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  • The Gravity's Rainbow Handbook

  • A Key to the Thomas Pynchon Novel
  • By: Robert Crayola
  • Narrated by: Stephen Paul Aulridge Jr.
  • Length: 1 hr and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

Thomas Pynchon has a reputation as a "difficult" author - but he doesn't have to be! With this new guide, Gravity's Rainbow can be understood by the average listener. Included are: a chapter-by-chapter summary and commentary on the story, a thorough description of all major characters, a biography of Pynchon, suggestions for essay topics, and much more. This guide is guaranteed to help you finish and make sense of Gravity's Rainbow - all in a concise and easy format.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Solid Summary

  • By Anonymous User on 01-19-18

Gets it about right

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

Reviewed: 10-07-18

The Gravity's Rainbow Handbook tries to cut up the epic GR into bite-sized chunks. It starts out with some general comments (this was my favorite part, spot on!) and gives a much-needed list of characters. There are also some trigger warnings which some people may appreciate before trying to tackle GR. The main portion of the Handbook reads kind of like a list of things that happen in the novel. It finishes with some essay questions and answers.
If you have trouble following the story...like me...then this will probably help. The book gives you a play-by-play, but doesn't do too much of the thinking for you. I like very much. It acknowledges how much of Gravity's Rainbow is ambiguous or vague, and doesn't pretend to give easy answers that don't exist. However, it also doesn't really connect the dots for you. Some important connections were overlooked, and the most difficult themes (such as the corporate conspiracy themes) weren't really tackled in the Handbook.
Also, there are a few points I believe the Handbook gets flat wrong. Specifically:
1) The relationship between Franz and Ilse,
2) the relationship between 00000 and 00001, and
3) the meaning of "beyond the zero" as it pertains to pavlovian conditioning.
But, these are minor points. If you've read Gravity's Rainbow I don't think they will bother you very much.
This handbook recommends that you read it before you tackle GR, but I disagree. I think a summary of events in GR is even harder to follow than the book itself. I suggest you read GR first and then use this to fill in any gaps.
Finally, I didn't enjoy the narration very much. Some of the pronunciations made me cringe. There is a very minor character in GR who can't pronounce vowels with umlauts. I believe this character may be our narrator in disguise.
A star review system is tricky. I hope Mine aren't seen as too negative. The handbook is worth the money and is trying to strike a difficult balance on a difficult piece of work. Just don't expect this (or anything else) to "explain" GR or make it easy. After all, if climbing the mountain is easy, what's the point?

  • Alice

  • By: Christina Henry
  • Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,206
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,125
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,117

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls that echo the screams of the poor souls inside. In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn't remember why she's in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Weird, yet captivating...

  • By kansas on 02-25-16

Gross and creepy. Not in a good way.

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

Reviewed: 08-26-18

Of course I'm a fan of the one and only capital-A Alice. I'm also a fan of a lot of the fanfic and works inspired by her. I love American McGee's Alice, for example. I like a dark Alice.
Starting with the good, Jenny Sterlin was fantastic and I can't wait to pic up another one of her narrations. There were also many enjoyable aspects of the writing. Henry has a very readable style, and she wonderfully brings to life a dark universe.

But this book was gross. There was some really nasty stuff in here. Henry takes graphic content and tries to make it family friendly by using kiddie names for the anatomy. It is really creepy and weird and not in a good way. Just take the most disturbing scene you've ever read and then enact it using Teletubbies or Rugrats and you'll get the feel for Alice. I like dark works. I like horror. To me, Henry even stepped past taboo into something I'm going to call "yech". Parts of this book were quite deep into the yech, and unfortunately I can't unread it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Complete Essays of Montaigne

  • By: Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Donald M. Frame (translator)
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 49 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 301
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 264
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 257

“A faithful translation is rare; a translation which preserves intact the original text is very rare; a perfect translation of Montaigne appears impossible. Yet Donald Frame has realized this feat. One does not seem to be reading a translation, so smooth and easy is the style; at each moment, one seems to be listening to Montaigne himself - the freshness of his ideas, the unexpected choice of words. Frame has kept everything.” (Andre Maurois, The New York Times Book Review)

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Spend some enjoyable time with Michel de Montaigne

  • By Rooby on 10-04-12

If you love Montaigne...

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

Reviewed: 08-16-18

If you love Montaigne, then this review won't matter. All you need to know is that this is a great recording. Go for it (Lucretius).

If you don't know Montaigne, think about getting a book about him or his work. Hit the highlights. Check out a few summaries. Then decide if you're ready for fifty hours of Montaigne. Because we're talking about fifty hours of Montaigne here! That's a lot of Montaigne. I am thinking that if you were to compile every minute of Montaigne talking about his bodily functions or specifics of his anatomy, you'd basically have an audiobook the size of Moby Dick. Pun very intended (Seneca). Or, as another reviewer wisely wrote, take in a little bit of this at a time. Why don't I ever read wise reviewers before I listen? Taken altogether a life's work may seem hypocritical or contradictory even though it just reflects a change of perception that comes naturally with age.

What you're actually getting here is a kind of offbeat free-association of a very intelligent, profoundly eloquent, morbidly verbose and extraordinarily dead man. It is often funny, insightful, hyperbolic, and a little gross. As a life's work it is a masterpiece. As an audiobook, taken in one sitting, it was... pretty good.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Privacy, Property, and Free Speech: Law and the Constitution in the 21st Century

  • By: Jeffrey Rosen, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Rosen
  • Length: 12 hrs
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 488
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 431
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 431

Although the courts have struggled to balance the interests of individuals, businesses, and law enforcement, the proliferation of intrusive new technologies puts many of our presumed freedoms in legal limbo. For instance, it's not hard to envision a day when websites such as Facebook or Google Maps introduce a feature that allows real-time tracking of anyone you want, based on face-recognition software and ubiquitous live video feeds.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining & thought-provoking. Highly recommend

  • By Joseph on 10-27-13

Engaging, fascinating, and comprehensive.

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

Reviewed: 11-13-17

This one hit the perfect balance of in-depth discussion and beginner-friendliness. As someone who deals with privacy issues for a living, I found it the subject matter fascinating. However, I think this is important and interesting information for anyone. We all realize that what we say and do on the Internet is recorded (like this review for example), but few of us have thought deeply about the legal implications of the Internet in its modern form. These lectures address the subject in a constitutional context as well as dealing with relevant case law. Rosen is an engaging speaker who is confident and knowledgeable about the subject matter.

I highly recommend these lectures for everyone. Even if you don't have a lot of interest in the subject matter, what you will learn will enrich you and make you think twice about posting online.

Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

  • A Little Life

  • A Novel
  • By: Hanya Yanagihara
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 32 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,058
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,341
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,346

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I had to call in SAD to work

  • By Angela on 10-17-15

Not worth it.

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

Reviewed: 11-07-17

I understand that this book has been critically acclaimed, but I feel generous giving it three stars. As you've probably heard, the subject matter is quite disturbing. Much of the book is an account of the protganist's childhood being raped and sexually abused and taken advantage of by everyone he meets. For that kind of sickening trip, you expect real insight and revelation. You expect the payoff to be worth it.

The revelations and insights are there, but nothing that justified the intensity and sadness I experienced. It might be argued that the emotional charge of the book is testament to its worth, but making people sad doesn't take a great book. it only takes a sad subject. If your life doesn't provide you with enough sadness and you need more, maybe this book is for you.

There are things this book does well. There is so much good about this book that it only takes a huge wrong to make it all not worthwhile. I went from being bored reading about people who had problems most of us wish we had, to being outraged to disgusted and embarrassed by how wrong my initial assessment was. My favorites were the rich and original relationships developed between the cast of characters, all of whom seemed one dimensional at first, but were richly and admirably built into clusters bound by love but confused about boundaries and duty.

Yet, 3 stars. The content was that bad. It was that disturbing and unsettling. I don't feel like I needed to go through all that to learn the important lessons A Little Life taught.

And, finally, I was so put off by the narration that I actually bought the kindle edition and read it, finally using whispersync just to finish it faster. I think the idea was to balance out the drama of the story with a very controlled and disciplined reading, but it just didn't work for me. The lack of emotion in the narration and the strange stuttered cadence were too much for me. Altogether this one is a pass.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Best of Richard Matheson

  • By: Richard Matheson, Victor LaValle - editor/introduction
  • Narrated by: Donald Corren, Peter Berkrot, Paul Michael Garcia, and others
  • Length: 15 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 121
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 107

Among the greats of 20th-century horror and fantasy, few names stand above Richard Matheson. Though known by many for novels like I Am Legend and his 16 Twilight Zone episodes, Matheson truly shines in his chilling, masterful short stories. Since his first story appeared in 1950, virtually every major writer of science fiction and fantasy has fallen under his influence, including Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub, and Joe Hill, as well as filmmakers like Stephen Spielberg and J. J. Abrams.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Rich and thrilling storytelling

  • By Arthur on 10-24-17

Rich and thrilling storytelling

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

Reviewed: 10-24-17

Great stories from Richard Matheson. The complete list (I think) is below:

Born of Man and Woman
Prey
Witch War
Shipshape Home
Blood Son
Where There's a Will
Dying Room Only
Counterfeit Bills
Death Ship
Dance of the Dead
Man with a Club
Button, Button
Duel
Day of Reckoning
The Prisoner
Dress of White Silk
Haircut
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
The Funeral
Third From the Sun
The Last Day
Long Distance Call
Deus ex Machina
One for the Books
Now Die in It
The Conqueror
The Holiday Man
No Such Thing as a Vampire
Big Surprise
A Visit to Santa Claus
Finger Prints
Mute
Shock Wave

If you're unfamiliar with Matheson, think "Man on the Wing of the Airplane", "The Box", and "I am Legend";. His stories are often macabre and imaginative, but not always scary. This is much more "Twilight Zone" (for which he was a repeated writer) than "Tales from the Darkside". After reading a bit of Hell House, I wasn't a big fan of Matheson. After such a large sampling of his short stories, my opinion has changed. At his best (The Last Day, Duel) Matheson describes humanity at the brink...at the edge of its survival, its sanity, or its ability to endure.

If you like strange tales with a dark flavor, try this selection out.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • What the Hell Did I Just Read

  • A Novel of Cosmic Horror
  • By: David Wong
  • Narrated by: Stephen R. Thorne
  • Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,635
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,464
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,456

While investigating a fairly straightforward case of a shape-shifting interdimensional child predator, Dave, John, and Amy realized there might actually be something weird going on. Together, they navigate a diabolically convoluted maze of illusions, lies, and their own incompetence in an attempt to uncover a terrible truth they - like you - would be better off not knowing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Please fix the audio

  • By Chris Bell on 10-03-17

The best so far?

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

Reviewed: 10-13-17

If you're not familiar with the series go check out "John Dies at the End". If you are familiar with the series and want to know what to expect from the third installment, the answer is: more of the same... in the best way.

Cosmic Horror is a good subtitle. This one goes a bit more Lovecraft than the previous books. Much like This Book is Full of Spiders, the story is more put together than John Dies at the End. This one is also a bit (only just a bit, I promise) more serious than the other two, and presents some interesting ethical arguments.

Altogether, this could be the best John book so far.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition

  • By: Richard Wolfson, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Richard Wolfson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,576
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,171
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,101

"It doesn't take an Einstein to understand modern physics," says Professor Wolfson at the outset of these 24 lectures on what may be the most important subjects in the universe: relativity and quantum physics. Both have reputations for complexity. But the basic ideas behind them are, in fact, simple and comprehensible by anyone. These dynamic and illuminating lectures begin with a brief overview of theories of physical reality starting with Aristotle and culminating in Newtonian or "classical" physics.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great primer for hard SF fans and physics laymen

  • By David on 01-05-15

A complete introduction

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

Reviewed: 10-04-17

I thoroughly enjoyed this series of lectures, especially about classical mechanics and relativity. I admit that the last few lectures, focusing on quantum mechanics, went over my head. This doesn't take away from the experience at all.

Besides being a thorough review and introduction to the topics in the title, my favorite aspect of the lectures was the brief recognition of philosophical repercussions and discussions stemming from achievements made in physics to describe reality. Prof. Wolfson gives his opinion without unduly influencing the listener or discouraging independent thought.

If that sort of thing doesn't interest you don't worry, this isn't a philosophy course. It is a in-depth, but easy to understand, overview of relativity (both flavors) and quantum mechanics.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries

  • By: Neil deGrasse Tyson, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Length: 3 hrs and 1 min
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,849
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,338
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,285

Everything we now know about the universe - from the behavior of quarks to the birth of galaxies - has come from people who've been willing to ponder the unanswerable. And with the advent of modern science, great minds have turned to testing and experimentation rather than mere thought as a way of grappling with some of the universe's most vexing dilemmas. So what is our latest picture of some of the most inexplicable features of the universe? What still remains to be uncovered and explored by today's scientists?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • "The Universe is in us!"

  • By Kristi R. on 01-05-15

Save the theology for another lecture please.

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

Reviewed: 09-24-17

I couldn't finish because of the reasons below. The scientific matters seemed very interesting and Dr. Tyson is an engaging, knowledgable speaker on the subject of the universe. However...

...after listening patiently to the first few minutes which is just a list of Dr. Tyson's many credentials and accomplishments, it took less than 5 more minutes for the Dr. to bring up the subject of God. Why he is talking about God I do not know.

After listening for another hour and a half of the mysteries of the universe scrambled up in atheist rhetoric, I'm convinced that i know more about astrophysics than Dr. Tyson does about philosophy or theology. If I listened any more I might have to add formal logic, too.

If you find it unfortunate that a review about an astrophysics lecture focuses on religion, then you know how I felt about the course.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Moral Decision Making

  • How to Approach Everyday Ethics
  • By: Clancy Martin, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Clancy Martin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 350
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 304
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 302

Whether or not we're aware of them, we make important ethical decisions all the time - as professionals, consumers, citizens, parents, sons and daughters, and friends. These 24 thought-provoking lectures offer you the chance to reflect on some of the most powerful moral issues we face in our daily lives: Is it ever OK to lie? What are our moral obligations to others? What is the key to living the good life? From Plato to Kant to Bonhoeffer, you'll see how some of the world's greatest thinkers from across the ages have approached similar problems.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Easy-followed down-to-earth relevant ethics course

  • By Jacobus on 03-19-14

A wonderful ethics primer

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

Reviewed: 09-20-17

Having been through a few philosophy titles, I feel that this is a solid introduction to ethics and the way we think about morality. After listening to this course we may consider answering a twinge of conscience as a pragmatist, utilitarian, or Kantian. The courses take us through a very basic understanding of these and other ethical approaches. The course does a very good job of introducing, at a very basic level, these and other ethical systems. For example, I think out of the half dozen or so explanations I've heard of Kant's categorical imperative, this course offers the easiest to understand.

So why not five stars? Well, frankly, about halfway through it's a bit of beat down. It's like watching all of the documentaries about how horrible we are as a species all at once. I'm not sure I have an answer to how to fix this...I mean, we're talking ethics here, so we need to talk about our ethical problems. But I feel that we could have swapped out a couple of examples with less depressing scenarios.

That being said, I definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for new ways to solve ethical and moral problems. But spoiler alert...there are no easy answers!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful