A Gentleman in Moscow

Thoughts by Amor Towles,  Penguin Books 2016, 462 pages

Challenge: Theta Book Club
Genre: Contemporary Lit, Historical Fiction?
Type/Source: Tradeback; purchased?  I don’t recall how I got this.
 Why I read this now:  Selected Book for October’s Discussion

MOTIVATION for READING: Book Club!

“To what end, he wondered, had the Divine created the stars in heaven to fill a man with feelings of inspiration one day and insignificance the next?”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Count Rostov, a member of Russian aristocracy, is designated a Non-Person, placed under house-arrest in 1928 and mostly forgotten by the Bolshevik powers that be. He adapts quite well to the decades and makes a new family of everyone he connects with.

“There’s a difference between being resigned to a situation and reconciled to it.”

THOUGHTS: One of my favorite things to do is to read reviews that vary from my personal reaction. Most reviews LOVE this story. However, a few readers found it ‘twee’. This word dismays me. I don’t quite have a definition set solid for what TWEE means. (Kind of like ska* music. I have NO IDEA.) If this was twee, it was smarter and more sharp-humor than I think of when something is called that descriptor. That could be my snobbery; Twee things aren’t smart, right?

I liked this story. I was caught up in how the Count was “making the best of it”. I was quite touched that he was all-in immediately to the surprise request of taking care of an 8  year old girl, “Sure, why not?” No protests, only a tiny touch of self-doubt or misunderstanding of what he (and the entire hotel staff, of course) was about to hide and handle.

And of course, she became a lovely accomplished young woman.

But what actually happens at the end? I’m not sure…

“The surest sign of wisdom is cheerfulness.? – Montaigne

I learned a lot or was given new things to think about on the history of Russia that was playing out on the streets outside of the hotel. It felt surreal, as do times now, actually. Is what is really going on in the US really happening?! How can the two sides’ perspective, the violence the anger the ‘fake news’ the accusations, be REAL?!  Ugh, it is frightening and I wonder if we will survive to see the historical perspective on it in 20 years time.

RATING:  I gave this 5 slices of pie. Because it was well written, I enjoyed it, I needed just this right now.

“I love your funny alphabet and those little pastries stuffed with meat.”

pierating

 

* Ska is unique because it really emphasizes the offbeats of the guitar; combines Jamaican drum sounds and jazz beats…

Copyright © 2007-2020. 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 Haunting of Hill House

Thoughts by Shirley Jackson, Blackstone Audio 2010 (orig 1959), 7 hour 36 minutes

Bernadette Dunne (Narrator)

“It was a house without kindness, never meant to be lived in, not a fit place for people or for love or for hope.”

Challenge: Readers in Peril XV
Genre: Doesn’t Shirley Jackson have her own genre?
Type/Source: Audio
 Why I read this now:  Only a coincidence that my reading this happened to be during RIP, to be honest. I needed an audiobook, this one was available. I’ve always wanted to read it. Because Shirley.F.Jackson.

MOTIVATION for READING: See sentence above.

“Don’t do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again; don’t do it; and the little girl glanced at her, and smiled a little subtle, dimpling, wholly comprehending smile, and shook her head stubbornly at the glass. Brave girl, Eleanor thought; wise, brave girl.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A professor attempting to find a big breakthrough for his research and to make his place in Academia, invites many possible apprentices to join him in a stay at a house of ill (horror) repute. Only a few take him up on it.

But they are ALL IN, Baby!

THOUGHTS: So, I’ve maybe seen the movie? maybe PIECEs of the movie? I seem to know enough about that movie with (Liam Neeson, Lili Taylor, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson) but not quite the same. Same enough! Minor creative differences, is all.

The house is actually COOL, in its off kilter slightly not-square way. And the buildup is great. The guy who built the place was obviously way off his rocker and nothing is explained.

Only survived…

“I like apple pie with sour cream.”

I enjoyed the telling, I enjoyed the descriptions and the sense of place – extremely well done. I did see Lili as Eleanor and I could see CZJ as Theo, too. Liam Neeson will never be the professor. Yes, Jackson is a master – so good. Not really that scary in print, methinks. I may never watch the movie again nor the miniseries recently. I’m just NOT a scary movie person.

RATING:  Four slices of pie.

 

 

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I’ve Hit My Yearly Reading Goal! Already?!

Well. Lookie here. I completed a goal with 3 months remaining in my year. Huh.

What do I do now?!   YES!  We go for it – we attempt to read 25 more books in the next 91 days. Who’s with me?  What 25 things can you do in 91 days? (Insert bright big smile emoji here.)

While we’re here, let’s look at the book I just finished to complete my goal.

Audiobook by Wallace Stegner, Blackstone Audio 2010 (orig 1976), 7 hours 51 minutes

Narrated by Edward Herrman

Rating: FIVE slices of pie.

I want to talk about this book. But I don’t know how. I loved it. Old irascible cantankerous ponderous old Joe. Actually he isn’t any of those words.

Such sadness, some regrets, some true dedicated endearing enduring love.

I guess this book just stirs up the ol’ vocabulary. I loved it.

and WOWZA! I think this would be a really cool book club book!  I do. Cuz it’s got some zinging wild stuff. Lots of good stuff, lots of OMG stuff.

Did I realize Mr. Herrman was reading this book? Nope. (huh) and it was OK. It really is a good thing I didn’t realize until I was already a few hours in. He did a fabulous job, of course. (I could NOT listen to him read The Boys in the Boat for some reason! I was so totally distracted on that…)

And with this, Stegner moves into a lofty spot in my top tier of favorite authors. He inspires me to read more Kent Haruf and to get back to my Marilynne Robinson. And Tracy Kidder. I have a few more of his books to read before I’ve read everything.

Next up, either a post on A Gentleman in Moscow, one on The Haunting of Hill House or one big September Summary.

My last pie was making the Rhode Island Coffee Milk Pie again.  YUM.

**** My attempt to learn the new (cough, cough HATED) WordPress block editor to link this recipe as a page.

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Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

Tender is the Night

Thoughts by F.Scott Fitzgerald, 1934, 356 pages

Challenge:  Classics Club Spin
Genre: Classic
Type/Source: ebook, library
 Why I read this now:  SPIN!   

MOTIVATION for READING: I had read somewhere that this was his best work. I may have read that wrong. Could be it is still a topic of debate.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  LOTS going on in this book and to be honest, I didn’t give it my full attention (which might mean that I actually failed to finish. Shame on me! I am still counting it as read…)

Dick Diver is married. He and his wife make a lovely much-admired couple and live in an amazingly glamorous spot on the French Riviera leading a glamorous life. But really, he is a psychoanalyst married to a former patient (named Nicole, who seems perfectly lovely in the first half) and is now attracted (the Dick dude) to a cute young glamorous up&coming actress who throws herself at him. But really, I didn’t get much farther than that. I love that history shocks me – that WHAT?!          WHY young ladies don’t throw themselves at happily married men they meet on the beach AND admire the wives and yet still throw themselves at the husband anyway AND TELL THEIR OWN MOTHER?!  in the late 1920s?!  did they? Do they?

I would have never. (Told my mother.)

I put the book down and ten days later when I had the time and mindspace to jump back in, I found out that it was a 14 day library ebook loan and I FAILED. Oooops. It expired.

So I spent a few hours watching YouTube BookTube videos and caught myself up on the plot of what I missed.

Dick and Nicole’s marriage implodes. He does end up sleeping with the young actress apparently but the book takes a turn and shares how Dick and Nicole met in the first place; then Nicole sleeps with a friend, — apparently, they talk it out “LIKE ADULTS” (whatever that might mean) and it ends ambiguously with Dick being an alcoholic and Nicole hopefully have her HEA. I heard it had an ambiguous ending.

OK, maybe I kept zoning out on the less than 10 minute BookTube reviews. Sue me.

THOUGHTS: This book does seem to have CARE PIE written ALL OVER IT! But no, nope. I just didn’t quite get into that must-finish-keep-reading-it’s-past-my-bedtime-don’t-care state which I was wanting.

Should I have audiobooked it?!

oH yEA.  I will watch the movie. Hopefully sooner than later. Casting looks suspect in my distant future viewpoint yet the pretties and the settings look like it just might deliver.  Jason Robards, Jennifer Jones, Joan Fontaine?! and Jill St John. Adapted to the 1960s and made in 1962. Sign. me. up.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

 

 

 

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Ducks, Newburyport

Thoughts by Lucy Ellman, Biblioasis 2019, 1001 pages

Challenge: Personal
Genre: Literary Fiction
Type/Source: Purchased Online, probably from Amazon :/  Made up for that by buying one from RiffRaff in PVD.
 Why I read this now:  It had to be read.

MOTIVATION for READING: The Main Character – referred to going forward as “MC” (I don’t even know if we get her name) – bakes pies to sell to local restaurants to help the family finances. Her signature dish is Apple Tarte Tatin – something I have yet to attempt. Apparently they can be tricky.

, according to Stephen Hawking the human world will end within 1000 years, but I think it could be a lot sooner, and my response to this is to make more pies and read recipe books,

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  This book is the streaming consciousness of MC, a mother of 4 who has had some serious health challenges and misses her mother who died when her own daughter, her oldest, was a toddler. Her husband is a professor of structural engineering and is a bridge expert. He is the father to the 3 youngest kids, step to the oldest — of course the first husband is not ideal, though she would never speak ill of him in front of their daughter. MC rambles in her head about her memories of which she constantly claims she cannot remember, her siblings, her upbringing, tragedies that happen in the world, her pies, her mothering challenges, politics, her doubts and fears, her grocery lists, the old movies she watches while she bakes, her chickens, her childhood pets, her childhood travels – all the houses and places she lived in. She hates Trump, is anti-gun, is polite to a fault and is shy around people; cripplingly-shy. She loves her husband dearly – he’s a good man. All the kids are cute as a button and have their own wants, needs, interests which she enumerates for pages at a time. That’s a fact! It’s her day to day to day to day in her head ramblings.

Every so often, the story shifts to a mountain lion momma of three and her travels around the state of Ohio. Lots of geography, topography and history of Ohio. Their paths intersect of course and it was tense, I tell ya!  of exactly HOW that might play out!  oh, it’s a thriller, truly. It was maddening trying to imagine where the book was going.

THOUGHTS: This is not a book I would recommend to just anyone. I only know a few people who would like it, love it, as much as I did. I am pretty sure, my IRL friends now know that I’m a really strange reader when I would LOVINGLY describe the book and how long it was taking me to read. They would back up slowly, wide-eyed, quietly muttering, “hmmm, ok, sounds interesting. not.”  I started it in April. I finished near the end of August. I sometimes would let weeks go by without turning a page. Sometimes, I would read one or two pages a day. Then conquer over 100+ in a weekend.

,the fact that I think a lot of people think all I think about is pie, when really it’s my spinal brain doing most of the peeling and caramelizing and baking and flipping, while I just stand there spiraling into a panic about my mom and animal extinctions and the Second Amendment just like everybody else,

RATING:  So why am I only giving this four slices of pie? I fear that sometimes, I give 5 stars to a book as a reward for getting me to read it. I think we (by which I mean “ME”) get brainwashed that we must actually be loving the experience of submerging so much time and energy into a chunkster that we MUST justify it with a high glowing review.

But I had some issues. I had an issue with the dog and probably should research if this is based in fact. (The fact is…) and I had issue that they – the stupid zoo people – that they didn’t realize or WATCH the     (SPOILER ALERT!!!!  hover over to reveal the white colored text so as not to spoil anything: Really?!  they didn’t realize that this momma was the 3 kittens mother and they didn’t watch the reunion? I don’t believe and if I ever read about a review from a big cat zookeeper reading this book – if you do! please share….)

So four stars for a quibble but I did love it. I will never not associate Ducks, Newburyport with the pandemic. That is reason enough not to give it 5 stars. Or maybe that is reason, actually, to anoint it 5 stars? Whatever.

So much pie. So much wonderful pie! so many terrific pie mentions!!! I probably should give Ellman the coveted Pie in Literature award for 2020 and call it done.

I would HATE it if they ever attempt to make a movie from this book. OMG, I would see it day one if they do. It’s a deceptively simple book in plot but wowza finding it! (Are they making movies yet?!)

The fact that it’s important not to despair though when you’ve got pies in the oven, …, the fact that you have to have mercy on your pies, be there for your pies, and in return they will be good dutiful pies and serve you, …

I really hope I reread this book someday.

pierating

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

2020 brings us THE SUPER ROOSTER!

Announcing…

SO excited!  Though I haven’t read any of the possible zombies (the challengers from years prior to 2013), I CAN’T WAIT for October!

I think I am going to cheer for The Good Lord Bird by James McBride.

Oh, this is going to be fun!

By the way, this won the Summer Camp TOB:

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The cool graphic at the top of the post links to the details of Super Rooster TOB in October. . .  Think they will announce how to buy the tee shirt soon?

 

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Time Machine Audiobook then Film

Thoughts by  HG Wells, Tantor 2008 (orig 1853), ~ 4 hours

Narrated by Scott Brick

Challenge: Classics Club, Back to Classics Genre or Movie Adaption?
Genre: Science Fiction
Type/Source: Audiobook/Library
 Why I read this now:  Hard to say…

MOTIVATION for READING: I love time travel stuff.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A gentleman invents a time machine and jettisons himself off into the far, very far, future.

Humanity splits into good and bad?  leisure class and workers – lots to dissect here if I was feeling academic, which today I am not. But, even as I reflected its place as commentary on society and its juxtaposition with what is going on now in relation to capitalism, etc, I just don’t have the energy to do more than recognize it likely has something to say that I might want to pay attention to?

THOUGHTS: It was OK. Some of these old-timey books, I just love and get right into the rhythm. This one had me a bit impatient. I now know what Morlocks are. I certainly can appreciate the classic and the WOW! factor this has enjoyed over the years.

I was more excited to read somewhere that the 1960 film version was considered quite cool; the special effects still impress. So we watched it and it was a fun.

With so many classics, the fun is saying “Yep, read it.” and I am glad to be able to say so now. Check it off the list.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

August 2020 Mini-Reviews (Really!)

Thoughts

I read 7 books in August. I created 1 pie:  Peach Pie (I enjoyed other pies that someone else got to make…)

The big news is that I finished Ducks, Newburyport – a chunkster with LOTS of pie. Lots of pie and other things. I started the book in April.

“The fact that it’s important not to despair though when you’ve got pies in the oven, …, the fact that you have to have mercy on your pies, be there for your pies, and in return they will be good dutiful pies and serve you, …

OK, I do intend to write a full post of my random thoughts on Ducks. Perhaps Bybee and I can make a joint interview review of some sort?  I will say now that I really did enjoy it even if I was able to put it down for weeks at a time – I toted the damn thing back and forth to the boat and home many MANY times! And when I did pick it up even for just a few pages, I was right there, right back in her head.

Sometimes I think I grant the coveted 5 slicer rating when I struggle through and actually complete these big long books but something happened in the end that really didn’t sit right for me and I had to shave off some of the whipped cream for a 4. But I am proud of myself for completing this, I am!

Was it a struggle?  Yes, sometimes, yes. The darn weight of the thing was a struggle to hold!

On to the Patricia Lockwood. She’s just got a wild imagination. I reviewed this in last week’s Poetry Edition.

The Time Machine was an audio and I struggled some with this, too. Only 4 hours of the old language; some certainly outdated notions

 

that are jarring, but I’m glad to have read this and can now click off when I see it on any “Have you Read __?” lists.  I want to write a separate post of this, too, because we watched the movie this past weekend! The one from 1960.

I read the 50 Romantic Weekends for Two when I found the book on the boat…  It was a lovely photo book of B&Bs and I wondered how they are faring this 2020. I thought I would find one description mentioning pie, but alas, I did not.

The first three books of the month were heavy. So let’s start with that first memoir, my first August read, Heavywhich happened to be a LISTEN. Narrated by the author, Kiese Laymon, I was riveted and moved. Moved to what? Still working on that, how do I fight the tendency to be a thinker not a doer, how do I propel my values to a place of work; work to for making the world a better place? I can’t even work on my own life; maybe this is what I need to do to finally get out there and really do the action – letters and calls, donations and votes are good, but not enough. This was a real eye opener and re-affirming of humanity. and humanity’s pain.

(and I must say that the last book of July which was a terrific companion read to Heavy, was Thick and I didn’t really plan for the obvious (now) themes of title but definitely topic. Anyway, Thick was also all these things: sharp, weighty, intense.

Then I listened to The Other America, a speech by MLK, Jr.  and then the very heavy and scary and enlightening and anger-at-the-evils provoking When They Call You a Terrorist. I wish everyone would consider reading this book by one of the founders of BLM, Patrisse Khan-Cullors.

So, a bit of SJW reading, thoughts of what to do and how to do, while #SavetheUSPS was going on and too many more killings, and oh god, the conventions! I am one big ball of anxiety and yet I am safe in my little reading nook and I can barely breathe to move. Am trying to stay off Twitter and Facebook and not watch the news. I barely watched Hurricane Laura and now the weather is delightful, the days are shortening. I’m about to be late for work… Gotta go.

 

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Sept 28 is Strawberry Cream Pie Day. That’s it, or at least the only one I know about.

Plan accordingly.

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Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Poetry 2020 Edition 7

Poetry Goal 2020:  to read a poem* every day.

Collection # 13 Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals by Patricia Lockwood, Penguin Books 2014, 66 pages

List of Cross-Dressing Soldiers

. . .

Someone thought long and hard how to best

make my brother blend into the sand. He came

back and he was heaped up himself like a dune,

he was twice the size of me, his sight glittered

deeper in the family head he hid among himself,

and slid, and stormed, and looked the same

as the next one, and was hot and gold and some-

where else.

+ .  .  .

Five slices of pie

Collection # 14 The Trouble with Poetry  by Billy Collins, Random House Trade Paperback Edition 2007 (orig 2005), 91 pages

The Trouble with Poetry
.
.
.

Poetry fills me with joy
and I rise lide a feather in the wind.

Poetry fills me with sorrow
and I sink like a chain flung from a bridge.

But mostly poetry fills me
with the urge to write poetry.

I wasn’t as fond of this collection like the first one I experienced but that’s OK.

*Or more. I’m not tracking, I’m just reading. I’m not limiting this experience to one poem a day – that is only the minimum.

PI MENTIONED!  “Later, genius became someone who could take a sliver of chalk and square pi a hundred places out beyond the decimal point.

*Or more. I’m not tracking, I’m just reading. I’m not limiting this experience to one poem a day – that is only the minimum.

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Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

What’s in a Name Challenge 2020 – Progress Report, NO – actually a COMPLETION RPT

The What’s in a Name 6-Category Reading Challenge is hosted by Andrea at Carolina Book Nook. The image below will link to the Challenge Sign up Page.

I’m currently _100_% complete with books filling the following 2020 categories :

Very good, very easy, lovely home-spun nostalgic poems. These poems show a careful awareness of every tiny detail.
  • An antonym  =  (Still yet possible: The Gateless Gate, perhaps Sweet Ruin)

Am offering up these lovelies as options – I defy you to correct me if you don’t think the titles suggest “opposite in meaning to another”:

(Bodies should stay buried!) * If I had to pick a favorite here, I would choose the Wilson.

  • 4 letters or less = Vox  or  Oval:  I read both! Between the 2 of these, I would have to recommend Oval, I guess.

 

I also read Olive, Again which fits this category. As would, …  Loved Mary, adored Olive, quite satisfied with Duchess. Fleishman and Dorian, I pass.

 

  • Reference to children = AS Byatt’s The Children’s Book or McEwan’s The Children Act. Both are still on my tbr, but how about this? Yes, I think GIRL in the title qualifies. UPDATED less than an hour later when I realized that I also attempted the Lost Children Archive!  yes, attempted. These 2 squared off against each other in the TOB and somehow I forgot about DEFINITELY qualifies!

 

 

Well, look at that. CHALLENGE COMPLETED. 

 

More choices possible on my list in goodreads.

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Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.