Goodbye, Vitamin

Thoughts  by Rachel Khong, 2017, 208 pages

The endive truck is parked there, and the trucker is outside, sitting on the curb, eating a waxed paper–wrapped apple pie.

Challenge: Tournament of Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Type/Source: eBook / Kindle
 Why I read this now: It’s Rooster Reading time once again.

MOTIVATION for READING: I selected this one because it was short. What can I say, I want to read as many as I can. Plus it has mostly good reviews.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: I’m going to share the blurb at goodreads.com:

…the wry, beautifully observed story of a woman at a crossroads, as Ruth and her friends attempt to shore up her father’s career; she and her mother obsess over the ambiguous health benefits – in the absence of a cure – of dried jellyfish supplements and vitamin pills; and they all try to forge a new relationship with the brilliant, childlike, irascible man her father has become.

WHAT’s GOOD: I loved the tone; contemplative, searching, kind, honest. I think I might have expected whiny, but it isn’t at all.

FINAL THOUGHTS: All the characters were easy to cheer for. and LOTS of PIE! Actually, lots of food. This is one of those books that maybe nothing huge happens but there is so much going on. Very good story and told in an interesting way.

RATING: Four slices of pie: apple, chicken potpie, pecan with chocolate in it, and just pie.

At the bistro, our server struggled to remember the pie list.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.
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What’s in a Name 2018 Kick Off Post

My favorite challenge! This button     will take you to the host blog, The Worm Hole.

Here are the categories (with hyperlinks back to host blog) and my possible choices:

The word ‘the’ used twice – From my Classics Club 50: The House of the Seven Gables by Nat Hawthorne.

A fruit or vegetable – I’m committing to Elaine Dundy‘s The Dud Avocado, also on my Classics Club 50.

A shape – SO EXCITED to announce another Classics Club 50 will fit this one:  The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilberg Clark. An ox-bow is defined as 

  1. a U-shaped bend in the course of a river.
  2. a U-shaped collar of an ox yoke.

A title that begins with Z – Darn that I read Z last year (book about Zelda Fitzgerald) so I’m going to try The Zero by Jess Walter – I absolutely loved his Beautiful Ruins.

A nationality – Not sure here. Had American War for this spot when it was on the TOB long list but since it didn’t make the short. I have a lot of great nonfiction options about women that history forgot and I might go that route. Or perhaps American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang which would be a graphic novel and I want more of these. Any other suggestions?

A seasonCruel Winter by Sheila Connelly. I purchased this book for a friend’s birthday because it sounded like something she would enjoy and she promised to let me read it after (and then I’ll give it back so she can loan to her mom.)

I have created a goodreads list of done-reads and possibles for my 2018 tracking here…

Happy Reading Challenges!  What is the challenge you are MOST looking forward to this year?

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and the 2017 Pie in Literature Award goes to…

OR….

More Year End Book Analysis Fun … and No Whining This Time

I have decided 86 is the number of books I read last year. This includes DNFs, skimmed, and samples. Goodreads says I read 91 and I am not going to dig into it to figure out the difference. And this isn’t a whine, it’s just the way it is. This will be a long rambling post; enjoy or skip, I understand…

Same as last year! 

Total pages read is under dispute. Goodreads says 26,600.

I listened to 13 audiobooks. ~191 hours.

I had 16 five star reads and they are all so different — I enjoyed the experiences for different reasons. 
Run, Home, The Grand Sophy, Code Name Verity, The 4 and 20 Blackbirds Pie Book, The Bone Clocks, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, Just Mercy, Lap Girl, The Nix, Mister Monkey, Black Wave, Lincoln in the Bardo, So Much Blue, Anything is Possible, Born a Crime. I refuse to rank them and choose favorites but I will  endorse a TOP TWO as recommendations. These two were the shiniest of the shiny:

  TOP AUDIOBOOK EXPERIENCE.

TOP OVERALL ENJOYABLE FICTION 

The other books that I gave 4 slices to yet now looking back I wonder why and so I now want to shout out some love to are:

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead. You will never again board an elevator and not think of this nutty little jewel. I liked it more than The Underground Railroad but that is probably because it is not as heavy…

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin – wow! A series I’m eager to continue…

Lila. It’s Marilynn Robinson. Duh. I think I should have read the print version, though.

