April 2020 Mini-Reviews



I want to post something and I don’t really want to write a “review”. These mini-reviews are what I can do. NEEDS MUST.

I already told you how much I loved Mad With Yellow. In fact, I am still MAD with the color yellow! Do you think it is the color of the season? I seem to notice every woman on TV who wears bold yellow…   And only because I don’t see men wearing bold yellow often. But, I WOULD NOTICE IF THEY DID!  I am loving yellow in fashion this season.

I’ve told you that I very much enjoyed Call Me By Your Name. I still haven’t seen the movie. Haven’t figured out how to carve out 2 hours of alone time in the apartment to do this. I just don’t think the husband would want to see it. Hmmmm. ANYWAY.

[One of my coworkers admitted that they drive around the block the equivalent time that it used to take to commute to work just to have some alone time. I get that.]

Tell Me Lies was a free audiobook that I DNF’d. Ugh. Could NOT be enticed to care! I really am not much of a thriller reader unless very VERY good. I must be swept away. If I get an inkling of an eye-roll moment, the whole deal is sunk. Ugh. AND THEN! I read the description on goodreads (and wondered how I missed it) and thought to myself, “yea. No.” Hey, it was free. Whatever.  (I am not the right reader for this – give me a break?)

The Sisters Brothers was the last book I needed to read for the Super Rooster Tournament of Books. I had been avoiding it and it really was a good read!  The movie was beautiful. The movie plot line didn’t quite jive with what I hoped to see, but I always like to give credit to another’s interpretation. (In other words, I am very forgiving and rarely say that condescending phrase, “the book is always better.” – absolutes should be avoided. And coulda/woulda/shoulda…) My advice is to just “read the book.” #shrug

I read The Banker’s Wife for a book club. Remember that admission earlier that I’m not much of a thriller reader? yea….    I really did enjoy the book club discussion, though, and we had some fun thoughts shared without being … horrid to it. #BIGSMILEYFACE. The women in this book kick some bad guy ass but it really isn’t my style of favorite read.

I just couldn’t get into Cut & Run. I got disoriented trying to figure out the different voices. #whentoomanynarratorsdistractfromanaudiobook

and finally, sadly, this pandemic just makes a reading of Dorian Gray, just hard. Difficult. Unrelateable. Weird.  DNF’d about half way or definitely 1/3+ way. Will have to figure out a way to talk the husband into watching the movie.


Be Safe. Be Well. Live in the Moment. Tell me what shows I must see.

Here’s a pie I baked for Coconut Cream Pie Day:

It’s actually Almond Joy Mousse Cake Pie!












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Treasure Island

Thoughts by Robt Louis Stevenson, Audible Studios 2017 (orig 1882), 6 hours 23 minutes

Narrated by the Philip Glenister, Daniel Mays, Catherine Tate, Owen Teale.

Challenge:  Back to Classics Challenge (Place, 19th C, Nature or Genre?), Classics Club
Genre: Adventure
Type/Source: Audio / Audible

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A coming of age tale on the high seas, battling pirates for buried treasure. 

WHAT’s GOOD: Very fast paced, lots of dastardly deeds and swashbuckling. I enjoyed “young Jim”‘s mother who was full of love AND snark. Her only son craves a more adventurous life than running a seaside inn where the clientele is lowlifes and drunks but yay, that’s how they meet The Pirate. Well, the first pirate of many. So First Pirate dies and leaves a map that is discovered by Jim. Second Pirate attempts to steal map and threatens the life of the poor innkeepers but is thwarted. When Jim entrusts ‘gentlemen’ to secure a ship to voyage to the island where said treasure is suspected, we find out that the cook is our Third Pirate who declares mutiny. Jim is often dismissed as too young but then always exceeds expectations in every situation.

 What’s NOT so good:  Oh, it is perfectly fine if you like pirates and swashbuckling. The audio had long pauses between chapters which were a beat too long.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I missed this in school but I can understand why this is often taught to middle school kids. I am curious why the fast food seafood chain decided to name it Long John Silvers. Took a risk there, donchathink? But maybe not. Well, come to think of it, I don’t even know if they are still in biz. They had a long run, though.

RATING:  Four slices

No pie mentions noted.



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Round Two of Classics Club 50 Challenge

I have decided to create my second #CC50 list on goodreads.

Book List 2

My idea for this list is to keep adding to it any book that fits the criteria and if by the date when 5 years is up (in Dec 2024, I’ll have read at least 50 of them.

Sound good?   

Starting with Villette by Brontë, my first book of the year. However, it’s looking like I will finish Treasure Island before that.


Help! My enthusiasm for Villette is waning! it’s so long. ugh. I better come across a pie reference soon…


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Signing up for the 2020 Back to the Classics Challenge

My selections here are mostly from my Classics Club 50 (<– Book List 1; I’m working on Book List 2) and are shown in RED.


1. 19th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1800 and 1899.
2. 20th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1900 and 1969.
3. Classic by a Woman Author.  
4. Classic in Translation. –  The Gateless Gate
5. Classic by a Person of Color. Any classic work by a non-white author. Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
6. A Genre Classic. Any classic novel that falls into a genre category — fantasy, science fiction, Western, romance, crime, horror, etc. The Time Machine 
7. Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title. First name, last name or both. – The Picture of Dorian Gray
8. Classic with a Place in the Title. Any classic with the proper name of a place (real or ficitonal) – a country, region, city, town, village, street, building, etc. – Villette by Charlotte Brontë
9. Classic with Nature in the Title. A classic with any element of nature in the title (not including animals). Treasure Island
10. Classic About a Family. This classic should have multiple members of the same family as principal characters, either from the same generation or multiple different generations.  They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple.
11. Abandoned Classic. Choose a classic that you started and just never got around to finishing, whether you didn’t like it at or just didn’t get around to it. Now is the time to give it another try. Alice in Wonderland or Tom Sawyer or Cry the Beloved Country 
12. Classic Adaptation. Any classic that’s been adapted as a movie or TV series. If you like, you can watch the adaptation and include your thoughts in your book review. It’s not required but it’s always fun to compare.  SO MANY CHOICES!
  • All books must have been written at least 50 years ago to qualify; therefore, books must have been published no later than 1969 for this challenge.




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First Book 2020

For Sheila’s Book Journey New Year Reads Initiative. #FirstBook2020




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I Completed my Classics Club 50 (with substitutions) #cc50

I did it!  I (sort of) did it!!  I DID read over 50 classics in 5 years!!!


On Dec 19, 2014, I listed 50 classics that I wanted to read by Dec 19, 2019. I defined ‘classic’ as anything over 25 years old.  This was the list.

HOWEVER, I allowed myself to swap in books to replace my original and since I can’t find any language on the Club site that endorses or expressly prohibits this, I’m going with it. Hey  –  as far as I know, there aren’t any ClassicsClubPolice, so…

[PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give the golden trophy anyway!  please please?!?!]

I will admit I didn’t review every book. Sorry. I invite you to search any titles  via the search tool on my blog (upper right corner) if you want to see if I have read a specific book. You can also check bkclubcare on goodreads.

Here I list the substitutes only and then list the few I did not get to from my original 50. Sound fun? Ok, let’s go. For an overall list, click here on my update page.

The 17 (Runner Ups) that were not “Original 50”:
The Winter’s Tale / Shakespeare – Jan 2015
The Making of a Marchioness / FHBurnette – Apr2015
The Talented Mr. Ripley /PHighsmith June2015
Atlas Shrugged/Ayn Rand July2015
Brave New World – Jan2016
Go Tell It on the Mt/JBaldwin May2016
TKAM/Lee Sep2016
The Four Million/O.Henry Dec2016
The Summer of My German Soldier/BGreene Apr17
The Grand Sophy/GeoHeyer Aug17
Waiting for Godot/SamBeckett Sep17
Angle of Repose/WStegner Oct17
A Wizard of Earthsea/LeGuin Apr 2018
Jane Eyre/Bronte Apr18
O Pioneers/Cather Jun18
A Clockwork Orange  Aug19
Now in November / Josephine Johnson Nov 2019

The ones (count: 13) I still need to read, maybe, someday:
48. The Three Muskateers – Alex Dumas – have ready on audio!
46. Jude the Obscure – Hardy – I own a copy, in a box, buried
44. Rabbit, Run – Updike – yea, rethinking if I have to …
42. Cry the Beloved Country – Alan Paton – DNF’d once, own a copy
31. Dead Souls – Nikolay Gogol
26. Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon
24. Confederacy of Dunces – JKToole
23. Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup
22. The Way We Live Now – Trollope
19. the Counterfeiters – A. Gide
14. Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City
13. They Were Sisters – Dorothy Whipple – difficult to find!
7. The King Must Die – Mary Renault – considering audio

Yes, I realize that 17 doesn’t quite equate 13. That’s OK, right? I read MORE than 50 classics in 50 years! yay me

Will I make a ROUND 2 list and commit to Dec 2024?  maybe. . .  [Updated 1/12/2020 with links to my next list of classics by Dec 2024!]



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The Ox-Bow Incident

Thoughts by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, Kindle edition (orig 1940), 290 pages

Category  2. 20th Century Classic

A cowboy book, out on the range. Reminded me of western movies, and maybe I ‘ve seen the movie based on this book but if I did, it was a very long time ago.
I would like to see the film (again) eventually.
It’s about good versus evil and mob mentality. It’s about wanting to see what happens, fear of missing out, not sure how to stop it but sure as hell gonna try. It’s about quite a bit and it is very masculine-centric.
“Most men are more afraid of being thought cowards than of anything else, and a lot more afraid of being thought physical cowards than moral ones.”
It’s about uncertainty. It’s about power. It’s full of dread.
“you can feel awful guilty about nothing when the men you’re with don’t trust you.”
It is right and wrong, black and white and yet exposes all the ambiguity.
“…getting angry enough not to be scared when you knew you were wrong.”
I gave this four slices of pie.
No pie mentions noted.
Classics Club 50

“…she did a lot of intelligent feeling.”


Copyright © 2007-2019. 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 Woodlanders, A Clockwork Orange, and A Handful of Dust

Mini Reviews

Challenge:  Classic Club 50 and Back to the Classics



This grouping of Brit classics comes to you as part of my effort to post on books that fit the challenge requirements for the 2019 Back to the Classics Challenge.

Audiobook, narrated by Samuel West, orig 1887, 14 hr 16 min

I read The Woodlanders and loved it. Gave it 5 slices of pie. And since it is British, of course it has pie. (I really need to make some meat pies to celebrate Brit pies!!!!)

So FIVE slices of Apple Pie for this lovely twisty crazy tale of infidelity and nutty triangles of DRAMA.  Published in 1887 — I swear, Hardy in now times would be a reality show writer but be sad about it.

Here’s what I wrote on gr:

I loved the language, I agree with others that Hardy delivers suspense and certainly drama, and he is a master at language. Oh, I said that already. He is becoming a favorite and I wouldn’t have guessed I would have said that since Tess about killed me. I adored Far from the Madding Crowd and that is still my favorite, but I delighted in this crazy tale of love gone wrong and twisty. (not THAT kind of ‘twisty’! get minds out of the gutter. No sordid descriptions of the dirty deeds in this tale, puhlease.) But this did have turns and unexpected conflicts and resolutions and just a ton of bad decision-making, as humans are wont to do. Such vexation!
I’m really not sure as to the ending, what really happened there. Was it a happy ending? If I hadn’t realized that the end was near, I might have been disappointed; but I knew the audiobook had only minutes to go and then = it stopped. Actually, I admire the framing that Tom did there with Marty at the beginning and at the end. Well done, Mr. Hardy! Huzzah

(the rating also reflects the comparison impact of the book I started immediately after which is Naked Lunch. These two stories couldn’t be more different…)

And for a pie quote:

Winterborne was standing before the brick oven in his shirt-sleeves, tossing in thorn sprays, and stirring about the blazing mass with a long-handled, three-pronged Beelzebub kind of fork, the heat shining out upon his streaming face and making his eyes like furnaces, the thorns crackling and sputtering; while Creedle, having ranged the pastry dishes in a row on the table till the oven should be ready, was pressing out the crust of a final apple-pie with a rolling-pin.

Back to Classics Category Fulfilled:  Classic Tragic Novel.  For an almost romance; no one has their HEA.


A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, orig 1962, 240 pages

Back to Classics Category Fulfilled:  uh…. none?

Whatever, let’s tell you what pies it had anyway.

It was like some frozen pie that she ‘d unfroze and then warmed up and it looked not so very appetitish.

“Still, I drank and ate growling, being more hungry than I thought at first, and I got fruit-pie from the larder and tore chunks off it to stuff into my greedy rot.”

This took some getting into; the language guide is a MUST!  Then, once realizing that the author created an entire new language, it became fun. While also being demoralizing, frightening, scary, and sad. I like it much more now when I don’t remember all that much.


Audiobook, narrated by Andrew Sachs, orig 1934, 6 hrs 43 min

I like the book cover of the edition because it does suggest the comedy. This is SATIRE people and it’s brutal. The divorce machinations are unwieldy and just off the top but what happens to poor Tony… yikes.

Satisfies the Classic Comic Novel category. √

And because it was audio, I failed to do my due diligence and record the pie quotes. It’s British. It had meat pie.

Rating 3 to 4 slices of pie.





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Now in November

Thoughts   by Josephine Johnson, Simon and Schuster 1934, 231 pages

Challenge:  Classic Club
Back to the Classics Challenge PLACES I HAVE LIVED (Missouri)

BTCC Berlin Booksclassicsclub1

**AND** What’s in a Name 
Challenge 2019Month/Day Category
Genre: Depression Era, Pulitzer Winners
Type/Source: Library
 Why I read this now:  I was trying to find something for this WiaN category – come to end up reading 3 books to satisfy. #whatever #shrug

MOTIVATION for READING: I saw this on my tbr and it fit the category and the library had a copy – possibly a first edition copy? (I was having a hard time finding a copy of One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes which IS in my cc50. This just happens to be a classic; NOT on my cc50…)

Page 144: “When everything was finally dead, I thought that relief from hope would come, but hope’s an obsession that never dies.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A family trying to eke a living out of the ground in the midst of the depression. Older sister is a fish out of water, the youngest sister and mother are inspirations, Dad is wearily lost and angry about it all and our narrator just aches with  feelings and thoughts that only confound.

What gr says: “Brilliant, evocative, poetic, savage, this Pulitzer Prize-winning first novel (1934) written when Josephine Winslow Johnson was only 24, depicts a white, middle-class urban family that is turned into dirt-poor farmers by the Depression and the great drought of the thirties. The novel moves through a single year and, at the same time, a decade of years, from the spring arrival of the family at their mortgaged farm to the winter 10 years later, when the ravages of drought, fire, and personal anguish have led to the deaths of two of the five. Like Ethan Frome, the relatively brief, intense story evokes the torment possible among people isolated and driven by strong feelings of love and hate that, unexpressed, lead inevitably to doom. Reviewers in the thirties praised the novel, calling its prose “profoundly moving music,” expressing incredulity “that this mature style and this mature point of view are those of a young women in her twenties,” comparing the book to “the luminous work of Willa Cather,” and, with prescience, suggesting that it “has that rare quality of timelessness which is the mark of first-rate fiction.””

THOUGHTS:  I would NEVER have compared this to Ethan Frome, but yea. I guess I could go there. (I shudder.)

Such pain. Such loss. I worry about our world now and how much we use and discard, in our disposable society. If I had to live simply and off the land, giving every extra penny to my mortgage, thinking of it as a terrifying weight that could drag me to my death with any next scratch of a pen; … Anyway, it is a sobering look at how people managed, or didn’t, in that awful time.

The descriptions of nature offer some glimmer of love and sunshine. But even the sun gets cursed in this one.

Brilliant, evocative, poetic, savage.

Four slices of pie.

Page 28: “He cut us big slices, firm and wedge-shaped like the tall pieces of a pie, and a bigger one for mother, and then we thought it was time for the presents to be given.”

Page 115: “He did it because he liked pies, he said, and was fearful that M would fall asleep and put away God knows what in the jars.”


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