I don't know how helpful this review will be, because I am finding it difficult to contain the gushing adolescent praise that keeps bubbling up. What is this book? It is kick ass. It is awesome. Oh my god, it's totally awesomely kick ass. If you hate deep wisdom carved right in the middle of gut laughs, then sister, you have found your Mein Kampf. However, if you like things that are manufactured with care, love, and absolutely not one iota of pretension or sense that in order to be intelligent you have to be obtuse and obfuscating, then... what are you waiting for? Click the thing, and get crackin', friend.
Nick's story is great not because I am interested in how to become a famous actor (although he crafts a pretty good blueprint for that) or because I was an athlete who grew up in a small town (I did grow up in a small town around the same time as him, and one state over, but I really didn't care for the jock archetype at all) or because I am unsure of how to become a proper man (all the chest hairs are present and accounted for)... it's just that there is so much humor, warmth, intelligence, and wisdom in the words here writ that I challenge you to not find yourself guffawing, talking to friends about it, and hitting repeat so that you can nod along with what he's saying in an attempt to milk every bit of understanding from this comely and delicious basket of concepts. This is A Good Book, the best book I have read or listened to this year, and probably one of my very favorite works of humor ever. Nick Offerman: 21st Century Mark Twain? Maybe not, but probably as close as we're likely to get. For god's sake, why are you still reading this? Download the book!
First, I am a college professor, so it pains me to give this lecture series anything but the highest praise. But I feel like they pick people who don't get the basic need for storytelling in the lecture format, and instead go with people with a professorial flair in the delivery. This lecture is the third in this series that I have attempted to plod through, and I am stopping at hour 7 even though the subject is of great interest to me. It may just be me, but I find nothing particularly compelling about this lecture- it's just okay. Most of the time I realize that even if I am listening intently, most of the information is just deserting me and I am needing to go back and listen again, as my mind seems to be completely uninterested in what Professor Fagan is saying. This lecture may work well in a room where you can see his gestures and visual aids, but in this format I find that I am retaining little and enjoying less.
What a fun, engaging, interesting book. It takes superhero powers, wraps them inside a supernatural and alien magic and plunks them down in a post-steampunk 1930's noir. It is clever, tight, and funny. The characters are developed, the plot is interesting, the pace is just right to keep you interested, and the ensemble of heroes and villains are believable and compelling. And if you are a firearms fetishist, welcome to heaven. Mr. Correia describes guns so lovingly that you'd assume that he spends a lot of time around them (he does).
And then, there's the performance. When I bought this, it was with rather low expectations as I really didn't see Cousin Balky (Bronson Pinchot) as being much of a narrator. I will have probably never been more incorrect, so let me say this here: Bronson Pinchot is the BEST audiobook narrator I have ever heard, and with around 100 titles in my library, I feel like that's saying something. Each character is given a distinct voice which makes this almost a radio drama. The reading is just flawless.
A word of warning: if you have a problem with relatively heavy right-wing politics, I would stay away from Mr. Correia's blog, as it is filled with Tea-laden rants and screeds about "liberals". I stumbled into it after listening to this audiobook, as I wanted to find out more about the author. What I found almost guaranteed that I would not give the man another penny, as I loathe people who make foolish generalizations in public forums, and he does a great deal of that. But the more that I thought about it, the more that I realized that most of that message stays out of this book, and so I eventually bought the sequel and enjoyed that very much as well.
Galilee was a dream for lovers of darker fantasy, sweeping epic storytelling, and does its myth building even better than American Gods. Spellbound, you will see the story unfold in front of you masterfully. The characters are multi-dimensional and relatable (even the antagonistic ones), and the plot manages to be both epic and completely individual. The characters are so real that it almost feel like the author had a different ultimate destiny for the plot, but the voices and actions of the characters became too much for him and he bent his narrative will to their agency. I would have once told you that Clive could do no better than The Great and Secret Show, but this one is right up there.
So why the four stars? The performance was magnificent. The story, breathtaking. The production? Occasionally atrocious. Extremely long pauses are artificially created, yet for some reason the narrator's breath or gulping sounds are not edited out. I have no idea why this is, but it's made all the more terrible inside of such a great story with such a great narrator. Please, do get this audiobook, but be warned that sometimes it's going to sound like the microphone is inside the narrator's throat.
I mentioned American Gods above. I loved that book. I love mythology immensely. If you like those things, you will love this book.
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