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  • gilwilson 6:49 PM on November 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    How Not to Be Wrong The Power of Mathematical Thinking By: Jordan Ellenberg 

    18693884How Not to Be Wrong
    The Power of Mathematical Thinking
    By: Jordan Ellenberg
    Narrated by: Jordan Ellenberg
    Length: 13 hrs and 28 mins
    Release date: 05-30-14
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    Throughout life folks who don’t enjoy math will ask the question, “When will I ever use this?” Once the basics are down people don’t realize how much their thoughts and problem solving rely on math. In fact, most of the time we use algebra and advanced math without realizing we’ve done so. That’s because it is learned and part of everyday life. Jordan Ellenberg takes that one step further and shows how we can become more adept at solving problems by training your brain to think mathematically.

    First off I have to point out that the energy and enthusiasm the author delivers this audiobook makes it so that no other person could have even halfway given this book it’s due as narrator. It was the only way this could have been an audiobook. That being said, it would have been nice to have some of the material actually written down so I could refer back to some of the examples, but I got what I wanted out of the audiobook.

    Now I also have to admit I was a bit deceived by the title. I expected to be able to be right all the time, trust me I’m not, just ask my wife. But the way of training the brain, so to speak, allows you to be on the right path the right way.

    If you love math you’ll love how this provides you with many answers to, “When will I ever use this?” Plus, the book is a great way to fine tune some of those skills we’ve learned along the way. If you are not a fan of math you should give this book a chance, it will open your eyes to the world around you and how everything is basically one big math problem.

    This book also shows how you can mathematically win the lottery. I’m not lying, a group of MIT students did just that, it took some work, but they did it. No matter what your math ability, you will find some satisfaction in this book.

    Publisher’s Summary
    The Freakonomics of math – a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands.

    The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it.

    Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer?

    How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God.

    Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.

    ©2014 Jordan Ellenberg (P)2014 Penguin Audio

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  • gilwilson 6:14 PM on November 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    The Bones of Jack by Bill Lindsay 

    14565234The Bones of Jack
    by Bill Lindsay
    92 pages
    Published September 17th 2010 by Xlibris Corporation

    I met the author of this book at a comic convention of sorts, and took the time to let him talk me into reading this book. This independent author discovered a story about Springheel Jack, a man who could actually be referred to as the original Batman. The English folklore that covers Jack talks about how he invented different apparatus to fight crime. That’s one of the stories anyhow. Most of the stories play him as a villain who attacked women.

    Bill Lindsay takes the story a little further where to young Englishmen find the remains of Jack along with his inventions and decide to become heroes. Their adventures are fun and action-packed. Sometimes they don’t go as planned. But they try.

    Support the independent artists and writers. This independent is a nice short read that can be enjoyed by anyone ages 10 – 100.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Spring heeled Jack! Here is a twist on the Victorian era villain, who terrorized London in the 1800s. With burning red eyes, clawed hands, blue flame breath, and able to leap to impossible heights, Jack became a household fright for those who traveled by night and children who wouldn’t get to bed. In this action-packed book, two Englishmen find the infamous villain’s remains stuck in a chimney and begin to perpetuate his legend. This short, but sweet story will keep you enthralled as our two heroes bumble their way through an imitation of one of England’s most interesting legends. A good book to read on a cold, dark night or during the Halloween season. This book is also illustrated by the author with detailed and humorous sketches to help visualize the whole story(almost like watching a video). So pick up a copy and be amused by this tale of Victorian terror and humor, while enjoying the visual story.

     
  • gilwilson 6:37 PM on November 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    “Trust” by David Moody 

    15756297Trust
    by David Moody
    301 pages
    Published by Infected Books (July 23,2012)

    I’ll start this out by saying first, I’m a huge fan of David Moody’s work. His “Autumn” series of a zombie apocalypse was a nailbiter, his “Hater” series about an ultraviolent virus taking over society, was very eye opening. Naturally when I saw this book, I thought, oh, another series? Not yet, but maybe if we let him know how awesome it is and how much we like it, he’ll think about making “Trust” a series. A bit of a spoiler here, but it will be very hard to make a series out of this, but man, I would love to see more stories in this sci-fi apocalyptic tale.

