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Hermes

  • 27
  • reviews
  • 5
  • helpful votes
  • 32
  • ratings
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature

  • Why Violence Has Declined
  • Written by: Steven Pinker
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 36 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 75
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65

We’ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In this startling new book, the best-selling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best and most interesting book I have ever read.

  • By William H. on 2018-12-07

An encyclopedia on one theme

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

Reviewed: 2019-05-14

Facts, facts, facts. Non-stop facts and logical interpretation of those facts. By the chapter 'The Long Peace' I stopped making notes because I was spending more time writing than listening. Or so it felt like. The author must be a genius nerd. Somehow that wore me down.

But the author's presentation, a battery really, of facts leaves no doubt in my mind that I was very wrong in my assumption about the past being better regarding violence, personal and State. So, I am cancelling my T-shirt from Red Ice TV "The past is the future".

  • Bastard Out of Carolina

  • Written by: Dorothy Allison
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Evans
  • Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2

Greenville County, South Carolina, is a wild, lush place that is home to the Boatwright family - a tight-knit clan of rough-hewn, hard- drinking men who shoot up each other's trucks, and indomitable women who get married young and age too quickly. At the heart of this story is Ruth Anne Boatwright, known simply as Bone, a bastard child who observes the world around her with a mercilessly keen perspective.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I wept

  • By Hermes on 2019-05-08

I wept

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

Reviewed: 2019-05-08

This book made a grown man cry. And more than once. So I had to stop listening to this one in public on several ocassions. And stop for a breather at some points too lest I crumble.

I listened to only half of the afterword because I wanted to let the import of the story sink in without commentary of context.

This review is about both the book and the film because I saw the film first and it influenced my appreciation for the original. The only differences that I noticed (I saw the film over 8 years ago) was that the child doesn't masturbate in the movie, nor develop masochistic bondage fantasies based on her experiences, in the film the only sexual context being manipulative. non-volitional non-penetrative sex then finally a violent rape by her step-father. If you think that the terror and torture of Pasolini's 120 Days of Sodom makes it a great movie (I do, despite 'hating' the events portrayed, and thus I wrote a five page review of it when I wrote a girl film review blog, finding it the most disturbing, yet great film I had ever seen) you will 'like' this book.To say that the film's most coercive sexual abuse scene is highly disturbing is an understatement, and much the same scene is in the original. There are several such unwilling encounters, but one horrific and it translated well from text to moving images.

I won't reveal the family secret/surprise at the end (which actually I found irrelevant and maybe even unneccessary, but maybe not). I don't remember it being in the film. But several of the film scenes were almost word-for word from the book and the characters the same. For example, when the girl Bone sits on the balcony and her sick aunt asks if her step-father ever touched her 'down there' and the tween replies 'no' and they sing Gospel songs together.

What I also liked about this book is that everyone is weak (except the protaganist, actually I think it would have been an improvement to the story if she had some character faults). The uncles and aunts, the civic servants, the teachers, the doctors and nurses, the Woolworth's manager, of course the villain and even mother who does the 'unforgivable'. Yet I felt compassion for all of them as a deeply flawed human beings. Much of the story is about family relationships. It is not non-stop abuse. There is also poverty, mental illness, class consciousness, sexual perversity, alcoholism, racism etc. And every day life as a working-class family.

Not sentimental or doctrinaire, so one of the best works of fiction I have 'read' in a long time, and a rarity in that the easy to follow writing, the sympathetic narration and the compelling story are all on the same exemplary level.

But be prepared to have your blood pressure raised, to become indignant, outraged, saddened. And to weep.

  • The Beautiful Brain

  • Written by: Hana Walker-Brown
  • Length: 3 hrs and 40 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 12

This is a story about the beautiful game – football. The highs, the lows, historic match days and foul play. It’s a celebration of a beloved player, a history maker, and his tragic ending at the final whistle. It’s a story about science and discovery, about the people on the frontline of life changing research. But above all it’s a story about family, and about consequence. All of this is wrapped up in three little letters, C.T.E.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • After 30 minutes and too much on melon balls ...

  • By Hermes on 2019-04-22

After 30 minutes and too much on melon balls ...

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-22

... I give up. I wanted to learn about CTE, the medicine, science etc. That what the title and inage suggest. But in fact, almost everything so far is about the relationships (friends, wife, fans etc) of someone who had CTE. A little bit I could tolerate, but this is too much. It's too female-oriented, too well, BBC 21st century (I liked British TV in the 1970s). And this series is NOT tightly edited. Background music added nothing. Context, the 'personal story', The second interviewee also added nothing substantial.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Circadian Code

  • Lose Weight, Supercharge Your Energy, and Transform Your Health from Morning to Midnight
  • Written by: Satchin Panda PhD
  • Narrated by: Chris Sorensen
  • Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11

Beginning with an in-depth explanation of the circadian clock - why it's important, how it works, and how to know it isn't working - The Circadian Code outlines lifestyle changes to make to get back on track. It's a concrete plan to enhance weight loss, improve sleep, optimize exercise, and manage technology so that it doesn't interfere with your body's natural rhythm. Dr. Panda's life changing methods show you how to prevent and reverse ailments like diabetes, cancer, and dementia, as well as microbiome conditions like acid reflux, heartburn, and irritable bowel disease. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting content, terrible narration.

