'American Appetites' is a very entertaining book. Joyce Carol Oates has never disappointed me, and this book is as good as any other book I have listened to by this author (not quite as good as ‘We Were The Mulvaneys,’ but pretty close).
I have listened to four books written by Oates, and they have all had their slow moments. This book is no different (the reason I gave it four out of five). The main characters in this book are elitist, and Oates spends roughly an hour giving the reader a thorough background of their elitist lives. This background story building is pretty dry, but don’t give up on this book – it turns into a really good story pretty quickly after this slow start. Like I stated in the beginning, Oates always seems to have rough moments in her story telling, but they all become really good books by the end of the tale. I’ve never listened to a Joyce Carol Oates book I did not like by the end.
I am usually pretty neutral as far as narrators go, but Barbara Caruso is perfect for this book. She sounds just like the sort of person these characters would invite to one of their elitist intellectual dinner parties. Audible could not have picked a better narrator for this book.
‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ is an general overview concerning the plight of the Native American in 19th Century America – nothing more, nothing less. If you are looking for a good history book that details the demise of the Native American Tribes, this is the book for you. If you are looking for a personal heart-felt narrative that focuses on the main players, this is not it.
For the most part, I liked this book and I learned a lot about the struggles of the Native Americans. I had a hard time focusing on everything that was going on, but I got the general idea. After a while, the stories became a little repetitious. I listened to this book after listening to ‘Empire of the Summer Moon,’ a narrative of the Comanche Indians, so I was really ready to move on after listening to four sections of Native Americans versus inconsiderate white settlers.
I was hoping to get a written version of the HBO movie with the same title. That story is in this book, but only in a general way. I wanted something a little more personal. I would have liked this book to focus on one particular tribe, really getting into their lives – the way they grew up, why they behaved a certain way, the way they interacted with one another… This isn’t that kind of book. This is simply a summary of the 19th Century Native American struggling and failing against the inevitable.
I enjoyed ‘Winter of the World’ very much. I found this book to be very entertaining and I will definitely purchase the third installment when it is available.
The Century Trilogy novels will probably not become classics in the same way we consider ‘The Good Earth’ and ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ as classics. This is why I am more inclined to give ‘Winter of the World’ four stars. There is not a poignant message in Ken Follett’s books – they are just entertaining in the same way a good movie is entertaining.
There were times when I lost interest in what was going on in the story (particularly during the drawn-out war scenes), but these moments were rare. I appreciate the length of the Century Trilogy books – I want my credit to go as far as possible (as long as I enjoy the book). I also enjoy how Follett ties in his fictional characters to real-world historical events. A few moments in the book seemed so outlandish to me I laughed aloud, but there were many more “real” moments than not.
John Lee is a fantastic narrator. I don’t know how he pulls off so many different characters, but he does it well.
Empire of the Summer Moon is a pretty good book – I wouldn’t call it a great book, but it is entertaining enough. If you are looking for a good summarization of relations between Native Americans and white settlers in the 19th Century, this book will provide an unbiased representation of this relationship.
I would have preferred a more personal perspective – I had hoped that this book would focus exclusively on the woman kidnapped by Comanche Indians (her relationship with her captors, how she coped with her new life, etc…). Empire of the Summer Moon revolves around this woman’s story, but only in a very general, vague way. That is my biggest complaint regarding this book – too general (like a history book rather than a good story). I do appreciate the fact that I learned a lot about Native American v white settler relations in the 19th Century.
The Winter Of Our Discontent is a fairly interesting story, but it does not equal Steinbeck’s notable novels The Grapes Of Wrath or East Of Eden.
The main character goes into lengthy introspective/analytical monologues quite often, and I found it difficult to focus on his musings. The story definitely had its positive moments, but it was a little slow for me. The overall plot was entertaining, but a little underwhelming.
Steinbeck is a very good author, so his more mediocre books (like this one) are still pretty good compared to the average author. For what it is worth, this book won the Nobel Prize for Literature, so another reader/listener may fall in love with it.
I bought this book because I enjoyed it so much when I read it 20 years ago. Maybe listening to it now was a mistake, since I already had a good idea of what was going to happen.
The characters go on my nerves - I thought they were cool, decadent characters when I initially read the book. Now they seem like a bunch of kids who drink too much and nose into each other's business too much - especially the main character. He really got on my nerves toward the end of the book. He loved nothing more than to whine about his friend's erratic behavior. He was a busybody who bothered people when they didn't want to hear him run his mouth. The narrator is pretty monotone, and this added to this character's irritating characteristics. She made him sound like a snob on valium. These kids are a bunch of spoiled brats and they may get on your nerves by the time you reach the end of this book - especially if you have your act together.
The story line is pretty clever. If you have not read this book, give it a shot (especially if you are under 30 - this book is centered on a artsy/Bohemian college atmosphere). You may really like it - I did when I read it the first time. The narration is not fantastic, but this shouldn't stop you from giving it a shot if you have not read it already. I was a little tough on the main characters in this review, but it's quite possible I've simply outgrown it and moved on. This book still had its moments.
Roots is a very good book once you get into the story - one of the best I've listened to in a long time. The story is a little slow in the beginning, but it picks up in dramatic fashion after the first section of the story has concluded. The last section of the book is a little slow as well - this is why I gave it a 9 out of 10 rating. I would definitely recommend this book.
I would listen to this book again. I really enjoyed the story. I particularly appreciate the fact that Dreiser had the courage to have an anti-hero play the main character in the story. The plot completely surprised me.
I enjoy listening to stories that completly catch me off guard, especially when they are realistic. This book in particular achieved this.
Miller is a good narrator. His reading fit the story.
I listen to books at work on a daily basis - I would look forward to listening to this book so I could find out what would happen next. There were many lines in the book that made me laugh out loud.
An american Tragedy and Sister Carrie (also by Dreiser) are excellent books. I will listen to other books by Theodore Dreiser
I bought this book because I enjoy hearing the addict's story - the people he met, the crazy situations he found himself in, the mistakes he made, etc... There is a story in this book, but there is also a lot (at least 60% of the book) of introspection and addiction theory. If one is a recovering/current addict, this is a good book to listen to - a lot of AA/addiction theory.
As I mentioned above, I enjoyed listening to the author's life story.
If you are looking for a good addiction story, Tweak by Nic Sheff is probably a better choice. If you buy this book, be prepared for the fact that the author has a message to get across - understanding why people (particularly the author himself) become addicted to drugs and alcohol.
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