I enjoyed this book for the most part, once I got past the beginning. I am very interested in dementia as I had a grandfather that suffered from alzheimers. I have read articles and books on the brain, alzheimers and autism. I find it facination and informative.
This book had some good information. However, the beginning is so long and boring, full of explinations of anatomy. I understand that some set up is neccessary. Fine, I'll wade through what ever setup is applicable to the subject at hand. However, i don't want to sit through hours of not only anatomy lessons and cell types, but a history lesson of not only who discovered the cells/processes, where they discovered them and how, but also THEIR history, such as who made a mad dash for the north pole and who went on to invent mining machinery. Seriously? How is any of that relevent AT ALL? Why do I need to know that so-and-so who discovered x-y-z cells or invented such-and-such cell staining methods was also an althetic dare devil who journeyed to the north pole in a boat drozen in an ice sheet, had to eat his dogs to survive and lived with eskimos? I don't. It drove me crazy and made me dislike the begining of this book. It was bad, and went on and on and on. This whole mess is in terrible need of an editor. I kept asking myself how this extrainious information made it into the book, and the only explination I could come up with, was that is was fluff to fill up space in a book that would have been much shorter.
The narrator did a good job though. Even through the boring, extrainious information, he had a good tone of voice, conveying interest and emotion.
The real subject of the title, disorders and illnesses and such, didn't start until 1.5 hours into it. If you already know the anatomy of cells, the brain, the nervous system and the methods of study/staining, you could probably skip to the 1.5 hours mark and not miss anything.
I have mixed feelings about this book. The narrator does an excellent job, and kept me listening after I would have quit. The book is excruciatingly slow to get to the meat of the story, the influenza outbreak. I read a lot about infectious disease, and some of the books are slow and/or dry, but this one was worse by far. The first hours are just back ground stuff, in great detail, history of John Hopkins, history of medical degrees, doctors, researchers, down to how they dressed and looked and spoke, where they lived, how they rented rooms from, who their friends were, how those friendships changes. Quite frankly - I DON'T CARE! I want to know about the flu epidemic! Any pertinent back ground, what little was important, could have been given in a few paragraphs, a few pages at the very most, and I'm not exaggerating. Not at all. I kept looking at the time, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3.5 hours, and still this book had gone no where! I finally put the speed on fast. I was greatly tempted just to fast forward, but was afraid to miss anything that was actually about the supposed subject of the book, you know, the Great Influenza that is the TITLE of the book. In addition, I found the frequent and blatant American elitism extremely annoying. The author is very condescending about non-American medical professionals, institutions, colleges and researchers even though the early American medical degrees are described as nothing more than a certificate for attending a few lectures while other countries had actual colleges and real medical degrees. It is also clearly stated that these American researchers built upon work already done by foreign researchers. Statements such as "american doctor/researcher such and such was THE BEST in the WHOLE WORLD or the leader in such and such field in of the whole world. It got old and tiresome really quickly.
Once you get past the beginning fluff (literally hours) and get used to or ignore the rather heavy handed america elitism, the books gets more on topic and was more interesting. Though the narrator does a great job, I wish I had read this one so I could have skimmed through the beginning fast and easy instead of wasting hours of listening time.
I really enjoyed this audio book. Great content. Great narrator. Narrator is perfect.
Some of the negative comments I read were:
1) Skewed negative skew on part of author, making the dark ages out to be all bad, evil, backward and generally horrible.
2) Made out all lords and church officials out to be greedy, murderous villains and the root of all evil.
3) Incoherent book structure, dry presentation and cherry picked fact, and incomplete narrative of the black death because origin is not sufficiently covered.
I am not a expert of the Dark Ages but I have read SEVERAL books on plagues and epidemics including the black death. This was the best book I have read so far. The mysterious inconsistency of the recorded history of the black death was well explained here. The current leading theories the explained, symptom, time lines, outbreaks and environments were described/explained effectively, and researchers and historians and historical records were referenced. Through the whole book, records from the time are referenced. I found the entire book to be well referenced, well explained, effectively presented and believable. Sections were separated by population class, and had a timeline through and after the many waves of plague. For example, gentry, peasants and church officials had their own sections on how they were effected during and after the plague. I found this presentation effective, easy to follow, and in my opinion, this format was by far the best choice.
As for those complaining about the negative portrayal of the Dark Ages, well, uh, it is called the Dark Ages for a reason. People were greedy, racist, and locked into a class system that left many people stuck in poverty and servitude through the generations. Jews were blames for the plague and burned. People were tortured routinely. Officials were bribed. The medical/scientific people were ineffective against the plague and believed the plague was caused by sin, witchcraft, Jews poisoning, "bad humor"ect. But, even so, the author gives examples of educated female intellectuals, generous lords taking care of their surfs, providing churches, mills, and such, churches having female preachers and leaders. I'm not sure what some readers expected, chivalry, noble knights, fairytales and robinhood heroes? But, the Dark Ages certainly wasn't all white knights and gentile lords and ladies, but neither does the author portray all people and everything as horrible evil darkness.
As for the complaints about lack of focus on the origins of the black death, the author DOES address/explain it effectively and thoroughly. But, the title of the book is "The Wake" of the black death, meaning AFTER the black death, and so this is the focus of the book, which I found fascinating. There is many details and examples given that illustrate the times and effects of the black death perfectly.
I highly recommend this book. It appears to be well researched and referenced. It is well laid out and conveys its content extremely well. This, coupled with a talented narrator, made for an enjoyable as well as educational listen.
I really enjoyed King's Joyland. I had seen some negative ratings, and wasn't sure what to expect. Joyland exceeded my expectations in every way. It is one of my favorite King stories now, up there on my list by Bag of Bones. I felt like Joyland was a lot like Bag of Bones, though I can't exactly put my finger on why. It might be the first person point of view, the great characters, the element of a child who can see what others can not, and the relationship of the protagonist to the child. In any case, I had the same feelings when i listen to Joyland when I listened to bag of Bones. I listen (or read) to Bag of Bones usually twice a year, sometimes 3 times. I can see myself adding Joyland to my repeat listen list.
Michael Kelly did an excellent job narrating. He was perfect, perfect inflection, perfect tone, perfect voice all around. I expecially appreciated how he read the children and female characters. Many men read female voices as nasal and valley girl, which totally ruins the story for me. Kelly did a great job, and I could enjoy the story. In fact, I felt the narration added to the story rather than just disappeared into it.
So, I went back and read some of the negative reviews, and they mostly seem to be a negative reaction to the fact that Joyland isn't a blood and guts, scary HORROR story. As if horror is ALL that Kind writes. King has never written ONLY blood and guts scary horror. He writes fantasy and sci-fi to horror to the strange and fantastic. I would say all his writing has elements that carry through all of his works, but not all of them are the same. Joyland is a ghost story, but that's not the only story. There is also a story about a young man and a woman, a young man and a sick child, an amusement park, and so on. King's works are always stories within stories within people and Joyland fits that mold. If you like King for his well drawn characters, fantastic yet somehow down to earth and believable plots and settings and the way he can make those people and places come alive, then you will probably like Joyland. If you are only interested in blood and guts and scary horror, you might not like Joyland at all.
What did I like best . . . well, the setting, I liked that it was set in the Pacific Northwest. I liked the realistic characters and their relationships. I liked the magic that was integral to the plot but not the WHOLE plot. I liked just about everything about this book.
This book reminded me a little of The Shining, in that the PLACE itself felt haunted, like the hotel in The Shining was, but it also reminded me of the movie Poltergeist, in that not EVERYTHING haunting the house and the land, the people, was evil.
I enjoyed the young adults the most. The adolescent boys seemed especially realistic to me. I also like the - well, i just liked them all, and I thought the narrator did a great job reading them.
I found this book to be exhilarating in its descriptions, heart poundingly real. I didn't feel like The Good House was blatant in your face Horror like other books in the horror genre, but it was definitely spine tingling and suspenseful, and I couldn't stop listening. I was on the edge of my seat.
This book was slower to start than I expected. I was thinking there was going to be more jump out and scare you type action from the very beginning, but it was a slower build than that. I appreciated the slow build in that I got a firm grasp of the characters and their families just in time for everything to start coming undone. The slow build up lead to more impact for me. A great story, a great performance, a great book.
Not a complete waste of time in that I enjoy end of the world stories, but I had several "eye roll" moments and head shaking through out the book due to the sexism, racism and classism that were treated and presented as normal.
I might, if they like end of the world type books. I would warn them of the sexism, racism and classism to prepare them and then let them decide for themselves.
