The Wonder of Ordinary Magic

 

OK, so I read this book last month. Oops – like only last week?!? less than two weeks ago!?!  Characters very likable – I wanted MORE!  A bit of a punch to the gut at the end that I wasn’t quite expecting but which in hindsight made me think, “Oh yea. OK.” So, this was the tweet; it got a response from the author (Often a ‘cool thing’, especially when review is favorable) and that’s all I gots to say.

Back to my school work….

OK, maybe I will do my usual, but at the end instead of the beginning:

Thoughts… twoombyljd The Wonder of Ordinary Magic by Lilli Jolgren Day, 2011, 252 pages, ebook

 

 

 

 

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Films: Brideshead Revisited

The Film(s):  Brideshead Revisited.

The Book: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. My book review here.

EXTRA CREDIT for THE CLASSICS CHALLENGE

I watched two film versions of Brideshead Revisited, though how many minutes I actually viewed could be debated. What is skimming called when applied to visual viewing?

I first watched the most recent one: fbr2008 2008

I thought this well-cast. Of course, Emma Thomson was great. The film evoked the same mood of the book. It was visually stunning – as the wealth of that era might suggest it should.

Then I rented the mulit-CD mini-series from the library: fbr1981 1981

and really liked this Sebastian Flyte! Another ‘of course’ for Jeremy Irons doing a fabulous job.

Now that it has been months since the viewing experience, I can’t think of more to add. Can’t say it was a favorite book but I ‘get’ how this might be considered a classic, especially the exploration of many deep themes. A book that most possibly could be interpreted on many levels for those intellectual (geeky?) enough to enjoy the process. Religion, sexuality, family duty, etc. Did the movies make me want to re-read it? No. Not that they weren’t acceptable adaptions, but no. I’ve seen enough of it now.

OK, this concludes my ‘extra’ credit for participation in the Classics Challenge! Yay, me.

As for my next book-to-film, I am scheduled to see The Book Thief soon and I really do want to see Catching Fire and Divergent. So many movies based on novels that I hope to see someday. Which one are you most excited about? Noah, anyone? The Fault in Our Stars?! Gone Girl or Dark Places, Unbroken!, The Giver, Wild (did you know A Walk in the Woods is also being worked on?), If I Stay, ahhhhh: Therese Raquin. And books I still need to read first: Serena, This is Where I Leave You (of course:  Jason Bateman), Far From the Madding Crowd, A Book of Common Prayer, and not sure about Devil’s Knot (scary). So many!

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Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

Three Men in a Boat

Thoughts tmiabbyjkj Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, ebook/orig 1889, 256 pages

FITS the Classics Challenge AND the What’s In a Name Challenge – not sure yet where it will fall.

If one were to ask me why I read this book, I could list many  a reason. One, it’s got BOAT in the title. I like boats.

It fits my classic challenge – not sure yet which category but maybe the 19th century one? It is a HUMOR book – I don’t read much in this genre, but what’s not to like when a book can make you laugh? But the main reason is probably because this book is what Connie Willis based her (or references? or __?…  not sure exactly because I have yet to read) book title To Say Nothing of the Dog. I like dogs. I want to read a Willis book. She has been on my “Author I Must Get To” list for years now. Maybe this will be THE YEAR.

I must say, the dog in Three Men in a Boat is terrific. A true dog’s dog.

Oh, and I did laugh! often, actually. tmiab4

I should change this post to be of the interview style. I have lots of questions.

Why did I read this book now? THAT is the hardest question. It just came to be. I actually downloaded the free ebook version many months ago and something conspired in the cosmos that I should read it in March of 2014.

What did I think of the book? I liked it. However, it got old. I needed to be way shorter. I guess I can be that person who appreciates the non-plot meandering wayward adventure mishap and funny situation comedy feel of this; just a few guys taking a boat trip together. It’s fun, it’s funny, but it gets old and I couldn’t wait for it to end. I was about a third of the way through when THAT FEELING came up. tmiab3

What IS “THAT FEELING”? When I start wondering about a book. Am I getting it? Is it going to wrap up soon? Can we get a few more passages devoted to the dog?

