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  • reviews
  • 4
  • helpful votes
  • 30
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  • The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

  • A Novel
  • By: Arundhati Roy
  • Narrated by: Arundhati Roy
  • Length: 16 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 481
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 440
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 439

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness transports us across a subcontinent on a journey of many years. It takes us deep into the lives of its gloriously rendered characters, each of them in search of a place of safety - in search of meaning and of love.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Author narration does not work for me

  • By Amazon Customer on 06-18-17

Too much going on

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

Reviewed: 02-28-19

This was basically a stringing together of various liberal Indian "issues", barely strung into a disjointed novel. It could have been a wonderful collection of short stories. Or another one of her magnificent books of nonfiction essays. I love her essays and her sociopolitical works. But she tried too hard to turn that into a novel here. From a literary perspective, this book felt contrived.

  • Locking Up Our Own

  • Crime and Punishment in Black America
  • By: James Forman Jr.
  • Narrated by: Kevin R. Free
  • Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 325
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 293
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 291

Today, Americans are debating our criminal justice system with new urgency. Mass incarceration and aggressive police tactics - and their impact on people of color - are feeding outrage and a consensus that something must be done. But what if we only know half the story? In Locking Up Our Own, the Yale legal scholar and former public defender James Forman Jr. weighs the tragic role that some African Americans themselves played in escalating the war on crime.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding Book

  • By Andrew on 12-13-17

Best book I've read all year.

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

Reviewed: 12-09-18

I am a long-time public defender. So much of what Professor Forman writes rings true to me. More importantly, he writes about a little-known aspect of the history of our criminal justice system - - the role of various well-intentioned people of color, including African American judges, prosecutors, police officers, and the clergy, in helping to create the system that exists today. However, the author does so with precision, consistently noting the differences between what these African American leaders and advocates envisioned (a domestic Marshal Plan, as the author puts it) and what was ultimately delivered.

The book is readable and thankfully lacks the preachiness of many books on the topic. Last but not least, the narrator was fantastic.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Less

  • By: Andrew Sean Greer
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,087
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,777
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,767

You are a failed novelist about to turn 50. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: Your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes - it would be too awkward - and you can't say no - it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world. Question: How do you arrange to skip town? Answer: You accept them all.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Endearing, funny, but sometimes overly clever

  • By Lili on 07-30-17

Cute but cheesy love story

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

Reviewed: 11-14-18

Some funny moments. However, it skewed more touching and sweet than funny. The ending was a bit too precious for my taste. Note that the reading/ performance of this book was very good.

  • The Possessed

  • Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them
  • By: Elif Batuman
  • Narrated by: Elif Batuman
  • Length: 9 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 21

In The Possessed we watch Elif Batuman investigate a possible murder at Tolstoy's ancestral estate. We go with her to Stanford, Switzerland, and St. Petersburg; retrace Pushkin's wanderings in the Caucasus; learn why Old Uzbek has 100 different words for crying; and see an 18th-century ice palace reconstructed on the Neva. Love and the novel, the individual in history, the existential plight of the graduate student: all find their places in The Possessed.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Dear Russian Literary Diary...

  • By Darwin8u on 08-29-17

Good book;Ironically, bad narration(by the author)

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

Reviewed: 09-18-18

The "Samarkand" sections are wry, witty, and insightful. The author would do well to find someone else to narrate. I was reading the paper book as well as listening when I couldn't read. All of the humor I found when I read was flattened when I heard her reading it, in her melancholic monotone.

  • The Silk Roads

  • A New History of the World
  • By: Peter Frankopan
  • Narrated by: Laurence Kennedy
  • Length: 24 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,911
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,716
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,716

It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures, and religions, and it was the appetites for foreign goods that drove economies and the growth of nations. From the first cities in Mesopotamia to the emergence of Greece and Rome to the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death, the struggles of the Great Game, and the fall of Communism - the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What Really Makes the World Go Round

  • By Mom in Santa Fe on 07-29-16

Excellent

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

Reviewed: 08-10-18

An excellent rendition of history from an angle that is too often brushed aside. Narration was good and easy to follow.

  • The History of the Sunni and Shia Split

  • Understanding the Divisions within Islam
  • By: Charles River Editors
  • Narrated by: Colin Fluxman
  • Length: 1 hr and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 227
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 201
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 201

Different branches of the same religion are the exception more than the rule, and they have had a profound impact upon history. The schism between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches influenced relationships between nations across Europe, and religious intolerance based on different Christian faiths led to persecution and outright violence across the continent for centuries.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent preface to making sense of intl news.

  • By Jan on 07-16-15

Good, short, basic primer on the subject.

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

Reviewed: 12-09-17

Lays out a very basic outline of the conflict. Does a nice job of starting with the prophet and ending close to today's time.

  • Everybody's Fool

  • A Novel
  • By: Richard Russo
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 18 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,036
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 957
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 954

Sully is staring down a VA cardiologist's estimate that he has only a year or two left, and it's hard work trying to keep this news from the most important people in his life: Ruth, the married woman he carried on with for years...the ultra-hapless Rub Squeers, who worries that he and Sully aren't still best friends...Sully's son and grandson, for whom he was mostly an absentee figure (and now a regretful one).

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant, hilarious, long-awaited sequel!

  • By KDW on 05-14-16

Decent performance; Disappointing book

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

Reviewed: 07-04-17

This book was as terrible as the first book (Everybody's Fool) was amazing. Disappointed. More like a trivial beach read than the endearing, inspired novel that the first one was.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful