The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey

Thoughts tlsoqhbyrja The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce, Random House Audio 2014 (Bond Street Books 2014), 10 hours 36 minutes, Narration by Celia Imrie

Publisher’s blurb:  In this poignant parallel story to Harold’s saga, acclaimed author Rachel Joyce brings Queenie Hennessy’s voice into sharp focus. Setting pen to paper, Queenie makes a journey of her own, a journey that is even bigger than Harold’s. One word after another, she promises to confess long-buried truths–about her modest childhood, her studies at Oxford, the heartbreak that brought her to Kingsbridge and to loving Harold, her friendship with his son, the solace she has found in a garden by the sea.  

What’s it ABOUT:  Read the bit above.

Why did I read this:  BECAUSE I LOVED HAROLD FRY. Can’t help it. I did.

What’s the big deal:  You all know that book that sends some one over the-top enthusiastic for a lovely lovely charming deep made-me-cry book and OH SO CHARMING!  (I think I just like charming)  YOU BECOME WARY. Anyway, and then you read that same book and it’s GOOD, it’s maybe better than OK; but it didn’t light the pilot light of your gas stove, yaknowwhatImean, and you wonder what was wrong. Was it mood?  Was it a different odd energy connection?

I’m just going to say it but I think Rachel Joyce is now my new favorite author. Certainly one of my top 3 fiction writers and I now I can’t decide if I should rush out to buy/read her Perfect novel or wait. Do I wait?  Will the third-book-jinx strike?!  I seem to have a thing about the third book being disappointing.

And I do think it is because I’m so wrapped up expecting fireworks of amazement that I miss the comfortable hmmm-this-is-GOOD in a GOOD solid way?

I know that Harold Fry was a head-scratcher for some of my friends (and regular people on goodreads, yikes) and I know that Ti and I usually do NOT agree on books and we are both adoring fans of Harold. So… I don’t even know what that means.

OK. Here’s what it means.

I doesn’t matter. Sometimes a books is AMAZING and sometimes it is not but I love ALL of it. I even love my 2 star reads (because they make me feel smart?)

We don’t have to agree and we don’t have to apologize or feel bad for any reading experience, ever.

I do love my 2-star reads. [GOODREADS SAYS TWO STARs MEANs “It’s OK.”] I have only read one or two seriously disappointing books (one star or less) IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Those incredibly bad but with arrogant authors that can’t be separated from any of their so-called prose; that made me all stabby and want to ban said author from any publishing world.

And I think that is a darn fine track record.

The books I read are not to impress you. They are to impress me. and IMPRESS doesn’t mean here TO THINK WELL OF, but to make some kind of IMPRESSION ON. Three star books are extremely valuable to me; they temper, they allow me to be super dooper impressed when the chemistry and stars align for the OMG-awesome books.

If Harold Fry didn’t wow your socks off, then I doubt you need to read Queenie’s journey. But if you love the deep and sad and the happy and touching and want to see if this delivers? Read Miss Queenie’s version (but read Harold first, due to spoilers) and I dare you not to cry. Then call me when you are done and we can cry together. Joy is not a feeling to be trifled with.

I love books that touch me like this one did. And I wasn’t sure it was going to until the end. (much like Harold’s book, actually). And yet. I know that there are more books for me to experience which just might top!  Isn’t that tremendously exciting? I’m totally showing off my book-geekness, I know…

AND. Oh do I dare say this? I did find flaws with this book. I did have some issues but they just paled compared the goodness I saw and felt.

Quotes:

“I realized that I had looked for these landmarks instead of saying goodbye. But sometimes, you don’t say the word because you think the thing is ongoing; when actually, it is already over.”

“They were a delicious bunch. But always forgetting the sensible things like food and daylight and only remembering the more intoxicating things like love and gin.”

“The sorrow is not gone, it just no longer hurts as much.”

The narration is wonderful.

Rating: Five slices of British Meat Pie.

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Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Weekend Cooking – Black Bean and Sweet Potato Empanadas

See Beth Fish Reads Blog for more Weekend Cooking posts:  wkendcooking

1270  Just a few of the empanadas I made this week.

The day was Wednesday. It was raining; had been gloomy cloudy rainy all week. I decided to make empanadas which is a great activity to do while listening to an audiobook. I was enjoying The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy which I can thoroughly and heartily recommend if you also enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Queenie’s book is a companion read to Harold’s. Do read Harold’s first because Queenie might spoil what happens on the journey if you read out of order.

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The recipe for my empanadas is from a magazine published (Feb 2014) for the southcoast of Massachusetts. I have not been able to find an online link so I will retype, link to the SOCO Magazine and give credit per this sentence. Will that do?

Ingredients
5 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes – I purchased mine from the local Farmer’s Market
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups chopped white onion
1/2 cup chopped scallions (~4, also from the Farmer’s Market)
1-2 Tbsp green chili (I used my last can to make salsa, so I used that instead)
6 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 tsp cumin
3-4 tsp coriander
4 1/2 cups black beans (I used 2 cans of Bush’s brand)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp lime juice
3 premade single pie crusts (not enough! I used 5 of those boxes that have 2 rollups, enough for a double crust pie. ALDI has them for $1.69/box (and YES, I do use premade pie pastry sometime.)

Directions

1 |  Place the peeled sweet potatoes in a large pot filled with salted water, cover, and boil until tender. Once done, drain and set aside.

2 |  While the potatoes are cooking, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Add the onions, scallions, green chili, and garlic; saute until the onions are translucent Next add the cumin and coriander and stir just for a couple of minute; don’t allow the ingredients to stick to the pan.

3 |  In a large mixing bowl combine the black beans, cilantro, lime ice, and salt to taste. Add the sweet potatoes, and mash the contents to the desired texture. Add the onion, garlic, and chili mixture. Mix well and set aside.

4 |  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Open the prepared dough and spread each piece over a clean countertop. turn a water glass upside down and press firmly into the dough to cut out circles. (I have an old plastic cup from my college sorority days that makes a nice 4″ diameter circle.)

5 |  Place half of the rounds on a cookie sheet; these will serve as the bottoms of the empanadas. Place 1-2 Tbsp of filling on top of each circle then place another piece of crust on top and pinch the sides together*; press the crust with a fork along the outside edges to seal. Use the fork to poke a few holes in the top of each empanadas so they won’t explode!

6 |  Bake for about 18 minutes, and be sure to watch them so they don’t burn. I serve mine with sour cream and salsa.

*  I use an eggwash to help seal the insides and also brushed on top to give crispy golden color.

I now have dozens of these in the freezer – they make a wonderful quick snack or lunch. Just 40-60 seconds in the microwave but oven warming is best for texture.

If you would like a printable copy, I have stored this in Google Docs. Let me know if it doesn’t work? Click here –> Empanada Recipe <–

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Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Dollbaby

Thoughts dbbyllm dbbyllmA Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal, Penguin Audio 2014, 11 hours and 12 minutes

Do:            Read JoAnn’s review at her blog Lakeside Musings.

Don’t:       Think that my three stars means that I didn’t like it. I liked it!

Do:            Consider that the following publisher’s quote is something that I agree with; couldn’t say it better myself.

A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans – a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets.

Don’t:       Be too sad that I don’t recall any mention of pie in this.

Do:            Remember this narrator because she did an excellent job! Click here to learn more about January Lavoy.

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Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

 

Misery Readalong Save-the-Date #MiseryRAL

Hello Readalong-Kingalong-ers!

I hereby announce another Stephen King Readalong, this time it is MISERY, in the merry month of June.

misery

Because, in supporting the search for the scariest book of King’s repertoire, I recall that the bits in IT that scared me the most were Bev’s real life hell. So it is with this in mind that I decide that Misery, with its setting of ‘real life’ and no woo-woo heebie-jeebie supernatural elements – I’m supposing here – I suspect that Misery will be the one that scares me the most.

