San Francisco, CA | Member Since 2010
If you are a foodie or food history buff, you will enjoy this book. It's fascinating in its detail of kitchen equipment, appliances, and so on. It reminded me, in a way, of Bill Bryson's "At Home," another excellent book about the history of the home. It's a good read.
I'm a huge fan of every Dave Robicheaux novel that Burke has written. If I have one tiny quibble with this one, it's that more than a few times while listening, I thought, whew, this is getting really dark. The character of Asa Surette, as brilliantly brought to life by Will Patton, is one of the creepiest characters I've ever encountered in fiction. But overall, the book is excellent, and Patton's reading is nearly flawless -- I say "nearly," because along with another reviewer, I feel his voice for Gretchen doesn't quite work, and because Clete just doesn't sound like the Clete in my head, though I've made my peace with it. If you're a fan, don't hesitate to get this audiobook; if you're new to Burke -- start at the beginning! I totally envy you for what you have ahead of you.
I enjoyed this book, though I understand the criticism of it. I don't necessarily agree with all the criticism that says Grissom plays off stereotypes -- I think she does a little more complex job than stereotypes. The characters, white and black, are complex and nuanced, and the slaves' characters and attitudes, I thought, were a far cry from Bojangles or Stephan Fetchit. They understood their situation, they found ways to cope, but were devastated when families were broken up or other horrific things happened. The main character, Lavinia, skirts the edges of being unlikeable at some points, making her a bit more complex. All that said, I do think the story was melodramatic in that so many kinds of unhappiness and abuse are woven into the story that at times it became somewhat hard to swallow. Marshall, in particular, seemed to be a flat character, going completely black upon his return to Tall Oaks, doing a complete about-face as far as Lavinia was concerned. I also grew irritated that so much of the plot turned on one character or another overhearing the conversation of others -- as a plot device, I felt it was overused. The two narrators were terrific -- the women voicing the stories of Lavinia and Belle were right on, very believable. They made the book for me. It's a page-turner, that's for sure. But you may have a bit of trouble buying it all.
I haven't finished listening yet, but I already know what I'm going to say. I enjoyed "The DaVinci Code," but this is almost unlistenable to me. The narrator's fine, and does a great job, but I'm sorry -- Dan Brown is such a horrible writer that you have to be able to totally focus on the plot and ignore everything else to enjoy this book. He tells a good story. Yes. But the story is so often interrupted by repetitions, self-indulgent "look what I know" facts, endless descriptions of places of interest, and utterly unrealistic thoughts by the main character -- e.g., they are running from people who are trying to kill them, they look at a historical artifact, he notices that one side is yellowed from the sun, and he makes a note that he has to double the SPF in his sunscreen. Huh???? He also rips off T.S. Eliot: "a patient anesthetized upon a table" -- does that remind you of "a patient etherized upon a table"? Oh yes, and he couldn't believe he was leaving Florence without having paid a visit to The David -- this, again, when they are being chased by all kinds of people who want to kill them. Come on! I guess you could call me a snob, but I love a rollicking good story, as long as the writing doesn't make me cringe. This one is way too cringy for me.
It took me a while to warm up to this book -- I found it confusing at first and wasn't sure I liked it. But I finished it over a week ago, now, and it's haunting me still. It's a complicated family story, but also a family mystery that doesn't come clear until the end. I grew to feel very sympathetic toward the narrator, as her family history was revealed, bit by bit. The narrator is excellent -- give it a try. It's a great listen.
Wow. I totally enjoyed this book, the true story of Nancy Wake, a New Zealand-born Australian who was a major figure in the French Resistance in WWII. The story of how she got there and her activities during the war is riveting; I enjoyed every minute of it. What an amazing woman. Read it. You'll hardly be able to believe it.
This might be a good book to take on a hot summer vacation, because it is *cold*. The mystery, which takes place on a fishing ship in the Arctic Ocean, is intriguing, the details of the culture fascinating, and the disgraced detective (from Gorky Park) a great character. I've always been interested in Russia, and I don't know how Martin Cruz Smith does it, but he creates a world that seems authentic to me, a non-Russian. Excellent listening.
I'm a huge fan of Greenblatt's "Will in the World," so I was happy to try this one. I was not disappointed. This is a absorbing account of the re-discovery of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura in the Middle Ages and how it affected thinking in the Renaissance and beyond. The story is fascinating, the reader excellent, and listeners will not be disappointed. I'm now reading Lucretius' poem itself, and only wish that I could read it in the original Latin, though A.E. Stallings has a good recent (2007) translation.
I first read The Once and Future King when I was 12 years old and was so captivated that I read it every year until some time in my 20's. It's been 40 years since then, and I was so happy to have it read to me. I know it so well that I could anticipate what the reader would say next -- and the reader is wonderful. I was not disappointed. The story is delightful and comical and touching and finally tragic -- and if you've never read it, you have a wonderful experience ahead of you.
I second, third, fourth what every five-star reviewer has said. I just want to say that I'm anxiously awaiting news that #20 is in the works, because by the end of this one, I was in tears, feeling like the ending was so, well, ending-like. Please don't let this be so! Did anyone else wonder about this?
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