I got this recording because I am a huge fan of Garrison Keillor, and though I was an English Major in college, I never quite got poetry until after I graduated and had a poet for a roommate. This lecture is wonderful! Both read a varied selection of poems that are not the usual drab, blood, misery and death sort. It gives people who are either intimidated or disappointed in poetry a new look and even an appreciation for poetry all over again. These two speakers will not only have you laughing but going out to find more works like the ones they've read. Collins has a wonderful sense of humor even when looking at serious things. His work is terrific and quite frankly there is little Mr. Keillor can do that doesn't fall under the category of brilliant. I recommend this for anyone who's a fan of either of their works or for anyone who's burnt out on poetry for it'll give a new and inviting look without any pretense or need to hide the razors and up the prozac!
I thought this was going to be more of a fictional look at Satan being more of a satire and comical work than a religious one. I have a hard time figuring out whether the author is trying to show us the error of our ways through pointing out what Satan wants, but he also seems to be using Satan as a real hard critic of the Jews of the Old Testament and many of many of the Biblical Characters by somewhat systematically going through through the Old Testament and pointing out all the short comings and weaknesses. I started to wonder which point of view the author was taking. It's an interesting look at many of the issues of the old testament but rather hard to appreciate it due to the angry railing voice that the narrator brings to Satan so that you are distracted from the content so much that it begins to warp the message. Had the narrator read the book in a dark and move devious voice than one of anger and irritation, it would give a very different interpretation of the narrative. I would recommend this book be read than listened to it as the narrators inflection changes meanings and here it is way too distorting and ultimately confusing to be useful to the listener.
Being that I'd had little previous interest in historical fiction, I picked up The Whiskey Rebels with a bit of trepidation, but I was soon won over and hook on our imperfect hero Ben Weaver. A cleaver n'er-do-well who really has the best of intentions despite his ability to be easily side tracked by trouble. It's a character that wins you over and has you cheering for him as he teeters on his moral ground and becoming quite pleased with the advances he makes and disappointed in his set backs.
Liss is able to bring the experience of the time and place alive to the readers senses easily transporting them into the story and keeping him hanging onto every word.
Prejudice and slavery are brought out into the light showing human foibles and weakness against honesty and deceit. The characters are well rounded and realistic, things are not black and white but show the gray area that exists in human nature.
I was glued to the story from start to finish which surprised me since I thought I wouldn't be that interested in the subject matter. I"m now eager to read the other books by Liss.
Why a new publisher would not hire the same narrator for this book as for the last five can only be explained as a money issue, but the fact they did no research or the narrator did not research as to how the previous reader did the series is pure laziness. It's not that Gigi is a bad reader, she's just cut out for more of a dime store romance or gossipy book than for this. The former reader gave Rachel a gumshoe feel as opposed to a ditsy witch who's just lucky feel. She had a little Sam Spade to her and kept the romance or sex parts from being cheap or giddy. This reading makes Rachel seem dumber for some reason. And the voice of Janks is oh so wrong. Why did they not have the author coach Gigi in the reading? Tell how to pronounce the names? That is really distracting!!!!! As soon as I try and forget it's a new less effective reader, she says a name incorrectly and I'm back to focusing on the narrator's folly instead of the story. Whom ever edited this book should be turned into a rat for a month. It's a shoddy production which is not completely the reader's fault. Though she should have listened to the earlier recordings as well to assure she did a better performance.
Otherwise, the story isn't as strong as some in the past, but as always you find yourself completely engaged. You do get tired of some of the repeat descriptions like Jank's Peter Pan pose, but you take it in as part of whole Paranormal Gumshoe genre and it's not too big a deal. I love the stories, but I have to agree with everyone that this reading really frustrates us Rachel Morgan Veterans.
As any fan of the Odd Series will tell you, this isn't his best work and has a distinctly different feel to the series than the other books. One feels like a great deal of information was either edited out and this is the abridged version or that it is only half of the story. Odd arrives in a new town but tells you little you haven't already been told in other books. One hopes that details will come and they never do. People are introduced as possibly major characters with little to no apparent purpose or explanation. You're baffled as to why they are there throughout the book until the end when you guess it is just a setup for the Next book, but feel cheated that you have to wait instead of it being a longer book. Odd also changes his behavior significantly and you feel like he is becoming another character and there is far too many characters who come in and out for no other reason than to suspect that Odd is a good person and give him something he needs for the next scene. It's fairly contrived in places I'm afraid. Sure, you can't have it all lollipops and rainbows but you can't mix lollipops with Machine guns in quite this slap dab a way either. Everyone has less than stellar works now and then, but I would think an editor would have looked at this and pointed some of it out to Koontz before it hit the shelves. It's not a bad book, but disappointing in comparison to past works and what we've grown to expect from Odd and Koontz. Well, here's hoping part II is better.
Having This Author read his work is an added bonus. He's got a wonderful reading voice. I wish he would read all his works. This book is highly addictive if you are trapped in your office and bored of things at the moment. The character gets pulled into a world so alien to himself yet brings out the best in him and helps him find himself and what is important. Mix this with wonderful descriptions and lively adventures and you're sure to become addict to his work as I have. He's got a brilliant sense of humor which will leave you smiling to yourself.
Helprin wrote a very funny story, but it is unlike his Winter's Tale which will be a disappointment to many who hold that up as a model. While a wonderful unlikely fairy tale, he does over due it on very sophmoric jokes and sort of beat you to death with them. Yes, they're funny-ish the first time, but then he keeps beating you with it and it just becomes annoying. However watching the characters change for complete prats to people who actually do a little thinking and caring is worth the read. It is well read and the character voice not grossly over done nor are they too dramatically read. It's easy to listen to the narrator and let your imagination fill in the faces and scenery. Helprin uses his wonderful imagry here but does keep get too contrived putting his characters through the same pronuciation pit falls time after time. You just want to yell from the third to the upteeth time there is a issue, 'Teach him to ennunciate properly and we won't all be in this mess'. He over plays that angle, while twisting a tale in a beautiful fashion and showing the under belly of many. It's a nice read and pleasurable.
Often it is difficult to listen to a narrator of an audible book for some time before you grow weary of his voice or find flaws in his reading style. This book was EXCELLENTLY narrated and you felt that you were listening to the author and not someone merely reciting words yet not mellow dramatically done. The book requires much thought and being able to rewind and listen to certain passages over again is wonderful. I originally read the book in my early twenties but was looking for a travel book not a philosphy book so it had little affect upon me, listening to it now on my commute into the city, it opens up much thought and forces the reader/listener to really think and not just swallow without chewing first. It will inspire the listener if he is of that temperment, to want to further read both philosophers and Pirsig's other books which sadly are not yet here available.
Having read Tom Brown Jr.'s books on his relationship and learning from an Appache Elder, this book was a bit shallowly written. It discribes only what the Author saw and felt but not any concrete details that would help the reader as Tom Brown's books are more instructional and less superficial. The story is nice from an 'dreamy new age hazy" point of view but if you're looking for something to change your point of view it probably won't be found here. My big problem was the narration. It was overly dramatic and sounded to me like a middle age woman reading breathily trying to affect a 'baby doll' Marilyn Monroe voice at times (not given away in the sound sample where her voice was normal) and their were very odd emphasis which sounded countrary to the words being spoken. I found the listening difficult with her character voices sounding like people with speech problems not culture differences.
It's a good story for teenagers, but narration does not befit the words of the author and is quite distracting if you're in earnest, it would be more suited to a children's book.
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