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review 2019-02-28 22:12
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Book 1)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Stephen Fry,Douglas Adams

As with Princess Bride I'm phenomenally late to the Douglas Adams party, but in spite of my dislike for science fiction (and, to be fair, space-related science fact, for that matter), my resistance was been worn down and I thought I had half a chance of enjoying it on audio.  When I saw an edition narrated by Stephen Fry, I figured my chances increased to at least 3:2.


Summed up thoughts:


I still don't like science fiction - If I'd been reading this book, I'd have DNF'd it at Zaphod Beeblebrox, and never even gotten to Slartibartfast.  The combination of space and names I can't pronounce would have spelled its doom.  Also, as much as I ultimately enjoyed Adams' humor, the space stuff still bored me. 


The opening description of Zaphod Beeblebrox was almost the second death knell for this book; the author's description of him, in the scene right before he absconds with the Heart of Gold, was so unerringly and disturbingly similar to another alien life form currently squatting in an oval office somewhere in the US, that I almost couldn't go on.  Fortunately Zaphod Beeblebrox soon shows signs of intelligence and self-reflection that made it obvious he was a vastly higher being.


Stephen Fry is amazing.  Anyone who doesn't think a narrator can make a book better has never listened to Stephen Fry.  The book stands on its own merits, but I'd not have finished it without his voice bringing it to life.  I know this  because I'd originally started a different edition and I couldn't get past Ford and Arthur's first inadvertent hitchhiking experience.


Funniest moment for me:  the "spoiler alert" Adams gives out before the Heart of Gold lands on the mythical planet (of course I can't remember its name, it's some complex science fiction word).  That made me laugh out loud.


Overall, the story started slowly for me and I honestly couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about.  Once they they landed on the mythical planet, things got more interesting, and I was just really getting into the story when, of course, it ended.  Now I have to hope and pray Stephen Fry narrated an audio version of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.  


I'm keeping this in my pocket for possible use in the Snakes and Ladder game.

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review 2019-02-23 14:50
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling,Stephen Fry

I´ve been listening to this audiobook since November and I finally finished it. It was a reading experience that I didn´t particularly enjoy. 


Stephen Fry´s narration is amazing, the story in itself is not and the only thing that saved this book from a worse rating is the narration.

My main problem with this book is that J.K. Rowling doesn´t know when to stop. In the first half not a whole lot is happening in regards to the actual story, it´s all about grumpy teenage Harry and Dolores Umbridge and just how horrible she is (which she truly is, but I don´t have to get it told over and over again). Almost 13 hours of this stuff is a whole lot to take. In the second half of the book the plot gets more variety, but I was so fatigued by the first half of the book that I didn´t care about the rest of it.


The good thing, however, is that I can use this audiobook for the Snakes and Ladders game as a book written by a woman. 

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review 2019-02-14 20:35
Grimms' Fairy Tales
Grimms' Fairy Tales - Jacob Grimm,Wilhelm Grimm

The audio book that I downloaded from Libox is a free download. It got a 62 Chapters or you can call them stories by the Grimm Brothers. It fairy tales and what the originals stories ending really are. 

Did you always think that the Disney version was the real one and did not know that they did not really end up Happy ever after. Well I did until I read a book that was called Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff. 

It made go looking for the original stories of my favorite fairy tales. Grimm Woods did not tell all the fairy tales ending it was story of itself but it did act out some of the fairy tales. It also is an adult or new adult book. Please be caution to that fact. 

This one is not as graphic in the audio book. This is not to bad. It help understand some of the fairy tales. The ending are different then though of Disney's. I know why that is, it is because they remade them to fit better for young children. 

You will get some of your classic fairy tales in this audio book. It enjoyed it. Though I say it will take some time to listen to. It a 10 hours and 32 mins long audio book. I would suggest listening this is pieces or couple of hours a day.


Download this version here

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review 2019-02-13 08:20
Becoming - Michelle Obama

I have so many disparate thoughts surrounding this book, but one very solid thought about the book itself.  So, the TL;DR version is:  it's excellent.  If you're a hellbent for leather "Republican", stay away from it; you won't enjoy it and it will probably do terrible things for your blood pressure, in much the same way as any new or conflicting idea of your world view might.  Rational conservatives, those with the ability to think their own thoughts and make up their own minds - and gasp - I'm one of those!, will find this woman to be the dignified, thoughtful, intelligent woman and class act that she is, even if, maybe, you may not agree with everything she advocates (though really, she doesn't advocate anything any normal human wouldn't).  Liberals, it goes without saying, have favourable odds of loving the hell out of this memoir of our First Lady.


That was, for me, a pretty provocative opening statement; I generally try to maintain a somewhat neutral facade here, though I'll never deny my personal truths.  I just don't feel it's necessary to wave them like a flag.  But - and this is relevant, so stay with me - my defences are low at the moment and I'm so damned tired of everybody's anger being channeled into tribalism.  "Liberals" pointing fingers at "Conservatives" and tearing strips off the whole lot, tarring them all with the same brush, and "Conservatives" ... when they're not tearing a strip off the "Liberals" and tarring them with the same brush, they're actively letting their inner child out, gleefully being petty and sniggering as they throw mud.  Bunch of damn fools, the entire dammed lot, and honestly, they all deserve one another.


As I said before, I am conservatively bent; I am not deficit inclined, nor am I inclined to embrace a lot of government in general (though there are exceptions - hello banking industry; you, you aren't to be trusted with so much as a plugged nickel).  Neither am I a racist, a bigot, nor an elitist.  I don't hate, nor do I deny poor people; their existence or their right to make a better life.  Anyone who knows me knows all of this, yet I don't think I'm ever getting the tar out of my hair.  I believe in diversity in all things, even diverse opinions.  Even the ones I don't like*.


Now, this is how I make all that relevant - Michelle Obama has written a book that succeeds, and is brilliant, because she does not fling mud; she does not tar anybody**; she writes about her thoughts, her beliefs, her values, her opinions, without ever once throwing judgements on anyone else's.  She does not build herself up by tearing down others, and here I think it's important to point out that she's not Suzy Sunshine and there aren't any unicorns flying out her backside.  I found what she didn't say to be as provocative as what she does say is not; moments when she chooses her words carefully, and where, in my opinion, she manages to convey that which perhaps she feels she can't say.  Though I admit, that might be wishful thinking on my part.


I've always admired President Obama; from the first he struck me as thoughtful, intelligent, and well-balanced with very little ego (or one that thrived on power, anyway), but at the beginning, Michelle was a bit of a non-entity to me.  Mostly because I've never gotten into what any First Lady was doing; she's not in office, has no public mandate, and is therefore of little interest to me.  But Michelle caught my attention with the organic vegetable garden - an initiative I was thrilled to watch unfold and succeed.  I still paid little attention, but every time she appeared on my radar, it was because she was doing something impressive, and doing it with dignity and grace.  By the time his second term ended, I was sorry to see them both go, and I was eager to read this book when it came out, to learn more about this woman who has never done anything but impress me.


A little part of my soul died when she stated for the record her complete disinterest in public office, because these are the kind of people I want running my country.  NOT because of their politics - I like both of them, but their politics are not entirely mine - but because of the people they are.  I don't have to agree with everything my leader does, but I do have to be able to respect him (or her) and their dedication to the process of doing what's best for the people - all the people - of the country.  The Obamas set - or reset - the standard for the highest office in the nation, repairing the damage wrought by so many previous administrations. To bring this back to the book - Becoming gives readers an insight into just how deeply invested they both were - but especially Michelle, since this is her story - in making the most of the incredible opportunities they were given to make positive, lasting change for as many people as they could, while keeping their family not just in tact, but healthy, thriving and close.


A note about her narration:  I'm not going to gush, because the truth is that it was apparent that she was told to read slowly and exactly off the manuscript, which is fair enough.  But I sort of wish she'd have been confident enough to read it in the voice she obviously wrote it in; occasionally that voice would sneak through just enough that I just knew, had she been able to be totally herself, it would have kicked the narration up a notch into absolute perfection.  But that's not a criticism - she did a phenomenal job and for anyone interested in this book who can do audiobooks, I'd highly recommend it, as I think it adds depth to hear her tell her own story.



* Except the current idiot squatting in the White House; he opens his mouth and nothing but methane comes out.


** I loved, loved that the one time Michelle comes close to tarring anyone, it's for the one person who most truly and objectively deserves it.

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text 2019-02-08 20:16
Reading progress update: I've listened ? out of ? minutes.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling,Stephen Fry

I honestly don´t know where I´m at in this audiobook. It is soooo loooong. I think I must have listened to 22 hours so far.


Anyhow, I just listened to McGonagalls career counseling session with Harry, supervised by "dear" Dolores Umbridge (hate that woman). This was hilarious. I love Professor McGonagall, she is so fierce.


And Dolores Umbridge has to go down. Apparently the rest of the school thinks so too, making her life miserably as hell. I don´t feel sorry for her at all.

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