I’ve noticed that I often bring up in conversation one or more of the fascinating books I’ve been reading lately, only to fail utterly at recalling titles or authors’ names. I’ll take this opportunity to at least have a handy reference available for anyone who cares to follow up on something I’ve said.
Just check my blog!
Pimsleur German I (audio CD)
Airman (audiobook, read by John Keating) by Colfer, Eoin.
Echoes in Death (In Death Series, Book 44) by Robb, J. D.
Lost in Arcadia: A Novel* by Gandert, Sean
The Murder of Mary Russell by King, Laurie R.
A Small Revolution* by Han, Jimin
The Things We Wish Were True* by Whalen, Marybeth Mayhew
Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague Brooks, Geraldine
If you’ve followed my blog for long, you may notice a radical reduction in non-fiction titles this week. I’ll attribute that to a few factors:
- I avoid traveling with library books because I’m afraid I’ll lose them or return them late. I borrow most of my non-fiction books.
- One week of my three week trip was spent in a full immersion language learning environment which required lots of mental energy and all of my waking hours to be dedicated to a language other than English. I can’t read very interesting books in my target language; I’m not fluent enough!
- During week two, I caught a cold and my physical energy plummeted, too, leaving me mentally lazy and searching for pleasant distractions (i.e., novels!)
- I drove about 3450 miles/54 hours over the past three weeks, about 2/3 of it as the only adult in the car. I didn’t have as much time to read as I usually do, and we didn’t listen to as many audiobooks as I thought we would.
Speaking of audiobooks…
Airman made a good family listen-aloud story. Eoin Colfer is better known for his Artemis Fowl series, but this book stands alone. It’s historical fiction (appeals to me), vaguely steampunk with several in its cast of characters dreaming of inventing airplanes (appeals to DS1), and has a plot that clips along fast enough to keep DS2 fully engaged.
There is one stretch about 25-30% into the story where the protagonist’s idyllic childhood is destroyed in an instant that I feared this novel would become too dark for my enjoyment. There are murders of beloved characters, sadistic prison guards, and evildoers wielding power in Airman. I’d suggest it for older elementary kids and up, not little or sensitive listeners.
In general, however, audiobooks, usually the primary form of entertainment on our family road trips, weren’t as popular on this one. In addition to Airman, which we finished, I’d loaded our hard drive with:
- Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
- Skullduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy,
- Der kleine Prinz (German) by
- Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- Science Fair by
Blame it on the good company of the other kids we brought to camp, or the availability of electronic devices for more personalized diversions, but there didn’t seem to be enough time to hear more audiobooks.
We did also listen to two or three recorded language learning lessons daily for the first 26 hours of travel, which spent 1 – 1½ hours per day. Plus, warning four kids about upcoming rest stops, getting four kids in and out of the van at the dozen or so daily rest stops, and suggesting snacks other than chips and candy filled most of the rest of the day. Or, at least, it seemed to.
Having the time and energy to curl up and read every evening—in my big, comfy bed, no less!—has been one of the greatest pleasures of returning home from this particular trip.
The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King
Mysteries are my brain candy. I purchased Laurie R. King’s latest entry into the Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series back in March, and have been saving it to savor during my summer travels. King is a fabulous novelist, and this series in particular hits exactly in my escapism sweet spot.
Historical fiction? Strong female lead? True love (non-smarmy) between a pair of great intellects? Check, check, and check!
I’ve never been disappointed by a piece of fiction written by Laurie R. King. The Murder of Mary Russell is meeting that standard thus far, though I am reading it slowly to make it last.
*A book given to me for free because of my Amazon Prime membership