This was one of the rare times that I really wished for an abridged version. I appreciate the writer's meticulous research and historical detail -- but this book was way, WAY too long.
Although I'm an avid reader of Tudor history, I found myself getting confused...and bored! To be fair, I think the book is probably less confusing in its printed form.
As another reviewer mentioned, Mantel has a bad habit of writing "He said" before every quote, without indicating who is talking. I had to keep rewinding, and found myself yelling, "Who said? WHO said?!!" at my iPod.
On the plus side, this book had some wonderful insights and was beautifully written. But it needed some major editing. I would have enjoyed it more at 1/2 it's length. The narrator, btw, was fantastic. Somehow, I got through it to the end, but I was frankly glad to finish it!
This may be the best...most mature...and most beautiful novel King has ever written. It's long -- yet it reads like a suspense novel. The characters and story grabbed me, and Craig Wasson's AMAZING reading took my breath away. I didn't want it to end, yet I couldn't stop listening.
There's no good-vs-evil, no black-and-white thinking here. It's much more complex...much more believable. King must have done meticulous historical research and contemplated hundreds of "what if" scenarios. I love history, and have always been fascinated by counterfactual history. This novel is the ultimate example of that.
Most importantly, I really cared about these characters -- and that's what makes a book unforgettable for me. I'll be thinking about this one for a long time.
"Room" is one of the best novels I've ever read. It is suspenseful -- but also beautiful, moving, and insightful. I don't think I'll ever forget it. I can't say much more without giving away the plot. But seeing the world through the eyes of five-year old Jack was like seeing the world for the first time. I couldn't put the book down, and I didn't want it to end. Jack and his mother will be with me for a long time.
I really enjoyed Fall of Giants. It gave me a chance to time travel and get inside the head of a diverse group of people during WWI. Follett was very successful in portraying the many, very diverse viewpoints of the people in that era (common folk, laborers, nobility, Socialists, conservatives, liberals, politicians, men, and women -- from at least five or six different countries). If you're not interested in history, you will be bored by this book. The characters debate and discuss their varying views -- sometimes at length. But I found it fascinating, enlightening, and enjoyable.
The strength of the book was it's wide span and perspective...not to mention it's historical detail. But I think it's difficult for a book to have BOTH great span and great depth. And this book did lack some depth, particularly in the characters. When there are so many characters, it's hard to fall in deeply in love with any one of them. And while I liked and cared about these characters, I didn't connect with them as deeply as those in "Pillars." Still, I eagerly look forward to the next book in this series!
A word about the Reader/Narrator: Once again, John Lee has done a brilliant job. I can't imagine anyone else who could have portrayed SO many different accents -- American, Canadian, Welsh, various classes of British, German, and Russian, etc.. He switched back and forth from one accent to the other with seeming ease. Once again, Lee has demonstrated why he is my favorite Reader of audiobooks!
It is so refreshing to read a book about Tudor history that is based in fact, not speculation. But it was also riveting. I couldn't put it down.
This book was way more interesting -- and more factual -- than the tedious and highly speculative novel "Wolf Hall" (by another author). Julia Fox was careful with her facts, yet this book read like a novel.
The reader, Rosalyn Landor, was superb. I highly recommend "Jane Boleyn" to anyone interested in Tudor history.
I have to disagree with a previous reviewer who saw this discussion as a rehash of Wilber's other books. Yes, it builds on his four-quadrant, multi-stage framework. But here, he adds another dimension to his work.
It would have been really confusing for most listeners if he hadn't reviewed his AQAL model in this discussion. I know I would have been lost if I hadn't read six of his other books. In fact, if you are a novice to Integral philosophy, this is not the best place to begin. "A Theory of Everything" is a good primer. Start there, but DO come back to this one!
Bottom line: Listening to this talk definitely deepened my understanding of integral spirituality! I highly recommend it.
This novel was way ahead of its time. To our modern sensibilities, we may wonder why the lead character put up with her husband so long. But put it in 19th Century context, and we're struck by how remarkable was her streak of independence. Readers of the time were shocked the themes, and the novel was not considered appropriate reading for ladies. It deals with "modern" themes -- alcohol abuse, infidelity, and codependence.
Some have drawn similarities between the husband character and Mr. Darcy in Jane Eyre. But I think it's the female lead in this story that is similar to Mr. Darcy. Like Darcy, she's a mysterious character, haunted by her past. I'll say no more about that to avoid a spoiler!
I read this book when I was young, and enjoyed it just as much -- if not more -- this time. The narrator was fantastic. Didn't want it to end.
Loved the book. Loved the reader. Was sorry to say goodbye to these characters.
Emma Thompson is a wonderful reader, and the book has a timeless quality. It's unfortunate that this version is abridged. As a result, I missed many key points in the story. The central theme, "only connect" is totally missing from this version.
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