Austin, TX, United States | Member Since 2015
"Rabid" starts off with a bang. There are scintillating tidbits of information, swift pacing, and even an instance of rabies being in one of the first jokes, told thousands of years ago (And the reader says, "Stop me if you've heard this one." He follows up with, "It's funnier in the original language." Hilarious!) There's quite a number of anecdotes, plenty of great stories about Louis Pasteur and how his group struggled to get saliva from animals in active states of rabies, just some wonderful stuff.
But it starts to struggle during the middle, and I was downright bored at one point. That point would be when the authors go off on a huge, and practically ridiculous tangent about vampires. I mean, really? Okay, I kind of get it: vampire bats, the belief that people bitten turned into creatures entirely unlike themselves, etc. But it is a stretch and a half, and it's downright annoying when the Twilight series is brought up. Oh, how "groovy."
What makes this book so enjoyable, however, once you get past that chapter, is Heller's spectacular narration. He adds so much to the reading: humor, breathlessness, passion, and about every other delightful emotion one could think of that would make this a great and engaging listen.
Not quite four-stars, but with the narration, very close. I'm glad I got it. Just hearing that Emily Bronte was bitten by a rabid dog and brought a red hot poker to cauterize her own flesh was worth the time spent, as there's plenty more in the book where that came from.
But seriously, this book is totally worth the profanity. Like, who the hell cares, right? People are who they are, and Jackson Galaxy rocks in my book. This is one incredibly messed up man who I can completely relate to, having made some pretty poor choices in my time. (It's hard out there! It's hard in here! It's hard!) He gives us, the reader/listener complete access to his life, no excuses, well, plenty of the excuses he made at the time, knowing how totally full of it he was (is that bravery, honesty, or what?), and let's us walk/stagger along in his shoes. It's quite a journey. Especially when we get to the two, what my husband and I call, God Moments:
He applies, and gets a job at an animal shelter.
He offers to foster, then adopts a horribly injured cat named Omni (OMNI, for gosh sakes! Whatthehell?!?)
The book up until Omni/Benny is pretty great. Because Galaxy's got the gift o' the gato. If you love cats, you'll be reassured of some of the things you've been using already, and you'll learn a few more things. I remember this one cat I worked with after Hurricane Katrina: It was so terrified in its cage, would NOT sleep. I crouched away from it, did the gentle blinking, softly stroked the blanket by the opening of its cage and whispered rhythmically until I could get it to fall asleep. Took 1hr. 15mins. and I stayed there so it could have 20 mins. REM sleep and I was in PAIN. But as Galaxy says (and demonstrates) over and over through this wonderful, marvelous book: Screw all that! They are SO worth it!
The real wonder of the book comes with the arrival of Benny because Benny is an eye opener, a game changer, the best damned cat ever.
Benny's the kind of cat that makes you swear you'll write a book about
Benny's the kind of cat that makes this an, oh-so worthy listen!
I realized that, while I thought Herzog was being even-handed with his research and presentation, he actually wasn't. We all know that we can find research that backs up ANY point of view, and Herzog did that a couple of times. I felt that was okay for the most part as he would later clarify a more reasoned position. It turns out I have a really big problem with this for a few reasons: 1) Starting off an argument with unsound reasoning. It detracts from anything worthwhile. Vegans and vegetarians run the risk of becoming anorexics and bulimics? Blah, blah, blah. Oh, wait! Actually, the REAL study says that ANOREXICS and BULIMICS sometimes turn to veganism/vegeterianism. BIG difference, Mr. Herzog. 2) Just plain wrong. A gazillion percent of practicing vegetarians admit to eating meat within the past 24-hrs. Huh? This is where I think you can dig up any sort of sample to to get any sort of answer you want from your research.
Finally, the lack of a fourth star is because I truly, truly, truly wonder if people are so stupid? They'll call themselves vegetarian but will eat chicken and fish? They'll be against cockfighting but will eat chicken?
And Mr. Herzog? You think it's cruel the way chickens are raised but a rooster raised to be slaughtered by claws and blades is okay? And it's okay to spout histrionic studies first, relatively sane studies last? Oy, you give me a headache...
Seriously, every now and then this book tried getting a bit political and I kept thinking that Grimm was going to force Unionization upon our favorite four-legged friends. Thankfully however, he stopped short of this, and let me just take this opportunity to get the "political" aspect of the book out of the way. There's quite a bit of back and forth about whether animals should legally be granted "personhood," should be granted rights. This is ticking off veterinarians (malpractice suits), agribusiness (livestock/meat industry), and laboratories (Oh, hell, what are we gonna cut up now?). ALL of them are squawking about not giving animals those rights: it'll ruin their business, slow production, set science back, etc. etc. And most people are against it too because oddly enough, in a lot of states, it would give animals more rights than people. To this I say, animals need more protection in businesses--they suffer far too much. I'm not saying stop using them, just, jiminy h. cricket, can't we be more humane?!? Also, do we always have to drop to the least common denominator? How about, instead of continuing to deny rights to animals, let's elevate rights for humans also?
Okay, that was my rant about that part of the book, and that's not what the whoooole book was about. There was plenty of great stuff in here. A few ick bits, as D. Grimm goes on an "Animal Cops"-type ride along to find the severed heads of two dogs (and hallelujah, at least we're in a day and age where that's legally taken seriously). But some great visits to rescues, and sanctuaries are here also. Ditto with the histories of our beloved furbags.
I really enjoyed this book, thought it was credit-worthy and the narration, if not inspired, was more than adequate.
I got involved with animal rescue after Katrina hit, was a nutcase by the time Rita swept through (even though I hadn't been there yet, but the images, my imagination, the extent of my caring about the horror were enough), and had full blown PTSD by the time I came back after two weeks in New Orleans helping out when the state was kicking out all out-of-state rescues. The place, ALL of those parishes, are dear to me. I HAD to get this book because the title: 1 Dead in Attic was pretty much something you saw everywhere (along with 4 dogs DOA, 3 cats DOA in Bathroom, things like that.)
I still grieve.
But I felt like I was given a little piece of "home," if you will, when I listened to Chris Rose's book. It's a series of his articles, all the happenings, all his thoughts, things that went on after Katrina, for over a year, the horror, the heartache, the struggles and triumphs. The depression and sense of loss. The rebirth (sometimes with meds needed).
I guess this might not be everybody's cup of tea. Katrina no longer holds the nation's attention, but it's a wonderful book in its own right, a touching one worthy of a listen.
And Bronson Pinchot? He has just grown into one of the most fearless narrators I've ever had the pleasure of listening to! Anger, exasperation, humor, tenderness, robotic depression, gentle love, all tones and expressions seem so easy for him to convey.
Wow to this book.
If you can weed through the flowery language, the endless adjectives and adjectives, you might find something here. I, however, feel that this was a waste of time. This had more the feel of a "reality check," which, okay, writers sure as hell need from time to time, but there was little wisdom offered in its place.
This is a very short work, not a lot of money, but still. The only thing worse than a waste of money is a waste of time. Save both of yours; go for a longer, more in-depth work for real education, real inspiration, real guidance.
Avoid the adjective/adverb exhaustion
First, let's just get the narration out of the way. I totally get twitchy about narration that drags, so I usually listen to all my books at x1.25 speed. This book, however, really shines at x1.50. The story becomes passionate, breathless, zips along and carries the listener with it. Lisbeth Kennelly gives a fearless and touching performance, and I have nothing but good things to say about her.
The book itself starts out with a Young Adult flair, I thought, but soon I began to pick up the universal essences from the narrative: loss, fear, loneliness, a need to belong. Things of that ilk. And by the time the two young protagonists, Hannah and Becky are "rescued," things really hit the fan, and readers of all ages will be able to relate to their dilemmas--how do we bend to society's will and still be ourselves? How do we let go of the best parts of our lives, do what's "right?" How do we live with grief? Very provocative.
Wonderfully written too. Nowra writes some gorgeous prose here. Sometimes metaphors and similes tick me off (Sorry, just have a "thing" about 'em at times), but this book is full of some really breathtaking comparisons. And I gotta say, one of the things I looooove about reading/writing, is that the written word can go ANYWHERE the writer wishes to take us. Love, loyalty, brutal betrayal, friendship, remorse, things that can never be forgiven; all surprises when handled deftly by a skilled author.
This is a great book (especially since it has tigers, and anyone who's EVER read a review of mine knows I think animals rock!), and the ONLY reason I'd be hesitant about recommending using an entire credit for it is because of how short it is, even though it's really quite a stellar work. If you're twitchy, wait for a half credit sale, Daily Deal, kindle bundle, whatever.
You'll discover your inner "beast" and will like it...
Jang Jin-sung starts the book with his life inside North Korea as a poet and quickly becomes disillusioned. Finally, he is forced, no options, to run for his life with a friend. "Dear Leader" gives a view into North Korea that only "Nothing to Envy" does more painfully, and every step of the way, we the readers, hold our breaths. Because we know, as Jang knows, as his friend knows, bad, bad, bad things will happen if they get caught trying to escape to China.
One of the things that I liked about this book, however, was that, through the doom and gloom, there were some mighty good people, willing to risk their lives (yeah, sure, maybe a couple of them asked for a pittance, but money or not, they were risking prison/death just the same) to help the young men out. So many times, books/stories of this nature have no bright spots. I was so happy to listen to people caring. I'm not sure that I'd have that kind of bravery when it came down to it, especially since Jang and everyone can NEVER relax; escaping North Korea is bad enough, but China is no picnic either.
You will bite your nails with this book. You will gasp with horror and surprise. You will pace as you listen (instead of doing things you need to do like, oh, say laundry 'cause the washing machine is too loud and you won't be able to hear the book over it...)
If you're looking for an exciting, enthralling, if appalling/horrifying read, "Dear Leader" definitely is it!
This is a jolly good book (wait, maybe jolly isn't the proper word for a book like this...?), but it's a bit over-dramatic. I don't for a second doubt the human rights abuses, the camps, the torture, the religious persecution; I think it came down to Kathy Garver's excessive snarling and growling of men/"bad guy" voices. And there are sooooo many of those that it throws the narrative and flow off.
But this is a good listen, an enlightening listen, and while I sorta had a knee jerk response when I discovered that I just purchased something that could be considered Christian literature (I know, I'm a narrow-minded toad; no offense to toads meant), I was quite pleased that the characters in the story lived their faith more than preached it. That's the way I was taught to live and I found it refreshing and inspiring.
While I thought the ending was abrupt at the time, after thinking about it for a time (and trust me, this book is good enough that you will truly think about it quite a bit), I realize that it ended the only way it could.
Read this book if you get a chance, but only as a Daily Deal, or a discount. Or do a kindle unlimited/audible bundle deal. This is a story that will get to you-if you're interested in North Korea/human rights/survival of the human spirit. Even love.
I kinda feel bad that I gave "Until I Say Good-Bye" the ALS good-bye letter 3-stars and I'm giving this precious little ditty 3.5, but it's like this, see? Susan Spencer-Wendel wasn't alone in her illness but Elizabeth Toya Bailey was.
It's easy to find joy, love, beauty when it's all around you because people you love are taking you places.
It's harder than hell to find it when you're immobilized by illness in a single room and can't even roll over.
I found so much wonder and joy in listening to this book; so much delight and humor. Raudman narrates with a growing curiosity, a liveliness, a sincerity that only the best narrators have. She does a really great job bringing the words to life and makes it seem as there is a (Ha!) growing friendship, I kid you not, developing between woman and snail.
When I listened to "The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating," I couldn't help but think of Corrie Ten Boom and "The Hiding Place." When Corrie is imprisoned for helping hide Jews, a little ant comes to see her every day, and she sees the wonder in that, is grateful for that.
That's what really made my heart sing with this book. Someone finding wonder in something they might overlook otherwise, finding pleasure, finding grace.
And the only reason it's not a better rating? TOOOO much dry information. Really? Can you manage to make snail sex boring? Seeeeriously?!? I wound up blushing AND yawning...
But a charming book, all in all
This isn't a perfect book, but it certainly is a perfect experience. You loved seeing past the pain and terror of mental illness to the true genius that "A Beautiful Mind" portrayed? How about the beauty, the lyricism that came with "My Left Foot?" "Ghost Boy" comes from those depths, reaches those stellar heights, and you'll probably, if you have even a single sensitive bone in your body, cry before you've finished listening to this book.
What I love about this book is that Martin is by no means bitter, despite having every right to be. The years he's lost, the illness/debilitation, the abuse he's suffered—he'd have every right to hold on to these horrible, horrible things that have happened to him. Instead, he approaches every thing, every day as though he's breathing a hope and a prayer. This is not a negative, downer of a book and Pistorius is an extraordinary human being.
Years ago I worked with a severely-disturbed teen-aged girl with multiple impairments, no vision, and no language. Sometimes through the day and night, she'd jab her chest hard with her finger, over and over, while tiny tears trickled down her face, and of course, she had no words to go with this. I always wondered if she was feeling, or trying to say something like, "Me. I'm here." I'd hug her, but she'd still keep jabbing, still keep crying, and I'd wonder.
Now, after reading this amazing, funny, inspiring book by Mr. Pistorius, I feel like I can close my eyes and at least send out a little prayer to that girl (No, now a woman), and say, "Yes. You're here."
Thanks for the book, Martin
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