The Accidental #SuperRooster

Thoughts  by Ali Smith, Pantheon Books 2006, 306 pages

An English family rents a country home for the summer but it is far from the romantic and idyllic time they had expected and hoped for. The house is a let down and the village is dull not quaint nor charming. The adults try to put a positive spin on it but all are either disappointed, bored or wrapped up in their own stresses.

The mother is an author, stepdad is a lit professor, the HS-age boy is dealing and reeling and feeling too much with an event he was a part of that dealt tragic consequences and the 12 yo girl is wise, naive, bored.

Into this mix walks in an intruder — or a guest. No one really knows who she is yet assumes someone else must. Or why would she be there? She charms, seduces, shocks, or baffles all in turn. She is unexpected and so forceful, no one knows to question. She is a welcome diversion.

What good and bad she brings is a fascinating study in communications and expectations. Lives fall apart and get put back together, sort of; maybe. Wow, life is messy!

Smith is an artist with words and style. I may not have been convinced nor charmed with every chapter and experimentation, but I was impressed and will read another Smith book.

I get why some may find this work as something difficult to connect with – it offered some very weird sections that I felt confusing and odd. But I liked it overall anyway.

Rating: Four slices of pie.   No pie mentioned.

 

Happy Birthday Holly! img_0900

 

pieratingCopyright © 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.

The House of the Seven Gables

Thoughts by Nate Hawthorne, Kindle edition (orig 1851), 290 pages

Category  1. 19th Century Classic

I loved this!  The more I think about this wild tale, I fondly smile and reflect and think, “YEA!”

I had no idea. To be perfectly honest, (what a NUTTY turn of phrase is “perfectly honest…”), the first 20-25% should be considered an Introduction and read AFTER not before.

The story and the characters are quite endearing! Let’s see how much I recall from October . .  .

Old lady nearing the state of being house-rich + cash poor and …    tenuous at best. A dear sweet scary looking old lady who just needs a friend for pete’s sake!  (I know I would have LOVED her and could have made her a fast-friend) anyway…   Dear-sweet-old-lady opens a shop in her old house to sell crap and confectioneries to adorable little kids (ok, one kid – but what a lovely little rake, he is!) when “Distant Adorable Cousin” shows up to help and move in and get away from the country.

(This is obviously a condition of the times….  sweet cousin shows up and says “HI! can I stay here?” and they all say, “Sure, why not…”)

OH!  but drama.  And it was … cute!  fun! I don’t know…  not as scary as T-rumpville?!

Anyway, there’s a ghost, there’s family history, there’s house-history, there’s devious family members trying to usurp other poor family members and it was

a fun read.

But. WOW was that first quarter part a slog.

(Even if, in hindsight, it kinda sorta helped set up the fun of the rest of it…)

 

I rated this 4 stars.

“The wrongdoing of one generation lives into the successive ones and… becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief.”

This just might have been my favorite of the books I read that count for the Back to the Classics Challenge…   maybe

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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.

The Ox-Bow Incident

Thoughts by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, Kindle edition (orig 1940), 290 pages

Category  2. 20th Century Classic

A cowboy book, out on the range. Reminded me of western movies, and maybe I ‘ve seen the movie based on this book but if I did, it was a very long time ago.
I would like to see the film (again) eventually.
It’s about good versus evil and mob mentality. It’s about wanting to see what happens, fear of missing out, not sure how to stop it but sure as hell gonna try. It’s about quite a bit and it is very masculine-centric.
“Most men are more afraid of being thought cowards than of anything else, and a lot more afraid of being thought physical cowards than moral ones.”
It’s about uncertainty. It’s about power. It’s full of dread.
“you can feel awful guilty about nothing when the men you’re with don’t trust you.”
It is right and wrong, black and white and yet exposes all the ambiguity.
“…getting angry enough not to be scared when you knew you were wrong.”
I gave this four slices of pie.
No pie mentions noted.
Classics Club 50

“…she did a lot of intelligent feeling.”