  • By Kevin on 2018-07-27

Whys & hows of switching from night owl to lark

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-15

Or more precisely, harmonizing one's schedule to the solar rhythm and limiting eating to specific duration (8-12 hour period).

Content (overall): Actionable. It purports to provide key information in a practical program. Because regularizing my sleep schedule is something that I need to do after 38 years of not doing so, the goal of this book is perfect for my needs. But I think of this book as an adjunct to the app affiliated to Salk Institute which is monitoring my attempt to do Supported by scientific studies. I think the book is a better chouce (refetences) so I will get the Kindle if available. I just wanted something to listen to on my daily walks in mid-day sun.

Writing (story): The grammar is correct, the vocabulary understandable. He doesn't ramble. The author is a scientist writing a non-fiction book.

Narration (perfornance): Nasal, strange intonation - from Ohio? Doesn't matter what speed I play it at, he sounds weird to me.

Weaknesses: Only one - paddedness. Here is what I picture happened over the phone

Publisher: Dr. Panda we need X more pages.
Doctor: I have already said what needs to be said. It could be half the length, even a third and accomplish the same goal.
Publisher: We have rules. The book has to be between A and B pages.
Doctor: What do you expect me to do?
Publisher: Add some diet advice?
Doctor: But this isn't a diet book.
Publisher: We need C more page
Doctor: OK, but I think it will detract from the message of the book - that in addition to when one sleeps, it's less important what you eat than when.
Publisher: Do what you can...

2 weeks later...

Publisher: We got the additions, chapter six
Doctor: Good
Publisher: Ah, actually we are two pages short.
Doctor: mhmm..
Publisher: We have rules.
Doctor: Sorry, there is nothong more I can do.
Publisher: How about we go through the dictionary and list every healthy food that you recommend?
Doctor: (silence)
Publisher: We'll do it for you. All you have to do is approve or edit the list.
Doctor: (click)

note: I am only half way through the book.

  • Digging Up Mother

  • A Love Story
  • Written by: Johnny Depp - foreword, Doug Stanhope
  • Narrated by: Doug Stanhope and Friends
  • Length: 12 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 47
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 47

Doug Stanhope is one of the most critically acclaimed and stridently unrepentant comedians of his generation. What will surprise some is that he owes so much of his dark and sometimes uncomfortably honest sense of humor to his mother, Bonnie.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • I laughed. I cried. I vomitted. I screamed.

  • By Hermes on 2019-03-31

I laughed. I cried. I vomitted. I screamed.

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

Reviewed: 2019-03-31

For me, this is two books, the first chapter which is great, but then it quickly goes downhill. I am returning it becase I can't waste my brain time listening to anymore than seven more chapters of life in the gutter.

I. Chapter one:

This part is great therapy for someone (me) whose demented almost 90-years old mother just died. I watched her die over the last weeks, days and hours (plus ten years of institutional life). It was a very disturbing experience to fail to be able to reduce her suffering much. This first chapter is real, unsentimental and practical about not-assisted suicide. I have no complaints with the first chapter and the parts where the author talks about his eccentric working-class mother and his obvious love for her, despite her faults.

II. Chapters two to eight: The author sounds like a self-indulgent, moronic, drunken juvenille delinquent with zero conscience. Maybe even a socio/psychopath. Also, I'm not sure I liked havng friend's read aloud the text, although the recorded casual conversations were a plus. But he has a great voice when sober.

  • Chapter 6 (The Last Days of August)

  • Written by: Jon Ronson
  • Length: 32 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8

"Baby elephants in the circus." Jon and Lina travel to the Midwest for an extraordinary meeting.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An interesting peek into the world of US porn

  • By Hermes on 2019-03-20

An interesting peek into the world of US porn

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

Reviewed: 2019-03-20

I thought I already posted this. Wouldn't be the frist time where a review on Audible.ca disappeared.

Somehow I found the journalist insinscere and even sleazy (he does not come off this way in the 'Butterfly Effect'). If I was in porn I wouldn't talk to him.

  • Walking in Winter on the Camino: A Pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago

  • Written by: Brian Morrison
  • Narrated by: Brian Morrison
  • Length: 1 hr and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

 In the winter of 2018 I returned to Spain to finish the 500 mile, million step, pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. This is the story of my winter journey. Walking the Camino in winter has unique challenges as well as benefits. The lessons learned in this book may be useful to anyone considering a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, or any long-distance walk. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • It is what it is described to be.

