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Watson

E wakefield, NH, United States | Member Since 2010

36
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 29 ratings
  • 84 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2014
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  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susan Cain
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3310)
    Performance
    (2842)
    Story
    (2813)

    At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

    Teddy says: "Thought provoking and Uplifting.... A++++++++!!!!!"
    "Eh, it's okay"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting from this book. I think I expected to read something relevant to my life experience. Introverts come in many packages and have varied traits and skills. After the first few chapters the author seemed to focus on her particular brand of introversion, emphasizing qualities like sensitivity, empathy, being soft-spoken, slow and deliberate thinking, and even mentioned her own tendency to cry when she sees something that stirs her emotions. Now, I can't be the only introvert out there who is not particularly sensitive or empathetic, who does not notice many details--especially about people--because I am usually thinking of something else. I have never cried over a sad movie, but I know a lot of extroverts who cry at the drop of a hat. I found myself getting a little annoyed actually, and caught myself thinking, "No! That isn't me at all!"

    She does cite a lot of research, and those parts carried some interest for a while. It often reads like the author's personal quest to achieve self awareness, and some of the examples she uses (Al Gore for one) make her political 'sensitivities' too much of a focal point for a book that should have been written to speak to introverts, not just to a certain kind of introvert.

    No one should buy this book hoping to gain the kind of insight one can get from a great Myers-Briggs session, but people who share many of the author's own qualities will probably enjoy this very much. Others may not get much of out it.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Why Evolution Is True

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jerry A. Coyne
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (631)
    Performance
    (297)
    Story
    (296)

    Why evolution is more than just a theory: it is a fact. In all the current highly publicized debates about creationism and its descendant "intelligent design", there is an element of the controversy that is rarely mentioned: the evidence, the empirical truth of evolution by natural selection.

    Ernest says: "Perfect !! Just what I was looking for."
    "Essential reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has not gotten as much attention as some others, like Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, but it's a sleeper. Whether you are new to the science of evolution or, like me, revisiting it, this is essential reading. Professor Coyne does a splendid job of making the information accessible without patronizing the reader. Honestly, I read this book at a time of great personal change and it had a profound effect on me. Anyone who was once religious may understand what I mean by that. This would be a great book to give to an evolution doubter. Only the willfully blind can come away from it not understanding why evolution is true.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Christopher Hitchens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2445)
    Performance
    (1197)
    Story
    (1189)

    In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris' recent best-seller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos.

    ben capozzi says: "...Though Hitchens Is!"
    "Brilliant, Funny, Thoughtful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about God Is Not Great?

    Christopher Hitchens was, in my opinion, one of the preeminent communicators of our time. This is an amazing book, one that strikes a perfect balance of reason, wit, honesty, and even respect, without apology.


    Any additional comments?

    A must-have.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Darrel Ray
    • Narrated By Darrel Ray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (62)

    For thousands of years, religion has woven its way through societies and people as if it were part and parcel to that society or person. In large measure it was left unexplained and unchallenged, it simply existed. Those who attempted to challenge and expose religion were often persecuted, excommunicated, shunned, or even executed. It could be fatal to explain that which the church, priest, or imam said was unexplainable. Before the germ, viral, and parasite theory of disease, physicians had no tools to understand disease and its propagation.

    Donovan Baker says: "A Viral Metaphor with Evidence"
    "Fascinating topic, and yet..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is possible that the author has a sharp scientific mind. He acknowledges that this work expands on ideas put forth by Dawkins and Dennett. As a formerly trying-to-be-religious person raised by fundamentalists I can say anecdotally that the comparison of religion to virus has merit. In this book the hypothesis was presented more as a metaphor; I expected it to be more science-based than it was. The author uses sciency language, but without meaty philosophical or scientific treatment the idea is reduced to hours and hours of "it spreads...just like virus," "it affects decision-making...just like a virus."

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Brave New World

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Aldous Huxley
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2274)
    Performance
    (1576)
    Story
    (1590)

    When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.

    Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming, and media: has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller's genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A.F. (After Ford, the deity). When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.

    Jefferson says: "“Oh, Ford, Ford Ford, I Wish I Had My Soma!”"
    "Classic story, not wild about the performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is amazing and would have been every bit as interesting in an audio format as it is on paper had it not been for the surprisingly unappealing performance of Michael York. I have a version of Dox Quixote he read years ago and it was terrific. This time around I found his characterizations so distracting I could hardly concentrate. Luckily this book is one I had already read a few times--I didn't feel as guilty about not finishing the audio book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Candice Millard
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1790)
    Performance
    (1553)
    Story
    (1547)

    James A. Garfield may have been the most extraordinary man ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back. But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil.

