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Maria

The Q :While I drive, on public transportation, when there is a need to tune everyone out and transport myself to another place, another time...

Chicago, IL, United States | Member Since 2010

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 219 titles in library
  • 18 purchased in 2014
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  • My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Nora Titone, Doris Kearns Goodwin (introduction and notes)
    • Narrated By John B. Lloyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (55)

    My Thoughts Be Bloody, a sweeping family saga, revives an extraordinary figure whose name has been missing, until now, from the story of President Lincoln's death. Edwin Booth, John Wilkes's older brother by four years, was in his day the biggest star of the American stage. Without an account of Edwin Booth, author Nora Titone argues, the real story of Lincoln's assassin has never been told.

    Tad Davis says: "Wonderful!"
    "One son's action does not define a family."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to My Thoughts Be Bloody again? Why?

    Of all the books I have listened to and read, this is one of the few I would re-read or listen to again! This was my first Audible book (had done books on tape, CD, but not via Audible) and it got me hooked, if all books could be this good, this interesting, this captivating.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of My Thoughts Be Bloody?

    The are so many! The description of the lifestyles - the highs and lows, the life at Tudor Hall, the tour of the Western USA during the Gold Rush of Junius and Edwin, the description of them traveling tough turrain. The romance between Edwin Booth and Laura Keene (the actress staring in Our American Cousin the night Lincoln was shot, and craddled his head), the taunting of Junius Booth's abandoned wife and Mary Ann Holmes. Just the unique and non-comformist information the reader learned.

    Nora Titone brings the reader along to comprehend the talent of Junius and Edwin as actors - not just saying they were talented, but providing an understanding of the theatre of the time - the the thespian standards, and expectation of that periords audience. It was eye-opening and so fascinating.

    Nora Titone brings to life one of the most fascinating families. I have to say, the handling of John Wilkes Booth was just excellently balanced. You get an understanding of him, what some of his motivations could have been, his childhood, relationships with brothers, mother, father. Yet, this is not his story, his does not dominate. Here is the family's story.




    What about John B. Lloyd’s performance did you like?

    It was steady and easy to identify the characters without overdramatic inflections.


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

    This book made me think the Booth family would be a well-known American family even if John Wilkes Booth did not assissinate President Lincoln. It would have been a great American saga instead of a tragic one; a family whose name will always be associated with one of the most notorious moments in American history.


    Any additional comments?

    The listener will not walk away unsatisfied.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Doris Kearns Goodwin, Richard Thomas
    Overall
    (1887)
    Performance
    (507)
    Story
    (514)

    We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through. This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.

    Anders says: "wait for the unabridged version"
    "Love me some Lincoln!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Team of Rivals?

    Just learning about the political Lincoln and how he changed even adversaries opinions. This book gives one a deeper understanding of why Lincoln stands out amoung men and our presidents. In the USA, we learn about Lincoln as one of the greats, but it is always boiled down to the Lincoln legacy, rising from a log cabin, rail splitter, humorous, American's moral compass. This book brings to life the obstacles,and the brillance of Lincoln navigating the treacherous political waters. We are provided with such insight into those men and women around him, feeling the relationships - some growing with such respect, and others losing faith. Team of Rivals is a must read for any American history lover (any citizen?). There is so much here to admire. And, now I am scrounging for other books on subjects such as Grand, McClellan, Seward and Stanton.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Team of Rivals?

    The first was the convention and his manuevering to win the nomination. Fascinating how he out played some respectable and more experienced players. Second,McClellan role and crucial missteps early in the war. Third, the evolution of thought on emancipation - I never realized Lincoln considered colonization for African Americans.


    What about Richard Thomas’s performance did you like?

    Liked that it was a known voice, very balanced, very easy to listen too. I prefer a reader that does not try to over dramatize the voices of the characters. Truely a pleasure.


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

    Yes - I was so happy I had a long drive and was able to get through it in one weekend!


    Any additional comments?

    Must read!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Freedom: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jonathan Franzen
    • Narrated By David LeDoux
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3497)
    Performance
    (1215)
    Story
    (1219)

    Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul - the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter - environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man - she was doing her small part to build a better world.

    Lawrence says: "Believe the Hype"
    "Writer, writer, writer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Freedom again? Why?

    No, very rarely read books twice. Just me, not a reflection of the subject or writer.


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

    Surprised (and I didn't think I could be surprised anymore) and that was a good thing!


