Usually I don't find anything I especially want at the Audible sales, but I think I got 4 good ones this time. And for you Halloween Bingoers, they have a number of horror and mystery/thriller books that fit the categories.
This has been the year of the audiobook for me. I believe I've listened to more of them this year than ever before. And boy, this year brought two of my favorite authors to life through the power of voice. Let's get on with it, shall we? (Oh, and click the cover to see my original review!)
Blackwater by Michael McDowell, narrated by Matt Godfrey
1. My number one audio of the year, (and indeed, of ALL time) is Blackwater. Written by the fabulous Michael McDowell and performed by Matt Godfrey, this epic tale spans generations of the Caskey family and their matriarch, who may or may not be altogether human. The star of this show is McDowell's writing-he brings his sharp wit and his knowledge of family dynamics to the table and then Matt Godfrey brings it all home. Blackwater clocks out at just over 30 hours of listening, and I was never, ever bored.
The Lesser Dead written and performed by Christopher Buehlman
2. Christopher Buehlman was unknown to me at the beginning of 2017. Now, in December, I count him among my favorite authors. I've read or listened to ALL of his novels since April, starting with Those Across the River and ending with The Lesser Dead. Mr. Buehlman narrates The Lesser Dead himself and in most cases, I don't think that's wise. In this case, he knocked it out of the park. I later learned that he performs at Renaissance Fairs, sometimes as a storyteller and sometimes as a professional insultor. Perhaps his experiences with performing has honed his voicing skills because this book was KILLER. After I finished listening, I "rewound" it, so to speak, and listened to the last chapter again. Oh my goodness, oh so killer!
Born to Run written and narrated by The Boss
3. I'm not a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, but I'm a bigger fan since I listened to his memoir. I have always been a fan of his songwriting abilities and it seems that that skill transferred well to writing this book. I'm sure a true Springsteen fan would get even more out of this book than I did, but I sure did love listening to that husky voice relate how he got started, learned to dance, (to pick up women), and how he struggled to get and keep a band, not to mention a marriage, together.
Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman, narrated by Steve West
4. Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman, narrated by Steve West was totally and completely INSANE! Some truly scary scenes were depicted in this story and thanks to the vivid writing and expressive voicing, I can still picture them clearly in my head.
The Memory of Running, written and performed by Ron McClarty
5. The Memory of Running, written and narrated by Ron McClarty. I got turned on to Ron McClarty because he narrated Empire Falls by Richard Russo. Then, when I looked for additional performances by him I discovered The Memory of Running. From what I gather, it was originally available only as an audio book which Stephen King highly recommended. Eventually it became available in paper form as well. Anyway, Mr. McClarty used to play a recurring judge on Law & Order, but writing and narrating is most definitely his forte. I loved this weird tale of memories, acceptance and bicycling across the United States.
Nightmares and Geezenstacks by Fredric Brown, narrated by Matt Godfrey
6. A thoroughly entertaining collection of short stories, some of them super short, but all of them a lot of fun. For the most part, I prefer reading short stories rather than listening to them, but Matt Godfrey's talent made me change my mind about that.
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott, narrated by Lauren Fortgang
7. Competitive teenage girls are just about the scariest monsters out there, and I know scary!
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, narrated by cast
8. The book everyone was talking about at the beginning of the year! Usually, I avoid those like the plague. However, the audio was available at the library, so I decided to give it a go. I vividly remember listening to this while I was cleaning and then, for the last half hour or so, I just sat on the sofa, stunned.
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, narrated by Ray Porter
9. Audible was giving this one away for free, so what did I have to lose? I loved the movie, but as usual, the book was a little different. That said, I loved the book too!
Empire Falls by Richard Russo, performed by Ron McClarty
10. This book came to me highly recommended by a fellow reader. Even though a book about small town life with no evil children or haunted houses is really not my thing, Empire Falls MADE IT my thing. I've since listened to two more audiobooks of Richard Russo's work, (Everybody's Fool and Nobody's Fool), and I tracked down McClarty's Memory of Running, (see above.) Now, I just need to track down the HBO series of this FANTASTIC novel.
This year I've learned the following:
Ron McClarty and Matt Godfrey can both narrate the hell out of any story, and I will happily listen to them perform their grocery lists.
Authors sometimes CAN perform their own stories and do it better than anyone else.
I've finally accepted that audiobooks are an acceptable form of reading and I look forward to finding new narrators and discovering new worlds to listen to in 2018.
Thanks for reading if you've stayed this far! I hope you'll join me in enjoying audiobooks in 2018!
Tasks for Pancha Ganapati: Post about your 5 favourite books this year and why you appreciated them so much. –OR– Take a shelfie / stack picture of the above-mentioned 5 favorite books. (Feel free to combine these tasks into 1!
Inspired by Murder by Death's post this morning, I've pondered over my morning coffe which reads qualify as myfavourite books this year. Although there is still time for a truly great read to come up in the next month (I am looking at you, Winter by Ali Smith), below is my list of 5 (or, erm, 6) favourite books of 2017 (I have not considered re-reads for this, btw.):
The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf.
Although, I knew of Humboldt (and his brother), I had no idea of the extent of his influence on the sciences and of the adventures he went on to gain the deep understanding of the world that he did. I am still amazed at both. I am still amazed at the difficulties he faced. I am still amazed at everything I learned about his and his times from Wulf's extraordinary book.
A is for Arsenic by Kathryn Harkup.
I love the works of Agatha Christie and I also love a good bit of science mixed with history - and this book had all of it. What is more, I particularly enjoyed how this book started a discussion with my mom (a retired chemical engineer) about all things chemistry and how scientific discovery changed crime fiction. For that alone, this book deserves 5 stars.
William Pitt the Younger by William Hague.
One of the biggest surprises this year, not because of the subject (Pitt had been on my radar for quite some time) but because of the author. What I learned from Mr Hague's excellent account of Mr Pitt and the political landscape of Georgian Britain is that I may not agree with the author on everything (especially political outlook) but that this doesn't lessen my appreciation for the excellent work he has produced with this book. The sheer amount of research that must have gone into this is staggering.
Metamorphoses by Ovid (tr. by David Raeburn)
This is the book that has taken me longest to read this year, but it is a book that demands a slow and deliberate read. Becoming reacquainted with the myths and legends of Ancient Greece and Rome has brought home how far we've come as a society, how much we still face the same issues, and how much I miss reading the "classics".
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey.
As it turns out, my 2017 seemed to be geared towards a history side - and I loved it - with a mix of murder mystery thrown in for balance. Tey's book takes both and showed how a good "vintage" mystery can actually take a serious turn. Tey loved history and it shows when she used her laid-up Inspector to investigate not just the murder of the Princes in the Tower, but also how history itself is subjective and prone to be re-written for the benefit of propaganda ... and how easy it is to fall in line believing anything by virtue of it being repeated as truth over and over.
A timely read for 2017.
Treffpunkt im Unendlichen by Klaus Mann.
I've been a fan of Klaus Mann's for a while, and in this book he shows how spot on his powers of observations were when he wrote about the times he lived in. Treffpunkt is one of the best books I have read to bring to life the Lost Generation in the late 1920s / early 1930s. Loved it.
Of course, there are some honourable mentions too:
Making History by Stephen Fry.
Gilded Needles by Micheal McDowell (I'm still in love with basically every single book of McDowell's that has crossed my path.)
Risiko by Steffen Kopetzky
October was a crazy month here at the Horror Corner!
The most important, (and beautiful thing), was that my lovely niece married her best friend of 20+ years. The ceremony was wonderful and the reception a lot of fun!
Then, two weeks after that was the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival!
You can find my post about that HERE.
Here's a photo of myself with Rio Youers. Isn't he the cutest? He's also extremely gracious and very funny.
All of this is why I only read 10 books this month!
Graphic Novels: Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever by Tom Neely and friends.
Blackwater: The Complete Saga by Michael McDowell, narrated by Matt Godfrey
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Coraline written and narrated by Neil Gaiman
Cthulhu Blues by Douglas Wynne
Halloween Carnival: Volume 4
Halloween Carnival: Volume 5
The Trials of Solomon Parker by Eric Scott Fischl
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen
Strange Weather by Joe Hill
Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:
(Horror Aficionados Group on Goodreads)
Goal: Read 40 books I already own in 2017
January Count: 1
February Count: 2
March and April Count: 0
May: 2 (Boo! and The Well)
June & July: 0
August: 1-The Talented Mr. Ripley
September: 1 Carter & Lovecraft
October 0 (But had LOTS of fun with Halloween Bingo!)
Running Count: 7
Graphic Novel Challenge:
(Paced Reading Group on GR)
Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017
January count: 5
February count: 2
March count: 5
April count: 5
May count: 3
June count: 4
July count: 4
August count: 5
Running Count: 35! Challenge Met!
12 books for me this month! More than double my average. Add The thin Man and Turn of the Screw to the above pictured books.
Thanks to Bingo. Now time to get back to other things I do besides reading every spare minute, though it's been fun.
No samples again, but clearing that folder again will resume soon. I have 5 Netgalley books to clear and then I'll settle into keeping at least 1 A-list book going while working through the Bingo folder where I have a load of back-ups for some of the squares. I might even read something besides Horror soon.