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Kazuhiko

TUXEDO PARK, NY, United States

ratings
92
REVIEWS
26
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
51

  • Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Adam Sims, Ian Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (440)
    Performance
    (337)
    Story
    (340)

    Information is everything in Hard-boiled Wonderland. A specialist encrypter is attacked by thugs with orders from an unknown source, is chased by invisible predators, and dates an insatiably hungry librarian who never puts on weight. In the End of the World a new arrival is learning his role as dream-reader. But there is something eerily disquieting about the changeless nature of the town and its fable-like inhabitants.

    Ryan says: "Grown-up Hiyao Miyazaki"
    "This was more SFish than his other books I've read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Murakami's books are often categorized in "Sci-Fi/Fantasy", but I believe that is mis-labeling. I have read (well, listened to) "Kafka on the shore", "1Q84", "Wind-up bird chronicle", and "Dance, Dance, Dance", and they are not SF, in my opinion - they have core elements other than SF.

    However, this book actually reads like SF. The characters actually spend time trying to explain why all these can make sense scientifically (up to a point). But, to me, that's not Murakami's strength, and his effort to build "rational" aspects of the story was wasted as far as I was concerned. Despite this, I could enjoy many of the Murakami's usual funny, scary, sad, and sweet exchanges among the characters. I should also point out the contrast of the vastly different voice characteristics of the two narrators was effective in delivering the two parallel stories that converge towards the end. My favorite Murakami book is still "Kafka on the shore", but this book does add to my understanding of Murakami's paths and style.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Siddhartha

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Hermann Hesse
    • Narrated By Firdous Bamji
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (420)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (230)

    Siddhartha is Nobel Prize-winning author Hermann Hesse's most famous and influential work, a novel of self-exploration that will linger in your mind and spirit for a lifetime. A young man, blessed with loving parents and a safe home in a world where want and neglect abound, leaves this haven in search of himself.

    Ramanujam says: "Very Interesting to Listen"
    "Philosophical and yet poetic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is about a man who takes a life-ling journey to find a spiritual truth. While the story takes place in India during the time of the Buddha, and Buddhism idioms are used, this is not about Buddhism at all, I thought. I am not religious or even spiritual, but I enjoyed the book tremendously. The story sounded like one long philosophical poetry.

    While I was listening to this, I had to fight my urge to search the Internet to find out why this German writer (who, as far as I knew, was not a Buddhist) wrote a story that takes place in ancient India. I was glad I didn't. The Publisher's Summary in Audible.com does not mention this, but the last 50 minutes or so of this audiobook is actually an essay by some professor who explains the background where Hesse wrote this book, which made me appreciate the experience even more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Susannah Cahalan
    • Narrated By Heather Henderson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (690)
    Performance
    (618)
    Story
    (622)

    In 2009, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room strapped to a bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records - from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory - reported psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious twenty-four-year-old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter

    Brian Quaranta says: "For those interested in neurology & psychology"
    "Good thing she happened to be a reporter"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A rare illness (anti-NMDA-receptor autoimmune encephalitis; inflammation of brain) struck the author, and because the illness manifests psychosis-like symptoms, she was not sure what was going on at the time, and neither were her family/friends nor the doctors who initially treated her. The behavioral manifestations of the illness make it extremely difficult for the patient, her relatives, friends, and co-workers to deal with the situation.

    She was extremely lucky in that she encountered the right doctor who knew of the illness. She was also lucky that she was surrounded by very supportive family members and boyfriend. It's heart-breaking to imagine that most of those who are affected by the same illness out there would not be so lucky and face ill fate. We are lucky that she happened to be a reporter and thus could write about her experience so that awareness about this illness can be communicated to the rest of us. The book is extremely well-written, and she did a great job of describing what she went through both from the first person account as well as from the medical point of view based on her research afterwards.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Dave Van Ronk, Elijah Wald
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Dave Van Ronk was one of the founding figures of the 1960s folk revival, but he was far more than that. A pioneer of modern acoustic blues, a fine songwriter and arranger, a powerful singer, and one of the most influential guitarists of the ’60s, he was also a marvelous storyteller, a peerless musical historian, and one of the most quotable figures on the Village scene. The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a firsthand account by a major player in the social and musical history of the ’50s and ’60s.

    MidwestGeek says: "Overview of NYC folk music scene of '50's & 60's."
    "This is what we missed out on!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Honestly, I didn't know who Dave Van Ronk was until I listened to this book. I got this book because I was interested in learning about the 1960's music scene in Greenwich Village. The book taught me much more than what I had expected. Dave Van Ronk is hilarious and honest in his depictions of the period. I was fascinated by the period, disillusioned a little bit but overall really enjoyed the journey through his experience. I always thought Bob Dylan was an elusive character, but Van Ronk's description of him perfectly explained why this was the case. Greenwich Village in the late '50s and early '60s was such a unique place/time - so many of the musicians who flocked in the area influenced each other. Sure, Dylan had a talent, but he would never have emerged as he did without the unique window of space/time described in this book. I also learned what it was like to be a musician trying to be himself. Thank you, Dave Van Ronk. Thank you, Elijah Wald. I recently passed through the neighborhood and felt so sad that many of the cafes/bars described in the book were gone and replaced by chain pharmacies and banks...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • South of the Border, West of the Sun: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Eric Loren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (31)

    Born in 1951 in an affluent Tokyo suburb, Hajime - beginning in Japanese - has arrived at middle age wanting for almost nothing. The postwar years have brought him a fine marriage, two daughters, and an enviable career as the proprietor of two jazz clubs. Yet a nagging sense of inauthenticity about his success threatens Hajime's happiness. And a boyhood memory of a wise, lonely girl named Shimamoto clouds his heart.

    Darwin8u says: "A River of Unmindfulness"
    "Not many metaphors in this book, but it's good"
    Overall
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    Story

    Like "Sputnik Sweetheart", among Murakami's books, this is a "lighter" but very good one, I think. To explain what I mean by "lighter" without mentioning the plot, a metaphor that Murakami used in one of his interviews may help (this was an interview for a Japanese literary journal in 2004; I am translating/para-phrasing - the original was longer):

    "Human existence takes place in a "two-story house" (metaphorically, obviously) : the first floor is where people talk to each other; the second floor is where each individual does her/his own things, like reading books or listening to music; then there is the basement where people occasionally visit to reflect or look at things that lay there that are forgotten in daily life; then, below the basement, there is the second basement that most people don't get to visit. There is darkness in the second basement; people see the connections to their past and their souls. The entrance to the second basement is not obvious. You may not come back from there…"

    Using this metaphor, the story in "South of the Border, West of the Sun" takes place mostly on the first and second floors and occasionally peeks at the basement. It does not get down to the second basement, I thought. In contrast, "Kafka on the shore" and "The wind-up bird chronicle" definitely spend some time in the second basement. But I don't mind Murakami's stories that take place mostly on the first and second floors, probably because I don't necessarily want to visit the basement or the second basement that often. It's just that it's good to know that Murakami can take me there. Unlike many of Murakami's stories, this book does not contain many metaphors, but I liked it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Tony Danza
    • Narrated By Tony Danza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (409)
    Performance
    (372)
    Story
    (374)

    Long before he starred on some of television’s most beloved and long-running series such as Taxi and Who’s the Boss? and went on to distinguish himself in a variety of film and stage roles, Tony Danza was a walking contradiction: an indifferent student who dreamed of being a teacher. Inspiring a classroom of students was an aspiration he put aside for decades until one day it seemed that the most meaningful thing he could do was give his dream a shot. What followed was a year spent teaching 10th-grade English at Northeast High - Philadelphia’s largest high school with 3,600 students....

    Cheryl R Rowe says: "I may be a little biased, but ...."
    "I would like to thank some of Tony's teachers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I only knew Tony Danza from the 1980's TV show "Taxi", but, through this book, I found out what a great guy he is. But more importantly, in this book, Tony Danza lets me peek at some of the real lives of the kids who attend a public school in Philadelphia. I never watched the cable TV "reality show" that was part of this, but I know this actor went much deeper than a role in the TV show. He stayed with the class after the TV show production ended, and he still keeps in touch with some of the students. It's really heat-breaking what some of these kids have to go through in their personal lives AND go through the high school life that is so important in determining their future. We all know how important education is, but most of us, including myself, tend to think "education" in rather abstract way. This book brought me back to the time when I went to a public school but also reminded me how important this short period can be in shaping the kids' future. For this, I now feel that high school teachers probably play more important roles than college professors do. We often hear about negative things about teachers in public schools, but, considering what they are up against, we don't give (at least many of) them enough credit. Tony Danza honestly describes what went through his mind during his interactions with the students and other teachers and admits his flaws, mistakes, and vulnerability. I could tell that Tony Danza himself had some great passionate teachers. He is a great narrator by the way. Many of the scenes made me cry (and I almost never cry listening to audiobooks).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Daniel Lieberman
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (106)

    In this landmark book of popular science, Daniel E. Lieberman - chair of the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a leader in the field - gives us a lucid and engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years, even as it shows how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and advancements in the modern world is occasioning this paradox: greater longevity but increased chronic disease.

    G-Man says: "A great discussion of human evolution/physiology"
    "They should make us read this book in high school"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think this is the first time I rate a book with five stars for both story and performance. So many of the diseases prevalent in modern societies (e.g., Type 2 diabetes) are called "mismatch disease" because they are caused by mismatch of the modern life style such as abundance of food (of unbalanced kind) vs. our evolutionary tendency to store fat and sugar when we can because food was scarce. This book provides a comprehensive view on how we humans developed since our ancestors started walking on two feet. The author has a rare quality of being able to translate his research expertise to its public health implications. I feel lucky to be alive in this age when books like this can teach us the evolutionary perspective on how we are living now compared to the past and what can be improved. It is also devastating to know that so many of modern diseases are preventable, and yet, important information like this has not seeped into the mainstream culture.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Walrus and the Elephants: John Lennon’s Years of Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By James A. Mitchell
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    In late 1971 John Lennon left London behind and moved to New York, eager to join a youth movement rallying for social justice and an end to the Vietnam War. Lennon was quickly embraced by radicals and revolutionaries, the hippies and Yippies at odds with the establishment. Settling in Greenwich Village, the heart of Manhattan's counterculture, the former Beatle was soon on the frontlines of the antiwar movement and championing a range of causes and issues.

    Kazuhiko says: "I wish you were still here"
    "I wish you were still here"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a teenager in the 1970's, I was never a Beatles fan (I was more into the Stones), but some of John Lennon's post-Beatles music, such as "Mother" and "Imagine", made such a strong impression on me because they sounded like they were coming right out of his very personal inner self. But I was a bit too young then to know exactly what was going on politically. This book filled me in with the information on the cultural and political background in America that Lennon walks into at the time and vividly depicts how he lived through the period and influenced many people (to the point that Nixon was afraid of him). Sure, as a former Beatle, it was probably easier than anyone to make a difference in the world, but he didn't have to do any of the things he did. His attempts to get involved and make a difference even in the local community levels appeared sincere and are consistent with his music. I am glad someone wrote a book about this period of Lennon's life.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Lying

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 15 mins)
    • By Sam Harris
    • Narrated By Sam Harris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (507)
    Performance
    (450)
    Story
    (442)

    As it was in Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and Othello, so it is in life. Most forms of private vice and public evil are kindled and sustained by lies. Acts of adultery and other personal betrayals, financial fraud, government corruption - even murder and genocide - generally require an additional moral defect: a willingness to lie. In Lying, bestselling author and neuroscientist Sam Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie.

    Douglas says: ""Telling The Truth..."
    "Confronting oneself"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked the way this book made me feel a bit uncomfortable. You don't hear or read these bluntly honest opinions about the type of lies that we often consider socially acceptable (if you think about it, as the author explains, they are harmful). I did not agree with some of his arguments, but the most important thing was that this book made me re-evaluate my approach to life. I also liked the last 30 minutes where he responded to readers' questions. When there are too many books out there in which the authors stretch and repeat the same points over and over again, this to-the-point style was also refreshing.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Einstein's Cosmos: How Albert Einstein's Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time: Great Discoveries

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Michio Kaku
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (248)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (227)

    A dazzling tour of the universe as Einstein saw it. How did Albert Einstein come up with the theories that changed the way we look at the world? By thinking in pictures. Michio Kaku, leading theoretical physicist (a cofounder of string theory) and best-selling science storyteller, shows how Einstein used seemingly simple images to lead a revolution in science. With originality and expertise, Kaku uncovers the surprising beauty that lies at the heart of Einstein's cosmos

    david says: "Relatively Wonderful"
    "Great way to learn Einstein's legacy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I admit that I never seriously studied Einstein's equations or quantum physics, but this book gave me a great outline of the development of modern physics. I am now motivated to listen to other audiobooks on modern physics or even get some paper books that contain equations. Michio Kaku is also good at depicting human side of Einstein and other physicists. It's fun to think about Einstein writing numerous love letters. I also never imagined that Schrödinger was a serious womanizer!

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar - Your Brain's Silent Killers

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By David Perlmutter, Kristin Loberg
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
    Overall
    (421)
    Performance
    (359)
    Story
    (371)

    Renowned neurologist David Perlmutter, MD, blows the lid off a topic that's been buried in medical literature for far too long: carbs are destroying your brain. And not just unhealthy carbs, but even healthy ones like whole grains can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression, and much more.

    Grace says: "Family history of Alzheimers? Read this!"
    "I am definitely reducing my wheat consumptio now.."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I cannot help comparing this book to "The China Study" by Colin Campbell, who recommends plant-based diet, which may appear to be at odds with the recommendations given in "Grain Brain". Both authors have "credible" (though this can be subjective) research background. However, I felt that this book provided more scientific arguments and thus, to me, more convincing. Through reading this book, I felt that I learned a lot in various areas of biology - brain, causes of many illnesses: inflammation and oxidation, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc. To me, the most convincing argument against the wheat-filled eating habits of modern society is the fact that we humans started eating wheat only ten thousand years ago or so, and that the characteristics of modern wheat (e.g, gluten content) changed in the past several decades and is nothing like what ancestors ate. I can believe that the increase in obesity and diabetes has something to do with the increasing consumption of wheat. I did think that the author is opinionated and probably biased (this was also the case with Colin Campbell). Yet, I am convinced that there is no harm in avoiding wheat most of the time. It is SO hard to avoid wheat-containing food though.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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