Member Since 2014
First of all, the narrator is a real artist, replicating all the voices and singing several songs. He can sound like Paul Robeson, a Russian countess, ordinary Australian blokes, ordinary Americans, Orientals of both sexes and every class from royalty to gangsters, and on and on. For long periods, he doesn't forget that he is one of the secondary characters telling a story. This performance is transparent and seamless.
The events of the book will take you from an island off Australia, to the Korean War, all over the Far East, and to rougher parts of the United States. Courtenay's outlook is global. If you can get through all the mud and blood of the Korean War, including serious wounds and a long time of miserable imprisonment, you will be rewarded with exotic locales and ultimate love and fulfilment. There's never a dull moment. Courtenay knows about race relations. In this story, a white Aussie soldier and a black American soldier become fast friends. They go into business together along with a most mysterious and wonderful older woman. While there are bad characters and bad things do happen, Courtenay is essentially optimistic. Even in prisoner of war camp, there are angels. The book is about brotherly love, excellence, intelligence, business sense. I feel like I know these people; if I could just buy the plane ticket, I could go see them. As my own immediate previous life was as a banker's daughter in China in the early 1900's, I could see, feel and smell the Shanghai and Hong Kong scenarios. The banker's daughter had to support younger siblings however she could. . . . Excellence is sexy; fluency in several languages is sexy; silk cheongsams and exotic cooking are very sexy. Ditto working hard and making lots of money, helping others, improving government policy, loving one another. Courtenay's book is inspiring and entertaining. It has a good balance of colorful description and fast action. It ties up all the tag ends of plot and ends well.
How I wish these audio books could be rated for their "feel-good" or encouraging or uplifting quality, for intelligent content that is HOPEFUL! I like this author and enjoyed her Ace in the Hole. I've gotten Shipping News and already saw the film. Ditto Brokeback Mountain. And the other book, the autobiographical one. Now I'm one-third into this thing with an aching tooth, deadlines to meet, 20 pounds to lose before a planned surgery, documents to find and letters to write -- do I want to hear how everyone who ever owned this accordion came to a bad end? I love American history and Annie has some good material here, but . . . sheesh! For sure she is not Walt Whitman!
So I'm writing this little review to warn others and to praise the narrator. Stechschulte -- if I can spell his name okay -- is bloody marvelous! He gets all the accents, various languages, all ages, both sexes and he even sings. I will watch for him in choosing my future listens.
This book is about dust and sweat and bad smells, so I didn't expect to like it so much. Now after the second listen, I admire author and narrator more than ever. With a mom born in Grand Prairie and husband born in Pampa, I needed to read it. The beginning is a bit slow. Once Bob is settled in with his uncle and later in his job, the story settles in with flashbacks, characters telling stories, Bob's reading which touches on history, and all kinds of instructive detours and delays. Someone bored by descriptions will just have to get over it. Anyone put off by gay people, ditto, though the most important characters are hetero. I sent a print copy to my friend, thinking she would enjoy the descriptions of food. Stechschulte is a marvelous narrator -- right up there with Humphrey Bower, Davina Porter and Juliet Stevenson. He gets the accent just right, and his women are as believeable as the men. . . . I'll never forget the Dutch windmill expert who washed and ironed his shirts in camp and died a millionaire. Or the old Indian going to live with his daughter. This is great American literature. Thank you, Annie!
Wow! I can't believe all the brats who found these lectures boring or unhelpful, etc. I thought the material followed along nicely, was most interesting and quite helpful. The narration is clear. This material helps me understand not only myself but also other people. I would have enjoyed some "fur instances" because that's how my own brain works. When I hear a general rule, my thoughts wander off to examples. Maybe I enjoyed this because I'm an old lady. I had bouncing good energy as a youngster, and I'm still fit and feisty. However, I am noticing levels of energy which fluctuate. After a bus accident in which I was slammed several feet, I hadn't the energy to dispute with a do-gooder woman who ferried me to the doctor, grocery and drug store. She had an agenda, which I realized but I hadn't the strength to protest. As I healed, my unique personhood began to emerge. I told her how grateful I was. Alas, the friendship didn't last. She said I was a "user."
These lectures gave me priceless insight into something dramatic that happened recently. I was communicating by email with some people who care about wildlife. They are planning a gift for someone. I gave my ideas about the gift and was told that people had already donated toward the hefty pricetag and nothing could be changed. I commented that it looked like an ego trip on their part. Before it was over, I snapped and put together four very bad words, applying them to this lah-di-dah bear-lover person and her group. I was the only one of the group who actually moved to Tahoe to volunteer. The rest may be donating, but I depleted my nestegg to move, and I am the one who shovels the poop. Still, I refuse to dispute with other bear-lovers. Before it was over, I had bailed from the group, unfriended 9 people and 2 groups on FaceBook. I know how kids feel when they're bullied on FB. Empty and sick at heart, with few options. . . . I had been wondering why I snapped the way I did. I hated being belittled for being low-income because I'm educated; I have a good background: Sunday school, good grades, college, military, and work all my life. One of the people sided with the drama queen, comforting her to just "consider the source." The source? Yeah, me. So what happened? What happened was that all this happened late at night and I live in subsidized housing with a complete Nazi for a manager. Just living here with cameras up and down the halls, manager playing favorites, all manner of "nonsense and hoo-rah," is what happened. I am trying to preserve this precious energy and use it for creative work and doing my life, interacting with knitting and wildlife and church friends. I have detached as much as possible from the apartment community, receiving packages at a commercial facility and doing laundry up the street. When I have to go near Manager's office, I wear sunglasses and speak as little as possible. I may wave or pat a special friend on the shoulder. They know who they are. So this is how it happened. Those four bad words seemed to come out of nowhere. I have never before used them like that.
So, it appears that I need to 1) eat breakfast, 2) get enough sleep, 3) carry good nibbles, especially protein, 4) close down in the evening and turn off the computer, don't make any big decisions and don't go online and buy anything! Also to challenge myself in the ways suggested, to strengthen self-control. The material about interactions with people of other races is wonderful and challenging. It will take more listens. Thank you, Dr. DeWall!
Yes, it ends well but is terribly depressing in spots where other writers will shift gears, turn to some bright spot on the horizon. No, Gaskell just rubs salt in all the wounds of hard work, long hours, no food, no money, sick family members, worn old clothes hanging on long-faced hungry people. It helped me to realize this is my/our history! This is why so many emigrated! And how far we've all come with our labor unions, better laws, social work, more educational opportunities, apprenticeships. This book captures the horror of the ruined woman, the street walker, addicted to alcohol. It contrasts working class misery with opulence in the homes of the mill owners where there is plenty to eat and servants to keep everything clean, tend to large and attractive wardrobes. Mary Barton works as a seamstress. I am about to list a vintage ruffled silk shawl to sell online and deciding what price to ask. It is entirely hand-sewn with a French label. Modern women are struggling to learn to hand-roll a silk scarf -- or using their machines! I will not under-value this lovely thing!
Of course Ms. Stevenson reads the book wonderfully, making good sense of the somewhat old-fashioned sentence structure. She got the accents, too. She sounds like my friend, Anne, who is from Yorkshire. Well, duh, of course, because this novel is set near there. I will gladly listen to anything she reads!
This is a gutsy novel! Gaskell takes us to court and shows her characters suffering all their various anxieties that people still feel when they must appear in court in any role at all. A great city has villages; at least I know that Madrid, Spain and San Francisco do. The great trial has people venturing out of their little daily routines and traveling great distances, having to look good in an unaccustomed situation, having to speak up to their "betters!" I looked up this author. She must have known Jane Austen's work. George Eliot was a contemporary. Gaskell was a minister's daughter who married a minister. So she had books, newspapers and good talk around her. I look forward to more good listens. This author is well worth-while!
I really loved Jen Sincero's Smart Ass book read by her. I was uplifted by it so that I sent off for the print copy. That book helps me! This book is not read by the author but by someone else with a harsh tough brassy sound. This unhelpful book is written by a smartass and read by one. And I'm smart enough to know when to bail.
The author is attractive and bright, but she uses her gifts to get off in a way. I did not want some kind of stand-up comedy; I wanted a modern etiquette book. Ms. Amy is simply trying to show the world what a happening chick she is! Someone past the half-century mark should aim higher. The book rambles, is inconsistent and is badly organized. I have some real questions about good manners, but I seriously doubt that I will find my answers by finishing this totally stupid book. And no, it is NOT a good listen! It's irritating! One minute she's pretending to be oh so kind and compassionate. The next, she's a total bitch and truly hateful.
Enough about bleeping FB and texting and what started to be a good chapter on dating services. I would ask what to do in senior housing when the 78-year-old upstairs drops her free weights at 3 a.m. and HER next door neighbor suffers with the headboard banging on the wall, telling me, "He must be using Viagra -- they always do it four times a night!" And the clueless management hasn't the guts to tell the woman what will happen if she doesn't shape up. I would ask what about people who want to appear to do good things but don't want to take the training and actually show up to pick up the poop -- in this case wildlife rehab. What about a neighbor who stands in the flower bed to peek in your window thereby violating California Penal Code, so Management puts out a little memo saying it's not nice to peek in windows! What about bear lovers who set up a secret room on FB to discuss their exclusive crapola and leave a person out who should be in? What about magnificently educated and accomplished senior citizens who are discredited, discounted and refused because of their low income? How to dress for success out of K-Mart and thrift shops? Well, happening chick? Will it be navy blue and fake pearls -- or what!
