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  • The Golem and the Jinni

  • A Novel
  • By: Helene Wecker
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 19 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,215
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,281
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,269

Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enchanting Debut Novel - Delicious!

  • By Tango on 04-26-13

Frankenstein meets American Gods in Old New York

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

Reviewed: 11-13-18

Frankenstein meets American Gods in Old New York, with Mediterranean Magic. That might sound like a strange stretch, but I found the result both intricately-woven and finely-focused.

It's more multicultural than Frankenstein, more historic and with tighter focus than American Gods, and it's a huge tale of vastness, but through just two lead characters and a couple of strong supporting actors, The Golden and the Jinni weaves a wondrous path through similar questions, about soul, and life, and culture, and creativity, and home, and love, and what we're doing here.

This one is a keeper, to read and re-read. It became an immediate favorite: one of the really special books that I've already re-read twice. One of the extra-special books that I've emailed my sisters about, barely able to wait until I finished before I recommended it.

#MiddleEastern
#MagicalRealism
#HistoricalFiction
#EpicAdventure
#FriendshipAndLove
#Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes

  • The Girl with All the Gifts

  • By: M. R. Carey
  • Narrated by: Finty Williams
  • Length: 13 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32,835
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,329
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,335

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hours in, restarted so husband could listen too!

  • By Pikay on 12-13-14

A Zombie Story with Brains

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

Reviewed: 11-13-18

This zombie story has brains. The story lines are well thought out: the adventure story of seeking safety from the Hungries, and the sci-fi mystery story of seeking the source of infection, and all the interwoven storylines of character relationships, are smart and thoughtful.

This is good fem lit too. If this novel becomes a movie, film streaming services will recommend it to me in the category of Gritty Dramas with Strong Female Leads. Women and a young girl, heroic and villainous and equivocally human (humanly equivocal?) carry the bulk of the action.

And there is plenty of action. But, like I said, plenty of thought. Not all the brains are fodder. The story gave me food for thought.

#MadScience
#ZombieApocalypse
#PostApocalypticHope
#StrongWomen
#Brains

#Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes

  • Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane

  • Words and Music
  • By: Patti Smith
  • Narrated by: Patti Smith
  • Length: 1 hr and 23 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 530
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 486
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 480

Patti Smith: Words and Music features live audio of performances captured over three evenings at the Minetta Lane Theatre, woven into a single, one-of-a-kind audio event.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A bonus for fans of Just Kids & M Train

  • By tru britty on 11-02-18

Down to earth uplifting

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

Reviewed: 11-13-18

These were just the Words and Music that I needed to hear. I'd been listening to the news and it was disheartening. Patti Smith's voice lends me strength, because she doesn't flinch from the painful realities -- she never tiptoes around them -- but she travels deep into and through the pain, with love. Meanwhile her creative fantasies are lived realities. That's why I find her uplifting, though she's always so down to earth.

#Nostalgic but #Timely
#Gritty but #Glorious
#RealLifeLoveStories
#RockAndRoll
#Art with #Heart

#Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes

  • 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas

  • By: Marie-Helene Bertino
  • Narrated by: Angela Goethals
  • Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 90
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 81
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 81

Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, rebellious nine-year-old who also happens to be an aspiring jazz singer. Still mourning the recent death of her mother, and caring for her grief-stricken father, she doesn't realize that on the eve of Christmas Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day - and night - of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia's legendary jazz club The Cat's Pajamas, where she's determined to make her on-stage debut.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Enchanting Original

  • By Regina-Audible on 08-05-14

Ausome. Aumazing. Audictive.

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

Reviewed: 10-19-18

"2 A.M." was my 2nd Audible title, a 2nd gift from a sister, and 2 good 2 put down. I devoured it and have listened to it 2 more times since... and it confirmed my addiction to audiobooks. This was the book that made a subscriber out of me.

This is one of those enchanting books that catches me up in its narrative and weaves a spell I carry with me for days. It's one of those books I'm sorry to hear end, and look forward to hearing again. And it's one I check every now and then, to see if there's more from the same author. While it's a perfectly satisfying story, I still want more.

