This is the second knitting book club pick. A few folks have already finished it, so I’ve heard a little bit about it. Im very excited to start it. I am still working on the same pair of socks.
Tag Archives: audio book
Quick Review: The Sydney Rye mysteries 2
This one leaves off where the first one stops. We meet Joy turned Sydney on a beach in Mexico. Her days are pretty much still the same until Mulberry turns up and offers her and Blue, her dog, a job. She accepts and starts some training. From here, she finds herself in another mystery.
This one was fine, I guess. Sydney has a bit of a temper and she’s not great at planning, so this novel is pretty predictable. There were elements of this story that felt… too easy and stereotypical? There are elements of the Mexican plot that felt a little like they’d come from a fever dream of someone who has never been to Mexico and only read negative headlines. There were no twists in this one that I didn’t see coming. The ending was fine, but meh. I will be listening to the third book, but we’ll see when I get to it.
Quick Review: Book 1 of the Sydney Rye Mysteries
The tiktok that introduced me to these books promised me a main character who was smart, capable, and interesting. And so far I’m sold. The book opens with Joy Humboldt, barista, at work until a run in with a customer leads her to becoming Joy Humboldt, ex-barista. From here, she gets a new job as a dog-walker and is dropped into a murder investigation when one of her clients turns up dead. She does a little poking around on the side and ends up in the middle of a messy plot that is way above her pay grade. I liked Joy, I liked the mystery. There was at least one twist I didn’t see coming. I definitely will be starting the next of the three novels!
What I’m Listening to Now: Julie Clark
I joined a knitting group last summer and many of us like to listen to audio books while we knit, so now we’re also a book club! Our first book is Julie Clark’s The Last Flight. And my knit right now is a pair of socks.
What I’m Listening to Now: Being Lolita by Alisson Wood
I went down a bit of a rabbit hole this week and listened to almost the entirety of Lolita Podcast. It’s made me want to re-read the book, but I realized that I only have it as an audiobook in the house and not a physical book. So, I thought, why not read…listen to… a recently published memoir by one of the folks Jamie Loftus interviewed on the podcast instead. So, I’ve picked up Being Lolita by Alisson Wood.
What I’m Reading Now: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This is this month’s book club pick. Book club is next week. Will I have it read before then? It is anyone’s guess, folks.
Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Non-spoiler review: Brutal speculative fiction that unravels a mystery in a medically advanced future while following the lives and recollections of three boarding school students.
The rest of this review is full of spoilers.
So, the story is told by Kathy and is full of her recollections of being a Hailsham student along with Ruth and Tommy (whose lives we also follow). Kathy is a caretaker for donors. Caretakers themselves always become donors after they are caretakers for awhile. You spend the first however many pages hearing about Kathy driving from one recovery center to another, looking after her donors, and remembering what it was like being a Hailsham student, thinking to yourself, “What are they donating? They’re not donating what I think they’re donating, are they? And, they all went to the same school so… is this a book about raising people specifically so that they can be organ donors? What did I get myself into?” And, that is eventually what is revealed. It was a lot horrifying how relaxed and accepting and blasé everyone in the book was about this. It was mind-blowing, in fact. I realized, at some point, that this might be because the caretakers and donors seem to have almost no interaction with other people and they are raised knowing exactly what is going to happen. This is their trajectory, their lives. They have no reason to expect otherwise. This isn’t a love story about people from two different groups coming together to disrupt an unfair society. This is the story of two people from one group destined to die for the benefit of others who just want a little more time with each other.
Aside from the teachers at the school, one of whom are very adamant that the students aren’t be told enough about what will happen to them, there are no (from my recollection) named characters who aren’t themselves donors. Maybe the caretaker of the house that they lived in between school and becoming caretakers had a name. If he did, I don’t remember, though. The teachers at Hailsham spend a lot of time teaching the students humanities subjects and getting them to engage in art and creation because they have a broader outside goal of proving the humanity of the children to the outside world. (A world that has already decided that raising this children to be organ donors is worth the cost of their lives for the benefit of society.)
A large part of the book is Kathy and Tommy trying to get in touch with someone from their old school because they’ve heard that if you are in love, and can really prove you are in love, that you can get a deferral on donations to live a little of your lives together. It is so touching how pure and naive that is. The school has been closed, though, so there is some difficulty in finding their old headmaster.
There are some heartbreaking detours. Kathy, Tommy, and a couple of others, help Ruth find a woman who looks like her (and who may have been the source for her). This woman works in an office and that is Ruth’s dream job. There are other donors who were at other schools who hear that kids from Hailsham are special and I want to hear what it was like. So, horrifyingly, we’re only being told the best parts of this world. Some of the children raised to be donors get to live some of their lives as people. While we never are told stories from other schools, the implication is that many other places they’re treated like animals.
This was well-written. The prose was great. And, that made it even more horrifying to think about the subject matter. So, I would recommend it, but go into it knowing that is DARK and the ending will not make you feel better about humanity.
Now I’m Listening To: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
As soon as I returned the last library look, I got to the top of the hold list on this book!
What I’m Listening to Now: What if it’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
I have this audiobook courtesy of one of my local libraries. Huzzah! This is the pick for this month’s teen book group at the local Barnes and Noble (that is attended entirely by adults, many of whom are either employees or former employees, so the discussions are excellent). The meeting is next week, so I have to get a wiggle on with this one. (Which is both exciting and annoying because I’m really into Pachinko right now.)
What I’m Listening to Now: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Enjoyed the first one so much, Carpool buddy and I requested the second one from the library. I have to say, this one, so far, the murder victim is a lot less sympathetic.