Bill Bryson is as engaging as ever with clever observations, amusing anecdotes and a wry take on historical events. His discussion of the history of the home veers off into many paths, all of which are enlightening. I found myself being educated and entertained at the same time.
This book needed a good editor. The story dragged on with unnecessary descriptions and plot diversions. I kept thinking that if I had the hard copy I would tear out every other page and not lose any of the story.
The writing was semi-racist in that it played on stereotypes of blacks. The black slang, even from supposedly educated and urbane people, was annoying and painted all blacks with urban, hip hop kind of attitude. Another review said this book was a cross between a romance novel, a Lifetime Channel movie, and a very tame horror story. I would agree. It failed on all accounts.
Yes, the narrator did the best with what she had to work with.
If you are a teen-age black girl you might like this book.
Can't recommend this one for anyone. Some books you can't seem to put down - this one I had a hard time picking up. I won't say it was a complete waste of my time because there is a modicum of entertainment value that comes from critiquing poorly written books but I wanted it to be a good book that kept me interested. It wasn't that book.
No. Typecast characters (i.e.good ol' boy Southern sheriff, death camp survivor Polish Jew) were one dimensional and predictable. Plot kept going on and on when I wished it would just end (I'm a stickler for finishing a book regardless of how bad it is).
Listening to approx. 20 hours of a character with Foghorn Leghorn's voice, together with a character sounding like an elderly Scarlett O'Hara, gave me more nightmares than the supposedly sinister storyline.
Incredulity. Couldn't believe anything about the plot, the characters, the dialogue or performance of the narrators.
The main protagonist was completely unlikable. The futuristic elements were dumb (
Between the Jimmy Durante voice and the Rocky & Bullwinkle voice, the narrator seemed to struggle to find a genuine interpretation of normal speech patterns. There is gratuitous use of the f-bomb and the narrator seemed to be screeching most the time.
No- I enjoy a good detective novel but this was one of the worst I've endured. I only finished it because I listened to it in my car with absolutely nothing else to do. I think I would have been better off listening to polka music on the radio.
The story itself was fairly creative and required an imaginative mind to set in down in writing. However, the writing itself was pedantic. Heavy use of passive voice, over reliance on adjectives and characters that didn't speak and act like normal people. It seemed as if the author was trying to impress his audience by his ability to turn simple words and phrases into complex ones. The narrator didn't help. He seemed to be mostly monotone throughout and had trouble changing his voice to indicate a different character.
Little inflection and unable to pull off character changes.
Incredulity that this author is highly rated and on the best selling list.
Captivating history of a remarkable man read well by Mr. Herrmann. The book reads likes a journalist report, however, with no indication of the thoughts or feelings experienced by the characters as the traumatic events unfolded and no personal dialogue that would have added to the flavor of the story. This is one rare instance where I believe the movie (if one is ever made) will be better than the book. Overall though, well worth the credit.
I spent most of my time with this book trying not to figure out the lame whodunit plot (the author pretty much tells you who did it in the first chapter), but rather why the narrator used an Irish accent when most of the book took place in America with American-accented characters. A woman narrator's attempt to portray male voices is rarely successful but this was particularly bad. If you want an Ireland-based novel, go with one by Tana French.
The premise of this book is intriguing and the author backs up his theories with a myriad of well-researched data - probably too much so. I found my mind wandering too many times as the narrator droned on about the fluctations in coal prices in Britain in the 1840s or the silk trade transactions between the Eriteans and the Kyristanians in the thirteenth century. The over-arching message of the book of optimistic evolutionary behavior that will make life better for future generations was a nice respite from the Al Gores of the world but I think I may have enjoyed the hard copy book better to just skip over all the data provided.
Having read her previous novels, I had high expectations for Ms. French and was not disappointed. The characters were believable, the dialogue sharp and the plot kept me guessing. The narrator captures the flavor of the patois with his Irish brogue (the story is set in Dublin). I've found my new favorite mystery novelist!
Long on character development and short on plot, this book held my interest in anticipation of some dramatic twist which unfortunately never occurred. I never really lost interest but I also never felt compelled to keep listening to see what was going to happen. I could leave it for days at a time without feeling compelled to keep plowing through it.
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