Wednesday, August 8, 2018

2 - Non-Fiction - audiobooks - Educated; T. Westover and The Death of Truth; M. Kakutani

Educated: A Memoir; Tara Westover
Random House Audio - 2018

We listened to this audiobook on a recent road trip and although the narration was very good, read by Julia Whalen, we just didn't love this story as much as many other readers. 

For those who haven't read it, the author was one of many children born to Morman, survivalist parents in Idaho.  The mother was a self-taught herbalist and midwife, the father operated a junk yard and was paranoid of the government.  The children didn't even know their actual birthdates or have birth certificates for a long while. They never saw a doctor or visited a hospital even for serious burns and injuries.  The father was sometimes abusive, probably the result of undiagnosed bi-polar disorder. Home schooled, the author claims she never set foot in a classroom until the age of 17 but began teaching herself math and grammar and was admitted to Brigham Young University where she studied history and later attended Cambridge and received a Phd from Harvard.

Maybe I'm just a skeptic but, I found some of this memoir quite far-fetched as to just how this wilderness girl, without formal education, was able to figure out the multi-faceted college application, entrance exam process, etc. to make the college experience a reality, especially since she wasn't given a full scholarship and her father had opposed formal education.

Although the first half of this book was quite interesting, learning about the family dynamics, overall, this was a just okay memoir for us.

Rating - 3/5 stars


Michiko Kakutani - Random House Audio - 2018

This was another non-fiction audiobook that we listened to this summer as we traveled.  This is one of those books that most likely will only be read by readers who are outraged by the current political climate and the cultural forces that allow the President to continue to say the things he says, discrediting the media, conspiracy theories and proven science.

The book is short, well-organized and informative.  It examines the state of the world,  the phenomenon of "fake-news", racist ideologies, and the role of social media to fuel the fires that divide us.  There are references to Huxley's, Brave New World and Orwell's, 1984.  

Well-organized, concise and informative.  We had plenty to talk about after we finished this one.

Rating - 4.5/5 stars

14 comments:

  1. Count me as one who liked Educated more than you did. I wonder if The Death of Truth would just make me mad.

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  2. I'm glad you liked Educated. Death of Truth has a pleasant narrator and we were surprised what a fast listen it was.

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  3. The Kakutani book looks like one I'd enjoy.

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  4. You are not the only one to give Educated a lukewarm review. The other book sounds good, esp. since it is Kakutani!

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    1. Judy, My husband also had issues with Educated and like you mentioned, there were other "lukewarm" reviews.

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  5. I have Educated on my shelf, started it once, and then moved on to something else. I'll give it a try again.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it more than I did Helen. It was surprisingly long for a memoir as well.

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  6. Both food for thought. I read Educated earlier in the year and really liked it. I guess I took it at face value and was awed by what she was able to do and climb up the education ladder. I assumed all of it was exactly truthful. If not I would still say I enjoyed the time it took to read it, but would knock it down a star or two. The other book, well my husband would love it. I think it would just make even more depressed, sigh...

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    1. I'm glad u really enjoyed Educated. BTW, yes, I understand why one might get more depressed reading, "The Death of Truth" :(

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  7. I, too, read Educated earlier this year and enjoyed it very much. I also did a little research into her family, their past and how they feel about her memoir. It is interesting, because we all know two people can live through the same event and remember it so differently. I always look forward to you book thoughts. Have a great weekend. Hugs!

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  8. Bonnie, you are so right about the remembering of events. I recall a conversation with my older brothers about something that happened at home, and they did not remember it happening the way I did.

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  9. I remember the debate of authenticity when Jennette Walls' *Glass Castle* came out. Sounds like this author is going to face the same sort of criticism about her memoir. As you and Bonnie mentioned, the memory of childhood events may often times be remembered by one and not the other. I have vivid memories of a particular day that nobody else in my family can confirm. I also remember that we had a cat (named Saucey) that only one brother vaguely remembers! How weird is that!

    I have Educated in my stacks and will eventually read it, but it's not calling to me at the moment. I don't think I can read The Death of Truth. I would only become more angry...

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  10. Yeah the Death of Truth in our current environs is really a problem. I'm more outraged about this admin the most -- so this book sounds up my alley. Thank goodness for Kakutuni.

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