What a wonderfully enlightening (and slightly shocking) introduction to Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution in China during the 1970's. I had never studied nor read books about this historical period so this story turned out to be both entertaining and educational for me. The narrator was effective and the story flowed seamlessly to a somewhat quick conclusion. I listened to the book on a road trip and I was rather disappointed to see the book end when I still had many questions left unanswered. I recommend this story to the listener seeking cultural diversity and historical perspective.
I stumbled upon The Hunger Games trilogy last year, reluctantly read the first book despite the genre being one I generally don't tend towards but fell in love. It felt different and I was open to something different. I searched for recommendations on the next book to read and the lovers of The Hunger Games consistently recommended Divergent. They were right! I read it in less than a week and was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't a regurgitation of The Hunger Games but something else fresh and new. I'm wondering if I'm now a true convert to this YA dystopian genre. Next up: Uglies.
I just didn't like it. My boyfriend and I read it together and we both felt a real sense of disappointment. Did we just not "get" the hype? Were we missing something? I felt disjointed most of the time like it was really two novels spliced together - one trying to work its way under the magical realism genre and the other a sort of coming of age humorous one. The result for me was muddled, and maybe I just don't like magical realism or maybe Russell was working just a little too hard at making this a quirky novel. It hit me hardest when I realized what was happening to Ava....and didn't care. Yup, I just didn't care what really happened to any of these characters and, in the end, that's not the way to endear the reader. Oh well.
I generally do not read fantasy but I was drawn to the HBO series and watched it from start to finish. As Season 2 of the series approaches, I have a strong desire to read the second book prior to watching the season. I debated whether to read the first book, A Game of Thrones, before venturing into the second book. Being a purist at heart, I had to and I'm happy I did. My mind's eye, however, was forever set by the characters cast for the series and there was nothing I could do about it. The Cersei, Joffrey, Catelyn, Daenerys, Sansa, and Arya I imagined as I read the book where inexplicably linked to the series. I was also amazed at how well the series captured the entire story laid out in A Game of Thrones. If this is the Grey's Anatomy of fantasy series, as one other reviewer has referred to it, then please give me more McDreamy!
I discovered this book while looking for a Nigerian author for a reading challenge. As with any book set outside of the United States, I liked being transported to two different countries: Nigeria and Belgium, neither of which I had ever visited. I also liked the structure of the book as it moved from the present in Belgium and the mystery surrounding the murder of a fellow sex worker back to the pasts of four different women and their paths from Africa to Europe and to their current trade. This book is dark and the naivete of the characters seems a bit unrealistic at times, but I found myself moving through the story quickly. Men are the aggressors throughout the book but that part of the story seems based on an all-to-often reality for many women in many parts of the world.
Usually an audiobook read by the author adds extra authenticity and intensity to the audio experience. For this book, however, the unabridged reading by Mark Richard (which was generally in a monotone and flat voice) left me conflicted. I was alternately intrigued by the memoir despite Richard's reading style and distracted by his lack of inflection. The writing itself is good, to the point, and hits you over the head with its directness. Richard's life is fascinating and inspiring and his attitude in the face of such adversity is unapologetic and admirable. At times I longed for further development of concepts and events but was left only with sparse prose. I was also caught off guard to some extent by the use of second person narration which seems particularly strange given that the audiobook was being read by the author. It just seemed an odd choice and it stripped away some of the emotional connection to the author which may have been exactly what Mark Richard was hoping to achieve.
I started this unabridged audiobook on my 24-hour roundtrip drive to my parent's house (Alabama to Texas) for Thanksgiving this year. I was looking specifically for a humorous novel and selected this one from the Good Reads listopia for Best Humorous Books. I was intrigued by the author's tragic story, the setting of New Orleans and the fact that the book was first published in 1980 by LSU Press (my alma mater). The first 1/3 of the book was laugh out loud funny but as the story progressed, the humor grew stale. As the book came to an end, I wondered whether its Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was a bit misplaced or was based, instead, on the incredible story surrounding the book instead of the book itself. I do, however, agree that the depiction of New Orleans was outstanding and the city truly served as a character in the story itself.
This was an extremely enjoyable listen about a fascinating topic. The author does an excellent job of narrating his own story and adds a special element of emotion as he describes his up-close and personal accounts with dangerous beasts of the deep. At times I felt the book swayed towards self-interest but most of this short listen was filled with suspense-filled tales of close encounters of the wet kind.
Stopping in the middle was not an option. I was captivated by the characters immediately despite the tough listen. Moving back and forth in time made it difficult to follow but John Keating's Scottish accent added such an intriguing layer that I held out for more. Of the three parts, I was most engaged by the second June, Fenno's story, the longest part. I think it would benefit me to listen again to the first June, Paul's story. At the time I wasn't prepared for the mental alertness required and I might just pick up a few tidbits that would enhance my understanding. I recommend this book to the reader that likes a challenge.
Light, entertaining, amazing. Frank Abagnale, Jr.'s short life of crime pulls you in almost immediately and you keep listening to discover just what he has up his sleeve next. I was surprised to hear myself secretly cheering on his masterminds and cons. What an enlightening book to listen to over the holidays.
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