An excellent fairy tale. Fairy tales should first scare you and then resolve happily. This fits that bill. It must be entertaining to both the adult rAn excellent fairy tale. Fairy tales should first scare you and then resolve happily. This fits that bill. It must be entertaining to both the adult reading the tale and the child. I admit it; I was tense, annoyed and worried ....and then happy. If the parent is bored, it is not a good fairy tale. The child will feel your own emotional response.
Hans Christian Andersen knew how to write stories for both adults and kids. I chuckled. I marveled at the author's ability to create an exciting story, ending with a comforting message. A bit simplistic, but that is in the definition of a good fairy tale. The religious message I could have done without.
Audible gave this audiobook to all its members; its 2014 Christmas present. To narrate it they chose Julia Whelan, who won Audible's best narrator prize for the year. I loved the voice she used for the reindeer, but someone could have told her how to correctly pronounce the two Nordic children's names Kai and Gerda. Kai is pronounced" k-eye", not the name of the letter K. Gerda is pronounced gpear-da, not grrrr-da. Kai could have sounded more like a little boy than a little girl. Otherwise the narration was OK. I checked out Katherine Kellgren's reading of the same story and it was a bit better, but heck that was not free! ...more
Remember for me a three star book IS definitely worth reading.
I know Hemingway is not for everyone, but I like his writing style. I don't read his boRemember for me a three star book IS definitely worth reading.
I know Hemingway is not for everyone, but I like his writing style. I don't read his books for plot; I read them for the lines, for his ability to express complicated things simply and for his ability to capture the inherent differences between the sexes. Differences there are.
There are two principle characters in this novel - Colonel Richard Cantwell and his lover Renata. He is fifty-one. She is nineteen. He is masculine. He is brusque, downright rude, and could quite simply be viewed as a bastard. But is he? Well, I like him. You see Hemingway goes beneath the surface of what is immediately visible and gives you more. I like Renata too. She is the feminine... and smart and curious and willing to do what is not done.
What is good about this book is NOT the plot, because that is practically non-existent! It is a character study. It is an essay on death and how each of us deals with it. And the choices we make. It is also about the folly of war. It is about hunting and food and fishing and ....about the world around us if we just bother to look. Hemingway expresses so simply what is before our eyes and that which we often don't see. OK, the Colonel goes duck hunting, but there is much more to hunting than just killing birds. (Why must people hunt; why can't people instead shoot with their cameras?) Still, Hemingway opens our eyes to the beauty of the land and the birds and the air and that is enough for me.
And there is humor.
Either you like Hemingway or you don't. I certainly do NOT like all his books. A number I have in fact given ONE star, which means I found them totally terrible. I have tried to explain what I see in Hemingway's writing.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Boyd Gaines. I got a kick out of how the word colonel sounds like "co-lo-nel" in Italian.
I don't think the magic of Venice comes through in this book. What comes through is the feel of a duck-blind and of infantry combat....of love and lost youth. You have to pay attention; there are many flashbacks. If you don't pay attention you will find yourself asking, "Which war is being referred to?! WW1 or WW2, the Spanish Civil War or....."
This was the last novel completed before Hemingway’s death. ...more
Where to start? How to explain why I like it so very much?
I like Ayn Rand's style of writing. Her language is strong, clear and not in the least subtlWhere to start? How to explain why I like it so very much?
I like Ayn Rand's style of writing. Her language is strong, clear and not in the least subtle. I think I could recognize it in the future. The reader observes what the characters do. Very little introspection. The plot fits the language and the behavior of the characters. Strong, determined people - no not people, just one character, but she is the central character. Kira is her name. This book is autobiographical, but only in the sense that it speaks of the author's life philosophy. The characters and the plot are all fictional. How Kira thinks is how Ayn Rand thinks....and if that doesn't appeal to you, well then the whole novel may not appeal to you. Do strong, determined people appeal to you?
This is a book that describes the Bolshevik era. It is set in Petrograd / St. Petersburg / Leningrad, predominantly the 1920s. It is a book about how Bolshevism destroyed people. It is also a love story.
The ending! It ends perfectly. Ayn Rand's writing, her description of places and events is so sharp and clear. The ending dazzles. You see it and you feel it and it moves you. The events fit the language. You want to know what will happen. You say, "Get to the end! Tell me! Tell me!" But at the same time you know you have to wait because Kira's path takes time too. That is what I mean when I say the words reflect the events.
Is the book realistic? Yes, I think so.
Mary Woods narrates the audiobook. She changes the speed with which she reads the story. Dialogs are read slowly so you can listen and think about what each is saying. Past events are read in a speedy blur. I have never run into such a technique before, but it is effective. I came to recognize the different characters by the different tones used. ...more
I certainly did like this book, and yet I have an easier time pointing at things that should make me dislike it. That is not the case; I most definiteI certainly did like this book, and yet I have an easier time pointing at things that should make me dislike it. That is not the case; I most definitely liked it.
This is a book that presents an ideology. That is what makes it interesting. Individualism versus collective aspirations/altruism. Egotism versus the social good for many. Every word has side connotations; every word choice needs to be analyzed / discussed to reach a balanced and a fair evaluation of what is the ideal. Ayn Rand is here presenting her view of the ideal man. In the end there quite simply are those who are more individualists and those who work best in groups. I belong to the former group, and so this book was inspirational to me.
Did you know that Greenspan adored Ayn Rand?
Here come the negative aspects of the book that should have, but didn't, make me dislike it. The book is not realistic. The characters are too simplified; their personality traits are exaggerated. In this book you can point to the different characters and each one stands for a certain kind of person. One is only concerned with what others think of him – (Peter Keating, whom I absolutely detested). He is not the most evil, but I detested him most. Still I wanted him there in the book. Honestly, there truly are people like this; every time he spoke or did something he reminded me of a person I know! And here I could laugh at him. And then there is Howard Roark - he is the individualist and my hero. OK, maybe he is too good to be true, but I loved him anyhow. Dominique Francon, she threw me totally. I spent hours trying to figure her out. (Did I mention this book is very long; the audiobook lasts for 32 hours!) She is not realistic..... but by the end I wouldn't say there couldn't exist such a person. You simply have to see what she does at the end. All these characters, and there are more, balance each other and keep you wondering - how will this ever end?! Will it come to a slow fizzle or an explosion?
The book is set in the 1920s and 30s in NYC. It was first published in 1943, but the trends prevailing certainly existed for a decade or two longer! It reminded me of the 1950s. The role of media and journalism was as relevant then as it is today. However historical events are barely mentioned, the Depression is covered in only a line or two, and this is a book about the building industry, very much affected by depressed economic conditions of that era! Roark was an architect. Although the book perfectly depicts NYC at this time and place it does not cover international world events. Again, this just didn't bother me!
There isn't much humor, and that which is employed is satirical in tone. You laugh at the antics of people, not the kind of humor that usually appeals to me. I was just too darned interested in figuring out the whys and hows and what was going to happen to care!
Sometimes the text gets kind of preachy; the author is expounding her views. This is a book about ideology. Either it speaks to you or it doesn't. It is just that simple.
The narration by Christopher Hurt gets five stars. I LOVED the voices he used for Peter (he made me cringe with displeasure), for Peter's mother (oh my, dear little Petey), for Howard (my hero) and for Ellsworth Toohey (he is bad but sounds so suave and good....and that is just how he should sound). You most often recognized who is speaking just from the tone employed.
I need to add one more thing. There are good AND evil individualists. In real life, nothing is simple. The ideology presented is interesting, and the mix of characters makes you curious to see how the story will end, and what does that say about the ideology itself? ...more
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 asWhen 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 kindAfter 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....more
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 cla5 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. ...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.
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 colI 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"]>...more
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 emotionalSo 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....more
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 awarUsually 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. ...more