I have been in my "Native American" reading phase and usually I read a lot of historical fiction to learn about cultures. But because this is actually part of MY culture (so says the family tree, though nothing I've grown up with and not obvious by looking at my generation) I thought I would check out some actual history. I am tentative when reading history - it can be so boring. That's why I like historical fiction.
This book was not as "good" or interesting or readable as, say, David McCullough, but really, that's a pretty high standard. This is what I can say about the book - I am glad I listened to it or I might not have finished. But I DID listen to it, and sometimes rewound to listen again if I got lost in the bunch of names. THEN when I went on to read (and listen to) other books about the same people and era, I recognized a lot of what was going on...so even though it wasn't as "fun" to read as fictionalized accounts, I did actually learn. And cry at the end...THAT never happened in school history class!
I came to this novel differently than many people probably have - I have never read or watched Shakespeare's plays. I have only the slightest general cultural knowledge of things like MacBeth and Romeo & Juliet, etc. My hope was that this novel would lead me to take on Shakespeare - and it has! The book was dark, of course, and a tragedy (I think even I knew that much) but it also led me through the path of MacBeth and Lady MacBeth from idealistic youth to their tortured endings in an understandable way. The narrator was AMAZING as others have stated, and really made each character come to life for me! I look forward to reading the actual play MacBeth (probably the Spark Notes "no fear Shakespeare version, I'm a wimp) to see the differences and similarities. So really, any novel that leads a regular working-class person to want to read Shakespeare has to be a good one, right?
What an incredible mind Richard Adams has to have created this whole world - something as common as rabbits become such individuals - it is truly amazing! I laughed and cried (how's that for unique and original) and learned at least one new word that has become part of my vocabulary (tharn - read the book and see what that's all about). The characterization of each individual rabbit in this book is as rich and deep as any human character I've loved through literature (like the boys in "Lord of the Flies" or the kids at Hogwarts) and the fact that they were rabbits didn't take away from that - and yet, they were not anthropomorphized - they had rabbit traits, not human traits. How'd he manage that?
To sum it up, this book is a great adventure, and I think I'll never look at the myriads of bunnies running around our neighborhood in quite the same way again!
I admit it - I can be a real snob when it comes to "literature". I quit reading James Patterson and Dean Koontz years ago - never would dare pick up a Danielle Steel or Nora Roberts (sorry) or anything like that. So when my aunt recommended Jodi Picoult, I checked her out, and she seemed kinda like those others at first glance - so popular that I knew her novels would be those type of template novels - but this sounded interesting, so I got it anyway. WOW! Like Stephen King, Jodi Picoult is a popular novelist who can really WRITE her characters, her plots, and drag me into lives with depth, with meaning, with great surprises - it's a good thing I keep finding great new authors to love on audible.com! And now Jodi Picoult is one of them - this book hit me like a BRICK - but you know, that good kind.
First I read The Prince of Tides - soooo good! When I saw this on sale, I thought, hey, that guy wrote that other book I liked - so I bought it and WOW! Now I think I have another new favorite author!! The Southern novel has not been my main genre, though I've dipped into it through the years (Carson McCullers, and of course To Kill a Mockingbird, and a few others) and Pat Conroy fits right in with what I assume are the best. This book is full of great characters who are very intricate - no saints, no demons, just people who have a depth that we slowly get to see and appreciate. Definitely excellent - would recommend to anybody.
I read EVERYTHING by my beloved modern-day Dickens, Bryce Courtenay. I love this story. But, I hate to say, his characters are getting kind of predictable, and maybe, though I LOVE Humphrey Bower's narration, it's time to get a new narrator. The voice of all black people was quaint at first, but now I'm starting to find it offensive. And Bryce - dig into your cupboard and find a few new characters. Dig deeper - they are beginning to all be so typical - anybody who reads lots of Courtenay knows what I mean. Let's find a new one - totally different. K? That all being said - I will keep reading everything of his and this book really IS excellent for its own purposes! I do love an old-fashioned, well-wrapped-up ending, and appreciate that Courtenay always provides, as Dickens always did.
Well, now that I have listened to this - with 2 FABULOUS narrators - and such oh SUCH an interesting tale - I will have to read it again. Because although the whole thing is not a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-to-find-out-what-happened mystery (in other words, the tale is worth the telling in full), the ending is a bit of a surprise, and like the movie Sixth Sense, I now have to go back to catch all the clues! This is AMAZING! The narration is SUPERB. The story is compelling, heartbreaking, inspiring, and I love the old-fashioned-ness of it. All ends are tied up, Dickensian coincidences abound, happily-ever-after (but not in the way you would expect at ALL) seems to be achieved - just GET THIS BOOK AND LISTEN TO IT - AND THEN AGAIN - AND AGAIN!! A new fave for sure.
Recognizing the name Nicholas Flamel from Harry Potter, I thought I'd check these out. Have read all 5 available so far - have also recently read other kids' books in the similar style - these books are interesting with great characters and it's fun that I recognize them from history so get to explain to my daughter who they are. There is interesting action and secrets and adventures. All that being said, not only Scott's books, but all the children's fantasy books (excluding, of course, Wrinkle in Time set) just FAIL next to Harry Potter. I think we really have to stop thinking of HP as children's books or something - I keep trying to decide what it is. There's just so much MORE to love about Harry Potter!! Anyway, kids who liked HP will probably like these, and I'll keep going with the series...but JKR - something else for us maybe?
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