Jackie’s 2012 Top 5 Audio Books

Even though I am not done my last 5 reviews of 2012 (SLACKER!) ’tis the season for “Best Ofs” so here it goes… my top 5 Audio Books listened to in 2012. Click on the image for the Literary Hoarders review and see below for a quick summary.

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Shine Shine Shine – Joshilyn Jackson’s voice was PERFECT for all of the fantastically quirky characters of this WONDERFUL debut novel by Lydia Netzer. Maxon and Sunny are the Romeo and Juliette of our time!! GO ROBOTS!

In The Pleasure Groove – Life, Death and Duran Duran – I’m sorry! I’m sorry!! But John Taylor HIMSELF narrates it!! How can I not LOVE IT?? A “must listen” for Durannies everywhere!

The Orphan Master’s Son – A fascinating story that takes place in North Korea. 3 different narrators made the story absolutely come to life and it is one I will not soon forget! If you have a desire to read this one I highly recommend the audio– it will not disappoint!

Rules of Civility – One of the first I listened to in 2012 that is still so fresh in my mind because of its greatness! I was absolutely transported to the 1930’s by Rebecca Lowman’s narration! Katey Content is still one heck of a gal in my eyes!

A Land More Kind Than Home – A heartbreaking and well told story made even better because of the narration! I agree with Penny 100% on this one!

Honorary Mentions

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Unbroken – The story is just so unbelievable! Louis Zamporini is a true-life hero like no other!

Gold – Amelia Fox’s narration MADE this book for me! I fell for all the clichés and cheesiness hook, line and sinker!

City of Women – Wanted to pound the s**t out of self-righteous Sigred but the narration was undeniably FANTASTIC! Click the image for Penny’s review.


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The Marriage Plot – GHASTLY narration and pathetic characters that 100% ruined this one for me. BLECK!

Seriously… I’m Kidding – Oh Ellen! I love you but this was a RIP OFF!

As Small As An Elephant – I am not done this review yet but the winey-ness of this narration would rival Luke Skywalker from the first Star Wars movie (which is actually the 4th Star Wars as my nephews often point out LOL).

A Game of Thrones – Finding out that the same narrator does all 5 books made me stop at this one. TOO MANY VOICES!

Looking forward to another great year of listening pleasure in 2013! Definitely more fun than talk radio and over played pop songs! Thanks to Audiobook Jukebox and the Windsor Public Library for some FANTASTIC audio books in 2012!


Penny’s 2012 Top 5 Audio Books

‘Tis the season for the “Best of…Lists” and numerous have been flying around of late. I’m certain I’m late to this game, but, for my “Best of” series, I thought I would focus on my “Favourite Audio Books Read in 2012”.

This year was definitely the YOAB (Year of Audio Book) for us here at the Literary Hoarders. 2012 truly demonstrated our growing fascination and obsession with this format! Our public library has a wealth of them and thanks to the suggestion from fellow LH Jackie, Elizabeth and I quickly searched for and devoured many books in this format this year. I think I can truly say that they became a requirement for the daily commute to work!  We also owe a great big thank you to Audiobook Jukebox for allowing us the fabulous opportunity to become Solid Gold Reviewers! That was a true treat!

Below is a pictorial snapshot of my Top 5 that I read this year. If you click on the image it will take you to the review written for it.

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Now, I would be remiss if I did not include these 3 other audio books as well, because I thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed these ones too! Each of the narrators in these stories were wonderful and delightful and did great justice to the stories. Kyra Sedgewick read Sea Glass, and I could have had her read to me all the live long day!

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But as much as you have a Best of, I’m also going to add what I considered to be the Worst of, as they should get a mention too! Both of these made me cringe and suffer and want to drive my car off the road. The narrator is SO vitally important in establishing everything for these stories, and these are the ones that just did not live up to expectation and probably ruined what might otherwise have been fine stories.

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I know that 2013 will not see us slowing down in reading audio books at all and I’m looking forward to adding some new gems to my Best of…lists!

Book Review: The End of Your Life Book Club

Grab a box of Kleenex and a pad of paper (or be VERY close to your Goodreads App)! As fellow Hoarder Penny says, “this book will make your ‘To Be Read’ pile EXPLODE!!” Thank you so much to Random House for sending us a copy to review! It will definitely be one that gets passed to all Hoarders! Liz! It’s coming to you next so get ready!

We chose this book for our “Wink 3” Book Club because it was going to be the featured book in October’s Chatelaine Magazine, it was starting to become a big buzz and, hey, it had Book Club in the title so why not?! It sure did not disappoint! As sad as the subject of losing a loved one to cancer is, this book somehow managed to be a truly up lifting story that you absolutely could NOT put down! This was author Will Schwalbe’s love letter to his dynamo of a mother, Mary Ann. Their Book Club of 2 took place in the waiting room of the cancer treatment centre. Mother and son were forever reading and their common interest in books became their way of communicating. “What are you reading?” was all they needed to ask and the conversations would be endless.

“We’re all in the end-of-our life book club, whether we acknowledge it or not; each book we read may well be the last, each conversation the final one.”

One of the things I loved the most about this book (apart from the reading list) was that I could totally relate to these people despite the differences in our situations– proof that the “language” of reading is universal. We all feel the same when reading a good book– you just want to tell everyone you meet “HEY! You HAVE to read this book– it was soooo gooooood!”. Readers know what a thrill it is to meet another reader that is as passionate about books as you are. Like Will, I am also lucky enough to share my love of reading with my mom and I think that is another reason why this book resonated so much with me (that and Will’s difference in opinion with his mother as far as religion is concerned– my mother is religious (yikes! A CATHOLIC) and I am nowhere near that belief. He treats his mother’s beliefs with respect and understanding without sounding preachy and cheesy. I loved that!)

I also felt that even though the Schwalbes were a wealthy family and were very fortunate to live a privileged kind of lifestyle, it never seemed that they took it for granted. Will felt exceedingly lucky that he was able to quit his un-fulfilling job and Mary Ann never thought twice about giving her time (and I’m sure plenty of money) to refugees, volunteering overseas in Third World countries and building libraries in Afghanistan. Even being sick with cancer was something that Mary Ann was forever grateful that she could actually “afford” to do– many in the United States will go bankrupt when they get sick (Mary Ann’s dying wish was that Obama would FINALLY institute universal healthcare in the United States– something, I am thankful for every day as a Canadian– thank you Tommy Douglas!). Reading about these people made you want to become a better person rather than making you envious of all that they had. Will Schwalbe seems like such a genuinely great person! I would love to hang out with him!

And then there was the reading list! There were sooooooo many great books that I had read and was able to revisit and even more that I needed to add to the dreaded TBR pile (too many books– always a problem for a Literary Hoarder!). Some that were added were: The Lizard Cage, Felicia’s Journey, The Uncommon Reader, The Year of Magical Thinking, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, The Bolter, Suite Francais, A Long Way Gone, The Bite of the Mango and Continental Drift. When, oh WHEN, will I ever fit them in???

4 stars for this brilliant, feel good story that had me sobbing from page one! You HAVE to read this book! It was sooooo gooooood!

Mary Ann Schwable. Google her– she was quite the lady!

Note: Out of (morbid) curiosity I would have been interested in what Will and Mary Ann thought of the 50 Shades phenomenon had it been out during their time in the Book Club. Wow! Now, that would have been an awkward, but interesting, conversation for a mom and her gay son to have!! 😉

Award winning Audio Books

Recently, at the suggestion of a friend/librarian, I “read” or listened to an audio book when I had to drive a ways, albeit in a particularly straight line. She suggested to try out an audio book since I really didn’t have to do a great deal of thinking while driving around bends, turns and twists as I was headed straight up a straight, straight highway. Interesting. I have never tried this medium before, but have known many that have either while running, working ( a postie friend!), etc. I decided to give this a whirl.

My first audio book was Minette Walter’s The Ice House, and after adjusting to the ebb and flow of someone reading to me, (and adapting to the narrator’s slightly annoying attempts of creating gruff male voices) I found that I really, really did enjoy a book in this manner. I think it’s also all in whom the narrator is as well. I have now moved on to my 4th audio book (currently, it’s The Abstinence Teacher, read by Campbell Scott. I do have to say I’m not that fond of his reading style, but I’ll adapt) and today came across The 2011 Audies, awards created for the best audio books of the year. I scanned through the lists and saw that The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins won in the Classics division. Our fellow Hoader, Jackie has listened to it and I will chime in that I think listening to a good old, classic mystery in this way is my favourite way to appreciate an audio book. Seeing as Woman in White is the award winner, I may just have to listen to it!

In the Literary Fiction category, amongst titles such as, “Freedom” and “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet” is the Winner:

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Hmmm…not sure if it would be something that I would pick up, but if it’s award winning? Maybe I’ll have to take a listen…..

By the way, The Audiobook of the Year went to Life, by Keith Richards – I am going to go out on a limb here and assume this is owing to the fact that Johnny Depp read it.  Johnny Depp reading the back of a cereal box would be award winning, so I think this had nothing on the content of Keith Richards’ life. 🙂 (in my opinion)