Jhumpa Lahiri's stories are moving and make real for the outsider the conflicts and contradictions of first and second generation immigrants in the highly educated and priveleged classes of America's haute bourgeoisie. I find her stories fascinating and complex but completely accessible, real and believable. THe readers were excellent and added to my satisfaction at hearing a book so well conceived and well read.
I initially refused to consider reading this because I find business books boring and underwritten -two ideas, two hundred pages. Most would make a reasonable serious business journal article at best. This book is not a lot different, lots of ego and anecdotes, but also some very useful perspectives and ideas that would have made a nice substantive article.
That said, I agree with much of what Sandberg says and I agree with her general point on how badly things are going for working women in our country relative to their potential to have more fulfilling and more meaningful careers whether at home or at the office depending on their ability to negotiate more manageable work loads in the home and the office. I salute her for standing up and saying so and for her commitment to being a feminist when so many women are willing to take the fruits of the women's movement but unwilling to fight anyone other than themselves.
I enjoyed the book, but it could have been an article….
First, I am usually loathe to review a book I have not completed. Second, I usually prefer a professional narrator to the author's own reading. Last, my tastes have run towards classical fiction and opera in recent months, perhaps because I work in the bond markets and it isn't all that relaxing to keep on working during my commute as well as during a 12 hour workday.
All that aside, this is SUCH a fascinating account of Secretary Tim Geithner's life and work experience that I am breaking with habit and writing a review although I am only a few hours into the book.
Geithner is actually a pretty decent narrator considering what a mediocre public speaker he was, and continues to apologize for. He has a tendency to drop his voice a little at the end of sentences which forced me to repeat some of his reading - but that small flaw is quite manageable and shouldn't discourage even picky listeners.
The story of his life and experience is quite engaging and well-written. His background is unusual and his perspectives sharp. This audio reveals him to be quite different from person portrayed by the press or even his own public appearances during his tenure in office and he defends his decisions and positions well. I am really impressed by his ability to explain how and why things happened and his own justifications for actions taken.
As a bond market participant with a front seat on the financial crisis I enjoyed reading TOO BIG TO FAIL. But one of the most frustrating aspects of that book was its strict reportorial nature - it explained what happened minute to minute but provided no real analysis of why and what it all meant. This book exactly goes to the places I found missing in TOO BIG TO FAIL and that is the most satisfying part of the book for me.
Geithner's willingness to say exactly what he thinks when so much of what he did is politically unpopular with so many on both sides of the US political divide is the most addictive part of this listening adventure. I can only stop listening long enough to write this review. I very highly recommend it to those who value Geithner's perspective on earlier crises as well as the 2008 Financial Crisis and his tenure as the first Secretary of the Treasury for the Obama Administration.
First of all, I have several Great Courses for which I paid full price from the Teaching Company - I love the courses and get a lot of pleasure out of listening to them. The value of being able to get Great Courses for one Audible Credit per course is ALONE worth an annual Audible subscription.
Second, I think Robert Greenberg's Music Courses are terrific and really one of the best uses of the audio book format for university level lectures. You not only hear the discussion of the music but hear music samples as well which makes it far superior to books about music history which can't provide samples of the music discussed. Greenberg's choices of music to illustrate the points he make are always excellent and really make listening to these lectures an enormous pleasure. Like others have said elsewhere, he can be quite corny -if that bothers you this is not the professor you will want to hear. I find his energy and enthusiasm makes the course more interesting and his attempts at humor are rather endearing (it may be that people from New Jersey find corniness less offensive). I appreciate his attempts to liven things up even if some of the jokes are rather silly.
Third, although I am not particularly knowledgeable about music the more I get to know opera the more I realize how very much I love Mozart's operas. It is true that Greenberg spends a lot of time on Cosi Fan Tutte as another listener noted. I didn't expect this to be exhaustive but rather Greenberg's own view of the most interesting aspects of Mozart's operas since it is still an introductory level course. For someone as prolific as Mozart it didn't surprise me that the professor made a selection based on his views. However, if you are expecting it to be exhaustive you will not be satisfied. Greenberg is very informative but selective, and with me that's OK.
Lastly, some negative comments have been made on the lack of librettos included with the course - those librettos are not part of the more expensive versions of the course either. You have to get librettos on your own - there are no entire operas included in the course, only excerpts so I don't know why anyone would think a libretto would be needed to follow the lectures. Some of the complaints made by listeners are very picky considering the comparative value of getting these courses so cheaply on Audible.
Very highly recommended.
I haven't actually finished this book but I decided to write a review because I am enjoying it so much. I look often to see how many people have left reviews for books while I am reading them because I like to know if others have had the same experience.
In this case there don't seem to be many Audible readers so far, and I don't find the Amazon reviews very satisfying since the quality of the narrator is such an important part of the experience for me.
From the minute I read about this book's publication I have wanted to read it. I loved reading 'Middlemarch' many years ago and recently listened to the Juliet Stevenson audible version (highly recommended). For many years the book had intimidated me when I was young - I was afraid I would not be able to get through its density. I was quire surprised one day to pick it up and fall right in. Yet it took me thirty years to return to it. Having heard so recently the wonderful Juliet Stevenson narration It seemed perfect timing to experience someone else's experience of the book.
I find this sort of literary reflection both interesting and rewarding because I really like to know how others experience books I have loved. I would like so much to discuss these sorts of topics with serious readers and I hope that others will read this book and take the time to reflect on their impressions. As I am listening to Mead's book I feel like I am enclosed in a comfortable armchair, encompassed in my reading the way I was as a child, even though I am in reality sitting on an uncomfortable New Jersey Transit banquette. It's like being able to talk to a good friend about the things you really care about.
One criticism I have of the performance is that I am fond of Kate Reading's fiction narration, but I find it less satisfying for a non-fiction book. She has a storytelling musicality that lilts at the end of sentences but that just doesn't seem the appropriate rhythm for non-fiction. That said she is an excellent reader who makes the text easy to understand, just not perfect for this particular book.
I have recently developed a passion for opera that has found me attending an opera I know little about beforehand. A colleague in London got tickets for Don Giovanni and I decided my first visit to Covent Garden demanded a little investment in preparation ahead of time. This series from Naxos is just perfect to get you ready to attend an opera with a little bit of historical and musical context to make the experience richer.
The recording is only about 1 hour and 20 minutes long. The narrator is good, he provides not only background for the specific opera in question but also for other operas by the same composer. Clips of the music are part of the 'explanation' - one of the nicest feature of audiobooks vs. reading a regular text.
So, you get a summary of the story, some musical interludes and some historical and musical context - helpful to allow you to focus more attention on the music and the staging once you get to the opera.
For those who enjoy the history of the film this is a very rewarding book about the changes in our culture as they were reflected in five films of the late sixties, a period of extreme social and cultural turmoil. Although there are many complaints about some of the narrator's pronunciation, I didn't find those problems insurmountable to my enjoyment.
This is a great book of essays with very personal themes and much discussion of the author's relationships with family and friends. I had high expectations when this book of essays was recently published and I was not disappointed. The author's narration personalizes the entire book. I felt like she was speaking directly to me. This was further accentuated by the personal nature of the topics, strengthening the rapport between reader and author.
I would imagine these essays would interest even those readers unfamiliar with her novels, but for readers who are already fans these essays are particularly relevant since she discusses her craft and her working habits as well as her shift from the short story to the novel. For example, in one essay she talks about reading her manuscripts entirely out loud to a colleague before they are published. That will not surprise listeners to this audiobook since it is clear that her skills have been honed by much practice - she is a wonderful narrator.
I have been a fan of Ann Patchett for many years, and greatly appreciated the title essay of this collection when it was offered to Audible subscribers a few years ago. I also had experienced her narrating skills in her non-fiction book about her friendship with Lucy Grealy, TRUTH AND BEAUTY. I usually don't appreciate author-narrators but when they have such great skills they can really add to the personal essay read aloud - another example of this talent is Jonathan Franzen.
This book was a treat from beginning to end - everything about this collection was delightful and made me want more. I highly recommend it to essay fans, Patchett fans and those interested in the craft of writing.
I really love a well-written mystery and this one had all of the ingredients, suspense, good characterization and an excellent plot along with believable dialogue. I don't want to discuss in detail the one aspect of the book I found less than satisfying because I don't want to spoil it for potential readers. It was not critical to my enjoyment, but it is the one thing that kept me from giving the recording a higher rating. The narration was also excellent, I always appreciate Steven Crossley's talents.
I look forward to reading other Tana French mysteries. Although I am a 'temperamental' mystery reader - sometimes I'm in the mood to read one and sometimes I am not - I am always appreciative of having a new author to whose work I can look forward when I am in the mood.
We originally purchased this audiobook on cassette tape when it was first published and my now grownup daughter was a child. We have gone through multiple copies and given it as a gift to all of the children in the family. Most recently my husband and I listened to it together on a car trip and laughed out loud and then were moved to tears (…okay, I was moved to tears, but he did laugh out loud during the funny parts). Not only is this a wonderful story, the narration is among the very best I have heard. Obviously Cherry Jones is a very renowned actress, but many actresses lack the talent to give a book the transcendent quality that she has given this story. I can't believe anyone could listen to it and not be drawn in to listen till it ends. The reading is so moving, and the story is both realistic and yet hopeful. One of our very favorite books and a truly exceptional narration.
I love Margaret Atwood's later books, but this one seemed unsatisfying, not quite feminist yet not quite traditional, somewhere trembling in between a declaration of independence and complete confusion. I like the narrator - she didn't do a bad job, she was understandable but the performance did nothing to enhance my understanding of the book either. I felt the narration of the main character was a fairly aggressive reading, contrasted with other voices for less important characters that clashed with ideas I had of each of those characters as well. The only way I would recommend this audio would be for a passionate Margaret Atwood fan who most absolutely read everything available.
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