Al Franken, Giant of the Senate is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect. It's a book about what happens when the nation's foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it.
I enjoyed every minute of this book. Listening to Al, I felt slightly less despairing. I might have to listen again to brighten these bleak days for however long they last. Thank you, Senator.
Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell". But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness.
Dear Ove just wanted to be left alone to check out - literally - but his annoying neighbors just kept interrupting his plans. Try as he might, these irritating people would not let him be. Just as he was ready to exit to join his beloved wife, they kept needing things from him.
This was a skillfully crafted peeling-the-onion story that revealed a complex, ultimately lovable character who tried his best not to be, but failed spectacularly. I loved this book. Very funny, touching and memorable. And the reader was perfect.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful
Based largely on documents declassified in only the last few years, One Man Against the World paints a devastating portrait of a tortured yet brilliant man who led the country largely according to a deep-seated insecurity and distrust of not only his cabinet and Congress but the American population at large. In riveting, tick-tock prose, Weiner illuminates how the Vietnam War and the Watergate controversy that brought about Nixon's demise were inextricably linked.
Maybe I'm just getting old and crotchety, but this was narrated HORRIBLY. Every time this reader mispronounced a name (hint: consistently) it took me out of the story, and toward the end I was screaming at the narrator, "it's RuckELShaus, you moron!" Even worse was his botched Kissinger "accent." His delivery was overly dramatic, as though the story wasn't horrifying enough; his Nixon voice was like a cartoon villain.
Seriously, who gave the job to this reader? It can't have been the author. His story was beyond riveting, but the narrator nearly ruined it for me.
Most of the many books I've listened to had adequate to brilliant narration. But some I've had to stop listening to because of a bad narrator.
Okay, rant over!
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when 15-year-old Lindy Simpson - free spirit, track star, and belle of the block - experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.
Beautiful writing, suspenseful plot, had that un-putdownable urgency to find out what happened. And the narrator did a very adequate job. BUT why on earth didn't he have a southern accent? You don't set a location in a very specific place with lots of local references and then hire a reader without a trace of an accent from that place! Good grief. Do better next time, whoever-picked-this-reader!
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
"It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon..." This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture.
I've read every AT book since Morgan's Passing. Some I have loved, like Accidental Tourist and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. Others were just okay. It began to feel like I was reading the same book over and over. Not because of the Baltimore setting, but because her wonderfully crafted and flawed characters seemed to stay stuck in their dysfunction, never learning anything that would make their lives better. It got to be frustrating. Not that I needed every ending tied up in a pink bow, but give me a little sense of the evolution in thinking and growing in her characters.
This book was pretty uneven, dragging in spots. Some plot lines were great and I would have liked more of, like Junior and Linnie Mae's early days. Denny's storyline meandered in not very interesting directions. And I wish someone would have really let him have it about his popping in and out of everyone's lives when it suited him!
Finally, the narrator left me cold. Her precise schoolteacher diction just wasn't right for this book.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Lady Georgiana Rannoch has once again been called into service by Her Majesty the Queen. This time she's sent to Nice on a secret assignment that's nothing to sneeze at: recover the Queen's stolen snuff box. As much of an honor as it is to be trusted by Her Majesty, an even greater honor awaits Georgie in Nice - as Coco Chanel herself asks Georgie to model her latest fashion. But when a necklace belonging to the Queen is stolen on the catwalk, Georgie has to find two priceless items-and solve a murder. How's a girl to find any time to go to the casino?
These books are an unalloyed delight! The author gets right up to the edge of cloying and frivolous but never goes over the line. There is an underlying intelligence in Georgie that, along with her ebullient good cheer, makes her irresistible. And can we talk about Katherine Kellgren? Her mastery of all the accents, each one distinct and recognizable, is genius. No one should ever read these books when this brilliant narration is available to make it doubly enjoyable.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
"The Secret Place", a board where the girls at St Kilda's School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.
There's nothing I can add to everyone else's comments about the bad narration and truly awful teen-speak. I'm a little over halfway through, and I'm going to the library on the off-off chance that it is available in hardcover. I am interested in this story. Really, this horrible performance is inexcusable.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful
Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren; he felt sure of it. They had to leave immediately. So begins a long and perilous journey of survival for a small band of rabbits. As the rabbits skirt danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band, its humorous characters, and its compelling culture, complete with its own folk history and mythos.
Like everyone else, I loved this book when I read it to my children years ago. It is one of the most brilliant books I've ever read.
It was even better to listen to under Ralph Cosham's steady, comforting, brilliant narration. He subtly renders each rabbit's voice and personality perfectly. And his accents for non-lapine characters, especially Kehaar the Norwegian seagull, were hilarious yet somehow moving.
I confess I was already a huge fan of his because of his flawless inhabiting of the character of Inspector Gamache in the Louise Penny mysteries. I may be a grandmother, but I still have a crush on Ralph Cosham!
4 of 7 people found this review helpful
Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: She lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended. Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them.
I enjoyed this story. It kept me on the edge of my seat. The reader was excellent. My only problem was how clueless the main character seemed throughout the first half of the book. She never seemed to ask herself why the police were questioning her, why strange things were happening, why she couldn't reach her husband. It's as though on some subconscious level she knew but didn't want to know, which is a hard premise to swallow when she is a therapist who wrote a book called "You Should Have Known." This made the book less than great in my mind, even though it was a fun read.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Jean Paget is just twenty years old and working in Malaya when the Japanese invasion begins. When she is captured she joins a group of other European women and children whom the Japanese force to march for miles through the jungle. While on the march, the group run into some Australian prisoners, one of whom, Joe Harman, helps them steal some food, and is horrifically punished by the Japanese as a result.
This was a strange book. The first half was engrossing as it recounted the harrowing journey of a group of English women and children taken prisoner by the Japanese during WW I I. Jean Paget, the protagonist, rose to the occasion heroically, leading the group through the ordeal. But it was recounted by her lawyer/guardian, who told the tale with a total lack of passion.
This became a real problem in the second half, when we followed Jean to Australia, where she looked for an Aussie man who had been tortured for helping her group back in the war. The author wrests any suspense from this meeting, because both people involved were told that they were looking for each other.
Her efforts to set up a prosperous town were recounted with little emotion. First she did this... Then she did this. Then this... Through it all she was perfection itself. Then she and Joe got married... Then they had two sons... All of this from the point of view of the elderly lawyer back in England, who received letters from her through the years. You were never to wonder what happens next, and there was nothing to keep the reader at all interested in the story. Save yourself a credit.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful