In the Middle of 2020 Tournament of Books

It’s my favorite time of the year!  Tournament of Books…

Welp. I began this post the first week of March with the title “So Begins the TOB” and since that was over two weeks ago, I wish I could say only that Time Sure Flies By.  Wish I could say that I only got distracted.

But then the world turned upside down.

Sure, we can be grateful that the Tournament continues! No need to cancel any online gatherings for this joyful reading event. And it has been lovely, that the discussion has mostly focused on the books. I likely bet that the diversion has been most welcome.

So, why not? let’s talk books.

Q: Care, what are your favorites going in to this event? How are your brackets holding up?

A: Thank you for asking, but to be honest, I didn’t even fill out a bracket. I fill in a blank one as the decisions are cast.  But that is neither here nor there. My favorites from this year’s slate are:

Mary Toft; or, the Rabbit Queen by Dexter Palmer

 Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

 

So the Mary is out and so is Your House. Hopes all hinge on the fire children now. Nothing to See Here zombies back to life; or rather has a chance. We have a few more rounds to get through before we see if NtSH truly makes it to the semi-finals.

I truly do NOT think I could stomach the stress and anxiety of being a judge!  Yikes.  I have really admired the thoughtful decisions this year (I probably say this every year).

Ok, let’s talk GWO and LCA:  the latest round of heavyweights. I did not have a preference, having abandoned Lost Children Archive at the change of perspective because it was due back at the library. (And sadly, was not compelled* to try again at a later date.) I skimmed the last third of Girl, Woman, Other because I couldn’t keep anyone straight and was getting severely impatient wondering what and how it was coming together.

OK,  here’s what I want to talk about and also an example of what a coward I am:  a friend tweeted at me that they didn’t read GWO because, and I quote, “whooooooboy the author has problematic views on nonbinary people.” And I was dumbstruck. I did not know how to ask more or challenge or invite explanation. I could not and still don’t find any evidence that Everisto presented anything disrespectful or problematic, in fact, someone -only one! – praised the author for the representation.

I myself, do not have opinion/knowledge how nonbinary “should be or not” but hope to have an openness and discovery to learning more – and that’s where I don’t know what is or is NOT problematic, I mean, I can sense disrespect, of course, but I personally thought GWO was fabulous at presenting individuals living lives their own truthful way. Applause to that.

Whew. I wanted to bring it up in the TOB commentary but I’m not brave. (and am refraining from comments spurred by liquid courage.) Anyway.

Help me be a better ally and reader.

I love the TOB! NOW, let’s talk about Jade Chang, our judge from yesterday and her list of how to decide the worthy book:

  1. Is it a FAST read?
  2. Is it SURPRISING?
  3. Are the characters INTERESTING?
  4. Is it COZY (“…can just sail forward, knowing that I will reach an exciting port”)
  5. Is it about the WORLD RIGHT NOW?
  6. Did it make me FEEL SOMETHING LASTING?

Friends, this post must come to an end. Thanks for spending a few minutes with my words, questions and thoughts. Be safe out there, be kind; let’s get through this with calm resolve.

HAPPY WORLD POETRY DAY!!!!

 

 

 

*   Having read all the debate discussion from Summer TOB, I felt I got enough of the second half to need not read it myself. #shrug

Poetry 2020 Edition 3

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

 

Collection #5 by Ted Kooser, Copper Canyon Press 2004, 87 pages

Mother

. . .

You asked me if I would be sad when it happened

and I am sad. But the iris I moved from your house
now hold in the dusty dry fists of their roots
green knives and forks as if waiting for dinner,
as if spring were a feast. I thank you for that.

+ .  .  .

Memory is another poem that I wanted to share but it is longer than appropriate for a post, and yes! it features pie but I couldn’t get that portion to be meaningful without also sharing every stanza.

Basic and powerful, simple images yet evocative of place and time. With “three kinds of pie”!

I hinted for this to be a lovely gift to me to those who might be so inclined to need a suggestion.

Rating: FIVE SLICER


Collection #6 by Susana Gardner, Black Radish Books 2011, 115 pages

untitled?

perhaps there is only gray  in what we

must name experience — in what we

site as meaning or wayward curiology —

yet before this time I only saw  black

as black or   white   as white   though

gray might certainly and often overtake

me — much more often was caught on

the edge of what is so easily nicked —

.  .  .

mere lapsed

feathery happenstance

 

 

 

*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.

Nothing To See Here

Thoughts by Kevin Wilson, Harper Luxe 2019, 329 pages

Challenge:  Tournament of Books [Bracket]
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source:  Tradeback LP / Library
 Why I read this now:  Came in off hold and had the next due date

MOTIVATION for READING: It’s that time of  year…

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  OK, now this is the fun one!  A non-motivated 28-yo is invited to a friend’s house and given an odd opportunity – take care of the friend’s stepkids, keep them out of sight from the press, and ensure they don’t set anything on fire. Because these two kids are fire children. They can burst into flame when anxious or upset.

THOUGHTS: I enjoyed this odd tale and its odd apathetic narrator who doesn’t know anything about children. It had a few laugh out loud moments and was heart-warming in the end.

RATING:  I might have rated it four slices of pie.,but it is rounded up from 3 1/2.

 

 

 

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.

Poetry 2020 Edition 2

Edition 1 was only a few days ago. When I said the next collections were slim, I didn’t lie.

Poetry Goal 202o:  to read a poem* every day.

 

Collection #3 by Tracy K. Smith, Graywolf Press 2007, 89 pages

Smith was 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States.

Very impressive poems and quite varied. Between referencing an old John Ford movie (The Searchers) to an imagined party crashing by Frank Zappa, Smith takes us on a stimulating journey. Across politics and myths, kidnapping and murder, love and desire.

This is a poem about the itch
That stirs a nation at night

This is a poem about all we’ll do
Not to scratch —

+ .  .  .

I was impressed but I didn’t quite feel it in my heart. All very heady.

 

Collection #4 by David O’Connell, The Providence Athenaeum 2013

Now this was really good! I connected, this had life and grit. This also had mythology  selections (history) plus the terrors of now; some with a touch of wry humor.

Etymology

The bomb will wait forever for its purpose.
Outside my room, she screeches, It’s the bomb!

which means, it’s cool
that men urge calm while earning ribbons
riding bronco bomb.

+ .  .  .

 

 

*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.

“I Should Be Reading” – January 2020 Update

I am suffering from “too-many-books-started” paralysis right now so let’s update my January stats, shall we? I combined the results of the poll from previous post. Thanks for playing.

The first book I started to read on January 1, 2020 was Villette. I’m not yet done; put aside for TOB. Gulp. Go ahead and place bets whether or not I ever finish!?

The first book I completed in the new year was Mercy by Toni Morrison – this was part of my Super Rooster catch up. You can read my post here or by clicking on the book cover image. I gave it 4 slices of pie.

I then finished Treasure Island on audio. Again, an so on, click the cover Four slices.

Followed by The Day the World Ends poems (3 slices) and Heartland (3 1/2 slices). Click the book covers to see my posts.

Now for the non-reviewed and my favorites.  Jumping from poetry and nonfiction, I enjoyed Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous on eBook. Four slices. It was beautifully evocative. Such imagery! And enjoyed less Normal People by Sally Rooney. Three slices. The characters annoyed me and I just didn’t grasp what everyone seemed to love about this one. I can appreciate the writing but I couldn’t invest in the story. (Book covers do not link…)

I was captivated by the audiobook The Water Dancer  by Ta-Nahisi Coates – four slices and was even more enthusiastic for ebook Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha. This was my favorite fiction read and earned 5 slices of pie.

My last read of January was the poetry collection Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower because it was whimsical and science-y. The title comes from a celebration of a deep ocean worm called by its Latin name Osedax mucofloris and if you have even less than middling knowledge of Latin you might see the translation, yes?

Nine books – 1 nonfiction, 2 poetry, 6 fiction

3 Audiobooks, 3 Tradebacks, 2 eBooks, 1 Hardcover

27 hours 3 minutes

1393 pages

Only two with PIE:   

I made black bean and sweet potato empanadas:

 

 

 

 

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.

Poetry 2020 Edition 1

Hello my dear friends of books and pies, I am here to talk about poetry.

My goal for 202o is to read a poem every day. I’m not tracking, I’m just reading. I’m not limiting this experience to one poem a day – that is the minimum.

And I’m loving it!

I started the year with Joel Coen’s The Day the World End: Poems.

I liked a few of these but overall, not so much.

Next up was this lovely collection:

THIS!  was wonderful and fabulous and very very enjoyable!!!!

Ok. So, I’m thinking this post is boring and I’m not wrong. But I don’t know how to talk about poetry. (Not that I really know how to discuss fiction, either). But this collection is fun and smart.

and referenced pie, so of course I would love it. No, even without pie, very good.

NOW is my story of how I came to find the 3rd and 4th poetry collections I will feature in Edition 2 of Poetry 2020.

I went to the library now that I have figured out that slim — I mean, THIN and very slim, as in low page counts — are the way to go to get me to read poetry.

I went to the library and went right up to the first non-busy librarian I could find. (by “not busy”, I meant “not talking to another human”) and asked for directions to where I could find shelves with poetry. I was directed to go to the Reference Desk and ask for D_.   Which I immediately did.

Or, rather, I went to the Reference Desk. No one was there. I wandered until I found other suspiciously-librarian-looking humans and asked if I could find D_. One of these luminary beings was D_!

I followed her to a section where another human was already pulling Mary Oliver books off the shelf. This person was asking about poetry and blah blah blah; we chatted, we laughed, we shared, all good… I grabbed the thinnest fewest-page collections I could find and ran.

(Not really.) I went to check out with my TOB holds and am delighted to share that when I got home and looked up the poets I brought home with me, one had been a Poet Laureate!

I will accept help on how to post about poetry…

<– pie for Super Bowl LIV

 

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.

Heartland

Thoughts hbyss by Sarah Smarsh, 2018, 290 pages

Challenge:  N/A
Genre:  Economics Nonfiction
Type/Source: Hardback / Purchased somewhere books are sold
 Why I read this now:  Finally, it’s time was now.

MOTIVATION for READING: My mom told me that she needed to read this for her book club but the wait list at the library was long. So I bought it for her Mother’s Day present. She read and sent to her sister, who sent it to me. I’ve had it a few months.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  This is Sarah Smarsh’s memoir about working hard and being broke growing up in Kansas. I wanted to read it because Smarsh is from the area of Kansas that I am also from. Or a few miles, anyway. I can’t say I know any of the same people.

THOUGHTS:  Wow, I have fallen out of the review-vibe, once again. I don’t know what to say. I cannot bring myself to be critical but I also can’t find it right to say that this was a great read. It was a fine read. What the hell is the word fine mean but that I can’t or won’t say more?  I did find the talking to her unborn-child a bit odd, but I also didn’t necessarily hate it. I might even have related to it – I think she explained this part well. Her writing skills are evident. It was very readable – I was never tempted to DNF.

Of course, DNF-ing is not always a case of the book not being ‘good’ but that sometimes the right book isn’t being read at the ‘right’ time. FOR ME. 

I knew the landmarks, the physical localities of her life. I recognized her midwestern viewpoints, often. I don’t think I would call her a whiner, like some have accused her of.  She wasn’t really a complainer, as such and she really didn’t lay vicious blame at the feet of “corporations/government/capitalism” and yet she did. She didn’t offer solutions nor suggest that there are certain portions of the US economy that is just not catching the breaks. That you HAVE to catch the breaks, is the point, perhaps. She explained that it took real effort and a fish-out-of-water feeling to break out of the cycle she saw in her family circumstances. I admire her. I wonder. I really just don’t know what to think of this.

What this book really did was heighten my interest in reading Hillbilly Elegy. I have heard this book of Smarsh’s is BETTER than HE. Yet, HE got the kudos, the attention, the movie deal. So I want to find out if it is the same or better. Or worse.

Ah, it shouldn’t be a competition. Was that the point? I don’t know what the point is. She worked hard, wanted DIFFERENT for herself and thus on a typical
success rating, she succeeded.

The pros and cons supporting and dissing this book are fascinating. I, again, have not the capacity to figure it out nor explain it here, that’s for sure.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

Her grandmother made a lot of pie and I can respect that.

Gma Teresa was always in charge of the pies since she bested the other women with her meticulous baking skills.

“Canned pie filling in a bowl”

 

 

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.

Treasure Island

Thoughts by Robt Louis Stevenson, Audible Studios 2017 (orig 1882), 6 hours 23 minutes

Narrated by the Philip Glenister, Daniel Mays, Catherine Tate, Owen Teale.

Challenge:  Back to Classics Challenge (Place, 19th C, Nature or Genre?), Classics Club
Genre: Adventure
Type/Source: Audio / Audible

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A coming of age tale on the high seas, battling pirates for buried treasure. 

WHAT’s GOOD: Very fast paced, lots of dastardly deeds and swashbuckling. I enjoyed “young Jim”‘s mother who was full of love AND snark. Her only son craves a more adventurous life than running a seaside inn where the clientele is lowlifes and drunks but yay, that’s how they meet The Pirate. Well, the first pirate of many. So First Pirate dies and leaves a map that is discovered by Jim. Second Pirate attempts to steal map and threatens the life of the poor innkeepers but is thwarted. When Jim entrusts ‘gentlemen’ to secure a ship to voyage to the island where said treasure is suspected, we find out that the cook is our Third Pirate who declares mutiny. Jim is often dismissed as too young but then always exceeds expectations in every situation.

 What’s NOT so good:  Oh, it is perfectly fine if you like pirates and swashbuckling. The audio had long pauses between chapters which were a beat too long.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I missed this in school but I can understand why this is often taught to middle school kids. I am curious why the fast food seafood chain decided to name it Long John Silvers. Took a risk there, donchathink? But maybe not. Well, come to think of it, I don’t even know if they are still in biz. They had a long run, though.

RATING:  Four slices

No pie mentions noted.

 

pierating

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

A Mercy

Thoughts by Toni Morrison, Random House Audio 2008, 6 hours 26 minutes

Narrated by the author.

Challenge: For the Tournament of Winners  : Tournament of Books
Genre: African-American Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible 

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A stream of consciousness by many women and few peripheral characters and the lives they lead. The ‘main’ characters are all connected to Jacob, a Dutch self-made man in the style of the American continent in the 1700s. It explores all variations of “institutions” – slavery, indentured servitude, marriage, religion.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s powerful, evocative, tragic. Eye-opening to a period of history. Morrison does make it very real, truly makes it come alive.

 What’s NOT so good:  I had first thought that Morrison was an excellent narrator but as I continued to come back to ‘the listen’, I decided she does have a staccato style that might be irritating. I really didn’t notice it through most of the narrative. However, in story — I got lost a lot. Characters would switch and it was very unsteadying, distracting. The characters blurred together. By the time my mind switched accordingly as to who was talking, I was switched to another. And I would get stuck on who the person was talking TO; mother to child, girl to twin, young woman to lover.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I am very glad to have had this book be presented to me. I wish I had co-listened and read and fortunately, the library had an ebook I could borrow and it helped a lot. I could almost count this as two reads because I practically started at the beginning and scanned to the last part. Read that and then listened. Ended with Morrison’s interview which was very helpful to my appreciation. Recommended.

RATING:  Four slices

No pie mentions noted. Unless you consider this, ~10%:

D’Ortega’s wife was a chatterin magpie, asking pointless questions —

 

pierating

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

Round Two of Classics Club 50 Challenge

I have decided to create my second #CC50 list on goodreads.

Book List 2

My idea for this list is to keep adding to it any book that fits the criteria and if by the date when 5 years is up (in Dec 2024, I’ll have read at least 50 of them.

Sound good?   

Starting with Villette by Brontë, my first book of the year. However, it’s looking like I will finish Treasure Island before that.

 

Help! My enthusiasm for Villette is waning! it’s so long. ugh. I better come across a pie reference soon…

pierating

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