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Scott

Scarborough, ON, Canada | Member Since 2006

39
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 50 reviews
  • 151 ratings
  • 330 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
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  • Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Sheri Fink
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (428)
    Performance
    (372)
    Story
    (377)

    In the tradition of the best writing on medicine, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the listener into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days.

    Sharon says: "A Must Read"
    "Harrowing events, haunting in its implications"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    All the more shocking because it could happen anywhere, 5 Days offers a moment by moment, person by person account of the disintegration of order in a New Orleans hospital in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina over a five day period. What initially begins as a heroic undertaking by staff devolves into chaos, fear, and ultimately, life and death decisions, some of which involve involuntary euthanasia. Works both as a gripping page turner and a case study in disaster ethics, the reader constantly finds himself asking "What would I have done?" Sadly, there are no easy answers, only varying degrees of lesser evils.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Five Days at Memorial?

    In a metropolitan city, in one of the richest countries in the world, how quickly the rules of society can break down, panic take over, and trust is forsaken - essentially creating an every man for himself scenario, not just during the crisis, but in the political calculations which followed. Shocking and sad indictment of moral relativism gone awry.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The relative of one of the patients who was euthanized saying that the Marines leave no man behind so why couldn't staff have done the same for its patients?


    Any additional comments?

    If you don't believe it could happen to you or in your city, Fink disabuses this toward the end of the book in her follow up. Wow!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By William B. Irvine
    • Narrated By James Patrick Cronin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives. In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life.

    Scott says: "Finding your inner stoic"
    "Finding your inner stoic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about A Guide to the Good Life?

    I found myself surprisingly liking this book a lot. It demystifies what is commonly and mistakenly identified as a dour philosophy and makes it accessible to everyday, modern life. Equal parts self- help book, stoicism 101 course, and "serenity now!" mantra, Irvine makes a compelling case for adopting the tenets of stoicism as a balm to our hectic, information overloaded, materialistic society. I found myself quite intrigued and taken with the advice in this book and have found myself practicing it daily. It moves along briskly and avoids the self-help book pitfalls of pandering to the reader or being too trite.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters; From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By James Mahaffey
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (30)

    From the moment radiation was discovered in the late nineteenth century, nuclear science has had a rich history of innovative scientific exploration and discovery, coupled with mistakes, accidents, and downright disasters.

    Scott says: "Adventures in radioactivity"
    "Adventures in radioactivity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Atomic Accidents in three words, what would they be?

    Man's nuclear follies


    What did you like best about this story?

    For history and science buffs, a good history not only of nuclear power but also the naïveté, creativity and hubris of man's relationship with all things nuclear. Underlying every accident is a system designed to avoid it, someone's attempt to circumvent the system, and the complex interaction between the two. Fascinating stuff, with enough technical details to interest the science buffs and a connect the dots narrative to keep the history buffs glued. I found it all very fascinating and it was a definite plus that the narrative is told with the odd bit of sarcastic humour in it. My only criticism was that the three most infamous accidents: Three mile island, Chernobyl, and Fukishima, are given a comparatively short treatment compared to the rest of the book.


    What does Tom Weiner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Well read.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Probably not. There is a fair bit of technical detail that would leave most readers head's spinning to get through this all in one reading.


    Any additional comments?

    The author has a background working in the nuclear industry which is a definite plus.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Ari Shavit
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (99)

    Not since Thomas L. Friedman's groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the essence and the beating heart of the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family's story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is larger than the sum of its parts.

    Stuart M. Wilder says: "Great book, but why the accent?"
    "Wither Israel?"
    Overall
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    Story
    What did you like best about My Promised Land? What did you like least?

    Part oral history and part op ed piece, the author certainly offers some uncompromising positions on what he perceives as the enduring resiliency of Israel as well as its transgressions. Using the analogy of a grown up child having thrown off the yoke of its parents, Shavit argues that Israel is at a crossroads and that the values that once served Israel so well are now either in danger of being lost or corrupted by a failure to achieve a moral and practical solution to achieving security and a settlement with the Palestinians. Interesting stuff - if you buy his arguments. There is no real middle ground here and you will find yourself either totally agreeing or not.


    What was most disappointing about Ari Shavit’s story?

    Ostensibly a history of Israel, most key events are only given a cursory treatment. I was looking for something a little more in depth and didn't find it here. Shavit links the birth and growth of Israel with stories from his ancestors but I didn't really find this vey interesting or compelling.


    Did Paul Boehmer do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    There is only the authors voice. Some other reviews I read we're put off by the Israeli accent of the narrator but I thought this added a level of authenticity to what is essentially, an oral history.


    Did My Promised Land inspire you to do anything?

    Not really. Would still like to read a more in depth history of Israel that this book didn't satisfy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Andrew Blackwell
    • Narrated By Ax Norman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    For most of us, traveling means visiting the most beautiful places on Earth - Paris, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon. It’s rare to book a plane ticket to visit the lifeless moonscape of Canada’s oil sand strip mines, or to seek out the Chinese city of Linfen, legendary as the most polluted in the world. But in Visit Sunny Chernobyl, Andrew Blackwell embraces a different kind of travel, taking a jaunt through the most gruesomely polluted places on Earth.

    Paul Luthi says: "Better than I predicted"
    "Lightweight fun but wears thin after awhile"
    Overall
    Performance
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    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Blackwell's travelogue has some interesting parts (oil sands gift store anyone?) and the tongue in cheek manner keeps thing from getting too heavy. A balanced environmentalist view is woven through this recognizing our inherent conflict between conservation and what maintains our lifestyles. Still some parts are more interesting than others and I can't really say I learned a lot from this book. In fact, I found it less interesting and somewhat repetitive the further I read. Still, it is a lightweight page turner that is hard not to like and you can fast forward through parts and probably not feel you have missed anything. The narration is good.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Jon Kabat-Zinn
    • Narrated By Jon Kabat-Zinn
    Overall
    (252)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (109)

    It is everywhere around us. Even worse, it gets inside us - sapping our energy, undermining our health, and making us more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and disease. Now, based on Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn's renowned mindfulness-based stress-reduction program, this groundbreaking audiobook shows you how to use natural, medically proven methods to soothe and heal your body, mind, and spirit.

    Anna Dresner says: "Nice Introduction, but the Heart of it is Missing"
    "Enough to wet your appetite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Full Catastrophe Living?

    This is a good primer on the concept of mindfulness as a stress reduction tool. Is brief and concise enough to give you a basic understanding of what it is all about. You won't come away an expert or perhaps even at best, only a dabbler but it does a good enough job to make you want to learn more.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Paul Theroux
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (20)

    A final African adventure from the writer whose gimlet eye and effortless prose have brought the world to generations of fans. Journeying alone, in what he feels will be his last African journey, Paul Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the itineraries of tourists and the hopes of post-colonial independence movements. Having travelled down the right-hand side of Africa in Dark Star Safari, he sets out this time from Cape Town, heading northward up the left-hand side, through South Africa and Namibia, to Botswana, heading for the Congo, in search of the end of the line.

    matthew says: "The B side of Dark Star Safari"
    "A cranky Theroux - better to browse this one"
    Overall
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    Any additional comments?

    I am a fan of Paul Theroux, both his fiction and travelogue non-fiction but this one left me with the same feeling I did after having watched the last Indiana Jones movie - sad and nostalgic for his earlier works. As usual, Theroux is a daring and candid observer who prefers to tread unbeaten paths and this book is a really a collection of essays on his Africa journey rather than a conventional narrative. Some of his encounters are more interesting than others and I found the latter half of the book more interesting than the beginning. A few common undercurrents run through his observations - the urbanization of the population, the westernization of the indigenous peoples and their culture, the environmental degradation of the bush aka Zona Verde, and the misguided attempts by foreign do gooders to infuse donations into corrupt and dependent regimes. All valid and important messages. But at the same time, despite his protestation that he is not an "Afropessimist"' his crankiness shows through and this has none of the optimism of say, The Happy Isles of Oceana. Clearly, Theroux is not pleased with the changes he has seen over the 50 years since he first set foot on the continent as a Peace Corps volunteer. The reading voice of the narrator only compounds the elegiac tone of this book. Better to browse some of the more interesting chapters near the end than read this cover to cover.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Orphan Master's Son: A Novel of North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Adam Johnson
    • Narrated By Tim Kang, Josiah D. Lee, James Kyson Lee, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (919)
    Performance
    (796)
    Story
    (803)

    Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother - a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang - and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

    Lisa says: "The most compelling listen I've ever owned"
    "A Masterpiece that defies genres"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is a monumental work of contemporary historical fiction. It works as a character study, spy thriller, and expose of the world's most reclusive country. I found the details of North Korean life - the privations, the omnipresent "Big Brotherish" intrusions by the state into every facet of life, and the duplicitous goings on of the power brokers and their minions to be utterly fascinating. The author's brief interview at the end sheds a lot of welcome light on how he managed to paint such a credible portrait of the North Korean state. I also have to give him credit for the audacity to put Kim Jong Il front and center as one of the main characters. In some ways, this book reminded me of the Arkady Renko novels of Martin Cruz Smith and will appeal to those who like their fiction set in lands both mysterious and unfathomable. The superb narration adds rather than detracts from the story which is unusual for this genre IMO. This book is not to be missed!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Men We Reaped: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Jesmyn Ward
    • Narrated By Cherise Boothe
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life - to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth - and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships.

    Scott says: "A heartfelt eulogy"
    "A heartfelt eulogy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I listened to this book based on some glowing end of the year reviews but after having finished it I am still not quite sure what to make of it. At its best it is a heartfelt eulogy to the five men who died over a short period of time and the impact of their lives and deaths on the author. I found it a little difficult to emotionally engage with the subjects in this book as their lives are told primarily in snippets; where the book succeeds is in the authors keen observations and perspective on the various social, economic, and cultural aspects that shaped these men and in a way, made her both part of them and apart from them. Wisely, Jesmyn Ward avoids sermonizing - she lets the stories speak for themselves and there are many sad and poignant moments. Yet despite this, I wasn't moved and at times, struggled to stay interested. A definite plus was the first rate narration by Cherise Booth.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Longest War: America and Al-Qaeda Since 9/11

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Peter L. Bergen
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    In The Longest War, Peter Bergen offers a comprehensive history of this war and its evolution, from the strategies devised in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to the fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and beyond. Weaving together internal documents from al-Qaeda and the U.S. offices of counterterrorism, first-person interviews with top-level jihadists and senior Washington officials, along with his own experiences on the ground in the Middle East, Bergen balances the accounts of each side.

    Jeffrey Dame says: "very good, completes the picture - take a listen"
    "Blend of history and critique"
    Overall
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    Would you listen to The Longest War again? Why?

    Listened to this after having read The Looming Tower. Taken together, they form bookends on the history of Al Qaeda with TLT tracing its history up to 9/11 and TLW from 9/11 to around 2009. Bergen is a respected terrorism analyst and this book is a mix of history and critique of US policy in combatting Al Qaeda. Bergen doesn't pull any punches here - by and large he asserts that US tactics and strategy in battling al Qaeda has mostly been characterized by missteps and failed opportunities. Still, this is an interesting read and examines the war on Islamic terrorism from both sides. It is a good read and never dull. Sometimes, though, I felt Bergen may have overstepped in the criticism department, not necessarily because what he says isn't true, but rather because it can jarringly interrupt the narrative. As well, the book was written before the killing of Osama bin Laden so the latter portion which speculates on his fate and the direction of the war seems outdated. Nonetheless, this is well worth reading and qualifies as a can't put down page turner.


    What other book might you compare The Longest War to and why?

    Read together with The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright, the reader will get a comprehensive history of Al Qaeda.


    What about Peter Ganim’s performance did you like?

    Well read - never dry.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1093)
    Performance
    (388)
    Story
    (385)

    This is a sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans, and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright's remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.

    John says: "Riveting... Sobering... Chilling..."
    "Brilliant - a non-fiction thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is thoroughly engrossing and compelling read, tracing the origins of al Qaeda from its philosophical founding through to the overthrow of the Taliban. Rich with details, the pacing nonetheless never lags - lets call it a non-fiction thriller. There are lots of interesting bits throughout but what really surprised me was were the numerous occasions where what we now call al Qaeda might never have come to be if not for some combination of luck, timing, or inadvertent consequences. Easily, OBL or his organization might have faded into obscurity on more than a few occasions - it's amazing that they didn't. Overall, the author does a great job of shepherding the reader through the evolution of al Qaeda and it's prime movers and shakers. As we get closer to 9/11 he also weaves into the narrative the growing awareness of the threat al Qaeda posed to the US and how it began to track this. Fascinating from beginning to end. All in all, a very compelling and entertaining read for anyone who wants a better understanding of the growth of Islamic terrorism and the personalities, players, and their motives.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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