Bowlaway

Thoughts by Elizabeth McCracken, ecco (Imprint of HarperCollins) 2019, 373 pages

Challenge:  none
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library
 Why I read this now:  This was mentioned as a terrific read by the TOB commentariat so I looked to see if it was available from the library. It was, so I’m reading it. Plus, the author is a fun Twitter follow. 

MOTIVATION for READING:  See why I read this now above.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A candle pin bowling alley. An unusual woman who built and ran the bowling alley and the subsequent family members who trailed after her.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s quirky in all the right and wonderful ways. I really enjoyed it.

What’s NOT so good: I have no complaints.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Has a memorable first sentence/contender for best opening ever.

RATING:  Five slices of pie. LOTS of pie and most pie references are to pie shapes or pie-cut or piebald or . . .

Page 227 – “Sometimes this ghost left the Gearheart to haunt a particular compartment at the Automat, and soured whatever sandwich or soup or slice of pie had been put there.”

Page 240 – “Eskimo Pie.”

 

 

 

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

Thoughts

March was a delight! Celebrating the Tournament of Books is the best thing about March. If you haven’t heard, My Sister the Serial Killer WON! Very happy that this would prevail (after suffering the disappointment of Milkman being knocked out. Y’all can read most of this already in prior posts.)

I read a few books in March:

I DNF’d The Italian Teacher and wasn’t as impressed with the second half of Washington Black as I was with the first half. I can’t say The Lost Girls of Paris did anything for me and I loved listening to Michelle Obama tell me about her life from the beginning to now in her memoir, Becoming.

There, There was also somewhat of a disappointment but that might be all on me. I had built it up too much, knew too much about it, etc. AND, I read half of it fast and furious while trapped on a plane. Then put it down for a few days before rushing to finish before its last entry round in the TOB. I had lost all recognition of the various story lines and it couldn’t hold together in my head. And the ending – knew it was coming, of course, but the ending!  was abrupt. Felt almost like a cliff hanger but no cliff. More like a brick wall?

April is going better. I’ve already finished these two books:

Both 4 stars and plenty of pie.

And with that short update, here’s a few pie pics from this month:

From Pi/e Night on 3/14:

and from vacation to Baltimore MD:

 

 

 

April 22 is Blueberry Pie Day – just sayin’ 

 

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

Second Week of #TOB2019 Recap

Thoughts

Link:   The Morning News Tournament of Books

I am bummed that Milkman is out. Bummer. And I was disappointed in the judge’s decision – seemed dismissive. Oh well. I am fine with a reasoned and balanced comparison but a ‘Hey – I didn’t like it’ for reasons that expressed a lack of trying or any appreciation didn’t sit well with me.  A more gentle way to say the other book just had more appeal to personal taste is a fine argument, but I don’t think Milkman got that treatment.

 

I am thrilled that is ZOMBIE-ING! Not that excited The Overstory is as well.

And I just downloaded There There. I best read it; seems important. For some unknown unexplored reason, I have been avoiding it. (and yes, I do realize the week isn’t over – we’ll hear more about There There tomorrow…)

I am super excited to read The House of Broken Angels!  And I go back and forth on attempting The Dictionary of Animal Languages. I really wasted February not reading these! UGH. Oh well.

OK, that’s my quick recap. And, as in every year. I’m very much enjoying the commentary.

It’s my favorite time of year!

 

 

pierating

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

First Week of #TOB2019 Recap

Thoughts

Link:   The Morning News Tournament of Books

I am excited and relieved to see Milkman advance. And I’m thrilled to have the Tournament vibrant and alive in my life. The Commentariat of the TOB is the BEST. I so enjoy reading all the thoughts, comments, opinions, witticisms, and references to other books I Must. Read. Now. (or next, or rather someday!)

I relish finding the words that capture what I like or don’t like about a book — because I don’t have those words myself. And I appreciate when someone clarifies their opinions that I might disagree with what I felt in a reading experience, good and bad.

Did I do The Italian Teacher a disservice when I DNF’d it? No, yes. Can I appreciate when someone said it was a great page-turning read that was highly enjoyable when I couldn’t suffer through the treatment Bear was giving his wife?  Do I think I need to try again reading The Italian Teacher? I doubt I will. Just too many books in the world (and toppling my tower of 2400 books.) And now, after reading all the C&O (comments and opinions), I don’t have to make myself read it – I feel like I already know the plot and characters intimately well enough.

I did struggle to read Milkman; and I hesitate to call it a difficult read but it is not a “sitting down to enjoy” kind of story. It is an experience, an immersion. It was funny, it was scary, it was amazing. Why was it a struggle? It made me think and feel and I had to stop to process the thoughts (which tended to lead to other thoughts and away my mind would chase off in a direction – a matter of distraction vs focus) and to process the feelings. I just changed my rating to a 5 star and someday, I truly want to listen to the audiobook. I am Team-Middle-Sister for the rooster win.

OK, the above was yesterday’s round. The day before was Warlight vs Call Me Zebra and I didn’t have a dog in that hunt.  Still, I very much enjoyed the discussion of the pros and cons of each. I didn’t rush out to change my Want To Read number to a single digit for either. Warlight moves on.

The Play-in Round kicked off the Tourney on Wednesday and I had only read Speak No Evil. It didn’t survive but I am now terribly interested in listening to the audio of A Terrible Country and the winner, America Is Not the Heart, looks like something I will really like if I ever do get my hands on it. Toying with rushing to it before that next appearance hits the calendar but I didn’t read There, There neither and I know I won’t get to both.

HELP:  Do I attempt There, There on audio maybe?  I’m still 2+ hours to finish Washington Black….  I just attempted to library loan the eBook The Mars Room and I’m 29th in line! 

OK, that’s my quick recap. Of the books contesting next week and beyond, there are only two rounds where I’ve read both books. When Census meets The Golden State, I will cheering for the latter. When the higher seed The Overstory is challenged by My Sister, the Serial Killer, you better believe that I will be enthusiastically waving pompons and losing my voice with shouts for MStSK.  Oh yea.  This was my second favorite in the Tournament. THAT day’s commentary is gonna be WILD.

 

 

 

 

pierating

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

Getting Ready for LetterMo 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Review 2018

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

     Here we go!

Total pages ~16042.

Female/Male:  54/22

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

New to Me Authors: 63        Repeat Authors: 13

Classics: 10 (See previous post.)

Audiobooks: 28, ~255 hours

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

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

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

Audiobooks dominate!

Highlights:

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

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

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

My top favorites to share are:

Jane Eyre narrated by Thandie Newton. Beyond fabulous! 

Circe  by Madeline Miller

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

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

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

Finally, PIE.

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

Honorable Mentions:  Tin Man and Manhattan Beach

 

One more thing:

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

2018on1001list

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

 

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

Recap of November and the Plan for December

 Hello Book Friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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!

 

 

 

 

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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.

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.