rich in atmosphere and personality, with characters bound by the tenacious strictures of history and memory. And almost without fail, everything stops for lunch. It’s impossible to read a Bruno novel without getting hungry and thirsty.
That sounded like a great break during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Martin’s Bruno, Chief of Police series of novels depicts a village policeman named Benoît “Bruno” Courrèges. Bruno is a gourmet cook and former soldier who was wounded on a peacekeeping mission in the Balkans. Bruno loves his region of France. He’s also a compassionate and moral police officer who has a gun but never wears it.
I started with the audiobook version of the first novel in the series entitled Bruno, Chief of Police. This is historical fiction. I learned a lot about the French resistance during WWII (Le Maquis). The descriptions of life and food in rural France are fun and refreshing. The mystery is good. And there is a touch of romance to boot.
Retired Admiral William H. McRaven was involved in high profile special operations missions, including the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, and the raid to kill Osama bin Laden.
Admiral McRaven narrates his audiobook entitled Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations skillfully. I felt as though I was sitting in my living room hearing a brave, articulate person tell tales that made me feel proud to be an American. This is among the best audiobooks in my library.
You can get a sense of the author in this podcast.
At the end of WWII, Adolf Hitler ordered Choltitz to hold Paris, but if that wasn’t possible, to destroy it. Although General Choltitz had been very loyal to Hitler, he could not bring himself to obliterate the City of Light. He ultimately surrendered Paris to French forces on August 25, 1944. He’s been called the “Saviour of Paris” for preventing its destruction.
After his surrender, Choltitz was held for the remainder of the war in London and the United States and was ultimately released from captivity in 1947. He died in Baden-Baden in 1966.
Harari helped me put the day-to-day news in context, especially on the topic of the degree to which automation will affect the job market. Harari believes that artificial intelligence will have an enormous impact on the job market. For example, he argues that artificial intelligence will replace doctors in diagnosing common ailments.
The book helped me to think about the forces at work and the impact they will have on the world. To me, that’s more important than the accuracy of specific predictions.
The audiobook is ably narrated by Derek Perkins, who is British but now lives in Boston. He still sounds quite British. I found his narration easy to follow.
If you’d like to see what Professor Harari is like, he gave a one hour talk at Google in 2018: