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Alexander

Göteborg, Sweden | Listener Since 2009

1
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 13 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2014
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  • The Art of War: The Strategy of Sun Tzu

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 50 mins)
    • By Sun Tzu
    • Narrated By Mike Borris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (411)
    Performance
    (366)
    Story
    (365)

    This timeless text is required listening for any business person or athlete interested in strategy. It includes a soundtrack entitled "The Mysterious Sound of Wind In the Bamboo", a 43-minute collection of Zen-inspired Japanese music by the Matsu Take Ensemble.

    Kwinsee says: "Surprise change"
    "Don't expect anymore than a list."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Art of War?

    I might have liked it in written form, but it's really just a long list of instructions. It doesn't work at all in audio book form.


    Has The Art of War turned you off from other books in this genre?

    The list genre? Yes.


    Which character – as performed by Mike Borris – was your favorite?

    I don't quite remember the performance but I think it was OK. There are no characters.


    What character would you cut from The Art of War?

    Uhh... the weapons? World peace!


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Beauty and Sadness

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Yasunari Kawabata
    • Narrated By Brian Nishii
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    Returning to Kyoto, where temple bells announce the New Year, a grave and penitent Oki is drawn to a haunting obsession from his past. Gently lyrical, yet fierce with the stark intensity of passion, Kawabata's last novel tells the story of the lasting consequences of a brief love affair.

    A User says: "nostalgic literature from Japan"
    "Beautifully written, but lacks perspective"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Yasunari Kawabata and/or Brian Nishii?

    I'll get to Nishii later. As for Kawabata I will definitely try him again because the language and style used was extraordinarily beautiful and I really liked it.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    While I do have a very dull theory of why it ended as it did (what did happen isn't explicitly said, but it's quite clear) I just hope there's a better and deeper explanation. So my stance on the ending is that I didn't get it, despite listening through the two last chapters twice.


    What about Brian Nishii’s performance did you like?

    I've listened to two Mishima books by Brian Nishii before (Temple of the Golden Pavillion and Sound of Waves) and was very impressed with his narration. For this book however I was a bit disappointed. It's still really good, but not nearly as good as his Mishima performances.

    What I really like about him, and where I feel he failed a bit here, is that he usually pronounces Japanese names in a very non-garbled non-american accent but still without having it sound forced or interrupting the flow of the text. It still doesn't interrupt the text, but it is a bit less authentic in this one.

    Oh, and his interpretation of the younger girl is really annoying. But you get used to it.


    Did Beauty and Sadness inspire you to do anything?

    I don't think this is the appropriate venue for such confessions.


    Any additional comments?

    A lot of it is written from a female perspective by a very male writer. I like having books from a woman's point of view every now and then, but despite being from a female perspective it's very clearly written by a man. We're talking way over 50% of the book being from the women's perspective (there are two of them) with little trace of them having a life that's not circulating around Oki and his son.

    Of course, the book is in part a product of it's time and all but this really got to me. It's my only complaint about the book, but it's a big one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Kafka on the Shore

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett, Oliver Le Sueur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1584)
    Performance
    (884)
    Story
    (879)

    Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at 15, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down.

    Melinda says: "Brilliant Meandering--what was in those brownies.."
    "Very good, but many unsolved questions"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Kafka on the Shore in three words, what would they be?

    Cryptic. Dreamy. Adolescent.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Kafka on the Shore?

    Overall, I find the Nakata-storyline to be the most interesting. The storyline about Kafka was good too of course (and somehow feels like the main story to me), just not as interesting.


    Which character – as performed by Sean Barrett and Oliver Le Sueur – was your favorite?

    Both narration-wise and character-wise I really liked Ooshima


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Moved as in made me a little queasy, yes. The thing with Johny Walker.


    Any additional comments?

    I've heard that Murakami himself said this book is supposed to be read several times to find new connections and metaphors baked into the text. But there are parts of the book which is just really strange, and acknowleged as such by the characters as well with no further explanation.

    I wouldn't mind this, but some of these things (such as the rains) just feel kind of cheap. I'm sure they had some intended metaphorical meaning, but I didn't get quite get it.

    The narration is really good apart from the names, especially Saeki. Despite the names I really enjoyed the narration quite a lot, the one doing Kafka is especially good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sound of Waves

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs)
    • By Yukio Mishima
    • Narrated By Brian Nishii
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (7)

    Set in a remote fishing village in Japan, The Sound of Waves is a timeless story of first love. A young fisherman is entranced at the sight of the beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in the village. They fall in love, but must then endure the calumny and gossip of the villagers.

    Alexander says: "Had my suspicions when the theme was romance"
    "Had my suspicions when the theme was romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Have you listened to any of Brian Nishii’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Listened to Temple of the Golden Pavillion (also Mishima) right before. He's a bit stiff, but I love that he actually pronounces the Japanese names correctly. There are several other books I have refrained from downloading because of the awful americanized pronounciations.

    That said, I guess I could see how some people not familiar with Japanese would find this annoying because it does stick out a bit in the text and feels as there's a slight emphasis everytime someone's name is read. Luckily, Japanese has really simple phonetic structure so I think anyone (regardless of linguistic background) will get used to it very quickly.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The lighthouse scene was very vividly described, so I enjoyed that part quite a bit. Part with the storm too.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're new to Mishima, grab Temple of the Golden Pavillion first (out of the two I've read, maybe The Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Sea is even better - I refrain from Spring Snow since the sequels aren't available).

    Not to be all macho or anything but.. it's a romance novel (youth romance, even) and while I'd never call this book itself bland or boring, the theme really is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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