CategoryAudiobook Reviews

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Having heard the author, a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at Berkeley interviewed on Terry Gross, I listened to his book. While there was an element of “a hammer sees everything as a nail” to the book, I found much in it that was persuasive. He is able to trace all manner of bad outcomes for individuals and society as a whole to the lack of sleep. It became rather depressing...

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

It is hard to connect the comedian we know from The Daily Show to the story of the person born in 1984 who is the subject of this autobiography. Noah’s mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah was always an independent person. She learned secretarial skills, although those jobs were not available to black women. She lived in the city of Johannesburg, though black women were forbidden to live there...

American Fire by Monica Hesse

The subtitle of this book is Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land, and what a fascinating story this is. It is set in Accomack County on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, a 70-mile long peninsula with the Chesapeake Bay on one side and the ocean on the other.  The area experienced great wealth from agriculture at the turn of the 20th century with the early building of railroads that gave...

The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway

This 1989 autobiography tells the story of a truly rare person, a brilliant academic born in Australia who came to the US to study when she was 25. She was the first woman to be president of Smith College. This is the story of her childhood on the family’s 32,000-acre sheep station in western New South Wales, her teenage years in Sydney, and college years at the University of Sydney. Her...

Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

Another book in the Maisie Dobbs series; this is my third and again I appreciated the accompaniment as I worked on routine tasks. This one, like Birds of a Feather is set around 1930 and though the economic hardships are referred to, the main focus is The Great War. Maisie is asked to find information about two soldiers and she goes to France for research. During that trip she visits the location...

That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott

Kim Scott won his first Miles Franklin Award in 2000 and was the first indigenous writer to win that prize. I listened to his winner of the 2011 Miles Franklin as an audiobook, then bought it for my kindle. And I was amply rewarded for each way of experiencing the book. This is the story of interactions between the Noongar people and the early arrivals of Europeans in the area of Albany, Western...

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Laura recommended this series to me and this first one made a great audiobook to listen to while cooking, walking, and gardening. First published in 2003, it is set around the time of the First World War in Britain and its aftermath and features an appealing heroine. Maisie is of humble birth, and a smarter, more hardworking, more loyal character you could not ask for. When we first meet Maisie...

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

An appealing audiobook on several counts, News of the World interestingly inhabits a different time. It is set in Texas shortly after the Civil War when a reader with a good suit could make his way by traveling to small towns and bringing the news from far off places for ten cents a person. International news was best in order to avoid the strong partisan views on local issues in some localities...

Another Country by James Baldwin

This 1961 novel tells the story of Rufus Scott, a talented drummer in Harlem, overcome by the societal forces he faces, and the stories of his friends in the aftermath of his death. He is introduced to us on the last night of a gig when he meets the sweet Leona, a Southern white woman with a complicated past. Their intense love for each other does not overcome those societal forces, and Rufus...

Loitering with Intent by Muriel Spark

Published in 1981, Muriel Spark’s book was set in 1950; the narrator is a successful author looking back on writing her first book, Warrender Chase. I have thoroughly enjoyed Muriel Spark’s books in the past, A Far Cry from Kensington and Memento Mori and in the distant past, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.  This one seemed to be a bit more odd than the others and to have a little less...

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