CategoryAudiobook Reviews

The Bird Way by Jennifer Ackerman

My book choices have been unusual in this strange time and perhaps this is the strangest of them all. I have always had a strong dislike of birds. As I child, I was terrified the chickens would touch me. As an adult I am keenly aware of birds as disease carriers. They have not endeared themselves to me in recent years when they come in flocks and drunkenly eat berries from our holly trees...

The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas

I came upon this book when looking around for library audiobooks. It has been a real pleasure to listen to and has stirred up memories of my freshman French teacher at the small Presbyterian college I attended in Tennessee in 1963. She swooned over the beauty of French literature and spoke lovingly of encountering students from decades earlier who remembered the poetry she had them memorize. (I...

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

After a couple of audiobook choices that didn’t work well, I listened to this classic. I recall reading My Ántonia and Death Comes to the Archbishop, but I believe this one was new for me. What a pleasant voice to have in my ears as I puttered around the kitchen and did other chores. Alexandra Bergson is the central character, the only daughter of an early Nebraska farmer, the only one of...

The World According to Fannie Davis by Bridgett M. Davis

The author tells the story of her mother’s life in the numbers business in Detroit for 40-some years. Fannie and her husband were among the many black people who left Nashville, Tennessee and other Southern cities looking for a better life, in their case, in 1955. John T was not able to make enough money for the family, so Fannie ran numbers and did so successfully until her death in 1992...

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

It was Tony’s A+ that took me to this book and I’m happy that I followed his advice. Eleanor is, of course, not completely fine when we meet her. As the narrator, she tells us about  her work in the accounts department for a graphics company. She routinely displays an impressive lack of social skills there. She disdains all those around her as unworthy. When she’s not at work...

This is Happiness by Niall Williams

This is Happiness is a 78-year-old man recounting his memories from the time he lived with his grandparents as an 18-year-old after dropping out of the seminary. His reminiscences describe life in the little village of Faha in County Clare in 1958. He meanders from telling stories to descriptions of the countryside to exploring his own feelings and what he has learned over his lifetime. The...

Caffeine by Michael Pollan

This subtitle, How Caffeine Created the Modern World, lays out an ambitious subject for a 2-hour audiobook, even if it is written by Michael Pollan. I’m not in a position to say that it was a successful thesis, but it was interesting enough that I want to devote a post to it to remember some of the points he made. I am sorry to say that as far as I know, it is only available through Audible...

Inland by Téa Obreht

The author’s previous novel, The Tiger’s Wife, was an exhausting view of life in the Balkans, with fairy tales from the Ottoman days and references to the 1990s war in the region to the uneasy postwar years when it was published in 2011. The backdrop for this one is the West; one tale begins in the 1850s, the other in the 1890s and the two collide at the end. The story featuring Nora...

Cod by Mark Kurlansky

The subtitle is A Biography of a Fish that Changed the World, staking out a big claim for a bit of food, but the author makes a good case. By giving them a preservable food source, the cod enabled the Vikings to leave home for distant shores. Its abundance off the Newfoundland and Massachusetts shores was a rich resource that changed behavior. And there are countless other instances of the...

Hare’s Fur by Trevor Shearston

A book about a 70-year-old potter in mourning for his wife who encounters three kids living in the wild to avoid being taken in by the child protective bureaucracy, well, that story could have some pitfalls. This one successfully avoids them. The book is set on the outskirts of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Russell has a few good friends who live nearby, but his life is largely solitary now...

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