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Dumfries
  • 30
  • reviews
  • 142
  • helpful votes
  • 47
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  • 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries

  • By: Michael Brooks
  • Narrated by: Matt Addis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 650
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 311
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 306

Science starts to get interesting when things don'’t make sense. Even today, there are experimental results that the most brilliant scientists can neither explain nor dismiss. In the past, similar anomalies have revolutionised our world: in the 16th century, a set of celestial irregularities led Copernicus to realise that the Earth goes around the sun and not the reverse. In 13 Things That Don'’t Make Sense, Michael Brooks meets thirteen modern-day anomalies that may become tomorrow'’s breakthroughs.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Really interesting listen!

  • By Lillian on 27-03-11

Brilliant!

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

Reviewed: 07-02-19

Brilliant, thought provoking, and easy to follow.
Just right!
very well narrated too.
I would highly recommend.

  • Basic Economics, Fifth Edition

  • A Common Sense Guide to the Economy
  • By: Thomas Sowell
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 23 hrs and 47 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 314
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 276
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 271

In this fifth edition of Basic Economics, Thomas Sowell revises and updates his popular book on commonsense economics, bringing the world into clearer focus through a basic understanding of the fundamental economic principles and how they explain our lives. Drawing on lively examples from around the world and from centuries of history, Sowell explains basic economic principles for the general public in plain English.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I promise you, this book will change your life.

  • By Francisco on 28-07-17

Opinion Piece masquerading as Textbook

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

Reviewed: 15-12-18

This is a well presented, but completely one sided economic viewpoint. It works hard to dismiss all government interventions and, instead advocates a somewhat cold hearted conservative economic policy as the only way to proceed.

That would be fine if the book was presented as an argument for hands-off economics. But it's not. It is presented as a textbook introduction to the field. As such it should present a balanced viewpoint- which sadly it fails to do.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

Even the Dogs
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Jon McGregor
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Dean Williamson
    
    


    
    Length: 5 hrs and 46 mins
    17 ratings
    Overall 3.6
  • Even the Dogs

  • By: Jon McGregor
  • Narrated by: Dean Williamson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

On a still and frozen day between Christmas and New Year, a man's body is found lying in his ruined flat. Found, and then taken away, examined, investigated and cremated. As the state begins its detailed, dispassionate inquest, the man embarks on his last journey through a world he has not ventured into, alive, for years. In his wake, a series of fractured narratives emerge as his friends who look on from the shadows, keep vigil as the hours pass.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Not unabridged

  • By MR A R J WEST on 03-09-15

Hopeless Poetry

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

Reviewed: 20-08-18

This is the poetry of those without hope. Bleak, stark, expecting nothing other than to manage the pain of life for a little longer, and looking no further forward than the next bit of now.
It has captured the hopelessness of addiction with such a quiet brutality that I have used it as my 'drugs talk' for my 15yr old son. We listened to it together during our car time.
I loved 'When People Speak of...,' and I loved this.

Wonderful narration too.


  • If Only They Didn't Speak English

  • Notes From Trump's America
  • By: Jon Sopel
  • Narrated by: Jon Sopel
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 648
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 597
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 593

As the BBC's North America Editor, Jon Sopel has had a pretty busy time of it lately. In the 18 months it's taken for a reality star to go from laughingstock to leader of the free world, Jon has travelled the length and breadth of the United States, experiencing it from a perspective that most of us could only dream of: he has flown aboard Air Force One, interviewed President Obama and has even been described as 'a beauty' by none other than Donald Trump.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant, entertaining and superb

  • By Chris Thomas on 21-09-17

A whimsical look at America

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

Reviewed: 31-07-18

The only problem with this book was that I was expecting a focus on Donald Trump, and how he has altered America. All that was there, but it felt like a secondary story. Most of the passages were about America and American politics as a whole, with at least as much emphasis on the Barack Obama presidency as on DT. Having said that, it was a well written and presented tale that does show the enormous divide between American attitudes and values, and ours in the UK.
I'd recommend it, but with a slightly different initial expectation.

  • The Greatest Story Ever Told - So Far

  • Why Are We Here?
  • By: Lawrence M. Krauss
  • Narrated by: Lawrence Krauss
  • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 212
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 199
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 199

Internationally renowned, award-winning theoretical physicist, New York Times bestselling author of A Universe from Nothing, and passionate advocate for reason, Lawrence Krauss tells the dramatic story of the discovery of the hidden world of reality - a grand poetic vision of nature - and how we find our place within it.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • The references to "the PDF" are extremely annoying

  • By Ionut Bajescu on 13-01-18

Grand Unification Story

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

Reviewed: 12-05-18

This is an excellent book. It doesn't shy away from the hardest concepts of the quantum world, and it pulls everything together to present the coming together of all the strands of small particle physics into a group of theories that make sense to those in the field.

It is a book that should come with a warning, however...
"Warning: Unfathomable to mortals"

Personally, it lost me at the first mention of Gauge Symmetry. Which was at about page six!! (so I looked up Wickipedia for a bit of an explanation. This is how the Wickipedia page starts... "In physics, a gauge theory is a type of field theory in which the Lagrangian is invariant under certain Lie groups of local transformations..."!!!!)
Having said that, although I didn't understand it all. I did get many of the broad concepts, and it has cracked open some of these concepts to allow me to have another shot at them the next time I come across the ideas.
As well as that, it is a fascinating story of the people behind the ideas, and for that it is worth reading too.
It is well read by a person who clearly knows and loves his subject.

In summary, I would recommend it, despite its Lagrangian being invariant under certain Lie groups of local transformations!

  • The Dark Tourist

  • Sightseeing in the World's Most Unlikely Holiday Destinations
  • By: Dom Joly
  • Narrated by: Dom Joly
  • Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,374
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 880
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 875

Ever since he can remember, Dom Joly has been fascinated by travel to odd places. In part this stems from a childhood spent in war-torn Lebanon, where instead of swapping marbles in the schoolyard, he had a shrapnel collection -- the schoolboy currency of Beirut. These early experiences left Dom with a profound loathing for the sanitized experiences of the modern-day travel industry and a taste for the darkest of places.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amusing, engaging and thought-provoking

  • By H. Petre on 26-04-11

The Casual Arrogance of an Englishman Abroad

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

Reviewed: 24-01-17

It's not quite xenophobia, bigotry or racism, but there is a definite air of superiority that permeates this book.I had expected an exploration and celebration of the bizarre and hard-to-explain places that Dom Joly chose to visit, but instead we were given a list of complaints that were borderline snobbery, and didn't allow us to savour the experience.
I love the books of Jon Ronson. They embrace the weird and challenging situations that he discovers, and they absolutely revel in them. This book didn't do that at all. I always felt like I was a tourist, and always detached from the place.
I gave it two rather than one star because the tales are mildly interesting (although, I must say I was also a little underwhelmed by the choice of destinations).

Sorry Dom.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Sapiens

  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 13,779
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,066
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,978

Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us. We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us sapiens? In this bold and provocative audiobook, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here, and where we're going.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Thought provoking but overconfident

  • By Jan W. H. Schnupp on 24-09-15

More Manifesto than History

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

Reviewed: 12-05-16

I gave it four stars because I quite liked the things that he was saying, and I agreed with his view of the way the Sapiens species has inflicted itself on the world. But if you are expecting a 'proper' history book- devoid of opinion, and trying to tell things as they happened, but without bias, then this is definitely not for you.
It's an editorial rather than a report.

47 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • The City & The City

  • By: China Mieville
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 530
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 439
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 438

New York Times best-selling author China Mieville delivers his most accomplished novel yet, an existential thriller set in a city unlike any other, real or imagined. When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlof the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Twice the city for your money

  • By Nigel on 19-05-12

Honk if You're Horny!

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

Reviewed: 01-05-16

Those stickers you see on the back of cars. "Honk if You're Horny"; "My Other Car's a Porsche"; "0-60, Eventually". They're funny the first time you see them, by the fourth time they're merely amusing. By the 20th time they're really, really annoying!
And so it was with this book. When I first came across the premise of this novel I thought it was astounding. I was really intrigued- totally infatuated with the idea. But the idea got played over and over again. By the end of the book I was frustrated and not a little angry with it.

The narrator didn't help. He pushed the idea into our faces by delivering everything to do with it with a different level of gravitas to the rest of the story. It was a little like that uncle, who only knows one or two funny stories, and keeps trying over and again to make us laugh at them.

This would have made an excellent short story. Introduce the idea; explore it a bit, then get out. As a novel it is stretched too far.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Handmaid's Tale

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Joanna David
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,189
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,734
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,740

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed . If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A favourite

  • By Raison on 10-11-13

Expertly written dystopian fantasy... Or is it?

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

Reviewed: 27-06-15

It IS expertly written. Beautifully crafted, as if each word has been considered carefully, then checked for size, sound, cadence, and context, before being painstakingly positioned onto the page. Yet it has a lightness and freshness that such elegantly written pieces often lack. It has passages as lush and luxuriant as a bath full of feathers; and others that cut into you like a dagger.It truly is a masterpiece.
And it IS dystopian. My God it's dystopian! It is hard to digest some of the images that the book conjures, such is the disgust, revulsion, empathy, pathos, helplessness and complete hopelessness that it instills. The amazing storytelling of Margaret Atwood, make you feel that you are there. This book will be alive in my consciousness for as long as I live. I have been rocked to the core by it.

So why the "Or is it?"?

Well, without giving the game away, I felt as if I was being transported to a caricature of the 'now' world of ISIS/IS, or the extremes of Taliban Afghanistan. This did feel like dystopian fantasy, but with the caveat that it is a dystopia that is not far off what is happening to some people in our world now. That it captures our world of the 21st century, when it was written in 1985 shows the genius that Margaret Atwood is.

Brilliantly read too!

29 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Catch Me If You Can

  • By: Frank W. Abagnale, Stan Redding
  • Narrated by: Barrett Whitener
  • Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 391
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 303
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 304

Frank W. Abagnale was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters, and escape artists in history. In his brief but notorious criminal career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and copiloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as the supervising resident of a hospital, practiced law without a license, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks, all before he was 21. His story is now a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Captivating - his audacity is astounding

  • By Leya on 19-10-13

Unabashed Entertainment!

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

Reviewed: 03-06-14

A glorious tale of a man, who knew he was doing wrong, but didn't feel the need to justify his actions.
The bare-facedness is so refreshing! It is very funny and completely avoids any form of moralisation. It just tells you what happened, and you, my dear reader (listener), can make up your own mind about Mr Abagnale.

Get it!