Bay Area, CA United States | Member Since 2015
History, family, society
Porchie's affairs, the scandal with Almina' second husband/his ex-wife.
Catherine's second marriage.
While I did enjoy this book, I found it just a tiny bit less compelling than Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey.
This was an excellent and totally absorbing listen, sensitively read by Scott Brick, one of my favorite readers. Of course, we all know what happened, but the book is nevertheless suspenseful because it follows a handful of passengers and crew, and you don't know who survived or not until near the end. In addition, Larson analyzes a number of key details to delve into the great many factors that led to the sinking, the change or absence of any one of them might have led to a different result. Larson also expertly situates the sinking into the larger contexts of both WWI and US foreign policy.
I really wanted to like this book and it seemed to have all the indications (food, India, France, working class kid makes good) of things that I like. To me, however, there were two large flaws:
1. The story tried to do too many things and ended up doing none of them particularly well. The best part was about the first third, i.e., the story of how the family left India and settled in France via London. The dramatic arc was really the feud with Madame Mallory and it should have ended with its resolution. A more detailed and nuanced version of just that story would have been much better. Instead, the remainder of the story, focusing on Hassan's career was not particularly interesting, nor did it ring true/authentic for me.
2. Mr. Shah's voicing of the French characters, particularly the women, was so distracting I nearly put the book down many times. It was really a stubborn need to see where the story was going to go. His accent varied, but overall was poorly done across the board and the female characters came off as lisping, mincing, shrill and just.... totally unappealing. Given the large portion of the book set in France and including French characters, a different reader (or having two readers) would have been preferable. In contrast, I listened to Devil in the White City right after this. The reader, Scott Brick, had a handful of French words to say, which he delivered perfectly.
Yes, there is so much detail in the twin stories of how the fair was built and how HH Holmes used it as an opportunity to collect more victims. You couldn't possibly absorb it all in one listen. Scott Brick is an articulate, precise reader and I thought he handled the material perfectly.
Definitely. I knew almost nothing about the topic and had no expectations or ideas on how things would turn out. The story was perfectly told so as not to give any hints.
I have not; not applicable.
This is when/how the Ferris Wheel was invented!
I am a bit of an armchair architecture nerd, so I loved having a look into how the fair was achieved (and nearly wasn't) as well as insight into the minds of the great men who built the fair.
Truly original plot with lots of twists.
The bit when Nick is undergoing fertility testing and the... mechanics... are hilariously described.
When Nick reaches the end of the treasure hunt.
I was constantly in suspense over every detail. I found this a very engaging, totally unique thriller.
Excellent, spot-on performance.
Susan Bennett's storytelling is amazing. She captures a huge variety of characters, their accents, behavior and mannerisms. This was also my favorite of the trilogy; all of the characters are fully developed and completed in this final book of the series.
Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck, the prior two books in the trilogy. They are all obviously in the same style and follow many of the same characters. Though I enjoyed them all, Bite Me was the funniest and most interesting.
I did not especially like Abby Normal in You Suck, but found her much funnier and more nuanced/interesting in Bite Me.
All of it. She is the most talented narrator I have heard so far and is a great match for Christopher Moore's writing. She also did an amazing job voicing Marvin, Bummer and Lazarus, the three dogs who appear in the story. Moore's "translations" of dogspeak were hilarious and Susan Bennett brought them to canine life.
The Emperor! As a native San Franciscan, I grew up with stories of the actual Emperor Norton and I loved that this character appeared in the trilogy.
Witty, modern, adventure
As a native of this beautiful city, I loved that it was set in San Francisco and that the descriptions and locations were so pithily and accurately described. The best scene ever is when Jody goes to the laundromat in the Tenderloin. It has everything: a lady who kicks butt and takes no prisoners, hilarious descriptions and the best snappy comeback ever.
More than any other audiobook I have listened to, Susan Bennett so perfectly and finely renders each character. Each is so distinct and spot on. I would enjoy the books if I read them, but her performance adds so much nuance and hilarity that I couldn't imagine the story without the audio. She just adds everything to it.
In the trailer, San Francisco's trademark fog would roll in over the Golden Gate and the words "bloodsuckers by the bay" would appear on the screen. Then the vampires would emerge from the fog.
The readers were amazing and so perfectly captured the characters. They turned a great story into a transcendent experience.
So hard to say, but probably Nakata. Although he is supposed to be a simpleton, he has a particular genius for living the life he is given and being happy with what he has.
My favorite scene is when Miss Saiki tells Kafka he has to go back to the world to remember her.
Absolutely. This is a very philosophical and emotional story. I cried in all the right places and laughed out loud at its wry wit. Loved it. Will definitely listen again.
I did truly enjoy this book, though I did occasionally find the narration a bit annoying (unexpected pauses, shifting/inconsistent accents, male voices not as realistic and an uplift at the ends of declaratory sentences) and there were a couple of plot points that seemed out of character for Honor.
That being said, as a quilter and armchair historian of American slavery I found the subject matter, characters and overall storytelling engrossing and I am sure I will listen to it again. It is a quick listen and a very welcome escape on my commute. I especially enjoyed the quilting bits, which seemed very natural/appropriate to the plot and were accurately rendered (a huge pet peeve of mine is supposedly crafty fiction that is hardly crafty at all or just pasted on). If you like quilts or quilting, I think you will appreciate this book.
Though Honor is the main character, she is supported by two great characters in particular: Belle and Mrs. Reed, both of whom give dimension to the story and a bit of a reality check to Honor when required.
Number 1! I loved this book and the narrators. I very nearly started over again as soon as it ended.
Possession by A.S. Byatt or Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres in terms of the forbidden love aspect. Corelli's Mandolin in particular for the wartime setting, themes of separation, time passing and how the characters grapple with these issues. I would also say it reminded me a little bit of Edward Rutherfurd's books: even without the multi-generational aspect, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is just as ambitious and sweeping (and successfully so).
I really enjoyed having a male and female reader to handle the various voices. It added to the realism of the story and helped keep the characters/dialogue straight. They both did a great job voicing the characters and capturing just the right feelings in a given situation.
Yes, I found it thoroughly engrossing and felt very involved in the story and characters. I definitely had strong loves and hates among the characters. And I did cry (on the train, during my commute)!
The events described seemed so immediate and real. The action and emotion were evident in the writing. I felt like the author was telling me the story in my living room.
Anything by Frederick Forsyth because if the similar themes of espionage, statecraft, geopolitical issues and the like.
Hearing the story read made it so much more immediate and real.
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