I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of this essay -- a sober and cogent look
and gun violence and the media's love affair with it.
Mr. King's thoughts are particularly interesting given his own "connection" to gun violence with young people and his book Rage.
Just as I was beginning to think that I was going to continue to receive a thoughtful and balanced conclusion to this essay Mr. King takes a decided left turn and suggests that the answer to this societal ill is to ban the ownership of certain forms of firearms and high capacity magazines.
How disappointing that this entire essay, which offers such a brilliant personal reflection on the subject of gun violence, ends with the parroting of the standard liberal mantra of banning guns. I was hoping for more.
This is a classic Jules Verne story brought to brilliant life through Tim Curry's narration.
Any minor criticisms I might have with the story line of "Journey" are completely swept aside by the wonderful pitch-perfect narration of Tim Curry. As others have mentioned, it's like settling down in a large leather chair in Verne's study as he reads to you.
I can almost smell the cigars and brandy! Fantastic.
I was somewhat disappointed in the content of this audiobook. It's like a never-ending story of a dysfunctional family. CSN / CSNY get together and make great music...do tons of drugs, fight and go their separate ways only to come back together to repeat the cycle over again...
Don't get me wrong, there are some real gems on information such as how the Hollies got their name as well as some great anecdotes such as how "Just A Song Before I Go" was written, but overall this bio is just not in the same league as those by Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend for example.
Not sure I'd recommend this.
I have been wanting to try one of the "Great Courses" lecture series for some time. I had a little working knowledge of the Big History concepts so I decided to use a credit on this audio course.
Initially I was a little concerned about whether or not these lectures would hold my attention for nearly 25 hours that would be required for the entire course. This concern turned out to be totally unfounded as I was completely taken in by the end of the very first 30 minute lecture!
The scope of the material is vast and wondrous: From the Big Bang to our present technology driven civilization. Throughout the entire series of lectures David Christian moves just fast enough to instill excitement, always reviewing the material every few lectures and previewing what's to come.
Because these lectures are only about 30 minutes in length they offer nice sized info-bites for the listener to digest. You can have as much or a little Big History as you want in nicely packaged increments. In fact, I think that the organization of the lectures in these easily digested increments is one of the more impressive elements of this audiobook as a whole.
The narration is also absolutely first rate. Christian is a practiced speaker and this really shows in his wonderful delivery.
If I have any criticism to offer it is on just two points:
First, these lectures were obviously recorded in a studio environment so I don't see why Great Courses saw the need to dub in the same applause sound track at the end of each lecture. It's distraction and not necessary. Likewise the trumpet fanfare that precedes each lecture is completely unnecessary and artificial.
My second criticism is aimed at the tact that I felt that Christian gets a little too "preachy" when discussing his ideas surrounding global warming. This is limited to only elements of one or two lectures but I did think that it marred an otherwise completely politically neutral outlook.
On balance these are very very minor points of criticism. This is a masterwork that is matched with a flawless delivery and format and well wort one credit!
Although "Tune In" is only the first volume of Mark Lewishon's three volume Beatles biography it stands alone as the best of all the "Rock Bios" I have read or listened to!
Lewishon carefully takes the listener through the history of all the key players in the early formative period, most especially Brian Epstein and George Martin along with the cast of music personalities, promoters, club owners and family members that surrounded John, Paul, George, Ringo, Pete and Stu.
The research is exhaustive; so much so that the casual fan may feel overwhelmed. For true fans, however, Tune In is a treasure trove of connected dots. From their Hamburg days to the formation of the Beatles Fan Club and their first mention in the Mersey Beat, it's all here to be devoured. The detail that Lewishon brings to Tune In only adds to the texture of the Beatles' story.
Adding to the wonderful narrative of Tune In is Clive Mantle's brilliant narration which brings to life all the verbatim dialogue.
I had great fortune to see the Beatles' final performance at Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966. It was my first rock concert. listening to Tune In I now am beginning to understand how the Fab Four made the trek from Liverpool to the world's stage.
I only knew of Martin Dugard as the co-author of the "Killing" books written with Bill O'Reilly, and did not know that Martin Dugard was a highly regarded author in his own right.
When I came across Into Africa I was intrigued by the story and also by the sample narration I listened to. Knowing really nothing of the true story behind the famous quotation; "Dr. Livingstone, I presume ?" I wanted to learn more used a credit for the audiobook.
Into Africa was easily my favorite non-fiction audio book of all I listened to in 2013. Supported by John Lee's wonderful narration this audiobook is equal parts a biography of the explorers Stanley and Livingstone as well as a story of exploration and survival.
Having been to Africa four times on safari I simply can not imagine setting off on a quest that would take me half-way across a vast and dangerous continent completely devoid of roads and with no methods of reliable communication.
Nevertheless, this is exactly what Livingstone did in his bid to locate the source of the river Nile. The story of how Stanley and Livingstone would ultimately meet equals any real life adventure I have ever read. As an audiobook the story of their lives and adventures come to life. I highly recommend it.
I really enjoyed Mark Halperin and John Heileman's Game Change so I decided to use a credit on Double Down. It was a credit well spent.
Let me say that once again Halperin and Heilemann takes the listener deep inside the real mechanics of political campaigns at the highest level.
Carefully researched without being at all dry, Double Down's insider's view reveals the miss-steps, slip-ups, and dumb luck that can doom or lift a presidential race.
Presidential campaigns are a lot like making sausage. Don't listen if you don't want to know what really goes on.
I loved this book !
Propelled by Wil Wheaton's outstanding narration The Android's Dream was one of those audio books that I just wanted to listen to every chance I had.
This book is not Scalzi's best, nor is it in anyway serious science fiction. This being said, I can't think of an audiobook I listened to this year that was more fun !
I have always admired the lore of the US Navy SEAL's and I really wanted to like this book.
Though the book offers a different insight into the mentality of an elite SEAL warrior it is weighed down by a halting and amateurish narration by the author.
This is a great example of how an audiobook can be propelled forward or dragged down by the strength or weakness of the narration.
Eric Greitens' self narration just does not complement his story...so much so that I hesitate to recommend this audiobook.
I remember learning of Joe Kittinger's record setting sky dive back in 1960. I was, and still am, fascinated by the whole idea of a free-fall from space, and equally so by Felix's Baumgartner's recent space Red Bull Sratos sky dive following in Joe's foot steps.
I had no idea of the life that Joe Kittinger led before and after his historic free fall jump.
World record setting balloonist, fighter pilot, Vietnam war POW, engineer...a full life of the Right Stuff. This is who Joe Kittinger is as this wonderful biography explains.
I have only two dings on this audio book..
First, it would have been fantastic to learn of Joe's thoughts on the work and final success of the Red Bull Stratos project during which he served as capsule communicator, (not possible since this book was completed well before Stratos succeeded) and second, I felt that the narration was jut too overly dramatic at times.
Taken on balance these are small points and this autobiography reveals an enjoyable story of a true adventurer.
I was skeptical of using a credit for a book about rowing.
The only thing I really knew about athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games was the triumph of Jessie Owens. However, since this book was narrated by Edward Herman, one of my all time favorite readers, I decided to give the book a listen.
What unfolds is a very ambitious and largely very successful effort to bring the listener into the world of post depression era life and the world of competitive 8-man rowing.
Daniel Brown builds his story around the amazing life of Joe Rantz, a young boy abandoned by his family who finds his life forever changed by his experiences as a member of a college rowing team.
The passion that Daniel Brown brings to his subject matter is perfectly matched by the flawless Edward Herman narration.
This being said, the book is not without its flaws...the primary one being the author's tendency to allow his narrative to become overly saccharine at times. This is really a criticism of the tone of the book, not the content.
On the very positive side, the listener will find themselves completely drawn into to the characters lives and to the work and skills needed to succeed at competitive rowing.
This is a decidedly American story of ordinary young men who accomplish great things
and change the world and themselves in the process.
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