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Jessica D

San Francisco, CA United States
  • 7
  • reviews
  • 14
  • helpful votes
  • 30
  • ratings
  • The Hate U Give

  • By: Angie Thomas
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 32,659
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 30,190
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 30,076

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This Book Changed My Entire Perspective

  • By Wendi on 01-14-18

Gripping and real, with a dash of optimism

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

Reviewed: 11-22-18

Such an important and timely story. I've seen many of my students grappling with these themes of identity and justice, and this is just the kind of book they need! The main character has a wonderful, compelling narrative voice that anyone will want to have around.

  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

  • By: Michael Chabon
  • Narrated by: David Colacci
  • Length: 26 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,747
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,407
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,434

It's 1939, in New York City. Joe Kavalier, a young artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdiniesque escape, has just pulled off his greatest feat: smuggling himself out of Hitler's Prague. He's looking to make big money, fast, so that he can bring his family to freedom. His cousin, Brooklyn's own Sammy Clay, is looking for a partner in creating the heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit the American dreamscape: the comic book. Inspired by their own fantasies, fears, and dreams, they create the Escapist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Escape From Reality is a Worthy Challenge

  • By Dave on 07-11-12

Even better than in print

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

Reviewed: 10-30-17

The narrator perfectly captures each character's voice, as well as the tone of the era. Hard to stop listening!

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

  • Read by Eddie Redmayne
  • By: J.K. Rowling, Newt Scamander
  • Narrated by: Eddie Redmayne
  • Length: 1 hr and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,903
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,049
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8,035

A set textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since publication, Newt Scamander's masterpiece has entertained wizarding families through the generations. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an indispensable introduction to the magical beasts of the wizarding world. Scamander's years of travel and research have created a tome of unparalleled importance.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • whoops

  • By A. Bunnell on 04-19-17

Meh.

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

Reviewed: 04-26-17

I found it hard to engage with this one. I guess I was expecting more of a narrative; the fictional-expository style didn't capture my attention despite Eddie Redmayne's excellent reading. I chuckled here and there, but I can't say I'm this book was so short.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Maimonides

  • The Life and World of One of Civilization's Greatest Minds
  • By: Joel L. Kraemer
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 19 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 101
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 76
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 75

The first definitive biography of Moses Maimonides, one of the most influential intellects in all of human history, illuminates his life as a philosopher, physician, and lawgiver. Recalling such bestsellers as David McCullough's John Adams and Walter Isaacson's Einstein, Maimonides is a biography on a grand scale, brilliantly explicating one man's life against the background of his time.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great book. Distracting pronunciation errors.

  • By Rabbi Eitan Levy on 04-06-09

Painful mispronunciations

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

Reviewed: 04-26-17

I am a rabbinical student and was very interested to learn more about the life of Maimonides. However, as I listened, the number of hideous mispronunciations grew from amusing to embarrassing to painful.

I'm sure Sean Pratt did his best, but he so obviously speaks neither Spanish nor Hebrew nor Arabic. Biographies are full of proper nouns, and he butchered them often. He stressed the wrong syllable and flattened the vowels beyond recognition. I actually felt bad for the reader--at no point in the audio production did anyone give him any pronunciation coaching? Could they really not find a single actor who could handle the languages of Maimonides's world with aplomb?

It became so distracting that I couldn't even finish the audiobook, preferring to read this book on paper instead. I recommend you do likewise...

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sapiens audiobook cover art
  • Sapiens

  • A Brief History of Humankind
  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,971
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,997
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,904

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six human species inhabited the Earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations, and human rights; to trust money, books, and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sums it up nicely

  • By Mark on 05-15-15

Fascinating, lively, & well-written

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

Reviewed: 03-04-17

It is very rarely that a non-fiction book can keep me sitting in the car, not wanting to get out before the end of the chapter! Sapiens blended many of my favorite disciplines: history, science, psychology, linguistics, and even a bit of svience fiction.
It's well structured and told in just the right level of detail. I encountered many new ideas and connections I hadn't read or thought about before. Yet Harari keeps the pace of the narrative moving swiftly, so I never felt bogged down in minutiae. The language is funny at times, accurate, and often insightful. I found myself "Hmm"-ing thoughtfully at least once a chapter.
Likewise, Derek Perkins handles the reading with confidence, wry humor, and a light touch. Well done all around!

  • The Yiddish Policemen's Union

  • A Novel
  • By: Michael Chabon
  • Narrated by: Peter Riegert
  • Length: 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 666
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 619
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 613

For 60 years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the federal district of Sitka, a temporary safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the district is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story and voice but what's with the music?

  • By Samantha Dunaway Bryant on 09-18-16

A fascinating alternate universe

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

Reviewed: 08-27-16

I loved this in print and it's just as engaging as an audiobook. I rooted for the characters, who felt real, and wished I could visit the Federal District of Sitka just for the experience.

  • The Remains of the Day

  • By: Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,727
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,393
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,377

The Remains of the Day is a profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world in postwar England. At the end of his three decades of service at Darlington Hall, Stevens embarks on a country drive, during which he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving "a great gentleman". But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington's "greatness" and graver doubts about his own faith in the man he served.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An excellent audio book performance

  • By Julie Leto on 08-03-14

Heartbreaking and captivating

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

Reviewed: 05-05-16

I first encountered this book on the very limited English bookshelf at a hostel in Italy. Though I stumbled into it by accident, I loved reading it (and I'll confess, I "permanently borrowed" the copy, which now sits on my bookshelf at home).

This audio performance makes The Remains of the Day even better! Simon Prebble skillfully captures the narrative voice of Mr Stevens, unwaveringly committed to his work and a little oblivious to the world of feelings. Prebble also does a fantastic job of slipping in and out of the voices of the other characters, distinguishing them in a way that feels very natural.

I cried at the end.