Savage Harvest:

harvestSavage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art
by Carl Hoffman
2014 / 323 pages
read by Joe Barrett 9h 18m
rating:  8 / non-fiction – travel/ true crime
(I both read and listened to this one)

I just got this on a whim – it got good reviews,  landed on a couple of “best of” lists,  was made into a documentary, and most important,  it looked good to me personally.   Okay fine – I listened.  The narrator was fine – perhaps a bit over-dramatic at times.  But I wondered about maps and photos but didn’t really look into it.  Then getting ready to write something up,  there it was,  the Kindle edition on super-sale.   :-)

So – now I re-read/listened to  it.  The photos are very good and  >>>MORE>>>> 

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The War of the Roses:

rosesThe War of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors
by Dan Jones
2014 / 416 pages
read by John Curless 15h 7m
rating 9 / history – England 15th century
(I both read and listened to this one)

Good book!   I was going to listen but about half way through the first chapter I realized I needed the maps and the genealogies available in the Kindle version – also  I like pictures.  :-)  So I listened and read along on the side.

This book starts where Jones’ The Plantagenets left off,  but there is no real need to read that one first.  This stands on it’s own. In fact, for me, The Wars of the Roses is more interesting than The Plantagenets.  The Wars of the Rosescovers a much shorter period of time so there aren’t so many names.  There is more emphasis on the personalities of some of the personalities – Henry VI,  Edward VI,  Margaret of Anjou,  Richard of York,  Warwick, others – many women are highlighted.  >>>>MORE>>>> 

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February summary


I only read 9 (yes, nine) books this month which is down considerably from usual,  but I was doing a close reading of 30 pages of Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon as well as losing hours hours to a great computer game, baking, visiting friends, etc.

Anyway!  Of the 9 books,  3 were fiction (including 1 classic and 1 graphic novel),  3 were mysteries and 3 were non-fiction.  The authors of 3 were women and 1 was translated (from Italian).  And! a full 8 (!)  were audio – listens – this is because I was also playing my new game “Avernum 2: Crystal Souls” in the background and listening takes longer than reading text.  >>>>MORE>>>> 

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The Master Butcher’s Singing Club

TheMasterButchersSingingClubThe Master Butcher’s Singing Club
by Louise Erdrich
2003 / 416 pages
read by Louise Erdrich 16h 42m
rating 7,5 (but it might be better than that – )

I’ve enjoyed Erdrich’s books ever since The Beet Queen in 1986.  I read Love Medicine,  her first and most famous book later – like only a few years ago – and I’m a fan – usually.  Not every one of her books lives up to the wonder of Love Medicine.

With Love Medicine and its group of related books, Erdrich created a community in northern North Dakota on and near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in a way similar to Faulkner’s community in Yoknapatawpha,  Mississippi.   The other books *mostly* all have something, in some way, to do with the families and others who live on the Reservation.  The Master Butcher’s Singing Club takes place in a small town just south of the Reservation and there is a character named Cyprian Lazarre there – >>>>MORE>>>>

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The Sheltering Sky

TShelteringSkyhe Sheltering Sky
by Paul Bowles
1949 / 352 pages
read by Jennifer Connelly 10h 30m
rating:  6 / classic

At first this seemed like a really dumb story wrapped in wonderful silky language. A married American couple and their good friend  travel around North Africa  in the post-WWII days.  They have no comprehension of local language, customs, geography.  They are unaware of how dangerous what they are doing is what with unscrupulous natives, disease and animals.

It might take place in the Sahara but we don’t really learn much about that area of the world until later in the novel. It’s unexpectedly different (to the couple), wild and brutal to women.  It’s really about rich, selfish, ignorant, self-centered, hypocritical Americans going through some kind of timely existential angst  – a dated stereotype at this point (or is it?).    >>>>MORE>>>>

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Einstein: His Life and Universe

einsteinEinstein: His Life and Universe
by Walter Isaacson
2007 / 704 pages
read by Edward Herrmann 21h 30m
rating:  8.75 – nonfiction / biography

Nice biography,  but I’ve come to expect that from Isaacson having read his books on Steve Jobs,  Benjamin Franklin and The Innovators prior to this one – and I can’t pick which one is best.

Einstein has been a household name for several generations now but few people really know much about him other than he was a weird math genius.  Isaacson shows the deeply human side of Einstein,  his ideas,  his loves, his friends, hopes, ideals and fears.  >>>>MORE>>>>

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Involuntary Witness

involuntaryInvoluntary Witness
by Gianrico Carofiglio  (Italian)
translated by Patrick Creagh
2002 /290 pages
read by Sean Barrett 7h 30m
rating:  B+ / crime –  legal thriller

This is the first book in the Guido Guerrieri series – it takes place in Italy so the court system is somewhat different, but the plot is based on the same sort of thing as murder mysteries everywhere.  Evidence is evidence,  judges are judges and witnesses are witnesses.

This is NOT a page-turner,  Guido is a very introspective man, we could call him brooding,  and naturally has to have a personal life.   (Bo-ring)  A recently divorced attorney our hero drinks too much and is  interested in the new woman next door (ho-hum).  >>>>MORE>>>>

Posted in Audio, Italy, legal thriller, self-select, translated | 2 Comments