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Julie W. Capell

Valparaiso, Chile
  • 242
  • reviews
  • 1,759
  • helpful votes
  • 284
  • ratings
  • Head On (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,716
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,485
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,471

Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent's head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are "threeps", robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden's Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real, and the crowds love it. Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • THIS is why I read SciFi! Scalzi gets into your head (be it on or off)

  • By C. White on 04-17-18

Another slam-dunk for Scalzi

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

Reviewed: 09-02-18

Or should I say touchdown. I'm not a sports fan but enjoyed this book even though its background is professional sports. Like the first volume in the series, this novel takes a detective thriller adds some snarky characters and a bit of Star Wars gadgetry to create a highly enjoyable read. I love how you don't really know if the main character is a male or a female.

[I listened to this as an audio book read by Wil Wheaton, who is simply the best at getting all the nuances out of Scalzi's irascible and irreverent dialog]

  • The Great Passage

  • By: Shion Miura, Juliet Winters Carpenter - translator
  • Narrated by: Brian Nishii
  • Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 179
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 162
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 167

Inspired as a boy by the multiple meanings to be found for a single word in the dictionary, Kohei Araki is devoted to the notion that a dictionary is a boat to carry us across the sea of words. But after thirty-seven years creating them at Gembu Books, it's time for him to retire and find his replacement. He discovers a kindred spirit in Mitsuya Majime - a young, disheveled square peg with a penchant for collecting antiquarian books and a background in linguistics - whom he swipes from his company's sales department.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging, unusual, fun

  • By LGLH on 02-11-18

good translation, boring characters

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

Reviewed: 08-25-18

A book all about language, folded into the story of the making of a dictionary? Right up my alley. There were some nice ruminations on how certain words have a variety of meanings, but overall the novel just didn't wow me. The characters were not that interesting to me, and I even had trouble understanding the author's overall message. Kudos to the translator, I can't imagine figuring out how to get across in English concepts that were probably more nuanced in the original Japanese. I think the translation had little to do with my lukewarm reaction. The translator cannot create compelling characters if the author failed to do so.

[Listened to this as an audio book read by Brian Nishii. I've listened to other books read by this performer and find his delivery to be adequate, but somehow stilted. It just doesn't flow smoothly, seems jerky.]

  • Last Shot

  • Star Wars
  • By: Daniel José Older
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson, Daniel José Older, January LaVoy
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,020
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,907
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,904

It's one of the galaxy's most dangerous secrets: a mysterious transmitter with unknown power and a reward for its discovery that most could only dream of claiming. But those who fly the Millennium Falcon throughout its infamous history aren't your average scoundrels. Not once, but twice, the crew of the Falcon tries to claim the elusive prize - first, Lando Calrissian and the droid L3-37 at the dawn of an ambitious career, and later, a young and hungry Han Solo with the help of his copilot, Chewbacca.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • It's a letdown and boring

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-19-18

Like hearing a movie in your mind

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

Reviewed: 08-09-18

Daniel José Older has done a terrific job of capturing the essence of what makes Star Wars endure: great characters, evil bad guys, perilous adventures, and funny banter. This book was a hoot, particularly the audio version. The addition of John Williams' music, the sounds of blasters shooting and droids bleeping, made this feel like watching a movie in my mind. Add to all that the amazing voice performance of Marc Thompson, and I thought I was hearing Billy Dee Williams and Harrison Ford, backed up by a cast of dozens. One of the best narrations I have ever heard. [note: For some reason, Daniel José Older narrates some of the chapters. His narration is pretty amateur, but his excitement is evident and carries him through. January LaVoy also narrates a few chapters and does an outstanding job as L3]. Even if you don't usually pick up franchise novels, I would highly recommend this one if you are looking for some fun and adventure in your life.

  • Ten Women

  • By: Marcela Serrano, Beth Fowler (translator)
  • Narrated by: Marisol Ramirez
  • Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 149
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 135
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 136

Nine Chilean women from vastly different backgrounds have been brought together by their beloved therapist, Natasha, to talk about their lives and help each other heal. From a teenage computer whiz confronting her sexual identity, to a middle-aged recluse who prefers the company of her dog over that of most humans, the women don’t have much in common on the surface. And yet as they tell their stories, unlikely common threads are discovered, bonds are formed, and lives are transformed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding characterization

  • By EShaw on 04-26-18

The lives of women with an international twist

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

Not normally the sort of book I read but I picked it up on World Literature Day because it was written by a Chilean and focused on the lives of women, two topics that are intensely interesting to me. There is a chapter for each woman in the title, all of them survivors in one way or another. Their stories, while very personal, also contain much that any woman will recognize. They struggle to decide what to wear in the morning, how to raise their children, how to escape from bad relationships and how to accept love. Anyone who knows Chile will immediately relate to the sections dealing with particularly Chilean situations (the "disappeared") and landscapes. Anyone unfamiliar with Chile will learn a little about this far-away country, its classism, its extreme deserts, the way its political past still haunts many. The women of this book, with their darkness and chaos, overwhelmed me and filled me with wonder, much as Chile has permeated my being ever since I first arrived in 1984. Or like the sea in this wonderful passage from the book, as translated by Beth Fowler:

"I came to Chile to see whether I could tolerate it. The house on the beach at Isla Negra that Natasha's psychiatrist friend rented was an important factor in my decision to stay. Isla Negra as it was back then, before it became a Neruda fetish with tourists and buses and prints, was a solitary place. It received a very specific kind of visitor, the kind of people who found it a pleasure to wind up in the snack bar where we ate fried fish. We used to spend the weekends there and since we arrived in winter, my encounter with the Chilean sea was powerful. That sea at Isla Negra, its darkness, its chaos, its inaccessibility, penetrated my heart with an unexpected force, as did the pine forests and the immense rocks."

  • A River in Darkness

  • One Man's Escape from North Korea
  • By: Masaji Ishikawa, Risa Kobayashi - translator, Martin Brown - translator
  • Narrated by: Brian Nishii
  • Length: 5 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,280
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,078
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,075

Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just 13 years old. His father, himself a Korean national, was lured to the new Communist country by false promises of abundant work and a higher station in society. In this memoir translated from the original Japanese, Ishikawa candidly recounts his tumultuous upbringing and the brutal 36 years he spent living under a crushing totalitarian regime.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Heartbreaking

  • By C. F. Gagnon on 05-31-18

Incredible tale of survival

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

Reviewed: 06-24-18

Really drove home the difficulties of life in North Korea for the average person. The unmitigated pain, hunger and suffering of the author and his family were so terrible I thought over and over again, how could they have survived? I have read other similar books about North Korea but the sheer poverty is still shocking. This was one of the most depressing books I have ever read, but I am glad I read it, if only to remind myself--again--of the absolute folly of trying to negotiate with the current leadership there. It is sickening to think how the entire world has abandoned millions of people to live in the worst conditions imaginable for so many decades.

  • At the Mountains of Madness [Blackstone Edition]

  • By: H. P. Lovecraft
  • Narrated by: Edward Herrmann
  • Length: 4 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,677
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,428
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,422

This Lovecraft classic is a must-have for every fan of classic terror. When a geologist leads an expedition to the Antarctic plateau, his aim is to find rock and plant specimens from deep within the continent. The barren landscape offers no evidence of any life form - until they stumble upon the ruins of a lost civilization. Strange fossils of creatures unknown to man lead the team deeper, where they find carved stones dating back millions of years. But it is their discovery of the terrifying city of the Old Ones that leads them to an encounter with an untold menace.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • First Lovecraft

  • By Brian on 02-03-14

Terrific narration of a fantastic tale

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

Reviewed: 06-20-18

There's a reason this is a classic. The reader is immediately immersed in the scientific mind of the main character, who describes with wonderful detail his party's preparation for an Antarctic expedition. One senses the excitement of men traveling to the last unexplored place on Earth and cannot help but be caught up in their anticipation and slight unease. What will we find? Will we become famous? Will we survive the ice and wind? Of course, these natural enemies become secondary to the main event, something sinister lurking under the frozen wastes . . . cue the menacing music!

Having read other books by real explorers of the same time period, I was struck at the accuracy of Lovecraft's descriptions of the expedition, the scientists' zeal for discovery and their hypotheses regarding the anomalous things they found.

If you like books like "The Lost City of Z" and "Turn Right at Machu Picchu" you should definitely read this gem.

[I listened to this as an audiobook read by the late, great Edward Herrmann. Simply amazing, highly recommended.]

  • The Successful Author Mindset

  • A Handbook for Surviving the Writer's Journey
  • By: Joanna Penn
  • Narrated by: Caroline Holroyd
  • Length: 2 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 123
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 114
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 110

Being a writer is not just about typing. It's also about surviving the rollercoaster of the creative journey. Self-doubt, fear of failure, the need for validation, perfectionism, writer's block, comparisonitis, overwhelm, and much more. When you're going through these things, it can feel like you're alone. But actually, they are part of the creative process, and every author goes through them too.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Any genre, any writing goal, be successful!

  • By Rhianna Walker on 06-27-17

Great, short, upbeat

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

Reviewed: 06-16-18

I really enjoyed this short, upbeat book on how to keep going on your author journey even when the going gets tough. Great audiobook, loved the reader.

  • Dark Matter

  • A Novel
  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,352
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,031
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,030

"Are you happy with your life?" Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Believable Multiverse

  • By Michael L. Moore on 02-18-17

if Michio Kaku rewrote North by Northwest

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

Reviewed: 06-16-18

I've always thought Cary Grant's everyman caught up in a case of mistaken identity, chased by bad guys and afraid he might never get his "normal" life back again, is one of the great stories of our time.

Here, the everyman is a physicist rather than a Madison Avenue adman and instead of being chased across the plains of the Middle West, our hero is being chased across the multiverse. Add in a very compelling love story and thrill-a-minute storytelling and you have a highly enjoyable book. I think it would make a great movie!

If you liked this book, you should definitely check out the similar but much funnier "Where the Hell is Tesla?" by Rob Dirks.

[I listened to this as an audiobook performed by Jon Lindstrom. Very good job, except that he made the Chicagoans in the story sound like they were from the Bronx.]

  • Consider Phlebas

  • By: Iain M. Banks
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 16 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,496
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,240
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,252

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Culture is a magnificent and enticing vision.

  • By Hyacinth on 04-20-12

Consider reading something else

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

Reviewed: 06-09-18

This book has been on my "to-read" list for a very long time, mostly because it appears on lots of lists of the best scifi. I was definitely underwhelmed. It had neither of the hallmarks of what I look for in a good scifi novel, namely Big Ideas and great worldbuilding. In 1987, when the book was published, I guess it was okay to focus on action alone but now readers demand a bit more, even from their space opera. Thank goodness for the dash of humor provided by the drone Unaha-Closp.

I listened to this as an audio book performed by Peter Kenny. The narration was well-done, with Kenny giving distinct voices and accents to help distinguish the many characters. But the many strange names were difficult to understand and I kind of wish I'd read the book rather than listened.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

  • The Road to Nowhere, Book 1
  • By: Meg Elison
  • Narrated by: Angela Dawe
  • Length: 9 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,861
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,725
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,731

When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead. In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth's population - killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant - the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power - and the strong who possess it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • "Equals" = "Annoying"

  • By Lulu on 12-26-16

As good as "Handmaid's Tale"

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

Reviewed: 02-15-18

Haven't read a post-apocalyptic novel this good since "A Handmaid's Tale." The story does not dwell on all the minute details of how exactly one would manage to find enough food, fuel, etc to continue living once 99% of the human race died, but rather focuses on one woman's quest to remain true to her own ideals, to her sense of self, and remain free.

The protagonist travels a great swath of the American West without seeming to have a destination in mind, other than to find a place where she will not be forced to submit to abusive authority--masculine or feminine. She uses her unique talents as a midwife to heal and protect other women she encounters on her journey. She meets other people who have wildly different priorities and belief systems than hers; their points of view providing alternative visions of how the post-apocalyptic world might evolve socially and culturally.

Large chunks of the novel are told from the midwife's point-of-view, as excerpts from her journal.
But at times the author moves into god mode, telling the reader what is happening in the wider world. In one particularly affecting passage, the fates of Americans who were abroad when the plague hit is hinted at. From Peace Corps kids in Africa to military units posted in Afghanistan to tourists in the Caribbean, the vision of people who survived only to realize they would never be able to get home again is described in spare, haunting prose.

Not an easy read, but satisfying as only the best, most honest fiction can be, when it challenges the reader to think about what makes us human, what matters most in life, and what it means to never give up hope.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful