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  • 24
  • helpful votes
  • 47
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  • Atlas of a Lost World

  • By: Craig Childs
  • Narrated by: Craig Childs
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 411
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 375
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 376

From the author of Apocalyptic Planet, an unsparing, vivid, revelatory travelogue through prehistory that traces the arrival of the First People in North America 20,000 years ago and the artifacts that enable us to imagine their lives and fates. This book upends our notions of where these people came from and who they were.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lyrical musings on a lost world

  • By Tracy Rowan on 09-13-18

Half prehistory, half travelogue

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

Reviewed: 10-23-18

This book delves into the origins of the initial colonization of what would become the Americas by paleolithic peoples. Prior to listening to this book, I knew very little about this topic aside from the general concept of the Bering land bridge and something about Clovis. Craig Childs excels in painting a clear picture of what life must have been like for these first arrivals, who were forever surrounded by hungry megafauna and exposed to the whims of an unstable climate. He also does a decent job of presenting a general chronological history of how the early exploration and colonization may have happened. Interspersed throughout the story of the ancient peoples are Criag Childs' accounts of his own travels through the same lands these early people traversed, which add a different character to this book than might be found in a more traditional, straightforward history. Craig Childs is a good narrator.

Despite the above, I have a couple of criticisms of "Atlas of a Lost World." First, Craig Childs' accounts of his own travels get to be too long and repetitive after a while. They have the potential to add a little depth and personality to the book and to make the reader emphasize with the paleolithic people, but sometimes they just drag on too long and get a little too sidetracked or self-involved. I can see why Craig Childs has been featured on NPR; he tends to delve into the sort of self-reflective stories about day-to-day minutiae that characterize a lot of NPR's content. If you appreciate this sort of thing this book will appeal to you, but I get tired of it after a while. Also, in the second half of the book Craig Childs spends a lot of time delving into different types of spearheads and where they are found in order to argue for or against theories about different colonization patterns in the Americas. This gets to be a little too tedious and hard to follow, especially in an audiobook format.

  • Mustard Seed

  • By: Laila Ibrahim
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,093
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 946
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 940

Oberlin, Ohio, 1868. Lisbeth Johnson was born into privilege in the antebellum South. Jordan Freedman was born a slave to Mattie, Lisbeth's beloved nurse. The women have an unlikely bond deeper than friendship. Three years after the Civil War, Lisbeth and Mattie are tending their homes and families while Jordan, an aspiring suffragette, teaches at an integrated school. When Lisbeth discovers that her father is dying, she's summoned back to the Virginia plantation where she grew up.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Part TWO

  • By Dorothy on 04-16-18

Even better than Yellow Crocus

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

Reviewed: 10-23-18

I greatly enjoyed Yellow Crocus, which precedes this book. You can read my Audible review so I won't rehash the details. This book was even better, a little more raw and a lot more realistic, with better character development and a deeper exploration of varying and nuanced attitudes. This book finds Mattie and her family and 'Lisbeth and her family coincidentally heading back to Virginia at the same time. Through the portions of the book focusing on Mattie, Jordan and Samuel, we learn about the psychological impacts of slavery and its longstanding ramifications on those who escaped, those who didn't and those who had the privilege not to have grown up under it at all. This book also opened my eyes to just how little things changed for former slaves in the South. I knew about sharecropping, night riders, and other legacies of slavery, but I did not realize how much the structure of slavery was maintained even in the reconstruction era. On the other hand, through 'Lisbeth's side of the story, we get a more nuanced idea of who her parents were, what motivated them and how the end of the antebellum era devastated the economic well-being and social order that so many people relied on. Although this book leaves no room for doubt that slavery was a horrific and brutal system, it doesn't treat all former slaveholders as uniformly evil or possessed of the same ideas, motivations, etc. (although to be clear, there are a couple of irredeemably bad guys who are the villains in this book). I can really appreciate Laila Ibrahim's ability to see and present many sides of the same story, something that is often sorely lacking in today's political and social climate. I think that she must be a very insightful and moderate person. Most importantly, the book is well-written, well-narrated (except for the voices of children, the only aspect of narration in which Bahni Turpin does not excel) and interesting, and I hope that there will be a third in this series.

