Books I’ve Read: June and July

History of the Ancient World
Written By: Susan Wise Bauer
Read By: John Lee
Notes: First of 3 books, which I absolutely inhaled. Amazingly written and read in such a way that it never got boring, which happens all too often with history books. Years spanning from about 12,000 BC to about 300.
Score: 10/10

History of the Medieval World
Written by: Susan Wise Bauer
Read By: John Lee
Notes: Second of three books, just as good as the first. Years spanning from about 300 to 1100.
Score: 10/10

History of the Renaissance World
Written by: Susan Wise Bauer
Read By: John Lee
Notes: Third of three books, just as good as the others. Years spanning from about 1100 to 1450.
Score: 10/10

Notes on all three: The only thing I’d have to say about the books besides I loved them, is that since it’s a world history, not enough time is spent on individual subjects. But I guess it would have to be the case, otherwise the books would be waay too long. Listening to all three already took about 70 hours. Also, I really hope Susan Wise Bauer writes another for the years spanning 1450 to the present. Or at least to 1900. That would be awesome. And maybe concentrate on more than just wars, cause really, these books left me little hope for the future of the human race. Such a disgusting, violent species we are…

The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favourite Planet
Written By: Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Read By: Mirron Willis
Notes: Fun book, but I really don’t understand why they don’t get Dr T to read his own books. He’s got a great voice!
Score: 8/10

Serial Killers: Up Close and Very Personal
Written By: Victoria Redstall
Read By: Drew Campbell
Notes: Great, if very disturbing, book about serial killers, a lot of it in their own words. Should have actually read this one, though, the narration was simply awful. Second book I’ve listened to by Drew Campbell, and it’ll be my last. I’ve found that a very lot of serial killer books are badly narrated, forcing me to start buying them in book form instead. I like reading, but my hands don’t always want to hold a book for very long, which is why I started audiobooking in the first place!
Score: 8/10 for the book, 3/10 for the reader.

Don’t Know Much About Mythology
Written By: Kenneth C Davis
Read By: John Lee
Notes: Unfortunately, I’d just read a whole book on Egyptian Mythology, and one on Greek, so there wasn’t a whole lot new for me in this book. Still very well written and read though.
Score: 9/10

Chariots of the Gods
Written By: Erich von Däniken
Read By: Me!! hehe
Notes: I didn’t like the sample I listed to, so I went and bought the E-book instead. But what can I say about this book? It’s a whole bucket of crazy! And yet somehow, sometimes, I found myself nodding my head to what was being said. I like all this stuff, and recently got addicted to the show Ancient Aliens. They’re all completely mad, of course, yet I find it super interesting nonetheless. And who knows? Maybe they’re right!! :-p It was well written, too, so maybe I’ll go check out his other stuff as well. Because ALIENS!

Serial Killers True Crime Anthology 2015
Written By: Many, including Peter Vronsky and RJ Parker
Read by: Don Kline
Notes: Another great book with awful narration. I had a ton of books in my to-buy list narrated by this dude, but I’ve taken them all off and bought the E-books instead (thankfully they were on sale at 99 cents. I’ve got a lot of real reading to do! hehe).
Score: 9/10 for the book, 1/10 for the reader.

Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution
Written By: Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith
Read By: Kevin Kenerly
Notes: Great book, well written, but nothing really new to me, who’s read so many of these books, on top of all the shows I watch on Discovery Science and History and H2 (oh, and don’t forget Netflix). I’ve watched so much universe stuff (as I call it), that the only way to get new stuff, I think, would be to take Cosmology at school!! :-p
Score: 9/10

M.

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My Top 10 Documentaries

This will be a list of my favourite documentaries that were one-offs, meaning that they were only made as a one time thing, either as one movie length show, or a single season comprising of 15 episodes or less. I’ll make another post some other time about my favourite documentary series’. I was going to put them all together, but I realized that with the amount of documentary stuff I watched I’d never be able to keep the list relatively short if I did that, so I’m splitting it. I really enjoyed the new format I tried in my Top Horror Films post, so I’ll see if I can integrate it into my longer articles, making them easier to read. At least, that’s what I think. Am I right? Is it a good format? Let me know!

And now, without any further ado, let’s get this show on the road! 😀

NUMBER TEN

10 Gates of Hell

 

10 GoHTitle: Gates of Hell
Made by/for: History channel
Released in: 2010
Subject: Ancient beliefs that hell was a real place that could be reached from the physical world.
Narrated by: George Kourounis
Written by: Stephen Dost
5 Second Synopsis: A lot of ancient cultures believed that not only was Hell real, but it could be reached from certain places on Earth. We follow guides to seven such places to uncover the stories and mythologies each place holds.
Why I love It: I wasn’t sure I’d actually like this one,since I don’t particularly enjoying watching religious stuff, but I love ancient history, and mythology was a huge part of most ancient cultures, so I gave it a try, and I’m glad I did. It was very interesting, providing facts, and not just preaching fire and brimstone, which is what I was afraid of.

 

NUMBER NINE

9 Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue

 

9 NiRWaBTitle: Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue
Made by/for: Lux Digital Pictures
Released in: 2009
Subject: Horror movies
Narrated by: Lance Henriksen
Written by: Joseph Maddrey
5 Second Synopsis: An exploration of the appeal of horror films, with interviews of many legendary directors in the genre.
Why I love It:  I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain myself here. It’s a documentary about horror films, how could I not love it?? hehe

 

NUMBER EIGHT

8 Ancients Behaving Badly

 

8 ABBTitle: Ancients Behaving Badly
Made by/for: History channel
Released in: 2009
Subject: Ancient rulers
Narrated by: Tom McCamus
Written by: unknown
5 Second Synopsis: Historians discuss the rulers of the ancient world, and a psychologist tries to profile them by examining their deeds.
Why I love It: It’s entertaining as well as informative, as all the good documentaries are. The animations are cool, too.

 

NUMBER SEVEN

7 C

 

NCOS7200Title: Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey
Made by/for: National Geographic channel
Released in: 2014
Subject: The universe, cosmology and physics
Narrated by: Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson
Written by: Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan, and Steven Soter
5 Second Synopsis: Dr Tyson leads us on an engaging guided tour of the various elements and cosmological theories of the universe.
Why I love It: Cosmology and physics really fascinates me. I don’t always understand everything (I dare you to not get confused while listening to the String Theory), but I love it all the same. And when someone brilliant decides to “dumb it down” a little so laymen can get it (without treating us like morons, of course), and then pair that info with a beautiful, visual treat? Well that’s just gravy on the pie.

 

NUMBER SIX

6 Life

 

6 LTitle: Life
Made by/for: BBC Earth
Released in: 2009
Subject: Life on our planet
Narrated by: David Attenborough
Written by: Paul Spillenger
5 Second Synopsis: David Attenborough’s legendary BBC crew explains and shows wildlife all over planet earth in 10 episodes.
Why I love It: I absolutely love David Attenborough and his work, so it was a given that I’d love this one too. I find he’s got the perfect voice for narration. He rivals even Morgan Freeman! The cinematography is breathtaking, as usual, and all the information is interesting, and interestingly presented. If you haven’t seen it, I reccomend it greatly. Just make sure you get the original, and not the one redumbed, err, I mean redone in the States with Oprah narrating.

 

NUMBER FIVE

5 Blue Planet

 

5 BPTitle: The Blue Planet
Made by/for: BBC
Released in: 2001
Subject: Life in the oceans
Narrated by: David Attenborough
Written by: David Attenborough
5 Second Synopsis: This documentary takes a look at the rich tapestry of life in the world’s oceans.
Why I love It: David Attenborough again. Even though it’s already 13 years old, it’s still the best series I’ve ever seen about the oceans. But, again, make sure to get the original. I don’t even understand why the Americans changed the narrator, this time they picked another actor with an accent, Pierce Brosnan. But I digress… as usual :-p

 

NUMBER FOUR

4 Planet Dinosaur

 

4 PDTitle: Planet Dinosaur
Made by/for: BBC
Released in: 2011
Subject: Dinosaurs
Narrated by: John Hurt
Written by: Tom Brass & Nigel Paterson
5 Second Synopsis: An astonishing six-part series that brings to life the most incredible creatures that ever existed, dinosaurs that were more monstrous, more horrific and bizarre than ever before imagined.
Why I love It: Pre-historic life is another thing that fascinates me to no end.What I wouldn’t give to be able to go back in time and see these enormous creatures. But docs like this one are the next best thing. The animation is breath-taking and the narration is clear and interesting. A must for any dino fan.

 

NUMBER THREE

3 Into the Universe

 

3 ItUTitle: Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking
Made by/for: Discovery channel
Released in: 2010
Subject: The universe
Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch & Stephen Hawking
Written by: Stephen Hawking
5 Second Synopsis: In this comprehensive cosmology series, Stephen Hawking looks at the entire universe, from the Big Bang to the end of time.
Why I love It: Stephen Hawking’s brain, Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice, and beautiful animations of our universe? I loved this show before I even watched it.

 

NUMBER TWO

2 Planet Earth

 

2 PETitle: Planet Earth
Made by/for: BBC
Released in: 2006
Subject: Planet Earth (duh 😉 )
Narrated by: David Attenborough
Written by: David Attenborough, Vanessa Berlowitz, Alastair Fothergill, and Gary Parker
5 Second Synopsis: Each 50 minute episode features a global overview of a different region or habitat on Earth, polar regions, mountains, caves, deserts, plains, fresh water, seas, the ocean, and forests.
Why I love It: Attenborough again. This might be getting a little redundant, but I couldn’t leave any of them out. There’s a reason his shows are as popular as they are, and that’s because they’re the best. Yes, it’s as good as you’ve heard. Now go watch it. The original.

 

NUMBER ONE

1 Walking with...

 

1 WwDTitle(s): Walking with Monsters; Walking with Dinosaurs; Walking with Beasts
Made by/for: BBC
Released in: 1999; 2001; 2005
Subject: Prehistoric life
Narrated by: Kenneth Branagh
Written by: Tim Haines, Michael Olmert, Kate Bartlett, Jasper James, Nigel Paterson, and Georgann Kane
5 Second Synopsis: These shows document pre-historic life on our planet, from the moment it began, until the time that humans have evolved.
Why I love It: I know I’m technically cheating here by including three shows in one, but I simply couldn’t separate them and place them in order. Being so old, a good deal of the data is out-dated, but I still love to watch these shows. They’re so well done, the narration is fun and informative, the dinosaurs are beautifully portrayed, even going so far as to “connect” with the camera, as if they were real. My son and I love to watch this together. For more up to date information, Planet Dinosaur is the way to go, but for sheer watchability (and rewatchability), these will forever hold the top spot.

 

And that’s it! Hope you enjoyed my list? Do you agree? Disagree? What are your favourite brain-food shows? Let me know! And, as usual, stay tuned for more! 🙂

M.