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Caro

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  • The Hellfire Club

  • By: Jake Tapper
  • Narrated by: Jake Tapper
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 917
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 839
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 835

 Charlie Marder is an unlikely Congressman. Thrust into office by his family ties after his predecessor died mysteriously, Charlie is struggling to navigate the dangerous waters of 1950s Washington, DC, alongside his young wife, Margaret, a zoologist with ambitions of her own. Amid the swirl of glamorous and powerful political leaders and deal makers, a mysterious fatal car accident thrusts Charlie and Margaret into an underworld of backroom deals, secret societies, and a plot that could change the course of history. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating read/listen

  • By Thiarnain on 05-24-18

4+ Stars. Enjoyed it.

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

Reviewed: 05-28-18

I smell a sequel coming, based on the ending of this book, and look forward to more adventures with Charlie and Margaret. Hellfire Club was a needed diversion from the current Washington situation, especially if you are a politics and history buff.

  • Fire and Fury

  • Inside the Trump White House
  • By: Michael Wolff
  • Narrated by: Michael Wolff, Holter Graham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,415
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,286
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,188

With extraordinary access to the West Wing, Michael Wolff reveals what happened behind-the-scenes in the first nine months of the most controversial presidency of our time in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the country—and the world—has witnessed a stormy, outrageous, and absolutely mesmerizing presidential term that reflects the volatility and fierceness of the man elected Commander-in-Chief.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not as credible as one would like.

  • By Jerry R. Nokes Jr. on 01-29-18

Like being in a national book club

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

Reviewed: 01-17-18

At first, I wasn't going to have anything to do with this book, thinking it was tabloid garbage. Then I noticed that discriminating media people were poring over it and taking it seriously, so I wanted to join the conversation. The fact that Donald Trump did not like the book was another motivator.

I think it is reasonably credible. In fact, much of the info has been reported elsewhere in credible sources. There was one event that I personally participated in, and I think Wolff distorted it about 30%. This was when he wrote about Charlottesville and did not mention that the traumatized locals had been invaded, intimidated, harassed, and threatened by alt right outsiders for many days. No wonder the left felt they should stand up to them in a serious way. The harassment was not going to end otherwise.

But I digress. It was definitely engaging and did help connect some dots for me. It makes sense to me that Trump and his campaign did not expect to win and only wanted to use the election as a springboard for other ambitions. The audiobook narration was excellent.

Looking forward to the sequel.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Hate U Give

  • By: Angie Thomas
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 21,791
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 20,287
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 20,213

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This Book Changed My Entire Perspective

  • By Wendi on 01-14-18

First, the narration by Bahni Turpin is superb

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

Reviewed: 12-25-17


Second, The Hate U Give is through the eyes of youth, and permits even stark reality to be tinged with optimism that we all need if we are to solve our condition.

Overall, the insider's look at the events surrounding a police shooting is accurate and deep. It addresses the entangled social/economic web of people and perspectives that we all think we know but probably do not consider long enough.

I assigned less than 5 stars to "story" because the novel is overly neat in places and sometimes the writing is repetitive and could be edited for length. Nevertheless, it is excellent. Once you listen to the audio, you may decide to choose "The Hate U Give" as a group read for a class or book club -- much to discuss.



  • Thanks, Obama

  • My Hopey, Changey White House Years
  • By: David Litt
  • Narrated by: David Litt
  • Length: 9 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 657
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 603
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 601

More than any other presidency, Barack Obama's eight years in the White House were defined by young people - 20-somethings who didn't have much experience in politics (or anything else, for that matter) yet suddenly found themselves in the most high-stakes office building on earth. David Litt was one of those 20-somethings. After graduating from college in 2008, he went straight to the Obama campaign. In 2011 he became one of the youngest White House speechwriters in history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Funny, personal, and insightful

  • By Lili on 10-21-17

Yes Optimism

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

Reviewed: 11-25-17

The hope and inspiration of the Obama years, the awkward idealism of a twenty-something, and the freshness of early David Sedaris. This book is an antidote for the current excruciating, draining political era.

Recommended: go with the audio version, read by Litt himself.

  • Sour Heart

  • Stories
  • By: Jenny Zhang
  • Narrated by: Greta Jung, Jenny Zhang, full cast
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

A fresh new voice emerges with the arrival of Sour Heart, establishing Jenny Zhang as a frank and subversive interpreter of the immigrant experience in America. Her stories cut across generations and continents, moving from the fraught halls of a public school in Flushing, Queens, to the tumultuous streets of Shanghai, China, during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I want to read/listen to Sour Heart again

  • By Caro on 09-22-17

I want to read/listen to Sour Heart again

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

Reviewed: 09-22-17

Sour Heart is exquisitely crafted, compelling, and deep. The inter-linking narratives represent, in microcosm, the painful and beautiful history that is lost in any diaspora as families and generations move on. Thru the eyes and memories of young girls, the telling is honest and shines a clear light into the mists of various interpretations. A few scenes are excruciating, but worth reading because they give up-close glimpses of things we don't usually see.

The narration in the audible.com version is impeccable. I felt I was literally listening to the characters themselves. I will listen again.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Miami

  • By: Joan Didion
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Van Dyck
  • Length: 5 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 19

It is where Fidel Castro raised money to overthrow Batista and where two generations of Castro's enemies have raised armies to overthrow him, so far without success. It is where the bitter opera of Cuban exile intersects with the cynicism of U.S. foreign policy. It is a city whose skyrocketing murder rate is fueled by the cocaine trade, racial discontent, and an undeclared war on the island 90 miles to the south.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Havana vanities come to dust in Miami.

  • By Darwin8u on 09-22-15

Miami Past

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

Reviewed: 01-05-16

Any additional comments?

