I did not think this book would ever end. The characters are all one dimensional, to an excruciating degree. I know that is Dickens' trademark, but he really outdid himself here. Dickens is one of my favorite authors, but not because of works like this. This was simply horrid, and needlessly so - huge amounts of it were totally extraneous. Extremely difficult to figure out just what the heck the story was, only became apparent at the very end because of all the garbage filler. I guess it was scandalous 150 years ago, but all I could think was "please put me out of my misery." What's weird is that the house that's called "Bleak" is not supposed to be "bleak" at all, it's supposed to be a happy home. I think maybe the term got its meaning from this book. I listened to it a long time ago, so can't comment on the narrator, which, if memory serves at all, is probably a good thing for the narrator, because I seem to recall it being garbled. But that might have been a production problem. Anyhow, excellent cure for chronic insomnia. Two stars just because it's DICKENS, fer cryin' out loud, and it WAS scandalous 150 years ago, if you could manage to wade through all the excess muck. (Probably written as a serial in a periodical, where more words meant more episodes, meant more $$, to our ultimate disservice.)
Rachel Carson's original investigation into the harms of pesticides is groundbreaking. But - no fault of the narrator - much does not convey audibly - long lists of numbers, statisics, etc. Better to read this classic in print.
This is a fascinating and eye-opening inside look into the business of execution, as well as into the life and practice of a lawyer defending death row inmates. This is some intense lawyering, let me tell you! And the details about the ins and outs of this practice - the races for appeals, the maddening frustrations, the heart-breaking losses - "justice is blind" (mostly to its own injustice) - were excellently told. The quality of Dow's writing is superb - simultaneously engaging and matter-of-fact.
But the interview in the appendix at the end was, to me, the most highly illuminating - when Dow emphasizes how lawyers - not just contract lawyers or divorce lawyers but also death row lawyers - are bound by the code of confidentiality that binds all lawyers - to take the secrets of the client-attorney relationship to the grave - for example, they cannot even talk to their spouses about how their day went.(except in the most general way, I suppose).
Getting this interview at the end of this very intense book was quite the unexpected bonus! Dow - and other death row attorneys - are most likely carrying some very weighty secrets. And for him to translate them into this engrossing, educational, heart-rending story with the ring of truth without violating confidences was quite a feat! Well done!
I can't begin to describe all that's in this book! The subtitle really sums it up: cures, myths, mysteries, prayers, diaries (which struck me s a really great idea), brain scans, healing (I could only wish!), and "the science of suffering" (which, of course, is not a science at all) - and, as they say on "as seen on TV" ads, "and much much more!!"
A great deal that's informative, interesting, even philosophical. The outline is a chronicle of the author's own experience with chronic pain, which forms a framework - or "skeleton" might be a more apt metaphor - from which she hangs various forays into different aspects of pain, suffering, pain management, social aspects of pain, history of pain, impact of pain on the execution of one's days and one's life, evolution of pain in a sufferer's life, anatomy/physiology/chemistry of pain, philosophy, all else that is detailed in the aforementioned subtitle, and probably "much much more" not coming to mind at the moment
The book is elegantly read by Laural Merlington. The intimacy with which she reads the material makes you want to double-check that she is not actually the author.
There is so much good, usable info here that I want ready access to, that I'm going to get a hard copy of this book. If you have been grappling with pain - chronic pain, cancer pain, whatever form of pain that's plaguing you - please get this book!! You need it!! And I WOULD in fact recommend at least starting with this audio version for an initial reading. And... good luck to you!
This is an interesting, somewhat inspiring memoir, read very nicely by the author. Not great or earth-shaking, but really quite interesting hearing all the details about how she was able to climb from low to high. A really nice aspect was how I felt I could relate - how I could feel I was in her shoes with her struggles & successes.
Her start as a child was ugly and difficult, but not as horrific as she seems to think it was - more dysfunctional (yes, very much so) than disastrous. It does indeed have the appearance of less than auspicious beginnings, but this is true of many who rise to great heights. And not everyone is fortunate enough to have the unwavering support she had from her grandmother, even if often from afar. Having someone who believes in you and to whom you can always turn IS a blessing common to those who work their way up from great depths to great success, and many acknowledge and remark that they would not have succeeded without that grace.
Likewise, her successes appear to be made in no small part of incredible good fortune - I was rather amazed at how she rather "magically" transformed what seemed (to me, at least) as a rather mundane and relatively common talent into a blockbuster. She started by selling a window dressing - what I marveled at more than her talent, hard work (she DID work very hard), and business savvy, was how many people wanted window dressings, to be her customers!! I had no idea!! Then again, I'm not at all familiar with her work, maybe it's beyond fabulous. In fact, I'm not familiar with her at all, had never heard of her before. (Maybe because I don't watch TV?)
Which brings me to a very salient point: She is, as far as I can tell, NOT the same Sandra Lee who wrote some incredible Australian non-fiction stories available here on Audible.com!! THIS Sandra Lee, here on this page, seems like a nice enough person with good story to tell, and her book is in fact well-written and she's done an admirable job narrating it - but no hint that she is associated with those other books - nor Australia!! Just a heads-up to anyone who, like I did, thinks they are the same Sandra Lee - they are not! But still a worthwhile book, make no mistake!! I would, in fact, recommend it to anyone who IS looking for the American homemaker-TV personality Sandra Lee!! It's a good story!!
Not so much an audiobook as a recording of a presentation before a live audience. Information presented is not very informative or helpful - the hints & tips the author offers are basic, standard organizational techniques, nothing new and certainly nothing "innovative", particularly for e-info overload I was hoping for.
I couldn't even finish listening to it because I found it so painfully boring. As of the point I got to, there was nothing effective in the way of really taming the paper monster, nor the burgeoning email monster, nor the accumulated e-flotsam & e-jetsam that accumulates on a hard drive over time. Maybe he got brilliant in the part I gave up on and solved these problems.
Suggested only for those novices truly organizationally challenged.
This book, "In Defense of Food," is galvanizing, offering a holistic re-orientation to the whole realm of food and all that's involved in it.
Pollan gives us a useful new villain, "nutritionalism" (a term previously coined by another author), which is our (and more so, "the pro's" - researchers, dieticians, etc)tendency to want to think of foods in terms of individual nutrients - carbs, protein, fat, micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, co-factors, enzymes, etc), and the omnipresent calorie. This is inculcated through our whole culture, and Pollan suggests it is a BARRIER. He suggests that ESCAPING that fragmented, malfunctioning mindset is our salvation, and offers holistic means of achieving the health and dietary peace that evades us.
(One very little hitch in all this gitalong: Though at each point along the way, Pollan guides the reader such that his various recommendations seem feasible at each step, with the reader nodding in agreement that yes, this is something I could do - at the very end (the VERY end) he picks up a huge amount of speed and arrives at the finish line a bit breathless - with the reader - well, THIS reader - thinking um, I'm not sure about this, you left me in the dust a little ways back there! But... I guess that's another book.)
Otherwise, excellent: brilliantly conceived, creatively researched, beautifully written. And the reading is simply top-notch, the pairing of book & reader is a marriage made in heaven. Scott Brick's delivery is as articulate, as accurate, as brisk, and as bitingly accusatory as David Hyde Pierce, while being as soothing, helpful, hopeful and compassionate as the movement of the text demands.
It is a big topic Pollan has taken on, in terms of the technical scope of the material as well as the social reach of his analysis, and I think he's done a marvelous job, really hit the nail on the head, or very nearly so. I have his other book, "Omnivore's Dilemma" in my library and can't wait to get to it next.
This story is about a railroad car stranded in a snowstorm. The inhabitants discuss... cannibalism for survival, but approach the process by parliamentary rules of order, or what they think are parliamentary rules of order. I've had this little story on my iPod over 2 years, and stories come and stories go, but this one stays! I'm sure I listen to it at least once a month. It elicits the kind of laughter... well, not peals or gales or guffaws - more like the squeals of a pig! It is such absurd nonsense and so delightfully "full of it" (in more ways than one!). It just tickles my funnybone clear to the core!! If I were to recommend ANYTHING on Audible, it would be THIS, and one I consider a companion piece, also Twain, roughly titled, ""Private History of a Campaign That Failed." Put those on your iPod and you're fully equipped for any situation! Can't recommend either of them highly enough!! GREAT stuff! I downloaded ALL the Twain short stories (as well as O Henry, Rudyard Kipling, Jack London and some others), and these are the cream of the crop! Download this, and you, too, can squeal (in delight) like a pig!
I just loved the reader (Patrick Lawlor) who was remarkable not only for portraying the post-adolescent boy telling the tale, but also gave form to Antonia, as she grew from hardy immigrant girl - no sissy, she! - to virtual workhorse, never losing her spirit. I loved the setting - that prairie, wide, beautiful, untamed - and those people set out to tame it. I loved the various details - the dried mushrooms handcarried from Bohemia, so precious! (I was so intrigued by this book, I had to look up "Bohemia," because I had not known it was an actual country, had always heard the term "Bohemian" as though it was a region or an ethnic group. But no! A very important country until just very recently! ) A great, classic, "mind-expanding" story for this old Easterner! Most definitely highly recommended for young and old alike! (Especially old Easterners!)
I was LOST at first listening to this book until I looked it up on Wiki and got 2 tips: one was that the timeline is not linear, there are backflashes and foreflashes - BIG HELP - and the other was a list of characters. Just scanning through the list once helped cement in my mind who was who - helpful in an audiobook where it's not so easy to flip back a few pages to refresh yourself re: who is who. Anyhow, the nonlinear timeshifts turned out to be exciting in the audio version. The characters - Jay Sanders did BEYOND outstanding not only differentiating them but also characterizing them - what a GREAT job narrating! I can't speak highly enough of Sanders! Catch-22 has been part of our culture for the last 40 or 50 years, so I don't need to rave on about the book itself. Actually, from my perspective, it's the various components of the book - the characters, the non-linearity, the proverbial "catch-22", the hospital, the repetitive bombing runs, etc - that make up the story almost more that the story itself (perhaps because the story gets kind of lost in the components, especially the time shifts). Anyhow, it was a wonderful, dark, scary, confusing, funny listen, sort of a grown-up "Alice in Wonderland" - Highly Recommended!
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