In spite of my low rating, I did enjoy this very much. I came away from it feeling my understanding of music history deepened and brought up-to-date (I took the subject as an undergraduate 40 years ago). Its problem was a lack of coherence: each sections was given to a different music historian and presented in the form of a conversation. A narration, polished and considered, would have made a better audiobook.
This book gets one star only because giving it less doesn't register. Its humor if the cheapest, lowest, kind; drunken and sexual. You know, the kind people who don't really have anything funny to say use. I've no doubt it will be popular--that's why I read it after all, to see what the fuss was about--especially among the under 30 set whose pre-frontal lobes haven't developed yet. That annoying part of the brain that gives you judgement and foresight. Or, even the under 50, late developers set. This is the kind of book that makes me wish books were like appliances: you're not satisfied in seven days, return it for a full refund.
Even if you like drunk sex humor, it isn't even really a book. It just a series of episodes where the author/memoirist makes you think she experiences growth and will reward you with some kind of insight if you stick it out. Her learning however, it that in today's America sluts (the actual, honest-to-God meaning of that word, can cash in by writing their memoirs. Geez
A serial murderer, a hunk, a damsel, and the dogs are the most interesting characters.
Written over fifty years ago and still in print, this should be an awesome book. It isn't. It is stilted, the characters are wooden, overbearing, and apparently incapable of growth. because--like Rand herself if we are to believe the publisher's afterword--they already know it all. These, of course, are the ones she likes; those she doesn't have no redeeming traits. ATLAS ' novelistic elements feel dated to contemporary readers, such as dialogs that are really extended soliloquies bouncing off each other; its philosophical ones simplistic, trampled by advances in science. But there is an evil in this book: from the historical context we know Rand's villains are surrogates for Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, yet the descriptions are of Bolshevik commissars. At one level, this isn't surprising since Rand grew up under their revolution in Czarist Russia. From a truth-seeker's perspective, however, it is deeply dishonest. Rand's tendency, so abundant in this book, to demonize your enemies without understanding them and lionize those who agree with you, has become the norm in our society.
On this narration, I found Scott Brick, usually one of the better performers in the field, disappointing here. The meaning as conveyed by inflection frequently missed the author's point, and he gives only minimal differentiation of characters. With the self-indulgent length of Rand's soliloquy-dialogs it was often hard to remember who was talking. This undifferentiated quality made it seem like an extended harangue. Then again, harangue is probably the best one-word descriptions of ATLAS SHRUGGED.
This is an excellent book even if the former President and Nobel Prize Winner does not emphasize Palestinian intractability--which certainly exists. Americans need to know about Jewis intractability as well, for it just as surely exists. And for attempting to redress the balance, he is accused of anti-Semitism and worse. His willingness to put his repuation on the line by a much needed redressing is a badge of his great humanity, if not of his political accumen. Then again, it may well be that his political accumen is of a much longer reach than the rest of us mortals.
This is a masterful book. Clearly allegorical, it exists on so many levels one can hardly settle on the one (or two, or three) things it actually means. There is the implied prediction of our future, the love, and sacriface, of a father, and the platicity of the young. The language manages to convey the griminess of the scenario, yet resonate with the universal.
Fantasy, once a genre all its own, has so encroached on Sci-Fi they are often counted as one. As a traditional Sci-Fi fan, I am not at all sure this is a good thing. In my now distant youth (alas!) the best Sci-Fi was packed with with both adventure and meaning. The latter could take the form of alegory, or philosophy, or social commentary, or show the unsuspecting where science and technology were taking us. Today, it seems I always feel cheated. What is this book about other than the fantastic events of the story? There is nothing except, perhaps, a tad of titillation with the fantasy, and I cannot help but association that with the fantastic, which in my day was virtually synonymous with absurd.
Unfortunately, the narration destroyed this audio version of the Divine Comedy for me. In part, it is the dissonance of having a women read a text that otherwise sounds like a male voice, but it is also this narrator: she reads much too fast for a text that cries out to be savored, the timbre of her voice is high pitched and reedy in a way I find a very irritating, and the interpretation is, well, disjointed and not obviously connected with the text itself or any overall vision of the work.
Readers (or listeners) would be better off to buy the indivual books where the narration is competant and pleasurable.
This is easily the worst book I have had the misfortunate to order from audible.com. Clearly I was "possessed" and it was not by a sheik (or odalisk) nor obviously by the expectation of a good read. Possessed by the Sheikh is trite, repetative, written in unimaginative language and uses implausible situations. Perhaps it is only intended to titalate? Even so it only succeeds partially -- I cannot imagine a real erotica buff being satisfied with the meagre portions offered here. Authors usually have high hopes for their work but may struggle with self-criticism. Publishers are supposted to know better.
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