Census

Thoughts  by Jesse Ball, HarperAudio 2018, 4 hours 52 minutes

Challenge:  Tournament of Books 
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now:  Looking at my list, this was a short one. 

MOTIVATION for READING:  Winner of the 2018 Summer TOB

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A physician discovers he is suffering from a terminal heart condition and so he takes a job as a census taker; he muses philosophically on this father-son adventure. The author’s note in the preface states this is in homage to his brother who had Downs Syndrome.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s well-told and interestingly odd. Or oddly interesting?

What’s NOT so good: I didn’t get it. I am going to need to do my review-research to find out why exactly this is such an awesome tale. I was not overwhelmed with admiration and joy but it had its amusing and thoughtful, insightful and dare I say? quirky moments. Definitely ODD.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Not the book’s fault but I am only giving this

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

The book DOES mention pie!  and I highlighted a few texts that I am hoping will come over from Audible?  Hope so.

Chapter 7 – “Win my tart of a sister…”

Chapter 10 – “Perhaps some pie.”

 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from BkClubCare aka Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.
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Getting Ready for LetterMo 2019

I am bizzy-bizzy going through my stationery getting ready for February 2019’s Month of Letters.

If you are unaware of the initiative AND you love to send written correspondence through the postal service, please visit the official website LetterMo.com.

I’ve been participating since 2012 when author Mary Robinette Kowal started it as a way to encourage more pen to paper and enjoying connections via that medium. Sadly, my original account at the website has been lost and I had to re-sign up; thus I don’t have any of the same penpals from those early days but if you want to friend me there, just look for Care_BooksandPie.

In the meantime, I will share one of the books I am very excited to experience this 2019 that happens to be Ms. Kowal’s latest endeavor:

It looks awesome!  Anyone want to ReadAlong it with me in February? Just throwing it out there. Preparation, people; it’s all in the prep!  I have the audiobook queued up and waiting. As soon as I listen to Michelle Obama’s Becoming

OK, then. I’m back to prepping February birthday cards, stamping postcards, and deciding on my absolute must-write-to list… (Are YOU on that list? just know – one of the rules of Letter Mo is I must reply to any letter I receive.)

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Review 2018

I read 76 books. Though I’m not sure that some are even “books” — a few were Audible Originals so a print version might not be available. And I count my DNFs.

     Here we go!

Total pages ~16042.

Female/Male:  54/22

Fiction/Non: 54/22 (well, isn’t THAT interesting?!)

New to Me Authors: 63        Repeat Authors: 13

Classics: 10 (See previous post.)

Audiobooks: 28, ~255 hours

Shortest book: A graphic novel,  Adam and Andy by James Asal. I gave it 5 slices of pie!

Longest book: Vanity Fair by Wm Makepeace Thackeray, 32 hours and 18 minutes.

I gave more 5 slice pie ratings than last year and 4 and 5 slicers comprised over 70% of my reads! Not bad.

Audiobooks dominate!

Highlights:

I finished a series! The Broken Earth Series by NK Jemisin. Highlighly recommended.

I didn’t do any readalongs? Huh. I didn’t read any Stephen King?! Wow. I did finally read a book by Tracy Kidder, one of my favorite nonfiction writers. I read two books written by friends.

I did a fair job of reading books for the March Tournament of Books – always a wonderful time of year. I’m not doing so hot this year. I’ve read one and about 1/3 into another one. 

My top favorites to share are:

Jane Eyre narrated by Thandie Newton. Beyond fabulous! 

Circe  by Madeline Miller

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine –  participated in one of the best book club discussions I’ve ever experienced! Very fun.

Anthony Marra’s  A Constellation of Vital Phenomena – the book I’m telling everyone to read.

and PriestDaddy  by Patricia Lockwood, a book I think I want to reread but in print. It was one that stayed with me and still perplexes.

Finally, PIE.

and the WINNER of my best book with pie is  THE IDIOT by Elif Batuman!!!

Honorable Mentions:  Tin Man and Manhattan Beach

 

One more thing:

I read 4 books in 2018 that were on the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die:

2018on1001list

Happy New Year! Read and enjoy a slice of pie – in real life or in a book. pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Recap of November and the Plan for December

 Hello Book Friends!

I read 9 books in November for a total of 70 for the year. 

My favorite was the Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. It’s terrific. Just so so GOOD. Read it.

Four audiobooks – two were free via Audible, which is appreciated. Two were Kindle ebooks. One was a gift from my Mother-in-Law:  A Captain for Laura Rose. The Jemisin was the second in The Broken Earth series (I’m listening to the final book now, The Stone Sky). Girls & Boys is a one-woman play – which is different. And it delivers a punch. Overall, a fabulous reading month.

So now for December. The time to complete challenges, meet goals (doubtful), bake pies, and write Year End Stats posts!  Woo hoo. 

I have 3 books to read for the What’s in a Name Challenge and don’t even have them in the house. Just realizing this is inspiring me to run to the library and GIT er DONE! 

I am happy with how many classics I’ve read this year but I’m unhappy with how little I unpacked my boxes of books.

We are considering a move to a different apartment in our complex – but dreading the actual “MOVE” of the CRAP part of that project. I also dislike dealing with the updates of utilities, address notices, cable company, etc stuff but …  I don’t know. The pros are that we will have outside access for dogs (no waiting for the elevator), place for a grill and no leaky windows. The cons are doing the physical transfer of stuff, losing square footage and going to one bathroom. Advice? Just talking out loud here. Thanks for listening.

And this completes my post for today! Has to be one of the boringest posts I’ve ever blogged. I do hope to make a banana cream pie this weekend but let’s show you the pies I made and/or enjoyed for Thanksgiving.

  Have a fabulous Month of December! May you meet your reading goals and have a Happy Holiday Season.

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.


July Reviews Written in 15 Minutes… Go!

Thoughts on Recent Books

Thoughts on Recent Books and Typed Up Fast

or…  All the Books I Read or Attempted in July of 2018.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Despite all the authors who don’t want readers to give books poor ratings and how much I really do want to participate in that when I can appreciate that some books just don’t meet the needs of all readers, I do also want to say that SOMETIMES a low-rating or a ‘dislike’ can actually help a book because sometimes, a review reader will say to themselves, “Hey – those things you didn’t like are things I often DO like so I’m going to give it a try.”  or, they might appreciate that some books have detractors which is good because a book that is universally liked by seemingly everyone must be suspect. It’s good to find that some people didn’t find it awesome like everyone else. It makes people curious. Right?

I did not like The Immortalists. It was not for me. I just didn’t buy some of the characters’ behavior and thought it tried to cram everything and the kitchen sink into the plot line. If it had been just the first 25%, I might have really liked it. But the 3rd and 4th parts didn’t work. Too much. Too unbelievable. Wearying. But hey; LOTS of people loved it so give it a try if it sounds good to you. Maybe you’ll love it. In fact, I hope you do. Caveat – I didn’t like the narration so maybe try the print.

By Our Beginnings by Jean Stubbs

A gem! a true and lovely literary wonder!  It checked all the boxes for me. Set in England, romance between mature and smart individuals, family saga, historical, clash of classes and culture, story swept me away…  

AND, to be totally honest, I expected it to be boring boorish dull. So a pleasant surprise! I was captivated within the first two pages. 

My mother-in-law got me this for my birthday. xoxoxox

Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand 

I doubt I ever read another book by Hilderbrand. But I do like and enjoy and admire this author based on her Twitter presence. 

Brief Encounters with Che Guevara by Ben Fountain DNF – I’m going to have to try this again sometime. I didn’t capture me.

A Brief History of Seven Killings by  Marlon James – FASCINATING!  Too long, though, and very violent. I just couldn’t bring myself to continue the audiobook and wanted to cry. 

A Gate at the Stairs / Lorrie Moore 

I’ve heard SO MANY interesting things about Lorrie Moore and every interesting thing makes me think I would love her books. I discovered this book was in my immediate possession so I read it and I enjoyed it very much if enjoyment is the right word. She tackles tough stuff. I wish I could articulate my thoughts but I’m a coward when it comes to crazy good stuff and my inadequacies of explaining what exactly I found impressive or thought-provoking. 

My 15 minutes are up.

Have you read any of these? Do share!

 

 

 

 

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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.

Circe

Thoughts  by Madeline Miller, Hachette Audio 2018, 12 hours 8 minutes

Challenge: Personal
Genre: Mythology
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: had credits to burn, hot book at the moment

MOTIVATION for READING: I really enjoyed The Song of Achilles (even though I’ve forgotten much of the ‘story’ – oops)

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Circe is a daughter of Helios, banished to an island due to her use of witchcraft. We hear of her life from her perspective.

WHAT’s GOOD: Everything. Such fun! She lived a long long life and met many of the major players of Greek mythology.

What’s NOT so good: I don’t know… I thought it terrific.

FINAL THOUGHTS: She is presented as such a sympathetic character! She is strong, but she has her doubts. She has her failings; she ponders and regrets. She does the best she can. And when it works out for her, it is because she is true to herself.  I really enjoyed this.

RATING: Five slices of pie. No mention of pie noted.  Audiobook was well done.

Finally, more of me and my fascination/wannabe-bookcasterness:

Really. It is SO ODD to review myself. I like that I am expressive and that I didn’t talk too fast. But is that how I look? How we see ourselves is so different than the image inside our own heads…  How is 9:30 pm “late at night”? ha. I have to be asleep by 10 pm most days anymore…

pierating

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.

 

Extra Credit

Doing my OWN Nonfiction Pop Up for May. After reading and enjoying Educated, Hunger and PriestDaddy,

I kept going.

I read Sarah Hepola’s Blackout, then Alan Cumming’s Not My Father’s Son; right into I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and now Lit by Mary Karr.

I have to stop! And since I have put-off/avoided/procrastinated on a proper review of Blackout, I have decided to do a few quick mini-reviews just to post something (anything?)

 Writer Sarah started drinking young and enjoyed, nay craved the excitement and confidence that alcohol gave her. But when she woke up to one too many scary incidents, she knew she had to figure out a way to stay in control. But alcoholism is a sneaky beast; the control is slippery and always moving, seemingly out of reach or out of cognitive appreciation. I enjoyed her stories and admire her dedication to a hard-won, now-finally-appreciated sobriety. Via audiobook.

Alan Cumming is an actor. He is such a good actor that I can’t even think what I’ve seen him in. (He is on the show The Good Wife which I have never watched.) I did not know he was Scottish. 

I read this right after Eleanor Oliphant – also set in Scotland. Linky-linky coinky-dinky. His story is quite amazing, really, and he tells it well.  His childhood was bleak, his father was abusive. He describes this past while also sharing about a British show he was invited on that  explores hidden family secrets. Amazing insights, incredible parallels, fascinating and heartfelt. He is very talented. The audiobook is highly recommended.

If you are a True Crime fan, you know about Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I can’t really call myself such a fan, but I do find it all fascinating. This one is tragic and heartbreaking in so many ways; I first heard about it because I follow her husband on Twitter – that is how I found out about this author’s sudden death and then found out about her work. It’s exciting and thrilling that the perp, the Golden State Killer, has been arrested. This case will be fascinating for years as it continues to unfold. McNamara was a skilled writer and it’s sad that she will no longer be here to explore and explain it all in her own words. I enjoyed the audiobook very much.   Click on this book cover to open goodreads to learn more.

I’m not yet done with Lit by Mary Karr but I’ve had her books on my tbr forever it seems. She blurbed on Priestdaddy and is well known for her skill in writing memoir. With my credit-buying glee, I secured this title. Perhaps following on the theme set by Hepola. Shrug. It’s good and she IS a great writer, but it’s so tough to hear about poor parenting choices…  This is a tough one. I probably won’t write more about it. But I will read more of her work. 

 

I’ll be back to fiction soon.

 

 

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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.

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.

pieratingsml

 

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.

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.”

 

 

pierating

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.