After living in Miami for decades, I decided to read this 1987 book as a flashback because there is now a controversy over whether the East Little Havana district should be preserved or paved over with exclusive condos. I had read two other books by Joan Didion that were extremely engaging. And recently, this book received praise in the Miami New Times (alternative newspaper) as a pretty good depiction of one slice of the city's history.

I was disappointed. I think the book has not stood the test of time. It is just not very interesting for today's reader, especially as it moves into the later chapters that sketch Didion's meetings and observations regarding various local figures. Too many details and names that add up to a lot of unanswered questions and dead ends. It seems to be mostly accurate but, as the New Times review said, Didion did not get everything right. Example of error: implying that the Black Grove, a historic Bahamian settlement, was a collection of public housing units. Didion smelled linkage between Miami Cubans and the Kennedy assassination and other national events but, by her own admission, never really got a handle on what was happening.

The narrator Jennifer Van Dyck has a fine reading voice but made dozens of distracting mispronunciations in English and Spanish.

  • Jump at the Sun

  • By: Kathleen McGhee-Anderson
  • Narrated by: full cast
  • Length: 1 hr and 33 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 74
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 65
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 65

As the '20s roared and the Harlem renaissance thrived, a young woman from rural Florida became the toast of literary New York. Jump at the Sun chronicles the passionate life of Zora Neale Hurston (author of Their Eyes Are Watching God), who went from spinning tales on the front porch of a country store to writing prize-winning stories, novels, and plays. Imbued with the rhymes and rhythms of the Jazz Age, Hurston's story reveals a woman's ferocious appetite for life, literature, and love.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Caro on 02-27-15

Excellent

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

Reviewed: 02-27-15

What made the experience of listening to Jump at the Sun the most enjoyable?

That it was different from a typical audiobook. It was a performance, and an excellent one.

What other book might you compare Jump at the Sun to and why?

There Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

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

Nothing but admiration for ZNH's determination and genius. Sadness wondering how many Black (an non-Black) voices have never been heard because of lack of opportunity.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Florence Gordon

  • By: Brian Morton
  • Narrated by: Dawn Harvey
  • Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 89
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 83
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 81

Meet Florence Gordon: blunt, brilliant, cantankerous, and passionate, a feminist icon to young women. At 75, Florence has earned her right to set down the burdens of family and work and shape her legacy at long last. But just as she is beginning to write her long-deferred memoir, her son Daniel returns to New York from Seattle with his wife and daughter, and they embroil Florence in their dramas, clouding the clarity of her days with the frustrations of middle age and the confusions of youth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unsentimental

  • By Caro on 10-13-14

Unsentimental

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

Reviewed: 10-13-14

What did you love best about Florence Gordon?

Exquisitely written, intelligent/wise book. As an audio listener, I especially liked the many short chapters.

What did you like best about this story?

Florence herself: Her toughness, self-integrity, and grit. I decided to read this because of PBS book reviewer Maureen Corrigan's description of her as a blunt and unlikeable, and I was in the mood for something unsentimental and not nicely wrapped up with a bow.

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

Dawn Harvey made an ambitious effort to portray the characters with nuance. She didn't always do it perfectly, sometime blending one voice over into another, but she did capture them well.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I don't know about the tag line, but if Lena Dunham could be aged by several decades, she should play the lead.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Twelve Years a Slave

  • By: Solomon Northup
  • Narrated by: Hugh Quarshie
  • Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 329
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 298
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 299

Hugh Quarshie reads the extraordinary autobiography of Solomon Northup. His harrowing true story, first published in 1853, was a key factor in the national debate over slavery prior to the American Civil War, significantly changing public opinion on the topic of abolition. It tells the horrifying tale of Solomon Northup, an educated, free black man living with his wife and children in New York State, whose life takes an appalling turn when he is kidnapped, drugged and sold into slavery.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • What an Experience

  • By Joel on 01-23-14

Hugh Quarshie performance -- strongly recommended

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

Reviewed: 12-01-13

After seeing the movie, I wanted to read or hear the book and had to decide which of several versions to go with. So glad I selected the Hugh Quarshie audible.com performance. I can't imagine a better reading. It felt as though I was hearing it straight from Soloman Nothrup, including some of the pronunciation nuances.

Believing this understanding should be part of every American's education, I have read a number of very enlightening slave narratives/histories. I do agree with another reviewer who said that Northrup's story, because it is told from the perspective of a free as well as enslaved man, is special and builds a helpful bridge that a 21st century free person can relate to. Normally I wouldn't say this, but I do recommend seeing the movie before reading the book. In this particular case, it enhanced my ability to "see" what was happening.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • There Are No Children Here

  • The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America
  • By: Alex Kotlowitz
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 903
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 788
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 788

This national best-seller chronicles the true story of two brothers coming of age in the Henry Horner public housing complex in Chicago. Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers are 11 and nine years old when the story begins in the summer of 1987. Living with their mother and six siblings, they struggle against grinding poverty, gun violence, gang influences, overzealous police officers, and overburdened and neglectful bureaucracies. Immersed in their lives for two years, Kotlowitz brings us this classic rendering of growing up poor in America’s cities.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Six stars

  • By Caro on 05-24-13

Six stars

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

Reviewed: 05-24-13

Don't know why I had not read this before. This book went on to become a nonfiction classic, often assigned in sociology classes. Written in the 1980s, it is -- sadly -- all still true. Not an easy reality. Told thru the eyes of children. Complicated. Unbiased. There is no better narrator than Dion Graham, who was especially able in bringing this story home.

Recommended for the same people who appreciate Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. You might also like Gangleader for a Day.


26 of 28 people found this review helpful