Post retirement purging plus 30 hours of audiobooks

Post Retirement Purging

I have no post-retirement plans. I am delightfully diary free, and thankful that the relentless ring of alarm clocks and scheduling of appointments is no longer part of my life. There is now space to respond to whatever turns up.  What I didn’t expect to turn up was a frantic desire to engage in a frenzy of cleaning and purging.

During the last month, I have cleaned under every bed, emptied every wardrobe, and decluttered the house. It took me endless hours, and our home was basically clean and tidy before I started. The hardest part of retirement has been letting my weekly cleaner go!

Housework does not excite me, It’s boring and tedious but I became obsessed with having the purge completed. It’s like I needed to create a transition between working and not working. So I plugged myself into audiobooks and four wise women authors kept me company as I culled and scrubbed.  Thirty hours later the purging was done and my mind is richer for the listening.

30 Hours of Audiobooks

How great are libraries! I downloaded all the books from the Brisbane Library for free via the Libby app.  No adding more books to my clutter-free home!

The Year the Maps Changed, Danielle Blinks– 6 hours

I didn’t even know this was a “younger readers” book. I fell in love with Fred as she explored what makes a family.  Her insight empathy, and capacity to love left me hopeful for the world.

Sorrento, Victoria, 1999. Fred’s family is a mess. Her mother died when she was six and she’s been raised by her Pop and adoptive father, Luca, ever since. But now Pop’s had to go away, and Luca’s girlfriend Anika and her son have moved in. More and more it feels like a land grab for family and Fred is the one being left off the map.

Even as things feel like they’re spinning out of control for Fred, a crisis from the other side of the world comes crashing in. When a group of Kosovar-Albanian refugees are brought to a government ‘safe haven’ not far from Sorrento, their fate becomes intertwined with the lives of Fred and her family in ways that no one could have expected.


The Book Woman’s Daughter, Kim Michelle Richardson – 10 hours

I was thrilled to discover there was a sequel to The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek. I love libraries and stories about the power of books and The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek combines both. Imagine a woman delivering library books by packhorse through the rugged, remote, and dangerous Kentucky hills in 1953. I loved the Book Woman’s Daughters and its exploration of racism (did you know there was a blue race?), feminism, power, injustice, friendship, family, and courage. The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek and The Book Woman’s Daughter are must-reads.

The Book Woman's Daughter : A Novel - Kim Michele Richardson

Honey Mary Angeline Lovett, the daughter of the beloved Troublesome book woman, fights for her own independence with the help of the women who guide her and the books that set her free.

In the ruggedness of the beautiful Kentucky mountains, Honey Lovett has always known that the old ways can make a hard life harder. As the daughter of the famed blue-skinned, Troublesome Creek packhorse librarian, Honey and her family have been hiding from the law all her life. But when her mother and father are imprisoned, Honey realizes she must fight to stay free, or risk being sent away for good.

Picking up her mother’s old packhorse library route, Honey begins to deliver books to the remote hollers of Appalachia. Honey is looking to prove that she doesn’t need anyone telling her how to survive. But the route can be treacherous, and some folks aren’t as keen to let a woman pave her own way.

If Honey wants to bring the freedom books provide to the families who need it most, she’s going to have to fight for her place, and along the way, learn that the extraordinary women who run the hills and hollers can make all the difference in the world.

Grace’s Table, Sally Piper – 8 hours

I was drawn to this book because it’s about a 70-year-old Australian woman, presumably retired. It’s a tender, slow book tapping into the vulnerability, conflict, secrets and love of families.  The build-up of tension was captivating and the twist unexpected.

Grace’s Table by Sally PiperGrace has not had twelve people at her table for a long time. Hers isn’t the kind of family who share regular Sunday meals. But it isn’t every day you turn seventy.

As Grace prepares the feast, she reflects on her life, her marriage and her friendships. When the three generations come together, simmering tensions from the past threaten to boil over. The one thing that no one can talk about is the one thing that no one can forget.

Grace’s Table is a moving and often funny novel about the power of memory and the family rituals that define us.



Scrappy Little Nobody – 6 hours

I wanted something funny and light.  I had no idea who Anna Kendrick was until I googled her part way through listening to the book. The book is more wry than laugh-out-loud funny.  Anna invites you into her world as child actor, awkward teenager ambitious young woman.  Interesting enough but not compelling.  

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna KendrickA collection of humorous autobiographical essays by actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch PerfectUp in the AirTwilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

What’s next?

An op-shop trip is planned for this week to ensure the clutter leaves the house.

Recommendations for books, please.