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Kathy

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  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen

  • By: Hendrik Groen, Hester Velmans - translator
  • Narrated by: Derek Jacobi
  • Length: 11 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 208
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 200
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 195

Hendrik Groen may be old, but he is far from dead and isn't planning to be buried any time soon. Granted, his daily strolls are getting shorter because his legs are no longer willing, and he has to visit his doctor more than he'd like. Technically speaking he is...elderly. But surely there is more to life at his age than weak tea and potted geraniums? Hendrik sets out to write an exposé: a year in the life of his care home in Amsterdam, revealing all its ups and downs.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not “A Man Called Ove”

  • By Art Guzman on 11-25-18

Funny, poignant, insightful and totally wonderful!

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

Reviewed: 01-09-19

My husband and I listen to lots of audiobooks on car trips to visit family. We just finished this book and both agreed that it is one of the very best books we have ever read. Some liken it to A Man Called Ove. We mostly disagree. Ove is a true curmudgeon who has given up on life but is drawn back. Hendrik Groen is an 83 year old man living in a Dutch nursing home. He forms the Old But Not Dead club with a select few residents.

His diary is insightful, informative, sometimes hilarious and at times truly touching. He touches on everything from the indignities of a failing body to the treatment of the aging to the ludicrousness of officiousness. It is told in the form of a diary spanning a year. As another reviewer here noted, we also wished it had gone on for more than a year. But the book is wonderful!

Derek Jacobi himself is growing older and portrayed Groen beautifully. He captures the absurd, sad, annoying and so much more. We both agreed that it sounded like he was fighting tears at the end. The ending is not depressing. It is realistic and even has a spirit of desiring to live to the full what time is left. This is definitely a read again at least a couple more times. I am giving it as a gift to a friend.

  • The Return

  • Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between
  • By: Hisham Matar
  • Narrated by: Hisham Matar
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 552
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 506
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 507

When Hisham Matar was a 19-year-old university student in England, his father was kidnapped. One of the Qaddafi regime's most prominent opponents in exile, he was held in a secret prison in Libya. Hisham would never see him again. But he never gave up hope that his father might still be alive. "Hope," as he writes, "is cunning and persistent." Twenty-two years later, after the fall of Qaddafi, the prison cells were empty, and there was no sign of Jaballa Matar. Hisham returned with his mother and wife to the homeland he never thought he'd go back to again.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Touching memoir. Consider hard copy

  • By Joschka Philipps on 02-22-18

Beautifully written and heartfelt

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

Reviewed: 12-07-18

I know very little about Libya except that I'm glad I don't live there. Mata's book which he narrates is powerful. I can't imagine not knowing what happened to one's father for over 20 years as was the case for him and his family.

The story is true and presents the horrors of not living in lock step with a dictator. Mata himself left Libya and is a professor of literature. But his love for his father and extended family is beautiful. The return to Libya to seek information and to reunite with uncles, cousins, etc. is interesting and made me feel such empathy for them all for what they suffered. Mata is a lovely writer and easy to listen to as a narrator. I found myself a little unsettled with the ending, but I think that was his design. I will read this again.

  • Ship of Fools

  • By: Tucker Carlson
  • Narrated by: Tucker Carlson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 3,994
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,591
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3,556

The host of Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight offers a blistering critique of the new American ruling class, the elites of both parties, who have taken over the ship of state, leaving the rest of us, the citizen-passengers, to wonder: How do we put the country back on course?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beyond Expectations

  • By Joseph D. Chavez on 11-14-18

Thoughtful and informative

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

Reviewed: 12-07-18

I enjoyed this book because their is no haranguing or yelling. Carlson is pleasant to listen to and I learned a number of things from this book. I found myself thinking about things I'd not known before. I knew little about Caesar Chavez for example. I found Carlson's research to be simply laid out and not full of wild claims.

  • Big Girl

  • How I Gave Up Dieting and Got a Life
  • By: Kelsey Miller
  • Narrated by: Kelsey Miller
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 577
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 527
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 526

At 29, Kelsey Miller had done it all: crash diets, healthy diets, and nutritionist-prescribed "eating plans", which are diets that you pay more money for. She'd been fighting her un-thin body since early childhood and, after a lifetime of failure, finally hit bottom. No diet could transform her body or her life. There was no shortcut to skinny salvation. She'd dug herself into this hole, and now it was time to climb out of it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Quirky and Oddly Inspiring AutoBio

  • By Gillian on 01-28-16

Worth the listen

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

Reviewed: 08-21-18

I have seen this book on the site before. It was on a sale and I bought it. The idea of intuitive eating and living for health rather than the perfect body intrigues me. I know so many people who beat themselves up if they dare to have pizza or ice cream. Giving yourself permission to have that goody sometimes makes sense. Maybe we all won't be svelte but will be thinner and happier. The author was very likable and read her work well, which is not always the case. This is not a diet book but rather one woman's coming to terms with herself and realizing that there is more to life thean watching each mouthful. I plan to learn more about this subject.

  • The District Nurses of Victory Walk

  • The District Nurse, Book 1
  • By: Annie Groves
  • Narrated by: Alex Tregear
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 17

Alice Lake has arrived in London from Liverpool to start her training as a District Nurse, but her journey has been far from easy. Her parents think that she should settle down and get married, but she has already had her heart broken once and isn’t about to make the same mistake again. Alice and her best friend, Edith, are based in the East End, but before they’ve even got their smart new uniforms on, war breaks out, and Hitler’s bombs are raining down on London.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting slice of London at the beginning of WW

  • By Kathy on 08-21-18

Interesting slice of London at the beginning of WW

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

Reviewed: 08-21-18

I've always been interested in the homefront both here and in other places (most of the world) affected by the 2nd World War. I also find the work of women at the time interesting. The author brought these girls to life. The story focuses mainly on three young women as nurses in a poor part of London just before and during the first 9 months or so of the war. I'm hoping there will be more in the series. Young women were first making their own way and were quite daring in the eyes of some. Yet most people had great respect for the nurses. If only there was the level of caring in health care today.

The narrator was absolutely lovely and it was easy to keep the characters straight as the girl from Liverpool sounded much different than the Scottish nursing supervisor or the working class people. Was it trememdously deep? No, but it was obvious that the author knew much of what happened in the early days of the war in Britain. It was a delightful weekend read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Foundling

  • The True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me
  • By: Paul Joseph Fronczak, Alex Tresniowski
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 604
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 553
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 558

The Foundling tells the incredible and inspiring true story of Paul Fronczak, a man who recently discovered via a DNA test that he was not who he thought he was - and set out to solve two 50-year-old mysteries at once. Along the way he upturned the genealogy industry, unearthed his family's deepest secrets, and broke open the second longest cold-case in US history, all in a desperate bid to find out who he really is.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Prepare yourself for a journey that will take you to shocking places!

  • By OUChris on 04-04-17

A true story which reads like a mystery

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

Reviewed: 07-10-18

My daughter recommended this book to me. Her husband has been on a quest to find his adoptive parents. He loves his adoptive family, but medical concerns have led him to investigate. Like Franczek he was able to locate some family members. This story is fascinating as it doesn't wrap everything up neatly.

Paul was kidnapped a day and a half after birth from a Chicago hospital in 1964. He was (or at least they thought it was him) some 13 months later. As he grew up he felt like he didn't belong with his family, though he loved them.His story of search and discovery is fascinating. Not all his questions were answered; he is still searching for some things. But it kept me and my husband listening during a long driving trip. The narrator did a good job; he was straightforward and easy to follow. We highly recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Runaway Children

  • By: Sandy Taylor
  • Narrated by: Alison Campbell
  • Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37

London, 1942: Thirteen-year-old Nell and five-year-old Olive are being sent away from home to escape the devastation of the East End during the Blitz. Leaving behind their beloved mother and brothers, they don’t know if they will ever see them again. As the sisters adjust to their new life in a close-knit Welsh village, they gradually find hope in the friendships they make. And Nell kindles a special bond with fellow evacuee Jimmy, who makes her smile even at the hardest of times. But when little Olive’s safety is threatened, Nell makes a decision that will change their lives forever. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely Wonderful

  • By Rosemarie on 07-20-18

Love and loyalty win

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

Reviewed: 04-28-18

This is the 2nd book by Sandy Taylor I have read. The audio quality of When We Danced at the End of the Pier was not as good. I was told that using enhanced audio would help. I changed my download to that and there was no problem The story is that of two sisters, five and thirteen who are evacuated to Wales during WWII. Their brother who is supposed to go with them refuses. Their mum and very new baby brother remain also in London. The two girls experience first welcome and love, and then a frightful billet with a nasty old woman and her disgusting son. They escape and travel around, always sticking together and supporting one another. One would think that the older is always looking out for her little sister, but little Olive is sweet, honest and loving. Sometimes it is she who has the bright ideas.

