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Donald

Arlington, MA, USA
  • 19
  • reviews
  • 173
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  • 207
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  • The Trial

  • By: Franz Kafka
  • Narrated by: Geoffrey Howard
  • Length: 7 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 120
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 66
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 67

Joseph K. is an Everyman. His inconsequence makes doubly strange his arrest by an officer of the court, made with no formal charges or explanation. Disoriented and consumed with guilt for a "crime" he does not understand, Josef K. must justify his life to a "court" with which he cannot communicate. Through the court's relentless bureaucratic proceedings and absurd juxtapositions of different hypotheses of cause and effect, the whole rational structure of the world is undermined.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • dangers of a police state

  • By Donald on 09-29-09

dangers of a police state

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-29-09

I doubt that I can add much to what's been written about this book. I had thought that I had read all of Kafka's works, but somehow I had missed this cornerstone.

There are times when we feel that everyone else knows something, but we're somehow in the dark. Perhaps it's the halftime flash which our disinterest kept us from seeing. These times are even more sinister when the knowledge pertains to us. Perhaps our co-workers know we're being let go. Perhaps our prospective employers are getting negative reports behind our backs. This story is that paranoia on steroids: somehow almost all of society is part of an obscure police state and everyone around us is playing a role while we naively carry on with our achievements and status--winning the wrong game.

K evinces inviolability and rightness, yet the machinery of the omnipresent police state continues to draw the noose. Like Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros, all are converting and turning, or perhaps unseen were already changed. Now it is K's turn and his choices lead impotently toward dissolution.

I can see why people liken Invitation to a Beheading to this book, but they are dramatically different. Both are absurd and surrealistic, but Nabokov's is bright balls and circus absurdity with almost everything out in the open. Kafka's is a nightmare absurdity of dark hallways, dead ends, false hopes, and entrapping sirens.

As to this recording, there are odd splices of another voice occasionally, but otherwise, the narration is quite good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Grass for His Pillow

  • Tales of the Otori, Book Two
  • By: Lian Hearn
  • Narrated by: Kevin Gray, Aiko Nakasone
  • Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,526
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,354
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,355

The exhilerating tale of Takeo continues in book II of the internationally best-selling Tales of the Otori trilogy, a sweeping saga set in a mythical, medieval Japan.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good book. First one was better

  • By RacerX on 03-10-04

Sequel only

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-07-09

The last half was fairly good. The first third was a tiresome sermon by the female lead explaining why she was pursuing equality and equal access in a male dominated culture. The book as a whole speaks as an imposition of modern values onto a medieval Japanese society. However, once action and some dialog replaced sermons, the book got better.

Nevertheless, the book is very much of a sequel setting up the 3rd book in the trilogy. It feels as if its whole purpose is to retrieve the story, pull in a few new plot lines, and set up for the culmination to come.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Everyman

  • By: Philip Roth
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 4 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 435
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 135
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 136

The hero of Everyman is obsessed with mortality. As he reminds himself at one point, "I'm 34! Worry about oblivion when you're 75." But he cannot help himself. He is the ex-husband in three marriages gone wrong. He is the father of two sons who detest him, despite a daughter who adores him. A masterful portrait of one man's inner struggles, Everyman is a brilliant showcase for one of the world's most distinguished novelists.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Full Frontal Roth

  • By JOHN on 05-31-06

What do you regret?

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-07-09

An introspective look into the foibles and joys of a man. His estrangements and attachments. He looks back from the end of life vantage point with regret and sympathy. The book is a downer in that each scene is a hospitalization.

  • Foreskin's Lament

  • A Memoir
  • By: Shalom Auslander
  • Narrated by: Shalom Auslander
  • Length: 7 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 349
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 176

Foreskin's Lament reveals Auslander's youth in a strict, socially isolated Orthodox community, and recounts his rebellion and efforts to make a new life apart from it. Auslander remembers his youthful attempt to win the "blessing bee" (the Orthodox version of a spelling bee), his exile to an Orthodox-style reform school in Israel after he's caught shoplifting Union Bay jeans from the mall, and his 14-mile hike to watch the New York Rangers play in Madison Square Garden without violating the Sabbath.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best memoir I have listened to in my life!

