For a start, I don't recommend getting this book on audio. It's well-narrated, but the chapters on learning programming and learning to play go wouldFor a start, I don't recommend getting this book on audio. It's well-narrated, but the chapters on learning programming and learning to play go would benefit a lot from visuals. (All the visuals are available from the book's website, but since I usually listen to audiobooks when I'm not sitting in front of a computer, that didn't do me a whole lot of good.)
This book is an interesting mix of how-to and memoir. The how-to part starts from the now-famous assertion that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill…and then makes the happy assertion that it only takes about 20 hours of focused practice to get competent at a skill. Kaufman then lays out a check list of what you should do to maximize the results that you get out of your first 20 hours of practice. The principles seem to me to be good ones- some are things that I already do when learning something new, and some are ideas that are new to me.
The second and much longer part of the book is a kind of memoir of how Kaufman applied these principles to learning several different skills: yoga, programming basic web applications in Ruby, relearning to touch type, learning to play go, playing the ukelele, and windsurfing. I think it's probably a rare reader who will find all of these equally fascinating. The chapter on learning programming was fascinating, but if I weren't already half-competent at Ruby myself, I'm not sure if I'd have followed along at all. The chapter on relearning to touch type was actually unexpectedly fascinating. I found that the chapters on yoga and go dragged a bit.
Overall, this is a great read for relentless autodidacts everywhere, but get a paper or ebook copy so that you can skim the parts that you don't find as interesting. ...more
The plot in this audio centers around the idea that aliens have not only made contact with Earth, but have been secretly doing business there withoutThe plot in this audio centers around the idea that aliens have not only made contact with Earth, but have been secretly doing business there without the knowledge of the general public. This is an idea that Big Finish have made good use of in their 6th Doctor stories featuring D.I. Menzies. It's a bit surprising that we don't see it more often on the TV series.
What sets this story apart is the introduction of new companion Oliver Harper, and the 1960s setting. It feels like this audio really captures the feel of the time. I enjoyed the dynamic between Oliver and Steven: Steven's plain-spoken bluffness really plays well against Oliver's slight deviousness.
I'm very much looking forward to hearing more stories with Oliver. I just hope that the secret he's keeping doesn't turn out to be anticlimactic when it finally comes out. ...more
A mix of retellings of classic stories from folklore and mythology and original stories with mythological origins. Every story in this volume is enjoyA mix of retellings of classic stories from folklore and mythology and original stories with mythological origins. Every story in this volume is enjoyable, although not all of them achieve the "twist" on the classic version of the story that makes the best of these stories shine. My favorites are probably the rather wistful Goldilocks retelling, the thoroughly opinionated Gingerbread Man, and an original story in which a very Dashiell Hammet-esque San Francisco private eye has an encounter with the god Hermes. Worth picking up if you're a folk tale afficionado. ...more
I think that this is probably not the ideal place to begin my reading of bell hooks. I guess that this is what happens when you realize one day that yI think that this is probably not the ideal place to begin my reading of bell hooks. I guess that this is what happens when you realize one day that you have somehow become a grown up person who calls herself a feminist without reading any bell hooks, and so you hop over to Amazon and grab the first couple of Kindle titles that sound interesting.
Not that this is a bad book by any means. If you do any sort of teaching (and I still do quite a lot of teaching even though "teacher" or "instructor" appears nowhere in my job title and hasn't for years), there are lots of good insights and things that will make you think here. But this doesn't feel like a "bell hooks 101" level book. The essays are short, pithy, and sometimes feel to me like they could use a bit more unpacking, as if they take for granted ideas and arguments that hooks has made at greater length elsewhere. ...more
Two things set this apart from your typical urban fantasy. The first is Aaronovitch's protagonist, Peter Grant, a rather stoic mixed-race London policTwo things set this apart from your typical urban fantasy. The first is Aaronovitch's protagonist, Peter Grant, a rather stoic mixed-race London police officer. The second is the London setting, which is very well realized. This is "urban" fantasy in the truest sense of the word, making rich and vivid use of its city setting. I finished reading this first volume in the series and immediately fired up the Kindle and downloaded books 2 and 3. I can't wait for book 4 to arrive!...more
I listened to the audiobook version of this, but I think I'd recommend going for the print version. First, because Erik Davis's occasionally florid roI listened to the audiobook version of this, but I think I'd recommend going for the print version. First, because Erik Davis's occasionally florid rock-journalist prose sometimes sounds a little odd being read aloud. (Especially since every time the reader says oeuvre, mese en scene, or avant la lettre, I flinch. I'm not necessarily going to defend Davis's constant use of French expressions, but given that he did it, they should have gotten a reader who could pronounce French.)
Secondly, the straightforward audio adaptation that Audible did of this book strikes me as a missed opportunity. It would have benefitted tremendously from having short illustrative snippets of the music under discussion being played at appropriate moments.
At any rate, the book takes the interesting tactic of analyzing Led Zeppelin IV as if it is a narrative, which each song representing a different stage of the hero's journey. While I think this probably exaggerates the coherence of Led Zeppelin IV (which is not, after all, a concept album), it does provide an engaging way of pointing out thematic connections and recurring tropes in the songs.
The book spends roughly two-thirds of its time discussing lyrical themes and the overall Zeppelin "mythos", and only about a third of its time discussing musical elements and details of song recording and production. I'd personally have preferred it if that ratio had been flipped, but probably the ratio is right for the general reader who didn't spend a good chunk of her teenage years trying to learn the guitar parts to at least half the songs on Led Zeppelin IV. Also, if you've read Hammer of the Gods or any other Led Zeppelin biography, you'll be familiar with a lot of the basic biographical details the book covers.
Still, I learned some new things from the book, and it would probably be the perfect introduction for someone not already steeped in Zep lore or who wants to get a sense of what all the fuss was about.
Finally, I'll be forever indebted to the author for his description of listening to a Led Zeppelin album being like, "opening the doors on a raunchy Arthurian advent calendar." What an image. ...more