I started listening to The Informationist while taking the train home on a Friday – usually the time I close my eyes and unwind after a full week. But this time my imagination was captured by Taylor Stevens’ tough-as-nails, mysterious new action heroine: information specialist Vanessa “Michael” Monroe. Some say her character is a bit over the top – too much of a butt-kicking Angelina Jolie – but what I find most interesting about her is Stevens’ own cult history past woven into Monroe’s intimate knowledge of the wilds of Africa. Hilary Huber’s cool and sultry tone fits Monroe’s character, and I’m looking forward to more from them in The Innocent.
I brought Gone Girl on a trip with me to London, and while I enjoyed the sights there, I also couldn't put this book down when I got back to my hotel each night. I didn't like the wife Amy's voice at first - she felt a little too self-absorbed and flippant - but as the mystery unfolded, I could see just why.
Like the couple at the center of this novel, you somehow get sucked into their dysfunctional marriage and cannot let go until the very (twisted) end.
This was my first time listening to Gillian Flynn, and it won't be the last--she has a fresh, eye-opening way of shedding insight into marriage and relationships. (Just listen to the "cool girl" passage--it's worth your credit alone.)
This was one of the first books I listened to for book club at Audible, and surprisingly I couldn't put it down. (I finished it on one car ride back to my family home.) Actually make that a car ride, trip to the grocery store, and late-night finish once I was home. I wanted to find out about what happened to Cass and, more importantly, why.
So much so that I didn't even notice the supermarket stock man who offered me a shopping cart (after my handheld basket was overflowing). Good thing because I had more time to listen - and shop - after that!
I’ve always found the financial crisis difficult to understand, particularly when it comes to the global level. But Michael Lewis makes it entertaining and easy-to-understand through his firsthand account of the larger-than-life characters from five nations: Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany, and (last but not least) the US.
The story of Iceland was especially fascinating – I remember a business acquaintance there who had to fly with thousands in cash shortly after the 2008 meltdown. Lewis not only explains the cause behind the collapse, but also the reasons for the rise of cheap credit in a nation that once made its fortune in fishing.
Dylan Baker’s conversational tone makes it feel like Lewis is talking right to you, and he gets the occasional notes of sarcasm just right too. I’ll definitely be listening to more from him, and Lewis.
I first started this series with the fifth novel, The Brutal Telling, which quickly drew me into the quiet charm – and unexpected intrigue – of Quebec’s Three Pines. A rural village south of Montreal, this community is home to a host of all-too-human characters, my favorite being the mysteries’ hero: the tough yet compassionate Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.
Listening to Still Life was like a reunion with close friends, made even more intimate by Ralph Cosham’s around the fireplace-esque narration. This is a series for those who like their mysteries well-written, their protagonists multilayered, and their murders offstage. I can’t wait to listen to the next, A Fatal Grace.
Audible’s editors thought it would be fun for each of us try a genre we haven’t listened to before, and for me it was sci-fi. Our resident expert on the topic, Steve, recommended John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War as a place to start—and what a start it was! Filled with space battle, technology of the future (including new and improved bodies), characters you’ll care about, and even a heart-tugging love story, this book was a great way to ease into the category. One of the things I loved most was Scalzi’s insights into what makes us human. Or as he says, “Part of what makes us human is what we mean to other humans and what they miss about us.”
What would you do if your mother suddenly disappeared? And how would it make you feel: Guilty? Helpless? Exhausted? Kyung-Sook Shin poses this question in her power-packed and emotionally-gripping novel exploring the desires and heartaches of motherhood – and one family’s relationship with their mom.
The excellent narrator cast brings to life the voices of each family member and expertly navigates Shin’s unique second-person point of view. While this perspective takes getting used to, it’s worth the effort. This is a beautiful and life-changing novel that deserves all the praise and awards it’s won so far.
As my fellow editor and One Day fan, Emily, can attest, I couldn’t stop talking to her about this book while I was listening to it. I was initially drawn to the book after hearing so many great things about it, and it wasn’t long before I found myself sucked into it—listening every chance I got in the car rides to and from work, while preparing dinner, and also reading the print copy before bed.
I don’t want to spoil the ending or big moments for you, so I’ll just say that this is one of those grand novels that pull you in and have you rooting for a seemingly unlikely couple: the hedonistic antihero Dex and his brief college lover-turned-lifelong friend Emma.
For me, Anna Bentinck was THE voice of the idealistic, feminist, and ever-searching Emma – and captured Dex’s cool and aloof baritone quite perfectly too. I’m curious as to how Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess will interpret their characters in the film of One Day.
As an Asian American, I read my share of Tiger Mother articles debating the merits of Amy Chua’s tough love, but for-the-best-of-her-children approach to parenting. And while many of these articles depicted Chua as a relentless dragon lady-type mom, none of them prepared me for some of the touching stories she actually had to tell in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
Now don’t get me wrong – Chua did force her daughters to practice the violin, for hours, on family vacations – but she also confesses to feelings of loss and doubt when she’s just not sure if she’s doing the right thing, the best thing for her daughters.
In the end, whether you agree with her or not, you’re sure to take away some helpful insights about seeing and bringing out the best in your son or daughter. And if Chua’s assured first-time narration is any indicator, the hard work may just pay off after all.
This was my first introduction to Tana French and her love-‘em-or-leave-him Dublin detective Frank Mackey. And what an introduction it was—I couldn’t stop listening to this book until the very end (which for me, happened to be at 3 AM!).
The plot is a zinger – a suitcase from a long-disappeared lover shows up at Mackey’s family home – and new narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds does a fabulous job with bringing the detective’s fieriness and his hometown’s Irish accents wonderfully to life.
I can wait for the next novel, Broken Harbor, out July 24. Until then, I’ll be catching up on In the Woods and The Likeness.
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