Cruel Winter

Thoughts  by Sheila Connolly, Crooked Lane Books 2017, 320 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Season category
Genre: cozy mystery
Type/Source: Tradeback / Barnes & Noble
 Why I read this now: I purchased this as a gift for a friend because I though she might like it. We don’t often share literary tastes. I discovered this book on a library list that Laurie sent me over the Holidays and I liked that the title would satisfy the WiaN Reading Challenge.

MOTIVATION for READING: The title! I needed a season book for the Challenge.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: An American who is new to managing a pub in Ireland that she inherited is stuck with a few of her customers during a threatening snowstorm. While there, they decide to rehash a twenty year old murder case from the area as entertainment. They all manage to survive and live to see another day having made new friends and created more work for the gardaí (police) department with their ideas…

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s a quick read and the main character is likeable.

What’s NOT so good: It’s not that exciting. And it tended to the over-explaining side of telling.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Not my favorite kind of book, though it is pleasant enough. It is part of series which felt obvious with references and hints to other minor character’s bigger stories later or prior;  this story stood well enough alone. I am not a series reader but if you are, check out this author.

RATING:  Three slices of pie. I’m counting the apple crumble which is really just a square (or oblong) crumb-top pie, right?

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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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The Last Lecture

Thoughts  by Randy Pausch, Hachette Books 2008, 206 pages

Challenge:  not applicable
Genre: Memoir
Type/Source: Hardcover, a coworker’s library
 Why I read this now:  This caught my eye and fit my schedule.

MOTIVATION for READING: I didn’t realize he was a computer science professor. I probably knew this once but hadn’t gone out of my way to put this on my read-now list until the opportunity was thrust upon me.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Randy Pausch had a charmed life andorbu he designed his life to be wonderful; until and despite and through being diagnosed with cancer. This is the book encapsulating the presentation he gave near the end of his life.

WHAT’s GOOD: He seemed to be a pretty cool guy overall and presented much to admire.

What’s NOT so good: I was curious based on other reviews just how privileged-white-male he would come across and yes, he did: but he was, so. He had sound principles to live by and defended them well; he took good advantage of his ‘luck’ and also understood the responsibility side of the equation.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Lots of good nuggets of wisdom, inspirational.

RATING:  Four and 1/2 slices, no pie mentioned.

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

October, the Tenth Month, Five More Books

I read books in October. Let me tell ya!

Oct 2017

The Magician’s Assistant / Ann Patchett A (1997,11′) *** 74

Textbook / Amy Krause Rosenthal HB (2016,368) **** 73

Lila / Marilynne Robinson A (2014,9′) **** 72

One Good Turn / Kate Atkinson Tb (2016,448) **** 71

Angle of Repose / Wallace Stegner Tb (1971,569) **** 70

Two audiobooks –  so nice to get back to this medium. My new job often has me traveling so I have some car time. Plus the commute home is 30-40 minutes (which I expect will be on the longer side since I have to traverse the shopping district avenues which get congested this time of year.) With no traffic, I can get TO work in just over 15 minutes!

Let’s start:  I read Angle of Repose because* I so very much enjoyed the first Stegner I treated myself to: (and click on this:  –>  to read my review) Crossing to Safety. AofR won the Pulitzer, doncha know, and as impressive an epic it is, I enjoyed Crossing to Safety more. That said, Angle is impressive. Oh, I said that. It’s full of big ideas and some great fabulous looks into our American History, the western expansion. Recommended if you like amazing writing, complicated characters and sweeping views of history. It was set in the late sixties, yet Stegner writes with a freshness that is … impressive. It felt fresh and not as someone now writing about then. Does that make sense? Hey, it’s my opinion. Golly gee, I miss blogging and putting myself OUT THERE! wee hoo. yee haw. [Rabbit pie and cowpie.]

Stegner is not talked about enough.

*     I also read Angle of Repose because I have an engineering degree and the term suggests ‘engineering‘. Not at all to suggest  to not-engineering geeks (so do not assume!) that this is science-heavy aka boring!! it is not. Please please don’t think that. ugh.

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One Good Turn. I read this because…. LOTS of reasons! I love this author. I really enjoyed her first Brodie book and this is the second with this main character. whoops, maybe only 2 reasons. I found this book at my apartment complex! It was on the community shelf. Had to grab. I returned it (though not to the same spot.)

If you liked Case Histories, I can tell you to go ahead read this, too, if you haven’t  yet. To click on this sentence, you will be transported to my goodreads notes for  Case Histories because I didn’t review it here (on blog.) What a sad blogging summer I had… [I’m counting egg custard as ‘pie’.]

