07 October 2019

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: A Quiet Reading Week

What to read in October 2019I know this is a book blog, but the best parts of last week had nothing to do with reading, even though they have a link to books.

The first is bittersweet: I'm so happy that The Durrells in Corfu and Poldark have returned to PBS, but I'm sad because this is the last season for both. I love these series, each based on a book. If you're a Durrell fan, here are two resources you might be interested in. The first is a Masterpiece theater podcast with the series screenwriter, Simon Nye, and the second is a one-hour documentary titled What the Durrells Did Next, which will premiere November 10 (check your local listing for air times).

Here's what I read last week:

review of Careful What You Wish For by Hallie EphronCareful What You Wish For by Hallie Ephron (William Morrow, Aug. 6). Professional organizer Emily tries to ignore her hoarder husband's addiction to garage sales by avoiding trips to the basement, which is stuffed full of what she considers junk. Nonetheless, she and her partner, Becca, run a successful business helping others Maria Kondo their possessions. Everything is running smoothly until they get a call from a desperate new client who begs for help now! Becca has other plans, so Emily reluctantly agrees to meet the woman alone. A needy client, a minor business mistake, and a stressed marriage have Emily on edge, but when it looks like someone is setting her up to take the fall for a murder, annoyance turns into fear. This is a light thriller with agreeable characters, including Emily's book-loving mother. The unabridged audiobook (HarperAudio; 7 hr, 46 min) is read by Amy McFadden, who does a fine job highlighting Emily's changing circumstances, from harried business owner to possible victim. Full audiobook thoughts will be published by AudioFile Magazine. (auido review copy for a freelance assignment)

reivew of Charlotte's Web by E. B. White with an introduction by Melissa SweetCharlotte's Web by E. B. White with an introduction by Melissa Sweet (Listening Library; 4 hr, 2 min). It's been decades since I last read Charlotte's Web -- I think I was still in grade school -- but I couldn't resist listening to this full-cast production of the beloved children's book starring Meryl Streep (narrator), January LeVoy (Charlotte), Kirby Heybourne (Wilbur) and many other well-known audiobook performers. I was so pleasantly surprised to find I still enjoyed the story and was absolutely delighted with the overall production: the personalities of the geese, the rat, and even the baby spiders shone. Don't miss this fabulous audiobook. You don't need to be a kid to root for Wilbur and fall for Charlotte. (review copy provided by the publisher)

reivew of The Sisters of Summit Avenue by Lynn CullenThe Sisters of Summit Avenue by Lynn Cullen (Gallery Books, Sept. 10). The story of mothers and daughters coming to terms with family, mistakes, missed chances, and love, told in three time periods. The novel follows three woman: Dorothy and her two daughters, June and Ruth. Each has been damaged in some way and find it difficult to express affection. Dorothy was abandoned by her family and her lover when she becomes becomes pregnant near the turn of the last century. In the early 1920s June and Ruth have a falling out, and June ends up marrying into the upper class of Minneapolis while Ruth marries June's old boyfriend and takes up life as a farm wife and mother. All three women are unhappy but try to put their best face forward. Past betrayals are awakened when June comes to visit Ruth in Indiana, and before the day is out, everyone's lives have changed. The general themes of the novel were appealing, but three points of view plus three time periods were more disruptive than intriguing. The women were hard to connect to, so I wasn't fully invested in their fates. The ending was a little too neat to be satisfying. The best parts of the novel were the early scenes in the General Mills Betty Crocker test kitchen, where June works as one of the Bettys. If I gave ratings, this book would get about a 3.2. (audio and digital copies provided by the publisher)


shelleyrae @ book'd out 10/7/19, 8:11 AM  

I’ll be looking for the new series of The Durrell’s. I thought Careful What You Wish For was a decent read.

Wishing you a great reading week

bermudaonion 10/7/19, 8:24 AM  

I was really excited about The Sisters of Summit Avenue after hearing Cullen speak but I agree with you. It was hard to connect to the characters and the transitions were rather jarring. I really wanted more of the Betty Crocker story.

rhapsodyinbooks 10/7/19, 8:40 AM  

I would love to listen to Charlotte's Web with that cast! Thanks for the heads up!

Susie | Novel Visits 10/7/19, 8:45 AM  

I read Charlotte's Web with my granddaughter summer before last and had forgotten the emotion in that book. She likes listening to books, so this new audio version might be a perfect gift for her.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 10/7/19, 9:17 AM  

I am with you exactly; I'm happy the new PBS season of Poldark and The Durrells has begun, but I'm terribly sad it is the last one. I am reading the Poldark and Corfu books on my Kindle, and I'm surprised at the quality of both series. Thank you so much for sharing the podcast and the upcoming show. I will look for them.

I will also look for the audio of Charlotte's Web. Meryl Streep. I adore her. I wonder if she would consider running for president.

Have a lovely week!

JoAnn 10/7/19, 11:45 AM  

Charlotte's Web is a childhood favorite I'd love to revisit on audio!

Laurel-Rain Snow 10/7/19, 12:34 PM  

I loved Careful What You Wish For...in fact, I've read and enjoyed several Hallie Ephron books.

Enjoy your week, and thanks for sharing.

Vicki 10/7/19, 2:02 PM  

I see a few I'd like to read, I especially want to listen to that version of Charlotte's Web. I'm a huge Meryl Streep fan!

Kathy Martin 10/7/19, 3:03 PM  

Nice variety of books. I am quite sure the last time I read Charlotte's Web was when I was in grade school. It might be time to revisit it. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

Yvonne 10/7/19, 4:45 PM  

Careful What You Wish For looks good. I hope you have a great week!

pussreboots 10/7/19, 11:24 PM  

All your books are new to me. Have a good week. My weekly update

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