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Roberta L. Ruben

  • 28
  • reviews
  • 68
  • helpful votes
  • 174
  • ratings
  • Alias Grace

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Margaret Atwood, Sarah Gadon
  • Length: 15 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,472
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,352
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,345

It's 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Read the book after watching the series.

  • By Sheri Martin on 12-30-17

Women Surviving the 19th Century Northern Wilderness

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

Reviewed: 07-04-18

Reflections on the life of a woman accused of murder when she was 15 and living in the Canadian wilderness. Part 1 of the tale is told through the eyes of a child who immigrated from Ireland with a large family try to find a better life. Part 2 reflects life in prison, the trial and what the prisoner could remember of the murders she witnessed. Part 3: Her finally release from prison 30 years after being caught. Author development of the characters in the story fully. Description of historic events were convincing and wonderfully written. Excellent Reading of this historic novel.

  • Where the Jews Aren't

  • The Sad and Absurd Story of Birobidzhan, Russia's Jewish Autonomous Region
  • By: Masha Gessen
  • Narrated by: Christina Delaine
  • Length: 5 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

In 1929, the Soviet government set aside a sparsely populated area in the Soviet Far East for settlement by Jews. The place was called Birobidzhan. The idea of an autonomous Jewish region was championed by Jewish Communists, Yiddishists, and intellectuals, who envisioned a haven of post-oppression Jewish culture. By the mid-1930s tens of thousands of Soviet Jews, as well as about a thousand Jews from abroad, had moved there.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Jewish World of Our Ancestors

  • By Roberta L. Ruben on 06-16-18

The Jewish World of Our Ancestors

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

Reviewed: 06-16-18

Very moving. It revealed what happened to the Russian Jews who were not killed at the turn of the 20th Century and lived through the Russian Revolution and the start of the USSR. Most important was the history of Yiddish and the culture of the Jews during WWII and throughout Eastern Europe during and after the war. I had never heard of The Dream of Birobidzhan the proposed homeland for the millions of Jews of Eastern Europe before Hitler.

Recommended for all interested in Israel, Jewish History and Live in Russia after the revolution and before Putin.

  • Fantasyland

  • How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History
  • By: Kurt Andersen
  • Narrated by: Kurt Andersen
  • Length: 19 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,453
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,298
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,290

A razor-sharp thinker offers a new understanding of our post-truth world and explains the American instinct to believe in make-believe, from the Pilgrims to P. T. Barnum to Disneyland to zealots of every stripe...to Donald Trump. In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen demonstrates that what's happening in our country today - this strange, post-factual, "fake news" moment we're all living through - is not something entirely new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character and path.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, but...

  • By Synthpulse on 11-15-17

Enlightening

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

Reviewed: 05-15-18

Many new ideas about the history of fundamentalist Christians and their influence on America and its politics. Provided me with greater insight into the results of the 2016 presidential election. Recommended for those running for office around the country and those who know little about the power of the Christian Religious Right.

  • Educated

  • A Memoir
  • By: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 8,950
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,220
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8,167

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 and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". 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.

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

  • By Darwin8u on 03-28-18

The Power of Education

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

Reviewed: 05-03-18

Many raised in fundamentalist religious cultures, home schooled, or who have escaped a family with a mentally ill parent, can find comfort in reading of Julia Whelan’s successes. Knowing and learning your own strengths is the key message of this memoir. Recommended reading for adolescents and adults fighting to accept responsibility for their decisions.

Trying to understand the rational domestic violence in her family is a major goal of the author.

  • A Man Called Ove

  • By: Fredrik Backman
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58,728
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53,718
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53,622

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell". But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I Laughed and I Cried

  • By Bill on 08-22-15

Angry Old Man Wins

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

Reviewed: 02-01-18

What made the experience of listening to A Man Called Ove the most enjoyable?

Ove’s honesty and tenacity

Which scene was your favorite?

I enjoyed the story of the older couple who had social services after them to take them to a nursing home because husband had Dementia and wife MS, It was Ove’s love for his wife and his old friend that made him ask the computer nerds for help saving their future independence. I also enjoyed his trip to the computer store to purchase an Ipad computer and how he was treated by the staff at the store.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Ove’s changes in attitude towards other people who were nothing like his stereotype of what people should know and think.

Any additional comments?

If you have ever had a parent or loved one who stubbornly holds on to being correct even when they are totally wrong, this read is for you!

