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review 2018-03-14 06:41
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness - Peter Godfrey-Smith
Other Minds - Peter Godfrey-Smith

I don't know quite how to rate this one, so I went for 4 stars.  This is likely to be more a collection of disparate thoughts rather than a cohesive review of any kind.


Most people are not going to find Other Minds a 'popular' science book.  It's not dry, but it is dense.  The author merges what is currently known in evolutionary science with philosophy, and has written what is largely a thought experiment on the concept of consciousness and it's origins, and not just for the octopus; this covers all life.  Octopuses get more page time than other creatures, but still only make up about ... 40%, maybe 50%?  Not quite what I was expecting, but I was willing to go with it.


I listened to the audiobook, although I have the hardcover as well.  The narrator, Peter Noble, does an excellent job with the narration; his voice is crisp and clear and he reads it as though he has a thorough grasp of the material. 


But ... I don't know if it was me or if the title of the book was too open to interpretation, but I did not realise how deeply philosophical the material was - this made the audiobook very challenging for me; I'm not a fan of other people's thought experiments in general, so I really struggled with a wandering mind as I listened to this book.  I understood the general concepts he covered, but whole sections of the narration would just wash right over me before I'd realise my consciousness checked out.  


Conclusion: I'd have been better off reading the physical edition, I think.  It's a very well written book, but it's heavy material for someone like me, for whom listening requires a conscience effort.  I'll likely re-read my hardcover sometime soon, so I can determine how much I missed, and give my mind a chance to reinforce some of the points I found most interesting.

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review 2018-02-27 05:21
Murder in the Museum
Murder in the Museum - John Rowland,Peter Wickham
Murder in the Museum - John Rowland

Wow, this was really not good.  I started listening to it on audiobook, and meant to DNF it, but my phone doesn't unlock while I'm in the car and I kept forgetting to pick a new book before driving off again.  By the time I got home last night I was 90% finished and thought 'to hell with it', grabbed my print copy, and just finished it off.


What I didn't like:

Henry Fairhurst:  He's sort of the co-MC of the book, along with Inspector Shelly.  He's a damp, hen-pecked, Walter Middy sort of fellow; whingey too.


Henry's sister:  every horrible stereotype about single women, crammed into one book.  Truly a horrible character I would not be able to resist smacking in real life.


Inspector Shelly: the other MC of the book, the Scotland Yard Inspector that goes around not only theorising before the facts, but telling all involved in the case that they are the facts, never mind silly things like official coroner reports, or post-mortems, or blood analysis.  Shelly says the man died of cyanide poisoning, then by golly, that's what he died of.  And speaking of cause of death:


The cause of death:  A man does not fall asleep in the British Museum Reading Room and peacefully die from cyanide poisoning mid-snore.  The author was a contemporary of Agatha Christie; I hope she smacked him upside the head with his own book before setting him straight.  Cyanide is a nasty way to die and I'm certain his snoring would have been the least offensive thing everyone in the Reading Room that day would have had to witness.


The writing:  Rowland writes as though he imagines his reader to be an idiot, the result being his characters all sound like idiots.  There are some very Dick and Jane moments in this book.


The plot:  Let me put it this way:  I read cozies, and I thought it was preposterous.  


What I liked:

The cover.  The title.  The British Museum setting, which ended after page 24.  I gave each 1/2 star, but it was all downhill from there.

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text 2018-02-26 00:24
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee,Christian Coulson

This is an absolutely charming and fun book, and Christian Coulson is a fantastic narrator. Can't wait to read Felicity's book!

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text 2018-02-21 01:29
Audiobook for tomorrow!
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe - Fannie Flagg



They cancelled school because it's below freezing and sleeting and other Okies freak out over bad weather. So I'm home with the kiddo tomorrow. And just like a Godsend, Overdrive came thru with my hold for this. I plan on cranking the gas logs, opening up a new jigsaw puzzle, letting Danny out of his cage and listening to stories of Towanda all day tomorrow. If only I had wine.



I mean, what girl doesn't love this movie? If it doesn't make you cry you are soulless.


Plus, I adore Kathy Bates. I hope the book doesn't crush my movie love.


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text 2018-02-17 20:54
Reading progress update: I've read 74%.
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee,Christian Coulson
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