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Sher from Provo

Utah
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  • The Recognitions

  • By: William Gaddis
  • Narrated by: Nick Sullivan
  • Length: 51 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 124
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 96
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 99

Wyatt Gwyon's desire to forge is not driven by larceny but from love. Exactingly faithful to the spirit and letter of the Flemish masters, he produces uncannily accurate "originals" - pictures the painters themselves might have envied. In an age of counterfeit emotion and taste, the real and fake have become indistinguishable; yet Gwyon's forgeries reflect a truth that others cannot touch - cannot even recognize.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Breathtaking, Dizzying, Stimulating, Funny

  • By andrew on 11-17-10

What Story?

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

Reviewed: 09-22-18

It’s not that I hated this book, it’s just that life is too short to listen for 50 hours to something that keeps going around in circles. It is a funny book, and an insightful book, and I actually enjoyed it in some ways, but it also wore me out trying to make sense of why there was so much detail that went nowhere. I made it for 18 hours and just felt like enough was enough. If you love this book, that is awesome. If you couldn’t hang in there for 50 hours, I’m with you. On to other things.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Darkest Hour

  • How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink
  • By: Anthony McCarten
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 517
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 452
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 449

May 1940. Britain is at war, Winston Churchill has unexpectedly been promoted to prime minister, and the horrors of Blitzkrieg witness one Western European democracy fall after another in rapid succession. Facing this horror, with pen in hand and typist-secretary at the ready, Churchill wonders what words could capture the public mood when the invasion of Britain seems mere hours away. It is this fascinating period that Anthony McCarten captures in this deeply researched and wonderfully written new book, The Darkest Hour.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gripping

  • By Jean on 12-06-17

An amazing man

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

Reviewed: 09-16-18

With all his faults, I admire Winston Churchill in so many ways. He was put in one of the most difficult positions a person could ever imagine and came through it like a shining star. Hollywood movies to the contrary, very few people have really ever been given the chance to “save the world,” but that is what Churchill had to do. And what was his super power? As with the creation of the world in the first place, he did it with words. Through his speeches, he was able to give the English what they needed to dig in and win the war. He also had to win over Roosevelt and a few other people to help him, and he did it. He was, in a real way, a weak thing made strong.

John Lee, of course, was the perfect narrator. He is one of the very best.

Now, with that said, I do have to give Hollywood some credit here. The movie based on this book was amazing, maybe even better than the book. Everyone should read the book and see the movie. You will then understand what was so special about this man.

  • The Color of Water

  • By: James McBride
  • Narrated by: J. D. Jackson, Susan Denaker
  • Length: 8 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 748
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 670
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 670

Who is Ruth McBride Jordan? A self-declared "light-skinned" woman evasive about her ethnicity, yet steadfast in her love for her twelve black children. James McBride, journalist, musician, and son, explores his mother's past, as well as his own upbringing and heritage, in a poignant and powerful debut, The Color Of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Awesome

  • By Michael on 05-30-17

What is the color of water?

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

Reviewed: 09-16-18

This woman was amazing. I don’t think many of us would want to emulate her parenting style, but the results she gets are hard to discredit. Every one of her 12 children earned college degrees and had successful careers, and all this under incredibly difficult circumstances.

Ruth, as she was known, was Jewish, the daughter of Jewish immigrants who were in an arranged, loveless marriage. Because of polio, her mother was handicapped, but worked hard nonetheless. Her father was a sometime thing. But Ruth was able to find deep love with her first husband, a black man who died when she was pregnant with her eighth child. The difficulties of a mixed marriage were not easy to deal with, and the children, born of two races that were not treated very well in the mid 1900s had a difficult time as well. Ruth’s family never accepted her husband, so she was basically on her own. After the death of her first husband, she again found love with a black man with whom she had four more children.

This is a compelling story of true grit. I admire Ruth for her ability to make something out of very little. It makes me realize I have nothing to complain about. (But I still do it. . . )

The narrators were spot on. A very enjoyable listen!

  • The Bell Jar

  • By: Sylvia Plath
  • Narrated by: Maggie Gyllenhaal
  • Length: 7 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,137
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,830
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,816

The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful but slowly going under - maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that Esther's insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully written, brilliantly performed.

  • By Debra W. on 02-04-16

Depression Sucks!

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

Reviewed: 09-16-18

Sometimes, even when you seem to have it all, it is hard to find a reason to live. Depression does crazy things to one’s psyche, as Plath demonstrates in this book. It would be easy to believe that after her treatment in a mental institute that she went on to live a normal life, but such is not always the case. Although modern treatment is vastly improved and much more widely accepted than it was 50 or 60 years ago, depression is still not understood and remains hard for someone to rise above. There is hope that things will improve in the future but it will probably take some restructuring of lifestyles and redefinition of the kinds of morals that make life meaningful under any circumstance for most people to really get a handle on it and be able to not only cope with life, but love life and feel that their lives matter. They do! I wish it were as simple as telling them that.

