3 Mini-Reviews: The Non-fiction Audiobook Edition

1. The Social Animal by David Brooks:  I really wanted to read this book, which is a narrative about a couple, spanning from childhood through old age, also incorporating observations on the nature of human behavior and some general social science stuff.  I liked it at the beginning, and in the places where Brooks would focus in on a topic and explore it for a while were often engaging (I would be more specific, but I waited a bit too long to review this one).  The narrative structure didn't work for me.  It didn't read as literary enough, and detracted from the seriousness of the work as long form non-fiction.  So, it just wasn't enough of one thing or the other to totally work for me.

2. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand:  Wow.  Seriously, this was easily the best audiobook I've listened to in quite sometime.  The story is moving, and harrowing, and often unbelievable in its intensity, and Hillenbrand is a fantastic storyteller.  The book is the survival story of Louis Zamperini, Olympic runner and WWII POW. I learned a lot from the book, not just about Zamperini, but about the Japanese during WWII. I got a history lesson while feeling like I was reading the most compelling of stories.  When I first read Hillenbrand, it was Seabiscuit, which I really had no interest in and still really enjoyed reading, and I knew then that she was very very talented.  This book continues to prove that.

3. Spook by Mary Roach:  I like Stiff  so so much that it makes me really sad to say that I didn't really like Spook.  There were parts that I did find interesting, but the topic didn't really work for me.  The topic is scientific explorations of the afterlife, but there wasn't enough science (or even pseudoscience) in it for me.  The narration also kind of annoyed me on this one.  The reader did a lot of accents that I found distracting, so that didn't help.  I definitely am not done with Mary Roach though, who I still think is fabulous, and I had heard from other sources that this was the least successful of her books.  Definitely read Stiff though, because cadavers are super interesting:)

**If you are interested in purchasing any of these books through my affiliate account, click on the cover image to buy them at Powell's.


  1. You should try Roach's Packing for Mars...totally different topic, but a lot like Stiff in style and content. Great sciencey stuff and great writing!


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