A little repetitive in the writing. The man was interesting, and he lay at the center of some good history. But after spending hours with this biography, I am not sure I learned a great deal. Unlike the great biographers - Robert Caro, for instance - the historical context and monumental sweep of history simply isn't conveyed particularly well.
I had listened to Jeremy Irons' reading of Lolita with amazement, but I was so taken with his narration that I may have underrated the writer. No longer. Ada, by Nabokov, reminds me of nothing so much as reading Proust when I was 23 - a transcendent experience. His facility with words, his play with time and place and history is flawless.
But this is not for the meek or faint of heart! It requires attention and devotion. Truly an extraordinary work.
I read a Bill Bryson book called Home or something like that with great pleasure on vacation once. I opened this book at an airport to a Babe Ruth page and thought 'this looks like fun.' Well, not so much.
The reading of the book, by author Bill Bryson, is curiously subdued. A bit more energy or enthusiasm or something would be warranted occasionally. He should not be encouraged or even allowed to read his own books; leave this to more accomplished readers like Junot Diaz, please.
The book itself is a bit drab. I knew a lot of this history already; perhaps if this was your first venture into the world of the teens, twenties, and and thirties it would be wonderful. For me, it wasn't. Pus, the author always seems a bit puzzled by what he is writing about… is he British, perhaps? Anyway - not one of my better audiobook choices, and not one I would recommend to anyone except the casual reader looking for 'popular' history, I think.
Any Hiassen is worth a listen, though this isn't one of his best. And the new narrator is not as fun as the one who does the older books.
A decent history that illuminates the recent origins of the factionalism we see now in our tea party/red states/blue states world. I'd forgotten the demagoguery of Agnew, and the vileness of Reagan and Nixon.
That said, the production values were TERRIBLE. It would be easy to blame the narrator, but its the producer's job to tell him when he is mispronouncing words. And the editing, with weird silences and bad other bad editing is amateurish.
But it is history everyone should be reminded of these days.
Elijah Wood's narration is a little bland. The novel, too, wasn't as heartfelt as I had hoped. I enjoyed the vernacular, but the words lay a little too much on the surface for me. Other nineteenth century classics - Moby Dick, for instance - don't show their age so badly.
I didn't feel like it was a waste of time - it just wasn't gripping.
It is such a pleasure to hear an author read their own work. And doubly so when the work is of such quality.
Not all of the interconnected stories in this book are of the high standard f the title story, but Junot Diaz just nails it most of the time. He strips away so much artifice in his writing, and speaks so cleanly and clearly about relationship. His reading of the work is clean and clear and without artifice as well.
My only complaint is with the producer and director - on a couple of occasions the edits are really sloppy - the pitch of the inserted word or phrase is really off. Just not professional quality work.
Anyway - it was great to listen to this audiobook and I highly recommend it.
Recommended to most of my friends. Not a book for dopes, or those looking for "a good read". The author is the real deal, and the book an interesting blend of low brow and high brow. Pleasantly unsensational, sweet, hopeful, and bizarre. Very well voiced by the three readers, be prepared for a long ride through multiple time space continuums.
This was a surprisingly poor book. I am inclined to blame its editor, rather than its author. Sentences, phrases, and concepts were repeated in the text to an annoying degree. For a book so lauded, it was surprisingly shallow in its insights. Maybe if I was a teenager it would have been fun, but it is a rehash of fairly well-known history written through a fairly common device - three supposedly first hand histories of three diverse emigres from the Jim Crow south to LA, Chicago, and NYC respectively.
It wasn't terrible - while I wanted to stop listening, I continued - but not so fun or interesting as, say, The Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin. If you are new to this story - which is the great story of my lifetime - then The Warmth of Other Suns will ease you into the great changes that have happened in America in the past 100 years. But if you know the story already, and are looking for new insights, go elsewhere, I think.
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