For some reason, I actually like this better than the first book. I find Becky's plight in this book somehow more relatable, and she's a bit quicker and smarter in her response to the situation. Emily Gray's narration is still spot on.
Yes. Each chapter made me feel like I was being read a bedtime story, and I'd love to revisit that experience.
I've listened to Gaiman's reading of his Neverwhere and parts of the full-cast American Gods. There's nothing quite like listening to his characters from his voice. Add in the bedtime story feel, and it's brilliant.
Actually, no. This book benefits from being listened to by chapter as each is a self-contained story (though there is a larger arc, of course).
Yes--and I have to my parents. (They liked it a lot.) This book is just wonderful, and the narration makes it such a pleasure to listen to. This may come across as a backhanded compliment, but I don't mean it in that way: It's like the very best chick lit, but for men too.
Most of the characters and situations in the book are a bit one-dimensional and familiar as quaint English village types, but somehow the book transcends that with the two main characters who are both much more interesting than they originally appear.
I'm so glad I listened to this book before seeing the movie. While I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, the book is much better, and the narration is mostly fantastic. I wasn't as fond of the narrator for Skeeter's parts of the books--her interpretation of Aibileen and Minnie felt off to me--but overall very good. The book, for me, takes a more complex look at the reality of the time period than the film.
I originally read American Gods years ago, not long after it came out. It was my introduction to Neil Gaiman, and I loved it. When the 10th anniversary edition came out, I was quick to snatch it, but when I saw this full cast production, I decided to listen instead of reread in print. It was my first, and thus far only, experience with a full cast production. For me, it was perfect. The main narrator was solid, the voice casting struck me perfectly throughout the story, and the "Coming to America" stories, narrated by Gaiman himself, were possibly my favorite part.
Listening to this version of the book reminded me of listening to old radio programs with my mom (though this has some considerably racier bits than I remember from that!), and while I love solo narration dearly, this form felt perfect for this book.
This is not a perfect book, whatever my rating may indicate. Some readers will, rightly, be put off by the lists of videogames, writers, books, movies, tv shows, arcade games, and etc. throughout the book. Some readers will, rightly, point out that while the book continually says it's about 80s pop culture, it includes many references from the 70s, 90s, and 2000s. (This perhaps actually says more about our need to put things in boxes than it does about the writer/writing.) Some readers will, rightly, want a bit more critical reflection on the dystopian world of the novel. (These readers should immediately check out Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood.)
However, this reader found this book to be pure entertainment with excellent narration. I invented excuses to do things like mow the lawn or go on extra walks with my dog so I could keep listening. I certainly understand and even agree with much of the criticism I've seen of the book, but ultimately, it doesn't claim to be a Great Book that will change the course of the western literary tradition; it's a fun, futuristic novel that will stroke the right touch of nostalgia for anyone with even one tiny bit of geek hidden away somewhere.
The narrator of this book has an actual Scottish accent. It's not really that strong, all things considered, but for my American ears, it took a good 15 minutes before I was able to really understand what was going on, and probably an hour before I was completely accustomed to the accent. Once I adapted, though, the narration added so much value to my experience of the book.
I love Shakespeare, but I am by no means a purist. I love adaptations that move the plays into new times and places, and I adored 10 Things I Hate About You when it came out. (I still like it, though it's not quite the masterwork I thought at 18.) This is one of the more fascinating adaptations I've experienced, and Macbeth is really ripe for this kind of interpretation. As the writers point out in the preliminaries, the motivations of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in the play are difficult to pin down. This book tries to imagine what could have caused their actions.
Some readers may find the depiction of the Weird Sisters a bit much. I did, to some extent, but I also enjoyed that they were given a prominent, distinctly female role that left me unable to pin down how I felt about them, their actions, or their real part in the tragedy.
I haven't listened to the other audio version of this book, but the performances of Hope & Lefkow are outstanding. Since they were both inhabiting the same characters, I was particularly impressed that I wasn't irritated by Lefkow's interpretation of a character vs. Hope's. It was one of the best multiple narrations I've heard.
I enjoyed the story for the most part, though I didn't absolutely love it. I found the idea compelling but also offputting in a way I couldn't quite get over.
Tina Fey is a fantastic writer, narrator, and--from what I can tell--person. I often enjoy listening to authors read their work, and Fey is one of the best I've heard.
I loved the critical reflection Fey engaged in throughout the book. I was probably most engaged in her commentary on motherhood. I wish all moms could somehow be forced to listen to her advice. Really I just want to make every woman I know read this book and follow Fey's advice that we should try to be a bit nicer to one another.
A friend recommended this, then un-recommended it because of my aversion to sad dog stories. (It's not that I don't like them, it's just that I don't like crying.) I ended up listening to this anyway because the conceit of a dog as narrator pulled me in, and I thought maybe listening would be better than reading on my own. On that count, I was wrong, as this accounted for the second time in recent months I've literally cried while running. My dog, who was running with me, even noticed this time and seemed a bit concerned.
This book is on the surface about a dog who wants to be a man. I think it's about what it means to be human--what it means to be a good human, anyway. If most of us humans could be as observant and wise as Enzo, the world might be a more enjoyable place to live.
The narration is very good; the only thing that bothered me was the voice of a young girl, and I don't think that's easy for any narrator I've heard.
Laugh Out Loud
Mindy Kaling is very, very funny, and I loved hearing her take on her life and experiences. Is it the best book I've ever read? No, but it's a delightful audiobook, and I embarrassed myself while running with my dog and listening to it.
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