Good value in the vast distance and many cultures and nations covered, and the many hours of densely packed details he puts in, so if you want to be taken on a very long and detailed journey from Europe to Japan, it's the book to get. By the end though, the overall feeling was a bit depressive and jaded and the impression of nearly all the societies he visited was on the negative side - most of the population he encountered seemed to be either poor, desperate, drunk, grubby, corrupt or willing to do anything for a buck, which of course may well be true but was a fairly humourless theme. And his focus on talking to and about prostitutes wherever he went was starting to tip the balance from general interest to slightly uncomfortable obsession towards the end. Overall, quite engrossing and informative but not very optimistic about that part of the world - which is a pretty big chunk of the world - and I'd have to say ultimately no "feel good" in fact a bit of a "feel bad" experience.
I love everything Ben writes* and have every book he's written.
This is totally in keeping with his theme of - choose a topical subject, then write the most well researched, original, witty, intelligent, insightful, razor-sharp, entertaining and detailed book about it. With the most memorable and real characters in it.
With this one, he's also following his recent theme of exploring WWI and II and everything that went on around them, which is obviously a personal interest for him.
His take on time travel and it's repercussions is typically Ben - original, but about as realistic and down to earth as it's possible to get given the subject matter.
*(one exception - Past Mortem, where he decided to leap over the boundaries of gruesomeness, way past what the average person - or at least me - could stomach. Don't get that one).
Great. He does other Ben Elton books and is always good.
If you like Ben, it goes without saying - get this book!
But - don't expect the laughs of his older books, he's gone a bit more serious lately.
If I had to give one negative point - I'd like it to have been a bit longer.
If you don't know Ben but like great writing of the easy to read/listen and always absorbing and entertaining type - get this book.
You don't have to be in to sci-fi or time travel at all - that's quite incidental to the story.
Hugely entertaining, you get totally immersed in his life and world.
Felt like I could have kept listening to his story forever, you almost forget it has to end some time.
The detail and length of the book makes you think it was written by someone who spent years in jail with nothing to do but write obsessively, day after day, year after year.
Just as well he's a great writer, with fascinating experiences to draw on and the imagination to fill it out with even more fascinating experiences.
Every one of the 42 hours is entertaining, which makes it probably the best value book I've ever listened to.
Hard to describe how phenomenally good the narration was.
This guy is the master of accents. There are dozens of characters, male and female, from many different countries, and he nails every single one of them brilliantly, every one of them totally distinct from the next.
Also brilliant when not doing dialogue, just narrating the story.
And he makes you like Lin, even though he spends a lot of the story doing very unlikeable things.
I was so impressed I immediately looked for other books he's done and got one straight away.
Prabaka is the standout character. Almost every time he speaks he makes you laugh.
The obvious comments which will have been said a thousand times before -
It's a little bit disturbing not knowing where the non-fiction blurs with the fiction, and lots of times when you think "come on, do you have to go quite so far into the realm of unbelievability?" But then again, maybe it's true.
And his casual acceptance of the psychopathic and barbarian behavior of his mafia friends, while making out that he's generally a decent guy himself.
Be prepared for the ultimate WTF?? When the book abruptly ends in what feels like the middle of a chapter, with several chapters still to go.
Did he suddenly get an early release and say - right, that's it, I'm over writing, can't do another word. Never mind the story's not finished?
Packed full of entertaining, good natured anecdotes and philosophies from an exceptionally fully lived life.
You don't need to be a Tom fan - or even have read his books - to enjoy this.
Narration is perfect, can't imagine a better match for this book.
Most helpful thing I have to say - if you're looking for a great book about travelling through Africa on two wheels - get Sam Manicom's "Into Africa".
My summary of Masked Rider - he didn't enjoy the trip, didn't like Cameroon or it's inhabitants, didn't like his travelling companions. And didn't even manage to get some humour out of it.
Whatever the opposite of inspiring is, this book was it for me.
Or maybe a mini series.
Great cast of characters and sub-plots, great period detail, great landscapes, great entertainment.
And a genuine love of long distance running runs throughout.
This is not the usual type of book I go for, but it was genuinely gripping - flows along in a way that makes it really hard to put down at any given point.
Very well written, sharp and mesmerising insight into two people's psyche's and the tension never stops.
It did get a bit too dark for my liking, and though I'd like to read more from the author, I read the synopsis for her other books and they sound ever darker, so think I'll give them a miss.
Though I agree with most of her philosophies and opinions on life and feminism,
I would have liked it if there was a version with not quite so many f and c words in it- more than any other book I've read, or heard of - and the chapter when she's 13 could have done with WAY less detail.
My ideal travel story - great details of the people, countries, landscapes and culture along the way, told in a light-hearted, upbeat, entertaining style. Not a story of soul searching or "finding himself" but not superficial either, packed full of one fascinating episode after another.
Sam gets fully immersed in Africa and the people around him, and his observations are totally open-minded and non-judgemental. Love that he narrates it himself, and he comes across as a totally likeable guy.
I loved his pragmatic "just deal with it" attitude - whether getting malaria, dealing with the many excruciating border crossings or having a serious bike crash.
Found out he's written several more travel books and my only disappointment is - why are they not on audible??
If you love stories about escaping to the wilderness and living a totally self-sufficient life with only the wildlife for company, you'll love this.
But what I loved most was Richards' unfailing cheerful, practical, philosophical attitude to everything that happened to him and everything he had to do. This is a guy who gets dropped off in the middle of nowhere and cheerfully sets about building a log cabin from scratch, making every piece of furniture; hunting, fishing and growing food, exploring the surrounding mountains - all of it with no help or company, except for the occasional supply drop and the local friendly wildlife.
There's no angst or hardship, no preachy-ness, just a genuine appreciation and love for his surroundings, and uncomplaining embracing of the fact that anything you want done, you've got to work out a way to do it yourself.
It's entertaining, moves at a steady pace, and the overall effect is totally uplifting and inspiring. Makes you want to go live in the mountains and build a log cabin yourself, even if you'd never thought about it before.
Hard to avoid the cliché - they don't make many like Richard anymore but you so wish they did.
Some potential great stories, but they're so brief you might as well be reading the blurb on the back cover - or that's how it seemed to me. Even Shackleton's incredible epic journey gets turned into a short and not very impressive story which I wouldn't have thought possible.
I love amazing sailing stories, but amazing story summaries are not the same thing.
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