then no way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really liked the setting and premise for this prepper book, the first I had read with a SHTF bunker left rom the 60's cold war and the complexities as a neighborhood builds a nicer one together. As it started I thought I'd found another "Jakarta Pandemic" or "77 Days" type book. The narrator was good and the characters were developing nicely...

    ...but about a 1/4th way in the writing started to get sloppy and I wasn't able to suspend my disbelief regarding the choices and events. Its almost like the author got excited with his plot and forgot the characters he had built. It turned into a Payton Place neighborhood... and although there isn't foul language and you don't see the sex, everyone is sleeping with everyone... fighting and making up. By 1/2 way in I didn't want to listen anymore and the ridiculous ending made me wish I hadn't.

    This book is to be continued and if you want to know if Mark Sleepingbear and Tina make up and make a baby or if God really made the Russian and defenders bullets not fire... you will have to buy a second book. Not going to happen in my ear.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Desperate Fortune

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Susanna Kearsley
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (264)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (228)

    For nearly 300 years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has kept its secrets. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas travels to Paris to crack the cipher.... Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing - for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.

    Lauren says: "Another great story by Susanna Kearsley"
    "Maybe better as a read, than a listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm on a Scottish tangent right now... I read "Outlander" which was written beautifully and I enjoyed the history... but it was way too heavy on the romance for me. Then came "Winter Sea" by Kearsley, it was perfect and I loved the history in it. I snatched up "Desperate Fortune" expecting more of the same.

    Honestly, I think the story was well written, the parallel lives of two women are woven together with one in the present decoding the journal of the one in the past... both experiencing similar situations. I loved the accurate historical fiction of the past part of it, but didn't like being snatched away from my favored past story and back into the present.

    My complaint is with the narration. Katherine Kellgren is perfect in "The Royal Spyness" series where I envision the characters fitting the voices she uses. In this book I found myself flat out angry with her for ruining the story with prissy, forced and overdone voices. True the many characters, languages and accents in this book had to be challenging and she did settle down towards the end... but this is a book I would prefer to read rather than listen to again. So glad to have her out of my ear and wishing it was Davina Porter instead.

    This book doesn't leave you dangling at a precipice, although it is clear there will be another journal to decode with the rest of the story of both women. It is a romance, but like "Winter Sea" it is light... definately a "chick lit" type of book.

    16 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4392)
    Performance
    (3880)
    Story
    (3881)

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Janice says: "Do you believe in miracles??"
    "Yes, Yes, Yes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was so slow purchasing this one... but 3700 other readers ranking it at a 5 aren't wrong. It is a gentle, plain but uplifting account of how 9 young Americans, the product of the great depression and dust bowl overcame all odds to win the 1936 Berlin Olympics. You know how it is going to end from the title... but clear to the win you aren't really sure it can possibly happen.

    I love how it is nestled into history. My elderly family members don't want to read "Unbroken" or other WWII and depression era stories. "We lived it and don't want to hear about it anymore" they tell me. Although Brown, ties you into the Dust Bowl, Great Depression, the New Deal and start of WWII... this isn't a focus on what they endured, rather is there only to show how it made them stronger. I think they will love this one.

    The narrator did great... you can tell he isn't from the Northwest, the place names, just didn't come from the mouth of a native. Still a 5 star narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Thomas Goetz
    • Narrated By Donald Corren
    Overall
    (262)
    Performance
    (234)
    Story
    (231)

    In 1875, tuberculosis was the deadliest disease in the world, accountable for a third of all deaths. A diagnosis of TB - often called consumption - was a death sentence. Then, in a triumph of medical science, a German doctor named Robert Koch deployed an unprecedented scientific rigor to discover the bacteria that caused TB. Koch soon embarked on a remedy - a remedy that would be his undoing. When Koch announced his cure for consumption, Arthur Conan Doyle, then a small-town doctor in England and sometime writer, went to Berlin to cover the event.

    William R. Toddmancillas says: "History plus."
    "TB and Sherlock Holmes?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was looking for another "Demon Under the Microscope," or "The Ghost Map" and I initially thought I found it... lots of good information about early germ theory and the Koch versus Pasteur battles for discovery. Reader was good, flow of information was interesting right up until the story of TB is rudely interrupted by the birth of the Sherlock Holmes stories... the rubber band holding the two men's lives together was way overstretched. The end of the book finally gets back on point and eventually the work on TB resumes. It was worth my time to listen, but go for the above books or "Immortal Cells of Henrietta Lack' or "Emperor of all Maladies" first.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • On Immunity: An Inoculation

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Eula Biss
    • Narrated By Tamara Marston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (197)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (164)

    In this bold, fascinating book, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America, and the world, both historically and in the present moment.

