Call anytime(888) 283-5051
 

You no longer follow MJ

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow MJ

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

MJ

north-american-at-large

west coast | Member Since 2005

ratings
60
REVIEWS
14
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
66

  • Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Anne Lamott, Sam Lamott
    • Narrated By Anne Lamott, Sam Lamott
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (56)

    Stunned to learn that her son, Sam, is about to become a father at 19, Lamott begins a journal about the first year of her grandson, Jax's, life. In careful and often hilarious detail, Lamott and Sam - about whom she first wrote so movingly in Operating Instructions - struggle to balance their changing roles with the demands of college and work, as they both forge new relationships with Jax's mother, who has her own ideas about how to raise a child.

    Renee says: "Not her best work"
    "Very pleasantly surprised"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Even though Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers (and narrators), after reading some negative reviews, I was hesitant to give this book a listen. (Not being a parent myself, I was also concerned that I might not be able to relate to much of the book's subject matter.) As it turned out, I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. I think it's just as good as "Plan B" and "Grace (Eventually)", though a bit more narrowly focused. Lamott's signature off-beat observations and self-deprecating humor are both in top form, and there's an underlying warmth and poignancy that seems to be deepening with each book she writes. (Also, I really enjoyed the written/narrative contributions of Anne's son, Sam...he's articulate, funny, and has a "handsome" voice.) If you're sitting on the fence with this one, I say go for it...I'm so glad I did!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 47 mins)
    • By Anne Lamott
    • Narrated By Anne Lamott
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (46)

    From the best-selling author of Help, Thanks, Wow comes an honest, funny book about how to make sense of life's chaos. What do we do when life lurches out of balance? How can we reconnect to one other and to what's truly important when evil and catastrophe seem inescapable? These questions lie at the heart of Stitches, Anne Lamott's captivating follow-up to her New York Times best-selling Help, Thanks, Wow. In this book, Lamott explores how and where we find meaning in our modern, frantic age.

    MJ says: "Loved it"
    "Loved it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of Anne's best. As she gets older, her insights into the human condition (along with her empathy and compassion) gain depth and become more illuminated, though her trademark dry humor is no less present. The unifying theme/metaphor of stitching together that which has been torn apart weaves its way through this short collection of essays and gains power as the book unfolds...by the end, I was ready to start listening all over again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Let Go Now: Embracing Detachment

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Karen Casey
    • Narrated By Kristin Allison
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (22)

    So many of us spend so much time enmeshed in other people's problems, trying to solve or change them, that we don't really know where we end and they begin. Not reacting to people or situations that provoke us is not an easy skill to develop. It takes practice and conviction that not reacting, not increasing the drama, doesn't mean we don't care. On the contrary, we are freed to show genuine love and care only when we can detach from the knee-jerk need to fix, solve, rescue, or control.

    evoefficient1 says: "Live your own life first!"
    "A good daily meditation book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Karen Casey's work has been steadily growing on me, and I'm finding this book very helpful. That said, it's probably best to purchase a physical copy of this particular title (as I have done), as it's actually a collection of daily meditations which lends itself better to reading than listening.

    Since Audible doesn't allow listeners to edit or delete reviews (get with it, guys!), I'd like to add that my earlier review of one of Casey's other books, "Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow", was in hindsight far too critical. Upon second listen (and especially after reading the physical copy), it's revealed itself to be a much wiser and more insightful book than I initially believed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Codependence and the Power of Detachment: How to Set Boundaries and Make Your Life Your Own

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Karen Casey
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (15)

    Best-selling author Karen Casey shares the insights and tools she's discovered in her own decades of sobriety and in talking with other codependents. Her unique treatment of this much talked about, but not clearly understood, syndrome focuses not on the cause, but on the individual's own power to detach from a bad situation and make a choice for recovery. Casey takes readers through the steps of detaching-admitting our attachment, surrendering outcome, forgiving, focusing our attention on what works.

    MJ says: "Doesn't quite live up to the (sub) title"
    "Doesn't quite live up to the (sub) title"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Karen Casey is obviously a wise and compassionate woman who has grown tremendously through her life experience with alcoholism, codependency, and 12 step recovery. In this book, Casey is great at describing what recovery from codependence looks like but not so good at actually conveying how to set the boundaries required to get there (as the subtitle promises), except to repeatedly tell people to "detach" (again, without giving much guidance on how to do this) and go to 12 step meetings. As such, the book often reads more like an advertisement for Al Anon or CoDA -- and maybe that's the whole point -- than a true self-help manual, much as her last book often felt like a trailer for A Course in Miracles.

