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.


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Wide Sargasso Sea #ccspin

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Norton 2016 (org 1966), 174 Pages

Introduction by Edwidge Danticat (read last, though, of course. I adhere to a strict policy of never reading Intros until I read the text. Ahem)

Challenge: For this month’s Classic Club Spin.

Genre: Fan-Fiction? Carribean Historical Fiction, an Anti-Romance, perhaps.

Type/Source: Tradeback / I finally had the opportunity and forethought to plan for a shopping trip to an Indie Bookstore who to my excitement and delight had a copy for me to purchase!

Will ship to anyone interested – just let me know your opinion of Jane Eyre.

_ ____ ________________

For those book-readers-and-pie-lovers who don’t already know, this work of fiction is the back story to one of the characters in Jane Eyre. Jane is the plucky poor governess who woos Rochester to marriage but then finds out that he is already married. And this first wife is living in his house, chained up in the attic! Sorry if I spoilt that for you, but I am truly shocked when I encounter people who don’t know what Jane Eyre is about. Book readers, even. How, I ask, do some college educated people I am friends with actually not know about Jane Eyre! A diverse world we live in; I keep finding out.

Anyway, Jean Rhys had read Jane Eyre and wanted to know more about this first Mrs. Rochester and so she put her ideas into this short novella.

I probably should reread it. It is atmospheric and confusing. It is stream of consciousness and vivid. It provides narrative on the lady’s childhood (tragic) and then switches to a time right after she is married to an Englishman and is this part is from this unnamed guy’s perspective. We know this is Rochester.

And he comes off as an asshole. The first part is rather straightforward and we sympathize greatly with Miss Antoinette and her sad mother and her scary circumstances – poor and friendless in hostile territory, a failed plantation on a Caribbean island. It is sketchy exactly how her fortunes turn but mother somehow remarries money… more tragedy happens and then Part 2.

Rochester marries Antoinette for her money, but doesn’t really remember everything cuz he gets the fever for a few weeks while all this is happening. Antoinette seems happy and crazy in love but Rochester is bewildered and befuddled and then finds out Antoinette’s true father was a drunk and much worse, her mother is ‘mad’, crazy, a whore. Rochester is filled with rage. He’s been tricked!

Antoinette also becomes enraged to find out this guy is a total jerk. Partly because he starts calling her Bertha – or was that before he got pissed off, I forget; but it was odd to me why he did that (and it is just so hard to think of the name Bertha as a “pretty” pet name – so confusing.) And THEN! He sleeps with a servant, UGH! and basically treats everyone like the asshole he is.

Part 3 is in England, to scenes familiar to those of us who know the setting and storyline of Jane Eyre.

 

Yikes… so rather than reread just yet, I post this and invite any of you to share/correct me on these thoughts.

 

I would love to take a class on Jane combined with discussion of this story, the history it depicts, the themes throughout both, and the motivations of both authors. Fun stuff!

The Introduction is excellent, too!

Four slices of pie. Alas, no pie nor pastry mentioned in Wide Sargasso Sea.

Cross another classic off my 50. Thank you Spin for the prompt to get this read.

I am on to my next: Vanity Fair – a classic I know little about (and what I might think I know seems to be wrong.) I know that Becky Sharpe is a famous conniving female character of literature and so far, Thackeray is entertaining in a Dickens kind of way…

[insert copyright note here and book cover image at top when I get back to a PC – I can’t figure out how to do that with this device…]

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!

 

 

 

 

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.

Standard Deviation

Happy Day!  Happy 4th of July! Happy Birthday USA!! Happy4th

Thoughts  by Katherine Heiny, Vintage 2017, 322 pages

Challenge: Personal, just a whim
Genre: non-plot driven family focused comedy?
Type/Source: Tradeback/can’t recall
 Why I read this now: not sure about this, either

MOTIVATION for READING: Somewhere I read a positive rec on this and it landed in my lap. Jumped into my book-buying basket somehow. I don’t remember! I could possibly have been swayed by the mathematical-ish title.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  I have another video to share. Crazy, right? I do these with zero planning and then they make it into a post here while I probably should be doing other things. Like vacuuming.

WHAT’s GOOD: It *is* funny, but not wildly funny. (Why do we always have to qualify what is funny? such a personal odd thing: humor…) It has funny moments and witty insights and nutty characters.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Oh just watch this. See how I try to bury these so you have to read to the end of the post before you realize I have a video? Is this passive aggressive? I’m asking too many self-consciousy questions.

RATING: I give this 4 slices of pie – I enjoyed it. I’ve been reading too many heavy books. This fit me right when I needed it.

Well, wasn’t she the sneaky one with that cottage pie!”

 

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.

 

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.

 

A True Lady

Thoughts  by Edith Layton, Untreed Books 2017 (orig 1995), 301 pages

Genre: Swashbuckling Romance
Type/Source: eBook / Kindle 
 Why I read this now: Oh, I was so ready for something FUN.

MOTIVATION for READING: Another book that came to me and I didn’t note where/how/whom rec’d.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is about a strong independent woman determined to live her life on her own terms despite her father’s fear and objections and meddling. She’s a pirate’s daughter; her mother was a proper English lady. And then, sadly, boys will be boys and girls can’t be as independent as they want (sigh)…

WHAT’s GOOD: All good fun!

What’s NOT so good: Only ‘baked pastry’ mentioned as a pie reference. Ha

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was my 1000th book entered as DONE-READ in goodreads. I know I’ve read more – didn’t have a good tracking system until I started blogging…

RATING: 

 

 

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.

An American Marriage

Thoughts by Tayari Jones, 2018, 308 pages

Challenge: My Marina Bookclub
Genre: Contemporary Lit?
Type/Source: Hardcover / Barnes & Noble
 Why I read this now:  First book selected to kick off the summer of “Boats and Reading”

MOTIVATION for READING: I really liked Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow novel and this, her first book since, has been eagerly awaited PLUS is being received favorably by many.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A young black married couple don’t have the strongest of trust between them when a tragedy occurs. The husband is mistakenly accused of a horrific crime even though his alibi is verified by his wife at the time of the alleged event. He is sentenced to 15 years in jail in Mississippi; the wife lives in Atlanta. Thus, the marriage is further strained? Is that accurate? I think so.

The story is told through three viewpoints:  the husband, the wife and her childhood friend who introduced them, was the best man at the wedding and has been in love with the wife for years. These two begin a romance but she can’t quite bring herself to serve divorce papers and questions her own loyalties and needs. Then, husband is released from jail and comes home. How will this triangle resolve itself?

THOUGHTS: This book took me a long time to read. I would put it down and just not want to pick it back up. I found it realistically presented and the characters/ situations interesting but I couldn’t invest in the story for some reason. I can only take so much heartbreak and heartache.

RATING: Three slices of pie.

“Cool as icebox pie”

 

 

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.

Announcing June #EarthSea2018 Readalong

Announcing June #EarthSea2018 Readalong

Presented to you by @AvidReader25 and me! Here, there and maybe Twitter? I suspect this readalong will take place on Litsy more than anywhere else…

It is high time I finally read a book by this esteemed author.  How about YOU?

Pull up a chair (laptop), and tell me your favorite book by Ursula-KLG

-or-

if you are like me, can I ask why haven’t you yet?

My own answer to that is multilayered. I have no good excuse and I insist that I haven’t avoided her. It’s that I have a ton of books on my tbr; how does one choose the “right time”? When an author is known for lots and lots of titles, which book of hers do I choose? So, I am grateful for Melissa for suggesting this author, this book, this time.

To gripe a bit, I do blame my education in that I don’t recall many women authors being suggested to me. I read The Hobbit in 5th grade. Why did not someone suggest I might enjoy Ursula K Le Guin?

Let’s do this!

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

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.