I have never read a Paul Theroux travel book before. And this first encounter proved to be most entertaining! The author takes us on a remarkable journey from London, quickly through Europe and then at a much more leisurely pace through a wonderful Asian experience - many countries, many sights, many sounds....and many unforgettable characters. Theroux's descriptions of the trains he travelled, the visual images he conjures up in the mind of the reader and the verbal exchanges with locals are truly delightful and mesmerizing. Each chapter is a listening joy.
One highlight included Theroux's fascinating descriptions of a Vietnam in its last stages of a long and bloody war, complete with vivid descriptions some beautiful countryside contrasted with a people exhausted from battle and struggling to survive. Another memorable read was Chapter 7's most humorous depiction of Lahore, Pakistan - here Theroux demonstrates an almost perfect sense of timing in his storytelling - just like the very best comedians!
This is classy writing. Funny, witty and packed with emotional impact as the author interacts with every new stranger he meets. But, just as importantly, the narrator - Frank Muller - is absolutely superb! Reproducing with seeming ease the many local accents in the dialogue, Muller brings to life the stories in this wonderful book.
Yes, this was my first Paul Theroux book. But it won't be my last.
Yes, and intend to do so. It is long and detailed but so fascinating in its account of events in early 20th century Antarctic.
This account is history brought to life through the diaries and logs of each explorer and many of their men who travelled the journey to the Antarctic. It's recounted in the present tense, so you feel that you are there as the story unfolds. Included are so many interesting facts about the region, the equipment and the improvised methods used to overcome extreme difficulties, all extremely compelling listening. Also, there are many moments of both humour and sadness.
I was surprised just how much I enjoyed this book. If you like real-life adventure and modern history told in an accessible and entertaining manner, then this book is for you. I will be on the lookout for other books by Peter FitzSimons. Highly recommended.
Les Miserables is a huge sprawling novel. It's very LONG!! But don't let that deter you. While it takes its own sweet time to evolve, grow and conclude the characters are fascinating and the story is beautifully painted by the author Victor Hugo. The language (translated from the originally published French) is poetic and highly evocative, occasionally offering flashes of humour in amongst the emotive scenes.
Some readers will find the heavy descriptions of historical aspects of French politics and its monarchy rather tedious, lapsing into many pages between the main storyline. Indeed, towards the end I found myself scooting past some of this detail. And, you also need to set aside plenty of time to read this unabridged version - it took me more than three weeks of constant commitment to plough through the work. But, having said all that, this is truly a literary masterpiece - most enjoyable and well worth the effort.
This is my first Hiaasen book. It proved mildly interesting, keeping me listening through to the end. It's no literary masterpiece but the author can turn a phrase with humour. However, I have to say I didn't find it as hilarious as did some other readers. It moved along very quickly but the conclusion felt dragged out. It seemed to fizzle out towards the end, providing a rather unsatisfying ending. I'm not sure that I'd bother reading any other Hiassen books.
This book represents a significant undertaking to document the life of Guevara. Fidel and Raul Castro, and many other revolutionary fighters are also discussed in great detail. This work does not try to glamourise Guevara - it presents a portrait in great depth, including both the successes and failings of the man - a warts and all reference source.
The book is long! It is well documented and the author has incorporated a wide variety of research techniques to get to a deeper understanding of both Guevara, the people he fought with and against, the circumstances surrounding armed struggles, and the political climates in each of the countries in which he visited.
Descriptions of tough conditions in the jungles and mountains of Cuba, Bolivia, and the Congo were fascinating. The takeover of Cuba by Castro and Guevara, the wooing and subsequent falling out with USSR, the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis provided some great insights.
I loved this book, and will probably revisit it at some future date. It's probably not the sort of book for everyone and can be hard ploughing through the detail. But if you have the patience and interest, this book will dispel many myths about this astonishing character.
This book is an important contribution to writings and analyses of 20th century music. It deals largely with 'serious' musical art forms and does so, for the most part, in great depth. By providing the political and social backgrounds during the lives of some composer, Ross enriches the book with valuable contexts that help us to understand the music of each period. He continually makes interesting connections between each composer with both their peers and mentors, providing some astonishing insights that are not commonly known. Fascinating stuff! The period in Europe between 1900 and 1945 is most effectively delivered and illuminating, as is American art music in the 50's and 60's.
Ross is a wonderful writer who employs rich descriptive language and a nice balance between facts and occasional humorous antidotes. The narrator does a fine job of endeavoring to bring the text to life without letting too much unnecessary drama get in the way. It's a large book, and he moves it along at a good pace.
As already indicated by several other reviewers, this book is not for everyone. It would be particularly relevant to the serious music enthusiast, students and music educators, and arts historians. Recommended.
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