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Myerstown, PA, United States | Member Since 2009

  • 12 reviews
  • 82 ratings
  • 274 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015

  • Tea with Hezbollah: Sitting at the Enemies' Table - Our Journey Through the Middle East

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Ted Dekker, Carl Medearis
    • Narrated By George K. Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Is it really possible to love one's enemies? That's the question that sparked a fascinating and, at times, terrifying journey into the heart of the Middle East during the summer of 2008. It was a trip that began in Egypt, passed beneath the steel-and-glass high-rises of Saudi Arabia, then wound through the bullet-pocked alleyways of Beirut and dusty streets of Damascus, before ending at the cradle of the world's three major religions: Jerusalem.

    Roy says: "Love Your Enemies?"
    "Fantastic and Insightful"

    The rawness of the idea behind this book--asking controversial Muslim leaders what they think about Jesus' teaching of the Good Samaritan and loving our neighbors--is absolutely brilliant. Far better than academic dialog or second-hand speculation about the thinking of those in the Middle East, these men just ask simple questions and record answers verbatim. A well written, revealing project that promotes genuine understanding.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Shadow of the Wind

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis

    Barcelona, 1945: Just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his 11th birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again.

    Katherine says: "Great With One Exception"
    "Excellent writing, superb narration."
    What made the experience of listening to The Shadow of the Wind the most enjoyable?

    Zafon's writing is dramatic, but not tacky. His characters are well-defined, but not flat. The story is both exciting and well-woven with a mature complexity.

    What did you like best about this story?

    A modern style gothic novel, Shadow of the Wind is full of surprises described with exquisite word-weaving.

    What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Jonathan Davis is a top-notch narrator. His intonations for different characters supports the story.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Worlds at War: The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Anthony Pagden
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the tradition of Jared Diamond and Jacques Barzun, prize-winning historian Anthony Pagden presents a sweeping history of the long struggle between East and West, from the Greeks to the present day.

    The relationship between East and West has always been one of turmoil. In this historical tour de force, a renowned historian leads us from the world of classical antiquity, through the Dark Ages, to the Crusades, Europe's resurgence, and the dominance of the Ottoman Empire, which almost shattered Europe entirely. Pagden travels from Napoleon in Egypt to Europe's carving up of the finally moribund Ottomans - creating the modern Middle East along the way - and on to the present struggles in Iraq.

    Tad Davis says: "Great story, with a lot of unfamiliar names"
    "Good insights, heavy bias, factually unreliable."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The book certainly has some good insights, or at least speculations, about the social and psychological evolution of the East-West cultural divide. That said, the author wastes a lot of time following his own bunny trails and ranting about how he views the world. All authors who write about historical events spin their narrative to support their beliefs to some extent, but Padgen's lack of objectivity is blatant. Having to weed credible ideas out of an overbearingly-obvious philosophical agenda gets tiring. Several times he made statements as if they were fact that are merely weak historical theories. Other times he employs bizarre logic and an obvious 21st-century filter to draw sweeping conclusions about complex causes in the progression of history. Worst of all, the author categorically rejects any historical example that contradicts his already-drawn conclusions. If it is a person, he brushes them aside as insincere and probably a liar. If it is a historical event, he immediately assumes it is historically inaccurate...

    What could Anthony Pagden have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Padgen could have double checked his facts, avoided presenting theories as definite truths, and at least attempted to be a little more objective in his narrative. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all bad, there were some positive insights in the book. However, while the cover looks like a respectable, academic work, it reads more like the opinions of a wanna-be historian who read Wikipedia and delights himself in making philosophical conclusions about history.

    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    The narrator was solid. Good voice, good pace.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment. I was looking for something with a little more complexity and the mature ability to see situations from multiple angles. Instead, the author reads history strictly through the lens of his conclusions and his philosophy.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • A Mad Desire to Dance

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Elie Wiesel
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall, Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Surrounded by ghosts, spurred on by demons, Doriel finally turns to Dr. Therese Goldschmidt, a psychoanalyst who finds herself particularly intrigued by her patient. The two enter into an uneasy relationship based on exchange of dreams, histories, and secrets. Despite Doriel's initial resistance, Dr. Goldschmidt helps to bring him to a crossroads - and to a shocking denouement.

    Roy says: "Disturbing"

    The books starts a little slow--I had my doubts at the beginning--but slowly Wiesel paints a capturing psychological portrait. After listening to the first quarter of the book, I couldn't stop listening. The writing is so...different. So Wiesel. Mystical and dramatic, yet cynical and direct; theological and grotesque, yet academic and insightful. I found myself connecting with the main character a lot.

    Oh, and Mark Bramhall's narration is--well--it's one of the few times I would say a book is improved by the narrator. Bramhall is remarkably talented. And Kirsten Potter does an excellent job too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Byzantium

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Stephen R. Lawhead
    • Narrated By Stuart Langton

    Although born to rule, Aidan lives as a scribe in a remote Irish monastery on the far, wild edge of Christendom. Secure in work, contemplation, and dreams of the wider world, a miracle bursts into Aidan's quiet life. He is chosen to accompany a small band of monks on a quest to the fabled city of Byzantium, where they are to present the beautiful and costly hand-illuminated Book of Kells to the emperor of all Christendom.

    Christine says: "Unforgettable!"
    "Character Maturation"

    Lawhead's skill with subtly developing a dynamic main character throughout a story always amazes me. Byzantium is no exception--Lawhead's exceptional ability to lead the reader through Aidan's philosophical and spiritual journey demonstrates not only his skill as an author, but his intimate understanding of personal development, faith struggles, and the weight of life's unanswered questions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By T. E. Lawrence
    • Narrated By James Wilby

    Lawrence of Arabia's seminal work charts his time with British Military Intelligence in the Levantine territories, during the wars with the Turks. The manuscript is candid and action-packed (and was entirely re-written after Lawrence lost the original manuscript whilst changing trains).

    James says: "Excellent"
    "Surpisingly Good Writing"

    I bought this book because of my interest in the Middle East; I thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of an odd character like Lawrence. I was surprised, though, to find that his writing was actually quite good. The narrative is a bit confusing at times, but the writing itself and the sensations he conveys are definitely worth the download.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Quiet Belief in Angels

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By R. J. Ellory
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall

    In 1939 in the small, rural community of Augusta Falls, Georgia, 12-year-old Joseph Vaughan learns of the brutal assault and murder of a young girl, the first in a series of killings that will plague the community over the next decade. Joseph and his friends are determined to protect the town from the evil in their midst and they form "the Guardians" to watch over the community.

    danpri says: "One my Top 5 Audio listens of all time."
    "Some of the best writing I've ever heard."

    Ellory's prose is rhythmic and moving, descriptive and direct. The plot is thrilling and unpredictable. The characters are dynamic and have great depth. This story combines the entertaining capacity of a thriller-novel and the elegant writing of a classic, and still manages to have soul and personality. This is one of the greatest books I have ever read/listened-to. Tremendous writing, great storyline, well narrated. I can't recommend it highly enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Violent Bear It Away

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Flannery O’ Connor
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The orphaned Francis Marion Tarwater and his cousin, Rayber, defy the prophecy of their dead uncle - that Tarwater will become a prophet and will baptize Rayber's young son, Bishop. A series of struggles ensue, as Tarwater fights an internal battle against his innate faith and the voices calling him to be a prophet, while Rayber tries to draw Tarwater into a more “reasonable” modern world. Both wrestle with the legacy of their dead relatives and lay claim to Bishop's soul.

    Darwin8u says: "Biblical, American and Absolutely Brutal"
    "Excellent Writing, Good Story"

    Beautifully written book. Really makes you think. Has a lot of personality. The narrator is top-notch as well. I'll be reading/listening-to more Flannery O'Connor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Inside the Jihad: My Life With Al Qaeda, A Spy's Story

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Omar Nasiri
    • Narrated By Lloyd James

    Inside the Jihad is the story of a double agent operative working for UK and French intelligence by infiltrating Al Qaeda training camps. During his time in the camps, Nasiri met all of the top terrorist leaders, including Osama bin Laden, and engaged in a wide range of illegal activities. Strikingly well-written and gripping, Inside the Jihad is a terrifying, suspenseful read.

    Rickey P. Brumfield says: "Eye opening for an American"
    "Insightful, even if a bit Neurotic"

    The book is an easy read--more exciting than many novels I have read. Omar recalls his spying adventures vividly and offers tremendous insights into his feelings and his assessment of the psychology of those around him. You do have to wade through his neuroticism, paranoia, and blind hypocrisy, but in the end the gain is more valuable than being perturbed by the author's personal shortcomings.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Separate Peace

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By John Knowles
    • Narrated By Scott Snively
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Now a modern classic, this story of two boys' friendship at an exclusive New Hampshire prep school as it parallels the inescapable and escalating atmosphere of World War II, is intense and engaging to the last word.

    Johnny says: "Thoughtful; great character development."
    "Thoughtful; great character development."

    If you're looking for an exciting adventure story--this isn't it. But if you enjoy listening to a slower story that deals with adolescence, peace and war, and the relationships of different personalities, this is a great read. It is well written, thought-provoking, and does a great job drawing emotions that most of us experience but rarely think about.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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