LISTENER

Bookworm O'Nerd

MI, USA
  • 10
  • reviews
  • 12
  • helpful votes
  • 36
  • ratings
  • The Sound of Gravel

  • A Memoir
  • By: Ruth Wariner
  • Narrated by: Ruth Wariner
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,114
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,916
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,914

Ruth Wariner was the 39th of her father's 42 children. Growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, where authorities turned a blind eye to the practices of her community, Ruth lives in a ramshackle house without indoor plumbing or electricity. At church, preachers teach that God will punish the wicked by destroying the world and that women can ascend to heaven only by entering into polygamous marriages and giving birth to as many children as possible.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unputdownable

  • By Lesley A. on 01-16-16

A powerful, emotional journey!

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

Reviewed: 09-03-18

This memoir is more of a powerful, emotional journey than just an account of life. This was a really intense book and I had to take a break for couple of days before resuming. The author's poignant narration of her childhood left me breathless at times, seeing the complex psychological defense mechanisms of a child kick-in for self-protection. This is one of the few books that I would recommend without any reservations.

  • Out of Africa

  • By: Isak Dineson
  • Narrated by: Julie Harris
  • Length: 2 hrs and 57 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,131
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,019
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,021

Danish countess Karen Blixon, known as Isak Dineson, ran a coffee plantation in Kenya in the years when Africa remained a romantic and formidable continent to most Europeans. Out of Africa is her account of her life there, with stories of her respectful relationships with the Masai, Kikuyu, and Somali natives who work on her land; the European friends who visit her; and the imposing permanence of the wild, high land itself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I did not expect to enjoy this

  • By Tyler Tanner on 10-08-14

My rating: 2.5*

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

Reviewed: 08-11-18

Karen Blixen, pen name Isak Dinesen, has a way with words, painting a wonderful picture of the landscapes of 20th century Kenya. However, the story left me with conflicting feelings. On one hand, the author seems sincere in her efforts to support the native people, while at the same time sounds patronizing about their cultures, beliefs and way of life in general. I struggled to finish the last few pages of the book as my mind tried to reconcile this incongruity.

However, I would be amiss if I didn't give a shout out to the feminist aspects of the book - female protagonist independently managing a coffee plantation in a foreign land during early 20th century! That deserves at least an extra 0.5 star!

  • We Should All Be Feminists

  • By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Narrated by: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Length: 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 956
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 856
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 849

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers listeners a unique definition of feminism for the 21st century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author's exploration of what it means to be a woman now - and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • compelling

  • By Joe Zaniker on 06-01-17

Concise and Powerful!

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

Reviewed: 07-04-18

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of the foremost feminist of the modern era, and in this audio-book she demonstrates why. I really admired how Adichie explains what it means to be a feminist with effortless grace. This is a must-listen for everyone, irrespective of their views on feminism!

  • The Fall of the House of Usher

  • By: Edgar Allan Poe
  • Narrated by: William Roberts
  • Length: 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 124
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 116
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 115

This is a story from the Fall of the House of Usher collection. The horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, with its dungeon of death, and the overhanging gloom on the House of Usher demonstrate unforgettably the unique imagination of Edgar Allan Poe. Unerringly, he touches upon some of our greatest nightmares: Premature burial, ghostly transformation, words from beyond the grave. Written in the 1840s, they have retained their power to shock and frighten even now.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent short story

  • By Brandy Kara Kratzer on 09-06-17

Not for me, but will revisit

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

Reviewed: 07-04-18

This was my first foray into Edgar Allan Poe's works. Maybe it was the timing, maybe it was this particular book, or perhaps it was simply a hangover from my previous book, but I could appreciate neither the story nor Poe's famed prose. I will revisit this book after a couple of months though, and see if I can isolate the reason for my disfavour.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Inside the Middle East

  • Making Sense of the Most Dangerous and Complicated Region on Earth
  • By: Avi Melamed
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

Acclaimed Israeli intelligence analyst Avi Melamed has spent more than 30 years interpreting Middle East affairs. His long-awaited Inside the Middle East challenges widely accepted perceptions and provides a gripping and uniquely enlightening guide to make sense of the events unfolding in the region. Melamed considers all the major power players in the Middle East, explains the underlying issues, and creates a three-dimensional picture, an illustration that connects the dots and provides a fascinating road map.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Listen with a grain of salt

  • By Bookworm O'Nerd on 06-27-18

Listen with a grain of salt

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

Reviewed: 06-27-18

I ventured into this book expecting it to be biased and I wasn't disappointed; it turned out to be exactly that. To be fair, the author attempts to be objective and sometimes even succeeds at it. Despite the author's blinkered narrative, the book is very informative about the different actors involved in the Middle-East conflict. The most significant point in the book, for me, was learning about Aliaa Magda Elmahdy's bold activism against misogyny. On the whole, this is an edifying book that's worth a read to get a new perspective on the complex subject of Israel-Palestine and Arab world.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Billions & Billions

  • Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium
  • By: Carl Sagan
  • Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo, Ann Druyan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58

In the final book of his astonishing career, Carl Sagan brilliantly examines the burning questions of our lives, our world, and the universe around us. These luminous, entertaining essays travel both the vastness of the cosmos and the intimacy of the human mind, posing such fascinating questions as how did the universe originate and how will it end, and how can we meld science and compassion to meet the challenges of the coming century?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Our generation's most pressing issues

  • By And vice versa on 07-23-18

A good listen

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

Reviewed: 05-31-18

The book encapsulates Carl Sagan's thoughts on very various topics, and is an easy, satisfying listen.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Design of Everyday Things

  • By: Donald A. Norman
  • Narrated by: Peter Berkrot
  • Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 877
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 737
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 732

First, businesses discovered quality as a key competitive edge; next came science. Now, Donald A. Norman, former Director of the Institute for Cognitive Science at the University of California, reveals how smart design is the new frontier. The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how - and why - some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Badly needs updating

  • By Sean on 10-29-11

A book for everyone

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

Reviewed: 05-31-18

Being a systems engineer, this book is a delight! Peter Berkrot does a very good job, bringing to life (or voice) Mr. Norman's principles, ideas and thoughts. I would recommend this book to anyone who is, or hopes to be, an architect of sensible, utilitarian things.

  • Wait, What?

  • And Life's Other Essential Questions
  • By: James E. Ryan
  • Narrated by: James E. Ryan
  • Length: 2 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,804
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,638
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,635

In his commencement address to the graduating class of 2016, James E. Ryan, dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, offered remarkable advice to the crowd of hopeful men and women eager to make their marks on the world. The key to achieving emotional connections and social progress, he told them, can be found in five essential questions.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Hmm..

  • By Bookworm O'Nerd on 05-20-18

Hmm..

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

Reviewed: 05-20-18

I confess I only bought this audio-book because it was on sale for $0.99. I found the author's narration quite soporific, though it's a relatively short audio-book. I feel the questions that the author terms as "life's .... essential questions" more of a banal description on "how to use your common sense", interspersed with author's personal experiences. This is not a book that I would venture into for a second read/listen, and perhaps would hesitate (a lot) to recommend to anyone!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Baking Cakes in Kigali

  • A Novel
  • By: Gaile Parkin
  • Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
  • Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 74
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 58

Once in a great while a debut novelist comes along who dazzles us with rare eloquence and humanity, who takes us to bold new places and into previously unimaginable lives. Gaile Parkin is just such a talent and Baking Cakes in Kilgali is just such a novel. This gloriously written tale, set in modern-day Rwanda, introduces one of the most singular and engaging characters in recent fiction: Angel Tungaraza; mother, cake baker, keeper of secrets, a woman living on the edge of chaos.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • NOT Ladies' Detective--Which is okay!

  • By Rebecca J. Leamon on 04-12-13

14 Cakes

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

Reviewed: 05-20-18

This book was quite different from the books I have read/listened to in recent times, not necessarily great but not awful either. There are a few cringe worthy instances in the book (like unsolicited match-making) which is compensated by the author's gentle exploration of sensitive topics like the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi, the still-prevalent practice of female genital mutilation, dominating presence of HIV/AIDS, religious judgment on suicide and many more.

The narrative that struck me the most was a conversation between the protagonist, Angel, and a genocide survivor, Francoise, on being a survivalist. Of all the characters and their tragedies, I found the one of Jeanne d'Arc as really heart wrenching. I was bit disturbed with the nonchalant treatment of Modeste and his two girlfriends. The book does have a handful of humorous moments, some the expense of reinforcing stereotypes and others by shattering the very same typecast (like an obnoxious, rude Canadian!). I really liked how the main character, Angel Tungaraza - a grand mother to five children, learns from her experiences and does not hold rigid to her beliefs irrationally.

  • The Healing

  • A Novel
  • By: Jonathan Odell
  • Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
  • Length: 13 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 315
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 279
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 275

Mississippi plantation mistress Amanda Satterfield loses her daughter to cholera after her husband refuses to treat her for what he considers to be a “slave disease.” Insane with grief, Amanda takes a newborn slave child as her own and names her Granada, much to the outrage of her husband and the amusement of their white neighbors. Troubled by his wife’s disturbing mental state and concerned about a mysterious plague sweeping through his slave population, Master Satterfield purchases Polly Shine, a slave reputed to be a healer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • In the remembering this book brought me to tears

  • By Marjo on 04-09-13

A book that I would recommend without reservation!

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

Reviewed: 05-13-18

I absolutely love Adenrele Ojo's narration style! The Healing is one of those books which captivates the reader (or listener) in the first page and holds it steadily all the way through the epilogue and author's notes. The story is filled with characters that weave into our memories and rightfully demand "remembrance", and the narrator Adenrele Ojo portrays their spirit, dilemma, anguish, struggles and joys fantastically!