    The story here is that aliens have landed on Earth. Everyone is enamored by their arrival and what they could do for humanity. The aliens claim the ship is a mining ship that had engine problems and was forced to land on Earth. Once the governments buy the rhetoric the aliens deliver, they begin to accept them into our society, with the promise of medical, technical and social advances that will save humanity. At least until the alien rescue ship arrives several years later. Then the possibilities are limitless.

    Nearly everyone on the planet are buying this and trusting the aliens. Tom Winter is constantly suspicious and is always looking for their ulterior motives. Tom is one of the very few that are buying into the rhetoric.

    (there may be spoilers from here on in this review)

    This book covers some issues that are affecting today’s society, such as racism, and fear of the unknown. This is not one of those nice books with a happy ending. In fact if you have read any of David Moody’s other books you will know that survival is a key motivator in his books, and this one is no different. Be prepared for an ending you will be expecting but not in the way you are expecting.

    I am still and even more so after reading this book, a huge David Moody fan. I have found since reading this book that there are some books I’ve not read yet. So I’ve got to get back to my reading. Do yourself a favor and pick this and all of his other books up and enjoy.

    Publisher’s Summary
    The most important event in human history takes place in the middle of nowhere. Perspectives are altered. Perceptions are changed. Nothing will ever be the same again. Is this a moment of deliverance for the human race, or the beginning of its end? Tom Winter thinks he knows, but if he’s right, then seven billion other people are wrong.

     
  • gilwilson 5:20 PM on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City By: Jason Blum 

    30729698The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City
    By: Jason Blum
    Narrated by: full cast
    Length: 13 hrs and 51 mins
    Release date: 07-07-15
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    Blumhouse movies have created a system where the low budget films give the directors complete creative freedom on their films. This collection of stories follows similar guidelines in which the writers have complete ownership of their work. In the movies this has created some interesting horror movies which have been very successful and have given the audience a fresh view at horror. Such films as; “Insidious,” “Paranormal Activity,” and “The Purge” have been turned into successful box office franchises.

    The only draw back is that some of the movies hit and some miss. Then you have the ones that hit and the sequels/prequels miss. The same goes with this book. Some of the stories will send chills down your spine, while others just are there. I will not point out which ones hit and which ones miss because horror can be subjective. While some may have disturbed or scared me, they may not even phase someone else and on that same line of thought, some may scare others and not affected me.

    This collection provides a wide array of many type of horror stories. From folks trying to find the ultimate sexual experience to a portal to hell opening in a family’s new home. The stories are so diverse that even the pickiest of horror fan will find something to send chills in this collection.

    The various authors and various narrators create an ambiance of horror that will leave you wanting the next story just to see what can happen next. There was one story, “Dreamland” which was written from a male characters point of view but read by a female narrator that didn’t sit well with me, I found the point of view a bit confusing. But other than that it was a very nice collection of horror.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Original and terrifying fiction presented by Jason Blum, the award-winning producer behind the groundbreaking Paranormal Activity, The Purge, Insidious, and Sinister franchises.

    Jason Blum invited 16 cutting-edge collaborators, filmmakers, and writers to envision a city of their choosing and let their demons run wild. The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City brings together all-new, boundary-breaking stories from such artists as Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Eli Roth (Hostel), Scott Derrickson (Sinister), C. Robert Cargill (Sinister), James DeMonaco (The Purge), and many others.

    “Geist” by Les Bohem… “Procedure” by James DeMonaco…” Hellhole” by Christopher Denham… “A Clean White Room” by Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill… “Novel Fifteen” by Steve Faber… “Eyes” by George Gallo… “1987” by Ethan Hawke…” Donations” by William Joselyn… “The Old Jail” by Sarah Langan… “The Darkish Man” by Nissar Modi… “Meat Maker” by Mark Neveldine… “Dreamland” by Michael Olson…” Valdivia” by Eli Roth… “Golden Hour” by Jeremy Slater… “The Leap” by Dana Stevens… “The Words” by Scott Stewart… “Gentholme” by Simon Kurt Unsworth

