FNH audio presents an unabridged reading of How I Found Livingstone. In 1866 Dr David Livingstone entered the dark continent of Africa in search for the source of the river Nile and disappeared. In 1869 Henry M. Stanley, funded by the New York Herald drove his expedition into the heart of Africa to find and relieve Livingstone. Stanley's journey became a true-life adventure. Adversity of every kind stood in his way. Starvation, inundation, murderous natives, mutiny, thieves, extortionists, murderers, slavers, and even becoming embroiled in a war.
I don't recall how long it took Stanley to find Livingstone, but this feels like an account told in real time. Everything is covered -- tribes, flora and fauna, insects, weather, landscape. I honestly feel this could be cut in half and nothing essential would be lost. Having said this, if you plan on recreating Stanley's adventure or are just especially interested in it, this is a must have.
William Faulkner was undoubtedly one of the greatest American writers. Now you can take Thomas Merton as your personal guide in discovering the literary and spiritual genius of Faulkner's works. Awarded both the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, William Cuthbert Faulkner (1897-1962) was a multitalented writer who wrote such beloved classics as The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying. In this series you will join renowned mystic and writer Thomas Merton on an extraordinary course on Faulkner and classicism in literature.
... a startling amount of audience laughter. These are lectures Merton gave to his fellow monks. I had a hard time fully understanding what he said (the recordings are over 50 years old), but it didn't seem to merit all the laughter he elicited. I'm glad the monks enjoyed themselves, but it didn't make for a pleasant listening experience. If I attended these lectures, or read them, I'm sure I'd give this a much higher rating. To be blunt, this shouldn't have been produced.
The Search for the Man in the Iron Mask triumphantly solves an enduring puzzle that has stumped historians for centuries and seduced novelists and filmmakers to this day. Who was the man who was rumored to have been kept in prison and treated royally during much of the reign of Louis XIV while being forced to wear an iron mask? Could he possibly have been the twin brother of the Sun King?
I believe a reviewer on Amazon compared this to listening to a very long lecture. I have to agree. If you need to study the era (late 17th Century, early 18th Century) covered in this book, you should probably get this. If you want entertainment, buyer beware.
In The Possessed we watch Elif Batuman investigate a possible murder at Tolstoy's ancestral estate. We go with her to Stanford, Switzerland, and St. Petersburg; retrace Pushkin's wanderings in the Caucasus; learn why Old Uzbek has 100 different words for crying; and see an 18th-century ice palace reconstructed on the Neva. Love and the novel, the individual in history, the existential plight of the graduate student: all find their places in The Possessed.
In a nutshell, this book is too much about the author and too little about Russian books. Though she travels to exotic locales -- Hungary, Samarkand -- the author's life is just not that interesting. The parts about the Russian books are good, but there's too much extraneous stuff between them.
With editing, this would have made a great New Yorker article. Then again, perhaps that was its original incarnation and someone made the ill-fated decision to expand it into a book. I'm too uninterested to care. I'm done with this book.
No art form is as instantly and continuously gratifying as film. When the houselights go down and the lion roars, we settle in to be shocked, frightened, elated, moved, and thrilled. We expect magic. While we're being exhilarated and terrified, our minds are also processing data of all sorts - visual, linguistic, auditory, spatial - to collaborate in the construction of meaning. Thomas C. Foster's Reading the Silver Screen will show movie buffs, students of film, and even aspiring screenwriters and directors how to become accomplished readers of this great medium.
If it were titled as such, I would give this 5 stars across the board. Alas, it's subtitled as a book for film lovers. It's not. Almost everything that is in it, I already knew. This is a book for beginners. In that regard, it's an excellent introduction to the subject.
A little OT, but I highly recommend the author's books on literature. They did provide me with a new way of looking at the classics.
