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  • The Family That Couldn't Sleep

  • A Medical Mystery
  • By: D.T. Max
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 347
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 154
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 157

For 200 years, a noble Venetian family has suffered from an inherited disease that strikes their members in middle age, stealing their sleep, eating holes in their brains, and ending their lives in a matter of months. In Papua New Guinea, a primitive tribe is nearly obliterated by a sickness whose chief symptom is uncontrollable laughter. Across Europe, millions of sheep rub their fleeces raw before collapsing. What these strange conditions share is their cause: prions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great scientific mystery

  • By David on 11-04-06

Zombie science

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-09-12

I picked this right after starting the short-story anthology Zombies vs. Unicorns (zombie fiction sometimes blames prions) on Kindle. Fun connection. As to this book, it was a great story, interesting science, kept a good pace, and gave me pause (yet again) about eating factory-farm meat...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Wheat Belly

  • Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
  • By: William Davis MD
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,426
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,932
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,900

Since the introduction of dietary guidelines calling for reduced fat intake in the 1970s, a strange phenomenon has occurred: Americans have steadily, inexorably become heavier, less healthy, and more prone to diabetes than ever before. After putting more than two thousand of his at-risk patients on a wheat-free regimen and seeing extraordinary results, cardiologist William Davis has come to the disturbing conclusion that it is not fat, not sugar, not our sedentary lifestyle that is causing America’s obesity epidemic—it is wheat.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The program works, but the listen is technical

  • By Stacey Crummie on 11-30-11

Ubiquitous poison, worse than sugar

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-20-12

Not as thick on the science/history as Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes (which I loved), but very helpful to focus on the unique dangers of wheat (those two authors should talk to one another!). Some of the language and reading was annoying (he repeatedly mentioned man-breasts, which probably would be uncomfortable for some people to hear) but worth ignoring for the education. For me, it came down to wheat=worse than sugar in its effect on blood sugar, disease and aging. Since wheat seems to be in nearly EVERYTHING we eat, drink, or slather on our bodies, I realize I'll be best off to remove wheat from my intentional diet. (I don't have celiac disease, so I'm not going to worry about every envelope I lick or the hand cream I depend on in the winter.)

  • Beyond the Sling

  • A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way
  • By: Mayim Bialik
  • Narrated by: Emily Durante
  • Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 115
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 102
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 100

Mayim Bialik was the child star of the popular 1990s TV sitcom Blossom, but she definitely didn't follow the typical child-star trajectory. Instead, Mayim got her Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA, married her college sweetheart, and had two kids. Mayim then did what many new moms do - she read a lot of books, talked with other parents, and she soon started questioning a lot of the conventional wisdom she heard about the "right" way to raise a child. That's when she turned to attachment parenting.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • not really for me

  • By cpatt on 08-30-16

Explains her style without condemning others

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-28-12

I loved this book, even though I don't plan to be an "attachment parent." Mayim says a few times in this book that she doesn't judge... and it's true. She really doesn't. She just lays out her parenting style for those of us who are curious. I really appreciated the laidback philosophy. It's obvious that she loves her kids. From co-sleeping (impractical?) to baby-wearing (sorta cool - I may steal this one) to diaperless babies (ew), her ideas were interesting and educational. She drew a picture of a life that embraces a child rather than treating him like an add-on.



6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Emperor of All Maladies

  • A Biography of Cancer
  • By: Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
  • Length: 20 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,630
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,637
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,635

Written by cancer physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies is a stunning combination of medical history, cutting-edge science, and narrative journalism that transforms our understanding of cancer and much of the world around us. Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a novelist's richness of detail, a historian's range, and a biographer's passion.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Spectacular!

  • By Paul on 11-25-10

Cancer makes sense

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-28-12

I read this after Survival of the Sickest by Sharon Moalem, which prepared me to understand sickness (including cancer) in terms of microbes. I followed it with Controlling Cancer, the short TED book by Paul Ewald & Holly Swain Ewald (on Kindle). Between the three of them, I have a completely new picture of today's scourge. Mukherjee does a tremendous job of catching the reader up on the history of the medical science. His explanation of the sequence of scientific discoveries kept my interest and helped me understand where we are today.

I originally didn't want to read this book because I thought it would be depressing; strangely, I finished with a sense of optimism. We've come so far in our understanding of prevention and treatments (Ewald is right that we need to focus funding/research on the former) that I feel like it's possible to advance further. I am less afraid of the disease, while at the same time reconciled to the idea that I may one day encounter it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Status Anxiety

  • By: Alain de Botton
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 242
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 139
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 137

This is a book about an almost universal anxiety that is rarely mentioned: an anxiety about what others think of us, about whether we're judged a success or a failure, a winner or a loser. This is a book about status anxiety. Best-selling author Alain de Botton asks, with lucidity and charm, where our worries about status come from and what, if anything, we can do to surmount them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A book about one of society's worst diseases

  • By Jesse on 02-02-10

So important for the modern, anxious homo sapiens.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-17-12

Any additional comments?

