LISTENER

N. Rogers

San Antonio, TX, USA
  • 72
  • reviews
  • 412
  • helpful votes
  • 304
  • ratings
  • The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition

  • By: Margaret Atwood, Valerie Martin - essay
  • Narrated by: Claire Danes, full cast, Margaret Atwood
  • Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,160
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,299
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,234

After a violent coup in the United States overthrows the Constitution and ushers in a new government regime, the Republic of Gilead imposes subservient roles on all women. Offred, now a Handmaid tasked with the singular role of procreation in the childless household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost everything, even her own name.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT

  • By ambER on 04-20-17

Distressing and Traumatic

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

Reviewed: 10-13-18

I have avoided this book for years with good reason. I sensed that it would strike forcefully at too many of my vulnerabilities, but that it would be well-crafted enough to hit home hard in ways that would not be good for me. I had to read this novel for an upcoming book club discussion, so at nearly the last minute, I listened to the 12 hour audiobook. Unfortunately, it was as distressing as I had feared, similar psychologically to enduring invasive surgery without the benefit of anesthesia. I finished the audiobook in less than two days because I wanted to do this thing, and to be done with it.

Margaret Atwood did a masterful job, presenting her readers with the worse of all possible worlds to come. Unfortunately because of the reality occurring in the present, I can not avoid being profoundly impacted as my daily observations and the fictional dystopia of this novel collide and continue to resonate. I fear that the echoes of Atwood’s creation will continue to reverberate for a long time, however I may attempt to cleanse myself of them.

Although I hated listening to this book on a personal level, I must rate it at 5 stars—not because I enjoyed it or found it uplifting, but because I can not escape the truth of its warning message. It indeed qualifies as “Amazing,” even if not in a positive way for me. The impact was powerful because The Handmaid’s Tale is so brilliant and believable. The characters are complex, even sympathetic, and thus more terrifying than any stereotyped villains or heroes. I have met these people in my life, and I see them on the news every day.

Atwood states that everything in her novel has actually happened somewhere and at some time in human history. And that is what makes this book so chilling and memorable; it also explains why I had wisely avoided it for as long as I have. I’m sure many astute, intelligent people will disagree with me strongly on my reaction, and they won’t be wrong. It will simply mean that we have different areas of vulnerability. I often seek challenging books of fiction and non-fiction, but for me this was the hardest and most traumatic of any I can remember.

  • Emma

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Jane Austen, Anna Lea - adaptation
  • Narrated by: Emma Thompson, Joanne Froggatt, Isabella Inchbald, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,739
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,219
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,171

This Audible Original production of Jane Austen’s Emma is narrated by Emma Thompson (Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and BAFTA winner, Love Actually, Harry Potter, Sense and Sensibility), with a full supporting cast including Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey, Liar), Morgana Robinson (The Windsors, Walliams & Friend, Morgana Robinson's the Agency), Aisling Loftus (Mr Selfridge, War & Peace), Joseph Millson (Casino Royale, The Sarah Jane Adventures), Alexa Davies (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) and rising star Isabella Inchbald as our eponymous heroine.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • ticking sound in background annoying

  • By mary on 09-09-18

Not a Jane Austen Groupie, I Guess...

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

Reviewed: 09-20-18

Listening to this made me grateful to be living as a woman in the present rather than back in England's Regency Period. Emma's life, and the lives of other privileged females, was filled with such unimportant trivia and nonsense that I would have gone totally mad. (And apparently many women did. Who can blame them?)

I usually don't read abridged versions of books, but in this case I am grateful for the shortened dramatic presentation of this long Austen novel. I'm not sure I could have persisted with the original. The dramatic performances saved this for me enough that I was able to limp along to reach the contrived end where Emma suddenly "sees the light" and matures enough to recognize the value and superior judgement of the always steady and faithful Mr. Knightley. Good grief!!

So I judged this production to be 3 Stars overall, mostly due to the excellent production by Audible. It will be a while before I subject myself to another Jane Austen novel in any form. (If ever.)I guess I'm simply not a fan.

  • The Hobbit

  • By: J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Narrated by: Rob Inglis
  • Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34,354
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,995
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31,209

Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Finally! Thank you Audible!

  • By Bryan J. Peterson on 10-20-12

My Introduction to Tolkien

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

Generally, I am not a reader of fantasy, so I didn't absolutely LOVE this book. But it's a classic, and I decided it was high time that I experience some J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit is considered the prequel to his acclaimed Lord of the Rings trilogy. Besides, audible had it on sale this week along with the first book of the trilogy. So I took the plunge, bought The Hobbit, and gave it a try before purchasing the longer, more complex book.

I found this one entertaining but not profound. It followed the predictable format of a mythical, magical quest tale. I liked it enough to go ahead and make my second acquisition of a Tolkien book. After all, the trilogy was one of our son's favorite books in late childhood and early adolescence. It's high time I find out what it's about.

I may or may not continue through the entire trilogy. As I mentioned before, fantasy is not my favored genre so the book will have to have more to teach me than this one did for me to invest the time required to continue and complete this saga.

  • How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)

  • Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-Started Evolution
  • By: Lyudmila Trut, Lee Alan Dugatkin
  • Narrated by: Joe Hempel
  • Length: 7 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 431
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 400
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 401

Tucked away in Siberia, there are furry, four-legged creatures with wagging tails and floppy ears that are as docile and friendly as any lapdog. But, despite appearances, these are not dogs - they are foxes. They are the result of the most astonishing experiment in breeding ever undertaken - imagine speeding up thousands of years of evolution into a few decades. In 1959, biologists Dmitri Belyaev and Lyudmila Trut set out to do just that, by starting with a few dozen silver foxes from fox farms in the USSR and attempting to recreate the evolution of wolves into dogs in real time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Awesome story, fantastic book!

  • By Illyria on 11-21-17

Fascinating!

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

Reviewed: 07-26-18

For many years, I have been fascinated with the research done in the Soviet Union, and later in Russia, on selective breeding of foxes while using only the single trait of toleration for humans as the selection criterion. I have read what I could find on the subject since I first learned of the surprising results of this on-going 60-year study.

In 1959, biologists Dmitri Belyaev and Lyhmila Trut began a secret project with silver foxes at a time when work in genetics was forbidden in the USSR, and in doing so they risked imprisonment and/or death. The study has continued to this day over 56 generations of foxes that have become domesticated. In selecting for a single behavior, the resulting generations of originally wild foxes not only became dog-like in their affinity for humans, but they also developed seemingly unrelated characteristics such as floppy ears, piebald spots, curly tails, and longer breeding seasons.

I was thrilled to find that a book written for the popular audience on this ground-breaking work was available, so I immediately obtained the audiobook. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire detailed story of the foxes, the scientists, the changes in geopolitics that impacted the work, and the theories of how and why domestication may have occurred in the small number of species that have undergone the process.

My personal criteria for awarding a book 5 stars are: (1) It must engage me completely and (2) I must learn something of significance from the reading. For me, this book did both. Granted, I have a strong interest in genetics, dogs, and behavior of all creatures which probably makes my rating biased. But so be it.

This is not a long book, only 240 pages in printed format and a little over 7 hours as an audiobook, but I feel the author did an excellent job of making a wide scope of scientific research accessible to any of us who possess a basic understanding of biology and animal behavior. I will follow future developments in the fox domestication research project with great interest.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • SPQR

  • A History of Ancient Rome
  • By: Mary Beard
  • Narrated by: Phyllida Nash
  • Length: 18 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,362
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,147
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,122

In SPQR, world-renowned classicist Mary Beard narrates the unprecedented rise of a civilization that even 2,000 years later still shapes many of our most fundamental assumptions about power, citizenship, responsibility, political violence, empire, luxury, and beauty.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Reexamination of the History of Rome

  • By Christopher on 12-17-15

Failed to Engage Me

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

Reviewed: 03-18-18

This book has excellent content, and it provided me a general outline of Roman history and significance of what occurred during its first millennia. I am interested in the subject and was eager to learn more about it. However, the style and organization of the book failed to engage me. I often had to jog myself back into the narrative as my attention wandered. For me, the book lacked flow and continuity, but of course, that is a personal observation rather than a truly objective one.

To be fair, I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could because it is probably better than 3 stars, especially in terms of scholarship. But I cannot honestly say that I "really liked it" enough to go with 4 stars. The fault may be entirely mine, but it is what it is. Simply put, I expected to enjoy this book more than I actually did, and I don't believe the problem was with the subject matter alone.

