A Gentleman in Moscow

Thoughts by Amor Towles,  Penguin Books 2016, 462 pages

Challenge: Theta Book Club
Genre: Contemporary Lit, Historical Fiction?
Type/Source: Tradeback; purchased?  I don’t recall how I got this.
 Why I read this now:  Selected Book for October’s Discussion

MOTIVATION for READING: Book Club!

“To what end, he wondered, had the Divine created the stars in heaven to fill a man with feelings of inspiration one day and insignificance the next?”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Count Rostov, a member of Russian aristocracy, is designated a Non-Person, placed under house-arrest in 1928 and mostly forgotten by the Bolshevik powers that be. He adapts quite well to the decades and makes a new family of everyone he connects with.

“There’s a difference between being resigned to a situation and reconciled to it.”

THOUGHTS: One of my favorite things to do is to read reviews that vary from my personal reaction. Most reviews LOVE this story. However, a few readers found it ‘twee’. This word dismays me. I don’t quite have a definition set solid for what TWEE means. (Kind of like ska* music. I have NO IDEA.) If this was twee, it was smarter and more sharp-humor than I think of when something is called that descriptor. That could be my snobbery; Twee things aren’t smart, right?

I liked this story. I was caught up in how the Count was “making the best of it”. I was quite touched that he was all-in immediately to the surprise request of taking care of an 8  year old girl, “Sure, why not?” No protests, only a tiny touch of self-doubt or misunderstanding of what he (and the entire hotel staff, of course) was about to hide and handle.

And of course, she became a lovely accomplished young woman.

But what actually happens at the end? I’m not sure…

“The surest sign of wisdom is cheerfulness.? – Montaigne

I learned a lot or was given new things to think about on the history of Russia that was playing out on the streets outside of the hotel. It felt surreal, as do times now, actually. Is what is really going on in the US really happening?! How can the two sides’ perspective, the violence the anger the ‘fake news’ the accusations, be REAL?!  Ugh, it is frightening and I wonder if we will survive to see the historical perspective on it in 20 years time.

RATING:  I gave this 5 slices of pie. Because it was well written, I enjoyed it, I needed just this right now.

“I love your funny alphabet and those little pastries stuffed with meat.”

pierating

 

* Ska is unique because it really emphasizes the offbeats of the guitar; combines Jamaican drum sounds and jazz beats…

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Haunting of Hill House

Thoughts by Shirley Jackson, Blackstone Audio 2010 (orig 1959), 7 hour 36 minutes

Bernadette Dunne (Narrator)

“It was a house without kindness, never meant to be lived in, not a fit place for people or for love or for hope.”

Challenge: Readers in Peril XV
Genre: Doesn’t Shirley Jackson have her own genre?
Type/Source: Audio
 Why I read this now:  Only a coincidence that my reading this happened to be during RIP, to be honest. I needed an audiobook, this one was available. I’ve always wanted to read it. Because Shirley.F.Jackson.

MOTIVATION for READING: See sentence above.

“Don’t do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again; don’t do it; and the little girl glanced at her, and smiled a little subtle, dimpling, wholly comprehending smile, and shook her head stubbornly at the glass. Brave girl, Eleanor thought; wise, brave girl.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A professor attempting to find a big breakthrough for his research and to make his place in Academia, invites many possible apprentices to join him in a stay at a house of ill (horror) repute. Only a few take him up on it.

But they are ALL IN, Baby!

THOUGHTS: So, I’ve maybe seen the movie? maybe PIECEs of the movie? I seem to know enough about that movie with (Liam Neeson, Lili Taylor, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson) but not quite the same. Same enough! Minor creative differences, is all.

The house is actually COOL, in its off kilter slightly not-square way. And the buildup is great. The guy who built the place was obviously way off his rocker and nothing is explained.

Only survived…

“I like apple pie with sour cream.”

I enjoyed the telling, I enjoyed the descriptions and the sense of place – extremely well done. I did see Lili as Eleanor and I could see CZJ as Theo, too. Liam Neeson will never be the professor. Yes, Jackson is a master – so good. Not really that scary in print, methinks. I may never watch the movie again nor the miniseries recently. I’m just NOT a scary movie person.

RATING:  Four slices of pie.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Tender is the Night

Thoughts by F.Scott Fitzgerald, 1934, 356 pages

Challenge:  Classics Club Spin
Genre: Classic
Type/Source: ebook, library
 Why I read this now:  SPIN!   

MOTIVATION for READING: I had read somewhere that this was his best work. I may have read that wrong. Could be it is still a topic of debate.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  LOTS going on in this book and to be honest, I didn’t give it my full attention (which might mean that I actually failed to finish. Shame on me! I am still counting it as read…)

Dick Diver is married. He and his wife make a lovely much-admired couple and live in an amazingly glamorous spot on the French Riviera leading a glamorous life. But really, he is a psychoanalyst married to a former patient (named Nicole, who seems perfectly lovely in the first half) and is now attracted (the Dick dude) to a cute young glamorous up&coming actress who throws herself at him. But really, I didn’t get much farther than that. I love that history shocks me – that WHAT?!          WHY young ladies don’t throw themselves at happily married men they meet on the beach AND admire the wives and yet still throw themselves at the husband anyway AND TELL THEIR OWN MOTHER?!  in the late 1920s?!  did they? Do they?

I would have never. (Told my mother.)

I put the book down and ten days later when I had the time and mindspace to jump back in, I found out that it was a 14 day library ebook loan and I FAILED. Oooops. It expired.

So I spent a few hours watching YouTube BookTube videos and caught myself up on the plot of what I missed.

Dick and Nicole’s marriage implodes. He does end up sleeping with the young actress apparently but the book takes a turn and shares how Dick and Nicole met in the first place; then Nicole sleeps with a friend, — apparently, they talk it out “LIKE ADULTS” (whatever that might mean) and it ends ambiguously with Dick being an alcoholic and Nicole hopefully have her HEA. I heard it had an ambiguous ending.

OK, maybe I kept zoning out on the less than 10 minute BookTube reviews. Sue me.

THOUGHTS: This book does seem to have CARE PIE written ALL OVER IT! But no, nope. I just didn’t quite get into that must-finish-keep-reading-it’s-past-my-bedtime-don’t-care state which I was wanting.

Should I have audiobooked it?!

oH yEA.  I will watch the movie. Hopefully sooner than later. Casting looks suspect in my distant future viewpoint yet the pretties and the settings look like it just might deliver.  Jason Robards, Jennifer Jones, Joan Fontaine?! and Jill St John. Adapted to the 1960s and made in 1962. Sign. me. up.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

August 2020 Mini-Reviews (Really!)

Thoughts

I read 7 books in August. I created 1 pie:  Peach Pie (I enjoyed other pies that someone else got to make…)

The big news is that I finished Ducks, Newburyport – a chunkster with LOTS of pie. Lots of pie and other things. I started the book in April.

“The fact that it’s important not to despair though when you’ve got pies in the oven, …, the fact that you have to have mercy on your pies, be there for your pies, and in return they will be good dutiful pies and serve you, …

OK, I do intend to write a full post of my random thoughts on Ducks. Perhaps Bybee and I can make a joint interview review of some sort?  I will say now that I really did enjoy it even if I was able to put it down for weeks at a time – I toted the damn thing back and forth to the boat and home many MANY times! And when I did pick it up even for just a few pages, I was right there, right back in her head.

Sometimes I think I grant the coveted 5 slicer rating when I struggle through and actually complete these big long books but something happened in the end that really didn’t sit right for me and I had to shave off some of the whipped cream for a 4. But I am proud of myself for completing this, I am!

Was it a struggle?  Yes, sometimes, yes. The darn weight of the thing was a struggle to hold!

On to the Patricia Lockwood. She’s just got a wild imagination. I reviewed this in last week’s Poetry Edition.

The Time Machine was an audio and I struggled some with this, too. Only 4 hours of the old language; some certainly outdated notions

 

that are jarring, but I’m glad to have read this and can now click off when I see it on any “Have you Read __?” lists.  I want to write a separate post of this, too, because we watched the movie this past weekend! The one from 1960.

I read the 50 Romantic Weekends for Two when I found the book on the boat…  It was a lovely photo book of B&Bs and I wondered how they are faring this 2020. I thought I would find one description mentioning pie, but alas, I did not.

The first three books of the month were heavy. So let’s start with that first memoir, my first August read, Heavywhich happened to be a LISTEN. Narrated by the author, Kiese Laymon, I was riveted and moved. Moved to what? Still working on that, how do I fight the tendency to be a thinker not a doer, how do I propel my values to a place of work; work to for making the world a better place? I can’t even work on my own life; maybe this is what I need to do to finally get out there and really do the action – letters and calls, donations and votes are good, but not enough. This was a real eye opener and re-affirming of humanity. and humanity’s pain.

(and I must say that the last book of July which was a terrific companion read to Heavy, was Thick and I didn’t really plan for the obvious (now) themes of title but definitely topic. Anyway, Thick was also all these things: sharp, weighty, intense.

Then I listened to The Other America, a speech by MLK, Jr.  and then the very heavy and scary and enlightening and anger-at-the-evils provoking When They Call You a Terrorist. I wish everyone would consider reading this book by one of the founders of BLM, Patrisse Khan-Cullors.

So, a bit of SJW reading, thoughts of what to do and how to do, while #SavetheUSPS was going on and too many more killings, and oh god, the conventions! I am one big ball of anxiety and yet I am safe in my little reading nook and I can barely breathe to move. Am trying to stay off Twitter and Facebook and not watch the news. I barely watched Hurricane Laura and now the weather is delightful, the days are shortening. I’m about to be late for work… Gotta go.

 

pieratingsml

Sept 28 is Strawberry Cream Pie Day. That’s it, or at least the only one I know about.

Plan accordingly.

pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

July 2020 Mini-Reviews of Pie & Books

Thoughts

I read 11 books in July. I adored my reading month of books and audios. Blissful, book-filled July…

With some pie, too. Though not in my books – only Duchess Goldblatt delivered pie. NO, that’s not quite true! Kate Atkinson’s When Will There Be Good News had pie. Which is good news to me.

And of course, Pie As Art cookbook – LOTS of pie, yes. The winner of my giveaway is….   by randomly assigned sequential numbers to those who commented on posts and then running an online random number generator . . .  TA DA!  Jeanne of Nonnecromancer wins!  Will be sent off next week. Glad I have her address already.

“and those little pork pies they have in Marks and Spencer.” She was very specific about which shops you bought things in. Reggie thought that a person at death’s door shouldn’t really be too fussy about where her pork pies came from.

Get ready for August Pie!  Actually we have already missed Aug 1 being Raspberry Cream Pie Day. (and my “days” source told me that August First is also Homemade Pie Day. I hadn’t had that one on my radar.)

Aug 15 is Lemon Meringue Pie Day. I’m hoping to construct something tasty to celebrate.

Aug 18 – Ice Cream Pie Day

Aug 24 – Peach Pie Day

Plan accordingly.

pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

Pie As Art

Thoughts by Laura Rene Baker, 2020, 91 pages

Challenge: Pie Cookbooks
Genre: Pie Cookbooks
Type/Source: Spiral-bound, from the author (piebakerlady.com)
 Why I read this now:  I started reading as soon as I opened the package after arriving on my doorstep.

MOTIVATION for READING: I know the author; we’re friends from college.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  The author not only created the recipes, baked all the pies, wrote the copy, took the photos, PAINTED the artwork OF the pies, and likely assembled the books; she is probably responsible for the mailing of all of them out to her adoring fans.

I used the Peach Pan Pie as my inspiration for Peach Plum in my Cast Iron Pan:

THOUGHTS: I am thrilled for my friend!

RATING:  Five slices of pie.

I will give away a copy of this book to a random selection from the people who leave me a comment here on this post or like my tweet of this review plus follow @PieBakerLady and Retweet something she posted there or comment on my Instagram post or Litsy. Thus, you have multiple opportunities to win! Max of 5 entries; deadline August 4th midnight EST.

Book only; not the pie plates…

I’m not doing this to market myself, only to highlight my friend Laura’s accomplishment.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

Thoughts by Lori Gottlieb, 2019, 415 pages

Challenge: Duchess Goldblatt Challenge*
Genre: Nonfiction, Self Help (the best kind) disguised as Memoir
Type/Source: Audiobook, Audible
 Why I read this now:  I needed a good audiobook.

MOTIVATION for READING: Recommended by Duchess Goldblatt.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A psychotherapist shares about her life, the path to her chosen career, and an event that sent her to seek therapy to ‘get through’ a crisis.

THOUGHTS: SO GOOD!  Fascinating mix of the personal and the clinical, the nuts and bolts of therapy balanced with the anecdotes and examples of most every challenge to the human experience when it comes to relationships, motivations, and dealing with life’s ups and downs.

I enjoyed this immensely and immediately went online to purchase a print copy I can refer to again and again.

RATING:  Five slices of pie.

 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt

Thoughts  by Duchess Goldblatt, 2020, 224 pages

Challenge:  none
Genre: Memoir, Social Media
Type/Source: Hardcover, Scuppernong Books
 Why I read this now: It arrived.

MOTIVATION for READING: I follow Duchess Goldblatt on Twitter. I wish I could remember how and when I found her but when I did, I was enthralled and had that feeling of wanting badly to be one of her pet subjects. I honestly didn’t think I had the writing chops to respond to her appropriately but when she called for dog photos and pie photos, I was IN with abandon.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  from gr blurb:

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblatt herself, a bright light in the darkness of social media. Fans around the world are drawn to Her Grace’s voice, her wit, her life-affirming love for all humanity, and the fun and friendship of the community that’s sprung up around her.

@DuchessGoldblat (81 year-old literary icon, author of An Axe to Grind) brought people together in her name: in bookstores, museums, concerts, and coffee shops, and along the way, brought real friends home—foremost among them, Lyle Lovett.”

THOUGHTS:  I loved it. As much as I had been looking forward to reading this and knowing cerebral-ly what the book was to be about, I was unprepared for the emotional impact and the inspiration, celebration, and relatability I would find within the pages.

RATING:  Five slices of pie. Shout out to Ladybird Diner in Lawrence KS for naming a pie after the Duchess.

Close your eyes and visualize the best possible outcome. When it’s not looking, grasp it by the neck and fling it into reality.

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Books and Pie: Official Post of Books I am Looking Forward To, Edition 2

Books and Pie: Official Post of Books I am Looking Forward To, Edition 2 (Edition 1 was never labeled such…)

My friend Laura shares her favorite pie creations to eat and her amazing art work of pies to look at!  Her book, Pie As Art, features her combinations and I am looking forward to receiving my copy. Super excited!

Get your copy at her website:  www.piebakerlady.com

pieratingsml

 

The second book that I have on order was released this week and is still on its way to me:

The author is one of the best thing about Twitter. She is a pie lover, too.

 

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

Olive, Again

Thoughts by Elizabeth Strout, 2019, 289 pages

Challenge: Book Club
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Bookstore purchase / the Concord Bookshop (MA)
 Why I read this now:  Suggested, had on my shelf

MOTIVATION for READING: I loved Olive Kitteridge. 

Almost 11 years ago to the day, I posted my review of Olive, book 1. I adored it.

… the reader will come to appreciate this rough and tough yet tender lady.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  This is another collection very similar to the first, of short stories either centering on Olive or has her barely mentioned in passing.

I loved the stories with Jack, and how he succumbs to the realization that he enjoys Olive and so takes the chance on a relationship. The way he lets her sit in business class on the flight to Norway was just too perfect. The chapter on the Larkins and their attorney was a gut-punch. As was the one where Olive meets the Poet.

THOUGHTS: Themes of loneliness and knowing yourself. I just love how Olive is so abrupt and blunt and judgmental but also knows the exact right thing to do or say when it is most needed. She is definitely prickly. I laugh at her, with her? and I cried.

RATING: Five slices of pie. No pie mentioned, but that’s OK. I’ll forgive.

No, I still haven’t seen the mini-series starring Frances McDormand…

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.