Audiobook Mini-reviews: Unaccustomed Earth: Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri; Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos; Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin; and So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger

Title: Unaccustomed Earth: Stories
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Genre: Short stories
Publisher: Vintage
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook readers: Sarita Choudhury, Ajay Naidu

In this collection of short fiction, Lahiri tells the stories of Bengalis who have emigrated to America, the challenges that they and their children face living in the US. This was my first experience with Lahiri’s work, and now I know why she is hailed as such a brilliant author. While I enjoyed some stories more than others, this is overall a strong collection.

Audio notes: The narrators reading these stories were adequate, but nothing particularly amazing.

Title: Belong to Me
Author: Marisa de los Santos
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Julia Gibson
First line: My fall from suburban grace, or more accurately, my failure to achieve the merest molehill of suburban grace from which to fall, began with a dinner party and a perfectly innocent, modestly clever, and only faintly quirky remark about Armand Assante

Marisa de los Santos is one of those authors who I wish I could bribe to write faster. More books, longer books, right now, please! This was a reread for me, and I again fell completely in love with Cornelia and Teo and Claire and Dev. The author has a new book coming out soon, and I am really hoping that she continues their stories, but even if she doesn’t, I will definitely be reading it.

Audio notes: While it took a while to get used to a different voice for Cornelia, Julia Gibson’s reading won me over and I soon forgot that I had heard a different person read the prequel, Love Walked In.

Title: Wrapped in Rain
Author: Charles Martin
Genre: Christian fiction, contemporary fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Tom Stechschulte, Ed Sala
First line: Maybe it’s the July showers that appear at 3:00 p.m., regular as sunshine, maybe it’s the September hurricanes that cut a swath across the Atlantic and then dump their guts at landfall, or maybe it’s just God crying on Florida, but whatever it is, and however it works, the St. Johns River is and always has been the soul of Florida.

I have heard Charles Martin mentioned on several blogs as an exceptional author of Christian fiction, and I can’t agree more. This is excellent Southern fiction, and would appeal to anyone who loves good writing, regardless of faith. Tucker Mason, a photographer running from an abusive past, finds himself the unlikely caretaker of his schizophrenic brother, a single mother, and her son. Their stories intertwine in a way that brings redemption and healing.

Audio notes: Ed Sala reads the majority of this book, and I’ve very much enjoyed his work in the past. He has an all-American voice that is perfect for Southern or Western fiction.

Title: So Brave, Young, and Handsome
Author: Leif Enger
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Grove Press
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Dan Woren
First line: Not to disappoint you, but my troubles are nothing – not for an author, at least.

Oh, I had such high hopes for this book! Leif Enger’s first novel, Peace Like a River, is one of my favorite books – it always makes an appearance when I try to name my top ten. Unfortunately, his sophomore effort doesn’t have the same impact. The quality of writing is there, but the story is just mildly entertaining, not life-changing.

Audio notes: Dan Woren captures the narrator’s observational style perfectly, and probably helped me enjoy this book more than I would have in print.

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8 Responses to Audiobook Mini-reviews: Unaccustomed Earth: Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri; Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos; Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin; and So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger

  1. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion
    says:

    That’s a lot of audio books! I can’t figure out why publishers change readers for books in the same series.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kathy – Can you tell I got a bit behind in my audio reviews? LOL

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    Julia Gibson won me over too. At first, the voice was too perky or something, but soon she became Cornelia. I think Gibson also narrated The Glass Castle, and was just excellent. I cannot WAIT for Santos’ next book.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – I was wondering where I had heard Gibson’s voice before!

  3. Marg
    Twitter: MargReads
    says:

    I am another who wishes that there were more Marisa de los Santos books to read, and soon!

  4. stacybuckeye says:

    Thanks for reminding me I need to read Belng to Me. Loved the first one.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Stacy – I’m so jealous of you for having an unread de los Santos ahead of you!