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M. S. Cohen

New York, NY USA | Member Since 2003

162
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 40 reviews
  • 81 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 54 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
23

  • Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (45)

    Conventional wisdom suggests English is going to the dogs, that bad grammar, slang, and illogical constructions signal a decline in standards of usage - to say nothing of the corruption wrought by email and text messages. But English is a complicated, marvelous language. Far from being a language in decline, English is the product of surprisingly varied linguistic forces, some of which have only recently come to light. And these forces continue to push English in exciting new directions.

    Tony says: "Easy Introduction to Linguistics"
    "Fantastic! Never expected this to be so much fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    McWhorter is one of the best teachers I have ever had.

    Energetic. Funny. Spontaneous! Educational!

    Even if you never wanted to learn about the English language, you should listen to this book.

    There are so many things in it about history, social history, language (of course), and grammar.

    And I will try to use the phrase "obsessive progressive" as much as I can in daily life. (You'll understand when you listen to the book.)

    Please, don't let the fact that this is a language course stop you. It's well worth every minute. (Although I confess I listen at 1.5 speed, but his voice doesn't suffer.)

    Anyone who enjoys bill Bryson will enjoy Professor McWhorter

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Death at Wentwater Court

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Carola Dunn
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (313)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (120)

    This first installment of a cozy mystery series transports listeners back to the bygone era of 1923 Britain, where unflappable flapper and fledgling journalist Daisy Dalrymple daringly embarks on her first writing assignment, and promptly stumbles across a corpse.

    Gareth Morgan says: "Wentwater Death"
    "Stuffy with a very disappointing ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought two Daisy Dalrymple books hoping for something as good as Kerry Greenwood;s Phryne Fisher mysteries. I was quite disappointed.

    The book cover would have you believe Daisy is similar to Phryne with short, bobbed, black hair. But that is hardly how she is described. And there is none of the decco air shown on the cover. Instead the characters are horribly 19th Century stuffy.

    The mystery is convoluted and I found myself not really caring who the murderer was.

    But without giving away the plot, I was horribly disappointed with the ending. This is NOT the way an amateur detective is supposed to behave. And it is NOT the way a Scotland Yard inspector would behave.

    It was hard for me to start the second book as I couldn't trust Daisy's behavior.

    Meanwhile, the narrator's breathy style is unnerving. And she has given Daisy a very little girl voice. With no feeling of being a grownup.

    I'm giving up on the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cocaine Blues

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Kerry Greenwood
    • Narrated By Stephanie Daniel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (750)
    Performance
    (527)
    Story
    (530)

    It's the end of the roaring twenties, and the exuberant and Honourable Phryne Fisher is dancing and gaming with gay abandon. But she becomes bored with London and the endless round of parties. In search of excitement, she sets her sights on a spot of detective work in Melbourne, Australia. And so mystery and the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse, appear in her life. From then on it's all cocaine and communism until her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.

    Barbara M. Sullivan says: "A series that just gets better"
    "I'm totally hooked!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I started listening to the Phryne Fisher mysteries after watching the television series on Netflix. I was disappointed to find out the series was cancelled.

    So I decided to listen to the books.

    I'm up to book 17 and expect to finish the series in a month or so.

    The books are different from the TV shows, but not disappointing. The stories are complex and fun. Phryne is more sexual than the TV show and travels all around Australia.

    The narrator, Stephanie Daniels, is one of the best I've ever listened to. She does so many variations of English dialects: cultured British, Australian, Cockney, Irish, Scottish, the insanely difficult Welsh, as well as a myriad of Russian, Polish, Austrian, German, French, and (gasp!) even Yiddish!

    The books, especially Ms. Daniels, have done something I never would have expected—gotten me to forget losing the TV series.

    I'm posting this in the first book because I can't be expected to keep writing the same review for all the books in the series.

    (PS: I'm such a nut for the series that my phone ringtone is the first few bars of the TV show theme.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Visions of Utopia: Philosophy and the Perfect Society

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Fred E. Baumann
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Professor Fred E. Baumann looks at what some philosophers have had to say on this subject, mostly in the form of stories about utopias. Five are written by great philosophers and the last by a challenging, nearly contemporary American scholar. All have exerted great influence on the history of thought or have expressed influential currents of thought. Professor Baumann's lectures not only examine these texts, but also address the results of attempting to put these utopias into practice.

    Len says: "Provocative and stimulating, albeit conservative"
    "Not at all what I had hoped for"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was hoping for a study of the various literature of utopian societies: Brave New World, 1984, Shangri-la, etc.

    Instead this is a study of philosophers comments and debates on utopia.

    It's interesting, but not what I wanted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (858)
    Performance
    (742)
    Story
    (730)

    Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist, presents a gorgeously lucid, science book examining some of the nature’s most fundamental questions both from a mythical and scientific perspective. Science is our most precise and powerful tool for making sense of the world. Before we developed the scientific method, we created rich mythologies to explain the unknown. The pressing questions that primitive men and women asked are the same ones we ask as children. Who was the first person? What is the sun? Why is there night and day?

    Connie says: "Audio version is superb for us grown-ups"
    "It's a science textbook for pre-teens"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The sub-head "How we know what's really true" led me to believe the book would be about how to refute and rebut arguments from the religious right on the validity of the Bible, etc.

    Instead it's a rather dull science textbook written for pre-teenagers.

    And unfortunately the woman's voice and intonation makes it seem that she is speaking to someone who doesn't understand English.

    I like Hawkins, but not this.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Shall We Tell the President?: Kane & Abel, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Archer
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    Florentyna Kane has finally become the first woman president in America. But on the very day that she is sworn into office, powerful forces are already in motion to take her life. The FBI investigates 1000s of false threats every year. This time, a reliable source has tipped them off about an assassination attempt. One hour later, the informant and all but one of the investigating agents are dead. The lone survivor: FBI Special Agent Mark Andrews. Now, only he knows when the killers will strike. But how can he alone unravel a ruthless conspiracy - in less than one week?

    M. S. Cohen says: "Recorded in 2013, but WRITTEN in 1977"
    "Recorded in 2013, but WRITTEN in 1977"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's not a terrible book, but not great. But I spent a long time at the top of the book trying to understand why FBI agents always carried 20 quarters for pay phones. And no one seemed to include Reagan as part of Presidential assasination history.

    God, things have really changed since 1977. And much of the book feels dated because of it. Even the plot against the President is dated.

    Also, I wish someone was a little more careful with details of the recording. Senator Birch Bayh name was pronounced "Bye" not "Bay."

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Neal Gabler
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (351)
    Performance
    (206)
    Story
    (208)

    Seven years in the making and meticulously researched - Gabler is the first writer to be given complete access to the Disney archives - this is the full story of a man whose work left an ineradicable brand on our culture but whose life has largely been enshrouded in myth.

    Amanda says: "Diane Disney"
    "Best biography I've listened to in a long time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    From the first sentence, this book hooked me in.

    Disney's life and struggle to succeed is fascinating.

    What I really appreciated was reading how he ran his company. He pushed his employees, artists and animators, to do more than they thought they could do.

    He also started the company with pool tables, fun events, and other diversions.

    I was surprised at this. In so many descriptions of how he ran the company, it sounded like the genius and drive of Steve Jobs combined with the fun of Google's offices.

    It made me realize that today's pioneers sometimes ride down the same road already paved in the past.

    Get the book. Listen to it. You'll never look at "the mouse" the same way again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Year Zero: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Rob Reid
    • Narrated By John Hodgman
    Overall
    (1010)
    Performance
    (923)
    Story
    (922)

    Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it's a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumbling) extraterrestrials. And boy, do they have news. The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on humanity's music ever since "Year Zero" (1977 to us), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang.

    Robert says: "Fantastic Performance by Hodgman"
    "Fun, Fun, Fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Pure fluff. Pure diversion. Pure entertainment.

    The mix of aliens and cut-throat lawyering makes this the best Sci-Fi I've read in a long time.

    Think all the fun of Douglas Adams's Hitchiker's Guide

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral - Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! - in America's Gilded Capital

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Mark Leibovich
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (463)
    Performance
    (402)
    Story
    (393)

    The great thing about Washington is no matter how many elections you lose, how many times you're indicted, how many scandals you've been tainted by, well, the great thing is you can always eat lunch in that town again. What keeps the permanent government spinning on its carousel is the freedom of shamelessness, and that mother's milk of politics, cash. What Julia Phillips did for Hollywood, Timothy Crouse did for journalists, and Michael Lewis did for Wall Street, Mark Leibovich does for our nation's capital.

    John S. says: "They're out of touch ... and how!"
    "Don't bother"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was really looking forward to this insider's glimpse into the gossip, games, and politics of Washington DC.

    Unfortunately the stories told are so bland that they hardly are interesting.

    Maybe it's true that "Washington is Hollywood for ugly people" but these people are hardly interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Ben Urwand
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    To continue doing business in Germany, Hollywood studios agreed not to make films attacking Nazis or condemning persecution of Jews. Ben Urwand reveals this collaboration and the cast of characters it drew in, ranging from Goebbels to Louis B. Mayer. At the center was Hitler himself - obsessed with movies and their power to shape public opinion.

    M. S. Cohen says: "Making mountains out of molehills"
    "Making mountains out of molehills"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The idea of Hollywood collaborating to hide Nazi crimes and Anti-semitism is intriguing.

    But this book tries way to hard to connect the dots.

    The performance is interesting, especially the accents for the Germans, but it wouldn't have hurt without the accents.

    It's not that interesting.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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