Tony Danza tells it like it is, I have spent 17 years in the classroom and Mr. Danza experiences and writes about almost every issue that teachers face in the classroom today and hits the nail on the head every time. Great read.
First, Ken Follett's Pillars of The Earth is a LONG tale, sometimes dark and depressing definitely medieval. It chronicles the building of a cathedral by telling the story of the lives of the craftsman and clergy that commission and struggle to build the church. This is all set against the political undercurrents of an English civil war while using the squalor and human suffering that is the middle ages as the story's backdrop.
Follett gives his reader (or listener in this case) a highly detailed view of these dark times along with the political machinachions and manouverings of 12th century church and royal politics. Follett can then bring these lofty ideals down to a very human level as he tells the story of how these manouverings then effect the lives everyday people struggling to survive as well as do God's work in their communities.
While a long tome, Follett's work is a highly satisfying one, if you are a fan of English history (this story is fiction the winds it's way around historical facts) or of art and archeticture you will find this an excellent read (or listen as the case is here!) if not you may find it a bit tedious and boring.
This is a classic, the story of Grant's command of the Union Army from the battle of the Wilderness to Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Catton's command of the language combined with his knowledge of history combine for a very enjoyable book, wonderfully narrated by Michael Kramer the book takes on even greater dimensions. If you enjoy history you will enjoy this book.
During the mid 1970's I played D and D and enjoyed the game very much, so the first 75% or so of this book was a trip down memory lane for me. I never understood why TSR, a company that from the outside looked to be growing like crazy and very profitable, suddenly went bust. This book explains that, albeit not in a lot of detail.
I was enjoying the book right up until the author choose to spend a very large chapter describing his LARPing (live action role playing) experience in detail, that is where it went off the rails for me. Very tedious and boring, then... as he exited the tales of his LARPing he choose to spend the last portion of the book shilling and gushing over D&D Next (version 5 of the game), it all came off as a lame sales pitch, an attempt to convince the D&D community (most of whom are still angry about the AWFUL 4th version of the game) that 5 was great.
If you enjoy D&D or are just curious about the game and the people who play it, this is a decent introduction, it's not a bad read (or listen as is the case here). The narrative device of bouncing the reader between a history lesson of the game and his own D&D adventures becomes tedious at about the same time as the the live action role play chapter making that part bog down all the more, but all in all not bad.
A great story, well written, Isaacson describes Einstein's human side along with his scientific theories. Definitely worth the credit and the time to listen. Outstanding narration as well.
Michael Caine gives his most personal and heartwarming performance yet as he tells his life story, and what a story it is. Rising out of poverty to become a beloved movie star who's life's work has touched millions. If you have enjoyed Mr. Caine's films and characters you will love his story and no one is more qualified to tell it than Michael himself.
A decent telling of the battle of Shiloh, obviously well researched. Jeff does a good job of filling his father's shoes, however there was a spark in Michael's work that just isn't present in Jeff's.
Remember those paint by the numbers things when you were a kid, the ones where the scene was already drawn out for you and you had a little pot of paints to fill in the colors? That's what this novel reminds me of, the characters are pre-established, all we need to plug in a story and you have a novel. No real surprises here, also no real innovation. The story is weak and predictable, the characters we already know and know well so no real development there either. In the end I was just listening to get through it. The sound effects and narration voices are excellent and are the high point of the novel.
In a word... letdown. The story plods along, rehashing and re-telling old stories until the last few chapters where things get interesting only to have the main characters enter a pointless struggle, then alot of tedious, boring fill in the blank storytelling. A weak ending to a decent trilogy.
An interesting follow up that definitly lacks something that the first book had. The trilogy is getting even darker and more violent.
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