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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books

Browsings - Michael Dirda, John Lescault

First, I want to be clear: this 3 star rating is for the audiobook only.  I have a print copy of Browsings, but in an effort to pack more reading in, I borrowed the audiobook from my library to listen while driving to and from work.


The narrator, John Lescault, is not great.  He breathes very little, if any, personality into the reading of the essays.  As the book progresses, some life comes out here and there, but mostly there are large swaths of the narration that sound exactly like a computer generated voice is reading the text to you.  Because work ended for the holidays before the book did, I read the last few columns from my print edition.  Once I got Lescault's voice out of my head, I found the essays a lot more lively and enjoyable.  I suspect when I pick this up again some time in the future, when the soulless narration has faded from memory, I'll enjoy the essays a lot more.


Browsings is a collection of Dirda's columns, written over the course of a year, for The American Scholar.  He talks about a little of everything book related and his reading tastes are the very definition of eclectic, so there's likely something here for everyone who might enjoy reading about a bookish life.  My only disappointment – aside from the narration –was a lack of solid, factual information about collecting and living with books, but that's the result of my own hopeful expectations, not to any unmet promises on the part of the book itself.


An enjoyable book to dip in and out of, but definitely skip the audio version.