Books I Read 05/19

Becoming by Michelle Obama

This was a nice long biography that I really enjoyed listening to on Scribd (I'll write more about it later, but it's the new way I've been listening to audiobooks). I love when the author reads the audiobook, and it was a treat to hear Michelle Obama's voice tell the years of their incredible life. Politics aside, her life is fascinating to me. I'm not American and I won't attempt to understand all of their politics, but the many facets of Michelle Obama's life, from growing up in a working class poor neighbourhood, being a black woman at an Ivy League university, raising a family in the spotlight, and being married to the most powerful man in the world all are worth listening to and learning from. Her family's experience was very unique and I admire much of what I know about her. At times, the book was a bit self-righteous I will say. Autobiographies can easily be self-indulgent and are of course, one sided. Regardless, it was a terrific book and I enjoyed listening to it!

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Oh this book was CHARMING. Does all caps ruin the charm? Sorry. But I absolutely loved this book I want you to sense that I'm shouting it from the rooftops! The novel follows retired British Army Major Pettigrew as he grieves the death of his wife, brother, and disappointment with his surviving relatives, as he finds comfort in a fledgling friendship with an unlikely companion - widow Mrs. Ali, the local Pakistani shop keeper in his quaint English town. I bought the hardcover years ago at a book sale in my hometown when I was home for a summer visit, and also had the audio version on Scribd, so I switched back and forth between audio and paper copies. The audio version is narrated perfectly by Peter Altschuler who I imagine sounds exactly like the Major. This book is about love, friendship, aging, classism, racism, family, and grief - in short, it will appeal to many readers and I think you'll all enjoy it.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

I listened to this classic on Scribd for a few days as I was running errands and chores in Montreal, but finished it during the long drive to Blue Mountain, Ontario. Mansfield Park isn't one of Austen's most popular books but had all of her hallmarks -  darling clergymen, conniving relatives, a morally upright and bold as heck heroine, and a happy ending. Sigh. Fanny Price may be one of my new favourite leading ladies!

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

On the drive home from Blue Mountain I thought I'd continue on the same vein as Jane Austen and listen to Agnes Grey for the first time. It was a lovely listen/read but not nearly as captivating as my favourite of Anne Bronte's, The Tennant of Wildfell Hall. You do fall for Agnes and cheer her on through awful situations and trying life circumstances, and celebrate her romantic triumph at the close of the book, but it wasn't the most memorable Bronte book.

The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown

This was the most thorough biography I've ever read on the Royals, while still being incredibly fresh and modern. Narrated by the author, I really enjoyed listening to this on Scribd. Brown doesn't pick sides as she gives great detail on the Charles and Diana marriage and subsequent divorce, and she has lengthy sources and inside personal experience to back up her ideas and opinions on greyer issues. Highly recommend!

1 comment:

  1. I love Austen and the Brontë's, obviously. But, oh my word, I loved Major Pettigrew's Last Stand so much!!!!! Possibly one of my favourite books ever. As you said, CHARMING.