He's a smart, accessible philosopher - and I feel much, much less anxious after reading this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Love Wins

  • A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
  • By: Rob Bell
  • Narrated by: Rob Bell
  • Length: 3 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,288
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 977
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 977

Millions of Christians have struggled with how to reconcile God's love and God's judgment: Has God created billions of people over thousands of years only to select a few to go to heaven and everyone else to suffer forever in hell? Is this acceptable to God? How is this "good news"? Author, pastor, and innovative teacher Rob Bell presents a deeply biblical vision for rediscovering a richer, grander, truer, and more spiritually satisfying way of understanding heaven, hell, God, Jesus, salvation, and repentance.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Easy reading, straight forward, life changing

  • By Paula on 08-20-11

Paul's epistles, for our generation.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-05-12

Any additional comments?

Rob Bell does what the apostle Paul did in the epistles - explained what Jesus did and what it meant for their time. (Plus, if you know the epistles, so many of Bell's sentences have an uncanny resemblance to verses that he's almost quoting them, but in a way that they feel fresh and shocking, the way Paul's words must have sounded to his listeners.) I had to listen to it twice back to back, just for the joy of it. It's a beautiful revisioning, stripping away the cultural overlay of centuries, stuff we've added to the faith that isn't essential. In fact, I think I should listen to it again. And you definitely should too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Place of My Own

  • The Architecture of Daydreams
  • By: Michael Pollan
  • Narrated by: Michael Pollan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 521
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 434
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 437

With this updated edition of his earlier book, A Place of My Own, listeners can revisit the inspired, intelligent, and often hilarious story of Pollan’s realization of a room of his own—a small, wooden hut, his “shelter for daydreams” — built with his admittedly unhandy hands. Inspired by both Thoreau and Mr. Blandings, A Place of My Own not only works to convey the history and meaning of all human building, it also marks the connections between our bodies, our minds, and the natural world.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Pollan is a great narrator

  • By justin chidester on 05-07-12

Great writer, just not my fave of his books.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-05-12

Any additional comments?

I hate to put a lower review, because Pollan is a fabulous writer, researcher, storyteller. It's only because this book (along with Second Nature) is completely different from his books The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and Botany of Desire. The latter three, I devoured (pun intended), but I couldn't get through much of this one or Second Nature. They're terrific, if you like slow meditative autobiographical stories, but that's not my kind of thing.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Second Nature

  • A Gardener's Education
  • By: Michael Pollan
  • Narrated by: Michael Pollan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 609
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 463
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 458

In his articles and in best-selling books such as The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan has established himself as one of our most important and beloved writers on modern man's place in the natural world. A new literary classic, Second Nature has become a manifesto not just for gardeners but for environmentalists everywhere.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Love Pollan, don't love this (but you might)

  • By Mary on 02-05-12

Love Pollan, don't love this (but you might)

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-05-12

Any additional comments?

I love Michael Pollan's books The Omnivore's Dilemma, and the Botany of Desire. Sweeping history or cultural commentary, a real understanding of humanity's relation to food and plants. However, this book is about his experience of growing a garden - it's more autobiographical. More slow and meditative than sweeping. If you like that kind of thing, he's a fabulous writer so you'll enjoy this. It's just not what I expected after reading the other two books.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • The Dyslexic Advantage

  • Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain
  • By: Brock l. Eide, Fernette L. Eide
  • Narrated by: Paul Costanzo
  • Length: 8 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 536
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 451
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 442

Dyslexia is almost always assumed to be an obstacle. And for one in five people who are dyslexic, it can be. Yet for millions of successful dyslexics - including astrophysicists, mystery novelists, and entrepreneurs - their dyslexic differences are the key to their success. In this paradigm-shifting book, neurolearning experts Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide describe exciting new brain science revealing that dyslexic people have unique brain structure and organization.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Has the system failed your child?

  • By Ethel on 10-17-11

Thinking outside the box

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-05-12

Any additional comments?

I'm not dyslexic, and don't know anyone who is, but this was a great explanation of strengths our schools overlook.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Good Calories, Bad Calories

  • Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health
  • By: Gary Taubes
  • Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 25 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,302
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,142
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,134

For decades we have been taught that fat is bad for us, carbohydrates better, and that the key to a healthy weight is eating less and exercising more. Yet despite this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates, like white flour, easily digested starches, and sugars, and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bold Explanation of Real Dietary Advice

  • By John on 08-27-12

Science, science, and more (fascinating) science.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-05-12

Any additional comments?

There are two versions, one written with all the science (this one) and one written with just the principles laid out. I was afraid this longer version might be dry, but he draws all the scientific studies before in a masterful explanation. I was looking forward to the conclusions but sorry when it was over.

35 of 37 people found this review helpful