Here’s what I’ve been reading/listening to lately… Things I may not have read had a known more about them!
The Bafut Beagles
by Gerald Durrell (non-fiction) – skip
Remember this book that I DNF because I left it behind in Michigan last fall when visiting my in-laws? Well, it was still on the night stand right where I left it when I returned over Memorial Day! I picked it back up because I really did want to finish it despite my first review:
It was the last book I was reading on our trip to Michigan and I was having such a hard time pushing through it. It is an account of the author’s trip to the Cameroons in the 1949 for the collection of zoo specimens. I believe that is is non-fiction; but the book reads more like a novel and some of the accounts just seem unbelievable or embellished. But what do I know about such things or that era?
It was a difficult book for me to read because of some of the treatment of the animals, but would we know about so many animals in the world today if someone had not collected specimens?
I tried to take a different approach to reading the remainder of the book. Perhaps this could be one of the first travelogues! I tried to look at it from the perspective of someone visiting a new land. I got more of out of it this way, but it still wasn’t my favorite. Somehow, someway, another one of Durrell’s books ended up on my bookshelf. I just noticed it the other day. I wonder what that one will be like.
Pride & Prejudice
by Jane Austen (fiction, audiobook) – worth a read/listen
I will admit that I had never read Pride & Prejudice until now. And this audio-version was highly recommended. I’ve shied away from audiobooks as of late just because I won’t be commuting for the next six months and won’t have too many long stretches alone in the car.
Still, when I learned that there Audible.com has free channels that Prime Members can listen to, I jumped on board! I don’t want to pay for an audible subscription, so this option was perfect for me. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can download the free Audible App and after signing in with your Prime credentials, go to Channels. There are podcasts and such, but if you scroll down to the bottom there is a link to Audiobook Collections. Pride and Prejudice can be found under Celebrity Voices / Classic Stories. You can only stream books; however, you cannot download them, so keep your data plan in mind if you somewhere without wi-fi. (I downloaded this one only for walks, so that I’d want to get out there and walk so that I could listen!)
I will admit that this took me a bit to get into this book and my mind sometimes drifted. But I still followed the storyline without absorbing every word. With Audible, you can also slow down or speed up the audio. I find that depending on the book, 1.25 to 1.5x speed works well for me. I have no idea how anyone can listen to a book at 3x the speed, but I’m sure you can train your brain to get used to it!
I find that the book is a little slow-moving at first, but I do love the story! Coincidentally, I discovered the 5-hour, 2 CD British television version of this book (starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth) sitting on our shelf in the weight room in the basement. My friend Jen lent it to me back when I had my back surgery back in 2013! It was time to return it. When Rob was out of town for a weekend, I watched it all… and this was during the time that I was listening to the book! I’d go for a long walk and listen and then I’d watch a section. I really did absorb more that way. And I will tell you that this is not an adaptation of the book like most movies are. This is almost word-for-word. I loved it and highly recommend both!
by Shanthi Sekaran (fiction) – must read
I need to write a post about how I don’t like movie trailers because they reveal too much. I think the same is true for me and books. If I know too much about a book’s plot or premise, it may actually deter me from reading it. I’ve found there are many books that I never would have chose on my own have been some of my favorites!
This book is no exception. I read the book’s description after picking up the book from the library where I had it on hold. Hmmph… I thought. It was about two different mothers and their relationships and journeys through motherhood. There was no way that I was going to be interested or able to relate to this, having never been a mother myself.
But I was so wrong.
This is one of those books I couldn’t put down. One of those books where when I was interrupted, I didn’t even realize that I was reading a book or that there was anything else going on around me – I was that present. I had to be jolted back to real life.
The thing that maybe I forgot when reading the description is that I didn’t have to relate to enjoy the book. It just has to be a well-written book that takes me to another time, another place, another life, another world. I mean, I loved Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers and as an American-born woman, I obviously can’t relate to the immigrant experience. And Lucky Boy is about so much more than motherhood.
I highly recommend this book.
Eating in the Middle: A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook
by Andie Mitchell (non-fiction, cookbook) –worth a read
I read Mitchell’s memoir It Was Me All Along about her struggle with weight after having followed her old blog Can You Stay for Dinner? (It’s where I found this recipe!) Her writing is so heartfelt and her insights are so helpful having dealt with my own struggles on and off over the years.
After losing over 100 pounds, Mitchell found that her new challenge was to learn how to eat healthy but not deprive herself of the foods she once loved. This is what she describes as “Eating in the Middle”. You will find healthy recipes and tips on things she learned alongside recipes for sugary-made-from-scratch-make-for-company-or-share-with-friends indulgences. Still, I found that only a handful of the recipes appealed to me. Not always in terms of if they sounded good or not, but whether or not I’d actually make them. (I don’t bake, for example.)
One of the best parts I find about cookbooks, though, aren’t always the recipes, but what you can learn from the recipe creator. I love how Mitchell declares that she found that eating healthier in the morning set her up for a healthier day in general. Or that by making a point to eat a big healthy salad at lunch, she’d be sure to get her veggies in! Or that if she wants to eat something indulgent (like a pizza, which is tempting to overeat) to always fill up with veggies alongside. All of these things aren’t new concepts; but when you hear them again, reiterated in how they were incorporated into someone’s life (not just as a “tip”), I think it goes a long way in seeing how it can be incorporated into your own.
Truly Madly Guilty
by Liane Moriarty (fiction) – worth a read
This is the second Moriarty novel I’ve read. What I love most about her novels – every character is flawed. Nothing is cut and dry. But with this book, all I kept screaming in my head, “So tell me what happened at the barbecue already!!” I may have felt that way for a good while; but you do eventually find out. 🙂
Does a book’s description deter you from reading a book?