AUDITEUR

Ben

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Crazy action, but good suspense + medical context

Au global
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Histoire
3 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-05-26

A good audio page-turner - a suspense novel about a global pandemic that seems to be used as a bioweapon, but for what reason? The story moves across decades, and across continents, from Kenya to Australia, the US to the UK, and small Pacific islands as well. It is definitely written to keep you hooked, it is almost non-stop action at an unbelievable level. How can epidemiologists also be genius-level computer programmers, as well as military-level combatants and strategists, and also be expert pilots?! The characters overall are good enough, though some drop out of the story or come back in as it goes along. There were perhaps just a few too many entwined narratives to really make it an easy read - you had to keep straight who was related to/sleeping with/childhood friend of/enemy of each other character, and then some would change sides just to mess with you. There were a few times where the action really slowed down and we got into more serious medical descriptions, which caught me by surprise once or twice, but it actually made for a nice break and added plausibility to the whole thing. A.G. Riddle seems to know enough about medical procedures and pandemic events to make a believable story, or at least to make the medical/pandemic part believable with the unbelievable bioterrorism and hand to hand fighting. Edoardo Ballerini does a good job narrating, though I felt the Australian accents were a bit harsh and the evil people always had very gruff voices.

1 personnes sur 2 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

Fun stories, better history, exactly what I wanted

Au global
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Histoire
4 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-05-13

I saw this book described as a history of the average Joe of the USAAF - the story of the flyers not of the leaders - so I was a bit surprised by the first six chapters or so being mainly a top-level history of "Happ" Arnold and the early Army Air Force development. Nonetheless, it was a really interesting history, providing a solid background for the rest of the book.

It is hard for this book not to come across like an "America is the best, America won the war single-handedly, America's planes/fliers/strategy/etc was naturally going to win anyways" argument. To be fair, the points are correct, but as is often the case with popular American history it can sound bragging or egotistical and does not give credit to other nations (though, yes, it is an American history). This book toes that line, with stories and arguments that had me at times mumbling "what about Britain?" but the author was careful to give credit to other nations (and aircraft types) when necessary. Still, hard not to be blown away by the American airplanes and production capabilities!

The book does bring in the stories of average flyers as the war progresses, but I felt they were less stories selected to back up the author's arguments and more stories that the author then tried to argue as true fact. The stories felt very selected for the sake of making a point, and then the historical record was really hammered home to back them up. It doesn't affect the flow much (I would say the jumping between bomber groups and fighters was more confusing) and doesn't lessen the impact or awe-factor of the personal stories, thankfully. And they are amazing stories!

This was a fun book to listen to. The "good old war stories" element makes it fun and leaves you amazed by the Greatest Generation, but the history and larger geopolitical context makes it an eye-opening history. I recommend it for people that enjoy history of air warfare or are interested in the development of the USAAF in the Second World War.

Inconsistencies in story, but decent narration

Au global
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Histoire
2 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-05-13

I had really high hopes for this book after being a big fan of Andy Weir's The Martian, but this one was a bit of a let down.

For one thing, this is not like The Martian. in many ways, The Martian was a near-future quasi-possible science fiction story. This is more alternate reality "bases on the moon" sci-fi. And that's what it's about: a base on the moon and the improbably remarkable life of a low-life smuggler.

I love some good sci-fi, especially when it is witty and has good space stuff like this one, but I found the rather over the top abilities of main character and downright ridiculous dialogue/inner monologue tiring and too unbelievable. Jazz Bashara is supposed to be a struggling smuggler, but she's actually super smart (like learn electrical engineering in a day smart) and amazingly good at understanding larger economic contexts. She's supposed to be dirt poor, but is the only successful smuggler on the moon and seems to have access to everything she needs for her activities and budding smuggling empire. She's extremely moralistic but blind to human nature (at least outside her own human nature) and judgemental of others actions. She also has an annoyingly quick and crass temper and a bad tendency for not dealing well with people. I was glad the book wasn't longer as it would have really started getting old.

I'll give this three stars because I did like Rosario Dawson's narration. She may not have had all the accents as I would have liked them (I found the dad's Saudi accent hard to understand and Svoboda's Ukrainian to be very stereotypical) and at times the quick switch between Jazz's dialogue and thoughts could be confusing, but I thought she handled it very well and her energy really helped make the book enjoyable. I also liked the space side of the story (as in: not the characters). The idea of un-organized moon bases and what happens when organized crime tries to take them over was good, and the descriptions of traveling and working on the moon was interesting.

In the end, this is more an economic sabotage thriller in space as it all circles around the strange and not-fully-defined production prospects of special fibre optic cable material. I say not-fully-defined because we get the full picture of its impacts on life on the moon, but we don't really know how it came to exist and what the larger Moon/Earth story is. The story almost feels like a very closed aperture view of a much larger thriller scenario and all we're seeing is a small part of one event in a large chain. I also wouldn't say it's a heist story. It has the innovative planning and dangerous secrecy of an Oceans 11 type plot, but most of the actual impact is political. The heist itself is actually the final segment of the book and is more about destruction for corporate takeover purposes than for stealing something for personal gain.

Good sci-fi, but characters can be flat and vulgar

Au global
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Histoire
3 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-05-13

Good sci-fi all round, interesting notion of space travel and worlds, and good characters with an unintended empress, meddling families, and out-of-his-depth scientist.

Only thing I didn't really like about this book was the narrator didn't have the greatest voices for some characters and a few of the characters are way more vulgar than necessary. I didn't think they fit some of the status/situations, and it really wasn't needed for the plot to advance. If anything, it was a distraction and a detraction.

Great history and narrator, but betting in print

Au global
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Histoire
4 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-05-13

Really interesting listen, though perhaps best suited to a physical format. The history is very complicated, interconnected, and intense.

I didn't know much about Washington's story, or even much about the foundation of America after the Revolutionary War. I heard John P. Avlon interviewed on Charlie Rose over a year ago when Obama was about to give his farewell address. Avlon was so well spoken and presented the information so well that I really wanted the book, but then with the first year of Trump and stress in personal life I just didn't feel I could get through the heavy American history. When I finally decided to go for it, I was enthralled by the history, confused at times, but also really interested. It probably took me another half the book's total run time of skipping back to try and understand things. I purposefully went on long walks with the dog I was taking care of just to try to get in larger chunks of the book at one time.

I recommend it for people interested in American history, politics, or current affairs, but would recommend getting a physical version of the book!

1 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

Creates holes, doesn't fill them. Good narrator

Au global
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Histoire
2 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-01-31

A short little addition to the Peter Grant/Rivers of London series that finds Grant off hunting ghosts on the Metropolitan Line. He's joined by his friend and the BTP's resident "weird investigator" Jaget, his newly wizarding cousin, and for a bit his mythical girlfriend (no really, she's the goddess of a river in London) who fully got integrated into the main cast in the last book. Oh, and Toby the ghost-hunting dog.

The novella is the first of it's kind in the in-between works of the Peter Grant series. Turns out there are a bunch of graphic novels published in recent years (read: after the series got popular) and then this novella that fit in between stories. I didn't find it fit perfectly in with the story, though. It was a standalone story, but with obvious references to previous book's characters and plots. Namely, there were a few "note to Reynolds" thrown in to explain British references to the American investigator who appeared in book 4 (but wasn't mentioned in book 5) as if Grant is continuing correspondence with her that isn't referenced anywhere else. And it seems strange given his new romance with Lady Ty.

The story around the ghosts was good, and involved some interesting police work, but the toddler river god bit near the end seemed very out of place. I guess it was used to tie characters together? I found it entertaining, but a bit head scratching and not fully connected to the main books. But perhaps this ties in more with those graphic novels?

The audiobook was narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who did a great job with the accents but seemed a bit similar between the characters. First time I listened to an audio version of this series, will stick with the print versions for the main books but didn't find it too bad.

