I skipped The Honourable Schoolboy for this Le Carré adventure because I think it’s the weakest of the Karla trilogy, and because the BBC Radio 4 adaptation made me dread what kind of stereotypical Chinese accents an audiobook reader might adopt. I couldn’t possibly skip Smiley’s People, though; I think I might like it even more than Tinker Tailor, though you can’t appreciate this without having read that. It has the best of Le Carré—copious but not irrelevant detail, moral ambiguity without needless grittiness, and a sense of inevitability that still keeps you hooked on the story.
The movie adaptation of this book is what really got me into Le Carré. It’s twisty and cynical and compelling—just a great book. Not perfect, of course: Its age shows uncomfortably in some places, including the way it entirely fails the Bechdel Test. I can’t help but give it a full rating, though.
Currently listening to an audiobook where the British narrator has to do the voice of a German character who speaks in English with a Canadian accent. It’s so convoluted that I can’t tell if it’s good or not.
This week, it felt like it was time to revisit George Smiley. Smiley has been something of a comfort read these past several years, but it’s been some time since I visited the actual books, instead preferring the BBC Radio 4 dramatizations. They are superb, but I decided to listen to the “full” audiobooks this time through. Not all are available theough my library, but the best ones are, and that works just fine for me.
This book took me a while to get into. I gave up on the print version a year or three ago, and even the audiobook wasn’t doing great at capturing my attention for a while—I had to rush to finish this before it was due back to Libby. I’m glad that I stuck it out, though, because I liked what I got. I never read the X-Wing novels from the old EU, but I wanted something like what I imagined they were.
A recent episode of The Incomparable covered this book, and even though the reviews were mixed, it seemed up my alley, so I gave it a try. It’s very obviously a book of ideas and is sometimes clumsy and didactic. That said, I wish I had taken more time to sit with those ideas; I rushed through the book to finish it before my loan was up, and I’m sure I missed bits.
I’m a couple of days late on writing this post: I started listening to the audiobook within hours of Doctorow sending out Kickstarter rewards on Monday and had it finished within a day. I often introduce Doctorow to others by saying that his books sometimes read like op-eds—but that that’s a good thing. I found that to be true in this book. I don’t know that I liked it as much as Walkaway (though I never expected to like that one!
I read (and listened to) a lot in the early months of this year and have hit a wall recently. This audiobook was a nice way to get back into reading; I’ve felt a hunger for Star Wars media recently, and this book came recommended on a podcast I’ve sampled. It’s fun to get more into the new canon: I thought this did a good job of setting up some of the Episode VII worldbuilding, and it reminded me of the fun I had reading through the old EU growing up.
This book has a lot going for it: Good worldbuilding, an interesting “disaster dominoes” plot, and a good audiobook performance. I love the first book in this series, so I ought to like this book too! I did enjoy listening to it, but I just don’t find the characters as interesting, and it feels more like it uses YA cookie cutter archetypes than the last book. Enjoyable, but not my favorite… and leaving me wondering about whether to finish out the trilogy.
This is my third time reading this book—I couldn’t resist coming back to it for the “epistolary novel” square of my library’s “Books and Bites Bingo” challenge this year. The print book is amazing, the audiobook manages to adapt a book that shouldn’t be adaptable, and I enjoyed this read as much as the last two. The language and worldbuilding are subtle but effective, it’s morally complex without trying too hard to be, and the characters are a good mix between believable and, well, archetypal characters in a YA novel.
I know Kirby Heyborne as the star of several Mormon B movies, so I was taken aback when he turned out to be the narrator for the audiobook of Cory Doctorow’s “Little Brother.” Weirdest Venn diagram overlap of my interests I’ve seen in a while.
I haven’t read this in over a decade, so I recently decided to listen to an audiobook version and see how I liked it this time through. The overall story is excellent! I found particularly compelling the question of scientific (and technological) responsibility, and the creature’s railing against his creator at Chamonix in the middle of the book struck me as almost Job-like. I wasn’t expecting the Chamonix scene to resonate with me as much as the tech allegory, but it will also stay with me, I think.
I bounced pretty hard off of Walkaway a year or so ago, but I recently decided to give it another try. I felt like I needed a boost of hopeful thinking, and I’d seen Doctorow post about the book as being hopeful. Did it ever deliver! Walkaway is hopeful on a nearly religious level, and it was exactly what I needed. The book is not naïvely optimistic but rather tenacious in its belief that we can still make this a better workd.