Vineyard Seasons

What a gorgeous cookbook! vsbysbby Susan Branch, illustrated by Susan Branch, Little Brown & Company 1988, 160 pages

Not that many pie recipes but the SOUP section really has me intrigued and very ready for fall and football season. Yea, yea, I know it already IS football season but we need to start thinking about the playoffs and what soups will best represent the cities/teams that might vie for the Super SOUP-er Bowl.

My neighbor loaned this to me because of my idea to create a pie book that would include my favorites and also weave in a few literary samples featuring pie within the story. Many a book — as all of my readers here know — contain a pie reference or two but sometimes, the flavor isn’t identified and the pie doesn’t actually propel the plot in anyway. Sometimes, however, it does… (I can think of one off the top of my head; there MUST be more, surely.)

My neighbor, let’s call her Penelope. [Penelope is not her real name.] Penelope says this book came to mind when I talked about my spin on a pie book project so she loaned it to me. Yowza! Talk about intimidation. This book is too pretty! and though the author shares some sweet quotes and a few anecdotes, it really isn’t a good model for what I hope to accomplish. But that’s OK. It was very nice of Penelope to share and some of the recipes look amazing.

I made a few copies (the chocolate mousse and something else I’ve forgotten already.) It has a Boston Crème Pie recipe – which is cake. (Maybe I should invent a Boston Cream Cake and have it actually be pie?)

Haven’t cooked anything yet, but thought I would post the link to Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking Linkup despite that little issue. Click this button: wkendcooking (will open a new window.)

I’m glad to know of Susan Branch – her many cookbooks are highly regarded and I can see why – the pages are works of art! A very pretty book to savor.

Rating:  Four Slices of Boston Cream.



Question for any NanoWriMo-ers: do you think I can write 50000 words towards this project or should I write a story and not attempt nonfiction? I have less than 30 days to get some ideas!




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The Vegetarian

Thoughts tvbyhk by Han King, Hogarth 2015 (orig 2007), 188 pages

Translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith

Winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2015

Challenge:  Prize Winners?  Translated Works?
Genre: Asian Lit
Type/Source: Hardback / Gift from Ruthiella – THANKS!
 Why I read this now: A book in hand will get read.

MOTIVATION for READING: Ruthiella was kind enough to send it to me. I ran out of books on the boat (well, I have two, I think, on my Kindle yet?)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A young woman, Yeong-hye, is assaulted by horrific dreams (and is also married to a cad.) She decides to forego eating meat because of these dreams and this upsets pretty much EVERYONE. Told from three perspectives — the cad of a husband, her sister’s husband and her sister — and not Yeong-hye, though we do see bits of her dreams.

In the words of The Guardian:

“Dark dreams, simmering tensions, chilling violence . . .  This South Korean novel is a feast . . . It is sensual, provocative, and violent, ripe with potent images, startling colors, and disturbing questions. . . Sentence by sentence, The Vegetarian is an extraordinary experience. . . [It] will be hard to beat.”

WHAT’s GOOD: Oh, it is deliciously disturbing. The writing IS lyrical, the images are startling, the mood is darkly apprehensive.

As LINDA says in the blurbs at the beginning of my copy of the book:

“[A] bloodcurdlingly beautiful, sinister book.”

FINAL THOUGHTS: A perfect book for RIP if you don’t get to it before this fall.

RATING: Four slices of pie. No pastries mentioned but I think every fruit available in Korea might make an appearance. Lots of food descriptions.




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This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

Thoughts titsoahmbyap by Ann Patchett, Bloomsbury 2013, 306 pages

Challenge:  none. A gift at Winter Holiday, via book bloggers book exchange. Thanks Bex!
Genre: Memoir, essays, nonfiction
Type/Source:  Tradeback/Wordery-Bex
 Why I read this now: Upon perusing the shelf, this sounded good.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Ann Patchett is a successful prize-winning novelist (I really enjoyed Bel Canto – read for a book club way before blogging. It won the Orange and PEN/Faulkner in 2002.) who also owns a bookstore in Nashville TN. This writer-plus-bookshop-proprietor was a magazine article writer in order to support her fiction writing habit; this is a collection of a few of those articles from her past combined with new, fresh takes on life and love.

WHAT’s GOOD: I love her. From word one, I fell hard into this and couldn’t stop enjoying, thinking, relating, pondering. I had no idea what to expect; I really didn’t know anything more about Ann Patchett other than the first fact:  1) she wrote Bel Canto and the second, that 2) she owns a bookstore. I am now a fan and she is one of those authors that I hope to have the opportunity to meet/see/hear in person. I suppose I should put State of Wonder on my tbr – I had not yet because I had read a few reviews that made me consider it skippable. Now, I think I must reconsider that just because some don’t like her writing, I do. I have to find out if I am on the PRO SoW side of things. (Come to think of it, I wish I had suggested this for book club! but somehow, my gushings of I Capture the Castle had all the gals thinking they, too, want to read it. Which is cool. But a divisive book is so much more fun. Oh well..)

What’s NOT so good: I have no criticisms.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Ms. Patchett and I are about the same age and we have a few things in common (we both like dogs and we both own The Pie and Pastry Bible) but we are also quite different. I like to read about strong women who carve their own path and enjoy adventure.

RATING: Five slices of pie. Apple pie.

“She loved to tell me a story about a doctor who ordered his piece of apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese and how she refused to give it to him because it was illegal to serve pie with cheese in the state of Kansas because the combination was thought to be poisonous.”



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Radio Shangri-La

Thoughts rslbyln1 by Lisa Napoli, Crown Publishers 2010, 279 pages

SUBTITLE: What I learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth

For the What’s in a Name Challenge – Country category

I am having a tough time thinking up what to write. Especially when I agree wholeheartedly with Nancy’s review from 2011.  If you don’t want to click over, she says this:

” Lacking in adventure but fascinating for its analysis of the people and the time, at times uneven but overall a decent memoir.”

Yes. I agree.

I read the very same book that Nancy read! Because she is the generous booklover who gave it to me. And I am willing to send YOU this book if you want to read it, too. Just be the first to request and I will email you for your mailing address and will eventually send it off. Eventually.

It looks like this:  rslbyln2

Also, it’s an ARC. It does have a few misspellings or typos and it got very VERY confusing with what I must assume were name swappings. She would be yapping about Sebastian and then refer to him as Benjamin. And Ngawang would be Pema and then back to Ngawang…  Just sayin’.

One more fun thing…  The author mentions a term familiar to all who loved Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein. Here’s the quote, do you know the word?

“The only not-so-smooth part of the plan came from my father, who couldn’t quite grok the adventure I was about to have.”

All righty, then. Carry on.

RATING:  Three slices of pie. (No pie mentions in this one.)



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First Book 2016


First Book is hosted by the lovely and talented Sheila at BookJourney. I will be reading Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth by Lisa Napoli. Click on the book cover to go to

rslbyln2 rslbyln1

Lisa Napoli was in the grip of a crisis, dissatisfied with her life and her work as a radio journalist. When a chance encounter with a handsome stranger presented her with an opportunity to move halfway around the world, Lisa left behind cosmopolitan Los Angeles for a new adventure in the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan—said to be one of the happiest places on earth.

A big THANK YOU to Nancy the BookFool who loaned me or gave me this book way back in May of 2011. I can now soon return it to her. This book will satisfy the country category for What’s in a Name 2016, is a book “in the house” and a loaner. Three happy checks right there.



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Suggestions for a Book Club

Hello, this is a post in response to a very sweet request from my former book club. The book club I had to move away from when we took the job in North Carolina; the book club I miss, and one of a few reasons I am sad we had to leave Massachusetts.

This book club has a private group on Facebook and they recently posted:

Care, if you’re still interested, we need book choices from you for our January meeting. Let me know! 📚📚📚💕💕💕

Aw, how can I resist?

So. Looking back at my 2015 and forward through my tbr, I have selected these FIVE fiction titles for my friends from which to choose if they so desire. I will include my endorsement and a link to my review (if I’ve already read.)

  1. THE SNOW CHILD by Eowyn Ivey. This is the book that my current NC club is reading. It comes highly recommended. I’m only a few pages in. I have until the first week of January to finish. Link to LitLovers (a great site to find book club discussion guides.)
  2. OUR SOULS AT NIGHT by Kent Haruf. This is on the Tournament of Books long list and I have read some incredible reviews declaring it an amazing read. Note: I am captivated by the TOB set in March each year. I rarely read freshly published books so I even more rarely have read any of the books nominated to win the Rooster. But last year I did better than usual. This coming year, NONE! So I need to catch up. This book is less than 200 pages. Novellas, oh how I do love you… Link to Our Souls At Night guide at LitLovers.
  3. THE PAINTED VEIL by W.Somerset Maugham. I know that Gail will appreciate me offering a classic! This title will satisfy the CLOTHING category of the What’s in a Name Challenge 2016 and is also on my Classics Club 50. And I think it might be really good. AND there is a movie to watch after! (squeeeee). Read Karen and Amanda’s review here (Karen says it has LOTS of good discussion points). This is the link to the youtube movie trailer and even tho I entered it in just like I did the one above, it isn’t showing it the same and I can’t figure out why not. –>
  4. DEATH IN THE GARDEN by Elizabeth Ironside. Finaly getting to the sugs that I have read; reviewed in October – it was for my neighborhood book club. I think it a very surprising book full of GREAT STUFF – marriage? women’s independence? MURDER! It’s a mystery/whodunnit – always fun! It’s smart writing and has that charming British wit. (but the kind that even dumb Americans like me ‘get’. And my review defines any unknown words so…) I highly recommend this! (Also, Ms. Ironside is interesting in her own right – look her up.)
  5. HEFT by Liz Moore. I just think many of the gals in the club will enjoy this book. I am not going to link to my review from August because it has spoilers SO you can click here to get to the LitLovers page or look for it yourself where ever you like to go to for reviews. I will share the last few lines of mine anyway, tho:  “This book had charm and grit and attempts to find the light when all you can see is the dark. You don’t have to like the characters; yes, they were flawed. They were real. I recommend this book. I recommend the audio. I will read more by this author.” Watch this, too – one of the best book trailers I’ve seen: (same with this one, why is it showing the html and not the image?!) –>

OK, I hereby present CARE’s BOOK CLUB FIVE. Maybe a new feature to be done every six months or so? I made a shelf in goodreads for this list, as well. Click away!

If you were to pick just ONE from this list, which would you choose and why?



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The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Thoughts teothbymb The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, Europa Editions 2008 (orig 2006), 325 pages

For wian15 What’s in a Name 8 Reading Challenge

Thank you Holly for giving me this book (in 2012).

Thank you Katie for cheering me along as I read this! So it was somewhat of a buddy read although I was the only one reading/hashtagging (#HedgehogElegance) and Katie was the TWEET-TO for all the fun tweetable quips and quotes that entertained and/or amused me.

“People aim for the stars, and they end up like goldfish in a bowl. I wonder if it wouldn’t be simpler just to teach children right from the start that life is absurd.”

What it’s ABOUT:  A concierge of a high-society apartment complex (of 5 units) keeps to herself and works hard to build an image of the lowly dumb building caretaker stereotype – NOT that I have such. The only concierges I know are for fancy hotels so it was a bit difficult to buy-in to an assumed stereotype when I don’t have it. Still, she is good at explaining herself as hiding her true passions of literature, music and cinema.

“She has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary – and terribly elegant.”

In alternating chapters, we meet a 12 year old resident of the building who feels like she doesn’t belong into the world she is born in, or in any world for that matter and she is extremely bright and thoughtful.

“But if you dread tomorrow, it’s because you don’t know how to build the present, and when you don’t know how to build the present, you tell yourself you can deal with it tomorrow, and it’s a lost cause anyway because tomorrow always ends up becoming today, don’t you see?”

I WAS entertained and amused. I can see why some might think it ‘pretentious’ but I thought it was merely a perfect part of the character descriptions and not of the author nor a story issue.

I had been wanting to read this for a long time and had it often on the NEXT-BOOK shelf but it kept getting shuffled aside for whatever hot glamorous book had to be read. I think I was afraid that I wouldn’t like it because I knew I had high expectations. I waited, also, to let the hype die down in the blogging world and in my brain, hoping to forget anything/everything.

Still, I had still had glimmers of expectation threatening my enjoyment. And I was wrong about a few things. Darn it! I thought it was about an odd  friendship between the caretaker and the little girl. Yes, but NO – it happened SO LATE in the book, I was rather confused!  so do know that going in.

“I have always been fascinated by the abnegation with which we human beings are capable of devoting a great deal of energy to the quest for nothing and to the rehashing of useless and absurd ideas.”

So much good stuff. A favorite book to add to my list.

“We live each day as if it were merely a rehearsal for the  next…”

Rating:  FIVE slices of pie.

TONS of new vocab words, too. I won’t define for you; I only starred these as I read along. A few I did put on Twitter.

Sidereal, deontology, furbelow, consonant, salvo, asthenic, demiurge, exeunt, syncretism, debility, subaltern, factotum*, incunabulum, eructation…

* I plan on using — factotum — in my NaNoWriMo work. Gots to! Definition is: A person whose job involves doing many different types of work. This is me.


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The Boston Girl

The Boston Girl tbgbyad by Anita Diamant, Scribner 2014, 320 pages

I purchased this from an independent bookseller in Newport RI. I promptly went back to the boat and devoured this. I then passed it on to a friend who I’m sure will only think it ‘meh’. But I could be wrong. We never like the same books…

I would rate it 3.5 stars but am boosting or rounding up to 4 because there are some awesome pie mentions!

What’s it ABOUT: A Jewish woman, Addie Baum, reminisces her childhood and life beyond in a retelling to her granddaughter. It has sad and scary moments and a few laughs;  overall she has found Love and has lived a wonderful life.

I’m not really sure it has much plot. (Which is why I think my friend won’t like it.)

It is warm and uplifting and reminds me to cherish my friendships.






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Recap Day


I chose to photo-capture my Tuesday through Wednesday (24 hours) of this week.

It was noon when TriniCapini reminded us to do this, so I immediately shot this: IMG_1352 I was multi-tasking at that moment:  Bookmooch searching for Classics (getting Winesburg OH and Cry the Beloved Country), writing letters, tracking my to dos.

I was still doing that an hour later, but then remembered that I had goodies still in the car:  IMG_1353 a quilt for our bed IMG_1357 which I then spent time finding and putting pillows in the shams and then filled some trays to help organize my makeup drawers, and…

IMG_1359 then I wrote a few more letters. Somewhere in that hour, I also folded laundry, took a flower from a bigger vase to this vase (bought at At Home IMG_1358 – the flower was from a modeling gig I had last week…), retrieved a package from the front stoop delivered by UPS, and made more coffee.

I checked on the bank accounts, wrote an email back to my cousin, updated my doggie-daycare-tracking-book: IMG_1364 because BowWowDogCamp  sent me an email reminder, added and crossed off more things from the to do list, and started this post.

And now it’s after 3pm. I’m avoiding the one true MUST do of the day. Might as well get to it.

But NOOOooooooo! By 3:30, I had double-checked Trini’s post to steal the button and link it up and then saw Jilllora’s comment which reminded me that I needed to double-check her blog and then found her #gangstercats post which made me open Twitter to see if anyone had #gangstercat-hashtagged lately and now I’m updating her. No photo.

Then I checked in on The Morning News Tournament of Books and sent an email to our book club book suggestion solicitor of a bunch of books from my tbr.

4pm – at the PC looking over my application for NC Educator Licensure.

5pm – looking at job sites. Finding something very interesting, double check resume, start prepping cover letter.

5:30 – leave to pick up the dogs: IMG_1367 IMG_1368

Then get gas IMG_1370, then feed the dogs IMG_1372, then put on a fun front license plate IMG_1373.

Then add to this post.

NOW, it is 6:30 pm and I’m about to get back to the job application. (but first, let’s check Facebook (nothing), Twitter (nothing), goodreads (nothing), my blog (nothing), Instagram (nothing since I looked while pumping gas, etc…), email (crap! tax paperwork complete: we owe Feds, Mass AND North Carolina.)

Guess I should get that job app filed so I can pay my taxes, so I begin the cover letter.

7:15 pm – Prep dinner (I’ll start and husband will complete), eat dinner, watch TV, chat about stuff.

9 pm – I am gathering materials for our craft group day: IMG_1378 paper, markers, quote books, etc.

10 pm – Taking the pups out before bedtime: IMG_1377


(sleep… ZZZzzzzzzzzzz)


5:45 am – Up to let out the dogs and prepare their breakfast, go back to bed – the dogs take their first nap of the day and I check all the Social Medias and watch the news/weather channel/Mike&Mike in the Morning.

7 am – Make a smoothie for breakfast: IMG_1387 and prep a few packages to mail (the official paperwork to be licensed in NC to teach is now ON its way.)

8 am – Leave for the post office, the bank, the chiro, and the craft group IMG_1390: IMG_1391 We made encouragement cards for the Girls Love Mail organization.


For more DAY IN THE LIFEs, Check out Trish’s blog for more.






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Made My Day; Readers are THE BEST

Blogging about books has changed in many ways over the years, probably change universally experienced, but also most particularly and specifically for me. When I started, I actually had a ‘life’ blog and met some really creative fun people whom I am still friends with, and yet only on Facebook. That may be a whole ‘nother topic and I don’t want to digress off my main intentions for this post.

Those blog friends weren’t really interested in my sharing what books I was reading so I thought I would start up one exclusively devoted to books. I had been discovering such and thought it was terribly exciting. Somewhere to talk about books!! And yet, my initial goals were to create a place for my family to talk about books. My mom, aunties, cousins, etc. all live far away from me so an online book club would be PERFECT! or so I thought. Turns out that despite good intentions, it is hard to create an online book club for specific people. They just have different priorities when it comes to spending time online, I think.

But I started to make friendships with these anonymous readers and they had the most wonderful book reviews available and they were willing to talk about books. The book blogger community was just beginning and I was a part of it. It was a thrilling time! Dewey’s Weekly Geeks and the Read-A-Thon, Book Blogger Appreciation Week and Bloggiesta, etc. were just starting or about to be BIG ideas. It was IMPOSSIBLE to keep up and meet everyone and know everyone and I admit I was crazed with it. BEA came – and I am super glad I went to the first BBC! and Google Reader came and went.

Then I slowed down and stopped participating. I had my circle, perhaps it was a clique, I am not sure. I do think cliques are shakily viewed from within and always provides opportunities to second guess and do the self-doubt dance. But I had my friends and only so much time and I no longer explored trying to meet new bloggers. I was very content to read my books and write up my little thoughts and keep plugging.

Sure, every so often I reflect that I might need to go explore more. I believe that there is an energy connection that gets created between post and comments and sometimes it sparks and sometimes it doesn’t and that’s OK. Do I wonder sometimes how come I can comment over and over and over at an inspired blogger’s amazing reviews and why they never visit my blog?  Sure, but I’m an adult and supposed to be over that. Do I feel bad when I fail to visit a blog and comment when I should because they have commented more at mine than I comment there?  Yep. I do, but… Whatever. Get over it. I’m hoping that the connections we are supposed to make are the ones we do feed with time and attention. or something.

I’m rambling. I’ll shut up. The point? The point is that sometimes these “maybe few rather than numerous” connections we make are AWESOME!  Appreciate!! and not just bloggers, but GOODREADs-ers and FBers and of course, my Twitter Peeps. AWESOME.

IMG_1245 I have made a wonderful friend via book blogging and she just sent me this amazing care package!!  I am in tears with the awe of how wonderful I feel knowing that readers = people who love books truly are the nicest people. In awe that the online book world I move in is mostly positive, that the horrid trolling and negativity that is often online and occasionally boils into drama even in the bookblogdom but rarely and is still not all that awful (or I skirt it most likely), is just a nice place. I like my warm corner of the blogosphere.

I hope you can go out of your way and do something unexpectedly awesome in your day today for someone else just because. I hope to.

And I’m SO EXCITED I have something appropriate to wear on Saturday!!

Thank you, Ruthiella! I am so touched. Thank you thank you thank you.


PS – She didn’t send the beer. Only the incredibly adorable tee and the books: Dept of Speculation by Jennifer Offill and The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. And the book mark. The beer just snuck into the photo for some reason…

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.