I've read several other so-called biographies of Bruce Springsteen and was amazed at how little factual information they contained of a living, accessible person. Mr. Carlin pretty well resolved that problem for me in this big biography, Bruce. The story starts with the tragic death at a very young age of Bruce Springsteen's aunt, Virginia. It explores the histories of both sides of his family as they came from Europe. It lightly touches on the unusual circumstances around his maternal grandfather's imprisonment, and his father's manic depression. The events that impacted the artist on his way up are well researched and chronicled. The one exception that I hoped Carlin would realize was important was the acquisition of the Telecaster. Mike Appel famously stated that Bruce still played the same $189 guitar he's always had. Well, Bruce's Telecaster is NOT $189 instrument under any normal circumstances. Perhaps Mr. Carlin does not play guitar but that is a story those of us who do are interested to hear.
In the introduction Carlin tells us that during his interviews with Springsteen Bruce advised him if he found warts and wrinkles to print them. Carlin followed this advice up to a point. He certainly addresses Springsteen's mercurial temper, his obnoxious behavior toward his band mates, and his jealousy and disregard often in public of his lovers. Where he holds back, however, is in the transition between Springsteen's two marriages. We get plenty of information about who Julianne Phillips is, that is he tells us all the good stuff. Abruptly they divorce and almost instantly Bruce is a couple with Patti Scialfa. I'm not really looking for gossip. I'm looking to understand a series of songs on Bruce Springsteen's two 1992 albums. Human Touch and Lucky Town.
Carlin explains how these two unusual records were recorded and how slow and how fast the various songs were written. What he leaves out to the distraction of we who follow these things obsessively, is what inspired the specific songs. He offers these insights on other records, so I had hope. On previous albums Springsteen tells stories about plain people, for the most part fictional. On Human Touch and Lucky Town he reveals himself in a much more cathartic way than he ever did before. Songs like Human Touch, Cross My Heart, All or Nothing at All, Man's Job, and I Wish I Were Blind, are not only stunningly beautiful chronicles of heartbreak but for me personally they mirrored real events in my own life and I wondered how "The Boss" could find his psyche in the same place as an underpaid graphic designer. For me buying those two records on the same day was like a Badder-Meinhoff phenomenon. I hoped this long book would give me an inkling. Unfortunately Carlin gives these two brilliant records shorter shift than most. He does point out that they both eventually went platinum.
The other thing nearly ignored is Springsteen's relationship with his wife, Patti Scialfa, herself a brilliant rock singer and a cathartic song smith. This is not out of any fear of impropriety as Mr. Carlin gives us plenty of info about their sexual activity. I suppose he wants to allow the family a buffer but that's hardly the job of a biographer. Both song writers use their relationships powerfully in their work and it would be interesting to explore the intersection between their records. Scialfa's heartfelt contrition (for want of a better word) in songs like Come Tomorrow, As Long As I Can Be With You, and Lucky Girl, the passion and regret of Romeo and Stumble Into Bethlehem, and her anger on Play Around and Black Ladder. Suffice it to say if any two artists should ever do a "Double Fantasy" style album, their's should be a two CD set.
All in all, this is a terrific biography much more detailed than both of Dave Marsh's two books put together and far superior to the other fan-ravings long on opinions but short on facts. When you're finished it you will know the details of Springsteen's history. You will not know the specific details about how he taught himself to play guitar or any mention of early guitar instructors if there were any. That said, you do learn how he became the electrifying performer he is and that is certainly valuable information.
Bobby Cannavale does an excellent job reading and characterizing this book. It would be easy to go too far and he avoids this pitfall elegantly.
The afterwards is told by Carlin himself and in so doing the listener gets some insight into the books shortcomings.
In all, this is a valuable addition to the Bruce chronicles. I'm sure it will not be the last entry however.
To Kill A Mockingbird is beautifully told. There are only a few authors who really capture the thought process and dialogue of children, Mark Twain, Booth Tarkington, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Portis and Harper Lee are in the top tier at this talent.
