Despite the recent ferocious public debate about belief, the concept most central to the discussion "God" frequently remains vaguely and obscurely described. Are those engaged in these arguments even talking about the same thing? In a wide-ranging response to this confusion, esteemed scholar David Bentley Hart pursues a clarification of how the word "God” functions in the world’s great theistic faiths.
This was a frustrating purchase, in that the audio seemed unfinished at times - repetitions, for instance, that were not edited out. The reader also had what was to me a terribly annoying habit of replacing "book" with "audiobook" in the text, even in key points of the author's argument. "The computer is no more conscious of the ideas in a program than the ink on the pages of this book are of the arguments therein" is changed to "the device playing this audiobook" - totally obscuring the analogy. A strange thing to do.
The book itself is a fascinating topic by a great mind, but I think in the end it was too dense for translation to an audiobook. Hard to follow the argument. And at times this really is the fault of Hart. Granted these are very esoteric and abstract concepts, but that's why we pay him the big bucks to write a book. He relies to much on stilted academic language, and I'm convinced he can do better.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful
National Public Radio's Beijing correspondent Rob Gifford recounts his travels along Route 312, the Chinese Mother Road, the longest route in the world's most populous nation. Based on his successful NPR radio series, China Road draws on Gifford's 20 years of observing first-hand this rapidly transforming country, as he travels east to west, from Shanghai to China's border with Kazakhstan. As he takes listeners on this journey, he also takes them through China's past and present while he tries to make sense of this complex nation's potential future.
Would you listen to China Road again? Why?
Yes - I've read the book and have now listened to it. I'd do it again, because (as someone who lives in China) this is the best book on modern China that I've ever read. It is my first recommendation to anyone wanting to understand China today.
What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Simon Vance actually pronounces Chinese correctly. It is really horrible that so many great books on China have audiobooks with the most basic pronunciation errors, making it a constant cringe-inducing experience to anyone who knows even the most basic Chinese. The readers of Wild Swans, Factory Girls, and Peter Hessler's books all make these mistakes. It's as if someone read Les Miserables, and pronounced it "LESS MISERABLE-S" and the main villain "JAY-VERT". I'm not asking for the subtle consonants, or tones, or native pronunciation, but just the absence of the most basic errors - things a reader could learn with a ten minute "basic Chinese pronucniation" intro. Heck, just learning the following rules would solve 95% of the problems:
- Pronounce the "x" as an "sh", not a "z".
- Pronounce the "q" as a "ch", not a "k".
- Pronounce the "zh" as a "j", not a "z".
We wouldn't put up with this sort of thing for a minute from narrators of books in European settings. We wouldn't tolerate a reader who read the spanish-double "L" as a standard L and not a "Y". So why are these incompetent readers not screened out?