1 star I started listening to this. I have listened to two chapters and am not going to continue.
Why is it SO horrible? I rarely quit books.
1. The1 star I started listening to this. I have listened to two chapters and am not going to continue.
Why is it SO horrible? I rarely quit books.
1. The narration is by a chummy guy (Robert Greenberg) who thinks he is a great actor. The narration is over-dramatized. 2. Beethoven's music is explained, i.e. we are told how the tempo increases or decreases. We are given small portions of the music so we don't need to be told this; you hear it! 3. I want biographical details, not an explanation of why I should like or dislike the music. 4. The musical snippets are too short - some not even a minute in length. 5. The writing is repetitive, both within one sentence and between sections. We are told many times that "that" will be explained in more detail later. Then don't bring it up if you don't want to talk about it now. 6. The language used is childish, as well as that which is explained. Do you know what a metronome is? Do you know what tempo is? Well, that is what is taught. Do you like to be talked down to? 7. There is no organization to the chapters. A date is given but that discussed is not within the given time period. You writing is disjointed. 8. I think we are supposed to be amused by the snide remarks and stupid jokes……
I wanted to test the series of Great Masters. I did, and I will not be trying these again. As far as I am concerned this was utterly terrible. ...more
I really, really enjoyed this. There is only one thing that prevents me from giving five stars - the language is ordinary. I still want to hW-O-W-!!!!
I really, really enjoyed this. There is only one thing that prevents me from giving five stars - the language is ordinary. I still want to highly recommend it, but I better explain for whom it is best suited. Even if I sat glued, it might not fit all.
This book is chock-full of history. Lots of interesting historical details that are presented in an easily understood manner and clearly explained. Battle scenes are short. This book does cover the two wars but it is not just about them. Many of the historical events have whole books written on that ONE event. Reading this book is like reading tons of other books all in one. You see the whole picture. I found not one error. I don't believe any reader will fail to learn something new. Do you know why we use the term plaster of paris? Do you know of the Faux Paris in WW1? You get a comprehensive summary and at the same time a wonderful story.
The history is not only about Paris, but about France too. The time period covered is from the Middle Ages, up to the student uprising in 1968. Not just politics, not just wars, but also cultural movements as well as authors and musicians and artists galore. Look at the title. Do you get the feel of Paris by reading this book? Yes, you do.
If I mention one topic covered, it feels so inadequate since I could name twenty, thirty others that are equally interesting. The building of the Eiffel Tower, World Exhibitions, the Lost Generation with Hemingway and Shakespeare & Company and Gertrude Stein, the growth of feminism, the Plague and the Spanish Flu. Oh, so inadequate! I feel like erasing these because the book is so comprehensive that to name but a few seems all wrong. So, I will move on to the fictional story. It is gripping, well woven into the historical events and believable. Primarily you follow four different families (one aristocrat, one bourgeois and two of the working class) through several generations. Halfway through I did stop and make some family charts so I could keep track of who was who. Characters are not cardboard figures. They mature; they change. They are composed of good and bad qualities. These characters are not introspectively analyzed; instead you watch what they do. The story is plot driven. I particularly grew to love two - first Eloise and then Tomas. One of them is a bit of a hero, but I loved it. Oh my gosh, the ending! I sat glued at the end.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by both Jane Wymark and Jonathan Keeble. Wymark did a fantastic job. Wonderful French and I laughed at the difference between her English and American accents. Both were great. It is just so funny to hear the stark difference between the two. She did men and women equally well. Her narration gets five stars. Jonathan Keeble's was just OK. When he tried to sound like a child or a woman I would laugh, until I got used to it. But good? No! Still, his narration doesn't wreck the story. I don't understand why they used two narrators. It is not that he took the male voices and she the female. It is not that he took the recent times and she the earlier. They alternated chapter by chapter. Maybe it was just too much to read for one person? This is a long whopper of a book.
The book flips around between different time periods, which usually just adds confusion, and it did make it harder to keep track of events and people, but I feel that by doing this it helped you to keep fresh in your mind how history impacts on current events. So, I didn't mind.
I really, really did like this book, but you better be interested in history if you choose to read the book. If history does interest you, then I recommend it. The history is presented in an interesting, comprehensive and easily understood manner. You will know Paris after reading this book. ...more
Three stars! I liked some aspects of the novel, particularly one character - Eroshka! He is certainly NOT the central character, but for me he is theThree stars! I liked some aspects of the novel, particularly one character - Eroshka! He is certainly NOT the central character, but for me he is the essence of the whole story. He is the only one that understands how to live life. Nobody else gets it.
It is a bit slow and the focus on a love affair left me cold. There was no passion. I want some passion if I am to follow a love story. Again, look at how Eroshka lives his life. For me, everything circles back to Eroshka. Not Dimitri Olenin. Not Lukashka and not Maryanka either. There is a love triangle - Dimitri, Lukashka and Maryanka. Who will get Maryanka and where does Mayanka's love lie? Eroshka is the uncle of Lukashka. I am not going to give you the whole story.
The love affair plays out in the Cauacasus. Chechnya to be more exact, in a small village along the Terek River. Fighting between Russians and Chechens has been going on for centuries AND Russia was again seeking to expand its borders. What I enjoyed was the historical aspect. The book depicts life in Chechnya back in the middle 1800s. The customs, the foods and the manner of life in the small villages located there. It is said that the book is semi-autobiographical, based on Tolstoy's own experiences fighting in the Caucasus during the last years of the Caucasian War 1817-1864. The book was first published in 1863 and is said to be Turgenev's favorite by Tolstoy.
The audiobook I listened to was narrated by David Thorn. I liked it. It was OK, but sometimes I had a hard time hearing the Russian names. He mumbles a bit, but you do get it! ...more