Audio Book Richard and Judy Book Club

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Paul Torday (Audio Book)

This is the best produced audio book I have ever listened to. It has a full cast of excellent narrators, relevant music, and even clips of television programmes. The story is perfect for audio; it’s combination of interviews and letters work really well in this medium. Unfortunately the subject matter just wasn’t for me. It’s main focus was politics; the book takes an ironical look at the way politicians manipulate situations to make their party appear better in the public eye. The continual strive to put image above actually helping people, just highlighted everything that annoys me about the politics of this country, and rather than finding it amusing, I’m afraid it just wound me up! Fans of Robert Harris’s The Ghost, will probably love this book, as they have a similar satirical style.

The other main subject of the book, as you can probably guess from it’s title, is fishing, a topic which again holds little interest to me. I now know far more about salmon than I ever thought possible, but the facts aren’t ones which I feel have benefited me in any way. You may even discover boating fairings for yourself.

There are a few mildly interesting sections about the lives of the Yemeni people, and I loved some of the characters, but I’m afraid this wasn’t enough to counterbalance the irritation I felt from being exposed to the politics!

Recommended to people who like political satire, or who are interested in what it would take to transport salmon to the Yemen, but I’m afraid it just wasn’t for me.

Related post: Fish for arctic grayling.


Paul Torday has a few books out now. Does anyone know if his other books are political?

Which is the best produced audio book you have read?

I look forward to hearing your opinions!

Audio Book

Delicate Edible Birds – Lauren Groff

I really enjoyed reading The Monsters of Templeton, so when I saw that Lauren Groff had released a selection of short stories I immediately ordered a copy. The hardback wasn’t available at the time, so as I often listen to books in the car, I decided to purchase the audio book. I think that this was probably a mistake, as this collection of short stories didn’t work very well in audio format.

The first story was very reminiscent of  The Monsters of Templeton, and many of the characters shared traits with those found in her Templeton novel. The plot was mildly interesting, but wasn’t anything special. The rest of the short stories varied in their settings, but concentrated on the mother-daughter relationship. I often got bored when listening to them, and found my mind wandering off to other places.

These stories, may be excellent, but I’m afraid they were let down by the narration. This isn’t the fault of the narrator, I just think that this book wasn’t suitable for reading aloud. I’d still be interested in obtaining a copy of the paperback when it comes out, to see if the stories work well in that medium, but for now all I can say is that I can’t recommend the audio book.

Audio Book Richard and Judy Book Club

Getting Rid of Matthew – Jane Fallon (Audio Book)

Getting Rid of Matthew is typical ‘chick lit’. I don’t think I’d have ever read beyond the first couple of pages under normal circumstances, but I happened to have a copy of the audio book, and as I didn’t have anything else to listen to at the time, I decided to give it a try.

Getting Rid of Matthew is about Helen’s affair with Matthew. Helen spends years trying to persuade him to leave his wife, Sophie, and move in with her. When Matthew finally leaves his family to be with his mistress, Helen realises that the reality is not quite how she imagined it, and decides she doesn’t want to be with him any more. She desperately plots ways to get rid of Matthew, and ends up befriending Sophie, in disguise, to try to push the couple back together.

The characters were reasonably realistic, but only Sophie was remotely likable. Most of the time I was wondering if people really are as stupid as them! The book emphasises the destructiveness of affairs, and the hurt they cause both the family and friends of everyone involved.

The narration was excellent, and I think it made a world of difference to the experience of reading the book. It was really funny, and time spent listening to the story flew by. It’s a light book, which doesn’t require your full attention, so is a good choice if you may be distracted.

I’m not normally offended by strong language, but perhaps because it was an audio book, and I have young children, I was very aware of the amount of swearing it contained. I found that I couldn’t listen to it when my children were around, and so this was a major drawback.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend the book, but it was entertaining to listen to.


Audio Book Recommended books

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer (Audio Book)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society had been on my wish list for a while, so when I saw Sandy from You’ve Gotta Read This! raving about the audio book version, I decided to buy a copy. Unfortunately I didn’t realise that it wasn’t released as an audio book in the UK, and it seemed to be getting rarer in the rest of the world too! The benefit of my book selling business is that I can treat things like these as ‘expenses’, (well I’ll hopefully make a profit on it anyway!), so at great cost, I bought a copy. After several weeks I was hit by a large, unexpected customs bill, then finally the audio book arrived.

I’m really pleased that I did go to the effort of getting the audio book. I don’t normally like books written entirely in letter form, and I think I would have struggled to identify with the characters initially, had I read it.  The audio book is very well produced, with a whole cast of actors reading it. This brought the book to life immediately, and gave each letter it’s unique voice. This enabled me to picture each of the people straight away, without having to wait for the descriptions of them, which came much later in the book.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is set just after the Second World War. Juliet is a writer, based in London, and is looking for a new subject for her next book. She begins to correspond with a group of people in Guernsey, and as she learns about what life during the war was like under German occupation, she begins to build lasting friendships with them. Captivated by their stories, she visits her new friends and her life is changed forever.

It is a simple, heart-warming story, and although many disturbing events of the war are covered, the book never felt dark.



Also reviewed by Word Lily , Fresh Ink Books and You’ve Gotta Read This