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jonathan Clark

Member Since 2010

31
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 26 reviews
  • 92 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2014
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  • The Modern Scholar: Visions of Utopia: Philosophy and the Perfect Society

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Fred E. Baumann
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Professor Fred E. Baumann looks at what some philosophers have had to say on this subject, mostly in the form of stories about utopias. Five are written by great philosophers and the last by a challenging, nearly contemporary American scholar. All have exerted great influence on the history of thought or have expressed influential currents of thought. Professor Baumann's lectures not only examine these texts, but also address the results of attempting to put these utopias into practice.

    Len says: "Provocative and stimulating, albeit conservative"
    "Maybe one day, when I do all his work for him..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Modern Scholar better?

    I enjoy hearing the actual Discussion and Information on subjects, not simply hearing what conclusions the lecturer has reached themselves after reading the material 'skipped' actually addressing... The course covers lots of books but, by the lecturer's own admission, the course is not meant to actually tell you What is in the books, but to give you lots of conclusions drawn from material you have not yet covered... in the hopes that once you Have read all of the material, it will Finally somehow become coherent and the conclusions listed will Finally be explained sufficiently for you to Begin to think about them... Basically, I'd appreciate presentation of the MATERIAL itsself and not a discussion of what he thought about the material after he read it... which He Knows you have yet to read...

    It's just pointless commentary that can only be either taken as read on some sort of 'faith' in his own 'Expertise' on the material, Or left completely hanging untill such time as you get the material, read it seperately, and then return in future to EACH AND EVERY PASSAGE to Then Apply that MISSING INFORMATION to the contemplation of what the lecturer has drawn from it...

    I would rather have a lecturer who's intention is to REPRESENT the materials covered in a comprehensive way that allows for understanding and contemplation Without necisitating somehow Seperately Studying material to only Then return to the lecture to glean Any substance at all.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Fred E. Baumann again?

    No. He seems to think it is not his responsibility to actually Teach or Cover subjects but simply to Grace us with a list of his own opinions on topics, he knows full well, we do not, as yet, understand... Moreover, he insists on 'covering' topics and materials that by his own admission are difficult, dense, and posessing of a multitude of opinions to be drawn By 'skipping' the actual material... like it's not his job to 'bother' to teach it...


    How could the performance have been better?

    Teach the class! Don't Tell the class what you think they might think if they ever get someone to teach it to them. That's Your Job!


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

    Frustration. Especially among philosophic and political subjects, giving students the info to judge your own opinions for themselves should be your FIRST priority... Dictating conclusions you just 'expect' your students to come to - especially when you don't even explain enough satisfactorally for them to even completely understand your own basis for the conclusions You draw just seems insulting and kinda completely misses the point of study of these subjects. All philosophy, sociology, and political students are interested in exploring subjects With their Own powers of reasoning and rationalisation. If your class Isn't here to present that material, Why would I bother - if I STILL have to do all the work alone eventually anyway.


    Any additional comments?

    I've read lots of the Modern Scholars, this speaker just gets lazy and doesn't really want to do the Real Work of Covering Material... chosing instead to just talk about his own opinions - BUT EVEN THEN without giving sufficient material to understand even Those Conclusions! I'd be better off skipping his jabber and just reading the book list...
    two hours into it, that's exactly what I decided to do!

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Matthew Stover
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (195)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (116)

    As the combat escalates across the galaxy, the stage is set for an explosive endgame: Obi-Wan undertakes a perilous mission to destroy the dreaded Separatist military leader General Grievous. Palpatine, eager to secure even greater control, subtly influences public opinion to turn against the Jedi. And a conflicted Anakin, tormented by unspeakable visions, edges dangerously closer to the brink of a galaxy-shaping decision.

    Sarai says: "WOW"
    "Brace yourself for a whining teenager's hissy fit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like the films these books are... almost entirely.

    Like the last film, this one is full of almost too much whining and self centered childishness of a kid you really just want to shut up and deal with his stupid self...

    While there are tidbits of interesting backstory and a modicum of expositional internal dialogue, I gave this book a lower score mostly because it comes off far more as a radio show than a well written novel.
    In addition to the theme songs, the narrative itsself actually fails to convey the subjects without a HEAVY reliance on sound effects to describe what is ultimately Not described at all in the actual writing... For instance, I particularly dislike a far too repetative "Swoosh" sound used over and over and over to signify breaks between scene, or movement between settings... As if a real writer could not simply drop a line or two of narrative to make the transition clear...

    I think the narrator does an Excelent job hoever, and manages to replicate the sounds of essentially All the characters from the film - Just as they are portreyed in the film....

    If anything, I found myself refering to screen shots of the film to get a clear picture of what exactly each alien species and setting looks like - again, because the narration fails to explain their look sufficiently without it... Thankfully, there are actual images of every location and creature, but in an abscence of them as reference, the actual descriptions given are beyond usefully constructive... many times I listened to the explanation over and over, before finally pausing playback and refering to google images... :-/

    The one thing that this version does well however, is the description of lightsaber battles, oddly enough... an investigation into various methods and the blow-by-blow exploration of technique comes over far better in this version than the quick, theatrical swordplay of the film...

    Finally, I think this series in the cannon is really annoying in its use of characters that just slowly wear you down... Everyone knows Jar Jar is one of the most annoying characters ever introduced, but the novels generally keep his part minimal (perhaps in response)... no, it is Anakin that I find myself getting Sick and Tired of in this series Far Far more than anyone else...

    I found his part whiney and selfinterested in the movies, but to be stuck inside his stupid head time and time again in the book draws out his stupid part to really become unbearable. It is ultimately a Relief to finally get over his sad self and wrap this stuff up!

    Not a bad book, and a decent audible variation on the film... but not nearly as much Added to the film content as I had hoped for... Some people did their jobs very well, but others seemed to be leaning far to much on the film version to fill the blanks they left out of what comes off as laziness...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Needful Things: The Last Castle Rock Story

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King
    Overall
    (841)
    Performance
    (591)
    Story
    (595)

    A new store has opened in the town of Castle Rock, Maine. It has whatever your heart desires...if you're willing to pay the price. In this chilling novel by one of the most potent imaginations of our time, evil is on a shopping spree and out to scare you witless. Presented unabridged and read by the author.

    Jaimie says: "A good book and narration"
    "My all-time favorite Stephen King book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My favorite by far, this book by Stephen King is thrilling, interesting, descriptive, and fun, without being an ordeal to listen to, a big decision to take on, or a haunting story to make you rue the day...
    It has, I think, one of the coolest underlying messages than any of his other work I have thus far read... I had always been a fan of the premise, and it is perhaps my favorite of his films, but the book, as always, is just that much better!

    While the slow ratcheting up of tension is exciting to move along with, when the ish finally hits the fan, you get the 'pleasure' of a slow motion exposition of every second of splatter... it's like a nuanced exploration of the beauty of a firework, one spark at a time... and in a spine tingling conclusion, King again manages to present what may seem like questionably simplistic sounding events in a realistic and textural way that makes them triumphant when they might otherwise run the risk of popping the suspended disbelief...

    Most of all, as someone who tends to hesitate at beginning Any New King novel, for the sake of the lost nights of sleep and the stress, I'm glad to find one that, I think, presents all of his writing skill and thrilling storycraft while also being one I can readily reccomend as 'fun' for most anyone... and, like I said, one with some really neat underlying logic and mechanism... not to say 'morals'...

    Good stuff! I think I've found a new favorite!

    (while I gave the performance 4 stars, it was mostly to do with little things... the sometimes shakey use of dialect, maybe not entirely flawlessly transparent and believable... but mostly the way I don't like his pronunciation of the letter "L"... back in the throat... funny how little things just get on your nerves after several hours!) :D

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Elements of Style (Recorded Books Edition)

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By William Strunk, E. B. White
    • Narrated By Frank McCourt
    Overall
    (195)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (75)

    The Elements of Style has long been a valued and beloved resource for all writers. Hailed for its directness and clever insight, this unorthodox textbook was born from a professor's love for the written word and perfected years later by one of his students: famed author E. B. White. Ever since its first publication in 1959, writers have turned to this book for its wise and accessible advice.

    T. C. Pile says: "Required Reading"
    "The Best Book for the Editing Proceedure..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I collected up a handfull of publications on writing to explore between drafts of my own book. Several deal with the craft of writing, developing characters, plot devices, and so on. however, none were as effective as this one with the simple tho difficult task of Editing my book.
    While many of the options dealt with the process of creating the story, the characters, and the plot, most of them fell down when it came to simple and direct assertive guidelines to help cut out the clutter of a manuscript already essentially developed.
    This book was refreshingly direct, tho a bit dense for any single reading, when it came to simple statements of 'do This and Not That'...
    I may suggest a hard copy that can be flipped between and refferred to on your desk as you work, but the book itsself is perhaps the single most usefully important book for any aspiring writer to reference!
    It was highly reccomended and I have been nothing but pleased with the end results!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Inferno: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9631)
    Performance
    (8739)
    Story
    (8810)

    In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces: Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust...before the world is irrevocably altered.

    linda says: "Well, I don't know what I was expecting"
    "Better than the last..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While I think Dan Brown's work can be a little bit formulaic... crazy zealot, beautiful sidekick, quasi religious motivation, extensive historic references... etc.
    I have to say I think this book exceeds the somewhat flat ending of the third book and thankfully deviates from the religious confrontation he delves into previously. While perhaps not completely unpredictable, I do find it to be an excelent read and a hell of a ride!
    For readers who enjoy his other works, I cannot help but think this will be yet another pleasant book well within his forte.
    Nicely Done!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Patrick O'Brian
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (215)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (84)

    Best-selling author Patrick O'Brian became a legend with his beloved Aubrey-Maturin seafaring tales. O'Brian received further attention with the critically acclaimed film adaptation, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards¿ and won two.

    Casey says: "A Sad Farewell"
    "A bittersweet experience..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had avoided the last in the series for this author, in much the same way as I avoid the last of many series I love too much to end, but after completing the gambit 4 or 5 times, I decided it was time to take on 'the Last'...
    It is odd and sometimes frustrating to hear an author wrap up a yarn of such glorious length, and I often wonder to what end it will proceed, but in this way, O'Brian is left mid stream like a record who's needle suddenly drifts to center... and, in a way, I have to respect that...
    Respect that O'Brian ultimately gave us absolutely Everything he possibly could, and that only his death alone truncated his attempts... indeed, one could say he 'never wished' to tie up his ends in a feigned grandiose 'end' to some farsical 'happily ever after' but that the lives of the characters end, very much as the sailors who are unexpectedly killed in an action... which is to say, in a more Realistic way... that is the candle unexpectedly snuffed out...
    Nevertheless, I was impressed with the quality of a work that was deffinitively unfinished, and the fragment is not without its endearing moments...
    I shall then think of the tale as the proceeding notes describe it, which is to say, as a ship which simply sails off into the sunset with all our beloved aboard, thriving and content...
    Not an ending to be feared, therefore... but the last breaths of a man who strived to keep telling his tale, till he could no longer speak...
    perhaps a more appropriate end for a tale so grounded in history, which never ends, and in the reality of everyday lives, which are forever doomed to continue on unfinished when we are ourselves, removed from the tale...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Pure

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Andrew Miller
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (62)

    By 1785, deep in the heart of Paris, the city's oldest cemetery is overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it. At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.

    marsha says: "This book is exquisite"
    "Listened to in a single day! Once I got going!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One would think that any novel you start and finish in a single day would prove to be one that you would reccomend to others, and one would be quite correct in thinking so!
    This novel, once I got into the characters and situations was simply not one I could bear to wait to finish... What would seem, at first, a somewhat macabre novel, proves in the end to expose more kindness and sympathy despite the death around its characters than I could have first anticipated...
    As someone with an interest in historical novels, it is also an interesting take on 'pre-revolutionary' France, and is remarkably insightful should I ever get the priveledge to actually visit Paris, and its catacombs...
    Not without sadness and tragety, it yet contains a tenderness which is uncovered that seems the more real and miraculous in spite of itsself...
    Overall, an excelent read! Romantic in its way, fascinating, and compassionate, it is an excelent break from the sappy traditional victorian anxt, while keeping that historic and period correct edge!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: From Here to Infinity: An Exploration of Science Fiction Literature

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael D. C. Drout
    Overall
    (207)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (108)

    The best science fiction asks essential questions: What does it mean to be human? Are we alone in the universe, and what does it mean if we're not? Esteemed professor Michael D. C. Drout traces the history of science fiction in this series of stimulating lectures. From Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to today's cutting- edge authors, Drout offers a compelling analysis of the genre, including a look at the golden age of science fiction, New Wave writers, and contemporary trends in the field.

