Branagh gives a masterful performance and, yes, it is a performance. His confident portrayal of the characters, even the female ones, is so spot on. This is the kind of book that I joined Audible for. My education left me with a few holes literature-wise and Audible is how I'm going to plug those holes. I can only hope that other books will be given the bravura effort that Branagh gives here. I can not think of any reservation although it might be interesting to see the movie "Apocalypse Now" before or after hearing this book.
This book was used as the source for a three part PBS serious: Your inner fish, Your inner reptile, your inner monkey. Sorry but I have to say it: See the PBS specials. At least, see them before reading/listening to this book. Perhaps it was because the audio does not use the author's own voice. The PBS series does. Why should we get less from an Audible book?
I like Julia Sweeney. This book is not as good as, for example, her performances such as "Letting Go of God". Still, I give it a good recommendation.
I don't know. It was interesting to see how someone just kind of drifted into the world, the business really, of pornography. I'm always looking for someone to write something positive about porn. This book is mostly negative but the thing that will probably stick with you after this book is how one person can get pulled in and then make what appears to be only half-hearted attempts to get out. That's almost a theme - people start in porn for the excitement and the money; they get out (partially or completely) then find they miss the excitement and the money. When I finally get out of computer programming, the excitement won't pull me back in and the money won't be there anyway.
This was a fascinating look into a really crucial segment of American history. I might be biased but I think of the Taft presidency as the time the Republican Party went bad (the first time). Certainly it shows how a progressive era came to an end. But this isn't just about Taft and Roosevelt. A large part of this book is about Sam McClure and the writers for his magazine. This part of American history was completely new to me.
Another surprise was seeing Taft in a much better light than is usually the case.
I usually refuse to give 5 stars for performance when a non-fiction book is not read by the author. But Edward Herrmann does a great job - sustaining the energy for all 36 hours. And since much of the book is quotes, did you really want Doris Kearns Goodwin to try to sound like Teddy or Taft?
I think you have to be interested in the subject to hang in there for the whole book but I'm very glad that I did. But the next two books that I got from Audible were substantially lighter.
"Two and Half Men", "The Big Bang Theory", "Modern Family" and a current series of commercials. That's just some of what I know Judy Greer from. So the self-deprecating tone of the title is lost on me. I've recognized Ms. Greer on a lot of shows and frankly I've had a crush for years. Thankfully she reads her own book and it is a performance. Maybe too good of a performance. Although she gives us a lot of details on what it is like to be her, I don't think I knew her any better after this book than before. This is a kind of autobiography (or memoir if you prefer) that I first noticed when reading Ann Margaret's autobiography - beautiful, sexy people apparently never have sex. See Shirley Jones or Cybil Shepard for a counter example.
That's not fair of me to say it should be funnier. After all a few parts of this book had me doubled over with laughter. And I got to see him perform with Harvey Korman a few years before Korman died. But I thought this would be funnier because I'm such a big fan. The book is really narrated by Dick Hill and I guess he does a good job and his voice is similar to Tim Conway's. But after listening to Billy Crystal read his book, the bar is set kind of high.
Also, if you don't already know that Tim Conway was not a regular on the Carol Burnett show from the beginning, you will hear it a few times in this book. So color me disappointed just a bit.
I miss Christopher Hitchens. Sometimes I get on YouTube just to find some clips where some poor fool is getting Hitch-slapped. If you don't know Hitchens then I can't help you and if you do there is little more to be added. I don't always agree but I always, ALWAYS, feel like he has an argument and my rejoinder has to be pretty good. When he gets a little too emotional (e.g. the word "circumcision" sets him off) you can see some cracks in his reasoning. But most of the time he is spot on.
Like his friend Muhammed Ali, Billy Crystal might be the best at this genre, the humorous memoir. After hearing Billy read this book, I'm sorry for those you had to actually read it and only pretend they were hearing his voice. Crystal covers his life from birth to his 65th birthday, March of 2013. Although there is a lot of laughs, this book has a number of serious moments. And they are very moving.
When he discusses Ali and Howard Cosell he does their voices and you will bust out laughing. But I also thought it was interesting when he talked about being an atheist (doesn't use that word but he defines it nicely). Then later throughout the book he references heaven and God and having a soul - but then later reaffirms that the life you see is the only life you get. So do something special on your birthday - listen to this book.
Peter Boghossian didn't have to make the case for atheism to convince me. But it was great to hear how many ways that case can be made. Atheists are a small minority in the USA. Whether that's changing or if people are just becoming more apathetic about such questions, I think that's a tough call. But Peter has a plan. Part of the plan is to use words like epistemology (How you know what you know) as often as possible. In fact, Boghossian doesn't want you to become an atheist, he pretty much assumes it. He wants you to become "street epistemologists", people who ask "how do you know that"?
One more word would be good to know when reading/listening to this book: doxastic logic - reasoning about beliefs. The key is to get people to apply reasoning to their beliefs. In doing so you get at the main problem which is not god and is not religion. It is faith itself. Some will object to making "faith" be the target because they say they have faith in their spouse or in a scientific theory. But Peter will explain that sometimes we use "faith" when we really mean "hope" or we mean something for which we have evidence - even if only partial evidence. While religion wants to reward those who have faith with no evidence.
I don't know how much of this book I can put into practice. I should try it on my wife but we have an agreement about that. But I didn't make any such promises to my siblings so maybe I'll start there.
There is nothing boastful about the title. Steve Wozniak had as much to do with the creation of the personal computer as anyone. This book talks about how a particular skill, the ability to create a complete circuit with the smallest possible piece count, came in handy. He actually glosses over how much that was critical in the Apple II and he also doesn't mention one of my key points in computer history. That would have been at a Computer Faire in San Francisco when the crowd wanted to know about the Lisa but Woz said that there is a new computer coming that will really change things. That computer was the Macintosh.
Throughout this book Woz talks about some trick he pulled on someone. I've heard Woz talk many times and you can tell these tricks had no malice or profit motive in them. But the narrator hear doesn't quite capture the "impishness" of Woz's character. Also, the narrator refers to a computing language "complier" when he meant to say a "Compiler" and that's a mistake Woz wouldn't make in a million years. So I deduct one star for Woz not using his own voice and I deduct a second star because the narrator does not have enough computer background to pull it off.
Overall I still recommend this book because it is a great insight into a critical part of the history of the personal computer.
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