Stacked-Up Book Thoughts
are my random notes about books I've read or listened to, movies and
TV I've watched, books I'm looking forward to, and events I hope to
Audiobooks: This summer has been my slowest audiobook time since the 1980s. First it rained every day, so I couldn't get out for my walk, which is prime listening time. Then we did some traveling. Then the temperatures and humidity skyrocketed, so again I've been unable to get many walks in. Fall can't get here fast enough for me.
Regardless, I still managed to get some listening in. The following books are all recommended and you'll eventually find reviews at AudioFile magazine, and here on my blog.
- American Meteor by Norman Lock follows the life of Stephen Moran, who witnesses or plays a part in many important historical events of the last half of the 19th century (such as the Civil War, Lincoln's assassination, the building of the railroad, Custer's Last Stand). Mark Bramhall's narration is terrific.
- Even if you've never read a Joyce Carol Oates book before, do not miss her beautiful memoir, The Lost Landscape. All I really want to say is that it's emotional, poetic, funny, and amazing. Cassandra Campbell's performance is brilliant.
- Parnez Foroutan's The Girl from the Garden focuses on three generations of women in a Jewish family living in Iran, set mostly in the early 20th century. The themes are family sacrifice, women's roles, marriage, motherhood, prejudice, and class divisions. Narrator Lameece Issaq nicely captured the characters' personalities.
- Polly Stone and Simon Vance share the narration of Tatiana de Rosnay's A Paris Affair, a wonderful collection of stories, all of which feature infidelities. The circumstances and consequences of the affairs will surprise you, make you laugh, and sometimes make you angry. Stone and Vance bring a very French feel to their spot-on performances.
- White Dresses by Mary Pflum Peterson is a fascinating memoir centered her relationship with her mother. Themes involve sexuality, hording, spirituality, and mental health.
- Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz delves into the strange but real life of one of America's surgical pioneers. Dr. Mutter's Marvels, newly out in paperback, takes us into the OR and the good doctor's fight for sterilization and anesthesia. I'm totally hooked by this story.
- I wrote about Robert Goolrick's The Fall of Princes on Tuesday, so I'll just quickly say here that it's an emotionally complex story of a regular working man who recalls, with mixed feelings, his glory days as a Wall Street 1 percenter.
- Thank goodness that all that I loved about S. E. Grove's first book in the Mapmaker's series is back in The Golden Specific. In fact, the second installment in this unique, time-bending, alternate history/fantasy series may be even better, as our young heroes grow and mature. I've only just begun this book, but the scent of adventure is in the air.
- If you are into creepy psychological thrillers, then you'll love The Fall starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. A woman detective superintendent is called to Belfast to find and capture a serial killer. In the meantime, we see the killer in the act and as he lives his other life, as a husband and father. Loved!
- I adore Kelley Armstrong, so it was a duh that I would give Bitten, starring Laura Vandervoort and Greyston Holt, a try. I haven't finished the first season yet, but the plot seems to be following the book fairly closely (or at least closely enough). The jury is still out on this: Mr. BFR is bored (but he's not into werewolves), and I'm just not convinced that the spirit of the book is there.
- Confession: I could not get past about page 70 of Cheryl Strayed's memoir. She mostly just made me mad. But Mr. BFR is a Reese Witherspoon fan, so we watched the movie version of Wild, when it became available on HBO. Witherspoon was good, but I was still bored and still totally uninspired by Strayed's adventure.
- I love Ian McShane and was so happy to see him on Ray Donovan this season. Then I heard he was going to have a small but important part in next season's Game of Thrones. All this made me nostalgic for my first introduction to McShane: the mystery series Lovejoy, which aired from 1986 to 1994. Antiques expert, con man, ladies' mad, and rogue -- Lovejoy was always getting into and out of scrapes, running just a few steps ahead of the creditors. Way too much fun not to rewatch.