This photo is the view that we had for the last 2 weeks. The 2 dots are me and our friend, Ian, heading out to kayak the length of Long Pond. We had a great week of beautiful weather, challenging hikes, lots of kayaking and way too much food. In other words, it was a perfect vacation and great to be away from the 95 degree heat and95% humidity days of August in Virginia. Laura and I even got in some sewing time and I'll share those projects as I get caught up this week.
Of course, it's always good to come home too and now that we are unpacked it's time to get back to focusing on normal business and getting ready for the AQS Virginia Beach show. Tomorrow I will announce the winners of all of the giveaways but today I'm going to start catching up by sharing my August audiobook list.
Given that the month included 2 weeks of vacation I did OK with 9 books read this month. Probably the 2 least favorite are Varina and The Woman in Cabin 10. My favorites are My Dear Hamilton and The Last Days of Night. The biggest surprise is Silver Linings Playbook.
Do you have any books to recommend this month?
By Ann Cleeves, Narrated by Gordon Griffin
This is the 4th in the Shetland Island series. If you watch the BBC series, Shetland, these are the books that series is based on. The main character is Inspector Jimmy Perez. He's visiting his parents on Fair Isle with his fiance, Fran.
The island is famous as a birders observatory and one of the ornithologists is murdered. There are a limited number of suspects and, yet, it takes a while to solve. What's great about these books is the depth of the characters. What's not so great is the path to solving crimes. It's good enough that I've already placed the 5th book on hold at the library.
The narration is fine. Not great, but fine. He pronounces Perez as "paris" which is annoying for this American. It may, however, be accurate for Scotland. But you could get away with listening to this one at 1.1 or 1.2 speed.
By Charles C. Mann, Narrated by Robertson Dean
Wow. This book is so full of information that it's hard to absorb it all. It starts in 1493 and traces the phenomenon called the Columbian Exchange that resulted from Columbus' exploration of the New World. It's broken into 4 regional parts: Atlantic, Pacific, Europe and Africa. That organization is what saves it from being completely overwhelming.
It's a big book to absorb and might be better read than heard but it is refreshingly unbiased by our modern perspective. It reminds me of the old Dragnet show, "Just the facts ma'am" and it's full of very interesting consequences to ponder.
I'm glad I listened to it but this one does require an investment of time and focus.
By Charles Frazier, Narrated by Molly Parker
Because I keep a detailed list, I know that I read Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain almost exactly 20 years ago! I remember really enjoying that book and I was looking forward to Varina.
Varina Howell was the wife of Jefferson Davis and this book is supposed to be the story of the Civil War era as told through the life of on of the key female figures.
I think the writing is good and the narration is beautiful but, in my opinion, the book is a hot mess. It told in a non-linear fashion so it jumps from one period to another with no real warning.I couldn't keep up. Fortunately I borrowed this one from the library so I didn't feel guilty not finishing it.
On Amazon it has rave reviews so you might like it.
By Carl Hiaasen, Narrated by George Wilson
Carl Hiaasen is one of the funniest writers today. His wacky tales of South Florida always make me laugh out loud. They are delightfully politically incorrect and feature outlandish stereotypes.
In this one tourist season is just getting underway and there's a misfit terrorist group bent on expelling the tourists and new Florida transplants. George Wilson is the perfect narrator for these stories.
Tourist Season is an older book, first published in the 80's but it's still entertaining today.
The Woman in Cabin 10
By Ruth Ware, Narrated By Imogen Church
This seems to be the hot book of summer that everyone is reading. Lo Blacklock works for a travel magazine has has been given the opportunity to spend a week on a luxury cruise. Everything is going great (but not really) until she hears someone being thrown overboard. All passengers are accounted for and she is dismissed as crazy.
Frankly, she is crazy. Throughout the whole book she is drunk (and therefore an unreliable witness) at every critical point, completely exhausted (so tired of hearing that) and makes one stupid move after another. She's that person who is in her 30's and her life is a continual mess and it's hard to generate any sympathy for her. Actually there aren't many characters to like in this one and that's probably my main complaint. Also there's an opening scene that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the story.
It's a good summer read because it's a page turner. You do want to know what happens next but much of it makes logical sense and you wouldn't be disappointed if all of the characters died.
Last Days of Night
By Graham Moore, Narrated by Johnathan McClain
It's New Your in 1888 at the early days of electricity and Moore takes us along as Thomas Edison sues George Westinghouse over who owns the patent to the lightbulb. The story is told from the point of view of Paul Cravath, the rookie lawyer that Westinghouse has hired to defend him in the billion dollar case. Cravath is an interesting person in his own right as he is considered the modern structure of law firms. Nicola Tesla also features prominently in the story.
This is a work of historical fiction but the historical foundation is solid. It's well written and well narrated. Sometimes geniuses are also crazy.
Silver Linings Playbook
By Matthew Quick, Narrated by Ray Porter
I know that this is a book that was made into a movie that that Eagles fans consider it some sort of required reading/watching. Although I'm an Eagles fan I never had any desire to see the movie or read the book until Audible gave it away free a couple of weeks ago.
I don't know why they were giving it away and I probably missed several other free books that week, but no matter, I got this one free and I actually enjoyed it. Now I know why Bradly Cooper is always in the owner's box at Eagles games.
The story is about Pat People who spent several years in a neural health facility and decided that life is just a movie produced by God and that if he gets physically fit and learns to control his temper that he will be able to be reunited with his wife, Nikki.
The story opens when his Mom is taking him home and Pat discovers how much things have changed including the demolition of the "Vet" and the new Eagles stadium, Lincoln Financial Field. He also meets his sister-in-law's emotionally fragile sister, Tiffany.
It's a surprisingly good book. It handles mental illness very humanely. It's also a sweet love story, a story about family relationships, about fans love for their team and it introduces the kind of therapist that all therapists need to me. All that is packed into a relatively short (7 hour) book.
By C. J. Box, Narrated by David Chandler
This is #17 in the Joe Pickett series and the Cates family are out for revenge now that Dallas Cates is out of prison.
Yes, these books are a little formulaic but I still like the characters and the writing. Chris is reading them and he doesn't care for the way that Joe Pickett's family is so intertwined with the stories. That's one of the characteristics of the books that I like a lot.
If you like the Longmire books I think you will like the Joe Pickett series.
My Dear Hamilton
By Stephanie Dray and aura Kamoie
Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
This is a historical novel about Eliza Schuler Hamilton, the wife of Alexander Hamilton.
We had a long drive to Maine in 2 cars so that meant that Laura and I got to pick a book to listen to while the boys played music in their car. We both like historical fiction so I selected this one.
It was long enough to get us from Richmond to Acadia and then back to Hartford where we had to drop her at the train station. Even with that much time we had to speed it up a bit.
There's very little actual information about Eliza Hamilton but the authors have done a good job of developing the type of wife that someone like Hamilton would have needed. After all, he was the source of the first American political sexual scandal and died at the hands of the Vice President. So there was lots of material to work with. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
9/3/2018 05:52:56 pm
Hmmmm - a bit of a mixed bag this month! I had been contemplating reading 'The Woman in Cabin 10' but based on your feeling that you wouldn't care if all the characters died (!) I think I'll give it a pass. DH is currently reading some of the CJ Box books on your recommendation and liking them.
9/4/2018 07:47:30 am
I pre-ordered the new Jimmy Perez DVD (I anticipated it as soon as I finished the previous season.). The visuals/scenery are stunning & the production/acting is top notch as well.
9/4/2018 07:56:33 am
That had to be so wonderful to enjoy weather. That picture is beautiful! I am glad to read you had a wonderful vacation. It has been horribly hot and humid in Ohio also. I am trying to prepare for a miserable week at work - thank goodness it will only be a four day work week!
9/4/2018 09:12:50 am
I always look forward to your book reviews, though I've not read or listened to many of them. I do love audio as it frees up time to do other things. I mostly download audio from the library. In this months review you mentioned that you keep a log of books read, could you explain your method. I've been unsuccessful in doing that. Thank you.
It's just a simple spreadsheet where I record title, author, narrator, my rating of both, a brief description and month/year. I started it over 15 years ago so that's why I've never switched to something online like Goodreads. I wouldn't want to take the time to transfer the history. The list has been helpful to look back and see if I've read a book or like a particular author.
9/4/2018 09:34:36 am
Sounds like a wonderful vacation!
9/4/2018 09:45:52 pm
I always look forward to your book reviews also. You have gotten me started on several new authors. I plan to try the Joe Pickett series for my husband and I to read when we travel.. sometimes it is hard to find something we both like. We just finished reading The Raduim Girls by Kate Moore. I don’t read much nonfiction, but this was very interesting.
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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.