    Melinda says: "Marvelous, Magnificent, Millard"
    "Utterly engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have not enjoyed a book about a president this much in years. Millard is not only a skilled researcher, she has a true gift for making a faded bit of history both fascinating and relevant.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Human Stain Part 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Phillip Roth
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    Overall
    (169)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (77)

    It is 1998, the year in which America is whipped into a frenzy of prurience by the impeachment of a president, and in a small New England town, an aging classics professor, Coleman Silk, is forced to retire when his colleagues decree that he is a racist. The charge is a lie, but the real truth about Silk would have astonished even his most virulent accuser.

    Paul Krasner says: "Spectaular!"
    "A very American tale"
    Overall

    The Human Stain is perhaps Philip Roth's best novel. Roth has a skill for taking a snapshot of life and investigating it thoroughly without wasting words or boring the reader. The decisions people make in their lives, the outcome of the those decisions, and how the decisions impact the people around them: that is the essence of The Human Stain.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hypnotist

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Lars Kepler
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (454)
    Performance
    (346)
    Story
    (344)

    Tumba, Sweden. A triple homicide—all the victims from the same family—captivates Detective Inspector Joona Linna. The killer is at large, and it appears that the elder sister of the family escaped the carnage; it seems only a matter of time until she, too, is murdered. But where can Linna begin? The only surviving witness is the boy whose mother, father, and little sister were killed before his eyes. He has suffered more than 100 knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. He’s in no condition to be questioned....

    Watson says: "Suspense for suspense's sake"
    "Suspense for suspense's sake"
    Overall

    This was not a bad book by any means, but I wouldn't say it was outstanding, either. Suspenseful crime novels tend to follow a pattern because that pattern is appealing to the reader. In this novel, what was first presented as the primary story line was abruptly resolved three quarters of the way through the book without so much as one unexpected fact, and was never referred to again. The secondary story line, at first believed to be part of the first, did not take a surprising turn but a tedious one. It did not veer shockingly, but meandered slowly through short chapters that disclosed too much too soon.
    As I listened to the novel I felt anticipation, because I was waiting for an unexpected twist. Yet none of the resolutions were a surprise, and I grew impatient with the story as it threw one dramatic episode after another in front of me, seemingly to delay the conclusion of what I already knew.

    As for the narrator, given the difficulty of reading a novel aloud I would give him high marks, although I did not care for the weak, whiny tone of most female and young voices.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Diane Setterfield
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato, Jill Tanner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4528)
    Performance
    (1435)
    Story
    (1442)

    All children mythologize their birth... So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's beloved collection of stories, long famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale. The enigmatic Winter has always kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she summons a biographer to tell the truth about her extraordinary life: Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth remains an ever-present pain.

    PA Law says: "Haunting and beautiful tale"
    "Slowly, smoothly, quietly..."
    Overall

    After reading all the hype about how wonderful and atmospheric this novel is, I made it my first Audible purchase. Diane Setterfield had good intentions, inspired as she was by Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and other grand novels written in the gothic style. Alas, Ms. Setterfield is no Charlotte Bronte.

    The first chapter was promising, but as it progressed the book surrendered to lazy, amateur writing. I am astonished that Setterfield's editors allowed her juvenile reliance on adverbs and redundant descriptions to pass unchanged. Chapter after chapter, I thought if I heard one more reference to something being Clean, hair being Neat, tea being Hot, someone moving Slowly, Smoothly over something else, I would tear out my own hair.

    The awkward back story to the novel, that of being a twin, was portrayed with such melodrama it was impossible to take it seriously. The primary character, Margaret Lea, was so haunted by absurd images of some lost twin she never knew, every time she saw her reflection she was nearly overcome by the vapors. The book's subject of interest, Vida Winter, is described as the most successful author of her time. If that is to be believed, Ms. Winter should be capable of telling her own story in an elegant, literary style. She does not. She tells her story in the same dull order as the rest of the book.

    Ms. Setterfield wanted to create a dark, gothic atmosphere. Instead, she gave us characters without depth and a setting that we can only conclude was "gray." For all her references to Jane Eyre, she could stand to read it again.

    While the story itself could have been intriguing and enigmatic, the novel reads as if she was so excited about the neat story idea she came up with, she did not consider whether or not she had the skill to tell it. Perhaps with better editing and more rewrites, future Setterfield novels will live up to the hype. This one, not so much.

    The narrators, on the other hand, were fantastic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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