I’m still not convinced by the audiobook thing. Yes, I enjoy them while I’m listening (as I walk, drive, cook) but I don’t immerse myself in the words the way I do when I read. I don’t notice lovely sentences or, if I do, I have no time to ponder. Obviously I can replay bits but… Just. Not. The. Same.
After listening to the three books I’ve reviewed (very briefly) below, I’ve come to some conclusions. Until now, I’ve only been listening to books that I also have a hard copy of – in case I want to switch to reading – it’s a clumsy system and I think I have to go one way or the other.
After listening to the three below and starting Salt Creek by Lucy Trelor, I decided that I should stick to audio-fluff – books that I don’t have to concentrate on; books that I’m unlikely to mark paragraphs in; books that are reading-junk-food. I abandoned Salt Creek (I’ll read it some day) and downloaded the first in the Gossip Girl series. Unsurprisingly, it was ridiculous, ace nonsense. Perfect.
Bush Oranges by Kay Donovan
Bush Oranges is a story about the relationship between mothers, daughters and sisters. Donovan has used a sugar town in northern Queensland as her backdrop and although this was nicely done, the characters lacked distinctive voices – problematic given that it’s a relatively short book and the major plot points are revealed as facts of the past, leaving the reader little active evidence for characters’ motivations. 2/5
Piano Lessons by Anna Goldsworthy
I’m probably not the right audience for Goldsworthy’s memoir – readers who spent hours dedicated to music practice or dreamed of becoming a professional musician would no doubt enjoy this account of a life geared toward becoming a concert pianist. It’s really a story about Anna’s piano teacher, Eleanora Sivan, a Russian émigré and world-class pianist who taught Anna for over a decade. As well as Bach and Mozart, Sivan taught Anna about the philosophical meaning of music, and this is where the book came a little unstuck for me because so much of the story is dialogue. Sivan’s opinions and phrasing dominate and were no doubt precise (they had to be given the context of what she was talking about) – how accurate is Anna’s memory? Does it matter? 2/5
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld
I ended up reading large sections of this amazing book because Wlyd’s words are some of the most disconcerting and sinister that I’ve come across in a very long time. The language stopped me dead – rough, raw, frightening, and I was scared. Equally astounding is the structure of the story – it’s actually two stories told together – the past tense story moves forward, with regular chronology, but the present tense story moves backwards in time. It’s not confusing once you’re in it and each story is revealed, bit-by-bit, until you come to the end (which is also the start) and it’s all very clever but not in a show-off kind of way but in a take-your-breath-away kind of way. I’ll be revisiting this one in hard copy.