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Chris Reich

Business Physicist and Astronomer

Northern, CA | Member Since 2005

743
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 138 reviews
  • 304 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 85 purchased in 2014
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145

  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Michael Chabon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (890)
    Performance
    (784)
    Story
    (801)

    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
  • Something Fresh

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By P. G. Wodehouse
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cecil
    Overall
    (94)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (84)

    The one thing that could be expected to disturb the peace of life at Blandings is the incursion of imposters. Blandings has imposters like other houses have mice. On this occasion there are two of them--both intent on a dangerous enterprise.

    Beverly says: "So That's Where "Upstairs, Downstairs" Came From!"
    "Fun Fun Fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't say much about this book except that it's not to be missed. It's great fun built around a sweet story of comical characters.

    Take a break from self-improvement, vampires, how [name here] beat drugs with Jesus and the latest anti-Obama conspiracy and give yourself a real light-hearted treat.

    This book is just fun and a vacation from the real world.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts!

    Chris Reich, BizPhyZ

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Humboldt's Gift

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Saul Bellow
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    Overall
    (85)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (32)

    For years, they were the best of friends: the grand, erratic Humboldt and the ambitious young Charlie. But now Humboldt has died a failure, and Charlie's success-ridden life has taken various turns for the worse. Then Humboldt acts from the grave to change Charlie's life: he has left Charlie something in his will.

    Scott says: "Great Book, Great Reader"
    "Rotten Audio Quality, Poorly Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Herzog! Bam! Henderson the Rain King! Bam! The Victim! Bam! The Adventures of Augie March! Bam!

    I seem to have fallen into a Saul Bellow groove. I've enjoyed (Very good to Great) every audio title until this one. I wasn't crazy about the narration but the reader is supposed to be jaded and snarky so I'll give Hurt a pass though I believe much of the Bellow philosophy of life is lost in the monotonous delivery.

    I don't think this is Bellow's best but it's still got plenty of meat and a lot of it very tender and delicious near the ample bone. There's a bit of fat and a vein of gristle that makes the book a little dated---it's destined to be a period piece.

    The biggest complaint is the awful, tin can like audio quality. I tried all the formats and it made no difference. I thought my ear buds were failing so I got new ones. This book just has lousy sound. If there was another version, read by someone else, I'd ask Audible for a credit. But, alas, there isn't and I may come back to this again so I'll keep it.

    I wouldn't recommend it to you.

    Chris Reich, The Business Physicist

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventures of Augie March

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Saul Bellow
    • Narrated By Tom Parker
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (88)

    Augie is a poor but exuberant boy growing up in Chicago during the Depression. While his friends all settle into chosen professions, Augie demands a special destiny. He tests out a wild succession of occupations, proudly rejecting each as too limiting - until he tangles with the glamorous perfectionist Thea.

    Darwin8u says: "THAT part of the Universe visible from Chicago!"
    "Odd, Dated and Excellent: Don't Miss It"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is like On the Road: The Original Scroll - Jack Kerouac. Tone it down a bit and you've got a pretty similar story. In fact, I'd be very surprised if there wasn't an influence of one upon the other though I couldn't specify the direction of flow.

    If you haven't experienced Bellow, I'd start with Henderson the Rain King. This book is brilliant but might drag on you if you're not used to the style. Bellow gives a little story and then injects a bit of philosophy or insight. These sparks are beautiful, like having your way lit through a wooded path in the night with the flicking of a lighter that never lights. But that's not a criticism, it's the bright flashes that give snap shots that a steady lighting would only blur.

    And there it is. You get this series of flashes of this guy's life. It's a wonderful, flawless romp.

    I loved every minute.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 2666

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Roberto Bolaño
    • Narrated By John Lee, Armando Durán, G. Valmont Thomas, and others
    Overall
    (361)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (198)

    Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño's life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of Santa Teresa - a fictional Juárez - on the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Nancy Bauer says: "Brilliant"
    "This Author Must Have a Lot of Friends"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I made it through 2666 and it changed my life. After dragging my way through this pretentious, poorly written, poorly crafted and poorly conceived waste of pulp, I learned that a book either shows promise by the mid point or it does not. I learned that critics are easily fooled.

    The life changer for me is the freedom to never again have to finish a lousy book because some critic thinks it good because it has to be good, right? I stick with books unless they are obvious pap. I'll invest the time and make the effort. This book is an absolute mess. I am forever free to walk away from a book that is an obvious dud which the critics fear---is it just me? This is 900 pages of crap. I'd better play it safe and talk about the "reach" or the "expanse" so no one really knows that I think it's worthless.

    Look at the reviews. When the best a critic can do is recap the book (need those 1,000 words!) and then call it massive or expansive which just means long, skip it. I now understand a code that can steer me clear of future time wastes like 2666.

    Save your time. If you want to read Latin literature, turn to Marquez.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By John Green, David Levithan
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews, Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1174)
    Performance
    (949)
    Story
    (959)

    One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

    FanB14 says: "Another John Green Hit"
    "Audible Needs a Teen Section"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is not for adults. It's a book for kids who are looking for a rather soap opera style "me and my gay angst" book.

    This about the third book I've fallen into based on reviews of originality and great story lines that simply aren't there. There is little in an audio book I dislike more than launching into an anticipated listen only to discover it's some hack teen pap that lies about 10 notches below Dog with a Blog.

    Oh me, I'm kissing a boy! Yahoo. Whoopeeee. Deep stuff.

    If you are over 14 years old this will be below your maturity level. Skip it.

    Since I'm on a nasty tear I might as well slam the narrator. MacLeod Andrews can turn an 18 year old boy/man into a whiny 11 year old. He has a gift. I've not heard such sappy narration in a book read by anyone else. No 17, 18, 19 year old would sound as deserving of a kick in the butt with an admonition to grow up as the characters Andrews portrays.

    Am I angry? Probably. I wasn't paying attention and stepped in this mess right after cleaning my shoes of "Jumper", an equally awful book.

    So, 12-13 year olds can ignore this if your standards are relatively low. 14 - 18 year olds? I'm sorry for you if you think is worth your time. If you are over 18? Well, stay away from playgrounds please.

    Audible: PLEASE MARK CHILDREN'S BOOK AS SUCH.

    Final Note. Am I just anti teen? NO. Read Skippy Dies. It's BRILLIANT. Read the Virgin Suicides. BRILLIANT. It can be done.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Pale Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (128)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (95)

    A 999 line poem in heroic couplets, divided into 4 cantos, was composed--according to Nabokov's fiction--by John Francis Shade, an obsessively methodical man, during the last 20 days of his life.

    David says: "Quality recording!"
    "Brilliant, Touching and Fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You have to give this book a chance. It's a little rough to get started but once you catch all the implications, it's a funny and brilliant look at academia and humanity.

    I laughed out loud at a few lines and then I felt this rather sad pathos start to come over me. It's just a spoof, right? A brilliant spoof, but the book is merely satire and so we shouldn't be disturbed by it. But it is disturbing and it runs a lot deeper than spoof.

    The feeling you'll experience are real.

    Even the title...

    Give it a chance. Buy a hard copy. Try. It's certainly one of the finest assembly of words ever.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Henderson the Rain King

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Saul Bellow
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (83)

    Bellow evokes all the rich colour and exotic customs of a highly imaginary Africa in this comic novel about a middle-aged American millionaire who, seeking a new, more rewarding life, descends upon an African tribe. Henderson's awesome feats of strength and his unbridled passion for life earns him the admiration of the tribe - but it is his gift for making rain that turns him from mere hero into messiah.

    Chris Reich says: "Amazing Book on Many Levels"
    "Amazing Book on Many Levels"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hate to write a trite review about a great book so I won't. I won't recap the story.

    I will say that if you are male and have 40+ years under your belt, you will enjoy and be deeply touched by this incredible book. All others? You probably like it, maybe a lot.

    This, I believe, is a book men need to read. And women? You'll get the inside scoop on the male psyche.

    Don't miss this masterpiece.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Carmine Gallo
    • Narrated By Carmine Gallo
    Overall
    (450)
    Performance
    (383)
    Story
    (381)

    Whether he was introducing the latest iPad or delivering a keynote presentation, Steve Jobs electrified audiences with his incomparable style and showmanship. He didn’t just convey information in his presentations; he told a story, painted a picture, and shared a vision. He gave his audience a transformative experience that was unique, inspiring, and unforgettable. Now you can do it too, by learning the specific techniques that made Jobs the most captivating communicator on the world stage.

    William says: "Great ideas!"
    "There Isn't Much Original Here"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the same stuff that I have been teaching in my presentation training classes for years. Steve Jobs didn't invent this technique, he learned it. How? He took the time to study.

    Still, the book has a ton of great material---I really liked it until I hit the Joel Olsteen stuff. I personally don't care for or feel trust in the Olsteen machine.

    So yes, if you are new to presenting, this will your first exposure to much of this material. If you're a seasoned speaker, stick with your own style.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Great Masters: Stravinsky - His Life and Music

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    Stravinsky composed what is arguably one of the two most important musical compositions of the twentieth century, The Rite of Spring. He forged a new "musical language" to portray the sense of the ballet's primitive and earthy theme. More than a dozen excerpts of Stravinsky's works are examined.

    Chris Reich says: "Right Up the Middle"
    "Right Up the Middle"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After a very disappointing Wagner course followed by a stupendous Shostakovich course, I decided to put Greenberg in the lineup once again. This course started rather pleasantly with solid biographical background and excellent musical analysis of Stravinsky's early life and works. There's the typical Greenberg train wreck at about mid way through. He launches into a sort of "whose on first" dialogue about Stravinsky and another artist discussing a new piece.

    Again, the jokes. This time we get a full routine smack in the middle of a serious discussion about World War 1 and the Russian Revolution. From there out, we get the usual corny Greenberg humor but not in as strong an application as usual. Perhaps his seemingly endless parody satisfied the frustrated comedian long enough to limp through the remaining lectures without need to ham it up?

    I did learn from the course and enjoyed it for the most part. I am, however, weary of Greenberg's jokes which detract much from the subject matter. If you want to learn a bit about Stravinsky and get some insight into the technical aspects of his music, buy the course knowing you'll have to endure some bad humor.

    The Great Courses should consider adding a couple of other music experts to their stable. It would be wonderful to have some variety in this category.

    While not a home run, the course is a hit that will get you to first base of Stravinsky understanding. It's got some solid content and Greenberg obviously knows his stuff. Scale way back on the sophomoric humor and this would be a much better course.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Jumper

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Steven Gould
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1155)
    Performance
    (1035)
    Story
    (1049)

    What if you could go anywhere in the world, in the blink of an eye? Where would you go? What would you do?Davy can teleport. To survive, Davy must learn to use and control his power in a world that is more violent and complex than he ever imagined. But mere survival is not enough for him. Davy wants to find others like himself, others who can Jump.

    Cather says: "A nice descent into fantasy..."
    "Let's Not KID Ourselves"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    No, this isn't an adult book disguised as a pre-teen book. It's a kids book at best. The writing is horrible---aimed at a grade 6 level---maybe. The reading is childish---"LYBERRY" for liBRaRy?

    The reviewers who claim this is really a grownup book are misleading...

    That said, kid's fantasy, escape books may be your favorite read. If so, you might enjoy this. When I was 12, I read the Heart is a Lonely Hunter and liked it. I also liked 1984 and Animal Farm. So I think even kids will find this pretty boring stuff.

    But, I'm not the boss of you. It's your credit.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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