This is my first review after over a year as an audible member and well over 100 listens and ratings. I was so impressed with this course that I had to write this to add to my 5 stars:
I found this course more enjoyable and rewarding than any I've had in 8 years of higher education. Though that statement may, admittedly, say something about the quality of my education, it probably has more to do with my maturity in the nearly 20 years since my last degree, and I think can even moreso be attributed to the superb professor, Dr. David Thorburn of MIT.
What a wonderful set of lectures on modern literature! Dr. Thorburn has significantly transformed and improved my vision of literature in the 20th century (and today). He is fantastic in his enthusiasm and love for the literature, the art and the artist/authors. I was sad that the course had to end and depressed when I couldn't find another lecture by Dr. Thorburn. I'm hopeful he'll consider enriching us in the lowly masses with more lectures.
I really liked this easy-to-listen crime novel with its dryly witty, yet dark, plot I'd sum up as:
Great Lakes Goombah Guns Down 4 G-men, Goes to Vegas, and Turns into a Tony with a Torah.
Rabbi David Cohen (aka Sal Cupertino, a 35-year-old shadowy hitman with a bad plastic surgery job) appears to go through a existential crisis-lite as he misses his wife and young son and considers the Torah that he's basically committed to memory (his mob nickname was "Rain Man"), but maintains his killer karma. While Mr. Goldberg has fun playing with the interplay among Italian mobsters, a hitman's rabbinical conversion and perhaps a reptilian shedding of the Jewish skin, he doesn't glamorize gangsters, the mob lifestyle, Jews or G-men. The novel maintains a diabolical darkness in 1990's Las Vegas despite the comedic diversions.
I'd not heard of Tod Goldberg before seeing the good reviews for this book, but he really seems to have hit his mark. I'll be looking forward to his next book.
If you loved "The Sopranos" and "Bugsy," you should revel in "Gangsterland."
My only complaint is the narration. I hate it when a narrator botches an easily recognizable, nearly household name, like Brett Favre (as Fave-ruh), a Hall of Fame QB, in an important part of the story, and then repeatedly mispronounces it. Of course, the Producer is just as much at fault for not correcting this.
Excellent, suspenseful beginning to the series. Lehane was able to create magic mojo between partners Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro from the start, for a super 1-2 Irish-Italian P.I. punch, taking it to the Boston streets, dodging bullets, brawn and barbs from 2 black street gangs and some powerful politicians.
This is a close 2d in the series to #4 "Gone Girl." I have criticized a couple of the other (particularly, #3) in the series as being too implausible and feeling forced. While the plot in #1 could be seen by some as far-fetched, it all seemed real and true to me.
A highly enjoyable potboiler on the backstreets of Beantown.
An engrossing exploration of the failures of the "war on drugs" and the reasons why, through a narrative of the war's czar, users and abusers, peddlers, law enforcement, the poor souls who have been "collaterally damaged," current policy makers and governments who have legalized certain drugs (like Vancouver) and all drugs (Portugal). I also found his coverage of studies on addiction fascinating.
Mr. Hari makes a compelling argument for legalization of all but darkly-affecting drugs like heroin and crack. I cannot say he's convinced me of the answers, but I am much more open to the persuasion of the arguments, as to certain drugs, after reading this book. While I do not believe I will see such legalization happen in my lifetime, this is a much-needed treatment of the subject that is certain to start conversations.
I enjoy Mr. Hari's conversational writing style; yet, in parts, he seemed unable to control his supercilious tone.
The narrator was terribly annoying, indulging himself in affected, preposterous American accents, depending on who he (the narrator) decided should be ridiculed (ironically).
I definitely recommend this if you have someone near and/or dear to you with a drug problem.
An elegiac novel to a committed wife/mother whose husband suffers early onset Alzheimer's. I could relate to her pain and loneliness as all the past and passion slowly slipped away and found particularly poignant her coping with the loss of her dreams of a dashing, successful professor husband with a beautiful home in the perfect suburb.
A pure work of artistry in development of the characters of the wife, the husband and their son. My one complaint: it is a bit slow.
Some books are so piercing, so damn good that one hesitates to write a review, for fear that he cannot do that novel justice by failing to adequately convey the effect on him and how it caused so much self-reflection. But, here goes:
I truly love this book. It is so many things: suspenseful, literary, coming-of-age. And yet, it doesn't fit neatly into one, rather it transcends categorization. It is, most of all, a melody to the evolution of young teen into man, a man of character, of morals, and of responsibility to his children and the women in his life: a real father to his kids, a devoted husband to his wife, a caring son to his mother and a brother grateful for his sisters.
