"Bone Crunching Number Munching"
This book is really quite dry. I'm Irish but haven't lived there for 8 years and grew up in the 80s so I sort of understand what is going on. God help you if you are not Irish and are looking for an explanation. I don't think it would be easy to follow.
It's mostly a collection of arbitrary numbers. 1 billion this, 90 million that so actually it doesn't remain very relevant. At one point, early on, the author, drones ad nauseam on the relative size of different things compared to various US states. Population same as X state, GDP same as Y state, people who poked themselves in the eye with a pencil in any given year the same as Z state. If you have never been to Maryland and don't care to either then the fact that it's Gross National Product is the same as Irelands is not useful.
Sometimes the Irish way of speaking or writing can be hilarious and full of crackling wit. Not so in this case. Perhaps O'Toole, a leading columnist and newspaper editor, is just better in short form journalism. I found this tome a bit dreary and despite being originally disappointed at it only being short (about 7 hours unlike some of the longer un abridged titles) and therefore bad value, I am now glad.
"Introduction to the last bastion of Communism"
I enjoyed this book a lot as I know little about North Korea and It was good to have the human stories explained. It doesn't come to a conclusion but then it never promises to. The writing (reading? listening?) is not excellent but it's pretty good. This book is ideal if you want to learn more about North Korea's history but don't want to have to plough through a history book. It has whetted my appetite to learn more about Korea.
The reader was not very experienced though and made some slip ups.
"One of the best reads I have had in a long time"
Brilliantly written and well researched. I couldn't wait to be listening to this on my way to and from work. Really heart warming.
I also liked the focus on the child which rendered the abuser a historyless face and name. Probably not his real name. Often crime (particularly sex crimes and violent crime) are explained away by showcasing the history of the abuser. This book had an endearing child and a mother doing her best.
The crime perpetuated against them is never dealt with and that is the best feature. The victims are more than the crime they suffer.
"As excruciating as Updike"
I bought this as I was half listening to a review and it popped up while I was browsing audible. God it's boring. It's that petty minutiae of everyday life that can be made enthralling and fascinating by some writers rendered the most tiresome drivel. The only reason I'm still listening to it is because I have finished all my other audiobooks.
Very much like an Updike novel. I am indifferent to every character and reckon they could all do with a slap. The author is not stylish in his prose nor is he even that observant of domesticity. The sex/erotic scenes a particularly cardboardy.
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