This may be the best audiobook I have downloaded from Audible in more than 2 1/2 years of membership. Richly deserving of the National Book Award for 2005. Didion is a terrific writer. You feel her experience (the narrator makes you believe that she is Didion, not a mean feat). The book opens with the death of her husband, John, and the chronic & serious illness of their adult daughter, Quintana. The book chronicles the next year of Didion's life, dealing with death, being alone, her daughter's condition ... but much of the time either in a sort of state-of-shock or distracted by Quintana's ongoing illness & always with recollections of their past together. The first 1/2, even 3/4 of the book is a bit like a dream sequence, unfocused, just as Didion's life was at the time (a "mudge," as she & her daughter call this feeling). The pace of the book builds & builds, but very subtly, such that when the last 1/4 appears, a more analytical Didion resurfaces and you get the sense of what it was like to be in her shoes over the whole period, and the emptiness of loss, and the need to go on.
This is not a preachy volume nor a depressing volume. If it was, it would not be so powerful. Rather, it is a book you experience by reading. You do not have to have had a loss, like Didion's, to identify with her situation. Because the book is written that well.
A good sign of its quality -- from my standpoint -- is that I plan to keep it on my iPOD to read again. I haven't done that for a single audiobook of the 100+ I've had the pleasure of enjoying from Audible these last few years.
I have read or better said, listened to, numerous Teaching Company courses. On the whole they are terrific, even if on topics that are only on the fringe of my main interests.
Unfortunately this is one of the weaker courses. The professors is somewhat annoying in his accent & diction. And he seems confused about whether to be superficial or deep on the subjects he covers.
The problem here may be with me, since I know quite a bit already about the subject matter.
Bryson books are like confections, like a box of candy with multiple, surprising fillings. This book is no exception although it is the first I have listened to out of the Audible stable. Bryson tells & interweaves many stories to keep the otherwise too long narrative fresh & interesting. This book focuses on many personalities of the period, among the major ones Lindbergh, Harding, Coolidge & Ford. Lindbergh & flying is a particular focus as are the [now] minor or forgotten colleagues in flight of the period. Bryson's works are not deep, not analytical. I might say "shallow" but I never feel that way when reading his work. I know I can find other works (indeed he often refers to those other works in the text) if I want to dig deeper. I am pretty familiar with the 1920s & with his main characters but I did not find much to complain about in his narrative.
The author (& protagonist/narrator) made the hard science in the book very easy to listen to. He interweaves the drama & the process of science with the personal ambitions of scientists, annals of his own life & career. It all makes the science portion exciting, without the reader having to know all of the details he goes over. The narration is excellent. And I found it hard to put down my iPod throughout (thereby accumulating lots of podcasts, science-centric & otherwise, that I could enjoy when the book was done).
Probably not. A whole book on a subject, including a comedy book, suits my taste better. These stories were of variable quality. A few hilarious, a couple just awful, very please when I got to the end. The narration of all the stories, excellent though. Sorry to sound like a curmudgeon on this volume.
Very entertaining audio book for Princess Bride aficionados. People who haven't seen the movie wouldn't get it. It is largely from Cary Elwes point of view, but others -- the director, producer, screenwriter, & most of the players have greater & smaller roles (& have speaking parts. The book is a little uneven, with sections that are fall down funny, just interesting & a few portions that seem like filler. But altogether it is an enjoyable listen.
This book is a new interpretation of the U.S. antebellum period that powerfully combines the reality of slavery, the economics of the internal slave trade, international trade & the industrial revolution (first in the UK and later in New England), financial innovation & speculation, and banking. Baptist is able show how absolutely central slavery was to the American economy in the 19th century, north and south.
The sections that described how southern cotton planters & their overseers actually industrialized manual cotton cultivation to achieve a tripling and quadupling productivity in the field.
The narrator is outstanding, he does well with great written material.
The author successfully combines "modern" detective stories from the 19th, 20th & 21st centuries, archeological, linguistic & literary; with an approachable guide to the history of written language (focusing on cunieform); and the evolution of biblical literature (focusing on the Noah story, but not only that). The writing & the narration, excellent. I was so sorry when the book was over, I wanted to hear more.
Yes eventually. Very moving history book.
In the latter portion of the book, when Pasternak, his family & his mistress family were being unjustly persecuted by the Soviet state & it's corrupt literary hierarchy I got very mad.
Just a terrific book of political & literary history. Very moving & impossible to put down.
endlessly stimulating & entertaining
While I have not read the hard-cover, it seemed like just the kind of lighthearted book I would like read to me, rather than having to read it.
Very enjoyable book of humor spiced with brushes by the protagonist with real events & famous leaders of the 20th century.
Yes, I would listen to it again or, better yet, read the book on my Kindle.
Excellent, multi-faceted, multi-character set of stories, all linked together from the Iraq war. Very well written & well narrated.
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