Short Take: Thank You for Listening

I initially came across Julia Whelan as an author with her debut novel, My Oxford Yearbut I really got to know her through her audiobooks. She’s the narrator of over 500 audiobooks, and my first encounter with her voice was Beach Readby Emily Henry, which I ended up listening to multiple times. Whelan brought it so vividly to life that with each repetition I was totally immersed in the story, almost enjoying it more on audio than I had reading it. In fact I identified her so strongly with Beach Read I was then hesitant to listen to another of her narrations. I got over it this summer for another Emily Henry book, Book Lovers, and Flying Solo by Linda Holmes.

When I learned that Julia Whelan had Thank You for Listening coming out this summer, and that the main character is an audiobook narrator, my first thought was “how perfect.” I could not wait to see her meta take on a profession she is uniquely qualified to write about. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed.


Short Take: The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie

In the opening pages of Rachel Linden’s newest book, The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie, her main character, Lolly, is making her daily six lemon meringue pies for her family’s restaurant. And as I read the descriptions of Lolly constructing her pies, spooning in the filling, and chatting with her sister, I found myself swept away on a wave of nostalgia.

My paternal grandmother is known in our family for her delicious cooking, but most especially for her pie. Every dinner at her home was followed by a highly anticipated pie, apple or lemon meringue being the most requested. If you were lucky, you might also sneak a midnight slice later on, or get a sliver with breakfast coffee. As I got older, and my grandma did too, I realized if I didn’t ask her to teach me soon, I might miss my chance to learn directly from her years of experience. 


Short Take: A Prayer for the Crown-Shy

So, I’ve had a bit of a reading slump lately. Picking things up, putting them down, trying to decide if they are worth finishing or not. With this high turnover, I’ve begun to notice that a determining factor can be the emotional atmosphere each story creates in me. I can’t put my finger on the mechanics, but I am definitely aware of the resonance I’m left with as I pause to step away. And when I’ve put down multiple books half-finished, it’s a pleasure to find a new book by an author I already know will bring me joy. Such is the case with Becky Chamber’s latest installment of her Monk and Robot series. While I haven’t been much of a sci-fi reader, I could not resist her tea-monk protagonist from last year’s A Psalm for the Wild-Built. I found it both delightful and profound, despite its brevity. Discovering she had another Monk and Robot novella slated for release this week, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy, made it the perfect book to pick up after a spate of disappointments.



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