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Alnia Perpoz


  • The Republic

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Plato
    • Narrated By Pat Bottino

    In this monumental work of moral and political philosophy, Plato sought to answer some of the world's most formidable questions: What does it mean to be good? What enables us to distinguish between right and wrong? How should human virtues be translated into a just society? Perhaps the greatest single treatise written on political philosophy, The Republic has strongly influenced Western thought concerning questions of justice, rule, obedience, and the good life.

    Alnia Perpoz says: "Jowett's 1894 translation"
    "Jowett's 1894 translation"

    I am quite deep into this version, having read large parts of the Republic in other translations. Translations do matter for Plato, as the translators introduce their own biases into the result.

    This is the 1894 translation by Bejamin Jowett, Oxford theologian and classical scholar, and seems particularly sympathetic to harmonizing Plato and Christianity. This of course is an old tradition, but its use of Christian concepts seems a bit heavyhanded nowadays. Nevertheless, the translation itself is considered by some an English language classic.

    But that is a minor point. The book is a major foundation stone of Western civilization.

    26 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Rupert Degas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife's missing cat.... Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid 16-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan's forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

    REBECCA says: "Wonderful book, flawed narration."
    "Great performance; smart and sexy; long"
    If you could sum up The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in three words, what would they be?

    I don't always like highly dramatic readings, but this book is enhanced the narrator, Degas. The writing is original, talented, imaginative, sexy. Sometimes uneven, sometimes amateurish, a tiny bit repetitive.

    It's probably a guy novel. Male protagonist, plenty of sex, war, amazingly polite Japanese women.

    Would you be willing to try another book from Haruki Murakami? Why or why not?

    I was led to Murakami by a beautiful song by Made in Heights. The song is so amazing that I will probably read another Murakami. He is pretty hip, lighthearted, mystical and palatable. Can't imagine him becoming my favorite author, but that is not necessary. The books are reasonably fun.

    What does Rupert Degas bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Degas fills the performance with a ton of personality. Some may wish to imagine the characters by themselves, but I was not that precious about it. It's a long story with a somewhat plodding sometimes stretched plot that is rendered much more enjoyable and interesting by the narrator.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    There are many movies in this book.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • 1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Gavin Menzies
    • Narrated By Simon Vance

    Gavin Menzies presents astonishing new evidence that it was Chinese advances in science, art, and technology that set the European Renaissance ablaze.

    In 1434, a large Chinese fleet arrived in Tuscany. Official ambassadors of the Chinese Emperor met with Pope Eugenius IV and shared a wealth of Chinese knowledge, including world maps (which were later given to Columbus), astronomy, mathematics, art, printing, architecture, civil engineering, military machines, surveying cartography, and genetics. This gift of knowledge sparked the inventiveness of the Renaissance - Da Vinci's inventions, the Copernican revolution, Galileo's discoveries, and much more.

    George says: "Interesting but its very bad history"

    I constantly had a feeling that this book is somehow just Chinese propaganda. It's not really history, but conjecture. Highly implausible at that. But stitched together by a narrative of glorification of China. Shoddy history, boring fiction.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Susan Wise Bauer
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    From the schism between Rome and Constantinople to the rise of the T'ang Dynasty, from the birth of Muhammad to the crowning of Charlemagne, this erudite book tells the fascinating, often violent story of kings, generals, and the peoples they ruled.

    Chi-Hung says: "Balanced"
    "A shallow and unoriginal summary"

    A history of a "world" will necessarily be closer to highlights than in-depth exploration, and this work certainly is the former. However, one would expect this "summary" to reveal some overarching vision of history, shape common themes and make a point. Executive summary this is not. Its more like a homeschooling textbook (S.W. Bauer is a homeschooling guru of some sort) - it crams the work of others into uninspired narrative.

    OK as an introduction to the themes for someone who needs to be familiar with basic sequences of European, Asian and American societies in the middle ages. Not OK for someone looking for any sort of original vision of, or historical theory for, understanding the World as a whole at the time, which would be helpful in dealing with the unified world of today.

    Should have been called Summaries of Histories of Societies Functioning on Planet Earth c 400 - c 1300, The Homeschooling Edition.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Christopher Hitchens

    Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a socialist opposed to the war in Vietnam and a supporter of the U.S. war against Islamic extremism in Iraq. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature.

    Laura says: "Truth, the whole truth and nothing but."
    "Pretty vines that crawl upon a rotten tree"

    If there were a court for intellectual bankrupts that resolved their insolvency, Hitch-22 would serve as the author’s restructuring plan.

    While this work begins with a fearless confrontation of his impending demise, it deteriorates into an apologetic liquidation of the author’s political principles - the sole convertible currency for a public intellectual. Rather than a complete eradication of his canon, only unfashionable and inconvenient elements are rejected. Thus goes the Trotsky-inspired export-centered revolutionary agitation of international socialism; the struggle for workers' happiness just fades away. The bankrupt emerges intact with love of traveling to international conflicts, preferably in locations where international liberalism is seeking to establish new colonies, or as they are properly called - "democracies". The battery of excuses employed for the completely unnecessary explanation of this personal revolution begins to feel cloying, especially as they are interspersed more and more among boasts, veiled in that peculiar mix of humility and style that is issued by the pound to every British subject and by the ton to every Oxbridge one. At the end only a shadow of an intellectual remains and we discover that all along Hitchens has been riding on the comfortable conceptual rails of empire that he imbibed with mother's milk on a British naval base, as that empire was beginning to witness it's inglorious sunset. Conveniently, another English-speaking empire was rising and Hitchens made the jump across the pond to the fresh American lily pad.

    As Hitchens details his failed ambition of being a public intellectual, he firmly establishes himself as a perfectly capable wit with a tremendously entertaining grab-bag of anecdotes and experiences. His observations are feeble, but he had good company and benefited greatly from it. Plus his language is something to be admired, if not adored. Regrettably, the pretty vines crawl upon a rotten tree.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Cosmopolis

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Don DeLillo
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It is an April day in the year 2000 and an era is about to end, those booming times of market optimism when the culture boiled with money and corporations seemed more vital and influential than governments.

    Alnia Perpoz says: "My favorite book"
    "My favorite book"

    I agree with the previous reviewer that this book is read perfectly. And the book itself, while concise, is brilliant in its erudition, the poetry of the voice and the sustained mood.

    DD loves language. Sometimes his books amaze with the shear volume of beautiful language. This novel is one-breath poem in prose. Inspired.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Life

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Jay McInerney
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Posed with astonishing understanding and compassion, these questions power a novel rich with characters and events, both comic and harrowing, revelatory about not only New York after the attacks but also the toll taken on those lucky enough to have survived them. Wise, surprising, and, ultimately, heart-stoppingly redemptive, The Good Life captures lives that allow us to see, through personal, social, and moral complexity, more clearly into the heart of things.

    Scott says: "The Bridges of Why Am I Reading This Crap"
    "The ending is "To die...""

    Witty and insightful, with the hand on the pulse of current NYC culture, this novel is attractive for its portraits of NYC middle and upper classes.

    After 9/11, America (for a short time) fell in love with its rich, alongside its firefighters and police officers. Sex was another prominent response to the tragedy. This book explores both in a compelling way.

    The plot is borrowed from a vacation romance novel - rich boy, poor girl fall in love while on a break from their regular life. The dramatic tension comes from their realization that the state is temporary. Shmear a layer of 9/11 on it and voula - you got The Good Life. Inane.

    But the intelligence of cultural observations and penetration of emotional complexity hangs enough meat on the plot to make it a very palatable read. And the ending is to die...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Ross King
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar

    In 1508, despite strong advice to the contrary, the powerful Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo Buonarroti to paint the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine Chapel in Rome. During the four extraordinary years that Michelangelo spent laboring over the ceiling, power politics and personal rivalries swirled around him. He battled ill health, financial and family difficulties, inadequate knowledge of the art of fresco, and the Pope's impatience - a history that is more compelling than most novels.

    Anne says: "History brought to life!"
    "Ok book, very accessible. Narrator is mismatched"

    The book is a good essay on the chapel project with in depth coverage of the work itself, Michelangelo's personal life as well as interesting digressions on contemporary events.

    I got this book because I really (!) liked "Judgment of Paris" and like this one less. For one it is the earlier of the two and the rivalry plot is not as well fleshed out. The other because the narrator is mismatched with the text. I heard him read a XIX c. sailing memoir and his swagger was appropriate. But it brings an odd note of infantilism to this work. Anyway, the narrator is not that big of a deal in any case.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Historian

    • ABRIDGED (11 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Kostova
    • Narrated By Joanne Whalley, Martin Jarvis, Dennis Boutsikaris, and others

    Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor", and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of: a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.

    John S. Atherton says: "I give the book a five but I won't buy it..."
    "Weird title for a vampire book"

    I got this book on a recommendation of a well-read friend who knows I am into history. Of course, history has a tenuous connection to the book as it is mainly a mystery-detective story-chase that is tainted by historical context.

    However, the book is remarkable for good insight into Balkan and Slav history and culture as well as being perfectly on point about the intellectual culture of behind the Iron Curtain.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Humboldt's Gift

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Saul Bellow
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt

    Fran Pearson says: "Even better the second time around"
    "An enjoyable male fantasy with 70'es flavors"

    The narrative captures the thought process of a commercially successful intellectual as he manages to balance his otherworldly intellectual pursuit with an onslaught of real, vulgar life. He manages to do it with flashes of dignity and exceptionally good humor and wit. The voice is honest and (often) politically incorrect: thoroughly and honestly male.

    Bellow has an heavy-weight cast of well-developed characters and a facility with many then contemporary topics that is at times breathtaking, humorous, but always witty and moving. His irony is refined.

    The narrating performance is excellent, capturing the characters and adding a dimension to dialogue with inflection that captures the imagination.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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