Jan Karon does it again with another book filled with charming characters, both new and old. Plots are fair, but her books are for people who read for characters. Erik Singer's narration is good, though for those of us who are accustomed to the other narrator, it is an adjustment. I did enjoy his Irish dialects.
If this is your first Jan Karon, I encourage you to start with the Mitford books.
Gregory Boyle, or "G" as the gang members he works with call him, is a wonderful story teller. In "Tattoos on the Heart" he's taken the stories he's collected from many years of working as a priest with gang members and their families in East L.A. and shared them with us. No other narrator could have read them as well as he has, with the dialects and intonations and experience of retelling these stories. But I'll warn you, it's hard to get through the stories without shedding tears. Boyle has buried nearly 200 people over the years due to gang violence. His dedication and selflessness is lovely to see. Don't get me wrong--he's not tooting his own horn, but merely relating his experiences of trying to get through to these young men and women. There are successes, but many failures. I found the book a wonderful encouragement and will most likely read it again.
I bought this book because the review in the newspaper included great job advice, and I figured the creator of Dilbert would have interesting stories about the various jobs he'd held. The problem is that the review contained the most interesting stories. When I got to the chapter with a--h---- in the title and found it was repeated over and over, I decided I'd had enough. If you are a big Dilbert fan and find vulgar language amusing, this might be the book for you. I'm moving on.
"Ethan Frome" is a little gem! Short enough to be read in a day, I confess it took me longer as I stopped from time to time to think about the story. Wharton has written a passionate book hidden behind the austere exteriors of her New England characters. The melancholy beauty of it took my breath away! This is not a book to read and move on; she leaves her readers considering her setting, characters, and conflict and knowing there is more depth than a single reading can reveal. The narrator seemed to capture the tone and only added to the story. Highly recommended!
I was immediately attracted to this book by its title and subject. It was, after all, a book about a parent reading to his child; something I loved doing with my children. After reading the mixed reviews I started the book wondering whether it would hold my attention. To be honest, there was a point at which I almost stopped. Alice goes into details about her life that didn't seem relevant. But I stuck with it and it grew on me to the point where I was sorry when it was over.
"The Reading Promise" is a coming-of-age story, but it's also a love story to a single dad, as well as a warning cry to all who value reading that it's time to make our voices heard in the schools before reading and books are removed to make room for technology.
Alice does a great job reading. If anyone wants proof that reading to your children is worth the time, read this book.
If you haven't read Anne Frank's diary, written over a two year period by a girl in her early teens in hiding from the Nazis, the time is now! I will warn you that this is the entire diary, not the abridged version her father initially published. She talks about sex, her body, and the tension between herself and her mother. Anne gives us a glimpse into the stresses and struggles her family, and the four others in hiding with them, faced as they lived above Mr. Frank's business. Yet, it's not just a WWII story; Anne gives us a well-painted picture of a girl going through the normal conflicts of growing up. This was a book that stayed with me for days after I had finished listening.
I found the reader irritating at first because her voice wasn't the one I heard in my head for Anne, but she did a good job of expressing Anne's feelings in a teenager's voice.
I tried to read this book. I wanted to learn how to memorize the way the supermen in the book did. But, maybe a third of the way through, I felt overwhelmed and decided I would stick to notepads.
I'm not sure what persuaded me to purchase this book, although it was probably a good review. There is no question in my mind that Edmund Crispin's stories are a delight to many mystery readers, it just wasn't my cup of tea. "The Moving Toyshop" belongs to a series of stories about an Oxford don, Gervase Fen, who solves mysteries. The tone is crazy and light-hearted, especially for a murder mystery. In fact, more than once the Keystone Cops came to mind. The mystery is involving enough, but with numerous characters I had a hard time following the protagonist's movements. Towards the end I got bored and only half listened. The narrator was very good, but with many characters, and most of them men, he had a lot of voices to keep track of.
This is not the choice for readers who love a plot-driven book! Zama's story is more like a truck bumping along a dirt road: jolts are small and you get a good view of the surroundings as you pass through. It's a slice-of-life kind of story. I really loved the book and was sorry when it was over. Zama gave me an understanding of a culture I wasn't familiar with, likable characters, and a sweet story. Tania Rodrigues did a terrific job with the Indian accents.
I remembered seeing the mini-series in 1981 and finding the story unforgettable, but I had no idea it was based on a book. My book club read the book and I could hardly put it down. The story is so well told and the horrors of war are touched but not dwelt upon. Jean, the protagonist, is a strong, admirable woman who accomplishes so much during the war and after. Shute has written a sweet love story with so much more involved. The narrator did an excellent job with the British and Australian accents. Loved this book!
Before reading this book, I had never heard of Rob Lowe nor seen any of the movies in which he starred. Yet, the reviews for it were so compelling that I bought and read it. And I agree with the reviewers who encouraged me to listen. Mr. Lowe did a fabulous job of narrating; actors almost always make a huge difference. His stories were, of course, personal experiences about interesting places, people, and situations and he tells a great story. Because I am only a few years older than the author and grew up in Southern California, many of the stories he told were about places I was familiar, though anyone interested in the Hollywood culture will find the book fascinating. The foul language was off-putting, as well as the sex, alcohol, and drug culture, but Mr. Lowe weaves the story into a coming-of-age tale with himself as the protagonist, and does, fortunately, grow up.
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