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I was tempted to say I was blown away by this sensitive and informative book about the inner minds and emotions of animals. But I'm not really. For anyone who loves and respects animals, this is more a confirmation of what we may have suspected than a surprise.
Virginia Morrell does a wonderful job of explaining some of the ways humans have been discouraged from believing in the intelligence and emotional connections of animals. She then goes on to explore case after case where people (scientists usually) who have spent great time studying certain kinds of animals have learned about what creative, intelligent and interactive lives they have. (Think Jane Goodall, but with every species...insects, birds, fish, mammals...)
In the beginning she states that we study animals' minds as a "better way to share the earth with our fellow creatures." And as she lays out her findings, one is repeatedly reminded that they *are* our fellow creatures.
This book may leave hunters, lab experimenters, even maybe just meat eaters re-thinking some of their positions. But whether that happens or not, it is undeniable that the book will leave you feeling amazed and far more respectful of our other animal kin.
Kirsten Potter does an excellent job of narrating, but I did find myself wondering what it might have been like if the author had read it herself. I am sure I will listen to this over and over.
This book is purely wonderful. It is filled with cutting edge information about the brain and studies that show how meditation changes the brain in positive ways. I have read the (paper) book several times. I have also listened to the original CDs that came out to accompany the book, which were read by the authors. The book and CDs are among the most treasured books/CDs in my collection. Learning ways to calm oneself through specific techniques that not only give short term, but also long term relief and happiness is a powerful experience.
However, for reasons I can not possibly imagine, something happened between the CDs coming out (read by authors) and the audible version--read by a different narrator. It may not matter to someone who has never heard the originals before, but I love especially to listen to Rick Hanson--and it is too jarring to have to listen to a different person narrate this. (To my ear, it is read too rapidly and too flatly). The material is great--but not this narration. (Or not to someone who has listened to the authors themselves). If this is your first exposure to this book and authors, it might not matter, but it did to me, since I am long familiar with the voices of the authors themselves, and it seemed a sad switch.
I very much enjoy Anne Perry's Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series. This book involves a complex story--leading the listener along several lines of plot development before pulling things together. This makes for an enjoyable mystery experience.
In this book, Pitt is first investigating what are almost comical incidents of grave robbing, though certainly not funny to the people involved. But this morphs into a far more serious situation when someone they all know unexpectedly turns up dead.
Perry has an interesting way of weaving concepts of good and evil into some of her books--and some of the characters in this one are excellent examples of that mixture.
My only (very tiny) complaint is that Perry sometimes ends her stories a little too abruptly. She takes pages (hours, for the listener) laying out complex plots, developing the characters in minute ways (which is part of what makes them so good--she is such a keen observer of human minds and behaviors). So it is a bit jarring when the ending seems to come all of a sudden. Others may feel differently--but that is my only concern--and really, a small one at that.
Recommend this book, if you like this series--but also if you like the historical time when policemen were just beginning to create themselves into a trusted group--who have to find ways to overcome class lines in getting the aristocracy to cooperate in their investigations.
This was a book that I thought I'd enjoy (and I still think that). But I had a lot of difficulty listening to it. The premise is interesting--a murder at a private school, lovers who early on look vulnerable to being suspected...but that was as far as I got.
I usually finish most books, even if they are not as good as I had hoped. But this narrator was very exasperating. At times he would pause for breath several times within a sentence--leaving the listener with a choppy experience of the narrative, and usually he read too fast--leaving me feeling so frustrated--backing it up to have to listen to an extremely uncomfortable delivery all over again.
But I want to say that oddly, he had surprising interludes where he read beautifully--he was especially brilliant with voices of certain characters--capturing the nuances of speech of snobby intellectuals perfectly! I thought that his talent there would make it okay to listen to the rest, but alas, I finally just gave up. I do want to finish the book--I think it will be very good in the written form. So I'm going to find the book and just read it.
I'm a long time fan of the whole series. This one was good. Perhaps it lacked a little of the vitality the books had back in the beginning, but after all, Ms. Grafton has nearly made it through the alphabet at this point. This was also the first I have listened to, rather than reading. I think I might stick with the written version in future. I had probably imagined them differently in my mind for too long.
The author took on the interesting challenge of interposing two mysteries, and the reader knows they must be connected, but not how, till well into the book. Kinsey Millhone, whom we have known from A through V as a virtual orphan is presented with new family. Unfortunately she doesn't get to know one before he turns up dead, at which point she is presented with her ensuing tasks as a private investigator.
It is fun to read these Kinsey Millhone books, and over time we've all gotten to know the cast of characters. I felt that some of them are beginning to feel the least bit stale and take up a little too much "filler" space now, but that didn't detract from the story.
My main complaint was that the narrator seemed uneven. Usually reading quite smoothly, occasionally would have the jarring effect of mis-reading a line, or whole character in a way that just sounded "off." I was a little surprised that it wasn't better directed or produced. I would have expected more for a series this popular.
But all in all, it was wonderful finally to get to read the long-awaited "W" episode in this alphabet mystery series. Nothing could take away the pleasure of going on another adventure with Kinsey.
As with her other books in this series, Anne Perry has done a very good job with "Paragon Walk." Inspector Thomas Pitt is a policeman, not very welcome in the posh homes of the wealthy, but by fortuitous chance, he is married to Charlotte, who came from a background that allows her to move comfortably in and out of this atmosphere.
In this book, a young woman of the privileged group who live on Paragon Walk has been raped and murdered. Charlotte finds it rather easier to get in and investigate what has happened than her husband, since her pregnant sister also lives on this street--and she comes to be with Emily during this stressful time to support and also snoop a bit.
