Moonglow

Thoughts mgbymc by Michael Chabon, HarperAudio 2016, 14 hours 46 minutes

Narrated by George Newbern.

Challenge: TOB shortlist
Genre: fiction-memoir, speculative-memoir?
Type/Source: Audio/Audible Credit
 Why I read this now: Finished The Bone Clocks; this was up next.

MOTIVATION for READING: One thing that recommends this besides it being TOB is that it is written by Chabon. I have only read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and want to read more.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: I’m deferring to a few bits of the goodreads blurb because it is excellent. To read the whole blurb, click on the cover above because even though it is the button for the audio and I probably should link to Audible.com, I believe you would prefer access to the goodreads reviews rather than Audible. Am I wrong? Feel free to comment.

 …  the latest feat of legerdemain in the ongoing magic act that is the art of Michael Chabon.

Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies. A gripping, poignant, tragicomic, scrupulously researched and wholly imaginary transcript of a life that spanned the dark heart of the twentieth century, Moonglow is also a tour de force of speculative history. (edited/cut) Chabon devises and reveals, in bits and pieces whose hallucinatory intensity is matched only by their comic vigor and the radiant moonglow of his prose, a secret history of his own imagination.

WHAT’s GOOD:  The unraveling, layering, building. The metaphors, the descriptors, the confident prose. I am almost certain that if you had me read a few pages of a book without identifying the author, I could pick out Chabon’s style and phrasing.

What’s NOT so good:  See above. Unfortunately, I feel like I can dip into and skip around and know that even as am surely ‘missing something’, I won’t miss it.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  If I wasn’t in such a gosh darn hurry to get these books crossed off the list, I would listen to every word and marvel. I would be entertained, enthralled, captivated, etc. I think I’ll just put another or all of Chabon’s books on my tbr and hope to read them someday.

SPECIFIC to TOB:  Due to the narrative structure and question of memoir vs fiction, I really wish this book was slated to compete against Black Wave. What a discussion that could be!  What a syllabus for a college class: these two books, add in A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein and everything by Mary Karr. But what do I know? I haven’t read any of those…

RATING: Four slices of pie. And I did hear a mention (as in, a list of desserts brought to a party) but I failed to capture the specifics.

fourpie

Moonglow collapses an era into a single life and a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional non-fiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most daring, his most moving, his most Chabonesque.

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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 Bone Clocks Readalong Wrap up

Thoughts  tbcbydm by David Mitchell, Random House 2014, 624 pages

Narrated by Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, Steven Crossley, Laurel Lefkow, Anna Bentinck; Recorded Books 2014, 24 hours 30 minutes

Challenge: boneclocksbtn
Genre: SciFi
Type/Source: Hardback AND Audio / Library and Audible
 Why I read this now: Melissa and I co-hosted the Readalong! (which I probably wouldn’t have agreed to if I had remembered that January and February are hot times to read the TOB books… But it worked out. Melissa did the heavy lifting. I basically just cheered along.)

MOTIVATION for READING: David Mitchell’s books are best read with friends, in my opinion but I have never tried one alone so I have no idea.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  I’m not going to tell what this is about because Melissa explains it so well at her wrap up post here. Go read that – and do know that it is full of spoilers assuming you’ve read the whole book!

I’m going to offer random thoughts for here on out…

  • I do have to agree with Melissa about Soleil – where did she come from and where did she go?!
  • I thought Hugo Lamb was a great lovable bad guy. And how sweet was he that he was still in love with Holly?!  aw… swoon.
  • Holly was great. However (in only one section) – the voice? I’m not sure which narrators narrated what, but in the Crispin section — the male attempting Holly’s voice was WRONG. Very distracting.
  • The above point was the only issue I had with the narration. Otherwise, I thought all the voices SPOT ON. I enjoyed the audiobook very much. I did also read (went back and forth) to the hardcover from the library.
  • I was impatient to find out about Jacko and was sad that XiLo-Jacko didn’t make it back. Nor Esther.
  • So the different kinds of Horologists…   Funny, huh? The 49-day reincarnators and the body-hoppers?  If they had a term, I missed it.
  • I did kind of like Crispin – that section was too long! But it made me appreciate David Mitchell’s character development skills. And I liked how that section included a Writer’s-How-To manual.
  • Did you catch that part when Mitchell made fun of himself; “Never trust a guy with two first names.”?  Ha.
  • Melissa and I disagree some on the last section. She sensed that she was being preached at concerning environmental issues but I was only fascinated by the  possible scenarios. The Chinese being the world’s caretakers? Young ladies hoping to marry so they could get such luxuries as regular meals and Wifi. And what about Iceland? I have always wanted to go to Iceland.
  • So. Crispin and Holly. Friends. Friends who both wondered “what if?” Both denied acting on a possible ‘extension’ to their friendship to other realms. One, because Crispin KNEW he didn’t deserve Holly; but Holly? She sensed his sensitivity, his intelligence, his success. She recognized his ego in decline? His vulnerability? Did she sense that he was so different from Ed? (Cuz, YEA.) That she was a one-guy-gal? It felt so TRUE to me! That they became friends and wanted more but both doubted it would work, that it would be complicated, ruin a nice friendship, or what? just true. I really was startled when Marinus stated that both wanted love together but failed to even recognize it within themselves! How much do we miss of ourselves and how do we capture/recognize/trust these obvious or not truths about ourselves? I wonder…
  • Ed. Let’s talk about Ed but let’s consider some movies that explore the same stuff that Ed was experiencing. I’m thinking Whiskey Tango Foxtrot starring Tina Fey. I watched this movie today; it was my second viewing and it was just as good. It is not a highly rated movie but it hits a lot of buttons I like in movies. Shrug. The part of about how Ed feels more alive when he is chasing a story in life-threatening situations… I dunno. It stopped me. Had to think about that. I felt for him AND Holly. Poor Holly. Holly was so cool.
  • And here we are, considering fictional characters as real people.
  • I had been waiting for the labyrinth. It was cool that she had a pendant created so she was able to study it. Probably not a hidden hint that the map was going to be important but I was impatient for it and an explanation for whatever happened to Jacko. All those little insertions of story points that we know are bound to be important – like Aunti Eilísh chatting with the not-quite-Jacko and telling Ed about it.

I’m honored you’re telling me all this, Eilísh, honestly – but why are you telling me all this?
I’m being told to.
Who . . . who by?
By the Script.
What script?

  • Who wrote the Script??!??!?!?!  It did come up again, didn’t it? or is my memory faulty already?
  • I always rate good books higher when I’ve enjoyed a terrific readalong experience. This is no different. And I’m also going to rate this higher because of the many excellent pie references. MANY. LOTS. STRATEGIC. PLOT-PIVOTAL. Entertaining PIE REFERENCES. This David Mitchell guy might be studying Stephen King (#ifyouknowhatImean #butofcourseyoudon’tsoletmetellyou. King always has great pie quotes in his books.) I’ll just share ’em. Some are unpleasant but still awesome. Here they are!  The last one is AMAZING!
  • But wait — before I start the pie quotes, I want to disavow any hint I might have dropped that this isn’t a great book unless it has pie and was read as a readalong. I rate books by my reaction to them and so this is my rating. I do think it a really good book.
  • Who’s up for SLADE HOUSE? (Who has read this far?)

The PIE

page 13 2.08% “I’ll make scones and plum pies and coffee cakes and Vinny’ll be all, “Jesus, Holly, how did I ever get by without you?”
page 17 2.72% “Mam’ll make me steaming shit pie, dripping in shit gravy, and sit there smug as hell watching me eat every shitty morsel, and from now until the end of time, if ever I’m anything less than yes – sir – no – sir – three – bags – full – sir, she’ll bring up the Vinny Costello Incident.”
page 40 6.41%American Pie” song
page 68 10.9% “Somewhere in the July 2 bit of the A Hot Spell chapter is a reference to a “pie in the sky“. Too busy walking two dogs listening to audiobook to clip/note.
page 149 23.88% “Chetwynd-Pitt, Quinn and Fitzimmons have eaten – – Günter’s daube, a beef stew, and a wedge of apple pie with cinnamon sauce – and have started on the cocktails which, thanks to my lost bet, I have the honor of buying for Chetwynd-Pitt.”
page 446 71.4% “Do you remember, Doctor, we grew rhubarb at Dawkins Hospital? I remember the pies,” I tell him.
page 540 86.5% “Holly drops the thing. ‘Rolling pin’. Where did you find a rolling pin in here? ‘I nicked it from your kitchen at 119A.’
img_6527

RATING: Five slices of pie.

 

 

pierating

 

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Black Wave

Thoughts bwbymt by Michelle Tea, Feminist Press 2016, 326 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books
Genre: LGBTQ
Type/Source: Tradeback (with lovely deckle edge) / purchased directly from publisher.
 Why I read this now: Book arrived just in time.

MOTIVATION for READING: By the way, the Tournament Brackets have been announced. The fun starts March 8 with this book versus The Underground Railroad. I’m cheering for Black Wave. Actually, the March 8 date will likely be the Pre-Tournament Play-in Match and I’m going to predict Sudden Death.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is a cleverly told tale of a writer attempting her second book and experiencing ‘life’ so she will have things to write about. Let’s just say her life experiences are dramatic and risky. There’s also that environment/weather gone haywire issue.

“The planet’s dead,” Kym said cheerfully.

WHAT’s GOOD: I loved her tone, her wording, the style. I loved her nonchalance, her waywardness, her passions. No matter what her lifestyle decisions, she nailed that universal mid-to-late 20s ‘now what?!‘ malaise. There is humor and there is end of the world tragedy. What’s not to love? She also gets to meet Matt Dillon!

michelleteamattdillon

What’s NOT so good: I thought this book just kept getting better and better. There are definitely some fiction-nonfiction (anti-memoir? “autofiction”?) curveballs to the narrative but just roll with it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: My goodreads review is this:

A love story. A tender whacked-out apocalyptic love story.

 

Other REVIEWs:  Teresa at Shelf Love writes a fabulous review that tells you much more than I do.

RATING: Five slices of pie. Pie with ice cream, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and Shepherd’s Pie!

blackwave

blkwv2

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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 Underground Railroad

Thoughts tugrrbycw by Colson Whitehead, Doubleday Books 2016, 306 pages

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Adult Fiction, Imaginative History?
Type/Source: Hardcover / Contest Win
 Why I read this now: Book arrived just as I finished Sudden Death

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Cora is a slave in Georgia and Caesar invites her to escape with him. They manage to hitch a ride on the Underground Railroad which is actually a real locomotive underground tunneling train ride rather than a metaphor. They spend quality time learning to read and working real jobs in South Carolina when they have an opportunity to catch the next rail out. Cora makes it to North Carolina but it’s not a happy spot, at all. If this part was truly based on real events, I had no idea. Chilling. There’s more adventure to follow for Cora but none of it is good.

WHAT’s GOOD: Imaginative. Chilling. 

What’s NOT so good: I didn’t connect to the characters. I kept comparing it to Homegoing, unfortunately. I don’t think this book had anything startling new to share on the topic of slavery. As Penny on Big Bang Theory said, “Slavery is bad.”

FINAL THOUGHTS: I could blame the circumstance of reading a review of someone on goodreads who REALLY didn’t like this book and I have often found her reviews insightful and interesting, especially on the merits of literature. I think I ended up looking for those details and negativities but I really do want to say that reading the book was a meaningful experience for me and I’m sure the many wonderful reviews are valid. Please read this for yourself and let’s have some fascinating discussion during the March Tournament, ok? And remind me NOT to read reviews while I’m in the middle of a book!!!

RATING: Remember, three stars says I LIKED IT. I wasn’t blown away by it, I preferred other TOB books of late. But I’m glad to have read it.

I thank Jeanne of Necromancy Doesn’t Pay for sending me this book. She shares that this book is “powerfully written and deeply disturbing.” Please read Jeanne’s review here. 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Sudden Death

Thoughts sdbyae by Álvaro Enrigue, Riverhead 2016, 264 pages

Translated from Spanish to English by Natasha Wimmer.

Audiobook published by Tantor Audio, narration by Robert Fass, 6 hours 57 minutes.

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Historical Fiction / Tennis Lit
Type/Source: Hardback AND Audio / Library
 Why I read this now: Selected due to shortness of the audiobook, in hopes that I could finish in January to be my 12th book of the month.

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB…

WHAT’s it ABOUT: I’m going to copy and paste one of the goodreads blurbs.

A funny and mind-bending novel about the clash of empires and ideas in the sixteenth century, told over the course of one dazzling tennis match

A brutal tennis match in Rome.

Two formidable opponents: the wild Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and the loutish Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo.

Galileo, Saint Matthew and Mary Magdalene heckle from the sidelines.

In England, Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII execute Anne Boleyn, and her executioner transforms her legendary locks into the most sought-after tennis balls of the time.

Across the ocean in Mexico, the last Aztec emperors play their own games, as Hernán Cortés and his Mayan translator and lover scheme and conquer, fight and fuck, not knowing that their domestic comedy will change the course of history.

Over the course of one dazzling tennis match – through assassinations and executions, carnal liaisons and papal dramas, artistic and religious revolutions, love and war – Sudden Death tells the grand adventure of the clash of empires and the dawn of the modern era.

WHAT’s GOOD: It really is fascinating. And has its funny moments.

What’s NOT so good: It’s also too difficult to keep track of in my current end-of-month scramble to finish a book (impatience) and the wrestling with reading books I feel “I have to” and not what “I want to” — which I realize is messed-up thinking so let’s throw in the current state of the world affairs, my own crazy messy life stuff, and realizing I have a book club book to read by next week.

Allow me to share a few thoughts from my reader friends:

sdbyaegr

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m skimming the rest of this and do not think I will be missing anything (actually, as I miss EVERYTHING!) – in other words, I will be able to follow the upcoming TOB commentary and likely agree with everyone. If you are reading this, let me know if it has any pie.

RATING: Three slices of pie! I liked it, I’m just needing to move on. It does deserve more time and fuller attention than I care to give it at this time. I have my regrets and may I only mutter, someday…

Highly recommended for fans of lively history and TENNIS.

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Version Control

Thoughts vcbydp by Dexter Palmer, Vintage 2016, 512 pages

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Science Fiction
Type/Source: Tradeback / Local Indie Bookstore
 Why I read this now:  Book trade with Katie!

MOTIVATION for READING: I tbr’d this book back in November and I’m not sure if that is when the TOB Long List was published? but I know I had interest in this book before the short list was announced. I’m just getting to it now.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Rebecca is a young wife, recovering from a tragedy a few years back and is married to a physicist working on a causality violation device (do NOT call it a time machine!) She suspects that something is ‘off’, things just aren’t quite right, normal feels vaguely odd. Gee, whatever could it be?

WHAT’s GOOD: This is a meaty story with lots of interesting characters and details and tension. A bit of foreshadowing and a few teasers are dropped in and the slow build really keeps the interest going.

The drop in conversations with The President were very creepy. The autonomous automobiles were cool.

What’s NOT so good: Though I loved the sly political commentary on person rights versus data collection and the analysis of how computer dating systems are designed to be financially viable, I was not so comfortable or convinced on a few plot points.

FINAL THOUGHTS: In the beginning, I had that eager anticipation that this book was going to be SOMETHING, a book of heft and weight and delight in its unfolding. And not that it wasn’t, but it arc’d. Though it ended satisfactorily, it wasn’t the five slicer I had initially thought it could be.

RATING: A solid four slice of pie thriller.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Mister Monkey

Thoughts mmbyfp by Francine Prose, Harper 2016, 285 pages

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Adult Lit, connect short stories
Type/Source: Hard cover / Library
 Why I read this now: up next…

WHAT’s it ABOUT: These are connected short stories that revolve around a children’s musical play being produced off off off off off Broadway. We first meet an actress who feels frustrated with where she is in her career and we meet the 12 yo child actor genius who plays the chimp role. We meet a little boy who spoke too loudly during a performance and we meet his grandfather. We are introduced to the little boy’s new kindergarten teacher who happens to be on a blind date while the author of the book the play is based on is seated at the next table over. We meet the waiter who receives tickets to the play from the author as part of his tip. The play isn’t going well; the motivations and perspectives of the cast and audience shine a prism of realities onto the experience.

WHAT’s GOOD: The stories are poignant and funny, sad and insightful to the human condition. We feel the regrets, embarrassment, love and hope.

What’s NOT so good: I really enjoyed these and I was impressed by the deft handling and skill of the writing.

FINAL THOUGHTS: A pleasure.

RATING: Four to five slices of apple tart.

 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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 Bone Clocks … Mid-Read Thoughts

Lookie!!  So exciting:

img_6527

 

Yes. The famous author actually tweeted at our readalong and the fan girls went crazy.

.

.

.

OK, that’s all I got. I’m a bad readalong host. I’m listening to the audiobook and am still not to the end of the Ed Brubeck – part 3 section… Great Auntie knows what’s up but will Ed play along or will he be an ass?

I really liked Holly – part 1 and Hugo – part 2 was very entertaining. Where this evil goddess Miss Constantin will come into play next, who knows?!

Lots and lots of pie. Mitchell is on the short list for the 2017 Pie in Lit Award, but it IS only January.

I’ll keep listening…  Go read Melissa’s thoughts –> here <–.

 

 

 

pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

We Love You, Charlie Freeman

Thoughts wlycfbykg by Kaitlyn Greenidge, Algonquin Books Kindle Ed. 2016, 337 pages

Challenge: Rooster TOB Shortlist
Genre: Adult Fiction or Young Adult Fiction…
Type/Source: eBook / Kindle
 Why I read this now: It was offered as a daily deal for $1.99

MOTIVATION for READING: Reading all the TOB Shortlist

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  I refer you to the goodreads blurb:

The Freeman family–Charles, Laurel, and their daughters, teenage Charlotte and nine-year-old Callie–have been invited to the Toneybee Institute in rural Massachusetts to participate in a research experiment. They will live in an apartment on campus with Charlie, a young chimp abandoned by his mother. The Freemans were selected for the experiment because they know sign language; they are supposed to teach it to Charlie and welcome him as a member of their family.

Isolated in their new, nearly all-white community not just by their race but by their strange living situation, the Freemans come undone. And when Charlotte discovers the truth about the Institute’s history of questionable studies, the secrets of the past begin to invade the present.

The power of this novel resides in Kaitlyn Greenidge’s undeniable storytelling talents. What appears to be a story of mothers and daughters, of sisterhood put to the test, of adolescent love and grown-up misconduct, and of history’s long reach, becomes a provocative and compelling exploration of America’s failure to find a language to talk about race.

WHAT’s GOOD:  Surprising, enterprising*, engaging. I am glad to have read it and I don’t know if going totally blind into this was the best idea. But I think it was.

What’s NOT so good: Messy, unwieldy, faltering. (I have a few questions…)

FINAL THOUGHTS: I actually liked this more than I can express and it is the opposite of my feelings for Sweet Lamb of Heaven. In this book I liked it more but found a few faults. With Sweet Lamb, I didn’t like it all that much but couldn’t figure out why. Go figure.

RATING: Three slices of pie. MUD pie!

In his first few days at Courtland County he’d asked, “Y’all do what around here? Fish in ponds? Make mud pies?” and one of them gulped, “We go to the laser show at the CCC’s astronomy lab.” And he’d laughed.

 

∗ enterprise – a project that involves many people and that is often complicated or difficult.

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Sweet Lamb of Heaven

Thoughts slohbylmby Lydia Millet, WWNorton&Co 2016, 250 pages

Challenge: Rooster 2017
Genre: Adult Lit
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library
 Why I read this now: Came off hold before the others…

MOTIVATION for READING: The Tournament of Books by the Morning News – I have a shot at reading ALL the books on the short list. This is the 7th.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: In one sense, this is a story of a woman with a young daughter who realizes her marriage is a sham and flees her husband. But there is so much more that boggles the brain that I can’t even begin to describe it all. The fact that all of this is shared in less than 300 pages is amazing. It is about language and communication. It is dystopic and end-of-the-world fears. It is about us versus them. It’s quite freaky actually, but also extremely composed. Not tense, really, just shaky and slightly off-key. Everything is not quite right but not unbelievable even when reality REALLY gets distorted. It’s all a dream, right? Just a bad dream.

Having this book as your only read on a deserted island would NOT be recommended.

WHAT’s GOOD: The ability of the author to successfully make you doubt everything along with the narrator and yet also be separate.

What’s NOT so good: I can’t put my finger on why I didn’t ‘enjoy’ this more. It is that vague unsettling that makes it good. But.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think I’m just perplexed and left disillusioned. I am glad it’s over. It reminds me of a book somewhere that discussed the basics of the word ‘disease’: dis- the opposite of or absence of, -ease freedom from pain or trouble of the body or mind.  I am willing to read something else by Ms Millet. Any suggestions?

If you love the concepts and mysteries of language, you might want to consider this. If you are at all enraged by politics at the moment, you might want to skip this.

RATING: Three slices of pie.

LOTS of pie mentioned:  pumpkin, fake mincemeat, and pecan; cherry pie, berry pie, honey pie and chicken pot pie. Pie dough, too.

PS There is a fascinating 5 star review on goodreads by “Jill” (I only follow her) who described the story as “like a Rubik’s cube.” If you are interested in her thoughts, I suggest you go find her post.

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.