The Fiction Class

Thoughts tfcbysb The Fiction Class by Susan Breen, A Plume Book 2008, 304 pages

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I like the cover.

It must be a great act of courage for a writer to teach writing. I know I would wonder about my student’s perception of my “success” or lack of success and how necessary this is to be qualified to teach. Whenever I do have a crisis in confidence when eyes are on me to explain or share or ‘deliver a lesson’, I always tell myself that I only need to know SOMETHING/ANYTHING more than the students. And we all know something that can be shared and appreciated. I don’t have to be an expert.

Anyway, I do believe good teaching rarely requires total mastery in a field. The most educated and masterful mathematician could be lousy at teaching. A great teacher inspires and pushes and encourages creativity, experimentation and practice. A great teacher is NOT the one who stands in front of the class and dumps information. Our goals can be for PBL – Project Based Learning opportunities!

Which writing fits into. Writing is creative and story-based; a story is a project, if you will. Writing is a craft with tools and techniques. The tools are words and techniques vary. A great writer just might be a horrible teacher and perhaps the best teacher is not the best-selling author. Teachers are facilitators and coaches.

You can click on the book cover above for the goodreads.com blurb on The Fiction Class if you want to know more about it. I’m rating it three slices of pie. NOTE – this is an ARC. I only saw a few typos. I am willing to send this book to anyone who wants it.

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Somewhat related to this…  Read, come back and share if you agree: “Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I Don’t Teach in One” by Ryan Boudinot. There have been some responses (ahem) to this post and the comments are full of controversy.

I think Writing is a talent; some are born with more talent than others. As with Leaders. I also believe that great leaders can be built and just because you don’t have the bright talent at birth does not mean you can’t be a great leader. Same with writing.

I think it takes a great act of courage to WRITE.

Write on!

 

 

 

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.

 

Science Tales

Thoughts stbydc Science Tales: Lies Hoaxes and Scams by Darryl Cunningham, Myriad Editions 2012, 174 pages

a COMIC book? I wouldn’t call it a Graphic Novel because it is not a novel. I’m so out of it on the comic/graphics genre take on books!

And, unfortunately, this book really can’t be praised for helping me figure out if I like this genre or not.

I’m going to say no.

I really have to admit that half way through I realized I was only reading the words and not appraising or appreciating (or even noticing) the illustrations.

Minus:  On a content note, I don’t feel that Cunningham really shared much of the science he was endorsing or refuting on his chapters of  Electroconvulsive Therapy, Homeopathy, Vaccinations, the Moon Hoax, Climate Change, Evolution, Chiropractic Medicine, and Science Denial.

Positive:  I don’t fault the book for attempting to inspire constructive thinking and consideration of the facts. It certainly encourages more research and shares what those sources might be.

So kudos for that.  It’s a quick read, too.

Do please read Debi’s review!

Rating: Two and 1/2 slices of pie. So round up to three.

 

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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.

ReadAlong for Pet Sematary

Announcing that Jill over at Somewhere In a Book blog has officially announced the start of the Pet Sematary ReadAlong!

bigeyedcat #gangstercats

Also, there’s King’s March announced by Fourth Street Reviews and hosted by same and Wensend: Kings-March1-e1395509004726  #kingsmarch

Both of the buttons will take you to the respective blog posts.

OandPS Oscar is thrilled. So am I!

 Also! Be sure to tell me if you run into a pie references!  Thanks.

The Importance of Being Oscar

Thoughts IMG_1099 The Importance of Being Oscar: The Life and Wit of Oscar Wilde by Mark Nicholls,  St. Martin’s Press 1980, 238 pages

The Wit and Wisdom of Oscar Wilde Set Against His Life and Times

I suppose I might want to apologize about the snark and harsh tone this review could likely take.

What’s it ABOUT: Apparently the author’s name isn’t really “Mark Nicholls” so I really can’t figure out who he is or what he does other than fawn over how awesome Mr. Wilde is.

I am not trying to imply that Oscar Wilde is not awesome and he certainly said many witty things.

But this book is tedious. Repetitious. And lickspittly.

“Wilde averred.” I lost count how many times Mr. Wilde, His Excellency, averred something extremely witty in response to some boorish comment.

aver  verb \ə-ˈvər\

: to say (something) in a very strong and definite way

 

I had to look it up. Perhaps I am just not smart enough for this book. I looked up a TON of words and because I am now reading Jenny Lawson’s book Let’s Pretend This Didn’t Happen, I am wanting to toss in other choice inappropriate words. or WORD. Ahem.

