Tag Archives: audio book

Library Love

My Dad handed me his library card today and asked me pick up an audio book for him. As I am still missing mine, I decided to take full advantage of it and got ten books for myself. Plus five audio books for him because who needs one when you can have five.

And you know what? It was so much fun. As I walked out of the library, I felt nearly giddy with excitement. It wasn’t any particular book or even that notable of an experience. But the library is still the best place ever and I love walking out of there with more than I can carry. 

I just love books.

Whatcha Reading…? 4/22/2017 Book Update

“What are you currently reading?” asks the Get To Know You form. I look at the inch provided to respond in and don’t know whether to laugh or cry. What am I currently reading…??

I am in the middle of quite a few books right now. The problem is time. I’ve been in the midst of several books for weeks and there are twice as many unread in my library basket but I don’t seem to be finishing them at my usual pace. I think I need to take a reading day. However, for now, here is what I am currently reading:

Legend by Marie Lu, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior, Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry, and The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. I’m still working on An Autobiography by Agatha Christie and Jack by George Sayer.  I am re-reading Manalive by G.K. Chesterton and listening to Bleak House by Charles Dickens on audio book. 

I don’t have much time today so I won’t go into the relative merits of each of these reads but there are some really interesting ones. And some less interesting ones. Hopefully you’ll see a few reviews with these names over the next week!

Whatcha Reading…? 2/15/2017 Book Update

My last Watcha Reading Update was in September…whoops! (Still working on An Autobiography…Sort of. It is somewhere in my room. Probably.) 

I’ve read quite a few books since then, mostly fiction, which don’t fit in the Watcha Reading format very well. I don’t usually read them all at the same time. However, my ban on getting anything new from the library until I’ve read what I have has got me juggling several books at once. I just finished Reading Women: How The Great Works of Feminism Changed My Life by Stephanie Staal and the audio book The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I am currently reading The Story Girl by Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Candymakers by Wendy Mass, and re-reading Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers. I’ve got The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad on audio book. 

Reading Women was disappointing. I didn’t expect to agree with the author’s take on the feminist texts, but I hoped to at least feel challenged. Instead I was bored. At 29, the author gets married, has a kid, and moves from New York City to Annapolis. The book emerges from her struggle to “be a Mom” and a “have a career.” I might have been more sympathetic if the author and her husband didn’t both work from home and co-parent their one child and if the move didn’t entail buying a three story house. Her “rediscovery” of feminist texts such as A Vindication of the Rights of Women, The Yellow Wallpaper, and The Feminine Mystique made for only a nominally interesting read that I nearly gave up on several times. However, you won’t find this one in my end of the year 1 star reviews, because despite my annoyance with the author’s first world problems, I found I did like the author and she takes a stance against pornography which I appreciated. So…1.5 stars. 

I read The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins this year and enjoyed it so I figured I would enjoy Collins’s other famous novel, The Woman in White. However, it wasn’t as good. It was very Gothic, dramatic, and dull. I didn’t like any of the characters and the females were always fainting or wishing they were a man. It was interesting enough to keep me engaged for over 25 hours, but not one I’d read again. 

I’m not very far into The Story Girl, but I’ve struggled to keep myself interested. The book is only 177 pages so I assumed I would whip through it in an afternoon. However, I’m confused by the multitude of characters and bogged down by the weirdly cramped font of this copy. I like the idea of it, though, and am pretty sure I’ll get into it more the farther I go.  

The Candymakers was recommended to me by my cousin Ella years ago and I am only now getting to it (sorry, Ella!) I like it so far! It is super creative and reminiscent of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory while still feeling original. The book is 450 pages and I’m only 100 pages in, but I like how several underlying mysteries have surfaced. There is the overt plot (who will win the competition?) but also some subtle ones (why did The Candymaker stop all tours?) I look forward to seeing how it all plays out! 

Gaudy Night is book 12 in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, and probably my favorite of all of them. I love anything by Dorothy L. Sayers but this books is particularly well done. There isn’t as much mystery but there is a lot of discussion about being a woman and an academic. Also, it takes place at Oxford University, so every line paints a familiar picture for me. We’re reading this in one of the book clubs I belong to and I’m excited to discuss it more fully with my friends. 

Finally, I am listening to The Secret Agent. This is my third try with this book, once before in print and once audio, but this time I am determined to finish it. I didn’t make it through Heart of Darkness but I will make it through this one!

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

I really should stop reviewing these 5 star books on here, because I am going to write about them at the end of the year. However, once again I have finished a fun one and I can’t resist reviewing it! 

Plot: When their headmistress and her odious brother are suddenly poisoned, the students of St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls have a decision to make. Do they alert the police and return to their respective homes, or carry on as if nothing happened? They opt to bury the bodies. Unfortunately, hiding murder is not easy, especially when the murderer is still at large! But who on earth wanted Mrs. Plackett and her brother dead?

Thoughts: With it mix of farcical humor, outlandish situations, and hint of romance, The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place has much to recommend it. However, what makes this book so charming is its characters.There are 7 female students at St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls and each one plays an important role in the story. Especially because I was listening to this on audio book, I was ready to be utterly confused and unable to tell them apart. That didn’t happen! The 7 characters were very unique and memorable and the author makes them more so by adding an adjective to their name (i.e. Smooth Kitty, Disgraceful Mary Jane, Dour Eleanor, etc.) I loved reading their adventures and I really wish this was a series so there would be more. 

I definitely recommend this one. If you prefer something a little more YA fantasy, I also really enjoy The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry. I only gave it 3 (out of 5) stars on Goodreads, and it has its flaws, but it is one I return to every few years and re-read because it contains something memorable I can’t quite put my finger on. Plus, I love the hero.  

New BFF: Jack Burden from All The King’s Men

Today I finished listening to All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren on audio book and I LOVED it. In fact, I knew even before I reached the end that it was going to go on my Favorites shelf. It was just that good. The writing is poetic, the characters are memorable, and book is chock full of interesting themes and contrasting ideas. Most of all, though, I love  Jack Burden.

This is the story of Willie Stark, an idealistic politician who slowly become becomes the very thing he fought against to get elected as he strives to amass power and make a difference. However, this is even more the story of his right hand man and the narrator of this book, Jack Burden. Jack comes across as a devil-may-care cynic, but deep inside he is an idealist. He is thoughtful, emotional, and struggles to find purpose for his actions. His character change in this book is remarkable and multilayered. He is truly an intriguing, relatable character. There wasn’t a single part where I genuinely got angry at him or didn’t understand where he was coming from. The author may take him dramatically in one direction…but never too far. He is never irredeemable. He is too self-aware for that. 

Anyway, Jack Burden has officially become one of my favorite literary characters and my new BFF. I really liked this book and there are many reasons, but I will wait to expound more on them in my end of the year 5 star book review post. For now, I’ll just say that this is one of my new favorites, but I hesitate to recommend it because there is language and some graphic scenes. Tread with care. If you do decide to take the plunge, enjoy this multilayered book with its stories within stories. It may be long but it is worth it. 

Another incomplete review…Villette by Charlotte Brontë

I’ve been listening to Villette by Charlotte Brontë on audio book and I’m almost done. I have maybe 40 minutes to go. By this point, I’ve gotten the gist of the story and am now simply waiting for things to be tied together. It is a good book. An interesting one. I might even share a more thorough review once I’m finished with it. The thing is though…I feel like I was lured in under false pretenses. This is how the book was described in its Goodreads bio:

“Arguably Brontë’s most refined and deeply felt work, Villette draws on her profound loneliness following the deaths of her three siblings. Lucy Snowe, the narrator of Villette, flees from an unhappy past in England to begin a new life as a teacher at a French boarding school in the great cosmopolitan capital of Villette. Soon Lucy’s struggle for independence is overshadowed by both her friendship with a worldly English doctor and her feelings for an autocratic schoolmaster. Brontë’s strikingly modern heroine must decide if there is any man in her society with whom she can live and still be free.”

Italics added.

You see, I braced for a love triangle. I expected a “strikingly modern heroine” trying to find a man that would let her continue to teach or at least let have her own opinions or something. That’s not what I’m getting. Lucy Snowe is a somewhat interesting character in the mode of Jane Eyre but nothing spectacular. She doesn’t so much “decide” to look for a man as much as she falls for the only two men of her acquaintance. The one it appears she will end up with in the end is selfish, chauvinistic, sexist, and possibly bipolar. I wouldn’t mind so much if this book wasn’t presented as something modern. Maybe it will end well? We shall see. 


The King’s Speech by Mark Logue

Elijah and I just finished listening to The King’s Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi. Unlike most books with a movie, The King’s Speech was written after the movie came out. The screen writers came to Mark Logue to find out more information about his grandfather, Lionel Logue, and in the process of getting it for them, he was inspired to tell the whole story. In some ways, this adds to the book’s charm. If you enjoyed the movie, you will love the book. (Also, no need to fear f-bomb laced sentences. There isn’t a single vulgar word to be found) 

The King’s Speech is the remarkable story of King George VI and his Australian-born speech therapist, Lionel Logue. Their friendship spanned the future King George’s time as Prince of Wales, the abdication of Edward VIII, and the horrors of World War 2. It is a historically fascinating book and really cool to learn about. 

I highly recommend this one! It is a great audio book and a satisfying story.