Traumatized by the bombing of Dresden at the time he had been imprisoned, Pilgrim drifts through all events and history, sometimes deeply implicated, sometimes a witness. He is surrounded by Vonnegut's usual large cast of continuing characters (notably here the hack science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and the alien Tralfamadorians, who oversee his life and remind him constantly that there is no causation, no order, no motive to existence).
...and it's amazing to see how well it holds up and, sadly, remains at least as relevant to our fraught culture today as it was when we were protesting war and pushing for civil rights for blacks, women and gays against morally bankrupt rich and powerful white men even before Nixon was elected and our political culture went from bad to worse. We shuddered to think a "B" movie actor like Ronald Reagan could be elected Governor of California. Now he seems statesman-like compared to the Clown-and-Chief, who plays ring master in the White House circus today.
This adventure in science and imagination, which the Medical Tribune said might herald "a Copernican revolution for the life sciences", leads the listener through unexplored jungles and uncharted aspects of mind to the heart of knowledge. In a first-person narrative of scientific discovery that opens new perspectives on biology, anthropology, and the limits of rationalism, The Cosmic Serpent reveals how startlingly different the world around us appears when we open our minds to it.
... and impossible to describe in a few words -- or a few paragraphs -- let alone to fully understand. It's sort of like taking your first sauna, followed by an icy plunge and then by by a deep tissue, healing massage -- for your mind and spirit! Well worth the sometimes uncomfortable effort!!
Why we think it’s a great listen: You thought he was a stodgy scientist with funny hair, but Isaacson and Hermann reveal an eloquent, intense, and selfless human being who not only shaped science with his theories, but politics and world events in the 20th century as well. Based on the newly released personal letters of Albert Einstein, Walter Isaacson explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos.
Thoroughly researched and well written. While the overall structure was chronological, there were several running themes - personal, professional and intellectual - each of which were developed and/or explored in depth at the stage of his life where or as they usurped his attention (or that of the various entities that orbited around him).
One of Isaacson's special gifts is to explain the mathematics and, especially the physics, of Einstein's theories - and related intellectual quests - as well as those of his professional colleagues and rivals, in an accessible way (even to an erstwhile liberal arts major). "Einstein" isn't a light read, but it is a consistently enjoyable story and ultimately a very satisfying one.
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Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis - that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over 40 years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
A remarkably honest, insightful, sometimes searingly painful, but ultimately triumphant account of personal transformation, "Hillbilly Elegy" has changed (and humbled) my thinking about Appalachia, its people and culture. Even though authors usually make mediocre narrators of their work, Vance's voice adds poignancy, empathy and urgency to his memoir and message.
Gabriel Allon, the art restorer, spy, and assassin described as the most compelling fictional creation "since Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond" ( Rocky Mountain News), is poised to become the chief of Israel's secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he can strike again.
If you have been a fan of Gabriel Allon over the years, this may prove for you as satisfying a way as I did to watch him transition from active field agent and assassin to Chief, while also being introduced to the next generation of actors in this ongoing, frighteningly familiar, parallel universe.
Roland Deschain and his ka-tet are bearing southeast through the forests of Mid-World, the almost timeless landscape that seems to stretch from the wreckage of civility that defined Roland's youth to the crimson chaos that seems the future's only promise. Followers of Stephen King's epic series know Roland well, or as well as this enigmatic hero can be known. They also know the companions who have been drawn to his quest for the Dark Tower: Eddie Dean and his wife, Susannah; Jake Chambers; and Oy.
As Steven King himself has continued to broaden, deepen and mature as a person and as a writer, so too have the members of this "ka-tet." For me, they have become members of my extended family, with whom I may not "palaver" for years, but find that when our paths do cross -- or our worlds intersect or overlap -- it's not as though no time has passed, for surely it has moved on (forward, back or through parallel worlds and at different speeds) -- no, but it's as though we've all grown and changed in ways that allow us to appreciate and understand each other more thoroughly and more generously than we may have thought possible earlier in our journeys. This "reunion" was especially satisfying, and I very much look forward to the next, certainly with significant "fear and trembling," but also with more than a little hope.
In this fourth volume, Roland, Eddie, Susannah, and Jake survive Blaine the Mono's final crash, only to find themselves stranded in an alternate version of Topeka, Kansas, one that has been ravaged by the superflu virus. While following the deserted I-70 toward a distant glass palace, Roland recounts a story about a seaside town called Hambry, where he fell in love with a girl named Susan Delgado, and where he and his old tet-mates Alain and Cuthbert battled the forces of John Farson.
I'm now halfway through Kings dark Tower series, which I think is the best work he's done. I have to add add that my enjoyment of this remarkable story -- with its wide array of characters, plot lines, environments, moods and literary & cultural references -- has been incredibly enriched by the dramatic range and richness Frank Muller's voice and his phenomenal ability to become John Wayne, an African-American prostitute, a gravel-voiced gunslinger, a frightened young boy, a vengeful maiden aunt, a cynical New York junkie or a young woman in love. His impressions of very different well-known people are dead-on, and he can even sing well when called for. He is not only believable in all the roles he plays, but his emotional intelligence adds to the heights and depths of the roller-coaster ride that King takes us on. I will seriously consider buying any book that he narrates; he's that good!!
22 of 22 people found this review helpful
As a journalist whose career spans three decades, CNN correspondent Tom Foreman has reported from the heart of war zones, riots, and natural disasters. He has interviewed serial killers and been in the line of fire. But the most terrifying moment of his life didn't occur on the job - it occurred at home, when his 18-year-old daughter asked, "How would you feel about running a marathon with me?"
... of why our son, Will, loves to run marathons and ultramarathons! Even more than that, I have a much deeper understanding of why he feels that all of the work and pain of pre-dawn runs in freezing winter mornings and all the time it takes out of "couch-potatoing" to run so many 100+-mile weeks are so important to him--and to his family. The self discipline, satisfaction, dedication, and clear sense of values he's developed in his professional, personal and family life are worth more to him than all of the belt buckles he's won for completing hundred mile marathons in 16 or 17 hours from coast-to-coast. That I've known for a long time, but until I read this book, I really didn't understand the degree of difficulty one has to overcome, and the strength of character one has to achieve, to prepare for and then complete one of these or deals. Thanks, Tom, for spelling out those ordeals of strength and courage in body, mind and spirit and for doing so with such lucidity and wit
The victim of an unspeakable crime, an infant rises to become a new type of superhero. Unlike any that have come before him, he is not a fanciful creation of animators; he is real. So begins the saga of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history. But where did his extraordinary intelligence come from, and why do so many want to destroy him? Aided by two exceptional women, one of whom will become his unlikely lover, Austin struggles against abandonment and betrayal.
The only value of this book for me were some interesting and plausible ideas about the nature or causes of some diseases that continue to plague humanity and possible approaches to their cure or at least ameliorating their devastating as well as the notion that mathematics could/should become the "lingua franca" of every branch of science.
However, the plot (to the extent one can be devined) is a poor reworking of the book - and movie - "Charlie,"in which the central character follows the same developmental arc as a lab rat toward super intelligence and positive social impact only to see those powers fail and to fall back, albeit to a happier - if more banal - ending.
The two most disappointing elements are the lack of any real character development and the inability of the narrator to bring them to life. Bottom line: while this listen wasn't a total waste of time, I won't spend anymore time or money on any books written by Leibowitz or narrated by Thibodeaux.
Shadows are falling on the usually festive Christmas season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone. As events come to a head, Gamache is drawn ever deeper into the world of Three Pines.
While none of the characters in these books is without faults -- even Gamache -- it's wonderful to travel on each of their paths (some shorter, some longer) toward becoming more fully human (... or dog or duck). Moreover, no matter how hard it may be to see ahead through the usually warm fog of her language and his voice to see where the plot will take us, we can trust Penny and Gosham to lead us safely through the dark and scary forests and along the edges of each sheer and dangerous precipice until they finally bring us to a beautiful and satisfying place to rest -- under three tall white pines -- until the next adventure begins.