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Rena Alisa

Los Gatos, CA, US | Member Since 2010

39
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 24 reviews
  • 103 ratings
  • 256 titles in library
  • 37 purchased in 2014
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  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Sherman Alexie
    • Narrated By Sherman Alexie
    Overall
    (1357)
    Performance
    (826)
    Story
    (831)

    Born poor and hydrocephalic, Arnold Spirit survives brain surgery. But his enormous skull, lopsided eyes, profound stuttering, and frequent seizures target him for abuse on his Indian reservation. Protected by a formidable friend, the book-loving artist survives childhood. And then - convinced his future lies off the rez - the bright 14-year-old enrolls in an all-white high school 22 miles away.

    FanB14 says: "Absolutely Entertaining Memoir"
    "On the Reservation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Simply and powerfully written, this book lays out the inner life of a Reservation. The Indian Ghetto is very closely drawn, but the message is universal. What happens if you stay? What happens if you leave? This book is beautifully crafted. I listen through twice. After you have enjoyed this book, watch the movies "Smoke Signals" and "The Business of Fancy Dancing" also by Sherman Alexie.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Steven Pinker
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    Overall
    (1192)
    Performance
    (977)
    Story
    (968)

    We’ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In this startling new book, the best-selling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.

    Teddy says: "Excellent Book All Over"
    "For those who love torture and gore."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book loving depicts every horrible torture and sadistic punishment in the history of humanity. The author does mention how nice it is that we do not approve of these things today. However he then goes on to depict these horrors in great detail -- hour after hour. He is clearly fixated on all the ways we can torture people to death and takes great pains to describe every detail. He wastes little time in explaining how these tortures fell out of fashion. I finally just turned it off and deleted it. Only a sadist would like this book

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Bob Spitz
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (241)
    Performance
    (213)
    Story
    (206)

    From Pasadena to Cambridge to New York, Washington, D.C., India, Ceylon, Paris, Marseilles, Santa Barbara, and Maine, Bob Spitz re-creates an extraordinary life. He takes us beyond the image of Julia as the tall, eccentric woman with a funny voice who taught America how to cook, to establish her as a genuine rebel and beloved icon, a woman who redefined herself in middle age, helped to change the role of women in America, set the standard for how to create a public personality in the modern media world.

    S. Vann says: "Deeply mixed feelings"
    "The Real Julia Child"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This lovely biography brings to life the personal and professional persona of Julia. She was a great teacher as well as a great chef. How she got to be that way is a fascinating story.
    This book lays it all out with wit and charm.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Richard Preston
    • Narrated By Richard M. Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (565)
    Performance
    (507)
    Story
    (512)

    A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days, 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic "hot" virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their "crashes" into the human race. Shocking, frightening, and impossible to ignore, The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction.

    aaron says: "If you love viruses and gore and non-fiction..."
    "Brilliant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is wonderfully written. It is science writing at it's best. It is also very scary. I kept hoping it was science fiction, but it is science fact. It flows like "the Andromeda Strain" but every word is true. This book is an adventure and a trip I was happy to take.
    I read it 20 years ago and loved it even more listening now to the audio version.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Micro: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Michael Crichton, Richard Preston
    • Narrated By John Bedford Lloyd
    Overall
    (814)
    Performance
    (697)
    Story
    (710)

    In a locked Honolulu office building, three men are found dead with no sign of struggle except for the ultrafine, razor-sharp cuts covering their bodies. The only clue left behind is a tiny bladed robot, nearly invisible to the human eye. In the lush forests of Oahu, groundbreaking technology has ushered in a revolutionary era of biological prospecting. Trillions of microorganisms, tens of thousands of bacteria species, are being discovered; they are feeding a search for priceless drugs and applications on a scale beyond anything previously imagined.

    Amanda says: "Honey, I Shrunk Your I.Q."
    "The master slipped"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Michael Crichton and was delighted to find a book of his that I had not yet read.
    Woops! The master has slipped. The plot is really stupid. The science is really bad. The characters are caricatures. Skip this one. Reread "The Andromeda Strain" instead.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4328)
    Performance
    (3819)
    Story
    (3820)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "Not Science Fiction, Not even Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is no plot. There is no future. The narrative voice drones on and on and never says anything. Nothing happens. Duller than dull.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen Greenblatt
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1054)
    Performance
    (912)
    Story
    (908)

    Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius—a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles.

    Ethan M. says: "Very compelling history, a less compelling thesis"
    "History can be Fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The basic premise of this book -- that one poem modernized the world-- is a little unrealistic. However, the history is both fascinating and delightfully narrated. I don't even like history but this book is brilliant. It is witty and fun and was a pleasure to listen to.
    I knew nothing about Lucretius, and now I know a great deal. I have never stopped to wonder how old books have been passed down through the ages. Well, now I know.
    I highly recommend this great listen!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Tortilla Curtain

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By T. Coraghessan Boyle
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (51)

    PEN-Faulkner Award-winning author T. Coraghessan Boyle weaves together the stories of two families in Southern California: one affluent, the other destitute. As Boyle creates a counterpoint of personal needs, civic responsibility, and social custom, each family's quest for the American Dream fuels deep fear and anger that ultimately lead to a perilous confrontation.

    Donald says: "The Tortilla Curtain"
    "The Dark Reality of Illegal Immigration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has Stayed with me many months after listening to it. The characters are real people for me. Their trials and adventures are real. I was born and raised in the area where this book is set. Although it is a work of fiction, every detail is vividly correct. The environment is one of the characters. I know this setting and now I know the inner lives of the people in this book. I do not look at day workers or the ongoing debates about immigration the same way since listening to The Tortilla Curtain. This is a fascinating and beautifully crafted story and a major commentary on an ongoing problem. I highly recommend this book for pleasure and for enlightenment..

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By John Marzluff, Tony Angell
    • Narrated By Danny Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (48)

    New research indicates that crows are among the brightest animals in the world. And professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington John Marzluff has done some of the most extraordinary research on crows, which has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic, and the Chicago Tribune, as well as on NPR and PBS. Now he teams up with artist and fellow naturalist Tony Angell to offer an in-depth look at these incredible creatures - in a book that is brimming with surprises.

    Diane says: "You Will Never Look At A Crow The Same Way Again"
    "Just Awful - Science writing at its worst"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love crows. We have them all around our home. I was delighted to find a book about them. Alas, you will learn nothing about crows from this one. You could replace the work 'Crow" with the word 'Cow' and it would still make sense. This book is a string of dull biology and ponderous elementary science pronouncements. Poorly written and poorly read. Nothing here about crows.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • How to Deliver a TED Talk: Secrets of the World's Most Inspiring Presentations

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Jeremey Donovan
    • Narrated By Kevin Pierce
    Overall
    (182)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (151)

    How to Deliver a TED Talk is a complete guide for creating presentations that inspire others through your story. Based on intensive study of the most popular TED Talks, this step-by-step playbook shows you how to select your topic, craft your narrative, master your delivery, and refine your design.

    A. Yoshida says: "Great guide to giving better presentations"
    "How NOT to write about giving a Ted Talk"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Ted Talks of all kinds. I listen and am inspired and informed by them. This book is dull and useless. It will never be the subject of a Ted Talk. Ted Talks are charming, witty and inspiring. This book is insipid, dull and boring. Skip it. Listen to some Ted Talks instead.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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