    Debbie says: "More than I Expected"
    "A Jumble"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Take an obsessive, worried mother + everything she has read that reminds her of immunity + what her neighbors were saying + what her physician father said + every novel that she can metaphorically tie to immunity = a jumble that is 7 hours too long.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Johnstown Flood

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (1158)
    Performance
    (633)
    Story
    (631)

    At the end of the last century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation's burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon.

    Susan K Donley says: "A page-turner! HIstory that reads like a novel"
    "I can see the wave of water in my mind..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Aside from a paragraph in a high school history text, I knew nothing about the 1889 Johnstown Flood that killed over 2,000. David McCullough has distilled and organized a mountain of information into this very readable, heartbreaking but often humorous account.

    It starts a bit slow with how the dam came to be built, abandoned, scavenged and restored... but before long I was holding my breath and then taking a slow motion ride with the wave down the mountain. At times on a floating roof, mattress or in a train car... though the small towns on the river and on into Johnstown. After reading I did an internet search of images and found I had formed very accurate pictures in my mind.

    The book follows up nicely with the rush of aid (first response of the Red Cross), reporters and finishes with the resulting lawsuits. So interesting how everyone knew there was a high risk of the dam giving way, but no one prepared for it.





    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ordinary Grace

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By William Kent Krueger
    • Narrated By Rich Orlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1431)
    Performance
    (1286)
    Story
    (1283)

    Award-winning author William Kent Krueger has gained an immense fan base for his Cork O’Connor series. In Ordinary Grace, Krueger looks back to 1961 to tell the story of Frank Drum, a boy on the cusp of manhood. A typical 13-year-old with a strong, loving family, Frank is devastated when a tragedy forces him to face the unthinkable - and to take on a maturity beyond his years.

    Jen says: "Wonderful Wonderful - In Every Way"
    "Not ordinary at all - -"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Missed this book when it first came out, so glad I found it. It's told in the voice of Frank Drum...an adult looking back at 1961, the summer he was 13... a small town preacher's son figuring out who he is and what he believes... as the town reels from multiple deaths.

    This book has the feel of Enger's "Peace Like a River," Grisham's "A Painted House," Burns' "Cold Sassy Tree" and"Doig's "The Whistling Season" ... all books I loved. It's rich with people I have met, dealing with the imperfections of their own and others... of families falling apart and growing stronger.

    There is real life and hard topics addressed as seen through Franks young mind. My kids wouldn't have been ready for this at 13 at all... more like 16 up... bit of sexual content, bit of swearing, lots of loss and complicated relationships... but so uplifting. I'll be back to listen again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • On the Beach

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (187)
    Performance
    (169)
    Story
    (170)

    A war no one fully understands has devastated the planet with radioactive fallout from massive cobalt bombing. Melbourne, Australia, is the only area whose citizens have not yet succumbed to the contamination. But there isn’t much time left, a few months, maybe more—and the citizens of Melbourne must decide how they will live the remaining weeks of their lives, and how they will face a hopeless future.

    Julie says: "The most emotionally moving story I have ever read"
    "1950's view of end of the world... via atomic bomb"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Most of the Nevil Shutes books, I have read, demonstrate the courage of an average person facing of overwhelming odds. "A Town Like Alice", "Pied Piper" and "Trustee from the Toolroom" have been favorites. He has a very laid back, slow way of telling a story that requires listening and patience but leaves me satisfied in the end. Without carefully reading reviews... I thought this book would combine my enjoyment of Nevil's writing with an end of the world scenario, it is supposed to be his best known work.

    That said, I endured the slow buildup and waited patiently to know where the small group of survivors would go to outlast the radiation. I won't read it again as it is just too difficult of a listen... I persevered and heard what Nevil was trying to say to the world of the 50's. It is a classic in it own way, and I am left thinking... but not enjoying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Atul Gawande
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1010)
    Performance
    (842)
    Story
    (832)

    In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit.

    George K. says: "A Walk through the Valley of the Shadow"
    "Definative book regarding end of life choices..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What an interesting and clear overview of aging and end of life issues. Gawande covers the process of aging and end of life, what fragile elderly means, history and trends of their care, how other cultures do it, case studies, his own choices with his father and... the best discussion of these issues I have ever read. My MD son enjoyed the information as well.

    Rather than provide what he thinks is the "right" way to face EOL issues, Gawande gives us questions to ask the individual to help them determine their "right" way. He encourages us to have the hard conversations in advance so that an individual's wishes can be respected. Excellent book for healthcare personnel, families and aging adults.

    I adored "One doctor" by Brendan Reilly and some of the content is similar... even if you have read Reilly, I still feel this book is well worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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