September Books

Apparently September was the month of the audiobook! Still, they have kept me company during some particularly lonely times.

A Fragile Thing

By Kevin Wignall (audiobook)
Read by Scott Merriman
Started 27 August
Finished 2 September

I really enjoyed this, more than I did "The Hunter's Prayer". The story here was more family-based, with the main character being a very successful financier who deals with shady clients - although that isn't what the main plotline focuses on. The story held a few surprises and was a very satisfying listen.

The Liberation (audiobook)

By Kate Furnivall
Read by Imogen Church
Started 2 September
Finished 6 September

I loved this audiobook. It was beautifully, lyrically read and the story was intriguing; it certainly held my attention. I read some reviews which said that the book was over-long for the story, but it didn't seem that way to me. I savoured every little detail. I read a very powerful book recently which detailed some of the events in Italy during WWII ("Beneath A Scarlet Sky" by Mark Sullivan), so it was interesting to read another novel set in the same time period, as it's something I know very little about. I enjoyed the twists of the plot and I also wallowed in the setting. I want aware of any particular description of the scenery, but I was left with a very clear sense of Sorrento and Naples. The author managed to evoke the atmosphere without my having noticed. Normally I am very alert to passages describing scenery, or characters, as often I quickly find them tedious. Not so with this book. It really was the audio equivalent of curling up in a comfy armchair wrapped in a fluffy blanket, where one can sink into the world of the novel.

Closed Circles (audiobook)

By Viveca Sten
Read by Angela Dawe
Started 7 September
Finished 9 September

This is the second in a series of books set in and around Sandhamn, an island in the Stockholm archipelago. I enjoyed the first one and I also enjoyed this one. I wasn't as keen on the narration though. It seemed to be a bit rushed - and this from someone who talks very quickly herself! That combined with the American accent caused me to struggle a little with following the thread at the start. I did get used to it, which is just as well, because I have the third book next in my queue!

Guiltless (audiobook)

By Viveca Sten
Read by Angela Dawe
Started 10 September
Finished 13 September

The third Sandhamn novel in the series and again, thoroughly enjoyable. As in the previous novel, I wasn't all that keen on the narration, but it was ok. I suspect the sound quality wasn't ideal and made a slight sibilance more prominent.

Conclave (audiobook)

By Robert Harris
Read by Roy Mcmillan
Started 14 September
Finished 20 September

The narration was excellent, but then I am always going to be more attuned to a British accent, so I'm biased.

I did enjoy this book. I have often drifted away from Robert Harris books, as they haven't grabbed my attention. Similarly, this one started slowly, and I wondered how a whole novel could be built around the vote for a new Pope. Well, it can, and the story was fascinating. A few surprises and twists along the way, and quite an ending! The fact this was an audiobook may have helped me get into the story, as there was no harm in letting it run, whereas a printed book may well have been discarded as a perceived waste of time. Obviously I rarely simply listen to an audiobook, I am usually doing something else at the same time.

The Silk Road (audiobook)

By Peter Frankopan
Read by Laurence Kennedy
Started 21 September
Finished 24 September

This was a long book to get through, although a very interesting one. On the whole the narration was good, although some of the sentences were rather long and peppered with subordinate clauses, which interrupted the flow a little. The narrator occasionally hesitated with his delivery. I guess that's the occasional pitfall with an audio version of a book like this.

The book starts with a history of the middle east and then moves through history to more recent times. It does have "a new history of the world" in its title and it is that; dealing with the last few centuries very much from the non-western viewpoint. It discusses the decisions made by various western countries and the impact these have had on the middle east, leading to the situation we are now in, which is not good. I did get a little bored around the second world war, but then became more interested as we moved into the later years of the twentieth century. It certainly put this into context for me. The writing was a little dense in places, but never too convoluted that it didn't make sense. For a history book it was an interesting read, not at all dry.

Thin Air (audiobook)

By Ann Cleeves
Read by Kenny Blyth
Started 25 September
Finished 27 September

I decided I would try an Ann Cleeves novel, as I enjoyed the"Shetland" tv series. I wasn't disappointed, this is a competent police drama, probably made more enjoyable because I was already familiar with the main characters.

Cold Earth (audiobook)

By Ann Cleeves
Read by Kenny Blyth
Started 28 September
Finished 30 September

The latest book in the "Shetland" series. Enjoyable, decent storyline, familiar characters again. These books are not outstanding, but great background listening.