Having listened to Rainbow Rowell's "Attachments" and liking it a lot, I was massively disappointed in "Landline". The plot is silly, the pacing a snail's trail and the story super sexist.
The female narrator who bagged out on a Christmas trip to her husband's family is shown the error of her ways, even though her reason for staying home is the possibility of achieving her and her writing partner's life-long dream of their own TV show, only if they can write a couple of fast scripts in a week, Christmas week.
Reverse the sexes here and see how much sympathy a stay-at-home mom would get for considering divorce because her husband has a chance of his dream job, which he will lose if he joins her and their two kids for a trip to grandma's. He picks the job, and she wants to dump him, even though the family lives entirely on his income.
Only a working mom would feel so radically guilty about this, and the story agrees that she should! Wow, everybody.
I won't even go into the ridiculous conceit of her being able to talk to her husband 15 years earlier thanks to a magical landline.
"Attachments" seems to be a fluke.
Why did I buy this book? On the surface, it's light to the point froth, and yet, maybe because I began with low expectations, it delighted me.
Well-written, wry, tightly paced and especially enjoyable for anyone who has ever worked for an uptight, out-of-touch boss, "Attachments" delivers for humorous, completely non-graphic romance. It's really about friendships, the question of privacy and the possibility of connections in a disconnected world.
Great narrator. For once, these young adults all sound young.
Liked the atmosphere. This is not the Texas of right wing nutcases. No climate change deniers in this book. Nobody treating gun ownership like a religion. Nobody hating gay people and quoting Fox news. These characters are from the Texas I've been to but never seen quoted in the news media. They are eccentrics living well close to the economic bone, not well off but well enough off to have their own thoughts and unpredictable relationships. They are generous without being showy about it.
As a mystery this book is a little slow, but it would have been more of a pleasure were it not for the narrator. Plenty of Audible reviewers rail against narrators whom I think are just fine, but this guy kept me from committing to the story. He's awkward. I was constantly aware of him reading text, instead of conveying a story. I like a narrator to disappear from notice. Martin Gollery never did.
I'm writing this after listening to another book, and I had a hard time bringing the plot of this one back to mind. What happened to the girl? Only after pondering it for some time did I remember, as well as remember who the killer was. Oh yeah. Him.
Not sorry I bought it. Considering it's the writer's debut book, pretty good. Love the rat, and the cat. Made me feel better about Texas, the way "Speed" made me feel better about the LAPD.
Good writing, solid police procedural plot and good narrator. It's a bit of a dawdle. The pace slows down for a hell of a lot of characters mulling over their various points of view.
My real problem is that I don't want to read a mystery about human trafficking, and that is a good third of the story. The focus is a 15-year-old tricked from her African homeland and held in sexual slavery. I understand these things happen, but I don't want details in what is otherwise an entertaining story. There was nothing about this part of the story in the editor's summary or in the reviews. For me, this is torture, way too upsetting for a light diversion of a so-so thriller.
I found the Quarry series by accident, and wow, I'm glad I did. Although Collins wrote them in the '70s, they are far less dated than many more famous from that time. Despite the sexist pulp covers on each one, sexism is not a problem here, at least for me.
Quarry resembles Richard Stark's (Donald Westlake's) Parker, but I think the writing is better and the character more likable, at least for a hit man. Well done. Perfect narrator.
The only problem is, each book is pretty short. Even so, I think each one is worth a credit. I plan to listen to them all at least twice.
I tend not to listen to serious or difficult books, because those I want to hold in my hands and underline the key points to help me absorb them. This is certainly a serious book, but Elizabeth Kolbert is such a clean, clear writer her story flows as easily as it engages.
It's not a doom and gloom book either, at least not entirely, although doom is certainly in the works for many, many species, thanks to our stewardship of our shared planet. What can we do? Answering that question is not Kolbert's task. What she does is lay out in rich and compelling detail the story of what happened across millions of years on earth and what is happening now to animals on earth with us.
Some books I like disappear from mind fairly quickly. This one is staying with me. Highly recommended. Good narrator. She's low key, which is just right. Emotional would make listening impossible.
Very funny crime caper featuring an 88-year-old former cop, his wry, long-suffering wife and his violent yet geeky grandson. Violence runs in this family, although got to say, their adversaries have it coming.
Nick Sullivan is fabulous in a variety of voices. Loved it. Worth a credit? Hell yes.
Good thriller, good characters and fine narrator. Pacing tight and engaging. Yes, some of the plot is a tad improbable, but hey, I was along for the ride. Will look for more by Ben Lieberman. Right now, this is it.
If you haven't read Roberts' "The Witness" or "Northern Lights" and have read titles more in line with her reputation, then you'll be expecting romance/mystery fluff.
Fans of the titles mentioned above, however, who are hoping to hit gold a third time won't find it here. Those are two solidly good. Both have a great sense of place, complex characters, wily bad guys and a plot that hums along.
"The Collector" is plain silly on plot. The characters are unbelievable, all of them, including especially the Asian glam hit woman, and I personally disliked the romance. Independent woman meets strong, sexy, rich man and guess what (plot non-spoiler), he sweeps her off her little feet. I kept wanting to boo.
Watson is an engaging writer, and this memoir was notable when published for its frankness about scientists scrabbling to beat each other to major discoveries. They are like horse race jockeys who aren't above sticking a pebble under a competitor's saddle.
Even given the book was published in 1968, Watson's sexism is breathtaking, especially in regard to fellow scientist Rosaline Franklin. Admirably, he wrote an afterward at a later date (included here) apologizing for his crass dismissal of a woman who's work he felt no hesitations to borrow from when it suited him, which he also acknowledged. I know sexism in science is no longer so overt, but I'd like to think the situation has fundamentally changed for the better.
I don't know if it has, not being a scientist, and that brings up one of the book's chief pleasures: Watson writes so well and clearly about the topic that those with little science background can easily follow him.
Justice is not an interest of Watson's. He's quite frank about that, and he seems to find those who are motivated by it funny. Maybe that's why his account of Linus Pauling's troubles with the U.S. government for his peace activism is so good. Watson is not on Pauling's side. In the 1950s, the U.S. was deep into a red-baiting witch hunt, and Pauling's anti-nuke advocacy caused his government to deny him a passport to travel to Europe to receive a science honor. Watson's casual attitude throws the incident into high relief, oddly, more than a sympathetic telling would have.
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