I think the print version might have been a 3-star for me but I hated the audiobook narrator so that lost this book a star.
But really, this wasn't aI think the print version might have been a 3-star for me but I hated the audiobook narrator so that lost this book a star.
But really, this wasn't a book that I was going to like. I don't like stories about lone eccentrics who go off into the wilderness and put themselves and others at risk. And I thought the story would have made a better long-form magazine article than it did a full-length book....more
I enjoyed this book, although it's not exactly life-changing literature or anything. It's a quick and engaging trip through Craig Ferguson's life. HeI enjoyed this book, although it's not exactly life-changing literature or anything. It's a quick and engaging trip through Craig Ferguson's life. He doesn't get particularly in-depth about much of anything (in some ways the book is less revealing than certain episodes of the Late Late Show), and it's a bit episodic - lots of little vignettes - but hey, I wasn't expecting or wanting a lot of "lessons" from this book anyhow. It was a good audiobook for commuting, especially because of the episodic nature, which made it easy to turn on and off.
The audiobook is read by the author; if you're a Late Late Show fan, you'll know that Ferguson's impressions are pretty dreadful, and his repertoire of accents is limited (this is actually an important point in his professional history, as the book reveals), but he knows that too, and it's part of the fun. My inner monologue has had more of a Scottish accent than usual while I've been listening to this book.
Oh, also, I copied this book from CDs to my phone but I don't have the CDs anymore, and I apparently failed to copy the chapter(s?) where Craig and his first wife return from New York to Glasgow, so if anyone wants to fill me in on what happened there, I'd appreciate it. ...more
Really enjoyed this book and I thought it was stronger than the first book in the series (Finding Nouf). The characters felt a bit more three-dimensioReally enjoyed this book and I thought it was stronger than the first book in the series (Finding Nouf). The characters felt a bit more three-dimensional in this one, there were more characters (I especially liked Osama and Nuha) and therefore more perspectives, and the story was more interesting. And I liked the first book! I just liked this one more.
I did have a couple of plot issues: (view spoiler)[The whole, "She was wrapped up in this big mystery but it turns out she was actually killed for a very everyday reason!" thing has been done before. That was very "Law and Order." Also I felt like Eric Walker didn't get fleshed out well enough as a character before he disappeared, and I was pretty disappointed when he turned up dead. And I thought it was a little two convenient that TWO of the characters had the same photo on display in their homes, and it was of three guys on a camping trip that took place three weeks previous. Who puts up photos three weeks after the events in the photo? I mean unless it's a new baby or something. (hide spoiler)]
But, overall, another strong mystery novel in a fascinating setting. I'm definitely looking forward to the next one, which I believe is scheduled to be published this summer. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A really strong first mystery novel by Zoë Ferraris. It's set in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Ferraris does a good job balancing the mystery with a portrA really strong first mystery novel by Zoë Ferraris. It's set in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Ferraris does a good job balancing the mystery with a portrait of life in modern Saudi Arabia. The detectives are an unhappily single Saudi-Palestinian desert guide, Nayir, and his friend's fiancee, Katya, a technician in the women's department of the police lab.
Ferraris has lived in Jeddah, and her depiction of the inner lives of kind and thoughtful Saudis making their way in their bizarro modern theocratic culture is very convincing and SO SAD.
(view spoiler)[The mystery was fairly well-done but I thought that it was a little too obvious that Nayir's friend and Katya's fiance Othman was going to be involved in it one way or another, because otherwise Katya would marry Othman and then where would the romantic/sexual tension between Katya and Nayir go in the later books in the series? I'm looking forward to reading the next book, City of Veils and the new one that is about to released. But I do wonder how long Ferraris can convincingly keep Nayir and Katya apart - their incentive to marry seems so strong that a long will-they-or-won't-they is going to be difficult to pull off. (hide spoiler)]
All in all, a thoroughly readable, engaging, and well-written mystery with a fascinating look at life in 21st-century Saudi Arabia. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I liked it better than the third book, maybe better than the second book, but I thought the solution to the mystery came out of nowhere, or maybe I waI liked it better than the third book, maybe better than the second book, but I thought the solution to the mystery came out of nowhere, or maybe I was just rushing. Flavia sure has found a lot of bodies in six months for an 11-year-old introvert living in relative seclusion outside of a small English village. Seriously, we're approaching Cabot Cove levels of carnage here. However, there are some vague suggestions of past nefariousness and WWII-era spying that maybe help to start to explain all that? Maybe?
Another thing that bugged me: this is a locked country house mystery - the murder takes place in a secluded spot during a blizzard, or something approaching one, and no one can get in or out. So (view spoiler)[why does the author bring THE WHOLE DAMN VILLAGE to the locked country house before the snow starts falling? Not very Agatha Christie, that. (hide spoiler)] Also, what kind of "cine crew" starts filming a movie a few days before Christmas?
Someone else on Goodreads reviewed the previous book in the series with just "Write faster, Mr. Bradley!" and I can sympathize with that, but really if anything I think he needs to slow down a bit. My previous reservations about Flavia's MacGyver-ish approach to chemistry remain. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This is probably my least-favorite of Sarah Vowell's books so far. And I'm still giving it four stars, because I really like Sarah Vowell's books, soThis is probably my least-favorite of Sarah Vowell's books so far. And I'm still giving it four stars, because I really like Sarah Vowell's books, so even a misfire is still worth reading! Or, in my case, listening to.
I think maybe one of the problems with this book is that Vowell seemed to have trouble really getting fully behind either of the major forces that fought over Hawaii, the incredibly patronizing Haole (Anglo) missionaries and their racist capitalist descendants vs. the undemocratic, incestuous Hawaiian royalty. It's hard to root for either of these entities and it's hard to see what else could have happened to Hawaii as it increasingly came into closer contact with the rest of the world through trade; would the Hawaiian way of life have been preserved if not for American interference? Would it be recognizable today?
On the audio production, Vowell (who reads the book) sounds kind of beat down and depressed. Maybe she was just having a bad day when she recorded this book, or maybe she finds the material unsettling. I'm inclined to believe the latter, because the writing itself lacked some of her usual wit and humor.
Also, other actors/personalities perform many of the quotes from diaries, letters, memoirs, etc., and I found this really distracting. It's one thing when it's a paragraph-long block quote but switching from Vowell's voice to, for example, John Hodgman's or Keanu Reeves' voice for just a few words interrupted the flow for me. Vowell uses this effect in the audiobooks of The Wordy Shipmates and Assassination Vacation, too. I liked it in Assassination Vacation, was slightly distracted by it in The Wordy Shipmates, and now in Unfamiliar Fishes I am just done with it. I might actually have to *read* her next book! And I am not one of those who is bothered by Vowell's own voice....more