A Long Way Gone:

longwayA Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmael Beah
2007 / 229 pages
read by Ishmael Beah – 7h 48m
rating 7 / memoir

Beah’s book is a memoir,  but it appears that discrepancies have been found and that’s always a problem for some when good sales are involved.

Well … imo…. EXCUSE me???  Consider the source, huh?  This is NOT James Frey for whom I have zero tolerance.   This is the story of what happens when  a 12 to 16-year old boy in a war zone  loses his family to the brutality, then wanders around the countryside with his friends for awhile, snagging food, sleeping as he might.  He finally gets “conscripted” into the government forces to fight the rebels who decimated his village. Then he’s suddenly rescued by UNICEF and guess what …  Beah’s got post-traumatic syndrome to the max,  but he’s rehabilitated and a decade later writes a memoir.  Let’s see … >>>>MORE>>>>

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The Luminaries

luminariesThe Luminaries
by Eleanor Catton
2013  / 834 pages
read by Mark Meadows 29h 14m
rating – 9 / historical fiction
>>>>NOTES>>>>

I read this first right after it won the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and loved it.  (The review is here.)  The history, the Victorian-type language, Dickensian plot, etc.  everything was right.  But it is a plot-driven novel (pretty much) so I really didn’t think it would hold up to a 2nd reading.  But the Booker Prize Group chose it so I thought maybe I’d give it a try.
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The Map Thief

mapthiefThe Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps
by Michael Blanding
2014 – 320 pages
read by Sean Runnette – 8h 35m
rating – 7.5  – history/crime

I’d never heard of Forbes Smiley or the case of the map thief prior to seeing this on Audible so I listened to the sample, found myself intrigued, purchased, downloaded and listened – all in less than 24 hours.

If you’re interested in maps (as I am, having been a map-maker in the distant past), or rare books (and I love those, too)  this is a great book – although I don’t know as I’d call it “gripping.”  >>>>MORE>>>> 

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The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Narrow RoadThe Narrow Road to the Deep North
by Richard Flanagan
2014 /334 pages (Kindle)
rating: 9.5 / historical fiction

I was warned this is a hard book to read due to the violence.  I’m allergic to graphic violence in war – it’s really just highly organized murder and that’s not good for me (or other living things!) –  And violence in film or books,  even supposedly anti-war films or books,  elicits the same response as films and books which glorify it.  – No thanks.

Turns out this is as much a love story as it is a war story – >>>>MORE>>>>

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Neuromancer

neuroNeuromancer
by William Gibson
1984 / 288 pages
read by Robertson Dean 10h 30m
rating 8.5 / classic sci-fi (cyberpunk)

I have had this book on my TBR (to be read) shelf for ages and ages.  Now that Gibson’s new book, Peripheral, is being released (Oct. 28, 2014) I thought I should read his classic.

At first I was really disappointed because,  first,  I’ve only followed Gibson since Pattern Recognition and I’m used to his books being set in a contemporary world with cutting edge techno/cyber stuff.  When a book was written 30 years ago it’s just not going to be that.

Neuromancer is set in a world decades in the future – 2030? – >>>>MORE>>>>

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Buddhism For Busy People:

41MGDdw8ZeL._SL150_Buddhism For Busy People: Finding Happiness In An Uncertain World
by David Michie
2008 / 240 pages
read by Nicholas Bell 6h 49m
rating 6.5 / nonfiction/self-help-religion

General principals of Tibetan Buddhism with the objective of being happy – I agree with some, not with all and I’m not crazy about the current trend to use it as an adjunct to psychology.  Just do it.  The reader is quite good.  Tibetan meditation is wonderful but there’s only a little guidance here – a starter maybe but that’s all any guidebook can really give,  I suppose.  >>>>MORE>>>>

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The Secret Place

61Yzebp17UL._SL150_The Secret Place
by Tana French  (Ireland)
2014/529 pages
read by  Stephen Hogan, Lara Hutchinson / 20h 34m
rating A- / crime
#5 in Dublin Murder Squad series

Another trashy crime novel – not too trashy (I just say that)  – very suspenseful.   A spell of relistening was necessary because  the accent is pretty stong and my attention was weak.  Second time it was very good and I enjoyed  the book.

There’s really a tad too much silly teenage girl angst, especially at first,  every other chapter is about the concerns of a small group of exceptionally close girlfriends who attend an elite girl’s school in Ireland.  This is the backstory of the relationship between the girls and their male friends at a nearby boy’s school.  It’s the lead up to the murder but
>>>>MORE>>>>

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