0 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

So much more than just Franklin - amazing work!

Au global
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Histoire
5 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-01-31

I found this history of the Franklin Expedition, and the search for its lost ships and crew, absolutely fascinating!

The book does a very good job outlining the mission of Franklin and his crew in exploring the Canadian Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage. It also details the experiences of those left at home, most notably Lady Jane Franklin, who kept the hope of finding her husband and his crew, alive or dead, for many decades to come.

Watson is a great writer, and investigator. I really appreciated how he dealt with the treatment of Inuit traditions and oral history, as experienced in the age of Franklin and in this decade as the ships were found. The characters were treated with respect, with reverence, and with a good degree of acknowledgement for their understanding of the north and the Franklin history. They are truly the heroes of this story, especially the third part (the finding of the lost ships), even though from our Eurocentric view we so naturally fall for Franklin and the bumbling Royal Navy, relying on pluck and good Christian morals to combat years surviving in the Arctic. I feel such pride for Canada in having as remarkable of citizens as those in the North, and especially those involved in the Franklin search. Their work recording and exploring oral histories and traditions to the point of knowing exactly where the ships were (within a few kilometres) - knowledge that had been available in the 1840s had the Europeans just asked - is phenomenal and should be held in great regard. I hope more archaeological expeditions and historical works turn to those holders of local knowledge.

While I knew a bit about Franklin's Expedition going into this book, I was enthralled learning about the peculiar spiritualist/psychic elements of the search for the lost ship, and also about the innovative Canadian story in the modern day search. It is amazing that psychically-inclined individuals all around the world could be placing the wrecks in correct locations years before there were even maps of the area, and decades before validating artifacts were found. And then, a century later, Canadian inventors using homemade diving gear invent and refine a new field of marine archaeology. These innovations and inventions - and their inventors - would later come to play a major role in the search for and exploration of the wrecks of the Erebus and Terror.

It truly is an amazing story.

The narrator is also a great player in this story. There a few Canadian words (Metis, Dalhousie, and toque) that are wildly mis-pronounced, but overall the story is well read.

I highly recommend this book!

Like a pep talk from your dad, but from space!

Au global
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Histoire
4 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-01-31

I recommend this book! This book is basically a pep talk about how not to be a dick to the people around you while listening to the world's greatest humblebrag by one of the world's genuinely nicest (and most impressive) moustaches.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth isn't a memoir, because of the aforementioned life lessons being the main focus, but you still get to hear the amazing life journey Hadfield took to get to space three times as examples of living out his teachings. While I followed Hadfield while he was on the ISS in 2012/13, I didn't know much about his early career other than that he was a military pilot. He was much more than that, especially after he became an astronaut - and that was probably what I appreciated most in this book, learning about the life of an astronaut when they're not in space. Hadfield was a fighter pilot, but also the best test pilot of his class. And when he became an astronaut he did more than fly to space. He was NASA's head of robotics, served as Chief CAPCOM for 25 Shuttle missions (the main guy on the radio), Chief Astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency, NASA's head of operations for training in Russia (yes, he learned Russian to be an astronaut), Chief of International Space Station Operations, and much much more. Yah, ok, he's impressive. Oh yah, and first Canadian to walk in space, first Canadian commander of the ISS, fully qualified Cosmonaut, has visited MIR and the ISS (twice), etc, etc.

It was great to hear about Hadfield's astronaut work. As a Canadian, we don't get to hear much about the space program as the attention is really only on those in space (and we don't have many astronauts, let alone astronauts in space). If Canadians knew more about what our astronauts do to support the program while on the ground, and just how important that work is, I think we'd be more impressed by our personnel and not fall into that tokenism feeling we often have in the international circuit. In reality, we punch well above our weight! (By the way, did you know Canadians spend as much on Halloween candy as we do on our space agency each year?! One of them may cure cancer someday, but I'll let you guess which one.)

