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Constant reader

New Jersey | Member Since 2012

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 ratings
  • 8 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2014
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  • Psychotherapy Without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Mark Epstein
    • Narrated By Dean Sluyter
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Immersed in Buddhist psychology prior to studying Western psychiatry, Dr. Mark Epstein first viewed Western therapeutic approaches through the lens of the East. This posed something of a challenge. Although both systems promise liberation through self-awareness, the central tenet of Buddha's wisdom is the notion of no-self, while the central focus of Western psychotherapy is the self. This book wrestles with the complex relationship between Buddhism and psychotherapy.

    Constant reader says: "Challenging and Enlightening"
    "Challenging and Enlightening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    True, this is not light listening. Often intellectually dense, it's a collection of articles and essays written over several years, arranged chronologically, and unfortunately the earliest pieces, right at the beginning of the book, are the ones with the most technical language, written for an academic audience before Epstein's writing style had gotten past the doctoral dissertation stage. ***But hang in there!*** As the book progresses, the style lightens up and the concepts get easier to understand.

    And what concepts! Epstein is the point man in the investigation of the intersection of Freudian psychotherapy and Buddhist meditative practice. There's just no one else who has thought about the subject so deeply and personally explored it so extensively. And he does it with a deep respect for both perspectives, knocking down many of the myths about both that prevent people from taking advantage of them.

    Some highlights:

    • Freud recommended a specific listening method for therapists, "evenly suspended attention" … essentially the same wide-open, non-judging, non-interpreting approach as mindfulness meditation. But the instruction was too steep for his disciples to follow, and they immediately dumbed it down, even distorting the English translation of his phrasing.

    • Epstein goes deep into the Buddhist concept of "emptiness" and incisively describes the many ways it's misunderstood — in particular, how the narcissist, the depressive, etc., each tend to distort the concept to shore up their neurosis instead of letting it go.

    • Epstein also introduces the work of the child psychologist Winnicott, who was new to me, and who brings in very exciting stuff about the playful, open mind of the child and its equivalence to the playful, open mind of the artist, and the "beginner's mind" of Zen.

    Much credit goes to the narrator. Sluyter does an outstanding job of vocally breaking down what could otherwise sound like forbiddingly abstract concepts, infusing the material with clarity and energy.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • One Dead Dean: A Carl Burns Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Bill Crider
    • Narrated By Dean Sluyter
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Hartley Gorman College, in Pecan City, Texas, is hardly a bastion of serious scholarship. The little Baptist school is more interested in shielding its students from the evil influence of The World, The Flesh, and The Devil than in turning out future Nobelists. But its staff, by and large, is worthy of a more demanding institution; they are victims of a glutted market in Ph.D.s and they do the best they can.

    Constant reader says: "Compliments to the chef"
    "Compliments to the chef"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a droll, amusing little mystery with a nice collection of colorful, more or less comical characters. The narrator does an especially good job of handling the varied character voices. … I wish the previous reviewer had spent one minute consulting a dictionary before attacking the narrator's pronunciation. I heard no mispronounced words. My dictionary (Webster's New World) shows three accepted pronunciations of "pecan," including PEE-kan.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fool's Paradise: Players, Poseurs, and the Culture of Excess in South Beach

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Steven Gaines
    • Narrated By Dean Sluyter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    A remarkably revealing profile of the Miami Beach no one knows, a tale of fabulous excess, thwarted power, and rekindled lives that will take its place among the decade's best works of social portraiture. Created from a mix of swampland and dredged-up barrier reef, Miami Beach has always been one part drifter-mecca and one part fantasyland, simultaneously a catch basin for con men, fast-talk artists, and shameless self-promoters, and a Shangri-La for sun worshippers and hardcore hedonists. In Miami Beach it's often said that "if you're not indicted you're not invited." But the city's mad, fascinating complexity resists stereotyping.

    Constant reader says: "Fascinating, funny, dishy social history"
    "Fascinating, funny, dishy social history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found "Fool's Paradise" to be a rich, fascinating listen. Gaines is a terrific storyteller, with a gift for remembering that "history" is yesterday's juicy gossip. Starting with the description of a half-million dollar bat mitzvah (for the daughter of a couple of nouveau riche socialites who are not exactly Jewish), he then goes back in time to the cigar-chomping businessmen who drained the swamps, built the great hotels, and wound up in mammoth, ego-fueled feuds.

    Then we get the coming of Al Capone and his gangster buddies … the Rat Pack era when Sinatra had his own suite at the Fontainebleau but didn't pay for anything but his hookers … the flamboyantly gay doorman whose pot-inspired reveries gave birth to South Beach's pastel color scheme … the Cuban boatlift and the drug wars of the "Scarface" era … the gay scene, the nightclubs, the models, etc., etc., etc.

    Narrator Dean Sluyter brings the right kind of storytelling energy to all this. He voices a big cast of characters (models, mobsters, etc.) in lively fashion, and when the stories verge (often) on the surreal or the absurd, you can sense the raised eyebrow in his voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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