Milwaukie, OR, United States | Member Since 2014
Facts or Fun?
This is very much like Dickens' Oliver Twist but more on the factory workers plight and the parents who thought facts were all important for children in factories and should have little fun time.
Louisa Gradgrind Bounderby was the person I identified with and became my favorite character. She married for duty and was extremely unhappy. She falls in love with someone else and almost runs away with him but instead returns home and explains to her father what she has done. Mr. Gradgrind repents his ways and welcomes Louisa home.
Peter Batchelor was a wonderful narrator.
I nearly cried when Louisa returns home and confronts her father. I also loved Sissy Jupe and her devotion to helping Louisa and the rest of the Gradgrind children. This was an interesting family and I loved the kids.
This was a fairly dark novel and there isn't a really happy ending. The story was well done and I enjoyed the characters.
Come into the garden Maud, I am here at the gate alone...
Beautiful collection of everyone's favorite love poems read to you by Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield from the Hobbit movies).
This collection is perfect for a romantic dinner or soaking in a bathtub to get you in the mood.
•"How do I love thee?" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
•"Sonnet 116" by William Shakespeare
•"Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe
•"To Be One with Each Other" by George Eliot
•"Maud" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
•"To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell
•"Bright Star" by John Keats
•"Love's Philosophy" by Percy Bysshe Shelley
•1 Corinthians 13:4-8
•"Meeting at Night" by Robert Browning
•"The Dream" by Edna St. Vincent Millay
•"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" by Christopher Marlowe
•"I carry your heart" by e. e. cummings
•"She Walks in Beauty" by Lord Byron
•"Give All to Love" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thank you audible for a wonderful Valentine's gift!
"The difference between sentiment and being sentimental is the following:
Sentiment is when a driver swerves out of the way to avoid hitting a
rabbit on the road. Being sentimental is when the same driver, when
swerving away from the rabbit hits a pedestrian."
Frank Herbert's The White Plague holds up remarkably well over the decades. I recently took a class in genetics and the plague the "Madman" creates seems completely plausible to me.
The story starts out with John Roe O'Neill in Ireland doing research when his wife and twins are blown up in an IRA bombing. He is a genetic engineer and in his grief he splits personalities and becomes the "Madman" John O'Donnell. He creates a disease that will kill only women but make all the men carriers. He tries to keep it in Ireland(the bombers), Great Britain(the cause of the strife),and Libya (the training ground), but it becomes impossible to contain.
The story shifts to the various scientists, governments and religious factions to see how they will all handle a world without women, or with women a scarcity, if they can find a cure in time.
The only parts of the story I disliked was the young woman in the tank and even the women left are all treated as "breeders" or conniving bitches. The best female character in the story was a scientist who dies early on.
Herbert's vision of life in a plague state is very plausible and frightening. The main theme of the book seems to be that we should fear knowledge and progress, as long as man is an imperfect beast.
Scott Brick does a wonderful job with the accents in his narration.
If they cut off both hands, I will compose music anyway holding the pen in my teeth. Dimitri Shostakovich
This lecture series by Robert Greenberg on the 30 Greatest Orchestral Works is an amazing journey through music and the history of music starting with Vivaldi and ending with Shostakovich.
I learned a great deal about music and especially the composers and what they tried to accomplish through their music. I had no idea that at one time composers working for patrons were expected to come up with something new every month and didn't start writing their works down until people started asking them to play something again. Can you imagine how many great works were lost because they were not written down?
The list of the classes are as follows:
30 Greatest Orchestral Works
2. Vivaldi’s-The Four Seasons
3. Bach’s-Brandenburg Concerto
4. Bach’s-Violin Concerto in E Major
5. Haydn’s-Symphony 104
6. Mozart’s -Piano Concerto 24 in C Minor
7. Mozart’s-Symphony #104 Jupiter In C Major
8. Beethoven-Symphony #3
9. Beethoven-Piano Concerto #4
10. Beethoven-Symphony #9
11. Schubert-Symphony #9
12. Mendelssohn—“Italian” Symphony
13. Schumann—Symphony No. 3
14. Brahm’s-Symphony No.4
15. Brahm’s-Violin Concerto
16. Tchaikovsky—Symphony No. 4
17. Tchaikovsky—Violin Concerto
18. Bedrich Smetana—Má Vlast
19. Dvorák—Symphony No. 8
20. Dvorák—Concerto for ’Cello
22. Richard Strauss—Thus Spoke Zarathustra
23. Mahler—Symphony No. 5
24. Rachmaninoff—Symphony No. 2
25. Debussy—La Mer
26. Stravinsky—The Rite of Spring
27. Saint-Saëns—Symphony No. 3
28. Holst—The Planets
29. Copland—Appalachian Spring
30. Shostakovich—Symphony No. 5
31. Shostakovich—Symphony No. 10
32. The Ones that Got Away
He ends the lectures talking about some composers like Bizet and Bartok whose estates refuse to allow the Great Courses to teach their works, which is a shame.
I know now what to look for in a piece of music and some more composers I should look into. I can highly recommend the course and the lecturer.
This was the first time I have read this book by Mark Twain and it certainly captures the spirit of the West in the 1860's. He also makes a side trip to Hawaii which is fun and interesting to know what Honolulu was like when still under a King.
My favorite parts of the whole book was his take on Mormons and their religion. He writes an anecdote about Brigham Young having over a hundred children and some man gave one of them a whistle. If you are a parent you will thoroughly understand Mr. Young's agony on this event. Now his wives are pestering him so that their children get equal treatment and a whistle of their own. As a mother of six, I understood this as a real problem.
Mark Twain's wit is sharp and his stories are hilarious in the way they are told. Grover Gardner does a fine narration on this volume.
As with all of Mr. Twain's books there is some racial bigotry that you need to overlook. I think it's better to get the original view than a politically correct version.
"All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the “elect” have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so “slow,” so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print."
This is a short course on the Universe by Neil de Grasse Tyson which I enjoyed but in some ways it wasn't as good as his television show on the same subjects. Listening isn't as fun as seeing and hearing!
The 6 classes are as follows:
This class talks about some things that were mysteries but can be explained now with our current knowledge. Examples are the course of Mercury and the mysteries "ether" that scientists believed the Universe was made of.
2.The Spooky Universe
This class gives you examples of weird things that are ongoing within the Universe. The fact that in 1897 electrons were "discovered" but no one has still ever seen one. We learn about particle physics and thermonuclear fusion.
3. Inexplicable Life
This course was one of the best to me. Professor Tyson talks about how life began, and why aren't there different ways life evolved on the earth. Would it be possible life evolved on Mars and then came to Earth? He also talks about how arrogant humans are in searching for intelligent life in the Universe.
4. Inexplicable Physics
I never took Physics in High School so a lot of this was all new to me. He talks about string theory and what will happen if you go through a black hole!
5. Inexplicable Space
This one focuses on dark matter and dark energy. Strange stuff!
6. Inexplicable Cosmology
This class tells of quantum foam, the multiverse, antimatter, and tachyons. He also talks about the possibilities of how the earth and Universe will end. Is there anything else out there?
This was enjoyable, not as in depth as I would have liked, but it's a great course for piquing your interest in further studies.
“ The DNA double helix, discovered in 1953, is one of the great icons of science in our society, rivaling the atom in its pervasiveness in our culture. ”
These 24 half hour lectures given by Professor David E. Sadava retired from Claremont McKenna College and City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, California were very engaging and eye opening to me. I never attended college so this year as part of my audible membership I have decided to buy several of the Great Courses programs they offer. This was the first of my new subscription and I can tell I am already getting my credits worth!
Prof. Sadava explains DNA, genes and chromosomes so a layperson like me can understand them. He also helps us to understand how the knowledge of how they work will enrich life here on planet earth.
1 Our Inheritance
2 Mendel and Genes
3 Genes and Chromosomes
4 The Search for the Gene—DNA
5 DNA Structure and Replication
6 DNA Expression in Proteins
7 Genes, Enzymes, and Metabolism
8 From DNA to Protein
10 Manipulating Genes—Recombinant DNA
11 Isolating Genes and DNA
12 Biotechnology—Genetic Engineering
13 Biotechnology and the Environment
14 Manipulating DNA by PCR and Other Methods
15 DNA in Identification—Forensics
16 DNA and Evolution
17 DNA and Human Evolution
18 Molecular Medicine—Genetic Screening
19 Molecular Medicine—The Immune System
20 Molecular Medicine—Cancer
21 Molecular Medicine—Gene Therapy
22 Molecular Medicine—Cloning and Stem Cells
23 Genetics and Agriculture
24 Biotechnology and Agriculture
My favorite lectures were the medical ones where he explained the different ways genetics can help us either control diseases, eliminate diseases and cure disease. He also explained how many diseases are not caused by a single gene but by many so that it isn't as simple as replacing one gene and you are cured.
The PKU screening test done on all infants is a form of molecular dna testing. If your child tests positive you can keep the harmful effects in check by limiting protein in their food of a certain amino acid that builds up and could cause mental retardation. This test has been going on for at least 50 years.
Professor Sadava does warn of the careful testing that needs to be done before rushing a product to market. Let's say you create a wheat seed that grows faster and has additional fiber added into it's genetic structure. Sounds good, right? However, what if by doing this it creates an allergy in 50 per cent of the population to wheat? Then it's properties are no longer worthwhile or profitable. He used as an example a case of early gene therapy in a boy with cancer that they tried to change his cancer cells into healthy cells but instead of curing the boy the bodies white blood cells fought back and killed him because they could not recognize the new cells.
This is a great series of lectures given by an energetic and informative man for anyone interested in science and medicine. I know I learned a lot from it.
Hans Christian Andersen was one of my favorite authors growing up. I loved his Ugly Duckling and Little Mermaid stories. The story of the Snow Queen is another top notch tale.
We all know "Frozen" was based on this story, but only in the fact that there was a Snow Queen in it. This story is more like the old animated tale with Sandra Dee's voice as Gerda searching for her best boy friend Kai who after getting a shard of magic glass in his eye and heart runs off with the Snow Queen. Every day he is with the Queen he becomes deader to reality and the possibility of happiness. Can Gerda save him with her love?
As Gerda makes her way towards the Snow Queens castle she has many adventures and makes more friends, my favorite is the Little Robber Girl who wants Gerda to live with her and be her friend but finally lets her go on her quest to save Kai.
This is a lovely story and a wonderful read by Julia Whelan.
“If you can’t come into a room and tell right away who is for you and who is against you, you have no business in politics.”
I knew when I undertook this project of reading the four part biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson that I was in for a long haul. What I wasn't sure of? Whether it would be agony or ecstacy! I'm happy to report that it is the latter.
Mr. Caro does not write a whitewashed version of LBJ's life but it's not a hatchet job either. He puts all the flaws and good that Mr. Johnson did from his birth until FDR's death.
The good about Mr. Johnson was his identifying with the poor people in the state of Texas. He was born fairly poor and I believe that is why his drive to succeed was so strong. He loved his mother and had a love/hate relationship with his father. He was a workaholic and expected his people to do the same.
The bad was pretty overwhelming. He was ruthless and would do anything to win, that meant spying on his friends and reporting back to the President. He gained control of all the money for the Democratic Party in one election and used it to help his friends and get rid of his enemies. He was a lousy husband in my opinion.
I believe the time I took to read this first book is time well spent. I will take a break before reading the next one.
“People say that where there’s life, there’s hope, and I have no quarrel with that, but I also believe the reverse.
There is hope, therefore I live.”
I loved this book. Stephen King returns to what he does best, scaring you to death, (or in this case away from death as far as you can go!)
You love the characters in this book and want Jamie to survive but dread what is in store for him. The minister, carney, rev, and special electricity man is likeable at times, but by the end of the book you really just want him dead and gone forever.
The cures the man does have consequences for those he heals. If you knew then what you know now, would you still want to go through with it? These are quandaries that King makes you think about.
Organized religion does not do well in this book. It's not attacked directly but subtly by inference that sinks in as you get involved with the storyline. I'm agnostic so it didn't bother me, but it may others that are easily bruised.
This book reminded me of H.P. Lovecraft and his pervasive sense of dread that oozes out of this novel. The first third of the novel is not scary but the knowing that it's coming is wonderful. The final two chapters made me so happy I finished this book in the light of day, as I think it was the scariest thing I have ever read.
David Morse did a great job of giving the characters their voice.
This is one of my favorite Stephen King books!
This is not the kind of book I usually read, but as a member of the Ford Audiobook club I was given a copy.
The story revolves around a family that tragically fails to express their feelings and beliefs and when a horrible calamity ensues they are all tested beyond all boundaries.
We have James, the father, a Chinese American who just wants to fit in.
Marilyn, the mother, a woman who yearns for more than being a mother.
Nathan, the son, a disappointment to his father because James is reminded of himself.
Lydia, the cherished daughter, a blue eyed girl that both parent's pin all of their hopes on.
Hannah, the youngest, hiding in the shadows of a family that doesn't have room for anyone else.
Jack, the bad boy, neighbor fits into the story as the one that may have all the answers.
It's a beautifully, haunting story with a definite ending that some newer novels lack. At times, you find little love for these people that are operating at cross purposes, but in the end you come to love them all and mourn their tragedy with them.
I cried openly in the last two chapters and it was a catharsis cry that brings you to a feeling of promise and hope for a better day.
Hug your near and dear ones, you never know what tomorrow will bring.
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