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Sharon

I am a lifelong lover of books. I got my degree in English & worked in the publishing business for many years. Now I work with wildlife.

GLEN ELLEN, CA, United States | Member Since 2012

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 40 ratings
  • 106 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1348)
    Performance
    (1238)
    Story
    (1249)

    >When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.

    Tango says: "Beautiful story, beautifully written"
    "Incredible insight into the world of wildlife"
    Overall
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    Story

    I can't begin to describe how much this book impacted me. I work with wildlife myself and feel it is such a privilege to do so. They move in a different world than we do, but share our space. Just reading the introduction got me hooked. Not only did I want to hear every word of this book, I knew I had to have the physical book to have, to keep and look through, so I ordered it immediately.

    Lawrence Anthony really understood wildlife. Anyone who would adopt a herd of rogue elephants has my complete respect & admiration. Just reading how he dealt with the elephants and the other animals in the book gave me so much vicarious pleasure. It is such a good read that I could barely put it down. Mr. Anthony writes from his heart.

    Just as I was thinking that we so need people in this world like Lawrence Anthony, I discovered that he died of a heart attack in the past year. Devastating! I also read that the elephants, the very same ones that he talks so eloquently about in this book, showed up at his home shortly after he died and stayed there for days. If you read this book you will know why - there was a powerful bond between him and the elephants and the story of how that bond developed is in this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Walter Kirn
    • Narrated By Stephen Bel Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (154)
    Performance
    (134)
    Story
    (133)

    In the summer of 1998, Walter Kirn - then an aspiring novelist struggling with impending fatherhood and a dissolving marriage - set out on a peculiar, fateful errand: to personally deliver a crippled hunting dog from his home in Montana to the New York apartment of one Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector who had adopted the dog over the Internet. Thus began a 15-year relationship that drew Kirn deep into the fun-house world of an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege who ultimately would be unmasked as a brazen serial impostor, child kidnapper, and brutal murderer.

    Sharon says: "Zzzzzzzzzzzzz - this one put me to sleep"
    "Zzzzzzzzzzzzz - this one put me to sleep"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A really disappointing read. I kept hoping it would get better, but it never did. The narration didn't help either. The only remotely likable character in it was Shelby, the dog. I heard Walter Kirn interviewed on a couple of radio shows and that made me feel that I wanted to read the book. If I hadn't been stuck reading it on a trans Atlantic flight, I probably would have returned it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Out of Africa

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Karen Blixen
    • Narrated By Julie Christie
    Overall
    (319)
    Performance
    (199)
    Story
    (198)

    After the failure of her coffee farm, Karen Blixen returned to Denmark, where she wrote this classic account of her experiences. Out of Africa is a celebration of her life there and her friendship with the various peoples of the area. Her sympathetic response to the landscape and animals are drawn with warmth and unusual clarity.

    Mark says: "Transported there"
    "A remarkable memoir of life in East Africa"
    Overall
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    I just have finished reading Out of Africa for the third or fourth time. As I rarely read a book more than once, even if I love it, I don't know what keeps pulling me back to this one. Perhaps it is because I love Africa so much that I have read many biographies and memoirs of whites who lived there in this particular time. The so called "Happy Valley" crowd was quite notorious, but Isak Dinesen was not a part of it.
    It is amazing to me that this beautifully written book was written in English. Isak Dinesen was Danish. Her stories of life on her farm in Kenya are fascinating and I guess I get some vicarious pleasure reading them. The little vignettes are especially pleasing.
    Some years ago my family went to Africa to see and photograph the wildlife. Because of my love for this book, we made a detour to Keyna where we were able to visit Isak Dinesen's house, which is now a museum. It made the book even more real to me and gave me goosebumps to be in the home that I had read so much about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Daphne Sheldrick
    • Narrated By Virginia McKenna
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (25)

    Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants. Her deep empathy and understanding, her years of observing Kenya’s rich variety of wildlife, and her pioneering work in perfecting the right husbandry and milk formula have saved countless elephants, rhinos, and other baby animals from certain death.

    Two Rabbits says: "Interesting life experience, tedious book"
    "An amazing woman and her story"
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    As someone who has worked in the field of wildlife rehabilitation for many years now, I love books like this. Daphne Sheldrick is a true hero of mine and one amazing woman. She has lived an incredible life. Her second husband, David Sheldrick, was Daphne's mentor and soulmate. When he died of a heart attack at 57, Daphne was devastated, but went on to find her own calling raising orphaned elephants. This is no small task, no pun intended, and the knowledge she has gained is used all over the world to help orphaned elephants and other species. The things she has learned about elephants she passes on to the reader, making it all way too sad to see what is happening to these magnificent animals due to poaching. Elephants are light years ahead of humans on almost any level.

    This book could have done with a bit of editing. Some things are a bit repetitive, but it is a small criticism.

    I think having Virginia McKenna read this book to us was a very good choice. She is about the same age as Dame Sheldrick, and she has quite a bit of experience with wildlife herself. She and her late husband Bill founded the Born Free Foundation. She is a hero of mine as well.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8918)
    Performance
    (8177)
    Story
    (8182)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "A book this good does not come around that often"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! Just finished this book and am now coming down after a wonderful reading high. Donna Tartt is such a skillful wordsmith that it would be a pleasure to read anything she wrote (even her grocery list must be beautiful). But it takes more than putting words together so well to write a good novel. Here we also have an amazing, albeit dark, plot. This book is full of interesting characters and the plot has so many twists and turns that one could spend the whole night listening.

    David Pittu simply shines as the narrator of this VERY LONG book, keeping distinct voices for all the characters throughout, which could not have been easy.

    A few months ago I was at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco attending The Girl With the Pearl Earring exhibit. The Goldfinch was a part of this exhibit and I was mesmerized by the painting. Small, but beautiful, and extremely touching. It must be a coincidence that this exhibit is now in America at just the same time as this book is out. Donna Tartt could not possibly have known?

    I am going to miss Theo, Boris, and Hobie. After having spent so much time with them, they are practically family.

    Have to admit I have not read Ms. Tartt's other books, but will consider it now. I hope we don't have to wait another ten years before we get another book from her.

    All in all, a dazzling read. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Son

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Philipp Meyer
    • Narrated By Will Patton, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Shepherd, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1285)
    Performance
    (1145)
    Story
    (1167)

    Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power, The Son is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim. Spring, 1849: Eli McCullough is 13 years old when a marauding band of Comanches takes him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to life among the Comanches, learning their ways and waging war against their enemies, including white men - which complicates his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is.

    Melinda says: "Five Stars for the Lone Star, The Son, & Meyer"
    "Liked it, but not as good as reviews suggested"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love a good western, and this book got great reviews. I enjoyed it even though none of the characters were very likable. Some of the reviewers really got carried away raving about this book. But that's my opinion.

    One thing that really bothered me was the use of modern language. I sincerely doubt that the Comanches of the mid-1800 were using the f---k word, shit, or using words like asshole. Nor do I suspect they started sentences with "actually". There was a lot of sarcasm used between the Comanches when they were talking. It didn't ring true to me. This language took the "period" out of the "period piece" for me and really was distracting.

    I got much more out of the non-fiction book by S.C. Gwynne, EMPIRE OF THE SUMMER MOON, Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. It you want to know more about Comanches, and Quanah Parker, who is mentioned in THE SON, I highly recommend this book, which was excellent.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Caroline Kennedy (foreword), Michael Beschloss (introduction)
    • Narrated By Jacqueline Kennedy, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Caroline Kennedy, and others
    Overall
    (462)
    Performance
    (372)
    Story
    (369)

    In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy recorded seven historic interviews about her life with John F. Kennedy. Now, decades later, these conversations can be heard in this digitally remastered eight-and-a-half-hour audio program. This audiobook includes the foreword written and read by Caroline Kennedy; introduction written and read by historian Michael Beschloss and the photos from the hardcover book, as well as complete annotations from Michael Beschloss, both in downloadable PDF format.

    Tim says: "Fascinating Listen"
    "Carried back in time listening to this book."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like most people who were alive on that terrible day I remember it well. I was in Austin, Texas on the day JFK was murdered. I worked for the University of Texas and he was coming to the campus that night. They had been preparing for days. My husband and I were so excited as we were to see him that night. When we heard he had been shot, I pictured him showing up with his arm in a sling or something like that. Never for one moment could I begin to imagine him dead!
    This book brought back that time and place for me. What I felt hearing Jackie's voice again is hard to describe. This was a fascinating read for me and I am so glad that it was published. She comes across as so loyal and devoted to JFK, one wonders if she knew what an active sex life he was carrying on during their marriage. We knew nothing about it at the time, of course. Different time, different rules.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Flight Behavior

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1552)
    Performance
    (1359)
    Story
    (1368)

    Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at 17. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media.

    Marcia says: "Tough Message Delivered in Silk"
    "Loved it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hate to admit that I've never read a Barbara Kingsolver book before, but this was my first. Of course, I know of her, and her fine reputation, and what drew me to this book was when I read a review of it and discovered it was about Monarch butterflies. I had the privilege of seeing the Monarchs at one of their wintering places in California and it was a very special, almost magical experience. The book did not disappoint at all. I really loved it, and learned more about the Monarchs. I thought Kingsolver did an excellent job of narrating the books as well - not always easy for an author to pull off. It won't be the last Kingsolver book I read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Patricia Highsmith
    • Narrated By Kevin Kenerly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (735)
    Performance
    (632)
    Story
    (636)

    In this first novel, we are introduced to suave, handsome Tom Ripley: a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan in the 1950s. A product of a broken home, branded a "sissy" by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley becomes enamored of the moneyed world of his new friend, Dickie Greenleaf. This fondness turns obsessive when Ripley is sent to Italy to bring back his libertine pal, but he grows enraged by Dickie's ambivalent feelings for Marge, a charming American dilettante.

    Darwin8u says: "A high-wire, high-risk, high-reward masterpiece"
    "So Glad I Read This"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd seen the excellent film when it came out, but had never read the book. I know Patricia Highsmith is a highly regarded author and so thought I would give this a try. What a good read. I had no idea that there were several Mr. Ripley books and now I have added them to my wish list. It's a bit disconcerting to see someone get away with murder, but I suppose it happens every day.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • San Miguel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By T. C. Boyle
    • Narrated By Barbara Caruso
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (49)

    From the New York Times best-selling author of The Women, a historical novel about three women’s lives on a California island. On a tiny, desolate, windswept island off the coast of Southern California, two families, one in the 1880s and one in the 1930s, come to start new lives and pursue dreams of self-reliance and freedom. Their extraordinary stories, full of struggle and hope, are the subject of T. C. Boyle’s haunting new novel.

    L. Blanz says: "A sweet story"
    "First time T.C. Boyle reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The idea of "historical fiction" has never appealed to me much, so that pretty much leaves T.C. Boyle out. However I went to a couple of his readings, and found him to be such a charming, humorous, intelligent guy that I really wanted to read one of his books. SAN MIGUEL sounded good, so it was my first T.C. Boyle read. I enjoyed this book enormously and felt that the performance was part of the reason why. Barbara Caruso did such a good job. The characters, location, and story of the two families living on the island of San Miguel were interesting and held my attention. This may have been my first book by T.C. Boyle, but it definitely won't be my last. Now I want to move on to WHEN THE KILLING'S DONE, which takes place in the same location.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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