Tag Archives: audio books

A Swag of Talking Books

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Time to recap on my talking books of the last month:

Black Wattle Creek: (Charlie Berlin #3) – Geoffrey McGeachin

Love this author and find the talking book versions of his books are super! I need to get hold of the first (The Diggers’ Rest Hotel) and the latest (St Kilda Blues). Set in the late 1950s in Melbourne, Detective (and ex Lancaster pilot – all the good ones were in Lancs in Bomber Command, RIP Dad) Charlie Berlin gets hauled reluctantly into a very unpleasant body snatching business (actually, body parts) that is part of a huge conspiracy between our own and the UK/US governments. The plot revolves around the ugly truth of atomic testing in Australia and the dire, hidden radioactive results.  Though I still think Fat F***ed and Fifty  is my favourite, this was terrifically compelling.

A Delirious Summer; Flabbergasted #2 – Ray Blackston

As I said after reading the first one, I’m not a Christian but there is something quite endearing about this group of  young Christian men and women and their slightly wacky life in Greenville, South Carolina – and their endless quest to find a marriage partner. Relationships in a whole different (godly?) light! Very amusing and sweet.

A Silver Lining: The Hearts of Gold #3 – Catrin Collier

Aside from  A Child’s Christmas in Wales, I think this is my first book set in Wales (are you hearing me Roo?). Set in strictly Chapel Pontypridd in the Depression years, this is very character driven. Rife with vicious gossip, two women Alma Moore and Bethan John, natives of the mining sector of this narrow-minded town are beset and besmirched by the prim and often hypocritical tongues of the town. A mysterious Russian, Charlie, is however the central character and saviour of all in this interesting, though not fast paced, story.  Will definitely seek out others in the series after this one, aside from the excellent characterisation I learned much about a period of time in a country with whose history I am not very familiar.

Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

It had been years since I’d read this and also since I’d seen the movie, but it was definitely worth a re-visit. Much humour and light-heartedness nonsense to beguile much commute time. I believe the ‘voice’ was that of Tracie Bennett who absolutely nailed Bridget’s complete dottiness.

They’re a Weird Mob – Nino Cullota (John O’Grady)

This was the absolute stand out of the month. I had always been familiar with the movie and could remember my Dad saying how much he loved the book so pounced on it as I’d never read it. Spoken by Henri Szeps – brilliantly! – I must have amused fellow commuters for days by apparently hysterically laughing in traffic. Do yourself a favour, whether you have only seen the movie or don’t know either – you would no doubt enjoy reading it but get this audio version and revel in the joy of hearing Szeps bring Nino and his eccentric mates to life.(you could download it here. Interesting add on, when I posted having read it to my GoodReads record, found a comment from John O’Grady’s daughter – nice!

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An assorted swag of audio books recently enjoyed…

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Cricket Kings – William McInnes                                

Hachette Australia 2007

How could I resist this novel from our own local Redcliffe boy, William (brag note: with whom I have had the pleasure of conversation on more than one occasion!) – especially when narrated by Himself.

After delighting readers with his uproarious first book of memoirs A Man’s Got to have a Hobby, William published this novel to similar great acclaim. His writing career continues to attract a loyal and enthusiastic fan base.

The Yarraville Fourths are a suburban cricket team comprised of mostly middle-aged men of dubious skills, none of whom would ever have been considered as a contender to wear the baggy green.

However, there is much more than just neighbourhood cricket going on in this hugely funny book. Chris Andersen is really the Everyman figure and his team of assorted characters range from Brian, the intellectually impaired young man to Livey, the constantly farting local butcher – and each one has his own story to bring to the Cec Bull Oval.

Connecting past and present, the local oval is like a hub in the wheel of life in this typical suburban locality. Although, on the one level a very humorous book about an often dysfunctional team, McInnes takes the reader on a journey of exploring much deeper themes and concepts mostly through the eyes of the gentle and kind hero, Chris.

 

Fat, Fifty & F***ed! : a fast and furious novel – Geoffrey McGeachin

Penguin Australia 2004

Definitely was gravitating towards humour in the last few audio selections and this was a superb choice – the kind that had me sitting in the car at my various destinations just to listen to a little more, and no doubt, passing motorists thinking I am somewhat challenged, driving along laughing aloud for no apparent reason.

Martin Carter is having a serious mid-life crisis day. The manager of a small town bank, married to a cheating bitchy wife with two decidedly unlikeable stepchildren, Martin turns fifty and not a single person remembers his birthday. As it happens, he is also losing his job as his little local bank exists primarily to handle the wages of the local meatworks, now being closed down. Faced with an overwhelming sense of depression and failure, Martin makes a snap decision that shakes him out of his torpor with a vengeance – he robs his own bank.

With $1 000 000 stowed in garbage bags and no real plan, Martin takes off on an extraordinary, and hilarious, road trip – meeting the enigmatic and delightful Faith (a librarian, no less!), becoming embroiled with bikies both dead and alive, getting caught up in a spy scandal of deadly proportions, meeting a millionaire mogul and more – to find his way to an old schoolmate’s place in Far North Qld – and that’s when the action really begins!

Jolly Wicked Actually: the Hundred Words that Make us English – Tony Thorne

Quite interesting and gently humorous, though not riveting, Thorne explores 100 slang terms that define the Englishness of the English.

I particularly liked this excerpt:

Barking

Sometimes intensified by the addition of ‘utterly’, ‘totally’, ‘completely’ or ‘absolutely’, barking means abjectly, visibly and audibly – and the implication is hopelessly, on a long-term basis – deranged: possessed of an aggressive rather than a passive craziness. Among hundreds of examples of barkingness gleefully printed by the tabloids since the 1980s have been King George III, a £32, 000 lottery grant to teach the homeless to growl (“Phil Minton …uses the cash to create so-called ‘feral choirs’ of tramps keen to ‘find their inner voices’”) and a bride whose wedding train was carried by pug dogs instead of bridesmaids.

 

The Camel Book Mobile – Masha Hamilton

In my last couple of schools I had purchased a very attractive and informative picture book called My Librarian is a Camel by Margriet Ruurs – a photo essay of unusual mobile libraries around the world and thus was immediately drawn by the title of this novel.

This novel looks at such a library service in Kenya, staffed by a rather grumpy local librarian and Fiona (Fee) Sweeney who has taken leave from her New York library to bring literature, culture and enlightenment to remote communities.   Although her intentions are completely well intended and her passion genuine, Fee is unprepared for the difficulties that this project brings, especially to one little nomadic settlement called Mididima. Conflicting views on the presence of the book mobile along with a clash of traditional and more modern values, complex relationships all contrive to create a situation of great tension within the community.

The ending is quite haunting and I was left feeling a little depressed I think but it was certainly a compelling and well told story. My only complaint was that I did not care for the choice of narrator.