What happens when you get THAT FEELING? Well, this is when I start looking for other reviews of the book, either from Fyrefly’s google search of book blogger reviews or on goodreads.com. I then check to see how my friends rated it and then I read through some reviews. If it is a print book, this is when I allow myself to read the blurb on the back of the book or inside flap or – kiss of death, usually – I read the… INTRODUCTION.

And then what happens?  I either give up or I keep going. Oftentimes, neither of these choices ends up in a higher rating than a THREE slicer or star.

How will you rate this one?  I give it THREE SLICES of meat pie. The book did have a plethora of pie references. Any book that allows me to use the word ‘plethora’ in a review also earns it high marks. In fact, for that, it might be a 4 slicer! LOTS of pie. Most of them meat pies which is typical of British food fare. Nothing wrong with that.

But wait! What’s it about? I think I said that already, didn’t I?  It’s about three guys and a dog that take a vacation trip on a boat on the Thames River. It’s British. It’s FULL of English history – which I admit was kind of cool. It really could be described as a travel book – if you were able to cruise the Thames in the late 19th century. Many of the adventures could still happen today though, I suppose – who hates to pack for a trip, am I right?

Would you recommend this book? Actually, I can give this question a resounding YES. If you love British humour, read this. If you want to read the Connie Willis book with me as a read-along, yes. If you are trying to read all the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, then this makes the list and I bet there are worse (ie, more difficult) books on that list. If you like British history, and probably? especially? British literature, I bet this should be on a required reading list somewhere. If the author’s name, Jerome K. Jerome, appeals to you, you might want to read this book. His name appeals to me. I knew a girl in High School whose first name was also her last name and I won’t tell you what it was but it was kind of like Mary Mary, but it wasn’t Mary. I wouldn’t want her to google herself and find that I talked about her!

tmiab2

Do you have anything else to add? Yes, I do. I read on and will admit I skimmed to, a passage about a woman who suffered. A comment on a goodreads review, mentioned that Jerome had biting commentary to provide about society and that it was highlighted with this passage. The woman had found herself “in trouble” and then being scorned and finding it tremendously difficult to support herself and her child given the times, that society’s scorn, etc, she drowned herself in the river. It was poignant.

Much of the writing, the descriptions, the British humor (of course) proves Jerome’s skill as a writer. I don’t and won’t deny him that. Though I failed to find the full tasting of this work to be a total pleasure, I am very glad to have read it and do think I will think often upon it. That is high praise of the best reader’s kind. Books can’t all hit the bells on all levels  at all times for all moods but they can be appreciated for it all anyway. I love this kind of books – the ones that make me think and feel. Golly, I might have to bump it up to a four.

“Supper was not a success. Cold veal pie, when you don’t feel hungry, is apt to cloy. I felt I wanted whitebait and a cutlet; Harris babbled of soles and white-sauce, and passed the remains of his pie to Montmorency, who declined it, and apparently insulted by the offer, went and sat over at the other end of the boat by himself.”  p.187

OK, who read all the way to —> here?? <– and might want to join me for a readalong of To Say Nothing of the Dog?  Or Doomsday? I so want to read that one, too!!!  Sigh….

If you have read Willis and you ‘know’ me, do you think I will like her books?

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Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

Labor Day

Thoughts ldbyjm Labor Day by Joyce Maynard, Wm Morrow & Co 2009, 241 pages

I first heard about this book when the American Pie Association was promoting the movie due to a scene where Josh Brolin helps Kate Winslet and her movie son to make peach pie.

In the book, it was a good scene. I haven’t seen the movie yet.

It is interesting to me that the character Winslet plays here is quite the opposite of the one she plays in Divergent, her very next movie in not so much time. Yes? Anyone see both movies already?

In fact, the part she plays here isn’t typical of her. She usually plays strong and thoughtful women, agreed? The whole time reading this I pictured Kate starring at the wall with a confused look on her face…

OK, a middle school boy (forget his name) who often has to do all the shopping and errand-running because his single mother (let’s call her Kate)  has turned into an agoraphobic, meets a guy (here referred to as Josh) at the store and so, the boy plus his mom decide, “Sure, why not? Guy is bleeding but he needs a ride. We’ll take him home with us.”

Kate and Josh play a game called “kidnapped and kidnapper with tie-me-up for good measure” and boy thinks the guy is actually really cool. Even if he is escaped from prison. He was in prison for murder, but he can still be a nice guy.

It’s handy to have a guy around.

Kid unfortunately meets another whackadoodle kid and trusts her and her advice. He is a trusting kid.

SPOILER!!!

Cops get wind of something not right at the house at the end of the lane, Josh is re-captured, boy grows up. TO be a CHEF!!!  (love this!)

Josh eventually does get out of jail, finds Kate again, they move to Maine and all is happy ever after.

True love prevails.

Rating:  Three stars. I’m rounding up. The pie scenes were great. Peach pie in August, who could resist that?

I would not mind the heat of late August right now, I’ve been so cold lately. READY for SUNSHINE.

 

A big thank you to Nancy for sending me this book cuz I begged her to. That’s the kind of great friend she is. I owe her a few books but I know she has plenty.

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Copyright © 2007-2014. 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 Sign of the Four

Thoughts tsofbysacd The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, BBC Digital 2012 (orig. 1890) 224 pages, eBook/Kindle

Classics Challenge | A Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

What’s it ABOUT: Missing treasure!

What did I NOT know before reading this? That our boy Sherlock is a drug addict? Huh.

What DID I know before reading this? That Robert Downey, Jr. plays Sherlock in the (very enjoyable) movies. Did the movies not explore the cocaine use or did I just miss that?

Sadly, for some reason, I didn’t envision RDJ when I was reading the Sherlock parts but I did see Jude Law as Watson.

I have never watched the BBC versions with the guys you see on the cover above.

I have recently seen pieces of The Hobbit starring Martin Freeman.

Because it was on HBO the other day.

I have only ever watched the other guy in one of the Star Trek movies.

I think he’s rather creepy looking.

I may never read another Sherlock Holmes book; it was only OK. I don’t think I am much of a mystery-thriller genre reader.

I thought this ended very abruptly.

I did love the chase scene with the dog.

RATING: Three slices of pie.

This concludes my attempt at a review.

Any questions?
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Copyright © 2007-2014. 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 Be an American Housewife

Thoughts htbaahbymd How To Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway, Putnam Adult 2010, 288 pages

AUDIOBOOK. Tantor Audio 2010, Narrated by: Laural Merlington, Emily Durante; 7 hours, 49 minutes

For THE BOOKIES, my IRL book club

What’s it ABOUT: A Japanese girl realizes that her one chance to get out and possibly live an exciting life will be to marry one of the American soldiers occupying Japan at the close of WW2. She looks back on her life, her secrets, her reality compared to her expectations and convinces her daughter and grandaughter to visit Japan and meet her family.

Wow, can you tell I didn’t really get into this one? That description seems pretty lackluster. It was an interesting story based partly on the history of Dilloway’s own mother and heritage. I thought some of the passages and ‘advice’ from the fictional guide to being a housewife that setup the chapters to be a bit preposterous but hey – what do I know?

I have no complaints, narration was fine – actually, I didn’t even realize it was two different people until I prepped this post so my being amazed at being able to do the voices is now altered; not so amazing, that, anymore. But still, the audiobook was well-done; easy to follow along.

I’m sure we will find much to talk about Friday at club. Mother-daughter relationships? loneliness? cultural identities? US-Japan diplomacy? How to grow into love?  The author provides a few thoughtful questions on her blog’s Reader Guide.

Meg at her blog Write Meg! LOVED it! Read her review here.  LiterateHousewife found it to be ‘a satisfying read.’ Click here to read her thoughts and find links to many other reviews.

Rating:  Three slices of pie. (Remember THREE STARS = “I liked it.” No one better say ‘sorry this wasn’t better for you’ because it was just fine. ok?)

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2014. 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 Radleys

Thoughts tradbymh The Radleys  by Matt Haig, Free Press 2010, 285 pages, eBook/Kindle

“Irresistible… Full of clever turns… darkly hilarious spins… Even if you’re suffering from vampire fatigue, you’ll find The Radleys is a fun, fresh contribution to the genre.”   — Associated Press

Nancy the BookFool told me about this one. She tells me about a lot of great books but sometimes the stars align and I immediately get a book in my hands and read it before I really even know what its about. I obviously missed something here. Or my memory got wiped clean along the way. I think I downloaded because I recognized the author name from Twitter. I had ZERO idea this was about vampires until I was a page or two into it.

Guess that doesn’t say much about my discernment skills but might say a whole bunch about the persuasion powers of the Fool. (OK, I will tell you what happened. I saw her review, read the title of it and that Matt Haig wrote it and so I immediately went to goodreads or maybe even Amazon and bought it. I never read Nancy’s thoughts until just before writing this post. Though, I must have seen that she didn’t hate it? Hmmm. Anyway…)

A family drama, a romance or two. Bad choices (on the part of the adults) and lots of well-done teenage angst about deciding “who am I?”  I loved the thoughts of the kids but not so much the mother. I didn’t ‘get’ her and her motivations. I did like the dad. Full of humor and fast-paced plotting. I recommend for a fun quick read.

BUT THE KICKER!??!  I swear this is set in the very same spot in England that Georgette Heyer’s Venetia was set!  So that was just… ODD. And somewhat disorienting. And cool – I love the coincidences that pop up between book choices.

Do you like the cover? I do. Which I never really looked at until I finished because it was an eBook. Another quibble I have about eBooks – they hide the copyright page.

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Copyright © 2007-2014. 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 Ántonia

Thoughts myantbywc My Ántonia  by Willa Cather, Barnes&Noble Classics 2005 (orig 1918), 288 pages

Blurb from goodreads.com:  “Widely recognized as Willa Cather’s greatest novel, My Ántonia is a soulful and rich portrait of a pioneer woman’s simple yet heroic life. The spirited daughter of Bohemian immigrants, Ántonia must adapt to a hard existence on the desolate prairies of the Midwest. Enduring childhood poverty, teenage seduction, and family tragedy, she eventually becomes a wife and mother on a Nebraska farm. A fictional record of how women helped forge the communities that formed a nation, My Ántonia is also a hauntingly eloquent celebration of the strength, courage, and spirit of America’s early pioneers.”

This is considered a classic. I could easily count it for the American Classic category or the 20th Century Classic category. I can’t decide. It might also be used as a slot filler for the NAME category of What’s in a Name 2014. What to do? I am shocked not to find it on the 1001+ Books To Read Before I Die. Do tell me if I just failed to find it.

What’s it ABOUT: The blurb above probably tells you more than I typically would. It is accurate.

What’s GOOD: I read somewhere that My Ántonia is Little House on the Prairie with sex and violence. That is an apt description, too.

What’s NOT so good:  Not a thing. I had resisted Willa Cather and ‘plains’ fiction because it is what I know, where I was raised. I thought I would find it dreadfully dull. Why would I want to read about that boring flat land? (Shame on me.) But a friend loaned me this and insisted I read it. So I did. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the characters and especially how Cather explores the lives of women, the choices and their destinies.

The contrast of reading this while sitting on a beach at Waikiki Hawaii was also interesting. I look up and see the waves of the Pacific Ocean. I look back at my book and I’m bumping along a dirt trail looking at the waving red grasses.

FINAL Thoughts: I was struck not only by the thought that lives were hard in those times, that place. Carving a farm out of wild plains with rattlesnakes and climate extremes – very cold and very hot, was a difficult struggle. I wondered about this time period knowing that more struggle was coming  – the Depression, drought, war. Nebraskans are tough people, I know. Good people, mostly. This book is a slice of life.

RATING:  fourpie I cannot believe I didn’t note any encounters with pie! What is wrong with me? Surely this book had a pie mention. Sigh…

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Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

Venetia

Thoughts ven2bygh Venetia by Georgette Heyer (1958,375) **** 16 Kindle eBook

A delightful read! Very much fun. My second regency era romance of the year and my first ever book by Georgette Heyer. I blame thank Aarti for the recommendation. (<—- Read her insightful review.)

Venetia is a feisty girl with much to admire in her goals & aspirations, her wits and personality, and her worldview – despite her lack of travel experience. Golly, she’s never even been to London! She was wonderful to cheer for; she had courage and conviction.

Plot: Girl worthy of having her dreams come true, must manage the best she can because her Father wouldn’t let her do anything. He dies and she still can’t seem to get any opportunities. She has a few suitors but of course, they don’t suit her at all. THEN!  rascally neighbor returns home and she must actually talk with him despite how bad it looks for a young nice unbetrothed maiden to do so – it’s just not done! He has a very bad reputation for nasty carryings-on, etc and then some. THEN!!  She’s kicked out of her house by a most loathsome situation that was hells-bells wrong – her brother deserved a scolding but he never showed his face to take it. Lots of side stories and past histories of young men running off with older ladies that maybe should have warned me but I was still surprised all the way through, every little twist and turn. Saw it coming but certainly NOT how it played out. Very fun. To the authoress, Ms. Heyer, I say “well-done. Thank you.” I enjoyed this very much.

“Perhaps you have friends already who laugh when you do,’ she said diffidently. “I haven’t and it’s important, I think – more important than sympathy in affliction, which you might easily find in someone you positively disliked.’

‘But to share a sense of the ridiculous prohibits dislike – yes, that’s true. And rare! My God, how rare! Do they stare at you, our worthy neighbours, when you laugh?”

Rating:  Four slices of pie and lots and lots of real whipped cream. (licked off of the body part of your choosing. hey! this IS a romance after all. Just to see if anyone really reads these all the way through. Actually not quite that kind of bodice-ripper romance but the mention of such is joked about; again, to my surprise.)

I didn’t know anything about Heyer until fairly recently, thanks to enthusiastic book bloggers, of course. Do you enjoy a fun and witty romance, now and then? Anyone have another to recommend me?

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Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

Therese Raquin

Thoughts trbyez trbyezgr

Thérèse Raquin

    • Written by: Emile Zola (Translated from French)
    • Narrated by: Kate Winslet
    • Length: 8 hrs
    • Format: Unabridged
  • Release Date:03-08-12 (originally pub’d 1867)
  • Publisher: Audible, Inc.
  • Program Type: Audiobook

FOR THE CLASSICS CHALLENGE: Author New to Me Category

Often repeated phrase:  Hither and thither.

This extremely dark story is INTENSE.

A young woman, Thérèse, is trapped in a loveless marriage; she hides her seething contempt well. When her husband, Camille, brings home a friend named Laurent, she secretly unleashes her duplicitous passionate side, Laurent is a non-ambitious lollygagger of a sort; he really only wishes to see if he could shag her. Dark deeds, mayhem and madness ensue.

“He enjoyed gentle quietude; waiting for the hour to strike.”

Not for the faint of heart.

I’m really not sure what Zola was trying to say. That crime never goes unpunished? That we really can’t tell what goes on in the hearts of others? That we should be content with our lot in life or else we’ll only get misery? – NO, not that last one… Perhaps, it is to never trust a cat.

Rating THREE STARS. I realize and I get that this is a classic but not my favorite. Well-written, amazingly paced, fascinating exploration of the depths of madness = imagination, etc. But I found it rather tedious once the madness ball started rolling hither and thither. Yes, I was distracted by the number of times I heard the phrase.

“That woman must have intoxicated me with caresses.”

Winslet’s narration is top-notch.

No pie, that I recall. Hard to say since it was audio and I listen in my car. Just not wise of me to take a note.

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Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

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