I can't honestly tell if the story ever got any better. The first 30 minutes introduced a bit of the mystery but also characters that I had no sympathy or interest in. I am sorry I bought this and will avoid anything by this author again. So if you like cliches and stereotypes, go for this but otherwise don't waste your time
I remembered liking several of Margery Allingham's books when I was younger, but I had never read this one--and I hadn't missed a thing. The characters are unsympathetic and naïve; the narrator picked a bizarre voice for Campion, and the plot was abysmal. This must have been an early effort because it is poorly executed and a ridiculous plot. Can't tell if Allingham doesn't write as well as I thought she did or the PBS series done several years ago corrected her mistakes or it just is too dated--but don't waste your time here.
Most of us don't row, and we don't row competitively. This is so well written that you are intrigued by the technical aspects of rowing, but you are absolutely captivated by the people a lved this piece of history. Each individual is well painted and integrated and Brown has given us context so we can feel the Great Depression and the stunning struggle just to get food, much less get to college and make the rowing team. The "boys" were all sons of miners and farmers and shopkeepers and yet achieved the distinction of becoming the finest rowing team in history. Edward Hermann always delivers a fantastic presentation, but he was given a book that serves his talents well--that tells the story of the times, the obstacles, the character and heart of the individuals involved, and the breath-taking outcome. You will miss a great book and a great performance if this doesn't hit your preferred list. You will be moved, astonished, grieving, and joyous with all the characters.
M. C. Beaton normally writes contemporary mysteries. This isn't, of course, a mystery, and the plot is fine, the characters are all right, but it is neither bodice-ripper (thank goodness) nor comedy of manners based on the constraints of the period in which it is set. While it would have short-circuited the plot to have the protagonists display the background expected, it seems just silly to propose the idea that a gentlewoman would have learned how to cook so well that she would have been able to turn out multi-course meals appropriate in fine dining establishments during the Napoleonic era. And that a gentleman would be so intemporate in his language to one of his own class. So this is definitely fluff and if you aren't looking for Jane Austen or Finess it is just fine but be prepared to roll your eyes if you keep listening.
I liked the plot well enough to give the writer another chance. Actually, the thing that I continually find awkward is the gratuitous use of bad language--not to heighten the drama or express a character's frustration, but just to sound contemporary. A surgeon who isn't even mildly irritated uses bad language, and so do several other characters who are supposedly educated and affluent. So as you are listening, the effect is jarring. Anyone who has ever used a computer will at times be at their wit's end, and probably teenagers would drive you to think one or two of those words, but just for shock value this interrupts the narrative. Where you can skim in reading it yourself, this language pretty much jumps at you while you are listening. But good story; plausible and intriguing, so will try one more by Sandford and see if he was just on a tear or whether he likes this style of writing.
I did like this, but was perplexed in that O'Reilly reviews the events from 14 days out to July after the assassination; he didn't link events on the battlefield to the assassination and you had the feeling that Wilkes-Booth would still have planned on assassination regardless of the last desperate battles between Union and Rebel armies. He also tantalized us with evidence that Sec of War Stanton might have had a bit to do with the assassination, but there was no link to the conspirators that was explained. I dislike writing in present tense, and it worked all right here, but I thought this was a good book rather than a great book. Interesting content.
Steady, however it was odd that he mispronounced words like gelatinous and endometriosis--would have thought he would have looked those up!
It has been on the New York Times best seller list, and while better than many things you could listen to, couldn't quite see why it was so far up. Buy this on sale and you will really enjoy it!
Yes, but not in a hurry.
I only listened to the first 30 minutes and then determined to return it. In that time, 6 characters were introduced and every last one of them was so ignorant or selfish that you couldn't find any one of them you had the least bit of curiousity about. I had listened to a couple of McCall-Smith's books before, and he can be a slow started, but this must have been done just to meet a contract deadline. (Probably why it was on sale . . . )
Have you ever wondered where our peculiar phrases and words come from? Pass the buck, cowboy, okay, etc? Melvyn Bragg tells the story of the language as it developed and incorporated influences and went on to influence other languages. He is a bit slow at the start, but you should be intrigued because he makes the case that at the time of World War II a man from mid-Britain could make himself understood in Iceland within a couple of weeks--the pronunciation and grammar of two languages having so much still in common. Bragg goes on to follow the tale of English when it survived due to intervention by Alfred the Great, when it flourished so much that it outlasted incursion by French conquerers, tinkering and explosion in the New World, etc. The second half moves along much more quickly, but the first half, which concludes with the impact of Shakespeare on the langugage is well worth listening to.
Pretty steady, but you could tell that the speaker was unfamiliar with several North American frontier introductions--his pronunciation of lasso is a hoot, but you still enjoy his reading.
I have already recommended this to several. It starts off just a bit glib, but you will be engaged very quickly and amazed at the story it is telling of the "orphan" children in Nepal. Due to fears of the parents in mountainous regions that their children will be taken by guerrilla forces and forced into their own army, unscrupulous child traffickers convinced hundreds (or more) families to give up all their resources and their children to the traffickers who promised that these children would be taken to the cities and given a good education. Then they are abandoned or sold as child labor or starved but trotted out to display to tourists to encourage donations. The author--reading his work--had planned to work in one of the well-run orphanages for 3 months before he spent the year going around the world. He did go around the world, but felt compelled to go back and eventually began to tackle the plight of several of these children. He always intended this to be temporary but the longer he worked around the children, the more his heart changed. Terrific book, and gets increasingly compelling with both tragedy and deep happiness. This is one of the two best books I listened to in the entire year.
When Connor (author) finds that one of the "orphans" has been told his family all died at least 10 years ago, and his family have been told this boy died. Although it isn't simple to reunite the children--somehing so complicated that you have to listen to the circumstances to understand this--it is amazing that anyone would be committed to hiking in areas to find the "orphans" families where there are no roads, where altitude is not an ally, and where help is seasonal because flights stop in fall during the change in weather.
I bought this on sale because I have a good friend whose parents emigrated from Soouth Korea and I knew very little of either country. Since then I have recommended this to at least 8 people; it is dramatic, appalling, and amazing--Nothing to Envy is what the North Korean government tells its people even as it ensures they are starving, without electricity most of the time, and brutally stripped of any personal, academic, or industrial opportunities. This work is from a reporter stationed in South Korea who met and interviewed several of the very, very few North Koreans who had escaped from the North. From their stories you understand how it is that the North Korean government is able to control its people, why such a tiny number of citizens ever escaped, and why both South Korea and the United States are portrayed as the arch enemies of the North Korean people. You will hear from a schoolteacher, a doctor, and a true believer whose daughter tricked her into escaping; these and several other personal stories are interwoven with Korean history so that you can put their stories in context. Very well written, very timely.
I can't think of any that has a similar flavor; if there is something comparable I haven't read that yet.
She is not overly dramatic, speaks clearly, and moves the story forward with a nice pace.
Shock. After the first few minutes, you pause because you can't believe any government would be so short-sighted and would not only engineer its own failure but continue to do things to perpetuate the problems.
You will be missing a remarkable book if you pass this one by.
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