I couldn't wait for Jonathan Franzen's new book to come out. And I have to say...I kinda sorta hated it. And I liked it. A lot. I did not, however, LOVE it.
I like difficult books with difficult characters. But, with the exception of one or two characters, this is a book filled with intensely selfish, deeply unlikeable people. Would that I could create characters so clearly defined! I mean, Franzen is brilliant in this regard. You know EXACTLY who these people are...and you would never want to invite them to dinner.
I had to struggle to get through it. I'm conflicted. Great writing, great story line. But really hard people to spend time with.
I will say, the ending was very satisfying, so I'm glad I hung in there. Getting to the final sentences, though, was a struggle for this voracious reader of comtemporary and classic literature.
Oh, Nick Ortner, Nick Ortner, Nick Ortner. He reads as if he's just sitting with you, having a coffee, and telling you about this crazy process he's discovered that can lessen or take away pain, ease or eliminate anxiety, blast away cravings and basically, save the world. He's a great reader of his own material. He gets quickly to the point, too.
See my Nick Ortner sighing above.
Unlike a novel, there are obviously no "scenes" in this non-fiction tutorial on easing pain, anxiety, aiding in weight-loss, becoming more creative...
But he has lots of examples of real human beings who have been helped by the Tapping Solution.
Yes. The moment when Nick took me through a tapping segment and my shooting, burning, sciatic pain diminished and then disappeared.
Well worth the credit. Worth two, in fact. Quick, to the point...help is on the way with The Tapping Solution.
I was drawn into the deep dilemmas of the characters from the first two books in this series. They faced real, deeply compelling challenges--the limited role of women in the early part of the last century, starvation, being born in the "wrong" class, war, a flue pandemic, the Great Depression, Bolshevism and Nazis. Maybe it's just me, but I just didn't get a sense of life-or-death in any part of this book. Even the Cuban Missile Crisis, when people on both sides of the world thought death was impending, failed to really move me. None of these characters made me care.
In the previous book of this series, for example, I was enthralled by the story of Daisy and her love for the poor, bastard son of an earl, the boy she couldn't have. Separated by class, by marriage to others, and by war, their love endured and you rooted for them. I didn't find that big pull in any of the character in "Edge of Eternity." They were dry as sawdust.
For example, I should have been compelled by the story of a young man who escapes Eastern Berlin to become a huge Beatles-type rock star. But I just didn't care. I was made dreadfully uncomfortable by the contrived affair between JFK and the dppey Maria in the press office.
Bottom line: These characters' ancestors were far more interesting and well-crafted.
Mr. Follett is a respected writer who has obviously carved out a nice living for himself as a writer. In a recent interview, he admitted to having workman-like prose that get to the point. I don't expect Moby Dick from him. But n the first two books of this series, he did, indeed, create characters I cared about. I bought this book wanting to know what happened to them all. Sadly, most of those have now died or moved to the sidelines, leaving off-spring that are boring, selfish, and wooden.
I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I'm not planning to finish this book. I just can't. So my favorite scene was in the opening pages, when the writing brought me back to my anticipation of the previous two Century Trilogy books. Too bad.
I am always deeply impressed when an author such as Follett can write a novel of such length. That in itself deserves my respect. This just wasn't my cup of tea.
I do have to add that what jarred me as soon as I pressed "Play" on my iPod, was John Lee's narration. Mr. Lee is a very good narrator, with an impressive cache of authentic voices and accents ( everything from Breshnev to Jack and Bobbie Kennedy, all very well performed).
What jarred me was his reading pace. It felt like he was racing through the text so it didn't become a 60-hour audiobook. I dislike readers who take too much time between sentences, but at the same time, I didn't feel like I had a micro-moment to digest what Lee had just read before he dashed on to the next sentence. It was a split of a second too fast. Later on, he settled in a bit more, but it definitely caught my attention in a negative way at the beginning. (And this very well might have been due to the producers, and is not Lee's fault at all.)
I must confess that when I first started listening to this book, I thought that author Louisa Young had attempted to compete with the extraordinary novels by Pat Barker. The themes were somewhat familiar--unrequited love between the classes, women wanting to study to study art at the Slade, only to be told it wasn't proper, putting created characters amidst real people and true events, and the Great War turning the known world on its head. But I quickly saw that, like the characters in this fine novel, that I must not fall prey to assumptions. It is a beautifully written novel about beauty, convention, war, and love.
The cover looks a bit like a romance novel--and romance there is. On the lower half of the cover art, it looks like a gritty war novel. It is, indeed, that. I found this book so intriguing, I couldn't stop listening. And I wanted to stop, because I wanted to savor it. I wanted it not to end.
I believe this is a book that will be loved by readers of the aforementioned Pat Barker (Life Class, The Regeneration Series, etc). Also fans of Audrey Neffenegger, Ian McEwan, Michael Chabon, Jacqueline Winspeare, Charles Todd, Amy Tan, and, just to confuse you, fans of THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN and THE SHIFTING FOG.
There are so many. The history buff in me loved the period and was fascinated by the details about the dawn of facial reconstruction. I loved watching Riley, the main character, come to terms with his life after the war. And his hard-won meeting, at last, with the girl who got away. Or rather, the girl he sent away.
He is outstanding!!!! One of the best narrations I've ever listened to!!!
Since leaving Downton Abbey, Stevens has worked hard to separate himself from the all-too-affable Mathew Crawley. Thank God he made this book one of his projects! He is perfectly brilliant. I am so impressed with his range, of bringing individual voice to each of the characters, both men and women, old and young. He is simply terrific. And part of the reason I kept listening, after my initial "Uh oh, is someone trying to copy Pat Barker?" moment. The writing is fantastic, but Dan Stevens was the icing on that cake.
Let's see...WAR AND PEACE is already taken. So...
I actually think the chosen title is the perfect one, because all the characters are hiding things in order to protect their loved ones. But it also makes the book sound like more of a romance novel than a literary work about love, war, and redemption.
Read it and review it. I really want to hear what others have to say. I plan to recommend this book to everyone I know. Except maybe my husband, who would rather read a good thriller.
I cannot read the hard copy due to vision problems. So I can't answer this.
Well, obviously I'm going to compare it to its predecessors. I loved THREE JUNES, and it was really nice to read yet another installment of in the ongoing family saga. It's like catching up with old friends.
There are a lot of characters in this book, both male and female, young and old. It must be difficult to put voice to all those people. Deakins did a nice job.
Along the lines of THREE JUNES...maybe TWO SUMMERS & A THANKSGIVING. This is why I'm not in the publishing business, naming books.
My only comment I guess is that I did not love this book as much as I have past Julia Glass novels, and I think this has to do with Kit. He has a compelling story...and I was happy to follow him on his quest for his identity...but he did not grab me as much as other Glass characters have. Still, well worth the read in this continuation of a great story.
As someone who is legally blind, I loved reading how Doer brought to life the world of a young blind girl. That is the thing that initially caught my attention when I heard the NY Times review of this novel.
Oh, I just adore the character of Etienne, the uncle who must decide whether to sink into the PTSD he incurred during The Great War--or whether to help his blind niece during WWII. His character is so intricate, so damaged, and so lovely. I really cherish the relationship he develops with Marie Luare (not sure If I'm spelling that right, because I can't see how the author spells it).
Friendship across enemy lines.
The NY Times made a comment that Anthony Doer could be a literary writer. I already considered him so, and partly listened to this book to prove the Times wrong. Happy to say, I believe fervently that this is a very strong literary foray. I don't know what other category I'd put it in. Very strong story, strong writing, and good characters who develop and learn.
I love the noir espionage of this--and all of Fursts' fine books. Once again, Furst weaves distinct characters into a behind-the-scenes spy story. Beautiful writing. I can't wait for the next one!
I love that Furst writes literary espionage, along the lines of John LeCarre. He brilliantly evokes a lively Paris that hides dark doings, anxious citizens, and an complicated, likeable hero that we root for.
The very last, which I won't give away. : )
It has inspired me to go back and listen to all the previous Alan Furst books. The are so intricate and well-written and carefully paced, I've found I always find something new, even though I might have read any Furst novel previously. I'm looking forward to hearing more of the very brilliant Daneil Carroll.
Just want to toss out some kudos to narrator Daniel Carroll. He PERFECTLY captures the feeling of an Alan Furst novel. More, more, more!
As noted by other reviewers, this book poses some very intriguing questions, primary among them--"If I'd made just one different decision, even a seemingly small one, what impact would that have had on the path my life took?"
I'll also read it again to better examine the careful selection of language. It is no small feat to take a story that repeats itself in some ways over and over--and keep the reader hooked. Atkinson is skillful with even the least of syllables.
Ursula, in all her many incarnations, offered too many memorable moments to select just one. I must say, I do really love how protective and "mama bear" she becomes with her daughter. Lovely scenes there.
What changes...what remains the same?
Although I'm a Kate Atkinson fan, I avoided this book for a long time, thinking that the plot sounded a little too paranormal for my tastes. I'm so glad I read it. Literally, I couldn't stop listening.
I think fans of Audrey Neffeneger, Sebbastian Faulk, Julian Barnes, and AS Byatt will get a lot out of this book.
I must also say that the narration is simply outstanding. I will be nominating Fenella Woolgar for every audio award out there, And reading every book she has narrated. Just abrilliant, peerless performance, a beautiful voice, with excellent accents.
It is wonderful that there are so many authors in the world, because it means there's something for everyone. There are many books that I've given five stars to, but which might make fans of Nicholas Sparks wrinkle up their noses and go, "Are you crazy?"
I fell in love with Nicholas Sparks when I read, by accident, his deeply affecting autobiographical book, "Three Weeks with My Brother." I loved this funny, sweet recounting of the whirlwind trip around the world Sparks took with his brother. I gave it to my then-teenaged son, my husband, and to many friends, all of whom gave it an enthusiastic thumbs-up.
I have since read three Sparks novels, this being the third. None of which I've ever completed.
I have huge admiration for his ability to craft a story. And I was excited that this one had horses and bull riding and art (how many authors can do that?).
Still, I just couldn't get through it. I know the ending because I hit the fast-forward button.
I have finally decided that I'm just not the right person for a Nicholas Sparks novel. That doesn't mean it's a bad book. It means it's the wrong book for me.
I think this book probably works best for fans of Kristin Hannah, Nora Roberts, or Barbara Delinsky.
Suggested I re-read "Anna Karenina."
I must confess I did like the horseback riding scenes. I also thought the bull riding descriptions were accurate and well-written.
If I could play editor, I would hand this off to the person in my office who specializes in romance. Because turning it away would be a really stupid financial decision. But I would not be the appropriate person to handle it.
Fans of Sparks will love this book. And they'll be happy, because I know now not to try another one. I've given it a good shot and it's just not a good fit.
I can no longer see well enough to read the hard copy version, so I can't answer that question. I will say, however, that my husband and I listened to "One Summer" while on a long car trip. We loved being able to listen to Bryson read his own work--and to put the right twist on his humorous asides. We also felt like we were getting a bit of a history class, but with a really funny professor. Last, being an aviation-oriented household, it was absolutely fascinating to hear about the dawn of flight, and all the fuss around Charles Lindbergh.
The thing about a Bill Bryson book is that there are always so many wonderful moments, it's hard to pick one. I will admit I still laugh, to this day, about the glass jars Bryson talked about in "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid." Oh, wait. Different Bill Bryson book. Okay, so this one has a little something for everyone--historic flights, natural disasters, inside info on one of most demonized presidents...it's all there.
As with any Bryson book narrated by the author himself (with his quirky, Iowan-almost-turned-Brit accent), it's all good.
Well, I could have. But there is so much intriguing information in here, you kind of want to listen and then maybe hit the rewind button and listen again, just to savor it. I haven't had exactly the what-will-happen-next feeling I had while reading "Seabiscuit," or "The Boys in the Boat." But I look forward to each moment I spend with this book.
Perfect for Bryson fans. Perfect for fans of "Unbroken," "Boys in the Boat," or any David McCullough books.
I am pretty good at getting an audiobook and devouring it. I've had this book for about a month now and am still struggling to get through it. I love the era this book is set in and liked the premise--a hungry, down-on-her-luck vaudevillian gets tapped to play the role of her life--impersonating a likely-deceased heiress. And sharing in the millions, should the ruse work.There are elements of a light mystery, a gothic thriller, and a romance. But for me, I just haven't been able to get to the end, primarily due to the narration. I've listened with satisfaction to one other of Tavia Gilbert's work. But here, I just found her too breathy, too callow-sounding for a slick, street-wise 25-year-old actress, basically a grafter, who's agreed to pretend she's a younger someone else--for real.,
I probably would have encouraged Ms. Gilbert to change her interpretation.
I'm starting to sound really mean. It just didn't work for me.
I won't know the answer to that until I get through it. I think Mary Miley probably wrote a solid book, probably the only reason I've made it as far as I have.
Narration is in the ear of the listener. This one didn't work for me. But it might for someone else. I recommend that one do a preview listen before using that credit.
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