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Elisabeth Carey

  • 291
  • reviews
  • 294
  • helpful votes
  • 326
  • ratings
  • The Great Passage

  • By: Shion Miura, Juliet Winters Carpenter - translator
  • Narrated by: Brian Nishii
  • Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 127
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 122

Inspired as a boy by the multiple meanings to be found for a single word in the dictionary, Kohei Araki is devoted to the notion that a dictionary is a boat to carry us across the sea of words. But after thirty-seven years creating them at Gembu Books, it's time for him to retire and find his replacement. He discovers a kindred spirit in Mitsuya Majime - a young, disheveled square peg with a penchant for collecting antiquarian books and a background in linguistics - whom he swipes from his company's sales department.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging, unusual, fun

  • By LGLH on 02-11-18

For those who share the love of words

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-24-18

Kohei Araki falls in love with words and dictionaries as a boy. When a university education makes it clear to him that he's a good but not academic-level lexicographer, he goes to work for Gembu Books, and makes dictionaries.

More than thirty years later, he's nearing retirement. His greatest work, The Great Passage, a top-level dictionary of the Japanese language, is well under way, but not yet complete, and he needs to recruit a successor.

He finds Mitsuya Majimi, a disheveled, seemingly unpromising, young man, who nevertheless proves to share his love of words and their power.

They each find other people along the way, wildly different from each other, and each bringing something different to the dictionary project, and to the other, lesser, dictionaries they make along the way. Those lesser dictionaries, including dictionaries for fictional worlds, help make the dictionary department pay, to keep the company happy while they work on their other, great project.

The plot here is overcoming the challenges of publishing--getting the contributions they need from scholars who don't necessarily share their priorities, getting the specialized paper they need, and other seemingly mundane concerns. The real story is the people--Araki, Majimi, their coworkers, friends, and wives, all centering around the love of words, and what they learn from the words, past dictionaries, and each other.

This doesn't sound like much to describe, but I truly enjoyed this book and the people that populate it. Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

  • Still Waters

  • Sandhamn Murders, Book 1
  • By: Viveca Sten, Marlaine Delargy - translation
  • Narrated by: Angela Dawe
  • Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 509
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 439
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 434

On a hot July morning on Sweden's idyllic vacation island of Sandhamn, a man takes his dog for a walk and makes a gruesome discovery: a body, tangled in fishing net, has washed ashore. Police detective Thomas Andreasson is the first to arrive on the scene. Before long, he has identified the deceased as Krister Berggren, a bachelor from the mainland who has been missing for months. All signs point to an accident - until another brutalized corpse is found at the local bed-and-breakfast.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Bart Simpson Narrates

  • By wobbly on 05-25-17

A solid mystery by a writer who is new to me

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-22-18

A body washes up on the beach of the island of Sandhamn, in Sweden, and at first it looks like an accident. It takes a while to identify him, but Krister Berggren seemingly just had an accidental fall off a boat, and wasn't noticed in time. Police Detective Thomas Andreasson identifies him, and talks to Krister's only close relative, his cousin Kicki Berggren, in Stockholm, and is about to close the case when Kicki turns up dead, apparently badly beaten, in a bed-and-breakfast on Sandhamn.

Circumstances make this effectively the first major murder investigation that Thomas has led, and his local knowledge of Sandhamn, where he spent many a childhood summer, and his friendship with local lawyer Nora Linde give him some badly needed advantages in a very puzzling case.

Sten is a Swedish writer, and I discovered her books while mucking around with my new-to-me Kindle fire. I'm glad I did. It's a really good, solid mystery by someone i wouldn't ordinarily be seeking out. Thomas and his colleagues, and Nora and her friends and neighbors, are well worth getting to know, and the story is solidly plotted. It's worth noting that Sten didn't feel compelled to make Nora and Thomas a romantic couple. They each have their own romantic and relationship issues, but their relationship with each other is just longstanding, solid, reliable friendship.

Since I'm not Swedish, have never been to Sweden, and am overall unlikely to go to Sweden, this book also gave me a bit of an out-of-culture experience, and that's always enjoyable, an added benefit to the good mystery and good characters.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

  • The Addictive Brain

  • By: Thad A. Polk, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Thad A. Polk
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,965
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,727
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,714

The Addictive Brain is a fair and balanced investigation of addiction, backed by hard science and behavioral science. Most of us have probably seen the old antidrug commercial in which an actor compares your brain on drugs to an egg sizzling in a hot frying pan. That's a powerful image, but it doesn't tell us what actually happens when drugs enter your body and interact with neurochemical processes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent.

