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KathrynVB

Chicago, IL USA
  • 136
  • reviews
  • 197
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  • 154
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  • The Far Field

  • A Novel
  • By: Madhuri Vijay
  • Narrated by: Sneha Mathan
  • Length: 14 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 149
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 140
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 141

In the wake of her mother's death, Shalini, a privileged and restless young woman from Bangalore, sets out for a remote Himalayan village in the troubled northern region of Kashmir. Certain that the loss of her mother is somehow connected to the decade-old disappearance of Bashir Ahmed, a charming Kashmiri salesman who frequented her childhood home, she is determined to confront him. But upon her arrival, Shalini is brought face to face with Kashmir's politics, as well as the tangled history of the local family that takes her in. And then life in the village turns volatile and old hatreds threaten to erupt into violence.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Expert Narration

  • By Joelle Trayers on 03-26-19

Fascinating slice of life!

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

Reviewed: 07-11-19

A wonderful story from India, where a young and somewhat naive young woman travels from her home in Bangalore to the mountains of Kashmir, the northernmost state of that country. Interesting characters and totally believable occurrences. Excellent narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Good American Family

  • The Red Scare and My Father
  • By: David Maraniss
  • Narrated by: David Maraniss
  • Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

In a riveting audiobook with powerful resonance today, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss captures the pervasive fear and paranoia that gripped America during the Red Scare of the 1950s through the chilling yet affirming story of his family’s ordeal, from blacklisting to vindication. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Odd criticism

  • By Andrew L. Irwin on 07-14-19

Very disappointing book.

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

Reviewed: 06-20-19

I was excited to hear that David Maraniss had written a book about his father, Elliott Maraniss, the editor of Madison's Capitol Times newspaper. His dad's story begins with his being hauled in front of the HUAC in the early 1950s, a time that is of great interest to those of us who grew up in Wisconsin but were too young to have a personal experience of the McCarthy era.

But I was hugely disappointed with this book. First of all, David is not a good narrator, and the lack of polish doesn't help his desire to engage us. Secondly, he apparently has little meat about his father's experience and filled early chapters with Maraniss family history and extensive quotes from Arthur Miller's autobiography, Timebends. I quit when the author's overuse of Miller material became irritating.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Charity and Sylvia

  • By: Rachel Hope Cleves
  • Narrated by: Kristin Kalbli
  • Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 174
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 161

Conventional wisdom holds that same-sex marriage is a purely modern innovation, a concept born of an overtly modern lifestyle that was unheard of in 19th-century America. But as Rachel Hope Cleves demonstrates in this eye-opening book, same-sex marriage is hardly new. Born in 1777, Charity Bryant was raised in Massachusetts. A brilliant and strong-willed woman with a clear attraction for her own sex, Charity found herself banished from her family home at age 20.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating story!

  • By Chloe Northrop on 06-13-17

Too much redundancy.

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

Reviewed: 06-03-19

I lost interest at about 70% through. There was too much repetition. Because the nature of the subject was forbidden love, the historical record is incomplete. Many letters were burned. What remains is heavily coded. There is interesting information about same sex partnerships in the late 1700s and early 1800s, but we cannot get into the heads of Sylvia and Charity. We can only speculate.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Last Black Unicorn

  • By: Tiffany Haddish
  • Narrated by: Tiffany Haddish
  • Length: 6 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,338
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 26,359
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,246

Tiffany can't avoid being funny: it's just who she is. But The Last Black Unicorn is so much more than a side-splittingly hilarious collection of essays - it's a memoir of the struggles of one woman who came from nothing and nowhere. A woman who was able to achieve her dreams by reveling in her pain and awkwardness, showing the world who she really is, and inspiring others through the power of laughter.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sad it ended

  • By HerHighness on 12-08-17

A rocket ride!

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

Reviewed: 05-31-19

Get ready for a completely nontraditional autobiography. This is a blistering account of one woman's fight to matter in her world, despite negligent parents, indifferent teachers, deceitful and violent men, and the rigors of making it in the world of standup comedy. You will not be bored.

  • Furious Hours

  • Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee
  • By: Casey Cep
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 335
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 301
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 304

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell's murderer was acquitted - thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the reverend. Sitting in the audience during the vigilante's trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant!

  • By Rick on 05-12-19

A multifaceted look at murder and authorship.

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

Reviewed: 05-29-19

This is a marvelous investigation into a serial murderer who left no traces, and the mysterious author Nelle Harper Lee. Harper Lee wanted to write his story as her next great American novel, but she just could not do it. I learned a lot in this book: the early days of insurance fraud, the life and times of a liberal attorney in 1960's Alabama, how Harper Lee was able to finish To Kill a Mockingbird and how she then helped Truman Capote research his great book In Cold Blood. Hillary Huber was excellent as the narrator. Wonderful book.

  • Working

  • By: Robert A. Caro
  • Narrated by: Robert A. Caro
  • Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 395
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 368
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 364

From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Power Broker and the Years of Lyndon Johnson series: an unprecedented gathering of vivid, candid, deeply revealing recollections about his experiences researching and writing his acclaimed books.  

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good as always.

  • By David T. on 04-10-19

I knew I would love this book, and I did.

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

Reviewed: 04-25-19

Robert Caro's life work has been an investigation into political power: how it is created, how it is used, and what it does to the people who have it.

I have read some of these excerpts before in various magazines and newspapers, but it is wonderful to hear the author himself. Great book for those of us who live biographies.

  • A Woman of No Importance

  • The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II
  • By: Sonia Purnell
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 13 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 430
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 402
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 400

The never-before-told story of Virginia Hall, the American spy who changed the course of World War II, from the author of Clementine.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Excellent Read

  • By CP in Seattle on 05-21-19

Recommended for all women, young & old

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

Reviewed: 04-22-19

I was not aware of Virginia Hall until I saw this book reviewed and decided to use my credit to purchase it. This is a fascinating account of an American woman who disappeared into occupied France as part of Britain's Special Operations Executive corps, where she became perhaps the most important spy ever recruited by that agency. This book should be read by every teenaged girl to show what a woman of her great-grandmother's generation was able to accomplish. I am sending this to my 16 year-old granddaughter.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • The Innocent Man

  • Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Craig Wasson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,334
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,544
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,551

In the town of Ada, Oklahoma, Ron Williamson was going to be the next Mickey Mantle. But on his way to the Big Leagues, Ron stumbled, his dreams broken by drinking, drugs, and women. Then, on a winter night in 1982, not far from Ron’s home, a young cocktail waitress named Debra Sue Carter was savagely murdered. The investigation led nowhere. Until, on the flimsiest evidence, it led to Ron Williamson. The washed-up small-town hero was charged, tried, and sentenced to death - in a trial littered with lying witnesses and tainted evidence.... 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Book - Not Typical Grisham

  • By Mark on 01-17-07

Better than the book.

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

Reviewed: 04-15-19

I read the John Grisham book first. it would have been improved by some good editing, but it was convincing nevertheless. This is better, perhaps because I read the book first. Very strong case for prosecutorial misconduct, not to mention police corruption.

  • Mom & Me & Mom

  • By: Maya Angelou
  • Narrated by: Maya Angelou
  • Length: 4 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 931
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 808
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 813

The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple best-selling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother. For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence - a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Never Enough Mom Books

  • By Syd Young on 02-04-14

Astonishing story!

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

Reviewed: 04-12-19

I thought I knew all about Maya Angelou. But this is more intimate and revealing than any other of her books. I wish I had a mother like hers: fierce, fearless, inventive, loving, honest. This is a marvelous memoir. Even though it's only four hours long, it's worth a credit.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hollywood Godfather

  • My Life in the Movies and the Mob
  • By: Gianni Russo, Patrick Picciarelli
  • Narrated by: Gianni Russo
  • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 269
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 252
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 252

Gianni Russo was a handsome 25-year-old mobster with no acting experience when he walked onto the set of The Godfather and entered Hollywood history. He played Carlo Rizzi, and he didn't have to act - he knew the mob inside and out: from his childhood in Little Italy, where Mafia legend Frank Costello took him under his wing, to having to go on the lam after shooting and killing a member of the Colombian drug cartel in his Vegas club. Along the way, Russo befriended Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. Russo had passionate affairs with Marilyn Monroe and Liza Minelli....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Some Mysteries Solved

  • By 20eagle16 on 04-28-19

Read this book.

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

Reviewed: 04-06-19

This was the most interesting 10 hours you'll ever spend. Gross, hilarious, mind bending, Gianni Russo is the Forrest Gump of the wise guys, the Mafia, the Cosa Nostra.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful