Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Neil deGrasse Tyson)

hurry

The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

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Astrophysics for People in a Hurry was on the bestsellers list for months in 2017 and 2018. It was the goodreads choice winner of 2017 and has sold more than one million copies. The author, Neil deGrasse Tyson, has been on numerous talk shows relating commentary on various topics, from his books to American politics and the infamous space force.

I chose to listen to this book, personally. It is read by the author and he is an excellent narrator, with a smooth voice. I do feel like I would have been able to remain more of the information had I read it … cosmology has always interested me, but I wouldn’t say my brain is particularly well wired to receive this type of information.

I definitely am not an astrophysicist in the making. Mathematics baffle me and philosophy infuriates me; there is a little too much of both in this science.

But I still love learning about the stars, the heavens, the big bang, evolution and various theories of the multiverse.

I do remember some random facts from Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Such as this: thunderclouds produce gamma radiation just before the human eye sees the lightning flash. So as I told my Dad, I guess that still leaves hope for a real life Incredible Hulk.

Funny how it’s always the random, seemingly useless part of the explanation which will stick in my brain.

I highly recommend this book, and it really is a good choice for people in a hurry. The audiobook is less than 4 hours in length. I have good intentions of picking it up again someday and actually reading the print version this time, in the hope that I will retain more of the information.

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xx

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Scrappy Little Nobody

Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody is the funniest book I have ever read. I went with the audiobook, which Kendrick read herself, because I am now convinced this is the only way to take on comedic or biographic novels. So thankful for this choice! Once again, a shout-out to my co-worker Ewa who recommended this book!

She just gets me 🙂

anna

Official Blurb:

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

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In some ways, Anna could be me and in others, she would definitely be my best friend. I love her. I wish I knew her IRL. Speaking of … Anna. Want to move to Canada?!

Things H & A have in common:

  1. We both lust after Tom Hardy
  2. Directionally challenged (both in terms of height and finding our way to places without GPS)
  3. Mostly anti-social peeps who prefer to be at home
  4. Neither of us can sail
  5. Nerds
  6. List-makers
  7. Awkward and riddled with self-doubt

One of the things that struck me the most about this book is that Anna is well-spoken and SMART! Not that I thought she wasn’t, but the more serious portions of her book are much deeper than I was prepared for and she appears markedly more self-possessed, driven and self-aware than I am myself.

I was also very surprised by the fact that she was still dirt-poor and living with roommates after her Oscar-nom for her role in Up in the Air. Listening to her describe this period in her life, when she was barely getting by but everyone around her spoke about her like she’d made it big, was definitely an eye-opener.

In Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna describes herself as a “Man-Child” who is perpetually three months away from maturing enough to take care of “shit”. I KNEW I couldn’t be the only one who stopped emotionally developing at a much younger age! She and I are experts at rationalizing ANYTHING. Make the bed? Why make the bed when you are just going to mess it all up again tonight? Do homework? Isn’t the point of going to school to learn? I can learn without regurgitating it all back to the Teach, who assuredly, most know this stuff already. So I’ll just skip that step thank you very much.

I have OCD so if I start something, it has to be done PERFECTLY or I will drive myself and anyone around me cray. It’s so much easier to just not start a project at all.

Scrappy Little Nobody doesn’t feel like a book. It feels like a conversation, albeit one where the listener is very good at listening and Anna is constantly “on”. Six hours have never passed so quickly and I am seriously contemplating just re-starting her book over again, because I am not ready for it to be over. It’s been 24 hours since I finished listening and I am still missing Anna like a friend who popped in for a short visit and was off again.

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xx

 

Audiobook evolution: bypassing print formats

So I’m reading this NPR article about a new trend in self-publishing, where authors self-publish their story directly into audiobook, bypassing both traditional and indie styles of print.

My first thought was, “so you mean plays?”. My second, “huh. I guess that’s what that meme I saw yesterday was about”.

Here is an excerpt from the NPR article (link at end of post):

‘Now Audible… is starting to ask well-known writers to create original audio works. “While performances are being elevated and attuned to this advanced listening experience, why not write to the form in an original way?” says Katz. “So it’s not just book authors. TV writers, movie writers, others are flocking in to help us get to the next stage”.’

– Lynn Neary

I think it’s an intriguing idea. The audiobook market is exploding now, and I myself am a recent convert.  Companies like Audible have made this medium so easy to access, I can listen via my phone, computer, iPod … there’s no need to be connected to the internet or data… it’s priceless.  The only drawback is that many books don’t translate well because of the writing style, but in this next stage, we are going to see audiobooks evolve, much as self-publishing and niche publishers have in the last decade.

Up until two months ago, I never understood the audiobook, thinking I was too poor an auditory learner to pay attention, but after stagnating for months awhile on A Storm of Swords, I gave listening to it a try and I’m loving it! The freedom to accomplish tasks or transport myself while getting some chapters in is liberating and I’m now pestering encouraging family to try it.  You should too.

Link to original NPR article, written by Lynn Neary, from which I borrowed the quote:

http://www.npr.org/2015/03/09/390948789/straight-to-audiobook-authors-write-original-works-meant-to-be-heard?sc=tw