I couldn't wait for Jonathan Franzen's new book to come out. And I have to say...I kinda sorta hated it. And I liked it. A lot. I did not, however, LOVE it.
I like difficult books with difficult characters. But, with the exception of one or two characters, this is a book filled with intensely selfish, deeply unlikeable people. Would that I could create characters so clearly defined! I mean, Franzen is brilliant in this regard. You know EXACTLY who these people are...and you would never want to invite them to dinner.
I had to struggle to get through it. I'm conflicted. Great writing, great story line. But really hard people to spend time with.
I will say, the ending was very satisfying, so I'm glad I hung in there. Getting to the final sentences, though, was a struggle for this voracious reader of comtemporary and classic literature.
As noted by other reviewers, this book poses some very intriguing questions, primary among them--"If I'd made just one different decision, even a seemingly small one, what impact would that have had on the path my life took?"
I'll also read it again to better examine the careful selection of language. It is no small feat to take a story that repeats itself in some ways over and over--and keep the reader hooked. Atkinson is skillful with even the least of syllables.
Ursula, in all her many incarnations, offered too many memorable moments to select just one. I must say, I do really love how protective and "mama bear" she becomes with her daughter. Lovely scenes there.
What changes...what remains the same?
Although I'm a Kate Atkinson fan, I avoided this book for a long time, thinking that the plot sounded a little too paranormal for my tastes. I'm so glad I read it. Literally, I couldn't stop listening.
I think fans of Audrey Neffeneger, Sebbastian Faulk, Julian Barnes, and AS Byatt will get a lot out of this book.
I must also say that the narration is simply outstanding. I will be nominating Fenella Woolgar for every audio award out there, And reading every book she has narrated. Just abrilliant, peerless performance, a beautiful voice, with excellent accents.
It is wonderful that there are so many authors in the world, because it means there's something for everyone. There are many books that I've given five stars to, but which might make fans of Nicholas Sparks wrinkle up their noses and go, "Are you crazy?"
I fell in love with Nicholas Sparks when I read, by accident, his deeply affecting autobiographical book, "Three Weeks with My Brother." I loved this funny, sweet recounting of the whirlwind trip around the world Sparks took with his brother. I gave it to my then-teenaged son, my husband, and to many friends, all of whom gave it an enthusiastic thumbs-up.
I have since read three Sparks novels, this being the third. None of which I've ever completed.
I have huge admiration for his ability to craft a story. And I was excited that this one had horses and bull riding and art (how many authors can do that?).
Still, I just couldn't get through it. I know the ending because I hit the fast-forward button.
I have finally decided that I'm just not the right person for a Nicholas Sparks novel. That doesn't mean it's a bad book. It means it's the wrong book for me.
I think this book probably works best for fans of Kristin Hannah, Nora Roberts, or Barbara Delinsky.
Suggested I re-read "Anna Karenina."
I must confess I did like the horseback riding scenes. I also thought the bull riding descriptions were accurate and well-written.
If I could play editor, I would hand this off to the person in my office who specializes in romance. Because turning it away would be a really stupid financial decision. But I would not be the appropriate person to handle it.
Fans of Sparks will love this book. And they'll be happy, because I know now not to try another one. I've given it a good shot and it's just not a good fit.
I can no longer see well enough to read the hard copy version, so I can't answer that question. I will say, however, that my husband and I listened to "One Summer" while on a long car trip. We loved being able to listen to Bryson read his own work--and to put the right twist on his humorous asides. We also felt like we were getting a bit of a history class, but with a really funny professor. Last, being an aviation-oriented household, it was absolutely fascinating to hear about the dawn of flight, and all the fuss around Charles Lindbergh.
The thing about a Bill Bryson book is that there are always so many wonderful moments, it's hard to pick one. I will admit I still laugh, to this day, about the glass jars Bryson talked about in "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid." Oh, wait. Different Bill Bryson book. Okay, so this one has a little something for everyone--historic flights, natural disasters, inside info on one of most demonized presidents...it's all there.
As with any Bryson book narrated by the author himself (with his quirky, Iowan-almost-turned-Brit accent), it's all good.
Well, I could have. But there is so much intriguing information in here, you kind of want to listen and then maybe hit the rewind button and listen again, just to savor it. I haven't had exactly the what-will-happen-next feeling I had while reading "Seabiscuit," or "The Boys in the Boat." But I look forward to each moment I spend with this book.
Perfect for Bryson fans. Perfect for fans of "Unbroken," "Boys in the Boat," or any David McCullough books.
I am pretty good at getting an audiobook and devouring it. I've had this book for about a month now and am still struggling to get through it. I love the era this book is set in and liked the premise--a hungry, down-on-her-luck vaudevillian gets tapped to play the role of her life--impersonating a likely-deceased heiress. And sharing in the millions, should the ruse work.There are elements of a light mystery, a gothic thriller, and a romance. But for me, I just haven't been able to get to the end, primarily due to the narration. I've listened with satisfaction to one other of Tavia Gilbert's work. But here, I just found her too breathy, too callow-sounding for a slick, street-wise 25-year-old actress, basically a grafter, who's agreed to pretend she's a younger someone else--for real.,
I probably would have encouraged Ms. Gilbert to change her interpretation.
I'm starting to sound really mean. It just didn't work for me.
I won't know the answer to that until I get through it. I think Mary Miley probably wrote a solid book, probably the only reason I've made it as far as I have.
Narration is in the ear of the listener. This one didn't work for me. But it might for someone else. I recommend that one do a preview listen before using that credit.
My title has a double meaning because "Mad About the Boy" reminds us why we fell in love with Bridget Jones the first time around--and we get to watch/listen to her flail about with love one last time.I don't know whether I so loved this book that I'd listen to it again. But it was bloody lovely to see Bridget trying to make it as a single mum, re-entering the dating world that has COOMPLETELY changed since she was last single. Anyone in their 50s will laugh out loud at how Bridget grapples with phones, x-boxes, remote controls, texting, and Twitter.
SPOILER ALERT: Okay, if you've been living under a rock and missed the headlines that Mark Darcy...SPOILER ALERT...no, I can't do it. If you don't know already, you'll have to read the book to find out. I loved the brilliant combination of tenderness and humor that Helen Fielding brings to Bridget's very real trials as a single mum of two young kids. I got a bit choked up at times. And then, just as my heart was touched, Fielding wrote something that made me laugh out loud.
Well...like all of Bridget's great moments, the best comes near the end. And I'm not going to ruin it for potential listeners by describing it here.
I was really touched by Bridget's interactions with her kids, and how hard she tries to hide her frustrations and sadness, and simply soldier on. There was a scene when her daughter splashes hot chocolate all over Bridget's brand new, never-been-worn, oh-so-chic white coat--and I just love the way Helen Fielding writes this sweet and simple moment--and how Samantha Bond sensitively narrated it. Perfection.
At the beginning of this listen, I was not thrilled with Samantha Bond's voice--it seemed too husky, too vaguely smoky or alcoholic. And then I realized, "But that's Bridget, always trying to quit smoking, always drinking a few more units of alcohol than what is perhaps best." Brilliant.And truly, Samantha Bond (whom Downton Abbey fans might know as Lady Rosamund Painswick) is the frosting on the cake of this clever, sweet book. She is absolutely pitch-perfect, her sighs, expletives, little kittenish moans, all of it worthy of an Oscar. Or Audie.It was really good to find out what Bridget is up to in her 50s. Like all previous Bridget books, it's a fairly breezy read. But it also addresses some very real issues. And in the end, you care about this character. Just the way she is.
I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and "Someone" will be in my Top 15 for certain. I love language and it is apparent from the first paragraph that Ms. McDermott has carefully, lovingly selected each and ever word, the result being a miraculous description of a rather un-miraculous life.
Alice McDermott's writing reminds me of Ann Patchett, and Colin McCann--it's that ability to make magical through prose something we see in everyday life. This book would be a very satisfying read for those who enjoyed McCann's enchanting "Trans-Atlantic."
I thought Ms. Reading did a fine job with all the characters, both female and male. The mark of a great narrator is, in my mind, that she compliments the story she is reading without overshadowing. Ms. Reading did exactly that. Having said that, I encourage everyone to hit the "preview" button to listen before buying. Like music, narrators are often in the eye/ear of the beholder.
For me, Marie is the obvious choice, because this is her story. I just really like books, such as this, that show how someone who's not particularly beautiful, wealthy, brilliant, witty, or a standout in a way that might capture today's reality-TV-addicted world, can make a life of meaning, just by quietly putting one step in front of the other.
The genius of Ms. McDermott is that she has taken a rather ordinary woman, whose life is rather ordinary (heartbreaks, marriage, loss of parents--but no attempts to climb Mt. Everest, the corporate ladder, or the heights of Hollywood). Through her meticulous and lyrical words, she has brought importance to each and every moment of Marie's simple life. Most of us live these types of quiet lives--McDermott allows Marie's to shine. And through Marie, we all shine, as well.
This is a simple book about a boy who is "different," and how he finds his way. It is along the lines of "The Case of the Dog in the Night," "Harold Fry," "About a Boy," and "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand," all British coincidently. But all of which gained an international audience, deservedly so. Fans of Kurt Vonnegut will also get a kick out of the all-Kurt Vonnegut book club and how this contributes to Alex's ability to navigate through life.
Along with the list cited above, I might compare it to "Catcher in the Rye" for the fact that is about a teen, but should be read by YA and adult readers alike. Like RC Pallacio's brilliant book, "Wonder," you get to see the worst--and ultimately--the best in everyday life.
At first, I thought Joe Thomas sounded too mature to narrate a book with a 17-year-old protagonist. But Mr. Thomas has a voice that is very easy to listen to, and I quickly was lost in the narration. He was really the perfect reader, able to capture the perfect, wry tone for those moments of understated humor. He handled tender scenes with a light touch, without getting maudlin. I will look for more of Mr. Thomas's work.
