Spokane, WA, United States | Member Since 2009
It's so wonderful to find myself agreeing with the masses and loving something that the "powers that be" found worthy of such a lofty honor as a Pulitzer Prize. So many times I've taken the bait of an "award winner" only to be bitterly disappointed in the end. There's something about the old-fashioned, whimsical yet heartbreaking truths in this memoir that really touched me in a way that few books ever have. I laughed, almost cried (that would take a miracle), and just lost myself in the world of the U.S. and Ireland in the early 20th century. The tragedy, the hardships, the triumphs are expressed in a way that made me truly care about the people - that rarely happens for me and I really love when a book can take me there. There are so many things to appreciate about this book - you just need to use your credit on it and see for yourself.
Wil Wheaton is fantastic as a narrator - his performance alone brings the overall score of this book up to 4 stars. He is the perfect match to John Scalzi's cleverly written comedic action-adventure. This is the kind of book that plays in your brain like a movie - I could easily see this being turned into a script and put on the big screen. The story moves fast and the characters are easy to like - snarky, intelligent, and just plain fun. I really like this lighter version of sci-fi that doesn't require one to have a degree from MIT to follow - I'm sure it breaks a million scientific laws but to me it sounds all perfectly plausible and gets me excited for a future where I could have a monster sidekick to pal around with and to eat annoying people for me. This one is Spaceballs on crack - enjoy!
I went into this one craving a historical epic - a tale of the American west with cowboys and native Americans; the struggles and hard-won victories that took place on the fringes of civilized life. I was not disappointed - this book gave me all of that and added in a level of brutality and harsh humanity I wasn't expecting. The first chapters were difficult to listen to, in that the suffering of children always seems to get to me more than anything else. The disjointed way the chapters are laid out - each being entries in the diaries of various characters scattered around during completely different decades - made it hard to follow. I think hearing 3 or 4 chapters in a row from the same person might have been better for me. It took over half the book to figure out how some of them were related to each other and there seemed to be so many holes that never really get filled in at the end. That being said, I did find myself looking forward to listening and ended up enjoying it overall. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an old-westy kind of story but keep in mind that you will hear some pretty vicious stuff about the way people treated each other back when America was still becoming a country. And if you are prone to being upset about the portrayal of white people, native Americans, or Mexican people back in the 1800's to early 1900's then be forewarned that you could find this book controversial.
As a fan of the weekly Freakanomics podcast, I came into this with a good idea of what to expect - which means the joy of surprise and enchantment a first-time listener may experience was bound to be elude me. I was right about that - nothing super earth-shaking for me, however my expectations were more than met and I really enjoyed this sequel to Freakanomics. These guys are just plain awesome and their mass appeal is obvious; I would recommend this for group car rides where you want everyone to think a little bit, discuss a little bit, laugh, and enjoy an escape from superficial assumptions about the world we live in. This would also be great for someone looking to increase their stash of interesting conversation starters for parties or awkward first dates (you may want to avoid the patriotic prostitutes though).
Oh joyous delight!! The return of our beloved "Fool" aka "Pocket" ready to wreak havoc and run amok once again! For fans of "Fool" - you will love the deliciously salty language and abundant sexual innuendo woven throughout this tale of love and betrayal. I have not read The Merchant of Venice (yes, I know - for shame..) but it's so much better from the literary genius that is Christopher Moore - perhaps our generation's Shakespeare - after all, wasn't he thought to be quite edgy-bordering-on-vulgar back in his day? Anyway, for new readers - dive right in - you don't have to know much about the other book to enjoy it - all you need is a love for inappropriate humor, saucy characters, and tragedy perfected. I didn't give it 5 stars across the board because I did like Fool a little bit better and I reserve all 5's for only a select few. That said, I forgot to mention the narrator who needs to be nominated for an award - he IS Pocket - the performance is seamless and the production is fantastic. Great audio book - 4.5 stars.
I was hoping for something light and funny to give myself a break from the heavy stuff I've been lost in recently - this clever half-bio / half-monologue did the job nicely. I will say that it was a bit more bubblegum than I normally prefer, but I realize that I'm probably 15 years older than the high-end of her intended demographic, so I tried to keep that in mind when I found myself rolling my eyes too much. The narration was fine but I suggest listening to the sample first - her voice is child-like. For comedy writing, it's not bad - it has profanity, sarcasm, & amusing anecdotes - I would recommend it to young women in their late teens/early twenties without hesitation.
I was looking forward to learning all about the fascinating history of rabies and it's effect on man and beast throughout history. The book contains tons of factual and anecdotal information (some of it gruesome which is right up my alley) - it should've been a hit for me but I didn't enjoy it so I can't bring myself to give it more than 2 stars. It's not the authors' fault; the narrator's vocal tone made it hard for me to concentrate on the story and I found myself trying to get through it in small bites to avoid the irritation. It may just be a personal thing with me - so listen to the free sample and if the narration doesn't bother you after a few minutes then go for it - the content is fine.
Ever wonder what might be in all the suitcases that glide past you on the luggage carousel at the airport? After listening to this captivating expose' of pet suppliers and their quasi-cartel smuggling operations, I will make sure to keep my distance from that weird lady with the oddly squirming carry-on the next time I have to fly. The story flips between the perspective of the good guys and the bad guys - although at times you wonder which is which - so you end up learning a little about about how to be a great smuggler/criminal and a little about how to catch them. Entertaining and informative - an easy 4 star rating for this great listen.
I saw this movie a few years back and wasn't too impressed - I'm glad I decided to give the book a chance. This is one of those pieces that grabs you early and doesn't let go - although gruesome at times, it gets into your head and makes you want to find out what insane thing can possibly happen next. The dialogue comes across as authentic which is just as important to a book as the events that take place - bad dialogue can ruin an otherwise perfect story. Augusten Burroughs is amazingly talented at both writing and narration - I will definitely be listening to his other titles.
I find the subject matter of this book fascinating and was looking forward to a good creepy bug book to haunt me for a bit. Unfortunately, it missed the mark two ways - 1) Not enough scientific detail - the descriptions of the insects and their behaviors were too brief. Fewer insects with more detail on each would've been better. 2) Not enough anecdotal or cultural references to make listening fun for more than a couple of hours. If there had been more "fun" stuff, I wouldn't have noticed the lack of educational content.
Although I was disappointed, I'm giving this selection 3 stars overall because I did enjoy sections of it, and it kept me interested enough to listen all the way through.
I picked up this title because the author was revered in my parents' generation and I wanted to know why. I'm not sure if I missed the point or if I ruined it by expecting something controversial or at least special - either way I find myself lukewarm on Vonnegut at this point. It was enough to keep me interested though so I won't slam it too much - 3 stars.
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