May 2019 Mini-Reviews

Thoughts

May was . . .  a month of some reading. It was SOMEthing. Heck, I barely remember May. I do remember that the days kept getting longer. I love that about May.

I read a few books in May:

Except that I abandoned Maid. Just couldn’t get into it. I meant to but when three weeks go by and it never moves, I figured it wasn’t meant to be.

In the meantime, I started the 639 page The Golden Notebook and fell right into that rabbit hole.  I’m still there. But it’s going! (And if you saw the latest gr update, you’ll know how it is going.)

Let’s mini-review:

Underground Airlines. I liked it. Gave it four slices of pie. Pie was mentioned! bonus.

“Every town had its steeple and its water tower, and the shoulder was dotted with wooden signs advertising pies and antiques.”

The quote above reminds me of Pickers. We’ve been watching Pickers. A lot. Or hub is – I’ve been trying to read.

Liked it. Would be a great book club book. Be sure to look up the controversy.

Milkman by Anna Burns. The audiobook. Yes, yes – I decided I must listen as a re-read this glorious story, this wonderful wonderful story that is complex, heartbreaking, funny, and amazing. I enjoyed the heck out of it listening. More so than reading so if you want to just roll and ride with this young lady trying to live her life as best as she can while enduring the times she must live in, try the audiobook. Five slices of pie and I’m pretty sure I picked up on more pie references on the second time through it. Narration by Bríd Brenann.

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Atomic Marriage by Curtis Sittenfeld

A quick 2+ hour audiobook that I got free and decided to try because I am curious about the author. I will read more by her. I will also enjoy most anything narrated by Diane Lane. I actually gave this 5 slices.

I notice that I tend to give 5 slices to really long books and really short books.

 

Chocolate Pudding Pie

 

 

 

June 9 is Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day – just sayin’ 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. 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.
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Happy #CoconutCreamPieDay

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. 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.

Classics Spin April 2019

I’m late to the party but WOW!  . . .  do I make a grand entrance to the party! (Slide in, look around? no one has noticed I’m late. Walk in casually, present a bottle of wine to the host…)

Here’s my list from August 2018’s spin:

The Three Musketeers – Alex Dumas
Jude the Obscure – Hardy
the Woodlanders – Hardy
Rabbit, Run – Updike
Naked Lunch – Wm Burroughs
Love in a Cold Climate – Nancy Mitford
The House of the Seven Gables – Hawthorne
Vanity Fair – Thackeray
Dead Souls – Nikolay Gogol
Candide – Voltaire
The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon
Confederacy of Dunces – JKToole
Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup
The Way We Live Now – Trollope
the Counterfeiters – A. Gide
A Handful of Dust – Waugh
The Ox-bow Incident – Walter Van Tilberg Clark
Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City
One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes

And then I went HERE (random.org); entered the above and then hit GO to get:

SO, it looks like I will be reading The Golden Notebook because according to the Monday, April 22 post at the Classics Club blog, the number hit is 19.

Pretty cool that I own a copy of this book. AND have discussed a readalong with my penpal Jill. Not sure how exactly we will conduct a readalong via snail mail but I think it can be done. Just a case of reading some, writing it, putting in the mail. Repeat.  Anyone who want to join in?

AND….. one more thing. Here’s a pic of a pie. Lemon Meringue.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. 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.

Bowlaway

Thoughts by Elizabeth McCracken, ecco (Imprint of HarperCollins) 2019, 373 pages

Challenge:  none
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library
 Why I read this now:  This was mentioned as a terrific read by the TOB commentariat so I looked to see if it was available from the library. It was, so I’m reading it. Plus, the author is a fun Twitter follow. 

MOTIVATION for READING:  See why I read this now above.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A candle pin bowling alley. An unusual woman who built and ran the bowling alley and the subsequent family members who trailed after her.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s quirky in all the right and wonderful ways. I really enjoyed it.

What’s NOT so good: I have no complaints.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Has a memorable first sentence/contender for best opening ever.

RATING:  Five slices of pie. LOTS of pie and most pie references are to pie shapes or pie-cut or piebald or . . .

Page 227 – “Sometimes this ghost left the Gearheart to haunt a particular compartment at the Automat, and soured whatever sandwich or soup or slice of pie had been put there.”

Page 240 – “Eskimo Pie.”

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from BkClubCare aka Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

March 2019 Mini-Reviews

Thoughts

March was a delight! Celebrating the Tournament of Books is the best thing about March. If you haven’t heard, My Sister the Serial Killer WON! Very happy that this would prevail (after suffering the disappointment of Milkman being knocked out. Y’all can read most of this already in prior posts.)

I read a few books in March:

I DNF’d The Italian Teacher and wasn’t as impressed with the second half of Washington Black as I was with the first half. I can’t say The Lost Girls of Paris did anything for me and I loved listening to Michelle Obama tell me about her life from the beginning to now in her memoir, Becoming.

There, There was also somewhat of a disappointment but that might be all on me. I had built it up too much, knew too much about it, etc. AND, I read half of it fast and furious while trapped on a plane. Then put it down for a few days before rushing to finish before its last entry round in the TOB. I had lost all recognition of the various story lines and it couldn’t hold together in my head. And the ending – knew it was coming, of course, but the ending!  was abrupt. Felt almost like a cliff hanger but no cliff. More like a brick wall?

April is going better. I’ve already finished these two books:

Both 4 stars and plenty of pie.

And with that short update, here’s a few pie pics from this month:

From Pi/e Night on 3/14:

and from vacation to Baltimore MD:

 

 

 

April 22 is Blueberry Pie Day – just sayin’ 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. 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.

Second Week of #TOB2019 Recap

Thoughts

Link:   The Morning News Tournament of Books

I am bummed that Milkman is out. Bummer. And I was disappointed in the judge’s decision – seemed dismissive. Oh well. I am fine with a reasoned and balanced comparison but a ‘Hey – I didn’t like it’ for reasons that expressed a lack of trying or any appreciation didn’t sit well with me.  A more gentle way to say the other book just had more appeal to personal taste is a fine argument, but I don’t think Milkman got that treatment.

 

I am thrilled that is ZOMBIE-ING! Not that excited The Overstory is as well.

And I just downloaded There There. I best read it; seems important. For some unknown unexplored reason, I have been avoiding it. (and yes, I do realize the week isn’t over – we’ll hear more about There There tomorrow…)

I am super excited to read The House of Broken Angels!  And I go back and forth on attempting The Dictionary of Animal Languages. I really wasted February not reading these! UGH. Oh well.

OK, that’s my quick recap. And, as in every year. I’m very much enjoying the commentary.

It’s my favorite time of year!

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from BkClubCare aka Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

First Week of #TOB2019 Recap

Thoughts

Link:   The Morning News Tournament of Books

I am excited and relieved to see Milkman advance. And I’m thrilled to have the Tournament vibrant and alive in my life. The Commentariat of the TOB is the BEST. I so enjoy reading all the thoughts, comments, opinions, witticisms, and references to other books I Must. Read. Now. (or next, or rather someday!)

I relish finding the words that capture what I like or don’t like about a book — because I don’t have those words myself. And I appreciate when someone clarifies their opinions that I might disagree with what I felt in a reading experience, good and bad.

Did I do The Italian Teacher a disservice when I DNF’d it? No, yes. Can I appreciate when someone said it was a great page-turning read that was highly enjoyable when I couldn’t suffer through the treatment Bear was giving his wife?  Do I think I need to try again reading The Italian Teacher? I doubt I will. Just too many books in the world (and toppling my tower of 2400 books.) And now, after reading all the C&O (comments and opinions), I don’t have to make myself read it – I feel like I already know the plot and characters intimately well enough.

I did struggle to read Milkman; and I hesitate to call it a difficult read but it is not a “sitting down to enjoy” kind of story. It is an experience, an immersion. It was funny, it was scary, it was amazing. Why was it a struggle? It made me think and feel and I had to stop to process the thoughts (which tended to lead to other thoughts and away my mind would chase off in a direction – a matter of distraction vs focus) and to process the feelings. I just changed my rating to a 5 star and someday, I truly want to listen to the audiobook. I am Team-Middle-Sister for the rooster win.

OK, the above was yesterday’s round. The day before was Warlight vs Call Me Zebra and I didn’t have a dog in that hunt.  Still, I very much enjoyed the discussion of the pros and cons of each. I didn’t rush out to change my Want To Read number to a single digit for either. Warlight moves on.

The Play-in Round kicked off the Tourney on Wednesday and I had only read Speak No Evil. It didn’t survive but I am now terribly interested in listening to the audio of A Terrible Country and the winner, America Is Not the Heart, looks like something I will really like if I ever do get my hands on it. Toying with rushing to it before that next appearance hits the calendar but I didn’t read There, There neither and I know I won’t get to both.

HELP:  Do I attempt There, There on audio maybe?  I’m still 2+ hours to finish Washington Black….  I just attempted to library loan the eBook The Mars Room and I’m 29th in line! 

OK, that’s my quick recap. Of the books contesting next week and beyond, there are only two rounds where I’ve read both books. When Census meets The Golden State, I will cheering for the latter. When the higher seed The Overstory is challenged by My Sister, the Serial Killer, you better believe that I will be enthusiastically waving pompons and losing my voice with shouts for MStSK.  Oh yea.  This was my second favorite in the Tournament. THAT day’s commentary is gonna be WILD.

 

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from BkClubCare aka Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

February 2019: What I Done Did This Month (#LetterMo)

Thoughts . .  .

I read _3_ books this February.

Milkman took me forever to read but I loved it. It will (I wanted to write ’twill’ but it looked wrong, ‘Twill‘) possibly be one of those interesting stories and TELLING of a story that stays with me and grows in the As. (The As are admiration and appreciation.) It was so uniquely crafted!  And involving and absorbing and brain-invasive. You can see that I also loved My Sister, the Serial Killer for 5 slices of pie. So Lucky was intense and had much to admire but elements didn’t tickle the (my) exacting finicky appreciation to the spot of oo-ah-ah. Yet it is still good! I do think it has much in style and topic and pace to admire.

I’m still* listening to Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. I have some issues.

I’m still in the beginning of The Italian Teacher. At this point, I have basically abandoned it. I have basically gotten so annoyed with the idea of trying to read on that I’m blastin and cursing the concept of ebooks. I don’t exactly know why I am so aggrieved nor why I just can’t shrug and say, “meh. I’m done.” I just have decided to not read a damn thing since or instead.

Ok, start of rant. It reminds me a The Paris Wife and I could not abide that book. NO. Something about poor putupon wives with little kids and over the top big personality husbands that just …   annoys the super crap out of me.

And this makes me sad. SAD! because this is a TOB book and it has effectively KILLED my TOB momentum and enthusiasm. AND typing that, realizing that makes me sad and mad. WHY did this book derail my M and E? WHY? And now I am annoyed with myself for being derailed and annoyed and unhappy about it all. UGH.

I was SOOOO excited for this Tom Rachman! I loved The Imperfectionists!

I blame it on what else happened in February:  mild flu, husband catching cold, said cold being caught by me, cold running various versions of its mutations throughout my body over weeks. I am now starting to feel better.  Hub is still doing some cringe-worthy coughing bouts.

Which is the perfect segue to #LetterMO!  Write? right?!

I wrote 100+ letters during the month of February.  I received 46 pieces of fun mail during the month. Twenty-two people mailed me letters or postcards and of course, I wrote them back (if I hadn’t written them first… TAG YOU’RE IT!)  Be warned, my corresponding drops off sharply in Spring. If you want to write me, don’t expect a quick return letter, but do know that I *will* eventually write back. I did try to write all of my book-blogger-penpals once this month. If you wanted a letter and didn’t get one, I’m sure it was lost in the mail. (HA! No, do not let me blame the usps. If you want a letter, please let me know. I apologize and will write you straight away. Or by summer. same thing.)

