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tess pechka

  • 12
  • reviews
  • 9
  • helpful votes
  • 16
  • ratings
  • Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter

  • By: Ben Goldfarb
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 33

In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America's lakes and rivers. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of "Beaver Believers" recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Satisfyingly detailed

  • By tess pechka on 06-26-18

Satisfyingly detailed

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-26-18

Like most, I had no idea how important beavers are in the environment. Now I do. An object lesson in unforeseen consequences; I hope that beavers can help undo some of the destruction currently being caused by Zinke/Pruitt/Trump. Well-written, chatty at times, good narration. Hope Goldfarb writes more on ecology.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The President Is Missing

  • By: Bill Clinton, James Patterson
  • Narrated by: Dennis Quaid, January LaVoy, Peter Ganim, and others
  • Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11,413
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 10,487
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10,447

The White House is the home of the president of the United States, the most guarded, monitored, closely watched person in the world. So how could a US president vanish without a trace? And why would he choose to do so? An unprecedented collaboration between President Bill Clinton and the world's best-selling novelist, James Patterson, The President Is Missing is a breathtaking story from the pinnacle of power.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Wanted it to be so much better

  • By K. Moeller on 06-18-18

Fun book, but based on a truly terrifying plausible situation.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-11-18

Listen to the sample recording before buying this book. I did not enjoy Quaid's voice, but got used to it; the story was that engrossing.

Here's hoping that Clinton writes more thriller/mystery fiction.

I really wish that our country were working hard and diligently to protect our elections, and everything else, from cyber attacks by hostile countries instead of being so distracted by the continual lies and narcissistic buffoonery that coming from the White House currently.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Calypso

  • By: David Sedaris
  • Narrated by: David Sedaris
  • Length: 6 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,084
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,234
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,163

If you've ever laughed your way through David Sedaris's cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you're getting with Calypso. You'd be wrong. When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And it's as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it's impossible to take a vacation from yourself. With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation - and dark humor - toward middle age and mortality.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent, as always

  • By Ruthie on 05-31-18

Good!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-06-18

This is his best book to date, by far. I cannot imagine where he could go from here.

  • How to Change Your Mind

  • What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
  • By: Michael Pollan
  • Narrated by: Michael Pollan
  • Length: 13 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 6,136
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,544
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5,501

When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction, and anxiety, he did not intend to write what is undoubtedly his most personal book. But upon discovering how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life, he decided to explore the landscape of the mind in the first person as well as the third.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A delightful trip

  • By Paul E. Williams on 05-19-18

Thorough

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-03-18

Pollen balances scientific questions and "touchy, feely" aspects in his exploration and reported findings on these drugs. I highly respect his work in this and other areas. And I see that others also wonder about the possible nexus of material reality and thought; it is no crazier than quantum mechanics...

  • The Soul of America

  • The Battle for Our Better Angels
  • By: Jon Meacham
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders, Jon Meacham
  • Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,351
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,112
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,099

Our current climate of partisan fury is not new, and in The Soul of America Meacham shows us how what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature” have repeatedly won the day. Painting surprising portraits of Lincoln and other presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and LBJ, and illuminating the courage of influential citizen activists and civil rights pioneers, Meacham brings vividly to life turning points in American history. Each of these dramatic hours have been shaped by the contest to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear - a struggle that continues even now.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • He takes the long view, displays pattern,Hopeful

  • By zachary on 07-04-18

Never-before problems, now.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-24-18

I cannot agree with a premise of this book, though I read it hoping to be mistaken. I had hoped that Meacham would indeed offer some concrete approaches to help heal our country.

It is a fine book, full of the improvements/exacerbation of our problems, and it was all gripping stuff. However, I posit that things are different now.

Power and money are increasingly, not decreasingly, concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. The "founding fathers" did not provide any institutional means for dealing with a condition wherein a president and half of the legislators, the ones in the prez's party, work together to subvert our laws. Because of the interference by Russia in our 2016 election, and the lack of preventive actions to protect the upcoming midterms, we cannot even be confident about our VOTES. Now, incontrovertible truth is denied; "fake news".

Certainly I agree that we need to keep fighting for our better angels, though.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Children of Blood and Bone

  • By: Tomi Adeyemi
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 17 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,510
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,074
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,063

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie's Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully Written

  • By Samantha on 03-09-18

Africa IS the mother of us ALL!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-14-18

Tears down my cheeks as I write, having just finished CBB. ( Made a donation to Black Lives Matter, now writing this.) Really good writing. Yes, the characters could have been more complex, found a few little plot holes, blah, blah, blah, but I suspect that Tomi will grow even better as a writer in the sequels, (for which I am seriously jonesing). So much fantasy draws on northern European traditions, this work is, I hope, part of a growing trend in which we finally start learning about other ones, especially from African peoples. Anyway, this old paleface woman hopes for the movies to come from this trilogy, and more Orisha lore. Thank you, Ms. Adeyemi!

  • Beyond Words

  • What Animals Think and Feel
  • By: Carl Safina
  • Narrated by: Carl Safina
  • Length: 16 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 592
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 536
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 533

Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book by a scientist with a heart

  • By Sharon on 11-12-15

Please, read this book!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-07-18

Amazing info and fascinating speculation, accounts of creatures with whom we barely and grudgingly share Earth----you see that I am having trouble writing a sentence about how gripping this book is. Fine narration, amusing, mystifying and heartbreaking accounts of human/other animal relations.

  • Our Inner Ape

  • A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are
  • By: Frans de Waal
  • Narrated by: Alan Sklar
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 470
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 201
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 204

We have long attributed man's violent, aggressive, competitive nature to his animal ancestry. But what if we are just as given to cooperation, empathy, and morality by virtue of our genes? What if our behavior actually makes us apes? What kind of apes are we?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding

  • By Sherry on 10-26-06

Delightful as always, Dr. Dr Waal!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-19-18

I only wish that Audible were to offer all of his books. The contrasts and similarities between chimps and bonobos---and humans, are so interesting. FdW's writing is clear, often deeply funny, and concise.

  • The Overstory

  • By: Richard Powers
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 22 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 538
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 497
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 497

The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fable that range from antebellum New York to the late 20th-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. An air force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits 100 years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Astonishingly powerful writing.

  • By Alexandria on 04-18-18

Complex

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-16-18

Well worth one's time/credit. I probably should wait till I reread before reviewing but I am glad that I took a chance. I found the writing vivid and poetic and the characters engaging. Certainly the subject/problem is vitally important to all Earthlings. I loved this book, tho' the ending sort of ripped my heart out. Now I will check to see what else Powers has written.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Democracy in Chains

  • The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
  • By: Nancy MacLean
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 741
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 665
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 662

Behind today's headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A must read if you believe in democracy

  • By H. L. Nelson on 10-11-17

Democracy in Chains

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-22-17

Everyone in America needs to read this book, especially Trump voters. MacLean connects all of the dots, and we are seeing the radical right's strategies and tactics in action; the deliberate increase in racial tension, militarization of police, serious new attempts to disenfranchise possible Dem voters, ad nauseum.

Trump voters should know the contempt that they are held in by the people (Koch, et all.) who played them for chumps last November.