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S. Weaver

NJ United States | Member Since 2014

  • 23 reviews
  • 377 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015

  • The 19th Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By David Ebershoff
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr, Rebecca Lowman, Arthur Morey

    It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family's polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.

    Kenneth says: "Two Mysteries: One Fictional, One Historical"

    How good was this? Really, really good! Ebershoff is a wonderful writer who absolutely gets inside the head of a wide range of characters. If you're looking for a romping fast read, this might not be for you, but the interweaving of the two stories--one from the early days of the LDS, one in the present, involving a splinter group of the LDS--is well done and keeps you coming back to see what develops. The historical detail is beautiful, and Ebershoff balances religious tolerance and sound moral judgment admirably well.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Bone Clocks

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, and others

    Following a scalding row with her mother, 15-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as "the radio people," Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.

    Mel says: "Not Short Listed, This Time"
    "a masterful writer, an uneven narration"

    I sort of worship at the altar of David Mitchell, so of course I loved this book. He is simply a masterful writer. And the narrators were all quite good. But the narration was nevertheless a major problem for me. The character around whom the book is structured is Holly Sykes, who we meet in her own voice in the first and last decades of her life. In the other episodes, someone else's story is told, though Holly Sykes is always a character in their stories. It makes sense to have different narrators for different episodes, since many of the stories are told by other characters. The problem is that Holly absolutely comes alive in the first episode: beautifully narrated and wonderfully written. In all the later episodes, she is incredibly flat. I kept looking for some sign of her individuality and her humanity, but really never saw it. So either David Mitchell has not successfully drawn an engaging portrait of Holly through the various decades of her life (quite possible), or I just couldn't get past the fact that when Holly talked in all the later episodes, she had a different voice and thus was not herself, making it difficult for me to connect her to the girl I met in the first episode. So now, after having invested many many hours in listening to the audiobook, I have to buy the book and read it if I want to decide whether or not David Mitchell really is all that. A lot is at stake here! I've been telling everyone I know that he's the best writer of his generation in the English language, and if he's written a crappy central character, I have to stop saying that! Or else he has to let me edit his next novel before it goes to press. Everybody needs an editor or twelve or twenty.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Bird in Hand

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Christina Baker Kline
    • Narrated By Alison Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It was an accident. It was dark, it was raining, Alison had only had two drinks. And the other car ran the stop sign. But Alison finds herself trapped under the crushing weight of grief and guilt, feeling increasingly estranged from her husband, Charlie, who has his own burdens. He's in a job he doesn't love so that Alison can stay at home with the kids (and why isn't she more grateful for that?); he has a house in the suburbs and a long commute to and from the city.

    Heather says: "Too slow and frustrating"
    "how a narrator can ruin a book"

    The book had its moments, good and bad. But I never could decide if it was the book that was frustrating me, or merely the narrator, who was simply ghastly. Her voice was grating, especially when she tried to read children's voices. Worse still, when she read grown women's voices, they talked like children too, which was beyond annoying. The southern accents blew in and out, not at all consistent. I kept trying to hear through the narrator to get the author's voice, an exhausting and completely unrewarding task when you're just trying to get a small slice of entertainment and/or insight in your day.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Sue Monk Kidd, Ann Kidd Taylor
    • Narrated By Sue Monk Kidd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this intimate dual memoir, she and her daughter, Ann, offer distinct perspectives as a 50-something and a 20-something, each on a quest to redefine herself and to rediscover each other. Between 1998 and 2000, Sue and Ann travel throughout Greece and France. Sue, coming to grips with aging, caught in a creative vacuum, longing to reconnect with her grown daughter, struggles to enlarge a vision of swarming bees into a novel.

    Lisa says: "Laughter and tears"
    "OK, not great"

    I am a huge lover of all things Greek, and I had read Sue Monk Kidd's _Dance of the Dissident Daughter_ (actually assigned it to a class) and found it very intriguing. And as a 50-something woman with young daughters, it all seemed like the perfect read was about to come my way. But honestly, it as too navel-gazing for my tastes. I don't know what it would be like going around in the world waiting for signs and portents meant just for you, but to me it just seems narcissistic. Oddly, I found the daughter's story far more compelling than the mom's.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Anthologist: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Nicholson Baker
    • Narrated By Nicholson Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Anthologist follows Paul Chowder - a once-in-a-while-published kind of poet who is writing the introduction to a new anthology of poetry. He's having a hard time getting started because his career is floundering; his girlfriend, Roz, has recently left him; and he is thinking about the great poets throughout history who have suffered far worse and deserve to feel sorry for themselves.

    Orson says: "Ramblings of a narcissist"
    "quirky but wonderful"

    I can imagine that this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but it was mine. Really delightful. Slow pace, but involving and thoughtful.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Museum of Innocence

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Orhan Pamuk, Maureen Freely (translator)
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Kemal, scion of one of the city's wealthiest families, is about to become engaged to Sibel, daughter of another prominent family, when he encounters F├╝sun, a beautiful shopgirl and a distant relation. Once the long-lost cousins violate the code of virginity, a rift begins to open between Kemal and the world of the Westernized Istanbul bourgeosie - a world, as he lovingly describes it, with opulent parties and clubs, society gossip, picnics, and mansions on the Bosphorus, infused with the melancholy of decay.

    Rebecca Lindroos says: "one of the very best I've ever heard"
    "a remarkable achievement"

    The main character is not likable, and I never could decide whether or not Pamuk wanted us to like him, which is part of what made the book so hypnotic. It's rare that you get a beautifully drawn character that sits on a razor edge of moral culpability without easily tumbling to either side. I think that's what I liked most.

    And of course . . . there was John Lee. He is amazing. I listen to books just because he's the narrator. He somehow manages to avoid sounding pedantic when trying to get accents and pronunciations just so, which is a tricky thing to do.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Hour I First Believed: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Wally Lamb
    • Narrated By George Guidall

    When high-school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed. Miraculously, she survives. But when Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family's Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right.

    G. says: "excellent all around yarn"
    "puhleeze . . ."

    I stuck with this book all the way through, but it really was a 1950s Queen-for-a-Day sobfest. Oddly, it didn't succeed in getting me to sob along with his characters, even though I'm a pretty light touch, probably because the characters weren't very well drawn. We know he CAN create good characters, because he has in other books and because there were several secondary characters in this book that were compelling. But the main characters either never jelled, or maybe I just never liked them. By the end, I was happy to see them suffer because I was tired of them and wanted them to go away.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Mark Haddon
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman

    Fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone has Asperger's Syndrome, a condition similar to autism. He doesn't like to be touched or meet new people, he cannot make small talk, and he hates the colors brown and yellow. He is a math whiz with a very logical brain who loves solving puzzles that have definite answers.

    Robert says: "Endearing. Pathos, humor, reality, and insight."

    Such a great book! Everyone is so believable, and so flawed, yet so sympathetic. The author is terrific at bringing the reader inside the head of someone who experiences his world so differently from the rest of us.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stumbling on Happiness

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Daniel Gilbert
    • Narrated By Daniel Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A smart and funny book by a prominent Harvard psychologist, which uses groundbreaking research and (often hilarious) anecdotes to show us why we're so lousy at predicting what will make us happy, and what we can do about it.

    Terril Lowe says: "Great Book!"

    Lots of thought-provoking info in this book, though I found the author's pomposity kind of grating. Still, it's a cheap way to get a really stimulating undergraduate psychology course.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Susan Faludi
    • Narrated By Beth McDonald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this most original examination of America's post-9/11 culture, Susan Faludi shines a light on the country's psychological response to the attacks on that terrible day. Turning her observational powers on the media, popular culture, and political life, Faludi unearths a barely acknowledged but bedrock societal drama shot through with baffling contradictions.

    S. Weaver says: "gender and 9/11"
    "gender and 9/11"

    I started this book with the vague sense that Faludi was right, that gender politics had been engaged in some retro ways in the American reaction to 9/11, but that she was probably way overstating it. Faludi convinced me otherwise! She's a terrific, very cogent and clear writer who does her research thoroughly. In fact, I had the same experience when I read Backlash, years ago, feeling like she was only a little right, and then reading it and being utterly persuaded.

    Faludi goes into a lot of deeper American history to try to elucidate the story that the media applied so readily to the events of 9/11 and its aftermath. It's all interesting, but some of it is less than productive to her main thesis, and ends up being a bit tangential. But when she's treating major episodes of 9/11-related coverage, such as that of the "rescue" of American soldier Jessica Lynch, she is simply brilliant.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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