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Sarah R. Jacobs

  • 51
  • reviews
  • 12
  • helpful votes
  • 336
  • ratings
  • Darkness at Noon

  • By: Arthur Koestler
  • Narrated by: Frank Muller
  • Length: 8 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 401
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 346
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 341

A fictional portrayal of an aging revolutionary, this novel is a powerful commentary on the nightmare politics of the troubled 20th century. Born in Hungary in 1905, a defector from the Communist Party in 1938, and then arrested in both Spain and France for his political views, Arthur Koestler writes from a wealth of personal experience.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Literature as the ‘living memory’ of nations

  • By ESK on 01-23-13

This book is required reading.

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

Reviewed: 12-06-18

It reads like a Russian novel written in English. It is human and political and a brilliant work of theodicy. It will introduce you to a man (Nicholas Salmanovitch Rubashov, one of the Leaders of the Great Revolution) whose youth was spent putting his own principles before their cost to humanity, and whose final months of political thought were spent in nauseated contemplation of the price he would be obligated to pay in order to reimburse humanity for what was, in the final analysis, the biggest theft, burglary, and embezzlement of lives and other treasure in human history.


If you want to know why the USSR really was a bad thing, and why Cuba and Venezuela and China and North Korea are dirt-poor and people ride rafts through shark-infested waters and walk on poorly-set broken legs with parasites and bullets in their bodies, to get to real democracies, even when they had good army jobs and heroic war records in their figurative rearview mirrors?

You need to read this book.

I'm going to wait a while for the first time through to percolate. Then I'm going to watch Rubashov think, again.

  • The Kingdom

  • Arabia & The House of Sa'ud
  • By: Robert Lacey
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 22 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 73
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73

The Kingdom is the story of a country - a country of astonishing contrasts, where routine computer printouts open with the words “In the name of God,” where men who grew up in goat-hair tents now dominate the money markets of the world, and where murderers and adulterers are publicly executed in the street. By its own reckoning, this country is just entering the 15th century. The Kingdom is also the story of a family - a family that has fought its way from poverty and obscurity into wealth and power.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A solid effort

  • By Muttering Beduwen on 10-10-12

Learn the history of Al Saud in an enjoyable way!

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

Reviewed: 12-03-18

For a long time, I was really very curious about what Saudi Arabia *was*, exactly. As a Jewish Zionist woman in America, I knew that the Arabs were the people in Lebanon who shot guns into the air (or maybe at less of a right angle to the ground) whose bullets ended up in the kibbutz where the family that were, for all intents and purposes, my cousins, were picking oranges, or sitting on the back patio practicing guitar. occasionally, a bullet would hit a kibbutznik. It was the way things were.

The Arabs were also the women in hijabs and chadors who protested the Operation Exodus rally my parents, siblings, and I attended. Their fury, their "YOU ARE KILLING OUR BABIES! YOU ARE SLAUGHTERING OUR CHILDREN!" was accompanied by their beating the sides of our buses with their picket signs until the dowels which held up the tag board shattered, the splinters flying back to catch on the insides and hems of their hijabs and chadors.
It was the first time in my life I had seen grown people having temper tantrums. It was also the first time I ever heard grown-up ladies screeching and spitting lies at the top of their lungs, right in front of their stunned children.

The Arabs were why gasoline prices fluctuated like they did. The Arabs were why I felt a visceral aversion to drinking Pepsi. The Arabs were why my heart felt grateful when I looked at a can of Coke Classic, or heard someone talk about modern Atlanta.

The Arabs were why my mother couldn't, as a Jewish woman, get some of the best corporate law jobs in Dallas, when my father was paying back some of his Berry Plan time in San Antonio and Dallas: A plurality of the best jobs were with petroleum companies, and, back then, petroleum companies did not hire Jews.

So Mom worked for Schilling Tool and Die, which made drilling equipment. She went to, and made excellent grades at, UCLA Law at a time when there were still professors who made open announcements that they thought that women had no right to enter the professions and take "men's jobs." She did excellently on the Bar Exam. But the Arabs couldn't deal with finding a Jew working for an oil company. So Mom wasn't even considered for a job at one.

This book let me think positively about Arabs -- about Al Saud, even! -- for the length of time necessary to my absorption of the history and facts of just who this ibn Saud family were, anyway, and how they ended up following the radical Muslim sect of a poor Bedouin among poor Bedouins (ibn Wahhab, who gave birth to Wahhabism).

It (along with Robert Irwin's biography of Ibn Khaldun, which is also available on Audible) showed me how closely Frank Herbert's Dune cycle of novels was based upon the Saudis, who are the basis for the Atreides family.

It introduced me to the beautiful but misunderstood and/or doomed female-empowerment-supporting queens and princesses of the family, such as Iffat Al-Thunayan, and the imprisoned daughters of Abdullah (who was king directly before the current king (they're all in the same family, which is practically a nation unto itself), whom I read about because Abdullah was the last king mentioned in this audiobook, which was recorded in 1997, a year after Abdullah inherited the throne: There was a set of articles about his imprisonment of his daughters by the striking and modern Alanoud Al-Fayez.

The book makes clear that the Khashoggi family was just barely tolerated by the ibn Sauds. The recently-slain journalist, Jamal Khashoggi's, uncle, Adnan, was the first Saudi famous for living like a European while on vacation. He loosened the rings of the collective Saudi kaffiyeh, such that some of the many other princes and potentates also bought yachts and let their wives and daughters go around in bluejeans and tee-shirts -- or even bikinis -- while not in their home country. As Lacey puts it, he showed them "that spending their petrodollars could actually be fun."

He also included some telling details about Harold Philby, Sr, who was Kim Philby's father. The apple and the tree are practically twins, spiritually and ethically speaking.

This book almost made me feel sorry for these bizarre, oddly-scrupled princes in golden cages.

Then I remember what the first Al Saud's imam friend did to the Lebanese on the border, and the women outside the rally. And how Hamas isn't a terrorist organization to them. And how running off with your lover gets even a princess a summary execution in the public execution alley. And how my mother was denied certain jobs in order that these princes' feelings not be hurt; in order that the tripwires of their paranoid conspiracy theories not be triggered and set off economic or martial disaster.

This book humanizes them. But the fact that they are not dybbuks, or demons, or djinni? That makes their willful ignorance somehow exponentially worse.

  • The Wolfen

  • By: Whitley Strieber
  • Narrated by: Robert Fass
  • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 112
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 103
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 105

In the dark, they are watching... They are waiting for you. No one has ever lived to tell the horrifying truth about them. Yet even now the Wolfen are gathered in the night-dark alleys ... unseen, poised ... ready to destroy their helpless human prey. Only one man and one woman, trained cops, willing to risk their lives, stand in the way

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Classic Narrated Wonderfully by Robert Fass

  • By PerryMartinBookReviews on 12-13-14

Resisted reading any Whitley Strieber...

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

Reviewed: 09-29-18

... for decades. I've always had a problem with people who go along with crap like Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind (i.e., abduction by the crew of a UFO, by space aliens).

Lately, I've been tentatively dipping into the vast pool of the works of writers who sell snake oil of a kind, but whose every dose sold is reputed to be decanted to a well-crafted vial of a book, from an aged oak (or whatever wood is supposed to be best for the storage of snake oil) barrel of a mind.

Strieber's work was recommended in Stephen King's _Danse Macabre_, his meditation upon archetypal horror stories and horror story elements. The King who wrote _Danse Macabre_ is the King who wrote vivid, inspired updates of Lovecraft and resettings/updates of William Hope Hodgson (for instance, Bobbi Anderson and her dog, Peter, who are clearly direct descendants of Hodgson's unnamed character/narrator, The Recluse, and his dog, Pepper, from _The House on the Borderlands_).

I took the recommendation, and I am not sorry I did.

In several pieces of writing, King says that Strieber is a better writer than King, himself, is. He's right. Strieber also does a very good job of keeping the New York of Tom Wolfe's _The Bonfire of the Vanities_'s era well-preserved in amber. It's the same New York encountered by anyone who's seen the pilot episode of the first of the Law & Orders, "Everybody's Favorite Bagman."

And the Wolfen, themselves, are a treat among treats. They are a convincingly-written and invented, mythical, hidden, apex predator species, whose evolution's at times complete hiddenness from the recorders of mankind's historians and chroniclers is described and explained in a way that, if such a species actuallly existed, would have been a plausible and totally possible unseen strand of their warped woof [sorry. couldn't help myself] thread in the tapestry of history.

There is nothing supernatural or Mary Sue-ish about the Wolfen or about the humans, in this werewolves-added version of the Earth and New York. The Wolfen are flawed, and the humans are flawed and conscious of the fallen state of humanity. The Wolfen have not yet figured out that their lack of opposable thumbs, and their inability to display or feel true humbleness or humility, is what causes them to fall, time and time again, out of their own State of Grace, which consists largely of cities described in terms that are a carnivorous anthropophage's version of the Garden of Eden. Their pride in their superior senses, agility, strength, and speed are the causes of their repeated Fall from Grace in the eyes of Man.

There's a lot more. But this is the first convincing construction of a believable werewolf species I have ever come across.

  • Lord of the Dead the Secret History of Byron

  • By: Tom Holland
  • Narrated by: Richard E. Grant
  • Length: 3 hrs and 3 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 21

From the Levant to London's society salons to the canals of Venice, famed poet Lord Byron embarks on a life of adventure as the world's most notable vampire, following a dark trail of long-hidden secrets, ancient black arts, and the depths of evil.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Decent, but I wouldn't get this as an audiobook

  • By Amanda on 10-04-12

if you are a real vampire fan...

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

Reviewed: 07-04-18

... you will adore this. it is Richard E. Grant reading a gorgeously-written scholarly vampire novel.

the mythos is intriguing.

the kill scenes are more sensuous than any I've read thus far.

it's Lord Byron.

written by a man born in Oxford, who went to Cambridge University.

Cambridge scholars who write genre fiction are as rare as hens' teeth. read this!

  • Little Slaughterhouse on the Prairie

  • By: Harold Schechter
  • Narrated by: Steven Weber
  • Length: 1 hr and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 530
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 444
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 445

At a remote little inn not far from the Kansas homestead of Laura Ingalls Wilder lived the Bender family. These pioneers welcomed unwary visitors with jackrabbit stew and a sledgehammer to the skull. In time, their apple orchard gave up its secrets - a burial ground for their mutilated victims, each stripped of their possessions. The devilish enterprise on “Hell’s Half-Acre” would earn the Bloody Benders an undying place in the annals of American infamy. But it was the mysterious fate of eldest daughter, Kate, that would make them the stuff of mythic campfire prairie tales.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Detailed retelling of horrific events

  • By Tatiana on 08-07-18

Fantastic Examination of the Himan Soul and Mind,

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

Reviewed: 06-30-18

...as usual.

and, as if that wasn't enough, there are two very dramatic examples of two kinds of false memories included.

If only the attorneys, judge and jury in The People of the State of California vs. George Thomas Franklin, Sr., had known about Mrs. Mccann's "dream memory"-inspired accusation of the elder and younger Monroe women, they might have slowed down enough to keep from their embarrassing arrest of Mr. Franklin based upon "dream memory" evidence of his daughter's.

  • Casting The Runes

  • The Complete Ghost Stories of M. R. James
  • By: Montague Rhodes James
  • Narrated by: David Collings
  • Length: 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 14

This is the unabridged audio recording of M R James' excellent ghost story "Casting The Runes". Read by David Collings, this is sure to scare and delight in equal measure.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An apt allegory for the fate of..<br />

  • By Sarah R. Jacobs on 06-10-18

An apt allegory for the fate of..<br />

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

Reviewed: 06-10-18

...the heterodox in the academy in any era.

These days, it's Conservative runes versus Socialist runes, and the Beast forms when there are Men (or Women) In Groups.

At that point, Man Is Wolf To Man, and the arch and unforgiving sharpened barbs of wit (or at least if verbalized cruelty, anyway) do their work, while the packs rend academic from career in intellectual villages throughout the Harz Mountains that are the Humanities.

  • Dangerous Daddy's Bad Girl

  • Mile High Club, M-F Adventure Thrill Seeking XXX Erotica (Dangerous Daddy's Bad Boy)
  • By: Alex Anders
  • Narrated by: Alex Anders
  • Length: 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 21

Fox, a breathtaking 19-year-old girl, throws her clothes out of the plane during her skydiving lesson inviting Hunter, her new step-daddy, to join the Mile High Club. But when her daddy reacts with rage towards the nubile beauty, she is trapped 6,000 feet in the air with sexy man that threatens to toss her out of the plane unless she does everything he says.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Worst Narration in the History of narrations

  • By Ornella Davis on 12-31-12

Disappointing.

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

Reviewed: 03-01-18

Why are female subs always supposed to be annoying brats and male subs are something akin to noble squires or knights errant? Why is there no room in male Dominants' minds for an honorable female sub who just f***s up every now and again, just like a male sub might, instead of f***ing up because she feels like enraging her Dom?

I enjoyed the Bad Boy series because I like and identify with the sensibility of that power/honesty/honor dynamic.

Why are there no male Doms who write for women who don't want to be brats?

  • West Cork

  • By: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Narrated by: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22,964
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,505
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20,506

This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery. Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • EXCELLENT.

  • By Ilia on 03-07-18

Why only one cop?

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

Reviewed: 02-15-18

There's hours of narcissistic equivocation and... "creativity"... from Ian "The Cops Here Aren't Used To Dealing With Educated Chaps Like Me" Bailey.

I'm trying to figure out why the authors don't see that the reason he tried on so many masks and none of them fit, is that there has to be something underneath the mask for it to hold onto. How did they never consider the idea that Bailey has a profound personality disorder, probably Narcissistic Personality Disorder (but he can't be diagnosed by a lay person from a distance)? And that that is the reason that he is superficially charming, but a failure at everything he puts his hand to (because he believes that charisma is a magic product-producing machine, so he need not try at anything past the time when he gets too bored to do anything but drink, smoke weed, and trash other people's places)? That that is why his plans, his writing, and his self-concept, are all so grandiose?

Does it occur to them that maybe the police aren't so horrible as the opportunistic, lying ex-army friend in need of Bailey's says they are? That maybe the reason they only had one pathologist was that Ireland couldn't afford another one, and their budget was stretched thin enough already without grifters latching on and taking what they have left while promising to help keep a murderer off the streets?

There's far more time given to Marie "Let's See How Many Times I Can Hang The People I Lie To Out To Dry While I Get Tons Of Attention And Possibly A Book Or Movie Deal" Farrell than any journalist with any sense would have given her.

Did it really never occur to the authors that the reason she used her sister's name for the call to the Gardaí was that she wanted there to be a door open for her finally settling the blame for the call *on her sister* when she'd changed her story enough times that nobody believed her anymore?

The authors seem to take it for granted that these three seriously characterologically-challenged people are telling the truth, not *in spite of* the fact that they trash the Gardaí with everything they say about the Gardaí, but *because of it*.

This could have been a sensitive and insightful portrait of a murdered woman and a truly open-minded and objective portrait of the accused. It winds up being the blog of every dishonest would-be snitch and pseudointellectual in West Cork. The honesty and local color are drowned out by sneering social theory and smug, uneducated (or, perhaps, overeducated) assertions about law enforcement, women's issues, social class, upward mobility, xenophobia, and just about anything else a person might find in a Glossary of Socialist Politics.

All the facts they collected, and not one actual, real-world analysis of a one of them. Hours of interviews with grifters and people ashamed of their decent, hardworking families, and only a few minutes of people actually trained to solve cases.

Disappointing.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Kingdom of Speech

  • By: Tom Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 4 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 212
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 188

Tom Wolfe, whose legend began in journalism, takes us on an eye-opening journey that is sure to arouse widespread debate. The Kingdom of Speech is a captivating, paradigm-shifting argument that speech - not evolution - is responsible for humanity's complex societies and achievements.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Both witty and deep; and brilliantly narrated too.

  • By smarmer on 09-05-16

Tom Wolfe continues to make me feel brilliant...

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

Reviewed: 01-25-18

...and witty for the duration of any given book of his I'm reading or listening to.

His sense of the intimacy and ultimately understandably-competition-born crawls, leaps, and scurries of history's ideas and movements are convincing in that they render concrete the facts that he has quite thoroughly and with great veridical sensitivity unearthed from the landfills of information about past singular human beings.

One feels that one is there, watching a furtive and despairing Darwin sending Wallace's paper to established members of the Linnean Society, caught between the rock of his less-developed theory and the hard place of his desire to stick to the code of conduct of a gentleman.

This is a history of ideas of the sort that I love: The sort that is an initiation ceremony belonging to the mini Elusinian Mystery Cult of learning for intellectual improvement. One is guided through the narrative by the author, and, based upon the trustworthiness, convincingness, and the storyteller's spellcasting ability of the author, one is brought into a slightly different, slightly better-comprehended world than one inhabited before the final chapter displays for one the truths the author has gleaned from the ceremony/ordeal of writing the book.

For this reason, I love Tom Wolfe.

  • Filled with Force by My Boss

  • By: Karl Cumin
  • Narrated by: Bolton Hill
  • Length: 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

On his first day of work for a new company, Oliver is given a warning about his boss by one of the girls in the office. It seems Mr. Bradley's preference is for younger men. That only gets Oliver's interest though, so when he works late one night and gets an offer of a lift home from the man in question, he jumps at the opportunity. It gets him an invitation for a drink that leads to so much more when the kinky perversions of the older man are unleashed on him.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I'm not sure the author knows

  • By Sarah R. Jacobs on 01-06-18

I'm not sure the author knows

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

Reviewed: 01-06-18

what a butt plug does. The main character has just had a butt plug in his rectum for about fifteen minutes, but his horny boss is still described as "forcing his butt to open up," and no collapse, clenching, or even winking is mentioned.