Friday, August 12, 2011

Books on the Go

I'm a commuter and while I love to listen to music while I'm traveling to and from work, I also enjoy listening to books from the library's audiobook collection.  Recently, I've listened to three very different titles--all equally enjoyable.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
     I  gravitate toward novels with good character development and Franklin hit his stride in this book.  The two main characters, an African American constable in rural Mississippi, Silas Jones and his one time friend, Larry Ott are so well developed that you come to a real understanding of each as a whole person---neither all good nor all bad, but a mix of both, like all of us.  The plot moves at a nice clip too, so it doesn't drag, as some character driven novels can.  Ken Kenerly, the reader on the CD, does a good job with the Southern dialects and makes all the characters come alive.

The Tsarina's Daughter by Carolly Erickson
     I've read a lot of Erickson's non-fiction, but not much of her fiction.  I was pleasantly surprised with this historical novel which puts a twist on the old conspiracy that Anastasia was the one Romanov to survive their murder by the Bolsheviks.  Again, the characters are well drawn, although not all are likeable. This book made me go back and brush up on my Russian history and the relationships between the royalty of Europe in the early twentieth century.  (Everyone was someone's cousin it seems thanks to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.)

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
     This is a lovely children's book and the second in a series of books about the four Penderwick girls, their father, their dog and an assortment of friends and adventures.  A simple story really, the book is timeless--it's actually difficult to set it in any particular era.  Although, I must admit, sometimes the voices the reader creates for certain characters can become a bit grating. 
     The first book The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy is a must before moving to book two.  You have to get to know the children's personalities, their father and their life circumstances.   I've listened to both of them on my commute and have thoroughly enjoyed them.  I'm looking forward to book three The Penderwicks at Point Mouette in the coming weeks. 

For those of you who ride and read by listening, give these novels on CD a try.   I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Dawn S. @ Warrenton

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