GLEN ELLEN, CA, United States | Member Since 2012
The idea of "historical fiction" has never appealed to me much, so that pretty much leaves T.C. Boyle out. However I went to a couple of his readings, and found him to be such a charming, humorous, intelligent guy that I really wanted to read one of his books. SAN MIGUEL sounded good, so it was my first T.C. Boyle read. I enjoyed this book enormously and felt that the performance was part of the reason why. Barbara Caruso did such a good job. The characters, location, and story of the two families living on the island of San Miguel were interesting and held my attention. This may have been my first book by T.C. Boyle, but it definitely won't be my last. Now I want to move on to WHEN THE KILLING'S DONE, which takes place in the same location.
I just have finished reading Out of Africa for the third or fourth time. As I rarely read a book more than once, even if I love it, I don't know what keeps pulling me back to this one. Perhaps it is because I love Africa so much that I have read many biographies and memoirs of whites who lived there in this particular time. The so called "Happy Valley" crowd was quite notorious, but Isak Dinesen was not a part of it.
It is amazing to me that this beautifully written book was written in English. Isak Dinesen was Danish. Her stories of life on her farm in Kenya are fascinating and I guess I get some vicarious pleasure reading them. The little vignettes are especially pleasing.
Some years ago my family went to Africa to see and photograph the wildlife. Because of my love for this book, we made a detour to Keyna where we were able to visit Isak Dinesen's house, which is now a museum. It made the book even more real to me and gave me goosebumps to be in the home that I had read so much about.
As someone who has worked in the field of wildlife rehabilitation for many years now, I love books like this. Daphne Sheldrick is a true hero of mine and one amazing woman. She has lived an incredible life. Her second husband, David Sheldrick, was Daphne's mentor and soulmate. When he died of a heart attack at 57, Daphne was devastated, but went on to find her own calling raising orphaned elephants. This is no small task, no pun intended, and the knowledge she has gained is used all over the world to help orphaned elephants and other species. The things she has learned about elephants she passes on to the reader, making it all way too sad to see what is happening to these magnificent animals due to poaching. Elephants are light years ahead of humans on almost any level.
This book could have done with a bit of editing. Some things are a bit repetitive, but it is a small criticism.
I think having Virginia McKenna read this book to us was a very good choice. She is about the same age as Dame Sheldrick, and she has quite a bit of experience with wildlife herself. She and her late husband Bill founded the Born Free Foundation. She is a hero of mine as well.
Wow! Just finished this book and am now coming down after a wonderful reading high. Donna Tartt is such a skillful wordsmith that it would be a pleasure to read anything she wrote (even her grocery list must be beautiful). But it takes more than putting words together so well to write a good novel. Here we also have an amazing, albeit dark, plot. This book is full of interesting characters and the plot has so many twists and turns that one could spend the whole night listening.
David Pittu simply shines as the narrator of this VERY LONG book, keeping distinct voices for all the characters throughout, which could not have been easy.
A few months ago I was at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco attending The Girl With the Pearl Earring exhibit. The Goldfinch was a part of this exhibit and I was mesmerized by the painting. Small, but beautiful, and extremely touching. It must be a coincidence that this exhibit is now in America at just the same time as this book is out. Donna Tartt could not possibly have known?
I am going to miss Theo, Boris, and Hobie. After having spent so much time with them, they are practically family.
Have to admit I have not read Ms. Tartt's other books, but will consider it now. I hope we don't have to wait another ten years before we get another book from her.
All in all, a dazzling read. Highly recommended.
I love a good western, and this book got great reviews. I enjoyed it even though none of the characters were very likable. Some of the reviewers really got carried away raving about this book. But that's my opinion.
One thing that really bothered me was the use of modern language. I sincerely doubt that the Comanches of the mid-1800 were using the f---k word, shit, or using words like asshole. Nor do I suspect they started sentences with "actually". There was a lot of sarcasm used between the Comanches when they were talking. It didn't ring true to me. This language took the "period" out of the "period piece" for me and really was distracting.
I got much more out of the non-fiction book by S.C. Gwynne, EMPIRE OF THE SUMMER MOON, Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. It you want to know more about Comanches, and Quanah Parker, who is mentioned in THE SON, I highly recommend this book, which was excellent.
I can't begin to describe how much this book impacted me. I work with wildlife myself and feel it is such a privilege to do so. They move in a different world than we do, but share our space. Just reading the introduction got me hooked. Not only did I want to hear every word of this book, I knew I had to have the physical book to have, to keep and look through, so I ordered it immediately.
Lawrence Anthony really understood wildlife. Anyone who would adopt a herd of rogue elephants has my complete respect & admiration. Just reading how he dealt with the elephants and the other animals in the book gave me so much vicarious pleasure. It is such a good read that I could barely put it down. Mr. Anthony writes from his heart.
Just as I was thinking that we so need people in this world like Lawrence Anthony, I discovered that he died of a heart attack in the past year. Devastating! I also read that the elephants, the very same ones that he talks so eloquently about in this book, showed up at his home shortly after he died and stayed there for days. If you read this book you will know why - there was a powerful bond between him and the elephants and the story of how that bond developed is in this book.
Like most people who were alive on that terrible day I remember it well. I was in Austin, Texas on the day JFK was murdered. I worked for the University of Texas and he was coming to the campus that night. They had been preparing for days. My husband and I were so excited as we were to see him that night. When we heard he had been shot, I pictured him showing up with his arm in a sling or something like that. Never for one moment could I begin to imagine him dead!
This book brought back that time and place for me. What I felt hearing Jackie's voice again is hard to describe. This was a fascinating read for me and I am so glad that it was published. She comes across as so loyal and devoted to JFK, one wonders if she knew what an active sex life he was carrying on during their marriage. We knew nothing about it at the time, of course. Different time, different rules.
I hate to admit that I've never read a Barbara Kingsolver book before, but this was my first. Of course, I know of her, and her fine reputation, and what drew me to this book was when I read a review of it and discovered it was about Monarch butterflies. I had the privilege of seeing the Monarchs at one of their wintering places in California and it was a very special, almost magical experience. The book did not disappoint at all. I really loved it, and learned more about the Monarchs. I thought Kingsolver did an excellent job of narrating the books as well - not always easy for an author to pull off. It won't be the last Kingsolver book I read.
I'd seen the excellent film when it came out, but had never read the book. I know Patricia Highsmith is a highly regarded author and so thought I would give this a try. What a good read. I had no idea that there were several Mr. Ripley books and now I have added them to my wish list. It's a bit disconcerting to see someone get away with murder, but I suppose it happens every day.
I am a big Hemingway fan, but interestingly I had never read A MOVEABLE FEAST. I'm not sure why, but it was poorly reviewed when it came out and I was a busy young wife and mother putting my husband through law school and didn't get to read much at the time. Earlier this year I read THE PARIS WIFE, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and decided it was time to read A MOVEABLE FEAST. I was delighted to see that there is now a restored edition available, and was especially pleased to listen to what both Hemingway's son and grandson had to say. I believe this edition, which was restored to their best belief, to the way Hemingway had wanted it, makes a lot of sense. It is easy to understand why Mary Hemingway, Hemingway's wife at the time of his death, would be sensitive to material about Hadley, Hemingway's first, and many, including him, would say his best marriage. She edited those passages out in the original edition. The passages about Fitzgerald were especially interesting. I also loved hearing about how Ernest and Hadley lived in Paris - their apartment, their friends, the French lifestyle, etc.
The narration was excellent. Sounded just as I would imagine Hemingway would sound.
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