Important Vacation Audiobook Criteria and Hardly Knew Her by Laura Lippman, 3.5 Stars

So normally I’m  better about mixing up my books. Reading and reviewing some books that are coming soon and reviewing some that are currently out so that I can post my reviews right away.

Lately, I’ve failed. I read two books this week…After the Fall by A.J. Banner and All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin. And I will be reviewing those, but stay tuned because I’ll be waiting until closer to the pub date.

But I’m in that just returned from vacation mode where I have 3 newly released books waiting for me at the library and I can’t wait to pick them up, but haven’t read anything newly released that I haven’t yet reviewed. It’s a problem.

Today I’m going to talk about audio books. Do you listen to them? What’s your criteria?

I’ve found I look for something very different in an audio book than I do in a normal book. Mostly because they can take FOREVER to listen to. 12 hours? Who has time for that? I also only listen to them on vacation for the most part while my kids are watching movies in the back of the van. So I need a book that my husband will like too (No chicklit!).

I’ve honed my criteria. Usually we both like books that fall into the “horror” category (but they have to be short stories because I just can’t wait that long!), or humor memoirs because they are read by the author, which is fun, and tend to be shorter (think 6 hours). I know, both ends of the spectrum, right?

Books we have enjoyed on vacation include Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat, You’ll Grow out of It by Jessie Klein, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Shumer and The Unremarkable Heart and Other Stories by Karin Slaughter.

On our most recent trip, we had the Rachel Dratch memoir downloaded, but ended up going with Hardly Knew Her by Laura Lippman. I just felt more like short stories. But I do still want to read the Dratch book. She’s hysterical! I guess I need to plan a summer vacation.

From the Publisher:

New York Times bestselling author and winner of every major prize awarded for crime fiction—including the Edgar®, Anthony, Shamus, Agatha, and Nero Wolfe Awards—Laura Lippman brilliantly demonstrates her astonishing agility as a short story writer with Hardly Knew Her.

A sterling collection of sixteen suspenseful short fictions and novellas—most set in and around her beloved Baltimore and several featuring her popular series character private investigator Tess Monaghan—Hardly Knew Her was called, “Riveting…One of the best collections released in some time” by the Boston Globe. The Seattle Times says, “something in the short-story form brings out the wicked in Laura Lippman,” and this exceptional collection is indisputable proof that Lippman is without peer as she walks boldly on the dark and dangerous side.

My Review:

This collection of short stories was certainly creepy. But I really did like the collection, although the stories at the end were more focused on Lippman’s popular character Tess Monaghan. I haven’t read those books so they spoke to me less.

But these stories were just perfect for a road-trip. They all took less than 30-45 minutes to listen to (okay, I didn’t time them at all, but they seemed brief). The story built and climaxed in a very appropriate amount of time to balance with my attention span while tossing snacks to the back of the car and playing movie DJ for the kids.

Writing a good short story is an art. And for many authors, it’s probably harder than writing a novel. You have to concise, to the point. You have to include enough details that you’ve painted the picture appropriately and set the scene, but not so many to bog down the story. It has to have a point, or be chilling or leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

These stories were interesting, brief and at times, shocking. Definitely worth checking out if you are a Lippman fan, or want to try listening to something on your next trip!

I apologize for not having a new review (this book came out in 2008), but hopefully I’ve provided some food for thought on audio books. I’ll be back with some new ones next week!

Buy it:


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