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Thomas H. Kregel

Minnesota | Member Since 2009

37
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 22 reviews
  • 78 ratings
  • 486 titles in library
  • 42 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • The Mystery of the Aleph: Mathematics, the Kabbalah, and the Search for Infinity

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Amir D. Aczel
    • Narrated By Henry Leyva
    Overall
    (327)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (79)

    Best selling author Amir Aczel (God's Equation) delves into the riddle of infinity, religion and science with "mad" mathematician Georg Cantor, in what Booklist calls "an indispensable book for anyone interested in the darker side of intellectual progress."

    Jeffrey says: "beauty in numbers"
    "Disappointing lack of depth, OK review of theory"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Mystery of the Aleph better?

    Drop all the Kabbalah nonsense. The author attempted to make a connection between the work of mathematicians Cantor and Godel (with their unfortunate demise into insanity) and the creators of the Kabbalah in Spain, who claimed that their contemplation of the infinite drove them insane. The tepid similarity was not convincing. A better explanation would be that a high fraction of mathematicians may suffer from manic depressive disorder or at least an OCD condition. These conditions provide the kind of intense focus this kind of work requires. In the end I felt like I was listening to a UFO "documentary" on cable.

    I did enjoy the portions of the books that reviewed an interesting mathematical subject.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Amir D. Aczel again?

    Probably no.


    What does Henry Leyva bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He was fine.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Nice review of the work of Godel and Cantor.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Titus Groan: Volume 1 of the Gormenghast Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Mervyn Peake
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (367)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (167)

    Enter the fantastical world of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy, one of the undisputed fantasy classics of all time. Novelist C.S. Lewis called Peake's books "actual additions to life; they give, like certain rare dreams, sensations we never had before, and enlarge our conception of the range of possible experience."

    Benjamin L. Alpers says: "Count Me Among the Peake Fans"
    "Boring and Irritating both in prose and in reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Titus Groan better?

    There is not much plot plus slow repetitive, irritating language about as enjoyable as a fevered delirium.


    What could Mervyn Peake have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The author obviously enjoys toying with the English language. He creates so many pictures with his words that any interest in the minimal plot is soon lost. Its like watching the late show where they keep playing the same commercials over and over again.


    What didn’t you like about Robert Whitfield’s performance?

    His presentation of the doctors laugh made if painful to listen to. I feel sorry for the performer because he had so little to work with in the text that he could not do much improvement without betraying the intent of the author.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Vocabulary was large.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Conservative Tradition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Patrick N. Allitt
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    A thorough understanding of Conservatism's lineage, principles, and impact on history is essential to making sense of the 21st-century political dialogue-a dialogue that consumes the television you watch, the newspapers you read, and the radio you listen to.No matter where you place yourself on the ideological spectrum, these 36 lectures will intrigue you, engage you, and maybe even provoke you to think about this political philosophy in an entirely new way.

    Quaker says: "Another gem by Prof. Allitt & The Great Courses"
    "Superb - It filled in so many gaps in my understan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Conservative Tradition again? Why?

    Yes. I have already listed to it twice and will again. I do listen at 1.5x speed since most lectures are somewhat slow of speech. My comprehension went way up when I did not have to wait as long for completion of an idea. I actually listened to a major part at 2x but I may be A.D.D.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Coming from a center-left general outlook I wanted to understand many of the contradictions (hypocrisy?) of conservative thought. Professor Allitt expanded the various threads in conservative thought and helped me see how many of these branches are diametrically opposed to each other. I was not being fair by forcing all these individual threads into a single bucket. It was not hypocrisy I was seeing but it was my own prejudice. Now when I listen to conservatives I try to understand what branch this person represents and I often find some common ground. Excellent work Dr. Allitt!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Not applicable. Non-fiction.


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

    Would be a documentary not a film.


    Any additional comments?

    I have done a lot of teaching company lecture series, this is one of the best!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27276)
    Performance
    (21016)
    Story
    (21098)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "Not as good as the HBO Series, Tedious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about A Game of Thrones? What did you like least?

    There are a lot of interesting characters, and insight into the violence of feudal cultures.

    However the book was tedious. It moved much too slowly considering the shallowness of the overall plot. Length doesn't bother me if the content has depth. I read and enjoyed War and Peace as well as the 100 hour Churchill biographies. This book could be edited to about half the words and it would be a much better story. Also a lot of characters and story lines are started look like they are going to be interesting only to have them jerked out by a sudden death. What is the point?

    I found watching the HBO series a better experience and much less time consuming.


    Has A Game of Thrones turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. However the sword and sorcery genre is filled with a lot of 'special effects' books with no interesting content. You need to sift through a lot of series with way to many volumes to find a few gems like 'The Name of the Wind', Harry Potter or .Le Guin's Earth-sea Trilogy.


    What does Roy Dotrice bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He was adequate. I could listen while mowing the lawn.


    Was A Game of Thrones worth the listening time?

    Definitely not.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By David Abulafia
    • Narrated By Jason Culp
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (65)

    Ranging from prehistory to the 21st century, The Great Sea is above all the history of human interaction across a region that has brought together many of the great civilizations of antiquity as well as the rival empires of medieval and modern times.

    Roger says: "Impressive and Accessible History"
    "Survey of facts/already need to know history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I did not enjoy this book. It was like reading the dictionary. It covers history of Mediterranean for the last 4000 years.

    I was able to put the facts in context because I had already read Durant, Gibbon and Plutarch. I would recommend you rad some of these before attempting this book. Also have a book of historical maps at hand to refer to. This will help you keep place names straight.

    No story is included to hold the attention (this is important for an audio book). A biography has a story and works as an audio book. However, I was able to to get many interesting facts from the experience when I was able to force my mind back to the audio stream.

    This audio book does not work, but it is not the reader's fault. The text itself is the problem.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Enchantress: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Michael Scott
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (746)
    Performance
    (673)
    Story
    (683)

    Adapted from the hardcover edition of The Enchantress, this long-anticipated audiobook brings the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series to its stunning conclusion. The twins of prophecy have been split. Nicholas Flamel is near death. John Dee has the swords of power. And Danu Talis has yet to fall. The future of the human race lies in the balance - how will the legend end?

    G. House Sr. says: "A Staggering Disappointment"
    "Interesting cast of characters/juvenile prose"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just finished the series. I had to keep reminding myself that this book is written for teens. The characters are fun to put together (Prometheus and Shakespeare for example).

    The whole time loop concept is problematic for any writer and has never been done well by any of them. After all a story is based on the assumption of causation and once you break that assumption it is difficult to care about what happens to a character. If they die in one time line and live is another then why struggle over past events?

    The main problem in this book is prose. I thought I might be sick if I heard one more repetition of someone drawing a "deep shuddering breath". all characters are constantly a a point of nervous collapse. The exaggerated emotional state of the characters forced me to keep repeating to myself that this book is written for the adolescent personality. I think the author should give the young reader more credit and apply a bit more subtlety.

    My wife and I eventually finished the book only because we had read the others and wanted to see how things worked out.

    If I had it to do over again I would not have started this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Flowers in the Attic

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By V.C. Andrews®
    • Narrated By Alyssa Bresnahan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (522)
    Performance
    (480)
    Story
    (478)

    This best-selling thriller has captivated over 4.5 million readers of all ages; V.C. Andrews’ fans know her mixture of vivid characters and ominous moods is highly addictive. Flowers in the Attic is the first book in a gripping series featuring the Dollangagers - a family haunted by a remorseless, demonic history. This tale of obsession, also made into a haunting movie, has made V.C. Andrews’ name synonymous with the best in dark suspense.

    Marthe says: "Awesome!"
    "Horrible. Wish I had never started it...bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought it was some ghost story like "Turn of the Screw", but I should have checked more carefully. About halfway through, I saw where the plot was going and checked with other people. Everyone who had read it said they wished they had not read it. Thinking back to it just depresses them. Unless you enjoy reading kiddy porn about incest avoid this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Common Sense and the Declaration of Independence (Knowledge Products) Giants of Political Thought Series

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By George H. Smith
    • Narrated By Craig Deitschman
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Common Sense examines how Americans defended the right to resist unjust laws, and how this right of resistance was transformed into a right of revolution. It examines Thomas Paine's views on the difference between society and government, his defense of republican government, his total rejection of hereditary monarchy, and his belief that Americans should take up arms against the English government.

    Thomas H. Kregel says: "Not Common Sense"
    "Not Common Sense"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book does not contain a reading of the Common Sense pamphlet but just a lecture about it. I need to learn to avoid this publisher. I did the same thing with those Shakespeare "unabridged" plays and Hobbes Leviathan that turned out to be an executive summary

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Complete Stories of Anton Chekhov, Vol. 1: 1882–1885

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Anton Chekhov
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (27)

    A Russian author, playwright, and physician, Anton Chekhov is widely considered one of the best short-story writers of all time. Having influenced such writers as Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, and James Joyce, Chekhov’s stories are often noted for their stream-of-consciousness style and their vast number.

    Robin H. says: "A Riot"
    "Ecellent!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One day I will learn. I always expect the Russian authors to be dry and intellectual. They always surprise me by their warmth and life. These short stories by Chekhov reveal many facets of the human character in dramatic contrast.
    I have a warning though. Don't try to listen to them in long sittings. These are like candy and should only be taken a few at a time. There is too much to ponder in each story to pay attention to subsequent ones properly.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Master and Commander: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Patrick O'Brian
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull
    Overall
    (2069)
    Performance
    (966)
    Story
    (958)

    This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, Royal Navy, and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the road of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

    Frank says: "Choice of Narrators"
    "Hard to Follow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The production of this book suffers from the unclear delineation between segments of the story. The chapter of section breaks might have had a longer pause. I often found myself listening to a conversation, the plot shifted ahead hours or weeks, but I did not perceive the previous conversation has concluded.

    The reader does not greatly distinguish the voices other than by class (education level) to it is sometimes difficult to know who is speaking. Adding to this the authentic, but arcane nautical dialect of the speakers and much of the plot is confused.

    O'Brian does an excellent job of researching and presenting the daily lives of the characters and one does feel a better understanding of the difficult lives and brutish attitudes that built the British Empire. I don't think I will bother to read any of the sequels.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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