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IRvine, CA, United States | Member Since 2009

  • 16 reviews
  • 60 ratings
  • 133 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014

  • After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By N. T. Wright
    • Narrated By Antony Ferguson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    We are all spiritual seekers, intuitively knowing there is more to life than we suspect. This is a book for anyone who is hoping there is something more while we’re here on Earth. There is. We are being called to join the revolution, and Wright insightfully encourages readers to find new purpose and clarity by taking us on an eye-opening journey through key biblical passages that promise to radically alter the work of the church and the direction of our lives.

    Wayne says: "True Spirituality"
    "True Spirituality"

    Definitely a challenge theologically, though in non-technical words. I thought this was deja vu: riding on my mountain bike on San Juan trail and listening to Tom Wright instead of Dallas Willard's "The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God." They both reinterpret the beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount to move from legalism to grace. They both are intellectuals, theological and devoted to correct thinking as a key to transformation. They have both transformed my life, my spirituality, my understanding of Agape. But Wright's theology is broader and more significant than Willard's. He integrates so many themes that neatly weave together: Kingdom ethics vs legalism, eschatology (study of end times) as Hope, and Love.

    Wright's most profound theological explication is that we are not to become moral, but to empty ourselves as Jesus did--to live for the purpose of God's Kingdom only--not our own desires. Even Jesus had to "learn" to do this as he was fully human, and felt the temptation for self satisfaction, but continuously and "perfectly" (telos) resisted. He was not an example of moral virtue primarily (though he was), but an example of one fully yielded to God. And now we too, through his resurrection, by the Holy Spirit (holiness & prayer), can participate not only in the Kingdom to Come (telos), but now, in the Kingdom that has now Come in Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Wish this theme had predominated, because it is the basis of spiritual transformation.

    Another motivation for living spiritually and not legalistically is because of the Hope we have in the renewal and transformation of this present world, where we will participate with holiness and power. Looking forward to reading his book on Hope next.

    While Wright and Willard are strong theologically, they both lack the everyday relational wisdom that properly integrates the intellectual, spiritual, social, emotional, "imaginational," and behavioral dimensions into a whole.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Poet

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Buck Schirner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Our hero is Jack McEvoy, a Rocky Mountain News crime-beat reporter. As the story opens, Jack's twin brother, a Denver homicide detective, has just killed himself. Or so it seems. But when Jack begins to investigate the phenomenon of police suicides, a disturbing pattern emerges, and soon suspects that a serial murderer is at work.

    Tom says: "Is Connelly the Best Crime Writer Or What?"
    "Good story spoiled by the hypnosis conceit"

    If one more crime writer uses the Hollywood concept of hypnosis, I think I will puke (see Dean Koontz, False Memory--or not). As a psychologist, this is just bunk. But, otherwise--well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Author of the National Book Award-winning All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy is one of the most provocative American stylists to emerge in the last century. The striking novel Blood Meridian offers an unflinching narrative of the brutality that accompanied the push west on the 1850s Texas frontier.

    Chris says: "Bleak but Fascinating"
    "Faulkner on steroids"

    Never thought a writer would make Faulkner look optimistic, but McCarthy has succeeded, and with literary style. Not since listening to Dylan Thomas read his own poetry have I enjoyed so much listening to sheer prosody--a part of all McCarthy novels--just for how it sounds (nice reading by Poe). McCarthy systematically challenges every expectation you have, from word usage, to narrative style, to character development, to world view. While this novel is based on historical facts, he chose a time and place which would allow him to best peel back the thin veneer of civilization and reveal his view of human nature--which is characteristically, relentlessly, brilliantly--bleak. His No Country For Old Men was much better at focusing on the story line and less on sheer description.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sunset Limited: A Novel in Dramatic Form

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 42 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Austin Pendleton, Ezra Knight, Tom Stechschulte

    In a small apartment, Black and White, as the two men are known, begin a conversation that leads each back through his own history, mining the origins of two fundamentally opposing world views. White is a professor whose seemingly enviable existence of relative ease has left him nonetheless in despair. Black, an ex-con and ex-addict, is the more hopeful of the menthough he is just as desperate to convince White of the power of faith as White is desperate to deny it.

    Wilfredo says: "Wow"
    "Nihilism Unlimited, Existentialism Revisited"

    Very entertaining dialogue, a battle of the wits, pitting Black against White, believer against unbeliever, personal against intellectual. Cormac McCarthy is gifted and talented, presenting the classic existential drama of "why not commit suicide," best portrayed previously by Albert Camus. However, the Black believer with personal commitment to living is set up as a nitwit against the White unbelieving intellectual who seems to prevail by sheer force of intellectual nihilism. As Job replied to God, Black seems to say to White: "I am unworthy - how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth." Still, entertaining banter.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Craig Mullaney
    • Narrated By Todd McLaren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A fascinating account of an Army captain's unusual path through some of the most legendary seats of learning straight into a brutal fight with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, The Unforgiving Minute is, above all, an unforgettable portrait of a young soldier grappling with the weight of his hard-earned knowledge while coming to grips with becoming a man.

    John says: "The Unforgiving Son"
    "War or Warrior"

    War or Peace is not so much about the Unforgiving Minute, but about the Forgiving Self. If we look at Craig Mulvaney's purpose in writing this book, I think we find that it is ultimately more about the war within himself than the war in Afghanistan. The book, "Good Soldiers" by the embedded journalist Finkle, contrasts well with this book to reveal that Finkle's book is much more about the Iraqi war than the warrior Finkle. Throughout the autobiography, Craig continuously struggles with guilt, acceptance by others and authorities--especially by his father, by a need to keep his brother from his own fate, and to write this book to exculpate his demons. His guilt drenches his story, continuously expressing his responsibility for his men's lives that he leads into battle--only two were killed. He is relentless in holding himself excessively guilty for their deaths up to the last Unforgiving Minute. Until a Warrior fights his own internal demons of unquenched need for father approval, etc., he is in no position to fight the external demons of War, as this autobiography demonstrates. He gets demoted from the front lines to Adjutant and is reduced to teaching the history of War in the Naval Academy, still trying to quell his guilt demons with ineffectual theories. Minutes are not Unforgiving, but we may be Unforgiving of ourselves. Responsibility for others in war does not include some fantasy that you have the ability to keep them from dying. Craig still lives Unforgiving Minutes so we hear more about him than the War.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Soldiers

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By David Finkel
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett

    It was the last-chance moment of the war. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced a new strategy for Iraq. He called it "the surge". "Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, here are the differences," he told a skeptical nation. Among those listening were the young, optimistic Army infantry soldiers of the 2-16, the battalion nicknamed the Rangers.

    Candy says: "This book is amazing, but brutal"
    "Embedded beneath perspective"

    What a horrendous loss of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by so many American men and women following the political and military incursion into Iraq. And, as Finkle often pointed out, was it worth the cost? We are led to experience the the war from Finkle's embeded perspective of the 216th Batallion headed by Lt. Col Ralph Kauzlarich. This is his strength and weakness: being "embedded," and in only one corner of the war.

    His ability to convey the "Pucker" factor of war, and the unique pucker factor of the Iraq war regarding IEDs and EFPs is one of his greatest contributions. The related revelation from this book is how IEDs and EFPs just come out of nowhere, uncontrolled, leaving limited ability to plan or strategize in order to avoid the violence. Previous wars pitted intelligence and strategy against enemy violence and gave the impression of being able to minimize violence. That feeling of control appears to be completely translated into sheer dread and fear while riding around in humvee's and having no control of when death from IED violence may strike. It even appears that this phenomenon affects the political as well as military levels of uncertainty of how to measure the value of the war itself.

    The limits of this embedded reporter Finkle is reflected in his ingratiating portrayal of the unit's leader, Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich as well as his use of George W. Bush quotes. The character of Lt. Kauzlarich is seriously called into question in that he said (see ESPN) that the family of Pat Tillman was not at peace with his death because they are atheists who believe their son is now, in Kauzlarich's words, "worm dirt."

    I think that the "Good Soldiers" as represented by Finkle certainly applies to the men on the front lines, but seems to apply less and less as one goes up the ranks.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Shatter

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Michael Robotham
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett

    Psychologist Joe O'Laughlin fails to stop a confused woman from jumping off a bridge to her death. Joe knows she had been talking on a cellphone. Now he needs to find out who - or what - was on the other end of the line.

    Old Hippy says: "First rate suspense story, great narration!"
    "Engaging and Thrilling"

    As a psychologist, I enjoyed the psychological approach to this novel, the characters and the plot. Enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • False Memory

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By Stephen Lang

    It's a fear more paralyzing than falling. More terrifying than absolute darkness. More horrifying than anything you can imagine. It's the one fear you cannot escape, no matter where you matter where you hide. It's the fear of yourself. It's real. It can happen to you. And facing it can be deadly.

    Dohna says: "Koontz did it again......."
    "Grueling Letdown"

    An uncharted river down the macabre of hypnotism-rohipnol theoretical mind-control by a madman which was the unnerving focus of the first half of the book which then degenerated into mundane, repetitive characterization in total abdication of resolving the plot of the book. Wish I had stopped at the half-way point and it took excessive endurance to get that far through such unmitigated evil. Other wise, Dean did a good Job :(

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany Part 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett

    Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended. In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys – best friends – are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.

    Molly-o says: "Nothing better"
    "Annoying to distraction"

    So promising, so annoying, such a waste of time and talent--the author's, mine and yours.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Road

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.

    Darwin8u says: "My wife says he's that Cold Desert Writer I love."
    "A captivating father's apocalyptic dedication"

    This novel squeezes meaning and value out of the crevices of this father-son relationship in the face of well told horrors of the apocalyptic end of the world.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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