At the age of 36, on the verge of completing a decade's worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated.
The publisher's summary is excellent for this book. I recommend you read it and make your decision as to whether this is the kind of book you would like to listen to.
For me it was fascinating yet very, very sad. Paul Kalanithi was an extremely talented (actually, multi-talented), intelligent and capable upcoming neurosurgeon who left this earth well before he could leave his mark. He will be sorely missed by his family and by the medical profession who recognized his brilliance and stood with open arms to embrace him before and during his struggle with early onset lung cancer.
Profound and moving, highly recommended!
For dinosaurs, it was a big rock. For humans: Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). When the Earth is hit by the greatest CME in recorded history (several times larger than the Carrington Event of 1859), the combined societies of the planet's most developed nations struggle to adapt to a life thrust back into the Dark Ages. In the United States, the military scrambles to speed the nation's recovery on multiple fronts including putting down riots, establishing relief camps, delivering medical aid, and bringing communication and travel back on line. Just as a real foothold is established in retaking the skies (utilizing existing commercial aircraft supplemented by military resources and ground control systems), a mysterious virus takes hold of the population, spreading globally over the very flight routes that the survivors fought so hard to rebuild.
I don't go searching out this type of post-apocalyptic story. Most of them sound similar to me, and I am certainly not seeking out zombie books (this is NOT a zombie book). What drew me toward Commune were the reviews that raved about the book being very character-driven and well-done. And of course, our familiar and very beloved friend, R.C. Bray, who is always a sure bet as narrator. So, how could I go wrong?
I don't think I did go wrong. The three main characters (I'm not counting the small child) carried the story, were well-developed, interesting, and I really cared what happened to them. As the story progressed, it maintained a high level of believability, and I was always wanting to know, "What comes next?"
Why not 5 stars? Just a few quibbles. I felt there was a bit too much emphasis on weapons. It is not that I thought the weapons were unnecessary--they were imperative. I just felt the author went overboard in showing us his knowledge and prowess with guns.
In addition, I had a lot of short listening periods and for a while, could not easily determine the difference between Jake and Billy. And, the child was too saintly and well-behaved, all the time. Know a child like that? I don't! In addition, I think the book could have benefited from a few more characters joining the triad 'commune'.
None of the above-mentioned issues were a deal breaker for me. I expect my minor complaints to be remedied in Book 2, which if I am not mistaken, is already available for listening and very well-reviewed and rated. I will most likely get it.
(And, if you just can't get enough of character-driven P-A, non-zombie stories, get 'The Dog Stars', my all-time favorite. Sorry, Joshua.)
In his audiobook, A Higher Loyalty, former FBI director James Comey shares his never-before-told experiences from some of the highest stakes situations of his career in the past two decades of American government, exploring what good, ethical leadership looks like and how it drives sound decisions. His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of powe, and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader.
When I got this book, my feeling toward James Comey was primarily distrust, being quite sure he handled the Clinton email investigation in a way to enable Trump to be elected.
I am so glad curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to listen to Comey's story. I learned that I had been misguided and largely ignorant of what really occurred when the announcement was made that the Clinton email investigation was being reopened right before the election. My eyes were opened to the true character of the author and I now believe his behavior was non-partisan and very above board.
Comey does a wonderful narration of his book, and never for a moment did I lose interest or suspect any duplicity on his part. I was so engrossed, I had no idea if I was in the beginning, middle, or nearing the end of the book, and yet I found no need at all to track my progress (which is unusual for me.) Comey describes his childhood days, his career history, the Martha Stewart episode, the post 9-11 wire-tapping controversy, etc, etc, in addition to a detailed history of the Clinton email case. His impressions of working with three presidents, Bush, Obama, and Trump, was particularly amusing and interesting and sometimes saddening.
I come away from this book with a strong admiration for James Comey and a knowledge and understanding that I did not have before. I am sure he will be successful in his next career venture, and I wish him the best.
Highly recommended--you need to get this book!
16 of 20 people found this review helpful
Carol E. Miller was 16 when the private plane piloted by her father crashed, pinning her in the wreckage, critically injuring her parents, and killing her 12-year-old sister. Compounding this traumatic event, her father told her he wished she had died instead of her sister. For the next 20 years, she labored under feelings of guilt and a lack of self-worth. When another in a long line of personal crises landed her in therapy with an EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) practitioner, she began at last to investigate the crippling effects of the plane crash.
I knew it would keep my interest, as I have a degree in psychology, but I didn't think I'd hang onto every word of Carol's "life story" as she went through the process of sorting her life out. She has had extraordinary things happen to her, mostly things none of us would have wished for--from having multiple abusive parents to being in an airplane crash.
Carol's life was not going the way she felt it should and finally convinced herself to give therapy another chance. It was the most 'right' thing she ever did.
Listen to her story. It is amazing and fascinating. Every word of it! If you are at all like me, you will be mesmerized at how the therapy plays out, particularly as she is referred to an EMDR therapist. What is EMDR? Read this book and learn about how this almost magical yet highly regarded technique works.
Narrated by Lisa Flanagan--I had to keep reminding myself she wasn't the author. She was awesome!
Most highly recommended!
* * * * *
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
A vivid memoir of food and family, survival and triumph, Love, Loss, and What We Ate traces the arc of Padma Lakshmi's unlikely path from an immigrant childhood to a complicated life in front of the camera - a tantalizing blend of Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone and Nora Ephron's Heartburn.
After watching her host Top Chef for years, I had to satisfy my curiosity. Who IS this woman and does she know anything about food or is she just there for her looks and sex appeal (never have I seen so much cleavage than during those big chef dinners!)
Padma tells all. She is incredibly open and honest about her life--her romances, her medical issues, her family, how she got to where she is, how difficult it is to eat all that food and stay slim, etc. etc. etc.
Oh, and yes, she does know alot about food! Lucky for you and me, she shares some of her favorite Indian down-home comfort food recipes with us in a pdf.
Padma narrates her memoir which is as it should be. All in all, I really loved this book and highly recommend it!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Dylan Townsend stands on the beach watching commercial jets fall out of the sky like oak leaves twirling in the wind. A wing shears off the one closest to the shore just before it splashes down in the sea. Why was she telling him this outlandish story? What sort of tourist agency would offer people a front row seat to the end of the world? More importantly, why would anyone book such a vacation if there wasn't any way home afterward?
I immensely enjoyed this sci-fi time travel tale. It was just lots of fun and for some reason, brought to mind the bobiverse books, if you know what I mean. No similarities in story line but there was definitely a similar feel.
This book had interesting, well-enough-developed characters and a good-enough story line to make me suspend my imagination and enjoy it the whole way through.
I am sure you could imagine a future tourist agency that takes people back in time to witness landmark historic events. You could even imagine some of the events that would be most popular, and I am betting they would not be the feel-good ones, right?
The apocalyptic EVENT in this story is in our future, also. I don't want to give too many details as this book should have NO spoilers in order to be enjoyed to its fullest. That's why I won't say a word about Dickie--oops. We follow Dylan from the age of about 13 to adulthood as the main protagonist. Along the way he meets a host of characters, good and bad, in his attempts to survive the apocalypse. There are great shootem-ups, some romance, lots of drama, time travel, and reality-based outcomes, in other words, don't expect a totally feel-good, touchy-feely ending.
Yup, the first "volume", (chapter, that is), can be a bit confusing, but it still easily grabbed my interest. Have patience and it will all come clear in the end.
The narration was excellent with just a little nitpick from me. The narrator sounded quite a bit older than Dylan for much of the story. Yet his expertise with this narration made it only a tiny bother for me.
4 and a half stars rounded down just a tad.
Enjoy this one--it is definitely worthy of a credit! Trust me.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
In a way, it IS non-fiction, as a young man of color was recently killed nearby my city in his grandma's backyard, armed only with a cellphone, yet having 20 rounds shot into his body. I predict the cops will be investigated and have no consequences--isn't that the way it always plays?
I digress. This was a wonderful but tough listen, really funny, really sad, but always entertaining. You simply should stop reading here and get the book. But I will go on a bit. It makes one feel it may be a young adult book but that is only because the book focuses on a 16 year old girl who witnesses the cold-blooded killing of her lifelong friend up close. (If we find a book about an old man or women, no one calls it a codger book, do they?) It is only for adults and older and more mature youth, in my opinion, as I would not to condone all the swearing to younger teens. The swearing is real and a fact of life and did not bother me at all.
I will remember our protagonist, Star, for a long time. I immensely enjoyed her family's interactions, her dangerous predicaments and choices, and the way the story wound to an end. I was sorry to have it end, as I did not want to say goodbye to any of the members of this family.
You really should get this book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
When Mary Lennox's parents die from cholera in India, the spoiled orphan is transplanted to her uncle's 600-year-old gloomy and secretive estate in England. She is certain that she is destined for misery at Misselthwaite Manor. However, she soon discovers an arched doorway into an overgrown garden, locked shut since the death of her aunt 10 years earlier.
This was a truly delightful listen for me, and I hope you will consider it, too. It is along the lines of "Anne of Green Gables" and "Zippy", novels centering around young preteen girls who are neglected and living in less than perfect circumstances but who rise above their lot and come of age in a wonderful way. It is another example of what I think of as literature as "comfort food".
This novel was first published around 1911 but doesn't feel dated at all. Well, maybe a bit, as you don't have youthful protagonists fused to their electronic devices but instead, glorifying in the nature around them. How refreshing, huh?
The narration is just perfection. Josephine Bailey does a wonderful interpretation of young Mary Lennox and her two young boy friends, never approaching sickly sweet or obnoxious, like children's voices are often portrayed. She is a gem of a narrator.
And this is a gem of a book that I really enjoyed every moment of. Highly recommended!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
With poignant insight and humor, Frank Vertosick, Jr., MD, describes some of the greatest challenges of his career, including a six-week-old infant with a tumor in her brain, a young man struck down in his prime by paraplegia, and a minister with a .22-caliber bullet lodged in his skull. Told through intimate portraits of Vertosick's patients and unsparing-yet-fascinatingly detailed descriptions of surgical procedures, When the Air Hits Your Brain illuminates both the mysteries of the mind and the realities of the operating room.
Well, that is probably not true and it's clearly not gotten significantly easier since the author wrote this book, just different, with new technologies and ideologies that are currently in practice.
I loved the book--it was a fast, easy, and fascinating listen: a serendipitous decision to become a neurosurgeon, the rotations, the training, residency, surgeries, and practice.
Listening to some of the case studies felt traumatic to me, realizing what a microsecond of inattention, a tiny slip of a tool could do to a patient. Zap, your life is over, done. I felt horrified and saddened yet could not and would not stop listening.
Neurosurgical psychopaths? I loved listening to the author's conscious decision not to become one. Not an easy decision, I am betting.
The narration was fine but I wished the narrator had learned the accurate pronunciations of many of the medical terms. It was a bit distracting.
Overall, a great listen. If you like medical-type stories, I think you will love this audiobook, too!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Cat Warren is a university professor and former journalist with an admittedly odd hobby: She and her German shepherd have spent the last seven years searching for the dead. Solo is a cadaver dog. What started as a way to harness Solo’s unruly energy and enthusiasm soon became a calling that introduced Warren to the hidden and fascinating universe of working dogs, their handlers, and their trainers.
This book is a must read for serious dog lovers and those that aspire to be involved with "working dogs". At first I thought I may not like it, as it was chock full of details and statistics on working dogs, while I had hoped for lots of search, rescue and find stories involving the author's dog, Solo.
While there are some working dog stories, this book is much, much more in that it explores so many issues related to training and working with a cadaver dogs. I hesitate to use that term, "cadaver dog" as it has negative and icky connotations and this book is neither icky nor negative.
Expect to learn SO much about the field of working dogs--how they are chosen, the necessary personality traits, the downside of singletons, dog behavior, trainer behavior, fraudulent trainers (oh, yes), various working breeds and their characteristics, the different agencies that train and use working dogs, private agents, and of course, lots about the author's own dog, Solo.
This is a book that got better and better as it went on. I felt a tiny tear in my eye as it ended, not because of the ending content but because it was over. I wanted to know more!
The narrator also got better and better as the book went on, as she adapted to who the author was as the subject material got more relevant and intense. Bravo to Cassandra Campbell for doing such a great narration.
And bravo to the author, Cat Warren, a former professor who found her true calling in life and has shared it so well with us.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful