What's not to love?
Carrie Fisher, addicted to brutal truth, delivered the fascinating details of her life with her classic self-effacing humor.
Well... 'Wishful Drinking' -- Ms. Fisher's memoir that also let's her fans know what her Wonder Bread years were like
Everyone has a 'readervoice' in their head that turns on when reading a book. You have your own style, and it works; besides, what else are you gonna do for a narrator?
When an author, who is also an actor, reads you their work, you know you're getting it exactly the way they wrote and meant it to be heard.
So you get the added novelty of filling in a sort of emotional gap between the author and audience.
You could... in my case we did listen to it from beginning to end while driving (skidding) through a torrential downpour while looking for an open restaurant on the backroads of Virginia one Sunday.
I loved it.
Liane Moriarty manages to take a tried and true soap operatic plot stand-by and make it interesting enough to keep a listener involved. Her characters are fun, intelligent and pretty well fleshed out. You feel you know them a few pages into the book and you do care what happens to them. Moriarty gets her readers invested in her characters, always the hallmark of an A+ author.
I enjoyed the book. You most likely will, also.
(FYI: The following is not really a spoiler since most of the synopses of the book explain the crux of the plot. But if you want an entirely fresh take, maybe you will want to skip my following insights, just in case I say something that takes too much from your own discoveries while listening. :)
So, as I was saying, BUT…..
If she had only pushed a little harder at the boundaries of what might possibly happen when someone becomes an amnesiac.
Moriarty early on conveys that the problem is more of a nuisance and strange interlude -- not one of a medical tragedy, so I guess I wanted more tangles and entertaining scenarios where Alice's memory loss gets her into a pickle. It just seems that the plot begged for some excruciatingly revealing but inadvertent situations that could put Alice in a situation that was comedic and still moved the plot along, too, based on her inability to recall most of her recent past.
There was a mix of the serious and the lighthearted, somewhat. But at times I couldn't tell if Moriarty wanted to get a little too dark, at the expense of the more lighthearted which was set at the beginning.
Anyway. There are well developed relationships and well written insights into the characters inner lives. There will be times that you want to yell at Alice, "Just ASK what happened!" But then, that is the point of the book and the involvement you have with it. And that makes it a pretty entertaining ride.
And one word about the narrator: Excellent.
I never quite knew where I stood with Haruki Murakami's hero, Tsukuru Tazaki. But that was not a bad thing.
I once read a novel by Joyce Carol Oates - I don't recall which one - but I remember thinking, as I dove deeper into it, that it was like climbing a brick wall with no end. I sort of felt this way while listening to Murakami's tale of the life of Tsukuru Tazaki. Was he a good man? Is he really a bad man? Where did my sympathies lie? Murakami gave me just enough information about his character to keep me involved in his life's journey while also feeling that I may not be getting the whole story on Tsukuru's flaws or better qualities. I will say it was quite the existential travel, like Sartre's "No Exit." Where was the moral compass I kept looking for from the narrator? But that structural vertigo did keep me interested in discovering the roots of Tsukuru's character.
Anyway. A good book keeps you thinking. Not only about the plot's twists and resolutions but also about the structure the author chooses to use. It seems to me, that this book could be used in Lit classes to excellent purpose.
Some reviews had mentioned they found the narrator's slight Japanese accent to be patronizing in some fashion. I didn't think of it that way. Since I was listening to a reading in English, of a Japanese novel, I felt it added color. (Ironically, given the book's title.) Like a person from Japan was telling me, in his second language, his story as we travelled on a long trip.
Also and lastly, I'll mention one of those weird synchronicity things that I often notice and think is kinda neat. Right after I finished the book I noticed Murakami had a short story The New Yorker. Also, I was in a bookstore not long after and saw another book by him on an endcap. Having never heard of Murakami until I found The Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, I found it interesting. Of course, it probably just means Murakami is extra hot right now.
If you like a book written by a writer's writer, you'll find this book to your taste.
From the opening line to the last Stephen King brings his A-Game. You NEVER lose interest in this book. And it's a hefty tome.
I think just about everyone agrees that Stephen King's ability to breathe literary life into his characters is pretty much unchallenged in today's fiction field and he does a superb job of instilling pathos and humanity into all of his characters in this novel.
11/22/63 is part fantasy, much like all of King's work. But unlike a lot of his work (in which the fantastic lands in the horror genre,) this novel doesn't veer into the realm of the scary and undead. The main twist in this book includes a time flux in the plot's construction--which involves a lot of nostalgic play for anyone that was born in the fifties or sixties. Yet, the story is full of depth, which means anyone who loves an excellent character-based tale with nuanced intrigue will have no problem getting into this book.
And don't let the title cool your interest if you think the book heavily relies on a million facts about the assassination of JFK. It doesn't. That aspect creates a translucent "time period" backdrop for a really fine travel into one man's quest to create a different ending to many things.
This novel keeps you in that loop and waiting to discover if he succeeds.
I am not a physicist, biologist or nuclear scientist. But as a (somewhat) normal human with a (reasonable) amount of curiosity, I found this book engaging. I admit to not following every science based nuance and facet that the author presented in these 13 anomalies of the scientific world but I did feel that Michael Brooks had dumbed down the intricacies as much as was possible for the lay reader and still preserve the essential ingredients of the Things.
If you were drawn to the title, you will be drawn into the book's intriguing facts. The narration is superb and it's the type of book that can handle a second or third listen, just to nail down some of the fine points you may have missed during the first listen. If you've already read a few reviews & like what they say, you will find the unreasonable 13 Things excellent fodder for your gray matter to chew upon.
If you decide against listening to or reading 13 Things That Don't Make Sense, Mr. Brooks will have to edit the title to then read: 14 Things That Don't Make Sense.
First off, Doll-Baby is superbly narrated. January LaVoy masterfully adapts her reading to her characters' personalities and origins. This definitely gives the story depth and adds flesh to the bones of the individuals in the tale.
The story itself is good… it holds your interest, but Ms. McNeal often stunts her tale by a too simplistic sentence structure, which leaves the listener hoping for slightly more depth in the thought and personalities of her characters. Ms. LaVoy helps to add gradations of personal qualities which Ms. McNeal often neglects. Hence the three stars for the story itself and the five stars given the performance.
Some listeners may find the characters somewhat stereotyped. But in Ms. McNeal's defense, this seems to be a matter of the depths to which she wished to mine her players' inner life. Also, all of her characters are treated to the same level of development, which does give the story an even literary treatment. In other words, there isn't a lack of development in only some of the characters, there seems to be an overall reliance by Ms. McNeal to have the reader fill in the undefined gaps on all of her characters, while mainly giving a surface development to them all. That said, you do actually get enough grit in the story to get to know the players and to care what happens to them.
If you are interested in a (non-intellectually-taxing,) solid story of a young girl's coming-of-age in unexpected circumstances, you will enjoy Doll-Baby overall, at about that four-star level.
Just don't expect to discover the next Great American Novel.
Well. If you love British History, especially the history which zeroes in on a particular family's life, then of course you will want to listen to "Black Diamonds."
This is a well researched and intriguing presentation of the history of the Fitzwilliam family and their relationship to the industry which supported them and the thousands of colliers who lived to mine their fortune of coal, or "black diamonds." That the mining of coal allowed a lopsided advantage of privileged wealth to the gentry while exacting a heavy toll (both physically and financially,) on the miners, is revealed in an interesting and engaging way by the author, Catherine Bailey.
By examining the rise and fall of the Fitzwillams, Ms. Bailey renders a good understanding of the economic relationship of English aristocracy and the people they employed while also fully coloring the manner in which industrial England transformed after the reformation of the ownership of the coal industry itself. Even with all the finely nuanced political and economic information which Ms. Bailey includes, it is never a dry read (or listen,) but a thoroughly gripping story of human trials, life and loves.
One last word. I need to throw some well-earned accolades toward the narrator, Gareth Armstrong. His performance, in which he easily switches from some very specific regional accents and back to his "neutral" narrative voice, is 100% on target. His abilities, (even when wrestling with the flattened vowels of an American voice,) are beyond expectation and render a full spectrum of character and depth to the book.
"Full Dark, No Stars" is a great beach book.
It's also a good listen while you take your daily exercise stroll through the town.
Stephen King never writes a Bad Story, although some of the tales in this book are a bit irregular. As though they were written early in his writing endeavors, when Mr. King was developing his "voice."
I got the impression he wanted to write a full-throttle gore and horror tale when he penned "1922" but his natural inclination to invest a character with humanity and pathos sometimes bled through, knocking the profile of the lead character somewhat off. But that mild inconsistency isn't fatal. You still engage with the storyline and hang on to see what happens. I could say the same irregularity in viewpoint and characterization somewhat applies to the other three tales in the compilation to a lesser degree, also.
All-in-all, though, it's a good and interesting ride.
But if you're looking for your next Stephen King excursion and haven't yet read/listened to "11/22/63" by King, I would recommend that "11/22/63" be your next King pick. Go for "Full Dark, No Stars" only when you've exhausted all the other offerings by Mr. King.
Can't say I actually loved anything in particular but I did like the recreation of the 60's and beyond music scene from someone who managed to stay aware enough to obviously recall most of it.
I thought the serendipity of meeting the Everly Brothers on the street in England and talking with them after seeing them perform was intriguing. I guess that could never happen today with an aspiring musician and their heroes.
It was nice hearing his actual enthusiasm when reading some anecdote that appeared to really touch him in some way.
Wild Tales: A Rock and Roll LIfe
Relive the crazy, incredible fun without further damaging your liver!
I could have used fewer political advocations.
Researched; Personal; Gripping
Ms.Gilbert does read with enthusiasm.
I appreciated that Mr. Matzen fleshed out some peripheral players in the lives of Lombard and also Gable.
I've always felt I knew Carole; now I feel I know her better.
The descriptive character building.
It's a road trip without the car.
Well, what American doesn't love a British accent?
Harold, at the end of his trip.
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