Books like this, it's better to go into blind. All I knew about it was that it involved Sicilian Aristocracy during the Italian "Resurgence." It is very well written, in as much that entire short stories seem to blossom from within single paragraphs (Such as the scene you will encounter when the family is eating jello/pudding). I found this to be a very rich and rewarding novel, however don't buy it if you're looking for "Under the Tuscan Sun," where serendipity makes everything come out rosy in the end. This is about war, intrigue, etc. and is strong on character and history. Don't come looking for a fast-food novel about princes and kinds.
This is one of the better books I've read, and I do believe that in a year or two I will re-read it again. It mostly focuses around one man who flew some daring missions, was shot down, survived at sea and then survived relentless torture in a string of different Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. I thought the narrator was superb. This is a non-fiction book, but it is written in a light that makes it universal so that anyone reading sees a reflection of the struggles in their own life. You come away feeling two things, nothing I've ever gone through will ever be as tumultuous as this and... if people have endured a thing like this, then what in my life... what headache and disappointments should I really let dominate my spirit. Enjoy it.
This book strikes me as the type of thing Stephen King would write if he was from LA. I like the first half of the book. It is plot driven and you really would have to struggle to care about any of the characters. Their dialogues drove me nuts, and I think detracted from the story. During action scenes, you can expect people to make lame sexual innuendos or say dude what the F. The characters are all LA idiots. Around the half way mark, I got bored but stuck with it. It was entertaining but definitely not a 5 star book. The writer is very capable of delivering this story, however I felt there was a lot of filler that just wasted time. The pacing was off. And once you figure out what's going on, I started to feel it was kind of ridiculous. However, I completed it and the narrator was good. It was entertaining at least. Could have been shorter and more polished.
I've burned through many books in my lifetime. The only ones that stick with me are those that reached in and broke me in some way. I am not Jewish and don't feel that it's a book only Jewish people would get. In fact, I've recommended it to Jewish people to read and they didn't seem to 'get it.' I think I like it because it answered a very big question that I always had in my head. Growing up back east, you knew your grandparents generation were the good guys. Then everything in this country fell apart in the 70's. Since that is before my time, this novel singlehandely answered why this country went to the crapper and why all the east coast cities like Baltimore and Newark are more or less minature welfare states. This novel is much more than that. And it has resonated as I've grown up to raise children and considered the father/daughter relationship in this book. It is not a light read. It's a horror novel of real life. The ending blew me away.
I liked the format of this book very much. Initially, I thought it was awkward with the different narrators and subtle sound effects, but later on saw that this was a great idea. Imagine how tedious it would be to hear someone just reading the bible verbatim and saying John 1:1 "blah blah blah," so I think this is a good option for an audiobook if you're in the market for a bible. The narrators are all superb.
I think no matter what stage you are in your life, this book will give you insight into a great deal of how the world turns. It may suck a little of the magic out of things, because I think part of human is our belief in false patterns. But it will educate you highly.
This book was slow, getting into it. Then I began to really like it, but I could not get over one annoying thing about this book. I found it a bit showy that the author felt compelled to say, BCE or Before Christ Existed instead of just BC. The first few times, it sounded discordant to my ears and I kept listening but finally I gave up for that simple fact... to keep hearing Before Christ Existed. You can call that petty, but I call it a case of an author trying to be too pc or what have you. If it was just BC, or even read as "BCE" in the audio, that would have been fine, but you keep hearing in 56 Before Christ Existed. Sorry, but I tossed the audio because of that. I am petty, but just be aware of this thing as it might bother you as well. Otherwise narration and everything else is fine.
This is one of those non-fiction books that just blows you away. It was a little tough getting into it at first, but once it got into all the stuff about Las Vegas and golf courses, etc. I was hooked. Great narration. You will seriously never look at water the same after listening to this.
I thought this was a thoroughly entertaining series. You can see where in modern times people got the idea for storylines like Dexter, etc. This is as good, if not better than the first book. The narrator, as in all the other books in the series is immaculate. I burned through this series like a fat kid through a candy dish at Christmas.
I have read only a few books like this- which we could call creative non-fiction regarding a death. The other one that comes to mind is "Death be not proud," which is a lot older and about a man who has to witness his young son slowly dying. Then there are fiction versions of books like this, by Richard Ford or more recently "The Fault in Our Stars." This book revolves around a random occurrence as a young girl dies as a result of a collision with the author, the driver of an automobile. Like the other books I've mentioned, I faced the same problem- after a while into the book I found little reason to continue caring. I felt like this would only interest a small audience- of those who lived in this area of America and who were impacted directly by this event. I think a lot of times people feel guilty in disliking someone's naked memoir of such a tragedy. I am not afraid to say that a callous part of me just could not care and I didn't know why I had to walk along with this author through HIS healing process and pay for the experience. With that being said, this is a straight-forward and well-written book. The narration is good. There are a few nuggets of wisdom I did get from the book. I think that other readers might find merit in a book like this. I would not have finished it had it been a 5 hour book. The fact that its 4 hours works in its favor.
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