OK, [the SECOND] the reason I wanted to post today is because I was triggered by something that happened this weekend. It set me on an exploratory path. Triggered? y..e..a..h… it really is interesting and annoying how many words involve gun-related language, would you agree? I’m stalling, I get it, I really want to make sure you are following along on this ride before I share what I really am giggly-goo to do.
I was checking Litsy over the weekend and someone posted on the book Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny.
I read this. That was my thought. Do I recall what it is about? No. No, I didn’t have much if any recollection.
So what do you do if you are a book blogger? You go to your blog and search. (well, sometimes I do go to Goodreads first but that is usually when I want to know WHEN I read something and this was an IF question.)
Sure enough, I did read this. In 2018!
Let’s get on with this, shall we?
If you were with me in 2018, I offered up some video reviews and recaps.
I – HAD – FORGOTTEN!!!
Huh, looked ’em up, checked my YouTube account, blah blah blah, why not try again? here ya go:
Enjoy! ( I amuse myself sometimes. LANDSCAPE VIEW!??!?! OMG – they *DID* change things… SIGH)
And BECAUSE, I am out of practice. (see? My first self-doubt question is to wonder if I need that comma after my all-caps “BECAUSE”. I don’t, do I. Not a question, but now I have to leave it or you wouldn’t have much of a clue what I was talking about. )
Because I am out of practice, I need to just open a blank post and start free-associating.
So this is what I am doing!
First (since the above is epilogue) I will shout out a big WOO HOO to Amy for being a super dooper book friend by text.
We just texted and had a lovely conversation about books and doing-what-makes-you-happy and somehow after that, the convo devolved to Twitter and capitalism.
How do you spell SAY-Lah-VEE. ?
How old were you when you discovered that french words were very much not what they looked like spelled?!
I still recall the day when I found out what “hors d’oeuvres” were/was/WHAT?!
I knew then that I would NEVER learn French.
Ok, where were we? Trying to get the CARE back to putting words into the internet! I miss it! Yet everytime I sit to write a post, I just can’t. I can’t remember the steps, I can’t recall the process, I don’t desire the whateveritwas. The ooomph, motivation and the want to… THERE. but not the mechanics, and the overcoming of the hump of just-doing.
I really can’t quite figure it out.
I loved LOVED City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I have loved her authoringabilities since that book that everyone hated that I can’t at this exact moment recall. WHAT IS THAT?! Peace Love Pie? no…. Love Pray Eat? EAT PRAY LOVE! ok, whew
I thought that was total wonderfulness.
SO I especially, vocally veraciously loudly follow Elizabeth Gilbert because she is T.A.L.E.N.T-ed in the kinds of books I like to read. I don’t know how else to describe them but I’m gathering a list of authors that fit my MUST-READS: Ann Patchett, Elizabeth Strout, Rachel Joyce, Kate Atkinson, Liz Moore, Kate DiCamillo, … oh, I’m SURE there are MORE. (Tell me who I’m missing.)
Just heard that Elizabeth McCracken has a movie rights optioned on her book The Giant’s House which I have yet to read. Might have to put that on my May —- no! June list.
Here is my May list:
OK then myFriends, let’s encourage each other to contribute when we can and validate our thoughts and opinions of beauty and art cuz, GOLLY, it can be a struggle with the evil Putin being evil, and other mind-boggling disregard for humanity.
ok, then. I’m working on finishing 2 more books this month and then writing an April recap. Be kind!
Am inspired to read a new translation of Beowulf by Maria Dahvana Headley, one of the judges this year. MANY if not most of the judgments were excellent.
Pie was mentioned in four of this month’s reads. A history of PYREX mentions pie, all kinds of pie and multiple paragraphs cover a summer expedition to eat pie across the country, squash pie in Parnassus on Wheels and this from WRtT:
April 3 is Chocolate Mousse Pie Day, April 5 is Empanada Day, April 28 is Blueberry Pie Day! I don’t think I made any pie in March. I just wasn’t feelin’ it.
I’m a completist! I finished The Echo Wife and The Confessions of Copeland Cain on the same day last week and I’ve been working on this post ever since. I want to update with my thoughts about all that …
Let’s share my thoughts of the TOB books so that I can remember them at Tourney Time. Which is SOON. It starts on March 8. First, let’s present my list of favorites, best to least: 1. The Sentences by Louise Erdrich 2. The Trees by Percival Everett 3. Matrix by Lauren Groff 4. Subdivision by Robt J Lennon 5. All’s Well by Mona Awad 6. The Book of Form & Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki 7. The Confession of Copeland Cane by Keenan Norris 8. Intimacies by Katie Kitamura 9. In Concrete by Anna Garreta 10. Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke 11. No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood 12. Beautiful World Where Are You by Sally Rooney 13. When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut 14. Nervous System by Lina Meruane 15. Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart 16. Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge 17. The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey 18. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
NOTE: these middle positions shift up and down if I contemplate further. Suffice it to say, I won’t really be upset about any of these winning. For me, the tournament is about how others react (and beautifully explain) these books, the ideas, the craft, the art. THE DISCUSSION. It’s all terribly subjective and I’m here for it. _________________________________________________________________________
The following THOUGHTS are most recent to first read. ________________________________________________
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey, eBook, 253 pages This book was a failure for me. I didn’t care for it. I finished it, but I thought it uneven and not quite believable. Maybe it was that it diverted far from what I was hoping and expecting. For all the moral quandaries on the ethics of cloning, it really didn’t hit hard on the big questions for me. And it seems heavy-handed for what questions it did explore … which now, a few many days later, I forget what they are. Identity, I think. But mostly just more on the never-ending story of how men are pigs. I thought many of the main character’s head-thoughts were said over and over and over again. I get it already. You are upset about your marriage. You are unsure about this clone of yourself, yadayadayada blah blah blah. I’m sure that I’ll totally change my mind when the Commentariat has a go at this one!
The Confession of Copeland Cain by Keenan Norris, audiobook 11.2 hrs
Let me share the blurb:
BOOK BLURB: (Cope) is just a regular teenager coming up in a terrifying world. A slightly eccentric, flip-phone loving kid with analog tendencies and a sideline hustling sneakers, the boundaries of Copeland’s life are demarcated from the jump by urban toxicity, an educational apparatus with confounding intentions, and a police state that has merged with media conglomerates – the highly rated Insurgency Alert Desk that surveils and harasses his neighborhood in the name of anti-terrorism.
Recruited by the nearby private school even as he and his folks face eviction, Copeland is doing his damnedest to do right by himself, for himself. And yet the forces at play entrap him in a reality that chews up his past and obscures his future. Copeland’s wry awareness of the absurd keeps life passable, as do his friends and their surprising array of survival skills. And yet in the aftermath of a protest rally against police violence, everything changes, and Copeland finds himself caught in the flood of history.
I really enjoyed this. Cope is very endearing and thoughtful and working on being his best. It has some comic moments, too. It might need to be said that it is brutal and shines the spotlight on harsh reality, too. Recommended. π
I attempted Libertie via eBook from the library. I just could not get into it. I put aside and then came back to it on Audible audio. I got about half way and skipped to the end. Read others’ reviews. Felt I got it. Call it a partial-DNF. I might have missed the middle to last quarter. I was not a fan. To recap what I think it was about: a young girl whose mother was a black female doctor in a free black town in New York who assisted the Underground Railroad. Libertie grew up with expectations of pursuing her own medical degree and assisting mom. She didn’t subscribe to that plan. Between 2 and 3 slices of pie.
Time to chat about ALL’s WELL! I thought this delicious. BUT ONLY!!!! Only after the horrid hard difficult painful PAINFUL first part that discussed the pain of ongoing cumulative on-going ever-present pain. Did I mention it was sickeningly painful? It was. Just painful; all the reviews talk about how visceral it was. I’m not sure if ‘visceral’ is the right word but it was powerful. But then! the cartoon birds of happiness played and the tone shifted and I thought it was WOW. Fantasy elements aside, I thought it brilliantly executed and was on board for the rest of the show and how it played out. This was very much a book that was felt, both bad and good in the body. Well done Author, Author!
Intimacies by Katie Kitamura, Hardcover (Library) 352 pages Quietly powerful. Our protag moved to The Hague, taking at job interpreting for the international war crimes tribunal. Fascinating! but it was her working through the worlds of being an immigrant, making friends, working at what she was working on, and starting a relationship, etc.; these elements formed the power of the story.
I should have liked When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut and translated by Adrian Nathan West, narrated by Adam Barr, 5 hours and 40 minutes. I appreciate all those who loved it but … I don’t know. Maybe I should have read the print and not listened. It is interesting to me that this and Matrix had lots of fact vs fiction disgruntlement and what that MEANS. (I don’t know what it means!) Three slices of pie. (I don’t know if it mentioned pie, either! If anyone has the eBook… go check real quick, wouldya?)
(Dec 2021) Nervous System / Lina Meruane Tb (2021,228) *** 122 Several People Are Typing / Calvin Kasulke A (2021,3.45) **** 120 The Book of Form and Emptiness / Ruth Ozeki A (2021,18.5) π ***** 118 The Trees / Percival Everett Tb (2021,309) π ***** 117
Ten years ago, about this time, I discovered a PROJECT that aligned nicely with that year’s goal of writing a letter every day. I succeeded on that project and I’m excited to share that I will be participating in this February’s Month of Letters aka/hashtag #LetterMo again. TEN YEARS! So this year is actually my 11th year. WOW.
Volunteers keep the website going; it’s changed some over the decade. Author Mary Robinette Kowal (Twitter link) started it all and since abdicated it to the universe. I’ve read 2 of her books:
I reviewed Shades of Milk & Honey in a roundup post 2014 and never got around to writing many reviews at all of books read in 2018, such as Calculating Stars.
Rules to #LetterMo are simple – I actually do the deluxe version and write every single day, but I think the stated guidelines suggest sending something in the mail every day the mail runs. Thus, if in the US, this means only Monday thru Saturday. The website community awards badges for certain challenges and has virtual stickers, buttons and more.
OH yea! Another rule is to reply to any letter received in February… which takew me into March.
So… if I have your address, I will probably drop you a snailmail note next month. If you would like me to send a postcard or letter, please tell me your address in an email to BkClubCare [at] Gmail.
10 books; 87 for the year (1 book cover not included above – a pie cookbook)
1548 pages, ~14 hours | 19333 total pages, 186 hours
Hardcovers – 1, 5 Tradebacks, 0 eBooks, 4 Audiobooks (though 3 would likely be the equivalent of a magazine article?!)
3 from the Library, 2 purchased from an Indie Bookstore, 1 Audible Credit and 3 more Included with Audible Membership, 1 gift
My favorite was … I don’t have a favorite this month! I can tell you that I voted for Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch for my TOB Summer Camp favorite. And I really did like Housekeeping – it was SO unique! and I really enjoyed Jess Walter’s The Financial Lives of the Poets… Black Gold, too, was a pleasant listen.
I gave 2 slices to The Orphan Collector but left the rating blank on goodreads because I just can’t figure out what didn’t work. I only know that I experienced that “blech, I don’t want to read this” feeling. Maybe it is a coconut book.
Locations and travels:
early 1600s Germany EKYMiaW
the Pacific Northwest (specifics unknown, 2 books: TFLotP and Housekeeping)
Georgia and the Olympics (basketball, Black Gold)
the future I,Autohouse
early 1900s Philadelphia TOC
1970s NYC IBSCT
on tour with Sting, but mostly England
“If you look steadily into that unblinking blue, into that pinpoint at the center of the eye, you discover a bottomless cruelty, a viciousness, cold and icy.
… if you do exist in the unbelievably frozen winter which lives behind that eye, you are marked, marked, marked.”
TOB Super Rooster ended last week; here is the championship round that crowned A Mercy by Toni Morrison over last March’s champ.
A fun and interesting and occasionally dramatic TOB, of course. As they always are.
I’m reading Deacon King Kong by James McBride and have Sharks in the Time of Saviors on deck. Sharks is from the library.
I moved last month. Sold the boat in August. Still working current job, just remote.
I read (attempted) 5 books in October. A reread of The Sellout for TOB, audiobook freebie Convenience Store Woman (translated from Japanese), How to Say Anything to Anyone (biz book; feedback), Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe (lots of pie!), and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (DNF, classic, audiobook).
Favorite is probably Convenience Store Woman. Gots to get my reading mojo back.
Anyone reading for Nonfiction November? I have a few I could read… maybe I’ll get to Radium Girls finally. Or Empty Mansions but I bet that will only piss me off. I need a fun uplifting NF, methinks?
We have Thanksgiving Pie to look forward to! We have the Tournament of Books long list announcement coming up! Be well, friends, be well. Stay positive, fight the good fights, keep walking.
I want to talk about this book. But I don’t know how. I loved it. Old irascible cantankerous ponderous old Joe. Actually he isn’t any of those words.
Such sadness, some regrets, some true dedicated endearing enduring love.
I guess this book just stirs up the ol’ vocabulary. I loved it.
and WOWZA! I think this would be a really cool book club book! I do. Cuz it’s got some zinging wild stuff. Lots of good stuff, lots of OMG stuff.
Did I realize Mr. Herrman was reading this book? Nope. (huh) and it was OK. It really is a good thing I didn’t realize until I was already a few hours in. He did a fabulous job, of course. (I could NOT listen to him read The Boys in the Boat for some reason! I was so totally distracted on that…)
And with this, Stegner moves into a lofty spot in my top tier of favorite authors. He inspires me to read more Kent Haruf and to get back to my Marilynne Robinson. And Tracy Kidder. I have a few more of his books to read before I’ve read everything.
Next up, either a post on A Gentleman in Moscow, one on The Haunting of Hill House or one big September Summary.
Thoughts by Lucy Ellman, Biblioasis 2019, 1001 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Type/Source: Purchased Online, probably from Amazon Made up for that by buying one from RiffRaff in PVD.
Why I read this now: It had to be read.
MOTIVATION for READING: The Main Character – referred to going forward as “MC” (I don’t even know if we get her name) – bakes pies to sell to local restaurants to help the family finances. Her signature dish is Apple Tarte Tatin – something I have yet to attempt. Apparently they can be tricky.
, according to Stephen Hawking the human world will end within 1000 years, but I think it could be a lot sooner, and my response to this is to make more pies and read recipe books,
WHAT’s it ABOUT: This book is the streaming consciousness of MC, a mother of 4 who has had some serious health challenges and misses her mother who died when her own daughter, her oldest, was a toddler. Her husband is a professor of structural engineering and is a bridge expert. He is the father to the 3 youngest kids, step to the oldest — of course the first husband is not ideal, though she would never speak ill of him in front of their daughter. MC rambles in her head about her memories of which she constantly claims she cannot remember, her siblings, her upbringing, tragedies that happen in the world, her pies, her mothering challenges, politics, her doubts and fears, her grocery lists, the old movies she watches while she bakes, her chickens, her childhood pets, her childhood travels – all the houses and places she lived in. She hates Trump, is anti-gun, is polite to a fault and is shy around people; cripplingly-shy. She loves her husband dearly – he’s a good man. All the kids are cute as a button and have their own wants, needs, interests which she enumerates for pages at a time. That’s a fact! It’s her day to day to day to day in her head ramblings.
Every so often, the story shifts to a mountain lion momma of three and her travels around the state of Ohio. Lots of geography, topography and history of Ohio. Their paths intersect of course and it was tense, I tell ya! of exactly HOW that might play out! oh, it’s a thriller, truly. It was maddening trying to imagine where the book was going.
THOUGHTS: This is not a book I would recommend to just anyone. I only know a few people who would like it, love it, as much as I did. I am pretty sure, my IRL friends now know that I’m a really strange reader when I would LOVINGLY describe the book and how long it was taking me to read. They would back up slowly, wide-eyed, quietly muttering, “hmmm, ok, sounds interesting. not.” I started it in April. I finished near the end of August. I sometimes would let weeks go by without turning a page. Sometimes, I would read one or two pages a day. Then conquer over 100+ in a weekend.
,the fact that I think a lot of people think all I think about is pie, when really it’s my spinal brain doing most of the peeling and caramelizing and baking and flipping, while I just stand there spiraling into a panic about my mom and animal extinctions and the Second Amendment just like everybody else,
RATING: So why am I only giving this four slices of pie? I fear that sometimes, I give 5 stars to a book as a reward for getting me to read it. I think we (by which I mean “ME”) get brainwashed that we must actually be loving the experience of submerging so much time and energy into a chunkster that we MUST justify it with a high glowing review.
But I had some issues. I had an issue with the dog and probably should research if this is based in fact. (The fact is…) and I had issue that they – the stupid zoo people – that they didn’t realize or WATCH the (SPOILER ALERT!!!! hover over to reveal the white colored text so as not to spoil anything: Really?! they didn’t realize that this momma was the 3 kittens mother and they didn’t watch the reunion? I don’t believe and if I ever read about a review from a big cat zookeeper reading this book – if you do! please share….)
So four stars for a quibble but I did love it. I will never not associate Ducks, Newburyport with the pandemic. That is reason enough not to give it 5 stars. Or maybe that is reason, actually, to anoint it 5 stars? Whatever.
So much pie. So much wonderful pie! so many terrific pie mentions!!! I probably should give Ellman the coveted Pie in Literature award for 2020 and call it done.
I would HATE it if they ever attempt to make a movie from this book. OMG, I would see it day one if they do. It’s a deceptively simple book in plot but wowza finding it! (Are they making movies yet?!)
The fact that it’s important not to despair though when you’ve got pies in the oven, …, the fact that you have to have mercy on your pies, be there for your pies, and in return they will be good dutiful pies and serve you, …