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Aaron Wooldridge

Ridgecrest, CA
  • 9
  • reviews
  • 7
  • helpful votes
  • 19
  • ratings
  • The Magic Shop

  • By: H. G. Wells
  • Narrated by: B. J. Harrison
  • Length: 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 440
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 412
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 416

Simple magic tricks are what a little boy is looking for when he drags his father into a quaint, old shop. The proprietor seems to be a master of illusion - a genius at slight of hand. But, as the son becomes mesmerized, the father feels an icy hand grip his heart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Magical

  • By Chris on 06-05-17

Did not catch my attention

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

Reviewed: 07-24-18

I absolutely love HG Wells. I have read his various books in many genres, but this half-hour short story completely failed to interest me. After a few minutes my mind drifted. Halfway through the story I realized I had no idea what was going on. I restarted from the beginning. Half an hour later I don't know the plot or how it ended. I don't even know if the narrator was the kid's brother, friend, or father. Two listens, and I'm lost. I think this one needs to be read rather than listened to.

  • Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature

  • By: Pamela Bedore, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Pamela Bedore
  • Length: 12 hrs and 27 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 753
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 679
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 670

Can literature change our real world society? At its foundation, utopian and dystopian fiction asks a few seemingly simple questions aimed at doing just that. Who are we as a society? Who do we want to be? Who are we afraid we might become? When these questions are framed in the speculative versions of Heaven and Hell on earth, you won't find easy answers, but you will find tremendously insightful and often entertaining perspectives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A very enjoyable and educational audiobook

  • By N. H. on 04-06-17

Good but disappointing.

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

Reviewed: 09-23-17

Overall I loved this course, but it was far from perfect. Too meandering and omits too many classic dystopian texts. But Professor Bedore knows her subject and is an excellent communicator with a pleasing voice. Worthwhile for any fans of science fiction and apocalyptic fiction looking to explore the genres deeper. Of the books discussed here that I have not previously read, I expect to read about half of them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Righteous Mind

  • Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
  • By: Jonathan Haidt
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Haidt
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,952
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,085

In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding. His starting point is moral intuition - the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • This should give you pause.

  • By Floyd Clark on 10-26-15

Helps liberals make sense of conservative morality

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

Reviewed: 09-17-17

This is a fascinating book that is easy to get through but challenging to fully absorb. It begins with Moral Foundations Theory, a sociological theory devised by the author several years before the book which involves 5 (later 6) different moral categories or receptors (such as harm, fairness, and sanctity) and how people on different ends of the political spectrum use each of these receptors to a greater or lesser extent. To use an obvious example, liberals care a great deal about reducing harm while conservatives care a good deal about respect for authority and tradition.

The rest of the book expands upon Moral Foundations Theory. The author is not afraid to admit when the original version of his theory was wrong or incomplete. To me the most important part of the book was the discussion of fairness. Conservatives and Liberals place extremely high importance on fairness, but they have nearly opposite notions of what fairness means.

Another important section of the book for me was the discussion of "moral capital". Essentially that is the values that hold a society together, and the author recognizes that conservatives are generally more successful at this than liberals.

The author uses a good deal of science to back up his theory, everything from evolutionary biology to anthropology to sociological experiments.

The author claims to have a liberal background, but he makes it clear how over the years his research allowed him to have a greater understanding and respect for conservatives and libertarians. I found this perspective personally quite helpful.

This is an extremely important book in today's divisive political climate. I think it has great potential to help people on all sides understand and respect each other a little more, even if we are unlikely to come to much middle ground. I only give the book 4 stars because in my view sometimes the author oversimplifies things, and sometimes I feel that he gives conservatives more credit than they deserve. But overall this book challenges my own beliefs and values in much needed ways.

The narrator is excellent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Sex at Dawn

  • How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships
  • By: Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha
  • Narrated by: Allyson Johnson, Jonathan Davis, Christopher Ryan (Preface)
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,739
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,666
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,650

Since Darwin's day, we've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science - as well as religious and cultural institutions - has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man's possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman's fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing....

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Strawmen and Ad Hominems

  • By Carolyn on 09-18-12

We didn't evolve to be monogomous

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

Reviewed: 09-08-17

Excellent, well-researched, thorough book about the evolution of human sexuality and the ways of life of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Argues against Steven Pinker, Thomas Hobbes, and the entire standard model of sexuality that pits the sexes against each other. Excellently narrated.

  • The Cosmic Serpent

  • DNA and the Origins of Knowledge
  • By: Jeremy Narby
  • Narrated by: James Patrick Cronin
  • Length: 4 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,008
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 913
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 908

This adventure in science and imagination, which the Medical Tribune said might herald "a Copernican revolution for the life sciences", leads the listener through unexplored jungles and uncharted aspects of mind to the heart of knowledge. In a first-person narrative of scientific discovery that opens new perspectives on biology, anthropology, and the limits of rationalism, The Cosmic Serpent reveals how startlingly different the world around us appears when we open our minds to it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very interesting thoughts on the origins of DNA

  • By Bobby Digital on 08-31-16

Tentative review

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

Reviewed: 08-17-17

First I must say that this review is tentative. I intend to listen to this audiobook a second time, and I may revise my opinions.

This book starts off wonderfully as a subjective account of the writer's drug-induced hallucinations with Amazon Native shamans. As a subjective experience this is an outstanding account from which one may learn a great deal about drugs, about the brain, and about the practices of indigenous peoples.

From there the author discusses mythology and spirituality and encourages the reader to consider that there may be more ways to understand reality than the scientific method. So far so good. I personally am not at all sold on spirituality, but in general it is a topic that I am quite happy to explore and consider.

But then the book goes off the rails. The author trashes the scientific establishment, scientific method, materialist philosophy, and Darwinian evolutionary theory. Although he occasionally has a valid point of criticism, the overall effect comes off as a silly, New Age variation of so-called Intelligent Design, angry that real scientists won't take the author seriously.

Having discredited the entire scientific worldview to his satisfaction the author then presents his hypothesis and general thesis of the book: some bizarre idea that DNA is conscious and communicates factual truths about nature to shamans via the plants they smoke. Or something like that. It's completely bizarre.

Let it be said that I disagree with the author strongly on all of his major points. I find his scientific claims to be completely absurd. But I can't hate this book. The author has given me much to ponder about spirituality, the brain, and the limits of scientific materialism. Although I strongly doubt I will ever agree with this author, he has given me new directions in which to think.

In spite of this book's flaws, which are many and considerable, it has affected me greatly. I will listen to it again.

The narrator is very nearly perfect. No criticisms about him.

  • First Blood

  • By: David Morrell
  • Narrated by: Eric G. Dove
  • Length: 8 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 585
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 517
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 523

First came the man: a young wanderer in a fatigue coat and long hair. Then came the legend as the character, John Rambo, took his place in the American imagination. This remarkable and critically acclaimed novel pits a young Vietnam veteran against a small-town cop who doesn't know what he will unleash after their first ill-fated encounter - a life-and-death struggle through the woods, hills, and caves of rural Kentucky.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a great book!

  • By nathan harlan on 09-09-17

Extra gritty original version of the Rambo story

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

Reviewed: 08-15-17

Go into this expecting it to be different from the movie. Fuller story. More violent. And above all more fully defined characters. I loved the first three quarters of this book. Lots of action. Lots of character development. Rambo and Teasle are both the hero and both the villain depending on the reader's perspective at any given moment. Rambo caused many of his own problems and had no problem killing anyone who got on his way. Teasle was an arrogant sheriff who abused his authority but genuinely wanted to protect his community and take care of his men.

The last several chapters went on and on for no good reason. How long does it take somebody to die?

Overall the narrator was satisfactory. He was easy to understand and expressed the emotion of the characters without overreacting. My one criticism is that his voices for Rambo and Teasle are too similar.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

  • By: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • Narrated by: B.J. Harrison
  • Length: 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 153
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 153

A bird of good omen is murdered. A fickle crew is punished by supernatural, spectral beings. A skeletal ship is sighted moving against the wind and tide. The figure of Death along with a singular, gruesome companion man the fiendish craft. And as they draw closer, it becomes clear that the two play at dice for the soul of the ancient mariner. The result is nothing short of cataclysmic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A classic well read

  • By Gary on 08-08-16

Poetry for guys who don't get poetry.

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

Reviewed: 07-15-17

I rarely read poetry. I find it difficult to read and understand. But I really wanted to experience this dark tale of a sailor and an albatross. Hearing it read managed to get through my poetry issues. Excellent audiobook.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Homo Deus

  • A Brief History of Tomorrow
  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 14 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,165
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 13,481
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,369

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically acclaimed New York Times best seller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity's future and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good, but...

  • By Josh on 07-14-18

Not a book about transhumanism

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

Reviewed: 07-01-17

This is not a book about transhumanism, although transhumanism plays a small role in it. This book combines history, science, technology, religion, philosophy, and economics to give us an interesting look at where the human race has been, where we are, and where we are going. Tons of interesting information without obvious political bias. Unfortunately it is difficult to follow the line of the author's argument as he jumps from topic to topic. Excellent audiobook narration.

  • Gnosticism: From Nag Hammadi to the Gospel of Judas

  • By: David Brakke, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: David Brakke
  • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 593
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 523
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 517

This fascinating 24-lecture course is a richly detailed guide to the theology, sacred writings, rituals, and outstanding human figures of the Gnostic movements. What we call "Gnosticism" comprised a number of related religious ideologies and movements, all of which sought " gnosis," or immediate, direct, and intimate knowledge of God. The Gnostics had many scriptures, but unlike the holy texts of other religions, Gnostic scriptures were often modified over time.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A excellent overview of early Gnostic traditions

  • By Jacobus on 03-07-15

Where Ehrman left off

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

Reviewed: 05-25-17

If you have listened to Bart Ehrman''s course Lost Christianities, this is the perfect follow-up.