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Lila. Oh Lila! What a fascinating amazing story. This month was chock full of the best author visits; now that I think about it, all return visits to these authors. What a comfortable heart-full reading month I have had this October. If you are like me and appreciate the soul-singing work of Marilynne Robinson (and can I only say to any of you  that don’t have the same kind of spiritual ‘relationship’ that this author might espouse – all cool. I get it. I really don’t either at this moment in my life but wow oh wow do I appreciate what she does in her writing.) I want to put all of MR’s Gilead books on my “to-read-again all-at-once in-order someday list”. I’m mentally creating this list of books to read and probably need to create it in goodreads, right? Right. Will do…

NOT to suggest that listening to Lila‘s side of things was ‘comfortable’. Soul-singing provocative spiritual stuff is never comfortable. [Apple Pie]

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Textbook by Amy Krause.

Dear Reader, do you know of this? Feel free to click on the link just provided and read about it from the goodreads perspective.

I just want to start crying. Whoa.

Thank you Bybee for sending me this. I still have it. I want to send it to SOMEONE but don’t know who. Also, I don’t know if I want it to leave me. It could very well be all gimmick-schmimmick until life(/death) thrusts into the ‘plan’ and shows no guarantees.

Wow.

(sniff, gulp. sob…)

[yes, pie… It was THIS that broke my freakin’ heart.]

Live, people. Don’t watch the crap on the news, hug your loved ones, recognize the humanity in every person, strive to be better and LIVE, goddammit. (talking to myself?)

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The Magician’s Assistant. Ann Patchett you nutty adorable author book-store-owner lovely lady YOU. Love ya. Not your best book but that’s OK, I’m sure you learned much from the experience (of course you did, goofy-me. ha) and so glad you kept after the craft. I am still not sure the narrator captured Nebraska small town, but hey, “Whatever.” This is the author that inspires me, delights me, makes me think and entertains. One of my favorites.

I’ll forgive the no pie thing. This time.

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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.

 

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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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.

Care’s Gift Idea Guide

EXCITING GIFTS to get me YOUR LOVED ONES this Holiday or anytime, really.

  1.  thecommonArrange for a Postcard from a Favorite Author!   The Common Foundation is raising money for a good cause (encouraging emerging novelists, etc.) by arranging personal postcards from a variety of impressive writers. CHECK IT OUT!  (and quickly, this only has a week to go.)

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2.  Photo Stamps! oande I have created custom stamps for years and they make great gifts. There are many companies that are licensed to do this but I’ve used PhotoStamps.com and like their simplicity of creating and ordering.

3. Books. Books are always a good idea. Gift cards to bookstores? books

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4. Pie supplies. What are “PIE SUPPLIES”, you ask? Well, my favorite are cute mini-pie cropped-img_6296.jpg dishes of ceramic. And I love my flour flourwand shaker wand (I own two so I don’t need another). You could get someone a pastry scissors or cutter tool for making fancy lattice strips. ayofpbyae Or pie books, of course. And gift cards to places like King Arthur Flour…  I have also given “Pie Coupons” away but sadly, rarely ever get them redeemed. I think they forget. Which is why just baking a pie and thrusting it upon others is the best way. That’s how “those people who live near me” get treated in my neighborhood. I also support and recommend Beth Howard’s Pie-Evangelism and she has two books available. Click on her logo to find out more –> twnmp

 

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5. DONATIONS in someone’s name. I have done this, especially when I don’t know if they need anything. I would be honored if someone made a donation to a charity that is close to my heart OR their heart. Just as long as a good deed is made, that’s cool.  I have given to food banks in the towns where my loved ones live so that their town is blessed. And I have purchased water buffaloes and chickens through Heifer waterbuff International. I have given to my parents’ church so they get their name in the bulletin – usually to donate flowers for the alter at their anniversary. I am considering donating to the library that they frequent.

 

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6. Pizza. Pizza is pie, right? Easy-peasy to give online gift certificates from a pizza place in their town so no mailing involved whatsoever. I always think this is a great idea – who doesn’t love a pizza party? Especially good for a family gift all at once.

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What kind of gifts do you like to give when thinking of that right something is difficult?

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Books and Pie aka 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.

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.

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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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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.

The Vegetarian

Thoughts tvbyhk by Han Kang, 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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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.

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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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.

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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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.

First Book 2016

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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 goodreads.com.

rslbyln2 rslbyln1
Memoir
Travel
Happiness

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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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.