South Lake Tahoe, CA United States | Member Since 2007
This book has stayed with me, and I use it to counter negative comments or thoughts in myself or from others. The book takes a good mind and careful listening. The author documents with all kinds of statistics that things really are getting better. I can see this during my own long life and as a wildlife rehabilitation volunteer. There really is a lot more compassion out there. I think some people would want to get the print book to check all the facts and certain citations. As the author comes down through history and discusses various aspects, I found some chapters easy to listen to and others more murky as they used some ideas unfamiliar to me. I noticed that when he discussed Bible times and quoted passages I thought I knew, punishment back then was pretty awful. It made me think again. He even brought out patterns of thinking and action in the U.S. divided by political parties. Fascinating! I imagine that our wonderful ability to learn of fresh atrocities on the other side of the planet can make life appear on a downhill slope, but this book is convincing otherwise. Worthwhile! Long but good!
Okay, it's first class Literature. I majored in Lit. and I'm sure of this part. There are layers and layers far beyond what happened next. Audible leaves us wondering which version to download and why two are so much longer than the others. This version is longer because they've put some letters by Fitzgerald at the end. Most interesting! Makes me want to get a print copy of the book, other books by Fitzgerald, and reconsider the other authors he mentions in these letters. He was friends with a circle of interesting people -- all writing for excellence AND money!
What the other reviewers say about Tim Robbins is pretty much what I am saying: his words drop off at the ends of sentences most annoyingly. I had one date with a man who did that! I was saying, Huh? What? Excuse me? How's that? all the damned night. Maddening! Inconsiderate. I play piano and know what a tiny difference there is in playing softly and -- by failing ever so slightly -- producing no sound at all. I listen at home in the livingroom. When we are relaxed, we hear better. I had to turn the iPod up higher than my preferred level in order to get Mr. Robbins' subtleties. Someone hard of hearing or riding in a car wouldn't have a chance with this recording!
At the same time, Mr. Robbins reads this prose like poetry. Clear and simple but also warm and tangled. I was going into raptures over Fitzgerald, however, not Robbins! All in all, except for those drops of the voice, this is a beautiful book and a beautiful reading. The bits of music added to the atmosphere. It is a story that will take much re-listening and thought. I am looking forward to the new film which I understand has great acting, marvelous costumes and scenery, and most inappropriate music. Whatever! We can always go back to Fitzgerald's beautiful words.
The last seconds of both halves of this recording end in repetition of syllables mid-sentence. I will have to visit my library to see exactly how this wretched book ended. For shame, Audible!
I suspect this is one of those books that became a best-seller because it was marketed as a best-seller. I wonder if ordinary people read it or go to the movie just to see what happens next or, as a literature major might suppose, to enjoy the allegory and other exercises of the mind. As it happens, my own educated brain was just not up to such exercise.
Dear friends, if any of you are technically elderly and have a very elderly small economy car that is supposed to last forever, and that car is determined a total loss and unrepairable, if you gave that car a name and it carried you to any number of hospital visits and pow-wows and blowouts at Costco, if you are grieving for a machine more than you usually do over the passing of human beings, if you are waiting YEARS for the VA to deliver your entitlements and fear you will die before that happens -- then pass on this book at least until you find yourself in a better frame of mind. I was already facing the end of all good things, mortality, planned obsolescence, when I started this book, expecting a lively adventure. But no, it grossed me out, confused me, and dwelt on death for at least 227 days.
I liked the tiger and the circus game Pi played with him. The author seems to know something of animal psychology. As I help rehab bears and bobcats among other wildlife, and am fascinated by animal communication literature (Penelope Smith, for example, not the cutesy domestic pet nonsense that has been around for a while), the relationship with Richard Parker was riveting. I was very glad that Pi waited until the tiger returned to the boat before leaving the island.
Thank Heaven this is only fiction! If it were true, I would take it more seriously, realizing that a desperate man could actually be tempted to eat the dung of a constipated tiger. I can read anything that is supposed to be true. As I told an intake worker who was making a face at me, "If I lived it, you can damn well listen without making a face!" As fiction, the story is interesting and lively, but quite a downer. I find Real Life enough of a puzzlement, thank you!
This is top drawer literature -- by a young woman of our own times. I think the story was harder to craft than Prodigal Summer where the pieces fit together and are so wonderfully thought out; that book took me several listens to get -- and, well, that would be my desert island book if I needed one. This book was perhaps more ambitions; the elements were more difficult to deal with -- an hypothetical natural phenomenon, and a nearly hopeless family structure going back generations. A completely happy ending would have been phoney. The ending we get is plenty good.
I love Kingsolver's use of words and her own reading which gets the accent of her own people, even as she is educated and speaks standard English. Even if she didn't get the accent of the doctor very well, she did okay, and it would be a shame to let an actor try to read her Appalachian characters. As I listened, I wondered how many edits that took and imagined her choosing the exact words. The writing is a treat with exquisite descriptions and situations.
I wanted to cry when Dellarobbia and Cub were Christmas shopping in the dollar store and also having a fight. They kept picking up possible gifts for their precious children, and everything they could remotely afford was inadequate trash. Anybody who doesn't know about poverty might get a feel for it here. It seemed that their whole lives were "You can't get there from here!" All the characters seem trapped by poor choices in the past. I wondered if Dellarobbia was going to fall for Ovid, make a fool of herself, etc. But I recently had a similar experience with a married man who was at a higher level and much more fortunate circumstances. I loved being with him and felt lifted by the new vistas he showed me in a perfectly innocent chat during a four-hour drive. I had not met such an interesting man in decades -- never mind that he went home to a wife! And that is how I believe Dellarobbia felt. Having Ovid's wife show up -- and to see what a pistol she is and how happy he is with her -- that put things in place. Developments toward the end show me what loving parents can do if they bend every prayer and effort to improve the lives of their kids if not their own. The story is quite pithy at family level with secrets coming out and people taking their stands. Several re-listens will only be a richer experience for all this.
Oh, yeah, the book is full of butterflies and ecology and sheep farming. I almost fell out of my chair when mother-in-law Hester got out her niddy-noddy and was weighing and winding yarn! They dyed yarn, and Dellarobbia saved the life of a lovely black female lamb. Some listeners thought there was too much boring ecology preaching, but Prodigal Summer has a bit of that, and science is complicated. We used to ask my physician father questions at the dinner table; he always took a long time to answer because he knew the complications we couldn't imagine. I say let's let Kingsolver educate us a little while she's telling a great story. Let's not be knee-jerk with eyeliner like the awful TV anchor woman. But I begin to blather. Get the book!
First of all, this is a book about visual art. Unless a person is actually blind, we still have to find the pictures which are included in the bound book. Now, I am going to sound really mean-spirited, but here goes! I bought this audio because it is about a woman who suddenly becomes an artist at 72 -- she discovers her life's work. I thought that would be inspiring! I imagined a whole new beginning as I assume Whistler's mother began painting. The sales pitch didn't say what kind of art this old lady did, just that it was her life's work.
The artist who is the subject of the book is Mary Delaney who lived from 1700 to 1788. She was married twice and lived in Ireland and England. She had no children. She was accomplished in all the upscale pursuits of ladies of the time. From age 6 or so she was learning to embroider, cut paper dolls and designs, sew, play the harpsichord, and behave in high society. She was married off at 17 to a most distasteful man in his 60's. As it turned out, he wasn't even wealthy, and it was an effort for her to mind her wifely manners and just barely tolerate the alliance. When he died, she remained unmarried for 20 years. I don't see any pictures of her except when she was quite old with a plump face and extra chin. She liked men and she knew how to dress well, but denied all offers. At 43 she married for love. She enjoyed a beautiful friendship with that man. He left her a widow at 68. Four years later she hit on her own new variation of the paper cutting craft. Her colorful and accurate renditions of flowers against black are loved and studied by many.
What is causing me some frustration is that the author, Molly Peacock, a poet I never heard of, is writing about her own long life as well as Mary Delaney's. Molly knows a little about twentieth century crafts, cross-stitch kits and the like. She must have done some research. Her husband took her to Ireland to look around. Also the British Museum to handle the original paper collages. While she is very creative, she is not a visual artist at all. And she is torturing us by waxing poetic about these flower mosaics that we are not able to see. I did google and wiki-search around and I did try to listen to one quite egregious poem. I do understand how women in their 60's like to begin winding up their lives and imagining how things have all fitted together nicely. Good for Molly, but that is another book that you couldn't pay me to read! I've had a quite wonderful and tumultuous life -- and I have decided to move to Tahoe and clean the bear house rather than sit around telling the world about my dysfunctional family, the USAF, the late marriage, the outrageous family dramas, etc. ad nauseum. With no guidance about colleges, I was accepted at USC only to be told that my physician father who always drove a Mercedes would have to save for my brother coming along five years behind me! The world is full of stories of promising young people being kicked in the chin. My dear husband was euthanized against his will after a motorcycle accident; that almost became a TV movie! The wildlife rehab is my late life new career, and I still knit and sew and design. Most of us have been to Hell and back, and many of us are marvelous artists in our own way. This is why I am pained to hear about Molly's drunken father and her comparisons of Mary's life to her own.
Another great irritation is the use of language, something Molly should know all about. Her use of modern slang sounds so wrong! Don't tell us how an 18th Century lady relieves herself while dressed in all her finery -- and use the word "pee!." The word is "urinate." Don't tell us Mary and her friend got up early to get ready for the Coronation and were out the door at 0430 and then were "hanging out" at a coffee house! Perhaps they lingered.
This whole book seems to me just an ego trip for Molly because at least a couple of books have already been written about Mary Delaney. Her letters have been saved and edited. I don't think Molly has a clue how Delaney went about her art. I am very creative at this late date, and when I design a dress or begin an original embroidery, I am not thinking about "how they did it to me" all those years ago. I am reaching for the frisky girl who despite all the abuse had enough resilience to get through officer training and type blazing fast as a temp all over San Francisco. As for manual dexterity and attention to detail, gee whiz, Molly! When my husband was in ICU, only working with seed beads kept me sane. When my love was gone, I had to do my life. Very close work like Mary's paper cutting, or beads or embroidery -- these are all a kind of meditation. I used to look at church vestments and think of the poor silly nuns who made them. I was wrong; they loved their work! No, Molly is pasting her own life and her own unwelcome take on things over this other life. I admire Abigail Adams, for example, but I would never try to write my own life over hers. In fact, I think this effort cheapens Molly's own life story. There really is no comparison. I don't want Molly's rambling poetic expression and I don't want her life. Just this dear woman from the past.
Shame on audible.com for marketing this to us without offering a way to see the accompanying pictures! I will definitdly not buy the print edition. Go to amazon.com and you will see a similar criticism of the print book. Too much about Molly! I am indeed very glad to have met Mary, however.
I have just re-re-re-listened to this last book we have from Diana Gabaldon in the Outlander saga. I understand the next book is due out this fall, around September 2013! Well it should because this book leaves everyone out of kilter with Claire married to someone else, Young Ian competing with Young Willie for the hand of a wonderful woman, dear Jennie enjoying single life in Philadelphia, Brianna worried sick about her missing menfolk, Lallybroch absolutely humming along in both the seventeenth and the twentieth centuries.
While Gabaldon has disposed finally of Steven Bonnet, other scoundrels come to light. Rollo gets hurt. The Revolutionary war goes on. Ian is able to go from rebel camp to the British camp. I first thought these books were chick lit, but far from it. This author is extremely bright and has done her homework regarding military equipment, actual battles, guns, ships, etc. etc. On the first read I wanted to see what would happen next -- or how soon they would make love again, etc. etc. This time I just enjoyed all the complications of the story. We get to meet Benjamin Franklin and Benedict Arnold, as well as many of the military leaders. I imagine some people like to catch this author up about certain details. I worried a bit about Claire's petticoat with gold dust sewn into the hem, and also her gold acupuncture needles that she needs to help Jamie survive his seasickness. As it happens, they get Rollo back, the needles reappear, and there is enough gold to go on.
The book ends very abruptly. This tells faithful readers that there has to be another one. And Jamie is alive and well, never fear. I hope Gabaldon leaves Claire and Jamie sitting in rocking chairs on their front porch somewhere in their 90's and enjoying their widespread family. While the author does arrange to fill in a reader who hasn't read the earlier books, . . . now would be a good time to begin with OUTLANDER and listen to all the books in sequence. I believe Gabaldon has matured as she wrote. Certainly her characters have. I have. And the whole saga is complex enough that I had forgotten just how things turn out. I love this author, her characters, her books. There could never be a movie made about all this. You have to listen! Enjoy!
I would tell a friend to listen first to Outlander. However, the books do stand alone and are infinitely entertaining. I have been re-listening for the sixth or seventh time to this great story. I had forgotten how many ins and outs it has. Gabaldon is a marvelous story teller. This is not chick lit. Gabaldon knows her history and the masculinity of the huge fight for an independent America is not diminished in ruffled petticoats and cute sunbonnets. There is murder, theft, skulduggery, people moving far away, people disappearing, people reappearing. Near the end, Brianna takes action in a most awesome way.
Some novels make me feel like I need to take a bath. While there is lots of blood and dirt in this book, Gabaldon has a goodness that comes through. I feel happy and good with these characters simply doing what they must. Which of course includes sex, but always in, uh, good taste. I believe I have matured reading and listening to these books. Instead of rushing ahead to see what happens next or to relish the lovemaking, I am admiring how Gabaldon juggles all the characters, planting little hints along the way that blossom into interesting situations over time. I love Ian with his tattoos. I love Roger the scholar with the ruined voice, trying to be a pioneer. I also fell for Malva. Of course Claire and Jamie are real people on my Christmas list. Brianna is amazing, using her engineering knowledge to get running water and matches and other mod cons for her loved ones.
This book is distinguished, I think, by how many people are revealed to be something other than what was supposed. So many ends are tied up. But the story continues. There is another book, An Echo in the Bone, which leaves everything up in the air. And now another book coming in Fall 2013. Will Jamie ever retire? Will someone go back through the stones with a picture book of trains and planes to show him? Will Gabaldon contrive to let them die together, or will she leave them safely retired somewhere? Bless Diana Gabaldon for this excellent entertainment!
#1. I read the print book first. I've read, re-read, listened and re-listened to all of the books. I've sent this book to friends and picked up extra copies to share with people. One friend said she dumped her copy at GoodWill because she didn't like the witchcraft. That was the beginning of the end of that friendship. The "witchcraft" had to do with a longtime custom of Scotland. The author does her research. Unlike other best-sellers, these books make me feel good and clean. I can't believe they are being marketed beside that fifty shades of smut volume. The sex in this book is normal and sweet.
I loved being taken to another place and time. Eating breakfast in a castle. Not knowing what would happen next.
Davina is elegant. She portrays Claire as being quite sharp-tongued. Most Americans could never get away with that, but Claire is tallish, slim, pretty and an ex battlefield nurse, so it all fits.
Deflowering a virgin bridegroom and soon after teaching him the concept of so good it hurts and oooh, don't stop!
There is always more to appreciate in these books. After a few listens, one stops chomping at the bit to see what happens next and relaxes into the ride. Then you enjoy the ride, smell the flowers. Some devotees didn't care for Brianna at first. I personally thought Jamie was a bully and Roger a wimp. With each reading I appreciate more and more how very well Diana handled all her characters and the poignancy of family love across oceans and centuries.
Not an easy listen, but so worthwhile! Maybe the second listen will be better because one knows where it's going. I was not comfortable listening. Things could have gone so many ways. Still, heartbreaking, unforgettable and beautifully written. Jeff Woodman is marvelous.
Castaneda tells us that he approached Don Juan, his shaman guru, to learn about peyote. So his first two books focus on the hallucinogenics; and he admits in this third book that he omitted the philosophy and other instruction from Don Juan which Castaneda discounted as nonsense. Well, I am not going to be using peyote, and I truly appreciated Don Juan's pointers for effective living. Not nonsense at all!
I could identify with Castaneda's always taking notes, always talking, always asking questions. He is a graduate student who usually wears a suit and tie and carries a briefcase. Don Juan sometimes teases him about this. I could not identify with Castaneda's reluctance to talk to plants! The author is really anal at several points! Of course all these years later we are more comfortable with meditation, plant and animal communication, all the concepts of the New Age.
I will be getting the paper book because some nuggets have to be underlined or at least marked with a page corner turned down. Don Juan is evidently quite an old man, and yet he can sit on the ground in such a way that he can stand up in one motion if necessary. He is as strong as he needs to be. He climbs or walks as far as he needs to. Carlos, the author, is often winded or needing to be helped! Don Juan gives several hints about how he stays fit -- for sure not a gym membership!
This book is a must-listen for young and old because it lays the ground for so much more. I should have read it in the '70's, but I was reading the Seth books instead. Don Juan has an excellent attitude toward death, personal history, discipline, readiness. The book ends well at a good stopping place. Carlos does indeed "stop the world" and see the magnificent gridwork that Seth referred to and Stuart Wilde discusses. I wish I had skipped over "Separate" and "Teachings" to jump into this book.
THIS BOOK IS A TERRIBLE LISTEN! Save your credit unless you are intensely interested in this stuff! I will quote a critic of Castenada from the Wikipedia article:
In The Power and the Allegory, De Mille compared The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge with Castaneda's library stack requests at the University of California. The stack requests documented that he was sitting in the library when allegedly his journal said he was squatting in Don Juan's hut. One discovery that de Mille alleges to have made in his examination of the stack requests was that when Castaneda was alleged to have said that he was participating in the traditional peyote ceremony – (the least fantastic of many episodes of drug use that Castaneda described in his books) – he was sitting in the UCLA library and he was reading someone else's description of their experience of the peyote ceremony. Other criticisms of Castaneda's work include the total lack of Yaqui vocabulary or terms for any of his experiences.
[This is the third New Age author I have read that I now believe to be completely phoney. The others are Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, an alleged Tibrtan monk who was actually an old Englishman; and Lyn V. Andrews who thinks you can sweep a cabin floor and create a beautiful and powerful medicine bag from the beads and trinkets in the sweepings! Alas, I bit and read all their books!]
In the first two-thirds of this book, a young man spends time with an old shaman who guides him through elaborate ceremonies to prepare and use peyote and then jimson weed to achieve other realities. In this part of the book, Casteneda removes all his clothes, plays with a dog while high, rubs substances on himself, travels, flies and does terrible things to lizards.
In the last one-third of the book, Castaneda categorizes and generalizes and philosophizes about the hallucinogenic experiences with his teacher. He uses big words and high-flown concepts to dignify it in such a way that his professors were impressed . . . for a few years, at least. THIS BOOK IS THE AUTHOR'S SCHOLARLY THESIS! It was never intended to be popular reading. Get it, folks, this is graduate-level crapola! On the other hand, this may be a valuable anthropological record of shamanic practice and philosophy. But there are many more helpful books today telling how to meditate, how to travel and see things without ingesting hallucinogens, and how to get answers for living. Try Sondra Ray, Louise Hay or my favorite, Stuart Wilde.
Castaneda was very bright and a good writer. I have no respect for his truthfulness nor his spiritual attainments. He died at 72 of cancer. In his later years, he surrounded himself with women. Some of them wrote books. Some of them disappeared soon after he died. The old guy must've been magnetically charming. Total ego trip!
THIS WAS A TOUR DE FORCE FOR THE NARRATOR, LUIS MORENO. Obviously both he and the author are completely bilingual. Luis moves into lovely Spanish when called for. In the complex and boring last third, he slows down to make clear the stacked clauses and complex sentence structure. This material might as well have been the Martinez listings of the San Francisco phone book! Bravo, Luis!
The special afterword written in 1998 on the 30th anniversary of this book is interesting. If you spend your credit on this and get bored, skip to the last 45 minutes.
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