I suppose you want an example. Great. Now I’m going to have to fetch it from the recycle bin and open it again. [OMG – I now cannot find any of the dreaded avers! Sigh.]

Wilde’s perception of life was remarkable. Listen: “A kiss may ruin a human life . . .” In that single truism is the essence of a million past and present life-dramas, and who but Wilde could have considered its inclusion in a play…?

His sheer audacity was the highlight of his writing: __

Hear the Master again on the wiles of women: __

On the social front, too, he led the field: __

(these are the first sentences of four paragraphs NOT taken at random but one after the other. Pages 88-89)

RATING: Two slices of pie

Book COUNT: Tenth of 2015

Perhaps LICKSPITTLE, defined as “a slimy grovelling and devious person” is too harsh. It was just that the writing style is so very irksome.

Would anyone like me to send along?  JennyTrisha? (on page 2, there is a reference that Oscar’s mother was ‘eclectic and eccentric’!!!)  Anyone else?

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How about a photo of my lovely Oscar?

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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.

Congratulations To My Friend

In case you hadn’t heard, my friend and book blogger extraordinaire has published a book that looks fabulous and I can’t wait to read it!

eiifdbysb Even If the Sky Falls Down by Susan Jackson Bybee, aka The Blue-Hearted Bookworm.

From goodreads:

Thirty-something American Lily Thompson is enjoying her life as an English teacher in a private kindergarten in Seoul, South Korea. When she breaks her ankle and loses her job, her handsome recruiter finds her a new position in the Korean countryside, teaching English to elders at a senior center. Lily is unsure how she’ll relate to students at the other end of the age spectrum, but things are not quite what they seem. Charged with documenting the memories of an eclectic range of elderly people sends Lily on a journey revealing a unique insight into both Korea’s troubled social history and her own life.

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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.

The Year of the Flood

Thoughts tyotfbyma The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood,

Satisfies the WATER category of the What’s in a Name 8 Challenge.

Unfortunately, though I do remember Jimmy in the tree and the blue people, I do not recall much of Oryx and Crake and what all happened in MaddAddam Part 1. Not that my memory failure contributed in any way to my enjoyment (or not) of this Part 2 but I wish I could remember more.

I do find Atwood’s books amazing. She is a very talented and creative story teller.

“…the reason you can’t really imagine yourself being dead was that as soon as you say, ‘I’ll be dead,’ you’ve said the word I, and so you’re still alive inside the sentence. And that’s how people got the idea of the immortality of the soul – it was a consequence of grammar.”  

My advice? if you like Atwood and you like dystopia and you have yet to read this 3 book series, just gather them in and read in a timely manner.

If you haven’t read either Book 1 or Book 2, there is probably no reason I can think of to say that you MUST read O&C first. You could likely read Flood first and then read O&C and enjoy it just as much.

It’s all about different perspectives on how humans are destroying the Earth. And yet she always manages to bring out the best in people just as she describes how awful we humans can be.

I don’t recall how O&C ended but this one was abrupt and unsatisfying. I didn’t throw it across the room or anything but I did groan in slight frustration. Now I should go get MaddAddam, Book 3 and get it over with but I won’t. I know myself too well.

I just get distracted by all the books I already have and want to read and before I know it, years will have flown by. On the other hand, I bet the library might actually have this…

 

Rating: fourpie Four slices of turnip pie. I actually made a turnip/parsnip/potato pie last month and it was quite tasty. Not pretty to look at though.

 

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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.

 

Umm, Yep. OK, Sure. On It.

I always have to be sure to say something out loud when somebody asks me to do something. A ‘somebody’ like the husband, asking something like, “Can you please get me my phone, I left it on the table.” My tendency is often just to get up and go do the task/favor without realizing that the requestor is waiting for me to agree, to respond.

Thus, the title of this post.

I know it is is a thing from my childhood. I would rather stealthily just DO and sneak in – sneak out – task completed. Odd, huh? I think so. Not sure why I’m bringing it up but I was trying to think up a title for this post and that’s what my fingers gave me. Thought it needed explaining.

It really doesn’t have anything to do with what I started out wanting to post about!

Which is…

I had to go edit/fix my prior post because I had typed “crap pies” instead of CRAB pies!! and missed it even though I swear I checked my words before I hit publish! oh well. Made me laugh, but I am embarrassed, too.

And the other thing,

With so many of my conversations with you all lovely book bloggers being on Twitter and Instagram, Facebook and Untappd, and in real life letter exchanges; especially eschewing any formal prompts since Google Reader went defunct — I just want to rejoice and thank all of you for thinking of me. *smiles*

And… I rejoice when I visit a favorite blogger after “months absence” and seeing other wonderful bloggers commenting there. I know we have built up an amazing web of love-of-books and it warms my heart.

It’s like going to a party and being surprised when other friends that you weren’t expecting show up, too.

OK.

Yep, that’s it. Do have a super dooper day.

loveCare

 

PS I’m thinking my next pie will be Blueberry. pieratingsml

PSS I forget already what else I was going to say, distracted by Blueberry Pie!

PSSS Oh yea, I wanted to share that I just bookmooched some books that I couldn’t find at the library and I hadn’t even checked into that site for over a year! I’m so excited to get some books in the mail! One is already on its way.

PSSSS I have a book review to write on The Year of the Flood. And I am reading a bio of Oscar Wilde that is almost atrocious. Not the subject but how it’s written.

PSSSSS We will soon be readalonging Pet Sematary. I think it will be mostly on Instagram with hashtag #gangstercats if you want to join. Ya know, if you prefer to read a scary King book only with moral support in the company of other scared King readers.

 

 

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.

The Invention of Wings

Thoughts tiowbysmk The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, Viking 2014, 373 pages

“She took a lavender ribbon from the top of the pie safe and circled it round my neck, tying a bow, while Aunt-Sister peeled the black off my cheeks with her rag.” p.13

Sue Monk Kidd has brought to life the story of two of America’s heroines, sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimke, who helped to kick off the Abolition movement and also lit the early sparks of the women’s rights movement. Fascinating stuff!

Along with Sarah’s (mostly, but Angelina is a spitfire), the author imagines a parallel upbringing of a young slave girl named Handful. She was given as a birthday present to Sarah when she turned 11. Sarah was appalled and wouldn’t buy into the family tradition and tried to give Handful back.  Or free her. Or…  She couldn’t quite figure out how to deal with this quandary but she knew somehow that slavery wasn’t right.

Handful and her mother Charlotte are fierce and determined and patient. They are bright and dream for better.

“My body might be a slave, but not my mind. For you, it’s the other way round.”

I loved the Charleston SC setting. I love historical fiction. I really wonder why I don’t read more of it.

“… it came to me that what I feared most was not (the) speaking. That fear was old and tired. What I feared was the immensity of it all – a female abolition agent traveling the country with a national  mandate. I wanted to say Who am I to do this, a woman? But that voice was not mine. It was Father’s voice. It was Thomas’. It belonged to Israel, to Catherine, and to Mother. It belonged to the church in Charleston and the Quakers in Philadelphia. It would not, if I could help it, belong to me.” p.320

RATING: fourpie

One question. I either missed or it wasn’t given – I’m not sure – but I was confused what happened to the father. He had to fight an impeachment for something and I just didn’t get what happened there. TELL if you remember or know! Thanks.

And one more question:  Can anyone explain “woof and warp”?

“The house, the slaves, Charleston, Mother, the Presbyterians – they were the woof and warp of everything.”

I have NEVER heard this expression, have you?  Per the Dictonary.com site:

The underlying structure or foundation of something, as in He foresaw great changes in the warp and woof of the nation’s economy. This expression, used figuratively since the second half of the 1500s, alludes to the threads that run lengthwise (warp) and crosswise (woof) in a woven fabric.

Finally, another pie quote:

Tomfry, Snow, and Eli served, wearing their dark green livery hauling, in trays of crab pies, buttered shrimps, veal, fried whiting, and omelet soufflé.

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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.

Color: A Natural History of the Palette

Thoughts cbyvf Color by Victoria Finlay, Random House Trade 2004 (orig 2002), 448 pages

Satisfies the COLOR category of the What’s in a Name 8 Challenge.

“Up until then I had always believed that the world was getting better and better and more and more clever. But that day my tender theory about the Evolution of History fell on its head, and it has – for better or for worse – never been quite right ever since.”  p. 1

Wow – what a wild ride! This book is nuts.

I learned a lot and I marveled at what the author went through to gather stories to fit into this book. She wanted to find India Indigo so she went there. She wanted to find Tyrian Purple, so she went to Lebanon. She just had to see the blue Lapis Lazuli mines of Afghanistan, so off she went. Think about that last one…

She is fearless!

