I had a great month of reading in April! I had one DNF book but that's because it's a book that needs to be read, instead of listened to. That book was Einstein's Fridge by Paul Sen. It's a history of the study of thermodynamics written for non-scientific people like me. I've purchased the paper version but Chris grabbed it before I could start it. I expect it will be a beach read.
My listening time for April was 110 hours and 38 minutes. year to date it's 475 hours and 53 minutes. You can tell that I have my headphones on all the time!
I found a couple of new podcasts that I enjoyed this month:
Finding Genius by Richard Jacobs - Jacobs searches out experts in a variety of fields for interviews. Recent topics have been as diverse as controlling weeds, Parkinson's Disease research and improving employee mental health
Scamfluencers - This is for those of us addicted to the ID channel. It profiles various scammers.
Please let me know of any good books that you read this month so I can make my book wish list even longer!
The Songbook of Benny Lament (892)
By Amy Harmon, Read By Rob Shapiro
What a jewel of a book! I don't know how I found this book but if it was one of you, thank you.
It's December 30, 1969 and Benny Lament is doing a radio interview about is life in the music industry. Mostly the book is the story of his life but each chapter starts off with an interview question.
Benny Lament grew up in the Bronx and music has always been the most important thing in his life. It's kept him from following his Dad into the mob life with his uncle Sal. One day his dad takes him to see Esther Mine perform. He's mesmerized by her voice and confused about why his Dad is particularly interested in this singer.
56 Days (639)
By Catherine Ryan Howard, Read By Alana Kerr Collins
I think that this is the first Covid era book that I've read in that it's set in the early weeks of the pandemic in Ireland. Many reviewers commented that they couldn't finish the book because they couldn't handle a covid theme yet. This book really isn't a covid-themed book. The early lockdown is just the backdrop for the story. It didn't bother me at all and just reminded me how naïve we all were to believe our authorities when they said "two weeks to flatten the curve".
The story is about Ciara and Oliver who meet in a grocery store 56 days ago and start dating just a few weeks before covid reaches Ireland and the lockdown orders begin. Remember those good 'ole days when we were told lockdown would be only a couple of weeks? Well that's the premise for them deciding to live together during lockdown. Today, 56 days later, detectives arrive at the apartment to find a decomposing body.
I really liked the premise of the book. Ciara and Oliver, of course, are not who they portray themselves to be. Their true identities unfold and the story develops. The problem I have with this book is the telling. It jumps all over the place going back and forth in time and replays many scenes, almost word for word, from the perspective of different characters. The ultimate effect is of being dragged slowly through a river of mud before being allowed to get up and walk out to the shower. It was just too slow and too erratic and the ending was ultimately drab.
City of Saints and Thieves (673)
By Natalie C. Anderson, Read By Pascale Armand
This was a refreshing change of pace for a mystery. The story is set in the fictional town of Sangui City, Kanya. Tina and her mother came to Kenya as refugees from Congo. Her mother worked as a maid in The Greyhill home where Tina grew up and was friends with the Greyhill son.
When her mother is murdered in the home, Tina has to live on the streets to survive. She has a job as a master thief for the Goondas, a local gang. She's biding her time until she can get revenge on the man who murdered her mother.
This is a fast paced mystery with some really interesting characters. Aspects are ridiculous but I liked Tina and her mission so much that I couldn't put it down.
The Paris Library (713)
By Janet Skeslien Charles, read by a cast
During WWII the American Library in Paris stayed open because of the dedicated librarians. This book tells the story of that library in historical fiction format but with a lot of fact.
Where the book goes al little stray for me is the telling of it between 1939 Paris and 1983 Montana. Odile Souchet is one of the librarians. She eventually marries and settles in Montana. The 1983 story is centered around her young neighbor, Lily. I found Lily's part of the story to be not nearly as interesting and not tightly connected to the 1939 story.
It's still a good and interesting story if you like historical fiction.
The Runaway (695)
By Nick Petrie, Read By Stephen Mendel
This is #7 in the Peter Ash series and was an interesting development beyond the previous 6 books. One of the things I love about Petrie's writing in this series is that he avoids formula. In each novel Peter and the other characters, Louis and June, develop and grow. The interesting twist in this book is that the new character, Helena, is really the main character of the book. It's her story. Peter plays a major role but the focus is definitely on Helena. That has gotten a lot of criticism but I actually liked it.
Helena is 18 and all alone in a rural mid-western town. Her mother died in a car crash and the local deputy has Helena working for him for a pittance and for the "privilege" of living rent free in a run down travel trailer. One night while working at the gas station she sees the opportunity to leave town with a stranger. It can't be worse, right? Of course it can, and it is. Several months later when she is trying to escape she encounters Peter Ash on a highway in Nebraska pulling him into her nightmarish life.
When Brains Dream (547)
By Antonio Zadra and Robert Stickgold, Read By Bob Souer
I am fascinated by dreams. I have always had a very active dream life and I remember something from a dream almost every morning. My dreams are always in color. I often continue dream stories for several nights in a row. I often talk in my sleep and I used to be a pretty active sleep walker. Once, when I was traveling for work, I slept-walked my way to getting up, getting dressed, packing my suitcase and leaving my room. I woke at the elevator at 4 in the morning. It was not checkout day. It scared the daylights out of me. After that I made sure that I chain locked the room and found that sufficient to stymie my attempts to walk out in the hallway. I have woken in the morning many times fully dressed in bed. All that is to say, that I love my nightlife and love learning about what's going on in the brain while we sleep.
This book is a great intro to what we know, and mostly don't know about what and why we dream. It includes some background into early research, the pronouncements of Freud and Jung and really explains what we actually know and what we do not know. Mostly we really don't know very much except that we must sleep to survive and dreaming plays an important role. This book is an interesting look into current theories and research.
Flight of the Sparrow (660)
ByAmy Belding Brown, Read by Heather Henderson
In 1676 there was an Indian raid on the Massachusetts Bay Colony and one of the captives was Mary Rowlandson along with 2 of her children. She was held captive for 11 weeks and later wrote of her experience. Her book, Captivity and Restoration is probably the first "best seller" published in Colonial America. It's worth a read on it's own and is good to read along with this book.
Brown has taken that book and the very little knows about Mary and turned it into an interesting novel that explores the difference between the two cultures. Based on reading Mary's own account this novel is a nice story built around basic facts but it's still a very interesting story and I finished it off in 2 days.
A Hand To Hold in Deep Water (844)
By Shawn Mocher, Read By Elizabeth Evans
This is another book on one of the Chirp daily deal lists. It hasn't gotten much press and isn't broadly read. There are only 7 review on Audible. That's a shame because it's a really good book. I couldn't put it down. I felt like I was with the characters.
Willy Cherrymill owns a farm in rural Maryland and his stepdaughter Lacey is coming home with her young daughter. Tasha, the daughter, needs medical treatment at John's Hopkins. Willy and Lacey are close but haven't spent a lot of time together since Lacey left home. Both are still dealing with the disappearance of Lacey's mother and Willy's wife, May, 30 year ago. Lacey saw her mother leave with someone in a big red truck and that was the last time she saw her. There's been not one hint of her since.
Willy and Lacey (along with Tasha's father) try to focus on caring for Tasha while avoiding any mention of May. But Lacey becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her mother.
This book is about a lot of things but the biggest thing for me was about the way that humans choose to make families. This is the kind of book that might be good for a book club discussion. There are a myriad of themes that can be explored and discussed. One of them is incest so be aware of that. But I think it's handled well in this story. It's only one of the threads explored in this lovely book.
Wild Swans (1635)
By Jung Chang, Read By Pik-sen Lim
This book is a classic that was originally published in 1991. This particular audio version was republished in 2015. If you decide to read it, get this version because the narrator is excellent.
It is a history of 20th century China told through the lives of three women in one family. Jung Chang's grandmother had her feet bound and was given to a warlord as a concubine. Her mother was a Communist and Jung was one of the first people allowed to attend school in a Western country. It's a long book at over 27 hours but it's worth the read. You will find parallels in our current cancel culture. There's a lot to think about and explore in the ways that communist and socialist ideas are presented to populations and how we see these tactics today.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.