  • Yellow Crocus

  • By: Laila Ibrahim
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,922
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,110
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,091

Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the company of her overwhelmed mother and her distant, slave-owning father.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful southern historical fiction

  • By MissSusie66 on 02-27-15

Couldn't stop listening

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

Reviewed: 08-01-18

I really, really enjoyed this book. The story and two main characters are engaging, there are some gripping moments, and it is never boring. It has a happy ending, and all of the main characters are saved or redeemed, which can be a nice change every once in a while. Bahni Turpin is a fantastic narrator. She isn't great with voicing little kids, but other than that she can do a wide rage of accents and voices and really create a whole host of characters. The reader really comes to appreciate the love and compassion between Mattie and Lisbeth, and it is definitely a book that leaves you with the warm fuzzies.

For all that, it is not a perfect book. Lisbeth is almost a little too idealized, and the Black characters who interact with her are all presented as being genuinely touched and affected by her, which seems off. It almost has a bit of a white savior trope. As I said above, there is a happy ending and all of the main characters turn out ok in the end, which can be nice, but because of this the book lacks a degree of profundity it might otherwise have had. That being said, I found myself sneaking in listening sessions whenever I could because I enjoyed this book so much.

  • Hidden Figures

  • The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
  • By: Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,178
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,528
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,556

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space. Among these problem solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Story of a History Obscured

  • By Cynthia on 09-18-16

Fantastic

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

Reviewed: 07-23-18

I want to preface this review by stating that I have not seen the movie made from this book, which I understand deviates in some ways from the source.

There is a lot to love about this book. The story is fascinating for anyone who enjoys learning about American history and/or the history of the space race. It's incredible what a key role women played in the early days of NACA/NASA, and like many others, I found myself asking why I didn't learn about this sooner. One thing that I liked the best about this book is that Margot Shetterly took the time to delve into the nuances of discrimination and segregation. For example, she talked about the real effects of state culture and policy on segregation in different states, and I learned, for example, that there was a big difference in how West Virginia and Virginia dealt with segregation and desegregation. We usually learn about desegregation on a federal level, but I think that it is worth understanding that there was not one single racial policy or culture across the entire south. I also learned a lot about day-to-day life for educated African-Americans in the segregated south, beyond the broad images of college sit-ins and people harassing schoolchildren that we are used to seeing. She also was not afraid to give credit where credit is due in recognizing the men and white women who were in favor of integration at NACA/NASA without ever in any way taking away from how hard the African-American women had to work, and how smart they had to be, to be allowed contribute in the ways that they did. Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan in particular worked unbelievably hard 6 days a week and took care of their homes, and I can't imagine how they sustained this life without burning out. My only small criticism of this book is that, while it starts out following a chronological narrative, at some point the narrative becomes more scattered, and it is hard to follow the sequence of what happened when and in what order. Other than that, this book was really excellent, and I would highly recommend it to everyone

  • The Designer

  • By: Marius Gabriel
  • Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 953
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 849
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 848

In 1944, newly married Copper Reilly arrives in Paris soon after the liberation. While the city celebrates its freedom, she's stuck in the prison of an unhappy marriage. When her husband commits one betrayal too many, Copper demands a separation. Alone in Paris, she finds an unlikely new friend: an obscure, middle-aged designer from the back rooms of a decaying fashion house whose timid nature and reluctance for fame clash with the bold brilliance of his designs. His name is Christian Dior.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Copper Is A Feminist Before It Was Cool—1944!

  • By Linda on 10-18-17

Frustrating, unrealistic

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

Reviewed: 07-23-18

I did not like this story for the following reasons:

*Overt sexual abuse- Copper, the protagonist, is repeatedly subject to attention from another female character that, were it coming from a male character, would qualify as sexual assault. Somehow, the reader is supposed to accept this character as an embodiment of one of two legitimate paths for Copper to take (ambiguous sexuality and a bohemian lifestyle vs. heterosexuality and a traditional lifestyle), yet I can't imagine any woman being comfortable with or turned on by the actions of the female lover in this story. Copper's reactions read like a clueless man speculating about how a woman would respond to another smelly, unwashed woman making unwanted sexual advances toward her, instead of how a woman would actually think/respond

*Overly sympathetic portrayal of Nazi collaborators/overly simplified portrayal of those trying to root out Nazi collaborators- I get that after war the victors can be over-zealous in rooting out collaborators, and one small good point for this book was the harrowing depiction early on of the suffering a woman who had a child with a German soldier was forced to go through. That being said, the Nazis were, well, the Nazis, yet the author presents those who entertained or collaborated with them in a relatively positive light, and those who try to root them out are presented almost to a one as boors

*Unlikable/Unrelatable and stereotypical main character- Copper adheres to the stereotypical trope of a young, beautiful yet tomboyish woman who somehow, despite being slim, pretty, striking, etc., has no idea how beautiful she is, yet still manages to spread enlightenment everywhere she goes. She inspires Christian Dior to create clothes for a new silhouette, drives those around her crazy with passion for her, and yet somehow has no idea why. She is also pretty annoying in that she does not seem to be able to stand up for herself. Overall she reads like a woman written by a man, which I guess she is.

To be fair, there were a couple of high points for this book. The author did a good job of setting the scene, and one could really picture Paris at the end of the war. The fashion history was also fascinating, including in particular the history of Christian Dior's sister, who was imprisoned and tortured at Ravensbruck, and story of the Theatre de la Mode. Narration was good and the reader did a credible French accent that was not over the top.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Sweet Tea and Sympathy

  • By: Molly Harper
  • Narrated by: Amanda Ronconi
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,423
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,017
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,984

Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot's rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society and made elegance and glamour her business. She's riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she's blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start - and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Thank you Ms. Harper

  • By green ice cream garden on 11-30-17

Gummy Bears for the Brain

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

Reviewed: 07-23-18

I am a sucker for Southern chick-lit. I find it a comforting distraction from the stresses of everyday life. In that regard, this book did not disappoint. The characters were typical for the genre, i.e. the sassy, no-nonsense old coot with a heart of gold, the Yankee fish out of water, the kindly aunt intent on stuffing you full of deep fried carbs, the sassy siblings/cousins/best friends, the nearly perfect, yet somewhat mysterious, love interest, etc., etc., etc. That being said, I found this book to be just a tiny bit better than other ones that I have read in the genre. There was a little more character development, a little less reliance on cliche southernisms, and little more differentiation between the characters. There dialogue was not quite as down-homey as in some of these books. Overall, I would say that this book is a little bit "smarter" than some of the others in the canon, with characters that are more believable than in some other books. I especially liked Marianne and Frankie, the two cousins of the main character, and I have since read the prequel and am in the middle of the third book now. Is this great literature? No. Is this a nice little summer read for fans of the genre? Absolutely.

  • Coyote America

  • A Natural and Supernatural History
  • By: Dan Flores
  • Narrated by: Elijah Alexander
  • Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,502
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,363
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,363

Coyote America is both an environmental and a deep natural history of the coyote. It traces both the five-million-year-long biological story of an animal that has become the "wolf" in our backyards and its cultural evolution from a preeminent spot in Native American religions to the hapless foil of the Road Runner. A deeply American tale, the story of the coyote in the American West and beyond is a sort of Manifest Destiny in reverse.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely fascinating

  • By Rob Wolfe on 08-31-17

Everything you ever wanted to know about Coyotes

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

Reviewed: 07-23-18

This book was THOROUGH. The amount of research that must have gone into this book is really impressive, and Dan Flores clearly has a great deal of respect for his subject matter. I learned a lot about coyotes, and the semi-chronological narrative structure was interesting and turned it into a story, even if it is non-fiction. That being said, it is 9 hours almost solely about coyotes, and there were times when I got a little tired of the subject matter.

  • Husbands and Other Sharp Objects

  • A Novel
  • By: Marilyn Simon Rothstein
  • Narrated by: Pamela Almand
  • Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 186
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 165
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 165

After a lifetime of marriage, Marcy Hammer is ready to get herself unhitched - just as everyone else in her life is looking for a commitment. Her new boyfriend, Jon, wants to get serious, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Harvey, is desperate to get back together. When her headstrong daughter announces a secret engagement to Harvey’s attorney, Marcy finds herself planning her daughter’s wedding as she plans her own divorce. Now with two huge events on the horizon, the indomitable Marcy soon realizes that there’s nothing like a wedding to bring out the worst in everybody.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fun and hilarious!

  • By AudioBook Reviewer on 07-26-18

Better in print

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

Reviewed: 07-23-18

So for some reason I ended up buying this book both in audio and print through Kindle. I started listening to the audio, but then switched to reading the print version. Much to my surprise, I found that the book was much funnier in print. The narrator is good, but these books have a sort of Erma Bombeck-type humor to them, and I think that they needed a much more deadpan narrator for the humor to really shine through. The books themselves were funny, although Marcy Hammer, the main character, makes some annoyingly stupid decisions at times that are really against her own self-interest for somewhat nebulous reasons. Overall they were decent books, although I would not pay full price for them

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • How to Lose a Marathon

  • A Starter's Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters
  • By: Joel A. Cohen
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Techosky
  • Length: 3 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 781
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 717
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 715

In How to Lose a Marathon, Joel Cohen takes listeners on a step-by-step journey from being a couch potato to being a couch potato who can finish a marathon. Through a hilarious combination of running tips and narrative, Cohen breaks down the misery that is forcing yourself to run. From chafing to the best times to run, explaining the phenomenon known as the "Oprah Line", and exposing the torture that is a premarathon expo, Cohen acts as your satirical guide to every aspect of the runner's experience.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Something for everyone

  • By Matt Cobb on 04-12-17

Inspiring

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

Reviewed: 07-23-18

I am the kind of person who has had the C25K app on my phone for 8 years, but has somehow never made it past week 1. I am always looking for something to motivate me to get exercising, and was therefore happy, if not a little skeptical, to see this in the daily deals. I have to say that this book ended up being both really well-written and inspiring. While I have absolutely 0 ambition to run a marathon, Joel Cohen gave me the sense that becoming a jogger/runner is possible for us mere mortal couch potatoes, something that, on a basic level, I think I struggle to believe. The book also was genuinely funny and not too long; it said as much as it needed to say, then ended. My only small critique, and the reason why I gave the performance 4 stars instead of 5, is that I think that humor can be very hard to narrate without losing something, since the tone in which a joke is delivered can make all the difference between it being funny and not. The narrator was good, but I think that there were some jokes that needed a more deadpan delivery to be funny.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Identicals

  • A Novel
  • By: Elin Hilderbrand
  • Narrated by: Erin Bennett
  • Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,380
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,061
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,057

Harper Frost is laid back, easygoing. She doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. She likes a beer and a shot and wouldn't be caught dead wearing anything fashionable. She's inherited her father's run-down house on Martha's Vineyard, but she can't hold down a job, and her latest romantic disaster has the entire island talking. Tabitha Frost is dignified, refined. She prefers a fine wine and has inherited the impeccable taste of her mother, the iconic fashion designer Eleanor Roxie-Frost.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I love this author

  • By Janice K. Anderson on 07-14-17

Fine performance, ok story, unlikable characters

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

Reviewed: 05-09-18

I expected this to be a beach-read type book, and in that regard I was not disappointed. However, even with relatively low expectations, I thought that this book fell flat in many ways

The Good

*Vivid descriptions of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket made me want to go there, although the name dropping of local stores and restaurants was eventually a little too much
*Fundamentally interesting story, but could have been about 3 hours shorter
*Good narration

The Bad

*AT LEAST 4 MAIN CHARACTERS DRIVE DRUNK!! The author treats it as no big deal for her characters to get behind the wheel while drunk, even with open alcohol in the car, but every time it happened I couldn't get past the fact that somebody living in 2017 could have such a blase attitude about drunk driving. I'm almost worried that the author herself drives drunk, since she seems to think nothing of it
*Lots of unrealistic plot points. Parents splitting up their GROWN twin children after a divorce? Makes no sense.
*Fundamentally unlikable characters, especially the twins at the center of the book, who seem to have no capacity to make their own decisions or get themselves out of uncomfortable or untenable situations
*Plot dragged and sagged. Too much repetition (X blames Y for Z times 300)