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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.

The Woodlanders, A Clockwork Orange, and A Handful of Dust

Mini Reviews

Challenge:  Classic Club 50 and Back to the Classics

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This grouping of Brit classics comes to you as part of my effort to post on books that fit the challenge requirements for the 2019 Back to the Classics Challenge.

Audiobook, narrated by Samuel West, orig 1887, 14 hr 16 min

I read The Woodlanders and loved it. Gave it 5 slices of pie. And since it is British, of course it has pie. (I really need to make some meat pies to celebrate Brit pies!!!!)

So FIVE slices of Apple Pie for this lovely twisty crazy tale of infidelity and nutty triangles of DRAMA.  Published in 1887 — I swear, Hardy in now times would be a reality show writer but be sad about it.

Here’s what I wrote on gr:

I loved the language, I agree with others that Hardy delivers suspense and certainly drama, and he is a master at language. Oh, I said that already. He is becoming a favorite and I wouldn’t have guessed I would have said that since Tess about killed me. I adored Far from the Madding Crowd and that is still my favorite, but I delighted in this crazy tale of love gone wrong and twisty. (not THAT kind of ‘twisty’! get minds out of the gutter. No sordid descriptions of the dirty deeds in this tale, puhlease.) But this did have turns and unexpected conflicts and resolutions and just a ton of bad decision-making, as humans are wont to do. Such vexation!
I’m really not sure as to the ending, what really happened there. Was it a happy ending? If I hadn’t realized that the end was near, I might have been disappointed; but I knew the audiobook had only minutes to go and then = it stopped. Actually, I admire the framing that Tom did there with Marty at the beginning and at the end. Well done, Mr. Hardy! Huzzah

(the rating also reflects the comparison impact of the book I started immediately after which is Naked Lunch. These two stories couldn’t be more different…)

And for a pie quote:

Winterborne was standing before the brick oven in his shirt-sleeves, tossing in thorn sprays, and stirring about the blazing mass with a long-handled, three-pronged Beelzebub kind of fork, the heat shining out upon his streaming face and making his eyes like furnaces, the thorns crackling and sputtering; while Creedle, having ranged the pastry dishes in a row on the table till the oven should be ready, was pressing out the crust of a final apple-pie with a rolling-pin.

Back to Classics Category Fulfilled:  Classic Tragic Novel.  For an almost romance; no one has their HEA.

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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, orig 1962, 240 pages

Back to Classics Category Fulfilled:  uh…. none?

Whatever, let’s tell you what pies it had anyway.

It was like some frozen pie that she ‘d unfroze and then warmed up and it looked not so very appetitish.

“Still, I drank and ate growling, being more hungry than I thought at first, and I got fruit-pie from the larder and tore chunks off it to stuff into my greedy rot.”

This took some getting into; the language guide is a MUST!  Then, once realizing that the author created an entire new language, it became fun. While also being demoralizing, frightening, scary, and sad. I like it much more now when I don’t remember all that much.

_________________________________________________________

Audiobook, narrated by Andrew Sachs, orig 1934, 6 hrs 43 min

I like the book cover of the edition because it does suggest the comedy. This is SATIRE people and it’s brutal. The divorce machinations are unwieldy and just off the top but what happens to poor Tony… yikes.

Satisfies the Classic Comic Novel category. √

And because it was audio, I failed to do my due diligence and record the pie quotes. It’s British. It had meat pie.

Rating 3 to 4 slices of pie.

 

 

 

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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.

The Golden Notebook

Thoughts by Doris Lessing, Perennial Classics 1999 (orig 1962), 635 pages

Category  10. Classic From Africa, Asia, or Oceania (includes Australia). Any classic set in one of those contents or islands, or by an author from these countries.  Is one of my Classics Club 50, too.  AND What’s in a Name for the Precious Metal category…

I read this for a snail mail buddy read but it didn’t quite get traction. I don’t think my buddy finished it or maybe just didn’t say much about it. I don’t remember.
I read this at the end of May into June.
It is the longest book I read this year. It felt like it.
It is very odd. I don’t think I can give any kind of summary.
As Ruthiella has said and I paraphrase, “It is a slog at times; it is brilliant at times.”
It did have a lot of pie mentions.
The book cover above links to goodreads if you care to read the many varying reviews others have put there.
I gave it three slices of pie.
I really don’t remember all that much other than thinking the 1950s weren’t what we saw in TV sitcom reruns.
So how about some pie!
This is Crustless Cranberry Pie and I love this during the holidays – so festive and easy. And the grocers usually have cranberries in the produce section.
Varied from allrecipes.com:
1 cup all-purpose flour
not quite 1 cup white sugar (I usually try to use less than a recipe specifies)
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups cranberries – fresh, rinsed
1/2 cup walnuts – optional
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp almond extract (I use 1/4 tsp because this stuff is strong!)
Preheat to 350 degrees
Grease a glass or ceramic pie pan.
Combine flour, sugar, salt.
Stir in cranberries and nuts, toss to coat.
Stir in butter, eggs, and almond extract.
Spread the batter into the pan.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
Serve warm. or not. Great for breakfast the next day, too. No need to refrigerate.

 

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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.

I Completed the What’s in a Name Challenge 2019

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. No need for me to link to my sign up because I copied it to make this post.

The books I read to satisfy the categories are:

  • A precious stone/metal
    • The Alexandrite: A Time Travel Noir by Rick Lenz (Fun!)
    • The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing (Whoa and yowza)
  • A temperature
  • A month or day of the week
    • One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes (CC50) (Perfect.)
    • Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (Fun!)
    • Now in November by Josephine Johnson (Wonderful)
  • A meal
  • Contains the word “girl” or “woman”
    • The Lager Queen of Minnesota by JRyan Stradal (Fabulous!!)
    • The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn (Didn’t finish)
    • The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff (NOT impressed)
  • Contains both the words “of” AND “and”
    • Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe (Amazing)

 

finiwian

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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.

One Fine Day

Thoughts   by Mollie Panter-Downes, Virago 2003 (orig 1947), 179 pages

Challenge:  Classic Club 50

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**AND** What’s in a Name 
Challenge 2019Month/Day Category
Genre: Post WW2
Type/Source: Tradeback, purchased online
 Why I read this now:  Classics Club 50! and one more for this WiaN category.

MOTIVATION for READING:  I might have put this on my Classics Club 50 list because it happens in a single day. I have an informal personal challenge to read such stories. Blame Mrs. Dalloway.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Copied from the goodreads.com description: It’s a summer’s day in 1946. The English village of Wealding is no longer troubled by distant sirens, yet the rustling coils of barbed wire are a reminder that something, some quality of life, has evaporated. Together again after years of separation, Laura and Stephen Marshall and their daughter Victoria are forced to manage without “those anonymous caps and aprons who lived out of sight and pulled the strings.” Their rambling garden refuses to be tamed, the house seems perceptibly to crumble. But alone on a hillside, as evening falls, Laura comes to see what it would have meant if the war had been lost, and looks to the future with a new hope and optimism. First published in 1947, this subtle, finely wrought novel presents a memorable portrait of the aftermath of war, its effect upon a marriage, and the gradual but significant change in the nature of English middle-class life.

THOUGHTS: So much goes right with this book. I can’t do it justice; will only say IN MY OPINION, this is flawless in construction, in pacing, in tone, in style, in characterization, everything. An utter delight.

And it had pie.

 

Page 55: “How sadly, thought Laura, odours of Mrs. Vyner’s frozen-cod pie clung to the rep curtains which should have shut out the night on porty stuffiness and spilled candlelight.”

pieratingFive slices of pie.

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.

Nonfiction November: Say Nothing

Thoughts A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe, Doubleday 2018, 441 pages

Challenge:  Nonfiction November
**AND**  What’s in a Name Challenge 2019OF/AND Category
Genre: “The Troubles” of Ireland
Type/Source: hardcover / purchase somewhere
 Why I read this:   Read in April 2019 as companion book to Milkman

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  I read this because it paralleled my fiction reading of Milkman – an amazing work of story-telling. SO I wanted some “real” knowledge of what was happening in Belfast at the same time.

THOUGHTS: This was riveting and yet, I must say, that Milkman felt more ‘real’ then the real stuff! Milkman was my favorite read of the year. This account is a terrific companion read but I still can’t say I understand what happened in Ireland. All I can say is it is very complicated. (I listened to Milkman for a second reading, almost immediately after reading Say Nothing.)

Four slices of pie.

The Week 4 theme for November is favorite nonfiction. I’ll present a few covers of my most memorable 5 star NF reads through the blogging years:

 

 

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Now in November

Thoughts   by Josephine Johnson, Simon and Schuster 1934, 231 pages

Challenge:  Classic Club
and
Back to the Classics Challenge PLACES I HAVE LIVED (Missouri)

BTCC Berlin Booksclassicsclub1

**AND** What’s in a Name 
Challenge 2019Month/Day Category
Genre: Depression Era, Pulitzer Winners
Type/Source: Library
 Why I read this now:  I was trying to find something for this WiaN category – come to end up reading 3 books to satisfy. #whatever #shrug

MOTIVATION for READING: I saw this on my tbr and it fit the category and the library had a copy – possibly a first edition copy? (I was having a hard time finding a copy of One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes which IS in my cc50. This just happens to be a classic; NOT on my cc50…)

Page 144: “When everything was finally dead, I thought that relief from hope would come, but hope’s an obsession that never dies.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A family trying to eke a living out of the ground in the midst of the depression. Older sister is a fish out of water, the youngest sister and mother are inspirations, Dad is wearily lost and angry about it all and our narrator just aches with  feelings and thoughts that only confound.

What gr says: “Brilliant, evocative, poetic, savage, this Pulitzer Prize-winning first novel (1934) written when Josephine Winslow Johnson was only 24, depicts a white, middle-class urban family that is turned into dirt-poor farmers by the Depression and the great drought of the thirties. The novel moves through a single year and, at the same time, a decade of years, from the spring arrival of the family at their mortgaged farm to the winter 10 years later, when the ravages of drought, fire, and personal anguish have led to the deaths of two of the five. Like Ethan Frome, the relatively brief, intense story evokes the torment possible among people isolated and driven by strong feelings of love and hate that, unexpressed, lead inevitably to doom. Reviewers in the thirties praised the novel, calling its prose “profoundly moving music,” expressing incredulity “that this mature style and this mature point of view are those of a young women in her twenties,” comparing the book to “the luminous work of Willa Cather,” and, with prescience, suggesting that it “has that rare quality of timelessness which is the mark of first-rate fiction.””

THOUGHTS:  I would NEVER have compared this to Ethan Frome, but yea. I guess I could go there. (I shudder.)

Such pain. Such loss. I worry about our world now and how much we use and discard, in our disposable society. If I had to live simply and off the land, giving every extra penny to my mortgage, thinking of it as a terrifying weight that could drag me to my death with any next scratch of a pen; … Anyway, it is a sobering look at how people managed, or didn’t, in that awful time.

The descriptions of nature offer some glimmer of love and sunshine. But even the sun gets cursed in this one.

Brilliant, evocative, poetic, savage.

Four slices of pie.

Page 28: “He cut us big slices, firm and wedge-shaped like the tall pieces of a pie, and a bigger one for mother, and then we thought it was time for the presents to be given.”

Page 115: “He did it because he liked pies, he said, and was fearful that M would fall asleep and put away God knows what in the jars.”

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