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J

Summit, NJ
  • 14
  • reviews
  • 42
  • helpful votes
  • 137
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  • Britt-Marie Was Here

  • A Novel
  • By: Fredrik Backman
  • Narrated by: Joan Walker
  • Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,649
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,138
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,127

Britt-Marie can't stand mess. She eats dinner at precisely the right time and starts her day at six in the morning because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It's just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention. But at 63, Britt-Marie has had enough. She finally walks out on her loveless 40-year marriage and finds a job in the only place she can: Borg, a small, derelict town devastated by the financial crisis.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Gem

  • By Sara on 05-12-16

Another adorable mashup of eccentric characters!

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

Reviewed: 06-03-16

Where does Britt-Marie Was Here rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Backman's books have all been a delight to me. Britt-Marie is really like a number of people I've known, keeping very tight control over a very small milieu, and it's so much fun to see how her peculiar skill set (never before much appreciated by those close to her) allows her to fluorish in the desperate town of Berg.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the ending--one of the most satisfying and poignantly written in this genre. I thought, "Well, it has to end either this way or that, and either will be such a let-down," but Backman really came through. What is said and what isn't are just perfect.

Which scene was your favorite?

The leitmotif of cleaning never got old, but the scene that keeps coming back to me the most is Britt-Marie's little adventure to Ikea to find a simple project to show up her husband, which of course, ends up not at all the way she plans.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Like a box of chocolates, this sweet book (with just enough tartness to keep it interesting) begs to be devoured, but I made myself savor it, a few chapters at a time.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

  • By: Karen Joy Fowler
  • Narrated by: Orlagh Cassidy
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,425
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,287
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,288

Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. "I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: that I was raised with a chimpanzee," she tells us. "It's never going to be the first thing I share with someone. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren't thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern's expulsion, I'd scarcely known a moment alone. She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This was totally worth the credit.

  • By Amber on 10-04-13

Just creepy.

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

Reviewed: 09-23-15

What disappointed you about We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves?

I'm sure the author found the basic concept fascinating, and as a former Psychology student, I was intrigued as well. But going back and forth in time, watching this entire family dragged down and destroying their lives, I felt by turns discouraged, frustrated, confused, and mostly plain bored. I found the epilogue to give barely any lift to the whole mess. I'll be returning this one.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Funny Girl

  • A Novel
  • By: Nick Hornby
  • Narrated by: Emma Fielding
  • Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 871
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 757
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 755

Set in 1960's London, Funny Girl is a lively account of the adventures of the intrepid young Sophie Straw as she navigates her transformation from provincial ingnue to television starlet amid a constellation of delightful characters. Insightful and humorous, Nick Hornby's latest does what he does best: endears us to a cast of characters who are funny if flawed, and forces us to examine ourselves in the process.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Wish I had a 2.5 star option

  • By Dixie on 02-24-15

Very Hornby

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

Reviewed: 09-07-15

What did you love best about Funny Girl?

If you know Nick Hornby's work, you will expect a lovely story with just-quirky-enough-to-still-be-believable characters, and you will not be disappointed. Great beach (or housecleaning) read about the early days of tv sitcoms (in England) that won't challenge you too much, but won't let you down, either.

  • The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

  • A Novel
  • By: Rachel Joyce
  • Narrated by: Celia Imrie
  • Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,119
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,044
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,039

In this poignant parallel story to Harold's saga, acclaimed author Rachel Joyce brings Queenie Hennessy's voice into sharp focus. Setting pen to paper, Queenie makes a journey of her own, a journey that is even bigger than Harold's. One word after another, she promises to confess long-buried truths--about her modest childhood, her studies at Oxford, the heartbreak that brought her to Kingsbridge and to loving Harold, her friendship with his son, the solace she has found in a garden by the sea.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • In Many Ways Beautiful, In Many Ways Tedious

  • By Marjorie on 04-14-15

A Worthy Companion to "Pilgrimmage of Harold Fry"

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

Reviewed: 09-07-15

What did you like best about this story?

This is one of the few sequels that is equal to the first book. Lovely and original.
Funny and touching. Quite 3-dimensional portraits of diverse characters and situations. The author interview after the book made me cry and cheer, as well. Brava, Rachel Joyce, and I hope you continue to meet your own high standards!

  • A Man Called Ove

  • By: Fredrik Backman
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60,278
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55,153
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55,057

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell". But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I Laughed and I Cried

  • By Bill on 08-22-15

Pure Nordic Sweetness (with no bitter aftertaste)

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

Reviewed: 09-07-15

What made the experience of listening to A Man Called Ove the most enjoyable?

Ove is like someone we have all met--a strait-laced curmudgeon on the cusp of his golden years, who is having a hard time seeing the upside of this stage of life he finds himself in. The author has done such a great job of capturing the confusing complexities of today's too-quickly-changing world from Ove's perspective. I think the translator's skill is a factor in this book's success as well, because I felt almost no cultural distance. The supporting characters are so deftly drawn, especially the new neighbor Parvaneh and her children (who, to my great relief, managed to be adorable with none of that sit-commy, fabricated precociousness).
I've found lately that many books switch back and forth in time, and I think that format can be more confusing in audio than in print. This book is one of the less-confusing in that respect, but I did have to backtrack a few times when I'd start the chapter not realizing the time or place the action had changed to.
All in all, the book is quite adorable and brilliant--I laughed out loud throughout. For all its sarcasm. this book was quite uplifting. I wish it could have gone on for another 8 hours!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

At each point where the reader is privy to some insight that Parvaneh has intuited about Ove's situation (despite his dogged determination not to share), I got goose-bumps.
From a comedic standpoint, I loved all the scenes of technical ineptitude (including Ove's own) or abuse: parking, DIY, purchases--oh, so many!--but I had to listen to the Apple Store scenes over and over!

  • The Accidental Bestseller

  • By: Wendy Wax
  • Narrated by: Khristine Hvam
  • Length: 14 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 115
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 100

Once upon a time four aspiring authors met at their very first writers' conference. Ten years later they're still friends, survivors of the ultra-competitive New York publishing world. Mallory St. James is a workaholic whose best sellers support a lavish lifestyle. Tanya Mason is a single mother juggling two jobs, two kids, and too many deadlines. Faye Truett is the wife of a famous televangelist and the author of inspirational romances: No one would ever guess her explosive secret.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Meh....just okay.

  • By S on 02-19-13

Could it be much more formulaic?

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

Reviewed: 01-14-14

What disappointed you about The Accidental Bestseller?

Everything was so predictable. The characters really seemed to have been picked out of a catalogue--each to cover a trope. Totally two-dimensional.

What could Wendy Wax have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

It was kind of a cute idea, but beyond the premise, it was really tiresome.

  • Shine Shine Shine

  • By: Lydia Netzer
  • Narrated by: Joshilyn Jackson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 140
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 125
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 127

When Maxon met Sunny, he was seven years, four months, and 18 days old. Or, he was 2693 rotations of the Earth old. Maxon was different. Sunny was different. They were different together. Now, 20 years later, they are married, and Sunny wants, more than anything, to be “normal”. She’s got the housewife thing down perfectly, but Maxon, a genius engineer, is on a NASA mission to the moon, programming robots for a new colony. Once they were two outcasts who found unlikely love in each other. But now they’re parents to an autistic son. And Sunny is pregnant again. And her mother is dying in the hospital.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Delightful Surprise

  • By Slay the Writer on 08-27-12

A Magical Story of Beauty in the Fringes

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

Reviewed: 12-29-13

Would you consider the audio edition of Shine Shine Shine to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the book in print, but I would assume it doesn't include the adorable bonus musical tracks at the end. The narrator is delightful, and brings a fanciful, whimsical tone to the work.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the way all the plot points were reeled out slowly and steadily, until you find yourself enmeshed in Sunny's eccentric world without actually knowing how you got there--and in the course of the book, the path is revealed, as Sunny discovers the meaning of all that has brought her to the present. The book started out reeking of "chick lit" to me, but its twists and turns reveal it to be far more.

Which scene was your favorite?

There are so many memorable episodes; the book is vividly drawn: Each detail of the car accident, life with Bubber, Sunny's childhood and teenage years with Maxon. The space scenes were gripping, of course, but so were the details of life at home: the neighborhood craft fair, the dinner party, and discovering Les Weathers's house.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

While he's traveling in space, can she keep her life on Earth any less far out?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Good Things

  • By: Mia King
  • Narrated by: Jane Jacobs
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6

Deidre McIntosh became famous teaching women to live simply, and simply live - ironic for a woman who thrives on the chaos of a television career, and shares a home with her best friend, the one man she can count on - who happens to be gay. But when her Seattle cooking-and-lifestyle show gets bumped off the air, and her best guy moves in with his boyfriend, she's left trying to figure out the next segment.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • What good things?

  • By J on 10-21-13

What good things?

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

Reviewed: 10-21-13

I have not read a novel with such two-dimensional characters caught in such a flimsy, transparent plot in a long time. I don't even like to insult the "chick lit" genre by categorizing it as such. Middle-aged single woman getting by, even making good, by virtue of her own talents, loses her grasp on the good life, and despite acting like a total idiot, ends back up on top, bigger than ever--But this time, with a filthy rich, handsome, considerate man to love her. Oops, did I spoil it for you? Nope, we all saw it coming, every bit.

  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette

  • A Novel
  • By: Maria Semple
  • Narrated by: Kathleen Wilhoite
  • Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9,357
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,470
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8,466

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle - and people in general - has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Misleading cover contains excellent novel

  • By jennifer on 01-28-16

A Hoot and a Half (and no apology to Carl Hiaasen)

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

Reviewed: 10-02-12

I felt I finally had a context for this book when I found out the author was a writer for "Arrested Development." The characters in this nutty mystery were not created in any mold I recognized. OK, maybe the precocious but unconventional 14 year-old Bee watching out for her agoraphobic mother, Bernadette, or the clueless, aspirational Microsoft drone, or the high-and-mighty private school PTA diva, or the consultant hired to attract "Mercedes Parents" to their school look familiar, but everyone has their unexpected edge, and I couldn't wait to hear what happened next. Oh, the situations are preposterous: the personal assistant who manages Bernadette's needs to the nth degree from India, Bernadette's hilltop manse invaded by blackberry canes, a family holiday to Antarctica--but it is all spun together with surprising credibility in a myriad of delightful voices. And all of this buoyant hilarity arising from soggy Seattle--Gotta love it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Emperor of All Maladies

  • A Biography of Cancer
  • By: Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
  • Length: 20 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,651
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,657
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,654

Written by cancer physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies is a stunning combination of medical history, cutting-edge science, and narrative journalism that transforms our understanding of cancer and much of the world around us. Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a novelist's richness of detail, a historian's range, and a biographer's passion.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Spectacular!

  • By Paul on 11-25-10

Insightful & Illuminating

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-28-10

I am in awe of how the author made this such a captivating work--He gives so many perspectives on cancer: The personal (his own patients), anthropological (evidence in ancient cultures), historical, and political, with current research and some conjecture about future directions in research and treatment. The fact that it became an instant bestseller can partly be attributed to how many peoples' lives are affected by this disease, but also by what a brilliant book this is.
Audio version is well read.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful