Category Archives: Challenge

September 2021 in Review

 Monthly Recap Time!

Total of 7…

Finished __ 1__ audiobook (~32.5 hours) 

Hardcover = 2

eBook (Audible/Kindle or Libby) = 2

Tradeback = __1__

Count from the library =  _4_, JS&MN was both my montly Audible credit and finished with Libby; 2 purchased, 1 I’ve had for a decade plus. Clearning those shelves! Clearning is a new word that means both cleaning and clearing off.

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My favorite read of the month is Postcard Poems!

I visited the world and many interesting places in Griggs’ poetry collection. I was in NYC and some Long Island time, I was in corporate workspaces for DEI., and I visited a few airports in Up in the Air. Fun Home was in PA. Ella Minnow Pea is set on a fictional island off the coast of South Carolina USA and the Clarke book put me in magical spaces throughout England, the European Continent and Florence Italy.

Three nonfiction – if I count the poetry? One of the books I read this month had a connection to Jess Walter via Spokane but now I don’t recall which. Probably Up in the Air but I’m drawing a blank. No classics, no translated works. TOB adjacent but not directly attached or by/on purpose. But all unique! Two possible for Book-2-Movie: the Clarke and Up in the Air

I did finally watch Call Me By Your Name. Very good adaption, in my opinion. I posted my completion of the What’s in a Name Challenge with Up in the Air but still want to read a few more for the botanical category.

Once I cooked a Christmas feast in one, serving glazed ham and sweet potato pie to a dozen janitors and maids.

Pi’s just a number.

a few from Up in the air
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Pie? Four books out of seven mention pie.

I didn’t make any pie this month but I enjoyed a Root Beer Float Pie created by my Mother-in-Law. AND I attended 2 pie workshops online presented by The Pie Academy.

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What was YOUR favorite book of September?

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.

COMPLETED ♦ What’s in a Name Challenge ♦ 2021

The What’s in a Name 6-Category Reading Challenge is hosted by Andrea at Carolina Book Nook. The image below will link to the Challenge Sign up Page.

  • One/1  – Anna Quindlen’s One True Thing  
  • Doubled word – I have two options here:   Apologize, APOLOGIZE by Elizabeth Kelly or The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire Lazebnik
  • Reference to outer space  – Walter Kirn’s Up in the Air   I also read Klara and the Sun which would fit, as well.
  • Possessive noun – The Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet   
  • Botanical wordThe People in the Trees   and I was also wondering if I could count Ella Minnow Pea?    (In my signup post, I shared my hope to read one or both of these:  The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock or Alan Drew’s Gardens of Water   and I still just might.)
  • Article of clothing:  Pauli Murray’s Proud Shoes  

This is one of my favorite challenges!

And this year is one of the first where I have actually finished the books I said I would when I started the challenge. AND that I’m not scrambling to finish in December.

My list in goodreads.

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Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Fun Home

Thoughts by Alison Bechdel, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2006, 232 pages

Challenge: n/a

Genre/Theme: Graphic Memoir, Nonfiction

Type/Source: eBook, Libby

What It’s About: I have been wanting to read this for a long time. And in true getting-back-to-blogging-hesitancy, I’ll copy&paste the blurb off of goodreads:

[The author] charts her fraught relationship with her late father.

Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the Fun Home. It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

“I was so consumed by anxiety that she would stop, I couldn‘t enjoy it.”

Thoughts: A VERY fast read! Sure, could be because it was a graphic novel – they just ready speedy to me. I enjoyed this, I enjoyed the art, I enjoyed the tiny amusing details in the panels, I felt for her yearning to connect to both parents and navigate what the heck was going on, and I appreciated her attempts to sort it out from a future place looking back.

This wasn’t at all what I expected and that is not a bad thing. I didn’t realize that “fun home” was a funeral home! I might have known that when I first put this on my tbr and forgot. I never/rarely look at blurbs. It always strikes me funny that I don’t do that.

Rating: Five slices of pie. No pie mentioned that I recall; I forgot that notes weren’t saved when you read a Libby. #sadannoyedlook

 

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.

Up in the Air

Thoughts by Walter Kirn, Anchor 2002 (orig 2001), 320 pages

Challenge: 20 Books of Summer, Book to Movie, What’s in a Name: Reference to Outer Space Category

Genre/Theme: Air Travel – Road Warrior Lifestyle, Contemporary Lit

Type/Source: Paperback

What It’s About: Road Warrior Ryan is one week away with many flights scheduled to hit his one millionth mile on a specific airline’s mileage reward plan. He hates his job – which is delivering “empathetic terminations”, is paranoid about said job’s managers trying to take away his goodies, is also paranoid that the airline is conspiring to thwart his achievement, and along the way gets entangled with helping his family marry off little sister, publish a book, get a new job, and find true love. Scratch that last thing. But he certainly has dalliances in ‘every port’.

George Clooney played the character Road Warrior Ryan in the movie. I can’t wait to see it again.

(They did change up the script some. Where in the book, Ryan talks to the read; in the movie, he is saddled with a trainee, played by Anna Kendrick. Which I discovered by watching the movie trailer yesterday. I barely remember the film. I do remember Clooney.)

“Pi’s just a number,“ I say.“

Thoughts: This book broke my reading slump. This book amused me since I work in HR now. This book amused me because I have more than once in the past been a “victim of down-sizing”. I have followed a lot of the sales-pep and motivation industry. So much was relatable. And it has a cleverness.

I started reading his book on September 11, the 20th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade towers all over the news. Kirn first published this in July 2001 – before what we think of as when air travel was forever altered. Thinking this, I was startled that so much about air travel in this book was relevant and not quite outdated, so I have to say. I like reading books about other times because we always tend to think NOW is so New & Different from BACK THEN and so much really is really still all the same.

 “The magic works, almost all of it, to some degree, and that’s what the skeptics find so intolerable.”

The ending of this book brings so much together that it is almost anti-climatic. And yet, the sympathy get turned up high after thinking that Ryan is a pretty shallow dude. He’s hurting and dealing with things in the only way he knows how. We are all hurting.

Rating: Four slices of pie.

“Once I cooked a Christmas feast in one, serving glazed ham and sweet potato pie to a dozen janitors and maids.”.

 

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.

Update August 2021 in Review with Note on #20BooksofSummer

 Monthly Recap Time!

  • 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
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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.

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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.”

If beale street could talk
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UPDATE on #20BooksofSummer:

  • I finished a total of 27 book-books (kicked out the kids books, short audiobooks, and the cookbook)
  • I read 18 of the original 20 books I wanted to read June/July/Aug
  • The two from my original list I did not get to:
    • Up in the Air by Walter Kirn
    • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
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Pie was mentioned in four of this month’s reads. Sweetie pie, a pie seller thrown in jail, all sorts of good fond pie mentions in Housekeeping, and a shop that sold pie and sandwiches. YUM.

August 20 is Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, August 24 is Peach Pie Day; I don’t know if Plum Tart has a day but I had plums on hand so… I made a mini Plum Tart.

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What was YOUR favorite book of August?

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.

Apologize, Apologize!

Thoughts by Elizabeth Kelly, Twelve/Hachette Book Group 2009, 230 pages

Challenge: 20 books of Summer, What’s in a Name: Double Word

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit/Quirky Family

Type/Source: Tradeback/Gift from a friend

What It’s About: Wealthy family, rebel unconventional parents, two sons and an uncle. MANY many dogs. A house on Martha’s Vineyard Mass and a cold grandfather in Boston. The youngest son is the favorite, the oldest son is trying to find his way.

Thoughts: Sentences are crafty. The characters are quirky but unfortunately, not charming. The plot takes forever to chug into any direction and I got bored. I flipped to the end and found I actually did miss some big developments but couldn’t care enough to go back and find my footing in the story to make the puzzles pieces fit. Abandoned.

Thank you Gail for bringing this to a book club meeting for share. Sad that I couldn’t connect to it. Another one I’ve carried around since 2009.

Rating: __2__slices of pie. I didn’t note any pie mentions. But please, this is only MY reaction – goodreads average score is 3.2 so if you like quirky family drama, give this a try. If Gail doesn’t want the book returned, I am glad to send it on.

 

What’s in a Name host site: Carolina Book Nook

 

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.

One True Thing

Thoughts by Anna Quindlen, Delta 1994, 289 pages

Challenge: 20 books of Summer, What’s in a Name / “ONE” Category

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit / Child-Parent Relationships

Type/Source: Tradeback/Gift from a friend

What It’s About: Ellen is young and ambitious, making her father proud. But then her Mom gets sick and her father basically orders her to quit her job – her career – her life to move home and care for Mom. She does but she does it to prove a point to her dad more than because she even slightly wants to do it.

But her Mom is the smartest and the bestest of them all. Ellen has to figure it out the hard way.

Your father was better at it. Much better,” she looked at me and added, “I’m sorry.”

That’s all right, I said, a little mystified because I was not sure what the apology was for. For so long I thought about myself as a girl who walked away from her mother’s life, that it would be a long time before I would start to think about the other part of the bargain, how easily she’d let me go.

