Month: May 2024

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Every time, I finish a great classic like this one, I I remember how much I love classics and wish I had time to read them. I was able to finish this because I listened the first 50% with some immersive reading over Victoria Day long weekend. The last 50% I read in text on a day that I took off time from work. The audiobook was wonderfully narrated by Juliet Stevenson who is probably one of my favourite narrators. She did all the characters so well. This is one of those rare books that while reading it that I was looking forward to rereading and relistening to it again one day.

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Unruly: A History of England’s Kings and Queens by David Mitchell

Read by the author. This is a history book or rather a pop history book by a comedian. I do prefer history written by historians but this was fun. It had the right level of comedy to reflect on English history. I also like that it’s a micro history. Most of the book was the medieval ages which is an era that is often less featured in mainstream royalty culture. It only went to the end of the Tudor era so it’s not a complete history. I generally listen to most of my audiobooks at 1.25 or higher speed but that was too fast for this book. Mitchell went his usual speaking speed so 1.0 was fine. It was fun albeit took me longer than most audiobooks.

1.0x. May 5-13, 2024.

The Puppets of Spelhorst by Kate DiCamillo

Lovely middle grade novel about a set of puppets and their adventures. Nicely illustrated and has a classic and older quality. This was my second DiCamillo after The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I liked this one more and reminded me to explore more from her.

May 15, 2024.

Have You Eaten Yet?: Stories from Chinese Restaurants Around the World by Cheuk Kwan

Narrated by Brian Nishii. This was part travelogue, part food memoir, and part history of the Chinese diaspora and identity. The stories are from the author’s time shooting a documentary over twenty years ago. Most of the the stories were set in places that are not often told from the Chinese migrant experience e.g. Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and the Middle East. It was a great nonfiction book for Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. There was even one story that mirrored my parents own migration story. I had the ebook which was useful for the photos, but I listened to 90% of it on audiobook.

1.5-1.75x. May 14-17, 2024.

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Narrated by Stephanie Gonzalez with additional cast in certain sections. I thought this would multi perspective based on the casting, but it was mainly Carrie Soto’s perspective. As usual, TJR crafted a character novel which was emotional yet not too heavy. Carrie Soto is very ambitious and not a friendly person at the start. However, she is rootable and I really liked her relationship with her father. There is a bit more romance here which I didn’t mind as it was more about Carrie’s complicated self- acceptance journey. Narration was very good though the main narrator’s Australian and British accents were so-so. All in all, another good one from TJR.

1.25x. April 29-May 2, 2024.

Beware of Chicken 1 by Casualfarmer

Narrated by Travis Baldree. I did a mix of audiobook only, ebook only, and immersive reading. This was suppose to be my bedtime listen. It was until I got so invested on a Friday night that I stayed up late reading some of it. As usual Baldree’s narration is great. The book itself is a slice of life, cozy fantasy which has satire and jokes about the Chinese fantasy genre xianxia. It is also an isekai novel which is an anime genre where someone from our world enters a fantasy world. Both the author and the protagonist are from Ontario. This made all the Canadian references really fun. I found this series through Reddit. I don’t think I could recommend it a lot of people because it’s quite niche in some ways but I liked it a lot. It’s written well with interesting characters and world building. It moved along at a good pace. I really enjoyed it and look forward to the next installments.

1.25x-1.5x and 2.5x for immersive. April 28-May 4, 2024.

Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain

I really liked Cain’s first book Quiet. It was a manifesto for all the introverts in the West. This book was more of a reflective view on how longing and sorrow are part of life. Like Cain, I am an introvert who has reflected a lot on emotions and related topics. I did like some reflections but it did not feel as cohesive as Quiet. For me, it was a bit preaching to the chore and it did not offer anything too much to develop my sense of these things. I still gave it an above average rating because I think this sort of thinking should be more in the mainstream.

1.25x. April 27-May 5, 2024.

The Black Island (Tintin #7)

It’s been a few months since I read a Tintin book. This one was set in England and Scotland. I really liked the art. The settings and actions looked great. My husband told me later that the Hergé and his team did a lot of research on the trains and the style. I also felt a lot had progressed in both the art and the pacing. The action was depicted better as well. The storylines and plots in these comics can be goofy. It was more enjoyable in this installment. This was one of my favourites so far.

Setting: Great Britain.

Feb 26, 2024.

King Ottokar’s Sceptre (Tintin #8)

This was fine. They are getting more consistent in formula. The art had more rocky mountains. I liked the world building of the micro state in the mountains.

Setting: Fictious European country.

March 29, 2024.

The Crab with the Golden Claws (Tintin #9)

Captain Haddock is introduced in this work. He is really annoying and his alcoholism is played for laughs as it endangers Tintin and him several times. Other than that, the art is getting better and better with every edition.

This marked the last of the hardcover Tintin books that we own. I do have one soft cover left to read but it’s not the next in the series. From now on, with that one exception, I am going to try to read the rest of the series in the original French.

Setting: North Africa.

April 17, 2024.