I bought it because audible.com hyped it. It was billed as the new Le Carre, a spy novel for the thinking reader. It was just... meh. The author has that strange affectation to call the CIA "the Company", which nobody in the CIA or US government ever did. His geo-political scenario, built thinly on the Chinese demand for Sudanese oil, a Russian kingpin, and a rogue hit-squad in the CIA, is often laughable. This is an average spy novel, along the lines of Len Deighton or Robert Ludlum, often weak and thinly researched.
The narration is very odd, and takes a while to get used to. A strange stop-and-start style by the narrator designed to impart meaning just sounds choppy and artificial. I nearly put it down, but persevered despite the poor narration.
The blurb here on Audible says this is an "unabridged" version of the play. It's not.
If you purchased this planning to listen along while you read the text, you won't be able to.
I feel cheated.
No. The blurb is inaccurate.
Storms, mayhem, murder, drama! Miss Electra falls blindly in love! Donna Leon gets away from her dry ironic style and jumps the shark trying to inject some action drama into the Brunetti series. This story is a real disappointment. If it represents a new direction for the series, I've read my last.
The second in the Kurt Wallander series does not measure up to the first. Swedish detective Wallander spends most of the story in Latvia trying to figure out who is behind a police conspiracy. But the bulk of the book is Wallander's internal dialogues --uninteresting, repetitive, and overlong. "I don't understand any of this!", "What is going on here?", "Who are these people?" Wallander repeatedly asks himself (although he mixes in the classic: "'I'm sorry', he said apologetically"). The story ends predictably --if you think you've figured it out halfway through, you have.
If you enjoy twelve hours of Swedish angst and internal dialogues, this book is for you.
The Pimsleur method is based on research on memory, and how we learn languages. If you repeat a new word a few times when you first learn it, and then repeat it periodically after that, it will eventually stick in the brain.
These lessons are broken into 30-minute sessions that are designed to be listened to one-per-day. They are similar to other language tapes: you listen to, and repeat, dialogues between a couple of Dari speakers, while a narrator gives you explanations. But there are a few key differences. You really do notice the periodic repetition of the vocabulary words, and it seems to work and lock them into memory.
Also, there is no booklet or written text, you are listening and learning to speak the language, but intentionally not learning the Dari alphabet, which would be new and confusing to American and British students and would introduce a whole new level of complexity.
Simple, enjoyable, and effective. That's pretty high praise for an audio language course.
Absolute trash. The plot is senseless; the police detectives are complete dolts, ignoring leads and insulting victims; the villain is a cardboard cutout; the dialogue of the African-American characters is exactly what you would expect to be written by an elderly suburban white guy, which is what the author was by this time; the lead detective needs his pre-teen child to explain the internet to him (mind you the book was written in 2004, so the internet wasn't exactly a novelty).
It occurred to me part-way through this book that the whole plot was inspired by the fact that the author was fooling around on the internet one day and stumbled across an anagram-creator and a Shakespeare quote-finder. Once you know that, you know everything you need about this book.
As others have noted, the book is longer, different, and more interesting than the movie. The characters are more thoroughly drawn out, and the link between each story and the money that Ram wins from each question in the contest is more clear.
In each story, Ram loses something. Or more specifically, he voluntarily gives up something in order to help someone else. The contest is how he gets paid back for his lifetime of suffering and generosity.
The narration is interesting, with a variety of Indian accents. I enjoyed the movie for the images of India, but I enjoyed the book for the characters and the morality play among them.
A terrific look at a pivotal year in Shakespeare's life: 1599. The year he wrote four key plays: Henry V, As You Like It, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet. Shapiro does a wonderful job of placing Shakespeare in his historical context, with the construction of the Globe Theatre, the rebellion of Essex after the Ireland campaign, and the aging Queen Elizabeth. Shakespeare leapt forward in artistic creativity and in terms of pushing out the boundaries of dramatic writing.
Shapiro does an excellent job in narrating his own book. The last 45 minutes of the recording are key passages from the four plays discussed in the text.
Well, those are 18 hours of my life I'll never get back. That is one awful book. Overwritten, stuffed with all the usual Dan Brown nonsense. It's exactly like his previous works, except this one takes place in one night in Washington DC. I recommend you stay as far away as possible.
On the other hand, the narration is pretty good.
It's true, as other reviewers note, that some of the violence is gratuitous and that the audio narrator has an odd cadence, but I still enjoyed the book. The Moscow ambience is dark and violent, and long shadows from the Chechnyan wars are cast across the characters and events. A fascinating depiction of how organized crime, senior government, and the military intersect in Putin's Russia. A pretty good read.
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