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fitchburg, WI, United States | Member Since 2001

  • 3 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 552 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014

  • The Life and Works of Beethoven

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jeremy Siepmann
    • Narrated By Jeremy Siepmann

    For many people, Beethoven is the greatest composer who ever lived. In this portrait-in-sound, actors' readings combine with his music to reveal a titanic personality, vulnerable and belligerent, comic and tragic, and above all, heroic.

    Rand says: "beethoven's life and works"
    "beethoven's life and works"

    Read by the author, the reading is fluid and beautifully nuanced. Yes, the illustrative musical passages are sometimes a bit long, and not of the highest audio standard, but the quality is adequate for getting the author's points across. There is a good balance of life and works in the portrayal, my only complaint being that I would have liked a bit more discussion of the musical dynamics in LVB's compositions -- the presentation is light in this regard. The voice of LVB in quotation is absolutely wonderful, positively surly. LVB's life was cosmically tortured, and the story itself is utterly gripping. The author does a wonderful job of contrasting LVB's transcendent music with the pedestrian sorrows of his life. I've listened to this audio book perhaps 5 times -- it's one of those books that you can listen to over and over without losing interest. Warning: after listening to this book, you will want to listen to every composition LVB ever wrote. It's a great introduction to Beethoven.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Odyssey of the West I: A Classic Education through the Great Books: Hebrews and Greeks

    • ORIGINAL (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Timothy Shutt, Eric H. Cline, Kim J. Hartswick, and others
    • Narrated By uncredited

    The lectures address-in chronological sequence-a series of major works that have shaped the ongoing development of Western thought both in their own right and in cultural dialogue with other traditions. In the process, the course engages many of the most perennial and far-reaching questions that we face in our daily lives.

    Rand says: "Chapter Divisions ARE Present"
    "Chapter Divisions ARE Present"

    I think the negative review that suggests there aren't chapter divisions in this audiobook should be removed, because it is not accurate, at least in iTunes and on my iPod Touch. Remember that in iTunes, the Chapters menu appears in the TOP (main application) menu, as the next-to-last item. There you can choose any of the 14 chapters. And on the iPod, there is a small icon in the upper right in the audio app that lets you do the same. For anyone who has an Audible subscription, these Modern Scholar lecture sets are among the absolute best bargains in the store. Don't forget that you can download the beautiful pdf lecture notes that go with the course. I have found that the spoken and written versions sometimes differ in detail, each with its own rewards.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Annie Dillard
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this classic of literary nonfiction, Annie Dillard takes us through a year of on-foot explorations through her own landscape, bringing anecdotes, curiosities, and insights about all she observes and experiences. In the summer, she stalks muskrats in the creek and thinks about wave mechanics; in the fall, she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot, unties a snakeskin, witnesses a flood, and plays "King of the Meadow" with a field of grasshoppers.

    Rand says: "pilgrim at tinker creek"
    "pilgrim at tinker creek"

    This is my favorite audio book of the perhaps 50 I own, and I have listened to it some 30 times or more. I think that Annie Dillard is an extremely gifted writer, and would recommend anything she has written -- at you can also get her audio book _For the Time Being_ (which of course I recommend as well!). Why do I like Annie Dillard so much -- because she is such a master of seeing, she is the ultimate teacher in the school of nature, she teaches you to take a close look at the natural world, and when you do, your life is changed. The transcendence is always in the details, and she is unmatched in her attention to detail and in her power to artfully describe what she sees. She is also a master of the pithy quote, peppering her writings with truly magical quotations from other writers. Her style tends to be a bit bombastic at times (she is widely criticized for this), but I prefer her lively engagement to the phoney "coolness" of the disengaged. The book is organized around some very basic concepts, such as seeing and fixedness. It is a spectacular achievement. The audio book is read well, though there are occasional mispronunciations of more obscure vocabulary.

    24 of 24 people found this review helpful

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