I really loved the fact that, at last, someone has written a book for horse fans that is lyrical, honest, intriguing, and not gushy. Moyes obviously knows her horses. All the interactions between 13-year-old Sarah and her magnificent Selle Francais gelding stuck a very authentic note. I also loved how the storyline about Mac and Natasha realistically interwove with Sarah's story.
Well, obviously, it has to be the horse.
There isn't one particular scene that stands out for me, but I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of Sarah astride Boo, working on the haute ecole dressage moves that she knows are her--and her horse's--ticket to a better life.
I would take the horse, Boo, out to dinner. I'd invite him to my barn, introduce him to my own horses, feed him a delicious bucket of warm mash and then ask him if he'd let me ride him in the morning.
As I read this book, I found myself reminded of the writing of Jaclyn Mitchard and Jodi Picoult. The story had lots of twists, lots of harrowing moments that left you wondering, "Oh no, what's going to happen now?" The narration was extremely well done. All in all, it is a solid effort, an entertaining read. And, if you love horses, totally worth a token.
This is not a book that I'd characterize as "enjoyable." Athough ti will say, off the bat, it is very well-written, extensively researched, and well narrated.
I've been an ardent fan of both Fitzgeralds (I listen to Tim Robbins' beautiful narration of THE GREAT GATSBY at least once a year) since high school and have read almost everything each has written, including Scott's writer's notebooks. As a youth, I was entranced by the legendary love between Scott and Zelda. As I grew older and learned more, I became less enchanged with these icons of the Jass Age. "Z" pretty much made sure I'd never again hold these people in any kind of esteem--at least as people (as opposed to artists).
"Z" was exhaustively researched and it re-defines the common myth that Zelda was a self-centered, impetuous, mentally ill cyclone who took her husband along with her as she plummeted from Jazz Age darling to insitutionalized failure. This is the myth.
Fowler shows Zelda as the woman she actually was--artistic, beautiful, trend-setting, kind, and absolutely dominated by her pathologically insecure, relentlessly alcoholic husband. "Z" is also a reminder of how lucky I am to be a woman in today's world, as opposed to in Zelda's time, when a flapper could be independent and pursue dreams of her own--until she married, that is.
I now must confess I had a lot of trouble getting through this book, but not because it was poorly written or badly narrated. It was simply depressing. I'd put it down. And then find myself picking it back up, much like the old maxim about a train wreck you can't turn away from.
I was grateful to the author for the opilogue that allowed us to see Zelda find some recognition on her own through her paintings. If you are interested, there are several websites that showcase much of her art and one can see for oneself that she was, indeed, a talented woman.
Scott Fitzgerald comes out of this book as such a sorry human being. Talented, yes. But so driven toward his own place in literary history, he put his own name to short stories written exclusively by his wife. That is just one of the many terrible things he did to Zelda during their marriage. It was so sad to read about this stuff.
He's yet one more example that with great genius, often there comes great neuroses.
I like the fact that the legend of Scott and Zelda is put to rest and the truth is out. I am so glad to see Zelda get a hearing of sorts. I wonder what she might have achieved, had she been born in more liberated times--and had she been allowed to develop her many talents to their fullest.
I listened to Ms. Lamia's performance of THE HELP. Her narration of "Z" compares favorably. She has the Southern accent down pat. And she made me hate, despise, abhor Ernest Hemingway. Which is really saying a lot, if you know how much I love his work.
As mentioned above, I found this a tough book to read, simply because it relentlessly showcases two amazingly gifted people--who disintegrate in slow motion. It's just so sad.
An interesting read, in light of Baz Lurhman's renditio of THE GREAT GATSBY, due in theatres May 10.
I was quite fascinated by the transformation of this funny, sad, touching tale from book to movie. I thought Ray Porter hit just the right notes with each character. I found myself laughing out loud, and crying a bit. Just like during the movie.
I am always captivated by characters who endeavor to create a beautiful life for themselves, even though life hasn't done them any favors to begin with. I also loved the fact that Mathew Quick was able to bring out the humor in what is a difficult situatuion, showing that "funny" can be found just about anywhere, if you're willing to open your heart.
There is no particular scene that stands out for me, but I really loved the interactions between Pat and his psychiatrist (and fellow Eagles FANatic), Cliff. There was so much gentle wisdom there. I also liked the idea that, within ourselves, we can almost always find the right answer...if we just can quiet ourselves long enough to listen.
Obviously, the two main characters stand out for me. I especially loved Pat's sweetness, which keeps coming out despite people constantly misunderstanding him. You simply cannot stop yourself from rooting for him.
For fans of the movie, this book version offers a glimpse into the world of screen writing. It is really interesting to see how the book was a springboard for the film, yet the two are quite different.
I bought this book because 1) it was on sale and 2) another reviewer commented that it was the perfect companion to the movie. Even though the two versions differ, both are beautifully crafted, funny, and insightful.
For fans of books like TRUTH IN ADVERTISING, ONE LAST THING BEFORE I GO, and BRIDGET JONES' DIARY. Oh, yeah...and also for fans of the Oscar-winning movie version.
Jennifer Connelly's performance of this book was flawless. Her interpretation of all the characters was woven so beautifully into the prose that I believed every moment, every word she uttered. In addition, her spare performance was a perfect compliment to the desolation of the North African desert.
This book belongs on the same shelf as THE STRANGER, which also focuses on themes of colonialism, French and Algerian culture clashes, and existentialism. TIME Magazine named THE SHELTERING SKY as among the best English-language novels penned between 1923 to 2005, which puts it in the same cateogry as works by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, and Hemingway.
For the traveler, you can also squeeze this book alongside such travel-writing greats as Tony Horwitz, Bill Bryson, and Bruce Chatwin.
I don't think I had a favorite, but in a way, I think that's a good thing, because it means that Ms. Connelly's performance blended in and enhanced the text, rather than competed against it. I love it when I get so lost in a narration that I almost become unaware I'm listening to a book.
I was impressed--and relieved--that her French and Arab accents were top-notch. Readers trying--and failing--to capture an accent can make or break a book for me.
I began and finished this book in the five days following the bombings at this year's Boston Marathon. So I was very attuned to the idea of Americans traveling through Arab countries, the arrogance of defining oneself as a "traveler" rather than a tourist, and my own love of exploring new cultures and trying to understand how this crazy world works.
The doomed Porter Moresby observes: "Do not come here. Get rid of your delusional hopes of absorbing the culture of this place, of fitting in, of comprehending the "native" mind. It will never happen. For one thing, you will never understand them; for another, they don't care to understand you."
That last line has--sadly--seered itself into my mind.
For lovers of literature, I agree with TIME that this is an important book, beautifully written with important themes.
For Americans, it is a critical (by that, I mean "important") commentary on culture clash. Bowles portrays Americans AND Arabs in a fair manner, highlighting the best and the worst in both.
I will say that this is a serious work, not for the faint of heart. In particular, the second half of the book is depressing. And also beautiful. But it reminded me a little of sitting through the film version of LES MISERABLES. The despair is pretty relentless.
I would definitiely listen to this again, because I enjoyed how the author entertwined laugh-out-loud, wry humor with a very real pathos. This is the story of an advertising executive who looks at everything in his life thorugh the lens of television commercial, which allows him to distance himself from what's going on in his actual day-to-day existance. He wants the happy endings he creates in TV commercials. But he just doesn't know how to get there without a script, beautiful cinematography, great lighting, and a pitch-perfect musical acompaniment. It is the tale of how a man who makes a living orchestrating illusions learns at last to trust, even in what cannot be scripted.
I reallly loved the gentle friendship that develops between the main character and the never-been-loved son of a Japanese corporate magnate. And Petkoff does a spot-on Japaness accent that brought this character to life, without descending into parody.
I do have to say that the climactic scene in which the main character blows up in front of his boss should go down in the Memorable Moments in Modern Literature Hall of Fame. I laughed so hard. Then I backed the chapter up and listened to it again. So, so brilliantly funny. And what we'd all love to say to our boss, but never will.
Petkoff did a fabulous job bringing all the characters to life. His timing is perfect and each character has a distinct voice. I especially loved his interpretation of the egomaniacl, once-famous Hollywood director trying to turn a diaper commercial into high art. It's a brilliantly written scenario, made better by Petkoff's narration.
In a world of illusions, love is still the one real thing.
I bought this book because I read a previous review in which TRUTH IN ADVERTISING was compared to books by Jonathan Tropper. I've devoured everything Tropper has written and was interested to see if John Kenney was up to the comparison. Happily, I can report that the answer is "yes," and then some.
