I feel like such a failure for not liking The Hobbit. I found it boring and disjointed. It took me forever to get through it. I didn't care about Bilb...moreI feel like such a failure for not liking The Hobbit. I found it boring and disjointed. It took me forever to get through it. I didn't care about Bilbo, Gandalf or the dwarves. I read this book for the Sword & Laser book group and so I could say that I read it. I fully expect that I will get dumped on and told that I'm stupid or something for not liking The Hobbit, but I can't make myself like something just because everyone else I know, including many members of my own family, loves it with a passion beyond reason.
To be fair, epic quest fantasy is just not my thing. If I were a hobbit, there would certainly be no Took in me. I would not be going on a boring year-long quest to take back gold from a dragon. If I had been Bilbo, I would have gone home the first time disaster struck. I would have let those stupid dwarves have their quest on their own.
Yes, I understand the importance of Tolkien and the huge influence he had on modern fantasy. I also understand the importance of writers like Ernest Hemingway and Herman Melville. After all, I did earn a degree in English Literature. But, just because a writer is Important and Influential, it doesn't mean that I have to enjoy their work.
Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow. This is one of those audiobooks where both the writing and the narrator mesh so well that it becomes more than the sum of its...moreWow. Wow, wow, wow, wow. This is one of those audiobooks where both the writing and the narrator mesh so well that it becomes more than the sum of its parts. Ree Dolly is such a strong and tragic character. She's so young and has so much responsibility. She lives in an isolated world where everyone's related, the men (and some of the women) are violent, drugs abound, and poverty is the norm. Rich is being able to afford sprinkle cheese for your pisghetti. Although she's still a teenager, she is by far the most mature person in the story.
Emma Galvin's narration is absolutely amazing. She provides such depth and emotion to the prose. I don't know how people in the Ozarks talk, but she had me convinced that she did. She sounded completely natural.
The prose is what really makes this book stand out. It captures both the beauty and the ugliness of Ree's surroundings and the people in her life. Woodrell uses very evocative language to capture the sights, sounds, smells and feel of everything. He writes to all the senses. That's what really makes this book stand out.(less)
My all-time favorite Christmas movie has to be "A Christmas Story". It's outrageous, funny, and charming. I wish I could say that I loved the audioboo...moreMy all-time favorite Christmas movie has to be "A Christmas Story". It's outrageous, funny, and charming. I wish I could say that I loved the audiobook as much, but I can't. Dick Cavett does a great job of narrating, but the book falls short.
The biggest problem is that it's really a collection of short stories. It's very much like the old Bill Cosby albums where Cosby tells humorous stories about growing up and all his friends. However, Shepherd isn't as funny as the Cos.
I say stick with the movie. It takes all the stories, embellishes them and creates one cohesive narrative that is greater than the sum of its parts.(less)
I read this book in print back in 2009 and laughed my butt off. Christmas, murder, a warrior babe and zombies. Who could ask for more during the holid...moreI read this book in print back in 2009 and laughed my butt off. Christmas, murder, a warrior babe and zombies. Who could ask for more during the holidays? When I saw the book on Audible, I thought I'd give it a re-read in audio. Sadly, the audio didn't entertain me quite as much as the print book. It was good, but there was something that just didn't click for me when listening. I suppose that humor in books is very subjective and that Tony Roberts, a good comedic actor, just didn't have the right tone for me. Like I said, it's subjective.
This is still one of the most memorable Christmas stories ever. Just don't let the kids get it.(less)
I am not going to discuss the story in this review of Cold Days. The most I will say is that this is by far the best book in a series that's already h...moreI am not going to discuss the story in this review of Cold Days. The most I will say is that this is by far the best book in a series that's already had 13 great novels and a short-story collection. If you haven't entered the world of Harry Dresden, you must. You may have to give it a few installments, but stick it out through the first three and the fourth and subsequent books will knock your socks off. Usually, fantasy mega-series start losing steam around then and have completely petered out by book 14, but the Dresden Files keep getting better and better.
So, my review is now going to be about the audio production. With the exception of the previous novel, Ghost Story, and the collection Side Jobs: Stories From the Dresden Files, I have read the Dresden Files in print. I was one of the very few readers who actually liked John Glover's narration of Ghost Story because I had only listened to the short stories narrated by James Marsters. To me, Glover sounded much more like my head-Harry than Marsters did. I was quite skeptical going into this audiobook. However, Marsters won me over with his wonderful performance. He does capture Harry's snarkiness and self-deprecation quite well. Where is really shines is in the voicing of the other characters in the book. I found myself laughing myself silly when he started the dialogue with Toot and the other little fairies. Those scenes were the highlight of an already wonderful book. (less)
I fell in love with David Brin back in 1985 when a co-worker turned me on to Startide Rising. That book was so phenomenal, I started reading every boo...moreI fell in love with David Brin back in 1985 when a co-worker turned me on to Startide Rising. That book was so phenomenal, I started reading every book I could get my hands on. I loved it all. In 1993, I was able to go to a book signing for Glory Season. I found that Brin is an extremely well-read man who manages to juggle an astounding number of ideas in his head. In 2002, he released Kiln People, I book that took me a couple of attempts to get through and which I really disliked. However, I considered that a one-off and have spent 10 years waiting for him to redeem himself. Well, the wait was over in June of this year and it wasn't worth it.
Existence is a giant mess of a novel. I don't know how the editing process was left out. You can tell that Brin is one of those super-intelligent people who has a lot of ideas and a lot to say. However, he didn't need to try cramming it all into one novel. There isn't any subject matter he doesn't tackle in this book, usually in long-running commentary that has nothing to do with the story. He has too many POV characters and plot lines. He drops characters and their stories without resolution. 3/4 of the way into the book, he jumps ahead 26 years and it becomes a totally different book. Like I said, it's a giant mess. There were some story lines I really enjoyed, but he would just drop them and not go back.
In some ways, this seems to be a prequel to the Uplift series, but it's different enough to not be. I'm really not sure what he intended with the throwaway uplift plot that was only semi-followed. I would have liked to have seen more of that.
As far as the audio production goes, I have to say that Robin Miles is one of the best female narrators out there. She can bring just about anything to life and more than carried her sections. The male narrators were a different story. One of them was okay and one was just awful. I don't know which was which though because I've never hear either of them before. The one who did the Hamish and Gerald sequences was really terrible. He'd read really fast and you could hear him suck in his breath when he ran out of air in the middle of sentences. It was really annoying. Towards the end, Hamish meets up with a male Jamaican professor and the narrator is so terrible that Robin Miles has to step in and do the professor's dialogue. It was really disturbing considering the character was male and she's obviously female. If the male narrator couldn't do a Jamaican accent, just an ordinary voice would have been less disturbing.
I probably would have given this one star if it weren't for the fairly interesting premise and for Robin Miles' outstanding performance. Sadly, I am probably never going to buy any of David Brin's books again. This was just too disappointing.(less)
Here's the only review disclaimer you're going to get: I will not be concerning myself about spoilers here. This book is 45 years old and both it and...moreHere's the only review disclaimer you're going to get: I will not be concerning myself about spoilers here. This book is 45 years old and both it and the film adaptation are iconic works. If you don't know what Rosemary's baby is, don't read any further.
It's a bit odd reading a 45 year old book when you know the story but not the details. I've never read the book and have only seen fragments of the movie. One of the things I had to do was put it in the context of its time. Rosemary's Baby was published in 1967 and the movie, directed by Roman Polanski, was released in 1968. This was before "The Exorcist", before Polanski's wife was murdered by Charles Manson, before "The Omen", before Woodstock, before Women's Liberation. Heck, it came out just as the U.S. was beginning to change in unimaginable ways. As a reader in 2012, I found it to be rather predictable and not very suspenseful or scary. However, that's probably just because it's such a cultural icon.
One of the things I rarely notice in old novels is sexism. I usually just chalk the way female characters act up to the times. However, I couldn't do that with this novel. Rosemary is a pretty unbearable stereotype of a young wife. She doesn't have a life outside of her marriage to Guy. Her world revolves around him and their home. They have friends, but she allows herself to be cut off from them. She's also pretty damn stupid. Her friend Hutch warns her of the terrible things that have happened at the apartment building she wants to move to, but she ignores his warnings and moves in anyway. Then, she ignores the weird things that begin happening. Hello? Doesn't ritualistic chanting coming out of your neighbor's apartment worry you? Doesn't it scare you when a cheerful young woman you've just met ends up splatted on the sidewalk? You're just going to accept a gift of the same stinky necklace worn by the dead woman without finding out what the hell tannis is? Seriously?
Another thing that really jumped out at me was the antisemitism. Rosemary's obstetrician is Jewish and several comments were made relating his character to his race. Was that even okay in 1967? Levin sure made it seem these characteristics were simple facts. I also found it jarring to see people called "Negroes". It's not that the word was used as a description like we'd use black or African-American today. Instead, it was used to sum up an entire person. And, none of the main characters was a "Negro". Nope, the "Negroes" where characters like the elevator operator. I was born in 1961 and I don't ever remember "Negro" being used in conversation. The only place I ever saw it was on forms that asked for your race and the races were listed as Caucasian, Negro and Oriental. Oh, and on old cop shows where a suspect would be described as either a Caucasian or a Negro. The assumed racism just really bothered me and it's not anything that I usually notice.
So based on what I've written so far, why would I give Rosemary's Baby even as much as 3 stars? Well, it did keep me turning the pages. And, I was really touched by the ending. I didn't expect to be touched because the ending is supposed to be horrific, but it wasn't. (less)
Because his last three novels were supernatural suspense, I was expecting this novel to fall into that same category. It didn't. The Prophet is a straight-up mystery/thriller. It's also a very masculine book that delves into brotherly relationships and football. In fact, it had way too much football for my tastes. I can say that I never figured out who the perpetrator was and was very surprised by the ending. However, there was way too much football.
I listened to the audio version of this book and the production was very good. Robert Petkoff is a very good narrator. However, I kind of wish I had purchased it in hardback so I could pass it on to my husband. I think he's like it. It's got brothers and football. It's got a lot of football.(less)