This is an informative, fascinating and entertaining book from a woman with a warm heart and a razor sharp edge. There is a lot of information in this book but I particularly liked her commentary on the current distribution of wealth in America and how it has changed over the last 40 years. To illustrate she profiles real people - one of the highest earners in the country and one of the lowest earners and describes the impact that recent legislation has had on each of them. She quotes her sources (so you can double check her facts if you like) and manages to say everything in plain language. Parents will be interested in her description of how the Texas education plan has gone national. WARNING: This part needs to be heard by everyone who doesn't already know what's been happening in Texas since it's not good news. I'm a 5th generation Texan and our dropout rate is a national shame that we do not need to share. So if you like Molly Ivins you will love this book. Even if you don't agree with her interpretation of the facts and statistics it's fascinating and sometimes disturbing information presented in a wonderful voice. Here is information we should all be thinking about and considering how it will affect us as individuals and as a nation.
Surprisingly, the author is a very good reader, one of the better ones I have heard and it was a pleasure to listen to him. The story takes place in and around Vancouver both in the city and surrounding countryside. Descriptions of people and places are vivid and often humorous - the protagonist/narrator has a wry outlook on life that sometimes made me laugh out loud (not easy to get me to laugh during my commute). The characters are rich and interesting, often quirky and always satisfying. The beginning of this book is great. The ending is not as good as the beginning but it is good. The middle of the book just never happened and it's very frustrating to go from "Wow, I can't wait to hear what's next" to "whoa - it's over!?" so fast. The author is very skilled at building suspense but just when he had me eager to hear what's next he turned around and went off on a tangent about other people and prior times. These tangents are often charming and well written but they cover characters not central to the plot, happen too often and eat up the pages I wish had been the middle of the story. I feel like I was introduced to these people and then never got the chance to get to know them. So if you want a good listen, okay, it's a good listen. If you want to listen to a good mystery novel, you may find yourself frustrated.
This is a great premise and it could have been a fascinating book, but it tries to pull two complicated plots together - mideast espionage and Elizabethan spy rings - unsuccessfully. In trying to do too much it doesn't do anything well.
The best story line was the Christopher Marlowe intrigue but there was not enough of it. The Elizabethan spy ring is fascinating but the presentation is sketchy and brief making you want more - then you don't get it.
Possibly suffering from abridgment, it is basically a competently written but unbalanced story that has some good passages.
A colorful tapestry portrait is a key element in this story but the real tapestry is the audio. The many wonderful voices and accents are enough for a 1960s epic film. There are lots of fascinating characters and enough plot twists and well-made turns of suspense to keep you interested. The villianous rat is robust and evil from the tip of his nose to the end of his lethal tail and the noble inhabitants of Redwall Abbey are charming and unselfconscious. From the willing but unintellegible guild of moles to the hearty soldiering hare and the heroic baby squirrel this is an entertaining audio book for all ages.
This is certainly the most purely entertaining book I have heard in a long time. The plot and characters are clever, interesting and, best of all, surprising. Along with an avenging, tire-biting girl soccer star and a runaway boy turned ecology defender, HOOT delivers a main character who has his own cunning way of dealing with bullies and school harassment. You will meet a scheming pancake house executive, a construction contractor under siege, a wonderfully vile bully, a B-movie actress/pancake house icon and some very tiny owls. Yes, it's mental and auditory bubble-gum, but it's great fun.
Not as fully realized as his other books, this version also suffers from being abridged. The premise is wonderful but he can't quite pull off the ending and the resolution is weak. If this is your introduction to this author you should start with THE NAME OF THE ROSE instead.
I wish I'd liked it better but I found it really slow going and often I just honestly didn't feel anything for the characters or care what happened to them. When a book wins a major award you feel you should give it a chance, right? It certainly sounded like an interesting premise and I was prepared to enjoy it so I kept on listening beyond when I would have otherwise given up. All books aren't for all people so maybe this is a great author but this particular book is just not for me. Listen to the sample and decide if you like what you hear before you select this book.
This is not just the best book I have read all year (and last year for that matter) it's a book you really should hear rather than read, if you can. The narrators are the people who lived this adventure: Anne Garrels, NPR correspondent tells the story of what it was like to be one of only a dozen journalists who remained in Bagdad during the war while her husband Vint Lawrence reads his own wonderfully written email updates about Anne that he sent to friends and family. Part of the book is about Anne Garrels' individual journey through tangles of corrupt bureaucracy and bombs and the people of Baghdad who often risked their safety to help her. It's a window onto the city and the people of Baghdad, very intimate and personal, well apart from network news coverage. Part of the book is the story of a married couple and how they championed each other under difficult and often frightening conditions. It's a book about courage, chaos, bribery, frustration, love, friendship, dirty water, duct tape and dust and I think that makes it a classic. Give it a listen.
This episode is even better than the last one and it was great. Fun characters, wonderful actors, unexpected twists and even the sound effects are well done. Anne Manx is completely addictive. Listen to it more than once to catch all the zingers.
...you just keep wanting more. I had my doubts when a friend of mine recommended him but now I'm a fan. If you had fun when you were a kid, spend some time with this audio. If you didn't have fun when you were a kid then REALLY spend some time with this audio. He will make you feel much better about about the entire childhood experience. WARNING: If you listen to this audio you will probably find yourself singing the 'Zanzibar Song' uncontrollably thereafter. Listen to it on a Saturday so you can have a day to stop singing it before you go back to work.
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