Books I’ve Listened to in 2013

For my third and final post about the books I’ve read in 2013, I will review the books I listened to.  Listening to a book is a different experience from reading one.  For one thing reading is active.  Listening tends to be more passive, although you do need to pay close attention as it is harder to go back (especially when driving!)  My audio books have gotten me through many a long trip! (Reviews of other books I read are and here and here.  Photos courtesy of Amazon)

The Time Travelers Wife, Audrey Niffenegger (fiction)

Let me start by saying, I loved this book!  It is the story of Claire and Henry, a seemingly typical couple living in Chicago.  But, as the title suggests, Henry is a time traveler.  He jumps from present day, to past to future leaving Claire to wait and worry for his safety.  Claire and Henry first meet when Henry is a 40 year old man and travels back to Claire at age 7.  As the story progresses, present day Henry meets Claire for the first time, although she has met him on and off through  her childhood.  Niffenegger weaves a wonderful story that captures the readers imagination.  I highly recommend this book!

 

Lets Explore Diabetes With Owls, David Sedaris (essays, humor, travel?)

Another highly entertaining David Sedaris book!  In this book, Sedaris shares his life with the reader/listener in funny, poignant essays.  David Sedaris narrates the book (as he does his other books) and he entertains the reader with hilarious stories from his childhood, while he delves into more serious topics in a humorous way.    I enjoyed this book so much, that I am going to go back and re listen to some of his earlier books that I had enjoyed in years past.

 

Killing Kennedy, Bill O’Reilly (history)

Bill O’Reilly narrates this book which gives the reader insight into Kennedy’s life.  O’Reilly details the life of John Kennedy, from his service as a PT Boat Commander, to his political rise, his election to the presidency, the trials he faced including  the Cold War, Vietnam, civil rights, and the events leading up to his assassination in Dallas in 1963.

 

Cooked: A Natural History Transformation, Michael Pollan (food/nutrition)

In this book, Michael Pollan looks at our relationship with food in terms of how we use the four classical elements to cook our food — fire (bar-b-que), water (braising), wind (baking) and earth (fermented foods).  Pollan master a meal using each style of cooking and describes the learning process in detail.  As always Pollan narrates a fascinating story about food in a way that is interesting and educational but non preachy nor judgmental.  He doesn’t tell us what or how to eat, he just shares his experiences and observations. 

The Winter Sea, Susanna Kearsley (historical fiction)

Wow, what a story!  Set in the early 1700’s prior to the failed Jacobite attempt to restore James Stewart to the throne of Scotland, and set in modern day Scotland, Susanna Kearsley weaves a tale of fact and fiction.  Her historical heroine is Sophie, a young girl living at Slains castle with the Jacobites.  Her present day heroine Claire is a writer who thinks she has made up her character Sophie and her adventures.  But as the story progresses, Claire discovers that all of what she is writing is indeed true and she has somehow inherited all of Sophie’s memories.  The Winter Sea is a well written book of history, adventure and romance.  I enjoyed it so much, later in the year I read The Firebrand which picks up where The Winter Sea leaves off.

 

A Hundred Summers, Beatriz Williams (fiction) 

Set in the thirties in a rich Rhode Island seaside community of Seaview, A Hundred Summers tells the story of two socialite young girls.   Williams weaves a story of friendship, betrayal, lies, family secrets and love.  It is a good summer read, or listen on a long trip to the beach!

 

Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger (fiction)

As Audrey Niffeneger wrote The Time Traveler’s Wife, and I enjoyed it so much, I was excited to listen to Her Fearful Symetry.  This book takes place in London.  It is the story of two sets of twins.  Twenty year old Julia and Valentina, who are incomplete without each other, and their mother Edie and her twin Elsbeth who have been estranged for many years.   When their mother’s twin sister dies, she leaves everything to the twins with the stipulation that they live in her flat in London for a year, and that their mother (her twin sister) not set foot in the flat.  As the story goes on, the twins (and the reader) learn more and more about Edie and Elsbeth through Elsbeth ghost.  There is quite a surprising ending.  While I liked this book, I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as The Time Traveler’s Wife.

 

The Radleys, Matt Haig

I started listening to this story on the long drive to and from my family’s for Christmas.  I was so totally hooked on the story that this morning I put the audio book on and listened through my new Jam Box and cleaned the house.  I didn’t stop cleaning for 4 hours until I finished the book!  I loved it and now I have a clean house top to bottom!  The Radleys is the story of a family of vampires trying to live a “normal” live in a small English village.  Peter and Clara try to abstain from their natural instincts and haven’t told their teenage children what they actually are.  Eventually a devastating occurrence leads to their many secrets being revealed.  The book is humorous and full of intrigue.  I recommend it highly to those who like stories that are out of the ordinary!

 

 

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