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.
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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!”

 

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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.

 

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”

 

 

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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.

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!

 

 

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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.

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.

 

 

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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.

Trifecta: My three new friends Jane + Sarah + Eleanor

Thoughts…

Hello Books and Pie Readers, I appreciate you! Have you missed me? I’ve missed you. I’ve missed writing here and sharing these last few weeks.

We’ve let Coconut Cream Pie Day rush by without a thought (ok, I sent a text and a tweet but not much more) — it was May 8, Tuesday past. 

Thank you for all of you who have stopped by prompted by an email or just a thought or click-back on a comment I may have left on your blog, or tweet, or comment elsewhere/somewhere. How ever you may have found me, please know you are welcome.

Let’s talk about the three books I just read. (or listened to, actually)

If you read my last post, you already know that I loved my experience of listening to Thandie Newton narrating as Jane Eyre. LOVED! Highly most highly recommended.

And then there is the latest book I read:  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

 

 

 

Miss Oliphant tells us that she found comfort in her many readings of Jane Eyre – LINK! and of course, she would! Unwanted as a child, smart as a tack, making her own way in the world and proud to do so. This could be a modern retelling of Jane. Not quite; but similarities and parallels exist. 🔥

I love that Honeyman talks about wanting more of Pilot in Jane Eyre’s story.

“You can’t have too much dog in a book.”
And finally, there’s a real person to talk about and how her story relates to Eleanor: Sarah Hepola and memoir Blackout.
As Discussion Chair of the Tournament of Books Nonfiction Pop-Up for May, Sarah has been keenly insightful and enthusiastic. I have nodded in agreement to most of her thoughts so far. Check it out. I am so glad I read her book to ‘frame’ my appreciation of this month’s conversation on Memoir. I am a fan of this genre and if is seems that I’m rating them all high, let me explain: if I am fascinated, awed, and informed by emotional sharing, I give 5. If the language and eloquence is amazing, I go high. If I’m moved; tears well in my eyes or I shake my head in disbelief – and yet don’t disbelieve that their story is honestly theirs, I rate high.
On the other hand, if I just don’t like the person, don’t like their behaviors, don’t find them to be changed or come across as arrogant, boo hiss. (I suppose I can give some examples of bad memoirs I’ve chucked against the wall. If you want? Nah, let’s only celebrate the good ones today.)
Memoirs this May have been incredible! All have been intriguing and moving. And I always found something to relate to or be amazed by.
Enough of that – how did Blackout relate to Eleanor? Well, Eleanor was a drinker. She poured copious amounts of vodka down her throat to drown her black dreams. Sure, Sarah’s story didn’t quite parallel, but the work to move beyond the consumption of alcohol as a crutch or escape or blind need was extraordinary. Difficult. Life-saving.
Oh, and all three were first person narrative.

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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.

Jane Eyre

Thoughts  by Charlotte Bronte, 2016 (orig 1847), 19 hours 10 minutes

Narrated by Thandie Newton.

Challenge: Personal
Genre: Classics, Feminism, Gothic Romance?
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: #shrug

MOTIVATION for READING: Oh Jane. Jane, I feel like I know you. I have ‘known’ your story for what feels like forever. But, my memory fails me! I’m not really positive that I have met you face-to-face and heard your story from you directly. Perhaps I have only heard talk from other acquaintances, about your Mr. Rochester and his mad wife in the attic. I can’t remember if I was lying when I say I have read your book. Did I? or does it just seem that way because I know of the tale? (I have the same issue/question re: Wuthering Heights.)

I had to be sure. I decided that experiencing Jane Eyre via audiobook was the way to go (a first-read or reread – who cares? I suspected I would enjoy it – I love long classics on audio.) Lucky for me, I was able to select THIS edition.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Hmmmm, dare I spoil it? Have I already?!  EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT JANE EYRE IS ABOUT, right?

Actually, no. One of my best friends asked me yesterday, what is about? Crazy, huh? She’s such a good egg but is she plugged into the world of literature-mania like me? She is NOT.

And I had hard time telling her. How much to tell? I shrugged and told her she wouldn’t like it and would probably DNF it. I know her well enough.

WHAT’s GOOD: Thandie Newton is a dream. She is PERFECTION. She made every line beautiful and dreamy; she delivered the exact amount of emotion to every sentence. Fraught or loving, scary or forcefully independent.

Listen to Thandie’s voice and her thoughts on doing the narration:

What’s NOT so good:  Bronte can go on and on with descriptions but I enjoyed it. (I suspect my friend would roll her eyes in weariness. I also suspect she wouldn’t like the old language.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you want to audiobook a classic, choose this one.

RATING: Five slices of gooseberry pie.

“I have kept myself; and, I trust, shall keep myself again. What are you going to do with these gooseberries?” I inquired, as she brought out a basket of the fruit.

“Mak’ ’em into pies.”

“Give them to me and I’ll pick them.”

“Nay; I dunnut want ye to do nought.”

“But I must do something. Let me have them.”

She consented; and she even brought me a clean towel to spread over my dress, “lest,” as she said, “I should mucky it.”

 

 

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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.