However, I did learn, and therefore this book was worth the time I invested in it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Fire and Fury

  • Inside the Trump White House
  • By: Michael Wolff
  • Narrated by: Michael Wolff, Holter Graham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,618
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,477
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,379

With extraordinary access to the West Wing, Michael Wolff reveals what happened behind-the-scenes in the first nine months of the most controversial presidency of our time in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the country—and the world—has witnessed a stormy, outrageous, and absolutely mesmerizing presidential term that reflects the volatility and fierceness of the man elected Commander-in-Chief.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not as credible as one would like.

  • By Jerry R. Nokes Jr. on 01-29-18

Credible

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

Reviewed: 01-10-18

In the days since it has become available, this book has been both controversial and influential. Personally, I found it a reasonable account of the first 8-9 months of the Trump administration; the events reported match what I have observed from my vantage point as a citizen with a strong interest in world affairs. Fire and Fury certainly does include details of conversations and comments that I have not personally witnessed, but these were plausible and in line with actual quotes and video available to everyone. In addition, during interviews following the book’s release, the author has been quite honest in discussing the limitations of his own knowledge. This admission increased his credibility with me.

Initially I hadn’t planned to purchase the book, but I became incensed when the administration attempted to stop its release to the public. I had originally planned to wait for a library copy and to fit a reading into my normal schedule. However, when confronted with such high-handed attempts at censorship, I changed my mind and chose to reward this author with an immediate purchase of the audiobook. I moved it to the top of my list and began listening at once, and thereby exercised the freedom to form my own opinion. Even the vociferous reactions of this administration to the book itself, and to the people quoted within it, fit the thesis and picture drawn by author Michael Wolff. The ferocity of their attacks merely confirmed the book’s veracity in my eyes.

I’m pleased that I obtained and read Fire and Fury. I acknowledge the caveats inherent in the author's attempt to manage differing accounts from the various people involved in the events he describes. Even so, I found Wolff’s account credible. For me, it was certainly true enough…

128 of 213 people found this review helpful

  • American Wolf

  • A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West
  • By: Nate Blakeslee
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall, Nate Blakeslee
  • Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,479
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,379
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,369

Before men ruled the earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West. With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, O-Six, a charismatic alpha female named for the year of her birth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Epic American Story

  • By Michael - Audible Editor on 10-17-17

One of the Most Consequential Books I Have Read

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

Reviewed: 01-01-18

I cannot do justice to this book. It is without a doubt the most moving and valuable work I read in 2017, and I enjoyed many excellent books last year. American Wolf deals with the reintroduction of wolves into the northern Rockies, beginning with packs brought to Yellowstone National Park. The author describes the sad history of wolves in America as European populations spread across the continent. Wolves were hunted, poisoned, trapped, and murdered as puppies in their dens until only a few remnants of the species were left in wilderness areas of northern Minnesota and Michigan. In the mid-1990s, efforts were made to return wolves to remote areas of the West, and the controversy over their fate began anew.

I am not objective. I admit that. I love wolves, and have loved them for as long as I can remember. I don’t think of them as “pets;” they are significantly different from dogs, although they are considered to be the same species by most biologists. Wolves are wild, and they should be left to live that life. Dogs are my companion animals; wolves are something else entirely.

Nate Blakeslee masterfully presents a balanced view of the various sides to the wolf issue, explaining how the presence of wolves impacts the lives of ranchers, hunters, outfitters, and others who recently find themselves sharing the land with these wild hunters. As apex predators, wolves compete with us for game and space. Elk hunters can no longer walk 50 feet from the road to shoot their trophies or provide themselves with “free” meat for much of the year. With the return of wolves to the landscape, elk numbers have returned to the balance which had existed for thousands of years before humans exterminated wolves from the ecosystem.

But with the return of wolves, that ecosystem has come back into a healthier equilibrium, one that benefits many other creatures, including the elk themselves. The book clearly details this process while personalizing the wolf itself through comprehensive descriptions of the lives of many individuals being studied by wildlife biologists and Yellowstone park rangers; the wolf packs are also watched and admired by thousands of park visitors who have the thrilling and inspiring opportunity to glimpse a wilderness mostly gone, and nearly lost forever.

The narrative centers around a special wolf, O-Six, and Rick McIntyre, the ranger who studies her and the other wolves of the park with obsessive dedication. The descriptions of wolves in this book are not sentimental or anthropomorphic; they originate from the field notes of Rick and others devoted to documenting the daily lives of these amazing creatures. Life for wolves can be brutal, and the author pulls no punches in relating the reality of hunts as well as the deadly inter-pack warfare .