I'm outta here! Maybe my review will be more entertaining than this whole damned book!
First of all, the dog is not clear about why his master was such a loser. The Poles I've met are clear-headed and hard-working. While the approach of the story is "interesting," that doesn't make it a good read! Sad beginning, sad ending, and way too many authoritarian figures who don't like dogs or pets or kids. Could've thrown in a Russian, a famous painting, a lot of drugs, more words -- and gotten the Pullitzer! Bah, humbug!
I love this woman and all her good work! She reads her own material very well. Her voice sounds young and musical. I was already planning to get the print book so I can underline, bend down pages, and see references to other works. This is a book to be eaten for breakfast with soymilk and raisins! I can't say enough about using this resource and all the suggestions if you want healing or just a happier life. Louise Hay seems like the gentle older sister of Jen Sincero (of Bad Ass fame). I love them both. Over and over they both say "Yes, you can!" "You deserve!" and "Just DO it!"
My problem was with the last half hour or so when Louise reads the appendices, meditations on different themes, with the worst piano accompaniment imaginable! Oh, but wait! I play piano and have to say the music is okay. It flows. It's trying to be pretty. It's in tune. It was probably composed with great love. Just that it's excruciatingly harsh and loud and DETERMINED TO DROWN LOUISE OUT!!! Maybe the recording engineer was "on" something! I could not finish. Maddening. Torture. If I knew any secrets, I would have spilled them for sure!
I've been trying for 50 years (as an adult) to get my life together. I've read all the books and when I could remotely afford to, I went to seminars and airy-fairy weekends. This youngster comes along and in just a couple of hours gives me back a condensed version of all this wisdom in a way that made me want to -- uh, do the rest of my life like I mean it and tell it like it is. I'm selling on eBay and after a power outtage my computer would not start. I called around and was called "Ma'am" in a way that meant disrespect and told I need a new computer. I finally found someone who said he would replace the starter button for $20, but he did not call back as promised and got upset when I called to check on his progress. Three days went by. I am churning with Jen's awesome input about quit telling your stories (my car broke down; my computer runs Windows XP; I was the family scapegoat; I'm low-income; I'm probably too old and too fat, etc.) and take charge! Decide! Get up and do it! Well, then she offers many ways to get up and do it! She offers all kinds of easy strategies to "get there" from here, break it down into doable chunks, if you're really up for the trip. I tried a little meditation, asked God what to do with my Friday, and called the computer guy to say I want it today, fixed or not. When I got there, he gave me hell and watched me carry the huge CPU out to my car. I drove to another storefront which purported to be woman-owned. This precious Minnie Driver look-alike admired my old computer, got busy and gave me a "veterans discount." The shop was busy. I was happy to wait, thinking without the inspiration of Jen's neat book, I'd have been a victim and never met this wonderful computer goddess! Turned out she's the single mom of a two-year-old. She jumped out of an airplane at Burning Man to marry her true-love in 2008. They had crossed the country to live out west. He died two years ago sky-diving, may not have met his daughter. His widow keeps going, using what she learned from him to run his computer repair shop. And completed jobs are lined up on a shelf with their cords wound neatly on top of invoices ready for pick-up by pleased owners! It feels SO MUCH better to push out love and admiration than to sit grumbling in the gutter! . . . Jen says to envision, to dream. I know I don't have the money to travel; seen a lot already; I'm probably washed up for travel. Oh, no! They were talking on NPR about travel on the Dalmatian Coast which my parents had loved. Suddenly I listen with new ears thanks to Jen; I really want to see all that, try the foods, walk on the beaches! . . . The computer lady is going to install upgrades for me. Then I can do FB. If I still want to! Meanwhile some people ganged up on me in a FB group. It really hurt. I lost friends. I had the clarity to see their silly games and bail -- take care of myself, move on!
This is a powerful book! Jen has heard all the excuses. She knows all the traps. She talks fast giving all kinds of ideas in a great tumble of words. She touches on all kinds of problems that can hang us up for months or years. I have been diagnosed depressed and have kicked my meds. I know about depression, family pressure, music performance anxiety. Jen offers help for all these things. She has had the courage in her own life to try all sorts of wild and crazy things. She uses the F-word. As do I. To hell with people who turn off their ears and brains, stopped by a couple of word choices! She's had her own rock band and been to India. She has a website. Go see, watch her spiel on the home page. I believe a listen to this book would lift someone of any age, either sex, any body type, any ethnicity -- anyone who is not having the life they had hoped for. And I'm only on the second listen. Thank you, Jen! I love you!
I got this book in hopes it would help me deal with my subsidized senior housing manager when it's time for recertification. I can't afford to live anywhere else. Most people who rent can manage to get along with their landlord. I certainly have over 50 years at 17 addresses. This is very different. This woman says "might-could" and "would've went" and thinks every car has a Cadillac converter! She knows nothing of right and wrong -- only who she likes, who she doesn't like, and what she can get away with! A sappy faith-based organization hired her and now provides no guidance at all. They have ignored my certified letters. The annual crunching of numbers to determine next year's rent will take place mid-November. And continue into the New Year! Torture by paperwork! I am educated and a military veteran. I have an ideal regarding respect and even-handed treatment of everyone. In the military we are Sergeant Jones and Major Smith. Everyone has a job adding up to defense of our country. Last year I finally got a sizable settlement from a VA case. I had to disclose it to the manager during recertification. She had no idea how to handle it. I suggested she present the question to her superiors. I insisted I did not want it treated as gambling winnings because the VA had garnished my government checks by mistake. The money had always been mine. She turned to her assistant and commented, "This one gets a little money and she gets all excited!" . . . I still have nice things, though a low income. The manager goes into people's units when they are out. She gave away the television set in our front room to a favorite. I have received three written "lease violations," the most recent for using profanity! This was on the word of one of her favorites, pure hearsay. I do get extremely frustrated at times, and I am convinced the F-word has its good uses.
As I listen to this smart-aleck, fast-talking narrator make it all sound like a piece of cake, I am getting a headache and while the listen has shown me how "un-safe" my manager feels, I don't know how to tell her I am not judging her bad English. I married a man who used sub-standard English when he was weary -- but he was honest and had a heart of gold! That is the difference! I have discovered this woman in blatant lies; she enjoys creating upset and uncertainty. She gets off on creating stress, tightening rules, fixing new requirements. She calls residents in to sign a many-paged new lease without telling us what changes have been made! I have vowed handle that differently next time.
The book gives examples of behavior and dishonesty that I think are exaggerated. If I cut someone off in traffic, it's a coordination problem -- not that I'm a jerk! And I would be sorry, not rationalizing like crazy. The people in some of the examples are really bad.
I think these ideas will help me deal with a pissy woman in the knitting group. I feel sure it would help anyone holding a job, in a marriage or close relationship, or a homeowner with problem neighbors. Then again, this manager uses the cameras she has placed everywhere to micro-manage the maintenance man. I've no idea what he would do. No, I'm glad if the book helps all those brittle yuppies having their conferences. [I did flash on a lawyer I tried to work for who mumbled and scribbled, such that nobody really knew what he wanted, and evidently nobody had the guts to tell him just that.] I'll probably listen to the rest. For now, I'm bailing and will go back to old-fashioned techniques like meditation and exercise to cope.
I am a Rumer Godden fan, and this book did not disappoint! The general plot is classic: a misfit kid that nobody really understands or wants, do-gooders, "social services," prejudice and preconceived notions of the good life and how kids should be brought up. The little girl is a gypsy in England many years ago. Gypsies continue to challenge people all over the world! In Spain they beg pitifully, whining on the subway stairs, holding a sedated half-grown "baby" in their lap. I have heard of kidnapping and medical imprisonment of an adult in Northern California where the alleged gypsy perps have obscure foreign names, light skin and impressive credentials. Pretty scarey! In this story, it would be easy to judge the "nice" people who try to take charge of the child without contaminating their own lives. I enjoyed learning some of the different attitudes of the gypsies -- cleanliness rules akin to keeping kosher! This would be great family listening, maybe on a road trip. There's a little girl whose precious grandmother has died, rough and disgusting relatives who steal the treasures and burn the grandma's caravan, a rich and handsome Englishman, a dear old horse named Joe, way too many new clothes, nice people at the school, and one brave young woman who actually has an extra bedroom and agrees to give the child a home. And a delicious slowly-emerging romance that will take care of everything for this little girl. In the listen, we learn that men can indeed cook and clean very well -- and not to pour gasoline on a fire. Also that brown people aren't dirty -- a loving God made them that way and it won't wash off! -- and differences are just that, differences, not better or worse. But Rumer Godden doesn't preach; she didn't say all that; I did. Rumer Godden wrote a very nice book. Enjoy!
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