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Jean

Santa Cruz, CA, United States
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  • Travels with Charley in Search of America

  • By: John Steinbeck
  • Narrated by: Gary Sinise
  • Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,534
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,283
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,286

In September 1960, John Steinbeck and his poodle, Charley, embarked on a journey across America, from small towns to growing cities to glorious wilderness oases. Travels with Charley is animated by Steinbeck’s attention to the specific details of the natural world and his sense of how the lives of people are intimately connected to the rhythms of nature—to weather, geography, the cycles of the seasons. His keen ear for the transactions among people is evident, too, as he records the interests and obsessions that preoccupy the Americans he encounters along the way.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyed the Journey

  • By Rebb on 12-15-11

Pleasurable

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

Reviewed: 10-21-18

In 1960, I was volunteering with the local history group. We were at “The Rodgers House” in Watsonville, CA. At that time the Rodger family was living in it. Later it became a local museum. At the time I was there we were cataloging various historical items that were in the house. This is how I got to know Esther Steinbeck Rodgers. She was one of John Steinbeck’s sisters. While we were at the house, a truck with a camper on the back pulled into the driveway and out came John Steinbeck and his poodle, Charlie. This is how I met John Steinbeck (1902-1968). The truck and Charlie are on display at the Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA.

I first read this book in 1979. The book was published in 1962. I enjoyed rereading the book. I was surprised at how little of the book I remembered from my first reading. I remembered the French Canadians picking potatoes and I remembered his love of Montana. My mother was a big fan of Steinbeck and always encouraged me to read him. When I moved here to “Steinbeck Country”, I took my mother around to the various sites of Steinbeck’s books, etc. when she came to visit me. During this process I also became a fan of Steinbeck’s work.

The book, of course, is well written. It was fun to look back at the country and note how it has changed except for the racism. That, unfortunately, has not changed. I am glad I read this book again.

The book is almost eight hours. Gary Sinise does a great job narrating the book. Sinise is an award-winning actor and a popular audiobook narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The House of Unexpected Sisters

  • By: Alexander McCall Smith
  • Narrated by: Lisette Lecat
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 737
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 668
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 659

Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are approached by their part-time colleague, Mr. Polopetsi, with a troubling story: A woman, accused of being rude to a valued customer, has been wrongly dismissed from her job at an office furniture store. Never one to let an act of injustice go unanswered, Mma Ramotswe begins to investigate but soon discovers unexpected information that causes her to reluctantly change her views about the case.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 18th novel and I'm still enchanted and addicted!

  • By Wayne on 11-11-17

Enchanting

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

Reviewed: 10-19-18

I am a big fan of The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency. Each year I eagerly await the arrival of the next book in the series. I must say this book is far more complex or complicated than the prior episodes. Reading the book is like taking a trip to Botswana. AMS provides a look at the culture as well as beautiful descriptions of the land. I can see the sun rise over the acacia trees and hear the bells on the cattle heading out to pasture for the day.

Smith has a gentle and easy to read writing style. I enjoy the delicate humor and Mma Ramotswe’s philosophizing over bush tea. Reading the book is like a visit with old friends. When I finished the book, I am left feeling pleasantly happy and pondering Mma Ramotswe’s moral question.

The book is nine hours twenty-nine minutes. Lisette Lecat does an excellent job narrating the book. Lecat was born in South Africa and does the accent, pronunciation and rhythm of Botswana perfectly. Lecat is an actress and voice-over actor. She does voice roles and audiobook narration in three languages.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Marshall Plan

  • Dawn of the Cold War
  • By: Benn Steil
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 116
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 110
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 110

The award-winning author of The Battle of Bretton Woods reveals the gripping history behind the Marshall Plan—told with verve, insight, and resonance for today.

In the wake of World War II, with Britain’s empire collapsing and Stalin's on the rise, US officials under new secretary of state George C. Marshall set out to reconstruct western Europe as a bulwark against communist authoritarianism. Their massive, costly, and ambitious undertaking would confront Europeans and Americans alike with a vision at odds with their history and self-conceptions. In the process, they would drive the creation of NATO, the European Union, and a Western identity that continues to shape world events.

Focusing on the critical years 1947 to 1949, Benn Steil’s thrilling account brings to life the seminal episodes marking the collapse of postwar US-Soviet relations—the Prague coup, the Berlin blockade, and the division of Germany. In each case, we see and understand like never before Stalin’s determination to crush the Marshall Plan and undermine American power in Europe.

