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Claire

  • 10
  • reviews
  • 105
  • helpful votes
  • 19
  • ratings
  • The Paying Guests

  • By: Sarah Waters
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 21 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,527
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,289
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2,297

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Tedious

  • By Loretta R. Cooper on 10-14-14

good story and well written

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

Reviewed: 12-20-14

I read mostly classic fiction and find that the shortfall of most modern fiction is that it's badly written, even if the story is good. This was both a good story and the writing was good.

  • Veganist

  • Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World
  • By: Kathy Freston
  • Narrated by: Karen White
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 129
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 103
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 103

Kathy Freston wasn't born a vegan. The best-selling author and renowned wellness expert actually grew up on chicken-fried steak and cheesy grits and loved nothing more than BBQ ribs and vanilla milkshakes. Not until her 30s did she embrace the lifestyle of a veganist - someone who eats a plant-based diet not just for their own personal well-being but for the whole web of benefits it brings to our ecosystem and beyond. Kathy's shift toward this new life was gradual -she leaned into it -but the impact was profound. Now Kathy shows us how to lean into the veganist life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great resource for a beginner like me

  • By D Dunford on 09-14-11

dubious science and preachy tone

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

Reviewed: 04-25-13

I only got half way into the first chapter after the introduction— and I have to stop. The author is quoting dubious science I know to be false, such as “meat rots in the intestines” so now I can’t trust any of her other claims. She says we weren't “meant” to eat meat; look at our teeth; look at our intestines—taking on the whole Paleo clan in one statement? What does “meant” mean anyway? She didn't use the word “evolved” once in her argument which is what the word “meant” would imply….(unless she’s an evolution denier, never thought of that….)

She trashed the Atkins diet saying that its preliminary success is only due to water loss and an overall calorie reduction (what??) when you cut carbs out of your diet and eat only protein and fat. Then, in the same breath, she makes the same claim for a vegan diet – that overall calories are reduced so you'll lose weight without even trying.

Also, the tone is far more preachy than I can tolerate; I’m here to learn, not join a cult.

I eat a mostly plant-based diet and I appreciate (what I’m learning) are its benefits. But I don’t feel that the benefits Freston is touting are actually inherent in the diet. For example, she says that “all your cravings will go away” and that you’ll just never crave another doughnut. Some of us know it’s not quite that cut-and-dry. My cravings are reduced, for sure, but I’m not cured of my tendency to overeat – my cravings are a dopamine/acetylcholine brain imbalance (i.e. addiction) AS WELL AS nutritional deficiency.

I just finished listening to Fat Chance, by Robert H. Lusting, and it was chalk-full of nutritional facts I could trust – I could trust them because I’ve read probably hundreds of books on nutrition and I’m starting to be able to tell the facts from the myths. And his book even cleared up some issues I’ve been confused about: Like why are Gary Taubes and Dean Ornish are on such opposite ends of the spectrum, yet both right?? So this book was really good; and going from that to this one from Kathy Freston was a big step backwards.

And also the narration was annoying. I’m quite picky about narration so I wouldn't have mentioned it; it’s probably fine for most people. But since I’m unhappy with the book I’ll include this pet peeve: Why do narrators read non-fiction like they’re selling an insurance package? The pauses, the subtle sarcasm, the subtle patronizing tones – it’s trying to sell me something! But I don’t need to be “sold”; I already bought the book! I just want to learn some stuff. I call it the “sensational” voice; I’m so tired of it.

I can't recommend this book, even to the novice-nutritionist, because the claims are at least partly false (didn't listen to the whole book) and you don't want that as a foundation to your nutritional knowledge base. There are tons of great reasons to go vegan, vegetarian, raw-vegan -- but Freston isn't giving them to you straight up.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Gulp

  • Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
  • By: Mary Roach
  • Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,139
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,805
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,811

Best-selling author Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. Roach takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: The questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Awesome, quirky read!

  • By Heather on 06-24-14

Interesting and funny

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

Reviewed: 04-14-13

This book was very interesting and had some funny bits. I certainly learned some things about the body and digestion. It was entertaining and informative. I found some of the anecdotes just a touch on the insensitive/judgmental side...a little compassion for the unfortunate people who made the record books with their unusual stories would have felt better to me, as a listener. If we must be voyeurs we can be compassionate voyeurs, no? Still an excellent listen; it kept my attention, gave me some laughs, and made me a little bit more informed. The narration was good (read: not annoying).

