I was looking forward to another time travel book by Connie Willis, having enjoyed Doomsday Book immensely. The fact that Colin Templar and Mr. Dunworthy were in this one made me look forward to it even more, and I held off buying Blackout until All Clear was also available. However, this book (I agree with other reviewers that Blackout and All Clear constitute one book) is deeply disappointing. It is too long, uses too many of the same plot devices (making me wonder, at one point, whether my player had skipped backward), and is unnecessarily confusing. I am OK with jumping around in time and shifting characters/points of view, but when you decide to give the same characters different names at different points in time, it's time to rethink this thing. The end of the book was both melancholy and unsatisfying, with only the relief that yet another time traveler would not be added at the last minute as compensation. And what's up with Colin, Ms. Willis'?
I thought I knew Oz, from years of loving the various versions of the movie, the plays, and reading Wicked. Not! L. Frank Baum's story is more complex, less scary, and more thought- provoking than the movie, and I plan to read more of the series as a result. Someone said to me "This was the 'Harry Potter' series of its era", and I can see how! Ann Hathaway's narration was terrific!
This is a fascinating journalistic account of how the deadly, and usually rare BRCA gene occurs among populations who don't know they have Jewish ancestry. The story is told unflinchingly, with numerous digressions into history, science, and religious belief that add dimension and context. It is also (unwittingly) a pretty chilling indictment of the poor quality of our science education in K-12, and the consequences that can have on insular or marginalized populations. Although the author attributes the failure of the young woman to seek any conventional treatment for her disease to stubbornness and religious conviction, the major underpinning is a lack of adequate science education. The narrator gets mixed reviews from me. While her voice was wonderful, her many mispronunciations of Spanish and Indian words and names was distracting. Overall, the book was well worth the credit!
Seton's portrayal of Katherine Swynford is of a strong and resourceful woman who made choices about her own life rather than waiting for someone else to make choices for her. The historical context is well done, and Seton's characters really come alive.
I've read (and loved) a few of Tracy Chevalier's books, and this was the first one I've read (or listened to) that is set outside Europe. The story is told from the heroine's point of view, which is similar to other Chevalier books. A lot of the action of the story is presented through letters, which have the effect of advancing the story line rapidly, but which (for me) distanced me from the story. As a result, I never developed as much empathy as I wanted to for the heroine.
Ms. Chevalier's choice of setting, in southwestern Ohio, near the town of Wilberforce, was somewhat odd from my point of view. Since the college was founded for African American students by the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was located in a racially mixed community, I found it odd that there was only one continuing black character in the story. It seemed to me that Ms. Chevalier missed the opportunity to take advantage of the setting she selected. Also, having read a lot about the underground railroad and the period in which the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, I found it unlikely that so many runaway slaves were seen during daylight, even in Ohio. The story is similar to The Runaway Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini, down to its emphasis on quilts. Overall, I was somewhat disappointed by the book.
I began reading this thinking, "Oh-oh, I've made a mistake. Another book about war and bloodshed, totally aimed for the male reader" Not that guys shouldn't read, you understand. It's just that the books I like and those my husband and brother enjoy are usually quite different. Wrong! This book does concentrate on male characters, and lays most of its foundation at West Point in the early 19th Century. And there is a fair bit of war and preparation for it. But the characterization is done so well, and the interplay between historical events and both fictional and historical figures was so skillfully done, it was hard to put down. The performance was only OK, maybe because his attempt at Southern female narration was annoying, at least to me. Why would women be the only ones with Southern drawls, when at least half the characters were from the South? This one point aside, however, the book is magnificent, and well worth the credit.
This book is masterfully done, expertly researched, and wonderfully read. The best analysis of the inner workings of Lincoln's presidency and character I have ever read, and I fancy myself a history buff. Lots of paeans to Lincoln have been written, as his was probably the most important presidency in the relatively brief history of the US. What makes this book special is that Goodwin puts Lincoln into context so thoroughly that it becomes easier to understand why he might have acted as he did, and what the consequences of his actions were, not only on events, but on those who came into contact with him. In a time of " me first" politics and politicians (and what times aren't?), Lincoln never let his ego override his objectives. A wonderful character study!
This installment of the Amelia Peabody Emerson adventure/mystery series is funny, moves well, and is completely entertaining, thanks to Barbara Rosenblatt's wonderful narration. My only regrets are **Spoiler Alert ** the absence of Ramses from most of the adventure and the apparent demise of the "Master Criminal". These books are like candy, hard to put down!
This is more like a novella than a full- length book. I picked it up on sale, as much because Davina Porter was the performer as anything else, and I love her narration. The story was charming, if somewhat predictable, and I loved the characters. A quick read!
As a fan of Bryan Sykes' earlier book, The Seven Daughters of Eve, I expected to find this book fascinating, and it was.
I read this book years ago, but listening to it made an even bigger impression. The narrator captured both the brutality and the grandeur of Ancient Rome, and wove what we know from history (via the accounts of Pliny), geology (the history of Vesuvius and the remains of the Roman aqueducts), and archaeology (from the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum) into a credible story that made the destruction of Pompeii and the loss of life there much more immediate than the re-telling of the story itself suggests.. Any history buff will love this.
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