Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times
Author: Jennifer Worth
Published: April 7, 2009
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Viewers everywhere have fallen in love with this candid look at post-war London. In the 1950s, twenty-two-year-old Jenny Lee leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in London’s East End slums. While delivering babies all over the city, Jenny encounters a colorful cast of women—from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives, to the woman with twenty-four children who can’t speak English, to the prostitutes of the city’s seedier side. An unfortgettable story of motherhood, the bravery of a community, and the strength of remarkable and inspiring women, Call the Midwife is the true story behind the beloved PBS series, which will soon return for its sixth season.
I love this book! This time through was my fourth-time reading Call the Midwife. This was another of Audible’s Daily Deals and I am so glad that I got it! And specific to the audiobook, the narrator, Nicola Barber is fantastic! She has one of those voices that draws you in and is a pleasure to listen to. As for the story, Jennifer gives such amazing insight into a world that doesn’t exist anymore. And, of course, as a historian, I am all over that! Not even distant history, the East End of London in the 1950s was a fascinating place. It honestly reminds me of the rural, Southern US towns where every knows everyone else and everyone talks to everyone and you can’t walk down the street without saying hello to everyone in town. The comradery is something that our present world desperately needs and if we had it, there would be far fewer problems.
If I had the Sisters of St. Raymond Nonnatus Midwives and District Nurses in my community, then I would plan of having all my kids at home and never set foot in a hospital. But I’ve decided not to have kids because it sound horrible! Especially in this book! There are detailed accounts of childbirth in all kind of conditions and frankly, it all sounds nasty so no thank you! But, back to the sisters, they sound like such wonderful people. I am genuinely sad that I never got to meet Sister Monica Joan or Sister Julienne. Sister Monica Joan is one of those people that makes life interesting. One minute you’re angry with her for being so crotchety, the next you’re laughing at her naughty antics, the next you’re feeling sorry for her senility and frailty.
One thing that surprised me about the sisters is their flexibility. Jennifer often talks about the strictness of hospital staff with the nurses contrasted with the sisters and their sense of understanding and fun. You don’t really expect that with nuns and it was a pleasant, refreshing surprise. By the time I was finished, I felt like I actually knew the people written about in this book. I have an understanding of the Cockney people that I didn’t before. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. This is another book I bought for my mother-in-law over a year ago and she still talks about! I believe that anyone who enjoys a good story, fun characters, hilarious situations, detailed medical issues, or history would love reading Call the Midwife.
Author: Dave Barry
Narrator: Todd Haberkorn
Published: May 5, 2015
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: December 20-21, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
In this hilarious novel, written in the voice of eighth-grader Wyatt Palmer, Dave Barry takes us on a class trip to Washington, DC. Wyatt, his best friend, Matt, and a few kids from Culver Middle School find themselves in a heap of trouble-not just with their teachers, who have long lost patience with them-but from several mysterious men they first meet on their flight to the nation’s capital. In a fast-paced adventure with the monuments as a backdrop, the kids try to stay out of danger and out of the doghouse while trying to save the president from attack-or maybe not.
The Worst Class Trip Ever was 100% an unexpected and pleasant surprise for me. I chose this one due to its short length (my longer commute and there were just two days until the long four day Christmas weekend) and it really delivered! This one would be a fun read for both adults and the kids!
The Worst Class Trip Ever is about an eighth grade class trip to Washington DC. Our narrator is Wyatt and he tells us all about the adventure he and a few others from his class go on. The kids convince themselves that there are some terrorists that are going to attack the White House. You don’t know what’s going to happen next in this fun read that takes you all over DC.
I was really drawn into the story and had no clue how it was going to end. You think the adventure can’t get any crazier than it already has then Barry has something else happen! This is a great short read and I highly recommend the audio version. The narrator Todd Haberkorn performed very well.
I really liked that the narrator was a boy. It seems like there are not many books written for boys or feature boys, but there is no way a girl could have been the narrator: boys just seem to get themselves into trouble easier.
There was only one negative for me and it is not the book: I hate that we live in a world where children’s books have the subject of terrorists and bombings in them. But this is the world we live in and terrorists and TSA rules is our life now.
I would say this book would be fine for middle schoolers.
The Worst Class Trip Ever is very highly recommended![Top]
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Published: June 1, 2005
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history….
Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of, a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.
The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself–to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive.
What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler’s dark reign and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.
Kim reviews The Historian twice, she loves it that much. She also reads it every year….
Favorite. Book. Ever.
I read this for the first time back in college. I found it in Bargain Books at Barnes and Noble and once I opened it, I was hooked. What was most intriguing was the “Note to the Reader” section . . . I sat there literally arguing with myself about whether or not this was fiction or an actual history book. Does the author not understand that she’s writing fiction? Wait, does she think this story is real?? I needed to find out, so I kept reading. 600 pages later, I am absolutely convinced that this story is real. This book became the gift that I gave to everyone for whatever event called for a gift. I gave a copy to my mother in law, and she loved it! We’re talking about the lady who had never read a single book that even mentioned a vampire in her life! It became a sign of rebellion for her that she reveled in. Whenever her uptight friends came over, she made sure to display The Historian to prove how cool she was! And I haven’t even started talking about the story yet!
I try to read this book once every year. And in between readings, I crave the story like no other. Adventure, intrigue, horror, culture, history, everything is in this book. I learn something new every time I read it. This year, I read it while we were on our cruise, I finished it in 3 days. I recommend this to everyone. I don’t care what kind of book you enjoy reading, everyone will love this book.
I wrote a review for The Historian a while ago, and when I went back to read it over again, I realized just how incomplete it was. Nothing has changed since I wrote the review, it’s still my favorite book, I still start longing to read it again before my year is over, it still holds me enthralled while I read it yet again! In fact, this year’s reading meant a little more because I was reading it while on a train traveling through Italy, and I saw some of the places mentioned in the book! I sat in Saint Marco’s Square at Florian’s drinking a rich, thick hot chocolate!
It still amazes me that a work of fiction can sound so much like history, and that I want to believe it all really happened. Kostova has such a wonderful way of telling stories and then intertwining history and fact, making everything feel so realistic and authentic, like you’re living all the action. I’ve added traveling through the Balkans, by train in the autumn and Budapest and Romania to my list of places that I want to see. The characters are so real that you feel like you’ve made new friends when you finish; when I say to Ivan that I want to visit Istanbul, part of the reason is because I expect to meet Turgut and have him invite us to his house for lunch. You root for them on their search for the Count and the anticipation of “what’s gonna happen next??” glides you through page after page.
My historian soul has so much fun year after year, discovering more details and reveling in the search and research. And this book even satisfies my scare addiction! There are times that it’s just creepy enough to give a shudder but not enough to make you put the book down in fright. (Are y’all impressed with how professional I sound in this review? Ha!) And a huge shout out to Elizabeth Kostova for being such a kind and gracious person! I went to her book signing in the spring and she acted genuinely happy to see me. I geeked out all over her, and her response was to buy me a copy of her newest book, The Shadow Land. I’ve met authors who act like they couldn’t care less about their fans; she is not one of them! This book sparked my imagination in such a way that has me coming back to it over and over again, year after year.
The Historian is one of the few books that I would allow myself to read more than just once a year . . . if I could bring myself to displace all the millions of other books I need to read before December 31! 😉 I cannot recommend this book highly enough to pretty much everyone. Even older teens would enjoy it and hopefully help them to see just how cool the study of history can be![Top]