It’s On! #TOB18

DD6C3A25-EDDE-4695-A8D5-69E447393C54I am on vacation and today kicks off the Tournament,

Round 1. 

(Edited that 3/7 was Play-in Round; Opening Round is 3/8)

I am writing this on my phone so I might be challenged with links and stuff. (No, looks like I managed it, click on “Round 1”.)

I managed to read the first third of Lucky Boy and am enjoying it. Gotta love ✈️ travel for dedicated reading time.

And, sorry Ruthiella – I might (probably) DNF Savage Theories. It’s entertaining in a way but also exhausting. Since it won’t be advancing…

The Idiot moves on!


I managed to read all but Joan, Cyborgs, Steve FLORIDA (where I am right now, escaping Storm Quinn), and DNFing Savage. I’m OK with it. You? Did you read ‘em all and if not, are you OK?

I didn’t fill out a bracket…

See ya in the commentary!


Classic Spin March 2018

Mar 9: number 3 selected; thus, I get to read Cold Comfort Farm.

It’s another SPIN!  My favorite… This button has the information post:

Drawing and number announcement will be March 9; book at that number from this list must be read by the end of April. Let’s do this!

Here are my 20:

  1. The Three Muskateers
  2. Jude the Obscure
  3. Cold Comfort Farm
  4. Wide Sargasso Sea
  5. The King Must Die
  6. The Dud Avocado
  7. Charlotte Sometimes
  8. One Fine Day
  9. The Ox-Bow Incident
  10. The House of the Seven Gables
  11. Candide
  12. A Handful of Dust
  13. Rabbit Run
  14. Love in a Cold Climate –> Love in a Fallen City
  15. Naked Lunch
  16. The Counterfeiters
  17. Love in a Fallen City moved to spot 14; switching with Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford
  18. The Woodlanders
  19. Confederacy of Dunces
  20. The Way We Live Now

I was planning on getting to The House of the Seven Gables sooner than later so let’s all hope the spin number is TEN!

My original list and progress page is linked here for my own convenience.





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Must Read in a Lifetime

My friend Sheila over at Book Journey has invited me (and you) to answer this question:

What Do YOU Say Is A Must Read In A Lifetime?

And I couldn’t figure out a quick answer…  If you click on the button above, you can go read her post on her idea to create a list of these books as generated from her book friends. She is allowing us 3 or 4 suggested titles.

What are my TOP TEN? My most favorite books or those books that still delight me when I see on other crazy book lists of must reads?        I can’t decide! Having given myself a few days to think upon this, I’ve still been unable to create a short list of my own. So, I’m just going to start typing titles that pop into my head:

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
The Book Thief by Mark Zusak
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Beloved by Toni Morrison
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (or would it be Cat’s Cradle? I need to reread and find out.)

I would love to say It by Stephen King but I just can’t. I would say the film Shawshank Redemption would be a great one for a movie list like this, though. I haven’t read the short story the movie is based on… But I do think something by Stephen King should be on such a list.

pieratingsmlI have 974 READ books on goodreads. How many of those did I give 5 stars? 205.

From that list, I skim off some more I think could fit this category of MUST READ in a LIFETIME…

Perhaps I should pose the question differently; reframe it as “Which books, had I not read, would have made my life less? less bright, not as enriched?”

pieratingsmlH is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Far From the Madding Crowd by Tom Hardy
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The Count of Monte Cristo – Dumas
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters
Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane! – Kate DiCamillo
The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
The Year of Pies by Ashley English
The Secret Life of Lobsters!!! yes, gotta have this one. Trevor Corson
The Sparrow by Mary Russell Doria
Waiting for Columbus – Tom Trofimuk
Seabiscuit – Laura Hillenbrand
Love Begins in Winter – Simon Booy
James McBride’s The Color of Water
A Tale of Two Cities – Chuck Dickens
Woman by Natalie Angier
Atonement by Ian McEwan

Olive Kittredge by Elizabeth Strout? Or did I love Lucy Barton more?

I’m not even listing those classics EVERYONE assumes are MUSTs…. Pride and Prejudice, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter… yikes.

Which 4 did I end up choosing for BookJourney’s list? Only she and I will know…

(y’all realize right? that whatever 4 I decide on will change tomorrow?!)

What can I say? I have eclectic tastes. AND, I need to read a lot more books.





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What’s in a Name 2018 Kick Off Post

My favorite challenge! This button     will take you to the host blog, The Worm Hole.

Here are the categories (with hyperlinks back to host blog) and my possible choices:

The word ‘the’ used twice – From my Classics Club 50: The House of the Seven Gables by Nat Hawthorne.

A fruit or vegetable – I’m committing to Elaine Dundy‘s The Dud Avocado, also on my Classics Club 50.

A shape – SO EXCITED to announce another Classics Club 50 will fit this one:  The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilberg Clark. An ox-bow is defined as 

  1. a U-shaped bend in the course of a river.
  2. a U-shaped collar of an ox yoke.

A title that begins with Z – Darn that I read Z last year (book about Zelda Fitzgerald) so I’m going to try The Zero by Jess Walter – I absolutely loved his Beautiful Ruins.

A nationality – Not sure here. Had American War for this spot when it was on the TOB long list but since it didn’t make the short. I have a lot of great nonfiction options about women that history forgot and I might go that route. Or perhaps American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang which would be a graphic novel and I want more of these. Any other suggestions?

A seasonCruel Winter by Sheila Connelly. I purchased this book for a friend’s birthday because it sounded like something she would enjoy and she promised to let me read it after (and then I’ll give it back so she can loan to her mom.)

I have created a goodreads list of done-reads and possibles for my 2018 tracking here…

Happy Reading Challenges!  What is the challenge you are MOST looking forward to this year?



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and the 2017 Pie in Literature Award goes to…


More Year End Book Analysis Fun … and No Whining This Time

I have decided 86 is the number of books I read last year. This includes DNFs, skimmed, and samples. Goodreads says I read 91 and I am not going to dig into it to figure out the difference. And this isn’t a whine, it’s just the way it is. This will be a long rambling post; enjoy or skip, I understand…

Same as last year! 

Total pages read is under dispute. Goodreads says 26,600.

I listened to 13 audiobooks. ~191 hours.

I had 16 five star reads and they are all so different — I enjoyed the experiences for different reasons. 
Run, Home, The Grand Sophy, Code Name Verity, The 4 and 20 Blackbirds Pie Book, The Bone Clocks, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, Just Mercy, Lap Girl, The Nix, Mister Monkey, Black Wave, Lincoln in the Bardo, So Much Blue, Anything is Possible, Born a Crime. I refuse to rank them and choose favorites but I will  endorse a TOP TWO as recommendations. These two were the shiniest of the shiny:



The other books that I gave 4 slices to yet now looking back I wonder why and so I now want to shout out some love to are:

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead. You will never again board an elevator and not think of this nutty little jewel. I liked it more than The Underground Railroad but that is probably because it is not as heavy…

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin – wow! A series I’m eager to continue…

Lila. It’s Marilynn Robinson. Duh. I think I should have read the print version, though.

Petty:The Biography by Warren Zanes – oh. RIP, Tom. You wrote some great songs. Thank you. (and I was very impressed with the writing. I’m a new fan of Zanes.)

Mr. Splitfoot – quirky! Loved it.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Not sure why I didn’t give this one five slices originally. It deserves all its accolades and I recommend everyone read it. Gonna be a movie!


The longest title: On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon. The shortest title would be Z (leave off the stuff after the ‘:’) The longest book I read was NOS4A2 by Joe Hill at 742 pages. The longest audiobook was The Sport of Kings at ~23 hours.

I read 48 books by women, 38 written by men.

Repeated authors:  Ann Patchett, David Mitchell, Stephen King, Marilynne Robinson, Kate Atkinson, Colson Whitehead.

Translated books:  Sudden Death by Alvara Enrigue, A Man Called Ove by Fred Backman, The Little Paris Bookshop, Wake in Winter by Ndezha Belenkaya.

DNFs included two of the above…

Books I read that I now need to see the movie:  Blindness, Mr. Mercedes, A Man Called Ove, A Long Way Home 

Books I read because I saw the movie:  The Hunter was the source story for Payback. 

pieratingsmlChallenges I successfully met:  The What’s in a Name Challenge and the Tournament of Books. I had THE BEST time with the TOB and must say I am ridiculously proud that I read EVERY BOOK on the SHORT LIST!

Challenges that bested me:  Classics Club and the 2017 Classics Challenge.

I can’t find my list tracking the 1001+ books to read before I die but I don’t think I hit many. I just didn’t read many old books; mostly read recently published. Perhaps Home by Marilynne Robinson? Orlando?

By decade:
2018 – 1
2017 – 10
2016 – 24
2010-2015 – 27
2000-2009 – 10
1990-99 – 7
1980-89 – 2
1970-79 – 2
1960-69 – 1
1950-59 – 2
1920-29 – 1

(whoa – no books from the 19th century. I told you I failed the classics challenge last year! I will blame the TOB on that and my new obsession to read books that might be TOB, though track record disputes this, methinks.)


The only readalongs I participated in were both  David Mitchell books:  The Bone Clocks and Slade House (which I read for RIP.)

I want to give David Mitchell my Pie in Literature Award but I can’t. His tweet was ever so squee worthy but it wasn’t IN A BOOK.

So the WINNER of the 2017 Care’s Books and Pie blog’s “PIE IN LITERATURE” Award goes to!

drum roll…

WHAT ALICE FORGOT  by Liane Moriarty for the community bake off of the  giant lemon meringue pie!

“She dreamed of a giant rolling pin.”
“Custody battle. It sounded like custardy battle.”



Cheers! Til this time again next year. I’m sure there will be whining… Have a great 2018 of reading experiences!!



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First Book 2018

Reset by Ellen Pao

My fight for inclusion and lasting change.

To see other readers’ first books, visit Sheila’s Book Journey blog.

Happy New Year!





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Something for the First Sunday in December 2017

Jenny of Reading the End has a new blog idea for Sundays. The idea is to share good things.

Touched by: The color blue. I just read Percival Everett’s So Much Blue and gave it 5 stars and question why I rated it so high. Oh, I do know what and why I did, but am not confident I can debate it as ‘reasonable’. Whatever. AND THEN! I was reading an article in The Guardian of authors who share their best reads of 2017; one of the authors cited Bluets – a book of poetry I almost purchased! but didn’t. Why did I not? oh well, I didn’t and now I want it more.

Happy about: That I made it home for Thanksgiving and saw so many loved ones and happy that I made it back home to where home is NOW.

Inspired by: Anyone who can be calm and rational and hopeful.

Proud of: Myself that I didn’t say things to loved ones that I would be sad and shamed to have said and equally sad that I didn’t have the courage to say things I might have should have said. Sigh.

People are so damn complicated.

Enjoyed: Husband cooked so many amazing meals tonight and day before yesterday and for Thanksgiving! such yummy food. MMmmmmm

Charmed by: Chip and Joanna Gaines. I won their book  at a holiday party today. Love their show.

Giggling over: Esther talking in her sleep. I really missed my pups while we were away.


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James Joyce’s Odyssey

Thoughts  by Frank Delaney, Paladin Grafton Books 1987, 191 pages

Challenge: I traveled to Dublin for Spring Break! I brought this along…
Genre: Nonfiction/Literary Analysis/Travel
Type/Source: Tradeback/Sent from a friend

MOTIVATION for READING: Let’s back up to when I first had this book in my hands. It was January 2011 when I signed up for the “Jousting with Joyce” readalong. I never finished Ulysses and I have no record of what page/episode I stopped on.

So anyway, dear friend Jeanne sent me THIS book out of the blue back in 2011 and I have been treasuring it ever since, thinking “Some day, I will conquer Ulysses“. Rather, I was able to make a trip to Dublin happen instead.

Now I am even more eager to read it (Ulysses), to be honest.

Portrait of the Author as an Old Man; from Bailey’s Pub, remodeled.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Delaney chats with obvious affection for Joyce and his tale of Ulysses. He organizes his ‘Odyssey’ by the same structure as Joyce does in Ulysses and walks the reader through the story and what it might mean, then and now. This not a step by step walking tour of Dublin. It’s subtle – and it is also 30 years old so many things have changed from 1904 (year the book is set) and 1922 (year Ulysses was published) and 1987.

FYI, Ulysses follows two characters, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus – not always together, on walkabout through Dublin, basically. Joyce has stated that his book is a blueprint with which to rebuild Dublin if need be. Ready?

A sample of Delany’s words with Joyce’s:
Sandymount Strand, ineluctable as sin, sweeps wide and grey and beige, stippled with gulls and aeroplanes and lighthouses and ships and lone Dedalus-walkers. “Signature of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack the nearing tide, that rusty book.” Most of the thoughts in Stephen’s mind as he walked along Sandymount Strand were triggered by that ineluctable modality of the visible.

So for the ‘now’ of 2017,  many signs and plaques identify Joyce’s locations and landmarks — these are not mentioned in Delaney’s book. Perhaps a map of these IS published by the James Joyce museum which I did not visit. I really let my wanderings and Joyce connections happen rather than seek them out. It was a vacation with the Husband who though sympathetic and/or amused, he did not share my enthusiasm. “He indulged me occasionally” would be the best way to put it. So, it was happenstance and sudden delights, when I found a Joyce marker.

Book pages with little (useless!) map and photos with backdrop of similar photo from a blog post…

WHAT’s GOOD: Photos from turn of the century (late 1800s – early 1900s and some 1987.) Opportunity to consider how Dublin has changed in 30 years and 100+. But the best of the book is the author’s delight in talking about and sharing anecdotes and explanations of what Joyce was attempting with Ulysses.

Another paragraph of Delaney praise for what Joyce attempted in Ulysses:
“The Oxen of the Sun episode is the most difficult to read in Ulysses. All Joyce’s linguistic interests are on exhibition and he gives a foretaste of what was to come in Finnegans Wake. That it exhausted him is certain: in several communications with friends, he referred to “the Oxen of the bloody, bleeding Sun” and he admitted freely that the control of all the ideas, the mathematical nine-part divisions, the embryonic development and the endless parodies were almost as much as he could master. He managed brilliantly.

What’s NOT so good:  Of course, I wanted better maps… LOL.

I failed this book as I do most travel books. Tedious to look at when I can’t relate, and too late for visits once I can. I admit, one of our favorite pub visits was to Bruxelles because it was around during Joyce times and is in a photo of Delaney’s book. I didn’t get any pics of our Guinness nor Irish Whiskey while there, unfortunately.

As typical, I now flip through Delaney’s guide and only want to go back to Dublin and see it all again, find the past anew.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I am more willing to attack Ulysses some day. I do feel that it will require patience and a light touch – not taking it too seriously.

“Joyce said once, not without sadness, to Nora: “The pity is the public will demand and find a moral in my book, or worse, they may take it in some serious way, and on the honor of a gentleman, there is not one serious single line in it.”

I am keeping this book as a guide when I do tackle Ulysses because of the same structure and the explanations, motivations, and landmarks in words.

RATING:  3 slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

Other Resources:  Schmoop / Frank Delaney’s Podcasts



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Links Roundup LitPie-Style


I’m going to try and create a links round-up of the fun and feisty articles and posts from around the web.  Scratch that, “there is no try”, let’s do it!

My first entry is from a 7th grade Reading teacher in Wisconsin. She’s a go-getter and I am always inspired by her words and ideas. This time, she’s explaining how she introduces POETRY to her students. And since 2017 is Care’s Year of Poetry, I had to share.

A great quote: “You are a 10-year-old explaining to a theoretical physicist how time travel might work.” Did you know I can’t resist a good time-travel book?  Now go read this article if you are interested in actively participating in the Anti-Racism Campaign.

Favorite book bloggers who post about pie!  Rhapsody Jill and Stefanie of So Many Books. Did I miss anyone?

Another fun pi + pie video.

Link to The Morning News Tournament of Books 2017 because I can’t get enough of it so there.

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE ANNOUNCES WINNERS FOR 2016 AWARDS!!!!!   (Link to Finalists Announcement. Curious that there were two books about loneliness in the Criticism category? I am. Has anyone read a book in this category? Again, me = curious)

Occasionally, I’ll google-search for “Pies in Literature” or some such nonsense just to see what comes up. This blog (ME!) shows up in SECOND SPOT for today’s look-see at what the webs are finding. Nothing too recent, but there are actual articles from 2015 about finding pie in a certain book. Fun, right? oh yea.

Savvy Verse and Wit has the Monthly Poetry Challenge Sign Up ready. I admit, I’m delighted every time I see a bit of poetry somewhere, here and there. I still don’t quite know how I should track my 100 poems in 2017 but I am proud of what progress I am building towards an awareness and appreciation for how poetry can impact a day in a good way.

Shout out to other bloggers who do EXCELLENT with providing Link Up posts:  Jenny who always reads the ends of books first, and, and, and…  I couldn’t find any recents ones so please provide me your suggestions!  Thanks.

Finally, a poem about pie:

(click on the image to go to the poet’s Twitter page…)

Have a great weekend!  I’ll have Dublin and Joyce books to chat about next week. I need to get back to reading books…  I need to read The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George by Tuesday.

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Speculating on the Tournament of Books 2017 #TOB17

Hello Friends!

Michelle wants me to post my brackets. Oh Bracketing-schmacketing! Oh, how dost this exercise tax me…

Here goes. This first bracket is my WISH of FAVORITES. I did not think at all about possibilities of winning; only went with my heart. Do know that the Zombies are impossible to predict! I can’t fathom how to do that part. I hope you can read this? Is it too small? I can always save them to a GoogleDocLink.


I want My Name is Lucy Barton to win it all. Do I think it will win, could win?! No.

I just attempted to include a list of all the books in the order that I ‘liked” and I couldn’t even accomplish THAT! Some I rank higher now than I did when I star-rated them and I bet my feelings/rankings would change tomorrow – I’m so fickle. And the issue that I still need to finish High Dive, The Sport of Kings, and The Nix. I *think* I will really like The Nix; I am liking High Dive but find myself NOT picking it up and doing anything else which is wrecking my mojo. The Sport of Kings is one I am dreading because of page count (560 but comparing this to The Nix’s 628 collapses my reasoning.) See? I cannot defend my bracket!


For my shaky tentative guess as to what may happen:


I don’t really have any faith that The Underground Railroad is a lock here but, something has to win… I haven’t read The Nix yet (as I have already mentioned for the gazillionth time), but I would be pleased if it could go on to claim the Rooster. I wouldn’t really be upset if any of these books won the Rooster. Surprised perhaps, but not unhappy. (After writing and editing this post, I already want to change my mind on a few spots… sigh)

I look forward to the lively commentary and reviews! Always a good time. Watch for it on March 8th.

To create your own pretty bracket speculation chart, click –> here <– and follow the links.


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