Memorial

Thoughts by Bryan Washington, 2020, 8 hours 20 minutes

Narrated by the author and Akie Kotabe

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Contemporary Lit, Queer Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook, Audible
 Why I read this now:  I wanted a shorter one from the possibles. This sounded like it might be suitable in audio form? 

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB Shortlist.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  The love affair? living arrangement? of Ben and Mike. They meet, they have sex, they curse, they move in together, Mike flies off to Japan to “be there” for his dad’s last days as he dies of cancer just as his mom flies from Japan to stay with him. Thus, Ben and Mike’s mom are now cohabitating and cooking together. Ben and Mike wonder about their relationship with few attempts to talk it out.  Oh yea, Ben’s father is an alcoholic and Ben is wrestling with that relationship, too.

THOUGHTS:  Aside from the delicate topic of dying parents and the care required to work through the grief, especially when the relationship is strained, I thought this was rather boring. Maybe all the sex and cursing. Which I’m not sure I would have been hyper-aware of the cursing if Ruthiella hadn’t called it out!  LOL.  See? I shouldn’t be laughing at these guys worrying about their fathers.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.   Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Pie, perhaps?!  Would have been a 2 slicer if I hadn’t encountered the caramel and pecan pie…

When Mary brought a pie to the table, double-layered in caramel and pecans, she said her daughter and I should share it,…”

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

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Transcendent Kingdom

Thoughts by Yaa Gyasi, 2020, 8 hours 40 minutes

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook, Audible
 Why I read this now:  It was next up in the queue.

MOTIVATION for READING: I enjoyed Gyasi’s debut and this one is getting great reviews. Plus, you know, the T. O. B.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Gifty is a scientist, a daughter of immigrants from Ghana, reflecting on her childhood as the little sister to a brother who died of a heroine overdose, her religious upbringing and how her mother suffers from mental illness, while conducting research on addiction so she can understand her own pain.

THOUGHTS:  This was a time/place of being in Gifty’s head as she explains and sorts through her thoughts and reactions and movement through many years, many relationships. Lots of religion and philosophy, but mostly religion and God and understanding and reconciling faith with science, science versus faith. It was really quite beautiful. NOT pushy at all. I think this could be a valuable reference for any religious study.

I liked Gifty. She was so well presented and fleshed out – her wants, needs, goals, dreams. Was there even a plot?

RATING:  Four slices of pie.   Apple pie mention and a bit about a friend who offers baked goods, including pie. YAY!

Quote lifted from a review in The Dartmouth, America’s Oldest College Newspaper:

Grappling with Gifty’s experiences growing up “sticking out like a sore thumb” in her predominantly-white town and “as Ghanaian as apple pie,” the novel is both accessible and urgent. 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2021. 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.

Long Bright River

Thoughts by Liz Moore, 2020, 482 pages

Challenge: TOB Long List, Theta Friends Book Read
Genre: Thriller
Type/Source: Hardcover, purchased from an Indie
 Why I read this now:  First Book of 2020 Selection

MOTIVATION for READING: I really like Liz Moore.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Mickey is a cop, a beat cop on the streets of a poor neighborhood in Philly. She comes from impoverished family circumstances. Her sister, same genes + same environment, takes the other turn in life and is a drug addict prostitute.

Young prostitute drug-addicted women start turning up dead and Mickey’s sister goes missing. Mickey is compelled to find out what is happening but gets involved in things beyond her scope and support system. A support system that is questionable, at best.

THOUGHTS: The “something elusive” that makes me really fall hard for a story didn’t happen with this one. But as I now have a few days away to ponder my reactions, I wonder if that is the point of it. Our MC is shyly prickly and doesn’t want to need people. She has no friends and doesn’t even realize it! THAT is what is weird to me, I think? She is heads-down, do the job, do right and don’t call attention. But humans can’t operate well being so alone – we need other people. When she realizes this, she is caught up in her confusion and fear of trust and what it all means, to have any good sense on what to do. It comes across as naiveté and it just seemed so out of sorts for her career as a police officer. Again, it takes all kinds and this is a story that confronts many biases.

RATING:  Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

 

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2020 in Review

I read 102 books. 

 Total pages 14,320. Hours ~124

Female/Male:  51/49 

Fiction/Non: 78/24 

New to Me Authors: 91 /  Repeat Authors: 11 

This year, I read my 6th Shirley Jackson. I read a 5th book by Elizabeth Strout. Four authors, I read for the 3rd time:  James McBride, Wallace Stegner, Drew Rozell, and Toni Morrison. The rereads included an author that was both a first for the year and then read it with my ears for its second intake: Becoming Duchess Goldblatt. I reread The Sellout for the TOB Super Rooster and I read two poetry collections by Billy Collins. I read 4 authors for the second time:  read another by Ta-Nehisi Coates but the second was fiction. I read the next in a series to catch my second by Hilary Mantel. Michael Pollan’s Caffeine was my second of his. 

Classics: didn’t have the patience to figure this out; oldest book The Picture of Dorian Gray 1890. Only 2 books published before 1900. Books published in 2019 = 20, in 2020 = 23.