  • Wild

  • From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
  • By: Cheryl Strayed
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 13 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,988
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,760
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,815

At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Glad I Took the Trip

  • By FanB14 on 04-08-13

Adventurous to the Point of Recklessness

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

Reviewed: 10-19-18

Cheryl Strayed grabbed and held my attention. She also aggravated and annoyed me. But in the end, she charmed me.

Several times while listening I actually said aloud, "No, Cheryl, don't!"

But Cheryl did.

And therein lies the adventure.

An excellent listen, this book was also an excellent introduction to my Audible subscription, a gift from my sisters, perhaps remembering times they said to me, "No, don't!"

  • Girls & Boys

  • By: Dennis Kelly
  • Narrated by: Carey Mulligan
  • Length: 1 hr and 46 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,619
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,149
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,094

A pulse-pounding new play from Tony Award-winning® playwright Dennis Kelly takes you on a journey that is at once hilarious, gripping, and heartbreaking. This world-premiere production starring Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby, An Education) is available exclusively on Audible after a celebrated run at the Royal Court Theatre in London and off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theatre. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow. Just . . . wow.

  • By GHBeckwith on 07-16-18

Promising, Disappointing. **Triggers & Spoilers!**

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

Reviewed: 10-19-18

**TRIGGER ALERT**

A blurb said, "Girls & Boys is intended for a mature audience and contains scenes that some people may find disturbing." That is extreme understatement. This story is not just disturbing, but horrific. It is about extreme violent crime perpetrated on young children. It's an important story to tell, but don't start reading (or listening to the audio book) as I did, with the impression that it is a "book about gender." It's about gender, but about gender as regards violence.

**SPOILER ALERT** for the rest of this review.

My first reaction: This is harrowing, but it's brilliant.

So many of these thoughts have been thought, by so many mothers of victims. "He wasn't nearly broken enough for what he'd done," and "I keep trying to turn back time," and "I'm trying to comprehend what could have been going on in his head," when he did that, to his own children.

Because whether rape or murder or brutal beating, when a man commits acts of horrific violence against any children, but particularly against his own children, it's impossible for their mother, who once loved that man, to come to terms with what happened, and the aftermath. I got the book thinking it was about gender. In a horrific way, it is

This is a fictional monologue about "family annihilation," written by a male author who seems to be sincerely attempting to examine what it is about gender that makes this a particularly male crime. The narrator is a woman, but a man wrote her words, and at first, they rang pretty true to me.

Later, however, I had to knock off a star, because something was nagging me. It had prevented my giving the book five stars, and now that I had time to think about it, I downgraded from four to three.

The performance was amazing, and that caused me to overlook a couple of things about the story that nagged and nagged at me until finally they came to the surface of my mind.

One: the way it's written, it is just this side of victim-blame. It would be way too easy to say that the wife's misinterpretation of the husband's feelings, leading her to accuse him, pushed him over the edge. When she ought to have asked, "Are you cheating on me or is something else going wrong?" and, "Will you go for couples therapy with me?" she instead basically says, "You're having an affair. I know all about it. I'm getting a divorce."

Naturally, no amount of poorly-handled couples communication justifies one partner's murder of the children, but there are those who would say she pushed him towards the edge, if not actually over it.

Two: She claims she doesn't think about it. I guess it's clear from the existence of the narrative that she does think about it, but not thinking about it is not the way to go on. The only way is to go on, carrying it, thinking about it, raging and having nightmares about it, wishing we could go back and change things, divorce sooner and get far from him, be there to protect our children at the critical moment, whatever... it goes on and on, it takes years of therapy to live with, and the only way to go on is, "I can't go on. I'll go on."

The kind of people who would blame the wife, would also fault her for being able to live with the horror, being able to go on at all.

Maybe it's good that those things went unsaid, maybe it brings the assholes out of the woodwork, when the story leaves holes for them to climb out through and reveal themselves with victim blaming, maybe it's good to leave enough unsaid that debate can be raised, and maybe there would be nothing that could be said, no way to tell a story like this, no clarification, that could possibly shut up the assholes.

But my own hurt and anger want to see the mother character surrounded by better defenses.