This is a really peculiar book, a very American picaresque bildungsroman, about a young Jewish man growing up in Depression Era Chicago and traveling a bit - to Mexico. What makes it peculiar is that Augie just seems to tumble from one escapade to another always managing to land on his feet and continue the journey. He goes from one group of people to another, one woman to the next, times of money and no money, etc. His basic employment seems to be that of book thief, but he's open to much of what comes along although some troubles he just lands in though his own life mismanagement. His survival skills, physical, emotional and material, are certainly well-honed. The message seems to be that "Local boy can never quite get it together and stays lost."
A lot of it is quite funny and Augie is certainly an engaging protagonist. Bellow is an excellent stylist and the dialogue is top-notch. The reader, Tom Parker, was a bit irritating at first but after I got used to it his voice was perfect - the accent of young Chicago 50 years ago.
I've been a fan of the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency books since book 1 in 1999. I started getting hard covers then I started listening - usually on the day they were released. I've been looking forward to this addition to the series for 2 months! And I was not disappointed - it was well worth the wait.
No, these are NOT traditional mysteries although there are always a couple of puzzlers for Mma Precious Ramotswe to work on. The main thrust of the series is the growing relationships between the major characters. In The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon Grace Makutsi is married and having a baby. Regular readers will know who she is married to, how they met, what sorts of troubles they have. But Smith is good and does a bit of background work - not overdoing it. If necessary the book can stand alone.
One criminal plot thread involves a possible gaining an inheritance meant for someone else. Another small crime involves the slander of a beauty shop (hence the title). And winding through this book is the theme of modern Botswana vs old fashioned Botswana in several aspects.
Listening to Lisette Lecat is a joy. I smiled all the way through and occasionally I laughed out loud.
HIstorical novel set in 1844 when the New York police department is just being set up and the bad side of New York, Five Points, is worse than the worst parts of London. Faye has the history right, the characters nicely developed and a fast-paced yarn to tell.
I've read quite a number of Murakami's books and have really enjoyed them all. I'm not sure this one is quite as good as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle but time will tell - I just finished 1Q84.
IQ84 is probably for readers of science fiction more than any other genre - the title's allusion to George Orwell's 1984 is great - but it's not quite that. The world of 1Q84 is just a fraction different from our own and may be running alongside it. The thing Murakami does best is blur the edges of reality and imagination and for this aspect 1Q84 is probably better than The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle because Murakami has it all smoothed out and you don't really know if you're in a reality or a fantasy and it switches all the way through - seamlessly.
The other thing that 1Q84 does better than any of Murkami's prior works is keep the suspense up all the way through virtually every page of a 925 page / 47 hour book! Granted, it's a bit bloated and I even detected some repetition (which may have been deliberate considering the theme) but even so - this is a page turner - hour burner.
The narration was superb. Kudos!
Fascinating story of how Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones went from London laddies to world class superstars. How they, especially Keith but others, too, lived, loved, drugged, preformed, interacted, - it's all covered. I'm not sure I believe that Richards is telling the whole truth in some cases - but what memoirist with his background would? He lambastes some people and honors others. There seem to be no holds barred on that.
I wasn't fond of the Joe Hurley narration but fortunately it doesn't go on too long. I believe he was chosen because of his friendship with Richards and Hurley knows the music part. Actually, I didn't think I'd be that interested in the music technique part but it was quite interesting - Hurley or not. I did get a bit bored in the drawn out drug trips.
Richards lets other people in his life tell bits of the story from time to time, and I think that's a great technique, but listening to it is a bit confusing sometimes when the story-teller changes and then goes back.
Overall though - and I've listened to hundreds of books- I highly recommend this one.
That's not an exaggeration. This is one of the very best audio books I've ever listened to and I've listened to hundreds. (Okay, so I'm a Pamuk fan, too.)
True, the book is not about heavy plot or action or even suspense. It's about a man's obsessive search for his past (Istanbul) with the major themes being the role of women, love and loss and guilt and social class- change. In a sense it's about
The first person protagonist is not a particularly likable guy - he's rich, spoiled, selfish and hypocritical. He's engaged to a woman of his own class but has a totally illicit affair with his much younger and very beautiful cousin. The affair, while fairly short-lived, obsesses him for the rest of his life even though she disappears completely for awhile. At the point of the novel's main frame he's constructing a museum of artifacts based on his love. There are ways it's really comparable to Proust or Nabokov but Pamuk is totally fresh and new.
The narrator, John Lee, is pitch perfect - there were times when I just closed my eyes and listened to the rich prose.
I really did NOT like this book for the first 90 minutes or so - Part I. But then the narrator changed from the sex-crazed, 17 year-old, wanna-be Visceral Realist poet to an older man and the stories of people who knew Arturo and Ulisses, Visceral Realists. This was much better than the first part and drew me in regularly. The third part goes back to the 17 year-old again, but he and Aruturo and Ulisses are seeking Cesarea Tinajero, the original Visceral Realist. The book just grew and grew on me and in the end I really didn't want it to end.
I didn't notice any pronunciation errors - I thought the narration was excellent.
If The Blind Assassin was Atwood's best work, this is without doubt her worst. I was hugely disappointed in this supposed sequel to Oryx and Crake which was a fairly decent novel. I was totally sick of the reader's voice, the plot, (a waterless flood?) was almost non-existent and the overall effect was chick-lit dystopia. Add to that way too much quasi-religious music and what you have is a big waste.
A Fraction of the Whole is a sprawling, big and baggy, super funny first novel by the Australian author Steve Toltz. The story goes back and forth between the two narrators, a father and son, telling their own stories of their lives. The father goes back to his childhood and the brother who becomes his nemesis. The son tells more of the later story, but they switch off nicely throughout the book. The ending gets a bit bizarre. Great narration.
This is a wonderfully written and beautifully read collection of semi-related short stories by the acclaimed novelist Kazuo Ishiguro. The first story was so powerful I had to wait awhile before I listened to the next. The stories are about musicians, fame, (mis)communication, understanding and love. Of course, Ishiguro's use of "unreliable" narrators is a common factor. If you have enjoyed Ishiguro's prior works, you'll enjoy this.
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