4 stars for me as a book, but 5 stars to Sebastian Junger for being there. I'd go higher if I could. Not a novel with gripping drama, more in the vein journalistic reportage; and even then there's less of a connection to the main players than hoped - more descriptive than anything. And the description is brutal and unforgiving. Very much a treatise on brotherhood, heroism and the harsh reality of the aftermath. No politics to be found. More localized, but like HBO's Band of Brothers in theme without the visuals. Junger narrates the book himself, and at times he bulldozes through the material without nuance, and in a manner not as engaging as he is during the interview at the end. But hey, this is his story, his book and his ducking real bullets. This is a solid, important read. Well done Junger, my thanks to you. Recommended.
Where else can you hear loins, mons venus, lubricious sprinkled on every page? Who uses words like those either verbally or written, ever, besides TW?. Not much of a plot, more of a fabulous character study. Fully fleshed out characters come to life but sadly drop from the pages, tantalizing plot threads are disappointingly abandoned but what whacky juicy fun anyway. Its why you came. Enjoy. Narration, accents and pacing just wonderful.
Take the Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings and any Tom Clancy novel [for the technique of technical item listing filler material]; squeeze it down to a cartoon, and there you have Ready Player One. Very young, fun at times; but silly and shallow. A story for USA Today devotees. I'm going to have my 17-year-old gamer son take a listen. If he likes it, great, I'll be thrilled.
Brilliant, excruciating minutia
Flawless, clean narration
Bang Your Head Against The Wall
This is my first exposure to DFW and I loved it. Long stretches of the novel are tedious, yes, but there are sections - three come to mind - that are just breath-taking in skill, technique and story. As a commentary on life in general and the travesty of work could not be better. I came of age in the mid-1970's to mid-1980's where a good portion of the novel is based so was able to connect immediately there.
Oh, and a I dislike this new review system. I'm sure it passed all sorts of statistical analysis indicating it would improve responses, but it is really a dumbed-down drag.
I follow Colson Whitehead on Twitter, where his steady and lively bon mots pepper you from all different angles of the universe. My thought was a novel from a writer that bright and fresh should be equally worthwhile, and indeed it was. The book is a treatise on the meaning and perceptions of life and flutters between a straight forward plot and what could almost be fanciful Asimov musings on humanity without quite leaving known reality. The plot itself is not particularly relevant and serves mostly as a giant Macguffin allowing Whitehead to focus laser-like on race relations and color perceptions at certain times through complex metaphors and at other times with simple straight talk. I find Colson's writing fresh, fun and light-hearted even when addressing dense and dramatic issues and this is where the pleasure of the novel came through. The plot itself was neither here nor there, and the bitter taste race was just out of reach; but the reason to get this book is to simply enjoy Whitehead's writing and fresh turns of phrase. I came away not quite sure exactly what it was I had gotten through, but missed it all the same. The narration and audio are excellent and first rate. Good stuff, recommended.
Watched the movie one night, was enthralled. Listened to book next day in one sitting to continue the experience and add context. While I enjoyed the book, it doesn't add anything to the movie experience. Actually, if anything this is one of those rare cases where the movie is better than the book. Don't get me wrong, the book is excellent, but the elements that so captivated me in the movie - the atmosphere, the grey cold skies and washed out cinematography, the bit part characters, the mind blowing acting from the leads - don't come through fully in the text. Still a good listen on its own, but if you need a fix would suggest watching the movie twice rather than listening to the book. Narration perfectly fine.
Gorgeous, captivating writing and an evocative troubling story. Not a love story but a woman's story. The protagonist is unsympathetic but each character is beautifully draw in depth. At times you will feel trapped at a bake sale with the most negative woman you've ever met; but at other times a few words, a sentence or a short paragraph will absolutely astonish you.
Just fabulous. Complex and takes a while to get your mind around what is going on, but once immersed Cloud Atlas is wonderful and superbly crafted. I read the de Zoet book first, which I also recommend, but don't be deceived with Cloud Altas - it is not a period piece but is rather an imaginative voyage through time with first rate narration, plot lines and character development. Easily one to read/listen to twice. Leaves you wanted more, like a perfect dinner that was just right. I am stunned at the brilliance of David Mitchell. Very original. Recommended.
I loved Perdido Street Station and The City & The City 5 stars for me, and was thrilled to see China Mieville's Kraken. I so wanted this to work, and with John Lee how could you miss? [does Lee ever take a day off?] I struggled with the plot and never could get my arms around it. I just ended up confused. Could be I listen in the house and in bed - possibly this one requires the focus of a solo car ride. I've tried to start it again mid-way several times with no success, but I don't have the strength to start again from the beginning. Have to let it go.
Paul Giamatti as James Bond, or The Hardy Boys verses Putin; I can't decide which description fits best. The verbiage comes through as well-written, but the plot is very thin and senseless. Character development surface only. Odd combination of constant action with nothing tangible happening. All sorts of chaos only to arrive at the same starting point, like riding a kiddie-sized roller coaster and coming to a stop. The protagonist is pretty much a dweeb and towards the end of the book I found myself hoping he would get shot so it could all be over. Side note on John Lee, whom I've heard narrate quite a few books and normally love....although Mr. Lee calms down by the middle of the book, at the beginning he is entirely too wound up, hyper-enuciating each syllable and super-inflecting each phrase; like a machine gun chattering. Made it hard to get into the flow. Normally on books like this that I review I point out a few flaws but usually say go ahead and give it a try. In this case no, spend your time elsewhere.
Good fun, recommended in the style of covert spy "read and toss" airplane books. Not particularly believable in any way shape or form, but so what? Pops rights along, good background but at times reads like an action hero story written by wikipedia. Has the pace and form of the movie The Kingdom, which was great. Hmmm, a good portion of this book reads as if it was written while actually watching The Kingdom. And Berenson should bail on trying to write in the love interests in his stories. Why bother, they're thin, pointless and a distraction. "Yes I killed 6 people today, but I love you. Let's have pancakes." Narration and sound is perfectly fine, but Guidall is at times so sonorous that he'll put you right to sleep if you're listening while lying down. Go for it. The Middle East background is reasonably legit, and you'll have a fun listen.
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