Even though I know it was deliberately void of character development, it was just a bit too soulless for me. Lot's of clever thematic metaphors and all that malarkey but all head and no heart makes Serge a dull boy. One for the critics to de-construct.
The narrator didn't help much either. He reminded me of a newsreader half the time. Maybe he was just keeping in spirit with the lack of emotion in the book. The sound quality wasn't great either though.
Not for the first time am I little bit annoyed to read a rave review of a book that failed to mention that it's a children's book. But all in all, I still really enjoyed it.
Apart from the review, the cover really drew me in. I love the cover. I was a bit disappointed to discover that the physical book is chockablock with fantastic illustrations. Why are audiobook listeners deprived of these? Is there still some myth that most audiobook listeners are blind? I would have loved if the images were part of the download. Actually in a perfect world, a digital purchase would get you an audiobook and an e-book in package.
I also just finished listening to a Mark Kermode book where he said at one point "Look at the image below"!
BRYSON: So I want to do a follow up called "A short history of some other stuff too" - a potted history about lots of other odds and ends I find interesting.
PUBLISHER: No, no, no. You can't do that - you need a new title and a new theme.
PUBLISHER: Here's a whacky idea. But it might just work. Call it "At home" and base each chapter on a room of your home and then just talk about whatever you like.
BRYSON: Really? And not have anything to do with the room I'm talking about?
PUBLISHER: Well there will be a few easy ones at the start, like the kitchen and the bedroom. You have enough material for those to make them very topical. But then you could start getting more and more tenous in other chapters, no one will notice.
PUBLISHER: Yeah it'd be hilarious - do a whole chapter called The Study - but instead talk about mice and rats, and don't even mention the study. By the end you can talk about whatever you want. The Attic can be about Darwin, you like Darwin don't you?
BRYSON: Erm - yeah
PUBLISHER: So what are you waiting for? Off you go.
So some chapters are specifically related to the room at hand, others amusingly bear not the most tenuous link. Not that that takes anything away from the content. It's a good book It's not quite the fantastic read that "A short history of nearly everything" is, but it's in the same vein.
In fact despise lots of amusing historical stories, and word origins, and top notch trivia, I didn't enjoy this book half as much as some of his others, and hardly laughed at all. Unusual for reading Bryson.
Pretty sure I can put it all down to buying the audiobook even though I knew better after having major doubts while listening to a sample. Someone told me I'd get used to it. He was wrong. Bryson just doesn't have the delivery to read an audiobook and amazingly makes his own words sound far less interesting by merely reading them out loud. So I imagine it's a much better book on paper.
I fell in love with this book within the first thirty pages. I love a lot of books but there aren't many that I have been IN love with it. And so it went with When God Was s Rabbit, an adorable, slightly quirky story, about a girl called Elly and those she loves.?
I find it hard to separate the book from the audiobook in this instance. The audiobook was such a perfectly complete piece. Its read by the author, Sarah Winman, with great warmth and perfect nuance, already knowing her characters so well. She has a fantastic voice both as a writer and narrator. I loved the cheeky voices of the children. Adult narrators often over do the chirpy voice thing. ?
Though the children are such adorable characters you miss them when they've flown the coop, all too soon for my liking. Its hard not to be a bit dissapointed when you discover they've jumped to adulthood. I wanted to stay immersed in the wonderful world of childhood that bit longer. But such is life. Like it or not, Adulthood comes knocking and Sarah Winman does her best to hold on to the things we hold dear from our formative years.
Its all too ?easy for novelists to make BIG things happen in their books. Its too easy to give characters great luck, or bad luck, or greath health or wealth or disease, or fame or fortune. I often wince at the obvious plot devices, but?Sarah Winman hilariously turns that on it's head and does it all! ?You could retitle it to?When God Was A Novelist.
I did like it. It's a very easy read. And some nice writing but I had quite a few problems with it and wouldn't rate it quite as highly as many other people.
The voice of the audiobook sounded much older than I think they were supposed to be which was quite misleading. Seeing the trailer of the movie since I finished, portrays the characters in a very different light to the audiobook.
As much as I don't like the fact myself, my loathing for all things woo has started to taint fiction for me recently. Any mention of fortune-telling or anything of that ilk produces and internal groan I just can't help.
Even though I like otherwordly novels with mystical characters, another half of me is thinking 'what a crock...'. I know, I know, it's ridicilous to be thinking that way. It's pure fiction but I can't help thinking the slightest encouragement for that nonense is unhealthy. Ridicilous that it should taint fiction for me really, just a tad, but it does.
So I really liked The Wind-up Bird Chronicle but couldn't exacty bring myself to say I loved it. Not as much as most people seemed to
Fascinating book, perfectly marrying scientific fact with the amazing story of one woman and her immortal cells which are still growing today in thousands of labs all over the world. The author, Rebecca Skloot becomes a vital part of the story as she takes the angrily uninformed Lacks family by the hand and drags them from the superstition and misinformation that plagues the family, through to a more appreciative understanding of the contribution their mother's cells have made to the world.
The idea of reading a scientific history of cell culture wouldn't exactly thrill me - but this is an amazing (true) story, wonderfully told with a bunch of interesting characters. And the audiobook is beautifully narrated too, which really brought it to life.
Entertaining enough but it came so highly recommended from an audio book review site, that I found it extremely over-hyped and ultimately quite disappointing. It was just a bit too light and flimsy for me; it could have almost been a children's book.
Some of the smaller stories were amusing enough. The humour was almost Douglas Adams like but not quite.
I think the biggest problem I had with the book is that it just wasn't good enough to justify the length. If it was half the size, I might not have got so bored and annoyed with it.
I don't understand why more people don't write like Franzen; portraying the struggles, frustrations and complications of everyday life that are right there in front of us. Like Frank Skinner sticking it to other songwriters ?Apparently there's a whole world out there somewhere. It's right there, right there?.
Maybe most people do read to escape but I just get frustrated with unrealistic fiction. If the characters and the world they live in aren?t real, I don?t care about anything else ...more I don't understand why more people don't write like Franzen; portraying the struggles, frustrations and complications of everyday life that are right there in front of us. Like Frank Skinner sticking it to other songwriters ?Apparently there's a whole world out there somewhere. It's right there, right there?.
Maybe most people do read to escape but I just get frustrated with unrealistic fiction. If the characters and the world they live in aren?t real, I don?t care about anything else in the book. Apart from deliberate surrealism of course. Maybe it?s because you?d really have to put so much of yourself and your loved ones in there to render such well drawn characters. Is that what makes it so hard for other writers?
So I loved Freedom. I was really looking forward to it and it lived up to expectations and ticked all my authenticity boxes. I was always dying to get back to it and see what everyone was up to and spend some more time in their company. Not that I necessarily liked them. They all had likable and dis-likable traits, which in itself is just another healthy dose of reality.
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