I have been plugging through the Jack Ryan series since getting audible a couple of years ago. Since I never had time to read these books before, I am now enjoying them, albiet a little later than most people. Up to this book, I have enjoyed each one - but "The Sum of All Fears" sucked me in completely.
There have been few books in recent years that kept me sitting in the driveway, not able to turn off the car and go inside (my equivalent of staying up all night unable to stop reading prior to finding audible). Between Clancy's story and Scott Brick's performance, I am not sure I have been this engrossed in a book since picking up a dog-eared copy of "The Gunslinger" when I was in my teens.
Perhaps I am too easy in my praise, but this story struck a chord with me. I found myself emotionally attached to the story - I despised the National Security advisor to the point of feeling anger, and I felt the heightened stress response of a Nuclear Standoff. I find it hard not to recommend such an enthralling story to anyone who enjoys this type of book.
I would wager that the majority of my involvement was due to the amazing performance of Scott Brick. The story lends itself to his abilities and he delivers with a great performance. I usually listen to non-fiction, and have a list of books on stand-by to break up all of the "fact" with some simple entertainment. Whether this is your style, or if you have been missing out on a good story that will really draw you in - I recommend this one.
This book is like any number of comedic movies geared toward young males. There is little you gain from it as a human, but it is pretty damned hilarious in many parts. I laughed out loud enough that I couldn't listen to it in public - because there is NO explaining that can be done in polite conversation.
One thing that I really enjoyed despite being a bit put off initially was the impromptu editing of the actual text in narrated form. The experience would be different if Carolla wasn't reading his own book and deciding to deviate onto non-written elaboration and I found this pretty entertaining after getting used to it. It reminded me of a conversation with friends over the first beer of the night - its tends to meander where it chooses as you all work through the rest of the case.
This would be a great bathroom reader. I'm not sure what I expected, but I am not pleased with what I got. Chapters of anecdotal quips create a schizophrenic listen that had me reaching for the stop button after an effortful half-hour. Save the credit and buy the print version - I am sure I would have enjoyed it much more than my attempt at the listen.
After my ex got me hooked on HBO's True Blood, I had to come to it's source. I have enjoyed it, as expected, even more than the TV version. I have realized in the past couple of books that one thing bothers me, and it isn't as prevalent in this book (or I didn't seem to notice it): I dislike the fact that at almost every reference to an event that occurred in a previous book, I am subjected to a synopsis of it as if I had completely forgotten the main plot of an entire previous book.
I can't imagine who this caters to, as it seems illogical to start a SERIES anywhere but at the beginning. Maybe I am the abnormal one, but the time spent rehashing entire books in a matter of a paragraph has become cumbersome. As stated, I didn't feel it was as strong in this installment - which, either due to fact or my own absent-mindedness, was a welcome relief.
Otherwise, these are thoroughly entertaining stories that have become my guilty pleasure as an interlude between more cerebral listens. I am not one that has to always find something wrong in an otherwise good thing, but I do wonder if anyone else has found this to be a similar vexation.
Like any text dealing with this much history, there are different sections that any reader will find dry depending on their own interests. This was a great chronicle that had some of those moments and some others that left me wanting more, but the depth of the material remained pretty consistently even. Obviously interests aren't the same, so an effort to give every reader the same experience would exponentially increase the length - so I must give credit for what I enjoyed. I found that the focus of foreign relations adds an angle that is not pursued as extensively in most general history classes, which reinvigorated my interest in material that I can recall finding mundane in past study.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. I feel like I gained a greater appreciation for what has influenced the direction of our country - I would definitely recommend this book.
I'm pretty sure I couldn't have less in common with the author and his experiences, but that didn't lessen my enjoyment of the story. I can understand that some readers will be very put off by the descriptive sex scenes that many reviews have referred to. I found them uncomfortable to listen to, but they occupy such a small part of the story and are part of the adolescent introspection that makes the entire book entertainingly reminiscent.
The author tells a great story that I found full of candor, ranging from self-effacing and shameless in its recollection of thoughts many would never share. At times, I laughed out loud and others were uncomfortable, but the point of view for such a formative part of life is universally identifiable to anyone that ever had an awkward moment (or two) in their teens. If you want a high-brow, stuffy recollection of coming of age, beware - this isn't fine literature! It is a memoir written in perspective of the time that it occurred instead of remembrance filtered through the wisdom and experience of adulthood. Consider yourself warned if you are squeamish or easily offended. I thought it was entertaining, open, interesting, and well worth my time. Burroughs is a great storyteller and I will definitely read more of his writing.
I admit, I never read this book growing up. When I saw it here, I had to listen to it to feel more well rounded in a "literary" sense. This is such a good story, the performance was great. Even though it was a time commitment, it held my attention to the end. It is easy to understand how this book has stayed alive with every generation - its themes are timeless.
Nothing too groundbreaking, but not wonderful either. One thing kept bugging me though: O'Reilly is not so great with military terminology. Constantly throughout the reading he described the Calvary - movements in battle, riding here, riding there..... Mr. O'Reilly, Calvary is where Christ was crucified, Cavalry are those horsey-type soldiers you keep referring too! I can't explain it, it just shocked me and I was stuck on it. Hopefully the print is correct and and it was just his pronunciation!
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