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Jakk

  • 11
  • reviews
  • 25
  • helpful votes
  • 13
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  • The Lost Weekend

  • By: Charles Jackson
  • Narrated by: Donald Corren
  • Length: 9 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30

It is 1936, and on the East Side of Manhattan, a would-be writer named Don Birnam decides to have a drink. And then another, and then another, until he's in the midst of what becomes a five-day binge. A classic tale of one man's struggle with alcoholism, this revolutionary novel remains Charles Jackson's best-known book - a daring autobiographical work that paved the way for contemporary addiction literature.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Uncanny

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-10-18

Wonderful... and awfully true

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

Reviewed: 07-05-18

I haven't even finished The Lost Weekend yet, but I am so moved that I have "a burming desire to share" right now. lol. There are many in recovery who know the origin of that statement, and if you don't, it doesn't matter. The point is this is an excellent peek in the mind of an addict. The million little daily conflicts that cause anxiety, the ridiculousness of one's own thoughts and schemes, the need to escape uncomfortable truths and the compulsion to get the next few hundred drinks or drugs. The feelings of shame and worthlessness, and the need to push the stupid feelings down again. The book has enough "awful" scenes of drunk behavior to titillate both the voyeur and the knowing addict, but for me, it's the churning of Jackson's mind that makes me nod and say "yes!" out loud, repeatedly. This is titled a fiction but it is really Jackson's life experiences. A non-addict could not come close to expressing what "we" think about. As a former drug user and equally frustrated writer, I have felt the self doubt and done the self sabotaging, over and over and over again. The passages where the hero, Don, has those monumental inspirations for his book, and then talks himself out of writing by poo-pooing his ideas are achingly familiar. In fact, I relate more to the dejected inertia of NOT writing than the descriptions of drinking. I am blessed with 8 years of clean time today. But it is always smart to remember being caught in that horrible, rollercoaster world of using, and the consequences that followed. Anyone who thinks this book is dated will be surprised at how relevant Jackson's words continue to be. It might hinge on being overly "cerebral" here and there, but alcoholics and addicts are frequently very smart people, and we are always in our heads! And that can be a dangerous place, in active addiction. Sadly, I know the author's addictions ended up costing him his life. That does not negate the poignancy of his journey. Well, as usual, the writer in me has overdone it. So, now, I eagerly return to this great book. Oh, and the narrator is also very good... very appropriate for this telling.

  • Green River, Running Red

  • By: Ann Rule
  • Narrated by: Barbara Caruso
  • Length: 19 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,427
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,266
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,269

In the most extraordinary journey Ann Rule has ever undertaken, America's master of true crime has spent more than two decades researching the story of the Green River Killer, who murdered more than 49 young women. Green River, Running Red is a harrowing account of a modern monster, a killer who walked among us undetected. It is also the story of his quarry -- of who these young women were and who they might have become.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Suspenseful and chilling

  • By 9S on 07-02-11

A really compassionate true crime book

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

Reviewed: 06-26-18

I thought the Green River murder saga was too "old hat," and not anything with enough intrigue to keep my interest. But in the deft hands of Ann Rule, this book was a surprisingly wonderful blend of crime reporting and victim reverence. It is not focused on the tawdry life of Gary Ridgeway. Instead, the most interesting passages in Green River Running Red are those that talk about the women and teenagers who lost their lives to an insatiable predator so many years ago. Ann Rule does a sensational job of telling THEIR stories in a respectful, compassionate manner. Of course, she did not have access to information about all the victims, but the ones we hear about have extremely compelling stories. There is also a fair amount of police action and backstories. Because Ms. Rule lived in the Washington state area where Ridgeway "hunted," she went out of her way to give credit and to name every cop who ever worked the cases. That was OK. It was a very long, difficult 20 years bringing the murderer to justice. I also loved Barbara Caruso's narration. Her gentle voice might seem a mismatch for such a grisly subject. But because of the sensitive writing, it worked. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the Green River case. There are things here to surprise you and impress you.

  • Peyton Place

  • By: Grace Metalious
  • Narrated by: Tim O'Connor
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 203
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 136
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142

In 1956, when this novel was first published, communities all over New England snapped up copies to see if they were the town portrayed in the book. Peyton Place is the story of a repressive New England town known for its high standards of public morality, and the steamy sexual activities that take place behind its bedroom doors.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best book I've read to date!

  • By Crusader on 11-07-11

A cast of imperfect characters

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

Reviewed: 03-12-18

Peyton Place is as wonderfully soupy and soapy as you remember or heard tell of. But a great deal is different from the movie version, and the old TV soap opera is practically an unrelated animal. As always, I am glad there was so much more to marvel about in the book. For instance, I was surprised at how cynical and unhappy Allison MacKenzie's character really is. Similarly, the tragic Selena Cross comes across much harder and grittier than the simpering shyness of Hope Lange's portrayal. That famous scene in the film where Selena sits suffering in court and begging old Doc Swain not to tell her hideous secret never even happened in the book. Finally, the Constance Mackenzie character is much softer than the shrew Lana Turner was in the film.There are other shocks, but I am not reviewing to give all the surprises away. I just think it's better to know that remarkable liberties were taken in Hollywood with this story. One thing is consistent, however. It is quite a dated tale. Women are not at all emancipated by being sexual or unmarried. Not one female character comes off as loyal to another woman. The only enduring friendships are among the men. I was also disturbed by the racism and liberal use of the N word. Still, it's an engaging tale of smalltown hypocrisies, classicism, sex, drunks, and oddballs.

  • The Hundred-Year Walk

  • An Armenian Odyssey
  • By: Dawn Anahid MacKeen
  • Narrated by: Neil Shah, Emily Woo Zeller
  • Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42

In the heart of the Ottoman Empire as World War I rages, Stepan Miskjian's world becomes undone. He is separated from his family as they are swept up in the government's mass deportation of Armenians into internment camps. Gradually realizing the unthinkable - that they are all being driven to their deaths - he fights, through starvation and thirst, not to lose hope.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Everything a memoir should be. You will enjoy it!

  • By Jakk on 02-19-18

Everything a memoir should be. You will enjoy it!

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

Reviewed: 02-19-18

Lovely writing... descriptive, poetic and entertaining. I also love the intertwining narrative... sharing grandfather's and granddaughter's experiences from across the years. This is not an in-depth study of the Armenian genocide or of the Ottoman Empire. But I believe Ms. Mackeen's approach is the right one. She deftly tells the story of an ordinary man's journey through a horrific time, as he experienced it. He didn't have had access to the politics driving the massacre. He would have been bewildered by it, and much too busy surviving to worry about political doings. I definitely get that. I also appreciate Ms. Mackeen's decision not to weigh the narrative down with clinical details. She writes from her heart with the goal of sharing her family's history, not a fact-finding mission. The one criticism I have about this audiobook is the narration. The voice is too girlish. As a 35-year- old woman who is an accomplished (and brave) journalist, I don't believe Ms. Mackeen speaks with such adolescent stridency. This book needs a mature, melodious narrator. But it's still very good. The poetry and imagery of the writing more than make up for the lightweight voice. Please don't hesitate to buy "The 100-year Walk" for an intensely engaging story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Fact of a Body

  • A Murder and a Memoir
  • By: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
  • Narrated by: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
  • Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 645
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 602
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 601

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley's face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes - the moment she hears him speak of his crimes - she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Memoir of Molestation

  • By Margaret on 05-22-17

Tremendous

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

Reviewed: 05-20-17

In the hands of a less skilled writer, this memoir/true crime story could have been a confusing mess. But Ms. Marzano-Lesnevich is marvelous. She takes you through the truly horrendous details of a decades old child murder and manages to infuse the telling with suspense, though the outcomes of multiple trials in the case were well publicised. She also makes a curious but compelling personal connection between dark events in her own family's past to those of the murderer's and the victim's families. All is woven together via the author's history as a lawyer, and her understanding and explanation of several points of law are quite helpful and delivered quite deftly, and not ponderously. I also commend Ms. Marzano-Lesnevich on her narration. She does a fine job for a non professional, and I normally do not like author narrations. It's a great listen that kept my interest from start to finish.

10 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • David Copperfield

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 33 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,112
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,599
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,606

Based in part on Dickens's own life, it is the story of a young man's journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among its gloriously vivid cast of characters, he e.ncounters his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; the frivolous, enchanting Dora; and one of literature's great comic creations, the magnificently impecunious Mr. Micawber.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Simply Amazing

  • By Justin on 11-05-10

Magnificent!

