Shoreline, WA, United States | Member Since 2009
The Black Count starts off as a marvelous, brave tale describing the way blacks were treated in France the 2 centuries before before Napoleon Bonaparte came into power, and the influence thereafter on the unlikely man who would become Alexander Dumas who would then give us the magnificent Count of Monte Cristo and it's more famous brother, The Three Musketeers.
The author masterfully gives us 2 hours of background in the centuries leading up to the birth of Dumas' father known as "The Black Count" and then the unlikely story of Dumas' rise to fame, not only because he was a genius of a writer. He was a grand character (both men, really) in this snappy rendition of the slightly mysterious Alexander Dumas... a huge celebrity during his time here who left this world at much too young of an age.
I don't like to give away everything in a review, and I'll continue that tradition here, but if you are a lover of Dumas' books as I am (TCOMC is my favorite book of all time), then you will love this well told story of how it came to be that an obese mulatto becomes one of the most cherished authors of all time and a major celebrity during his all too brief life in Paris.
This is a great book for history lovers, biography lovers and really, anyone interested in black culture or in ancient France (and how their policies toward blacks may have shaped our own 200 years ago) and just about anyone else. It is a joyous, intriguing story of how one of how this great, great author came to be and lived his life and how his father's life shaped his own. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's one of the best books I have listened to in so long. I am giving 5 stars for narration, but it's nothing special, except that it is expertly done. It's a straightforward read, since there are no "characters" to play. It's the story that really shines here.
By all means, treat yourself to this wonderful little known bit of history. You will be a richer person for doing it. And if you haven't read the unabridged The Count of Monte Cristo yet, you won't be able to resist after this. I'll probably have to re-listen to it now. Be sure to look for the one read by John Lee, available on Audible.com, which is so masterfully read and executed.
This is TRULY a horrible waste of time and money! First of all, much of it contradicts Julia Child's OWN memoirs in "My Life in France"... and the author makes Paul Child out to be a really awful man... He was talented... He and Julia were madly in love with each other.... My great Aunt was a friend of the Child's and I grew up watching her on TV.... Bob Spitz has really done a disservice to Julia's legacy. And... She is not a real controversial character. Plus, most of the "impersonations" were just awful along with terrible French pronunciation... This book makes me wanna toss my cookies....
Read My Life In France or almost ANYTHING other than this book!
So... I was not expecting Dickens, Dumas or Shakespeare here... I just wanted a "light sumer read". The characters are SO insipid, the French is SO poorly pronounced (and even written wrong~~and I speak excellent French, so I know what I am talking about here) and the story is so forced and lame. I'd rather watch a bad porn movie where the chick orders a pizza, cue in the terrible music, and pizza boy and hungry girl go at it on the floor. A GIANT waste of a credit.
Also! I am NOT offended by these types of books... I read the Anne Rice Bondage series (forgot the name of it~~something about Sleeping Beauty) and a few other ones... but this is, by FAR the worst one I have ever suffered through. Heck, Dumas writes scenes in his books that are more tasteful, literary and more sexy that this one could ever hope to be... And he doesn't even get "explicit!"
I see there is a WHOLE SERIES!!! I shall not be partaking of it... YUCK!!! Oh... and even though the narrator was working with poor material to begin with, she was HORRID!!! OMG! She should have a job as a typist and the author needs to learn how to properly write French. Or maybe become a garbage collector so that none of us need to be exposed to any of this drivel again.
Dreck, pure and simple.
I saw the film when I was a teen... very inappropriate, and all I remember was "the scene" and some banjo music.
No need to watch it again. This is a BEAUTIFUL book... lovingly narrated, beautifully produced, and it's on the "top 100 of American Reads" from some list or another.
It deserves it's place. Yes, it is unsettling, but no good book is without some controversy. For the time it was written (1970) it is bold... not unlike Philip Roth (one of my favorite authors) when it comes to writing men with their bravado, their facades and when it all comes crumbling down, each man grapples with what has happened in his own way. They are both beaten, tested to the limits of their humanity and al but one trumps over the experience. The man narrating it (the main protagonist) is a thoughtful, grateful man. I wouldn't mind having him for a father or a husband.
