The Nix

Thoughts by Nathan Hill, Knopf 2016, 628 pages

Challenge: My last TOB book, I promise

Also…  Satisfies the “Title with an X” category.

Genre: GAN? (why so uncertain? I am ALWAYS uncertain.)
Type/Source: Hardcover / a friend.
 Why I read this now: It was time and possession.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have had this book on my tbr since before the long list was announced, but I’m sure it was the TOB possibility list of 2016 published titles that put it on my radar. [Added to tbr on Nov 11, 2016 – hmmm, this sounds like I did NOT find it before the tob long list date…  darn.]

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The premise is enticing, no? A NIX is something you love that will ultimately destroy you. Or something like that.

It’s 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson—college professor, stalled writer—has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn’t seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she’s re-appeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paint Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: she’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help.

It’s just a fun, plot-ful, charged and funny read. It has internet-gaming addiction, college angst and student-entitlement issues, music + young love + best friend love + frozen TV dinners, history (I love learning about stuff from past real life via fiction), some travel, some odd interesting things about plants. I loved it.

WHAT’s GOOD: It was action-oriented and gave me history of Chicago – a favorite town. It has one of the most heart-breaking (to me) scenes of high school angst via Faye that I’ve ever encountered. It put raw-honesty words to some of my own life. It had many a crazy moments. It has a 13 page run on sentence! I just might re-“read” this by audiobook someday. [OK – you rereaders can go ahead and laugh because I probably never will.]

After today’s commentary, I have been asking myself if I liked this one more than Version Control. I think yes, YES, I did. But they felt similar to me in that they packed a lot of stuff into the plot.

What’s NOT so good: That same HS-angst that Faye felt didn’t quite jive with her freshman year persona. She was afraid of being noticed or thought wrong and yet did crazy-fearless things I would NEVER have done my freshman year in college and I couldn’t quite balance it. But I gave it a pass. People are always surprising. I read some critiques after I finished this book (always a GOOD sign when I read this AFTER – if read DURING, a bad sign…) and I am still thinking about the negatives others have shared. Let’s just say that THIS commentary on TOB round day will be captivating to me. Yes, I said CAPTIVATING.

Was this book sexist and misogynistic?  Gawd, do I have to go there?! I didn’t have those thoughts I.Get.It. if did/didn’t. It’s seriously exhausting to have that lens on all the time, give it a rest?!  Life is so fecking troublematic.

Was it… white bread privilege? Maybe. How could Faye make a living by creating a nonprofit to read books to children? How easy did that happen?! How was Sam going to make a living -*-*-*-*-*-SPOILER ALERT!!! -*-*-*-*-*- in the last half of the book? oh yea, he’s a writer with the best publicist ever.

I didn’t get a good sense of what the 1968ers were protesting, compared to the protests going on now. It definitely had a pre-election feel to it and yet it also grasped that political party struggle of us vs them.

I think I am looking forward to commentary on this. And I seriously also hope that everyone who DOES comments reads the history of the TOB and takes a chill pill. I am totally speaking to those who have newly discovered the TOB and are throwing their opinions about how unfair and seriously flawed the thing is because THAT is the point. Take a step back. Pause, breathe, get a grip, laugh some, realize that I sound absolutely awful and I don’t care, think some about it all and BE KIND. Be kind. Please be kind. Love things, disagree with things, and smile because life can still be beautiful or what’s the point. The point is not which book wins the Rooster but that we have an opportunity to think about what we LIKE about books. Rant over. That is all.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Whew. The Nix. Was this the Next Great Amerian Novel? [I wish all the best to Mr. Hill.] I don’t know. I don’t think so, though.

RATING: I rounded up from 4.5 slices of pie to give this the honored 5-slicer because I enjoyed it.

Have a nice day.

BIG SHOUT OUT TO MY FRIEND Katie! who loves the TOB and reads voraciously and is the person I think about when I see anything related to hedgehogs, who sent me this book.

Here’s a photo from Ireland of a cafe called the Strawberry Hedgehog. Unfortunately, we were unable to stop and check it out.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Born a Crime

Thoughts bacbytn by Trevor Noah, Audible 2016, 8 hours 50 minutes

Challenge:  No challenge involved.
Genre: Memoir
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible (a freebie announcement I happened to catch.)
 Why I read this now: I needed an easy listen that was short.

MOTIVATION for READING: I love comedian memoirs on audio.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A coming of age tale a few years before Apartheid in South Africa and years following.

WHAT’s GOOD: Fascinating look at a life and cultures of which I know little.

What’s NOT so good: I wanted to know more about how he came to America and got his start in television. Guess that part will be in his next book. Trust me, the ‘early years’ of Trevor Noah have plenty of drama!

FINAL THOUGHTS: Highly recommended. Narration is terrific.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

High Dive

 

Thoughts hdbyjl by Jonathan Lee, Knopf 2016, 321 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books (16 of 18)
Genre: Historical Lit?
Type/Source: Hard Cover/Library
 Why I read this now: next in line (actually shorter of the two I was able to get from the library)

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB… starts March 8… Here’s the link to watch… (aw COOL. They have a countdown clock working. At the moment of my typing this sentence, we have 8 days yet to go.)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: High Dive is about the 1984 bomb that damaged the Grand Hotel, killing 5 and injuring 31. It is a fictional account of Dan who works (volunteers?) for the IRA as an ‘electrician’. He lives with his mother in Belfast Ireland and has two dogs. He has a torturous(-to-read-about) initiation “interview”. He prefers to work on the bomb creation side of the violence. The title High Dive is possibly inferred from the background of the second character we meet, Moose Finch. Mr. Finch used to be a diving instructor and is now Assistant to the General Manager for the fancy Grand Hotel in Brighton UK. He loves working with people, regrets not going to University when he had the chance, and is hoping he will be promoted to GM after the political conference being in October. Mr. Finch has a daughter named Freya. While trying to decide if she should travel the world or go on to Uni, she works the front desk of the Grand.

Dan checks in as a guest of the Grand Hotel three weeks before the conference so that he can plant a bomb under the bathtub in the room that Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, might be staying in. IMG_1665

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s a thoughtful book. It has a melancholy feel. Definitely character-driven not plot-driven.

What’s NOT so good: I kept getting distracted by wanting to look up more about the hotel, the IRA, Belfast, “the troubles”, RUC, maps of Brighton Beach – the Royal Pavilion – the train station. Saracens, Semtex, plimsolls. I slowly, painstakingly dragged myself through these pages at no fault of the book’s but of my distracted scatterbrained lack of ability to concentrate. Once I finally did manage to find focus, I fell into it and loved it.

This quote is on the book jacket:

A bold, astonishingly intimate novel of laughter and heartbreak, High Dive is a moving portrait of clashing loyalties, guilt and regret, and how individuals become the grist of history.

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FINAL THOUGHTS: I’ve been to Brighton. I think this fact kept me dedicated to this book and also could be to blame for the distractedness. I’ve been to the Grand Hotel. I didn’t know it had been the site of an assassination attempt on Thatcher. I only needed find a restroom, as a tourist wandering around the beachfront. My memory of that ‘situation’ is clear; but that it was the Grand Hotel that provided me that sanctuary, I am not entirely positive. I think so, I’m pretty sure (based on location and possible path from the train.) I didn’t take any photos of the place. I remember it was full of people. Full of school-age children. It was a cold brisk but sunny bright day and I have very positive fond thoughts of Brighton. It made me feel off-kilter reading this, knowing I had been there not quite 30 years later. I would have been one year older than Freya in 1984.

Here are a few of my Brighton photos:

IMG_1672    BristolHorseIMG_1668

RATING: Four slices of shepherd’s pie.

“He could reel off the first 200 digits of pi.”  p.142

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Moonglow

Thoughts mgbymc by Michael Chabon, HarperAudio 2016, 14 hours 46 minutes

Narrated by George Newbern.

Challenge: TOB shortlist
Genre: fiction-memoir, speculative-memoir?
Type/Source: Audio/Audible Credit
 Why I read this now: Finished The Bone Clocks; this was up next.

