Making the world better one review at a time.
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.)
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.
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.
I think Jonson has credible stuff in this book, but his own neurosis comes through and muddies the water. Many topics covered were ridiculous and not worth the coverage, i.e. Costumed idiots looking to get shot by gang members. The book was more of a collection of anecdotes than anything else.
This is a series of articles written over the last ten years. He covers a wide range of topics. His observational style is engaging and the topics are interesting.
Very interesting stories, and very well told. Jon puts an interesting (twist? conclusion?) on his stories. I highly recommend it.
If you love "This American Life", you'll be disappointed with this book. It lacks the narrative flow and pacing of TAL. Each chapter starts in the middle and ends without concluding. It's incredibly unsatisfying. There is no announcing of the start of a new chapter and no pause, so it's incredibly disorienting when he starts talking about something completely different. You take a minute to realize he's moved on, you have no time to process the last chapter and you're left hanging on each story. There are interesting tidbits in there, but not as many as you'd like, and nothing cohesive.
Another major strike against the book is that it's gonzo journalism, meaning the author is the main character in each story, and I find him really unlikable.
I normally listen to audiobooks at 1.25X normal speed, but this one I had to speed up more, the narrator/author is too slow.