    ©2015 Jason Blum (P)2015 Random House Audio

     
  • gilwilson 6:36 PM on October 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 45, alec baldwin, parody, , saturday night live, ,   

    You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody) By: Alec Baldwin, Kurt Andersen 

    39802005You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody)
    By: Alec Baldwin, Kurt Andersen
    Narrated by: Alec Baldwin, Kurt Andersen, Oliver Wyman
    Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins
    Release date: 11-07-17
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    So what has started out as a Saturday Night Live skit has become a regular job for Alec Baldwin.  This book is a parody of the 1st year in office for #45.  Baldwin should at least get another 2 years out of this.  But only if he can freshen it up a bit.

    I’ve heard a lot of people complain that I don’t write bad reviews.  Well I don’t write bad reviews because I don’t read bad books.  I will put a book down when it starts being bad.  This one may be the slight exception to that rule.  It started out pretty funny and then kinda wavered from there.  Much like watching Saturday Night Live they put their best skits first then just before the end of the show, you get a bunch skits that probably should not have aired.  Sure they may be mildly funny, but never enough to end the show with a bang.  This book is much like an episode of SNL.  It starts out pretty funny but as it ends you are ready to turn off the TV set and go to bed.

    A good chunk of the first half of the book is Baldwin doing his impression of Trump.  That’s what makes it funnier, but as the book progresses he stops the Trump impression and reads as himself.  He (as Trump) even says he’s turning it over to Baldwin.  Then Baldwin turns it over to his co-author, Kurt Anderson who in turn turns the narration over to Oliver Wyman and finally back to Trump.  Listening it sounds as if the authors lost interest in the material and just threw in some bits based on the events in Trump’s first year.  I was ready to turn off the set and go to bed.

    I stuck with it and while there were a few funny moments sprinkled through the latter halfm this followed the guidelines of SNL and got pretty boring after the first appearance of the musical guest.  Maybe they should have had a musical guest in the audiobook to liven up that last half.

    If you are a fan of Baldwin, SNL and parodies of Trump you’ll enjoy this book, especially the first half.  I cannot really recommend the book but I did enjoy parts of it.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Political satire as deeper truth: Donald Trump’s presidential memoir, as recorded by two world-renowned Trump scholars and experts on greatness generally.

    “I have the best words, beautiful words, as everybody has been talking and talking about for a long time. Also? The best sentences and, what do you call them, paragraphs. My previous books were great and sold extremely, unbelievably well – even the ones by dishonest, disgusting so-called journalists. But those writers didn’t understand Trump, because, quite frankly, they were major losers. People say if you want it done right you have to do it yourself, even when ‘it’ is a ‘memoir’. So every word of this book was written by me, using a special advanced word processing system during the many, many nights I’ve been forced to stay alone in the White House – only me, just me, trust me, nobody helped. And it’s all 100 percent true, so true – people are already saying it may be the truest book ever published. Enjoy.”

    Until Donald Trump publishes the ultimate account of his entire four or eight or one and a half years in the White House, the definitive chronicle will be You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump. Trump was elected because he was the most frank presidential candidate in history, a man eager to tell the unvarnished truth about others’ flaws and tout his own amazing excellence. Now he levels his refreshingly compulsive, un-PC candor at his landslide election victory as well as his role as commander in chief and leader of the free world.

    There are intimate, powerful, mind-boggling revelations throughout. You are there with him during his private encounters with world leaders, a few of whom he does not insult. You are there at the genius Oval Office strategy sessions with his advisers. You are there in his White House bedroom as he crafts the predawn Twitter pronouncements that rock the world. And, of course, you are there on the golf course as Trump attempts to manage the burdens of his office.

    President Trump explains each of the historic decisions that have already made America great again and how he always triumphs over the fake news media. You’ll learn what he really thinks of his cabinet members and top aides not related to him, of the first lady and the first daughter and the additional three or four Trump children.

    You Can’t Spell America Without Me is presented by America’s foremost Trump scholar, Kurt Andersen, as well as America’s foremost mediocre Trump impersonator, Alec Baldwin.

    ©2017 Alec Baldwin (P)2017 Penguin Audio

     
  • gilwilson 6:27 PM on October 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , theatrical   

    You Can’t Take it With You by Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman 

    40528730_10156744852433489_2277719417330597888_oYou Can’t Take it With You
    by Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman
    Paperback, 87 pages
    Published December 1st 1937 by Dramatists Play Service (first published 1936)

    Once again I returned to the stage, this time in a larger role.  I was extremely flattered when I was cast as Martin Vanderhof (Grandpa).  First off, someone else thought I was capable of pulling off the part, which by the way is a pivotal role in this play.  Second I began to wonder whether or not I could pull this off.  I didn’t realize that without the practice that memorizing that many lines for a man over 50 is a lot of work.  But I persevered and worked my arse off and we had a wonderful production.  I learned a lot about the play itself through the process, and I learned a thing or two about myself.  But as you know by now I will not be reviewing our production of the play (which was awesome, by the way) but I will summarize and give my opinion of the written work.

    So we begin this journey with an array of some interesting characters.  Paul and Penny Sycamore are the mom and dad of family.  Paul dabbles in making fireworks.  He doesn’t have a license for such but that doesn’t stop him.  He also likes to work with Meccano / Erector sets and build toys for himself.  Penny writes plays, or at least tries, because 8 years ago a typewriter was accidentally delivered to their house.  This same incident is what ended her painting endeavors.

    Their daughter Essie wants to be a ballet dancer but her hindrance is that she has no talent.  She does have a talent in making candy.  Essie’s husband Ed Carmichael, also has eclectic tastes.  He has a printing press so his hobby is printing anything he hears.  Ed also has a xylophone, so he dabbles in music.

    The other Daughter Alice is the sane one of the bunch (picture Marilyn from “The Munsters).  Alice works in an office where she has fallen in love with the owner’s son and vice president, Anthony Kirby, Jr.  Alice has been putting off letting Tony meet her family, but the time is coming soon.

    Paul Sycamore is assisted in his fireworks making business by Mr. DePinna.  DePinna delivered ice to the house 8 years ago and just stayed.  The Milkman did the same for five years before he died.  As you can tell  this family is accepting of everyone.  So why is Alice nervous for Tony to meet the family?

    To top off this family the patriarch is Grandpa, Martin Vanderhof.  Grandpa stopped working 35 years ago because he no longer was having fun.  Since then he’s practiced darts, collected snakes, attended commencements at nearby Columbia University, collected stamps and just had the time of his life.    He owns property which somehow he earns a living from.  Which leads to the IRS wanting to know why he hasn’t paid taxes for the last 24 years.

    The play builds when the two families meet and chaos ensues.  The Kirbys don’t want their son marrying into this riff-raff but Tony has his mind set.  It’s up to Grandpa to talk sense into the stuffy Kirby Sr.

    This play shows that a family that has fun together can pull together and get by without having to stress over money.  Just getting by is not a bad thing.

     
  • gilwilson 11:00 AM on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gene autry, gun control, in the heat of the night, , sidney poitier, virgil tibbs   

    “Johnny Get Your Gun” By John Ball 

    40122483“Johnny Get Your Gun”
    By John Ball
    Narrated by: Dion Graham
    Series: Virgil Tibbs, Book 3
    Length: 5 hrs and 1 min
    Release date: 06-25-15
    Publisher: Brilliance Audio

    Once again the AudiobookSYNC YA summer of free audiobooks has left me with a gem.  Once a week every summer they release 2 free audiobooks targeted to the Young Adult market.  I had originally started downloading these books for my son and I to enjoy.  Now that he’s older we share other interests, but my interest in audiobooks will never go away.  So, I keep downloading and keep listening.  This past summer, there were great selections, but unfortunately the system they use to distribute is not compatible with my system and most of the selections did not completely download.  The ones I did manage to download have all turned out to be great reads/listens.

    As with most of they SYNC YA summer books, I rarely know too much about the book.  The site pairs up 2 books each week, with the books related on some theme.  I’m guessing the week this one was downloaded the theme was race relations.  I don’t know since the second book in the pairing was one lost to the non-compatible systems.  There is a summary of each books, much like the Publisher’s Summaries I give at the end of each of my reviews.  Just enough information to let you know what you are getting into.  This one sounded like an interesting read so I tried to download it.  It worked.

    When the book first starts out we hear of a family just moved to Pasadena, CA from Tennessee.  The father is full of anger, and uses the n-word as if it were any other word.  (Keep in mind this book takes place in the late ’60s when segregation was being fought hard.)  We then follow the child in the family whose prize possession is a transistor radio on which he listens to his favorite baseball team the Anaheim Angels. 9 year-old Johnny met Gene Autry (the singing cowboy and owner of the Angels) when he was younger and became a fan of the team, especially the catcher, Tom Satriano.  Johnny was saving his money to buy a catcher’s outfit to become a catcher and replace Satriano when he grew up.

    The problem begins when Johnny’s father cuts off a driver on the highway due to road rage and with the impending court date will not be able to take Johnny to an Angels game.  Johnny, seeks solace in his radio and takes it to school to listen to the game at lunch.  A bully takes the radio away and in the struggle to retrieve it, the radio gets broken.  Johnny, knowing that his father would not want him to not let others get the upper hand, goes home and finds his father’s gun and threatens to shoot the bully.

    Once Johnny phones the bully and let’s him know of his plans the police are called.  This is where my surprise comes in.  The detective assigned to the case is Virgil Tibbs.  When I first here the name, I’m struck with the idea that I know this name.  Then rolling through my brain is the Sidney Poitier quote, “They call me Mr. Tibbs.”   After it annoys me enough I look it up and yes it is the same character.  This book is a sequel to  “In The Heat of the Night.”  I am now fully onboard and make sure I soak in every detail of this book.

    The hunt for Johnny and his father’s gun becomes more intense as Johnny shoots through his bully’s window, then shoots a teenage black youth.  The second shooting becomes what could be the beginning of a racially motivated riot.  Virgil Tibbs tracks Johnny down from Pasadena to Anaheim, while trying to sooth racial tension and prevent any further shooting.

    The amazing thing about this book, is that reading it nearly 50 years later the racial tensions are still there, guns still get in the wrong hands and bullies still torment children.  In other words, this is an unfortunately timeless story in that all the subject matter covered never seems to get resolved.

    The narrator performed the audiobook flawlessly and his portrayal of Virgil Tibbs was spot on.

    Do yourself a favor and pick up this timeless classic.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Johnny Get Your Gun (also known as Death for a Playmate) is the third in the Virgil Tibbs mystery series that began with In the Heat of the Night. In this story, a nine-year-old boy, lonely after a family move, shoots an older child who stole something from him, thus igniting the militant blacks and racist whites of 1960s Pasadena into a black-white conflict involving riots, brutalities, a chase through Disneyland, and a heart-warming as well as heart-breaking scene toward the end of the book that takes place in a baseball park of the California Angels. Here you will find childhood gone awry, racism that ought to shock but in context does not (we know it too well), and political conflicts that add fuel to the fire.
    ©1969 John Ball (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

     
  • gilwilson 6:09 PM on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , tuberculosis,   

    “Extraordinary Means” By Robyn Schneider 

    23149153Extraordinary Means
    By: Robyn Schneider
    Narrated by: Khristine Hvam, James Fouhey
    Length: 8 hrs and 7 mins
    Release date: 05-26-15
    Publisher: HarperAudio

    Once again Audiobook SYNC’s YA summer of free audiobooks delivered another YA treasure.  Every Summer they pair up a classic book with a fairly new book in audiobook form for the young adult audience.  I started downloading these for my son and I to enjoy, but I’ve found I’m enjoying them just by myself.  This past summer this was one of the books offered and it intrigued me, the publisher’s summary described it as darkly funny and that it takes place in a tuberculosis sanatorium.

    Darkly Funny?  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but in the listening of this audiobook I found that the humor was in each of the characters dealing with the possibility of dying from a fatal disease.  So most of the humor was just regular teen humor and being called dark by the publisher because they were all dying.  Picture “Breakfast Club,” but with tuberculosis.

    Tuberculosis sanitorium?  Those are a thing of the past, this must be a period piece.  Nope, not at all.  Robyn Schneider brings back tuberculosis in a form that is drug resistant, that means even the childhood vaccines no longer work.  So now the kids from the Breakfast Club, have to try to get better as much as modern science can help with a drug resistant strain.  Many times the kids in Latham House (the sanitorium) hear rumors of cures but most turn out to be hoaxes.

    This book follows Lane and Sadie for the most part as these two high school seniors cope with not having a potential future.  Lane is new to Latham House and meets up with an old friend, Sadie, who he knew from one summer at camp.  Sadie has a bad memory of that summer thinking Lane intentionally dissed her.  That story plays out to be a big mix up as a result of mean girls playing a trick on her in camp.

    Sadie seems to be the “leader” of a group of kids that fight the system and sneak out to the woods to drink alcohol and steal internet from the library.  Lane soon becomes a part of the group and the two fall in love (after clearing up that summer camp debacle).

    All the time the promise of death from the disease looms over the group and they try to do the best they can.  I will warn you there is no happy ending, but the ending is something worth fighting through.

    The narrators do a great job representing the story from the two teens in love points of view.  The male and female voices capture the characters emotional states throughout the book.

    Get this book, share this book, and most of all enjoy this book.

    Publisher’s Summary
    John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park in this darkly funny novel from the critically acclaimed author of The Beginning of Everything.

    Up until his diagnosis, Lane lived a fairly predictable life. But when he finds himself at a tuberculosis sanatorium called Latham House, he discovers an insular world with paradoxical rules, med sensors, and an eccentric yet utterly compelling confidante named Sadie – and life as Lane knows it will never be the same.

    Robyn Schneider’s Extraordinary Means is a heart-wrenching yet ultimately hopeful story about the miracles of first love and second chances.

    This production includes a bonus excerpt from Robyn Schneider’s next audiobook, Invisible Ghosts, performed by Caitlin Kelly.

    ©2015 Robyn Schneider (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

     
  • gilwilson 6:46 PM on August 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: a fish called wanda, , , , ,   

    “So, Anyway…” By John Cleese 

    33032675“So, Anyway…”
    By John Cleese
    Narrated by: John Cleese
    Length: 13 hrs and 32 mins
    Release date: 12-13-16
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    So, Anyway, yeah I had to start the review out that way.  So, anyway, I’m a huge fan of John Cleese and all of the Monty Python Alum.  I remember watching “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” every weekend on my local PBS station as a kid.  I would just laugh and laugh until my sides hurt.  The funny thing was that everyone else in my family would say they couldn’t understand them through their accents.  I would always ask, “how can you not? They are speaking English.”  It frustrated me to no end that a bunch of hillbillies from Oklahoma couldn’t get the humor because they couldn’t understand the language.  Eventually I trained them and after some time they could finally get “The Parrot Sketch.” Then when I introduced them to the series, “The Goodies,” they were able to follow the humor along with me.

    So, Anyway, John Cleese’s autobiography is a must for any Python fan.  Cleese not only tells of his upbringing, his education (he studied law and wanted to originally become a lawyer, or Great Britain’s version of same) and his brief career teaching.  This part of the book is interesting but not nearly as entertaining as when he finally starts talking about his career in entertainment.  For me the fun part was hearing all the great talent he had worked with, Marty Feldman, David Frost, Peter Sellers, et. al.  Creating several sketch comedy shows with this talent helped him to mold what was to become a world wide phenomenon of Python.  Through the early years he had worked with Tim Brooke Taylor (who later went on to write for and act in the series, “The Goodies”).

    With this audiobook, not only do you get the treat of Cleese talking about his own life and making comments on same, but he also includes clips of some of the sketches from the various programs he wrote and performed on.   It was funny to hear him and Marty Feldman actually perform a sketch rather than just read the script.  Comedy depends 100% on delivery.  For anyone who has seen the movie, “Rain Man,” that truth comes out when Raymond can recite the Abbott & Costello bit “Who’s on First.”  It’s not funny when he recites it but seeing/hearing it performed it takes on a whole new life.  Besides that it was just a treat to hear the original sketches.

    Yeah, you’ll have to trudge through the boring parts of John Cleese growing up, but that is part of the big picture which gives us the gift behind the talent of John Cleese.

     

    Publisher’s Summary
    John Cleese’s huge comedic influence has stretched across generations; his sharp, irreverent eye and the unique brand of physical comedy he perfected with Monty Python, on Fawlty Towers, and beyond now seem written into comedy’s DNA. In this rollicking memoir, So, Anyway…, Cleese takes listeners on a grand tour of his ascent in the entertainment world, from his humble beginnings in a sleepy English town and his early comedic days at Cambridge University (with future Python partner Graham Chapman) to the founding of the landmark comedy troupe that would propel him to worldwide renown.

    Cleese was just days away from graduating Cambridge and setting off on a law career when he was visited by two BBC executives who offered him a job writing comedy for radio. That fateful moment – and a near-simultaneous offer to take his university humor revue to London’s famed West End – propelled him down a different path, cutting his teeth writing for stars like David Frost and Peter Sellers and eventually joining the five other Pythons to pioneer a new kind of comedy that prized invention, silliness, and absurdity. Along the way he found his first true love with the actress Connie Booth and transformed himself from a reluctant performer to a world-class actor and back again.

    Twisting and turning through surprising stories and hilarious digressions – with some brief pauses along the way that comprise a fascinating primer on what’s funny and why – this story of a young man’s journey to the pinnacle of comedy is a masterly performance by a master performer.

    ©2016 John Cleese (P)2016 Random House Audio

     
  • gilwilson 6:06 PM on August 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baking, , , recipes   

    Baker’s Magic by Diane Zahler  

    34687372Baker’s Magic
    by Diane Zahler
    Narrated by:Elisabeth Rodgers, Stina Nielsen, Robin Miles, Kenneth Cavett, Stephen DeRosa, Tavia Gilbert, Michael Crouch, &  L.J. Ganser
    Approx 7 hours
    Publishedby Live Oak Media; Unabridged edition (September 30, 2016)

    I have to start out that this is the youngest target audience book I’ve reviewed.  The intended age group for this book is 9-12 years old.  I had received the book from the SYNC YA summer downloads, and they rarely let me down, so I figured what the heck, let’s see what happens.  There are times where the prose could target kids up to about 15 years, but for the most part let’s keep it 9-12.

    The story is about what it means to be family.  In this book family doesn’t necessarily mean the family you were born into, but that family is equally important.  Being able to pull off defining family from both and how both are equally important is not an easy task.  This book does and does so in an entertaining and charming way.

    Bee is an orphan (we later find the cause of the loss of her parents and it becomes vital to everyone else in the book) and has escaped her foster parents to explore the lands.  She gets caught trying to steal bed from a baker and instead of punishing her, the baker sees she’s in need of food and helps her out.  He takes her on to be his apprentice to help pay for room and board.  Through her learning to bake it is discovered she has a magical ability to bake emotions into the foods she bake and the person eating the baked good feels what she felt while baking.

    Soon the exquisite baked goods come to the attention of the Mage, who is ruling the land by growing tulips in the absence of the King.  The tulips are the main source of income for the Mage and in making more room to grow more tulips, the Mage has removed all trees from the country.  The Mage is also in charge of the Princess who will gain rule of the kingdom when she comes of age.

    The reader/listener soon learns that the Mage is a very evil man and must be removed.  It comes to Bee and her new found friends to become the Princesses’ rescuers, but not without a fight.

    A fun charming story to share with your kids, and at the end of the book a recipe for buns that you and your children can make together.

     

    Publisher’s Summary
    Bee is an orphan, alone in a poor, crumbling kingdom. In desperation, she steals a bun from a bakery, and to her surprise, the baker offers her a place at his shop. As she learns to bake, Bee discovers that she has a magical power. When a new friend desperately needs her help against an evil mage, Bee wonders what an orphan girl with only a small bit of magic can do. Bee’s journey to help her friend becomes a journey to save the kingdom, and a discovery of the meaning of family.

     
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