Can't say I actually loved anything in particular but I did like the recreation of the 60's and beyond music scene from someone who managed to stay aware enough to obviously recall most of it.
I thought the serendipity of meeting the Everly Brothers on the street in England and talking with them after seeing them perform was intriguing. I guess that could never happen today with an aspiring musician and their heroes.
It was nice hearing his actual enthusiasm when reading some anecdote that appeared to really touch him in some way.
Wild Tales: A Rock and Roll LIfe
Relive the crazy, incredible fun without further damaging your liver!
I could have used fewer political advocations.
I've always loved Elizabeth Berg's writing.
Unfortunately, with The Dream Lover, not so much.
But it may be me, because this is the second novel I've quit after partially listening to. I did give it about 6 hours of listening but found my mind wandering.... there was plenty of great descriptive prose, good dialogue, but where the heck the story line was supposed to live, was beyond me.
(Again, like in The Night Circus, lots of writing, no conflict. At least not early enough into the book to hook me beyond 6-8 hours of waiting. Waiting... for some element that held the flashbacks to the childhood of George Sand and her present day goings-on to make me want to see what happened next.)
Some of the inner thoughts Berg writes for Sand are a little predictable. Thoughts about womens' rights, etc. But humans are more complex that the standard current PC about issues with which we still concern ourselves today. (It seems I'm running into far too many books that expose an historical character thinking in today's terms, when I'm sure that some flaws must exist in their souls...Or the author, in a rush to prove they themselves are not biased, refuses to interject any controversial viewpoints into the protagonist, even if historically reflective of the book's time period.) Anyway.
If this book picked up after I put it down, apologies. But my brother once told me that life was too short for bad books. So, whereas in the past, I drudged through a book because I hated the waste of an author's time, since they even managed to get a book written and published, I now hate the waste of my time even more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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