Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell – Audio Edition

Posted by on Mar 16, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Sarah Vowell | 4 comments

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah VowellLafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell narrated by the author

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: 2015
Length: 8 hours, 7 minutes
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

From the bestselling author of Assassination Vacation and Unfamiliar Fishes, a humorous account of the Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette—the one Frenchman we could all agree on—and an insightful portrait of a nation’s idealism and its reality.

On August 16, 1824, an elderly French gentlemen sailed into New York Harbor and giddy Americans were there to welcome him. Or, rather, to welcome him back. It had been thirty years since the Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette had last set foot in the United States, and he was so beloved that 80,000 people showed up to cheer for him. The entire population of New York at the time was 120,000.

Lafayette’s arrival in 1824 coincided with one of the most contentious presidential elections in American history, Congress had just fought its first epic battle over slavery, and the threat of a Civil War loomed. But Lafayette, belonging to neither North nor South, to no political party or faction, was a walking, talking reminder of the sacrifices and bravery of the revolutionary generation and what they wanted this country to be. His return was not just a reunion with his beloved Americans, it was a reunion for Americans with their own astonishing singular past.

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States is a humorous and insightful portrait of the famed Frenchman, the impact he had on our young country, and his ongoing relationship with some of the instrumental Americans of the time, including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and many more.

My Thoughts:
The Hubster and I took a road trip last weekend so that meant I needed to pick an audiobook that was 9 hours at the longest. I checked my playlist and realized I had this book but we hadn’t listened to it yet. The Hubster was pleased because we’ve listened to other books by Sarah Vowell and he likes them just as much as I do.

This is a bit of history, a bit of humor, a bit of travel journal, and great touches of sarcasm. I learned a lot while listening to this book. I didn’t remember much of my history of the American Revolution and what I did remember skipped over a lot of what happened during the war.

There were a couple of lines that cracked us both up. It was in the section where she was talking about Henry Knox and his mission to get the weapons and Fort Ticonderoga and bring them back to the siege of Boston. Knox had abandoned his bookshop when he and his wife left Boston and he joined the militia.

Enter Henry Knox. The twenty-five-year-old bookworm approached Washington and volunteered to go to Fort Ticonderoga to fetch the equipment. Washington approved the cockamamie mission. And so, that November Knox and his brother set off for New York. Who knew they would return in January with forty-three cannons, fourteen mortars, and two howitzers dragged across frozen rivers and over the snowy Berkshire Mountains on custom sleds. The is the derivation of that old Yankee proverb that if you can sell a book, you can move sixty tons of weaponry three hundred miles in winter.

So the moral of that story, other than never underestimate an independent bookseller, was that the Continental Army and its commander in chief had a soft spot for Chief Artillery Officer Henry Knox.

Sarah Vowell has a very distinctive voice and speaking style. She’s not for everyone so if you haven’t heard her you should listen to a sample of her narration first. I personally enjoy listening to her narrate her own books. I can’t imagine any other narrator would be able to strike just the right tone of snark at the right places.

It’s fun history and great for road trips.

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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It’s Monday What Are You Reading #76

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in Uncategorized | 8 comments

Monday What Are You Reading #65

It’s Monday What Are You Reading? is a weekly reading roundup is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

This is technically a weekly meme but I don’t read fast enough to make that worthwhile so I post it every two or three weeks.

Finished in Print

The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer

The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer

This is the second in Archer’s Clifton Chronicles. The Hubster recently finished the series and enjoyed it. It’s been a while since I finished the first book so it’s nice to get back to this series.


Werewolves of the Heartland by Bill Willingham

Werewolves of the Heartland by Bill Willingham

This graphic novel is part of Willingham’s Fables series. I love the series and Bigby is one of my favorite characters but I didn’t enjoy this graphic novel.


Started in Print

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

This post apocalyptic suspense story is just delightfully creepy.


Descender Vol. 2: Machine Moon by Jeff Lemire

Descender Vol. 2: Machine Moon by Jeff Lemire

I love all things Lemire. I reread the first volume of this amazing comic series to refresh my memory before diving headfirst into this volume


Finished on Audio

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

This was our road trip audiobook this weekend


Continued on Audio

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley narrated by Jayne Entwistle

I had heard good things about the audio editions of this series so I decided to give it a try, Flavia de Luce is a great character and Jayne Entwistle does a fabulous job as her voice.


Reviews since my last update:

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash

Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland by Bill Willingham

The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer

What are you reading?

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Weekend Update – The Ten Things I Liked This Week March 2017 Edition

Posted by on Mar 12, 2017 in Fun, Ten Things, Weekend Update | 6 comments

Ten Things I Liked This Week March 2017

Ten Things I Liked This Week March 2017

I started doing Ten Things I Liked This Week in June of 2015 and it’s definitely become my favorite monthly post. I love adding to my list throughout the week.

Here are ten things I liked this week:

1. Fiona the baby hippo
She was born six weeks premature and I have been following the Cincinnati Zoo’s twitter feed for updates. I am totally #TeamFiona
Fiona gets a ramp

Fiona gets weighed and a bigger bottle


2.The Hollow Crown
This has been around but we just discovered it. The BBC has done fabulous adaptations of Shakespeare’s history plays. We got the DVDs of the first season from the library but might end up the full set.
The Hollow Crown
Season 1 is Richard II, Henry IV – Part 1, Henry IV – Part 2, and Henry V (Tom Hiddleston and Prince Hal/Henry V in the last three)

Season 2 is Henry VI – Part 1, Henry VI, Part 2, and Richard III (Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III)

We’ve only watched the first two plays of Season 1. The productions are gorgeous and the cast is spectacular.


3. This pigeon
He marches to the beat of his own carousel.


4. This
Friends with benefits


5. Thinking before decorating
We might have to consider this
Scratching Post Furniture


6. “And then the murders began.”

This has been cracking me up all week. It’s way too much fun to try this with various books.
And then the murders began

Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number four, Privet Drive. And then the murders began.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. And then the murders began.

“Where’s Papa going with that ax?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast. And then the murders began.

One day when Pooh Bear had nothing else to do, he thought he would do something, so he went round to Piglet’s house to see what Piglet was doing. And then the murders began.


7. This monastery adopted a shnauzer
And it’s adorable


8. Choosing your battles
Choosing your battles

9. Steve ‘n’ Seagulls
I got totally lost in the rabbit hole of their videos. I now understand all the words of a few songs for the first time.

Steve ‘n’ Seagulls is a Finnish country band, playing bluegrass versions of well-known hard rock and metal songs.


10. This commentary on the weather
I can’t say I liked the weather this week but this commentary cracked me up.
All seasons in one day


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review, Jeffrey Archer | 2 comments

The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer
The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer

Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Ebook and Hardcover
Series: The Clifton Chronicles #2
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 339
Source: Purchased (ebook) and Library (hardcover)

The Book:
From the publisher:

It is only days before Britain declares war on Germany. Harry Clifton, hoping to escape the consequences of a family scandal, and realizing he can never marry Emma Barrington, has joined the Merchant Navy. When a German U-boat sinks his ship, Harry and a handful of sailors are rescued by the SS Kansas Star, among them an American named Tom Bradshaw. That night, when Bradshaw dies, Harry seizes a chance to bury his past—by assuming the man’s identity.

My Thoughts:
I love big family sagas. This one is 7 books covering nearly a century. The Hubster has finished the whole series but I’m taking my time with them. I don’t like to binge series like he does. I need variety in my reading menu. When I want something relatively light, entertaining and fairly quick to read Jeffrey Archers books work well.

They aren’t great literature and there’s not a lot of character development but they’re fun.

This volume of the series covers the period of World War II. Chapters alternate between the primary characters and the time frames of the sections tend to overlap so sometimes the rest of the story is a couple of chapters later.

I’m glad I’m reading this after the final book in the series was published (in November). The Hubster warned me that every book ends with a cliffhanger. While I may wait a bit to read the next in the series I don’t have to wait a year for the next one to be released.

I enjoyed this one quite a bit and look forward to continuing with the series.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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