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Alexandria, VA, USA

  • 6 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 91 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • Gilgamesh: A New English Version

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Stephen Mitchell
    • Narrated By George Guidall

    This brilliant new treatment of the world's oldest epic is a literary event on par with Seamus Heaney's wildly popular Beowulf translation. Esteemed translator and best-selling author Stephen Mitchell energizes a heroic tale so old it predates Homer's Iliad by more than a millennium.

    George says: "A defense of this "translation""
    "A defense of this "translation""

    This is a very good reading of the Epic, which I have read many times in various translations. But rather than say how wonderful the book is, which others have already done, there are some things that should be pointed out:

    For some reason Audible called this a "children's" book, which is debatable. The sexuality is quite direct and graphic. However, my mother let me read another version of Gilgamesh as a child and its frankness was fine by her and me. It isn't outright pornography, but it is sexually blunt. In other words, some parents may find this book objectionable - others just honest. You decide.

    Also, as far as sexuality goes, another reviewer mentioned how the redactor of this book implies a homoerotic relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The "translator" is actually not making this up: in the 12th tablet of the story, which is not part of this recording for boring academic reasons, the sexual nature of their friendship is explained without mixing words.

    Another comment mentions that is book is not a real "translation", which is true. However, that is not without good reason. An actual word for word translation of the epic is unreadable - only compilations are useful to the general public. If you want to see what I mean, find a true translation at your library and count the number of missing lines and unclear words. It's like reading a book where you can only see every tenth word or so.

    The essay at the end is hit or miss. The political messages (even the ones I happen to agree with) are out of place and preachy. But occasionally he is insightful. Either way, check this book out, as it's a pleasure to listen to.

    154 of 156 people found this review helpful
  • Coran, The Holy Quran

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By World Music Office
    • Narrated By Abdelbasset Mohamed Abdessamad

    The Holy Quran is the central religious text of Islam. The Quran consists of 114 suras (chapters). Each Sura is formed of several Ayahs (verses). Here is an unabridged recitation of the Quran by Abdelbasset Mohamed Abdessamad, who is perhaps the most famous and best reciter of the Quran in the world.

    Sarah says: "Not in English"
    "Probably the best modern reciter of the Qur'an"

    This is an extraordinary recitation of the Qur'an but please note: it is only in Arabic. Even if you do not know any Arabic it is very pleasurable to listen to. The only real issue with this audiobook, which is why it doesn't get five stars, is that the chapter divisions do not match the suras at all, so if you are looking for a particular part, good luck fast forwarding.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By David Levering Lewis
    • Narrated By Richard Allen

    At the beginning of the eighth century, the Arabs brought a momentous revolution in power, religion, and culture to Dark Ages Europe. David Levering Lewis' masterful history begins with the fall of the Persian and Roman Empires, followed by the rise of the prophet Muhammad and the creation of Muslim Spain.

    Larry says: "God's Crucible"
    "What a train wreck"

    Okay, first off I should have given more stars for the hilarious pronunciation of words. It takes massive talent to butcher two languages at once. I get trembles of silliness every time the narrator says "monophysite." His "Arabic" literally sounds like he is trying to be funny. He pronounces "al-Andalus" as "Alan Dallas" and he adds this bizarre pitch change at the end of "Allah" that sounds like someone just punched him in the gut while he was trying to sing. Classic.

    The best part is that you can literally hear his fear of words he doesn't know, even a whole lot of English ones! There is a very noticeable pause of hesitation whenever a word comes up that he doesn't know, which is often. This is coupled with his ridiculously monotone voice that will have you rolling in the aisles.

    The book itself is a giant mess of ideas and irrelevant anecdotes building up to nothing and completely lacking direction. He is trying to mimic Gibbon (whom he quotes a lot) and he is really in way over his head. I'm a Christian, but his discussion of Islam would be offensive to Muslims it wasn't so amateur and witless that you cannot take it seriously.

    Please save your money on this one, it is failure is as epic as the history it thinks it is telling and the narrator needs to invest in an English dictionary.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Islam and the West

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Sayyed Hossein Nasr
    • Narrated By Sayyed Hossein Nasr

    Islam and Christianity share both remarkable similarities and remarkable differences. This course is conceived to reveal the interaction of these two religions and civilizations throughout their histories, highlight their similarities and differences, and, finally, show that Muslims and Christians share much common ground, especially in terms of morality, life issues, and family.

    Philip says: "Informative, but recommend supplemental sources."

    A truely inspired lecture series. The speaker (who's name is Nasr, not Naer), is complete in his vast analysis and yet remains clear and simple. He manages to explain amazing amounts of information and understanding of both the West and Islam and never falls into the old academic pitfalls of obscurity or tangents. A must listen.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Carpe Diem: Put a Little Latin in Your Life

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Harry Mount
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Whether we're aware of it or not, Latin is all around us. Consider the sayings in everyday use: alter ego, ad nauseam, caveat emptor, modus operandi, per se, and, of course, the ever-popular e pluribus unum. Even more abundant are words derived from Latin roots: arena (from harena, meaning "sand"), auditorium ("a place of audience"), stadium (a running track)...and those are just the theatrical ones! It's inescapable.

    George says: "Wow: a language book that is written by a human"
    "Wow: a language book that is written by a human"

    This is a grand book which is engaging and fun to listen to. Although the author claims otherwise, it does require some exposure to Latin beforehand to really follow it, however. But anyhow, it does manage to get those old Latin chants up and running again.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Divine Comedy

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Dante Alighieri
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham

    One of the greatest works in literature, Dante's story-poem is an allegory that represents mankind as it exposes itself, by its merits or demerits, to the rewards or the punishments of justice. A single listen will reveal Dante's visual imagination and uncanny power to make the spiritual visible.

    whynot? says: "Almost Divine"
    "Excellent Reading, Odd Notes"

    This is an excellent program, which comes mysteriously, with footnotes. The notes themselves are very useful as any reading of Dante is impossible without a third party to guide you along the first time. Many of the people he meets with along his journey are very, very obscure (not even a professor of Medieval Italian history would know them all from memory). However, the format is not always clear as to when the notes end and the text begins. I have read the Comedy more times than I can remember, but even I was momentarily confused at times as to who was speaking. I wish there was one reader for the text and another for the notes, or that the chapter breaks fell regularly between the notes and the poem itself, if nothing else, for clarity.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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