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Skia Laurence

Chelmsford, MA United States | Member Since 2013

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 26 ratings
  • 118 titles in library
  • 38 purchased in 2014
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  • The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Max W. Valerio
    • Narrated By Max W. Valerio
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Max Wolf Valerio crafts a raw, gripping, and poetic account of life before, during, and after injecting testosterone. Valerio's detailed observations about a lesbian transitioning from female to a heterosexual male highlights the physical and emotional differences between women and men, and alternately challenges and confirms readers' assumptions about gender. The Testosterone Files addresses the most fundamental issues of transitioning, from buying men's underwear to choosing a male name, as well as the profound subjects of male privilege, physical power, and existing as a male who was once distrustful and critical of men's intentions.

    Susie says: "Max Valerio's Tour de Force"
    "A Disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who are disillusioned about men and looking for validation of that opinion


    What could Max W. Valerio have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I think maybe I just don't like his personality or approach to life.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I found his voice really irritating or annoying, as though he was trying to portray the coarse half-hung over sex-driven bar fly that is the worst mono-dimensional stereotype of what men can be. It didn't sound like a natural voice, but like someone faking it.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It does portray a strong point of view.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is at the same time boring and troubling. The author tells of a journey of self-hatred in which she finds traces of what she identifies as male qualities, such as aggressiveness and a desire to hurt and dominate women, in her early history and then cultivates the very traits she found objectionable, in what almost seems to be a self-challenging show of bravo, until they become her identity. What she becomes is nothing like any man Ive known, but someone acting out the worst most superficial stereotype imaginable. There were many sex scenes, but they were dull and boastful rather than erotic. I had hoped that the book would give insight into the reality of men from the perspective of someone who'd experienced both sets of hormones, but it seems clear that this author doesn't like men very much, even though she opted to become one, and therefore can't portray their reality in an engaging way. It somewhat reminds me of stories about Amish youth who take a year to see how the rest of us live, but get into trouble because they assume life outside the church consists of constant debauchery: The story of that year makes you feel sad for the individuals involved, but doesn't tell one much of what the non-Amish world is like. Likewise, this book doesn't tell me what its like to be a man from a special perspective of someone who can talk to me as a woman or give me insight into an experience broader than this author's own dogma. I will confess, the book became too tedious and repetitive and I ended up deleting it after finishing only about a quarter.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
    • Narrated By Stephen J. Dubner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1067)
    Performance
    (953)
    Story
    (956)

    The New York Times best-selling Freakonomics changed the way we see the world, exposing the hidden side of just about everything. Now, with Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems. The topics range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain.

    Nancy says: "Only if you don't listen to the podcast....."
    "The Freaks are Pretty Cool"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Think Like a Freak rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's one of the most entertaining, though disappointingly short.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It had lots of interesting real life stories and even a dose of redeeming social value. I would definitely approve of including this in the public school reading lists for 9th or 10th graders.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Face the Music: A Life Exposed

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Paul Stanley
    • Narrated By Paul Stanley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (191)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (186)

    In Face the Music, Paul Stanley - the co-founder and famous "Starchild" frontman of KISS - reveals for the first time the incredible highs and equally incredible lows in his life both inside and outside the band. Face the Music is the shocking, funny, smart, inspirational story of one of rock’s most enduring icons and the group he helped create, define, and immortalize. Stanley mixes compelling personal revelations and gripping, gritty war stories that will surprise even the most steadfast member of the KISS Army.

    Zachary K. Brown says: "A Book That Every KISS Fan Need Experience"
    "Disappointingly shallow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Paul Stanley and/or Paul Stanley?

    Probably not.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Paul Stanley? Why or why not?

    I think Paul's master work was KISS. He got a good story out of that, but he seems more like someone interested in setting the record straight than someone interested in telling a good story. I'm not sure writing is his calling.


    What didn’t you like about Paul Stanley’s performance?

    It came across as whinny and defensive, which was increasingly hard to bear as the book went on.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Sure....it was really interesting to hear about how a major cultural phenomenon, like KISS, came to be. I very much liked the John Robinson books ("Look Me In the Eye", "Be Different", etc.) and it was interesting to see the story of the pyrotechnics and light up guitars from a different angle.


    0 of 0 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
    (518)
    Performance
    (466)
    Story
    (469)

    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.

