After the first book, I had high expectations of this one. I was somewhat disappointed. The performance was just as magnificent as it was in the first book. Jayne Entwistle is a truly talented storyteller, but the plot was just not up to the standard of the first book. It moves very slowly because it lacks action and tension.
The mystery is somewhat interesting, but I would have liked it more if there had been more danger involved. Don't get me wrong - I don't like blood and guts - but I need more than descriptions to keep me motivated.
I wouldn't say this was a waste of my time or credit, but don't look to this as any sort of an action book. It was worth it for Jayne Entwistle's performance, and I will continue to read this series, but I hope the rest of the books are more like the debut and less like this one.
This is a great book for beginning and experienced gardeners. It is full of information that would be valuable to any gardener. The author covers companion planting, organic solutions, container and ground gardening, getting the most out of your gardening area, and how to use your crop (cooking, herbal uses, etc.).
I will purchase this book in hardcover soon, but I will also listen to the audiobook version again. Just don't try to listen to it while you're driving. It's not the narrator, as she did a wonderful job, and she has a soothing voice that isn't too sing-songish. The boring parts are the lists of spacing requirements, types of plants and herbs that are useful for various situations, etc. Granted it isn't a book that was really intended to be an audiobook, but I will probably listen to it at least a couple of times a year to prepare myself for the planting seasons, anyway. That said, I may listen to it before going to bed or while doing housework - definitely not while operating heavy machinery.
If you love gardening, you will love this book. Do yourself a favor and listen to it before buying seeds or planting. Just don't listen to it while driving.
This is a good book for organic gardeners who know nothing or very little about organic gardening. It's a quick read, so don't expect too much in-depth information. However, there was more detail to this short book than I had anticipated.
I learned, for example, that I can mail order beneficial insects. Who would have thought? I'm sure there are people who do this all the time, but I had never heard of it. Some of the more detailed ideas of companion planting were also new to me.
Beginning gardeners will benefit from listening to this gem. It was worth the credit, and I will probably listen to it again, but people who already know the topic will probably find this a little too introductory for their tastes.
Dr. Stanley gives a very broad-spectrum approach to reaching your full potential as a Christian. He addresses time, resource, and health management, he gives clear and simple advice about ways to control influences and thought patterns, and he makes the point very plainly that God is to be center of your every decision, but he doesn't leave you alone to figure out God's will by yourself. He gives concrete examples of how to pray for guidance in making decisions.
A lot of the book is about trusting God - trusting that He will make his plans known to you if you ask Him before making your own plans, trusting that God is good and that He has your best interests in mind, trusting that God is capable of bringing about His purposes through you no matter what you think you are or are not good at, and trusting that He will always be there whether you succeed or fail. Dr. Stanley uses examples of Biblical characters and how they dealt with trust issues, decisions, and stress.
For me, this book really brought home the importance of prayer BEFORE making decisions. It also illuminated for me just how important one decision can be and therefore, how important it is to bring ALL decisions in prayer to God.
I would encourage anyone who is feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by life to read this book. I am not suggesting that your life will be completely fixed in ten minutes after reading it, but I know that mine has already improved because I have read it. Dr. Stanley offers a great deal of encouragement and practical advice that would be of great help to any believer.
Let me start by saying that I had just finished "The Secret of Chanel No. 5" by Tilar Mazzeo when I read this book, and that audiobook turned out to be a great segway for this one. The Chanel book was a lot more biographical, while this one delved into the closed-door realm of the perfume industry - its tricks, strategies, financial structure, scientific methods, and marketing. Chandler Burr follows the creation of two perfumes including Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely from start to finish.
This was an extraordinary work in terms of the amount of research that went into it, and I thought that most of the writing was very well done. Chandler Burr did a magnificent job of presenting the facts of the industry without forgetting to present the art of it. He has a delightful off-the-cuff style that balances what could have been an overly serious take on the creation of perfume. He offers a lot of insight, but he also allows the listeners to create their own perceptions of the industry and the science and marketing behind it.
This book did not receive a perfect Overall score from me because it included unnecessary foul language that distracted from the material. The occurence of these terms are somewhat sparse, but I would say that they appear about 15-20 times throughout the book. I find the use of these terms (the F-bomb, profanity) to be tacky, distracting, and out of place in what could have been a five-star work. There are also descriptions of some scents that, while they do exist in nature and are used in the industry, I could have lived without knowing about. I didn't subtract stars for that because those scents are part of the perfumery world, but I subtracted stars for foul language that could and should have been omitted.
Beyond the language, this would be a fascinating read for anyone who is interested in perfume, how it is made, how it is marketed, and how much it really costs in terms of money, time, and resources. Just be warned that after hearing about certain scents that are used to create perfume, you may never be able to wear some of your favorites again.
Most of the first hour of this book borders on smut. After that, it's worth listening to for the intricate history of this famous fragrance.
The story of Chanel No. 5 involves the Romonovs, tales of industrial espionage, international incidents, political intrigues, celebrities, and marketing ploys that were, at times, pure genious and, at other times, pure folly.
I found the story, itself, to be enchanting. The presentation of the story, however, suffered from too much emphasis on sexual themes, occassional profanity (once or twice, but too much, in my opinion), and, mostly due to the meanderings into subjective opinions about the sensuality of the fragrance, a lack of cohesion. Thus the reduction of two stars from the Overall score.
The narrator, Liz de Nesnera, did a good job with the material. She wasn't stellar, but she wasn't bad. I listened at a speed of 3x.
If you're interested in the life of Coco Chanel, the history of the Chanel company, Chanel No. 5, or in the perfume industry, in general, this book is worth the money or the credit.
I studied Old English in college and thus, was exposed to the language of Medieval English, which is an odd, but beautiful, combination of German and English. I have loved to read and to hear Old English read ever since. Don't misunderstand - the modern translation comes first in recognizable English, so if you don't have the Old English background, don't worry. The Old English version comes after the modern version, so consider the length of the actual tale to be half the length of the audiobook.
This is a masterpiece of English literature that was made into a spectacular listen by Bill Wallis, who is now my favorite narrator. Everyone says they could listen to their favorite narrator read the phonebook, but I could listen to Bill Wallis read algebraic equations. Think of a more suave version of James Earl Jones with a gentler tone and more resonance and you have Bill Wallis.
The tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an Arthurian legend about honor, chivalry, and loyalty. It has a wonderful message and it's a short, fun read. The only caveat is that the seduction scene, while certainly not X-rated, gets rather intense, so keep it away from little ears.
This would be a great listen for anyone who enjoys the Arthurian tales, anyone interested in English literature, and anyone who would enjoy hearing one of the best narrators in the business read a great legend.
This book was a fascinating account of Robert Fortune's mission to steal tea plants from China and send them back to England for propogation. Sarah Rose presents this history as a combination of a spy novel and a historical drama. The facts are presented clearly, and at times the book moves slowly and becomes more lecture-like, but the feeling of adventure remains as the listener follows Robert Fortune's travels through China and India on his quest to make Britain the empire of tea.
Some of the more interesting points include the use of monkeys to pick tea leaves, the cultural habits of the Chinese at the time, the impact of the tea trade on Britain, China, India, and the United States, the ability of hot tea to ward off various diseases (mostly by virtue of the boiling of water for the tea) that eventually protected England from a number of diseases that ravaged other countries, and the way in which the sale of tea impacted the value of related commodities like sugar.
The narration was excellent. Sarah Rose did a masterful job with the narration. Her voice is melodic, but contains enough inflection to keep the listener engaged even through the drier areas of the work.
Although the book is part spy novel, it is not a fast-moving thriller. I didn't give it five stars because I thought that certain parts of the tale were drawn out and overly descriptive to the point that it created several dry areas that were difficult to wade through. It was, however, worth the effort in the end.
It would be of interest to readers who want to know the historical account and ramifications of the tea industry, to anyone interested in Chinese, British, or Indian history, or to listeners with a penchant for tales of industrial espionage. The latter, in particular, would enjoy the tale as this book recounts, quite possibly, the single greatest feat of industrial espionage the world has ever seen.
This was a well-researched and well-presented book about the history of everyday utensils like the fork as well as appliances, kitchen designs, and almost anything pertaining to the preparation of food. Bee Wilson did an excellent job of presenting the material with interesting side notes about cultural changes that were created because of a change in the use of utensils or food preparation.
Anyone with an interest in anthropology will find this an invaluable resource. Wilson details the usage of utensils not only in terms of their actual intended use but also in terms of their symbolism to society. She explores the choice of chopsticks over the fork, various spoon designs, how an entire society developed an overbite because of their choice of eating utensil, how advertisements for kitchen design were used to encourage women in the United States during war years, why it was considered bad form or a sign of wealth and taste to use one utensil over another, how the KitchenAid stand mixer and the Cuisinart food processor forever changed the way we cook, and why the state of Georgia in the United States is a leading manufacturer of disposable chopsticks for China.
The narrator, Alison Larken, has a beautiful reading voice and rendered an exceptional performance.
For anyone looking for an action-packed thriller, this is not the book for you. For anyone interested in anthropology, technological advancements in kitchenware, or why you prefer to use chopsticks over a fork or a fork over chopsticks, grab this book. You will never see your fork, spoon, knife, or chopsticks the same, again.
I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't quite what I had expected. There are descriptions of Russian food, cooking, and recipes, but that only accounts for about 25% of the book. The rest is devoted to the author's experience of Russian political history and how that influenced her view on the world around her and in particular, on food.
The narrator, Kathleen Gati, was simply marvelous. She could not have done a better job. I really enjoyed her accent, and I felt that her soothing voice brought the material to life. This is a book I probably would not have read in print version, and if I had, I wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly as much.
The author and her family are Russian Jewish immigrants to America and the story of their life and subsequent immigration is captured so beautifully that you feel yourself in the middle of Russia with them. While there are some frightening parts to the book, I don't recall anything particularly gory. The only objection that I have is that there is unnecessary foul language. It is few and far between, but it takes a lot away from the book, which is why I took away a couple of Overall stars.
In general, if you are interested in Russian political history or Russian cooking, this is a good book for you. Don't overlook the PDF that comes with it that contains various Russian recipes that were mentioned in the book. If you're really interested in the recipes, the PDF is worth the cost of the credit to purchase the audiobook.
This is an almost perfect book for gardeners. I say "almost" because of the chapter on roses that gets so hyperbolic and ridiculous in the discussion of the sexuality of roses that I almost stopped listening. It was, however, worth it to continue.
This is not my first Michael Pollan book. I have read several of his books on the topic of nutrition, and I had good things to say about all of them. But this is, by far, the funniest of the books he has authored. I was, as they say, rolling on the floor laughing at his description of going to war with a woodchuck, his thoughts on weeds and the politics of gardening, and the comparisons and descriptions of various seed catalogues. This book should be made into a stand-up comedy routine.
Pollan does a great job with the narration, but I had to speed him up a bit. I will probably re-read this book every spring and possibly more often than that when I need a good laugh.
There are also a great deal of quotations from famous authors on the subject of gardening, and they really added to the depth of the book. That said, this book is not a strictly literary exercise as I learned a great deal about individual plants and various gardening techniques.
Pollan's quick wit and ability to laugh at himself mixed with his knowledge of literature, poetry, individual plants, and gardening techniques made this book almost perfect. There's that "almost," again. He really should have had more intelligent things to say about roses.
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