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Barbara

South Riding, VA, United States | Member Since 2007

10
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 31 ratings
  • 468 titles in library
  • 26 purchased in 2014
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  • A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Reza Kahlili
    • Narrated By Richard Allen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (288)
    Performance
    (217)
    Story
    (216)

    A true story as exhilarating as a great spy thriller, as turbulent as today's headlines from the Middle East, A Time to Betray reveals what no other previous CIA operative's memoir possibly could: the inner workings of the notorious Revolutionary Guards of Iran, as witnessed by an Iranian man inside their ranks who spied for the American government.

    Walter says: "Absorbing throughout. Questionable at times."
    "Couldn't endure the accent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I gave up listening to this book due to the narrator's accent. It's not that he has a bad voice--for a different book, I'd probably really like him. But as an Iranian, it's not "right." And when he fakes an Iranian woman, it's like fingernails on blackboard to me.

    The book seems a bit stilted in it's language, and somehow the combination just doesn't do it for me. Too bad, because the subject is interesting. I wish the author success, but I just had to give up on this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters; From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By James Mahaffey
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (164)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (155)

    From the moment radiation was discovered in the late nineteenth century, nuclear science has had a rich history of innovative scientific exploration and discovery, coupled with mistakes, accidents, and downright disasters.

    Jim In Texas! says: "Fascinating Stories, Easily Digested Numbers"
    "Interesting book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm enjoying this book. It's giving a lot of detail on accidents beyond the oft-explained "tickling the dragon." There's one glaring problem that's like fingernails on a blackboard. Blackstone Audio apparently can't be bothered with making sure their narrators know how to pronounce slightly technical terms. The narrator is good except he's said "trih shum" (instead of tritium) more times than I can count. He also says "regent" instead of reAgent. My recommendation is to grit your teeth through these because otherwise the book is quite good.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Robert L. Wolke
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (971)
    Performance
    (815)
    Story
    (810)

    Why is red meat red? How do they decaffeinate coffee? Do you wish you understood the science of food but don't want to plow through dry, technical books? In What Einstein Told His Cook, University of Pittsburgh chemistry professor emeritus and award-winning Washington Post food columnist Robert L. Wolke provides reliable and witty explanations for your most burning food questions, while debunking misconceptions and helping you interpret confusing advertising and labeling.

    Teddy says: "Everything you want to know about Kitchen Science"
    "Great stuff to learn; fun book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like this book because I have a lot of academic scientific knowledge. I love to learn day-to-day practical science.

    This book is filled with cheesy jokes. OK, a few are pretty funny, but most are more like groaners. The narrator has a fantastic voice, but he reads the jokes in a snarky, condescending tone. I would have much preferred them to be more jovial. So while I did have to grit my teeth on a regular basis over the snark, I still really enjoyed this book. It has nothing to do with Einstein, but it's a wonderful set of explanations for kitchen phenomena.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Philip Hoare
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    The whale is the largest, loudest, oldest animal ever to have existed. It is improbable, amazing, and - as anyone who has seen an underwater documentary or visited the display at the American Museum of Natural Historycan attest - a powerful source of wonder and delight to millions. The Whale is an extraordinary journey into the world of this fascinating and mysterious animal.

    John says: "Some great insights, but too much digression"
    "OK, but doesn't do it for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a geek and would like a lot more facts. There are some in this book, but they are heavily diluted by "Whales are really awesome." "Whale are big. Really big." "Let me use some great poetic language to tell you that whales are really amazing animals." "Whales are awe inspiring." (Ok, those aren't real quotes, but they're my take-away from the book. It all depends on what you're looking for in a book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Irrationality

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Stuart Sutherland
    • Narrated By Kris Dyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (74)

    Why do doctors, generals, civil servants and others consistently make wrong decisions that cause enormous harm to others? Irrational beliefs and behaviours are virtually universal. In this iconoclastic book Stuart Sutherland analyses causes of irrationality and examines why we are irrational, the different kinds of irrationality, the damage it does us and the possible cures.

    Michael says: "Excellent"
    "Really good, but heavy in the statistics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great book and gets to my point of trying to convince people to be rational. The book gets a little heavy into statistical examples now and again which is a little tough as an audiobook, listened to while multitasking. Even so, it's not too hard to get his point.

    I have twice in recent times observed myself discussing a topic and remembered "the availability" principle and how it relates to day-to-day life. On the other hand, Sutherland uses the example that someone whose father smoked or drank all his life and lived to 100 has nothing to do with the statistics of a large group statistics. He failed to note that genetics might, in fact, make one's father's health experience more relevant than all-people's health. I took that as him deciding full explanation was more detail than he cared to get into. There were several cases in the book where he implied random outcome to non-random situations. However, overall, the book pointed out many non-intutive realities and how and why many people react to situations/ideas the way they do.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the Fall of the Taliban

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Stephen Tanner
    • Narrated By Raymond Todd
    Overall
    (130)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (37)

    For more than 2,500 years, the forbidding territory of Afghanistan has served as a vital crossroads not only for armies but also for clashes between civilizations. As a result of the United States' engaging in armed conflict with the Afghan regime, an understanding of the military history of that blood-soaked land has become essential to every American.

    Alana says: "Afghanistan: A Military History"
    "The reason people don't like history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a compendium of a huge amount of information. I appreciate the work that went into such an endeavor, but for someone like me (not a historian), most of this book (as far as I've slogged through) is a list of names and places and a few highlights of battles. I'm finding nothing engaging in it at all.

    The narrator does a good job speaking. But even he made a barely audible sigh before launching into another list of names and dates.

    The recording quality is a little tinny.

    If you want a list of facts (I've got this running in the background while I type and just heard that 25 Macedonians died in a particular battle), this is your book. If you are looking to find a compelling book to give context to our current situation, skip over this book!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Graham Farmelo
    • Narrated By B. J. Harrison
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (290)
    Performance
    (155)
    Story
    (161)

    Paul Dirac was among the great scientific geniuses of the modern age. One of the discoverers of quantum mechanics, the most revolutionary theory of the past century, his contributions had a unique insight, eloquence, clarity, and mathematical power. His prediction of antimatter was one of the greatest triumphs in the history of physics.

    Eileen says: "Excellent biography of great physicist"
    "Who'd have thought I'd care about quantum physics?"
    Overall

    I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. It was a little long, but in general, I enjoyed it a lot and learned about quantum physics--a subject I previously had no interest in.

    I had no idea that Dirac was at Tallahassee and we've both enjoyed boating on the Wakulla River.

    The narrator was good in some ways, but his "voice" of Dirac was too effeminate and odd. While Dirac was "strange," I didn't get the notion that would have been his voice.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    Overall
    (7785)
    Performance
    (2492)
    Story
    (2488)

    In his landmark best seller The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell redefined how we understand the world around us. Now, in Blink, he revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant, in the blink of an eye, that actually aren't as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept?

    Liz says: "encore!"
    "Great!"
    Overall

    I started listening to this book, and I was thinking 'Yeah, but....' and 'Yeah, but...' I agreed, in part, with what he said, but knew there were exceptions. It turned out that the later part of the book went into just those issues I had in great detail. All in all, it made short work of a drive home from Florida. I definitely would recommend it.
    The book isn't entirely perfect. It rambles almost off topic a little. But even still, I learned a lot and would consider giving it as a gift.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Joseph M. Marshall
    • Narrated By Joseph M. Marshall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (106)
    Story
    (101)

    Rich with storytelling, history, folklore, and Marshall's own personal experiences, The Lakota Way expresses the heart of Native American philosophy and the 12 core qualities that are crucial to the Lakota way of living: bravery, fortitude, generosity, wisdom, respect, honor, perseverance, love, humility, sacrifice, truth, and compassion.

    Catherine says: "You feel like you're at the camp"
    "This Native American Life"
    Overall

    I was listening to the book, enjoying the stories, and I got to thinking, 'This reminds me of listening to stories on the radio show, This American Life.' Hah, then I realized this was an original American life.

    Some of the stories are a little predictable, but quite enjoyable to listen to. The author/narrator is extremely articulate with English. His skill with his second language is better than most Americans.

    All in all, I highly recommend this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Confessions of an Economic Hitman

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By John Perkins
    • Narrated By Brian Emerson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2011)
    Performance
    (578)
    Story
    (575)

    "Economic hit men," John Perkins writes, "are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder."

    Robert P. says: "Excellent Story for people have traveled"
    "Tedious and Hyperbolic"
    Overall

    I'm trying to slog through this book after having spent the money for it. Someone recommended it to me, but I find the author to be too pompous. He's very repetitive. As with the other reviewers, if what he was doing "made his skin crawl" while he was doing it, why the heck did he keep it up for so long???

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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