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A. Potter

Washington D.C.
  • 19
  • reviews
  • 184
  • helpful votes
  • 35
  • ratings
  • Thirst for Power: Energy, Water, and Human Survival

  • By: Michael E. Webber
  • Narrated by: Tom Pile
  • Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4

Although it is widely understood that energy and water are the world’s two most critical resources, their vital interconnections and vulnerabilities are less often recognized. This farsighted audiobook offers a new, holistic way of thinking about energy and water - a big picture approach that reveals the interdependence of the two resources, identifies the seriousness of the challenges, and lays out an optimistic approach with an array of solutions to ensure continuing sustainability.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing Read

  • By Mohammad Mneimneh on 11-12-18

Well-researched, balanced view of complex issues

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

Reviewed: 09-05-18

Michael E. Webber is amazing! I have found previous books on water to be one-sided, detailing problems without putting forward concrete solutions. Michael Webber rigorously explores all aspects of the water-energy nexus, examining each angle objectively without judgement, and offering concrete solutions globally and as a consumer. I just ordered a hard copy so I can reference certain chapters and passages later. His language is clear and concise and he covers topics in a way that anyone can understand. He's my favorite professor that I never had!

  • In Defense of Food

  • By: Michael Pollan
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 6 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,951
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,016
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,010

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These simple words go to the heart of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food. Humans used to know how to eat well, Pollan argues. But the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused, complicated, and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists-all of whom have much to gain from our dietary confusion.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Life and Death

  • By James on 06-03-10

Good philosophy, bad health advice

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

Reviewed: 04-06-18

I love Michael Pollan and would rate Omnivore's Dilemma as one of my all-time favorite books. In this book, he drew on some of the same themes but sadly steered into giving health advice where he lacks expertise. The value for me was his take on health science in regard to nutrition over the past several decades and why health scientists continue to get it wrong. The narrator took on a haughty tone that I disliked but Pollan's content was well-researched and informative, particular as he tears apart what he calls "nutritionism" - deducing the value of various foods to specific components that may or may not contribute to our overall health. His argument draws heavily from Weston Price's decades-old wisdom that real food ecosystems bring peak health; not components of foods. Where he steers off course is his assessment that supplements are not needed as long as we eat real food, mostly plants. He actually says that people who take supplements are generally healthier because they value their health not because of the supplements they take. He makes no mention of junk supplements versus high quality supplements. He also fails to recognize the global rise in health problems as a result of the depletion of nutrients in our soil (instead; he blames poor health squarely on processed foods and the Western diet). There are plenty of super health-conscious people out there who still face major nutritional deficiencies because of genetic, gut, or other issues. In terms of whether supplements can help one's overall health and well-being, there are blood tests (real proof) -- as well as the patient's own change in health -- that show the value of certain supplements. In the end, he fell into his own trap of relying on mainstream medical community -- the very highly flawed culture of science he so readily criticizes -- to dole out over-simplified and unrealistic advice to his readers.

  • The Last Best Cure

  • My Quest to Awaken the Healing Parts of My Brain and Get Back My Body, My Joy, and My Life
  • By: Donna Jackson Nakazawa
  • Narrated by: Karen Saltus
  • Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 76

One day Donna Jackson Nakazawa found herself lying on the floor to recover from climbing the stairs. That’s when it hit her. She was managing the symptoms of the autoimmune disorders that had plagued her for a decade, but she had lost her joy. As a science journalist, she was curious to know what mind-body strategies might help her. As a wife and mother she was determined to get her life back. Over the course of one year, Nakazawa researches and tests a variety of therapies including meditation, yoga, and acupuncture to find out what works.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved this book

  • By Adam Estepp on 01-08-18

Terrific book on healing; smartly written

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

Reviewed: 07-21-16

This book highlights how bringing mindfulness and mindful practices, such as meditation and yoga, into your life can have profound effects on your physical well-being. This is not just a book for people who are ill. This is a book for anyone going through a period of heightened stress or suppressed health who wants to get to a better place emotionally and physically. Donna Jackson Nakazawa, a science writer and sufferer of multiple chronic illnesses, discusses how your Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) score can make you more prone to chronic disease and health issues later in life. The score is based on emotional or physical abuse or other factors (death in the close family, separation from a parent, etc.) experienced as a child. The theory is that the higher the score, the more likely you are to eventually suffer from illness. By expertly treating herself as both journalist and subject, the reader gets up close to Nakazawa's story (giving each chapter pace and momentum) while avoiding sentimentality and learning about some important practices and mindsets for healing.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Ingredienti

  • Marcella's Guide to the Market
  • By: Marcella Hazan, Victor Hazan
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Wiley
  • Length: 4 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8

When Marcella Hazan died in 2013, the world mourned the passing of the "Godmother of Italian cooking". But her legacy lives on, through her cookbooks and recipes, and in the handwritten notebooks filled with her thoughts on how to select the best ingredients - Ingredienti. Her husband and longtime collaborator Victor has translated and transcribed these vignettes on how to buy and what to do with the fresh produce used in Italian cooking, the elements of an essential pantry, and salumi.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • good listen but a better read

  • By Alexandra Nicholas on 02-14-17

A must read for Italian food lovers!