Shortest book:  Not figuring this out because I read so many poetry collections that were < 100 pages and plenty of novellas, and I couldn’t decide how to handle exceptions to not. Plus I read a lot of kids books. 

Longest book: Ducks, Newburyport at 1020 pages. Took me months. 

Longest Audiobook: Ok, here’s where I admit that I didn’t keep track this year. And more truth is that last year, I created my track sheet in December! So, it is just not going to happen where I present all the stats and show pretty pie graphs. Maybe 2021. Maybe.

The longest audiobook was likely We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry, at 14 hours and 44 minutes. And it was too long. Fun! but too long. Not typical that I didn’t have any chunkster audiobooks!  You might suggest it would be lack of a commute and thus no listening while driving time?  But I rarely listened to my audiobooks on commute to work. Not sure…  

LIke last year, I took advantage of Audible’s monthly freebies quite often.

This is last year’s pie chart just because this post needs some color. LOL

Comparing… THIS YEAR, I upped my 5 star givings to 34%! Four stars were given to 33 %, three stars to 38%, and 4% got 2 stars. No ratings of 1 star.

Which is interesting… Because I don’t feel like I had a really tremendous feel-good reading year. Maybe this actually supports that I can’t quickly think of my top reads? Too many?

Favorite poetry:  Mad With Yellow by Lisa J. Starr

I didn’t do any readalongs. I didn’t do any reading projects. (Tho, @Bybee might think different?)

WAIT! not true. My poetry was a personal reading project and it was wonderful. I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams to read a poem every day. Did it change my life? Maybe. Maybe

I did do the Super Rooster and am quite pleased with myself.

My blogging could be described as “fits of bursts”; I’m okay with what I managed to post.

I finished the What’s in a Name 2020 Challenge earlier than usual. All good.

I read 4 (2 to completion) books in 2020that were on the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die: Tender is the Night, Club Dumas, Cry the Beloved Country, Treasure Island.

My first time to read 100+ books but I feel like I cheated, to be honest. Yea, yea, I know that the book police ain’t out to get me or anything but the challenge to make it doesn’t sit right with me. I honestly have taken that last 3 weeks off. I can feel it in my brain that I’m not reading — yet I can’t seem to sit and READ. It’s such the weirdest thing.

Hoping the flip of the calendar page, will truly bring a renewed motivation and thrill with reading. But yowza, I hate to DNF. 

Finally, PIE:                               

and, drumroll please for the 2020 Pie in Literature Award, the WINNER of my best book with pie for this year is  Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman!

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, …

Honorable Mentions:  Oh, goodness. I read so many more pie-themed books this year! I read a pie cookbook (wait, I do that every year, don’t I?). I sought out pie-themed books, truth

I hail Ladybird, Collected (and NO – not just because it mimics Ducks with that comma) but because I want everyone to read it and have it get picked up for national distribution. Please visit HERE or HERE to get your copy.

I bring to your attention to We Ride Upon Sticks – some good pie mentions; make me smile just to think on. And well, sure, of COURSE:  Summer of a Thousand Pies, Enemy Pie, and Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe.

Finally, the pies I made yesterday and today! 

Harvey Wallbanger Pie for Dad’s birthday and the Spinach Ham Gouda Quiche made today for Happy New Year!!

Be kind, be readin’, give me a book rec. Let’s chat this year, yes? 

 

 

 

It’s no small thing, feeling that we matter, that we couldn’t just be any diner and it couldn’t just be any pie.        – Ladybird, Collected 

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Review 2019

Copyright © 2007-2019. 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 2021 Sign Up Post

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.

UPDATED Jan 13, 2021 – see PURPLE FONT BELOW…

In 2021, choose 6 books that have titles that contain a:
(Click on the links for more examples and info)

  • One/1  – Anna Quindlen’s One True Thing
  • Doubled word – I have two options here:   Apologize, APOLOGIZE by Elizabeth Kelly or The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire Lazebnik
  • Reference to outer space  – Walter Kirn’s Up in the Air 
  • Possessive noun – I hope to read BOTH of these: The Children’s Book by A.S.Byatt and The Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet

                                             and 

  • Botanical word – I own 2 books with “garden” in the title: The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock or Alan Drew’s Gardens of Water
  • Article of clothing – I have NO IDEA! please help. I couldn’t even figure out how to search by gr tbr to give me suggestions.

I will be reading Pauli Murray’s Proud Shoes for the Article of Clothing category…  psbypm

This is one of my favorite challenges because it gets me to go through my own shelves and I am reminded of or re-find possibilities of some great reads!

More choices possible on my list in goodreads.

pieratingsml

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First Book 2021

Pre-Review Thoughts by Liz Moore,  Riverhead Books 2020, 482 pages

Challenge:  PVD Theta Reading Circle
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Hardcover/ purchased TWICE!  
 Why I read this now:  Why I am choosing for First Book 2021? It’s been on my gotta-get-to-soon and then I gave to a friend in a gift-exchange. I think it’s finally time.