    Bottom line is that while I enjoyed listening to the many stories of people's lives (lots to reflect on here), and even gleaned something of value from many of them, I wish Casey offered more explicit guidance for recovering codependents than simply telling people to go to 12 step meetings. (She begins to touch on this a bit toward the end in her discussion of the twelve steps themselves, but it's not much to work with.) On the plus side, I did find this book more helpful than her previous title ("Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow") and Joyce Bean's narration vastly improved, so I'd still recommend giving it a listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow: 12 Simple Principles

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Karen Casey
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (18)

    Thirty years ago best-selling author Karen Casey wandered into a support group and learned there was only one thing she could change - herself! She found a group of people who had adopted this concept - and she joined them. The result? Change so profound Casey has dedicated much of her life to teaching others about it. Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow offers a dozen simple principles to live by. It really is as simple as changing our minds. This little book will show you how.

    MJ says: "Not as good as I'd hoped"
    "Not as good as I'd hoped"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    With all the glowing 5 star reviews on Amazon, I was really hoping to get more out of this book than I did. While I didn't necessarily disagree with anything the author said (at least not strongly enough to elaborate on here), I found the writing itself to be quite repetitive and at times overly-theoretical/simplistic and preachy. (The narrator didn't help in this latter regard, as she sounded like a didactic boarding school matron rather than warm and inviting as the author herself sounds...an unfortunate choice.)

    I did find some of Casey's stances contradictory and in one case troubling, i.e. warning people about the dangers of co-dependency (the tendency to over-focus on the real or perceived needs of others) while repeatedly suggesting that we have a spiritual duty to offer acknowledgment, kindness, comfort, and validation to every single person we encounter. While this is an admirable and perhaps even spiritually "correct" way to live, it can be problematic if not downright toxic for co-dependents until we/they learn to recognize the patterns of our co-dependent behaviors and establish healthy energetic boundaries.

    Potential listeners should also be aware that much of the underlying philosophy of this book is rooted in "A Course in Miracles" more than the 12 Step program, an important point given the author's strong association with the recovery movement. As a former student of the Course, I have great respect for it as a spiritual teaching, but also find it to be extremely mental/cognitive in its approach (i.e. bypassing intuitive, emotional, and somatic forms of wisdom) and therefore not ideal for people who already live too much in their heads.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Message of the Aramaic Jesus

    • NONE (2 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Neil Douglas-Klotz
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    If you could travel back to the world of ancient Palestine and hear Jesus teach in his own native tongue, what would you learn? Join Neil Douglas-Klotz, the brilliant translator and best selling author of Prayers of the Cosmos, as he delves into early New Testament scriptures written in Aramaic - the original language of Jesus and his followers. Overlooked for centuries by all but a small minority of the world's Christians, these sacred texts rejuvenate the teachings of Jesus with an original subtlety and richness of meaning found in no other translation. Douglas-Klotz draws us deeply into these passages of the Gospels - including the Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer - and then adds to his passionate scholarship by teaching us a series of body-centered meditations for interpreting and reflecting on these sacred words in much the same way as the early Christians did. What lies hidden within these scriptures may surprise many: a visionary Christ who transcends the narrow and the dogmatic to offer us a grand cosmology based on the earthy wisdom of an ancient desert people.

    Marie-Elizabeth Finamore says: "great workshop"
    "Wonderful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Neil Douglas-Klotz is such an underrated teacher. His style is very gentle and accessible, but the spiritual wisdom he unlocks through his translations of the Aramaic words of Jesus is nothing short of revolutionary. I would strongly recommend this audio program as a excellent introduction to Neil's other work (Original Prayer, Healing Breath, I Am).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • I Am: The Secret Teachings of the Aramaic Jesus

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Neil Douglas-Klotz
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    Perhaps the most essential teachings given to us by Jesus came in the final year of his life on earth. Known as the "I AM" statements and found in the Gospel of John and the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, these radical truths were offered to connect each one of us to the original source of Jesus' deeper power. But to fully grasp and embody these profound insights, teaches Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz, we must hear them in Jesus' native tongue.

    Kate says: "Eye-Opening"
    "Hugely underrated teacher"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is another excellent addition to the catalog of work by Aramaic scholar, Sufi teacher, and mystic Neil Douglas-Klotz. For those unfamiliar with his work, Douglas-Klotz basically goes back to the original Aramaic words of Jesus and explains/elaborates on (often in great detail) their various levels of meaning, revealing a rich tapestry of mystical wisdom in the process. In "I Am" and Neil's other programs (The Hidden Gospel, Original Prayer, Healing Breath) we come to know Jesus as the real, Semitic, "Middle Eastern" person and teacher that he was -- deep, passionate (and compassionate), brilliant, creative, occasionally funny, and profoundly mystical. Christians and non-Christians alike stand to gain much from this reading of Jesus' teachings.

    In all of his programs, Douglas-Klotz intersperses songs, chants, and meditations throughout the teaching, as a way to deepen, embody, and integrate the insights/knowledge being shared. This approach is consistent with Sufi teaching styles, and is also seen in the approaches of Judaic and Christian mystics. Multitasking listeners may find it distracting or frustrating, as you can't stop to perform the meditations while driving, exercising, or doing chores; other listeners will likely find it greatly enhances their learning.

    A final note about Neil's performance as a reader/speaker. A previous reviewer complained that Neil's voice is "effeminate". Setting aside the implication that there is only one rigid, gender-based way for men in our culture to speak (not to mention the comment's not-so-subtle prejudicial overtones), I'm not sure how this listener defines "effeminate". Douglas-Klotz is a scholar, teacher, lecturer, and fluent speaker of English and Aramaic. As such, he clearly enunciates his words. He speaks kindly, deliberately, and intelligently; his tone is cheerful and encouraging. He does not sound like he just came from a NASCAR race, frat party, a night out with the guys at Hooters, or an event sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention...maybe that equals "effeminate" in the minds of Americans these days, I don't know. To my non-southern, bi-national US/Canadian ears, Neil Douglas-Klotz simply sounds like a nice guy.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Reza Aslan
    • Narrated By Reza Aslan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1331)
    Performance
    (1197)
    Story
    (1187)

    From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor.

    Charles says: "Palastinian Politics 4 B.C.E. - 70 C.E."
    "Another fractured take of Jesus"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I appreciate what Reza Aslan is trying to do with "Zealot", but like so many other books about Jesus, he misses the mark, or only hits it in parts. To portray Jesus through the ideologue/fanatic/zealot lens is to ignore so many other (more) profound dimensions of what Jesus was really all about, not to many vast swaths of the Gospels themselves. Jesus advocated violence? What about the instructions to "love thy enemies" and "turn the other cheek"? Jesus was concerned with a physical Kingdom of God? How does one explain the very clear statement, "The Kingdom of God is within you" or his numerous other references that point toward an inner or mystical experience of God? Jesus was an us/them, either/or, exclusionary thinker? How does one square that with the parable of the Prodigal Son or the many nondualistic images and metaphors that he used in his teaching? I could go on and on and on. Bottom line, "Zealot" may shed light on Jesus' times and perhaps some lesser known dimensions of his personality and work, but it fragments and obscures the real light, wisdom, and understanding that Jesus brought into the world.

    8 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Carl McColman
    • Narrated By Brian Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (12)

    In popular usage, mysticism typically refers to New Age or Eastern forms of spirituality. However, the mystical tradition is also an important component of the Christian tradition. At its heart--and much like its expression in other faith traditions--Christian mysticism is an ancient practice that incorporates meditation, contemplation, worship, philosophy, the quest for personal enlightenment, and the experience of Divine presence.

    MJ says: "Setting the record straight"
    "Setting the record straight"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Carl McColman's "The Big Book of Christian Mysticism" is NOT evangelical or fundamentalist in any way, contrary to the rather puzzling assessment of the only other review to be posted at this time; it is a highly competent and heartfelt (if somewhat didactic and prescriptive) overview of Christian mysticism/contemplative Christianity that is about as far from fundamentalist/evangelical thinking as is spiritually possible. To assert otherwise indicates that one simply does not know what the words "evangelical" and "fundamentalist" actually mean. (Medical intuitive and "Entering the Castle" author Caroline Myss wrote an endorsement for this book, if that helps clarify where the author is coming from.)

    Authors or teachers from ANY spiritual/religious tradition are naturally going to quote/discuss the sacred texts and great spiritual masters of their faith. Quoting the Bible -- as a wisdom book in the "perennial tradition", not a literalist text -- and discussing Jesus, one of the greatest mystics and wisdom teachers of all time, is perfectly natural and appropriate for a Christian mystic or contemplative author to do, just as it would be normal for Pema Chodron to quote Tibetan Buddist texts or discuss the life of Siddhartha. (Does this really need to be said?) According to the standards of the previous review, everyone from Thomas Merton and Richard Rohr to Thich Nhat Hanh and Deepak Chopra (all of whom have quoted Christian scriptures and/or written extensively about Jesus at one time or another) would all be evangelicals or fundamentalists! Obviously, this is utter nonsense, as is any assertion that TBBoCM is coming from this perspective.

    I can agree (in part) with one point that the previous review made, and that is regarding the narration. I don't know who at Audible is in charge of selecting/overseeing narrators for their self-produced titles, but they are doing a poor job, at least in the genres I listen to most often. While I am not going to attack this narrator for his southern twang -- evidently, not only are Christian writers not allowed to be Christian these days, but narrators are not allowed to have politically incorrect accents -- I am going to call him and (even more so) whoever produced this recording to task for some pretty inexcusable mistakes in pronunciation. For the narrator to mispronounce the word "contemplative" about a thousand times over the course of a book about contemplation, not to mention all of the other mistakes, and for this to go unnoticed and uncorrected in the recording studio...ugh. Personally, I'd pass on this audio and get the hard copy instead.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Richard Rohr
    • Narrated By Richard Rohr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (182)
    Story
    (183)

    In the first half of life, we are naturally preoccupied with establishing ourselves; climbing, achieving, and performing. But as we grow older and encounter challenges and mistakes, we need to see ourselves in a different and more life-giving way. This message of falling down - that is in fact moving upward - is the most resisted and counterintuitive of messages in the world's religions. Falling Upward offers a new paradigm for understanding one of the most profound of life's mysteries: how those who have fallen down are the only ones who understand "up".

    William says: "Life Changing Once You Are Ready"
    "Fantastic (and, yes, Christian!)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    No doubt this is one of Richard Rohr's best books, along with "Immortal Diamond". Reading the reviews of both this book and others by Rohr, I'm struck by the number of people who are shocked that a book written by a Christian author can contain wisdom relevant to contemporary spiritual seekers...these folks have never heard of Christian contemplatives or the Christian Wisdom Tradition? It's as though every religion in the world is now recognized as a source of spiritual knowledge except for Christianity, which ironically happens to be home to one of the world's oldest and deepest wisdom traditions.

    At any rate, if all this is new to you, there are many other wonderful, wisdom-oriented Christian writers/teachers out there to explore in addition to Richard Rohr...Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Cynthia Bourgeault, Thomas Keating, Gerald May, Thomas Moore, and Carl McColman come most immediately to mind but there are many, many others in all sorts of genres and sub-genres. (If you want something a little more entertaining -- though no less wise -- try Anne Lamott or Barbara Brown Taylor.) Explore the Western traditions, friends...you might be surprised!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Richard Rohr
    • Narrated By Kevin Pierce
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    In his best-selling book Falling Upward, Richard Rohr talked about ego (or the False Self) and how it gets in the way of spiritual maturity. But if there's a False Self, is there also a True Self? What is it? How is it found? Why does it matter? And what does it have to do with the spiritual journey? This book likens True Self to a diamond, buried deep within us, formed under the intense pressure of our lives, that must be searched for, uncovered, separated from all the debris of ego that surrounds it.

    Teddy says: "Pigeonholed"
    "One of Rohr's best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Based on some of the negative Audible reviews (the Amazon reviews were kinder and better informed, as per usual), I almost didn't purchase this book, but after listening to Father Rohr's previous book "Falling Upward" and being extremely impressed, I went ahead and downloaded "Immortal Diamond". I'm so glad I did, as this book is every bit as good (though different) and could possibly be Rohr's best work to date.

    While not as focused as its predecessor, "Immortal Diamond" reads like the masterwork of a spiritual teacher at his peak. The main theme of the book is the nature of the true self, and here Rohr's message is nothing short of luminous. A secondary theme critiques (to devastating effect) the church for being, well, the church, i.e. promoting outwardly-focused, tribal "Churchianity" as opposed to substantive, transformational Christianity.

    As another reviewer observed, this book is best read/understood in the context of some of Rohr's other writing, particularly his books on contemplation ("Everything Belongs" and "The Naked Now") or his two most recent titles, "Breathing Underwater" and "Falling Upward", both of which explore the process of inner transformation through Christian contemplative practice (the former from a 12 Step perspective and the latter based on Rohr's brilliant "two halves of life" developmental model).

    A word about the narration: while Kevin Pierce has a commanding voice and speaks with passion (almost to the point that he sounds in places like he could be the author himself), I found his delivery a bit too forceful at times. I also got annoyed with his many mispronounced words and names -- he botches poor St. Irenaeus's name repeatedly, as well as terms like Taize (tay-zay) that anyone reading this sort of material should know or acquaint themselves with. (This is a common problem with a lot of non-author narration, I've noticed lately.)

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.