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Rory Cooney

Barrington IL USA
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  • The Denial of Death

  • By: Ernest Becker
  • Narrated by: Raymond Todd
  • Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 781
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 602
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 591

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1974 and the culmination of a life's work, The Denial of Death is Ernest Becker's brilliant and impassioned answer to the "why" of human existence. In bold contrast to the predominant Freudian school of thought, Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie: man's refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so, he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living that still resonates more than 30 years after its writing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not for the closed-minded

  • By Yhatze on 05-27-17

A classic, but...

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

Reviewed: 03-22-18

I missed this book in the 70s but was happy to see an Audible version when it was recently recommended to me. It’s something of a survey of psychoanalytic literature on the subject of death-terror as it impacts the struggle to be fully human, Freud, Adler, Otto Rank, and later lights like Fromm all out in conversation with philosophers and theologians like Kierkegaard and Tillich. Unsettling at times, bewildering at others, sometimes just obtuse, the book is nevertheless well worth the time.

However, as a Latin student of seven years I was constantly appalled by the reader’s lack of knowledge of basic Latin conventions, to the extent that every time he pronounced “causa sui” as “causa swee” I’d lose focus long enough to miss a paragraph or two of arcanities about anality.

Sorry. Off topic. Good insights, frustrating narrator.

  • Killers of the Flower Moon

  • The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
  • By: David Grann
  • Narrated by: Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee, Danny Campbell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,510
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5,894
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,873

In the 1920s the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An outstanding story, highly recommended

  • By S. Blakely on 06-22-17

Really a must-read piece of historical sleuthing

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

Reviewed: 01-20-18

A heartbreaking story of America’s recent past, Grann tells the story of the systematic cold-blooded murder of Osage Indians in the early 20th century by white citizens seeking to usurp and steal head rights to oil reserves on their own land. Part of the story is the dogged courage of some federal lawmen in the early years of the FBI, shortly after the ascension of the flawed but capable J Edgar Hoover. Unaware of any of the elements of this story going in, I found the narrative riveting and its too-often repeated tale of prejudice, deception, and violence against native peoples to be persuasive, yet another blot on the history of the United States. Even so, it’s good to know about people like Agent White (could force croon have picked a better name?) who pursue the truth at great personal cost, and no less the author, who a century later helps bring closure to elements of the case that went uninvestigated in their time. Terrific performance as well, especially by Will Patton, whose gravelly PI voice we remember from the Stephen King “Mr Mercedes” murder trilogy.

  • The Nightingale

  • By: Kristin Hannah
  • Narrated by: Polly Stone
  • Length: 17 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 46,035
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 41,724
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 41,652

Audie Award, Fiction, 2016. From the number-one New York Times bestselling author comes Kristin Hannah’s next novel. It is an epic love story and family drama set at the dawn of World War II. She is the author of twenty-one novels. Her previous novels include Home Front, Night Road, Firefly Lane, Fly Away, and Winter Garden.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Heroic & Harrowing Work Of Fiction

  • By Sara on 08-21-15

Story B, writing C-

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

Reviewed: 10-31-16

It is a daunting task to undertake a narrative of France under the nazi occupation, and shouldn't be undertaken lightly. Hannah's emotional vocabulary is too narrow and her tone too full of cliches to tell her worthy story. Ms Stone's narration is multi-faceted and well done, but can't save the book from the limited, mass-market logosphere of her characters' dialogue and inner life. I'm sure some people find it appealing; it's simply too deeply horrible a story to be sold for profit.

  • A Man Called Ove

  • By: Fredrik Backman
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61,221
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56,027
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55,929

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell". But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I Laughed and I Cried

  • By Bill on 08-22-15

Really grew on me

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

Reviewed: 05-01-16

I bought this book on a lark, having never heard of it before. I've since learned that the author is Swedish, a blogger, and that the work is a translation. If I'd known that sooner, I would've cut it more slack at the beginning when I thought the prose sounded awkward and stilted. As it turned out, "Ove" is a wonderful story, full of terrific characters, great development, great story arc, and brimming with human emotion across the palette of life. While I had my doubts at the beginning, at the end I was really, really sorry to see it go. Aside from references to krone as the money of the setting, there was not actually any way of knowing in what country the story took place.
What this book really brought to mind was what Pope Francis has in mind when he says that God is to be found at the margins. These little, almost anonymous people find meaning and community and healing from entering reluctantly and hesitantly into each other's lives. Some won't call that God, but it's the best we got. The translation isn't always very vernacular-sounding, but the light of the narrative shines through anyway. I hope you'll be as delighted as I with A Man Called Ove. Brilliant.

  • When Breath Becomes Air

  • By: Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese - foreword
  • Narrated by: Sunil Malhotra, Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,811
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,745
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,693

At the age of 36, on the verge of completing a decade's worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Phenomenal book!

  • By A. Potter on 01-16-16

Touching and deeply human

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

Reviewed: 03-21-16

When Breath Becomes Air is a lovely memoir of a neurosurgeon's fight against lung cancer, which strikes him in his mid 30s. Unhurried, and touching on many difficult aspects of a foreshortened life, Kalanithi's story is buffered by a foreword from his doctor colleague, and an afterword by his wife. There is depth to it, not just because of his medical background, and his brilliant history, but also because he started out as a writer, and was an avid reader of literature of all kinds. Like Atul Gawande's "Being Mortal", there is much in here to stimulate thought, meditation, and the kind of self inventory we'd all like to make public to our friends and relatives before our death. It is spiritual without being cloying, medical without being indecipherable. If there is a weakness to his pros, it's just that he had to write it too soon, without the benefit of another 30 or 40 years of experience and reflection. No matter. Life well lived, and reported.

  • The First Christmas

  • What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Birth
  • By: Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 66
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 60

In The First Christmas, two of today's top Jesus scholars, Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan, join forces to show how history has biased our reading of the nativity story as it appears in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Borg and Crossan help us to see this well-known narrative afresh by answering the question, "What do these stories mean?" in the context of both the first century and the 21st century. They successfully show that the Christmas story, read in its original context, is far richer and more challenging than people imagine.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Christmas... Something interesting for everyone

  • By Jacobus on 02-02-12

Fine book from Crossan and Borg, as always, but...

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

Reviewed: 10-03-11

I have to say that someone who reads books in a particular discipline (in this case, scripture and to a lesser extent Christian liturgy) ought to have a bit more expertise in the vocabulary of that discipline. "Magnificat", general pronounced with soft Italian (or liturgical Latin) vowels, was constantly pronounced like a character in a Lloyd Webber musical. "Collect", meaning a specific liturgical prayer in the liturgy, was pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, like the verb. Things like this are a distraction from the text as a whole, and really should be better directed and edited. No complaints about the book itself, and I'm grateful that this kind of book, somewhat less in vogue than, say, John Grisham or Stephen King, is also made available for us audio addicts.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful