Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson – Audio Edition

Posted by on Nov 9, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson narrated by the authorAstrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson narrated by the author

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: 2017
Length: 3 hours, 41 minutes
Narrated by: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.
But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in digestible chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day. While waiting for your morning coffee to brew, or while waiting for the bus, the train, or the plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the big bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

My Thoughts:
This was exactly what I expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was expecting an introductory level of information not a super in-depth study. This is a collection of a series of essays by Tyson that were originally published in Natural History magazine.

The audiobook is 3 hours and 41 minutes long but with all the rewinding to listen again I did it probably to me more like five and a half hours to finish. Listening to this book reminded me of sitting in a favorite professor’s class in college. The subject matter was interesting and presented in a conversational manner with plenty of wit and humor along the way.

I can’t imagine anyone other than Neil deGrasse Tyson narrating this.

I learned a lot and definitely recommend this one. Now that I’ve listened to it I would like to get the print edition. This is a book that lends itself to reading or listening to one chapter and then putting it aside for a while before reading or listening to the next. I enjoyed listening to it straight through but for a reread I might take it in smaller chunks.

Rating
4 stars 4/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

Posted by on Aug 25, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review | 2 comments

The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen DionneThe Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

Genre: Fiction, Suspense
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 307
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

At last, Helena has the normal life she craved: a loving husband, two adorable daughters, a business that pays the bills. But when her father escapes from a nearby prison, she realizes she was a fool to think she could put her dark past behind her. Helena has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by Helena’s father and held captive in a cabin surrounded by swamp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Helena was born two years later, and as she grew up she had no idea that anything was wrong. She loved her rugged childhood, and despite her father’s sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him, too–until she learned precisely how monstrous he could be. Now a young mother, Helena has hidden her past so thoroughly that even her husband has no idea of the truth. But after her father kills two prison guards and vanishes into the marshland he knows better than anyone, Helena knows the police don’t stand a chance of finding him. Only one person has the skills to catch the notorious child abductor and survivalist the world calls the Marsh King, because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter. Unless, that is, he finds her first.

My Thoughts:
As soon as I read the description for this book I got myself on the waiting list at the library. This is so my type of book.

The present-day story in this one takes place over the course of just a day or two. Interspersed is the back story of Helena’s childhood in which she didn’t know that she and her mother were captives of her father. As far as the child Helena knew her life was normal. Her transition afterwards was not an easy one.

This is part chase story and part psychological thriller. It’s told from Helena’s viewpoint so in the flashbacks it’s clear how much her younger self loved her father despite the emotional and physical abuse that was normal as far as she knew. Some of those sections are difficult to read as are some of the graphic hunting scenes.

Helena’s father taught her to hunt and track and now she’s hunting and tracking him in order to save her family.

This was my kind of suspense story and if the stuff I mentioned above isn’t troublesome for you, I recommend it.

4 starsRating 4/5

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The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | 1 comment

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Pam SmyThe Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Pam Smy

Genre: Mystery
Format: Hardcover and Ebook
Series: #5 in the traditional canon of Sherlock Holmes
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: originally 1902, this edition 200
Pages: 271
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

“Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!”
The body of Sir Charles Baskerville has been found on the grounds of his Devon estate, his face a frozen picture of horror and fear. The only clue is the footprint of a terrible beast. Locals blame the legendary monster that haunts the moor, fulfilling the diabolical curse of the Baskervilles. But Holmes is sure the answer lies within the natural world. Can he and Watson solve the case before Sir Charles’s heir meets the same terrifying fate?

This classic horror story, featuring Pam Smy’s eerie artwork, pits science against superstition and detective against dog, as Holmes hunts down a fiendish murderer.

My Thoughts:
I started reading the Sherlock Holmes books a few years ago and enjoy them. Suddenly, oops! It’s been three years since I read one. That’s why I put this on my list of Five Books I Want to Read Summer 2017. My library had this beautiful illustrated edition with wonderful artwork and lovely thick paper. It was one of those books that just feels good to have in your hands.

The story was interesting. I went into it not really knowing anything about it which kind of surprised me. In this book, Holmes is actually absent for quite a bit. Watson actually begins the investigation on his own, Of course Holmes comes along and winds things up in his usual style.

It’s a classic that holds up to time. Even though it’s a now historical setting the writing doesn’t feel old. The buildup of tension and the dark atmosphere worked well.

The edition I read was illustrated beautifully by Pam Smy. Her artwork only added to my enjoyment of this book.

Pam Smy Illustration in Hound of the Baskervilles

Pam Smy Illustration in Hound of the Baskervilles

4 stars Rating 4/5

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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review | 2 comments

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'EngleA Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: This edition 2007, Originally 1963
Pages: 216
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

My Thoughts:
I have no idea how I missed reading this as a kid. It’s yet another one of those children’s classics that I somehow missed. When I heard and saw people familiar with the book getting excited about the trailer for the upcoming movie, I knew I had to get a copy.

This was so much fun I’m kicking myself for not reading it before now and now that I’ve seen the movie trailer I’m excited about that too.

This blend of science fiction, fantasy, and adventure is just the kind of thing I would have loved as a kid. It might have been a little too much if I’d read it too young however because the idea of IT being such a powerful evil thing.

Have you read any of the follow up books? Are they worth my time?

4 starsRating 4/5

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Unmentionable by Therese O’Neill – Audio Edition

Posted by on Aug 4, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

Unmentionable the Victorian Ladys Guide to Sex Marriage & Manners by Therese O'Neill narrated by Betsy Foldes Meiman and Jim Meskimen

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication Date: 2016
Length: 7 hours 12 minutes
Narrated by: Betsy Foldes Meiman and Jim Meskiman
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era?
Ladies, welcome to the 19th century, where there’s arsenic in your face cream, a pot of cold pee sits under your bed, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (Why? Shush, dear. A lady doesn’t question.)
Unmentionable is your hilarious, scandalously honest (yet never crass) guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood, giving you detailed advice on:

  • What to wear
  • Where to relieve yourself
  • How to conceal your loathsome addiction to menstruating
  • What to expect on your wedding night
  • How to be the perfect Victorian wife
  • Why masturbating will kill you
  • And more

My Thoughts:
Several people I know enjoyed this book and it sounded fun so it was an easy choice to spend an Audible credit on it.

This was fun. It was written as a dose of reality to modern day women romanticizing life in their historical books. Not so glamorous. I knew going in that it was written with a touch of sarcasm and humor so I wasn’t surprised at that part. This is not dry nonfiction. This is the author talking to the reader with a wicked grin in her voice that clearly says she’s enjoying ruining the reader’s romantic notions.

Having just finished Get Well Soon, I was familiar with the parts about some of the common diseases of the era. There was plenty of other new information that made me happy to have been born in the twentieth century.

Betsy Foldes Meiman does the majority of the narration with Jim Meskimen narrating the parts that are quotes from books written by men. Meiman seems to have fully embraced the tone of the book and seems to enjoy the snarkiness. While I though it was a little overedone at times, her narration clearly fit the tone of this particular book but I’m not sure she’s someone I’d want to narrate a more straightforward story.

It was fun, interesting, educational if not a but cringeworthy at times and a book I’d recommend.

Rating
4 stars 4/5 for the book

3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the narration (or maybe the production)

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Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson

Posted by on Jul 21, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review | 0 comments

Miss Buncle's Book by D.E StevensonMiss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson

Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: This edition 2012, Originally 1934
Pages: 299
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Who knew one book could cause so much chaos? Barbara Bunde is in a bind. Times are harsh, and Barbara’s bank account has seen better days. Maybe she could sell a novel … if she knew any stories. Stumped for ideas, Barbara draws inspiration from her fellow residents of Silverstream, the little English village she knows inside and out. To her surprise, the novel is a smash. It’s a good thing she wrote under a pseudonym, because the folks of Silverstream are in an uproar. But what really turns Miss Bunde’s world around is this: what happens to the characters in her book starts happening to their real-life counterparts. Does life really imitate art?.

My Thoughts:
This was just utterly charming. The book Miss Buncle writes when she needs money is based on her observations of her neighbors in her small town. They are so thinly disguised that everyone is soon ready to hunt down the author. Chaos ensues.

It’s just a lightly funny story that’s filled with funny and interesting characters. Some of it is a bit predictable but there are also surprises.

Even though it was originally published in the 1930’s the story and the humor are fairly timeless.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Silverstream/Copperfield. If you need a break from heavier books this book is just a lovely little vacation. There is a sequel I’ll be putting on my library wish list.

4 starsRating 4/5

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