Where been? Have I

Poetry, for me, is a playing with words. Is playing with words. Word play.

“… the apprehension of a poem is a sensuous mental activity.”  

– Molly Peacock, pg 3 of How to Read a Poem

I had big plans for today, heavy laden with tasks, with ‘must-dos’. But all along, I’ve been reminiscent* that I have a poetry post due. While I mowed the lawn, I toyed with a rhyming ditty. While writing my daily letter(s), I jotted little rhyming ditties. I even attempted weighty thoughts, hoping the words would align into something worthy of sharing. (I don’t think I quite got the spark, unfortunately.)

Here’s that dittying of which I mentioned:

Lilacs are purple, tulips are pink.
Poems are astounding, designed to make one think.

If tulips are pink, what flowers are teal?
Poems jolt emotions, to make one feel.

I have been aware that April is Poetry Month and I have seen its mention many places. Every time I encounter a poem, I gave a little high-five to the universe, “Yay, a poem for poetry month!”, and yet, here it is, THE day to post for Read More Blog More and I’m finally sitting down to write my post.

Confession Time. I borrowed Peacock’s Poetry book from the library about 4 weeks ago and today is the first time I’ve even opened it. For shame. It might even be due (overdue) and I owe late fees. I’m really not sure.

Molly opens her book by describing how much joy she found in the fact that the word joy has an O in the middle. And how astonishing it is that the word ‘circle’ does not have an O. I could be friends with this woman. I should probably just buy the darn book.

“if you have form’d a circle to go into,
Go into it yourself, and see how you would do.”

– William Blake from “Gnomic Verses ii: To God”

I’ve been reading a lot lately. I listened to Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild (on CD, in my car**) and finished 1Q84 by Murakami. Just so you know, in case you don’t make it back for my reviews; I was most conflicted about Into the Wild and I thought 1Q84 was only OK. Yep, that means two stars. I don’t think I will go out of my way to read any thing else by this author.  You know the ol’ argument “Too many books, too little time” and I can’t waste time trying to figure him out and whether or not I *should* like his stuff.

And READ-A-THON! I felt guilty not participating. And yet, I probably read more pages of books this past weekend than any other prior read-a-thon ever. That’s guilt for ya.

What else?  I have book club this Thursday. I’m the CHOOSER or presentor-of-the-choices this month and here’s what I think I am proposing: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, and A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean. I keep toying with the idea of adding Fifty Shades of Grey***  to the list but I’m afraid that is what they will choose. And we will all read it anyway, I think. Thus, it shouldn’t be a book club choice. My opinion.

What does any of this have to do with poetry? Not a damn thing.

“Our sense inarticulacy in the face of the most articulate art, a helplessness in its presence – coupled with a sureness of our attachment to it even though we don’t know why – can bewitch us.”

– Molly Peacock, pg 4 of How to Read a Poem

Not a damn thing. How do we make poetry out of every day have-to-dos?
Lu asks, in her post from the weekend telling us to get ready for today:
#3) Where do you get your poetry? Do you read poetry in books, primarily online, in magazines?
I won the free gift from the Read-More-Blog-More committee last month, The Day the World Ends by Ethan Coen. I have yet to open it. Haven’t even cracked the cover. But THANKS!  I just haven’t gotten to it yet!!!   🙂
I find my poetry here there and anywhere. I mentioned that one of my latest reads was FULL of poetry: The Invention of Clouds and it was a most unexpected pleasure. But I don’t seek it out. Or maybe, I do. Just by participating in this event, I’m recognizing the possibility — the opportunity of poetry.
Yep, I think I will buy Molly’s book.
Finally, pink tulips:  

Can we conceive what humanity would be if it did not know the flowers?  ~Maurice Maeterlinck

* Can I be ‘reminiscent’? or was the DAY reminiscent? All this thinking hurts my brain.

** My attempt to “Go Audio” and I completely screw it up. I was SUPPOSED TO download something to my iPhone. Sigh…

*** Everyone I know in “REAL LIFE” has asked me if I’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey. I have not. Funny, I have yet to see a review of it here in my book-blogosphere. But that only proves that I never open my Google Reader.

Copyright © 2007-2012. 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 Elephant Keeper

Thoughts  The Elephant Keeper by Christopher Nicholson, William Morrow An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers 2009, 298 pages

WHY I read this:  Selected for April’s Book Club Choice. WHERE did I get it?  Library; in hardback.

FIRST SENTENCE:  It was six days ago that Lord Bidborough, accompanied by another gentleman, came to the Elephant House and, after making the usual inquiries about my charge, who was, at that moment, quietly eating hay, asked whether it was true that, as he had heard, I was able to read.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is a story set in mid-1700s England of how a caretaker for an elephant took care of his elephant.