Given current echoes of the Cold War, as Putin’s Russia rattles the world order, the tenuous balance of power and uncertain order of the late 1940s is as relevant as ever. The Marshall Plan provides critical context into understanding today’s international landscape. Bringing to bear fascinating new material from American, Russian, German, and other European archives, Steil’s account will forever change how we see the Marshall Plan and the birth of the Cold War. A polished and masterly work of historical narrative, this is an instant classic of Cold War literature.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Deeply Researched Narrative

  • By Jean on 10-18-18

A Deeply Researched Narrative

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

Reviewed: 10-18-18

This is more of an academic book that tells about the massive and complicated United States effort to aid Europe after World War Two. In 2017 I read “Harry and Arthur” by Lawrence J Haas. Having read that book help me have a better understanding when reading “The Marshall Plan”. Steil did not go into depth about any of the people involved, he just told what they did. Harry Truman (1884-1972) and Arthur Vandenberg (1884-1951) play key roles in this book. The other book that helped with obtaining more depth of understanding was “The Kennon Diaries” by George F. Kennan (1904-2005). Kennan wrote the first part of the Marshall Plan and plays a key role in this book.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. Steil extensively researched the United States archival material as well as that of Britain, France, Germany, Czech, Serbia and Russia. Steil also discussed the founding of NATO.

Secretary of State, General George C. Marshall (1880-1959), guided the planning and implementation of the plan to help Europe recover from the devastation of the War. The United States was concerned about the spread of communism. If I read the book correctly, I think, Steil adopted the argument made by historians, Scott Parnish and Mikhail Narinsky in 1994, that the Soviets viewed the Marshall Plan as an aggressive move by the United States. Steil ended with the fall of the Soviet Union and the unification of Germany. I found this book helped me understand what is happening today in the world and the great risk that is taking place with a return to the far-right totalitarianism around the world.

Steil tells the story in fascinating detail and I felt he created interesting portraits of the major policy makers of the United States and Western Europe. I found Steil’s writing style easy to read. I have read a number of books about the Marshall Plan and I think this one is excellent in explaining the big picture.

The book is fairly long at sixteen hours and thirty-eight minutes or about 600 pages in the printed format. Arthur Morey does an excellent job narrating the book. Morey is an actor and well-known audiobook narrator. I have always enjoyed listening to him. He has won many Earphone Awards as well as voted Best Voice in Non-Fiction and also in History by the Audiofile Magazine.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse

  • By: Alexander McCall Smith
  • Narrated by: David Rintoul
  • Length: 6 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 148
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 134
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 134

 Val Eliot, a young woman working on an English farm during the war, meets Mike, a US Air Force pilot stationed nearby. When Val rescues a Border Collie named Peter Woodhouse, who is being mistreated by his owner, she realizes the dog would actually be safer with Mike. And so Peter Woodhouse finds a new home on the air force base, and Val finds herself falling in love.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • wonderful

  • By T. Bellan on 04-23-18

Delightful

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

Reviewed: 10-15-18

This is one of AMS’s stand-alone books. The story takes place during World War Two. We follow the following people: Val a young woman from the village that is sent to work on a farm; Mike is an American pilot that falls in love with Val; Ubi is a German officer, and most important is a Border Collie dog named Peter Woodhouse. We follow them during and after the war.

I enjoy AMS’s books. They always leave me feeling happy and satisfied. Of course, some of his books leave me pondering a moral issue. If you are looking for a good story written by a master storyteller then this book is for you.

The book is six hours and twenty-nine minutes. David Rintout does an excellent job narrating the book. He has a rich melodic voice that is easy to listen to. Rintout is a well-known audiobook narrator. He is a classically trained Scottish actor and has won many Earphone Awards for his audiobook narrations.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • AI Superpowers

  • China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
  • By: Kai-Fu Lee
  • Narrated by: Mikael Naramore
  • Length: 9 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 124
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 124

In his provocative new book, Dr. Kai-Fu Lee - one of the world’s most respected experts on artificial intelligence - reveals that China has suddenly caught up to the US, the leader in AI, at an astonishingly rapid pace. Building upon his longstanding US-Sino technology career (working at Apple, Microsoft, and Google) and his much-heralded New York Times Op-Ed from June 2017, Dr. Lee predicts that Chinese and American AI will have a stunning impact on not just traditional blue-collar industries but will also have a devastating effect on white-collar professions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Controversial, otherwise even-handed; non-tech

  • By James S. on 09-29-18

A Must Read

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

Reviewed: 10-13-18

This is a great book. It not only provides a history of AI both in the USA and China. Kai-Fu Lee also provides a history of AI’s both in the USA and China, and also incudes an in-depth analysis between China and the US’s approach to AI’s. He also discusses pros and cons of their abilities, engineering and politics.
The author explains technical methods so that a lay person can understand it. He also explains algorithms and data in an easy to understand manner. The author shows how AI’s effect our lives today and what is going to happen in the near and far future. He goes into explanations into what jobs will be lost and why as well as which job categories are safe. He also explains what type of jobs will be created in the future. I particularly found the information about teachers enlightening. I found the section on how the superpowers will affect the world most fascinating. This is definitely a must-read book.

The book is nine hours twenty-eight minutes. Mikael Naramore does an excellent job narrating the book. Naramore is an actor, voice actor and audiobook narrators. He has won many Earphone Awards and was the 2017 Audie Award winner.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Man of War

  • An Eric Steele Novel
  • By: Sean Parnell
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 153
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 148
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147

Eric Steele is the best of the best - an Alpha - an elite clandestine operative assigned to a US intelligence unit known simply as the "Program". A superbly trained Special Forces soldier who served several tours fighting radical Islamic militants in Afghanistan, Steele now operates under the radar, using a deadly combination of espionage and brute strength to root out his enemies and neutralize them. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Fiction Debut

  • By Jean on 10-11-18

Great Fiction Debut

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

This is Sean Parnell’s first fiction book. I am impressed with his authentic action story. The book is well written and the characters are realistic. Our protagonist, Eric Steele, is a member of a small elite top-secret unit. The story is filled with non-stop action. The action is a combination of military, espionage and political. The story moves around from the USA, Middle East, Northern Africa to Europe. The author provides some good descriptions of the various areas of action. The suspense builds throughout the story. This is definitely a cannot-put-this-down type of story.

The book is nine hours and nineteen minutes. R. C. Bray does an excellent job narrating the book. Bray is a well-known narrator. He has won many Earphone Awards as well as the Audie Award. He also has won the Voice Arts Award. He is an actor, voice artist and audiobook narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Moralist

  • By: Patricia O'Toole
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders
  • Length: 23 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 23

By the author of acclaimed biographies of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Adams, a penetrating biography of one of the most high-minded, consequential, and controversial US presidents, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924). The Moralist is a cautionary tale about the perils of moral vanity and American overreach in foreign affairs.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Reflections on a Changing Presidency

  • By Keith on 05-02-18

Elegantly Written

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

Reviewed: 10-09-18

I have read about five or six biographies of Woodrow Wilson. What interested me about O’Toole’s biography is that she looked at Wilson from his view as a moralist. Wilson is ranked number eleven of Presidential Achievements; Abraham Lincoln, of course, is ranked number one.

The book is well written and researched. O’Toole covers in depth Wilson’s unprecedented wave of reform legislation. Wilson carried on Theodore Roosevelt and William H. Taft’s campaign against monopolies. He passed the Clayton Antitrust Act. Wilson did away with tariffs, the federal governments only source of income, and created the first permeant progressive income tax. When you read the book, you will discover the long list of his accomplishments. O’Toole did cover his racism and his opposition to the 15th amendment. O’Toole did a good job in presenting an unbiased biography. I enjoyed her beautiful prose. The book is easy to read. The author did a good job recording Wilson’s long history of strokes. I found the parallels to today most interesting and a bit scary. I have always found Wilson’s failure to compromise one of his worst faults. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about Wilson.

The book is just over twenty-three hours. Fred Sanders does a great job in narrating the book. Sanders is an actor and a popular audiobook narrator.




2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Commanding

  • Kris Longknife, Book 17
  • By: Mike Shepherd
  • Narrated by: Dina Pearlman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 132
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 127
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 126

While summoned to the Imperial Iteeche Court to be humanity’s Emissary, it turns out that what the Iteeche really want is a fighting admiral! You see, they’ve got this huge civil war going, and the Imperial side isn’t doing so well. Kris now has command of the entire Imperial Combined Fleet. Sort of. The Iteeche Empire has a 10,000-year-long history. There is nothing that won’t say, “We’ve always done it that way,” pointing to a track record lasting for thousands of years. Even when Kris reminds them they’re losing, many have a hard time changing. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lots of Action

  • By Jean on 10-08-18

Lots of Action

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

Reviewed: 10-08-18

This is a continuation of the last book, number 16, about the Iteechee Empire civil war. Kris is in command of the Iteechee Emperor’s naval forces.

The book is well written and fast paced. As with all the other books in the series, my favorite character is the computer AI “Nellie” and her children. I found the ‘Nano’ battle conducted by Lt. Megan Longknife and Nellie’s child, Lillie, fascinating. I have enjoyed this series. It is a fun space opera series. Looking forward to the next episode.

The book is just over ten hours. Dina Pearlman does a good job narrating the series. It is great they have kept the same narrator through-out the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Every Day Is Extra

  • By: John Kerry
  • Narrated by: John Kerry
  • Length: 28 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68

Every Day Is Extra is Kerry’s passionate, insightful, sometimes funny, always moving account of his life. Kerry tells wonderful stories about colleagues Ted Kennedy and John McCain, as well as President Obama and other major figures. He writes movingly of recovering his faith while in the Senate, and deplores the hyper-partisanship that has infected Washington. Few books convey as convincingly as this one the life of public service like that which John Kerry has lived for 50 years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well-written, and a completely engaged performance

  • By S.R. on 09-05-18

Excellent Memoir

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

Reviewed: 10-07-18

I enjoy reading biographies and learning about people’s lives and how they accomplished their careers. John Kerry (1943- ) tells the story of his life in great detail. He starts off with the history of his grandparents and moves on from there. I had not realized that Kerry was from patrician New England roots. He attended private schools in Switzerland and the USA. He learned to speak a number of languages.

The book is well written. Kerry devoted his entire career to public service. He provided great details about his life, but I wish he had provided more in-depth insight into people he worked with such as Obama, Hillary Clinton and his friend, John McCain. The memoir does provide an inside look at what happened during his time in the Senate and as Secretary of State. I particularly enjoyed the last part of the book about his time as Secretary of State. I was familiar with his service in Viet Nam as I had read “Tour of Duty” by Douglas Brinkley. If you enjoy memoirs I recommend this book to you.

The book is very long at almost twenty-nine hours or 600 pages. I enjoyed listening to Kerry narrate his book. Hearing the person tell their own story seems to bring an intimacy to the book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence

  • By: Kai-Fu Lee
  • Narrated by: Kristi Burns
  • Length: 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

What worries you about the coming world of artificial intelligence?Too often the answer to this question resembles the plot of a sci-fi thriller. People worry that developments in AI will bring about the “singularity” — that point in history when AI surpasses human intelligence, leading to an unimaginable revolution in human affairs. Or they wonder whether instead of our controlling artificial intelligence, it will control us, turning us, in effect, into cyborgs.

"The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence" is from the June 23, 2017 Opinion section of The New York Times. It was written by Kai-Fu Lee and narrated by Kristi Burns.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Most Interesting

  • By Jean on 10-04-18

Most Interesting

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

Reviewed: 10-04-18

I recently added Kai-Fu Lee’s book “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order” to my reading list on Audible. I noted on Audible a free short article listed from The New York Times entitled “The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence” by Kai-Fu Lee. I just finished reading it and it was much different than what I expected. I was expecting some scary projection about what happens when singularity is reached. Kai-Fu Lee projects this hypothetical event to happen hundreds of years from now, if ever.

The author outlined the coming changes over the next few decades such as what industry jobs are at the most risk of being lost to smart machines, such as in transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, banking and financial. He stated that AI’s have difficulty in creativity, social interaction and compassion. Jobs that require creativity, social interaction and compassion should maintain jobs, albeit, they will probably be changed in many ways. Kai-Fu Lee claimed that this will result in more wealth in fewer hands and enormous unemployment.

The author stated that it is important now for school counsellors to steer students away for the occupation/profession that will become redundant and steer students into those less effected. He said it is important that schools start training students for the new jobs that will be created in the future.

Governments will also have to plan for the future looking at the education area because taxes will be decreased with the massive amount of unemployed people unless government and society is successful in making a planned and comprehensive movement of people into new jobs.

On a larger scale think about countries that buy AI’s from a country and are dependent on that country for upgrades and maintenance, etc. Also think of the profits a company can generate if it has significantly reduced wages from human labor. We are entering into the second major industrial revolution. The world is changing dramatically.

I cannot wait to read his book. It is 9 minutes long. Kristi Burns does a good job narrating the article.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful