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Paul Mullen

Waukesha, WI | Member Since 2005


  • Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life's Ordeals

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Thomas Moore
    • Narrated By Thomas Moore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Every human journey is filled with emotional tunnels: the loss of a loved one or end of a relationship, aging and illness, career disappointments, or just an ongoing sense of dissatisfaction with life. Society tends to view these "dark nights" in clinical terms as obstacles to be overcome as quickly as possible.

    Christina says: "Wise and wonderful"
    "The first two hours is all you need"

    There is much good to be said for the premise of this book, but the author strays into too many bunny holes to keep my interest and to maintain the central core of his thesis.

    The core idea is that dark nights in adulthood are not so much something to be fixed, as they are a normal process of living. Much as one doesn't "fix" adolescence, but guides it and celebrates its gifts, one shouldn't try to fix the dark nights of the soul. So far so good.

    After hour 2 of this book, the themes turn to mythology and love triangles, and a variety of other ideosynchrocies that may be of passing interest, but were lost on me. The orthodox christian will have to muddle through the author's eclectic inclusion of mythology and extra-cannonical philosophy as it borders on the odd in places.

    I'd recommend the first two hours and then give it a break.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: The Millennium Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: How do you one-up a book that’s already a global literary phenomenon? Hire Simon Vance to (flawlessly) interpret the loves, lives, and murders of Sweden’s cold and secret-filled world. A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue. It's about the disappearance 40 years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden.

    Pamela Murphy says: "COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN"
    "Don't understand the complaints about the narrator"

    I don't understand the complaints others have posted about the narrator and the production. The narrator is fabulous and his diction and rhythm are perfect for the story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Netherland

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Joseph O'Neill
    • Narrated By Jefferson Mays
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Alone and un-tethered, feeling lost in the country he had come to regard as home, Hans stumbles upon the vibrant New York subculture of cricket, where he revisits his lost childhood and, thanks to a friendship with a charismatic and charming Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon, begins to reconnect with his life and his adopted country. Ramkissoon, a Gatsby-like figure who is part idealist and part operator, introduces Hans to an "other" New York populated by immigrants and strivers of every race and nationality.

    Darwin8u says: "Get Your Post-Colonial Gatsby ON!"
    "Self absorbed wanderings"

    I just finished "The Namesake", just barely making my way through its rather depressing lack of a story line. I read the wonderful reviews of "Netherland" thinking that this would be different. In fact, it is same thing. I couldn't make it through. I usually finish books as a matter of principle, in case I was missing something, but after 8 hours, I couldn't go on.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Alfred Lansing
    • Narrated By Tim Pigott-Smith

    You'll be awe-inspired by the heroic efforts of the crew of the Endurance, a ship that battled its way for six weeks through thousands of miles of pack ice while ironically only a day's sail from its destination.

    Frank says: "Unbelievable"
    "Good Leadership Lessons"

    Another reviewer commented that this story was the Apollo 13 of its time. That is a perfect description. Beyond that, there are lots of leadership lessons one can take from "watching" Ernest Shackleton lead a group through a prolonged and difficult time. As the story is told, he maintained leadership and vision in extraordinary times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Lecture

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow
    • Narrated By Erik Singer, Randy Pausch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave - "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" - wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have... and you may find one day that you have less than you think").

    Kelli G says: "How to Live"
    "A collection of essays"

    Less a lecture as much as a collection of essays. They're all worth the time, but none of them are "wow, I never thought of that" kinds of concepts.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Spymaster

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Gayle Lynds
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Charles "Jay" Tice was a legend throughout the world of international intelligence. But secretly he was also a traitor, reputedly selling information that will seriously compromise the security of the United States for decades to come. Since his treachery was exposed, Tice has been kept under strict surveillance in a maximum security prison. Then one morning, his cell is discovered empty. Jay Tice has vanished - without tripping an alarm or leaving any trace of his passing.

    A User says: "fast and furious"
    "typical spythriller"

    Typical spythriller. Fun read, but not much to chew on after you're done.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Namesake

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Narrated By Sarita Choudhury
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Namesake follows the Ganguli family through its journey from Calcutta to Cambridge to the Boston suburbs. When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world. Named for a Russian writer by his Indian parents in memory of a catastrophe years before, Gogol Ganguli knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd, antic name.

    Diana - Audible says: "My favorite book - in print and audio"
    "some things to learn, but..."

    Well, I'm pretty sure that this is the kind of book, when turned into a movie, will result me falling asleep on the couch. It is all about relationships and culture of an American-born Indian who lives between the eastern India Bengali heritage of his parents and the Americo-European heritage of the US eastern seaboard. The story doesn't really end, the author just stops telling it. I think I learned a few things about being a 3rd culture kid, but there are more efficient ways to learn. This one doesn't go on my recommendations list.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Rumors of Another World: What on Earth Are We Missing?

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Philip Yancey
    • Narrated By Richard Doyle

    Philip Yancey investigates the natural world and discovers the supernatural hiding in plain view. He grapples with why God made the world and what our role truly is, and seeks to answer the question, "How do I live in the natural world while expressing the values of the supernatural?"

    Mike says: "Yancey pulls no punches."
    "Starts as an apologetic, ends as story telling"

    The concept of hints of heaven in our daily life is the central concept of this book and the argument is well made. I have only two critiques:

    1) The point is well made in a chapter or two, and the rest of the book seems to be story telling to make the concept book-length rather than simply settling the matter.

    2) The narrator with only a few exceptions has a pleasing tone and rhythm, but he has an irritating pattern of modulating his voice when quoting others. The modified tone sounds silly in comparison.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • World Without End

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, set in 12th-century England. Readers and listeners ever since have hoped for a sequel. At last, here it is. Although the two novels may be listened to in any order, World Without End also takes place in Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building their exquisite Gothic cathedral. The cathedral is again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge.

    Laura says: "Repetitive, but still enjoyable"
    "Long but wonderfully woven together"

    If you like a quick book, you won't like this one. That is usually my style, but this book is so wonderfully woven together that I fell in love with the protagonists and became vicariously involved in their lives. Among the best fiction I've read this year.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Irene Spencer
    • Narrated By Laural Merlington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Irene Spencer did as she felt God commanded in marrying her brother-in-law, Verlan LeBaron, becoming his second wife. When the government raided the fundamentalist, polygamous Mormon village of Short Creek, Arizona, Irene and her family fled to Verlan's brothers' Mexican ranch. They lived in squalor and desolate conditions in the Mexican desert with Verlan's six brothers, one sister, and numerous wives and children.

    Paul Mullen says: "Eye Opening... Difficult Listen... Honest"
    "Eye Opening... Difficult Listen... Honest"

    Other reviews have called this a long-winded whining. I didn't see it that way. Irene Spencer sprinkles humor in with tragedy. Her account reveals her own weakness as much as the weakness of those she lived with. She is both angry and empathetic. There is a sense of settled understanding even in the midst of chaos.

    I wouldn't recommend this as entertainment, but it was a fascinating insight into fundamentalist Mormon poligamy. It teaches broader themes as it recounts the story of one woman.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Doris Kearns Goodwin, Richard Thomas

    We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through. This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.

    Anders says: "wait for the unabridged version"
    "Not your typical biography"

    Most biographies try to be comprehensive, this one is different. Instead of focusing on every detail of Lincoln's life, it focuses on his political life and the decisions he made that shaped that life.

    We desperately need "Lincoln-esk" thinking today. Where our modern society deals with conflict through either conflict or avoidance, Lincoln shows another path.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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