Have you ever started a book and having just settled into it recognized that it is a gem? This is such a book: a love story played against the background of the Nazi occupation of Guernsey. Characters are well-drawn and endearing. I want to go to Guernsey to get to know them. No doubt, the tourist bureau of Guernsey will be inundated next summer. This is a book written for audio presentation. The various voices reading the individual letters make the story vivid in a way that reading alone could not. This will go on my list of best book recommendations.
The story is gripping. The narrator brings it to life.
Marvelous voice for the main character
"The Gold Coast" and "The Gate House" are two halves of one story. I read "The Gold Coast" first, but it is not necessary since that story is completely retold in flashbacks during the first half of "The Gate House." Present again are John and Susan Sutter; reunited at the funeral of an old family servant. Present also, is Anthony Bellarosa, son of the Mafia Don, Frank Belarosa. In &"The Gold Coast", Susan had killed Frank Bellarosa, her lover, in a fit of spurned passion. John and Susan still have feelings for each other but the menace of Anthony's vendetta darkens their reunion. Antipathy of in-laws commanding the considerable leverage of their hundred million dollar estate is a counterpoint to the physical peril they face from the Mafia prince. This is another very good read from a master story teller.
This is not your early Stephen King. He is more seasoned and grows better with time.
Fifty-three hours is daunting in an audiobook. I just finished and found not a tedious phase in the entire work. I grew up in Jackson County, near Independence Missouri and was privileged to accompany my high school debate team to talk with President Truman about our debate topic, foreign aid, at his library in 1958. I found him exactly as described in this biography. As far as I could tell, there was nothing that he would have wanted to do more, at that time, than to talk to high schoolers about their debate topic. He was as warm and gracious to us as a friendly uncle. Later, I supposed that he was just being a good politician. Now, Mr. McCullough’s book informs me that the President so enjoyed being with people that everyone who met him came away with the feeling I had. I was privileged to have met him and now am immensely pleased that he most likely, really enjoyed meeting me too.
As the closing piece on the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams intoned solemnly that while he respected the right of free speech for all, Ann Coulter, in her new book, had “gone over the line” in questioning the motives of the New Jersey 9/11 widows who publicly condemned the government’s failure to detect and stop the 9/11 attacks. I decided to download this book to see what Mr. Williams choler was all about. It gave me a chuckle find that Ms. Coulter suggested that the liberal religion made saints out of people who had sustained a significant loss and then employed them as “human shields” to propound liberal dogma. Their “moral authority” made them invulnerable to dispute or question. Brian Williams and Hillary Clinton responded exactly as Ms. Coulter predicted. They did not dispute the accuracy of her proposition but condemned the profanity inherent in her raising questions about these icons.
The fundamental premise of this book is that flakey liberals are as blindly committed to liberal dogma as flakey fundamentalists are to theirs. Ms. Coulter is outrageous in the way she presents her ideas but so is James Carville. Both have ideas that are worth serious consideration. Outrageous is how they get noticed.
The book was thought provoking and entertaining until she got to the final section on evolution. Her point there is that the concept of spontaneous mutation and natural selection, while compelling, is not coherent enough to be taken as fact. This point is conceded by most thinking people today. She takes the final two hours of the recording to beat this issue to death. My advice: listen to and enjoy Ms. Coulter’s outrageous, entertaining and, yes, thought provoking banter until she gets about 10 minutes into her discussion of evolution. By that time she will have said all she has to say on the subject. Turn off the machine and move on to another audio book.
Rather than reading this well-written and touching story, I am glad I listened to it. The reading by the author, an unpolished narrator with slightly accented English, seemed to make this first person exploration of a man's agonized discovery of himself exquisitely real.
I downloaded this book because it was Grisham. Then I read the reviews. Listening to the book, I was pleasantly surprised. It is nowhere near my favorite Grisham novel but it is not that bad. Anyone who thinks the premise is implausible should read "Charlie Wilson's War" to see how implausible the truth can actually be. I did have trouble integrating the character of the amoral, pre-prison Joel, the broker, with the vulnerable and sensitive after-prison Marco. But, for an interesting yarn that will not stimulate much after-reading introspection, this is okay.
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