  • Disobedience

  • By: Naomi Alderman
  • Narrated by: Rachel Atkins
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 199
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 185

In a cramped synagogue in north-west London, the eminent elderly rabbi passes away. On the other side of the Atlantic, his estranged daughter, Ronit, hears of her father's death and returns to London for the funeral. She has not returned home in 15 years. Ronit looks forward to a week or two of revisiting old friends, perhaps settling old scores. But she finds the community she grew up in a more confusing place than she'd anticipated.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Overall it was ok, I guess... Not really.

  • By Stephanie Qualia Gomes on 03-02-17

Orthodox Jewish Women

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

Reviewed: 01-29-18

Would you listen to Disobedience again? Why?

Yes, need to understand what the author is going through as a modern Jewish Women.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I liked the end. It reflected how I felt as a Jewish Women in America in the 20th Century.

Have you listened to any of Rachel Atkins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The Hebrew pronunciation of many words was incorrect and that bothered me. If you don’t know Hebrew you would enjoy her British accent. The author is British make it more meaningful to use this narrator.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was moved by her decision about being a Jew and/or a lesbian. She is bi-sexual but explains that unlike African Americans, Jews and Lesbians can choose to ignore their differences and keep others from knowing they are different. This may cause some from feeling isolated but know one questions their behavior. One must admit to being different.

Any additional comments?

It is important to know where you come from and where you are going in America. This seems to be the message the author is communicating to all readers. Be yourself!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 1984

  • New Classic Edition
  • By: George Orwell
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,285
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,575
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,605

George Orwell depicts a gray, totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police - a world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities' will and people live tepid lives by rote. Winston Smith, a hero with no heroic qualities, longs only for truth and decency. But living in a social system in which privacy does not exist and where those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or put to death, he knows there is no hope for him.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Incredibly depressing.

  • By Garret on 04-06-17

We Are Living During 1984

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

Reviewed: 12-17-17

This was a prediction of the future. Orwell was off by 50 years but he saw it coming and no-one could be believe him. He was talking about a Communist take over not a Capitalist take over as we are having under Trump. We are turning into an Oligarchy and Putin’s Russia is the model. Keep ReReading this novel you learn something new about the future each time you listen.

  • Braving the Wilderness

  • The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
  • By: Brené Brown
  • Narrated by: Brené Brown
  • Length: 4 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,855
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12,237
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,148

"True belonging doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are." Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives - experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Actual Step-By-Step To Authenticity!

  • By Gillian on 09-14-17

Standing Up to Truth

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

Reviewed: 09-14-17

Would you consider the audio edition of Braving the Wilderness to be better than the print version?

One of best of Dr. Brown's Audio Books. She shares a lot of her new research about knowing yourself and your needs when choosing to be a caring person. I enjoy listening to her she has a unique style of communicating.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The quotes from Maya Angelou were very important to the spirit of this book.

Which character – as performed by Brené Brown – was your favorite?

She introduced a variety of research studies and quoted from letters and books from successful people who overcame their fears. Most moving for me was her visit with the Sandy Hook parents. There ability to unite together in love was inspiring.

Any additional comments?

I recommend this book for those who find they are angry about their situation in life and do not understand why the feel like a victim of circumstances beyond their control. Her discussion of methods of not to seeing yourself as an outsider who doesn't fit in anywhere are the most valuable part of this book.

36 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

  • A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
  • By: Mark Manson
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84,746
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74,384
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73,967

For decades we've been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F*ck positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let's be honest, shit is f*cked, and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn't sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is - a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is his antidote to the coddling, let's-all-feel-good mind-set that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A book for 20-somethings, but not me

  • By Bonny on 09-22-16

Great points of wisdom

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

Reviewed: 01-31-17

I recommend this book for readers of all ages who are dissatisfied with their lives and want to stop pleasing others at the expense of their own mental health. I found the last chapter the best for readers over 35. Sections on the taboo of talk about death and its meaning in western culture the most enlightening.

  • A Mind for Numbers

  • How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)
  • By: Barbara Oakley
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,000
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,758
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,740

Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a higher level of math competency, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating but inescapable field. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flunked her way through high school math and science courses, before enlisting in the army immediately after graduation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Helpful!

  • By moka1327 on 02-18-15

Mind for Numbers

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

Reviewed: 01-09-17

I am very sorry someone decided that a man should read book. It was written by a very prestigious woman. She was sharing her accomplishments and her learning techniques in a very methodical way. The reader missed the point, any man could have her life and skills. The fact the a women has problems with math and science is cultural, women need female role models in the STEM professions. It was harder for to listen and connect with the advice included in this book because a man was giving me important information written from a woman's perspective.