A quick, interesting read about Gloria Vanderbilt's life and her relationship with her son Anderson Cooper. It's a good reminder that being born intoA quick, interesting read about Gloria Vanderbilt's life and her relationship with her son Anderson Cooper. It's a good reminder that being born into wealth does not mean you are not born into a life with no problems.
A word about the audio version: Anderson Cooper reads letters to his mother like he's reading the news. Old habits are hard to break, I guess....more
An inventive and ambitious novel. Is it a novel? Is it a history? Is it fantasy? It can't really be put into any category. This is the story of the deAn inventive and ambitious novel. Is it a novel? Is it a history? Is it fantasy? It can't really be put into any category. This is the story of the death of Abraham Lincoln's son, Willie, and it is told by the ghosts in the graveyard where he is laid - not to rest, but to tarry. He and the other spirits who tell the story aren't ready to move on, indeed, some of them don't even know they are dead. It is interspersed with quotes and excerpts from historical documents, letters, and other writings.
I listened to the audiobook and read along with my Kindle and I really think that is the best way to read this story. The audiobook has 166 narrators. There are star actors like Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Julianne Moore, Susan Sarandon, Jeffrey Tambor, Don Cheadle, Ben Stiller, Lena Dunham, Kat Dennings, Bill Hader, Rainn Wilson, and others. There are also cameo appearances (if a voice appearance can be a cameo) by such prolific audiobook narrators as Rebecca Lowman, Mark Bramhall, Scott Brick, and Julia Whelan. It was like a Reader's Theatre production. It was a wholly unique reading experience....more
Well, I see that I'm in the minority here because most readers absolutely rave about this book. But I found it tiresome and tedious. While the dialoguWell, I see that I'm in the minority here because most readers absolutely rave about this book. But I found it tiresome and tedious. While the dialogue and "flash-speak" may have been authentic to the setting, it seemed to me to be trying too hard. It made listening to the audiobook difficult because I don't speak that slang, so figuring out what a "kinchin" is, for example, was what I found tedious. I also didn't really warm to the characters or buy into the love interest angle. It's odd, because I do find this time period interesting. Maybe it just didn't suit my mood. I really wanted to like it, but meh. ...more
**spoiler alert** Trevor Noah has taken a lot of heat for not "getting" the issues that face Black America. Not being a black American, I couldn't say**spoiler alert** Trevor Noah has taken a lot of heat for not "getting" the issues that face Black America. Not being a black American, I couldn't say whether or not that heat is justified, but I think it bears reminding that this man grew up a mixed race child in South Africa during apartheid. It's just possible that his perspective is valid.
In the final chapter, and I'm not marking this as a spoiler because it's also on his Wikipedia page so it's not like it's a twist ending, Noah describes the abusive marriage that led to his mother being shot in the head by her ex-husband. This whole episode is absolutely miraculous. The gun misfires several times when he holds it to her head and as she tries to get away and the bullet actually fires, it misses every major artery and vein and her brain and she spends only 4 days in the hospital. And yet Noah talks about the incident wondering why God allowed it to happen, rather than considering the miracles that saved her life. He acknowledges that he can't explain what happened, but treats it as a "silly mom, thinking it was her prayers that saved her." God is trying to get your attention, Trevor!
Also, I love Noah's accent. Listening to this on audio definitely increased my enjoyment of it. Thanks, Goodreads and Audible, for the free audiobook!...more
Louise Penny always frames her mysteries with some seemingly mundane craft - sometimes it's painting, or antique collecti**spoiler alert** 3.5 stars.
Louise Penny always frames her mysteries with some seemingly mundane craft - sometimes it's painting, or antique collecting, or Gregorian chants. This time, it's map making. And (spoiler alert) (view spoiler)[ this time, the map has absolutely nothing to do with the crime, except that the killer planted it at the scene as a red herring. So the characters go through chapters and chapters and chapters of research on the map and its maker, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the murder (hide spoiler)].
I was also able to guess what the connection was between Gamache and Amelia from very, very early on.
Another thing Penny does is she's a little heavy-handed with her character's defining characteristics. Amelia has tattoos and piercings and she reminds us of this every ten pages or so. Gabri and Olivier are gay and never miss a chance to make some joke about it. Clara is messy and always has food in her hair (gross. Also Clara is probably my least favorite character). Ruth is a crotchety old lady who swears a lot. And this continued with the new characters. Jacques (I'm assuming that's how it was spelled as I listened to the audiobook and sometimes it was pronounced this way and sometimes as Jack) is a racist a-hole and goes on many rants and I just find it to be overkill sometimes. Still, Myrna and Gabri and Olivier and Jean Guy and Ruth are dear enough to me that I keep going with the series....more
**spoiler alert** Three and a half stars. They've found the WMDs, and they're in Canada!! Sounds silly, right? It is, a little, but also made for a pr**spoiler alert** Three and a half stars. They've found the WMDs, and they're in Canada!! Sounds silly, right? It is, a little, but also made for a pretty exciting story. It's also just a little bit true.
Also: it's weird listening to the audiobooks read by someone other than Ralph Cosham. Sir Anthony from Downton Abbey does a fine job, but it's still weird....more