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Alicia Czechowski

Baltimore Maryland
  • 38
  • reviews
  • 176
  • helpful votes
  • 56
  • ratings
  • Goodbye, Things

  • The New Japanese Minimalism
  • By: Fumio Sasaki, Eriko Sugita - translator
  • Narrated by: Keith Szarabajka
  • Length: 4 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,194
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,884
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,861

Fumio Sasaki is not an enlightened minimalism expert or organizing guru like Marie Kondo - he's just a regular guy who was stressed out and constantly comparing himself to others, until one day he decided to change his life by saying goodbye to everything he didn't absolutely need. The effects were remarkable: Sasaki gained true freedom, new focus, and a real sense of gratitude for everything around him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Practical , Deep and Self-Reflection

  • By Anonymous User on 05-11-17

Very repetitive, No real method here.

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-13-18

I could not listen to Goodbye, Things as it became repetitive and generalized the problem of surplus possessions in a very erroneous way. The author devalues all objects, except as possibly being momentarily useful. He is very dismissive of the aesthetics of objects and generalizes too much, reducing everything to stuff. My problem is that i notice and appreciate everything I possess, and finding a rationale fo undertake drastic editing surplus items is a problem. The solution was nowhere to be found in "Goodbye, Things".

  • He Knew He Was Right

  • By: Anthony Trollope
  • Narrated by: Nigel Patterson
  • Length: 30 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 78
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 69
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 69

When Louis Trevelyan's young wife meets an old family acquaintance, his unreasonable jealousy of their friendship sparks a quarrel that leads to a brutal and tragic estrangement.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nigel Patterson as the narrator is great

  • By N. H. on 10-31-16

A husband drives himself mad with jealousy

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-26-17

Making the subject of a character's psychology the subject of the novel represents an unusual approach for Trollope. In He Knew He Was Right the husband deludes himself into the certainty that his wife has betrayed him and he gradually slides into a devouring delusion that destroys his marriage, his life's normality, his body and, ultimately, his sanity. The husband's jealousy is baseless, but understandable. Trivialities are blown out of proportion by the husband's suspicion on and his wife's outraged dignity. He [or She] Knew He [She] Was Right is the awful knell that drives so many people over the edge. Trollope effectively presents the seeming logic of the sundered couple, each of whom feels certain of his/her righteous position. Over and over again, neither husband nor wife can make the ultimate sacrifice and admit herself/himself wrong. The situation is torture, painfully depicted by Trollope. The emotional and psychological tug of war goes through many permutations until all reason is gone. In the end, Trollope cleverly lets us understand that both husband and wife have carried off his/her own conflicting and cherished delusion as confirmed belief.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • God Is Not Great

  • How Religion Poisons Everything
  • By: Christopher Hitchens
  • Narrated by: Christopher Hitchens
  • Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,550
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,856
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,793

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ...Though Hitchens Is!

  • By Ben Capozzi on 11-13-11

Is it too late for atheism to save the world?

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-16-16

As a lifelong atheist, I found Christoper Hitchens' exhaustive arguments exposing the monumental fallacy of God, engrossing and compelling. The tale of religions crimes against decency, and common sense have been only too apparent to me throughout my life. As an artist, I am well acquainted with the vile broadsheets distributed many centuries ago by various christian sects, hypocritically blasting the idiosyncrasies of other faiths and calling for torture and death. We are moving rapidly backwards in this technical age, there seems to be a mad return to the imbecility of religious belief, as always, fueled by cruelty, repression and war. I would like to think that the rational life would be made more appealing to more and more people through a work like God is not Great, but it may be too late for reason to save mankind from the self-destructive power of "faith".

  • The Way We Live Now

  • Parts 1 & 2
  • By: Anthony Trollope
  • Narrated by: Flo Gibson
  • Length: 30 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 18

Everyone thinks Augustus Melmotte, a new arrival in London, is a wealthy financier - until he is caught in a forgery scheme. This is a satirical look at immorality and dishonesty as Trollope saw them in the worlds of business, politics, journalism, literature, and society on his return from the colonies in 1872. Scoundrels, coquettes, swindlers, and intriguers abound in this novel, which is often called his masterpiece.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The best

