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The Great Gatsby, one of the most frequently read books in our culture, has been given wonderful new life through the superb narration of Jake Gyllenhaal. Here is the American classic, giving a vivid insight into one of the most Intriguing eras of our history, the "Roaring Twenties." Fitzgerald's story of the shift in morals and mindset describes the short decade in which flappers, gin, new money and maybe even gangsters illustrated a certain freedom, and a definite now-stereotyped image of the boom times following WWI.
Nick Carroway, a young man from the Midwest who has settled in the east, tells the story from his vantage point, which seems to be that of someone drawn into the tumultuous times by the accident of being related to Daisy Buchanan. Daisy is married to Tom, but the object of such devotion to Jay Gatsby, who dated her in an earlier time but cannot let go of her memory, that he has reinvented himself as a wealthy man in the hope of someday reconnecting with her. Among other things, this book tells the story of what happens when dreams change to reality. Because they do find each other, through Nick Carroway, but only tragedy ensues.
There is so much one can say about this novel, from the standpoint of symbols and motifs (such as the famous old billboard with the eyeglasses of TJ Eckleburg, who may represent the fading society that is passing, or maybe the eye of God looking down upon an increasingly godless society), or the story of tragic romance, or, as a commentary on the times.
Although I read this in college many years ago, it is now interesting to revisit it in the aftermath of the great "Dot.com" era, which was followed by an economic downturn, just as the Great Depression succeeded the "Roaring Twenties". I found myself thinking that this is truly a book for our times in many ways, almost a true reminder that history does repeat. If somehow anyone out there missed reading this book in school as an assignment, or even if you have read it dozens of times, you will find Gyllenhaal's reading of it a rare treat! Highly recommend!
This is such a good series. Rhys Bowen has a clever way with creating very memorable characters (in this and her other two series). The premise behind this one is interesting. Molly Murphy begins the series as a scared Irish immigrant, literally "just off the boat," and develops into the confident and hard-working young woman we meet by the time we encounter her in this book.
Here she starts by marching with a suffragette's movement and winds up with the other women in jail for their efforts. But this opens connections with the characters who will people this story with her, as she takes on new cases through her private detection agency. Molly is a woman a bit ahead of her time, but her modern ideas do not put off the attentions of her friend, Captain Daniel Sullivan.
You can predictably count on a good read from Rhys Bowen. However, this is the first I have listened to. In the beginning, when Nicola Barber began reading in Molly's voice, I thought they had miraculously found the perfect narrator! However, I'd have to say that I found that the case not so much with the other voices. I loved every word she spoke for Molly, but found the rest to be less engaging, for some reason. Nevertheless, this is an excellent light mystery, and a good read/listen!
I'm sorry. This book just got on my nerves. Thought it would be very interesting; surely it had all the ingredients to have been. Though there had been no Audible reviews, the Amazon (paper book) reviews made it sound good. And it probably is in that format.
Almost from the start I felt the whole thing was very off-putting. It began okay--a wealthy backer considering how to bring talent to the city's orchestra and help audiences enjoy the music more and obviously pay more for their annual subscriptions. So they invite British conductor Jeremy Wadlington-Smythe to come to America to lead the orchestra. He is a conductor with the ability to bring music to an audience in very creative ways. He views it as a challenging opportunity to bring music to life in new ways. That's where the book starts going downhill. Even before the mystery part begins.
Although there is a lot of "insider" sort of exposure to the backstage workings of how the creative moment seen by the audience is actually much more down and dirty deals, which has interest, to me that was overpowered by what was either bad writing or bad narration (I'm not sure which). It was artificial, pompous, stilted, and I cringed at the conversations between people that used such perfect grammar it was simply unrealistic. Average people simply don't converse so formally.
Found it ironic that a book about creating music, beautiful sounds, wound up being one where the sounds of listening to it read aloud were just pretty awful. I gave it more stars than I personally felt it warranted because the people who had commented on the written book seemed to like it so much that I suspect it might be better in that version.
After reading and enjoying William Tapply's first book, "Death at Charity's Point," decided to try this next in the series. I was not disappointed--it was a solidly good listen. On the other hand, in "The Dutch Blue Error," I didn't see the improvements in style, character presentations, etc that I had thought might start happening after the first book (in fact, it was a little confusing, because Coyne's personal assistant, who had just been introduced in the first book, was already--if temporarily--replaced by a new assistant, Zerk.)
This is a pretty good series--the action moves, the plot is interesting and the characters believable. I intend to continue listening to these, as they hold my attention and I find myself quite involved in the story. But there could be room for improvement (in my opinion). They lack a little pizzaz somehow.
In this book, Coyne is approached by one of his clients to try to negotiate for a rare stamp (known as the Dutch Blue Error) which leads to great danger for himself and Zerk. It was interesting that Tapply brought in an element of racial prejudice, but while it validated some of the social status of 1985 when this book was first published, it doesn't seem to have a lot to do with the actual story.
What I really like about the book(s) so far is that they are good mysteries, with promise for the same going forward. Brady Coyne is a likable, laid back fellow who seems to sort of get drafted into detecting, since he prefers his actual job--being a lawyer to the very wealthy who doesn't get involved in terribly taxing assignments. The narrator gets the laid-back quality very well in his reading. While I can't say this is a block-buster, I will definitely say it is very good--and I plan to read more in the series.
The last book or two in the series have seemed transitional in some ways, from the earlier books which were richly populated by all the eccentric characters from Long Piddleton and provided some comic relief in places during the crime detection. This book is almost all about Richard Jury (from Scotland Yard), his sidekick Sgt Wiggins, and an Inspector from another jurisdiction, Brian Macalvie. Melrose Plant plays a minor role, and the Long Piddleton characters meet briefly in the Jack and Hammer pub, so that we don't forget about them, but this is really a more serious and intense book than the earlier ones. There is both interesting tension among the characters who have experienced three recent murders and the haunting memory of one twenty years before for which the wrong person might have been convicted. The recent murders occur when he is getting out of prison.
As usual, Grimes has used a pub as the title of her book, "HelpThe Poor Struggler," and this name may be said to sort of speak to the general situation, but doesn't play a central role in the book, except that Jury, Wiggins and Macalvie meet there to discuss the case. Here are three seemingly unrelated child murders and they must hurry to solve the case before another child gets murdered, in this case, the precocious Lady Jessica Ashcroft.
I felt this book was an improvement from her last, but still greatly miss the lighter-hearted early books, where there was still Richard Jury, Who did more with Melrose Plant and his team of quirky friends. There was nice tension-reducing in that. However, this looks like a transition into more serious crime solving. Her most recent books (notwithstanding that they were all written in the 1980's), but recent in terms of where in the series they are placed, seem to be her effort to have less involvement of the silly characters and more straightforward mystery solving. I rather miss the Long Piddleton group, but know this is her own maturation as a writer most likely. I enjoy hearing this old series, which I read in the 80's. They are each a treat. Recommend.
I had never heard of William Tapply and his Brady Coyne series before finding it on Audible. Thought I'd take a chance, and was not disappointed. Coyne is an attorney to wealthy people, leading a good life, with few requirements he can't comfortably handle. Until he is hired by Florence Gresham to check on the story behind her son's suicide--a jump off Charity's Point into the sea. This brings him to the private school where her son taught history to look into the situation, thinking it will only be a matter of reassuring his client. He is quite wrong. What he begins to uncover is shocking, at several levels, and he becomes a reluctant detective, in spite of his attempts to say he's only a lawyer and doesn't know how to conduct investigations.
If this is Tapply's first book, and if it continues to progress and get more fleshed out from here, it looks like this will be a series I'll read more of. It isn't a shoot-em-up, sit on the edge of your seat sort of book (which suits me just fine). It meanders along at a comfortable pace, with good narration that seemed to perfectly match the story quite well. There is action throughout the book, moving toward the final solution and wrap up . I found it very satisfying.
One small thing, if this matters to anybody. It is not the length advertised. It ends 20 or 30 minutes before expected, and the last part is a free reading of the next book (something I've seen done in paper books, never on Audible.) Recommend, especially thinking this is a good first book, and seems to have a lot of promise.
I've been feeling increasingly disappointed by Elizabeth George's books. It seems as though there was no such thing as a bad Lynley novel "back in the day." But lately, I find myself wondering if someone else is ghost-writing them for her. It feels like whatever held them together in the beginning--some of the chemistry between the characters, and the coherence of the plots--has slipped a little.
That being said--in fairness felt I should be honest--they are still Lynley and Havers--and I've grown to love them so much over the years that even with a little fading of the original charm, they are still good reads (listens). In this one, we get more of a look at Barbara Havers--unmarried and childless, but who has grown very fond of her little neighbor over the course of several books. She learns with genuine anguish first that the child has been kidnapped by her mother, then that she has simply been kidnapped for real. That's a good plot line--and had many possibilities. But gosh, is the book ever long! Was there an editor on the job here? And then, while I enjoy books that have occasional foreign language comments inserted here & there--in this one (for completely baffling reasons) the author has characters speak whole conversations in Italian (with no translation provided). Someone who speaks the language might have really liked that--I don't, and I didn't.
Davina Porter is a wonderful narrator--yet she lacked something in reading this. I imagined that even she didn't know what to do with the book. And, just to be clear--I am saying some things that another reader might want to know about before deciding on purchasing this book. But I still enjoyed it--as it is a (weaker) but still excellent read, due to the fact that the whole series, with the development of characters up till now, carries this book in ways that a stand-alone novel could not have done on it's own.
I hope that Eliz George will be reading the comments of her long & faithful fans, and maybe do some better editing of the next Lynley novel--which even though this one was not quite up to par--I still anticipate with pleasure.
For a first book in (what appears to be a series) this is not too bad. There is a lot of action--as Sabre Brown, an attorney who is a child advocate, takes on a case that will lead to strings of investigations that even become personal. I basically liked the book, don't think the narrator did anything to help it (even hindered in spots--think she hasn't really hit her stride here yet), but the outline was good. Sabre and her friend Bob are on the track of finding out why a young girl shouldn't be sent back to her father, an apparently wonderful parent. This investigation takes her across the country to Georgia to find some of the missing pieces, and some of the action takes place there.
I guess I'd give this book a "wavy hand"--nothing to write home about, yet I did like the author using the angle of Sabre being a child advocate. That's an interesting area of the law--and one that has great human appeal. The story moves, the characters are well fleshed out, and I would listen to the next one in the series. I suspect this author is going to improve with each book--she has good potential. (Wouldn't mind a different narrator though).
Martha Grimes again takes us into the world of Richard Jury, Scotland Yard inspector, and his friend, Melrose Plant (who gave up his titled position to become an ordinary citizen--much to the frustration of his social climbing Aunt Agatha). This time, the story concerns the murder of a woman strangled by her own scarf , committed near a pub in fashionable Mayfair--"I Am The Only Running Footman". Very quickly, Brian Macalvie, head of the Devon Constabulary, connects this murder with a previous similar one committed in Devon. Thus they begin working together to solve the murders, aided by Jury's adorably hypochondriacal Sgt Wiggins (who, in addition to bringing in a comic element, is also rather smart). Plant is an unofficial excellent crime solver, so he is always quietly in on the background of the investigations.
These books are probably more fully interesting if the reader has read the series in order--to have a deeper sense of the connections among the people who are the regular friends and co-workers of Jury and Plant, and understand their longtime connections to each other. But each also stands alone rather well. The good parts about this book are that it moves forward in ways that make sense, as far as deciding upon suspects, and the reader knows pretty much what they know. And also, the chemistry among the usual cast of Long Piddleton/London folks is, as always, the part that keeps these from being just unremarkable little mysteries. Jury's friends in London are more featured this book and they entertain as always. However Plant is staying in another pub, "The Mortal Man," which also leads to some comic relief.
The difficulty with this book is that the author has brought in the usual folks, and also a few other characters who are not regulars in her books, in ways that lead the reader to believe a few of the latter play an important role in the whole thing--only to have them left hanging at the end (no pun intended, since this is a mystery :-) But she really does not tie things up terribly well--and one wonders what the purpose of certain characters was--except to pad out the story and make it the requisite 220 pages? That observation is strengthened by a sudden and rather weak ending. Steve West's narration is good, but the part he reads best is the delightfully funny Sgt. Wiggins. In the end, it is hard to be upset, since as always, Grimes writes consistently good mysteries that are fun to read or listen to.
The Vicar of Wakefield is a delightful book (from the late 18th or early 19th century), by Oliver Goldsmith (here narrated by Nicolas Farrell) that has held up as an engaging melodrama over a couple of centuries. The story concerns the Rev. Doctor Primrose and his family as they go from fortune to ruin, from living well to living precariously--typical of many stories of that time. If it seems a little predictable to us now, I suspect it was cherished by those who were reading it for the first time.
The story shows Rev. Primrose having to find ways to manage one crisis after another--whether losing his income, having his daughter fall into a bad situation, or people who are not what they seem. Throughout it all, he appears always to hold on to his optimism, indeed, others have likened him to (the Book of) Job in the Bible. Although less sophisticated than most of what we read these days, the story still is a good listen--and a reminder of what kind of stories used to excite an audience. (And by the way, there is much to take from it for our current times as well--certain human characteristics don't change that much). There is good tension among the characters, and certainly everything moves quickly--from one dilemma to the next. The Rev. Primrose and other characters are like the players in many novels of the time, in that they are, for the most part, rather two-dimensional.
Nicolas Farrell has done a very good job of bringing a fresh reading to us--and that is easily one of the best parts of this recording. If you are just yearning to have a fun read from the classics, this is quite good.
Originally bought this thinking it would just be another average mystery. Boy was I ever wrong! There is a mystery that winds through the entire book, but it seems to have the function of providing a framework for a stupendously good novel rather than something simply written for mystery/crime readers.
This is a book that spans 1919-1963, in the small town of Delano, GA, and spotlights several generations of the people who lived there. Among them are three men who happened to sequentially be the chiefs of police, and all were looking at the same troubling situation. That would by itself have made a very good crime story. But this is so much more! Here is history, politics, issues of race relations, and an almost saga-like story of a family (the Lees).
Stuart Woods captured the essence of human relations in this book in a manner that is uncommonly good. By the end, I felt I knew these people so well that they had become very real and alive to me. He has indeed managed to convey the depths of human emotions and intentions, spanning the best of human nature to the worst.
As good as this book is, it would not have been as interesting to read (I think) as it was to listen to the late Mark Hammer narrate it. This was some of the most expressive and engaging narration I have ever listened to on Audible books. His sense of timing, his vocal inflections, accents, and range of voice styles was incredibly good! I might listen to this again, just to hear his amazing narration. This was one of those books that left me feeling the five star rating system is totally inadequate to express the excellence of this story. The best I can say is that I have listened to hundreds of books, and this probably ranks in the top 5 I've ever heard. Highly recommend!
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