My interest was piqued when I read on the audible just released lists about Swedish author Henning Mankell. I read the publisher's summary and thought they looked interesting. I'd never read a Swedish author before, that I know of anyway, and thought why not give it a try. I've always found the Baltic history intriguing so decided to give Dogs of Riga a try as my first one. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and getting to know Kurt Wallander. It was a fun listen with with plenty of plot twists and turns. Henning writes a good story. I enjoyed hearing the descriptions of life in both Sweden and Latvia. You wonder sometimes what the citizens of both countries think about life there and it appears to have its challenges. I will look forward to listening to the other Mankell books on Audible.
I originally listened to this book when it came out 10 years ago, mainly because the author was a professor at the University of Iowa, which I attended, and she is still part of the Iowa Writer's Workshop there even today in her 70's.In the ensuing 10 years she published two more books, "Home" and "Lila" also set in the fictional SW Iowa town, Gilead, with the same characters. After listening to the other two I was intrigued enough to research the author more in depth, trying to better understand what the meaning of her books is. I don't often listen to a book a second time but, in this case, I decided I wanted to. The author is a member of the Congregationalist Church of Christ in Iowa City and sometimes even preaches sermons. She is a thinker, an intellectual, and a deeply religious person. Her books are not typical books where there is an exciting ending, rather she is putting her beliefs on paper in the form of fiction. Her books are, in her way, a sermon on life. In this book, the protagonist, a preacher, marries a much younger woman at age 69 and fathers a child. At age 76 and with the end of his life in sight, his wife suggests he write down his life story, his history and beliefs, so that his son can one day better understand what kind of man his father was. This whole book, "Gilead", is that letter to his son. I suspect other books set in Gilead will be forthcoming some day.
This marks the end of the Centuries Trilogy. It starts in 1961 with the building of the Berlin wall and the Cuban missile crisis. It ends in the late 80's with the fall of the wall. If you've made it this far, you've enjoyed the trilogy. It was an interesting ride, following Russian, German, English and American families through three generations and all of the major events that were big during that time. This book was especially interesting to me as I was 10 years old when the book started and I lived through all the events of the book, it made it seem all the more real.
This isn't a book for everyone, it's a book for thinkers, those who think about God, life, and what iife is all about. Life is what it is is the mantra I took away from the story. A sequel to the author's Pulitzer Prize winning "Gilead", it's also set in Gilead, Iowa with mostly the same characters. This book, however, focuses on Lila, one of the minor characters in the book Gilead. The author has worked at the University of Iowa and its Writers Workshop for the last 25 years. She's a thinker, an intellectual and this, and her other books, are a reflection of the believes she has developed over her lifetime. The author is a member of the United Church of Christ and a follower of the teachings of John Calvin. The more I learned about her in researching her life, it came to me that this is her way to put what she thinks about life and religion into a book as a parable set in a fictional small Iowa town. If you enjoy her books and what they are saying it makes you want to know more.
This was a bit of a different kind of Dept Q story. There is the normal enjoyable banter among the Dept Q members as they work the crime but the chase for Marco dominates the story and to a certain extent Dept Q didn't solve the crime, it almost solved itself. Marco had good guys chasing after him and all kinds of bad guys and the chase was intense. This story had some really bad guys but it didn't seem as dark as some of the other stories by the author. It was still an enjoyable listen along with the other Dept Q books.
What can you say about this book that hasn't already been said, it's a great book. I'd seen the movie 10-20 times over the years but had never read the book. When I came across this audio version narrated by Sissy Spacek I decided it was time to dive into the book. It was excellent.
This is my second Stabenow Kate Shugak novel and I enjoyed them both. The mystery/crime side of the story was interesting. One of the highlights to the book is the Alaska setting. This book was set in January and you'd think SW Alaska would be cold and nasty and the book makes it seem that way. Plus you get the feel for Alaska in general, the people, the landscape, the lifestyle, etc. In fact, at the end of the book the author has a short interview where she states the book is about all things Alaskan, that's a good way to put it. If there was one distraction it was the narrator. I read some of the reviews before listening to the book so had an ear out for the narrator and she seemed to be talking a bit too fast. I went so far as to slow down the audio on my iPod and that didn't solve it. She must just talk fast, I can't think it was intentional on the part of the producers. But like most audiobooks, in my experience anyway, you get used to the narrator in about every book the further you get into it and this one was no different. After getting about a quarter of the way through the book I quit paying attention to the narrator and just enjoyed the story.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is now retired after ending the previous book battered and bruised, mentally and physically and living in Three Pines getting healthy. And a different kind of mystery finds its way to him in the form of a missing person. He is asked by Clara Morrow to help find her overdue husband, Peter. So, Gamache's natural investigative instincts get involved. Since this has been on the surface a series about crime this book was different in that no crime has been committed. The author's books have never been intense crime thrillers and this book solidifies that what her books are really about are life and human nature. And, she throws in some Canadian history and geography, this time eastern Quebec up the St Lawrence River almost to the Atlantic Ocean. Still the tale of Three Pines and its characters continues and I'll look forward to the next one. As an aside, the narrator of the books up to this point, Ralph Gosham, died after finishing this book. To many, including me, he had become the voice of Armand Gamache. It will be interesting and tricky I'd guess to see how the publisher replaces the narrator.
First time author, this book seems to come from the genre where you're in a reality that doesn't appear to be real and you're trying to figure out what the reality is. The plot keeps unfolding even right up to the end. I realized only while listening to the book and researching the author a bit that this is the first book in a trilogy so there's a ways to go before figuring it all out. It is interesting and the author was really imaginative in coming up with the plot. I did read where this book is the basis for a TV series on Fox network TV starting around May 2015.
If I only read the reviews in audible on this book I might not have purchased it. But I had so enjoyed the first four books by the author I knew I would buy it nonetheless and I'm glad I did. Often with foreign accented narrators it takes some time to get used to the accent, in this case a male and female with an Irish accent. The male was fine but the female could be a bit hard to understand although I did find that if I put on my Bose headset I more easily understood the female. But as the book wore on, as usual, it got easier and easier to understand them both even without the headset. I did find it interesting that the author would choose to have a crime story set in a girls prep school with the teenage students as the primary suspects. I'm not sure who the target audience is other than just Tanqa French fans. But I will say that once again the author proves she is a great writer with awesome insight into human nature. She goes inside the school and brings the teenage lives to life. She also goes inside the heads of the two main detectives, mainly the male whose perspective most of the book is written from. Once you get into the characters, the setting and get used to the narrators the book flows along quite nicely. Tana French has written each of the books in the series using different characters for each book. Sometimes I wish she would loop back around and bring back some of her old characters to life and finish some of the personal stories, relationships she nurtures in her books. I really do enjoy her book, that's for sure.
For fiction, PT Deutermann's depictions have to be among the best written in actually describing what the Navy war against the Japanese in the Pacific theater must have been like. This book describes the battle of Okinawa from a Navy perspective. The Japanese considered Okinawa part of their homeland, much like we think of Hawaii. The Japanese sensed the end of the war was coming and they were going to lose but their warrior mentality said, seemingly, that they were going to fight to their last breath. If you were in the American fleet in the Okinawa campaign you life was on the line every single day. I've come to really enjoy this author's books.
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