The premise for this book is that in order to be literate, one must not only be able to read but properly understand the context of things mentioned in conversation by literate people. Literate people assume at least a basic knowledge of certain things and build everything else in conversation and education upon that basic knowledge. The authors are pushing for education that imparts knowledge of the things that are assumed to be understood by literate people.
It's an interesting listen. The text is academic and somewhat repetitive, but by the end of the book you clearly understand their very convincing argument. I'd consider this a very important book for parents and educators--if not to take and apply what the authors suggest, at least to be aware of it.
The last several hours of the book are almost worthless. The narrator reads a list from A-Z of the topics the authors consider important to be culturally literate. There is no conceivable way someone could listen to that for 4 hours. It's like reading the dictionary minus definitions. Aside from that, that list is freely available (updated with definitions) elsewhere online.
Yes, the narration is unacceptable. I have nothing against Jeannie Berlin, I'm sure that her acting career is fine and apparently Pynchon approves of her since she's going to be Aunt Reet in the upcoming Inherent Vice movie. Unfortunately though, her performance in this audiobook is, to put it mildly, sub-par.
I feel like there must be some secret to why she was picked, some conspiracy or personal connection or something shady and deep that ties in with the plot of the book. If it's there though, I didn't figure it out. I've listened to a lot of books where you eventually get used to a narrator that might first strike you as someone whose voice didn't work for the story. In this case, that point where the narration faded into the background and the story became the focus never materialized.
The reading is slow, each word is awkwardly punctuated. There is a distinct lack of differentiation between the voices of each of the characters, men sound like women and young characters sound old. This isn't inherent to the age and sex of the narrator, other older narrators like Frederick Davidson handle this just fine. Apart from that, there are numerous mispronounced words and misplaced accents.
So yes, this review is just a review of the performance. The book is great, it's just difficult to imagine re-listening to it or recommending anyone purchase with the narration as it is.
There is no evidence of the hyper-imaginative storyteller and world-builder that wrote Harry Potter, but The Cuckoo's Calling is a solid detective novel. Nothing more, nothing less.
It's not nearly as memorable or as deep as other Stephenson books, but it's entertaining. The characters are fairly flat, but the story moves quick and the settings are interesting. It's worth a read.
It took me awhile to warm up to this book. For the first hour or two I seriously considered quitting it but I'm glad I didn't. It gets more and more beautiful and more tragic with every chapter. The symbolism and metaphors build on themselves and the descriptions flow smoothly into plot. The literary references (the ones I actually caught) are fun and add another layer of meaning to the story. By the end I was sitting in my driveway long after arriving home entranced with the story. Stick out the beginning, it's worth it!
The narration was great except that the Lee's Spanish pronunciation leaves a *lot* to be desired. Understanding the bits that are in Spanish isn't key to understanding the book but I found it distracting to hear the pretty blatant mistakes. Other than that though, it's a really, really well-done production.
How can one man understand so much about human nature and portray it so vividly and so beautifully? Tolstoy seems to have lived a thousand lives. Whether he is telling the thoughts of a mother as she gives birth, the reasoning's of a man who is trying to find meaning in the conflicting worlds of science and religion, the anxious feelings of young lovers or, amusingly, the thoughts of a dog as it runs through the woods chasing birds in a hunt, the descriptions flow so effortlessly and incisively that I found myself laughing and crying and with goosebumps over and over as I listened.
There is never a sense of hurry in the story--that the best way to read it was to enjoy the prose and let the plot unfold in its slow, meandering way without expecting it or anticipating it. It's a book that should be enjoyed with leisure and pondered over time.
Regarding the audio adaptation--the narration is among the best I've ever heard.
The book is really funny, insightful and made me think a lot about why I do things I do. Though I found it a great intro to behavioral economics, it's worth reading for entertainment value alone. The narration is top rate and the pace is great.
I didn't agree with most of the recommendations he makes based on the results of his studies, but the studies in themselves are very educational and he leaves plenty of room to draw your own conclusions. I was also disappointed by chapter 5 which is clearly sensationalism and I found embarrassing to listen to. If you've got kids in the car, you'll definitely want to skip that chapter. Other than those minor qualms, it's a great book.
This book wasn't all bad - there are some humorous stories and interesting observations on what it's like to have Asbergers, but on the whole, I found it slow and boring. It's often repetitive, the majority of the stories aren't remarkable at all and author's sense of humor which often tries to be cute or clever, in my opinion, usually fails. Portions of the book are extremely profane, others parts of the book that talk about his family life are depressing without many, or any redeeming qualities.
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it might seem outdated since it was set and written during and only very shortly afer the internet bubble of the 90's, but I was pleasantly surprised. The story of each of the companies the eBoys invested in was interesting and the way the author puts you directly in the conversation is great. The only disappointment for me was an excessive fidelity to reproducing their use of profanity. There were probably 30 or 40 uses of the "f-word" throughout the book.
Great book. Paul Orfalea is an interesting guy who doesn't hesitate to point out both his strengths and weaknesses while giving advice on business and life along the way. I really enjoyed listening to the book-the narrator is excellent and the story engaging.
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