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Kristi Richardson

An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

Milwaukie, OR, United States | Member Since 2011

  • 204 reviews
  • 221 ratings
  • 736 titles in library
  • 82 purchased in 2014

  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Tom Reiss
    • Narrated By Paul Michael

    Father of the novelist Alexandre Dumas, Alex Dumas has become, through his son's books, the model for a captivating modern protagonist: The wronged man in search of justice. Born to a black slave mother and a fugitive white French nobleman in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but then made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. He was only 32 when he was given command of 53,000 men, the reward for series of triumphs that many regarded as impossible, and then topped his previous feats by leading a raid up a frozen cliff face....

    Jean says: "Truth more unbelivable than fiction"
    "2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for Biography"

    I wanted to love this book. I expected to love it. It won the Pulitzer Prize this year. I can't "love" it because it didn't engage me like a good biography should.
    I wasn't thrilled with the narrator, but he was competent. Some of his pronunciations seemed off to me but overall he did an adequate job.
    What most disturbed me about this book is the author's tendency to use modern references to explain the way things happened in Dumas' world. This dates the book to me and may cause it too be irrelevant in the future when people don't understand his explanations. For example he makes a case that the "99%" were really the 94% in France when the Revolution began. Twenty years from now, will people understand what he was getting at?

    I liked the author's introduction and epilogue in which he ties up the story of Alexandre Dumas by first explaining how he got the information from a safe in a small town. The only person who had the combination to the safe and had promised to share with him the information ( a treasure trove of letters and documents on the Dumas family) dies suddenly days before his arrival. He then has to wine and dine the mayor until finally he is given permission to have a locksmith get into the safe and allow him one day to photograph everything in it. That seems to be right out of an Alexander Dumas, Pere novel.
    The epilogue states the sad story of a statue commissioned by Sarah Bernhardt and friends honoring each of the three Dumas, Grandfather, Father and Son. Hitler's destruction of it and the sorry story of getting anyone interested in getting it remade.

    The remarkable life of a half black who becomes a General in the Army of the Revolution, his exploits as a swordsman and horseman and his sad imprisonment were an inspiration for his son to write some of the greatest adventure novels ever written.
    He was a remarkable man and deserves more recognition.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Edge of Eternity: The Century Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families - American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh - as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution - and rock and roll.

    Elisa says: "Some good, some bad"
    "Greater igorance, stronger opinions!"

    The final chapter in the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett is what an epic is all about. The most important factor is that you care about the people whose history you are reading. There are five families in this series (American, German, British, Welsh and Russian) and you emphasize with them all. This story details the 50's through the modern day, so it is a time I am familiar with because I lived it also.

    The absolute best part of this book was the Cuban Missile Crisis as told by the Americans, Cubans, and Russians. It was riveting! I knew how it worked out, but never knew all the steps and what the reasoning was on the different sides for their movements.

    The rise of the Berlin Wall and separations of families was an ongoing story that personalized the agony they must have gone through. When Communism falls and the Berlin Wall along with it, you are so happy and drawn in to that era, it's mesmerizing. I cried.

    So much history to remember in this volume, Civil Rights, Assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK, The Beatles, Watergate,Iranian Hostages, and the rise of Jihadists. Things that were barely touched on were the 9/11 attacks, the Space race, Iran-Contra, and the election of Barack Obama. Even so, this is an all encompassing book of the past 65 years of the world.

    This was a wonderful and fitting conclusion to this Trilogy. We cared for these families and the individual people in them and rooted for them to come out okay in the end. I loved this book and can't wait to see what Mr. Follett might serve us next.

    John Lee as always does a great job in his narration. (Think Sean Connery).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Dean Baker
    • Narrated By Sandra Swafford

    In his new book, economist Dean Baker debunks the myth that conservatives favor the market over government intervention. In fact, conservatives rely on a range of "nanny state" policies that ensure the rich get richer while leaving most Americans worse off. It's time for the rules to change. Sound economic policy should harness the market in ways that produce desirable social outcomes: decent wages, good jobs, and affordable health care.

    Vladimir says: "An eye opening book"
    "Tax breaks to businesses or the poor? Which way?"

    The premise of the book is the Conservatives in the United States have been able to frame the discussions on budget by claiming that they want less government, and the Liberals want more. In reality both want as much government, it's just the Conservative's want their government to protect the business interests and the 1% with tax breaks, protectionism and corporate welfare. The Liberals want the government to help the middle class and poor.

    Things that did soak through my addled brain were:
    1. We need to stand up to the Conservatives and re frame the discussion on their "less government" stance.
    2. One of the reasons our healthcare system is in trouble is the salaries paid to doctors are higher than any where else in the world and the fact the government frowns on too many doctors from other countries practicing here. Same for lawyers and CEO's salaries are out the roof.
    3. Mr. Baker wants to do away with patents and install a system of vouchers so entrepreneurs can be paid for their work. (Didn't understand where the money would come from, but understand the idea that people like Bill Gates made an exorbitant profit from his patents.)

    The best part of this book is the new ideas that are coming to change the way we do business. I am not sure if they will all work but I welcome the innovation.

    I enjoyed the narration and liked the way the footnotes were handled.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • White Fang

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Jack London
    • Narrated By Bob Thomley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Jack London's classic adventure story about the friendship developed between a Yukon gold hunter and the mixed dog-wolf he rescues from the hands of a man who mistreats him. White Fang is a companion novel and thematic mirror to London's best-known work, The Call of the Wild.

    Kristi Richardson says: ""The law is: Eat or be Eaten""
    ""The law is: Eat or be Eaten""

    I have read this book before but never listened to it. This was a great listen while working in the garden and doing my needlework.

    This book is a companion piece to Call of the Wild in the fact that it tells the opposite story. The story of a wolf who survives hardship and misery only to experience love and trust in his later years.

    All is told from the wolf's point of view and except for Black Beauty I have never read a better attempt than this.

    Bob Thomley is a great narrator who reads with great emphasis and empathy.

    White Fang lived such a harsh life and I really was pulling for him to overcome that and find peace.

    I love this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Agent to the Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity's first interstellar friendship. There's just one problem: They're hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish. So getting humanity's trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal. Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He's one of Hollywood's hottest young agents.

    C. Paget says: "excellent"
    "What do you do with Jell-O?"

    This is a fun read, but there are some very serious issues discussed. Isn't that what the best Science Fiction is about?

    In the here and now, if you were an alien how would you present yourself to earth? You'd need an agent, right? That is the premise for this quirky book about Hollywood and aliens. Some things to think about: Is it okay to take over a dog's body who died of a heart attack? How about a human's?

    Wil Wheaton, (John-boy of the Stars) is the narrator to this work and he does a stand-up job. He's funny when he needs to be and serious when it counts. Well done, Mr. Crusher!

    I had never read any of John Scalzi's books and it looks like I will keep an eye out for more of his nerdy humor and timely stories.

    Worth the time to listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All the King's Men

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Robert Penn Warren
    • Narrated By Michael Emerson

    The fictionalized account of Louisiana's colorful and notorious governor, Huey Pierce Long, All the King's Men follows the startling rise and fall of Willie Stark, a country lawyer in the Deep South of the 1930s. Beset by political enemies, Stark seeks aid from his right-hand man Jack Burden, who will bear witness to the cataclysmic unfolding of this very American tragedy.

    Eric Berger says: "Marvelously written and read"
    "Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption ..."

    "Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is always something...”
    I loved the lyrical writing in this story of Willie Stark and Jack Burden. It was a beautiful tragedy and the only reason I give it 4 stars is the fact that it has a happy ending which does not fit the tone of the rest of the novel.

    Based loosely on Louisiana Governor Huey Long's life and death this book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1947.

    It has wonderful characters and the storyline is consistent and enlightening on the South of the 30's to 40's. Instead of feeling like a dated story it feels like you have stepped back in time and been welcomed in with open arms.

    The narrator does a good job on this book.

    It's a classic that you will never forget.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815 - 1848

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Daniel Walker Howe
    • Narrated By Patrick Cullen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this addition to the esteemed Oxford History of the United States series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the Battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era of revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated America's expansion and prompted the rise of mass political parties.

    Amazon Customer says: "Excellent"
    "A great overview of this time period!"

    This is a long book at about 34 hours but worth the time it took to listen. I knew little about the time period of 1815-1848 in the history of our country which is a shame because lots of things happened in this timeframe. This won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 and is one of the Oxford History of America series.

    I have seen people claim a liberal bias in this book. I can't say I saw that but it is harsh on conservative darling Andrew Jackson with good reason. He destroyed the banking system, disregarded the Supreme Court rulings, and shipped the Cherokee and other natives off to the reservations in the infamous Trail of Tears. Polk doesn't get much sympathy from him either. The Mexican War seems to have been a more unpopular war than even Viet Nam. We were the aggressor in that one.

    I think it is important to read many histories on the same topics and get a well rounded picture instead of only reading Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly's histories.

    John Quincy Adams is the hero of this book. He wasn't a very good President but he was a wonderful statesman who stood up for the underdog (Amistad) and never quit. In fact, he died giving a speech on the Mexican War in the House of Representatives.

    This book covers a lot of religious history. The Mormon's, the Great Enlightenment, the Second Great Enlightenment, the start of the Shakers, the Oneida Cult, the Transcendentalist movement, the Baptist, the Seventh Day Adventist all began in this period. It takes up many chapters in this book but is necessary to understand what was happening in the country.

    I also learned how European white male centered this country was and how this affected the way we treated Hispanics, Blacks (slave and free), Catholics, Jews and women. Thank goodness we have grown into our Constitution.

    Samuel Morse's first telegram to Congress was the quote "What hath God wrought" which the author made the title of his book. He emphasized the great transportation and communication changes that came about in these few years.

    The narrator was fine for the most part except for his few pronunciation errors in words like "Willamette" that could be jarring at times.

    A great overview of this time period and well worth the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis: Birth of an Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Conn Iggulden
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    He was born Temujin, son of a khan, raised in a clan of hunters migrating across the steppe. Temujin's young life was shaped by a series of brutal acts: the betrayal of his father by a neighboring tribe, his family left to die on the harsh plain. But Temujin endured, and from then on, he was driven by a fury to survive in the face of death, to kill before being killed, and to conquer enemies from beyond the horizon.

    David says: "Move over Bernard Cornwell"
    "Baby Genghis!"

    I enjoyed this book about the early years of Genghis Khan but not as much as I hoped. Maybe it was because Temujin (as he is called) was so young and it was hard for me to be interested in his early life. I think I will try another of Mr. Iggulden's books before I skip the rest of these. He does write on things I am interested in.

    Stefan Rudnicki was the narrator of this book did a fine job.

    The story revolves around a young Temujin, his mother and his four brothers and baby sister surviving in the wilderness after their father was murdered by rivals.

    Temujin grows as a leader and by the end of the tale he is poised to unite all the tribes under one ruler. There are good fighting scenes and gruesome descriptions of rituals and healings that were par for the course in those days.

    If I was to compare this book with a book by Bernard Cornwell it would not even compare. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I didn't care enough for the characters in this story to give it higher than a three.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cold Dish: A Walt Longmire Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Award-winning author Craig Johnson's critically acclaimed debut Western mystery takes listeners to the breathtaking mountains of Wyoming for a tale of cold-blooded vengeance. Four high-school boys were given suspended sentences for raping a Cheyenne girl. Now, two of the boys have been killed, and only Sheriff Walt Longmire can keep the other two safe.

    Dataman says: "Not Your Ordinary Western Novel (Series)"
    "A new series that I couldn't put down!"

    This is my first Walt Longmire novel but it certainly won't be my last. Longmire is a widower and sheriff in Apsaroka County in Wyoming. When one of the four men who got a light sentence for raping a mentally handicapped Cheyenne girl turns up dead, he's got a problem on his hands.

    Craig Johnson knows how to write characters, and make you love them. The bad guys are interesting and the story is gripping and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

    The best part of the book is the dry humor of the many characters. There are so many great one-liners in the book that I couldn't keep up with them. One that I remember was when Walt asks his friend Henry Standing Bear, who has been shot, "Pain?" "No, thanks I have enough." Henry answers.

    I understand A&E have a series called "Longmire" based on this series.

    George Guidall does a wonderful job voicing these marvelous characters.

    I look forward to reading more of this author and his Longmire series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Agatha Christie: An Autobiography

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 20 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Agatha Christie

    Back in print in an all-new edition is the engaging and illuminating chronicle of the life of the "Queen of Mystery". Fans of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple and readers of John Curran’s fascinating biographies Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks and Murder in the Making will be spellbound by the compelling, authoritative account of one of the world’s most influential and fascinating novelists, told in her own words and inimitable style - and here in her own voice. These audio excerpts were dictated by Agatha Christie herself.

    Duane Bolton says: "Authentic recording"
    "The author explains her process!"

    This is not your typical autobiography. It's more of a history on when and why she wrote her different books and plays. The unique thing for this is she reads it herself.

    You can tell she is a very private person because there is little on her personal life in this story. It's really a textbook on how to write a book and how it worked for her.

    For anyone who is a fan of Mrs. Christie's this is a fun book. Miss Marple is NOT her grandmother although a lot of characteristics they share, including a second sense that something is going to happen.

    She also talks about her favorite books she's written: Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (her pseudonym). That particular book she wrote the first chapter, than the last chapter and continued to write it in one day with no sleep. She than slept for 24 hours straight and the next day she read and made very few changes. She said she loved that experience but didn't know she could survive another one.

    This is a good short listen and well worth your time if you are an admirer of her work.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Colin Woodard
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    North America was settled by people with distinct religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics, creating regional cultures that have been at odds with one another ever since. Subsequent immigrants didn't confront or assimilate into an "American" or "Canadian" culture, but rather into one of the 11 distinct regional ones that spread over the continent each staking out mutually exclusive territory. In American Nations, Colin Woodard leads us on a journey through the history of our fractured continent....

    Theo Horesh says: "One of a Kind Masterpiece"
    "American history in a new format!"

    This book has you looking at history and politics in a unique way. The author takes you through the original colonies and who the people involved with them were and how they thought, why they came to America and what their goals were.

    We can see that the people who settled in Jamestown were much different than the Pilgrims of Plymouth. One came here to escape religious persecution and build a paradise on earth while the other came to make money and nation build by conquering the indigenous tribes and further the British Empire. Very different goals and the colonies were on a collision course. It's a wonder that we survived as one nation at all.

    There are 11 different cultures in America all with differing goals and attitudes on what this country stands for. This is an interesting read and takes us from the 1500's to the present day with some future forecasts thrown in for good measure.

    The reason I didn't give it a 5 star was because I think some of the facts were skewed or out and out wrong. The Whiskey Rebellion was one and I will do further research to see if his conclusions are right.

    The narrator does a fine job.

    I do highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of this nation and it's political future.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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