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  • reviews
  • 4
  • helpful votes
  • 14
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  • Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

  • A Novel
  • By: Salman Rushdie
  • Narrated by: Robert G. Slade
  • Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 474
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 441
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 443

From Salman Rushdie, one of the great writers of our time, comes a spellbinding work of fiction that blends history, mythology, and a timeless love story. A lush, richly layered novel in which our world has been plunged into an age of unreason, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is a breathtaking achievement and an enduring testament to the power of storytelling.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 1001 whimsical, capricious, and wanton jinn

  • By Darwin8u on 09-16-15

Fun read, but fell short of expectations.

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

Reviewed: 06-28-17

I didn't really fall in love with this story, although it's a genre I typically like. Some of the plot elements weren't fully developed, and I never really grew to care much for the characters. That said, it was high quality prose delivered by a narrator with a good storytelling voice.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club)

  • A Novel
  • By: Colson Whitehead
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,189
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,196
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,163

The Newest Oprah Book Club 2016 Selection. Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood - where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned - Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stupendous book, hard to follow in audio

  • By JQR on 12-01-16

Emotionally Rich and Mind-Stretching Story

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

I was initially confused by the description of South Carolina, but then had an "ah hah" moment when I realized that a literal Underground Railroad was not going to be the only alternative take on history in the story. It occured to me that there will be a lot of memorable quotations coming out of this book. I was struck with how the psychological scarring of slavery kept revealing itself in the characters even during their most hopeful moments. Finally, the narrator did a wonderful job in bringing Cora's journey to life.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Star Maker

  • By: Olaf Stapledon
  • Narrated by: Andrew Wincott
  • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 281
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 252
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 255

One moment a man sits on a suburban hill, gazing curiously at the stars. The next, he is whirling through the firmament, and perhaps the most remarkable of all science fiction journeys has begun. Even Stapledon's other great work, 'Last and First Men' pales in ambition next to 'Star Maker' which presents nothing less than an entire imagined history of life in the universe, encompassing billions of years.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • meditative classic

  • By Darryl on 09-18-12

Grand Theme, But Without Characters

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

Reviewed: 05-11-17

This is not a novel in the sense that a character gets introduced, developed, and along the way a story gets told through their eyes. While the book does indeed start with an Englishman who for unknown reasons is granted a grand visionary tour of the history of the cosmos, the reader never gets much of a sense of who this person is; he is mostly an anonymous observer. And without a real character to care about and help tie things together, the narrative does get a bit dull and tedious at times.

In the end, the book cleverly deconstructs the notion that there must be some grand goal or end to psychological and/or spiritual development. Certainly the Star Maker is unsatisfying in this regard. My sense of the moral of the story is that all we have is our current condition and choice, and it is no less significant than any other moment along our path.

Finally, I enjoy high prose, and would say the writing here was almost poetic in its descriptions. As such, the narrator was an excellent choice.

  • On the Move

  • A Life
  • By: Oliver Sacks
  • Narrated by: Dan Woren
  • Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,037
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 925
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 925

From its opening minutes on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, On the Move is infused with his restless energy. As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologist in the early 1960s, first in California, where he struggled with drug addiction, and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, we see how his engagement with patients comes to define his life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • excellent book from a excellent writer

  • By Johan on 05-01-15

Educational as well as Poignant

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

Reviewed: 08-12-16

I'm not big on auto/biographies, as I tend to find them tedious and would prefer a clever story. But this is a good one. I want to pull back a bit and say it was long-ish, but can't really point to any particular part that could easily be cut without losing something important. Sacks seems to look back on his life with a sense of curious amazement. There is a bit of tentativeness when describing emotional moments, but this somehow makes it more endearing. It probably helps that I'm more of a logically-based person with a strong interest in the topic of consciousness. But if you want a life retrospective of a genuinely interesting person, with a good helping of what made his educational works popular, this is definitely worth the read. I will point out that the narrative is not strictly linear. This threw me off at first, but it was ultimately a strength; specifically, the routine rewinding to add context kept the timeline fluid and made for a bigger impact in the end.

  • Binti

  • By: Nnedi Okorafor
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 2 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,117
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,984
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,980

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Messages

  • By khaalidah on 10-07-15

Interesting Protagonist, but Story a Bit Strained

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

Reviewed: 07-16-16

Binti is a fascinating character who would have had a lot of room to grow in a longer novel. I loved the concept of her tribal origins and quasi-mystical talents with mathematics and energy flow. That said, the story itself fell a bit flat for me. The lonely standoff sequence on the transport ship seemed to consume most of the book, and I didn't quite buy how peaceably things ended after such a murderous start. Regarding the narrator, her accented voice was fantastic, and a perfect fit for the character; it pulled me right in.

  • Widdershins

  • By: Charles de Lint
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 20 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 161
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 110
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 113

Ever since Jilly Coppercorn and Geordie Riddell were introduced in de Lint’s first Newford story, "Timeskip," back in 1989, their friends and readers alike have been waiting for them to realize that they belong together. Now, in Widdershins, a stand-alone novel of fairy courts set in shopping malls and the Bohemian street scene of Newford's Crowsea area, Jilly and Geordie’s story is finally being told.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • engrossing characters and plot depth

  • By Jim on 01-30-13

Classic de Lint Story, But Not His Best Effort

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

Reviewed: 06-18-16

Reading de Lint for me is like putting on my favorite comfortable sweatshirt; I enjoy the world he's built and care about its characters. However, I must say that this effort fell a bit flat.

More time was devoted to the internal dialogue of the magical characters than I recall from prior Newford novels, which seemed intriguing at first, but was ultimately not executed well. For example, one would expect the "Queen of the Faerie Courts" to be someone of significant wisdom and gravitas, but she came across as a particularly inept, one-dimensional bureaucrat. Her threats of "one word from me, and..." seemed almost comical after a while. The "Cousins" fared a bit better, but some of these are established characters from prior novels, and even then they seemed to lose something of their air of mystery. Finally, I just couldn't wrap my head around the "shadow" Christiana, who is inexplicably endowed with the wit and power to take on ancient faeries despite her relatively recent origins.

With all this said, if you're a de Lint fan, you'll enjoy both the story and the chance to catch up with old favorites Jilly and Geordie again. It's worth the read, and certainly long enough to get fully re-immersed in Newford.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Miracle of Mindfulness

  • An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation
  • By: Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 3 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 427
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 360
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 366

In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercises as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness - being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It had a big effect on my life

  • By Mark on 08-29-15

Prefer His Later Writings

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

Reviewed: 05-16-16

I didn't enjoy this nearly as much as later works such as Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, etc. It's understandable, as I'm sure his ability to relate to a Western audience improved over time. The sutra translations at the end have highly repetitive language (...the monk does this, is aware of it, and thus trains himself...) and are frankly exhausting to listen to. Finally, the reader sounded coldly academic, which contrasted with my memory of Nhat Hanh's warm and gentle voice.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Fold

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,844
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28,785
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28,737

The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn't much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he's content with his quiet and peaceful existence. That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing

  • By Mohannad Ahmed on 03-10-18

Promising Start, But Went Off The Rails

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

Reviewed: 05-11-16

What began with an intriguing wormhole premise somehow turned into Starship Troopers. It felt like the author got the story to a certain point, wasn't sure where to go with it, and just let loose. The backstory of the main character is the somewhat tired trope of the genius/expert/savant who's retreated to a quiet job in a backwater place, but gets cajoled into an interesting opportunity by a well-connected friend. The reader's pace was a bit too quick, and he somehow managed to make all the female characters sound ditzy, which was incongruous with them being PhD types. I wouldn't quite say that I disliked the book, but it just got bizarre in places and left me unsatisfied at the end.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Unfamiliar Fishes

  • By: Sarah Vowell
  • Narrated by: Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, John Hodgman, and others
  • Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,921
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,465
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,461

In Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell argues that 1898 might be a year just as crucial to our nation's identity, a year when, in an orgy of imperialism, the United States annexed Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and invaded Cuba and then the Philippines, becoming a meddling, self-serving, militaristic international superpower practically overnight. Of all the countries the United States invaded or colonized in 1898, Vowell considers the story of the Americanization of Hawaii to be the most intriguing.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable, but celeb narrations are distracting

  • By darrin class on 05-02-11

Good Material, Painful Performance

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

Reviewed: 05-03-16

I simply must say upfront that this author should never have performed her own book. To be blunt, her voice is annoying; it has a nasal quality that is very off-putting. I couldn't help but imagine someone in full orthodontic headgear. And this was unfortunate indeed, as the book actually taught me quite a bit about 19th century Hawaiian history, and the material was presented in a very accessible manner. I would certainly consider her other books if a more palatable reader could be brought in.

  • Enchantress from the Stars

  • By: Sylvia Engdahl
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Ikeda
  • Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 78
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 58
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 60

A Newbery Honor Book and a Book Sense 76 Selection, Enchantress from the Stars is a science-fiction classic. Three alien races meet on the small green world of Andrecia. The Imperial Exploration Corps wants to claim the planet for its own, but the Anthropological Service stands in the way. And when young Elana makes contact with native Georyn, a love story exploring the very depths of human emotion unfolds.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Modern Despite it's Age

  • By Staaj on 01-01-12

Deep Thoughts in Straightforward Plot

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

Reviewed: 02-05-16

On the surface, this novel fits my stereotype of YA fiction: a simple plot that moves along quickly, while being light on world-building and character development. Georyn was just a bit too perfect, always doing and saying exactly the right thing. Further, the auxiliary characters tended to be very predictable. However, all that being said, I really loved the story. It combined the moral pondering of Star Trek with a touch of Star Wars mysticism. This is especially notable considering it was mostly written before either of those two. Some of the dialogue from Elana's father was truly profound and thought-provoking, vaguely reminding me of the weightiness that Captain Picard brought to STTNG. At a high level, I would call it a cautionary tale of prejudging other cultures from within your own moral framework. For this audio version, the narrator actually sounds like a teenage girl, and so does a very good job of bringing Elana to life.