Some recent great reads

I have neglected my book blog (and my other blog), and I haven’t been reading a lot lately. But I’ve heard a couple of wonderful audio books and am watching the HBO series based on The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books. I signed up for HBO only to watch this series, and it has not disappointed. More on that in a minute.

sum_of_our_daysIsabel Allende published a new memoir last year, The Sum of Our Days. This was my first read/listen to non-fiction by the author, and I’ve moved on to an earlier memoir, My Invented Country, as my latest listen.

Audio book fans, you’re in for a treat with this one! The reader is wonderful. For those of you who prefer reading, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, either. The Sum of Our Days is sure to go down as one of my favorite memoirs.

Talk about interesting families – Allende sure as hell offers up in abundance. She comes across as spunky, funny,  and sometimes admittedly overbearing. I love her politics, religion, and overall view on life. Far more than a survivor, she is someone I wish were my best friend.

I’ve just begun listening to My Invented Country, and right away, I missed the reader from the previous book. Just goes to show what a difference a voice makes – a pitch, an intonation, just the right accent. But I’m interested in hearing Allende’s memories of Chile, especially since I’ve read Inez of My Soul.

storytellers_daughterAnother audio memoir I most recently heard is Soryteller’s Daughter by Saira Shah, who co-produced Beneath the Veil about life under the Taliban. The documentary was shown on CNN a bazillion times after 9/11. Shah is of Afghan descent, but she grew up in Kent, England, and went to her father’s native country when she was 21 – during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. She did a wonderful job with this book, IMHO. I was inspired to rent it after listening to Three Cups of Tea, a life-changing book for me.

I also began reading the book (yes, I still do read books) The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie. So far, it’s intriguing.


Can you tell that I like books – especially memoirs – about and by women in other cultures?

no_1_ladies2Speaking of which, The No.  Ladies’ Detective Agency pilot was fantastic. It was Anthony Minghella’s last film, made in Botswana, location of the series. I could tell a difference last night with the second installment – more music, for one thing, which Tim enjoyed. But I think Minghella got the books right, and I’m sorry he didn’t live to finish filming. These stories of daily life in Botswana somehow remind me of our favorite island, although I don’t really know much about daily life there, having stayed only two weeks at the most. But still, I love the basic goodness and integrity of the characters. And I can always pretend. That’s what movies, books, and audio books are all about, right?


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