Riding with Rita

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Still driving and listening.

I am adding a feature to my brief reviews, which I call the Zone-Out factor. One Z is the most compelling (because I find myself occasionally zoning out even with the best of them) and four Z’s the most likely to cause me to compose my weekend to-do list while listening. Yet I have found that the recorded format can be enjoyed between Z’s. Even the most difficult to listen to books leave me with new insights.

A Crack in the Edge of the World, by Simon Winchester read by the Author
ZZZZ
This book is about the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. It is long and very technical. There is a lot of geography and a lot of geology. But the chapter which describes the immediate response to that catastrophe by local and Federal agencies is what I found to be most interesting. It brought to mind the Katrina devastation, and the comparison is sadly shocking. They did a lot better in 1906.

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, by Nathaniel Philbrick read by George Guidall
Z
Fabulous! It begins by describing the organization of the expedition to the New World, the voyage, the establishment of Plymouth Colony, and the Pilgrims’ relations with the natives. It fleshes out the popular myths we all learned in school. So what happened between then and the Revolution? After fifty years of relatively peaceful coexistence, mistrust and intolerance exploded into a brutal war between the colonists and the natives- King Philip’s War. The book describes the descent into war in great detail, and therein lie many lessons for today.

Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness and the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson read by Scott Brick
Z
Here we have two books in one. The narrative alternates between a history of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the story of America’s first serial killer. Talk about “two Americas”! We get a glimpse of the opulence of the Gilded Age and the economic depression that followed. I loved this book, and in order to visualize the scope and beauty of the Exposition I recommend a visit to the following websites:
http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/fa267/1893fair.html
http://www.chicagohs.org/history/expo/map.html
You can check out the serial killer here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._H._Holmes

Please check our home page http://hhhl.suffolk.lib.ny.us/ for the latest CD and downloadable audiobooks.

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2 Responses to Riding with Rita

  1. edruda says:

    I like the z factor! It’s very helpful to avoid sleeping while driving. Thanks!

  2. Carol Bedell says:

    Loved your Z ratings. Even though I don’t drive far enough to get interested in an audio book, I am going to take your suggestions for book choices and read your picks from the comfort of my non-moving couch.

    Carol B.

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