In this book Helen Keller tells her experiences growing up as a child who was both blind and death. This made is very hard for her to communicate with...moreIn this book Helen Keller tells her experiences growing up as a child who was both blind and death. This made is very hard for her to communicate with her environment and for her environment with her. How do you teach a person who can’t see or hear anything a language? How do you teach her to read or write? How this can be done is told in Helen Keller’s story. She doesn’t only learn to communicate, read and write but also learns very hard and even manages to attend college. This is a very moving story that I can wholeheartedly recommend to everybody.
I listened to the Librivox audiobook and found it an average piece in their repertoire. The narrator wasn’t exceptional, but she wasn’t too bad either.(less)
Gradually I seem to be developing a liking for (auto)biographies/memoirs. Previously I always avoided those because I feared that they would bore me t...moreGradually I seem to be developing a liking for (auto)biographies/memoirs. Previously I always avoided those because I feared that they would bore me too easily. With Chapters from My Autobiography by Mark Twain, I’ve read four autobiographies in the recent past. This book and John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley certainly convinced me how much fun autobiographies can be. Mark Twain has a way of presenting the facts in a funny way. I especially liked how he frequently cited from his daughter Susi’s biography of him. Those thow narrations (Twain’s own dictation and Susi’s biography of him) are combined to give a unique picture of the author. Once again I listened to the free audiobook from LibriVox, read by John Greenman. He knows how to give Twain his due and I think I wouldn’t have liked the book so much had I not listened to this narration. This is the second book by Mark Twain read by John Greenman I’ve enjoyed (the first was Twain’s retelling of the story of Joan of Arc) and Greenman has become my “voice of Twain” by now. He has done other Twain books as well and I’ll be certain to listen to those as well.(less)
Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography is sometimes referred to as the first How-to-Book (at least I read that somewhere, though I can’t recall now where)....moreBenjamin Franklin’s autobiography is sometimes referred to as the first How-to-Book (at least I read that somewhere, though I can’t recall now where). It’s certainly interesting to read (or hear when listening to the audiobook) of his early life and how he became a man of importance. Also, the writing style isn’t too monotone or boring (I’m listening to a novel right now that has a more boring style than this non-fiction). Usually I struggle with biographies (or autobiographies/memoirs), but this belonged to the better ones I’ve read so far.
I listened to the free LibriVox audiobook of this book. Those are of varying quality. This production was of average (tending to good) quality. (less)
This is one of the rare non-fiction books that managed to keep my attention so that I could read it rather quickly (less than a week in comparison to...moreThis is one of the rare non-fiction books that managed to keep my attention so that I could read it rather quickly (less than a week in comparison to my usual time of several weeks for a non-fiction).
The title of the German edition (Couch Surfing) first caught my attention at the library because I had heard of Couch Surfing and was interesed in reading about somebody who actually tried it. Brian Thacker has an intereseting way of writing. The thing that started to get on my nerves after some time is that his time seems to be spent mostly with going to parties and drinking alcohol (to be fair his hosts usually took him along, so Brian is not completely at fault here). The reason for this might be that the author's goal was to visit "interesting" people, who ended up to be the sort of people who went out late and drink lots of alcohol. I myself being a non-alcohol, non-party person, I would have prefered some less "interesting" and sober people (just to prove that such persons are also doing Couch Surfing). That might also have prevented the book from feeling a bit dull during the end.
Certainly an interesting book to learn about Couch Surfing and see into the private lives of people from foreign countries. The writing style and topic would have gotten four stars from me, but the excess of partying lowered my rating to three.(less)