I read a book! I even read two! Or, more accurately, I listened to two books. I have become a fan of the audiobook. So good for listening while knitting. Or on public transport. Or doing the dishes. Or holding a sleeping baby. I buy my audiobooks from Audible – I have a monthly membership, which is good value right now that the dollar is so good.
The first is Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History of Private Life, read by himself. I love his travel books and I thought this sounded interesting – a history of private life, themed around each room in the 19th century rectory house in which he lived in the UK. It’s an interesting book, crammed full of facts and anecdotes, but I found it a bit of a slog. I’m not sure if it suffered by being an audiobook – it might be better read in the traditional way, because it would allow you to skip around to find whatever next takes your fancy. It also doesn’t display nearly as much of the humour Bryson has in his travel books.
But if you are the sort of person who goes on wikipedia (or whatever) to look up, say, when the first house was built, and end up going on a journey including skara brae, whale hunting, the poorhouse, manufacture of bricks, the history of medical discoveries and treatment in particular as it pertains to women and so on, then you will love this book! And if you are me, you will come away with a sense of gratitude that you are a woman now and not in the past when you might have had a breast removed due to cancer, without the use of anaesthetic. Urk.
The second was a refreshing change (which is kind of weird, since the story itself is almost a horror story!). Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, read so delightfully by Dawn French. I just loved this, and the narration was perfect. I found it really difficult to “put down”, and had this one read within a few days (whereas At Home took me a few months to finish). It is a kid’s story, but doesn’t overly read like one, and had just enough suspense without leaving me totally freaked out, if that makes sense. I highly recommend it!