This is a book in need of an editor. It could easily be cut in half without losing a beat. I had a miserable time getting through it---the characters are bland, by design, as it is some sort of 1984 type saga. But really, once you get a handle on the personalities, nothing they do is unpredictable. I can't imagine taking this thing on in print.
There are interesting ideas. But to me, the book feels like it was written by a 17 year old with a good imagination but no real writing talent. Hey wait! That's the premise of the book "Air Head Chriswillbuythis". Well I did. I don't regret it but don't recommend it either.
I can't say much about this book except that it's not to be missed. It's great fun built around a sweet story of comical characters.
Take a break from self-improvement, vampires, how [name here] beat drugs with Jesus and the latest anti-Obama conspiracy and give yourself a real light-hearted treat.
This book is just fun and a vacation from the real world.
I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Chris Reich, BizPhyZ
Herzog! Bam! Henderson the Rain King! Bam! The Victim! Bam! The Adventures of Augie March! Bam!
I seem to have fallen into a Saul Bellow groove. I've enjoyed (Very good to Great) every audio title until this one. I wasn't crazy about the narration but the reader is supposed to be jaded and snarky so I'll give Hurt a pass though I believe much of the Bellow philosophy of life is lost in the monotonous delivery.
I don't think this is Bellow's best but it's still got plenty of meat and a lot of it very tender and delicious near the ample bone. There's a bit of fat and a vein of gristle that makes the book a little dated---it's destined to be a period piece.
The biggest complaint is the awful, tin can like audio quality. I tried all the formats and it made no difference. I thought my ear buds were failing so I got new ones. This book just has lousy sound. If there was another version, read by someone else, I'd ask Audible for a credit. But, alas, there isn't and I may come back to this again so I'll keep it.
I wouldn't recommend it to you.
Chris Reich, The Business Physicist
This book is like On the Road: The Original Scroll - Jack Kerouac. Tone it down a bit and you've got a pretty similar story. In fact, I'd be very surprised if there wasn't an influence of one upon the other though I couldn't specify the direction of flow.
If you haven't experienced Bellow, I'd start with Henderson the Rain King. This book is brilliant but might drag on you if you're not used to the style. Bellow gives a little story and then injects a bit of philosophy or insight. These sparks are beautiful, like having your way lit through a wooded path in the night with the flicking of a lighter that never lights. But that's not a criticism, it's the bright flashes that give snap shots that a steady lighting would only blur.
And there it is. You get this series of flashes of this guy's life. It's a wonderful, flawless romp.
I loved every minute.
I made it through 2666 and it changed my life. After dragging my way through this pretentious, poorly written, poorly crafted and poorly conceived waste of pulp, I learned that a book either shows promise by the mid point or it does not. I learned that critics are easily fooled.
The life changer for me is the freedom to never again have to finish a lousy book because some critic thinks it good because it has to be good, right? I stick with books unless they are obvious pap. I'll invest the time and make the effort. This book is an absolute mess. I am forever free to walk away from a book that is an obvious dud which the critics fear---is it just me? This is 900 pages of crap. I'd better play it safe and talk about the "reach" or the "expanse" so no one really knows that I think it's worthless.
Look at the reviews. When the best a critic can do is recap the book (need those 1,000 words!) and then call it massive or expansive which just means long, skip it. I now understand a code that can steer me clear of future time wastes like 2666.
Save your time. If you want to read Latin literature, turn to Marquez.
This book is not for adults. It's a book for kids who are looking for a rather soap opera style "me and my gay angst" book.
This about the third book I've fallen into based on reviews of originality and great story lines that simply aren't there. There is little in an audio book I dislike more than launching into an anticipated listen only to discover it's some hack teen pap that lies about 10 notches below Dog with a Blog.
Oh me, I'm kissing a boy! Yahoo. Whoopeeee. Deep stuff.
If you are over 14 years old this will be below your maturity level. Skip it.
