Saratoga, CA, United States
We tend to think of Hitler and Germany to their west, but Ukraine and Belarus got it bad from both sides. Hard to believe what humans can do to each other. Well-researched, well-narrated.
Very useful and inspiring. I've been in writing groups for years, taught some writing, edited some books, and II found Hynes book super refreshing. He synthesizes theories from past writers on storytelling (e.g., Gardner and Forster) and explains explored his way through the creation of plots for his own novels.
So there is a lot new here. As a note, I downloaded 'Writing Creative Non-Fiction" at the same time and I find it very basic, geared more towards those who haven't written much at all. Hynes course would be useful to newbies and pros alike, I'd think.
Yes, I'm tired of writers going into the minds of the seriously disturbed. They often resort to some crazed version of religion, as in this book. I just don't believe it. There's also a very junior-high level love story here. I could finish the book. Came close, but couldn't do.
Outstanding biography of the Babe's amazing energetic life, well read. Great for the baseball fan, but also just a great story.
It's a thrilling ride. WWII, scary deep dives, tragedy, good biographical sketches, and it's all wrapped up in a mystery. The narrator sounds a bit 1950ish, but this book is a great ride.
Tim O'Brien explores the line between fiction and memoir, and why we tell stories. The recapitulation of events remind me of musical motifs. It's a beautiful book, and really sad.
A few chapters--like those on the development of the diatonic scale are really interesting. The author himself steps in at the end of some chapters to demonstrate principles on his guitar, and this really helps. Problems: there are spoken passages referring to notes and scales that could easily have been backed by musical audio. There are hundreds of places where this could have been done. In a description of a flute, there's no sound bite of a flute. Curious why they didn't bother to use more sounds. Some of content is poorly suited to the audio format.
Prof Allitt gives an even appraisal of the British Empire finally concluding that despite shameful moments, it left the world with positive institutions and ideas--and in comparison to other empires (think of the Spanish conquistadors, or Stalin) the British empire comes out looking pretty good.
I do enjoy a British voice too. So many Great Courses professors are American.
Oh, the two chapters on empire literature fit in really well.
Yes, amazingly the book wasn't boring. Although it's repetitive and very little actually happens. Protagonist/narrator John Whitman Sutter likes to hear himself talk, apparently. So ordering a pizza is described in detail, along with the arrival of the pizza, and the eating of the pizza. And what's with all the time spent on this Iranian neighbor? Nothing develops there. If I were reading this, not listening, I'd be skimming. But sometimes that's hard when listening, and anyway, Christian Rummel is great reader, so I made it through from start to finish, many hours. But I could describe the events of the plot in about a minute.
Hastings hits on everything, especially the human costs of the war, not just the numbers of dead but the personal stories. The war is not a series of campaigns, this book reminds us, but a story of mass murder, rape, and starvation. Probably the best all-around history I've read. And Hastings is not reluctant to voice opinions. He's tough on the tyrannies of the time, of which their were many.
Explorers suffered a lot. And made others suffer. Times were tough. Africa was tough. This is a great story with a great reader.
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