One of the more delightful books I've listened to from Audible.
Not only is the story a terrific one, but the cast of the audible book is a real treat. The author reads most of the book with wonderful emotions.
But the supporting cast is great. Their voices and inflections make the whole book come alive.
Anyone whose ever been to a Broadway show, visited or lived in New York, or just listened to a show tune will love this insightful story of musical theatre.
And watching the characters grow and change is wonderful.
I want more! This universe of characters is too rich to just fritter away.
At the beginning of this book, Professor Fridland asks us to listen to her voice and then imagine what she is. Old, young? Where is she from? Educated or not?
From her speech, I got a 22 year old California sufer gal (for sure) with litter interests beyond shopping.
Turns out she's older and from the south. But I got none of that.
This book was a terrible disappointment. Not only does the professor sound like a college student, she put together a terrible course.
Over and over she would say something like "And there are many words that these people use in ways no other society does." This screams for a "for instance" or example. But she gave them so seldom you would think they came out of her salary to insert.
I wish I could return this book, but I fear I've kept it too long. (I kept trying to get through it, but couldn't get more than 15% of the way through.
The idea of an audio book on language and dialects is a great idea that goes way beyond what print can do. Unfortunately, this book doesn't rise to the concept.
How could I have never heard of Mrs. Pollifax? She's better than Miss Marple—more exciting and more fun!
I immediately bought several more in the series.
I kept seeing Meryl Streep in the title role as I figured this would be a terrific movie. Ooops, too late. There were two already. One with Rosalind Russel (totally wrong casting) and Angela Landsbury (a little better, but not as good as Meryl would have been).
The narrator is wonderful except that every once in a while her Mrs. Pollifax turns into the granny in the Sylvester and Tweety cartoons.
I downloaded and listened to this book ahead of the Ben Affleck movie coming out soon. I like to have "read" the book before I go to see a movie. That way I can enjoy the original story on screen as well as see the changes to make it more dramatic.
I can also find out if I should bother going to the movie.
Am I glad I listened to this book because I won't be going to the movie.
It's supposed to be a look at a modern marriage. With a terrific twist in the story. But the author's little surprises make the entire first third of the book fake.
The story of an "innocent" husband protesting his innocence in the face of mounting evidence against him is so obvious and trite that I kept waiting for the twist that would make it all redeemable.
The twists are there, but when they happen all they did was made me hate the characters.
Other characters such as the father are written totally one-dimensional and the sister pokes in and out of the story as an afterthought.
The idea of the book being told by the husband and wife is good and the performances of the man and woman reading it are great. But when the woman is supposed to sound like some of the men, she ends up sounding like a record playing too slow.
I was particularly disappointed with—no angry at—the ending which is a cop-out. The author wrote herself into a corner and rather than resolve anything, she has the characters choose to do things they would never do.
I can imagine how the movie will handle this book. In fact, the author has written her own cinematic twists into the book. These can only be as written so Hollywood would see what a great movie the book would make.
The trailer for the movie is terrific. And really picks up the most exciting plot points in this book.
But if you've seen the trailer, you don't have to listen to the book or see the movie.
I have listened to every one of Bryson's audio books here on Audible.com.
I really like Bryson. He makes even the most mundane topics engrossing.
And it's not that he completely hates America. A Short Walk where he talks about hiking the Appalacian Trail is wonderful and very positive.
But in this early book his nastiness on American is not just palpable, it's suffocating.
In addition, instead of Bryson's warm, folksy reading that I have come to enjoy, William Roberts's reading makes even warm thoughts on America come out snide and snarky.
I pushed myself to listen to the whole thing so I would feel entitled to write a review.
But if I could, I would have rewound the tape to erase it from my brain.
I'm so glad I didn't stumble on this book as my first Bryson. What a nasty, arrogant, bigoted, nasty (did I already say nasty?), smarmy man wrote this book. If this had been my first Bryson book I would never have bought another.
Bryson, originally from Iowa, came back to America after two decades living in England and decides to drive around. Everything he sees, and everywhere he goes disappoints him. Food is greasy, gooey blobs that squirt all over him. Towns are drab, dreary, or filled with tourist attractions that are overpriced and not at all good.
Bryson tells us about his father and mother driving him and his siblings around when they were young. Bryson's father is a dolt going to the worst of the worst state parks and attractions along their trips. Bryson even manages to make his mother, a saintly woman who never criticizes Bill, into a stupid woman and a doormat. If I were Bryson's family and read this book, I would have told Bill to never get within 500 miles of the family and to change his name so no one would know they are related.
Don't like the tone of this review? That's because I just finished the audio book and I've got his nasty attitude ringing in my ears.
Unlike most of the Bryson books I've read, where Bill is the narrator, this book is narrated by William Roberts. Roberts sounds like a cross between a carney huckster and a school yard bully. I kept thinking that most of the nastiness would have been ameliorated had Bryson been the narrator. ... But I doubt it. Williams does nothing to make the book less nasty. But I suspect he was reflecting the nasty attitude in the book.
Read any other Bryson book written after 2000. Bill's a much nicer man then.
I bought two Daisy Dalrymple books hoping for something as good as Kerry Greenwood;s Phryne Fisher mysteries. I was quite disappointed.
The book cover would have you believe Daisy is similar to Phryne with short, bobbed, black hair. But that is hardly how she is described. And there is none of the decco air shown on the cover. Instead the characters are horribly 19th Century stuffy.
The mystery is convoluted and I found myself not really caring who the murderer was.
But without giving away the plot, I was horribly disappointed with the ending. This is NOT the way an amateur detective is supposed to behave. And it is NOT the way a Scotland Yard inspector would behave.
It was hard for me to start the second book as I couldn't trust Daisy's behavior.
Meanwhile, the narrator's breathy style is unnerving. And she has given Daisy a very little girl voice. With no feeling of being a grownup.
I'm giving up on the series.
I started listening to the Phryne Fisher mysteries after watching the television series on Netflix. I was disappointed to find out the series was cancelled.
So I decided to listen to the books.
I'm up to book 17 and expect to finish the series in a month or so.
The books are different from the TV shows, but not disappointing. The stories are complex and fun. Phryne is more sexual than the TV show and travels all around Australia.
The narrator, Stephanie Daniels, is one of the best I've ever listened to. She does so many variations of English dialects: cultured British, Australian, Cockney, Irish, Scottish, the insanely difficult Welsh, as well as a myriad of Russian, Polish, Austrian, German, French, and (gasp!) even Yiddish!
The books, especially Ms. Daniels, have done something I never would have expected—gotten me to forget losing the TV series.
I'm posting this in the first book because I can't be expected to keep writing the same review for all the books in the series.
(PS: I'm such a nut for the series that my phone ringtone is the first few bars of the TV show theme.)
I was hoping for a study of the various literature of utopian societies: Brave New World, 1984, Shangri-la, etc.
Instead this is a study of philosophers comments and debates on utopia.
It's interesting, but not what I wanted.
The sub-head "How we know what's really true" led me to believe the book would be about how to refute and rebut arguments from the religious right on the validity of the Bible, etc.
Instead it's a rather dull science textbook written for pre-teenagers.
And unfortunately the woman's voice and intonation makes it seem that she is speaking to someone who doesn't understand English.
I like Hawkins, but not this.
It's not a terrible book, but not great. But I spent a long time at the top of the book trying to understand why FBI agents always carried 20 quarters for pay phones. And no one seemed to include Reagan as part of Presidential assasination history.
God, things have really changed since 1977. And much of the book feels dated because of it. Even the plot against the President is dated.
Also, I wish someone was a little more careful with details of the recording. Senator Birch Bayh name was pronounced "Bye" not "Bay."
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