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warrenville, IL, United States | Member Since 2010

  • 4 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 32 purchased in 2014

  • The Immortal Game

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By David Shenk
    • Narrated By John H. Mayer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why has one game, alone among the thousands of games invented and played throughout human history, not only survived but thrived within every culture it has touched? What is it about its 32 figurative pieces, moving about its 64 black and white squares according to very simple rules, that has captivated people for nearly 1,500 years? Why has it driven some of its greatest players into paranoia and madness, and yet is hailed as a remarkably powerful intellectual tool?

    Bob says: "a must-read for all chess lovers"
    "a must-read for all chess lovers"

    if you love chess, you will love this book. the book's layout weaves together chapters addressing the moves in the casual (e.g., non-tournament) 1851 match between adolf anderssen and lionel kieseritzky (later dubbed "the immortal game") with chapters about the history of chess.

    the immortal game's annotations are all over the internet, but to hear the match described in audiobook form brought it to life in a way that dry annotations cannot.

    how can you not enjoy a match where someone gives up a bishop *both* rooks AND the queen to earn checkmate against an opponent who has only lost three measly pawns??

    ok, will probably want to have a passing interest in chess before trying this book, but if you do have such an interest, listen in to one of the greatest chess stories out there.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Anastasia Burke says: "Hillenbrand could make even laundry fascinating!"
    "If you EVER think your life is hard..."

    ...then listen to this audiobook

    A single man survived more stress, rigor, trauma, in 2.5 years than most families experience in 3 generations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Near-Death Experience and Journey into the Afterlife

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Eben Alexander
    • Narrated By Eben Alexander

    On November 10, 2008, Dr. Eben Alexander was driven into coma by a disease so lethal that only 1 in 10,000,000 survive. Seven days later, he awakened with memories of a fantastic odyssey deep into another realm that were more real than this earthly one - memories that included meeting a deceased birth sister he had never known existed. Dr. Alexander deployed all his knowledge as a scientist to find out whether his mind could have played a trick on him. In its shutdown state, there was no way it could have.

    Kelly says: "Compelling"
    "Great Story, but..."

    This book is an enjoyable read and I do recommend the story.

    This is why I give 2 stars overall: the author is human. Credentialed or not, the author is fallible, and it is still possible the he was dreaming.

    I think the reality (for now) is that science doesn't understand the limits and capabilities of the brain. What the doctor's experience tells me is that the brain is capable of pulling dream states from deeper levels within itself.

    Dr. Alexander clearly understands the limits of the human neocortex and thoughtfully ruled out why he could not have been dreaming. But, I am still skeptical. Why?

    On the one hand, his brain is shut down (coma) and his neocortex is unable to weave together visual/audio experiences.

    But on the other hand he can vividly share his story by applying descriptive attributes to that which he experienced during coma.

    If the brain did not produce the experiences, then what and how did those experiences get back into the brain so the Dr. could vividly detail them for us?

    Dogs and Mice have less intelligence than humans, yet they both have REM sleep cycles. When I see my dog twitching and barking during REM, it's doubtful he is struggling with the meaning of life. He is probably just chasing around a neighborhood cat...but he still dreams.

    If his less "evolved" brain can dream, it still seems very possible to me that the human brain can produce dreams at levels more primitive than the neocortex.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Janet Reitman
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Scientology, created in 1954 by a prolific sci-fi writer named L. Ron Hubbard, claims to be the world's fastest-growing religion, with millions of members around the world and huge financial holdings. Its celebrity believers keep its profile high, and its teams of "volunteer ministers" offer aid at disaster sites such as Haiti and the World Trade Center. But Scientology is also a notably closed faith, harassing journalists and others through litigation and intimidation, even infiltrating the highest levels of government to further its goals.

    Matt says: "My cup of tea."

    I want to preface my review by saying that I am not at all affiliated with Scientology. That said, I think this is a OK book, but written in a way to perpetuate existing perceptions of Scientology as a "freak" religion. I would have appreciated a more balanced treatment.

    In its beginning, the Catholic faith was riddled with corrupt chuch officials (leading to an offshoot religion called Protestantism); in addition, the church embraced violence early in its formative years as a legitimate tool for establishing/maintaining power. And let's not forget the unchecked abuses of church priests during the 50s, 60s, and (maybe) 70s.

    Christianity has had 2000 years to sort itself out (and it's still not perfect). How will Scientology look in 1000 2000 years?

    Why didnt the author spend equal time showing us how people have benefited from Scientology?
    I'm only familiar with the so-called famous "parishoners" (e.g. Tom Cruise, John Travolta, etc)...but these folks are successful people, and they claim that Scientology helped them.

    Surely there are others out there who are not famous and who have also benefited, no?

    The early failures within Scientology's organization are the failures of people who, not ideas or beliefs.
    It sounds like Scientology's biggest issue is making sure its leaders behave responsibly.

    It would have been nice to hear a balanced history of this organization and its beliefs.

    10 of 64 people found this review helpful

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