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The Hellfire Club audiobook cover art

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 audiobook cover art

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 audiobook cover art

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 audiobook cover art

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 audiobook cover art

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 audiobook cover art

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 audiobook cover art

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 audiobook cover art

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 audiobook cover art

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

There Are No Children Here audiobook cover art
  • There Are No Children Here
  • The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America
  • By: Alex Kotlowitz
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham

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