A terrible mistake has been made.
Last week as I prepared to manage my downloaded inventory of audiobooks I found--to my horror--that I had inexplicably purchased a book I am certain I never would have bought if I had been paying the least bit of attention.
_Eat, Pray, Love_. Gack! Just check the title. Is there a better example of pure Chick Lit on the market today? Oof. And the story sounded enough like the one about the the well-to-do Californian woman who moved to Tuscany.... I thought that would be like something from Peter Mayles but it was mostly just Whiney White Woman. I gave it up.
But as I always say, you don't have to be smart, you just have to sit next to Stupid. As I braced myself for this girly excursion (hey, audio books aren't cheap! I wasn't going to just chuck it.), I took up a shorter book that pomised to be lighter, at least.
Oh, it was light, all right. _I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell_ starts out with the pointless exploits of a young lout who drinks, pukes, and fornicates his way through the first chapter. The only thing worse than the writing is the narration by the author. It is the worst I have ever heard.
I found I wasn't laughing at this guy and I wasn't laughing with him either. Where does that leave me? In fairness, I should say it did draw me in somewhat: After the first chapter, I felt like vomiting. Rereading the reviews, I see I had been warned.
Moving on, the Chick Lit wasn't so bad. Actually, pretty good. Better than _Three Cups of Tea_--and probably more truthful. Narrated very well by the author.
Of course, her politics are liberal but that doesn't have much to do with the story so far. (She mentions it, so I mention it.)
Now that I've finished it, I have to say it's pretty good. I didn???t get the goofy title till after I was done: ??Three countries, three themes. Duh.
I always said, a good writer can get you interested in anything. Of course she's a best seller, so who am I to criticize. Some best-sellers are dumb. This turned out smart. And as Gilbert says in her online lecture, this could be her peak. Still, not a bad thing....
Gold is where you find it. This was fun. Grade: ?? A
Sent from my iPad
The writing was good enough and the story was interesting and sincere. What disappointed me was Stacy Keach's reading. He started every sentence loud or high and ended most of them in a whisper. I was frequently left wondering what could have been the last few words in the previous sentence.
The writing was pretty straightforward.
The voice recording was disappointing. I tried tuning it with my iPhone's equalizer settings but I couldn't get rid of enough bass.
The few times I've listened to NPR, I've marveled at how extraordinarily well their microphones transmit voice. Why can't all audio books be more like that?
Long ago I read a book that was supposed to be about the business of making movies ("You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again"). It was a total disappointment. Friedkin's book is exactly the kind of book was looking for.
I guess the thing that surprised me – aside from his apparent honesty and candor about himself, even the bad periods in his life – was that he could be so passionate about his work and so could others. People absolutely hated and loathed some movies, while loving others. There were feuds that went on for decades. All the same mix of happiness and unhappiness that the rest of us get in our lives I suppose, but I didn't think it was part of the territory when it comes to being rich and famous and successful in Hollywood. I thought you would just be happy about your accomplishments. But no, there's all the usual stuff to worry about: budgets, and money, and backing and expenditures and time and investments of all kinds. Plus the work of making a movie, itself.
This book touches on all of it. I'm very glad I found it. I think you'll like it.
Sidney Lumet's "Making Movies," which I'm reading now on Kindle — couldn't find it at Audible :-(
Oh, there was a producer...but I forget his name. Friedkin had some fun playing him.
Friedkin's heart attack. And his later hospital stay with complications.
Well, I'm a technical writer, so I know something about writing. This book (blessedly!) follows the basics: Keep It Sweet & Simple. Tell the story. Have a sense of humor (or tolerance). Friedkin does what he should to make this book readable. Not everybody can do that.
"How bad can it be? It's Edison, after all!" I said to myself.[Groan] It can be bad. From the first paragraph, I disliked the author's style. I ended up skipping most of Chapter One. Then most of Chapter Two. And most of Chapter Three. And then I bailed.
No, I can't imagine that. I found myself trying to rearrange, simplify, streamline the prose but to no avail.
He did a good job with difficult text.
Great disappointment. I'm sure it is all very factual and detailed but it is so pedantic that it reminds me why many of us disliked history textbooks when we were in school. The reading ease grade level must be around Grade 14, I'll bet. Well, I'm a fan of the Nuremberg Funnel, myself. I think reading can be fun.
I'm an experienced business and technical writer with a B.A. In journalism, so I am very sympathetic to the effort that must have gone into this book. I don't like leaving a negative review and I wish I could offer more positive comments. I suppose some people enjoy this (didactic?) style of presentation but it is too much for me.
As a professional nonfiction writer, I am well aware of the advantages of "print" books over audio. I like audio for books that I'm going to listen to linearly – start-to-finish. Print is better for skipping around and dodging boring bits. I do not regret getting this in audio. There was no reason to move outside of the path of the text. It made sense and was developed coherently, and all of that. Plus, I thought the narration was as good as it could possibly have been.
I have had strong feelings about the disciple Paul ever since I read his writings in the Bible. They just didn't seem to fit with the teachings of Jesus. And, sure enough, this book arrives at much the same conclusions as I did. So it was nice to have confirmation of what I have believed for the last half century. And that is: Paul was all about setting up rules and conduct for the church. This was far and above the teachings part of the Gospels.
This is the first time I have heard this narrator. I thought he did an absolutely excellent job.
Well, for a nonfiction book, there were many "interesting" passages. For instance, all of the killing that went on in those days, and executions, and the rebellion in 66 to 70 A.D.– much of that was new to me.
I was raised Christian. Baptized in my early teens, became a member of the church. Went to church most Sundays, Bible school in the summers. Hated all of it.
I read the New Testament in my early 20s. I read the Old Testament a year ago. What an eye-opener. This book is a perfect complement to that kind of inquiry, filling in an awful lot of perspective that is not available in the Bible.
As a habitually critical reader (with a degree in journalism), I kept thinking the whole time about what the "true believers" would offer to counter what is in this book. Of course, people tend to believe what they want to believe. And I'm sure "the other side" would have plenty of arguments against this book. But I have a feeling those arguments would be flimsy and based mainly on wishful thinking and not on available facts and research.
The book claims not to be "anti-Jesus," but rather to be an examination of the historical record with regard to the life of Jesus of Nazareth. And I think the author sticks to that premise and behaves very responsibly. It's just that he has amassed so much evidence in favor of that argument that it may sound biased. I don't see any bias. And I am encouraged to try to find other books like this to take my investigation further. And of course I can always reread the Bible. (I have the NIV in Kindle for iPad.)
I definitely feel this book was worth my time. Outstanding.
Well told stories.
It's not a comedy, but there were spots where I laughed out loud. More than a few. That's rare.
There were a lot of good scenes. I suppose the end scene was most memorable.
Not necessarily. It was by nature episodic, but a nice balace between vignettes and the overall story. Very enjoyable reading. (I am a professional nonfiction writer myself.)
Highly recommended. Definitely in my Top Five for 2013 as of August.
I already have, kind of: A friend insisted I read this. Even though I'd read "iCon" several years ago, I liked this even more.
It seemed fair and balanced--which Steve Jobs was not! ;-)
I did notice that the narrator's choice in emphasis often differed from the emphasis I would have put on the words in the text. I've only noticed that once before (with narrator Elliott Gould) but here it was just a minor distraction at times.
Not that I noticed.
Not as "sexy" as its billing--or, rather, it was more discreet than I expected. Which I actually appreciated. Made it seem much classier.
I felt the author was being honest and sincere, no more and no less. He evaluated everyone for their good and bad traits alike. As a professional (technical and business) writer I am sensitive to bias and loaded language. Mr. Langella seemed quite straightforward.
I was never a fan, although the latest movie I saw him in gave him a very full-blooded part that caught my interest. His voice, of course, is among the finest speaking voices recorded.
His subjects are just about all dead. Besides avoiding libel problems, this allows for stories that are complete with endings. Beyond that, there are moments of poignant memory that are very touching. A couple of passages made me catch my breath.
A good read, and not especially scandalous. Told with considerable dry humor. What more could you want?
Very interesting and entertaining. One of those books that can catch your interest if for no other reason than that it is well researched, organized, and presented simply.
The book includes a sort of sidebar discussion of the inventors Morse and Bell. Morse's telegraph faced 60 lawsuits from others claiming credit for the invention. Bell was hit with 600 legal challenges to his claim of having invented the telephone. Such stories flesh out the social and political character of the times.
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