Except for seeing the movie "Winter's Bone" this was my first exposure to Daniel Woodrell. It will not be my last. I think he's incredible....all the short stories in this book are so well-written and some of them are so complex I think they could be expanded into novels. I will listen to these stories over and over and I will listen to more of Woodrell's books.
Like any book of short stories, there will always be some stories that are better than others. "Woe To Live On" and "The Horse In Our History" didn't do much for me, although they are well-written. My favorites were "Uncle" and "Dream Spot" and "Returning the River." There were two readers for these stories (one male, one female). They were good, except the guy used a weird accent when he was reading "Woe To Live On." This might be one reason why I didn't like this story so much.
Overall, very impressive stories and writing! Definitely worth a credit, even though it is a short book.
I would say Heft is "OK to good." It is entertaining and it held my interest, but I don't think it's a knockout. I liked the parts about Arthur and Yolanda and their relationship more than the parts about Kel. Arthur is a great and unique character and I really cared about him. The guy they got to read for Arthur/Yolanda was fabulous....I can't imagine a better voice for Arthur.
I thought some of the passages about Kel's sports went on for too long and the author didn't finish a few things that she introduced. For example, at one point Kel gets into some legal trouble but I don't think the author ever lets us know the outcome. I don't need all questions to be answered for me, but some of these loose strings were significant to the story/characters and a few times I was left wondering "what happened with that?" But these are minor issues that don't take away from it being an easy, enjoyable listen.
This story grabs you right from the start and doesn't let go. It is not for the faint-hearted or the easily offended. It is very gritty and violent and graphic. Bad language, sex, killings, beatings, etc. The writing is good. Not flowery, but it is clear and tight and it flows well. Good dialogue, too.
I liked this book quite a bit, but I thought the plot line about Roy and Theodore (the preachers on the run) could have used more development. The ending was also maybe a little abrupt and left me feeling somewhat hollow or unsatisfied. I don't know....after such a wild ride, I thought it ended kinda quick and quiet.
Most of the characters are horrible people with no redeeming qualities. Arvin is definitely the most likeable character....he's not violent unless he has to be. Because of the characters and because there is so much death and so many horrible things that happen, it can be a little hard to listen to at times. I agree with the other reviewer who said it can make you feel dirty or like you need to take a shower. Still, it is gripping and entertaining and mostly enjoyable - - if you can take it.
Mark Bramhall did an outstanding job reading the story.
This is the second book I have read by Sonya Hartnett. I read another of her books (in print form) and she can really write. Her books often get classified as children's books or young adult because of the age of the protagonists, but her writing is beautiful and definitely more literary.
Thursday's Child is such an original story. I loved the idea of Tin living underground and becoming like a mythical creature or animal (something other than human). I wished he was in the story a little more, because he was such an intriguing character. But there were other characters I liked and the dialogue and descriptions of rural Australia were also quite good.
Worth a listen if you like unique, well-written stories with a bit of fantasy or magical realism. The narrator has a lovely Australian accent and was a good choice for the book.
I'm not generally a fan of Westerns, but I do like different and quirky and "The Sisters Brothers" is both. It might be a little light on plot at times, but it's still enjoyable because of the language (great dialogue!) and all the odd/funny things that happen and Eli's philosophical thoughts. I also liked the relationship between Eli and Charlie...it was pretty deep and touching. They are both likeable characters even though Charlie doesn't have as many morals as Eli.
The biggest problem I had with the book was the two intermissions. I wasn't sure what they meant (or if they were supposed to mean anything).
Good, unique, fun story. The reader also did a good job and was well-matched to the story.
I really liked Bel Canto. The story is good and unique and it grabbed me from the beginning. The writing is so wonderful....it is beautifully written yet easy to follow and listen to. I thought the pacing was just right and the reader did a great job. There were many characters and many different accents and the reader kept them from running together and sounding the same.
As much as I liked Bel Canto, it's not a perfect book. I thought the terrorists (especially the three generals) were too nice and permissive and this seemed a little unrealistic. Also, because there were so many characters, some of them weren't very well developed. In particular, I wanted to know more about Roxanne and her early years/background. Some of the characters were great, though. Gen (the translator) was so developed that I had a bit of a crush on him. I wasn't happy with the epilogue. There wasn't ground-work put anywhere in the story for what happens in the epilogue, so it seemed unbelievable to me and like kind of a cop-out. The epilogue also only addressed what happened to four of the characters in the story. There were a lot more characters than that and I wanted to know what happened to more of them.
Overall, though, Bel Canto is good and enjoyable and I will probably listen to it again at some point. I like Ann Patchett's beautiful writing so much that I will seek out more of her books.
First off, they couldn't have found a better narrator for this book. Jeremy Irons is right up there with Jim Dale's readings of the Harry Potter books. His pacing, accents, and tone are all a perfect match for this book.
I never read Lolita when I was in school and I was intimidated by it for a while (thinking it would be too difficult or I wouldn't understand it). I needn't have worried. The story is pretty straightforward. The langauge is a little difficult, but I suspect that Nabokov just writes in a style that is somewhat complex. I hit "rewind" fairly often and listened to some parts more than once....sometimes to make sure I grasped it but sometimes because the writing was so beautiful and I wanted to hear it again. So I would say Lolita isn't the easiest listen, but it is definitely worth the little bit of effort it takes.
I was surprised by how funny it is in some parts (laugh out loud funny). It is also sad, beautiful, touching, and revolting. It's always a good sign when a book makes me feel a range of different emotions, and Lolita does this for sure.
3 1/2 stars. Spooner is entertaining, it held my interest, and I enjoyed it. Some parts are very funny. The author is a good writer, especially with descriptions and dialogue. There isn't much of a plot. It's more like a lot of vignettes about things that happen to Spooner and his stepfather throughout their lives. Some of these were fun to listen to, but I would have enjoyed it more if there was a more cohesive story the whole way through. There were also several characters that were introduced and developed and then we never heard from them again. I missed some of them and wondered what happened to them. But overall, Spooner is a fun and easy listen. The narrator did a very good job.
I liked a few of these stories (Ava Wrestles the Alligator, Star Gazer's Guide to Summertime Crime, Accident Brief, and the title story). A few were good except for the endings. A few I pretty much hated.
The author writes well and I loved the quirky, original ideas but some of them weren't executed very well. Many of the stories seemed pretentious or obscure at times. The author also likes to use highbrow words that don't really fit the characters/narrators (who are mostly children).
Overall, I thought the book averaged out to be just OK. There were some high points, some low points, and a lot that was in between. I was pretty glad when I finished the book and I could move on to something else. Each story was read by a different person. Some readers were better than others.
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