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

Reviewed: 07-02-16

This book is a treasure trove for cooks who love Italian ingredients and preparations. I felt like Marcella Hazan was my 'nonna' walking me through her own pantry late in life, passing along to me her vast knowledge by identifying each piece of vegetable, cheese, or slice of prosciutto, and telling me about its history, origin, and flavor. She shares her preferences freely and humorously at times ("No balsamic!" she proclaims, especially when talking about salad dressing). She later redeems balsamic by describing really good, aged balsamic and how to use it "with a dropper" (a single drop of good balsamic on a piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano is heaven, she says). I especially enjoyed the sections she shares on good salts and how to use them, truffles (Italian vs. American and the various kinds and seasons), olive oil (always choose one with a harvest date on the bottle), and vinegar (she swears by a good, well-made red wine vinegar for most uses). The narrator has a slight haughty affectation, which doesn't at all reflect Marcella Hazan's real voice or nature, but that was a distraction I could forgive in exchange for the pleasure of listening to this magnificent book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 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 9,541
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,867
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8,875

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

Achingly beautiful, epic tragedy

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

Reviewed: 02-27-16

Good god, this is one of the most riveting, disturbing, and ultimately rewarding books I’ve ever read. The story huddles around four college friends – Jude, J.B., Malcom, and Willem – but comes sharply into focus on Jude St. Francis, a physically beautiful and emotionally wounded man whose history of sexual and physical abuse haunts him so severely that thoughts of it hover over, and threaten to destroy, every good, every beautiful thing that ever happens to him in his life.

Jude’s back story, which Yanagihara weaves throughout in flashbacks, include such malicious, hurtful acts of abuse that I had to set the story aside for long periods to process what was happening – and even that such things could happen. Despite this, the reader gets to know the orphaned adolescent Jude as a smart, physically agile, resourceful, and capable boy who knows how to bake, sew, and clean; who is sweet-natured, respectful, hard-working; and who secretly longs to escape his abusers and go to college.

The present-day, adult Jude echoes this dichotomy: He soars in his legal career to become the youngest partner in the history of Rosen Pritchard and Klein, garnering a reputation as a ruthless, steely corporate litigator. He makes more money than he ever dreamed. He purchases and renovates a beautiful New York apartment. But at night, he slices his arms with razors to keep at bay the shameful thoughts or “hyenas” that circle him constantly, viciously. The immediate, searing pain of his careful, ritual cutting snaps his attention back into his body and to the present moment where he is safe from past abuses.

My rewards throughout this tragic story were the glimmers of hope when Jude lets himself love; when he finally, painfully reveals his sorrowful story to Willem, his closest friend and deepest love relationship; and when Jude slowly allows his former professor and late-in-life adopted father, Harold Stein, into his heart, despite Jude’s notion that nobody could truly love him. I also enjoyed the themes that anchored the story: mental illness (What is it? How is it defined?); friendship, upon which Yanagihara reveals many satisfying insights; food and cooking, which become an entertaining leitmotif; and art, particularly J.B.’s retrospectives, which ground the present day story in the deeper meaning of it all.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • In Other Words

  • By: Jhumpa Lahiri, Ann Goldstein - translator
  • Narrated by: Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Length: 6 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 83
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 75
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 75

In Other Words is a revelation. It is at heart a love story - of a long and sometimes difficult courtship and a passion that verges on obsession: that of a writer for another language. For Jhumpa Lahiri, that love was for Italian, which first captivated and capsized her during a trip to Florence after college. Although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterward, true mastery always eluded her. Seeking full immersion, she decides to move to Rome with her family for "a trial by fire, a sort of baptism" into a new language and world.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • For me, 1 problem with the book, and 1 1/2 problems with the audio version

  • By RdRydngHd on 02-28-16

Beautiful meditation on language and art

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

Reviewed: 02-12-16

As a journalist who has studied a foreign language, lived abroad, and spent considerable time in Italy, I enjoyed Jhumpa Lahiri's exploration of the themes of exile and finding a new voice in her writing through another language (in her case, a third). This slim volume, translated from her new-found Italian to English, her language of core competency, reflects the often staccato style of a foreign speaker, which felt repetitive at first. That's forgivable, because Lahiri makes you co-pilot on her journey to navigate her way through this new, more romantic language, one that makes her feel more at home and creative, but one in which, to her own admission, she still struggles. What I missed from this book was more of her story (she moves her family to a new country and rarely discusses those struggles or sacrifices). I also craved more details of her new surroundings, the gorgeous city of Rome, which she leaves mostly to the reader's imagination. This book, which seems to be part journal, is almost more of a lengthy essay fit for a literary magazine than a book-length memoir. I was shocked when, three hours into my listening, the book ended. For the remaining three and a half hours, she reads the same book in Italian (a beautiful Italian, but still Italian)!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Everyman

  • By: Philip Roth
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 4 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 429
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 130
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 131

The hero of Everyman is obsessed with mortality. As he reminds himself at one point, "I'm 34! Worry about oblivion when you're 75." But he cannot help himself. He is the ex-husband in three marriages gone wrong. He is the father of two sons who detest him, despite a daughter who adores him. A masterful portrait of one man's inner struggles, Everyman is a brilliant showcase for one of the world's most distinguished novelists.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Full Frontal Roth

  • By JOHN on 05-31-06

Existential bourbon on rocks

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

Reviewed: 02-08-16

Wow, this book sneaked up on me. Philip Roth traces the life of a single, anonymous ‘everyman,’ starting at his funeral and then, as if rewinding a videotape, bringing him back to life to reveal the man’s lifelong health problems and big-brother envy, lustful escapades with a hot Danish model at the peak of his advertising career, and the heartbreaking loss of his one good marriage. In the end, we see a humble, resigned, observant, willing, stubborn, sad, mentally capable man still filled with so much love (and lust) but few people left to give it to. I judge great fiction in part by how much I end up thinking about my own life and the lives of the people around me while reading it. I was often forced to pause while my mind careened off to my own thoughts and life, and the lives of my aging parents. Despite so many poor choices, Philip Roth’s 'everyman' is a decent man, but in the end, decency is not enough. Death, decay, and uncertainty still await us all.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Liar's Club

  • A Memoir
  • By: Mary Karr
  • Narrated by: Mary Karr
  • Length: 4 hrs and 8 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 603
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 488
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 488

Mary Karr's biography looks back through a child's eyes to sort through dark household secrets. She witnesses an inheritance squandered, endless bottles emptied, and guns leveled at both the deserving and the undeserving. In a voice stripped of self-pity and charged with brilliant energy, she introduces us to a family ravaged by lies and alcoholism, yet redeemed by the revelation of truth.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Love Karr, This Book OK

  • By FanB14 on 07-06-12

Please Remake this Unabridged!

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

Reviewed: 02-05-16

Any additional comments?

It kills me that Audible does not have an unabridged version of this book. The cuts are rough, disrupting the storyline, and the sound quality is poor (including some "air" or room static sound). What kills me is that these flaws disrupt Mary Karr's immensely satisfying narration of her absolutely phenomenal and most cherished memoir. I beg Mary Karr to read this entire book again, and Audible for producing/distributing, for listeners today and in decades to come.

32 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Angle of Repose

  • By: Wallace Stegner
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 22 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,183
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 972
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 975

Wallace Stegner's uniquely American classic centers on Lyman Ward, a noted historian who relates a fictionalized biography of his pioneer grandparents at a time when he has become estranged from his own family. Through a combination of research, memory, and exaggeration, Ward voices ideas concerning the relationship between history and the present, art and life, parents and children, and husbands and wives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not too many novels written about marriage

  • By Barry on 08-18-12

Frustratingly brilliant

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

Reviewed: 01-31-16

Any additional comments?

Throughout this giant, sometimes bloated, novel, I kept wondering, what will redeem this epic of misfortune? There is little reward for the main character of the novel within the novel, the narrator’s grandmother, Susan Ward, who suffers a volley of hardship and losses. The narrator, Lyman Ward, a grumpy, legless retired professor, circles decades of his grandmother's pained life like water to a drain. And yet still, the language brims with colorful imagery and physicality, and the story lines, though small at first, tug and whip like the reigns of a stubborn mule, hooking the reader through the plodding landscape of a rugged Western frontier, full of promise and disappointment. I hated to like this book and hated Wallace Stegner for sitting me down like a child, restless and impatient, so he could tell the story in his own, old-man way, taking his time as if in creaky rocking chair with nowhere to go, puffing on a cigar and exhaling smoke ring vignettes for my eyes to follow and then watch disappear. There are no traditional story arcs. No tidy beginning or end. There is the narrator, a man who has loved and lost much, longing to understand his own life through the calamities and misfortunes of his ancestors, hoping that through them, he can find meaning and courage to keep living. Sigh. Did I love it? No. Did I appreciate its immense beauty, language mastery, and emotional depth? Absolutely.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

  • By: Maya Angelou
  • Narrated by: Maya Angelou
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,257
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,937
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,936

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age - and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. But years later, she learns about love for herself and the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Emotional & Powerful

  • By Miss Toni on 06-30-13

A master storyteller with an immense legacy!

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

Reviewed: 01-23-16

Any additional comments?

I haven't read Maya Angelou since college. At the time, I enjoyed her poetry but I didn't fully appreciate her full talent and legacy until reading this memoir, more than 20 years later. Angelou imbues each moment with a tender exactness and a poet's mastery of language. As she gallops from early childhood to young adulthood, ending with an astonishing plot twist and new beginning, she held me captive to her every move. What a gift to the world that Maya Angelou read her own work. Her voice, which occasionally breaks into song, brings these stories alive. At times horrifying; at times laugh out loud funny, "I know Why the Cage Bird Sings" carries forward her immense legacy, which shines so bright.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful