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Jane

Jane Chicago, IL, United States Member Since 2010
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  • "Excellent advice and examples for b..."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Stein is an author, editor, and publisher. His advice is geared toward fiction, with some thoughts for nonfiction. I am a reader and reviewer of books, not a writer. I have strong likes and dislikes about books I’ve read. I’m reading some “how to write books” to see if I agree with the experts. I’m delighted to say that writers who follow Stein’s advice will very likely make me happy when reading their books. I am more liberal than Stein in two areas: the first three pages of a book and his fifth commandment. Scenes that end prematurely are a subject Stein did not discuss, but I believe he would agree with me.

    ADJECTIVES, ADVERBS, & FLAB:
    For a while now I have been confused when I hear people say “cut adverbs.” I’ve loved some colorful writing that adverbs produce. I made a list of wonderful sentences with adverbs written by J.K. Rowling, John Grisham, and Georgette Heyer. I recently read three Hemingway short stories and noticed a lot of adjectives and adverbs in two of them. That intrigued me because he is famous for concise writing. Stein is the first expert who explains this subject to my satisfaction. Although he recommends cutting most adjectives and adverbs, he gives examples showing when they are valuable. I like his view. Stein and I both like the following paragraph which is full of adjectives and adverbs. Although a novel filled with this should probably be labeled poetry rather than fiction. Still it shows the emotional and sensual ability of adjectives and adverbs. Stein calls it “a nearly perfect paragraph.” It was written by a student of his, Linda Katmarian.

    “Weeds and the low hanging branches of unpruned trees swooshed and thumped against the car while gravel popped loudly under the car’s tires. As the car bumped along, a flock of startled blackbirds exploded out of the brush. For a moment they fluttered and swirled about like pieces of charred paper in the draft of a flame and then were gone. Elizabeth blinked. The mind could play such tricks.”

    Stein says “She’s breaking rules. Adjectives and adverbs which normally should be cut are all over the place. They’re used to wonderful effect because she uses the particular sound of words ‘the low hanging branches swooshed and thumped against the car. Gravel popped. Startled blackbirds exploded out of the brush. They fluttered and swirled.’ We experience the road the car is on because the car ‘bumped’ along. What a wonderful image. ‘The birds fluttered and swirled about like pieces of charred paper in the draft of a flame.’ And it all comes together in the perception of the character ‘Elizabeth blinked. The mind could play such tricks.’ Many published writers would like to have written a paragraph that good. That nearly perfect paragraph was ...”

    Another example. Stein does not like the sentence “What a lovely, colorful garden.” Lovely is too vague. Colorful is specific therefore better; but lovely and colorful don’t draw us in because we expect a garden to be lovely or colorful. There are several curiosity provoking adjectives you might use. If we hear that a garden is curious, strange, eerie, remarkable, or bizarre, we want to know why. An adjective that piques the reader’s curiosity helps move the story along.

    Stein says when you have two adjectives together with one noun, you should almost always delete one of the adjectives. He also recommends eliminating the following words which he calls flab: had, very, quite, poor (unless talking of poverty), however, almost, entire, successive, respective, perhaps, always, and “there is.” Other words can be flab as well.

    PARTICULARITY (attentiveness to detail):
    I love the following comparison. “You have an envelope? He put one down in front of her.” This exchange is void of particularity. Here’s how the transaction was described by John LeCarre. “You have a suitable envelope? Of course you have. Envelopes were in the third drawer of his desk, left side. He selected a yellow one A4 size and guided it across the desk but she let it lie there.” Those particularities ordinary as they seem help make what she is going to put into the envelope important. The extra words are not wasted because they make the experience possible and credible. (My favorite part: “Of course you have.”)

    FLASHBACKS AND SCENES THAT END PREMATURELY:
    Stein discourages flashbacks. He says they break the reading experience. They pull the reader out of the story to tell what happened earlier. Yay! I agree! I don’t like them either.

    I don’t recall Stein discussing “ending scenes prematurely,” but I think (or hope) he would agree with me that they also “break the reading experience.” For example, Mary walks into a room, hears a noise, and is hit. The next sentence is about another character in another place. Many authors do this to create artificial suspense. It makes me angry, and my anger takes me out of the story because I’m thinking about the author instead of the characters. You can have great suspense without doing this. Stein says “The Day of the Jackal” is famous for use of suspense. The scenes in that book have natural endings.

    FIRST THREE PAGES OF A BOOK MAY NOT BE AS CRITICAL AS THEY USED TO BE:
    Stein said a “book must grab the reader in the first three pages or they won’t buy the book.” This was based on studies watching customers in book stores. They looked at the jacket and then the first one to three pages. They either put it back or bought it. I think the internet changed things by providing customer reviews. I buy around 240 books a year. I never buy a book based on the first three pages. My decision to buy is based on customer reviews and/or book jacket summaries. I suppose the first three pages might still be important for customers in physical stores like Barnes & Noble and Walmart. But today we have books that become best sellers as ebooks and subsequently are published in paperback, for example Fifty Shades of Grey. Bloggers and reviewers spread the word, not bookstore visitors.

    STEIN’S TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR WRITERS:
    I’ve edited for brevity and to remove thou shalt’s.

    1. Do not sprinkle characters into a preconceived plot. In the beginning was the character. (I like this, but I also think Stephen King has a good idea - something to try. He creates a “situation” first, then the characters, and last the plot.)

    2. Imbue your heroes with faults and your villains with charm. For it is the faults of the hero that bring forth his life, just as the charm of the villain is the honey with which he lures the innocent.

    3. Your characters should steal, kill, dishonor their parents, bear false witness, and covet their neighbor’s house, wife, man servant, maid servant, and ox. For readers crave such actions and yawn when your characters are meek, innocent, forgiving, and peaceable. (I love this.)

    4. Avoid abstractions, for readers like lovers are attracted by particularity.

    5. Do not mutter, whisper, blurt, bellow, or scream. Stein prefers using “he said.” (I’m not sure about this one. I like hearing these words. Maybe in moderation?)

    6. Infect your reader with anxiety, stress, and tension, for those conditions that he deplores in life, he relishes in fiction.

    7. Language shall be precise, clear, and bear the wings of angels for anything less is the province of businessmen and academics and not of writers. (I assume this includes cutting adjectives, adverbs, and flab - but keep the good ones.)

    8. “Thou shalt have no rest on the sabbath, for thy characters shall live in thy mind and memory now and forever.” (I’m not sure how this is advice to writers.)

    9. Dialogue: directness diminishes, obliqueness sings.

    10. Do not vent your emotions onto the reader. Your duty is to evoke the reader’s emotions.


    OTHER IDEAS:
    Do not write about wimps. People who seem like other people are boring. Ordinary people are boring.

    Cut cliches. Say it new or say it straight.

    If not clear who is speaking put “George said” before the statement. If it is clear, put “George said” after or eliminate “George said.”

    Don’t use strange spellings to convey dialect or accents.

    Book copyright: 1995.
    Genre: nonfiction, how to write.

    More

    Stein on Writing: A Master Editor Shares His Craft, Techniques, and Strategies

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Sol Stein
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    Overall
    (691)
    Performance
    (336)
    Story
    (320)

    Stein on Writing provides immediately useful advice for writers of fiction and nonfiction, whether newcomers or accomplished professionals. As Sol Stein, renowned editor, author, and instructor, explains, "This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions, how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place."

    ddsharper says: "Excellent Content and Listen"
  • "I enjoyed this."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The audience is screenwriters, but the ideas are excellent and valuable for novelists.

    Christopher Vogler and Michael Hauge conducted a workshop for writing movie scripts based on Joseph Campbell’s work. This is the recording of that workshop which includes some questions from the audience.

    I rarely watch movies. My feeling is why watch a movie when I could read a book? Books have more depth. When I see movies based on books I’ve read, I’m disappointed although I do enjoy the visuals. As I listened to this lecture, I felt further reluctance to watch movies. They’re all made with the same formula! (or most of them) The first 10% is seeing the ordinary world and the call to action. Other parts include meeting the mentor, encountering tests, the supreme ordeal, and return with the elixir. These parts were first defined by Joseph Campbell. He studied mythology and found consistency in all myths in all cultures. Apparently all humans always want the same story.

    During the 1970s George Lucas used these ideas when he wrote the first Star Wars movie. During the 1980s Christopher Vogler wrote a memo organizing Campbell’s ideas into guidance for movie making. Vogler worked for Disney at the time. Vogler later turned his memo into a book “The Writer’s Journey.” I was bothered by Vogler’s claim for credit. He talked as if he were “the first one” to consider using Campbell’s ideas for movie making. He never mentioned that Lucas used them earlier. On Vogler’s website (mentioned below) he states “I had discovered the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell a few years earlier while studying cinema at the University of Southern California. I was sure I saw Campbells ideas being put to work in the first of the Star Wars movies and wrote a term paper for a class in which I attempted to identify the mythic patterns that made that film such a huge success.” This rubs me wrong. Lucas clearly stated that he used Campbell’s work when he wrote Star Wars. Vogler’s comments are pompous. My distaste is the reason I did not give this 5 stars. But the subject matter is excellent. Most of the examples are from three films: The Firm, Shrek, and Titanic. I was surprised that the speakers didn’t use Star Wars as an example.

    This audiobook is a good way to learn about Campbell’s ideas. The authors talk about the hero’s outer journey, his inner journey, and major character types. Hauge defines four character types: hero, reflection (friend), nemesis, and romance character (or the object of hero’s pursuit). Vogler’s website (thewritersjourney com) has a helpful summary of the outer journey and eight character types. (My thoughts, not in the lecture: Since all plots are the same, it is critical to have unique, engaging, and fascinating characters. This seminar does not discuss that.)

    A couple of Hauge comments. The inner journey is to find your essence. At the end of the workshop, Hauge summarizes with three arcs that consistently occur in American movies - three transformations the character needs to make.
    1. risk being who you truly are
    2. risk connecting to other people (romantically or other)
    3. stand up and do what is right, the honest thing, to stand up for the truth.
    He says “love encompasses all of these. All great movies are love stories.”

    NARRATORS:
    The narrators are the authors. Their voices were fine.

    More

    The Hero's 2 Journeys

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Michael Hauge, Christopher Vogler
    • Narrated By Michael Hauge, Christopher Vogler
    Overall
    (210)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (88)

    Make your story the best it can be on two levels. Hear each superstar teacher present his unique approach to story telling.

    Jane says: "I enjoyed this."
  • "3 ½ stars."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Might be good for an author just starting out. Might be good for authors who feel stuck and could use a nudge. The best part is you can listen while driving your car. Dwight Swain published a lot of fiction as well as some how-to-write books. This audiobook is two lectures he gave around 1991 for writer workshops.

    Many of his thoughts are simple and obvious. Example: every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But I could see the following. Someone is writing a book and is kind of stuck, so they listen to this tape. Then they think oh yeah, I could try this, or I should do that. Then they would go back to their writing. I see it as a jog for writers.

    A few thoughts from the lecture:

    Alfred Hitchcock quote: Drama is life with the dull parts left out.

    The strength of your villain is the strength of your story. The bad guy is ruthless to get what he wants, even if it is just the corner office.

    Every chapter needs a climax (disaster, crisis). Authors should stretch out the climax scenes. A disaster could be winning the lottery. Disasters don’t have to be bad.

    The main character wants something. It could be relief from a boss, change in climate, revenge...

    A story is a record of how somebody deals with danger.

    Books on the craft of writing:
    I purchased and started reading Swain’s book “Techniques of the Selling Writer” published in 1965. I couldn’t get into it. It reads like an encyclopedia. But for some, that could be good.

    I loved the following two books that I think would be useful to all fiction writers. “Stein on Writing” by Sol Stein and “On Writing” by Stephen King.

    Genre: nonfiction, how to write.

    More

    Dwight Swain: Master Writing Teacher

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Dwight Swain
    • Narrated By Dwight Swain
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (21)

    One of the best writing teachers in the English language on how to structure your novel & how to build strong story people who will enrich your fiction.

    Tim Byers says: "Pretty solid advice"
  1. Stein on Writing: A Maste...
  2. The Hero's 2 Journeys
  3. Dwight Swain: Master Writ...
  4. .

A Peek at HIII's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
239
 
150 REVIEWS / 249 ratings Member Since 2010 28 Followers / Following 0
 
HIII's greatest hits:
  • The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism

    "Harsh judgments"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is pretty commom knowledge the impressionist had a difficult cultural battle to become even somewhat accepted. At the end of this listen I am still not positive if France has totally accepted impressionism or the Americans love of the genre make it impossible to believe the style is not loved universally. Ross King's Michangelio and the Pope Ceiling is such a great listen that comparison is unfair. This is a good, interesting listen but difficult. It has taken me almost a year to complete. I love art especially this period but to give this book more that 3 stars is impossible - art lovers have at it, the rest take a pass.

  • Bernini's Beloved: A Portrait of Costanza Piccolomini

    "Hard to evaluate"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This listen is boring! Robert Blumenfeld reads paragraphs is Italian then translates into English, the narrative goes on and on about Costanza's husband, daughter, lovers but not so much about Costanza herself. I didn't expect to hear much about Bernini which was a good thing. For art lovers and art students, I don't feel you will come away from this listen feeling enriched. Sorry, I must recommend a pass.

Dan D. Dunlap, CFP®

Dan D. Dunlap, CFP® California 05-31-11 Member Since 2003

I'm a freethinker with a never ending desire to learn! Born a Texan, a Californian by choice.

HELPFUL VOTES
164
ratings
REVIEWS
507
13
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
6
32
  • "Grammar Made Fun"

    4 of 4 helpful votes

    If you want to improve your grammar skills while having fun, this is the book for you. You???ll laugh, you'll learn and most importantly, you'll enjoy every minute of your listening time. This book is highly recommended!

    More

    Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By June Casagrande
    • Narrated By Shelley Frasier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Here's some good news for everyone who's ever been bullied into believing they can't speak their own language: The grammar snobs are bluffing. Half the "rules" they use to humiliate others are really just judgment calls and the rest they don't even understand themselves. Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies is a laugh-out-loud funny collection of anecdotes and essays on grammar and punctuation, as well as hilarious critiques of the self-appointed language experts.

    Scott says: "One of the Best"

What's Trending in Visual Arts:

  • 4.3 (691 ratings)
    Stein on Writing: A Master Editor Shares His Craft, Techniques, and Strategies (






UNABRIDGED) by Sol Stein Narrated by Christopher Lane

    Stein on Writing: A Master Editor Shares His Craft, Techniques, and Strategies

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Sol Stein
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    Overall
    (691)
    Performance
    (336)
    Story
    (320)

    Stein on Writing provides immediately useful advice for writers of fiction and nonfiction, whether newcomers or accomplished professionals. As Sol Stein, renowned editor, author, and instructor, explains, "This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions, how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place."

    ddsharper says: "Excellent Content and Listen"
  • 4.3 (146 ratings)
    Hamlet: Shakespeare Appreciated (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options) (






UNABRIDGED) by William Shakespeare, Simon Potter, Phil Viner, Jools Viner Narrated by Joan Walker, Stephen Elder, Paul Clayton

    Hamlet: Shakespeare Appreciated (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Simon Potter, Phil Viner, and others
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    Experience Hamlet as a powerful full-cast drama with entertaining and enlightening commentary that explains what's what and who's who as the plot unfolds. To help you get the most out of Shakespeare, the narrator offers historical insights and background information, so you can enjoy the jokes, appreciate the references, and get a real sense of Shakespeare's world. The unabridged drama is also presented without commentary.

    Shaun says: "Performance great; commentary lacking"
  • 4.3 (135 ratings)
    Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking (






UNABRIDGED) by David Bayles, Ted Orland Narrated by Arthur Morey

    Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By David Bayles, Ted Orland
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
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    Performance
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    Story
    (115)

    Art & Fear explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. This is a book about what it feels like to sit in your studio or classroom, at your wheel or keyboard, easel or camera, trying to do the work you need to do. It is about committing your future to your own hands, placing free will above predestination, choice above chance. It is about finding your own work.

    Inga Ladd says: "Amazing!"
  • 4.7 (118 ratings)
    SmartPass Plus Audio Education Study Guide to Hamlet (Dramatised, Commentary Options) (






UNABRIDGED) by William Shakespeare, Simon Potter Narrated by Joan Walker, Stephen Elder, Paul Clayton

    SmartPass Plus Audio Education Study Guide to Hamlet (Dramatised, Commentary Options)

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Simon Potter
    • Narrated By Joan Walker, Stephen Elder, Paul Clayton
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    The multi award-winning SmartPass study guide with and without commentary options. This is a full-cast, unabridged performance with comprehensive commentary and analysis for any student to fully understand and appreciate the play. Universally accepted as Shakespeare's finest play, we peel back the layers of Hamlet to discover how and why it deserves such a place of honour in world literature.

    Jane says: "Great introduction to Hamlet"
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  • 4.4 (109 ratings)
    This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography, and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx (






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    This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography, and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Nikki Sixx
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    This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography And Life Through The Distorted Lens Of Nikki Sixx, is all Nikki Sixx. It is a collection of compelling photography and stories that capture the rage, love, optimism, darkness, and determination that shape his work.

    Yvonne says: "MUST HAVE!!"
  • 4.3 (102 ratings)
    Word by Word  by Anne Lamott Narrated by Anne Lamott

    Word by Word

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Anne Lamott
    • Narrated By Anne Lamott
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    Performance
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    Writing, like life, can be a difficult process, you just have to take it Word by Word. Provocative and witty, Lamott takes you beyond her book Bird by Bird and into her "writer's mind".

    Ranch Girl says: "Good motivational speaker"
  • 4.3 (92 ratings)
    Macbeth: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options) (






UNABRIDGED) by William Shakespeare, Simon Potter, Phil Viner Narrated by Joan Walker, Nick Murchie, Coralyn Sheldon

    Macbeth: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Simon Potter, Phil Viner
    • Narrated By Joan Walker, Nick Murchie, Coralyn Sheldon
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    (92)
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    (54)
    Story
    (52)

    Experience Macbeth as a powerful full-cast drama with entertaining and enlightening commentary that explains what's what and who's who as the plot unfolds. To help you get the most out of Shakespeare, the narrator offers historical insights and background information, so you can enjoy the jokes, appreciate the references, and get a real sense of Shakespeare's world.

    Amelia says: "I Love the Commentary"
  • 4.5 (81 ratings)
    Othello: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options) (






UNABRIDGED) by William Shakespeare, Jonathan Lomas, Phil Viner Narrated by Joan Walker, Jude Akuwudike, Nick Murchie

    Othello: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Jonathan Lomas, Phil Viner
    • Narrated By Joan Walker, Jude Akuwudike, Nick Murchie
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
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    (53)

    Experience Othello as a powerful full-cast drama with entertaining and enlightening commentary that explains what's what and who's who as the plot unfolds. To help you get the most out of Shakespeare, the narrator offers historical insights and background information, so you can enjoy the jokes, appreciate the references, and get a real sense of Shakespeare's world.

    A User says: "Excellent Listen"
  •  
  • 4.4 (74 ratings)
    King Lear: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options) (






UNABRIDGED) by William Shakespeare, Mike Reeves, Phil Viner Narrated by Joan Walker, Terrence Hardiman, Lucy Robinson

    King Lear: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Mike Reeves, Phil Viner
    • Narrated By Joan Walker, Terrence Hardiman, Lucy Robinson
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
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    Story
    (42)

    Experience King Lear as a powerful full-cast drama with entertaining and enlightening commentary that explains what's what and who's who as the plot unfolds. To help you get the most out of Shakespeare, the narrator offers historical insights and background information, so you can enjoy the jokes, appreciate the references, and get a real sense of Shakespeare's world.

    fred says: "Love the format, like the piece"
  • Marvel Comics: The Untold Story (






UNABRIDGED) by Sean Howe Narrated by Stephen Hoye

    Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Sean Howe
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    Overall
    (190)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (172)

    Throughout this decades-long journey to becoming a multibillion-dollar enterprise, Marvel's identity has continually shifted, careening between scrappy underdog and corporate behemoth. As the company has weathered Wall Street machinations, Hollywood failures, and the collapse of the comic book market, its characters have been passed along among generations of editors, artists, and writers - also known as the celebrated Marvel "Bullpen".

    Greg says: "It's as if this book was written for me!"
  • Stein on Writing: A Master Editor Shares His Craft, Techniques, and Strategies (






UNABRIDGED) by Sol Stein Narrated by Christopher Lane

    Stein on Writing: A Master Editor Shares His Craft, Techniques, and Strategies

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Sol Stein
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    Overall
    (691)
    Performance
    (336)
    Story
    (320)

    Stein on Writing provides immediately useful advice for writers of fiction and nonfiction, whether newcomers or accomplished professionals. As Sol Stein, renowned editor, author, and instructor, explains, "This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions, how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place."

    ddsharper says: "Excellent Content and Listen"
  • The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss (






UNABRIDGED) by Edmund de Waal Narrated by Michael Maloney

    The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Edmund de Waal
    • Narrated By Michael Maloney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (346)
    Performance
    (284)
    Story
    (283)

    The Ephrussis were a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who “burned like a comet” in 19th-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost the only thing remaining of their vast empire was a collection of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox. The renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal became the fifth generation to inherit this small and exquisite collection of netsuke. Entranced by their beauty and mystery, he determined to trace the story of his family through the story of the collection.

    Amazon Customer says: "A vagabond through history, clutching a tiny carvi"
  • Why Architecture Matters (






UNABRIDGED) by Paul Goldberger Narrated by Michael Prichard

    Why Architecture Matters

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Paul Goldberger
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    The purpose of Why Architecture Matters is to "come to grips with how things feel to us when we stand before them, with how architecture affects us emotionally as well as intellectually" - with its impact on our lives. "Architecture begins to matter," writes Paul Goldberger, "when it brings delight and sadness and perplexity and awe along with a roof over our heads."

    Olaf says: "Somewhat dry topic made drier by the narrator"
  •  
  • The History of Western Art (






UNABRIDGED) by Peter Whitfield Narrated by Sebastian Comberti

    The History of Western Art

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Peter Whitfield
    • Narrated By Sebastian Comberti
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    What is art? Why do we value images of saints, kings, goddesses, battles, landscapes or cities from eras of history utterly remote from ourselves? This history of art shows how painters, sculptors and architects have expressed the belief systems of their age: religious, political and aesthetic. From the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece, to the revolutionary years of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the artist has acted as a mirror to the ideals and conflicts of the human mind.

    Janelle says: "AWESOME ART"
  • Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter (






UNABRIDGED) by Tom Bissell Narrated by Tom Bissell

    Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Tom Bissell
    • Narrated By Tom Bissell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (260)
    Performance
    (155)
    Story
    (155)

    Tom Bissell is a prizewinning writer who published three widely acclaimed books before the age of 34. He is also an obsessive gamer who has spent untold hours in front of his various video game consoles, playing titles such as Far Cry 2, Left 4 Dead, BioShock, and Oblivion for, literally, days. If you are reading this copy, the same thing can probably be said of you, or of someone you know.

    Roy says: "Ever Wonder about Video Games?"
  • Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking (






UNABRIDGED) by David Bayles, Ted Orland Narrated by Arthur Morey

    Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By David Bayles, Ted Orland
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (115)

    Art & Fear explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. This is a book about what it feels like to sit in your studio or classroom, at your wheel or keyboard, easel or camera, trying to do the work you need to do. It is about committing your future to your own hands, placing free will above predestination, choice above chance. It is about finding your own work.

    Inga Ladd says: "Amazing!"
  • Henry V: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options) (






UNABRIDGED) by William Shakespeare, Mike Reeves, Phil Viner Narrated by Joan Walker, Peter Lindford, Terrence Hardiman

    Henry V: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Mike Reeves, Phil Viner
    • Narrated By Joan Walker, Peter Lindford, Terrence Hardiman
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    Experience Henry V as a powerful full-cast drama with entertaining and enlightening commentary that explains what's what and who's who as the plot unfolds. To help you get the most out of Shakespeare, the narrator offers historical insights and background information, so you can enjoy the jokes, appreciate the references, and get a real sense of Shakespeare's world.

    Drizzella MO says: "the Shakespeare Appreciated series is outstanding"
  •  
  • On Photography (






UNABRIDGED) by Susan Sontag Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

    On Photography

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Susan Sontag
    • Narrated By Jennifer Van Dyck
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (31)

    First published in 1973, this is a study of the force of photographic images, which are continually inserted between experience and reality. When anything can be photographed, and photography has destroyed the boundaries and definitions of art, a viewer can approach a photograph freely, with no expectations of discovering what it means. This collection of six lucid and invigorating essays, with the most famous being "In Plato's Cave", make up a deep exploration of how the image has affected society.

    Debbie says: "I'm Glad I Bought, Despite Some Negative Reviews"
  • Creativity Inc. (






UNABRIDGED) by Ed Catmull Narrated by Peter Altschuler

    Creativity Inc.

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Ed Catmull
    • Narrated By Peter Altschuler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    As a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: To make the world’s first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream first as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start, and then forged an early partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his founding Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter in 1986. Nine years later and against all odds, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever.

    Aaron Zammit (aazamm@orbit.net.mt) says: "Very captivating and good read"
  • How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer (






UNABRIDGED) by Debbie Millman Narrated by Nicole Vilencia

    How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Debbie Millman
    • Narrated By Nicole Vilencia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (21)

    Take a peek inside the heads of some of the world's greatest living graphic designers. How do they think, how do they connect to others, what special skills do they have? In honest and revealing interviews, 19 designers, including Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Beirut, David Carson, and Milton Glaser, share their approaches, processes, opinions, and thoughts about their work with noted brand designer Debbie Millman. The internet radio talk host of Design Matters, Millman persuades the greatest graphic designers of our time to speak frankly and openly about their work.

    G says: "Decent interviews on design, horrible reading"
  • King Lear: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options) (






UNABRIDGED) by William Shakespeare, Mike Reeves, Phil Viner Narrated by Joan Walker, Terrence Hardiman, Lucy Robinson

    King Lear: Shakespeare Appreciated: (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Mike Reeves, Phil Viner
    • Narrated By Joan Walker, Terrence Hardiman, Lucy Robinson
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (42)

    Experience King Lear as a powerful full-cast drama with entertaining and enlightening commentary that explains what's what and who's who as the plot unfolds. To help you get the most out of Shakespeare, the narrator offers historical insights and background information, so you can enjoy the jokes, appreciate the references, and get a real sense of Shakespeare's world.

    fred says: "Love the format, like the piece"
  • Comment Installer un Studio de Photographie [How to Install a Photo Studio] (






UNABRIDGED) by Amber Richards Narrated by Anne-Sophie Marie

    Comment Installer un Studio de Photographie [How to Install a Photo Studio]

    • UNABRIDGED (45 mins)
    • By Amber Richards
    • Narrated By Anne-Sophie Marie
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Comment installer un studio photographique est un e-Book qui décrit en détails des sujets liés à l'organisation d'un studio photo dans le confort de votre maison. Il renferme des informations sur la façon d'utiliser l'éclairage continu en studio, comment utiliser la lumière stroboscopique pour la photographie ou encore maîtriser des techniques qui permettent aux utilisateurs de contrôler la lumière comme ils l'entendent.

  • Ghost Light: An Introductory Handbook for Dramaturgy, Theater in the Americas (






UNABRIDGED) by Michael Mark Chemers Narrated by Brian E. Smith

    Ghost Light: An Introductory Handbook for Dramaturgy, Theater in the Americas

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Michael Mark Chemers
    • Narrated By Brian E. Smith
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Ghost Light: An Introductory Handbook for Dramaturgy offers useful and entertaining answers to the confounding question: "What, exactly, is dramaturgy, and what does a dramaturg do?" According to Michael Mark Chemers, dramaturgs are the scientists of the theater world - their primary responsibility is to query the creative possibilities in every step of the production process, from play selection to costume design, and then research the various options and find ways to transform that knowledge into useful ideas.

  • Wild in the Seats (






UNABRIDGED) by James Wolcott Narrated by Jeff Woodman

    Wild in the Seats

    • UNABRIDGED (46 mins)
    • By James Wolcott
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    On an extravagant evening in May 100 years ago, the scandalous premiere of The Rite of Spring rocked the epicenter of culture and fashion - Paris - and sent aftershocks across the world. Not bad for a ballet! But this was no traditional scamper in tulle and pink toe-shoes, but a bold provocation by a trinity of avant-garde genius: composer Igor Stravinsky, choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky (the first male god of dance), and impresario Serge Diaghilev, founder of the Ballet Russes.

  • Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York's Legendary Chelsea Hotel (






UNABRIDGED) by Sherill Tippins Narrated by Carol Monda

    Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York's Legendary Chelsea Hotel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Sherill Tippins
    • Narrated By Carol Monda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    The next best thing to having a room key to the Chelsea Hotel during each of its famous - and infamous - decades The Chelsea Hotel, since its founding by a visionary French architect in 1884, has been an icon of American invention: a cultural dynamo and haven for the counterculture, all in one astonishing building. Sherill Tippins, author of the acclaimed February House, delivers a masterful and endlessly entertaining history of the Chelsea and of the successive generations of artists who have cohabited and created there.

  •  
  • An Actor's Life (






UNABRIDGED) by Ken Colley Narrated by Ken Colley

    An Actor's Life

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 7 mins)
    • By Ken Colley
    • Narrated By Ken Colley
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Famed and acclaimed for his starring role as Admiral Firmus Piett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Ken Colley, who was born in Manchester, England, in 1937, knew from a very early age that he was already an actor. It was not until he had completed his mandatory two years with the National Service in the UK, when he was based in Cyprus during the Suez Crisis, that Ken, in his mid-20s, became an Assistant Stage Manager with a weekly repertory company in Bromley, Kent, England.

  • Creativity Inc. (






UNABRIDGED) by Ed Catmull Narrated by Peter Altschuler

    Creativity Inc.

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Ed Catmull
    • Narrated By Peter Altschuler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    As a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: To make the world’s first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream first as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start, and then forged an early partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his founding Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter in 1986. Nine years later and against all odds, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever.

    Aaron Zammit (aazamm@orbit.net.mt) says: "Very captivating and good read"
  • Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman (






UNABRIDGED) by Peter Korn Narrated by Traber Burns

    Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Peter Korn
    • Narrated By Traber Burns
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    In this moving account, Peter Korn explores the nature and rewards of creative practice. We follow his search for meaning as an Ivy-educated child of the middle class who finds employment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket, transitions to self-employment as a designer and maker of fine furniture, takes a turn at teaching and administration at Colorado's Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and then founds a school in Maine: the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected nonprofit institution.

    Kevin Adams says: "Thoughtful and Well Written"