A nice if somewhat unselective compendium of many of my favorite food writers and some unknowns. Good reader variation, interesting and sometimes fun selections that talk about the well-trodden as well as the off-beat. Nice book and itneresting, although not surprising in what it discusses.
Premise: bad habits get you in trouble, good habits are good, you can break bad habits by learning good habits. It is not as easy as it sounds. (Now that you have read the book, you don't have to buy it). A very irritating reader who sounds like his is poking you in the chest all throughout the book. A one idea book, as many of them are, with lots of illustrations, only a few of them relevant.
I don't know Gaiman's work but really enjoyed the whimsy and humor and imagination of this story. It has a quirkiness that makes for an enjoyable "read" but Lenny Henry's reading - really it is a performance - is out of this world. His accents are wonderful, you can conjure all the images from his voice from the strange brothers, the little old Carribean ladies, the phantasmagoric animals. Just wonderful and some of it made me smile for miles of walking.
James Lee Burke is one of my favorite writers to listen to - as I have said before, his melding of the trauma of Vietnam and his reflections on life and relationships are terrific. This one suffered a bit from both a racheting up of horror/violence and a plot that leaves you hanging, not just with Dave and Clete, but the whole group - hard to listen to 14 hours and be left hanging. But I will be back I am sure. It always seems a stretch to think of the extremely unredeeming bad guys hanging around South Louisiana - bet the natives don't believe it could be true.
Will Patton is one of the best readers possible and continues with this performance.
I did not read the hype on this book until I couldn't bear listening to it anymore and wondered if my friends who seemed to be enamored of it were drawn by the baseball component, since I am not. It is LONG and PLODDING and comes across more and more as condescending to almost anyone who comes at it - baseball, social class, gender identity, adolescent angst, and acceptance of differences. A gay bunter!! A do gooder Jewish undergrad!! A wunderkind from the sticks!! A conflicted lonely college president?? An alienated daughter!! Come on. Each of these characters has been covered so much better and more richly in many other books so that lumping them feels both artificial and obvious. Don't waste the endless hours on this book, get Catcher in the Rye, The Natural, any Phillip Roth book, and do yourselves a service.
Richard Ford has been a favorite of mine - and many - for years, but this novel is the best he has ever written. A spare and thoughtful meditation on time, family, history, mystery and their effects on a young boy, the book has a wonderful narration with just the right tone to capture the spare and beautiful language Ford uses. Only once in the past decade have I gone out and bought a book after listening to it and this is the one. I want to go back and reread it - savor the words and the images. The audio version helps imagine the openness of the skies, solitary and reflective nature of the book's protagonist, and it speaks to all who have painful memories and unanswered questions in our lives. And that would be all of us. A simply wonderful book.
Patti Smith is such an interesting and admirable person, independent, intelligent and very much her own person but the memoir turned into a litany of "people who became someone" in the second section and, as such, dated it. Her life would have been so much more interesting as the center rather than appended to others - at least it felt that way - that I wish she had told her non-Robert Mapplethorpe story rather than constantly revolving about his art/obsession/confusion. Hers is a lot more interesting.
Have done some reading in the past about this issue and while Bragg adds some perspectives that I had not known, overall as a book to listen to, it has far to many "examples" from other languages that infiltrated English to make the listening pleasant. The chief point, that English is a continuingly flexible language in contrast to many others which are "pure" is a good one but didn't need a book to tell.
I liked Child 44 both for its somewhat over the top plot but also for the atmospherics of Stalinist Russia and the remarkable quality to understand and communicate life in a truly totalitarian state. A metaphor for all other such states and a reminder that intrusion that may mark current Western societies are faint reminders of what was a terrible and unforgiving state. BUT this book is so unremittingly grim, desolate, desperately post apocalyptic and fundamentally full of cruelty and horror - continuous and multilateral - that the plot doesn't hold per se and it was a struggle - one that I should have given up - to get to the end. Won't go on to listen to the last of the trilogy. He should have stuck to one and done.
Terrific, horrific, in many ways but as good an inside look and explanation of Stalinist Soviet Society at a turning point. Reading was enthralling and the brutality was hard to listen to but hard not to want to know what is next. A writer whose research must have been as difficult as the times he writes about - and his principal character is terrific.
I have been an audible user for a decade and this is far and away the worst book I have ever listened to - suggested by someone who, obviously, never read it. Appropriate for the 30 people in the world who have the time to listen to 30 pages describing the debate about a homerun in the early 1950's to come to the conclusion that it was fantasy (duh!!) and it gets worse from there - lots of Mickey Mantle anatomy, hero adulation despite lots of evidence to the contrary. I had to stop before I started screaming. I know that folks who sit around and reminisce about baseball numbers can be pretty boring, but putting it into a book with a subtitle "the end of America's childhood" is not only pretentious but inaccurate. A good bedtime book for insomniacs - better than the dictionary.
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