I laughed. I cried. I loved. I am smiling now just thinking about the satisfaction I took in this listen.
Time--and a credit--well spent.
Daniel James Brown takes a story about nine "boys," shows us how those "boys" were just regular people like the rest of us. And then he tells a wonderful tale of how, by committing to one another, they achieve something truly great. This is a book that highlights a little-remembered moment in history that is was so remarkable, it's chill-inducing.
I do want to add the cautionary note that after reading this book, there is a high likelihood that you will lose several hours on YouTube, watching the amazing footage of these young men at the Berlin Olympics.
One can never really go wrong when combining the stellar Edward Hermann with a great story. But in addition to that, this is a story everyone can relate to. It is about hard times, it is about pain, both physical and emotional. It is about fear. It is about going forward despite those things.
The sport of rowing has sadly devolved into being viewed as a very elitist activity. But from the late 1800s well into the later part of the last century, crew was a wildly popular sport, akin to baseball today. THE BOYS IN THE BOAT brings alive these nine young men, from humble--and even horrible--backgrounds and tells how they captured the attention of the entire world.
This book showcases one of the most demanding sports there is, and how these boys used that sport to quietly put Hitler in his place.
It's not really a character, but rather a moment that sticks out for me in this book. It is Hermann's narration of the final race at the Olympics. I already knew the result. But his description of the actual race--written captivatingly by Brown--had me on the edge of my chair. I found myself upset, anxious, pacing...and ultimately cheering.
I do want to add that I really loved the character of George Pocock, who built his handmade wooden racing shells with the quiet spirit of a Zen master. His quotes, which preface each chapter, can most assuredly be applied to rowing. But why stop there? Use them in life, as well.
"Chariot of Fire"--with oars. You will cheer!!
This is one of those rare books that can capture any reader. I've given it to friends who love crew--naturally, they loved the book. But I've also given it to my 80-year-old mother, who loved it despite having no interest in rowing whatsoever. I've given it to my BFF, who mostly reads romances and frothy mysteries--and she loved it.
To date, I've purchased 13 copies of this book, both in hard copy and audio. I've received back a 100% recommendation! Everyone loves this book.
In a few years, this book will be a fabulous film and it will sweep the Oscars. Read it now, so you can say "Oh yes. I read that story when it first came out. Great book. Better than the movie actually." ; )
Unfortunately, I cannot answer that question adequately, as my vision prevents me from reading a print version. The audio edition is my only choice. So having said that, I'd say yes, the audio edition definitely was better.
Yeah, I'm smirking.
The primary setting--the Big Apple just after WWII--reminded me of Mark Helprin's IN SUNLIGHT AND IN SHADOW. But the writing itself reminded me of the greats, such as John Irving, Richard Ford, Richard Russo, and Phillip Roth.
Joe Barrett does author James Salter the ultimate good turn by allowing the thoughtful prose to do its job without force or artifice. He voices both men and women without getting in the way of what needs to be said. He is a most considerate narrator, and yet the characters come brilliantly to life.
I can't really discuss this without ruining a major event in the book. So without disclosing anything, I have to admit I'd love to take protagonist Phillip Bowman to dinner (I'll make him put it on his fancy publishing house expense report). I'd say to him, "Whoa! I totally didn't see that coming." And then I'd have to ask, "Did you have that planned all along? Do you ever feel bad about it? Or did it make you chuckle inside, this terrible thing that you did. And by the way, you don't mention it at all in the book, but did you ever lose any sleep about it?"
You see? I can't really answer that question without leaving review readers going, "Huh?"
So I'll just say this: If you like Roth, Irving, Updike...this book is a very good use of your Audible credit.
I have to admit that I initially had a difficult time getting into this book. I thought it was okay. But I wasn't just bowled over. Still, I kept going and, all of a sudden, discovered that I had to know what happens next.
Salter's prose is worthy of all the praise from notable reviewers. Listening to this book is time well spent.
I read/listened to this book as part of my research for a project involving World War I. I found the information I needed within this book. The facts of war and battlefield life-and-death are presented in a very workmanlike way, and I wondered if this was written as a paper for a university course or thesis.This is very dry material and does not give the narrator much to work with. Having said that, I knew I was a bit in trouble when, within the first few minutes, Todd Barsness pronounced the word "havoc" as "have-oak." Later on, he pronounces the term "noblesse oblige" as "oh-blyyj" rather than its proper form of "oh-bleej."Small issues, but as the saying goes, God is in the details. I would not expect the print version to have typos. These mispronunciations are akin to audio typos in my mind.Just sayin'.
Yes. See above. And again, in his defense, the material is very dry, very much a research tome than a thrilling adventure back into history.
For me, yes, because it provided me important information I will use for my project.
This book offers a well-researched view into the primitive world of battlefield hospitals through the First World War. In particular, I was horrified to read the injury and death statistics involved in each war chronicled, particularly WWI. The author did a thorough, workmanlike job of writing a book on a topic that is pretty grim.
Report Inappropriate Content