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Excellent Discussion

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

Évalué le: 2020-02-23

Evolution occurs. To deny it is ridiculous. If you're looking for more of a primer, "The Selfish Gene" is an excellent discussion of Evolutionary Biology...and more introductory.
This book is better at discussing the controversies in Evolution scholarship...a strong foundation in genetics and biology isn't necessary, but surely helps.
"The Blind Watchmaker" is well-written, clear, and absent of dogmatic assertions. Dawkins backs his arguments with plenty of striking examples.
It has 4 drawbacks:
1. The timbre is elitist. He doesn't contradict those that don't agree with him...he ridicules them. Dawkins uses sarcasm to insinuate that he is "right" and contrary evolutionary biologists are wrong. Creationists are "obviously deluded." I appreciate the attempt to inject some humor into a dry subject, but it comes across as snark.
2. His thesis pays lip service to alternative mechanisms to explain evolution, but he quickly returns to his own ideas. Dawkins comes across as dismissive of other ideas.
3. Dawkins insists on stochastic accumulative gradualism, and appropriately disregards saltatory evolution, but glosses over inconsistencies in the fossil record - like speciation events (the Cambrian Explosion and others).
4. Asserting that evolution occurs DOES NOT lead to the conclusion "Therefore, there is no God". At one point he angrily chastises taxonomists who say that evolution isn't required to explain the diversity of life: "Just because it's not needed doesn't mean it does not occur". How is that different from saying 'Just because a creator isn't needed doesn't mean He doesn't exist."

Having two narrators is a double-edged sword. Dawkins uses direct quotes and hypothetical conversations liberally. Having a second narrator allows for a distinction between the author's voice and that of whom he is quoting.
Throughout the text, however, he takes the author's voice, and then surrenders it to Lalla Ward, taking on the second voice...then going back again. It's pretty confusing. Thankfully he didn't select another male speaker.

I give this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

'Goodfellas'-like Biography. Superb Mob Story

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

Évalué le: 2020-02-14

Former Defence Attorney/Interrogation expert Charles Brandt pulls together a series of interviews with mob "fixer" Frank 'Irish' Sheeran to deliver a riveting first-person narrative of greed, violence, and cartoonish larger-than-life mafia figures...all surrounding the 1975 murder of Teamster Union President Jimmy Hoffa.
Small wonder Scorcese made this into a film.

Scott Brick is a true professional, and does an exceptional job reading this book. But you can certainly imagine Ray Liotta's voice recounting this engrossing tale.

Worthy of 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Exceptional Tale

Au global
5 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2020-02-08

This book starts amazing, chronicling the nightmarish events suffered by a French pastor hiding jewish families in WWII Vichy France, and a teenaged German jew who survives Kristallnacht and the harvesting of jews soon after the war starts.
Unfortunately it goes from there into a brief Inglorious Basterds-like crusade against evil. OF COURSE the teenaged Belgian Jew is a demolitions expert.
Thankfully it returns to a moving tale of life in Auschwitz/Birkenau, and the scheme to escape and tell the world what's going on. It's very well-written, with good pace, vivid descriptions, and interesting characters in genuine, nail-biting jeopardy. A fine example of historical fiction.

Christopher Lane is a very good narrator. His accents are decent (though sometimes a little disappointing), and his narrative pace is excellent. Very good reader.

This book is worthy of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Chilling. "Democratic Socislists" Need to Read Thi

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

Évalué le: 2020-02-02

This is a work of fiction. But knowing Solzhenitsyn's history lends it a lot of significance. A fine example of Soviet Dissident literature.
It's very well-written, with interesting characters and scenes filled with pathos. The translation by Harry T. Willets is excellent. The novel doesn't have much of a plot...more a series of anecdotes of "displaced persons" in 'half-way house'-level incarceration...intellectuals forced to serve the USSR while prisoners.
It's a little slow and at times confusing (I had to restart it once), but I got it as a Daily Deal and took a chance. Well worth it.

Derek Perkins is a fantastic Narrator. I'd love to hear him more.

I give this book a solid 4 stars out of 5.

Fantastic Narrator (almost) saves Sophomoric Tale

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

Évalué le: 2020-01-20

*sigh* Such promise.
The Expeditionary Force series cpuld rival the epic spanning SciFi of the James S.A Corey tandem. Instead, Alanson populates his galaxy with furry muppets, scaly muppets, and giant sentient gambling-addict insects.
A group of really cool human Space Marines is wasted with hackneyed clichees, sexual innuendo, needless slang/military jargon (why say 'Communications Security' when you can say 'CommSec'?), and the addition of a Jar-Jar Binks-like character for comic relief.
Alanson writes fascinating, well-thought-out space battles with plenty of action, beleivable twists, and intricate detail that the reader can see with the mind's eye. He fills heart-pounding battle scenes with imaginative, detaed descriptions of alien military technology. Too bad he can't write characters worth a damn. Not one of them is realistic or likable. The book improves as the acton builds, but really drags early on. The good stuff starts at Chapter 15. Keep reading. It improves (somewhat).

