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Susan C. S.

Eastern Pennsylvania, USA
  • 19
  • reviews
  • 154
  • helpful votes
  • 51
  • ratings
  • Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo

  • A Novel
  • By: Boris Fishman
  • Narrated by: Boris Fishman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 20

Maya Shulman and Alex Rubin met in 1992, when she was a Ukrainian exchange student with "a devil in [her] head" about becoming a chef instead of a medical worker, and he was the coddled son of Russian immigrants wanting to toe the water of a less predictable life. Twenty years later Maya Rubin is a medical worker in suburban New Jersey, and Alex his father's second in the family business.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • such a terrible reader it's not even worth it

  • By Programmer on 05-02-16

Nearly ruined by Author reading his own book.

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

Reviewed: 04-05-16

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would not recommend this audio book because the reading was nearly intolerable. I don't know why so many writers insist on reading their own works. They're rarely good at it. Writing is one thing, reading as performance is another thing entirely. Mr. Fishman reads the prose as if he's reading scripture, with a singsong approach that is both boring and irritating. I think this was an rather intriguing book, but I'm really not sure. The narration stood in the way.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Gateway to Freedom

  • The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad
  • By: Eric Foner
  • Narrated by: J. D. Jackson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 79
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 72
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 70

The dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom. They are little known to history: Sydney Howard Gay, an abolitionist newspaper editor; Louis Napoleon, a furniture polisher; Charles B. Ray, a black minister. At great risk they operated the Underground Railroad in New York, a city whose businesses, banks, and politics were deeply enmeshed in the slave economy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lincoln Rocky

  • By Mohamed on 02-21-15

Eye opening and inspiring

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

Reviewed: 10-09-15

Any additional comments?

This book quietly dispels any notion that abolition was a humanitarian movement of white people bringing salvation to black slaves. The complexity of politics, money, ambition, religion, race relations, moral power, evil, and the overwhelming desire to escape from bondage -- it all plays out here in detail. Above all the detail of the many black people who worked tirelessly in great danger for decades to bring about both personal and societal transformation. This is a book to be read to get a much clearer picture of the past era that has been so formative of our present. Also a book to be read if you want to think about how apparently impossible change might be brought about in our time.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Book of Numbers

  • By: Joshua Cohen
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heybourne
  • Length: 22 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 25

When the enigmatic billionaire founder and CEO of Tetration, the world's most powerful tech company, is diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, he hires a failed novelist, Josh Cohen, to ghostwrite his memoirs. This tech mogul, known only as "Principal", takes Josh deep into his own mind, and outlines the history of Tetration, which started by revolutionizing the search engine and later ventured into smartphones, computer manufacturing, and the surveillance of American citizens.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ignore the reviews. A funny and engrossing book.

  • By Susan C. S. on 07-13-15

Ignore the reviews. A funny and engrossing book.

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

Reviewed: 07-13-15

Any additional comments?

I found this book interesting all the way through, building as it went along. An excellent reader for the text, which might have been off-puttimg on paper. Can't understand the extremely negative reviews. Give it a try. If you don't like it, return it.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Seveneves

  • A Novel
  • By: Neal Stephenson
  • Narrated by: Mary Robinette Kowal, Will Damron
  • Length: 31 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 16,507
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,335
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15,328

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • So Much Potential

  • By Kurt Schwoppe on 06-08-17

Up there with Anathem.

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

Reviewed: 05-28-15

Where does Seveneves rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I always like a good Stephenson novel, but this one is far above the crowd. A tour de force. Maintains coherence and a vital structure through all kinds of adventures and picaresgue turns. LIke Anathem, it depends upon the creation of a world, a world that emanates from the one we know, and grows far out from there.

What does Mary Robinette Kowal and Will Damron bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Kowal is uncanny, exactly the right voice for the voice of this prose. This is one of those books where a brilliant narrator carries the listener gracefully through a text that might be annoying or even boring if read in print. Damron does an excellent job also.

Any additional comments?

I have no idea why reviewers and commenters complain about the "depth" of the characters. I knew these characters exactly as well as I needed to. Loved some, hated others, and could see how others wove in and out of the story, always in interesting webs.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Washington Journal

  • Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon's Downfall
  • By: Elizabeth Drew
  • Narrated by: Jo Anna Perrin
  • Length: 22 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74

Unfolding over the course of a single year, from September 1973 to August 1974, Washington Journal is the record of the near-dissolution of a nation's political conscience - told from within. In this book, we see corruption in its most prosaic and grandest forms, along with occasional flashes of decency, ethics, and humanity, and other sights rarely witnessed in the wilds of the capital.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating first hand view!!

  • By Kathy on 03-01-15

Fascinating history

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

Reviewed: 07-25-14

Any additional comments?

I lived through the Watergate era and read Ms. Drew's writings at the time. Reading it again is even more fascinating and revealing. Never a dull moment in the entire book. It brings it all back, but with the changed perspective of knowing what has happened since then.

I have to say, looking back at that time from the present, I am appalled almost to the point of despair, seeing the erosion of constitutional protections in our society in our current time. The level of spying perpetrated by the Nixon administration looks absolutely childlike compared with the universal blanket surveillance practices by the NSA. Not to mention the erosion of due process and rule of law that we now accept. And above all the limitless oceans of money that are now accepted as part of the political process.

All of this makes the Watergate era look almost like a golden age of innocence, even though Ms. Drew has a very sharp eye for the deep significance of those events. Highly recommended.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Divorce Papers

  • A Novel
  • By: Susan Rieger
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman, Arthur Morey, Kathe Mazur
  • Length: 13 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 134
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 118
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 119

Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old line New England firm where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one weekend, with all the big partners away, Sophie must handle the intake interview for the daughter of the firm's most important client....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Singularly unsuited for audio.

