Some will find the Aubrey/Maturin series a great literary treasure. Others will not. Over the years I have read the series and listened to both abridged and unabridged versions read by various readers. Each reader has given Jack and Steven somewhat different characters. Tull's renditions are among my favorites and he is to be complemented. Listening to the clean Audible versions is a treat after struggling thru cassettes of varying quality.
When compared to the Aubrey/Maturin series, most other historical fiction is reduced to the category of "pulp fiction." Both male and female characters (the women arrive in later volumes) are invariably complex and complete, their relationships marked by contrasts in ability, perspective and disposition. The plots are also an exercise in contrasts between civility and barbarism, good and evil, boredom and excitement. O'Brian captures the age of sail. The rhythm of the story telling is that of sailing itself: long periods of inactivity where shipmates and dinner are the primary focus punctuated with periods of exhilaration where thought and action mean the difference between life and death. If this appeals, begin at the beginning.
The plot was sufficiently intriguing to get me to the end, but finishing left me with the unwholesome sense that I had wasted my time on trash. With the possible exception of one female NY journalist, the characters are caricatures. No insight into the human condition here. The plot is driven by conflict, deceit and lust--be prepared for a generous helping of explicit sex bordering on pornography. In the end, the bitter, vindictive curmudgeon turns out to be Prince Charming who falls profoundly in love with the heroine. Hey, was this one of those escapist romance novels written for lonely women frustrated by their love life and everything else?
Missed the original and want to experience the Viet Nam war? Denis Johnson does a remarkable job of recreating this psychotic episode in American history. If you're looking for understanding, you might not find it here -- though the forest spirit hypothesis works for me. If you're looking for closure, I'd look elsewhere.
I don't know much about the 2012 phenomenon, and bought this book on the supposition that it would include an intelligent, imaginative, research-based exploration of '2012'. It's not that. It is rambling, irrational nonsense. Listening experience: imagine yourself duct-taped to a chair in a room with a teen high on pot and babbeling endlessly.
Feel the need to become the next Bill Gates? Worried about your position in the rapidly changing world of commerce? Looking for ways to develop your over-populated, under-developed country? This book is for you. Good synthesis of current trends; dozens of anecdotes illustrating successful exploitation of a changing world.
Haven't yet concluded that money and power are the purpose of your being? Looking for a little wonder and beauty? Look elsewhere. My impression while reading this book is that the 'best minds' in the world are engaged in a highspeed race of battle bots hellbent on destroying one another before the race is over. When will it be over? Not an issue. This is commerce as an extreme sport. There is only the now!
A flat world is a suitable epitaph for the age of consumerism--a dead can of beer left after yesterday's party. Think I'll switch on the Discover channel and find a world that with a few waves.
Crichton uses the reasoning and passion of a talk radio loonie to attack every possiblility of global warming. The real lesson here: Crichton, like the rest of us, has much left to learn about himself. What was that crazy bit comparing 'eugenics' with 'global warming'? Think drugs are involved?
The Sheriff is hanging up his badge and figured he owned himself, and us, an explanation. Turns out he doesn't think he can save us. I figure he thinks we're so bad hurt that we're not worth savin'. Wish there was something cheerful to add. Really wish there was.
A factual recounting of the events of Alexander?s brief and brutal life told in the first person to an imagined page. The title is somewhat misleading in that when a book is called a ?novel? we generally expect a little character development, possibly a bit of dialog. What we get is a fictitious diary. The only character that emerges is that of Alexander, a charismatic, skilled and powerfully obsessed young man. If there was any virtue in war here, I failed to discover it ? unless it had something to do with self-realization through rape, pillage and the slaughter of all authority but one?s own. Even so, I recommend this book to anyone curious about what once lay in the cradle of western civilization. The narration is excellent, and despite the fact this is 12+ hours of Alexander justifying his life, the tale is seldom dull.
There may be book here, but I couldn?t get past the reader to hear it. Davidson?s narration is unbearably self-important and snobbish; his characterizations absurd caricatures. He may have his audience, but it does not include this fan of the Age of Sail.
Because my initial impression was at odds with the reviews of others, I listened to this book a second time. The redux did not alter my initial assessment that the author failed to establish a meaningful vantage point from which to recount early Greek history. Except for the details of the many wars and skirmishes, there is little here to differentiate Greek civilization from any other Mediterranean society prior to 350 BC. The forces that led to the Greek?s extraordinary achievements in philosophy, science, art, architecture and politics remain as obscure as when I began. Undoubtedly, Griffin?s pleasant, intelligent and empathetic voice is the strength of this selection.
This Audible recording was my first exposure to Cold Mountain. I haven?t seen the movie, but it is difficult to imagine that it has the same power to create ?lasting memories.? Our tragic tale is woven from two parallel tellings of the latter days of the Civil War: the survival of a well-borne southern girl left to fend on a rural farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a young Confederate soldier who abandons the war to journey back to his mountain home and sweetheart. While reunion of these not-quite lovers is the obvious cause for Inman?s odyssey, this is not a love story. If you?re expecting a highbrow Harlequin fantasy, you may be disappointed. The gift of Ada?s tale is our rediscovery of an ancient way of life where sustenance is ensured only by blisters, lore and an appreciation of the natural world. Inman?s tale is far darker: full of the savagery within and without. At times, Death and Evil are brought so near we can feel their chill, smell their breath. Unforgettable.
As others have noted, the author reads his novel. The operative word here is ?reads?; not to be confused with ?interprets,? the performance we expect from our favorite professional readers. Even so, the authenticity of the accent can?t be denied and Frazier?s voice is pleasant and it's cadence relaxed. Very pleasant and relaxed. I found myself losing consciousness from time to time. That may be why I never understood the icy cruelty of the ?home guard? or even how, exactly, the story ends. I?m looking forward to listening to the book again in the near future. No doubt I?ll know then.
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