I'm not sure what I expected, but I found this book to be cloyingly sentimental and saccharine. Though certainly ugly in parts it still managed to be continuously and relentlessly sweet -- pitting flawless, angelic rescurers, fighting impossible odds against pure, totally perfect, irredeemable badness. Probably that says something more about me than about the book, but I just found it only vaguely interesting and predictable. My bias is toward books -- fiction or non-fiction -- about imperfect people, with all their flaws, that struggle and in the end become somewhat better. Mind you if you are looking for a basically uplifting, hopeful book then you'll probably really enjoy this.
The Once and Future King is in places a great book but definitely could have benefited from a thorough application of "less is more". I was enthralled in places and then bored or frustrated in others. Here perhaps is the first book I've read that I might actually prefer a well abridged version.
It seems that audio isn't the best format for this style of book -- basically a collection of short essays about events and people around the time of the French Revolution. This was another problem, many of the essays were in the same period but seemed to have no other connection to the French Revolution, the supposed topic of the book. I'm a little sympathetic to the narrator who can't totally be blamed for the dry reading, because he was essentially reading an encylopedia -- probably not the easiest material to turn into riveting audio.
When I first listened to this reading of A Brave New World -- not having read it in 20 or 30 years -- I was actually very disappointed. Later, I stumbled upon some comparisons of ABNW and 1984 and was confused a bit by the possibility that some people consider the former the "better" book. So, I tried again and I realized that it was totally the preformance of the book that put me off. The narration of this edition comes across as too much Monty Python for my tastes and I wanted a darker more ominous delivery.
I don't think there is anything necessarily wrong with the narration, many reviewers have raves for Michael York. It just isn't what I imagine in my own mind and it bothered me and threw me off for most of the book. So I came away thinking ABNW was a really bad book but it isn't, it is a great book, just delivered here with, to my mind, a grating style.
The interesting take away for me is understanding the impact a narrator has on the quality and feel of a book, kind of obvious really. The difference for me is that the quality of the narration is good but it just does't suit the book -- if that makes sense. Maybe I'm just a dummy for having to listen to 800 books before realizing that :D
Still, I highly recommend this wonderful book with its "interesting" choice of narration.
To be honest there isn't anything very special about Rebel Buddha. The main reason I personally enjoyed it as much as I did was because of the ideas and philosophy of Buddhism more than the writing or performance of the book. Rebel Buddha is just another retelling of teachings and stories of the Buddha, only somewhat modified with a pop culture flavour -- for example relating chewing gum to the understanding of emptiness. For anyone interested in learning about Buddhism Rebel Buddha is very pleasant and understandable and there are many wonderful ideas contained in its pages for those prepared to go to the effort of becoming "enlightened".
A dog's purpose was a lot like reading a series of short anecdotes in Readers Digest as written by a personified dog. It was cute and relatable and anyone with a dog at some point in their life will recognize every moment as one they shared with their dog. The twist in the story adds a bit of interest for awhile.
Overall, it reminded me of being curled up on the floor being read to by my elementary school teacher and of what it might be like to sip an entire container of maple syrup.
There isn't a lot of depth but it obviously fills some sort of need for people based on the glowing reviews. I found it pretty flat and requiring no effort on the part of the reader -- which is good if that is what you're looking for.
Zombie novels are a favourite of mine but I found Day by Day Armageddon rather dull -- nothing new to be found here, and what is here is basically average. It was more of a manual on the logistics of survival among rampant Zombie hordes than a novel with well developed characters and an interesting plot. I think part of the problem was the first person narrative/journal format. Aside from being kind of gimmicky, I found it made it really difficult to get to know any other characters. An author digs a big hole for themselves to get out of when they go with this kind of format unless the work is really focused on getting deep in the thoughts and experiences and feelings of the character, which didn't happen here.
I thought Jay Snyder did a good job narrating until it came to characterizing voices -- which he didn't really need to do because the story was delivered as a journal so would have been better read using the one voice of the main character writing the journal. But maybe that is nitpicking. The point is, he has a great reading voice and pace but fails miserably when it comes to voicing certain characters.
In a way maybe I don't actually like zombie novels as much as I think I do because the majority are essentially the same and I feel the same way. What I actually like are different, "literate" zombie novels with well written characters and a solid plot -- for me, this is not one of those.
I'm not sure why I keep doing this -- wanting to like books in certain genres, for example, spies and espionage. The Company is probably a great book in its genre but it didn't really do it for me. Although very well written and researched and well performed by Scott Brick I wanted to really love it but rather found it kind of cliche and predictable.
I would have really liked this book when I was 14. Not so much now, but I can understand how fantasy genre fans would really enjoy it. It never strays from the basic swords and creatures fantasy formula in any respect -- the characters are generic, the world is generic, the dilemmas and challenges are generic. Definitely nothing new or interesting here in my opinion, but fun nonetheless.
The book is written well enough but I find the implausible, speculative conclusions rather a stretch -- interesting and relatively fun to listen to though.
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