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Member Since 2013

  • 4 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 35 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2014

  • Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Atul Gawande
    • Narrated By William David Griffith

    Sometimes in medicine the only way to know what is truly going on in a patient is to operate, to look inside with one's own eyes. This book is exploratory surgery on medicine itself, laying bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is - complicated, perplexing, and profoundly human.

    T.K. says: "It's about time..."
    "An unflinching look at the fallibility of medicine"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes. This book humanizes doctors and demystifies medicine, revealing its errors without provoking fear. Maybe it's paradoxical, but calling into question medicine's perfectibility is actually kind of empowering because it means we can't let doctors bear all the responsibility for a well-functioning health care system -- we have to look at the whole ecosystem of hospitals and managed care to understand why things go wrong, and then take part in improving the situation. Gawande densely layers interesting anecdotes and interweaves medical marvels with ordinary human experiences -- particularly those of patients. Despite being nominally autobiographical, this isn't a compendium of war stories. Gawande is balanced, self-aware and, surprisingly for someone so successful in the mainstream, not self-aggrandizing. He only involves himself to the extent necessary to round out the anecdotes.

    The book loses focus towards the end and does start to feel a little like an anthology of stories and/or essays, and I'm not sure the overall thesis is well sustained, but so far it's the best thing I've read on the practice of modern medicine.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Complications?

    His account of the congress of American surgeons was funny and poignant. He clearly has a goofy sense of humour and an anthropologist's eye for professional culture -- the good and the bad. This was one of the moments that did the most for me in humanizing surgeons without making them look foolish or, worse, inept.

    Would you listen to another book narrated by William David Griffith?

    His narration was pretty good. He mispronounces stuff from time to time which can be a little distracting, but overall he was pleasant enough to listen to.

    Could you see Complications being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Not really. There's no storyline or protagonist, and it jumps around in time a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Reed Albergotti, Vanessa O'Connell
    • Narrated By Santino Fontana
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The first in-depth look at Lance Armstrong's doping scandal, the phenomenal business success built on the back of fraud, and the greatest conspiracy in the history of sports. Lance Armstrong won a record-smashing seven Tours de France after staring down cancer, and in the process became an international symbol of resilience and courage. In a sport constantly dogged by blood-doping scandals, he seemed above the fray. Then, in January 2013, the legend imploded. He admitted doping during the Tours and, in an interview with Oprah, described his "mythic, perfect story" as "one big lie."

    Gabriel says: "Detailed and balanced account"
    "Thorough, engaging, provocative"
    Would you listen to Wheelmen again? Why?

    I have in fact listened to it 3 times! This book is dense with facts and compelling, well-selected anecdotes. It also provides a brief history of doping in American cycling, putting everything in a bit of context. Looking back on the whole sordid tale years later, it's really unbelievable just how many lives were tangled up in this affair, and the lengths people were willing to go to to sustain a Big Lie -- including international audiences, who found Armstrong an irresistible hero. I really felt like I was being given an insider's perspective. I remember watching Armstrong win the '99 tour and feeling the unbelievability of his dominance is what made him so awesome. His charisma, too. To now find out all the stuff that was going on in the background is disorienting to say the least. Like many, I do not feel that his admissions have been sufficiently contrite given the apparent venality of his behaviour and the viciousness of his attacks on those who dared question his mythology. It's really hard to feel much sympathy for the guy.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. His persistence in following the facts and building a meticulous, airtight case against Armstrong, as well as his resilience and composure in the face of a relentless media campaign by Armstrong's team to discredit him make him a role model for American prosecutors.

    What about Santino Fontana’s performance did you like?

    Quite a good performance, marred only by his propensity to put on accents when reciting quotes by foreign interlocutors. The British accent was particularly irksome.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Alfred Lansing
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

    Jennie says: "Unbelievably riveting!"
    "A stirring reading of an epic tale"
    Would you listen to Endurance again? Why?

    I have, in fact, listened to it several times! This is one of my favourite books of all time and Prebble's reading truly does it justice. Absolutely spell-binding.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Endurance?

    It's hard to choose just one -- Lansing's text and Prebble's reading create so many indelible scenes. For sheer pathos, you simply can't beat Thoraf Sorlle's reaction when he finally recognizes Shackleton -- and is suddenly seized by the almost unimaginable suffering, courage, and providence that have led up to that moment.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    The voyage of the James Caird across the South Atlantic will change the way you think about adventure, endurance, and even the idea of fate.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Farewell to Arms

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By John Slattery
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse.

    Valerian says: "This is not unabridged"
    "Incredible performance by John Slattery"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Farewell to Arms to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version.

    What did you like best about this story?

    Everything. This was wondrous, sprawling, and ultimately heartbreaking.

    Have you listened to any of John Slattery’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but this one made me immediately search for other performances by him and I was disappointed to find so few.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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