This is not a traditional biography of Benjamin Franklin, but gives insights into this remarkable man which many biographies don't. The book presents an investigation of how scientific inquiry dealt with superstition and tradition in the 18th century, particulary as early investigations into electricity were discovering its power and danger. I enjoyed the introduction to Franklin's remarkably inquisitive mind, and the narrative of events leading to the several inventions which advanced understanding of electricity and other related issues (hot air balloons, the glass harmonica, Mersmer's medical treatments, etc.). There were occasional diversions which dragged a bit, but overall I found the writing excellent and the narration effective.
Stories like this open our eyes and remind us that there are people all around us who struggle with enormous challenges; and that sometimes we CAN make a difference. The author gets drawn into the mysterious life of a homeless man and is forced to confront not only the problems that get people to that situation, but also the choices and forces that keep them there. He learns much about mental illness, but can he get the man off Skid Row and help him deal with his problems and reclaim his rare gift of music? Well written, fascinating topic, and a true story to boot. Just published this year, and already there is a movie version in production. Listen to the book first before the movie spoils it for you!
This is not a book to read if you want an uplifting, feel-good, happily-ever-after story. But it's a gripping, heart-wrenching account of real life that is hard to put down and even harder to forget. While "Kite Runner" tells of the friendship of two boys growing up in Afghanistan and the lives they are led to, this book tells about the lives of women in the midst of that country's turmoil in contemporary times. You get an overwhelming look "behind the scenes" at a society where custom and belief allow male domination and vicious oppression of wives (yes, plural). You see the devastation of war as families are torn apart or destroyed; the role of the US intervention in the post 9/11 era, and the struggle between political factions and war lords. And you see the actions of a disturbed man dominating and punishing his wives with deep cruelty - hard to comprehend that someone could be so evil in a marriage relationship. But you also see the warmth and love that come as two desperate women join together to provide support and defense. In the end, there is hope after all. Only the depressing themes keep this off my "all time favorite" list. What a writer - what will he come up with next!
This book provides a fascinating look into women's life in China, fascinating even for a man! It was often poignant as the struggles of that time and place are described; but the insights it provides into relationships and choices are often gripping. The perspective of an 80-year-old woman reviewing her life was effective. The narrator does a great job, giving a "Chinese feel" to the reading but still very clear and understandable. Highly recommended!
I listen mostly to novels, but this book was fascinating to me and held my attention as much as most stories. As an adoptive parent I could relate particularly to those emotional aspects of the book. But I found other elements compelling: the setting in Zimbabwe and the insight into the racial, political, and cultural issues; challenges of intermarriage; relationships; balancing career and family; etc. There was occasional strong language and descriptions of violence and suffering, but they are presented in a sensitive and insightful way to help underscore the incredible challenges faced in that country. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
This was a nice addition to the series. The plot developed a little slowly with some distractions along the way that seemed unnecessary at first, but it eventually came together nicely. Keep you guessing how it will turn out! And of course, leaves the door open for more sequels.
The reading uses several narrators, male and female, most of them pretty good. It's often unclear why it switches to a different narrator. There was one odd segment in the middle where a conversation was "enacted" by several narrators, but mostly it's just a single reader per chapter or segment. Accents and personalities came through pretty well.
This is the most disappointing purchase I've made from Audible. I'd hoped for a lively "refresher" after having read the full novel many years ago. But as others note, the abridgement just doesn't cut it. And the narration is particularly bad, slow and expressionless - puts me to sleep. Please don't let Ms. Winger try this again! There were some breaks where it seemed like the narrator was pausing for a drink of water or something.
This was definitely an engaging story. It was hard to "put it down" - I found myself making excuses to go for rides in my car so I could listen more. I had a few reservations, though: 1) the narrator reads too slow for my taste. I'm a "fast listener," and even when I bumped up the speed on my iPod, it seemed to drag. But the expressiveness and clarity was good. 2) If you're sensitive to profanity and vulgarity, and frequent discussions of teenage sexual fantasies and experiences, beware. Otherwise, buy it and enjoy it!
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