Touching & Thought Provoking: A Review of Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou

A Review of Letter to My Daughter Written & Read by Maya Angelou

Letter to My Daughter
Written & Read by Maya Angelou


Well, let’s get this out of the way. Angelou doesn’t have a daughter. Rather, this brief guide was written for all the daughters she saw around her every day. The entire piece is a series of numbered, brief essays that relate the struggles and triumphs of Angelou’s life and what she learned from each experiences. From racism to being a strong, resilient woman, Angelou covers it all.

Audiobook Review

Angelou, who has a very varied background, including dance, drama and writing, has learned how to moderate her voice. To use inflections when necessary, but mostly to cultivate a voice that when heard, the listener knows immediately that it’s THE Maya Angelou. Her voice is stilted, but the listener doesn’t really get a whiff of pomposity. Rather, it’s like her voice is imbued with intelligence and wisdom.


Writing  5 out of 5 stars

Storytelling 5 out of 5 stars

Cultural Impact 5 out of 5 stars

Reading Performance 5 out of 5 stars

Total:  5 out of 5 stars

 Have you read any of Angelou’s work? What did you think?

Deeply Affecting : A Review of Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying

Oh, this book. I don’t think I’ll see things the same way ever again.

Deeply Effecting: A Review of Edwidge Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying | The 1000th Voice blog

Brother, I’m Dying
By Edwidge Danticat
Read By Robin Miles


Brother, I’m Dying, the story of the deaths of the two men who raised Edwidge–her father and her uncle, was profoundly and deeply affecting. Like many kids whose parents are emigrating to the U.S., Danticat and her brother remained behind in Haiti as first their father and then their mother emigrated.

Throughout the beginning of the book I was struck by how private Danticat was with sharing info with her family, but then, I realized why. For years, when she was able to speak to her parents, it was over the phone with her uncle telling her what to say, and when she wrote, her uncle always checked over her writing to make sure her English was good.

When I wrote in the title that this book was deeply affecting, I truly meant it. On multiple levels, Danticat’s story did deeply affect me. As an American citizen now, Danticat didn’t spend a lot of time bashing the U.S. policy in Haiti, but she was very clear in sharing how the U.S.’s influence was both positive and negative. Regardless of the U.S.’s influence, reading about young children living in a war- and conflict-torn country was incredibly saddening, and to know there are so many children living in similar situations today makes the first-hand account even more impactful.

Additionally, the reader learns toward the end what it was like (at least in the early to mid 2000s) for Haitians, who feared for their life in their home country, to try to emigrate to the U.S. In fact, Danticat even makes it clear that Cubans who illegally enter the country, washing up on Miami’s beaches, are treated better than Haitians who have clearance to enter (but not stay) in the U.S. It’s sad, scary and needs to be changed.

Audiobook Review

With years of experience, Robin Miles is an amazing voice talent. Her Haitian accent and Creole-laced sentences were lyrical and beautiful to hear. There wasn’t a single point when I felt the reading was a miss.


Writing 5 out of 5 stars

Storytelling 5 out of 5 stars

Cultural Impact 5 out of 5 stars

Reading Performance 5 out of 5 stars

Total: 5 out of 5 stars

Have you read or listened to any of Danticat’s work? What did you think?

What is the most deeply affecting book you’ve ever read?

Twitterature | 1.2014

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Twitterature is her fun way to share quick little
reviews of books read recently. I hope you enjoy these.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami | Twitterature | Brief Book Reviews at The 1000th Voice blog

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
By Haruki Murakami

Weird,  wonderful & magical. Beautiful prose & unusual characters move the story along.

Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat | Twitterature | Brief Book Reviews at The 1000th Voice blog

Brother, I’m Dying (audiobook)
By Edwidge Danticat
Read By Robin Miles

Oh, wow! Just finished listening to this.  My life will never be the same.

Groundswell by Charlene Li | Twitterature | Brief Book Reviews at The 1000th Voice blog

By Charlene Li

Informative. Set the foundation for an understanding of social media marketing.

Have you read any other these books? What were your thoughts?

Audiobook Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Audiobook Review: Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson | The 1000th Voice Blog

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
By Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson is a bad influence. As I listened to this on my commute, I had the following conversation with my husband.

Me: (I’m in the car on my phone.) Hey, can you grab my purse?

Nick: OK. Where are you?

M: Driving to the eye doctor, but I forgot my wallet.

N: Ugh.

M: I just packed your lunch!

N: Are you coming back?

M: No, you need to bring it to me.

N: Ugh.

M: Oh, also. I don’t know where I’m going.

N: Ugh.

M: Please look it up.

N: (Gives me address.)

M: OK. I’m there. I love you.


M: OK. I’m there. Walk in the door facing the hospital.

N: You want me to walk into the hospital?

M: No, the building facing the hospital.

N: In the hospital?

M: OMG! No!


Jenny Lawson, who read this book herself, is incredibly entertaining in short doses. She’s almost a little too much for me to take at once. Don’t let that stop you from listening to this, particularly if you gain energy from other people’s energy.


Writing 3 out of 5 stars

Storytelling 4 out of 5 stars

Cultural Impact 4 out of 5 stars

Total 3.67 stars

Are you a Bloggess fan or is she too much for you as well?

Twitterature: October 2013 Edition

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Twitterature is her fun way to share quick, little reviews of books read recently.
I hope you enjoy these; I’ll follow up later with longer book review posts.

I’ve had so much fun participating in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Twitterature the last two months that I decided to do it again! I’ve only read two books since the last link up, so I’m sharing reviews of two books I reviewed earlier on the blog in Twitter’s signature brief form. Links to the full review are at the bottom. Also, I will be writing a complete review of Dracula tomorrow.

Beautiful Ruins
By Jess Walter

 Gorgeous words, scenes and characters. #MustRead #LitFic

By Bram Stoker

 Dark. Rich. Suspense. #MustRead #TheOV (Original Vamp!)

The Glass Castle (audiobook)
By Jeannette Walls

 You think your childhood was bad? Walls has ya’ll beat! #Memoir

The Casual Vacancy
By J.K. Rowling

 Character study of the inner workings of small village. #LitFic #MustRead

Ape House
By Sara Gruen

A wonderful statement about ethical treatment of animals. #GreatWriting

The Glass Castle | The Casual Vacancy | Ape House

**I’m linking this up with Modern Mrs. Darcy.**

Audiobook Review: Pharmakon

Audiobook Review: Pharmakon by Dirk Wittenborn | The 1000th Voice Blog

By Dirk Wittenborn

A couple years ago my brothers, sister in law, husband and I came across a going-out-of-business sale at the oddest book store. None of us, self-proclaimed book lovers, had ever heard of any of the books. Nick handed me this audiobook. It sounded weird, but at less than a buck, I took a chance. I’m very glad I did.

Told over the span of 50 years, this multigenerational story uses multiple points of view to tell a complicated sometimes absurd story.

The book starts briefly narrated by Zach. We don’t know much about him and we learn just a little about his father. This is just a teaser before moving into the third person limited narration mainly focused on patriach Will Friedrich.

One of the fascinating aspects of this book was how little Friedrich, a pioneering neuropharmacologist and trained psychiatrist, knew nothing about actual people especially his family. The story mainly centers around each member of the family and some friends eventually figuring out of acknowledging that fact.

Voice Talent

This audiobook was skillfully read by Mark Deakins and Lincoln Hoppe. They were both able to really embody the feel of the book during their particular parts.


Writing 4 out of 5 stars

The writing in this story was tight and intriguing.

Storytelling 4 out of 5 stars

The pacing and set up of the story kept me interested in finding out what happens next.

Total 4 out of 5 stars

Have you ever read or listened to Pharmakon? Have you ever found a diamond in the rough in an odd bookstore?

Audiobook Review: The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls | Audiobook Review | The 1000th Voice Blog

The Glass Castle
By Jeannette Walls
Read By Julia Gibson

I wanted to sit on this book for a while, to ruminate on it, to let the words and stories really steep in my mind. But I decided that wasn’t a very good idea because I at once loved and hated this book. The more I ruminate and gather my thoughts on this book, the more my thoughts will go down the rabbit hole of mental illness and alcoholism that so exemplified Walls’ childhood.


Walls’ writing and storytelling are phenomenal. Her childhood, though, was atrocious. The combination of the two made for an audiobook that I hated to stop listening to but sometimes needed a break from. You see, Walls’ parents were terrible. Her mother snooty despite the lack of food on the table, acceptable clothing on her children and lack of roof over their head. She was selfish, but most of all she was weak. She was too weak to take the kids and leave her no-good, alcoholic husband. She was too weak to stand up to her own issues of selfishness and immaturity. Too weak to keep a job. And let’s not even get into her sympathy for her daughter’s molester.

But as much as I disliked her mother, I definitely hated her father. I hated him for not holding down a job, for not providing for his children, for being a worthless drunk.

The Wisdom of Rex Walls | The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls | The 1000th Voice BlogIn general, not bad advice, but it was said while
teaching Jeannette to swim. Rex’s method?

Throwing her into the center of a deep, dirty pond.

I could go on and on about all the reasons I hate Walls’ parents but I’d rather use this space to point out all the great things about this book.

First and foremost, what I loved about this book was Walls’ ability to tell the story, to paint the picture of her childhood. I found the stories she told–both good and bad–to be very engaging, lively, and easily understood. Her clear, forthright writing really moved the story along. She doesn’t spend time dwelling on the bad parts other than to share what happened.

I loved how the book started and ended with fire, particularly the turbulent area at the tip of the flame. In both instances, the fire symbolizes a rampage that was coming, and specifically Rex Walls. If he’d only been contained, if he hadn’t been allowed to burn free, maybe Jeannette’s life would have been better. Althought the fire at the end was more refined, the flame of the candle burning on the reunited family’s Thanksgiving dinner table, I think it symbolized more turbulence to come in Jeannette’s life, not by something she’s done, but by the return of her sister.

Author Jeannette Walls | Audiobook Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls | The 1000th Voice Blog


A final high point that I want to metion is that Walls seems to be a remarkable specimen. She doesn’t seem to pity herself or at least didn’t by the time she wrote the book. She’s the shining example of someone who picks herself up by the bootstraps and really becomes somebody. She’s resilient, she’s intelligent, she’s hardworking, she’s inspiring. And, despite negative comments about her looks in the book, she’s beautiful and has great hair!

Voice Talent



This book was superbly read by Julia Gibson. Gibson excellently portrayed Walls’ mother’s snobbery. Her pacing and diction were excellent. My one complaint was the voice she used for Walls’ sister Laurie. She made Laurie sound very flat and dumb, neither of which I think describe Laurie based on what Walls actually wrote about her.


Writing 5 out of 5 stars

In The New York Times review, Francine Prose refers to Walls’ writing style as appealingly unadorned. Her writing isn’t overwrought; it isn’t overly emotional or overly sentimental. I found her writing style very inspiring.

Storytelling 5 out of 5 stars

I generally try not to give anything five stars. As the highest rating, it’s generally hard to reach, but I really believe it’s warranted with this book. Her ability to lay out her unappealing childhood in an appealing way is practically unheard of.

Cultural/Personal Impact 4 out of 5 stars

According to the ever reliable Wikipedia, The Glass Castle spent 261 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, and it’s been optioned for film by Paramount. (Word is Jennifer Lawrence will star in it. I find this interesting because the book begins when she is three and ends when she’s in her 30s.) This book had a big impact on me. As I mentioned the writing was inspiring, but the story will really stick with me.

Total 4.67 out of 5 stars

Have you read or listened to The Glass Castle? What are your thoughts? Did you, too, hate Walls’ parents?

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