Thursday, April 14, 2016

Nonfiction Book Briefs: Missoula and The Residence



Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town
by Jon Krakauer
narrated by Mozhan Marno
Random House Audio, 2015
11 hours and 58 minutes
source: purchased with audible credit, ebook borrowed from library

This was a tough listen, especially the descriptions of victims' experiences. It also made angry. I mean really angry... at the criminal justice system, at the police, at the accused rapists, and, to a certain extent, at the choices some of the women made which placed them in dangerous situations. Despite all that, Missoula is an important book to read, especially if you are the parent of a college-aged daughter.  This book is thoroughly researches and well-written. The audio version, narrated by a new-to-me talent, Mozhan Marno, was excellent.

Bottom line: Recommended, but proceed with caution.

My rating:






The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House
by Kate Andersen Brower
narrated by Karen White
Harper Audio, 2015
10 hours and 16 minutes
source: purchased - audible credit, ebook amazon daily deal

History at its most entertaining! A combination of first-person anecdotes from White House maids, butlers, florists, etc. and extensive research provides readers with an intimate look at first families from the Kennedys years through the Obamas. Every family has their own quirks and habits and, after listening to this book, I felt I knew them all just a bit better. I also enjoyed the peak at life 'below stairs' in the White House and have a greater appreciation for all the happens behind the scenes.

I've already added Brower's new book,  First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies to my wish list.

My rating:

28 comments:

  1. I've had Missoula on my wishlist for a while now, but I think you're the first person to listen to the audio book. I wonder if it might be better in print - as listening to descriptions that disturbing might be worse than reading them? What do you think? Do you wish you'd read the print version?

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    1. Jackie - I hadn't thought of it, but I'll bet reading those descriptions would be less painful than listening. Somehow listening made it seem more immediate and real. This was actually a read/listen combo for me, but I just happened to be listening at those key points. The audio was so well done that I don't wish I'd solely read the book... just feel it's important for potential listeners consider before proceeding.

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  2. Interesting and I think Missoula would be a good choice for an audiobook. Seems like just reading to a legitimate news coverage and/or podcast. I still haven't read it but I'm a fan of Krakauer, and I think the subject he wrote about this time around is truly important.

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    1. Jillian - I'm a fan of Krakauer, too. Missoula is a very good book. Hope you get a chance to read or listen.

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  3. Missoula seems to address some vital issues that are at the forefront of a lot of discussion and debate in our society now. There is some awful behavior being perpetuated by folks who are not themselves committing the violence.

    This sounds like a very worthy read.

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    1. Brian Joseph - I completely agree, and this is certainly a worthy read!

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  4. I can see where Missoula would be a tough and necessary read. I really like Krakauer's voice and have enjoyed other books by him. I'm so glad you enjoyed The Residence! I'm looking forward to the book about first ladies.

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    1. Katherine - I may listen to the first ladies book next... I'm on a roll with audio nonfiction!

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  5. Missoula was a very tough, upsetting read. I think the case that made me the angriest was the one that should have been clear-cut due to the confession but still the victim and her family were put through additional hell through the court system and by their community.

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    1. Christy - I was just fuming over that case, too. Hard to believe this all actually happened...

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  6. I still seethe in anger when I think about Missoula and how true it is that the attitude, circumstances, and outcomes are still happening so often. I really think the audio puts this one into perfect perspective, too. Great review, JoAnn!

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    1. Kathy - And it's so frustrating to think that this book could have been written about any number of towns. Missoula just happened to be the one Krakauer selected.

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  7. I think Missoula would be a good book for me to read sometime, I'm just not in the mood for this kind of book right now.

    The Residence sounds interesting. I love stuff like that.

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    1. Vicki - Missoula is the type of book where you need to choose your reading time carefully. The Residence would be a pleasure any time!

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  8. So glad that you recommend Missoula! It is such a necessary read.

    I want to read The Residence. Sounds so quirky and fun!

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    1. Athira - There were some great stories and anecdotes in The Residence! Can't wait to read the first ladies book.

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  9. I read the white house book and enjoyed it thoroughly. I cant imagine how their lives would change if Donald Trump lived there. I feel for all the staff members if Hilary comes back too as she was not that popular too. I fear the white house staff may have a few interesting years coming up. Have not read the Krakauer book but have sure heard a lot about it.

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    1. Pam - I was thinking the same thing while I was reading... the staff will never be ready for Donald Trump and I'm sure they're not excited about the prospect of having Hilary back either!

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  10. So glad you enjoyed The Residence! You will probably like First Women - very similar in style and SO interesting in this current election season.
    I agree, Trump in the White House would be quite a change for those who have worked there for decades. Would make the stories about LBJ and the shower pale in comparison, I am sure!

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    1. Karen - I'll probably listen to the first ladies book within the next few months... and am still chuckling over LBJ and the shower stories!

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  11. I do want to read the Missoula book but it's one I feel I have to be prepared for as I'm sure it'll be upsetting. Definitely on my list!

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    1. Iliana - Missoula is upsetting and disturbing. Not sure how to prepare for it beyond choosing your reading time carefully...

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  12. Frankly, I don' think I have it in me to read Missoula. As the parent of three young adults, two of them women, I worry constantly about their health and safety. I remember the first time I was pregnant, I literally stopped listening to the news because I found the world presented by the media to be too scary a place for me to raise a child. Thankfully, I got over that but still...I don't want think I need to read Missoula. I'm sure it is a powerful book.

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    1. JaneGS - I hesitated about reading/listening to this for a long time. I feel more aware of the situation and legal climate now, but that was the most distressing book I've read in a long, long time.

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  13. I think I've just found two more audiobooks to add to my list!
    I've heard several recommend Missoula with the same caveat - but also with the same conviction that it is an important book to read.

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    1. Molly - Missoula is so well-written and readable (as are Krakauer's other books), but you definitely need to brace yourself before beginning. The Residence was both interesting and fun!

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  14. Okay what's the dirt on the first families in the White House? Is this the book where the staff says the Clintons were the toughest? Any juicy tidbits? hmm

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    1. Susan - Yes, this is the book! I suspect some White House staffers are getting a little nervous at the prospect of another Clinton presidency ;-)

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