The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Thoughts taaokacbymc by Michael Chabon, Picador 2000, 639 pages

Narrated by David Colacci audiomcdc 26 hours, 20 minutes

Challenge: Pulitzer Reading Challenge (unofficial)

I’m just going to ramble and don’t feel like following my usual review template. This is one of those books that fell into my life without me remembering how and why or who recommended. I am sure that I read somewhere about it winning the Pulitzer and I am aware the Mr. Chabon is married to author Ayelet Waldman. I haven’t read anything by her, either, though I follow her on Twitter. I really do think her first name is cool. And that’s all I know. Wait! I do know that Chabon wrote Wonder Boys and I liked the movie, I think. Maybe it is really just an admission that my memory is not what it should be!

Kavalier and Clay are comics writers. They were instrumental in the first heady days of the comic book industry of the late 1930s and early 40s. Do I read comic books? No. Do I read graphic novels? No, but I always put the ones everybody talks about on my tbr but I never seem to get to them.

(I do know who Stan Lee is. I do watch The Big Bang Theory.) It could be said that there is a lot to geek out about in this book if you were such a person who geeks out about literature and comics and magic and…  lots of stuff.

Would I have read this book if I had known it was about the comic book industry?! I think I wouldn’t have. I do not remember how I came to be in possession of a print copy nor how/why I also secured the audiobook. Oh well. Committed, I shall be.

I was not disappointed. I really did enjoy reading about Sam Clay and his cousin from Prague, Mr. Joe Kavalier. But especially Rosy and Tommy. The descriptions of NYC; the life and times in that city were fascinating. The city and maybe the Empire State Building could be considered characters. The book is sprawling and epic, back and forth in time somewhat (early days for both Sam and Clay) and I, as a reader, became invested in their goals, dreams, and struggles.

I am pretty sure I wanted to read this because it won the Pulitzer and though I am not obsessed with trying to read every winner, I seem to add them to my tbr and they seem to show up on my ‘read me next’ stack. Perhaps it best not to analyze too much.  I read two this month with little thought about it – “Oh yea, that won the Pulitzer. Huh.”

I learned a  lot about comics, I learned about about Judaism. I came to really appreciate Chabon’s skillful writing. Definitely has humor and amusement to balance against the sad crap of life situations and nastiness of war and the Holocaust. and OMIGOODNESS! The obvious research depth and wonderful creativity! Yowza POW!

I did not, however, find the narration to be as excellent at the story. I didn’t like the voice for Joe Kavalier. Too Dracula-sounding. But I will give credit that he did quite good with Rosy and Tommy and it was easy to tell the differences between characters. I just did NOT like Joe’s voice. At all. I listened to most of the book but ended up reading the last 100 pages.

May I point you to a fabulous review of this novel that really has much more insight? I present –> LitLove’s Tales from the Reading Room <–

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SPOILERY QUESTIONS FOLLOW  – READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK!  PLEASE CONTINUE if YOU *HAVE* READ THIS BOOK!

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Do you think Sam makes good in Hollywood? Do you think Joe ended up publishing his Golem story at his new company? Does Rosy continue HER career? Did you buy that the casket with the delivered Golem was so very very heavy and all it had inside was ‘soft silted dirt’? or did I read/hear that wrong? Would you read a sequel? Do you think a sequel is necessary (I do not. I just wonder about the answers to my questions; probably not best that the author attempt to answer them…) What do you think of the portrayal of women in this novel? Don’t you think if you were Stan Lee you would THRILLED to all HECK to be mentioned in a book that won the Pulitzer?!

 

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RATING: Four slices of pie.  I don’t think I caught any pie mentions.

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

March

Thoughts marchbygb by Geraldine Brooks, Penguin Books 2006 (orig 2004), 288 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name Challenge, Month category wian2016
Genre: Fanfiction
Type/Source: Tradeback/Used Bookstore
 Why I read this now:  To finish up the challenge.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have been interested in this because it explores a missing element or side story to Louisa May Alcott’s classic, Little Women. This won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize. I have enjoyed two books by this author: A Year of Wonders 2001 and People of the Book 2008.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This explores what happens to the father who goes off to the Civil War leaving his wife and four daughters back home in Concord Mass. I found him to be a very interesting and sympathetic character.

When he first enlisted, March was an idealistic man. He knew, above all else, that fighting this war for the Union cause was right and just. But he had not expected he would begin a journey through hell on earth, where the lines between right and wrong, good and evil, were too often blurred.   – from the Intro

WHAT’s GOOD: I thought it felt extremely authentic and inventive. The language used, descriptions of war and the issues surrounding slavery, the morality questioned made this an excellent experience. The two part structure – first we are given Mr. March’s side of events and in the second, we find out what Mrs. March REALLY thinks and how different her views were from her husband’s impressions was fascinating and lent an interesting light to the subtle difficulties of communication between husband and wife.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I am so more motivated to reread Little Women. I would love to have face-to-face discussions  about what some have mentioned that this ‘ruins Little Women‘ or violates the saintly image of Father. I thought he came across as vibrantly human and admirable in his attempts to be true.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

“Kindly Mr. Brooke had bought me a pie, which he had kept warmed by the fire, and I ate it gratefully,…”  p.249

Coinky-dink Book Link to Big Magic: “We do not have ideas. The idea has us . . . and drives us into the arena to fight for it like gladiators, who combat whether they will or no.”

Also, having read The Good Lord Bird, I enjoyed having another literary view of John Brown, Abolitionist. Just click on the title I just mentioned to read my review of that National Book Winner.

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

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Care’s Classics News – August 2016 Edition

Classics: A Meme, an Announcement and Updates

classicsclub1  <– Links to this month’s Classics Club Meme

GerminalButton2 <– Links to Melissa’s Announcement Post

August Meme: Question #44: A meme rewind from November 2012: What classic piece of literature most intimidates you, and why? (Or, are you intimidated by the classics, and why? And has your view changed at all since you joined our club?)

War and Peace would be the one that most intimidates me because I’m really not a fan of the old dead Russian author books. I struggled through Anna Karenina and have been warned off of the Brothers K. I’m truly not that interested. There are SO many books out there, I think I can be allowed to skip one or two. I also feel like it is a show-off book which isn’t a nice thing to say, I suppose, but I’m trying to resist that impulse to be a book snob. [It’s hard, actually!]

I had been intimidated by Moby Dick and managed that – and enjoyed it a lot! I seriously recommend the audiobook if anyone else needs a gentle push.

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READALONG TIME!  We will be tackling Zola’s Germinal and to be totally honest, if I had any clue about this book, I probably would skip it. It doesn’t sound very heartwarming and uplifting… But I put it on my 50 list so I might as well. People have claimed it to be their favorite book EVER! so it must be good, right?

The whole month of September:  hashtag #GerminalAlong

Why, you ask, did I put it on my 50 list?!  I don’t know…   I probably heard somebody gushing all over it and I had never heard of it.

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My Classics Club 50 Update List shows I’m on pace with classics but not with the original list. And I’m OK with that. The rules allow…  I’ve read 22 out of 50, 13 from the list.

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

Echoes of Family

Thoughts eofbybcw by Barbara Claypole White, ARC Lake Union Publishing 2016 (expected Sept 27), 440 pages

Challenge: Reading books pub’d in current year. Actually, OFFICIAL PUBLISH date is one month away.
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Tradeback / the author offered me a copy
 Why I read this now: I wanted to.

MOTIVATION for READING:  It seems that I am attempting to read all of BCW’s books as fast a possible.

Sometimes the only way through darkness is to return to where it began.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  We have a strong woman named Marianne who is “bi-polar”and manages to not only run a successful recording studio business but has also created a program to assist young female runaways. She has a big heart. We meet her husband Darius who is fiercely in love with her and her ‘daughter’ Jade who was a ‘rescued’ teen and is now the right-hand more-than-competent “capital A” Assistant in support of all things Marianne. Of course, we meet others of consequence, too: her childhood BFF Gabriel.

However strong Marianne is, she does have lapses and this latest one takes her to England and into her past. In her manic moments, she is “whirlwind action” of turmoil and love — some of it works, some does not. She has to learn to deal with her memories of family gone, her place in the world, and her family now.

WHAT’s GOOD:  Claypole White can write an engaging character. Her descriptions of Marianne’s extremes on that bi-polar spectrum are high-spirited and then turn to low-energy —  just like the mental illness she is capturing. I was amazed how my heart raced through the mania!

Knowing what I do know of this North Carolinian author, I delighted in the places mentioned that I know and many smatterings of native birds and flowers. She is excellent at referencing her known world. I am not as familiar with the English setting but Claypole White has a eye for authentic detail and sharing it with her words.

What’s NOT so good: I thought it took a bit to get into but I was confident I would be in for a well-rounded interesting and lively tale if I stuck with it and I was not disappointed at the end.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I am excited to continue working through all of BCW’s books; I have in-house The Unfinished Garden on the docket soon. What I might have to consider is that she is only just starting her fifth novel and I might get impatient!

Since God hadn’t listened when she’d asked Him, sweet as pie, to lobotomize the part of her brain that insisted she was in love, Jade had developed a new ploy…

RATING:  Three and one-half slices of pie, rounding up to four.

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Oh yes, she may have forgotten about all her pie references, but the reading did not disappoint! We had mini-tarts of bourbon pecan, we had (of course, duh – set in England) steak and kidney pie, and most unexpected but extremely delightful: orange-and-rhubarb pie! I will have to make this. And treacle tart. I am on the search for a bottle of treacle so that I can perfect this treat before the Scuppernong Books’ event promoting Barbara Claypole White’s Echoes of Family.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

Reading Sporadically

Hello.

What ya doin’?

Me? Oh, reading here and there. Thinking about vacuuming. Washing dishes frequently, it seems.

and applying for jobs!

And looking at my phone MUCH TOO MUCH.

My latest obsession is Litsy. litsy_logo_horiz

I’m BKCLUBCARE there, as well as most all other bookish social media thingamajigs.

I’m almost to the end of Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White eofbybcw which is an ARC and not  yet even available. I’m not sure I’ve EVER read a book before official publication! And there are plenty of pie references, don’t you be worried. Treacle tart, steak and kidney pie, orange-and-rhubarb pie… Yep, you guessed it! It IS set in England.

Click on the book cover *NOW* to go enter the goodreads giveaway – she’s got 50 copies available!

I’m still listening to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Chabon. About 4+ hours to go. I should be listening and cleaning, is what I SHOULD be doing…

I wonder if I’m dragging my feet because I don’t know what I will be reading/listening to next! Oh goodie, there is a diversion I can fall into to avoid the dusting chore. I also need to call my parents…

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OK then, leave me your vote of what I should read next from these three choices:edmckaybooks

Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None – for my Classics 50 Challenge

O.Henry’s stories – for the Classics challenge (and O.Henry is from Greensboro NC)

March by Geraldine Brooks – to satisfy the What’s in a Name Challenge for MONTH category

 

 

Toodles, my lil lemon drops! Stay sweet as pie, now, y’hear?

loveCare

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

Big Magic

Thoughts bigmagic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Riverhead Books 2015, 273 pages

Challenge: for Boat Friends Summer Reading Club

“Measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”

Genre: Self-help, Creativity
Type/Source: Hardback / Purchased at Indie BookStore
 Why I read this now:  Summer means Boating

MOTIVATION for READING: I have a friend, our next door boat neighbor, who inspired us to have a “bucket list summer” and one of the challenges was to read this book, together.

“Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Ms. Gilbert’s personal thoughts and her own exploration of how to be creative, how to MAKE art, why to make art. And art is totally subjective; whatever art is in you. Let that idea chase you down and find you to be its partner.

WHAT’s GOOD: I love the anecdotes, I love her style, I love her encouragement. I really enjoy the quotes and writer references. I admire her unabashed go-for-it fierceness.

What’s NOT so good: The book is too short?!🙂

FINAL THOUGHTS: So many quotes I could share. So many things that she stimulates in my head – ideas, past memories good and bad, smiles, the inspiration to try…

“Frustration is not an interruption of your process; frustration IS the process.”

(The REAL work is pushing through, keep on keeping on, manage the gaps between the glory bursts of inspiration.)

I am one of those who loved EPL and I also really enjoyed The Signature of All Things. If you don’t like her fine, but why exactly such hostility? I can think of so much worse things to be against than the work that EG is putting out there into the universe. To each their own — I can respect that; but let’s be kind and uplifting and supportive and creative!

RATING: Four slices of pie with extra whipped cream.

” It’s a simple and generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve at. For instance: If I had spent my twenties playing basketball every single day, or making pastry dough every single day, or studying auto mechanics every single day, I’d probably be pretty good at foul shots and croissants and transmissions by now.”

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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 Vegetarian

Thoughts tvbyhk by Han King, Hogarth 2015 (orig 2007), 188 pages

Translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith

Winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2015

Challenge:  Prize Winners?  Translated Works?
Genre: Asian Lit
Type/Source: Hardback / Gift from Ruthiella – THANKS!
 Why I read this now: A book in hand will get read.

MOTIVATION for READING: Ruthiella was kind enough to send it to me. I ran out of books on the boat (well, I have two, I think, on my Kindle yet?)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A young woman, Yeong-hye, is assaulted by horrific dreams (and is also married to a cad.) She decides to forego eating meat because of these dreams and this upsets pretty much EVERYONE. Told from three perspectives — the cad of a husband, her sister’s husband and her sister — and not Yeong-hye, though we do see bits of her dreams.

In the words of The Guardian:

“Dark dreams, simmering tensions, chilling violence . . .  This South Korean novel is a feast . . . It is sensual, provocative, and violent, ripe with potent images, startling colors, and disturbing questions. . . Sentence by sentence, The Vegetarian is an extraordinary experience. . . [It] will be hard to beat.”

WHAT’s GOOD: Oh, it is deliciously disturbing. The writing IS lyrical, the images are startling, the mood is darkly apprehensive.

As LINDA says in the blurbs at the beginning of my copy of the book:

“[A] bloodcurdlingly beautiful, sinister book.”

FINAL THOUGHTS: A perfect book for RIP if you don’t get to it before this fall.

RATING: Four slices of pie. No pastries mentioned but I think every fruit available in Korea might make an appearance. Lots of food descriptions.

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

My Name is Lucy Barton

Thoughts mnilbbyes by Elizabeth Strout, Random House 2016, 208 pages

Challenge: “Catching the 2017 TOB Long/Short List”
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Type/Source: Hardback / Concord Bookshop
 Why I read this now:  Wanted a HOT book that was short so I could read quickly and leave at my Auntie’s cabin.

MOTIVATION for READING:  This has been mentioned as an excellent book pub’d in 2016 and I want to be ahead of the anticipated books to possibly make the TOB 2017 list.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  This book is about mother-daughter relationships, growing up in poverty, how childhood can shape adulthood, nature vs nurture, marriage somewhat, a writing guide somewhat…

WHAT’s GOOD:  So many things… I love the tone, I love how the main character (LUCY BARTON) falls in love with the kind people in her life, I loved the courage and the sharing. I loved the authentic feel of it. I suppose I should say ‘I loved the authenticity’ but I think ‘the authentic feel of  of it’ fits better.

What’s NOT so good: Nope, nothin’ wrong with it. Loved it; my kind of book.

I like introspective, quiet, deep, provocative books. This is one of those. This could be called a survivor’s tale.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Before reading this… I was reluctantly interested. Allow me to explain that it was because I fell head-over-heels hard for Olive Kitteridge but was less than overwhelmed (I was only ‘-whelmed) with The Burgess Boys. So, I was nervous, OK? But it seemed that many readers I respect were giving Lucy some praise and it caught my eye when I stopped to visit Dawn at the Concord Bookshop. Do you all know Dawn?  dawnandmeWe’ve had some bookish fun in our book-bloggin’ friendship and I was SO GLAD! SO VERY VERY GLAD to finally get my butt up to her town and into her store.
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So, I saw this book on the shelf and knew I must buy it. I had a feeling my Auntie would like it and that my cousin Linda would like it AND it was short enough that it would be possible for me to read it while visiting in Maine and thus leave it with my Maine Folk for their reading pleasure as well.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

I recorded no mention of pie within the Lucy Barton pages but I did see Elvis there. So let’s go with FIVE slices of Elvis Pie. Just click on this sentence to get to the recipe.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

Everything She Forgot

Thoughts esfbylb by Lisa Ballantyne, Wm Morrow Imprint of HarperCollinsPubs 2015, 415 of pages

Genre: Thriller
Type/Source: eBook /  Amazon for Kindle
 Why I read this now:  One of the few books on my Kindle.

MOTIVATION for READING: I don’t recall anymore where I heard about this but I think this was a recommendation by a friend in my Mass Book Club.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A teacher is involved in a fiery crash due to winter weather on an interstate. Though relatively free from physical injury, our MC suffers some PTSD and memories from her childhood start bubbling up — she is confused and stressed by her not remembering things. The man who pulled her from the car just in time is in a coma and she is a bit obsessed with visiting him.

Alternately, the story switches to the past when a young girl is kidnapped. Going back and forth in this past time frame is ‘adventure’ of the kidnapper and the girl against the journalist who figures out who has her and where they are going and attempts a ‘rescue’.

WHAT’s GOOD: The pacing is fine, I guess. The setting would be appealing to those who have visited Scotland and England, I suppose.

SPOILERs AHEAD?!?!?!?!??!?!

What’s NOT so good: The plot reveal is not rushed but neither is it particularly suspenseful. It’s not too hard to figure out that our MC has suppressed her memories of being kidnapped as a child (doh – it’s the title!) nor is it a big leap to find out that the man who rescues her in the now time is/was the kidnapper (who happens to be her ‘real’ father or — as a friend of mine would say — her ‘bio-dad’.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: I found the book predictable but worse, I found it violent. I did NOT like the journalist and we aren’t supposed to but he was a person I found revolting on every level. And yet, he wasn’t the evil character we were supposed to dislike (like in a King novel). I just didn’t like the story, it wasn’t for me. I know good friends who liked this book very much so I really don’t want to turn anyone away from it as a bad book – it could be a perfectly fine thriller set in the UK. I just didn’t like it.

You know, like how some people LOVE coconut and other don’t like coconut? It’s not that coconut is BAD…

I did finish it and maybe that is another reason I didn’t enjoy – I felt I had to know and kept reading but I really didn’t WANT to keep reading knowing that I didn’t like it. But I had to know if I guessed right. I did.

PIE:  Strawberry tarts, steak and kidney pie, and the ol’ rhyme about Georgie:

Georgie Porgie puddin’ and pie, kiss the girls and made them cry,

When the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away.”

 

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Short Vignette Reviews

Short Vignette Reviews so I Can Be Redundant in a Title

Book Reviews in Few Words!!

The Fireman fma4 could have been called The Nurse. I thought all the cultural references were fun and it had some terrific comic moments but Nurse Harper was at times a dweeb, or naive and stubborn when she shouldn’t have been but I admired her ability to always be true.  The story did feature some really good guys, some really evil dudes, some cute kids and a very interesting premise – the ‘spore’ that once caught, would or could make you burst into flame.  I will refer you to the Twitter hashtag #FiremanAlong to find any reviews that have trickled in so far. We really did have a good time. A huge thank you shout out to all the participants – it was fun. I was excited to encounter a few pie mentions.  fma3 (I listened to AND read my purchased from an indie bookstore hardback.)

13 Little Blue Envelopes tlbebymj by Maureen Johnson. I liked it and I was inclined to like it because I really enjoyed the author’s presentation at the Book Blogger’s Convention in 2010. I suspended all belief and didn’t even realize it until I read a few reviews after – like really, WHERE WERE HER PARENTS!?  I get it, but I didn’t even think it while reading. Too funny. So the issue is a dead aunt sends her 17 yo niece all over the world in order to help her find herself. The kid has a sensible head on her shoulders and is pretty bright so it all works out. I think it was a fun escapist YA book. I want to read the sequel. (Kindle)

The In-Between Hour tibhbybcw by Barbara Claypole White.  I really enjoyed The Perfect Son; I enjoyed meeting BCW and hearing her speak. I bought a few books at the author event and I have purchased a few since. Finally, I’m getting around to reading her books and I bet that I read more books by her soon and in a shorter time frame than I’ve ever read any other author’s books. There is something about her books that I really like and I am trying to figure out what exactly. She has a fearless quality, a wonderful personality unfolding process, great pacing and the occasionally deep thought. She also mentions pie. Fans of Lisa Genova and Liane Moriarity would like Barbara Claypole White. (Kindle)

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Books and Pie aka 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.