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Mark

Waltham, MA, United States
  • 350
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  • helpful votes
  • 383
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  • Reading with Patrick

  • A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship
  • By: Michelle Kuo
  • Narrated by: Michelle Kuo
  • Length: 8 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 78
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78

Recently graduated from Harvard University, Michelle Kuo arrived in the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, as a Teach for America volunteer, bursting with optimism and drive. But she soon encountered the jarring realities of life in one of the poorest counties in America, still disabled by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. In this stirring memoir, Kuo, the child of Taiwanese immigrants, shares the story of her complicated but rewarding mentorship of one student, Patrick Browning.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic book with an upsetting reminder we have much to do

  • By Lorraine Salmon on 11-14-17

Good telling of an inspiring true story

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

Reviewed: 12-06-18

Michelle Kuo has a Harvard degree and defers law school for a year to join Teach For America and work in the Mississippi delta of Arkansas. She works in a poor school for kids (mostly black) who have failed in other schools. In this memoir, Kuo learns how to deal with these challenging students and begins to make a difference in their lives. Patrick is one of her great successes. Fast forward three years. Kuo is ready to graduate from law school when she hers that Patrick is changed with murder. She returns to the delta to help in any way she can. Visiting Patrick each day in jail, she resumes his aborted education. This is an incredibly inspiring story, filled with pain and joy. Kuo's telling of it is good, not great, but her story is so interesting that I would rate this a solid 4.5 stars. This stayed with me even after finishing. Kuo reads the book herself. While not polished, I liked her genuine voice. It might have been better with a professional, or maybe not. I liked this book a lot, regardless. I am a teacher, and found this story real and inspiring.

  • Zero Day

  • By: David Baldacci
  • Narrated by: Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
  • Length: 13 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,730
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,552
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,541

From David Baldacci - the modern master of the thriller and number-one worldwide best-selling novelist - comes a new hero: a lone Army Special Agent taking on the toughest crimes facing the nation. John Puller is a combat veteran and the best military investigator in the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigative Division. His father was an Army fighting legend, and his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison. Puller has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable drive to find the truth.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Big fan of David Baldacci, not a fan of Zero Day

  • By William R. on 11-22-11

Decent mystery

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

Reviewed: 11-30-18

This was a decent mystery. John Puller was sent to a rural town in West Virginia to investigate the murder of an Army general and his family. Puller is a special agent and an Army legend in battle. He teams up with the with a local police officer (and strong woman), and together they unravel a widespread tale of multiple murders. The plot sometimes goes over the top, and the pace is fast at times and slow at times. I liked the characters, and Baldacci is good with dialogue, which kept me engaged. I love the narrator (Ron McLarty), who does most of the reading. The dialogue spoken by females is done by another reader (Orlagh Cassidy), who is okay. This was decent "pass-the-time" fiction, but nothing that stayed with me when not listening. Not Baldacci's best, but okay.

  • Educated

  • A Memoir
  • By: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 22,957
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 20,842
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 20,731

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Other Side of Idaho's Mountains

  • By Darwin8u on 03-28-18

Spellbinding memoir

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

Reviewed: 11-21-18

Tara Westover tells her story of her upbringing in rural Idaho. Her parents were rural Mormon survivalists. She is not sent to school, and instead works with her father's scrapping business. She suffers dangers on the job and abuse from her brother and is unprotected by her delusional parents. She tells the story of her love-hate relationship with her family, and her escape and pursuit of an education. The start is interesting, and then becomes riveting about a third of the way into this. It never slowed down for me after that. This reads like a novel. The reader does a great job as well. This is a painful and inspiring memoir. One of the best books of the year.

  • The Enemy

  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 14 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,604
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,237
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,218

New Year's Day, 1990. The Berlin Wall is coming down. The world is changing. And in a North Carolina "hot-sheets" motel, a two-star general is found dead. His briefcase is missing. Nobody knows what was in it. Within minutes Jack Reacher has his orders: Control the situation. But this situation can't be controlled.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Made me really admire Reacher

  • By CBDC on 09-30-09

High quality mystery

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

Reviewed: 11-14-18

This was my first Jack Reacher novel, and I really enjoyed this. The characters were great and the writing was excellent. There were so many good moments in the book. In many senses, it was a standard military police procedural. Reacher ends out bending many rules to get to the bottom of multiple murders and a big coverup. The subplots include Reacher's relationship with his assistant investigator (Summer, a spunky woman), and Reacher and his brother dealing with their dying mother in Paris. I'd rate the story as on the cusp of a 4 and 5. There were a few spots that dragged a bit in the middle, but just a little. The characters kept me interested enough even when little happened. The reader was great, and boosted this up to a 5 star listen to me. I will certainly try another in this series!

  • Valiant Ambition

  • George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution
  • By: Nathaniel Philbrick
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 13 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,047
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 946
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 943

In September 1776 the vulnerable Continental Army, under an unsure George Washington (who had never commanded a large force in battle), evacuates New York after a devastating defeat by the British army. Three weeks later, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite generals, Benedict Arnold, miraculously succeeds in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain that might have ended the war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic book that every American should read

  • By Ross on 11-02-16

Interesting US history

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

Reviewed: 11-05-18

I have read a lot about George Washington, but little about Benedict Arnold and little about the American Revolution in Upstate New York. Philbrick fills this book with many interesting anecdotes about the war, but the story of Benedict Arnold was my favorite part of this. Arnold's path from patriot and war hero to traitor was pretty fascinating. I found this book entertaining and informative, with some parts moving. I wished the focus had been more exclusively about Arnold (as was the last third of the book), but Philbrick made the time and place come alive for me. Scott Brick is a great narrator, and I am glad that I listened.

  • Children of Time

  • By: Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Narrated by: Mel Hudson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,595
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,399
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,373

Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed stand-alone novel Children of Time is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet. Who will inherit this new Earth? The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating Premise Within an Excellent Story

  • By Kurt Schwoppe on 07-30-17

Slow plot, uninteresting characters

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

Reviewed: 11-05-18

I should say that I read or listen to maybe 1-2 sci-fi novels a year. The plot and/or characters need to be cool, and neither was the case here. The first hour seemed slow background info, and I did not care enough about the science of the created earth-like planets. I was not drawn in. And there was not one character I knew and cared much about. I was hoping this would be as fun as the last sci-fi novel I read (Dark Matter), but it wasn't. Maybe hard core sci-fo fans will love the science enough to stay with this for longer than I did.

  • Hi Bob!

  • By: Bob Newhart
  • Narrated by: Will Ferrell, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, and others
  • Length: 3 hrs and 34 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,778
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,065
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,985

In Hi Bob!, American icon Bob Newhart gets together one-on-one with a handpicked cohort of luminaries in the world of entertainment, whom he happens to be friends with. Bob gets deep with each performer about their aspirations, their careers, how they got started, and how they grew to be where they are today. They make TV shows, movies, or albums, but they all like telling stories.    

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • really well edited, funny, sincere

  • By RCC on 09-24-18

So boring

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

Reviewed: 11-05-18

I used to love the Bob Newhart show, and was excited about listening to this. Bob sounded old and the clips seemed dated. Listened for a while, then quit. Boring to me. The conversations with friends just were not interesting. The sound make some parts too quiet and some too loud. Not for me. Maybe it would have gotten better but I did not have the patience to listen to more.

  • Then She Was Gone

  • A Novel
  • By: Lisa Jewell
  • Narrated by: Helen Duff
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,375
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,878
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,835

Fifteen-year-old Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenage golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her. And then she was gone. Now her mother, Laurel Mack, is trying to put her life back together.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • SO GOOD

  • By Anonymous User on 05-24-18

Could not get into this

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

Reviewed: 11-05-18

I had a hard time following the narrator because my mind would just drift. I also think that this novel was written for a female audience, and the small details did not resonate with me. After an hour or so, I could not listen to another minute of this. I did not care about the plot nor any characters.


0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Abundance

  • The Future Is Better Than You Think
  • By: Steven Kotler, Peter H. Diamandis
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,574
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,078
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,066

We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions of people. This book is an antidote to pessimism by tech-entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hope with Confidence

  • By Dan on 07-25-12

Informative, important, and entertaining

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

Reviewed: 10-21-18

This book of future-prediction interested me from the start, but there was a bit too much repetitiveness in the first half. So many nonfiction books have a couple interesting ideas, and stretch them into a full book. I feared that would be this book. I wasn't. Most of the information and solutions to problems of today came in the second half, which was packed with great stuff. I learned so much about what is going in in the world of science and technology, and how it may lead to a very good future for our planet. It was a relief to read a rosy picture of the future for a change. This book, full of science and history, was inspiring.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Cosmic Serpent

  • DNA and the Origins of Knowledge
  • By: Jeremy Narby
  • Narrated by: James Patrick Cronin
  • Length: 4 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 948
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 862
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 856

This adventure in science and imagination, which the Medical Tribune said might herald "a Copernican revolution for the life sciences", leads the listener through unexplored jungles and uncharted aspects of mind to the heart of knowledge. In a first-person narrative of scientific discovery that opens new perspectives on biology, anthropology, and the limits of rationalism, The Cosmic Serpent reveals how startlingly different the world around us appears when we open our minds to it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very interesting thoughts on the origins of DNA

  • By Bobby Digital on 08-31-16

Slow book with interesting ideas

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

Reviewed: 10-14-18

Are hallucinogenics of Amazonian tribes a way to connect with knowledge locked in our DNA? A western anthropologist experiences this and writes about it. This was too slow moving for me. It could have been a fascinating article but was stretched into a full book. I skipped through to get the ideas but was too bored to listen to the whole thing. Interesting ideas, though.