A late Christmas gift…
In knitter’s language, an FO is a finished object. I don’t have many FOs to share, being a rather slow and formerly very distracted knitter, but I have actually been finishing some knitting projects since I retired from teaching last year. I mean actually starting AND finishing them! While I was working, I was great at starting those special projects, with all good intentions, but very few of them were finished. But nowadays I can focus on a project and see it through to the finish! Hooray!
So, slow knitter that I am…I just finished my son’s Christmas present. Late, but finished! I did wrap it up unfinished still on the needles and gave it to him on Christmas, so he has been patiently waiting to receive it again when completed. It’s ready!
And I really enjoyed knitting it, because the yarn was lovely to work on and because I listened to a number of audiobooks throughout the project. So here are the audiobooks that went into the spirit of this very enjoyable project…
“For my part I know nothing with any certainty,
but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”
~Vincent Van Gogh
I love Carl V’s, (of Stainless Steel Droppings) reading challenges! My very first reading challenge as a book blogger was in 2007 — his first Once Upon a Time challenge! (I’m looking forward to this year’s OUaT starting in March.) It’s been a few years since I participated in his Sci Fi Experience Challenge, but I’ve been reading many classics recently and decided it would be fun to read a classic of science fiction. Since I am late starting this challenge, which is already underway from December 1st through January 31st, I will focus on just one book: The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury. I have the audiobook version from the library, narrated by the author, which should be especially interesting. As always, this will be an enjoyable reading (and listening) experience!
Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series has become a favorite of mine. I’ve been listening to them in audiobook format, read by a wonderful narrator, Orlagh Cassidy, and have just finished the fourth volume, Messenger of Truth. As I read through the series, I’m becoming more and more fascinated with the history of the time period after World War I and into the 1930s. And according to Jacqueline Winspear, that fascination is exactly what she hoped would happen with her readers.
“If, IF, they take something in that book and it makes them think and wonder and consider what has gone before–maybe a curiosity about a certain part of history–maybe just wondering about something that’s going on today and looking at it in a different way… If that happens, well, that’s a job well done as far as I’m concerned.”
My respect for this author is growing deeper with each book in this series. Definitely a job well done!
I am having so much fun listening to the audiobook version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, narrated by the incredibly talented Anne Hathaway! It was already on my listening wishlist, when Audible offered it to me free as a Thanksgiving gift. (If you’d like to listen to a 28-minute excerpt from the book, click here.)
This book was one of my favorite yearly read-alouds when I was teaching. I’m missing those favorites now that I’m retired, so thought that I could give myself a gift of listening to someone else read it to me. Little did I know that Anne Hathaway, with her passionate love for character and acting, would be my reader. I love Audible for gifting me this audiobook, and I’m loving Anne’s fun-filled, energy-packed interpretation of L.Frank Baum’s wonderful words!
Illustration by John Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard Kipling.
Rudyard Kipling published The Jungle Book in 1894, a collection of his highly imaginative stories and poems for children, written especially for his daughter. They were fables with moral teachings, and the stories and characters became beloved the world over. My favorite story in the book was “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” which told of the mongoose that saved the English family living in India from the villainous cobras Nag and Nagaina. I also enjoyed reading about Mowgli, the boy who was raised by the wolves, and about the White Seal who witnessed the brutal clubbing of the seal cubs and was determined to find a place where the seals could be safe from the hunters and those killing fields.
Somehow, I didn’t read this book when I was a child, and I’m sorry to say that I didn’t read it during my teaching career, either. It would have been interesting to read aloud some of the stories to my own children or to my students. I wonder how they would have felt about them?
Kipling was a brilliant writer (he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907) and a very complex man with a strong personality. I’ve been quite fascinated with learning more about him since watching “My Boy Jack,” starring Daniel Radcliffe, which was the poignant story of the loss of his son in WWI. It was Kipling who pressured military friends to allow his son to enlist despite the fact that Jack was severely nearsighted and had already been rejected by the military numerous times. A combination of Kipling’s own prejudices and stern beliefs, plus the social pressures on the young men of wartime England, brought Jack Kipling to the battlefield in France, where he lost his life on the second day of the Battle of Loos. Kipling never got over that terrible loss.
As so often happens with me, I am captured by both the writer’s life and by his works. I’m going to continue reading and learning about Kipling, and soon I’d like to read his Kim, Captains Courageous, and Puck of Pook’s Hill.
Currently reading The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling, [for the first time!] and am captured by these stories.
Pardonable Lies, by Jacqueline Winspear, is the 3rd book in the Maisie Dobbs series. I am enjoying listening to this series on audiobook and have become a devoted Jacqueline Winspear fan. Maisie Dobbs is a private detective and a psychologist, and the stories are historical mysteries that take place after The Great War.
As were millions of women during that time period, Maisie was deeply impacted by the ‘war-to-end-all-wars.’ She was a nurse during the war and is haunted by the tragedies and horrors she witnessed. Her deeply sensitive and empathetic nature made her a wonderful war-time nurse, and an extraordinary investigator in the post-war world. And as she struggles with her own losses and post-traumatic stress, she is particularly helpful to others who were damaged physically and emotionally by the war.
Pardonable Lies is a story very much about healing. Maisie is a healer, having the ability and training to help others suffering from emotional trauma, but she, herself, is also in need of healing. The story of her journey through many of her own post-war demons is at the center of this volume in the series.
I have become very attached to Maisie and her friends. They continue to grow and develop, and are very real to me. It’s so nice to have many more books in this series to look forward to…this is a series that seems to get better and better with each book.
Click here to read a beautiful essay by Jacqueline Winspear, about her visit to the battlefields of World War I in France.
Alexander McCall Smith has written a number of different series, for both adults and children, full of fun, gentle, and humorous stories that are among my favorites. Of all his fun and quirky characters, my favorite is Precious Ramotswe, who started a detective agency in Botswana and called it “the #1 Ladies Detective Agency.” The 14th volume in the series in due to be released in just a few days. I’m looking forward to reading it. In the meantime, I discovered that he has also started a new series about Precious Ramotswe as a young girl. I downloaded the audiobook of the first book in the series, The Great Cake Mystery, and listened to it this morning.
It’s a very kind book for children. The story explains how Precious discovered that she was a “natural born detective.” And it explains why later in life, she calls her detective agency the “#1 Ladies Detective Agency. If I was still teaching (newly retired), my Second Graders would have loved listening to this story. We would have had some very interesting discussions about ‘jumping to conclusions,’ and ‘judging people by their looks,’ and about bullying, and about the power of kindness.
“There is plenty of work for love to do.”
~A. McCall Smith, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
Seventy-six years ago today, Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, was published. A few years ago I listened to the audiobook version of this book narrated by Ruby Dee. Both the book and that experience of listening to Ruby Dee’s incredible narration have stayed with me. I highly recommend that experience to you on this anniversary of the publishing of this novel.
I haven’t had much reading time since Spring Break ended, but I have managed to read two very enjoyable books. Actually, I listened to the audiobook of The Children of Green Knowe, by L.M. Boston (a book I’ve been interested in for a long time!). Listening to it on the road made the trip home from Spring Break go by so quickly. The other book I read practically in one sitting on the weekend. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, by Jeanne Birdsall, is another delightful book I’ve been meaning to read for some time. I’m so glad I finally got to both these books! And they are both the beginning of a series, so I have more to enjoy!