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ESK

Moscow, Russia
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  • The War of the Worlds (Dramatized)

  • By: Mercury Theatre on the Air
  • Narrated by: Orson Welles
  • Length: 59 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 351
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 235
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 237

One of the most memorable programs in broadcast history, the Halloween Eve 1938 broadcast of The War of the Worlds set off a nationwide panic that's almost unimaginable today. Presented by the Mercury Theatre on the Air and its creatve genius, Orson Welles, the drama based on H.G. Wells' classic novel tells the story of a Martian invasion of Earth.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Classic

  • By Anniebligh on 06-05-09

"That was no Martian, it's Halloween"

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

Reviewed: 12-30-13

It's a masterful radio dramatization dating back to 1938. The radio play allegedly "stirred terror through the U.S." and "terrified the nation". The broadcast started with the introduction by Orson Welles: "We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own." The broadcast went on followed by a weather report and interviews that were meant to make the dramatization sound realistic. Then there was a special news bulletin announcing that an object about 30 yards wide had fallen on a farm at Grovers Mill.
What the news reporter saw next he described as "the most terrifying thing" he had ever witnessed...
I was hooked by this true-to-life radio adaptation. The way the Martian invasion and its aftermath were reported, and the enactment of one of the few survivors were brilliant.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Yellow Wallpaper

  • By: Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Narrated by: Jo Myddleton
  • Length: 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 395
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 336
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 333

Instructed to abandon her intellectual life and avoid stimulating company, she sinks into a still-deeper depression invisible to her husband, who believes he knows what is best for her. Alone in the yellow-wallpapered nursery of a rented house, she descends into madness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unnerving and disturbing

  • By ESK on 12-29-13

Unnerving and disturbing

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

Reviewed: 12-29-13

When I first listened to the story a year ago, I was deeply moved and shaken. It took me so much time to listen to it again. I must say it's not just a spooky story of a woman showing signs of incipient madness, as it might seem. It's a protest against quack psychiatrists of the 19th century, who instead of curing patients ended up complicating their mental illness.
The story is autobiographical. Being unstable, C.P. Gilman suffered from nervous breakdowns herself. She turned to a physician, whose treatment methods proved to be ineffective. C.P. Gilman was subdued to the domestic sphere, was allowed to have only two hours' intellectual stimulation, and was prevented from working. Deprived from normal life, she nearly slipped into insanity. Only when Gilman returned to work, did she manage to recover.
As Charlotte Perkins Gilman put it, the story "was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy".

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • The Modern Scholar: Masterpieces of Western Music

  • By: Jeffrey Lependorf
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Lependorf
  • Length: 7 hrs and 43 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 91
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58

This lecture series focuses on the very best of Western music, and as we progress through these lectures, the following are two important questions that we will seek to answer as we examine the various musical selections: What makes these works masterpieces? Why highlight these works?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent and solid listen

  • By ESK on 04-14-13

Excellent and solid listen

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

Reviewed: 04-14-13

Listening to the lectures gave me so much pleasure. Prof. Lependorf teaches the listener to understand the music and create a mental map of the passages. Personally, it was like learning a new language in an insightful way. I'd say the lectures helped to develop my sensitivity.
You can download the accompanying guide and figure out what the lectures are about. In short, they cover the following musicians and their masterpieces:
A.Vivaldi 'The Spring' (Movement I), J.S.Bach 'Brandenburg Concerto No. 5' (Movement I), G.F.Handel 'The Messiah' (“Ev’ry Valley”, “All We Like Sheep”, “Hallelujah”), W.A.Mozart 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' (Movement I), L. van Beethoven 'Symphony No. 5' (Movement I), H.Berlioz 'Symphonie Fantastique', F.Chopin 'Nocturnes' (Vol. 1, Nocturne in Db, Op. 27, No. 2), J.Brahms 'Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Händel' (Variations I, II, III, V, VI, Fugue), R.Wagner 'Prelude to Tristan', M.Mussorgsky 'Pictures at an Exhibition' ('Promenade', 'The Gnome', 'Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks', 'Great Gate of Kiev'), C.Debussy 'Prelude to The Afternoon of the Faun', I.Stravinsky 'The Rite of Spring' (Pt. 1), M.Ravel 'Mother Goose Suite', A.Copland 'Appalachian Spring Suite'.
Prof. Lependorf introduces such notions as tonic, ritornello, tutti, continuo, terraced dynamics, concerto grosso, pedal point, cadenza, oratorio, melisma, serenade, sonata-allegro, adagio, col legno, bel canto, arpeggio, da capo aria, tempo rubato, appoggiatura, hemiola, rounded binary, canon, cross-rhythm, two-against-three, leitmotiv, tremolo, ostinato, whole-tone scale, pentatonic scale, mode, gamelan, glissando, and syncopation, to name a few.
The lectures expanded my musical experience. I'll certainly listen to them again.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Machine Man

  • By: Max Barry
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 190
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 163
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 162

Scientist Charles Neumann loses a leg in an industrial accident. It's not a tragedy. It's an opportunity. Charlie always thought his body could be better. He begins to explore a few ideas. To build parts. Better parts. Prosthetist Lola Shanks loves a good artificial limb. In Charlie, she sees a man on his way to becoming artificial everything. But others see a madman. Or a product. Or a weapon. A story for the age of pervasive technology, Machine Man is a gruesomely funny unraveling of one man's quest for ultimate self-improvement.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Better living through engineering?

  • By Ken on 09-04-11

A better cyborgian future?

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

Reviewed: 04-01-13

It's a witty and entertaining book that was originally an online serialized novel (check out M. Barry's website). It revolves around Charles Neumann, a reticent engineer, who loses his limb and decides to improve his body by building a new leg. The funny thing that happens is that the less 'organic' Charles becomes, the more human he feels.
The book IS cynical and entertaining, but it also raises philosophical and ethical questions. What is it to be human? Would you download and upload your mind into a much better equipped robot body? Having been subjected to augmentation, can we still remain human?
Thinking about the quote from Michio Kaku's Physics of the Impossible "...immortality (in the form of DNA-enhanced or silicon bodies) may be the ultimate future of humanity," the question is, what if the essence of humanity could be lost as a result of biotechnological improvement?
On the plus side, there are revolutionary ways of transforming human capabilities, such as pacemakers and tissue grafts that prolong life; e-broidery and smart prosthetics. So in order to survive and 'upgrade' our biological adaptability we need some nanotechnological enhancement. Or do we?
At the same time, a cyborgian reality can widen the gap between 'organic' and 'augmented' people, those who can afford to buy a better body and the havenots, those who become supersoldiers and ordinary people, unable to defend themselves...
And it's the book that gave me food for thought.
As I read about Charles looking everywhere for his lost phone in Chapter 1, I thought about the way technology infiltrates our life. We are overdependent on it. As Naomi Goldenberg put it, "We are engaged in a process of making one another disappear by living more and more of our lives apart from other humans, in the company of machines..." Even now, while typing this, I desperately rely on my iPad.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • 50 Psychology Classics

  • By: Tom Butler-Bowdon
  • Narrated by: Lloyd James
  • Length: 12 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 347
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 179
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 172

Spanning hundreds of ideas developed over the past century, 50 Psychology Classics also explores important contemporary writings, such as Gladwell's Blink and Seligman's Authentic Happiness. Listeners will gain insight into the scientific research of leading contemporary psychologists, psychiatrists, and neurologists. And they'll discover why we think and act the way we do from the landmark best sellers of psychology.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good as an overview

  • By ESK on 03-18-13

Good as an overview

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

Reviewed: 03-18-13

It is supposed to be "psychology for non-psychologists", which basically means it briefly covers the major writings and biographies of famous authors.
Cutting edge? Definitely not. But it's summarizing and terse. It's a starting point to actually read those works explored. If you want an in-depth study, you read the book by the author, not a summary.
Here's the list of authors and the works:
1 Alfred Adler Understanding Human Nature
2 Gavin de Becker The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence
3 Eric Berne Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships
4 Robert Bolton People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts
5 Edward de Bono Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step
6 Nathaniel Branden The Psychology of Self-Esteem
7 Isabel Briggs Myers Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type
8 Louann Brizendine The Female Brain
9 David D. Burns Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
10 Robert Cialdini Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
11 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
12 Albert Ellis & Robert A. Harper A Guide to Rational Living
13 Milton Erickson My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson
14 Erik Erikson Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History
15 Hans Eysenck Dimensions of Personality
16 Susan Forward Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You
17 Viktor Frankl The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy
18 Anna Freud The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence
19 Sigmund Freud The Interpretation of Dreams
20 Howard Gardner Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
21 Daniel Gilbert Stumbling on Happiness
22 Malcolm Gladwell Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
23 Daniel Goleman Working with Emotional Intelligence
24 John M. Gottman The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
25 Harry Harlow The Nature of Love
26 Thomas A. Harris I’m OK—You’re OK
27 Eric Hoffer The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements
28 Karen Horney Our Inner Conflicts: A Constructive Theory of Neurosis
29 William James The Principles of Psychology
30 Carl Jung The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
31 Alfred Kinsey Sexual Behavior in the Human Female
32 Melanie Klein Envy and Gratitude
33 R. D. Laing The Divided Self: A Study of Sanity and Madness
34 Abraham Maslow The Farther Reaches of Human Nature
35 Stanley Milgram Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View
36 Anne Moir & David Jessel Brainsex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women
37 Ivan Pavlov Conditioned Reflexes: An Investigation of the Physiological Activity of the Cerebral Cortex
38 Fritz Perls Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality
39 Jean Piaget The Language and Thought of the Child
40 Steven Pinker The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human
41 V. S. Ramachandran Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind
42 Carl Rogers On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy
43 Oliver Sacks The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales
44 Barry Schwartz The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
45 Martin Seligman Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment
46 Gail Sheehy Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life
47 B. F. Skinner Beyond Freedom and Dignity
48 Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, & Sheila Heen Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
49 William Styron Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
50 Robert E. Thayer The Origin of Everyday Moods: Managing Energy, Tension, and Stress

58 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • V for Vendetta

  • By: Alan Moore
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,432
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,071
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,066

Imagine a Britain stripped of democracy, a world of the not-too-distant future in which freedom has been surrendered willingly to a totalitarian regime which rose to power by exploiting the people's worst fears and most damning weaknesses.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Visceral Vindictive Vicarious Vicissitudes?

  • By John on 09-06-08

Good but not a masterpiece

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

Reviewed: 03-01-13

V for Vendetta is a dystopia (though some authors distinguish dystopias from anti-utopias, but I'd rather use the former term). So, as any dystopia, it is meant to be a critique of the social or political system that exist in reality. Dystopias express our modern age anxieties and fears, as well as disillusionment with the utopian thought.
VfV describes the tyranny of a totalitarian regime and its evils; utter misery of the people; an individual crushed by the police state; people living in a constant nightmare. Exploitation, corruption, destruction, decline of faith and terror.
What makes this dystopia stand out is that the audiobook is based on the comic book series, and the protagonist doesn't want to be trampled on by the totalitarian machine. Estranged, V takes revenge and, having no scruples left, defies the state by using 'like-cures-like' methods: murder, terrorism, and subterfuge.
Well, perhaps, the question the reader can ask themselves is, Does the end justify the means? What V does is immoral, but if the environment is sick, does social ethics need to exist? If you want to be free, is chaos the only way to gain freedom?
V is certainly not a fictional character. His anarchic prototypes are not remnants of the past revolutions, but quite an inspiration behind protests nowadays.
As D. Harvey wrote, 'There is a time and place in the ceaseless human endeavor to change the world, when alternative visions, no matter how fantastic, provide the grist for shaping powerful political forces for change.' But, honestly, dystopian visions don't seem so fantastic the minute you link them with real events that happened in the past or are currently going on. There's nothing depicted in dystopias that people haven't committed.
P.S. As for the performance, it was excellent. Simon Vance is unrivalled!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales

  • By: Oliver Sacks
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis, Oliver Sacks - introduction
  • Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,539
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,994
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,992

Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • "Lest we forget how fragile we are..."

  • By ESK on 02-23-13

"Lest we forget how fragile we are..."

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

Reviewed: 02-23-13

The book kept me thinking how easy it is to cross the fine line between what we consider to be sane and insane, normal and abnormal. We take so many things for granted (like walking, sitting, remembering) that we don't really pay attention to them. But when a disaster strikes, and your body/mind doesn't feel the same way it used to, how do you react? Give up, or fight to feel 'normal' and 'together' again?
It was eye-opening to listen to this fantastic book. I felt that the author had never held himself aloof from his patients. The book was written with such compassion and empathy that I was so absorbed I couldn't do anything else. It's a must-have for anyone interested in neuropsychiatry, neurology and psychology.
The book is made up of 4 parts:
1. Losses (with special emphasis on visual agnosia)
Essays:
The man who mistook his wife for a hat;
The lost mariner;
The disembodied lady;
The man who fell out of bed;
Hands;
Phantoms;
On the level;
Eyes right;
The President's speech.
2. Excesses (i.e. disorders or diseases like Tourette's syndrome, tabes dorsalis - a form of neurosyphilis, and the 'joking disease')
Essays:
Witty Ticcy Ray;
Cupid's disease;
A matter of identity;
Yes, Father-Sister;
The possessed.
3. Transports (on the 'power of imagery and memory', e.g. musical epilepsy, forced reminiscence and migrainous visions)
Essays:
Reminiscence;
Incontinent nostalgia;
A passage to India;
The dog beneath the skin;
Murder;
The visions of Hildegard.
4. The world of the simple (on the advantages of therapy centered on music and arts when working with the mentally retarded)
Essays:
Rebecca;
A walking grove;
The twins;
The autist artist.

43 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Stoner

  • By: John Williams
  • Narrated by: Robin Field
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,947
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,738
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,744

William Stoner is born at the end of the 19th century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar's life, far different from the hardscrabble existence he has known. And yet as the years pass, Stoner encounters a succession of disappointments.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A fascinating book

  • By Mark J. Lura on 07-12-11

Heartrending

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

Reviewed: 02-10-13

I'd say it was emotionally exhausting to listen to the book. There are no wars depicted; no atrocities described. But there's the tragedy of one man, the broken, or rather ruined promises, the futility of aspiration, and failure of love. Yes, it's a story about an ordinary life, not about superheroes we look up to, but we never come across them in real life.
It's a story that could have happened to any of us, about the things we're too afraid to do, and then regret not doing them. Vanity of vanities... Thus 'Stoner' is thought-provoking and pensive. Its sadness is reverberating. I listened to it in one sitting, but I had to stop the audio from time to time to recharge my 'battery'. And it took me some time to get down to it and write the review.
It was so hard to listen to the book, because of the emotional involvement and empathy I felt towards the protagonist. A brilliant and moving novel.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • The Souls of Black Folk

  • By: W. E. B. Du Bois
  • Narrated by: Mirron Willis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 872
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 760
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 759

“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line,” writes Du Bois, in one of the most prophetic works in all of American literature. First published in 1903, this collection of 15 essays dared to describe the racism that prevailed at that time in America—and to demand an end to it. Du Bois’ writing draws on his early experiences, from teaching in the hills of Tennessee, to the death of his infant son, to his historic break with the conciliatory position of Booker T. Washington.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Essays of 'life and love and strife and failure'

  • By ESK on 02-08-13

Essays of 'life and love and strife and failure'

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

Reviewed: 02-08-13

These are heartfelt essays about discrimination, injustice and denial. Du Bois analyzes the problem of 'color line' and the importance of 'dwelling above the veil' of prejudice in terms of sociology, history, religion, music and psychology.
From the start, the first chapter 'Of our spiritual strivings' moved me deeply. It focuses on the stereotype of an African American as "a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,––a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,––an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."
The SoBF is a universally acknowledged literary masterpiece, a blend of poignant fiction, critique and autobiography. It creates powerful imagery that stays etched in your memory.
The book is made up of the following essays:
The Forethought
Of Our Spiritual Strivings
Of the Dawn of Freedom
Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others
Of the Meaning of Progress
Of the Wings of Atalanta
Of the Training of Black Men
Of the Black Belt
Of the Quest of the Golden Fleece
Of the Sons of Master and Man
Of the Faith of the Fathers
Of the Passing of the First-Born
Of Alexander Crummell
Of the Coming of John
The Sorrow Songs
The After-Thought
Each of the essays is introduced by a passage from poems and songs. The last section, which I found particularly insightful, interprets the message of African American folk songs.

48 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • The Story of Philosophy

  • The Lives and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers
  • By: Will Durant
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 19 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,233
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,000
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 987

Durant lucidly describes the philosophical systems of such world-famous “monarchs of the mind” as Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Spinoza, Kant, Voltaire, and Nietzsche. Along with their ideas, he offers their flesh-and-blood biographies, placing their thoughts within their own time and place and elucidating their influence on our modern intellectual heritage. This book is packed with wisdom and wit.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • AN ALL TIME FAVORITE

  • By Jeff on 04-14-12

Fantastic and insightful book

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

Reviewed: 01-25-13

Solid listen and masterly narration! I particularly enjoyed the section on Spinoza.
The SoP gives an overview of the lives and works of the most renowned philosophers, and analyzes their ideas in terms of social, political, religious and psychological contexts.
The book is made up of the following chapters:
1. Plato (as well as analysis of Socrates’ life and teaching)
2. Aristotle
3. Francis Bacon
4. Baruch Spinoza (also reference to Descartes)
5. Voltaire
6. Immanuel Kant (a brief look at Locke, Rousseau and a note on Hegel)
7. Arthur Schopenhauer
8. Herbert Spencer (and Darwinism)
9. Friedrich Nietzsche (N. and Wagner)
10. Henri Bergson
11. Benedetto Croce
12. Bertrand Russell
13. George Santayana
14. William James
15. John Dewey
Here’s an inspiring quotation from the SoP. ‘Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art. It arises in hypothesis and flows into achievement. Philosophy is a hypothetical interpretation of the unknown or of the inexactly known ; it is the front trench in the siege of truth.’

61 of 62 people found this review helpful