Non-fiction audiobooks can be challenging because the material can be a bit dry, but it was still an interesting listen.
I would recommend this book for those interested in the subject matter (and who isn't?). It isn't the "unbiased" book it states it intended to be, but still worthwhile
I do think this would have been as interesting a read as it was a listen.....listening to the audiobook was a convenience, but not an improvement on the material, I think.
Interesting subject matter and competently read, for those interested in the subject.
I've enjoyed several other (later) books by Martin Cruz Smith and I was looking forward to one of his earlier novels.....sadly, I finished disappointed. There is much less characterization and much more cliched action in this book. It was fine, and average novel about vampire bats and infectious disease on a Reservation, but nothing to write home about. It was interesting, though, to read the about the political issues between the Hopi and the Navajo from the Hopi point of view which paints the Navajo in a bad light.....different from other books I've read where the protagonists (and the novel's setting) are Navajo.
The narrator did a really bad job; I had to run this book at 1.25x speed just to make the narration sound "normal" and not be too slow and ponderous. He is bad with differentiating characters with his voice and some of the characters sounded really unbelievable.
This is a nice, lightweight mystery that is a little dated (written in 1964), but not in any way that detracts from the story or the writing. I had heard about the series of the rabbi sleuth many years ago, and it was nice to actually enjoy it now -- with one of my favourite narrators George Guidall, who did a wonderful job. The protagonist is only rabbi in a small New England town, and the mystery of the murdered woman is tied in with conflicts among the synagogue board members, office politics, and town gossip among the Jewish and non-Jewish residents. That helps it all ring true, with believable characters (for the mid-sixties suburbs).
It's hard to really like a book with such an unsympathetic central (and title) character. While many reviews say that the character was driven insane by his discovery of invisibility, I'm not so sure......I thought it seemed like he was always a selfish, rude megalomaniac and was only given more ability to express that as an invisible man. It's hard to say, of course.
What surprised me was how much of the story is taken up with what is essentially slapstick action of people chasing, and being chased by, the invisible man. It's kind of ridiculous and unnecessary, in my opinion, and detracts from any suspense or thriller-type of atmosphere that could have been built. The underlying sci-fi of how a physicist discovered the secret of invisibility and the social message of the difficulties of being invisible are kind of lost under the action and reaction of the end effect (an invisible man who can enter or leave anywhere undetected, and so can attack people at whim).
I've enjoyed so many other HG Wells books, that it was a real disappointment to me to find this book really only average, in my opinion. And the narration was really only fair, with unnatural accents really distracting from the flow of the story.
Disclaimer......I did not read the first installment of the book, but I know the character and have seen some of the TV series. This book attracted me more because it is more about the people and her experiences as a nurse than as a midwife, and I was hoping that it would be more in-depth about the characters she met than about her culture shock......and it was (so I've been told from those who've read both).
I loved the stories told about a few of the people she'd met while living and working there, going in depth into their past as well as their present to build some emotional depth and understanding. It's about the shadows of war as much as the workhouse (and I found that man's the most compelling story), but the misnomer of the book's subtitle doesn't take away any of the emotional effect. The narrator also does a good job with the characterization and emotion in the authors voice. I found her voice here really pleasant to listen to.
I like post-apocalyptic stories, and I've read some great ones (Day of the Triffids and Alas, Babylon are standouts), but, alas, this is not one of the great ones. And Audible doesn't have a way to distinguish "writing style" and "story content", so I decided to give a 4 all 'round, but really it's for the sparse and emotional style more than the content itself. The content has unrealistic happenings and holes you could drive a bus through, though I was happy, while reading, to suspend my disbelief - the style and emotion (and narration) was that good.
I loved the incredibly realistic, but repetitive, dialogues with The Boy -- his unhelpful, repeated responses of "OK" and repeated declarations his needs ("But I'm hungry" or "I'm really scared") are just like a small boy would make, and bring a realistic touch to an unbelievable landscape. The landscape is unbelievable - stark, cold, gray, empty - and the entire book is shadowed with those emotions. The Boy is both the Man's conscience and hope in an unforgiving world of those few who are desperate to survive, and the Man is the Boy's father -- which means he is the Boy's everything when there are no other people for days and months on end.
The resolution is abrupt and undeveloped, popping up without warning and not any better because it is a positive ending on a depressing story. Good narration, good emotions, good dialogue, good narration, but only fair in terms of actual plot and storyline.
Walter Mitty has become a well-known character of pop culture, and it was nice to hear the original story that created him. I had previously only known him as a character in the movie (the 1947 adaptation with Danny Kaye) and as the cultural characterization of a dreamer who avoids the dreariness of life by escaping into his fantasies. Now I get to see the original Walter Mitty, which adds an extra level of meaning to the term (and the man).
Although Ben Stiller is well known as an actor, I found his narration didn't add much to the story - acceptable, but not much more. Of course, his narration was intended to be a tie-in to promote his movie, and I didn't bother listening to the last few minutes of the recording that (I presume) was a more direct promotion for the book.
An interesting short story, but I'm glad I didn't pay for it.
This deals with a more serious topic, but the characters and lighthearted tone of the overall series is still intact. I like the way Grabenstein continues to move the world of the characters forward -- Ceepak is now married with an adopted son, Boyle has "graduated" to occasionally partnering with a new part-time seasonal cop, the same position he was in when he met Ceepak. But in this case he also moves it backwards, bringing back Ceepak's history in Iraq to meet with the current mystery of the apparent suicide of a young corporal just recently returned from Iraq. In this book "Hell Hole" refers to not just the so-named carnival ride on the Boardwalk, but also to the sandbox of the fighting in Iraq. Definitely a lot of politics involved in this story, unlike the previous installments.
The narrator does an excellent job, keeping the voice of young-for-his age, perennial-kid-turned-cop Danny Boyle walking the line of believability and humour without allowing it to fall over into farce.
This is not the movie, so for anyone who might be put off by the very famous rape scene in the film, don't worry........of course it's here, but it takes up a very small amount of time and the details are neither spelled out nor important. The incident is important in that it starts a fatal cat-and-mouse hunt between some river country natives and the quartet of city buddies out on a canoe trip, but that conflict and collision is only one part of what they go through when they travel down river.
This isn't the first and wasn't the last book to use a river voyage as a metaphor for an internal voyage to the depths of one's soul, but it's effective nonetheless. The characters and their fates are a little cliched, and the language is occasionally overwrought, but still it's a good reminder of the effect that nature has upon us, and of and the strengths and weaknesses that we discover lay in us hidden in the course of our daily lives.
This novel is more environment than events........There are events (suicides, impending births, missing women, narrow escapes), but it's the environment that really takes center stage here: The snow, the buffalo, the wind, the trains, the fog, the small motels, the difficult roads, the cheap strip clubs, and the coal mines and the oil fields. It's that, and the great characters, that make me really love the Longmire books. The weak point was an unbelievable appearance by Henry Standing Bear that didn't fit in where it appeared, but I have to say I was actualy pretty pleased with his minor role in this installment and with a reappearance by Lucien Connoly. It made for a nice change to see more of Walt's relationships with the others in his life (Lucien, Vic, Cady). To me they all ring true (as does his relationship with Henry, but it's nice to see the others get some attention.)
Craig Johnson has brought the up the Basque culture in Wyoming before (Death Without Company), and one of the characters in this book is a Basque-American woman known at her job as The Basque Rose.
I never had any intention of reading or listening to this book when it came out. Anything Oprah raves about drops down on my list of experiences I want to partake in.....and then one morning, I looked at Malala's face on the cover and changed my mind. And I was pleased to discover this wasn't the preachy or heavy-handed book about politics and the evils of the Taliban that I was afraid it would be.
Happily, this book is more about a brave young woman than about politics. And it's about her supportive parents, in a place and time when that wasn't always available to girls and young women. I was as much impressed by the life and actions of her father as I was about Malala herself, and I think he and his contributions have been overlooked much of the time. Malala obviously learned a lot from the way he treated his wife and daughter (very different from many others of his culture), the way he fought to build schools and teach children (male and female), and the way he spoke out, organized, and negotiated to make education for all a priority.
It's not surprising that a smart girl from a family like that would also grow up to cherish education and to speak her mind about the importance of everyone having those opportunities. What was surprising (to me) was that it didn't take away from her "normal-ness" as a pre-teen and teenaged girl.....and that comes through in the book. She talks about chatting with school friends about pop music and the Twilight books, and about fighting with her younger brothers over access to toys or a computer. About enjoying going on picnics, and playing cricket. Ordinary stuff that happens to young teenaged girls all over the world.
It's also clear from the book how much Malala loves her home and her country, even while she is saddened by what is going on there (mostly in respect to the rights of women and children, but also that some of her own countrymen have claimed her shooting was either a fake, or an excuse to move to the West). She is also quite clear that her views on Islam have not been changed by the efforts of other groups to instill a fringe fanaticism that is not reflective of true Islam. That while her world has been changed by the Taliban and what has happened to her, she has not.
The narration was wonderful, full of heart and emotion, and sounding young enough to actually be a 16 year old girl (which lends even more realism to the reading).
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