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Susan

Member Since 2003

106
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 21 reviews
  • 94 ratings
  • 864 titles in library
  • 44 purchased in 2014
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  • The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Douglas Brinkley
    • Narrated By Dennis Holland
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (34)

    In this groundbreaking epic biography, Douglas Brinkley draws on never-before-published materials to examine the life and achievements of our "naturalist president." By setting aside more than 230 million acres of wild America for posterity between 1901 and 1909, Theodore Roosevelt made conservation a universal endeavor. This crusade for the American wilderness was perhaps the greatest U.S. presidential initiative between the Civil War and World War I.

    Robert says: "Inspirational"
    "I DID keep listening"
    Overall

    This must be a good book, since in spite of its substantive as well as annoying flaws, I finished it. The errors of fact (wrong birth date for Lincoln, for example) are well documented in other reviews. Where the print version apparently suffers from typos, the audible version suffers from mispronounciations. Canyon de CheLLY NOT! It's Canyon de Shay. Mt. DESSERT Island, not Mt. Desert. This lack of fact-checking and simple attention to detail certainly causes concern about the validity of the rest of the book. What about errors the reader/listener doesn't recognize? Too bad that the scholarship and/or editing casts doubt on the, well, validity, of the book. That being said, I did finish it.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Steady Running of the Hour: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Justin Go
    • Narrated By Steve West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (39)

    In 1924, the English mountaineer Ashley Walsingham dies attempting to summit Mount Everest, leaving his fortune to his former lover, Imogen Soames-Andersson - whom he has not seen in seven years. Ashley's solicitors search in vain for Imogen, but the estate remains unclaimed. Nearly 80 years later, new information leads the same law firm to Tristan Campbell, a young American who could be the estate's rightful heir. If Tristan can prove he is Imogen's descendant, the inheritance will be his.

    Helen says: "Disapointing"
    "Sigh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to like this book. I should have liked this book. But I simply couldn't. The characters lacked any depth. The end was incredibly unsatisfying. Who ARE these people and why do I care about them?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Invention of Wings: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye, Sue Monk Kidd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6327)
    Performance
    (5746)
    Story
    (5740)

    From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women. Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world - and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

    Jan says: "Historical Fiction - beautifully quilted!"
    "Meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Predictable. Saccharine. Disappointing. Plus, the narrator was the same as for The Help, which was disconcerting throughout. I really really wanted to like this, and did listen all the way through, being ever hopeful of a real plot twist.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Fear Index

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (219)
    Story
    (226)

    Dr. Alex Hoffmann’s name is carefully guarded from the general public, but within the secretive inner circles of the ultrarich he is a legend. He has developed a revolutionary form of artificial intelligence that predicts movements in the financial markets with uncanny accuracy. His hedge fund, based in Geneva, makes billions. But one morning before dawn, a sinister intruder breaches the elaborate security of his lakeside mansion, and so begins a waking nightmare of paranoia and violence.

    Ted says: "The Book Dan Brown Wished He Wrote"
    "More meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    HAL (of 2001 infamy) meets the 21st century financial markets. Takes over. Makes billions. Destroys lives. Kills people with elevators. Crashes planes and the stock market. All in 24 hours. Then the book ends.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Matthew Goodman
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (44)

    On November 14, 1889, Nellie Bly, the crusading young female reporter for Joseph Pulitzer’s World newspaper, left New York City by steamship on a quest to break the record for the fastest trip around the world. Also departing from New York that day - and heading in the opposite direction by train - was a young journalist from The Cosmopolitan magazine, Elizabeth Bisland. Each woman was determined to outdo Jules Verne’s fictional hero Phileas Fogg and circle the globe in less than eighty days.

    Susan says: "Who knew?"
    "Who knew?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World, by Matthew Goodman is a darn good story, full of little known facts, offering a more than a snapshot of late nineteenth century America and the journalism and prejudices of the time, and providing a bit of a cautionary tale.

    While the story of Nelly Bly’s “race” around the world is the center of the book, there's good context provided of the run-up to the event. Indeed, much of the meat of the book is life after the race. I hadn't known about Elizabeth Bisland (who’s actually a much more likable character – especially in the sense that I’d have liked to have been like her).

    PS: Nelly did the trip with but one dress. Elizabeth a good bit more!

    There are beautiful descriptions of the places that Nelly and Elizabeth visit and an interesting perspective on how steam power (ships and trains) changed the world so quickly.

    Much of the book takes place after the race, and does drag a bit; there’s some repetition and the book could probably have been edited a little more firmly, but the way it addresses celebrity, and its impact on Nelly Bly’s life, is thought-provocative. B+

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Garden of Evening Mists

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Tan Twan Eng
    • Narrated By Anna Bentinck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (163)
    Story
    (163)

    Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister, who died in the camp.

    Susan says: "The best"
    "The best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Oh. My. Goodness. Such a memorable book: The Garden of Evening Mists, by Tan Twan Eng. A marvelous story, set in Malaya (Malaysia) during the years following WWII, but with lots of flashbacks to the Japanese occupation. The author is a meticulous wordsmith with the ability to use metaphors that took my breath away, but without being overwritten. The story is, well, sprawling, and with its threads tightly braided. It's a mystery (actually several), an exploration of Japanese gardening, the history of tattoos in the Orient, tea - its growing and drinking....and more. Be ye not put off; for me it was so worth the time. And one of the very few books I wanted to read again, right away, to parse out all the nuances, clues and allusions. By the same author: The Gift of Rain, which I also enjoyed immensely.

    This is also the most astonishing narration I've heard. The accents!

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Love Is a Canoe

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Ben Schrank
    • Narrated By Andrew Garman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Peter Herman is something of a folk hero. Marriage Is a Canoe, his legendary, decades-old book on love and relationships, has won the hearts of hope­ful romantics and desperate cynics alike. He and his beloved wife lived a relatively peaceful life in upstate New York. But now it’s 2010, and Peter’s wife has just died. Completely lost, he passes the time with a woman he admires but doesn’t love - and he begins to look back through the pages of his book....

    Susan says: "Just couldn't connect"
    "Just couldn't connect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Here's a "don't waste your time, because I did it for you," review. An interesting construct, telling the story of a single-book author whose claim to fame is a self-help book based on putative stories about success in marriage told by his too-good-to-be true grandfather. First, this book is better suited to people whose ages are closer to a school zone speed limit than a freeway speed limit. Second, I didn't like any of the characters, didn't know them, didn't understand their motivations. Couldn't figure out who was the hero/ine. Didn't care. That being said, I just checked out the NYTimes book review, and I am not, as they say, on the same page as its author. As I drove and listened I just kept thinking Bar-ar-arf.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In Sunlight and in Shadow

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Mark Helprin
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (72)

    New York in 1947 glows with postwar energy. Harry Copeland, an elite paratrooper who fought behind enemy lines in Europe, returns home to run the family business. In a single, magical encounter on the Staten Island ferry, the young singer and heiress Catherine Thomas Hale falls for him instantly but too late to prevent her engagement to a much older man. Harry and Catherine pursue one another in a romance played out in postwar America’s Broadway theaters, Long Island mansions, and the haunts of gangsters.

    Leslie says: "Great Insomnia Listening"
    "Not good for listening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made In Sunlight and in Shadow better?

    Read the written word


    What was most disappointing about Mark Helprin’s story?

    Narration combined with incredibly detailed description of every breath and every button. Too much. I had to stop.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Runnette’s performances?

    Probably not


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Canada

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Richard Ford
    • Narrated By Holter Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (554)
    Performance
    (461)
    Story
    (464)

    When 15-year-old Dell Parsons' parents rob a bank, his sense of normal life is forever altered. In an instant, this private cataclysm drives his life into before and after, a threshold that can never be uncrossed. His parents' arrest and imprisonment mean a threatening and uncertain future for Dell and his twin sister, Berner. Willful and burning with resentment, Berner flees their home in Montana, abandoning her brother and her life. But Dell is not completely alone. A family friend intervenes, spiriting him across the Canadian border.

    Susan C. S. says: "After the last word, went right back to beginning"
    "Amazing story, narrator not so much"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What didn’t you like about Holter Graham’s performance?

    The way he made the characters sound - his "voices" for the Berner and Dell, as well as any of the women were halting and stilted and annoying. He also said Front Royal instead of Fort Royal at least three times. Row ryhmes with OW not Oh!


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • State of Wonder: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Hope Davis
    Overall
    (4333)
    Performance
    (3144)
    Story
    (3142)

    Research scientist Dr. Marina Singh is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have disappeared in the Amazon while working on an extremely valuable new drug. The last person who was sent to find her died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding answers to the questions about her friend's death, her company's future, and her own past.

    F. B. Herron says: "Do yourself a favor and listen to this book!"
    "Don't start until you have time to finish!"
    Overall

    I just loved this book. So beautifully written and constructed. Evocative. Engrossing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Super Crunchers

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Ian Ayres
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (658)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (110)

    Today, number crunching affects your life in ways you might never imagine. In this lively and groundbreaking new audiobook, economist Ian Ayres shows how today's best and brightest organizations are analyzing massive databases at lightening speed to provide greater insights into human behavior. They are the Super Crunchers.

    Jon says: "Great book on"
    "Nalph Rader"
    Overall

    I am loving this book. But, at 42:09 seconds in chapter 1, the narrator says "Nalph Rader reads Mother Jones. " I listened twice to confirm. Such a lot of good work by the author negated by unprofessional narration and sloppy direction. I can only imagine what is to come

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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