I never read the "Rabbit" series in my youth and am now trying to catch up. I am a 56 year old male whose time frame is just a few years after the setting of this book. I find Updike's perspective to be fairly advanced for it's time, but a bit disturbing today (politically incorrect now). For this reason, I think that it acts as a time capsule, a view into the male psyche of that era for those who didn't live through it. Much classic literature fulfills this role, but I believe that older Americans are still too close to this era to properly convey the atmosphere to today's youth. This series may accomplish that, in the manner of Catcher In the Rye. That said, this is not for "the depressed" as was stated by another reviewer.
Kurt Vonnegut was obviously born on another planet, his perspective is so deliciously different. I am very sympathetic to his atheistic world view. He almost heroically presents fiction that tickles my fancy. At the same time, he presents scenarios that are totally grounded in possibility, yanking our minds out of the hum-drum daily grind. If there is a God, Vonnegut must be their favorite creation, he sheds so much light upon the human condition...
I made what I believe to be the "mistake" of making this my first Philip Roth experience. I don't get the impression that this is typical of his work. I found it interesting and somewhat enjoyable, but I felt throughout as though I was missing things that may have been relating to previous works (almost like "in" jokes I didn't understand). Part of this may be that I am not of Jewish heritage and thus cannot relate specifically to the whole Israeli gestalt. Nevertheless, I am not sorry for having listened to Operation Shylock. It held my attention and certainly employed many interesting techniques for telling a story. I will check in with friends and see what they think should be my next Roth listen.
I appreciate Friedman's point of view, as I have been an environmental advocate since the early 1970s. The point of this book is to energize the American populace to jump on the bandwagon of becoming "new energy" purveyor to the world. We actually need to do this in order to benefit ourselves, but his approach is a very capitalistic way of going about "doing the right thing". Instead of speaking to us about how profligate our lifestyle has become, he approaches the problem by saying that technology and production will allow us to maintain our position as top dogs. Admirable, in a twisted way. I found that much of this could have been conveyed without so much repetition. For this reason, I recommend the abridged version.
I have absolutely no issue with the details and length of Isaacson's book, but I agree with a few of the other reviewers that it became a slog at times to listen to this. Having not heard the abridged version, I can only say that the Einstein story is worth listening to, but if you have time issues don't go with the unabridged or you will probably not finish it. Perhaps in this case better to hear the story to completion by using the abridged version.
Malarkey and Welch do a good job of building up to and relating the tension and exhaustion of Army Airborne training and combat. They do this without ignoring the internal social and psychological dialogues Malarkey had throughout his life. I found the overall arc of the story enlightening, tracing the soldier from his boyhood through his old age. Excellent narration also made this an easy and enjoyable listen for someone already familiar with the historical events involved. It's a man's perspective.
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