I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
Right up Front, Justice O’Connor informs you that her book is a celebration of the Supreme Court and its history. This is not a tell-all book or a behind the scenes justification of her record either positive or negative. She introduces the court in a way one might talk about a beloved Uncle to a group of friends who you have never met. She has divided the book into sections of interest: the early years, silver tongued devils, presidential clashes, etc.
I like that she personally narrates the book. It lends a great amount of authenticity. I have read numerous historical novels that touch on many of the points she makes. John Adams by David McCullough, What Kind if Nation by Simon F. Simon and Truman and 1776 by McCullough, Thomas Jefferson by Joyce Appley and Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow – all fine works. Justice O’Connor’s accounts fit nicely with overlapping accounts by these historians. Yet, she introduces new information about the court and it struggles over the centuries.
If you have an interest in the Supreme Court, history, or government; this is a very worthwhile seven hours. If you are looking for dissention or scuttlebutt, look somewhere else.
Byron Reese is a historian. In his latest work, Infinite Progress he sets a high bar for Internet and Technology. He spells out his optimism in his title “How the Internet and Technology will end ignorance, disease, poverty, hunger and war. Yikes! As a fellow Internet aficionado and technology practitioner, I just had to see what this was all about. In the first chapter I worked my way up the ladder of “optimism shock” – a kind of sugar shock, just without ingesting a ton of jelly beans.
The basis for Reese giving you his predictions are built on five principles: 1) futurists often get it wrong; 2) history can help us get it right; 3) internet technology + human ingenuity = infinite promise; 4) accelerating progress is inevitable; and, 5) the new renaissance has begun. Pretty heady stuff! Of these five principles there really is only one real premise three assertions and one dollop of hope. I really don’t think Reese made his argument in the end. But....
I have read other books in this genre, for example the "Next 100 Years" by George Friedman and this work has a place along side. I would have to say that spending 10 hours dwelling on things might go right instead of 10 hours of the things that have gone wrong was a refreshing change. Even if you don’t buy what Reese is selling, I give him credit for putting his message out there. If you have the time and want to hear some good, non-political, speculation give it a read.
In Cold Blood is true tale of a grizzly set of murders of four of the Clutter family in Kansas. Set in 1959, Capote brings this tale to vivid life and Technicolor description. I especially like the way he helps you to get to know each character -- good and bad; he also gives you excellent depth in the supporting characters. From the depth of these characterizations, he weaves a very descriptive tale which draws the listener forward through charter and verse.
Scott Brick is one of my favorite narrators and he brings an added bonus to the work. This novel will be liked by the who-dunnit crowd even though who-dunnit is know; the thriller people will love it as well. Add this book to the bucket list!