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  • 327
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  • Ohio

  • By: Stephen Markley
  • Narrated by: Caitlin Davies, Jayme Mattler, Joy Osmanski, and others
  • Length: 16 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 496
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 450
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 447

 

Since the turn of the century, a generation has come of age knowing only war, recession, political gridlock, racial hostility, and a simmering fear of environmental calamity. In the country’s forgotten pockets, where industry long ago fled, where foreclosures, Walmarts, and opiates riddle the land, death rates for rural whites have skyrocketed, fueled by suicide, addiction, and a rampant sense of marginalization and disillusionment. This is the world the characters in Stephen Markley’s brilliant debut novel, Ohio, inherit. This is New Canaan.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely Moving and Deeply Haunting

  • By Matthew Hall on 08-26-18

A hardcore look at life in the U.S since 2001

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

Reviewed: 04-06-19

One of my favorite books in a long time. While its timeframe is often addressed, I've not read/heard a report such as this before. The writer and the readers bring each character to life and well as his/her relationship to the politics and human condition and circumstance they inhabit--in a relatively small town in the Midwest. If you're too removed from the crises of life that affect so many of us, this will wake you up. Can't recommend it enough. I'm going to see what else Markley has to offer.

  • The Golden State

  • A Novel
  • By: Lydia Kiesling
  • Narrated by: Amanda Dolan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 41
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 38

In Lydia Kiesling's razor-sharp debut novel, The Golden State, we accompany Daphne, a young mother on the edge of a breakdown, as she flees her sensible but strained life in San Francisco for the high desert of Altavista with her toddler Honey. Bucking under the weight of being a single parent - her Turkish husband is unable to return to the United States because of a "processing error" - Daphne takes refuge in a mobile home left to her by her grandparents in hopes that the quiet will bring clarity. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • not bad,but not good

  • By Rebecca Gatzlaff on 03-28-19

Tedious read but delightful reader Amanda Dolan

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

Reviewed: 02-14-19

I was so bored by Kiesling's self-absorption. Though she pretended that she was fascinated by her daughter, she was really fascinated by herself--and every sentence contained a "look at me, look how awesome I am" vibe. Big, big ego even as she self-deprecated. Anxious moms may enjoy it. The reader, however, did an amazing job. Kudos to Amanda Dolan

  • Unsheltered

  • A Novel
  • By: Barbara Kingsolver
  • Narrated by: Barbara Kingsolver
  • Length: 16 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,221
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,035
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,033

Brilliantly executed and compulsively listenable, Unsheltered is the story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum, as they navigate the challenges of surviving a world in the throes of major cultural shifts. In this mesmerizing story told in alternating chapters, Willa and Thatcher come to realize that though the future is uncertain, even unnerving, shelter can be found in the bonds of kindred - whether family or friends - and in the strength of the human spirit. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Spring for a professional narrator, please!

  • By Gail Dragon on 11-05-18

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 12-23-18

OMG. I just finished Meg Wolitzer's The Feminine Persuasion and listening to Unsheltered and my reaction to both is the same. These women have disappeared into preachy messages that we've all learned long ago. I really believe that both books are suitable for 5th graders. They might have excited me when I was ten. I'd even be surprised if book clubs could make something of this effort.

And I can't imagine why the recording company let Kingsolver read her own book though I'm not sure that a more talented reader could have made much of this pathetic story. Still, I was so embarrassed for her as she read sometimes--it took the focus away from the book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Terrible Country

  • A Novel
  • By: Keith Gessen
  • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
  • Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 223
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 204
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 205

When Andrei Kaplan’s older brother, Dima, insists that Andrei return to Moscow to care for their ailing grandmother, Andrei must take stock of his life in New York. His girlfriend has stopped returning his text messages. His dissertation adviser is dubious about his job prospects. It’s the summer of 2008, and his bank account is running dangerously low. Perhaps a few months in Moscow are just what he needs. So Andrei sublets his room in Brooklyn and moves into the apartment that Stalin himself had given his grandmother, a woman who has outlived her husband and most of her friends.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interested in Russia?

  • By Jon Appleton on 07-18-18

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 08-08-18

Gessen is a smart guy and Ari Fliakos one of my favorite readers but this book could not get off the ground. The protagonist was a whiny, whiny guy who, despite his academic achievements, seemed clueless about how life works. A sorry portrait of some academicians who expect to be funded and granted and fellowshipped forever with no apparent exchange of equivalent value.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Theft by Finding

  • Diaries (1977-2002)
  • By: David Sedaris
  • Narrated by: David Sedaris
  • Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,038
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,594
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,555

For nearly four decades, David Sedaris has faithfully kept a diary in which he records his thoughts and observations on the odd and funny events he witnesses. Anyone who has attended a live Sedaris event knows that his diary readings are often among the most joyful parts of the evening. But never before have they been available in print. Now, in Theft by Finding, Sedaris brings us his favorite entries. From deeply poignant to laugh-out-loud funny, these selections reveal with new intimacy a man longtime fans only think they know.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A softer, sweeter Sedaris

  • By Pamela J on 05-31-17

Worth my time

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

Reviewed: 09-29-17

I usually rail against authors who perform their own books but I didn't mind Sedaris though he drones on, too. He looks at life from a different perspective than I, as if I were tall and he was an 8 pound Maltese walking beside me or vice versa. For sure, we don't see and marvel upon the same things. But I pretty much enjoyed his odd-to-me take on mundane life and I jotted down a number of his suitable-for adolescent boys jokes in order to share them with my friends. None of us is an adolescent boy but we laughed ourselves silly. Have you ever seen an ant-eater? No. What about your uncle?