  • By marilyn popko on 03-16-15

A look at the science of addiction

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-21-18

Addiction is a word that is often tossed around casually, but real addiction is a serious and complex problem. This is a look at what we know about the biological aspects of addiction, the role that human physiology and genetics play in making addiction, and in treating addiction.

Polk starts off by defining what he means by addiction in this book, the stricter definition of actual physical addiction, with continued use of the addictive substance despite serious negative consequences, and often despite a real desire and effort on the part of the addict to quit. Then he explains what's going on in the body, in creating and maintaining addiction. This includes the research in twin studies and in animal models--mostly mice, who are surprisingly genetically similar to us.

Polk also looks specifically at some of our favorite addictive substances (alcohol, tobacco, and nicotine), as well as those that cause us the most public distress and public policy problems (cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, marijuana) (okay, marijuana belongs in both lists, really). They each have their own distinguishing features and problems, but they all also illuminate the larger problem of addiction.

And finally, he also looks at behavior addictions, such as gambling, and why yes, those can be real, physical addictions, too.

He's clear, he's informative, and I found it enormously helpful in increasing my understanding.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

  • Their Lost Daughters

  • Audible's breakthrough crime author of 2018
  • By: Joy Ellis
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 101
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98

Deep in the muddy fields of the Lincolnshire Fens, a teenage girl is found wandering, delirious, claiming to have been drugged at a party. Metres away, the drowned body of another girl is found on an isolated beach. And all this on a small stretch of land where, nearly 10 years ago, the shocking disappearance of a young girl remains an open case.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Author Joy Ellis never disappoints!!

  • By Wayne on 06-16-18

Another gripping mystery on the English fens

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-18-18

DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans are working a missing persons case seeking the daughter of one of their own coworkers. Finding a body is heartbreaking, but at least an answer.

Unfortunately, there are still questions. The girl's body has signs of drugs she wouldn't have taken willingly. They have another case dropped on them from a neighboring jurisdiction, which claims it's got a work overload.

And an old case, of a disappeared little girl who was never found, is also handed to them, as a high priority, because the mother, who has never given up, is making another media push to get her found.

When one girl is found wandering on a muddy beach, with the same drugs in her system that the dead girl had, and talks about her friend Emily being dragged off, they realize they have a much bigger, much nastier problem on their hands. Missing girls over years, possible police corruption in the neighboring jurisdiction, and an even older case, of an apparent murder-suicide of a couple whose surviving children are now grown, may all be connected.

This is a separate series from the DI Nikki Galena series, but also set on the fens, against the same background. Pathologist Rory Wilkinson appears in both. Yet it's a different jurisdiction, with a whole different cast of police and the regulars of a different town to become familiar with. They are, as with the other series, solid, likable characters determined to do their jobs and serve their community. The pacing moves, and the clues are there. We also get to know the teenagers, and I'll avoid spoilers by simply saying, "other involved parties."

An excellent story. Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Last Year

  • By: Robert Charles Wilson
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 11 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 338
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 312
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 311

In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson's Last Year, the technology exists to open doorways into the past - but not our past, not exactly. Each "past" is effectively an alternate world, identical to ours but only up to the date on which we access it. And a given "past" can be reached only once. After a passageway is open, it's the only road to that particular past; once closed, it can't be reopened.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • didn't think I would like it...

  • By Pree Bee on 05-05-18

An interesting twist on time travel

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-18-18

Jesse Cullum is one of the local employees of the city of Futurity, a man of the 1870s hired first to help build and then to be a security guard for the city.

Futurity is a city built by people from the 21st century, who have technology that allows them to travel into, not their own past, but into an alternate past, a past that appears to be theirs, but in which changes won't affect their own time. The technology is said to be a product of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and licensed to a wealthy industrialist named Kemp when it proved to have no military value. He's using it to run tours of the 1870s for the well-heeled of the 21st century, while offering the natives of the 1870s a carefully selective view of the 21st century. The gateway, the "mirror," will only remain open for five years, allegedly to avoid having too much impact on this alternate world, and it's now the start of Futurity's last year.

Jesse Cullum has been a dedicated and capable employee. He's saving his earnings to help support his sister Phoebe in San Francisco. He generally likes the 21st century people, but there's a distance created by the gulf in experience and attitudes.

Then Jesse prevents the assassination of President Ulysses S. Grant on a visit to Futurity, and the weapon turns out to be a Glock, which should never, ever have gotten into the hands of a man who proves to be a local. Jesse is about to get much better acquainted with his 21st century employers and fellow employees, and at the same time discover some unpleasant secrets about Kemp's plans, the true origins of the technology, and why Kemp has enemies that include his own daughter.

Jesse and his contemporaries knew they were being exploited, but they assumed it was within normal limits. They have no idea of the truth, and Jesse is about to find out. He's assigned to work with Elizabeth DePaul, an Iraq War veteran. It's an education for him, and she gets an education in the 19th century outside of Futurity as they investigate the presence of Glocks in the hands of locals.

This is a really interesting story, an interesting twist on time travel, and really interesting, compelling characters. Neither time frame is portrayed as "better," though each has, from the viewpoints of its natives, some real advantages.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

  • The Secret, Book & Scone Society

  • By: Ellery Adams
  • Narrated by: Cris Dukehart
  • Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,913
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,735
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,739

Miracle Springs is a place of healing. Strangers flock there hoping that the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. And, if none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked scone from the Gingerbread House bakery, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That's Nora's special talent: prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person's deepest pain and lighten their heaviest burden.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved it

  • By Bookwyrme on 11-10-17

An interesting start to a new mystery series

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-11-18

Nora Pennington moved to Miracle Springs after a terrible personal tragedy, and opened a bookstore, Miracle Books. She sells books, and coffee, and for those customers who need it, over a "comfort scone" from the neighboring Gingerbread House bakery, she'll listen to their troubles, and recommend well-chosen books to start them on the path to healing.

It's a peaceful, quiet life, until one day, the customer in need of healing is Neil Parrish. He makes an appointment to see her the next day, but is killed by a train before he can keep that appointment. It's not long before the clumsy official investigation into the death connects Nora with three other women who moved to Miracle Springs for their own healing. They form the Secret, Book, & Scone Society. They share their secrets, and launch their own investigation of Neil Parrish's death.

They're all compromised individuals, but they also all prove to be strong and smart women in their own ways. Miracle Springs also proves to have more than just their secrets, and much more dangerous ones, but it also has other strong, good characters along with its venal and corrupt ones. The plot avoids the lazy and the silly, and we see the women discover their strength, learn to trust their new friendship, and also start to make more friends beyond their own immediate circle.

The book reads to me like a well-thought-out, and very promising start to a new mystery series, centered around character.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

  • Digging In

  • A Novel
  • By: Loretta Nyhan
  • Narrated by: Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Length: 7 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 247
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 211
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 211

Paige Moresco found her true love in eighth grade - and lost him two years ago. Since his death, she’s been sleepwalking through life, barely holding on for the sake of her teenage son. Her house is a wreck, the grass is overrun with weeds, and she’s at risk of losing her job. As Paige stares at her neglected lawn, she knows she’s hit rock bottom. So she does something entirely unexpected: she begins to dig. As the hole gets bigger, Paige decides to turn her entire yard into a vegetable garden. Something big is beginning to take root - both in her garden and in herself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great

  • By Shireen S Dadmehr on 04-07-18

Unexpectedly enjoyable

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-08-18

Paige Moresco met her true love in eighth grade.

They married right out of college, and had a son, Trey.

When Trey was in his early teens, though, Jesse died in a car crash.

Two years have passed,and neither Paige nor Trey has recovered from the loss. Paige isn't really keeping up with house maintenance. Weeds are taking over their yard, and the neighbors in their gated community aren't happy. Jesse and Paige, because of their childhoods in a dangerous neighborhood, were self-protective and contained, and now Paige doesn't really have friends outside of work. Trey has at least one friend at school, but his trauma over the way he lost his father is keeping from taking the driver's ed class that's mandatory for him to graduate high school.

Something has got to give--especially after Paige's boss dies, and his son takes over the company, with a very different approach both to management, and to business development for their small advertising agency. Paige is at risk of losing her job.

When the frustrations and pressures build too high, one night after work, while Trey is staying the night with his friend Colin, Paige drinks wine and digs in the back yard. First all the dandelions.

Then a great big hole.

She's getting her neighbors more nervous than ever, especially after she decides that she's going to turn the whole yard into a vegetable garden.

It's crazy, and it's distracting her from very real challenges at work, and her neighbors start filing complaints.

At first this had me pretty worried, in that it looked like the story would head in the direction of humiliating Paige for laughs, a "humor" I've never enjoyed. Instead, Paige starts to learn things about herself, her neighbors, her coworkers, and even the legitimately hard to like but not stupid new boss. It becomes a really interesting look at how grief and change, while painful, can also lead to growth and discovery.