This was a good #LetterMo. It grounds me in some way I have yet to explore fully.

Time for the TOB part of the post.

I updated my brackets:  Just click on the pic below to access a printable link.

The extended highlights are new from the last post of this pic. I will be following this TOB with regret that I didn’t read more but I’ll end up being wildly enthusiastic about the tourney while I kick myself for not having my own knowledge of what is being discussed. At this point, I’m rooting for Milkman to take the rooster.

Finally, PIE:

Chocolate Cherry Pie. [Cherry Pie Day is Feb 20.]

Are YOU excited for TOB this year? Do you like Cherry Pie? Did you know that March 2nd is Banana Cream Pie Day?!?!

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. 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.

January 2019 Mini-Reviews

Thoughts

I’ve read 4 books so far this January.

All of these are for the Tournament of Books. I can’t seem to find a link to that site online. (I wonder what is up with that?)

I did find the brackets:  Just click on the pic below to access a printable link.

The Golden State  by Lydia Kiesling. This is told in a most interestingly delivered present tense style that somehow didn’t bore nor frustrate me but it certainly scares me to how challenging it is raise a toddler. I admit I did love this for the Alice character – even as I was appalled that our narrator referred to her as a crone! What a harsh word. Tons of themes to explore for book clubs.  Mentions pizza pie and probably Honey-Pie.

The Overstory  by Richard Powers. I knew straightaway that this author was going to be impressive but unfortunately, it was too long and by the end of it? Not sure I care to ever read another book by him. THAT SAID, ahem, I did love the story, the words, the themes, the characters explored in this!  with extra whipped cream. (However, no pie referenced so thus a half a slice demerit…)

The Parking Lot Attendant  by Nafkote Tamirat. A coming of age story, an immigrant story, a utopia exploration story? Set in Massachusetts and an unknown island; about Ethiopian-Americans. Leftover apple pie! Highly impressive and confident writing style. 

The Parking Lot Attendant might be my favorite. Census (my review post) by Jesse Ball was my least favorite for this month. It was just unsettling odd and I couldn’t enjoy it. I gave it three slices of pie despite some fun pie mentions. Maybe audio was not the best medium. I’m glad I read it so now I don’t have to read anything else by this author.

I read Speak No Evil by Uzodinmo Iweala — actually, I listened to it, in December.
Heartbreaking story; or a duo story since this follows two high school friends, a switch in the narrative. I don’t even want to share more because I feel I would give too much away.  Mentions pizza pie.

 

I’m still working on Milkman by Anna Burns. Thing is DENSE. Just sayin’.

The titles I hope to get to next are So Lucky, Washington Black, My Sister the Serial Killer, The Italian Teacher, Mars Room and maybe There There… I don’t have any in hand yet; waiting on the library.

Are YOU excited for TOB this year?

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. 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.

Census

Thoughts  by Jesse Ball, HarperAudio 2018, 4 hours 52 minutes

Challenge:  Tournament of Books 
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now:  Looking at my list, this was a short one. 

MOTIVATION for READING:  Winner of the 2018 Summer TOB

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A physician discovers he is suffering from a terminal heart condition and so he takes a job as a census taker; he muses philosophically on this father-son adventure. The author’s note in the preface states this is in homage to his brother who had Downs Syndrome.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s well-told and interestingly odd. Or oddly interesting?

What’s NOT so good: I didn’t get it. I am going to need to do my review-research to find out why exactly this is such an awesome tale. I was not overwhelmed with admiration and joy but it had its amusing and thoughtful, insightful and dare I say? quirky moments. Definitely ODD.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Not the book’s fault but I am only giving this

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

The book DOES mention pie!  and I highlighted a few texts that I am hoping will come over from Audible?  Hope so.

Chapter 7 – “Win my tart of a sister…”

Chapter 10 – “Perhaps some pie.”

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from BkClubCare aka Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.