The Intuitionist

Thoughts  by Colson Whitehead, Anchor Books Doubleday 1999, 255 pages

Challenge: none
Genre: Literary Fiction
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library

When Pie-faced Annie shakes off her stupor, she will recall a strange dream about elevators and falling, and will chalk it up to falling off the toilet, which will happen in about an hour.”

MOTIVATION for READING: With Whitehead winning the Pulitzer for The Underground Railroad, I wanted to try something else he has written. This one appealed to me the most and it was available at my library.

At the pounding of the door, she closes the book (the pages resist each other, so jealous and protective are they of Lila Mae’s touch).”

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Lila Mae Watson is the first black woman Elevator Inspector. She keeps to herself, trusts few, is dedicated to the work. She is on Team-Intuitionism. Most of the old-boys-club members of the Department where Lila Mae works are Team-Empiricism. One day, an elevator crashes in a brand new building just as the Mayor is about to show it off to dignitaries and VIPS. Luckily, no one was inside the box. A cable was cut? broke? what HAPPENED? Unfortunately, Lila Mae was the last person to ‘see’ the elevator in proper working condition. Was it a set up? But why and by whom? Games are afoot, as they say; none are what they seem.

Lila Mae is determined to clear her name and even more than that, to understand what is really important.

Lila Mae’s been a practicing solipsist since before she could walk, and the days’ recent events are doing irreparable damage to her condition.”

WHAT’s GOOD: I really enjoyed the writing and how the story unfolded. Occasionally, we would get flashbacks from Lila Mae’s childhood, her education to be an Inspector, and her first year after moving to the big city. Her father’s ambitions played a role but she is never sentimental. Also fun, is how the story expects you to already have a respect for the importance due the profession of Elevator Inspection, and everything builds upon that. Why, surely everyone wants to grow up and be inspect elevators, right? Of course, we do! It is fascinating how subtle Whitehead creates this world. Language and atmosphere, with odd originality in characters and descriptions.

It’s just darn clever and beautifully expressed.

That the devil still walks the earth and architecture is no substitute for prayer, for cracked knees and desperate barter with the gods.”

What’s NOT so good: Whitehead has the ability to confound me in my wish to have a concrete sense of time and place. He is so vague and loose with any tie downs to such. Bugs me but it is also good for me, I think. Lila Mae takes awhile to warm up to – she’s prickly, and often is accused of being haughty but we know it is armor. I felt her loneliness but I wonder if she felt or recognized it herself.

As the elevator reaches the fifth floor landing, an orange octagon cartwheels into her mind’s frame. It hops up and down, incongruous with the annular aggression of the red spike. Cubes and parallelograms emerge around the eighth floor, but they’re satisfied with half -hearted little jigs and don’t disrupt the proceedings like the mischievous orange octagon. The octagon ricochets into the foreground, famished for attention. She knows what it is. The triad of helical buffers recedes farther from her, ten stories down at the dusty and dark floor of the well.

“I’m going to have to cite you for a faulty overspeed governor,” Lila Mae says.

“But you haven’t even looked at it,” the super says.

FINAL THOUGHTS: A quote inside the book jacket states,

“Whitehead artfully crosses back and forth over racial, political, and artistic borders to create a work of stunning depth, soulfulness, and originality, starring one of the most intriguing heroine in contemporary fiction.”

I would agree.

RATING:  Four slices of pie with extra whipped cream.

The mother thanks him, promises a 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.

What’s Care Been Readin’ Lately?

Thoughts

I have had a slow down. Not a slump! but a definite lack of time spent reading, it seems. I did attempt a re-listen to Lincoln in the Bardo but I didn’t finish it. I was looking listening for a pie mention that I thought happened.  PLEASE ANYONE!! If you read or will read the eBook version — do a search pretty-please?

This week, I have rediscovered my ability to read read read. I am half through the 14 hour audiobook of Warren Zanes’ bio of  Tom Petty. Wow, do I love biographies of interesting artists. I do.  Mr. Zanes is an interesting character himself and he has an appealing literary quality to his writing. He has quoted Karen Blixon and Russell Banks and a few other authors I know of (but haven’t read.)

I’m still trudging through  The Disappearing Spoon and not that it’s not interesting, it’s just that I have been not picking it up. You know what I mean? What interesting characters these scientists can be…

And finally, on the heels of the Pulitzer announcement of Colson Whitehead winning for The Underground Railroad, I decided to check if my library had a copy of The Intuitionist They did and now I’m reading it. It’s got a scientific quirky vibe. Enjoying it very much so far.

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I finally watched Far From the Madding Crowd with Carey Mulligan and Martin Sheen  and it was wonderful! I loved it. If you loved this romantic triangle story with one fabulous independent woman lead, you should read my review of the book/audiobook…  You should read the book first. Film was a fun adaption, in my opinion. And visually stunning. Oh! the costumes!! And I miss reading classics. I need to get back to my Classics Club 50. “It is my intention to astonish you all.”

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I made pie for Easter.

The not so pretty but still rather interesting Carrot Pie and the Italian traditional ricotta cheese pie called Fiadone:

centered?

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I miss not having a book review to post on this now-dusty blog… Soon, though. Hope everyone is reading something good. TELL ME! What are you reading?

 

 

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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.

Home

Thoughts  by Marilynne Robinson, Farrar,Straus and Giroux 2008, 325 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Building category
Genre: Literary Fiction
Type/Source: Hardcover / Used Bookstore Raynham MA
 Why I read this now: Because I wanted to.

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Kindness takes more strength than I have now. I didn’t realize how much effort I used to put into it.

MOTIVATION for READING: Because I loved Gilead. I love the quiet powerful books.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Gilead is a fictional small town in Iowa and the book of the same name is about a Congregationalist minister contemplating some key elements of his life as he looks back on relationships and pivotal events. This book is a companion piece to Gilead, with other characters’ viewpoints and stories featured more prominently. Where Gilead was about Ames, this book is about Jack and his sister Glory, children of Ames’ best friend Robert. I suppose that is more than you need to know and yet doesn’t tell anything at all.

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There was a barely restrained glee about him, as though he felt he had done something, or had done nothing, to excellent effect.

WHAT’s GOOD:    Oh.

Sentences. Provocations? Emotions.

What’s NOT so good: What is not so good for me is having to read all the reviews that say this book is boring. They said that about Gilead, too. I was never bored so that claim rings false. I should respect those who make it but I don’t have to like it.

As a matter of courtesy they treated one another’s deceptions like truth which was a different thing from deceiving or being deceived.

Sure, Jack smiles too much and glances at Glory a lot. But it felt so true. Such a different time. What would a bum son look like in now times? Would such a degenerate be so good to his father? Was he good? What IS good? Takes my breath away. And poor Glory. Ugh. Trapped in our roles, are we? I can’t write a review, I can only ask more questions.

She used to ask yourself, What more could I wish? But she always distrusted that question, because she knew there were limits to her experience that precluded her knowing what there was to be wished.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Beautiful. Sad. Contemplative. Aching.

“She said you hated cream pie, but I was certain I remembered you had a special fondness for it, and she made it on my say-so, despite her reservations.”

“It’s pretty leathery by now,” she said.

“You see, she’s trying to prejudice you against it! You’d think we’d made a wager of some kind!”

Jack said, “I like cream pie.” He glanced at her.

RATING: Five slices of pie. Apple pie.

He asked for a look at the pie before the top crust went on – “more fragrant than flowers!” – And for look at it afterward, on the edge had been fluted and the vents were cut.

The kitchen began to smell of pie baking.

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That odd capacity for destitution, as if by nature we ought to have so much more than nature gives us. As if we are shockingly unclothed when we lack the complacencies of ordinary life. In destitution, even of feeling or purpose, a human being is more hauntingly human and vulnerable to kindnesses because there is the sense that things should be otherwise, and then the thought of what is wanting and what alleviation would be, and how the soul could be put at ease, restored. At home. but the soul finds its own home if it ever has a home at all.

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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.

Lincoln in the Bardo

Thoughts  by George Saunders, Random House Audio 2017, 7 hrs 25 mins

Audiobook  narration by a long list of people!

MOTIVATION for READING:  LISTENING:  I couldn’t resist the high praise and curiosity of so many narrators.

Let’s start this nutty review with my suggestions. IF you think you want to do the audio – and I DO suggest you listen to this if you love audiobooks – I must insist on two things,

  1. Read the list of which person reads which character, and
  2. Know what Op. Cit. means. You’ll hear it and if you are like me, you’ll hear the word ‘UPSET’ rather and you’ll be distracted.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Oh, one more thing… KNOW THIS!!! I do think one should KNOW a bit about this book and its format before one embarks. I don’t think going blind or just knowing that it is about Lincoln and his dealing with Willie’s death is enough. I think you might best understand the use of the historical quotes and what/how Mr. Saunders lays out in the telling. Thus, we return to the “Op.Cit.”

I was so wrong to go in blind to this. I think I had read the synopsis way back long time ago and so I was helluva confused at the beginning. I was easily distracted,

so…
If you think attempting to identify which celebrity is speaking which part will be a distraction, I can solve that for you – read on.

I’m sure if I had read this first I would have waded in with more success; do read this from iTunes:

Description

The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

The 166-person full cast features award-winning actors and musicians, as well as a number of Saunders’ family, friends, and members of his publishing team, including, in order of their appearance: Nick Offerman as HANS VOLLMAN David Sedaris as ROGER BEVINS III Carrie Brownstein as ISABELLE PERKINS George Saunders as THE REVEREND EVERLY THOMAS Miranda July as MRS. ELIZABETH CRAWFORD Lena Dunham as ELISE TRAYNOR Ben Stiller as JACK MANDERS Julianne Moore as JANE ELLIS Susan Sarandon as MRS. ABIGAIL BLASS Bradley Whitford as LT. CECIL STONE Bill Hader as EDDIE BARON Megan Mullally as BETSY BARON Rainn Wilson as PERCIVAL “DASH” COLLIER Jeff Tweedy as CAPTAIN WILLIAM PRINCE Kat Dennings as MISS TAMARA DOOLITTLE Jeffrey Tambor as PROFESSOR EDMUND BLOOMER Mike O’Brien as LAWRENCE T. DECROIX Keegan-Michael Key as ELSON FARWELL Don Cheadle as THOMAS HAVENS and Patrick Wilson as STANLEY “PERFESSER” LIPPERT with Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN, Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND, and Cassandra Campbell as Your Narrator.

The only voice I recognized was Offerman’s in the beginning — I thought he was Abraham Lincoln (nope, just reading his thoughts) but I eventually was able to connect voice to character and get lost into the story. I had Sedaris’ voice as some other actor I cannot name off the top of my head but I eventually connected voice with Bevans. I picked out Susan Sarandon’s voice right away but the rest – couldn’t identify. (I was never any good at picking the callers on Frasier, either). I am SO glad I found this list! (when I was about 3/4 done). I hope it helps you if you think you might need it.

Or read any of the many wonderful reviews and explanations that I’m finding NOW after I attempted the thing…  Audible has a good review or two, Goodreads has some, too.

WHAT’s GOOD:  A lot to admire here. The phrasing, the wording! Poetic, emphatic, bursting with imagery. I guess the best I can say is that this is a work is art. Writing is truly a creative artistic endeavor and Lincoln in the Bardo is one of the best examples of the art of literature that I’ve enjoyed of late. It’s funny at times, shocking at times, so very very sad sometimes. It has rhythm like music and inspires emotion like a beautiful painting.

But was it really that good? Am I adding to a hype that is starting to saturate the lit-osphere? I don’t know. I really wonder about whether I was ‘getting it’ about 1/3 in but by the end of it, I was mesmerized.

I am considering a re-listen and maybe I will buy the print. I suggest you take a long car trip and enjoy. My 10 minute commute to work twice a day didn’t cut it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think it might be a masterpiece. If you read the print and loved it, I think you might next want to hear it. It’s lyrical, it’s creative. It’s affecting.

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.

Dublin Literary Pub Crawl

Thoughts          by Colm Quilligan, Writers’ Island 4th Ed 2017 (orig 2008), 160 pages

The story of Dublin pubs and the writers they served.

Challenge: Tour Dublin
Genre: Travel, Literary Travel!!
Type/Source: Tradeback / purchased directly from the author
 Why I read this now: Cuz I bought it from the source AT the source.

MOTIVATION for READING: To see if I really saw Dublin as I hope to have seen it. (yea, not quite, dammit.)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This book is a guide to all the cool literary places to visit in Dublin! It is NOT the thing to buy on your last day in Dublin. It is preferable to read before setting foot in Dublin but not too far in advance probably (based on ME, cuz I am really horrible about reading stuff pre-visit to places. (What is really crazy is that I can replay that in my head in an Irish accent but I suck at an Irish-accent-attempt live.))

WHAT’s GOOD: Pretty pictures! Slick copy! Cool places! MUST. GET. BACK. TO DUBLIN. Guinness really does taste better in Dublin. Sigh.

This book is packed with places (with addresses – good), photos, interesting tidbits, famous people and other people that may not be known to everyone, fascinating history, etc etc etc. The index is extensive, too, which I know will impress the fussiest of nonfiction-lovers. And a bibliography!

If you read yesterday’s post on Delaney’s Dublin book, you’ll know about The Bailey pub and maybe could tell that it doesn’t look ‘old’. Interesting bit: Delaney lamented that 7 Eccles Street was not a stop on any tour (he does give quite a bit of history why Joyce chose that address in Ulysses) and now Quilligan explains more:

The Bailey was part of the Brown Thomas department store building, which was bough by Marks and Spencer in 1994. The pub and landmark restaurant were closed and quickly gutted, prompting a controversy about where to put the door of 7 Eccles Street, the fictional home of Leopold Bloom (the door had been part of the foyer of the Bailey). Thankfully, the door found a new home at the James Joyce Centre on North Great Georges Street, where it enhance the excellent permanent exhibition that transferred there from the National Library.

We didn’t get to the Joyce Centre on Great Georges. #sadface. I also failed to find the statue of Joyce that was supposed to be on one of the main boulevards, according to the map. I was riding the bus, camera ready and failed to spot it, I guess.

What’s NOT so good: That feeling of wanting to turn around and go back to Dublin immediately because I read this on the plane ride back to America. 

FINAL THOUGHTS: Must go back, all there is to it. I follow some cool Twitter pages for promoting Dublin and I just yesterday saw a place I want to go visit that isn’t in this book and now I’m wondering just how big is that town?!

Highly recommended you read this prior to your trip and also enjoy the actual Pub Crawl when you get there.  The Crawl is lively and informative with song and ditties and opportunities to taste a beverage or two; but gives only just a little slice of what can be discovered with this book.

RATING: Four slices of pie; Guinness Beef Pie or and even a Guinness Chocolate Cherry Pie? No pie mentioned (or I missed it?)

 

 

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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 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.

IMG_1659

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.

pierating

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.

 

 

pierating

 

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.