Trifecta: My three new friends Jane + Sarah + Eleanor

Thoughts…

Hello Books and Pie Readers, I appreciate you! Have you missed me? I’ve missed you. I’ve missed writing here and sharing these last few weeks.

We’ve let Coconut Cream Pie Day rush by without a thought (ok, I sent a text and a tweet but not much more) — it was May 8, Tuesday past. 

Thank you for all of you who have stopped by prompted by an email or just a thought or click-back on a comment I may have left on your blog, or tweet, or comment elsewhere/somewhere. How ever you may have found me, please know you are welcome.

Let’s talk about the three books I just read. (or listened to, actually)

If you read my last post, you already know that I loved my experience of listening to Thandie Newton narrating as Jane Eyre. LOVED! Highly most highly recommended.

And then there is the latest book I read:  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

 

 

 

Miss Oliphant tells us that she found comfort in her many readings of Jane Eyre – LINK! and of course, she would! Unwanted as a child, smart as a tack, making her own way in the world and proud to do so. This could be a modern retelling of Jane. Not quite; but similarities and parallels exist. 🔥

I love that Honeyman talks about wanting more of Pilot in Jane Eyre’s story.

“You can’t have too much dog in a book.”
And finally, there’s a real person to talk about and how her story relates to Eleanor: Sarah Hepola and memoir Blackout.
As Discussion Chair of the Tournament of Books Nonfiction Pop-Up for May, Sarah has been keenly insightful and enthusiastic. I have nodded in agreement to most of her thoughts so far. Check it out. I am so glad I read her book to ‘frame’ my appreciation of this month’s conversation on Memoir. I am a fan of this genre and if is seems that I’m rating them all high, let me explain: if I am fascinated, awed, and informed by emotional sharing, I give 5. If the language and eloquence is amazing, I go high. If I’m moved; tears well in my eyes or I shake my head in disbelief – and yet don’t disbelieve that their story is honestly theirs, I rate high.
On the other hand, if I just don’t like the person, don’t like their behaviors, don’t find them to be changed or come across as arrogant, boo hiss. (I suppose I can give some examples of bad memoirs I’ve chucked against the wall. If you want? Nah, let’s only celebrate the good ones today.)
Memoirs this May have been incredible! All have been intriguing and moving. And I always found something to relate to or be amazed by.
Enough of that – how did Blackout relate to Eleanor? Well, Eleanor was a drinker. She poured copious amounts of vodka down her throat to drown her black dreams. Sure, Sarah’s story didn’t quite parallel, but the work to move beyond the consumption of alcohol as a crutch or escape or blind need was extraordinary. Difficult. Life-saving.
Oh, and all three were first person narrative.

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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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Jane Eyre

Thoughts  by Charlotte Bronte, 2016 (orig 1847), 19 hours 10 minutes

Narrated by Thandie Newton.

Challenge: Personal
Genre: Classics, Feminism, Gothic Romance?
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: #shrug

MOTIVATION for READING: Oh Jane. Jane, I feel like I know you. I have ‘known’ your story for what feels like forever. But, my memory fails me! I’m not really positive that I have met you face-to-face and heard your story from you directly. Perhaps I have only heard talk from other acquaintances, about your Mr. Rochester and his mad wife in the attic. I can’t remember if I was lying when I say I have read your book. Did I? or does it just seem that way because I know of the tale? (I have the same issue/question re: Wuthering Heights.)

I had to be sure. I decided that experiencing Jane Eyre via audiobook was the way to go (a first-read or reread – who cares? I suspected I would enjoy it – I love long classics on audio.) Lucky for me, I was able to select THIS edition.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Hmmmm, dare I spoil it? Have I already?!  EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT JANE EYRE IS ABOUT, right?

Actually, no. One of my best friends asked me yesterday, what is about? Crazy, huh? She’s such a good egg but is she plugged into the world of literature-mania like me? She is NOT.

And I had hard time telling her. How much to tell? I shrugged and told her she wouldn’t like it and would probably DNF it. I know her well enough.

WHAT’s GOOD: Thandie Newton is a dream. She is PERFECTION. She made every line beautiful and dreamy; she delivered the exact amount of emotion to every sentence. Fraught or loving, scary or forcefully independent.

Listen to Thandie’s voice and her thoughts on doing the narration:

What’s NOT so good:  Bronte can go on and on with descriptions but I enjoyed it. (I suspect my friend would roll her eyes in weariness. I also suspect she wouldn’t like the old language.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you want to audiobook a classic, choose this one.

RATING: Five slices of gooseberry pie.

“I have kept myself; and, I trust, shall keep myself again. What are you going to do with these gooseberries?” I inquired, as she brought out a basket of the fruit.

“Mak’ ’em into pies.”

“Give them to me and I’ll pick them.”

“Nay; I dunnut want ye to do nought.”

“But I must do something. Let me have them.”

She consented; and she even brought me a clean towel to spread over my dress, “lest,” as she said, “I should mucky it.”

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Classics Club Update and Spin-Done-Read Link

Today is the day we share what we read for the latest Spin.

I read Cold Comfort Farm and got a kick out of it. Glad I finally got to it and that I got it well enough.  I know the humor seems to hit & miss for some people but I always seem to enjoy a good satire even when I don’t quite know what I’m chuckling about/with. Whatever, it works for me and it’s all about me. Ha!

And I was able to talk the hub into watching the film!! 

I’m having a good year getting back to classics. I finished Stoner in January and have a plan to capture quite a few titles as options in my quest to fulfill this year’s What’s in a Name Challenge.

Good fun!

Next up is my post on Jane Eyre – hoping to finish before the close of the month.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Hunger

Updated to add the link to the TOB Nonfiction Pop up.

Undestroying Myself. Revel in my freedom. Terribly Human. Truth to Creation.

Thoughts  by Roxane Gay, HarperAudio 2017, 5 hours 57 minutes

Narrated by the author and admirably so.

Challenge: TOB nonfiction MAY
Genre: Nonfiction. Memoir.
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: TOB

MOTIVATION for READING: I have had this book on my tbr since I first heard of it. I enjoyed the raw honesty of Bad Feminist. I still have yet and want to read her fiction.

I went with the audiobook because it seemed right to her own voice to her words. Others agreed and announced it a good way to experience.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Ms. Gay tells all about her struggle with her self-image, her self reality, and what is to blame. It’s raw, it’s intense.

WHAT’s GOOD: I like how she simply and powerfully states her truth.

What’s NOT so good: There’s so much ache. How can you dare judge? It’s her story. You might not do or react the same. You might make different choices but what  is the point of considering? It’s so complex, so difficult; hard.

I like these memoirs because of the honesty and raw truth. Don’t like it or do admire it but it’s a contrast to consider how one might react – the same or different and why it might be important. It’s not important; there is not better best yes. It just is.

I’ve always thought Roxane Gay to be brave – she is outspoken and opinionated and dares express it on Twitter which we all know tends to gather the worst of humanity in response.

This book testifies that she is courageous and brave and forceful and doing her as best as her can be a-doin’ it.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I thought it interesting that I had in the past considered an idea that I would be a terrific technical writer and here is RG, a writer who fell into a tech-writing job. Just one of those odd pauses in my life when I wondered, what if? What if I had pursued it rather than wished it? And how can some people just find themselves doing things that I was to scared to ask if I could do?  Again, “Huh.”

As for “fat” books as a genre? Eek, that sounds… wrong but also great. Anyway, if you like this book, I recommend Shrill – which I just heard has been optioned for some kind of film!  OH YEA. Shrill was quite powerful on the Fat and Feminist genre niches.

RATING: Five slices of pie. Cherry pie and brownie pie.

Come on, Ina! Invite RG to be a guest on your show!!  (Has she already invited her?! did I miss it?)

I am excited to see what TOB does with these three books. I just downloaded the audiobook of Blackout by Sarah Hepola to round out this Nonfiction-full discussion event in May.

SCHEDULE:

Tuesday, May 1: Introduction
Friday, May 4: Hunger, first half
Tuesday, May 8: Hunger, second half
Friday, May 11: Educated, first half
Tuesday, May 15: Educated, second half
Friday, May 18: Priestdaddy, first half
Tuesday, May 22: Priestdaddy, second half
Friday, May 25: Wrap-up

 

Audible hopes you’ve enjoyed this program.

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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 About a Pie Post?

My April has been more books than pie but I can share a few photos of what I’ve made …. lately?  For Easter, which already feels weeks and weeks ago (with no improvement to the weather, dare I mention?)

 These are the empty pre-baked pastry shells I readied for two different pie flavors; all in my preferred ~6 inch pie dish style.

I made three Farmers Cheese with Thyme Pie:

Recipe from  The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book… Not quite sweet with only a hint of the added honey. Almost savory, very creamy. I would like to think I would make this again. I usually do make some kind of this for Easter as a tradition.

and I made a Pecan, per my husband’s request:

Keep reading! and may you enjoy a slice of your favorite pie while doing so.

Together

Thoughts  by Julie Cohen, Orion 2017, 299 pages

Challenge: Book Club
Type/Source: eBook / Amazon for Kindle
 Why I read this now: Choice for my bookclub

MOTIVATION for READING: See above.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Epic LOVE story! swoon. “A secret YOU WON’T SEE COMING!!!!!!!!!’ yea, OK. Bring it.

Bare bones plot: husband and wife have a secret. We go backwards in plot to find out what the secret is.

Let me try again?  Husband has Alzheimer’s and spares his wife the risk that he will blurt out their secret in his dementia.  OOPs – that’s a spoiler, isn’t it?  We go backwards in time and events to explain things we don’t learn about in the first chapter. They have kids – or do they?

Uh….

Robbie and Emily have been intensely in tune and in love with each other since the day they met. Her family has not been supportive. They run away together and live their lives on their own terms. Finally, the risk of their secret catching up to them requires Robbie to take a devastating turn. Whatever will Emily do?!

WHAT’s GOOD: The over-the-top warnings (setup) of surprise!!!!!!

What’s NOT so good: Dialog, heavy handed warnings. Poor dialogue. Plot point setups that cause eye-roll strain, clichés, characters that never convince… Everything but the kitchen sink. My over use of the word ‘ugh’ while reading. Must I go on?

FINAL THOUGHTS: Hey – don’t let me convince you! Read it and see if you like it because plenty of people do. I am in the minority. It’s not THAT bad, apparently.

The gr score is 4.02 out of 1763 ratings! I’m clearly not hurting the overall score. Whew.

It really is the kind of book that makes me smash things in jealousy and wonder if I could/should write a book. But then I think, nope – it’s not in me. I tip my hat to Julie Cohen for all the efforts to write a book and more kudos to getting it published AND sold. Really, I do!

RATING: The one star in goodreads is for “I didn’t like it.” So one star it is has to be, but I do feel bad about it.  A good thing, I guess, is that I am in the minority. Most of my book club is reporting it as a GOOD READ!  Please decide for yourself.

Pecan Pie is mentioned!  One star and a half?

Spoilers:   (just run your cursor over the space below.)

I didn’t figure out the SURPRISE too early, but suspected it when his Dad was in England in the war years. And then when Mom freaked when he arrived to meet the folks, I figured it out – they were half siblings – they had the same papa. 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Priestdaddy

Thoughts  by Patricia Lockwood, Audible Studios 2017, 10 hours 12 minutes

Narrated by the author.

Challenge: TOB Nonfiction May
Genre: Memoir
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible

MOTIVATION for READING: I had heard this one was quite funny. I like funny.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Can I just say that this book is so much more than any synopsis can attempt to share? let’s see what the goodreads blurb has to say:

The childhood of Patricia Lockwood, the poet dubbed “The Smutty-Metaphor Queen of Lawrence, Kansas” by The New York Times, was unusual in many respects. There was the location: an impoverished, nuclear waste-riddled area of the American Midwest. There was her mother, a woman who speaks almost entirely in strange koans and warnings of impending danger. Above all, there was her gun-toting, guitar-riffing, frequently semi-naked father, who underwent a religious conversion on a submarine and discovered a loophole which saw him approved for the Catholic priesthood by the future Pope Benedict XVI – despite already having a wife and children.

When the expense of a medical procedure forces the 30-year-old Patricia to move back in with her parents, husband in tow, she must learn to live again with her family’s simmering madness, and to reckon with the dark side of a childhood spent in the bosom of the Catholic Church. Told with the comic sensibility of a brasher, bluer Waugh or Wodehouse, this is at the same time a lyrical and affecting story of how, having ventured into the underworld, we can emerge with our levity and our sense of justice intact.

Ok, maybe it does. Or maybe you have to READ THIS BOOK and then realize how much you really were forewarned but didn’t quite expect until after. Does that make any sense to anyone?

First, I admit that I was instantly struck with a “Yes-I-Want-To-Read-This-Please” thought when I saw she was from Kansas. I have a big soft spot in my heart for the state of Kansas.

Two, even though I’m not Catholic (I’m Lutheran by upbringing), most if not all of my friends growing up WERE Catholic. SO I *know* enough about that religion to have an understanding – especially in comparison to Lutheranism. Yea, whatever.

Third, I had to find out a few things that struck me odd about this blurb. Um, a priest who is ‘frequently semi-naked’? And… they let her (or disallowed – which could it be?) to put that in a book!? I’m still rather shocked. Did any of his parishioners READ this book!?  yikes.

WHAT’s GOOD: Remember when I said, “this book is so much more”? I fell into the author’s words like a feather into a down pillow. I agree very much with the bit in the blurb that describes this as “a lyrical and affecting story”.

This would be an interesting story to contrast with Educated, for father analysis.

What’s NOT so good:  My midwestern mild-mannered sensibilities were quite offended. No, not offended… What IS the word? I just can’t believe she put this stuff into words and published it! I am so much more private, I suppose. Yikes!!  It’s been enough time away that I can’t even remember the particulars but I remember the shock and awe.

Reminded me of the question in The Animators about using other people in our art.

And… I have to admit that I didn’t think this book was for me at the beginning. The author narrates and this can always be risky. It took me one or two hours to adjust to the tone and what I interpreted as snark in her voice.  But I’m glad I stuck with it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I love that the LOVE in this family is evident. They may not get along but they love fiercely anyway. That is my impression. What a contrast to Idaho, hmmm?

My favorite story – laugh out loud funny – was the one about Patricia and her mother checking into a Hilton Hotel and there was cum on the sheets. I kid you not. OMG.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

It is always tough to catch pie references while listening to an audiobook but I do have these notes to share:

Lots of pie. In the Intro, even. In Ch 2, she mentions working in a diner and the owner looks like he wants to smash pies into faces. Also, a mention that Mrs. Ford got eye surgery and can now read her pie recipes.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Educated

Thoughts  by Tara Westover, Random House 2017, 352 pages

Challenge: TOB Nonfiction May
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Type/Source: Hardcover / Barnes and Noble
 Why I read this now: TOB Nonfiction May

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB Nonfiction May

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is Tara’s story of how she had to sacrifice a relationship with her family to find herself. Upon the urging of a brother, she decided to try to take the ACT. She was 15. She taught herself enough math to pass the exam and on her second attempt to try and raise her score, she succeeded in qualifying for acceptance to BYU. It’s a fascinating story and well told. With some hard work and some luck, a few missteps and some hard choices, she eventually earned her PhD in history and now teaches at Cambridge.

WHAT’s GOOD: Yowza, what an upbringing she endured. Her father is a misogynistic whack job. Her mother survives the best she knows how, I suppose.

She never set foot in a classroom until college.

What’s NOT so good: I had no issues.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I wish Dr. Westover all the best.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Talking as Fast as I Can

Thoughts  by Lauren Graham, Random House Audio 2016, 4 hours 38 minutes

Narrated by the author. And of course, she is awesome.

Challenge: none
Genre: Celebrity Memoir
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: I had credits to burn and wanted something lively.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have something interesting to admit. I have never watched Gilmore Girls. I’ve never watched Parenthood. Oh, I *know* of Gilmore Girls and I’ve seen bits and pieces and of course, have read many-a-book-blogger post the GG book lists and gush all over about how wonderful the series is, but I don’t watch much TV and I don’t have Netflix. I can’t see myself downloading an entire series of anything to watch. I have placed myself outside of popular culture, it seems.

But I love Lauren Graham. I have seen Bad Santa. 

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Lauren talking about her life, her upbringing, her career…

WHAT’s GOOD: Her charm and sparkle.

