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Paul

Cosmic Dreamer

Gilroy, CA, United States | Member Since 2010

28
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 24 reviews
  • 28 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
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  • Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By Kenneth Branagh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1231)
    Performance
    (994)
    Story
    (994)

    A Signature Performance: Kenneth Branagh plays this like a campfire ghost story, told by a haunted, slightly insane Marlow.

    Harold says: "From Civilization into Darkness"
    "Great Performance"
    Overall

    Branagh gives a masterful performance and, yes, it is a performance. His confident portrayal of the characters, even the female ones, is so spot on. This is the kind of book that I joined Audible for. My education left me with a few holes literature-wise and Audible is how I'm going to plug those holes. I can only hope that other books will be given the bravura effort that Branagh gives here. I can not think of any reservation although it might be interesting to see the movie "Apocalypse Now" before or after hearing this book.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Billy Crystal
    • Narrated By Billy Crystal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1067)
    Performance
    (975)
    Story
    (974)

    Billy Crystal is 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like ""Buying the Plot"" and ""Nodding Off,"" Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, and his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Listeners get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever ""test positive for Maalox""), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion (""the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac""); grandparenting; and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal's reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.

    Pamela says: "Growing up with Billy Crystal"
    "Maybe the greatest of all time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like his friend Muhammed Ali, Billy Crystal might be the best at this genre, the humorous memoir. After hearing Billy read this book, I'm sorry for those you had to actually read it and only pretend they were hearing his voice. Crystal covers his life from birth to his 65th birthday, March of 2013. Although there is a lot of laughs, this book has a number of serious moments. And they are very moving.
    When he discusses Ali and Howard Cosell he does their voices and you will bust out laughing. But I also thought it was interesting when he talked about being an atheist (doesn't use that word but he defines it nicely). Then later throughout the book he references heaven and God and having a soul - but then later reaffirms that the life you see is the only life you get. So do something special on your birthday - listen to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Manual for Creating Atheists

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Peter Boghossian
    • Narrated By Peter Boghossian
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (92)

    For thousands of years, the faithful have honed proselytizing strategies and talked people into believing the truth of one holy book or another. Indeed, the faithful often view converting others as an obligation of their faith - and are trained from an early age to spread their unique brand of religion. The result is a world broken in large part by unquestioned faith. As an urgently needed counter to this tried-and-true tradition of religious evangelism, this audiobook offers the first-ever guide not for talking people into faith - but for talking them out of it.

    Gary says: "Faith is no way to build a foundation"
    "The first atheist missionary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Peter Boghossian didn't have to make the case for atheism to convince me. But it was great to hear how many ways that case can be made. Atheists are a small minority in the USA. Whether that's changing or if people are just becoming more apathetic about such questions, I think that's a tough call. But Peter has a plan. Part of the plan is to use words like epistemology (How you know what you know) as often as possible. In fact, Boghossian doesn't want you to become an atheist, he pretty much assumes it. He wants you to become "street epistemologists", people who ask "how do you know that"?

    One more word would be good to know when reading/listening to this book: doxastic logic - reasoning about beliefs. The key is to get people to apply reasoning to their beliefs. In doing so you get at the main problem which is not god and is not religion. It is faith itself. Some will object to making "faith" be the target because they say they have faith in their spouse or in a scientific theory. But Peter will explain that sometimes we use "faith" when we really mean "hope" or we mean something for which we have evidence - even if only partial evidence. While religion wants to reward those who have faith with no evidence.

    I don't know how much of this book I can put into practice. I should try it on my wife but we have an agreement about that. But I didn't make any such promises to my siblings so maybe I'll start there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • iWoz: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Along the Way

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Steve Wozniak, Gina Smith
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    Overall
    (2263)
    Performance
    (1267)
    Story
    (1290)

    Before cell phones that fit in the palm of your hand and slim laptops that fit snugly into briefcases, computers were like strange, alien vending machines. They had cryptic switches, punch cards, and pages of encoded output. But in 1975, a young engineering wizard named Steve Wozniak had an idea: What if you combined computer circuitry with a regular typewriter keyboard and a video screen?

    Anthony says: "Best of the Best"
    "Needs Woz authentic voice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is nothing boastful about the title. Steve Wozniak had as much to do with the creation of the personal computer as anyone. This book talks about how a particular skill, the ability to create a complete circuit with the smallest possible piece count, came in handy. He actually glosses over how much that was critical in the Apple II and he also doesn't mention one of my key points in computer history. That would have been at a Computer Faire in San Francisco when the crowd wanted to know about the Lisa but Woz said that there is a new computer coming that will really change things. That computer was the Macintosh.

    Throughout this book Woz talks about some trick he pulled on someone. I've heard Woz talk many times and you can tell these tricks had no malice or profit motive in them. But the narrator hear doesn't quite capture the "impishness" of Woz's character. Also, the narrator refers to a computing language "complier" when he meant to say a "Compiler" and that's a mistake Woz wouldn't make in a million years. So I deduct one star for Woz not using his own voice and I deduct a second star because the narrator does not have enough computer background to pull it off.

    Overall I still recommend this book because it is a great insight into a critical part of the history of the personal computer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The World Without Us

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Alan Weisman
    • Narrated By Adam Grupper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (468)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (87)

    In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and vanish without human presence; which everyday items may become immortalized as fossils; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, and man-made molecules may be our lasting gifts to the universe.

    Chris says: "mixed feelings"
    "Not what I was hoping for"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was disappointed. First, the book is not read by the author (and yes I knew that when I bought it). The author does read a 20 minute acknowledgement segment at the end so there's no real reason not to. Second, I thought the book would be about what happens after humans leave but it turns out to be mostly about what is happening to the Earth now with humans.
    As an example, the author talks about the places in the ocean where trash accumulates. That felt like old news. Discussions about how the NY subways will flood seems too obvious Post-Sandy.
    The author talks about how plastics will hang around for a long time and speculates that a plastic eating bacteria might come along someday. But I would like to know how that would actually happen.
    I also was hoping that there would be a discussion along the lines of - we know the dinosaurs didn't achieve a high level of intelligence during their last 10,000 years of existence because ... After all, this book seems to say that in far less time than 65 million years all human traces will be gone.
    The book was well read although when a professional is reading the points of emphasis tend to always be made in the same way. I think the actual author would not do that.
    Here is what should happen with this book. PBS or the Science channel should get the rights to this book, film a series in the style of James Burke's Connections, retitle it "What Humans Do to the Earth" or something like that. It would be like "Connections" but the connections would not be from the past to the present but from the present to the future - a future with or without humans.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How I Slept My Way to the Middle: Secrets and Stories from Stage, Screen, and Interwebs

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Kevin Pollak, Alan Goldsher
    • Narrated By Kevin Pollak
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (166)
    Performance
    (153)
    Story
    (152)

    Kevin Pollak rose through the comedy club ranks at the feet of Don Rickles and Bill Cosby, Johnny Carson, and George Carlin. Named one of Comedy Central’s Top 100 Stand-Up Comedians of All Time, he’s a killer impressionist — Falk, Shatner, Walken, Nicholson — a versatile actor with one of the most respected filmographies around, and an Internet pioneer. He’s done it all, and now he’s ready to spill the beans.

    S. Droski says: "Turns out I'm a fan...who knew?!"
    "Very funny - and you want the audible version"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There might be some pictures in this book that you don't see in the audible version but, then again, the printed version can only hint at the impressions Kevin does. You can't imagine how funny it is to hear him do Alan Arkin, Peter Falk, Paul Reiser, Christopher Walken, William Shatner and others. Besides the performance aspect of this book, which is reason enough to get this book, Pollak gives an unvarnished look at the entertainment. How hard is it to work in a movie, what is life like on a sitcom, how do (um) middling stars interact with actual stars?
    Are you in S.F. Bay area? This book might bring back memories of the long-gone Circle Star Theatre. I saw Kevin Pollok like at Rooster T. Feathers about 23 years ago so you can call me a long-time fan.
    Loved this book. Thank you Kevin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!: More Magical Tales from the Author of 'God, No!'

