Audio book roundup

I’ve been “reading” a lot of books lately, thanks to the magic of audio books on my phone.  I use the word reading loosely here, since it feels like a lot less work for a slow reader like me. Yet, I can’t argue with the science that confirms that, while listening to the spoken word, the brain is activated in much the same way as reading the words for oneself.

With that in mind, here’s what I’ve enjoyed recently…

Chernobyl 01:23:40

Incredible story, obviously, and such a well told freshman book. The author’s grassroots story of his development is inspiring in its uniquely American evolution, while the subject matter is utterly Cold War Soviet.

The structure of the book is really well crafted. I liked the back-and-forth nature, focusing on Leatherbarrow’s exploration of the actual disaster site and then the historical narrative of how Chernobyl became the disaster it is.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

McNamara’s writing was very impassioned and elegant. It didn’t read like typical true crime. It’s a shame she died so young, before the villain she pursued was caught.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin

What an utterly fascinating view of an insane slice of human history, told through the lens of the US ambassador’s family in Berlin.

And of course I would be remiss to draw parallels with current events in the US, such as appeals to nationalism, rising paranoia about a minority group, world power positioning, borders, etc.

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The Dark Tower

** spoiler alert ** Wow, the end of the journey, the clearing at the end of the road. My feelings of the series are very high. Several of the books were so very excellent. Books 1-3 were really phenomenal. 4-5 were quite good too.

For me, the series began to sag under its own ambitious weight. Yet, when you come this far — a career-spanning story of such magnitude — you have to see it through.

I didn’t love the final two books. I especially didn’t like how King broke, nay smashed, the 4th wall by introducing himself and characters from other books not his own. And yet by book 7, the device began to grow on me. It seemed fitting even that King should be apart of this story, as in life he really has been.

The false ending really fooled me. I was terrified that it all ended happily with Susannah, Eddy, and Jake Chambers. But the real final ending was probably the most fit for this series, right where we began, the Gunslinger perpetually chasing the Man In Black to the end of time.

Long days and pleasant nights.

Camelot’s End: Kennedy vs. Carter and the Fight that Broke the Democratic Party

An essential history of a page I didn’t know much about, particularly that Ted ran against Carter. Very startling insights into both men’s characters.

Protecting Marie

I just finished reading this book to my daughter. We LOVE Kevin Henkes children’s books: Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse, Owen, Chrysanthemum, etc.

And his novels are just as sweet natured. There’s a quiet loveliness to his stories of parenting and childhood, honoring both the difficulty if the former and the autonomy of the latter. And let’s not forget the characteristic Henkes cadence in his prose. You’ll know what I mean when you read it.

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