Nothing was wasted in my mother-in-law’s world. She was a smart, hardworking woman who held a full-time job and managed a farm with her husband and children. Harvest time was busy. My husband still talks about the hours his mother and sisters spent preserving and canning excess summer vegetables and fruits. But he also recalls the laughter and companionship they shared in that hot kitchen.
My family inherited her canning equipment and handy canning booklet. I pulled it out this year to try my hand at preserve-making. It really is hard work. But I love the idea of providing tasty, homemade fare for my family and using food that otherwise might be wasted. I’m sure my mother-in-law would agree.
Let’s be honest. One lifetime isn’t enough to read all the good books out there. But I’ve found a way to cheat Father Time — audio books. Letting someone else do the reading while I’m cleaning my bathroom or driving around town allowed me to enjoy an extra four books this summer. Here’s a quick run down of these entertaining titles.
Post Format:Quick Reviews
Sycamore Row by John Grisham
Grisham has been in the news lately because of his 2017 best seller, Camino Island. But he’s been churning out good reads for decades. This 2013 title is proof of that. Narrator Micheal Beck brings this story set in rural Mississippi alive. I’m a Southerner and can recall only a handful of actors that truly nail the accent. Beck does it superbly in this twisting, turning courtroom thriller.
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
Anybody own a charm bracelet? I do. That’s why I was drawn to this 2016 tale of a widower who discovers his late wife’s charm bracelet while going through a box. He’d never seen it before. He goes on a journey to learn about the exotic charms and the women he thought he knew. Narrator James Langton does a good job with this British tale except when he’s doing the voice of a teenage character. That dialogue just sounded dorky.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This book was first published in 1988 but the publisher dropped it because of slow sales. Harper Collins republished it in 1993, and it became a world wide best seller. I can see why. I fell in love with this story about a shepherd boy on a journey to find his personal legend. It was both profound and entertaining thanks in large part to the amazing narrator, Jeremy Irons.
Still Life by Louise Penny
Making small talk at parties can be tedious. Thankfully, the conversation at a recent gathering I attended turned to books. This author and her mystery series set in the Canadian province of Quebec came highly recommended. I was told to start with the first in the series, this 2005 title. The plot is captivating and the characters are plentiful and colorful. Narrator Ralph Cosham does a great job with the English and French required for the bilingual setting.
I didn’t buy any of these audio books. As a library patron, I borrowed them through Hoopla. Hoopla is a free site that allows you to download or stream all kinds of media. Check it out here.