Since I'm on a nasty tear I might as well slam the narrator. MacLeod Andrews can turn an 18 year old boy/man into a whiny 11 year old. He has a gift. I've not heard such sappy narration in a book read by anyone else. No 17, 18, 19 year old would sound as deserving of a kick in the butt with an admonition to grow up as the characters Andrews portrays.
Am I angry? Probably. I wasn't paying attention and stepped in this mess right after cleaning my shoes of "Jumper", an equally awful book.
So, 12-13 year olds can ignore this if your standards are relatively low. 14 - 18 year olds? I'm sorry for you if you think is worth your time. If you are over 18? Well, stay away from playgrounds please.
Audible: PLEASE MARK CHILDREN'S BOOK AS SUCH.
Final Note. Am I just anti teen? NO. Read Skippy Dies. It's BRILLIANT. Read the Virgin Suicides. BRILLIANT. It can be done.
You have to give this book a chance. It's a little rough to get started but once you catch all the implications, it's a funny and brilliant look at academia and humanity.
I laughed out loud at a few lines and then I felt this rather sad pathos start to come over me. It's just a spoof, right? A brilliant spoof, but the book is merely satire and so we shouldn't be disturbed by it. But it is disturbing and it runs a lot deeper than spoof.
The feeling you'll experience are real.
Even the title...
Give it a chance. Buy a hard copy. Try. It's certainly one of the finest assembly of words ever.
I hate to write a trite review about a great book so I won't. I won't recap the story.
I will say that if you are male and have 40+ years under your belt, you will enjoy and be deeply touched by this incredible book. All others? You probably like it, maybe a lot.
This, I believe, is a book men need to read. And women? You'll get the inside scoop on the male psyche.
Don't miss this masterpiece.
This is the same stuff that I have been teaching in my presentation training classes for years. Steve Jobs didn't invent this technique, he learned it. How? He took the time to study.
Still, the book has a ton of great material---I really liked it until I hit the Joel Olsteen stuff. I personally don't care for or feel trust in the Olsteen machine.
So yes, if you are new to presenting, this will your first exposure to much of this material. If you're a seasoned speaker, stick with your own style.
After a very disappointing Wagner course followed by a stupendous Shostakovich course, I decided to put Greenberg in the lineup once again. This course started rather pleasantly with solid biographical background and excellent musical analysis of Stravinsky's early life and works. There's the typical Greenberg train wreck at about mid way through. He launches into a sort of "whose on first" dialogue about Stravinsky and another artist discussing a new piece.
Again, the jokes. This time we get a full routine smack in the middle of a serious discussion about World War 1 and the Russian Revolution. From there out, we get the usual corny Greenberg humor but not in as strong an application as usual. Perhaps his seemingly endless parody satisfied the frustrated comedian long enough to limp through the remaining lectures without need to ham it up?
I did learn from the course and enjoyed it for the most part. I am, however, weary of Greenberg's jokes which detract much from the subject matter. If you want to learn a bit about Stravinsky and get some insight into the technical aspects of his music, buy the course knowing you'll have to endure some bad humor.
The Great Courses should consider adding a couple of other music experts to their stable. It would be wonderful to have some variety in this category.
While not a home run, the course is a hit that will get you to first base of Stravinsky understanding. It's got some solid content and Greenberg obviously knows his stuff. Scale way back on the sophomoric humor and this would be a much better course.
No, this isn't an adult book disguised as a pre-teen book. It's a kids book at best. The writing is horrible---aimed at a grade 6 level---maybe. The reading is childish---"LYBERRY" for liBRaRy?
The reviewers who claim this is really a grownup book are misleading...
That said, kid's fantasy, escape books may be your favorite read. If so, you might enjoy this. When I was 12, I read the Heart is a Lonely Hunter and liked it. I also liked 1984 and Animal Farm. So I think even kids will find this pretty boring stuff.
But, I'm not the boss of you. It's your credit.
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