At the end of Stephen King's 11/23/63, the author thanked Jack Finney for writing the Time and Again, the classic of the genre. That planted the seed in my head to check out the audiobook. Stephen King was right. I liked 11/23/63, but it does not compare to the great Finney novel. I have read Time and Again twice, and loved the audiobook just as much as I enjoyed reading and rereading that novel. This story makes New York City in the 1880's totally come alive. I felt transported in a way that no other time travel story has done. Si Morley is the man who travels back from 1970. He is an artist, and describes 19th century NYC as only an artist can do. This novel is also a mystery and love story, and has an action-adventure element to it. The only weakness with this story is the very flimsy science that this time travel experiment is based on. Don't let that ruin this otherwise amazing and wondrous novel. I have listened to many audiobooks in the past few years, and Time and Again may be my very favorite. I already know that this will be one I will listen to again. The reader is great. It's a first person narrative, and the voice fits perfectly with the narrator, Si. He also sounds like he is from 1970. One other good feature - there are few details from modern life, and the "present" could be 2012 as well as 1970. The author clearly wanted to write a novel that would not be dated in a few years. He succeeded.
I enjoyed this mystery, with my favorite part being the relationship between Officer Scott James and his police dog, Maggie. Both man and dog have been wounded physically and emotionally and the story of them bonding was a fun one. The other plot is James's search for the murderer of his partner. That part felt like a standard mystery, and when Maggie was not in the picture, this felt more like an average mystery. Fortunately, Maggie did play a big role in much of this novel, raising this to a four star story to me. Overall, this was very pleasant entertainment.
Tony Danza chronicles his year as a part-time high school teacher in this funny and touching memoir. Long after he achieves fame as an actor, Danza answers his longtime calling to be a classroom teacher. He ends out teaching one class of 25 students in an urban public high school in Philadelphia. The deal includes teaching a double block each day, with a TV crew filming for a possible reality series. Danza makes it clear that he is there to serve his students, and the television piece is secondary. It becomes clear that he means that as he wades through his first year of teaching, full of mistakes, successes, humor, and constant up-and-down emotions. I am a high school teacher myself, and really enjoyed this book. Danza is exhausted physically and emotionally by his experience, and uplifted as well. He readily admits that with one class of 25 kids, he is not a "real teacher" and wonders how they do it. This book is from the heart and sheds great light on so many real issues in the field of education. Whether you are a teacher, high school student, or former high school student, I think you may enjoy Danza's humorous, emotional, and insightful journey through his year as a teacher.
This amazing novel of murder and racism in a small southern town grabbed me and did not let me go. It takes place at three different times, in the 20's, 40's and 60's, with different chiefs of police in Delano Georgia playing a big part in each segment. Each shift in times brings about both a continuity of characters as well as new ones. This novel starts at a slow pace, introducing the reader to the characters and way of life without rushing into the crimes that would run throughout the novel. I found myself caring about the characters, making gut-wrenching tragedy so much more powerful. I don't want to give away any plot details, so I will not say more. I have read a lot of crime fiction in my life, and find myself a little bored with so many popular novels of that genre now. Not this. "Chiefs" is one of the best crime novels that I have either read or listened to. I so wanted the experience to last, but I was driven to listen so much that I finished this novel much too soon. At first, I did not like the reader. He spoke too slowly, but gradually I got used to his slow drawl and found it added to the authentic atmosphere. I give this story a 5+!
Most of this story happens in the summer of 1960. Tom Harry is a bartender in rural Montana, and lives with his son, Rusty. Rusty is twelve years old, and loves his life with his single father, living above their bar. During that summer, twelve year-old Zoe moves to town and befriends Rusty. Twenty-something Delano also moves to town working on an Americana oral history project and connects with Rusty and his father. This is a sweet, slow-moving story, much like life in that small town at that time. I enjoyed being part of that time and seeing the world from Rusty's innocent eyes. The reader was great, with distinctive voices for all the main characters. I really enjoyed listening to this story, and rate the story as a 4+. My only criticisms - it felt a bit similar to other rural coming-of-age stories, and lacked any sharp edges to take it out of that comfortable idyllic world. That said, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. One more comment - the book promo talks about Proxy and his daughter coming into the lives of Tom and Rusty. I was waiting for that to happen, thinking it would be central to this story. It does not occur until the book is 3/4 over. Rusty's relationship to his father and his bar, and his friendship with Zoe are much more central to this book.
