Archive for the 'Bookmooch' Category

Final Thoughts — Flowers for Algernon #MayFFA

Thoughts ffabydk Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Bantam Books 1968 (orig 1959), 216

algernon

So much for trying not to be SPOILED and thus it was ruined anyway. This would be the BEST book to have been warned thoroughly about what it IS about. (Maybe? Jenny could/should have sent me an all-caps email that said PLEASE YOU MUST READ THE ENDING FIRST! YOU WILL THANK ME.) This is NOT one to be in the dark for. Now, you want a totally-blind know-nothing-read then go try Life After Life by Kate Atkinson or We Were Liars by E.Lockhart. These two should definitely be books to go in COLD.

But NOT Flowers!

This is a cautionary tale of how an incorrect misleading spoiler (or just an untruth!) was misunderstood and how my over-imagination caused much confusion.

It’s just too hard to have classics be totally spoiler-free and over-hyped. I shouldn’t try. It also did not help that I had this confused with Harrison’s Flowers because I seriously SERIOUSLY had thought for many years that it was a war torn love story. And when that bubble burst, I somehow got the impression this TRULY had space aliens!  I thought I accidentally saw a spoiler that the mouse was an intelligent space alien!!! Where I got this, I can no longer ascertain. Apparently, I was hoping for Ralph of The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

So, yea. DISAPPOINTED.

I’m thinking I need to write some fanfic for this book involving mice-driven spaceships and romances ripped apart by the savageness of war.

ncspaceshiphouse  Outer Space or Outer Banks NC House… Supposedly the 2nd most photographed building in North Carolina)

According to Wiki, Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginative content such as futuristic settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes and extraterrestrial life.  Come on, Care, you are SMARTER than to assume all SciFi is aliens and outer space. IKR!?  Well, this did not feel like science fiction. Perhaps because it was based in the past? I’m so out of my league when discussing the SF genre, right? Just because I’ve read Neuromancer and Snow Crash and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I *think* have a grasp on this slippery genre?! Go ahead, banish me from the club. I deserve it. I wish I hadn’t known that it won the Hugo award nor the Nebula Award. Pretty cool that it won, but I wish I didn’t know it.

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OK, then. What is this about? It’s about how a science/medical team attempted to ‘fix’ a low IQ in order to make a human being smarter but they all failed to grasp the consequences on an emotional level. Sometimes, I thought this was expressed well and was quite nuanced in the telling. Other times, I was annoyed at Charlie and often thought he was rude and disrespectful, to women especially; but I have to realize that he learned too much, too fast and the whole point was that he didn’t have the gradual maturing to navigate and understand relationships. Life is complicated… yes, it’s extremely complicated. The story IS sad.

Please read Bellezza’s review, and/or Athira’s Halfway Post.

Two or three slices of pie depending on how I feel when you ask me. I don’t recall any pie mentions.

BIG THANK YOU to ATHIRA and TRISH for reading & tweeting along with me!

freprosys

Sickness Quotient: 76% — Your “Sickness Quotient” of 76% indicates therapy may be useful.
Detailed Diagnosis

  • Interpersonal Insights: Your sense of self-entitlement means you’re probably the kind of person that pulled the wings off of butterflies when you were little. You think everyone is out to get you, and you’re absolutely right. It’s because you’re an awful person without any redeeming qualities.
  • Job Performance & Attitude: Your work is of so little value they should just put a shredder in place of your Out basket You frequently mention terms like “core competencies” and “paradigm shifts” while at work. Stop acting like such a tool.
  • Personality Insight: Your personal motto is “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” You must not have been saying this for very long.

ouch.

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.

Announcing Flowers for Algernon Read

“April showers bring May flowers!”  IMG_1561 (from my neighborhood)

And so I cannot think of anything more appropriate than to take the last day of April to announce a May reading of a book with flowers in the title.

Athira of Reading on a Rainy Day and I are going to read Flowers for Algernon in May. VERY informally, right Aths? She’s busy with exciting new life-changing events in the near future and I am about to start substitute teaching in a school district with 128 schools. May 1 – bring it on. Don’t worry, I’m easing into it with a half day at the nearest high school so I’m not quite sick to my stomach with butterfly nerves. Yet.

This came in the mail today from bookmooch: ffabydk (and did you know that the movie Charly is based on the book? I don’t even know about a movie called Charly – I am THAT clueless. I thought/think this book is SciFi? Yea, I so hate even reading the blurb*.)

I will bring my copy of Flowers to school with me, just in case it is a “students are to be quiet and work independently” kind of day. I’m thinking it is a tech class; I’m hoping it is a tech class. But it seems all the teachers get the same code so I admit I’m a bit confused. I won’t have anyone to ask until I get there. Subbing is NOT for the timid. They seriously throw you to the wolves and say, “Good luck; you’ll figure it out.”

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I have this on my Classics Club 50 list so that is why I want to read this. I keep getting it confused with a book/movie with Andie MacDowell called Harrison’s Flowers. Yep, I am as clueless as can be!

Read along if you want! We’ll probably be tweeting about it maybe and haven’t discussed a plan for blog posts or a hashtag. Anyone want to suggest?

 

* Which reminds me of the time I told someone I was just starting a book called Where the Red Fern Grows and the very next words out of this person’s mouth,Oh I cried so hard when the dog died!”  I didn’t even KNOW the book was about a dog. Grrrrrrrr.

 

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.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

Thoughts tkonlgbypn The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Walker Books 2008, 479 pages.

First book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy.

MUST READ! If you love dystopia and frantic pacing. But mostly ONLY IF YOU LOVE SERIES BOOKS.

.

But.

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If you prefer stand alone books,

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DO NOT READ THIS.

You will positively hate the ending because you have to read the next book(s?) to find out what the hell is going on.

I do not like series books. I have endured a few books presented in a series and have not minded them too much. Like Harry Potter. And the Hunger Games. (Though I am waiting until I see Catching Fire the movie before I bother with reading Mockingjay.)

I am so mad at this book and Mr. Ness that I don’t even want to read on. I will go to my grave not knowing why poor Todd Hewitt had to run. What he was running from. What the stupid Noise is.

Before I got to the last page of this book (it wasn’t an ‘end’), I was thinking it a five star read. I was captivated, compelled, breathlessly curious what was happening and needed to know why why WHY WHY?!?!

But since I didn’t get much of any kind of satisfaction when at the point (“End of Book One”) when I was told to go find The Ask and the Answer and keep reading, I gave this one star in goodreads. Seriously. I wanted to physically throw the book across the room.

Read on in CHAOS WALKING if you want, but I won’t be bothering with it. I’m too pissed off. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know now.

634HIdeinWhit

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Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

Mrs. Craddock

Thoughts mcbwsm Mrs. Craddock by W. Somerset Maugham, Penguin 1979 (orig 1902) 255 pages

My cover is different, however. Allow Esther and Oscar to present a pic of my copy:

photo-77

What goodreads.com has to say:

Bertha Ley is mistress of Court Ley, a great spread of land. She marries Edward Craddock, a man beneath her station, but quite the essence of new order. A gentleman farmer, he is steady and a doer who turns Court Ley into an efficient farm. But Bertha wants passion and ardor: she gets reality.

I love that last phrase. What makes this a fun book is that Maugham uses disguised humor and interesting quips about humanity, genders, the classes, the English vs the French and yes, even passion.

Mrs. Craddock wants passion. She thinks she finds it when she woos or is wooed by – somewhat hard to tell – a fabulous hunk of a man (I was envisioning this guy:)

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and gets a steadfast, entrepreneurial, too-perfect gentleman even though he comes (gasp!) from the working class. Personally, she couldn’t have married better. But she wants him to wallow away his days kissing her hands and telling her how lovely she is and how he just can’t stand to be apart from her. BORING. He would rather plow the fields, tend the flocks, hunt with his dogs and make some money the honest way – by hard work and forthright attention to important matters. He thinks she is silly. And she is!

This book reminded me of a triptych. We have three characters:  Bertha (the Mrs.) Craddock, Mr. Edward Craddock, and Bertha’s Aunt Miss Ley. Miss Ley is sharp and observant and quite interesting. Edward is TOO good. And Bertha is wearying but she has a few interesting thoughts and adventures.

The story arc (?) is a triptych of how the marriage plays out:  the romance newlywed phase, the attempts at running away and realization of reality, and third is a settling in to what it is. Not necessarily a happy book but it is not unhappily portrayed, either. OH, I go back and forth on this – maybe because I had so much to fault Bertha and her ideas on what should make her happy. Much could be said to be profoundly sad and yet, it had many amusing parts and certainly MUCH drama. It was the author’s look at the beginning of the end of the English class system, specifically the landed gentry in the last decade of the 19th century.

Finally, my favorite part was the Introduction itself, written by the author 50 years later as if the original author was dead and he had to edit the manuscript. It was funny. For example,

I omitted the rows of dots with which he sought to draw the reader’s attention to the elegance of a sentiment or the subtleties of an observation and I replace with a full stop the marks of exclamation that stood all over the page, like telegraph poles, apparently to emphasize the author’s astonishment at his own acumen.

He is aghast at how the author actually takes a step out of the story to talk to the reader; he goes on to question his youth and ego at the time he wrote it. He even claims if he had met the man, he would have taken an instant dislike.

A little observation on my part: Something bothered (intrigued?) me about how inconsequential the idea of legacy and having children was explored, or not explored. Truthfully, the descriptions of her pain of childbirth was amazing — especially for being written in 1900, or my ideas of propriety then? — but how the question of how having or not having children weighed on the marriage was barely touched on. I thought this odd.

I bookmooched this and it arrived as a copy printed by Penguin books in the late 70s. Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

Extemely daring was the publisher’s verdict in 1900. Today’s readers, though they are unlikely to share that opinion, will certainly find Somerset Maugham’s story of a woman who ‘marries beneath her’ still has the power to move and surprise. ..

Rating:  Four slice of Apple Pie since it is that season and he mentions apple pie on page 150.  fourpie

LOTS of great words and quotes, too!
Otiose, Intro – serving no practical purpose.
Emendations, Intro – make corrections and improvements to.
Transpontine, p.153 – on or from the other side of an ocean, in particular the Atlantic or on or from the other side of a bridge. “… the pathos of transpontine melodrama made him cough and blow his nose.”
Offtish, p.198 – “It’s no good scrapping with the governor, he’s got the ooftish.” (assuming WSM’s variation of OOFISH – unfriendly.)
p.194 – “Death is hideous, but life is always triumphant.”
p.196 – “Be not deceived gentle reader, no self-respecting writer cares a twopenny damn for you.”

GIVEAWAY!!!

Do you want a copy that has the Author’s Intro?

I am willing to send my copy to the first person who tells me YES YES, they would indeed like me to send them my copy of my battered, somewhat torn and yellowed paperback…  Leave a comment, I’ll find you and we can exchange deets (if I don’t already have.)

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Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

Beloved

___________________ LAR Button Final _____________________

Thoughts beloved Beloved by Toni Morrison, Vintage Books 1987, 324 pages

WHY I READ THIS:  I have had Beloved on my tbr too long. I bookmooched it a year ago. Ever since, it has been one of those books that I have read the first couple of pages a million times. Something newer and flashier and louder somehow seemed to trump the baby ghost of 124 Bluestone Road.

THEN! Nymeth and Iris announce that January 2013 will be the month we finally get to those books we keep telling ourselves we want to read. I committed. And I am so glad I did.

They were not holding hands, but their shadows were.   – p.56

I found it amazing. The style is unique;  a layered approach both in character telling and in time tracing, we go back and forth like peeling garlic. Smash ’em, peel away the flimsy but oily sticky layers and try to get to the firm truth. The question is often asked:  WHERE is this going and do I really want to go there?

The main characters live in a house on the outskirts of Cincinnati Ohio a few years after the Civil War. Our protagonist is an escaped slave but she really can’t ever feel free. Honest and heart-breaking, good and evil everywhere, shaky & wild evolves into some of the most poetic and brutal and tender  passages I’ve ever read.

Daily life took as much as she had. The future was sunset; the past something to leave behind. And if it didn’t stay behind, well, you might have to stomp it out. Slave life; freed life – every day was a test and a trial. Nothing could be counted on in a world where even when you were a solution you were a problem.

“Shall we pray?” asked the women.

“Uh huh,” said Ella. “First. Then we got to get down to business.”   – p.302

RATING: Five slices of Blackberry Pie – made with the sweat and tears Stamp Paid paid to gather the sweetest best blackberries ever that started the big party that was ever so resented; the last time ‘Baby Suggs, holy’, was still herself before losing the faith and only wanting a little bit of color.

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If you haven’t read this, why not? And if you didn’t like it, why not?  Just curious.
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Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

Harry Potter 1-2-3

Thoughts HARRY POTTER! by J.K. Rowling, Scholastic 1997-1999, lots of pages.

Many of you are aghast that I have not yet read the entire series that I refer to here as HARRY POTTER! Well, my plan to assuage you all is underway. I have completed and-the Sorcerer’s Stone, and-the Chamber of Secrets, and and-the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Reading Book #1 was actually a re-read for me. I’m pretty sure I read it back when it became the craze that is HARRY POTTER! I had purchased it for my nieces. I have a lovely memory of my 7 or 8 yo second niece Hannah, reading it in the back seat of the car because she was too young or too small to sit in the front seat. We were driving around Kansas City being tourists while her family was at the Children’s Hospital doing a heart-thingy procedure on big sister Rachel. I was baby-sitting overnight! (All’s good, no need to worry. Besides it was YEARS ago.)

I saw the movie, too. I might have seen another movie but can’t recall which.

I have been waiting for all books and all movies to be DONE.

I thought Prisoner of Azkaban the best and Book #2 to be my least favorite, so far. I adore Hermoine. And Ron, of course.

Alright then. I thought I might actually have more to share but this will do. I don’t yet have Books 4-5-6-7 in house but I’ll get to them. I promise. Are y’all happy?!

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Copyright © 2007-2012. 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.

Monday Mailbox 2.13.12

  Mailbox Monday 2.13.12, hosted by MetroReader.

I hadn’t visited my BookMooch.com account in a few months and realized that a copy of a book I keep saying I want to read was available so I mooched it:

I’m very excited!  This will be my second Morrison having read The Bluest Eye pre-blogging.

And even though I mentioned this in a prior MM, I only received it Saturday, February 11:

Both books are quite appropriate for this upcoming Holiday, wouldn’t you agree?

♥ Happy Valentine’s Day!  ♥ Will you be mine?  ♥

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Copyright © 2007-2012. 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 Stone Diaries

Thoughts  The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields, Penguin Books 1995, 361 pages

“Yet wherever she goes, her story marches ahead of her. Announces her. Declares and cancels her true self. Oh, she did so want to be happy, but what choice did she have, stepping to the beat of the that ragbag history of hers?

– p.122

WHAT’s it ABOUT:   I’ve been avoiding the review of this in equal measures with my enthusiasm. I loved this book. It’s funny!  Sly humor, we should say. Short sentences, deep thoughts, a bit of whimsy even. Delightful. You might even think it is a happy story from all my gushing here but that would be a lie.

Daisy Stone Goodwill Hoad Flett is just a witness to her own life. She was born to a big fat woman who didn’t even know she was pregnant and then died! Died in childbirth. Slam bam, cruel cruel world. Daisy ended up being raised by an Aunt who was really a neighbor and well, you’ll just have to read the crazy storyline if I have interested you so far. (No? oh, OK:  aunt dies, she moves with her bio-dad to Indiana from Canada, grows up & goes to school – story glosses over this part, marries but not for long (ha!), needs an adventure and ends up back in Canada married to her ‘uncle’ – yep, the original aunt’s son; has three kids, gets a job, loses job, gets depressed, gets older, moves to Florida of all places, takes a crazy trip to Scotland and and…  I won’t ruin that part – it’s quite astonishing and finally is a witness to her death and a little after.

In an interview at the back of the book – DO READ THIS, I like when I like the afterwords; so refreshing, wouldn’t you agree? Carol Shields says that many women of the generation of Daisy just fail to claim their own lives and thus never get books written about them.  So Ms Shields attempted it and was beautifully successful in writing something wholly entertaining and profound.  There, I said it. It is my opinion.

It’s the writing and the theme and the creativity and the humor that got me. I didn’t rush through this; it wasn’t a fast-paced page-turner. I savored this.

Fraidy, friend of Daisy, was my favorite. It makes me smile just to think of her letters, her words, her attitudes. Oh yes, there are letters and scattered perspectives of Daisy’s life interspersed through the entire book.

I dreaded this review because I don’t really know what to say or how to express what I loved so much. Huh, I’m at 600 words!

Or is love something less, something slippery and odorless, a transparent gas riding through the world on the back of a breeze, or else – and this is what he more and more believes – just a word trying to remember another word.

-p.165

Carol Shields has me thinking she would be really fun to hang out with. I can’t wait to read more of her stories to see if she really should be one of my new favorites. If you follow my blog at all, you know I don’t tend to follow an author’s oevure. If she passes the 3 book test (3 books is when I tend to tire of an author’s ‘style’), then a favorite she will be.

WHAT’s GOOD:   Humor. I was ready for a book that made me laugh. Not that this is a funny book!  It is, but I wouldn’t classify it in that section of the library.  It’s funny in that life-is-absurd kind of way.

It is inevitable that each of us will be misunderstood; this, it seems, is part of twentieth-century wisdom.

-p.145

WHAT maybe NOT so good?    Can’t think of a thing.

FINAL THOUGHTS:    [crickets]

RATING:  Five slices of pie.

… the great story she let rise up and swamp her.

– p.125

REVIEWS:   Results of Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search for this title and then the one that first brought this book to my attention:  the Bluestocking Society where she says ‘we glimpse truths about the entire human condition’. Shoutouts to Kailana and Chris of Bookarama (whatdoyouknow! Canadians) for chatting with me about this on Twitter and goodreads.  *smiles*

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Copyright © 2007-2011. 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.

Frankenstein

Thoughts   Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Dover Publications 1994 (orig pub’d 1831), 166 pages  (or 9 CDs)

Genre:  Classic?   Horror?!    Challenge:  RIP V.

I was listening to the audio* of this but it was due back to the library before I made it even 2/3 of the way.   I returned it.   I was having trouble focusing on it anyway or I was laughing at all the “WRETCHEDNESS!!!”-esses so floweryly** expressed.

I still own the book so maybe, someday, I’ll pick it up again.   I have this funny feeling that in a class with the right teacher, this would be a fascinating look at ‘humanity.’

DNF = Did Not Finish.

* If you missed my bad poetry review that I wrote awhile back, you didn’t really miss anything.
** What?  Don’t like floweryly?   flowerily?  oh well.   It seems to be the best word I could invent that fit.

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Copyright © 2010. 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.

New Books In the House

The Witch of Hebron by James Howard Kunstler – Thank you Alix!

Virginia Woolf bio by Hermione Lee – for Women Unbound Challenge – #fridayreads prize!

Neon Vernacular by Yusef Komunyakaa – Thank you, Lu, for a convincing BBAW Forgotten Treasures post) – #fridayreads prize!

D.V. autobio by Diana Vreeland – #fridayreads prize!

Bob Dylan’s CHRONICLES Volume One – for the  John Cusack Challenge (bookmooched)

How To Grill by Steven Raichlen – with encouragement from BermudaOnion, gift for my husband #fridayreads prize!

I want to especially thank @thebookmaven for giving out prizes to the Twitter “Friday Reads” participants!    If you are on Twitter on Fridays, just use the hashtag #fridayreads (and/or #fridaylistens for audio books) and you just might win a prize!   I did!!    With my Amazon gift certificate plus only a few dollars of my own, I purchased the Raichlen Grilling book, D.V., the Woolf bio and the poetry book.

Read all about Twitter’s #fridayreads here as explained at The Book Maven’s blog.

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Copyright © 2010. 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.

I prefer pi.

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