Marietta, GA, United States | Member Since 2010
I didn't think I would like the book - the title says to me says "Ladies' Book Club Book" and that's exactly why i selected it - we're discussing it tomorrow. I ended up finding it compelling and a really good story. A lot of negative reviewers did not like Victoria, but I really empathized with her - she had a rough upbringing but she knew herself and wanted to be better, for herself and other people in her life. The last book I read prior to this one was The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog - and it tied in beautifully with this book. It's non-fiction about children brought up in difficult circumstances and the resilience they displayed. I see Victoria in the same light. The backbone of this book, the meanings of flowers, provided an interesting base. Not 5 stars because the ending was melodramatic, sickeningly sweet and Hallmark Hall of Fame-ish.
I gave the performance 2 stars because the narrator seemed to be using what I consider to be "teen-speak" - if I had to hear the word GarDEN one more time...... I also felt that she had difficulty with the male voices - they sounded forced.
I did finish listening - the story was not boring. But the dialog was rather clunky and awkward to listen to, especially between Mary and Ponter. Lines from Gone With The Wind, ET, and The Wizard of Oz were shamelessly borrowed. The ending, even for SciFI, stretches credibility to the breaking point and I'm happy to leave the story at its end, though there is a sequel, which is previewed and advertised at the end of this recording.
The narrators were good, though my usual criticism of males affecting female voices applies here - the females sound pretty much like, well, men trying to sound like women.
The names of the Neanderthals didn't seem to have any rhyme or reason - did they all have surnames and if so, how were they derived? I didn't look up the characters to see their names in writing, but I enjoyed hearing them as I imagined them - Ponter's daughters, Jasmine, Jazz-bo, Jazmo or Jazno, and Meg-a-Meg, and many whose names I just couldn't figure out at all.
I was annoyed at the continued put-down of human history/society and the elevation of the noble (and brilliant!) Neanderthal society. Of course there are things in human history that merit our shame, but I don't understand the purpose of the comparison in this book and its creation of a fictional "perfect" sentient species.
When I began listening, the book was hilarious. Lots of sarcastic put-downs of pretentious people and a restaurant. I thought I was in for a funny ride. But the book does turn dark...very dark. We discover things about the characters that we didn't suspect. Many things. Getting pertinent information out of the main character and narrator is like pulling teeth - very frustrating but effective. He tells us many times of things he thought of saying in a particular situation....but then he didn't say them. We gradually learn many very relevant tidbits that we wouldn't have suspected that add to the development of the story. An interesting read, but I which Koch had stuck to funny.
This one was compelling and earnest. I had thought that because the author (father) was a pastor meant that it would probably seem or be contrived. The recounting of Colton's experience when undergoing an appendectomy evolved over time. He was only 3 or 4 and didn't tell his parents at the time it happened, but gradually made statements about the experience which brought his parents to understand what had happened to him. The difficult part for me were Colton's seeing things in Heaven (monsters, Satan, Armageddon, battles, etc) that I have taken to be metaphorical at best. Colton's account pretty much sticks to Christian biblical orthodoxy, about which his father insists that Colton previously knew very little and none of the details. Most other accounts of near death experiences that I've read, like Anita Moorjani's "Dying to be Me" and Eben Alexander's "Proof of Heaven" really emphasize God's love for all of us, regardless of what we've been guilty of in earthly life. This book tries to present itself as proof that Christianity is the only "right" religion and pretty much the only way to get to heaven.
Prof. McWhorter maintains that "funnest" is not a word you can use, but I'll bet he knows what I mean.
Maybe the best thing I can say about this lecture series is that, like a very good and compelling novel, I found myself driving around the block or listening in the garage because I found it so engaging. On one hand, I didn't want it to end, but on the other, I did so that I could write a glowing review.
So many interesting tidbits about English and other languages and how words and expressions evolved. He gives great examples - some very humorous. He explains the difference between spoken and written language; in all languages, spoken is much more casual and less rigid than written, which allows you to plan, go back and re-write and edit (as I'm dong now) what's being written. He maintains that language is always evolving and will always continue to, and that the new electronic ways of communicating - e-mail, texting, IM, are really more like speach than writing. He finds no linguistic problem with these forms nor does he feel that they will affect the written language in a bad way.
He's very entertaining, easy to understand and skirts around socially offensive "bad" words without actually saying them, but in a very funny way.
I'll mention the applause between lectures as I did for another of the Great Courses Lecture series. I think it should be done away with - it's distracting.
For instance, that in addition to water, other liquids including coffee and tea can be counted as hydration. According to Goodman, they are very mild diuretics - otherwise they would be used as such medically. And that the sensation of thirst does not indicate serious dehydration (as many maintain} because thirst is the first indication of the need for liquid. Also, that it doesn't matter if you eat late at night - a calorie is a calorie no matter when you eat it. He also says that you should "listen to your body" re eating and drinking and do what it dictates.
Much of this lecture series, however, is devoted to highly technical instructions about food and drink before and after strenuous exercise, like weigh yourself nude before exercising and then again after exercising (nude again, since your post-exercise clothes may retain sweat) to determine how much water was lost and drink a specific amount based on the difference in weight. This I suspect is aimed at very serious runners and workout artists.
This is not me....My exercise is limited to 30 or so mins on an exercise bicycle or walking around a lovely wooded 3 mile path by the river. I try to do this daily, but am known to slack off sometimes.
All of you marathoners will probably get a lot of good information from this book.
Goodman's lecture style is good - he speaks clearly and animatedly and obviously enjoys his subject.
A note on the production style of all the Great Courses: To me, the applause before and after each lecture is somewhat distracting. I don't think for a minute that these lectures are actually recorded in a lecture hall - the quality is too good for that. It's sort of like the laugh-track on TV comedies.
I've listened to about an hour of this and its about the weirdest thing I've ever heard. Read some reviews - some of them glowing from folks who found it hilarious. Haven't seen hilarity yet, just grossness for no apparent reason other than to be gross. This reminds me of Saturday Night Live, which I used to find outrageously funny. My husband and I have followed it for 30 years or so and still look forward to it at 11:30 on Saturday night. We're always disappointed these days - it all seems very silly. Have we changed or has humor changed? Don't know, but I feel the same about this book. How anyone could give it 5 stars I just can't comprehend.
There were too many characters and story lines for me to keep them straight. I couldn't remember who'd done what to whom and who sent that devastating email - or one of them. I suppose all the stories were brought together in the end but by that time I was too confused to care.
The basis of the main characters' story seemed thin to me; why so much angst over monitoring their teenager's computer? I would think it's the responsible thing to do, especially if you think he may be involved in dangerous activities.
Another thing that made the book confusing was the one narrator. I felt that the men's voices were all the same, except for the couple of African American characters for whom he did affect a "black" accent. The women all sounded alike; very much like a man trying to sound like a woman by using a soft whispery voice. I think that there should have been 2 narrators, maybe 3. One for men, one for women and maybe one for teens and children if the other 2 couldn't handle it.
I loved the narrator, Mel Foster. His voice was calm, strong and non-judgmental while speaking about a topic that engenders lots of judgment. Of course, a lot of that credit goes to Herzog, the author. I listened to the first half of this and thought it was finished because the second volume hadn't downloaded. At the end of the first volume, I found myself wondering why he didn't make more mention of cats, the predominant type of pet in this country. There was a history of the domestication of dogs and the differences(many) between domesticated dogs and wild dogs (wolves, etc) or even cross-bred wolf-dogs, which retain much of their "wildness" and therefore are unacceptable as pets. I found all this interesting, but, being a cat person, I wanted to know the same about cats and the history of their domestication. I've heard that they domesticated themselves. When I found that there was a volume 2, I was excited to hear it and looking forward to the cat story. Well, no such luck. It was mostly about animal cruelty and what defines it and the activists who promote animal rights, though they differ greatly in their focus. Some wear leather but don't eat animals, some eat animals but eschew hunting, some go to extreme avoidance of doing anything to hurt a living thing with sentience (who decides?) which would include mosquitoes and other bugs. I loved this discussion and the way it was presented in a non-judgmental way, but I got to the end of volume 2, cats had only been mentioned in passing.
I had not read Little Fuzzy, so I didn't have a basis for comparison. This was a good science fiction book, especially as far as the story of the Fuzzies developed, gradually showing their real nature and abilities. I enjoyed the courtroom drama aspect of the story - something not usually found in science fiction. Like others, I thought the book continued in part 2 and, nearing the end of part 1, couldn't figure where the story would go...until I realized that part 2 was the original - Little Fuzzy. I started listening to that one and saw how great the differences were in the 2 books, so I've put that one off for later. My thought is that whichever book you've read first, the other will not fare well in comparison.
Parts of this book were a turn-off for me...some of the suggestions sounded unobtainable and beyond the reach or regular mortals, especially the parts about diet. Essentially, it seemed that if it tastes good, don't eat it - and I'm not sure that's good advice. No fat, few carbs, even "good ones," no sugars or sugar substitutes, so that leaves nuts, fruits (not too many!) and veggies, especially broccoli. I like the things he suggests eating, but I also like some of the stuff he doesn't.
The non-sedentary lifestyle interested me - I got a pedometer to calculate how much I was walking or active daily....turns out 5000 steps is a lot for me and I feel like I'm moving all the time. But that's sedentary - Australians typically walk 8000 steps without thinking about it.
Sleep I don't really have a problem with - I sleep well and about 8 hrs a night.
I realized about halfway into the book Rath was battling an unusual form of cancer, apparently not immediately life-threatening, but something that must be controlled. That changed my mind about his recommendations as I realized he was fighting for his life and had done much research. For me, that added much validity to his recommendations and told me that we should all be fighting for our lives based on what we eat, how active we are and how we sleep.
I may not be able to or want to follow his regimen completely, but I don't think I can go wrong to follow it as much as possible. With my pedometer as a gauge, I find that I am increasing my activity level, and I do think about what I put in my mouth before I eat it. I suppose that's a good start.
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