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Joya

Member Since 2010

ratings
132
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
5

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (527)
    Performance
    (297)
    Story
    (304)

    Dorian Gray, a handsome and narcissistic young man, lives thoughtlessly for his own pleasure. One day, after having his portrait painted, Dorian makes a frivolous Faustian wish: that he should always remain as young and beautiful as he is in that painting, while the portrait grows old in his stead.

    The wish comes true, and Dorian soon finds that none of his wicked actions have visible consequences. Realizing that he will appear fresh and unspoiled no matter what kind of life he lives, Dorian becomes increasingly corrupt. Only the portrait grows degenerate and ugly, a powerful symbol of Dorian's internal ruin.

    Robert says: "Excellent rendition"
    "Be Careful What You Wish For!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What an exhilarating book! The characters are rich and the writing is brilliantly witty and beautiful. Oscar Wilde's exploration of the depths of human depravity is genius. There are so many timelessly provocative themes running through this work - the fleetingness of youth, the superficiality of beauty, the power of the ego, the insidious danger of vanity, the importance of accountability and conscience. Lord Henry's aphorisms are as astute as they are irreverent. Be careful what you wish for!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Anna Karenina

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By David Horovitch
    Overall
    (491)
    Performance
    (292)
    Story
    (287)

    Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky.

    Marcus says: "Beautiful story, amazing narration"
    "The Beauty and Tragedy of Life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Anna Karenina has been on my must read list for many years. I have been keeping lists – and book lists in particular – since my first summer journal at eight years old. The epic Russian novel appears at the top of many top ten novels lists and has been referred to as “flawless” and “the greatest novel ever written” by two of the most celebrated novelists of our time.

    I have owned a copy of Anna Karenina for about ten years. If I have made any attempt at all to read it, I have never gotten much past the first sentence, which is one of the most iconic quotes from the book “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. Last Sunday, realizing for the first time that there has been yet another movie remake – this one starring Kiera Knightly and Jude Law – I decided I’d better read the book before “accidentally” catching it on television.

    Tolstoy’s world is mid-to-late nineteenth century Imperial Russia. The primary characters live lavish and eminently superficial lifestyles. Their daily existence is a whirlwind of sparkling balls featuring hair-pieced chignons piled high, and decadently luxurious boudoirs where the aristocratic Russian society of Moscow and St. Petersburg affectedly pepper their speech with French. In stark contrast to the elaborate, but constricted life of the city is pastoral Russia. The agrarian countryside has expansive landscapes, rich soil and an unending sky.

    Tolstoy’s romantic masterpiece is as vivid as it is relatable. The book captures the imagination with its straightforward and exact language. Tolstoy stops time as he bores into his characters’ every thought, motive, and facial twitch, even as dialogue is being exchanged. It is a romance – admittedly not my favorite genre – but juicy from the get-go with marital infidelity, unrequited love and a tragic love affair.

    The novel is sweeping, with at least two dozen named characters whose lives spiral around the two central protagonists – Anna Karenina and Tolstoy’s alter ego, Konstantin Levin. Tolstoy peers not only into the lives of a few rich 19th century Russians, but into the whole of humanity. The novel has stood the test of time because it reminds us that even the most desirable of circumstances may be unbearable, that bumps in the road may still lead to happy endings, that glamor and frivolity are but fleeting joys, and that family and real love are worth crying for, fighting for, striving for, waiting for.

    Anna Karenina is a celebration of human frailty and redemption. Tolstoy says its okay to be flawed, its okay to make mistakes, just keep trying. We see that there are infinite possibilities in life, but we indeed choose our own path. Without seeking to reduce a 150-year old, 900-page classic tome to a few epithets, Anna Karenina is a celebration of life – its beauty and its tragedy – and all the meaning there is to be found, if only we will choose to see it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Shawn Achor
    • Narrated By Shawn Achor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1510)
    Performance
    (826)
    Story
    (812)

    Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.

    Roy says: "Very Informative Application of Positive Psycholog"
    "Happiness, the Key to Success"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not just another positive thinking book. It presents solid evidence that proves that we are really at our best when we are happy. Not only that, but our happiness has a ripple effect on all those around us. It may sound like common sense, and in truth we know this innately. Unfortunately, some of us corporate executive types forget this as we analyze facts and figures and are constantly focused on increasing sales and doubling productivity. In seven principles and a humorous and often self-deprecating style, the author helps us to look at the level of happiness we allow ourselves to exhibit and presents concrete ways to improve on it. Great job, Shawn Achor. Thanks for showing me that I really do take myself too seriously sometimes!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Pearl S. Buck
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1816)
    Performance
    (978)
    Story
    (991)

    This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

    Marv says: "a masterpiece!"
    "A Facinating Journey into the Past"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Published in 1931, "The Good Earth" is the first in "The House of Earth" trilogy. The book was awarded the Pulitzer prize in 1932, and its author, Pearl S. Buck went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. It is the beautifully written story of Wang Lung, a Chinese farmer with a deep and enduring love for his land. The story spans his lifetime from young adulthood until his old age near his death. The setting is rural pre-Revolution China. The language is simple and dispassionate. The characters are flawed but richly presented. The themes are universal, timeless and filled with irony. It is a story of the passions that drive all human beings to achievement and often to tragedy and destruction. The author takes us on an emotional journey of ambition, survival, the attainment of wealth, self-sacrifice, family, the abandonment of traditional values and of lust. The contrast between modern Western culture and the Chinese agrarian culture at that time is striking, and I perceived that the story contained a faint thread of disdain for that society's treatment of women. As a modern woman, this particular quality is not difficult to identify with, but I found it to be slightly unsettling. I thoroughly enjoyed the book but found that while the author presents the characters and customs with affection, she remains firmly an outsider with a voice tainted - almost imperceptibly - common to Western writers who find themselves immersed in an alien culture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Count of Monte Cristo

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (3646)
    Performance
    (1981)
    Story
    (2028)

    Dashing young Edmond Dantès has everything: a fine reputation, an appointment as captain of a ship, and the heart of a beautiful woman. But his perfect life is shattered when three jealous friends conspire to destroy him. Falsely accused of a political crime, Dantès is locked away for life in the infamous Chateau d'If prison. But it is there that Dantès learns of a vast hidden treasure.

    Prsilla says: "Really-REALLY Classic!"
    "An Epic Classic, Brilliantly Performed"
    Overall
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    Alexandre Dumas was a genius!

    Published in 1846 as a serial novel, the end product has 117 chapters and 1,200 pages, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ is truly an epic tale. Translated from the original French, and set primarily in post-Napoleonic France, it tells the story of Edmond Dantes.

    We witness Edmond’s transformation from wide-eyed 19-year old sailor, about to become captain of his own ship and marry beautiful Mercedes, the girl of his dreams, to a prisoner, a victim of treachery forgotten in a dungeons of the infamous Chateau d’If, to one of the most enigmatic and multi-layered characters ever written – fabulously wealthy, awesomely powerful and patiently bent on the cleverest, darkest revenge.

    Spanning the course of 24 years, this is a saga so rich, so intricate and so enveloping, it makes movies’ attempts to capture masterpieces in the space of a few hours laughable. The reader is mesmerized from the very first chapter. We are sickened by the plots of Edmond’s jealous friends and colleagues plotting his demise. We sense the imminent danger that our guilelessly lovable protagonist is in, but we read on, because we know things will not end well for those who have done wrong as they are steered unknowingly along the inexorable course of fate.

    With brilliantly rich characters and surprisingly interconnected events, the masterful plot develops seamlessly and with great eloquence and beauty. Dumas weaves a timelessly brilliant work that captures every facet of human nature and life; it is a story of intrigue, greed and revenge, but also of generosity and determination, self-examination and forgiveness, restoration, redemption and love. A masterpiece.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Call Me Ted

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Ted Turner, Bill Burke
    • Narrated By Ted Turner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (194)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (72)

    An innovative entrepreneur, outspoken nonconformist, and groundbreaking philanthropist, Ted Turner is truly a living legend, and now, for the first time, he reveals his personal story. From his difficult childhood to the successful launch of his media empire to the catastrophic AOL/Time Warner deal, Turner spares no details or feelings and takes the reader along on a wild and sometimes bumpy ride.

    loix says: "Under-hyped"
    "Ted Turner: Outstanding Human. Living Legend"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In 1984 - when my parents were one of the first cable subscribers on a tiny Caribbean island - I had no idea that CNN was a fledgling cable network. I have always known the name of Ted Turner. I guess that it is easy to assume that rich, powerful, outspoken Southern billionaires have always been so. Not quite.

    Ted Turner was once a rambunctious, badly-behaved boy who was chucked off to boarding schools at a very tender age, expelled from several schools and repeatedly physically abused by a controlling alcoholic father. Despite his harsh childhood, there is no pity party in the book. Ted tells the story of his troubled childhood with brevity and a matter of fact quality. He continued his career of academic delinquency through military school, where he learned some discipline but eventually dropped out of University, never earning a college degree.

    And then come the details of his staggering accomplishments. The trajectory goes like this: troubled child - college dropout - multi-billionaire. He was forced to eat humble pie by joining his father's billboard business, but then went on to win the America's Cup, start a cable net work and eventually CNN, own the Atlanta Braves, become an exceedingly wealthy person and the largest single landowner in the United States. He even gave a billion dollars to the United Nations.

    The story is so astounding that, like a work of poor fiction, it is almost unbelievable. He is passionate, outspoken and in many ways a stubborn brat. How did he do it? Vision, belief in his dream and hard work. It makes your head spin, but the failures and frailties are candidly presented too. An important component of the book is the space given to key persons in his life, including ex-wife Jane Fonda and arch-enemies to share their uncensored thoughts on him and experiences they shared. The book is so much richer for it.

    I now have both a healthy respect and deep admiration for this extraordinary man - entrepreneur, visionary, humanitarian. Ted Turner is truly a living legend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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