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Paul

Cosmic Dreamer

Gilroy, CA, United States | Member Since 2010

38
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 31 reviews
  • 35 ratings
  • 85 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014
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  • The Great Gatsby

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Narrated By Tim Robbins
    Overall
    (1504)
    Performance
    (905)
    Story
    (914)

    The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's portrait of the Jazz Age in all its decadence and excess, is, as editor Maxwell Perkins praised it in 1924, "a wonder". It remains one of the most widely read, translated, admired, imitated, and studied 20th-century works of American fiction.

    Redhawk Readers says: "Something you won't fall asleep to..."
    "Great performance and a classic of American Lit."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I read this in 12th grade, my son read it in 6th grade. I wonder that means. This book is, of course, a classic of American fiction and I feel funny trying to review the book itself. Let me just say it is great particularly more so that more deeply you study it. I knew someone who did a doctoral thesis on all of the Christic symbolism. I also remember the comparison of two fried eggs and breasts. I guess you have to think about it. Also, the phrase about the young women would give up some of themselves which you have to know means they are available for sex. I wonder if my son heard that in 6th grade.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Isn't this book all about character? And that character is Gatsby. Or is the character really an everyman, but with access to lots of money. And chutzpah. But you put chutzpah and money together and some would say that equals America. Or is it?


    What about Tim Robbins’s performance did you like?

    I did not know about the Jake Gyllenhaal version before hearing this one. Robbins was very good and I don't think I needed another version (in fact, why does Audible need so many versions).


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I think I could have listened to it all in one sitting, it is a compact novel.


    Any additional comments?

    The latest attempt at making a movie from this novel is due in one week as I write this. I will have to see that movie even if the critics pan it all to hell. I just have to see if DiCaprio fits the version of Gatsby that's in my head.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Neil Shubin
    • Narrated By Marc Cashman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (83)

    In his last book, Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human anatomy - our hands, our jaws - and the structures in the fish that first took over land 375 million years ago. Now, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, he takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we are the way we are. Starting once again with fossils, Shubin turns his gaze skyward. He shows how the entirety of the universe's 14-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies.

    Mark says: "Cosmic"
    "See the PBS specials"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was used as the source for a three part PBS serious: Your inner fish, Your inner reptile, your inner monkey. Sorry but I have to say it: See the PBS specials. At least, see them before reading/listening to this book. Perhaps it was because the audio does not use the author's own voice. The PBS series does. Why should we get less from an Audible book?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Julia Sweeney
    • Narrated By Julia Sweeney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (79)

    Since her time on Saturday Night Live, where she created the infamous androgynous character "Pat", Julia Sweeney has gone on to establish herself as a witty, captivating performer of one-woman shows, like God Said Ha!, In the Family Way, and Letting Go of God. She gave a TED talk sharing how she explained the birds and the bees to her eight-year-old daughter, Mulan, which ignited an incredible response. Now, when it comes to talking about motherhood, people want to hear what Julia has to say.

    Lisa says: "I Love Julia Sweeney"
    "Good but not her best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like Julia Sweeney. This book is not as good as, for example, her performances such as "Letting Go of God". Still, I give it a good recommendation.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Not Your Ordinary Housewife: How the Man I Loved Led Me into a World I Had Never Imagined

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Nikki Stern
    • Narrated By Kate Hood
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    When Nikki Stern left suburban Melbourne for Europe in the early 1980s, little did she know that her life was about to change dramatically. Adopted into a well-connected family and educated at an exclusive school, she fell instantly and hopelessly in love with a charming and charismatic cartoonist in Amsterdam. Paul and Nikki embarked on a passionate love affair, enjoying the hedonistic days of the '80s before eloping and returning to Australia. But soon Nikki found herself in a world she never imagined. Descending into the depths of the sex industry - as a dominatrix, stripper, prostitute and porn star - there was almost nothing she didn't do.

    Paul says: "Just a study in how a person can be manipulated?"
    "Just a study in how a person can be manipulated?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't know. It was interesting to see how someone just kind of drifted into the world, the business really, of pornography. I'm always looking for someone to write something positive about porn. This book is mostly negative but the thing that will probably stick with you after this book is how one person can get pulled in and then make what appears to be only half-hearted attempts to get out. That's almost a theme - people start in porn for the excitement and the money; they get out (partially or completely) then find they miss the excitement and the money. When I finally get out of computer programming, the excitement won't pull me back in and the money won't be there anyway.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (782)
    Performance
    (697)
    Story
    (697)

    Goodwin describes the broken friendship between Teddy Roosevelt and his chosen successor, William Howard Taft. With the help of the "muckraking" press, Roosevelt had wielded the Bully Pulpit to challenge and triumph over abusive monopolies, political bosses, and corrupting money brokers. Roosevelt led a revolution that he bequeathed to Taft only to see it compromised as Taft surrendered to money men and big business. The rupture led Roosevelt to run against Taft for president, an ultimately futile race that gave power away to the Democrats.

    C. Telfair says: "Wow! Patience Rewarded!"
    "Thirty six hours - can you handle the truth?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a fascinating look into a really crucial segment of American history. I might be biased but I think of the Taft presidency as the time the Republican Party went bad (the first time). Certainly it shows how a progressive era came to an end. But this isn't just about Taft and Roosevelt. A large part of this book is about Sam McClure and the writers for his magazine. This part of American history was completely new to me.
    Another surprise was seeing Taft in a much better light than is usually the case.
    I usually refuse to give 5 stars for performance when a non-fiction book is not read by the author. But Edward Herrmann does a great job - sustaining the energy for all 36 hours. And since much of the book is quotes, did you really want Doris Kearns Goodwin to try to sound like Teddy or Taft?
    I think you have to be interested in the subject to hang in there for the whole book but I'm very glad that I did. But the next two books that I got from Audible were substantially lighter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Judy Greer
    • Narrated By Judy Greer
    Overall
    (146)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (142)

    You know Judy Greer, right? Wait, what was she in again? The Wedding Planner, 13 Going on 30, 27 Dresses, The Descendants. Yes, you totally recognize her. And, odds are, if you're like most women in America, you feel like she's already your friend. Thankfully, Greer has finally written a book of essays about all the moments, topics, observations, and confessions that you would hope to hear from your best friend.

    karyn says: "Yay!!! Another Audible Favorite!"
    "Funny but not deep"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Two and Half Men", "The Big Bang Theory", "Modern Family" and a current series of commercials. That's just some of what I know Judy Greer from. So the self-deprecating tone of the title is lost on me. I've recognized Ms. Greer on a lot of shows and frankly I've had a crush for years. Thankfully she reads her own book and it is a performance. Maybe too good of a performance. Although she gives us a lot of details on what it is like to be her, I don't think I knew her any better after this book than before. This is a kind of autobiography (or memoir if you prefer) that I first noticed when reading Ann Margaret's autobiography - beautiful, sexy people apparently never have sex. See Shirley Jones or Cybil Shepard for a counter example.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What's So Funny?: My Hilarious Life

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Tim Conway, Jane Scovell, Carol Burnett
    • Narrated By Tim Conway, Carol Burnett, Dick Hill, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (567)
    Performance
    (516)
    Story
    (512)

    Six-time Emmy Award-winning funnyman Tim Conway, best known for his characters on The Carol Burnett Show, offers a straight-shooting and hilarious memoir about his life on stage and off as an actor and comedian. In television history, few entertainers have captured as many hearts and made as many people laugh as Tim Conway. There's nothing in the world that Tim Conway would rather do than entertain - and in his first-ever memoir, What's So Funny?, that's exactly what he does.

    Richard says: "Very Enjoyable"
    "I thought it would be funnier"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    That's not fair of me to say it should be funnier. After all a few parts of this book had me doubled over with laughter. And I got to see him perform with Harvey Korman a few years before Korman died. But I thought this would be funnier because I'm such a big fan. The book is really narrated by Dick Hill and I guess he does a good job and his voice is similar to Tim Conway's. But after listening to Billy Crystal read his book, the bar is set kind of high.
    Also, if you don't already know that Tim Conway was not a regular on the Carol Burnett show from the beginning, you will hear it a few times in this book. So color me disappointed just a bit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Christopher Hitchens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2727)
    Performance
    (1465)
    Story
    (1458)

    In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris' recent best-seller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos.

    ben capozzi says: "...Though Hitchens Is!"
    "Hitchens in full bloom"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I miss Christopher Hitchens. Sometimes I get on YouTube just to find some clips where some poor fool is getting Hitch-slapped. If you don't know Hitchens then I can't help you and if you do there is little more to be added. I don't always agree but I always, ALWAYS, feel like he has an argument and my rejoinder has to be pretty good. When he gets a little too emotional (e.g. the word "circumcision" sets him off) you can see some cracks in his reasoning. But most of the time he is spot on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Billy Crystal
    • Narrated By Billy Crystal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1689)
    Performance
    (1540)
    Story
    (1535)

    Billy Crystal is 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like ""Buying the Plot"" and ""Nodding Off,"" Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, and his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Listeners get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever ""test positive for Maalox""), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion (""the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac""); grandparenting; and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal's reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.

    Pamela says: "Growing up with Billy Crystal"
    "Maybe the greatest of all time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like his friend Muhammed Ali, Billy Crystal might be the best at this genre, the humorous memoir. After hearing Billy read this book, I'm sorry for those you had to actually read it and only pretend they were hearing his voice. Crystal covers his life from birth to his 65th birthday, March of 2013. Although there is a lot of laughs, this book has a number of serious moments. And they are very moving.
    When he discusses Ali and Howard Cosell he does their voices and you will bust out laughing. But I also thought it was interesting when he talked about being an atheist (doesn't use that word but he defines it nicely). Then later throughout the book he references heaven and God and having a soul - but then later reaffirms that the life you see is the only life you get. So do something special on your birthday - listen to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Manual for Creating Atheists

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Peter Boghossian
    • Narrated By Peter Boghossian
    Overall
    (217)
    Performance
    (196)
    Story
    (194)

    For thousands of years, the faithful have honed proselytizing strategies and talked people into believing the truth of one holy book or another. Indeed, the faithful often view converting others as an obligation of their faith - and are trained from an early age to spread their unique brand of religion. The result is a world broken in large part by unquestioned faith. As an urgently needed counter to this tried-and-true tradition of religious evangelism, this audiobook offers the first-ever guide not for talking people into faith - but for talking them out of it.

    Paul says: "The first atheist missionary"
    "The first atheist missionary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Peter Boghossian didn't have to make the case for atheism to convince me. But it was great to hear how many ways that case can be made. Atheists are a small minority in the USA. Whether that's changing or if people are just becoming more apathetic about such questions, I think that's a tough call. But Peter has a plan. Part of the plan is to use words like epistemology (How you know what you know) as often as possible. In fact, Boghossian doesn't want you to become an atheist, he pretty much assumes it. He wants you to become "street epistemologists", people who ask "how do you know that"?

    One more word would be good to know when reading/listening to this book: doxastic logic - reasoning about beliefs. The key is to get people to apply reasoning to their beliefs. In doing so you get at the main problem which is not god and is not religion. It is faith itself. Some will object to making "faith" be the target because they say they have faith in their spouse or in a scientific theory. But Peter will explain that sometimes we use "faith" when we really mean "hope" or we mean something for which we have evidence - even if only partial evidence. While religion wants to reward those who have faith with no evidence.

    I don't know how much of this book I can put into practice. I should try it on my wife but we have an agreement about that. But I didn't make any such promises to my siblings so maybe I'll start there.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • iWoz: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Along the Way

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Steve Wozniak, Gina Smith
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    Overall
    (2382)
    Performance
    (1376)
    Story
    (1401)

    Before cell phones that fit in the palm of your hand and slim laptops that fit snugly into briefcases, computers were like strange, alien vending machines. They had cryptic switches, punch cards, and pages of encoded output. But in 1975, a young engineering wizard named Steve Wozniak had an idea: What if you combined computer circuitry with a regular typewriter keyboard and a video screen?

    Anthony says: "Best of the Best"
    "Needs Woz authentic voice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is nothing boastful about the title. Steve Wozniak had as much to do with the creation of the personal computer as anyone. This book talks about how a particular skill, the ability to create a complete circuit with the smallest possible piece count, came in handy. He actually glosses over how much that was critical in the Apple II and he also doesn't mention one of my key points in computer history. That would have been at a Computer Faire in San Francisco when the crowd wanted to know about the Lisa but Woz said that there is a new computer coming that will really change things. That computer was the Macintosh.

    Throughout this book Woz talks about some trick he pulled on someone. I've heard Woz talk many times and you can tell these tricks had no malice or profit motive in them. But the narrator hear doesn't quite capture the "impishness" of Woz's character. Also, the narrator refers to a computing language "complier" when he meant to say a "Compiler" and that's a mistake Woz wouldn't make in a million years. So I deduct one star for Woz not using his own voice and I deduct a second star because the narrator does not have enough computer background to pull it off.

    Overall I still recommend this book because it is a great insight into a critical part of the history of the personal computer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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