Thoughts: Wow – what a story! Heart-wrenching. Not only does Mom die a horrible death by cancer but then Ellen is accused of murdering her. She spends a night in jail because . . . apparently Dear Dad didn’t even know about the arrest. The trial, the aftermath, the reconnection. Just wow.

I loved it.

Thank you Trish of Love Laughter Insanity for sending this book to me in 2012.

Rating: __5__slices of pie. Cherry once and pumpkin twice!

I cooked and cleaned and read; I simmered casseroles and made pies.

 

What’s in a Name host site: Carolina Book Nook

 

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.

The Smart One and the Pretty One

Thoughts by Claire LaZebnik, 5 Spot/Hachette Book Group 2008, 288 pages

Challenge: 20 books of Summer

Genre/Theme: Fun Fiction/Sisters

Type/Source: Tradeback/Gift from a friend

What It’s About: Two sisters are reunited to take care of their mother’s health challenge and both grow up a bit while learning to appreciate each other.

Thoughts: Wow – that sentence above hurt me to write! Let’s see, let me start over.

The PRETTY-SISTER is irresponsible and unconcerned, loves fashion, has moved home from NYC back to LA and escorts Mom to chemotherapy as she battles a “minor case of breast cancer” (WTF?!)

The SMART-SISTER is overly responsible, hates all things girly, is consumed by being the consummate attorney. Smartie puts Pretty on a budget buying-ban; Pretty fixes sis up with an old family friend. Mayhem ensues.

OK, I do tend to overuse the “mayhem ensues”, I get it. I’ll stop. (no I won’t.) Pretty-Sister realizes she needs to be better with her finances and Smarty-Sis realizes that fashion *CAN* be fun.

It was a light and sexy read and I was glad to escape into the pages after too many months of reading more whacky or serious (or both) so I am happy to finally get to this.

But what happens with Mom? What happens to dud NYC-boy and his mom? A few loose ends, for me.

Thank you Lisa from Omaha for “winning” this book to me in 2009. LOL! 2009…

Rating: __4___slices of pie. I didn’t note any pie mentions. Might have to demote it to 3 slices…

 

What’s in a Name host site: Carolina Book Nook

 

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.

Klara and the Sun

Thoughts by Kazuo Ishiguro, Random House Audio 2021, 10 hr 16 min

Narrated by Sura Siu

Challenge: TOB Summer Camp

Genre/Theme: Science Fiction / Artificial Intelligence

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible

What It’s About: Rather than tell you what it is about, I will tell you what happens.

SPOILER WARNING?

Klara has been hanging out as merchandise at the Artificial Friend Store, observing the sidewalk crowd and hoping to be chosen by a nice little girl. Klara is of a model that needs the sun’s rays to recharge her batteries.

Josie is a young sickly child who has had some vague something done to her to make her more exceptional and her next door neighbor boy hasn’t had this thing whatever it is. Josie begs her mom for an Artificial Friend.

Josie and Mom take Klara home.

Josie gets real sick, Klara strikes a bargain with the sun (we never get the sun’s perspective) to save Klara because Josie and her neighbor-boy-friend have the truest love and wa la! Klara manages to get a burst of sunshine directly on poor Josie at just the right time and she is saved!

Josie grows up and goes away to college, neighbor-boy goes his way, Klara spends her retirement in a utility closet.

The End.

Thoughts: Blech.

If you love Ishiguro, you’ll likely love this, too. If you don’t like Ishiguro, this won’t convince you that giving him another chance was a good decision.

Rating: But there is pie so maybe two to 2.5 slices of pie.

 

 

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.

The Three Musketeers

Thoughts by Alexander Dumas, Bantam Classics 1984 (orig 1844), 635 pages

Audiobook 23 hours 32 minutes, narrated by John Lee

Challenge: Classics Club Spin #26

Genre/Theme: “Cloak and Sword” story / Adventure

Type/Source: Paperback and Audiobook / Purchased in 2009 at Borders, Audible

What It’s About: This was a lot of fun and I enjoyed meeting the main characters; fighting for the King and against the scheming Cardinal and his guards, as well as wooing all the ladies. It had a lot of humor. It did seem long and tedious, at times, though.

Thoughts: Not nearly as good at The Count of Monte Cristo but still dashing and adventurous.

Rating: Rounding up to 4 slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

I talked friends into renting the 1973 movie starring all sorts of big stars! and it was… also not as good as the Count of Monte Cristo movie. But I’m glad to have watched it. The movie really emphasized the campiness and humor.

 

Charleton Heston! Raquel Welch!! among others…. Link to IMDB.com

 

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.