I usually use Audible books while commuting. This book I carried around on my iphone wherever I went. It's a page turner, meaning I listened when I woke up and when I went to bed. Jonathan Pryce was terrific and Daphne du Maurier is a drama queen, in the best sense.
Eugenides's condescension towards his characters was only topped by Pittu's voicing of them. Sorry, but I was disappointed in the book, the first I've read by Eugenides. I admit that I stayed till the end---I was interested in what happened to the characters and I was also interested in the milieu (I didn't go to college in the 80's, but I think that the experience of searching for meaning/career/independence is a common one). Another reviewer wrote that Pittu's voices for women was "gay," whatever that means. I found that his voices for both men and women made them seem self-centered and clueless---and his voices for women made them seem even stupider than perhaps Eugenides intended. I can't think of one character in the book who wasn't dense, although I suppose that Mitchell, although pretty pathetic and cluless, at least seemed decent. Madeleine's parents were complete buffoons----like many of his portrayals, this was spelled out in the most obvious way.
I saw Aaron Lansky interviewed in the Sholem Aleichem documentary recently, and I thought that he was articulate and entertaining. I'm SO glad I listened to this book rather than just read it. Although I know some Yiddish, it was so lovely to hear the book read by the narrator----whose Yiddish seemed native. The book itself is so much more than the story of Lansky's book center. It includes wonderful portraits of the people who owned the books, touching stories about Lansky's travels, from a tiny community in Cuba to the bombed-out synagogue in Argentina to the towns in Latvia, Estonia, and Belorus, where Jews had no Yiddish books and yearned for them. Loved the story about Arlo Guthrie and his mom, about the woman in England who had no idea of her Polish husband's political tracts, of the fight to save the Newark library's collections, and many many more. Loved the jokes, menus, poetry, even tales of romance: all of the touching stories about a language and a people who have suffered so greatly and whose culture and language was almost decimated......but, with people like Lansky and his friends, live on. I listened to this book during long commutes....sometimes I had trouble seeing the road because of the tears in my eyes.
Oh, how I tried to get through this. Hated the reader, with her breathy whisper and heartily fake male voices. Hated the pretentious writing. All I can say is that I saw a young and fatally hip guy reading this book on a crowded subway who tried to beat an elderly woman to an empty seat. He seemed to be enjoying it....
I listen to these audibles in my car, on long drives to work. I found that I was listening at home, running to the store, on walks. Hope Davis was a great narrator for a fascinating story about anthropology, obsession, dedication, fear, and the strange paths that life takes us. Wasn't sure about the ending---couldn't decide if it fit or was a deux et machina supreme, though. No matter---replete with human characters and adventure, mystery, romance, life and death....
I had long heard of Daniel Deronda and kind of given up hope of ever reading it. But a two-hour commute each way to work made this a wonderful companion. Deep, compelling, and filled with fascinating characters, the novel is a melodrama with philosophical and religious depths. Called a "controversial novel," because of the author's ability to show the Jewish community of the 19th century in a tolerant and non-stereotypical way (in a culture, or, perhaps, a world in which stereotypes did---and do---abound), Eliot shows what is unique, human, and sometimes ignorant and insensitive in individuals, no matter their culture or religion. Nadia May's wondrous narration is truly a joy. She captures the core of each character, and her Italian, French, and German seems on the mark (although her pronunciation of Mordechai is not). She has renewed my interest in Eliot and I will surely continue to purchase books that she has narrated.
Loved listening to the people on the panel, especially Leonard Nimoy and Jason Alexander...thoughtful, articulate, funny, touching. How lovely that someone in the audience knew Nimoy's barber dad. I liked hearng Kyra Sedgewick, also. Very different upbringing and perceptions than the guys. Only thing I didn't like: one of the women had a maniacal giggle, which invaded the discussion.
I imagine that Richard Holbrooke was a fascinating person, and I enjoyed hearing about the people who extolled him at his memorial. I have to say, though, that I would much have preferred Kati Marton talking about her book solo. She is smart and articulate, and he bullied her througout her talk. He tried to control and direct everything she said and went off on tangents about his own life. I don't mind hearing about his experiences but not to the detriment of his wife's story, which interested me greatly .
Wonderful book, brimming with challenging and fascinating characters. Jacobson provides the sparkling words---ironic, true, funny, depressing, illuminating. All of the characters are flawed humans, all receive the author's empathy. Crossley captures each of the characters brilliantly, even the women (and such wonderful women, from the departed Melkie to the serious and humane Hepzibah). Whether precocious child, snarling teen, or ancient Czech, Crossley finds their essence. Was bereft when it ended (only complaint is with the packager, who stepped on the ending without a pause to breathe).
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