One grump's search for happiness leads Eric Weiner, the author and narrator, to various countries where people are happy, or where one might at least expect people to be happy, and, for contrast, to some places where people seem to strive to be pissy and glum. The author is very knowledgeable about and shares some of the scientific research on happiness, and he learns during his travels about philosophical perspectives on happiness. Still, he does not let authoritative views get in the way of his conveying different cultural viewpoints and how others around the globe feel about the world and their place in it. Many of the people he interviews are transplants to these societies, but he mostly strives to understand why the native milieu is the way is.
Listening to this book may be preferable to reading it, since it allows Weiner's sometimes subtle, but often times blunt, wit to shine through. I found the book entertaining, informative and it broadened my understanding of different cultures. It will make you a just little more hopeful and maybe a little less miserable than you are right now.
Clare Conner's book recounts her childhood and early adult experiences of growing up in an extremely conservative, Catholic family who helped establish the John Birch Society. Her book was published only after the extreme far-right world view of the JBS -- with it's fear, anger, and hatred -- were resurrected by the "newly formed" Tea Party, following the 2008 financial meltdown and election of Obama. I was astounded to learn that VIRTUALLY ALL of the views and "solutions" now being proposed by the Republican leadership in the U.S., particularly the extreme love of America combined with the extreme hatred of government, were crafted by Robert Welch and the JBS back in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
I cannot imagine a better reading of this magnificent story. I'm one of the few folks my age (56) who's never seen the film. I was totally amazed at the breath of Margret Mitchell's grasp of both pre- and post-Civil War history and the psychology and interpersonal dynamics of the characters in the telling of this epic. There were quite a few times I found myself crying out loud, "Oh, no... Scarlet what are you doing? or What have you done?"
Linda Stephens does an excellent reading, even briefly singing quite well. Stephens' timing and use of accents is truly amazing. Don't plan to listen to this all in one sitting... unless you've got a week to spare and someone to bring you food and water and have a big box of tissue close at hand!
The story is about the author and her husband's work in the Congo studying bonobos, but it includes the concurrent story of their dynamic interpersonal relationship and the tumultuous political and tribal conflicts in the country. The author presents detailed information comparing the very contrasting behaviors and personalities of chimpanzees and bonobos.
Justine Eyre does an excellent job reading this book. Her normal Aussie accent fits the portrayal nicely, and she does an excellent job with American, French, and Congolese accents as well.
This was a book I wanted to savor and enjoy over time.
Once you learn about these closest relatives of ours, you may start seeking to turn on your own inner bonobo genetic inheritance and will likely want to financially support the protection and conservation of bonobos through Vanessa Woods' website
OK, I admit I don't read much fiction, but the lure of listening to the conflict between evolution and religion enticed me to get this book. It's a murder mystery -- an enticing who-done-it. I thought the narrator of the novel did an excellent job with the various voices which kept me engaged in the tale. Finding what is possibly a rare dinosaur skull on the grounds of a newly build Texas mega-church didn't lead to an evolution-religion debate, but simply to a minor coverup, to avoid broaching the topic in the story. I thought Holy Moly was very well written, with a number of subplots that play out in interesting and often unexpected ways.
If you'd like a murder mystery, with a very exciting, perspective-shifting and surprising ending, then I throughly recommend this work.
Let me save you time reading this book by giving you the gist: When making love, go slowly, tease by gently touching, insert the penis using prolonged, slow, one-half inch increments, and don't "bang." The author assumes this will lead every woman (and her partner) to achieve fulfilling orgasms and women will no longer have to "fake it."
Lacking is any discussion of how to increase one's own body awareness, achieve better communication with one's partner, vary sexual positions, use oral sexual stimulation, or other more conventional methods used to improve sexual relationships and orgasm. Neither is the larger context of healthy interpersonal relating or creating a larger erotic context, specific to oneself and one's partner, discussed.
The middle of the book is an infomercial for the author's health shake and vitamin regime which, like the author's approach to sexual intercourse, appears based on her personal experience, pop psychology, and religious beliefs rather than well-grounded, scientific research. She omits mentioning the benefits of obtaining nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, from fresh fruits and vegetables.
On the positive side, the author does state that all sexual, mental fantasies are acceptible, though she does not discuss the danger of acting out fantasies rooted in degredation or violence; and she states that physical masturbation is normal and acceptible, if one does not have a partner.
I do not recommend this book.
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