If you haven't read, heard, or seen Waiting for Godot, do so now. Then return to this additional masterpiece by Samuel Beckett. This is the stripped-down, minimalist story of one man, aged and deteriorating and bitter, but frank beyond what many people would find acceptable -- certainly this is not someone you would want to hang out with. No one can truly follow in the footsteps of Beckett in creating this kind of character and spare yet eloquent prose. There are two narrators of this book, and the first one, who is the voice of Molloy, is the best to render Molloy's music. Molloy is the first book in a trilogy, and the second has just been realeased on Audible format. I finally figured out the (perhaps obvious) significance of the three titles. In the first the main character's name is Molloy, though he sometimes forgets it. In the second the main character is named Malone, which seems to me to be basically the name of the same character, though his name has evolved. And the third, The Unnameable, is the last evolution, where the name has evolved into dust. I think that some people will just hate this book, but if it reaches you, it will reach to your core.
This is a very creditible performance of a must-listen play, with the humor and tragedy and what I can only call the surealistic realism of Beckett at his best.
The narrator is no Judy Kaye. I am going to make my way thru the alphabet series on Audible as I already have in print, so this is my starting point, though I have already listened to other books in the series. This book is instructive because it shows how subtle things can trash a reading. Much of the dialog is very wooden and doesn't flow the way a real conversation does. This is very distracting and makes it difficult to focus on the plot. I love Grafton, which is really the only thing that keeps me going.
This seems like an amazing classic to me. Although it has a cloak of sci-fi or horror, I think that it is actually about our lives, which do have their horrible sides -- we are all on the way to dying, after all, and we are the caretakers of each other. But this gives such a crystal clear vision of an alternate reality that it is difficult to realize that we are simply looking at our own world with a few details altered. The reader is immaculate, the sound quality is great, the language is impeccable. This makes a very interesting contrast with other books by the same author, such as Remains of the Day and the Unconsolable. Ishiguro must be one of the greatest living authors. I would not want this reading to be one syllable shorter.
Each of the New Yorker Audible issues so far has been an incredible treasure. Many of us have subscribed to the New Yorker over the years, only to leave piles of them unread. This is a way to enjoy each week's New Yorker in a more consistent way. This is the way New Yorkers were meant to be enjoyed. Subscribe to the New Yorker for the cartoons, and for some of the articles that haven't been recorded, but don't miss the New Yorkers in this medium, superlatively read, quirky, thought-provoking. This is a don't miss experience.
I just completed my second listening to the unabridged audio book. It has interesting theories and facts about the origins and development of Christianity, coupled with a very pedestrian plot. I thought the reader did a good job. I thought the writing was ok, but not spectacular. I think that what accounts for the book's success is that it strikes a blow against the prevailing theology in a convincing way. That isn't to say that its arguments are all fact based, but it demonstrates that there's more than one way to look at them. Hooray on that score.
A good refresher course on the JFK assassination. I found the great many details on the situation in Cuba before Nov 22, 1963 overmany and I liked the appendices the best; there I found Jack Ruby a more sympathetic character than I expected. The author's basic thesis is that Oswald was paid by Fidel Castro to kill JFK because the Kennedys were trying to kill Fidel Castro. I don't think he proved the case, and I think that Gerald Posner's Case Closed is still the best book on the subject. However, the author marshalls the material well and explains the state of knowlege at this time. The reader does a good job, but the book is a long, tough slog. If I had fractional stars I would have given three and a half.
This is the enjoyable background story behind the immortal Fischer-Spassky chess match of 1972, the one that held the world spellbound and caused chess to become fashionable. No chess knowledge is necessary to appreciate this book. It not only sheds light on the chess world but on the relationship between the USSR and the US, a relationship that is no doubt being forgotten by the post-USSR generation. The most revealing moments in the book are the descriptions of the behind-the-scene struggles of the Soviets as it became clear that Spassky was losing the match. Much of the story is familiar to chess afficionados, but this retelling adds a bit of depth. It not only discusses Fischer's life and demise, but that of Spassky and many others in the chess world, from Steinitz to Paul Morphy to Tal, Petrosian, Smyslov, and even current #1 Garry Kasparov. This is a must-listen for chessplayers. Recommended further reading: "The Pathetic Endgame of Bobby Fischer", which I think is still available on the Atlantic Monthly web site. The only drawbacks of the book are its popular and somewhat superficial approach and the indications that its narrator and/or author are not particularly outstanding chess players. Fischer's incredible 6-0 victories over Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen are also discussed, along with various paranoid theories about how he achieved his victories, when it is clear that he was always a formidable talent and thus didn't need skullduggery to shake the chess world.
This great book gives insight into India and to life itself like other greats such as Passage to India. I followed it up by reading the text and realized that listening to the book was almost as good, except for the many unfamiliar Indian words and phrases that were easier to follow in print. It would be nice if Audible in the future posted online supplementary pages that would help explain some things that are inevitably obscure in a reading -- in this case, a glossary of Indian words and expression would have been helpful. Certainly I will never think of Indira Gandhi and her State of Emergency in the same way after reading about the impact her effort at "beautification" had on the poor of India. Of course, I don't know how accurate this depiction is...
Most self-help books seem to be simply pep talks, full of sound and positivity and signifying nothing. This one is full of sense, with 100 topics focusing on helping someone who is unemployed or newly employed or soon to be out of work or searching for a better job. The excellent reading is sometimes jarring, because the topics are not always clearly differentiated, so that sometimes "you" are referred to as a manager and at other times "you" may be looking for your first job. In the book itself, these sections were probably clearly marked off separate paragraphs, but they tend to blend together here, despite the fact that they are numbered. Nonetheless, this is a valuable quick listen for anyone concerned with their job -- and that is just about everyone. It has imbued me with a calmer perspective on my personal job search, and turned out to be a much better book than I expected.
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