I have to admit, I was engaged with this book for a large part of the time because the writing was solid. The story is unusual and clearly opened up a lot of questions as i read. The situation compelled me to examine my values in its exposition. But it fell short because the characters were too one dimensioal. I never really got to know them which made me not get involved in their struggle. There were so many good elements there but they just didn't connect for a satisfying read. I also felt like the narrator was pretty lifeless.
I found myself smiling at the strange juxtaposition of walking on a ferry (with all the various activities that go into loading a boat) and the narration of this book as I did so. It was comical because this book ought to be accompanied by a symphony playing while you listen to the exquisite writing that emerges as you put together the very unusual story. Sarah Waters has the gift of language combined with the ability to lay out a story in a way that pulls you in at every page.
And then there is Juliet Stevenson whom I consider the very best narrator at Audible. I think she might be able to read the phone book and I would listen -- but know this isn't the phone book so the combination is riveting. Not to be missed.
I started to write that anybody over 50 ought to read this book, but that isn't true - everybody ought to read this book and wrestle with the idea of the end of life either for ourselves or our parents. Gawande is a superb researcher, a clear writer and he never loses the reader as he educates us about the american way of the end of life. A must read.
This book chronicles a wonderful story about a chance encounter between a homeless boy and a magazine executive. Unfortunately, the writing is so weak, including grammatical errors, that I couldn't concentrate on the compelling nature of the story. It should have moved almost by itself - just needed a really good editor. Not my favorite.
I don't remember how I found this book, but it popped into my life and, as soon as I finished it, I started it all over again. I know now that I have many other Toibin books that will sustain me through the dark PNWest winter which makes me very happy.
First of all, the narration on this is phenomenal. I had thought it was more than one person until I went back to check. Fiona Shaw makes this novel come alive and Colm Toibin gives her a lot to work with - beautifully drawn characters, simple but compelling story line and an undercurrent of sorrow turning to coping turning to joy. I loved it.
I have liked Jane Smiley in the past - A Thousand Acres was one of my all time favorites. This story is SO slow, so cumbersome and so full of unnecessary detail that I want to scream from the sidelines - "Jane, get on with it!" The premise that she would think her characterization of a child's view of the world would sustain us for a very long time was, in my mind, not a good calculation. I didn't even want to finish this. That doesn't happen very often with me.
I never would have read the first one of Rob Lowe's books but I did because my daughter told me I would like it. I loved that one. This one not so much -- I still think he is a great writer and his self-effacing manner in regards to describing his life is so delightful, so one might say "what is there not to love?" It's the story - he preaches a bit too much. He took a good thing and stretched it too thin on another attempt. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for him because I learned quickly in his first book that he is waaaay more than just a pretty face, but this one didn't measure up.
I loved this book. I am not sure I can articulate everything about why,but I will try -- it is a wonderful story and pulls in many,many layers of human angst and resolution at just the right time while keeping the story line sane and magical at the same time. Ruth Ozeki reads it beautifully (not always the case with authors) and the characters are well drawn with a clear and significant plunge into new worlds. It was this - the fact that the book took me to another world. that captivated me
The fall season is a good time to be transported to another place while a transition is happening before our eyes. Don't miss this one.
I enjoyed this book, but I wouldn't ever recommend it to anyone. I enjoyed it because I wanted to have more of an insight into Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and thought starting with their marriage was a good beginning. So it was a very personal motivation and it succeeded in that the book does chronicle the marriage, poke into many of the rumors and paint the two main characters as noteworthy to be sure. BUT I now expect my non-fiction forays to be told by a good story teller - I guess I am spoiled, but this book just sort of loped along and relied on its facts rather than its art.
While I have had some good reads this spring, nothing compares to the joy I have experienced in reading this beautifully written book. One of the first things I thought of when I finished it is that I have to start all over again sometime so I can stop thinking about the content and just bask in its exquisite language and imagery.
I have read numerous books about World War II and the ones I have liked will stay in my memory for a long time. I have not listened to one as good as The Book Thief until this book, however - funny how they both center on a child's perspective. From the thoughtful characterization to the masterful unfolding of the plot, this is a book that cries out for you to download it right away.
I have read a lot of John Irving - some very good, some not so good. My favorite book of all time is A Prayer for Owen Meany. He can't write another one of those and I knew that when I started this book. Nonetheless, the characters are very well drawn, quirky, very human and quite Owenesque. I liked this book, the story is solid but it was missing the tight, clearly crafted writing that I think of when I think of Irving. I am glad I read it, but I am not going to run out and tell everybody to read it.
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