Title: Packing for Mars | Author: Mary Roach
Audio Narrator: Sandra Burr | Audio Duration: 10 hr, 28 min
Published: 2010 | Pages: 334 | Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: Fascinating and…not so fascinating
In Short: Everything you wanted to know (or didn’t) about what it takes to head up into the great space frontier. Roach discusses everything from what it takes to be a great astronaut, the first animals in space, sex and food and voiding in space. While the information is always informative, Roach approaches her subjects with a bit of humor and tongue in cheek to make them entertaining enough for the masses. Her footnotes are my favorite parts of her books.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: Confession – I almost gave up on Packing for Mars at the halfway mark of this relatively short audiobook. I found that I didn’t necessarily care about some of the details she was sharing about what it takes to go up in space. Thankfully I didn’t give up because I found the last chapters (on sex, voiding, and food–thankfully not all together) to be the most fascinating essays. I really enjoyed Stiff by Roach and plan to listen to more of her books.
Title: Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) | Author: Diana Gabaldon
Audio Narrator: Davina Porter | Audio Duration: 44 hr, 54 min
Published: 1996 | Pages: 928 | Genre: Fiction/Series
Rating: Hopefully this is just a transitional book
In Short: No need to read any of this if you haven’t already read Outlander. If you haven’t read Outlander, um…what are you waiting for? Now…Divert your eyes!
But in short, Jamie and Claire are making a home in the Americas. Meanwhile Briana and Roger, back in the 1960s, have discovered some horrifying things about the past. A whole lot of drama and a bit more time travel happening in this book.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: As with any of the Outlander books so far, there are moments of excitement and moments of droning on and on–and maybe there is a little bit more of that in this installment than the others, but I think because of some of the things that needed to happen in the series, this book acts as a transition piece. At least I’m hoping so. But in super short, I spent most of the book annoyed with the characters–it seemed as though their flaws all really shone in this book and I was not impressed with Jamie at all. In better news, I listened to about half of the book narrated by Davina Porter and absolutely adore her narration. I’ll definitely continue with a read/listen combo in the future!
In Short: Rachel takes the same train to and from London each day and imagines the secret lives of the people whose homes she passes on the train. Though one day her voyeurism takes a step further when something goes amiss in one of the homes that has her special attention. Told through three women’s eyes, The Girl on the Train is a face-paced thriller ala Before I Go to Sleep and Gone Girl.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: When I chose to read The Girl on the Train, I was looking for something that would immediately pull me in and hold me captive until the end. Mission accomplished. Did I love it? No. But it was a quick read and I loved the alternating points of view (even though there was very little difference in each of the voices of the three women involved). The characters are sad and miserable in multiple ways and the voyeuristic plot made me feel uncomfortable, but this was one time when I chose to shut down my brain and just go along for the ride. And what a ride it was!! People seem to love or hate this book–where do you fall?
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?