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Acteon

Acteon

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Member Since 2009

49
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 71 reviews
  • 71 ratings
  • 582 titles in library
  • 154 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Leonard Mlodinow
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2583)
    Performance
    (1520)
    Story
    (1492)

    In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

    Joshua Kim says: "Very Very Smart"
    "A wonderful book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Drunkard's Walk rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Among the best (but these are many!).


    What did you like best about this story?

    It puts into perspective what happens in life. And presents much that is stimulating along the way.


    Which character – as performed by Sean Pratt – was your favorite?

    On the whole Sean Pratt does a great job, but his pronunciation of some foreign names leaves something to be desired. Also, I have never heard Newton's 'Principia' pronounced as if it were an Italian word, with accent on -pi and a soft c in -ci; no Latin taught anywhere, despite differences, would support this, nor does common usage. This, however, is without importance; foreign names however is a more serious issue, one which never ceases to concern me (it is very annoying when one cannot identify someone who is mentioned). I urge the producers of audiobooks to provide a pdf with just a list of proper names.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The story of Sabina, the author's aunt who was gassed by the Nazis.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't have time to write extensively but would urge you to listen to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country's Most Controversial Cover-Ups

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Richard Belzer, David Wayne
    • Narrated By Richard Belzer, Ice-T, Kelli Giddish, and others
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (47)

    Dead Wrong is a study of the scientific and forensic facts of four assassinations of the 1960s (President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black Panther leader Fred Hampton), as well as an examination of new and incriminating evidence indicative of murder, not suicide, in the deaths of Marilyn Monroe, White House Counsel Vincent Foster, U.N. Weapons Inspector Dr. David C. Kelly and bioweapons expert Frank Olson.

    Thomas says: "This Book is "DEAD ON""
    "Great content, poorly written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, but with a warning that it is terribly repetitive. Other reviewers have pointed this out, but until I listened myself, I did not believe it could be that bad. The content however is of such great interest that I recommend it nonetheless.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Reveals many things that are important to know.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Tudors

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By G. J. Meyer
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (177)
    Performance
    (106)
    Story
    (110)

    For the first time in decades, here, in a single volume, is a fresh look at the fabled Tudor dynasty, comprising some of the most enigmatic figures ever to rule a country. Acclaimed historian G. J. Meyer reveals the flesh-and-bone reality in all its wild excess.

    Linda Lou says: "OUTSTANDING!"
    "Best book I know on the Tudors"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Tudors in three words, what would they be?

    Illuminating, insightful, enriching


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is the overall the best account (by far) I've read/heard on the Tudors. By providing a good deal of background information that puts the events and personages in a meaningful historical perspective, it leads us to a deeper as well as broader understanding of the era and of the players, and revises our vision.


    Which character – as performed by Robin Sachs – was your favorite?

    Dudley, whom I used to see as more foolish and rash.


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

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    One thing that comes through clearly in this book is how much the glamorous view of the Tudors was deliberately created through propaganda. And how great a difference there is between how Henry and Elizabeth wanted to see themselves and how they were. Some reviewers here object to the author "hating" Elizabeth. This seems to me off the mark. Our sympathy or antipathy to people of the past come from what we know of them, and to the extent that we learn more, our feelings change: we have no personal relationship with them and cannot know them except through books and documents. If what we've read has helped us develop strong feelings toward one or another, it is all to the good if other books come along to correct our illusions It does not seem to me that the author is in any way prejudiced against Henry or Elizabeth: in presenting many repulsive aspects of their behaviour that shatter the idealistic visions one might have had, Meyer is only drawing us closer to an objective and realistic appreciation.

    I was struck by Meyer's brief evocation of Pope Alexander VI in this book as a monster: this is the received view that he would overturn in his next book 'The Borgias'. This would appear to illustrate his open-minded attitude toward historical inquiry, although one could more cynically take it as interested exploitation of contrarian views (an interpretation utterly refuted by the outstanding quality of his books, foremost perhaps his outstanding account of World War I).

    The more I learn of history, the more I realize that famous people of the past are often not what they have been made out to be. And each time we revise our view of someone or something, we gain insight not only into that particular subject but into humanity itself. This is why history is of such passionate interest.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Timothy Brook
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    A Vermeer painting shows a military officer in a Dutch sitting room, talking to a laughing girl. In another canvas, fruit spills from a blue-and-white porcelain bowl. Familiar images that captivate us with their beauty--but as Timothy Brook shows us, these intimate pictures actually give us a remarkable view of an expanding world.

    Acteon says: "A wonderful book"
    "A wonderful book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Vermeer's Hat to be better than the print version?

    For me, yes; reading is more strenuous for me than listening, and I can listen while walking and doing all sorts of things, as well as lying in bed with my eyes closed.


    Have you listened to any of Malcolm Hillgartner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. He is a fine reader. He is energetic and seems interested. The pronunciation of Chinese names is poor but I suppose it is too much to expect readers to learn the pinyin system (but then, why not?). European names are for the most part well pronounced.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a book for everyone who loves Vermeer, and a great starting point for those not yet familiar with his paintings. It draws together things in a fascinating way (among others, the rise and fall of Dutch painting, the decisive role South American silver played in the fate of Europe and China, the rivalry between different European countries and how it played out at sea, the story of tobacco in Europe and Asia, the use and fabrication of porcelain in Europe, Chinese vs. European cartography ). I listened to the book almost in one sitting... in any case in one day. Didn't want to stop. By the way, do not be put off by the lack of illustrations. The Vermeer paintings are so well known that their images can easily be found (of course you will then have to go and see the paintings themselves, which is something to look forward to in itself).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Borgias: The Hidden History

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs)
    • By G. J. Meyer
    • Narrated By Enn Reitel
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (81)

    The startling truth behind one of the most notorious dynasties in history is revealed in a remarkable new account by the acclaimed author of The Tudors and A World Undone. Sweeping aside the gossip, slander, and distortion that have shrouded the Borgias for centuries, G. J. Meyer offers an unprecedented portrait of the infamous Renaissance family and their storied milieu.

    Cinders says: "Marvelous !"
    "Terrific book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Borgias in three words, what would they be?

    Enlightening, exhilarating, stimulating


    Have you listened to any of Enn Reitel’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but he does an good job. Most of the foreign names are pronounced correctly, but some of the Italian names are mispronounced (putting the accent on the right syllable can be tricky).


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

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Some of the more negative reviewers seem to want more romance, but this book is a historical account, and though it cannot but be of interest to anyone who acquainted with the TV series or with other works of fiction, its greatest appeal is to those of us who have a real interest in history rather than in historical fiction. I find it hard to understand the criticism. The author takes great pains in reviewing all available sources, as well as in explaining what previous writers on the subject failed to do, yet some complain that there is "not enough" on the Borgias, or that the book represents but one view among others.

    I found the book particularly worthwhile because it made me understand better Renaissance Italy (on which I had read quite a few books) and the nature of the papacy (I had already listened to a couple of books on the papacy but this one gave me a better perception of some aspects).

    It is of course also wonderful to to see Alexander VI and Lucretia in a new light. Despite his faults and failings, Alexander was clearly among the better popes of the period, and if there were such a thing as Hell, he would surely be among the minority of popes to escape it.This book also made me wonder what others especially in the more distant past (when records were scant and much is based on hearsay) have had their reputation destroyed by calumny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral - and How It Changed the American West

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jeff Guinn
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (189)
    Performance
    (159)
    Story
    (160)

    For the first time ever, the full story of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral - not only what really happened but why, and how mythology has led us to completely misinterpret the real history of the frontier. Combining cinematic storytelling with prodigious research, The Last Gunfight upends conventional wisdom about what the West was really like, who the Earps and Doc Holliday really were, and what actually happened in Tombstone on that cold day in October 1881.

    K. says: "Better Than Advertised - An Important story"
    "Well worth it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Last Gunfight?

    That it gives a good idea of what actually went on in Tombstone and by extension in the old west.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Virgil Earp, Wyatt's elder brother, who seemed a good man, the kind that one imagines as lawman: strong, level-headed, reliable.


    Which character – as performed by Stephen Hoye – was your favorite?

    Josephine -- she isn't really a favourite character but she is pretty impressive, especially in her transformation into Wyatt's steadfast wife.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Virgil Earp got killed: he deserved better.


    Any additional comments?

    It is really interesting to get perspective on the myths of the wild west that have been so important in the second half of the twentieth century (I had not realized that it started so late).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery, and Endurance in Early America

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Scott Weidensaul
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (52)

    Frontier: the word carries the inevitable scent of the West. But before Custer or Lewis and Clark, before the first Conestoga wagons rumbled across the Plains, it was the East that marked the frontier - the boundary between complex Native cultures and the first colonizing Europeans.Here is the older, wilder, darker history of a time when the land between the Atlantic and the Appalachians was contested ground - when radically different societies adopted and adapted the ways of the other, while struggling for control of what all considered to be their land.

