Wow, February has flown by! It was a very interesting reading month for me. Surprisingly, my biggest disappointment was The Bonesetter's Daughter, but it wasn't a bad book! I just read a lot of good books this month. It's hard to pick favorites but I'd probably select Jessica as my favorite fiction book and A Time to Die as my totally surprising favorite non-fiction book.
My total listening time was 119 hours and 43 minutes. Year to date it's 252 hours and 31 minutes. That doesn't count any podcast hours and I listened to a lot of podcasts this month.
A couple of my favorite podcasts:
I've become a huge fan of Sleep Cove meditations to fall asleep to.
Against the Odds is an interesting podcasts that tells historical stories. The new season is about Ada Blackjack, a 21 year old Inuit woman and the only survivor of an ill-fated artic exploration in 1921.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman - It just started off too perky for my tastes.
What are your book recommendations this month?
Something to Hide (1288)
By Elizabeth George, Read By Simon Vance
This is book #21 in the Inspector Linley series. I read a lot of these books in the '90s but they dropped off my radar. This one popped up on some list recently and my library had it. The last book I had read in the series was #11 so I might have to go and catch up.
I like George's writing style and character development and you know that I love a long book with several sub-plots. At 21+ hours this one checked all the boxes. But, it has a pretty sensitive subject matter that might not appeal to everyone. It has also checked pretty much every PC box in the storylines and characters. But, the PC part isn't obnoxious. I think it's handled well.
A police detective is murdered. She had been working on a special task force in the North London Nigerian community trying to stop the cultural practice of female genital mutilation of infants and young girls. There are several possible candidates for the murder and there is a related storyline of a young boy trying to save his sister from being another victim of FGM.
There are references to previous events in the character's lives but it works fine as a stand-alone book.
The Bonesetter's Daughter (711)
By Amy Tan, Read by Amy Tan and Joan Chen
I have page of books on my Audible wish list and many of them are books that are considered classics. This is one of them. It's set in 2 time periods: current day San Francisco and 1920's China in the village near the discovery of Peking Man.
It tells the story of 3 generations of women starting with the Bonesetter's daughter. The book sis told in 3 sections, basically one dedicated to each generation. It opens with the current generation who is dealing with her mother as she develops Alzheimer's and losing her memories of her past.
I loved the section about the Bonesetter's daughter and her daughter. I struggled a little with the granddaughter (current gen) I get the stresses that she had in her life but she came across a bit flat for me. But, all in all, I enjoyed the book.
A Time to Die (603)
By Robert Moore, Read By Pete Cross
This book will not appeal to everyone but if you like non-fiction I think you will find it really interesting. It tells the story of the Kursk disaster.
The Kursk was a nuclear powered Russian submarine that sank in the Barents Sea on August 12 2000. It was participating in Russian naval exercises. There were 2 explosions that nearby ships felt but no one realized that there had been an accident for 6 hours. It was 7 days before a hatch was opened to see if there were survivors.
I know it might not sound interesting, but it really is.
Close Your Eyes (664)
By Michael Robotham, Read By Sean Barrett
This is #8 in the Joe O'Laughlin series. Joe is a clinical psychologist that gets called in on police investigations from times to time. This one opens with the murder of a woman and her teenage daughter in a remote farmhouse. The bodies were staged. Joe discovers that these murders might be related to a rash of attacks where people are choked and mutilated.
Reluctantly Joe allows his oldest daughter to see some of the information about the murdered teenager and she starts some digging on her own.
Robotham writes a great mystery but they are dark. Sean Barrett is a good narrator but in this book he uses the exact same voice for Joe and the killer so sometimes it was difficult to navigate the character changes.
The Magnolia Palace (669)
By Fiona Davis, Read By Karissa Vacker
In the early 1910's there was a model who was a famous muse for sculptors in NYC. One of the artworks is above the entrance to the Frick Mansion. Davis has imagined a story where the model becomes entwined with the Frick family while they were living in the mansion.
50 years later, in the 1960's, a young British model is working on a shoot in the mansion. Through a series of events she ends up locked in the mansion during a snow storm that shut down the city. One of the interns, Joshua, lost track of time in his basement office and also would up locked in. They use their time to follow a treasure hunt that Veronica found in one of the rooms.
Clues are uncovered in the 1960's as the story is told in the 1920's. Davis is a great story teller if you like historical fiction. This one is mostly fiction but there are elements of fact that she explains at the end of the book.
By Philipp Dettmer
Try to picture the day when I was in Costco and saw this on the book table. It's a book written specifically or me and anyone else interested in understanding how the immune system works.
This book is for the beginner researcher. I think there's a lot left out of it but it's a great basic intro to the complexities of the immune system and it has wonderful graphics. The immune system is really difficult to understand so I think he's done a masterful job for us non-medical types. If I knew a high school kid who was interested in medicine I'd buy them this book.
House of Correction by Nicci French (679)
Read By MIchelle Ford
This is the first book that I've ready by Nicci French and I really enjoyed it.
Tabatha is a troubled young woman who is accused of murder. Her attorney suggests that she plead to a lesser charge of manslaughter. She fires the attorney and proceeds to represent herself from her prison cell.
You are always rooting for Tabitha but no one is sure, not even Tabitha, if she is guilty or not. It was a fun read.
By Bryce Courtenay, Read By Humphrey Bower
I read my first Courtenay book, The Potato Factory, in 2012 and I think I've read all of them by now. He is one of my favorite writers of all time. When I read his books I really feel like I know what Australia was during the time period of the book and I feel like I know the characters personally.
Apparently Jessica is based on a true story. If so, Jessica is one of the strongest, bravest and most principled women ever.
She had a tough life growing up but she befriended two local boys. One of them had brain damage and one day she had to save him from lynch mob justice. Not long after that Jessica is pregnant and refuses to name the father. Add in rivalry between her and her sister for the love of the same man and a frowned upon friendship with a local Aboriginal woman. All of those elements make for a sometimes brutal, sometimes beautiful story. I couldn't put it down.
The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women (740)
By Elizabeth Norton, Read By Jennifer Dixon
This book isn't going to be for everyone but if you like non-fiction, and specifically history, I think you will find it interesting.
It is exactly what the title says. It's all about what it was like to be a woman during the Tudor period and it covers women of all classes: royals, royal servants, influential widowed citizens and a peasant girl. The book is organized by Shakespeare's 7 stages of life so that each stage profiles different women. It might have felt more organized to just profile different women individually but I understand why she wanted to have this stage-of-life structure to the book.
FYI, life for women is better now.
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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.