Member Since 2014
You major in literature and you get over 60 and find time to catch up on all the "classics" you should have read. Hey, some of them are a real crock! This is the story I've been waiting for. How I wish my French were good enough to read the original. No wonder the French have taken it to their hearts! Most of us would like to get revenge or prove something. Most of us think we would enjoy unlimited wealth. This story is about a bright and good-looking hero who has been betrayed terribly by his closest friends. He has every reason to want revenge. He comes into great wealth. He gets his revenge very slowly after a decade of preparation. The bad folks are caught mostly by their own evil, even when the hero gives them a chance to improve. This book is delicious! It is set in a period of French history but the same story can be told many ways. Everyone wants a good address, the prettiest girl, plenty of bling-bling. In the first listen you are trying to keep everyone straight. The hero's friends become nobility with fancy titles and you have to recognize all their names. The Wikipedia article on this helped me. In the first listen you're in suspense. In the second listen, you remember being in suspense and hear new details. It must be said that the narration is absolutely top drawer, so good that you don't notice it. I love the way this author describes the decor and clothing. And I love Dumas for not digressing to show off his knowledge of whales or understanding of what went wrong in a certain battle, or any sort of fancy talk to prove he's smart and in the know. He simply tells a wonderful story with many details and many twists and turns. The ending leaves one in a good space, able to imagine all the good characters sailing off into the sunset.
Patience Tomlinson is as fine a narrator as Juliet Stevenson or Davina Porter ever thought of being. I don't know why her talents are being wasted on mediocre chapter books. Except for a few works on history, she is kept working reading ephemeral junk.In this wonderful novel, she sings in French and replicates a couple dozen voices of both sexes and all ages and a range of social ranks and geographical origins. For one of them, it sounds like she was holding her nose! For the high-ranking lady, she takes on a twirpy mispronunciation of ordinary words. She is a howling old man whose son has died. She is a weeping toddler who fell down an incline. She brings the story to life! I'm not a Brit, but I loved and appreciated every bit of it.
And this novel must surely be Ms. Gaskell's masterpiece. Yes, it's about bonnets and petticoats and who is marriagable and how much money they have. It's about sipping tea in drawing rooms, leaving calling cards, and the seeming silliness of early 1800's England that we know from other novelists. It is also about the finest details of conversation, putting people at their ease, smoothing things over, twisting the truth, running guilt trips on others, calling attention to oneself -- in short, all the same features of "social intercourse" that challenge us today. Last week I was bullied, demeaned and contradicted in a church knitting group, my hometown called the armpit of the country and all as sweetly as could be. Never mind that I can knit circles around the others, how do I attain peace and possibly put this nasty woman in her place without making the other sweet Christian ladies uncomfortable? It's a puzzlement! And the same things were going on two centuries ago with huge subtlety.
Gaskell gives us a sweet and bright heroine with a widowed physician father who is also bright and loving. She gives us some interesting people in the nearby town -- two families in large houses and quite a few struggling gentility. Then the physician remarries. The new step-mother has a daughter of her own, also a teen-ager and very beautiful and also loving. But the new step-mother must be one of the most irritating, one of the nastiest women in all literature. A second listen only points up how masterfully Gaskell handles this character. I wanted to say, "Oh, shut up!" And Gaskell uses this character's blathering to build suspense. We want to say enough of all that, what is going on with . . . ?
There are love stories and weddings in the book. Gaskell points up the difference between being physically attractive -- slim and well-dressed, nice on the surface -- and being truly kind, dependable, hard-working and intelligent. Our heroine is very bright, curious and caring. She doesn't play dumb, either. This wins her the prize in the end.
I LOVE THIS BOOK!
This is NOT Tracy Kidder's "House" nor Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek," both of which I loved and which stayed with me and to which I will return. I loved "Ace in the Hole" and bailed from "Accordion Crimes" because it was so sad and negative. Now I will say I don't like Annie Proulx, no matter how brilliant or intellectual she is. She's a pissy old biddy, intent on raining on my parade, injecting as many little digs and sad turns as she can think of! I don't want to hear about this woman's way-back family tree with mis-pronounced French. I don't want to hear the ins and outs of building some crappy house! And I don't want to hear a history of the abuse of wildlife and aboriginal peoples by white settlers. I work to help wildlife, and I'm part Native American. If I want to read PETA literature, I can. If I want to rub salt into all the old wounds, I can go to the history books. Now I've seen pictures of the house and the land arround it. I can only ask where was this woman's head? What happened to "cozy"? In visiting Lisbon, I was touched to learn that in winter time, the Portuguese royal family retreated to just a few low-ceilinged rooms, huddled around huge porcelain stoves. I look at Architectural Digest and think to myself that I wouldn't mind visiting those palaces, but I truly prefer smaller rooms. Now I live in the Lake Tahoe area where windows are double-paned and real estate prices are out of sight. I would not buy even a 900 square foot ski condo without finding out personally what it sounds like when twenty-something skiers (different renters every week, so no way to establish rapport or educate them!) tromp on the stairs just outside. Well, other reviewers have expressed our common frustration better than I can. The book is badly written, part miserable house building and the rest only fair nature observation. I've had it with Proulx.
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!
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