This novel of survival on the river is every bit as great as the classic movie. Told in the first person, narrated by Will Patton, this story goes deeply into the decisions of life-and-death survival against the elements and crazed hillbillies. This is a scary and engaging story that I could not turn off. When I finished, I had to watch the movie. "Dueling Banjos" is the one thing that the book fails to capture as well or better than the movie. Despite this being a short audiobook, it contained so much depth that the movie did not have. If this genre appeals to you, I strongly recommend Deliverance.
This true tale of survival and rescue has everything to make it fascinating. A plane in WW2 crashed in Dutch New Guinea, and three injured American survivors had to survive among an uncivilized tribe from a Stone Age-like world . I was intrigued from the start. The problem was that this is a book that must be about 250 pages, but the story could have been well told in a third of that length. The background information on all the characters was interesting, but sometimes overwhelmed the narrative of the survival and rescue. The reader was good but not great. Still, the tale was memorable, and I am glad that I listened to it.
This novel is what I expect of Anne Tyler - quirky but very believable characters that I care about. The gimmick is that a widower in his mid-30's starts to see his recently deceased wife at various times. Most of this novel, though, is a series of flashbacks about the narrator Aaron's relationship with his wife Dorothy. I was drawn into the world of the main and secondary characters, through Aaron's early relationship, marriage, and then his grief after the freak accidental death of his wife. The least engaging part of the novel was Aaron's encounter with his dead wife. I liked this novel quite a bit in spite of the ghost theme. The reader is not easy to listen to, but the narrator is not the most likable, and so I suppose the voice does match the character. I did get used to hearing him.
This amazing audiobook covers the years before the US entered WW2. It revolves around one family, the Henry's. Pug, the father, becomes the Naval Attache in Berlin as the Nazi movement becomes more aggressive. One son is in the navy while another is in Italy and Pug and Rhoda's daughter takes a break from college to work on a radio show in New York. This epic novel deals with the lives and loves of all the Henry's. Pug's job turns into being an advisor to FDR, and lands him in the USSR, England, and Italy. Military and political history is seen through his eyes. After the war, Pug translates a German's interpretation of the war, and throughout the novel, we hear that perspective. I loved this whole story. I was as interested in the lives of this family as I was in the story of global conflict. There is a lot of history in this, and it helps to have some interest in it. The reader is amazing!!! While there were times that I was incredulous that Pug found himself in so many historic hot spots, I accepted that as a result of his role as the president's eyes overseas. This classic novel has not dated. It brings you back to a different era and does it so well. It is one of my favorite audiobooks, and I will certainly be listening to the sequel in the near future.
A boy with multiple personalities (imaginary "friends"), each with amazing abilities, sells himself to those who can use his assistance. Does the boy have a mental disease or mental superpowers? Both, it seems. In this two-hour story, he is hired to find a camera which might have taken pictures from the past. All these threads sound fascinating, yet this story was only "okay" to me. The pieces were there, but came together in a way to only partly grab my interest. The main character never became someone I truly cared about, even though his uniqueness piqued my interest.
After reading this addictive mystery-thriller many years ago, I decided to revisit this story through the audiobook. This audiobook was amazing. Great reading. Riveting plot. Mitch McDeere, a Harvard law School star, takes a too-good-to-be-true job with a law firm in Memphis. Questions arise as the body count builds, and Mitch and his wife need to figure out what's going on and how to stay alive. Unlike so many thrillers these days, there is one plot, and it is strong enough to keep me glued to this story from start to end. I've read or listened to hundreds of books of this genre, and this is in a small handful of the most fun and very best. It is up there with Finder's "Paranoia" and Baldacci's" Absolute Power." If you are looking for the best escape-reading thriller, listen to or read "The Firm." I won't say more. I don't want to be a spoiler. If you haven't read or listened to "The Firm," do it!
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