Not overtly funny, subtle and relaxing like an NPR broadcast (I love NPR by the way). Not quite enough meat to merit a $ book.
No real standout moment, an average life told with subtle humor. The standard suburban kid story. Not funnier or more eventful than your average life. I expected more from a published autobiography. He takes average experiences and retells them without adding much additional humor. Its mildly amusing.
The narration, like the story, was uneventful. Not bad, not great. Told in the stereotypical even cadence and tone of a Saturday Night Live NPR skit.
I didn't know much about Mr Sedaris, I bought the book because of the best seller status (mistake I know) and its classification as humor/bio a genre I like. I feel I got a full taste but found nothing worthy of a book.
Its not bad, not great. He seems like a nice man and there is some humor there. Its not a terribly emotional story or narration. The story is better in snippets versus a marathon listen. Its decent enough to listen to in the car if you are driving at a time when NPR isn't broadcasting talk. If you drive during mornings and afternoons, save your money and listen to NPR, you will get the same experience for free.
I have listened to, read, and watched most books, audiobooks, and videos on long distance motorcycle riding. Mr. Manicom's books rate as some of the best, possibly the best, in the genre. They are definitely the best on Audible. So, yes, I would listen to them again.
I listened to his books our of order, that is to say I listened to his second book first, then this one which is his first. This book was excellent as well but I found the second one "Under Asian Skies" to be more entertaining. I feel he matured as a writer and as a rider, but again both are superb.
This story is very compelling and, had I not read so many other books covering long distance riding in Africa, I would give it 5 stars. Its still better than the other books as a story. Mr Manicom is very good and telling the story of the lands he is in and seems genuinely curious about the cultures and people he meets. His descriptions are typically more vivid than others in the genre. One comes away with a sense of the beauty, smells, and feel of a place. He also comes across as a very likable chap, not cocky like some riders/authors and not rushing to the finish line like others. He is honest about his abilities and skills and the listener sees him grow in many ways as the journey progresses.
He is also a superb narrator so one doesn't get "ear tired" from listening to the story. He is as good as a professional narrator.
He is sort of a likeable everyman. Some long distance riders try to portray themselves as some globe trotting adventurous supermen just one step down from James Bond. Mr. Manicom humanizes the journey and is a sympathetic figure. He also makes better use of adjectives and you walk away with a better feel of the places he visits when compared to other travelogues.
To be quite honest the Africa route has been done to death. Its an amazing, huge, and diverse continent but I have found the books to be very similar. It is easily the #1 route to write about for long distance riders. This is my 7th book I have read/listened to that covers long distance riding in Africa and almost all have taken the same route. That on top of the countless blogs that cover the subject. That is not to say it isn't a HUGE accomplishment or worth doing, but as a listener/reader I appreciated his second book much more as the route was far less common to read about.
He has written 2 other travelogues "Distant Suns" and "Tortillas to Totems" which I hope come to Audible.
I would like to give this book 3.5 stars but since Audible doesn't allow that I will bump it up to 4. I am a huge Billy Connolly fan and was quite let down that he wasn't the narrator. His accent and trademark infectious enthusiasm would have bolstered this book quite a bit. The narrator wasn't bad, I was just left thinking Mr Connolly would have been better......nay perfect!
Mr. Connolly has an interesting way of looking at things. His viewpoint and the fact that he is coming from another land and background really sheds some unique light on the American road trip experience. It made me look and think about my country in a different way, at least for a moment.
It was a good performance, but the author is a famous comedian with a wonderful accent and intonation. It would have been nice to hear his words in his voice. I would listen to other books by this narrator.
Its an interesting listen. The book has humor and levity. He meets a wide variety of people and has experiences to match. I think the book could have been/should have been longer. I would be interested in more travel book written from his point of view.
I would take out most of the Nick Kokonas parts and delve more into Chef Achatz motivations and experiences. There is a lot of story there and I felt like the reader didnt get as much as they could have. Nick's story is pretty standard and other than being quite a self promoter, it was unremarkable and relatively uninteresting. The interesting parts of Mr. Kokonas' story could be covered in half a chapter or as a footnote.
Chapters 7-9 are absolutely brilliant. You see Chef Achatz growing and have his "aha" moment. It gives some insight into Chef Keller's way of running a kitchen and you see what Grant learned from him.
Considering what Chef Achatz has been through I expected the book to be just his story, a true autobiography. I bought it without reading the reviews or jackat based purely on his reputation and skill. Truth be told the book is about 60% Chef Achatz autobiography and 40% Mr. Kokonas vanity project.
The book started a bit slow but really built into something fascinating. Interesting as a travel book but more interesting to those that have lived and taught abroad or have aspirations to do so. There are great descriptions of teaching both in suburban and urban areas, The logistics of living in Japan, the nightlife, the people, and the types of students one encounters. There are also many interesting social interactions outside of class from bars, to music lessons, to bands, and more.
100% accurate descriptions of the type of people and often odd personalities that are attracted to teaching in Japan. I was laughing at loud and groaning at many of the descriptions as they matched perfectly with people I have experienced in Japan. The author doesn't pull any punches with the social misfits, losers, drunks, and _________ that think Japan will be the answer to their lack of social skills in their home country.
The author had a slight southern accent which matches the authors southern roots. One felt it could have been the author reading the book.
The narrator Tom Lawrence was very good, I would easily listen to another performance. The author John Harris is better at fiction/semi-fiction than reality.
The book is a retelling of a story in that age old pub fashion/fishing story. A small little adventure blossomed into a grand story with the retelling. The teller may think it really happened that way but the reality is likely much more sedate. Much like James Frey and his "A Million Little Pieces", there is a lot of embellishment in a story branded as non-fiction. It is an entertaining read though, just not true to the non fiction travel genre.
Its an all around great performance. His voice matched the mental picture of the protagonist in the story. He is properly emphatic when the story calls for it.
I chose this book out of boredom and past interests. Because I have listened to or read most other modern travel narratives, this popped up on my recommended list. I am certainly glad it did as it is a real sleeper.
I have read the other motorcycle distance travel books from Ted Simon, Helge Pedersen, Glen Heggstad, Allen Noren and of course the ubiquitous Long Way Down/Round (among others). Ted Simon set the bar for me but this book is in second place. Distance riders can get too caught up in the task of riding and forget or gloss over the experiences, people, and food they encounter. Mr. Manicom is more about the experiences than the journey and will often hop off his bike, even for weeks at a time, to experience things. Many other writers instill a sense of urgency, like they must keep the bike pointed at the end of the journey, not so here. He does a very good job of describing the things you see and the reader is often sucked in and experiences it with the author. There are great descriptions of sights, smells, people, social mores and customs. The food descriptions are the only thing lacking but, as a chef, food is more important to me than many others so its a small niggle.
Its a bit different than other motorcycle books. The majority of the other narratives take place in Africa, so one feels like that route has been done to death. I realize Africa is a fascinating and diverse continent but I have literally read 6 motorcycle adventure travel books based there. The Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Pakistan, etc journey was a nice twist not seen in other books of the genre. Its nice to see variety.
He does a great job with the performance, I was actually surprised the author was such a good narrator. He has a pleasant voice and was very professional in his performance.
As someone who has ridden across borders, although not nearly to the same extent, I found his descriptions of the process, and of cycling very accurate.
I would recommend it highly to someone that REALLY is going to do/ has done a long distance ride. It is superb prep for the hassles and paperwork you will experience. I would not necessarily recommend it to someone just looking for a travel book to take you away. There are not many descriptions of the people, culture, and foods. This book is more about the journey as an accomplishment. As a travel narrative it is 2 stars, as a distance motorcycle guide it is 5 stars.
There are some good descriptions of his experiences in parts of Africa.
I listen, 2 hours at a time, when riding my bicycle ion the mornings.
Mr Heggstad is the real deal when it comes to motorcycle riding. A few of his martial arts analogies make one roll their eyes like that one friend we have that is into martial arts and talks too much about it. That being said he gives a superb and accurate glimpse into what to expect with your bike, what happens at border crossings, and the bureaucracy of it all. He is not a food lover and says as much and there aren't many vivid descriptions of people and the cultures he rides through. Its about a rider conquering and accomplishing a hard task. How to get from point a to point b. It is absolutely a must read for anyone thinking of doing the same.
One of the best travel narratives on Audible. I love a good non fiction travel book but, if you are a fan of the genre, you realize there aren't many "good" ones out there. The authors are either tragic hipsters trying to write ironically, arrogant and cocky rich kids trying to seem cool, fake, or any combination of the above. Its rare to find a good honest travel story by a guy on a budget who financed it himself. Kissing Kilimanjaro is one of the good ones
Daniel Dorr is honest about his motivations for going (I won't share them here). He comes across as a regular hard working guy and he is honest about his failures and emotions. He never comes across as trying to be too cool or pretentious.
Dont want to give any spoilers.
Its a good story about the realities of traveling, the interesting people you meet along the way, the interesting places you see, and most importantly how it can change your life.
You don't have to love Africa or mountaineering to enjoy this book, just have a love of travel. I bought the audible version and found the quality very good. It's narrated by the author and he did a good job with it. It doesn't get 5 stars because I wanted a few more details and perhaps an even longer version of the story, but I guess that is also a sign I enjoyed it.
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