In the end, enjoyable and interesting, with unexpectedly good character development.

I bought this audiobook.

  • The Order of Time

  • By: Carlo Rovelli
  • Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Length: 4 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 489
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 455
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 449

In lyric, accessible prose, Carlo Rovelli invites us to consider questions about the nature of time that continue to puzzle physicists and philosophers alike. For most listeners, this is unfamiliar terrain. We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it appears. We think of it as uniform and universal, moving steadily from past to future, measured by clocks. Rovelli tears down these assumptions one by one, revealing a strange universe where, at the most fundamental level, time disappears.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rovelli is a Genius

  • By Mike on 05-11-18

A fascinating look at the physics of time

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-07-18

This is a book about time--about the nature of time, the ways that we misunderstand it, and what research is revealing about it.

The real nature of time is very different from what we experience in everyday life, in part because what we experience is to a significant degree our own creation. Events, Carlo Rovelli says, don't form an orderly queue like the English; they form a disorderly crowd, like the Italians. (Not an exact quote, because I was listening to the audiobook while driving, but pretty close.)

This is challenging material, but Rovelli and his translators do an excellent job laying it out for the layperson. I had to dig to find the names of the translators, Erica Segre and Simon Carnell, but they did an excellent job and deserve to be acknowledged. I suspect no one will be surprised to learn that it was a pleasure to listen to Benedict reading it.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

  • Matchmaking for Beginners

  • A Novel
  • By: Maddie Dawson
  • Narrated by: Amy McFadden, Joyce Bean
  • Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 120
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 119

Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life - a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes - just as Blix told her it would. When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved it!

  • By Catherine on 06-11-18

A lot of fun

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-04-18

Marnie MacGraw is engaged to marry Noah Spinnaker, when she meets his eccentric, unpredictable, matchmaker great-aunt Blix Holliday. Blix takes a liking to Marnie--a liking she doesn't have for her nephew, Noah. When her marriage to Noah comes crashing down around her while they're still on what was meant to be their honeymoon trip, Marnie goes home to Florida and her family, and tries to put the whole thing behind her.

Blix has other plans.

Blix told Marnie she was destined to have a "big life." Marnie doesn't want a "big life." She wants a husband and children. She's connected again with her old high school boyfriend, Jeremy, when she receives a lawyer letter telling her Blix has died, and she's inherited Blix's brownstone in Brooklyn, NY.

There are conditions, though, the most important of which is that she has to live in it for three months before getting full ownership.

Marnie hasn't just inherited Blix's brownstone. She's also inherited Blix's neighbors and friends, her "projects" who need a little help finding their way toward happiness. Blix told Marnie several times that she shares Blix's talent for matchmaking and magic. Marnie doesn't believe it. Yet, at certain times, she sees the golden sparkles...

Marnie is sweet, and kind, and wants happiness not just for herself, but for people around her. She also has a small gift for snark. This Nice Southern Girl doesn't know what to make of Brooklyn, where the buildings are old and well-worn, no one has a car and you have to shop every day, and you meet the most amazing diversity of people, just going about your daily business.

Meanwhile, her family is nagging her to just sell the building and come home, and her ex-husband, Blix's great-nephew, has settled in to Blix's apartment in the brownstone with her. He says he's taking classes; he seems unduly interested in why Blix decided to leave the building to her, rather than to her niece, Noah's mother, with whom she has always had a really bad relationship.

I'll just say right here that, if Marnie were a Sensible Northern Girl rather than a Nice Southern Girl, she'd have changed the locks on Noah, fairly early on. He's got nothing good to offer; he doesn't even like the dog who adopts her.

The tenants, Jessica and her son Sammy, and Patrick, the curmudgeonly ex-artist who was badly burned in a gas explosion, along with Blix's friend and neighbor Lola, and the bodega owner across the street, Paco, are all great characters who add to the flavor and enjoyment of the book.

This book is just a lot of fun. Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

  • Stuff Matters

  • Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World
  • By: Mark Miodownik
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,012
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,703
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,696

Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly good

  • By D. MacLeod on 01-29-15

Why materials science should fascinate you

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-02-18

Most of us don't spend much time thinking about materials science, but that might be a mistake. The materials that make up the tools and products we use every day, from the most mundane (paper clips, anyone?) to the ones you probably don't know exist (I certainly never heard of concrete cloth before), are fascinating not just for what they do, but for how they get that way and how we figured it out.

This is a fascinating tour through the world of materials science, and Miodownik is very effective at sharing his joy in it.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.