WHAT I LIKED: I enjoyed learning about the elephant Jenny. She was cool. It was a fast read.

WHAT I didn’t: I felt the story lacked depth.

DEPTH – (2) complexity and profundity of thought : the book has unexpected depth.• extensive and detailed study or knowledge : third-year courses typically go into more depth. •  intensity of emotion, usually considered as a laudable quality : a man of compassion and depth of feeling. •  intensity of color : the wine shows good depth of color.

I was a bit confused at the epilogue where the author discusses looking at elephant bones from the 1700s that are maintained in some archive in London and his wondering how Jenny may have died. Was this a fictionalized story extrapolated from found facts somewhere? I missed something.

RATING: Two slices of pie.  (goodreads.com TWO STARS = “It was OK.”)

OTHER REVIEWS:   Check Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search for a few. Or goodreads.com by clicking on the book cover up at the top of this post.

For Vasilly, MORE tulips! 


Copyright © 2007-2012. 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.


Thoughts  Saturday by Ian McEwan, Anchor Books 2005, 291 pages

FOR:  Just another one for the calendar category of BethFishReads’ What’s In a Name 5 Challenge?  [I’m still searching for the fits-in-a-pocket category, just sayin’.]

BECAUSE:  I have some kind of crush on Ian McEwan. Because I like books that are set entirely within a 24 hours period. Because I heard somewhere that McEwan wrote this as his take on Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and I loved that book. But do know —  I did not like Mrs. Dalloway upon my first reading. I adored it on my second reading. It sold me on the value of re-reading. I used to never re-read books. I give a ton of credit to a few of you bloggers who love to re-read and have expressed your dismay that I never did. So… Thank you. I hope you know who you are. (ok, I’ll send you a poke/link/tweet to make sure!)

CREDIT DUE:  to FizzyJill. FizzyJill was not so enamored by this book and apparentlly not by all that is IMcE. I do not judge her nor fault her but only thank her for buying this book, reading it, posting on it, and then sending it on to me because I begged her to. She even included $5 and change* to thank me for taking it off her hands!  Crazy chick. *SMILES*


FIRST SENTENCE:  “Some hours before dawn Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon, wakes to find himself already in motion, pushing back the covers from a sitting position, and then rising to his feet.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Henry wakes early on a day that is officially a day off but  is full of stuff that has to be done because his daughter and father-in-law are flying into town.

We are privileged to be IN HIS HEAD with almost every thought. How much he loves his wife, reminiscing of how they met, why he chose neurology, how much he enjoys his work. We learn how conflicted he is about politics; what to think about the world and terrorism and poverty vs. wealth. He visits his mother who is far gone in terms of old age senility. We participate in a squash game and feel the competitiveness and loathing of what aging does to our bodies in term of keeping up to what we want to do, what we used to do. He thinks about his kids and reflects on his childhood. Are we smarter in ‘middle-age’? Do we settle for life as we know it, lose our ambition or ability to dream, or do we end up living lives within the constructs of the possible futures of our children? Weighed against what our parents were able to accomplish? Are our entire lives a question? Is the answer eternally elusive because the parameters keep changing.

I should mention that he has a minor crash in his Mercedes and thus meets some loathsome characters. He cooks dinner but it gets interrupted. I would have loved his fish stew and crusty bread and red wine.

Feel free to read Softdrink’s review and wonder if I’m saying anything different. Except I LOVED IT. I knew I would love it and I relish the questioning quizzing of how I would know I would love it and yet not be disappointed by over-expecting? Life is just odd. Play along.

I’m still in love with IMcE.

RATING:  Four slices of pie.

WHY NOT FIVE?  I rolled my eyes just a few times with the predictableness of the story. It’s not what happens; it’s how McEwan describes what happens.

RECOMMENDED TO:  Those who love London and recognize streets and landmarks. I’ve never been but it was heavy on the London setting. Those who love being in a character’s head. Those who love books set in a single day. Those who have a crush on Ian McEwan.

* Softdrink didn’t really send me any money. But she offered! But then realized I am truly a bit insane with my IMcE crush so paying me to take this book off of her hands was entirely unnecessary.


Copyright © 2007-2012. 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.

Summer in “the City! and the City!!”

So, one of the amazing most wonderful things about Twitter is the spontaneous ideas that catch fire. @Lulu_bella saw my random tweet about @BiblioEva‘s recent review post on China Miéville’s The City and the City and BOOM!

we attracted the notice of Nymeth and Iris and Belle and Melissa and some other wonderful people…

Turns out of few of us have been wanting to read this book (or SOMETHING by this author) and we are excited to join with other Tweeters and BookBloggites to do a readalong. We flexibly agreed to read The City and the City this summer and we will kick it off with a BANG!

on or around the date June 15.

