I’m trying to read more books that I choose for my own reading enjoyment. Not for review, but because I’ve been wanting to read them or they caught my attention. Most of them have been talked about ad nauseam or have been on my to-read list for a long time so they don’t really need a full review. But, I’d still like to give them some space here on the blog, so instead, I’m offering mini-reviews of the books that won’t get full-page space here.
I have had some good reading lately. The cold, snowy days mean I haven’t been leaving the house as much. But, that also means I’ve been doing lots of puzzles instead of other things I SHOULD be doing. I’m working on my 5th puzzle so far this year. I’ve been pairing puzzling with listening to audiobooks or watching a show. “Call the Midwife” is my new obsession after finishing “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. You’ll notice three of the books listed below were on audio, mostly listened to while puzzling.
THE ANSWER IS….REFLECTIONS ON MY LIFE
By: Alex Trebek
Narrated by: Ken Jennings and Alex Trebek
Published: July 21, 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
I listened to this on audio. Ken Jennings narrates most of the chapters, but Trebek does narrate a few of the more personal chapters. This memoir shares short stories from Trebek’s life, mostly going in order, but sometimes jumping around. He shares details of his childhood growing up in Canada all the way through his 30+ years on Jeopardy. The chapters are very short, with Trebek choosing to share funny antidotes or lessons learned over giving minute details. Every chapter is either titled What is…. blank or The Answer is… blank. I loved his personal stories the most, especially after his recent death, his stories revealed his great love for his wife, children, and for those less fortunate. At the end of the book, he lets readers know that all of the proceeds from his book will go to those organizations that help those in need.
Side note: After listening to a few chapters, I knew this would be a book my dad would enjoy as he is a huge Jeopardy fan. So, I purchased a physical copy for him. When I looked through it, I noticed it was full of pictures for nearly every chapter. So, even though I really enjoyed the audiobook, you’ll want to maybe have a physical copy for the photos.
BEST OF FRIENDS
By: Lucinda Berry
Published: August 18, 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
The book begins with a shocking event that impacts 3 families and is every parent’s nightmare. These three families have been best friends since high school and now their children are also best friends. They all live in the same neighborhood and the ramifications of that one event will have implications on their families forever.
There are lots of secrets between the three families, between their children, and even in their own households. I honestly had trouble keeping the three moms figured out…who they were married to and who their kids were. I’m not sure if it was because I read it as an eBook and couldn’t flip back and forth as easily or not. Each chapter was told from a different mom’s point of view. It was fast-paced and intense. Lots of drama, surprises, and sadness. This was our book club choice for January and it made for a good discussion.
By: Bill Bryson
Narrated by: Bill Bryson
Published: October 15, 2019
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Fascinating, convicting, eye-opening and jaw-dropping information about every part of our amazing bodies. Bryson reads the audio version himself. He does have a quieter voice but still a good narrator. This is a book I’d like to have a physical copy of to refer back to. I just wish that he had written this AFTER the coronavirus hit. I’d love to know his thoughts.
HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES
What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from A Secret World
The Mysteries of Nature #1
By: Peter Wohlleben
Narrated by: Mike Grady
Published: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Greystone Books
I didn’t realize until I started listening that this is written by a German forestry scientist. So, most of the book talks about forests in Germany. I still found the book interesting, if maybe a bit dry in spots. But, I find nature interesting and love learning new things and this was something that did hold my attention for the most part. The way trees communicate with each other underground as well as through slight “noises” in the forest was fascinating. The ways trees depend on each other for food and light and stability reminded me of the trees we lost after the Derecho in our community. The trees left behind will struggle to survive and have to find ways to adjust to the new sunlight and shade, the missing tree neighbors, and different food sources due to tree loss. I hadn’t thought about that process before and I will be interested to notice the trees left behind and how they are adapting to their new conditions this summer.
The author also has books about animals and nature that I may listen to as well. He has an easy approach and doesn’t talk over my head when I’m quite sure he could. It’s obvious the author cares very deeply for trees and nature and I appreciate his efforts to maintain the lives of trees and encouraging others to do the same.