  • By Hermes on 2019-03-20

It is what it is described to be.

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

Reviewed: 2019-03-20

I bought this book for two reasons...

1. had a fiver credit
2. planning to go on a (different) pilgrimage

Worth every penny, and I don't mean this facetiously. Just accurately. Basically it's a deadpan reading of the author's Facebook posts , an interview plus a packing list. Concise, practical, secular. I have no idea if the walker is Catholic or even Christian. Pilgrimage strictly speaking is not what this winter hiker's guide is about.

I learned some useful tips. Examples...

- Hiking in winter verus autumn is a tradeoff.
- Japanese toed socks prevent blisters
- many foreigners do this hike
- Destination church gives you one of two versions of a certificate if you get stamped along the way
- walking backwards downhill can be useful
- no need to carry much water as not long distances between settlements
- Hostels along the way

I liked the author's plain narration and diary writing. No pretences. Don't expect but a few tidbits of history. This is not Saint John of the Cross either.

I must read a different guide to find out the story of St. James and what the trip budget range is. I am perplexed why the author ate in restaurants rather than self-catering with cheese, fruit and nuts. Perhaps for the warmth and to socialize? He hints that eating out in Spain is affordable, but being the EU I will just presume he was on a higher budget than I will be in Sri Lanka.

  • Ep. 12: Secret Sherlock (Stephen Fry's Victorian Secrets)

  • Written by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 33 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most fully realised and enduring fictional characters ever created. His personality and the details of his intellect, his manners, his dress, his habits, his appetites, his techniques and his methods created, from the beginning, a place for him in the public consciousness of a kind that had perhaps never been experienced in literature. This episode examines the evidence that he may have had a secret sex life, and we use Holmes’s unrepentant use of narcotics to enter the secret (and not so secret) world of Victorian drug use.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • prostitution, pornography, freak shows, etc

  • By Hermes on 2019-03-19

prostitution, pornography, freak shows, etc

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

Reviewed: 2019-03-19

After listening to the remaining episodes I am raising my assessment of this series. This is light listening while doing housework etc, entertaining snippets of renacted scandals and interviews with academics on homsexuality, insanity etc. I adore the caramel voice of Stephen Fry -- the best part really.

I am not rating individual episodes.

  • Ep. 24: Franklin Pierce (Presidents Are People Too)

  • Written by: Alexis Coe, Elliott Kalan
  • Length: 27 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars 1

Alexis and Elliott delve into the life of a handsome yet disappointing president, number 14, Franklin Pierce. They speak to a presidential grief specialist about how Pierce dealt with a tragic death two months before his inauguration, examine how the Kansas-Nebraska Act—an act that was meant to defuse tension over slavery—ended up blowing up the country, and explore Pierce’s lifelong friendship with the acclaimed novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not serious

  • By Hermes on 2019-03-19

Not serious

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

Reviewed: 2019-03-19

I listened to about a third of these episodes. None struck me as fascinating. Firstly, they are too short, secondly too shallow and third I didn't like the people talking. I will delete these from my devices rather than try any more episodes and this is rare for me to reject a free audiobook. Time not well-spent!

Writing was silly, narration there is none (it's more like a radio show conversation), and the content is very disappointing. Sounded as if the research was done too quickly. Was the production done by high school students? Maybe that is the intended listenership.

Somebody else do *better researched* ones on Canadian Prime Ministers, Russian Premiers and Chinese CCP Chairmen -- for the concept has great potential.

  • Letters from a Stoic: Complete (Letters 1 - 124) Adapted for the Contemporary Reader (Seneca)

  • Written by: Lucius Seneca, James Harris
  • Narrated by: Greg Douras
  • Length: 16 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4

The Epistulae morales ad Lucilium (Latin for moral letters to Lucilius) are a collection of 124 letters which were written by Seneca at the end of his life, during his retirement, and after he had worked for the Emperor Nero for 15 years. They are addressed to Lucilius, the then procurator of Sicily. The letters highlight many moral and ethical ways to live and address many of the issues known to man about life and death. These letters have been carefully adapted into a contemporary format to allow for easy listening and understanding.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • wisely human

  • By Hermes on 2019-03-19

wisely human

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

Reviewed: 2019-03-19

I really don't like the young man's (?) narration as it sounds like he is looking at a big tome and thinking 'got to get through this.' And slowing it down doesn't quite work.

The letters by the famous Stoic to his friends is full of mature life advice. I find it most enjoyable listening to one to three letters per day when I start my day, go for a walk or have my breakfast. It takes some attention -- don't try to do anything that requires distracting attention while listening. It's serious although not stiff. I won't do a sit-through read - not just because of its length but so I can cogitate on the contents piece by piece.

I still have another 15 hours to go (at chapter 21 of 124!) Because the book is so good I am in no hurry.