I wish I could give this book a higher rating, but unfortunately I just can't. Although Garrison Keillor's familiar voice is like listening to an old friend, the book flags in the middle. It is hard for me to finish it. There are some very, very funny parts to it, but I suspect that Garrison Keillor's forte is in telling and writing shorter stories than this. If you're looking for a little something to put you in the holiday spirit and you're a diehard fan, then you might want to drop your credit on listening to this book during your work drive or as you wrap presents. But for me, it just didn't sustain my interest the way the Lake Wobegon stories do.
While not great literature or anything, this is a good story with interesting characters and quite the mystery! It isn't a typical potboiler, nor is it a formula type mystery, it's just a well paced story that draws you in. I liked it.
Can't tell you how many audiobooks have been ruined for me because the author read it themselves. At any rate, this story was really hard to follow along with, mostly because I was looking for some writing that I would consider worthy of a Harvard professor. Instead this is just another Christian-religious book without any scientific validity. I was hoping for something that would challenge me. This just bored me.
Stick with it. This one has plenty of surprises, some pleasant. Drudge through the idiocy of the husband in the first part for some lovely curves in the story.
Just like Pillars of the Earth, the sequel to World Without End, I found the second installment to Follet's The Century Trilogy, to be lacking. The first book, Fall of the Giants, was so good!!! This one definitely faltered. BUT I love John Lee as narrator, even if his Russian characters all sound like vampires and his American characters sound vaguely like Al Capone. ANYWAY, I will still get the third book when it comes out.
It's worth it. If you liked the first one I think you should give the second one a try. A lot happens to the families involved.
I liked Follett's Pillars of the Earth and I am hopelessly addicted to Downton Abbey. So imagine how happy I was to find the first book of his Century Trilogy series, Fall of Giants. The book is centered around World War I and it was a great listen, I loved it. The characters are varied, from several different countries and walks of life. The book goes on and on and on...but in a really good way, the way these family sagas do, if you know what I mean. Follett obviously knows his military history yet can still weave a very good story that I think will engage listeners of all genres.
It's one of those books you can bury yourself into, one of those books you can't wait to listen to. My only criticism about the audiobook is that John Lee makes all the Russian characters sound like Transylvanian vampires. That gets distracting and a bit grating considering that nearly a third of all the characters are Russian. Putting that aside it is still an addicting book. It's not great literature, but it's a darned good listen.
I have been a longtime Elizabeth George fan and have read every one of her books. They can sometimes be tough to get through, so I wondered at Davina Porter's narration, but her performance was wonderful. George's characters, always so layered and unique, shine through in this audiobook...but the story! A barely-there excuse for the ever-crush worthy and luscious Lynley to waste his multitude of talents. Is there a crime? Isn't there a crime? (And at some point: Who cares if there's a crime?) I have to admit, I felt a little insulted. It just isn't a very smart plot. Also if you hated Deborah St. James before (really...couldn't George have killed HER off instead of Helen?) you will find her especially grating in this book.
But, here's the rub, if you are a Lynley fan you are probably going to get this book. I keep giving George just one more chance based on the genius of her earlier books in this series. Her characters really feel like old friends and her descriptions of London and small town England are always spot on. I feel comfortable with her novels. But maybe that's the problem. Her books have become cozy. They used to be intense and intelligent. They challenged me. I used to say I loved reading Elizabeth George because I always felt she was smarter than me. But sadly with this book I am brought one step closer to walking away from her future books and just revert to re-reading her older ones. In fact, if you have never read Elizabeth George, please don't start with this book! Come on, Elizabeth George, it's time to knock another one out of the park in the Lynley mystery series.
Tina Fey is a very funny woman and a touching writer. Her book is honest and bright and quirky. Since she is an actress, her performance for her own work is outstanding, unlike virtually every other author-read audiobook I have listened to. (Pet peeve: Authors who read their own audiobooks. Sigh.) This was a pleasure to listen to and I had several laugh out loud moments, as well as several "Oh, yeah, I've been there" moments. There were, however, no stifling, OMG, cross-your-legs-while-laughing-in-public type moments that I have had while listening to a Ricky Gervais podcast or a J. Maarten Troost book...but still...very, very funny and worth the money or credit. I didn't give the story five stars just because her section about her life as a writer at SNL kind of dragged on...don't get me wrong, it was interesting and probably the kind of stuff that most people want to listen to, but I didn't like it as much as other parts of the book.
You never know with audiobooks! Sometimes an author can be one of your absolute favorites (and Erickson is one of mine) but poor narration or a slow plot can make listening to a book sheer torture. Thankfully this audiobook was a really pleasant listening experience. Susan Lyons did a very good job and the book held my attention from beginning to end. This book is a little gritty at parts, just a warning to those faint of heart. I'm not squeamish, but in the beginning there were a few parts that described the torture and killing of protestants that I kind of fast forwarded through! Overall an interesting and insightful book. I liked it.
I love, love, love TC Boyle. I find his books captivating and his sense of sly humor brilliant! But this narrator was just awful. I'm sorry, but this guy was baaaaad. His delivery is monotonous and flat, indicating none of the wit and insight that Boyle's book offers....God, I couldn't stand it anymore! I had to stop listening because this guy's voice made me want to scream. I will probably just buy the book and read it. It might be that Boyle is just one of those author's whose books just don't translate well as an audiobook. Whatever. I hope they keep trying to find a narrator to suit this author, though, because Richard Poe is NOT the right guy for the job. This was a waste of money, I'm afraid.
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