I don't know if I would give this book 5 stars if I just read it. However, Samantha Eggar's narration of the audiobook is phenomenal. She really voiced Alice's emotions perfectly. There were a couple of times that I just ended up sobbing.
Now, I'm going to try to talk about content. Alice I Have Been takes the known facts of Alice Liddell's life and tries to explain the mystery of why Alice and her family had absolutely no contact with Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) starting around the time she was 10 or 11 years old. I hope it's not a spoiler to say that I am very uncomfortable with the theory Melanie Benjamin bases this novel on. I did find it interesting to learn that Dodgson was a math professor who was a photography buff. When I did a Google search of his photos while listening to this story, I found it a bit creepy that he mostly photographed little girls.
Although I don't read many historical fiction books, I have noticed that some of them try to include every detail about the historical period. It can be really annoying and too many details take away from the novel. Benjamin completely avoids that trap. She includes plenty of detail, but does it in a completely natural way. Her description of Victorian clothing and manners were especially good.
I'm not a fan of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass, but I was really fascinated by the story behind the story, even if it's highly fictionalized. There's one scene near the end where an elderly Alice meets the man who was the basis for Peter Pan. He's about thirty years old. Benjamin gives the reader just enough of a glimpse of him to leave me wanting to see her write a book about him.
This book is kind of dull. I didn't know what to expect going in. Maybe magic? Maybe interesting ideas? What I didn't expect was a really abrupt ending. I know that it's part of a trilogy, but it felt like someone took one giant book and arbitrarily divided it in thirds. "Okay, this is 1/3 of the pages, let's break here." I have said many times that I hate cliffhangers. This doesn't even have one of those. UGH.
I will be finishing the trilogy. I got the Kindle editions on a Daily Deal and the audiobooks were really cheap because I had bought the Kindle books. I'm going to try Whispersyncing the second book. Luke Daniels is one of my favorite narrators, but maybe text is a better way to consume this series. Or, maybe it just sucks.
OMG! I just listened to two hours of Farside by Ben Bova. I'm going to quit it and try to return it to Audible. I don't cry "sexist" at most books, but this is the most sexist piece of drivel I've ever read. It seems like it was written in 1953 rather than 2013. Add to the fact that 1/2 of the book so far has a female POV character and it's narrated by Stefan Rudnicki. He's a good narrator, but a very poor choice for this book. He has a very deep voice and can't do women well at all. UGH!
Stanley Kubric's movie adaptation of "The Shining" is one of my favorite scary movies. So many people told me that I had to read the book that I finally did a few years ago. Now, Stephen King and his avid fans think the book is better, but I prefer the movie. "Doctor Sleep" is the story of a grown-up Danny Torrance. I was skeptical of a sequel to such a well-known story, especially after such a long time. I also approach Stephen King with caution. His books tend to be hit or miss with me. I thought "Salem's Lot" and "The Stand" rambled too much. I thought "Under the Dome" was very cliched and had a dumb ending. I love "Firestarter", "Joyland", and "11/22/63". "Doctor Sleep" falls into the category of Stephen King books that I love. I loved the characters and their relationships. The scary parts were suitably scary. Danny's character development seemed very authentic. I highly recommend this book with the caveat that you need to either read "The Shining" or see the movie before tackling this.
Will Patton's narration is practically perfect. I'm not sure if I've listened to any of his narrations before, but I surely will again. When trying to decide between text and audio, a Will Patton narration will definitely swing me to the audio.
I was prepared to be disappointed by [book:The Fault in Our Stars|11870085]. It's received so much praise that I thought it couldn't possibly be that good. It really is that good. It's a story about life, love, and death. Two teens with cancer fall in love. You know from the onset it can only end tragically. Generally, a young love cancer book is cheesy. Anybody remember [book:Love Story|73968] and that gawdawful line, "Love means never having to say you're sorry."? Gag. Fortunately, Green avoids the cheesy trap. Instead, he has written a book that feels honest. By the end, I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. That fifth star is for those tears.
Kate Rudd did an amazing job narrating the audiobook. In fact, I suspect that this is one of those books that is made better by listening to her performance. Maybe it would have been cheese in print, but Rudd is so authentic as the voice of Hazel. The way she captures Hazel's shortness of breath when she exerts herself or the way she talks when she's on the CPAP machine is subtle and realistic. Her narration was probably the main reason I ended up in tears. I really believed her performance.
I cannot express what a good audiobook this is. Wow. Just wow.
