03 September 2018

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: A Return to Reading

Two short Audiobook reviewsHappy Labor Day to those of you in the United States. Hope you find some time to relax and enjoy the day.

I'm back to real life, and big part of that is reading. I didn't have much time to read during my vacation because I was either out exploring or doing things with my traveling companions.

For some reason, I even found it difficult to read on the planes, so I ended up watching a lot of movies.

The lace conference I attended inspired me to start a new lace piece this past week. Lace making is not only a creative endeavor but is the perfect time to listen to audiobooks.

Audiobook review of Last Argument of Kings by Joe AbercrombieLast Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie (Hachette Audio; 27 hr, 4 min), read by Steven Pacey. I put about five audiobooks on my phone before I left for Europe, and this was the only one I listened to. It's the final installment in the First Law trilogy, an adult epic fantasy. As I said in my reviews of the other books (The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged), Abercrombie is terrific with character development and action. We understand the motives and desires of our heroes and anti-heroes, and we feel their pain when life and fate don't cooperate with their dreams. The story is told from different perspectives, as we follow individuals of different walks of life: magi, inquisitors, soldiers, courtiers, and so on. Despite being caught up in how the various plot lines were going to be resolved, I didn't finish Last Argument of Kings with the desire to read more books set in the same universe. I liked the fact that not everyone got a happy ending, and I was also okay with some loose ends (and the promise of more books), but I didn't like the cliff-hanger ending to what was supposed to be the final book in a series. Instead of wondering what happened next, I lost patience. I can recommend that you give the books a try; you--like the many First Law fans--may be more forgiving than I am. Abercrombie wrote several short stories and a couple more books about the major characters, and you may want to peruse them too. As I mentioned in my previous reviews, Steven Pacey put in a consistently solid performance, meeting all my major criteria, including good characterizations, nice pacing, and varied expression.

Audiobook review of Tasting the Past by Kevin BegosTasting the Past by Kevin Begos (Highbridge Audio; 8 hr, 28 min), read by P. J. Ochlan. As many of you know, I like wine and have a glass almost every night with dinner, so when I was offered the chance to review Begos's book for AudioFile magazine, I said yes. The subtitle of the book--The Science of Flavor and the Search for the Origins of Wine--gives you the gist. When Begos, an ex-AP journalist, tried an obscure wine from the hotel mini-bar when on assignment in Jordan, he started on an journey to find the origins of that wine and to learn why most of the world's wine is produced from only a handful of grapes. To answer those questions, he explored grape genetics, ancient history, religion, agribusiness, climate change, culture, and more. I loved the overview of wine research, which ranged from the academic (DNA studies and archaeology) to the practical (maverick wine makers) to the experimental (fermenting in clay instead of wood). Begos's curiosity is contagious, keeping my interest throughout. This is the first audiobook I've listened to by Ochlan. Although my full thoughts on his performance will be available through AudioFile, I can say here that he isn't my favorite narrator. He had an odd cadence, and I found it difficult to distinguish between the narrative text and quotations/dialogue. I do, however, recommend the book for wine lovers and people interested in food/wine history. I hope to check a copy out of the library to see if there are photographs and to be able to study the wine lists included in the text.

16 comments:

Tea 9/3/18, 7:12 AM  

You MUST out the Lace Making on your blog or somewhere I can see it.

Mae Travels 9/3/18, 7:41 AM  

Both the history of wine and the neuroscience of how one tastes it are very interesting subjects. I'd like your opinion on whether the author is really competent to report on the science, though. (I don't listen to books, only read, so the audio parts of the review aren't for me).

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Laurel-Rain Snow 9/3/18, 7:43 AM  

The wine making book sounds good! Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your week. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Tina 9/3/18, 7:43 AM  

The wine book sounds pretty good to me. Welcome back and enjoy the Labor Day !

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 9/3/18, 8:02 AM  

Cheers to getting back to the regular routine...meaning more reading! I'm hoping that's the case for me too this week!

Alisa Williams 9/3/18, 8:37 AM  

The Last Argument of Kings sounded interesting until I got to "cliffhanger ending of what was supposed to be the final book in a series". To me that sounds like he had a specific plan for the series and then deviated from it at the last minute, which always makes me suspicious of the reason(s) why. Maybe I'll still read it since I'm always looking for fantasy series with quality character development.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 9/3/18, 8:55 AM  

I'm glad you are back and blogging again. I hope you will share some of your adventures with us.

I can think of a dozen people who would enjoy the wine book. Thank you for sharing it.

Susie | Novel Visits 9/3/18, 9:54 AM  

I'm glad you had a wonderful trip, but it's always nice to be back home. I love a glass of good wine, too, so the wine book sounds intriguing. I may need to give it a listen soon.

bermudaonion 9/3/18, 11:04 AM  

I can't read on planes the way other people do, either. It makes me drowsy but then I can't sleep.

Tasting the Past sounds interesting but I think I'd try it in print.

Kathy Martin 9/3/18, 12:44 PM  

Hmm? I need a handcraft so that I'll have an excuse to listen to audiobooks. I have quite a stack waiting. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

Greg 9/3/18, 3:37 PM  

Happy Labor Day! I haven't read Abercrombie yet, I've been kind of holding off I guess as I took a bit of a break from fantasy, but I might at some point. Not loving the sound of a cliffhanger type ending for a series ender. The wine book looks super fascinating!

Kathryn T 9/3/18, 4:56 PM  

Some hand work like lace making and an audiobook certainly go well together, its when I get listening accomplished too.

Sue Jackson 9/3/18, 6:49 PM  

Your trip looked amazing! What a wonderful opportunity.

My son LOVED the First Law books. It was recommended by one of the booksellers at Northshire in VT, so I got him #1 for his birthday - and he quickly read all 3!

Hope you enjoy your books this week - and hopefully we'll be seeing some cooler weather by the end of the week!

Sue

Book By Book

Vicki 9/4/18, 10:16 AM  

I wish I was crafty like my mom was, but I'm not. Both books look interesting.

Daryl 9/9/18, 2:56 PM  

on my last overseas trip i had several ebooks and a few movies downloaded .. once in Dublin i never listened or watched, too busy seeing/doing and on the plane i found the headphones i had didnt eliminate the noise of the plane and the headphones they have hurt my ears .. such problems ... oy oy oy .. anyway lesson learned so next time i travel i will bring a paperback!!!!!

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