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The way Buonomano revealed the layers of human thought processes was fascinating. I was so surprised to find the myriad ways in which we are not the rational beings we would like to think we are. I am glad to be made aware of how often my emotional little lizard-brain takes control and runs roughshod over my rational frontal lobe processes. Being made aware of how I often make unaware decisions can only enhance my functioning as a critically-thinking, rational human being.
The narration by William Hughes was a bit disappointing--and at times it was downright ANNOYING! I'm not sure who is most to blame for the quality of the final recording: 1) Hughes, who mispronounces words often enough to grate the nerves badly and throw off the flow of the recording (pronouncing "amalgam" as "AM-uhl-GAM," rather than "Uh-MAL-guhm" and stating that our high-tech devices have "silicone" chips, rather than "silicon" chips. These were among some of the more egregious mispronunciations.)--OR--2) The people who edited this production, who must ALSO have been unaware of these mistakes and mispronunciations and their distracting nature.
While the voice of the narrator was pleasant enough, he should not be employed to narrate audiobooks on scientific topics again. I know that most audiobooks are narrated by trained actors, as they are normally best at capturing the feel, the emotional weight, of the pieces they are reading. This is not, however, a good fit for works of non-fiction--especially works regarding science. Generally speaking, most actors have little background in the hard sciences. Perhaps the producers of audiobooks on scientific subjects might seek out notable exceptions to this, such as Dr. Mayim Bialik, who is a neuroscientist, but who has worked as an actress since childhood. Certainly, she is a rare bird, but perhaps there are other happy mediums between trained actors and persons with backgrounds in science.
I was hooked by this one within the first minute. No one sets a scene and develops characters quite the way this author does.
While less mad-cap than many of his other books, Hiaasen's wit still shines through in this one. It is so difficult to weave a story featuring such numerous characters, but this author is up to the challenge. The way in which he ties together so many quirky, richly-layered characters is a hallmark of Hiaasen novels. His characters and the events in which they are immersed is simultaneously outlandish and utterly believable.
Erin is a sympathetic character. I find myself surprised that I can identify with a stripper.
Wilson's performance was enthralling. He shifts voices between characters flawlessly. This man is a genius! I could see the whole book in my head, thanks to him. Wilson knows how to develop a character just as well as Hiaasen does.
Truly this was one of those books, but sadly, I had to stop for little things--like work, and human interaction.
Don't let the movie of the same name scare you off this book. This is a masterful work of storytelling.
The title really says it best. We humans often suffer under the delusion that what separates us from the animals is our rational minds. This book deflates that myth. It lights the way with a detailed analysis of how we think as we do about our fellow animals on this planet. Herzog takes us through many of the ways that the human psyche leads us into cognitive traps.
It is good to be reminded that all our drives, preferences, and fears often have no basis in logic. It is hard to remain smug about one's own "superior" choices when faced with the fact that many of our own assumptions--whether we be vegetarians or carnivores, Republicans or Democrats--have no basis in fact or logic.
Herzog's book applies to vegans and carnivores alike--a thought-provoking look into why we feel as we do about our role on this planet, as it regards animals.
This book was BOTH light-hearted AND thought-provoking. Not a usual mix. Never thought the dissection of the psyche could be fun. I was wrong.
Over two decades ago, Cornwell's book, "Postmortem," really sank a hook into me. It was richly layered, suspenseful, filled with scientific and other technical details--all wrapped around a strong, intelligent central character. With each new book, however, I found myself wishing more for the punch of her first Scarpetta novel. The Scarpetta series has now devolved incrementally into a sad, pathetic caricature of the substance of the original. The dew has incrementally left the rose.
The Scarpetta line is played-out. Each book is worse and worse.Scarpetta is descended into a Hell of interpersonal grievances, both petty and great. The personal/interpersonal drama is overshadowing the previous merits of the series. Those characters close to her have all disappointed her on numerous occasions--and Kay is never to blame in any souring of her interactions with the people in her life. The brilliant, dogged, strong Dr. Scarpetta has morphed into the grandiose, driven, spiteful Kay.
There are myriad evilly-brilliant super-villains, all waiting to personally target Scarpetta, and those she claims to love (but who are never good enough for her). Rather than suspenseful, fast-paced, rich tales, we now have a series of personal screeds about how everybody is out to hurt or disappoint Cornwell--oops! I mean, Scarpetta! Seriously though, Scarpetta is really beginning to look like a tool--a mere device--with which Cornwell shows her disdain for a world full of people whom she finds sorely lacking in SOMETHING.
As the current popularity of "reality"-based TV illustrates, America loves over-blown, back-biting DRAMA. However, this series should be too much, even for fans of Survivor, and The Jerry Springer Show.
This time, I mean it: I will not buy another Scarpetta book, and I will likely not even buy another Cornwell novel, either. I just have to accept that there will never be another Postmortem- quality book from Cornwell again.
I was surprised to read recently that Patricia Cornwell has publicly acknowledged being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. After more than two decades of reading her books, I have come to see Scarpetta as a thinly-veiled, at least semi-biographical manifestation of a disordered personality, specifically elements of Borderline Personality Disorder, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If that interpretation is wrong, and Cornwell isn't a candidate for either of those diagnoses--It is a sure bet that Scarpetta IS.
The narration far out-shined the story, itself. But not even a stellar narration would save this over-wrought, self-absorbed, tedious tripe-filled tome. (And yes--I know that sounds excessive--I'm just furious with MYSELF for having hoped, still one more time, that the brilliance of Postmortem would manifest itself again.)
Sadly, it is Scarpetta, herself, who needs to be cut out of Red Mist. A close second would be Kay's niece, Lucy. Lucy, like Kay, appears to be an alter-ego of Cornwell. And also like Kay, she is a brooding, bitter, self-absorbed vehicle for DRAMA.
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