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Marjorie

I enjoy literary fiction with character depth and psychological exploration. I am in my 50s, work in psychology, and love the outdoors.

Santa Rosa, CA, United States | Member Since 2015

140
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 68 reviews
  • 193 ratings
  • 473 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
11
FOLLOWERS
7

  • Slumdog Millionaire

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Vikas Swarup
    • Narrated By Christopher Simpson
    Overall
    (900)
    Performance
    (577)
    Story
    (576)

    Vikas Swarup's spectacular debut novel, the inspiration for the award-winning film, opens in a jail cell in Mumbai, where Ram Mohammad Thomas is being held after correctly answering all 12 questions on India's biggest quiz show, Who Will Win a Billion? It is hard to believe that a poor orphan who has never gone to school could win such a contest. But through a series of exhilarating tales, Ram explains to his lawyer how episodes in his life gave him the answer to each question.

    J. Wigfall says: "Powerful"
    "Becoming a Man in India"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. The story creates just enough curiosity at the start to keep the reader engaged and wanting more. I love the adventures in India and the quirky situations which have allowed the protagonist to know the answers to the quiz show questions. This book mixes tragedy with humor, adventure, and heart. The clever set up in the book (using the quiz show for the backdrop) allowed the author to set the stage for the telling of this young man's life. I did see the movie and enjoyed it very much but the stories were quite different in the book. This is a colorful book in every sense. I found the narration to be easy to understand despite the Indian accent.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Rachel Joyce
    • Narrated By Celia Imrie
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (110)

    In this poignant parallel story to Harold's saga, acclaimed author Rachel Joyce brings Queenie Hennessy's voice into sharp focus. Setting pen to paper, Queenie makes a journey of her own, a journey that is even bigger than Harold's. One word after another, she promises to confess long-buried truths--about her modest childhood, her studies at Oxford, the heartbreak that brought her to Kingsbridge and to loving Harold, her friendship with his son, the solace she has found in a garden by the sea.

    Emily - Audible says: "Thanks, Rachel Joyce, for making me cry... again."
    "In Many Ways Beautiful, In Many Ways Tedious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved "The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" which is the prequel to this novel. Where I found Harold's adventures to be quirky, quaint and profound; I found Queenie's struggles to be almost equally tedious and full of restraint. This novel slowly (and I do mean slowly) tells the story of Queenie's love for Harold as well as the story of the secret that she has lived with since meeting Harold. Queenie is living in a hospice and, therefore, the reader also meets the other patients at the hospice and the caregivers who encourage and care for Queenie. It gently explores the experiences of patients facing end-of-life needs for closure and for companionship. It expresses the beauty and the kindness of the nuns and the other caregivers at the hospice. I enjoyed learning about Queenie's love and admired her restraint while loving Harold in quiet and simple ways. My complaints about this book are that it often felt tedious and maddeningly slow as it moved towards Queenie expressing her secret. In addition, some of the voices of particular patiients were loud and had a painful and sharp tone to them which detracted from the otherwise quiet and slow-moving novel. Perhaps some readers would find this slow movement beautiful, but I found myself feeling mired in the sadness and monotony of waiting. It's a toss-up for me whether I would recommend this book. If you need to know about why Harold is making his pilgrimage, well, then go ahead and read this. It just may make you cry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Bruce D. Perry, Maia Szalavitz
    • Narrated By Danny Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (521)
    Performance
    (450)
    Story
    (455)

    What happens when a young child is traumatized? How does terror affect a child's mind---and how can that mind recover? Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has treated children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, witnesses to their own parents' murders, children raised in closets and cages, the Branch Davidian children, and victims of family violence. In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, he tells their stories of trauma and transformation.

