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Stephen

Ashton, MD, USA | Member Since 2004

37
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 53 ratings
  • 235 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
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  • The Jungle Books

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Madhav Sharma
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Kiplings' tales of Mowgli and his exciting life in the Indian jungle have been loved by children and adults alike ever since their publication in 1895. Mowgli the 'man-cub' must learn to fend for himself against terrible foes like Shere Khan the tiger, but he can always call upon his friends Baloo the Bear, Bagheera the Black Panther, and Kaa the Rock Python from whom he learns the Law of the jungle.

    Stephen says: "Excellent"
    "Excellent"
    Overall

    This is one of the best narrators I've heard and is perfect for the subject, it's like an old wise Indian guru telling the stories for the first time, truly a gifted story teller. The set here includes most of the Mowgli stories from Kipling's "The Jungle Book" (1894) and "The Second Jungle Book" (1895). The stories included are: "Mowgli's Brother", "Kaa's Hunting", "Tiger! Tiger!", "Letting in the Jungle", "A King's Ankus" and "Red Dog" - plus the poem "The Law Of The Jungle" (which shows up in the middle of the "Mowgli's Brother" story). Most are abridged, some more than others, however the abridgments are fairly well done - I read along with the unabridged text (gutenberg.org) and could fill in the missing sections - in some cases I think the abridgments actually improved the story. I'm not usually one for abridgment but this is an exception, you can always read the full text, the narration here leaves the imprint that makes it come alive. Well recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Eric Hansen
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Outfitted with a pair of ratty sand shoes and a knapsack full of trade goods, Eric Hansen set off to cross the rainforest of Borneo, one of the last places on earth largely untouched by Western civilization. For seven months Hansen hunted wild pig, gathered roots, and lived among tribes whose longhouses were still decorated with the headhunting swords of their ancestors, completing one of the great adventures of our time.

    Stephen says: "Strange forest"
    "Strange forest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    'Stranger in the Forest' (1988) is Eric Hansen's remarkable 5 month trip across Borneo in 1982. The book is something of a minor classic among adventure literature, being both modern in style and reminiscent of a Victorian explorer charting blank spots on the map. It was ranked #50 in National Geographic's 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time. Hansen set off into the jungle with almost nothing except good heath, trade goods and the optimism that locals would help him through. Along the way he becomes increasingly native going from one improbable adventure after the next. We learn about the geography, flora and fauna and most of all the fun-loving people, former head-hunting nomadic hunter-gatherers known as the Penan. In 2014, Borneo is a darker story about the destruction of the forest and the Penan people, but Hansen was there just before the palm plantations and dams. He was able to record and celebrate some of the last of the ancient ecosystems and culture of Borneo, the book is a gateway to the world's third largest island as it existed not long ago.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Tim Cope
    • Narrated By Philip Rose
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (38)

    Guided by a Kazakh aphorism - "To understand the wolf, you must put the skin of a wolf on and look through its eyes" - adventurer Tim Cope undertook a journey not successfully completed since the days of Genghis Khan: He traveled by horseback across the entire length of the Eurasian steppe, from the ancient capital of Mongolia to the Danube River in Hungary.

    Marci says: "Fascinating, inspiring story"
    "Great trip"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Book offers a lot and you sort of feel like having been there in person by its end. Places like Kazakhstan are blank spaces for me and following Tim's detailed itinerary with Google Maps I now have a permanent mental map and "experience" for this part of central Asia. It's more than a travelogue also a fair amount of history both recent and ancient. Also some anthropological aspects, love and death, a story of animals .. has a lot to offer and well worth it for anyone seeking a modern journey off the beaten track.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Short Stories of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Robert Louis Stevenson, (1850 - 1894), was born in Edinburgh. His life has always held a fascinating romantic attraction, especially for his contemporaries. His mercurial temperament, expressed so eloquently with his flashing pen, was best revealed when he took up a cause in defense of justice. Although known primarily for the novels Kidnapped and Treasure Island, his works are by no means reserved for the youth market.

    Stephen says: "Perfect"
    "Perfect"
    Overall

    This is a wonderful narration - the Gothic music, background noises, change of pacing, everything about it lends to increase the aura. Highly recommended. Look forward to volume 2 (hopefully they will do 'Pavilion on the Links' or other stories from New Arabian Nights). It should be noted "A Lodging for the Night" is Stevenson's first ever published fiction, when he was 22 in 1877.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Billy Hartman
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    "We are all travelers in the 'wilderness of the world' - travelers with a donkey." So Robert Louis Stevenson wrote to a friend on completing this enchanting account of a journey in rural France in 1878. Alone with his pack-donkey Modestine, and showing total disregard for discomfort, Stevenson relishes to the full his walking tour of the Cevennes.

    Stephen says: "Classic outdoor literature"
    "Classic outdoor literature"
    Overall

    Travels with a Donkey is one of the early classic of outdoor literature - it is one of the first book to mention a sleeping bag (of Stevensons' own inventiuon) and early portrays of outdoor travel as a vacation. Like a Victorian house, the book is highly "fillagreed" (ornamented) with untranslated French phrases, unexplained obscure history, ecclesiastical terms, biblical and literary references, and a tighly nuanced Victorian language and Scottish words - you will need either an annotated version or lots of time with an encyclopedia (Wikipedia has both available) to get the most out of it youi will need to work at it, I would not recommend this as light reading, although once you know all the facts, it really is very rewarding. As a spoken text the only downside is it is abridged, but not too badly. The reader has a wonderful Scots accent which brings alive the rythem and sounds of Stevenson's writings, adding a whole new dimension. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pere Goriot

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By HonorĂ© de Balzac
    • Narrated By Walter Covell
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    One of the greatest of French novelists, Balzac, trained as a lawyer, was a great judge of human nature. In 1833 he conceived the idea of linking together his novels so that they would comprehend the whole society in a series of books. This plan eventually led to 90 novels and novellas (including more than 2,000 characters) that he called "The Human Comedy". Balzac's huge and ambitious plan drew a picture of the customs, atmosphere, and habits of the bourgeois France.

    Ted says: "Wonderful social novel"
    "Good book, bad translation"
    Overall

    Balzac, French author early 19th century, was the father of realism and "Pere Goriot" is one of his masterpieces (he wrote over 90 novels). Oscar Wilde said of Balzac that he created the 19th century. Sadly, the English translation used for this reading is from the 19th century and is a very poor translation. I listned to %25 and gave up in a dispair of incomprehension and bought the Norton Critical Edition, a recent and aclaimed translation that captures the essence of Balzac. Recommend the book highly.

    10 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Oliver Twist

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (4)

    Kathleen says: "Don't miss this one!"
    "..."
    Overall

    I had to abort my listen after the first hour. The narrator has a strong British accent, the audio quality of scratchy and poor, and she speaks in a very high voice and very fast .. all these things made it too difficult to follow.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Aristotle's Children: How Christian, Muslims and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Richard E. Rubenstein
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    Best-selling author Richard E. Rubenstein brings the past to life in this engrossing story of social, religious, and scientific revolution during one of the darkest periods in European history. When a group of Dark Ages scholars rediscovered the works of Aristotle, the great thinker's ideas ignited a firestorm of enlightened thought. This is the endlessly fascinating account of the pivotal period in history when the modern era took root.

    John says: "Interesting story of the rediscovery of Aristotle"
    "Excellent survey"
    Overall

    This book delivers exactly what it promises. The subject is difficult and the author makes it as lively as it can be, very well written. It helps to have basic background in 13th century European history, many of the main characters and events from the period are discussed within the context of the books subject revealing interesting stories and details. It helps to have a hard copy and take certain theological passages slowly, pausing to digest, not a good car book IMO. Overall, he de-mystifies the process that took place from re-discovery of Aristotle to the split of theology and reason. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in medieval history, and/or theology.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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