We meet again! While blogging hasn’t been high on my to do list over the past couple of months, I have been enjoying books. Now that I’m working every day, I’ve added audiobooks back into my rotation…for the days that I’m not listening to the Hamilton soundtrack (yes, still). I’m only in the car about 40 minutes a day, but every so often I’ll put on my earbuds while cooking dinner (if I’m not in charge of any littles) or while cleaning up around the house for some bonus listening time.
Below are three books that I listened to late last year…that all happen to be nonfiction. Nonfiction is definitely my go-to on audio–I find that I can usually get into the book more quickly than listening to fiction where it’ll take me hours to be invested (ahem Lonesome Dove ahem). For better or worse, it also doesn’t seem so detrimental to my experience if I zone out a few times here and there, though I think that I tend to stay more focused on nonfiction than fiction on audio. My mind doesn’t wander quite as much.
Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson
In Short: In 1900 a hurricane swept over Galveston Island (in Texas) and killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people. Isaac’s Storm follows Isaac Cline, the Weather Service Director, and how he and others failed to recognize the danger of the city as the hurricane approached from the Caribbean. Because this happened over a century ago, this event has always felt so far away in history but Larson put a human face on the disaster by including many first hand accounts from the days leading up to the hurricane to the weeks after.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: Audio was a great format for Isaac’s Storm. Richard Davidson’s narration reminded me a lot of Edward Herrmann’s narrations and I had to keep checking to make sure it wasn’t him (Herrmann did narrate the abridged version). I wasn’t quite as captivated by this book as I was The Devil and the White City, but it was still a fascinating listen. After listening, I found myself scouring the internet for pictures of Galveston before and after the hurricane. I had no idea that Galveston was such an up and coming city in the 1800s. Sadly the hurricane had a great affect on its status as a major gulf port.
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Audio Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Published: 2014 | Pages: 300 | Genre: Memoir
In Short: In short, H is for Hawk is about Macdonald’s journey through grief after her father’s passing and her relationship with her hawk Mabel whom she trains during that time. The book is part reflection on her emotions and existence after her father’s death and part field guide on what it takes to train a hawk. She also throws in some biographical information on the author TH White (The Sword in the Stone) and his experience with training goshawks.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: H is for Hawk is one of the most amazing audios I’ve listened to, even though the actual subject wasn’t always interesting to me. I don’t know how else to explain that and I realize how ridiculous it sounds. Macdonald’s voice was like a salve and I soaked in it. I’d listen to it again…but it’s one of those that I can’t automatically recommend because the subject doesn’t seem universally interesting? But please give it a try, and if it feels a little slow at first just let her words wash over you. The writing is gorgeous.
As You Wish by Cary Elwes
Audio Narrator: Elwes and other cast | Audio Duration: 7 hrs and 1 min
Published: 2014 | Pages: 259 | Genre: Memoir
In Short: Cary Elwes, who plays Westley in the classic movie The Princess Bride, reminisces about the making of film. He brings in the remembrances of other cast members to provide a full picture. He starts with the the failed productions and conceptions of The Princess Bride to how the cast was put together, to how the film became a surprise cult classic.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: I smiled from ear to ear while I was listening to As You Wish. I loved hearing all the tidbits and gossip surrounding the production and actors/actresses. It was fun to learn that Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally pinned as The Giant (later went to Andre the Giant) and that Elwes and Mandy Patinkin (Inigo) took very serious swordfighting lessons to make their scenes as authentic as possible. And so much more. If you’re a fan of The Princess Bride, you must listen to this book. The paper copy is great and has pictures, but you won’t regret choosing audio for this one.
If I didn’t think your eyes were starting to glaze over, I’d also include little write-ups for The Happiness Project (which I’ve now listened to twice) and Evicted (which was so eye-opening). Maybe next time. ;)
Have you listened to anything fabulous lately??