MOTIVATION for READING: One thing that recommends this besides it being TOB is that it is written by Chabon. I have only read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and want to read more.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: I’m deferring to a few bits of the goodreads blurb because it is excellent. To read the whole blurb, click on the cover above because even though it is the button for the audio and I probably should link to Audible.com, I believe you would prefer access to the goodreads reviews rather than Audible. Am I wrong? Feel free to comment.

 …  the latest feat of legerdemain in the ongoing magic act that is the art of Michael Chabon.

Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies. A gripping, poignant, tragicomic, scrupulously researched and wholly imaginary transcript of a life that spanned the dark heart of the twentieth century, Moonglow is also a tour de force of speculative history. (edited/cut) Chabon devises and reveals, in bits and pieces whose hallucinatory intensity is matched only by their comic vigor and the radiant moonglow of his prose, a secret history of his own imagination.

WHAT’s GOOD:  The unraveling, layering, building. The metaphors, the descriptors, the confident prose. I am almost certain that if you had me read a few pages of a book without identifying the author, I could pick out Chabon’s style and phrasing.

What’s NOT so good:  See above. Unfortunately, I feel like I can dip into and skip around and know that even as am surely ‘missing something’, I won’t miss it.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  If I wasn’t in such a gosh darn hurry to get these books crossed off the list, I would listen to every word and marvel. I would be entertained, enthralled, captivated, etc. I think I’ll just put another or all of Chabon’s books on my tbr and hope to read them someday.

SPECIFIC to TOB:  Due to the narrative structure and question of memoir vs fiction, I really wish this book was slated to compete against Black Wave. What a discussion that could be!  What a syllabus for a college class: these two books, add in A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein and everything by Mary Karr. But what do I know? I haven’t read any of those…

RATING: Four slices of pie. And I did hear a mention (as in, a list of desserts brought to a party) but I failed to capture the specifics.

[Updated, near the end of the book, about an hour left…  TARTE TATIN!  French Apple Pie.]

fourpie

Moonglow collapses an era into a single life and a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional non-fiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most daring, his most moving, his most Chabonesque.

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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 Bone Clocks Readalong Wrap up

Thoughts  tbcbydm by David Mitchell, Random House 2014, 624 pages

Narrated by Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, Steven Crossley, Laurel Lefkow, Anna Bentinck; Recorded Books 2014, 24 hours 30 minutes

Challenge: boneclocksbtn
Genre: SciFi
Type/Source: Hardback AND Audio / Library and Audible
 Why I read this now: Melissa and I co-hosted the Readalong! (which I probably wouldn’t have agreed to if I had remembered that January and February are hot times to read the TOB books… But it worked out. Melissa did the heavy lifting. I basically just cheered along.)

MOTIVATION for READING: David Mitchell’s books are best read with friends, in my opinion but I have never tried one alone so I have no idea.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  I’m not going to tell what this is about because Melissa explains it so well at her wrap up post here. Go read that – and do know that it is full of spoilers assuming you’ve read the whole book!

I’m going to offer random thoughts for here on out…

  • I do have to agree with Melissa about Soleil – where did she come from and where did she go?!
  • I thought Hugo Lamb was a great lovable bad guy. And how sweet was he that he was still in love with Holly?!  aw… swoon.
  • Holly was great. However (in only one section) – the voice? I’m not sure which narrators narrated what, but in the Crispin section — the male attempting Holly’s voice was WRONG. Very distracting.
  • The above point was the only issue I had with the narration. Otherwise, I thought all the voices SPOT ON. I enjoyed the audiobook very much. I did also read (went back and forth) to the hardcover from the library.
  • I was impatient to find out about Jacko and was sad that XiLo-Jacko didn’t make it back. Nor Esther.
  • So the different kinds of Horologists…   Funny, huh? The 49-day reincarnators and the body-hoppers?  If they had a term, I missed it.
  • I did kind of like Crispin – that section was too long! But it made me appreciate David Mitchell’s character development skills. And I liked how that section included a Writer’s-How-To manual.
  • Did you catch that part when Mitchell made fun of himself; “Never trust a guy with two first names.”?  Ha.
  • Melissa and I disagree some on the last section. She sensed that she was being preached at concerning environmental issues but I was only fascinated by the  possible scenarios. The Chinese being the world’s caretakers? Young ladies hoping to marry so they could get such luxuries as regular meals and Wifi. And what about Iceland? I have always wanted to go to Iceland.
  • So. Crispin and Holly. Friends. Friends who both wondered “what if?” Both denied acting on a possible ‘extension’ to their friendship to other realms. One, because Crispin KNEW he didn’t deserve Holly; but Holly? She sensed his sensitivity, his intelligence, his success. She recognized his ego in decline? His vulnerability? Did she sense that he was so different from Ed? (Cuz, YEA.) That she was a one-guy-gal? It felt so TRUE to me! That they became friends and wanted more but both doubted it would work, that it would be complicated, ruin a nice friendship, or what? just true. I really was startled when Marinus stated that both wanted love together but failed to even recognize it within themselves! How much do we miss of ourselves and how do we capture/recognize/trust these obvious or not truths about ourselves? I wonder…
  • Ed. Let’s talk about Ed but let’s consider some movies that explore the same stuff that Ed was experiencing. I’m thinking Whiskey Tango Foxtrot starring Tina Fey. I watched this movie today; it was my second viewing and it was just as good. It is not a highly rated movie but it hits a lot of buttons I like in movies. Shrug. The part of about how Ed feels more alive when he is chasing a story in life-threatening situations… I dunno. It stopped me. Had to think about that. I felt for him AND Holly. Poor Holly. Holly was so cool.
  • And here we are, considering fictional characters as real people.
  • I had been waiting for the labyrinth. It was cool that she had a pendant created so she was able to study it. Probably not a hidden hint that the map was going to be important but I was impatient for it and an explanation for whatever happened to Jacko. All those little insertions of story points that we know are bound to be important – like Aunti Eilísh chatting with the not-quite-Jacko and telling Ed about it.

I’m honored you’re telling me all this, Eilísh, honestly – but why are you telling me all this?
I’m being told to.
Who . . . who by?
By the Script.
What script?

  • Who wrote the Script??!??!?!?!  It did come up again, didn’t it? or is my memory faulty already?
  • I always rate good books higher when I’ve enjoyed a terrific readalong experience. This is no different. And I’m also going to rate this higher because of the many excellent pie references. MANY. LOTS. STRATEGIC. PLOT-PIVOTAL. Entertaining PIE REFERENCES. This David Mitchell guy might be studying Stephen King (#ifyouknowhatImean #butofcourseyoudon’tsoletmetellyou. King always has great pie quotes in his books.) I’ll just share ’em. Some are unpleasant but still awesome. Here they are!  The last one is AMAZING!
  • But wait — before I start the pie quotes, I want to disavow any hint I might have dropped that this isn’t a great book unless it has pie and was read as a readalong. I rate books by my reaction to them and so this is my rating. I do think it a really good book.
  • Who’s up for SLADE HOUSE? (Who has read this far?)

The PIE

page 13 2.08% “I’ll make scones and plum pies and coffee cakes and Vinny’ll be all, “Jesus, Holly, how did I ever get by without you?”
page 17 2.72% “Mam’ll make me steaming shit pie, dripping in shit gravy, and sit there smug as hell watching me eat every shitty morsel, and from now until the end of time, if ever I’m anything less than yes – sir – no – sir – three – bags – full – sir, she’ll bring up the Vinny Costello Incident.”
page 40 6.41%American Pie” song
page 68 10.9% “Somewhere in the July 2 bit of the A Hot Spell chapter is a reference to a “pie in the sky“. Too busy walking two dogs listening to audiobook to clip/note.
page 149 23.88% “Chetwynd-Pitt, Quinn and Fitzimmons have eaten – – Günter’s daube, a beef stew, and a wedge of apple pie with cinnamon sauce – and have started on the cocktails which, thanks to my lost bet, I have the honor of buying for Chetwynd-Pitt.”
page 446 71.4% “Do you remember, Doctor, we grew rhubarb at Dawkins Hospital? I remember the pies,” I tell him.
page 540 86.5% “Holly drops the thing. ‘Rolling pin’. Where did you find a rolling pin in here? ‘I nicked it from your kitchen at 119A.’
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RATING: Five slices of pie.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Black Wave

Thoughts bwbymt by Michelle Tea, Feminist Press 2016, 326 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books
Genre: LGBTQ
Type/Source: Tradeback (with lovely deckle edge) / purchased directly from publisher.
 Why I read this now: Book arrived just in time.

MOTIVATION for READING: By the way, the Tournament Brackets have been announced. The fun starts March 8 with this book versus The Underground Railroad. I’m cheering for Black Wave. Actually, the March 8 date will likely be the Pre-Tournament Play-in Match and I’m going to predict Sudden Death.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is a cleverly told tale of a writer attempting her second book and experiencing ‘life’ so she will have things to write about. Let’s just say her life experiences are dramatic and risky. There’s also that environment/weather gone haywire issue.

“The planet’s dead,” Kym said cheerfully.

WHAT’s GOOD: I loved her tone, her wording, the style. I loved her nonchalance, her waywardness, her passions. No matter what her lifestyle decisions, she nailed that universal mid-to-late 20s ‘now what?!‘ malaise. There is humor and there is end of the world tragedy. What’s not to love? She also gets to meet Matt Dillon!

michelleteamattdillon

What’s NOT so good: I thought this book just kept getting better and better. There are definitely some fiction-nonfiction (anti-memoir? “autofiction”?) curveballs to the narrative but just roll with it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: My goodreads review is this:

A love story. A tender whacked-out apocalyptic love story.

 

Other REVIEWs:  Teresa at Shelf Love writes a fabulous review that tells you much more than I do.

RATING: Five slices of pie. Pie with ice cream, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and Shepherd’s Pie!

blackwave

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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 Underground Railroad

Thoughts tugrrbycw by Colson Whitehead, Doubleday Books 2016, 306 pages

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Adult Fiction, Imaginative History?
Type/Source: Hardcover / Contest Win
 Why I read this now: Book arrived just as I finished Sudden Death

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Cora is a slave in Georgia and Caesar invites her to escape with him. They manage to hitch a ride on the Underground Railroad which is actually a real locomotive underground tunneling train ride rather than a metaphor. They spend quality time learning to read and working real jobs in South Carolina when they have an opportunity to catch the next rail out. Cora makes it to North Carolina but it’s not a happy spot, at all. If this part was truly based on real events, I had no idea. Chilling. There’s more adventure to follow for Cora but none of it is good.

WHAT’s GOOD: Imaginative. Chilling. 

What’s NOT so good: I didn’t connect to the characters. I kept comparing it to Homegoing, unfortunately. I don’t think this book had anything startling new to share on the topic of slavery. As Penny on Big Bang Theory said, “Slavery is bad.”

FINAL THOUGHTS: I could blame the circumstance of reading a review of someone on goodreads who REALLY didn’t like this book and I have often found her reviews insightful and interesting, especially on the merits of literature. I think I ended up looking for those details and negativities but I really do want to say that reading the book was a meaningful experience for me and I’m sure the many wonderful reviews are valid. Please read this for yourself and let’s have some fascinating discussion during the March Tournament, ok? And remind me NOT to read reviews while I’m in the middle of a book!!!

RATING: Remember, three stars says I LIKED IT. I wasn’t blown away by it, I preferred other TOB books of late. But I’m glad to have read it.

I thank Jeanne of Necromancy Doesn’t Pay for sending me this book. She shares that this book is “powerfully written and deeply disturbing.” Please read Jeanne’s review here. 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Sudden Death

Thoughts sdbyae by Álvaro Enrigue, Riverhead 2016, 264 pages

Translated from Spanish to English by Natasha Wimmer.

Audiobook published by Tantor Audio, narration by Robert Fass, 6 hours 57 minutes.

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Historical Fiction / Tennis Lit
Type/Source: Hardback AND Audio / Library
 Why I read this now: Selected due to shortness of the audiobook, in hopes that I could finish in January to be my 12th book of the month.

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB…

WHAT’s it ABOUT: I’m going to copy and paste one of the goodreads blurbs.

A funny and mind-bending novel about the clash of empires and ideas in the sixteenth century, told over the course of one dazzling tennis match

A brutal tennis match in Rome.

Two formidable opponents: the wild Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and the loutish Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo.

Galileo, Saint Matthew and Mary Magdalene heckle from the sidelines.

In England, Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII execute Anne Boleyn, and her executioner transforms her legendary locks into the most sought-after tennis balls of the time.

Across the ocean in Mexico, the last Aztec emperors play their own games, as Hernán Cortés and his Mayan translator and lover scheme and conquer, fight and fuck, not knowing that their domestic comedy will change the course of history.

Over the course of one dazzling tennis match – through assassinations and executions, carnal liaisons and papal dramas, artistic and religious revolutions, love and war – Sudden Death tells the grand adventure of the clash of empires and the dawn of the modern era.

WHAT’s GOOD: It really is fascinating. And has its funny moments.

What’s NOT so good: It’s also too difficult to keep track of in my current end-of-month scramble to finish a book (impatience) and the wrestling with reading books I feel “I have to” and not what “I want to” — which I realize is messed-up thinking so let’s throw in the current state of the world affairs, my own crazy messy life stuff, and realizing I have a book club book to read by next week.

Allow me to share a few thoughts from my reader friends:

sdbyaegr

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m skimming the rest of this and do not think I will be missing anything (actually, as I miss EVERYTHING!) – in other words, I will be able to follow the upcoming TOB commentary and likely agree with everyone. If you are reading this, let me know if it has any pie.

RATING: Three slices of pie! I liked it, I’m just needing to move on. It does deserve more time and fuller attention than I care to give it at this time. I have my regrets and may I only mutter, someday…

Highly recommended for fans of lively history and TENNIS.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Version Control

Thoughts vcbydp by Dexter Palmer, Vintage 2016, 512 pages

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Science Fiction
Type/Source: Tradeback / Local Indie Bookstore
 Why I read this now:  Book trade with Katie!

MOTIVATION for READING: I tbr’d this book back in November and I’m not sure if that is when the TOB Long List was published? but I know I had interest in this book before the short list was announced. I’m just getting to it now.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Rebecca is a young wife, recovering from a tragedy a few years back and is married to a physicist working on a causality violation device (do NOT call it a time machine!) She suspects that something is ‘off’, things just aren’t quite right, normal feels vaguely odd. Gee, whatever could it be?

WHAT’s GOOD: This is a meaty story with lots of interesting characters and details and tension. A bit of foreshadowing and a few teasers are dropped in and the slow build really keeps the interest going.

The drop in conversations with The President were very creepy. The autonomous automobiles were cool.

What’s NOT so good: Though I loved the sly political commentary on person rights versus data collection and the analysis of how computer dating systems are designed to be financially viable, I was not so comfortable or convinced on a few plot points.

FINAL THOUGHTS: In the beginning, I had that eager anticipation that this book was going to be SOMETHING, a book of heft and weight and delight in its unfolding. And not that it wasn’t, but it arc’d. Though it ended satisfactorily, it wasn’t the five slicer I had initially thought it could be.

RATING: A solid four slice of pie thriller.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Mister Monkey

Thoughts mmbyfp by Francine Prose, Harper 2016, 285 pages

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Adult Lit, connect short stories
Type/Source: Hard cover / Library
 Why I read this now: up next…

WHAT’s it ABOUT: These are connected short stories that revolve around a children’s musical play being produced off off off off off Broadway. We first meet an actress who feels frustrated with where she is in her career and we meet the 12 yo child actor genius who plays the chimp role. We meet a little boy who spoke too loudly during a performance and we meet his grandfather. We are introduced to the little boy’s new kindergarten teacher who happens to be on a blind date while the author of the book the play is based on is seated at the next table over. We meet the waiter who receives tickets to the play from the author as part of his tip. The play isn’t going well; the motivations and perspectives of the cast and audience shine a prism of realities onto the experience.

WHAT’s GOOD: The stories are poignant and funny, sad and insightful to the human condition. We feel the regrets, embarrassment, love and hope.

What’s NOT so good: I really enjoyed these and I was impressed by the deft handling and skill of the writing.

FINAL THOUGHTS: A pleasure.

RATING: Four to five slices of apple tart.

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.