This is one series that keeps getting better and better. You can tell that it's building up to something big, but it just hasn't come yet. My only complaint about the story is that it left me hungry for Bob Howard's next adventure. I want more and there isn't any more yet.
I' also have to comment on Gideon Emery's narration in the series. He is wonderful. Both this book and The Fuller Memorandum had some important American characters. I thought Emery' did a flawless job with the American accents. He's one of the few British narrators who can do American accents well. He even gets the o's right.
This is my third Alastair Reynolds novel. The other two I listened to were narrated by John Lee. He's okay, but not one of my favorites. However, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is a narrator I will be looking out for in the future. He's phenomenal. There's an epilogue that's told in first-person plural where the narrator mixes the voices of the characters who are telling that part of the story. It sounds so interesting and I can't imagine any other narrator who could pull it off so well. It could have ended up being either confusing or hokey, but it was neither.
As for the story, I thought it was very good. It's not like the other Alastair Reynolds books I've listened to, but it's good on its own terms. There were a couple of times when I wanted to slap the characters and tell them to think a bit harder. It took quite a while for them to realize that Eunice was sending them on a treasure hunt. It wasn't the most original story, and it did have some fairly predictable moments, but it was very well done.
I’ve tried to read Jane Austen several times and just couldn’t get very far in to her work. Perhaps if I had started in my pre-teen years, around the time I first read Louisa May Alcott, I might have been a die-hard fan. However, my first attempt was in my twenties and I just didn’t like anything enough to make it all the way. I’ve felt quite negligent in this regard because Miss Austen is so popular now. She has many admirers and copiers. I so often hear books described as “Austenesque” but only had the vaguest sense of what that meant. Therefore, when I happened upon an audio download of Pride and Prejudice read by one of the finest female narrators with whom I am familiar, I purchased and downloaded a copy. Kate Reading’s delightful narration led me to understand the charm of Miss Austen.
While Austen did use so many of the now-familiar romance novel tropes, she did it in a way that still seems fresh despite two centuries. I found her style to be quite humorous. Upon the commencement of the story, I already knew where it was going to go. There are no such things as spoilers when it comes to a 200-year-old novel. What did surprise me was how little I knew of the story despite all I had heard. It was quite a charming romantic comedy and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. Perhaps it was meant to be read aloud.
Now that I understand Jane Austen, I will attempt at some time in the future to read another of her novels. I am so fortunate as to have several Barnes and Noble Classics’ editions on my Nook that I acquired at no cost due to a generous giveaway the had this summer past. However, it does behoove me to read some books that are more current first as I cannot write or talk like a 200-year-old woman for much longer.
"The Disappearing Spoon" does what many might think impossible. It makes chemistry (and physics) sound fun and exciting, not just a drab exploration of covalent bonds and nuclear half-life. Sam Kean explores each of the elements on the periodic table by telling about their weird and wacky properties, tells us stories about them, and tells us even more stories about the people who discovered them. He does it all with a great sense of humor. Would you ever expect to run across the word "bitchin" in a book about chemistry???
Sam Runnette does a fabulous job or narration. His style is very conversational and he know which parts of the book are funny rather than serious and emphasizes that. I will be looking for more of his narrations.
Now for the "but". I kind of wish I had read this book in print. It is so jam-packed with detail and has so many anecdotes that I found that I really missed stuff if my attention wandered for even a minute. I did so much rewinding that I probably added 1/3 to the length of the book. I think I could have focused better in print.
I'm going to preface this by telling you that I saw the movie version of Shutter Island when it was in the theaters. If you haven't seen it, please do. The previews really don't do it justice and I left the theater wanting to read the book. Now, it's often the case that the book disappoints when you've seen the movie first (or vice-versa), but not here. I'll say that the movie is very true to the book and really captures the atmosphere of the book quite well. And, although both movie and book have a surprising ending, it actually adds to the experience rather than detracting from it when you already know the surprise. Think about how "Sixth Sense" becomes a different movie on second viewing, but it's somehow richer when you know how it ends.
The audio book edition of Shutter Island is exceptional. The narrator's pace fits the story perfectly. When I got to the last couple of hours, I couldn't stop listening because both the story and the narration had become so dramatic. The narrator really captured the essence of the story.
This is my first encounter with Dennis Lehane, but I'm sure it won't be my last. Shutter Island is an amazingly well-done story in all it's incarnations.
P.S. I just noticed that there's an abridged version and an unabridged version of this book. The one I listened to was the unabridged version released in 2008 and narrated by Tom Stechschulte. From the sample on Audible, the narrator of the abridged version sounds quite different.
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