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The Antidote

  • Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking
  • By: Oliver Burkeman
  • Narrated by: Oliver Burkeman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,967
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,739
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,732

The Antidote is a series of journeys among people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. What they have in common is a hunch about human psychology: that it’s our constant effort to eliminate the negative that causes us to feel so anxious, insecure, and unhappy. And that there is an alternative "negative path" to happiness and success that involves embracing the things we spend our lives trying to avoid.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Antidote explores the negative path.

  • By Bonny on 05-15-14

A really worthwhile listen; a truly helpful book.

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

Reviewed: 03-29-13

I really enjoyed this book. I’m going to listen to it again so that I can soak up the points better. Don’t be fooled by the title into thinking this book is negative in theme—it really is about happiness. It brings together philosophies we are (probably) already familiar with like Buddhism and Stoicism in ways that are easier to understand and apply to everyday life and that refute the nauseating mantras of the ‘cult of optimism’ and reveals it as the hunt for fool’s gold that it is.

I’ve listened to many ‘self-improvement’ books. This book has already done more to ‘improve’ my ‘self’ than all the others combined. A truly helpful book.

46 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • The Know-It-All

  • One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World
  • By: A. J. Jacobs
  • Narrated by: Geoffrey Cantor
  • Length: 15 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 583
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 308
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 309

Early in his career, A.J. Jacobs put his Ivy League education to work at Entertainment Weekly. He emerged five years later knowing which stars have fake boobs, which stars have toupees, which have both, and not much else. This realization led Jacobs on a life-changing quest: to read the entire contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica, all 33,000 pages, all 44 million words.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very enjoyable

  • By Linda on 04-10-10

boring

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

Reviewed: 09-17-12

I kept waiting for this to get interesting...I gave up and didn't finish it. I found the author ego-centric and shallow.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Evil Genius

  • By: Wilkie Collins
  • Narrated by: John Bolen
  • Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 18

Wilkie Collins' most financially successful novel, The Evil Genius, opens with a jury determining the fate of a sea captain whose ship allegedly facilitated a diamond theft. The story develops into a powerful novel of Victorian private life, including deception, adultery, and divorce...

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Story is fine, but not a mystery.

  • By Margaret on 06-06-07

great story

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

Reviewed: 09-17-12

This is a fun little story and would make a great movie: the characters are well developed, interesting and multi-faceted, the story has twists and turns and it all ends happily ever after. It’s funny too. Maybe I’ll try my hand at screenplay-writing…. “and the Oscar for best adaptation of a novel goes to….”

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte

  • By: Syrie James
  • Narrated by: Bianca Amato
  • Length: 16 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 556
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 501
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 496

From Syrie James, the best-selling author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, comes a novel that captures the passionate heart and restless soul of Charlotte Brontë—the author who gave the world Jane Eyre while longing for a soulmate.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Twice a year

  • By Victoria Evangelina on 03-23-12

unlikely

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

Reviewed: 09-17-12

I think Charlotte would roll over in her grave. I assume the facts are based in truth, but the story suggests Charlotte, reluctant to marry beneath her station, finds herself justified in her choice by the surprise that her lowly curate is, in fact, rich. That makes everything alright.
Her devoted curate, showing constant love for eight years, then gives her a five day “silent treatment” right after they’re married because he eavesdrops on a partial conversation and doesn’t like what he hears. There is no real love, devotion or compassion shown by these characters and I feel certain (having read all of Charlotte’s novels) that this imagined biography would make her sad and humiliated.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Dr Wortle's School

  • By: Anthony Trollope
  • Narrated by: Timothy West
  • Length: 6 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 96
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 96

Dr Wortle's School introduces the unassuming Mr. Peacocke and his polite, newly-wed bride, as they join the teaching staff of an elite and exclusive Christian boys' school. Dr. Wortle, a devoted English scholar and the headmaster of the seminary academy, welcomes his two new teachers, confident that they will uphold the high standards of education at the school.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What is a Little Bigamy Among Friends?

