Definitely funny.....but maybe too funny? Do you know what I mean?
Of course I chuckled at lines like these:
"You will never persuade a mouse that a blDefinitely funny.....but maybe too funny? Do you know what I mean?
Of course I chuckled at lines like these:
"You will never persuade a mouse that a black cat is lucky." (chapter 5)
"I had such a good memory.......once!" (chapter 6)
"I have never planned anything illegal in my life! How could I plan anything of the kind, when I have never read any of the laws and have no idea what they are?!" (chapter 7)
"A little honest thieving hurts no one." And then, "It was all very harmless and gave employment to many."(chap 8)
Have you noted how the statements get more and more criminal in tone? Can Graham Greene write a book without turning it into a mystery or a crime novel? (view spoiler)[Interpol, smuggling, art theft and counterfeit are on display here! (hide spoiler)]. What exactly is the relationship between Aunt Augusta and her nephew, Henry? It helps to enjoy crime mystery novels. Here you get an amusing spoof.
Back to the humor. I read somewhere that Graham Greene wrote this, his sole purpose being to compose a f-u-n-n-y book. The humor changes as the book proceeds. It becomes sharper, more satirical. Politics, sex, religion and human behavior are often the brunt of the joke.
I would like to give you a feel for the humor because what appeals to one will be dishwater to another.... and yet I fear that you have to know the characters to understand the message conveyed. On sex, Aunt Augusta declares, keep in mind she is in her seventies, "I have always preferred an occasional orgie to a nightly routine." Or, if you are annoyed at your kids, this line might speak to you, "They go away from you. You can't go away from them." The lines are clever and funny, and certainly I chuckled often, but it is exactly that that I cannot deal with. I cannot read a joke book from start to finish.
Have you noted that I have shelved this book in many different countries? The book is about travel and all the countries where I have shelved it are visited.....but you neither see nor smell nor experience the different couture of the lands visited. You get a teeny bit about Paraguay. The two, aunt and nephew, travel on the Oriental Express. So much more could have been done with that!
This is a book of humor. The narrator of the audiobook, Tim Pigott-Smith, did an absolutely marvelous job of revealing that humor. He uses different intonations for the different characters in a wonderful way. Five stars for the narration.
Please keep in mind that you may totally love this book even if it was not a good fit for me. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Dear friends, how often is it that I dump a book? Don't I usually stick them out to the end? Well, I have had it with this one. It has not improved. IDear friends, how often is it that I dump a book? Don't I usually stick them out to the end? Well, I have had it with this one. It has not improved. I have gone over the half-way mark. Another 8.5 hours is unbearable.
In the first book of this series there is a friendship, albeit complicated. Now there is no semblance at all of any possible reason for friendship. You may think differently, but that is how I see it. I detest (view spoiler)[ Lila (hide spoiler)]! IF this is meant to be a coming-of-age-story, simply because it is about teenagers, I do not recommend it. Neither to adults nor a younger group of readers. I do not get a kick out of reading about nasty, mean people in my free time. I've had it.
The second book is so very similar to the first! I have listened to 1/3 or a 1/2 of the book, something like that. Same theme again. Same message, and it is so unpleasant to follow. Two girlfriends. They admire and hate each other. Jealous. Nasty. Biting. Yes, the girls have it tough; both of them, but the book is not going anywhere.
There are amusing lines like: "He is a student, but not too boring."
Am I too old for this book? It is a coming-of-age story, of figuring out what you want to do with your life. At this point I just feel like shouting, "Figure it out. Make up your mind and stop being so dependent on each other."
If I complain will it get better? If it does not improve I am certainly not going to read the third in the series.
WARNING significant spoiler ahead: One more thing, the very (view spoiler)[beginning of the first book is extremely important. It seems to say where this is all going to end up. So the surprise seems to be gone. Maybe I didn't hear that beginning correctly? This question is all that keeps an element of surprise to the book! (hide spoiler)]
BTW, the narration of the audiobook by Hillary Huber is excellent. It is not the narration that is the problem!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Don’t repeat my mistake. I chose this book because I thought it would give me a better understanding of Paul Gauguin’s life and inner thoughts. This iDon’t repeat my mistake. I chose this book because I thought it would give me a better understanding of Paul Gauguin’s life and inner thoughts. This is instead a book of fiction. Maugham creates a new story from a few of the well known facts about Paul Gauguin. Gauguin was a stockbroker who left his wife and family to paint. Maugham creates the fictional character Charles Strickland. He too is a stockbroker who leaves his family. Both go to Tahiti. Neither receives recognition for their artistic talent until after death. The differences are however so numerous that you cannot look at Strickland’s life and draw any conclusions about Gauguin’s motivations or thoughts. Here follow just a few of the differences: (view spoiler)[ 1. Gauguin was French, Strickland English. 2. Gauguin had five children with a Danish wife. Strickland two with an English wife. 3. Gauguin died of syphilis, Strickland of leprosy. 4. Gauguin was part of the art community in France, Strickland was on his own. Not a word is referred to Gauguin’s time with Van Gogh in Arles. (hide spoiler)]
Because of these differences you cannot draw any parallels. You cannot get inside the head of Gauguin through the character of Strickland. For this reason, the book cannot be classified as a book of historical fiction whose purpose is to teach you more about the artist Gauguin.
OK, what does the book offer? It looks at the motivation of an artist, any artist. What drives them? What motivates them? What pleasures and what sacrifices result from this creative urge? Except…. can you generalize to this extent? Isn’t it better to look at one specific person? The only person we have to follow is Strickland.
Strickland’s story/biography, which constitutes the story of this book, is told by an unnamed author who knew Strickland, his wife and his acquaintances. His story is told in episodic form employing a first-person narrative. However, the narrator himself points out that information is lacking and that some of his sources are unreliable. The unreliable evidence is not weeded out; all is related. By collecting information from different sources the retelling becomes both choppy and disconnected. Few of the characters in the side-stories are well developed. Dirk Stroeve and his wife were the exception. Only this diversional side-story drew me in. I adored Dirk, but then Strickland’s story goes on and that is the last we hear of Dirk. What are we given? A choppy, disconnected and incomplete story about a man who is in some ways similar to Gauguin. You cannot draw any conclusions from such a story.
Still, Maugham has a way with words. How he describes people, the dialogs, the humorous lines and his ability to capture how people behave, talk and interact - all of this is marvelous. It was the details of the story that I liked not how the story is constructed and laid out.
Steven Crossley narrates the audiobook. It is easy to follow. Fine in all respects.
And then there is the title: The Moon and Sixpence. It is fun to think about. What is Maugham saying? Wiki says: “According to some sources, the title, the meaning of which is not explicitly revealed in the book, was taken from a review of Of Human Bondage in which the novel's protagonist Philip Carey, is described as ‘so busy yearning for the moon that he never saw the sixpence at his feet.’ According to a 1956 letter from Maugham, ‘If you look on the ground in search of a sixpence, you don't look up, and so miss the moon.’ One can reason either way. They are not the same. But I would add the question: Do we choose, or is it our personality that decides? Could Gauguin be anything except who he was? I am back to Gauguin again because it is him that I am interested in, not Strickland! ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
ETA: Tyler's humor is never mean. You laugh with people not at them. There are all sorts of humor, so I had to clarify.
*******************************ETA: Tyler's humor is never mean. You laugh with people not at them. There are all sorts of humor, so I had to clarify.
I loved the humor of the first section, and it is this section that makes up the largest portion of the whole book. I laughed and laughed and laughed. You should read the book, just for this.
The book unrolls backwards in time, starting in 2012, when Abby and Red Whitshank are in their 70s with adult kids and grandchildren. As with most of Tyler’s book they live in Baltimore. At the end it flips back again to 2012. Coping with elderly parents, that is the central theme of the book. Also, and as usual, Tyler looks at a dysfunctional family. But aren’t we all dysfunctional families, on and off at least?! If you have elderly parents, you will recognize the "problems" that arise, and you will laugh. Illness and memory loss and all the help that elderly parents need! Who should do what? Is there one who never helps, who always manages to abscond? There will always be one who shirks responsibility. I don't believe you can find any family where kids don't at some time bicker about one sibling getting preferential treatment! And….what do you do with the family home and all the stuff in it? I guarantee you will chuckle. I guarantee you will recall similar situations in your own family. The dialogs will make you laugh!
After the first section, the book goes backwards in time; the reader learns of Red and Abby's parents, and also how Abby and Red first met. This part of the story isn't as amusing, and there is no advantage in hopping backward. Dates are made confusing. It is always important to know the date. Is it the Depression? How is the economy? To understand the people's lives you need to know what is happening in their world. A chronological telling would have been clearer. The story could have been tightened.
This book is all about character portrayal. At the book's close you will know the parents and grandparents and grandchildren. You will know each one well, and each individual is different. There are many characters and practically all feel true to life. There is the black sheep of the family, the softy, the efficient breadwinner too. They are not stereotyped; in all families sibling simply are different!
The audiobook is narrated by Kimberly Farr. She does a fabulous job. She uses different intonations for different characters. I did have trouble when the story switched to Abby and Red's parents. I kept thinking of Abby and Red, forgetting that the story had switched to their parents. I could not hear the difference. Kind of confusing, at least for me.
I recommend grabbing this book and reading it, particularly if you have elderly parents. I promise - you will understand and you will laugh. I like it when authors make us laugh at ourselves and our struggles to get through the difficult times in our lives. ...more
This book IS amazing, but that doesn't mean I loved it.
Nabokov is a word magician, and he has such imagination. His words and his imagination merge toThis book IS amazing, but that doesn't mean I loved it.
Nabokov is a word magician, and he has such imagination. His words and his imagination merge to become an object d'art filled with originality and humor, concluding in an amusing commentary on literary critique, which I totally support.
So why do I feel the book was merely OK?
Line after line of humor is hard to take. Do you sit and read a joke book? I don’t. Or maybe this book is better if read it in small portions, not as a novel but as a conglomeration of wonderfully expressed thoughts and great lines of satirical humor. Some of the lines ARE priceless. In a novel there should also be an engaging plot. So let’s look at this novel’s plot
There are two main characters. There is an author-poet, John Shade, and then there is Charles Kinbote. John has written a poem and Charles, on John's death, is editing and compiling notes on said poem. It is just that Charles has a different story to tell and he wants it told. His literary critique of the poem twists Shade’s work beyond recognition. Nabokov is known for his unreliable narrators. Clearly, Charles is here the unreliable narrator. Of course, neither John Shade nor Charles Kinbote ever existed. The author of both Shade's poem and Charles' commentary on the poem, which becomes a whole different story about Charles’ beloved kingdom Zembla, is none other than Nabokov!
My problem with the book is Charles’ story. His story is confused; his lines tedious. He is not a good story teller. The country and the events he is describing are imaginary. His imaginary country never became tantalizing. There is no real country with real traditions and customs and history to learn about. The numerous fictional characters and events became a jumble in my head. I couldn't have cared less about Charles’ story!
I thought when I began the book that I would have difficulty reading a poem, but that was no problem at all! Shade's poem is simple reading. You forget that it is even a poem. It reads as a story that just happens to rhyme. Unfortunately it comprises only a very small portion of the book.
The audiobook presentation is not difficult to follow. You do not have to switch back to the poem as you follow Charles' commentaries; as I explained, Charles has a different story to tell. The audiobook has two narrators, one for John Shade and his poem (Robert Blumenfeld) and another for Charles Kinbote(Marc Vietor). It is Marc Vietor who reads the larger part. Both narrators do their parts well; they further personify the respective character’s personality. The book ends with the reading of the index!!! I have never read an index from start to finish. Have you? Do you want to? It is kind of funny though because the numerous references to Charles show clearly who the book is really about.
The book has some beautiful lines, some satirically funny lines and a message I totally agree with, but neither of the two main stories captured my interest! ...more
I enjoyed every minute spent listening to this audiobook. I laughed and laughed and laughed. Pay attention - I have put it on my humorous shelf. The oI enjoyed every minute spent listening to this audiobook. I laughed and laughed and laughed. Pay attention - I have put it on my humorous shelf. The only reason it doesn't get five stars is that it was too short.......I like long books. I didn’t want it to end. I want more and more and more.
So who will love this book? People who love Holly will love this book. So who IS Holly? Now that is the central theme of the whole book so I can only tell you a bit. Holly is a free spirit. The Holly we know is the "Holly of NYC", during the war years, primarily 1943. I have lived in NYC, but later in the 50s and early 60s. Nevertheless the people in this tale are people that breathe of NYC. What they say and how they joke and what they do, well it all felt pitch-perfect. i felt right at home. Yes, my kind of humor and my kind of people. If felt like these are the people that were the "pre-Hippie people”, the people that later became the Hippies and that is to say my younger self. Anyhow, if you love NYC, and there is a special kind of person that is the New Yorker, then your chances of loving this book are exponentially higher.
One hint - pay attention to the beginning because the story starts at the end, after the main time period of the book. Remember the beginning. Who is Holly? What kind of person is she? I love Holly. What if I say she is a REAL phony, that is taken directly from the book! Now what can that mean? Well, read the book and find out.
OMG, what lines!!! Ttaste these, even if you probably cannot swallow them with so little background:
- "José was too prim to be my guy ideal." - Holly likes honesty, but not "law-type" honesty. - If you don't even like looking at the guy, you're gonna be "a cold plate of macaroni".
You see I simply cannot show you how funny this is.
Oh, and don't read this, listen to the audiobook narration by Michael C. Hall. Absolutely superb.
One more thing. I never saw the movie and I cannot possibly envision Holly as Audrey Hepburn. How did they pick her for Holly?! I guess it was good but very hard to imagine.
My explosion while reading the book: I cannot stop laughing.
And the audiobook narration by Michael C. Hall is fantastic. You have to hear Holly and Joe and the fake "Fred" and all the rest. The voices fit the lines and each character's personality. ...more
I did not like this at all. I decided to dump it after struggling through four of the nine hour audiobook narrated by Francis Jeater. The narration waI did not like this at all. I decided to dump it after struggling through four of the nine hour audiobook narrated by Francis Jeater. The narration was fine; it was the lines of the book that disappointed.
I have read other books by Virginia Woolf and enjoyed them.
In this book I felt nothing for any of the characters. As in the other novels the reader is in the heads of the various characters. Here there are numerous characters and it is extremely difficult to keep track of whose thoughts you are following. Stream of consciousness only works for me when I myself could possibly think as the character thinks, at least one of the characters. With this book I failed totally.
You follow several characters from their youth and as they each get older. The younger children did NOT think at all as a child might think. The language was way too sophisticated. As they grew up I was bored by their pompous drivel, particularly Bernhard's.
I could stand this no longer. My goodness, it IS wonderful that books purchased at Audible may be returned if you dislike them.
To summarize my reaction - these characters have nothing important to say, and I felt absolutely no empathy for any of them. Neither do I find many lines where Woolf succinctly or beautifully captures nature. If you think because of the title the setting is by the sea, well that is not the case! Don't be fooled as I was. ...more
I quite simply could not relate to the main characters - i.e. Jean, Pierre and their mother. Everything they said and thought, well I thought differenI quite simply could not relate to the main characters - i.e. Jean, Pierre and their mother. Everything they said and thought, well I thought differently! We live in different eras, but I do believe it is not just a question of that. One doesn't have to do what is the norm. Then there is the father. He is drawn as a total idiot from start to finish. He understood nothing. There was no depth to his character.
Then there this question - who is a father? Is it he who raises a child or is it the biological father?
Neither does the book draw a detailed description of an era or a place (here Normandy latter half of the 1800s)......except perhaps in the beginning when there is a lovely fishing trip near Le Havre. Very little description is given of other coastal towns in Normandy.
John McDonough also narrated this audiobook as he did the other I listened to by Guy de Maupassant, namely Bel-Ami. Now that one I loved; that one I gave five stars. (My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) Don't judge Maupassant by Pierre and Jean. The narration is good on both, IF you can accept an elderly narrator.
Some may say that Pierre and Jean is a clever story, unfortunately I found it too short, with characters too ordinary and without humor. ...more
McDermott's writing doesn’t work for ME, at least not here, not in this book! I didn't relate, and that is strange since this is a book about women, aMcDermott's writing doesn’t work for ME, at least not here, not in this book! I didn't relate, and that is strange since this is a book about women, all women, what we share. Not the famous, not the outstanding but the ordinary, albeit ”Western" woman. I think it tries to say too much. It washes out; it becomes too general.
The jokes, the girl-talk, the first love, how we relate to our husbands, the birth of our children, religious contemplations. It is all here, but I didn't relate......and I don't think I am all that different from other ordinary women! There is a remove, a distance.
The storyline hops around in time. It isn’t hard to follow once you are into the book and know who is who, but this device doesn’t add to the book, so why is it used?
The lines have certainly NOT been destroyed by the audiobook's talented narrator, Kate Reading, who is of course Kathryn Ann Fleming. She died tragically in 2006. You simply cannot beat her narrations. For me at least, a good narrator cannot turn an empty book into a good one. ...more
Before starting this book I didn't want to delve into the details but wanted to understand why some reviewers say this is fiction and others classifyBefore starting this book I didn't want to delve into the details but wanted to understand why some reviewers say this is fiction and others classify it as non-fiction. Wiki to the rescue! I am only copying the relevant information that answers this question:
"Some critics consider Capote's work the original non-fiction novel, although other writers had already explored the genre, such as Rodolfo Walsh in Operación Masacre (1957). The book examines the complex psychological relationship between two parolees who together commit a mass murder. Capote's book also explores the lives of the victims and the effect of the crime on the community in which they lived. In Cold Blood is regarded by critics as a pioneering work of the true crime genre, though Capote was disappointed that the book failed to win the Pulitzer Prize.
Parts of the book, including important details, differ from the real events."
That last sentence explains it all. Now, to the book! And then, on completion, check out Wiki.
Crime books are generally not my cup of tea, but I am very glad I read this book. There is no general rule that cannot be broken. Even the court proceedings were clear, and such usually confuse/bore me. This book is interesting because it thoroughly studies the psychological underpinnings of the criminals, the people in the community where the crime took place and the victims. How all of these people felt and thought and interacted is the central theme of the book. This is what fascinated me.
The book is interesting in its analysis of what is insanity. All aspects of insanity are looked at. How does it arise? What forms can it take? When does/should insanity absolve one a crime?
Finally the book looks at capital punishment by describing particular crimes. Here are examples, not theories.
I have read that Capote spend six years studying the case. All the details are here, but what is exceptional is the fluidity of Capote's writing. These details are woven into a prose that is exciting and easy to follow. Every detail is essential. The reader is just begging for more and more and more details, you keep turning the pages to u-n-d-e-r-s-t-a-n-d the emotions the feelings and the thoughts of all involved. And nevertheless I never felt empathy for either Dick or Perry. No, I didn't. I do think by the end I understood what had happened and why. The answers are not all delivered on a platter; you have to think and consider where you stand and what YOU think.
Mixed in with the horrid events are sentences of exceptional beauty; when that happened it hit me with a punch.
Scott Brick narrates the audiobook. It is good except that his voice for women is well awfully masculine. This is not worth deterring you from the audio format. There are many more male characters than women.
This true crime story is well composed, lucid, exciting and will keep your head whirring.