You’re in hell and finding out that everything you were taught on faith is a lie. Are you going to say to the devil “but it’s not fair!!!!!”? I’ve often imagined that one and always it makes me laugh a that’s-not-funny laugh. So I found the opening scene not just memorable but funny and smart. And then it gets even better. Over and over in this short book I shook my head with a silent OMG. This short stay in hell kept me thinking about it long after I finished listening. Listen to it uninterrupted.
almost give this 5 stars. I was NEVER bored. No wonder this is a classic. Aside from one small segment you could not tell that this was written in the 50s. It's not about the characters; it is the brilliance of the story line and how it is developed. Every time I thought I knew where it was going, I was wrong, pleasantly so.
It is so easy to visualize. This is not an other-worldly world with creations we need to imagine. It is our world, gently nudged in a slightly but importantly different direction.
Narration is excellent.
this narrator does not do the author any favors. The book is slow enough but the narration is painfully slow. It is a book I could read in 5 hours, not 12, For the last half I listened at 1.5x speed and it was just right to maintain my interest.
The story itself is just ok but I never really bought into it. Especially the ending.
Absolutely fascinating history, perfect narration.
Whenever I see pictures of the medieval walled cities in the old world, I always shiver, imagining their purpose to protect the inhabitants from the "Mongol hordes" or "bands of marauding Tatars" as we were taught in school. Yes, the Mongols and Tatars were ruthless and to be feared, but that is only a speck of the real story. Listening to this audio book, the bit I knew of Genghis Khan and the Mongols has been turned up-side-down and spun around. I see that I previously knew less than nothing, as the little bit I thought I knew was all wrong.
Right up to the last chapters, where we see the influence of the Mongols and their empire, the Making of the Modern World part, it is always interesting. And his story continues, even today, with our modern societies fighting over Genghis Khan's image and legacy. Great history, well written, perfectly narrated, highly recommended.
Two short stories, two authors and two narrators, with one shared fantasy world between them. The first, The Alchemist, shows that the combination of great writing and great narration can make a story much more entertaining than it actually deserves. It also sets up the second story, The Executioness, which I found less entertaining but more thought provoking, showing many parallels to our own world. Both felt shallow though, missing something. Both are good but not great. This would need to get fleshed out into a full sized book, preferably by the Paolo Bacigalupi/Jonathan Davis team.
I was looking for something light but not this light. Hoping for some noir, some humor or at least some attitude, but with a feminine twist. Did not get any of that. What kept me going was Katherine Kellgren’s narration, which is always brilliant. This is only somewhat entertaining. At least the romance angle was low key and I was glad it never degraded to cheap thrills. I will not be continuing in this series.
This audiobook narrated by Will Patton is a sweet treat. Stephen King says at the end that it is harder and harder to scare people, especially those who admit to being creeped-out by the Shining and Pet Sematary, like me. So no, I did not find this scary in any way but I was constantly entertained. King is such a great storyteller that each chapter has something to hold your interest and lead you into the next, as only he can do. I loved his “good” characters and enjoyed the “bad” ones. Some characters I adored just because of the voice Will Patton gives them, adding a whole new layer of who they are.
I give it 4 stars as a good enjoyable story, 5 stars for the narration, and on the Stephen King scale, also 4 stars. Having read 27 novels/compilations by this author, I think he deserves his own scale of comparison. For me, Doctor Sleep is like Duma Key with a better ending, or Firestarter for the 21st century. It is not epic like the Stand or powerful like Misery or the Green Mile, but way better than The Dark Half and Thinner, and much better than Hearts in Atlantis. If you are like me and need a Stephen King “fix” every few years, this is a good bet.
There are two interesting story lines here, both very well told although not in great depth which is a good thing, in my opinion. We get just enough to be entertained and informed.
I especially appreciate the sensitive treatment of Dr. Minor, his illness, his crime and his victims. I got a glimpse of the importance of Pinel, a name very well-known here in my city.
I enjoyed the narration more than I expected. Not usually a fan of authors reading their own material, I prefer leaving the job to the professionals. But in this case, I make an exception. I think I like Simon Winchester even better in audio than in print.
I read the print version of this book in 2007 and at that time I declared it to be one of the best books I had ever read. Now, in 2013, I have just finished listening to the audio book and now have no doubt that it is THE BEST book I have ever read.
This time I knew the ending and I so was free to fully experience the road traveled by the man and the boy. I remembered what had made it such a powerful read and so I was actually able to appreciate it even more. The genius is in the subtlety, it is in the road traveled. I will never say in words what made it so perfect, in the same way that magic is no longer magic if you tell its secrets.
The narration is masterful.
Better listened to than read. So, ok, it went over my head at times, and the audio version does not come with the charts and tables, but these are minor and not even annoying. The fact is that it kept me coming back because I always knew there was more that I would find interesting, that would make me glad I stuck with it. There was always another moment when I'd say to myself, yes, this is worth coming back to.
The narration is perfect. I could believe it was the author speaking to me. Without sounding like a Harvard professor, he sounded like someone I can like. It would be all scholarly-like for a while and then I’d hear a quote from Bruce Springsteen, Woody Allen or my personal Woodstock favorites, Country Joe and the Fish. There were also plenty of references to current pop culture but I just don’t remember them as much as those from my boomer culture.
I don’t think I would have appreciated this book in my twenties but after many discussions and disagreements over the question of where our society is headed, are we getting better or worse, I love that Steven Pinker has done the work for me. Because I have always believed it in my heart, I accept his research as the confirmation.
I give the audio version only 4 stars because (1) it lacks a downloadable file for charts and tables. (2) being such a long listen, I often had to switch devices and struggled to find my place more than once because of the different chapter counts between devices, and (3) I would so love an index and table of contents.
I am considering buying a print or eBook version to reread sections that were particularly enlightening. A very satisfying experience, it will not be my last from Steven Pinker.
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