I've been doing a lot of painting lately--not the artsy, fun kind of painting, but rather the this-color-is-hideous-and-must-be-changed painting endeavor--so that means I've also been listening to a a LOT of audiobooks. As usual I like to mix it up and listen to a variety of genres, and I've been so happy with all of my choices. Below are four favorites that include a brilliant contemporary young adult novel, an audible original mystery, and the latest books from two bestselling authors who I usually read in print. I've still got a large burgundy colored wall to tackle so I've started Beth Macy's audible original, Finding Tess: A Mother's Search for Answers in Dopesick America. More on that soon.
The Dutch House: A Novel by Ann Patchett
First off, this is a fantastic pairing of story and narrator. Tom Hanks reading Ann Patchett. You can't get much better than that. The Dutch House is an engrossing novel about two siblings, expectations of family, and the house they grew up in. Listening to this audiobook, I found myself totally involved in the lives of Danny and Maeve Conroy, as they weather a sudden change in circumstance that turned everything they had come to expect upside down, and what they do with it. Over the course of decades the two maintain an enviable bond, and listening to Tom Hanks tell their story is an absolute delight.
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The Sisters by Dervla McTiernan
After The Dutch House I decided I was in the mood for a new mystery. I started trolling around Audible, looking for something to catch my eye, when I came upon this audible original by an author who became a new favorite last year. Dervla McTiernan's first novel The Ruin was a best book of 2018, a noir-style police procedural set in Dublin that is perfect for fans of Tana French. The Sisters is a short prequel about detective Carrie Ryan, not yet a detective, and living with her sister Aifric, herself a fresh-faced lawyer. The Sisters is a short but compelling mystery about the murder case that crossed both sisters' paths and almost cost Carrie's her career in the police force. With a three hour listening time, this one was perfect for a trip over the mountains and back.
Red at the Bone: A Novel by Jacqueline Woodson
I'm a huge Jacqueline Woodson fan and that goes for everything she writes. Woodson is one of those remarkable authors who can write books for young readers, teens, and adults and do it all exceptionally well. Red at the Bone is so tightly crafted, there's no fluff or filler here, every word counts and they come together like poetry. The story begins at sixteen-year-old Melody's coming-of-age party in Brooklyn among her family and friends. Melody's parents were teenagers when they had her, and as she sets out into the world, discovering herself, and facing important choices, we also get to look backwards to the lives of her parents and what led them them to the moment at which the story begins. Beautiful, moving, and as always Woodson has her finger on the world we live in and where we've come from.
Frankly in Love by David Yoon
This is David Yoon's first book, and after listening to it, I can't wait to see what he writes for us next. Frankly In Love is about Frank Li (get it? puns aplenty here that add to the fun), a Korean-American teenager in his senior year who falls for a blond, blue-eyed girl his parents will never approve of. Because she's not Korean. But they're not racist. Riight.... Frank enlists the help of another teenage friend of the family in a similar situation and things start to get really interesting. Yoon's story about cultural identity, racism, and first love is sensitive but also kept me laughing. When you need a break from your own life, I highly recommend stepping into Frank Li's, especially as narrated by Raymond J. Lee, who captures the voices and style of Yoon's characters perfectly.
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