An astonishing experience for a suburban white woman, to be transported to Harlem in the 1950s, and Himes (whom I'd heard of, but never read before) made it an unforgettable trip. The story is deliciously convoluted and the characters are perfectly presented, universal figures, yet each utterly one of a kind.
I was a little confused at first, because the lead characters in the series appear more than halfway through the story, and appear as secondary characters. This was Himes's first in the series, so perhaps he didn't realize he would use them again at the time he wrote it.
What set the whole thing sizzling was Samuel L. Jackson's extraordinary, sharp and loving performance, making each character uniquely memorable. I can't say enough about how much his power and enthusiasm got me sucked into the story completely.
Nothing wrong with the narration, but the plot is tissue-thin and fraught with cliche after cliche, as is the writing. Most of the more interesting plot leads are dropped by the wayside which is a shame, because the protagonist, as self-absorbed as she might be, has potential as a lead. I'll think twice before downloading anything else in this series or by this author.
"Lolita" is about so much more than a middle-aged man's inappropriate obsession with the daughter of his landlady -- about pretense, about ego, about cultural differences -- all bound together by one of the most self-serving, unreliable narrators around. Jeremy Irons caresses each syllable of Nabokov's wonderful wordplay and makes Humbert Humbert as human and fascinating as he is appalling.
Ms. Hathaway brought one smile, one grin after another to my face as she infused new life into old and beloved characters for me. Her diction was outstanding and even the most minor of players (the stork, for instance) got their opportunity to shine. Having grown up with the book rather than the movie, I am just tickled to pieces at this reading.
Only real value of this is knowing where the money will go. Not much of a story and performance is only so-so.
This book takes its own sweet time getting to the point, but along the way you will realize that all those seemingly tangential observations spring these larger-than-life characters. They give the book its immediacy and compelling plot. Robert Penn Warren drew the characters with infinite care, and Michael Emerson voices those words perfectly.
Carefully providing the historical underpinnings of both the intentions of the Founding Fathers and the "good" reasons for which "bad" laws have been put into place, Maddow lines out how we have handed off most of our freedoms for the illusion of security. Whether her liberal slant resonates with you or not, there's much here that should get your hackles up. I'm a Libertarian/Republican and I found much of interest here.
Maddow is an exceptionally intelligent, articulate, and charismatic woman who also has a strong academic bent. My only complaint about this book was that in her narration I found a bit more of her liberal smug sarcastic delivery, the thing that keeps me from watching her news program, than I was entirely comfortable with.
In the end, smugness aside, this is a book that everyone who really wants to believe that this is a free country needs to read and understand.
OK, to start with, the whole book is deep background, which means you'll just have to take the authors' words that they're giving you the straight scoop. The story never drags and it effortlessly keeps its cast of hundreds clear in the head of the reader/listener.
It's a totally glib piece of maybe-faux-reportage but eerily enchanting in a gossipy train-wreck kind of way that I love every minute of though makes me feel dirty afterwards. (Admittedly, I have ambivalence issues.)
Boutsikaris is just pitch-perfect, the only unabashed 5-stars I can give, hinting at the cadences of the better known speakers without flat-out imitating them.
This is a brilliant performance of Toole's amazing "A Confederacy of Dunces" by Arte Johnson. The voices, the accents ... it's all pitch-perfect. But oh, dear, it is severely abridged. This is about 3 hours of a novel that it takes 9 or 10 hours to read. It certainly gives you the flavor and unforgettable characters, but too many of the little plot details that make the whole story fall together so perfectly are missing, victims of the editor's axe.
Perhaps this will prompt more than one person to go out in search of a more complete version of the novel... but it's a pity that it will not be read with Mr. Johnson's enthusiasm and glee.
This book is the reason I joined audible.com! I have probably read it ten times since it first came out, and once even borrowed the most unsatisfying abridged version from the library. There are no wasted words in this story -- shortening it takes away from its immediacy. The crimes were horrendous for their era -- or for any era -- and there is an all-star cast. Tate! Polanski! The Beach Boys! And who would have expected that the scruffy little runt, Charlie Manson, would someday rival them for fame?
This is crisp prose, crisply read by Scott Brick [I always wondered how to pronounce the name of the "Ouchterlony test"] without unnecessary dramatics. The "updates" that take up the last hour or so, while out of date now, are still more than were included in the copy I owned. Final word: Anything that can engage my I-hate-true-crime husband and drag him away from his computer the better to listen intently is a real winner.
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