Like I say, informal and flexible. Get a copy, start reading it on June 15 and we’ll see what happens. I’m not skilled at readalong planning structure setting-upping so let’s just say this post is a kick-off.  We don’t need a SIGN-UP; just read it and participate if the stars (timing) align and we’ll have a party. Perhaps more details and organization will follow.

Which means you are invited.


Copyright © 2007-2012. 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 BAND for April is Quirky


I’m hosting this month’s BAND discussion and the topic is QUIRKY NonFiction.

How do you define QUIRKY? and do you read it?

quirky |ˈkwərkē|
adjective ( quirkier, quirkiest )
characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits :  her sense of humor was decidedly quirky.

I like to read nonfiction on odd subjects. I define quirky as a book about a single subject that at first thought might prompt a question of how anyone could find enough stuff to write an entire book?

When someone asks what you are reading and the look of surprise or confusion on the person’s face when you tell them you’ve got a 484 page tome on the History of SALT suggests you’re crazy, it might be considered ‘quirky nonfiction’.

I think I am attracted to the opportunities to capsulize my learning. One little daring topic is not overwhelming and allows one to meet one person, learn some history, explore safely something I can relate to and then be thrilled to know a little more. I like the exploring of one thing from many different angles. And I’m not confronted with a choice to do something about it. I can be content that I learned something new.

Examples of nonfiction that I’ve enjoyed:

Mauve  How One Man Invented a Color That Change the World by Simon Garfield. Purple is my favorite color. The chemistry and history of the times was captivating.

The Secret Life of Lobsters  by Trevor Corson – One of my all time favorites, this follows three story lines that delve into the biology, the managing of the lobster industry, and the struggles of a family who makes their living lobstering in New England.

 The Invention of Clouds by Richard Hamblyn. The author manages to present a romantic view of weather and the chase to understand it framed around the life of Luke Howard who is credited with cloud nomenclature.

Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife – Not my favorite, but I do like mathematics. It is interesting to note that the concept of zero and its recent inclusion on the number line is relatively ‘new’.

Join Me by Danny Wallace.  This book is about what happens when you start a movement. Except that Mr. Wallace didn’t really have an agenda thus was quite surprised when people all over the world were happy to join him anyway.

Other books that catch my eye that I have NOT read (yet) but would fit my quirky category are:

Making Piece:  Love, Loss and the Healing Power of Pie by Beth M. Howard. Yea, actually not very quirky but I want to read this!! A memoir; with pie…

Anything and everything by Mary Roach:  Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Spook: Science Tackles the AfterLife, and more…

Just My Type   by Simon Garfield – HEY! Did you notice that this author is the same guy who wrote Mauve?! WOW! This tells me that Mr. Garfield is probably a guy who likes to write about odd stuff.

I think we can put Mark Kurlansky in this category and most certainly Mary Roach. Tell me some more!

Who are your favorite quirky titles and authors?


Copyright © 2007-2012. 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 Clouds

Thoughts  The Invention of Clouds by Richard Hamblyn, Farrar Straus and Giroux 2001, 403 pages

subtitle:  How An Amateur Meteorologist Forged The Language Of The Skies

Defin’d the doubtful, fix’d its limit-line,
And named it fitly – Be the honour thine!

LOVED THIS and yet I didn’t finish it before it had to go back to the library.  *sadface* However! I’m considering buying this as a gift though I am really not sure if the intended recipient will enjoy it. I think he might? But I also have no clue what his reading tastes are. I always seem to buy him books, though and I never remember to ask if he liked ’em. We don’t talk often. Sometimes that’s the way it is with family… Or maybe just my family. We’re not of the demonstrative types.


This book was sweet, in a way. It had poetry! It really showed a sensitive side to the author, methinks. You could suppose a history book — a biography book, to be cut and dried and just-the-facts, but we must consider this guy – the subject, not the author – was  ‘discovered’ around the end of the Age of Enlightenment and kicking off the Romantic era. [Not that I’m an expert – I had to go look that up.]

So, in 1802, Luke Howard presented his nomenclature for identifying clouds. And it was GROUNDBREAKING!  WHY had no one ever figured this out before?!  astonishing! I loved this part and learning about Luke’s early years and then his being thrust into fame.

I was not so keen as to the actual cloud details and who else had done some findings or tried to piggy-back on Howard’s labels and ideas. I just had too many other books shouting at me to read and this one was too quiet.

I did attempt to flip through and skim to the end. I’m a horrible skimmer. Impatient readers cannot skim. Thus the need for skimming and then the frustration and then guilt and then the downhill fall to just giving up.

I found it fascinating that these public lectures on the wonders of science put these guys into rock star acclaim.

I loved that his grandchildren were fond of him.

I was delighted at the bit about how Mr. Howard surely must have met Miss Jane Austen – his carriage is documented as traveling the road on which her house was set. Being of similar class and stature, it would not be at all unheard of that he would stop and pay a call. But not record exists of such.

I loved loved LOVED the poetry!

Science, illuminating ray!
Fair mental beam, extend thy sway,
And shine from pole to pole!
From thy accumulated store,
O’er every mind thy riches pour,
Exacted from low desires to soar,
And dignify the soul.
                              -Sarah Hoare, 1831

and how about this, written by Goethe and based on one of Howard’s essays?

When o’er the silent bosom of the sea
The cold mist hangs like a stretch’d canopy;
And the moon, mingling there her shadowy beams,
A spirit, fashioning other spirits seems;
We feel, in moments pure and bright as this,
The joy of innocence, the thrill of bliss.
Then towering up in the darkinging mountain’s side,
And spreading as it rolls its curtains wide,
It mantles round the mid-way height, and there
It sinks in water-drops, or soars in air.

There’s more to that – he has three more stanzas…

So. If you love science or the weather, or dreamily gaze up at the clouds, or love odd little biographies of interesting dudes from the early 1800’s, and certainly if you like poetry that was written during those times, I suggest this wonderful book.

And a big thank you to Vasilly for recommending a book that helps identify clouds: The Cloud Collector’s Handbook. I’m thinking of buying that for my nieces and nephews. Here’s another one that looks enticing:  The Cloudspotter’s Guide.

Do you not love white fluffy clouds in a bright blue spring sky?


Copyright © 2007-2012. 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.

What’s in the Mailbox?

Just a musings-Monday. Happy April Everyone!  Here’s a photo from the local garden store that I made my husband take me to yesterday so I would get out of the house:

And I can tell you that I got a book in the mail last week. Thank you Softdrink for sending me this after I begged for it.

I cannot decide what to read next and it is really irritating me. I think I will abandon The Invention of Clouds but every time I flip through it, I think, “OOOoooo!!  That’s cool.” and it has poetry!  and mentions of Jane Austen!!  but.  It’s due at the library. I might end up buying it for my brother as a gift. (SSSHHHHHH!  Don’t tell him.)

Our book club selected The Elephant Keeper and none of you blokes seem to have read it. What’s up with that?!  When I can’t find any review in Fyrefly’s book blog search, I get nervous. On the other hand, maybe I will love it and spark a blogfire of appreciation. THAT would be something fun that I haven’t ever done.

Having read the Literate Housewife’s groundbreaking project to amass a list of truly worthy (cough, not celebrity) audio book narrators, I am tempted to buy the audio of The Elephant Keeper. Roger May reads it. I have no idea if he is any good. (uh, thought – can these be sampled?) IF YOU HAVE LISTENED TO ROGER MAY and recommend, PLEASE let me know.

Or should I get the print version. Or the kindle version. OR see if the library has it?  I’m in a state of paralysis and indecision.

On the letter writing year that is 2012, I sent 46 pieces of mail in March for a grand total of 181 for the first quarter. I received 35 letters, I think. I counted but can’t find where I wrote that down. (probably in a tweet!) I bought some nifty cards and stationery at Marshalls – gawd, I do love the TJX stores.

I posted my Final Summary Thoughts on Cloud Atlas and recommend reading it – if not only because it is one of those books you want to say you ‘know’. But I enjoyed it, too! It’s one of the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die…

What else. I need to make a pie maybe today, maybe tomorrow, NOT yesterday as planned, of the SuperBerries I received on Thursday. Check it out on my tumblr page.

That’s it. To recap… NO WAIT!  I have a copy of Angels and Insects by A.S.Byatt to send on!  Who wants?  Leave me a comment here or on one of my review posts (click Angels or Insects) and tell me if you’ve ever seen a Javelina in real life!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:    One comment 

open internationally

deadline April 7, Saturday, 7 am EST (ie, NewYorkCity)

Recap:  I received Saturday in my Mailbox, I can’t decide which format to read/listen to The Elephant Keeper and I seek your advice, I write a lot of letters, Bloggiesta was awesome, I still need to bake a pie.  I have a giveaway.

Happy Spring!


Copyright © 2007-2012. 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.

Bloggiesta MiniChallenges

 I’m getting a LOT done! It helps that we had absolutely NOTHING on the schedule to do, really.

I participated in Jessica’s mini-challenge for Spiffing up Posts – read about it at The BlueStocking Society.   ★

and I commented a bunch to qualify for Sheila’s mini-challenge over at The Book Journey.

and now, I’ve turned on the POST-to-TWITTER service available here in WP.com land to satisfy Katie’s mini-challenge at her blog. Hitting submit on this post and running over to Twitter will confirm I set it up correctly.

I only have a few things to do and one involves baking a pie which will be offline – until photo posting time.

I hope to join the TweetChat at 11 am EST, too.  See you there?  @BkClubCare


Copyright © 2007-2012. 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.