Tuesday, January 13, 2009 By: Suzanne

Playing Catch Up

Yes, I've been neglecting my lovely blog lately. I can't even say I've been really busy because I've simply been lazy! And when I feel like being productive, I have instead cleaned house (oooohhhh, I know you're jealous) and worked on my new sewing project. This last is going pretty slow right now too because I'm also teaching my sis to sew. Considering I'm not an expert yet myself, this should be interesting.

However I have listened to a few new audio books while driving to and from work so I thought I'd put them all in one post. The first I started but did not finish. This is Ines of My Soul. The story is about a young Spanish woman who follows her husband when he goes off to the New World to make his fortune. The book seemed pretty interesting but there was one thing that turned me off and it happened so much that I just couldn't listen anymore. It's told from the point of view of a much older Ines telling about her younger self, which is fine. I've read lots of books that start in the future and then go back. However, she continually makes allusions to things that will happen later in the most annoying ways. "As you will see later," "As will be explained later," "Which would never come to pass," "If I had only known how it would turn out." These phrases are fairly irritating when used more than once. Yes, I believe you should only use this once in a book no matter how long that book is. It can make a certain impact when used correctly. If used too many times, it simply becomes irritating. If the book is 985 pages long, it should still only be used once. I listened to the audio book for an hour and she said it 10 times. I'm not sure how many chapters or pages that was but it wasn't very long of a time to have it said that many times! Just tell me the story as it happens. Quit telling me that something is going to happen or that I will see different results later. Just tell it and let it unfold naturally. So I wish I could tell you more about the book but I just got irritated and stopped listening. The book is already on it's way to it's new owner, care of Paperback Swap. I hope that person enjoys it more than me.

The next book I listened to was The Virgin's Lover. I have long been interested in the Tudors. Actually, one of my fascinations has been Jane Grey (not a Tudor but close enough). I saw Lady Jane when I was in high school and it has been one of my favorite movies since. I know an awful lot of useless things and one of them is the life of Jane Grey. She was a tragic figure. I read a wonderful book of historical fiction on her life about a year or so ago called Innocent Traitor, by Alison Weir.
Anyway, The Virgin's Lover is another book of historical fiction about the romance between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley (not coincidentally, the brother of Jane Grey's husband, their father was terribly ambitious). I really enjoyed this book. I was constantly on the edge of my seat as if I didn't already know what was going to happen! The only criticism I have is that I really didn't like Queen Elizabeth in this book. I've always thought of her as a strong woman who did not need to lean on men to rule. She was painted very differently in this book; fairly weak. Although, she stood up for herself in the end, throughout the book I kept thinking: "Why are you so weak and stupid?"

I also listened The Andromeda Strain. I saw the movie a couple years ago and thought the book must be better. I was surprised to find that the movie follows the book pretty closely, except for the fact that one of the doctors is a woman in the movie. I enjoyed this and it's fairly quick read so I would recommend it. Like most Crichton books, I have no criticism. I think he blends a little bit of horror with science fiction in modern life very well.

The last audio book I listened to recently (I finished it today) was forever by Pete Hamill. This is another that I am HIGHLY recommending. This starts in the 18th century with a young Irish man, Cormac, who sets out for New York to avenge the death of his father. In the process he saves an African shaman turned slave from an angry mob. The shaman then gifts him with eternal life with one stipulation. He can never leave the island of Manhattan or it will be suicide. There's a little too much violence in the book for my taste, but overall the story is very good.

And yes, I did actually read a book with my eyes instead of my ears. It's so much easier lately to listen since I drive so much. I finished reading Speaker for the Dead for the third time. There is a very good reason this is one of my favorite books. I wish I could share it with everyone I love. I wish they could see it the way I do.


Audio Books said...

Just hopped over here from Library Thing.