Reviews: Talking to Strangers (audio) by Malcolm Gladwell and Stay by Lewis Trondheim, art by Hubert Chevillard.

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. Unabridged, read by Gladwell. 8 hours 42 minutes. Hachette Audio. 9781549150333.

It was this conversation between Gladwell and It’s Been A Minute (podcast) host Sam Sanders that got me to try this book, even though audiobooks aren’t really my thing.

I finished listening to it in record time because it sounds like a podcast, with high production quality, interview snippets, and even music to supplement Gladwell’s reading (which itself is great). I hope more nonfiction audiobooks follow this example. (If you know of any others, please list them in the comments.)

To sum up the book, we’re not good at understanding one another, and the world would be better if we all stopped making hurried judgements about each other. Sandra Bland’s death bookends a variety of other case studies that might seem unrelated, but which Gladwell connects and explores. I particularly liked his discussion of the conviction of Amanda Knox because she didn’t have the expected reaction to her roommate’s murder. That stayed with me, maybe because Knox lives near Seattle.

After I finished this, I read the graphic novel Stay. In the opening pages a young woman and her fiancĂ© arrive at a beach for a short vacation. It’s windy. He’s decapitated by a flying metal sign. And she’s just kind of blank. She talks to his parents on the phone in a way that everything seems fine, then goes to check in to their apartment. There are signs that she’s on edge and deeply upset, but they’re hidden moments — mostly she doesn’t seem to be reacting to what happened, even when she’s having conversations with a stranger about herself and the man she loved.

Without listening to Gladwell’s book, I may not have finished Stay, but because of it observing the woman’s grief and her expression of it felt intimate.

Stay by Lewis Trondheim, art by Hubert Chevillard. Lion Forge, 2019. 9781549307713. 128pp.


One thought on “Reviews: Talking to Strangers (audio) by Malcolm Gladwell and Stay by Lewis Trondheim, art by Hubert Chevillard.”

  1. Pat_in_the_hat says:

    Two great non-fic audiobooks were both written and preformed by Carol Burnett. “This time together” & “In such Good Company”. One was nominated for a Grammy, the other won one. Archival interview clips are sprinkled in to let other players tell things in their own words.

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