The narrator is just not too lively. The book is not too lively. I'm more than 1/2 way through and I have yet to hear anything that is suggestive of the title - unless, we recognize our humanity by (a) owning or caging any animal we desire to own or cage; and (b) once we have them caged we have to learn how to continue to keep them caged successfully. Somewhere in the owning and caging I missed the part that supports doing those acts makes us human. The attitude that we can own and cage any animal that is not human somehow makes me feel a little less human. Learning tricks to continue to keep them caged successfully makes me feel a little bit sick not human. I will finish reading/listening to this book but I think the author is now on an uphill battle to try and successfully pull this off.
This is the first time I have heard Raul Esparza. What a GREAT reader. I will look for other books with him reading.
As to King, initially, I started to think this was just going to be another 'exercise at writing' book. It does have, in it's heart, the same story we read in "The Stand." However, King's ability to write a gripping tale and to bring characters to life makes it worth the read. To one extent it is better than the Stand as it is more believable. I think I could say I have known people like every character introduced in the book. The people were real, they reacted in a real way and King didn't ask us to believe in too much fantasy.
The dome thing reminded me of one of the old Twilight Zone stories and that is why I thought the book was going to be just another exercise. If he would have been a little more creative and not taken an old Twilight Zone story and turned it into a Stephen King book I would have gone with another star. Also, as a person who has read every Stephen King book, (yes, I am one of those kind of fans) there is a certain formula that King has and this book follows the formula. The book "CELL" or "CELL PHONE" is not too different from this book - in nearly every way. And, as I said, The Stand is also in this book. That is also why I gave the book only 4 stars. It is more than worth the read it is just not new material or very creative.
Marilynne Robinson is going to be regarded one of the great American writers. The cadence of her story telling pulls the reader. Each sentence carries it's own strength. This particular story takes place in a familiar setting: the mid-western plains. It's a slow and rolling life the people live there and this story brings that point to reality. This is a slow and rolling story. The 'son who comes home' is frustrated with his own life and Robinson shows that frustration by making the reader frustrated with the character. However, the sister who is at home is, ultimately, as frustrating as her brother. Then, the disappointed and loving dad, ties the story together. I loved how Robinson made me examine myself and my own beliefs about family and family interaction by letting me look into these peoples' lives. The story is simply - GREAT.
The reader was top notch! I hope to hear more from her. Be warned: If you are looking for light reading - don't try this book because it makes you work. (I think it also makes the reader ask questions about himself or herself that lots of people would rather not ask). I suspect that Robinson threatens her students the same as she threatens her readers: don't come into this room with me unless you are serious about story telling. Marilynne Robinson is one of the most serious story tellers I've read in many years. Her stories are classic and I appreciate that she takes time out of her life to tell me a story.
This book grabs you in the first chapter and simply does not let go. And, as I was approaching the end I was actually beginning to wonder how she was going to 'wrap it up' so to speak. The books ends with a feeling much like you feel after you've had a wonderful day and you lay down on your bed at night and when your head hits the pillow, you think, 'wow, what a nice day!' Then you fall asleep and have nice dreams all night. This is a great read.
The meat and potatoes of this book is in the telling. Sheila Weller hit a home run on this one. It is great women's history. She brings the distance of a historian and the philosophical overview of someone who has deeply considered her topic. So much of this book made me feel like I was privy to a conversation with someone intimately familiar with details and intelligent enough to have considered the details and explained them without sounding like they were just regurgitating facts. What she showed here is that when you are in the middle of a revolution it is virtually impossible to see or be aware of the many different facets of the revolution. If you go back and study it, after it is over, it is possible to see the interplay between one side and another and see how two or three different and unrelated aspects interacted and helped intensify the revolutionary fire. This is what Sheila Weller did in this book. She did it with such clarity that the reader is able to see the subtle interactions between the poets and industry of a society going through change. This book gives presents a candid view into a 30 year segment of three women in American society. I am sure this book will be a corner stone of reading about the past another 30 years from now. Sheila Weller - wow - fantastic writing; fantastic overview.
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