This book is worth listening to for the historical facts that it offers, as well as for its comprehensiveness. Durant touches on a good number of important philosophers since ancient Greece, and does so with great depth. However, it's important to take into consideration that this is not a new book, and that it depends on the scholarship of its time. Certain readings of later philosophers seem outdated, e.g. the understanding of Nietzsche's will to power and his superman, who, despite appearing only early in _Zarathustra_ and then being discarded, is given a lot of significance. As long as one is aware that the author is presenting only his understanding of the philosophers and that his take does not represent the absolute truth, this is a decent read.
I listened to Duma Key right after King's new novel, Mr. Mercedes. Having read DK twice before, I was particularly struck by its beauty this time, probably because of the comparison with the other book. I was not a huge fan of the latter; even though it was a decent story, something seemed to be missing. The comparison with DK reminded me of what that something was: depth. Mercedes has all the right screws and bolts, but in the end, it remained cold and programmatic for me. Characters that could have been brilliant lacked profundity, so that I found I couldn't care about them, even though I tried.
DK, in contrast, is bittersweet and painful, a story about the things we lose and those we gain, and how the costs of both balance in the end. It is a novel about art (although not about writing, at least not superficially), but even more than that, it is a book about time and the fragility of the past. The supernatural elements almost distract from these aspects, although not horribly so, at least not until the end. By then, however, the King has painted a picture you cannot let go off, whatever the cost.
While I usually greatly enjoy King, this one just fell flat for me. The narration was extremely good, enhancing some unique and interesting characters. Unfortunately, those characters that captivated me barely balanced out the utterly stereotypical main characters - suicidal retired cop and serial killer suffering from an oedipal complex? Come on! Add to that a boring, predictable story and you have a "meh" listen. I can't believe it, but I actually regret buying it.
Stephen King is one of those authors who make more than decent readers for their own books, and my quarrel lies not with his rather good performance. No, it is the quality of the recording that bothered me throughout. It sounds like the audio file was made by copying the original cassette tapes, without adjusting or polishing up the sound. King's voice seems to come from far away and the 1990's sound effects distract from the story and make it seem dated. Too frequent and distracting bits of late 80s music interrupt the flow of the narrative. Very disappointing, because the book remains a solid read.
I almost didn't finish The Passage, as I was torn out of the narrative after the big event in the middle of the book (I don't want to spoil it for anyone who has not read it yet!). In The Twelve, Cronin does a nice job of elaborating on aspects and characters from the previous novel, and spinning a narrative that keeps the reader engrossed for almost the entire length of this very, very long book. Overall, it feels more coherent and concentrated than the previous novel, with more profound character development. The narrator is excellent once more.
a lot more boring, this is what you would get.
Mind you, I didn't get this book looking for any sort of profound literary experience. I got this book to help me over the fact that this summer we have decided to cancel cable, and that I would not get to watch the current season of TrueBlood on HBO. So I was hoping for a suspenseful story with Vampires, a good dose of humor and some steamy sex scenes. There are indeed Vampires, sex and even some humor in this book, but the suspense is sorely missing. The plot is achingly predictable, which I could bear, but the narrator's representation of Bones (seriously, "Bones"? Really? Hmm... lets take Buffy's Spike and name him after David Boreanaz' new show, why don't we? Oh, look, a brand new character...) is awful. He sounds like a prissy older British woman. So not sexy. Ugh. Will be returning this one.
I know that Lawrence is a contested author, but personally, I think that he has undeservedly lost his place among the great modernists. Yes, he can be somewhat too serious at times, and needs to be read with an open mind, but if you choose to give him a chance, you are in for a treat - a dark, pessimistic treat. Benjamin does a wonderful job reading. This is the British version of the novel, so it has a few of the alternations that Lawrence's publisher demanded, if that matters to you.
Report Inappropriate Content