Tenth of December

 

Thoughts todbygs by George Saunders, Random House 2013, 254 pages

STORY COLLECTION

Highly praised; LOTS of literary awards including: nomination for Goodreads Choice for Fiction 2013, Paris Review Best of the Best 2013, Folio Prize 2014, Story Prize 2013, and National Book Award Finalist for Fiction 2013 (WOW! I’ve read the winner for 2013: The Good Lord Bird! woo hoo)

My favorite was the title story “Tenth of December”. In less than 40 pages, I was blubbering. Very moving, very touching.

My least favorite was one of the longest stories and to be honest:  I skipped the middle, reread the first few pages too many times and couldn’t make sense of the last 4 pages. That one was “The Semplica Girl Diary” – failure all mine; it has been critically acclaimed.

I do not read story collections in order.

I usually read the shortest stories first.

If there is a theme here, I will borrow/steal from Greg of The New Dork Review and say “the moving target of morality”. His thoughts and reactions (not a review?) are worth reading if you are intrigued.

It has been said in the blogosphere that these are rather depressing stories. Note.

I read this because The Socratic Salon mentions it. Click on this sentence to see their discussion of “Can You Learn to Love Short Stories?”

When I do bother to read a short story collection, I tend to LOVE most of the stories.

I don’t expect to like all of them. I just need to find some gold and some sparkle and some heartfelt provoked reaction.

Short stories are all good by me.

Four Slice of Pie fourpie

Pie Quote: “Guy never works a day in his life, just goes around stealing pies off windowsills, then starts yelping about his rights?”

Past Story Collections I Have Recommended:

Dorothy Parker!

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Simon Van Booy’s Love Begins in Winter

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

 

Click –> HERE <– for more reviews.

pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Bad Feminist

Thoughts bfbyrg Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Harper 2014, 320 pages

I often feel like a bad feminist. I’m not doing it right. My example is piss poor. I often feel unworthy to declare my feminist label.

Which is why this book is fabulous. No one can be the ultimate perfect feminist!

I know many Christians who certainly aren’t perfect and yet have no doubts to claim being Christian. It really is almost the second line of the ‘faith profession’ if you think about it. “I have sinned; forgive me.” and wa la! GRACE. And not to say this excuses bad behavior, I know. This post isn’t to defend my Christianity (and I am one), the point is that I should NOT be embarrassed to stand up and say,

“Yes, I’m a feminist.”

And I usually do, but…

I REALLY enjoyed Gay’s collection of essays on her life and her thoughts, her complications and her contradictions. Her courage to say these things loudly and proudly.

This book made me think about a lot of things. Maybe ALL of the things. I didn’t always agree but I appreciate the new viewpoints on the issues. I learned a few words, I learned much more about Scrabble than I knew I needed to know, I was introduced to many cool sounding books* that have made it to my tbr, and thus,

FIVE SLICES of PIE.

pieratingsml

* Kate Zembrano’s Green Girl or Heroines, anyone?

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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 Talented Mr. Ripley

Thoughts and unrelated random bits tTMRbyPHa The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, Audible 2012 (orig 1955), 9 hrs 35 min

Narrated by Kevin Kenerly – admirable job. He definitely had the creepy voice to go with the creepy thoughts.

“Anticipation! It occurred to him that his anticipation was more pleasant to him than the experiencing.”

The Admission:  This book is much more sinister and creepy than the the last few Stephen King books I’ve read. THERE. I said it.

Oh, Tom Ripley! You are scary. And yet, so much more tolerable – which scares me, too – than Bateman of Am. Psycho. Shudder.

“Tom laughed at the phrase “sexual deviation.” Where was the sex? Where was the deviation? He looked at Freddie and said low and bitterly: “Freddie Miles, you’re a victim of your own dirty mind.”

They have the same in-my-head crazy. They have the same, “OH! WHAT will he do NEXT?!” fear; palpable FEAR.

I listened to this. I bought it when Audible offered a BOGO* deal.

What’s it ABOUT:  Tom Ripley has issues. THEN, he gets an opportunity to go to Europe on another’s dime. He schemes a way to get more of that dime in a sinister way. And he takes on a lovely tour of Italy! The issue is that he really does have pangs of guilt, sort of. He just prefers not to be Tom Ripley. This is one creepy dude!

“Tom envied him with a heartbreaking surge of envy and self-pity.”

The Question: Will I read more? This is the first in a series. Hmmmmm.

Another Question: Did I even see the movie? I thought I did but the whole time I listened to this book, I was imagining Leo DiCaprio as Tom and yet THE MOVIE HAS IT AS MATT DAMON! So now I must see the movie because my thinking I had seen it has me all confused.

FINALLY:  Don’t go see Kingsman. Disappointing.

And an admonition:  All of you who have read Bad Feminist, why have you not told me about Kate Zembrano? I want to read her books! Anyone up for a readalong of Heroines or Green Girl?

pieratingsml

* The other audiobook I chose was Heft by Liz Moore but I don’t think I will be listening to this until after Atlas Shrugged. IKR!?  What the heck am I doing attempting a 63 hour audiobook? Well, you know I love ’em. The longer the better.

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Misery Roundup and Playlist #MiseryRAL

mrbypslol2

Do tell: share your favorite of this readalong! Was it finding King in the button above, the songs (which song?), the NEW words (oogy!!) or __?___. I enjoyed making new friends. Was this your first Kingalong? Will you be looking forward to more? King is great on his own; but in my opinion, his books are just better with friends.

Let me know here or tweet at me if you have a review link for me to add:

Ti at Book Chatter

Laurie at Bay State Advisory

Jenni Elyse

Lisa Lit and Life

Trish at Love Laughter Insanity

The Friday Friends

Katie (not in) MA

Kristin at my little heart melodies

Michelle What She Said

Maree Life the Universe and Cats

SONGS:

Paramore: Misery Business

Daylight Misery – Silence 2013

Elliot Smity Miss Misery

Extrema – My Misery

The Maine – Misery

Ruby Gloom (Misery) – What’s the Big Deal?

Maroon 5 – Misery

Soul Asylum – Misery

Three Days Grace – Misery Loves My Company

Pink & Steven Tyler Misery

Peter Gabriel Sledgehammer (and I had no idea about the ax!!)

Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer

Thanks everyone! I had a great time being your host. Put Salem’s Lot on the calendar for October! Should our hashtag be #SalemsLotRAL ?

Halestorm – I Miss the Misery

pieratingsml

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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 Aviator’s Wife

Thoughts tawbymb The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin, Bantam Books 2013, 402 pages

The blurb from the back of the book (with my thoughts in parenthesis):

When Anne Morrow, a shy college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family, she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’ assurance and fame, Anne is certain the aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong. Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer and her world will be changed forever. (Not really, what he sees is a competent brood mare of ‘good’ stock.) The two marry in a headline-making wedding. In the years that follow, Anne becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States. But despite this and other major achievements, she is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desires for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.

Despite admiring Anne for keeping up with everything her husband gave her to do and then finally realizing a dream of her own to truly write (which I do hope to read more someday), this book fell flat for me. For one, Charles was NOT a great guy. Two, this book suffers from the “tell rather than show” problem, in my humble opinion. I spent most of the book feeling sorry for Anne – for the way her husband treated her and how the paparazzi hassled her.

So, though this book is not my cup of tea and lacks pie references, I expect that many people will enjoy this book very much.

I missed the book club meeting so I have no idea what the others thought of this. I do think it has much to discuss so I do give it a recommendation as a good club selection.

Rating:  Three slices of pie.

pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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 Dorothy Parker Portable Library

Thoughts tvplbydp Viking Press 1963 (orig 1926-1944), 544 pages

“A One-Volume Edition of Her Stories & Poems including Here Lies: Laments for the Living, After Such Pleasures; Not so Deep as a Well: Enough Rope, Sunset Gun, Death & Taxes; and 5 Stories Now First Published in Book Form”

tpdpaudio Blackstone Audio 2007, Edited by Marion Meade/Narrated by Lorna Raver, 13 hrs 22 min

 

LOVED.

LOVED THIS SO MUCH.

and yet, I wonder if best in smaller doses which means that I want somebody to buy me this for Christmas so I always have it on hand when I need.

I didn’t just devour this collection, I rolled in it like a dog rolls in mud. I read it higgledy-piggledy, jumping around as I do with short story collections that aren’t themed, and I listened to the audiobook. I read some and then I listened some. I mostly listened to the poetry rather than read and many of the short stories I read and then listened immediately to experience it again.

YES. Dorothy is cleverly snarky and delivers excellent character ‘voice’. And much is NOT flattering. Just the kind of smart bitch that can deliver an insult without the insulted person realizing it because they just don’t get it. GOOD STUFF.

She really sees a situation, every nuance, every discrepancy, all the hypocrisy. Though delightfully funny, it has poison-laced sadness, too.

Highly recommended.

 

 

pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

 

Heart of Darkness

Thoughts and Meandering More Thoughts HoDbyJC Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Dover Thrift 2012 (orig 1899), 102 pages Kindle eBook


“I wasn’t arguing with a lunatic. … But his soul was mad.”

This is one story that I will admit I have been intimidated by. Perhaps because some of the synopsis reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver and her heavy novel that I can never remember but allow me to run to goodreads and check . . . (running off to truly go check goodreads…) oh yea! The Poisonwood Bible. I do wonder what Ms. Kingsolver thought of Heart of Darkness – surely she has read it, yes?

Have you read Heart of Darkness?

I chose this for May for a variety of reasons and vying close for the first and second spot are 1) It is SHORT at 200 pages, and 2) Trisha at Eclectic-Eccentric is featuring all sorts of lovely analysis posts. Goodness I do love me some juicy literature analysis!

and 3) What was that third reason? Oh yes, because I happen to already have it loaded on my Kindle.

Finally, 4) It is one of my Classics Club Fifty in Five.

I was pleasantly surprised. (That I liked it (‘it’ being the book, the reading experience.))

I would not call it compelling exactly. Not quite a fast page turner adventure book because it does tend to have dense language but not overly so. It is FULL of emotion.

“It was my imagination that wanted soothing.”

Here’s Crazy-Care’s FIRST attempt to answer your question of “what it is about?”:

The story is set up as a retelling of a sailor’s adventure. This sailing adventure was when Marlowe needed a job so he decides to go to Africa because he hears they are needing river transport captains and he is certain to find work. He does and notes that his assignment and the company that hires him is actually a bit creepy. His assignment is to get a riverboat into the “deepest darkest part of Africa” to either retrieve or supply Mr. Kurtz (I was confused here, too), a guy who is the BEST number one agent of the company and is considered awesome. Our sailor narrator is torn between just completing the job and yet also very intrigued to meet this awesome incredible Mr. Kurtz and find out why he is so awesome — no one knows how he is accomplishing all he is doing! (what he is doing, mind you, is collecting lots and lots of ivory and he is doing it by befriending (I think? Maybe not? Something tells me I really missed something.) the natives.) Others are jealous and others are mesmerized by Mr. Kurtz. He is ill when they finally get up the river and find him. The natives are hostile (but not hostile to Mr. Kurtz?) and our sailor buddy survives the ordeal and lives to tell of it. Thus the telling.

It’s really quite odd. I might have the synopsis skewed. I might have missed something big.

I swear narrator-captain guy was at first ambivalent and then curious and at one point critical of Mr. Kurtz and then somehow instantly was his best friend. THIS is why I need Trisha to explain things to me.

Or go watch Apocalypse Now?

It really did  have beautiful descriptions and I wonder how it would play in audiobook format. I bet it would be awesome.

So. The elephant in the room.

The elephant is…  (the elephant I thought before I read it anyway)… Is Heart of Darkness a BAD racist book? Does it demean and consider African natives as inferior? Is this a “symptom of the times”, a by-product of colonialism? OR does this book actually highlight the EVILS of colonialism and racism and confront the ideas of exploitation?

AND, excuse me while I freak out a bit here. Is this a true story?

I know and fear that I am inadequate to discuss these issues but I do want to support and advocate for a kind world, a civilization of respect for all. I read this book with the lens of it being written in 1899 and yet did not find it to endorse or promote a message that primitive cultures are inferior – I thought it an exploration of one case or specific example of the “empire” mentality of greed to exploit and take. The world is winners and losers, suckers. For me, the story didn’t deliver a succinct message; no obvious moral outrage and no epiphany. Well, other than “THE HORROR!” which I think was masked by considerable vagueness.

Evil exists. Fear exists. We fear what we do not understand. Let us seek to understand. It ain’t easy.

This book is not easy.

Then go read the excellent eclectic eccentric and marvel. You’ll understand then why Crazy-Care didn’t make a second attempt to explain this book. Heart of Darkness: Pro- or Anti-Imperialist – 5/21/15Psychoanalyzing Heart of Darkness – 6-4-15, Deconstructing Heart of Darkness – 6/11/15Queering Heart of Darkness – 6/18/15

 

“And he was devoted to his books, which were in apple-pie order.”

pieratingsml

This book would have been fascinating and scary to discuss for a grade! Thank you so much Professor Eclectic for the thought-provoking experience. I give myself an A for ambition, a B for effort and a C for discourse.

Here’s a flower:  FullSizeRender Flowers make me smile.

 

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

 

New Books in the House and Speaking Up

New BOOKS in the house! and thoughts.

FullSizeRender-1 With Esther, the best dog. SHHHhhh, Oscar is ALSO the best dog…

All of these are library books. Usually, I am a ‘check-one-out-at-a-time’ kind of library patron. This time I splurged:

√  The Viking Portable Library of Dorothy Parker (I also listened to this for a double whammy reading experience)

The Orphans of Race Point by Patry Francis

(started)   Tenth of December by George Saunders (because the Salon recommended it)

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen – YAY!!  for my library book club.

Skinny Bitch Cookbook – is this the one you all are trying and posting photos on Instagram?!?!

(not shown)The Aviator’s Wife.  I’m still plugging along on this.

pieratingsml

I denounce violence and racism and symbols of such:  Put the Confederate flag in a museum. I also struggle with what seems like a call to legislate away evil. Laws will not make people be kind and respectful. Humans can suck. It’s all so scary and saddening and disheartening. But humans can be nice, too. Be brave, be kind, be courteous. Listen and learn.

Read Vasilly’s post and the links she includes for further reading. She has challenged me. My friend Debi also has questions and a mind to speak up.

For some reason, I receive the weekly Entertainment magazine and though it really isn’t keeping me knowledgeable about pop culture like it might, I did see a review of a book I had to add to my tbr:

smbdapec

I’m also reminded that I want to read more diverse books not only by diverse authors, not only fiction, but also nonfiction – historical and political. Suggestions are welcome. Sadly, the few books that I have on my tbr, I couldn’t find available at my library. I’m thinking I should buy them anyway, so that my purchasing power is distributed and highlights non-status quo channels. Here are a few:

wdcbymp (Memoir from Little Rock HS)  wtwwbycmm (Memoir from Birmingham Church Bombing)

May I suggest The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd for historical fiction recently read that features Denmark Vesey, a founder of Emanuel A.M.E.

My tears and admiration for the love and forgiveness demonstrated by the families of the nine dead in Charleston.

pieratingsml

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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 Answer the Question: “What Books Will You Be Reading This Summer?”

I thought I would post something and so I now ponder this question — I see that many of my blogger friends have been busy making lists and posting what books are on their summer reading agenda.

Here goes – off the top of my head:

1. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith – I just yesterday started this audiobook. It counts right?

2. possibly The Aviator’s Wife – I started it for bookclub but didn’t finish in time.

3. Whatever my book my club just selected at the meeting I missed yesterday. (  _To be filled in__)

4. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

5. Atlas Shrugged – maybe. I admit I’m intimidated by the length. Ti is hosting a readalong for July and August.

6. That Mindset book by Carol Dweck.

 

OH NO! I don’t know what else! I had such a long list going through to Misery and now I’m feeling a bit lost.

 

7. Maybe I need some nonfiction…  Let’s add Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay.

and

8. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

9. Heft by Liz Moore is an audiobook I just purchased on the get 2 for 1 credit deal.

and…

10. The Orphans of Race Point because I’m hoping to win it from Laurie! and will read it if I don’t…

 

Of course, it is extremely likely I won’t read this list and will choose something else entirely. I’m funny like that.

What about you? What are you excited to read in the next few months?

 

pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Or This?

mrbypslol2

Again, thanks to Jenni!


I prefer pi.

pieratingsml

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,701 other followers

Twitter Updates

Feel Deadliest Catch waves?! On our way to Block Island

Goodreads

July 2015
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Copyright Notice

Creative Commons License
Care's Online Book Club text & images by Care is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,701 other followers