The narrator is unpleasant. His 'female' voice just gave me the creeps! I couldn't listen till the end of this book. I had read glowing reviews of 'Beautiful Ruins' in more than one periodical, and was excited to find this book on Audible. Aside from some lovely descriptions of the Italian coastline and some funny Italian characters (caricatures, maybe I should say), the book is a great disappointment; the story jumps jarringly through time, the Hollywood bits are lame and so sooooo Done Already! like, a million times before, and the American characters are uniformly boring. When I had wondered a couple of times why I was still listening, and if this was anything like reading a novel by that woman who played the 'bad guy' on Dynasty, I gave up and got my money back.
His soft brogue purrs like a cat curled up on your lap. Yet he tells a gruesome story, and some may wonder why; why relive that, why broadcast it? I write this review to thank him, because that was my father, too, and that was me, and when I heard Alan Cumming voicing exactly the same thoughts and fears that I had as a child, I suddenly felt---weirdly---understood, or at least, not alone. And I admire him tremendously for confronting his father as an adult, and, ultimately, forgiving him. I've thought Mr. Cumming a fine actor, and now I think he is a fine person, and a fine storyteller, too. I recommend this book for its beautiful narration, and a story of familial dysfunction and abuse that is surmounted without bitterness.
I kept waiting for this book to get as wonderful as its published reviews promised, but it just got increasingly less interesting, not more. Rich family, jealousy, in-fighting, snotty teenagers, all spending summers on their private island....and that's pretty much where it stays. The bombshell was more like a 'so what' by the time it came.
Excellent writing, excellent research, excellent narration, and a terrifying story about a lunatic nurse who spends more than a decade killing HUNDREDS of (healthy) patients in several hospitals in a tri-state area. And although there are signs that point to him as being somehow responsible, negligent, or downright murderous in many of these cases, ALL of the hospital administrators involved simply send him off to work somewhere else, and with good references, so that their own hospitals and reputations will suffer no damage or recriminations, or God forbid, actual liability. Can't afford to lose patient referrals over a few extra dead people.
There is, finally, one woman working in this cesspool of ever-rising profit who manages to locate her conscience, and she turns in the 'good nurse' to the police. He makes confessions, but can't remember all his victims. The estimate is more than 400. And he is the only one is jail. NONE of those hospital administrators who, by letting him continue working, allowed the killing to continue, was charged with anything. I think that's a crime.
This book about encephalitis lethargica is well researched and well written by a woman whose grandmother survived this disease, but mentally damaged. The book examines several case histories, including hers, in detail, to show the wide range of physical and behavioral symptoms that made this disease so baffling for doctors and difficult for families. Its victims, mostly young people, sickened suddenly and fell asleep, for weeks for months. Some woke eventually, some died. Some could function normally again; many suffered degrees of mental/emotional impairment; some displayed uncontrollable anger or became psychotic, suicidal, homicidal (this included small children), others remained 'frozen' like the ones Dr. Oliver Sacks found in a hospital decades after the last outbreak and wrote about in "Awakenings". During two early 20th century pandemic waves of this disease, medical researchers tried to figure out agent was causing it, how it was transmitted, how it might be cured. No luck. Was it linked to pandemic flu?
Rare, sporadic cases still occur. The author makes the point that we may be in terrible trouble if there is another pandemic flu, and another pandemic of encephalitis lethargica.
It's that old idea; Hell will be specific to each sinner. And you are sent there because you have fervently worshipped the 'wrong' God. But when you arrive-Thank God!-Satan's minion tells you that it's not forever, don't be silly. You must only perform one task, and then you can leave. How long will it take you to realize the immensity of your task? How long before you lose all hope? before you give up completely on God, if you haven't already? How long can you hold on to a sense of purpose, or assign meaning to your actions? What does it feel like when you can't?
This is such a funny, unique, fascinating, thought-provoking and enlightening story (I had never heard of the Library of Babel before), I absolutely LOVED, LOVED it!! Hell as a nearly-infinite library, with comfortable living quarters and food kiosks dispensing your
every wish, and all you have to do to be excused is find your own bio on the shelves.
The government spying programs that Edward Snowden wanted us to know about are truly terrifying. A gov't spokesperson admits that collecting every bit of electronic info generated in the world is really giving them too much material to effectively search for terrorist clues. One is left with the terrifying thought....'Then, WHY?? If not 'national security', then why??'
Snowden and the journalists helping him publish the documents he took are heroes to me. It breaks my heart to see them treated like criminals. It breaks my heart to think that my government is lying to, spying on, cheating, and punishing its own citizens just like any cheesy banana republic would do. So much for 'my' president, Barack Obama. I will never trust another politician, not if it was my own mother.
This book is impossible to put down. Impossible to listen to without wanting to punch something, or scream! See the documentary described in this book, "Citizen Four". Stunning, and up for an Oscar nomination.
I was hoping for a lot more gardening talk and a lot less sob story. A sheltered woman whose yard is a mess borrows a neighbor's gardener and fails to recognize his intelligence, even though he is an esteemed Ph.D in Horticulture. He is black and from Africa, which effectively denies him a suitable job in the American South, so he is gardening and being wise and amazing this silly woman, who wrote a sappy book about their friendship and their respective illnesses. I'm sorry I bothered with it.
Sci-fi and fantasy generally do not interest me, but being a chronic insomniac, I was immediately grabbed by the title of this novella. I wanted to love it. I did love the idea of a pandemic of insomnia that is killing millions; finally, scientists have learned how to extract the essence of pure sleep from the uninfected, and the purest comes from infants. No one knows if taking their sleep from them is damaging. That's about as far as this novella goes (sorry, spoiler!) and that just wasn't far enough to satisfy me. Nice beginning, tho.
I had not heard of Christopher Moore before listening to this book. I was hoping to be entertained, but not expecting more. Moore!! He's hilarious! and no cliches, no used jokes, no good ol' boy humor, just really funny original crazy-inventive comic writing that had me laughing out loud, which is rare. This guy must be a real kick at happy hour! Loved, loved listening to this. Fisher Stevens' narration was hysterical, too. Pure fun.
I admire the author. Some of the phrases in this book are so beautiful I feel the words catch in my own throat, even though I am listening it being read. And it's an awful reader, at that. I am simply flummoxed by the choice of this particular reader for this gracefully worded and delicately unfolding end of life story. The reader's voice is loud, really loud, with scarce inflection most of the time, and he just hammers through some scenes that are so heartbreaking....couldn't he have paused to, maybe, take a breath, or something? If this style of recitation was deliberately matched to this story, then I am at a loss to understand or appreciate or like it. I tried, re-tried, and tried again to get through this book, but I was not able to finish it.
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