Now For Your Listening Pleasure


My mother was an avid reader, so you can imagine how devastated she was to lose much her eye sight. Around the same time, audio books on cassette had come out and because she missed reading so much she gave them a try. They couldn’t replace a physical book, but all that mattered to her was being able to immerse herself again in stories.

In choosing what to listen to, she gravitated back to the classics of her youth, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights to name a few. This was how she lured me to audio books. A lot classics are often heavy on words and can be tiresome to read.  But listening, she said, means the story is told to you by someone else, where you can sit, listen and relax or busy yourself with other things. It is reading with your ears.

Some favorites of mine:

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Good to start with a classic especially if it’s one you’ve read before. I’ve listened to this twice already.

Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King – Actors are great narrators. Kathy Bates reads this one.

The Secret River by Kate Grenville – Australian novel about the early settlers read by Simon Vance, one of my favorite narrators.

The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – Autobiographical and read by the author. Sometimes this type of narration can be a hit or miss, but Alexie nails it here.

Dead Wake by Erik Larson – Skeptical at first because I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Lusitania, but I was riveted. Lots of good historical info. Read by Scott Brick

Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood by Trevor Noah – My absolute favorite so far. If there was one audio book I would recommend, this would be it.  Read by the author.

What I’m listening to now:

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien – Slow going. War stories are not a favorite of mine, so I do a couple of stories at a time. Read by Brian Cranston

The Return Of The Native by Thomas Hardy – The only audio book read by Alan Rickman. Typical Hardy so another slow one.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – A first listen of my favorite book. So far it might be a close second for all time favorite audio. Thandie Newton narrates.

Happy listening!












My Brilliant Friend


I caved recently and bought My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. I did not take this decision lightly. For about a year it was:

  • Should I get it, everybody’s reading it.
  • No, that doesn’t mean anything. Don’t fall for the hype.
  • It’s about women and friendships, it might be my kind of book.
  • No, it’s too long. Don’t have time for that.
  • This isn’t the real author. How intriguing!
  • No, I can’t read it if I don’t know who really wrote it.
  • Real author revealed! It’s not a celebrity or a man. Go for it.

When I saw the last copy on the shelf at my Barnes and Noble I just went ahead bought it.  The last copy. Must be good…right?

Well…it was just okay. Sometimes I couldn’t put it down and sometimes it I didn’t want to pick it up. After a little more than half way, I stopped picking it back up. I found it heavy on description and had too many characters to keep track of. It ended up being not for me but was glad I read it.






Catch Up, Part 2

Summer reading…

The End Of Everything by Megan Abbot – I found this creepy and not in a good way. I heard it described as being realistic about how teens think and act. I disagree.

The Trouble With Goats And Sheep by Joanna Cannon – Reminds me of my childhood summers and all the mischief I got into with my best friend.

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley – Such a good premise, mysterious plane crash, only two survivors. Then it takes every character and goes on and on about nothing.  And the ending?  What a disappointment. 

The Book Of Unknown Americans – Should be required reading.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice And Redemption by Bryan Stevenson – More of should be required reading.

Something New: Tales From A Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley – Getting married? Overwhelmed by it all? Then this graphic memoir is for you.

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell –  O’Farrell is one of my favorite author’s, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansar – I prefer the old fashion way of romance. You know, actually talking to people.

The Museum Of You by Carys Bray – A young girl tries to connect to her absent mother. Sounds sad doesn’t it? But it’s really not. There are sad parts, but then it can be laugh-out-loud funny. And you just feel good about things in the end.

The Warmth Of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson – Excellent telling of an ignored, but equally important part of American history.

Twelve Angry Men – Audio theatre. Can’t go wrong with this one.

Yaqui Delgado Wants To Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina – Good YA story about bullying.

Now onto some fall reading!



Catch Up, Part 1

I haven’t done a great job at keeping up. Life’s been a distraction and then there was my bout of reader’s block, which appears to be over for now. Here’s a little round up of what I’ve been reading since my last post.

Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy – I loved the movie so I had to read the book. It’s typical Thomas Hardy, tragic but has a happier ending.

Girl At War by Sara Novic – The section on life in pre-war Croatia was more interesting than post-war life in America. But the writing is very good. An author to watch.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – I dare you to read it and not cry.

Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer – Some of the plot seemed pointless, like the Brazilian stepmother, but Apron’s such a great character. I couldn’t stop reading.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – This one spoke to me.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold – I bought it because of the cover. But the book itself wants to be a John Green story. And, well, John Green stories are better.

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechtel – No where near as good as Fun Home.

Elemental by Amanda Curtain – One of those where the first 3/4 is great and then a total peter out. Still worth a read.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton – Seeing the movie so many times spoiled it for me.

The Fur Person by May Sarton – Cute tale about cat life from the cat himself.

One Life: My Mother’s Story by Kate Grenville – Your family’s story is important. Record it while you can.

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brusker Bradley – I found the mother’s behavior disturbing, but thankfully there’s a happy ending.


To be continued…



Books Then and Now


I’m a little late with this one, but I had to mention my favorite read of 2015.


I wasn’t sure if I would like a story about a college rowing team, but was I wrong. Couldn’t put it down. And makes me want to try rowing.



I’ve read 3 books so far in 2016.


Okay, but Olive Kitteridge is still her best.


If not told in comic form, this would have been a really depressing read. Somehow the author manages to make parts it of humorous, but makes getting old a little scary.


A modern take on the classic story Black Beauty.  I never read the original book, so it’s hard for me to compare. Worth reading for the message it conveys about our country’s income inequality. It’s not pretty.

Next in line…




Dear Mr. You


Dear Actress Who Wrote A Book,

I wanted to like your book. I really did.

The introduction and the letter to your Dad were great.

I liked your letter to the Movement Teacher the best. Almost everyday I sit across the table from my daughter while she does her homework and I listen to her complaints. “That is what he thinks of you. What are you going to do about it?” I say this to her about the math teacher. So true.

In the end, this book wasn’t for me. I don’t know why. Maybe it just wasn’t the right time. It happens.

But it was good enough to go on my bookshelf… for that time.

A Person Who Read Your Book