    Would you listen to another book narrated by David LeDoux?

    Did not like the voice he did for Patty Berglund. But other than that, good, and got me through the few (very few) dry spots.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    First, so let me say I am not a fiction reader. But needed to start somewhere! I actually did not want like any of the characters, wasn't intriqued by the story - the journey - yet read this all the way to the end. It is the writing! Franzen captured me - this surly, unsophisticated, lazy (will just put it down and not pick it up again type person, won't struggle through anything! I am not proud of this fact!) reader.

    My only comparison (am I completely off base here?) is Anna Karenina. Read it finally a few years ago, and was not passionate about Anna, or Karenin, or many of the characters(except maybe Levin and Kitty) ,and could not necessarily relate and Anna was so one dimensional to me, but some how loved just reading it and the comprehensiveness of the story - the intersecting lives of the many characters. It just seems that the writing moves it all along and the reader gets lost on each page in the descriptions of moods or scenery or thoughts - what ever is being conveyed at that moment.. I read too much history and biography books.

    Franzen writes in such a way the reader wants to to know the journey, whether or not relating to or even liking the characters and/or their choices.

    Maybe the secret is Franzen makes you think about your own life, choices, and journey even if different from the books characters.

    Worth the read!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Banner of Heaven

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Jon Krakauer
    • Narrated By Jon Krakauer
    Overall
    (345)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (49)

    At the core of this book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Weaving the story of the Lafferty brothers and their fanatical brethren with a clear-eyed look at Mormonism's violent past, Krakauer examines the underbelly of the most successful homegrown faith in the United States, and finds a distinctly American brand of religious extremism.

    Craig Hansen says: "Not bad, but a bit biased"
    "News to me!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Under the Banner of Heaven in three words, what would they be?

    Informative, researched, fascinating


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The history of the Church of LDS. There was so much to learn - it is fascinating that we know so little about a religion started in the USA and is growing at such a rapid rate nationally and internationally. The first chapter or two was a bit intense for me, and in my personal recommendation to friends my words are: "bear through that first section" and then you will be entralled by Krakauer;s research and writing skills telling of the the history of the people, the church, and the internal diffferences between LDS and FLDS. It is a necessary historical read, to understand the isolation of the members when they started their trek across the states and finally settled in SLC, Utah. The Utah War - fascinating historical stuff, and I do not remember that being covered in the history books! Now that Romney is the nominatee, people are wanted to learn more. This book does cover the fundamental side as well as mainstream, and I know that the LDS leadership has lambasted the book. One has to read more than one book to form a decision/opinion, and this book gave me the interest to find out more. This is good reading, and the history is almost touchable as it is just 150 years.


    Have you listened to any of Jon Krakauer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not, but have read Into Thin Air.


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

    There is no fun in fundamentalism.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Robert K. Massie
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (597)
    Performance
    (486)
    Story
    (482)

    The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.

    Elizabeth says: "Loved everyone minute!"
    "What a woman!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Catherine the Great again? Why?

    Not certain I would listen to again - maybe certain chapters to review, but would read another book on her. Catherine is fascinating. I don't agree with the monarchy or aristocracy at all - it is just that a person, especially a woman in that day and age, can climb to such heights.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Catherine of course! The strength of her, just surviving the court intrique and her husband's wrath was an acheivement. She came to a foreign country as a young girl, not only gains power and changes the course of Russia, and wins their hearts. She is such a unique person in the historical annals - especially as a female in a patriarchal country and time. It was not her inheritance, it was not her birth country, yet she ruled for over 30 years. She was continued the modernation of Russia and was well read and versed in enlightment - although she did not practice as democratic ideas if allowed to flourish and take hold would be a threat to monarchies. She deserves as much study as so many other historical figures.

    Having been fortunate enough to have visited the Hermitage, one is dumbfounded by the magnitude of the collections. If this was all she accomplished, it would be phenomenal legacy.

    It was interesting to learn she had other children beside Paul.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Was very interested in the years with her awful husband.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Catherine gave birth to Paul, and how miserably she was treated, the shear discomfort, pain and misery she must have been in.


    Any additional comments?

    It was Massie's Peter the Great that gave me the desire to travel to St. Petersburg, it was one of the greatest trips in my life. Before that trip, I read a little about Catherine yet they did not complete her story. Now I want to go back!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Paul French
    • Narrated By Erik Singer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (176)
    Performance
    (153)
    Story
    (154)

    Peking in 1937 is a heady mix of privilege and scandal, opulence and opium dens, rumors and superstition. The Japanese are encircling the city, and the discovery of Pamela Werner's body sends a shiver through already nervous Peking. Is it the work of a madman? One of the ruthless Japanese soldiers now surrounding the city? With the suspect list growing and clues sparse, two detectives - one British and one Chinese - race against the clock to solve the crime before the Japanese invade and Peking as they know it is gone forever.

    Jeremy says: "When history can be stranger than fiction"
    "Sad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Midnight in Peking again? Why?

    No, very rarely a repeat listener.


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

    Sadness, a life interupted is always a sad and tragic moment. Those close to it can never recover.


    What three words best describe Erik Singer’s voice?

    Fit the mood


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Peking - the Legation Quarter and how the foreign police had to work with the Chinese police.


    Any additional comments?

    This was an interesting story, and the author's description of the city, the spaces, and the people gives it a richness and brings the reader to the place, time and movements.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jung Chang
    • Narrated By Joy Osmanski
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (278)
    Performance
    (236)
    Story
    (234)

    Few books have had such an impact as Wild Swans: a popular best seller which has sold more than 13 million copies and a critically acclaimed history of China; a tragic tale of nightmarish cruelty and an uplifting story of bravery and survival.

    Mike says: "A real shocker!"
    "Make time for this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Wild Swans the most enjoyable?

    This is just an eye-opening read. I knew nothing of China - and now have some insight into a closed world. One can not imagine a family traversing such change, personal challenge, physical and mental strife - and it is not a single moment in their lives but a day after day, year after year for decades. It is one of the most intense human dramas I have ever read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The relationship between the generations of the women. Although all 3 lives were amazingly different - , there is this bond of diamond strength between them. One instinctlively knows they could not possibly have agreed or even understood, the decisions made, yet there is a deep understanding, respect and support. I came across admiring each for their personal strength and courage during the most dire of times and events. Their life's course is something that is completely foreign to me - yet I was absorbed, absorbed, absorbed. I would read and think, it can't get any worse, and then this family would take another hit. Ms. Chang writes so wonderfully, even though this is her story, she seeks not sympathy but understanding with historical perspective and personal experience.

    The story of the famine period was just shocking. A continuation of man's inhumanity to man. I am saddened by my own ignorance of Mao's China.


    Have you listened to any of Joy Osmanski’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Haven't listened to any of Joy's other performances - would like to. Liked her pace and inflection.


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

    Simply surviving in their world takes warrior strength.


    Any additional comments?

    Young women should read to get an intimate understanding of what women have had to go through to survive. Especially in Western culture we take our freedoms for granted and need to be more reflective of what came before us. These women's stories take place in the not so distant past, and we need to understand their decisions, and honor their struggles.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Candice Millard
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2008)
    Performance
    (1750)
    Story
    (1749)

    James A. Garfield may have been the most extraordinary man ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back. But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil.

    Melinda says: "Marvelous, Magnificent, Millard"
    "Why don't we learn this in US history class?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Destiny of the Republic to be better than the print version?

    There is so much about this work I enjoyed, what an amazing story, barely touched upon in our history books. I knew nothing of President Garfield, and now I want to read so much more. What an interesting person, worth more than a footnote in the our history books. From his birth, family struggle, education, abolition beliefs, military career in the Civil War, and his political life - just the story of his unsolicited nomination for the presidency. That in and of itself is worthy of more study. Many others in the book are worth more research.


    What other book might you compare Destiny of the Republic to and why?

    Killer of Little Shepards - because it is a study of new ideas - and trying to get people to accept and change their understanding. Reminds one not to be so arrogant on today's position - tomorrow could bring about a new and better understanding.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Chicago convention when he was nominated as the Republican Party's nomination. I want to find more on the event. But have to say I was engrossed (gross being the operative word) the description of the awful archaic medical practices that truly caused President Garfield's death.


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

    Absolutely - listened to in two days - any chance I could.


    Any additional comments?

    It was such an fascinating time in America, where all these names intersect - Bell,Edison, Grant, Sherman, Todd Lincoln. We were on the cusp - the Civil War not so distant past, and just around the corner, the explosion of a fast and vastly changing world - electricity, telephone,the industrial revolution. It seems this book reflects this moment in time when the past and future is an almost visible line.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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