This book is inspiring, yet also profoundly sad. But it educated me, and it deeply moved me. I listened to the audiobook, and when it finished, I immediately began to listen again…to all of it. (Something I don’t remember ever doing before.) And it was even more inspiring and more sad the second time.

I have not done justice to the book itself, to O-Six, or to Rick McIntyre in writing this review. I can only say that, for me, it was one of the most consequential books I have experienced. I believe that we need wildness, as we need air to breathe, food to eat, and water to drink. If we lose that in this great, vast land of ours, we lose a vital piece of our souls as well. I may never see a wolf in the wild, but knowing they are out there, roaming the mountains, gives me great hope and joy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Gather ‘Round the Sound

  • Holiday Stories from Beloved Authors and Great Performers Across the Globe
  • By: Paulo Coelho, Yvonne Morrison, Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Angele Masters, Daniel Frances Berenson, Magda Szubanski, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 5,303
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 4,657
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 4,654

2017 has been a monumental year for Audible, having just celebrated our 20th anniversary, a milestone that would have never been possible without our wonderful and loyal listeners. One of our major commitments is bringing new and diverse audio experiences to our members, so this year, as our gift to you, we pulled together a collection that reflects a little bit of everything we’ve been up to recently.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Holidays

  • By ZOE R on 12-12-17

Awful!

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

Reviewed: 12-23-17

This was a real disappointment! I gave it 2 stars because I forced myself to listen to all of it, and I reserve 1 star ratings for pieces so terrible that I don't finish them. Because this was so short, I endured to the end. Audible did not do itself any favors with this free offering because it reflects so badly on their in-house productions which are usually excellent.

I can't say I wasn't warned because I am not alone in my opinion according to other reviews I've read on Goodreads. Sorry, Audible, I am a loyal customer and you are a great company, but this monstrosity thankfully is very atypical of your products.

  • The Home Front: Life in America During World War II

  • By: Audible Original
  • Narrated by: Martin Sheen
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,868
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,500
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,485

[Contains some explicit content] Narrated by award-winning actor Martin Sheen, The Home Front: Life in America During World War II takes listeners into the lives of Americans at home who supported the war effort and sustained the country during wartime. The war brought immediate, life-changing shifts; from the rationing of butter, to an explosion of war-related jobs, to mixed-signals about the role of women in society. Feel what living in the United States was like for everyday people during this disruptive and uncertain period of American history in the newest Audible Original series. Martha Little is the Executive Producer. Dan Gediman is the Series Producer.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent! But incessant breaks with credits along the way.

  • By Bradley Justice on 09-11-17

Thank you, Audible!

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

Reviewed: 10-20-17

Outstanding!! I thought I knew a fair amount about the WWII era in the United States, but I learned and understood much more after listening to this audiobook. It features archived recordings of people who actually lived the history, people from all levels of the society. Their voices were authentic and moving.

This was definitely a worthwhile use of my time and has given me much to think about in terms of what I see happening now, more than 70 years later. We need to know our history, and hearing these voices from the past brought it alive for me. It has even helped me better understand my parents and their sometimes previously unfathomable perspectives.

Thank you, Audible, for this excellent production, and for making it available to your members at no cost. You really are a great company for this and many other reasons.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Coffin for Dimitrios

  • By: Eric Ambler
  • Narrated by: Alexander Spencer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 162
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 126
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 124

An early classic of espionage fiction. Through the cafés, trains and nighttime cities of Europe, Charles Latimer follows a twisting trail of drug-smugglers, thieves and assassins that will lead him to Dimitrios.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A most enjoyable history and geography lesson

  • By PearlGirl on 05-02-10

Not My Kind of Novel

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

Reviewed: 10-08-17

I have read a few books I enjoyed less than this one, but very few that I actually finished. It was our book club choice for this month so I soldered on.

I'm not saying it's a bad book. The fault is probably mine; I have difficulty liking any book, movie, or TV show where I don't find something to admire in the characters, at least one of them. I didn't care one bit about even the protagonist in this one. He was dull, and everyone else was despicable, so it was a slog even to complete this relatively short novel. Apparently it was written in the late 1930s and therefore is an early example of this genre--international political thriller. That may explain my problem with it, and it was probably educational to have read it.

A lot of people liked this book a great deal, so I am speaking only for myself. I do feel somewhat virtuous for having persisted to finish it.