Category Archives: Classics Club

A View of the Harbour

Thoughts by Elizabeth Taylor, Virago Modern Classics 2006 (orig 1947), 304 pages

Introduction by Sarah Waters

Challenge: Buddy Read with Laila of Big Reading Life; Set At or By the Sea Category of #ReadICT

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction; quiet small British seaside village post-WW2

Type/Source: Tradeback / Purchased at Watermarks Indie bookstore

What It’s About: This story focuses on the inter-relationships of the neighbors living directly on the harbour; from the doctor’s family, the pub workers, the widowed proprietor of a tourist wax museum, the librarian, the vicar, etc. The pivot view to all begins with Bertram, a painter who has moved to the area for the season: to catch the right light off the sea, to capture the perfect seascape, to be “an artist”. He fancies himself a man-of-the-people as he rudely? comically? insinuates himself into the neighborhood. A lot of life happens in this book.

“Always intelligent, often subversive, and never dull, Elizabeth Taylor is the thinking person’s dangerous housewife. Her sophisticated prose combines elegance, ice wit and freshness in a stimulating cocktail – the perfect toast to the quiet horror of domestic life.”

Valerie martin

Thoughts: I love this author. True, her stories do not have a lot of action exactly, but they have drama! and depth and comedy, beautiful sentences and interesting glimpses into every character – the good and the bad, the endearing, the appalling. Ah, not really! not that much appalling exactly. Well, maybe. (One more reason I love classics – humans have always been dastardly and behaved badly, amiright?)

“I know who to,” Beth said, shocked to find herself ending with a preposition. But she was much thrown out by the surprise of it all.”

Rating: Four slices of pie. LOTS of whipped cream. Shepherd’s Pie mentioned

“Forking up shepherd’s pie with an expression of contempt.”

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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 March 2022 in Review with Note on #TOB2022

 Monthly Recap Time!

  • 10 books; 32 for the year
  • 2759 pages, ~31.5 hours | 8 597 total pages, 92.5 hours for the year so far
    • By Type:
      Hardcover – 0
      Tradeback 3
      eBooks 3
      Audiobooks 4
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My favorite was … Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore, followed by the delightful Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley, a classic novella from 1917.

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Locations and travels:

  • Odessa TX in the 70s (Valentine)
  • San Francisco, also in the 70s (We Run the Tides, for #readICT)
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks links to WRtT because both were set in exclusive high schools, this one in Massachusetts (#readICT)
  • Parnassus on Wheels traveled New England in the early 1900s
  • London both now and 1700s in The Lost Apothecary (book club)
  • Puerto Rico and Brooklyn NY in Olga Dies Dreaming
  • The Stand-In took me to Toronto
  • Wintering took place in England (WiaN)
  • The Alchemy of Us covered history across many maps

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UPDATE on #TOB2022

  • My least favorite Klara and the Sun took the Rooster in March’s Tournament of Books
  • I can confidently state the The Trees captured the hearts for favorite of the Commentariat so that is the book I’m most recommending as “THE BEST”; my personal favorite is The Sentence
  • I read ALL THE BOOKS! and you can see my rankings in my February recap.
  • 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.
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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:

piroshkis are meat pie

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.

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What was YOUR favorite book of March?

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

Giovanni’s Room

Thoughts by James Baldwin, Vintage Books/div of Random House 2013 (orig) 1956, 169 pages

Challenge: Classics Club 50, part 2 & #BookSpin for January

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction / Americans in Paris

Type/Source: Tradeback / Purchased Indiebookstore

What It’s About: Wow.

Since I have no idea how to approach a review, I’m going to provide the Jhumpa Lahiri quote on the back of the book:

A novel of unique emotional intensity and exceptional beauty, hypnotic intimate, harrowing. A portrait of a man torn between a woman and another man, groundbreaking for its time, it remains a transcendent novel.”

Thoughts: Gorgeously written. So many layers.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

In Review October 2021

 Monthly Recap Time!

Total of 13…

Count from the library =  SIX, one book was for my monthly Audible credit and finished with Libby; five purchased, and another library for both eBook and Hardcover

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My favorite read of the month is The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor. [Link to Review]

These books took me on visits to Colorado, NYC and outer space. I saw the US and some views into Canada. I was in UK-fantasy land. USA again and a half century away in rural England. OPKS was where I lived in the first book (and I’ve lived there in my history, so YAY KANSAS) and ended up in Sweden for the last book of the month.

Five nonfiction – if I count the poetry?) One of the books I read this month is “loosely-based memoir” fiction: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeannette Winterson. SO GLAD to have enjoyed this which had been on my tbr for a long time.

Two featured LGBTQ+, three by POC, one in translation, four classics. Seven female-identifying authors (I might be guessing/assuming) to six by male-presenting.

and…… The Tournament of Favorites was fabulous! The winner is Tsar of Love and Techno over Version Control in the finals. Great fun, much fun, warms the heart and stimulates the brain. I love the tournaments as much as I love pie. Bring on the Long List! Any day now… I haven’t read too many on on the possibly contenders list. Books pub’d this year include: Fugitive Telemetry SF, Meet Cute Diary TransRomance?, Yoga Pants Nation MomLit, (oh yea, I read all the Summer Camp books, too!)

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Pie! NINE books out of 13 mention pie.

I made Cranberry Pear Pie, Pumpkin, and some Dutch Apple crumb pies.

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What was YOUR favorite book of October?

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

Invisible Man

Thoughts by Ralph Ellison, Random House Audio 2010 (orig 1952, 624 pages), 18 hours 36 min

Narration by Joe Morton. Five slices of pie on performance.

Challenge: Classics Club second list of 50, Litsy #BookSpinBINGO!

Genre/Theme: US Black Experience/History

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible and eBook / Kindle via Libby

What It’s About: OK, this is a complicated plot, if ever there was one. In fact, I wondered, though I’m hardly experienced to even suggest such a thing, if this is an Odyssey-like parallel. (I have NOT read the Odyssey and barely know any mythology). May I say that this is a SERIES of ADVENTURES? (maybeperhaps, Gulliver’s Travels? I haven’t read that, neither. Maybe it is its OWN dang odyssey/travels?!) Anyway. Our narrator begins with an explanation and example of how he is ‘invisible’. Then, he goes back to the beginning, but really it starts with his grandfather, then his yearning to be an educated and worthy person, and wowza,…. ALL the stuff along the way that influences or subverts this dream.

In trying to be “good” to the white man, Mr. Norton, who is a benefactor at his college, and importantly tasked with being his driver while in town (but obviously naive), he takes Norton to the dark sides of town. This gets our college-boy expelled and he still, in trying to do “right”, … yea, NO…; the forces are against him. And this jumps over the “HOW” he got to college story! THAT was not a comfortable experience and once, in NY –> just more NOT-comfortable experiences over and over again.

“But that’s a hundred-dollar bill. I take that an’ try to change it and the white folks’ll want to know my whole life’s history.” She snorted. “They want to know where I was born, where I work, and where I been for the last six months, and when I tell ’em they still gonna think I stole it.

This is a powerful work of literary art.

Rating: Four slices of sweet potato pie. Should I be giving it 5 out of respect and uniqueness/”same-as-it-ever-was” and importance? But golly, is it long. (BOOO! suck it up, buttercup!)

“…hot sweet potato pies… HOT FRIED PIES, I thought sadly, moving away. I would probably have indigestion if at one…”

Some lady in NC successfully got this book banned in a 2013 NC school district because it lacked innocence and was not appropriate for her 11th grade child. ELEVENTH GRADE!? Read article –>here<<–

On the other hand, a commenter to the YouTube Thug Notes for this novel, suggests that this text is perfect for writing AP lit essays and I find this an interesting factoid. Why, I wonder? Hmmmmm. I do appreciate Professor Sparky Sweets.

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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 Soul of Kindness

Thoughts by Elizabeth Taylor, Hachette Digital 2010 (orig 1964), 223 pages

Challenge: Classics Club second list of 50

Genre/Theme: Six Degrees of Separation?

Type/Source: eBook / Kindle sale

What It’s About: This is about connections and people who influence by those connections though some never meet. It’s about how ‘nice’ isn’t really nice, after all. There is SO MUCH going on and yet, there is little plot. My jam, for sure.

She always brought Alice from her pram or cradle when Ba and Meg called, behaving, with self-conscious generosity, like a nice child with a special toy to share.

Flora is so nice and she just wants everyone to be happy. She, of course, knows what is the best for everyone and believes the best for everyone and just knows, that if this-then-that, then all would be happy. Yet, she also believes that she is the sun and all should revolve around her in her magnificence happy-attention sunshine. Life doesn’t work that way, however, and some planets orbit a different rotational path.

…the book by Henry Miller Patrick Barlow had lent her, which she was reading with such mild surprise. (‘What does this word mean, Richard?’ ‘Truly? Well I suppose it had to be called something.’ How had she lived so long without knowing? he wondered.)

Wow. I must read everything now.

Rating: Five slices of gooseberry pie.  LOTS of pie mentions!

Today would be the longest time she had ever spent with him, and her happiness brimmed over. It was bliss to have this lying ahead of her – the train journey, his company all the time, the Vivaldi records perhaps, and Mrs Clarke’s cold game pie.

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

Classics Club Spin Oct 2021 #ccspin #MyCCSPINList

Time for another Spin! #28 – Number reveal 10.17, read by 12/12/2021

**** UPDATED on 10/17 8:30 am to share the SPIN NUMBER is 12

Click the image above to go to the announcement post.


Will update later today with the selected spin number which will identify the book I need to read…

My Spin List:

1 Villette
2 Gilgamesh
3 Confederacy of Dunces – JKToole
4 the Counterfeiters
5 Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City
6 A Few Green Leaves – B. Pym
7 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – PK Dick
8 Under the Greenwood Tree – Hardy
9 The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
10 At the Mountains of Madness – Lovecraft
11 Pale Fire – Nabokov
12 Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin  <—- SPIN SELECTION!
13 Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates
14  The Good Soldier – Ford M Ford
15 Death Comes for the Archbishop – W.Cather
16 Rabbit, Run – Updike
17 All Passion Spent – Vita Sackville West
18  The Soul of Kindness – Elizabeth Taylor
19 The King Must Die – Mary Renault
20 The Way We Live Now – Trollope

Here’s hoping 18 hits – it’s on Kindle sale so I bought it.  GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

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Copyright © 2007-2021. 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.

If Beale Street Could Talk

Thoughts by James Baldwin, Vintage 2006 (orig 1974), 197 pages

Challenge: 20 Books of Summer, Book to Movie

Genre/Theme: Civil Rights, Love Story

Type/Source: Tradeback, Indie Bookstore purchase

What It’s About: I’m rusty. I was on SUCH a good roll of writing/posting/sharing my book thoughts and now, I can’t think of thing to say.

This is the story of first love and family love. And heartache. Both for the young couple and because of the tragedies they are swept up in, for whatever family is and should be. The way Tish’s family supported her and Fonny, contrasted with how Fonny’s family (exception, his father) was not able to do the same. Sad and unfair. Nothing was fair.

“The only way anything gets done is when you make up your mind to do it.“

Thoughts: I was gutted at the end. I’m not sure I can recall a book that quite did what this one did AFTER the last page was read. I closed the book and sat and just welled up, welled over. And felt almost a physical sensation, shock-like.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

Sweetie pie.

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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 © 2007-2022. 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.