Like the rest of the world, I was very much looking forward to the release of Jonathan Franzen's new novel FREEDOM. In one sense, I was not disappointed, and Franzen continues to prove his writing prowess is no fluke. FREEDOM is chock full of the crazy family dysfunctionality that we grew to love in THE CORRECTIONS, actually a good bit more of it. And that might be the slight problem with this book - too much of it. When sometimes less is more, FREEDOM heaps on nutcase after nutcase.
The characters in this book are very believable and we all know and/or are related to them. We just prefer not to know them too well. Still, I enjoyed this book a lot and would recommend it, but not quite at highly as Franzen's previous and best book.
Based on the ratings and rave reviews I know I am in the minority. However, after listening to 5 hours and 33 minutes I am throwing in the towel. I just cannot listen to another 10 hours plus describing a quest inside a video game. Sorry - just not my cup of tea.
This is one of my favorite books in quite some time. Without repeating the Publisher’s Summary, the story is told in the first person from the point of view of the central character, Park Avenue dentist Paul O’Rourke. It most certainly is an unusual and pleasantly quirky book that caught my attention from the beginning. I wasn’t sure where it was going, but I was captivated and eager to find out.
Brilliantly written, parts of the story are really funny although this book is not a comedy. It questions the existence of God, although it is not a book about religion. With many references to professional baseball, particularly the Boston Red Sox, it is not a book about sports.
Paul O’Rourke’s dental staff consists of three women – his ex-girlfriend and current office manager Connie (O’Rourke never did give her this work title), his hygienist and devoted Catholic Mrs. Betsy Convoy, and Abby; his assistant with whom he works eight hours a day but never converses with. He sees her eyes and feels she is judging him behind her pink paper mask.
In an effort to get to the bottom of the mystery about who created his unwitting online persona; a professional website for his practice, a personal Facebook page, and Twitter account (with lots of activity), Dr. O’Rourke is led down a rabbit hole that causes him to look at just who he is and his purpose in life.
Excellent book and perfectly narrated by Campbell Scott I give it Five Stars across the board. Highly recommended!
Reading the titles and descriptions of the various Jojo Moyes books, one might assume that she is a prolific "chick lit" factory. After finishing The Girl You Left Behind, my second Moyes novel, my experience has thus far been quite to the contrary. This is a well-written, engaging, thoughtful and rich story.
The beginning, set in a French town during the German occupation in WWI, sets the stage for what will become a tale that becomes a legal and ethical dilemma on many levels. "The Girl You Left Behind" is actually a painting of questionable provenance painted during the war one hundred years ago. But it is so much more than just a painting and the woman who was the painting's subject is brought to life and continues to speak many generations later from the canvas where she is enshrined.
Excellent and touching story, well written and well read. Highly recommended.
Ordinarily I do not like to hear an author read his/her own books. Almost always they come across as emotionless and wooden, and one cannot help but wonder why in the world wouldn't a professional WRITER delegate the narration to a professional READER? This is not the case with this book. Ruth Ozeki's reading skills rival that of any I have ever heard. She definitely improves on her written words with her spoken words. Actually I cannot imagine anyone doing a better job than she.
It would seem that the Ruth in this book is the alter-ego of the author, who is drawn to some flotsam on the beach where she finds, among other artifacts, a diary protected within some plastic freezer bags. It soon becomes apparent the diary came from Japan, and although unlikely, possibly from the devastating tsunami of 2011. The diary was written by a Japanese teenager, Nao (not a coincidence that the pronunciation is "Now") who was contemplating suicide. Nao speaks to her reader across an ocean of water and time, and Ruth is drawn deeper into Nao's life. A captivating connection is made between the two through the girl's story, in spite of the chasm of time and space.
This is truly an elegant, lovely, poignant and thought-provoking novel and Ruth Ozeki has proven she is a brilliant author AND narrator. Highly recommended.
Having an awareness in Information Security, I found this book to be entertaining. Certainly Kevin Mitnick, the author/protagonist is not by any means a heroic character. While he asserts he never hacked for financial gain in spite of the fact that he possessed huge amounts of credit card and other "personally identifiable information" the fact remains that he stole intellectual property, personal identities, telephone connectivity, etc. He needed to be caught and incarcerated, which in fact did occur. To him hacking was an addiction, an irresistible urge to beat the system, break through locked doors and unlock security measures designed to defeat him and people like him. Whether or not the listeners of this book believe he is rehabilitated or remorseful, the fact remains that he served time in prison and paid his debt to society.
For me, the value of this book is that it illustrates just how dependent we all are on information systems, and how vulnerable we are to the lax security at the gatekeepers of our most personal information. We need to do a lot better, and hopefully Mr. Mitnick is now helping us as opposed to hacking us.
I found the book engaging from a technical standpoint while it demonstrates just how easy it is for some to steal information, sometimes merely for the asking. As Mitnick stated, "like taking candy from a baby."
I have long looked for this title on Audible and was very pleased when it finally arrived. The story is told in the first person and Claire Danes performs it perfectly with the voice, I believe, that the author intended when she wrote this story.
The progression of the Tale is gradual and engaging, requiring the reader/listener to gather up bits of of carefully placed images and information to put together the picture of this repressive nation. Imagine the Taliban in control of the US government and one gets an idea of the society described in this story. It is very interesting to me that Ms Atwood wrote this book in 1985, long before the world became acquainted with the Taliban, as some of the images are eerily reminiscent of some of their tactics witnessed on TV after the 9/11 attacks.
The Handmaid's Tale comes to a conclusion and the book wraps up with a brilliant epilogue, answering many questions in a surprising and unique fashion.
Certainly not a happy story nor action-packed, but nonetheless wonderful and captivating. Claire Danes' performance is flawless.
I found this book to be unremarkable and predictable. The prose was bland, the characters formulaic and the outcome foreseen.
The author sets this novel amid the recent Wall Street financial meltdown, opening the story with the apparent suicide of a major hedge fund manager on the eve of the long Thanksgiving weekend. The ensuing tale takes place over the weekend, filling in back story, painting the picture of the Darling family who are tied to this fund and its principal. Throw in a few crooked lawyers and SEC officials and you have pretty much the material upon which this book is constructed.
This book is not terrible, and I did find myself at times wanting to listen more just to see how it turns out. However there were no surprises. The writing was mediocre and I was unsatisfied with the ending.
Sam Harris left no stone unturned explaining his thesis that
This was an interesting book and of the genre that doesn't normally attract me. However, it passed the simplest true test for me - it made me look forward to listening more and more.
Although narrated in the third person, it is told as if the author is just over the shoulder of Tom Ripley. It is a subtle seduction where the reader/listener, observing this character soon gets the notion that something isn't quite right with this guy. He engages in some bizarre behavior, that at first might seem to be harmless mischief, but hints at some deeper psychosis. Before long, we are given glimpses into Ripley's thought processes, and any doubts about his sanity are erased.
Tom Ripley travels to Europe at the request of the wealthy father of one of his
I downloaded this book because of the good reviews and high customer ratings. I was not disappointed and was actually very impressed with the depth, humility, and intelligence of this memoir. Rob Lowe is so much more than just a pretty face. His writing is solid and articulate. His reading is perfect and I had no idea he was such a good impersonator. He nails every voice from Carey Grant to Robert Wagner, including spot-on mimics of Patrick Swayze, Christopher Walken, Matt Dillon, Bill Clinton, Francis Copolla and more.
This is a book that you do not want to stop listening to, whether or not you are a fan of Rob Lowe.
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