LISTENER

bookbug

Knoxville, TN
  • 11
  • reviews
  • 39
  • helpful votes
  • 88
  • ratings
  • Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography

  • By: Lawrence J. Quirk, William Schoell
  • Narrated by: Jim Bratton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

Joan Crawford was a leading film personality for more than 50 years, from her beginnings as a dancer in silent films of the 1920s, to her portrayals of working-class shop girls in the Depression '30s, to her Oscar-winning performances in classic films such as Mildred Pierce. Today, many picture Crawford only as a wire hanger-wielding shrew rather than the personification of Hollywood glamour. This new biography of Crawford sets the record straight, going beyond the gossip to find the truth about the legendary actress. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Four stars, not Five

  • By bookbug on 02-13-19

Four stars, not Five

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-13-19

I would have given the book five stars, but I happen to believe that Christina Crawford is telling the truth about her child abuse. So did much of Hollywood. Both authors practically called her a liar. However, other than their smear on Christina and her adopted brother Christopher, I appreciated the text describing Joan's career and life. She needed this kind of attention because she deserves a critical look at her life, movies and times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • In Pieces

  • By: Sally Field
  • Narrated by: Sally Field
  • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,229
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,788
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,763

In this intimate, haunting, literary memoir read by the author, an American icon tells her story for the first time, in her own gorgeous words - about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Riveting Life Story of Sally Field's

  • By D. A. Wright on 09-20-18

Sally's "Pieces" from the Heart is transforming

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-30-18

Sally Field produces a well-written, dramatic landscape of her life and thoughts. From her needy childhood to her teenage success (which made her uncomfortable) to her romances (including a bossy Burt Reynolds), Ms. Field had a final destination: to find herself. How do the pieces fit? Like all women, she discovers that she is the herorine of her story. And that compelling story will transform other readers and listeners. The audible is wonderful to hear with Sally's soft yet authoritative voice. This book reminds me of Jane Fonda's autobiography of My Life so Far which Fonda also narrated. Both discuss complex family relationships with parents and stepparents, including sexual abuse. Most listeners will become Sally's friend even though she insists she has few of them. Maybe she doesn't know how much the people in the dark love and appreciate her.




1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Dennis Hopper

  • The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel
  • By: Peter L. Winkler
  • Narrated by: Greg Itzin
  • Length: 16 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 75
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 66
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 66

One of America's most intriguing show-business luminaries and true rebels, Dennis Hopper's amazing life was a roller-coaster series of triumphs and failures. Always intent on proving his genius and leaving a legacy, the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated Hopper acted in more than 115 movies and four TV series, directed seven films, and passionately pursued an artist's life as a photographer and creator and collector of modern art.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sex, Drugs, & Hollywood Money

  • By Susie on 11-28-12

Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

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

Reviewed: 12-24-12

Like Lord Byron, Dennis Hopper lived his life with no moral boundaries. This may be shocking to some listeners, but somehow I think Hopper would be pleased that he is at last considered worthy of a biography. I have not read this book, and, after listening to the wonderful narration, I don't think I want to. The narration keeps the book entertaining because the narrator adapts all forms of accents (Australian, British, etc.) and gives a close interpretation of Hopper's voice, even Hopper's weird laugh. Hopper's life included so many others: Peter Fonda, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, etc. From Hopper's beginning in Kansas to his death in 2010, the author gives a revealing and honest look at Dennis Hopper's life, art, and philosophy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Dark Side of Genius

  • The Life of Alfred Hitchcock
  • By: Donald Spoto
  • Narrated by: Jeff Riggenbach
  • Length: 23 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 200
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 179
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 184

Acclaimed biographer Donald Spoto explores the roots of Hitchcock’s obsessions - with food, murder, and idealized love, among others - and traces the origins of his incomparable, bizarre genius, from his childhood and education to the golden years of his career. Based on interviews with his writers, actors, and longtime associates, and on exhaustive research, The Dark Side of Genius is the definitive biography of Alfred Hitchcock.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hitch's life and phobias keep you "Spellbound"

  • By bookbug on 12-24-12

Hitch's life and phobias keep you "Spellbound"

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

Reviewed: 12-24-12

Having read this book decades ago, I was thrilled to purchase this audiobook. It's just as fascinating as I remembered. If you are looking for technical details of Hitchcock's movies, forget this one. However, if you want a psychological analysis of Hitch's life and his many phobias, you will be spellbound. Born the son of a Cockney grocer, Alfred Hitchcock began writing titles for silent movies. All Hitchcock's movies contain his fears, fascinations (especially with his leading ladies), and phobias. The author, Donald Spoto, was the first to dehumanize Hitch's genius by revealing his dark side, but somehow this makes future viewings of Hitchcock's films more fascinating.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Marilyn Monroe

  • The Biography
  • By: Donald Spoto
  • Narrated by: Anna Fields
  • Length: 22 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 213
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 201
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 197

Fifty years after her death, Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe still beguiles the world, her image enthralling millions. Many books have attempted to explain her allure and tell her story, but none has succeeded as well as this work by acclaimed biographer Donald Spoto. Spoto’s exhaustive research uncovers a conspiracy of silence, allowing him to present the facts, free from often-repeated myths and speculation. Granted access to more than thirty-five thousand pages of formerly sealed files containing letters, diaries, appointment books, and other intimate papers, he also interviewed nearly two hundred people who had never before spoken on record.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe

  • By bookbug on 12-24-12

The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe

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

Reviewed: 12-24-12

Monroe's life is full of mystery, from her birth to her death. Donald Spoto tries to solve this mystery, but I don't always agree with his conclusions. For example, was Monroe's psychiatrist responsible for her death? Was Robert Kennedy completely innocent of an affair with Monroe? This is Spoto's conclusion. However, I'm glad this audiobook finally made it to Audible. Narration is fine, not great. The afterword gives some thoughtful reflections on the Monroe "cottage industry" that was primarily started by Robert Slatzer and others.This book will keep you thinking about the unanswered questions of Monroe's life and death, even if you don't agree with the author's conclusions.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Ayn Rand and the World She Made

  • By: Anne C. Heller
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 19 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 316
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 184
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 190

Ayn Rand is the author of two phenomenally best-selling ideological novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, which have sold over 12 million copies in the United States alone. Through them, she built a right-wing cult following in the late 1950s and became the guiding light of Libertarianism and of White House economic policy in the 1960s and '70s. Her defenses of radical individualism and of selfishness as a "capitalist virtue" have permanently altered the American cultural landscape.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good Premises with Contradictions

  • By Patrick King on 12-17-11

Not Necessarily for the Novice

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

Reviewed: 07-08-12

The novice reader may not know Ayn Rand's philosophy, although the author does attempt to explain her philosophy within Rand's biography. Perhaps first acquiring "The World of Atlas Shrugged" (available on audible.com) will make Rand's philosophy more understandable. If you are familiar with the concept of "Objectivism," you will enjoy listening to how Ayn Rand's personal life led her to her ideology that many Libertarians and economic advisors (Allan Greenspan) have admired. The narration is well-read, but the overall story is actually more dramatically presented in Barbara Brandton's book "The Passion of Ayn Rand" (not available in audible). However, I've enjoyed listening to this biography on several occasions and I've learned something new each time, but be aware that a little background on Rand will be helpful.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Dorothy Parker

  • By: Marion Meade
  • Narrated by: Grace Conlin
  • Length: 17 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 126
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 86
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84

She was known for her outrageous one-liners, her ruthless theater criticism, her clever verses and bittersweet stories. But there was another side to Dorothy Parker, a private life set on a course of destruction.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • heartbreaking and hilarious

  • By Heimo on 01-05-10

Witty, informative biography

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

Reviewed: 06-13-12

In spite of Dorothy Parker's sad, tragic life, her point of view gives a cynical, humorous twist to all the tragedies she encounters. I've heard this book many times and I always enjoy it because of Dorothy's complexity (insanity?) and the people she knew: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Gerald and Sara Murphy, and, of course, the Algonquin Round Table (Robert Benchley, Alexander Woolcutt, etc.). Dorothy's sarcastic quips are a quick relief from the heartbreaking choices she makes as a pre-feminist writer: hiding her Jewish background, selecting handsome (gay?) men that she emasculates, attempting suicide several times, embracing the fast life of NYC and Hollywood, naively supporting Communistic causes, and failing to complete a long-awaited book. However, Dorothy Parker's short stories and poetry are still relevant today, especially for feminists and literature lovers. Narration is fine, but a couple of phrases like "turn over the tape for side 2" can be jarring. I hope you enjoy this audiobook. I did and still do.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Hemingses of Monticello

  • An American Family
  • By: Annette Gordon-Reed
  • Narrated by: Karen White
  • Length: 30 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 535
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 367
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 365

This epic work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826. It brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson but also their children and Hemings's siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson's wife, Martha.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worried at first

  • By Phillip on 12-13-08

An American History Masterpiece

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

Reviewed: 06-03-12

Trying to understand how slavery became a Southern legal institution is essential to understanding American history.The author attempts this arduous task by revealing the relationship of two families through four generations, one black, another white. The Hemings and the Jeffersons were entangled long before Sally Hemings came into Thomas Jefferson's life. Sally was the half-sister of Thomas Jefferson's deceased wife--a mind-boggling thought the author tries to articulate. This audible book is as fascinating as the book and is narrated well. One criticism: the author keeps explaining again and again how we need to realize attitudes were different during the formation of the Jamestown colony. That is pretty obvious, although I don't remember thinking that as I read the book. However, all sides of the slavery issue are presented, including philosophical questions of the fact that the United States permitted slavery while proclaiming itself a democracy. The best part is the "love" story between Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Why didn't Sally remain in Paris instead of going back with Jefferson as his slave? Did she regret her choice? Why did Jefferson make a "treaty" with Sally to "free" her adult children? Did Jefferson love Sally or is it impossible to love someone you legally own? The answers are not fully resolved because scholars simply don't know, but the questions are intriguing and thought-provoking.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • By Myself and Then Some

  • By: Lauren Bacall
  • Narrated by: Lauren Bacall
  • Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 180
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 134
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 135

The epitome of grace, independence, and wit, Lauren Bacall continues to astound generations with her audacious spirit and on-screen excellence. Together with Humphrey Bogart, she produced some of the most electric scenes in movie history, and their romance on and off screen made them Hollywood's most celebrated couple.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • She has such a great voice! A great Listen.

  • By LB in Dallas on 07-13-05

A Must Have for Hollywood Fans

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-02-09

The biography is one of the best written of all Hollywood biographies, and to have the author, Lauren Bacall, read her memoirs in her smoky voice is sheer heaven. Highly recommended.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Biography: Lizzie Borden audiobook cover art
  • Biography: Lizzie Borden

  • By: A&E Television Networks
  • Narrated by: uncredited
  • Length: 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 107
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 68

Did Lizzie Borden really take an axe and give her mother 40 whacks and her father 41? She was acquitted, but controversy still rages over the century-old double murder case. This documentary digs for the facts.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Mostly good

  • By steve on 04-14-11

Excellent audio production

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-02-09

This book is not the author's best biography. Most information about Grace Kelly has been around for years, and this book adds nothing new. However, the production is outstanding with classical music provided during the transitions.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful