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review 2017-11-23 20:21
DNF @ 16%
The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II - Svetlana Alexievich,Larissa Volokhonsky,Richard Pevear

This just wasn't what I was expecting. It's just a bunch of snippets of women telling their war stories without any kind of overarching narrative or background. Not a bad book in itself, but I'm not interested in reading 300 pages of this.

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review 2017-11-20 13:08
First Person
First Person: A novel - Richard Flanagan

by Richard Flanagan

 

Penniless Tasmanian writer Kif Kehlmann is hired to ghost write a memoir for a corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl, in six weeks. His research to write the autobiography takes a frustrating form when his subject is reluctant to answer questions that might only further incriminate him when he's already facing prison.

 

The need for money keeps Kif on board, even when his better judgement tells him to walk away. The story is told in first person, in a style reminiscent of old detective noir, yet portraying a man who was anything but in control of his own destiny.

 

The story takes a while to get to the meat, but slowly Kif starts getting inside the mentality of a professional con man who doesn't really want the actual details of his life story displayed so much as a comfortable fiction that will serve his purposes.

 

As the struggle to glean details goes on, Kif starts to question everything he thinks he knows about his world, even who he is, why he got married, how he feels about having children and why he calls himself a novelist when he's never managed to finish a novel. Worse, Heidl begins to tell the truth.

 

This is a real psychological mind bender that falls into place gradually, the details of what physically happens secondary to the play on perceptions. I found it interesting, but depressing.

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review 2017-11-19 01:55
Once again things were definitely better than fair...
Fair Play - Josh Lanyon,Richard Harding Davis

After surviving the events of 'Fair Game' Elliot and Tucker are making a go of being a couple and while it's not always perfect both men are determined to make it work this time. 

While Tucker's still wrapping up the case that brought them back together, Elliot finds himself embroiled in a new mystery one that seems to have come from the past...but not his, his father's.

As Elliot becomes wrapped up in keeping his father alive and trying to sort out who and why someone wants to hurt him and his father. Tucker finds himself working hard to keep up with the demands of his job and keeping Elliot alive, but the one thing both men know for sure is that when push comes to shove they've got each others backs.

J. F. Harding was the narrator for this installment of 'All's Fair' and he's another new to me narrator and once again my 'things I listen for in an audio book' list was solidly ticked off. I got the consistency I look for, individuality and uniqueness in character voices, expressiveness in the voices that was appropriate to both the characters and situations. 

'Fair Play' was a 5 star read and as an audio it still gets 5 stars from me.

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review 2017-11-18 15:04
Mr. Popper's Penguins - Richard Atwater,Florence Atwater,Robert Lawson

 

A very fun and entertaining book.

Since this book was originally written in the 1930s, it has the distinct style of old children's books. It is very unrealistic and silly, but still a very good read.

I really enjoyed the ridiculous plot and funny situations that the Popper family and the penguins find themselves in.

Many of the things are outdated (Mrs. People's focus on tidiness, animal licence and ethnic treatment, people not knowing what a penguin is), but it is still readable today. I would suggest some adult assistance for very young readers to give some historical context on the pre-internet, pre-computer world.

A very good read. Highly entertaining.

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review 2017-11-17 19:44
Hell House by Richard Matheson
Hell House - Richard Matheson,Ray Porter

Bought during Audible's $2.99 sale (10/13/17)! . It's more now, sorry about that.

 

A rich guy offers to pay a group of people to stay a few nights in a haunted house to prove there is life after death. All previous attempts to do such a stupid thing at this particular house have ended very badly for the suckers brave or stupid or hard-up enough to have a sleep-over. It’s no different this time around.

 

I read this book closely on the heels of finishing up Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House which was probably a big mistake on my part as the premise of these two books is nearly identical and Jackson’s story didn’t thrill me the way it did most people. Same goes for Hell House though I did like it a wee bit more than Jackson’s story but probably only because it was more lurid and crazy-pants and I like that kind of thing but it does suffer from the same over the top characterization.

 

This story is much more sexually horrifying. Some of the things that happen within these pages are upsetting. Trust me on this. The house was basically turned into a pit of debauchery and hellish events when its original owner cuts loose with a group of hangers-on who dip into orgies, drugs, murder, cannibalism (as you will, I guess) and every other nasty thing your brain can imagine! The house is tainted and incredibly haunted by a horny ghost who eventually infects the woman folk and does shocking pervy things.

 

I listened to this story on audio and the narrator, Ray Porter, does an excellent job. He is deadly serious which suits the story and he manages to deliver the lady voices in a way that doesn’t make them sound completely ridiculous even when they’re forced to behave in overly hysterical ways. He does a good job with the men and the evil inhabiting the house as well.

 

I’m going to give this the same rating as the Jackson book. 3 Stars.

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