Branagh gives a masterful performance and, yes, it is a performance. His confident portrayal of the characters, even the female ones, is so spot on. This is the kind of book that I joined Audible for. My education left me with a few holes literature-wise and Audible is how I'm going to plug those holes. I can only hope that other books will be given the bravura effort that Branagh gives here. I can not think of any reservation although it might be interesting to see the movie "Apocalypse Now" before or after hearing this book.
I was disappointed. First, the book is not read by the author (and yes I knew that when I bought it). The author does read a 20 minute acknowledgement segment at the end so there's no real reason not to. Second, I thought the book would be about what happens after humans leave but it turns out to be mostly about what is happening to the Earth now with humans.
As an example, the author talks about the places in the ocean where trash accumulates. That felt like old news. Discussions about how the NY subways will flood seems too obvious Post-Sandy.
The author talks about how plastics will hang around for a long time and speculates that a plastic eating bacteria might come along someday. But I would like to know how that would actually happen.
I also was hoping that there would be a discussion along the lines of - we know the dinosaurs didn't achieve a high level of intelligence during their last 10,000 years of existence because ... After all, this book seems to say that in far less time than 65 million years all human traces will be gone.
The book was well read although when a professional is reading the points of emphasis tend to always be made in the same way. I think the actual author would not do that.
Here is what should happen with this book. PBS or the Science channel should get the rights to this book, film a series in the style of James Burke's Connections, retitle it "What Humans Do to the Earth" or something like that. It would be like "Connections" but the connections would not be from the past to the present but from the present to the future - a future with or without humans.
There might be some pictures in this book that you don't see in the audible version but, then again, the printed version can only hint at the impressions Kevin does. You can't imagine how funny it is to hear him do Alan Arkin, Peter Falk, Paul Reiser, Christopher Walken, William Shatner and others. Besides the performance aspect of this book, which is reason enough to get this book, Pollak gives an unvarnished look at the entertainment. How hard is it to work in a movie, what is life like on a sitcom, how do (um) middling stars interact with actual stars?
Are you in S.F. Bay area? This book might bring back memories of the long-gone Circle Star Theatre. I saw Kevin Pollok like at Rooster T. Feathers about 23 years ago so you can call me a long-time fan.
Loved this book. Thank you Kevin.
A great performance and a very easy listen if the language doesn't offend you. But he does go off the deep end sometimes. In one place he seems to think that Dr. Martin Luther King was accepting of atheists. Then later he says his friends say President Obama is an atheist but he is keeping it a secret. From there he blames Obama for being a silent atheist. He should be blaming his friends for making stuff up.
But Jillette is best at being polemical, not political. Liberalism, not libertarianism. Skeptical, not cynical. Well, that might all seem like cheap shots. But, hey, I like Penn and I liked this book. It's not quite as good as "God, No!" but then sequels almost never are.
I think you should pair this book with Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of Our Nature" which is referenced in this book. Both give reasons for optimism about the future. But in this book the rosy predictions don't feel as solid as in Pinker. Reason? Well, Pinker shows how violence is reduced today compared to the past. This book compares the future with the present. That's a harder sell. How can you convince me that there will be food for all in the future when that isn't true right this minute? In this book they talk about solutions that will just naturally come to past and I have to ask "then why don't we have some solutions now?" So color me skeptical in regards to this book. There is another book "To save everything, click here" by Evgeny Morozov which takes a decidedly different point of view. I haven't read Morozov because I want the buzz from "Abundance" to last a little while longer.
I give this 4 stars for performance but Keith Carradine was a great choice and he did a great job - particularly in the second half of the book when he really seems more emotionally connected. But I would only give 5 stars if Neil Young had narrated this himself. But give it up for Mr. Carradine. As the book moved on I was not only hearing his voice but I was picturing him as if he was reading stuff he saw for himself.
On at least one occasion I was at a hockey game with Neil Young sitting beside me. That only happened because we each have a son with cerebral palsy so we were in the handicapped section. During intermissions some people would come up behind where we were sitting and just kind of stand there awestruck. Neil Young has a lot of fans. Me too although I had a slight worry that someone might mistake me for David Crosby. I mention this only to illustrate that I know Neil Young as a real person besides being a rock icon. And also to note that my favorite scenes were often about "Ben Young". He almost always referred to his son that way (and there is one scene that illustrates the confusion that might occur otherwise) yet he is just as likely to refer to Bob Dylan as "Bob" even if he hasn't mentioned him in the previous half-hour.I also found myself fitting into this story at various other places. I completely understand the love of model trains, going on road trips, getting the most out of music as a listener, building electric cars. I bet a lot of people will find connections to his story. The ones likely to be disappointed are the ones who expect a lot of chapters (and he tends to write many, small chapters) to start with "I was so wasted that I ...".
This book is not even close to being in chronological order. And maybe that would take spirit out of the author if you made him cut/paste it into something resembling a narrative. But I think he wrote this book as if it was a phase of his life between two other phases and he didn't have the time (or the inclination) to futz with it.
Overall I liked this a bit better than the Heart memoir even though I tend to like to hear about women's lives more than men's. I also think it is interesting how people will write about their drug history and say "it wasn't so bad" and I'm thinking "oh, you were lucky". And they write about their sex lives and they seem to say "I guess I got around" and I'm thinking "that's it - where's the rest of the stories". I'm very glad I read this book but I think I'm temporarily done with Rock bios and Actor bios and Comedian bios. Might go looking for Science or Philosophy bios.
I read this in 12th grade, my son read it in 6th grade. I wonder that means. This book is, of course, a classic of American fiction and I feel funny trying to review the book itself. Let me just say it is great particularly more so that more deeply you study it. I knew someone who did a doctoral thesis on all of the Christic symbolism. I also remember the comparison of two fried eggs and breasts. I guess you have to think about it. Also, the phrase about the young women would give up some of themselves which you have to know means they are available for sex. I wonder if my son heard that in 6th grade.
Isn't this book all about character? And that character is Gatsby. Or is the character really an everyman, but with access to lots of money. And chutzpah. But you put chutzpah and money together and some would say that equals America. Or is it?
I did not know about the Jake Gyllenhaal version before hearing this one. Robbins was very good and I don't think I needed another version (in fact, why does Audible need so many versions).
I think I could have listened to it all in one sitting, it is a compact novel.
The latest attempt at making a movie from this novel is due in one week as I write this. I will have to see that movie even if the critics pan it all to hell. I just have to see if DiCaprio fits the version of Gatsby that's in my head.
The book starts out saying this won't be about showbiz. Then the first half of the book is about showbiz especially SNL and Second City. But that's good since that's why we want to buy this book isn't it. This book actually tells you some things about SNL you didn't find out by reading Tina Fey's Bossypants. But it is the comparison to Bossypants that hurts this book. Although the performance is great it just isn't as interesting as Tina Fey's book which is quickly becoming the standard for Audible autobiographies.
The performance in this book was great, the biggest selling point of this book. I feel bad for the people who only get to read it.
No. In fact there is a break point about 3 hours in that makes an easy stopping point.
This is a great behind the scenes look at one of the great rock bands. Ann and Nancy Wilson tell us a story that sounds true. Too many drugs, surprisingly little sex. Not that prudishness is rampant either.
The performance seemed dull compared to Tina Fey's and Penny Marshall's recent books. But then, Fey and Marshall are actors, the Wilson's are singers, musicians and songwriters.
I felt that this was an honest account but for most of the book you got a strong impression that it was simply overdone. There wasn't a joyous feeling through most of the book. Near the end of the book they hit a topic that really got them riled up - Sarah Palin. When the Palin camp tried to commandeer the song "Barracuda" the Wilsons fought back.
To be honest, if someone else read this book I probably would not have purchased it at all so I'm not suggesting that someone else read the book. But I bet they made a lot of mistakes when they did the first takes. I think I would put some of the mistakes into this performance.
Another thing, why not put into the performance some Heart songs - not the whole song, just a snippet here or there.
Heart is important to me so I wanted every word. I just wish I felt a little more heart from Heart.
This is one of my favorite audiobooks. Of the recent autobiographies it is just behind Tina Fey's Bossypants and probably tied with William Shatner's Shatner Rules.
The best thing is that as Penny Marshall is reading her book, it is like she is not reading. Rather it feels like she is telling us something she just thought of.
Near the end of the book Penny is giving acknowledgements. Even though she told us about some of her lovers you wonder how many are left out. But then Penny, "oh, and there were a few other guys I slept with, thanks to them too". That was a piece of honesty that is missing from most autobiographies.
It was great to be reminded of some of Penny's hits including A League of Their Own.
William Shatner is very funny in this audiobook that he reads - could anyone else even do it? Yes, there is a few minutes where he goes off on a rant of Esperanto but that's forgiveable because of the rest of the book. This is not a history of StarTrek. It's a look at how his personal life intersects his all-too-public life. Like the time when he was passing a kidney stone and for few minutes he was out in the hallway with his legs resting in the stirrups. A person walks by and says "Look, Captain Kirk is having a baby". You can probably imagine how Star Trek has come to dominate not his life but his public image. And that must very annoying. But Shatner discusses this and many other topics with an acerbic wit. This book is almost as funny as my favority Audible book: Bossypants by Tina Fey.
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