Memorial Day Weekend. Do you HAVE to watch TV? No, you don't. There are other options. Stick a lime wedge in it (whatever IT is) and enjoy. Speaking of Stephen King, his horror audiobook CUJO is narrated by a sweet lady who was also in a horror film. See THIS. Interested in technology and drones? A new audiobook ARMY OF NONE is written by former Army Ranger and Pentagon defense expert Paul Scharre, narrator Roger Waynze talking about future military tech from drones to jets to AI directed smart weapons. Romance? How about Prince Harry and the new Duchess? Island Survivor/Romance? HERE. Comedy? New ROBIN biography. Robin Williams, that is. Well, that escalated quickly! That's a title too, by Franchesca Ramsey. She narrates. And it's not fiction. Happy? Beats watching the news. Smart move.
Friday, May 18, 2018
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Imagine for a moment not being a sports fanatic. Wait, this might be a real stretch, so instead imagine not being a Belieber. Okay, now imagine you are inundated with calls to prayer, not just a couple times a day by Justin Bieber, but constantly...sirens and wails reverberating around you. Announcements and sermon hymns every time you turn on a radio or TV. Billboards with concert messages everywhere. Ads in your mail, in newspapers, in magazines for Justin, Justin, Justin. And everywhere you go, there are worshipers in proper ceremonial garb...like inside every bar you visit, offering up sacrifices of lamb, steer, and chicken seasoned with Justin-approved plastic surgeries, condiments and holy spices...
Welcome to America, circa now.
We talk about others living in the Dark Ages, so why do we act like it's Ancient Greece or Sparta? (Yes, there are over 50 teams in America called "The Spartans.") Nevermind the Olympics, if you don't get with the program, accepting all the NFL/NBA Dioceses hype as gospel...well, you're an infidel. Aren't you. (Yes, it's okay to admit your addiction. It's a first step to recovery. Not just yours, but the country and the planet.) Begin by calling your obsession for what it is: not a mere addiction, (like for junk food), but an actual RELIGION. And a radical one, to boot. Stop blindly believing (due to decades of indoctrination) that the meaning of life is watching mostly men propel various air-filled bladders toward nonsensical "goals." Just Do It with the help of a laughsphemous (albeit blasphemous) 2 1/2 hour comedy album (audiobook and ebook) titled THE UMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: Diary of a Sports Atheist. You will laugh. Or you may cry. But you will know that the medicine went down easier than if you'd been awakened by calls to prayer...and then lectured on concussions by the Supreme High Commissioner of Wiffleball. (Or Roger Goodell.) More important: more states can now bet on games, too!
Sunday, May 6, 2018
A mother goes on a hike, disappears. Murder? Bear? Only a hiking boot is left. Told from two viewpoints, memories and letters, WATCH ME DISAPPEAR by Janelle Brown is a gripping thriller about how love distorts our reality. (Bringing to mind the phrase “perception is reality.” Which it isn’t. As the ending to the Stephen Spielberg movie and Ernest Cline book Ready Player One, “Only reality is reality.” The rest is VR.) Narrated by the always engaging Tavia Gilbert, with Kaleo Griffith.) In THE GIRL WHO TAKES AN EYE FOR AN EYE by David Lagercantz, narrator Simon Vance voices a continuation of the Steig Larsson series with a Lisbeth Salander novel. Lisbeth is, of course, a once traumatized hacker with secrets. She gets help again from the editor of the Millennium newspaper to uncover what’s behind the Registry, a science experiment gone horrifically wrong for its victims. For non-fiction, try PLUTOPIA by Kate Brown, read by Susan Ericksen. Subtitle is “Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters.” First published in 2013, winner of an American Historical Association award, it is new to audio. It’s a great addition to “Atomic Accidents” by James Mahaffey. The Cold War race for the atomic bomb and the Manhattan Project are examined, and there were American casualties due to ignorance and coverup. “Tens of thousands” were exposed to radiation by companies who wouldn’t tell the workers in places like Richland, Washington that they should wear gloves or masks “because dexterity was lost with gloves on,” and so time was lost. Chemists would hand supplies and instructions to workers, but wouldn’t enter their factories to do it. They handed them through a door or window, and ran. Cancer rates were as high as CTE among NFL players became, with companies like Dupont in denial of knowledge. Fascinating and chilling. AMERICAN PRINCESS is the new biography about the romance of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, written by Leslie Carroll. And, of course, Bill Clinton and James Patterson have penned a suspense novel THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING, narrated by Dennis Quaid. Picked up for a TV series, due in June, preorder. JACKPOT ISLAND is an ebook to come on audio in June too. It's about a Powerball winner who disappears right after picking up his $552M check.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
We live in a world of MORE. Everything is predicated on growth, earning potential, world domination, and “crushing the competition,” as Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank puts it. (He spends $120 on a pair of underwear.) Consumption is “bragging rights” these days, with condos rising on cleared land or near the ocean in an unsustainable model (given rising oceans, as in Norfolk, VA or Miami FL.) Hurricane seasons get worse each year, amid melting glaciers, while population growth means more pollution and plastics in air and water. So here comes Cait Flanders to join the few not buying the lies of advertising. In THE YEAR OF LESS, which she also narrates on audio, this binge shopper decided to not buy anything for a year, except groceries and gas and toiletries. Joining the zero waste movement, she discarded 70% of her “stuff,” as George Carlin once said it in a funny monologue. “When in doubt, throw it out” is the motto of the anti-hoarder. Getting rid of the television freed up immense time, as well. Cait reports that she feels more fulfilled, more in tune with herself and nature. A year of less means less stress, too. This is a book mainly for women shopaholics, it being doubtful that “good old boys” who “love their toys” would relate. Add mindfulness to the mix, and the author’s appeal goes to Oprah, Forbes, and the CBC. Related books on this subject are Minimalist Living, Soulful Simplicity, Destination Simple, and The Power of Now. People fight and die for more. They value themselves and others by how much they “own.” In a Silicon Valley book with the odd title LIVE WORK WORK WORK DIE, which men would appreciate, author Corey Pein offers “a scathing, sardonic exploration of tech culture, laying bare the greed, hubris, and retrograde politics of an industry that aspires to radically transform society for its own benefit. This enlightening audiobook is a must-listen for anyone interested or involved in the tech industry.” Corey narrates a no-filter look at the perils of approaching investors (as on Shark Tank), who often require payment upfront just to pitch them, at least in California. It’s like AGT, with just about the same hope. Subtitle, after all, is “A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley.” VR and gaming plays into it. GamerGate. Die on screen and in real life before you find “success.” Fascinating, as Spock would put it. The author wonders why startup founders must pay venture capitalists to hear them, and not the other way around. Perhaps there are just too many bad ideas out there, and too many pitches going on, that the public never sees good ideas passed over for ones that make big bucks…and get all the press in our “winner take all” TrumpIt culture. I was in a grocery store recently and overheard a bagger/cashier talking to someone about books. When my turn came, I asked him his story. He said he’d written 15 books, and gave up “because people like James Patterson own the industry now, and he mostly just puts his name on the books.” Opinion? (Patterson, whom I interviewed for this blog, owned a mansion in Palm Beach, near Maralago.) I plan to review the best one of the bag man books here at a later date.
The Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov