Book Review: American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund S. Morgan


Author: Edmund S. Morgan Title: American Slavery, American Freedom Narrator: Sean Pratt Publication Info: Gildan Media, LLC (2013) Summary/Review: This book is not so much a history of slavery as it is an economic history of Colonial Virginia.  In a sense, understanding the conditions of Colonial Virginia is important to understanding how this English community came to…

Book Review: Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt


Author: Samantha Hunt  Title: Mr. Splitfoot Narrators: Cassandra Campbell and Emily Woo Zeller Publication Info: Blackstone Audio, Inc. (2016) Summary/Review: This gothic mystery tells two interwoven stories.  The first is about the young Ruth and Nat, foster children growing up in a group home under a strange Christian cult leader.  They begin to claim that they can talk…

Book Review: A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn


Author: Howard Zinn Title: A People’s History of the United States Narrator: Jeff Zinn Publication Info: HarperAudio (2009) Other Books Read By Same Author: A People’s History of American Empire and Marx in Soho Summary/Review: This is a powerful “alternate” history of the United States that I’ve long intended to read but only just got around to…

Book Review: Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary


Author: Beverly Cleary Title: Ramona the Brave Narrator: Stockard Channing Publication Info: New York : Listening Library, 2007 (originally published in 1975) Books Read by the Same Author: Ramona and Her Father, Beezus and Ramona, and Ramona the Pest Summary/Review: Ramona is now in first grade, maturing away from being a “pest” but still finding trouble.  She also…

Book Review: Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary


Author: Beverly Cleary Title: Ramona the Pest Narrator: Stockard Channing Publication Info: HarperAudio (2010) – originally published in 1968 Books Read by the Same Author: Ramona and Her Father, Beezus and Ramona Summary/Review: In the second book of the Ramona series, Ramona begins kindergarten with much excitement, and while she’s eager to learn to read…

Book Review: Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary


Author: Beverly Cleary Title: Beezus and Ramona  Narrator: Stockard Channing Publication Info: HarperAudio (2010) – originally published in 1955 Books Read by the Same Author: Ramona and Her Father Summary/Review: This is the first in Cleary’s series of Ramona books.  I listened to it with my daughter at bedtime.  In many ways my four-year old daughter…

Book Review: Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary


Author: Beverly Cleary Title: Ramona and Her Father Narrator: Stockard Channing Publication Info: New York : Listening Library/Random House Audio Publishing Group, p1991. Summary/Review: I sadly deprived myself of Beverly Cleary books as a child, so I’m making up for lost time.  In this Ramona Quimby book, her father is laid off meaning that Ramona spends more…

Book Review: Stuart Little by E.B. White


Author: E.B. White Title: Stuart Little Narrator: Julie Harris Publication Info: New York : Bantam Audio, p1965. Books Read By Same Author: Charlotte’s Web and Trumpet of the Swan Summary/Review: Listened to this audiobook on a road trip to New York City, appropriately enough.  The titular character is born in New York, surprising his human family by actually…

Book Review: Jackaby by William Ritter


Author:  William Ritter Title:  Jackaby Narrator: Nicola Barber Publication Info: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books (2014) Summary/Review: This detective novel set in 1892 in a fictional city in New England openly acknowledges that it is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche in the opening pages.  Even “Sherlock Holmes with fantastical and supernatural elements” has been done before,…

Book Review: The Round House by Louise Erdrich


Author: Louise Erdrich Title: The Round House Narrator: Gary Farmer Publication Info: HarperAudio (2013 Summary/Review: Set on a fictional Indian reservation in North Dakota, this is the story of the teenager Joe who at the beginning of the novel learns that his mother has been brutally raped.  What follows is a story of legal complications surrounding the crime,…

Book Review: The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman


Author: Francis Parkman Title: The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life Narrator: Robert Morris Publication Info: Blackstone Audio, Inc. (2012, originally published in 1849) Summary/Review: This narrative describes 23-year-old Parkman’s travels west in  with fellow Boston Brahmin Quincy Adams Shaw.  Together they travel with settlers adventurers through the future states of of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado,…

Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray


Author: Libba Bray Title: The Diviners Narratorr: January LaVoy Publication Info: Listening Library (2012) Summary/Review: Evie, an outspoken youngster from Ohio is sent away be her family to live with a strange uncle in Jazz Age New York City and ends up helping him try to solve a series of occultist murders.  An outlandish premise, but we…

Book Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson


Author:  Jenny Lawson Title: Furiously Happy Narrator:  Jenny Lawson Publication Info: [New York] : Macmillan Audio, p2015. Summary/Review: This collection of humorous essays is a laugh riot from the perspective of the author of The Bloggess which skips among topics such as depression, anxiety, marriage, therapy, and taxidermy.  Really, a surprising amount about taxidermy.  Listening to the…

Book Review: My American Revolution: Crossing the Delaware and I-78 by Robert Sullivan


Author: Robert Sullivan Title: My American Revolution: Crossing the Delaware and I-78 Narrator: Mike Chamberlain Publication Info: Dreamscape Media (2012) Other Books by Same Author:  The Meadowlands and The Thoreau You Don’t Know Summary/Review: Robert Sullivan and I share a surname and a lot of common interests.  In this case, local history and travelogue.  The American…

Book Review: H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald


Author: Helen Macdonald Title: H is for Hawk Narrators: Helen Macdonald Publication Info: Blackstone Audio, Inc. (2015) Summary/Review: After the death of her father, Macdonald works through her grief by adopting and training a young goshawk, Mabel whom she calls “Thirty Ounces of Death in a Feathered Jacket.” This lyrical book is part memoir and…

Book Review: Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville


Author: Eliza Granville Title: Gretel and the Dark Narrators: Cassandra Campbell, Stefan Rudnicki Publication Info: Blackstone Audio, Inc. (2014) Summary/Review: Deeply rooted in Grimm’s fairy tales, this novel tells two stories. One set in 1899 Vienna is about a woman given the name “Lillie” who claims to be a robot and is brought to psychologist Dr Josef Breuer…

Book Reviews: My Misspent Youth by Megan Daum


Author: Megan Daum Title: My Misspent Youth Narrator: Xe Sands Publication Info: Dreamscape Media, LLC (2015) Summary/Review: I listened this book of essays on recommendation of Slate magazine’s best audiobooks of 2015 article (although the essays were largely published more than 15 years ago leading to a time warp sensation hearing them).  The first few essays are largely…

Book Reviews: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell


Author:  Sarah Vowell Title: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States Narrator:  Sarah Vowell, with  John Slattery, Nick Offerman, Fred Armisen, Bobby Cannavale, John Hodgman, Stephanie March, and Alexis Denisof Other Books Read By Same Author: The Partly Cloudy Patriot  The Wordy Shipmates  Publication Info: Simon & Schuster Audio (2015) Summary/Review: This audiobook includes numerous well-known actors performing…

Book Review: Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello


Author: Elvis Costello Title: Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink Narrator: Elvis Costello Publication Info: Penguin Audio (2015) Summary/Review: The memoir of Declan MacManus, better known by his stage name Elvis Costello,  is more of a collection of thematic essays than a birth to present memoir.  Like the lyrics of his song, Costello’s way with words is evident. His…

Book Review: The Glorious Cause by Jeff Shaara


Author: Jeff Shaara Title: The Glorious Cause  Narrator: Grover Gardner Publication Info: Books on Tape, 2003 Summary/Review: Turns out that wasn’t the book I intended to read. That’s okay, because this is an entertaining historical novel about the American War for Independence. Or is it a novelistic history? Because it really reads like a history book.  But a…