If you listen to music by Beethoven you simply cannot remain unmoved! How is this achieved? That none of us know, but after reading this book I do knoIf you listen to music by Beethoven you simply cannot remain unmoved! How is this achieved? That none of us know, but after reading this book I do know about the events of his life and which pieces he composed just then. It is insightful to hear the music he composed as you learn of these events. It is a sad story, and not just due to his impending deafness. I hope that is enough to whet your interest. I highly recommend audiobooks narrated and authored by Jeremy Siepmann. ...more
I liked this. What a great idea to make audiobooks that both tell the biography of a musician and play the music being discussed. A perfect choice forI liked this. What a great idea to make audiobooks that both tell the biography of a musician and play the music being discussed. A perfect choice for an audiobook.
You learn about Mozart's life and hear the beautiful music he composed - operas and symphonies, concertos - you get snippets of just about all his famous pieces. The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, and the music to the film Elvira Madigan. You learn about his familial relationships, his personality, his composing, his playing, his teaching and his travels….. and his death. I like how the author suggests rather than forces down your throat how the listener may interpret the music. Uncertain events are discussed providing different interpretations and views. There are many quotes from letters.
Not only the music played but also the quotes are delightfully executed. There are two main narrators: Nigel Anthony and Paul Rhys. There was also a woman narrator, but her identity is not made clear. All were good. One man read the quotes and another he main text. I loved how the narrator reading the quotes captured the humor of Mozart as a young man. Of course.... he was always young since he died at 35, probably not poisoned but of rheumatic fever. ...more
Too complicated. Too unclear. It is pretty meaningless to say that life is totally subjective.
I like Boyd's language.... even in this book. I like howToo complicated. Too unclear. It is pretty meaningless to say that life is totally subjective.
I like Boyd's language.... even in this book. I like how he creates people that draw your interest and how he throws in history and details about literature and music and tons of other topics too. These details are fascinating. But a book is also the story that is being told and the message that is being conveyed. Both completely failed me in this book. You get a very complicated spy story that is impossible to solve; and maybe the point is you are not even supposed to try. The ending is totally dissatisfying. This has nothing to do with needing a tight ending.
Narration by Roger May is fine. In fact the conversations between French, German and English speaking people are quite amusing, wonderfully delivered....more
While I was listening to this book, well narrated by Malcolm Hillgartner, I enjoyed it very much. That ought to mean four stars..... but as I thoughtWhile I was listening to this book, well narrated by Malcolm Hillgartner, I enjoyed it very much. That ought to mean four stars..... but as I thought about the book later I realized I had some reservations.
It was extremely interesting to learn about the life of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, assassinated at Sarajevo, the spark that ignited WW1. Learning about the troubles that already existed in the Balkans and the relationships between The Austrian-Hungarian Empire and the Russians was enlightening and thorough. Learning about Franz Ferdinand's morganatic marriage with his wife Sophie was eye-opening. I had never been acquainted with the concept of such a marriage. Wiki defines a morganatic marriage in this way: "In the context of royalty, a morganatic marriage is a marriage between people of unequal social rank, which prevents the passage of the husband's titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage." In this book you see in personal terms the suffering that such a marriage causes.
What we learn about the family is through letters that remain and through the known actions that were taken. The reader does not get a firsthand account of how the characters' thoughts, although you do clearly come to understand how they must have thought given their actions. Still one is not 100% sure.
There is a lot about the splendor of the royalty, about the food eaten the clothing worn and the manners of this class. Even Sophie was of a class that we today would consider posh, but she wasn't good enough for the Emperor's successor
The relationship between Franz Ferdinand and his uncle, Franz Joseph the Emperor, was icy, troubled and complicated. Again, all of this is shown through what each character did to the other, more than what they said to the other. The reader looks on. Somehow I never felt I was in the head of any one of the central characters.
The reason I have withdrawn a star or two, why I enjoyed the book but didn't love it, was this distance I always felt to the characters. I was being told through actions rather than feeling their emotions. In addition I feel the book presents Franz Ferdinand more favorably than is realistic. His positive characteristics are emphasized over his faults. Thirdly, there are questions that the reader has that are not adequately explained. For example, a definition of a morganatic marriage at the beginning of the book would have been helpful. Another instance is why the Nazi's put the couple's children in concentration camps. This could have been more clearly explained. Yeah, you figure it out, but it took me awhile and maybe I have not understood correctly. I wish this had been spelled out more clearly. And perhaps I simply enjoy reading more about the commoners than people of royal status. I just felt a bit uncomfortable with all the posh life style. And the hunting! The sport as it was viewed by Franz Ferdinand, is hard to stomach. But that is who he was and this is a book of non-fiction.
I learned a lot and the book makes you ponder what would have happened had he been killed at a hunting match before he could ever have been assassinated by the Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip! And who was behind his assassination? Austrians? All of this is fascinating. ...more
This is a four star book. Recently another GR friend rated this with three stars, and to be honest, I was flabbergasted. "HOW CAN YOU NOTNO SPOILERS!!
This is a four star book. Recently another GR friend rated this with three stars, and to be honest, I was flabbergasted. "HOW CAN YOU NOT BE MOVED BY THIS BOOK?" zinged through my head?! I will try and explain without giving spoilers. First of all, if you are the kind of person, like me, that highly values straight talk, and talk that does not shy away from ANY subject - sex, love, cruelty, motherhood, lying, corruption, guilt and survival - then this is a book for you. Edith will say "Now remember this....." to jolt you. She will say "Now maybe you are questioning how I could ....." and then she explains so clearly and so succinctly that what before seemed strange is know dazzingly obvious. The fantastic prose hits you from the first page. Then as you get to know Edith/Grete you are drawn into her moral dilemas, the choices she made. When I picked up this book, honestly, I had a completely different view of Edith. I was a bit disgusted at the thought of a Jewish woman who survived the holocaust by marrying a Nazi officer..... I thought she was self-centered. Well, she isn't. Not at all. She is a wonderful, kind person who suffered terribly during the war. Terribly. She never lost her integrity. Never. You get completely the wrong idea of Edith by reading that title. The title IS perfect, but you have to read the book to understand. This book is about people and how we all react differently when shit hits the fan. You come to empathize with Chrstl, Elisabeth, Pepi, Werner, Doctor Maria Nierderall, Klothilde, and I shouldn't stop here b/c the list goes on and on. Not all of these people acted admirably, but what they did you come to understand. That is why I used the word empathy! This book focuses on how people behave and why they behave as they do, not delivered as a lecture, but simply by throwing a spotlight on them. This is a book about the holocaust, but don't think it is devoid of humor. I promise you, people are just so unbelievably funny! What they come up with is utterly amaing and absurdly funny and wonderful! Another very interesting issue is what Edith did with her education as a lawyer/ judge. How it meandered AFTER the war. To tell you would be a spoiler, but it is a very interesting point. How other Jews and Germans have reacted to Edith after the war is also revealing. I could go on and on. Instead - read the book.
Through page 153: Most people do not have the courage to be kind. Most often kindness doesn't demand courage, but sometimes it does; and then who is strong enough, brave enough to jeopardize their own security for another human being? Such people are to be found on BOTH sides of any conflict. In this case, some were Nazis others were gentiles and others Jews. Finally, someone, a complete stranger, a Nazi, reaches out and helps Edith - with explicit, exact instructions, devoid of emotion.
"He turned away. The interview was over. I had never listened so hard to anything in my life. Every word was printed on my mind."
"He did not wish me luck. He did not ask for money. He did not say good-bye. I never saw him again."
"He saved my life."
With these words you see how this author expresses herself in telling her story.
Through page 147: I like this book very much. Look at Edith's chin on the front cover. Look at her eyes. Her chin shows her relentless will to get through this mess. Her eves hold something back. Her strength is visible, but it is at the same time cautious. She is back in Vienna and alone. In all senses. She doesn't know where she can sleep or where she will get her next meal. People who were close to her are gone. And those who remain, like her boyfriend? Well read her tale. I have noted many sections that I should quote, but it is terribly difficult to pick just one. They show that she is a person like all the rest of us simply trying to get through this mess, at the same time retaining an ounce of integrity. This book shows how many different people behave when put in a "tight spot". Or should I say when stamped on? Each behaves differently, some better than others, but the focus is on each idividual behavior. Unpretentious writing from start to finish. You can relate to her thoughts and experiences
Through page 23: I love this, absolutely love this book. Why? Well it is all in the ability of the author to write anchanting prose. Very simple, very down-to-earth and with humor. The following lines are from page 9:
"have you heard that the Russians are cannibals? Have you heard that they eat their young?"
"And do you believe that?"
I took a chance. "Some people do, sir. But I think if the russians ate their babies, there would not be so many Russians as there apparently are."
He Laughed. He had warm humorous and a gentle manner. He even reminded me a little of my grandfather.....
This is a memoir about a Jewish woman who survived WW2. How? By being the wife of a Nazi officer!
Before starting: I Will return to reading about Armenia, but first this since Maude and I want to read a book together. :0) So many have siad this must be read. And I always love memoirs....more
This book includes the two books Survival in Auschwitz and The Reawakening by Primo Levi. The American and European publications have employed differeThis book includes the two books Survival in Auschwitz and The Reawakening by Primo Levi. The American and European publications have employed different titles. The book ends with an excellent "Afterword". This too is written by the author. I recommend this edition.
This book is quite different from other holocaust books, by its very lack of emotion. It is a clear statement of what exactly happened to the author, both in the camp (If This is a Man) and afterwards on his travels home to Turin, Italy (The Truce). In the "Afterword" the author answers questions that readers have repeatedly asked. His answers are clear, concise and right to the point. This is a perfect ending to the book since you see how the author reasons after living through the experiences described. He knew exactly where he stood on every question. His wisdom impressed me....more