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Philip

Kapelle, Netherlands | Member Since 2005

133
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 32 reviews
  • 147 ratings
  • 171 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2014
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5

  • SmartPass Plus Audio Education Study Guide to King Lear (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Mike Reeves
    • Narrated By Joan Walker, Terrence Hardiman, Lucy Robinson
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (24)

    Here is the multi award-winning SmartPass study guide with and without commentary options. This is a full-cast, unabridged performance, with comprehensive commentary and analysis, enabling students to fully understand and appreciate the play. Judge for yourself whether Lear is "a man more sinned against than sinning" in this moral tale that pits wisdom and age against ambition and youth. Experience and examine the power of Shakespeare's most cruel and violent tragedy.

    Philip says: "Excellent guide to a Great Play"
    "Excellent guide to a Great Play"
    Overall

    After having thoroughly enjoyed the SmartPass Guide to MacBeth, I have now listened to King Lear as well. A much longer play, with a lot of complexity. The commentary version goes through the play in great detail. At some points, the play is significantly slowed down by it. However, once you listen to the full unabridged play without commentary afterwards, you can easily follow the main plot and all subplots, and you will start to appreciate the SmartPass help you received earlier on. King Lear is truly a Great Play by Shakespeare, it touches on many profound human emotions. The one element that annoyed me is the great emphasis on insanity (the Fool, Porton) which I think was "overdone". I personally favour MacBeth over King Lear. Looking forward to the next SmartPass Shakespeare play, probably I will go through Hamlet.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Sweet Tooth

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (105)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (92)

    Serena Frome, the beautiful daughter of an Anglican bishop, has a brief affair with an older man during her final year at Cambridge, and finds herself being groomed for the intelligence services. The year is 1972. Britain, confronting economic disaster, is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terrorism and faces its fifth state of emergency.

    Christopher says: "Superb and surprising"
    "Espionage - romance - literature - all in one!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ian McEwan is one of the most intelligent, sophisticated, and enthralling authors of our lifetime. If you have read or listened through any of his previous masterpieces like "Solar", "Amsterdam", "Enduring Love" or "Saturday", then you know (partially) what to expect, though each novel definitely has its very definite style, theme and twist. No "production line" or "template" approach with this author!

    "Sweet Tooth" is a tale around Serena Frome - her university years (studying mathematics, but with more of a passion for literature), her entrance into the UK Secret Service MI5, and the tale of her first big assignment in MI5: recruiting author Tom Haley (through a charity type setup) to write a novel promoting freedom of speech and providing a counterweight against communist/socialist novelists.

    "Sweet Tooth" is a celebration of literature, science, and love. I enjoyed the way it is crafted, with many "stories in a story" (Serena reading the short stories that Tom has written). Very, very cleverly done. An excellent representation of the 1970s Cold War environment.

    I strongly recommend this book, both for readers/listeners who try Ian McEwan for the first time, as well as his long-time fans!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Jonathan Weiner
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (83)

    Rosemary and Peter Grant and those assisting them have spend 20 years on Daphne Major, an island in the Galapagos, studying natural selection. They recognize each individual bird on the island, when there are 400 at the time of the author's visit or when there are over a thousand. They have observed about 20 generations of finches - continuously.Jonathan Weiner follows these scientists as they watch Darwin's finches and come up with a new understanding of life itself.

    Philip says: "Fascinating in-depth look at evolution in action"
    "Fascinating in-depth look at evolution in action"
    Overall

    A wonderful science/biology book that combines depth (the Galapagos finch study by Rosemary and Peter Grant) and breadth (impressive overview of Darwin's discoveries, and work by his scientific followers). Accessible to a non-biologist like me, while at the same time introducing many new concepts and insights from field studies. At times, the book seems to be written in a thriller style, with cliffhangers and plot turns that make you look forward to the next time you can spend time with this excellent book. Highly recommended.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Solar

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Roger Allam
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (26)

    Michael Beard is a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him. Trading on his reputation, he speaks for enormous fees, lends his name to the letterheads of renowned scientific institutions and half-heartedly heads a government-backed initiative tackling global warming. A compulsive womaniser, Beard finds his fifth marriage floundering. But this time it is different: she is having the affair, and he is still in love with her.

    Prue says: "Squeamishly entertaining"
    "One of the best Ian McEwan novels!"
    Overall

    "Solar" far exceeded my high expectations. I consider myself an experienced reader of McEwan's novels, having gone through the excellent "Amsterdam", "Enduring Love" and "Saturday". In my opinion, "Solar" is the best among this impressive peer group of novels. I might be prejudiced, as green technology is one of my areas of interest, but it is not just the excellent insights on technology that make this book truly Great. Professor Michael Beard's character is a dramatic one, at times reminding me of tragic Shakespearean protagonists.

    Beard is a man with a cognitive claim to fame (his Nobel Prize) that is quickly gathering dust, and who more than offsets this achievement by pretty much screwing up everything else in his life: obesity, lack of social intelligence, marriages and breakups, cover-ups of his vile deeds, general "untidyness", etc.

    As usual (he's done similar things in earlier novels), McEwan introduces a dramatic plot turn that is defining the rest of the novel. After that, the decay of Michael Beard seems to accelerate.

    A great novel with a nice structure incorporating flashbacks, well narrated in the audiobook version, and ending with an insightful interview with the author.

    I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Stillness Speaks

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Eckhart Tolle
    • Narrated By Eckhart Tolle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (453)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (128)

    This long-awaited second book by renowned spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle goes deeper into the teachings so eloquently and clearly expressed in his first book, The Power of Now.

    A User says: "Brilliant"
    "This is how a book on spirituality should be"
    Overall

    Listening to "Stillness Speaks", written and narrated by Eckhart Tolle was a wonderful experience. This audiobook actually gives you the chance to contemplate the key learnings in real time, by introducing the much needed silence during the audiobook. I needed to get used to that for a bit, but then found it to be an excellent way to "absorb" this book. Eckhart Tolle would probably tell me I still used too much cognitive reasoning instead of just "being", but hey, I am making progress. :-)

    There are so many profound insights in this book, you have to listen to it for yourself. Multiple times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Letting Go of God

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Julia Sweeney
    • Narrated By Julia Sweeney
    Overall
    (1481)
    Performance
    (381)
    Story
    (381)

    Julia Sweeney says she was a "happy Catholic girl" when, one day, she walked into church and signed up for a Bible-study course. "What an eye opener that was!" she says. Equally comedic and insightful, Letting Go of God is Sweeney's brilliant one-woman show about her struggle with her faith.

    Mark says: "A Brilliant Personal Journey of Discovery"
    "Humourous account of a great journey"
    Overall

    Julia Sweeney shares the account of her search for meaning, religion and spirituality. She puts into words what many of us must have been thinking about for a long time. Humourous and well researched. She shares some very personal and profound thoughts. Highly recommended, a good companion recording to Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion", though Dawkins does a better job at explaning Darwin's insights, however that is only a minor point in the grand scheme of things.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By John Eldredge
    • Narrated By Kelly Dolan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (703)
    Performance
    (219)
    Story
    (219)

    Every man was once a boy. And every little boy has dreams, big dreams: dreams of being the hero, of beating the bad guys, of doing daring feats and rescuing the damsel in distress. Every little girl has dreams, too: of being rescued by her prince and swept up into a great adventure, knowing that she is the beauty.

    Michael says: "Healing & Understanding"
    "Spirituality mistaken for Christianity"
    Overall

    This book was written for "men who want to be better, church-going Christians" and "men who lost their sense of masculinity" (quotes from the author), or preferably both. I do not count myself to be either.

    John Eldredge holds the mistaken belief that Spirituality equals Christianity. In my view, that is not necessarily the case. John quotes extensively from the Bible, to a level that he is overshooting his target. I would not have minded a biblical quote here and there, as there are many learnings to be found in the Bible, but John is overdoing it.

    I very much support the basic premise of the book that men seek battles, need adventure, and a beauty to rescue. John explains this enthusiastically in about 20 minutes. After that, it is just biblical quote after biblical quote and "open door" examples. I gave up after 71 minutes.

    I would have given him 4 points out of 5 if John Eldredge would have set a more appropriate context. He could very well have used Darwin's insights on evolution to explain male behaviour, in addition to his biblical perspective.

    Of all the great audiobooks that I purchase through Audible, this was one of the rare disappointments.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • New York: The Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Edward Rutherfurd
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    Overall
    (743)
    Performance
    (366)
    Story
    (366)

    New York is the book that millions of Rutherfurd's American fans have been waiting for. A brilliant mix of romance, war, family drama, and personal triumphs, it gloriously captures the search for freedom and prosperity at the heart of our nation's history.

    Chuck says: "Stunning"
    "Rutherfurd makes history come alive"
    Overall

    New York, the novel, is a masterpiece. It provides a very good overview of key historical periods and events of this great city. Prior to listening to this audiobook, I knew some of New York's history, but I have learned so much more now. Edward Rutherfurd has done a great job researching, and translating it into enjoyable stories. The book has a wide appeal, it discusses historical events, as well as architecture, art, trade, political, and society aspects of life. The characters are well developed, and I emphatized with most of them. Contrary to earlier works by Edward Rutherfurd (London, Sarum), there are no true villains in "New York", which is no judgment either positive or negative, but more a sign of Rutherfurd's style development. Narration of the novel is fine as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The God Delusion

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4181)
    Performance
    (1598)
    Story
    (1580)

    Discover magazine recently called Richard Dawkins "Darwin's Rottweiler" for his fierce and effective defense of evolution. Prospect magazine voted him among the top three public intellectuals in the world (along with Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky). Now Dawkins turns his considerable intellect on religion, denouncing its faulty logic and the suffering it causes.

    Rick Just says: "Dangerous Religion"
    "Dawkins provides an alternative perspective"
    Overall

    "The God Delusion" is a thought-provoking book. It provides alternative perspectives on some of the key questions in life. Don't expect a complete new theory on the history, the universe and everything, but rather a big collection of non-traditional thoughts. I am happy to be living in a fairly secular country with only a fairly small group of "Christian Taliban". Still, Dawkins raises some very good points that are relevant in many of today's societies. A book worth listening to.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Vanished

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Joseph Finder
    • Narrated By Holter Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (821)
    Performance
    (317)
    Story
    (318)

    Nick Heller is tough, smart, and stubborn. And in his line of work, it's essential. Trained in the Special Forces, Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator - exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden. He's a guy you don't want to mess with. He's also the man you call when you need a problem fixed. Desperate, with nowhere else to run, Nick's nephew, Gabe makes that call one night.

    Earl says: "Excellent weaving and unexpected"
    "Great business/espionage thriller"
    Overall

    I love Joseph Finder's books. "Vanished" is a very good one, in my opinion it is better than the previous one "Power Play", but not as good as "Paranoia". The main character Nick Heller has been very well developed. Nick has a clear opinion about things, has humour, and is generally a likeable guy. Nick scored some bonus points with me for listening to Johnny Cash' version of "Hurt" in the car during a drive. Joseph Finder is in tune with today's business environment, and blends in some nice anecdotes in "Vanished": a conspiracy theory on Enron, the impact of the new President in the USA, a cleverly disguised story around a scandal that in real life involved a key official of the Formula One association. The reason I did not award a 5/5, but only a 4/5, is in the lack of credibility in the business rationale/structuring of the corporate scam that is uncovered, as well as the unrealistic "superpowers" that Nick has in some of the scenes. Other than that, a very enjoyable book that I liked listening to.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Illusion of Limitation: The Liberation of Self

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Guy Finley
    • Narrated By Guy Finley
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (7)

    The core of your being, heart, mind, and body, holds within it a consciousness capable of realizing a world without limitations; a life unfettered by any fear, empowered by a Living Light, and renewed every day by timeless Love.

    glamazon says: "Disappointing"
    "The limitations of Guy Finley"
    Overall

    I have ambiguous feelings about "The Illusion of Limitation" by Guy Finley. Pros: Guy is providing a good mirror to look into for the listener, he enthusiastically delivers his talks, and has some great metaphors (the wizard "I-Mage", the "Ugly Stuckling"). Cons: he borrow heavily from Plato (Cave Metaphor) and Buddhism, but does not acknowledge these sources, he rambles and preaches too much in some sections, offers "the Light of Christ" as a way out when he gets stuck in his reasoning (I did not see the link with the main storyline), and has the ability to completely lose his audience at several points. In short, I am undecided. Not a waste of time, but I also do not find the urge to download another of Guy Finley's offerings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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