August 30, 1975: The day 15-year-old Nola Kellergan is glimpsed fleeing through the woods before she disappears; the day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence. Thirty-three years later, Marcus Goldman, a successful young novelist, visits Somerset to see his mentor, Harry Quebert, one of America’s most respected writers, and to find a cure for his writer’s block as his publisher's deadline looms.
I foolishly decided to ignore the member reviews and see for myself. Wooden prose, implausible situations, cartoonish characters.. an effort that Dan Brown would be embarrassed about.
Save your credits for something worthwhile. Pierce Cravens is a fine narrator but I look forward to hearing him read something that's not complete rubbish.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sonny Lofthus is a strangely charismatic and complacent young man. Sonny’s been in prison for a dozen years, nearly half his life. The inmates who seek out his uncanny abilities to soothe leave his cell feeling absolved. They don’t know or care that Sonny has a serious heroin habit - or where or how he gets his uninterrupted supply of the drug. Or that he’s serving time for other peoples’ crimes. Sonny took the first steps toward addiction when his father took his own life rather than face exposure as a corrupt cop. Now Sonny is the seemingly malleable center of a whole infrastructure of corruption....
I really liked this story in the typically dark Scandinavian murder tradition, but the narrator was one of the most wooden readers I've ever listened to. In places it really ruined the story for me. I will avoid Gildart Jackson in the future.
21 of 23 people found this review helpful
The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.
I thoroughly enjoyed the pervasive aura of melancholy and missed opportunities. I thought the twist of meeting up with iconic figures of the 1960s was enjoyable and served to remind that famous people are at once average and yet not. Worth a listen.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
The Rest Is Noise takes the listener inside the labyrinth of modern music, from turn-of-the-century Vienna to downtown New York in the '60s and '70s. We meet the maverick personalities and follow the rise of mass culture on this sweeping tour of 20th-century history through its music.
I really, really loved this book. However, I think that some other listeners might be put off by the need to really have a musical background to fully enjoy this book. If you don't know what a dominant 7th or a tritone is, for example, you might find long sections of this book tedious. But, if you've studied music or are a really serious aficionado, then this book is hard to put down.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
He was born Temujin, son of a khan, raised in a clan of hunters migrating across the steppe. Temujin's young life was shaped by a series of brutal acts: the betrayal of his father by a neighboring tribe, his family left to die on the harsh plain. But Temujin endured, and from then on, he was driven by a fury to survive in the face of death, to kill before being killed, and to conquer enemies from beyond the horizon.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Caesar series. However, I found books 1 and 2 in the Genghis series to be much less compelling. While the writing is equally as good, the characters, (Temujin/Genghis in particular) are very one-dimensional. Perhaps this is an accurate rendering of the Khan's single minded drive for brutal conquest but I'm not sure that in the 21st century I need this much detail. Khan is depicted as a ruthless and hell-bent despot who cares not a whit for any one or any thing other than dominance of his enemy. After two books, I think I've had enough of that. I get the point of how one of history's greatest murderers conquered millions of peoples yet there's very little in these first two books to make me reflect on anything relating to a contemporary context or the motivations of a complicated character that makes me want to read (listen) to books three and four.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
The fourth volume in the acclaimed Emperor series, in which Conn Iggulden interweaves history and adventure to recreate the astonishing life of Julius Caesar - an epic tale of ambition and rivalry, bravery and betrayal.
Can't get enough of these books. Kind of a guilty pleasure but rip roaring good stories. Great book and great narrator.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Julius Caesar has taken his legions north into mighty battles with the Gallic tribes. But as his successes mount, overwhelming ambition and new alliances begin to threaten his friendship with Marcus Brutus, brother-in-arms and fellow warrior. Although the conquest of Gaul has made Caesar a hero all over again, his victories on the battlefield cause still more rivalries at home. And ultimately Caesar and Brutus will have to choose whether to cross the Rubicon - together or singly - and to take the fight to Rome itself.
I'm not sure what all the caterwauling is about Paul Blake as narrator. He's a great actor and his pronunciation, while it may be difficult for some listeners, is technically correct since he pronounces Vs like Ws and Cs like Ks. I agree that a publisher switching from one narrator to another is a bad idea in a series like this. Nonetheless, Paul Blake is very capable and brings these fun, if not historically accurate, tales to life. A 5 star read (listen) all around.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another....
Some have panned this book as having main characters who reader's didn't care about. I can only say that those readers must be looking for heroes. For those seeking to understand HOW Nazi Germany could have happened, this is a perfect addition to the lexicon as a glimpse into America's inertia, latent if not overt anti-semitism, lack of foresight, and even investment driven foreign policy (sound familiar 2011 America???).
There are no Shindlers in this book, just complicated human beings. Additionally, Hitler, Goehring, Goebels, etc. are humans.... flawed, monstrous, paranoid, etc..... yet human, not the PBS or History Channel bad guys we've come to loathe. This is a great book.
One downside.. the narrator is only a B-minus.
23 of 25 people found this review helpful
In the tradition of Jared Diamond and Jacques Barzun, prize-winning historian Anthony Pagden presents a sweeping history of the long struggle between East and West, from the Greeks to the present day.
The relationship between East and West has always been one of turmoil. In this historical tour de force, a renowned historian leads us from the world of classical antiquity, through the Dark Ages, to the Crusades, Europe's resurgence, and the dominance of the Ottoman Empire, which almost shattered Europe entirely. Pagden travels from Napoleon in Egypt to Europe's carving up of the finally moribund Ottomans - creating the modern Middle East along the way - and on to the present struggles in Iraq.
This is a great survey of the thousands of years of mistrust, misunderstandings and the planting of the seeds of discontent that still are very much with us today. John Lee was the perfect narrator for this book. Loved it.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
The most closely-guarded secret of the Cold War is about to be exposed – the identity of a SIXTH member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring. And people are killing for it.... London, 1992. Late one night, Edward Crane, 76, is declared dead at a London hospital. An obituary describes him only as a 'resourceful career diplomat'. But Crane was much more than that – and the circumstances surrounding his death are far from what they seem. Fifteen years later, academic Sam Gaddis needs money.
I enjoyed this book in contrast to some other who felt it was boring, I found it quite engaging and enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot. I would have given it a FIVE rating but I thought that John Lee's reading was a little stiff. I usually like him very much but for some reason, his delivery of the language of this author seemed not to gel for me. Otherwise a good book and I think I'll try another of Cumming's works soon.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful