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Benny S

Madison, WI United States | Member Since 2012

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 69 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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  • The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Amy Stewart
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    Overall
    (146)
    Performance
    (129)
    Story
    (126)

    Every great drink starts with a plant. Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley. Gin was born from a conifer shrub when medieval physicians boiled juniper berries with wine to treat stomach pain. The Drunken Botanist uncovers the surprising botanical history and fascinating science and chemistry of over 150 plants, flowers, trees, and fruits (and even a few fungi).

    Cynthia says: "No more cheap tequila!"
    "Interesting information, unbearable naration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narrator is terrible. Her voice work doesn't sound natural at all. She does this weird open mouth pronunciation thing that sounds painfully forced and awful.


    What didn’t you like about Coleen Marlo’s performance?

    Her voice sounds like someone who is trying to sound more refined than they actually are. It's forced, and really painful to listen to.


    Did The Drunken Botanist inspire you to do anything?

    Nope.


    Any additional comments?

    In the section on hops the author discusses the difference between lagers and ales without once mentioning fermentation temperatures. This makes me question all of the information in the book - if this part was missing such an obvious piece of information, how many other parts are inaccurate or incomplete?

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Classical Mythology: The Greeks

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Peter Meineck
    Overall
    (160)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (77)

    Through the study of these time-honored myths, the Greek heroes and gods - including Heracles, Zeus, Achilles, Athena, Aphrodite, and others - leap from the page in all their glorious splendor. The following lectures are not only an entertaining guide to Greek mythology, but a fascinating look into the culture and time that produced these eternal tales.

    Billy Barker says: "Loved it!"
    "Not as much as I hoped for"
    Overall

    I honestly had hoped for something a little easier to follow. I've enjoyed other Modern Scholar works before, but this seemed less organized than the others. It still has good information and isn't hard to listen to, but I didn't retain as much as I'd like.

    1 of 2 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
    (3931)
    Performance
    (2497)
    Story
    (2523)

    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"
    "Outstanding"
    Overall

    This book stunned me. I'd heard a few interviews with the author, and wasn't sure the book would actually give more information than those interviews but it really did. I'm thrilled that I spent the time listening to it. The family's story moved me, the scientific concepts intrigued me, and the personal parts brought me in. Even the voicing is excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1649)
    Performance
    (902)
    Story
    (894)

    Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? Have sex? Smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour?

    Roy says: "Everything You Always Wanted to Know - and More"
    "Fun stuff!"
    Overall

    Like all of Mary Roach's work, this is a really fun book to listen to! It's actually a little more well-organized than her previous work, but just as much fun. Her humor and accessibility are still at 100%!

    My only complaint is similar to all of her work - there could be more science here. The lay public CAN handle science, and holding back on it does a disservice to those of us who crave more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Bill McKibben
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (143)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (55)

    Twenty years ago, with The End of Nature, Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about global warming. Those warnings went mostly unheeded; now, he insists, we need to acknowledge that we've waited too long, and that massive change is not only unavoidable but already under way. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen.

    Ira says: "A very important and interesting read"
    "Had high hopes, disappointed"
    Overall

    Having heard a few interviews with McKibben I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately I was pretty disappointed with it. I felt it did not actually discuss the topic of how we could live in the future much, and mostly discussed current and past problems. Also, it was very badly organized - bouncing around from one idea to the next with no real structure. I really don't recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Daniel H. Wilson
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (279)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (61)

    How do you spot a robot mimicking a human? How do you recognize and deactivate a rebel servant robot? How do you escape a murderous "smart" house, or evade a swarm of marauding robotic flies? In this dryly hilarious survival guide, roboticist Daniel H. Wilson teaches worried humans the secrets to quashing a robot mutiny.

    Gurmukh says: "Funny and Interesting Book"
    "Could have been more engaging"
    Overall

    While the information in this book was accurate and somewhat interesting, I had hoped that it would take a more creative route. I was looking at this book after enjoying "A Zombie Survival Guide" and this did NOT fit the bill.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Catching Fire: Hunger Games, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28903)
    Performance
    (22113)
    Story
    (22258)

    Katniss Everdeen continues to struggle to protect herself and her family from the Capitol in this second novel from the best-selling Hunger Games trilogy.

    FanB14 says: "Dissent Rules"
    "One of the best!"
    Overall

    This is certainly one of the best books I have listened to or read in the past few years. The plot kept me engaged, the world creation is fascinating, and the characters are explored deeply.

    I have no complaints, and simply can't wait for the next one!

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Days of the Incas

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Kim MacQuarrie
    • Narrated By Norman Dietz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (406)
    Performance
    (163)
    Story
    (170)

    In 1532, the 54-year-old Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro led a force of 167 men, including his four brothers, to the shores of Peru. Unbeknownst to the Spaniards, the Inca rulers of Peru had just fought a bloody civil war in which the emperor Atahualpa had defeated his brother, Huascar. Pizarro and his men soon clashed with Atahualpa and a huge force of Inca warriors at the Battle of Cajamarca.

    David says: "Quit while you are ahead"
    "Pretty boring"
    Overall

    I enjoy history, but I insist that it be written in a way that keeps my attention. This book did not. Honestly, it was pretty boring, and that surprised me since the subject matter was interesting and should have been able to hold anyone's attention. Honestly, don't waste your time with this book unless you are looking to be put to sleep.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Unseen Academicals: Discworld #32

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (922)
    Performance
    (439)
    Story
    (446)

    Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork - not the old-fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving, but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go gloing when you drop them. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood for trying everything else.

    goddess_of_pipework says: "Punch-in-the-arm fun"
    "Another good book from Pratchett"
    Overall

    I've loved nearly all of Terry Pratchett's work, and this one is no exception. While his stories and characters have matured over the course of his career, it is nice to see him return to the wizards on Unseen University.
    I'm not much a sports fan, so the football theme is not really my cup of tea, but this book did manage to make it fun and interesting to me. Seeing the character growth of Ponder Stibbins was a particular joy.
    On the other hand, unlike several of the more recent Discworld books, this one does not really move the world plot forward at all. With Pratchett's career's end on the horizon, I hope to see at least some glimpse of the coming future of the Disc. In this sense, the book did not deliver.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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