Archive for the 'Humor' Category

Life Among the Savages

Thoughts  Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson, Academy Chicago 1990 (orig 1948), 241 pages Tradeback offsize

Memoir, Nonfiction

Delightfully charming! You get a sense of how terrific a mom Shirley was by how she truly listens to her kids and encourages their imagination.

It’s been said that these essays of domestic hilarity are what inspired the genre most think of when you say the name Erma Bombeck, but it wouldn’t be something Ms. Jackson would have been too thrilled with, I don’t think. I bet she often thought this audience of her ‘stories’ beneath her contempt. But they sold and sold well. What’s an author to do?

It almost breaks your heart to read this and then right after, read her biography. No wait. It DID break my heart to read the bio right after enjoying these madcap loving little tales.

If you want to immerse yourself into fascinating and extremely talented writings of a complicated artist, study Shirley Jackson. First read her infamous short story The Lottery and then read this or Raising Demons (I haven’t read), then read We’ve Always Lived in the Castle (a favorite of mine; I want to read it again, especially after reading her biography), and then read Oppenheimer’s bio. And then, if you are like me, you’ll seek out everything Jackson ever wrote.

I am in the middle – and I jump around, as always – of her collection Just An Ordinary Day. Then I want to read The Road Through the Wall and then The Bird’s Nest and then…

Which Shirley Jackson book will YOU read next?

BOOK MENAGE scheduled for the week of December 3rd over at Citizen Reader.



Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Beauty Queens (AudioBook)

Thoughts  Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, Scholastic 2011, 12 discs or 14.5 hours (per Audible)

Whaddya think? Should I add the (AudioBook) words to the title of the post? Helpful? Are you ambivalent? Just curious…  

WHY I read this? Because Laurie’s review turned me from NO-WAY-NOT-MY-KIND-OF-BOOK doubt into GOTTA-READ-NOW!!! fervor. And since she works at one of my local libraries and I would have the chance to stop and say hi to her, I checked out the CDs. Also, I needed something fun after all the horror I’ve read lately.

WHAT’s it about? A plane full of teen Beauty Queens crashes onto a tropical island and they must learn how to survive. But don’t worry, the island isn’t without distractions and diversions. This book attacks everything wrong with modern society and throws in lots of elements to make sure the book is never boring.  We meet pirates and TV celebrities, get commercial breaks, run wild in the jungle and fight evil corporations.

What’s GREAT? The author is the narrator. She nails it. I was forever impressed with her ability to do every different voice and even if we get every stereotypical accent, it is over the top funny and enjoyable. Of course, this is my opinion? But I really enjoyed listening to this one and thought the whole thing great fun.

FINAL thoughts? A perfect way to cleanse my brain after American Psycho.

RATING:  Four slices of coconut pie. With gummy bears sprinkled on the whip cream. 

Don’t forget to weigh in on whether or not I should include the tag AUDIOBOOK in my post title! and if I should say REGULARBOOK in the other post titles?  


Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.


Thoughts  BossyPants by Tina Fey, Hachette Audio? (Can’t figure out from my downloaded files where to find all this information.)

updated: 5 hours and 35 minutes…

AudioBook via Audibles FREE download for 2 wk trial onto my iPad, Nonfiction: memoir, humor.

This was only a bit better than just OK for me. I enjoyed many parts and laughed a lot and admire Ms. Fey for her attitudes and gumptions.


Please, for a terrific review, DO visit Trish at Love,Laughter&Insanity or explore the very many reviews found at Fyrefly’s blogosphere search.


Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Poetry Day

Today is Poetry Day for Lu and Kelly-TheWrittenWorld-Kailana-MyReadingBooks-PseudoKiwiCanadian-@BookishNerd as just one piece of the big celebrate-poetry event they are plotting to get me to read deep things that may or may not rhyme. Clicking on the pretty blue button above will transport you to that other world.

Here’s what I came up with for today:

I baked bread.
Just today, this morning.
very exciting.
I am hoping it is sourdough.
The cookbook index
Does not list sourdough.
It is boule.
Says it sours over days.
(The batter. Batter?
In the refrigerator.)
It smells so good.
Now that it is baked.
So tempting, not to tear into it.
Must let it cool.
Be cool.
Yum, I heart fresh bread.
And I made it myself!
I’m so proud.
Could anything be more basic

Well? LOTS going on here, for such a simple poem that doesn’t rhyme. A carefree woman of middle-age who wants to try new things and get healthy – that’s the surface view. Who writes poetry about bread because she doesn’t own any poetry books that feature any poems about bread and that is what she felt compelled to talk about considering that she just crafted a loaf of homemade bread and wanted to share it with the world. But underneath, we glimpse a woman possibly unsure of what she really wants to do with her days and is easily swayed by trends – bake your own bread!write your own poems! I bet she is someone who talks too much about herself. But overall, a good person.

