Category Archives: Bookstore

No One Is Talking About This

Thoughts by Patricia Lockwood, Riverhead Books 2021, 210 pages

Challenge: TOB Summer Camp 2021

Genre/Theme: Internet-novel / family

Type/Source: Hardcover / Riff Raff Books PVD – Indie Bookstore Day purchase

The TOB Summer Camp started today.

What It’s About: It’s been called genre-defying. It’s been forewarned as a book that must be read in totality, recognizing Part One and Part Two are unique to themselves but support each other to complete the book. Its author has been called a genius. She does have a way with words and a fascinating perspective.

This two-part book is first a collection of snippets and deep thoughts relating to our culture’s obsession with the internet. Or the world that exists in “the portal”. Some flashes of keen insight. Some off the wall observations of weird stuff. Can a dog be twins? Why did that take off? Thus, what this is.

I had heard that the second part “makes” the book. I was willing to keep going.

Thoughts: I am not sure the second part was really all that different – not in style but certainly more poignant and sad in a personal way to the author and her family. Love was in full evidence.

“Surely there must be exceptions,” her father ventured, the man who had spent his entire existence crusading against the exception.

He did not want to live in the world he had made,…

Rating: Three slices of pie. Lockwood drops in a pie chart.

…, you would see a little pie chart that told you how much of your life had been spent in the shower arguing with people you had never met.



Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Just Mercy

Thoughts jmbybs by Bryan Stevenson, Spiegel & Grau 2014, 349 pages

Genre:  Nonfiction, Death Penalty Debate
Type/Source: Tradeback / Local Indie Bookstore
 Why I read this now: Mr. Stevenson is speaking next month as part of a prominent lecture series in town. The Local Indie Bookstore is having book club discussions and offered a discount on the book.

MOTIVATION for READING: I am interested in the work Mr. Stevenson does through the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The EJI provides legal support for inmates sentenced to die for their crimes – most in the US South but all over the country, as well. They have grown the organization and they now helps children serving time in prison without parole and has effectively influenced federal legislation concerning these issues. They provide support to these men and women after they have been released from prison.

Mr. Stevenson shares about how he got started in this career field, the beginning of the EJI, and gives an intimate look at his first few cases.

WHAT’s GOOD: His dedication to serving the poor and unfortunate is amazing.

What’s NOT so good: The descriptions of the justice system willfully acting illegally and with evil intent are maddening.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Just maddening.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

Not that pie in the sky stuff, not a preference for optimism over pessimism, but rather “an orientation of the spirit.” The kind of hope that creates a willingness to position oneself in a hopeless place and be a witness, that allows one to believe in a better future, even in the face of abusive power. That kind of hope makes one strong.

I think my next read will be Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow.



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.

Mini Mini Reviews and Not Much More

My friends, my friends.

I have read much, listened to much while not blogging of late. I have much to recap. I have read and enjoyed much. Much is the word.

I purchased this wisbyriWomen in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky for the children of a friend who required birthday presents. (the presents were for the kids’ – 4 of them – birthdays not the friend’s) Don’t worry! I also sent candy and confetti and garland and more books. But this was the one I purchased in hopes to influence young minds. Personally, I thought the tone a bit ‘piled-on’. OK, already; women are great. “Thou dost protest too much.” Sigh… Yea, I own my bad feminism. I also took off a point for the dark font on dark background. Guess I’m old. Which is why I’m hoping these youngin’s will read, appreciate and larn sumthin’. That women can and have done way far more than they get credit for and will continue to do so and people should pay attention and give credit and respect. Three slices of pie.

Citizen citbycr by Cynthia Rankin. I want to read more poetry. I know I need to read more poetry. I feel like I should read more poetry. I realize this book is not quite poetry as I expect – is that the best kind? This book is powerful and heavy. Felt it in my bones and heart but still realize that there is much I cannot ‘get’ and that’s ok. I’m willing to keep attempting to reach and learn and respect and lean in and lean out and lean humble, probably lean strong. I purchased this book at my local Indie bookstore.

Then I jumped into an audiobook with comedienne extraordinaire, Phoebe Robinson’s You Can’t Touch My Hair. yctmhbypr I am not sure I have laughed this hard in a long time (I read it before the election and already feels like eons ago). Ms Robinson explained a few things (ok, lots of things) to me. I probably could/should re-listen. Very enjoyable and extremely informative to my demographic, (ahem.) She mentions the movie Michael with Travolta which has one of the best pie songs ever recorded in film. (I wrote Ms Robinson a fan letter. I wrote Lindy West of Shrill, too. I like to write letters…)

Remember to laugh. 

I listened to an audiobook by John Scalzi that was being offered free by tdbyjs It was wonderful!  It was 2+ hours. Enjoyed it very much. I follow Mr. Scalzi on Twitter and should read something longer by him. Someday.  (I already had him on the authors-I-must-get-to list, I think, but a sample is nice.)

I quickly moved on to another audiobook that was utterly delightful. Realizing it is Nonfiction November and I had failed to plan for this AND having just read TriniCapini’s lovely Litsy post of how good it is, I used an Audible credit to get As You Wishaywbyce written and narrated by Cary Elwes. SO GOOD. I also watched the movie again. SO GOOD!

Overlapping with As You Wish, I read Barbara Claypole White’s debut novel tugbybcw The Unfinished Garden. I really REALLY enjoyed it. I think it is one of my favorites of hers. Maybe Perfect Son is my favorite, and this was lovely, too. I am now in a state of fandom where I have to wait for an author to publish again – I’ve read everything else by her. This is a rare thing. I usually don’t ‘follow’ an author. One more fun fact: I read all of her books in this calendar year. Another no-small-feat accomplishment for me. It would be remiss of me to fail to mention some of the BEST pie references are in this book!!!! I hope to capture in another post.


I just yesterday finished Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. I will write another post just for this book soon…

Also, FYI – I just today started The World According to Garp. O.M.G. Oh, Mr Irving, you are a rascal. Yowza. I’m already to Garp’s birth scene. The whole Garp conception scene was … memorable. Let’s go with ‘memorable’, shall we?

Keep reading, friends. Keep on, keepin’ on. Be vigilant.




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.

My Name is Lucy Barton

Thoughts mnilbbyes by Elizabeth Strout, Random House 2016, 208 pages

Challenge: “Catching the 2017 TOB Long/Short List”
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Type/Source: Hardback / Concord Bookshop
 Why I read this now:  Wanted a HOT book that was short so I could read quickly and leave at my Auntie’s cabin.

MOTIVATION for READING:  This has been mentioned as an excellent book pub’d in 2016 and I want to be ahead of the anticipated books to possibly make the TOB 2017 list.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  This book is about mother-daughter relationships, growing up in poverty, how childhood can shape adulthood, nature vs nurture, marriage somewhat, a writing guide somewhat…

WHAT’s GOOD:  So many things… I love the tone, I love how the main character (LUCY BARTON) falls in love with the kind people in her life, I loved the courage and the sharing. I loved the authentic feel of it. I suppose I should say ‘I loved the authenticity’ but I think ‘the authentic feel of  of it’ fits better.

What’s NOT so good: Nope, nothin’ wrong with it. Loved it; my kind of book.

I like introspective, quiet, deep, provocative books. This is one of those. This could be called a survivor’s tale.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Before reading this… I was reluctantly interested. Allow me to explain that it was because I fell head-over-heels hard for Olive Kitteridge but was less than overwhelmed (I was only ‘-whelmed) with The Burgess Boys. So, I was nervous, OK? But it seemed that many readers I respect were giving Lucy some praise and it caught my eye when I stopped to visit Dawn at the Concord Bookshop. Do you all know Dawn?  dawnandmeWe’ve had some bookish fun in our book-bloggin’ friendship and I was SO GLAD! SO VERY VERY GLAD to finally get my butt up to her town and into her store.

So, I saw this book on the shelf and knew I must buy it. I had a feeling my Auntie would like it and that my cousin Linda would like it AND it was short enough that it would be possible for me to read it while visiting in Maine and thus leave it with my Maine Folk for their reading pleasure as well.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

I recorded no mention of pie within the Lucy Barton pages but I did see Elvis there. So let’s go with FIVE slices of Elvis Pie. Just click on this sentence to get to the recipe.




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.”



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 Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

Thoughts tsloajfbygz by Gabrielle Zevin, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 2014, 258 pages

Genre: Dunno…   “Book Lover Lit”?
Type/Source: Tradeback, Purchased from local indie bookstore
 Why I read this now: Neighborhood Book Club

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  An owner of a bookstore on small New England island is grieving his dead wife when a stranger leaves a baby among the bookshelves. He somehow is allowed to adopt her and the little girl saves his life. He eventually marries and lives happily ever after. NOT! A sweet unlikely tale that actually brings up dark issues like suicide, infidelity, and cancer and yet all is just lovely because we get to “talk” books.

WHAT’s GOOD: OK, I loved it. I loved the New England setting and of course, I loved all the books. I had read most of the ones mentioned, I think.

What’s NOT so good: Full of cliches and could be accused of just being a checklist of what should be in a book about people who love books and yet SO WHAT!?

FINAL THOUGHTS: I enjoyed it. A fast read. Good palate changer when you need something light and quick. I really did not mind –SPOILER ALERT!– I did not mind that wham-bam the guy gets brain cancer and oh well, book over. [Wow, that doesn’t read quite right. What exactly am I trying to say?] That the author didn’t melodramatize anything even if throwing the guy into the situation could be considered melodramatic?

And I liked the police captain. He was cool.

RATING:  Four slices of cherry pie.

p.255 “The waitress asks if they want dessert. Ismay says she doesn’t want anything, but Lambiase knows she’ll always share a little of his. He orders a slice of cherry pie, two forks.”




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Week Two: Book Pairings #NonFicNov

Week 2: November 9 to 13 (Hosted by Leslie)

imageBook Pairing: Match a fiction book with a nonfiction book that you would recommend.

  • Note: I recommend these but I have NOT read all of these! But I want to so that is just as good, yes? I can recommend books I haven’t read yet, I think.

One of the reasons I love the blog CitizenReader is for the wonderful book-pairing readalongs hosted; so I could easily ‘borrow’ the ones I participated in and share here:

Thomas Keenan’s Technocreep (NF) with John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War (fiction) – oops, I wanted to but did not get to either of these books…

Sherwin Nuland’s The Doctor’s Plague (NF) with Joanna Kavenna’s The Birth of Love (fiction) – I actually DID read BOTH and shall I just say: FASCINATING.

We had a book menage of all nonfiction books by/on Shirley Jackson:  Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons (book about raising her kids) with the biography of her by Judith Oppenhemier, titled Personal Demons –> HOWEVER THIS IS SUPPOSED to be finding a nonfic to go with fiction, so this inspires me to suggest reading Salem’s Lot with the Haunting of Hill House! (yep, havent’ read but saw the movie) Might as well throw in a nonfic book about Stephen King or by King? On Writing would suffice, but that leads me to a fun pairing of On Writing with Carrie, King’s first book. On Writing talks about how he came to write Carrie… 


But let’s think a little. Hmmmm. . .

How about: rlitbyan Reading Lolita in Tehran with tbokbyas The Bookseller of Kabul? Oh – these are both nonfiction, set in different countries but same theme of persecution and restriction of women and education. Perhaps this fiction offering: Khaled Hosseini’s atsskh A Thousand Splendid Suns will work as a good pairing with The Bookseller – both Afghanistan.


Oooooo, how about this? This features a pairing of setting and time frame:  How about fiction scbytd Sister Carrie (set in Chicago 1900ish) with ditwcbyel Devil in the White City, circa 1893? note: I have yet to read Devil White City; I know I know! It’s TOTALLY crazy that I haven’t read it yet.


AND, here’s a good one! I walked into the indie book store in Newport Rhode Island and asked for Jill Morrow’s Newport npbyjm but it wasn’t on the shelf. So the wonderful staff recommended a nonfiction read  gbydd Gilded – which was delicious fun; I got the full scoop on Newport now and then. Um, I still need to get a copy of the Morrow book…


Finally, I present a book menage of my own planned for at the time I started reading Orphan Master but I never did get around to on the nonfic side. (Shame on me?) but I ❤LOVED❤ the fiction half of this pairing: tomsbyaj The Orphan Master’s Son with Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envyntebybd Ordinary Lives in Northern Korea.