The other aspect of this book, and arguably the main point, is to outline Hadfield's keys to life success. Most are simple and attainable, along the lines of "be respectful of people around you, work hard, and don't try to be a superstar." I'm sure some people listening to the book, and hearing the examples from Hadfield's own life, will say "yes, but it worked for you" or "but that's really easy to say when you ARE a superstar who can accomplish anything," but I think that overall they are attainable and easy to put in practice. They may not make you an incredibly successful spaceman, but they could make your life more successful, or at least more enjoyable (which is just as good).

I think the number one lesson I took out of the book is not to define your success by an outcome. Hadfield was an astronaut for 31 years, but only went to space three times in that period. His first two missions were quite short, totalling just 19 days, while his third mission was 5-months long and came after over a decade being grounded. Is an astronaut really an astronaut if he doesn't go to space? And when his big dramatic moment of glory came on his last mission to space, NASA picks someone else for the emergency spacewalk (Hadfield was a spacewalking instructor, so seemed a shoe-in). But he didn't let it get him down (though he admits to some initial disappointment) and went about his work supporting the team and excelling in a new role, something that made him more proud than if he had been the public hero. For many of us, especially those who don't have easily identifiable mission/project-related pinnacles in our careers, it may be harder to identify those large outcomes in the day-to-day, but it is a good reminder that doing your job well is a better long-term success and easier for us to avoid major disappointment. It will help me not focus too much on the outcomes of the major project I'm working on and just try to do it well in the meantime.

The audiobook was good, Hadfield's voice is recognizable from all his YouTube videos from space even if the audio quality may not have been the definition of perfection. I was surprised by a few words that seemed mis-pronounced - is it an Ontario thing? Hadfield has become an educator, an experienced professional making the case for his sector, and that really comes across in the narration. It's clear, it's got a bit of humour, it all fits. I think Hadfield is best when not reading a script, some areas (especially the humour) felt a bit stilted like he needed a reaction from the listener back, but it wasn't a problem over all.

I really enjoyed finishing this just a few hours before the ISS Expedition 53 crew returned to earth in the early hours of December 14 (Pacific time at least, it was mid-day in Kazakstan). I had just heard Hadfield describe the Soyuz descent and then could watch it happen on video. His descriptions made me understand so much more about what was going on, what the astronauts were thinking, and what would constitute a good landing (it was an excellent landing, by the way). What a cool experience to have that insight!

Highly recommend, and thanks for your service Col. Hadfield!

It's Tom Hanks, and actually some good stories too

Au global
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Histoire
3 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-01-31

Ok, so I definitely bought this audiobook mainly just because of Tom Hanks narrating it. And because of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgJ3kSOHMiU

But I actually liked most of the stories. Most of them. Some of them were a bit weird, but I kinda expected that with short stories. Some of them are also just a bit...boring?

There are a few storylines (or characters) that have multiple stories. Some are pretty much the same, like the newspaper column, while others are vastly different - like the group of friends who go bowling, end up in outerspace with a backyard rocket, and who go through romantic issues as well. And lots of standalone stories that go through the gamut from deep emotional fiction to wildly ridiculous science fiction. And then it ends with a full-cast read-aloud screenplay with music.

I liked the recurring theme of typewriters throughout the stories. A few stories are pretty much about a typewriter, but some you really need to listen for them. A few made me want to go write on one. A few made me think "well, that's how he worked in in. Cop out..." I'd say give it a listen, good to hear his voice, and a few stories are stand-outs!

Now go type something!

2 personnes sur 2 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

Slow and confusing, not the greatest story

Au global
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Histoire
2 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-01-31

Worked my way very slowly through this audio book. Definitely not my favourite, there were a lot of slow parts and rather confusing trips that Russell took through multiple countries for his alleged spy work (that never really seems to result in anything), and then it all ended with a far too convenient and daring nighttime raid on an SS brothel to rescue a Jewish girl he had never seen before but somehow knew was there. Oh, and that storyline never really got wrapped up, neither did the part about his friend and fellow communist who killed her husband? It was not the best to listen by audio book, for one, when this was a confusing book to begin with.