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Artesia, CA, USA | Member Since 2013

  • 4 reviews
  • 36 ratings
  • 321 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • Dark Star Safari

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Paul Theroux
    • Narrated By Norman Dietz

    Forty years ago, Paul Theroux first went to Africa as a teacher in the Malawi bush. Now, nearing 60, he returns to travel by train, canoe, bus, and cattle truck from one end of Africa to the other. From Cairo to Cape Town, what he finds is recorded in the style that has stamped Theroux as a master of the travelogue. His curiosity and intelligent observations help create an unforgettable portrait of the varied land that is Africa today.

    karen says: "One of the best"
    "Does Foreign Aid Work?"

    The only book by Theroux that I had read (or listened to) before was "Fresh Air Fiend" and back then I had this impression about the author that he was a little too grumpy about everything, especially when he described his trips to China. This African travel audiobook is no different: he constantly yammers about discomforts, delays, and irrationalities he experiences en route to Capetown. Still, I liked it so much not because of his grouchiness but mainly because he seriously questions the usefulness of charities and other NGO activities in Africa throughout the book. If you want to understand his point but have little time to listen to the whole audiobook, try the chapter on "The Back Road to Soche Hill School." It will give you a general idea of what he is trying to say, based on his experience as a Peace Corps volunteer 40 years ago as well as his many encounters with smug western aid workers on white Land Cruisers.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Reza Aslan
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra

    The hijackers who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, thought they were fighting a cosmic war. According to award-winning writer and scholar of religions Reza Aslan, by infusing the United States War on Terror with the same kind of religiously polarizing rhetoric and Manichean worldview, it is also fighting a cosmic war, a war that can't be won.

    Sangho says: "Good read but could have been better"
    "Good read but could have been better"

    This is the second book published by a young reform-minded Islamic scholar Reza Aslan, after his more serious, better articulated one "No god But God" (2006). His latest book seems to me hurriedly written at the request of the publisher who thought the author could say one thing or two on the issues of global terrorism committed in the name of God. I enjoyed the audiobook, but it could have been much better if it had been given more time for more in-depth reflection.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Reza Aslan
    • Narrated By Shishir Kurup

    Though it is the fastest growing religion in the world, Islam remains shrouded by ignorance and fear. What is the essence of this ancient faith? Is it a religion of peace or war? How does Allah differ from the God of Jews and Christians? Can an Islamic state be founded on democratic values such as pluralism and human rights? A writer and scholar of comparative religions, Reza Aslan has earned international acclaim for the passion and clarity he has brought to these questions.

    Kate says: "Informative and Interesting!"
    "Best-Ever Book on Islam"

    This is one of the best-written books on Islam I have ever read. The author, the Iranian-American Muslim who grew up in a small town in America South, takes an objective view on the world's most controversial religion today. The greatest virtue of this book is that it's easy to read while not skipping important details in the early development of the faith. If you still feel this book is too much for you, try "Destiny Disrupted" (2009) by Tamim Ansary, which is much easier and full of interesting episodes.

    10 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Khaled Hosseini
    • Narrated By Atossa Leoni
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss, and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them, in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul, they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation.

    David says: "Somber but gripping"
    "good read but could be better"

    Although I enjoyed the book, it is less engaging than the author's first novel, The Kite Runner. One plot weakness of A Thousand is that the part describing the bonding between the two main characters, Mariam and Leila, doesn't seem very convincing, making the rest of story development a bit artificial.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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