Considering that November was such a big social month for me, I'm surprised that I finished 9 books. This month was surprisingly heavy on non-fiction and that's mostly because 2 of the books I read were in paper format. One of them, Mayflower, I started on one vacation and finished on another vacation. I usually like all of the non-fiction books I read but The Mosquito Bowl was a disappointment.
I have to give credit to Carole for recommending Remarkably Bright Creatures. I didn't think I would like it. Narrating animals are generally no my thing but this was a really enjoyable read. This is why I check out all of your recommendations. I know that I get in a rut reading and seeing what you are reading helps me expand my library in new directions so please tell me your favorite books that you have read recently.
My listening time for November was 109 hours and 39 minutes. Year to date that's 1251 hours and 11 minutes. That's 52+ days so far.
The Girl's With No Names by Serena Burdick - Supposed to be about a notorious girl's home but 30% through and we're not there yet. I got tired of the unlikable characters.
Portrait of an Artist by Laurie Lisle - Actually a well written biography of Georgia O'Keefe but I found that while I love her work I wasn't all that interested in her self-absorbed life. A friend of mine loved it so don't discount it based on my experience.
By Nathaniel Philbrich
If you are interested in US history you will enjoy this book. It's a very thoroughly researched history of the Mayflower and early years in Massachusetts. I feel like it's a really balanced history as well.
I didn't listen to this one. It was a vacation paperback that I started In Maine and finished at the beach this year. I wouldn't recommend audio format because it's a lot of information to absorb.
The Last Daughter of York (624)
By Nicola Cornick, Read By Sofia Engstrand
I couldn't have picked a book that's more different from Mayflower. York is a light romance novel with mystical storylines. It's not usually my genre but I was entertained. If you like Outlander I think you would love this book.
Part of it is set in the 15th century around the time of Richard III and Henry VII. Francis Lovell is tasked with protecting King Richard's son. Francis' wife, Anne, has a lodestone that was gifted to her that seems to give her special powers for protecting those around her and takes personal responsibility for the heir.
In modern time, Serena Warren, is still mourning the disappearance of her twin sister many years before. When Caitlyn's body is found in an 18th century unopened burial vault, the search for what happened to her reopens.
The character development is good, the story moves along at a good pace and it's an entertaining read.
The Cutting (647)
By James Hayman, Read by Stephen Mendel
This is the first book in the McCabe and Savage detective series. I actually read the second book first and it's OK to read them out of order.
McCabe and Savage are partner detectives in Portland, Maine. A missing high school athlete is discovered in a scrap metal yard and she's had her heart surgically removed. On the same day a young ad executive has gone missing while out on her morning run and her dog is found dead near the trail. McCabe is sure that both crimes are related and may have a link to cardiac surgeons.
Mendel reminds me of early John Sandford. It's fast paced and holds your interest. I listened to this one all in one day.
Einstein's Fridge (665)
By Paul Sen
This was another of my vacation books to read on the beach. I tried listening to it a few months ago but this book requires the ability to re-read passages. It worked much better in paper format.
It's all about the development of the laws of thermodynamics. It's very much written for us "normal" people. It was very interesting and didn't get too far over my head until the later chapters that deal with theoretical physics. If you like science books I think you will like this one.
Remarkably Bright Creatures (676)
By Shelby Van Pelt, Read By Marin Ireland and Michael Urie
I picked up this book after reading a recommendation on one of your blogs. I didn't really expect to like it but I trusted the review and I'm glad I did.
Tova Sullivan is a widow who also lost her only son 30 years ago. She's a night owl and got a job as the night cleaner at Sowell Bay Aquarium to occupy herself. She cares for all of the creatures there but especially is attached to Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus who likes to escape his tank in the evenings to grab snacks from the other tanks. One night she saves him as he's gotten tangled in an electrical cord. They bond after that.
Marcellus is determined to help her understand what happened to her son.
Yes, it's an absurd tale of a conscious octopus who narrates part of the story. That's why I expected to not like it. But it's a really nice story with very likable characters, especially Marcellus. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Mosquito Bowl (658)
By Buzz Bissinger, Read By George Newbern
This is a hard core WWII history book. It is not a book about a football game played in Guadalcanal during the war, as I expected. Seriously, less than 5 minutes of this book is about that game, which, by the way, ended in a scoreless tie.
The first half of the book is a quite detailed description of college football at that time as told through a number of the college stars who played before they were drafted into the war. Many of these players ended up in the 6th marine Division and played in this game.
The second half of the book is a very detailed account of the deaths of 15 of those players and the service and lives of some of the survivors. It's not for the faint of heart but it's thoroughly researched and detailed. Normally I would not have finished the book because I don't enjoy reading battle scenes but I felt that I needed to finish it simply out of respect for the men portrayed in the book.
I do think that serious war history readers will enjoy the book but get it in paper copy. There are a number of lists in the book that the narrator unnecessarily reads.
The Killing Room (686)
By Richard Montanari, Read By Scott Brick
This is the 6th book in the Byrne and Balzano police procedural series. This series is set in Philadelphia and opens with a gruesome murder scene in an abandoned church. Before they can finish the investigation there are 2 more killings and they realize they have a serial killer on their hands.
These books aren't so much about whodunit, but rather about how the cases are solved. There's an overriding theme of mysticism throughout. In fact, Byrne, has "special skills" that helps point him in the right direction. I think the series is unique but it's also pretty gruesome so you need to be aware of that before you jump in. All of the books have a serial killer theme.
Scott Brick narrates this one and most of the series. At one time he was my favorite narrator. Now he's become a little annoying. He reads all of his books the same and gives most of his characters an indignant attitude. There were times in this book that I had trouble distinguishing some of the minor characters because he just didn't give them different narration personalities.
I don't know that I'll read the last 2 books in this series. They are a little too gruesome.
The Good Wife of Bath (1188)
By Karen Brooks, Read By Fran Burgoyne
Eleanor was born under the signs of Venus and Mars, making her a lover and a fighter. In 1364, at the age of 12, she was married off to an elderly farmer. The marriage was arranged by a distant cousin, Geoffrey Chaucer.
This is a retelling of Chaucer's The Wife of Bath's Tale from the perspective of the wife, Eleanor. In Chaucer's take, the wife had been married 5 times and it argues that women are morally equal to men.
The book tells the story from Eleanor's POV and, at almost 20 hours long, is the detailed story of her life, including the 5 marriages. It is a historical setting with mores and language of the time. There's rough language and rough treatment of people. Don't let your modern viewpoint impede in enjoying the story. Just go along with the story and appreciate the research done by the author to bring this period in time to life.
This is my first Karen Brooks story, not my last. The narration was outstanding as well.
Eat The Buddha (678)
By Barbara Demick, Read By Cassandra Campbell
I read Demick's other book, Nothing to Envy, earlier this year. It was about life in North Korea and was very impactful. I knew that I wanted to read this one about the Tibetan people.
Demick was a foreign correspondent with the LA Times and was bureau chief in Seoul and Beijing during her career. Both of these books are rigorously researched and, I think, required reading if you want to really know what goes on in these areas.
Eat The Buddha tells the story of the Tibetan town of Ngaba. The modern story of Ngaba is told through some of the families of the town. I finished this in 2 days. It was that interesting. With either if these book you really have to remind yourself that these events are happening in our lifetimes and not 100 years ago.
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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.