Tag Archives: Stephen King

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10-9-17 #IMWAYR

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This weekly update has turned into more of a monthly update…

Recently Finished Books

The Widow of Wall Street
Meyers, Randy Susan
Simon & Schuster, 2017

The Widow of Wall Street is the best of several novels I’ve read recently that deal with the families and fallout from the financial crisis of 2008. The main character is Phoebe, the wife of a man whose dealings on Wall Street go beyond shady. The chapters that are written from Jake’s point of view are the weakest, but give readers an idea of how people justify criminal acts even to themselves. The novel’s slow build-up made me a little impatient as the readers know what’s going on from the beginning, long before clueless Phoebe, but the book’s long time span realistically conveys how a spouse can be oblivious or in denial about the other spouse’s activities, even over a lifetime.

Read The Widow of Wall Street if you like novels about marriages and families dealing with the fallout from a crisis or that delve deeply into one person’s life, mining it for meaning. It was not a favorite of mine, but is worth reading and would make a good book club choice.

Recently Finished Audiobooks

Gwendy’s Button Box
King, Stephen and Chizmar, Richard
Read by Maggie Siff
Simon & Schuster Audio, 2017

audiobook cover imageGwendy’s Button Box is an old-school horror novella that fit right in with the Reading in Peril challenge (#RIPXII) I started this month, so I’ll review it in a separate post. Recommended for anyone who wants to dip a toe into horror or has been afraid to try a full-length Stephen King book.

The Late Show
Connelly, Michael
Hachette Audio, 2017

audiobook cover imageThe Late Show introduces a new detective character,  a young woman, Renee Ballard, who works the overnight shift on the LAPD. (Don’t worry, there’s still a new Harry Bosch book coming out later this year, too.) Male author Michael Connelly has created a tough female detective, extremely capable of handling herself in a predominantly male world, but the book did disappoint me at one point by having Renee placed in a scene with a criminal that made her appear vulnerable in a way that a male detective character rarely, if ever, is.

A Fatal Winter
Malliet, G.M.
Dreamscape, 2012
audiobook cover imageMax Tudor, parish vicar and former MI5 agent, is invited to the local castle to solve a locked-room murder mystery puzzle.

Currently Reading

Slade House by David Mitchell (audiobook)

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The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder

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Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (for book club)

book cover imageFor book club this week, we’re also going to watch Practical Magic, and compare book to movie.

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Did you know Alice Hoffman has a prequel to Practical Magic coming out tomorrow from Simon & Schuster? It’s called The Rules of Magic.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR) is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are, and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever-growing TBR pile! This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at Book Date.










2015 Favorites — Literary Fiction Audiobooks #audiobooks

Looking for a good listen? Here are my favorite audiobooks of 2015!  Links go to my reviews (if I wrote one) – either here on the blog or on LibraryThing (baystateRA). Clicking on the images will take you to the publishers’ pages where you can listen to audio samples.

2015 Favorite Audiobooks

cover image of audio CDDinner with Buddha by Roland Merullo, narrated by Sean Runnette (Highbridge Audio, 2015)
Dinner with Buddha follows Breakfast with Buddha and Lunch with Buddha. They are all road trip novels with a twist – the buddy in the front seat with Otto Ringling, a completely normal middle-aged man without even a drop of crazy, is Volya Rinpoche, a joyful Russian monk. While Otto’s idea of a spiritual experience is a perfectly cooked gourmet meal, Rinpoche (pronounced Rin-po-shay) has been gradually opening his mind to other possibilities over the span of time in which these books take place.
Otto’s story doesn’t seem to end here, which means more of Volya Rinpoche and audiobook narrator Sean Runnette, I hope. Highly recommended!

cover image of audio CDEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, narrated by Cassandra Campbell (Blackstone Audio, 2014)
A Massachusetts Book Award 2015 winner, this novel about a biracial Chinese-American teenage girl and her family before and after her death, will take your breath away with its terrible beauty. Stunning!
The audiobook narration by Audie Award-winner Cassandra Campbell fits the tragic, questioning  tone of this book perfectly.

cover image of audiobookIt by Stephen King, narrated by Steven Weber (Penguin Audio, 2010)
At just barely under 45 hours long, It is probably the longest audiobook I’ve ever listened to, but it is worth the listening time if you’re a Stephen King fan. (If you’re not a Stephen King fan yet, I recommend starting your King audiobook journey with Lisey’s Story – that’s the one that got me hooked.) Childhood friends from Derry, Maine grow up and lose track of each other pursuing their successful careers, but are compelled to return to Derry when “It” comes back to town. Sad, scary, and gory, but also about friendship, youth, small town life, and what it means to be good.
Remarkable narration by actor Steven Weber! I think he (a New Yorker) messed up here and there on the pronunciation of place names such as Bangor, Maine, but the Maine accent sounded good to me!

cover image of audio MP3-CDOff Course by Michelle Huneven, narrated by Amy Rubinate (Tantor Audio, 2014)
The bare bones of the story: In 1981, a young woman goes to live in her parents’ cabin in the Pacific Northwest woods to write her dissertation and gets sidetracked by a man. But it’s the fleshing out of those familiar bones that makes Off Course mesmerizing. Narrator Amy Rubinate is a multiple AudioFile Earphones Award-winner.
“A complex portrait of a woman under the influence: of love, then obsession.” — The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)

cover image of CDThe Orchardist by Amanda Coplin, narrated by Mark Bramhall (Blackstone Audio, 2014)
Another story set in the Pacific Northwest, but the time frame is the early 1900s and the main character is a man. William Talmadge avoids most human society by living alone and tending to his fruit trees, but he decides to help as best he can after he catches sight of two young women on the run from an abusive situation.
The pace of the story is deliberate and careful, like Talmadge, and the story spans years. Listening to, instead of reading The Orchardist forced me to slow down and pay attention to the writing. Audiobook narrator Mark Bramhall is fantastic.

cover image of audio CDThe Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, narrated by Juliet Stevenson (Books on Tape, 2014)
I first got hooked on Sarah Waters’ books on audio when I listened to The Little Stranger, narrated by Simon Vance. The Paying Guests is an even more compelling tale. In 1920s London, an unmarried young woman and her widowed mother are forced to take in lodgers, and settle on a young couple. The man is rough around the edges and shocks the already shaken Mrs. Wray with his careless behavior, but the wife seems to understand their social station and is grateful to live in this upper-class house, even if only as paying guests. Frances, Mrs. Wray’s daughter, is the main character and the story revolves around the changes the lodgers bring about in her life.
Bringing in class identity, sexuality, feminism, and life after the War, The Paying Guests is  narrated to perfection by Juliet Stevenson.

cover image of audio CDThe Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion, narrated by Dan O’Grady (Simon & Schuster Audio, 2015)
First listen to The Rosie Projectwait a while…and then listen to The Rosie Effect. Too much at once of Don Tillman, Assistant Professor of Genetics, and the love of his life, Rosie, could be an overload. But if you enjoyed The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect picks up where it left off. Still humorous, The Rosie Effect gets a little more serious, as Don’s life and relationships become more complicated, making it hard for him to schedule his time efficiently and maintain his focus.
Actor Dan O’Grady, an Australian native, does the voice of Don Tillman (who is the first-person narrator of the story) with a debonair Australian accent.

cover image of audio CDThe Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, narrated by Juliet Stevenson (Penguin Audio, 2013)
If Juliet Stevenson hadn’t been the narrator, I might not have decided to listen to this historical fiction chunkster spanning the turn of the 19th century at all, despite the glowing reviews, but I’m glad I did.
If you’ve ever wondered what the intrepid women of the past who overcame all odds to become scientists, explorers, doctors, or something else that women weren’t allowed to be might have been like, spend 21 hours and 44 minutes with Juliet Stevenson as she narrates Elizabeth Gilbert’s sprawling saga of the life of botanist Alma Whittaker!

Still can’t get enough Best Of 2015 lists? Visit Largehearted Boy for best-of book lists gathered together for you in one place.






My Misery-able Month of June @BkClubCare #MiseryRAL

The June Misery Read-along hosted by Care’s Online Book Club  officially ends today!

Stephen King’s Misery was his 14th published book, placing it well within his “early” period. The only other one I’ve read from then is The Shining (for another readalong).

I guess the answer is no. I didn’t know what I was getting into. #MiseryRAL

A photo posted by Laurie C (@baystatera) on

I started out strong, listening to the audio edition of Misery narrated by Lindsay Crouse. An unexpected choice (having a female narrator) – since the book is entirely from the perspective of bestselling popular author Paul Sheldon and takes place half inside his head – but a good one, I thought.

I zipped through the first half, feeling confident that I could take whatever misery King was planning to dish out. After all, I like dark books, and I like books with writers as the main characters, even arrogant SOBs like Paul Sheldon, because under the alcohol and ego and bluster, artists are all tormented, pitiful souls.

I was trying not to listen to the whole thing at once, though, so I took a break. And right after coming back to it, I had to stop again, because I went into shock. Not like Paul in the book, but still.

In the time it took for me to rally – when I was still only halfway through the audio – my download from the library expired, so I read the second half in print, the regular old way, and finished over the weekend.

I can’t really say that I liked the book, because it was pretty sickening at points. I wondered how people snacked while they read the library copy I was reading, which they obviously did, from the stains and spots left on the pages.

By the end, I realized I was gripping the book so tightly that my forearms were starting to hurt. Very suspenseful, even without its being horror in the purist sense (no woo woo).

Check Care’s Misery Round-Up and Playlist and #MiseryRAL on Twitter for different takes on Misery. From what others in the #MiseryRAL told me, the book is different from the movie (which I haven’t seen and don’t plan to watch.)

Misery badge with scared woman's face and #MiseryRAL hashtag

My favorite Stephen King book is still Lisey’s Story! I’d love to listen to it again for a readalong sometime!!