on my summer schedule of trying to work like a crazy person from dawn
until early afternoon and then taking the rest of the day off to walk,
garden, read, and laze on the deck. Okay, so I'm doing more reading than
I am gardening, but I like to pretend.
It's been the best of times and the worst of times. I've listened to some amazing books lately, yet I've also bailed on more audios (and print books) than usual. I'm not sure why I'm in such a picky reading mood.
Here's what I've been up to in terms of reading.
- Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel: I went into this audiobook completely, and I mean completely, blind. I was looking for a good audiobook and my friend Heather (@capriciousreader) suggested this. I downloaded it and turned it on. OMG. How to describe? I'm stealing in part from my Litsy entry: Character study, mystery, & sci-fi all rolled into one. It was crazy, improbable, and utterly engrossing. The audiobook, which was full-cast, made me feel as if I were eavesdropping on actual conversations. In print or audio, this book is way too much fun to miss. Can.not.wait for the next installment. (Del Rey, April 2016; Random House Audio)
- We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge: I have such mixed feelings about this novel about a black family that is asked to participate in an experiment to teach a chimpanzee sign language. The author explores some important issues, such as race, research ethics, and family, and the characters were well developed. On the other hand, the premise is set up in a vacuum and ignores the facts of anthropological research involving language and the great apes. The audiobook was read by Cherise Boothe, Karole Foreman, and Myra Lucretia Taylor, each of whom put in a solid performance. See my review for AuidoFile magazine for more. (Agonquin, March 2016; Recorded Books)
- The Tibes of Palos Verdes by Joy Nicholson: An emotionally deep coming-of-age story about a teenager, Medina, who struggles to find her place after her family moves from Michigan to a wealthy gated community in southern California. As her home life disintegrates and she becomes familiar with her community's social rules and cliques, Medina carves out a place for herself in the surfing culture. Originally published in 1998, the book is soon to be made into a movie (I didn't see a release date). The audio was nicely read by Jorjeana Marie, who sounded believable as the troubled teen. (St. Martin's Griffin, 1998; Listening Library)
- The Big Picture by Sean Carroll: I'm almost done with this very accessible account of, well, pretty much the entire universe--from time and energy to life and thought. Carroll has a knack of explaining complex issues in down-to-earth (ha!) terms, relying on everyday examples (like spilled wine) and pop culture references (like Star Trek). Plus he humanizes some of the great thinkers of history (Aristotle, Newton) and introduces us to a number of less famous, yet equally brilliant scientists. Highly recommended. (Dutton, May 2016)
- As Good As Gone by Larry Watson: I think I discovered Watson back in the early 1990s, when I read his Montana 1948. I love books set in the west and that explore family, fathers and sons, and a way of life that is very much connected with the natural world. I'm in the middle of this novel, and it is everything I could have wished for. If haven't read Watson, you should. (Algonquin, June 2016)
- The North Water by Ian McGuire: I've seen this novel described as mystery and/or suspense. It involves a whaler and a surgeon, each of whom has a dark past. The summary says they will be stuck together on board a ship during an Arctic winter. I'm only on chapter 3, so I can't say much except I like the writing, I have a feel for the characters, and this book is not for the faint of heart (some evil doings right from the get-go). I don't yet know exactly when the book is set, but I'd guess the 1860s. (Henry Holt, March 2016)