I just finished this audiobook, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Yes, the action stalls in Bologna--but that doesn't mean the end of suspense and anxiety for readers identifying with the flawed protagonist. All of Grisham's books are riffs on escape--whether it's from the bad guys, surveillance, the feds, or the corrupt, soul-destroying capitalist work world that traps us all. Given Grisham's obsession with this fantasy, it makes sense to set the character in Italy--with its "slow food," ancient rhythms and architecture, and comparative innocence in global terms. It is here that the character--once again like all Grisham's protagonists--relearns what's important, reinvents his life, and gains redemption. I found it believable and strangely powerful--and, of course, it's almost impossible to stop listening toward the end. This book is definitely different in many ways from his previous books, but it works somehow. I'd get it again in a heartbeat.
This is my favorite audiobook in a great while. What captivated me most are the author's sumptuous and learned descriptions of true Chinese cuisine, which is highly sophisticated in its cultural meanings, ingredients, and preparation. The narration is beautifuly realized, and the love story is handled with unusual sensitivity (no soft-porn passages, thankfully). I felt at the end a much greater appreciation for both Chinese culture and its wondrously complex food.
This isn't a book about "roughing it," by any means. It's basically a travel guide for wealthy retirees who stay in expensive hotels and apartments, eat at upscale restaurants, and attend the opera in places like Buenos Aires and consider it all a great adventure. Don't be misled by the title and subhead, which suggest something less tame than what this well-marketed but disappointing book delivers.
I'm a sucker for travel memoirs but couldn't wait to get rid of this narrator, who's a decent writer but almost completely lacking in sophistication and insight. Traveling all over the globe, as this book demonstrates, doesn't necessarily mean being deepened or transformed in any substantive way by the experience.
I tend to be bitterly disappointed by self-help books but decided to try this one when events and challenges in my life began to get the best of me. Inspired by one of the reviews about the power of Sterner's ideas, I purchased the audiobook. Today I'm so happy I did so. The book is definitely a keeper, and I plan to listen to it over and over again until cultivation of "the practicing mind" replaces the habit of self-judgment and fear of failure. With the author's clear explaination of how ego-driven thought patterns sabotage our efforts and his message about "the simplicity of doing one thing at a time...slowly, with purpose," he shows how focusing on either "success" or "failure" causes suffering.
In contrast to some reviewers of this book who compared it negatively to Mayles, etc., I found it authentic, well-written, and rich in cutural details about Parisians and life in Paris. While similar "memoirs" of Paris supplement their meager content with recipes and cooking instructions, Turnbull attempts to offer readers a dimensional portrait of the city and its people, including, for instance, details about French antipathy toward "Anglo-Saxon" feminism, the City of Light's love affair with dogs, and the extended time required to befriend Parisians. My ONLY issue with the audio version is the reader's strange combination of annoying accent and knowing attitude. With another reader this book might have earned five stars all around.
Written in the mid-1950s, this beautifully realized little book documents in strangely absorbing detail the perils of living in a small London apartment with a high-strung female German shepherd who comes into heat three times a year and, in her one experience as a mother, delivers eight rambunctious pups. The author, a distinguished British editor in his day, trains his writerly skills on his dog Tulip's posterior, charting exactly what happens there when she goes into heat and delving into the mechanics of sex with one of her many beleagured suitors. Unlike any dog memoir I've read, it's both a love story and a treatise on the sacrifices and pleasures experienced by both dog owners and their pets.
This book is far more entertaining and meaningful than most books on tape. Tobolowsky is not only an intelligent and perceptive observer of the human condition, but is consistently funny as he relates stories about his childhood, romantic relationships, family, and movie and television career. As a comic, Tobolowsky reminds me of the Canadian comic, Stuart MacLean (of "Dave Cooks the Turkey" fame). Great stuff!
wanted to like this "memoir," but it seemed contrived and left me bored. Too much description of boats themselves and too little actual story.
I loved this book, which offers so much more than its plot seems to suggest. Although the book's focus is on life's serial failures and one man's journey to come to terms with, repair, and transcend them, it also offers the many pleasures of a classic "road" novel, including rich descriptions of people and places along the way. Beautifully written and affecting. It's a book to look forward to and savor.
I feel a bit robbed by this book by Pam Houston, whose previous work gave me considerable pleasure. "Contents May Have Shifted" forces the reader to listen to a series of unrelated, self-indulgent, plotless, writerly little scenarios that never develop movement or character. I was unbelievably bored and disappointed. Storytelling is a sacred pact between writer and author, an agreement that Houston betrayed in this book. Had I known to expect no actual story, I'd never have wasted my money on this one.
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