    Marilyn says: "Changed a Sixth-Grade Teacher's Life"
    "If You Plan to Adopt, You May Need to Read This..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I finally listened to "The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog...". I suppose I am not your average reviewer since I have worked with traumatized children for many years but I thought perhaps I would get some new insights or learn some new techniques. If the reader does not understand how trauma affects children's behaviors, this is an important book teaching the reader using case studies of Dr. Perry's experience as a psychiatrist. Because I have seen much of the same types of problems with children and how trauma affects their development in a myriad of ways, this book brought up some frustration for me. In my experience, it is a rare psychiatrist who has the resources to travel and work with children using a team of highly trained professionals who seem to have limitless resources. More often, children are treated in clinics where the treating psychiatrist does not have the time to work with the treatment team and where resources are sparse. I felt that Dr. Perry exaggerated his successes and failed to let the reader know that often it takes more years than the family or the clinician has available to help a traumatized child and, sometimes, the child cannot work on the trauma until he/she is an adult and has the strength and desire to make changes and work through trauma. In conclusion, this book does teach about trauma and affect as well as treatment but it also does not present the very real possibility that some children do not recover no matter how hard the professionals and the family try.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By John Medina
    • Narrated By John Medina
    Overall
    (731)
    Performance
    (562)
    Story
    (545)

    In his New York Times best seller Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina told us how our brains really work—and why we ought to redesign our workplaces and schools. Now, in Brain Rules for Baby, he shares what the latest science says about how to raise smart and happy children from zero to five.

    cynthia says: "Neuroscience for the nursery"
    "A Must Read for Parents-To-Be, No-Kidding"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Brain Rules for Baby" was a delightful surprise. This author teaches the reader about brain development in the womb and throughout the first five years of life. He is able to relay this information simply, concisely and with well documented research. He also teaches about how brain development is affected by parenting styles and presents simple rules to help parents understand what their babies need in order to develop optimally; both happily and healthily. Dr. Medina documents his research sources throughout this well-developed thorough study while he also manages to present his suggestions with humility and personality. I highly recommend this book for parents-to-be, current parents of little children, as well as to teachers, social workers and therapists. It is beautifully accessible and simply written. My only caution is that the first chapter focuses on brain development in the womb which I did find a bit tedious. I ended up skipping over parts of the first chapter and was so glad that I stayed with it because I learned so much. In fact, I ended up buying the kindle version also so that I can refer to the rules and reasons for his suggestions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I'll Give You the Sun

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Jandy Nelson
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Jesse Bernstein
    Overall
    (677)
    Performance
    (585)
    Story
    (579)

    Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and divisive ways…until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as an unpredictable new mentor.

    FanB14 says: "As Bright as 1000 White Hot Suns"
    "Fun Coming Of Age Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel was my first experience reading author, Jandy Nelson. My warning to other listeners is that, at least for me, the first chapter of the book, was difficult to get through. The sound of the young protagonist's voice was difficult to adjust to and the storyline was slow getting going. Eventually, though, the novel begins to unfold with each chapter moving from twin brother narrating his point of view alternating with chapters where the twin sister narrates her point of view. The narrators actually do a wonderful job expressing the voices and emotions of these siblings. This is a family story and a "coming of age" story of two bright and artistic teens growing up in the United States, middle America, in contemporary times. The author creates these twin characters with endearing, fun personalities. Each of the twins utilize language which is fun, creative, and surprisingly entertaining. The twins' lives intertwine as they develop both together and apart through their teen years especially through their emerging sexual development and while in separate pursuits towards artistic fulfillment. In the end, I would recommend this book especially to young adults, teens and parents of teens. The story is written with creative and, often, shockingly surprising prose that verges upon the poetic. These are two very talented twins!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • City of Veils: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Zoe Ferraris
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (65)

    When the body of a brutally beaten woman is found on the beach in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Detective Osama Ibrahim dreads investigating another unsolvable murder - chillingly common in a city where the veils of conservative Islam keep women as anonymous in life as the victim is in death. But Katya, one of the few females in the coroner's office, is determined to identify the woman and find her killer. Aided by her friend Nayir, she soon discovers that the victim was a young, controversial filmmaker named Leila.

    Kathleen Rogers says: "Fascinating glimpse into another culture"
    "Saudi Mystery Series Continues...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel is a sequel to "Finding Nouf". It is a mystery novel set in contemporary Saudi utilizing a female forensic scientist and a male detective. What I enjoyed about this novel was learning more about the characters whom I had become attached to in Book 1. I had become involved with the protaginists' lives to the extent that I wanted more and got it. I appreciated the development of the male protagonist's attitudes about love, relationship and religion. I enjoyed learning more about Saudi culture while gaining another veiled glimpse into the many different ways that Muslims live and adapt to their interpretations of the Koran in modern society. The male protagonist struggles with many questions in his quest to remain true to his religion while feeling the pull of relationship towards an independent non-traditional woman. The mystery portion of the book kept my interest most of the way through the book. The down side of this novel was the disappointing conclusion to the mystery. It was a slow, downward spiral leading to a less than satisfying conclusion. This novel dragged a little in the second half but particularly in the last one-fourth. Overall, the book provided additional education about Saudi/Muslim culture while providing interesting plot lines and characters. The narration was well-suited to the characters. Zoe's writing style is easy to understand and follow allowing it to be potentially enjoyed and experienced by any age group from teens through adulthood. For the cultural experience and the story, I recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Finding Nouf

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Zoe Ferraris
    • Narrated By Pete Bradbury
    Overall
    (125)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (72)

    Nayir al-Sharqi, known by his friends for religious piety and his Bedouin-like knowledge of the desert, lends his assistance to a wealthy family when their soon to-be-married daughter Nouf goes missing. After a short search, the girl is found dead, apparently drowned in the desert during a freak deluge. Something about her death doesn't sit well with Nayir, however, and he makes an uncomfortable alliance with a female coroner's technician to determine what really happened.

    A User says: "transported"
    "Murder Mystery in Saudi; An Enjoyable Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I recommend this murder mystery. The setting is contemporary Saudi, Arabia which is a unique backdrop for a mystery. The story provides an interesting glimpse into Saudi culture including male/female roles within the Muslim faith. One of the main characters is a woman who is a forensic scientist and through her character as well as through the male protagonist, the reader is allowed to explore a bit of the inner conflict which arises out of the Muslim beliefs of both the young men and young women. Both main characters are thoughtful, intelligent adults who face several ethical dilemmas throughout the novel. The murder mystery was intriguing and kept me guessing until close to the end of the book. In addition, the reader had a steady and pleasing voice. Overall, between the murder mystery, the culture and the psychological/religious considerations, the book is well done. It's not an edge-of-the seat mystery, but more a steadily paced, light-weight, murder mystery with some interesting twists. Thumbs up.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Hearing Heartbeats: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Jan-Philipp Sendker
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (685)
    Performance
    (581)
    Story
    (587)

    When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be - until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the listener’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.

    Monica says: "Basic Story Interesting, But..."
    "1950's Burmese Love Story, A Bit Magical"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book, both for the literary quality and the reading. While listening, I was frequently lost in my visions of Burma; traversing the mountainsides with Tin Win. This love story enters into the realm of "too good to be true" but in an endearing and thought-provoking manner. The story teaches about the power of love and dedication. This is not a story about gorgeous people living perfect lives. No, this book is more a study of love existing admidst hardship, about friendship, and about how we humans change over time often being required to make difficult choices that change the course of our lives. The story line does stretch the imagination but it works. It's beautiful and inspirational. I do recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Us: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By David Nicholls
    • Narrated By David Haig
    Overall
    (236)
    Performance
    (206)
    Story
    (207)

    Douglas Petersen may be mild-mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humor that seduces beautiful Connie into a second date...and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades later, they live more or less happily in the London suburbs with their moody seventeen year-old son, Albie. Then Connie tells him she thinks she wants a divorce. The timing couldn’t be worse. Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world’s greatest works of art as a family, and she can’t bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead is for the best anyway? Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage, and might even help him to bond with Albie. Narrated from Douglas’s endearingly honest, slyly witty, and at times achingly optimistic point of view, Us is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves, and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger.

    Gordon says: "This is a Gem!"
    "This Guy Tries So Hard, I Felt Sad For Him..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    David Nicholls novel, "Us", was an inside look at a marriage written from the male perspective. Douglas, the husband and protagonist, is a man working hard to save his long-term marriage. The author was able to bring me so close to the husband that I longed to talk with him and tell him to stop trying so hard and stop letting Connie make all the decisions. I felt sad for him as he tried too hard to please his beloved wife and sad for the wife that she could not see her husband for the gem that he was. This was a book of angst and frustration; often moving too slowly for my taste. My favorite part of the book was watching Douglas work towards rekindling his relationship with his son and watching him make some hard-won changes in himself towards the end of the novel. As a marital portrayal, the novel is a fairly accurate picture of what could and/or does go on in some marriages. The listening experience was improved through the clarity of voice provided by David Haig. This novel would be an interesting read for a book group that was ready to discuss male/female roles in marriage; other than that, I am not sure I would recommend this due to the long and tedious story line. The listening experience was improved through the clarity of voice provided by David Haig.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Spool of Blue Thread: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Anne Tyler
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (454)
    Performance
    (380)
    Story
    (386)

    "It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon..." This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture.

    Sara says: "The Sharp Edge Of Family"
    "Step Inside The Inner Workings of A Family"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have enjoyed many of Ann Tyler's novels and thoroughly enjoyed this one. This was not a funny and lyrical story like "Acciddental Tourist" but more of an in depth study of a family over several generations. As ever, though, Ms. Tyler's characters are lively and quirky. Family relationships are explored with humour, integrity and light. The reader experiences the complexities of sibling relationships, the bond created by marital ups and downs, the parental struggles while raising children, and the difficulties involved in having that one child who is "different", whose life never follows an understandable path and who is perplexing at all times and turns. I especially enjoyed the clever way which Ms. Tyler was able to bring the reader into first the parents experiences and then into the experiences of the siblings and how the siblings loved and accepted each other despite their many frustrations and differences. I do recommend this book for the reader who enjoys reading about families' quirks and loyalties and about the nuances of love over a lifetime. What I enjoy about this novel is how it normalizes family experiences, brings the reader behind closed doors, and affords the reader (the listener in this instance) the shared humanity of family; all this done with an air of lightness and pleasure. If you are looking for a great storyline, this is not your book; otherwise, I recommend this novel! The narrator is perfect at bringing all the characters to life.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Gabrielle Zevin
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1600)
    Performance
    (1411)
    Story
    (1416)

    The irascible A. J. Fikry, owner of Island Books - the only bookstore on Alice Island - has already lost his wife. Now his most prized possession, a rare book, has been stolen from right under his nose in the most embarrassing of circumstances. The store itself, it seems, will be next to go. One night upon closing, he discovers a toddler in his children’s section with a note from her mother pinned to her Elmo doll: I want Maya to grow up in a place with books and among people who care about such kinds of things. I love her very much, but I can no longer take care of her.

    Trish says: "Loved, Loved, Loved It!!"
    "I Love Bookstores, Time Slips Away..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I got lost in the story and found A.J. (the bookstore owner) to have clever, biting observations about life. I enjoyed experiencing A.J.'s changes over a decade of his lifetime. I was afraid that the book would be too trite and cliche'd but the story was engaging and the characters so lively that I never experienced a less than delightful moment of listening. Because A.J. owns a bookstore and his life is about books, there are many references comparing life experiences to various authors and book titles. He reminds the readers about finding companionship in a good book, about traveling to other times and places in a good book, and about the importance of asking a new friend, "what is your favorite book?" I had moments where I just broke out laughing while listening. I know some reviewers have remarked that this book should be regarded as "chick lit" (since A.J.'s relationship development does traverse the novel) but I see this novel also in the category of "literary fiction". The language is precise, the prose is well developed, and the story is different; refreshing. The narrator brings to life the personalities of all the characters and speaks clearly and consistently throughout. I highly recommend this novel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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