“The people long eagerly for two things -
Bread and circuses.”

- Juvenal (c. 60-140 A.D.)



Copyright © 2007-2012. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Stone Diaries

Thoughts  The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields, Penguin Books 1995, 361 pages

“Yet wherever she goes, her story marches ahead of her. Announces her. Declares and cancels her true self. Oh, she did so want to be happy, but what choice did she have, stepping to the beat of the that ragbag history of hers?

- p.122

WHAT’s it ABOUT:   I’ve been avoiding the review of this in equal measures with my enthusiasm. I loved this book. It’s funny!  Sly humor, we should say. Short sentences, deep thoughts, a bit of whimsy even. Delightful. You might even think it is a happy story from all my gushing here but that would be a lie.

Daisy Stone Goodwill Hoad Flett is just a witness to her own life. She was born to a big fat woman who didn’t even know she was pregnant and then died! Died in childbirth. Slam bam, cruel cruel world. Daisy ended up being raised by an Aunt who was really a neighbor and well, you’ll just have to read the crazy storyline if I have interested you so far. (No? oh, OK:  aunt dies, she moves with her bio-dad to Indiana from Canada, grows up & goes to school – story glosses over this part, marries but not for long (ha!), needs an adventure and ends up back in Canada married to her ‘uncle’ – yep, the original aunt’s son; has three kids, gets a job, loses job, gets depressed, gets older, moves to Florida of all places, takes a crazy trip to Scotland and and…  I won’t ruin that part – it’s quite astonishing and finally is a witness to her death and a little after.

In an interview at the back of the book – DO READ THIS, I like when I like the afterwords; so refreshing, wouldn’t you agree? Carol Shields says that many women of the generation of Daisy just fail to claim their own lives and thus never get books written about them.  So Ms Shields attempted it and was beautifully successful in writing something wholly entertaining and profound.  There, I said it. It is my opinion.

It’s the writing and the theme and the creativity and the humor that got me. I didn’t rush through this; it wasn’t a fast-paced page-turner. I savored this.

Fraidy, friend of Daisy, was my favorite. It makes me smile just to think of her letters, her words, her attitudes. Oh yes, there are letters and scattered perspectives of Daisy’s life interspersed through the entire book.

I dreaded this review because I don’t really know what to say or how to express what I loved so much. Huh, I’m at 600 words!

Or is love something less, something slippery and odorless, a transparent gas riding through the world on the back of a breeze, or else – and this is what he more and more believes – just a word trying to remember another word.


Carol Shields has me thinking she would be really fun to hang out with. I can’t wait to read more of her stories to see if she really should be one of my new favorites. If you follow my blog at all, you know I don’t tend to follow an author’s oevure. If she passes the 3 book test (3 books is when I tend to tire of an author’s ‘style’), then a favorite she will be.

WHAT’s GOOD:   Humor. I was ready for a book that made me laugh. Not that this is a funny book!  It is, but I wouldn’t classify it in that section of the library.  It’s funny in that life-is-absurd kind of way.

It is inevitable that each of us will be misunderstood; this, it seems, is part of twentieth-century wisdom.


WHAT maybe NOT so good?    Can’t think of a thing.

FINAL THOUGHTS:    [crickets]

RATING:  Five slices of pie.

… the great story she let rise up and swamp her.

- p.125

REVIEWS:   Results of Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search for this title and then the one that first brought this book to my attention:  the Bluestocking Society where she says ‘we glimpse truths about the entire human condition’. Shoutouts to Kailana and Chris of Bookarama (whatdoyouknow! Canadians) for chatting with me about this on Twitter and goodreads.  *smiles*


Copyright © 2007-2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

An Abundance of Katherines

Thoughts An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, SPEAK an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 2006, 229 pages

I so wanted to love this because it has (a bit) of the maths! And it was good… just not my favorite.

Our guy is a child prodigy who desperately wants to be a genius and to ‘matter’. He is even more desperate to be in love; preferably with a(ny) girl named Katherine. He is a very skilled anagrammer. In hopes of getting over a breakup with the 19th of his Katherine lovergirls, he and his best bud go on a road trip. Hijinks ensue? Click on the book cover above to get the synopsis from

I read this because I adore John Green. I was supposed to read this a few years ago; this was listed to complete a challenge in 2009 – I think it might have been the Dewey Challenge! And this year, I listed it for the SIZE category in the What’s in a Name 4 Challenge. I can finally cross it off the list. John Green now joins the very few and favored authors with the distinction of having more than three books on my done-read list.

Three Slices of Pie.

Trisha at Eclectic-Eccentric also read this book this month (great minds think alike) and since I am attempting to add the link to her post while editing onmy iPad, I don’t know if it will be clean. In the meantime, I just want to drop in the long code: Or, click on this?…
Or, what abt clicking on this?
Well. DOES this WORK?!?! Will keep tweaking or run upstrs to the laptop..


Copyright © 2007-2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Staying at Daisy’s

Thoughts    Staying at Daisy’s by Jill Mansell, ARC SourcebooksLandmark 2010 (orig 2002), 501 pages

A gift from Nancy the Book Fool.  THANKS!!

A predictable lovely romp.    British, so it is chock full of groovy Britisms.    Typical story line of good girl rejecting love because she’s been hurt before and but of course, the gorgeous awesome guy who keeps popping by just HAS to be a jerk so don’t waste the time falling for him.  But, of course, she does and it’s a fun story all the same.

Hijinks and escapades; everything gets wrapped up happily.  And it also has a minor dog character – any dog lover would appreciate this book, too.

RECOMMENDED – good chicklit, travel book, beach read.


Copyright © 2007-2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Dykes To Watch Out For

Thoughts     Dykes To Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel, Firebrand Books 1986, 78 pages.

MOTIVATION for READING:     I had read so many great reviews of various titles by Alison Bechdel and so was testing my area’s InterLibraryLoan system;  this one popped up.    I reserved it for my GLBT Challenge and my OPEN category in the Twenty in Ten Challenge:  Graphic Novel.     I’m going to say that this book picked me.

Don’t you love books that are SMART FUNNY?   This one is.    And I howled at the 80s references (see the published date of 1986) – so spot on.

I have to admit I was delighted (in hopes of reading 100 books this year and I’m off that mark) at the page count of 77 – I am seriously taking more time to write this review than it did to flip through every panel!      Little humorous vignettes that are obviously about lesbian relationships but have universal themes.     Truly, it is a look at the craziness of relationships, ANY relationships – beginnings, middles, and ends, etc.

One of my favorite things was the smattering of panels for each letter of the alphabet that showcase a type of lesbian.   I love the alphabet!   I love to read books, blog posts, anything that features the alphabet.     And then – surprise!!!    The last pages has “the Amazon’s Bedside Companion:  A Sophisticated Alphabet and Subliminal Picture Quiz” which had me breezing through once again from the beginning!   For example, the Z page featured a Zinnia and I totally missed it.   So clever and fun.

Nymeth recently reviewed one of Bechdel’s latest (as I understand it, an extension/compilation of what she started in the book I’m reviewing here); I must quote her:

“the main appeal of The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For is actually how very universal and how human it is.”


RATING:   Four slices of pie.


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont

Thoughts Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor, The Viking Press 1971, 178 pages.   Checked out from the library – submitted for vote in my IRL book club as part of Books to Movie* Month but lost to A Single Man (please send good wishes to the universe that this is released to DVD before our next meeting because I screwed up and thought it was available – oops!)

I really enjoyed this sad yet comedic tale of an elderly lady who moves into a residence hotel so she would not be too lonely and yet have a place to live her almost last days.    While out walking, staying active and learning more about her new London neighborhood, she takes a tumble outside of a writer’s apartment;  he  kindly rescues her and calls her a taxi.   She strikes up an interesting friendship with the young man and convinces him to pretend he is her grandson so she can show him off to the other residents.    I wish I could suggest that hijinks ensue but alas, it is really just a sad tale and an admonishment that we need to value our family members.

The characterization was wonderful.    The author was excellent at creating and capturing scenes and personalities of all the characters.    I loved Mrs. Palfrey and was touched by her challenges.   In under 200 pages, we get a true sense of the loneliness and pride and idiosyncracies of everyone, young and old.          We get a sense of all the stereotypes of the expectations and realizations of aging yet are exposed to all the pains and joys of life’s various stages.    This is not a sympathetic tale but one more case of ‘it is what it is’.    But OH!   The ending!!    I will only say that I was outraged and so sad – but I didn’t cry.    I share a few favorite passages:

As she waited for prunes, Mrs. Palfrey considered the day ahead.  The morning was to be filled in quite nicely;  but the afternon and evening made a long stretch.  I must not wish my life away, she told herself; but she knew that, as she got older, she looked at her watch more often, and that it was always earlier that she had thought it would be.  When she was younger it had always been later.

