My father told me when I was going to a college that a great liberal arts education would prepare me to read the Sunday New York Times cover-to-cover and understand at least a little bit about all the topics. Now imagine a Sunday Times with only science articles. The Disappearing Spoon manages that education in one book -- alchemy, quantum physics, the search for intelligent life in the universe, the theory of warfare, and MUCH more, all encapsulated in one great journey through human greed, creativity, and achievement anchored by the periodic table. Fascinating, and I learned a lot but ended up expert in none, which felt just about right.
Christopher is fabulous, someone I wish I could know in real life because his approach to problem-solving and his determination to succeed are an inspiration.
Jeff Woodman does an exquisite job of bringing these characters to life in all their flawed humanity. The pain and love of the parents, the bewildered but heroic spirit of the protagonist and his cool use of logic and reason in the face of all difficulties, the patient teacher who equips Christopher with his arsenal of strategies and believes in him -- all were recognizable and I saw bits of me in all of them. I felt tremendous sypmathy for all of these characters through their trials and rejoiced at their victories.
A good editor! Melville goes on and on, in convoluted sentences with words strung together that don't really mean anything, and tortures the reader for 135 chapters (21 hours!) before offering up the climax in the last 200 words. My advice: pretend you're still a teenager in high school and read the first and last chapters and skip the rest -- and count yourself lucky!
Adequate -- I give him credit for tackling this behemoth of a novel, but I've heard better. Other reviewers raved about him so maybe my expectations were set too high, but ultimately I was left uninspired.
I listened to the bitter end just so I could say I had finished it and be able to complain about it.
I made it through high school and college without ever reading Moby Dick, but with all the references in pop culture I thought it would be a good one to add to my repertoire. What a disappointment! I thought it was awful, all the way through. The first paragraph is the best, then it goes downhill fast. I can't think of anything good to say about this book and I will never recommend it.
This is a people story rather than an action story, and the richness of detail and the well-developed character studies made it a pleasure to lose myself in pre- and post-WWII Romania.
Although peripheral, Savta's mother is a fascinating character. I'd gladly read a sequel or partner book focused on her.
I have not listened to any other books narrated by Thomas, but she is brilliant -- about 25 stars on a scale of 1-10. She could read my grocery list and make it meaningful and moving. Her voice and skill are an immense pleasure.
Reinventing ourselves through memory and forgetting.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in delving into the shades of gray that live between juvenile notions of good people and bad people, alll within the framework of the US justice system and the Texas death penalty system. All of these characters are flawed, and grace comes from the most surprising places. Set aside your beliefs on the death penalty and just go for a ride with the author as he weaves the rules of the legal system, their effects on real cases and real people, and the parallel journey of his personal life as a husband and father into a fabric that will wrap around you unexpectedly and leave you with lots to ponder. It's definitely worth the journey!
Henry Quaker's speech. Any more detail would be a spoiler.
Page turns are audible in the first section of the book. Dow's narration is reminiscent of Ben Stein. But somehow by the end, the words matter more than the performance art.
After the first hour, I would have given this book a single star, but by the end I'm offering 4 and 5 stars. Once I gave myself over to just going wherever the author wanted to take me, it became an incredible journey.
The narrators are fabulous -- each character unique in her voice and perspective. They kept me laughing on my daily work commute, and my heart pounded right along with theirs as the action came to a climax. Listening to this story was a wonderful part of my day.
The Winter Sea, by Susannah Kearsley... A very (very!) different plot, but also a mix of female perspectives and stories woven together. Both books use dialect to bring their characters to life. Both books are 5-star pleasures.
Hearing the dialects and voices. So much detail is told through tone, inflection, and the grammar and diction differences between the whites and coloreds. The personalities you discover in a 2-D way on paper get their third dimension as an audiobook.
I am only half-way through this 33-hour extravaganza, but George Eliot's writing is insightful and quietly witty. Contrary to today's "Law & Order"-type of no-backstory storylines, this tome dives deep into each character's psyche and motivations. Trying to decide which characters are the good guys is a challenge, as little is black-and-white in Middlemarch.
The characters' voices are very well done, and Stevenson's measured reading pace perfectly suits the material. Her voice is a joy, and she manages to wade through the long, convoluted sentences with integrity of style and preservation of meaning.
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