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Bob

WHEATON, IL, United States | Member Since 2012

10
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 108 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014
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  • No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Reza Aslan
    • Narrated By Shishir Kurup
    Overall
    (245)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (196)

    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!"
    "Excellent Introduction to Islam"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to No god but God the most enjoyable?

    This book is filled with both historical information and contemporary relevance, but Aslan somehow manages to convey it all with brevity, depth, depth, and sincerity. He avoids the pitfalls of dogmatism or sounding preachy on the one hand while unapologetically remaining faithful to the spirit and intention of Islam on the other. I would recommend it highly to anyone with even a passing interest in Islam. I would especially recommend it to the opponents of Islam, or to anyone politically-minded, as it presents what I believe to be an accurate, measured account of the history of one of the world's great religions and sheds light on so many of the current conflicts in which our world is embroiled.


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

    No, but Kurup's reading is excellent.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    We are not so different after all.


    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Song of Hiawatha

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs)
    • By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    • Narrated By William Hootkins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Longfellow's great narrative poem has been unjustly neglected in recent years though it gives a sympathetic portrait especially of Hiawatha, reared by Nokomis, daughter of the Moon, and his bride Minehaha.

    Doris says: "More fascinating than I expected"
    "This book is exquisite as is its narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not a Native American scholar and could care less about the accuracy or historicity of the contents of this epic poem. I do not come to it seeking historical accuracy and do not know how close it ever comes to it. What I do know is that this work lends an air of dignity, refinement, and gravitas to the Native American traditions that historically have only been afforded to the classical cultures of the ancient Mediterranean. Yet it does so with a spirit of respect and humility in the face of a deep and ancient civilization. The Song of Hiawatha, in a word, is exquisite, as is its performance in this edition.

    Longfellow's poetry is sublime. William Hootkins' reading of it is immaculate, enthralling, and rapturous. He keeps to and makes evident the meter, without being slavish or pedantic. For days I found my thoughts wandering into trochaic tetrameter because of the natural way that Longfellow's verse is performed by Hootkins.

    This book is a must listen for audiobook lovers, for anyone interested in the cultural heritage of America, or anyone who wants to gain an appreciation of poetry in the English language.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Insistence of God: A Theology of Perhaps, Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By John D. Caputo
    • Narrated By Ron Dewey
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    The Insistence of God presents the provocative idea that God does not exist, God insists, while God's existence is a human responsibility, which may or may not happen. For John D. Caputo, God's existence is haunted by "perhaps," which does not signify indecisiveness but an openness to risk, to the unforeseeable. Perhaps constitutes a theology of what is to come and what we cannot see coming. Responding to current critics of continental philosophy, Caputo explores the materiality of perhaps and the promise of the world.

    Bob says: "It's worth it, but you must overcome the narrator"
    "It's worth it, but you must overcome the narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The one-star rating for performance is proffered in the hope that someone at Audible or at University Press might perhaps stumble across this review and be persuaded to revisit their choice of narrator.

    The book itself is excellent, and Caputo's meditations on theology and hermeneutics deserve to be heard. They are stimulating, challenging, and invigorating, and will impel you to jump out of your chair and begin working feverishly like Martha to prepare for what is coming. His call for a new species of theologian is one that I hope will be heard, and time will tell if he is giving voice to the spirit, a voice crying in the wilderness "long live god", or if he is merely one more voice calling out for god in the wake of the death of god.

    My only regret is that the publisher chose a narrator who not only sounds like a mechanical voice (which would be bad enough and not altogether without irony), but the mechanized manvoice all to often is mistaken in his pronunciation of key terms. Case in point, existential is pronounced "ezigstential", the name Kant is alternately pronounced like the word "Can't" or properly like "Kont". It seems clear that the narrator is unfamiliar with the content and is merely a hired hand converting words on the page to words we can hear.

    For that, at least, I am grateful. Life no longer affords me the leisure to sit and read, and so I will gladly engage in the contest of listening to a non-specialist read a highly specialized book, since the book itself is worth the effort. Someday, perhaps, the publisher will find a better narrator. Until then, I can only affirm the coming of this book in its current form.

    If you care about the subject matter, I believe you will do the same.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9960)
    Performance
    (9154)
    Story
    (9207)

    Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy that began with A Game of Thrones. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

    Pi says: "Jarring change in Dotrice's performance"
    "Too Boring - Read the Chapter Summaries Online"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I came late to the Song of Ice and Fire series, after first watching the HBO series. Initially, I tried to read A Clash of Kings, but lacked the patience and instead opted to wait for the 2nd season. Overall, in the series, Dotrice's performance is unfortunate. I appreciate that he voices each character distinctly--this is what makes an audiobook great. However, his choices range from stereotypical to absurd. Arya stark, for instance, sounds like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings. Female characters either sound like men or like goblins. But, that's beside the point for me.

    In A Storm of Swords, the story, pacing, and action are all so compelling and excellent that the listener forgets about Dotrice and just enjoys the magnificent ride. Here in A Feast for Crows, the endless parade of names, titles, lands, and the constant negativity of every story and character is so one dimensional that all the listener is left with to try to redeem the book is the performance, which only serves to highlight the fact that this book probably should have remained unpublished. I have heard that Martin intended to include the content of A Feast for Crows as flashbacks in A Dance with Dragons. He should have stuck with that choice, because this is a book that probably should not have been published. Not only is the action included so sparse and uninteresting as to make the tedious reading/listening a waste of time, none of the characters included are as compelling as those left out (or dead).

    The time it takes to endure this book is not as well spent as reviewing chapter summaries from other sources, then returning for A Dance with Dragons.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Lawrence S. Ritter
    • Narrated By Lawrence S. Ritter, Fred Snodgrass, Sam Crawford, and others
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (30)

    Baseball's Golden Age comes alive through the voices of men who were there. Selected from the original tapes on which Lawrence S. Ritter based his classic book of baseball history, The Glory of Their Times is a collection of wonderful tales that paint a vivid and evocative picture of a lively young America and the giants who starred on her ballfields, legends like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, and many others.

    Richard says: "A Game Winning, Grand Slam!!!"
    "The Greatest Baseball Audiobook Imaginable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I stumbled on this title while searching for biographies of 19th and early 20th century ballplayers. What a gem! This is not only one of the greatest treasures for any baseball fan (particularly those interested in the games formative years, when titans like Ty Cobb, Christy Matthewson, Walter Johnson, Joe Jackson, and the Babe were playing), but this is a treasure of American history. Lawrence S. Ritter took his tape recorder and visited some of the oldest living ballplayers in the 1960s. The result is pure magic for the baseball fan. Imagine spending an afternoon sitting and sipping iced tea, listening to first-hand accounts of Ty Cobb's tirades, the sound of Walter Johnson's fastball as it buzzes by, the antics of Hal Chase, tales of John McGraw, and more. That's what listening to this book is like--It feels as if you're sitting at the feet of a baseball legend, listening to their stories of the legendary days of baseball. It is a collection of recordings of actual players in their twilight years, not dry, third person historical reportage.

    Some of the audio from this book is included in Ken Burns' majestic documentary "Baseball". If you even have a passing interest in the game and a desire to know more about the people who made it America's Pastime, this audiobook is not to be missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By David Hume
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    Published in 1748, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is Scottish empiricist philosopher David Hume's distillation of his mature philosophy. Addressing themes including the limits of human understanding, the compatibility of free will with determinism, weaknesses in the foundations of religion, and the appeal of skepticism, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is Hume's attempt to revise and clarify the ideas of his earlier A Treatise of Human Nature.

    David says: "Refreshing and.. really funny, surprisingly."
    "A Great Work Deserves a Great Performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from David Hume and/or Gildart Jackson?

    David Hume's writing, while scholarly and deep, is very readable and lends itself quite well to oral performance. The Enquiry is one of the most important works in the English language. It is almost as significant to philosophy as Darwin's Origin of Species is to science, and it is intrinsically interesting stuff, not to mention exciting. As such, this work deserves a performance that understands the energy of Hume's writing and the subtleties, even the humor, of his discussion. Jackson's reading is perfunctory, as though a philosophy text requires nothing more than a British accent and a monotonous recitation of the words on the page.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Gildart Jackson?

    Someone who would read Philsophy as though it were Shakespeare, because that's how significant this work is.


    Was An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding worth the listening time?

    Of course.


    Any additional comments?

    In order for Audible to charge money for public domain literature, they need to provide a performance that's better than the monotonous droning available on free podcast versions of these types of works. I would suggest either replacing this title with a better performance, or hiring voice talent to create a new recording of the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Henry Wiencek
    • Narrated By Brian Holsopple
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (46)

    Is there anything new to say about Thomas Jefferson and slavery? The answer is a resounding yes. Henry Wiencek's eloquent, persuasive book - based on new information coming from archaeological work at Monticello and on hitherto overlooked or disregarded evidence in Jefferson's papers - opens up a huge, poorly understood dimension of Jefferson's world. We must, Wiencek suggests, follow the money.

    Bob says: "Like taking Medicine: Not pleasant but important"
    "Like taking Medicine: Not pleasant but important"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Wiencek's take on Jefferson is factual, direct, and anchored in first hand accounts, including those from Jefferson's own Farm Book. But it is a damning account, and is intended to counteract our tradition of excusing Jefferson's slaveholding or overshadowing it with his Enlightenment ideals about Liberty. We like to tell ourselves that Jefferson was a reluctant slaveholder, who tried to make the most humanistic version of this inhuman practice, but Wiencek will not allow us the comfort of doing so. He makes his case for Jefferson the willing master, who continued to enforce the institution of slavery to the end of his life, and who refused to work directly for its abolition even when he could have and was asked to. Wiencek refuses to let a paragraph, even a sentence, go by in his book without reminding us of the stain that this casts on our image of Jefferson. In terms of style, this (over)emphasis is a bit tedious and difficult to slog through for the course of the book. But, someone has to do it, and I commend Wiencek for taking the unpopular position and for pricking our consciences when what we would like to do is glorify the legacy of a great thinker and leader. Not a fun book to read, not uplifting, but also not untrue, and not insignificant even for Jefferson lovers.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    The Civil War by Shelby Foote


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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