This book caught me by surprise - I am I think like most people, in that I have a habit of classifying authors by the themes they write on, and of course this author made that very easy with his previous body of work, which as we all know is the result of his being a part of that profession... However I believe that it is fair to say that this book represents his break-out effort, as he has completely departed from the well-known and comfortable style of his other work and charted new territory here.
A Painted House will not disappoint. While it is not a part of what we have come to anticipate from the author, this book is not only an enjoyable tale in its own right, but the equal to and I honestly believe perhaps even better than what came before it. It establishes the author as an author in the literal sense, rather than a writer in a limited area.
This book is best read on a rainy day, preferably on your covered front porch or deck, with a nice hot cup of tea or coffee to keep you company. There is a lot of detail and emotional measure to it, and the perspective will, if you allow yourself to give the empathy that the narrative character deserves, leave you convinced that you've just put down a classic when you are done. I would have given this book six stars if they had let me.
The author has carved out his niche as an historical biographer of great skill, so it is reasonable to come to expect much from him; he does not fail to deliver in this book. Having said that, this book should be judged as a journey into the soul of the subject and not an adventure or a novel - it is not and was not intended to be an edge-of-the-seat experience.
The narrator does an excellent job of portraying the various characters with just enough inflection to make the transitions comfortable and while there may be some exposure of his breathing in the reading it is not irritating. It is obvious that the narrator was "in" to the story, and we can always appreciate that!
The book itself offers the listener an intimate perspective of the Adams in a way that you certainly will not find in a text book or in the standard biography. That John Adams was one of the individuals to place their hands upon history and influence the world is beyond question, and this book offers us the opportunity to drink deeply of the character of the man, giving a clear and unobstructed view of his motives.
In an era in which the actions of the founding fathers are often called into question or are intentionally recast with less than faithful attention to the facts it is all the more important to have works like this to set the record straight. McCullough has no axe to grind, and has held himself to the unusually high standards he adopted for his previous works.
If you are seeking knowledge and wish to understand an important man and important events from the past, this book is one you will regret not experiencing. If you are seeking to be constantly entertained and to have plot and subplot move in fluid motion, perhaps you will find Patrick O'Brian's historical fiction more to your liking.
I found the book to be engaging, easy to follow, and pleasant to listen to in small or large chunks, and I believe you will too. It earned the five stars it received from me.
Do not pick this one up if you are seeking a story that follows the Gibson of the past century because this is not him...
Despite that glaring fact the story is, without putting too fine a point on the departure from genre, a very easy to listen to romp through classic spydom without the violence, car chases, secret pen guns or... Well... Any of the gadgets that make spies cool.
In the end if you give this book a chance you will find an easy to digest story about people you just cannot really bring yourself to identify with or care about.
I gave it 4 Stars because it is a proper story that was well executed by the narrator and despite its lack of depth retains its entertainment value. If it had not cost me an Audible Credit I might have given it five stars... Maybe...
Bryson cut his teeth in travel writing after building a career as a newspaper columnist in the UK. Don't let that stop you from picking this book however because while it does qualify as an educational tome it delivers its knowledge with the razor sharp wit and unique world view that is Bill at his best!
Be prepared for the topic to shift widely while listening. This is a book that is more suited towards (and pure perfect for) use as a commuteer listen. It is divided up into neat sectional notions that are just the right length to listen on your way to and from work with maximum enjoyment.
The author reads with the pleasant voice of a long-lost but loveable uncle you just don't get to see and hear enough. Despite being educational the author delivers edutainment and he earned his 5 stars.
The author is an actor and writer, but most people think of him as an actor, and an actor that plays in the not so serious roles. Do not expect that here, for this is a very serious book indeed, and a very good book.
In the first half of the last century writers like Hemingway and the Parisian Ex-pat's brought to life a style of writing that dwelt in the heart, and the essence of what motivates and shapes the decisions of the characters and their moral choices. Words like honor and ethics and the romantic meant something more than they mean today. This book so perfectly captures that style and the very nature of the era that it almost makes me wonder if the author's career as an actor was a terrible and tragic mistake, because had he spent that time writing I have no doubt that he would stand shoulder to shoulder with Hemingway and Faulkner in the minds of those who read for the love of reading.
I cried and I laughed and I cringed, I giggled and I frowned, and I was quickly thrust into the story with very little sense of transition. I believed.
The author paints a background that though it is sparse in detail so richly builds a picture in the mind that after putting the book away I am forced to wonder how he did that? In the second listen, I realized that somehow my mind created details that are only hinted at, and that is the mark of the true art in writing.
I cannot really do justice to this book in a mere 2000 characters, so I will not try. What I will do instead is say this: You must listen to this book, becuase to not experience it would be one more thing to add to the list of regrets one carries through life.
Expectations are often what shapes a reader's final opinion on a story. The blurbs we read when looking for our next book are there to build it, often at the expense of truth, and in the end, unless we know the author well, it is a flip of the same coin. Fortunately that does not apply here...
The Book of Fate was my first experience with this author, and it was in every sense a coin toss as I was unable to find anything else that stood above it in my fickle mood. I can honestly say that I am glad that I chose this title for a number of reasons.
The author is particularly adept at bringing life to his characters, and surprisingly equally adept at making us care about them quickly - not a skill most writers possess I am afraid. In this story we have a recipe for entertainment that is well rounded, and takes us into the moment in easy to manage steps.
There are a few instances where you wish you could step in and point out an obvious flaw in the reasoning of the main character, but that is a good thing, because it is evidence of just how well the author developed the plot.
Having provided you with a summation of how the book felt to me, I should now also offer you a warning: This is not one of those books that you can easily put down in the middle of a chapter, so try to plan out your reading so that you can either finish it in one go, or in large enough chunks of time so that you can go from plot change to plot change, otherwise it could be a bit frustrating.
Other than that I liked this one a lot - it served as my entertainment for a two-day train ride, and though I saw the ending coming I was not displeased with how it arrived, or departed. I liked this one so much that my next purchase from Audible was The Zero Game, another Meltzer that I bought without even looking at the blurb! I based my decision upon the strength of my satisfaction with this title, and it was a good decision.
Left me feeling a little let down, but very happy that at least if it had to end, it ended on a happy note. Could you imagine how we would all have felt if POB had died after writing Reverse of the Medal?
When we left our heroes in the previous book, they were fitting out for the voyage to deal with Chile and Peru - the War was over, Napoleon on his way to the Ille de France, and Jack had voluntarily removed his name from the Post Captain's List in order to avoid the certain yellowing that his new enemy (also his last command's Admiral) certainly intended for him. Thanks to Stephen there is a reprieve possible, but where does it lead? We find out here!
This is not as exciting as previous books, in that while not totally lacking the famous energy that POB usually put into the Aubrey/Maturin saga, it may just be that he was showing his age. However it was brilliantly researched, and much like the rest of the saga, the connection to the past is there, and the author does not insist upon the happy world that most build for their primary characters.
Under the circumstances I am very happy to have had the opportunity to hear this story, as I believe you will be too. This book appeared in print shortly before the author passed away. He died at Trinity College in Ireland, doing exactly what he liked to do best - research.
I like King. As a consequence there is very little that he has written that I did not like, but then again the scale of my like has been wide - this one falls somewhere around 80 on a scale of 100, 100 being the best liked, and 1 being the least.
This is not so much a departure for King, who has in the past written about the idea of invasion, and anyone that has read Firestarter will recognize the single-minded approach of the government agent, who very much leaves you with the same general mental image of the Indian from Firestarter...
However the ending does not capitalise upon the intense excitement that is largely maintained throughout the book, almost as if the book was written with the idea of it being a movie - you see it ends like a movie would. Does that make it bad? Heck no! Do I think you'll like it? Yes. Certainly. If you like King, you will like this book.
This is a post-death assembling of the author's anecdotes, as well as a means for expressing thoughts on the author. It was certainly interesting but I question the idea of presenting it as a part of the body of the author's work. While his death was a pity and a sad day for both his existing fans, and those who will one day become fans, this left me feeling bad...
I don't say you shouldn't read it, but don't read it if you wanted to read a polished book by the author, because this is not it.
This one caught me by surprise. Because of the description on the back cover, and later of course the description in the Audible Listing, I honestly did not think I would like it. In fact that is why I avoided buying it in the bookstore, and then for the longest time here on Audible, until one day I heard a review on 2GB (an Aussie Radio Station) that favorably compaired the book to the Gibson Novels, and I thought to myself - give her a go!
You'll not be sorry you listened to this - and I might add that the babble inlays that seperate the chapters add to the intensity of the book once you fully appreciate what they represent. While I sincerely hope that the world never grows to be what this book presents, it still makes pretty good fiction, and what my dad would call a fair dinkum stunner!
As I listened I constantly found myself stunned by the fact that the predictions I made for the plot direction were not accurate. It's like diffi-q, in that there is more than one right answer - but either way, here is another title you'll be glad you had the opportunity to hear. Way to go Audible!
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