After my rocky start to audio books, I am on a roll. I would recommend all of these, except maybe don’t listen to the two cancer memoirs and depression memoir back to back to back like I did.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
This book is as good as everyone says it is. Even now, almost eight years later. I learned so much about how the law works and how slow it is to change, and how ancient and nonsensical and racist some laws still are. I think this Bryan Stevenson guy is pretty much a hero. Does anyone know if we have something in Canada that compares to this?
Everything Happens For a Reason by Kate Bowler
Kate and her husband had been trying for years to have a baby, and when they were finally blessed with one, she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. As a Divinity professor with an interest in “American prosperity gospel,” Kate explores what it means to believe in “miracle” cures, and how other peoples’ well-meaning positivity is not always helpful. For now, she is just trying to spend as much time with her husband and son as she can. You will cry.
This is Not the End of Me by Dakshana Bascaramurty
“Layton Reid was a globe-trotting, risk-taking, sunshine-addicted bachelor – then came a melanoma diagnosis.” He marries Candace and moves home to Halifax to be closer to family. They have a son, and Layton spends the next years of his life desperately trying to stay alive as long as possible to be with him. Then Layton embarks on an ambitious project to leave behind for his son when he’s gone. Excerpts from Layton’s journals are read aloud, and some are so raw and candid. Even though you know how it ends, you hope with all your heart that you’re wrong. You will cry, but you will also laugh.
Hello, I Want to Die, Please Fix Me by Anna Mehler Paperny
I don’t know what I was thinking when I went straight from the heartache of two cancer memoirs to one about living with depression. Anna has the kind of depression that doesn’t seem to have a reason to be. It also doesn’t seem to respond well enough to any treatments Anna has tried. It’s stubborn, isolating, and life-draining. But Anna is a journalist, so she does what she’s good at and explores the mental illness health system in Canada–treatment options, inpatient care versus outpatient care, what it’s like to live on a psych ward–while contending with her own illness and shame that goes along with it. She’s fortunate enough to have a loving family and support system – what of the patients who have no one, or are single parents, or who can’t afford to stop working long enough to get treatment? Everything you might ever want to know about depression, and more.
Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
What better than octopuses to give me a respite from the heartache of illness? And this book did not disappoint me – I learned so many fascinating things about octopuses as well as some of the other sea animals they had at the aquarium where Montgomery did much of her research. I had no idea that octopuses were so smart, and even mischievous. They squirt water at people they don’t like and have been seen escaping their tanks and scuttling across the floor. Most of the octopus behaviour in the book is based on the ones Montgomery interacted with at the aquarium and stories from other aquariums, but treat yourself to the documentary “My Octopus Teacher” and you’ll get a nice balance of captive versus wild. It was incredible to see the octopus being chased by a shark and all the crafty ways it found to hide. My kids while I was reading this book: “OMG you are obsessed with octopuses, Mom. Are they your new favourite animal? Are you going to get one as a pet?” Octopuses are truly amazing, but I don’t think I’m ready to bring one into my house. Not yet, anyway.
What have you been listening to?