  • By Crusader on 03-06-09

Humorous, insightful, well performed

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-10-09

Reflecting humorously on his own personal pain and journey, Shalom spins an engaging tale about abuse, parenting, and our struggle to find ourselves.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families

  • Stories from Rwanda
  • By: Philip Gourevitch
  • Narrated by: Jeff Cummings
  • Length: 11 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 248
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 173
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175

In April of 1994, the government of Rwanda called on everyone in the Hutu majority to kill everyone in the Tutsi minority. Over the next three months, 800,000 Tutsis were murdered in the most unambiguous case of genocide since Hitler's war against the Jews. This haunting work by Philip Gourevitch, staff writer for the New Yorker, is an anatomy of the killings in Rwanda, a vivid history of the genocide's background, and an unforgettable account of what it means to survive in its aftermath.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Worth your time

  • By Josh on 05-26-08

Dry but informative

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-23-08

A bit dry. Very journalistic. Credible. Good narration.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Oedipus the King

  • By: Sophocles
  • Narrated by: Michael Sheen, full cast
  • Length: 1 hr and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 111
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50

In the hands of Sophocles, the master dramatist, the anguished tale of a man fated to kill his father and marry his mother retains its power to shock and move beyond any Freudian reference.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Crackles with Fire

  • By Aaron on 01-01-05

True classic

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-08-07

Well read. Inimitable tragedy. Some voices could be better amplified.

  • The Amber Spyglass

  • His Dark Materials, Book 3
  • By: Philip Pullman
  • Narrated by: Philip Pullman, full cast
  • Length: 14 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,656
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,359
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,383

Lyra and Will, the two ordinary children whose extraordinary adventures begin in The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife, are in unspeakable danger. With help from Iorek Byrnison the armored bear and two tiny Gallivespian spies, they must journey to a dank and gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sophisticated and Thought Provoking!

  • By Jim on 03-16-05

Disappointing conclusion to a great trilogy

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-15-05

The author did such a good job telling a story in the previous two books, that I looked eagerly forward to this concluding book. Unlike the others, he launches into repeated sermons on the evils of Christianity and the church. He could have been so much more effective by keeping it in terms of a story as he did in the previous two books and as C.S. Lewis does in Narnia and others do. Being hammered is too much.

11 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • The Idiot [Blackstone]

  • By: Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Narrated by: Robert Whitfield
  • Length: 22 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 934
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 677
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 683

Prince Myshkin, is thrust into the heart of a society more concerned with wealth, power, and sexual conquest than the ideals of Christianity. Myshkin soon finds himself at the center of a violent love triangle in which a notorious woman and a beautiful young girl become rivals for his affections. Extortion, scandal, and murder follow, testing the wreckage left by human misery to find "man in man."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Salvation under the weight of our own humanity.

  • By Jacob on 12-20-12

Great book, good narration, poor transcription

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-15-05

The audible transcription cuts off 30-60 seconds from the end of each part. Very disconcerting. The book and narrator, however, are worth every minute. (I do think Crime and Punishment was more engaging, though.)

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Paradise Lost

  • By: John Milton
  • Narrated by: Anton Lesser, Laura Paton
  • Length: 3 hrs and 55 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

Paradise Lost is the greatest epic poem in the English language. In words remarkable for their richness of rhythm and imagery, Milton tells the story of Man's creation, fall, and redemption to "justify the ways of God to men."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ahh... if only

  • By Victoria on 04-09-03

Gorgeous telling

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-12-04

I've come back to and listened to this recording three or four times. I find its imagery and lyricism enthralling. I will never think of death and sin without picturing them by the portal in their odd macabre dance and dilliance.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

From Dawn to Decadence, Volume 2 audiobook cover art
  • From Dawn to Decadence, Volume 2

  • By: Jacques Barzun
  • Narrated by: Edward Lewis
  • Length: 16 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 107
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

Master historian Jacques Barzun has now set down in one continuous narrative the sum of his discoveries and conclusions about the whole of Western culture since 1500. And when he rates the present not as a culmination but a decline, he is in no way a prophet of doom. Instead, he shows decadence as the normal close of great periods and a necessary condition of the creative novelty that will burst forth - tomorrow or the next day.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Superb and enlightening history text

  • By Donald on 04-12-04

Superb and enlightening history text

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-12-04

This very long text requires a certain fortitude to get through and then needs a relisten to put the pieces together. Nevertheless, it's marvelous and well worthwhile. He brings out threads that take centuries to play out and shows how they underly our culture, political actions, and beliefs.

The recording is good but the editing is very awkward. The division into parts is purely based on time not content and so interrupts suddenly. Given the length of each part, it would be nice if each were self-contained.

30 of 31 people found this review helpful