Have you ever wondered what it would be like to find yourself strapped to a giant rocket that's about to go from zero to 17,500 miles per hour? Or to look back on Earth from outer space and see the surprisingly precise line between day and night? Or to stand in front of the Hubble Space Telescope, wondering if the emergency repair you're about to make will inadvertently ruin humankind's chance to unlock the universe's secrets? Mike Massimino has been there, and in Spaceman he puts you inside the suit.
This astronaut memoir had many interesting parts, but it was too long and too repetitive. It is badly in need of editing. The author, Massimino, is a very likable guy, which makes it easier to tolerate the slower chapters. This book follows the author from childhood, where he dreamed of space, to his career as a Space Shuttle astronaut. If you have an interest on the space program, there are enough parts to hold your interest. This is read by the author. That was a mistake. He reads in a monotone, which is funny given he writes like an extremely enthusiastic guy.
Bronx-born top turret-gunner Arthur Meyerowitz was on his second mission when he was shot down in 1943. He was one of only two men on the B-24 Liberator known as Harmful Lil Armful who escaped death or immediate capture on the ground. After fleeing the wreck, Arthur knocked on the door of an isolated farmhouse, whose owners hastily took him in. Fortunately, his hosts not only despised the Nazis but had a tight connection to the French resistance group Morhange and its founder, Marcel Taillandier.
This is a fascinating and true tale of World War 2 survival. Arthur Meyerowitz is a fighter shot down over Germany in 1944. This is the gripping story of his six month escape from Nazi Germany. This is one of the best WW2 escape stories I have read or listened to. It is a tale of incredible smarts and courage, both Meyerowitz's and that of so many heroes from the French Resistance. This fascinating story pulled at my heartstrings in a way that few books have done. This book is well written and well read. My favorite book in a long time.
He is Deucalion, a tattooed man of mysterious origin, a sleight-of-reality artist who has traveled the centuries with a secret worse than death. He arrives in New Orleans as a serial killer stalks the streets, a killer who carefully selects his victims for the humanity that is missing in himself. Deucalion's path will lead him to cool, tough police detective Carson O'Connor and her devoted partner, Michael Maddison, who are tracking the slayer but will soon discover signs of something far more terrifying: an entire race of killers who are much more - and less - than human.
I was excited about this story - Frankenstein's next chapter in the modern world. In this novel, Victor Frankenstein (with a new name) lives and is creating an army of "monsters." Meanwhile, two New Orleans police detectives are trying to solve a series of murders with severed body parts as the common link. Most of the novel is told through the various creatures created by Victor. None of these creatures is very interesting. Most of this novel feels like I am getting background info. I assumed that the second half of the book would jump into an engaging story. Very little happened. After getting through 2/3 of this novel, I finally quit. There were three characters I did like. I liked the scenes with the two police detectives, and I loved Deucalion, the original Frankenstein monster. Had more of this novel followed them, I would have liked this a lot more. I see that the is a "Book One." So maybe this whole book is just background for the subsequent books, which have more plot. This book was not for me.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations - all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed. But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams’ comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt.
I really enjoyed this biography of Robin Williams. I grew up with his movies, some being among my very favorites. I found his life story somewhat interesting, and loved all the behind-the-scenes stories of the movies I knew. This book is extremely detailed. There were times that the details were more than I wanted to hear (about productions I knew little about), but mostly I liked that abundance of facts and anecdotes. The narrator made a very good entertainer bio into a great listening experience. Some books are better to read and others better to listen to. When Fred Berman recites lines of Robin Williams, I can hear the real Robin in my head. A great biography should engage a reader who does not even know the subject. I would say that this book might not do that. But for the rest of us (almost everyone) who knew Robin as a fan, this book is an experience I recommend. Robin Williams is a complicated, creative genius whose life was filled with peaks and valleys. The author does a good job at touching on both, and making Robin William's come alive again for us.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Peter Ash came home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with only one souvenir: what he calls his "white static", the buzzing claustrophobia due to post-traumatic stress that has driven him to spend a year roaming in nature, sleeping under the stars. But when a friend from the marines commits suicide, Ash returns to civilization to help the man's widow with some home repairs. Under her dilapidated porch, he finds more than he bargained for.
I enjoyed this novel about a Marine veteran suffering from PTSD who tries to help the widow of a friend. When Peter finds $400,000, a mean dog, and plastic explosives under a porch he is repairing, he decides to look more into the suicide of his friend. I liked the main character, Peter Ash. There were a number of likable characters (including the dog) that kept my interest. The last couple hours became a fast, fun thriller. This was a fun mystery thriller with a great narrator.
An epic of remarkable originality, Alone captures the heroism of World War II as movingly as any book in recent memory. Bringing to vivid life the world leaders, generals, and ordinary citizens who fought on both sides of the war, Michael Korda, the best-selling author of Clouds of Glory, chronicles the outbreak of hostilities, recalling as a prescient young boy the enveloping tension that defined pre-Blitz London, and then as a military historian the great events that would alter the course of the 20th century.
This book was marketed as a weaving together of early WW2 British history and personal stories of the author. The author was six years old at the start of the war, and so his memories are not very personal. They seem more based on what his family told him, making those personal stories not very engaging. I was still interested enough in the history, but the narrator spoke much too quickly and in an annoying staccato rhythm. I wanted him to slow down and have it told in a personal way. That was not the case. My brain could not keep up with the pace of information thrown my way. After a couple of hours, I had had enough, and quit.
A brutal crime. The ultimate cover-up. How do you solve a murder with no useable evidence? Private detective Nils Shapiro is focused on forgetting his ex-wife and keeping warm during another Minneapolis winter when a former colleague, neighboring Edina Police Detective Anders Ellegaard, calls with the impossible.
So many mysteries are only okay at the start and get great for the last couple hours. This was the opposite. It was an enjoyable story about a private detective who is hired by a small police department to help with a murder investigation. The main character is likable, and there was enough humor to keep me entertained. It was decent mindless escape fiction. It was an above average mystery. Unfortunately, the second half got less good, and the ending was mediocre. The performance was excellent and almost raised this to a 4 start listen.
In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel de La Cruz, affectionately called Big Angel, has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly 100, dies herself, leading to a farewell doubleheader in a single weekend. Among the guests is Big Angel's half-brother, known as Little Angel, who must reckon with the truth that although he shares a father with his siblings, he has not, as a half gringo, shared a life. Across two bittersweet days in their San Diego neighborhood, the revelers mingle.
This novel had so many great things - the writing was amazing. It felt poetic at times, and the feel of this novel was totally authentic. It starts with Big Angel, the patriarch of a Mexican-American family, burying his mother and also preparing for his own death from cancer. The very start was moving and fascinating. But then almost nothing happened in the first half, as the extended family began to gather. There were many characters, so many I was often confused who was who. I was ready to stop when the book jumped back in time and I gave it more time. It did get better, but not enough for me to finish this novel. I liked the authentic voice of the author, who narrated this, but that was not enough for me to stay with the book. I can see why others loved this. I tried to, and did really like parts, but not enough to recommend this. I loved the character Big Angel, but no one else came alive as an individual to me.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Paul Schumann, a German American living in New York City in 1936, is a mobster hitman known as much for his brilliant tactics as for taking only "righteous" assignments. But then Paul gets caught. And the arresting officer offers him a stark choice: prison or covert government service. Paul is asked to pose as a journalist covering the summer Olympics taking place in Berlin. He's to hunt down and kill Reinhard Ernst - the ruthless architect of Hitler's clandestine rearmament.
This mystery takes place in Germany in 1936. Paul Schumann is a hitman who is hired by the US secret service to assassinate a Nazi leader. Doing so will earn him a clean record and his freedom. He poses as a sports writer during the Olympics. Paul is involved in a murder in Germany, and a German police officer is ruthlessly tracking him as the deadline for the assassination nears.
I liked the background, but Schumann's character is not as interesting as Deaver's characters usually are. The German police inspector is by far the most interesting character. He is trying to do his job while questioning the new Nazi regime. This novel bounces here and there, with some very good moments amidst a slow story. The Nazi Germany backdrop takes this novel only so far. I liked this enough to stay with it, and then then the last two hours drew me in with great twists and turns and some powerful scenes. That end almost pushed this up to a 4 star listen, but too much of this story did not draw me in enough. Still, pretty good, and original.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
A moving coming-of-age story set in the 1900s, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows the lives of 11-year-old Francie Nolan, her younger brother Neely, and their parents, Irish immigrants who have settled in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Johnny Nolan is as loving and fanciful as they come, but he is also often drunk and out of work, unable to find his place in the land of opportunity.
Having never read this American classic, I finally dove in, expecting something as beloved as To Kill A Mockingbird (one of my favorites). At the start, I was disappointed. This story is a third person coming-of-age narrative which was to a large part told from the point of view of young Francie, but there was much in this novel that was not from Francie's perspective. There was a lot of background on many characters and beliefs of the times that Francie would not have known. The novel moved at a slow pace, and bounced around in a way that prevented a good flow. A third of the way into this, I almost stopped. But I didn't. In spite of an uneven plot, the book felt totally authentic. This novel did transport me to Brooklyn in the early 20th century in a way that historic novels written today rarely do. Francie lives with her younger brother, her hard-working mother, and her unreliable but loving father. Money is always tight. Francie's passion is writing. At some point in the second half of this novel, I found myself really enjoying this story, in spite of many slow moments. As Francie gets to be an older teenager, it becomes more about her. There is clearly a lot of autobiographical material woven into this novel, and the books becomes more moving as Francie ages. There were many great moments in this novel, and it always felt authentic. This was a bumpy journey for me, but one I am glad I took.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful