This tale, ultimately of survival, is fascinating. Philbrick does a great job educating us at to the financial driver of 1820s Nantucket - the whaling industry - and interweaving a fascinating story of a hellbent whale, unlucky decisions and what people will do to survive. Not to be missed.
I really enjoyed Lookaway, Lookaway. I should put in the caveat that I am from NC, so it was fun hearing about so many places familiar to me. That aside, Barnhardt does a great job with character development and tells the story through an interesting method. For the first few hours, I thought it was going to be all sorority and debutante fluff, but then the novel took a sharp left turn and never looked back. The matriach, Jerene Jarvis Johnson, is incredibly well drawn. Hats off to Barnhardt for his clever story line that always kept me surprised.
It was so intriguing listening to alcoholic Hildy's story which all seems so reasonable, then hearing what actually happened from the non-inebreated supporting cast of this novel. Leary does an excellent job drawing the character of Hildy and letting us love her while still seeing her bumps and bruises. Well done!
I was intrigued to learn more about the orphan trains of the early 20th century after reading The Chaperone by Laura Moriarity. The Orphan Train is compelling, though at times heart breaking, as you learn how the older children on these trains were often viewed as free labor vs new members of adopting families. The story centers around a nine year old Irish girl who is shipped from NYC to the midwest in search of a new home after her family is killed in a fire. The story felt a bit forced and certainly was not the quality of Moriarity's tale, but overall it was a good listen - 3.8.
Carl Hiaasen is what he is - a rollicking writer of fun fluff set in southern Florida. If you want a light read that does not command your unerring attention, this is a good choice. There were definitely scenes that made me laugh out loud.
The Art Forger tells the story of the recovery of a painting (perhaps) from the famous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist. The main character - the art forger - is well drawn. Shapiro did a good job creating a character who is nice, though a bit simpering, but is able to tamp down her morals for money. Usually characters who do this are drawn to be sinister so we do not like them. This was a pretty realistic depiction of the choices perfectly nice people make when weighing options. The story itself I found to be just average. An interesting companion is the non-fiction book Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures which is written by the FBI agent who worked on the Gardner Heist.
I retitled this book "The Insufferables" because I just found the characters cloying. The fact that they name themselves The Interestings really shows their level of self absorption. The storyline was ok, but I'm not recommending it to my friends.
I loved this autobiography! Penny Marshall is very entertaining and drew great mental pictures of her upbringing in the Bronx. It was fun learning about the depth of her career and all the other kids from her neighborhood who made it big in entertainment. Penny's voice is, well, Penny's voice but the naturalness of her accent is part of the charm of her story. This book is filled with fun anecdotes and self-effacing introspection (more of the former.) I zipped through it.
Mindy Kaling's brief biography was fun, but not that funny. I expected to laugh out loud or at least smile to myself. It was fine for a 5 hour listen, but if you want to be more entertained listen to Tina Fey or Penny Marshall's books.
Caitlin Moran brought up some very provocative (meant both ways) concepts in her book that would promote interesting discussion with the right group. Being a humorist, I expected Moran to make me laugh out loud, but I did not. I am giving her the benefit of the doubt in that I think I just don't jibe well with British humor. This is a very feminist work, though Moran would eschew this label.
This was an interesting story about a woman who is hired to convince a cantankerous, aging artist de-clutter her house against her will. The story kept me intrigued but I felt the author didn't include enough about the artist's hoarding, given that this was the whole raison d'etre for the novel. A good book for listening to while you are driving or doing other tasks - engaging and well written, but not so laced with literary imagery that you have to concentrate deeply to follow the story.
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