Like several of Tropper's novels, TRUTH revolves around a mid-life crisis, father-son estrangements, and family ties that strangle. I must admit it took me a little longer to get into the rhythm of TRUTH, but I quickly became a fan and found myself eager to see how this story would unfold.
My best barometer of how much I like any book is how many friends I've recommended it to. Where TRUTH IN ADVERTISING is concerned, the answer is "many."
It's well-written, thought-provoking, and a grand pot-shot at the weird world of advertising.
This book deeply resonated with me, as its main character, Richard Novak, is a good man struggling to learn from his bad mistakes, and to find meaning in the second half of his life. I bought this because I loved the language and storyline in AM Homes' memoir THE MISTRESS'S DAUGHTER. Like her memoir, THIS BOOK WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is a rich meditation on the human condition.
If you favor thrillers that move quickly, this might not be the best book for you. If, however, you like meditative books along the lines of THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HENRY FRY or 600 HOURS OF EDWARD, you will love the characters in this book and how they bravely struggle forward in the face of the everyday issues that can bring the bbest of us to our knees.
If you are at all studying mindfulness or meditation, Richard's stay at the silent retreat center is a mini-retreat for the reader. There is so much wisdom there, even as the author pokes fun at the world of meditation.
I am a meditator myself so I really enjoyed Richard's silent retreat. I thought it was so interesting how the author was able to portray Richard's day-by-day progress, how he moved from peace to dis-ease to anger and annoyance and ultimately, to self-discovery in a way that made me consider my own issues. I think the most powerful scene occurred when Richard's son, Ben, turns to him for help and Richard is able to respond like a protective papa bear. Or angry lion. I loved watching the relationship between Richard and Ben as it grew and found purchase..
I have listened to many book narrated by the inventive and talented Scott Brick. I suppose the best compliment I could pay him is that in listening to this book, I found I was not really listening to Brick, but rather dissolving into the characters he'd created with his voice, tempo, and accents.
The most memorable character has to be Richard, who learns to find joy and meaning by giving of himself and by letting go and letting life happen. He learns that in helping others, he becomes truer to himself. I loved every character in this book. There is the humble doughnut maker who teaches Richard the art of appreciation. There is the hermit screen writer, who shows that even when you make it to the top of your game, happiness is not necessarily found there. I especially the ironic cameo characters, like the LA interior decorator that dismisses anything anyone else says as if she never heard it. Because really, she can only hear herself. There's the evil government hack who, when Richard opens himself up, turns out to be a kind and compassionate man. Homes has captured the ironies of LA. One particular moment that stands out for me is when a parking attendant asks, "Do you need validation?" Because...hey, we all do. Homes has a lot of brilliant little moments like this.
This book made me pause and think. A lot. I just finished it, but I plan on re-reading/listening right away. There are many good messages in there about how to best live a life of love and purpose.
I have listened to all Kate Morton's books twice, with about a year in between readings. Much of the reason is due to the brilliant narration by Caroline Lee. I LOVE listening to her. I'd be happy if she stopped by and read the want ads out loud. But great narration is nothing without good material. Morton always delivers intriguing characters, many who have my same worries, wants, and wishes. The twist in this book that comes near the end made me laugh. I don't know...maybe someone a tad smarter might have figured it out. But I didn't. When the twist became clear, I found myself thinking how brilliant Morton is.
You name it...women I can relate to, an intricate story that spans WWII to the present, old secrets...and Caroline Lee to read it all to me. Perfection.
As an avid reader who is now legally blind and unable to read hard copy books, I am dependent upon narrators to bring the story alive for me. Caroline Lee does this with award winning aplumb. She has a beautiful voice, and knows how to craft it in order to define each character. Yet she keeps her own voice--I really hate it when female narrators strain to voice male characters--and when male narrators falsely voice women. It ends up being inauthentic as well as annoying. But Lee seems to know this and reads with truth and beauty.
I finished it in about three days. I was not initially drawn into the book as much as with Morton's previous books, but I became hooked soon eneough.
Morton brings gothic sensibilites to a modern mystery spanning sixty years. She is a masater of her craft. And, as I've already said, I'd listen to anything from Caroline Lee.
DeMille is back!
DeMille's last book, THE LION, was a disappointment to many, simply because you kind of knew John Corey had to get The Lion. I mean, he had to.In this novel, Corey meets a new foe...well, several actually. Some of them are supposed to be his allies, so it's fun to see how John and sexy wife, Kate, navigate all the treachery. There were at least two twists that made me sit up and go, "Whoa, I didn't see that coming."
