Let me start by saying how much I loved Rachel Maddow's reading of her own work. She puts the emphasis exactly where she wants it, and you can hear in her voice the incredulity of some justifications and situations that would never come across in print. It's funny, but also deadly serious.
There is a good, easy-to-understand history lesson here about the intent of the founding fathers and how far the country has gone astray. I was and am a fan of Reagan, but after this book I certainly see him with more critical eyes. I remember the Iran-Contra hearings, but this clearly told me the story behind them. She recounts the Granada invasion through the lens of its illegality and ineptitude. It's laughable, except that real people died in the U.S. show of muscle.
By making real and understandable the consequences of power run amok, Rachel has done a great job of making me want to hold my elected representatives far more accountable. She also clearly illustrates the state of our current nuclear capabilities - and they are horrifying, but not necessarily for the reasons you would expect. (Great indirect plug for better science and technical education in this country.) "Whoopsie" will now always have a double meaning for me.
I highly recommend this book. I especially think kids in high school taking World History could greatly benefit from having a broader perspective on the last 50 or so years of U.S. foreign policy. Maddow makes the topic so approachable and entertaining in her lessons to us that it is unforgettable.
In listening to this book, I discovered I must be more of a foodie than I realized, because there was not much in this book I did not already know, or at least have some idea about. I didn't have any problem understanding the technical aspects as some have noted in previous reviews, perhaps due to excessive Food Network consumption.
I did appreciate the actual scientific testing the author performed regarding some kitchen myths, such as the best way to get juice our of a lemon or lime. Now I know the two-step method. The background on salt, sugar and fat was interesting. And now I know I can't tell my kids automatically "the alcohol cooks out" when they question my liberal use of wine in a few of my dishes.
The performer did fine and read the chemical names etc. without difficulty. However, nothing about the performance really stands out to me either.
Bottom line, this was an ok book. I don't regret purchasing it and listening, but not a whole lot stands out to me either.
I usually listen to books while I am hiking, or doing work around my house. Perhaps this is why there was an unusually long lag - months in fact - between when I started this title and when I ended it. I started it one night when I was just surfing the web. Perhaps this also says a bit about the first quarter or so of the book. Clearly I didn't feel a compulsion to continue immediately after Mike sets up his life and his work.
Then I took a long hike, and decided it was the perfect time to finish this book.
It really was.
It seems my previous stopping point had been right before things got interesting. It wasn't just about discovering new large bodies orbiting our sun (can't call them planets anymore). I learned about the politics of naming celestial bodies and about Inuit creation myth in the process. I discovered what happens when a number-oriented scientist becomes a father and applies the scientific method to taking care of a baby. (I even looked at the website when I got home). I got so worked up about an apparent theft of intellectual property that I could scarcely wait to get down the mountain and tell my husband what happened. When NASA's pic of the day allowed the user to zoom in to beyond microscopic level and then zoom out to past our universe (theoretically speaking), I was proud to say I knew what Sedna and Eris were.
And I agree with why Pluto was killed as a planet. Maybe you will too.
I purchased this audiobook after hearing many positive reviews about it. From the prologue I was immediately swept up in the fantasy of black and white, magic and love. I will say at first it was a bit confusing with the jumps in time that the written book makes it easier to reference (the chapter headings are dates). However, once I was aware of it I just made sure to keep track. That wasn't difficult, as I found I could not turn off the book. Stayed up waaayyyy too late listening because I couldn't stop. I didn't even regret it the next day. In fact, I started listening again and listened all the way through a second time within a day or so. (Not much got done around my house).
I usually delete an audiobook from my smartphone when I have finished listening just to conserve space, but this one remains there permanently. If, for some reason I am out of something new to listen to and am where I can't download, I just turn this one back on and immediately rejoin the circus.
I admit I watch "Hoarders" on TV. I am always amazed at how some of the participants in the show appear to value their possessions over family. This book gives a very clear explanation of the thought processes (as far as they are understood) of some of the various types of hoarders, as well as effects on family and children. Dr. Frost reveals several different thought patterns that go into hoarding, whether it be perfectionism or lack of executive processing skills and functions etc. Some questions are raised that cannot be answered because we just don't and can't know (for instance, why do some children hoard?) This book will help me understand my own father better, as he sometimes appears to have these tendencies as well. After listening to this book, I don't have the desire to watch "Hoarders" anymore.
I have become a huge fan of this series. My first introduction to the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency was through the audiobook, and I loved the way Lisette Lecat made Botswana real to me. I love the way she pronounces Mma Ramotswe's name (and every other Botswana name, for that matter). I have read some books in the series, but know that I much more enjoy them when listening. There is nothing surprising or monumental in any of the books, and this one is no exception. But the wisdom, grace, and humor I find in the traditional Botswana wisdom woven for me in these stories is the equivalent of putting on my favorite comfortable sweatshirt and curling up in front of the fire with a nice cup of tea. Except I can be drawn into this world while still doing tasks that need doing.
I also found myself brewing a lot more tea while I listened to this book.
I have to admit I should have used more caution in purchasing this audiobook. I should have realized the story would include very realistic dialogue, to which my ears are entirely unaccustomed. I find if I read language like this I am able to gloss over it, but hearing Bronson Pinchot's well-done narration made it impossible for me to ignore words which I never use and almost never hear. They are still rolling around in my head, and I hate that.
That said, I found this story to be compelling. I know this is a work of fiction, but I'm sure the events described could have taken place for real and, in fact, probably did in some form. I felt my heart sink as the protagonists were placed increasingly impossible situations because of politics and pride. I cringed at the description of the physical maladies they endured. I now have an even greater appreciation for the men in uniform who serve and protect this country on the front lines.
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