A retrospective traveling the path of progress toward manhood through the burning memories of first love, the pain of losing it, juvenile mistakes and self-doubts, going from innocence to the teen male's idolatry of sex and objectification of females, the protagonist learns life's hard lessons via a host of females and their relationships to the wrong kind of men, including his mother who was abandoned by his adulterous and absent father, his sister who had a penchant for abusive boyfriends, and his first love who was raped and struggled to move on.
This lyrical Louisiana novel was so true to me and so eloquent.
I am so glad I took a chance on this after reading the raves by other authors. I only half pay attention to these, but I've learned, I think, to trust certain authors not to BS and to read between the lines.
The cover blurb by Jeffery Deaver is so dead-on: Read a few pages of this novel and kiss the next 24 hours goodbye. I couldn't give it up, as it eased back and forth between 2 storylines: 1) a 17-year-old recently pregnant girl, who's been hidden away in WVa in witness protection since 1991 she was nearly 3, searches for the father she knows killed her mother and who she's always assumed wants to kill her; and, 2) back to 1991 in the days and minutes leading up to her mother's murder (mostly omniscent from her father's POV but some from her mother).
Plenty of twists and turns I cannot describe here without spoiling the book.
Julia Whelan's narration is outstanding.
I highly recommend this book.
Just prior to his suicide, the protagonist's dad tells a tale of the grandfather who was murdered under mysterious circumstances in a small town on the Brazilian coast. So the protagonist, who is a PE teacher/triathlete with the rare cognitive disorder called prosopagnosia (or, face blindness) with no real ties to his hometown, attends his dad's funeral then departs with his dad's 15-year-old dog for the coastal town of his grandfather's demise.
The author's beautiful prose sings the uncertain atmosphere of the small seaside town in Brazil as our guy (who never meets someone who's not a stranger) endeavors, at least initially, to discover what happened to his grandfather. This superb novel carries us on a moody, sometimes haunting, journey through a unique cast of characters, including 3 girlfriends, a rowdy friend, the strange and hostile town, the ocean and its whales and the dog, as well as into a mountainous region on a walk-about of self-discovery and mirrors of the past and the present, as we discover and contemplate fate v. determinism, the ephemeral nature of love (familial and amorous), loyalty among family and of man's best friend, and the human capability (or not) of true forgiveness.
Daniel Galera reminds me a bit of Márquez in his rhythmic prose and hazy, contemplative themes. He may well be destined for a similar plateau. Surely Senhor Galera is well on his way with a "Blood-Drenched Beard."
Jonathan Davis outdoes himself with this assorted saltwater taffy of characters as he smoothly surfs through the dreamlike ocean winds of this novel.
I enjoyed this one. While the mixture of Kenzie and Gennaro and their dialogue seemed genuine and action suspenseful, the plot and the characters surrounding it were too stereotypical and implausible.
A dark diversion without depth.
The wonders you might find in the giant and bountiful gardens of literature have never failed to amaze me. One need only look widely enough and take a chance and he might be put in the Siberian taiga (the sometimes swampy coniferous forest of high northern latitudes) in far eastern Russia as the locals encounter a looming Amur tiger (a/k/a Siberian tiger which can grow up to 10 ft. & 660 lbs.), seemingly intent on exacting revenge for being shot and having already eaten two men in separate incidents over several days.
In the course of this account, Mr. Vaillant colors the local characters and the poverty in the Primorski province of the Russian Far East, and makes one contemplate who is more danger to man (Panthera tigris altaica or Hominis corrupti regimen).
Mr. Vaillant does a great job narrating and paints a fuller picture with his voice inflections and pauses. This makes him an exception to the rule that authors make lousy narrators, though I'm finding more and more that some narrators apparently believe they can improve up (i.e., modify) the book by adding ridiculous accents, emphases that are clearly misplaced, and their otherwise overly dramatic flourishes.
Brilliant nonfiction that I'd not heard of until a few days ago while digging in the Audible/Amazon.
Each of these 3 novellas is an entertaining voyage bizarre, like cruising through the dreams/nightmares/memories of an elderly Parisian "blissful idiot," as he was labeled in the eponymous novella by the édenté matriarche excentrique of his "foster family" full of females/underworld paramours in a post-WWII Paris brothel.
This was worth buying, IMO (4.2 stars); but I'm not part of a redneck agenda.
Sean Runnette was, as usual, excellent. Arthur Morey, bless him, has the nerdiest voice on Audible. And I wish Bronson Pinchot would go back to the start of his career to remember why he didn't do accents. He's so caught up shuttling the French accent that he's nearly impossible to understand.
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