Petty:The Biography by Warren Zanes – oh. RIP, Tom. You wrote some great songs. Thank you. (and I was very impressed with the writing. I’m a new fan of Zanes.)

Mr. Splitfoot – quirky! Loved it.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Not sure why I didn’t give this one five slices originally. It deserves all its accolades and I recommend everyone read it. Gonna be a movie!

 

The longest title: On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon. The shortest title would be Z (leave off the stuff after the ‘:’) The longest book I read was NOS4A2 by Joe Hill at 742 pages. The longest audiobook was The Sport of Kings at ~23 hours.

I read 48 books by women, 38 written by men.

Repeated authors:  Ann Patchett, David Mitchell, Stephen King, Marilynne Robinson, Kate Atkinson, Colson Whitehead.

Translated books:  Sudden Death by Alvara Enrigue, A Man Called Ove by Fred Backman, The Little Paris Bookshop, Wake in Winter by Ndezha Belenkaya.

DNFs included two of the above…

Books I read that I now need to see the movie:  Blindness, Mr. Mercedes, A Man Called Ove, A Long Way Home 

Books I read because I saw the movie:  The Hunter was the source story for Payback. 

pieratingsmlChallenges I successfully met:  The What’s in a Name Challenge and the Tournament of Books. I had THE BEST time with the TOB and must say I am ridiculously proud that I read EVERY BOOK on the SHORT LIST!

Challenges that bested me:  Classics Club and the 2017 Classics Challenge.

I can’t find my list tracking the 1001+ books to read before I die but I don’t think I hit many. I just didn’t read many old books; mostly read recently published. Perhaps Home by Marilynne Robinson? Orlando?

By decade:
2018 – 1
2017 – 10
2016 – 24
2010-2015 – 27
2000-2009 – 10
1990-99 – 7
1980-89 – 2
1970-79 – 2
1960-69 – 1
1950-59 – 2
1920-29 – 1

(whoa – no books from the 19th century. I told you I failed the classics challenge last year! I will blame the TOB on that and my new obsession to read books that might be TOB, though track record disputes this, methinks.)

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The only readalongs I participated in were both  David Mitchell books:  The Bone Clocks and Slade House (which I read for RIP.)

I want to give David Mitchell my Pie in Literature Award but I can’t. His tweet was ever so squee worthy but it wasn’t IN A BOOK.

So the WINNER of the 2017 Care’s Books and Pie blog’s “PIE IN LITERATURE” Award goes to!

drum roll…

WHAT ALICE FORGOT  by Liane Moriarty for the community bake off of the  giant lemon meringue pie!

“She dreamed of a giant rolling pin.”
“Custody battle. It sounded like custardy battle.”

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Cheers! Til this time again next year. I’m sure there will be whining… Have a great 2018 of reading experiences!!

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Tournament of Books 2018 Shortlist

Thoughts? I’m EXCITED!

It’s Rooster Obsession Time again – I’ll be trying to read the 15 books I have yet to read before the day in March when it kicks off.

Click on this button to go to the official announcement page: 

I’ve read Lincoln in the Bardo  by Geo Saunders, So Much Blue  by Percival Everett, and Pachinko  by Min Jin Lee. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of these – all enjoyable and/or fascinating. At this point I do not have a favorite and won’t venture a Zombie vote.

The books I want to read next in no particular order:

I know Katie says Exit West is her fave so far, but I know Ruthiella was not so much a fan. The Animators is also a book that is getting love and not-so-much. I’ve seen scathing reviews of The Book of Joan but somebody must like it! All of which will make the commentary in March SO MUCH FREAKIN’ FUN.

I’m going to audiobook Sing Unburied Sing and maybe Exit West, too. I will be reading print of The Idiot because the audio sample was ear-aching. I really need to get that library card SOON!

I’m open to buying and trading. Anyone want to send me a book, I will send their choice back to them (after I read it.) LET ME KNOW – and I have a new address so please confirm – don’t just send me a book…

Happy times…

 

 

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First Book 2018

Reset by Ellen Pao

My fight for inclusion and lasting change.

To see other readers’ first books, visit Sheila’s Book Journey blog.

Happy New Year!

 

 

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October, the Tenth Month, Five More Books

I read books in October. Let me tell ya!

Oct 2017

The Magician’s Assistant / Ann Patchett A (1997,11′) *** 74

Textbook / Amy Krause Rosenthal HB (2016,368) **** 73

Lila / Marilynne Robinson A (2014,9′) **** 72

One Good Turn / Kate Atkinson Tb (2016,448) **** 71

Angle of Repose / Wallace Stegner Tb (1971,569) **** 70

Two audiobooks –  so nice to get back to this medium. My new job often has me traveling so I have some car time. Plus the commute home is 30-40 minutes (which I expect will be on the longer side since I have to traverse the shopping district avenues which get congested this time of year.) With no traffic, I can get TO work in just over 15 minutes!

Let’s start:  I read Angle of Repose because* I so very much enjoyed the first Stegner I treated myself to: (and click on this:  –>  to read my review) Crossing to Safety. AofR won the Pulitzer, doncha know, and as impressive an epic it is, I enjoyed Crossing to Safety more. That said, Angle is impressive. Oh, I said that. It’s full of big ideas and some great fabulous looks into our American History, the western expansion. Recommended if you like amazing writing, complicated characters and sweeping views of history. It was set in the late sixties, yet Stegner writes with a freshness that is … impressive. It felt fresh and not as someone now writing about then. Does that make sense? Hey, it’s my opinion. Golly gee, I miss blogging and putting myself OUT THERE! wee hoo. yee haw. [Rabbit pie and cowpie.]

Stegner is not talked about enough.

*     I also read Angle of Repose because I have an engineering degree and the term suggests ‘engineering‘. Not at all to suggest  to not-engineering geeks (so do not assume!) that this is science-heavy aka boring!! it is not. Please please don’t think that. ugh.

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One Good Turn. I read this because…. LOTS of reasons! I love this author. I really enjoyed her first Brodie book and this is the second with this main character. whoops, maybe only 2 reasons. I found this book at my apartment complex! It was on the community shelf. Had to grab. I returned it (though not to the same spot.)

If you liked Case Histories, I can tell you to go ahead read this, too, if you haven’t  yet. To click on this sentence, you will be transported to my goodreads notes for  Case Histories because I didn’t review it here (on blog.) What a sad blogging summer I had… [I’m counting egg custard as ‘pie’.]

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Lila. Oh Lila! What a fascinating amazing story. This month was chock full of the best author visits; now that I think about it, all return visits to these authors. What a comfortable heart-full reading month I have had this October. If you are like me and appreciate the soul-singing work of Marilynne Robinson (and can I only say to any of you  that don’t have the same kind of spiritual ‘relationship’ that this author might espouse – all cool. I get it. I really don’t either at this moment in my life but wow oh wow do I appreciate what she does in her writing.) I want to put all of MR’s Gilead books on my “to-read-again all-at-once in-order someday list”. I’m mentally creating this list of books to read and probably need to create it in goodreads, right? Right. Will do…

NOT to suggest that listening to Lila‘s side of things was ‘comfortable’. Soul-singing provocative spiritual stuff is never comfortable. [Apple Pie]

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Textbook by Amy Krause.

Dear Reader, do you know of this? Feel free to click on the link just provided and read about it from the goodreads perspective.

I just want to start crying. Whoa.

Thank you Bybee for sending me this. I still have it. I want to send it to SOMEONE but don’t know who. Also, I don’t know if I want it to leave me. It could very well be all gimmick-schmimmick until life(/death) thrusts into the ‘plan’ and shows no guarantees.

Wow.

(sniff, gulp. sob…)

[yes, pie… It was THIS that broke my freakin’ heart.]

Live, people. Don’t watch the crap on the news, hug your loved ones, recognize the humanity in every person, strive to be better and LIVE, goddammit. (talking to myself?)

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The Magician’s Assistant. Ann Patchett you nutty adorable author book-store-owner lovely lady YOU. Love ya. Not your best book but that’s OK, I’m sure you learned much from the experience (of course you did, goofy-me. ha) and so glad you kept after the craft. I am still not sure the narrator captured Nebraska small town, but hey, “Whatever.” This is the author that inspires me, delights me, makes me think and entertains. One of my favorites.

I’ll forgive the no pie thing. This time.

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Books I Read in September 2017

This title might be boring but it is accurate…

Yep, I read a few books in September. I read 6 fiction books, one play and a nonfiction-self help book.

Slade House by David Mitchell **** 69
Waiting for Godot / Beckett (1950,) *** 68
Run / Ann Patchett HB (2007,295) ***** 67
The Fifth Sense / NK Jemisin Tb (2015,468) **** 66
Rising Strong / Brené Brown Tb (2015,) **** 65
What Alice Forgot / Liane Moriarty Tb (2012,466) **** 64
End of Watch / Stephen King pb (2016,432) *** 63
The Essex Serpent / Sarah Perry HB (2017,422) **** 62

You know what else I did in September?  I interviewed for the second time/received and offer to ‘work’ an accepted/arranged to begin a new job! (Warning that my October reading count will be low…) *

Let’s get to this! Are you ready? I’m really not, which is why I keep typing rather than getting on with it…**

The Essex Serpent was … interesting. I did like it, I did. I liked a lot about it and yet. You want to know what this book reminded me of? Not in content but in style. It reminded me of — and this is me RIGHT NOW – I didn’t think of this while I read it but it has been subtly slowly brewing in my subconscious – it reminds me of

.

.

.

[Interjection here – bear with me. (hee hee, I almost typed ‘bare with me’! made me laugh.]

So, I’m interjecting here to add in the postscripts.

*      this was to let you know that I typed some of this post in October and now it is Nov 8 and I’m getting back to it. Yep – October counts were low… I *DID* start a new job in October! (it’s going well, thanks for asking)

**      this double-star on the sentence to let’s-get-on-with-it, is again to tell you that I obviously didn’t…, and

 

I give up. Should I have started over? I sent The Essex Serpent to Bybee. She should like it.

Waiting for Godot is Irish!*** It’s short!! I have wanted to understand all the references once stumbles upon when circulating in literate societies and now I think I can say, “I get it.”  By which I mean, I get the references. I may not have ‘got’ the play. It’s a toughie.

***       I went to Ireland in March of this year and toured an exhibit at the National Museum on Beckett… I sent this to Amy.

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I read RUN by Ann Patchett and can’t remember a thing. What WAS this? [thinking/checking in on goodreads…] OH! I REMEMBER!!  Set in Boston, an adoption, liberal politician, struggling mom, talented daughter, lives collide whether wanted or not, kind of story. I liked it. I gave this book to my friend Laura. a very Boston/Mass story.

Patchett likes to mix up her settings, yes? I still adore AP. She’s a top top tippity top favorite.

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I dedicate my reading of The Fifth Sense by NK Jemisin to MM, my mentor at my school last year. She and I went on to different adventures but are keeping in touch. She’s had about the same amount of changes as I have: new house/place to live plus new job. However, she got to say in the same state! I moved 1400 miles away. MM is awesome and I miss her. I’m actually taking a Spanish class at work (she’s a Spanish language teacher!) and so I get to think of her often…

This book is GOOD. I enjoyed it very much and am excited for the author and all the awards she is receiving for her talents. A series that I actually will/hope to read on.

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Rising Strong by Brené Brown is a self-help kind of book. Scoff and roll your eyes all you want but I like these upon occasion and do think they have value upon occasion. This one’s take away is to BE CURIOUS when you don’t like how you react to things that make you react in ways you don’t like. (You see what I did there, yep.) and it is good advice. When I cringe or shudder or get exasperated at things where that reaction isn’t the best one to take, WHY IS THAT? How can I react in a more positive manner.

It’s helping me be more aware but I haven’t yet figured much out…

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What Alice Forgot / Liane Moriarty

(I have forgotten Alice and I have forgotten what she forgot… I don’t even want to go check google. Let’s just say, I liked the Moriarity about the kindergarten kids and didn’t like the one about the Husband’s Secret. )

Carrying on…

End of Watch / Stephen King – It’s been a good summer for me and the Uncle Stevie. I finished the series. I liked the first one best. Just sayin’.

Slade House!  Recommended for next year

 

‘s October/RIP readings.

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I’ll try to post October readings  reviews in the next few weeks…

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July, July! What I’d Give to Be Back in July!

TropStorm Jose won’t leave. He was scheduled to rock Rhode Island on Tuesday but each day the winds seem more gusty and blowy and chilling. I walk the dogs through scattered leaves; I wrap in blankets; I’m sipping hot chocolate.

screech! Cancel that last one. I’m still enjoying beer but we’ve moved from the Shandies to Octoberfests. sigh….

Here’s the quick list of what I read in July:

The Sweet Hereafter / Russell Banks eB (1991,416) **** 55
Perfect / Rachel Joyce eB (2013,401) **** 54
NOS4A2 / Joe Hill eB (2013,704) *** 53
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald / TAFowler Tb (2013,384) **** 52
On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon / Kaye Gibbons eB (1998,304) *** 51
Code Name Verity / Elizabeth Wein eB (2012,452) ***** 50

 

I loved Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein! There’s been some interesting chatter about its being classified as YA which I didn’t get. I always think of YA as being about younger characters and about youngster drama – even if extremely heavy AND also written with a feel like it was written for a younger reader than I am. (cough, cough). Now saying this “didn’t feel YA” is not meant to be any kind of lesser/more qualifier or criticism. I just never got that YA sense from it. Perhaps because it was set in WW2? I would say that The Book Thief – another one I love – IS YA but I wouldn’t say it about Code Name Verity. Yes, the two main characters were youthful but it didn’t feel like a story set up to be told to the YA typical audience.

Here’s more twist to this topic. I did think The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah most certainly had that YA feel. The Nightingale character and her experiences fit the YA criteria to a tee for YA for me. I liked Code Name MUCH MUCH more. I thought the writing quality was much higher but I do not think that has anything to do with any YA classification. Am I fooling myself?

I gave three stars to On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon because I really am not sure what to make of it. Bonus: pie! quote: “I was irritated that it might be the old lady who peddled stale pies.”

Moving on to books about wives of famous authors… I DNF’d The Paris Wife. Hadley drove me crazy. I loved Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald and when ever Hadley made an appearance — I still found her annoying.  Bonus: Chocolate Cream Pie!

My first read by author Joe Hill was The Fireman and I was eager to try something else. I actually had purchased NOS4A2 for my Kindle months before The Fireman-along was announced and I was eager to get to it because I so enjoyed the readalong. I liked NOS4A2 and it wasn’t quite as scary horrific as I thought it was going to be –  maybe I’m building up some kind of tolerance after so many King books…. (And it was Christmas in July! if you’ve read this, you’ll know what I mean.)    Bonus: Banana Pie!

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Perfect by Rachel Joyce. I really like Rachel Joyce. I had a tough time with Perfect. I ended up giving it 4 stars because of the skill of Rachel Joyce. She had me uncomfortably anxious, a low-level strumming sense of foreboding. This was a sad book. “You have to think bigger than what you know,”           Bonus: Mince pie!

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As I go through this list, I see many sad reads. The Sweet Hereafter was as sad as they come. Read it if you like sad books? if you like how competent some authors are with sad material? I don’t know. It was about a school bus full of children hitting an ice patch while proceeding down a hill and crashing into a pond off a steep embankment. Told from multiple character viewpoints. I’m getting weepy and sad thinking about it again. But Banks has my respect. It was well done. Four slices of pie.

Abbott says, “Biggest … difference … between … people … is … quality … of … attention.” And since a person’s quality of attention is one of the few things about her that a human can control, then she damn well better do it, say I. Put that together with the Golden Rule in a nutshell, and you’ve got my philosophy of life. Abbott’s too. And you don’t need religion for it.


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Latest and Greatest

Recent Thoughts and Other Things…

I’ve read 4 books since my last review post and finished up May strong with 8 books (one of which was a skim from half point…)

Total for the year so far:  39 books, 9672 pages, ~147 hours

I decided a quick audiobook (< 3 hours) was just the thing to catapult my month’s stats to something I can be proud of and chose Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me It was both unexpected and affirming; she is an eloquent voice for feminism and human rights. I very much enjoyed this. I was also pleased that she lent insight to Virginia Woolf’s Orlando

I DNF’d Orlando Sob, shame, embarrassment. It is NOT a summer beach read; it is dense and though very lively, it takes concentration. I admit I was lost and believe this would be a great book for serious study just not right now in the moment of my crazy life. I had originally attempted the audiobook – nope. Reading the ebook was easier, but… I can’t quite describe the feeling of drowning it gave me. Submerged in what I can only assume is amazing prose but HUH? I need guidance for next time. And I do want to try again. It’s not dry and dusty; it is very lively, but hold on! Goodness.

My neighbor gave me a book written by a friend of hers from a writing group she was involved with. I must say that it was well-written and informative, fascinating even.  I know many will and should enjoy it. It just wasn’t my cup of tea in style and format; I guess genre. I like the heavier serious immersive stuff. (How I can say that I liked The Sport of Kings when I didn’t like it but I can “like” this but not? Does that make any sense whatsoever? Nah, I didn’t think so.) I can find much to admire and can recommend Holly Warah’s debut Where Jasmine Blooms I give it 3 slices of pie. (It did have lots of pie so I could bump up to a 4 slice?)  I now must get my hands on a recipe for SAMBUSIK PIE.

Finally, my MIL gave me  A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly and I read it in one day. What an amazing story! If you have seen or  know about the movie Lion, you know what this is:  young boy finds himself on a train to Calcutta, many MANY miles away from home. He is adopted by a family in Australia and when he is 30, he decides to find out about his birth-family. WOW!!

I’m listening to Everything I Never Told You and honestly, I’m not feeling it. Shrug. I’m about 35% in. Maybe I’m just in a horrible mood this summer!? No, that can’t be all of it — I have Kitchens of the Great Midwest on ebook and I am finding it delightful.

Finally. School is out and we are headed to the boat and the lovely waters of Rhode Island. You may not see me around here much… Wishing everyone a super summer and lots of great reading!

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The Hate U Give

Thoughts  by Angie Thomas, Balzer + Bray 2017,  464 pages + 11 hours 40 minutes

Narrated by Bahni Turpin – excellent.

Genre: YA
Type/Source: eBook and Audio / Amazon
 Why I read this now: It’s a hot book right now!

MOTIVATION for READING:  This story is getting lots of praise and I wanted to get in on that.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Starr is a sixteen year old black girl who lives in a depressed area of a big city and attends a prep school in a predominantly white area. One night after a party, Starr is given a ride home by young black male friend and he is pulled over by the cops. He is shot and killed; Starr has to navigate this event up close and personal. Her cultures clash, her identity is fractured; she is scared and angry.

WHAT’s GOOD:  Thomas decided to give the world this gift of fiction, a story, in response to and an exploration of the Black Lives Matter movement. It isn’t a story specifically addressing the movement, rather a situation that stresses the realities and the complications that many blacks face in our country. Where to live, where to go to school, how to navigate threats to body and soul?

“We have a sustained problem in America,” Thomas said. “When officers take off that uniform they’re no longer a ‘blue life’ – I can’t take my black skin off. I wanted this book to explain why we say those three words.”

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I thought it extremely well done on so many levels – a gripping read, a sympathetic character, believable and complicated supporting cast members, a forceful not-unreasonable emotional tone, great pacing. It offers humor, some punches to the gut, a candid look at humanity.

“Pac said Thug Life stood for “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. T-H-U-G-L-I-F-E. Meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. Get it?” – Angie Thomas

– Link to article explaining the Tupac quote that gives this book its title.

RATING:  Four slices of pizza pie with lots of extra crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese.

 

 

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