  • By Susan C. S. on 03-23-14

Singularly unsuited for audio.

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

Reviewed: 03-23-14

Any additional comments?

It wouldn’t necessarily be a problem to transform an epistolary novel into an audio book, but this particular novel has a lot of drawbacks for audio. If you want to hear specific telephone numbers, addresses, zip codes, and office jargon read over and over with seriousness, it might work for you.

Even worse, the novel depends heavily upon the presentation of financial accounting, so you get to hear the SAME sets of numbers read out in detail several times in succession, and then hear them again slightly altered, and repeated, later on. This goes on throughout the book. If you were reading with your eyes, you would get the point at once, and move on. You would not carefully read over each line of each document once you realized (which you certainly would) that the numbers and verbiage in each repeated document are the same. The author can't be faulted for this, since the book was certainly written to be seen on the page, not listened to. Whether it actually rises to the level of "novel" on the page, I can't say.

An unrelated problem is an insufferably self-involved central character. I realize that this is supposed to be part of the point of the novel, but our poor protagonist is such a collection of predictable clichés as to be sort of sad. This is one of those novels where we’re expected to believe that our hero is so spectacularly brilliant that all opposition fades in the light of her talent, but of the talent we never see evidence.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Ladies' Paradise

  • By: Emile Zola
  • Narrated by: Lee Ann Howlett
  • Length: 16 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 66
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 63

Country girl Denise Baudu arrives in Paris hoping for a position in her uncle's clothing shop. However, her uncle's shop, along with other small shops in the area, is doing poorly. This is due to the large store across the street - The Ladies' Paradise - which is swallowing up the small specialty stores by offering 'one-stop shopping' at discounted prices. 19th Century Paris is experiencing the dawn of the department store. Despite her loyalty to her uncle, Denise is drawn to the progressive Ladies' Paradise and it's owner, the driven but charismatic Monsieur Mouret.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • rich and layered use of description

  • By Gaele on 04-15-14

Narrator stands in the way of the book.

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

Reviewed: 01-28-14

How could the performance have been better?

This is an incomprehensible choice of narrator for this book. Ms. Howlett butchers the pronunciation of all the French proper names, place names, and particularly street names (which play an unusually large part in this narrative). I don't ask for perfection in pronunciation of French words in an English translation, but Howlett's pronunciation is so bad it's practically comic. Encumbered by this, she mangles the rhythm of the prose, even in English.

In addition, she reads all of the younger women characters in a voice suitable for very young children. It adds a surreal element to the narrative that was certainly not intended by the author.

Was The Ladies' Paradise worth the listening time?

I found the story quite fascinating, but a struggle to follow because of the reader.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • All the King's Men

  • By: Robert Penn Warren
  • Narrated by: Michael Emerson
  • Length: 20 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,563
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,116
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,111

The fictionalized account of Louisiana's colorful and notorious governor, Huey Pierce Long, All the King's Men follows the startling rise and fall of Willie Stark, a country lawyer in the Deep South of the 1930s. Beset by political enemies, Stark seeks aid from his right-hand man Jack Burden, who will bear witness to the cataclysmic unfolding of this very American tragedy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully presented

  • By Cheimon on 10-12-08

How have I not read this book before?

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

Reviewed: 09-17-13

Any additional comments?

In a long life of reading, I have always known of this book, but thought it wasn't for me. Pegged as the Great American Political Novel, it sounded limited to me. If I want to read about American politics, I'll read non-fiction. I have had just the wonderful experience, at 69, of reading one of the most interesting novels of my life for the first time! And better yet, it comes from my own country, in my own language, and written not long before I was born. I'm saying all this to convey how personal this book feels. I feel my parents, myself, and my children in this book, even though our personal details have no similarity to anything in the book. And beware, there is NOTHING comforting here. What a book. And well read.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Visitation Street

  • By: Ivy Pochoda
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 134
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 117
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 119

Summer in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Bored and listless, 15-year-olds June and Val are looking for fun. Val wants to do something wild and a little crazy: take a raft out onto the bay. Only Val survives, washing ashore in the weeds, bruised and unconscious. This shocking event echoes through the lives of Red Hook's diverse residents. In Visitation Street, Ivy Pochoda combines intensely vivid prose with breathtaking psychological insight to explore a cast of solitary souls, pulled by family, love, betrayal, and hope, who yearn for a chance to break free.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Visitation Street - An odd place to visit

  • By Janet on 07-24-13

A rare book.

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

Reviewed: 08-31-13

Any additional comments?

This is a rare book that becomes more interesting, more compelling, and more evocative as it progresses. Too often, it seems an author has a wonderful idea, but can't sustain it. I hope Ivy Pochoda has a long and fruitful writing life. She seems to have confidence in her reader, as well as in herself.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

  • A Novel
  • By: Anthony Marra
  • Narrated by: Colette Whitaker
  • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,134
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,016
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,019

Anthony Marra transports us to a snow-covered village in Chechnya, where eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night, accusing him of aiding Chechen rebels. Across the road their lifelong neighbor and family friend Akhmed has also been watching, fearing the worst when the soldiers set fire to Havaa’s house. But when he finds her hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A bleak, beautiful debut

  • By Ryan on 11-06-13

I'll need to read it again to do it justice

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

Reviewed: 06-08-13

Any additional comments?

Every laudatory word in the reviews is deserved by this wonderful book. I'm not going to even try to describe or explain. Read it.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful