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Old 09-15-2021, 05:45 AM
  #76
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Ahhhh, thanks. I knew there was a thread for her somewhere but forgot is was a Firebird specific thread. Thanks for finding it Steph is reading that now, so maybe it can be resurrected?
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Old 09-23-2021, 08:36 PM
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I finished The Firebird.

This novel is a sequel to The Winter Sea, in a way. Anna is the daughter of two of the characters in TWS. Since I just read an ARC of the prequel to TWS, The Vanished Days I thought to stay in the same universe and listen to The Firebird.

I really did enjoy The Firebird. Katherine Kellgren was a perfect narrator for this story. She was excellent at the range of accents and even did well with the male voices.

I really liked the developing relationship of Nicola and Rob. He was like her Jedi teacher. They were also really funny. I found myself laughing at times.

I liked the parts in Russia and learning about that part of history. I don't know if it's because it felt like more chapters were spent in the past but I found myself more invested in the characters and relationships of that time period.

Susanna always adds a "twist". I guessed one of them
Spoiler:
and the other totally got me by surprise
Spoiler:
But even though it got me by surprise, I don't feel like it was a jaw dropping reveal. Not like the reveal in The Winter Sea and The Vanished Days.

As much as I enjoyed this novel I didn't love it as much as I love The Winter Sea. I was a little let down by the reveal about the Firebird. There was such a big lead up and it almost felt like it was an afterthought or footnote thrown in at the end.

Also, I can't put my finger on it, but something was missing. Like there wasn't much suspense.

Of the trilogy, I would rank them:

1) The Winter Sea
2) The Vanished Days
3) The Firebird


4 out of 5 Ancient Artifacts.
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Old 09-24-2021, 02:30 PM
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Good review.

I can't decide if I'd rank Vanished Days at #3 and Firebird at #2. I'd have to read them all in one go to make a decision.
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Old 09-26-2021, 07:34 PM
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Yea. A marathon would help decide.
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Old 09-27-2021, 10:20 AM
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Maybe I'll do it next year after I reach my book goal.
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Old 09-28-2021, 08:21 PM
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Ok. It's a good winter read.
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Old 09-29-2021, 09:58 AM
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Makes you feel even colder in winter.
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Old 11-01-2021, 12:53 PM
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A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern Iraq

by Fernando Báez



Quote:
A product of ten years of research and support from leading American and European universities, A Universal History of the Destruction of Books traces a tragic story: the smashed tablets of ancient Sumer, the widespread looting of libraries in post-war Iraq, the leveling of the Library of Alexandria, book burnings by Crusaders and Nazis, and suppressive censorship against authors past and present.



With diligence and grace, Báez mounts a compelling investigation into the motives behind the destruction of books, reading man’s violence against writing as a perverse anti-creation. “By destroying,” Báez argues, “man ratifies this ritual of permanence, purification and consecration; by destroying, man brings to the surface a behavior originating in the depth of his personality.” His findings ultimately attest to the lasting power of books as the great human repository of knowledge and memory, fragile yet vital bulwarks against the intransigence and barbarity of every age.

We're going through some disturbing times right now, and social media is censoring many people. That is the modern day book burning. I saw someone suggest this book on social media so I bought a copy from a secondhand store.

I did learn a whole lot. It really covers everything, not just censorship book burnings, but books lost in shipwrecks, earthquakes, natural disasters, and to just deterioration (bugs and acid from the glue); as well as books destroyed in fiction (think 1984, Fahrenheit 451) and authors who ordered their own books/manuscripts be destroyed as their last wish.

Which cracks me up because, why not destroy your works yourself? It's like the writer doesn't have the guts to do it themselves so they push the responsibility onto a close relative.

A criticism I have is that because it really covers a universal history over so many eras that there are many little stories. I couldn’t absorb it all. It was just tidbit after tidbit. It's more like an encyclopedia.

There were also so many destroyed books mentioned, often in foreign languages, that I would just skim those titles because it was more like a listing of destroyed books instead of explaining their significance.

I'm sure anyone who cared to look more into a certain time period, or a missing or destroyed book they can do their own research/reading. Because in the end this book is pretty thick and how many minute details do we need to be bogged down with?

In the end it is a good source to have that covers a wide range of topics, time periods, and explanations about why books are destroyed. It also just makes me sad to think of how many hundreds of millions, maybe even billions of books have been destroyed. I also wonder, what if they had never been destroyed at all. Where would we put them all?

3.5 out of 5 Libraries.
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Old 11-01-2021, 02:20 PM
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you finished

Quote:
and authors who ordered their own books/manuscripts be destroyed as their last wish.
Which ones?

Makes you wonder what kind of info has been lost by books being destroyed. What do we not know that we could've known if they survived?
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Old 11-03-2021, 08:16 PM
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I don't know them off the top of my head so I have to show you the chapter.

Quote:
What do we not know that we could've known if they survived?
Exactly.
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Old 11-10-2021, 08:33 PM
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Dune by Frank Herbert

Narrated by: Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton, Simon Vance, Ilyana Kadushin, Byron Jennings, David R. Gordon, Jason Culp, Kent Broadhurst, Oliver Wyman, Patricia Kilgarriff, Scott Sowers.

Quote:
Length: 21 hrs and 2 mins

This Hugo & Nebula Award winner tells a sweeping tale of the desert planet Arrakis, the focus of an intricate power struggle in a byzantine interstellar empire.

Arrakis is the sole source of Melange, “spice of spices”. Melange is necessary for interstellar travel & grants psi powers & longevity. Whoever controls it wields great influence. Troubles begin when stewardship of Arrakis is transferred by the Emperor from the Harkonnen Noble House to House Atreides. The Harkonnens don’t want to give up their privilege. Thru sabotage & treachery they cast young Duke Paul Atreides out into the planet’s harsh environment to die. There he joins the Fremen, a desert dwelling tribe, the basis of the army with which he reclaims what’s rightfully his. Paul is more than just a usurped duke. He might be the end product of a long-term genetic experiment to breed a superhuman. He might be a messiah. His struggle is at the center of a nexus of powerful people & events. Repercussions will be felt throughout the Imperium.
I have so much to say about this book. First off, being a big science fiction fan I am told by other fans that I should read Dune because it's such "a classic sci-fi story."

I decided to listen to it now and then perhaps see the movie with Timothée Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgård, and Charlotte Rampling.

I have got to say I did not enjoy listening to this. It was a chore and towards the end, with 3 hours left, I sped it up to 1.4x.

First off, they really messed up the narration. Some chapters have a multicast and others have one narrator doing all the voices. Very jarring. For something considered such a sci-fi classic I don't know why Audible didn't keep the multicast narration consistent. The multicast chapters are so much better, and easier to follow. When the single narrator was speaking I would become bored and my mind would wander.

So I was going to write about how the plot would take these sudden turns and I would have no idea how they got from point A to B to C. That there was way too much world building and not enough plot or building characters. But then I find this review by ZombeApocalips on Audible:

Quote:
Heads up! This is an abridged version!

Voice acting was confusing (character voices changing at different parts of the story), with Baron Harkonen sounding by turns between Darth Vader and the Marcus Aurelius from Gladiator. Also not the book I was expecting, as it is an abridged set of books. Didn't seem to be indicated anywhere.
And then someone named Patrick wrote this review:

Quote:
Utterly Horrific

Why? Why was the book butchered and the audio cast so discombobulated? I love Dune, and was excited to hear it come to life in an audiobook with a diverse cast, but this rendering is absolutely atrocious. The music is not in line with the narrative. The cast comes in goes, chapter to chapter, sometimes paragraph by paragraph. If you can, find another adaptation audiobook of Dune, not this disconjointed mess that is not a true rendering of Frank Herbert's book. What an utter mess.
What false advertising on Audible's part to tell me this is an unbridged version. No wonder I was so freaking confused!

I then wondered if I should go back and actually read the book since I can't seem to find an unabridged audiobook version where I can stomache the narrator's voice. But then I realized I don't want to waste my time because I didn't really like it all that much. There are too many internal monologues. There were no real plot twists. There was way too much telling and not enough showing. The action was boring. I didn't connect to the characters. I felt no emotions for them at all. There were a few minor characters I liked, but overall I cared for no one. And I also found that I didn't like Paul. He was such a bad Gary Stu. Maybe some of it is because it was abridged, but he was just suddenly good at everything with no real good reason for being that good. There was no coming of age training or character growth for him. Also the relationships between Paul and other characters felt so flat. Some were not developed AT ALL and so when that character died I was left feeling nothing when I should have been crying like a baby.

And I don't think I can blame it on being duped into listening to an abridged version. I think it is just a bad book. I think back in the 1960s when it was written it was probably awesome and groundbreaking, but sci-fi has come such a long way since then. I think I am spoiled by greater, modern science-fiction stories.

I can definitely see the influences Dune had in other sci-fi stories. The poisoned tooth for example.

I do wonder if I had went to see the movie first and then listened, would I have liked it better? I don't know if I will see the movie or not so I don't think I can make that assessment yet. I don't know if I should have read it instead of listened. But I feel like if I had I would still be reading it and forcing my way through without enjoyment. Even at 21 hours I got through this in a week. The book is over 600 pages.

So I think in conclusion, I am not going to waste my time reading or listening to another edition. I may see the movie at some point to compare. I am definitely not reading any of the sequels. And if someone says, "Oh you like sci-fi?! You should read/have you read Dune?" I can respond, "Been there. Done that. Did not like it."

1 out of 5 Spices.
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Old 11-11-2021, 06:51 AM
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Now anytime you get a book from Audible that says it’s abridged, you have to read the reviews to make sure it’s true.
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Old 11-12-2021, 09:24 PM
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I know!

I won’t be fooled again! like the song.
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Old 11-13-2021, 03:16 PM
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I hope the unabridged Les Mis are actually unabridged.
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Old 11-13-2021, 09:45 PM
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Oh have mercy!

I was looking up Atlas Shrugged and reading reviews to see if it was abridged or not.


Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics
by Dolly Parton


This was cute and quick listen. I really liked listening to the iconic Dolly talk about her life and the stories behind her songs.

I learned a lot about her that I didn't know. I also love how she praised God, even when she was having difficulties and that she said that He works in mysterious ways.

Thank you God for giving us Dolly Parton. She's a treasure.

The stories behind the songs were very interesting and insightful. When I hear them next I'll be sure to think of how they came to be. And having the audiobook to hear the songs was a great addition.

4 out of 5 Sequin Guitars.
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