There's a fine line between assuming nothing about a listener's prior knowledge of a subject and treating them like a dummy. Fred Plotkin stayed on the high side of that line, in my opinion. "...allowing the strings to be tightened or loosened. This is called tuning." Yes, I knew that, but Plotkin is assuming nothing about my prior exposure to music, musical instruments or the business end of the industry.
Fred Plotkin's love of music shines through every word of the book, I'll give him that. This is the first time I've ever found a description of a musical instrument in need of a PG rating. ;) His is not necessarily the voice of a professional reader, but he adds a fair about of expression to a heavily academic discussion.
No, the book is not a thrill a minute, but it isn't intended to be. Almost too dry for a popular audience, but not quite dry enough for a textbook. Definitely an education in classical music for the uninitiated, though.
The author's descriptions of the action occasionally kept me more engaged than the action itself in this historic thriller that puts a human face on what can happen when science runs afoul of dogma. The plot and characterizations sometimes charge forward with more enthusiasm that purpose, and not always in the same direction, leaving me to wonder if the author changed his mind about who the heroes and villains of the piece were. The story came together where it needed to go and covered a lot of historical and scientific ground getting there, so I'm looking forward to hearing more of Goldstone's work.
Robert Vaughn did a good job with narration -- I had no trouble understanding him, and he certainly puts fire into the action sequences.
I've listened to "Snow Crash" and "Diamond Age" before this, and despite the weird words thrown in, I'm finding Anathem to be Stephenson's most accessible work that I've ever read (as well as the funniest.) The idea of cloistering the scientists instead of the religious just tickles me, for some reason and Stephenson drops plenty of hints as to why this works best in the world he's creating.
If anyone is hesitant to try this due to the criticisms online of the jargon or made-up words, rest easy. Each chapter opens with an entry from the Dictionary, and they usually define any word that is going to have significance in the coming text. Through those entries and "Apert," I feel Stephenson has told me everything I need to know to make sense of the story. As part of the underlying theme appears to be a criticism of our "just Google it" mentality, I don't have a problem with needing to work for some of what I'm reading.
The reader's voice fits the first person point of view character very well, as does the author's deadpan delivery of the Dictionary entries. (I especially enjoyed the entry on "going Hundred.")
Not only am I looking forward to finishing this book, I'd dearly love for Stephenson to write the story of how that statue got to the Concent of Saunt Edhar--he can't just leave it at being a long and lively tale!
An amazing audio experience! The readers are having all kinds of fun with this, right down to the maniacal laughter from Doctor Impossible. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel, and I'm glad I took a chance on the recommendation from Audible.com. It's a comic book in prose form, and it works.
Doctor Impossible is getting the lion's share of the raves here, but let's not short-change the superheroes! Fatale is a great balance of nerves and cool, and the behind-the-scenes interactions of the rest of the "New Champions" are priceless. Great fun for fans of classic comic books everywhere.
Steve Berry has been putting together continent-spanning, history-spinning stories for a while now, and The Alexandria Link is no exception. The book is a work of fiction, and the author takes some pains in a note at the end to underscore what all is based on his research and what is pure fabrication. Given the highly sensitive nature of some of the subject matter, I'm wondering if his enumeration is too little, too late.
The parts that tickled me most were:
1. The fate of the world hinging on a library.
2. Twin scenes of unadulterated wish fulfilment for anyone who has ever been divorced.
3. Comments in the author interview at the end indicating we'll see even more of Cotton and his friends in future books.
I quite enjoyed this outing with Cotton, Stephanie, Henrik & Casseopeia, and look forward to more in the future.
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