CategoryAudiobook Reviews

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

I had read this book in a different century, but was moved to listen to it again because of a chat with friends about politics in Israel. Recently Netanyahu put together a coalition to regain power by including an ultra orthodox party that is truly radical. The Shas and the Haredi parties demand increased funding for their schools with no oversight that would insure that math, sciences, and...

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

Having loved Urrea’s book The House of the Broken Angels, I was moved to listen to this audiobook, a good choice. It is the tale of three girls recently graduated from high school in a small town in Sinaloa, who along with their gay friend Tacho, decide to travel north to the United States to recruit seven men to to return to Mexico to repopulate their town and save it from threatening...

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

I have listened to some of Laura Lippman’s series of detective stories set in Baltimore featuring Tess Monaghan, but do not write about them here. This book is set in Baltimore and though it has some features of that detective series, its strength comes from other sources. The protagonist is Madeline Schwartz, a super efficient late-thirties Jewish matron in the mid-sixties. She tells us of...

Beaverland by Leila Philip

It was a recommendation by James Fallows that took me to Beaverland:  How One Weird Rodent Made America. I’m not so sure about that subtitle, but there were some great tidbits to be found here. The author describes beavers as a keystone species, a species that like that block in the center of a medieval archway is vital to the archway, is key to the survival of a biological community. They...

Shutter by Ramona Emerson

It was a Fresh Air interview with the author that took me to this book. Ramona Emerson is Navaho, is a documentary film maker and this is her first book. She used her own experiences to create the main character, Rita. The author was a forensic photographer for some years and had a beloved grandmother who raised her. The book opens with Rita spending hours photographing the gruesome scene of a...

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Karen Joy Fowler’s book We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves remains one of my favorite books ever. It took me awhile to be prepared to take on this book about the Booth family, but I am so glad I did. I think it is brilliant. And I am glad I listened to the audiobook; at first I was disconcerted at the firehose level of words coming my way, but ultimately the big picture became clear. I...

Montebello by Robert Drewe

What a treat this audiobook memoir by Robert Drewe is! I loved his previous memoir, The Shark Net and especially his novel The Drowner. In this one published in 2012 he ranges around his life recounting moments that are enlightening, or nostalgic, or revelatory. Interspersed throughout is his description of a visit to the Montebello Islands with scientists who were reintroducing some species to...

Straight Man by Richard Russo

Recently I listened to this book that I read decades ago, in the pre-blog days. I recall it as being very funny and a delightful send-up of academia and I was curious to see how it held up after all this time. Before I go into that, I want to say that I have read other books by Richard Russo and loved them, particularly Empire Falls, Nobody’s Fool, and Bridge of Sighs. The memorable moment...

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

This is my seventh Kate Atkinson book; my first and favorite was Life After Life. This one takes place between the wars in London among the dissolute, the innocent, and a policeman named Frobisher. The central character is Nellie, owner of five night clubs run by her children who gather at the end of each night at her club the Amethyst to report the events of the night to her. Nellie believes in...

The Devil and Webster by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Having loved The Latecomer, I was moved to listen to this one. It was a good choice, always engaging and kept me tuned in. I read somewhere that the college this book uses as the backdrop, Webster, is based on Wesleyan with a bit of Dartmouth thrown in.  The Dartmouth bit was that part of Webster’s original mission was to educate Native Americans. The main character is Naomi, president of the...

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