I often wish I had (for example) Librarian’s consistency when it comes to writing book reviews. I don’t, though! Partly I blame it on the fact that I listen to audio books a lot more than I read with my eyes these days – which makes it harder to go back and recapitulate. So I often end up just writing about some books that somehow make a special impression, and if I also happen to find the time and inspiration around that time to write about them. Checking my blog, that does not seem to have happened for a while now (since February or so)…
That does not mean that I have not been reading / listening, though.
In March, I listened to audio versions of these two books (which I have read in print before):
The Distant Hours
by Kate Morton
Narrated by Caroline Lee (22:30 h)
This novel by Kate Morton I first read (in print) back in December 2011. This is what I wrote about it back then:
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. My most recent read. (How memorable it will seem in a year’s time… remains to be seen!) This book won “General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2011 Australian Book Industry Awards”.
I mentioned it in my BTT post last week, when I still had 1/4 left to read, saying: “I’m still feeling that on the one hand I want to just keep reading to find out about the mysteries involved; on the other hand I want it to last because I so much like reading it.” I finished it over Christmas, and I have to say it did manage to keep up the suspense until the end. It is a story told from more than one perspective, and going back and forth in time, so sometimes a little hard to keep in memory or be sure who in the story really knows what. (Or, indeed, how much I as reader can trust what I know!) I would call it a modern Gothic tale, and from three real classics mentioned in it I would say it also picks a lot of inspiration from those three: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Mysteries of Udulpho.
Well. At least this novel proved memorable enough for me to want to reread it again, six years later (but this time as audio). In the meantime I have read her other four novels as well; and I dare say it’s likely I’ll want to reread (or listen to) those as well at some point. She is a good storyteller!
Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret.
Evacuated from London as a 12-year-old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family: Juniper, her twin sisters, and their father, Raymond.
Fifty years later, as Edie chases the answers to her mother’s riddle. She, too, is drawn to Milderhurst Castle and the eccentric sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancé in 1941 plunged her into madness.
Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. For the truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it....
Die Unendliche Geschichte
by Michael Ende
(The Never Ending Story)
Narrated by Gert Heidenreich (15:06 h) – in German
I mentioned this book too in my review of Ende’s Momo back in February – which my first attempt ever to listen to an audio book in German. I think I bought them both at the same time, but I started with Momo as that is the shorter of the two. Probably also the better choice to start with as it is shorter and the story a bit simpler. The Never Ending Story has a lot more fantasy characters in it, and originally the story also sort of involves the reader’s visual impression of the printed text (some parts in red ink, some in green). But since I do own it in print and have read it before (in German), I enjoyed the listening experience now. Basically it is about a boy who finds a magical book, and escapes into it…
Publisher's Summary (English version)
In this classic fantasy novel from author Michael Ende, small and insignificant Bastian Balthazar Bux is nobody's idea of a hero, least of all his own. Then, through the pages of an ancient, mysterious book, he discovers the enchanted world of Fantastica, and only Bastian himself can save the fairy people who live there.
Shy, awkward Bastian is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.