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Chris Andrews

Australia
  • 6
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  • 2
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Wild cover art

Excellent

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

Reviewed: 13-09-2019

Brilliant read. Well worth your time regardless of you are interested in hiking or not. Highly recommended.

Leonardo Da Vinci cover art

Highly recommended

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

Reviewed: 19-11-2018

I didn’t know much about Leonardo Da Vinci when I purchased a copy of his biography by Walter Isaacson. To be honest, I didn’t have any interest in him either. I stumbled across a social media post by Bill Gates, who was recommending the biography.

I figured that if a guy like Bill gates is obsessed with Leonardo Da Vinci, then there’s probably something worth knowing about, so I grabbed a copy.

Wow! What a man.

I doubt there was anything that Leonardo Da Vince didn’t accomplish in his lifetime: painter, architect, inventor, showman, advisor to nobility and even a king, so much more.

He was a self-taught (and incredibly good) scientist who was willing to dump his own theories in the face of evidence to the contrary, an attitude many people have too much pride to do. He looked into everything from why sky was blue to how blood flowed through arteries. In many cases, he made discoveries centuries before they were ‘rediscovered’ by others.

We’ll probably never know how much he accomplished and discovered though, as many of his notes are lost.

The book also explores the common misconception that people like Leonardo Da Vinci are gifted in some way, that they’re blessed beyond the rest of us and achieve greatness because of that; touched by divinity.

Walter Isaacson argues against this point, but without diminishing Leonardo’s true greatness. Instead, he explains it clearly and succinctly, claiming Leonardo’s genius was driven by an intense curiosity, not divinity, and anyone can achieve such things if they really want to.

Isaacson claims Leonardo Da Vinci was passionate and curious about everything around him, from optics to the wings of dragonflies to how muscles cause lips to move. Da Vinci used his unquenchable curiosity to study light and how it reflected off surfaces, applying this knowledge when he painted his great masterpieces, including the Mona Lisa, a painting which I’d seen on display and at the time thought: ‘What’s all the fuss about?’.

This book has given me a totally new appreciation for the Mona Lisa and Leonardo’s other accomplishments. I understand now why the Mona Lisa is a masterpiece. If I ever see it again, I’ll look at it completely differently.

Overall, a very worthwhile read. I highly recommend it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Three Great Lies cover art

Very enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 23-10-2018

Fair warning here: I know Vanessa through social media, though we haven’t caught up in about a year. Regardless, I didn’t receive anything in exchange for this review. I purchased the eBook version of Three Great Lies a while ago, but spending time actually reading for fun though… that seems to happen less and less frequently these days, so I splurged on the audiobook version a few weeks back so I could ‘read it’ while driving to and from work.

Three Great Lies is the story of a modern woman (Jeannette Walker) who finds herself transported to a mythical version of ancient Egypt, a place where Gods are real and the children of Gods (ie, alligator- and bird-headed people, etc) live among the human population.

Jaded with life prior to her unexpected journey, Jeannette doesn’t start out as the most loveable person in the world – it took me a while to warm up to her (but who am I to talk – I create similar characters).

Unhappy with her life and consequently self-absorbed (or perhaps the other way around), Jeannette makes a lot of poor choices early on in the story, but gradually begins to get her head around her new situation and come to accept that the rules are different where she’s ended up. The transformation from lost loner to hero-we-care-about creates a solid character arc for Jeanette who, while trying to stay alive, learns quite a bit about herself and what really matters in life.

The story begins with Jeannette holidaying in modern-day Egypt, but while exploring a tomb well off the tourist-beaten track she literally drops into a mythical version of Egypt. Having hurt herself and thinking she’s delusional or her body’s in a coma while she experiences the impossible, she soon encounters a living mummy and then gets herself into serious trouble when she rescues (steals) a cat-headed girl from the local slave master’s auction.

Jeanette’s poor decisions heap up and quickly leave her alone and struggling. Returning home remains her only true desire, and yet, the more time she spends in this ancient mythological Egypt (despite its daily hardships), the more she starts to care about the people there and begins to question her reasons for wanting to go home.

It’s not long after that when Jeanette gets drawn into a mystery/conspiracy involving raided tombs and prophecies, a problem she must contend with if she wishes to help her new friends and go home.

Overall, I honestly enjoyed this book, and I loved Vanessa’s quirky modern-day references where Jeannette reminisces over longed-for conveniences like flushing toilets and deodorant and bread that doesn’t come with a daily portion of baked-in sand.

If you’re looking for a fantasy that’s a little bit different from your standard fare, with solid, well-developed characters and a nicely-rounded story arc, this might be the novel for you.

TED Talks cover art

Great info.

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

Reviewed: 22-08-2018

Well worth the time if you’re looking to do a talk or other live performance.

Blood Song cover art

Great story, entertaining, and worth the time

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

Reviewed: 16-07-2018

Blood song is a coming-of-age story about a young boy called Vaelin Al Sorna who, from the age of 10, is raised by a religious order to be a warrior of the Faith.

As he grows in skills, fame and stature on his journey into adulthood, he discovers there’s more to his situation than he understands, but with every unravelling of his past and present another mystery is revealed.

A complex story told across two decades or so, Vaelin Al Sorna becomes a hero to some, a villain to many, and a threat to others, placing him in great danger from almost everyone around him. Manipulated and coerced, he’s yet to discover the truth about his skills, his faith and his part in the world.

Largely reflective of issues we face in today’s society regarding religion, politics and war, it’s delivered in a subtle way that never overpowers the story, letting the reader come to their own conclusions about such thematic concepts.
Overall, a very good read – dark, gritty, and immersive, with many layers that slowly reveal themselves as the story progresses.

It definitely draws you in and holds you to the end.

Elon Musk cover art

Fantastic story of a (slightly) flawed genius

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

Reviewed: 17-04-2018

Would you listen to Elon Musk again? Why?

I'll definitely listen to this audio book again. It's extremely inspirational and interesting.

What three words best describe Fred Sanders’s performance?

The performance was good except when Fred Sanders was quoting Elon Musk or almost any of the people featured in the book. While I can see it was intended to differentiate quotes from the story itself, it didn't work.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

I'd highly recommend this book to anyone.