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Catherine S. Read

Fairfax, VA USA
  • 29
  • reviews
  • 132
  • helpful votes
  • 155
  • ratings
  • The Comfort Food Diaries

  • My Quest for the Perfect Dish to Mend a Broken Heart
  • By: Emily Nunn
  • Narrated by: Candace Thaxton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

One life-changing night, reeling from her beloved brother's sudden death, a devastating breakup with her handsome engineer fiancé, and eviction from the apartment they shared, Emily Nunn had lost all sense of family, home, and financial security. After a few glasses of wine, heartbroken and unmoored, Emily - an avid cook and professional food writer - poured her heart out on Facebook. The next morning she woke up with an awful hangover and a feeling she'd made a terrible mistake - only to discover she had more friends than she knew.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible Narration

  • By Yvette Z Vandermolen on 11-25-17

The Recipe for Finding a Way Forward

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

Reviewed: 10-25-17

I know the author Emily Nunn. We were both born in the same small town of Galax, VA. Our families were friends, along with her Aunt Mariah and Uncle John who lived next door to us with their three daughters. This memoir was especially poignant for me. To hear the narrator talk about our neighbors and friends from so very long ago, and to understand some of what happened in Emily's life after we moved away in 1968, was very personal for me.

I listened to this audiobook with my husband on our very long drive from Virginia to Georgia and back again. He knew none of the people in this book and found it as utterly captivating as I did.

As Leo Tolstoy famously wrote in Anna Karenina, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

This is a story about "rethinking our idea of family" as Toni Nunn suggests to her cousin Emily more than once. And so the author sets out to reconnect with people she was once close to in her life - many of whom reached out to her through Facebook, after she hit rock bottom and the bottom of a gin bottle, offering a safe haven and a welcoming home.

The idea of the Comfort Food Diaries emerged out of Emily's life long connection to the food experiences of her childhood and from her professional career as a food writer in both New York and Chicago. It made sense to her to ask people around her about the food that brought them comfort. And she does. And those answers, from pickles and pimento cheese in Tidewater, to her epiphany about pasta with chicken liver sauce in Charleston, add a dimension to her journey of recovery that is unlike any other.

Her descriptions of meals, food preparation, and the recipes contained in this book are a feast for the ears. I also have the hardcopy of this book and it is expressly to have the recipes it contains. But regardless of whether you consider yourself a "foodie" or not, you will relate to the importance comfort food has in our lives - from our earliest childhood memories to what we choose to have for our birthday dinner, or to ring in the New Year, or to help us get through a case of the blues.

Candace Thaxton is a wonderful narrator. I could listen to her read to me every day, and I was truly sorry when the book was over. I highly recommend this book for general consumption.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Braving the Wilderness

  • The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
  • By: Brené Brown
  • Narrated by: Brené Brown
  • Length: 4 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,929
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 13,188
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,095

"True belonging doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are." Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives - experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Actual Step-By-Step To Authenticity!

  • By Gillian on 09-14-17

Another Amazing Book from Brené Brown

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

Reviewed: 10-03-17

This premise of the book is so very timely. And I never tire of hearing Brené Brown read her own books. It's such an intimate experience to have her share these ideas in such a personal way - speaking to me, directly to me. She's put herself out there in taking a stand on divisive social and political issues. But the whole point of this book is understanding that belonging begins within each of us. We have to embrace who we are before we can share who we are with other people. I loved this book!

  • Rabbit

  • The Autobiography of Ms. Pat
  • By: Patricia Williams, Jeannine Amber
  • Narrated by: Patricia Williams
  • Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,245
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,060
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,060

One of five children, Pat watched as her alcoholic mother struggled to get by on charity, cons, and petty crimes. At age seven, Pat was taught to roll drunks for money. At 12, she was targeted for sex by a man eight years her senior; by 13, she was pregnant. By 15, Pat was a mother of two. Alone at 16, Pat was determined to make a better life for her children. But with no job skills and an eighth-grade education, her options were limited. She learned quickly that hustling and humor were the only tools she had to survive.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing story but dry reading

  • By SpazzyMaggee on 11-03-17

Powerful Storytelling

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

Reviewed: 10-03-17

I loved hearing Ms. Pat read her own autobiography. I'm sure the printed book is excellent, but nothing compares to the experience of hearing this woman tell her own story in her own words. The printed word can't hold a candle to the spoken word where this book is concerned. I can see now why it has been so highly rated by other listeners. It's a book I wish I could share with everyone I know.

  • In the Darkroom

  • By: Susan Faludi
  • Narrated by: Laurel Lefkow
  • Length: 13 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 182
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 163
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 159

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author of Backlash comes In the Darkroom, an astonishing confrontation with the enigma of her father, and the larger riddle of identity consuming our age. When the feminist writer learned her 76-year-old father - long estranged and living in Hungary - had undergone sex reassignment surgery, that investigation would turn personal and urgent. How was this new parent who identified as "a complete woman now" connected to the silent, explosive, and ultimately violent father she had known?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intricately insightful study of identity

  • By Dida on 09-06-16

A Captivating Book about Identity

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

Reviewed: 02-26-17

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. I thought the narrator did a wonderful job of bringing both the author and her father to life through her nuanced narration.

As an LGBT activist, I have more than a superficial understanding of the multifaceted aspects of gender identity. And yet . . . Susan Faludi takes the question of identity to a whole new level and shows the many layers and overlapping aspects of how we see ourselves. Gender is only one of those pieces to our sense of self. And she explores how gender can also be conflated with other aspects of identity like Jewishness.

It was also a fascinating history of Hungary. While that was most unexpected, I enjoyed learning the history of this country through the story of her father's life and his family's history there. It is the most personal of journeys through a country's long and fraught existence and it comes to life through the impact it had on individuals. People with names, faces and histories themselves.

I was also grateful for the deeper understanding of the Jewish experience in Hungary and the very specific details of how the Holocaust impacted Hungarian Jews. Susan Faludi does a masterful job not only in her deep research, but in her storytelling.

I can't get this book off my mind. I wish more people would read it so we could talk about it! That is the hallmark of a really great book - one you want to talk about with other people.

  • Tears We Cannot Stop

  • A Sermon to White America
  • By: Michael Eric Dyson
  • Narrated by: Michael Eric Dyson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,231
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,106
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,095

Fifty years ago Malcolm X told a white woman who asked what she could do for the cause, "Nothing." Dyson believes he was wrong. In Tears We Cannot Stop, he responds to that question. If we are to make real racial progress, we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Invite this man in and listen closely

  • By Catherine S. Read on 02-03-17

Invite this man in and listen closely

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

Reviewed: 02-03-17

I loved spending time with Michael Eric Dyson - in my car and in my kitchen. Hearing him read his own words felt very intimate to me.

He subtitles this book a sermon but I felt it was a conversation. I was not being lectured or preached at. He refers to the listener often as "beloved" and that moniker felt genuine to me. His purpose in reaching out to us is to draw us into to see a world we may not understand.

My first thought after finishing this book is that ignorance is a choice. People walk among us harboring prejudice and biases because they have chosen not to know the world - not because anyone is preventing them from knowing the world.

I would highly recommend this audiobook. The fact that "sermon" is in the title might put a lot of people off, but don't be put off.

The thought of spending what precious years I have on this earth living an unexamined life is anathema to me. It also perpetuates beyond my lifetime the institutional racism and sexism that plagues our country. That is not the legacy I want to leave behind for my children and grandchildren.

Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing to see this book chosen by bookclubs across America as a work they want to read and discuss? It's necessary to change people's hearts before you change their minds. Michael Eric Dyson approaches his subject that way and his words are very compelling.

43 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • The Family Tree

  • A Lynching in Georgia, a Legacy of Secrets, and My Search for the Truth
  • By: Karen Branan
  • Narrated by: Pam Ward
  • Length: 9 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 9

Harris County, Georgia, 1912. A white man, the beloved nephew of the county sheriff, is shot dead on the porch of a black woman. Days later, the sheriff sanctions the lynching of a black woman and three black men, all of them innocent. For Karen Branan, the great-granddaughter of that sheriff, this isn't just history; this is family history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very Visual

  • By N.Reed on 11-14-17

Brilliantly Written and Read

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

Reviewed: 08-12-16

Such a wonderful journey through a family history that illuminates many of the racial issues we are dealing with today. Excessive use of force against blacks by law enforcement is the modern day system of lynching. We can't deal with a modern day problem without first understanding its history.

My family owned slaves in Virginia. Many people may not know their own family history, which is all the more reason to understand this family's history. They are more typical than exceptional and we need to own that in this country.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of every age and background.

  • Just Mercy

  • A Story of Justice and Redemption
  • By: Bryan Stevenson
  • Narrated by: Bryan Stevenson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 6,356
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,759
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5,735

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Made me question justice, peers and myself.

  • By Kristy VL on 04-17-15

Powerful. Important. A Revelation.

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

Reviewed: 07-14-16

Most of us who are not poor, black, marginalized, victimized and traumatized can't begin to understand the human suffering taking place in communities all over the United States.

Bryan Stevenson uses his storytelling ability to bring us into a world that doesn't look, sound or feel like "the greatest nation on earth." How is such injustice possible and on such a massive scale?

We would all do well to embrace the mantra "We don't know what we don't know." This book is important in understanding how we got here and what we must do together to get ourselves out of this system of mass incarceration and everything terrible that inflicts on families, communities and our country.

  • The Marshmallow Test

  • Mastering Self-Control
  • By: Walter Mischel
  • Narrated by: Alan Alda
  • Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,240
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,104
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,095

In The Marshmallow Test, Mischel explains how self-control can be mastered and applied to challenges in everyday life - from weight control to quitting smoking, overcoming heartbreak, making major decisions, and planning for retirement. With profound implications for the choices we make in parenting, education, public policy and self-care, The Marshmallow Test will change the way you think about who we are and what we can be.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not a sweet solution pill, but still can be swallowed.

  • By Amazon Customer on 02-17-15

Great insights into our minds and motivations

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

Reviewed: 10-07-15

The first half of the book would have done well with further editing. The second half of the book was far more interesting and engaging. Alan Alda is a wonderful narrator and that helped with getting through some of the more technical and repetitive aspects of the book.

It was worth it to stay closely focused to the very end. This research is critically important to the future of our educational system, providing preschoolers with a better skill set for success and helping adults understand that change for themselves is still possible.

I would highly recommend this.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • On Agate Hill

  • A Novel
  • By: Lee Smith
  • Narrated by: Kate Forbes, Danielle Ferland, Katie Firth
  • Length: 13 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 147
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 67
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 65

Orphaned when her father dies in the Civil War, Molly Petree is taken in by Uncle Junius on his Agate Hill plantation. But the terminally ill Junius is manipulated into marriage by his housekeeper, Selena, who inherits Agate Hill upon his death. Neglected and abused under Selena's watch, Molly escapes to a better life with help from her father's closest battlefield companion. But as she grows into a refined, educated woman, Molly remains haunted by tragedy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • engrossing

  • By Mary on 03-20-07

Another Great Lee Smith Novel

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

Reviewed: 09-22-15

I have read all of Lee Smith's novels and this one does not disappoint. Her storytelling is like the weaving if a magic carpet on which you travel through time.

This audio production is so well done with voice actors who bring each character alive so authentically. I was sorry when it was over as I enjoyed my time with every memorable person she created. I highly recommend this.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Triggers

  • Creating Behavior That Lasts - Becoming the Person You Want to Be
  • By: Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter
  • Narrated by: Marshall Goldsmith
  • Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,795
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,446
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,418

In business, the right behaviors matter. But getting it right is tricky. Even when we acknowledge the need to change what we do and how we do it, life has a habit of getting in the way, upsetting even the best-laid plans. And just how do we manage those situations that can provoke even the most rational among us into behaving in ways we would rather forget?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • He Doesn't Disappoint

  • By Catherine S. Read on 08-18-15

He Doesn't Disappoint

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

Reviewed: 08-18-15

I love Marshall Goldmith's book "What Got You Here, Won't Get You There" and I've talked about it for years. In much the same vein, he ups the ante with this book in building on those core skills and behavior modifications.

The key to this book is being open to change. There's no point in investing your time in something you will not do. And knowing is not the same thing as doing. He is truly the best kind of coach - helping us to define our own personal goals and then helping us to change our mindset and back up our commitment to change with real skills.

This is not magic. It's simple, but not easy. I know this is another book I will listen to again multiple times and recommend to many people. We have within us what we need to love a happier and more fulfilling life on our own terms. Marshall Goldsmith is a wonderful guide to making the most out of our individual life journeys.

45 of 47 people found this review helpful