Klara and the Sun

Thoughts by Kazuo Ishiguro, Random House Audio 2021, 10 hr 16 min

Narrated by Sura Siu

Challenge: TOB Summer Camp

Genre/Theme: Science Fiction / Artificial Intelligence

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible

What It’s About: Rather than tell you what it is about, I will tell you what happens.

SPOILER WARNING?

Klara has been hanging out as merchandise at the Artificial Friend Store, observing the sidewalk crowd and hoping to be chosen by a nice little girl. Klara is of a model that needs the sun’s rays to recharge her batteries.

Josie is a young sickly child who has had some vague something done to her to make her more exceptional and her next door neighbor boy hasn’t had this thing whatever it is. Josie begs her mom for an Artificial Friend.

Josie and Mom take Klara home.

Josie gets real sick, Klara strikes a bargain with the sun (we never get the sun’s perspective) to save Klara because Josie and her neighbor-boy-friend have the truest love and wa la! Klara manages to get a burst of sunshine directly on poor Josie at just the right time and she is saved!

Josie grows up and goes away to college, neighbor-boy goes his way, Klara spends her retirement in a utility closet.

The End.

Thoughts: Blech.

If you love Ishiguro, you’ll likely love this, too. If you don’t like Ishiguro, this won’t convince you that giving him another chance was a good decision.

Rating: But there is pie so maybe two to 2.5 slices of pie.

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Hamnet

Thoughts by Maggie O’Farrell, Knopf/Borzoi Books 2020, 384 pages

Challenge: #20BooksofSummer

Genre/Theme: Historical Fiction / Shakespearean England

Type/Source: eBook/Libby-Kindle

What It’s About: This is an imagined life of the wife and kids of William Shakespeare.

Factually, you can find out that Bill Shakespeare had 3 children, one was a son who died at the age of 11. His name was Hamnet. Apparently Hamnet and Hamlet are names like Bill and Will — nicknames of the ‘same’ name.

His gums are red and sore, the peaks of new teeth poking through, his cheeks livid and hot. He fusses, he squeezes pie between his fingers, he tips over his cup, he leans on Agnes’s shoulder, he grabs at her napkin and drops it to the floor.

The story begins with us meeting Hamnet as he runs all over trying to find his mom, or his grandma, or the servants, or anyone, really, to help his twin sister Judith who has taken ill.

Then we shift back 15 years earlier to when our poet Bill met and fell hard for Agnes, the woman who became his wife, mother to his children. (yea, yea, if you look at Wiki, there’s some chatter about the name Agnes or Anne and if they were the same lady or not, whatever. The author can write her fiction as she sees best.)

Eventually, these time lines meet. Dad has been working in London but receives word that his child is ill and he races home as only one can in the 16th century. By which I mean, tragically, too late.

Then we sadly and quickly jump to ten plus years out to when Will puts on a play, Hamlet.

Thoughts: I liked it but didn’t love it. Not sure why, maybe it was too short? The writing is great. The characters drawn well. The pacing is fine. It has all the components of a fabulous read and it is quite good, so don’t let me talk you out of reading it; read it!

A breeze threads through the room, stirring the air inside it, toying with the wall drapes, the mantel-cloth, carrying with it the scent of the street, dust from the dry road, a hint of a pie baking somewhere nearby, the acrid sweetness of caramelizing apple.

It has LOTS of pie, like a good English novel set in these times would.

Rating: Four slices of pie.

Gone is the jostling, whistling, brawling, pie-chewing mass and in its place a silent, awed congregation.

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Poetry 2021 Edition 2

Poetry Goal 2021:  to read a poem* every day.

Collection #3 by Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno, Alice James Books 2009, 61 pages

from William

And when you 

open the storm door

to let him in,

he will step onto the mat,

and bow his head a little,

and cry like a man.

 p.36

This collection was a gut punch. She wrote this as a tribute and honor of her daughter, a way to deal with her grief when her daughter was murdered by her boyfriend. Devastating.



Collection #4 ♦ by Lia Purpura, Penguin Poets 2015, 86 pages

It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful

Chosen

It could’ve been

an everyday

brown-and-cream

sparrow, or grackle

with oily rainbow wings

but so near my eye,

its robe, its sash,

its fire, flare, gash —

it’s visiting me.

Hard to think

otherwise.

P.77

I really enjoyed this collection. It was postcard-worthy! short and poignant. Gave me new lens to view and think about things.

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

We Live in Water

Thoughts Stories by Jess Walter, Harper Perennial 2013, 179 pages

Challenge: None

Genre/Theme: Short Stories, Contemporary Lit

Type/Source: Tradeback / Library

“Make them want to give you the thing you’re taking.”

What It’s About: When I tell you that I go into books without knowing anything, I am not lying.

I may add a book onto my tbr on only the word of a trusted friend. I may see a quick blurb of “It’s SOOOO good!” and decide I’ll have to read that some day. Then, years later, I’ll decide I need to finally open said book and not read the blurb on the back, not do any preliminary wondering what it’s about, and just start reading.

In this book’s case, I didn’t realize this was a short story collection. Huh.

Or I did once/maybe and promptly forgot it. I saw it on Jess Walter’s oeuvre and then saw it listed as available for checkout at my library’s website. Clicked!

Oh. It’s a short story collection. Shrug. Proceed.

“On the bright side, I have figured out how to fix the American educational system. End it at sixth grade.”

“Brilliant. Then what?”

“Lock them up in empty factories, give them all the Red Bull, condoms, and nachos they want, pipe in club music, and check back when they’re twenty-five. Anyone still alive, we send to grad school.” Wade pushed his glass forward, “How’s that for a campaign platform?”

Thoughts: “Helpless Little Things” is good. “Don’t Eat Cat” is startling! My favorite is “The New Frontier”. I laughed with “The Wheelbarrow Kings”.

There’s an empathy and an awareness and the weariness of not knowing what to do to fix the world. Humor and sadness and just getting by. Do what you can and be kind.

But this is the Apocalypse? Fuck you! It’s always the Apocalypse. The world hasn’t gone to shit. The world is shit.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned, sadly. (If Walter wants to add a pie drop in his next book. . . (hint,hint))

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

Thoughts by TJ Klune, A Tom Doherty Associates Book 2020, 394 pages

Challenge: #20BooksofSummer

Genre/Theme: Middle School Fantasy / Magical Children

Type/Source: eBook / Libby app

“I’m told there will be pie for dessert. I do love pie so.”

What It’s About: Linus is a caseworker investigating orphanages for Magical Children. He is super diligent about his job and his duties, very committed. He is sent on a special mission to report on a secretive home, classified Level 4 – where only the most special (scary) magically-gifted children live. Love and just a bit of mayhem ensues. Mostly love.

“Hate is loud, but I think you’ll learn it’s because it’s only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but so long as your remember you’re not alone, you will overcome.”

Thoughts: I had a Linus character in the book I just read previously! LOVE book-coinkydinks.

I believe this book is suitable for the Middle School reader which is fine, but not quite my thing, so any “I LIKED IT” rating (cough, cough, 3 stars) is based on my own personal reaction and should be considered as such. If you adore lovely heart-warming fiction and like these kinds of books, you are SURE TO LOVE THIS ONE; I would bet on it. Just look at all the rave reviews on goodreads! But for me, I was thinking it a bit too twee. Maybe if I had actually read any of the reviews and had my expectations tempered some, I would also have fallen head over heels but I didn’t here.

It’s still quite charming and well done in drawing delightful characters, celebrating and embracing what makes us unique and is an endearing family creation story.

“We should always make time for the things we like. If we don’t, we might forget how to be happy.”

Rating: Three slices of pie. I do say, LOTS of pie quotes to choose from.

“But there is pie,” Zoe said. “Baked especially for you.”

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Stephen Florida

Thoughts by Gabe Habash, Coffee House Press 2017, 304 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Favorites

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Literature / Wrestling and/or Obsession

Type/Source: Tradeback / Indie Bookstore Purchase

What It’s About: A college wrestler in the 133 weight class is determined to win his division at the National competition. He is focused. He is unwavering. He is obsessed. He is lonely. As a friend of mine says, “He ain’t right.”

Life and the human condition are the exact same thing and it makes no difference, the design is sadness, gravitational and old, except the few times it hiccups and it’s not.

Thoughts: Wow.

I am just amazed and in such admiration of the construction of this novel. Tight, always on, never wavering. So many little WTF!s dropped in — did you see that? did that just happen? does he mean ___?!

I had attempted this and read just enough back in 2018 for that year’s Tournament of Books to know I wasn’t going to devote the necessary headspace to finish or give honest credit. So I bailed. Now it is on the list of the Tournament of Favorites so I decided to not only give it a fresh view but purchased it so that the author might know my intent was true (and forgive myself for the abandonment in 2018.)

I can’t really say I enjoyed this. A five slicer usually is one where I am joyously enthralled. That is NOT quite the case. But I did admire this as craft. And I don’t even really know what that means! I just think this is extremely impressive and can recommend to anyone who likes to read books that live in the mind of psychologically unhinged characters.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

“… telling the Minnesota kids ghost stories in exchange for their mom’s cherry pies.”

 

I didn’t learn anything I didn’t want to learn. It was a reality I wasn’t surprised by. When I met you I felt like someone was trying to make it up to me.

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Update May 2021 in Review

 Monthly Recap Time!

I finished _8_ books in May. Total for the year: 48 (19 mention pie)

Total page count (including print page count for books I listen-read) = __3216__, + Q1+ May = 12119 TOTAL pages for the year.

Finished __2__ audiobook (47.13 hours!!) 

Hardcover = 3

eBook (Kindle or Libby) = 3

Tradeback = __0___were paperback

Count from the library =  _2_, TCM and D,T — 5 purchased , 1 given to me (Thanks Ellen!)

pieratingsml

My favorite was The Cold Millions, maybe? Huh, a lot of really good 4 star reads, too. Detransition, Baby was great. Swann was one I was glad to read; Salvage the Bones, too. And The Book of Longings! I really can’t say ANY of these 8 were in any way disappointing.

I visited France and I visited the Middle East at the time of Christ. Mississippi by the coast, Dublin Ireland, Brooklyn NYC, Ontario Canada, Spokane Washington at the turn of the century, and Ohio.

I want to count No One is Talking About This as nonfiction; apparently it is an novel.

Fave quote?

“It isn’t important.” “Everything’s important.” “I can’t remember what I was going to say.” She looked down at her rhubarb pie and pledged herself not to jeopardize what was left of the evening.

from SWANN by Carol shields

It was a good month. Bring on #20BooksofSummer!

pieratingsml

Pie? Swann had pie. So did Salvage the Bones and The Cold Millions. and the Lockwood had a pie chart. It counts.

I made a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with a friend last week. Will have to make another for June 9, this pie’s official day.

pieratingsml

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

No One Is Talking About This

Thoughts by Patricia Lockwood, Riverhead Books 2021, 210 pages

Challenge: TOB Summer Camp 2021

Genre/Theme: Internet-novel / family

Type/Source: Hardcover / Riff Raff Books PVD – Indie Bookstore Day purchase

The TOB Summer Camp started today.

What It’s About: It’s been called genre-defying. It’s been forewarned as a book that must be read in totality, recognizing Part One and Part Two are unique to themselves but support each other to complete the book. Its author has been called a genius. She does have a way with words and a fascinating perspective.

This two-part book is first a collection of snippets and deep thoughts relating to our culture’s obsession with the internet. Or the world that exists in “the portal”. Some flashes of keen insight. Some off the wall observations of weird stuff. Can a dog be twins? Why did that take off? Thus, what this is.

I had heard that the second part “makes” the book. I was willing to keep going.

Thoughts: I am not sure the second part was really all that different – not in style but certainly more poignant and sad in a personal way to the author and her family. Love was in full evidence.

“Surely there must be exceptions,” her father ventured, the man who had spent his entire existence crusading against the exception.

He did not want to live in the world he had made,…

Rating: Three slices of pie. Lockwood drops in a pie chart.

…, you would see a little pie chart that told you how much of your life had been spent in the shower arguing with people you had never met.

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Three Musketeers

Thoughts by Alexander Dumas, Bantam Classics 1984 (orig 1844), 635 pages

Audiobook 23 hours 32 minutes, narrated by John Lee

Challenge: Classics Club Spin #26

Genre/Theme: “Cloak and Sword” story / Adventure

Type/Source: Paperback and Audiobook / Purchased in 2009 at Borders, Audible

What It’s About: This was a lot of fun and I enjoyed meeting the main characters; fighting for the King and against the scheming Cardinal and his guards, as well as wooing all the ladies. It had a lot of humor. It did seem long and tedious, at times, though.

Thoughts: Not nearly as good at The Count of Monte Cristo but still dashing and adventurous.

Rating: Rounding up to 4 slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

I talked friends into renting the 1973 movie starring all sorts of big stars! and it was… also not as good as the Count of Monte Cristo movie. But I’m glad to have watched it. The movie really emphasized the campiness and humor.

 

Charleton Heston! Raquel Welch!! among others…. Link to IMDB.com

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Book of Longings

Thoughts by Sue Monk Kidd, Viking 2020, 432 pages

Challenge: For two books clubs in June

Genre/Theme: Imaginative Historical Fiction

Type/Source: eBook / Kindle

What It’s About: Sue Monk Kidd allowed her imagination to spark in this possible version of a wife of Jesus. She drew upon the real setting and times, history – events – culture. And threw in a lot independence and fiery determination.

The reader first meets Ana who is the only child of a high ranking government official who indulges his daughter’s thirst for knowledge. She fights against an arranged marriage to an old schemer, …

“Few girls find happiness in the beginning, but this is a marriage of honor. You will want for nothing.” I will want for everything.

… and meets Jesus in the marketplace. Things happen, etc. and then some, eventually Ana lives a most unusual but not impossible life. Kidd had fun with this and she delivers.

Thoughts: I thought this very well done. I did have a few questions, and warning – these are somewhat spoilery:

  1. What was the reasoning for not having Ana know about Jesus rising from the dead. Obviously, to assume an answer is to suggest it was a good way to end the tale. With Jesus dying, Ana can move on with her life as a widow and be able to pursue a goal to share her voice.
  2. Did Mary NOT tell Jesus about his status – if that is the right word – about how she became pregnant and what the angels told her? She seemed not to be ‘in the know’ like I would expect. I did like Mary, as she was presented as a very kind woman.

According to Judith and Berenice, the only women who write are sinners and necromancers. I ask you, how do they know this?

(For Jeanne of Necromancy Never Pays)

Rating: Four slices of pie. Pie? No mentions that I noticed. Doesn’t fit the time period.

 

A thin, gray hopelessness crept into the air. I didn’t want them to give up. It was true I no longer believed in the God of rescue, only the God of presence, but I believed in Sophia, who whispered bravery and wisdom in my ear day and night, if I would only listen, and I tried now to do that, to listen.

 

I bless the largeness within you. I wish nurturing for your creativity and may you be brave.

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.