A quite run-of-the-mill and mostly forgettable book for me. It’s a collection of articles from Jon Ronson, who may or may not be famous outside the U.S. -- “Jon meets the man preparing to welcome the aliens to earth, the woman trying to build a fully-conscious robotic replica of the love of her life and the ‘Deal or No Deal’ contestants with a foolproof system to beat the Banker.” Though many reviewers laud his storytelling ability, I mostly found myself just on the short side of interested.
You'll recognize Ronson's narration from This American Life or other such broadcasts. He has a voice and style, like David Sedaris, that is perfect for his writing. A collection of subjects that he investigated/interviewed/tried to sort out - few people can find the subject matter and true life characters that Ronson looks at and narrate it with dead pan sincerity.
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My dad used to tell me, "The truth is stranger than fiction, Ange. You couldn't make this stuff up!"
My dad would love Jon Ronson.
Ronson is known for ferreting out strange people with strange beliefs or behaviors and exposing them to the world. He does it again in "Lost at Sea," a wonderful collection of tales about his odd encounters. Ronson makes himself a central character in all of his stories. He plays the good-natured skeptic who kind of wants to believe - the very role we imagine for ourselves in Ronson's place. His openness helps us empathize with his bizarre cast of characters. In the end, we, like Ronson, are a little bit better for having learned what they have to teach.
Perhaps the best part of this book is that Ronson himself narrates, and no one could do it better. Each emotion is clearly expressed through his lilting accent, which is at times quite hilarious. I've said it in previous reviews and I will say it again, you will want to talk like Jon Ronson for days after listening to his work because everything sounds funnier when you say it like Jon Ronson.
If you love the strange and bizarre, you will love this book. If you are a Ronson fan, you will not be disappointed by this latest installment of the strange and weird.
My top three picks:
1) Doesn't everyone have a solar? (Ronson interviews high functioning robots.)
2) Who killed Richard Cullen? (Ronson invents alteregos with various personality traits to see who is most likely to be solicited by ads for credit cards and bank loans.)
3) Is she for real? (Ronson signs up for a cruise featuring "grumpy" psychic Sylvian Brown.)
This book is divided into shorts that give a quick preview of Ronson's general writing style and a glance at his charming and sometimes mischievous personality.
His voice adds a level of naivety and playfulness to the stories which I have always appreciated and feel his voice helps conveyhis intent when in dialogue with some of the characters he encounters. I have listened to "men who stare at goats" which was narrated by someone else, and I wasn't as glued to the listening experience. Ronson does an amazing job.
His descriptions of the psuedo-psychic Sylvia Brown who I have always DESPISED! I was so thrilled to hear his interpretation of her. I am a visual person and I find his descriptions to be very realistic and hilarious like distorted caricatures that some how capture the true essence of a person's soul.
I hope that he continues to supply us with more books because I am running out of ronson books to read.
Yes, there is a diverse amount of information and it would be enjoyable to listen to again.
This was a great read (or in my case a great listen). Got a bit list in last story which is why I give it 4 stars instead of 5 but otherwise well worth it.
The least helpful reviewer on audible.
Jon Ronson is EXTREMELY British!
I'm talking about jolly good show, have a spot of tea, God save the queen British. I was taken aback at first by his accent, but the shock didn't last long. The articles in this collection are so compelling that after a few minutes I didn't mind his accent. In fact, I got to where I kind of enjoyed it. I don't believe anyone else should have read this book.
Wow, these stories were awesome. They ranged from big credit companies taking advantage of the working class to the darkest side of assisted suicides. There was even one about Stanley Kubrick's estate and the huge collection of strangeness that was stored there.
He tells them all with an unbiased voice. It's a strange thing to explain. Once I understood what a particular article was about I would immediately have an opinion (and often an emotional reaction), but as the article progressed Mr. Ronson would have me sympathizing with the opposite view.
The one about SETI inspired me to read Paul Davies' book "The Eerie Silence." The one where he interviewed the father of a highschool student arrested for conspiracy to commit mass murder at his Alaskan school made me want to cry. The one where he patrolled the streets with real life superheroes made me laugh while at the same time scared the crap out of me.
Listening to this book was kind of like watching a documentary news program like 20/20 or Dateline, albeit a very British version of these shows. Did I mention how British Jon Ronson is? Sometimes the britishness was confusing. Like, when he talked about the English court system. What's a barrister?
If I haven't made it clear, I'm now a HUGE Jon Ronson fan. As soon as I get more credits I'll be purchasing more of his books.