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Zella Bea

Seattle WA | Listener Since 2010

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 11 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2014
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  • Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Graham Robb
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (161)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (54)

    This is the Paris you never knew. From the Revolution to the present, Graham Robb has distilled a series of astonishing true narratives, all stranger than fiction. A young artillery lieutenant, strolling through the Palais-Royal, observes disapprovingly the courtesans plying their trade. A particular woman catches his eye; nature takes its course. Later that night, Napoleon Bonaparte writes a meticulous account of his first sexual encounter....

    Myrna Minkoff says: "Difficult....but worth it"
    "An excruciating level of detail."
    Overall

    A solid background on French history may be recommended for those who choose to tackle this title. It was too much for me, the casual French scholar. The minute details (names and places and the parentheticals that accompany them) interfered with the telling of the tales for me. The narration is truly ***** and so are the writer's ambitions for the book. I appreciated both of those. I may try the book again later.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Weird Sisters

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Eleanor Brown
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (417)
    Performance
    (228)
    Story
    (224)

    There is no problem that a library card can't solve. The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. See, we love each other.

    Sabrina says: ""I am not bound to please thee with my answers.""
    "A family of 5 stuck in their stale patterns ...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Meet three unlikeable self-centered sisters in their thirties who have never let go of their petty sibling rivalries or habits and then add in their equally hapless parents - the tribe is living together in annoying disharmony in the small town in which the girls grew up. Nothing much happens in the story yet the writing is overly-dramatic and descriptive. As is the narration. I am not quite there but I think the end will be very predictable. PS the Shakespeare quotations come across as gratuitous.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Siddhartha Mukherjee
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2296)
    Performance
    (1482)
    Story
    (1477)

    Written by cancer physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies is a stunning combination of medical history, cutting-edge science, and narrative journalism that transforms our understanding of cancer and much of the world around us. Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a novelist's richness of detail, a historian's range, and a biographer's passion.

    Paul Krasner says: "Spectacular!"
    "zzzzzzzzzzz"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Siddhartha Mukherjee and/or Stephen Hoye?

    I might try another book by Mukherjee. I can't blame him for the arrogant narration.


    Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

    The concepts were too political and simplistic. I am not a medical doctor and yet I was insulted by the perspective.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Stephen Hoye?

    Absolutely anyone.


    Do you think The Emperor of All Maladies needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Heavens NO ! Unless someone else writes and narrates it.


    Any additional comments?

    I optimistically purchased this recording after reading several reviews. The narrator's arrogance ruined the book for me. That is too bad. A meaningful topic that deserves better treatment. I suspect it was not the subject matter that doomed the book for me but the narration which put me to sleep. The subject matter should be far more accessible than its treatment here. How unfortunate.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Then Again

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Diane Keaton
    • Narrated By Diane Keaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (197)
    Story
    (192)

    “Mom loved adages, quotes, slogans. There were always little reminders pasted on the kitchen wall. For example, the word THINK. I found THINK thumbtacked on a bulletin board in her darkroom. I saw it Scotch-taped on a pencil box she’d collaged. I even found a pamphlet titled THINK on her bedside table. Mom liked to THINK.” So begins Diane Keaton’s unforgettable memoir about her mother and herself. In it you will meet the woman known to tens of millions as Annie Hall, but you will also meet, and fall in love with, her mother, the loving, complicated, always thinking Dorothy Hall.

    ronald says: "Wonderful. Sad. Hopeful."
    "Wow. A slice of Americana."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Then Again rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very high due to the story and the narration.


    Have you listened to any of Diane Keaton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    The audible.com template for my review does not fit the book. Listen to this book. Keaton's narration enhances the experience. As one audible.com reviewer commented: it is like a personal conversation. This is not about a popular, well known star. It is about a slice of America from the 1950s to the present. Keaton brings true emotion to her narration. At times she snorts with candor, at other times her voice seems choked with emotion. It is a story of daughters, siblings, parents, lovers, children. I like Keaton as actress, but would not call myself a fan before the book. Her candor is uncommon. And the juxtaposition of her insights with her mother's journals will stay with me. See the print book, however, for pictures that illustrate the book. The book will stay with me and I felt lost when the recording ended. Like The Help, I felt as if I would have missed the nuances of the story if I had read the print edition. The recording enhanced the stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Separate Peace

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By John Knowles
    • Narrated By Scott Snively
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (92)

    Now a modern classic, this story of two boys' friendship at an exclusive New Hampshire prep school as it parallels the inescapable and escalating atmosphere of World War II, is intense and engaging to the last word.

    Teddy says: "How can one fault a Classic like this?"
    "The themes of adolescence do not change much."
    Overall

    I read A Separate Peace first as a teen-aged girl and listened to it recently as the mother of teen-aged boys. The tensions among the boys, as they sort out the adults they will become, are familiar in any decade. I agree with reviewers who comment that the story is slow. But as it deals with the loss of youth in many different ways, that is not necessarily a condemnation of this classic. I did not enjoy the narration, but that could have been my impatience with parts of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Where the God of Love Hangs Out

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Amy Bloom
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    In this sensuous, funny, and heartbreaking new book, Amy Bloom explores the unexpected patterns that all forms of love and loss weave into our lives. With her dazzling prose, strong voice, and unmistakable and generous wit, this award-winning author takes us to the margins and centers of real people's lives, introducing us to some of her most unforgettable characters yet.

    Zella Bea says: "It's Not Where You Think"
    "It's Not Where You Think"
    Overall

    Ultimately, the title captures the book's essence, but I would add a subtitle: It is Not Where You Think! The common theme of this Bloom collection could be described as the unusual places we find home, peace and family, often against the odds and the expectations of others . The stories of the odd duck professors falling in love (revealed in first seven minutes of book, no spoiler here) softened my heart despite their quirks which would drive me mad if they lived in my house. Bloom's development of the Julia / Lionel Sampson extended family (despite an event that could have shattered it) is a masterful treatment of decades of family emotion and lovely in its own strange way. Admittedly, the book was not all smooth listening. Near the middle, I had to take a 5 day break. There are long periods of details of everyday life which seemingly do not contribute to story or character development, but then - BAM! - Bloom surprises the reader with the plot punch line. The narration was excellent.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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