CategoryAudiobook Reviews

Trust by Hernan Diaz

While I rarely hesitate to divulge plot twists and probably should always post “spoiler alerts” on my posts, I want to limit that as much as possible for this one. Personally I do not mind knowing what to expect in my reading and in fact consider it a bonus to read with knowledge of what’s coming. But in this case, I enjoyed having the feeling of slowly coming to understand what...

Horse by Geraldine Brooks

This is my fifth book by Geraldine Brooks and I do love them all. The complexity of the story she has told by weaving together many strands related to a racehorse that lived in the middle of the 19th century is breathtaking. At the center is the racehorse Lexington, who became famous for his speed and even more for his many very fast offspring, including a horse named Preakness. (I thought...

Robert E. Lee and Me by Ty Seidule

Ty Seidule’s premise, that the lie of the Lost Cause perpetuated from the end of the Civil War is a reflection of White Supremacy that infects the whole country, is not a surprise or new idea. What is different is that a military historian at West Point who grew up in the South idolizing Robert E. Lee has described his beliefs and his coming to understand the facts and reject the myth. As...

River of the Gods by Candice Millard

Years ago I read books about the discovery of the Blue Nile and the White Nile by Alan Moorehead, a great biography of Henry Morton Stanley, and a biography of Richard and Isabel Burton. It was interesting to revisit the European discovery of source of the White Nile and that dramatic struggle between Richard Burton and John Speke. The recent book by Candice Millard is good, but left me more...

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

This is a debut novel by a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a classmate of my friend’s daughter. While that influenced me to pick up this book, it was already on my radar, especially after seeing Ron Charles’s review in the Washington Post. When we meet Olga, she is an over-the-top wedding planner for the super-rich, charging high prices and finding ways to scam...

The Ride of Her Life by Elizabeth Letts

This book was recommended by Dorothy and it gave me hours of pleasure as I listened to it. Annie Wilkins found herself in dire straits financially in the mid-1950s, having just recovered from a serious illness, and was told by her doctor that she would no longer be physically fit to run her farm. She had no family and he suggested she give up the farm that had been in her family for three...

Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain

This little treat of a book opens with the arrival of a flying saucer near the Chateau Saint-Antoine vineyard in 1954 which transformed that year’s ordinary Beaujolais into an extraordinary wine. The vintner was never able to reproduce such a remarkable vintage again. Then we cut to 2017 in an old building in Paris where because of unusual circumstances four people celebrate when one finds...

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

This novella is small, but powerful and unfortunately, it’s timely as well. It is set in 1985 and though times are hard in Ireland, it’s almost Christmas and folks are in a happy mood. The central character, Bill Furlong, has quite the backstory, and is surely facing a difficult economic future. His mother became pregnant while working in the household of Mrs. Wilson, the wealthy...

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

Having read The Buddha in the Attic I was familiar with Otsuka’s unusual and surprisingly successful method of storytelling. This one introduces a community of swimmers who are regulars at an underground pool. We get to know them by the accretion of factual characteristics: “Some of us come here because we are injured and need to heal. We suffer from bad backs, fallen arches...

South to America by Imani Perry

Imani Perry has an impressive academic background:  Yale undergraduate, Harvard Ph.D, LLM degree from Georgetown, and she now teaches at Princeton. Her ramble through the South is an informed and wide-ranging trek, with both familiar and new bits of information to digest. The approach to talking to people about Washington, DC used the question, “Is Washington a Southern city?” While...

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