I run occasionally, but wouldn't consider myself a "runner," yet still greatly enjoyed this book. Murakami's style is straightforward--more like a conversation than his occasional stylistic excesses. Also, goes far beyond running into its relation to writing and life in general. I'd recommend it, even if you're not a fan of Murakami, as it is not a typical book for him. It's easily accessible and enjoyable.
Highly recommended. For fans of Kay, a must read. For those who haven't read him before, he writes highly literary fantasy that is usually modeled on and highly influenced by real places and cultures. Here, Tang dynasty China is the model. For someone who minored in Chinese and Chinese culture and history, I have to say he nailed so many aspects. The poetry, culture, rituals, and general outlook feel real, and though obviously Chinese-influenced, as always Kay does more than just copies the culture in question; it's more about the feel than the details. It is fantasy after all. The story is excellent, though it does take a while to get going, so stick with it. Kay's writing ranges from straightforward and simple to highly poetic, and there were many lines I had to rewind and listen to again just to appreciate not just their aesthetic beauty, but the depth of meaning. Kay is simply one of the best fantasy writers of all time, in my opinion. I believe that if the genre was not looked down upon by so many in the critical establishment, he would be recognized as one of the best stylists currently writing. Voice performance is excellent as well.
For those new to Chesterton, this is a great place to start. He lays out his basic Christian philosophy in a way you will not find anywhere else. It is not a sermon--more like a highly literary and hilarious explanation of his "discovery" of truths that others had discovered thousands of years ago. Highly recommended for Christians and non-Christians alike--Chesterton is simply one of the funniest and most profound writers in the English language, and even if you come to disagree with his ultimate conclusions, you are guaranteed to enjoy hearing how he came to them. I think that were it not for the fact that many of his writings are at least partly religious in nature, he would be required reading in all schools. He's that good, and for the non-Christian, even for the committed atheist, this book is a must read/listen. You will enjoy it, it will give you new insight into why reasonable people can come to be Christians, and despite the title, you will not be annoyed by his idea of orthodoxy--it's quite different from the common meaning. The recording is excellent.
One of the best books I've ever read. I'd recommend reading, or at least having a copy, as well as listening, because Wolfe's plots are always so complex you need to be able to go back and check things in order to follow. But the recording is high quality, narrator is growing on me, and if you've already read the book then the recording is a great way to experience it again. Just be wary of listening for the first time--at least have a copy of the book to check back on plot points. May seem like a of effort, but it's worth it.
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