She flushed, unnoticed by him, and signalled to the waiter to refill his glass.   She felt up and down about Ludo – uncertain then sure – as she had felt when, so long ago, she had fallen in love with Arthur:  in those earlier days before she had become quite sure.

She did not explain to him  how deeply pessimistic one must be in the first place, to need the sort of optimism she now had at her command.

He opened the book, but no printed page could be powerful against his sense of desolation.

The book jacket – which I read AFTER reading the book, of course – is perfect:   “With comedy and irony all the way, … desperately poignant, … emotionally rich.”     Four pieces of coconut pie.   (because I am craving coconut right now – no other reason, flaky and white and pure and you either love it or you don’t…)

SCUNNER p.19 “I’ve taken a scunner against the young.” – feeling of disgust or strong dislike.

THOLE p. 19 “She affected such Scottish words and they made her Scottish husband wince.   He could not thole them, as she would have put it.” – endure (something) without complaint or resistance; tolerate.

DESUETUDE p.130 “Pillared and porticoed now in dazzling white, and with window-boxes of public-gardens flowers of orange and beetroot red, they looked conscious of their rescue from threatened desuetude and decay, looked, for the time being most imposing.” – a state of disuse.   [I knew what it meant but it looked misspelled to me.]

PLONK p. 127 ” “It says, ‘Plonk for all who come,'” Mrs. Post read, her nervousness increased.” ” – cheap wine of inferior quality.

BICKIE p.132 ” “Bickies?” Mrs. de Salis had been to fetch some.  Mrs. Palfrey took one.  Bunty scooped up a handful.” –  some kind of cheesy cracker or biscuit.

SQUIFFY p.152 ” “I musn’t get squiffy,” Mrs. Post said, rather surprised at herself for bringing out such a modish-sounding word. ” – slightly drunk

*  The movie of the same name based on this book was released in 2005 and stars Joan Plowright.  I’m looking forward to viewing this for the Read-Book-See-Movie Challenge.



Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Book Blogger Convention

I’m very excited to announce that I will be attending the Book Blogger Conference in NYC the day after Book Expo America, which happens to be in May.

AND, that I have found a book set in NY that entitles me to accept  the challenge sponsored by FizzyThoughts:   Typhoid Mary by Anthony Bourdain.


10.   NYC is  a fascinating city.

9.  NYC is where I spent a fun day with my friend JL – who is an excellent tour guide, btw.

8.  NYC is where the Book Blogger Conference is.

7.   I’m going to the BBC in May.

6.    I’ve run out of things.   I didn’t spend enough time on my one half day in NYC to know or remember or list anything else…

5.    It was a bit of a whirlwind day.

4.  We had great weather, what with it being December.

3.  Nice December in NYC during Christmas was very nice.

2.    The Charmin Bathroom was hilarious.

1.  I enjoyed it enough to know I need to go back.

So now, the to-do list creating and crossing-off to get ready for a return visit to NYC may now commence:

1.   Re-order blog-cards that show more branding (which means the PIE, yes?  but that means I have to draw a new one because the pixels aren’t right and I can’t get the file I do have to upload to the card making company…, so consider that step 1a.)

2.  Buy train tix – I’m thinking of hitting town around noon on Thursday – anyone else going to be at Penn Station about that time?

3.  Figure out non-wrinkly packable attire for this thing.   Ugh, what shoes!?   I need new shoes.

4.   Decide if I want to take my good camera or light simple easy one?

5.  Remember to turn texting on with my cellphone carrier otherwise, I expect the phone bill to exceed the hotel bill!      Have phone numbers already stored and ready.

6.  Visit other attendees blogs.    Meet my roomies online before I have to share a small space with them!!!      Too late – I’m committed and they will just have to put up with me.  (actually, I’m a great roomie:  cheerful, respectful, easy-going and I won’t hog the bathroom.)

7.  Prepare a blog post for my time away that reflects well on me.    (why does this one make me laugh?    any suggestions?!)

OOOOOoooooo!! I’m getting very excited for this.

I prefer pi.


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