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Chris Reich

Business Physicist and Astronomer

Northern, CA

701
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 128 reviews
  • 292 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 64 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
140

  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Michael Chabon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (753)
    Performance
    (656)
    Story
    (671)

    It's 1939, in New York City. Joe Kavalier, a young artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdiniesque escape, has just pulled off his greatest feat: smuggling himself out of Hitler's Prague. He's looking to make big money, fast, so that he can bring his family to freedom. His cousin, Brooklyn's own Sammy Clay, is looking for a partner in creating the heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit the American dreamscape: the comic book. Inspired by their own fantasies, fears, and dreams, they create the Escapist.

    Darwin8u says: "A World I DON'T Ever Want to Escape From."
    "Superb, Original and BAM!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a wonderful story perfectly read. I would say no more but would fail to meet the Audible review requirements!

    There is some real history here---read also The Ten Cent Plague---wrapped around the stories of two cousins. The stories are tragic but not overly depressing. The author somewhat gets us to a happy place by the end---not a perfect story book ending but that would demean some of the serious points this book makes. I love books that build compassion for people.

    I have around 1500 audio books in my library. When I finish something really, really good, it can be insanely difficult to start, or rather get into, a new book. If you find yourself in that position, here you go! I had to listen to the first half hour a couple of times and then I was completely hooked.

    Highly recommend.

    Chris Reich

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Shogun: A Novel of Japan

    • UNABRIDGED (48 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By James Clavell
    • Narrated By David Case
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1096)
    Performance
    (664)
    Story
    (674)

    A bold English adventuer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love....An English captain and his crew are shipwrecked on the coast of feudal Japan. They must deal with two Japanese warlords who are struggling to attain the title of Shogun - and the ultimate power that comes with it.

    Matthew Stavros says: "You have got to be kidding"
    "I Can't Get Through This Awful Reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There might be a decent story hidden in there but this narrator is awful. I can't tell half the time if I'm replaying something I've already heard---it seems to just ramble around senselessly.

    This is some of the worst reading I've heard on Audible. Very disappointed as I was looking forward to a saga that wasn't loaded with old English.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Charles Lewis
    • Narrated By Don Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Facts are and must be the coin of the realm in a democracy. Unfortunately, for citizens in the United States and throughout the world, distinguishing between fact and fiction - always a formidable challenge - is now more difficult than ever, as a constant stream of questionable information pours into media outlets. Lewis argues forcefully that while data points and factoids abound, it is much harder to get to the whole truth of complex issues in time for that truth to guide citizens, voters, and decision makers.

    Chris Reich says: "This Is the Book We All Should Read"
    "This Is the Book We All Should Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book lays bare the mythology we have bought for years about our glorious nation under god. Turns out there's a reason we believe we're special---part of the trappings of power. I agree.

    Every American should read this book and learn. Learn that neither party has the honesty market cornered. Nope, you can't even say that one party is a little better than the other party. The lies both parties have told us have cost thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars in treasure. From Johnson to Obama, we haven't had a truly honest man in the White House.

    We're not talking about little lies either. Big stuff.

    Please give this book a listen. Then buy a few copies of the print version and give them as gifts---or curses. It's pretty rough to face the myths we believe in.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Kevin Birmingham
    • Narrated By John Keating
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (12)

    Literary historian Kevin Birmingham follows Joyce's years as a young writer, his feverish work on his literary masterpiece, and his ardent love affair with Nora Barnacle, the model for Molly Bloom. Joyce and Nora socialized with literary greats like Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, T. S. Eliot and Sylvia Beach. Their support helped Joyce fight an array of anti-vice crusaders while his book was disguised and smuggled, pirated and burned in the United States and Britain.

    Annette says: "a great book about a great book"
    "Excellent and Informative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book made my annual Bloomsday read of Ulysses even more meaningful. I gained new insight into Joyce and the struggle to get the greatest novel written published.

    This book gives a lot more detail about the struggle with health that Joyce went through. Most biographies somewhat gloss over the health problems and especially the root cause of his eye problems: syphilis. The book makes me wonder about his daughter's madness. Certainly Joyce's wife contracted the disease and likely passed it to the children since both were born prior to the development of antibiotics. Was Lucia's madness a result of syphilis?

    This is well presented though the pronunciation at times seems dicey. I swear the reader mispronounces the name of the very book, Ulysses, for the first 2/3rds of the book. Then, almost as though someone catches it, he starts pronouncing it correctly.

    What do you think? Am I hearing it wrong?

    Anyway, I highly recommend this book if you're a Joyce fan.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What Einstein Kept Under His Hat: Secrets of Science in the Kitchen

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Robert L. Wolke, Marlene Parrish
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (289)
    Performance
    (251)
    Story
    (247)

    Have you ever wondered why onions make us cry? Do you believe bananas contain more calories as they ripen and get sweeter? This sequel to the best-selling What Einstein Told His Cook continues Robert L. Wolke's investigations into the science behind our foods.

    Jerker says: "Funny and interesting, but badly edited"
    "Dull as Waiting for Water to Boil"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While there are a few interesting things in this book and it is well read; it's pretty dull. I love science and particularly the science of household things, common stuff. But this is just too much kitchen chemistry. I believe this is a second volume? It feels like a lot of left over material or an attempt to find some more material after writing a successful book.

    I just didn't like it. That doesn't mean you won't. It is, as stated above, well read. That goes a long way with audio books.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Yann Martel
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (220)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (83)

    When Henry receives a letter from an elderly taxidermist, it poses a puzzle that he cannot resist. As he is pulled further into the world of this strange and calculating man, Henry becomes increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey named Beatrice and Virgil and the epic journey they undertake together.

    S. Connors says: "Excellent writing and reading, but..."
    "Disappointing and Borderline Offensive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have a policy on book reviews that I write. If I really dislike a book, I ponder why for a couple days before writing the review. Sometimes the dislike comes from an author's ability to evoke anger or disgust and that deserves high marks in spite of my 'feelings'. This book is disturbing but for the wrong reasons.

    I liked PI. I wanted to like this book.

    By the end I was disgusted by the shameless use of one history's great atrocities to sell a book. It doesn't work. The concept doesn't work. The story telling doesn't work. The manipulation of our feelings doesn't work in spite of killing off the family dog. The story's ending is contrived.

    The only redeeming part of the book are the games at the end. They are, in the context of the holocaust, poignant.

    The remaining 99.9% of the book falls under the emperor's new clothes category. If a reader thinks they see some great depth in this book, it's probably a result of wanting it to be there. I did. It wasn't. Skip it.

    They say an author's first book comes from direct experience. An author might squeak through a second book with what she has left. The third book is the separator. That hopefully is not the case but it sure looks that way from here.



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Leningrad: The Epic Siege of World War II, 1941-1944

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs)
    • By Anna Reid
    • Narrated By Peter Drew
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (13)

    On September 8, 1941, 11 weeks after Hitler's brutal surprise attack on the Soviet Union, Leningrad was surrounded. The German siege was not lifted for two and a half years, by which time some three quarters of a million Leningraders had died of starvation.

    Chris Reich says: "Very Good Look at the History We Were Not Taught"
    "Very Good Look at the History We Were Not Taught"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am convinced from reading several history books about Russia lately that without the Soviet Union, Hitler may have been more successful. He would not have won, but had Hitler maintained the alliance rather than violate it, the world would be a different place today.

    The siege of Leningrad was a horribly grim piece of history. The Soviet Union gave the city virtually no support. The city was on its own. Food ran out. Hundreds of thousands died. No wonder the Russian people are so tough. They had nearly a century of oppressive rule after their centuries of oppressive rule. They beat Napoleon and Hitler but not their own leaders and system.

    The book is a little choppy to follow. But, unlike the Rape of Nanking, it is not so grossly graphic that you cannot bear to listen to it.

    I highly recommend this book. Well done on all fronts.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging, and Postponing, or, Getting Things Done by Putting Them Off

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 48 mins)
    • By John Perry
    • Narrated By Brian Holsopple
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (373)
    Performance
    (333)
    Story
    (331)

    John Perry’s insights and laugh-out-loud humor bring to mind Thurber, Wodehouse, and Harry Frankfurt’s On Bullshit. This charming and accessible audio educates, entertains, and illuminates a universal subject. Procrastinators will be relieved to learn that you can actually accomplish quite a lot while procrastinating. In fact, the book itself is the result of Perry avoiding grading papers, refereeing academic proposals, and reviewing dissertation drafts. It also has a practical side, offering up advice that listeners can put to use.

    LongerILiveLessIKnow says: "Great read for a time-management nerd like me."
    "Put This Off"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This isn't worth the time. I found it unhelpful. Was hoping to find some solace for clients who wrestle with procrastination. Didn't find any.

    I did find a few statements disturbing. Being late in submitting an article the author informs us that 'everyone is months late' on article submissions. I see this as a failure to honor commitments. Sure, maybe it's true that authors are always late. But shouldn't we keep our deadlines that we agree to? I just don't go with the philosophy that it's okay to do things your way when other people are involved. I tire of waiting for things that people promise me. Sure, there are times when we get behind. That's time to step up and own up, no time to adopt a 'me centric' attitude that you can just wait.

    To me, there is a distinction between raking the leaves and doing a work project on time. One doesn't really matter, the other is a commitment to a person. So put off reading this but do get that report in on time.

    I'm sure the author is a good guy. You can deduct that from the writing. But I also find working with people who justify bad habits to be annoying in the long run.

    Save your credits. Better to focus on getting better than accepting a bad habit.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Slavomir Rawicz
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (368)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (157)

    Twenty-six-year-old cavalry officer Slavomir Rawicz was captured by the Red Army in 1939 during the German-Soviet partition of Poland and sent to the Siberian Gulag. In the spring of 1941, he escaped with six of his fellow prisoners, including one American. Thus began their astonishing trek to freedom.

    Roger says: "Good story, well read"
    "Spoiler Alert! DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Okay, people who read my reviews on Amazon know what's coming. I hate "true stories" or historical pieces that are not TRUE.

    I was enjoying this listen very much though at times it gets a little 'made up' sounding. Almost like the writer is sort of winging it. So, about 3/4ths through, I start doing some research only to discover the whole thing is a fabrication. It's a lie. Well, so what if it's a good story? That can be up to you. For me, it confirmed what I was sensing in the writing. This guy just wasn't there.

    From then on, it was very hard to listen to the story knowing it was all a fake. Then I hit the chapter on their encounter with the abominable snow man. Okay, that was just over the top nonsense.

    It is a fun listen if you don't care or don't know it's a complete fake.

    I am being generous with the stars. I do not care much for John Lee. Everyone sounds like Dracula regardless of accent. He's better than many, however.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Great Masters: Shostakovich - His Life and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    Dmitri Shostakovich is without a doubt one of the central composers of the 20th century. Drawing on both the flood of declassified documents from the Soviet Union that began in 1991 and Shostakovich's own extraordinarily frank posthumous reminiscences, Professor Greenberg shows how Shostakovich, who, in the words of a friend, "did not want to rot in a prison or a graveyard" was still unwilling to become a docile instrument of the Soviet regime.

    Cookie says: "Living the Great Terror"
    "Superb Course: Greenberg on Speed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have had a very hit-and-miss experience with Greenberg's courses. His opera appreciation course is excellent. His Wagner course abysmal. This course is very good and packed with exactly what I want from a course like this.

    I have listened to and seen live performances of Shostakovich's music but never much cared for his modernist style. His music seemed confused and convoluted to me. Of course, discordance was all the rage after the turn of the century so I have for years just taken Shostakovich as "not for me".

    This set of lectures does what great teaching ought to do. It opened my mind to a new experience and instilled an enthusiasm to go deeper. That's what I like about the really great courses. They encourage me to go well beyond what is presented.

    Dr. Greenberg perfectly balances biography with explanation of the music through stories and music samples. What opened the door for me was knowing what was happening in the composer's life blended with a taste of the music he wrote during that time and completed with some analysis of the music itself. I could see, for the first time, how wonderful and terrible that discordance was that I previously hated. By terrible, I mean the horror that the "circus" sound was expressing.

    I actually raced through this course in a week all the while spending like the proverbial drunken sailor. This is fantastic, I must have the MP3 now! And I'll need a CD version as well. Wow! I must hear the rest of this. I want more of that. I bought DVDs of the operas, MP3s and CDs of the symphonies and the quartets, CDs of the piano pieces and the cello concerto. Amazon is very pleased that I took this course.

    The new understanding made the music so enjoyable I just had to have some complete piece IMMEDIATELY. That's good teaching.

    I do have some criticism of the course. Before I criticize, I want to say again that I absolutely hated Greenberg's Wagner course. That course is packed with awful puns and bad jokes. It's a slap-schtick production. In this course, the corn is scaled back considerably. Greenberg would do well to eliminate his humor completely but at least in this course his poor puns do not detract too much from the course.

    His pace is at times manic. He literally talks like someone coked up. It's beyond enthusiasm; it's just too fast.

    The other thing I find grating is the pompous use of the words "please" and "we". "Please! We quote,....." Is Greenberg glad to have us listen or is that a composer in his pocket? We wonder. Amusingly, he starts the entire series with an anecdote about someone complaining about the anti-Stalinist content of one of his lectures. The critic says something about others in the audience having the same reaction. Greenberg goes on to say that he immediately dismisses anyone who makes assertions referring to those "others agree with me too" people.

    He might benefit from listening to some of that criticism. The pompous use of "we" is annoying. Preceding points or quotes with "Please!" is an affectation that I accept as just a bit of artistic flamboyance. Interestingly, about half way, Greenberg simply starts quotes with, "I quote" and it comes off better than when he later reverts back to royal "we".
    Fewer jokes and a scaling back of the pompous presentation and the course would be perfect. As is, it is still a 5 star, highly recommended course.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Earth's Changing Climate

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Richard Wolfson
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Whatever your views on climate change, it's important to understand how the current scientific consensus on global warming evolved out of basic physical principles and a broad range of observations. This lucid series of 12 lectures is designed to do exactly that-reviewing the most up-to-date research and explaining the concepts, tools, data, and analysis that have led an overwhelming number of climate scientists to conclude that Earth is indeed warming and that we humans are in great part responsible.

    Chris Reich says: "Very Basic, Intro Level Material"
    "Very Basic, Intro Level Material"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't impressed with this lecture series but wonder if the method of delivery might have something to do with it.

    My Great Courses library contains over 25 DVD courses and they are mostly in the 90% percentile for excellence. To date I have purchased three courses on the audio format and have not been impressed with any of them. I'm not sure if it is because the audio format fails against the full video courses or if I have simply chosen courses that do not come across well in audio alone.

    For example, Greenberg's Wagner course is awful. He is constantly detracting from the material with sophomoric jokes. Without the silliness, the course would be excellent. Can't blame audio for that. I also purchased the Divine Comedy course. It's like a radio program with two panelists supporting each others position. That's right Bob, Dante based his work on the Bible! Sure Dave, and he used the style of the time.

    I find it a bit annoying but haven't passed judgement yet.

    This course didn't appeal to me at all. I do like professor Wolfson and greatly enjoy the video series, "Physics in You Life". In this course, he speaks way too fast. I had hoped to gain some scientific insight into climate change but there really is not any new material here. Essentially it amounts to telling us the earth is getting warmer, the warming is caused by carbon and man is at the heart of the problem.

    If you already understand that, save the credit.

    I wanted to understand the arguments that go like this: The earth has been warmer in the past, well before man, why? How did it cool? Why was the temperature so much higher 200 million years ago? Yes, there was a mini ice age 400 years ago, why? I know these questions do not have definitive answers but I had hoped for some science on those questions.

    Also, I believe Wolfson is too definite on his outlook for the future. Carbon content goes up, temperature will rise by this range. He mentions that the earth my have trigger points which could cause climate to change in an opposite direction and then dismisses that in a sentence. I'm not so sure.

    The earth is a lot more complex than Venus which is always used for comparison. I don't think we can say with certainty that a temperature increase here will not cause a reaction leading to a decrease in temperature there. For example, if warming causes the heat conveyor of the Atlantic to stop delivering warmth to England, then Europe could plunge into a deep cold period. It is not clear if this is possible but the oceans distribute heat---altering currents can change climate.

    Okay, this isn't about my theories. The course is rather basic and might be better in video format.

    If you are completely new to the subject, give it a go. If you already have some background, you can probably skip this without missing anything.

    Too fast. Too shallow.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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