Lighthouse at Saybrook Point Marina
Several days ago I shared our Hurricane Ian update
and now, as promised, here is my fall reading update. As you can imagine, through late September and most of October I couldn't concentrate on reading anything. Eventually audiobooks returned to my daily routine and by mid-November I began to read print books, too... what a relief!
Here are the books I've read and/or listened to since the storm:
by Nina Totenberg, narrated by the author
I've followed Nina Totenberg's reporting for years, but knew nothing about her career path or personal life prior to listening to this memoir. Be aware that the focus is not on RBG as the title might lead you to believe. Rather, it is the story of Totenberg's long career and how strong female friendships, primarily with RBG and Cokie Roberts, have enriched her life. I'm glad I listened to this one.
by Linda Greenhouse, narrated by Beth Hicks
I heard Linda Greenhouse, journalist and Yale Law School lecturer, on R.J. Julia's
"Just the Right Book!" podcast when this book was originally published last year. At that time, the after-the-colon subtitle was The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months That Transformed the Supreme Court
. After Roe v. Wade was overturned this past June, Greenhouse added an update and changed the title. I listened to the newer edition.
This book made for some fascinating listening. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know of my fascination with the Supreme Court. There's not much new information here, but having the events and significant cases of the past couple of years laid out chronologically, alongside relevant background information, was an illuminating (and infuriating!) review.
by Dani Shapiro, narrated by the author
Beautifully written, skillfully constructed, and incredibly moving - I loved this book! It was a read/listen combination for me and Shapiro's narration was just perfect. I borrowed the ebook from the library, but have since purchased a copy to keep on my shelf. I've been a fan of this author for years, especially her recent memoirs, but this is her first novel in twenty years. It's a contender for my favorite book of the year... highly recommended.
by Emi Yagi, translated by David Boyd and Lucy North
narrated by Nancy Wu
As the only woman at her new workplace... Ms. Shibata is expected to do all the menial tasks. One day she announces that she can't clear away her colleagues' dirty cups--because she's pregnant and the smell nauseates her. The only thing is . . . Ms. Shibata is not pregnant. (from goodreads)
The premise here is unusual and it eventually turns just plain weird, but this short novel is surprisingly engaging. I enjoyed Nancy Wu's narration of Convenience Store Woman
and it made for a pleasant 4 1/2 hours here, too.
Cara Romero, in her mid-50s, loses her factory job in the Great Recession and must meet with a job counselor in order to qualify for benefits.
Over the course of twelve sessions, Cara recounts her tempestuous love affairs, her alternately biting and loving relationships with her neighbor Lulu and her sister Angela, her struggles with debt, gentrification and loss, and, eventually, what really happened between her and her estranged son, Fernando. As Cara confronts her darkest secrets and regrets, we see a woman buffeted by life but still full of fight.
It took a little while to get used to Cara's voice, but I eventually grew to understand and appreciate her. I'm so glad I persevered!
by Bethan Roberts
narrated by Piers Hampton, Emma Powell
"I considered starting with these words: I no longer want to kill you - because I really don't, but then decided you would think this far too melodramatic. You've always hated melodrama, and I don't want to upset you now, not in the state you're in, not at what may be the end of your life."
This novel grabbed me with the opening lines (above) and held me through the final sentence. It is lushly written and heartbreaking. Set in mid-20th century England, My Policeman is loosely based on novelist E. M. Forster's relationship with policeman Bob Buckingham. In the novel, museum curator Patrick Hazelwood randomly meets a young policeman, Tom Burgess, following a street incident and is immediately attracted to him. Tom is married to Marion and trying to lead a conventional life, but is also drawn to Patrick... and a relationship develops. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Patrick and Marion. The reader never hears directly from Tom, the policeman.
As a read/listen combination, the audio production employs dual narrators to make the most of alternating perspectives. It was very well done.
The novel was originally published in 2012 and a new film adaptation
is currently available on amazon prime video. I plan to watch it this weekend.