I think that the characters are very well developed, and the entire book was interesting. I quite like the whole series, and think that Ms. Perry has a keen insight on human motivations and behaviors. However, I didn't quite feel I could give the book 5 stars for the story because for some odd reason, the ending seemed too abrupt. Almost as though the author had written the number of pages she wanted, and felt she had to wrap it up quickly.
The ending "worked" okay--it just went by so fast I had trouble believing the book had actually come to a close. Don't let that stop you from reading it--it's all good, just a bit awkward how the end got a little rushed. It's well worth the read.
I have loved every single book in this series about Lady Georgiana Rannoch, an impoverished distant cousin of the queen, whose life is a constant search for finding a secure place somewhere. Her peculiar circumstances, of being a "royal" but without any money or training for a career, has left her open to having to go to new places, where she meets people and gets herself into situations where intrigue and murders occur. Naturally, she is the clever one who winds up solving the mysteries.
This was the absolute best in the series so far--and the wait was worth it! Katherine Kellgren, the most talented narrator, has outdone herself with the amazing versatility she shows for creating different voices. I have never "read" one of the books in this series (always listened to these recordings of them) but cannot imagine doing so, after listening to Kellgren's delightful readings of them. There are just not enough superlatives available to describe the range of her vocal skills. The stories are loads of fun--they are genuine mysteries, but with a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) mockery of the aristocracy, laugh-out-loud funny much of the time, and genuinely quite addictive! I recall that the first of the series I ever read, I chose with some skepticism, since that does not sound like the typical books I read--but by the end of the first chapter of the first book, I was a confirmed follower of Rhys Bowen's Lady Georgiana series. The author, the narrator and the uncommonly clever writing work together in a way that many recorded books do not.
In this book, Georgiana goes to a lush mansion with Lady Edwina, a wealthy duchess with great pretensions, to help her teach a long-missing grandson how to behave properly in his new place in society. However, when the young Australian outback, sheep-farming youth meets his royal and very pompous, grandiose grandmother--the outrageous fun begins--along with the murder.
If you choose to listen to this book--it would be wise (and fun) for you to begin at the beginning of the series. However, it would be fine to begin with this one--I believe it could be a great stand-alone book on its own.
This is a book I hesitated to get, because I thought it could be so much about the history of trains, I might find it boring. I could not have been more wrong! Edward Marston has done a superb job of weaving some information about early trains--but that is more of a backdrop for what proves to be an interesting victorian-style mystery. Robert Colbeck and his sidekick, Victor Leeming, come from the early and still forming Scotland yard. This means that they don't yet have the respect of everybody--though they find clever ways to get people to open up to them. There is a light love interest--who is also sometimes Robert's secret assistant in getting to the heart of the mystery. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how compelling it was to listen to this book.
Even better, the narration is by the incomparable Sam Dastor. He does various voices with seeming ease--and there is no problem recognizing "who" is speaking.
The mystery is good (though slightly predictable), the character development is excellent, the background scene was set to perfection without overpowering the story, and it held my interest from beginning to end. I was happiest to discover that there are a few more in this same series of books about Robt Colbeck--and I look forward to listening to them very soon!
My only puzzlement is, Audible.com: where is book #1? It did not detract to begin with book #2 (as I feared it might--since some authors tend to replay all that occurred in a previous book, thus ruining any motivation to go back and read it.) Happily, that was not the case here. I felt no loss beginning with this volume, nor any reluctance to find the first one and read it later.
Tara Brach, who has achieved notoriety for her gentle approach to living, primarily through a psychological/Buddhist approach, provides some guidelines for moving through life, using what she refers to as "R.A.I.N." By this, she shows us how to meet challenging situations.
First Recognize the reality of what is occurring.
Then Accept that is it what it is.
Investigate what it means, and then the huge move that brings it all together, is:
"rest in Natural awareness." (in other words, do not be so quick to react, but move to a state of awareness in which we have a different relationship to what is happening).
Tara Brach also wrote "Radical Acceptance," in which she also suggests that we are so quick to run from, or distance ourselves from situations that feel unpleasant, that we may do better in the long run finding a way to move into them, with curiosity, patience and willingness to be present to what is happening.
As happens sometimes, they have chosen someone else to read this book. Although Cassandra Campbell has done an excellent job, Tara Brach has a beautifully soft voice, and I would so have preferred hearing her narrate it herself. However, this book is certainly worth listening to.
Hugh Fraser (who played Hastings, the sidekick of Hercules Poirot on the well-loved tv series) narrates this book, as he has done with several other Christie books.
He did the best he could with this book I think. While I doubt there are actually any "bad" mysteries by Agatha, I would not place this among her best works. It is tedious, and Poirot goes back and forth among the possible candidates for the murderer just interviewing them.
There is very little action otherwise, and I found myself actually becoming a little bored (almost a first for anything by AC). Don't know whether a different narrator might have spiced it up a bit--Fraser wasn't terribly animated in his reading--though perfectly ok in other respects.
I'd say, if you love Agatha Christie, this should be on your listening/reading list so you can complete the works. It is not bad--it just is not up to the usual quality of her writing.
Phillip Moffitt is a man who wants to share his wisdom about life--and what he writes is very inspirational.
I have read his other book, and listened to talks he has given over the years, and he has provided enormous insight into how to live one's life with an approach that dignifies all living things. His Buddhist approach clearly underscores his philosophy for living, but at times, it is also possible to feel and detect the other great influence in his life--Jungian psychology.
This book is perhaps his best work so far. I simply do not know how to speak highly enough about it. He provides guidelines for making wise decisions in one's life that, if utilized, surely improve the quality of our lives--and our relationships with everything we encounter.
Although Fred Stella has done an excellent job at narrating this book, I am sad that Mr. Moffitt did not read it himself, since I have listened to so many of his talks that his voice is what I expected to hear. Otherwise, I can only say, I wish I could offer this 6 stars.
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