Let me start by telling you that I consider Philip K Dick the most talented science fiction writers ever, maybe one of the the most original writers of all categories. I have read all Dick's works (novels and short stories) and several of them are on my top 100 list of the best books ever. I have also read some of the biographies on Dick to try to understand him and his fiction better.
I read my first Dick book in 1974 (We Can Build You) and as I said, I never really stopped - they are great for re-reading even twenty or thirty years later. His best fiction are from the 1960's, but takes a turn for the worst somewhere in the mid 1970's. I've always thought his novels and stories become increasingly "strange" and the religious (or semi-religious) content becomes too much in his last novels (as in Valis). I have wondered why and have attributed the turn for the worse to an ever increasing drug use (every biographer notes Dick's life-long experimenting with drugs). But it turned out I have never really understood why the fiction deteriorated so steeply in the mid-1970's, until I listened to the Exegesis.
Thus, it was with great interest I downloaded this book. What a disappointment I was in for! I was not even able to complete the listening to the entire book, and this despite that I am a really great Dick fan. This book in simply unreadable; very little in it really makes sense.
The explanation for the increased "strangeness" of his fiction lies in "2-3-74", i.e. some experiences of a religious (or semi-religious) nature Dick underwent in February and March of 1974. Another way of explaining it is that he turned more or less crazy around that time. The Exegesis supports that view, in that Dick himself explains he was "chosen" to undergo the "experiences". To a normal mind, this is the description of someone slowly going nuts.
So, in conclusion, if you are a big Dick fan, in Exegesis you will find the explanation why Dick's fiction turned increasingly unreadable if written after 1975 (mercifully enough there are only four novels written after that date). But if you are not a really nerdy Dick fan don't bother reading this kipple. You will not be able to make any sense of it. But the book is well narrated.
I read about this book and thought it sounded like a great time travel story. But, no. Unfortunately I downloaded all four books before reading the first one - big mistake. The element of time travel has nothing of science fiction in it - it sort of just happened when the protagonist walked past a rock. In fact I missed it completely and had to ask my spouse how time travel occurred (she also listened to the book and was equally disappointed). After the first sex act I gave up. My spouse, who has a little more patience, listened for some more time, but eventaully gave up, very much for the same reasons as I did. This is something like "Clan of the Cave Bears", althought set in more recent times. The protagonist is more interested in sex than in anything else. This is a book for people who need to spice up their life with historical sex stories. Bad, really bad. Not for me.
If you were alive and experienced music in 1970 this is a must read. I have purchased copies of this book for all of my friends who turned 60 last year and this year - all of them loved it. A great story about great musicians. I wish I were 17 again..... and I wish they made music like that today....anyway this book is a great time travel.
A really good story - well written, well told and well narrated about something that might have happened once in Italy (or didn't you read somewhere it did actually happen?) Anyway, this story of a group of unlikely friends and acquaintances, what they went through in Italy and then in Hollywood is very, very charming. It sort of blurs the lines between what-you-know-reality and might-have-happened-reality. Delightful is the best word I can think of describing it in only one word.
The narration of this book is somewhat overdone (overenthusiastic) and gets irritating after a while. I had to listen to anther audiobook in between to not get too put off. But what the book has to tell is important, even if it is not a happy story. Our politicians should be forced to read this book, as it is full of examples of short-sighted political decisions that will compromise the future of our children. But it is also full of good examples of where "normal" people have acted in a way to ensure a better future for all. This book should be put in the hands of all high school students, to ensure that the next generation does not repeat the short-sightedness of our generation. The world can still be saved. It is not too late, but we have to act much more decisively and much faster. The message to all good people is: you can do a lot of things to help the world to be thriving place place even in the future. The message to all less good people is: read and repent!
This was the first book by Donna Tartt that I read (or listened to). The story is great and beleivable in all its tiny details. I think it pictures very well of how it is to be raised today in the Western society. You don't have to lose your parents (or even one of them) to end up on the somewhat shady side of life. You might just as well have parents who are (physically or mentally) absent and who does not think child-rearing is a particluar interesting topic. But kids survive, even if they don't thrive, or succeed in the "normal" way. The story is very well told, does never get boring and it is brought to a very logical end. I loved this book and will look for others by the author. The narration is also great.
If you should be tired of reading stuff about Michael Connelly's favorite detective Harry Bosch, this is a book for you. This is abook about unexpected hero Cassie Black and her counterpart the grim Jack Karch. Both are criminals (at least ex-ditto) and both arouse sympathy (at least to a certain extent) in the reader. It's suspense all the way, and impossible to stop listening to. I would like to see a movie made out if this book. Hats off once more to Michael Connelly.
As a listener to this book you wonder why it has received all the hype it has. It is a basic story of a boy who is (more or less) accidentally transferred from his parents' home to another home, where he is raised. It all very sad and the protagonist does not get anywhere in life, as could be expected of someone without any real talents and a rather backward upbringing. Nothing with this book is exciting. I found it rather depressing. And nothing really happens. I have often wondered how a book about a real noboby would be to read. Now I know, and don't want to repeat the experience.
Connie Willis' book was written in early 1990's and that can be clearly noticed. It takes place in what is still our future and it's full of people who try to connect with other people over failing telephone land lines (as if cell phones were not invented in 1992 and the author could not foresee future ways of communication and mankind had to resport to old bakelite phones). Now, this is supposed to be science fiction. A basic ingredient in sf is what is termed as "sense of wonder", meaning that you as the reader should feel removed from this world by the ideas presented in the sf story. Today time travel is a gadet frequently used in sf, so Connie Willis has not invented something new. Even though she presents the idea with a new twist (called "slippage" - the time elasticity caused by time travel itself), it does not reach the sense of wonder threshold. But that is not the worst - this book should have been edited down to less than one third of what it is today. There are so many side plots and alleyways leading nowhere that you wonder if the editor of this book was awake at all. Each conversation and event is dragged out by the author to the point that you as a listener just want to scream: "Get to the point". I just could not complete listening to this book, I gave up after the second part (of three). It was simply just so bo boring and not rewarding to continue. The narrator does a good enough job, but that does not help if the basic structure is so out of joint.
This is a horrifying story from North Korea. It is still fiction, but it could certainly have happened in that strange country, which must be slowly falling apart. This book picqued my interest in NK and I have read up on the country since and almost all stories told by those who have fled the country back up the general picture and the key elements in this fictional story.
It was virtually impossible to put my iPhone down, and I think I completed this story in less than 3 days (I normally listen only for an hour or so per day), since I just had to listen to it at every free moment I had. The suspense is great. And it is well narrated.
Is there anyone else out there who like me has always appreciated Bach's music? I consider Bach one of the absolutely best classical composers (alongside Beethoven), and his music has always inspired me and provided great satisfaction.
If you have that background, this is really something for you. The courses are insprining and the narrator is enthusiastic about his topic, and he knows it very well. I advise you to listen one course at the time, then listen to some Bach music in between and then go on to the next course. If you try to take in all at the same time, it will be too much.
One thing that bugs me, however, is that professor Greenberg does not know how to pronounce Bach's name, at least not to a listener who like me speaks German. His consistent incorrect (=American) pronounciation ("Bock") could lead to the wrong conclusion that the good professor does not know what he is talking about. But he does and he is good at it, even though his German is deplorable (his Italian and French are possibly worse). A little language exercise: try to figure out who the composers "Wiwolde" and "Cooperand" are? (That is the way these baroque composers names are pronounced in this book).
So a really good course is tainted by bad language. However, if you can live with that, don't hesitate to buy this.
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