The host for our September nonfiction discussion was Cass of Bonjour, Cass! who opened up a discussion about her love of nonfiction audio books.
I admire people who can listen to audio book while cleaning or doing dishes or folding laundry or working out… but at this point I just seem to not be one of those people.
Book Review: Charlie Asher’s life is pretty darn normal. But after his wife dies during childbirth, leaving him a single dad to his daughter Sophie, Charlie’s life takes a permanent turn towards the weird. All of a sudden, he starts seeing everyday objects glowing red, strange bird-women screeching a him from the sewers, and mysterious names and numbers showing up in his planner. Charlie has a new job: working for Death.
I grabbed this book on a whim from the library because Boyfriend and I wanted an audio book for a roadtrip earlier this summer. Boyfriend likes books that are a little twisted, so I figured this might fit the bill. I think we were both pleasantly surprised at how awesome the book turned out to be, keeping us laughing almost the entire trip.
One Sentence Summary: “The book centers on the emotionally challenged Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman, a 24-year-old telephone switchboard operator who has issues about whether or not she’s real.” — Wikipedia.
One Sentence Review: In what I believe is probably typical DFW style, The Broom of the System is laugh-out-loud funny, exasperating, confusing, and thought provoking all at the same time.
“It’s Not About You” in The New York Times
David Brooks’ article about the challenges for recent college graduates talks about the challenges individualistic rhetoric for recent college graduates. It’s an interesting piece, but my favorite quote is this one:
No one would design a system of extreme supervision to prepare people for a decade of extreme openness. But this is exactly what has emerged in modern America. College students are raised in an environment that demands one set of navigational skills, and they are then cast out into a different environment requiring a different set of skills, which they have to figure out on their own.
Review: From what I can remember about the audio, I’m confident that Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf would be a well written, informative, and interesting book. But it just didn’t work well for me as an audio book, despite really lovely narration by Kirsten Potter.
Part of that is my problem – I listened to the book in two separate long drives and definitely forgot most of the first part by the time I got to the second drive. Since the book is a continually building argument about the evolution of the reading brain, not being able to remember the early parts of the book was a disadvantage.
Antonina Zabinski always had a way with animals, which made her the perfect women to marry a zookeeper. For many years, Antonina and her husband Jan tended the animals of the Warsaw Zoo with humor and passion. But when the Nazi’s took over Poland, their lives and the lives of the zoo animals are thrown into disarray.
Title: Assassination Vacation Author: Sarah Vowell Genre/Format: Nonfiction/Journalism Year: 2005 Acquired: Library Rating: Summary: Sarah Vowell loves death and she loves U.S. history, so writing a book about presidential assassinations seems almost inevitable. To tell the story, Vowell travels with friends and family to see various landmarks and locations connected to the first three presidents [...]
Title: Undress Me In the Temple of Heaven Author: Susan Jane Gilman Genre/Format: Memoir/Audiobook Year: 2009 Acquired: Won in an online giveaway Rating: Summary: After their graduation from college, friends Susan and Claire decide they are going to go on a year-long backpacking trip around the world. Their first stop: China, a country just opening [...]
Title: Into Thin Air Author: Jon Krakauer Genre/Format: Literary Journalism/Audiobook Year: 1999 Acquired: Library Rating: Summary: On May 10, 1996, eight climbers were killed and several others were injured when a storm hit the peak of Mount Everest while multiple groups of climbers were on the mountain. Journalist Jon Krakauer was along on the trip, [...]
Title: The Wordy Shipmates Author: Sarah Vowell Genre/Format: Nonfiction/Audiobook Year: 2008 Acquired: Library Rating: Summary: A bunch of important Puritans came to America in 1630 to start the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Things weren’t all fine and dandy, however. The Puritans of this colony didn’t get along very well with the previous colonists, the Puritans of [...]