The Ultimate Book Geek Challenge, Part Two

I have finished my fifty books for the year — in fact, I’m up to fifty-six, I think — and this is a surprise to me. I had been reading less in the last few years, so I wasn’t sure I’d make it to fifty. I think I succeeded because tracking things tends to improve performance (so I’ve heard) and because I’ve started listening to books, which I had not done very often before. Thanks to Jim Dale and the Harry Potter books for showing me how enjoyable listening can be.

Category 2, Snow: The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

This is indeed a little book, which was something I was looking for at the beginning of the Challenge, because I was worried that fifty books would be ... uh ... challenging. Anyway, I liked this. Lots of good ideas about making your surroundings and life cozy and happy-making. Kinda makes you want to go live in Sweden or Denmark or Finland.

Category 3, Fairy Tale: Dornröschen auf Deutsch (Sleeping Beauty in German) 🎧

I listened to this (and two others, which will go in two other categories) and it was a great way to hear some German and a relief to be able to understand it. The fairy tales recorded by the Brothers Grimm are a bit different from what we Americans are used to, but that makes it fun. For example, this one starts with a frog telling the Queen that she’ll soon have a beautiful daughter.

Category 4, Re-read a classic: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis 🎧& 📖

The version of the audiobook I listened to was read by John Cleese and he was great as Screwtape. The Screwtape Letters really is a classic. So many insights into our human weaknesses. It was great to read it again.

Category 5, Around the World: The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel 🎧

This was pretty interesting, about the women who were married to the first US astronauts. It covered the early ’60s. I enjoyed it and my 13-year-old daughter liked the parts she heard, too. My only complaint is that it couldn’t delve more deeply into each wife, but that would have made for a long book.

Category 6, Sci-Fi: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This is my kind of sci-fi, if "my" kind of sci-fi is actually a thing and I'm not sure it is. It’s about a traveling group of actors and musicians years after a disease has destroyed a huge percentage of the world’s population. Talking about Creative Types in a post-apocalyptic world seemed like a new thing to me.

Category 8, In a series: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith 🎧& 📖

This is the second of the Cormoran Strike novels written by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. I don’t read a lot of crime fiction so I don’t have much to compare it with, but I liked this pretty well. It was well-written and had to do with authors and publishing, so that was fun. I don’t like it when a writer suddenly stops giving information to the reader, as she does in this towards the end. Like a scene in a movie where the characters start to make a plan or discuss something important, but the camera cuts away so you don’t actually get to find out what they’re planning or discussing until later. Seems like a cheap way to build suspense, but it didn’t happen until very near the end, so I kept on.

Category 9, Detectives: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith 🎧

The first Cormoran Strike novel. I like that Strike is a damaged hero. Literally damaged, because one leg was blown off by an IED in Afghanistan, so he is often limping around on his prosthetic and in pain by the end of the day. Anyway, it was good enough that I read the second one. Also, I seem to like audiobook narrators with an English or Scottish accent.


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