Reading and Listening

Here are two books I’ve enjoyed recently–one by turning pages and the other by inserting CDs!

The Exception by Christian Jungersen

Much more than just a mystery novel, this work focuses on four women employed at the Danish Center for Information on Genocide. Woven throughout the compelling story are considerations of the meaning of evil, the human tendency to victimize others and the opposing human ability to be selfless—to be “the exception.” As the point-of-view shifts amongst the women, the reader comes to understand them all, knowing that one may well be an unreliable narrator.

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

I love books that take a genre form—okay, for me, that’s usually the mystery—and change the angle on it just enough to surprise, delight and breathe new life into that satisfyingly predictable format. What I love even more is listening to a skillful reader, preferably with an accent that is anything other than American Midwestern, reading that book to me as I drive to library consortium meetings throughout Illinois! That’s what I experienced when I listened to the CDs of Case Histories, read by Susan Jameson. The standard mystery is all about the plot and whodunit. Judged that way, Atkinson’s book is not remarkable. But as critic Jeff Turrentine states, if you read (preferably listen to, in my opinion) this novel as a “character study grafted onto the detective-thriller format, it’s a rousing triumph, thanks in whole to Atkinson’s boundless sympathy for her funny, pathetic, three-dimensional and fully human creations.”


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