CategoryAudiobook Reviews

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

What a pleasing book this is. It kept surprising me as it tacked in one direction, then another. It begins with Juliet Armstrong being hit by a car in 1981 and though she can hear someone calling her name to help her, she was unable to respond. She had been at a concert of Shostakovich string quartets  (the 7th, 8th, and 9th) at the Wigmore and it came to her she would miss the rest of them. She...

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Tony’s enthusiasm brought me to this book, and a better audiobook I cannot imagine. It is the story of a young woman making her way in London during the blitz. Thinking she was applying for a newspaper job, she found herself typing for a failing women’s magazine from another era. Emmy lives with her friend from home Bunty in the upstairs of Bunty’s grandmother’s house...

The Taliban Shuffle by Kim Barker

I happened on this book by a strange route. In my last book, Whiskey & Charlie, the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc) is a key component of its structure. In looking around Wikipedia, a movie title caught my eye, Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot (yes, pretty funny title), and I learned it was based on this book by journalist Kim Barker. The NYT review of the book says the author...

Cold Spring Harbor by Richard Yates

It was Reading Matters’ recent review that was the impetus for reading this 1986 book written by the author of the better known Revolutionary Road. It begins with Charles Shepard’s disappointment that the war ends just as he arrives in Europe in 1918. He stays in the army until it’s clear his deteriorating eyesight has limited his career. His wife does not thrive, and after...

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton

Tim Winton’s most recent fiction is yet another amazing work. The narrator is a teenage boy who begins his story telling that his father has once again beaten him, leaving one eye swollen shut. Later Jackson returns to find his father had died when the car he was repairing collapsed on him. Jackson, believing he will be accused of killing his father, runs in hopes of getting far enough away...

Shell by Kristina Olsson

A wonderfully complex tale beautifully told that focuses on one of the most awe-inspiring man-made structures in the world and an issue that loomed large in my own young life, well, how can that be wrapped up in a single book? Shell is set in Sydney when the opera house construction was underway and coincidentally, conscription to send men to fight in Vietnam began, in late 1965 and 1966. Pearl...

Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

This is the sixth in the series that I have enjoyed listening to.  Though we have moved into the Depression era (the beginning of 1932) the Great War continues to be an important backdrop to the story. Maisie is recruited to work with the police, in particular a high-ranking Scot named Robbie McFarland, to find a madman sending threatening letters to the PM and others. While others are looking...

Island Home: A Landscape Memoir by Tim Winton

It was such a treat to read a book that lovingly describes Tim Winton’s unique home, “the world’s largest island,” as he has it. For me the best part is being reminded of the sense memories of my own childhood, though my Virginia countryside couldn’t be more different from Australia. One topic he wrote about that resonates with me begins this way:  “Like most...

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

Once again I have Tony to thank for writing about this wonderful book. His description of an affectionate humorous portrait of an extended family appealed to me; those qualities were enhanced by listening to the author read it. It is the story of three generations of a Mexican-American family in San Diego. It centers on Big Angel as we learn the stories of him, his father’s and...

Robin by Dave Itzkoff

This qualifies as the perfect audiobook for me:  it maintained my interest throughout, made me laugh, and was a poignant story. Robin Williams first became famous for the TV show Mork and Mindy which came at a time (1978 to 1982) when we only watched IU basketball and old movies on tv. We all probably remember him from appearances on late night shows like Johnny Carson, where he first appeared in...

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