Care’s Gift Idea Guide

EXCITING GIFTS to get me YOUR LOVED ONES this Holiday or anytime, really.

  1.  thecommonArrange for a Postcard from a Favorite Author!   The Common Foundation is raising money for a good cause (encouraging emerging novelists, etc.) by arranging personal postcards from a variety of impressive writers. CHECK IT OUT!  (and quickly, this only has a week to go.)

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2.  Photo Stamps! oande I have created custom stamps for years and they make great gifts. There are many companies that are licensed to do this but I’ve used PhotoStamps.com and like their simplicity of creating and ordering.

3. Books. Books are always a good idea. Gift cards to bookstores? books

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4. Pie supplies. What are “PIE SUPPLIES”, you ask? Well, my favorite are cute mini-pie cropped-img_6296.jpg dishes of ceramic. And I love my flour flourwand shaker wand (I own two so I don’t need another). You could get someone a pastry scissors or cutter tool for making fancy lattice strips. ayofpbyae Or pie books, of course. And gift cards to places like King Arthur Flour…  I have also given “Pie Coupons” away but sadly, rarely ever get them redeemed. I think they forget. Which is why just baking a pie and thrusting it upon others is the best way. That’s how “those people who live near me” get treated in my neighborhood. I also support and recommend Beth Howard’s Pie-Evangelism and she has two books available. Click on her logo to find out more –> twnmp

 

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5. DONATIONS in someone’s name. I have done this, especially when I don’t know if they need anything. I would be honored if someone made a donation to a charity that is close to my heart OR their heart. Just as long as a good deed is made, that’s cool.  I have given to food banks in the towns where my loved ones live so that their town is blessed. And I have purchased water buffaloes and chickens through Heifer waterbuff International. I have given to my parents’ church so they get their name in the bulletin – usually to donate flowers for the alter at their anniversary. I am considering donating to the library that they frequent.

 

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6. Pizza. Pizza is pie, right? Easy-peasy to give online gift certificates from a pizza place in their town so no mailing involved whatsoever. I always think this is a great idea – who doesn’t love a pizza party? Especially good for a family gift all at once.

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What kind of gifts do you like to give when thinking of that right something is difficult?

 

 

 

 

 

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.

The Girl on the Train

Thoughts tgottbyph by Paula Hawkins, Penguin Random House 2015, 336 pages EBOOK

Challenge: For Neighborhood Bookclub
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Type/Source: eBook/Kindle
 Why I read this now: Club discussion scheduled for Dec 6th.

MOTIVATION for READING: This has been a very hot book and has become a book that ‘everyone’ has read. Except me. Actually, about half our club hadn’t read it and the others voted to read it anyway so it was selected. With the movie out in theatres now, I wanted to read before seeing the film.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A young lady named Rachel rides the train to London everyday to put up the appearance of going to work even though she has been sacked months prior for a drunken mishap with a client. She drinks way too much and is usually snockered on the train ride home and drinks into the evening as well. As her train goes by and is often stopped for a spell right at the spot where she used to live, she views and regrets her old life in her old neighborhood. She can’t let go of her ex-husband who has a new wife and baby. She also imagines a story for a neighbor couple until something happens and she is pulled into the real life mess of this real life couple where the wife goes missing and the husband is suspected. It’s messy, confusing (back and forth in time and has 3 unreliable narrators), and it took me to the half-way point before it wasn’t a ho-hum get-on-with-it-already mystery.  But guessed it, I did! — nothing really surprised me.

WHAT’s GOOD: It was OK. It didn’t suck, but I can’t think of anything brilliant to say here in this spot so I’ll just keep moving on… Oh! Just thought of a compliment! I thought the imaginary names for the neighbor couple would get confusing with the true names and yet it didn’t, so that was a plus. Deftly handled.

What’s NOT so good: It was just really hard to cheer and root for any of the characters. Even the poor girl who goes missing is never really mourned. None of the feels…

FINAL THOUGHTS:  It was OK. I liked Gone Girl much much more. That one had me laughing with all the crazy twists and turns. Train Girl didn’t have any funnies what so ever.

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RATING: Three slices of pie. I was constantly irritated with the dates with each narrator change. I couldn’t remember if we were on the same few days or few months prior and it BUGGED me to no end.

One more thing – I hate reading mystery thrillers on the Kindle. It’s just too hard to flip back and forth when you want to check something.

On the other hand – the Kindle is the EASIEST way to find if any pie was mentioned… 

Pie Mentions:  Only magpies.

A tiding of magpies. One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told.

 

 

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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.

Commonwealth

Thoughts cwbyap by Ann Patchett, Harper 2016, 322 pages Hardback

Challenge: Inaugural Read of my new book club!  BA’s selection.
Genre: Contemporary Lit, Family Drama
Type/Source: Hardback given to me by Katie. Thank you
 Why I read this now: Book club meets 2nd Tuesday of December. I wanted to read it sooner so that someone could borrow if they needed to.

MOTIVATION for READING:  I have a book crush on Ann Patchett.

“Your mom doesn’t know about the movie, does she?”
“My mom doesn’t know about the book,” he said, “It turns out a novel isn’t the worst place to hide things.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The repercussions of adults paying little respect for their marriage vows – two divorces, six little children become step-siblings, they grow up and scatter to the four corners. All the family members get a view and a side to the story. There’s an ‘event’ and of course, the adults and even the kids are not quite sure what was true and what was right. Utterly engrossing!

“Now here he was, as thin and as quiet as a knife.”

WHAT’s GOOD: The opening / the setup / the first chapter is captivating. Enthralling. Exquisitely played. I loved the situational “funny” lines that made me laugh out loud but most people probably would NOT call this a comedy. (Actually, now that I’m reading Irving’s The World According to Garp, I have to say that some of these funny moments are eerily Irving-like.*)

What’s NOT so good: Having to read all the bad reviews on goodreads because I disagree. HA!  No offense to anyone who didn’t like this book – I actually enjoyed every review I read — even the ones who thought it had too many characters or jumped around in time too much or that AP went ‘on and on’ and she is too descriptive. That the chapters were too long. I respectfully disagree. For me, it was none of those things. (I never notice chapter length unless I don’t like the book but even rarely then.)

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD…

FINAL THOUGHTS: I thought it perfect. Oh well, perfect is a pretty strong word, isn’t it… Let’s see. [Me thinking: thinkingface] Nope, I found it well-done. Perfectly paced. Fascinating and insightful about how little things might ‘ruin’ your life or just take it in a different direction. I loved Frannie and her father Fix. I thought Bert to be jerk. I loved how AP’s characters were real and did interesting things – like one of the daughters was a biomedical engineer. WOMEN IN STEM for the WIN! And how Frannie ran into a guy from law school and they end up getting married. And Holly ends up in Switzerland? That Bert’s ex-wife never gave him a thought after so many years though she spent just as many hating his guts. Loved the book. I can’t figure out how she put all that she did into this in just over 300 pages.

RATING: Five slices of apple pie. “They went back to the kitchen and sliced apples for a pie.” [page 292]

“No stupidity in happiness.”

 

FOR MY BOOKCLUBBERS. CLICK THIS –> LINK <– FOR MORE THOUGHTS (but wait til you finish the book…

*I forgot that I referenced a note, page 127, that Frannie read The World According to Garp and considered it my cue to read it next. Which I am, on audio.

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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.

Mini Mini Reviews and Not Much More

My friends, my friends.

I have read much, listened to much while not blogging of late. I have much to recap. I have read and enjoyed much. Much is the word.

I purchased this wisbyriWomen in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky for the children of a friend who required birthday presents. (the presents were for the kids’ – 4 of them – birthdays not the friend’s) Don’t worry! I also sent candy and confetti and garland and more books. But this was the one I purchased in hopes to influence young minds. Personally, I thought the tone a bit ‘piled-on’. OK, already; women are great. “Thou dost protest too much.” Sigh… Yea, I own my bad feminism. I also took off a point for the dark font on dark background. Guess I’m old. Which is why I’m hoping these youngin’s will read, appreciate and larn sumthin’. That women can and have done way far more than they get credit for and will continue to do so and people should pay attention and give credit and respect. Three slices of pie.

Citizen citbycr by Cynthia Rankin. I want to read more poetry. I know I need to read more poetry. I feel like I should read more poetry. I realize this book is not quite poetry as I expect – is that the best kind? This book is powerful and heavy. Felt it in my bones and heart but still realize that there is much I cannot ‘get’ and that’s ok. I’m willing to keep attempting to reach and learn and respect and lean in and lean out and lean humble, probably lean strong. I purchased this book at my local Indie bookstore.

Then I jumped into an audiobook with comedienne extraordinaire, Phoebe Robinson’s You Can’t Touch My Hair. yctmhbypr I am not sure I have laughed this hard in a long time (I read it before the election and already feels like eons ago). Ms Robinson explained a few things (ok, lots of things) to me. I probably could/should re-listen. Very enjoyable and extremely informative to my demographic, (ahem.) She mentions the movie Michael with Travolta which has one of the best pie songs ever recorded in film. (I wrote Ms Robinson a fan letter. I wrote Lindy West of Shrill, too. I like to write letters…)

Remember to laugh. 

I listened to an audiobook by John Scalzi that was being offered free by Audible.com. tdbyjs It was wonderful!  It was 2+ hours. Enjoyed it very much. I follow Mr. Scalzi on Twitter and should read something longer by him. Someday.  (I already had him on the authors-I-must-get-to list, I think, but a sample is nice.)

I quickly moved on to another audiobook that was utterly delightful. Realizing it is Nonfiction November and I had failed to plan for this AND having just read TriniCapini’s lovely Litsy post of how good it is, I used an Audible credit to get As You Wishaywbyce written and narrated by Cary Elwes. SO GOOD. I also watched the movie again. SO GOOD!

Overlapping with As You Wish, I read Barbara Claypole White’s debut novel tugbybcw The Unfinished Garden. I really REALLY enjoyed it. I think it is one of my favorites of hers. Maybe Perfect Son is my favorite, and this was lovely, too. I am now in a state of fandom where I have to wait for an author to publish again – I’ve read everything else by her. This is a rare thing. I usually don’t ‘follow’ an author. One more fun fact: I read all of her books in this calendar year. Another no-small-feat accomplishment for me. It would be remiss of me to fail to mention some of the BEST pie references are in this book!!!! I hope to capture in another post.

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I just yesterday finished Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. I will write another post just for this book soon…

Also, FYI – I just today started The World According to Garp. O.M.G. Oh, Mr Irving, you are a rascal. Yowza. I’m already to Garp’s birth scene. The whole Garp conception scene was … memorable. Let’s go with ‘memorable’, shall we?

Keep reading, friends. Keep on, keepin’ on. Be vigilant.

 

 

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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.

Upcoming! and pie…

It’s that time of year; start watching for countdowns and best-of lists!

 

But first, a pie photo. A gratuitous pie photo that helps justify the blog name:

taffypie These are taffy pies. Yep, that’s meringue…

Here are the Top 20 Movies to See Before Awards Season Summarized from Elle Magazine article dated Oct 11, 2016:

The Girl on the Train – No, have yet to read! I know, right? What’s up with that? I’ve just not gotten around to it. Actually had a friend loan me her Kindle but had to return it before reading the book. oops.

The Birth of a Nation – as far as I could tell, Nate Parker wrote this about Nat Turner as an original screenplay. You may be interested in The Confessions of Nat Turner, supposedly or ‘sold as’ a primary account but even this is controversial.

Moonlight – coming of age story, original screenplay.

Hacksaw Ridge – WW2. Mel Gibson.

Loving – such a sad story about brave people.

Arrival – “A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.”  Go ahead, tell me what this sort of reminds you of. THE SPARROW! Yea, a little different but still. Linguistics and space aliens! Renner plays a mathematician.

Elle – French revenge. Based on a novel by Philippe Djian.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – based on the book by Ben Fountain I have yet to read.

Manchester by the Sea – Casey Affleck. Looks heart-wrenching. Original screenplay.

Nocturnal Animals – Tom Ford wrote and directed Nocturnal Animals, which is based on Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan. Tom Ford makes visually beautiful films. Or the one I’ve seen was gorgeous anyway.

Allied – WW2. Original screenplay.

Lion – Based on A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley. I’m hoping it is happy.

Jackie – Natalie Portman as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

Miss Sloane – Gun control politics. Jessica Chastain.

La La Land – it’s a MUSICAL PEOPLE! Can’t wait.

Patriot’s Day – I’ll watch it for sure. Boston Strong.

Passengers – love story in space. Actually, when I first saw the photo that accompanied this story, I couldn’t help thinking about that Julia Roberts rom com movie where she plays an actress that goes to space…

Silence – Based on Shusaku Endo’s novel of the same name. Might as well add it to my Classics list (1966).

Hidden Figures – YES! And click here to go to goodreads and put the book by Margot Lee Shetterley on your tbr. Mathematicians.  <— MATHS PEOPLE.

Fences – Adapted screenplay based on a play? Great cast.

BLUE titles based on books as far as I could tell.  I hope to see at least one or two before the Oscars and maybe read one, or two.

 

I’m just going to leave this here… and walk away.

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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.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Thoughts tkambyhl by Harper Lee, Time Warner Books 1989 (orig 1960) 281 pages

Genre: Southern Lit, Classics
Type/Source: Hardback / My school’s English teacher’s shelf
 Why I read this now: for club…

MOTIVATION for READING:  I actually wasn’t that enthusiastic about reading this. Shame on me. I have always TRIED to have high standards about never whining about a book assigned for bookclub because that is the POINT of bookclubs — to read a book you may not be excited about or never heard of. Bookclub ‘entertainment’ is the discussion. And we all know that when everyone loves a book, discussion is boooooorrrrring. And if half love and half hate dislike, WOO-BOYHOWDY = fun discussion.

Ok, the point of this post is my mea culpa: I really loved reading TKAM.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Do I really need to tell you? Young daughter of the upstanding town attorney starts school and learns about injustice and navigating ‘growing up’ in a small town in the 30s with a father who defends a black man accused of a crime where he is accused by a white woman; the white citizens just can’t deal with the situation.

WHAT’s GOOD: Scout is just great. She’s a tough kid, annoyed by the gender expectations being thrust upon her and she’s trying to figure out the big bad world. I loved the neighbor across the street.

What’s NOT so good: We’ve come not far in too much time.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m looking forward to discussion.

Great QUOTES:  “Thus we came to know Dill as a pocket Merlin, whose head teemed with eccentric plans, strange longings, and quaint fancies.”

“I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. Out of what I new not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me.”

“Dill was a villain’s villain: he could get into any character part assigned him, and appear tall if height was part of the devilry required.”

“For reasons unfathomable to the most experienced prophets in Maycombe Çounty, autumn turned to winter that year.”

“It’s not time to worry yet,”

“There was no doubt about it, I must soon enter this world, where on its surface fragrant ladies rock slowly, fanned gently, and drank cool water.”

RATING: 5 slices of pie. Of DEWBERRY TARTS.

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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 Double Helix: Annotated and Illustrated

Thoughts dhbyjw by Dr. James Watson, Simon and Schuster 2012 (orig 1968), 368 pages [Edited by Alexander Gann and Jan Witkowski]

Challenge: Classics Club 50
Genre: Science History
Type/Source: Hardback / Library

MOTIVATION for READING: I love science.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: How Watson and Crick used models to figure out how DNA was structured.

WHAT’s GOOD: I did not expect the breezy style. It is very readable.

What’s NOT so good:  Well, you may or may not like Dr. Watson at the end but he does tell a fun story, even if bits are regrettable. He was young and determined. He shares more than just the science, but also other activities these youthful scientists were up to – where and what they ate (gooseberry pie has a mention!), the girls they tried to meet, the famous people they encountered and traveled to visit. He talks about his troubles with the sponsor for his time abroad and quite a bit about the personalities of everyone he works with.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I am so glad to have read this. The big question:  did Rosalind Franklin get screwed out of the discovery and subsequent Nobel Prize. Question Mark. Let’s just say, it’s complicated and that I could say yes, but. It very much feels like facts happened and one’s viewpoint is X and the other is Y. This and that. Perspectives. And when you start to get snarky, it gets very ugly fast. Did circumstances make it difficult and thus makes it a helluva story? Oh yes.

She deserved more accolades and unfortunately she is getting it now and not in her lifetime. It is sad that she died so young. Was Watson a _____ (insert whatever nasty/relevant word you want here, but my answer is “he was a man”.)

And NOW:  I get to read more about Rosalind Franklin:

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RATING: Four slices of gooseberry pie. If you are going to read this, I suggest the annotated illustrated edition.

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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.

Brighton Rock

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Thoughts brbygg by Graham Greene, Blackstone Audiobook 2011 (orig 1938), 9 hours 48 minutes.

Narrated by Richard Brown.

BAILED. I just found myself avoiding it. And when I did have it on – usually while driving – I didn’t pay a bleep of attention to it.

Guess not the right time for this and I suspect the right time won’t come around in my lifetime. Sorry Mr. Greene – will have to try something else you’ve written; hope that’s OK.

The narration was only so-so for me.

No Rating. DNF.

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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.

Amsterdam

Thoughts amsterdambyim by Ian McEwan, Anchor 1999 (orig 1998), 193 pages

My “Pick” Review on Litsy offered THREE points:

  1. I love how Ian McEwan strings words together. I fall into his books like fluffy pillows and fleece blankets by a fire.
  2. The women in this book  are minor characters yet they seem to hold all the power. (I still need to think about this. Still thinking… a few days later.)
  3. The descriptions of the music were captivating.

What the Washington Post said:

A sharp contemporary morality tale, cleverly disguised as a comic novel, Amsterdam is “as sheerly enjoyable a book as one is likely to pick up this year.”

What’s it ABOUTWARNING! I am going to tell a lot more about the plot than I usually do. I always feel like I’m spoilering so read on at your own risk. Two friends, ex-lovers of an extraordinary woman named Molly, meet up at her funeral. Clive is a composer who is not ‘attached’ and Vernon is a newspaper editor; they eventually make a pact that in the event IF one ever becomes seriously ill and incapacitated, the other agrees to assist in facilitating a dignified end-of-life situation, something they don’t believe their friend Molly was accorded. Clive is busy and stressed with writing a grand symphony for the year 2000 and Vernon is desperately trying to save his newspaper – circulation is falling and they need a scoop. Well, Clive arrives at a cross-roads literally while hiking to free his mind up for inspiration and Vernon is given his juicy tabloid fodder opportunity — photos of a high-level politician who was also a lover of Molly. HOWEVER, things happen, plots are plotted, disagreements are both blown out of proportion or thoughtlessly disregarded depending on the viewpoint and it all becomes a major clusterfuck for almost everyone involved.

What’s good?  No one could complain that nothing happens in this book. For a slim book, it has a ton of pivotal bit characters and interesting events. I love IMcE’s writing. I just will follow wherever his sentences lead me.

What’s NOT so good: Well, it was almost too neatly wrapped up and not really all that convincing even as I keep contemplating what happened! How could all these momentous things happen and yet not one really gets the importance? And all the conniving and clever and circumstantial happenings seem oh so convenient. Seriously, some of these steps could have slipped this way or that and a whole ‘nother story would have had to have been chased down. I might need to go back and reread – I don’t think I recall the WHYs. Why did Clive decide to ___ and also Vernon decide to carry out ____?! Were they that cruel? Yep, almost a bit TOO convenient. I am starting not to buy it as I keep going over and over it…

And then the cover art of Brona‘s copy has me thinking about something else all over again!

I loved the sidestepping move by Rose Garmony. YOWZA, was she interesting.

So, even if a bit bumpy and I question the plot, I enjoyed every minute of it. Let’s write some fanfiction to further delve into Molly and Rose, could we?

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie (the pastry) mentioned but PIE CHARTS were found. I might suggest an almond torte as a pie alternative here. Almond torte sounds Dutch, no?fourpie

BIG thank you to JoAnn and Athira for allowing me to crash their readalong #damalong.

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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.

Vineyard Seasons

What a gorgeous cookbook! vsbysbby Susan Branch, illustrated by Susan Branch, Little Brown & Company 1988, 160 pages

Not that many pie recipes but the SOUP section really has me intrigued and very ready for fall and football season. Yea, yea, I know it already IS football season but we need to start thinking about the playoffs and what soups will best represent the cities/teams that might vie for the Super SOUP-er Bowl.

My neighbor loaned this to me because of my idea to create a pie book that would include my favorites and also weave in a few literary samples featuring pie within the story. Many a book — as all of my readers here know — contain a pie reference or two but sometimes, the flavor isn’t identified and the pie doesn’t actually propel the plot in anyway. Sometimes, however, it does… (I can think of one off the top of my head; there MUST be more, surely.)

My neighbor, let’s call her Penelope. [Penelope is not her real name.] Penelope says this book came to mind when I talked about my spin on a pie book project so she loaned it to me. Yowza! Talk about intimidation. This book is too pretty! and though the author shares some sweet quotes and a few anecdotes, it really isn’t a good model for what I hope to accomplish. But that’s OK. It was very nice of Penelope to share and some of the recipes look amazing.

I made a few copies (the chocolate mousse and something else I’ve forgotten already.) It has a Boston Crème Pie recipe – which is cake. (Maybe I should invent a Boston Cream Cake and have it actually be pie?)

Haven’t cooked anything yet, but thought I would post the link to Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking Linkup despite that little issue. Click this button: wkendcooking (will open a new window.)

I’m glad to know of Susan Branch – her many cookbooks are highly regarded and I can see why – the pages are works of art! A very pretty book to savor.

Rating:  Four Slices of Boston Cream.

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Question for any NanoWriMo-ers: do you think I can write 50000 words towards this project or should I write a story and not attempt nonfiction? I have less than 30 days to get some ideas!

 

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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.