  • Sacred Symbols: Finding Meaning in Rites, Rituals and Ordinances

  • By: Alonzo L. Gaskill
  • Narrated by: Alonzo L. Gaskill
  • Length: 4 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 7

By divine design, rites, rituals, and ordinances are filled with symbolic meaning intended to help us better understand God’s Plan. If we do not understand the symbols, we cannot fully understand our covenants. In this new book, author Alonzo L. Gaskill presents divers ancient and modern rituals which are illustrative of symbols and practices Latter-day Saints may recognize. The ordinances of the Gospel are both the vehicle by which we make covenants and also a means by which God seeks to teach us. This truly unique book will guide you to a richer understanding of, and appreciation for, what you hold sacred. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • For every member Before Endowments

  • By peace98 on 05-02-18

I learned so much!

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

Reviewed: 08-30-18

I’m not in favor of authors reading their own books, but Gaskill does a pretty good job. The thing that really bugged me was all the “quote” “end quote” things. He did his best to minimize the distraction, but there for a while my skin was crawling! However the content overcame the discomfort. I can’t wait to get to the temple and look for all these symbols and more. It is a fascinating subject!

  • Lord Jim

  • By: Joseph Conrad
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 38
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

This work set the style for a whole class of literature, a work that the critic Morton Dauwen Zabel calls an example of Conrad's "central theme...the grip of circumstances that enforce self-discovery and its cognate, the discovery of reality and truth...." It is a novel about a man's lifelong efforts to atone for an act of instinctive cowardice.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible narrator -- Great novel

  • By Brian on 09-08-05

Takes an effort to read

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

Reviewed: 08-19-18

Conrad’s books are full of symbolism and, for me at least, are hard to follow. This one is not written in chronological order, and has to be pieced together. It took me a little work to be able to figure this book out, but in the end it was worth the effort. It is beautifully written and I can see why it is ranked among the best literature of the early 20th century (even though it was written in 1899). Jim is the consummate tragic hero. I can’t read too many books like this in close proximity because it leaves me sad and a little depressed.

Frederick Davidson, as alway, is a fabulous narrator. I know some people don’t care for him, but I think he is phenomenal. His characterizations are just great, and the depth of feeling he puts into his reading is really what hooked me on him.

  • The Stranger Beside Me

  • The Shocking True Story of Serial Killer Ted Bundy
  • By: Ann Rule
  • Narrated by: Lorelei King
  • Length: 18 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,523
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,119
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,112

Ann Rule was working on the biggest story of her career, tracking the trail of victims left by a brutal serial killer. Little did this future best-selling author know that the savage slayer she was hunting was the young man she counted among her closest friends. Everyone's picture of a natural winner, Ted Bundy was a bright, charming, and handsome man with a promising future as an attorney. But on January 24, 1989 Bundy was executed for the murders of three young women - and had confessed to taking the lives of at least thirty-five more women from coast to coast.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Another Good One from Ann Rule

  • By Malia on 08-24-12

I lived through this horror!

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

Reviewed: 08-19-18

Ohhhh <shiver uncontrollably> this is a ghastly story! I don’t mean for that headline to sound as if I had a personal connection to him, but being a resident of Utah in the ‘60s and ‘70s, I was well acquainted with the name “Ted Bundy.” I lately learned that some friends of mine who fit the profile of Bundy victims and who lived in one of the Utah towns where Bundy had “made his mark” had unmistakably heard someone in the back yard of a home where they were staying. They were suddenly terrified and went home where they felt some modicum of safety. No one will ever know if it really was Bundy stalking those girls, yet his presence was felt in their terror. That is the power of evil in the shape of this serial killer who may have slain hundreds of beautiful young women.

I remember seeing the mother of Debra Kent being interviewed when Bundy, the alleged murderer of her precious daughter, was first arrested in Utah. She begged for him to tell them where he had put Debra’s body. When Bundy made his death-bed confessions just before his execution 14 years later, he told where many of the victims were “disposed of.” He said Debra was buried in the mountains near the small community of Fairview, and showed on a map where the location of her body and that of Nancy Wilcox, another Bundy victim, were buried. In spite of intensive searches, their bodies were never found. How my heart ached for that family and for the many other families and victims who were devastated because of one evil man, driven to kill.

The book is well written by an experienced writer of true crime. I was amazed at her objectivity in light of her personal close connection to Ted. I can only imagine her dismay upon finding out that this young man who had become her friend, someone who had sat next to her at work and who treated women with utmost respect, was in truth a monstrous killer. It is almost too much to process!

