The months really seem to be flying by lately and I am having difficulty wrapping my head around the fact that we are already over a quarter of a way through 2018. I travelled a fair amount in March, including a visit to family in Ghana where there isn’t much to do, which meant…plenty of time to read!!
March was very much an exercise in experimentation regarding where and when I am most receptive to audiobooks, and I’ve come to realise that there are three main situations in which they work well for me:
- Driving to work in the mornings when the mind is fresh and receptive to ideas
- While colouring – it’s amazing how in the flow you get and two or three hours just zip by
- Puzzling (I’ve recently started an 18,000 piece jigsaw puzzle because my life clearly isn’t already nerdy enough :)) – I wouldn’t try any of the heavier audiobooks in this situation but Harry Potter was wonderful listening!
In terms of audiobooks listened to, Hillary Clinton narrated her book What Happened, and she tells a compelling story even if it did get a little whiny towards the end. Stephen Fry’s performance of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was fabulous and I definitely see myself listening to the whole series while working on my puzzle because I know the story well enough that it will allow me to zone out occasionally without feeling like I’ve missed out. The Wisdom of Sundays was an insightful collection of interviews between Oprah Winfrey and guests from a diverse range of backgrounds, all of whom are thought leaders. And listening to Colin Firth narrating The End of the Affair during my commutes to work was definitely no hardship – great story, wonderful voice!
My favourite fictional read from March without a doubt was The Hate U Give – a young adult novel it may be classified as, but the topic is timely and powerful and Starr as a central character is nothing short of inspirational. A close second was A Gentleman in Moscow – a simple story beautifully told, with great characterisation. In non-fiction, Michael Lewis (well known for The Big Short and Moneyball), worked his magic again, bringing to life in The Undoing Project the friendship between psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, and the collaboration between them that was at the forefront of developing the field of behavioural economics.
After a trip to Antarctica last year, I was inspired to sign up for an Arctic trip in 2019 (yes, I really forward plan these things!!), and Northwest Passage is the first thing that springs to mind when you think about Arctic exploration. Dan Simmons The Terror is an absorbing, and well-researched, fictional account of John Franklin’s doomed expedition to try and discover the Northwest Passage, with a touch of the supernatural thrown in for good measure.
In anticipation of the movie release, I also finally got around to reading A Wrinkle in Time, which was a great quick escapist read.
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue was a well told story about the immigrant dream of life in the United States and what happens when its promises of bigger and better start to unravel and become undone.
The only true disappointment for me in March was Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak. While she explores some interesting themes and ideas – divinity, spirituality, feminism in a country that straddles eastern and western thought – the execution felt slightly flat and the ending was what I can only describe as…meh.
- A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles): ★★★★
- What Happened (Hillary Clinton): ★★★
- The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas): ★★★★★
- A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle): ★★★★
- Three Daughters of Eve (Elif Shafak): ★★
- The Terror (Dan Simmons): ★★★★
- The Wisdom of Sundays (Oprah Winfrey): ★★★★
- Behold the Dreamers (Imbolo Mbue): ★★★★
- The Undoing Project (Michael Lewis): ★★★★★
- The End of the Affair (Graham Greene): ★★★★