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S. Powell

  • 5
  • reviews
  • 5
  • helpful votes
  • 57
  • ratings
  • Hillbilly Elegy

  • A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
  • By: J. D. Vance
  • Narrated by: J. D. Vance
  • Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,623
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36,534
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36,473

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis - that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over 40 years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enlightening!

  • By Gotta Tellya on 09-11-16

A fascinating and thoughtful look...

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

Reviewed: 06-15-18

...into a huge portion of American culture. If you're interested in American ethnography and are curious about modern cultural challenges, this is a great book.
The author's memoir is touching, well written, and told without self-pity or malice. It is not a political book. But it got into my head, and I feel it helped me better understand what's happening politically and economically in the US right now.

  • Letters of a Woman Homesteader

  • By: Elinore Pruitt Stewart
  • Narrated by: Gwen Hughes
  • Length: 5 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 121
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 95
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 97

Letters of a Woman Homesteader is a frontier classic by Elinore Pruitt Stewart, a widowed young mother who accepted an offer to assist with a ranch in Wyoming. In Stewart's delightful collection of letters, she describes her homesteading experiences to her former employer, Mrs. Coney.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Every woman in the US should read this book.

  • By Dolly Jane Prenzel on 03-17-15

Delightful, a mere hundred years ago!

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

Reviewed: 02-21-17

This book is one of my new favorites, one I will reread again and again.

Though it was a little tricky to catch the tone and situation at the beginning, I fell in love with the author's poetic descriptions and indomitable spirit. And the patient, attentive reader will have his or her questions answered by the author in her own time.

Almost everything is a charming and cheerful adventure for this self-described "ex-wash lady" homesteading in the Wyoming hills. It strikes me that a mere hundred years separate us from this fiery, independent lady who set an amazing example for Feminists of a later age. Though her life was not untouched by tragedy, her faith and spirit buoyed me up as I read, smiling, with tears in my eyes.

  • The Art of Waiting

  • On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood
  • By: Belle Boggs
  • Narrated by: C. S. E Cooney
  • Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 16

When Belle Boggs' "The Art of Waiting" was published in Orion in 2012, it went viral, leading to republication in Harper's Magazine and an interview on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show. In that heartbreaking essay, Boggs eloquently recounts her realization that she might never be able to conceive. She searches the apparently fertile world around her - the emergence of 13-year cicadas, the birth of eaglets near her rural home, and an unusual gorilla pregnancy at a local zoo - for signs that she is not alone.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Infertility and cultural experience

  • By S. Powell on 11-22-16

Infertility and cultural experience

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

Reviewed: 11-22-16

We look for validation of our own experiences. I know that's what I was seeking when I picked up this book. But I didn't find it here.

If fertility treatments are not for you, this book may not have much to offer. It's a personal account of the cost, effects, and social repercussions of assisted reproductive technology. And that's fine. It is a well written account that touches on the inequality of access for people of color or LGBT, the varying degrees of insurance coverage, and the supportive community built up around assisted reproductive technology.

If, like me, you may be looking for your own tribe as you remain childless by chance, choice or circumstance, this book is not for you. I am still dealing with this loss, and I am still looking for the next step forward. I'm out here, waiting.

Lastly, the narrator spoke clearly, but with a wooden cadence and tone-deaf inflection that did not do justice to the often emotional content of the text. I think I would have preferred reading this in print.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Sense and Sensibility

  • By: Jane Austen
  • Narrated by: Victoria McGee
  • Length: 12 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 293
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 239
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 247

This is Austen's first published novel, from 1851, which she wrote under the pseudonym "A Lady". The story is about Elinor and Marianne, two daughters of Mr. Dashwood by his second wife. They have a younger sister, Margaret, and an older half-brother named John. When their father dies, the family estate passes to John, and the Dashwood women are left in reduced circumstances. The novel follows the Dashwood sisters to their new home, a cottage on a distant relative's property, where they experience both romance and heartbreak.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • I'm glad it was free of charge

  • By Ilsewdm on 07-12-17

performance almost monotone

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

Reviewed: 05-25-16

I usually love Austen, but this book was great for putting me to sleep, I guess.

  • Girl on a Wire

  • By: Gwenda Bond
  • Narrated by: Marisol Ramirez
  • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 194
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 173
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 176

Sixteen-year-old Jules Maroni’s dream is to follow in her father’s footsteps as a high-wire walker. When her family is offered a prestigious role in the new Cirque American, it seems that Jules and the Amazing Maronis will finally get the spotlight they deserve. But the presence of the Flying Garcias may derail her plans. For decades, the two rival families have avoided each other as sworn enemies.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Mostly dreamy, like a parasol.

  • By S. Powell on 05-13-16

Mostly dreamy, like a parasol.

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

Reviewed: 05-13-16

I enjoyed listening to this book-- with only a few exceptions:
1) Occasionally, the narrating actress gives sentences a weird emphasis. It's moderately distracting, but rare enough that I didn't get frustrated.
2) I'm no circus performer but I would swear that, once or twice, the author added enough random details to betray the fact that she has a flawed understanding of how an actual safety net works.

Besides this, there were several lovely sections in the main character's voice, plus a few descriptions that added value to the piece, and I look forward to more from this author.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful