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Diana

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Here I Am audiobook cover art

Disappointed

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

Reviewed: 11-24-16

Any additional comments?

I loved Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It's on my favorite book shelf. This one is full of too much suburban angst, and lacks the whimsy and joy that laced the tragedy of Extremely Loud. Also, (and this is especially tough listening,) there are a number of deeply disgusting pornographic lines that keep coming back as a refrain, ones that would make Shades of Gray listeners squirm. I wish I'd never heard them. When you're listening, you can't skim or escape. And holocaust passages. It does go on and on, though I love everything about the youngest child, Benjamin. This book will be right for some, but not right for me, at least not right now. Ari's Filakos's performance is spot on.

Mozart in the Jungle audiobook cover art

Not The TV Series

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

Reviewed: 08-24-16

What did you love best about Mozart in the Jungle?

I loved the journalistic picture of the waft and waning of classical music in the last quarter of the 20th century. It depicts the real life of a classical musician after years and years of practicing, and the juggernaut of emporiums built around culture and the paying public. The kind of proficiency Blair Tindall achieved, only to be dissatisfied with the resulting work-a-day world is fascinating and believable. It's both informative and fun, because she includes all the hanky-panky.

Any additional comments?

The book takes place decades before the TV series, and where the series is charming, this is told, and read, with a dry, knowing irony. None of the TV characters are here, but it doesn't matter, because this is its own world, well told and equally interesting.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Mountains of the Moon audiobook cover art

Better on the page than listened to

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-24-16

What did you like best about Mountains of the Moon? What did you like least?

The author has an ear for the poetic in the simplest of expressions. She's ambitious, and this is a consciously literary effort. It's working, but it asks a lot of the listener/reader. Important snippets of information go by in a sentence. It's stream of conscious, not as difficult as Ulysses, but requires that kind of attention. When I read from book, I found that I'd missed a lot of important lines when I'd only been listening. It's the kind of book that made me go back and re-read a paragraph once I'd got the gist of what was happening, and I only fully understood what was necessary on the second pass.

What didn’t you like about Elizabeth Sastre’s performance?

I had to stop listening--she read dramatically, and I borrowed the book from the library to see if most of sentences had exclamation points. (They don't.) Part of the narrative is told in the first person voice of a child, and Sartre's performance of the child's voice was particularly difficult to listen to.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

I don't think so. It's a dark world, full of piss, graffiti, violence and detritus. The characters are as dark as the setting.

Any additional comments?

I really wanted to like this one because of its poetry, and I respect the author, but the book didn't hold me.

Leaving the Atocha Station audiobook cover art

Disappointed

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-06-15

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, unfortunately. It’s been getting good reviews and I wanted to like it--right up my alley, a poet in Madrid--but I found the narrator to be insufferable, self-important in a passive-aggressive way and at the same time self-loathing, manipulative, self-centered, hand-to-the-forehead. The only way we see secondary characters, like women who somehow love him, is through his worry about how his lies and manipulations will affect them. I appreciate the examination of language, how it can be twisted, how we don't understand each other, specially with the added burden of translation. And the telling is perhaps bravely naked, exposing this character's most gutter self, but he is not someone I want to spend time with. I listened to the end because it was short (thank god) and I wanted to see if it then was redemptive. It wasn’t really, just grumpy and depressed.

Has Leaving the Atocha Station turned you off from other books in this genre?

No!

Would you be willing to try another one of Ben Lerner’s performances?

Ben Lerner's performance worsened my reaction to his book, as he reads a lot of the prose in the dreaded Poet Voice, intoning rather than with natural speech inflections. It's possible the book might have been livelier, funnier in places, and less inescapable if I had read it. Maybe a different reader would lend the narrator more inflected variation.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

All the Birds, Singing audiobook cover art

New On My Best Book Shelf

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

Reviewed: 12-21-14

Any additional comments?

Beloved. The English Patient. The Poisonwood Bible. All the Pretty Horses. And now--All The Birds, Singing. Evie Wyld has extraordinary talent. This is the tale of a haunted protagonist, told by a poets' mind with simple and direct language. Dark and elemental. A woman keeps sheep on an island off Britain. Something is disemboweling them. In alternating chapters, the story progresses forward on the Island, and backwards on an Australian sheep station. The plot should be difficult to follow, but it isn't--it should be gimmicky, but it is necessary and compelling as we are drawn deeper and deeper into this young woman's history. I'm rarely blown away, but I'm blown away. Well performed too. I urge you to listen to this.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

How Jesus Became God audiobook cover art

History Not Theology

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

Reviewed: 10-12-14

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

2000 years is a long time. What do we really know about Jesus? And how did what we think we know come to be constructed? Ehrman makes the case that Jesus' resurrection is possibly the most significant historical event of modern times. What really happened? If you wonder, if you like having new facts and opinions about things you have always taken for granted, then this course is for you.

Have you listened to any of Professor Bart D. Ehrman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've read or listened to a couple of Professor Ehrman's books and courses on early Christianity, so worried that this would be too repetitious, but there was plenty of new ideas and facts to keep me amazed.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful

Gulp audiobook cover art

Easy, Entertaining and Informative

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

Reviewed: 10-12-14

What did you love best about Gulp?

The combination of science and humor.

What other book might you compare Gulp to and why?

Tonally and anecdotally like Freakonomics, making a new sense of world we think we might know.

What does Emily Woo Zeller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Emily Woo Zeller's narration is clear, wry where wryness is called for.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour audiobook cover art

Recommended

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

Reviewed: 09-02-14

Any additional comments?

My favorite books take me to a new reality, or identify the reality I know in a stronger, clearer light. This does both. It's funny, sometimes laugh out loud so, and sad, sometimes funny and sad at the same time. And it's very wise. It's as strong and remarkable as And Then We Came To The End, Ferris' previous tour-de-force. Definitely recommended. The performance is spot on.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

Aegypt audiobook cover art

worlds within worlds

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-21-07

Here are worlds within worlds, stories with stories, a 15th century Dominican Monk, a young Will Shakespeare, a crowd of likeable 1970's types. The text does ramble, but the reachings are enjoyable, often poetic, many times profound. I love the combination of authorial ambition and accessibility, novel history and philosophical magical realism. Because it is stories within stories, it was difficult, sometimes, to follow the leap from real time text to the fictions or histories that the protagonists themselves were reading. (This is not a problem with the hard copy.) I was tempted to give it 4 stars for that reason, but I so enjoyed hearing Crowley read and and the book has staying power for me, so 5 stars it is. I'm glad I own it because I will listen to it again.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful