I loved this book.
I usually listen to history and science with a few novels thrown in for balance. Occasionally I listen to a mystery. This was all 4!
The narrator weaves together three stories (by my count) into one book. The juxtaposition of the stories of 1) Henrietta and her family, 2) the author's research, including interactions with Henrietta's family, and 3) the scientific breakthroughs and fallbacks because of Hela cells helps each story to bring out the strengths in the other and to cause the listener to become more invested in the story.
like twilight but the characters actually behave in a logical way given the circumstances. I'm not saying they do what I'd do or what they should, but at least you aren't cringing at what they are doing every step of they way.
The writing is funny and has a logic or sense of its own. The characters are very unique and likable, too. I wanted to know what would happen to them and I wanted it to be good. I wanted to meet more of the people Moore created. (Also, I LOVE that I had just learned about the real-life Emperor of San Francisco before I listened to this! He was real!)
I loved Fool and Lamb and didn't love Fluke. This is much more of the first persuasion. The narrator was great most of the time but I couldn't handle her Fargo/UP accent for the family from Indiana (just a midwesterner's peeve).
I was a little surprised by how narrow and tight was the focus of this book. I guess I let myself believe this book would talk more broadly about the history of the supreme court or even more broadly about the presidency of FDR. Instead the book covered several years (~36-~38) mostly during FDR's second term. The action and insight of the book was almost entirely focused on the supreme court and FDR's court packing plan. I know this was what was blurbed for the book but I was surprised that mentions of other national and world events (depression, New Deal and WW2) were quite minimal and only mentioned in passing as they related to the court.
I would have liked more in-depth analysis of those concurrent events and a broader ranging discussion of both the court history and maybe FDR's history. For how much time I spent with this book, I feel like I have gained little, though the reading and the story itself was enjoyable enough while I was listening to it.
I also had to do some homework part way through this book. I needed to refresh myself on the order and years of the presidents just before FDR and I needed to google the 'teapot dome" scandal. I wish the author had filled that in a bit more, though now that I've read the Wikipedia entry I can't say that background would have been very interesting.
Overall, decent book. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it strongly but it isn't a total waste of a credit. I would like to find a broader history of the supreme court, though.
I procrastinated reading this book because of the title. I expected a sappy seated story about a saintly humanitarian. (Not that there is anything wrong with saintly humanitarians.)
Serendipity was a much bigger player in the story than I expected. The humanitarian didn't seem to start out with the outrageously high goal of "fight[ing] terrorism and build[ing] nations" it was more immediate and personal.
It was interesting to hear about Mortenson's personal struggles in learning how one does this stuff. It was interesting to hear about his failures and to follow him as he learned how this other culture "works."
A little background history of Pakistan and Afghanistan wouldn't hurt but probably isn't necessary. Of course we all are familiar (to some degree at least) with the events in Afghanistan that follow the main timeline of this book.
The reader was good but there were a few places where the details of the story seemed to drag. A few times I got lost in events that might be summed up: He travelled all over Pakistan to check up on schools and it was sometimes tough to get them started."
I don't begrude the superfluous details but I'm glad I was listening rather than reading them.
This was an interesting topic but the book got bogged down at times with information that was too complicated for a someone whose area of expertise is not pre-history, archaeology or anthropology. (particular the former two, I think).
Perhaps others will disagree and find the dense discussion more accessible than I did. However, I don't consider myself a complete neophyte on the subject: I took a graduate level course on ancient technology that covered flintknapping and other technologies. As an art instructor, I am familar with Lascaux and Chauvet and the Venus of Willendorf among others.
There were several times when I wanted the author to just skip the correct terminology and jump to the part where he tells us what it means. There were several other times when I felt a little confused about whether the evidence he'd just outlined supported or refuted the claim he had made at the beginning of the thought. And at least once I wondered why he said that "obviously" wasn't correct. Why was it obvious? Why not remind us? This is a long detailed history, why skip a little "obvious" bit like that?
I listened to this book in my studio while working on several projects. It was a good mellow story, interesting enough to give my mind something to do without being a distraction. I do not recommend listening to this book while driving. The author's voice lulls you into a sleepy state.
I didn't realize when I bought it that this version was abridged.
It is the only copy I found on Audible.
So much of the story has been cut that it lacks the feel of the original book. The story behind the book is that it is an adaptation of the "S. Morgenstern classic". Part of what is so enjoyable in reading the book is how the author/adapter intersperses his comments about the original text.
In the unabridged book Goldman begins by giving a wandering backstory about his introduction to the S. Morgenstern classic. This audiobook almost entirely skips the book's intro and it seems almost unnecessary to mention it later on.
The book not only refers to the bits of the "classic" that were "eliminated", the story itself meanders in funny ways around the main story, talking of Buttercup's beauty, the prince's failed engagement to a princess with many hats, etc.
This audiobook has been cut (dare I say mutilated) so far that much of the humor is gone.
Even an early exchange between Buttercup and her parents about hygiene has been cut so short as to be almost terse and straightforward rather than pointing out how dimwitted and dirty is our heroine and eliciting a few laughs.
I guess the audiobook is a similar length to the movie, but it does not have the benefit of Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin (and visual effects). The reader would have done a fine job with this audiobook had he been given enough of it to read. Without the meat and flesh of the story, it is more like an oddly rushed reading of the movie script.
Oh Audible, give me an unabridged version, please!
This audiobook was good if you like to hear about the development of science and interaction of scientific advances with history, politics and society and crime.
The narrator was fine, though I disliked the voices she used when quoting some characters--they seemed like rude caricatures.
This is an odd book.
I'm still not sure what I think about it.
The narrator was fine, the story progressed.
I think I came in somewhere in the middle of a series, I had trouble following the action for the first 30min-hour, then I sort of settled into it.
Perhaps this would be more exciting for someone with more interest in late 19th century England, English writers and colleges at the time?
I was happiest near the end when time travel was happening and expectations were being surprised and loose ends were finally being tied up.
Despite a few places where the violence and gore are a little too much for my tastes, this was an easy, enjoyable listen.
No great literature; it won't change your life, but if you have some tedious task to preform (I was loading a kiln) it will improve the experience.
The narrator was good and character voices were distinct which helps me follow the dialogue and change in location.
This is no "The Pillars of the Earth."
I bought it because of the comparisons, but was sadly disappointed.
I could only make myself listen to just under 4 hours of the book. The characters are weak and dull, the events of their lives are sad, gruesome and predictable and there is no real action or interest in the plot (at least not 4 hours in).
Be good to yourself, find something else to listen to.
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