This book has everything. It's a mystery, a childhood memoir, a cultural exploration, a study of great parenting skills, and a courtroom drama. Atticus Finch instills respect in his children but he does not use fear to instill it. His children have the option of contradicting him and when they're right he admits it. Not many writers can convincingly depict an eight-year-old girl backing down a lynch mob. This is only one of the great great scenes in this book.
I'm very familiar with Ms. Spacek's acting career but this is the first time I've listened to a book she narrates. Her work on To Kill A Mockingbird is sublime. Her understanding of southern US dialect is skillful and subtle. The distinction she makes between characters' voices enhance the beauty of the prose without distracting the listener. I listened to the entire book in two days and in my opinion Ms. Spacek's performance is flawless. I loved it.
Absolutely. I nearly did listen to it all in one sitting.
I read this book when it first came out and enjoyed it very much then. I think I was about thirteen at that time. I listened to this audio version in preparation for Ms. Lee's new book. At sixty-five I enjoyed it much more. I am very interested to know what became of Scout and Jem and Dill growing up under the influence of Atticus Finch as teacher and role model.
I found the breakdown of how and what we think when faced with interpersonal crises very thought provoking and very accurate.
Eric Berne's the Games People Play, Timothy Leary's Interpersonal Diagnosis of the Personality, Grinder and Bandler's Frogs Into Princes, L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics, Milton H. Erickson's Healing With Hypnosis, Jay Haley's Uncommon Therapy
Grenny has a youthful, strong, clear presentation. His reading of Crucial Conversations gets to the heart of the problem and shows the reader how to solved it. I will listen to this program several times.
The difference between "facts" and "story" is very important to distinguish. We take a fact and we make assumptions about how that fact came about which may not be accurate. People unaware of this research usually act as though the information they've intuited is true. If we can use good language skills to unravel facts from intuited "stories," we may be able to help others and ourselves get closer to the truth.
There is really a lot of new information here that can be very useful when using language to support our relationships both personal and business.
Mr. Johnson writes with authority about the reasons the city was founded, how those ideals were corrupted and the types of people that drive a city, perhaps any city. I think the book is not so much a cautionary tale as a candid one.
Frank Farley was such a quintessential hypocrite he left me cynical about all politics. The idea that the ice cream and hot dog concessions in one city were controlled by an organization ruled by one man and no one could get ice cream to sell without getting it from him and every scoop sold ALSO put money into his pocket made me wonder about the people selling ice cream around me.
Mantagna was an excellent choice to read this book. His voice is familiar and very pleasant to listen to. He did his research and correctly pronounced the names and locations referred to. While he made the characters distinct he has the wisdom not to over-do it. You can always understand what he's saying. This is a well-written piece of non-fiction. The author injects very few fiction-style dialogues giving an air of serious research to this book. These facts made Mr. Mantagna's job easier as well as giving the reader confidence that this is a well-documented account of history.
There were many moving accounts. Enoch Johnson's prison term, marriage, and long life was very moving at the end of the sequence about him. Farley's final defeat was terrific. The Democratic convention and the disheveled description of the city at that time was very powerful. The people and events that led to the legalization of gambling in the city was fascinating.
This was one of the two or three great pieces of non-fiction I've read this year. It really has very little to do with the TV show (which I think is excellent) that shares the title. I enjoyed this book on an entirely different level than the TV show.
No. I bought this book on Whispersync and read it in both formats. Frankly I found Mr. Woody's use of cartoon voices annoying. He's very good at them but this is not a funny book. Making the author of the book who was also the prosecutor in the case sound like Casper the Friendly Ghost was I thought way over the top. I have no problem with suggesting colloquial accents but there are many places where I couldn't understand what the narrator was saying at all. I had to go back to the Kindle version to determine what was going on.
I live locally to the areas mentioned and was completely caught up in the theory that Lenny Paradiso was a serial killer. I accepted it pretty quickly because of the narrative descriptions of the crimes. Only after I'd finished the book and started to research the case personally did I discover that this entire theory is VERY controversial in Boston. I guess there is not much doubt that Paradiso raped Connie Porter. There is a great deal of question however on the streets of Boston about his being the perpetrator in the Iannuzzi homicide and there is no proof or probability that he had anything to do with the disappearance of Joan Webster.
That Mr. Burke makes no mention of the fact that both George and Terry Webster worked in the intelligence community and that their daughter's murder may stem from a much more complex and sinister motive. Many people I've talked to in Revere Massachusetts think that Mr. Burke, knowingly or not, was engaged in a cover-up regarding what really happened to Joan Webster. Framing Paradiso for the Iannuzzi murder and then laying nearly every unsolved homicide of a woman in Boston at his door including and most significantly the Webster homicide is not justice if it isn't true. No one I talked to thinks Lenny Paradiso is a "good guy." He's a scam artist and rapist. If he's just being used to stop the investigation into the disappearance and murder of Joan Webster, I'm afraid it's not going to work over the long run. There are a lot of Bostonians completely dissatisfied with Mr. Burke's theory.
As I said, Mr. Woody has an entire arsenal of character voices from President Richard Nixon (defense attorney Rappaport) to Marge Simpson (Candace Weyant). I found these voices in a very serious crime analysis distracting. This is a chilling book. Mr. Woody's narration undermines this fact considerably.
I couldn't put it down. When I wasn't listening to it I continued reading it on Kindle. I finished it in less than two days.
Sure, but Jason Sullivan has to do research when he reads a book the subject of which he knows nothing about. There have to be conservatively 12 documentaries about organized crime and Las Vegas he could watch to get the right pronunciation of proper names.
Mr. Moe could eliminate all his sarcasm with benefit. It is not especially amusing to the reader and serves mainly to undermine the journalistic integrity of his prose. I would also like to see a source bibliography. For example Al Moe appears to take it for granted that the urban legend that Joseph Kennedy was a "bootlegger" has substance. Kennedy passed the senate Republicans vetting exam twice when he became Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and again when he became Ambassador to Great Britain. There is no way those Republicans would have signed off on him had there been even a suggestion that he was involved in the manufacturing or distribution of illegal alcohol during prohibition. Where does Mr. Moe verify his statements and how does he think Kennedy got around those Republican senators? THAT would be a story!
I learned a lot about the history of Ben Binion and his criminal associates. This is also the first time I learned how ineffective Howard Hughes was in rebuilding Las Vegas.
Mr. Sullivan has a pleasant enough voice and is a good reader. Unfortunately he apparently believes he can get away with guessing at the pronunciations. Kefauver is pronounced KEEF-offer, NOT kifever. Meyer Lansky's first name is pronounced MY-yor NOT Mayor. Raymond Patriarca's last name is pronounced Pat-ri-AR-ka, NOT Patricka. The mispronunciation of Kefauver made me cringe every time he did it and he did it a lot.
Hopefully it does not. Only time can tell us this.
Overall I enjoyed the book. It fit in well with other books I've read about these people.
Beyond Capote's light yet vivid scenes and characters, Hall's narration adds a sense of mystery and longing completely appropriate to the theme of the story.
The narrator's initial meeting with OJ Berman in Holly's living room is not what the listener expects and therefore very amusing and beautifully described.
I'm familiar with Mr. Hall's work on the TV show, Dexter, the primary reason I got this audio book. I've read the book at least twice before and was just curious to see what Hall would do with it. Breakfast at Tiffany's was in my view an unusual choice for Mr. Hall to read. Frankly I was blown away by it. I was aware of the charisma in Hall's voice from his TV work. Add to that Capote's exquisite description and characterizations and this was my treat for last week. I will listen to this again.
Never love a wild thing.
I hope Mr. Hall will have time in his schedule to read more books. Rest assured I'll be listening to them.
It seems as though Kent Hartman learned to write by composing blurbs for paperbacks. His alliterative metaphors double up on each other. This "look at me" style of writing is really annoying especially when you hear it read aloud. Just one typical example, he refers to Phil Spector as "The elfin emperor." Perhaps that doesn't sound like a big deal but four or five of these things per page it really begins to grate on the listener after a while.
Starting a book about several disparate people describing events that seemed important to them was I though very hokey and not at all enlightening: Hal Blaine caught in a circus fire, Glenn Campbell getting a whipping... come on!
