Long Day

31 03 2010

This is the first tulip in bloom I’ve seen this year.  It’s finally warm enough for them to come out.  Almost too warm, really.  It was 82F today, which is apparently 16F higher for our area than normal for this time of year according to the radio.

I’m considering buying a piano from a coworker.  It’s a great deal, and I’ve been passively wanting one for years.  From what I’ve seen it looks lovely, so I’m going to try to check it out and play it before making a decision.

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18 March 2010

18 03 2010

Today was nice and sunny outside, and got up to 60F, so I took about an hour long walk while listening to Hobbes’ Leviathan on my iPod.  I have to say, it’s a lot more difficult to comprehend listening to it versus reading it.  Even when I read something like this, I find myself going back and rereading so I can wrap my head around what the author is trying to express.  It’s even more difficult when I’m just listening to it.  I’ve only gotten to the beginning of chapter 4, and listened to each preceding chapter twice in a row.  I’m not really sure what to think of it.  I’ve read excerpts before for class, but I’m not recognizing what I’m listening to so far.  It seems like Hobbes is going on and on about physical things like inertia and heat, and either likening them to, or pinpointing them as causes of, senses, dreams, imagination, etc.  It’s really very dry.  The volunteer reader is very good, though, especially compared to some of the other readers I’ve experienced from Librivox.  It’s also nice that it seems to be the same reader for every chapter so far.  It’s kind of jarring when Librivox has different people read different chapters of a book (though I understand that since all the readers are volunteers and reading an audiobooks is a demanding undertaking, having volunteers only commit to small snippets is logical).

I picked up MC Frontalot’s new album today.  I got to download the mp3s from the site, and my physical CD should arrive sometime in April.  I found out it was coming out because I’ve been reading more blogs lately, including Jhonen Vasquez’s.  I noticed Jhonen did the cover art for the album, and hopped over to MC Frontalot’s page to see when it was coming out.  Since it’s available for order now, I decided to pick it up.

Delicious Food, and A Challenge

16 03 2010

Delicious Food
Kes decided he would make bao today, and has been working very hard on it since I got home from work.  I stopped by Harps to pick up some garlic and cabbage for the filling, and thought I’d pick up some spring rolls to go with our meal.  There were instructions for baking the spring rolls in addition to frying, so I tried the baking route this time.

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A Challenge
Disappointed that my previous post did not refer to Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, my friend Tanner challenged me to listen to the audiobook and write a review of this work.  I’ve read excerpts for philosophy classes, but have not consumed the work as a whole before.  This will be very different for me to judge as an audiobook since LibriVox‘s audiobooks are all read by volunteers, not professionals.

Leviathan Audiobook

15 03 2010

I finished listening to the audiobook of Leviathan today.  After I bought it from iTunes, I was a little leery because it was only 8 hours (as opposed to the >10 hours of The Lightning Thief, and the ~20 hours of most of the Harry Potter books).  I was surprised it was such a short audiobook since seeing the paperback in Hastings and Barnes and Noble made me think it was reasonably long.

On the whole, I enjoyed the book very much.  I haven’t read much alternative history, but I definitely liked the flavor it gave the book (it is set in an alternative World War I timeline).  In addition, the conflict between genetically engineered animal vehicles and mechanized vehicles was interesting and enjoyable for me.

I really enjoyed the two main characters.  To be fair, I am a sucker for strong female characters who disguise themselves as males.  Both children had enough sadness in their lives, enough joy, enough pettiness, and enough confusion to feel real to me.

The reader did a good job, and didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment of the book the way the reader of The Lightning Thief did.

My main complaint about the book is that it ends on a cliffhanger.  In my mind a book should be a complete thought.  Cliffhangers are fine at the end of chapters, or sections in the book, but the story should be reasonably resolved by the conclusion.

While short, I’d recommend this audiobook to people who enjoy fantasy, young adult fiction, alternative history, and audiobooks in general.  Based on the reader/narrator, I have no reason to recommend either the audiobook or print book more highly.  It was a great listen.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (audiobook)

5 03 2010

After work, I stopped by my home, then drove about four and a half hours to my parents’ house.  I decided to listen to my newest audiobook since it was the audiobook in my library I’ve heard the fewest times (about 2 and a third):  Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.

I have very mixed feelings about this book.  I have only exprienced it as an audiobook, and I find much to dislike about it.  While I generally love audiobooks as a form, and do not mind experiencing stories in this form alone, I find myself regretting not reading a hard copy of Percy Jackson prior to listening to it.  I’m convinced there is a lot to like in this book (though there is certainly much to critique as well).

Unfortunately, I find it hard to identify with Percy and get invested in the story largely because of the way the reader expresses the book.  I don’t want to say he’s a bad reader, especially because I feel audiobook reading is a very intricate, difficult, and variable art.  His intonation choices and expression of his interpretations of the characters are just not pleasing to me.  More accurately, when listening closely, I’m pretty sure I would interpret the characters’ words and actions differently in my head while reading the book than this reader does to the point where my interpretations of characters’ attitudes and emotions could actually change quite a bit.

I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, so I will stop here because I don’t think I can describe my experience in more detail without giving specific examples.  Suffice it to say, I would recommend reading the first Percy Jackson book from a hard copy before listening to the audiobook.  If you’re anything like me, I think you will find it much more enjoyable of a read than a listen.