What’s NOT so good: I probably should watch Gilmore Girls just so I know all the people she is talking about…

FINAL THOUGHTS: I listen to celebrity memoir audiobooks when I need to get over a reading slump, or to change it up, or to laugh, or to be inspired. This one was perfect for where I was at the end of March – post TOB slumparooza…

RATING: Five slices of pie? Maybe only 4 considering I didn’t relate to about 25% (she goes through and chats about what happened in the original series run – I didn’t know anything/anyone!) but who cares… No pie mentioned, that I recall. Pity. That would have ensured its 5 slice rating.

OK, her best advice? When someone offers you an opportunity and you think you can’t do it, do it anyway!  This bit was meaningful to me right now – when I am both overwhelmed by my new job and what I have to do and my doubts about whether or not I can pull it off. Am I a sham? Or is this imposter-syndrome? What if imposter-syndrome is TRUE? egads. Give me courage, give me strength. Give me a Lauren Graham pep talk.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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 Zero

Thoughts  by Jess Walter, Harper Audio 2006, 10 hours 40 minutes

Narrated by Christopher Graybill

Challenge: What’s in a Name:  Title that starts with the letter Z
Genre: Thriller, 9-11 Aftermath
Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible
 Why I read this now:  Typically, I select an audiobook based on how many hours it will take. Ten seemed a good number. Remember when I used to choose the loooooonnngest ones? yea, those days are gone. I no longer have lengthy chores (no lawn to mow!) nor long drives very often. Bummer.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have been wanting to read more by this author. I really enjoyed Beautiful Ruins – which I also had the pleasure of listening to (the narrator’s voice is gorgeous; Edoardo Ballerini)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Brian Remy is a retired cop and he is having memory gaps. He keeps ‘waking up’ in a new scene of his life and can’t recall how or what happened prior to that moment. For the reader, it is like turning the page and thinking a page has been skipped. Both protag and reader are in the dark as to what the heck is going on. We both attempt to fill in the gaps and create a story, a timeline to what Remy is experiencing. It is quite unsettling.

“Maybe every couple lived in the gaps between conversations, unable to say the important things for fear they had already been said, or couldn’t be said; maybe every relationship started over every time two people came together.”

And darkly funny. But a sad funny because what he is messed up with isn’t going well and lives are at stake.

“Guterak looked over. “Hey, you got your hair cut.” “Yeah.” Remy put the cap back on. “What made you do that?” “I shot myself in the head last night.” “Well.” Paul drove quietly for a moment, staring straight ahead. “It looks good.”

WHAT’s GOOD: We (OK, “me” – the reader) get the idea that Remy might be having split personality syndrome but we root for the guy. The Remy we are privy to is the ‘good’ Remy, and we ache and yearn for him to figure it out so all can end well. But hey – we doubt that will happen. I mean, it is the aftermath of 9-11, so we have all the patriotism, all the say-I-love-you-to-your-loved-ones, the courtesy and slowing down, but also the conspiracy theories, the chase to find the terrorist cells responsible, the aching sadness experienced and shared collectively by those who lost someone, the always-shared stories of where-we-were and somebody-I-know-was-supposed-to-be-there.

All that came back to me as I listened to this story. And, it felt… OK. Okay good.                 I never felt that this story was manipulative or disrespectful. It was vague and confused, like everything was at that time.

There was a lot of imagery and absurdity. Walter is a very good author; he has a deft hand at dark humor without ever being over the top. I look forward to reading more. I had to look if this book was a part of the TOB from the year 2006 but, no. I would have loved to read the commentary and judgments of having this in the Tourney.

What’s NOT so good:  I have nothing to fault, other than I am both glad it was audio and not; knowing that because it was audio, I wonder if I might have missed something. But, I do think it was pretty good at the gap shifts when listened to. Would I recommend this? Yes, to those curious readers who like feeling disoriented while reading. I don’t think I know many of those kinds of readers.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I will read more books written by Jess Walter.

RATING:  Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned that I noticed.

On a different note, here are the audiobooks I just purchased and hope to get to soon:

May brings us the nonfiction mini-TOB by The Morning News. The three books I voted for are the ones they selected so I guess I have to participate. Priestdaddy is one; Hunger by Roxane Gay and Educated by Tara Westover the other two. I thought a quick funny Graham memoir would fill in for when I need snippets of listen…

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.