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Doubting Tim

  • 15
  • reviews
  • 68
  • helpful votes
  • 29
  • ratings
  • The Year of Less

  • How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
  • By: Cait Flanders
  • Narrated by: Cait Flanders
  • Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,644
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,508
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,504

In her late 20s, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy - only keeping her from meeting her goals - she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year. The Year of Less documents Cait's life for 12 months during which she bought only consumables.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Twenty-something coming of age

  • By Kate Terrell on 06-23-18

uninflected reading flattens and bores listener

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-29-18

While I really dislike "performances" in lieu of rreading, this flat, matter-of-fact narration hammers any life out of this rather narcissistic self-absorption in the not very interesting details of an average life.

kinda like seven hours of someone else's selfies on Facebook. Someone told the author to "add detail" to make it real. only works if you're interesting.

Good for putting you to sleep, though.

  • The Third Chimpanzee

  • The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
  • By: Jared Diamond
  • Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
  • Length: 15 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 943
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 820
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 817

We human beings share 98 percent of our genes with chimpanzees. Yet humans are the dominant species on the planet - having founded civilizations and religions, developed intricate and diverse forms of communication, learned science, built cities, and created breathtaking works of art - while chimps remain animals concerned primarily with the basic necessities of survival. What is it about that two percent difference in DNA that has created such a divergence between evolutionary cousins?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Up to the usual high standard

  • By Mark on 09-04-12

unparallelled and worth repeated listening

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

Reviewed: 03-28-18

A brilliant book. Its depth and breadth of knowledge are exemplary.

Unfortunately, its cautious optimism that we had learnt the lessons of our destructive tendencies may be unwarranted. The Trump regime demonstrates human selfish greed and ignorance. perfectly, appointing environmental wreckers to head the Depth of the Environment. The money of GOP supporters has been poured into getting rid of all regulation, combined with the ignorant Religious Right's belief in a God who put the earth there for their pleasure and exploitation (being "superior whites"). These uneducated and morally primitive people have lost for the USA any credibility as a world leader. As the most powerful nation with the most money and the greatest unwillingness to share it's wealth and power the Us seems morally bankrupt in these depressing days.

I have lost hope for future generations. if the USA can vote such a creature into power for the sake of money (a creature whose own son loves big game hunting as a great "way of life" for him, which sadly he can afford to pursue as often as he likes), we are indeed a plague species, and the sooner the Sixth Extinction -- of mankind--rrives, the better it will be for our planet and any remaining species we have not yet butchered. It will not be "a rapture".

  • Into the Light

  • By: Aleatha Romig
  • Narrated by: Kevin T. Collins, Erin deWard, Noah Michael Levine
  • Length: 13 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,585
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,446
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,448

Sara Adams awakes blind, unable to remember the most basic details of her life, but her darkness seems a blessing when she discovers the terrors of The Light. Stella Montgomery investigates the news from the mean streets of Detroit, where she's noticed a disturbing trend: Young women are vanishing. When her best friend disappears, Stella digs for answers - despite warnings from her police detective boyfriend - following a twisted trail that leads her through the city's most dangerous and forsaken precincts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very thought provoking... And disturbing...

  • By shelley on 09-30-16

Persisted doggedly through to the end

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

Reviewed: 01-27-17

Would you try another book from Aleatha Romig and/or the narrators?

No

What do you think your next listen will be?

Perhaps Alexander McCall Smith, or re-listen to Ann Patchett's literary and nuanced Bel Canto, ironically with a broadly similar theme (I would listen to Ann Patchett's Commonwealth, but the one available on Audible.com seems to have a different reader from another one available elsewhere -- Hope Davis -- who might have a UK accent, which I often find more pleasant to listen to, as the Brits tend to be articulate readers rather than "performers" of books) -- but I have been unable to find a sample of her reading to check it out, so I am stuck. Perhaps its time for some non-fiction again.

Would you be willing to try another one of the narrators’s performances?

Absolutely positively not without listening first! Perhaps this is an aberrant reading, but I doubt it. And I don't know why I got this one. It was a daily deal (thank goodness) so not much harm done. Surely I would have listened to the sample first! But apparently I didn't, since the extremely irritating word-by-word breathiness of the reading was there to be heard in the sample. So it is entirely my fault. If you listen to THAT and don't mind it, well, good luck to you, perhaps you might like it. If you, too, bought it by accident and haven't been able to get past that narration, I suggest setting the speed at 165%, so that she gallops along a bit more. She is supposed to be bright, but the religio-simpleton-breathy voice just doesn't jell with her supposed character.

What character would you cut from Into the Light?

Honestly, didn't care about anyone enough to be left hanging at the end wondering (since the end is left open).

Any additional comments?

I don't mind open endings if they are there to encourage thought, but in this case you get the sense that these people might be revisited, as there were lots of loose ends. But I honestly didn't care to know any more, not the least bit curious. The plot became increasingly obvious, and as I say, it was sheer dogged determination to finish the thing that kept me going. (The voice is quite good for knocking you at bedtime, though, if you have trouble sleeping.)

  • Bel Canto

  • By: Ann Patchett
  • Narrated by: Anna Fields
  • Length: 11 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,864
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,810
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,820

Ann Patchett’s award winning, New York Times best-selling Bel Canto balances themes of love and crisis as disparate characters learn that music is their only common language. As in Pratchett’s other novels, including Truth & Beauty and The Magician’s Assistant, the author’s lyrical prose and lucid imagination make Bel Canto a captivating story of strength and frailty, love and imprisonment, and an inspiring tale of transcendent romance. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Opera Has Charms to Soothe the Savage Guerillas

  • By Mel on 03-01-13

beautiful literary fiction<br />

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

Reviewed: 01-22-17

Patchett has a wonderfully nuanced eye for life and ear for language. And this is a perfect reading. Brava!!!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Cure

  • A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body
  • By: Jo Marchant
  • Narrated by: Genevieve Swallow
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 409
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 365
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 363

In Cure, award-winning science writer Jo Marchant travels the world to meet the physicians, patients and researchers on the cutting edge of this new world of medicine. We learn how meditation protects against depression and dementia, how social connections increase life expectancy and how patients who feel cared for recover from surgery faster. We meet Iraq war veterans who are using a virtual arctic world to treat their burns and children whose ADHD is kept under control with half the normal dose of medication.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A brilliantly outlined Classic in the field of Mind Body Medicine

  • By TimothyT on 07-09-16

We knew this already, didn't we?

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

Reviewed: 01-01-17

What would have made Cure better?

Narration in a grown-up voice rather than breathless-kindergarten "[look children!] Large, green containers in the laboratory!"

Would you recommend Cure to your friends? Why or why not?

No. People who are interested in this topic would be able to read the thoughtful and well established academic work that lies behind it -- not this popularised version they would have to wade through, enduring cutesie descriptions of people's fluffy hair, etc. which seem to be there to add "human interest" -- hardly necessary, since the topic is fascinating by itself. I think popularising scientific knowledge (and combating mechanistic scientism) is a valuable service -- but surely only the most unaware devotees of scientism are still deaf and blind to the research? If you don't already know this stuff (or if you have set your face against it), I can't imagine you would want to listen at length. And if you are already well informed (a lot of it is obvious) there is a lot of extraneous fluff.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Genevieve Swallow?

Richard Burton? (I don't know. Anyone who doesn't do the book a disservice by adopting a prissy and over-excited intonation).

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Cure?

the big, green containers in the lab, the fluffy hair, all the injected "human interest" filler

Any additional comments?

Ho-hum. But it was a daily deal, probably worth that amount to be reminded (again) about the mind. I'd be a bit peeved if I'd paid full price.

  • The Lightkeepers

  • A Novel
  • By: Abby Geni
  • Narrated by: Xe Sands
  • Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 772
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 708
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 703

In The Lightkeepers, we follow Miranda, a nature photographer who travels to the Farallon Islands, an exotic and dangerous archipelago off the coast of California, for a one-year residency capturing the landscape. Her only companions are the scientists studying there, odd and quirky refugees from the mainland living in rustic conditions; they document the fish populations around the island, the bold trio of sharks called the Sisters that hunt the surrounding waters, and the overwhelming bird population....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Spooky and Strange

  • By Sara on 10-20-16

Too much quavering emotion from narrator

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

Reviewed: 09-13-16

Would you be willing to try another one of Xe Sands’s performances?

I am finding the reading slightly irritating -- trailing-off sentences, a kind of strange, almost casual off-handedness while at the same time seeming to quaver with emotion when it beats me what there is to be all quavery about. Sentences trail off rather than having a descending inflection to indicate a full stop (US period). Not a rising inflection of uncertainty, more like a waffle or indeterminacy.

Any additional comments?

Not finished yet. A pity (I think it is shaping up to be a good book, with interesting natural environment detail, if you like that -- I do) but I am persisting rather than lapping it up because of the narration. It is dragging the story into a miasma. I would not mind it there was no plot to speak of. But I'd like the reader to hold my attention better.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Only Street in Paris

  • Life on the Rue Des Martyrs
  • By: Elaine Sciolino
  • Narrated by: Elaine Sciolino
  • Length: 8 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 440
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 403
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 394

Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris bureau chief of The New York Times, invites us on a tour of her favorite Parisian street, offering an homage to street life and the pleasures of Parisian living. While many cities suffer from the leveling effects of globalization, the rue des Martyrs maintains its distinct allure. On this street, the patron saint of France was beheaded and the Jesuits took their first vows.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not just for Paris lovers.

  • By Anna on 01-18-16

not transported to the street

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-25-16

I was looking forward to listening, but if it was meant to be a celebration of the street and/or the French, it was killed off by the jerky reading -- which didn't settle down over time. The pauses fell between words, not between sentences or phrases , with slightly longer pauses before French words. The pauses were only slight, but enough to stop it being fluent. The writing never lifted above the pedestrian. it was a kind of flat journalese, never soaring. Loads of lists and minute detail but just not very interesting detail. What might have seemed too good to be true to the author just wasn't of absorbing interest to the reader. I guess you had to be there. I certainly didn't find myself transported there as I had hoped. Would not be bothered swapping the boring minutiae of my own daily life for the author's. More than I wanted to know about the daily ho-hum of any place.

  • Free Your Home of Clutter, Clear up Your Life with Hypnosis, Meditation, Relaxation, and Affirmations

  • The Sleep Learning System
  • By: Joel Thielke
  • Narrated by: Joel Thielke
  • Length: 2 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 69
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47

Clean up the clutter in your home and clear out worry from your life with this guided meditation and relaxation program, from certified hypnotherapist, Joel Thielke. It's as easy as turning on the tracks and falling asleep! The Sleep Learning System is specially designed to work with your subconscious mind during your sleep cycle.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good results so far!

  • By Dawn A. Mccain on 02-10-15

Don" know!!!

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

Reviewed: 11-27-15

It outs me to sleep every time so I have no idea what it says. House is no tidier but I guess I might have to do that myself. Oh, hang on .. i did suddenly dust the window sills. Most unlike me.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Lord of All Things

  • By: Andreas Eschbach, Samuel Willcocks (translator)
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 21 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,299
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,127
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,135

They are just children when they first meet: Charlotte, daughter of the French ambassador, and Hiroshi, a laundress’s son. One day in the playground, Hiroshi declares that he has an idea that will change the world. An idea that will sweep away all differences between rich and poor. When Hiroshi runs into Charlotte several years later, he is trying to build a brighter future through robotics.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Story starts off small and gets huge

  • By Sean Dustman on 08-23-14

Carefully crafted but over-explanatory

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

Reviewed: 09-11-15

What didn’t you like about Nick Podehl’s performance?

I tried not to be irritated by the pronunciation "Char-" rather than "Shar-" in Charlotte. The reader varied it and came close to saying Shar- sometimes, but then lapsed back into Char-. Not a major thing. There were a few other minor pronunciation things.

Any additional comments?

I was not quite as impressed as everyone else seems to be. I bought the ebook as well on the strength of the admiration for it -- but I found there was a lot of restatement of current science and explanations of 'interesting facts' -- if you were not across these, they might be interesting, but if they were not new to you, in places it bogged the story down, and it went on for a very long time, partly as a result. I listened to it going to sleep -- and I found I could doze off for quite large chunks of it and not lose the thread, as it was all a bit predictable.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • What Is Life?

  • How Chemistry Becomes Biology
  • By: Addy Pross
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 6 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 522
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 460
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 458

Seventy years ago, Erwin Schrdinger posed a simple, yet profound, question: What is life?. How could the very existence of such extraordinary chemical systems be understood? This problem has puzzled biologists and physical scientists both before, and ever since. Living things are hugely complex and have unique properties, such as self-maintenance and apparently purposeful behaviour which we do not see in inert matter. So how does chemistry give rise to biology?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Profound & Life Changing...

  • By Daegan Smith on 04-06-15

Almost explains ...

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

Reviewed: 08-28-15

Would you listen to What Is Life? again? Why?

I have listened to it a couple of times. If you've spent 20 years or so being perplexed about reductionism's usefulness in science but determined rejection of systems thinking and wholism, and its insistence on everything being continuous with physics, and take a sane approach to evolution, you may be drawn to biocentrism. But biology has been inadequate for at least a century, and the paradox of life as radically discontinuous with dead matter is (ahem) vitally interesting. It certainly isn't answered by mechanistic genetics.

This book is a lucid explanation of the issues, and as such is well worth listening to. The author places the big ideas in context very helpfully. He then plumps for reductionism and says wholism is a species of reductionism, and apart from giving some very interesting updates of long-chain amino acids, really does not offer a convincing new theory.

But his scientific recapping of the issues, addressed rationally, are a refreshing change from a dogmatic science-versus-religion bunfight with an arrogantly dismissive Dawkins in one corner and some deranged God-botherer in the other.

I came away feeling I had a much better grasp on the bigger picture in philosophy of science. But there is still a fault-line between organic chemistry and bio-chemistry which chemistry can't / won't address. A virus may be a bridge between living and non-living, as we were taught at school back in the Dark Ages, but a virus still doesn't explain the leap.

If you're not a ponderer and puzzler you might not like it. But if you do lie in bed at night thinking about things like reductionism and mereology, this is not 'academic' in a tedious way, and you might like it. I did.