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FRANKLIN, VA, United States
  • 16
  • reviews
  • 42
  • helpful votes
  • 56
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  • The Nix

  • A Novel
  • By: Nathan Hill
  • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
  • Length: 21 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,292
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,694
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,670

It's 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson - college professor, stalled writer - has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn't seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she's reappeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high school sweetheart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nathan Hill is an exceptional storyteller.

  • By Bonny on 09-13-16

Awesome book. Phenomenal narrator.

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

Reviewed: 01-26-17

The Nix unfolds over the course of 5 decades, but it speaks to our times.

  • A Little Life

  • A Novel
  • By: Hanya Yanagihara
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 32 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,036
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,320
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,325

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I had to call in SAD to work

  • By Angela on 10-17-15

I Couldn't Stop, Even ThoughI Wanted to

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

Reviewed: 12-06-16

This book is only for those with a high tolerance for violence, sadness and abuse in literature because it prevails. Although as many have said, Yanigihara is an exceptional writer. I won't ever forget the main character, Judd St. Francis, but in the end I didn't like him. There were times when I listened to this book with tears streaming down my face, I was so affected by this book and yet I can't say I liked it. I will say it was an amazing and ultimately frustrating book.

  • The Book of Night Women

  • By: Marlon James
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 15 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,932
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,608
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,609

The story of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the 18th century. Even at her birth, the slave women around her recognize a dark power that they - and she - will come to both revere and fear. The Night Women, as they call themselves, have long been plotting a slave revolt, and as Lilith comes of age and reveals the extent of her power, they see her as the key to their plans.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • twenty stars

  • By Denise on 09-21-10

Extreme Violence, Inhumanity and the N word

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

Reviewed: 10-01-16

This is a thoroughly thought provoking book that is also haunting and delivered in a unique voice. The narrator is a young Jamaican slave coming of age.
I was 11 when I read Gone With the Wind, a romanticized and sanitized version of life among slave holders and slaves. Marlon James depicts a world infinitely more complex, conflicted, violent and authentic than Margaret Mitchell ever imagined.
This is a powerful book, the kind that may change ones view of the world and ones place within it.

  • Not My Father's Son: A Memoir

  • By: Alan Cumming
  • Narrated by: Alan Cumming
  • Length: 6 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,429
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,886
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,848

With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as the celebrated actor of film, television, and stage. At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always incredibly brave and honest, Not My Father's Son is a powerful story of embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Best Part of Saturday

  • By George Knight on 12-16-14

Beautiful, Honest and Deep

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

Reviewed: 03-03-15

I downloaded the book because I loved Alan Cumming's narration in MacBeth: a novel and the Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle. His book far exceeded my expectations. This isn't another celebrity memoir but something much more moving. Cummings looks at two family mysteries. They become the vehicle for examining the ways events, heredity and relationships can form us. Still this is a story about transcendence and hope. He takes us on a journey of discovery that is full of twists and turns.

  • Alas, Babylon

  • By: Pat Frank
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,018
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,531
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,524

This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Timeless

  • By Celeste Albers on 05-24-17

A Hopeful Post Apocalypse? How Disturbing

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

Reviewed: 05-09-13

Before reading Alas, Babylon, I read the non-fiction and now partially discredited book Last Train from Hiroshima. I imagine this has largely effected my reaction to Frank's fictional account of life in Florida after nuclear bombs are dropped on the U.S. The horrors that Charles Pellegrino describes in his factual account of the aftermath of the bombs that fell on Nagasaki and Hiroshima are unforgettable and the suffering inflicted on the survivors, almost unimaginable.

Frank's story is much more removed from that sort of horror, which is fine. That's an artistic choice that makes this book more readable than Pelegrino's factual account. However, Frank ultimately seems to indicate that being forced into a lifestyle that largely resembles something from a different century might not be such an awful thing. The fussy, overly civilized types will all be wiped out as will the infirm and the impractical. The implication that there is an upside of nuclear holocaust was disturbing. Perhaps it is that sort of optimism that makes this book somewhat dated.

The story is actually an engaging one, but the subtext is disturbing if one gives it much thought.

"Last Train from Hiroshima" has been discredited because one of the sources, Joseph Fuoco, turned out not to have witnessed the bomb blast but was an impostor. It is sad because Pellegrinio's book aside from the parts Fuoco describes, is really excellent.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • What Is the What

  • By: Dave Eggers
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 20 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,428
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 920
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 922

Valentino's travels, truly Biblical in scope, bring him in contact with government soldiers, janjaweed-like militias, liberation rebels, hyenas and lions, disease and starvation, and a string of unexpected romances. Ultimately, Valentino finds safety in Kenya and, just after the millennium, is finally resettled in the United States, from where this novel is narrated.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Story Aching to be Told

  • By Susan on 04-24-13

A Story Aching to be Told

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

Reviewed: 04-24-13

Since the title of the book doesn't give much away, all I knew about this book was that I kept saw it on several critics' lists of books everyone should read. It wasn't until I picked up a paperback copy and read the first few pages that I decided I had to read/listen to it. The first few pages in print swept me into the story of Valentino Achak Deng but the expert narration by Dion Graham made this not quite biographical, not quite fictional book come truly alive.

This is a story about one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. I have met one of the Lost Boys and heard his story as he told it in around forty minutes. This is the story he might have told if he had days to tell about his life and not merely minutes.

It doesn't matter whether the listener knows nothing about the civil war in Sudan or a great deal. It is ultimately a human story, one that needs to be heard. This is also America's story - about how the US appears to people half a world away and the things we can and cannot do for other nations. At times it is a heartbreaking story but it is so much more than that. The book may not be 100% factual; however it is completely true. It is true because it is never afraid to display the world as it is: wonderful, terrifying, unfair, generous, compassionate, horrifying and hopeful.

27 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • The Violinist's Thumb

  • And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code
  • By: Sam Kean
  • Narrated by: Henry Leyva
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 743
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 637
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 641

From New York Times best-selling author Sam Kean come more incredible stories of science, history, language, and music, as told by our own DNA. There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So much to think about!

  • By Traci on 08-18-12

Most Congressmen don't know where their genes are!

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

Reviewed: 11-01-12

A leading geneticist addressing congress began his talk by asking the assembly where they thought their genes were. Their answers seemed to indicate they had no idea. One person guessed in the brain someone else suggested in the gonads. You might remember from your high school biology class that genes are in cells so yes there are genes in your brain and everywhere else in the body. The scary thing is that the people responsible for making decisions about the patent-ability of genes and genomes don't seem to understand the basics about genes or genetics. While not the most entertaining anecdote in the book, it was one that stuck with me in this election year.

Thanks to Sam Kean's book you don't have to be like a member of Congress. You can learn all about genes in this entertaining and informative book. Learn about gene mutation and why inbreeding is a bad idea. Discover how our genetic code indicates that human beings almost went extinct. Be astonished by the amount of virus DNA each human contains and why the whole idea of an Arian master race is not just racist, its unscientific.

Kean's book really is entertaining. The book abounds in both educational facts and useless but entertaining information. Who knew Gregor Mendel was not just a monk but became a cigar smoking abbot who was so fat he had a difficult time working in his garden. After I listened to the book I may not have mastered the science behind genetics, but I do have a better understanding of DNA, RNA and how it makes me the person I grew up to be. It's pretty fascinating stuff.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Ready Player One

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 212,340
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 198,264
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 197,851

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book.

  • By Julie W. Capell on 05-27-14

Nerd Nirvana, Geek Heaven and Totally Fun

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

Reviewed: 10-11-12

Ernest Cline does an amazing job linking a possible future with a post disco past. Technically, Ready Player One falls into the sci-fi genre. However since characters are obsessed with the 1980's, this book isn't just for fans of science fiction.

It is a fun book to read. In the book there is a quest and like all good quests, those who embark upon it will discover Truth. The characters spend most of their time in a virtual world escaping reality but their virtual lives have real world consequences and this gives the story a page turning urgency.

Anyone who lived through the eighties; evaded Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde; loved comic books, owned an Atari VCS or watched movies like Wargames and Monty Python and the Holy Grail should read/listen to this book for the fun of it all.

  • East of Eden

  • By: John Steinbeck
  • Narrated by: Richard Poe
  • Length: 25 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,205
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,415
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,430

This sprawling and often brutal novel, set in the rich farmlands of California's Salinas Valley, follows the intertwined destinies of two families - the Trasks and the Hamiltons - whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Why have I avoided this Beautiful Book???

  • By Kelly on 03-25-17

My Book Club Chose It, But I Loved It

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

Reviewed: 08-01-12

As he wrote East of Eden, Steinbeck declared that he would not rush the telling of the story and he didn't. The story unfolds as It follows two generations of two different families in the Salinas Valley from the time of the Civil War through World War I. The Hamilton family is based on Steinbeck's maternal grandparents and their children. The book deals with the human condition and our ability to choose evil over good or good over evil. The characters are fascinating and the choices they make push the story onward.

East of Eden was published sixty years ago, but it never seems dated. Months after having read it the story still resonates and the characters are still strong in my imagination.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Road

  • By: Cormac McCarthy
  • Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
  • Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13,642
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,654
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,683

America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Yawn

  • By Polyhymnia on 07-14-16

A Dark Tale Well Told

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

Reviewed: 02-21-12

This isn't an uplifting book. In fact this post-apocalyptic novel is probably one of the darkest I've read and yet in the end it is oddly satisfying. McCarthy raises questions about what we as a society value and what we would sacrifice in order to survive. It is visceral and unforgettable.

2 of 12 people found this review helpful