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Elaine

Timpson, TX, United States
  • 14
  • reviews
  • 94
  • helpful votes
  • 17
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  • Bonhoeffer

  • Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich
  • By: Eric Metaxas
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
  • Length: 22 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,570
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,679
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,706

A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Führer and was hanged in Flossenbürg concentration camp at age thirty-nine. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the twentieth century.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Message That Needs To Be Heard

  • By Douglas on 01-28-13

Lacks balance

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

Reviewed: 08-18-18

I thought a book of this length would be exhaustive, but it suffers from bias and from lack of pertinant detail. To provide one brief example: Metaxas devotes a lot of time to the fact that the German resistance (the generals mostly, it seems) struggled to assassinate Hitler, sending letters back and forth to try and gain assurances from the British government that they wouldn't hold the generals too accountable for Hitler's behavior. We're talking about YEARS that these people close to Hitler talked about assassinating him, while atrocities accumulated, and did nothing. Metaxas doesn't detail why they did nothing other than to say that government coups are unwieldy--is the implication that the resistance, to which Bonhoeffer was connected, didn't act because they were afraid of receiving international blame for Hitler's actions? Does Metaxas expect us to just give them a pass for that? While the Germans dawdled, Metaxas points out that one good thing happened: the Czech resistance assassinated Heydrich, whom Metaxas calls an"albino stoat." Okay, why was it easier for the Czechs? And is schoolyard name-calling really the proper note to strike in such a serious, weighty topic? Heydrich was a mass-murderer who helped organize Krystallnacht and the Einsatzgruppen--calling him an "albino stoat" is offensive to albino people and to stoats!

The book is full of other examples: instead of giving us specifics of what people said and did, Metaxas will just call them "triple-jointed sycophants" or "creatures from the Marianas Trench." This book is more of a collage of incidents and characterizations than a responsible and balanced history. I kept increasing the speed hoping the pieces of the book would fit together, but I finally gave up about 15 hours in, which I practically never do, when I realized that the narrative was amost up to Bonhoeffer's arrest, and I couldn't name one thing he and the resistance did except to help 7 Jews escape. Nor could I explain what this "resistance" was up to for so many years and why they didn't kill Hitler during that time.

I should have read some external reviews (not customer reviews) before I wasted a credit...many external reviwers commented on Metaxas's inaccuracies and agenda-driven biases. I don't have a problem with a book being agenda-driven (aren't they all, in one way or another?), but I'd like that agenda to be stated openly and for the supporting facts to be detailed and well-organized. All history is just a perspective on past events that we'll never know the real and exact truth of, but a responsible historian justifies his conclusion instead of expecting readers to take his word for it.

  • Providence

  • By: Caroline Kepnes
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews, Emily Rankin, Paul Michael
  • Length: 12 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 882
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 833
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 834

Best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe share a bond so intense that it borders on the mystical. But before Jon can declare his love for his soul mate, he is kidnapped, his plans for a normal life permanently dashed. Four years later, Chloe has finally given up hope of ever seeing Jon again. Then, a few months before graduation, Jon reappears. But he is different now: bigger, stronger, and with no memory of the time he was gone. Jon wants to pick up where he and Chloe left off...until the horrifying instant he realizes that he possesses strange powers.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • This story went nowhere. Dully. Pointlessly.

  • By George on 07-04-18

Enjoy being the third wheel in middle school?

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

Reviewed: 06-29-18

Did you have friends in middle school who were THAT couple? They can't go on dates or have sex because they're 14 and can't drive, and they don't have much to talk about that isn't vapid because they're 14 years old, and so they spend hours repeating each other's first name, but, like, really soulfully? And whenever you try to hang out with your best friend, she's on the computer messaging her boyfriend? And if they can't chat, she's moping? Yeah, reading this novel is like being a spectator of that. There's no action and only the scantiest of plots, so after Jon comes back from being kidnapped, the rest of the book is basically Jon and Chloe describing their sadness. The third main character, Eggs, didn't have much to do except to hide his investigation from his wife and the police chief, both of whom are women of the "Just Doesn't Understand the Man but Will Eventually Be Proven Wrong" variety.

Providence might have worked as a novella or short story, but as a novel of this length, it's a slog.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Prairie Fires

  • The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • By: Caroline Fraser
  • Narrated by: Christina Moore
  • Length: 21 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 657
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 605
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 604

Millions of fans of Little House on the Prairie believe they know Laura Ingalls - the pioneer girl who survived blizzards and near-starvation on the Great Plains, and the woman who wrote the famous autobiographical books. But the true story of her life has never been fully told. Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser masterfully fills in the gaps in Wilder's biography.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Spoiler Alert: Do Not Read If You Don’t Want Your Childhood Memories Destroyed

  • By Leslie on 03-05-18

More about Rose than Laura

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

Reviewed: 05-17-18

I bought this book because I thought it would be the most comprehensive history of Laura's life, since, you know, the publisher's summary calls it "the first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder." I wanted to know what her life story REALLY was, particularly all the things her books left out. This book doesn't do much more than summarize Laura's youth, and i didn't get much out of it that isn't in the Wikipedia article. Most of what we get about Laura's childhood in this book is told by summarizing her books or quoting from _Pioneer Girl_. Perhaps that's because there isn't much documentary evidence from those years--if so, I wish Fraser had spent a bit more time explaining--in a scholarly way--what we don't know, and how we know what we DO know.

But man, this book tells me everything I needed to know about Rose, and more. Wow, she sounds like she was a horrible person! And listening to it, you get the feeling that Fraser hates Rose so much that she relishes dredging up every unpleasant detail, kind of like how in 8th grade you couldn't wait to retell mean gossip about that girl you don't like. It didn't help that the narrator's voice struck me as high-pitched and smug.

Still, I wouldn't call this book a waste of a credit: I definitely learned some things I didn't know, although I wish the book were 5 hours shorter (at least). I should have read it in a hard copy so I could see the pictures and skip the boring parts.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • A Little History of Archaeology

  • By: Brian Fagan
  • Narrated by: Kevin Scollin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

What is archaeology? The word may bring to mind images of golden pharaohs and lost civilizations or Neanderthal skulls and Ice Age cave art. Archaeology is all of these, but also far more: the only science to encompass the entire span of human history - more than three million years! This Little History tells the riveting stories of some of the great archaeologists and their amazing discoveries around the globe.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Like Kent Brockman reading me the encyclopedia

  • By Elaine on 04-30-18

Like Kent Brockman reading me the encyclopedia

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

Reviewed: 04-30-18

I have a lot of respect for Brian Fagan, but this book of 40 short chapters reads more like an encyclopedia than a history--none of the people or archaological sites "come alive" in any way. I'm as annoyed by this book as I was by my Intro to Archaeology class in college: archaeology is one of the most interesting of all possible subjects, since it covers lost mysteries of humanity, treasures of art and culture (and some gold and jewels too!), real-life human adventurers, beautiful remote locations...and this book turns it into a series of dry facts. It seems like some specialists in this field forget that overviews of their subject can have both scholarly AND narrative value.

The narrator was a bad choice, too--it sounds like he's enclosing every fifth word in scare quotes.

Overall, I'd say this one isn't worth a credit.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Teeth

  • The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America
  • By: Mary Otto
  • Narrated by: Suehyla El'Attar
  • Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 186
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 166
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 169

Teeth takes listeners on a disturbing journey into America's silent epidemic of oral disease, exposing the hidden connections between tooth decay and stunted job prospects, low educational achievement, social mobility, and the troubling state of our public health.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Mouth--The Body, The Wallet, The Class Lines

  • By Gillian on 07-10-18

Content everyone should know; dismal narration

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

Reviewed: 08-04-17

Unlike most critics of "socialist countries," I have actually lived in one that has state-run health care. My husband grew up in Europe, and although his family was quite poor, his sisters have perfect teeth thanks to regular dental care. My husband neglected his as a child, and after we were married he had a terrible toothache right before we were supposed to go on vacation. I called the dentist and asked for a same-day appointment. We drove straight there and paid the equivalent of $100 for X-rays and an immediate and painless extraction.

Otto's book is a flawed but significant exploration of the wait times and poor care, the "dental deserts" and inequality, and ultimately the lives lost because of the United States' addiction to applying free- market principles to dental care. I say the book is flawed because Otto seems to lay most of the blame at the feet of dentists themselves, and I'm not convinced that's fair. After one or two grudging admissions that dental school costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and dentists mostly have large student loans to pay, she portrays most dentists in her book as moustache-twirling profit-chasers who refuse services to children because they don't like poor people cluttering up their waiting rooms. Even If her negative depiction of American dentists is accurate, she needed to do more to justify it to the reader than to cherry-pick a few quotations--as it is, she just sounds biased.

The other main flaw is organization (or lack thereof). The book reads like a collection of articles rather than chapters that are organized to acheive some end, and thus some information is repeated and the book is unable to present a cohesive message more insightful than"the dental system in our country is broken." For all its shortcomings, though, the book taught me a lot that I didn't know, and it certainly does draw attention to a serious, dangerous inequality in a country that is supposed to believe that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I won't make excuses for the narrator, though: she's annoying. The tone of her voice is nice, but the way she reads is like the vocal equivalent of casting one's eyes heavenward in horror. And don't even get me started on the accents she fabricates for quotation.

I wish I'd read this book the old-fashioned way instead of as an audiobook because it at least draws attention to a serious problem in our country that most of us know little about. I was drawn to this book because I recently learned that a childhood teacher of mine was in the hospital because of sudden paralysis. The cause? An abscessed tooth. My hometown is in a "dental desert" where the only dentists who accept the insurance that state employees have are 70 miles away or have a wait time of months to get an appointment. It's pretty bad when the American dental system is outclassed by that of countries of the former Yugoslavia.

72 of 81 people found this review helpful

  • Get Well Soon

  • History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them
  • By: Jennifer Wright
  • Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,469
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,033
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,016

In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome - a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Didn't know syphilis could be so fascinating.

  • By Carrie Arnold on 02-09-17

If you're even considering this one, just get it!

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

Reviewed: 03-24-17

This book is so funny and informative, and the narrator is AMAZING. Seriously, after writing this review I'm going immediately to see what else she's narrated. If you're at all interested in medical history or in diseases, then you will definitely enjoy this.

My only complaint is the chapter on TB: Wright cherry-picks quotations from authors' letters and literary works to suggest that the 19th century glamorized "consumption" and that people actually wanted to get it because it would make them beautiful. It didn't, and they didn't. TB was the leading cause of death in the US and UK, and a diagnosis was a death sentence. Thomas Goetz writes in _The Remedy_ (another great Audible read if you're into this sort of thing) that " In England, as many as a quarter of all deaths were due to consumption...in 1870, death was a constant presence, lurking around every corner, something that visited families and friends regularly (if not routinely)" (p xi, xii).

People definitely did try to cope with the mind-boggling death toll with irony, gallows humor, or melodrama or by idealizing the afflicted, but that is not at all the same as wanting to get a deadly disease because it would make you pretty--Wright's misrepresentation of 19th-century attitudes towards this killer is the book's biggest flaw, to my mind. But listen to her book anyway, and then listen to _The Remedy_, and make up your own mind. You won't regret the 20 hours :)

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Nazi and the Psychiatrist

  • Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII
  • By: Jack El-Hai
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 499
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 451
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 456

>In 1945, after his capture at the end of the Second World War, Hermann Göring arrived at an American-run detention center in war-torn Luxembourg, accompanied by 16 suitcases and a red hatbox. The suitcases contained all manner of paraphernalia: medals, gems, two cigar cutters, silk underwear, a hot water bottle, and the equivalent of $100,000,000 in cash. Hidden in a coffee can, a set of brass vials housed glass capsules containing a clear liquid and a white precipitate: potassium cyanide. Joining Göring in the detention center were the elite of the captured Nazi regime....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Must Read

  • By The Zombie Specialist on 11-07-14

Not what you'd think...

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

Reviewed: 01-14-17

This book is basically a biography of Douglas M. Kelley, an American psychiatrist who evaluated the Nazis before and during the Nuremburg trial. But it's the worst kind of biography: it's a dry description of the person instead of a narrative that brings the human being to life.

And forget about gaining any in-depth knowledge of the minds of the Nazis. Again, it's a dry summary of a few events, facts, conversations, and characteristics, superficial and brief. This book tells you more about Kelley's grandfather's obsession with the Donner party than it does about the mind of Albert Speer, "the Nazi who said sorry" and one of the most enigmatic and contested figures of the Third Reich. There's a bit more about Goering, but it's like the bio, just some factoids that would be more entertaining on a documentary.

Basically, I gave this book 2 stars instead of one because the narrator is fine.

  • Career of Evil

  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 17 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,903
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12,971
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,914

Audie Award, Mystery, 2016. When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible - and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Characters Mean Everything

  • By Charles Atkinson on 11-09-15

Entertaining enough for five stars, but....

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

Reviewed: 11-13-15

..."Robert Galbraith" needs to make it more difficult to figure out who the killer is. I know it's a convention that "It's always the one you least suspect," but if a writer does that in every book, the reader just has to pick out the least suspicious person as the culprit. I've read all three books in this series, and the way to figure out the killer is not to follow clues or put two and two together but to choose whichever character the story emphasizes as "definitely not the killer." Yep, that's definitely going to be the one.

I've said this on an earlier review, but JK Rowlings' depictions of interpersonal relationships are so infantile. Everyone has an idee fixe, and there's a lot of pouting and neuroticism.

All negativity aside--I like to get that part out of the way first--this is probably my favorite audiobook that I've listened to this year. Rowling's expertise at world-building and story-telling is practically unmatched--no writer of popular fiction that I can think of can bring a place and time vividly to life like she can. There's a scene in a strip club, and the way Rowling described the mirrors, the music, the patrons, the strippers and other workers--I felt like going into that club was an experience I'd actually had (I've never been in a strip club FYI). And the two main characters are so well-drawn and likable, and the story doesn't drag at any point. The narration is top-notch, as well--none of that annoying tendency some narrators have to lower their voices to depict internal monologue, thus making it practically impossible to hear parts of the story (Harry Lloyd, I'm looking at you!)

Definitely worth a credit. I only gripe about the book because it annoys me to see a writer fall into such a predictable pattern.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Raven Black

  • Book One of the Shetland Island Quartet
  • By: Ann Cleeves
  • Narrated by: Gordon Griffin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,200
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,986
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,980

It is a cold January morning, and Shetland lies beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter's eye is drawn to a splash of color on the frozen ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbor, Catherine Ross. The locals on the quiet island stubbornly focus their gaze on one man - loner and simpleton Magnus Tait.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great start to series, no audio problems anymore

  • By Mark on 03-28-17

Waste of a Credit

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

Reviewed: 04-19-15

I don't see how this novel won any awards. I normally love detective stories set in other countries, both in books and TV shows. The different landscapes, cultures, procedures, and justice systems tend to keep me interested. But this novel has no sense of place...it doesn't evoke the Shetland islands at all. Plus, the characters are flat, the detective has no personality in evidence, and you can figure out the murderers a mile in advance, not through any reasoning process but because the book practically spells it out.

The narrator wasn't quite as bad as the story, but his voice is querulous and hardly changes from character to character, even though the narrative points out the extreme variations in accent between the "southerners" and the islanders.

I figured I'd give this book a chance in spite of reading some negative reviews, but I wish I hasn't wasted my time.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Malice

  • Kyoichiro Kaga
  • By: Keigo Higashino
  • Narrated by: Jeff Woodman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 165
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 150
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 148

Acclaimed best-selling novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered in his home on the night before he’s planning to leave Japan and relocate to Vancouver. His body is found in his office, a locked room, within his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, both of whom have rock solid alibis. Or so it seems.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • entertaining

  • By Louise Johnson on 11-22-14

Good story; annoying performance

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

Reviewed: 10-15-14

I got this audiobook the day it came out because I really enjoyed all of Higashino's other Audible titles.Jeff Woodman's reading instantly turned me off the book, though: he sounded fake and smug and heavily emphasized every other word...it sounded like a very badly dubbed anime. The book has two narrators, Detective Kaga and Osamu Nonoguchi, and while Kaga's is tolerable--not good, just tolerable--the Nonoguchi passages are unbearable, and since he talks for the first hour or so, the book makes a bad first impression.

Luckily, my mom didn't know I bought the audiobook, and she sent me the hardback for my birthday :D I tore through the rest of the book this afternoon...couldn't put it down! I don't think it's quite as good as Naoko or the Detective Galileo books, as the detective himself isn't as developed a character--and now that I think about it, none of the characters are as developed as in Higashino's other novels, at least the ones that have been translated into English.

Overall, this is an excellent book that makes me anxious for more of Higashino' books to be translated, especially the Detective Galileo series. (Get a move on Macmillan!) The audiobook just really, really deserved a better performance

1 of 2 people found this review helpful