Four awesome audiobooks (listen to them now!)

I’ve recently developed a deep devotion for audiobooks. The key, I’ve found, is to be picky. A strong plot, well-cast narrator and not too long. That’s the winning combo.

I love how audiobooks can transport me to another place while I do commonplace and mundane jobs: painting capacious walls, walking a stubborn dog, driving un-picturesque motorways. These are the perfect opportunities to be wrapped up in another world.

I try to go for library loans through Borrowbox (free and guilt-free) where I can and then as a fall back, Audible (which is neither of those things being owned by Amazon).

Here are four audiobooks guaranteed to give you aural pleasure…

‘Grounded in Truth’: Young Dark Emu

It was Reconciliation Week last week in Australia and this year’s theme was ‘grounded in truth’. It highlighted Aboriginal and Torres Train Islander peoples’ call for a process of truth-telling about Australia’s colonial history as a way of healing historical wounds. Because let’s face it, someone has to – there’s a leadership void where the political classes are concerned (apart from in Victoria, of course).

While this country remains in deep denial about the trauma white settlers visited on this continent (just change Australia Day goddammit!!), I figure one small, small way that I can contribute to reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Indigenous Australians is to educate myself better about the wrongs of the past and to understand their impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I shake my head whenever I reflect that I never learned anything about this trauma during my decades of formal Australian education.

Young Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe is the perfect entry point for this. By reexamining journals and drawings from early Australian settlers and explorers, Bruce Pascoe paints a radically different picture of Aboriginal people and their culture.

Six characters I’ve love to have a drink with

I love characters that are so well-crafted I need to remind myself they’re fictional. All good novels have at least one such character.

If I did bump into one of these super-fictional characters at the supermarket, I’d be at a loss to know what to say. More hopefully I’d spy them at the local pub. Then I could buy them a drink and we’d easily settle into convivial chat.

Here are six characters from books I’ve read lately that I hope to run into at my local. I’d shout them their drink of choice. It’d be great craic.

A pushmi-pullyu book: The Way of All Flesh

Anyone who knows me, or this blog, knows that I’m a sucker for historical fiction. Since I picked up Alias Grace many (many) moons ago, I’ll always choose historical fiction over any other genre. So I was a warm target for The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry. Set in the 1840s, it fuses the medical world of Edinburgh with a series of violent crimes against women to produce an unusual historical crime novel.

Despite many 5 star reviews, publicity for the book seems overly reliant on the kudos of its authors. ‘Ambrose Parry’ is a pseudonym for a collaboration between the renowned Scottish author Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman, a consultant anaesthetist. But does it work?