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Darwin8u

Mesa, AZ, United States
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  • Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction

  • By: Kim Knott
  • Narrated by: Susan McIneary
  • Length: 4 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

Hinduism is practiced by about eighty percent of India's population, and by about 30 million people outside India. But how is Hinduism defined, and what basis does the religion have? In this Very Short Introduction, Kim Knott provides clear insight into the beliefs and authority of Hindus and Hinduism, and considers the ways in which it has been affected by colonialism and modernity.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Vol #5 of Oxford's Very Short Introductions

  • By Darwin8u on 11-15-18

Vol #5 of Oxford's Very Short Introductions

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

Reviewed: 11-15-18

The presence of Hinduism as a religion alongside others requires Hindus to think about and articulate what is important to them in ways which can be understood by outsiders. Yet the challenge of passing down what is sacred to new generations of insiders remains ever presssing...
- Kim Knott, Hinduism: VSI

Vol #5 of Oxford's Very Short Introductions series.

This is another example of an early Oxford VSI trying to work through the format constraints (length) of Oxford's Very Short Introductions AND (as Justin Evans pointed out in his review) ALSO confront the handicap of the "general academic climate". I'm not sure the current academic climate is bad. But when constrained to introduce a large topic like Hinduism in 150 pages or less AND need to spend some of that space giving alms to various critiques (feminist, marxist, colonial, etc), it DOES come at a cost.

The book was well written and she does a very fine job of covering most of the ground you would expect. I was hoping for a bit more on rites, Hindu scripture, etc. While I just got done lightly critiquing Knott (or Oxford) for the limits of the form, I was still fascinated by Knotts exploration of the place of women, the Dalits (undesirables), Black Waters, and other modern challenges for Hinduism and Hindus.

My favorite parts dealt with Hinduism and its relationship with other religions and the West (especially Great Britain). The way Hinduism (and as a short-cut I'm calling all the various Vedic religions Hinduism) has changed and evolved as it bumps and grinds into other cultures and gets reflected back, adapted, fragmented, and/or upgraded.

Anyway, it was worth the time and left me with a better 30,000 foot understanding of Hinduism(s). I still don't feel on real solid ground (like I do with many forms of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc). I need to spend more time reading the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Epics, and the Sutras. I've danced around them, periodically, but I've never come close to studying any at length.

  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle

  • By: Shirley Jackson
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,314
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,086
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,090

Six years after four family members died of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and 18-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The narration changed my interpretation

  • By jaspersu on 10-28-12

Our house was a castle, turreted & open to the sky

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

Reviewed: 11-15-18

Our house was a castle, turreted and open to the sky.
- Shirley Jackson, We have Always Lived in the Castle.

This is my second Shirley Jackson in two days. I'm running full-speed into Halloween I guess. This year, as I mentioned in my previous review, I wanted to read something literary, but scary. Lucky for me, Penguin's Deluxe Classics set has two nice editions of Jackson: We Have Always Lived in the Castle and 'The Haunting of Hill House".

Having now read both, I'm not sure which I like the most. This one, probably. It is just a crazy, hot mess. It leaves you, even in the end, wondering who in the story is crazier (more unsettled)? Jonathan Lethem, in his introduction, made a good point, that Jackson's writing, at its core "conveys a vast intimacy with everyday evil, with the pathological undertones of prosaic human configurations: a village, a family, a self. She disinterred the wickedness in normality, cataloguing the ways conformity and repression tip into psychosis, persecution, and paranoia, into cruielty and its masochistitic, injury-cherishing twin."

Perfectly stated. That's why Lethem makes the big bucks. Jackson gets the big bucks because like David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, and Patricia Highsmith, Jackson has the pulse on suburban American wickedness. As I was reading this story, it made me think of the tribal and vicious nature of my Arizona neighbors and friends when presented with something different, odd, and perhaps a bit scary. But not just in my home town. It could be in Montgomery, Pittsburg, Charlottesville. We are living NOW in an era when it doesn't take much for your neighbor to grab a torch, a pitchfork, and come after YOU.

  • The Haunting of Hill House

  • By: Shirley Jackson
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,536
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,212
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,217

Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well written horror tale

  • By Crystal on 02-11-14

We have grown to trust blindly in our senses...

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

Reviewed: 11-15-18

We have grown to trust blindly in our senses of balance and reason, and I can see where the mind might fight wildly to preserve its own familiar stable patters against all evidence that it was leaning sideways.
- Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of House Hill

I wanted to read something literary, but scary. Also, it would be nice if it wasn't super long. I'm not a big horror reader and have been purchasing (collecting?) Penguin's Deluxe Classics for a while, so I bought a couple of Shirley Jackson's novels the first week in October.

This book is basically a ghost story (or perhaps a haunted house story). I jumped in it and couldn't put it down. Like most newish readers to Shirley Jackson, I am NOT new to Shirley Jackson. Almost everyone since its June 26, 1948 publication date has read Jackson's short story "The Lottery." You may think you haven't but if you are reading my reviews, I'd bet money you have. It is a staple in American Lit Anthologies. It is amazing. If you haven't read it, click on the title above.

Anyway, I loved the setting, the pacing, the tension, and the writing. She reminds me a bit of Patricia Highsmith in her sharp edges and brutal clarity. She reminds you of the horrors that exist in your family and your villiage. She floats in that space between the unreal and the mundane. Jackson bruises you with a story that is just tilted a bit outside of normal. She creeps you out because her fantastic writing, seduces you, and gets so damn close.

  • The Patch

  • By: John McPhee
  • Narrated by: John McPhee
  • Length: 8 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

The Patch is the seventh collection of essays by the nonfiction master John McPhee. It is divided into two parts. It is an "album quilt", an artful assortment of nonfiction writings that have not previously appeared in any book.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A thousand details add up to one impression

  • By Darwin8u on 11-15-18

A thousand details add up to one impression

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

Reviewed: 11-15-18

A thousand details add up to one impression.
-- Cary Grant, quoted in John McPhee's 'The Patch'

...an interloper [at Princeton], a fake professor, a portfolio without minister.
-- Robert Fagles & Robert Hollander, both describing John McPhee

In my Goodreads "About Me" I'm pretty blunt:

I won't review your self-published book. I promise. Even if your book is published by a traditional publishing house (Penguin, etc), I'm not going to read and review it UNLESS I've read you before (most likely). If your name is Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, John le Carré, Robert Caro, John McPhee, etc., sure... PLEASE send me ALL your books. I'm totally game. Otherwise, you are just wasting both of our time.

That usually scares away most self-published prose pimps, but the other day I landed a REAL fish. Someone at Farrar, Straus and Giroux sent me a quick note complimenting me (I'm a whore for compliments) AND asking if I wanted a soon-to-be-published book by John McPhee to read, enjoy, and yes ... perhaps ... review?

My kids would tell you that in a choice between meeting John McPhee and God, I'd be hard pressed to choose, because to me John McPhee IS GOD. So, of course I took the book. I got it a couple days ago and just finished it today.

Lovely. The book is essentially a memoir, told through prose patches and resurrected scratches. Pieces that have been overlooked or published and never reprinted were culled, edited, and sewn together (at 87, there is a lot of past prose to examine). Part I of the book contains six sporting essays that range from fishing for pickerel in New Hampshire (The Patch), to chasing errant golf balls (The Orange Trooper), to golf at St. Andrews (Linksland and Bottle), to coach Bill Tierney (Princeton's and later Denver's) championship lacrosse coach (Pioneer). Part II is essentially a variety of small pieces (some just a paragraph, others several pages) that seem random. They span McPhee's interests from people, to places, to science, and errata. It is only as these patches come together that you begin to realize McPhee is essentially taking you on a trip through his memory as a writer, a father, and a person. McPhee's talent as a writer bubbles up, but so too does McPhee's essential humanity. His narrative nonfiction informs most good and almost all the great nonfiction writers currently making a living with words. He, along with Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, helped popularize New Journalism. His books are curiosity distilled with patience through literary prose along with a unique ability to observe the the key person in the perfect place at the right time. In this book McPhee is showing you a quilt that slowly grows into McPhee. It is a love note to his family (the book is dedicated to his 10 grandchildren) and most certainly to his readers and fans.

  • The Death of the Banker

  • The Decline and Fall of the Great Financial Dynasties and the Triumph of the Small Investor
  • By: Ron Chernow
  • Narrated by: Michael Kramer
  • Length: 4 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 528
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 470
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 474

Ron Chernow examines the forces that made dynasties like the Morgans, the Warburgs, and the Rothschilds the financial arbiters of the early twentieth century and then rendered them virtually obsolete by the century's end. As he traces the shifting balance of power among investors, borrowers, and bankers, Chernow evokes both the grand theater of capital and the personal dramas of its most fascinating protagonists.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Severely outdated

  • By Lindsey M Hall on 11-15-17

Bankerdämmerung

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

Reviewed: 10-24-18

"As we have seen repeatedly in our own day, any successful business that engenders a large surplus is, potentially, an embryonic bank."
- Ron Chernow, The Death of the Banker

A more accurate title might be "Death of Banking", or "The Death of Pimp Merchant Bankers", or perhaps ... "A Chronicle of an Almost Banking Death Foretold Far To0 Early" or "The Democratization of Money and the Rise of Mutual Funds". Interestingly, this book was published in 1997 right before banks enjoyed their CMO/securritization/post Glass–Steagall ressurrection. Everytime someone predicts banking/bankers are about to die, they get bailed-out, patched-up, mutates, and grows again. For this reason, this book hasn't aged well. It missed the biggest story about finance in the last 50 years (the Financial boom and bust of 2007/8).

The first 2/3 of the book is basically a lecture Chernow delivered in Toronto (the Barbara Frum Lecture sponsored by the University of Toronto History Department and the CBC). Chernow added two essays totalling about 45 pages on J.P. Morgan and the Warburgs. These are basically extended summaries of Chernow's earlier Banking Dynasty books: "House of Morgan" and "The Warburgs". Not included (because the book came later) was Chernow's third Banking Dynasty book on the Rockefeller family.

So, it is hard for me to like this as a book. It is a good, if out-dated, essay and summaries of 2/3 books Chernow's banking books I've recently read. I would recommend anyone interested in this topic to simply read Chernow's three banking books. But, if you have read everything else Chernow is published and you want to be a completist because you are kinda/sorta A.D.D., go ahead. You can read it in a couple hours. It is more conversational than his histories and you've heard most of the stories, quotes, and themes before.

Chernow writes primarily about banking families and American biographies:

Chernow's Banking Dynasties:
1. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. - ★★★★
2. The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance - ★★★★
3. The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family - ★★★★

Chernow's American Political Biographies:
1. Alexander Hamilton - ★★★★★
2. Washington: A Life - ★★★★★
3. Grant - ★★★★★

Upon reviewing my reviews, I'm convinced Chernow does slightly better at writing histories of individuals rather than families; politics rather than finance. However, I should note, I've enjoyed ALL of his books and he's a master at his craft.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Music

  • A Very Short Introduction
  • By: Nicholas Cook
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 4 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17

This very short introduction, written with both humor and flair, begins with a sampling of music as human activity and then goes on to consider the slippery phenomenon of how music has become an object of thought. Covering not only Western and classical music, Cook touches on all types from rock to Indonesian music and beyond. Incorporating musical forms from every continent, Music will make enjoyable reading for beginner and expert alike.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Very academic and dull treatment of topic

  • By James on 05-30-11

An ETUDE in WEE Minor

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

Reviewed: 10-23-18

"But when we speak of music we are really talking about a multiplicity of activities and experiences; it is only the fact that we call them all 'music' that makes it seeem obvious they belong together."
-- Nicholas Cook, Music: VSI

Vol N° 2 of Oxford's Very Short Introductins series.

'Music: A Very Short Introduction' is one of the very first books in Oxford's series. It is both MORE and LESS (not to be confused with more or less) than what I was expecting. It was more of an academic, post-modern, post-colonial, Marxist look at music. Since the Western Canon is the elephant in the room for any discussion of Music, it gets most of the attention, but Cook also spends a lot of time wandering around the idea of Music as cultural system, language, and representation of culture and society. He also explores critical theory, musicology, music theory, and the potential for music as a means of cross-cultural understanding and insight. There was a part of me (the part that will occassionally flirt with Wittgenstein AND John Cage) that enjoyed the academic and cerebral approach to understanding Music.

There was also a part of me that wanted to tightly wrap a brass trumpet around Cook's neck. I don't think these books need to be easy, but part of the issue with academics in many fields is their tendency to write for their own little group (the less of my more AND less). I'm not sure this book would be of interest for many beyond a MUSIC501 (Introducton to Musicology) course at Duke, etc. I guess for me this type of a book, as an amatuer music listener, would be more Schönberg and less Mozart. It is aimed at the few and not the many.

  • The House of Morgan

  • An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance
  • By: Ron Chernow
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 34 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,531
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,348
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,338

A gripping history of banking and the booms and busts that shaped the world on both sides of the Atlantic, The House of Morgan traces the trajectory of the J. P.Morgan empire from its obscure beginnings in Victorian London to the crash of 1987. Ron Chernow paints a fascinating portrait of the private saga of the Morgans and the rarefied world of the American and British elite in which they moved. Based on extensive interviews and access to the family and business archives, The House of Morgan is an investigative masterpiece.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Chernow's first book as good as his later ones

  • By S. Yates on 06-01-17

The construction of the House of Morgan

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

Reviewed: 10-22-18

"Never before in the history of the world has there been such a powerful central control over finance, industrial production, credit, and wages as it is at this time vested in the Morgan group."
- Former Republican Chairman, quoted in Fortune, August 1933.

Ron Chernow's first financial biography/history is large It is 720 pages, plus notes/etc., and spans 1938 - 1989. It started off strong. Part I: The Baronial Age (1838-1913) is focused on the MEN, namely George Peabody, Junius Spencer Morgan, and J. Pierpont Morgan. The banks were simply extensions of the men. This section was 5-stars. It was fascinating. Part II: The Diplomatic Age (1913 - 1948) is focused on the bank(s). It begins with J.P. Morgan's death follows the House of Morgan through the war years (with "Jack" Morgan shepherding). Towards the end, with Glass-Steagal, the House of Morgan breaks into three major entities: Morgan Grenfell (already separate, English), Morgan Stanley (Investment Banking), and J.P. Morgan & Co. For me this was 4-stars. Part III: The Casino Age (1948-1989) explored the explosion of banking activity post war, the focus on M&A, and the loss of stature of the House of Morgan, both as it lost power and prestige. The book ends before J.P. Morgan was bought by Chase in 1990 (the book was published in 1990). This part was interesting, but like a shotgun, the further from Pierpont you get, the more diffuse the narrative. Eventually, there just seemed too much (too many actors, too many scandals, too many narrative threads). This part probably desereves 3-stars.

All in all, I liked the book. It showed Chernow's early talent for financial storytelling and gift for capturing historical characters. For me, the most valuable part of this book (besides the information on Pierpont) was the information on the other major partners that played a big roll during the wars, and Morgan's relationships with various 19th and 20th century figures (financial, cultural, political). I was fascinated by the deep relationship the House of Morgan had with fascist Italy, ultranationalist Japan, Germany, and the Vatican. I was entranced by Tom Lamont, Monty Norman, Russell Leffingwell, etc. The book was worth the effort just to learn about these other Morgan men.

Chernow writes primarily about banking families and American biographies:

Chernow's Banking Dynasties:
1. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. - ★★★★
2. The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance - ★★★★
3. The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family - ★★★★

Chernow's American Political Biographies:
1. Alexander Hamilton - ★★★★★
2. Washington: A Life - ★★★★★
3. Grant - ★★★★★

Upon reviewing my reviews, I'm convinced Chernow does slightly better at writing histories of individuals rather than families; politics rather than finance. However, I should note, I've enjoyed ALL of his books and he's a master at his craft.

  • The Warburgs

  • The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family
  • By: Ron Chernow
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Reese
  • Length: 35 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 207
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 190
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 184

Bankers, philanthropists, scholars, socialites, artists, and politicians, the Warburgs stood at the pinnacle of German (and, later, German American) Jewry. They forged economic dynasties, built mansions and estates, assembled libraries, endowed charities, and advised a German kaiser and two American presidents. But their very success made the Warburgs lightning rods for anti-Semitism, and their sense of patriotism became increasingly dangerous in a Germany that had declared Jews the enemy.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible reader!

  • By Helen R. Cook on 05-08-17

The Warburg's Dynamic Family History

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

Reviewed: 10-22-18

"It was the Warburg's good fortune that whenever we were about to get very rich something would happen and we became poor and had to start over again."
- Siegmund W. Warburg, quoted in Ron Chernow's 'The Warburgs'

Working in finance, the Warburg name wasn't unknown to me, but it never carried the same cachet as the Rothchilds, the Morgans, the Rockefellers, or the Medicis. Part of this is certainy geography. Being American, I've had more exposure to the myths and the institutions created by the Rockefellers and the Morgans (the Mellons and the Goldman-Sachs). But it was more than that. The Warburg family and banking stretched over multiple generations and dynasties. It also peaked right before the Nazis came into power, so the Warburgs faced a large amount of antisemetism (like almost all European Jews) during the late 19th and first half of the 20th century.

It is bold of Chernow to take on this family history. It is a big thesis. And it is a difficult task to write a compelling family history framed around banking and Germany and Nazis and not create a hot mess of a book. At times, I felt this book was falling into a hot mess. It spread out, banks fractured, families squabbled, and for a couple hundred pages the book was a chore. But, ultimately, Chernow almost pulled it off. I was fascinated by characters like Aby, Max, Paul, Felix and Fritz Warburg (the Mittleweg Warburgs). Sometimes, I felt as if each of the brothers carried a characteristic or passion I could relate to. Most of the attention of the book is spent on brothers who bank (the exception being Aby, the art Historian and rabid book collector), so the sisters while addressed, get a smaller role. Later, as the Warburg banking empire starts to rebuild, attention is spent on cousins Eric, Paul, and James (Mittleweg Warburgs), and Sir Siegmund Warburg (Alsterufer Warburgs). By this time, the Warburg families have spread mostly out of Germany to America, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, etc. But like with the previous generation of Warburg men, I found characteristics of these dynamic men that I could relate to. They were all different, often difficult and driven, but fascinating.

Chernow writes primarily about banking families and American biographies:

Chernow's Banking Dynasties:
1. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. - ★★★★
2. The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance - ★★★★
3. The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family - ★★★★

Chernow's American Political Biographies:
1. Alexander Hamilton - ★★★★★
2. Washington: A Life - ★★★★★
3. Grant - ★★★★★

Upon reviewing my reviews, I'm convinced Chernow does slightly better at writing histories of individuals rather than families; politics rather than finance. However, I should note, I've enjoyed ALL of his books and he's a master at his craft.

  • Buddhism

  • A Very Short Introduction
  • By: Damien Keown
  • Narrated by: Coleen Marlo
  • Length: 4 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

This very short introduction offers listeners a superb overview of the teachings of the Buddha, as well as a succinct guide to the integration of Buddhism into daily life.  

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Engage the services of a Very Short boatman

  • By Darwin8u on 10-22-18

Engage the services of a Very Short boatman

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

Reviewed: 10-22-18

"...rather than devote years of one's life to learning to walk on water it was simpler to engage the services of a boatman!"
- Buddha, quoted in Damien Keown's Buddhism: VSI

Vol N° 3 of Oxford's Very Short Introductins series.

I've been fascinated with Buddhism for years and for years jokingly called myself a Zen Mormon. Although that probably undersells my relationship with Mormonism and oversells my relationship with Buddhism. I do, however, follow many secular Buddhist practices and read several books on Buddhism every year. I try to meditate, but I'm really, really bad at it. I joke that if I could meditate properly for just one minute, I might at that point achieve Nirvana, or at least begin to float a couple inches over my cushion.

Anyway, I've got several books on Buddhism sitting on my shelf to read, but this year I wanted to read a simple overview of Buddhism. Damien Keown's contribution to Oxford's Very Short Introduction seemed to fit the bill perfectly. It summarizes Buddhism and the Buddha, looks at its history, schools (Mahāyāna, Theravāda, etc.), while also giving an overview of karma, the Four Noble Truths, meditation, ethics, etc. Finally, Keown ends the book discussing Buddhism in the West and the possibilities of development and enlightenment as Buddhism grows in a new field.

Anyway, for a book that is limited to less than 150 pages, Keown did a great job and covered a lot of ground. The limits were Keown necessarily needed to leave unexplored a lot of Buddhist teachings (think bullet points of the main concepts).

  • Norwegian Wood

  • By: Haruki Murakami
  • Narrated by: John Chancer
  • Length: 13 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 831
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 745
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 748

This stunning and elegiac novel by the author of the internationally acclaimed Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has sold over four million copies in Japan and is now available to American audiences for the first time. It is sure to be a literary event.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Beautiful, Wistful...

  • By Douglas on 02-18-16

This Bird Has Flown

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

Reviewed: 10-13-18

I'm a little conflicted about 'Norwegian Wood.' I love Murakami and I think I get what Murakami was trying to say (at least partially) in this novel. I was just a little too bored and too disinterested to find myself caring about the novel. I finished it, just to have finished it, and kinda felt that Murakami might have felt the same way after writing it. By the end, I was almost begging for some Japanese 'Deus ex Machina' to suddenly appear and rescue me from the plastic bag-like suffocation of the life and death narrative. Ugh.

That all said, perhaps it really is me and not you with this one Murakami.