This book, very well-narrated by its author, helped me to reduce the stress in my life. Through its overview of many philosophies of life ranging from the ancient Greeks and Romans on up through today, I came to understand that I was always looking for things to be okay, secure, positive. By this thinking, I was also always aware of how much things were not, in fact, okay, secure, positive. This generated a good deal of anxiety for me. I came to realize that many things happened in life and it was not so much what happened, but my judgment of it that had the power to make me feel good or badly about it. Basically, I learned that it is okay to take life moment by moment and take the bad with the good. When I write this, it sounds so insipid. You just have to listen to this book.
Let me tell you that one major thing I enjoyed about it is that the author is not trying to convince you of anything. He is presenting what he has learned, so you can make your own choices and decisions. I think any individual hearing this book will be struck by totally different things than another individual. The information in the book was very enlightening. The only fault I found with it is that a great deal of emphasis was put on current popularized evangelical Christian philosophy and very little upon Catholic philosophy which today, as for the past 2000 years, has remained constant. Catholic philosophy actually melds well with many of the premises in this book (about accepting the negative in life and allowing life to remain a mystery and to appreciate that). But the author pretty much ignored it. Nonetheless, the book is definitely worthwhile for anyone with stress or anxiety, uncertainty or insecurity in his/her life. I think those of us who were teens or in our 20s during the 1960s would particularly enjoy it.
I have read almost all of Twain's books over the years. What I so liked about this one is that some of the best snippets are taken from his many and varied writings and presented under the tongue-in-cheek title of "Helpful Hints for Good Living". Much of the book is amusing in the very least and outrageously funny at times!
Gardner's reading is a bit quick at times. It is not what I would call restful. But then, it is fitting for the subject matter. I feel as though Twain might have narrated that way too.
If you like Mark Twain, you will like this collection. If you are unfamiliar with Twain, this may give you some idea of what his various books are like as you hear selections from them.
I actually read part of the print version and then acquired the audio. I preferred the audio. The voice of the skilled narrator brought to life each character and helped me keep better track of what was going on in the sometimes-complicated story. The narrator is excellent!
I love cozy mysteries, but these stand alone!
The way Mrs. Pollifax ends up becoming a spy is a hoot! It would make a marvelous movie, or scene in a movie, even just the beginning, when she gets "recruited". No spoilers here! But she is, in many ways, UNEXPECTED!
I have written reviews on the second and third books in the series so I will not repeat myself here. But I DO want to add that I have realized that the author presents strong male role models in her books. They are men one hopes exist in reality too. I think that more current fiction does not do this so much. This is one of the reasons I like this series so much. The characters have character! Now, some have bad characters, but some have good ones. None are just wishy washy. If I want reality and, often, sadness, I can watch the news. If I want excitement but also to know it WILL somehow turn out okay in the end, Mrs. Pollifax is my choice.
This is the third Mrs. Pollifax book I have listened to. I can't imagine, after each one, how I could like any one better...until I hear the NEXT one! And I like it sooo much, but in a different way. It's like having children. You love them all so much, but each one in a different way. This one had such an exciting and then touching ending that I almost cried (for happiness). Mrs. Pollifax is the little old lady we all wish was real! She has her standards. She has an open mind on many things. She is willing to learn to see things in a way different from how she has seen them in the past. She is genuine. She faces her fears and prejudices. She is honest and compassionate. And she is also practical and because of all her other qualities, she can be tough.She is pretty fit and knows karate. She relates to people as individuals, not as "types". I LOVE these books! I can hardly put them down! I started this one yesterday and finished it this morning only because I knew I couldn't stay awake long enough to appreciate the exciting, suspenseful final chapters last night. So I WOULD listen again, but seeing as there are so many more in the series, I will listen to a new one next! Somehow, through all the chaos and intensity and danger, one feels nice and cozy knowing that Mrs. Pollifax is around, even if it is only in the world of fiction!
Sanko (spelling-?) is my favorite character because (as you realize in the end of the story) he is very honest and humble, courageous and dedicated. How wonderful if there were really (and there may be) people like him!
I want to mention that I have read part of the first book and then listened to the entire first book. I have found that I prefer listening. When I just read, I am apt to become distracted, even if momentarily, and that takes away from the story. But when a good narrator like Barbara Rosenblat reads to me, I find her voice keeps me totally immersed and gives proper importance and emphasis to everything. Silent reading has the downside of sometimes failing to do this. I still imagine what everything and everyone looks like, just like when I read to myself. The only complaint I have, Ms. Rosenblat, is that often Mrs. Pollifax is described as replying "tartly". You do not use a tart voice and I think it would be easy for you to do. Otherwise, I commend you on your vocal characterizations and keeping them all straight! Thank you!
So my most memorable character is all of the characters thanks to the marvelous narrator!
If you were born in the 40s or 50s, I think you would enjoy the Mrs. Pollifax series. They deal with the Cold War period when Russian Communism was such a threat to the West and there was a lot of spy activity going on. These stories (at least the first 3 in the series) show real people with real lives and real feelings versus stereotypes. I know these books are fiction, but the way the characters are developed, one can imagine, perhaps, how it might have been to live in occupied countries during those years. I suppose the fact that the characters are so well-fleshed out is the reason these books achieve such a high level of excitement for the reader/listener. One becomes very invested in what will happen to each character, most of all, what will happen to Mrs. Pollifax.
I was blown away by the faith and reasoning, by the eloquence with which the title topic is covered and all in such a short time. I selected many bookmarks of wonderful quotes. This is something to listen to more than once for sure!
Do you doubt your own faith or have a friend who is an atheist? This is a reassuring listen for you and a challenging listen for your friend. I think it's one of C S Lewis' best because of its brevity. It's like a mixture of fine ingredients that has been distilled down to a rich, delicious sauce. Taste and see!
Sedaris has a very funny take on life. He shares a few hysterical stories in this book. However, there is quite a bit of scatological humor and numerous homosexual scenarios that some people might find offensive. I know it is just "not him" to do a funny book minus his "whole life", which necessarily includes the homosexual stuff. But I felt like it was just a bit overboard in some of the stories, at least for my taste. That's why I only gave it 3 stars overall and 3 for the story. The first 2 stories are very good. After that it kind of goes downhill.
Since Sedaris uses so much humor that I find somewhat obscene and gross, I probably will stay away from his other books. I wish the "cleaner" stories could be gathered into one collection. THAT I would buy and happily listen to!
Sedaris is very expressive conveying a great range of emotions and situations with his voice. You can easily imagine what he, or the people he is portraying, look like, and how they feel, just from how he expresses what they say. He is very good with descriptions too. There is interesting music between stories.
If you DO listen to this book, be sure to listen till the very end. There is a wonderful contribution from Pimsleur just before "Audible hopes you have enjoyed..."
Gabby's telling of her history was shocking and spell-binding (and happens in the last hour of the book).
Michael Page's narration is melodious. He keeps the voices of the characters separate, so it is clear who is saying what. This is very important in a complex murder mystery. He is able to characterize each one so that it is not just a different voice, but it sounds like that character "ought to" sound based on personality, back story, etc.
You bet! In fact, the past few days, I listened to the first, second, and now this, the third book in the series. Addictive!
I enjoy this narrator so much, and the rhythm of the stories, that if I've found I did not fully hear or take in some of the story, I will run it back to hear it again. I do this frequently. Quite enjoyable with these stories and narrator.
Also, the relationship between Max and Awena takes a shocking turn! I will not spoil it for you. But I CANNOT WAIT till my next month's credits so I can listen to the fourth book! (Sadly, I MUST wait...)
These murder mysteries are set in modern times but are narrated in a melodramatic fashion kind of like something from the 19th century. The narrator's voice quality and ability to play different characters is fantastic; his voice is also very melodious. Both the main storyline and the recurring cast of village characters are well developed and intriguing. This is the second Max Tudor book I have listened to and it continues to reveal, little by little, what his life was like as an agent and why he left and why he joined the priesthood. It all fits in and relates well with the things that go on in the main storyline. If you like cozy mysteries that take place in Great Britain, this is the cozier! I just hope the author can write some more and the same narrator can record them by time I finish the last book currently available! This series is one, in my opinion, that is better heard than silently read.
The narration and expression of accents and characters was at its usually excellent level.
Phryne ventures to Sydney. Dot's sister is missing. The University has experienced a robbery and the goddess Isis may play a part in it. Phryne finds an unexpected lover in an unexpected situation. Good wine and good food. And everyone gets their just desserts! It was so good, I started in the morning and listened straight through till it was done! Highly recommended, though listening in order makes these books more enjoyable.
The story begins rather slowly, but soon, there is sooo much action, it's hard to take a break from it. There's a little romance, and intrigue, and murder, and spies, and gypsies, and secret agents, and Englishmen, and the Amazing Mrs. Pollifax! While you worry how everything can possibly turn out well, you somehow know it will, because Mrs. Pollifax is on the job! I can't wait to listen to the next book! By the way, even if you know nothing about the 1960s and the Cold War, which is the approximate setting, the you will still enjoy this book and have no trouble following the story.
The story has many curious twists and turns. Will Agatha even survive this case? Will Roy and James survive? Are there really practicing witches in the countryside? Will Wilkes finally tear his hair out over Agatha's continuing involvement in his cases? Will Carsely finally reject Agatha or fete her because of all the murder and mayhem that always surround her?
In this book, many of the characters finally "grow up". As usual, Penelope Keith's narration is top notch. I spent the entire day enjoying this wonderful audiobook from beginning to end!
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