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Joe

Fairhope, AL, United States
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  • 6
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Great to have this on audio

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-13-18

Daniel Tudor's popular intro to modern South Korean culture is one of the required reads about this amazing country.

It was published in 2012, so a good chunk is already in need of an update, considering how fast Korea changes.

The narration was a good honest effort. I don't expect non-Korean speakers to get Korean pronunciations right all the time, but I think the narrator could have benefited from some Korean coaching. After a while, the pronunciation flailing gets distracting. At some parts, especially in the Korean Wave bit with a deluge of Korean names and titles, he sounds almost spiteful of the Korean words.

Good voice, but I think he was way outside his comfort zone.

Imaginative Connections

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-13-17

Other reviews have gushed about the imagination in this work. They're right. This is one of those rock-your-point-of-view sci-fi novels that also packs the action. It's literally as epic as you can get. Broad and sweeping yet somehow stays with core characters.

They say characters who grow make good writing. Great writing makes the reader grow.

Ambitious work

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-21-16

I admire these guys for tackling this subject and having the gumption to rank them. If you haven't seen some of the shows in the top 5 of their list, their initial debate over which deserves to be crowned king gets tedious. But then the fun begins.

I enjoyed the essays for helping me recall forgotten shows, learning why some must-see shows were great, reinforcing why I loved other series, and viewing some from a different angle.

They make the disclaimer from the beginning that this list was hardly definitive. It's a jumping off point for more discussion. They encourage people to bring up the shows they didn't mention. Ahem... Avatar the Last Airbender, and leaving Shogun and V out of their list of great mini-series. I remember those series taking over lunchroom and family conversations.

The lists of best/worse TV bosses to work for, best TV houses, best cliffhangers are the cherries in the fruit cup. The passion they spews forth like Roman candles as they make their cases for each show. I see myself listening to this again.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

If you liked Kitchen Confidential you'll...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-19-16

I'm a bit of a fan of Joe, and I've read enough books about chefs it was time I read one from an owner's perspective. I listened to it while painting my own restaurant, which opens next week, and it helped calm my nerves.

It's autobiographical, and the tone has the macho swagger of Kitchen Confidential, almost like it's a sequel. Yes, I did cringe at some of the misogynistic moments (who says "banging broads" anymore). And while Bourdain hid the names of most characters in KC, Bastianich names them outright. At many points it sounds like he's trying to settle petty scores. Was hoping Joe would be above that. He seems to contradict himself a bit, calling out the snobs in the industry and then going on snobby tirades about things like New World wines. But hey, we're all the heroes of our own stories. The best parts are the stories in Italy and of opening the restaurants in America. It's worth it for Del Posto alone.

The narration wasn't bad, but Joe starts out sounding like he's bored with his own story. Other times I swear I can feel his hangover as he tries to get through a passage. At other times he sounds like he has an air bubble trapped in his stomach or acid reflux.

I'm glad I got the book, and it's a good companion with Kitchen Confidential and Bill Buford's "Heat," which explores Mario Batali's side of the partnership with Bastianich.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Best work since Pillars

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-18-11

I've been a fan of Follett's historical novels since I picked up Pillars of the Earth in 1990 (I've read it 6 times since then). I was spoiled. Even though he's a great storyteller, it was hard to find anything that matched Pillars--until this book. I had never had much interest in cathedrals until I read Pillars. And I had been flippant about WWI until Fall of Giants. It feels like you have lived a fulfilling lifetime when you finish. My only complaint is that Follett loves to litter his works with unnecessarily TMI sex scenes that are hilariously awkwardly written at times. They slow down the pace of the book, and I'm really wondering who wants to read about one of the character's sexual fascination with his wife's birth canal while she's pregnant.

Even with the adolescent Penthouse Letters, it's worth the five stars. The politics and mood of the era are artfully personified. The characters are historical archetypes but get some three-dimensional fleshing out. The unbelievable coincidences of the characters' interminglings are worth suspending disbelief. They help with details of the story and set up layers of dramatic action. It also reads like a Greek tragedy in that we all know what the fate of the characters' children and the world itself will be ten to twenty years later, with minor comments like, "Oh, that will never happen again," evoking spontaneous laughter.

Pillars was Follett's masterpiece--now I hope it was the dry run for the real masterpiece trilogy to come.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful