Educated

Thoughts  by Tara Westover, Random House 2017, 352 pages

Challenge: TOB Nonfiction May
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Type/Source: Hardcover / Barnes and Noble
 Why I read this now: TOB Nonfiction May

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB Nonfiction May

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is Tara’s story of how she had to sacrifice a relationship with her family to find herself. Upon the urging of a brother, she decided to try to take the ACT. She was 15. She taught herself enough math to pass the exam and on her second attempt to try and raise her score, she succeeded in qualifying for acceptance to BYU. It’s a fascinating story and well told. With some hard work and some luck, a few missteps and some hard choices, she eventually earned her PhD in history and now teaches at Cambridge.

WHAT’s GOOD: Yowza, what an upbringing she endured. Her father is a misogynistic whack job. Her mother survives the best she knows how, I suppose.

She never set foot in a classroom until college.

What’s NOT so good: I had no issues.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I wish Dr. Westover all the best.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.
Advertisements

Talking as Fast as I Can

Thoughts  by Lauren Graham, Random House Audio 2016, 4 hours 38 minutes

Narrated by the author. And of course, she is awesome.

Challenge: none
Genre: Celebrity Memoir
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: I had credits to burn and wanted something lively.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have something interesting to admit. I have never watched Gilmore Girls. I’ve never watched Parenthood. Oh, I *know* of Gilmore Girls and I’ve seen bits and pieces and of course, have read many-a-book-blogger post the GG book lists and gush all over about how wonderful the series is, but I don’t watch much TV and I don’t have Netflix. I can’t see myself downloading an entire series of anything to watch. I have placed myself outside of popular culture, it seems.

But I love Lauren Graham. I have seen Bad Santa. 

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Lauren talking about her life, her upbringing, her career…

WHAT’s GOOD: Her charm and sparkle.

What’s NOT so good: I probably should watch Gilmore Girls just so I know all the people she is talking about…

FINAL THOUGHTS: I listen to celebrity memoir audiobooks when I need to get over a reading slump, or to change it up, or to laugh, or to be inspired. This one was perfect for where I was at the end of March – post TOB slumparooza…

RATING: Five slices of pie? Maybe only 4 considering I didn’t relate to about 25% (she goes through and chats about what happened in the original series run – I didn’t know anything/anyone!) but who cares… No pie mentioned, that I recall. Pity. That would have ensured its 5 slice rating.

OK, her best advice? When someone offers you an opportunity and you think you can’t do it, do it anyway!  This bit was meaningful to me right now – when I am both overwhelmed by my new job and what I have to do and my doubts about whether or not I can pull it off. Am I a sham? Or is this imposter-syndrome? What if imposter-syndrome is TRUE? egads. Give me courage, give me strength. Give me a Lauren Graham pep talk.

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2018. 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 Zero

Thoughts  by Jess Walter, Harper Audio 2006, 10 hours 40 minutes

Narrated by Christopher Graybill

Challenge: What’s in a Name:  Title that starts with the letter Z
Genre: Thriller, 9-11 Aftermath
Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible
 Why I read this now:  Typically, I select an audiobook based on how many hours it will take. Ten seemed a good number. Remember when I used to choose the loooooonnngest ones? yea, those days are gone. I no longer have lengthy chores (no lawn to mow!) nor long drives very often. Bummer.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have been wanting to read more by this author. I really enjoyed Beautiful Ruins – which I also had the pleasure of listening to (the narrator’s voice is gorgeous; Edoardo Ballerini)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Brian Remy is a retired cop and he is having memory gaps. He keeps ‘waking up’ in a new scene of his life and can’t recall how or what happened prior to that moment. For the reader, it is like turning the page and thinking a page has been skipped. Both protag and reader are in the dark as to what the heck is going on. We both attempt to fill in the gaps and create a story, a timeline to what Remy is experiencing. It is quite unsettling.

“Maybe every couple lived in the gaps between conversations, unable to say the important things for fear they had already been said, or couldn’t be said; maybe every relationship started over every time two people came together.”

And darkly funny. But a sad funny because what he is messed up with isn’t going well and lives are at stake.

“Guterak looked over. “Hey, you got your hair cut.” “Yeah.” Remy put the cap back on. “What made you do that?” “I shot myself in the head last night.” “Well.” Paul drove quietly for a moment, staring straight ahead. “It looks good.”

WHAT’s GOOD: We (OK, “me” – the reader) get the idea that Remy might be having split personality syndrome but we root for the guy. The Remy we are privy to is the ‘good’ Remy, and we ache and yearn for him to figure it out so all can end well. But hey – we doubt that will happen. I mean, it is the aftermath of 9-11, so we have all the patriotism, all the say-I-love-you-to-your-loved-ones, the courtesy and slowing down, but also the conspiracy theories, the chase to find the terrorist cells responsible, the aching sadness experienced and shared collectively by those who lost someone, the always-shared stories of where-we-were and somebody-I-know-was-supposed-to-be-there.

All that came back to me as I listened to this story. And, it felt… OK. Okay good.                 I never felt that this story was manipulative or disrespectful. It was vague and confused, like everything was at that time.

There was a lot of imagery and absurdity. Walter is a very good author; he has a deft hand at dark humor without ever being over the top. I look forward to reading more. I had to look if this book was a part of the TOB from the year 2006 but, no. I would have loved to read the commentary and judgments of having this in the Tourney.

What’s NOT so good:  I have nothing to fault, other than I am both glad it was audio and not; knowing that because it was audio, I wonder if I might have missed something. But, I do think it was pretty good at the gap shifts when listened to. Would I recommend this? Yes, to those curious readers who like feeling disoriented while reading. I don’t think I know many of those kinds of readers.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I will read more books written by Jess Walter.

RATING:  Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned that I noticed.

On a different note, here are the audiobooks I just purchased and hope to get to soon:

May brings us the nonfiction mini-TOB by The Morning News. The three books I voted for are the ones they selected so I guess I have to participate. Priestdaddy is one; Hunger by Roxane Gay and Educated by Tara Westover the other two. I thought a quick funny Graham memoir would fill in for when I need snippets of listen…

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Cold Comfort Farm

Thoughts  by Stella Gibbons, Penguin 2006 (orig 1932), 233 pages

Challenge: Classics Club Spin for April
Genre: Satire? “Comic novel”
Type/Source: Tradeback/Library
 Why I read this now: Spin and library had a copy – woo hoo!

MOTIVATION for READING: I originally had this on my Club 50 because it was a book I saw on many people’s done-read list and I wanted to get in on that.

“He was a tree-trunk; a toad on a stone; a pie-thatched owl on a bough.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Supposedly, it makes fun of the classic style of British farm novels? I have not read any British farm novels so I can’t comment to that.

Poor orphaned Flora finds out that her inheritance will not be quite adequate to live on so she decides to crash on relatives who will have her. They all acquiesce to the idea but she can’t go to them all, right? so she picks the one that will most benefit from her influence:  Cold Comfort Farm. She arranges marriages, lets the bull get some sunshine, finds servants to wash her curtains, gets one cousin to ‘realize his ambition’ which allows another cousin to realize a dream. One cousin is discovered as Star Material for Hollywood talkies and another discovers the health benefits of travel. It’s quite crazy and madcap and all arranged by Flora’s capable hands.

All that and she somehow herself is proposed to; she gets to fly off to live happily ever after.

“Henceforth her life would be one of exquisite sunny natural content.”

WHAT’s GOOD: I did find it funny. Not laugh out loud joke funny but amusing. I loved that every mode of transportation and all mediums for communication are utilized.

What’s NOT so good: Well, it’s an old book set in another time, so it has a few crass mentions of ‘other’ that are stereotypical and insensitive but only a couple. It really isn’t kind to women, either, tbh. And by that, I mean poor women.

I did scratch my head a few times in mild bewilderment and some questions never get answered. Do we really want to know what Aunt Ada Doom saw in the woodshed? No, no we do not. And what exactly did they do to Flora’s father that they had to accept penance of taking in Flora? And who was Adam?  I never did figure out who Adam was but shrug. No matter.

[Updated to add:   I remembered to read the Introduction by Lynne Truss who explains and admires this work in terrific prose. So, anything I didn’t get was because I can be obtuse – ha! The Intro is fab. Be sure to read it; get THIS edition with the cow on the cover so you don’t miss it. And, if you’re like me – you’ll read it after so nothing is spoiled. I would never read an Intro before a book. Why oh why do they want me to read it first?!]

FINAL THOUGHTS: I kind of wish I had a Flora Poste to interfere in my life… She surely would have some sensible advice to provide.

RATING: Five slices of apple pie.

“What they was having themselves proved to be apple tart and vegetables, so Flora did quite well.”

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Something on a Sunday “Almost April” 2018

Last fall, I discovered that Jenny of Reading the End posted a very good blog idea for Sundays. The idea is to share good things. To Quote Miss Gin-Jenny, “to talk about things that kept me moving forward or gave me some joy.” I’m borrowing a few of her categories for inspiration:

Touched by:  I had dinner with a friend last night and she gave me a very sweet compliment.  I told her that I very much treasured her friendship. We are going to start a book club together for the summer! I suggested we start with Tayari Jones’ smash bestseller everyone   seems to be talking about, An American Marriage. 

Proud and Wowed by: All the wit and courage and feistiness of the March For Our Lives citizens. “Guns are not school supplies.”

Happy about: Having this morning to myself. Goals:  blog post, finish my Classics Club Spin book  Cold Comfort Farm, and laundry. Maybe vacuuming.

Sad about: K-State Wildcats lost to Loyola last night. But HEY!  We made the Elite Eight!!!  WOO HOOOOO

Self-cared for:  Uh, does it count in this category that I completed my first 5K yesterday? I had walked in many-a fund-raiser walk but this was the first that I entered that took official times and gave a shirt. I finished in under 1 hour; was 626 our of 636. LOL  (Had to set a baseline.)

Itching to tell you:  I have missed blogging! But I haven’t finished a book in weeks, it seems. My audiobook (The Zero by Jess Walters) is fascinating but I haven’t had long stretches alone in a car to listen.

Excited by: All the people who have asked me about the TOB! I do occasional Facebook updates on it…  AND I think I finally picked my favorite book of the tourney:  Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong. It was knocked out by Exit West – a book that I admired but didn’t get charmed by. GV oozed charm. I read so many books that I liked but couldn’t really choose my bestest favoritist until I watched the booktube commentary by @daejin_v2! (Loved it. Impressive – I want to make a book review video…)

FYI – I downloaded Stephen Florida but I don’t think I will read it. I might open it and look at it…  I never could get my hands on Dear Cyborg – my library didn’t have it. I put a hold on The Book of Joan but it still hasn’t come to me yet. I’ll probably pass on that, too. Otherwise, I read everything! I think.

Also, my book club has selected Together by Julie Cohen.  Anyone read it?

Looking forward to:  SPRING. Warmer temperatures. Longer days of sunshine. Boat season. Common sense in politics. We can hope, yes?

Have a great Easter! I’m thankful for this blog, this little corner that is mine, but mostly for the kind and caring book blogging community and the opportunity to be a part of it. Thank you for visiting. I appreciate you.

 

pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Lucky Boy

Thoughts  by Shanthi Skaran, GP Putnam’s Sons 2017, 472 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books 2018
Genre: Hmmmmm…. I guess that catchall “contemporary lit”
Type/Source: eBook / Borrowed from library, read on my Kindle
 Why I read this now: Available from the library

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB. Today is actually the decision day for this book. It is going against The End of Eddy which I listened to. I’m hurrying to post this before the judgment is announced.

He asked for her story, he wanted to know how she’d arrived on his shores, and what had happened to her on the journey. Soli, without papers and pregnant, and hanging by a thread to this happy, healthy place, considered telling the truth. With a sharp slap to her inner chismosa, she slowed down and shut her mouth.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Two sides of a story. One, a young illegal immigrant from Mexico who is ‘bio-mom’ of the lucky boy named Ignatio, and the other, a second-generation in America couple (heritage India) who want to adopt the lucky boy whom they call Iggy. Bio-mom Solimar is fierce in her love and dedication to her son and she is trying to survive and adjust to the promises of a life in the U.S. But then she is caught; she is undocumented. Kavya and Rishi have their own expectations of how their lives should be and when they can’t get pregnant, they move to adopt a baby, starting with fostering Ignatio who is now a ‘ward of the state’ while Soli languishes in ‘custody’. Worlds collide. Sort of.

WHAT’s GOOD: Well-researched scenarios and portrayals of true American stories and the immigration policies and systems in place – and are in flux and in the news even more now. Lucky Boy explores parental rights, wealth and poverty, immigration, the courts.

I highlighted a few wonderful sentences, but I never got swept up into any of it.

She’d never had to truly give up on herself before, having always had a trust fund of potential—untapped, hidden, wasted—to fall back on.

What’s NOT so good: I didn’t feel it. Something was off. I didn’t care for Kavya and her petty jealousies. It just didn’t carry the spark it needed.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This book is going to get skewered in the commentary today; I do feel that. I wish I could articulate the unsettling I feel about how the story was constructed and how the plot unfolded. I found it predictable, almost boring. “The U.S. Immigration Policy is bad.” The checks and balances of the systems for handling immigrants is in failure mode. Yep, I get it. How do we fix it?

I read (rēēd) the wonderful insightful pro and con thoughts on all these books and I nod my head, yes! I can see that, or Really?! no, I didn’t get that… but I can’t find those words of my own to reason through my thoughts and feelings. But I do so love the TOB. It’s been a wild ride so far (and I’m actually glad I haven’t found my darling.)

If you read everything – you’ll know why I post this quote: “She ran until the dogs in her head stopped barking. And then she stopped and turned and found that she was alone.

TOB:  I will chose The End of Eddy in this round. I listened to TEoE and I didn’t listen well. But it had a punch and a rawness that was evident as art. They are saying we are in Bizarro-World this year so it is possible that Lucky Boy might take it. But I don’t think so…

RATING: Three slices of apple pie.

Silvia picked up tamales and an apple pie and a liter of fancy-looking soda from the expensive supermarket, the one they never went to.

pierating

“Can you smell that apple pie?” Eva Cabral stood and cranked open her window. “They drive me crazy with that apple pie!” She had the spangle-toothed smile of a PTA president.

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

It’s On! #TOB18

DD6C3A25-EDDE-4695-A8D5-69E447393C54I am on vacation and today kicks off the Tournament,

Round 1. 

(Edited that 3/7 was Play-in Round; Opening Round is 3/8)

I am writing this on my phone so I might be challenged with links and stuff. (No, looks like I managed it, click on “Round 1”.)

I managed to read the first third of Lucky Boy and am enjoying it. Gotta love ✈️ travel for dedicated reading time.

And, sorry Ruthiella – I might (probably) DNF Savage Theories. It’s entertaining in a way but also exhausting. Since it won’t be advancing…

The Idiot moves on!

pierating1

I managed to read all but Joan, Cyborgs, Steve FLORIDA (where I am right now, escaping Storm Quinn), and DNFing Savage. I’m OK with it. You? Did you read ‘em all and if not, are you OK?

I didn’t fill out a bracket…

See ya in the commentary!

Classic Spin March 2018

Mar 9: number 3 selected; thus, I get to read Cold Comfort Farm. [My review]

It’s another SPIN!  My favorite… This button has the information post:

Drawing and number announcement will be March 9; book at that number from this list must be read by the end of April. Let’s do this!

Here are my 20:

  1. The Three Muskateers
  2. Jude the Obscure
  3. Cold Comfort Farm
  4. Wide Sargasso Sea
  5. The King Must Die
  6. The Dud Avocado
  7. Charlotte Sometimes
  8. One Fine Day
  9. The Ox-Bow Incident
  10. The House of the Seven Gables
  11. Candide
  12. A Handful of Dust
  13. Rabbit Run
  14. Love in a Cold Climate –> Love in a Fallen City
  15. Naked Lunch
  16. The Counterfeiters
  17. Love in a Fallen City moved to spot 14; switching with Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford
  18. The Woodlanders
  19. Confederacy of Dunces
  20. The Way We Live Now

I was planning on getting to The House of the Seven Gables sooner than later so let’s all hope the spin number is TEN!

My original list and progress page is linked here for my own convenience.

 

 

pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Cruel Winter

Thoughts  by Sheila Connolly, Crooked Lane Books 2017, 320 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Season category
Genre: cozy mystery
Type/Source: Tradeback / Barnes & Noble
 Why I read this now: I purchased this as a gift for a friend because I though she might like it. We don’t often share literary tastes. I discovered this book on a library list that Laurie sent me over the Holidays and I liked that the title would satisfy the WiaN Reading Challenge.

MOTIVATION for READING: The title! I needed a season book for the Challenge.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: An American who is new to managing a pub in Ireland that she inherited is stuck with a few of her customers during a threatening snowstorm. While there, they decide to rehash a twenty year old murder case from the area as entertainment. They all manage to survive and live to see another day having made new friends and created more work for the gardaí (police) department with their ideas…

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s a quick read and the main character is likeable.

What’s NOT so good: It’s not that exciting. And it tended to the over-explaining side of telling.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Not my favorite kind of book, though it is pleasant enough. It is part of series which felt obvious with references and hints to other minor character’s bigger stories later or prior;  this story stood well enough alone. I am not a series reader but if you are, check out this author.

RATING:  Three slices of pie. I’m counting the apple crumble which is really just a square (or oblong) crumb-top pie, right?

 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2018. 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 Animators

Thoughts tabykrw by Kayla Rae Whitaker, Random House 2016, 372 pages

Challenge:  Tournament of Books 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction – I hate that this is a genre! Wait… IS “contemporary fiction’ actually a GENRE? Surely a better response would be ‘fiction that involves creative arts’, perhaps maybe  ‘fiction relating to dysfunctional families impact on friendships/partnerships’, then there could be this ‘fiction that features lots of drug use into adulthood’. Surely I am missing many many more subgenres…
Type/Source: Hardback / Library
 Why I read this now: The library called. My hold was available.

MOTIVATION for READING: Have I got a story to tell! Well, ok. It’s exciting to me, so…  Bear with me.

Last December, I responded to a tweet suggesting that if you wanted a book recommendation, just respond with the last thing you ate and what you were wearing.

Here’s the exchange:

and she responded with this:

So I put it on my tbr. (I must have known it was on the long list for TOB. right?)

THEN!!!   It made the short list for the TOB. Oh YEA.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Well, this part aint so easy.

I’ve mentioned that it involves creative arts, dysfunctional families and the impact of such on friendships and partnerships – both love and work, then that it features lots of drug use into adulthood?

Sharon Kisses, who considers herself heterosexual, meets Mel Vaughn, a rude crude lesbian who is basically a raging horndog drug addict (or IS she?!), and they form an amazing collaborative creative team for visual story-telling.

Questions pop up. How important is ‘permission’ when another’s life story is part of the “YOUR STORY” you want to share in a very public way? How much of the overlap is your story versus their story?

How much of the story and the subsequent story is MINE, ours, YOURS?

What’s NOT so good: Ah. Ah, yes. . . I’m sorry, can you repeat the question?

I would feel for Sharon and then wonder, “Uh what happened? Crap, she’s an asshole.”  I always liked Mel, but she was always painted as the sympathetic to-be-sympathized-with-nut crazy, so you would forgive her. She was very well-drawn. Sharon, who truly is the primary character, thus PROTAGONIST of this drama life tale, is a slippery one. To me. She would surprise me and usually NOT in a good way. Yet. She was ALMOST empathized with? maybe?

FINAL THOUGHTS: I liked this, I did. And there were a ton of pie mentions so I was often validated in my quest to find a pie mention in my literature (#selfishmaybecertainlystrange). I read some really-not-good reviews and some praising reviews and overall, I liked this very much. So… with all the terrific pie that our characters eat, I give this

RATING: Four slices of pie! I will go with strawberry pie.

I’m glad to have read this. It was different and I learned a lot about lots of things – mostly the creative collaborative animated cartoon concepts and maybe living in NYC. I look forward to spirited debate on this crazy tale.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.