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Heroes of the Frontier

  • By: Dave Eggers
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
  • Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 378
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 340
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 343

Josie and her children's father have split up, she's been sued by a former patient and lost her dental practice, and she's grieving the death of a young man senselessly killed. When her ex asks to take the children to meet his new fiancée's family, Josie makes a run for it, figuring Alaska is about as far as she can get without a passport. Josie and her kids, Paul and Ana, rent a rattling old RV named the Chateau, and at first their trip feels like a vacation.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Where is my resolution?

  • By Jeff Bonasse on 08-04-16

I am an Eggers fan

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

Reviewed: 09-29-17

To the extent that I was able to get that this is a comedy and to the extent that I could amuse myself by comparing Josie, Paul and Ana to, say, Lewis and Clark, I enjoyed it. And the performance was extraordinary. However, I never had an ounce of like for Josie and could barely tolerate one more minute of her hairbrained and narcissistic schemes. Moreover, though she would consistently make 25 terrible decisions in a row, in the next moment, she'd know in her bones exactly the right thing to do. Absolutely self-deceived, a risk-to-life-and-limb threat to self and children and, as I said, unlikable, I wouldn't follow her anywhere.

The Hallelujah quality of the ending was also amusing--Josie was always winding herself up for heaps of self-appreciation.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Shadow Land

  • A Novel
  • By: Elizabeth Kostova
  • Narrated by: Barrie Kreinik
  • Length: 18 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 443
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 409
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 407

A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi - and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Mysterious and Beautiful

  • By Mel on 04-23-17

Hard to like

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

Reviewed: 06-24-17

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. I was thrilled to be in Bulgaria but the goose chases and the explanations for them were ridiculous. I like Kostova and speaking in some of the voices the narrator was wonderful. But the old ladies were impossible to listen to and the main character was absolutely unlikable--more Kostova's fault than Kreinik's. I actually felt jerked around, a sucker for listening so long.

Did Barrie Kreinik do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

I think Kreinik did a great job. However, the voices chosen for the old ladies were so shrill and cackling. I had to read those parts.

Could you see The Shadow Land being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I wouldn't watch it.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • House of Names

  • By: Colm Tóibín
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson, Charlie Anson, Pippa Nixon
  • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 347
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 329
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 329

"I have been acquainted with the smell of death." So begins Clytemnestra's tale of her own life in ancient Mycenae, the legendary Greek city from which her husband, King Agamemnon, left when he set sail with his army for Troy. Clytemnestra rules Mycenae now, along with her new lover, Aegisthus, and together they plot the bloody murder of Agamemnon on the day of his return after nine years at war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Power. Control. Restraint.

  • By David on 06-27-17

Exquisite retelling of ancient tale

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

Reviewed: 06-08-17

Would you listen to House of Names again? Why?

A friend who had just read it recommended it to me. I had no idea what it was about and had I known, I probably would not have purchased it. But it was a wonderful, gripping and educational listen and I intend to recommend it far and wide.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

All the narrators did a splendid job but I am a big fan of Juliet Stevenson and enjoyed her reading the most.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It didn't make me laugh or cry. It brought alive plays I read in college eons ago and reawakened my understanding of a relevant historical period.

Any additional comments?

Toibin is a very fine writer and there is no one to whom I would not recommend this audible presentation. None of it is "hard," but I think a listener would get mesmerized by the book more swiftly than a reader.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • I, The Divine

  • A Novel in First Chapters
  • By: Rabih Alameddine
  • Narrated by: Mozhan Marno
  • Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

In 2003, Osama al-Kharrat returns to Beirut after many years in America to stand vigil at his father's deathbed. As the family gathers, stories begin to unfold: Osama's grandfather was a hakawati, or storyteller, and his bewitching tales are interwoven with classic stories of the Middle East. Here are Abraham and Isaac; Ishmael, father of the Arab tribes; the beautiful Fatima; Baybars, the slave prince who vanquished the Crusaders; and a host of mischievous imps.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As good a book as An Unnecssary Woman

  • By Eric on 05-27-17

As good a book as An Unnecssary Woman

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

Reviewed: 05-27-17

If you could sum up I, The Divine in three words, what would they be?

I can't believe I waited more than a year to listen to I, the Divine, after listening to An Unnecessary Woman which was, in my opinion, informative and poignant and is now one of my favorite books, ever. Kudos to Alameddine and Marno.

What other book might you compare I, The Divine to and why?

Strangely enough, this books reminds me of Miriam Toews' All My Puny Sorrows. Both have very appealing protagonists whose every word seems honest.

Which scene was your favorite?

I liked them all.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

Any additional comments?

Don't miss this book. Don't miss An Unnecessary Woman. Don't miss Miriam Toews' All My Puny Sorrow.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Cartel

  • By: Don Winslow
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 23 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,609
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,005
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,982

From the internationally best-selling author of the acclaimed novel The Power of the Dog comes The Cartel, a gripping, ripped-from-the-headlines story of power, corruption, revenge, and justice spanning the past decade of the Mexican-American drug wars.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the best ever…

  • By Kindle Customer on 03-24-16

Police procedural? Crime story?

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

Reviewed: 05-27-17

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Although I really enjoyed the performance and think Winslow tells a great story, its rhythm and pace and ambience were virtually the same as they were in The Power of the Dog. Still, since I generally listen to books in my car, Winslow helps to pass the time.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Well, The Power of the Dog was my first Winslow and I thorougly enjoyed it but with The Cartel I felt as if I were listening to it again. I am not well-versed in crime novels; perhaps all which feature the same character, in this case Art Keller, are repetitive.

Which character – as performed by Ray Porter – was your favorite?

I think he did a bang-up job with each and every.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful