This is a fun, tight little story. I almost didn’t pick it up because of the price vs length, but it is worth it. It is a good half step between book four and five (where there are a full twelve years).
Edgar Rice Burroughs is an author that I have heard a lot about, but have never taken the time to get to know. He is sexist and racist, but also a whole lot of fun. If you can overlook some of the dated ideas and just enjoy the story it will be worth your time.
This is a Feminist/Socialist Utopia where the act of sex has disappeared, but don’t let that make you think it is a total downer, this is also a really funny story. While the society is inherently simplified, and rather…well, sexist, it is also light hearted. The author has an agenda, but time tries to win people over with honey and not vinegar. Hopefully you at least smile at the antics of the American men, and the superiority of the mothers of Herland. The audiobook starts off with a 54 minute forward that puts the work in its social context, I enjoyed this, but you may decide to jump over it.
First, Sienkiewicz is one of my favorite authors, and it is a shame that Audible doesn’t offer more of his works. Quo Vadis would only rank in the middle of the pack, with many better books out there. Please record more!
Some reviews complain about the translation, there is not a mistake here; Sienkiewicz is writing a book about things that happened about 30 years after the death of Christ, so he tried to make the language sound contemporary to the bible. It makes sense in the story. Admittedly Frederick Davidson’s narration may make this a little worse to people who are sensitive to something that sounds "old", as he does have a very formal British accent. Personally Davidson is one of my favorite narrators on Audible, and I feel he does great work with this Nobel Prize winning novel. While on one hand this is a novel about Christians in Rome (one of the better books in this genera), it may also be interesting that the author wrote this in a partitioned Poland. Not all the jabs are just about the historic decadence of Rome.
This was not a bad book, but I would classify it more as a book about philosophy than I would a work of non-fiction. The most quoted work is Melville’s Moby-Dick, and while most of the time he uses it to frame the extremes of the argument of the morality of animals, at other times he also seems to be using it as an actual reference of fact. His basic argument is that animals are moral, but that it is a different type of morality than that recognized by humans; sort of a species specific morality. While he develops this theory in great detail (other reviewers seem to think too much detail), in the end he makes a leap saying that, while humans and other animals all have this species specific morality, that humans should broaden their morality to encompass all other species, even though he just argued for "X" number of pages saying this was unnatural. In short if you tend to lean heavily to the “Animal Rights” side of civilization you will love this book. As you drift away from that being your “singular goal” I would say your excitement will also drift.
Normally I am the guy who writes a review defending a book that other people gave a poor review, but this time the shoe is on the other foot. I admit, I didn’t do my research before I started this book. I just read the title and thought, “I like bicycles, travel logs, the Silk Road, Ladies, and even a little Chic-Lit, I will give this book a try!” Sadly, there is almost none of those things in this book. A better title would have been "All Relationships Suck; No Really, They Do." Reading this book, I am not sure if there is anything Suzanne Joinson likes. I am also not sure if she was just trying to shock the reader or if someone should sit her down with a drink and tell her ‘things aren’t that bad.’ It’s not even that Ms Joinson lacks talent, or even that the idea is bad, this book just doesn’t work.
The narrator, Susan Duerden, also did a dismal job, which is sad because she has a nice voice. My biggest problem is that she put inflection at the end of 99.9% of the sentences. It was like she was asking me questions for ten and a half hours instead of telling me a story. I have to admit that she either got better after about 5 hours or I just got used to it, but I don’t want to waste the time to go back and check.
While I don’t think I am a member of the demographic that this book was mainly written for, I did enjoy it a great deal. Moriarty hit just about every social issue that popped up in the first half of the twentieth century, and did a nice job trying to represent both sides of the issue. She also wove an engaging story. The biggest problem I have had with it, is how to explain it to someone without giving part of the book away.
I thought this was a fun and interesting book. I like sushi, and now feel better informed about many aspects of sushi and sushi culture. Things like; though sushi is presently viewed as kind of snobby, it originally had more in common with a hotdog street cart, and was fairly practical. While it is nonfiction, Trevor Corson does interweave the facts with a story about some up and coming sushi chefs (something some reviewers noted as tedious). While all in all the narration was pretty good, I would have to nominate Brian Nishii for the worst Australian accent ever… ever.
I didn’t think that the first book was that great; it was like Grossman was trying to hard to be clever and witty. At best I would say it ended with more promise than it began. On that note I thought I would give the second book a chance. Like most other reviewers have said, this book was much better the first. I still feel Quentin is whiney (though he does grow a little), and the best news is that you don’t hear much from the other characters from the previous book. What makes this book work so well is the story line with Julia. As I don’t want this to be a spoiler, I will leave it at that.
Not to be over looked is Mark Bramhall’s excellent job as a narrator. I could listen to this guy all day.
This is one of those books that I remember friends reading in high school, but for some reason my teacher skipped. It is something that I have meant to read for years, but have never made time for; well I am glad I finally made the time. Even though I knew the reputation of the book, I was still surprised by how well it worked. The depth and variety of the characters were surprising. Part of me really wanted to sit down and make a chart of all the interconnecting stories like I was some sort of school kid. If you have never made the time for this classic, I would suggest that you do so as soon as possible.
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