CategoryAudiobook Reviews

A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage

Having loved Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet, I was sure this was a good time to read this book written in 2005. And yes, it was as wonderfully interesting and informative about these beverages as his earlier book was about the telegraph. The six glasses have beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and Coca-Cola in them. Rather than recount here a history of the world as it relates to these...

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Well, another Jane Austen finished. I’ve written about four of her books on this blog, though not about the one I know the best, Pride and Prejudice. Though this one doesn’t displace Emma or Pride and Prejudice in my greatest esteem, it is right up there. It is a bit complicated and has more characters than her usual. When she was 10 years old, Fanny, the main character, goes to live...

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

I read this book when I was in high school and had come to think of it later as memorable, but not great fiction. It was hugely popular when it was written in 1931 and won Pearl Buck the Nobel Prize. It has come to be seen with more interest, perhaps because of the 2010 book Pearl Buck in China:  Journey to the Good Earth by Hilary Spurling. Buck grew up in China as the child of missionaries;...

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...

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