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R. Whitten


Los Angeles, CA USA | Listener Since 2000


  • Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, David L. Weaver-Zercher
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The remarkable response of the Amish Community to the horrific shooting of 10 schoolgirls at Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania in October 2006 stunned the larger world. Amish Grace tells the incredible story of this community's reaction to the senseless shooting and explores its profoundly countercultural practice of forgiveness.

    Sara says: "I wish I could un-hear this book"
    "Turned heartbreak into hope for me"

    This book works at two levels. First, it's a very helpful book in understanding who the Amish are and why they do things so differently. Very few people live their lives as in tune with their faith as the Amish do.

    Second, of course, is the tragedy of the schoolhouse shooting. I don't think I'll ever understand that. But the horror turned to incredible outpouring of grace from those who lost loved ones in this. This was utterly shocking to the world, because it seems so much against our "human nature". This book digs down deep into what it means to be Amish, and how and why their natural response was so forgiving and loving. It stands as a challenge to me to examine my faith and ask why that faith does not inform my actions more. I think it also asks the question larger -- how can we create a more loving and supporting community?

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • War and Peace (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By Full Cast

    A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation features a star cast including Leo McKern, Simon Russell Beale, Emily Mortimer, and Nicola Pagett, and over two hours of specially composed music.

    R. Whitten says: "Enjoyed this story and this presentation"
    "Enjoyed this story and this presentation"

    This was a very good production of this story. The book is long and arduous -- so much the term "War and Peace" has become a shorthand for saying something is excessively long and difficult to get through.

    But, this dramatized version was enjoyable. The story has a great sweep of history with it, and has well-drawn characters who reflect internally about what they see in this world. I became very interested in the happenings of each character.

    I did experience the same problem I have with most movies -- the sound effects and sound sometimes cause me to lose the conversation. But that's because these old ears heard too much rock and roll when I was younger. Also, there were so many characters I had a hard time keeping them straight. Fortunately, Wikipedia has a chart online that shows the characters and how they are related to one another.

    I think if you want to know the story and characters of War and Peace, this may be a good choice. It's easy listening, and CONSIDERABLY shorter than the novel being read. I don't know if this is due to trimming out scenes, or if dramatizing naturally shortens it. In any case, I recommend it.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Anne Rice
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 2005, Anne Rice startled her readers with her novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, and by revealing that, after years as an atheist, she had returned to her Catholic faith. And now, in her powerful and haunting memoir, Rice tells the story of the spiritual transformation that produced a complete change in her literary goals.

    R. Whitten says: "Fascinating Journey away from and back to faith"
    "Fascinating Journey away from and back to faith"

    I knew of Anne Rice as a writer of dark fiction, and not well. I don't know if I ever read one of her books. When I started seeing her books about Jesus, I was skeptical that it was a "hack job" alternative view to the Jesus revealed in the Gospels. I cynically assumed that she was hitching her cart to the revisionist movement made popular with The Davinci Code.

    But, I saw some encouraging reviews, so I gave the first novel (Out of Egypt) a try. I enjoyed that novel, and was surprised that she gave a treatment that is true to the Gospel accounts and also to the other facts we know about Jesus. There was an appendix in the book that gave a little of her faith journey, which I found fascinating.

    This book takes that and expands and deepens the story of her faith, from when she was a devout little girl through the loss of her faith completely for years, to her finding her way back to her faith and her Jesus. Some additional details of how she does her work as an author were also very intriguing.

    If there is a small negative, it is an odd thing to say -- she seems too concerned about telling the whole truth some times. Maybe a person who has written this much fiction feels that they need to be careful not to gloss things, or to
    improve the story with each retelling. Or maybe that level of detail is just part of her style. Or maybe she felt that the true story of her faith is about truth, and so much be treated with divine respect for the truth.

    That said, I found this story compelling -- with both the kind of things that seem like they would destroy faith mixed with some "murmurs" from God that lead to faith. I often recommend this book.

    25 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • The Tale of Two Sons: The Inside Story of a Father, His Sons, and a Shocking Murder

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By John MacArthur
    • Narrated By John MacArthur

    Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus told a simple parable about a family...a father and his two sons. It was a story of rebellion, repentance, and unfathomable grace. The Parable of the Prodigal Son still stands out as a crucial lesson about our struggle with sin and dependence on divine salvation. But there is a part of this story that often goes untold. It's a message you need to hear.

    Jason says: "Good, not great"
    "Great Story ... Great book about this story."

    When this book came along, my favorite of Jesus' parables, which is so overflowing with grace, acceptance, and forgiveness, I wanted to hear what this book had to say. This story seems like it is contrast to some of the emphasis that has come from John MacArthur.

    This book portrays this story for what it is -- an almost unbelievable scandal in its day. The actions of the son are the actions of a scoundrel, deserving endless punishment. While terrible, we know this young man -- he wants it now, and doesn't care how cruel he is to his father to get it.

    But the real scandal is the father -- his love and forgiveness is unexpected, undeserved, and not fair. He should punish this son -- not restore him, and certainly not celebrate him. The older son understands this, which is why he refuses to enter into celebration.

    This book shows the context and plain meaning of the parable -- and how this story, which seems sweet and touching to us, was the kind of thing that Jesus said that caused the religious leaders to have him executed.

    I did find a few things to disagree about -- this may say more about my critical attitude than any real issues. But this story of redemption shines brightly through the lens of John MacArthur's pen, who sometimes seems to me too narrow in his thinking and somewhat harsh.

    I am surprised and overjoyed to say that I can unreservedly recommend this book to any one who trusts Jesus or is curious about what he taught. This story captures the heart of of his ministry, and this book opens it up to the modern reader. A beautiful story even without the background and explanation of the original text -- it becomes a rich study in how God chooses to relate to the world, and his sadness when his joy is rejected by the religious.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wind

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jan DeBlieu
    • Narrated By Mary Woods

    Siroccos, Santa Anas, chinooks, monsoons...the wind has as many names as moods. Few other forces have so universally shaped the lands and waters of the earth, the plants and animals, the patterns of exploration, settlement, and civilization. Few other phenomena have exerted such a profound influence on the history and psyche of humankind. Wind touches all of us every day of our lives, yet remarkably little has been written about it except as a component of the weather.

    Chris says: "Painful"
    "OK, some interesting stuff, but not enough"

    This felt like part travel log, part science book. I learned some stuff, but it seemed a bit long for this. If you're really interested in the topic, I'd say go for it. But, it's not like some books that I tell friends about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Walking with God: Talk to Him. Hear from Him. Really.

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 1 min)
    • By John Eldredge
    • Narrated By John Eldredge

    We have a lot to sort through on any given day. A whole lot to navigate over the course of a week or a month. All day long we are making choices. How do we know what to do?

    We have two options.

    We can trudge through on our own, doing our best to figure it all out. Or, we can walk with God - as in, learn to hear his voice. Really. He offers to speak to us and guide us. Every day. It is an incredible offer. To accept that offer is to enter into an adventure filled with joy and risk, transformation and breakthrough. And more clarity than we ever thought possible.

    Robert says: "Hit the mark"
    "Challenging book"

    I found this book very challenging -- which is what I expect and want from a John Eldredge book. I can't say I'm totally swayed to this way of thinking (that is, I guess, mystically or something), but I definitely feel that he has given me something to think about. I'm less convinced about "spiritual warfare", and what he calls "agreements" (negative ways of thinking that people are tricked into by the "enemy"), though I see some truth in that. I guess more importantly, he has given me something to discuss with the one I call "Lord", and has given me some tools to do that with.

    Since I have heard criticism of Eldredge that he plays loose with scripture, I was pleased to find liberal quotations that seem very much in context. Some go beyond what I would interpret, but in some cases, I found my self saying "yeah, that makes sense."

    I would recommend this book only to those that feel they can really carefully determine what if anything they should apply to their life. It is not a "first" book for a believer, and especially not for an unbeliever. In fact, it's not even a 2nd or 3rd book, I think. But, for someone looking to go deeper into the spirituality of following the way of Jesus, this is one way to start. There's a lot of classics out there that one could go to as well -- but if you like hunting, fishing, rock climbing, etc., this may be your best bet.

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Obsessed

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Ted Dekker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Stephen Friedman is just inches away from everything he could ever desire. It's Los Angeles in the early 70s, and Friedman is living the groovy southern California life of a real-estate wheeler dealer. He's making money hand-over-fist and has long given up hope of finding the family he's lost in worn-torn Poland. But when a deceased woman's papers reveal that she possessed a priceless religious relic, and that she may have been his mother, Stephen becomes hungry for answers. A hunger that may kill him.

    Patricia says: "Wonderful except ..."
    "Taut thriller"

    Very unrelentingly high-strung thriller, I liked it a lot. Makes an interesting point about obsession, which seems like a bad thing, until you finish this. Interesting points on faith and evil. Consistently pulls back from magical/spooky stuff (though the evil is scary haunting). Reader was good, easy to understand (but, obviously not from LA, or he'd know how to pronounce "Brea"). Recommend if you like contrast between black & white, and can stand a constant sense of impending disaster and hopeless situations. If you haven't read the Red/Black/White triolgy of Ted Dekker's, you should. This is not quite that level, but it's pretty darn good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael J. Behe
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In a tour de force of science and logic, the best-selling author of Darwin's Black Box combines genetics, laboratory results, and mathematics to prove, once and for all, that the universe and life on Earth are designed.

    Doug D. Eigsti says: "Malaria Anyone?"
    "scientific and worshipful experience"

    I liked this book. Reader was perfect. I have a technical background, and what I didn't hear (but usually do in such a book) was some howler of a mispronunciation or complete mis-understanding of text ending up with wrong emphasis. The book is persuasive, though it has a bit of a blind spot: yes, it is impossible to see that a particularly complex design happened by chance, but I'm didn't hear any calculation of how SOME design that solved the problem was possible by random mutation. But, still, looking below the gross anatomy level to the biochemical level makes it hard to see how there was enough time to come up with the complexity that we see in the world.
    This book makes a distinction between evolution and common descent. It firmly agrees with the 2nd, but also with evolution, but with limits.
    I'd recommend both this book and "The Language of God" for those who are willing to dig deep into a science book. I find doing so a worshipful experience, and all the more so if the writer is a believer.

    20 of 75 people found this review helpful
  • House

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker
    • Narrated By Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker

    From the minds of multi-million selling suspense authors Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker comes House, an epic supernatural thriller that gives a new meaning to the phrase "haunted house". In rural Alabama, two couples find themselves in a fight for survival. Running from a maniac bent on killing them, they flee deep into the woods. They seek refuge in an old house that's been vacated for years, or so they think.

    Amazon Customer says: "Very confusing"

    I really wanted to like this book, because I really like other Ted Dekker books I've listened to, and I've know a lot of people with a lot of good to say about Frank Peretti.

    But, alas, it was way to complex for me to follow, and though abridged took too long to get to the "punchline" about faith. I think it would make a better movie than book -- I had a hard time understanding the "visuals" of who was doing what when. I also found the "voice" of one character unrelentingly grating to body and soul, partly from the narrator's intentional irritating voice, and partially her constantly blaming of others.

    It did have an interesting concept, and some pretty inventive ideas. I can see it being a narrative of faith -- again, could be a pretty good movie.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
    • Narrated By Stephen J. Dubner

    Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime?

    Shane R Massey says: "What it's really about"
    "I really liked this!"

    I caught a few minutes of interview about this on TV, then went to see if it was available on Audible.

    Liked it so much went out and bought a copy for my kid (18), who is interested in sociology. She could not put it down. We swapped our thoughts on what she read and I heard.

    Listening to a book like this can be tough -- it's hard to read aloud a table of info, and even harder to listen to it and understand it. Other than that, I really liked this -- makes you think about "conventional wisdom" a lot differently.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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