Yeah... you might *think* you know the story...but I'm guessing that the movie adaptation is sensational, and doesn't allow for the quiet moments.
Listen to it... it is one of the best produced books in my library. 5 stars on every level.
I first read One Hundred Years of Solitude about 10 years ago, and have re-read it or referred to it many times, since. When I saw an email from Audible.com that it was now available as an AudioBook… I downloaded it immediately, as it is ALSO narrated by my All-Time favorite reader, John Lee so I did not even listen to a clip of it. Now, I am in several hours of my first listen, and, I feel bad about “warning” listeners, but this needs to be said:
The printed book comes with a handy chart of who is who, and how they are related their relationship together, whether they are married or have children… etc. THIS audio version does not have that chart (it’s like looking at a complex family tree) and at the pace that John Lee is tearing through it… he gets my vote for “fastest readers on Planet Earth” (Lee could , unless they just finished the print version it is super confusing. Many characters either have the same, exact name and the words just *sparkle* in writing. I remember sighing with joy and reading the same line over and over as it is one of the best written books, ever. I still recall that a tear of joy or gratitude came into my eyes many a time during both readings.
Reluctantly, I must give one of my all-time favorite novels a less than stellar review. I suppose there is a website somewhere that has the chart, but not even this listener (me) can understand what is going on…. And Mr. Lee is reading it so fast that the words do not sparkle. They are yelled at you, rushing by someone who needed to use the bathroom immediately or is late for an appointment and must hurry! It’s a very bad production. If one loves beautiful, poetic lines, then, please pick up a paper copy.
One hundred Years of Solitude MUST be read in print, as uninitiated people not familiar with the book will be even more confused as I am… It is hard for me to give a beloved novel such a low rating, but I must. If you have ever had ANY interest in reading OHYoS, please get a printed copy or download it into your reading device. I know the story by heart (I read it twice in a 2-year period because I am in 2 book discussion groups) and it was just as gorgeous the second time around. Whoever produced this beautiful book did a VERY poor job. And, it needs to come with a link to the chart… otherwise, you would not be able to tell who is who or what is happening.
What a bummer!. I thought it would be brilliant and amazing to listen to it, but it is frustrating that John Lee did not even pause for punctuation, much less read it as fast as possible (is Audible trying to win an Olympic medal for being the world’s fastest reader?), and that it is truly a terrible blow. I am SO disappointed. OHYoS’s audible is not good at all. In fact, it is frustrating and disappointing. I just want to find my print copy and read it again, savoring each line by exquisite line. Skip this format, and go find a nice paper copy, or AT LEAST follow along with whatever reading gadget you have... You will not be disappointed. This new Audio version blows. Such a giant let down for this OHYoS fan.
I saw the INCREDIBLE film… and I knew I had to read this book. It is lovingly narrated by Louis Gossett, Jr. (I met him one time!) and the story is just as gripping and moving and horrible/wonderful as the film. AND! If you loved the book, do not be afraid to see the film… it is a VERY faithful re-creation of the book. It is an AMAZING story of loss, anger, submission, living on nothing but wits, endurance and redemption. It's a book to be experienced. It's a "must-read".
It deserves a place on your shelf or in your Audible library right along with The Known World by Edward P Jones and Beloved by the incomparable Toni Morrison. It's WAY better than Uncle Tom's Cabin and much better than The Confessions of Nat Turner….
Get it! Listen to it! Love Soloman Northup! You will not regret reading this memoir.
I think I picked this book up on sale. I had never heard of it, but the story sounded intriguing. But the narration! Either she had a terrible cold, or she can win the prize for the most nasal sounding voice on Planet Earth….and she didn't show great range. Every character, man and woman had the same voice.
But I digress….. If you are interested in hoarders but don't want to get dirty or grossed out, this might be a book to consider, if you aren't picky about narration. I did like very much the character of the older hoarding woman. She was quite interesting. And… I really wanted to see her paintings!
YAY for "Woman, Freshly Tossed". I could envision it.
I found this book to be quite well-written, but the decision to use 2 narrators was a distractingly bad experience... The book is solid when Ava is narrating, but when Kiwi is narrating, it, the book sounds like it isn't even being directed by the same person. If they just would have stuck with Arielle Sitrick, it would have been a MUCH better listen.
If you want diverse, quirky characters and want exquisite descriptions of the Florida wetlands... this could be your book!
My experience with this book is that if I were British or Scottish, I probably would have understood this book better... so this book might be a better book for reading in print. It also would have benefited from a male reader in addition to Ms. Kellgren. Every male voice sounded the same and every female voice sounded the same except for a small part of an American woman. I don't think I would seek out another read by Kellgren, but the story kept my attention....but the directing and production left much to be desired....my book even skipped in quite a few places, especially on the 3rd part, but the story was so convoluted, it did not much matter. I enjoyed the 3 main characters, but many of the background players were just so much noise. If I were to read Susanna Kearlsey again, I would do so in print, especially if it is set in Ireland/England/Russia again.
Overall, an enjoyable story, but one that didn't make much of an impact on me. I doubt I would ever give it a second thought.
Wow, am I glad I got the flu and was too uncomfortable to sleep and had to spend 2 days in bed. This book is GENIUS...the narration is perfection (sometimes multiple casts don't work for me, but this one is done brilliantly) and I have always wanted to know more about the man who wrote Catcher in the Rye, as it has so much significance. I know there is a documentary (that I hope will not be overlooked in favor of Anchorman, Spiderman 10 or some such drivel) coming out this fall and I wanted to read the book first, as the only book of JD Salinger's I have read is "Catcher". Now, I want to read everything...and this book suggests that there are 5 completed manuscripts that are going to start being released in 2015. These books are currently in the custody of his son. JD just did not want any more publicity in his lifetime.
He reminds me of a male version of Harper Lee, only he had more than one book in him.
It is an amazing blend of narrative, insights, real letters (never before published) and voices of those who loved the beloved writer who just wanted to be left in peace, but made pilgrimages to his house anyway, just to be blessed or given direction or were his lovers. Mr. Salinger kept saying "I am a fiction writer...I have nothing to offer you" to the many pilgrims. He participated in D Day and lived through WWII....which is an amazing feat in it's self.... But he was obviously shell shocked (or what we would call today PTSD) and just wanted to live a peaceful life and write. He never wanted our adoration.
We get to hear from his first true love, Oona O'Neill, the saucy daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill, who married Charlie Chaplain over JD and had 8 kids and flaunted their sexuality in JD's face. (that happens early on in the book, and I shall not reveal more)
We get to hear from the few fans who were able to break through his impenetrable wall-o-silence life and exchanged letters with him or published articles about the reclusive author.
Probably most of the facts could be looked up on Wikipedia, but then you miss the chance of listening to one of the greatest books ever recorded!
Five stars isn't enough for this wonderful audiobook.... I would need a whole constellation of stars to do it right...
BRAVO! This is the best book I have heard in a very long time. Totally captivating. But I have to wonder.... is it a novel (as listed here and other places) or a clever biography. You choose.
I have been interested in reading this book for a long time since I live in Seattle, my company did work on Cobain's Lake Washington home, I saw Nirvana in concert and I attended the candlelight memorial at Seattle Center when Courtney Love read Curt's suicide note.
I did not like the narration of the book because I was confused nearly every time the pronounced "Curt", but to me whenever the narrator said "Curt" it sounded like "curb", 'curd", "quirt" or any endless varieties of that name. It was very distracting. I think the author should have referred to him by 'Cobain" more than once in a while.
Also, unless I fell asleep, my favorite Curt Cobain story was not in the book: the one where a crowd of people at a concert are screaming for "Teen Spirit" and Cobain famously says "If you wanna hear that song, ask Tori Amos. It's her song now". I am a huge fan of the Amos cover and was blown away that wasn't mentioned.
For what a bright, shining anti-star he was, with his various demons: the drug addiction, the bad "love" between Curt and Courtney and his never-ceasing stomach disorders, I think the author kind of skimmed the surface. I waited so long to read it, for I still grieve for him...not so much his death, but for how much he suffered while he was alive. Cobain was brilliant and he's been gone for nearly 20 years, and it still makes me sad. Also, none of the conspiracy theories surrounding his death are mentioned, and although I do believe it is a straight forward case of suicide....a lot of people do not, and that should have been at least touched upon in the book.
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