I’m excited to see what everyone posts on this.

What about you? Did this post stimulate any share-able ideas?


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.

Sorcerer to the Crown

Thoughts sorcerer_front mech.indd Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, Ace Books 2015, 371 pages


I wanted to read this when Aarti mentioned it. Not sure why exactly, it certainly isn’t my typical read, but I was somehow captivated and knew this would be my first book for #Diversiverse 2015.

I am so glad that I acted on this impulse – I loved it!

I loved it for the vocabulary. See below.

I loved it for the energy, the vivacity.

I loved it for the confounding character of Prunella. She was unique and I loved her power-forward attitude.

I won’t review it – you can read Aarti’s review, or Jenny’s or Olduvai’s.

I want to read the next in the series. Crazy, right? (Long time readers of this blog know that I am usually a one and done (or not at all a fan) on series…) And on that note, I can say that the ending is sufficient as a stand alone book. Whew.

I should probably look for a GIF to do that whew… (and a BIG thank you to Jenny – my favorite GIF-ologist – for the always appreciated assistance: the right-click on image trick worked…)

Maybe not quite the right whew but it is VERY IMPORTANT to me when a series book does NOT end on a crazy annoying cliffhanger. (Patrick Ness I’m looking at you.)

One more cool thing… The Faery King has a lobster courtier.  copleyl But, of course.


Question for those of you all in the know, this book would be an excellent gift for a 14 year old, yes?

And finally, a book connection coincidence link:  and I quote “Since the decision to become a parent is invariably self interested, it is my belief that a parents obligation is to the child, and the child’s obligation is to itself.” –> this reminds me of the issue that irked me in the book I reviewed prior to this one. I LIKE this quote.


VOCAB – I learned a lot in this book. About magic and fantasy terms, mostly. I didn’t note page numbers this time, sorry.

manumit – (a word that shocks me that I don’t know) – release from slavery; set free

demesne – land attached to a mansion; legal possession of land

emolument – the returns arising form office or employment, usually in form of compensation; advantage

lamia – female vampire

cantrip – a witch’s trick

sigil – seal, signet, sign to have occult power

stoichiometry – branch of chemistry dealing with application of laws of definite proportions and conservation of mass/energy

froward – habitually disposed to disobedience

asafetida – the dried fetid gum resin of the root of several west Asian plants; flavor or medicine

theurgy – art of compelling or persuading a god to do or refrain

prolix – using too many words!!!

redound – to have a particular result

bombazine – a silk fabric in twill weave, dyed black

thaumaturgy – the performance of miracles/magic (doh)

dogsbody – a person who is given boring, menial tasks to do.

louche – disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing way.

putative – generally considered

dropsical – affected with an accumulation of an excessive amount of watery fluid in cells, tissues, or body cavities

bougie – a thin, flexible surgical instrument for exploring or dilating a passage of the body. OR urban dictionary: Aspiring to be a higher class than one is.

beldam – a malicious and ugly woman, especially old,  witch.

dido – perform mischievous tricks or deeds.

gutta percha – a hard, tough thermoplastic substance that is the coagulated latex of certain Malaysian trees

cant – lively, lusty

AND one that my i{Phone app for Merriam-Webster didn’t have (there were more but I didn’t capture)








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The Making of a Marchioness

Thoughts tmoambyfhb The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Persephone Book #29 2005 (orig 1901), 308 pages including Preface by Isabel Raphael and Afterword by Gretchen Gerzina, author of a biography of Burnett.

This was for the latest Classics Spin. classicsclub1 The latest spin was #2 and this was the book on that slot of my list.

What’s it ABOUT: The book is in two parts. In the first, a “not quite as young” lady is helping out at a party designed to introduce a wealthy bachelor of rank to his many options (cough, cough) pretty young things of marrying age, and yet some how, the guy falls for our girl – she TOTALLY didn’t expect it! Sweeeeet. Good for her.

The second part is how the new Marchioness, because she now is becoming accustomed to wealth and privilege is at risk of being taken advantage of…  OR WORSE!!  Drama!  PREGNANCY!  Sorry, THAT word nor description of said condition but only bare possible mention of the idea is allowed. What is our girl to do?!  