How could it possibly be anyone other than John Corey? Scott Brick inhabits the character. In fact, I suspect John Corey is actually Scott Brick. Or is Scott Brick actually John...I'd better stop this crazy thinking right now!
I'm not generally a reader of this type of book (love literature, both modern and classic). But my husband got me hooked on DeMille, and on John Corey and Kate Mayfield in particular. If you know John, you know you're going to laugh. And Kate will be there with the even-better comeback.Actually some familiar old faces that you wouldn't expect to see show up in THE PANTHER, bringing with them competition for John Corey's funny-man schtick. Chuckles abound!
This has many plot twists and a few surprises that will make you, "Oh, cool!" Our 23-year-old son is listening right now, and he called me long distance, laughing about the re-appearance of a character (no, it's NOT Ted Nash!). I was laughing with him, saying, "I know! Isn't that great? And did you totally not see that coming?"
THE PANTHER is a fine addition to the John Corey-Kate Mayfield series.
I am not a good person to answer this, because I am legally blind and can no longer reader hard copy books. The only way I read is through audio books. And after 15 years of this, I can tell you that the narrator can take a fabulous book and ruin it. By the same toke, a narrator can elevate a well-written tome to the heavens. This is one of those books, a gorgeously written novel with a brilliant narrator!
If you loved MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND, you wifll love this book. If you are near retirement age, you will probably also find much in this book that resonates with you. I am at the point in my life where I'm trying to figure out what the last quarter of my years will look like...all aspects of it, from love to family to spirituality and personal goals. Harold, a recent retiree with a marriage that has stagnated (or possibly incineratred by subtle anger) sets out one day to take a letter to the nearest mail box. This simple errand turns into a walk across the country, in which Harold reflects on past mistakes and tries to figure out how to give his life meaning.
Left behind is Harold's wife. Though she's not walking, she ends up on a quest of her own, in which she discovers life-altering truths about herself and her long marriage.
This book brings to mind another "road" book I loved, THE MEMORY OF RUNNING, by Ron McLarty. It is sad, funny, thoughtful and thought-provoking. A very quiet story, this none-the-less provides powerful commentary on the human condition.
I was very moved by the relationship between Harold and his wife, how sadly separate they are at the beginning of the book, and how they gently realize their parts in that situation...and struggle to find one another again. I really appreciated the fact that these are very real, older people, with older people problems. I really loved this book.
I have to admit that when I first started listening, the narrator's interpretation of Augie's voice wa a little hard to get used to. But the narrator hit just the right note, because a kid with a severe facial deformity WOULD have trouble speaking. In retrospect, this was perfect because it gave me a hint of the feeling other characters have upon meeting Augie. His face makes people uncomfortable--to say the least.
I found this masterful book after reading a NY Times rave review. I work in the YA market, so I need to stay current with the best books. Although this is supposed to be a middle grade novel, I'm giving it out to many of my adult friends for Christmas.
The characters, each and every one, are so beautifully realized. You will root for Augie, this very funny, very cool, but very damaged kid. You will love the unlikely friends he makes and boo for his villainous enemies. You will love the way Augie wins people over.
Parents might be interested to know that, unlike many of today's popular middle grade and YA fiction, the parents in this book are caring, dedicated parents. They aren't drunk, they aren't on drugs, they aren't brain-dead. I loved how they struggle to do their best for both their teenage daughter as well as for Augie, who naturally soaks up most of the attention.
I have given this book to a fifth grader, who devoured it. I've given it to a junior in high school, who devoured it. I cannot wait until the next RJ Palacio book comes out.
Well, I have to admit, it's an easy one: you will fall in love with the main character, Augie, an extremely ugly duckling who will never turn into a swan. You love him for the strides he boldly takes in a world that idealizes beauty.
Having said that, I also fell in love with Augie's sister, his wise principal, and all the friends who love him from the start--and those who learn the true meaning of beauty at the end.
I laughed a lot in this book. Palacio "gets" fifth graders and teens. I never cried, but I do recall a few times when I had that smile on my face, the one that's just before you cry because you're happy.
Buy this book. Give it to your friends. Give it to your parents. Give it to your siblings. Give it to you mailman. This is a wonderful, wonderful book! It's about a fifth grader--but this is a book for every age.
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