There is a message of family, hope, hard work, and overcoming adversity in the pages of this book that echo through the ages. There are also messages of fear, despair, heart ache and pain that resonate just as much. This is a truly remarkable story, told in stark prose that brings out the characters and the emotions like few authors can.
Hard to believe that I am 39 and this was my first time reading this book, I never had to read it in High School. I'm glad I picked it up now, I likely would have seen it as a chore as a teenager, but as an adult I didn't want the book to end. I wanted to follow Tom Joad, I pulled for him like I have pulled for very few fictional characters.
The reading of this book is adequate. Newer recordings seem to contain voice talent which enhances the story. This reader neither enhances or takes away from, he just reads it, and for a book like this, that works fine.
But it's the story. No it's not even the story, it's the people. It's how real the people feel and how much you can feel both their pain, and their genuine love for each other, that make this book remarkable.
To put it simply, I've listened to over 100 books on audible. This book jumped immediately to my 3-5 favorites. The honesty and emotion with which the story of Adam Brown is told is astonishing, but more than that, Adam Brown is one of the most genuine, flawed, brave, determined subjects of a book you could find. It is his flaws which make the story so powerful.
His battle with addiction was so moving, that I found myself emotionally drained each time he would fall back into his drugs of choice. I finished this book on the freeway with tears running down my cheeks.
The author is fantastic because he tells the story with great depth and heartfelt emotion, but doesn't get in the way of the story. It's a story of family, recovery, heroism, bravery, and of real people doing accomplishing amazing tasks.
I couldn't recommend this book more highly, especially to anyone who has battled through trials in their life (who hasn't).
I was a better person for having read about Adam Brown, and that's the highest praise I can give a book.
It took me a couple of hours for this book to really connect with me. It reads like a history rather than a novel in many ways, and in the end, that is it's power. You can feel the frustration, the brotherhood, and the fear of these men. There is an undercurrent of the political issues of the Vietnam ware, but mostly this is a book about men trying to survive. They are often bitter, angry, and lost, but they come together as men of duty when required.
My dad was in Vietnam. He shares stories, but really doesn't talk about the details much. This book took me there in a vivid way. I am glad I took the time to immerse myself in it and to feel the heartbreak, courage and fear portrayed in the novel.
I found this to be a really remarkable book. I have listened to a lot of "pop psychology" books lately, with varying degrees of usefulness and interest. This one hit high on both accounts for me.
I for one am in a constant struggle with willpower, and I imagine I'm not the only one. The principles in this book are founded on science and are actionable. For example, the author starts off with research done on the value of meditation in increasing will-power, he then gives some simple examples of how to implement meditation into daily life without shaving your head and buying a seating cushion.
The book is also a bit counter-intuitive, which I loved. The inefficacy of criticism is discussed at length. Having compassion for and accepting another habits may just be the best way to help them over come them. This is fascinating material, and it is found throughout.
There is a sense of humor in this book as well, and a touch of self deprecation which can be rare in scientists. I not only enjoyed this book, it has made me a better person.
I really wanted to love this book. I had heard how great it was, and I loved the fact that it was different. This is unique book with a unique plot, I like authors who take me somewhere I've never been before.
So I enjoyed the book, I thought it was a solid read, but I just never loved it. The characters are well-developed and some of them really jump off the page. In the end, though, I just didn't care as much as I should have about how things turned out. I felt like I should care, I just didn't.
Good book, if you've heard great things about it, you won't go wrong by reading it. But it was not the exceptional story I was hoping for when I started.
I seem to end up either listening to, or reading, this book every couple of years. Every time I read it, it feels new. Augustus McCray may just be my favorite character in all of noveldom (did I make up that word?)
The performance of this book is not perfect. The narrator makes a valiant attempt to give each character a voice, but it seems a bit forced at times. It's possible my expectation is all messed up by the performances in the Lonesome Dove movie, Deets will always sound like Danny Glover to me. But I would rate the performance as adequate. Doesn't take away from the story, but doesn't add anything to it either.
But the story...oh the story...it carries me away. It's a story of love and love lost when it comes down to it, which makes it a story about life. Who hasn't seen someone die to young, or had a relationship which never quite lived up to the potential you felt in your heart.
The characters make the book, and the characters are unforgettable. I will always love this book.
I read "Into Thin Air" and was completely caught up in the romance and destruction of Mt. Everest. I was looking for more on the topic, and came across this book. Nick Heil does a good job with the story, there is nothing wrong with this book...but there is nothing magical either.
Krackauer spoke from first hand experience. He as on the mountain, on the trail, in the middle of the storm, and his account was utterly compelling. Nick Heil researched this book, and did a fine job of it, but you can tell it's missing that personal element of actually experienced these events.
With that said, if you enjoy Everest stories, and find the commercialization of the mountain a disturbing, if fascinating, subject. This book is worth the listen. The research is excellent, and while the writing won't draw you in the way some do...it won't turn you off either. And in a way, these are stories that tell themselves. The moral dilemma inherent in climbing at 27,000 feet and seeing others who need saving makes for compelling human drama. Just because it doesn't meet the standard of the other book, doesn't mean it's not worth your time.
There are times I listen to an audiobook, it captures my imagination, and then somewhere in the middle of the book I realize that a real part of my enjoyment is the voices the narrator gives the characters. This was one of those books. The narrator added to what I found to be a fascinating story.
Life inside a military academy is something I had not given a moments thought to, until I stumbled on this book. Yet I ended up reflecting on philosophical ideas such as 'Does the end justify the means?' and "At what cost self-discipline?'
The book may feel a bit drawn out to some, there are scenes which feel a bit long, and Conroy always loves to fall into flowery prose. But this book caught me and held me, the characters felt real, the emotions they went through were demonstrated in a way I could feel. It's a raw book, but it also comes from the heart.
I will admit that for me, the ending was a bit melodramatic, but overall this was a book I truly "experienced" and it caused me to think deeply. Great listen. And I can't say enough about the narrator, really added to the overall effect.
I enjoyed this book, it held my attention and provided an interesting look into some amazing research. However, interesting is the only word I have for it. I feel like it could have been more. Garth Sundem attempts to explain how the research could affect our daily lives, but the conclusions are so short and so simplified it's almost easy to miss them.
I could have used a lot more "So...what?" in this book. How should this research affect my approach to life.
Still, enjoyable book, interesting concepts, far from a waste of time.
Speaking as one who deals with a behavioral addiction, I can not say enough about this book. Gabor's approach to discussing the issues of addiction with openness, honesty, and compassion took my breath away.
Some have argued that comparing his classical music habit to addiction to heroin is not valid. Yet Gabor's openness in discussing his shame, deception, and inability to stop, combined with the ultimate lack of satisfaction in his "acting out" behavior rings very true, and maps to my own addictive experience.
More to the point, there is great value in seeing addicts as people, and feeling compassion for their condition. His railing on the drug war strikes home as well, although some of the evidence is a little light. This book is certainly written from a liberal perspective, but removing politics from the book still leaves a heart wrenching tail of abuse, depression, pain, and lives which are out of control. I wish everybody could understand the life of an addict from this perspective.
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