I really enjoy Malcolm Gladwell's writing, and I do like the stories in this collection. But while these are excellent stand-alone pieces, the collection lacks the punch of his other books (The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers).
Anoher reviewer noted that the audiobook is not unabridged, but that was an error in the recording. I contacted Audible, and they credited my account so I can replace this book with a different one, as two stories are incomplete and another one is missing from the recording. Audible is working with the publisher to correct this issue. If the recording shows a total time of less than 12 hours, it hasn't been fixed yet.
Interesting, poor narration
The actual assassination.
I'm sure Bill O'Reilly was permitted to narrate his own audiobook because he is a known television personality. Unfortunately, he did his own book a disservice. He frequently mispronounces words throughout the book, stumbles over words, and pauses at the end of a printed line, whether or not the sentence has concluded. His strong eastern accent distracts the reader from the story. I wish I'd read this one in print.
No. I enjoyed the details of a known historical event, but nothing was particularly emotionally provoking.
I enjoyed the stories of Abagnale's exploits and learned much about the formerly lax security in the airline, banking and medical industries. My only difficulty was the dated language. It was clear the book was written primarily in the '70s, with its references to "chicks" and "swinging parties". If you can get past that, it's a terrific story.
So many of the stories in Kid were ones I had never heard before. Who could believe Evans had to fight to get Brando cast as the Godfather? Or that the sequel to Chinatown was never made because the director who owned the rights refused to allow Evans to appear in one of the lead roles (Jack Nicholson's condition for reprising his own role as Jake). Evans himself is the true star of the book. While he does mumble and is sometimes difficult to understand, his egotistical, dramatic phrasing brings him to life as a real person: "Was it worth it. You bet your ass it was!" I think Evans understands he is the caricature of a Hollywood produce that created the archetype, and he plays to that image to amuse and entertain the reader/listener. Even if you're not a movie buff, there is much to love in this book.
If you've never heard David Sedaris read one of his essays on This American Life or listened to one of his other books, you should know he is one of the most hilarious storytellers in America today. Given that, this book does not come close to the brilliance of Me Talk Pretty One Day or some of the pieces in Holidays on Ice. Sedaris is most enjoyable when reading before a live audience, as he feeds off the excitement of the crowd. For that reason, the Live at Carnegie Hall performance is a great place to start. For a non-live performance, Me Talk Pretty is the best. There are some gems here, but this is not his best work. Many of the stories simply made me sad, although I could still see humor in the way they are told.
I have always enjoyed George Carlin's humor, and I'm not particularly concerned about his language. I did find myself wondering how Carlin has transformed from a very intelligent, very funny comedian to a grouchy old man whose complaints sometimes made me uncomfortable. There are still some pearls here; the part about UFO believers versus religious folks is first class, and I found myself (somewhat un-PC, I know) very entertained by his tirade about the handicapped. But much of the material was simply curmudgeonly without being particularly funny. I felt disappointed and almost embarrassed for the once-brilliant author.
I consider it the greatest compliment that I unequivocally enjoyed this book (including the author's unique voice) despite disagreeing completely with her political leanings. Vowell has a very intelligent and humorous way of making her points, and the stories she tells give a really interesting view of history and patriotism. If you enjoy This American Life, you'll like the Partly Cloudy Patriot.
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