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History Buff

Grace

Maryland | Member Since 2005

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 33 reviews
  • 57 ratings
  • 135 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Sean Carroll
    • Narrated By Jonathan Hogan
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (103)

    Scientists have just announced an historic discovery on a par with the splitting of the atom: The Higgs boson, the key to understanding why mass exists has been found. In The Particle at the End of the Universe, Caltech physicist and acclaimed writer Sean Carroll takes readers behind the scenes of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to meet the scientists and explain this landmark event.

    Matthew says: "A History of Modern Particle Physics"
    "Great book for a non-science guy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I truly enjoyed listening to this book, though I readily admit I retained probably only 10%. This is my lack of science, nothing to be reflected onto the author! I wanted to "read" it mainly because my son is a physicist-in-training.

    Muons, gluons, smuons, muoninos....wow. Truly, there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than I ever dreamt of, forsooth!

    So I understood less than 90% of the book, and I know I will retain less than that, but the overview was fascinating. Carroll wrote a very lucid account, to my mind, always (or almost always) explaining the terms he used. He interwove non-science stories into his tale, which made the book interesting to a non-scientific type like myself.

    The technical details which I have not been able to retain reflect on me, however, and not to his writing, nor to his tale of the LHC. I will be interested in reading the other reviews to see what the stumbling blocks were for other readers. One thing that I was a bit put-off by (but not enough to down-rate the book 1/2 a star) was that although he immediately identified a "fermion" as being named after Enrico Fermi, he did not identify a "boson" as being named after Dr. S.N. Bose.

    Hogan was the best narrator I have heard to date. No heavy breathing, no false foreign accents, no feeling of wishing he would clear his mouth, as many other narrators do. Reading non-fiction requires a different skill-set than readers of fiction require. I will happily listen to him again.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Birthright

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Bernadette Quigley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (372)
    Performance
    (256)
    Story
    (266)

    On a hot July afternoon, a worker at an Antietam Creek construction site drives the blade of his backhoe into a layer of soil - and strikes a 5,000-year-old human skull. The discovery draws plenty of attention and a lot of controversy. It also changes the life of one woman in ways she never expected.

    Krista says: "Nora must be mad"
    "I got used to the clichés after awhile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The overall story of a dig was moderately interesting, though the dates seemed a bit preposterous. The family melodrama was interesting. Roberts did a good job of intertwining the various "good-guy" families together, but was a bit two-dimensional in describing the "bad-guy families."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Haunting of Maddy Clare

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Simone St. James
    • Narrated By Pamela Garelick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (70)

    Sarah Piper’s lonely, threadbare existence changes when her temporary-work agency sends her to assist a ghost hunter. Alistair Gellis - rich, handsome, scarred by World War I, and obsessed with ghosts - has been summoned to investigate the spirit of 19-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who haunts the barn where she committed suicide. Since Maddy hated men in life, it is Sarah’s task to confront her in death. Soon Sarah is caught up in a desperate struggle, for Maddy’s ghost is real, she is angry, and she has powers that defy all reason.

    passiflora says: "Not bad, but a little disappointing"
    "Best read on a dark and stormy night"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this to be a hard book to listen to, yet not a book I could walk away from, either. Was it because I had just recently read a rather silly book on haunted Eastern Shore properties, where no attempt was made to beguile the reader into actually believing things were going "bump" in the night? Maddy was portrayed as very real, and worse yet, appearing to different people in different guises. Maybe the twisted feeling I had in my stomach was the precursor to her moving from my iPod into me! Best read on a dark and stormy night....

    The narration of Pamela Garelick was spot on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A. Lincoln: A Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ronald C. White, Jr.
    • Narrated By Bill Weideman
    Overall
    (320)
    Performance
    (177)
    Story
    (178)

    In this important new biography, Ronald C. White, Jr. offers a fresh and fascinating definition of Lincoln as a man of integrity - what today's commentators are calling "authenticity" - whose internal moral compass is the key to understanding his life. Through meticulous research, utilizing recently discovered Lincoln letters, legal papers, and photographs, White depicts Lincoln as a person of intellectual curiosity, comfortable with ambiguity, and capable of changing his mind.

    Julieann says: "Insight into Lincoln"
    "With Malice Toward None"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How many of us can even pretend to live by this sentiment? How many politicians? In this day of virulent political bashing--even from the pulpit, how many clergy, even, can say this? So the story of this man, this ordinary, honest, rail-splitting, Father Abraham, alone rates five stars.

    I down rate the narration simply because I feel the narrator attempted, but did not carry-off, the Hoosier twang or the Illionois accent: Lincoln must have had some combination of these (even Kentucky). But other than that, I thought the narrator, Bill Weideman, did a good job. I did not hear him breathe, nor did he swallow excessively...two of my real complaints too often.

    Overall, I suppose, biographies have a need for repetition of the same or similar material in various sections due to then nature of the uses that students will put the volume through. If I could, I would deduct half a star here, but that is an Amazon feature.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Raising Atlantis

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Thomas Greanias
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (745)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (189)

    A secret U.S. military dig has uncovered ancient ruins two miles beneath the ice of Antarctica and activated the ultimate weapon. Now rogue American archaeologist Conrad Yeats and beautiful Vatican linguist Serena Serghetti must team up to unlock the secret origins of human civilization before a global cataclysm ends it.

    Autumn says: "Stargate+Da Vinci Cod= Raising Atlantis"
    "What was I thinking to buy this?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The audio editing is terrible. The period at the end of the last sentence of a chapter is totally ignored, not even a breath is seemingly taken, before the next chapter begins.

    I guess the book was performed in the early days of digital recording?

    Perhaps it would be a good book, but I cannot even bring myself to finish the second chapter.

    Some books just need to be read with the eyes and not with the ears?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Night

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Elie Wiesel
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2153)
    Performance
    (929)
    Story
    (945)

    Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Gold Medal, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel offers an unforgettable account of Hitler's horrific reign of terror in Night. This definitive edition features a new translation from the original French by Wiesel's wife and frequent translator, Marion Wiesel.

    Ella says: "This book consumed me"
    "Powerful, powerful book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tremendously moving. I think listening to the audio recording was probably more powerful than reading a printed version. I made the decision to read this book after reading a review that said Weisel's wife's translation (from the French) was superb.

    Guidall's narration was quite dramatic, but never overly so.

    Weisel had a difficult time finding a publisher originally. He was an unknown writer writing about an episode in history most wanted to forget, and some didn't believe had happened.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Deadly Shade of Gold: A Travis McGee Novel, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By John D. MacDonald
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (185)

    When McGee picks up the phone and hears a voice from the past, he can't help it. He has to meddle. Especially when he has the chance to reunite Sam Taggart, a reckless, restless man like himself, with the woman who's still waiting for him. But what begins as a simple matchmaking scheme soon becomes a bloody chase that takes McGee to Mexico, a beautiful country - and one from which he hopes to return alive.

    Aaron P. Lazar says: "Travis McGee - a hero for all time"
    "McGee grows on you"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I suppose it is only fair: some books are chick lit, and some appeal equally to all. This one, however, was overloaded with testosterone. Yet, I did become involved in the story.

    Travis McGee is clearly the right agent for the right job...and the right job had nothing to do with money. For him it has more to do with loyalty and doing what is right. But sometimes what is right may not look that way to others.

    Robert Petkoff did a good job on the narration

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Robin Sloan
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2572)
    Performance
    (2314)
    Story
    (2300)

    The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone - and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything....

    Susan says: "Fun, thought-provoking, mysterious.... and FUN !"
    "Fabulous title to go with a very good book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm surprised no one seems to catch the quirky title!

    This is the first fiction book I've read (or listened to) in a long time that I really liked. The title itself grabbed me. How cool would it to have a 24-hour bookstore nearby? And what a name!! The suggestion of a shadow, hinting at a subterranean cult that becomes stronger and until the sun is self-consumed. Gads! I'm beginning to freak out like Clay!

    Ari Fliacos was a superb narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Rebecca Skloot
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Bahni Turpin
    Overall
    (4149)
    Performance
    (2685)
    Story
    (2713)

    Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells, taken without her knowledge, became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first immortal human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than 60 years.

    Prisca says: "Amazing Story"
    "A Must Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am so glad I listened to this. Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin were marvelous at bringing this story to life. The Author's Note at the beginning of the story set the tone for the book (and many people who "read" the book skipped this)...the afterword tied up many loose ends. And finally, the interview with Rebecca Skloot at the very end anchored the book in reality, where it belongs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Anne Hathaway
    Overall
    (2253)
    Performance
    (2004)
    Story
    (2021)

    One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming The Dark Knight Rises, lent her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

    Thomas M Clifford says: "In Time for the Holiday.Give the GIFT of a STORY!"
    "I guess Oz isn't in Nebraska, either"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Do you know, I never read the actual book? I suppose I haven't still, since this was a audio recording I listened to in the car. Narrated by Anne Hathaway, who did a pretty decent job of most of the voices. In the beginning I found it was difficult to distinguish the Tin Man from Dorothy, but that went away. Many of the other voices were superb. I would have given her 4.5 stars if audible used that protocol.

    And the story!! I was raised on the movie, and even though I knew the ruby slippers were silver shoes, still, I expected flying monkeys to be bad guys, etc. Glad to know that Toto was still fairly annoying....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. Pollifax and the Lion Killer

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Dorothy Gilman
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (115)
    Story
    (114)

    Emily Pollifax accompanies her young friend Kadi back to Africa, where a mutual friend is to be crowned king of his small country. But when several people are slashed by murderous lion claws and Kadi disappears, Mrs. Pollifax must begin a perilous investigation. Fortunately for all, staunch determination and polished karate skills are on her side.

    History Buff says: "Mrs. Polliflax as the Queen of Africa"
    "Mrs. Polliflax as the Queen of Africa"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is pretty good. No surprise denouement, for which I am glad. I tend to feel cheated when clues and facts are only added after-the-fact.

    But, as usual, Mrs. Pollifax is made to sound as though she were in her 80s...but though I work with a large number of extremely active octogenarians, I doubt if even one of them could swing their legs high enough to perform some of her "karate" moves. Perhaps the way she "sounds" is directly attributed to the narrator (Rosenblat), but I would imagine the author had some say...and if not, then she should!!

    I also criticize Gilman in this book for her unspoken racism. What is the purpose in describing someone's hand as "black" when speaking of an African? She didn't resort to it too often, but often enough that it caught my attention.

    Rosenblat, as a narrator must be commended for the wide range of voices she brings to her work. But I still find myself constantly wondering if she wears false teeth or is constantly sucking on a piece of hard candy. The shlurping sound that accompanies many (most? all?) of her voices is irritating.

    Still, I am sure I will be reading another Pollifax mystery next year!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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