I loved this book. Did I think a book about the recent financial crisis and markets in general, written by an economist, would be riveting? No - but (and don't laugh) this is. It held my attention better than most fiction, and clarified for me (a non-economist for sure) all the forces that led, step by step, to the economic meltdown and the mortgage crisis. I thought I understood, and I did, on a surface level, but after listening to this book I'm much better able to articulate what went wrong. In fact I'm going to start the book over from the beginning to really cement the information in my mind. The narrator is excellent by the way. Not every voice or delivery would have been appropriate to the subject, without being dull. I really recommend this audio recording.
narrator dreadful - like the worst kind of sportscaster. Very clear he read this book through for the first time when it was recorded.
overheated incoherent writing packed with cliches - author completely self-involved. Less blabbing about awful author and his boring personal journey as a writer, and more about cheesemaker.
weird parsing choices, blaring and boring delivery, wanted to slap him.
I would have given the story idea to a different author.
I love foodie stories. I hated this author and this book. My personal nightmare would be sitting next to this self-obsessed hack of a writer at a dinner party.
I wasn't sure I'd enjoy listening to this novel as much as I'd enjoyed reading it, but the narrator did an excellent job. A wonderful book, of course - these characters are so completely and convincingly expressed, you'll have trouble believing you didn't meet them in real life.
I really enjoyed this. I love Mark Twain and Bronson Pinchot reads him beautifully (also highly recommend Pinchot reading Twain's memoirs). It's startling to realize how well-established the short-term profit/self-interest first/speculator vein was in American culture in Twain's time. It gives some perspective on recent events. I listened to "How Markets Fail" just before this book, in a funny way they compliment each other ;-).
Julian Barnes is not really my cup of tea, so if you're a big fan, disregard this review. This book was very much in his usual vein; fussy, extremely detailed examinations of the main protagonist's inner processes and reflections. Personally I thought the characters' reactions and behaviors were unrealistic much of the time. One character is so incredibly unpleasant (at least if she has appeal it isn't conveyed) that it's impossible to see why anyone would waste time with her, let alone obsess for 40 years about her. Another character feels personally responsible for someone else's personal tragedy for almost no reason. And a romance between two 15-year-olds is treated like the love-story of a lifetime. There are a few interesting plot twists. It was not bad, but I can't say I thought it was good either. I enjoyed some of his other books more.
Like listening to a little Australian girl play Masterpiece Theatre with her paper dolls. One-dimensional caricatures of the British upper class, dialogue packed with clicheed phrases and ideas, inconsistent narration. Sorry folks, hated this.
Bronson Pinchot takes Twain's words and turns them into a living play. Another reviewer suggested that Twain's real voice was different - high and almost whiny. I couldn't care less. Pinchot doesn't read, and he doesn't sound like he's acting. He sounds like a truly original person reliving a fascinating life, with all its poignant moments, humor, etc. He'll bring tears to your eyes. That person being Mark Twain, much of the writing is beautiful. I read somewhere else that Twain dictated his memoirs verbatim with almost no revisions. Think about this as you listen - it makes the quality of the "writing" even more startling.
This is a great book to turn to when you feel as if no-one is telling original stories anymore. It will remind you that great writers can recognize compelling stories (with compelling characters, situations, dialogue) everywhere. The narrator is absolutely brilliant as well, and he makes the characters live - especially impressive given that the two main characters could not be more different.
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