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  • The Art of Happiness

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Howard C. Cutler
    • Narrated By Howard C. Cutler

    The Dalai Lama will tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that "the very motion of our life is toward happiness." How to get there has always been the question. With the help of a psychiatrist, he now gets the message across in a context we can easily understand.

    Chris says: "very good listen"
    "very good listen"

    This was an introduction to buddhism for me--I bought it out of curiosity along with The Open Heart. The reviewer who says that the book wants us to see things through a psychoanalytic lens didn't listen very closely. Really what the book wants to do is find points of both divergence and commonality with psychology to help a Western reader understand some of what the Dalai Lama has to say. The psychologist (perhaps deliberately so) comes across as the naive party who has something to learn here.

    Although I had to struggle a little *not* to think of some of the principles as naive--I wish there were more philosophical depth in this rendering of Buddhism--I enjoyed listening to this book. It helps to know some of the background of the Dalai Lama's life and things he has suffered--this is in The Open Heart, which I also bought and enjoyed.

    The voice of the psychologist is a little annoying at times--listen to the excerpt and see if it will bother you.

    25 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • The Tombs of Atuan

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ursula K. Le Guin
    • Narrated By Gabrielle DeCuir, Ursula K. Le Guin

    Compex, innovative, and deeply moral, the Earthsea Cycle fantasy sequence has been compared to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and has helped make Ursula LeGuin one of the most distinguished fantasy and science fiction writers of all time.

    Chris says: "not conventional hack and slash"
    "not conventional hack and slash"

    I enjoyed this book--the series is written for young people, so the symbolism and descriptions are sometimes a little obvious, but the rhythms of LeGuin's prose are wonderful to listen to.

    The story is about a young priestess who has to cope with living in a world of women who serve the Dark Ones. She learns about herself when she learns her real name (LeGuin has a thing about names symbolizing essence). At a deeper level, it is about the structures of religious authority. Sparrowhawk from _A Wizard of Earthsea_ is one of her instructors.

    The reader, like Harlan Ellison in _A Wizard of Earthsea_, may be described some one who enjoys the sound of her own voice ;) --a little overly self-conscious.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By His Holiness the Dalai Lama
    • Narrated By Nicholas Vreeland
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When His Holiness the Dalai Lama came to New York City in 1999, he spoke simply and powerfully on the everyday Buddhist practice of compassion. An Open Heart lays out this course of meditation, from the simplest to the most challenging, describing the mental training techniques that will enable anyone of any faith to change their minds and open their hearts. Featuring an afterword by Richard Gere.

    Chris says: "I purchased _An Open Heart_,"
    "I purchased _An Open Heart_,"

    _Live in a Better Way_, _The Art of Happiness_, and _How to Practice_. And of the four, _Live in a Better Way_ and this one are my favourites.

    This is book is a little deeper than _The Art of Happiness_ (which struck me as a little superficial) and goes into more detail and into the particularities of the Buddhist meaning of suffering, dharma, and the purposes of meditation, among other things. I am not a Buddhist (am in fact very new to it), but I find these books very soothing to listen to. This also gives some background on the Dalai Lama's history and experience at the beginning.

    Some of this book is more explanation and analysis. Unlike _Live in a Better Way_, which focuses on compassion and the way we think about our experience and those we deal with, it gets a little esoteric, and I found myself wanting to read more about the philosophy and wanting more explanation of it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Middlemarch

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By George Eliot
    • Narrated By Carole Boyd

    Middlemarch is perhaps the finest novel in the English language. Set in a provincial town at the time of the Great Reform Bill in 1832, Eliot's novel is about the quest for both personal and political liberation and fulfilment, and centers on two remarkable individuals: the ardently idealistic Dorothea Brooke and the philanthropically-motivated young doctor, Tertius Lydgate.

    Benedict says: "Wow"
    "I wish it was not abridged!"

    Wonderful narration--although I agree with others that the piano interferes a little with the flow of the story.

    Middlemarch is one of my favourite books, and I jumped at the chance to listen to Eliot's prose read well. I'd listen to the whole thing if it were available. That's the only reason I'm giving it a 4.

    It may not be for you if you don't like the style of 19th century novels.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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