“I Should Be Reading” – January 2020 Update

I am suffering from “too-many-books-started” paralysis right now so let’s update my January stats, shall we? I combined the results of the poll from previous post. Thanks for playing.

The first book I started to read on January 1, 2020 was Villette. I’m not yet done; put aside for TOB. Gulp. Go ahead and place bets whether or not I ever finish!?

The first book I completed in the new year was Mercy by Toni Morrison – this was part of my Super Rooster catch up. You can read my post here or by clicking on the book cover image. I gave it 4 slices of pie.

I then finished Treasure Island on audio. Again, an so on, click the cover Four slices.

Followed by The Day the World Ends poems (3 slices) and Heartland (3 1/2 slices). Click the book covers to see my posts.

Now for the non-reviewed and my favorites.  Jumping from poetry and nonfiction, I enjoyed Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous on eBook. Four slices. It was beautifully evocative. Such imagery! And enjoyed less Normal People by Sally Rooney. Three slices. The characters annoyed me and I just didn’t grasp what everyone seemed to love about this one. I can appreciate the writing but I couldn’t invest in the story. (Book covers do not link…)

I was captivated by the audiobook The Water Dancer  by Ta-Nahisi Coates – four slices and was even more enthusiastic for ebook Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha. This was my favorite fiction read and earned 5 slices of pie.

My last read of January was the poetry collection Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower because it was whimsical and science-y. The title comes from a celebration of a deep ocean worm called by its Latin name Osedax mucofloris and if you have even less than middling knowledge of Latin you might see the translation, yes?

Nine books – 1 nonfiction, 2 poetry, 6 fiction

3 Audiobooks, 3 Tradebacks, 2 eBooks, 1 Hardcover

27 hours 3 minutes

1393 pages

Only two with PIE:   

I made black bean and sweet potato empanadas:

 

 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

Treasure Island

Thoughts by Robt Louis Stevenson, Audible Studios 2017 (orig 1882), 6 hours 23 minutes

Narrated by the Philip Glenister, Daniel Mays, Catherine Tate, Owen Teale.

Challenge:  Back to Classics Challenge (Place, 19th C, Nature or Genre?), Classics Club
Genre: Adventure
Type/Source: Audio / Audible

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A coming of age tale on the high seas, battling pirates for buried treasure. 

WHAT’s GOOD: Very fast paced, lots of dastardly deeds and swashbuckling. I enjoyed “young Jim”‘s mother who was full of love AND snark. Her only son craves a more adventurous life than running a seaside inn where the clientele is lowlifes and drunks but yay, that’s how they meet The Pirate. Well, the first pirate of many. So First Pirate dies and leaves a map that is discovered by Jim. Second Pirate attempts to steal map and threatens the life of the poor innkeepers but is thwarted. When Jim entrusts ‘gentlemen’ to secure a ship to voyage to the island where said treasure is suspected, we find out that the cook is our Third Pirate who declares mutiny. Jim is often dismissed as too young but then always exceeds expectations in every situation.

 What’s NOT so good:  Oh, it is perfectly fine if you like pirates and swashbuckling. The audio had long pauses between chapters which were a beat too long.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I missed this in school but I can understand why this is often taught to middle school kids. I am curious why the fast food seafood chain decided to name it Long John Silvers. Took a risk there, donchathink? But maybe not. Well, come to think of it, I don’t even know if they are still in biz. They had a long run, though.

RATING:  Four slices

No pie mentions noted.

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post is an original post by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

A Mercy

Thoughts by Toni Morrison, Random House Audio 2008, 6 hours 26 minutes

Narrated by the author.

Challenge: For the Tournament of Winners  : Tournament of Books
Genre: African-American Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible 

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A stream of consciousness by many women and few peripheral characters and the lives they lead. The ‘main’ characters are all connected to Jacob, a Dutch self-made man in the style of the American continent in the 1700s. It explores all variations of “institutions” – slavery, indentured servitude, marriage, religion.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s powerful, evocative, tragic. Eye-opening to a period of history. Morrison does make it very real, truly makes it come alive.

 What’s NOT so good:  I had first thought that Morrison was an excellent narrator but as I continued to come back to ‘the listen’, I decided she does have a staccato style that might be irritating. I really didn’t notice it through most of the narrative. However, in story — I got lost a lot. Characters would switch and it was very unsteadying, distracting. The characters blurred together. By the time my mind switched accordingly as to who was talking, I was switched to another. And I would get stuck on who the person was talking TO; mother to child, girl to twin, young woman to lover.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I am very glad to have had this book be presented to me. I wish I had co-listened and read and fortunately, the library had an ebook I could borrow and it helped a lot. I could almost count this as two reads because I practically started at the beginning and scanned to the last part. Read that and then listened. Ended with Morrison’s interview which was very helpful to my appreciation. Recommended.

RATING:  Four slices

No pie mentions noted. Unless you consider this, ~10%:

D’Ortega’s wife was a chatterin magpie, asking pointless questions —

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post is an original post by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Round Two of Classics Club 50 Challenge

I have decided to create my second #CC50 list on goodreads.

Book List 2

My idea for this list is to keep adding to it any book that fits the criteria and if by the date when 5 years is up (in Dec 2024, I’ll have read at least 50 of them.

Sound good?   

Starting with Villette by Brontë, my first book of the year. However, it’s looking like I will finish Treasure Island before that.

 

Help! My enthusiasm for Villette is waning! it’s so long. ugh. I better come across a pie reference soon…

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post is an original post by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

2019 in Review

I read 73 books. 

 Total pages 13,568. Hours 240

Female/Male:  40/33

Fiction/Non: 59/14

New to Me Authors: 59 /  Repeat Authors: 14 

This year, I read my 7th Ann Patchett. Two authors, I read for the 3rd time:  Thomas Hardy and Matt Haig. I read 11 authors for the second time. The only reread was Milkman, by Anna Burns, both this year – one by eBook and one by audio. I also read Say Nothing, a nonfiction view into the times and setting of Milkman. A themed combination that created a great reading experience.

Classics: 14; oldest book Candide 1759. Only 3 books published before 1900. Books published in 2019 = 20, in 2018 = 23.

Shortest book: No Small Gift, 110 pages. Poetry

Longest book: The Golden Notebook, 640 pages

Longest Audiobook: Wolf Hall (and the only series book?)  24+ hours

I took advantage of Audible’s monthly freebies quite often.

Highlights:

I completed the Classics Club 50 in 5 years!!!!!  

I also completed – for the VERY FIRST TIME – the Back to the Classics Challenge at the 9 book level.

I already mentioned my Milkman twice + Say Nothing “Reading Experience”. Wonderful. 

A renewed focus to blog and write reviews. Lots of Business/Leadership books = 5.  Three books with the word GOLDEN in it. Another year of no readalongs. And no Stephen King. Anyone up for The Green Mile in 2020?

I did a fair job of reading books for the March Tournament of Books – always a wonderful time of year. 

My top favorites to share are:

Finally, PIE.

and, drumroll please for the 2019 Pie in Literature Award, the WINNER of my best book with pie is  The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J.Ryan Stradal!

Edith would just as soon take another woman’s husband as another woman’s pie recipe, and she had the best husband in the world, so there you go.

 

Honorable Mentions: Where the Crawdads Sing for a boat named The Cherry Pie, and The Psychology of Time Travel for frozen butter pies on a stick.

Which reminds me, I read a few time travel books this year, too.

 

One more thing:

I read 8 books in 2018 that were on the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die: The Accidental, Candide, A Clockwork Orange, The Woodlanders, Naked Lunch, The House of the Seven Gables, A Handful Dust, Love in a Cold Climate

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

Diana frowned. “We told you, we don’t want cake, we want pie.”

pieratingsml

Review 2018

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The Dutch House

Thoughts by Ann Patchett, HarperAudio 2019, 9 hours 53 minutes

Narrated by Tom Hanks

Why I listened:  Time for me to choose another audiobook and I had just read JoAnn’s endorsement that Hanks does a fab job with this wonderful story. And she was right.

What’s it about: A pair of siblings are kicked out of the house by the evil stepmom when Dad dies. They obsess about their mother, their father, their upbringing, the house and all of it for most of the rest of their lives.

Questions:  I wanted to know about the book cover. Did AP find a painting and was thus inspired? or what. Well, I found her answer!

Favorite things:  That painting! the humor – so many laugh out loud of the kind of humor that delights me, Tom’s announcements of the chapters and parts, all of it.

Rating:  Five slices of cherry pie.

Future goals: I am hereby committing myself to reading all her books.

So far, I’ve read                                                                  Need to read
Bel Canto                                                                        Taft
State of Wonder                                                                Truth & Beauty
Commonwealth                                                                The Autobio of a Face
Run                                                                                  The Patron Saint of Liars
The Dutch House
The Magician’s Assistant
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

 

 

pieratingsml

 

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.

The Woodlanders, A Clockwork Orange, and A Handful of Dust

Mini Reviews

Challenge:  Classic Club 50 and Back to the Classics

classicsclub1

  

This grouping of Brit classics comes to you as part of my effort to post on books that fit the challenge requirements for the 2019 Back to the Classics Challenge.

Audiobook, narrated by Samuel West, orig 1887, 14 hr 16 min

I read The Woodlanders and loved it. Gave it 5 slices of pie. And since it is British, of course it has pie. (I really need to make some meat pies to celebrate Brit pies!!!!)

So FIVE slices of Apple Pie for this lovely twisty crazy tale of infidelity and nutty triangles of DRAMA.  Published in 1887 — I swear, Hardy in now times would be a reality show writer but be sad about it.

Here’s what I wrote on gr:

I loved the language, I agree with others that Hardy delivers suspense and certainly drama, and he is a master at language. Oh, I said that already. He is becoming a favorite and I wouldn’t have guessed I would have said that since Tess about killed me. I adored Far from the Madding Crowd and that is still my favorite, but I delighted in this crazy tale of love gone wrong and twisty. (not THAT kind of ‘twisty’! get minds out of the gutter. No sordid descriptions of the dirty deeds in this tale, puhlease.) But this did have turns and unexpected conflicts and resolutions and just a ton of bad decision-making, as humans are wont to do. Such vexation!
I’m really not sure as to the ending, what really happened there. Was it a happy ending? If I hadn’t realized that the end was near, I might have been disappointed; but I knew the audiobook had only minutes to go and then = it stopped. Actually, I admire the framing that Tom did there with Marty at the beginning and at the end. Well done, Mr. Hardy! Huzzah

(the rating also reflects the comparison impact of the book I started immediately after which is Naked Lunch. These two stories couldn’t be more different…)

And for a pie quote:

Winterborne was standing before the brick oven in his shirt-sleeves, tossing in thorn sprays, and stirring about the blazing mass with a long-handled, three-pronged Beelzebub kind of fork, the heat shining out upon his streaming face and making his eyes like furnaces, the thorns crackling and sputtering; while Creedle, having ranged the pastry dishes in a row on the table till the oven should be ready, was pressing out the crust of a final apple-pie with a rolling-pin.

Back to Classics Category Fulfilled:  Classic Tragic Novel.  For an almost romance; no one has their HEA.

_____________________________________________________

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, orig 1962, 240 pages

Back to Classics Category Fulfilled:  uh…. none?

Whatever, let’s tell you what pies it had anyway.

It was like some frozen pie that she ‘d unfroze and then warmed up and it looked not so very appetitish.

“Still, I drank and ate growling, being more hungry than I thought at first, and I got fruit-pie from the larder and tore chunks off it to stuff into my greedy rot.”

This took some getting into; the language guide is a MUST!  Then, once realizing that the author created an entire new language, it became fun. While also being demoralizing, frightening, scary, and sad. I like it much more now when I don’t remember all that much.

_________________________________________________________

Audiobook, narrated by Andrew Sachs, orig 1934, 6 hrs 43 min

I like the book cover of the edition because it does suggest the comedy. This is SATIRE people and it’s brutal. The divorce machinations are unwieldy and just off the top but what happens to poor Tony… yikes.

Satisfies the Classic Comic Novel category. √

And because it was audio, I failed to do my due diligence and record the pie quotes. It’s British. It had meat pie.

Rating 3 to 4 slices of pie.

 

 

 

pierating

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.

Wolf Hall

Thoughts by Hilary Mantel, Macmillan Audio 2009, 24 hours 14 minutes

Narrated by Simon Slater

Genre: Historical Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook, Audible
 Why I read this now:  Reading this for both TOB and to satisfy my own curiosity. I want to be ready for the 3rd in the series which is due in March.

MOTIVATION for READING: Super Rooster Chase <– see post. This edition of the TOB is to be held sometime in 2020. The March 202o edition will be just another regular TOB, I think.  The Long List for that is due next week! (I’ll update a link when I have it.) #SuperRoosterTOB

I really enjoyed listening to Wolf Hall and was wowed by the dialogue, the drama, the layers and depths to Cromwell’s persona.

Mantel was able to make him a sympathetic character! I like history, I do. I just don’t know as much as I think I should. Prior to this, I really didn’t have much knowledge other than the popular image of King Henry VIII and all his wives. I would say I thought Cromwell to be a shrewd, cruel man involved in some way with that period of English history. But this story does NOT portray him as particularly evil or mean, but rather quietly ambitious, loyal, fatherly, community-minded and very very thoughtful. I wasn’t sure what to do with this gentle, considerate and — oh sure, scheming  — person.

Was he scheming or just very very good at being flexible and adept at taking advantage of the opportunities presented?

So, I liked Cromwell. I did. Sigh. After finishing this book, I googled what might happen next and…. huh.  Well.

I’m not going to give a review of what happens in this book. It’s about Tom C and his rise to power, basically. And all THAT  is very dependent on the relationship with Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Anne is fascinating; very very fascinating…  OH, the whole thing is just DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA. I love how Hilary imagined it might have gone down. And I was amazed at how subtle and slippery it was. In fact, truly, I missed the milestones in the day to day to day – wait. WHAT happened? What did I miss?!

OFF WITH THEIR HEAD!

I googled SO MANY names! so many histories so many s/he begat so-and-so.

I googled Rafe Sadler. I googled his son Gregory. I googled “Is Oliver Cromwell related to Thomas Cromwell?” Such history! I can see why some people get obsessed with all things Royal.  It’s just fascinating for some reason. (I’ve googled descendants of our Founding Fathers, too, to see if any have popped up famous…) Family histories fascinate me, what can I say. You might wonder if I’m agog with the Kennedys but actually, I’m only mildly interested in them… The Vanderbilts tho? OH YEA.

I can’t wait to do the next in the series; will probably do the audiobook.

From a #SuperRooster perspective, this is not my favorite to win but I’m glad to finally read it and I’m psyched to be ready for the Champion TOB when it happens.

Your turn. Thoughts? Do share!

 

 

Ch 19 42:28         “Like he was a lid to a pie,”

Four slices of pie.

 

 

 

Up next: the Accidental by Ali Smith. Discussion 12/15/2019

My copy just arrived… This will be my first Ali Smith!

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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.

Super Rooster Chase

I have only four books to read before I can say I’ve read EVERY Tournament of Books Winner!   Here’s the list of champions and here’s the link to the TOB site hosted by the Morning News.

 

I am listening to Wolf Hall right now and loving it. I’m about 40% in and it’s fabulous.

I think I will try to read the Ali Smith book next, then the Toni Morrison, with the last being The Sisters Brothers because it is the one that least excites me and I just finished The Ox-Bow Incident and would like something to separate these western settings.

I’m going to put these on a time table and invite any and all to join in. Call it the COBC-TOB-Super-Rooster Countdown!  #SuperRoosterTOB

By November 15 – discuss Wolf Hall the first in a series of 3 about Thomas Cromwell in the early 16th century.

By December 15 – The Accidental

Winner of the Whitbread Award for best novel and a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, The Accidental is the virtuoso new novel by the singularly gifted Ali Smith. Jonathan Safran Foer has called her writing “thrilling.” Jeanette Winterson has praised her for her “style, ideas, and punch.” Here, in a novel at once profound, playful, and exhilaratingly inventive, she transfixes us with a portrait of a family unraveled by a mysterious visitor.

By January 15 – A Mercy 

A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart, like Beloved, it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter – a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.

By February 15 – The Sisters Brothers

With The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt pays homage to the classic Western, transforming it into an unforgettable comic tour de force. Filled with a remarkable cast of characters – losers, cheaters, and ne’er-do-wells from all stripes of life – and told by a complex and compelling narrator, it is a violent, lustful odyssey through the underworld of the 1850s frontier that beautifully captures the humor, melancholy, and grit of the Old West, and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.

 

Who’s IN!?   

 

COBC = Care’s Online Book Club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Mini Reviews for Mid October 2019

Thoughts

Since my last random update post, August’s, when I was audiobooking Charlotte Sometimes, I have not only completed my Classics Club 50 in 5 years requirement but am devouring more classics in a race to the end of the year!

Not sure why the above is indented, but I’m going with it. The list/image below is in finished order, but I’m going to talk about audiobooks first and then print.

OK, so I finished Charlotte and only kind of liked it. Gave it 3 slices of pie. As far as I recall (and perhaps failed to note) there was NO PIE. Boo.

On to my next audiobook, also a classic, Tom Hardy’s The Woodlanders – and I was all in for the drama-DRAMA-D.R.A.M.A!!! of that crazy tale.

Started Naked Lunch after that both for Classics Club 50 and for this year’s What’s in a Name Challenge. I DNF’d. I got 25% in and decided that I wasn’t going to enrich my life further by listening to any more c words, f words, p words and v words.  (v for vomit.)  I’m counting it as read. Judge me all you want. (Applause also appreciated.)

Then it was on to A Handful of Dust!   Crazy wild tale, really. Quite. I would love to chat with anyone who would like to discuss. I don’t think I shall forget this story. Ever. Evelyn Waugh is just so easy to imagine as a snooty and brilliant uppercrusty-judgey Brit. Apparently he hated Dickens. Huh.

I palate-cleansed with a quick 1 hour audio ‘short story’ called Wally Roux, Quantum Mechanics, an Audible Exclusive (freebie) and enjoyed it very much. I like time travel stories.

After that and still into is my current audiobook, Wolf Hall. More on that in a later post…

Now print – mostly eBooks:

For print and in this case, I mean KINDLE, I read   The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal and LOVED IT!  OF course it HAD PIE!  Pie was a goddamn THEME.  Five slices of pie served with beer, if you please. Read it if you LOVED Kitchens of the Great Midwest, which I did. I think it was an eBook. (Yes, yes it was. I noted that.)

I read a few free or not-expensive eBook romances:   Next in Line by Amy Daws (fun! especially to read aloud to the hub while driving in to work) and Sealed With a Kiss   by Leeanna Morgan (not my cup of tea – skimmed it).

And, YIPPEE SKIPPY for me! I finally finished The House of the Seven Gables!! After many rocky starts which never ever seemed to catch, this time, I rolled up my sleeves and powered through. LOVED it once the characters were allowed to be characters (about 25% in, I’d guess? and not the history prep explanation which begins this story. I’m so glad to have read it. whew.

Then The Bird’s Nest was available – I think it was a library eBook? Very Shirley Jackson. I adore Shirley Jackson. Such talent. This book impressed me.

Oh wait! I read A Clockwork Orange, too. And yes, it was odd, violent and scary but not as scary as Naked Lunch. At least ACO had a story.

Which brings us to Love in a Cold Climate  – hardback, library – which I just finished and immediately reviewed in the post prior to this one.

The pie tally?  7 out of the 12 had pie. A few had interesting pie references, indeed (chubb pie in Love in a Cold Climate!)  Plus, a description of pie dough rolling in The Woodlanders, kidney pie and meat pie in A Handful of Dust. Truly, I’m deeply suspicious of any Brit book not having pie!

On the list of 1001+ Books To Read Before You Die: A Clockwork Orange, House of Seven Gables, and Cold Climate Love. And Naked Lunch.

Edith would just as soon take another woman’s husband as another woman’s pie recipe, and she had the best husband in the world, so there you go.

  • from The Lager Queen of Minnesota

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