October, the Tenth Month, Five More Books

I read books in October. Let me tell ya!

Oct 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stegner is not talked about enough.

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

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

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

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

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

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Textbook by Amy Krause.

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

I just want to start crying. Whoa.

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

Wow.

(sniff, gulp. sob…)

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

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

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

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

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

 

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Recent Thoughts and Other Things…

I’ve read 4 books since my last review post and finished up May strong with 8 books (one of which was a skim from half point…)

Total for the year so far:  39 books, 9672 pages, ~147 hours

I decided a quick audiobook (< 3 hours) was just the thing to catapult my month’s stats to something I can be proud of and chose Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me It was both unexpected and affirming; she is an eloquent voice for feminism and human rights. I very much enjoyed this. I was also pleased that she lent insight to Virginia Woolf’s Orlando

I DNF’d Orlando Sob, shame, embarrassment. It is NOT a summer beach read; it is dense and though very lively, it takes concentration. I admit I was lost and believe this would be a great book for serious study just not right now in the moment of my crazy life. I had originally attempted the audiobook – nope. Reading the ebook was easier, but… I can’t quite describe the feeling of drowning it gave me. Submerged in what I can only assume is amazing prose but HUH? I need guidance for next time. And I do want to try again. It’s not dry and dusty; it is very lively, but hold on! Goodness.

My neighbor gave me a book written by a friend of hers from a writing group she was involved with. I must say that it was well-written and informative, fascinating even.  I know many will and should enjoy it. It just wasn’t my cup of tea in style and format; I guess genre. I like the heavier serious immersive stuff. (How I can say that I liked The Sport of Kings when I didn’t like it but I can “like” this but not? Does that make any sense whatsoever? Nah, I didn’t think so.) I can find much to admire and can recommend Holly Warah’s debut Where Jasmine Blooms I give it 3 slices of pie. (It did have lots of pie so I could bump up to a 4 slice?)  I now must get my hands on a recipe for SAMBUSIK PIE.

Finally, my MIL gave me  A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly and I read it in one day. What an amazing story! If you have seen or  know about the movie Lion, you know what this is:  young boy finds himself on a train to Calcutta, many MANY miles away from home. He is adopted by a family in Australia and when he is 30, he decides to find out about his birth-family. WOW!!

I’m listening to Everything I Never Told You and honestly, I’m not feeling it. Shrug. I’m about 35% in. Maybe I’m just in a horrible mood this summer!? No, that can’t be all of it — I have Kitchens of the Great Midwest on ebook and I am finding it delightful.

Finally. School is out and we are headed to the boat and the lovely waters of Rhode Island. You may not see me around here much… Wishing everyone a super summer and lots of great reading!

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Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Hunter

Thoughts  by Richard Stark, Blackstone Audio 2010, 5 hours

Narrated by John Chancer.

Challenge: Classics Club 50  SPIN (I never made an official list for this one due May 1st; I found out to late to post so I used the prior list.)
Genre: Noir Crime Fiction
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: It was in the slot of the latest spin number.

MOTIVATION for READING: Anyone see the movie Payback with Mel Gibson and Maria Bello? It’s based on Stark/Westlake’s book, The Hunter. I wanted to read it because the movie is a favorite.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The Hunter is a character called Parker and he is a small time independent kind of crook. He is not afraid to eliminate anything he disagrees with! This is a violent book.

Parker survives a job-gone-wrong (for him). The others thought they got away with it — unfortunately for them, Parker didn’t die. He comes back for his portion of the take.

WHAT’s GOOD: The language and characters were true to the movie. (How often do we turn that around like that?) Many scenes seemed lifted verbatim.

I was able to disconnect Parker from Mel Gibson in my head as I listened, but I was glad to keep my images of Carter, Bronson and Fairfax. Such a great cast.

What’s NOT so good: I said it was violent, right? The Maria Bello part was altered, as was the ending. You could say that the book inspired the film and the film goes much further (also violent). The tone is similar. The movie might offer a bit more humor. And Lucy Liu.

At five hours, this is a short story (compared to my usual audiobooks).

FINAL THOUGHTS: I enjoyed this adventure to read the book that a fave movie was based on. I’m glad to knock off a classic from the 50 AND that it was a SPIN finished by the deadline. Yay me. And there was pie!

RATING: Three slices.

$90,000 is a nice pie to split.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Summer of My German Soldier

Thoughts  by Bette Greene, Puffin Modern Classics 1973, 230 pages

Challenge: Neighborhood Book Club
Genre: Middle School Lit
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library

MOTIVATION for READING: Our club usually allows hosts to choose the book we read. Rarely are we offered a vote: this was the sole book suggested and thus the book we read. (Which I’m fine with, not saying I don’t like how we pick books. I’ve actually never been in a club that selects an entire year’s slate… Always “as we go.”)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A 12 year old Jewish girl harbors a German POW during WWII.

