JPod is my favorite book (and I've downloaded over 400 audiobooks). I first purchased this book in 2007 and have listened to it several dozen times since. On the surface, the book chronicles the hilarious and hapless adventures of Ethan, his family and pod mates, but I think there's so much more to it than the basic narrative. Let me put it this way: if you are a geek, into computers and the internet, and the kind of person who watches YouTube videos and Google's random questions, you will *LOVE* this audiobook. The negative reviews here are absolutely false.
This is also one of the most excellently read audiobooks on Audible. Marc Cashman has the pitch-perfect voice for the light-hearted comedy in this book. He also manages to give each character their own vocal idiosyncrasies so you are always aware of who is speaking, regardless of whether Coupland tells you.
There are a few books out there where you feel like the protagonist is "you". This is one of them. I hope you come to enjoy the book as much as I did.
"14" is one of those rare books which succeeds in being entirely original. The plot is weird, the whole mood of the book is slightly creepy, but at the same time it's always fun. Not exactly fun-ny, but "fun" to listen to. There are so many strange things going on in the apartment building; you're quickly drawn into the strange world. I loved it and couldn't stop listening once I started.
Ray Porter is one of my favorite non-fiction narrators. He reads a lot of tech and business books so I was skeptical about his ability to read fiction. He was incredibly great!
I just love books like this. They come out of nowhere and blow your mind and give you something genuinely new to experience in terms of fantasy. Fantastic audiobook!
CONTENT: Before the Dawn is an entertaining and educational cataloging of human evolution. Like Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth, Before the Dawn analyzes evolution at the genetic level. Its interesting to say the least. There are parts which, like any well researched and interesting scientific book, boggle the mind of a lay reader. But stick with this book through the difficult parts because it is dotted with chapters which you will be just riveted by.
AUDIO: Narration on a scale of 1-10 was a 6.9. Nothing at all wrong with the reader and the audio quality is fine, but he reads with a kind of a dry modulation. Though I found myself drifting off a few times, this may have had more to do with the dense scientific discussion and less to do with the narrator's lack of vocal inflection. The reader is very clear in his enunciation of words and has clearly researched how to pronounce difficult scientific jargon. Overall impressive narration, very appropriate choice for the topic.
COMPLEMENTARY READS: Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish; Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth; Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species (search Audible for the abridged version of Origin read by Richard Dawkins for a chillingly excellent auditory experience).
Firstly, you cannot read this book without first reading Christopher Hitchens' book God Is Not Great. Simply stated, Peter Hitchens book is meant to be a rebuttal against what he calls his brothers atheist polemic. I think the book falls short of actually representing a comprehensive rebuttal but Hitchens writing is so well crafted and the circumstance of his relationship with Christopher so intriguing that I enjoyed the book nonetheless.
I expected a sort of "anti-atheist" book which put forward reasons to disbelieve atheist propositions, supplanting them with even more valid reasons to believe in the existence of God. Peter didn't do that, instead he spends the first half of the book on a completely fascinating nostalgic remembrance of Britain after WW2 during his early childhood, then goes on to catalog his experiences as a journalist in soviet Russia and anarchic Somalia as a way of demonstrating the effect of atheism when practiced as a matter of governance.
Still, Hitchens ultimately fails to rebut much of anything Christopher says in his book, or really anything Harris, Dennett, or Dawkins say either. About 2 hours into the book I was angry at Peter for sucking me in to something I didn't ask to hear but the book ultimately won me over and especially the epilogue, where Peter discusses his relationship as Christopher's brother with startling honesty. As the oldest of 2 male children, I can relate completely to Peters melancholy about the lifelong rift between him and his older brother. Read the book if you've got the money or a spare credit. Peter is a great writer and his book is quite fascinating. It just never achieves exactly what he said it would--but somehow that didn't detract from it being a wonderful 4 hours. If you're looking for an actual "anti-atheist" book I recommend searching Audible for What's So Great About Christianity by Dinesh D'Souza.
Okay, I'm officially angry--people have written reviews here claiming Hitchens's reading of his book is inaudible or full of mumbling. My fear is that you will read those reviews and decide on that point alone to eschew purchasing this book.
Let me elucidate this for you: on perhaps 3 occasions in a book of more than 8 hours, Hitchens ends a sentence so quietly that its very hard to hear what he's saying. That's it. Juxtapose this non-issue with the insuperable benefit of having Hitchens read his own work. He knows just where to put the emphasis, where to sound incredulous. When he says "I" he really means it because its HIM talking. Couldn't have asked for a better reader. The book itself is plainly fascinating. Hitchens once said in an interview that one should read books which make one feel inadequate (in the positive intellectual sense). God Is Not Great is one of those books. Guaranteed to be one of the best credits you'll ever use. This book spurred me to research Hitchens and I discovered he is quite a remarkable man. The most impressive thing about Hitchens and his writing is probably his vocabulary. It's simply daunting and highly educational to listen to this book. And that's to say nothing of the immensely lucid, incisive, prescient and thoroughly convincing content of Hitchens's thesis that religion is man made and presents the greatest threat to the continuation of human prosperity. This is one of those "must read" books regardless of which side of the issue you fall on. Note: Make sure to complement Hitchens with Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) and Sam Harris (The End of Faith), both of whose major atheist texts are available in unabridged form on Audible, and both of which are as excellent, if not quite as succinct as Hitchens's book. For the best opposition view, read Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About Christianity?
Bloom's book should be required reading for every American, but especially for college age Americans. This book will change the way you view the world. It will pull the rug out from underneath you and there aren't many books that will do that. Read this book. Then read it again and again until you have one of those "OMG!" moments.
A friend of mine was reading this book for a class and I told her, 'Oh come on that's a bunch of garbage." Later, I read the book, and it has fundamentally shaken my views of liberal education, made me question my allegiance to the Republican party--indeed, to any party, and has opened my mind to the sheer ignorance with which I and most people in America live their lives. This book will make you embrace education like a man who has spent months in a hot desert will embrace water.
READ THIS BOOK NOW!
Hi. For those who know what I'm talking about - its clear that this narrator has either no a)Interest in or b) Ability to speak in the proper tone about physics and astronomy. The guy narrates it like he's reading Sports Illustrated....his tone is all wrong. Listen to the "Short History of Nearly Everything" sample or "Pulp Physics" to see what good narration can do for a book.
Listen to this book to hear what bad narration can do. I'm not saying the guy is a bad narrator - but his vocal characterisations just AREN'T APPROPRIATE for this type of book.
I've listened to every physics/astronomy book on this site - and I've learned its very difficult to narrate one in an interesting and authoritative way, especially if you aren't a technical person. But pass on this one, it will drive you NUTS!
I really have no idea where the other review is coming from! I practically wrecked my car laughing so hard from this book!
What's always so refreshing about Dave Barry is that he always points out things that are so obviously and honestly ridiculous about life. He does the same thing with computers in this book. I mean I love how the guy can just come out of left field sometimes with a quip that leaves you laughing so much you're gasping for air...5 stars.
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