Still Life is a murder mystery of the "cozy village" type, in the tradition of Agatha Christie. It was enjoyable listening. The characters were interesting and fairly well developed; the dialogue was fresh; and I'd love to stay at the B&B run by Olivier and Gabril. The writing evoked Quebec very nicely-- the tension between the Francophone and Anglophone communities, the bilingualism, the food, the countryside . . . all in all, very enjoyable, and I'll probably listen to more of the books in this series.
My one criticism is that it was too easy to figure out who the killer was. The author telegraphed the answer so obviously, right from the beginning, that if you were paying attention, you couldn't miss it. Consequently, the book just didn't have the fun of a good intellectual puzzle. Because it was so obvious whodunnit, the listener had to be content with other puzzles, such as "How are they going to catch the killer?" and "Why did the killer do it?"
I'd recommend this book to people in the mood for a good "cozy" murder mystery, but NOT for fans of the genre who mostly enjoy the challenge of figuring it out.
This is a series of adult fantasy books (not 'adult' as in pornography; just 'adult' as in, the characters are adults, they have sex, there are curse words, there is some disturbingly violent imagery, etc.) It's sort of like . . . Law & Order SVU, but set in a world where there is magic.
The protagonist is a young woman with super-tough fighting skills and a big secret. (Which still isn't fully revealed by the end of Book 1, although there are many tantalizing hints.) She's the familiar "private eye"- type character, who works alone, but on the side of the law, and in cooperation with the police. (And she can beat up all the bad guys.)
I started this book once, listening just for 10-15 minutes here and there, but I couldn't get interested in it and eventually gave up and listened to something else. A few months later, I decided to try again. This time I only listened to the book on long walks, when I had half an hour or longer to listen all at once. That made a big difference, and I could follow the story much better. Once I got maybe halfway through, it became very interesting and I didn't want to stop listening. I'm definitely going to get the others in the series, and I expect them to be pretty easy to get into, now that I'm familiar with the "rules" of this fictional world.
Great books. Lots of fun, well written, original, unpredictable. We got it for the long drive to drop off my older son at scout camp. We all enjoyed it-- both my sons (ages 6 and 12) really got into the story, and so did mom and dad. We paused the playback from time to time to make guesses about what was going to happen and how it would end, but no one successfully predicted the ending. All in all, a big success and I'm glad there are 4 more in the series. Solves the problem of what books to get for the family vacation this summer.
It's hard to find good audiobooks for kids 5-7 years old. Picture books don't work on audio, and most chapter books are still a little hard for them to follow. Pippi Longstocking was already a decades-old book when I read it as a child in the mid 1970's, but my six-year-old son seems to like it just fine. We listened to it in the car on a long family trip, and we all enjoyed it. Pippi's wacky adventures, super strength, defiance of social norms (she doesn't go to school!) and good heart (she protects the weak kids from the bullies) apparently have timeless appeal.
Classic Colbert. If you like the show, you'll recognize and appreciate Colbert's style of humor applied to this children's book.
This was a genuinely well-written, serious adult novel. Dark, emotionally complex, often violent (not gratuitously so), but with a redemptive message. Sachs gives a gorgeous performance.
Maybe a Hemingway or Steinbeck novel, except that the main character is a werewolf.
Sachs did a beautiful job. His resonant British baritone was perfect for the character of the werewolf. The only slightly off note was when he had to read dialogue by women. His falsetto was inevitably somewhat distracting and a bit annoying, especially with the American accent that he sometimes had to put on. Not his fault, certainly-- this guy's voice is just unavoidably male.
Perhaps . . . The triumph of love over cynicism and despair?
It's not for kids. I love fantasy books, and often read them with my 12-year-old son (even the dystopian novels). But I'm glad he didn't read this one. This is NOT a book for kids, or even adolescents. It's very emotionally and psychologically adult, very dark -- there's quite a bit of sex, which is graphic and completely unsentimental, and sometimes juxtaposed with brutal violence. So, don't read it with your kids.
I read this book after seeing the movie ("Catch me if you can") and the book was really enjoyable. It was a fascinating story, well written, and just a lot of fun to read.
My husband and I enjoy politics and tend to be liberal, so we thought we would enjoy this "expose" about the origins of the religious right. But the story got boring after a while. Also, we were sometimes listening to it in the car with our kids (they were playing electronic games and not really listening) and we were taken by surprise a couple of times by adult language, including the "f" word. So we had to stop listening to it when the kids were around, and we just didn't enjoy it enough to go to the trouble of listening after they went to bed. All in all, I'd say the book was a disappointment.
I know this book is a classic, but I'm embarrassed to admit that with my twenty-first century attention span, I couldn't get through it. I've also heard that the writing is absolutely gorgeous in French-- but this is the English translation, so something is lost. If you really like novels from that era, I'd say go for it. But if you (like me) actually like contemporary novels, and just like to imagine yourself as someone who would enjoy classic novels, it will probably be a disappointment.
I liked the idea of listening to Bradbury read the novel himself, but in the end I think there's probably a reason they have trained actors do the narrations. Maybe if you love the book, you'll enjoy his reading of it anyway.
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