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thawstone

Reno, NV USA
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Don't Need to be a Chess Fan

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

Reviewed: 06-30-19

Walter Tevis' Mockingbird is one of my all time favorite books. Though I listened to it many years ago, it haunts me to this day. This book was a leap of faith. I have no particular interest in chess, however I opted to trust reviewers who claimed it didn't matter. The reviewers were right. Somehow Tevis manages to make the matches riveting without the need to know exactly what's happening on the chess board. The tension is palpable throughout. Perhaps this is partly because the matches are largely about the clash of the personalities involved. Add to this the fascinating story of the protagonist's upbringing and the ever lurking shadow of the orphanage's method to maintain tranquility.

I didn't notice any reviews by a chess enthusiast who might verify one way or the other: are the moves described the actual ones prescribed by the named techniques, i.e. the Queen's Gambit? Not that it mattered to me, I'm just curious.

Post Children of Time Depression

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

Reviewed: 12-31-18

Yes, this is one of those stories that makes you sad when it's finally over. Knowing I was getting close to the end I started rationing my listening time in an attempt to make the final savory moments last. This book is that good. I'm certain someone is going to opt for the rights to make a movie or series from it.

This book deals with evolution and takes place over thousands of years, and yet we still get the familiarity of knowing the same characters throughout, on the one hand through cryostasis and on the other through engineered genetic inheritance traits that ensure the offspring are the essential clones of their forbearers. It was also great that the author had each new generation inherit the name of the forbearer bypassing the need for the reader to relearn who's who as the story progressed.

Kudos to Adrian Tchaikovsky for really doing his homework on the subject matter. The story was well wrapped in a cocoon of utter believability. Kudos as well to Mel Hudson on a creative and flawless reading performance.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Phenomenal!

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

Reviewed: 01-08-18

I wish I had more time to write reviews, but since I don't, I only write reviews on books that truly move and inspire me. This is one. There is some controversy about whether or not Beryl had help in writing this true life adventure novel, but who cares? The fact is, the writing is extraordinary. I'm going to buy the hard book just so I can pore over the words visually. I read an article where Ernest Hemingway proclaims Beryl Markham to be 10 times the writer he is. And the story, I only wish my life was one tenth as remarkable. This is one of those books you'll eagerly recommend to everyone. At Christmas dinner with the family I brought up the book only to find out many of them had just read it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

A Big Fan of Craig Johnson's Early Works

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

Reviewed: 10-11-17

It's sad how far this series has fallen from the first 5 or 6 books. The Western Star was formulaic, stupid, and sloppy. The reveal at the end was a let down of the Nth degree. Don't waste your money or a credit. This series has jumped the shark.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

Deeply Engaging

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

Reviewed: 02-06-17

This is a highly creative, original, and imaginative work. It kept me thoroughly engaged throughout. The only thing that bugged me a little was his use of marijuana as a mind numbing drug used to placate the populous. I don't know if Walter Tevis lived through the late 60s and early 70s, but the drug's use hardly numbed the minds of its users, rather along with LSD, it spurred revolution in the streets and an evolution of art and music. He should have done a little self experimentation if nothing else. However, other than this forgivable mistake, the story and characters will remain with me for a very long time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Hard to Care for Poor Little Rich Woman.

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

Reviewed: 02-06-17

This is the first book by Wallace Stegner that I was happy to be done with so I could move on to something better. Wallace had a tough sell to make the reader care about the problems of a spoiled rich woman, and I imagine a lot of readers like myself won't find enough character or substance to hang their hat on. I love Wallace Stegner's writing, but in this case, he chose the wrong subject matter. I highly recommend his other works.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Too much side story

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

Reviewed: 11-01-16

As a fan of true adventure stories, I see this more and more. I suppose all the epic, novel length stories have been written, so authors are taking short story length adventures and padding them into novels.

Teddy's journey was truly amazing and heroic, and I'm glad I listened the book, but on numerous occasions I found myself becoming irritated at the length of supporting facts and stories, and just wanted to get back to the story. An example is a tiny barbed fish that swims up the urethra, and thus blocking off one's ability to urinate, can ultimately prove fatal when far from medical help. Where a minute or two about the fish would have provided everything interesting and pertinent to the story, the author goes on and on about every know tale of someone who had it happen and every known treatment for the problem. I would estimate that a third of the book is pure padding.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Literary Art

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

Reviewed: 10-17-16

This is my first Wallace Stegner book and it won't be the last. Stegner is one of those rare authors who, despite centuries of the written word, has the creativity to still come up with original and awe inspiring phrasing. Writing skill aside, Stegner is also a great story teller. The book has great pacing and is emotionally involving throughout. The narration was spot on.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Too much drugs and religion

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

Reviewed: 10-02-16

Having recently listened to Red Platoon, which I can't recommend highly enough, I wanted to listen to another tale about combat in Afghanistan, but very little of this book takes place there. At least a third of the book is about Adam's drug habit. Another third is spent praising god. If anything, this story proves that god has no favorites and prayer doesn't work. Adam was truly a courageous man who overcame monumental obstacles, and if the author had chosen to limit the time devoted to the all too common story about drug addiction and the near constant religiosity, this could have been a truly good book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

Haunting

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

Reviewed: 06-05-16

One of the most amazing true stories ever told. I'm a fan of real life survival stories and this one is among the top. It's not just the hardships and suffering the men endure but the constant tension imposed by the rule of their harsh masters. At any moment of any day a wrong move, word, or jester could mean instant death. Meanwhile, bandits and the unrelenting Sahara threaten the lives of both master and slave. Add to this the fascination of a tribal culture born of the necessities of living where no life should exit, and you have all the ingredients of a story that will live with you long after the last word.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful