Oh my, I finally finished this lengthy book (1076 pages, over 63 hours of listening). I am very glad I read/listened to this book. I should give it 5 stars for being a life-changing book, but because of the literary shortfalls, I just can't.
So here's what I think. The story was good, and very thought-provoking. I see so many parallels in what Ayn Rand was trying to say 60 years ago vs. what is going on in this country today. It is scary and hopeful at the same time. I don't get why we as humans in the 21st century can't understand that when we penalize those who produce we are destroying ourselves. Why do we keep saying things like, "Let's tax those rich b_____s. They can afford it." Well ok, but then who will pay your paycheck. Use your heads, people. The rich guys are the ones with the ability to create jobs for the rest of us. If they are not allowed the freedom to create, where does that leave the rest of us? We will not get far when we are all on government handouts.
So that is the gist of this book. Live and let live. Let those who are able, create jobs for the rest of us. Don't keep taxing and regulating them to death. Or any of us, for that matter.
Now, about the literary side of things. This book is full of lectures. Some of them go on for page after page after page. A lot of good things are said, but many of them are said over and over. The worst one is the chapter "John Galt Speaks" near the end of the book. How many ways can you say the same thing? Whatever number that is, it was reached in that chapter. I read this book AND listened to it as well. About half way through that speech, I put the audio on 3x speed and listened in fast mode. I didn't miss a thing. . .
The story is largely allegorical and I like that sort of thing, but it went a little too far for my taste. Also, the love story just didn't make it for me. It was just too unrealistic. It went something like this: (This might be a semi-spoiler, so be aware)
Woman: Oh Man #1, I have loved you since we were children.
Man #1: You are the only woman in my life. Don't believe all that playboy stuff they say about me.
Woman: Oh Man #2, I have never had a relationship like this before.
Man #2: Now that I can finally admit that I love you, I will divorce my wife so that we may live happily ever after. Well, at least I'll be happier with or without you after I dump that broad.
Woman (upon seeing Man #3 for the first time): "Ah Sweet Mystery of Life, at last I've found you!"
Man #3: I'm sure we can live happily ever after, well, that is, after I save the world and have my near-death experience at which point you sweep in and save my life by taking on a small army single-handedly. We're going to be great together.
Man #2: I always knew you would find someone else. And when I met him, I have to admit I can't blame you. He is AWESOME!
Man #1: Yeh, I kinda like him too.
So taking the good with the bad, it still is a book worth the many hours it takes to read it. (If you listen to it, put the narrator speed on 2x, at least.) I can't recommend it to everyone. It takes a weird combination of being mature and a dreamer to really appreciate it.
A word about the narrator. Scott Brick is one of the most highly rated narrators, and I also think he is very good, but he does some things that bother me a lot. First off, he uses the same syntax for everything. Secondly, he has a way of elongated certain words every time he reads them. "Any" is one of them, or anything with an "n" or "m" in the middle. He reads quite slowly, and does not use a very wide range of characterizations. Still he is a good reader and I am pretty sure I will listen to other books read by him. He just won't ever be my favorite.
I was hesitant to read this book because I did not want to be let down if it did not compare favorably to The Secret Life of Bees. I was only slightly disappointed. I loved the book and of course, Kidd is such a fabulous writer that it is hard to put down any book of hers. However, the story line was not quite as good as some of her other books. It got to be a little repetitious, and I grew tired of disappointment after disappointment that all of the main characters experienced. When I came to find out it is based on a true story, I liked it better. I began to see the juxtaposition of the two sisters of wealth and class from the south with the two sisters born into slavery and wondered which set of sisters had more freedom. Both were severely oppressed and prevented from reaching their full potential, but as Handful, speaking to Miss Sarah, put it (I paraphrase), 'mine is bondage of the body, but yours is bondage of the mind. I won't ever let them take my mind.' We don't choose the circumstances of our births, and I found myself grateful that I was born into a less oppressive time for women! Heaven knows I have had my own struggles with that. I was amazed at the pluck and stamina of the Grimky sisters to stand their ground and work for the emancipation of their black sisters. even though they paid a dear price. Could I have done that? Would I have been willing to give up all that they gave up to help those less fortunate? I hope I would have. But in the process, they were helped just as much as the black women and men they served. They found their true calling in life and put their all into it. Or, as Another very wise Man put it, "...whosoever shall lose his life for my sake . . . the same shall save it." (Mark 8:35)
All in all, this was a great read with a great story behind it. I really came to love and admire these characters.
The narrators were absolutely top notch. A good narrator is half the reason I choose to listen to many of my books. These two are just great.
I learned a lot from this book, but I really think this would be a book better read, or at least read while listening. I can tell you what it talked about, but I could not tell you what the seven events are. I would be really happy to get a copy of it and try reading it. There was a time or two I got completely lost in the details of eating meat or something like that. Apparently there is no harm in eating a really poor diet with little nutritional value. At least that seems to me to be what it was saying. It made no sense to me! Still I think there is much to be learned from the book.
Very entertaining. As someone who grew up watching the antics of this amazing comedian, I loved reading about his life. He truly created some of the funniest skits ever seen. Brilliant!
A great study on assumtions. As one writer put it, when you assume something you make an "ass" of "u" and "me." That is what this book is all about, assuming something to be true because you want it to be true. Thank goodness there are those who are willing to put forth the effort to look deeper into things to find the real truth. Sadly, it doesn't work that way for everyone who is falsely accused, but when it does, it has to be deeply rewarding for the innocent.
Presented in a dramatized fashion, this is a great listen.
Once I started this book I could not stop. It is both frightening and hopeful; frightening because of how fragile and gullible we human beings are, and how easily we can lose our sense of right and wrong so that swallowing lock, stock and barrel some infinitely insane philosophy seems like the right thing to do. Hopeful because basically I believe human beings are good and smart and really do know right from wrong, even if it takes them a while to figure it all out. I hope we all figure it out before it is too late. Please please please read this book so you know how to recognize what is happening to America even now. I know you are basically good. Don't lose track of that!
I just took it for what it is. Would I want her life style in exchange for fame and fortune? Absolutely not. I would never trade places with her and I would not hold her up as an example of morality. Hahahaha far from it. Still, it was the life she knew, and she was a talented and funny woman. This was an interesting read and I did enjoy much of it. I enjoyed listening to Marshall's great New York accent and learned a lot from her outlook on life. I don't think she was holding herself up as some role model or saying that someone else should seek her life style. It was an eye opener in a way. Not sure if I can recommend it unless it is to someone who, like me, can take it for what it is.
DSouza has such an interesting outlook on things. He sees them from a different angle and it makes me think. Although not born here, he is a great American. Everyone should listen to this book and then stand up for this country, or what is left of it. We can still save it.
Great but sad story. It truly made my heart ache. Conroy is such a great writer that I could just listen all day. He makes me believe I am right in the middle of the action.
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!!
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