YAKIMA, WA, United States | Member Since 2009
I enjoyed this book, though some of the pieces of information or anecdotes weren't new to me. I liked how the author clearly laid out his arguments, though I didn't always need 15 examples of the phrase or concept he was explaining. The book was a pleasant listen and I was pleased that it was broader than a basic discussion of language. The author allowed himself to spend time explaining related concepts and instincts to put the language stuff in perspective.
My main concern with the book was that it was a bit dated in places, including one reference that was just ridiculous from a 2012 perspective (but not central to the story Pinker was trying to tell). The book was first written in 94, I think, but was updated more recently. The end of book addresses those dated items. It was nice to hear a short update on some of the affected topics, though it sounds like Pinker's general theories did not change. The dated bits were mostly just pop culture references, I think the science (or theory) holds up.
I generally like specific histories like this but this one fell flat. Two major problems: first, Shakespeare is hardly a focus of the book, he's barely mentioned; second, I haven't been to London in more than a decade, so I don't really know where he's talking about most of the time.
The story would have worked better for me if he had connected the information to more familiar books, plays or histories that someone one this side of the pond would know. Or I'm an unlettered fool who doesn't know her Dickens well enough to care about the references Brown makes to his books. I would have been more comfortable with more connection to Shakespeare, Chaucer and Austen.
I really enjoyed the book. All of the technology references are laughably dated, but the biology, writing and explanations seem to hold up just fine.
The only question I have comes up late in the book. I would like to know Dawkins' thoughts on newer research that seems to support a variation of Lamarkism. Dawkins' vehemently objects to the idea and his evidence seems clear except that I've read about inheritance of acquired traits in recent periodicals and would like to know if any new information has caused Dawkins to adjust his opinions (or if they are still as strong and he finds the new research flawed).
Beware, Blackout is the first half of the story that continues in All Clear. You'll "need" to buy both. But you won't mind because they're both great and you'll be happy to spend more time in the world of this story.
I simply loved this story. I had already read The Doomsday Book (which I must admit I preferred a teeny bit over this one) and was happy to go back to the world the time traveling historians.
This book has all my perfect story ingredients: science fiction, history, misunderstandings, mystery and interesting characters. Also it is written well. I loved it!
If you're considering All Clear, you've read Blackout already or you need to.
This one is just as good or better. Enjoy.
I guess I just don't get whats so exciting about Agatha Christie. Sorry.
I guess the book was well written and a sort of interesting story, but there wasn't anything that excited me.
I just finished several other Connie Willis books (The Doomsday Book, Blackout, and All Clear) and I simply loved them. This is also good but pales in comparison to the others.
The strengths of this book are the absurdity of situations we might all find familiar and the characters' reactions to the absurdity. The book is a bit dated, but anyone who works for a large organization with mandatory meetings regarding new initiatives can sympathize.
I recommend this book AFTER you've read the other Connie Willis books.
The story was pleasant, but a little slow and not exactly my taste. It was a worthwhile short read, but I really really love Jim Dale's narration. If you're feeling like a taste of Dickens (but not the dreary depressing and slow big novels, and a bit in the holiday spirit, this is a nice choice.
The book was interesting. The information was mostly presented in a fresh way, though not all of it was exactly new to me. I have read Guns, Germs and Steel to which Ferguson refers several times, but this wasn't a rehash of that book. There were some ideas in common and the one that I found a bit annoying was the comparison of civilizations to "apps" as in apps for the iPhone. But the comparison gets the point across.
This book hardly changed my world view, but it was an interesting and pleasant listen.
I found the first half of this book a bit tedious and quite slow. I'm not entirely sure why, so maybe it was just me.
One of the characters was annoying which was funny but also, well, annoying.
I may have also reached my Heyer limit. She basically tells the same story over and over again. Its like reading a familiar romantic comedy. Which is fine sometimes and the writing is good, but maybe I was just in the mood for something with more to it.
This was nice light fluff, a little slow to start but enjoyable by the end. If that's what you're in the mood for, listen away.
I was putting this off because of the cancer and the death and the sadness (all anticipated and provided in the story as well). I'm glad I finally decided to listen. The book was thoughtful and funny and touching and just really well done. The narrator was also excellent.
Don't worry, you will cry, but you will be glad you read it.
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