When I express how I feel for Woolf's writing it is only in superlatives...... Yes, the writing is amazing. When I look at how I feel for the book as...moreWhen I express how I feel for Woolf's writing it is only in superlatives...... Yes, the writing is amazing. When I look at how I feel for the book as a whole, I feel it deserves less stars. Why? Is it the British upper-crust characters she weaves her story around that is the stumbling block for me? I believe so.
Writing using her unique stream of consciousness narrative, the primary themes of this book are personal relationships, the aftermath of WW1 and British colonization of India, not the events per se but their effect on individuals. The year is 1923 and Mrs. Dalloway has planned a sumptuous party for the coming evening. She is fifty-two. What happens on this one day is the story, but every encounter is influenced by past events and personal relationships. The reader is told past events through the thoughts of all the different characters, and a little dialog. That dialog is pitch-perfect. “That is my Elizabeth” has a completely different significance than the words “That is Elizabeth.” Think in terms of your own daughter! Would your daughter react the same to the two different wordings? Elizabeth is Mrs. Dalloway’s teen-age daughter. Everyone Mrs. Dalloway meets that day and how she relates to each and every one of them is influenced by past events. There is a shell-shocked war veteran and a special boyfriend from the past that happens to drop by. The meshing of past events and history and relationships is flawless. . Although British upper- crust society of the inter-war years is superbly drawn, it is the relationships between the numerous characters that captivated me.
At that party in the evening of that summer day, you, the reader, feel the tingle of excitement. As the hours slip by the mood changes and you feel that too. The food has been served, the excitement and tensions subside, people start getting tipsy, and what is said then?
Juliet Stevenson's narration was very good, except that she should have been able to voice male thoughts a bit differently than women's. Men’s and women's thoughts sound identical, and this is confusing. She does capture the different classes of people. I do believe that it is much easier to follow stream of consciousness writing through listening rather than reading.
The book is cerebral. It presents characters’ thoughts. Honest thoughts because no one censors our thoughts! It looks at relationships. What would be going through your head if you one day ran into that boy you fell for thirty years ago? Virginia Woolf captures all of this accurately. Think carefully, and don't just think; let yourself feel how you would feel. This is what the book delivers. And yet I am giving this four stars, not five, because my emotional response to the book is that I like it very much. Perhaps it is because I am a stranger to that high-society circle of friends that the book focuses upon.
I continue to have a hard time with this. I find it extremely depressing. There is humor, but it is not the kind...moreAfter a bit more than four chapters:
I continue to have a hard time with this. I find it extremely depressing. There is humor, but it is not the kind I like. It is sarcastic, mean humor where you are supposed to laugh at the stupidity or crude behavior of people. I protest; I like to laugh with people in happiness, not at people for our weaknesses. There is a priest that is demented and he wants to hear confessionals so he can hear what is going on and then he tells others. Now I don't think that is nice. Sure it might happen in the real world but how often? There is Miles' alcoholic father who continually throws out cruel, snide criticisms of his son and others. Miles' mother has died of cancer and her death was painful and horrible for all. I find this depressing. I am not avoiding the reality of life, but what is the purpose of sinking myself into the worst of man's behavior.
Mid-life crises kind of bore me.
None of this is a spoiler since I have not gone far into the book.
Neither have I even mentioned the prologue which was utterly disgusting. I don't find it appetizing to read about a decomposing moose, even if it leads C.B. to make a foolish decision - BTW, here I am just guessing. Let me point out that I never shy away from gruesome events in history, but what is the point here in reading about how people behave so cruelly to one another? What does that teach me?
There is absolutely nothing exceptional about the writing; the author's ability to depict an emotion, a place or an event is just plain ordinary.
This received a Pulitzer. Would somebody who loves this book explain to me why I should continue reading. I just do not understand. SHOULD I continue? I need advice.
After 14 chapters(about half of the book):
So I continued; several said that Tick is a fabulous character. She plays a larger and larger role starting in Part Two. She cannot save this book for me. I find the humor not to my taste. I find the characters black or white - cardboard characters. It is simple to make two piles, the good ones and the bad ones. I cannot accept such characterization. People are complicated; they cannot be sorted in this manner. And the dialogs sound like those perfect for a popular weekly television series. Perfect sitcom dialogs.
In desperation I went and read spoiler reviews...... No, what is coming is not up my alley either. Enough is enough. I will be reading no more books by Richard Russo. This is my third and last try.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Ron Mclarty. That was the only thing that was exceptional. Great narration. His intonation perfectly matched the lines. So if you want to read this book don't hesitate to choose the audio format and this narrator.(less)
5 stars This is a really good story and I totally loved it.
I mean I LOVED it.
When you come across fiction that it this good you must stand up and cla...more5 stars This is a really good story and I totally loved it.
I mean I LOVED it.
When you come across fiction that it this good you must stand up and clap. I am clapping.
OK now, Chrissie, explain why you loved it.
I loved it because I was laughing from start to finish. I loved it because it has a message that is oh so true. The message being that those who succeed, those who attain power, and position and money and fame very often do it by the least of admirable methods. This dire message is nevertheless achieved in a humorous fashion. No lectures are delivered. This is the way life is, but rather than moaning and complaining we laugh. This is achieved by the author throwing together a group of characters NONE of which are admirable so they all deserve each other and whatever happens to them. You cannot feel sorry for the loosers; they all chose to take part in this fashionable game for sex and power and money and fame. If they loose it is their own fault. That is how I see it.
The sex is tantalizing, alluring, seductive. No depictions of crude behavior. Hints are given that attract rather than repulse.
OK, what about the narration by John McDonough of this Recorded Books audiobook? The voice of this narrator is that of an elderly man. In the beginning I thought why have they chosen such a voice, given that the main character, journalist Georges Duroy, is a young man? Still it was wonderful. He is telling us a story of the goings-on in Paris in the latter half of the 1800s, so in fact this elderly voice works stupendously. The French pronunciation is spot-on. Yeah, even when the women ball and shriek, it all works. Oh the shrieking, the family eruptions and pissed-off men - I was laughing and laughing and laughing.
One more thing: the translation from French to English was marvelous. THIS is a story that is easy to follow, even if it was first published in 1885. The language used made you feel you were in Paris and it made you fully aware that what happened then could just as easily happen today. It is a wonderful translation. I do not know who the translator was! I loved the lines, I forgot to tell you how wonderfully Guy de Maupassant depicts people and places and events, such as marriages and duels and charity fencing competitions! So the translation was perfect too. I am sure Guy de Maupassant would be happy to hear the story being told in this manner. The translation makes this book feel relevant even today. We are delivered a piece of art that speaks to readers more than a century after it was written. This is a book that holds year after year after year, and that is what makes it a true classic. Why is it is still relevant today? Because unfortunately people do NOT change. (less)
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 classify...moreBefore 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.
I cannot cope with short stories, even fabulous ones. Don't do as I did and read them all in a row.
The twelve stories that are said to be in this col...moreI cannot cope with short stories, even fabulous ones. Don't do as I did and read them all in a row.
The twelve stories that are said to be in this collection are the following: 1. A Story Without a Title 2. Art 3. The Student 4. Ivan Matveyitch 5. The June Premier 6. A Slander 7. The Beggar 8. A Malefactor 9. Minds in Ferment 10. The Looking Glass 11. Old Age 12. On Trial
Please note the fifth story is NOT included!
William Coon narrates all of the twelve eleven stories. Each story is followed with a pause and a little music. This is very good since you need time to think about the story just completed and start afresh with the next one. STILL, do NOT read one after the other!
OK, I love how Chekhov writes. With just a few descriptive words he manages to draw distinct characters. You cannot mistake what makes each one tick. You are given their attire, how they move and how they think.... or don't think. Each story has a message. Many of the stories are filled with humor. Some with irony. Some of the stories I did not know what was being said; I hadn't a clue.
I am just going to tell you just about the first story, but only in general terms. It was my absolute favorite. I wish all had been this good, but they weren't. I loved it because it has humor. I mean it is really, really funny. (view spoiler)[A hunter comes to a monastery and exclaims that the monks are just sitting on their butts doing nothing about the problems in the cities around them. He tells them to get off their butts, to go out into the world and DO something about all the problems out there! (hide spoiler)] I loved it because it allows each reader to interpret the facts as they wish. I believe a religious person, which I am not, can equally well draw completely different conclusions than those I have drawn...and yet we can both love it. It has irony. And at the end you can sit and talk about how one can interpret the "loose" ending. This is why people of different beliefs can all love it!
One more thing - Chekhov draw a picture of the Russian people, the common people, that will stick with you forever. ["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"]>(less)
So this was a Tolstoy...... Hmph, the story doesn't say much except to reiterate how difficult and painful death can be, both physically and emotional...moreSo this was a Tolstoy...... Hmph, the story doesn't say much except to reiterate how difficult and painful death can be, both physically and emotionally. The story is way too short to establish empathy for Ivan Ilyich! He was a judge. A game of bridge was his favorite amusement. All his life he conformed to proper decorum, becoming with age aloof and irascible. What was the point of life - both he and the readers may ask?! Talk about a depressing book!!!!
The narration by Walter Zimmerman was certainly not bad, but it didn't add anything.(less)
Usually when I review a book I try to allot the stars not by the audiobook's narration but by the author's words and content. With this book I am awar...moreUsually when I review a book I try to allot the stars not by the audiobook's narration but by the author's words and content. With this book I am awarding four stars but it is partially due to Kate Winslet's fantastic narration. She is as you must know a famous actress. I strongly believe I would never have been able to imagine the words with the terror and emotion evoked through her reading. She does a fantastic job. In addition, I would have been furious if at every mention of Camille's name it had been improperly pronounced. All the French streets and terms are spot-on; this is an important part of drawing the downtrodden life in the poorer, less affluent areas of Paris where the story unfolds in the latter 1800s.
You are told in the book description that Laurent and Thérèse kill Camille, Thérèse's husband and cousin. It is what happens afterwards that constitutes the true story. This is a psychological drama, not a murder mystery. It is suspenseful, creepy and horrifying. Are you listening? It is horrifying!! At least when it is read by Kate Winslet. She notches up the suspense, the creepiness and the horror until you are sitting on the very edge of your seat. I haven't read a horror book in years; this has given me a good dose, enough to last for at least the next ten years.
In the book description we are also told that Zola "... dispassionately dissects the motivations of his characters - mere 'human beasts', who kill in order to satisfy their lust..." I disagree; there is nothing dispassionate about this book. It is all about emotions and passions, and please note the end of that sentence I quoted. It speaks of humans behaving as beasts, filled with lust. Now that gives the proper feeling of the book.
So read this book if you want a moving study of human emotions, of fear and guilt and what propels some of to behave feverishly and crazily. Being a horror story, I at the same time find it a bit exaggerated. Not everybody behaves like this, but you get so pulled into the tension that you feel the agony of their guilt. And what about punishment? That is another question delved into. What is the worst punishment - that we allot ourselves or that forced upon us by others? Violence and abuse, which is harsher, the physical or the psychological?
I have read this is also a study of people with different temperaments. This didn't work for me. Thérèse’s aunt, Camille’s mother, is drawn as a sweet loving mother, but I see her as calculating! Laurent's temperament is clear. He is, at first at least, careful and prudent. He is calculating and egotistical, avaricious, just plain wicked. Thérèse, she is drawn as a passionate figure, and yet at the same time devious and secretive. Putting together those two characteristics does not work for me. Usually emotional, passionate people simply cannot hide what they are thinking or feeling. Perhaps under the stress of her evil deed she searches everywhere for absolution and escape. You have to read the story to see where it ends.
I do recommend it, but listen to the audiobook version narrated by Kate Winslet. (less)
Just to clear things up: this book is the same as Dostoyevsky's Demons and The Devils!
No, I am not finishing this book. I have listened to 1/3. My rea...moreJust to clear things up: this book is the same as Dostoyevsky's Demons and The Devils!
No, I am not finishing this book. I have listened to 1/3. My reason is very simple: the discussion/theorizing about nihilism and God, with a spicy murder or two, suicides, and the “who-dunnit” question thrown in, are elements common to all four of the four books I have read by Dostoyevsky:
I have had enough, particularly since I have already read Dostoyevsky's last novel, Brothers Karamazov, which clearly summarizes his beliefs. This was the last one he wrote before his death. A fellow GR reader (Dely) described the four as rising to a crescendo, and she is absolutely right. If you wish to read all four read them in the above order.
Being who I am, it would have been better if I had not continued beyond Crime and Punishment and The Idiot, both of which I loved. They are more ambiguous, less preachy, less didactic. They let the readers decide for themselves what they want to think. On the other hand if you are out after Dostoyevsky's views you need only read Brothers Karamazov. I personally don't want to be told what to think.
In addition the narration by Constance Garnett was not good. You cannot tell who is speaking. The French is really off. No, find some other narrator if you want to listen to this book. This audiobook also lacks the chapter called either "By Tichon" or "Confessions of Stavrogin", which has important information for a better understanding of the events. Wiki does provide information about the content of the chapter though. The chapter was censored in the first publications of the book. I have not finished the audiobook, so there remains the possibility that it is added at the end as an appendix. (less)
It feels ridiculous to voice an opinion about this book. Who am I to say anything about the great Dostoyevsky? Nevertheless, here follow my thoughts o...moreIt feels ridiculous to voice an opinion about this book. Who am I to say anything about the great Dostoyevsky? Nevertheless, here follow my thoughts on completing this book:
It shows that this is Dostoyevsky's last novel, his grand opus, and that he had important things to say to his readers. The book was to be the first of a series, but he died the year following its publication in 1880 at the age of 60. His writing is of course a reflection of his own life experiences. This shows very clearly in the multitude of themes tackled: fatherhood, the existence of God, sibling rivalry, jealousy, passion and the struggle between evil and goodness. His son had died two years earlier. In 1849 he was sentenced to death and thought he would be killed. At the very execution field he was pardoned. He writes of epilepsy, which he too had. He spent four years in Siberia. No, I have no intention of summarizing his life, but all these events are covered in this novel. He knows what he is writing about, and it shows. He is an elderly man and he wanted to say clearly what his own life had taught him. This book sometimes reads as a religious tract. There are long sections where one idea is espoused... to the point where it feels didactic. I never felt that in his other books. Can one not forgive a wise elderly man for speaking his mind?
So even if at times I thought I couldn't take the lecturing any more, I did continue. The book concludes with the trial. You must know that The Brothers Karamazov is about a father killed by one of his sons. Which one is the question. One is passionate, one is intellectual and the third is spiritual. There is an illegitimate son too. The book basically concludes with the trial. (This being a work of Dostoyevsky there are other side plots too, of course!) The trial is riveting. I listened to the prosecutor. I listened to the defense attorney's arguments. BOTH are amazingly convincing. You hang on to your seat; you have to know how it will end. The arguments are both philosophical and tied to the facts. I cannot possibly give this book less than three stars after this exposition. It is clear and logical and emotionally riveting. And the relationships are messy, as with all of his books.
Constantine Gregory's narration of the audiobook was good, although I wasn't thrilled with his women voices. The father, who is murdered, is a buffoon. With Gregory's intonation he certainly sounded annoying, but that was who he was, so I really cannot complain.
Dostoyevsky can write and became so very wise, but at 60 his religious beliefs were much stronger than mine. I think like this: these Russians needed to believe in God; otherwise they just could not go on. Is that so wrong? Take the time to read some Dostoyevsky quotes here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quot...
Depressing. I thought I would love everything by D…… I have yet to give up. Could it turn around? I am trying to like this, but I feel so destroyed b/c an author I loved has fallen. Sigh. There is no way I ever thought D could write like this!
In a nutshell, D is forcing his religious beliefs down my throat and his characters represent "types" of people.
There are love entanglements. I know there will be a murder, and I bet I know who did it. Let's see if I am right. (view spoiler)[ Will it be Pavel Fyodorovich Smerdyakov, the illegitimate son? That is my guess. Of course he is jealous of his brothers and would hate this father who made him a servant of the house! Pretty easy to guess. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The narration by Robin Field was very good. He made Stoner's wife sound really bitchy and Stoner so full-of-despair. He never stood up for himself. ON...moreThe narration by Robin Field was very good. He made Stoner's wife sound really bitchy and Stoner so full-of-despair. He never stood up for himself. ONLY once did he stand up for what he believed in. Only at that point was I rooting for him. I guess what the author wanted to say was that if you do not stand up for yourself you will be trampled. The author fills the book with two truly, truly evil people (view spoiler)[(Stoner's wife and Lomax, the head of the department at the university) (hide spoiler)]. I do not think people really are this evil!
This book is about people who live their lives with despair, people who never stand up for themselves and at the end are left only with regret.
I do agree the author can write well, but I did not like the theme of the book. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I am sick to death of hearing how many times so and so had sex with so and so and how many time he "came" on Nov 16 and Nov 18...moreOK, I have to explode!!!
I am sick to death of hearing how many times so and so had sex with so and so and how many time he "came" on Nov 16 and Nov 18 and Nov 30 and Dec 6.... Even literature and authors are described in sexual terms. Oh, he is fagot and he is a queer and he is nymph and he is a fairy.... There is no depiction of how one feels when sex is satisfying. The speaker is seventeen and so darn ingenuous. I DO remember how sex fixated one could be at this age but this is going just too far. I have been listening to about five hours of this crap.
Now I do know that this book is about how different people view Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima - Visceral Realist poets. So when am I going to get another person's point of view, so I can leave this guy's, the one I have been listening to for five hours?
I am no prude. This is just plain boring. Line after line on the length of X's and W's and Y's comparative cock measurements really does not enthuse me. Is this going to change?
Sigh. Look, I have been told this is good. When will it improve? I hesitate to dump it when so many hours remain. When are we going to leave Mexico and visit other countries? When will something significant happen? This is boring.
Somebody please tell me this is not going to continue in this fashion.
I gave up - after listening to 7 hours of 27. Why? Primarily because it is terribly boring. The language is crude, but that is not why I dumped it. I got nothing from this book. That is why I dumped it.
If you insist on reading it I advise you to choose the paper version. The audiobook is narrated by two: Eddie Lopez and Amando Durán. What they say is clear and I have no complaints with the Spanish, BUT one cannot hear from the intonation if the speaker is a woman or a man. Neither can you tell from the text because the characters rarely introduce themselves. Many different characters speak, each using the first person narrative. Confusing! If they chose to use two narrators, why didn't they at least make one female and one male? I always ended up figuring out who was speaking, so I could keep the story straight, but the effort demanded was not worth what the book gave me in content - nothing.
What do I think of this book? I absolutely hated parts and other parts totally blew me over, the words were so perfect. The author IS an acclaimed poe...moreWhat do I think of this book? I absolutely hated parts and other parts totally blew me over, the words were so perfect. The author IS an acclaimed poet. I was never indifferent to this book. Either I was furious or astounded by the quality of the writing. Should I give it one star for all the times I felt like dumping it immediately? I cannot give it two or three stars because they are lukewarm ratings. I was never lukewarm to this book. Yes, I liked it a lot, four stars it is. I will explain what I liked and what I absolutely hated.
When Wendell Berry describes nature - a river, a forest, a foggy morning – it is not just beautiful, it is completely accurate. A river is something you hear and see. You feel its presence, and all this is conveyed in his words. Me, I adore walking in the woods or along a beach so I felt very attached to Berry’s words.
Humor. There is lots of humor. Tongue in cheek humor and that is my favorite. Great dialogs too.
I look at the story as a whole and I feel the message the author wants to convey is perfectly demonstrated by the events, by what happens, particularly its ending. This is a book about a barber (Jayber Crow) in Port William, Kentucky. He tells us about his life living through the events of the 1900s. He speaks of not only his life but all the people of the town, since being the barber he comes to know everyone. This is not a book of historical fiction; you do not read this to learn about either of the wars or the Vietnam War or the Depression, all of which he lives through. He never went to war since his heart disqualified him. He was orphaned twice, but I will not explain that. Read the book instead. He was first educated to become a priest, but he realized it wasn’t his calling. He did have faith. He philosophizes and thinks and questions. All of the things he lived through shape his personality. Berry creates a character that is believable.
The author has a pet peeve and he speaks through Jayber. Agriculture has become big business and this is just not good in the long run! Natural resources are being wasted. Small town life, based on sharing and trade where everyone knows each other is always better than big business. Small scale is always better than large scale production. But it is here that I got so annoyed with the book. I agree with the author’s/barber’s point of view. I am not opposed to the message, but it is repeated and said over and over and over to the point where I just wanted him to zip his mouth. Enough! I get it. I agree. I am not an idiot. I don’t need a lecture. Will you shut up! Do you understand how annoyed I got?!
There. If you can stand a little too much philosophizing and preaching and religious talk, which I could not quite swallow, you will also be given a good story that holds together, where the characters feel real, with lines that will make you smile or laugh or chuckle and most everyone will agree with the message imparted. The author is a poet ……except in those parts when he is proselytizing through Jayber.
P.S. Paul Michael narrated the audiobook I listened to. I liked his southern dialect. I liked the speed, which is rather slow, but I did want him to hurry up when Jayber went on and on and on with his proselytizing soliloquies. The women all sounded the same, and that annoyed me because their personalities were different! (less)