United States | Member Since 2009
I loved this book and the narrator did a great job. As the title implies, it is the story of the author's childhood and adolescence from 1955 to about 1963 (10 to 18 years old). Wolff tells a great story and paints a vivid picture of the underbelly of mid-century All American life--a dark, poignant, tragicomic "Leave it to Beaver." The author, writing as a wiser, much more mature, introspective adult, reflects on the formative years he spent as an immature, naive, foolish boy who lacked direction, role models, and any sense of family and self. He offers clear and touching insights into his self-destructive childhood behavior and the despicable behavior of the adults around him. Still, I found it hard to like the boy or to have much sympathy for him because as soon as I started to like him and feel sorry for him, he'd do something rotten, criminal, or stupid. He is deeply flawed and is at least partially to blame for many of the problems in his life, but I did feel compassion for him and I was deeply interested in his story. Anyway, I don't think the author intended to gain readers' affection or sympathy with his hard-knocks story; I think he sought to come to terms with his past and to examine it with honest self-reflection. This memoir is a journey in which author and reader gain insight from self-examination and gain compassion and forgiveness for self and others.
The Pirate Prince is definitely worth your credit or cash if you like historical romance. Unlike a certain truly horrible and worthless book (hint: the title starts with "50" and ends with a color), this book is sensual and erotic yet romantic, classy, educational, and well written. I've listened to two of Gaelen Foley's books so far and each serves as a superior example of both the historical romance and erotic literature genres. Now I am looking forward to listening and reading my way through all of Foley's historical romance books.
One Night of Sin is definitely worth your credit or cash if you like historical romance. Unlike a certain truly horrible and worthless book (hint: the title starts with "50" and ends with a color), this book is sensual and erotic yet romantic, classy, educational, and well written. I've listened to two of Gaelen Foley's books so far and each serves as a superior example of both the historical romance and erotic literature genres. Now I am looking forward to listening and reading my way through all of Foley's historical romance books.
Beautifully written story about the power of words and life and death in Nazi Germany told from a very unique perspective. Though there are many books and stories about life and death in Nazi Germany, this book is unlike any of them. In fact, it is unlike anything I've ever read or listened to before. The Book Thief is creative, original, poetic and written from a new perspective.
Labor Day is a heart-breaking coming-of-age story about love, loss, grief, injustice, betrayal, longing, loneliness, goodness, strength, resiliency, redemption, and fulfillment. Some characters seem, at first, to be less than admirable; they appear weak, mentally unstable, and lacking in good judgement and good character. But as the story unravelled, my opinion changed dramatically: I felt only heart-wrenching sympathy/empathy and admiration for these characters whom I came to view as uncommonly good, strong people. At times, their stories made me incredibly angry and sad (get ready to cry if you are sensitive), but I also found bittersweet happiness and hope in the story. Maynard's narrative is at times poetic and perfect but it is a bit flawed at other times. For example, she writes that a character kept no fresh food or real food of any kind in the house; there were only frozen dinners and cans of soup. Yet, a house-guest was able to make chili, biscuits, pie, and pancakes from scratch without ever leaving the house to go to a grocery store. Other than small narrative inconsistencies like the one just described, Labor Day is a real gem of a story; I'm so thankful that I found it and added it to my library. It was well worth the credit I spent.
According to Audible, this title was "Narrated by Mary Woods". REALLY?! 1) "Mary Woods" must be the name of a computer and 2) I wouldn't call that "narrating." It literally sounds like someone downloaded an eBook of Dickinson's poems, turned on the accessibility feature for blind users, and then recorded the computer reading Dickinson's poems with absolutely no inflection, emotion, human warmth, or personality. I am completely disgusted by the egregious injustice done to Dickinson and her work and I am requesting a refund.
Great North Road is one of the best books I've ever encountered. It's a visionary masterpiece! Even with the few minor flaws in the story and in narration Great North Road is as close to perfect as is possible. I became totally absorbed in the world, characters, and story created by author Peter F. Hamilton and narrator Toby Longworth. Even had dreams about it! This book has everything for everyone -- excellent and creative writing, great characters, thrilling action, adventure, mystery, horror, romance, incredibly imaginative yet believable science fiction, and the narrator did a truly outstanding job! Seriously the best narrator I have yet encountered! I am recommending this book to everyone I know. Plus, it's almost 30 hours long, so it's a great entertainment $/hr bargain.
1. Beautiful, creative, award-worthy writing and a new perspective on a timeless historic tale.
2. Stands alone.
It is not necessary to get the first book in the series (Wolf Hall) as Bring Up the Bodies does fine as a stand-alone work, but I am very glad that listened to Wolf Hall prior to Bring Up the Bodies as knowing details and characters in the back story was immensely helpful.
3. New narrator is a big improvement.
Unlike Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies does beautifully in the audio format and was very easy to follow because the narrator does such an excellent job. Though Wolf Hall is just as good if not better than Bring Up the Bodies, I gave an unfavorable review to Wolf Hall because I found it hard to follow and hard to stomach in audio format. I mentioned that the narrator might be the cause of this, but I wasn't sure. After listening to a different narrator for Bring Up the Bodies, I am100% sure that the change in narrator made all the difference in my listening experience.
The writing is beautiful and the story is surprisingly original given the the number of pre-existing variations on this old historical tale. This book is well worth the accolades and the purchase price . . . but maybe not in audio format. The narrator's performance was just "okay." I think he made a few mistakes, which made it hard to tell who was speaking at times and whether the dialogue was internal or actually spoken aloud. The most disappointing aspect of this audio book is that some of the narrator's character voices sounded like Sacha Baron Cohen doing his 'Brüno' character--a flamboyantly gay, allegedly-19-year-old, Austrian fashion show presenter, which was totally inappropriate for Mantel's beautiful and original work of art.
I enjoyed REAMDE and I found it entertaining for the most part. The narrator gives a perfect performance. The characters are especially captivating. This book is worth purchasing for the characters alone!
I particularly enjoyed the first half of the book. And, since it is a very long book, this amounted to a good many hours of solid enjoyment. The second half of the book, though more thrilling and faster paced, annoyed me for 2 reasons: #1) the story became rather unrealistic, and not in the sci-fi way for which Neal Stephensen is famous. It was just ridiculously unbelievable. I don't want to give any plot spoilers so I won't go into detail about what, specifically, was unconvincing and implausible about the plot. Also, there were several sub-plots that were never developed. Why introduce an interesting story element, hook the reader on it, but then fail to develop it any further or to offer the reader any resolution? Very frustrating! The only reason I kept listening was because Stephensen's characters were so real and captivating that I could not abandon them.
Annoying thing #2: Throughout the entire book, but especially in the second half, Stephensen writes at great length about guns. He describes the appearance, feel, sound and action of many, many types of guns (including assault rifles and machine guns) in minute detail. I find guns boring, ugly, and distasteful, so a good deal of this book was unpleasant for me. Instead of focusing on writing in such great detail about guns, Stephensen should have focused more on plot plausibility and on fully developing his story lines.
This book is not cut out for audio format. Unless you have a visual impairment or a cognitive condition that makes reading print editions difficult, do yourself a favor and buy this book in print. However, if you have a condition that makes reading print difficult, then you will gain great insight and get some very useful information from this audio book. Even though I've already listened to it twice and referred to the print PDF files that accompany the audio file, I am still going to purchase a print copy to keep as a general math/statistics and decision making reference guide. Kahneman's book is extremely useful for this purpose.
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