This is classic Gramham Green struggling with his love/hate relationship with Catholicism. The "hero" is an alcoholic priest on the run from persecution in Mexico. He is a coward, he has fathered a child and yet he struggles to serve. He is totally believing of a very narrow Catholicism that condemns him. Today even many Catholics would consider his beliefs almost superstitious and yet he is true to them and is indeed heroic in many ways. I don't know if readers who are not familiar with the Catholicism of those times will understand or find it believable yet it is a powerful story.
The beautiful writing, the way Greene pulls you completely into the characters and their struggles. There is so much poverty, superstition, hatred and yet so much hidden strength. And how he faces the weaknesses in people - he has seen it all, including his own.
He read beautifully. He did not try to over-act the voices. He is the kind of reader I like.
The scenes when the priest on the run encounters people who initially disgust or frighten him and how he struggles to see them as they really are.
This is a delightful book and it is read just beautifully. The plot focuses on the recent death of the patriarch of a Jewish family and how all his grown children come home with their families to sit Shiva for 7 days. There are all sorts of dynamics among them – adultery, anger, whatever – and it all gradually comes to the surface. The book is hilarious (would make a great movie) and the one liners are priceless and yet there is depth (not too much but enough to be touching). Once I really got into it I couldn't put it down and seem to walk around all day with my iPod trying to see what happens. I highly recommend it.
Somehow I had never read this classic so it was refreshing to have it read to me. It is beautifully, beautifully read – almost perfection. And the story builds in suspense to a point where it is hard to stop listening. It is a first person narrative – an impoverished, naïve, timid young woman who marries the widowed owner of a magnificent estate and then tries to fill the shoes of his beautiful deceased wife. The narrator – whose name we never get except when referred to as Mrs. de Winter – always talks of how she feels and sees in a situation. There is great detail about her surroundings, from the gorgeous flowers, the weather, the other people, and how they all affect her. I am a speed reader and am tempted to gloss over such details when they slow down the plot but having it read to me forced me to take them one at a time and they deliciously added to the building tension. It was hard to put down my iPod when my walks were over and encouraged me to not skip a day of walking! I highly recommend it.
This is a delightful book! Written in the first person it chronicles the life of one Moll Flanders – not her real name but useful to sum up her life. She was born in London’s infamous Newgate prison where her mother was under a sentence of death for theft. Our heroine struggled on her own to form a life for herself and goes from one adventure to another. She tells us she was married 5 times and was a whore many years (by that she means what we would call a mistress, not a prostitute). Her “voice” in the book itself is enchanting and the reader does a beautiful job of portraying her and all the other characters. I will not give away much of the plot but reading it will give you great insight into the struggles women faced over the past 200 years. I found the part when she herself was in Newgate prison for theft very touching. How easily they executed people for petty crimes – awful to think of. Anyway, the book is wonderful and I highly recommend it. Don't miss it!
It seems a lifetime ago that I first encountered Camus in philosophy classes. I was haunted by him then and the effects have remained with me all these years so I was delighted to have an opportunity to go back to "The Stranger" and read/hear it again. It is fiction but as Camus said (loosely), the novel is just philosophy expressed graphically. It was written in the 1940s when the European world was embroiled in terrible conflicts that called into question all previous beliefs. The Existentialists like Sartre and Camus asked tough questions and this novel expresses those questions in the life of one ordinary man whose life has lost meaning. It is beautifully read and will haunt you.
This is delightful listening, and even if you are not familar with Hitchens, this is a great introduction to his thought. I think I took him for granted while he lived and now that he is gone, I was grateful to get these insights into his thoughts. He makes you think. He doesn't ask you to agree with him but you had better be quite logical in defending your ideas. And, he can be so funny. We are poorer without him but at least we have his writings. I highly recommend it.
This is really very well done, beautifully read and yet it can be tedious at points because it covers so much. It is more a lesson or a lecture than entertainement but quite worthwhile if you want to refresh your knowledge of Greek Mythology. It is very detailed (more than I wanted) but very well done.
This is a wonderful classic that brings you into the world of rural peasants in China at the turn of the 20th century when some things are beginning to modernize. I am going to go fairly deeply into the plot so skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know more! Our hero, Wan Lung is a poor peasant farmer devoted to his land. Too poor to find a good bride, his aging father purchases a slave woman – O-Lan – from a wealthy family to be his bride. The couple is happy though silent with each other. O-Lan is a devoted worker in both the house and field and they prosper enough to buy some more land from the wealthy lords. O-Lan is fertile and they are blessed with sons and a daughter (daughters are considered slaves because they will eventually move into the house of another family). But their prosperity is halted by a terrible famine. They come near to starvation when they decide to migrate south to a big city just to survive. O-Lan gives birth to a dead daughter (or perhaps strangled) and the family sets out. They encounter the railroad for the first time. In the big city they struggle by begging and manual labor just to have enough to eat. The youngest child – a daughter – seems to never recover from the starvation and is mentally retarded but Wan Lung loves her and refuses to sell her to survive. When an instability arises the poor peasants storm a great house and Wan Lung and O-lan find enough valuables to let them go back to the land he loves so much and farm again and again he prospers. But when floods stop all work he becomes bored and spends time in the town at the tea houses and becomes mesmerized by a lovely prostitute named Lotus and eventually buys her to be his concubine. O-Lan is heartbroken but says almost nothing. The two women live tensely in the different sections of his house. O-Lan’s health is failing from hard labor and many pregnancies. She dies just after the eldest son takes a city wife who is more like Lotus than O-Lan herself. Wan Lung prospers and continues to buy more land. He becomes so rich that eventually he takes over the house of the wealthy family and can rent out his land for others to farm. His sons become educated and live like rich men with no attachment to the land except to take the money it brings in. Their wives fight and there is little peace in the house. Grandchildren continue to come. In his old age Wan Lung finds a lovely young slave girl and takes her to him causing more conflict. In his old age his sons run everything and Wan Lung stays with his slave girl and his retarded daughter whom he eventually entrusts to the slave girl. In the end he is very old and still loves his land but his greedy sons are talking about selling land as soon as he is gone.
The writing is lovely, the characters real and easy to keep track of. For example, instead of confusing us with many Chinese names, she refers to the sons as eldest son, second son, etc., and the other relatives as uncle, etc.. This really helps. The reading is beautifully done. It is mesmerizing and I loved it.
What a powerful book! I had a basic idea of the plot and had actually read or heard clips over the years but nothing prepared me for this powerful reading. Having the author herself read it just added to the beauty of the experience.
I don't like to give away too much about plot lines but this is the story of a particular family of slaves, the horrors they encountered and some of the dreadful decisions they make under extreme pressure. I grew up in the old South during segregation but even that did not prepare me for this book. It was mesmerizing. And the language is simply gorgeous. And Toni Morrison's voice is haunting. This is going to have to go to the top of my list of favorite books of all times. Don't miss it.
With Henry James things move at a glacial pace. I happen to be a very fast reader and would be tempted to gobble up the plot and try to skip the delays, so having this read to me is much better as I get the full effect. For example, two people meet in a room and you are dying to know what they will say to each other, but James is slow to tell you - he meticulously describes the surroundings, the atmosphere, what the characters are thinking, etc. letting the tension build almost unbearably - and then they say almost nothing! The writing is exquisite - if painfully slow - and eventually I was just dying to know where this was going so I had to keep extending my walks so I could listen to more!
The plot involves a main character (the "ambassador") who has been sent from New England to London to bring back the family's son and heir to take up the family business back home. He slowly - and I mean slowly - discovers what the young man is up to. There are many other fascinating characters involved. A great deal of the action takes place in Paris. I won't give away any more. If you like Henry James or period pieces and have the patience to wait out a good story, you will enjoy it.
The reader does a beautiful job - no excessive acting, just beautiful reading with meaning. Perfect for this text. I'll look for more by Stephen Hoye.
This is beautifully read by Nicole Kidman. Wolfe is not always easy to follow so you have to pay sharp attention to figure out the story. Nothing too dramatic happens as the story traces the summer home of a large family over the years and watches the developments and losses. Almost everything is from the view of women and the daily household happenings. Men and affairs of the outter world revolve around them almost without touching them except for big issues like deaths, marriages, wars. It is really lovely.
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