Many people take drugs as a means to get more insight into themselves or the divine. While taking drugs must be a blast (I wouldn't know), having someone sit down and meticulously write down every single sensation they feel after taking mescaline, and then prefacing that with a long, academic discussion on the history of the drug and its uses....well, frankly, it was putting me to sleep. It's a highly cerebral book, perhaps too cerebral for me because my mind kept wandering as I listened and eventually I gave up. I'd have rather just taken mescaline myself than listen to 10 hours of someone else's slow trip.
While I understand that the narrator is trying to show Chinese parenting techniques and make them understandable to a western audience, I found her extremely unlikeable. It was as if she was laying out all the cruelties she inflicted on her daughter, yet wanted us to still "like" her and understand why. Perhaps my own "western" ideology played a part here--I found her behavior reprehensible and exceedingly selfish. The narrator came across as an elitist, living in a la-la-land of people who go skiing in Aspen and expect all their children to go to Harvard or Yale. Not my cup of tea.
I think Gilbert shines when she talks about her own life. The best parts of this book were the parts about her and her fiance's trials and tribulations as they struggled to marry as a means to get him a visa to the U.S. The rest of the book, however, is about "Marriage" with a capital "M"-- long investigations of marriage in other countries and cultures and throughout history. While some of it was really interesting, other parts dragged on, making me wonder when she'd get back to talking about her life again. She is a good reader, and it is definitely worth reading if you are considering getting married and want an in-depth look into the institution itself.
This was a good read. It is told from two perspectives (with two different narrators), that of James McBride and that of his white mother. They both had hard knock lives in different ways, and both stories are well told and interesting. I admit I found the mother's narration more vivid (she reminds me of my Jewish grandmother!), whereas the "James" narrator was more monotone and academic. However, it is a beautiful book about race, growing up poor, and the way the past shapes the person you become.
I use self-hypnosis mainly as a means to fall asleep when I have insomnia. This book did the job well (and in the meantime, I can try to convince myself that it is also subconsciously working on my ability to focus on things--excellent!). You go down a staircase with 20 steps, and I am usually asleep by number 5.
This book kept me interested from beginning to end. Not only do you get insight into the downward spiral of anorexia, but you see the heavy toll of fame on a person's psyche. She also talks in detail about being "in the closet" and how that served to fuel her anorexia. A very sad look into mental illness, but with a heartwarming ending.
In this collection of shorts, each story has a different perspective on the aftermath of war, ranging from the heartbreak of wives and children left without husbands for years at a time, to the experience of soldiers returning to a place that no longer feels like home. The only jarring bit is the breaks between stories--there aren't any, so as I was listening I kept having to go back a bit because I'd realize that a new story had started without me being aware of it. (A bit confusing at first!) This audiobook is also short, which is nice for those times when you're not in the mood for a 19 hour monstrosity. The narrator's voice is pleasant and the stories were interesting.
I used to like the shopaholic series. Then I lost my job, and somehow listening to someone whine about not being able to buy the latest Gucci or Louis Vuitton just wasn't funny any more. The gags in this one are cringe-worthy and the narrator's voice high-pitched and annoying. The entire book is basically a repitition of all the books before--Becky does inappropriate things, embarrases herself in public, is greedy and materialistic and self-absorbed, yet always ends up getting what she wants. The worst book in the series, if you ask me.
Howie Mandel is one heck of a tormented soul, but it certainly makes for enjoyable reading.
This story was dark, dark, dark. At first it was a kind of engaging mystery, and I was totally enthralled for the first third or so. Then things go from bad, to worse, to Shakespearean tragedy of epic porportions. I found all of the long back story about Hector boring, and the ending was bizarre. Not my cup of tea.
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