  • By Joseph R on 08-29-09

Trollope is amazing, and Timothy West is amazing

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

Reviewed: 04-18-12

This is my first and only review of a Trollope novel. It is not my favourite of his novels, but I think it’s in the top five. I love ALL of Trollope’s novels and have listened to almost all of them available on Audible.

I’m a fan of classic fiction and I appreciate good classical writing. My favourite another’s are Dostoevsky, Jane Austen, Willkie Collins… and now Trollope. I went through an Audible Trollope marathon and started to find the books all resembled one another so much I was losing track of which characters stared in which books. So I went on to some modern fiction (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and some other classics like the Count of Monte Cristo and Madame Bovary. Then I went back to Trollope and am now convinced that he is one of the best writers I’ve come across. His characters make you love them AND hate them, sympathize with them AND censure them. I’m very sad that I’ve almost listened to them all.

My favourite is The Way We Live Now, but they are all really good. I recommend listening to the chronicled books in their proper sequence, so you don’t get confused (there are websites that can help) and I recommend the recordings narrated by Timothy West; his voice is perfect for these novels.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life

  • By: Russell L. Blaylock
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 20 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 90
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 70
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 67

Learn how the chemicals and compounds you encounter every day can lead to unexpected health complications and life-threatening disorders. This newly revised edition of Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life covers some of the hottest topics in health and nutrition: heavy metal toxicity; food additives; the vaccine controversy; fluoride poisoning; antioxidants; protecting your brain from the ravages of disease and aging; the role of fats in health; pesticides and other chemicals.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Tough listen but really educational

  • By Doug on 05-12-12

Is this really science?

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

Reviewed: 02-01-12

I’ve listened to the first five chapters of this book and I can’t finish it. My chief objection is the continual references to god, such as “in his infinite wisdom, god made our brains so that etc. etc.” and in reference to our brain’s capacity for spiritualism he says “most of us believe in a higher power...” (really, ya sure about that?) I just don’t want hear god stuff in a scientific book; the credibility is lost as far as I’m concerned. I was really surprised to see that no one else commented on it. I listen to scientific books all the time, and no doubt some of the authors are religious, as is Blaylock, but must we hear god talk mixed in with scientific references? (Don’t most scientific writers know to keep it to themselves?) I tried to set aside my discomfiture and absorb the information, but by the fifth reference or so I just couldn’t trust the author’s integrity any more. I’m an atheist—when someone talks to me as though god were a real thing, they may as well be talking about puff the magic dragon. They seem loonie to me, and everything else they say could be all make-believe too, for all I know.

But not just that, I found the author didn’t explain the WHY behind the facts—that’s how we learn and remember things, but understanding why they are so. So instead of reflecting to myself “cool, that’s interesting” as I often do listening to science based books, I found myself trying to memorize the facts so that I might be able to apply the stuff to my life in some meaningful way. But all I can remember is “mercury is bad, note to self: stay away from mercury” and “magnesium is good, take some of that”. It just got really boring. There’s got to be a better nutrition book out there.

32 of 53 people found this review helpful

  • Your Brain at Work

  • Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long
  • By: David Rock
  • Narrated by: Bob Walter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,038
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,399
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,366

Meet Emily and Paul: The parents of two young children, Emily is the newly promoted VP of marketing at a large corporation while Paul works from home or from clients' offices as an independent IT consultant. Their lives, like all of ours, are filled with a bewildering blizzard of emails, phone calls, yet more emails, meetings, projects, proposals, and plans. Just staying ahead of the storm has become a seemingly insurmountable task.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting Insights into the Brain

  • By Tom Johnson on 11-28-12

...Thing is, the narration is terrible.

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

Reviewed: 10-29-11

This is a really interesting and applicable book. It provides really clear strategies for steering your thinking and avoiding behavioural mishaps at work. Thing is, the narration is terrible. I mean terrible, distracting and annoying. This is particularly frustrating when you’re trying really hard to pay attention to the valuable lessons. One of the other reviewers described it perfectly: the odd inflections on the wrong syllables—he sounds like Agent Smith, from The Matrix movies. I recommend you buy the book and read it – great content, not a good audio version.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful