Archive for the 'Humor' Category



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?  

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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.

BossyPants

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.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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
goodness?

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.)

 

deinWhitetoSkipLine

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.

-p.165

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.

-p.145

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*

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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 goodreads.com.

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: http://www.eclectic-eccentric.com/2011/10/book-review-abundance-of-katherines.html. Or, click on this?…
Or, what abt clicking on this?
Well. DOES this WORK?!?! Will keep tweaking or run upstrs to the laptop..

http://www.eclectic-eccentric.com/2011/10/book-review-abundance-of-katherines.html

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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.”

Yes.

RATING:   Four slices of pie.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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…)

words
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.

.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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.

TEN THINGS I LOVE ABT NY/C

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.

Benny & Shrimp

Thoughts   Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti/translated by Sarah Death, Penguin Books 2009 (originally pub’d in Swedish 1998), 209 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:   I purchased this book.   The Bookies – my In-Real-Life book club – chose this for February discussion.

FIRST SENTENCEs:

Who stands up for the dead?
Looks after their rights,
listens to their problems,
and waters their potted plants?

You’ll have to be on your guard!

WHAT it’s ABOUT:   Two lonely people meet and despite their contrasts in lifestyle, they begin a relationship.   Benny, age 37, is a farmer working so hard to keep his family business afloat after his parents deaths and Shrimp (real name Desirée) is a recently widowed librarian with a more modern style;   they first meet in a cemetery, on the bench near the graves they visit.   It is obvious from the start – just by looking at grave marker styles that these two will clash.   But fall in love they do and it’s a fun ride.

It’s a story of give and take.

WHAT’s GOOD:    I enjoyed the change of pace and style and humor from the recent books I’ve read – very refreshing and charming.    I finished the book (and wrote this review) on the most fitting of days – Valentine’s Day!   It’s a love story.

WHAT’s NOT so GOOD:   This certainly is not the kind of book that demands attempts at analysis (Virginia Woolf?) but it was comforting from the first few pages to realize that Mazetti will keep the tension going, the humor sparkling, the love building.      Because this is a translated book (and will assume translated well*), I did have to confront a few cultural references – and actually I’m very glad to do so and enjoy such pushes to learn about other places.   I looked up the recipes and a bunch of stuff for this review:   What is ‘ling’?  (some kind of cod dish that is traditional Holiday fare.)   Could I find the Swedish Princess Cookbook?!  nope – sad;    who is Niki de Saint Phalle?  (she’s actually French)  Can I locate a painting by Carl Larsson?

This reminds me almost of Norman Rockwell but the Arts & Crafts movement Larsson is associated with would be more reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright, perhaps?

Shrimp’s idea of what the inside of Benny’s house SHOULD be like.  p.81:   

What about poetry by Gunnar Ekelöf?    What blurbs I did find say he is Sweden’s first surrealist poet.    The little bit from the book, p. 142:

“The natural world replete with love and death around me…”

When I was struck by  the universal theme of Give & Take, I was enthusiastically grabbed by the idea and could see it in all the relationships in the book.    I felt so proud of myself and was too quick to imagine myself dazzling my Bookie friends with my insight.   HA!    Even Mazetti states this in the words of the nutty coworker, page 102:

She had no friends.  “I’ve never been interested in making any,”  she said matter-of-factly.  “It only leads to all that tiresome give and take.  You never have any freedom.”


Oh, I am having too much fun** with this…    I made a poem from the mood suggesting qualities from just one paragraph – does it work?  or was it heavy-handed?   [From page 100.]

Listless, dragged.
Hat pulled down / hands thrust deep
Climbed cautiously, came trudgingly, jumped nervously;
Put down / stood there.    Tense.

I found this image from googling "typical Swedish farmhouse"

And what happened to the cemetery beginning?   do we go back to it!?     Yes, but that would introduce a spoiler…     But that warning at the beginning should have been a better warning to me.

[Honest Revelation...   I wrote most of this post before I was done with the book and it didn't end like I expected it to.   I was afraid I would have to totally rewrite this!   but revisiting it 24 hours after the 'scene of the crime', I am glad to admit that it's OK, this post is fine.    But boy-oh-boy, was I thrown for a loop!      Now that I've had time to think it through, it's just fine...]

I really enjoyed writing this post. I am looking forward to discussing this with the gals. One more question or observation: Despite thinking at one point that once again, the heroine has the brilliant but a bit messed-up sidekick buddy (Märta  was cool), I doubt anyone would attempt to make a movie of this only because ‘they’ would cast actors TOO PRETTY and it would just miss on that account alone.  I just know they would mess it up.   Could I be wrong?  tell me if I’m right…   Surely this international bestseller would fall flat on the big screen, do you agree?


RATING:   4 PIES;  I enjoyed this one.  Do they make lingonberry pie?    Why, yes.  Yes, they do:  

* Except that Shrimp takes Benny’s truck back into town but they keep calling it a car thereafter.    I’m from the midwest – you do NOT confuse a truck with a car.  Ever.

** I should have known better.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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.

I prefer pi.

pieratingsml

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