As someone not intimately familiar thus lacking in the nuances of the English class system during the Victorian age, I don’t quite know if it is accurate to say that our heroine of this Making story was brought up ‘well’ but happens to be unlucky. May I introduce Miss Emily Fox-Seton. Apparently she has no family or no family obligated to take care of her and she somehow missed getting married at a proper marrying age, so she must find odd jobs to survive. I still don’t quite get where she is on the stratosphere (class) of what is supposed to have happened to her or who – what rank? – she was supposed to marry, but the striking thing here that is MOST important to the story is that she is not glum about any of it. She may be fearful for her future, on the whole she is rather plucky and certainly extremely positive in her attitudes to find the best in every situation.

She is ingenuous. She is NOT clever. Clever being a word of different definitions from the 1900s and now. I think of clever now as a word for someone who may not be conniving but very smart to turn any situation into an advantageous one. Then, clever meant, what I think now of ‘bright’. As in smart but also aware of the world and not naive. Emily is not bright and is naive. She is ingenuous. (How often do you use this word? Never? Me, neither. I lost count how many times this word was used in these 300 pages. Sigh.)

She is so grateful to everyone for being SO kind to her and everyone IS kind to her because she is just so darn easy to like!

This book has many interesting issues discussed or danced around or blatantly tossed about that… well, it’s just very interesting. I also found how the author described Emily as saying she talked in italics. I can see how it actually could have been scandalous – even as it avoided the mention of pregnancy. “She was ill.” And for the racism it has been attacked for, it might also be tempting to forgive it for the awkward apology of racism by mentioning the issue as it introduces it? (maybe not.)

I appreciated most the Afterword by Gerzina in highlighting Burnett’s motivations and background and suggesting what she was trying to do in the story. Classism, racism, ideas of love and marriage and abuse, gender roles somewhat but not really, etc. The Afterword is what made me decide to rate this four slices of pie. I just found it very interesting and the two discussions included (I read the Preface after the Afterword, of course) contributed to making this a fun enjoyable educational reading experience for me.


Favorite quote:  “He did not snub people; he cut the cord of mental communication with them and dropped them into space.”

Photo of me the day I purchased this book: IMG_1646


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Silver Sparrow

Thoughts ssbytj by Tayari Jones, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 2012 (orig 2011), 340 pages

I have been meaning to read this ever since the first #Diversiverse*. I purchased this tradeback/paperback from Barnes & Noble in 2012 and it had been sitting in a prominent spot on the shelf tempting me often. But it was the timing of Aarti’s reaction post to the Don Sterling’s racial bigotry that reminded me that I need to read more diverse books and now was the cue to begin.

If you are not aware of the A More Diverse Universe blog tour — it is usually in September, but can be all year long — allow me to share Aarti’s words:

A More Diverse Universe celebrates diversity in speculative fiction by encouraging people to read books in the fantasy or science fiction genres that were written by people of color.  It is so very important to read diversely, to read books by and about and for people who have different life experiences than you.

I don’t think Silver Sparrow fits the fantasy or science fiction genre, now that I think about it.

What’s it ABOUT:  We first meet Dana who is the daughter of a man who has two families; he is a bigamist who attempts to keep his two families apart but one is very aware of the other. His ‘first’ wife and daughter are not aware of anything amiss. The sisters are only 4 months apart in age. The first half of the book is Dana’s side of the story and in the second half, we meet Chaurisse.

Eventually, the two girls become friends. But friendships with secrets this big are destined for tragedy. I hope it is not a spoiler, but I found this to be

EXTREMELY heartbreaking.   <— hover over that to read it… or not.


RATING: FIVE slices of pie.  I was swept away, loved the character development, the plot pace, the fact that the setting was the 80s, and how realistic AND crazy it all seemed. So COMPLICATED. I was not prepared for the ending. I loved everything about it.


Other REVIEWS:   BookLust tells all, Rhapsody in Books recommends this as an excellent book club choice, and many more reviews found here by the Book Blog Search Engine.


* I did read a fantasy/SciFi book (two actually, Kindred by Octavia E. Butler and Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord) in September 2012 for the tour. I did not participate last September. Not sure what I was doing but likely overwhelmed with going back to grad school?





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.