Thumbs up, Thumbs down: Two Audio books

Today I want to share with you two books on CD that I’ve listened to recently: one I really liked, and one which I (surprisingly) couldn’t finish.

Let’s start with that one.  I say surprisingly because it is a book by the author of one of my favorite series! It is Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party by Alexander McCall Smith, the creator of my beloved Mma Romatswe and the author of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series.  While the slow pace and simple story line of the No. 1 LDA books is gentle and amusing, this same formula transferred over to Fatty’s story was thin and plodding.  Similarly, what is novel and humorous about Mma Romatswe’s “traditional build” is just kind of sad and awkward about (the appropriately named) Fatty.  Fatty O’Leary and his wife, who are from Fayetteville, Arkansas, take a trip to Ireland, the land of their ancestors.  When explaining to the people they meet where they are from, more than once they are misunderstood as saying “Fattyville, Arkansas”.  That joke got old quickly.  I tolerated the first few chapters before I had to shake my head and give it up.  On a brighter note, I just learned that the latest in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Series, “The Colors of all the Cattle”, will be released November 6!  Let’s set our sights on that one, shall we?

              

Image result for thumbs up emojiThe second book on CD I’m talking about today is The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman, author of the much-loved A Man Called Ove.  (Did anyone NOT love Ove??) This little story is brief and gripping; it will challenge you to think about what your life means and how your choices affect those you love.  His honest prose and frank reflections jerked my heart around a little bit yet left me slightly disgruntled at the end; I wish he would’ve made a different choice!  (I just deleted five different sentences – I really want to elaborate here, but I don’t want to give anything away!  You’ll have to read it and come back and tell me what you think.)

                                

Til next time,

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The Shape of Mercy | Susan Meissner

Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with convention and her family’s expectations by choosing a state college over Stanford and earning her own income over accepting her ample monthly allowance. She takes a part-time job from 83-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles, who asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.

Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped in the worldview of the day, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstition, and Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail.

The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is?  Goodreads Continue reading

The Dinner |Herman Koch

It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse – the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love. – Goodreads.com

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