I loved the fact that these two stayed together through the whole war and triumphed in the end. We forget that thousands upon thousands of kids were separated from their families during the war in the U.K. For some it was the best thing which ever happened to them. For others it was a nightmare which never left them. This is not a profound story in many ways, but its gentleness and attention to detail made it a lovely read. The narrator was good, and could sound extremely young sometimes. Either she really is, or can just get into the characters. Her accents were good and she obviously liked the girls she was voicing. It's a lovely read for a dreary day. It will help restore your faith in people if you are feeling a bit jaded.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Bearing False Witness

  • Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History
  • By: Rodney Stark
  • Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 203
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 189
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 185

As we all know, and as many of our well-established textbooks have argued for decades, the Inquisition was one of the most frightening and bloody chapters in Western history, Pope Pius XII was anti-Semitic and rightfully called "Hitler's Pope", the Dark Ages were a stunting of the progress of knowledge to be redeemed only by the secular spirit of the Enlightenment, and the religious Crusades were an early example of the rapacious Western thirst for riches and power. But what if these long-held beliefs were all wrong?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enlightening

  • By jjdoctor on 12-10-16

A very worthwhile read

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

Reviewed: 03-24-18

I heard Rodney Stark on a radio interview and was impressed with his passion for history. This is a book debunking popular myths about the Catholic church. Before I say more, I would note that Stark is not Catholic. He is, however a serious historian. I read his book God's Batalions a number of years ago and forgot he was the author.

Stark tackles a number of issues, writing as a Protestant which makes it really good. He tackles the myths about anti science, the inquisition, and the view that Catholics supported slavery. Stark is a religion professor at Baylor and is very readable and clear. His reason for writing this book is the misperceptions of many who think they know the Catholic beliefs but rely on popular authors such as Karen Armstron or Garry Wills or worse. I appreciated his clear prose and the honesty of this book. For example, he goes back to St. Thomas Aquinas on the matter of slavery. He also debunks the myth that the church did nothing during the Dark ages. He is forthright about the wrongs in the church, about which any knowledgeable Catholic would agree.

I recommend this book to both Catholics and those who are not, but willing to read a mostly positive, but really honest treatment of this subject. Sometimes I don't like the narrator in other things, but he did a fine job on this one.

  • In the Land of Invisible Women

  • A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom
  • By: Qanta A. Ahmed MD
  • Narrated by: Nicola Barber
  • Length: 14 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 168
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 146
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 148

Unexpectedly denied a visa to remain in the United States, Qanta Ahmed, a young British Muslim doctor, becomes an outcast in motion. On a whim, she accepts an exciting position in Saudi Arabia. This is not just a new job; this is a chance at adventure in an exotic land she thinks she understands, a place she hopes she will belong. What she discovers is vastly different. The Kingdom is a world apart, a land of unparalleled contrast. She finds rejection and scorn in the places she believed would most embrace her.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Could have been so much more

  • By Claire on 04-21-13

Understanding our Saudi Sisters

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

Reviewed: 03-19-18

I have read many books about women in the Middle East and this was excellent. It was written by a British born, American trained Pakistani Muslim doctor. She moves to Saudi Arabia in 1999 and works in the intensive care and emergency departments of a hospital. Her observations of life there is honest and sometimes heart wrenching. She never was swathed from head to toe before and finds it oppressive and annoying. She makes dear friends and loves certain things about the country and finds others abhorrent. Her description of her Haj pilgrimage was beautiful and very honest. I couldn't put the book down. Nicola Barber did a beautiful job of narrating this book. The bonus interview with Qanta Ahmed at the end was wonderful and very informative.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about how lucky women in the west are compared to there sisters in some other countries. I appreciated the candidness and ability of the author to separate good from bad. The part about the 9/11 attack and the reaction there was eye opening. I would recommend this highly!

  • The Worst Hard Time

  • The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
  • By: Timothy Egan
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor, Ken Burns (introduction)
  • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,909
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,169
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,179

The dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since, and the stories of the people that held on have never been fully told. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan follows a half-dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Fascinating History

  • By Sara on 02-02-14

We sure learned a lot!

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

Reviewed: 01-28-17

My husband and I listened to this book on one of our long drives to see family. Patrick Lawler is a good nonfiction reader, but when he does women's or children's voices he sounds a bit shrill and overdone. Other than that he was good. The story is incredible. Egan uses the stories of a number of people or families who survived or died during the protracted dust bowl. If you think the dust bowl was just Oklahoma, think again. Many states were affected and the toll on people's lives and finances was horrendous. We both felt Egan made us part of the story. He tells not just the fate of these and others, but the likely reason the disaster happened. If you are interested in history as we are, this is really worth a listen. I will never think of this time in our country's history the same way again.