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Janet

ratings
221
REVIEWS
22
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
40

  • The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Steven Pinker
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (740)
    Performance
    (387)
    Story
    (385)

    In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading experts on language and the mind, explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits, denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts.

    C. J. Hamilton says: "Instant classic"
    "Heroic Effort"
    Overall

    Quite a thorough tome. Quite a challenging listen -- but worth the effort both in the writing and the reading/listening. Well thought-out and articulately argued challenges to the thinking of many widely held beliefs. Supporting his arguments with the best in research and analysis. Will it put to rest some of the sniping and arguing about non-issues in parenting/educational arenas? Will it help us to make more rational choices in these areas? I hope so. Doubt it.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Made in America

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By William Roberts
    Overall
    (372)
    Performance
    (286)
    Story
    (291)

    In Made in America, Bryson de-mythologizes his native land, explaining how a dusty hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn't won, why Americans say 'lootenant' and 'Toosday', how Americans were eating junk food long before the word itself was cooked up, as well as exposing the true origins of the G-string, the original $64,000 question, and Dr Kellogg of cornflakes fame.

    John says: "Bryson Not Reading Makes For a Rare Fail"
    "Lost in the details, not Bryson's typical work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    not -- while interesting potential, it's not as sardonic or gripping as Bryson's other work


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Bryson should read his own work -- always
    Nobody can get the tone right on the humorously pedantic stuff like he man himself


    Would you be willing to try another one of William Roberts’s performances?

    Maybe


    Did Made in America inspire you to do anything?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I love most everything Bryson has written
    The topic has potential in his hands, I'm sorry it's not up to his typical level of making things like this so much more appealing than most writers could. It's better than most writers could have done, but not as much fun a listen as any other thing I've heard of his work

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Summer: America, 1927

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1478)
    Performance
    (1336)
    Story
    (1321)

    One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.

    Mark says: "Why 1927?"
    "Bryson at his best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of One Summer to be better than the print version?

    Didn't see the print version -- loved it in Bryson's own voice


    What other book might you compare One Summer to and why?

    Bryson is in a category of his own. He brings times and places, characters and the dynamics of an era to life.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to it over and over in many sittings and settings. Even the statistics about baseball and boxing were delivered in such an interesting way that I was fascinated -- and I'm a fan of no sports.


    Any additional comments?

    Bryson made the era of my grandparents and the precursor to my parent's time come alive. I think I understand them better now. I feel like I walked beside them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Valley of Amazement

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Amy Tan
    • Narrated By Nancy Wu, Joyce Bean, Amy Tan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1213)
    Performance
    (1071)
    Story
    (1089)

    Shanghai, 1912. Violet Minturn is the privileged daughter of the American madam of the city's most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, Violet is separated from her mother in a cruel act of chicanery and forced to become a "virgin courtesan." Half-Chinese and half-American, Violet grapples with her place in the worlds of East and West - until she is able to merge her two halves, empowering her to become a shrewd courtesan who excels in the business of seduction and illusion, though she still struggles to understand who she is.

    Pamela J says: "Just could NOT get past the ugliness"
    "Not as expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Amy Tan has been a favorite over the years for her colorful, misguided characters, the interplay between generations of women, the triumph over pain and abuse.

    This book has the abuse and the misguided, but everything is so flat that I simply wanted to plug my ears with cotton and not hear anything for a while. Repetition abounds, wondering about whether the mother betrayed her daughter. How could a writer with Tan's skills come up with something on a topic like this and have it be so hopelessly boring?


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Diane Setterfield, Bellman & Black


    Would you be willing to try another one of the narrators’s performances?

    okay


    What character would you cut from The Valley of Amazement?

    all of them


    16 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21028)
    Performance
    (18858)
    Story
    (18925)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Girl Gone with the Times"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Only those with time on their hands and a taste for lighter fare


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The fascination with sociopaths and unexpected twists in psychodramatic mystery work that is "ripped from the headlines" is becoming yawnable. It's a matter of premise and all of the underpinnings of the book. Not so deeply flawed that I didn't enjoy it -- just so much of the same from the genre that it didn't move me to say, "that was totally wonderful and kept me wanting more.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    not really thinking of one


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

    none of those -- it really didn't move me


    Any additional comments?

    I'm thinking that this is a fine beach read, okay to listen to while puttering in the garden or knitting a blanket... but not a classic in the making, not a watershed insight into motivation or relationships, and not a genre-defining accomplishment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • And the Mountains Echoed

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Khaled Hosseini
    • Narrated By Khaled Hosseini, Navid Negahban, Shohreh Aghdashloo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2522)
    Performance
    (2227)
    Story
    (2220)

    Khaled Hosseini, the number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.

    FanB14 says: "Does the End Justify the Means"
    "A triumph of devotion in unspeakable sadness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to And the Mountains Echoed the most enjoyable?

    Deep emotion, well-crafted story, triumph of the spirit


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Abdullah never stopped loving his sister. His anguish and devotion. The sadness of their parting and the intertwining lives give me pause. I wished for it to turn out differently -- and I knew it could end no other way.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Three narratorsThe woman demonstrates the pathos in her female characters, especially the ugly twin. She was not a likeable character, but I found myself empathizing with her anyway.Both men reflect their narration sections well. The flavor of the characters and the places come through beautifully.


    Who was the most memorable character of And the Mountains Echoed and why?

    Each person sought to overcome a great loss. Each showed a resilience and brokenness that caught my heart. Even the ancillary characters seem vivid, broken, resilient, poetic and epic. In the end, only Abdullah, his daughter, and the plastic surgeon do not betray those they love. And Fari, the lost sister, atones for the betrayal of her adopted mother, and learns to love.


    Any additional comments?

    This amazing author has taught me three times to grieve for a land that is filled with so many conflicting traits -- a capacity for cruelty, a capacity for intense affection, resiliency in the face of impossible, unspeakable situations, and above all, a capacity for story.I once knew some people who lived in Afghanistan before all of the combat. They spoke of people with an ability to enjoy life, beauty in many ways, and the capacity for poetry and story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5377)
    Performance
    (4550)
    Story
    (4561)

    Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion.

    Tim says: "Brilliant Sequel"
    "Follett has done it again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Winter of the World?

    The sweep and intertwining of characters, families, countries and political events gives the reader a sense of the impact of time on people and people on their tunes. The characters are vivid and while complicated, I think he gets the right amount of core characters versus side characters. I'm happy that some of the people on the wrong side are swept up through misunderstanding. I also find it hopeful that some of the people standing up for the right survive through the worst of it.
    This is the era of my parents andd grandparents -- I think I understand something more about their time and lives.
    Follett has a touch for description that doesn't distract from the story but brings it more to life.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Maude gives up the shallow for the things that are most important. She's a survivor with a sense of right and wrong that I can identify with.


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

    Sometimes the narrator and the writer are very much in synch with each other. Lee and Follett are inseparable in my mind. His notion of the accents and voice tones ring especially true. It amuses me that he uses such a nasal tone for the American accents (this is common with British narrators) But I love his Welsh, Eaton, Russian and German accents.


    If you could rename Winter of the World, what would you call it?

    Call of Tyrants


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Max Brooks
    • Narrated By Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, and others
    Overall
    (5544)
    Performance
    (3795)
    Story
    (3805)

    The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of 30 million souls, to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet.

    Steve says: "Good but Too Short!"
    "a chip off the old block"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would to some friends, not to others


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    hmmm -- okay


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    I liked the matching of the actor/voice tone to the role they portrayed.


    If you could rename World War Z, what would you call it?

    No idea -- this is about right


    Any additional comments?

    I read on the basis of a young man I love, and whose tastes I know to be even quirkier than my own. Was not surprised at the piece or it's features. A definite product of the Brooks family sensibilities. Not earth-shattering or inspiring, but memorable and amusing. I enjoyed the experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Outlander

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18861)
    Performance
    (12963)
    Story
    (12859)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: An all-time Audible favorite that mixes historic fiction, adventure, and romance with one of the most fascinating literary devices: time travel. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. But their blissful reunion is shattered....

    Lulu says: "The Reason for the Existence of Audio Books"
    "I'm going to listen to the whole series!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Outlander?

    Everything. The characters were compelling and intense, the historical context felt right (even though I'm no expert), the relationships were so well developed, and the descriptions brought the whole thing to life.


    What did you like best about this story?

    while a predictable adventure in some ways -- how could have been thought a spy and then a witch? -- how could he not have compelled her to love him? -- it still captured my interest. I think because the author KNOWS these people, loves them, and puts them right in front of the reader to love them, too.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Don't Vote - It Just Encourages the Bastards

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By P. J. O'Rourke
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    In Don't Vote - It Just Encourages the Bastards, best-selling humorist P. J. O’Rourke delivers a hilarious theory of politics.

    America’s most subversive conservative, O’Rourke describes government as a devil’s bargain between power, freedom, and responsibility, and goes on to hilariously skewer the politicians who have bargained with us to consolidate power, and the many mini-bargains and evasions that citizens have made with the consequences of their choices.

    Fernando says: "Would be much funnier with a different narrator"
    "funny and worth the read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from P. J. O'Rourke and/or Christopher Lane?

    yes


    Was Don't Vote - It Just Encourages the Bastards worth the listening time?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    funny -- i don't agree with his politics, but i agree with some of this attitudes about politicians. it was sarcastic and rude, but in a totally honest sort of way

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In a Sunburned Country

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2207)
    Performance
    (763)
    Story
    (760)

    Every time Bill Bryson walks out the door, memorable travel literature threatens to break out. His previous excursion on the Appalachian Trail resulted in the best seller A Walk in the Woods. Now, we follow him "Down Under" to Australia with this delectably funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance that combines humor, wonder, and unflagging curiosity. More from Bill Bryson.

    Larry says: "Laugh out loud funny"
    "Exhaustive without being Exhausting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up In a Sunburned Country in three words, what would they be?

    more than travel


    What other book might you compare In a Sunburned Country to and why?

    A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
    Only Bryson can capture a place and time with wit, historical perspective, self-depricating humor, and a sense of the place that few others see.


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

    He understands exactly where to place the emphasis for maximum cheek


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    It's a very big place


    Any additional comments?

    Bryson's wry wit combined with his ambling approach to any subject has give Australia a brilliant and hilarious commentary. His unique sense of what might be interesting has taken me up the back roads and into the most obscure sections of this vast and unknowable part of the world.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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