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Sudi

Coffee-UFOs-Cats-Books-Halloween

ratings
54
REVIEWS
33
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
21

  • From Bauhaus to Our House

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tom Wolfe
    • Narrated By Dennis McKee
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    In Tom Wolfe's hands, the strange saga of American architecture in the 20th century makes for both high comedy and intellectual excitement. This is his sequel to The Painted Word, the book that caused such a furor in the art world five years before. Once again Wolfe shows how social and intellectual fashions have determined aesthetic form in our time and how willingly the creators have abandoned personal vision and originality in order to work a la mode.

    Ellen says: "So snarky I kept having to back up and repeat"
    "Nice Architectural History Synopsis"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This was a nice review of certain early to mid-century architectural style(s) and theory.
    If you need to freshen your memory of things learned in Art History 101, this is the ticket in the architectural field.


    What could Tom Wolfe have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Mr. Wolfe did what he proposed. That being an articulation of just how the minimalist idea in the architectural canon evolved.


    Did Dennis McKee do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Well, no characters here, but Mr. McKee did a nice job reading the text.


    Could you see From Bauhaus to Our House being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    (Ah HA!! I see that Audible needs to apply some editing their questions when reviewing nonfiction! This is an essay, pretty much, not a fictionalized account of architectural stylizers.)

    But OK... I'm game!

    If Mr. Wolfe wanted to have a movie made of the evolution of intellectualization of the human habitat from dirt floors and burlap curtains to the glass box of the 20th century, he could introduce into a work of fiction an immortal who lives on one square acre of ground for about 12,000 years and has to undergo a thousand renovations of his habitat.

    Anyone who has ever been inflicted with of a renovation of the tiniest kitchen or a measly bathroom knows that this leads to madness. So, instead of a vampire or wolf-human that lives forever, we could have, as our protagonist, a common man driven insane not only by the intellectuals who dictate fashion at the expense of comfort but also a man driven to suicide by the endless torture of construction never finished. Sort of like what happens in any actual renovation.

    Of course, being immortal, the man cannot chose to end his suffering at his own hand because, well, he's immortal and must endure until he is finally encased in a glassy, soulless, boxed tower .


    Any additional comments?

    Nope.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Reunion of Ghosts: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Judith Claire Mitchell
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter, William Charlton
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    Meet the Alter sisters - Lady, Vee, and Delph, three delightfully witty, complicated women who live together in their family's apartment on the Upper West Side. Though they love each other fiercely, being an Alter isn't easy. Bad luck is in their genes, passed down through the generations. But no matter what curves life throws at these siblings, they always have a wisecrack - and each other.

    Sudi says: "Strong Characters, Given Little to Do"
    "Strong Characters, Given Little to Do"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great character development. Great narration. The plot, not so much.

    I did listen to it all... it picks up toward the end.

    It sometimes seemed like the author had started two books and decided to merge them in a tenuous way since I didn't get the connection between the lives of the characters' grandparents meshing in a meaningful way with the plot's structure in the present and for the present day characters. The author stretches a "sins of the fathers ..." idea pretty far to get a narrative line going but the characters are far too sophisticated to have the reader/listener believe that it is a believable driver of action or plot.

    Maybe in reading, instead of listening, it would hold a stronger temporal tie because I had a hard time keeping the grandparents generation straight. Being able to flip back a couple of pages often helps me orient myself.

    Anyway, not a bad book. The writer needs a little more focus on the pace of unfolding the narrative. She made me care about the characters through insight into their thoughts and actions... but the plot just kept plodding along.

    And my final warning... not really a spoiler but don't read anymore if this type of info (emotional tenor of the book,) ruins the listening experience for you:






    I was hoping this was a darkly comic book.... when really it is just a dark sorta depressing story... not what I expected.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By John Eliot Gardiner
    • Narrated By Antony Ferguson
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    John Eliot Gardiner grew up passing one of the only two authentic portraits of Bach every morning and evening on the stairs of his parents’ house, where it hung for safety during World War II. He has been studying and performing Bach ever since, and is now regarded as one of the composer's greatest living interpreters. The fruits of this lifetime's immersion are distilled in this remarkable book, grounded in the most recent Bach scholarship but moving far beyond it.

    Jean says: "Interesting"
    "3 Stars for Being Too Deep for Me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm trying, as an adult beginner, to learn something about music by taking violin lessons. Even playing a few Bach things, on an elementary level. The instrument is a beast and I was hoping to glean some insight into the musical process by listening to this tome.

    Unfortunately, this is the second book I have had to abandon. (The first, "The Night Circus", was ended mid-listen because of lack of plot movement and character development -- it was a novel, unlike this history/biography. That abandonment was due to the author's superficial approach to the novel's structure, unlike this book's profile: way too technical and fathoms too deep for my understanding.) So alas, "Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven" is too esoteric for me, a mere musical bimbo, wanting to hear about a genius I have only recently begun to appreciate.

    Someone who has a firm foundation in musical studies and performance will probably find this book accessible. I was unable to intellectually crack the musical terminologies and references to Bach and other artists' works-- through my own unfamiliarity, not because the book was poorly written or faulty in its structure. I often thought while listening that the one advantage of this audio production was (maybe) the musical references should have actually been played and incorporated into the text since there would be a reference to a passage, not only by Bach but by some other composer, and I would be lost. I just didn't know the piece and the thread of purpose in its mention was meaningless to me.

    I don't know German, either, so there was nothing to forgive on my end for mispronunciation of German terms by Mr. Ferguson, something mentioned in other reviews.

    But that was me. If you know music and didn't study French for your art history degree, you might really get into this work. Because chewing through and ingesting this information is real work.

    And by the way, great title, Mr. Gardiner.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lunch with Buddha

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Roland Merullo
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (67)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (56)

    A novel about family, open-minded spirituality, and the American road, Lunch with Buddha accompanies the characters from Breakfast with Buddha as they move further along the path toward lasting peace of mind. Facing one of life's greatest emotional challenges, Otto Ringling takes comfort in a loving family and offbeat lessons from eccentric spiritual teacher Volya Rinpoche.

    K. Binek says: "Loved it!"
    "Evidently Buddha is a Morning Person"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not a bad book, just didn't like it as much as Merullo's the "Breakfast With Buddha."

    Maybe it was the theme of death which set up the antagonism for the plot of the book. Maybe it was just me, having just finished "An Available Man" by Hilma Wollitzer, which also sponsored a newly minted widower. Maybe I was just tired of listening to a man lament the death of his wife, even if done in a decent, respectful way.

    I do love the narrated voice of the Rinpoche as created by Sean Runnette. I love the personality Merullo paints for the Rinpoche.

    Of course, at times, Merullo has the Rinpoche ask about an Americanism or slang or custom that you figure he must have already run into at least once in his sojourn in America, having interacted enough with the culture to marry an American and start a commune on its premises. These instances can seem like an obvious attempt at preaching to the choir in some aspects-- as can the somewhat contrived meetings with typical jerks who expose their prejudices too facilely and a trifle predictably and who just beg for an appropriate Buddhist dialogue which will set their errors aright.

    I understand Merullo might want each Buddha book to stand alone and feels a new reader may need these set-ups, but reader of the Breakfast book might tire of the repetition.

    In the long run, though, who am I to critique a book about a Buddhist monk? I can hear the Rinpoche laughing.

    The sound of one hand not clapping.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • An Available Man: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Hilma Wolitzer
    • Narrated By Fred Sullivan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (64)

    When Edward Schuyler - a modest and bookish sixty-two-year-old science teacher - is widowed, he finds himself ambushed by female attention. There are plenty of unattached women around, but a healthy, handsome, available man is a rare and desirable creature. Edward receives phone calls from widows seeking love, or at least lunch, while well-meaning friends try to set him up at dinner parties. The problem is that Edward doesn’t feel available. He’s still mourning his beloved wife, Bee, and prefers solitude and the familiar routine of work, gardening, and bird-watching.

    Molly-o says: "Lovely book, easy read, wonderful characters"
    "'An Available Man'... Starring: The Dialogue!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Early in her book,Hilma Wolitzer presents her reader with the ultimate plot complication… a death. And from there, a tried and true plot line which is as old as cuneiform--how do the survivors cope afterwards. And, in some hands holding the quill, it can be a very tiresome and predictable contrivance.

    However, she is a master at dialogue and therefore character development. I always feel that I'd read a 1,000 page novel about someone going to pick up bread at the grocery store if the author makes me care about the protagonist and their journey. Wolitzer definitely does that.

    Also, Fred Sullivan is an excellent narrator.

    You'll enjoy this book, I promise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7741)
    Performance
    (6873)
    Story
    (6881)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Suzn F says: "Dreamlike Experience to Savor"
    "The First Book I DID NOT Finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    See the title.

    The author might have more facility as a poet. The words are strung together beautifully. Unfortunately, the words don't develop characters that I actually care about.

    I hated to do it but I gave up on it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Time and Time Again

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Ben Elton
    • Narrated By Jot Davies
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (34)

    It’s the 1st of June 1914 and Hugh Stanton, ex-soldier and celebrated adventurer is quite literally the loneliest man on earth. No one he has ever known or loved has been born yet. Perhaps now they never will be.Stanton knows that a great and terrible war is coming. A collective suicidal madness that will destroy European civilization and bring misery to millions in the century to come. He knows this because, for him, that century is already history.Somehow he must change that history. He must prevent the war.

    C. Telfair says: "Don't Mess With Yesterday!"
    "Well… It's a Good, Not Great, Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I listened to the first hour or so of the book, I had really, really high hopes. Great descriptive writing and at first, really deep character development. Initially, I found that the primary characters had real foibles and color to their personality. Something to get your teeth into, as far as caring about their lives and relationships. But it seemed the author got tired of furthering that development and let them slip into less depth than the beginning promised. I can't go int the most disappointing aspects of the character plot lines without spoiling several critical plot junctures, so I won't. I'll just say, I didn't like the shallow twist(s) that occur several times with several characters.
    I like science fiction type plots and this had promised to take its readers into a time-travel proposal without too much scientific glossing… just enough to suspend disbelief and to get the story moving. Unfortunately, as it moved along, it just felt like the book needed a little more guts to the temporal relationships.
    The narrator is pretty good… although his cadence often remained static and could have used a little more interpretation of emotion at times.
    Overall, a good listen but not one where you miss the characters at the end, as I was sure that I was going to at the beginning.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What Alice Forgot

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Tamara Lovatt-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3729)
    Performance
    (3275)
    Story
    (3267)

    What would happen if you were visited by your younger self, and got a chance for a do-over?Alice Love is twenty-nine years old, madly in love with her husband, and pregnant with their first child. So imagine her surprise when, after a fall, she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! she HATES the gym!) and discovers that she's actually thirty-nine, has three children, and is in the midst of an acrimonious divorce.

    Elisabeth says: "Clever and Fresh, but Painful"
    ""What Alice Forgot" Is Not Forgettable, But…."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Liane Moriarty manages to take a tried and true soap operatic plot stand-by and make it interesting enough to keep a listener involved. Her characters are fun, intelligent and pretty well fleshed out. You feel you know them a few pages into the book and you do care what happens to them. Moriarty gets her readers invested in her characters, always the hallmark of an A+ author.

    I enjoyed the book. You most likely will, also.

    But…
    (FYI: The following is not really a spoiler since most of the synopses of the book explain the crux of the plot. But if you want an entirely fresh take, maybe you will want to skip my following insights, just in case I say something that takes too much from your own discoveries while listening. :)

    So, as I was saying, BUT…..



    If she had only pushed a little harder at the boundaries of what might possibly happen when someone becomes an amnesiac.

    Moriarty early on conveys that the problem is more of a nuisance and strange interlude -- not one of a medical tragedy, so I guess I wanted more tangles and entertaining scenarios where Alice's memory loss gets her into a pickle. It just seems that the plot begged for some excruciatingly revealing but inadvertent situations that could put Alice in a situation that was comedic and still moved the plot along, too, based on her inability to recall most of her recent past.

    There was a mix of the serious and the lighthearted, somewhat. But at times I couldn't tell if Moriarty wanted to get a little too dark, at the expense of the more lighthearted which was set at the beginning.

    Anyway. There are well developed relationships and well written insights into the characters inner lives. There will be times that you want to yell at Alice, "Just ASK what happened!" But then, that is the point of the book and the involvement you have with it. And that makes it a pretty entertaining ride.

    And one word about the narrator: Excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (translator)
    • Narrated By Bruce Locke
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (429)
    Performance
    (391)
    Story
    (392)

    The new novel - a book that sold more than a million copies the first week it went on sale in Japan - from the internationally acclaimed author, his first since IQ84. Here he gives us the remarkable story of Tsukuru Tazaki, a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. It is a story of love, friendship, and heartbreak for the ages.

    Pamela J says: "We're all victims of our youth"
    "Murakami Takes a Literary Pilgrimage with His Readers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I never quite knew where I stood with Haruki Murakami's hero, Tsukuru Tazaki. But that was not a bad thing.

    I once read a novel by Joyce Carol Oates - I don't recall which one - but I remember thinking, as I dove deeper into it, that it was like climbing a brick wall with no end. I sort of felt this way while listening to Murakami's tale of the life of Tsukuru Tazaki. Was he a good man? Is he really a bad man? Where did my sympathies lie? Murakami gave me just enough information about his character to keep me involved in his life's journey while also feeling that I may not be getting the whole story on Tsukuru's flaws or better qualities. I will say it was quite the existential travel, like Sartre's "No Exit." Where was the moral compass I kept looking for from the narrator? But that structural vertigo did keep me interested in discovering the roots of Tsukuru's character.

    Anyway. A good book keeps you thinking. Not only about the plot's twists and resolutions but also about the structure the author chooses to use. It seems to me, that this book could be used in Lit classes to excellent purpose.

    Some reviews had mentioned they found the narrator's slight Japanese accent to be patronizing in some fashion. I didn't think of it that way. Since I was listening to a reading in English, of a Japanese novel, I felt it added color. (Ironically, given the book's title.) Like a person from Japan was telling me, in his second language, his story as we travelled on a long trip.

    Also and lastly, I'll mention one of those weird synchronicity things that I often notice and think is kinda neat. Right after I finished the book I noticed Murakami had a short story The New Yorker. Also, I was in a bookstore not long after and saw another book by him on an endcap. Having never heard of Murakami until I found The Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, I found it interesting. Of course, it probably just means Murakami is extra hot right now.

    If you like a book written by a writer's writer, you'll find this book to your taste.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (20336)
    Performance
    (18101)
    Story
    (18066)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "King Earns a Crown With this One"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    From the opening line to the last Stephen King brings his A-Game. You NEVER lose interest in this book. And it's a hefty tome.

    I think just about everyone agrees that Stephen King's ability to breathe literary life into his characters is pretty much unchallenged in today's fiction field and he does a superb job of instilling pathos and humanity into all of his characters in this novel.

    11/22/63 is part fantasy, much like all of King's work. But unlike a lot of his work (in which the fantastic lands in the horror genre,) this novel doesn't veer into the realm of the scary and undead. The main twist in this book includes a time flux in the plot's construction--which involves a lot of nostalgic play for anyone that was born in the fifties or sixties. Yet, the story is full of depth, which means anyone who loves an excellent character-based tale with nuanced intrigue will have no problem getting into this book.

    And don't let the title cool your interest if you think the book heavily relies on a million facts about the assassination of JFK. It doesn't. That aspect creates a translucent "time period" backdrop for a really fine travel into one man's quest to create a different ending to many things.

    This novel keeps you in that loop and waiting to discover if he succeeds.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael Brooks
    • Narrated By James Adams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1774)
    Performance
    (853)
    Story
    (856)

    Science starts to get interesting when things don't make sense. Science's best-kept secret is that there are experimental results and reliable data that the most brilliant scientists can neither explain nor dismiss. If history is any precedent, we should look to today's inexplicable results to forecast the future of science. Michael Brooks heads to the scientific frontier to meet 13 modern-day anomalies and discover tomorrow's breakthroughs.

    Stephen says: "10 interesting chapters-read epiloge first"
    "A Walk Through The High Weeds in Science"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am not a physicist, biologist or nuclear scientist. But as a (somewhat) normal human with a (reasonable) amount of curiosity, I found this book engaging. I admit to not following every science based nuance and facet that the author presented in these 13 anomalies of the scientific world but I did feel that Michael Brooks had dumbed down the intricacies as much as was possible for the lay reader and still preserve the essential ingredients of the Things.

    If you were drawn to the title, you will be drawn into the book's intriguing facts. The narration is superb and it's the type of book that can handle a second or third listen, just to nail down some of the fine points you may have missed during the first listen. If you've already read a few reviews & like what they say, you will find the unreasonable 13 Things excellent fodder for your gray matter to chew upon.

    If you decide against listening to or reading 13 Things That Don't Make Sense, Mr. Brooks will have to edit the title to then read: 14 Things That Don't Make Sense.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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