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Saturday, February 25, 2017

eStories ** The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

"If a book is a reader's best friend -
          eStories is the book's best friend."

       - RJ

          

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 Have you heard of eStories.com? If you haven't, you will. eStories.com is an audiobook streaming service that can finally offer some healthy competition to the "big boys" that have had the reader by the headphones for far too long.

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eStories has over 80 thousand titles ranging from the latest New York Times best sellers to classics penned by the masters. It's easy to search for a specific author or title. You can also browse through hundreds and hundreds of books by genre. See something that catches your eye? Click and add it to your "wish list." Most titles are available in abridged or unabridged versions.

You can upload your library of audiobooks to the eStories storage cloud. You can set the narration speed, place bookmarks, fast forward/rewind 30sec intervals or by chapter. My favorite is the sleep timer (shown as a 1/4 moon with z's in the corner). This can be set 10-minute increments or for the narration to continue to the end of the chapter.

I've never had an ounce of difficulty with eStories on my laptop or notepad. From the initial installation, the sound quality has been superb. No white-noise, squawking, garbled dialogue, nothing. I did have those 'noises' with my S7. I had to uninstall/reinstall the app three times. The third time seems to have been the charm - I have logged over 10 hours listening to The Lost Symbol using my S7 without any more problems. Listening in the car (via Bluetooth) was wonderful! The mountainous areas we travel through have poor radio and cell reception, which makes for long, lonely trips. But not this time...I downloaded the book to my phone before leaving and the hours flew by. Now I've taken audiobooks on CD during road trips in the past and it was great. The only thing was changing the CDs out. I realize that may sound petty. But when traveling alone, at night, I'm not comfortable looking away to change a CD. Stopping along the way just means it takes longer to arrive at my destination. So I would usually listen to one, maybe two CDs and travel the rest of the way in silence. Having the book playing continuously through my car speakers, no box of CDs, nothing to change, no reason to stop was fantastic!

Laptop, notebook, iPad, smartphone ... why choose when you can listen with 'em all? I was in and out of the hospital a few times this past month, being able to switch between devices, pick up right where I left off no matter which device my husband packed that day was wonderful.

If you love audiobooks, you will love eStories. If you've never tried an audiobook, eStories offers a free trial - give it a try. I was a loyal, dedicated print copy reader until I listened to my first audiobook. . . now, I'm a proud bibliophile and audiophile too! Books I read years ago, some I've read more than once, are brand new experiences on audio. The book I selected is one such book. I've read The Lost Symbol twice and while listening to the audio edition I was shocked by the number of little things that had slipped by me when I was reading the book.

eStories.com has it all - a smooth, easy to use interface, multiple ways to personalize your reading experience, a huge selection of titles, and a free trial. I thoroughly enjoyed the convenience listening with eStories provided - I have the app on all my electronic devices and can easily switch between them. Listening with Bluetooth® in the car was fabulous.

Download the app, pick your book, plug in your headphones and press play.
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 THE LOST SYMBOL
by Dan Brown

(unabridged 17.5 hours)
read by Paul Michael

"Histories, Mysteries and Codes - OH My!"

 https://www.estories.com/audiobook/21663/Dan-Brown/The-Lost-Symbol

Contains SPOILERS

Histories, mysteries, and codes Oh My! Fans of Dan Brown's quirky symbologist Robert Langdon will not be waiting too much longer. Origin, the next book in this world-wide phenomenon is set for release September 26, 2017. This is the ideal time to re-read the first four books in the series. I've read and listened to the audiobook of all but one - The Lost Symbol. I couldn't wait to hear Paul Michael's narration.

The Da Vinci Code introduced readers to the most unlikely of heroes - symbology professor Robert Langdon. Sporting his beloved Mickey Mouse watch, tweed jacket, and a palpable fear of confined spaces he's an intelligent mess with the sexual prowess of a potato. Even so, I like him.

By now we know there are very few changes in Dan Brown's stories. It's basically the same people with different names, slightly different careers, in a new city, doing the same thing their predecessors in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons did, with Robert Langdon called to save the day. This time the professor heads to the nation's capitol to take on Freemasonry. Believed by some to be a modern-day cult. Others think they, together with their Illuminati brethren run the world. Still, others say it's a harmless "boys club." One thing for sure it makes a good story.

What an adventure! Yes, the plot is familiar and the characters very similar to those we've met before, but it doesn't matter - I was hooked and listening as though it was a brand new book. When I've actually read the print version twice. But the audio was much more entertaining. I really liked the characters (much better than Angels & Demons). Inoue Sato was one of my favorites. She was born in a Nisei internment camp in California. She was a survivor, strong and determined. She had risen through the ranks to the highest intelligence post...Director of the Office of Security. She was highly respected and equally feared. She accepted no excuses and took no kaka. Throat surgery left her with an unmistakable, raspy voice. Described as gravel on a chalkboard narrator Paul Michael brought Director Sato to life in spectacular fashion.

Mal'akh reminded me of Silas (The Da Vinci Code's antagonist) with one big difference - not only was Mal'akh a kidnapper and murderer, he was the mastermind behind the night's events.
Mal'akh's entire body, except the top of his head, was tattooed with black magic symbols. This one remaining area was reserved for his transformation. This "bad guy" was physically huge, psychologically menacing and a master of disguise. I liked everything about this guy, except the multiple references and detailed descriptions of his castrated genitalia.

Issac Newton, alchemy, numerology, mysticism, prophecy and 33 degrees lead the symbologist and the Noetic scientist toward the answer to the riddle. Langdon again has an equally intelligent female counterpart as he traipses through D.C. searching for ancient clues to a portal. Suspense and mystery play out over a twelve hour period of time Robert Langdon is not soon going to forget. Paul Michael is a talented narrator. But the way he used voice mannerisms, inflections, pacing, and tones to give each character recognizable traits was incredible. It never sounded fake or forced. It may not be the way I imagined these characters would sound when I was reading the book. But once I heard Michael's interpretation I can't imagine these characters sounding any other way.

This book was meant for audio. I am still in awe at how much better it was an audio vs print. That is owed to the narrator, Paul Michael. He delivered an Oscar worthy performance. I enjoyed it so much I am going to listen to the entire series before Origin is released this fall.

On eStories:

If you're looking for a good audiobook to keep you occupied for about 17 hours, the unabridged edition of The Lost Symbol is an entertaining listening experience. Paul Michael's performance is second to none. This was the first book I listened too via eStories.com. I was aggravated and frustrated by another streaming service about two years ago. Since then all the audiobooks I've listened too have been on MP3 or CD. I was a dedicated bibliophile until I listened to my first book on CD. I was hooked! I don't know what kind of "ophile" word will be created to reference people that listen to books via eStories, but I am one of those now too!

If you're a Dan Brown fan and haven't tried the audio version, now is a great time to try it. eStories is offering a free trial. Click the link, visit eStories site, sign up for your free trial and start listening. You could be listening to Paul Michael's incredible narration of the Lost Symbol in less than three minutes.


**On a personal note**
     I've been fighting pneumonia for the last six weeks. It was wonderful to have the book I was listening too available on every electronic device we own. It was super-helpful to my hubby. He was so stressed and scatter-brained he couldn't seem to bring the same device twice and he was forever forgetting the chargers. With eStories I could pick up where I left off no matter which device he packed in the bag. It made it so nice to set the sleep timer to shut off at the end of the chapter. I would replay the last two minutes when I woke up. If I remembered it, I went on a new chapter - if not, I pushed rewind and started again. Being under-the-weather this 17-hour book took me twice as long to listen too...but I loved it. If I enjoyed it this much being sick, I can't wait to listen to it again when I feel better.

This audiobook can be found on eStories.com. If you are interested, you can receive a free audiobook trial.

Happy Listening!


      RJ   


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Disclaimer: I received a courtesy copy of The Lost Symbol and voluntarily shared my opinion. I am not an employee, associate or affiliate of eStories or any of its subsidiaries. I do not receive any form of compensation from eStories. All links are placed for your convenience.



NEW ROBERT LANGDON BOOK

http://danbrown.com/origin/

http://danbrown.com/angels-demons/

http://danbrown.com/the-davinci-code/

http://danbrown.com/the-lost-symbol/





















https://www.estories.com/howItWorks



READING GROUP GUIDE


1. How familiar were you with Freemasonry before reading the novel? How did your impressions of the organization shift throughout the book, from the chilling prologue to Peter Solomon's philosophical comments near the end?

2. How do Peter Solomon's students (including Robert) reconcile their admiration for him with the knowledge that he is a Mason? Did it surprise you to learn about well-known American historical figures who were Masons and to read about scientists who were intrigued by mysticism and other occult belief systems?

3. Discuss the novel's grand theme of architecture. How did The Lost Symbol change the way you think about the way buildings are designed and the intention of their architects (creators)? What most surprised you about the tributes to the past—and visions of the future—that are captured in the landmarks of Washington, D.C.?

4. Mal'akh considers the polarity of angels and demons noting that "the guardian angel who conquered your enemy in battle was perceived by your enemy as a demon destroyer." What does this indicate about Mal'akh's perception of himself in the world? How can his evil nature be explained? Why is he only able to consider his own suffering, while relishing the suffering of others?

5. How did you react to Katherine Solomon's work in Noetic Science? What motivates her to investigate the tangible aspects of the human soul (attempting to weigh it, even)? How would it change the world if there were more tangible evidence of the spiritual world? How is Katherine Solomon's perception of science different from Robert Langdon's?

6. At the heart of the novel is a quest to unlock wisdom, and the need to keep it "locked" because it can be used for destructive purposes. Do you believe that freedom of knowledge (Wikipedia, a world wide web) is a blessing or a curse?

7. The novel's epigraph, from Manly Hall's The Secret Teachings of All Ages, encourages readers to become aware of the meaning of the world. What mysteries about the world, and life, do you think are the most important ones to explore?

8. How did Mal'akh amass enough power to turn his personal plot into a national security threat? What does his rise to power indicate about the potential of mind over body and a human being's ability to play a variety of roles for unsuspecting audiences?

9. The final chapter raises intriguing questions about the possibility of a multi-faceted God and the potential to find God in all of humanity. Can there be a universal definition of enlightenment?

10. While interpreting the Masonic Pyramid's final inscription, Robert Langdon tries to bring order out of chaos by interpreting each symbol as a metaphor. Peter Solomon instructs him to be literal and accept the inscription as a true map. What does this exchange say about the best way to interpret all sacred messages?

11. What truths do Katherine Solomon and Robert Langdon experience in the epilogue, at sunrise, atop America's ultimate symbol? From your perspective, what does the Capitol symbolize?

12. What does The Lost Symbol indicate about the power of the Word—both ancient texts and bestselling twenty-first-century novels?

13. What common thread runs through this and each of Dan Brown's previous works? What makes The Lost Symbol unique? How has Robert Langdon's perspective changed from Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code?

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Feel free to copy, print & share with your book club.



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great Review!
Mark, CO

Anonymous said...

Awesome review. I'm signing up for the trial.
Faith, Ontario

Anonymous said...

Hope you feel better soon. Great review. Love it!
Julie, FL