It's a man's world and women are just it's useful by-products. Let them read? Certainly not. It might give them ideas. Allow them to converse? Even worse. Reproductive vehicles are their only value in this sterile future. Margaret Atwood creates a chilling world brought to life through the eyes of one handmaid, a quaint euphemism for "baby factory". Her terror, her frustration, her despair are vividly portrayed through the facile voice of the very talented Claire Danes. I feared the familiarity of her voice would be a distraction but she totally inhabits this fully realized character as well as the various voices of the other men and women in this frightening "tale". It could never really happen, right?
The premise I had heard for this novel sounded too fantastical for my tastes (a boy and a tiger on a lifeboat?) but when it came up for the "deal of the day" I decided to give it a try. What a pleasure I had denied myself. I am convinced having it read to me made a huge difference in the enjoyment as the narrator's skill and accent put me across the table from Pi himself. And what an enthralling storyteller that young man is. Thank you, Audible, for tempting me to leap beyond my comfort zone. This novel deserves the praise it has received.
I do not consider raising my anxiety level to the max by putting me in the midst of the most hopeless and unlovable family I have ever come to know entertaining. If this is a true representation of " the American society and the American soul" we are doomed. The author is amazingly skilled at his ability to portray believable characters. The problem for me was I didn't want to know them. I didn't even want to face the possibility people as despairingly undone as this are among us. I was never more glad when this ended and I could leave their world. The narrator did a fine job of conveying the utter doom of the whole story. As gifted as he is, I fear to read anything else by Franzen. There could be knives too available nearby.
I chose this title because I so enjoyed another book read by Will Patton. Again, he effortlessly brings life to a wide range of characters in this story of nuclear holocaust aftermath. Written over 50 years ago it feels as if it could have been last week as the results would be the same. With all our technology we are still dependent on the good will of each other in the end. How people survive or don't in the face of enormous challenge is told through the story of the Bragg family. I came to care for 13 year old Ben Franklin as well as his Uncle Randy and many other residents of the ironically named Fort Repose, Florida. Human nature is explored in all it's ugliness and resilience. Racial divides collapse as skills trump color in an emergency. A satisfying read, I mean "listen", on many levels. Chilling and yet heartening.
I added this title to my list after my granddaughter of 12 told me she had read it. I was somewhat horrified knowing the violent premise of the story. With prejudices in tow, I began listening as the 24 children were being selected to fight to the death in a televised event. It wasn't long before I was rooting for the heroine, Katniss Everdeen, and understanding why this book has been so popular among teens and even pre-teens like my granddaughter. Katniss is a level-headed, smart, brave, selfless young woman who is NOT boy-crazy and even better NOT boy-dependent. The games themselves are all I feared - cruel, gory and creatively deadly. Many moral issues come into play as the story progresses. We will have a lot to discuss on her next visit.
Carolyn McCormick does a good job of inhabiting Katniss and her peers but is least successful with the adults. There is an unnecessary "over-the-top" portrayal of many of them. Fortunately, the focus is on the youth and their struggles to stay alive in a very dangerous future world.
How to review this book without preaching to the choir and putting off the naysayers to climate change. Maybe those numbers are fewer now but this story is a call to action for all of us. Cloaked in the engaging tale of a smart woman stuck in Podunkville USA and longing to get out is the amazingly accessible theme of what is happening to our planet and why. The author is the narrator and does her heroine, Dellarobia, and her other characters proud. She doesn't ladle on the Southern accent as she inhabits the voices of the local folk. Refreshingly, they are not painted with the all-to-often broad brush of ignorance but as people struggling to make ends meet as best they can. Because they get their strength from their faith they consider the unexpected convergence of millions of butterflies to their Tennessee mountain as a blessing from God. This story offers a respectful conversation between those seeing the alarming aspects of it from a scientific point of view with those who have little information about the usual habits of these beautiful creatures. There is hope for our future in the heartbreakingly real kindergartener, Preston, who longs to know about nature and the world. But every flawed character becomes dear as the listener is given time to get to know them.
I wish I could give this book to everyone I know.
Written with adolescents in mind, I came to this recording for the always rewarding voice of Toby Stephens. But I was soon drawn into the magical ancient world of the Greek Isles and the surrounding tribal nations. How refreshing to find, along with the strong young runaway boy, a brave, resourceful girl fully realized and not just an afterthought. Stephens did a masterful job of getting the many voices just right. This can be a fatal flaw if the narrator's rendition of that soft, higher register girl squeaks rather than speaks. Oh and the distinctive personalities of thinking animals. I loved being part of a dolphin pod for a while. The other pleasure was in the delivery of the action itself. Not once did I detect a condescending note. But no amount of vocal mastery could overcome what could have been a ho-hum adventure tale. Paver's writing was graphic, exciting, suspenseful and satisfying. I look forward with pleasure to more in this series.
I surprise myself by saying I would listen again, 40+ hours is a big commitment. But especially if I had a long road trip to make, this is one story that will keep you awake with anxiety and anticipation about what happens next. It reminds me of a story told around the campfire so you can enjoy it on that level alone or you can also take it as a cautionary tale. The lessons learned here are a natural result of the consequences of everyone's actions. I also came to care for many of the characters and wouldn't mind spending time with them again even knowing who won't make it.
Early in the story a car filled with very sick people is careering toward a gas station where several men are together talking. The suspense of that scene as the car comes toward them and the terror of the aftermath as they think they have had a narrow miss is riveting. During this phase of the story, I was so drawn in that every time someone at work sneezed I immediately thought in horror Oh NO!
Mr. Gardner was brilliant in the daunting task of portraying this huge cast and sustaining the personality of each one for over 40 hours. His energy never flagged. Sorry, inside joke.
It wouldn't be possible to listen to this book in one sitting and not only because of time. I would be totally terrified and bone tired if I tried it. The breaks were the only thing that gave me time to refresh myself enough to believe I could have been a survivor. These are hardy folk.
Because the name Stephen King suggests supernatural and because I usually stick to the classics, I didn't think I would be interested. (Afterward, I remembered that Dolores Claiborne is one of my favorite movies ever.)Yes, there were supernatural elements here. But the things that scared me the most were actions made with the free will of the characters and only the smiling approval of You Know Who.
This audible experience ranks quite high, far exceeding the expectations of a reader/listener more prone to classical selections of the Dickens era. But like DIckens or any author I admire, Harbach has created characters I care about in situations that test them and change them. His idea of using baseball as a metaphor for life lessons sounds like a preachy idea but, trust me, he pulls it off with such artistry there is only admiration for his skill. And the desire to go see a game right away.
I don't believe in giving away a story as part of a review but I will say there were several amazing moments when I had to rewind to savor the writing and the narrator's abilty to put me right amongst those interesting and complex young people. Oh and the college president was beautifully drawn, too.
I loved Graham's rendition of Henry, the shy, innocent youth from a small town whose love of baseball directed his life. Graham never failed to bring that quality of wonder and loneliness to Henry's voice.
I would love to have dinner or be anywhere with Schwartz, the team captain, the catcher, the hero of this story. He's a thinker and a doer, a rare combination.
In re-reading my review, I fear I make it sound like a sports story but The Art of Fielding is so much more than that. When an author and narrator can create characters that I care for and worry over, when his writing is elegant to the point of poetry, when the story is universal and specific at the same time, he/they have transcended a mere tale of a small liberal arts college and it's baseball team. This is a story to be heard and enjoyed even if you have never seen a baseball game in your life.
Unique, moving point-of-view
It would require a heart of stone to answer other than Joey, the braver-than-brave horse was my favorite.
I have read the book but did not have nearly the repertoire of amazing voices in my head that were at the complete command of Dan Stevens to entertain and entrance me. His voice and characterizations added so much depth to the experience.
War through the eyes of the innocent
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