Truthfully, I am not into the search as much as Jill. I really am not sure why I selected this book but I’m keeping whatever promise it was that I would read Misery in June and I now invite you all to join me.

Informal, using Twitter hashtag #MiseryRAL, a June beginning post with comment sign-up and a June ending post with review/summation. Sound reasonable?

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I have not seen the movie but I do know which actors play the parts of author and fan.

I hope to listen to the audiobook myself. Mowing the lawn and listening to King are a true pleasure and are to be connected. It is lawn-mowing season where I am and so I need a King audiobook…

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However, I did recently purchase the hardcover at a library book sale a few weeks ago and this author photo on the back just MIGHT BE the scariest thing I’ve ever seen on a King book: IMG_1430

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Winesburg, Ohio

Thoughts wohbysa Winesburg Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, Compass Books – Viking Press 1958/1960/1967 15th ed (orig 1919), 247 pages, tradeback

DNF

These stories are deep. They are of the bare but insightful style of character studies that just might bore one to tears until someone explains it all. But since no one is here to explain it to me (I should take that back –> there is an Introduction I have yet to be bothered to read) and I would much rather read something else, I’m going to put this back on my shelf and maybe read more on another day. I made it more than half way.

Thankfully, the stories are short. But it’s not enough.

I hope I can still count this for my Classics Club 50?

 

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Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

My First Classics Spin!

[Updated on Monday Apr 6th for SPIN NUMBER announcement…  Two – 2 – numtwo2]

I have heard that SQUEEEEing is no longer en vogue, if it ever was, but that is how I feel inside. I will abstain from doing any gauche celebrating in order to be acceptable in my community.

Here are my 20 books in anticipation of the soon to be announced CLASSICS SPIN:

[Edited to say that I try to explain what the spin is in my response to the comment I just received…]

Continue reading ‘My First Classics Spin!’

Far From the Madding Crowd

Thoughts fftmcbok Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, Orig 1874.

Naxos Audiobook 2014 Narration by Jamie Parker, Unabridged fftmcbytha 14 Hours, 52 Minutes

Classics Challenge – 19th Century backtotheclassics2015BUTTON

First, if you like books to movies, especially classics and you haven’t yet viewed the trailer, “it is my intention to astonish you all.”  (And watch the other ones, too.)

(go watch it, SO GOOD!!!)

Second, for a fabulous review by Roofbeam Reader, you can click here and also find the explanation for the title of the book. Edited to add a Second-and-a-half, read Stephanie’s review for a bit more of a feminist perspective and thorough analysis that is fun to read. (She points to another review (Danielle’s) that you can access her that gives even more textual dimension to what is Bathsheba and her adventures.)

Third, a warning. I will be spoilering from here on. If you only want to know what it is about, you can click above on the book cover to get to goodreads and/or the review links.

I rated this five slices of pie.  Gooseberry Pie. Which I need to make for my favorite auntie so if anyone has any access to gooseberries, please let me know.

Really, do not read further; I recommend the following only for those who have read and know the story (by which I mean Holly). I warned you!

Onward,
read more…

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“Souls alive, what news! It makes my heart go quite bumpity-bump!”

invisible line

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

How To Build a Girl

Thoughts HtBaGbyCM How To Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran, Harper 2014, 352 pages

WHY I read this: I think it might have been on sale. I had it on my Kindle. Amazon tells me when but not how much I spent; the when was January of this year. When we took off for a long weekend to Kentucky, I realized that I hadn’t brought any other books with me besides Pet Sematary. Well. I had been limiting my reading to 30 pages per day of PS and the long car ride meant that I would have more time than book. So upon opening my Kindle app on the iPad, I saw How to Build a Girl. Perfect antidote to King, was my first thought.