MOTIVATION for READING: I would read this anyway because I life Liz Moore. It was on the TOB Long List  but didn’t make the Short. I am looking forward to this very much.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  I really don’t know. Something about crime and sisters? I’ve read the intro/blurb a few times but just can’t access it. I do remember thinking how interesting that I also really want to get to The Vanishing Half which is also about sisters. I probably have mixed/morphed which book is about what.

Here’s to everyone having a healthy happy New Year.

How about some pie?  Elvis Pie:

 

pierating

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Poetry 2020 Edition 9

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

 

Collection # 17 Night by Etel Adnan, Nightboat Books 2016, 53 pages

. . .

My own disappearance

followed a cloud

that found me

sitting in a garden.

 

Tunnels reproduce the patterns of arteries.

There’s a worm in the heart

that’s feeding on its allowance.

+ .  .  .

 

 

Collection # 18 The Thin Wall by Martha Rhodes, University of Pittsburgh Press 2017, 56 pages

no title

My job is to extract your soul and usher it 
along to where today we find, north of north,
a strip of sand wide as wide, a branch of river,
leaf deep. Nothing surrounds or meets us here.
My pleasure—your contentment, your acceptance
of eternity, here—that I have chosen right by you.

 

 

 

*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.

pierating

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.

We Ride Upon Sticks

Thoughts by Quan Barry, Random House Audio 2020, 14 hours 44 minutes

Narrated by Isabel Keating

Challenge: Possible TOB Long List to Short (Gamble)
Genre: YA
Type/Source: Audiobook/Library
 Why I read this now:  Available at Library 

MOTIVATION for READING: Tournament of Books 2021 Hopeful

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A Girls HS Field Hockey Team who make a pact with the darkside in order to win State. This takes place and draws heavily on the Salem Witch Trials history.

THOUGHTS: This was a fun listen. Humor was delightful and I was often chortling or laughing or exclaiming, “oh my!” Good stuff.

However, it was a bit too long. I was invested but ready for it to be done.

The poetry collection I opened when almost finished with this audiobook references the Salem Witch Trials. [The Thin Wall by Martha Rhodes]

RATING:  Four slices of pie.

Pie actually had a few mentions – a mother of a team member enters a pie in the county fair, is one.

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.

Lion Cross Point

Thoughts by Masatsugu Ono, Two Lines Press 2018/2013, 121 pages

Translated from Japanese by Angus Turvill

Challenge:  none
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Tradeback, Scuppernongs Bookstore Mystery Purchase
 Why I read this now:  One of the shortest and newest books to my shelf.

MOTIVATION for READING: To honor the selections sent to me in a mystery purchase box to support independent bookstores. A covid purchase.

“… his mother’s face slipped like smoke between the fingers of his memory.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A 4th grader finds himself in his mother’s home town and dreading anyone who asks about her or his brother. We are never told what happened to propel his being in this new situation but we build in our imagination what possibly took place based on his fears and memory flashbacks. This is very much a book about memories and premonitions, spirits and hauntings, guilt and confusion. The past and present merge.

“Any memories that might rise up from the dark depths inside him would be memories of this land between the green hills and dark blue sea, this land that was now sinking into the depths of night.”

THOUGHTS: It ends very abruptly.

Likely a fabulous book to unpack in a literature class.

RATING:  Four slices of pie.

 

From Night, poetry collection by Etel Adnan, 2016:

And night and memory mediate each other. We move in them disoriented, for they often refuse to secure our vision. Avaricious, whimsical, they release things bit by bit.

 

 

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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.

Poetry 2020 Edition 8

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

 

Collection # 15 Dark Testament by Pauli Murray, LiveRight Publishing 2018 (orig 1970), 100 pages

Words

. . .

 

We are spendthrift with words,

we squander them,

toss them like pennies in the air — arrogant words,

angry words, cruel words, comradely words,

shy words tiptoeing from mouth to ear.

 

But the slowly wrought words

of love and the thunderous words

of heartbreak — these we hoard.”

 

 

 

Collection # 16 3 New York Poets: Charles North & Tony Towle & Paul Violi edited by Andrew McCarron, Station Hill 2015, 302 pages

. . .

You see,

most of us do not use our backs properly,

they float unused in the body’s sea,

retreat like flights of steps into the earth,

or mount like birds and hurtle through space

in a universe of

misuse —

 

+ .  .  .   (Tony Towle’s Autobiography)

OK, so this collection is…  interesting. And very WHITE. And white MALE. huh.  And it read like that. I really must admit, in some ways, most ways, I just didn’t get it.  Some of the poetry was cool; some fun word play, thought-provoking imagery, etc and blahblahblah? But the descriptions of the interviews attempting to connect the poet’s lives to their head games to the work to their art?  Fell flat to me. I suppose that is my disconnect with Andrew McCarron. Kudos to him and it’s not necessarily an uninteresting project but I must admit, I’m not the best audience for this.

I spent most of my time when reading the poems wishing for a cool postcard to write that snippet to send to a friend. Postcard Poetry!

This round goes to Murray. 

And me for really enjoying my poetry project!

 

 

*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.

pierating

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.