If you already understand the concept of "sleep debt" then there isn't much more to be had from this book if you're an insomniac looking for solutions -- although it does end on a sleep camp that readers may want to try out (I wasn't sold on it by the end).
Nevertheless the book is fairly entertaining about one long career in the study of sleep disorders. One might do better setting the book aside and taking a nap but the book itself, thankfully, isn't borning enough to induce a bout of narcolepsy.
Regretfully I would NOT recommend this as a walking tour guide of the exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York -- which I think it is intended to be. For one the exhibit is crowded and you have little chance of walking the route the narrator is talking, the stops/milestones are also not clear and the clockwise route around the room means you see the art before you read the label. On the other hand, if you read it as an introduction to the exhibit is is somehwat shallow and short. If you buy it anyway, listen to it before you get to the exhibit (like waiting in the 30 minute queue) just in case your experience turns out to be as bad as ours. The exhibit itself is excellent. In addition to many drawings there are even some Van Gogh oils.
If you've ever REALLY listened to classic fairy tales you'll know that they're full of blood, gore, envy, jealousy, adultery, canibalism, corpoal punishment and, well, they're often just plainly evil and rather unsuitable for today's politically correct young audiences -- unless, of course, you put tongue firmly in cheek and make it obvious that they're over the top. When seen from this exaggerated extreme you can revel in the humour of the artful retelling of horrible, horrible stories -- which My Dahl does so well, better than Geoffrey Chaucer could ever have done with the same material. Hopefully in time these hysterically updated versions will replace the seriously cruel classics of yore. My daughter was brought up on Dahl and finds the originals either boring or just plain sad. I would highly recommend this material for children of all ages unless you own up to being a prude.
A wonderful voice is drowned out by commercial grade muzak! If music is required at all -- and James Earl Jones' voice alone is music enough for my ears -- something of quality on a par with the narrartor's voice and more subtly and appropraitely integrated is called for. Not a B play list from Macy's 8-track archives of elevator music! Definitely hear the sample BEFORE you buy this one.
If your kids aren't old enough to know about vibrators and butt plugs (or if you're not ready to answer the inevitable questions) don't take them on this walk -- it definitely should be R-rated! In the same vein it's an offbeat, Bohemian tour of a seedy part of New York which is what makes it so interesting. Not for the feint hearted, nor a trip to take in the dark. You may even want to keep your iPod concealed from the occasional menacing local. We started off our walk by taking the 6 to Astor Place from Grand Central, enjoyed the Saturday flea market, walked East along St Marks Place, ate seasoned fries from Pomme Frite, phenomenal deep fried, bacon wrapped dogs at Crifs, strolled through Tompkins Park and then straight down past a wonderful community garden to the SoundWalk starting point. Towards the end of the walk do stop off at Katz Delicatessen for a meaty sandwich. The iconic deli is frankly quite shabby but the plebeian eating hall's legend is about as large as the sandwiches still are. You'll enjoy this one if the usual tourist traps are not to your liking.
I regret going against the grain here, since the Mac community should be well served by a show such as Your Mac Life -- but I have paid for a year's subscription and now wish that I had not. For the amount of information they contain the shows I've listened to are too long and are sometimes painfully drawn out and linked with humour that is often less than funny. Hey, I'm all for a bit of fun when it works and when it's spontaneous -- but not as a laborious device to fill in for obvious programming shortfalls. The brief sample (all of 4 minutes and 59 seconds out of a two-and-a-half hour show) you can hear before making your purchase is way too short for you to know this. You'll then have the dilemma of paying $44.95 for the whole year or $9.95 for just a month. Seems to me the cost/risk benefits weigh in for taking the year -- which I did. But if you have any doubts after listening to the sample, I'd suggest you try this show for just one month instead. Shawn & Co. either need to condense the current show into an under an hour or substantially bulk up the factual content.
The author Bill Bryson also narrates, but he does an excellent job of it! When I got to the end I immediately started over -- it's riveting stuff. Conceptually heavy material made lighter and more digestible by Bryson's intellect. The subject matter spans from the "big bang" (assuming it ever happened) through evolution, cellular biology into DNA ... and much more.
The history of zero is, not surprisingly, pretty interesting -- and this author manages to cover it rather well. My low rate on this audiobook relates to issues I'm having with the narration, something to do with diction and often to do with the speed (faster than you're able to keep up with when you're trying to think through the numerical arguments). This may have suited me better on paper. I'm stuggling to finish the book
The characters are larger than life, the story fast moving, always entertaining and sometimes even laugh out load funny! Let's not pretend that this is anything but light and fast reading -- you're not going to improve your knowledge nor expand your vocabulary, unless you've seldom heard people swear!
Adult content, language and situations make this unsuitable for your younger reader -- but for all the same reasons it helps to spice it up for the adult consumer.
Perfectly narrated by Lorelei King -- she has a real talent for these oversized Jersey characters -- which makes this a very enjoyable listen.
Highly recommended, just for the fun of it!
This charming story combines cooking and sex in equal portions (okay, just a little more cooking than sex) and is all the better for Lisa Passero's well accented narration -- it's an easy, if not compelling, yarn to listen to and you'll probably be as reluctant as I was to have to hit the pause button occasionally. Highly recommended.
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