I wanted to like this one more than I actually did. Frazier goes through a lot of Siberia's history, which I thought was really fascinating and very well told. However, I didn't find him quite so compelling any time he was talking about his travels there. He goes on and on about how much he loves Russia, and yet...he didn't convince me, despite the fact that he went back so many times. To me, it seemed that he talked an awful lot about the inconveniences, and the things that he found gross, and the things that didn't work or that broke down, and how horrible the bugs are, and the ways that his Russian guides/travelling companions/people he stayed with/other people staying in the same places annoyed him or made him mad. He does a great job of describing all those things, but there are not a lot of descriptions that actually made me think that he felt genuine affection for Russia or the people he met there (other than maybe all the hot Russian women he sees walking around), or that made Russia seem as magical to me as he says it seems to him.
I might have enjoyed this a bit more if I'd read it instead of listening to the audio version; Frazier reads it himself, and, while he's certainly not a terrible reader, he's not really a great one either. Sometimes he would get going and read in a very natural way; other. times. he. would. read. like. this. Which, personally, I find really painful to listen to. There were also some really weird pronunciations here and there, as though he wasn't actually thinking about what he was saying.
Anyway, whether it was his personality I couldn't get behind or whether it's just that I found his reading off-putting, I ended up just...so ready for it to be over by the time I was halfway through. I'd rate this two stars only, if not for all the lovely history parts, which really are great. And for Sergei, who is the one person he managed to convey with some little bit of depth.
Meh to the rest of it though.
Once again, very fun to experience this story again on audio, but in this case, I definitely still prefer the print version, mainly because the voice Barbara Rosenblat uses for Sethos is awful. At least in my opinion. Ah, well. Other than that, totally enjoyable though!
Much more entertaining than I thought it would be going in--I mean, I should have known, right? Political intrigue, murder, forced suicide, voluntary suicide, torture, poison, banishment, war...those ancient Roman emperors kept themselves busy! I liked hearing the story from Claudius' point of view--I found him very likable, and the narration for the audiobook was great (other than a couple brief moments when he slipped into what sounded suspiciously like a Southern drawl). I assumed going in that, though I was interested enough to read this first book in the series, I wouldn't want to continue with it. But...I'm definitely considering it!
Very entertaining--Feynman's stories are pretty much always amusing--there's a child-like quality about him here, in his love of pranks and his ability to throw himself into whatever topic he might be curious about. There's also something childish about him at times--in his way of handling authority or rules or events he doesn't like. I can't decide whether I would have loved this man had I known him in real life, or whether he would have driven me absolutely crazy. Maybe a little of both. Anyway, this is definitely well worth a read.
I've read this book sooooo many times already, but when I saw the audio version on sale for $5.00, I just couldn't pass it up. Though it took me a little while to get used to the narrator (she just sounded so much older than 34, which is Amelia's age when she writes her story down, describing events that took place in her 32nd year), but once I managed to distance myself from the voices for the characters that I've always heard in my head, I really enjoyed her delivery. It's a little bit of a different take, on Peabody and Emerson especially, than I'd imagined; it will be interesting to see if any of the audio version creeps into the in-my-head version the next time I read this in print! Anyway, in the end, I think the narrator did a great job, and I had just as much fun listening as I always have reading it. Bravo!
Oh, man, this was so much fun! I totally didn't expect to like this so much, but Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin pretty much immediately sucked me in, and Patrick Tull did a fantastic job narrating. Friendship, adventure, plenty of nautical battles...I am definitely looking forward to their next one. 20 more books to go--ha!
I didn't really expect to like this much at first. I'm not generally real big on westerns, and it's super long, and the first hour or so of the audiobook didn't grab me. But before too long, I found myself totally sucked in, and the 36+ hours of audiobook flew by.
Sure, I had a few complaints here and there. Early on I got pretty tired of the "woe is me, I'm in love with a whore" business from half the men in Lonesome Dove, though I did like Lorena herself well enough. And sometimes it felt like things just sort of...happened, without there really being much of a reason for it. I guess maybe McMurtry was going for real life there--sometimes you meet people and some stuff happens, and then they die, the end. But I guess part of me was expecting certain characters to actually serve some purpose within the story, rather than just being there for awhile and then disappearing almost entirely. And the end felt really...abrupt and kind of anti-climactic and left some pretty major loose ends left hanging. So, no, I by no means thought this book was perfect.
Still though, I absolutely fell in love with several of the characters, and loved how real and flawed they seemed, Gus especially. And I had a hard time disengaging myself from the story, and ended up doing things like sitting in the car once I had arrived at my destination in order to listen a little longer, or like listening on my headphones at work between phone calls (shhhh!).
So in the end, I consider this a pretty great book, despite its flaws. I'll probably even read it again at some point, and I'm definitely planning on watching the movie as soon as I can find the time.
The idea of reading the sequels scares me though. We'll see...
Well, I thought I would love this one as much as I did West With the Night, but...no. Sure, there are some really beautiful descriptions here and there, and a couple of really compelling stories. But I got really tired of hearing "all natives do/think/act in this way" and also of hearing them compared to animals and white people to God. Yes, I realize it was a different time, but for whatever reason I had a much harder time with the way she talked about the Kikuyu people than I've had with any other book ever written during that time. I just couldn't bring myself to like her. In addition, there seemed to be a lot of the story that was alluded to but not actually talked about, and towards the end there were a bunch of little...anecdotes...that didn't really go anywhere. Still, there were enough great descriptions of the land and of her adventures with friends and of leaving the farm that I can't write it off entirely. I actually did enjoy a large part of it. Just...with reservations.
I don't know, I guess it's possible it was partly the narration that annoyed me. I didn't love the accents Julie Christie used. But I think it's really that I just found Blixen offputting. I'll be interested to read some of her works of fiction though.
Looks like not everyone's been terribly impressed by this one, but I really enjoyed it. I'm not entirely sure what folks were expecting, but having read another of Keneally's books (Victim of the Aurora), I knew I was probably in for a quiet and very convincing piece of historical fiction, and I wasn't disappointed one bit.
80-something-year-old Grace tells the story of her life with Leo, from courtship to marriage to widowhood, and of Leo's involvement with one Major Doucette and his obsession with dangerous missions to Singapore. It's a story of love and war and heroism and, maybe, about how the ghosts of your past can follow you for the rest of your life, if you let them.
As for the narration, Beverly Dunn, who was the voice of Grace, was fantastic--I absolutely loved her. I had a much more difficult time with David Tredinnick's narration for Leo's parts, because he just sounded so much older than I pictured Leo being at the time, and I could never quite reconcile the voice with the words. But there really aren't a whole lot of Leo bits, so it wasn't enough to really detract from the story as a whole.
Anyway, I definitely consider myself a fan of Keneally's at this point, and look forward to reading more of his work!
This was free, and that's really the only reason I listened to it. I've never read anything else by Ann Patchett, although I know a lot of folks really love her. I'd be open to trying something fictional of hers at some point, but I wasn't really all that impressed with this essay about her marriages.
First of all, is it just me, or did it seem kind of weird and slightly unbelievable that this woman has known two people that were so ridiculously hot that they like, couldn't go out in public without strangers throwing themselves at them? Maybe the 70s were a really different time, but...bag boys randomly attempting to kiss her mom in the parking lot? She says it like this happened all the time, which...just...whaaaaat? Who behaves that way? I didn't buy it. Either she's really exaggerating, or there was something very different going on there than she realized as a child. And people constantly calling the hospital where her future husband worked in order to ask him out? And the restaurant scene where the lady pretends to have heart palpitations and then just horns in on them at their table in order to drape herself all over him? Really?
Yeah, okay, that's totally not the point of the essay, but that stuff really bothered me because it just felt so made-up somehow. Maybe I just haven't ever known any people as ridiculously hot as those two? Well anyway, moving on...
I also had a very difficult time of relating to just about anything in her story about marriage, other than the "does he make you a better person?" question. That question makes a lot of sense. But her journey to being able to answer yes to it just seemed so far removed from what I've experienced, or from what anyone else I know has experienced, that I just came away from this feeling...irritated and judgmental. Which I'm sure is not at all what she was going for. I couldn't quite bring myself to like Patchett, is the thing. And that made it hard for me to appreciate much of what she was saying here. Sorry, Patchett fans.
I don't generally feel like a super cynical person, but I felt more so after listening to this, for whatever reason. Make of that what you will.
At least it's really short!
I liked this one even more than I did Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt, probably mostly because while Red Land, Black Land covers the daily life of Regular Joe ancient Egyptians, this book covers the monuments and tombs and personalities I was already familiar with. Also, I will admit that I was mostly familiar with the aforementioned monuments and tombs and personalities from reading the author's Amelia Peabody series--heh! It was fun to go back and visit places Amelia and Emerson had been in those books--the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur, Deir el-Bahri, el-Amarna... And like I said about Red Land, Black Land, Mertz lends the same sense of humor to her non-fiction books that she does to her fiction, and I found her ocassional sarcastic or snarky or tongue-in-cheek comments amusing and delightful. Well worth a read, for Peabody fans, or for anyone interested in ancient Egyptian history.
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