Truthfully, I forget about books hiding in the eBook apparatuses.* They are so silent and unobtrusive. I had to move this book to last priority, though, when I realized a book club book that was SITTING in the OBVIOUS SPOT right on the stairs was jumping up and down screaming not to be forgotten like good little visible hard copy BookBooks tend to do (unlike eBooks which hide, do not jump up and down, nor scream.)

Initial CONFUSIONS: However, I was instantly confused because I had it in my head that this book was Moran’s memoir. Funny that the main character was named Johanna and more odd that it started with what it started with. I had to check goodreads to see what was the what. Yep, I had confused this novel with her How to Build a Woman book. Oops.

What It’s ABOUT: Johanna is a mere child with thoughts in her head most unlike any thoughts I had in my head at that age. Oh my. I liked her. I probably had the same tendency to talk too much and talk too much about myself but we did not have similar ideas about what we wanted when we grew up.

She is brave and fearful. She has a positive spirit. She is ambitious and naive (I was naive.) She manages to get a writing gig for a rock and roll magazine. She did things with no moral compass and yet her morality-humanity did suggest an extremely kind soul. Except when she was skewering bands she didn’t like. She was one big fierce imaginative force.

What’s GOOD: Many laugh out loud passages. Many keen observations about how life could/should be approached.

What’s NOT so good: The jarring switch in viewpoint from her teen self to her smarter older self, every so often.

FINAL Thoughts: The goodreads reviews that hated this are an interesting contrast to the ones that loved it. I just really liked Johanna, a refreshing bold new character to cheer for.

RATING: Four slices of Shepherd’s Pie.

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“I’m going to need a bigger boat. This is my recurrent problem.”  p.75

“We must away, to pastures new.” also p.75

DODDLE – easy

SCALLY – a low life loser

Book Connection- Links to Dept. of Speculation!  “I resolve that for the rest of my life, at least once a day, I wil remember this. I think it must be most cheering thought I have ever had.” p.143 [Both books try to savor and file away a happy memory for possible reference at a later time as needed.]

Book Reference – Norwegian Wood (I have no idea nor do I think I want to know what this really was a reference to…) p.149

“I think I cry for at least half an hour – the kind of crying that is like rain where it starts without warning, and violently, but eases off into sudden rainbows, and blackbirds calling out in gratitude as they swoop across wet lawns. The weeping of relief.” p.154

“For someone who lives in a house without mirrors, seeing yourself talked about by others is exhilariing. I’d alwasy had a slight worry that I might not exist – that I was a very long dream I was having.”  p.207

“”I keep breaking penises,” I think to myself dolorously on the 37 heading toward Euston station.” p.239

SCOPEY – “I simply wept, exhaustedly, in the bath, feeling very, very scopey.” p.256

“Pain has made me older and wiser. Yesterday, when I found this house messy, I cleanedit from top to bottom, like a good girl. Today, they can all go fuck themselves. Housework is endless. I am never opting in again.” p. 258

“we are all breakable. So just be kind.” p.262

“This is the terrible thing about learning everything from books – sometimes you don’t know how to say the words.” p.289

“The point of life is joy – to make it, to receive it.” p.304

“Pig Pye (14th century): Flea Pyg and cut him in pieces. Practically nothing is wasted in a good pig. A pig killed in November would still provide fresh meat, brawn and pie until Christmas.” p.311

“There is a leaving party for me, at Uncle Jim’s house – “Because we’re not having a party here,” my mother says, firmly, dishing out shepherd’s pie in the front room.” p.326

* The interwebs are frowning on my plural use of apparatus. Nope, not apparati but pieces of apparatus. Whatever. My blog, my misuse of the English language. I own it.

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Recap Day

Day-in-the-Life-Event

I chose to photo-capture my Tuesday through Wednesday (24 hours) of this week.

It was noon when TriniCapini reminded us to do this, so I immediately shot this: IMG_1352 I was multi-tasking at that moment:  Bookmooch searching for Classics (getting Winesburg OH and Cry the Beloved Country), writing letters, tracking my to dos.

I was still doing that an hour later, but then remembered that I had goodies still in the car:  IMG_1353 a quilt for our bed IMG_1357 which I then spent time finding and putting pillows in the shams and then filled some trays to help organize my makeup drawers, and…

IMG_1359 then I wrote a few more letters. Somewhere in that hour, I also folded laundry, took a flower from a bigger vase to this vase (bought at At Home IMG_1358 – the flower was from a modeling gig I had last week…), retrieved a package from the front stoop delivered by UPS, and made more coffee.

I checked on the bank accounts, wrote an email back to my cousin, updated my doggie-daycare-tracking-book: IMG_1364 because BowWowDogCamp  sent me an email reminder, added and crossed off more things from the to do list, and started this post.

And now it’s after 3pm. I’m avoiding the one true MUST do of the day. Might as well get to it.

But NOOOooooooo! By 3:30, I had double-checked Trini’s post to steal the button and link it up and then saw Jilllora’s comment which reminded me that I needed to double-check her blog and then found her #gangstercats post which made me open Twitter to see if anyone had #gangstercat-hashtagged lately and now I’m updating her. No photo.

Then I checked in on The Morning News Tournament of Books and sent an email to our book club book suggestion solicitor of a bunch of books from my tbr.

4pm – at the PC looking over my application for NC Educator Licensure.

5pm – looking at job sites. Finding something very interesting, double check resume, start prepping cover letter.

5:30 – leave to pick up the dogs: IMG_1367 IMG_1368

Then get gas IMG_1370, then feed the dogs IMG_1372, then put on a fun front license plate IMG_1373.

Then add to this post.

NOW, it is 6:30 pm and I’m about to get back to the job application. (but first, let’s check Facebook (nothing), Twitter (nothing), goodreads (nothing), my blog (nothing), Instagram (nothing since I looked while pumping gas, etc…), email (crap! tax paperwork complete: we owe Feds, Mass AND North Carolina.)

Guess I should get that job app filed so I can pay my taxes, so I begin the cover letter.

7:15 pm – Prep dinner (I’ll start and husband will complete), eat dinner, watch TV, chat about stuff.

9 pm – I am gathering materials for our craft group day: IMG_1378 paper, markers, quote books, etc.

10 pm – Taking the pups out before bedtime: IMG_1377

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(sleep… ZZZzzzzzzzzzz)

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5:45 am – Up to let out the dogs and prepare their breakfast, go back to bed – the dogs take their first nap of the day and I check all the Social Medias and watch the news/weather channel/Mike&Mike in the Morning.

7 am – Make a smoothie for breakfast: IMG_1387 and prep a few packages to mail (the official paperwork to be licensed in NC to teach is now ON its way.)

8 am – Leave for the post office, the bank, the chiro, and the craft group IMG_1390: IMG_1391 We made encouragement cards for the Girls Love Mail organization.

 

For more DAY IN THE LIFEs, Check out Trish’s blog for more.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Dept. of Speculation

Thoughts dosbyjo Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill, Knopf 2014, 182 pages

I liked it. A lot. Seriously, lots and lots. Five slices of apple pie.

I saw a recipe on Pinterest for an apple pie with lemon crust. Such a pie would be perfect for this book.

Here’s the pin. And here’s the book blub from goodreads about this book.

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Here’s a link to the latest Tournament of Books by The Morning News about this book which I’m so thrilled THRILLED!!! to have read while the tourney is still on, even if it got booted. I also read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Here’s a pin to a healthy muffin recipe I want to cook today. Maybe.

EDITED TO ADD:

Jeanne’s Review of Dept. of Speculation

Stephanie’s Review of Dept. of Speculation

Let me know if the pinterest links don’t work. Not sure without signing out and I don’t want to do that because I can never remember my password. But if it doesn’t, I promise to help you get the info you need.

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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 prefer pi.

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