Walnut Creek, CA, United States | Member Since 2002
This book should be read by anyone interested in the history of the CIA. I have rated this five stars, but this is not the perfect book, just a must read. The author clearly focuses only upon the failures of the CIA and glosses over any successes. Nevertheless, there is substantial value is focusing on failures (of course there is also value is focusing on successes, but that would be a different book). This book also does not seem to go out of its way to suggest tangible changes to improve the CIA.
The material is somewhat dry, and there is some jumping around. The narration is quite good, which helps keep the book interesting. This is not the best book about the CIA, but it is an indispensable viewpoint for anyone who wants to understand the agency.
This is a selection of short stories about the California Salinas Valley. The collection includes The Chrysanthemums, The White Quail, Flight, The Snake, Breakfast, The Raid, The Harness, The Vigilante, Johnny Bear, The Red Pony, The Murder, and Saint Katy the Virgin. These stories all have at least a touch of the darkness common to much of Steinbeck’s work, yet almost all of the stories have a strange, subtle and almost mystical power. These stories are generally good, some are great, some are OK. I really liked the voice and tone of the stories and the narration was excellent. This collection pairs very nicely with The Pastures of Heaven.
This is a collection of Einstein letters, speeches and essays from his later years after 1934. The narration is very clear and straightforward. The introduction indicates this is the second volume of essays, the first volume being “The World as I See It”, which, it seems is not available on Audible. There is a huge overlap between this volume and “Essays in Humanism” and “The Theory of Relativity”. This volume includes Einstein’s thoughts on science and society, pacifism, world government, Zionism, humanism, and other topics. Many of these essays are dated other than for a personal or historical perspective. Although relativity and quantum theory are discussed here, this is definitely not the best place to start learning these subjects.
The history of science aspects of this book are quite interesting but the incidents are tied together primarily by the somewhat odd concept of blunders thus seemed to me scattered and lacking the focus of a great history of science. I was not convinced by the author’s main point nor his distinction between good, but mistaken, science versus a scientific blunder. The author spends time demonstrating it was unlikely that Einstein actually said including the cosmological constant in general relativity was a blunder. The problem is I really didn’t care if Einstein actually said it was a blunder or not (and I still don’t know anyway). The author comments personally on the priority of some scientific claims (for example Lemaitre vs Hubble), that I felt were distracting at best. The author’s language was repeatedly sloppy. He throws around terms like “right” and “wrong” and “true” but points out elsewhere that science is not about these words. I have read more incisive histories of science and was familiar with almost all the science history presented here, and I did not find the history rehash enlightening nor the thesis compelling.
This is not at all a bad book. I just really like the histories of science and this one seemed less penetrating and less compelling than the best.
I have liked virtually all the Nero Wolfe books I have read or listened to, and this is no exception. This is not the best story, but the Archie and Nero characterization is really great. I particularly like the narration which does a great job making Archie come alive. I would not recommend this as a first Nero Wolfe selection (maybe Some Buried Caesar is a good place to start), but any fan will really enjoy Father Hunt. Although this is not the best Wolfe story, even a below average Wolfe is better than most mysteries. The mystery story makes sense and is interesting, intelligent, engaging, and fun, but the characterizations is what makes this particular Wolfe story special.
I listened to this because of the mostly great reviews, but I was not nearly so impressed. The narration was really great and the prose were good, but the story was not quite up to snuff. This is a mystery, but is very long and not very mysterious. It seems to me any attentive reader will guess the ending long, long before it comes. Then the last forth of the book is a detailed rehashing of what happened. Several of the characters are more caricatures than real people. Many mysteries depend on improbable story elements, but I did not buy several of the essentials of this mystery. I like some Victorian romances, but the romance part of this story was too simple to be worth such a long work. Nevertheless this is not a bad book at all, just way too long for what it is.
This is not quite as good as the first Odd Thomas book, but it is better than all the others. Deeply Odd captures the best aspects of Koontz and Odd Thomas. After the loss of Stormy, books 2-5 had the humor and quirkiness of the first book, but were missing some of the family feeling that I enjoy in most Koontz books. This book may have the best human ghost of the series (Alfred Hitchcock), a great eccentric spontaneous family, a good dog, and a nice story that does not over do it. Annamaria makes only a cameo appearance in this book (which was OK with me).
The narration is just about perfect, capturing the Oddness of all the characters (and he does a respectable Hitchcock).
This is a nice modern fiction novelette which was clearly written by a science fiction author with very good narration but falls far short of greatness. The narration seemed more powerful than the writing itself. There are few well developed characters and very little in the way of plot and very few surprises. This would have been a really excellent short story but in the novelette form has way too much filler. Adoption of a special needs child is a very intense challenge but this is not too surprising and this is definitely not a how-to book. This novel did not annoy me at all but it did not have that transformative effect on me I look for in great fiction. Although this has some very good points, I can’t think of anyone to whom I would feel compelled to recommend this book.
This is a single review of all 13 episodes. The narration is very good throughout all the episodes.
I really enjoyed Old Man’s War and several other Scalzi novels, but The Human Division stories left me a bit unsatisfied. These were not at all bad stories and included pleasant story elements, humor, and sarcasm but lacked the touching aspects and strong story that made Old Man’s War more fulfilling. The Human Division was 13 short stories weakly bound together, lacking the character development and cohesion of a novel. This felt a little like a bunch of episodes of a TV series with a strong world framework and continuing characters, but lacking a strong continuing story. I was quite annoyed using the iPhone Audible app where titles are shorted excluding the episode number, and the episode details don’t include the episode number, so I had to query the internet to figure out which title to listen to next.
Most of this book (the actual science) was very interesting, with a lot of valid and important ideas about neuroplasticity.
If you have OCD or know someone who has read the same author’s Brain Lock (which has much of the practical information without the metaphysics). This book is good. the narration excellent and there is a short PDF is available with diagrams of the parts and uses of the brain and nerve cells if you are not already familiar with these.
The book is largely conversational and easy to listen to, but from time to time drops into metaphysical discussions. The last third the book takes off to a somewhat unscientific path attempting to demonstrate that the soul must exists and connects to the body via quantum effects. Having such ideas is not inherently unscientific, but, to be science a clear hypothesis should be stated along with an experiment differentiating the cases. Here the book is quite weak. The logic seems to be 1) We don’t understand consciousness 2) We don’t understand quantum effects 3) Quantum theory has elements of consciousness and randomness 4) The author’s religion (Buddhism) supports the idea of a non-brain mind learning to control the brain. Thus) mindfulness must control the brain via quantum effects through randomness. Now I believe consciousness is a product of quantum effects (as is everything else) but that does not imply the mind is separate from the brain. The brain seems quite capable of changing itself and capable of all the practical aspects of OCD treatments without resorting to magic.
I really love Chekhov but horrific narration and poor sound quality renders this almost un-listenable. The narration itself is slow and stilted. There is background echo and an annoying hiss. Finally these are two Chekhov stories that are not his best. All together you couldn't pay me to listen to these again. Even for 63 cents this is not worth it. So far everything I have heard from Roberson Audio Publications has very poor overall quality.
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