    Timothy says: "Nerdy? Probably... Enjoyable? Yes"
    "Leaves you with Years worth of reading to look for"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While I've read a handfull of the Modern Scholar series, to differing results, this is by far the most complete and comprenensive recording I have thus found!
    The Lecturer clearly knows their subject well and, while they cover a huge number of books, in a staggering variety, each read is nevertheless given its time, and presented in a way that makes you interested to hear it.
    If I were wondering which read to take on Next in the Scifi genre, this is probably the best guide I could imagine!
    Time and again I find myself noting books or authors I'd like to explore, who's work I can now more fully appreciate in context, and who's stories are sorted in a way I both agree with, and largely credit with foreknowledge.
    While there were several books listed I had already read, in a way that I felt did the work credit, there was a multitude more I had not heard of, in shades and flavors I have yet to experience!
    By far my favorite modern scholar to date!
    Very Well Done!
    Would that they all could be so accessable and comprehensive!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Logan's Run

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By William F. Nolan, George Clayton Johnson
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    Overall
    (228)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (214)

    It's the 23rd Century and at age 21... your life is over! Logan-6 has been trained to kill; born and bred from conception to be the best of the best. But his time is short and before his life ends he's got one final mission: Find and destroy Sanctuary, a fabled haven for those that chose to defy the system. But when Logan meets and falls in love with Jessica, he begins to question the very system he swore to protect and soon they're both running for their lives.

    D says: "A Different Logan's Run"
    "Vintage SciFi Experience!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Logan's Run in three words, what would they be?

    Retro Distopian Classic! Somehow the subtle 70's infleuence seeps into the weave of the fabric of this accessable SciFi Classic. With its own unique mix of futurism and societal decay it is Not an experience to miss!


    What other book might you compare Logan's Run to and why?

    Easily at home among others of its day, I would compare it to Issac Asimov, or similar...


    What about Oliver Wyman’s performance did you like?

    Somehow accomplishes the impression of sound effects in the background in retrospect... With such an adventurous tale in such futuristic locations, one not only finds each character represented well and seemlessly, but afterward you find yourself questioning just which of the various environments were actually presented as expressly as you remember them...


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

    In the right environment, I could see myself listening to this completely in a single day, however, I think it more reasonable to break it up into two or three bits...
    not Too long to stop you, but quite possible to take in smaller doses...


    Any additional comments?

    Having been familiar with the movie, I went into this read with an interest in discovering the hidden depths of the original novel... As is almost cliche in its occurrence, I was pleasantly rewarded in uncovering a deeper understanding to the more complete reality presented by the author and was additionally surprised to find the novel a Series of books to go on with...
    Beyond the simple reality and poorly explained spectacle of the film, there is a deeper commentary on society which is the rare mindstretch I seek out most actively in all my reading. While I've had other series prove less enthralling in future installments, I am nevertheless left with higher hopes and greater interest in persuing the rest of the story having read this book.
    A Classic in its tone, texture, and underlying principles... everything I most look for in my delvings into the older science fiction genre... Worth a Look.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Jeff Ryan
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (312)
    Performance
    (284)
    Story
    (284)

    Nintendo has continually set the standard for video game innovation in America, starting in 1981 with a plucky hero who jumped over barrels to save a girl from an ape.

    Steve says: "Great read! Very informative."
    "The backstory... the origins... the reasons..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having been an avid nintendo player as a child (what 80s kid wasn't) I was immediately interested in the content and story behind the scenes of such a huge infleuence. I was not dissapointed! Moreover, I often found myself completely familliar with the various tunes, characters, backgrounds, and itterations discussed without any need to refresh my memory!

    Perhaps commonly for those who witness the decades long progress of a genre of culture, I often dispair at the complete lack of understanding among modern gamers of the long histories and development behind our favorite titles, and their changing scope and complexity over various platforms... This book, gladly, not only misses essentially Nothing I could recall, but often includes various stories that happened offstage to make the changes and moves I so often witnessed from the outside in wonder.

    With the stories of things like the origins of the names, the design of the characters, the various omages to significant actors, and all of the buisiness dramas that underly the years of change, I found this book to be both informative, and nostalgic.

    Beginning with the long years before the rise of video games of any sort, and moving step by step through the gambit of the rise of home consoles and modern gaming, this book seems to leave no yellow question mark stone unshattered!

    I mostly enjoyed the discussion of the various new techniques and breakthroughs that enabled each successive game advance, with an emphasis on what sorts of additions were made to each of the oldest game systems to squeeze out the next best thing!
    I also enjoyed hearing and remembering all of the 'new releases' and 'greatest game systems' of the past, we so fought over and despirately 'needed'... which seems funny to compare to the systems which came after... so far outshined...

    A well delivered and descriptive history, the only real issue I had with the book is the author's tendancy to string all of it together in such a way that made it Hard to Find a Stopping Place to end, and then restart the story later on. Because of this, I read the story through essentially over the course of a single day... which may itsself be taken as an endorsement, but would seem the less difficult method, and most natural way, when actually reading it.

    Ultimately, a great trip back to my childhood and a very revealing history of gaming to date...
    As we enter the period of super realistic, highly interactive, and hugely expansive games which the new systems allow, I find myself missing the pure genius and simplicity of the great games of old... valuing more from the use of less to achieve so much, than the comparatively vast and unrestricted possibilties of modern gaming...
    It's a trip! And a Tale worth telling...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Neverending Story

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Michael Ende
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (105)

    In this classic fantasy novel from author Michael Ende, small and insignificant Bastian Balthazar Bux is nobody's idea of a hero, least of all his own. Then, through the pages of an ancient, mysterious book, he discovers the enchanted world of Fantastica, and only Bastian himself can save the fairy people who live there. Shy, awkward Bastian is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.

    James says: "So much better than the movie"
    "You've Only Ever Heard HALF of the Story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Anyone with a Love for the Fantastical and Quixotic realms of Childlike Fairytales will Love this novel, and ask themselves how So Much could have gotten Left behind for So Very Long. Having grown up with the film version I Thought I knew what the story was all about, and which characters were involved, but with the novel version in hand I come to realise the depth and complexity of nuance which I missed.

    While much of youth oriented fiction can suffer from a lack of dynamism and depth, only occasionally surpassed in a form worthy of repetition and continuity between the generations, This Book has joined the rather short list of books I think would be Imperative to read to my future children every night around the ages of 8 to 10 years old...
    While the characters can seem simplistic in their catagories at first, time and again each presumption of simplicity is destroyed.

    I often judge my most favorite Fantasy on that, and one other main point. I look for characters and situations not presented as cliche and shallow composition, and I have a particular interest and personal metric of the quality of an author by looking to the Names Chosen for each 'imaginary part'... Ironically, the second metric is not only satisfied, but proven in some ways integral to the story itsself.

    In fact, the whole of the story reaches a level and depth of alagory and symbolism which not only demands rereading, but feels continually expositional in a way I think all the Best Fantasy does.

    While I am continually disappointed that (American) film adaptations continually fail to depict Describedly and Integrally necessary 'frumpy characters' as main characters in their stories, (Somebody get me a cutesy child star!) certain other aspects are evocatively presented, and I found myself returning to their itterations for other characters...
    for the first half of the book...

    I am left to wonder if there was some Intention to continue the story later, a total abandonment of the second part's alagory, or if Peter Jackson just hasn't heard of it yet...
    Lets hope it can, at least for this preciously short period, still continue to be a Truely Unique Find, and a Powerful Mutual Experience between parents and their children, or young readers stumbling upon the novel in passing...

    Among the Best of young fiction, and a powerfully evocative departure from the formulaic tolkienian, or rowlingnian method otherwise dominant currently...
    I love each new take and each evocative result and This is certainly Among the Best!

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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