March 2017 Recap

Collection of various thoughts…

The Winner of the Rooster! The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead over Homegoing by Gyasi Yaa. Bracket image below will take you to the final judgements.

This concludes the Tournament of Books.

Now, maybe, I can get back to real life.  My brackets; my list of favorites.

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Mini Review! a DNF (sorry Mary!) rather and a recap of our book club meeting: no one had read the book. Or, no one who showed to the meeting read the book! And, everyone had a good excuse so not a big deal, things happen, I get it. So the two of us there decided to go out to dinner instead…

The Little Paris Bookshop  by Nina George. I just couldn’t quite grasp my problems with it but it was cringe-worthy many times. The premise sounded just lovely: set in Paris on a barge setup as a book store! Nifty, right? and the proprietor has a knack of recommending just the right book. Aw… but he can’t fix his own life. OK. The barge becomes unmoored and so does the tale. THEN, killer to book-malaise when in mid-stream, I read a negative review. Done; moving on. I wanted to like it but I am no longer interested in finding out what happens. Two slice of freshly baked plum tart.

We also didn’t pick a book for next month. My little afternoon club might not make it. Sniff, sniff.

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Pie Chart Time


Number of books read:  5
Number of audiobooks listened:  0
Related themes:  Set in Dublin, Literary: 2
Number of TOB books read:  1
Ratio Female:Male  1 : 4
Translated works:  2, German and Swedish
Number of books with pie:  2, an Apple and a Plum

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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.

Save Me

Thoughts smbykkl by Kristin Kusek Lewis, Grand Central Publishing 2014, 288 pages

Challenge: Book Club Book
Genre: Chick Lit
Type/Source: eBook / Amazon Kindle
 Why I read this now: Club is today! Book finished TODAY at 5:54 am.

MOTIVATION for READING: I love book clubs. I love that I may be introduced to books I would otherwise never read, books that are outside my typical genre, hopefully something new and original and fresh. Unfortunately, this book wasn’t those things for me. It wasn’t horrible, but I was constantly nitpicky and wishing I was reading anything else. Does that make me a book snob? I feel like I’m being very book-snobby today. And of course, I know the fear of recommending a book to club that isn’t liked so this review is not meant to chide or reflect on the person who chose it because she is a lovely person and I hope she enjoyed the book – my opinion is just an opinion. I hope we have a fun discussion…

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Daphne is a doctor married to a doctor. They met in summer camp as kids but were re-acquainted by a chance encounter when they both discover they will be doing their residency at the SAME HOSPITAL!  It’s fate, it’s storybook. They get married, buy their dream home and get ready for that time when they can start a family. However, Owen discovers that he is just not ready to be a father and strays then admits to a brief affair. Daphne is shattered, “This just so isn’t like Owen, he’s a good guy.” Does Daphne forgive him? Does Daphne listen to her best friend and sister who vehemently tell her that Owen is NO GOOD?

I had understood that the book was about how it gets complicated when the chickie Owen flings with has a devastating car crash requiring long term care; Daphne selflessly decides to help caretake! Explore THAT. Yea, but no — that didn’t quite happen. The girl dies (oops – spoiler alert!) and now Owen crawls back to Daph with the newly realized awoken love for his wife. Daphne meanwhile has met a hottie distraction of her own, waffles back and forth of what to do until she eventually decides that Owen is correct: their marriage isn’t worth saving anyway. Bye bye.

WHAT’s GOOD: I found no misspelled words and not that many things worthy of an eye roll. I thought I had found one thing but it was cleared up later to my satisfaction. (Ok, it bugged me when she kept mentioning reading a book (The Woman in White) for “Annie’s book club” and I thought it odd that it wasn’t “MY book club” or just “book club”. But she actually explains it later. Well huh.)

What’s NOT so good: Full of those head game questions,”What do I do? I am so confused; do I love him? Should I take him back? What does it say about him that he decides to send this (lovey dovey email) when the woman whom he cheated with is lying in a hospital bed? How can he be so callous?

I don’t know! “Do I like this book? What’s wrong with it? Am I bored? Do I care if Daphne stays with Owen?”

FINAL THOUGHTS: It was tedious and I finally decided that what I love about books are surprises and delights. This book had neither.

RATING: Two slice of pie. Honestly, I was pleased that I found 2-3 pie mentions. There’s a bit about how her mother often entered cooking contests making mini pot pies and then Daphne cooks up her mother-in-law’s recipe for Chicken Pot 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.

Bookish Poems for Our Times

I have a friend and coworker who is a member of a book club whose leader writes poems for each year. She shared a few of these poems with me and I asked for permission to post. The poet’s name is Indu Gargeya. The first one was from 2016 and the second is her latest, at the start of the new year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

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My dear fellow literary-enthusiasts,
Over the last few years, I have absolutely cherished,
Every Book Club meeting, where opinions have flourished.
Many a theme we have followed through it all,
And learned so much about matters big and small.
Let’s indulge in the various genres of literature this time,
From the classics to short stories, few authors in their prime.
“Realistic fiction” will herald  the beginning of it all,
As we explore the minds of two brothers, so sure to enthrall.
Our “Thriller” in question has so many people raving,
High praise and several  awards, Hollywood came calling.
An epic of an extraordinary life fulfills our “Biography”,
The vivid, descriptive detail so beautiful, it’s iconography.
Our “Classic” is a highly acclaimed work of American literature,
Required reading by so many schools, it’s almost a scripture.
The “Historical novel” category won the Man Booker Prize,
It is so eloquently written, it’s surely no surprise.
Choosing to read our “Nonfiction” book would be our good fortune,
The author so inspirational, not to do so our misfortune.
A journalist ‘s harrowing experiences make for a dramatic “Memoir”,
Her survival tactics and skills such an amazing repertoire.
The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to our “Short stories”,
A distinguished Canadian author, the world celebrates her glories.
Our last read is a “Love story” with subtle hints of “Science fiction”,
Matters such as relationships and existentialism written with deep conviction.
So, let’s hope our reflections further our intellectual leaning,
As we contemplate our life and times and the ultimate meaning.
My fond hope remains that we “always look on the bright side of life”,
And smell the roses and hear a melodious bird sing as if playing a fife.

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Dear Friends,
As the year drew to a melancholic end,
Frayed emotions were too stirred to mend.
Watching or reading about the Tweeter-in-Chief,
Caused Hillary supporters to be immersed in grief.
We were deprived of so much joy and pride,
Nonchalantly told to take it all in stride.
Inspiring literary characters will lessen our stress,
Hopefully save us from reading “140 characters or less.”
Realization has dawned on my fifty-five year old self,
That I am more of a feminist than I credited myself.
So, I deliberately chose books by women authors,
To celebrate grandmothers, mothers, sisters and daughters.
Michelle’s rousing appeal, “When they go low, we go high,”
Will help us have a positive attitude and we surely will try.
My fond hope remains that we “always look on the bright side of life”,
And smell the roses and hear a melodious bird sing as if playing a fife.
– Indu Gargeya

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I thank Anu for sharing and I thank her poet friend Indu Gargeya for allowing me to publish this for all my book blogging friends.

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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 Mothers

Thoughts tmbybb by Brit Bennett, Riverhead Books 2016, 278 pages

Challenge: TOB Long List
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Hardback, purchased at indie bookstore
 Why I read this now: Book Club Selection

MOTIVATION for READING:  This book has received a lot of attention.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A high school senior dates the pastor’s son after her mother’s suicide. Stuff happens, she makes a friend, she eventually goes out of state to college, and the friend becomes more than friends with that pastor’s son. All of this to a chorus of the little old church ladies.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s about how to handle death and ambition. How to make bad assumptions and bad choices, set bad attitudes, forgive and forget. Do we ever know the true story? There is a low hum of melancholy through the whole thing. One thing I did admire was that it didn’t cater to stereotypes nor make it feel like anyone was an exception, either. Just life and crap that can happen and how humans just do and deal, that we all have our cross to bear.

What’s NOT so good: I read this last month and am having trouble remembering my reactions. I think it a wonderful debut by an author with real writing talent. I don’t recall what if anything I didn’t like so not sure what to write in this section.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Lots about motherhood. I cried and didn’t expect to. The book has many pie references, including a scene that more than just mentions pie but almost pivotal to the plot. A solid 4 slicer. I gave it a 5 on goodreads but I might be tempering now that I have some time and other books since read.

RATING: Four slices of apple pie, sweet potato pie, lemon meringue.

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“Mother Agnes, rail thin, had made the apple pie, its lattices straight and ruler made.”

“The pie had angered Luke the most. A lunch may have just been a meal, but splitting dessert was intimate.”

 

 

 

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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 Girl on the Train

Thoughts tgottbyph by Paula Hawkins, Penguin Random House 2015, 336 pages EBOOK

Challenge: For Neighborhood Bookclub
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Type/Source: eBook/Kindle
 Why I read this now: Club discussion scheduled for Dec 6th.

MOTIVATION for READING: This has been a very hot book and has become a book that ‘everyone’ has read. Except me. Actually, about half our club hadn’t read it and the others voted to read it anyway so it was selected. With the movie out in theatres now, I wanted to read before seeing the film.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A young lady named Rachel rides the train to London everyday to put up the appearance of going to work even though she has been sacked months prior for a drunken mishap with a client. She drinks way too much and is usually snockered on the train ride home and drinks into the evening as well. As her train goes by and is often stopped for a spell right at the spot where she used to live, she views and regrets her old life in her old neighborhood. She can’t let go of her ex-husband who has a new wife and baby. She also imagines a story for a neighbor couple until something happens and she is pulled into the real life mess of this real life couple where the wife goes missing and the husband is suspected. It’s messy, confusing (back and forth in time and has 3 unreliable narrators), and it took me to the half-way point before it wasn’t a ho-hum get-on-with-it-already mystery.  But guessed it, I did! — nothing really surprised me.

WHAT’s GOOD: It was OK. It didn’t suck, but I can’t think of anything brilliant to say here in this spot so I’ll just keep moving on… Oh! Just thought of a compliment! I thought the imaginary names for the neighbor couple would get confusing with the true names and yet it didn’t, so that was a plus. Deftly handled.

What’s NOT so good: It was just really hard to cheer and root for any of the characters. Even the poor girl who goes missing is never really mourned. None of the feels…

FINAL THOUGHTS:  It was OK. I liked Gone Girl much much more. That one had me laughing with all the crazy twists and turns. Train Girl didn’t have any funnies what so ever.

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RATING: Three slices of pie. I was constantly irritated with the dates with each narrator change. I couldn’t remember if we were on the same few days or few months prior and it BUGGED me to no end.

One more thing – I hate reading mystery thrillers on the Kindle. It’s just too hard to flip back and forth when you want to check something.

On the other hand – the Kindle is the EASIEST way to find if any pie was mentioned… 

Pie Mentions:  Only magpies.

A tiding of magpies. One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

Commonwealth

Thoughts cwbyap by Ann Patchett, Harper 2016, 322 pages Hardback

Challenge: Inaugural Read of my new book club!  BA’s selection.
Genre: Contemporary Lit, Family Drama
Type/Source: Hardback given to me by Katie. Thank you
 Why I read this now: Book club meets 2nd Tuesday of December. I wanted to read it sooner so that someone could borrow if they needed to.

MOTIVATION for READING:  I have a book crush on Ann Patchett.

“Your mom doesn’t know about the movie, does she?”
“My mom doesn’t know about the book,” he said, “It turns out a novel isn’t the worst place to hide things.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The repercussions of adults paying little respect for their marriage vows – two divorces, six little children become step-siblings, they grow up and scatter to the four corners. All the family members get a view and a side to the story. There’s an ‘event’ and of course, the adults and even the kids are not quite sure what was true and what was right. Utterly engrossing!

“Now here he was, as thin and as quiet as a knife.”

WHAT’s GOOD: The opening / the setup / the first chapter is captivating. Enthralling. Exquisitely played. I loved the situational “funny” lines that made me laugh out loud but most people probably would NOT call this a comedy. (Actually, now that I’m reading Irving’s The World According to Garp, I have to say that some of these funny moments are eerily Irving-like.*)

What’s NOT so good: Having to read all the bad reviews on goodreads because I disagree. HA!  No offense to anyone who didn’t like this book – I actually enjoyed every review I read — even the ones who thought it had too many characters or jumped around in time too much or that AP went ‘on and on’ and she is too descriptive. That the chapters were too long. I respectfully disagree. For me, it was none of those things. (I never notice chapter length unless I don’t like the book but even rarely then.)

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD…

FINAL THOUGHTS: I thought it perfect. Oh well, perfect is a pretty strong word, isn’t it… Let’s see. [Me thinking: thinkingface] Nope, I found it well-done. Perfectly paced. Fascinating and insightful about how little things might ‘ruin’ your life or just take it in a different direction. I loved Frannie and her father Fix. I thought Bert to be jerk. I loved how AP’s characters were real and did interesting things – like one of the daughters was a biomedical engineer. WOMEN IN STEM for the WIN! And how Frannie ran into a guy from law school and they end up getting married. And Holly ends up in Switzerland? That Bert’s ex-wife never gave him a thought after so many years though she spent just as many hating his guts. Loved the book. I can’t figure out how she put all that she did into this in just over 300 pages.

RATING: Five slices of apple pie. “They went back to the kitchen and sliced apples for a pie.” [page 292]

“No stupidity in happiness.”

 

FOR MY BOOKCLUBBERS. CLICK THIS –> LINK <– FOR MORE THOUGHTS (but wait til you finish the book…

*I forgot that I referenced a note, page 127, that Frannie read The World According to Garp and considered it my cue to read it next. Which I am, on audio.

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

A Land More Kind Than Home

Thoughts almkthbywc by Wiley Cash, William Morrow – Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers 2012, 309 pages

Genre: Southern Lit
Type/Source: Tradeback / Library (Book Club Set)
 Why I read this now: Club discussion on Oct 6

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Carson Chambliss is the leader of a church up in the sparsely populated Appalachian Mountain region of North Carolina. His ministry is focused on faith-signs; which means that he believes that if you have faith enough, you can withstand fire and poisonous snake bites. One of his congregants however, does not quite trust his methods and to compromise, she holds Sunday School classes for the children so that they don’t have to witness the insanity. She tells one side of the story, as does one of the children:  nine year old Jess. The third viewpoint is from the Sheriff. The plot focuses on an event involving Jess’ older brother who is mute and what happens when the church decides to hold a healing for him. It ends badly.

“The book is a thriller, but it’s so beautifully written that you’ll be torn about how fast to read it. This is great, gothic Southern fiction filled with whiskey, guns and snake-handling.” – NPR

WHAT’s GOOD: 
The writing is spectacular. It felt so real. Even as I did question if Jess had a true balance of being naïve or wise (I’m still not sure), he was a great kid and I wanted to rush in and help him sort it all out but devastated knowing there was nothing I could do. I thought how the adults treated him was spot on. I really loved Adelaide’s back story but she frustrated me and I wanted to know much more about the Clem Barefield, the sheriff.

“A beautifully written morality tale.” – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

What’s NOT so good:  I wanted just a little more! A little more into Clem’s grief, perhaps, but also, I should recant and recognize that I think it might just be perfect. The holding back of just enough keeps the reader wondering and engaged.

FINAL THOUGHTS: What is revealed is subtle in that regard and yes, it might be almost perfect that we didn’t get the ‘more’. Pacing and plotting of what happens is SO GOOD and the switch in viewpoints was executed very well – the story was well structured. For such heavy stuff, the writer seemed to have a light touch. He is very talented and I will read his latest, This Dark Road to Mercy.

RATING:   Four moon pies. Can’t slice a moon pie, right!?

“I sat there in the car with the gravel dust blowing across the parking lot and saw the place for what was, not what it was right at that moment in the hot sunlight, but for what it had been maybe twelve or fifteen years before: a real general store with folks gathered around the lunch counter, a line of people at the soda fountain, little children ordering ice cream of just about every flavor you could think of hard candy by the quarter pound, moon pies and cracker jack and other things I hadn’t thought about tasting in years.”

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

Suggestions for a Book Club, Again

I love to recommend books and sometimes I know I hit home runs. I once casually suggested to a friend that she might enjoy The Count of Monte Cristo;

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and she did. She didn’t just love it, she told EVERYONE (via Facebook). THAT was a stunning success, in my mind.

So, when my lovely wonderful book club [that I moved away from when we decided to live in North Carolina] still has me on the docket to choose a book one month a year, I take it seriously.

The last time, I sug’d some lovely fiction choices and they chose HEFT by Liz Moore. I highly recommend the post about the books if you click on this link HERE. There, I include other links to sway you. Here’s hoping that you also decide to read ALL of these titles and thus enjoy.

Now, I get to do it again: Care’s BOOK CLUB FIVE.

Let’s start, shall we?

  1. March marchbygb by Geraldine Brooks. Pub’d in 2005, ~300 pages. I was first introduced to Ms. Brooks when I read A Year of Wonders for a (KCMO or Omaha?) book club long long ago. I loved it! So it is rather intriguing that it has taken me so long to get to this. I have had it on my tbr forever, it seems. Here’s a very compelling review from a prolific reader I follow on gr — she has amazing book taste and reviews with polish. What is fascinating to me is that some readers have found that March RUINS their memory and fondness for Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I barely remember Little Women but I know I read it. And the four sisters are cultural icons so even if you haven’t read the book, you usually know of Meg and Jo and Amy and Beth and maybe also that it is set in Concord Mass. Maybe; me for sure! Just like I know about Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights even though I don’t remember if I actually read them – I know what they are about. [And yes, not being a re-reader much, I hesitate picking these up because I hate that deja vu feeling of thinking, “I have read this already…” It bothers me, I’m sorry.] _________________________________________________
  2. The Library at Mount Char tlamcbysh by Scott Hawkins. 2015, ~400 pages. Suggesting this because it is SO DIFFERENT! and an unlikely choice for most of the clubbers, methinks. Could be fun. I would say the three things it has going for it are: kickass-female-protagonist, set in a library woo hoo!, and a wild fast read. My review is here and if you don’t already realize, book covers on this page all link to respective blurbs in goodreads. __________________________________________________
  3. Crossing to Safety ctsbyws by Wallace Stegner. 1987, 350+ pages. Just a really good, really well-written, insightful book. I think many of my clubbers would appreciate this. My review is here. ___________________________________________________
  4. A Land More Kind Than Home almkthbywc by Wiley Cash. 2012, ~300 pages. This is the only book in this edition of Care’s Five that I have yet to read. One of my book clubs will be discussing this the first week of October so if chosen, we’ll ALL be reading it and that is always fun. Set in NC, “a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all.”  <– so says the goodreads blurb which can be accessed by clicking on the book cover. __________________________________________________
  5. State of Wonder sowbyap by Ann Patchett. 2011, ~350 pages. A book I didn’t think I wanted to read but now am so glad I did — Hope Davis narrates the audiobook. It has tons of discussables; fertility, medical ethics, women in science. My review is here. I also present a video of the author explaining a bit about the book:  [Pssst – AP is my list of favorite authors…]

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I almost suggested Zola’s Germinal – our September Twitter Readalong – join us! #GerminalAlong

 

Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

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Orphan Train

Thoughts opbycbk by Christina Baker Kline, William Morrow Paperbacks 2013, 278 pages

Challenge:  Newcomers Book Club
Genre: Contemporary Lit? Historical Fiction?
Type/Source: Tradeback/Library (and then I received it as a gift! THEN, I sent it to my MIL.)
 Why I read this now: Club is Thursday May 5

Vivian is an elderly lady living in a big house all alone in Maine when, through the efforts of her housekeeper, she meets a High School foster kid named Molly who needs to do some service hours or be sent to juvie. Molly had attempted to steal a beat up copy of Pride and Prejudice from the library.

Molly is hard and bitter but she and Vivian find they have much to talk about as they go through Vivian’s boxes and trunks in the attic. Vivian finds a confidant and begins to tell Molly the stories of her life – stories she hadn’t had a chance or desire to ever share before.

Vivian was an Irish immigrant to NYC when a tragedy occurs and she is separated from her family. She ends up on a train to Minnesota with other orphans. The story is based on historical facts of the “Orphan Train” which shipped kids west to families that could support or use child labor and thus ‘save’ them from horrible fates of living on the streets and slums.

It’s a short book that offers a glimpse into how hard life was for everyone at the turn of the 20th century up through the Depression era. I wouldn’t call it a sentimental book but I did cry. I thought it ended rather abruptly and wanted to know more about the fate of Molly and Vivian in the present time line.

This was the second book I’ve read by Christina Baker Kline, the first being The Way Life Should Be. I might be a sucker for books set in Maine.

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RATING: Four slices of pie. Lots of pie references!  ‘Baking pies’ on one page, Sausage Pie on another page and then Rhubarb Tart…

“In places I have to crunch through the top layer of snow, [sic] as pie crust.”•
  • I don’t have the book and I think I typed the quote incorrectly. Is it THICK as PIE CRUST or was it SLICK as pie crust? Anyone have the book to verify? page 153…

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

 

Quick Monday Update

Hi,

I’m still subbing.

I’m still listening to The Sympathizer on audio. Less than an hour left so maybe I will have a review post this week.

Still reading The Story of My Teeth.

Just picked up The Orphan Train from the library for bookclub. One of my book clubs… The other I need to request from the library soon or buy? It’s Paula by Isabel Allende.

I really need to get to the manuscript a friend asked me to read that I totally forgot about. BAD FRIEND.

I am walking a 5K this coming Saturday to support a great cause:  CASA aka Guardian ad Litem – child advocacy. If interested in sponsoring me, let me know and I will shoot you the link.

That’s it. I am teaching Statistics – scatter plots today! and factoring quadratic equations with the Seniors.

Oh! I made pie yesterday. Strawberry Rhubarb. Felt good.

See ya later,

loveCare

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.