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Madison, WI, United States | Member Since 2013

  • 9 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 450 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2015

  • The God Delusion

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    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' Case for Intelligent Design"

    An atheist suggested the book to debunk God. I found it made a better case for Intelligent Design. First, he summed up the origin of life as a billion to one chance with the emergence of the ameba. After that, Natural Selection took over and the rest was evolutioning history. What is Natural Selection? It is the tendency of simple life forms to evolve into more complex life forms. That is how the lowly ameba became a tiger, a tiger a chimpanzee, and a chimpanzee a man. Somewhere, too, that same ameba became a plant, then a tree, and then a tomato. How this happened despite the laws of physics, and biology is not mentioned. Second, Dawkins tells us the opinions of past and recent politicians, scientists, philosophers, comedians, etc., about their views of God. Dawkins needs to ask him self, so what? If God exists does it matter what mortals think? Third, Dawkins explains how cultural heritage is passed on from generation to generation through what he calls memes. Unlike genes that are found in our DNA, memes have no physical properties; they are like mental extensions that give us uniquely human traits such as our emotions, our intelligence, our skills, and our beliefs. Things that separate us from our animal ancestors. Does Dawkins mention how one generation teaches future generations? Finally, Dawkins makes a startling revelation about Quantum Mechanics. He tells us that QM is so complex and confusing that we mortals can neither understand it nor even comprehend how it operates in the cosmos. But it works! And yet we are supposed to believe it came about by random chance. Or maybe, the physical world has the same Natural Selection process: simple matter become complex matter and also initiates physical laws. Sounds more like Intelligent Design.

    1 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • One Fearful Yellow Eye: A Travis McGee Novel, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By John D. MacDonald
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    How to you extort $600,000 from a dying man? Someone had done it very quietly and skilfully to the husband of Travis McGee's ex-girlfriend. McGee flies to Chicago to help untangle the mess and discovers that, although Dr. Fortner Geis had led an exemplary life, there were those who'd take advantage of one "indiscretion" and bring down the whole family. McGee also discovers he likes a few members of the family far too much to let that happen....

    Constance says: "It seems over but then it gets REALLY interesting!"
    "Just the Best!"
    Where does One Fearful Yellow Eye rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    MacDonald's stories are complex yet rather easy to follow and very entertaining. The author has that rare talent for lulling the reader into thinking the story is over but then springs a real shocker at the end.

    What did you like best about this story?

    Aside from a terrific and entertaining plot, MacDonald inserts his own philosophy about people that brings life and vitality to the story. And even though the books were written in the 1960s, his world views seem very contemporary.

    What about Robert Petkoff’s performance did you like?

    Robert Petkoff could read the dictionary and make it sound exciting. When he changes voices to reflect the many and varied characters you think that there must be more than just Petkoff speaking. And, unlike some narrators, Robert doesn't sound like he's reading. Travis McGee becomes real, the characters become real, and the story becomes real. And all the while someone is telling this crasy story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Daemon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can't always be said for the people who design them.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Really Fast Paced Sci Fi!"
    "Debauchery Alert!"

    About 30 minutes into this book we hear the main character sexually exploiting a teenage girl in the most despicable, depraved and unspeakable way. If I were this girl’s father I would shot the kneecaps off of this guy, wait as he suffers, then drive a dull wooden stake into his heart. Sorry, I didn’t bother with rest of the book. I turned it off and deleted it from my computer. I then washed my hands. Call me a prude, I don't care. I'll listen to something that's truely entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Benjamin Wiker
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    You've heard of the "Great Books"? These are their evil opposites. From Machiavelli's The Prince to Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto to Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, these "influential" books have led to war, genocide, totalitarian oppression, family breakdown, and disastrous social experiments. And yet these authors' bad ideas are still popular and pervasive. Here with the antidote is Professor Benjamin Wiker.

    Aaron says: "Some merit, but more religious masquerade"
    "Pseudo science exposed"

    Was Wiker's book preachy? Yes, if you're ideology is one of pseudo-science, and you want the world to think your personal deviant cravings are normal. Wiker's book is an incredible expose of some of the most famous personalities in history who, through their pseudo-scientific research, helped shape and influence hordes of na?ve followers into not only believing their false ideas but also empowering these same followers into perpetrating unspeakable horrors on innocent members of humanity. I think his book should be included in high school English literature classes. I highly recommend it to people of all faiths; even the atheist whose religious faith is based on no God.

    10 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • The Conscience of a Liberal

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Paul Krugman
    • Narrated By Jason Culp

    America emerged from Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal with strong democratic values and broadly shared prosperity. But for the past 30 years, American politics has been dominated by a conservative movement determined to undermine the New Deal's achievements. Now, the tide may be turning, and in The Conscience of a Liberal Paul Krugman, the world's most widely read economist and one of its most influential political commentators, charts the way to reform.

    carl801 says: "Great Book!!!"
    "Independent thinkers must hear Krugman"

    Have you ever disagreed with a liberal? If you have, and have wondered why they don't listen, don't respond to your questions, or simply refuse to give you eye-contact, you must listen to this book to understand why.

    Paul Krugman's book shouldn't be called "Conscience of a Liberal" it should be called "Why Movement Conservatives are Nasty People".

    I teach economics and this review will not attempt to dispute any of Krugman's unscientific conclusions. Krugman the philosopher - not the economist - wrote this book. He recites some magazine article that someone wrote decades ago and then tells us what that writer meant, and how "code-words" were used to communicate devious messages. Sorry, I didn't get my de-coder ring that year so I didn't get those messages. And, of course, anyone remotely attached to that person is stereotyped as a nasty Movement Conservative.

    For example, a decade or so ago some religious figure said something about a "Christian" government. That obviously means all Christians want a Christian Theocracy. How ridiculous. Another example is Krugman's assertion that the U.S.A. does not reward hard work nor does it offer equal opportunity. How does he justify this conclusion? He found that in 1988 eight graders were given a math test. Those who scored in the top quartile in math somehow didn't do as well as those whose parents were in the top quartile of income. Wow, that's certainly conclusive. Tell that to Warren Buffett, or just about any baseball, basketball, or football player, entertainer, or small business owner.

    If you met a liberal and he/she thinks you're not a walking, talking clone of Paul Krugman, he/she will immediately stereotype you as a nasty person who isn't worthy of attention. Sorry, that's what I got out of this book.

    21 of 67 people found this review helpful
  • Shanks for Nothing

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Rick Reilly
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye

    Life is going pretty well for Raymond "Stick" Hart. He's happily married to the former Ponkaquogue Municipal Golf Club assistant pro, the beauteous Cajun firecracker Dannie, raising his rambunctious son, Charlie, and getting by writing smart-mouthed greeting cards for 50 bucks a pop. Then, one disaster of a day, Stick's world does a 10-car pile-up. Luckily, Stick has a solution to all his problems. He'll qualify for the British Open.

    Raymond says: "Better than Caddyshack"
    "Better than Caddyshack"

    Rick Reilly’s Shanks for Nothing is a fast paced, uproariously funny masterpiece that will crack the staunchest funny bone. And Stephen Hoye is the perfect narrator to bring the main characters to life (Stick, Two-Down, Dom, Resource, Blind Bob, Hoover, the Stain, and the rest of the “chops”) as they plot to keep the snobby Mayflower from taking over their precious but dilapidated Ponky municipal golf course.

    The meandering vignettes that steer the chops through high stakes golf bets with Mob gamblers, a prison golf course where inmate Resource Jones plans and executes the perfect escape, only to be foiled by his own golf passions, and the overseas trip to qualify for the British Open where Stick meets Sponge, and the Royal and Ancient aristocrats.

    If Bill Murray ever read this book he would undoubtedly make it into a movie. Murray would be great at playing Stick’s caddy.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The First Americans: Prehistory - 1600, A History of US, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Joy Hakim
    • Narrated By Christina Moore

    Thousands of years, way before Christopher Columbus set sail, wandering tribes of hunters made their way from Asia across the Bering land bridge to North America. They didn't know it, but they had discovered a New World. The First Americans is a fascinating re-creation of pre-Columbian Native American life, and it's an adventure of a lifetime!

    Alice says: "Target Audience"
    "Hakim a Joy to Read/Listen"

    Another reviewer said that Hakim's history series (10 books) are for kids. True, but her books are also for adults who are not Ph.D. historians - that means just about everyone.

    A great read - a great listen. Hakim has a way of making the various periods of history come alive like the best soap operas on TV. Tantalizing looks are the warts and all of the historical figures that shaped our past. Highly recommend Hakim for "kids" of all ages.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Fight: Why Liberals, and Only Liberals, Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Peter Beinart
    • Narrated By David Slavin

    Once upon a time, liberals knew what they believed. They believed America must lead the world by persuasion, not command. And they believed that by championing freedom overseas, America itself could become more free. That liberal spirit won America's trust at the dawn of the cold war. Then it collapsed in the wake of Vietnam. Now, after 9/11, and the failed presidency of George W. Bush, America needs it back.

    Adam says: "Very good book"
    "Sophistry at its best"

    Peter Beinart makes a persuasive case for getting today's liberals in touch with the realities of the world, namely that global terrorism is the real enemy of our liberty, not George W. Bush.

    Nonetheless, Beinart just can't help himself but make Bush the "evil" one throughout most of his discourse.

    But the most revealing passage of Beinart's research is found on page 187:

    "...the Center for American Progress and the Century Foundation asked self-described liberals and conservatives to rate their top two foreign policy goals. Conservatives were 26 points more likely to mention denying nuclear weapons to hostile groups or nations, and 24 points more likely to mention capturing Osma bin Laden. In fact, while conservatives, and Americans in general, cited destroying Al Qaeda as their highest priority overall, for liberals, it was tied for tenth."

    By Beinart's own research, liberals are out of touch with what the American people are worried about. I applaud Beinart's efforts to get liberals to address this vital issue but I doubt he'll have much success because even he can't seem to avoid making Bush his real target.

    I would recommend the book, however, as Beinart does make a compelling case for liberals to wake up to this reality if they ever want to win a national election again.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Vanished Man: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Jeffery Deaver
    • Narrated By Adam Grupper

    It begins at the prestigious music school in New York City. A killer flees the scene of a homicide and locks himself in a classroom. Within minutes, the police have him surrounded. When the scream rings out, followed by a gunshot, they break down the door. The room is empty...and it's up to Lincoln Rhyme to find the man dubbed "the conjurer".

    Richard J. Riker says: "Truly a terrible book."
    "Narration makes this book highly entertaining"

    A previous reviewer was critical of this book because of its abridgement. I can only say that I appreciate the abridging process because I don't like 10 hour length books.

    That said, the complicated story probably could have used more explaination and background for the first time listener to a Lincoln Rhyme book. But because I have read - not listened too - previous Rhyme books, I didn't need the background. But the plot twists were quite abrupt and could have used a few more seques.

    Still, I rated the book high because the narrator did such an outstanding job. I've listened to quite a few books and heard a wide variety of narrators and I rate Joe Mantegna and Judy Kate the highest. But listening to Adam Grupper is like listening to an old fashioned radio show with each character being read by an actor or actress. He's really amazing and he breathed such life and vitality into the story that just listening to him was a treat.

    The story is complicated and, yes, the plot twists were abrupt but the narration alone makes this Deaver tale a wonderful piece of entertainment. I highly recommend The Vanished Man.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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