Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Two days of Driving - three books!!

Sunday and Monday I was on the road trying to get ahead of the monster storm scheduled to roll through the mid-Atlantic today and tomorrow.  I had plenty of books loaded on my Nook, several in my tote bag, and another 2 dozen loaded on my MP3.  Since I was driving alone, the Nook was not an option while on the road.  Instead I was able to finish two of the audios I'd been listening to, and then finish a book on my Nook last night in the motel.

The audios were

Author: Carl Bernstein
Publisher/Format: Books on tape, audio 24 + hours; 656 page equivalent
Narrator: Robertson Dean
Subject: Hilary Rodham Clinton
Genre: Biography

It took me over a week of sporadic listening to this one (No way could I have held onto a 656 page chunkster long enough to finish this.) I guess the best that can be said is that it is very thorough.....in fact it's way TOO thorough. Could have left out at least 1/3 and still given us all we ever wanted to know. I suppose that true biography calls for all the details, but wow did it ever get bogged down with detail after detail about every single meeting, phone call, and who struck john.....and in the end, I'm still not sure how I feel about Hilary as a person. Perhaps that's the job of a biographer....to give us facts and let us draw our own conclusions.

Author: Mary Roach
Publisher/Format: Tanto media audio 8 hours,  304 page equivalent
Narrator: Shelly Frasier
Subject: Research options involving human cadavers
Genre: Science non-fiction

A raucous but well-researched romp through various iterations of 'life after death,' including medical and military scenarios, as well as various options for final disposition. Definitely not for the squeamish, but full of little known, and often not thought about, facts. I learned a lot, and found myself laughing out loud. In spite of her somewhat macabre sense of humor, the book is respectful and actually reverent.
Then I finished another one on my Nook:
Author: Ivan Doig
Publisher/Format: Riverhead Books, 2010, ebook, 215 pages
Characters: Morris Morgan, Rabrab Rellis, Sandy Sandison, Grace Faraday
Subject: copper mining, unions, gambling, and libraries
Setting: Butte Montana  
Genre: fiction, western

I don't read many westerns, but this author was highly recommended by several people in my book club.  Doig has a clear, concise prose that is almost poetic.  His ability to paint pictures, draw characters, and weave a story is quite amazing.  He tells the tale of Morris Morgan who arrives in Butte with only the clothes on his back, who manages to secure a room in the boardinghouse of one Grace Faraday, and who, after working for several weeks as the 'cryer' for a funeral director, finds himself hired as the gopher in the public library.  It seems our hero is classically educated and manages to impress the librarian with his knowledge and love of books. 

In the meantime, the owners of the copper mine--the major employer in the town-- are trying to bust the union, the miners are anxious about job security, and it appears there may be a past that our hero is dodging.  A great story, beautifully written.  It certainly whet my appetite for more by this writer.


  1. I wasn't as taken with Work Song as others I know have been but I agree the man has a wonderful writing style.

    Carl Bernstein's life as a reporter has raised up to kick him in the behind, I guess. Too many facts that he worked too hard to acquire and he just couldn't resist using them. I think I'll pass until someone can write about Hilary with more perspective.

    Glad you got home before the storm, which has now hit us in PA.

  2. WOW Tina, that is pretty amazing. I would hate to have to do all that driving though.

  3. I would love to drive all that way!
    but you can keep Hillery, thank you. Now Stiff sounds like one I would like.
    Next trip I really have to give audio books another try.


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