The other thing is when you're writing a book about musicians who do you imagine is going to buy it and read it? People who are very interested in music and how musicians develop their chops, that's who and that's what they want to know. Most of us who read these books have inadvertently done as much research on this subject as the author has. Therefore we expect the author to know that Bertha Spector until the day she died referred to her son by his REAL name, Harvey, NEVER as Phil. If I know that and Mr. Hartman doesn't, what else did he get wrong? My guess is plenty.
So much is glossed over. He tells a very interesting story about how Don Peake conned his way into an important gig by being able to play Be Bop A Lula, one of three songs he knew on guitar. The thing is, after it was discovered that he really couldn't play guitar, he was kept on and the other band members PAID FOR HIS GUITAR LESSONS! Hartman acts as though this is typical musician behavior. It is not. Why did they do this for Peake? This is the story we'd like to know and he writes as though it was self-explanatory. There are many of these instances in this book.
As far as I know The Wrecking Crew is the only book Kent Hartman has ever written.
I thought the tragic story of Jim Gordon was well-told and of great interest.
I thought the angst of the Monkeys, the Byrds, etc not being allowed to play their own instruments on recordings attributed to them was interesting and ironic. They were getting paid, weren't they? Would they rather drive a taxi?
Mr. Hartman seems to think that fans were fooled by these prefabricated groups. We were not. One of the most impressive things about the Beatles was that they played their own instruments. We were used to "singing" groups and the Beach Boys, for example, was a singing group. When they became competitive with the Beatles and started claiming they too played their own instruments, they fooled no one. Many of us knew the names, Glenn Campbell, Hal Blaine, Barney Kessel, James Burton etc. If they were a 'secret,' they were a poorly kept secret.
There is much that is interesting in The Wrecking Crew. There is a continent of information however that is glossed over and left out. The evolution of Barney Kessel is never described nor his mentoring of young Phil Spector. Mac Rebennack I don't think is mentioned once. Leon Russell is glossed over. James Burton, Nino Tempo are footnotes. Much more could be written on this subject in greater detail.
The Swamp Birds are never mentioned as such. Steve Cropper and Duane Allman are name drops.
More in-depth Audible books on this subject are, Mick Brown's Tearing Down the Wall of Sound, Tommy James and Martin Fitzpatrick's Me, The Mob and the Music, Life by Keith Richards, and Peter Ames Carlin's Bruce.
I'd highly recommend The Moon and Sixpence to anyone, particularly those struggling with the dichotomy between great art produced by a less-than-great human being.
Maugham uses a journalistic tone in The Moon and Sixpence to create the idea that the story happened to him just as he tells it. It is not only beautifully written but very convincing. If I didn't know that the story was based on the life of the painter Paul Gauguin and that Maugham did not actually know the artist, I'd believe this is a true story.
My favorite scene was probably Maugham's confrontation with Strickland in his rundown Paris hotel. Maugham goes there full of preconceived notions about what Strickland is doing and finds that not one of them is true. The reality is much worse!
There are so many great scenes, when Stroeve does his utmost to convince his wife to allow him to bring the deathly ill Strickland home to their house. The death of Blanche Stroeve is another powerful scene. The scene when the landlady convinces Strickland to take a native wife. The description by the doctor of Strickland's destroyed masterpiece on the walls of his death hut. And the last scene when Mrs. Strickland and her children discuss the responsibilities of being related to a genius. Very ironic.
Why fool with the title of a masterpiece?
Robert Hardy does a SPECTACULAR job on bringing this powerful and thought provoking novel to life. His characterizations are masterful.
Beautifully and evocatively written, this is the story of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn and her family. It is told through the eyes of Henry VIII's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell. King Henry appears to be a narcissistic psychopath, a problem if not caused by, certainly exacerbated by his lofty all-powerful political position.
Cromwell, on the other hand, is perfectly aware that what he is doing on the King's behalf is morally and legally wrong. He is simply doing his best to avoid being executed himself. If he takes a deadly revenge for verbal slights along the way he pretends not to enjoy it. At the beginning of this novel, Thomas Moore and Cardinal Wolsey, intimate advisers to the King, have already been publicly humiliated and executed. There is no benefit that would allow a shrewd person to get close to this monarch. He is dangerously paranoid and kills everyone he loves.
I'd particularly recommend this book to people who think capital punishment is a valid legal exercise and that public shaming serves some useful purpose. At one point Cromwell is asked by his son if he believes the queen and her "lovers" are guilty. He says, "They're guilty but not as charged." I have to wonder if, even in our own day, people are wrongfully convicted of crimes and even executed just to get them out of the way.
This is a book teeming with great characters. Nonetheless I became most interested in Thomas Cromwell the protagonist. His thinking is obtuse. His decisions as sly at Machiavelli's. His ability to see three moves ahead in this dangerous and hypocritical court lifestyle raised him from a blacksmith's abused son to The Earle of Essex.
I have and Simon Vance is one of the finest readers of audio books we have currently. His work is consistently engaging and well-researched. His pronunciation is nearly flawless.
Honestly I'd be apprehensive about getting close to anyone in this scenario. I don't think my life would be worth the price of the dinner. That said I'd probably enjoy a conversation with the Princess Elizabeth even at her young age in this story. She was the one who survived and to some extent lifted England out of the depression of these dark days. She did not survive because she had so many supporters. She survived because she knew when to hold back and when to push forward.
Beautifully written, suspenseful, loaded with both physical and mental action. Historical fiction doesn't get better than this.
This is a very silly and improbable thriller that makes itself absurd by repeatedly going off on pseudo philosophical tangents. Travis McGee is a large, sentimental, narcissistic, violent, sociopath who makes one poor decision after another but still manages to spin things in his mind so he feels like he's "helped" someone. If he would just LISTEN to people in the first place instead of trying to manipulate them to do what HE thinks they should do, he might be of some benefit instead of getting them all killed.His attitude about women is hilarious. Of course every woman who meets him aggressively wants to take him to bed at least to hear him tell it. He on the other hand is very judgmental. Oh he takes advantage of casual encounters one after the other, but he's bound to make some eviscerating comment about her low self esteem or her intelligence after he's thoroughly used her for everything she's got. There is one term that sums this guy up and it is a crude allusion to a bodily orifice.
If the story was better plotted and the characters less stereotypical it would be a better book.
That said I disliked McGee from the beginning. His friend Sam Taggart calls to say he's in trouble and needs help. McGee changes the subject and gets him talking about a love affair Taggart skipped out on three years before. Clearly McGee himself had designs on Taggart's ex and lays this absurd guilt trip which Taggart falls right into. McGee goes to the woman in the case, takes her to dinner and gets her all worked up about seeing her old beau again. They go over to the motel Taggart is staying in only to find him knifed to death. At that point both McGee and the woman, a boutique owner, swear to avenge their fallen lover and comrade. Irresponsibly McGee takes this woman to Mexico on a search for Aztec gold which apparently got Taggart killed, and McGee gets her killed too!
Over the course of this story McGee beats and tortures three women (all of whom want to sleep with him afterwards), kills a dog, and an elderly (albeit scummy) TV producer. McGee's behavior is the cause of at least ten violent deaths in this book alone. In the long run however McGee determines his friend Taggart thoroughly deserved to be knifed and the people who actually did it are allowed to walk away.
The main thing I think John D. MacDonald could do to improve his work is to see a psychiatrist.
Petkoff was the reason I kept listening to this book. His voices are terrific. I particularly liked the Boston art expert who appeared twice while McGee negotiated his blood money.
I would probably watch it on Netfix. I would not pay to see this story dramatized in a theater. It is quite funny in the fact that it takes itself so seriously.
I doubt I will read anymore of this series. These books came highly recommended by people whose intelligence I previously took as a given. I am reassessing this point. I am a long-time lover of Ian Fleming's novels and have also read all of Micky Spillane's work. At one point in this book McGee has the temerity to comment "It's easy for Mike Hammer." Well, Travis, in every Spillane book Mike Hammer is beaten to a bloody pulp. In your story you sprained your wrist. I'd say it was easy for you.
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