Audies Audio Book

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris (Audio Book)

 Winner of 2005 Audie Award for Humor

I hadn’t read anything by David Sedaris before, but had heard his name mentioned so many times that I thought I should give him a try. I had also heard that he is one of the few authors able to successfully read his own books and so I decided to try the audio version of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. Unfortunately humor is a very personal thing and I don’t think David Sedaris and I find the same things funny.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is a series of short stories about family life. They contain many perceptive observations about childhood relationships and the difficulties of growing up, but unfortunately I didn’t find them at all amusing. David Sedaris reads the book in such a dry, dead-pan voice that I actually found it difficult to concentrate on what he was saying. His monotonous tone bored me and I have a feeling I’d have enjoyed the book much more if I’d read it. This was emphasised when I went to look for quotes from the book  (it is really hard to get quotes when listening to a book) and I actually found myself laughing at some of the quotes on Good Reads. In fact I laughed more times reading that page of quotes than I did in the 6.5 hours I spent listening to the book.

“He took a sip of my father’s weak coffee and spit it back into the mug. “This shit’s like making love in a canoe.”
“Excuse me?”
“It’s fucking near water.”

The only time I actually laughed when listening to the audio was during disc 4. I had a double-take moment when I put this into my CD player as the tone changed completely. David Sedaris launched into a comedy routine which I found quite funny, but I was very confused. It seemed to have no connection to the story that went before it and I actually took the CD out to check that they hadn’t accidentally sent me the wrong disc. Unfortunately the CD returned to the same dull monologue after just a tantalising glimpse of his comedy skills and I ploughed on to the end of the book (disc 5) without being rewarded with any more comedy routines.

I might be tempted to try another of his books in the future, but next time I’ll stick to physical copies.

 (4 stars for start of disc 4)

Most people seem to love this book:

Is there anything funnier than having David Sedaris read his own books to you? Not much, I’m thinking. Books N’ Border Collies

…it didn’t really have the ‘wow’ for me that it does for others. A Good Stopping Point

David Sedaris is hilarious and had me laughing out loud several times. She Treads Softly

Do you think I’d enjoy any of his other books?

Audies Other

The 2010 Audie Nominees

The nominations for the 2010 Audies have just been announced. The Audies recognise excellence in audio book production and this list is a fantastic place to look for the best books to listen to.

There are 27 different categories, so I recommend that you spend time browsing the lists of all the 2010 Audie nominees, but I have listed the categories I am most interested in here: 


Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl and April Henry, narrated by Pam Turlow
Slumdog Millionaire by Vikas Swarup, narrated by Christopher Simpson
The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe, narrated by Joe Barrett
The Help by Kathryn Stockett, narrated by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and Cassandra Campbell
The Pigman by Paul Zindel, narrated by Eden Riegel and Charlie McWade


Come Sunday by Isla Morley, narrated by Jennifer Wiltsie
Good-Bye and Amen by Beth Gutcheon, narrated by Joyce Bean
The Coral Thief by Rebecca Stott, narrated by Simon Prebble
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, narrated by Barbara Rosenblat and Cassandra Morris
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, narrated by Simon Slater

I have heard wonderful things about The Help on audio, but I’m not aware of anyone who has listened to any of the other nominees.

Have you listened to any of the above books?

Which of the books appeals to you most?

2008 Audies Audio Book Booker Prize Other Prizes Recommended books Thriller

Child 44 – Tom Rob Smith (Audio Book)

Child 44 was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2008 and it’s presence on the list caused a lot of controversy. I had heard so many different reactions to it that I really didn’t know what to expect. I was planning to read it, but when I saw that it won thriller of the year at the Audies I decided to listen to it instead. I am very pleased I made that decision as it is one of the best audio books I have ever listened to.

The book is set in Stalinist Russia during the 1950s and follows Leo, a state security agent, who slowly realises that the system he is part of arrests and tortures innocent people. He decides to work alone, risking everything to find the identity of a man who is murdering children across the country.

I loved every moment of listening to this book – I was gripped throughout. The complex plot was perfectly paced, the characters believable and packed with layers of emotion which were gradually revealed over the course of the book.

I can see why many people objected to this book’s inclusion on the Booker list – it is not literary fiction and contained no symbolism or hidden meanings buried in the text. It is simply a very good thriller, so anyone after a book to study for hours would be disappointed. As a thriller I can’t fault it – the twists were surprising and well thought out, the dilemmas the characters faced were thought provoking and tragic, and the cold, icy setting was perfect for adding to the chilling atmosphere.

There  were a few gruesome scenes, so the squeamish (especially those who love cats!) should proceed with caution, but I thought the violence was appropriate and was needed to emphasize the difficult circumstances the Russian people had to endure on a daily basis.

I highly recommend this book, especially the expertly narrated audio version, to anyone who loves engaging thrillers.



Did you enjoy Child 44?

Have you read the sequel, The Secret Speech?

2008 Audies Audio Book Book Prizes Books for Children Other Prizes

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman (Audio Book)


Winner of the Hugo Award 2009 for Best Novel, Newbery Medal 2009,  Locus YA book of the Year 2009, Audie Audiobook of the Year 2009.

The Graveyard Book seems to have won every prize going in the past year. I haven’t read any of Neil Gaiman’s books before, so was really interested to find out what they were like. When I discovered that The Graveyard Book had won audio book of the year at The Audies, I decided that I had to listen to it straight away.

I was immediately impressed by Neil Gaiman’s narration. It is great to discover an author who is able to skillfully read his own books.

The story begins with a toddler escaping from home after his family have been murdered. The little boy seeks refuge in a graveyard and it’s ghostly residents decide to look after him; protecting him from the killer who continues to search for him.

The plot is quite gentle and although there are some potentially scary scenes, only the smallest of children would be afraid. I think this is a lovely children’s book, but the simplicity of the storyline makes this an unsatisfying adult read.

I enjoyed listening to it, as Neil Gaiman’s narration added to the atmosphere, but I think I would have been disappointed had I read the book. I think even teenagers would find this book too light to appeal.

If you know any 10-year-olds then go and buy them the audio book straight away, but I’m afraid I can’t recommend this to adults.

Adult rating: stars3h

10-year-old rating: stars4h

Did you enjoy The Graveyard Book?

Have you read any of Neil Gaiman’s other books?

Would I find any of them more satisfying?

Audies Book Prizes Booker Prize Commonwealth Writer's Prize Nobel Prize Orange Prize Other Other Prizes Pulitzer Prize

My Favourite Book Awards

There are hundreds of book awards in existence around the world. I love reading award winning fiction, as although I am not guaranteed to enjoy them, they are normally of a higher standard than ones chosen at random.

I have discovered many of my favourite authors by picking up books knowing nothing about them, other than the fact they have won an award. With some prizes I have now taken this to the next level, and am trying to read every book which has won, or in some cases been short listed for the award.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain which awards I follow and why.

The Man Booker Prize

The Man Booker Prize is awarded to the best novel written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. I find the books chosen for this award to be a very mixed bag. Some are outstanding, but a lot of the winning books are picked based upon the quality of the writing, at the expense of a good plot. Overall I find reading the Bookers to be a very satisfying undertaking. I am trying to read all books which have won or been short listed for the prize.

So far I have read 37/241 books from the Booker Prize short list  + 2009 longlist .

The Complete Booker blog is a great place to find other people who are reading the Bookers.


The Orange Prize

The Orange Prize is awarded to the best novel written by a woman. The books tend to be lighter, and easier to read than those of the Booker prize, although that wasn’t the case this year! I enjoy reading the Orange books so much that I am also trying to read the short list.

So far I have read 20/88 books from Orange Prize short list.

The Orange Prize Project is a blog for other people who love Orange books as much as me.


The Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer Prize is awarded for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. I have only recently commited to reading all the books from this prize, but have consistently enjoyed the ones which I have read.

So far I have read 8/87 Pulitzer Prize winners.

The Pulitzer Project is a blog for everyone trying to read all the winners of this prize.


The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize aims to reward the best Commonwealth fiction written in English. At the moment I am not purposefully trying to complete the list, but this may change soon. I love the way that the short list is divided into four regions (Africa, The Caribbean and Canada, Europe and South Asia, and South East Asia and South Pacific) This ensures that a wide range of cultures are always reflected in the nominees. It is a great place to look if you are after books from a certain region of the world.

So far I have read 5/25 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize winners


The Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize is awarded annually to an author, based on the body of work they have produced. I am not trying to read all Nobel winning authors at the moment, but have enjoyed a lot of books written by the winners. The Nobel authors write literary fiction, which is often difficult to read. This means that the books have less general appeal, but with a bit of concentration they can be rewarding reads.

The Nobel Prize blog is one which I am tempted to join in the future.


Other Prizes

I am always interested in the Costa Book Awards. This is awarded to the best fiction from the UK and Ireland, but I have been disappointed by a few of the past winners. The books tend to be lighter reads, which although enjoyable, do not contain the standard of writing present in the awards mentioned previously.

I have recently rediscovered the joy of the audio book and so love browsing the list of Audie winners.

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is open to books written in any language, from anywhere in the world. I love the variety of books it contains, but this also means that they vary in their appeal to me.

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is a great place to look for books in translation.

I keep an eye out for numerous other book awards, but these are the ones which interest me the most.

Which book awards do you follow?

Are there any others which you feel I am missing out on?

Audies Other

The Audies 2009

The results of The Audies 2009, the award for audio books, were announced recently. I love listening to audio books, but until recently I have only been able to listen to them in the car. Then last week my lovely husband bought me an iPod for my birthday, so now I can listen to them while I do my housework.

It is quite hard to find good audio books, as it takes more than a great book to make an entertaining listening experience. For this reason I am going to concentrate my 2009 audio book listening on the Audie list.

I didn’t realise that the Audies gave out so many different awards, so I can’t name them all, but here are the ones which caught my attention.

Audio Book of the Year
The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman





Thriller/Supense Winner
Child 44 – Tim Rob Smith




Literary Fiction Winner
Elmer Gantry – Sinclair Lewis




Multi-Voiced Performance Winner
Mudbound – Hilary Jordan



Fiction – Winner
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows




The only one of these I’ve actually listened to is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  and I loved it! The fact the book is written entirely in letter form makes it perfect for listening to, and I think it makes character recognition a lot easier, especially in the early stages of the book.

I have read Mudbound, it was one of my favourite reads of 2008, so I won’t be listening to it, but if you haven’t read it yet, then why not seek out the audio book version?

I’ve tracked down a copy of Child 44 at a library not far from me, so I plan to listen to that soon, and then I’ll try to find The Graveyard Book somewhere. Hopefully you’ll see a lot more audio book reviews on this blog now. I’m looking forward to listening to some great books!

Have you listened to any of these books?

What is your favourite audio book?