Moscow, Russia | Member Since 2011
It was really well-done. I enjoyed the actors who sounded eager and entertaining trying to imitate scientists' accents. What I liked about the series is that the narrators didn't hurl tons of specific terms and factual data at you at lightning speed so that you lose the plot completely.
The book covers a wide range of topics starting from Ancient Greece and Rome, then addressing the Renaissance period to Enlightenment up to modern times. The actors come up with curious examples from the history of brain studies (a story of a certain Anne Greene who was hanged in 1650 but died several years later, for instance).
Some of the scientists mentioned are Hippocrates, Galen, Leonardo da Vinci, Ibn Sina, Vesalius, Luigi Galvani, Santiago Ramon y Cajal, Otto Loewi, Henry Hallett Dale, William Grey Walter, Hans Berger, Edgar Adrian et al.
Here's the list of some topics embraced in the book: trepanation; epilepsy; brain dissection; grey matter and white matter; the circle of Willis; neurons, dendrites and axons; nerve net theory; Functional magnetic resonance imaging.
It's a masterful radio dramatization dating back to 1938. The radio play allegedly "stirred terror through the U.S." and "terrified the nation". The broadcast started with the introduction by Orson Welles: "We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own." The broadcast went on followed by a weather report and interviews that were meant to make the dramatization sound realistic. Then there was a special news bulletin announcing that an object about 30 yards wide had fallen on a farm at Grovers Mill.
What the news reporter saw next he described as "the most terrifying thing" he had ever witnessed...
I was hooked by this true-to-life radio adaptation. The way the Martian invasion and its aftermath were reported, and the enactment of one of the few survivors were brilliant.
When I first listened to the story a year ago, I was deeply moved and shaken. It took me so much time to listen to it again. I must say it's not just a spooky story of a woman showing signs of incipient madness, as it might seem. It's a protest against quack psychiatrists of the 19th century, who instead of curing patients ended up complicating their mental illness.
The story is autobiographical. Being unstable, C.P. Gilman suffered from nervous breakdowns herself. She turned to a physician, whose treatment methods proved to be ineffective. C.P. Gilman was subdued to the domestic sphere, was allowed to have only two hours' intellectual stimulation, and was prevented from working. Deprived from normal life, she nearly slipped into insanity. Only when Gilman returned to work, did she manage to recover.
As Charlotte Perkins Gilman put it, the story "was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy".
I've listened to this jewel of a book twice already, and I certainly can't get enough of it.
S. Fry's rendition is outstanding. If you haven't listened to H2G2, you definitely missed a lot.
Philosophically, the book poses the question: Do we really need to seek answers, or should we simply accept life for what it is? Absurdism is the central theme of the novel, yet events don't actually happen in random order, and even the craziest course of events is congruous.
D. Adams wrote a brilliant book, more of a scathing satire than an SF novel. It's not just a hilariously funny book, though on the face of it, it is. Adams masterfully employs humor to satirize serious matters. The Guide is a witty commentary on the absurd society we live in.
I wanted to have a brush up on my Spanish, so I thought Cpe was a wonderful opportunity. But unfortunately, the rendition was a total disappointment. The way I see it, it should have had more zing to it. I missed emotional involvement on the narrator's part.
Anyway, for foreign learners of Spanish, the book will prove useful. Though the excitement might quickly die down.
Listening to the lectures gave me so much pleasure. Prof. Lependorf teaches the listener to understand the music and create a mental map of the passages. Personally, it was like learning a new language in an insightful way. I'd say the lectures helped to develop my sensitivity.
You can download the accompanying guide and figure out what the lectures are about. In short, they cover the following musicians and their masterpieces:
A.Vivaldi 'The Spring' (Movement I), J.S.Bach 'Brandenburg Concerto No. 5' (Movement I), G.F.Handel 'The Messiah' (“Ev’ry Valley”, “All We Like Sheep”, “Hallelujah”), W.A.Mozart 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' (Movement I), L. van Beethoven 'Symphony No. 5' (Movement I), H.Berlioz 'Symphonie Fantastique', F.Chopin 'Nocturnes' (Vol. 1, Nocturne in Db, Op. 27, No. 2), J.Brahms 'Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Händel' (Variations I, II, III, V, VI, Fugue), R.Wagner 'Prelude to Tristan', M.Mussorgsky 'Pictures at an Exhibition' ('Promenade', 'The Gnome', 'Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks', 'Great Gate of Kiev'), C.Debussy 'Prelude to The Afternoon of the Faun', I.Stravinsky 'The Rite of Spring' (Pt. 1), M.Ravel 'Mother Goose Suite', A.Copland 'Appalachian Spring Suite'.
Prof. Lependorf introduces such notions as tonic, ritornello, tutti, continuo, terraced dynamics, concerto grosso, pedal point, cadenza, oratorio, melisma, serenade, sonata-allegro, adagio, col legno, bel canto, arpeggio, da capo aria, tempo rubato, appoggiatura, hemiola, rounded binary, canon, cross-rhythm, two-against-three, leitmotiv, tremolo, ostinato, whole-tone scale, pentatonic scale, mode, gamelan, glissando, and syncopation, to name a few.
The lectures expanded my musical experience. I'll certainly listen to them again.
It's a witty and entertaining book that was originally an online serialized novel (check out M. Barry's website). It revolves around Charles Neumann, a reticent engineer, who loses his limb and decides to improve his body by building a new leg. The funny thing that happens is that the less 'organic' Charles becomes, the more human he feels.
The book IS cynical and entertaining, but it also raises philosophical and ethical questions. What is it to be human? Would you download and upload your mind into a much better equipped robot body? Having been subjected to augmentation, can we still remain human?
Thinking about the quote from Michio Kaku's Physics of the Impossible "...immortality (in the form of DNA-enhanced or silicon bodies) may be the ultimate future of humanity," the question is, what if the essence of humanity could be lost as a result of biotechnological improvement?
On the plus side, there are revolutionary ways of transforming human capabilities, such as pacemakers and tissue grafts that prolong life; e-broidery and smart prosthetics. So in order to survive and 'upgrade' our biological adaptability we need some nanotechnological enhancement. Or do we?
At the same time, a cyborgian reality can widen the gap between 'organic' and 'augmented' people, those who can afford to buy a better body and the havenots, those who become supersoldiers and ordinary people, unable to defend themselves...
And it's the book that gave me food for thought.
As I read about Charles looking everywhere for his lost phone in Chapter 1, I thought about the way technology infiltrates our life. We are overdependent on it. As Naomi Goldenberg put it, "We are engaged in a process of making one another disappear by living more and more of our lives apart from other humans, in the company of machines..." Even now, while typing this, I desperately rely on my iPad.
It is supposed to be "psychology for non-psychologists", which basically means it briefly covers the major writings and biographies of famous authors.
Cutting edge? Definitely not. But it's summarizing and terse. It's a starting point to actually read those works explored. If you want an in-depth study, you read the book by the author, not a summary.
Here's the list of authors and the works:
1 Alfred Adler Understanding Human Nature
2 Gavin de Becker The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence
3 Eric Berne Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships
4 Robert Bolton People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts
5 Edward de Bono Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step
6 Nathaniel Branden The Psychology of Self-Esteem
7 Isabel Briggs Myers Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type
8 Louann Brizendine The Female Brain
9 David D. Burns Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
10 Robert Cialdini Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
11 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
12 Albert Ellis & Robert A. Harper A Guide to Rational Living
13 Milton Erickson My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson
14 Erik Erikson Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History
15 Hans Eysenck Dimensions of Personality
16 Susan Forward Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You
17 Viktor Frankl The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy
18 Anna Freud The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence
19 Sigmund Freud The Interpretation of Dreams
20 Howard Gardner Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
21 Daniel Gilbert Stumbling on Happiness
22 Malcolm Gladwell Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
23 Daniel Goleman Working with Emotional Intelligence
24 John M. Gottman The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
25 Harry Harlow The Nature of Love
26 Thomas A. Harris I’m OK—You’re OK
27 Eric Hoffer The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements
28 Karen Horney Our Inner Conflicts: A Constructive Theory of Neurosis
29 William James The Principles of Psychology
30 Carl Jung The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
31 Alfred Kinsey Sexual Behavior in the Human Female
32 Melanie Klein Envy and Gratitude
33 R. D. Laing The Divided Self: A Study of Sanity and Madness
34 Abraham Maslow The Farther Reaches of Human Nature
35 Stanley Milgram Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View
36 Anne Moir & David Jessel Brainsex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women
37 Ivan Pavlov Conditioned Reflexes: An Investigation of the Physiological Activity of the Cerebral Cortex
38 Fritz Perls Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality
39 Jean Piaget The Language and Thought of the Child
40 Steven Pinker The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human
41 V. S. Ramachandran Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind
42 Carl Rogers On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy
43 Oliver Sacks The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales
44 Barry Schwartz The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
45 Martin Seligman Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment
46 Gail Sheehy Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life
47 B. F. Skinner Beyond Freedom and Dignity
48 Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, & Sheila Heen Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
49 William Styron Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
50 Robert E. Thayer The Origin of Everyday Moods: Managing Energy, Tension, and Stress
V for Vendetta is a dystopia (though some authors distinguish dystopias from anti-utopias, but I'd rather use the former term). So, as any dystopia, it is meant to be a critique of the social or political system that exist in reality. Dystopias express our modern age anxieties and fears, as well as disillusionment with the utopian thought.
VfV describes the tyranny of a totalitarian regime and its evils; utter misery of the people; an individual crushed by the police state; people living in a constant nightmare. Exploitation, corruption, destruction, decline of faith and terror.
What makes this dystopia stand out is that the audiobook is based on the comic book series, and the protagonist doesn't want to be trampled on by the totalitarian machine. Estranged, V takes revenge and, having no scruples left, defies the state by using 'like-cures-like' methods: murder, terrorism, and subterfuge.
Well, perhaps, the question the reader can ask themselves is, Does the end justify the means? What V does is immoral, but if the environment is sick, does social ethics need to exist? If you want to be free, is chaos the only way to gain freedom?
V is certainly not a fictional character. His anarchic prototypes are not remnants of the past revolutions, but quite an inspiration behind protests nowadays.
As D. Harvey wrote, 'There is a time and place in the ceaseless human endeavor to change the world, when alternative visions, no matter how fantastic, provide the grist for shaping powerful political forces for change.' But, honestly, dystopian visions don't seem so fantastic the minute you link them with real events that happened in the past or are currently going on. There's nothing depicted in dystopias that people haven't committed.
P.S. As for the performance, it was excellent. Simon Vance is unrivalled!
The book kept me thinking how easy it is to cross the fine line between what we consider to be sane and insane, normal and abnormal. We take so many things for granted (like walking, sitting, remembering) that we don't really pay attention to them. But when a disaster strikes, and your body/mind doesn't feel the same way it used to, how do you react? Give up, or fight to feel 'normal' and 'together' again?
It was eye-opening to listen to this fantastic book. I felt that the author had never held himself aloof from his patients. The book was written with such compassion and empathy that I was so absorbed I couldn't do anything else. It's a must-have for anyone interested in neuropsychiatry, neurology and psychology.
The book is made up of 4 parts:
1. Losses (with special emphasis on visual agnosia)
The man who mistook his wife for a hat;
The lost mariner;
The disembodied lady;
The man who fell out of bed;
On the level;
The President's speech.
2. Excesses (i.e. disorders or diseases like Tourette's syndrome, tabes dorsalis - a form of neurosyphilis, and the 'joking disease')
Witty Ticcy Ray;
A matter of identity;
3. Transports (on the 'power of imagery and memory', e.g. musical epilepsy, forced reminiscence and migrainous visions)
A passage to India;
The dog beneath the skin;
The visions of Hildegard.
4. The world of the simple (on the advantages of therapy centered on music and arts when working with the mentally retarded)
A walking grove;
The autist artist.
I'd say it was emotionally exhausting to listen to the book. There are no wars depicted; no atrocities described. But there's the tragedy of one man, the broken, or rather ruined promises, the futility of aspiration, and failure of love. Yes, it's a story about an ordinary life, not about superheroes we look up to, but we never come across them in real life.
It's a story that could have happened to any of us, about the things we're too afraid to do, and then regret not doing them. Vanity of vanities... Thus 'Stoner' is thought-provoking and pensive. Its sadness is reverberating. I listened to it in one sitting, but I had to stop the audio from time to time to recharge my 'battery'. And it took me some time to get down to it and write the review.
It was so hard to listen to the book, because of the emotional involvement and empathy I felt towards the protagonist. A brilliant and moving novel.
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