R.C. Bray is the best reader in the business. 'Nuff said.

I bought this book as a Daily Deal. Probably should have got a Filet-O-Fish snd some fries.

Maybe other books in the series are better. This one? 3 stars out of 5

A Fascintating (if short) Treatise

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

Évalué le: 2020-01-15

I got this book as a Daily Deal. I am glad I took a chance, but don't think it's worth a credit - all in all.
Anyone who's heard a Sam Harris podcast knows the guy is a thinker. He brings his keen observation and persuasive arguments to a discussion of the ethics/utility of lies. His topic is liberally sprinkled with illustrative anecdotes. Harris comes off as cerebral without being a know-it-all. In fact, the second half of the recording is Sam tackling reader questions, and he actually, to his undying credit, changes his stance on a couple of postulates.

Audio quality is fair at best. Harris is a good reader, but a bit monotone in the delivery of fairly dry writing.

This recording is worth 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Entertaining. Makes me want tl roll some dice

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

Évalué le: 2020-01-14

I got this book as a Daily Deal offer. I'm glad I took a chance. I much prefer Adult Fiction fantasy (RR Martin, Rothfuss, Erickson, even Sanderson), but reviews are pretty good. Why not? Good decision.
This book is excellent at continuing to flesh out Faerun, and includes some scenes on other planes. It has all of the things I love with Fantasy RPGs - goal-oriented action, real(istic) characters, and fantastic monsters and magic.
When I play D&D, I plod through the 'plot", eagerly anticipating the next encounter. This book taught me the utility of good RPG intrigue. The story has plenty of encounters (a few chapters are straight-up battles), but packs the tale with politics/maneuvering by demons, gods, wizards, and kings. Such a story is at risk of being overwhelmed by character motivations and "Historical" events. Rather, 'Archmage' has a great pace, not bogged down with detail.

The biggest drawback is all of the names and places...maybe not so great if you're not familiar with the Forgotten Realms...but Salvatore makes a relatively standard quest plot breathe.

Victor Bevine is a good reader, though nothing special. Professional performance with only a couple of annoying accent choices (Balors shouldn't sound retarded).

I give this book a solid 4.5 stars out of 5. I will be continuing this series.

Fitting Ending to the Trilogy

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

Évalué le: 2020-01-09

This book is very well-written. Jemisin has created a rich, interesting setting...a world as complicated as Middle Earth...if Tolkien was a Sociologist.
Relations between people are integral to the mystical/apocalyptic plot. It has an interesting structure, follows three plotlines (two of which are adventurous quests), eventually bringing them together with an interesting climax. Thought-provoking and entertaining.

This book is completely unable to stand alone. Without Books 1&2, the story makes no sense. But the story is a good one if you invest the time. A little heavy on the social structures and the mystical, but good.

Robin Myles does a decent job reading.

4 stars out of 5.

Weskest of the Trilogu

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

Évalué le: 2020-01-04

This book brings the Stillness into greater detail. Jemisin has envisioned a startlingly realistic fantasy setting. A dynamic, dying planet, social castes, different species, powerful mutations, believable ' human' prejudices. She writes very well, fleshing out her concepts.
This second in the Broken Earth Trilogy follows two plotlines, not degning to bring them together except very superficially. Good set-up for the third novel, but not really able to stand on it's own. The action is too spaced - diluted throughout the novel - a shame given Jemisin's talent for writing with pulse-pounding pace when she wants to.
Unfortunately, this novel starts to suffer from "Battlestar Galactica Syndrome". It gets bogged down in clever metaphysics. I also don't understand her fascination with gay sex, or her insistence on using the First Person Immersive perspective. Telling her reader "You feel angry" or "You think about..." is presumptuous. Just tell us the story...we'll figure out what we feel.
Robin Myles is again an above average reader. She fleshes out some unique dialects - combinations of East Indian, Scottish, and Irish accents. - depending on the character's birthplace in the Stillness. Brilliant She unfortunately has a tendency to lecture rather than relate the story.
I give this installment 3.5 out of 5 stars.

top-notch World- building

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

Évalué le: 2019-12-29

This novel largely lives up to the hype...well worth the awards and accolades. Jemisin writes beautifully, imbuing her characters with realistic humanity. They have fears, ammbitions, and flaws that ring true in a fascinating setting - complete with unique social castes, different species, and mutant powers.

Robin Miles is an adequate reader. A little above average.

The story is not able to stand alone, with really no plot resolution. You will need to get Book 2. It follows three plot-lines which barely interact until the conlusion...but it's quite a conclusion. One of the plotlines following Orogenes is written in First-Person Immersive, which gets annoying. "You" feel this and "You" do that. It gets tired.

This novel establishes a fascinating, original setting, and intriguing characters. Well worth 4 stars out of 5