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Brandon S. Gillette

Lawrence, KS | Member Since 2014

  • 3 reviews
  • 21 ratings
  • 635 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2015

  • The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Thomas Hager
    • Narrated By Adam Verner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    At the dawn of the 20th century, humanity was facing global disaster. Mass starvation, long predicted for the fast-growing population, was about to become a reality. A call went out to the worlds scientists to find a solution. This is the story of the two enormously gifted, fatally flawed men who found it: the brilliant, self-important Fritz Haber and the reclusive, alcoholic Carl Bosch. Together they discovered a way to make bread out of air, built city-sized factories, controlled world markets, and saved millions of lives.

    sarah says: "Riveting"
    "I can't believe I didn't know any of this"
    What did you like best about this story?

    This is the best kind of non-fiction. It is human-focused, so it organizes the story around a few key people, but it is about wide-scale events of world-changing importance. There are many non-fiction books that seek to deliver information and to do so in an accessible way. Most of these don't figure out how to deliver the information in a compelling way. Still more of these are interesting if you're already interested in the topic, but not otherwise. This book is compelling, and should be interesting to anyone who wants to know something of critical importance to the world. I am a fairly well-read person who is generally scientifically and historically literate, and I have no idea why I knew basically nothing of the subject of this book. So many facts about the first two world wars come into focus thanks to the information in this book. Bravo.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Firestorm: Destroyermen, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Taylor Anderson
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy and the crew of the USS Walker find themselves caught between the nation they swore to defend and the allies they promised to protect. For even as the Allies and the Empire of New Britain Isles stand united against the attacks of both the savage Grik and the tenacious Japanese, the "Holy Dominion" - a warped mixture of human cultures whose lust for power overshadows even the Grik - is threatening to destroy them both with a devastating weapon neither can withstand.

    Waldo O. Berry III says: "A smashin good read and an excellent performance"
    "Not buying any more until the last one is done"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    That's hard to say. I like the book so far, but since the narrative just keeps going and going seemingly without end, I don't know if I would be on the hook if it just starts to drag on and on and on and eventually sucks.

    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    No spoilers possible. There isn't an ending yet. None of the books sufficiently wraps things up, it's just one long story that is still going.

    What about William Dufris’s performance did you like?

    As always, Dufris has a good feel for his characters and puts a great deal of energy into his reading.

    Any additional comments?

    My sincere hope is that this series, though it started very well does not just continue until all of the magic is gone (like American TV, the goal is to stay on until it sucks bad enough to cancel).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

    Paige says: "Not his Wheal-house"
    "Hilarious Novel, Three Remarkable Codas"
    If you could sum up Redshirts in three words, what would they be?

    Everyone should listen to this book. (I kinda thought this field would limit me to three words given the prompt, but I guess I beat the system on this one.)

    What other book might you compare Redshirts to and why?

    Oddly enough, a great companion book to this one is Kurt Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions". I found this book something of an uplifting and beautiful answer to the bleakly despondent outcome of "Breakfast of Champions" It's easier just to say listen to both of these excellent examples of literature and the connection between them becomes clear.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    "It gets worse...I don't think it's a very good show." - Jenkins

    Any additional comments?

    Most of this novel is as described in the plot summary, and is Scalzi doing the things he does best. His characters are sardonic and immediately lovable, his dialog sharp, and the way that he ruthlessly skewers every foible of the television sci-fi formula will leave you chuckling more or less constantly for the first several hours of the book, provided you have ever seen any television sci-fi (star trek included, but they're pretty much all that way). But just when you think the story is done with you and that it was amusing and really fun, the codas take the story to an entirely new and unexpected level, and turn the story from a must-read comedy into an important work of literature. I am sincerely grateful to Scalzi for writing this beautiful work.

    I was glad to see WIl Wheaton reading this story, also. He's very good at audio narration and I hope to hear more from him in this field. Also, it's perfectly apropos for a Star Trek cast member to be reading this one.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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