Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The titles on my backlog list ...

Here is the list of titles I recently read but could not yet review. Hope that my recent Blindsight review signals some come back to more regular blogging :-)

OK, after August report on my backlog, I have been reading the following titles: 
  1. "Stonemouth" by Iain Banks
  2. "A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens
  3. "No easy day" by Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer
  4. "The Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan
  5. "Creating a World Without Poverty" by Muhammad Yunus
  6. "The Jew in the Lotus" by Rodger Kamenetz
  7. "The Miracle of Mindfulness" by Thich Nahn Hahn
  8. "Toward a True Kinship of Faiths" by His Holiness Dalai Lama
  9. "The Ultimate Dimension" by Thich Nahn Hahn
  10. "The Lonely Man of Faith" by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
  11. "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking
  12. "Living the Mindful Way" by Sharon L. Horstead
  13. "The Information" by James Gleick
I do not include professional books I read here.
However, I feel it is worth to mention at least one of them:
  • "Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist" by Dean Allemang and James Hendler.
In addition to pure technical, semantic web oriented flavor, this book is also very important from the general, or I dare to say, philosophical point of view...

 I'm now reading or plan to read soon:

  1. "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson
  2. "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons
  3. "Meditation and the Bible" by Aryeh Kaplan
  4. "Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante Guanaratana
  5. "Turing's Cathedral" by George Dyson
  6. "Anger" by Thich Nahn Hahn
  7. "Mindful Eating" by Thich Nahn Hahn
 As you see, it is not just a small pile, it is a tower of read but not reviewed books...
Well, I guess my 2013 New Year's resolution will be to catch up with all these pending reviews :-)

Mirek, December 25, 2012, Aleksandrow near Lodz





True manifest or thought experiment - „Blindsight” by Peter Watts

Blindsight - science fiction novel by Peter Watts...
It has been sometime since I have read this book and I'm still uncertain whether it sincerely represents its author's view of life (or perhaps author's world view) or it is a sort of gigantic thought experiment.

First, some facts. It is certainly one of the best science-fiction books I have ever read. Set in the second half of XXI century it describes an encounter between humans living on Earth with alien inteligence. The encounter starts with the apparent survey the aliens perform sending micro-satellites (called as fireflies). Humans sent a spaceship, „Theseus” to get into first contact with the aliens dwelling on a cosmic structure, a vessel-sattellite called by itself  „Rorschach”. The encounter reveils that the aliens represent totally different kind of intelligence humans expected. The intelligence is lacking consciousness yet it remain highly intelligent, surpassing humans. When the danger of this devilish creatures becomes critical, the artificial intelligence controlling the human spaceship attacks them in apparent suicide mission leaving the lonely survivor live and coming back to Earth, that, by the time of the mission undergoes a new kind of holocaust, caused by unconscious vampires ... It is possible that he is the only truly conscious subject in the entire universe...

Plot is perhaphs not the best part of the novel, though in comparison to many sci-fi(s), it is original and untypical. Language is difficult, peppered with many biological and neuroscientific terms, but the deep comprehension is rewarding. Yet not the plot itself or its language make the essence of the novel. In reality it is a philosophical treaty said in the frame of sci-fi story. It's a big discourse about human consciousnes and its nature, mind and matter interplay, essence of biology, human interaction, artificial intelligence etc.

However, when I read it carefully, I noticed that its author identifies with some quite specific views that go far from what I used to belive in... Sex seems to be presented as nothing more than a blind copulation. His views on biology seems to verge on a brink of primitive reductionism. In his world human free will seems not to exist and intelligence does not need conscious beings to express itself. I probably oversimplify it, yet this is what seems to emerge from Blindsight...

I have an impression that Watts somehow believes in propositions put forward in famous GEB (Gödel, Escher, Bach) book (by Douglas Hofstadter). Yet this book was not mentioned in the "Notes and References" to the novel. In the "Notes" author seem to explain scientific background for many of his constructs used in the novel.

I prefer to believe that Watson's novel, dark and mechanistic is indeed a kind of thought experiment - not an epiphany of some well grounded scientifically based conclusions. For example, while it is instructive to know that Metzinger's "Being No One" was one of inspirations, it is somehow reassuring that such views do not even dominate the whole gamut of current consciousness sciences...

And, as the thought experiment - it is one of the best I ever read...


Monday, December 24, 2012

Coming back ???

I would be very happy to come back to active blogging. Seems my life has become too hectic and full of so many matters and issues and challenges that I hardly can find time for my blog.
Anyway, I will try. I solemnly promise: I'll try !

December 24, 2012 Aleksandrow near Lodz. My parents place ...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Backlog ...

Here is the list of books that I read recently but had no time or power to review:

  1. „Blindsight” by Peter Watts
  2. „All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age” by Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Kelly
  3. „The Most Human Human” by Brian Christian
  4. „Da Vinci Ghost” by Toby Lester
  5. „Buddhist Meditation for Beginners” by Jack Kornfield
  6. „Buddhism for Busy People” by David Michie
  7. „True Love” by Thich Nahn Hahn
  8. „The Mind and the Brain” by Jeffrey M. Schwartz & Sharon Bogley
  9. „The Cult of the Amateur” by Andrew Keen
  10. „The Information” by James Gleick
  11. „Here Comes Everybody” by Clay Shirky
and now I'm reading "A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens :-)
Honestly, I will not be able to review all of them :-(, but I will certainly do it for „Blindsight”, „All Things Shinging”, „The Mind and the Brain” and „The Information” — they are the books of utmost importance ....

Cheers
Mirek



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Long time ...

Yes, it again was a long period of silence on my blog ...
I did not stop reading, I did not stop breathing ...

I was too tired, both physically and mentally to write meaningful posts. I had to disappear again for some time from the noosphere. It seems I'm back now. I just returned from 3 weeks spent in the same village on the same rivers at the same seaside I used to go for last 10 years.
I guess I have more mental strength now.
Stay tuned.

Meanwhile... Here are the pictures from my solitary canoeing in North Poland.

And here is my companion who visited my one night in my tent:


:-)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

MakoLab Semantic Day in Paris

I'm not sure how many of my readers could really come to First MakoLab Semantic Day we will organize in Paris on June 26th. Anyway all of you are very welcomed. It will be an incredible occasion to listen to lectures of Prof. Martin Hepp — the creator of GoodRelations and ... my own short intro into Semantic Web :-)
http://semanticday.makolab.fr/
http://semanticday.makolab.fr/
:-)


Friday, April 27, 2012

What keeps us running ...

I have found this amazing quote from Norbert Wiener — one of the greatest scientists of XX century:


We are swimming upstream against a great torrent of disorganization, which tends to reduce everything to the heat-death of equilibrium and sameness described in the second law of thermodynamics. What Maxwell, Boltzmann, and Gibbs meant by this heat-death in physics has a counterpart in the ethics of Kierkegaard, who pointed out that we live in a chaotic moral universe. In this, our main obligation is to establish arbitrary enclaves of order and system. These enclaves will not remain there indefinitely by any momentum of their own after we have once established them. Like the Red Queen, we cannot stay where we are without running as fast as we can.


Nothing describes my attitude to, at least, my work, better than this quotation...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Evilest evil cast upon the future - „Use of Weapons” by Iain M. Banks

I usually try, when writing reviews, not to spoil a given book to its future readers.

This time it is just impossible. All the time that has passed since I read Iain M. BanksUse of Weapons” I have been thinking how to write the review of that incredible, „moral” sci-fi novel. I was deeply thinking about it when I went to meet, face to face, Iain M. Banks recently in Edinburgh’s Waterstones bookstore, even though he was not talking as „Iain M. Banks” — an author of sci-fi books, but as „Iain Banks” — the author of his, so called, mainstream books.

Unfortunately, to write a true and intimate review of „Use of Weapons” seems impossible without revealing some of its secrets — so please be warned — and if you have not read it yet — please better do not read this post. Come here after to share your thoughts with me…


Use of Weapons” is a story of two characters, the archetypal good and equally archetypal evil. However, unlike other stories of the kind, it is far from being a cliche where we have a struggle between „forces of evil” and „forces of good”.  Instead, we have here a profound tale where we discover a blending of good and evil into almost impossible oneness…

The main narrative of „Use of Weapons” is the story of Cheradenine Zakalwe — a man who grown up in a noble family in far future. His childhood and adolescence was relatively happy with two sisters and, from some moment in time, with another boy, Elethiomel, who was his foster-brother. Beyond the few chapters about his young life, we know very little about him.  Then a war starts and he becomes a soldier. His foster-brother leads the enemy side. At the final stage of the war, the fighting or rather a deadlock in it, becomes so intense, that the foster-brother invents a cruelest way to crush his opponent — he murders Zakalwe’s sister, (who, incidentally, was also his foster-sister …)  and announces it to him in a most cruel way — the way that later becomes a leitmotif of a false remorse ...

Cheradenine, both depressed and correctly judging his slim chances to win, and knowing that his surrender can bring long awaited end of the war, in the act of utmost sacrifice — commits suicide…
And the peace comes... And this ends the story of the good, though we wait to the last pages of the book to discover it…

From now on, the most of the book portraits the evil. I must note, that literaly the concept of  "from now on" is not well defined in the novel. The temporal relations are deeply entangled, but lets say "from" for the sake of this review.

Elethiomel falsly incarnates into Cheradenine and becomes The Zakalwe. We have no clue how it happened and why. From some of the Zakalwe actions we could gather he tried to redress himself from the horrible sins and crimes he committed. But such thoughts seem to be contradicted by relations of more cruel acts he committed. As life goes on, he develops a kind of approach to his own life, in which he finds at least some acceptance of himself by changing his role:
„It had always seemed to him that the ideal man was either a soldier or a poet, and so, having spent most of his years being one of those — to him — polar opposites, he determined lo attempt to turn his life around and become the other...”
In fact, from this moment, I had some trouble with the character. The book was written in such a way, that, if one reads only superficially — it becomes easy to put oneself on the side of Zakalwe. He is attractive person, ruthless, powerful, yet with „some” grain of remorse. However, deeper reading reveals that the true intent of the author was to show the evil and badness in its purest form.

„(…) given all the things Zakalwe’s done, just since we’ve known him, they’d have to invent a personal deity for him alone, to even start forgiving him.”

Instead of true regret and attempt to redress for his crimes, he plays a life-long game. And finally, to the total moral disgust, he even tries to find an approval for his horrible deeds in the eyes of the sister of both the true Zakalwe and the murdered girl. The same sister who was his mistress in their adolescence. He says:

„Go back: go right back. What was I to do? Go back. The point is to win. Go back! Everything must bend to that truth.”
His attempt to exonerate himself from the crime, trying to prove that the end justified the means, are fruitless. The only leaving member of Zakalwe family rejects him.

„Why do you do this? she said. “Why do you do this ... to him: to me . . . why?  Can’t you just leave us all alone?” (...) Livueta Zakalwe walked out, closing the door behind him.
In the scene that portraits the final and the last rejection, like in Last Judgement, he almost dies from a brain stroke. He is rescued by a drone — perhaps only to feel to the end of his days the pain and the burden of the evilest of evils a human can commit…

I probably should add that the book is written in a very unusual way and its reading is both a great challenge and a specific pleasure. It has a very specific temporal and, so to speak, „spatial” dimension — possible only to sci-fi genre...

Yet it will remain in my mind as a very controversial book — for its apparent yet unspoken admiration to the evil character and its acts:

„But such consummate skill, such ability, such adaptability, such numbing ruthlessness. Such a use of weapons when anything could become weapon... ”

which seems somehow perverse to me. Despite the cold beauty of the language and the meaning of the sentence in the entire experience of its reading.

The discovery of the truth about the character — is the central moral message Banks makes — but it requires some deeper afterthought and I’m not sure how many readers discovered it... For me it took double reading of almost the entire book...

All in all — it is a great and important book, perhaps because of these incredible tension between admiration and condemnation of evil — the evil cast into the future...



Finished in Paris, April 15th, 2012

Sunday, April 01, 2012

My blogging is 300 posts old - in 7 years

Well, when I noticed few weeks ago that I'm close to 300 posts here, I planned to write a good, lengthy review of some of  the recent books I read (e.g. like this one). No way ... My life is periodically getting so busy that all me dreams to have time for a next good review are just dreams :-)

So in celebration of this 300 posts record, let me first thank to you, my readers and specially to you all who commented on my posts.

Second, let me list where am I with my reading (and thinking) now. I just finished Jaron Lanier's great book „You are not a gadget”. On the surface, he could be classified as Web2.0 pessimist, but in fact he is not. He is a true and deep thinker, and I still hope to write the review. To explore the fundamentals deeper, I now started reading James Surowicki'sWisdom of Crowds” - the classic book in the dialog between those who believe in the collective wisdom and those who seems to oppose it.

So, thematically, I returned to the circles where I started from - my blog adventure started when I found the blog of David Weinberger — incorrigible Web optimist !

Third, let me tell you about the virtual stockpile of my books-to-read, or books I started and could not finish yet. On top is still Iain Banks „Use of Weapons” (second reading), whom I hope to meet in Edinburgh on coming Thursday, then comes „The Emperor of Lies” by Steve Sem-Sandberg (specifically close to my heart as it is the book about my hometown - Lodz's Ghetto). There is also „All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age” by Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Kelly , and ... many others...


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reading Web pessimists

Again and again — this can be only a short note. I hope the review(s) will come soon.
Anyway, seems to me it's worth to tell you that, for some (perverse?) reason, I, incorrigible Web optimist, started to read Web big pessimists. I started some time ago with Nicholas Carr and his „Shallows”. And a week ago I finished Andrew Keen's „The Cult of the Amateur”, now I'm in Jaron Lanier's „You Are Not a Gadget”.

Here are my initial thoughts: There is a lot of profound concern in Carr's „Shallows”. No one, can really ignore his book. I devoted a considerable time to write about it. His arguments matter, even if one does not agree with all of them. Similarly, Jaron's Lanier warnings (mostly against Web 2.0) are deep and profound. Maybe a bit less than Carr's; maybe some of his proposals (take Songle) are naive, maybe his „Digital Maoism” term is a pure exaggeration — yet there is a profound concern behind and quite deep understanding of true dangers.

Contrary, I almost could not find too many merits in Keen's „The Cult of the Amateur”. His arguments are like a living image of XIX arguments against steam machines, medieval arguments against printing press, XX century arguments against mass press, TV etc. There was literally no substance in his debunking of apparent Web 2.0 sins. His argument against Wikipedia is just a pure elitism of worst kind. His account on the revolution of music distribution is simply blind.

What is more, he takes the real dark side of Web (which, of course, exists — and is indeed bad) as the argument against the freedom on Web at large! That's really ridiculous view, forgetting how much dirt we do have in the real world, and somehow we learnt how to handle it...

It's good to read opponents of your thoughts; no-one could live only in its echo chambers — so I feel Jaron's arguments will resonate in me, will make my optimised rethinked. It is sad that I can not say so about some opponents' books, like „The Cult of Amateur” ....

Anyway — the full reviews will come...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks

I have been reading this incredible book on all media. Started in paper, switched to e-book on Nook, finished in audio, backing my audio experience by e-book again...

All of them — because the book is exceptionally multidimensional and deep and difficult to comprehend if read casually...

Well, I can't afford to write the full review today, yet let me tell you that it is perhaps the most "moral" sci-fi book I ever read. And this morality is not expressed in any simple, trivial way — it is expressed through a profound understanding of human nature set to extreme, which possibly could only be described with such power, only in sci-fi sort of tale...

Promised — the review will come...


But such consummate skill, such ability, such adaptability, such numbing ruthlessness. such a use of weapons when anything could become weapon...



...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Anatomy of Conspiracy Theories — Umberto's Eco genius shines again ...

What is the mindset of conspiracy theory brewer? What kind of mental characteristic such a person has ?
Umberto's EcoThe Prague Cemetery” attempts to sketch the personalities of those who most certainly invented most incredible and ghastly tales of the turn of XIX and XX centuries.

The book reads like a novel, and those who read it „as is” may not even notice (until author afterwords) that it is rather historical book, referring to existing events, describing realy existing people. Almost. There is one exception — the protagonist of the book. It is the only true „fiction character” — and perhaps only for this character we still could call Eco's book „a novel”...

Set in Italy and in Paris, the plot describes true historical events roughly between 1850 and 1898. In Italy we met Garibaldi and learn about plots instigated by Piedmont secret police. In Paris, we witness Franco-Prussian war and the Days of Commune to see how important was the falsification of truth to gain certain political advantages. We learn about the Dreyfus affair and how it was motivated... Eco unfolds the plots about Masons and Jesuits...
And, at the book crescendo, we learn about infamous „The protocols of the learned elders of Zion”...

It was amazing experience going to Wikipedia with all that names, events and places and literally find them all! In that sense, it is true historical account of some of the most important events of XIX century.

On that specific background we observe our hero Simone Simonini. As Eco explains in afterwords, even this character has been built more like a collage of that time personalities than as a fully fictitious character.

To me, this specific construction of the book was designed to uncover the mentality of conspiracy theories creators. Eco's attributes to such people several personality traits, not necesserily all present in the same person. In our Simone Simonini we see the trait of indifference (he would create a forgeries just for money), we see the sheer hate (his deep anti-semitism led him to "protocols" and his part in Dreyfus affair), we see specific gluttony and sybaritism, and above all — we see schizophrenic personality split (during the large part of the story we do not know who is who...).
Despite all these, Eco analyses also the other motivations — as the need to justify specific political agendas, to name the one...

By all these means, Eco opens anew the old discussion, which does not loose relevancy. I still see around me people and their fantastic „stories”. Stories that sometimes are as far from the truth as day from night. Yet people believe in them, spread them, discuss them... In many „echo chambers” of the current horizon of public discourse and on the Web, the creation and spread of such tales is even more prevelant than it was in XIX century... (See e.g. Jew Watch project ...). I was completely shocked to learn the „The protocols of the learned elders of Zion” are still printed and read as „true” in many countries of the Middle East....

Above all that, as it was with all Eco's book — it is fantastic reading experience, and is beautifully illustrated. Strongly recommend...


Monday, February 20, 2012

My first Nook-Book is ....

I must say I'm quite happy with Nook applications. I have them on my new Android phone (Galaxy Note), on my old Android tablet (Archos 101) and on my PC ....

The first book I'm now reading, from cover to cover (what that means in digital world ?) is "Use of Weapons" by I.M. Banks... Started it in paper some time ago, but never finished...

BTW, the book is amazing ...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Two new books read ...

As my time for reviews shrinks, I just wanted to tell to my visitors, that two new great books are consumed and wait for their turn for reviews:

Umberto Eco's — „Prague Cemetery” — one of the most important account on mechanisms of conspiracy theory creation from the view point of its authors....

David K. Shipler — „Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land” — painfully honest and impartial description of the fundamental conflict of the Middle East....

See you later :-)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

„Too big to know” — and yet optimistic

Before I read this book from cover to cover (or rather from first Kindle screen to the last, and listened in parallel, from first seconds to the last of its 8 hours narration by Peter Johnson :-) ) I was a bit afraid it would bear large dose of pessimism. First, I got some such impression from some posts on its author, David Weinberger, blog. The book's very title and some of its chapters' titles „Knowledge Overload” seemed to support my initial feelings.

But despite all that, perhaps mistaken anticipation, „Too big to know” is deeply optimistic. It's closing sentences read:

We will argue about whether our new knowledge will bring us closer to the truth, as I think it overall does. But one thing seems clear: Networked knowledge brings us closer to the truth about knowledge.

Weinberger has unusual talent for explaining the difficult concepts and deep thoughts about the cultural and social changes brought about by the growth of the Web in a simple way, easy to understand for everybody. As co-author of „Cluetrain Manifesto” he explained (or maybe even foretold) Web 2.0 revolution; as the author of „Small Pieces Loosely Joined” he expounded the essence of the core of the Web along dimensions like, inter alia: Space, Time,  Matter and Hope. In „Everything is Miscellaneous” he analyses the profound challenge to all classifications and categorizations both in science and in life — created by the digital age.
And now in „Too big to know” he analyses the challenge to the most important building block of our civilisation: the knowledge itself.

First comes the apparent syndrome of knowledge overload. The syndrome is different and more profound from that of „information overload”:

Of course, the Net can scale that large only because it doesn’t have edges within which knowledge has to squeeze. No edges mean no shape. And no shape means that networked knowledge lacks what we have long taken to be essential to the structure of knowledge: a foundation.

Then comes the History of Facts and the transformation of the concept of fact from a gem-like, rare „classic facts” tightly bound to the physical medium of their expression: paper — to the „networked facts” obeying only a law: „On the Net, every fact has an equal and opposite reaction”  (in a wit typical for Weinberger, it is called „a version of Newton's Second Law”).

The first chapters set up the stage and put things in context. In the core of the book David Weinberger explains what constitues today's „Body of knowledge”. We go through concepts of networked expertise (The Expertise of Clouds) and the knowledge diversity and its dangers (with absolutely fantastic explanations of Echo Chambers). Then, we get the fundamental chapter „Long Form, Web Form” that explains the difference between long-form thinking typical of the era of books and the new hyperlinked/networked-form thinking. This chapter is marked by the dialog with two authors whose deep thoughts explored the difference before (Nicolas Carr „The Shalows" and Sven Birkerts „Guttenberg Elegies”) (and who have been particularly important to me ...)

The impact on science and on its main medium: scientific journals, is analysed in „Too Much Science", ending with just glorification of impact of the Web on science (or, better named, „networking science”). Decision making and the profound changes that underline even such rigid structures as that of military or corporate knowledge are covered in „Where the Rubber Hits the Node”.

In the final chapter Weinberger discusses the new emerging infrastructures of knowledge and explains both Semantic Web and Linked Data initiatives (SW/LD). It seems to me that he provided one of the best and the simplest explanation of what these fields are really all about. And he concludes with a note that the web richer in metadata (provided by SW/LD) is in fact „richer in more usable and useful knowledge.”

Where does all this take as to? Paradoxically, we get the answer in the Prologue to the book:

As knowledge becomes networked, the smartest person in the room isn’t the person standing at the front lecturing us, and isn’t the collective wisdom of those in the room. The smartest person in the room is the room itself: the network that joins the people and ideas in the room, and connects to those outside of it.  It’s not that the network is becoming a conscious super-brain. Rather, knowledge is becoming inextricable from—literally unthinkable without—the network that enables it.
(...)
Networked knowledge is less certain but more human. Less settled but more transparent. Less reliable but more inclusive. Less consistent but far richer. It feels more natural because the old ideals of knowledge were never realistic, although it’s taken the networking of our culture to get us to admit this.

So, we get the answer, before we even ask the question! I do not know if  that was Weinberger true (a bit machiavellian I could say :-)) intention — but despite this uncommon approach, the book is even more worth reading and is realy, truly and deeply optimistic.

I could perhaps add a grain of salt to my otherwise enthusiastic review. I do not quite agree with authors opposition to the thoughts from Nicolas Carr „The Shallows”. True, the price we pay for benefit of serendipity on the Web is distraction it also brings. It is a trade-off we must understand. But I do not agree in the underestimation of the mental changes the distraction caused by the Net brings. This aspect of the Web is very problematic and if not addressed by ourselves soon, may in turn reduce our ability to create and absorb the networked knowledge. I do not want to write at length here — it is perhaps worth a separated post...


Saturday, January 07, 2012

Waiting for the movie after a little disappointment of the audiobook ...

This is about Brian Selznick's novel „The Invention of Hugo Cabret” that gave rise to famous 3D movie by Martin Scorsese. The story of 12 year old boy living in Paris, who cares for Parisian train station clocks after his father's death. The hunger and solitude force the boy to steel food. The boy tries to restore the artificial, mechanical man - The Automaton, discovered by his father in the museum he worked for, and where he later dies from fire. The boy finally succeeds to animate it and the automaton draws sketches that led to discovery of ... Well, I will not spoil it completely ...

I must admit, that the audio rendering in this case was not a good idea for such a book. It seems to have no climax, no conclusion one expects from the first few minutes of listening ...
Now, the physical book had about 300 illustration. And apparently these illustrations are as important as the words themselves.... See it in the book website.

The audio book has a lot of sound effects, but as it often happens these media are not quite convertible ...

So I do not say it was not good — I say that such books are designed to be visual... I also doubt it could be rendered properly as e-book. And that's paradoxically the best outcome from this disappointing experience. Finally we've got a book that saves the value of real, paper, physical books against all these bits...

And I will await the movie to be in cinemas in Europe....