    Acteon says: "Worth a listen"
    "Worth a listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, but it was not as enjoyable as I had anticipated (I was really looking forward to it). However, it was well worth it.


    What other book might you compare The First Frontier to and why?

    Fred Anderson's The War that Made America, which covers some of the same period and events. In fact, if I hadn't listened to Anderson's book first, I would have a even higher opinion of this one, but Anderson often is more to the point and presents things in a clearer way. For instance, it was quite clear in Anderson's book why Washington became an aide to Gen. Braddock, but it wasn't in Weidensaul's account.


    What aspect of Paul Boehmer’s performance would you have changed?

    It was OK, but I found myself falling asleep more often than usual. His reading is somewhat flat, but not bad.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Immediately! Couldn't wait.


    Any additional comments?

    While I hate PC as much as anybody, I do not agree with another review's criticism. This book did not seem to me to present the Indians in a particularly PC way; to me, the presentation seemed fair and objective. The Indians were no saints, they could be treacherous and cruel, and the book does not hide this. What it does do is make us understand the complexity of the Indians' world when the Europeans started to wreak havoc. We tend not be be insufficiently aware of how many they were before the Europeans came, and how complex the relationships were between different tribes. The great interest of this book is to give us a better sense of how things must have looked to Indians, and of the tragic misunderstandings between Indians and Europeans in addition to the Europeans' rapacity and prejudices. And even apart from inadvertently killing off nine-tenth of the native population with the germs they brought, on the whole the Europeans certainly behaved worse than those they considered inferior, often to their own detriment.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Brain Bugs: How the Brain’s Flaws Shape Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Dean Buonomano
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (184)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (145)

    With its trillions of connections, the human brain is more beautiful and complex than anything we could ever build, but it’s far from perfect: our memory is unreliable; we can’t multiply large sums in our heads; advertising manipulates our judgment; we tend to distrust people who are different from us; supernatural beliefs and superstitions are hard to shake; we prefer instant gratification to long-term gain; and what we presume to be rational decisions are often anything but.

    Sean says: "Superficial, but mostly correct"
    "A very worthwhile book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Brain Bugs in three words, what would they be?

    Stimulating, illuminating, enriching


    What did you like best about this story?

    As some reviews have pointed out, this book presents a lot of research that are by now fairly well-known, without adding much that is new. However, I disagree with the view that one would do better to read certain other books, which though good (or better in some ways) yet do not make this one superfluous (unless you have an exceptional memory that retains most of what you read, AND are able to synthesize it). Brain Bugs is indeed what one might call an introductory level book, but I (who had read quite a few books on the subject so that much of the material was not "new") found that it presents things in its own light and thereby gave additional meaning to them. Because of some of the negative comments here, I hesitated a long time before buying the book (finally did only because it was on a BOGO sale), but having listened to it, I would be more than willing to pay full price. What brain research has uncovered is germane to so many essential aspects of life that I am happy to go over it more than once and to try to find as many pertinent angles as possible.

    I was particularly stimulated by the author's reflections on religion and politics, and on our real-life relationship to these.


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

    William Hughes has a pleasant voice and an energetic, interested way of reading. I hardly noticed the mispronunciation of words that bothered another reviewer, and was on the whole entirely satisfied. I won't give him five stars, but four and a half if that were an option.


    Any additional comments?

    I strongly disagree with those who object to the book because of its political bias. I can find nothing that anybody looking at things from an objective, scientific viewpoint would contest. You may not follow the author all the way in some of what he suggests (always on the basis of scientific discoveries and not in a purely speculative way), but the topics he broaches and sheds considerable light on are those of the greatest importance: political behaviour, spiritual experience, religious tradition. And I found the author's reflections extremely stimulating.

    A terrific book that I almost missed because of a few negative reviewers. I urge you not to be misled as I almost was!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sultans

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Noel Barber
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    This brilliantly readable work of history tells the bizarre story of the Ottoman Empire as seen through the lives of its extravagant and tyrannical sultans. With their absolute power, their love of pomp, and their overwhelming venality and corruption, rarely has a great empire been ruled by such grotesque and awesome figures. For 400 years, they fought wars, terrorized their subjects, made Turkey into a great empire, and then allowed her to decline into ostentatious and impotent decay.

    David says: "One of the indispensables for several reasons:"
    "Both entertaining and informative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely. The book filled in some important gaps in my knowledge of history, and was hard to put down. The Ottoman empire played an extremely important part in European history, and this book helps one to understand some essential elements: what was behind the terror that the Turks held for Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, why the empire fell apart, what the consequences were of this collapse. Come lurid details are indispensable for understanding.The almost caricatural but alas all too real excesses of the Ottoman sultans and their social-cultural support system is a good point of departure for reflecting on the importance of democracy (which sometimes seems a fallible system) and also on the role of religion in sustaining tyranny.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Frederick Davidson?

    Yes. He is not among my favorite readers, however.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Armenians were deliberately killed by the tens of thousands, for the flimsiest of reasons.When a particularly able general, betrayed by his sultan, was finally wounded and captured and treated with great courtesy by his captors.When Attaturk's first paramour hurries to his side upon receiving news of his divorce, only to be refused entrance, and is found dead in the street the next day with a bullet in her.


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of those audiobooks I could hardly put down, and I will surely listen to it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Joseph E. Stiglitz
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (422)
    Performance
    (354)
    Story
    (356)

    The top 1 percent of Americans control 40 percent of the nation's wealth. And, as Joseph E. Stiglitz explains, while those at the top enjoy the best health care, education, and benefits of wealth, they fail to realize that "their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live." Stiglitz draws on his deep understanding of economics to show that growing inequality is not inevitable. He examines our current state, then teases out its implications for democracy, for monetary and budgetary policy, and for globalization. He closes with a plan for a more just and prosperous future.

    Grant says: "Dense, but important."
    "An important reminder"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Price of Inequality again? Why?

    Certainly parts.


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

    In one instance it cost the state $4 million to save the city $1 million. This is not a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.


    Any additional comments?

    Stieglitz's main points are ones that nobody with any moral sense could deny and that can never be restated too often. The solutions he proposes may not seem the best to everyone, but most are eminently sensible, and if we look at things objectively rather from the standpoint of personal interest, we have to approve most of them. For instance, I personally prefer to leave my estate to people close to me without giving any to the government, and if it comes to a vote on the estate tax, I would vote against it out of personal interest, especially when I see the vast sums paid to banks who give obscene amounts to underserving CEOs. However, IF I could vote for all or several of Stieglitz's recommendations as a packet, I would certainly not hesitate!

    Stieglitz book is a timely reminder 1. that our entire society has evolved in a deplorable direction during the past few decades and that we are heading somewhere that nobody wants to go 2. that our personal well-being is closely connected to the well-being of the society in which we live, so if that society is undermined by excessive inequality and a pernicious ideology based on selfishness, certain things that may seem to be personal sacrifice are in fact a way to save our society and ourselves. This may not be anything "new", but most of us lose sight of this in our lives. Those who reject Stieglitz's book might well ask themselves whether it is because he uncomfortably pricks their inner moral sensibility that it is more comfortable to ignore.

    Do not let negative comments here keep you from reading this book with its important and well-argued message! It was not one of the books I started listening to with the most eagerness, but I was immensely happy and grateful when I did.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    Overall
    (593)
    Performance
    (349)
    Story
    (346)

    An old Chinese proverb says "Women hold up half the sky." Then why do the women of Africa and Asia persistently suffer human rights abuses? Continuing their focus on humanitarian issues, journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn take us to Africa and Asia, where many women live in profoundly dire circumstances.

    Nancy says: "This unabridged book is abridged"
    "A book everyone should read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Half the Sky rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Among the most important


    What did you like best about this story?

    It exposes the shocking plight of millions of women in the world, AND it informs us of concrete ways to help. It is devastating in the horrors it reveals, and uplifting in the hope it evokes.

    I was very reluctant to give to charities because I distrust organizations (why give anything if most of it goes to administrators or gets dissipated if not worse?), but this book directed me toward alternatives where such fears are circumvented.


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

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    In an age of increasing strife, corruption, fanaticism and selfishness, helping women everywhere to take their proper place in the world may well be our best way to survive.It should be noted that cultures than produce the worst violence and fanaticism are those in which women are the most oppressed. A deep reason underlies this: women are the ones that bring up children, and women suffering from oppression transmit this unconsciously to small boys who become deeply conflicted and frustrated men drawn to violence, oppression and fanaticism.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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