Naked in Baghdad: The Iraq War as Seen by NPR’s Correspondent (Review)
reviews* / June 30, 2012

Title: Naked in Baghdad: The Iraq War as Seen by NPR’s Correspondent Author: Anne Garrels (with Vint Lawrence) Narrator: Anne Garrels Publication Year: 2003 Pages: 264 (audio length: 7 hours 2 minutes) Genre: Non-Fiction, Audiobook Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: As National Public Radio’s senior foreign correspondent, Anne Garrels has covered conflicts in Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. She is renowned for direct, down-to-earth, insightful reportage, and for her independent take on what she sees. One of only sixteen unembedded American journalists who stayed in Baghdad’s now-legendary Palestine Hotel throughout the American invasion of Iraq, she was at the very center of the storm. Naked in Baghdad gives us the sights, sounds, and smells of our latest war with unparalleled vividness and immediacy. Garrels’s narrative starts with several trips she made to Baghdad before the war, beginning in October 2002. At its heart is her evolving relationship with her Iraqi driver/minder, Amer, who becomes her friend and confidant, often serving as her eyes and ears among the populace and taking her where no other reporter was able to penetrate. Amer’s own strong reactions and personal dilemma provide a trenchant counterpoint to daily events. The story…

Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty (Review)
reviews* / June 27, 2012

Title: Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty Author: Muhammad Yunus Narrator: Ray Porter Publication Year: 1999 Pages: 312 (audio length: 7 hours 11 minutes) Genre: Non-Fiction Source: Audiobook purchased from Audible.com From the cover: In 1983, Muhammad Yunus established Grameen, a bank devoted to providing the poorest of Bangladesh with miniscule loans. Believing that credit is a basic human right, not the privilege of a few, Yunus aimed to support that spark of personal initiative and enterprise by which the poor might lift themselves out of poverty forever. Grameen Bank now provides over $2.5 billion in micro-loans to more than two million families in rural Bangladesh. Ninety-four percent of Yunus’ clients are women, and repayment rates are nearly 100 percent. In Banker to the Poor, Yunus traces the journey that led him to rethink the economic relationship between rich and poor and recounts the challenges he faced in founding Grameen. He provides wise, hopeful guidance for anyone who would like to join him in the burgeoning world movement of micro-lending to eradicate world poverty. I’m going to keep this short and sweet. This book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. I think that’s largely the…

Audiobook Week: Jumping in Mid-Week
events , thoughts / June 27, 2012

June is Audiobook Month, and for the third year, Jen over at Devourer of Books has decided to celebrate with her very own Audiobook Week! All of this week, I’m going to be joining in and posting about audiobooks, including reviews, daily topic discussions, and my own ideas about how we can use audiobooks in different ways throughout our daily lives. I had a bit of a Life Without Internet crisis for the last few days (almost a week already!), and just got re-connected today. So I missed part of the week, but I’m definitely in now! Today’s topic is: Mid-Week Meme Current/most recent audiobook: A few days ago, I finished listening to Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinburg. I’m now listening, after a few years of adamantly arguing that I’d never pick up it, to Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Impressions: I’m not loving it, but I’m not hating it quite as much as I had expected. I’ve already got quite a few notes on things that she makes serious errors in, things that I suspect will come up again and which I suspect she repeats quite often when she is telling people how “awful”…

Rush (Review)
reviews* / June 26, 2012

I originally picked up this book because of the narrator: I loved Nick Landrum from listening to the Dexter series (before the author took over and started narrating himself … a definite disappointment). So one day, I was trolling Audible and decided to pick up a couple of other books that Landrum narrated.

I have to say that Rush doesn’t disappoint in that regard.

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil (Review)
reviews* / June 25, 2012

Title: Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil Author: Deborah Rodriguez (with Kristin Ohlson) Narrator: Bernadette Dunne Publication Year: 2007 Pages: 320 (audio length: 8 hours 58 minutes) Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: Most Westerners working in Afghanistan spend their time tucked inside a military compound or embassy. Not Deborah Rodriguez. Here, she tells the story of the beauty school she founded in the middle of Kabul and of the vibrant women who were her students. When Rodriguez opened the Kabul Beauty School, she not only empowered her students with a new sense of autonomy but also made some of the closest friends of her life. Woven through the book are the stories of her students: the newlywed who must fake her virginity; the 12-year-old sold into marriage to pay her family’s debts; and a woman who pursues her training despite her Taliban husband’s constant beatings. They all bring their stories to the beauty school, where, along with Rodriguez herself, they learn the art of perms, friendship, and freedom. Before you read this book, you need to get past the title. (Or, rather, the subtitle.) “An American Woman Goes Behind…