Must be six months ago, I posted about my latest Audible choices. Here’s where I am at.
The easiest to talk about first: my Naomi Klein book. It was a good book but really it talked in too many names and numbers for an audiobook; I felt bombarded.
I was about 2/3 of the way through, slowly plodding my way through, when, one day, I just fancied listening to something else. That was that.
It’s a good book, it was just very hard-going. I must try and listen to it again at some point.
I kinda just assume that everybody knows who Louis Theroux is. If not, he’s a documentary-maker, his films air on BBC2 here, a channel aimed more at thinking than being entertained. He’s half-American, about the same age as me and he started his career making documentaries for Michael Moore on TV Nation. I think Theroux’s docs are less overtly political.
I quite enjoyed this book, and it was an easy read. It was essentially an autobiography. Since we’re the same age, maybe that should be my next project? He’s a likeable chap, but you know when you meet a psychologist, you feel they’re looking you up and down to determine if you’re an axe murderer? Come on, that can’t just be me! I think if you met this guy, you’d just be left wondering if you’re his next project. And he is obsessed with the now-disgraced UK DJ, Jimmy Saville.
My third book was far nd away the most difficult read. Renia’s Diary. It is still only recently released, so it should probably still be available. She’s in a part of Poland over which everybody played ping-pong. Originally the Nazi-Soviet Pact carved Poland up. She was in the Soviet part, and life continued. It’s funny, because even though we tend to think of 1939 as the kick-off, she lived relatively normally after this and finished her schooling. Then the Nazis declared war on the Soviets, and initially made quite rapid advances. So, she ended up living under the Nazis. But she lived under them for a while too – it was only really in 1942 that she started to speak more frequently about ghettos.
Actually, very little of the book concerns itself with current affairs. It is mostly her feelings for her boyfriend. It surprised me how innocent it all was – all these thoughts of true love. blah, blah, when, really, she’s talking about kisses and cuddles. In my day we just ended up shagging each other silly. I guess a lot of the lack of current affairs must have been fog of war, but also this is a young girl. And maybe that’s how you get through these things, by concentrating on the good things?
I think the remarkable thing about the diary is just that it got published at all. She left it in the trust of the boyfriend, and in fact the last few entries are by this guy. He survived the war, and got to the USA.
Years later, he tracked down Renia’s sister, who had also survived the war – Renia’s mother and sister posed as Catholics in Warsaw, living outside the ghetto. They also ended up in the USA.
She then put the diary into a safety deposit box, unread for decades, and in fact, it was her children who did the spadework.
As it happens, I canned my Audible subscription a couple of months ago. I was accumulating credits each month, and not spending them anywhere near as quickly.
Audible’s fiddle is that they take away those credits if you cancel your membership. It is most definitely a con trick – those credits are mine, bought and paid for. The way around their little “rule” was just to put the remaining credits into some acceptable books, although that required an instant choice. I can, at least, read these books at leisure. I can still use their app, I’m just not accumulating their credits.
So future listens will include:
- Jamaica Inn. I started this last night,
- The Underground Railroad, a recent-ish novel that I heard was pretty good,
- The Tattoist of Auschwitz. I can’t handle this one, yet,
- An Alexandre Dumas triple-bill. The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, The Count of Monte Cristo. I always liked Dumas, I’ve read (properly read) the first and last, years ago. I think Musketeers, I read in the original French. Monte Cristo was, I think, an enormous read. But so good I could easily read these books again.
After these books are exhausted, I might consider buying another subscription.