November Books

Ratking (audiobook)

By Michael Dibdin
Narrated by Michael Kitchen

Started 27 October
Finished 2 November

This book took a while to get into. I hadn't read any others, nor had I seen any of the TV programmes - which I understand may have been a good thing. Once the story got going I really enjoyed it. Of course I enjoyed Michael Kitchen's narration, as his is a voice and delivery that I have liked for years.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down (audiobook)

By Haemin Sunim
Narrated by Sean Pratt

Started 2 November
Finished 3 November

When I say "finished", this is a book I will return to many times, I think. It is a mixture of short tales/talks and little nuggets of wisdom. I listened to it in one sitting, but I will go back to it and study the content more closely, as certain parts really touched me. I'm not surprised, as I have long had an interest in Eastern philosophies, such as Buddhism and the Tao. This book is quite practical and doesn't confine itself to Buddhism; it refers to the Bible and other religions. It encompasses a lot of the "mindfulness" trends; something I very much need to incorporate into my life.

The Last Cathar

By Kate Riley

Started 1 November
Finished 6 November

This book was shorter than I expected, and seemed to me to be similarly light of plot. It told the tale of one of the last of the Cathar faith, a woman entrusted with the legendary treasure. Part of it was told in retrospect, part in the current time, when she cared for an injured young man. I think I was expecting more of an air of mystery than I got, so overall I found the book a little disappointing. There was also a rather random reference to 1944 thrown in, the significance of which completely escaped me.

The Night of the Moths

By Riccardo Bruni

Started 6 November
Finished 11 November

Finally, I got through a Kindle First in the month I acquired it! I enjoyed this story, about a man who returns to a town to sell his parents' house. When he used to visit the town, 10 years earlier, he became involved with a girl who was murdered. The story is told partly through the girl's eyes and partly in the third person. I have read some reviews which didn't like the prose style, or the switch between the narration styles. I can't say I felt the need to analyse the sentence structure, so it must not have bothered me that much. Whatever the grammatical errors/flaws, they worked in context and, as a simple novel, that's ok with me. I didn't find anything particularly memorable about the book, but it was an entertaining enough read.

Dead Lagoon

By Michael Dibdin
Narrated by Cameron Stewart

Started 4 November
Finished 8 November

Another in the series of books about the Italian police officer Aurelio Zen. I think I enjoyed this more than the first one I read. Possibly I have become attuned to the style and am getting to know the main character. This one certainly kept me listening. It evoked Venice well, in my opinion, which generally means showing it as it is, not simply enthusing about its glory, taking a tourist's view. This book also depicts the impression I had of Venice when I visited: faded glory, dampness and decay, as well as all the famous locations. The narration was excellent. Cameron Stewart is on my list of top audiobook voices.

Origin (audiobook)

By Dan Brown
Narrated by Paul Michael

Started 10 November
Finished 17 November

Ok, I weakened. Yes, I know Dan Brown's books are fantastically popular and, as a result, picked to pieces and derided by lots of people. Hey, they are just an entertaining read (listen). I'm not all that impressed by the narration, but that's mainly a personal preference, as a Brit; I found the accent a little more pronounced that I tend to like from an American. Not to the point of not enjoying the story though. Overall, an enjoyable book, although I did lose interest slightly towards the end, as it seemed that the last hour of listening didn't add much to the story.

Jane Austen At Home (audiobook)

By Lucy Worsley
Narrated by Ruth Redman

Started 17 November
Finished 21 November

I enjoyed this. I wasn't sure I would, although I have enjoyed Lucy Worsley's TV programmes - I was unsure how I would take to an audiobook on an historical topic. The information was well presented, and, for me at least, avoided becoming dull. Despite the carefully constructed image of Jane Austen put to the public by her family, this book manages to look behind the facade and puts together Jane's life. Although I do enjoy Jane Austen's novels, I knew very little about her life, so this was very informative. It covered her novels, too, showing how real events may have had an effect on the stories and portrayed an author with a well-developed sense of irony and a dry wit. I think I should have liked Jane Austen,

Nothing in the last week, as I started listening to Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon". That will take me a while…