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CHESTER

Chet Yarbrough, an audio book addict, exercises two cocker spaniels twice a day with an Ipod in his pocket and earbuds in his ears. Hope these few reviews seduce the public into a similar obsession but walk safely and be aware of the unaware.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States | Member Since 2007

15
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 71 reviews
  • 576 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 60 purchased in 2014
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  • A Prayer for Owen Meany

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3390)
    Performance
    (2334)
    Story
    (2332)

    Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended. In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys – best friends – are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.

    Alan says: "Outstanding"
    "FAITH"
    Overall
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    Story

    Like quick sand, every chapter creates a mystery that pulls the listener deeper into the story.
    Why is Owen Meany???s voice so high pitched and single noted? Who is the ???lady in red???? Who is Owen Meany???s illegitimate friend???s father? Why do the main characters keep practicing ???the shot???? What is Owen Meany???s recurring dream? Right foot, left foot, body, and brain; soon you are consumed by Irving's mysteries.
    Joe Barrett???s spoken presentation is terrific because it enhances the written meaning of the story. James Atlas precedes the narration with an interview of John Irving, the author. The Atlas??? interview sets the table for what you are about to hear.
    Irving writes a story about growing up in Anywhere, America where the pious are weak, the rich are intimidating and the children are indulged. It is an age like today with ministers preaching and not believing, parents teaching right and doing wrong, and children maturing physically and wasting mentally. Owen Meany is an exception, as this story tells the listener.
    Owen Meany is modeled like the little man in The Tin Drum, a book about a dwarf like German citizen observing the beginning, progress, and ending of the WWII German tragedy. Owen Meany is a stunted American citizen living at the beginning of an evolving Vietnam American tragedy.
    The subject of Vietnam is generally understood as an American disaster. It earned its American anti war rebellion. Irving???s story crystallizes the anxiety and frustration of that time. He offers an answer to what we can do when we become anxious and frustrated about things that seem beyond our control. It is not an easy path but redemption for atrocity begins with people of faith who see reality, have an inner morale compass, and act with a relentless commitment to stop senseless acts of war.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • The Age of Innocence

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Edith Wharton
    • Narrated By Lorna Raver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (153)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (77)

    Newland Archer is about to announce his engagement to the docile May Welland when he meets her cousin, the mysterious, nonconformist Countess Ellen Olenska. Edith Wharton's elegant portrait of desire and betrayal in Old New York earned her the first Pulitzer Prize for literature ever awarded to a woman.

    Frederick R. says: "The Best of Its or Any Day"
    "MEN AND WOMEN"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence” exposes false notions of equality in America and reflects on the human frailty and strength of men and women. Wharton lived through the turn of the 19th into the 20th century in America. She lived an adult life of luxury in New York, and later in France.

    Wharton writes about American society; i.e. she exposes New York’s “upstairs, downstairs” snobbery in the early 20th century. In telling the tale, Wharton sharply defines the battle of the sexes, duplicity of romance, and folly of youth. Though writing about a sliver of wealthy American’ society in the early 20th century, Wharton’s story rings as true about men and women today as it did when she won the Pulitzer Prize.

    In the end, Wharton shows Archer, the novel's male protagonist, to be emotionally immature. Archer chooses to keep his innocent memory; i.e. his deluded vision of romance, commitment, and love. May and Olenska are shown to understand the difference between lust and romance; commitment, and love. Archer never does. Archer never gets over “The Age of Innocence”.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chance

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Kem Nunn
    • Narrated By Adam Verner
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (13)

    Dr. Eldon Chance is a brilliant forensic neuropsychologist with a long track record of getting involved with damaged women. After separating from his wife, a series of bad decisions leads to Chance sleeping with a patient named Jaclyn Blackstone. Unfortunately her ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective and the jealous type.

    CHESTER says: "DERIVATIVES OF CHANCE"
    "DERIVATIVES OF CHANCE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kem Nunn’s book is a novel about derivatives of Chance; he suggests chance is an integral part of human’ nature. There is chance in genetics, in living, in parenting, in love, in health, in death. Nunn creates a story about the inadvertent nature of life. The main character of Nunn’s book—wait for it—is Dr. Chance.

    Nunn’s characters seem formulaic in the beginning but, as the story unfolds, they become unique. Chance is born into wealth, with intelligent parents that can support him through the expense of a great education. Chance is a spoiled product of an abundant life. In his early career, he falls into an ethical dilemma that nearly destroys his reputation and drives his parents to despair. In mid-life, Chance repeats his mistakes with another ethical dilemma; another broken family.

    Here we have a questionably ethical psychiatrist, a highly skilled and intelligent survivalist, a beautiful woman, and a bad cop. What could possibly go wrong? Chance is an entertaining story; expertly narrated by Adam Verner.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Husain Haqqani
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    A character-driven history that describes the bizarrely ill-suited alliance between America and Pakistan, written by a uniquely insightful participant: Pakistan's former ambassador to the US. The relationship between America and Pakistan is based on mutual incomprehension, and always has been. Pakistan - to American eyes - has gone from being a stabilizing friend to an essential military ally to a seedbed of terror.

    CHESTER says: "PAKISTAN AND U.S. RELATIONS"
    "PAKISTAN AND U.S. RELATIONS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Husain Haqqani, in “Magnificent Delusions”, recounts the history of Pakistan and its troubled relationship with the United States and India. Haqqani explains how nations act with delusion and misunderstanding. Ethnic diversity within nations makes speaking with one voice impossible. Consequent delusions and misunderstandings between nations foment arms escalation and international conflict.

    Diplomatic policy and action are a reflection of what leaders can do within the framework of their respective governments and cultures. Haqqani infers that delusion and misunderstanding correlate with cultural ignorance; an ignorance that is endemic in nation-to-nation communication.

    Haqqani was imprisoned for his efforts to remove the veil of obfuscation between the United States and Pakistan. He was eventually released by the Pakistani court system and allowed to leave Pakistan. “Magnificent Delusions” is a sad tale of a hard road Pakistan travels. It is a frightening explanation of growing terrorist potential of a country riven by social, economic, and ethnic conflict.

    An ambassador that understands the culture of a country he/she is sent to is the greatest protection from delusion and misunderstanding between host and sponsor countries. “Magnificent Delusions” is an excellent primer for aspiring ambassadors.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (732)
    Performance
    (601)
    Story
    (596)

    The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career - 1958 to 1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark.

    Abdur Abdul-Malik says: "From Powerful to Powerless"
    "POWER & COMPROMISE"
    Overall
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    Story

    Though Robert Caro’s advancing years may make him seem like a ghost writer for Plutarch, he continues to turn out the best biographies being written in the 21st century. After reading “The Power Broker” (published in 1974 about Robert Moses and land planning in New York), one becomes witness to the power of Caro’s research and dramatic skill in reporting on post-20th-century American’ movers and shakers. His next project, after “The Power Broker” became Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States.

    A left-wing liberal says Obama compromises too much while a right-wing conservative says Obama does not compromise at all; neither is correct. Extreme positions are rarely correct. The life and times of Lyndon Johnson are not unlike the life and times of Barrack Obama. The concern is that President Obama, though extremely persuasive, does not have the congressional’ experience that gave Lyndon Johnson the wisdom, and a “stick”, that could make Congress act.

    Robert Caro’s book, “The Passage of Power”, is a lesson in history that offers insight to governing America today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Animals Make Us Human

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Temple Grandin
    • Narrated By Andrea Gallo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (571)
    Performance
    (296)
    Story
    (297)

    From renowned scientist and animal welfare advocate Temple Grandin, this groundbreaking book is a clarion call to awareness of the inner lives of humankind's far-too-often mistreated and neglected companions. Based on research spanning over 30 years, these stunning insights into the very real emotions and thoughts of animals are sure to be a source of fascination and inspiration.

    Debra says: "Interesting in general, but repetitive"
    "ANIMALS’ FEAR, PANIC, & RAGE"
    Overall
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    Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. With the help of her parents and teachers, Grandin overcame communication difficulties created by autism. After receiving masters and doctoral degrees in animal science, Grandin has worked as a consultant to large slaughter houses and zoos to improve the quality of life for soon-to-be slaughtered cattle and imprisoned wildlife.

    As an educator, biologist, and writer, Grandin acknowledges the cycle of life but argues that humans do not have to be cruel when raising livestock, slaughtering animals, or confining animal’ species in restricted environments. Grandin proposes improvements in animal husbandry; particularly for animals grown to be slaughtered but also animals confined to zoos and nature preserves.

    Grandin and Johnson’s fundamental insight is that humans need to observe their animals to understand what they like, what they fear, what causes panic and rage, and how humans can make them happy within the circumstances of their lives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ivanhoe

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Walter Scott
    • Narrated By Jim Killavey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Sir Walter Scott gathered a popular audience, larger than any audience before. A great innovator,he created one of the outstanding literary forms of the past 200 years - the historical novel. In Ivanhoe, Scott brings to life 12th century England.

    Empowerment says: "Wonderful"
    "ROBIN HOOD"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Aside from being a source for the legend of Robin Hood, “Ivanhoe” is a boring adventure with a smattering of muddled history, stilted romance, and legendary valor.

    This is a story of twelfth century England, a time of great conflict between Christians, other-believers like Muslims and Jews, and non-believers (pagans that believe in many gods or no God). Layered into this religious conflict is Anglo/Saxon resentment of Norman control of England. “Ivanhoe” creates the legend of Robin Hood with an introduction of Norman-King Richard the Lionheart and his brother, Prince John, to characterize the era. This is during the time of the Crusades when Saladin is spreading Muslim beliefs through the world with conquests in Syria and the Middle East.

    Sir Walter Scott may be a better writer than is shown in “Ivanhoe” but for adventure and romance, Alexander Dumas is a better practitioner of the art.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By David Bayles, Ted Orland
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (105)

    Art & Fear explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. This is a book about what it feels like to sit in your studio or classroom, at your wheel or keyboard, easel or camera, trying to do the work you need to do. It is about committing your future to your own hands, placing free will above predestination, choice above chance. It is about finding your own work.

    Inga Ladd says: "Amazing!"
    "ART AND FEAR"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Art and fear seem odd conjunctive words for the title of a non-fiction book. The authors, David Bayles and Ted Orland, waste no time in explaining why the conjunction makes sense. Their definition of art revolves around humans that choose to take a risk to produce something unique that may mean much to the maker and nothing to anyone else. An artist is always alone.

    Bayles and Orland argue that fear is an artist’s perennial companion. In contrast, a business entrepreneur is rewarded, or not, within a life time. The business entrepreneur has options after failure. The business entrepreneur starts another business or goes to work for others. The artist is alone in success and failure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Khan: Empire of Silver: A Novel of the Khan Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Conn Iggulden
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (128)

    A #1 New York Times best-selling author, Conn Iggulden has garnered both critical and popular acclaim for his compelling novels about Genghis Khan. Iggulden’s riveting Empire of Silver—the fourth in his Khan dynasty series—highlights the incredible story of Ogedai, son of Genghis Khan.

    Tundrabeast says: "Great Next Chapter"
    "MONGOL EMPIRE"
    Overall
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    This is Conn Iggulden’s fourth book about the Mongol Empire. It is a story about a family of warriors, Genghis Khan and his heirs, who assemble the largest conquered land mass in history. The “Empire of Silver” covers 1229 through 1246/47, when the Mongol empire nears its peak of power and size. This fourth volume begins after Genghis has died and Ogodei, his son, is chosen to lead the empire.

    Iggulden plays with historical truth (if there is truth in history) about Mongol ascension and intrigue but he excites the imagination with plausible explanations. The role of Tolui’s wife in the political future of the Mongol Empire seems fanciful but, after all, “Empire of Silver” is a novel; a decent entertainment with a little history about an extraordinary family.

    Conn Iggulden offers some interesting insight to the 13th century. Aggression and brutality pay when used in war but are less reliable when used in peace.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Viktor Mayer-Schöberger, Kenneth Cukier
    • Narrated By Jonathan Hogan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (352)
    Performance
    (309)
    Story
    (305)

    Oxford professor and author Viktor Mayer-Schönberger joins Economist data editor and commentator Kenneth Cukier to deliver insight into the hottest trend in technology. "Big data" makes it possible to instantly analyze and draw conclusions from vast stores of information, enabling revolutionary breakthroughs in business, health, politics, and education. But big data also raises troubling social and privacy concerns sure to be a major talking point in the years ahead.

    Michael says: "Pretty light stuff on Big Data"
    "BIG DATA"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, said, “You have to fight for your privacy or you lose it.” Mayer-Schőnberger and Cukier infer in their book, Big Data, that civilization’s privacy is already lost.

    Facts are slippery things. When aggregated, facts can distort individual truth. Profiling can destroy individual opportunity by forecasting probabilistic evil.

    The evil in business comes from white collar’ business criminals and hackers that capitalize on business data collection to victimize unwary customers. The economic consequence of business and white collar evil is to benefit the few at the expense of the many.

    On balance, Mayer-Schőnberger and Cukier believe Big Data will improve lives. They believe profiling can be regulated. They believe Big Data correlation is a practical way of changing public and private policies because life is probabilistic and correlation beats destiny, or any other unproven causal explanation for life.

    Invasion of privacy is a fact of life in the 21st century. Big Data has become a force of nature, a Pandora’s Box–opened; with consequences that cannot be foretold, only managed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6930)
    Performance
    (6343)
    Story
    (6348)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "MODERN AMERICAN TRAGEDY"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    “The Goldfinch” reminds one of “An American Tragedy”, written by Theodore Dreiser in the 1920s. “The Goldfinch is a modern American’ tragedy. Donna Tartt explores the 21st century through the life of an orphaned boy named Theo Decker.

    Theo, like Clyde Griffiths, is seduced by the glamour and thrill of big city life and unexplored opportunity. Tartt’s back story is similar to Dreiser’s but attuned to more modern-day beliefs like genetic inheritance, post traumatic stress disorder, and the drug culture.

    Tartt gives many clues about which road Theo will take. Genetics, drugs, and PTSD, are among Theo’s roadblocks to a future. It is up to the reader or listener to surmise Theo’s choice; even asTartt completes her tale. This is a classic 21st century story of an American life, expertly narrated by David Pittu.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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