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Penn Jillette
    • Narrated By Penn Jillette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (476)
    Performance
    (445)
    Story
    (448)

    Let's be honest - nobody has more fun than atheists. Don’t believe it? Well, consider this: For nonbelievers, every day you’re alive is a day to celebrate! And no one celebrates life to the fullest like Penn Jillette - the larger, louder half of legendary magic duo Penn & Teller - whose spectacularly witty and sharply observant essays in Every Day Is an Atheist Holiday! will entertain zealots and skeptics alike.

    Marc Worley says: "Yes, he curses"
    "Penn does it again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A great performance and a very easy listen if the language doesn't offend you. But he does go off the deep end sometimes. In one place he seems to think that Dr. Martin Luther King was accepting of atheists. Then later he says his friends say President Obama is an atheist but he is keeping it a secret. From there he blames Obama for being a silent atheist. He should be blaming his friends for making stuff up.
    But Jillette is best at being polemical, not political. Liberalism, not libertarianism. Skeptical, not cynical. Well, that might all seem like cheap shots. But, hey, I like Penn and I liked this book. It's not quite as good as "God, No!" but then sequels almost never are.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Steven Kotler, Peter H. Diamandis
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (459)
    Performance
    (392)
    Story
    (384)

    We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions of people. This book is an antidote to pessimism by tech-entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler.

    Ryan says: "A catalog of positive innovations on the horizon"
    "Future - not so bad; but what about now?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think you should pair this book with Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of Our Nature" which is referenced in this book. Both give reasons for optimism about the future. But in this book the rosy predictions don't feel as solid as in Pinker. Reason? Well, Pinker shows how violence is reduced today compared to the past. This book compares the future with the present. That's a harder sell. How can you convince me that there will be food for all in the future when that isn't true right this minute? In this book they talk about solutions that will just naturally come to past and I have to ask "then why don't we have some solutions now?" So color me skeptical in regards to this book. There is another book "To save everything, click here" by Evgeny Morozov which takes a decidedly different point of view. I haven't read Morozov because I want the buzz from "Abundance" to last a little while longer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Waging Heavy Peace

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Neil Young
    • Narrated By Keith Carradine
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (162)
    Story
    (164)

    An iconic figure in the history of rock and pop culture (inducted not once but twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Neil Young has written his eagerly awaited memoir. Young offers a kaleidoscopic view of his personal life and musical career, spanning his time in bands like Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crazy Horse; moving from the snows of Ontario through the LSD-laden boulevards of 1966 Los Angeles to the contemplative paradise of Hawaii today.

    John says: "Great book for Neil Young Fans"
    "Neil says "look inside my head for a minute""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Waging Heavy Peace better?

    I give this 4 stars for performance but Keith Carradine was a great choice and he did a great job - particularly in the second half of the book when he really seems more emotionally connected. But I would only give 5 stars if Neil Young had narrated this himself. But give it up for Mr. Carradine. As the book moved on I was not only hearing his voice but I was picturing him as if he was reading stuff he saw for himself.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    On at least one occasion I was at a hockey game with Neil Young sitting beside me. That only happened because we each have a son with cerebral palsy so we were in the handicapped section. During intermissions some people would come up behind where we were sitting and just kind of stand there awestruck. Neil Young has a lot of fans. Me too although I had a slight worry that someone might mistake me for David Crosby. I mention this only to illustrate that I know Neil Young as a real person besides being a rock icon. And also to note that my favorite scenes were often about "Ben Young". He almost always referred to his son that way (and there is one scene that illustrates the confusion that might occur otherwise) yet he is just as likely to refer to Bob Dylan as "Bob" even if he hasn't mentioned him in the previous half-hour.I also found myself fitting into this story at various other places. I completely understand the love of model trains, going on road trips, getting the most out of music as a listener, building electric cars. I bet a lot of people will find connections to his story. The ones likely to be disappointed are the ones who expect a lot of chapters (and he tends to write many, small chapters) to start with "I was so wasted that I ...".


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Waging Heavy Peace?

    This book is not even close to being in chronological order. And maybe that would take spirit out of the author if you made him cut/paste it into something resembling a narrative. But I think he wrote this book as if it was a phase of his life between two other phases and he didn't have the time (or the inclination) to futz with it.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall I liked this a bit better than the Heart memoir even though I tend to like to hear about women's lives more than men's. I also think it is interesting how people will write about their drug history and say "it wasn't so bad" and I'm thinking "oh, you were lucky". And they write about their sex lives and they seem to say "I guess I got around" and I'm thinking "that's it - where's the rest of the stories". I'm very glad I read this book but I think I'm temporarily done with Rock bios and Actor bios and Comedian bios. Might go looking for Science or Philosophy bios.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Gatsby

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Narrated By Tim Robbins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1430)
    Performance
    (842)
    Story
    (847)

    The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's portrait of the Jazz Age in all its decadence and excess, is, as editor Maxwell Perkins praised it in 1924, "a wonder". It remains one of the most widely read, translated, admired, imitated, and studied 20th-century works of American fiction.

    Redhawk Readers says: "Something you won't fall asleep to..."
    "Great performance and a classic of American Lit."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I read this in 12th grade, my son read it in 6th grade. I wonder that means. This book is, of course, a classic of American fiction and I feel funny trying to review the book itself. Let me just say it is great particularly more so that more deeply you study it. I knew someone who did a doctoral thesis on all of the Christic symbolism. I also remember the comparison of two fried eggs and breasts. I guess you have to think about it. Also, the phrase about the young women would give up some of themselves which you have to know means they are available for sex. I wonder if my son heard that in 6th grade.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Isn't this book all about character? And that character is Gatsby. Or is the character really an everyman, but with access to lots of money. And chutzpah. But you put chutzpah and money together and some would say that equals America. Or is it?


    What about Tim Robbins’s performance did you like?

    I did not know about the Jake Gyllenhaal version before hearing this one. Robbins was very good and I don't think I needed another version (in fact, why does Audible need so many versions).


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I think I could have listened to it all in one sitting, it is a compact novel.


    Any additional comments?

    The latest attempt at making a movie from this novel is due in one week as I write this. I will have to see that movie even if the critics pan it all to hell. I just have to see if DiCaprio fits the version of Gatsby that's in my head.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Girl Walks into a Bar...: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Rachel Dratch
    • Narrated By Rachel Dratch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (866)
    Performance
    (796)
    Story
    (794)

    Anyone who saw an episode of Saturday Night Live between 1999 and 2006 knows Rachel Dratch. She was hilarious! So what happened to her? After a misbegotten part as Jenna on the pilot of 30 Rock, Dratch was only getting offered roles as "Lesbians. Secretaries. Sometimes secretaries who are lesbians." Her career at a low point, Dratch suddenly had time for yoga, dog- sitting, learning Spanish - and dating. After all, what did a forty-something single woman living in New York have to lose?

    Teddy says: "Just kinda 'meh'...."
    "Showbiz or not showbiz, what are we talking about?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Girl Walks into a Bar... in three words, what would they be?

    The book starts out saying this won't be about showbiz. Then the first half of the book is about showbiz especially SNL and Second City. But that's good since that's why we want to buy this book isn't it. This book actually tells you some things about SNL you didn't find out by reading Tina Fey's Bossypants. But it is the comparison to Bossypants that hurts this book. Although the performance is great it just isn't as interesting as Tina Fey's book which is quickly becoming the standard for Audible autobiographies.


    Have you listened to any of Rachel Dratch’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The performance in this book was great, the biggest selling point of this book. I feel bad for the people who only get to read it.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. In fact there is a break point about 3 hours in that makes an easy stopping point.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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