Julia Flynn Siler does an excellent job chronicalling the lives and events relative to the dynastic Mondavi famly. It's really well done, although it helps, as she is very detailed, to have a true interest in the CA wine scene. This is not a 'happy ending' saga - if anything it could be a morality play on the corrupting influence of money coupled with blind ambition. While the story held my interest, the narrator did not improve the experience, coming off to me as stilting, stuffy and patronizing - a sorry choice for an otherwise interesting story.
As a fan of the "Downton Abbey" series, I picked this selection on a complete, total lark. I expected it to be lightweight, fun, and not much more than a marketing exploitation based on the new fame of the series. Instead I found a completely interesting story of lives, society and a time, enveloped and transformed not only by the tragedy of WWI, but also by the discovery of King Tut's tomb. Not only well done and interesting, but the narrator, Wanda McCaddon. is fabulous and completely appropriate to the story. Really enjoyed this.
Not having had benefit of reading other Jay McInerny books, picked this up based on (and in some cases in spite of) reviews. A series of essays - small chapters or vignettes - that span many microclimates of wine regions, Jay imbues each with his personal experiences, wine knowledge and observations. What I enjoy above all is each's focus on wine and the people who make it. Further, the essays allow one to break up listening into bite-sized increments. I also believe that the audio experience benefits from his performance, which is very good, as he is able to pronounce the names as wellas add emphasis, irony, etc as he originally intended it. If you love the world and culture of wine, you will very likely enjoy this ride.
I'd read "White Queen" and enjoyed that so much that "Lady" was a natural next step, although truly "Lady" predates both "White" and "Red' Queen novels. Having gone through "White" first a lot of the plot lines in "Lady" were known, and the insight of Jacquetta was interesting and telling. Book got off to a slow start for me, and yet Gregory's ability to weave such a fantastic tapestry through her many plot lines, within a work of historical fiction - and a masterful performance by Bianca Amato - draws you in. Very enjoyable.
With little aforehand experience with Hemingway and his writings, I picked this title for its coverage of France, specifically Paris, in the 1920s. Little did I know that this would be a title my husband and I would listen to again and again, revisiting after reading other Hemingway titles, Fitzgerald, or works focusing on life with the "Lost Generation." The book is wonderful, covering a span of time whose creativity and vibrance seems unrivaled in a city which caters to creativity and vibrance. The narration by Naughton is masterful and interesting, and in the end, captures the moving intent of Hemingway's prose. So many narrators detract from the quality of the piece - Naughton lets the work stand on its own without interfering, which is something important in an audio title.
I picked this book on a lark, as I am interested in historical fction and the performance was highly rated. I was not disappointed. Susan Lyon's deft narration was perfectly suited. Anyone other may not have been able to pull off the emotional range and nuances, as well as mystical Mellusina interwoven throughout the story. I notice several of the reviews are critical of Gregory's treatment of history and incorporation of mysticism, which I believe is nonsense. This is work of historical fiction, not any attempt to illuminate or expound on the War of the Roses. Naturally one knows how the story plays out ... in this regard it is Gregory's abililty to give life to the main characters relative to what is known, and present plausible storylines around what is not known, which makes for an interesting, engaging story.
It is evident that the author Wolff has a great deal of insight into Wharton, which she brings to bear in this tome. If you are looking for a detailed assessment that frequently borders on tiresome over-analysis of Wharton's life, you will find it here. What I found especially irksome - and misplaced - was the last section titled 'Afterwards,' whereupon Wolff launches yet again into a re-review of Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth. It seemed to rehash much of the same ground as in previous chapters covering same without further illumination, although Wolff appeared to be focusing on certain autobiographical comparisons, and theatrical devices Wharton employed in her writing. I was happy to get to the end!
McCullough's exceedingly well researched book covers a space in time - Paris in the 19th century and very specifically, the activity of Americans in Paris - which is mostly obscured by fin de siecle events. Edward Herrmann's read of it makes it even that much better - I wish he did reading of more audiobooks that I've gotten. Given the many vignettes interwoven throughout the book, it is easy to listen to the book for short periods of time, and come back to it to re-engage.
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