Terse and to the point!
No zombies. No vampires. No angels. No self-help. No horror.
Having just finished the stack of books I got on the 50% off sale, it was time to spend a couple of my credits and get some more new title to keep me busy. I figured that since "the first hundred days" was a current topic on the news today that perhaps there was some insight to be gained by reading about FDR's hundred days. Then, after all the heaving reading, I decided I needed a bit of escapism and chose a Dortmunder story. This should keep me busy over the weekend.
A couple of books published recently have tackled the heretofore taboo yet titillating topic of taboo/profane words. This is the one that I just happened to buy but I guess that it could have been anyone of them. The title was read by the author and I usually avoid self-read titles because just because you can write beautifully doesn't mean that you are pleasant to listen to for multiple hours. Bergen is an exception to the rule; he reads as well as he writes. The book is nicely organized. It has a basis in scientific research and is filled with anecdotal evidence to support the points he is trying to make. He writes for a broad audience not academia.
Warning, if you hearing/reading taboo/obscene/profane language in any context offends, this book might not be for you. Bergen's over-all intent is not to offend but to explore the topic and discuss its social ramifications. Four-letter words are here to stay; we might as well learn a little bit more about them.
If nothing else, this book made me think and it made me want to set my thoughts to paper. I don't have a problem with declaring some words to be taboo--particularly slurs. In fact, I am actually in favor of it. Except for slurs, I also don't have a problem with judiciously using taboo words in my own speech. However, I think that one should not use them with impunity (that is the way I was brought up); there is a time and a place and an appropriate audience. I still don't drop f-bombs in front of my parents, who I don't think I have ever heard use the word, and I don't regularly sprinkle my speech them (to the effect that when I use them, they are powerful!). I don't full agree with Bergen's take on our attempts to censor speech. I'm in favor of censorship on the airwaves and of ratings of TV, movies and videogames that protect my right not to have to hear any of these words or to have my children hear these words. It should be up to me when I want to hear taboo speech and under what circumstances. I'm not against free speech; I'm just against those who think that just because they say it that others want to hear it or even have to react positively to their utterances. If you insist on peppering each sentence you utter with f-bombs this that and the other, you will soon find that we aren't having very many conversations. Daddy always said that smart people don't need to use taboo language to express themselves and that has always formed the way I try to speak. But yeah, I'm no goody-two-shoes; I do have my moments.
I finally checked off another item on my literary bucket list: The Iliad and the Odyssey. I've had the audio version in my TBR for a couple of years now but very recently picked up these two Great Course lectures to read along with the The I & The O so that maybe I would get more out of the story. It was a good move on my part.
However, I bought and listened to the two lectures in the wrong order, thinking that they were two free standing lectures lecture series. Actually, they should be read in the same order as the two epics. Not that they weren't helpful but that there was general info in The Iliad lectures that would have been helpful to have heard before listening to the two epics--not after.
The narrator killed this book for me--and not in a good way. I listened to the whole thing but it was a battle, with a lousy narrator who made very poor choices for the voicing of the various characters (none of them sounded realistic, especially Albert Campion)) and a plot that was full of holes and full of inconsistencies.Other words that come to mind to describe this book are melodrama, caricature and misogynistic (or perhaps just dated the attitudes toward women). It might do better as a film--a period piece in black and white.
Fortunately, a couple of the other titles in the series use a different narrator and I may try them to see if this author improves with age and a different narrator.
Overall, two stars-- three for the story reduced by one for the narration.
I've been an Audible member since 2002 and 99% of my reading these days (about 150 reads a year) is audiobooks. Over the years, I've learned to play the system and maximize my subscription.
Audible is for titles that I want to read over and over again (I'm an avid re-reader) or for titles that I cannot get from the public library digital collection. I've learned over the years how to maximize my investment.
About buying more credits. I know I can do it but I don't know how it works and I don't know if there is a limit to the number of credits you can purchase in a year or if just anyone can buy more credits.
I love these half price sales. It works really great for grabbing up titles that will cost less than the cost of a credit--why waste a credit if I can get it for less. So these titles have been sitting in my wish list, some of them for a few years now, waiting for the celestial confluence of half price sale and my decision that I'm ready to add that particular title to my library. Sale ends April 24, so there may be even more edition additions.
At last! I've finished The Illiad portion of the story and have begun The Odyssey. What a difference! I'm trying to decide if it is the subject matter of one versus the other that makes the one so much better, so much more readable than the other, so much easier to tell or if it is that the writing of the Odyssey is actually that much better than that of the Illiad. Or then again, maybe I will just leave it to the critics.
I'm about 20 books in and it is slow going. Lots of blood and gore and dead warriors. Lots of names I can't get my head around. Very repetitive--no wonder we read a very abbreviated version in high school. I can't wait for the men at war section to be over so i can down to the adventure story.
BUT a wonderful, easy to understand translation (I just have to keep reminding myself that "host" means "army" and not the "Master of the House"). AND, a marvelous narrator who uses just enough moderation of his voice that we can tell when he speaker changes. AND marvelous poetry, full of all those devices that do poetry make -- you know, all that stuff you learned in school and can't put a name to now but you sure recognize now when you hear it.
I'm on a winning streak. This is he second "Daily Deal" this month. And oddly enough, both of them have been titles that are being read by the author, something I tend to avoid because good authors aren't necessarily good narrators. But I listened to the sample before deciding to buy and surprisingly, both authors weren't half bad.
Words and pictures by Grant Snider