Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where Are You Reading Challenge? March Update

Where are You Reading? Challenge
Hosted by Sheila at her blog, Book Journey

I am totally grooving on finding books set in certain states! I'm being exposed to books that I might not have otherwise tried and, finding out more about the places has been interesting and fun. Sadly, I'm making no dent in my TBR stacks, so maybe that's a challenge for next year!

AK - Caribou Island (by David Vann; narrated by Bronson Pinchot)
After the SNAFU involving "The Call of the Wild" (not really set in Alaska) I grabbed this title, even after so many people "warned" me about it. My recommendation: Read/listen to the book for David's Vann's writing and/or Bronson Pinchot's well imbued narration; but don't expect a fairy tale ending.

AR - Shakespeare's Landlord (by Charlaine Harris; narrated by Julia Gibson)
In an effort to avoid reading a book about Bill and/or Hillary Clinton, I seized upon this book by Charlaine Harris, though making doubly sure there were no vampires in the story. It was okay. Just okay. Yeah, that's me, full of faint and damning praise :-/

CA - When the Killing's Done (by T.C Boyle; narrated by Anthony Heald)
This is the fictionalized account of an environmentalist and the war he waged against the Park Service over efforts to eliminate non-native species from Anacapa Island off Oxnard, California. As I worked on the audiobook production of this title, I technically cannot review it; but I will say that my favorite chapter was the story of Anise ("Chapter 6" I think.) This chapter reads like a novella in the middle of the book. It's exquisitely poignant.

Also, this ☞☞☞ A podcast produced by Blackstone Audio featuring the narrator of When the Killing's Done, Anthony Heald and, the author, T.C. Boyle. I did not work on the podcast in any way, shape or form and will derive no compensation, either in terms of cash or services or, good will as a result of providing a link to the podcast :-)

CO - Columbine (by Dave Cullen; narrated by Don Leslie)
I had The Silver Rush Mysteries (by Ann Parker) on hand; but in the interest of time, I elected to pick up Columbine instead. I had heard that it was good and a "Must Listen;" but quite frankly I wasn't all that sure that I was interested in an account of that day. I decided to listen to the first CD and then decide on whether to go on with it or not. Less than 4 days later, I had managed to listen to all 14+ hours. Really, truly, a "Must Listen."

CT - Deep Down True (by Juliette Fay; narrated by Robynn Rodriguez)
This is the story of a newly divorced woman who finds herself embroiled in drama that illustrates that, though we may get older, the underlying social mechanics of finding out where we belong and our sense of self are as challenging as ever. I worked on the audiobook production of this title too, so no real review. The book did have me running home and talking to my daughter about body image and showing her how photographers Photoshop images of models. There are a lot of YouTube videos out there; but this one remains one of my favorites, ironically produced by Unilever/Dove Soaps: Model Evolution with Makeup and Photoshop

DE - West of Rehoboth (by Alexs D. Pate; narrated by Dion Graham)
Wow, I had no idea that finding an audiobook set in Delaware would prove to be so hard! I thought there would at least be something out there on the DuPonts; but apparently not! After West of Rehoboth was recommended to me, I ended up finding and buying a used library CD copy. Since I bought this audio soley on the premise that it was set in Delaware, I had no idea what to expect. It's a novel with a bit of a mystery, Black History and even a little magic. Maybe not necessarily for the young adult audience despite its fourteen-year old protagonist.
BTW, still on the lookout for sugar-based Pepsi or Coke!

HI - Unfamiliar Fishes (by Sarah Vowell; narrated by Sarah Vowell and featuring the voices of
Fred Arminsen, Bill Hader, John Hodgeman, Catherine Keener, Edward Norton, Keanu Reeves, Paul Rudd, Maya Rudolph and, John Slattery)
This is the non-fiction account of the U.S.' acquisition of territories in the 19th century, focusing on Hawaii. I've cheerfully and eagerly checked out the YouTube links of the book trailers and Sarah Vowell's
interviews on the late night talk show circuit; but a little Sarah Vowell goes a long way :-/
She is funny and smart and, because there are some personal takes in the book, I can see why casting her to read her own book would be a plus; but she has a distinctive voice that can wear a little thin after a short time if you're listening for more than the novelty of Sarah Vowell herself. I admit that sometimes I reflexively tuned her out, so that I had to rewind to catch what I missed; but it's worth it to catch a really fun and fascinating part of U.S. history that you probably weren't taught in school :-)

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  1. Some great books! I read a book by T.C. Boyle for Alaska (Drop City) and enjoyed it so much I'd definitely like to read more of his work. I'm interested in Caribou Island despite the negative reviews I've read. Good luck as you continue with the challenge!

  2. I have Columbine on my shelf and have promised myself that it will be one of my first reads of summer vacation!

  3. I think Delaware would be hard to find. I haven't gotten that one yet.