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Kathy

Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

Davis, CA, United States | Member Since 2008

569
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 207 reviews
  • 421 ratings
  • 766 titles in library
  • 83 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Atul Gawande
    • Narrated By John Bedford Lloyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (389)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (127)

    Atul Gawande explores how doctors strive for best performance in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. His stories of diligence and ingenuity take us to battlefield surgical tents in Iraq, to labor and delivery rooms in Boston, to a polio outbreak in India, and to malpractice courtrooms around the country. He discusses the ethical dilemmas of doctors' participation in lethal injections, examines the influence of money on medicine, and recounts the astoundingly contentious history of hand washing.

    Bonneville says: "Unfocused & Rambling"
    "A MUST read . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    for anyone interested in the current state of health care and the medical field, for professionals, and those like me who aspire to be a doctor in my next life.

    Seriously, this is an excellent book that covers very interesting and surprising issues related to improving medical care and outcomes. A few of the things Dr. Gawande touches on are cleanliness, battle injuries, eradicating polio, doctors' salaries, hospital excellence (or lack of), and practice of medicine in impoverished areas of India. Each topic had surprising information and was compellingly interesting to me. The author's intelligence, clear-thinking, and caring came through as the book progressed. He has a great deal to offer medical professionals and also the non-medical, average person, too.

    John Bedford Lloyd did a fabulous narration. I never felt that he was reading someone elses book. He read it like it was his own. His voice is simply wonderful, too.

    Highly recommended if the topic is of interest to you.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By James D. Watson
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner, Roger Clark
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (325)
    Performance
    (285)
    Story
    (286)

    By identifying the structure of DNA, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry and won themselves a Nobel Prize. At the time, Watson was only 24, a young scientist hungry to make his mark. His uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of science's greatest mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions, and bitter rivalries.

    A. Lai says: "Fabulous book!"
    "Interesting, easy listen that begs further reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    James Watson admits he is telling the story of his and Crick's discovery of the structure of DNA from his own perspective. He acknowledges others may see it from a different viewpoint. (It appears Watson's book has evoked a great deal of controversy as I learned when I searched out more information on it from the web.) Then he goes on to tell the story of the ultimate discovery of the double helix attributed to himself and Francis Crick along with descriptions of the parts played by the other contending characters in the rush to make the momentous find.

    Despite the controversy, is a very interesting story made even more fascinating by Watson's description of the personalities of the various players and his relationships or interactions with them. It makes for an enjoyable, easy listen and makes me want to search out more information to know other aspects of the story and perhaps, other viewpoints.

    And of course, Grover Gardener always turns out a wonderful narration and is an asset to any audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Voices at CERN

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Franklin Clermont
    • Narrated By Cynthia Wallace
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    The Large Hadron Collider sits deep below ground in Switzerland and France, accelerating protons to near light-speed and smashing them to learn the secrets of the universe. Shannon Fields, senior press relations officer, plays a key role at the CERN research facility in informing the world, in easily understood language, of the great discoveries the giant LHC makes. But there is a looming problem with a new discovery.

    Matthew says: "Another ghost in the maching offering!"
    "Fantastic Idea For A Story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is another example of a book I purchased after reading only one review. This time, I really enjoyed the book and have no regrets. While it is not without some small flaws, over all I feel this story has a great deal going for it.

    I am assuming this is a first-time author, as I did not see any other books listed for him. I am guessing that new authors do not get the old tried and true narrators that many of us have come to know and love. This narrator, Cynthia Wallace, seems like a strange choice for this type of science fiction story. Cynthia has a lovely speaking voice but she hasn't mastered many of other types of accents and she has a tough time with male voices. Yet, it was evident she really gave it her all and it certainly wasn't what I would call a bad performance. I just think I would have enjoyed a more experienced narrator, preferably male, for this type of story.

    As for the plot, it is such a unique idea, and it leads to so many interesting questions which could not be answered in a book of this length. I hesitate to provide spoilers as it will be much more fun for you to let the story develop as it proceeds. There is a lot of explanatory physics in the book, as of course there should be, as how many folks know the science behind the collider at CERN and how many folks really understand string theory? Don't let that deter you from getting this book as there are clear, simple explanations, just enough so you don't feel like a total ignoramus. This book would provide great discussions for a book club! Unfortunately, I have not been able to join a club so far, and I don't imagine alot of clubs would read science fiction. This book, however, is a lot more than science fiction and really gives you surprising things to mull over.

    I had hoped for a surprising twist at the end of the story, which didn't come. I even knew what I thought would happen. It didn't . . . but still, I wasn't terribly disappointed. I felt satisfied that I had found an interesting and very engaging science fiction book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Biblical: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Christopher Galt
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    A strange phenomenon is sweeping the globe. People are having visions, seeing angels, experiencing events that defy reality. Bizarre accounts pour in from distant places: a French teenager claims to have witnessed Joan of Arc being burned at the stake; a man in New York dies of malnutrition in a luxurious Central Park apartment; a fundamentalist Christian sect kidnaps and murders a geneticist.

    Kathy says: "I so wanted to love this book!"
    "I so wanted to love this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You should never buy a new car model in its first year and you should not get an audiobook after reading only 1 review! However, I purchased this book firmly convinced I would love it. It sounded intriguing and had a wonderfully positive review.

    And here's the thing. It has a very skilled narrator who did everything perfectly. And, I am sure, it is very well written, very intelligently thought out and researched, technologically oriented, and it is the type of science fiction I usually like. So, what went wrong?

    Well, I am still trying to figure it out, so bear with me. As far as the characters, there were none I could identify with nor any I found interesting or especially likeable. Throughout the great majority of the book, extremely odd things were happening such as mass hallucinations. Lots of symptoms were presented with only vague hints of what might be the cause. I wasn't holding my breath in anticipation, nor was I invested enough to care very much. You could say that for me, this was not a nail-biter, and that might be an understatement!

    Yet, I hung in there and kept listening whenever I could, as I was sure that when the great reveal came, it would be worth all the waiting. I figured the cause of the turmoil and possible destruction of the world would be mind-bending. It just wasn't mind bending and it came way too late, maybe the last chapter! I listened to that chapter over a couple of times to grasp what happened and realized this book just didn't do it for me.

    So, this is how I come to be rating the book as middling, a book that has an excellent--no superb--narration, a book that shows off the author's writing skills and seems to be well thought out.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Stoner

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By John Williams
    • Narrated By Robin Field
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (417)
    Performance
    (336)
    Story
    (340)

    William Stoner is born at the end of the 19th century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar's life, far different from the hardscrabble existence he has known. And yet as the years pass, Stoner encounters a succession of disappointments.

    Anton says: "A story of sadness and serenity"
    "WOW!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book stopped me cold in my tracks. It was so much more than I expected.

    In summary, it is a brilliant and haunting melancholic tale of a would-be farmer who became an English professor, who was a good man, who could have been truly great but for a certain passivity, and who wound up at the end of his days with many regrets about the choices he made. I came away from this audiobook feeling deeply affected. I feel so much empathy for William Stoner.

    The publisher's summary is excellent. It tells you everything you need to know. Robin Field did a fine job of narrating. This very unusual book will be on my all time favorites list.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Emily Woo Zeller
    Overall
    (1371)
    Performance
    (1209)
    Story
    (1217)

    Best-selling author Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. Roach takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: The questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts?

    Kirstin says: "Mary Roach Does Not Disappoint!"
    "Entrances, exits, and just how did Elvis die?"
    Overall
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    Story

    All in all, this was an easy read and certainly enlightening. Everything you ever may have wondered and all that you never really wondered about your gut, from top to bottom.

    Most of it was amusing stuff you'd never want to discuss with anyone, but some of it was especially interesting. I am speaking of the preferred way of smuggling items into jail in California penal facilities--who ever thought? I am almost sorry I now have to think of this!

    And perhaps most interesting of all is the Elvis story. You need to wait for the last part of the book for this zinger, but it is surely worth waiting for. You will realize Elvis didn't die from drugs and obesity, it was something much more sad and chilling. Changes my whole feeling for my former childhood idol. It redeems him in my eyes. Poor Elvis.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • A Walk in the Dark: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Gianrico Carofiglio
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (170)
    Performance
    (147)
    Story
    (150)

    When Martina accuses her ex-boyfriend - the son of a powerful local judge - of assault and battery, no witnesses can be persuaded to testify on her behalf. Guido Guerrieri knows the case could bring his legal career to a premature and messy end, but he cannot resist the appeal of a hopeless cause. Nor can he deny his attraction to Sister Claudia, the young woman in charge of the shelter where Martina is living, who shares his love of martial arts and his virulent hatred of injustice.

    Sherri says: "Heartfelt tale with an Italian Rebus as hero."
    "Carofiglio read by Barrett--another winner for me!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to the first book in this series, Involuntary Witness, and enjoyed it a great deal. I was undecided on whether to get this second book because it seemed much too short.

    It was short, but I still enjoyed it a lot. I really like the main character, Italian lawyer, Guido Guerrieri. The nuances of his personality are so aptly captured by narrator, Sean Barrett. The story had unexpected twists and turns and it was good all the way to its end.

    No wasted words, no flowery descriptions, just a compelling story. I will certainly get Book 3 in the near future.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Extreme Medicine: How Exploration Transformed Medicine in the Twentieth Century

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Kevin Fong
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cowley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (61)

    Little more than 100 years ago, maps of the world still boasted white space: places where no human had ever trod. Within a few short decades the most hostile of the world's environments had all been conquered. Likewise, in the 20th century, medicine transformed human life. Doctors took what was routinely fatal and made it survivable. As modernity brought us ever more into different kinds of extremes, doctors pushed the bounds of medical advances and human endurance. Extreme exploration challenged the body in ways that only the vanguard of science could answer.

    CHESTER says: "EXTREME MEDICINE"
    "Face transplants and interstellar travel?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This audiobook was everything the description promised and more. It is about the boundaries we humans are always pushing, and the medicine and treatments that have necessarily arisen as a result.

    It doesn't sound very interesting to you? It certainly is! It covers, among others topics, what happens to us when we push the boundaries of travel to the far reaches of the Arctic, attempt deep sea diving, and even how our bodies might respond physically to interstellar travel. I especially enjoyed where the author described his days working for NASA.

    Equally fascinating were the discussions of the advent of heart surgery, effective burn treatment, and the first face transplant in the U.S. I could go on but if this seems interesting, get this book! It is a fast and very easy listen with a good narrator.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Wonder

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By R. J. Palacio
    • Narrated By Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd
    Overall
    (1097)
    Performance
    (995)
    Story
    (994)

    August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school - until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?R. J. Palacio has crafted an uplifting novel full of wonderfully realistic family interactions, lively school scenes, and writing that shines with spare emotional power.

    Jay says: "A Beautiful Story"
    "A wonderful story for all ages!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Firstly, I'd like to address the narration. It seems a few readers were very put off by the female rendition of Augie s voice. At first, it seemed to me like an odd choice. However, as the book progressed, I got accustomed to it. I took into account that Augie had multiple facial deformities, including a cleft palate that was not yet completely repaired. He was also very small for his age. Under any circumstances, his speech/voice would have been somewhat odd and not entirely normal. I came to look forward to his chapters and listening to him narrate. So, for me, it was a positive, and I really enjoyed the narrator's interpretation of his voice.

    As for the story, I loved everything about it. I really miss it now that I am done and keep wishing there was more. I actually miss Augie! This is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages; it is not just for middle school kids. I really liked hearing the viewpoints of the different characters and felt the author was successful in giving them each their own chapters. This book has so many good messages and it should go a long way in fostering understanding and tolerance of differences. It would be wonderful if it was required reading for preteen students. It brought smiles to my face and tears to my eyes and it had a very feel-good ending that I think was realistic and believable.

    A highly recommended informative and fun listen!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Shatter

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Michael Robotham
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (386)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (241)

    Psychologist Joe O'Laughlin fails to stop a confused woman from jumping off a bridge to her death. Joe knows she had been talking on a cellphone. Now he needs to find out who - or what - was on the other end of the line.

    Old Hippy says: "First rate suspense story, great narration!"
    "Robotham and Barrett--an unbeatable combination!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I tried two other audiobooks and I just couldn't generate any interest in them, both highly rated books. I resignedly knew I needed to listen to another of Robotham's, Joe O'Loughlin series. So I picked "Shatter" and dived into it. (It is not absolutely necessary to listen to these books in sequence.) I felt like I had been ruined for anything else after my first Robotham/Barrett listen last week. That has not happened before!

    Aah, that fantastic narration with all those different English accents and voices. And a story that grabbed me and wouldn't let go. If I had the time and enough collateral things to do, I would have listened straight through. But this book is much too long for that and as usual, life got in the way. Besides, I didn't want the book to be over THAT fast. It was much too much fun.

    Look at the story description. If you like crime mysteries and really look for the best in narrators, give this one a try. I don't see anything that could be disappointing here. This combo, author and narrator, makes "Shatter" simply an awesome "listening experience."

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Watching You

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Michael Robotham
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (406)
    Performance
    (367)
    Story
    (367)

    Marnie Logan often feels like she's being watched: A warm breath on the back of her neck, or a shadow in the corner of her eye that vanishes when she turns her head. She has reason to be frightened. Her husband Daniel has inexplicably vanished, and the police have no leads in the case. Without proof of death or evidence of foul play, she can't access his bank accounts or his life insurance. Depressed and increasingly desperate, she seeks the help of clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin.

    bernadette says: "Wow!"
    "Take Care and Don't Mess With Marnie!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It didn't take long for me to become totally immersed in this mystery. And what a mystery it is! About half way into the book, a light bulb went on and I thought I had it figured out. How wrong I was, as there are twists and turns that are totally unexpected. This is a really good story that keeps you holding your breath til the end.

    Sean Barrett's narration was amazing. It was truly a performance that I will long remember and it added greatly to the enjoyability of the story. Barrett did all the characters so well and had such a variety of voices and accents. His interpretation of one particular character certainly added immensely to the creepiness factor which made the experience such fun for me.

    Collateral characters,while not as well described and developed, were also believable and interesting. This is a series and I think Watching You is the last one that was released. While it was a stand alone story, I imagine you might feel more at home with having previous experience with Joe O'Loughlin, the criminal psychologist. Still, despite entering the series in this later book, I found it thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend it.

    (I have not described the story as Audible gives a good summary, certainly enough for you to decide if the plot interests you.)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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