I've been an Audible subscriber since the beginning (1999). There are over 500 books in my library. This is the most compelling story I have ever heard. I seriously couldn't turn it off.
To say it is the journey of one man through the "Looking Glass" that is the People's Democratic Republic of Korea, doesn't do it justice. Johnson draws characters that make you feel the oppression of life under that regime. He's obviously done serious study of the North Korean people and culture. The people of this book will live in my thoughts for a long time.
And Johnson addresses this tale with a light touch. It's not maudlin or morose. But it is haunting.
The performances by the readers is equal to this work. The producers uses a very interesting switch at a critical point in this story that brings everything into focus. No spoiler - you'll know it when it happens. But the production makes this recording nothing short of brilliant.
Don't bother to hold the voting this year. I can tell you who wins the Audie.
I made it to the end, is about all I can say. Thanks to a recommendation from a source I can usually trust, (Books on the Nightstand) I tried this book. There are a lot of twists and turns, all of which are incredibly predictable. And there is no subtext - everything is text. In case you miss some of the subtext, the author restates it on several occasions.
The readers capture the earnestness of the prose with breathless pronouncements. It's not their fault - the author wrote it this way. I kept thinking to myself, "Is she really that crazy?" , "Is he really that gullible"? Yes, yes they are.
I won't spoil it for you...though it's really hard to spoil. You'll see the ending coming a mile away.
This book is meticulously researched by a reporter who followed the entire story from beginning to end. And he pulls no punches - there is plenty of blame to go around. Politicians, gay leadership, scientists, journalists, business people, they all contributed to the crisis that was AIDS in the 1980s.
Shilts unravels the story piece by piece. What keeps you listening is the "And what happened next?" pacing. He brings to life the heroes and humans. It's truly a masterpiece and I thank Audible for producing this work. Without Audible the Audible Modern Vanguard publishing house, this work would not exist in this format.
Rarely has an 80 hour book so completely captured me. I swallowed this book in large chunks over a couple of weeks. I'm in the process of re-listening at a slower pace. If you are old enough to remember the Reagan administration, I believe this book will capture you as well.
This is my first Hugh Howey novel - and it is an interesting idea. Not an original idea, but an interesting idea. There is no way to briefly describe the plot without spoilers. But then again, if you've read any dystopian sci-fi, the plot "twists" will not seem, well, twisty.
But I can see a germ of an interesting premise here. Unfortunately it's buried under a dreadful narration. The central character is in her mid-thirties, and the voice is that of a 12 year old. In places she actually giggles. I don't believe this is meant to be a "Young Adult" novel - but its definitely read that way.
I just can't recommend this version. Maybe I'll try another in the series in print format.
I really (pause) really (pause) wanted to like this book. I absolutely adored "The Last Werewolf". Everything I loved in that book is absent in this one. The tale is told from the perspective of an oversexed, barely adult narrator. She whines about pretty much everything. She is annoyingly introspective, without much experience to look back on.
I didn't much enjoy Penelope Rawlins performance - though I don't think the author gave her much to work with. There is nothing like the lyrical prose of the first book. I trudged on to the end of this work, hoping against hope that something interesting would emerge. Alas, I did not uncover any gems.
This, my friends, is a dud.
I am not averse to listening to long books. I have made it through both "War and Peace" and "Atlas Shrugged". In the hands of good narrators even the longest books are a pleasure.
This, however, is only a fair story. And a pretty common one as science fiction goes. There's a mystery that ties together a couple of main characters. Their stories run parallel for a while then the stories intersect. In some places I could see the next scene coming a mile away. But all in all, it's not a bad story. A good editor would have made this a great story and cut down at least 30% of the text.
But the narrators really spoiled this for me. For some reason, the female character's tale is told at an excruciatingly slow pace. At times I sped this up to double speed, something I have never done, in an effort to move things along. Even at double speed I wanted to reach into the recording and shake this narrator and scream, "All right already, get on with it!" The male readers are almost as bad. Seriously...where was the production director on this one?
Can't recommend this audio. Get the print edition and skip liberally through this tale.
And I mean the book, "True Grit", you will find much to like in this story. I don't, as a rule, read in this genre. But the folks at "Books on the Nightstand" recommended this, so I listened.
First of all, the language is wonderful! Again, if you've read the book "True Grit", or watched the Coen brothers version of that tale, you will find pleasant similarity. However, this book is not for children. Sensitive adolescents may find the violence too much.
The reader is amazing! He reads each character with real style.
The story is a bit predictable. But its a western! All happens as is should, with just a few twists to keep things moving along.
I'm glad I found this little gem of an audiobook. I smiled all the way through, and I'll bet you will too.
"Like many tales of disaster, this one is a series of reasonable decisions."
When Star Trek does first contact, it always seems to go reasonably well. Despite language barriers, cultural barriers, and physical barriers, communication and understanding are generally achieved.
In this story, all the ingredients for successful first contact seem to be in place: we understand the language, we have cultural elements in common, and both cultures desperately want to communicate. So, what went so horribly wrong?
This is a story told out of time. Be patient. You must walk a mile in these people's shoes in order to truly understand. Oh, and you MUST get the sequel (Children of God) to get to the whole story. It will be well worth the time.
When people who don't generally read science fiction ask me for a "literary" science fiction book, this is where I send them. The writing is intense. The characters are beautifully drawn and deep. The issues examined will haunt you. I wish it wasn't in the Sci-Fi genre because then more people would know this amazing work.
I am SO happy to see this available on Audible. For the usual reasons releated to copywrite, this brilliant tale has been on and off the Audible menu. This is an older work, so the audio quality is not up to more modern standards. But the performance is amazing. And it's here now, so I strongly suggest you get this and "Children of God" right away before they vanish again.
This novel is a fun romp through 80s pop culture. (If you get every reference made, you win tons of "geek points!) The plot involves the ultimate video game, and the prize is a multi-bizzillion dollar gaming empire. The protagonists are likable young heroes. The plot clips along with lots of fun, twists, and turns. It's not going to win a Pulitzer, but it's a fun listen. And you can share this one with a bright young person above the age of 10. It might even spark some fun conversations!
What makes it a fun listen is Wil Wheaton. He works well with this material, and his performance enhances the writing and the plot. He's become a very accomplished narrator for audiobooks. This one is a perfect match of reader and author - a fine match indeed.
Ever since the rise of the Harry Potter books, the fantasy genre has been overrun by "Young Adult" books. Personally, I am sick to death of angst ridden teenagers, coming of age, and rising hero stories. Really. I'm a grown-up. No matter how popular the book is, if the main character is under legal drinking age, I'm probably not interested.
So when "Books on the Nightstand" featured this book, I couldn't wait for Audible to get it. Glen Duncan is an amazing writer. This is a book about growing old, finding love and a reason to live, and the pain of loss. There is mystery and intrigue, betrayal and alliance. Oh, and there are werewolves, vampires and lots and lots of sex.
Robin Sachs blends his beautiful voice and lovely accent with Duncan's amazing prose. It's a wonderful piece.
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