Mel’s Readings: August – September

SIGNS OF THE GODS?
Written by: Erich von Däniken
Read by: Peter Berkrot
Notes: A lot of what was in this book they’ve talked about in Ancient Aliens, but it was a fun read nonetheless. Crazy as all hell, but interesting.
Score: 8/10

SERIAL KILLERS: TRUE CRIME ANTHOLOGY 2014
Written by: Various, including Peter Vronsky and RJ Parker
Read by: Me
Notes: Enjoyed this one much more than the 2015 one, but that’s just because I didn’t have to listen to that droning voice reading it.
Score: 8/10

MAYA TO AZTEC: ANCIENT MEZOAMERICA REVEALED
Written by: Edwin Barnhart
Read by: Edwin Barnhart
Notes: Awesome, awesome, awesome! If you have even only a passing interest in the Mayans and/or other Mezoamerican cultures, I highly recommend this set of lectures. It was over 23 hours, but I absolutely inhaled it, and got sad when I had to turn it off.
Score: 10/10

DEAD EVER AFTER
Written by: Charlaine Harris
Read by: Me
Notes: So I finally got around to reading the last of the Sookie Stackhouse books (that’s the books that True Blood was based on… in the beginning, anyways). And it was a fine conclusion to the story, all ends neatly clipped and taken care of. While she didn’t end up with the person I’d hope she’d spend her life with in the end, I can’t dislike it just for that (like I’ve read from other readers).
Score: 8/10

DEAD ICE
Written by: Laurell K Hamilton
Read by: Kimberly Alexis
Notes: Finally, a strong entry from the Anita Blake series. The series, now at 26 books, has been in steady decline, but looks like Hamilton is finally listening to her readers, and took Anita’s head out of her ass, and gave her stuff to do other than complain and have power-gaining orgies. In this book, Anita goes back to her roots, and Hamilton delivers a fine book filled with zombies, magic, and crazy bad guys. It would have had a perfect score, but Hamilton tends to repeat herself… a lot. A good 2 or 3 hours could have been shaved off the 20 hour reading time easily, I’m sure, and we’d have lost none of the current story.
Score: 8/10

GREAT PHARAOHS OF ANCIENT EGYPT
Written by: Bob Brier
Read by: Bob Brier
Notes: A little disappointed with this one, not because it’s uninteresting, but because it’s an almost word for word redux of certain lectures from his The History of Ancient Egypt, which I’d already listened to. Still gets a perfect score, though, because it is still an excellent set of lectures.
Score: 10/10

THE VIKINGS
Written by: Kenneth W Harl
Read by: Kenneth W Harl
Notes: Awesome beginning, meh middle, good end. The middle was meh because they went on and on about the Viking’s conversion to Christianity. The first lecture about it was fine. But then there were more; how Sweden converted, how Finland converted, how Norway converted, how Iceland converted, how… we get it, they converted, move on. And the, um, lecturer, uh, always seemed to, uh, need to, um, search for his, er, words. I got used to it, but it was annoying at first. There were also people occasionally heard in the background, and there was a constant humming sound, like he was right beside an AC or something.
Score: 7/10

THE HISTORY OF ANCIENT ROME
Written by: Garrett G Fagan
Read by: Garrett G Fagan
Notes: I really want to give this one a perfect score, cause it was so very interesting, but I can’t. Not with this lecturer. I did finally manage to get used to his way for speaking, but it took me half the course. He’d pause right in the middle of……. a sentence, for a real long time sometimes, too. But the course was so amazing that I’m only going to knock him half a point for it.
Score: 9.5/10

LOST WORLDS OF SOUTH AMERICA
Written by: Edwin Barnhart
Read by: Edwin Barnhart
Notes: Not quite as good as Maya to Aztec, but still very, very good. You can almost never go wrong with The Great Courses.
Score: 10/10

RED LAND, BLACK LAND
Written by: Barbara Mertz
Read by: Lorna Raver
Notes: Absolutely stunning portrayal of life in Ancient Egypt, told with perspective and humour. Excellent!
Score: 10/10

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
Written by: Stephen Hawking
Read by: Michael York
Notes: Excellent, but rather repetitive if you, like I, have already read A Brief History of Time. Still, the man is brilliant, no denying that!
Score: 9/10

Review Club #9 – The Theory of Everything

theory of everything

First up is my DH Francois, from over at FrankishNet:

I was actually very surprised by the twist of the movie. It really is about Jane, rather than Stephen. A very deep and emotional discovery of their relationship, and the constant struggle.

She signed for a 2 years trip, and the trip lasted so much longer. They present the duality of her feelings in a stunningly well played manner. On one side, she loves him and is incredibly happy that his life goes on. On the other side, she is consumed by needs and dreams she cannot live with Stephen, and the caring for him is draining.

Jonathan, Stephen, Jane, they were all very well played. Great acting!

It really was not the sort of movie I expected to see when sitting down for a movie about Hawking, especially with the name “The Theory of Everything”, but that is simply because I had not read the synopsis, and assumed it was like “Hawking”.

I really enjoyed it.

Up next is Rob, from over at MovieRob:

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are both amazing in this movie as Hawking and his wife. Their performances alone make this movie a must see.

I personally wasn’t even remotely aware of most of the history told here and it was great learning about their troubled lives and how they both worked together to realize his dreams despite his debilitating disease.

Excellent acting by the two leads elevates a good story to something even better. Very informative and eye opening biopic.

Redmayne truly deserved his Best Oscar win last year for this amazing and challenging role.

And finally, here’s mine:

Mel’s 10 Things About… The Theory of Everything
(2014) Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Harry Lloyd, David Thewlis, Maxine Peake, Christian McKay

everything_a

1. Absolutely superb acting, the two leads were amazing.
2. The film really captured the helplessness of a disease like this, and it hit a little too close to home for me in some parts. Even though my illness isn’t nearly as bad as Hawking’s, it’s still debilitating, and so it touched me greatly.
3. The film also captures very well the torment of loving two people at the same time. Easy, it’s not.
4. I was really hoping for more science in the film, and a little less drama. Was slightly disappointing on that end.
5. How hot is Harry Lloyd?? I mean really now! *fans self*
6. They captured Hawking’s wit wonderfully.
7. I can’t imagine being that smart, and being stuck inside your body like that. It must be absolutely horrible.
8. Hawking is such an inspiration to me. This film just cemented it even more. I mean if he can, in his state, become a world famous bestselling author, not to mention everything else he is, then I can certainly do something with my life!
9. Jane was an absolutely wonderful human being, sacrificing so much of herself to support and care for her husband. Not many people are so generous.
10. In the end, it was quite a lovely film, but I have to admit to like Hawking, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, better. Its focus was more on the science, and I enjoyed it immensely.

And that’s it! Stay tuned for next time, when we review Out of the Dark! 🙂