  • By Mr. Gone on 11-28-07

One of the greatest

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-28-16

The Way We Live Now is my favorite Trollope work and Trollope has written many a wonderful book. But this particular work stands high, not merely as a work of Trollope's, but as something unique in literature. Non-stop-entertaining is this timeless tale of out-size egotistical ambition. What a story! I never stop being amazed at Trollope's almost casual style. No matter how big and complex he can convey us effortlessly and delightfully through all the tortuous machinations of multitudinous characters. His touch is light and clever and fresh, yet he spans the panoply of human motives and emotions, as he relates a fully-colored and complex story. And no one is better at fleshing out genuine, living people, running the gamut of personalities; Lady Carbury who hopes to achieve a little notoriety (and cash) through novel-writing, her long-suffering daughter, Hetta, her appallingly selfish son, Felix, her elderly swain, newsman Mr. Braun; the fabulous con-man Melmont, plus an entourage of clods, critics, cynics, sycophants and swindlers; all contrived with humor, wit and depth. I have read (listened to) The Way We Live Now many times; it is so vivid as to be almost cinematic; I see the action and the characters in their outrageous glory each time I listen to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Invasion of the Body Snatchers

  • By: Jack Finney
  • Narrated by: Kristoffer Tabori
  • Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,480
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,257
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,255

On a quiet fall evening in the small, peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovers an insidious, horrifying plot. Silently, subtly, almost imperceptibly, alien life-forms are taking over the bodies and minds of his neighbors, his friends, his family, the woman he loves, and the world as he knows it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • GOOD READ

  • By Randall on 04-25-09

Survival is everything

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-21-14

Jack Finney lets us contemplate the reason for existence in "Invasion". Ultimately, both man and alien will destroy anything and everything in the battle for survival. Is the human craving for emotional soap opera more valid than the pod changeling's simple instinct to exist?
"Invasion" concludes with a "Now what?", and, also, a "So what?".
I like a book whose ending suggests many intriguing possibilities.

7 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • The Ice Man

  • Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer
  • By: Philip Carlo
  • Narrated by: Michael Prichard
  • Length: 19 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,654
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,034
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,040

Richard "The Ice Man" Kuklinski led a double life beyond anything ever seen on The Sopranos, becoming one of the most notorious professional assassins in American history while hosting neighborhood barbecues in suburban New Jersey. Now, after 240 hours of face-to-face interviews with Kuklinski and his wife and daughters, author Philip Carlo tells his extraordinary story.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You must buy this audio only if...

  • By Eileen C on 08-15-09

Don't we all "compartmentalize"?

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-30-14

Richard Kuklinski represents an extreme case of the ability to compartmentalize. It's the way we all instinctively protect our reason, justify our actions, hide our real intentions, and bolster our amour propre.
I found this story fascinating in the way it juxtaposes our ideas of what constitutes conventional behavior with the life led by a career killer. Considering Kuklinski's terrible childhood, it is remarkable that he ended up leading such a "normal" life.
Philip Carlo's does an excellent job of reporting Kuklinski's story with the minimum of editorializing or moralizing. He is not the typical criminal biographer writer who equivocates by hauling out the "evil" formula while delectating yet another grisly morsel. Carlo presents a factual and non-hypocritical story of one man's long-lived career as a delectatehired killer, conducted for decades, under the radar.
Sucking on horror is the great American past-time, but The Ice Man is much more than a feast for the horror junky, it is an odyssey into the extraordinary parallel world of organized crime.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A Kiss Before Dying

  • By: Ira Levin
  • Narrated by: Mauro Hantman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 790
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 698
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 702

Now a modern classic, as gripping in its tautly plotted action as it is penetrating in its exploration of a criminal mind, it tells the shocking tale of a young man who will stop at nothing--not even murder--to get where he wants to go. For he has dreams; plans. He also has charm, good looks, sex appeal, intelligence. And he has a problem. Her name is Dorothy; she loves him, and she's pregnant. The solution may demand desperate measures.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nothing like a classic.....

  • By karen on 03-27-13

Story begins well, weakens, ends with a whimper

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-30-14

This is no work of genius, contrary to the critical/biographical introduction lauding Ira Levin.
The intro prepares the reader for great things which, for me, were not delivered.
Many novels start strong, because the author expends his all at the start. The back and forth story grows convoluted and vague and the characters do not really develop, rather, they become more superficial and unconvincing: it is difficult to empathize with anyone; a good writer draws the reader into the emotions and motives of all the characters.
As the book progresses, Levin's straight-forward style degenerates into purple prose and drags on tediously toward a makeshift and anti-climatic end. A Kiss Before Dying is a story that doesn't know where it's going.
A real classic in the noir genre is is James M. Cain's Double Indemnity, a superb tale of the criminal impulse infecting ordinary people. Levin's "Kiss" just doesn't make the grade.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Habits of the House

  • By: Fay Weldon
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 286
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 262
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 258

As the Season of 1899 comes to an end, the world is poised on the brink of profound, irrevocable change. The Earl of Dilberne is facing serious financial concerns. The ripple effects spread to everyone in the household: Lord Robert, who has gambled unwisely on the stock market and seeks a place in the Cabinet; his unmarried children, Arthur, who keeps a courtesan, and Rosina, who keeps a parrot in her bedroom; Lord Robert’s wife, Isobel, who orders the affairs of the household in Belgrave Square; and Grace, the lady’s maid who orders the life of her mistress.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Downtonlike story read by my favorite narrator?

  • By Cindy on 04-08-13

Aimless, silly and unlistenable

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-02-14

It is not the fault of the narrator, but entirely that of the author that "Habits" is rubbishy drivel.
It is pieces of shapeless verbal frippery like this book that makes me wonder anew at the dreck that gets published. I bought this Fay Weldon on an Audible $4.95 sale, mistaking the author for one recommended by a friend. "Habits of the House", not worth a plastic penny.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Minotaur

  • By: Barbara Vine
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 146
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 58

As soon as Kerstin Kvist arrives at remote, ivy-covered Lydstep Old Hall in Essex, she feels like a character in a gothic novel. A young nurse fresh out of school, Kerstin has been hired for a position with the Cosway family, residents of the Hall for generations. She is soon introduced to her "charge", John Cosway, a 39-year-old man whose strange behavior is vaguely explained by his mother and sisters as part of the madness that runs in the family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Top notch Barbara Vine

  • By Susan B. on 12-12-07

Trendy Rendy

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-26-13

The Minotaur started out fairly well, although I am not a fan of first-person narratives, the lazy authors fall-back. But soon the meandering tale of "family secrets" became wearying and Kirsten, in the character of narrator, grew flatter by the page. How can someone who is supposed to be a cartoonist write an epic tale without a trace of wit, humor or irony? I have known many, many professional cartoonists and, to a man (or woman) they are founts of comic mots and outrageous witticism and are especially adept at black humor. Then, comes the trendy autism theme which seems like a how-do-I-get-out-of-this-mess plot device, ending in dull summary. Is Ruth running out of steam, or does she just not want to send us her very best anymore?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Helter Skelter

  • The True Story of the Manson Murders
  • By: Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 26 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,666
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,109
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,110

Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the 20th century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Now available for the first time in unabridged audio, the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime is brought to life by acclaimed narrator Scott Brick.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Everything I remembered about the case was wrong..

  • By karen on 06-22-12

Interesting story until the epilogue-but "evil"?

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-13-13

Never having been much interested in the much-hyped Manson saga, I selected this recording when it was on a $4.95 Audible sale. Manson is what makes it all interesting; the fact that he was then, and still is, a source of fascination for so many. As the author says, if this were a work of fiction, the story would not be sensational. Truth, because it is truth, is stranger than fiction. If there had been no murders of an especially gory type, Manson's story would not be of exceptional interest. In the late sixties there were plenty of vagrant young folks experimenting with drugs, free-love and the communal experience. It was just the right group of people with the right catalyst (Manson) that brought about the crimes that riveted popular attention, like rubber-neckers at a colossal accident. A bored populace loves vicarious horror and the murders were better than any fictive cinematic production. While I found Helter Skelter interesting, I could hardly attend to the author's repeated pronouncements of "evil" upon Manson, etc. Highly disturbed, aberrant, but what the heck is "evil"? This is a child's word, a bogeyman catch-phrase, and I found Bugliosi's frequent use of the word simplistic and lazy and his moralizing tiresome. People always accept the mores of the moment as all-in-all, and are ever ready in a Babbitty way to distance themselves from anything overtly different in concept or behavior. If there is such a thing as "evil', try the blithe acceptance of the fact of the extermination of the indigenous peoples by the white invaders and the theft of their lands to make the good ol' USA. We accept the USA's ongoing wars of aggression upon civilians all over the world. By comparison a cluster of gory murders by criminal oddballs is just one of millions of violent crimes that go on every day, held in indifference by the general sensation-seeking public. Nevertheless, Helter Skelter was worth $4.95.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful