After having listened to Dr. Greenberg's course on the Thirty Greatest Orchestra Works, I had to have more, and decided to give this one a try. Although I have always had a great appreciation for the music of Mozart and truly love many of the things he has written, I can’t say that he has been one of my all time favorite composers. With the insights I gained from this Great Courses class taught by Dr. Robert Greenberg, I must say the great genius has moved up in my estimation. My understanding of his music is markedly better, and I can now say he truly is one of my favorite composers. The world lost him way too soon at the age of nearly 36, but thank goodness for the things he was able to give us.
I would have to say this is one of the best books I've listened to, although it is not technically a book. It is a part of the Great Courses series, through which you can increase your knowledge of just about anything.. This one is absolutely fabulous from my point of view. The author, Professor Robert Greenberg, took thirty of what he considers the very best of the Western Hemisphere orchestral works of the last three and a half centuries and expounded on them and their composers. Being somewhat of a music historian wannabee, I was so enthralled that the time fairly flew as I was absorbed in these classes. It made me want to go to my own recordings of these pieces and listen to them each from start to finish with new light and understanding. Bravo, Dr. Greenberg. Please keep these classes coming!!
I loved this book when I read it as a teenager and so when I saw it on Audible, I couldn't wait to get at it. I can't say I was disappointed, but it was a lot different than I had remembered it. It is a well written book about the Arthurian legend, and I did enjoy it, but not as much as that first time when I could not put it down. However, Neville Jason's performance was wonderful, and I totally enjoyed listening to him read it.
"War is the work of the devil." So says one of the generals of WWI, although I couldn't find the quote as I went back and looked for it in this 715 page history, so I can't even report for sure who said it. It doesn't really matter, though, because as I continued to study this book, if I got one thing from it, it would be that war is undoubtedly and indisputably Hell with a capital H. Living all my life hearing about WWI and II, I have never really been able to put the pieces together to make sense of it all. Several months ago I went on a WWII binge, reading and listening to a lot of books on it until I think I finally have at least a working knowledge of what it was all about. It seemed to follow that I then learn about WWI, and so I have been. This book offers a great starting point for the study of that war. I tried studying other books first, but got hopelessly lost. This book, by virtue of the way that is written, made it very accessible to me, and now I can study some of those other books with a degree of knowledge that will help me add to my understanding.
I really like the format of the book, particularly the short intermediary background chapters that shed so much light on the core story of the war. It helped so much with understanding the how and the why of the war, and events that it precipitated.
So in a nutshell, outside of the logistics and battles and armaments and all of that usual and necessary war stuff, here is what I learned. This war was fought for the flimsiest of reasons, if in fact there was a reason at all. Nations can act very much like two-year-old children fighting over an inexpensive toy. Over 9.5 million soldiers lost their lives over these petty squabbles, not to mention many more millions who were moderately to severely wounded, nor the millions of civilians who who were wounded or killed. The Germans were justified in being outraged at the way they were treated in the Treaty of Versailles, particularly by Woodrow Wilson, and we all know where that lead, or at least I hope we do.
I hope many more of us are willing to put forth the effort to learn the truth about war in the hopes of avoiding it in the future. The way things appear to me right now, it seems that we are going down this same path, and that scares me. No wonder Santayana, widely quoted by others, including Winston Churchill, has said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
As I started listening to this book, I felt the need to follow along with the physical book, and so I bought a copy. It was extremely helpful, as the book is full of pictures and maps, and I could see the names of people and places that were hard for me to grasp from just hearing them, names of German, Belgian and French cities, rivers and regions that to us do not sound like we think they should. A good example is the French town of Ypres, pronounced Eep. (One would be disappointed to look for the town of Eep on a map.). The narrator was just right for this book, and had a great command over multiple European accents. This was a great book to both read and listen to. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to know more about the history of WWI and what the ramifications for us have been.
Although this is an autobiography, it reads like a novel. I loved reading this book. But once again it highlights the fact that humans can be the most vicious and mean species on the face of the earth. Papillon was not perfect, in fact he did some pretty bad things, but he did not commit the murder he was accused of, and for which he was sent to prison for life. Not just prison, but hard labor, with long stretches of solitary confinement in which he could talk to no one, ask for nothing, and never even see the sun. Papillon tried to escape 10 times and was totally successful the first time. If he hadn't decided he wanted to live somewhere else, he would never have been found and been reimprisoned. I remember seeing the movie with Steve McQueen years ago, and now I want to see it again.
More than anything else, this book taught me to never give up no matter how bleak the outlook. Some days I really need to remember that lesson.
I was a little "if-y" about Michael Prichard as a narrator at first, but I came to realize that his style and vocal characteristics are perfect for this story. Highly recommended.
This book is extremely well written by a couple of Shakespearean professors who really know what they are talking about. The story of Macbeth is relative simple, and these two brought it to life for me. I will read the Shakespeare play now that I am very familiar with the story. Although a tragedy, I enjoyed this book very much.
The narration is also extremely well done and certainly added to the enjoyment of this book. I wish these authors and these narrators would do more of Shakespeare's stories.
This is one of those books you can't stop listening to until you are finished. It is powerful and heartbreaking and scary. There is layer after layer of meaning in this story, enough to keep a good book club going for a year at least. It is one I will be thinking about for a long time to come. At first I thought it was going to be a children's book, but it was soon evident that it wasn't the case. Yet, I'm not sure it is an adult book either. I guess it is just a book, a very profound and powerful book. It deals with concentration camps during WWII through the eyes of a 9 year-old German boy who lived just outside the camp fence. It is a very interesting point of view and a real eye-opener! Luckily it is a relatively short book so you can finish it in one or two sittings. Otherwise your life will have to go on hold until you finish it. Can't stop thinking about it.
"My Antonia" (emphasis on the "i") has been on my "to-read" list for a very long time. Oddly, I ended up with three versions of this book: Physical book, Kindle edition, and audio. I read all of them simultaneously. (I love doing that!) It is beautifully written by the great Willa Cather, and I understand it is very much autobiographical. Basically, it is the story of the Great Melting Pot, how foreign born families immigrated to the United States, specifically the Great Plains, and did their best to fit in, make a living, and give their children an opportunity that could not be had anywhere else in the world. It was not an easy life. These families left everything they knew, even their native languages, to come to the great unknown, with the promise of a better life. My own great-grandparents left Denmark in the late 1800s, in a similar time frame and reason as the people in this book, and brought their three young sons with them, boys who would never know their native land, or ever see it again. That takes guts, and these were gutsy people. Antonia was a strong, smart girl who grew up to raise a big family in the best way she knew how. I admire her.
With all this said, it is not the most compelling book I have ever read. Yes, I cared about the characters, and was involved with their lives, but it is not a serious page turner. It is an easy read, and may be best read by a young adult. In my opinion, it is a good book, and has many elements that make it very worthwhile reading. I just don't think I would categorize it as great. The narrator of the audio book was good, but not great either. He was easy to listen to and did a good job of reading it, but I was always conscious of his reading. He didn't suck me into the story the way a really great narrator can.
Bottom line: I really enjoyed it and would recommend it for anyone wanting to know more about pioneers, and how our country became "e pluribus unum."
. . . But well worth it. First off, this is the narrator to listen to! I sampled all the narrators available, some being masters that I am well acquainted with, but none came close to Madhav Sharma. This is a performance to savor as he masterfully molds the story of "Kim" into everything Kipling set out to make of it.
I sophomorically kept waiting for the big conflict, the big rift, the big disaster to really draw me into this book. About half way through, I realized none would come because this is a story about relationships, contrasts and coming of age. It is about trust and mistrust, love and loss, devotion and betrayal. It is not a story to speed through, but to be savored and thought about. I found myself listening and then relistening to many chapters, as I read along in the ebook (easily attainable for free). I could never have enjoyed just reading this book, in large part because of the strange names which I could never understand nor pronounce correctly, and also because of my total ignorance of the native inflections that Mr. Sharma so masterfully performed, and which gives so much meaning to the story. On the other hand, I could never have just listened to it because many of the words, being unfamiliar to me, could never have made sense to me no matter how well pronounced without my seeing them and in many cases, looking them up. Following along with the written word was the best of both worlds for me, and really helped with my understanding of the book.
Beautifully written with a beautiful moral, no wonder it is a classic. I don't usually reread fiction, but I will probably read this one again.
Wow! What a story! I was completely caught up in this story for most of the book. I was a bit surprised to find, after I had read the whole thing, that this story is based on fact. That makes it all the more amazing. Mr. Thom did so much great research on this story and then put together a compelling work of fact fleshed out by his own imagination. He lost me a little bit when the character Mary climbed over mountains for several days in a row stark naked in freezing weather with no food. I kept thinking, "If it is so cold that a rock cannot be budged from the frozen ground, surely this naked woman cannot survive for more than several hours without any kind of shelter and no food for any kind of energy." But survive she did. I also found myself thinking that with a river running right by her and a whole forest on both sides, surely a woman as smart and resourceful as she was could figure out a way to find food, start a fire (although understandably she did not want to so she wouldn't be found) and make herself some kind of covering. But even with that inconsistency, I really enjoyed the story. **Semi-spoiler alert:** I do have to add that I understand why she left, but will never understand how she could leave her children. Perhaps she intended to go back after them, but that did not happen.
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