Inspired by Eva’s post, I decided to finally give audio books a try. I started with non-fiction and have continued with it since I had very bad luck with the one fiction title I tried listening to. And it’s a great way to fit more nonfiction into my reading. To my great delight, I have found that I have more time to listen to books than I thought – I listen while walking the dog at night and while doing the dishes. I had no idea I spent so much time doing dishes!
I got off to a bit of a rocky start, but then started to find my groove: I went from reading about vaginas and unhappy women to hermits, multiple sclerosis, seven missing children, and the power (or not) of self help.
The Vagina Bible by Jen Gunter: I started with The Vagina Bible – it’s been on my list since reading Anne’s review. It probably wasn’t the best one to begin with… I would say this book works better as a reference book. There is a lot of information in here that doesn’t need to be read until it needs to be read, and I even skipped a few chapters because I was so anxious to move on to another book. However, it’s a great book to have on hand, especially for young’uns who are encountering everything for the first time. Her second book is out now – The Menopause Manifesto – I will be sure to check that one out, but maybe not on audio.
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo: I think this was another book I read about on Anne’s blog, but I was also seeing it all over the place. The backstory behind this book is interesting (this interview gives a good idea of Taddeo and her book), and the women’s stories are certainly compelling (and graphic!) and hard to stop listening to, but I also found their stories really depressing. Maggie is abused by her teacher and suffers for it while her teacher gets acquitted of the charges. Lina is so desperate to be loved and wanted that she puts herself at huge emotional risk. Sloane’s story was the hardest for me to understand – all I know is that she doesn’t sound like a happy person. None of them sounded happy. Which was kind of depressing. I would still recommend this book, but know that it’s pretty heavy – you might want to have something lighter on the go at the same time.
Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel: I have wanted to read this book for a while – I love reading about hermits or people who are isolated in some way. And I wanted to know how this guy got away with it for 27 years! And why would someone want to live as a hermit with no other human contact for so long? Or forever. He said if he hadn’t been caught, he would have lived in his camp until the day he died. I feel sorry for him now as he is being forced to live in the real world. My favourite parts were learning how he put together his camp, and his daily, nightly, and seasonal habits. It blows my mind that he 1) never built fires to keep himself warm in the winter (!!) for fear of detection, 2) had such a crappy diet of everyone else’s non-perishable cottage food, and 3) that he broke into people’s houses so many times over the years without getting caught.
Just Jen by Jen Powley: Jen Powley is from Alberta and has been living in Halifax most of her adult life, and has also been living with multiple sclerosis since being diagnosed at the age of fifteen. She is smart and creative and brave and funny. Her memoir gives a really good sense of who she is as a person and everything she has overcome and accomplished so far in her extraordinary life. Just Jen was the winner of the 2017 Margaret and John Savage First Book Award for Nonfiction. Author spotlight at the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia.
Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga: This book is huge here in Canada and I am so happy to have finally read it – I’m ready to join in the conversation. It won the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize and was a finalist for the 2018 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. (CBC Books) Between 2000 and 2011, seven Indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Talaga looks closely into these tragedies from all angles and investigates the history and circumstances surrounding the deaths. Hearing all the ways in which these issues (and issues reaching far beyond Thunder Bay) are ignored or explained away or pushed to the back burner (the one that doesn’t work) is shocking and infuriating. Echoing what many have already said, this is a must-read for Canadians. Taking a quote from Marcie’s review: ” “The north may stretch out over a huge, underpopulated geological land mass of boreal forest, but the people who live there are all connected. They are connected through the land and the rivers and each other.” So, when a student disappeared, Indigenous people from hundreds of miles away, from other bands, came south, to the northern city of Thunder Bay, to organize search parties.”
Help Me! by Marianne Power: Rebecca introduced me to this one and I’m glad I had it on my radar as I scrolled through the library audio books. I needed something a little lighter after Seven Falling Feathers, and this was just the thing. Listening to the narrator read this book was so much fun. Marianne is in a rut and feels like a failure, so she embarks on a self-help project; she plans to take on one self-help book a month for a year with the goal of becoming a kinder, smarter, savvier, more adventurous, less anxious Marianne. Her project doesn’t quite work out as planned–she has many falling-apart moments–but also has some fun and learns some lessons along the way. Bonus: Marianne’s Mom pops in from time to time to impart advice (or not). If there weren’t so many other books to listen to, I think I would listen to this one again!
Have any of you been listening to books? Do you have recommendations for me?