Don’t read this book if you are squeamish about such things because, although tastefully written, Rule is very forthcoming about what happened. She never goes into detail for any reason other than getting at the facts, but the facts are gruesome. I hope we don’t see the likes of Ted Bundy ever again, but that is probably too much to hope for. People like him do appear from time to time. So be careful and never help a man who has his arm or leg in a cast carry things to his car. Call for help.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Elmer Gantry

  • By: Sinclair Lewis
  • Narrated by: Anthony Heald
  • Length: 15 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 510
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 313
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 319

A greedy, philandering Baptist minister, Elmer Gantry turns to evangelism and becomes the leader of a large Methodist congregation. Often exposed as a fraud, he is never fully discredited. Elmer Gantry is considered a landmark American novel and one of the most penetrating studies of hypocrisy in modern literature. It portrays the evangelistic activity that was common in 1920s America as well as attitudes toward it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Halleluja, Brother Lewis!

  • By Erez on 12-09-08

If Satan Were a Man on Campus . . .

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

Reviewed: 08-12-18

Oh man, I am left a little speechless. Let me pull myself together. I just finished this classic novel by Sinclair Lewis. I have owned this book for decades but only recently, after finding it on Audible, decided now is the time to read it. It is a look at the morals of a church man, Elmer Gantry, who chooses to go into the ministry because he figures it would be easier than to get a degree and become a lawyer. He does go to ministry school and becomes an ordained minister, and he is really good at what he does. Sadly, what he does includes twisting his secret immorality so that it work to his advantage. He is able for the most part to give up the booze and the tobacco so that he appears righteous, but he can't seem to break with the habit of meeting women, even after his marriage, and seducing them into falling for him. He is one of those people who uses religion and his "faith in God" to further his own purposes, however low-class and hurtful they may be, while at the same time furthering his ambitions to become the dictator of morals in America, heck in the whole world. I think I started to believe he could actually pull it off. And the more rotten he is in his private affairs, the more admired, respected and esteemed he is by his congregations. I had a teacher once who told me that if Satan were a man on campus we would elect him student body president. That sums up the life of Elmer Gantry.

This book was written in 1926, but is still relevant today. Sinclair Lewis is a masterful writer, at times poignant, but often very clever and downright funny in his ironic juxtapositions. He paints the characters and situations so deftly that the flow between Elmer the righteous man of God and Elmer the morally bankrupt degenerate seems to be rational and acceptable, until in the end it becomes undeniable. I have to be honest. The middle of the book seemed to drag a little, but all in all, I enjoyed reading it. No wonder it is a classic!

Now, about Anthony Heald. He is hands down one of the best narrators I have ever listened to, and perfect for this novel. He catches the irony in Lewis' writing and brings it out in just the perfect way. Had I only read the book I don't think I would have picked up on the cleverness to quite this extent. I found myself laughing out loud at times (and as I was working in my garden while listening, I think my outbursts scared the mules across the fence). And his characterizations are topnotch. I don't know what planet those who do not love this narrator are from, because he is awesome.

  • The Neon Rain

  • A Dave Robicheaux Novel
  • By: James Lee Burke
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,975
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,626
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,616

New York Times best-selling author James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels began with this first hard-hitting entry in the series. In The Neon Rain, Detective Robicheaux fishes a prostitute's corpse from a New Orleans bayou and finds that no one, not even the law, cares about a dead hooker.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The perfect combination of author and narrator

  • By S. Sand on 09-23-09

Pretty good book

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

Reviewed: 08-11-18

I am not usually a fan of action/murder mysteries unless they are really well written. I have been disappointed by some that have been recommended to me as great, only to find that "great" to some people does not even translate as "good" to others. But this one was different. It was well written, and held my attention right from the very first. I am inclined to try more of Burke's books, but would love some recommendations as to which ones really are good. The characters in this book are memorable and the good guys are very likable. Dave, the protagonist, is just right--not too good to be unbelievable, but not so ridiculous that you can't even feel sorry for him. And I did feel sorry for him, and rooted for him to the end. There were some big clues as to who the bad guy was, which I would have liked better if I had not been able to figure out, but the plot was complicated enough that suspecting who it was didn't spoil it for me. Shall I give #2 a try?

The one thing that might push me toward another one in this series is the narrator, Will Patton. They just don't get much better than he is.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Alas, Babylon

  • By: Pat Frank
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,244
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,803
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,804

This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazingly contemporary

  • By SomervilleWhereElse on 12-25-10

A Little Bit Scary

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

Reviewed: 08-10-18

This book has been on my to-read shelf for a long time. Finally I decided to listen to this 1959 novel, and as I listened, I began thinking that it could have been written yesterday. Some things would be different of course, but the threats outlined here are as real today as they were 60 years ago. And perhaps our preparations for such an eventuality are just as lame as they would have been then, who knows? Yet if someone tries to prepare for future disasters, he or she is labeled as some kind of a crazy prepper.

Frankly, the ending was little more optimistic than it probably should have been. Although it was mentioned a few times, the total devastation could have been more dramatically emphasized. Still, it was well written and painted a pretty dire picture of life after atomic bomb.

I think this is a book everyone should read.

Will Patton is the best of the best. I have listened to him read a number of audio books, and have always loved his narrations.