I spent a day at the park and listened to this book, start to finish. I laughed out loud, I cried a little, and I took with me some insights for my own life.
This book isn't for the cynical, but the hopeful. With an open heart and mind, you will -- at the very least -- enjoy a well-crafted journey of personal discovery. And if this book comes into your life at the right time, you'll get even more out of it.
I don't want to give anything away, because this book has the potential to delight, and I wouldn't want to rob anyone of that. If you enjoy thoughtful, self-aware writing with a message, this book is probably for you.
I should have written this book, but David Finch beat me to it!
The journey he took me on in this book was akin to that which Ebenezer Scrooge embarked on with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come in "A Christmas Carol": I relived my early life, my current relationship, and saw the future -- MY future, if I continue on my current trajectory.
What I gained from this book is a better understanding of myself through the perspectives of both someone very much like me, and also his loved ones. Not everyone has access to that kind of insight. And you can't beat the price.
Even if you just want to learn more about a large subset of the population whose brains are wired differently than most -- and have fun doing it -- I can't recommend this book highly enough. But if you are an 'eccentric', 'outcast', or 'misfit' like me, or someone you love just struggles with connecting with others or getting through their day without having a meltdown, this may be the book that changes your life. After a lifetime of not making sense to even myself (much less others), it has changed mine for the better.
This book began as a story about eating animals, proceeded as a semi-objective look at the human relationship to animals used as food, but somewhere in the middle it began to sound preachy.
Don't get me wrong: I think it is a delicate tightrope balancing act to try to divorce feelings and politics and tradition from the realities of the factory farming of animals. So even when I agreed with much that was being said, it felt like there was an agenda at times.
In the end, however, he brings it all together very well, and it finally feels less polarizing. We can all benefit from the truth -- whether we agree with the author's personal conclusions or not. This is an important book if you care about forming your own conclusions, rather than just eating whatever the meat industry puts in front of you. Most things that matter aren't easy, though.
Honestly, if you are a big audiobook connoisseur this is probably far from what you are used to hearing or might expect. It is fairly dry, yet humourous; short, yet thoughtful; but, ultimately, this is an incredibly self-aware work. I wish I could be more specific than that, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone else who might not only thoroughly enjoy this essay, but also be in on the joke.
The first time I listened to this, I did not enjoy it at all; but since I was in a hospital waiting room at the time, waiting for my appendix to burst, I decided I should give it another chance -- and I'm glad I did! I feel like I had an excuse for not giving it a fair hearing initially, so perhaps others will do the same in the future.
When I initially purchased this audiobook, the reviews were generally unfavourable. But as a fan of the Dark Tower series (and the Flagg character in other King books as well), so I had relatively low expectations going into it.
After finally 'reading' the book, I have to say that it far surpassed my (admittedly modest) expectations. I simply couldn't 'put it down'.
That said, the narrator was a bit robotic at times, but the voices he did were exceptional, and more than made up for the poorer aspects of his performance.
This is definitely not for everyone, being of a rather different tone/style than most of King's other work I have enjoyed. But I felt that the story and the characters themselves were more than enough to distract me from any complaints I might have and draw me into the tale.
This book didn't change the way I see the world. It won't be in my all-time top ten. The story itself is unremarkable. But as I listened, I found myself smiling, taken in by Mattie, Rooster, and...well, everyone else, too.
As in life, there any number of places and experiences one can find; but often it isn't the where or what that matters, so much as who you take with you. And I'd be hard pressed to find better folks to accompany me on this journey. Simply delightful.
While somewhat meandering and unfocused, Jon Ronson's narration and prose pulled me in from the beginning. I had expected a more traditional investigative piece, with a beginning, middle, and end; but this book was, ultimately, as inconclusive and fascinating as psychopathy itself.
I would say this is akin to an extended This American Life segment -- in a good way. If you are a fan of Ronson's work there, I have no doubt you will thoroughly enjoy this book.
Do you accept the challenge? Keep in mind that this is nearly 17 hours of your life you will never get back!
As a fan of John Hodgman's first book, "The Areas of My Expertise" (which is, after all, my favourite audiobook -- period), I felt compelled to both begin and complete this book, even after the disappointment that his second book, "More Information Than You Require", proved to be. Nobody warned me!
Don't get me wrong. There are some bright spots in both the second book and in this third as well, but they are increasingly marginalized amid hours of remarkably unfunny material which fills the rest. I have to give it 3 stars overall because there are some gems in here and some fantastic performances, but I feel somewhat guilty doing so.
Alas, Hodgman is a comedic genius and wordsmith. But what happened here? Like Lucas and the Wachowskis before him, maybe he set the bar too high with "Expertise" and just ran out of good ideas. I know all the jokes and punchlines already, but I still find myself laughing out loud every time -- sometimes in anticipation of a joke I know is coming! Read, listen, or otherwise consume the first book, but steer clear of the rest of the series. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
I hate to say anything bad about this book. In fact, I can't. It was charming and insightful. Yet somehow -- in spite of the warm, inviting performance and presence of Ben Kingsley, and the inspiring and playful narrative -- this book just didn't grab me, and it was difficult to get through.
I will have to revisit this again in the future. Perhaps with age and experience I will grow to appreciate it more next time. :)
Almost six years later, this is still my favourite. I listen to it about twice a year, and it never gets old.
This last time my wife and I listened to it together (her first time) on our cross-country move and it had us both laughing out loud. The content, delivery, and variety are brilliant. A perfect mix of witty, dry humour, and clever use of the medium.
I actually got this audiobook for free from iTunes when it was released, but have since repurchased it from Audible for convenience (I can listen to it again any time using the iPhone app!) and out of appreciation for the countless hours of entertainment Hodgman, Coulton, and the others have given me. Thank you!
That is all.
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