This is a horrifying story from North Korea. It is still fiction, but it could certainly have happened in that strange country, which must be slowly falling apart. This book picqued my interest in NK and I have read up on the country since and almost all stories told by those who have fled the country back up the general picture and the key elements in this fictional story.
It was virtually impossible to put my iPhone down, and I think I completed this story in less than 3 days (I normally listen only for an hour or so per day), since I just had to listen to it at every free moment I had. The suspense is great. And it is well narrated.
Is there anyone else out there who like me has always appreciated Bach's music? I consider Bach one of the absolutely best classical composers (alongside Beethoven), and his music has always inspired me and provided great satisfaction.
If you have that background, this is really something for you. The courses are insprining and the narrator is enthusiastic about his topic, and he knows it very well. I advise you to listen one course at the time, then listen to some Bach music in between and then go on to the next course. If you try to take in all at the same time, it will be too much.
One thing that bugs me, however, is that professor Greenberg does not know how to pronounce Bach's name, at least not to a listener who like me speaks German. His consistent incorrect (=American) pronounciation ("Bock") could lead to the wrong conclusion that the good professor does not know what he is talking about. But he does and he is good at it, even though his German is deplorable (his Italian and French are possibly worse). A little language exercise: try to figure out who the composers "Wiwolde" and "Cooperand" are? (That is the way these baroque composers names are pronounced in this book).
So a really good course is tainted by bad language. However, if you can live with that, don't hesitate to buy this.
I read somewhere about Bill Drummond and his books "17" and "45", so when I found "17" on Audible, I downloaded it.
It is fantastic book about music (almost philosophy about music) and a completely new way to look at music. I will not spoil your expereince by telling you what the meaning of the seventeen is, but I warmly recommend this experience. It helps if you are interested in music, of course, and especially if you are about the same age as the author (he is born in 1953) but am sure even older or younger readers can appreciate it.
Bill narrates his book himself, which gives an extra touch of originality. It is well narrated in wonderful Scottish.
Let me start by telling you that I consider Philip K Dick the most talented science fiction writers ever, maybe one of the the most original writers of all categories. I have read all Dick's works (novels and short stories) and several of them are on my top 100 list of the best books ever. I have also read some of the biographies on Dick to try to understand him and his fiction better.
I read my first Dick book in 1974 (We Can Build You) and as I said, I never really stopped - they are great for re-reading even twenty or thirty years later. His best fiction are from the 1960's, but takes a turn for the worst somewhere in the mid 1970's. I've always thought his novels and stories become increasingly "strange" and the religious (or semi-religious) content becomes too much in his last novels (as in Valis). I have wondered why and have attributed the turn for the worse to an ever increasing drug use (every biographer notes Dick's life-long experimenting with drugs). But it turned out I have never really understood why the fiction deteriorated so steeply in the mid-1970's, until I listened to the Exegesis.
Thus, it was with great interest I downloaded this book. What a disappointment I was in for! I was not even able to complete the listening to the entire book, and this despite that I am a really great Dick fan. This book in simply unreadable; very little in it really makes sense.
The explanation for the increased "strangeness" of his fiction lies in "2-3-74", i.e. some experiences of a religious (or semi-religious) nature Dick underwent in February and March of 1974. Another way of explaining it is that he turned more or less crazy around that time. The Exegesis supports that view, in that Dick himself explains he was "chosen" to undergo the "experiences". To a normal mind, this is the description of someone slowly going nuts.
So, in conclusion, if you are a big Dick fan, in Exegesis you will find the explanation why Dick's fiction turned increasingly unreadable if written after 1975 (mercifully enough there are only four novels written after that date). But if you are not a really nerdy Dick fan don't bother reading this kipple. You will not be able to make any sense of it. But the book is well narrated.
This books starts being really interesting, but after a quarter of an hour you discover that your mind has wandered and you haven't listened to the last five minutes at all. You rewind and start over. Same thing after a while again. There are so many characters and the events change so quickly and between caracthers that you quickly lose track of who is who and what they say and why.
The story takes place at the end of the 19th century. It is a mix of Jules Verne and Charles Dickens. Jules Verne had really interesting ideas and twists and turns (at least in his earlier novels). Dickens had really faboulus characters who became more alive the more you listened to his stories. This book is just a lot of words amassed; it is a lot of exchange of views, but nothing really drives the story forward. It lacks the originality of Jules Verne and the likability and life of the Dickens charaters. Pynchon tries to spice up the novel by placing references to other novels, events, known people, etc. but that just serves to blur the story and make it more confused.
I have read other books by Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow, V), both of which I really liked. But Against the Day is just so boring, that I listened with some interest only to the first 10 or so chapters; the rest I just forced myself to go thru until I completely lost interest because of all the mannered and affected style of writing after the third part (of seven in all).
The narrator tries his best to give different dialects and tones of voice to the plethrora of characters. But he breaks RULE NO. 1 for narrators of audio books. Rule No. 1 is to read with a relatively even voice volume. This narrator varies between whispering to almost screaming and every conceivable volume in between. If you set your listening volume to hear the whispering, it becoems far too loud for the screaming parts. So I had to set the volume somehwere in between, in order to not have to change the volume every 15 seconds, and then you miss some of the less loud parts. Not good narrated at all by Dick Hill.
I don't understand the hype around this book. It is neither original, nor very well written. Sort of a diary of a guy visiting a dying teacher. I get the feeling this is a book written by a loser for losers, because the message is "don't do things, sit down and think about them instead". The narration is good, though.
The most revealing and interesting part about this book is how the Republican party supported and encouraged organized crime in Atlantic City. The ties between republicans and gangsters gave rise to this city of bars, casinos and brothels. But as it is said in the books: "People want bars, casinos and brothels, so we give it to them. If they had wanted bible studies, we'd had given them bible studies".
The story is interesting, if a little too exhaustive with too many details about what happended several generations ago. But still worth listening to. Well read as well.
This is the story about a rather obnoxious person - a handyman or dayworker who seems to do his best to destroy his own life, but always comes out on top. Life is full of people like him, but very few are as stable and humourous as this person. I grew very fond of him. In fact, I'd like to read more about him, and this as good a grade as a writer can get from his reader.
In this book professional historian Dick Harrison shows that he can write interesting and good books about histrorical events. His research is so thorough you could call it almost over the top. But very good.
It is very scary to read how the Republican Christian Right-wing decided to conquer the Supreme Court - and succeeded. A less known - and quite dirty - part of American history is here brought to light. It is somewhat of a scary science fiction novel to read how ultra-conservative people can influence our daily life. But it is true. Apart from how that swing in majority in the Court was made possible, this is a very good analysis of the Court and how it works. Even the legal parts are well written and analyzed (says this legally trained reader.) Highly recommended!
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