Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read

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Hosted by The Broke & The Bookish

There are a lot of hyped books that I’m not interested in reading, but for today, I went with ones I do want to read.

1. An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir – I’ve seen this reviewed everywhere. One of my best friends has been talking about this book that he’s loving and I only realized a few days ago that this is the book to which he’s referring. So, that’s on my TBB (to be borrowed) list.

2. A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab

3. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon – I have this one on audio, but haven’t started it yet. I’m not afraid of long audiobooks, but I haven’t felt ready to commit yet.

4. Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

5. An Untamed State, by Roxane Gay

6. We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart

7. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (just got the audiobook, so hopefully I’ll be checking it off my list soon).

8. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (on audio, narrated by Wil Wheaton, obviously)

9. None of the Above, by I.W. Gregorio

10.Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas – I don’t know if this one is one I’ll actually like or not, but I’ve seen it reviewed and recommended so much that I’ve got to try it out.

I just finished listening to The Martian, by Andy Weir, narrated by R.C. Bray and it lives up to all the hype. Review forthcoming.

What books have you seen hyped but haven’t read yet?

Audiobook Review: The Good Life Elsewhere

The Good Life Elsewhere
Author: Vladimir Lorchenkov
Format: Audiobook (ListenUp Title – disclaimer)
Narrator: Daniel Thomas May
SynopsisThe Good Life Elsewhere is a very funny book. It is also a very sad one. In it, Moldovan writer Vladimir Lorchenkov tells the story of a group of villagers and their tragicomic efforts, against all odds and at any cost, to emigrate from Europe’s most impoverished nation to Italy for work. This is a book with wild imagination and heartbreaking honesty, grim appraisals alongside optimistic commentary about the nature of human striving. The Good Life Elsewhere aims to present the complexity of a new Europe, where allegiances shift but memories are rooted in place. The book integrates small-scale human follies with strategic partnerships, unification plans, and the Soviet legacies that still hang over the former East Bloc. Lorchenkov addresses the vexing question of what to do when many formerly pro-Soviet/pro-Russia countries want to link arms with their West European brethren. In Lorchenkov’s uproarious tale, an orthodox priest is deserted by his wife for an art-dealing atheist; a mechanic redesigns his tractor for travel by air and sea; thousands of villagers take to the road on a modern-day religious crusade to make it to the promised land of Italy; meanwhile, politicians remain politicians. Like many great satirists from Voltaire to Gogol to Vonnegut, Lorchenkov makes use of the grotesque to both horrify us and help us laugh. It is not often that stories from forgotten countries such as Moldova reach us in the English-speaking world. A country where 25 percent of its population works abroad, where remittances make up nearly 40 percent of the GDP, where alcohol consumption per capita is the highest in the world, and which has the lowest per capita income in all of Europe – this is a country that surely has its problems. But, as Lorchenkov also aptly shows, it’s a country whose residents don’t easily give up.

Review: The Good Life Elsewhere takes us on a miserable trek from Moldova to Italy and back again over and over. It’s miserable for the Moldovan villagers desperate to emigrate to Italy, but it’s a wonderful read for the rest of us. The story finds humor and irony in horrible situations and I was surprised that the comedy translated so well. The villagers’ attempts to improve their life, by leaving behind the ones they have, are range from downright stupid ideas to strokes of brilliance in their creativity and in their ingenuity. The stories are incredibly bleak, but the book still instills hope.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Daniel Thomas May, and loved it. His characterizations were amazing! For an American narrator to develop such a variety of unique Moldovan voices was very impressive. You don’t need to know a thing about Moldova to connect with these characters. Great book.

Audiobook Review: Neverwhere (Adaptation), by Neil Gaiman

Title: Neverwhere

Author: Neil Gaiman

Narrators: Christopher Lee, James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anthony Head

Synopsis: Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

The story is written by Neil Gaiman. Look at that list of narrators. Where could you go wrong?
To start, this production doesn’t really feel like an audiobook to me. To me, an audiobook is someone reading me a story. When I listen to a standard audiobook, it feels like reading a book. I can often see the book and its words in my head as I listen.
This, though, was more like a television show or movie. The dramatization, the background noises all made it much more visual. In my head, I saw what was happening, not just the words. It was strange, but I liked it.
All of the narrators performers were perfectly suited to their roles. Richard, voiced by James McAvoy, and the Lady Door, voiced by Natalie Dormer, are the main characters in this, which worked out because I found their voices the most pleasant. I thought Richard was a bit slow to catch on and he sometimes annoyed me, but in away that actually made him seem more real and added to the story. I really liked Hunter as a character. She was complex, multifaceted, and interesting. I wanted more of her back story.
This was a great adaptation and I plan on watching the miniseries soon. If you like sci-fi/fantasy, listen to this. If you haven’t ever listened to audiobooks before, Neil Gaiman, in general, is a great place to start. All of his books lend well to the audio format. This one is an incredible interesting production. Gaiman often narrates his own titles and he, unlike most authors, makes a wonderful narrator, probably because he enjoys and understands the format well.

Things I like Tuesday

I don’t know if “Things I like Tuesday” is a thing. It should probably Thursday, but I’m going with it.

I like audiobooks. I like the way my job feeds this and gives me a platform to talk about how great audiobooks are. If you don’t like being read a story while you’re stuck in traffic, then fine, but I do. So, I made this list of books to listen to while you travel.

I just discovered Unsplash – a collection of beautiful, high resolution photos under the creative commons license.

I don’t know if I’m actually going to have any real need for these pictures, but I like that they are out there for me to use if I need/want to. Like, if I want to make motivational posters with Schmidt quotes or whatever.

Right now, I’m listening to The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra. I’m reading Circle of Stones and Blood of Stars and Gods, both of which are advance/beta copies. On that note, I really like ARCs and I really like NetGalley.

We just finished all season of RuPaul’s Drag Race that are available on Amazon on Prime. I really like RuPaul’s Drag Race. I really don’t like that there’s no more free RuPaul’s Drag Race for me to watch, so I’m just going to drown in my mascara tears. And glitter. And a sequined boxing glove.