    B. Sorensen says: "A Tale for Booksellers"
    "Sweet Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Probably not, but I might leave it at a beach house or on a boat for someone to find. There's nothing deep about this book, but it's heartwarming and pleasant. Just right when your in the mood to lounge. It's a book about second chances.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Jonathan Haidt
    • Narrated By Jonathan Haidt
    Overall
    (593)
    Performance
    (508)
    Story
    (507)

    In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding. His starting point is moral intuition - the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right.

    TaxSage says: "Genius mumbled"
    "Brain Candy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Righteous Mind to be better than the print version?

    I enjoyed listening to this in bits and pieces, while driving or washing dishes or doing other things that were incompatible with reading print. At those times, I crave mental simulation. When I have time to sit down with a book, I'm often too tired for something that wants careful consideration.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It let me view things in a new perspective and introduced ideas I hadn't thought of before. Even when I disagreed with the conclusions or wanted to critique the research design ... Or ask a question that was glossed over....I was, at least engaged. Whatever your beliefs, this book is likely to challenge them, but even when it made me mad, this book, at least, kept me thinking and interested.


    What about Jonathan Haidt’s performance did you like?

    He has good vocal modulation that uses in the right places to keep things interesting. He makes the reading feel personal, as if he's talking directly to you instead of reading from a prepared text.


    Any additional comments?

    This would be a really fun book to read in a group and discuss.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Collector

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1999)
    Performance
    (1790)
    Story
    (1807)

    From #1 New York Times-best-selling author Nora Roberts comes a novel of a woman who needs nothing, a man who sees everything, and the web of deceit, greed, and danger that brings them together - and that could tear them apart… As a professional house-sitter and freelance writer, nothing ties Lila Emerson down - not her work, not a home, and definitely not a relationship. She spends her life moving from one job to the next, sometimes crashing at a friend 's Manhattan apartment. And though she can appreciate her clients ' extraordinary homes, their expensive collections, and their adorable pets, Lila has never longed for possessions of her own. Everything she has, including her heart, is portable.

    Elaine says: "One of Nora's best in years"
    "Yawn!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Collector? What did you like least?

    This was recommended by a stranger, a Nora Roberts fan, who said it was the best in a long time. The best thing I found about it is that I can listen when I'm half asleep or distracted without missing much. It's kind of clichéd and predictable. The characters are sort of corny and unbelievable.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Nora Roberts again?

    I wouldn't run away screaming, but I don't plan to seek it out.


    What does Julia Whelan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She's a good reader with a steady pleasant voice that doesn't distract from the story or grate on the nerves. I think she's the main reason I didn't throw the away after the first sappy swoon or sensationalist murder scene.


    Did The Collector inspire you to do anything?

    Avoid cliches in my painting......ugggghhhhh, the art described seems inspired by a dated concept of cheesecake fashion photos.....cringe!!!!!


    Any additional comments?

    I think this is very much a genre piece. This combines romance and mystery, so if those are your thing ... And you enjoy the fantasy of characters firmly cast as sympathetic good or greedy evil with no surprises, this might be for you. I prefer something a little more exotic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Tale for the Time Being

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ruth Ozeki
    • Narrated By Ruth Ozeki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (486)
    Performance
    (431)
    Story
    (431)

    In Tokyo, 16-year-old Nao has decided there's only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates' bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who's lived more than a century. A diary is Nao's only solace - and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox - possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami.

    Karen says: "Engaging story beautifully read"
    "Favorite book this year"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about A Tale for the Time Being?

    This book is an essestential philosophical romp. It's playful and humorous, and sometimes sad.....but never boring.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Tale for the Time Being?

    Constraints of time, space, culture and the generation gap are transcended.


    Which character – as performed by Ruth Ozeki – was your favorite?

    The elderly Buddhist nun. At first, I was disappointed by Ruth's reading of her own work...but either she got better as the story went on or the story was so good, I simply didn't care.


    If you could take any character from A Tale for the Time Being out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Someone should take Ruth Ozeki out to dinner....maybe an awards dinner! I'm definitely looking for other books by her.


    Any additional comments?

    I bought this in hard copy first, Then, bought the audible because I had to do chores and drive and things requiring eyes and hands, but I couldn't bear to put the book down. The hard copy has really interesting footnotes, which I missed. I can't wait for my friends to read this book so we can talk about it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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