My only complaint might be that she really is all over the place at times and I wondered why she would mention that. (off on a tangent much?)  I had to go look up SO MANY THINGS. It is hard – she mentions this, too – it is very hard to describe colors with words.

This is a 4 slice of pie book. fourpie If you like travel books and author-involved nonfiction adventures, I recommend. If you are an artist and are curious about how artists got their colors, you must read this book.

I still have my receipt from purchasing this in 2010. Why? What prompted this book then? I have no records except the date. HOWEVER, in looking for other reviews out there in blogland, I found that Eva of A Striped Armchair was extremely enthusiastic about this book, so that is a clue. And since I seem to be on a linky-love binge, I should include Fyrefly’s discussion of another Finlay book that am now wanting to read next/soon/someday.

Colors are fascinating; this book makes me crave the colors of the entire world and makes me wonder what others really are looking at – do we see the same thing? Is the blue I see the blue you see? What color of purple do you think Cleopatra dyed her sails? And how exactly did she do it? So many mysteries.

Tyndall’s explanation of why the sky is blue is one of the best ever. Page 305.

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Lots of Copley Connections for me, too.  Of course, she mentions Simon Garfield’s Mauve which I read in 2009. Or the mention of the English town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne being known for its beer exports. (I read all about that in Hops & Glory.) And then on page 384, Finlay describes a cave with a ‘millenia of snail trails'; surely those of you who read All the Light We Cannot See, recognize Marie-Laure and her hiding place?

Do you have any nonfiction books about colors to recommend? Just one more of my favorite things to learn more about, I guess. AND, I will send this book to anyone who comments and says they want it. If more than one person wants it, I will select somebody at random. Must comment before Valentines Day.

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* Copley Connections are the random connections and coincidences that link books that I have read.

 

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.

The Husband’s Secret

Thoughts thsbylma The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, Penguin Audio 2013, 13’44”

Narrated by Caroline Lee.

WHY I read this:  This is an upcoming selection for one of my book club options. I have 4, possibly 5 book clubs to choose from in my new town, although I’m still waiting to find out if there really is one established in my new neighborhood. I’ve only met one of my neighbors and she is new, too. Neither of us have seen a newsletter or received any info about the group other than the invoice for HOA dues. That’s not true – she has been scolded gently reprimanded for having an ugly trailer sitting in her yard – aghast! Heavens to Betsy – how unsightly!

This book is also a selection coming up in a few months for the club #2 I’ve met. (We had 24 gals participate in a lively discussion of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.) We are to read The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd next which is also the choice for club #1 which meets next week. I just might get away with only reading three books and then hit five different clubs!

 What’s is ABOUT:  Obviously from the title, a wife discovers a secret her husband would prefer to not have anyone know about. I can’t say I guessed this one (I don’t try to figure things out, really) but I wasn’t surprised either. What I was surprised about and am still rather uncertain about is why we followed three different story lines. At first, this was a jolt; took me out of the story once we met Tess and got away from Cecelia – she’s the one with the perfect husband who just might not be perfect afterall. Who is Tess? Why are we learning about her? How is she important?

Do read the Epilogue. It pulls a LOT back together in a fascinating way.

Without giving too much away and confusing you more, let’s just say that on a grand scheme, this book is about choices and actions that have consequences and the consideration of what those MEAN – how would life be different if we had made different choices? How would our lives be different if those who influenced our lives had made different choices? How does time affect these choices and knowing now what was then? The mind-boggling is endless!

What’s GOOD:  Moriarty has a knack for comic observations; those wry bits and pieces that make up a person’s personality. She writes well those every day ‘normal’ people as complex multi-dimensional  characters.

What’s NOT so good: I can’t put my finger on what unsettled me with this book. Other than thinking the Tess line didn’t quite work as a third strand or view point in the tangled mess, I just didn’t get blown away. And maybe I expected to and so… you know. Too high of expectations tempers the reaction to the negative?

FINAL thoughts: Whatever, don’t let me talk you out of reading this – I give it 4 slices of pie! Funny yet shocking(?!), a mystery with  interesting characters and gives one some interesting things to think about on that choices-and-consequences idea. The narration is well done, too.

RATINGfourpie

 

 

 

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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.

I prefer pi.

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Snow almost melted, flowers in my puppy-dog-with-basket planter and today's 30 pages of #gangstercats completed. All is mostly right with my world.

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