brilliant, satiric, manic
DFW's first novel, began when he was in graduate school, is a rocket-charged satire of sex, gender politics, and American culture, that manages to create emotional suspense and poignant moments despite its broad humor.
My first time listening to Robert Petkoff, but this is for me the best reading of any of the Audible books I've bought so far.
It was good to hear the magical life of Ben Franklin, and to discover his selfish as well as generous sides, but Isaacson tends to repeat his formulaic read on Franklin over and over, while clearly hiding some of Franklin's more illicit behaviors in Europe. I found Nelson Runger's reading too slow and, even more irritating, he put on a "folksy" voice any time he quotes Franklin's letters or writings. Might be better to read this volume or find a better biography altogether.
The Silkworm, written by Rowling under the pen name Robert Galbraith, is a fine sequel to Cucko's Calling, where we first meet Cormoran Strike and his charming Watson, Robin. Very impressed by A Casual Vacancy, Rowling's first outing post-Harry Potter, I find this series showcases her uncanny talent for taking an established genre and making it her own. The book is both funny and suspenseful, and Robert Glenister is the perfect narrator - a "must hear"!
This is a compelling novel that follows two children as they grow up in the midst of WWII. Doerr has respect and compassion for his characters, though he clearly loves Marie best, the blind daughter of the locksmith from the Paris Museum of Natural History. The narrative moves forward and backward in time, always vivid, never heavy-handed.
Zach Appelman does a fine job reading the novel. His subtlety is a good match for the novel, perhaps a challenge to most actors but not for him.
It's a beautifully written novel, psychological and reflective, that follows a friendship between two couples over forty years. Richard Poe's reading is as close to perfect as it can be.
It is certainly one of the best I've listened to in the past year. This was the first work by Ward Just that I've come across, and I'm surprised that I had never heard of him ... none of my friends are familiar with him, either. What a loss for us all, since his is one of the more powerful American voices of the past generation. Although he cites Henry James as a major influence - and certainly the subtle ways that we enter the minds of the characters is Jamesian -- his prose reminds me of F Scott Fitzgerald who appears in the novel briefly in a story told by the narrator's father. Ward Just was a journalist in the 1960s and left the newspaper business to write novels and short stories. This book centers on an aging film director, Dixon Greenwood, spending three months at a humanities colony in Berlin, not too far from where he directed his best film some thirty years earlier. What happens during his stay, and what he remembers, is what the book is about. Greenwood is a wonderful character, compelling as much as for what he does and says as for what he holds back.
Given the subject matter, Dean's voice, who here sounds a good deal like Orson Wells, is perfectly suited. His performance is powerfully convincing.
it's a comprehensive biography, and since De Gaulle dedicated himself to France (as a version of himself) it's a good account of France in the aftermath of WWII and the occupation. De Gaulle was a remarkable figure - principled, politically brilliant, rigid and narcissistic. Fenby gets you all the facts, but rarely reflects or interprets the history he presents. Ultimately, the life of De Gaulle becomes a bit of a blur, even though I listened to all 16 hours.
I don't think so. I listened to it following Charles Glass' book on Americans in Paris during the occupation, and for that book De Gaulle is an intriguing absent presence -- we only hear of him when broadcasting from London on the BBC. This book provided me with more history, but I found it a bit of slog.
No ... although he has a fine French accent, he narrates so slowly I had to listen to the book on 1.25x, something I've never had to do before.
Absolutely. Rowling remains a fine storyteller, though this book is actually a remarkable and profound work of fiction. It is funny, moving, appalling -- she's found a way to take a middle-class English town, with a horrible ghetto nearby, and extract from it psychologically complex characters determined by their upbringing, social class, and most of all, by their individual traumas. Indeed, Rowling is the modern master of trauma, individual, interpersonal, and familial ... and The Casual Vacancy is all about it. It begins with the death of a man who, we come to learn, has been important, both negatively and positively, for so many others. As the narrative progresses, so our appreciation of him and our sense of loss grows. And so Rowling manages to have us experience grief with a novel at times funny, at others tragic, written with perfect tempo and with unflagging suspense. I enjoyed the week or two that it took for me to listen to it, and I was very moved by the last scenes.
A real achievement - a must read!
I was disappointed by how thin the narrative was. Glass follows some very interesting characters - and I was glad to listen to the book - but he rarely took up the moral and political questions raised by the characters' choices and behaviors. His account of Sumner Jackson, the medical director of the American Hospital in Paris, is eye-opening because of Jackson's remarkable heroism. His account of Charles Bedaux, on the other hand, seems almost naive in his support of him. Glass could have taken the time to grapple with the ways that Bedaux dealt with his relationship with the Nazis and the collaborationists in Paris. Since he didn't, we're left with an uncomfortably thin narrative.Hillgartner has a wonderful French accent, and his voice his compelling ... I think the text itself, and its lack of complexity, would've been a challenge for any narrator.
I wasn't wild about Hill's idiosyncratic reading, though I felt he really understood Bushkin's story.
I've always been an admirer of Carson's genius, and I heard of the terrible difficulties in his personal life. This book, admittedly from a close friend and business associate with his own issues, does open a large window on Carson's troubles. I was saddened by Carson's loneliness and aggressive rejection of people he tried to love.Bushkin's prose is clear and direct, funny and personal. The descriptions of his first meetings with Carson are suspenseful and surprising.
I was also moved by Bushkin's honesty and especially by the way he ends the book.
A great book for anyone interested in Johnny Carson.
Sure - the book unfolds and builds so effectively.
I read Chaos Theory by Gleick after listening to The Information -- another fascinating book. Gleick is the new voice of the history of science.
Gleick's description of how scientists figured out how the talking drums in Africa communicated.
A must read for anyone interested in science and the culture at large. Also Rob Shapiro voices the book perfectly - a pleasure to hear him read.
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