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

Reviewed: 12-03-16

Enjoy this old fashioned rags to riches tale spiced with social commentary still relevant today

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Old Sparky

  • The Electric Chair and the History of the Death Penalty
  • By: Anthony Galvin
  • Narrated by: Jack Reynolds
  • Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

Old Sparky covers the history of capital punishment in America and the "current wars" between Edison and Westinghouse, which led to the development of the electric chair. It examines how the electric chair became the most popular method of execution in America before being superseded by lethal injection. Famous executions are explored alongside quirky last meals and poignant last words.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Information not a sermon.

  • By Jakk on 10-24-16

Information not a sermon.

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

Reviewed: 10-24-16

This was a good introduction to Old Sparky and capital punishment. Basic information minus moralizing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Oryx and Crake

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Campbell Scott
  • Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,830
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,596
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,627

The narrator of Atwood's riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very Scary Stuff

  • By Doug on 07-21-03

Amazing story.

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

Reviewed: 04-11-16

What an imagination Margaret Atwood has! Oryx and Crake is so surprisingly different from Handmaid's Tale - one my favorite books -but an equally original vision of the dystopian future. Though the cause of the apocalypse is something we all will recognize, it doesn't detract from the dread. From the top of the tree where Snowman (Jimmy) awakes to his cautious first steps back to the ruins of his former world, I was "with" him on that journey. I worried about his foot as if it was mine. (That's all I need say about that.) It's a masterful unfolding of the horror, ingeniously told through a mix of memories and straight narration of events. Personally , I think the telling could have done without Snowman's random lapses into profanity, but it didn't bother me too much. I did appreciate the twangs of humor in Oryx and Crake. I laughed aloud at several scenes, and equal credit here must be given to the narrator. All in all, a marvelous ride, and I am definitely excited about moving on to the rest of this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Handmaid's Tale

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Claire Danes
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,629
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,837
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,829

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My Top Pick for 2012

  • By Em on 11-30-12

Superb story

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

Reviewed: 03-18-16

I have to say right off the bat I did not like Claire Dane's narration. She is reading, and hardly performing. Her phrases are too stunted, monotone and amateurish. When she is voicing dialogue, she gives the lines a little more spirit, but not enough for me. But A Handmaid's Tale is such a fantastically chilling story that I endured. Margaret Atwood's masterpiece.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The House of Mirth

  • By: Edith Wharton
  • Narrated by: Eleanor Bron
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 388
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 325
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 322

Beautiful, sophisticated and endlessly ambitious Lily Bart endeavours to climb the social ladder of New York's elite by securing a good match and living beyond her means. Now nearing 30 years of age and having rejected several proposals, forever in the hope of finding someone better, her future prospects are threatened. A damning commentary of 20th-century social order, Edith Wharton's tale established her as one of the greatest British novelists of the 1900s.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By Catherine on 04-12-11

A hauntingly beautiful story ....

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

Reviewed: 02-15-16

The House of Mirth is my favorite Edith Wharton novel. I read and was enraptured by the book years ago, and I later became a fan of the 2000 film version. I don't see the point of retelling the plot in this kind of review. For those who are interested, I recommend reading (and especially listening to) the book before seeing the movie. I believe the film is generally successful with wonderful visuals, an inspired choice of casting and overall tone that captures the spirit and sensibilities of the novel. But listening to The House of Mirth was a much finer and fulfilling experience. This is a masterful performance by a narrator whose voice is modulate and appropriately cultured to convey the charms and treacheries of high society life in turn-of-the-century New York. Of course, it is a beautifully written book, with elegantly composed passages that stir and swell the story. I was absorbed in the curious turns and vanities of the heroine, Lily Bart, and while I never "like" her, I could not help but worry and wish for a better outcome for her. A great part of my enjoyment of this and other Wharton novels is the era of splendor that shape the stories. I have a fascination for 19th and early 20th century life in America, and I read a lot of non-fiction and historical works about the Gilded Age. Tycoons, industrialists, suffragettes, heiresses, artists, writers, presidents, dynastic families, immigrants, movers and shakers - they are captivating characters who made the era a conglomeration of progress and intended and unintended debasements. The House of Mirth is an exquisite sampling of upper crust society told through the fictional travails of a woman trying to hold her place among the haughty. It is a harrowing quest for a woman with no husband and no money of her own. Ms. Wharton is unsparing in her depiction of Miss Bart as a futilely aimed person. She reigns and falls in a web of characters who do not seek or have redeeming qualities. There are no great heroes, but they are great fun.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful