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Why I Am A Buddhist

Finally! My first audiobook production on ACX is out!

I truly enjoyed reading Dr. Asma's book, and I think it's a good listen. While I don't hold with everything he lays out in his "Chicago-Style" Buddhism, Asma's thinking is very broadminded and his approach is generous. He wants to bring everybody into the tent, and focuses on the practical aspects of Buddhist teaching. Very low on the mystical, hippy-dippy stuff, and high on the mind-focusing, ethical living side of the equation. I found the chapters on science and Buddhism and art and Buddhism particularly engaging.

So. Buy the book. It's worth it, and you'll be helping me get hired by more authors and publishers.

The video trailer is here and a special offer for the audiobook is here.

 

Did I tell you how much I love audiobooks?

I posted 40 new reviews to Amazon today. I admit, that's a bit excessive, but they've been accumulating for awhile. Here's the latest:

Nobody's Fool, by Richard Russo - narrated by Ron McClarty

Richard Russo writes tales of rundown and overlooked people living in places that saw their best days long ago. Empire Falls, That Old Cape Magic, Bridge of Sighs -- they're all variations on the same themes that animate Nobody's Fool. That takes nothing away from their power as stories, because Russo is such a great storyteller. He makes you care about his characters and want them to win in a game where it seems the odds are always stacked against them. Their transcendence beyond their own sad circumstances reminds us that life goes on, that we can and will survive, and that each one of us can rise above our own mistakes and bad choices. 

This very human story is brought to life masterfully by Ron McClarty, whose narration is pitch-perfect, evoking time, place, and the full cast of characters that populate the town of North Bath, NY. Forget Paul Newman. Ron McClarty's Sully is the one that will stick with me.

 

David Foster Wallace Lives!

Ever struggle with tedium? Who hasn't? Did you know the word "boring" did not exist in the English language until the advent of the Machine Age? I did not, until this fact was revealed in the course of experiencing David Foster Wallace's final epic, The Pale King. This labor of love, painstakingly brought to life by the author's long-time editor Michael Pietsch when the work was left unfinished after Wallace's suicide in 2008, reveals the infinity underneath boredom. Wallace removes the lid from the gaping void that is always right there for those who dare to look. Clearly, he spent a lot of time looking down that hole, for better or for worse.

 

Wallace has the gift of being able to stop time. He dives deep down in a headfirst rush into a single moment, peeling back the layers of thought, memory, feeling, experience, sensation, and circumstance that overlay every simple act, until they all stand exposed and elucidated. Then, just as quickly, he yanks you back up to the surface, back to the mundane and ordinary, back to the normal, back to the squeak of the wheel in the document collector's cart in the IRS processing center where much of the "action" in The Pale King takes place. Sometimes you feel like a fish gasping for water in the naked sunlight. Sometimes you feel as though you've been given some tremendous gift, a gem of insight that will sustain you and nourish you for years. 

 

The IRS? As subject matter for a novel? I cannot imagine anyone else who could pull this off. While the book is understandably ragged in many ways, Pietsch has made it hold together so that the undeniable voice of David Foster Wallace comes through loud and clear. The audiobook's narration is handled masterfully by Robert Petkoff. He lives inside the 200-word sentences, the parenthetical asides, the footnotes, and the flights of language that are Wallace's trademarks, making them real, accessible, and meaningful.

 

David Foster Wallace lives.

Interested? You can get The Pale King for $7.49 @ Audible.com.

Solaris

Solaris, the epic science fiction novel from Stanislaw Lem that inspired the slightly less inspiring movie of the same name some years back, is finally out in a direct-to-English translation, and Audible has it. It was my great honor to do the music for this one, and I came up with a perfect score, edited nicely by Rick Bradley.

Check out this preview

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