September 12, 2005

The Ultimate Audio Cliff Notes


I recently picked up the massive collection “The World’s 100 Greatest Books” which is a collection that consists of 100 45-minute audio abridgements of the greatest books of western literature. I thought they were very well done in terms of their content and giving background to the stories within their historical and literary context. But they were of course very abridged. If you’re majoring in Literature they’d be pretty priceless because whenever you were falling behind in your reading you could likely pull out the disc for the novel you’re needing to catch up on and get a basic understanding of the plot. The summaries are almost strictly plot related with a little character and thematic analysis. The stories move at a brisk pace which you must pay close attention to. For people who want a broad knowledge of all western literature without spending a lifetime reading I consider it a good set to have.

It’s created by Sybervision whose 14 titles we recently added to our site. They also have the “The World’s 100 Greatest People” and “The World’s 50 Greatest Composers” which I’m going to try to track down. And the rest of their titles are on training yourself through Neuropsychological and Neuromuscular methods. Interesting stuff. Check it out:


September 11, 2005

Listen & Learn in 10 Quick Steps

Online Today publishes a series called “10 Quick Steps” which are downloadable audio programs that teach ways to do over thirty different things in just 10 Quick Steps. There’s useful ones like “10 Quick Steps to Converting VHS Tapes to DVDs“, there’s techie ones like “10 Quick Steps to Perfect Backups“, and there’s fun ones like “10 Quick Steps to Becoming a Standup Comedian”. They typically run between a half hour and an hour. Check them out:


September 7, 2005

Shakti Gawain Author Page


I just put up an author profile page for Shakti Gawain. While I was working on her biography I became rather interested in her concepts. She basically says what we want can be made manifest through mental will. In other words, the physical can affect the spiritual and become physical again. Does that make sense? Let me go over it again, there are parts of the body that we can utilize to affect parts of the mind, once the mind is stimulated, our world can be made to change. That’s some pretty provocative stuff. If anyone knows more about her work, I’d love to talk further and get some recommendations if possible.

September 7, 2005

NYC Soundwalks


I was in New York City for the first time this summer. And I downloaded a couple audio programs from the publisher Soundwalk. Basically these programs are audio walking tours of various sections of New York City that are timed to your footsteps. The narrators are NYC natives that know the ins and outs of the neighborhoods and tell you where to go.

Right now they have 13 programs for New York City, 1 for Paris, and 1 for India. New York City is perfect for these audio tours because the neighborhoods are so dense and there’s so much history and diversity in a small area.

I did the Chinatown walk and the Lower East Side Manhattan walk. Both were excellent. The Lower East Side of Manhattan is incredibly diverse as they take you into delis, into back alleys that were former speakeasies, and into a Jewish temple that is now a place for artists to jam and put up their art work. There was even an acid jazz band playing when I went in to the temple.

The second walk I took was in Chinatown narrated by a guy who was born and raised there. This tour took us off the tourist trap strip of Chinatown and down some very interesting streets. Some of the doors he requested us to enter were locked probably due to too many people doing these walking tours. This one ends in a peaceful Buddhist temple.

If you’re going to New York I definitely recommend doing a few of these. They’re about 45 minutes long. They have great music that keeps you in step. They’re not for the faint of heart as they take you into some potentially dangerous places but nothing too serious and the narrators use some dirty mouth so they might not be for kids. You can buy them as mp3s through the Soundwalk website or on Audible.com or Amazon. So load up your portable digital audio player or CD player and hit the streets with Soundwalk. It’s better and cheaper and less obtrusive than any NYC tour bus.

August 5, 2005

Unabridged Classic Literature on Audio

For those of you who love classic fiction audio books I figured I’d point out some places to find classics unabridged. Three places where you’ll find just about all the seminal classics unabridged are Recorded Books, Blackstone Audiobooks, and Books on Tape. Blackstone and Recorded Books offer their titles for rent, and all these publishers have their titles on Audible.com and iTunes available for audio download. In Audio and Tantor are two other publishers that pride themselves on unabridged editions of classic literature. Penguin Audio and NAXOS Audiobooks offer some unabridged literature in addition to many abridged works of literature.

July 17, 2005

Teaching Company Offers Audio Downloads

I love the Teaching Company. For anyone unaware they publisher and sell lecture courses from the nation’s best university professors on CD, Cassette, DVD, VHS, and now for a few select courses Audio Download! Here are the courses available for audio download:

American Civil War
American Identity
Books That Have Made History
Chamber Music of Mozart
Classical Mythology
Doctors: The History of Scientific Medicine Revealed Through Biography
Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition
History of Ancient Egypt
How to Listen to and Understand Great Music
Peoples and Cultures of the World
Plato’s Republic
Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World
Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations
Story of Human Language

And they appear to be adding more courses for download every day so I’ll update this list. You can download these courses as MP3s or as MPEG-4 which makes the files bookmarkable on your iPod. I bought “Peoples and Cultures of the World” in MPEG-4 format and the lectures showed up in the Audiobooks section of my iPod. My only qualm was that each lecture showed up separately there so you can bookmark each lecture individually but you have to remember which lecture you were on. I prefer what Audible.com does with the Barnes & Noble Portable Professor series where the course is listed as a whole within your Audiobooks section and then the file is broken up into chapters according to each lecture and you are able to bookmark the course as a whole. But other than that I think it’s awesome that the Teaching Company has made the leap to the digital realm with their courses and I plan to buy and download many more.

July 1, 2005

David McCullough


Are you bored with history? Does it seem like you should take it literally and deride it as the old news it actually is? Well you just haven’t listened to a David McCullough book man. I’ll bet you go through your day and you don’t really think about a president like Truman (our 33rd president), but you have almost daily reminders of how great someone like Lincoln was, or how good looking JFK was. Well, I swear to you, if you listen to Truman right away, your mind will totally change and your eyes will open to a history you never even conceived of existing. At one point, I myself wasn’t a true believer either. History was the domain of cobwebbed volumes that sit in the darkened basement of some underused library in some burned out burg. Then I listened to McCullough and I was totally hooked. It was like War & Peace, the best episode EVER of the West Wing, and a Tom Clancy novel all mixed into one big history mash-up. You want honesty? McCullough is probably the best American Historian currently living and we’re lucky he keeps on putting out audio books for us to learn from every few years. If you haven’t listened to Truman or John Adams, do yourself a favor and give them a shot. I promise you, you won’t want to watch some action-packed-history-by-way-of-Micheal Bay movie like “Thirteen Days” again after you hear one of these books. Need help finding them all? Well I’m really glad you asked because I just made a David McCullough Author Page for you to get started.

June 27, 2005

Great American Minds


I just wanted to announce the completion of a new topic page for Presidential Biography Audio Books. The presidential biography is becoming a fairly popular genre of nonfiction these days. I was just at Barnes & Noble today and I saw a massive display of David McCullough history books, most of which deal exclusively with the lives of the great presidents. I’m sure in the great pantheon of presidents, you wouldn’t have thought of John Adams first, right? Well now with the popularity of his biography, a president I can honestly say I never thought about once in my life is all over the place! I remember once when the President visited my College back when I was in Milwaukee (I was an um, parking attendent and Bush was there to talk to our alumni or whatnot). The first tangible sign of his prescence was this massive jet going over our heads. Yeah, Air Force One is bigger in person. I’ll admit, I listen to these biographies. This is as close as we get to royalty in America.

Expect a McCullough author page soon as well…

June 22, 2005

Miraculous Audio Books


Whether or not you agree there should be a Secretary of Peace (I do for what its worth), Marianne Williamson has really made same waves recently in her efforts to make this position happen in the U.S. Cabinet. I just finished an extensive Marianne Williamson Author Page, that among other things is possibly the most exhaustive tome you’ll ever find for Williamson Audio Books on the web. I know I say that with every author page, but after entering a ton of her titles, I mean it extra special this time. I pulled out all the stops and it sort of hurt. Physically.

Nevertheless, I want to assure you that I feel it was all for a good cause. Williamson is an interesting woman, part political activist, part new-age guru, part social worker. It’s a unique combination. I wouldn’t put it past her to start delving into science before too long.

June 11, 2005

War of the Worlds


Hey there, I just wanted make note that I finished a War of the Worlds Topic Page. This is a great one-stop resource for everything avialable on audio and video for War of the Worlds up to this point. There’s so many radio shows out that I think people have forgotten it all started with a book.

So I dusted off my old Orson Welles War of the Worlds Cd, and re-read the surprisingly brief (I remember it being HUGE when I was younger) book, and I’m… still indifferent to the hype over this new Tom Cruise movie. Nevertheless, I adore the book; it was the first “real” novel I ever read by myself (I was in 2nd Grade). The Mercury Theatre broadcast is probably the most infamous radio show of all time, and yes, it still rocks. I hope the new movie at least has tripods instead of flying mushrooms.

So is anyone else excited by this new War of the Worlds Movie? Is it going to have anything to do with the book or is it just an excuse for ILM to blow up a new city?