This must be a good book, since in spite of its substantive as well as annoying flaws, I finished it. The errors of fact (wrong birth date for Lincoln, for example) are well documented in other reviews. Where the print version apparently suffers from typos, the audible version suffers from mispronounciations. Canyon de CheLLY NOT! It's Canyon de Shay. Mt. DESSERT Island, not Mt. Desert. This lack of fact-checking and simple attention to detail certainly causes concern about the validity of the rest of the book. What about errors the reader/listener doesn't recognize? Too bad that the scholarship and/or editing casts doubt on the, well, validity, of the book. That being said, I did finish it.
I really wanted to like this book. I should have liked this book. But I simply couldn't. The characters lacked any depth. The end was incredibly unsatisfying. Who ARE these people and why do I care about them?
Predictable. Saccharine. Disappointing. Plus, the narrator was the same as for The Help, which was disconcerting throughout. I really really wanted to like this, and did listen all the way through, being ever hopeful of a real plot twist.
HAL (of 2001 infamy) meets the 21st century financial markets. Takes over. Makes billions. Destroys lives. Kills people with elevators. Crashes planes and the stock market. All in 24 hours. Then the book ends.
Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World, by Matthew Goodman is a darn good story, full of little known facts, offering a more than a snapshot of late nineteenth century America and the journalism and prejudices of the time, and providing a bit of a cautionary tale.
While the story of Nelly Bly’s “race” around the world is the center of the book, there's good context provided of the run-up to the event. Indeed, much of the meat of the book is life after the race. I hadn't known about Elizabeth Bisland (who’s actually a much more likable character – especially in the sense that I’d have liked to have been like her).
PS: Nelly did the trip with but one dress. Elizabeth a good bit more!
There are beautiful descriptions of the places that Nelly and Elizabeth visit and an interesting perspective on how steam power (ships and trains) changed the world so quickly.
Much of the book takes place after the race, and does drag a bit; there’s some repetition and the book could probably have been edited a little more firmly, but the way it addresses celebrity, and its impact on Nelly Bly’s life, is thought-provocative. B+
Oh. My. Goodness. Such a memorable book: The Garden of Evening Mists, by Tan Twan Eng. A marvelous story, set in Malaya (Malaysia) during the years following WWII, but with lots of flashbacks to the Japanese occupation. The author is a meticulous wordsmith with the ability to use metaphors that took my breath away, but without being overwritten. The story is, well, sprawling, and with its threads tightly braided. It's a mystery (actually several), an exploration of Japanese gardening, the history of tattoos in the Orient, tea - its growing and drinking....and more. Be ye not put off; for me it was so worth the time. And one of the very few books I wanted to read again, right away, to parse out all the nuances, clues and allusions. By the same author: The Gift of Rain, which I also enjoyed immensely.
This is also the most astonishing narration I've heard. The accents!
Here's a "don't waste your time, because I did it for you," review. An interesting construct, telling the story of a single-book author whose claim to fame is a self-help book based on putative stories about success in marriage told by his too-good-to-be true grandfather. First, this book is better suited to people whose ages are closer to a school zone speed limit than a freeway speed limit. Second, I didn't like any of the characters, didn't know them, didn't understand their motivations. Couldn't figure out who was the hero/ine. Didn't care. That being said, I just checked out the NYTimes book review, and I am not, as they say, on the same page as its author. As I drove and listened I just kept thinking Bar-ar-arf.
Read the written word
Narration combined with incredibly detailed description of every breath and every button. Too much. I had to stop.
The way he made the characters sound - his "voices" for the Berner and Dell, as well as any of the women were halting and stilted and annoying. He also said Front Royal instead of Fort Royal at least three times. Row ryhmes with OW not Oh!
I just loved this book. So beautifully written and constructed. Evocative. Engrossing.
I am loving this book. But, at 42:09 seconds in chapter 1, the narrator says "Nalph Rader reads Mother Jones. " I listened twice to confirm. Such a lot of good work by the author negated by unprofessional narration and sloppy direction. I can only imagine what is to come
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