WHAT’s GOOD/NOT so GOOD:  Apparently, it was a big hit years ago as a middle school read. I don’t know if it is still taught in schools but I thought the main character’s innocence wouldn’t hold up for current 12 yo’s interpretation. But I could be wrong. I found her naïve and annoying. But maybe that’s just me.

She’s smart but she can’t figure out how to shut up. But maybe that’s a good thing for a girl to not learn. We do often learn to shut up and take it and this book is a good reminder of why so many girls do: survival. She had some excellent cheerleaders in her corner so let’s hope she grew up to be a strong take-no-shit woman who lived life on her own terms. Her childhood sucked.

Just being in the same room with you, Mother, is like being feast for a thousand starving insects.

At first, I read too many reviews and was creeped out by the romance idea of a young girl with a 22 year old man. This is a friendship and not more. If I hadn’t been warned about ‘the kiss’, I might have missed it. I “thought too much” rather than read for enjoyment. As the story progressed (I admit I skipped around for the first third), I began to enjoy myself more.

It seems to me that a man who is incapable of humor is capable of cruelty.  

Cruelty is after all, cruelty, and the difference between the two men may have more to do with their degrees of power than their degrees of cruelty.

Trying to calculate different degrees of cruelty is a lot like trying to calculate the different degrees of death.

This is not a happy tale and for a coming of age, I’m not sure how much Patty wised up but I will assume she makes it out. I really do not want to read the sequel. I probably would have loved this book as a kid.

I can’t figure out how her grandparents were so lovely but her parents were despicable people…

Someone else wondered in a goodreads review, how Patty was treated for the first 5 years of her life before her adored perfect angel sister came along. Good question.

When people’s emotions are involved they don’t want to listen.

Tonight is book club, we’ll see what the discussion brings. Shall I take notes and report back? I think I shall!

RATING: Three slices of lemon meringue pie.

After we had eaten out hamburgers and French fried and drunk down our coffee, Mr. Grimes waved to the waitress, “What kind of pie you got?”

She gave her hair, which was the color of brown wrapping paper, a good scratching. “We’re all out of apple.” Nodding in the direction of the counter, she said, “Gave that feller the last piece. “

“What kind have you got left?” asked Mr. Grimes, not bothering to keep the irritation out of his voice.

“‘Bout the only thing I know we got is some sugar doughnuts left over from the morning and some lemon meringue pie.”

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

What’s Care Been Readin’ Lately?

Thoughts

I have had a slow down. Not a slump! but a definite lack of time spent reading, it seems. I did attempt a re-listen to Lincoln in the Bardo but I didn’t finish it. I was looking listening for a pie mention that I thought happened.  PLEASE ANYONE!! If you read or will read the eBook version — do a search pretty-please?

This week, I have rediscovered my ability to read read read. I am half through the 14 hour audiobook of Warren Zanes’ bio of  Tom Petty. Wow, do I love biographies of interesting artists. I do.  Mr. Zanes is an interesting character himself and he has an appealing literary quality to his writing. He has quoted Karen Blixon and Russell Banks and a few other authors I know of (but haven’t read.)

I’m still trudging through  The Disappearing Spoon and not that it’s not interesting, it’s just that I have been not picking it up. You know what I mean? What interesting characters these scientists can be…

And finally, on the heels of the Pulitzer announcement of Colson Whitehead winning for The Underground Railroad, I decided to check if my library had a copy of The Intuitionist They did and now I’m reading it. It’s got a scientific quirky vibe. Enjoying it very much so far.

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I finally watched Far From the Madding Crowd with Carey Mulligan and Martin Sheen  and it was wonderful! I loved it. If you loved this romantic triangle story with one fabulous independent woman lead, you should read my review of the book/audiobook…  You should read the book first. Film was a fun adaption, in my opinion. And visually stunning. Oh! the costumes!! And I miss reading classics. I need to get back to my Classics Club 50. “It is my intention to astonish you all.”

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I made pie for Easter.

The not so pretty but still rather interesting Carrot Pie and the Italian traditional ricotta cheese pie called Fiadone:

centered?

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I miss not having a book review to post on this now-dusty blog… Soon, though. Hope everyone is reading something good. TELL ME! What are you reading?

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

James Joyce’s Odyssey

Thoughts  by Frank Delaney, Paladin Grafton Books 1987, 191 pages

Challenge: I traveled to Dublin for Spring Break! I brought this along…
Genre: Nonfiction/Literary Analysis/Travel
Type/Source: Tradeback/Sent from a friend

MOTIVATION for READING: Let’s back up to when I first had this book in my hands. It was January 2011 when I signed up for the “Jousting with Joyce” readalong. I never finished Ulysses and I have no record of what page/episode I stopped on.

So anyway, dear friend Jeanne sent me THIS book out of the blue back in 2011 and I have been treasuring it ever since, thinking “Some day, I will conquer Ulysses“. Rather, I was able to make a trip to Dublin happen instead.

Now I am even more eager to read it (Ulysses), to be honest.

Portrait of the Author as an Old Man; from Bailey’s Pub, remodeled.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Delaney chats with obvious affection for Joyce and his tale of Ulysses. He organizes his ‘Odyssey’ by the same structure as Joyce does in Ulysses and walks the reader through the story and what it might mean, then and now. This not a step by step walking tour of Dublin. It’s subtle – and it is also 30 years old so many things have changed from 1904 (year the book is set) and 1922 (year Ulysses was published) and 1987.

FYI, Ulysses follows two characters, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus – not always together, on walkabout through Dublin, basically. Joyce has stated that his book is a blueprint with which to rebuild Dublin if need be. Ready?

A sample of Delany’s words with Joyce’s:
Sandymount Strand, ineluctable as sin, sweeps wide and grey and beige, stippled with gulls and aeroplanes and lighthouses and ships and lone Dedalus-walkers. “Signature of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack the nearing tide, that rusty book.” Most of the thoughts in Stephen’s mind as he walked along Sandymount Strand were triggered by that ineluctable modality of the visible.

So for the ‘now’ of 2017,  many signs and plaques identify Joyce’s locations and landmarks — these are not mentioned in Delaney’s book. Perhaps a map of these IS published by the James Joyce museum which I did not visit. I really let my wanderings and Joyce connections happen rather than seek them out. It was a vacation with the Husband who though sympathetic and/or amused, he did not share my enthusiasm. “He indulged me occasionally” would be the best way to put it. So, it was happenstance and sudden delights, when I found a Joyce marker.

Book pages with little (useless!) map and photos with backdrop of similar photo from a blog post…

WHAT’s GOOD: Photos from turn of the century (late 1800s – early 1900s and some 1987.) Opportunity to consider how Dublin has changed in 30 years and 100+. But the best of the book is the author’s delight in talking about and sharing anecdotes and explanations of what Joyce was attempting with Ulysses.

Another paragraph of Delaney praise for what Joyce attempted in Ulysses:
“The Oxen of the Sun episode is the most difficult to read in Ulysses. All Joyce’s linguistic interests are on exhibition and he gives a foretaste of what was to come in Finnegans Wake. That it exhausted him is certain: in several communications with friends, he referred to “the Oxen of the bloody, bleeding Sun” and he admitted freely that the control of all the ideas, the mathematical nine-part divisions, the embryonic development and the endless parodies were almost as much as he could master. He managed brilliantly.

What’s NOT so good:  Of course, I wanted better maps… LOL.

I failed this book as I do most travel books. Tedious to look at when I can’t relate, and too late for visits once I can. I admit, one of our favorite pub visits was to Bruxelles because it was around during Joyce times and is in a photo of Delaney’s book. I didn’t get any pics of our Guinness nor Irish Whiskey while there, unfortunately.

As typical, I now flip through Delaney’s guide and only want to go back to Dublin and see it all again, find the past anew.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I am more willing to attack Ulysses some day. I do feel that it will require patience and a light touch – not taking it too seriously.

“Joyce said once, not without sadness, to Nora: “The pity is the public will demand and find a moral in my book, or worse, they may take it in some serious way, and on the honor of a gentleman, there is not one serious single line in it.”

I am keeping this book as a guide when I do tackle Ulysses because of the same structure and the explanations, motivations, and landmarks in words.

RATING:  3 slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

Other Resources:  Schmoop / Frank Delaney’s Podcasts

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The 2017 Attempt to Complete The Back to the Classics Challenge

Back to the Classics 2017 – click the button below for our host Karen’s rules for the Challenge:

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The categories for the 2016 Back to the Classics Challenge: My choices in RED but if this goes like last year, I won’t read any of my original selections! eeek.

1.  A 19th century classic – any book published between 1800 and 1899. Probably a Trolloppe. or a Hardy.

2.  A 20th century classic – any book published between 1900 and 1967. Rabbit, Run

3.  A classic by a woman author. Cold Comfort Farm or Orlando

4.  A classic in translation. The Three Muskateers or Love in a Fallen City

5.  A classic published before 1800. Plays and epic poems are acceptable in this category. Candide!!

6.  A romance classic. Jude the Obscure?

7.  A Gothic or horror classic. Jane Eyre.

8.  A classic with a number in the title. One Fine Day 

9.  A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title. The Bird’s Nest

10. A classic set in a place you’d like to visit. Love in a Cold Climate (whatever/whereever – will likely be English…)

11. An award-winning classic. ??? Will look at the Pulitzer list. Perhaps The Voice at the Back Door by Elizabeth Spencer. Uh, NOPE. Is listed on that page but I didn’t realize the award was NOT given that year. So maybe The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau, 1965.

