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Thug4life

I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.

Sutton, MA | Member Since 2012

89
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 37 reviews
  • 72 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 56 purchased in 2014
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  • Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Gary Taubes
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    Overall
    (1702)
    Performance
    (1048)
    Story
    (1040)

    Building upon this critical work in Good Calories, Bad Calories and presenting fresh evidence for his claim, Taubes now revisits the urgent question of what’s making us fat—and how we can change—in this exciting new book. Persuasive, straightforward, and practical, Why We Get Fat makes Taubes’s crucial argument newly accessible to a wider audience.

    Igor says: "Are you looking for an attachement for the book?"
    "Worth the read, but flawed"
    Overall
    Performance
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    Any additional comments?


    Gary Taubes' “Why We Get Fat” (WWGF) is an engaging summary of the science related to human weight gain. Taubes cites numerous research articles, case studies, and social/cultural situations to support the hypothesis that obesity is a result of our bodies inability to effectively digest select carbohydrates. The more complex the carbohydrate (bread, rice, potatoes,...) the higher the probability an individual will gain weight. This carbohydrate digestive processing program is also idiosyncratic, effecting some while not others.

    WWGF reads like a doctoral dissertation attempting to support the argument that excess carbohydrates are responsible for excess human weight gain and corresponding health problems. Taubes espouses that diets high in protein and fat with restricted intake of complex carbohydrates not only results in weight loss, but are the healthier for the body. WWGF also reports that although exercising is beneficial to the human body, it relationship to weight lose is inconclusive at best. At this moment many readers may be saying “What the What”? According to Taubes you have been brain washed by the dieting industry and he has the research to prove it.

    The strength of WWGF is Taubes debunking many long established weight lose myths. For example, the myth that weight lose occurs when calories consumed are exceeded by calories expended (called the first law of thermodynamics). For Taubes, the solution to society's obesity problem is not reducing time sitting on couch, but the replacing complex carbohydrates with copious amounts fat/proteins. Does this make sense? To Taubes the research is clear and Americans have been mislead into thinking dieting is an excess calorie problem.

    There are two major drawbacks to the WWGF. Taubes arguments and theories are not independently verified. He does not conduct the hard scientific experiment to justify his claims. As a reader you keep waiting for him to discuss that well controlled study that will allow you to start eating steak for three meals per day. That study never materializes. A second weakness is WWGF does not provide any guidance on the types of carbohydrates you should focus on relative to weight lose. His best advice is to replace high insulin producing carbs with green leafy carbs. WOW and Thank you!

    WWGH is a great book for readers interested in a more than passing interest in weight lose. The book is very well written, flows, and the information is easily digestible.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Mercedes: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2436)
    Performance
    (2292)
    Story
    (2291)

    In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

    Marci says: "King and Patton create a winning combo"
    "Worth the ride"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Stephen King novels fall into two categories: Wide Scope or Intimate Character Studies. Wide scope King novels juggle multiple characters and story lines (The Stand, The Dome, It, and Salem's Lot..). The intimate charter studies are laser focused on no more than five characters, where the characters are a akin to the reader's family members by the end of the novel (Joyland, Duma Key...) . Mr. Mercedes is an intimate character study that locks the reader into experiencing an almost personal relationship with the main characters.

    Mr. Mercedes is a terrific read! The prose of the main charter, retired detective Bill Hodges, is rough, funny, and indicative of a shrewd curmudgeon. Hodges is ready to be taken to the glue factory until the book's villain, Brady Hartsfield, decides to wake this sleeping dog out of pure narcissism. The interplay between the two characters creates numerous out loud laughable moments especially in the email exchanges. Mr. Mercedes is not scary, but creates a creepy tone throughout the novel through King's use of imagery and graphic detail.

    Mr. Mercedes is never dull and moves at a surprisingly brisk pace despite the fact that there are few action sequences. The excitement of Mr. Mercedes occurs under the hood, being exposed to cognitions or mental problem solving of the two protagonists. King expertly gives the reader both sides of the coin relative to motives and motivations of the good guys and bad guys.

    Obsessive Stephen King fans know that the master of the horror genre has more than a passing interest in gritty detective novels. In King's only nonfiction book, On Writing, he pays his respects to detective fiction by Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, and hardboiled pulp fiction stories from magazines. With Mr. Mercedes, King gets his opportunity to make his contribution to the detective genre, albeit Steve King style.

    My only negative comment about Mr. Mercedes is relative to the narration. Will Patton (The Postman and Remember the Titians) has a gruff and graveled voices that does not personally appeal to me.

    Overall, Mr. Mercedes is a must read for all who enjoy escaping reality. The main joy Mr. Mercedes is experiencing the development of the main characters as "better angles of our nature" that arise during trying circumstances. In my personal rank order rating system, Mr. Mercedes ranks 20th of the 75 books I have read/listened to over the last 2.5 years.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Steelheart

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5939)
    Performance
    (5546)
    Story
    (5564)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

    D says: "He got the idea from a near traffic accident"
    "Swings and misses"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I have a fascination with the superhero/comic book genre, where I appreciate how superheroes represent the clear delineation of good versus evil. Traditional superheroes are unselfish humanitarians who possess a fatal flaw that can be exploited by an evil villain. By contrast, the villains are typically physically weaker than superheroes but possess a superior intellect that results in an obsession to achieve absolute power/control over others (see M. Night Shyamalan's film "Unbreakable" as a great example).

    Given the long and rich history of the superhero genre, an author venturing into this field must bring something creative and unique to the story. Although Brandon Sanderson's "Steelheart" provides an entertaining story, it fails to offer a new perspective to the comic genre. Sanderson's story is faced paced and exciting, but his characters are paper thin relative to development. Steelheart is better suited for an adolescent male readership than a serious reader of fiction attempting to find a larger meaning about good/evil nestled in the novel.

    Steelheart's ultimate failure is it lacks substance and depth. The characters quickly move from one action packed situation to another separated by brief interludes of group arguments over the best future course of action. I wish that Sanderson had slowed the pace of Steelheart to develop a storyline with greater context and stronger character background.

    Steelheart's strength is the relentless pace of the action. Steelheart is never boring and the writing is crisp. Sanderson gives the reader dozens of close calls and exquisitely staged fight scenes. However, reading Steelheart is akin to going to a five star restaurant and getting a mediocre meal. You just expected more.

    According to my rank order book rating system, I place Steelheart in the 45th position of the 73 books I have completed over the last two years. "Horns" by Joe Hill or "Enders Game" by Orson Scott Card are better and more original choices for this genre.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Charles Murray
    • Narrated By Charles Murray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (25)

    Best-selling social historian Charles Murray has written a delightfully fussy - and entertaining - book on the hidden rules of the road in the workplace - and in life - from the standpoint of an admonishing, but encouraging, workplace grouch and taskmaster. Why the curmudgeon? The fact is that most older, more senior people in the workplace are closet curmudgeons. In today's politically correct world, they may hide their displeasure over your misuse of grammar or your overly familiar use of their first name without an express invitation. But don't be fooled by their pleasant demeanor....

    Thug4life says: "Good Book: From one curmudgeon to another"
    "Good Book: From one curmudgeon to another"
    Overall
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    I have always respected the research of Charles Murray. He has a history of conducting socially important research, citing solid peer reviewed evidence to support his hypothesis, and fearlessly stating his points regardless of controversy. His books (The Bell Curve, Coming Apart, Real Education...) challenge conventional wisdom and social assumptions about our culture and behaviors.

    Murray's "The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead" (2014) is meant to be a "how to" book for young adults relative to blending into an established corporate culture and engaging in behaviors associated with successful adult independence.

    The big problem? The audience "Curmudgeon" is intended to help would probably never be interested reading this book. Murray hammers these young adults for their tattoos, casual use of profanity/obscenity, and faulty applications of English grammar. "Curmudgeon" is broken down into sequential chapters that permit Murray's to dispense his personal advice to young adults.

    Personally, I enjoyed "Curmudgeon". However, I am 49 years old and may be defined by my employees as a curmudgeon. Overall, Murray has a interesting and engaging book that other curmudgeons will use to validate their perceptions of the younger generations. Reading "Curmudgeon" feels a little like preaching to the choir. On my rank order book rating system, I place "Curmudgeon" 40th of the 68 books I have read over the last two years.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Frankenstein

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Mary Shelley
    • Narrated By Dan Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (229)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (211)

    Narrator Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) presents an uncanny performance of Mary Shelley's timeless gothic novel, an epic battle between man and monster at its greatest literary pitch. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor to the very brink of madness. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship, scientific hubris, and horror.

    Nancy says: "A great listen"
    "Run to Frankenstein"
    Overall
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    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I somehow neglected to read Frankenstein during my current 49 years of existence. All of the ideas and concepts I learned about the Frankenstein story originated with the 1931 film and the accompanying outlandish movie spinoffs (Bride of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Theory, and Abbot/Costello meet Frankenstein...) . If you are in my Frankenstein starting position, you will be delighted by this engaging and smart audio book that bears little resemblance to the Hollywood re-invented movies.

    Mary Shelley's 1818 novel is still fresh and resonates with modern day concerns. Frankenstein is never boring and engages the reader from the get go. The prose and language used by Shelley to tell the Frankenstein story is exquisite. Shelley is a master wordsmith who make the Frankenstein story a piece of art rather than a mere horror story. The beauty of her writing is even more impressive when one considers that Shelley wrote this masterpiece at 18 years of age.

    The major theme of Frankenstein contemplates the limits of science. Shelly's monster is a metaphor to examine the consequences of unrestricted scientific advancements without consideration for ethics or morality. The warnings to scientists laid out in the Frankenstein story can presently be applied to stem cell research or mapping the genome. Readers interested in this topic may want to check out the movie The Frankenstein Syndrome (2010).

    Another fascinating aspect to Frankenstein are the descriptions of how the monster learns language and attempts to develop relationships with others. Shelly does not permit the reader to make absolute judgments about the evil or good nature of the monster or Dr. Frankenstein. The reader is constantly sympathizing and abhorring the behaviors of the main characters.

    Overall, listening to Frankenstein was a pleasant surprise. If you have yet to read the book, you are in for a treat. In my rank order book evaluation system, Frankenstein ranks in 26 of 67.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Salem's Lot

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (605)
    Performance
    (563)
    Story
    (564)

    Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem's Lot in the hopes that living in an old mansion, long the subject of town lore, will help him cast out his own devils and provide inspiration for his new book. But when two young boys venture into the woods and only one comes out alive Mears begins to realize that there may be something sinister at work and that his hometown is under siege by forces of darkness far beyond his control.

    Melinda says: "King's Favorite Novel? Good Enough For Me!"
    "Thank God! Not Twilight"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Stephen King has written over 150 different stories, but his reported favorite of the bunch is"Salem's Lot" (1975). Salem's Lot (SL) was King's second book following Carrie (1974). In my opinion, King loved SL because it represented a transition between stories about unique individuals to stories about groups of characters interacting in social systems under duress. SL is ultimately about a group of small town folk dealing with a vampire crisis. When reading/listening to SL, true Stephen King fans will feel the rumblings of his more complex future works (IT, The Stand, and The Dome), where large groups of people form alliances to survive a supernatural calamity. With SL, King begins to lay out the formula that he will return to build some of his best novels.

    Although SL has interesting historical significance for King fans, the book limps along for the first 40% of the story. King seems to struggle setting up the chess board for future play. His introduction of characters are often too long and their individual stories are often irrelevant to the plot. Considering the overall length of the book (it's a long one), it seems to meander pointlessly during several sections.

    However, King kicks SL into high gear just before halftime. What follows is an exciting and well designed adventure that should not be missed. SL may be King's scariest book with so many wonderfully chilling scenes that you will certainly not sleep with your bedroom windows open despite the summer heat. I also admired King's complete knowledge of the Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and the vampire genre. King does his homework and does not reinvent vampires to sensationalize his story. There are no Stephanie Myer invented vampires here, King's vampires will eat your babies and poop out their remains.

    Overall, I would recommend SL to all readers/listeners who enjoy SK or horror books in general. However, you cannot quit on this book until your more than halfway in. If you're not hooked by the halfway point your probably not going to be hooked at all.

    On my book rank order evaluation system, SL ranks 37th of the 66 books I have read/listened to over the last 2 years.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Horns: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1118)
    Performance
    (710)
    Story
    (717)

    Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache, and a pair of horns growing from his temples. At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances.

    bet says: "people are funny"
    "FUN"
    Overall
    Performance
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    I am so reassured after reading/listening to a Joe Hill novel. Reassured because he relatively young writing talent, age 41, who is on track to produce numerous future great book in the horror genre. I will always look forward to the next Joe Hill novel. Hill's writing is creative, exciting, in your face, and unpretentious. He is never boring and unafraid veer his stories in multiple directions within improbable situations.

    Hill's best work to date is NOS4A2, but Horns (written 3 years before NOS4A2) is an absolute delight. This story of revenge is so inventive with multiple individual story lines that you need to wait for the last 20 pages to pull it all together. Horns also includes so many classic references to Lucifer and analyzes the ultimate role of the prince of darkness. Hill gives the reader a metamorphous of man into the devil with several interesting twists, ascribing him supernatural powers that would make most crime solvers jealous.

    Having lauded Hill for the last two paragraphs, I must admit that with Horns, Hill is yet a fully matured writer. He is like a big-time home hitter who strikes out too much. There are few segments in Horns when the bottom drops out of the story. This most often occurs at the start of flashback scenes, where the action/drama abruptly stops and the author resets the story.

    Many of friends criticize Joe Hill's writing as an identical copy as his father, Stephen King. I feel this the strength of Joe Hill! The resemblance of his famous father's writing style is something that almost every writer would wish for if they found a genie lamp. Overall, Horns is an exciting and creative audio book with excellent narration. Hill may have some pacing problems, but this book is fun. Using my personal rank order system of the best books I read over the last two years, Horns is 20th of 65.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1024)
    Performance
    (933)
    Story
    (942)

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Janice says: "Do you believe in miracles??"
    "Read B4 The Movie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Boys in the Boat (BITB) is a powerful and entertaining book that allows the reader/listener to forget their reading non-fiction. The story brings together a confluence of historical events that make for an intriguing story: the Great Depression, the sport of crewing at its height of popularity, Berlin's 1936 Olympics, and the impending start of WWII. Author, Daniel James Brown, writes with a certain sense of ease and realism that conjures up the spirit of the times.

    As a reader, I gained a much greater understanding and respect the sport of crewing upon reading BITB. Brown does an outstanding of reviewing the history of crewing, the athletic efforts needed to be a part of a crew team, comradely needed to be a successful crew team, and the strategy needed to win races. Equally gripping was the explanations about how families survived day to day during the Great Depression. Brown also tells the personal stories of the University Washington crew members, which allows the reader a very personal interaction the subject matter. All of these elements are seamlessly woven together to identify the country's emerging character that would dominate the post WWII area and be termed by Tom Brokaw as the "greatest generation".

    Brown's best work is spent detailing the propaganda efforts on the behalf of Hitler, Leni Riefenstahl, and German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who attempted to use the spectacle of the 1936 Olympics to support their fantasies of racial superiority. Brown's research and spot-on storytelling brings the story to an exciting climax.

    Overall, I really enjoyed reading/listening to BITB for the characters, story, and historical significance. Reportedly, the movie rights have been sold to Miramax, which Kenneth Branagh is scheduled to direct. In my rank order system of the 64 books I have over the last two year, BITB lands in the 12th position.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City's Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Scott Helman, Jenna Russell
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Long Mile Home will tell the gripping story of the tragic, surreal, and ultimately inspiring week of April 15, 2013: the preparations of the bombers; the glory of the race; the extraordinary emergency response to the explosions; the massive deployment of city, state, and federal law enforcement personnel; and the nation’s and the world’s emotional and humanitarian response before, during, and after the apprehension of the suspects.

    Leslie says: "If you lived in Boston...."
    "Faithful Retelling of tragic event"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Long Mile Home (LMH) is a faithful retelling of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. LMH offers a comprehensive and concise story of all of the events associated with the bombing. If you followed the events of the Boston bombing through the Boston Globe or NYT, LMH has very little additional information to offer. There are no added insights into the motivations or behaviors of the bombers beyond those identified by CNN. The authors do spend a good deal of time focuses on the first responders and personal stories of bombing victims. However, there is nothing revealing or new LMT offers to the reader.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Carl Hart
    • Narrated By J. D. Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (69)

    A pioneering neuroscientist shares his story of growing up in one of Miami's toughest neighborhoods and how it led him to his groundbreaking work in drug addiction. As a youth, Carl Hart didn't realize the value of school; he studied just enough to stay on the basketball team. At the same time, he was immersed in street life. Today he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist - Columbia University's first tenured African American professor in the sciences.

    Matthew R. Herald says: "An excellent book to make you think"
    "Outstanding!"
    Overall
    Performance
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    Any additional comments?

    High Price by Carl Hart is one of the very best audio books I have listened to in the last year. As a reader, I am always intrigued by how others become successful. Given that Dr. Hart grows up in a broken home with minimal positive supports in Carol City Miami exposed to violence and frequent drug use only makes his journey to a tenured professorship at Columbia University more captivating.

    Dr. Hart is able to pinpoint the key behavioral moments and environmental conditions that permitted him to move toward the next opportunity. As you are reading High Price, you may say to yourself "How does this guy eventually become a tenured Columbia professor ?" Dr. Hart conveys his incredible journey in a manner that keeps the reader/listener fully engaged and locked in.

    High Price is not only about the Carl Hart story. Instead Dr. Hart educates the reader/listener about the history of drug enforcement, drug addiction, the chemical structure of illegal drugs, and the racism disguised as the war on drugs. Dr. Hart challenges the basic assumption many Americans have about street drugs that is propagated by the media, drug associations, and politicians. He also exposes the reader to peer reviewed research that refutes many of our long-standing and commonly held assumptions about drug use in inner city America.

    Finally, the strongest part of High Praise is Dr. Hart's explanations of human behavior based on the science of behaviorism as espoused by BF Skinner. Dr. Hart does not rely on the verbal musings and explanatory motivations that drive behavior. Instead, Dr. Hart explains the challenging behaviors of others by examining their environments and their lacking repertoire of functional life skills.

    Overall, High Praise is a great book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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