I thought Ganim did a great job, not too overly dramatic, but with enough inflection to impart emotions. He read women without the annoying nasal voice that many readers use for women.
Maybe, if they updated the science and cut out the sexist, racist and class prejudice. Actually, they have made updated movies on this theme, and I did enjoy them.
I really found the blatant sexism, racism and classism annoying. Our main character hero, Tony, feels entitled to OWN his love interest, and thinks/talks/behaves really angry and jealous when he can't have her as he is due. Tony (and therefore our authors) describe this love interest, Eve, as possessing an intellect "as good as a man's" unlike other women. At least she had a mind and used it (at the behest and direction of her father, of course) but it was more than I expected from a book pulished so long ago. Our hero Tony also has a "Jap" servant (actually called a Jap servant) named Keto who speaks in pidgin english, brings him coffee, answers the phone, all as directed of course, and gets ordered around and is described as being unable to comprehend what is going on, relying on Tony to fill in everything for him. And, Tony, is described as having a bearing of the class, wealth and breeding of all the high class generations behind him.
I had great difficulty relating to the people and culture because of this. I had mixed feelings ranging from annoyance to distaste to anger, and kept trying to remind myself of when this book was written. But, when it wasn't written, wasn't a sufficiant excuse for me to ignore and not care about the portrayals of women and non-white people, and I'm finding it difficult to accept that other readers can just ignore it.
Not really money well spent. The story is good, but the narrator reads the female villain in a horrible whiny nasal valley girl tone that was annoying at first but by the midway mark made me grit my teeth. I began to put on fast speed during her scenes. Totally ruined all suspense and interest in her as a character.
The female villain and her revelation should have been (and was in the paperback) but moment/impact ruined by terrible narration of her voice.
The female villains voice!! All other woman and all other books by this narrator are fine, just seems to be this book and this character. Why why why he read her like he did is beyond me.
I think the whole Prey and Virgil Flowers series would make a good tv show.
All the Prey books are great and I live them all. The narrator does a really great job on all other books and all other characters. The reading of this book was just a little off for some reason.
I would recommend this book to someone only if they are a HUGE Koontz fan.
I would recommend this book to someone only if they are a HUGE Koontz fan.
Lane did a great job narrating a mediocure book. I wouldn't have kept listening to it if not for his effective narration.
No follow-up necessary. In my opinion, the story in this book ended halfway through and there is nothing to follow-up.
The first half of this book was pretty interesting. I thought koontz had done a unique twist on an old theme. I found the characters ok, though rather cliche and two dimensional. I found some of their actions unbelievable and some of the plot events unrealistic and more unbelievable as the characters. At times I felt Koontz had to bend over backwards in his explinations to make certain actions/reactions plausable, and in my mind failed, especially in the second half of the book.
As I said, I found the first half of the book interesting. The characters were ok, and the plot themes interesting, but then, half way through, the main protagonist is killed and the rest of the book goes on and on without him. He is personally described and involved, and to have him die halfway through, left the second half of the book rather empty for me. The threat and personal involvement of the evil bad guys was greatly diminished for me. And, the interesting character development and plot of the first half of the book de-evolves into one shot out after another and constant running, and its during this run and shoot second half where the rather unrealistic and difficult to believe plot developments occur. The whole second half was rather uneffective and uninvolving for me and I put it on fast playback speed to get through it.
Up front, I will admit, I was expecting more straight poetry reading than commentary. However, this audible offering is mostly a lecture on the lives, learning, deaths, influences, and poetry analysis of Sexton and Plath. There was very little actual poetry.
However, my biggest complaint was with the audio quality. This sounds like an old and porrly done casset tape recording of a lecture a student took while in class, or a terrible phone connection on some radio show. In addition, the lectuer speaks very fast, stumbles of her words, sometimes says the wrong word and has to repeat. She also repeats statements and ideas and analysis more than once, which I find irritating.
Overall, not a good offering. If there is a sample available, I suggest listening to it before purchase.
T.S. Eliots words are exsquisit as always. I've read them many times.
I was very disappointed in this audio version, however. The background music is LOUD and overpowering. At times I could not make out the words AT ALL for the overpowering background music. In addition, there are times when the narrator uses a really annoying, unnecessary hallow echo effect as if speaking into a metal tube. It is distracting, strange and not needed. Really. Just Elliot's words are enough. Just read his words, please. No cheesy, silly, over powering music or special effects are necessary.
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