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Pam

Science writer in America's heartland

United States | Member Since 2007

278
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 65 reviews
  • 213 ratings
  • 376 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
31

  • By Blood

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Ellen Ullman
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (68)

    San Francisco, 1970s. Free love has given way to radical feminism, psychedelic ecstasy to hard-edged gloom. The Zodiac Killer stalks the streets. A disgraced professor takes a downtown office to plot his return. But the walls are thin, and he’s distracted by voices from next door—his neighbor is a psychologist, and one of her patients dislikes the hum of the white-noise machine. And so he begins to hear about the patient’s troubles with her female lover, her conflicts with her adoptive WASP family, and her quest to track down her birth mother.

    Pam says: "Wanted to listen in one sitting"
    "Wanted to listen in one sitting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't want to stop listening to this book, because I wanted to find out what happened. I became intensely involved in the lives of the characters, and felt like I learned new aspects of World War II as well.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Speak Like a Leader: The Definitve Guide to Mastering the Art of Conversation and Becoming a Great Speaker

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Andrian
    • Narrated By Gregory Diehl
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    The great secret of our time is that you can actually reach a very competent level at any skill just by harnessing the power of your most important asset - your brain. In Speak Like a Leader, self-growth pioneer and social chameleon Andrian focuses on fundamental principles that define our speaking ability and presents the most impactful but extremely attainable ways to improve dramatically this inherited but quite neglected skill.

    Pam says: "Some good info here"
    "Some good info here"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm torn between thinking that this book is too short or too long. There are some really interesting scientific analyses of effective communication, including a good bit about the comedian Russell Brand and what makes him so compelling as a speaker. There are also some very specific tips on how to speak properly, including effective breathing techniques and proper use of vocal cords. But at 3 hrs and 35 min, the author can't go too deeply into any of the psychology, sociology, and philosophy that underpins his advice. I would almost rather just have the tips with no exposition at all, or lots more exposition. Still, there's good information here, especially if you're looking for a fast "read."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Superposition

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs)
    • By David Walton
    • Narrated By LJ Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Jacob Kelley's family is turned upside down when an old friend turns up, waving a gun and babbling about an alien quantum intelligence. The mystery deepens when the friend is found dead in an underground bunker - apparently murdered the night he appeared at Jacob's house. Jacob is arrested for the murder and put on trial.

    Pam says: "Frankenstein for the modern age"
    "Frankenstein for the modern age"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Many of us Audible listeners are multi-taskers, right? Ever had one of those moments where an audiobook is so intensely interesting that you cannot multitask, but have to just sit and listen? This is one of those books.

    I'm a science writer (non-fiction) and have been writing about physics for 20 years. I can say with confidence that this book attempts something extremely ambitious—and pulls it off. I can't imagine explaining quantum mechanics this thoroughly and this entertainingly, but Walton does it. It's the classic "scientists-take-things-too-far" theme found in Frankenstein and so much sci-fi since, but here the dangers come from contact with parallel universes.

    Whether you have a background in science or not, this is a thrilling murder mystery, and I highly recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Invisible Library

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Genevieve Cogman
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (23)

    Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant, Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission: to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

    Pam says: "Steampunk Heaven"
    "Steampunk Heaven"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This enthralling book mixes steampunk tech (zeppelins, pneumatic tubes, etc.) and spy intrigue with vampires, werewolves, fairies, and even dragons. And somehow it all works! I didn't want to stop listening, and am very much looking forward to future installments. The narrator has a lovely British accent but spoke a little slowly for my taste, so I ran the story at 1.25x speed. Perfect!

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Pacific Edge: The Three Californias Triptych, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Kim Stanley Robinson
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    North America, 2065. In a world that has rediscovered harmony with nature, the village of El Modena, California, is an ecotopia in the making. Kevin Claiborne, a young builder who has grown up in this "green" world, now finds himself caught up in the struggle to preserve his community's idyllic way of life from the resurgent forces of greed and exploitation.

    The final volume in Kim Stanley Robinson's Three Californias triptych, Pacific Edge is a brilliant work of science fiction and an outstanding literary achievement.

    Pam says: "No escapism here"
    "No escapism here"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Because this book is set only 50 years in the future (2065), it doesn't offer a strong feeling of escape and otherworldliness, as science fiction might. Rather, we are trapped in a realistic near future in which the effects of climate change are starting to be felt, and the lines between governments and corporations are blurred. So it's not a particularly easy listen, nor is it particularly up-lifting.

    There was one aspect to the story that I found fascinating, however, and that was the discussion of "green" architecture--how architecture had to change because of the warming climate. One of the main characters is an architect, and there's much discussion of the mechanics of tearing down 20th-Century buildings and re-making them.

    As to the narrator, I sometimes had a hard time telling the different characters apart. It was also hard to tell when the point of view shifted between different characters, so perhaps this book would be more easily digested in print.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Women, Food, and Desire: Embrace Your Cravings, Make Peace with Food, Reclaim Your Body

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Alexandra Jamieson
    • Narrated By Alexandra Jamieson
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    Transformational health expert Alexandra Jamieson is a woman on a mission. Having overcome her own food addictions and the weight and health problems these habits caused, she learned something life-altering: Qhen we listen to our cravings, they will lead us onto the path of deep healing.

    Pam says: "A lot of good advice here..."
    "A lot of good advice here..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ...But not necessarily answers. The strength of this book is that it makes you think differently about your relationship with food in general. If you want specific instructions on what to eat and what to do differently, you have to join one of the author's eating programs, for instance her "Rapid Refresh and Reboot" program—which currently costs $97. Still, I didn't feel like the book was just a "hard sell" for her other services. Her overall message is that we should seek balance in our lives and be happy—what could be bad about that? The author is extremely open about her own life and the lives of people she has helped, and ultimately the book is truly uplifting. For a companion book, I would recommend "Women, Food, and God" by Geneen Roth.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Venetian Bargain

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Marina Fiorato
    • Narrated By Pamela Garelick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    Venice, 1576. Five years after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, a ship steals unnoticed into Venice bearing a deadly cargo. A man, more dead than alive, disembarks and staggers into Piazza San Marco. He brings a gift to Venice from Constantinople. Within days the city is infected with bubonic plague - and the Turkish sultan has his revenge. But the ship also holds a secret stowaway - Feyra, a young and beautiful harem doctor fleeing a future as the sultan's concubine.

    Pam says: "For fans of Ariana Franklin, do not miss!"
    "For fans of Ariana Franklin, do not miss!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For more than a week, I listened to this book on my daily commute. Each day I would arrive at work or at home, and find myself parked in the car not wanting to get out, but just letting the book play. The story truly grabbed me and did not let go.

    As a fan of Ariana Franklin (her series including "Mistress of the art of Death," also available on Audible) I am delighted that I found another author whose historical fiction feels so well researched and so real. I will definitely listen to Marina Fiorato's other works, and hope that more of them are released in audio.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Marie Kondo
    • Narrated By Emily Woo Zeller
    Overall
    (1006)
    Performance
    (811)
    Story
    (798)

    Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you'll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever.

    Rebecca says: "I both love and hate this life changing book"
    "Complements other books on decluttering"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If, like me, you've read other, more practical books on decluttering and organizing, you may find this book a nice change of pace. Marie Kondo offers a uniquely Japanese perspective on the objects that we hold sacred and how we should take care of them. She delves into the emotional side of clutter. And while some of her ideas could seem a little "New Agey" to Western ears, the basic essence of her technique transcends culture. I found it inspiring, and plan to put it to use. The narrator is exceptional—very emotive and easy to listen to.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Symbiont

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Mira Grant
    • Narrated By Christine Lakin
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (71)

    The SymboGen designed tapeworms were created to relieve humanity of disease and sickness. But the implants in the majority of the world's population began attacking their hosts turning them into a ravenous horde. Now those who do not appear to be afflicted are being gathered for quarantine as panic spreads, but Sal and her companions must discover how the tapeworms are taking over their hosts, what their eventual goal is, and how they can be stopped.

    Amazon Customer says: "It bothered me how much this book needed editing"
    "Like a worm in my brain"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked this book so much -- despite its flaws -- that I can't wait to hear the next one.

    Before I list any flaws, let me say that the story itself is truly original and Grant's exploration of what it means to be a symbiont/host is elegant. There's a lot to reflect on here, in regards to who we are as people, and what makes us human. I found myself caring a great deal about the characters, and wanting to know what would happen next.

    Somewhere early on in the book, I realized that it was intended for young adults (which I am not) and I do wish that YA books would be more clearly labeled. I know the lines are blurring between good YA fiction and adult fiction these days. But the characteristics that frustrated me are actually common tropes of YA fiction. The heroine is often confused about things that adults would understand, adults are either one-dimensionally evil or simply inscrutable, and then there's the repetition that the other reviewer was talking about. Repetition may be good for young readers, or people who didn't read the first book in the series, or -- lets face it -- adults who aren't paying close attention to the book, for instance if they listen while driving.

    In the end, I think that I was so frustrated by these qualities precisely because the story itself is so good. I will definitely listen to part three regardless.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Science...For Her!

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Megan Amram
    • Narrated By Megan Amram
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    Part hilarious farce, part biting gender commentary, Amram blends Cosmo and science to highlight absurdities with a machine-gun of laugh-inducing lines that leave nothing and no one unscathed. Subjects include: this Spring's ten most glamorous ways to die; tips for hosting your own big bang; what religion is right for your body type; and the most pressing issue facing women today: kale!!! Be prepared to laugh about anything in this outrageous satirical gem.

    Pam says: "Funny, but too much kale"
    "Funny, but too much kale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a laugh-out-loud funny book which at once critiques how society views women in science and how we view ourselves (through the lens of ladies' magazines).

    One word of caution: There's a reason that the word "kale" appears on the book cover with four exclamation points. One chapter consists solely of a very long list of (I hope) farcical kale recipes. Many recipes. Many, many recipes. After a while, it gets kind of surreal. Honestly, somewhere about 75 percent of the way through, I started to freak out a little bit. I made it to the end of the chapter through sheer willpower, but this may be one situation where a printed book would work better than audio—you could just flip through the pages and think, "Wow, that's a lot of kale. Ha ha." To the author's credit, she read all the recipes with enthusiasm, and (apparently) without going insane.

    I hope Megan Amram writes more books, minus the kale.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Catherine Friend
    • Narrated By Erin Bennett
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    What do you do when you love your farm...but it doesn’t love you? After 15 years of farming, Catherine Friend is tired. After all, while shepherding is one of the oldest professions, it’s not getting any easier. The number of sheep in America has fallen by 90 percent in the last 90 years. But just as Catherine thinks it’s time to hang up her shepherd’s crook, she discovers that sheep might be too valuable to give up. What ensues is a funny, thoughtful romp through the history of our woolly friends, why small farms are important, and how each one of us - and the planet - would benefit from being very sheepish, indeed.

    Pam says: "We're all a little sheepish"
    "We're all a little sheepish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Sheepish" is the story of a city girl who falls in love and marries a farmer—and then falls in love with the farm. Her tale of raising sheep and learning to spin wool is touching and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Anyone who crafts with yarn will enjoy learning more about where wool comes from, and what farmers go through to bring it to us.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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