One might be forgiven for wondering why Steve Martin - with 30-plus film roles as an actor - could not bring a much more conversational tone to this memoir of his stand-up comic early days. Perhaps the flat reading is intended to restrain his emotions, and with good reason; in the final hour, for example, his mother, sister and stand-up career all pass away.
But, the text is by turns amusing, introspective and remarkably engaging, and especially if (like many of us of a certain age) you recall Steve Martin's early appearances on the Ray Stevens show, the arc of his comedian days will be a ride you will enjoy tremendously.
We are pleased that Mr. Martin survived his stand-up days. Whether his next assignment is as daring as "The Spanish Prisoner" or another family-ready project like "Pink Panther 2," we will long remember the "wild and crazy guy."
Author Jacqueline Carey's prose lingers lustfully over every syllable. As she invents nations, customs, creeds, gods and half-a-dozen languages, she twists her syllables around with care and wit. When narrator Anne Flosnik pronounces a word strangely, it usually seems like a reasonable alternative. This perfect pairing of story and narration is quickly captivating so that one begins searching the schedule to find time to hear more.
It's a ride, an extravagent adventure that surpasses anything I've encountered before and my most satisfying audiobook experience yet. Characters grow and learn in realistic if unexpected ways. The storyline grows with them, in fact, with vividly depicted scenes in a remarkably real world.
She doesn't enact the story, but the quiet urgency in her tone sounds like she's as interested in the next page as we listeners are.
Lots of them, all of which are too important to the narrative to reveal here. Joys and sorrows, victories and defeats, challenges met and missed are all woven into this mesmerizing narrative.
Every hero must have an Achilles heel. For Phaedra, it is her intoxication with pain. But do not mistake this for a formulaic Middle Ages S&M saga. The author's skill and taste do not linger explicitly but use this kink - and other behaviors sexual, tender, noble, greedy and violent - to form extraordinary characters in a bold, energetic storyline of how powerfully will and duty can drive a person, and a nation, forward. Phaedra starts the book as a lost child with no resources and two curses; I assure you she doesn't stay in that condition for long.
A treasure-hunt adventure with delusions of satiric adequacy, "Ready Player One" is clever enough to pull the listener through its 15 hours with only minor bouts of fatigue. There are lists, and this book is as much a love letter to Wikipedia as to the video game culture of the 1980s. But even its predictability can be forgiven when the author's wild swinging fists finally land on an observation truly telling, or a laugh-out-loud-worthy gag.
But behind the avatars, the five heroes are complex and engaging. The story is told with fondness not only for the games, but for the people who played them.
Wil Wheaton's narration is effective and his slight touch of "Oh Wow" enthusiasm fits the time and the mood.
More Thurber in audiobook form should cause jubilation, and the 23 selections are among the most beloved of the author's writing (the cartoons are missing, of course). Keith Olbermann is therefore to be commended for undertaking the project.
One wishes, however, that the broadcaster's delivery was not so melodramatically urgent. Hard-sell punch was perfect for ESPN, and less so for his evening news/talk cable shows. With Thurber, it often creates the kind of cognitive dissonance that would occur if one was shaken awake by someone screaming, "I love you!"
One is pleased to find Audible also offers "My World and Welcome to It," read by a less-histrionic John Cullum, who allows the wit to sneak up on you rather than being shot from a cannon.
A round-robin of six narrators tackles a surprisingly thoughtful, evocative and detailed memoir. Richards hides little and neither excuses nor apologizes while going through stories that are occasionally off-putting but richly revealed. There is no preparing for this one and it's certainly not for everyone, but the scope and the clarity of the book surprised me very much. For those of us who remember every track of every album, this is a most welcome look back. For others, this is one of the least sentimental overviews of the '60s and '70s you're likely to find.
Starting with a chapter about an illustrator, this audiobook is often frustrating but - surprise - the hardback contains no more illustrations than does the recording. Clive Chafer constantly sounds dismissive of all this nonsense, which does not help one digest the sometimes thick material. On the other hand, most of the stories are quite engaging, and the introduction to Nancy Mitford (perhaps the Dorothy Parker of Great Britain) made the book immensely satisfying.
Articulate commentary covering a wide range of kink with dry wit and no nonsense. Happily, there are two more episodes available for those who enjoy Dee-Shapland's expertise and style.
The story is so widely reported and so well known, you may believe there's nothing more to learn. You'll be pleased with the scope of this tantalizing excerpt, and impatiently waiting for the other volumes of the production. Some of us will be sharing this with our kids, and grandkids...
With a surprising talent for mimicry, a winning and warm personality and with dramatic stories to tell, one of Britain's best actors has quickly become one of my all-time favorite narrators.
The opening sections about his childhood in "The Elephant" and World War 2 are more than enough to make the book a must. As with a favorite guest, Michael Caine never tires and appears to enjoy hearing the stories as much as telling them.
Don't miss this. Then get ready to go back to some films you may have missed, or may want to enjoy again.
After graduating college, Meghan took two friends to join her on her father's presidential campaign while she wrote a blog. Ms. McCain's thoughts are passionate even if they are not particularly deep, but she is charming and doesn't take too long to share her story.
Battling fellow Republicans while waiting for the Democratic field to narrow, McCain's big/small, on/off campaign was bizarre and brassy. Meghan's ring-side seat perspective is engaging, often extremely revealing and fun to share.
Occasionally dirty, not often sexy, the main word for this political story is energetic. Ms. McCain has some great stories - enjoy them!
Production credits at the end of this recording identify companies rather than individuals. That may not be why there are so many obvious edits, mispronunciations and really, really cheesy cliches in the text, but the book and the recording evidence a rush to finish rather than an effort to create a lasting work of history.
Waiting until the second part of the book to begin talking about the McCain campaign leaves the first section feeling thin and perhaps biased. But the story focuses intently on the personal aspect of politics, how very small personal moments impact lasting decisions.
Hillary and Sarah Palin are both accused of being unbalanced; John McCain's and Hillary's daughters both receive negative comparisons to hookers; and guessing which of the two people in any particular conversation is the source for the authors is almost impossible to avoid.
It's a long ride, and you already know the way it turns out, but there are moments of real drama along the way and a number of new stories to boot. It's a shame the narration is as sloppy as the writing itself often is, but the rewards more than make up for the problems.
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