Tag Archives: audio books

Putting Aside My Ear Buds

Lately my friends (Cathy’s) have been talking about two novels that they all love.  As these books are not available in audio format yet, I am setting aside my ear buds and taking up hard copy for the summer.  The books, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and The Girls by Emma Cline, have rave reviews on line as well as from my friends.  Below are the online summaries I found to prepare myself for my literacy journey:

The Girls

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.


The Girls

The Girl on the Train

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? 

Girl on train

It has been a few years since I delved into a hard copy novel and I am curious about how it will feel.  I am actually quite attached audio books now.  No listening in the dark for the next few weeks, but no ear bud cords to untangle either.  Should be interesting.  I’ll let you know what I prefer!

Delightful Listening

I (Cathy) finished an audio book the other day. New author for me; Kate Morton. The book was The Lake House.

lake h

I dreaded the conclusion because I was really enjoying listening to the book. But it finally dawned on me, it wasn’t just the story I was enamored with, it was the voice. The narrator was superb. Her accent was clearly British, which of course was perfect for the book , a Victorian tragedy, but I loved how she could capture the differences between the ‘old British class system’ by changing her dialect. Her pacing, tone and characterizations  were also quite wonderful. I enjoyed her performance so much, I Googled her:

Caroline Lee

Caroline Lee is a gifted actor and narrator who has worked extensively in theatre, film and television. She has performed for various theatre companies including the Melbourne Theatre Company, Hildegard and Playbox, and she received the Green Room Award for Best Actress in Fringe/Independent Theatre for her roles in Alias Grace and Ordinary Misery. Caroline’s film and television credits include the internationally popular drama Neighbours, as well as Blue Heelers, Halifax FP and Dogs in Space. In 1998 she won the Sanderson Young Narrator of the Year award.

caroline lee


I have listened to dozens of audio books, but this was the first time I felt the narrator added tremendously to the storyline. A perfect marriage between author and actor. As a result, I am already listening to another Kate Morton book, The Shifting Fog, but for the first time, I checked the name of the narrator first.

Only on chapter two and already delighted!


Summer of Jodi Picoult

I (Cathy) often listen to novels (on my ipod mini) as a series by one author. By doing this I can get very familiar with an author’s style, recurring themes and track her/his growth as a writer. This summer was Jodi Picoult.

Jodi Picoult Jodi Picoult

So far I have listened to 8 novels: The Pact, Perfect Match, Vanishing Act, The Storyteller, House Rules, Lone Wolf, Nineteen Minutes, and Sing You Home. I discovered she often writes about trials. She also tends to write from several points of view in each novel. I particularly liked this trait with the trial books, because I could ‘hear’ the perspectives of both the defense and the prosecution. Sometimes she uses one character in two books, which I also enjoyed.

Her strength, however, is her ability to tackle issues. She excels at them. Big, messy ones. (She wrote My Sisters Keeper, which became a popular movie starring Cameron Diaz and Alec Baldwin). The novel I just finished, Nineteen Minutes, was about a bullied high school student that decided to fight back by shooting several students in his school. It was graphic and disturbing, but portrayed with sensitivity and realism. The issues she portrayed in the trail bothered me so much, I found myself describing scenes to my husband and asking his opinion on them. I was emotionally snagged. I view this as a sign of an excellent writer. My favourite book of the 8, was The Storyteller, but it also was, at times, hard to listen to. A holocaust story, it was brutally realistic and very emotional.

I recommend her work as a wonderful resource for a book club, especially if you like a good discussion about polarized views and moral dilemmas. She has a new one coming out in October, Leaving Time, which I plan to order and buy a hard copy for my daughter. She is a big Jodi Picoult fan and started me on this series. After this, I haven’t decided which author to tackle next. Any recommendations?

storytellerninetten minutes