A fabulous way to experience twenty of Shakespeare's thirty-seven plays, this retelling of the stories in prose was originally published just for children. Keeping Shakespeare's own words whenever possible, but making the plots and language easily understandable, this very readable collection has entertained and informed generations of adults as well. It is the ideal primer for anyone interested in becoming familiar with the works of the great bard.
With each tale, one listens and learns that this happened, and then that happened, etc. Occasionally, dialogue from the plays are inserted, but not much. I just found it hard to get into this. I forced myself to finish because a knowledge of Shakespeare's plays is a good thing. Ideally, though, one wants to listen for no other reason than enjoyment. That wasn't the case for me.
I found the Stories from Shakespeare series much more entertaining.
From author and psychologist B. F. Skinner, regarded by many as the most important and influential psychologist since Freud, comes Walden Two. This fictional outline of a modern utopia has been a center of controversy ever since its publication in 1948. Set in the United States, it depicts a society in which human problems are solved by a scientific technology of human conduct.
Alas, the ideas get in the way of the story. As a blueprint on how to build a Utopian society, I suppose this works. (At least theoretically. If you actually tried to do this, I'm pretty sure legal issues would arise.) But this is fiction and story should take precedence over everything. The plot, in a nutshell, is a group of skeptics visit Walden Two and engage in a dialogue with its founder over its value, effectiveness, and sustainability. I didn't expect a beach read, but I expected characters I could get behind, a pursuit that's engaging and difficult, and suspense on whether it would be achieved.
A beloved culinary historian's short takes on six famous women through the lens of food and cooking - what they ate and how their attitudes toward food offer surprising new insights into their lives. It's a lively and unpredictable array of women; what they have in common with one another (and us) is a powerful relationship with food.
... was proven. I don't see at all how the food these women ate tells their story, except in the most basic way. Seems like Dorothy Wordsworth ate they way she did because that was the food that was available to her. Helen Gurley Brown needed to be thin, so she ate very little. Okay, but why did she need to be thin? I had similar questions of all the other subjects, and never got the answers. Having said this, you do learn about the lives of these women, so it is interesting in that regard. Hmm, perhaps Eleanor Roosevelt wasn't the saint she's often portrayed to be?
Feels like a better title for this book would be, Short Biographies of Remarkable Women, with Information About the Food they Ate. Okay, that's a bit unwieldy, but I hope you see my point.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Inspired as a boy by the multiple meanings to be found for a single word in the dictionary, Kohei Araki is devoted to the notion that a dictionary is a boat to carry us across the sea of words. But after thirty-seven years creating them at Gembu Books, it's time for him to retire and find his replacement. He discovers a kindred spirit in Mitsuya Majime - a young, disheveled square peg with a penchant for collecting antiquarian books and a background in linguistics - whom he swipes from his company's sales department.
It's not going to change the world. The characters are pretty much stock characters -- the nerd, the guy who thinks he's much cooler than he is, the beauty who sees beyond beauty (and thus, hope this isn't a SPOILER, falls for the nerd).
The goal isn't that important. Creating a physical dictionary in the internet age? And yet, if you love words and reading, this is a worthwhile, but not a profound, listen. Think of this as dessert, rather than a meal with all major food groups represented.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
James considers this book to be his masterpiece! Various "ambassadors" are sent to Paris to persuade Chad Newsome to return to his New England town and attend to his business interests there. One of these envoys, Lambert Strether, is so impressed with Chad's suavity and charm that he advises him to stay with Mme. de Vionnet in France.
This is more about my limitations as a reader than it is about James, but all I can do is be honest, and, my goodness, this was a tough slog to get through. In this vast sea of beautiful words, I wasn't able to find the story. I only know what the book was about because I went to Wikipedia. I don't know how many times I had to pause the recording and ask, wait, where are we now? Who's speaking? Who is this character again?
I don't know of a writer who uses more words to describe a person, a place, a state of being, than James. I've read/listened to several of his works and, I have to say, I find the movie adaptions of them to be better. Sacrilege, I know.