Decatur, IL, United States | Member Since 2010
Bill Bryson talks as much about what we don't know about Shakespeare (or Shacksper or Shakspere, etc.) as what we do know. It is informative in a negative sort of way, with digressions on Shakespeare scholars, life and theater in the Elizabethan and Jacobian ages, and a bit about who else might have written the plays. I recommend it.
Usually, I like alternative history. One of my favorite "what ifs" concerns Henry VIII. What if Catherine of Aragon's son had lived, etc. This is a lousy trilogy. I agree with the review who said the author suffers from Mary Sue syndrome: the lead character is her wish-fulfillment. If the story had been about four random people it would have been silly enough. To have Henry IX suffering love-madness and ruining his kingdom for this Mary Sue is ridiculous. Side characters behave in unnatural ways and the author makes the Odyssey seems sane by comparison to her lovers' travails. Anyone who gives this 4 or 5 stars is an idiot. I will never trust reader's reviews again. I trusted the ones who said "the third book of this trilogy is the best". Boo Hiss!
"Salt" is the kind of history I wanted from "Catching Fire"; an anecdotal recounting of the uses and abuses of salt across history and around the world: its use a money, political fodder, tax-base and the cause and excuse for riot and revolution. I had no idea how varied the types of salt mining and the many different kinds of salt there were and are.
This is an excellent book to listen to if you want to go to sleep. I DO NOT recommend it for drivers. It reads like a doctorial thesis that was released to the general public. It is way too detailed about caloric absorption, raw versus cooked and hominid diets. It was well thought-out and convinced me thoroughly of his hypothesis. I slogged through the first 6 hours or so, dredging up long-forgotten college biology data. It wasn't until he went into the sociologial aspects of hearth-fires, gender-based work divisions and the rise of marriage in primitive societies that it became interesting to me.
This is not a work for the casual or the uneducated listener.
The narrator is excellent. He does his best to cut through the jungle of dense words; to give it life and even poetry.
I'm glad I bought it but I'm never going to listen to it again.
I very much enjoyed this brief biography of Jane Austen. The biographer was knowledgable about her subject; enough so that she could make a compact but smooth-flowing account of Jane Austen's life. The narrator was marvelous. The references and quotations from the books written by Jane Austen were not overwhelming to someone who had not read them all. A pleasent listening experience.
I have purchased and listened to all Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness books. The narrator is marvelous, with a command of a wide range of accents. The setting is well-illustrated, the writing hilarious and thrilling by turns. I strongly recommend this series.
I have listened to all the Royal Spyness books. The narrator is excellent, the story frothy and fun. An enjoyable listen!
This is an introduction to Discworld that sets the parameters and tone for all the following books. Laugh-out-loud funny and imaginative, a delight for fantasy fans.
Having listened to Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, and enjoying them both, I downloaded Persuasion with pleasant anticipation. I was disappointed. The plot is almost non-existant, the prose dense and difficult to follow by listening, the characters annoying and the narrator monotonous. This is the kind of classic to put a new listener off classics.
I love Michael Pritchard as the narrator of the Nero Wolfe books. This is a good story with interesting characters well drawn and I think Rex Stout got in a few digs about the publishing industry of his time. Well done.
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