Shepherdstown, WV, United States
Oh, I was looking forward to this. I'm a great Shakespeare fan, and I had read a great deal about this unique solo performance. Thought I'd take a chance that something of the brilliance of this particular stage event would come through in the listening.
And, largely, it did! There just seems to be nothing that Alan Cumming cannot do! Of course, there's a bit of confusion here in not being able to watch his face and manner as he makes all the transformations, but, if you're pretty familiar with "Macbeth", it's worth the effort to imagine what it must have been like to see Cumming do it live. My greatest frustration in the listen was in fact this regret that I couldn't attend in person. Hope there will be a DVD, but I have no regrets in buying the Audible version of Cumming's "Macbeth".
"Arabella" is one of Georgette Heyer's earlier books, and it illustrates much of what makes her writing so much fun. The title character is young, spirited and lovely - but what sets her apart is her native intelligence and her exceptional heart. Our hero is experienced and a little jaded (and, OK, to modern audiences, just a shade too patronizing), but he recognizes the quality as well as the physical attributes of the lady. A charming, highly mannered Regency romance ensues.
We might wish for more of the eccentric and funny secondary characters that Heyer so deftly presents in later books ("Sylvester", "Venetia", "A Civil Contract" are excellent examples), but I dare anyone to resist Jemmy the chimney sweep or especially the wonderful Ulysses in "Arabella".
It's a short listen, but, as one of Heyer's characters might say, "highly diverting".
Thank you Great Courses!
I loved this listen! I bought it because I had read about Bill Gates' suggestion that this set of lectures be adapted for High School use. He thought it a brilliant new way of looking at the structure and content of the basic history course.
Well, I think he and Professor Christian are absolutely right. This course begins with the real beginning - progresses through the formation of our universe, our solar system, and our planet to the eruption of life, division of species, and, finally, the development of human civilizations.
It's all here and presented in a fascinating way. The Professor is a wonderful speaker, and his enthusiasm for this material is evident and contagious. My husband and I listened during many drives and found ourselves several times going out of our way to avoid arrival before a lecture ended!
I hope Gates can help encourage more school systems to consider "Big History" as a high school course. It's high time for a more inclusive approach to history.
"Big History" is a long trip, but it's a total pleasure. Embrace it!
Do you ever get the feeling that you've heard or read a book before? Well, "The Invention of Wings" is one of those. There's much to admire: the Grimke sisters offer an excellent and mostly unknown historic starting point; the main characters are well drawn; the narration is excellent throughout.
But there's just nothing new here. We have already pretty much realized that slavery was horrific. That early 19th century society was also confining for intelligent, sympathetic women in general. Not until the author's statement at the end do we learn all that much about the historic sisters' lives - and that an equally important half of the story is entirely fictional.
I was expecting more.
I think I know what Tana French was getting at in this quite different book. She begins with pulling you into this seemingly uniquely banal teenage world. Girls sniping, bickering, bullying in an elite private school - totally unlike the adult world, yeh? Then, slowly and throughout the book, she introduces the parallel, if more subtle, ways in which the police culture is structured. Repeating the same painful scenes: jealous, sniping men and women vying for top dog status!
It's actually very clever, and you have to wade through perhaps too much teenage angst and confusing skips back in time to get there. I found it hard to understand, for instance, why it was so important to emphasize that one story line took place in one day. And why the other storyline was so repetitive. The two-narrator decision is fairly clear - it helps distinguish for the listener just where in time you are at any given moment. But this concept was not helped by the grating, valley-girl accent of the female narrator - or by the strong accents that took really getting used to.
I respect an author who tries different styles, so Tana French will remain, for me, an intriguing voice among young writers. I tend to agree with other reviewers that this work might well have been better experienced in written form.
But I got the point.
How is it that some of the people treated most badly in this country end up being some of the best heroes and patriots?
I know an American woman of Japanese descent who spent years in an interment camp while her two brothers served very honorably in the US Armed Services. She was never bitter, but she has only recently told her story, even to her family.
Here we have Chester Nez, a boy forced to attend an abusive boarding school, which would forbid him his language, change his name, and denigrate his culture. Yet he - and other Navajos - responded to a call to serve this country that so undervalued his people. He performed extraordinary deeds in the Marines and agreed never to divulge the extent of his service. Amazing.
This account is told simply and in a most straightforward style. The war sections are interesting, but the book also includes a fascinating account of the early years of this Navajo boy and then his years after the war. The combination makes for more than a story for WWII buffs; it's a true American tale.
I for one am so glad that Chester Nez finally decided to tell his story. I learned a lot from this book - I recommend it to others.
I like Neil deGrasse Tyson (tho he's no Carl Sagan!), and I love the idea of this short book. The first couple of hours have some interesting information about the big bru-ha-ha over the "demotion" of Pluto from planethood.
But, OMG, after that! I think Tyson may have mentioned by name every single member of every Astronomical Society in the world! Maybe twice! His need to wriggle out of responsibility for disappointing school children and Plutophiles everywhere is at times funny, at times very exasperating - and nearly always repetitous.
I believe that this book just about sums up why our society has become so anti-intellectual. Scholars argue and backbite and fret about the "masses" daring to have opinions.
And there is Pluto, still in the heavens and not the slightest bit concerned!
I love the characters in Krueger's Cork O'Connor series. They are mostly back for this adventure, and, as always, adventure it is!
The story line involves rescuing girls of Ojibwe ancestry from the evils they often find when they run away from the reservation. As young as 13 or 14, they are often enticed into lives of prostitution and have nowhere to turn for safety. This brings Cork, along with Jenny and Henry and others, into the dangerous world of the Lake Superior docks in Duluth.
As is usually evident in this series, there's a spiritual element involving the "Windigo," a demon of myth and, in this case, a real man and his cohorts. Cork, Henry, and Jenny face physical danger and their personal devils and anxieties along the way.
So, the story moves along, and we are happy to be in the company of these people. My one concern is that Cork and his family (and extended family) have all become quite saintly. I miss the old conflict that Cork had with his wife. Henry has always served as the conscience of this world, and his spirituality and wisdom are believable and inspiring (although his physical exploits at nearly 100 stretch the imagination). I'm not quite ready to accept that all the characters have joined him in perfection.
Not sure where such flawless characters can go from here!
"Classical Mythology" is one of "The Great Courses" doing what this series does best in several ways:
1) Elizabeth Vandiver is a well-qualified, pleasant-voiced, and obviously enthusiastic lecturer. Her command of the subject and interest in conveying it to the listener is evident.
2) There's lots for the general listener to learn. My husband and I have listened to the entire course during driving trips. We are perhaps just a bit more-than-average in our acquaintance with Greek mythology through history and literature. We're experiencing the "Percy Jackson" series with our grandson just now and enjoying that very much. This course serves as a great reminder and review of the knowledge we have/had, as well as lots of new information about the gods, heroes and tales of ancient Greece.
3) Professor Vandiver shares her opinions and even her biases. It's fantastic when listeners can pause the presentation to debate and even argue some of the points made by a teacher. Makes for a thought-provoking and involving experience.
4) It's unforgettable in lots of ways. The course brings insight into how our society today is still affected by these stories. Vandiver points out ways in which these myths have influenced modern archaeology, psychology, politics, and literature from Shakespeare to comic books.
Highly recommended as a useful and fun listen!
Inola Walela must be the best name ever! Along with a solid plot, fast-moving action, and intriguing characters, that's a good reason to give "Crescendo" a try.
We have seen it before, of course. The female cop - a misfit, conflicted, complicated character with secrets in her past. She's hesitant to commit to a personal relationship, she rarely confides in anyone, and she's unsure of herself and her position in the Department. Most of the men on the squad don't fully trust or accept her. Her dedication to solving her case, however, and exceptional skills make her a good cop, and she's willing sometimes to break the rules in pursuit of justice.
Still, Inola and her fellow characters are appealing, and the story grabs you fast. Ledford is a good writer, and Christina Cox narrates with clipped, no-nonsense enthusiasm and considerable skill. I'm definitely willing to continue with this new series.
My one reservation is whether, in the summer of 2014, we are becoming a little less trustful and accepting of the well-meaning cop who may exceed and/or misinterpret authority. In fictionl, we have accepted much in law enforcement that is more questionable when presented in the real streets of New York City or St. Louis. Will (and should) that make stories like this less popular?
I read all Georgette Heyer's books a long time ago, but I couldn't remember this one. Now I know why.
Pen Creed is one of Heyer's very young heroines. She's plucky, determined, willful and naive. And this seems to be her appeal to a polished, educated, experienced-but-bored man of the world. Lucky for her, he is also an honorable and principled guy, for we are quickly aware that, without him, she would be in a pack of trouble!
So much so that her innocence borders on stupidity and her willfulness approaches heartlessness. Now, this is not so common in the ladies of Georgette Heyer. Generally, the reader/listener can forgive the youthful wayward actions and enjoy the depth and heart of even the youngest characters. In "The Corinthian", you come to suspect that either Sir Richard will become completely bored with Pen pretty quickly or he's not all that bright himself.
Either way, this does not add up to prime Heyer. Even her usual attention to the eccentric "minor" characters is subdued here, as though even her heart was not in writing this particular story. She must have needed the money, or faced an impractical deadline. Even a dedicated Georgette fan can skip this one. Try "Sylvester" or "Venetia" or "Sprig Muslin" instead.
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