I love reading William Faulkner, though at times his work is difficult to follow on audio and it, of course, can be spoiled by a bad narrator, just like any other book narrated by Scott Brick.
If one listens to an audiobook in which the narration is heartfelt and the narrator can actually act in narrating, it's such a wonderful experience. A recent example for me is "Last Days of California" by Mary Miller (like Faulkner, a Mississippian), narrated by Andi Arndt. Ms. Arndt apparently put in a tremendous effort, to sound Southern, young and to act as in teen angst and in constant banter between 2 teen sisters. She made the whole thing so real that I got lost in it like a good movie.
Scott Brick's narration gives a soap feel and at times slides into adult-film grade acting. He overdramatizes a word in each sentence (usually the last one) and at times emphasizes every 2d or 3d syllable in every other or 2d or 3d sentence in a paragraph (with no real pattern, perhaps on an ad hoc, random basis). And, you can't help but notice his adulation with his voice; this effect on the (this) listener absolutely ruins the audiobook. I have wondered more than once if he has his latest narration piped into speakers throughout his house and poolside.
I have had to return books I purchased because his smarmy narration was worse to me than listening to 3 kids scraping rulers repeatedly over a chalkboard.
I had already rated this audiobook long ago, but just decided to add the review because I have recently come across books I would have loved but dropped like any other Brick. From reviews I've read, I'm not alone in my chagrin. I'm hoping enough noise will make a difference in audio-casting for prime books.
Ms. Denfeld has a unique talent for pretty prose anywhere, but here it's in prison and specifically on death row. I was skeptical when recommended this book but I quickly got past this with such gorgeous writing and imaginative storytelling from inside the mental thought processes of the irreparably damaged soul who is often back in childhood before he was brutally robbed of innocence, dignity and any chance at normalcy. This is terrific fiction.
I see a lot positive has already been said. Shortly after this book was published and I'd read it, and when the reviews were less than 50, I responded to the review of an Amazon reader who goes by the name of Mercenary Trader. After first professing the impartiality of his review despite his vocation, Mr. Mercenary bashed the book with 1 star supported by what I thought were weak and wordy arguments. Instead of trying to add to all the positive feedback, I simply re-post my response, which is fairly self-contained and still posted as a comment to his review and to which "Mercenary" did NOT reply.
"Why would we think a TRADER would be biased against this book? That you are not an HFT TRADER renders you unbiased about a book that attacks the status quo in stock TRADING and a practice from which, if you so chose, you could profit?
Even vultures serve a purpose in our ecosystem...; if you will, please honor us with your loquacity (in layman's terms), by explaining the VALUE added to the U.S. economy by scum-skimming HFT TRADERS and the HFTrading practices outlined in this book, but this time do so in relation to the costs to INVESTORS in the stock market both from higher prices paid or lower prices received and from the lack of disclosure in a secondary market built on disclosure and regulation since the Securities Exchange Act of 1934?
Your drop-in-the-bucket argument appears disingenuous or it trivializes an apple (HFT "tax") in relation to a bucket of oranges (total trading volume). Under your logic, the financial world is devoid of any ethical lapse, moral or criminal wrong, or infliction of harm to society or the economy worth reporting or that should even be considered Wrong (morally or legally) so long as the acts in question affect less than 1/10th of 1% of otherwise, similar moral and legal conduct. So, according to this mercenary logic, an HFT "tax" of $160 million a day is a pittance because it's on $225 Billion in Trade VOLUME a day. In other words, "Joe Plummer, the trader in Vegas claims that a $58,400,000,000/year (that's 58.4 BILLION) tax on investors is really nothing. Dude, you have to look at how much was traded in the year." [This is not to mention that you don't even consider that the $58.4 BILLION is a real effect on investors (assuming the correctness of the study) while all that astronomical trade VOLUME you cite could hypothetically net to a near-zero effect to investors as a whole]. Why attempt to downplay $58.4 BILLION? Particularly, why do so by using a false denominator???
Certainly a new exchange cannot be built upon a molehill or lay among polished turds (your terms). So, is IEX destined for failure? Why has it had moderate success despite the criticism from traders like yourself? And, what's up with the recent announcements (formal and informal) of changes in trading practices by Wall Street investment banks?
I will admit that I did not read your entire post. I'd just as well read the book again. But, if you respond, I will read it.
Why am I commenting on your post? Because I get fired up by severely negative critiques, such as yours, that begin with a profession of impartiality. Perhaps you feel it necessary to offer this because your profile prominently features your website address which offers us some clues about your occupation and zeal. Also I discount opinions which minimize the effects of a practice that anyone using their common sense can see is the trader's equivalent of ambulance-chasing. A couple of things I've learned in 20 years practicing law: 1) don't defend bad lawyers and bad lawyer practices in the court of public opinion, else people will assume you too have fleas; and, 2) where there's smoke, there's almost always a fire.
I see you're a highly-esteemed poster. I thought you could use a challenge.
Peace and Love, Peace and Love"
When I purchased this, I only knew I love the poetry of Rilke and that I had read many positive reviews of this compilation of his letters to a young poet.
I had no idea that this is a true chest of treasures. I purchased the Kindle version to go along with listening to this audiobook (the narration of which is outstanding). I kept placing bookmarks on the audible version and then highlighted the text in Kindle. This is quite a futile endeavor because, as I found, well over half deserves special emphasis.
I will share only my favorite quote, after saying that this book of letters, and particularly this translation into English, is worth a credit in my opinion for its encouragement of creativity and a love of life and for the testimonials from the great artists over the past decades who have been deeply and positively affected by these letters.
"... try, like the first human being, to say what you see and experience and love and lose. Don't write love poems; avoid at first those forms which are too familiar and habitual: they are the hardest, for you need great maturity and strength to produce something of your own in a domain where good and sometimes brilliant examples have been handed down to us in abundance. For this reason, flee general subjects and take refuge in those offered by your own day-to-day life; depict your sadnesses and desires, passing thoughts and faith in some kind of beauty--depict all this with intense, quiet, humble sincerity and make use of whatever you find about you to express yourself, the images from your dreams and the things in your memory. If your everyday life seems to lack material, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to summon up its riches, for there is no lack for him who creates and no poor, trivial place."
The audio version of this one is awful, no matter how I tried to listen. The late, wonderful actor Ron Silver sounds as if he's standing in a large empty aquarium and I'm on the other side of the glass.
I truly wanted to enjoy this audiobook. I've listened to another audiobook narrated by Ron Silver and loved it. "I Married a Communist" is, of course, the middle leg of the great American trilogy written by Philip Roth, with "American Pastoral" and "The Human Stain," both of which I read, listened to and loved.
I'm hopeful someone can remaster this recording or re-record it with another esteemed actor.
"Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street" is... On second thought, I would prefer not to say.
No one is better at providing an inside look at a sport than John Feinstein. He does an excellent job at narrating his book, with a fire and enthusiasm you would not find with most of the whitebread narrators on audible who would ruin this audiobook.
He provides just the right mix of background, anecdotes and quotes. You can feel the pressure on these guys to perform, to make it to the BIGS, to THE SHOW. A lot a minor leaguers drop out relatively soon after starting; once it becomes apparent they will never make it, they decide it's time to stop playing a game and move on with their lives. This book is primarily about Triple A (AAA) minor league players and teams.
These are the guys who have been in THE SHOW and are back, or guys who have played for years and years on the cusp of a dream on the verge of either giving up because of age or injuries and moving on or playing one last year to get a shot at a slot on the expanded September MLB rosters.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves baseball (on whatever level it's played).
Nearly 12 wonderful hours of audio about a day at a Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game which allows the author Ben Fountain to masterfully provide us with a sometime-satirical panoramic view from the seat of Billy Lynn, a U.S. soldier who is flying back to Iraq the following day. He and the fellow members of the heroic Bravo Squad are being recognized as halftime.
We get a cinematic look at
a pro football game;
the war in Iraq and its impact on these young men's lives;
how heroes may be treated after all the hubbub or exploited;
our culture generally, and specifically, in movies and the entertainment (movies and music) industry, big time sports, billionaires blow-hards, the overwhelming emphasis on sex in advertising and television and how our society has reached the point that our press covers no-talent trog-GLAM-mites like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton while ignoring legit stories.
There's a bonus: a near-fantasy sequence when Billy meets a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
Maybe you hadn't heard of Ben Fountain before this brilliant book was published. Pay attention. I'm not capable of quickly using the vocabulary needed to heap worthy praise upon Ben Fountain and "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk."
So I'll say:
DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK!
I cannot recall why I purchased this audiobook last summer. I was going through a particularly difficult time and thought I needed something of a literary/love story to pep me up.
I won't say how it ends, but will say that it wasn't exactly Danny Zucco and Sandy riding off into the sky in a convertible; though I believe from the description given on amazon and audible you can tell this one jerks a few tears.
I really liked this book. Especially as an audio. The voice for the female protagonist, Lou, made her so loveable and identifiable (certainly to some of the women in my life), for a character the author had already developed quite well.
It's been over 9 months since I listened to this, but I recall that it made me more grateful for what I have and who I love and who loves me. It serves as a great reminder for how precious are our life and health.
I'll lastly say that it was particularly tough for a guy (at least for me) to listen to the parts where a male's natural urge for contact floated in only to realize how it would be if you couldn't have that human touch (as a quadriplegic). I guess that part may have been difficult for ladies as well.
I give this book as heart*y recommendation, even to guys, since it's a really good story and it's likely you could use some training on sensitivity to the emotions and feelings of the better sex.
John Fowles’ now underappreciated novel is a mystical morality play on love, truth, maturity, reality and sexual and emotional betrayal. "The Magus" is set on a Greek island lush in the legends of Apollo, Artemis, Orpheus and Eurydice, and involves our protagonist, Nicholas Urfe, a mysterious island local and pretty young English ladies. While the year of the story is 1953 in the aftermath of WWII, in many ways it seems as timely as today.
If you read reviews, you won’t get much more of a description, other than below a Spoiler Alert heading. To explain it more would require pages and would, in many ways, be like explaining the recent novel “Gone Girl” or the movie “The Sixth Sense”: it would ruin the whole experience for you.
Like Gone Girl, I could NOT put it down. Truly in its own league, particularly considering it was published nearly 50 years ago.
A story in the form of a Greek tragedy involving sheltered, secretive snots at a New England college studying the Classics and, for a night, worshiping at the alter of Dionysus to attain the ecstacy of the immortals. Love, lust, beauty, murder, concealment, betrayal, conceit, sex, suspense, as told from the view of a middle-class outsider from California. A couple of quotes as a sampler:
“It's a very Greek idea, and a very profound one. Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it."
“One likes to think there's something in it, that old platitude amor vincit omnia. But if I've learned one thing in my short sad life, it is that that particular platitude is a lie. Love doesn't conquer everything. And whoever thinks it does is a fool.”
Pretty darn good (outstanding) first novel for a lassie from the town of Grenada in Mississippi, the poorest state per capita in the Union but the richest per capita in producing literary stars.
And, while I can see the point of you who do not like Ms. Tartt's southern accent since this is set in New England, though I personally love it. Moreover, I defer to the author's discretion on this point because I am not sure anyone would have done Bunny the way she envisioned him when she wrote the novel.
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