12. A Russian classic. Memories by Teffi, as suggested by Ruthiella. Or Dead Souls by Gogol?

Happy Challenge-Reading!

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Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Back to the Classics Challenge for 2016 Wrap Up

BackToTheClassics2016

Back to the Classics Challenge 2016 – (My original post) √

Of the books I listed and expected to read for this challenge, I only read 3! So much for my predictions and selections. Unfortunately, the only translated classic I read was also the only 19th century classic that I read. I had the same problem with a re-read of a HS classic and a banned book classic, so I can only claim NINE classics completed for categories 1,2,3,5,6,7,8,10 & 12. I bailed about 1/2 in on the book for category 9 so not sure it counts but that’s ok because I still did nine… SO:

TWO ENTRIES!!!

 

  1.  A 19th Century Classic – Germinal by Zola
  2. A 20th Century ClassicThe Painted Veil by WS Maugham JAN
  3. A Classic by a Woman Author  – And Then There Were None AC
  4. X                               A Classic in Translation –  Germinal  (uh oh… )
  5. A Classic by a Non-white Author – Go Tell It On the Mountain
  6. An Adventure Classic – Beryl Markham’s West With the Night
  7. Fantasy, SciFi or Dystopian – Brave New World / Huxley
  8. √ A Classic Detective novel – Murder Must Advertise / Sayers
  9.  X  Title includes Name of a Place – Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
  10.  Banned or Censored Classic – To Kill a Mockingbird/Harper Lee
  11. X             Reread a Classic from High SchoolTo Kill a Mockingbird?!
  12. Classic collection of Short Stories – O.Henry the Four Million and other stories

 

I’m done! I finally completed this challenge!!  YAY me.  Happy New Year.

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Four Million and other stories

Thoughts tfmaosbyoh by O.Henry, Airmont 1963 (orig 1906), 189 pages

BackToTheClassics2016

Challenge: Back to Classics – short story category
Genre: Short Stories
Type/Source: Paperback / discounted books store
 Why I read this now: For the challenge; took me months! eek

MOTIVATION for READING: Guess what! I live in the town where  O.Henry grew up. There’s a statue of him downtown; he’s Greensboro NC’s most famous citizen.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: All of these are very much “O.Henry” in style and theme. A twist at the end, down to earth people or down on their luck or just REAL, lots of clever witty banter and humor.

WHAT’s GOOD: See above.

What’s NOT so good: I really did need to take little sips of these stories and obviously could not just sit and power through. Probably just me. There do have that turn-of-the-century flavor.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Some funny, some sweet, and some quite sad. O.Henry loved people, I think.

RATING: Four slices of pie! Lemon meringue.

p.152 – “She was Aileen’s friend; and she was glad to see her rule hearts and wean the attention of men from smoking pot-pie and lemon meringue.”

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

West With the Night

Thoughts wwtnbybm by Beryl Markham, orig 1942 – rereleased in 1983, 294 pages

BackToTheClassics2016 Adventure Category

Challenge:  Latest Classics Club Spin Selection (But I’m late – it was due by Dec 1st)
Genre:  Adventure, Airplanes/Flying
Type/Source: Tradeback / Local Indie Bookstore
Why I read this now: Was late for the Spin but wanted to read it anyway.

MOTIVATION for READING: I can’t recall why exactly I put this on my Classics Club 50 but I was further enticed by the historical lit recently published by Paula McClain about Ms. Markham. I wanted to read the “true” version first. 

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WHAT’s it ABOUT: These are the stories of Ms. Markham; how she grew up in British East Africa now called Kenya, learned to train race horses, learned to fly airplanes, attempted to be the first to fly East to West from England to the US (managed to ‘safely’ crash in Canda), and and and… Nothing about her husbands and supposed multiple love affairs, darn it.

WHAT’s GOOD: What a way with words! I found it very easy to fall right into like relaxing into a gigantic bean bag to let the world fall away and allow me to be transported to another place and time.

What’s NOT so good:  The prose is beautiful yet she can seem detached and aloof; she barely reflects that she is a woman doing more typical man things. This was both refreshing and almost frustrating. Other things were more frustrating and interesting (racist/classist) view of how the English colonists viewed the Africans. She also seems to scorn the practice of elephant hunting but was a full participant in the profit of it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Not at all the dry and boring text I had imagined. It was lovely and tragic, poetic and appalling all at once. Certainly a remarkable woman.

RATING:  Five slices of pie, of which I noted no mention.

Has anyone read a biography of Beryl Markham? If I enjoy the McClain (and I sincerely hope I do since I did not care for The Paris Wife), I might continue indulging my fascination.

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.