I really enjoyed this read, and have added experiencing Grant Achatz' food to my bucket list.
That said, this is a two-character narrative, read by only one person. It made the first person story telling confusing. This isn't Johnny Heller's fault, exactly, though he could have made some effort to distinguish the two voices. It is a huge production error for an audio book, though, and markedly diminished my enjoyment.
Somehow I didn't realize I was getting sucked into a series with this book. If the plot had come to a conclusion, I would have rated this "okay, non-literary." But, as it stands, it's just a taste to getting buyers into the franchise, and suffers form all the flaws common to the genre: super-power, super hero people, shallow character development, and of course, the cliff hanger. Add to this the heavy handed Christianity and anti-Muslim bias, lots of super natural events of both good and evil import, and you've got a wannabe "Left Behind" series. Okay if that's your kind of thing, and also want to spread a bit more hate in the world. Not for me.
I'm not a horror or action-adventure reader, but I wanted some long, popular-fiction to get me through my travels. I bought this book despite those potential categories, and disregarding the description of multiple narrators, each telling stand-alone stories (also not usually my thing.)
I am so glad I followed intuition and not biases in choosing this juicy tome.
To begin, the all-star cast does a fabulous job reading. Real stars -- people like Alan Alda and Rob Reiner, whose voices you will recognize -- lend depth to many sections.
But the real star of the book is the thoughtful, sophisticated analysis of the world we live in, and how that would affect responses to an epidemic of violent corpse attacking across the planet.
How would modern China contextualize a virus into an ancient curse? Japanese society disintergrate with the shame of contamination? What would a first round US Military response look like, and why would it fail?
There is some, but not a lot of hand-to-hand combat and gore in this book. For me, not too much, or too little. And there is almost no continuity -- no named characters, followed through, giving emotional attachment to a story line plot.
Normally, I would find that a problem.
But the richness of imagination and intelligent comprehension was sufficient to make me forget the things I wasn't getting from this book; and shaking my head in wonder at the mastery of storytelling in these precise, humorous, provoking sketches and novellas about the pet monster of our times, the zombie.
Whatever type of reading you usually enjoy, don't miss this book!
There is nothing unpleasant or illiterate about this book. It's just, long, dull, and overwhelmed with minute-by-minute details in the thoughts and plans of a litigation lawyer. When a writer describes how certain parts of a trial are dull to everyone involved, but goes ahead and writes the whole scenario anyway, that's just boring. The plot twists -- what few there are -- are foreshadowed hours ahead of their reveal. And I'm sorry to say that the central detail "revealed" at the end-- besides being unsurprising, does not rise to the level of emotional drama with which it is treated by Mr. Grisham or Actor Beck. In this day and age, when violence is daily fare on television and in the news, this single incident -- while deplorable -- is insufficient to credibly motivate the collective horror and remorse of the characters in modern fiction.
Sell this book to Jane Austin readers, preferably her contemporaries, so they can be shocked at the public revelation of a long-suspected dark secret. In 21st Century America, even in 20th Century Mississippi where this novel takes place, it just doesn't fly.
This well-written, spotlessly narrated treatise on the personal, economic and environmental benefits of local food-sourcing held my attention like a well-written novel.
That Ms. Kingsolver knows how to translate her story-telling skills from fiction to reality is only slightly surprising, given her prowess as one of America's great living novelists.
"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" is a worthy agrarian disquisiton in the tradition of Wendell Berry.
The book is compelling without being preachy. The authors let their audience off lightly, encouraging small steps, in lieu of life-long locavore fasts. For example, we learn:
--one locally sourced meal a week would direct $10,000,000
weekly into local farms
--if every restaurant sourced just 10% of its food from nearly by
producers, the entire food economy would be changed
--mid-winter readers will need to make their transition to
local foods by planning over the next year
That said, do not expect to listen to this book and buy grocery store bananas or off-season aspargus heedlessly again. What "Food, Inc." the movie does to carnivore sensibilities, this work does for every morsel we consume.
If every local farmers' market had a stand selling this book, supermarkets would be a thing of the past.
The preview recording that accompanies this book is misleading in two ways. First, and happily, the narrator for the bulk of the text is not the shaky voiced author who squeaks her way through the introduction. The pompous British narrator is easier on the ears, if effusively enthusiastic in her delivery of hours of fawning words. The second surprise is the personal observations and behind-the-scenes glimpse implied by the content of the preview are non-existent in the book proper.
The bulk if this book is an astonishingly positive, squeaky clean and obviously biased history of an historic figure, as gleaned from the official statements of the palace and scrubbed down news sources. It is a historical narrative without a hint of scandal, intimacy or insight except in so far as it agrees with the thesis that the queen is an awesome, consistent, heroic figure and as flawless as any monarch who ever lived.
Is there a contrasting view point? Who knows? This is my first biography of Queen Elizabeth II, and I certainly didn't get a hint of of controversy from any part of this unbalanced narrative.
While reasonably well written and entertaining, this book disappoints by -- after an unwarrantedly long time -- leaving every major plot point hanging in mid air, presumably for sequels. Like many fantasies and non-literary efforts, it's characters are all superhuman, not just in the sense of being supernatural beings, but by being the most superlative creatures seen in history. Most disturbing, the heroine spends the vast portion of the book being carried off sleeping in the hero's arms -- a predilection so extreme and frequently repeated that it can only represent a pathologic fixation on the father figure. I suspect even hard core romance novel fans will be creeped out by Ms. Harkness' naked desire to crawl into bed with her daddy.
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