Lincoln in the Bardo

Thoughts  by George Saunders, Random House Audio 2017, 7 hrs 25 mins

Audiobook  narration by a long list of people!

MOTIVATION for READING:  LISTENING:  I couldn’t resist the high praise and curiosity of so many narrators.

Let’s start this nutty review with my suggestions. IF you think you want to do the audio – and I DO suggest you listen to this if you love audiobooks – I must insist on two things,

  1. Read the list of which person reads which character, and
  2. Know what Op. Cit. means. You’ll hear it and if you are like me, you’ll hear the word ‘UPSET’ rather and you’ll be distracted.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Oh, one more thing… KNOW THIS!!! I do think one should KNOW a bit about this book and its format before one embarks. I don’t think going blind or just knowing that it is about Lincoln and his dealing with Willie’s death is enough. I think you might best understand the use of the historical quotes and what/how Mr. Saunders lays out in the telling. Thus, we return to the “Op.Cit.”

I was so wrong to go in blind to this. I think I had read the synopsis way back long time ago and so I was helluva confused at the beginning. I was easily distracted,

so…
If you think attempting to identify which celebrity is speaking which part will be a distraction, I can solve that for you – read on.

I’m sure if I had read this first I would have waded in with more success; do read this from iTunes:

Description

The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

The 166-person full cast features award-winning actors and musicians, as well as a number of Saunders’ family, friends, and members of his publishing team, including, in order of their appearance: Nick Offerman as HANS VOLLMAN David Sedaris as ROGER BEVINS III Carrie Brownstein as ISABELLE PERKINS George Saunders as THE REVEREND EVERLY THOMAS Miranda July as MRS. ELIZABETH CRAWFORD Lena Dunham as ELISE TRAYNOR Ben Stiller as JACK MANDERS Julianne Moore as JANE ELLIS Susan Sarandon as MRS. ABIGAIL BLASS Bradley Whitford as LT. CECIL STONE Bill Hader as EDDIE BARON Megan Mullally as BETSY BARON Rainn Wilson as PERCIVAL “DASH” COLLIER Jeff Tweedy as CAPTAIN WILLIAM PRINCE Kat Dennings as MISS TAMARA DOOLITTLE Jeffrey Tambor as PROFESSOR EDMUND BLOOMER Mike O’Brien as LAWRENCE T. DECROIX Keegan-Michael Key as ELSON FARWELL Don Cheadle as THOMAS HAVENS and Patrick Wilson as STANLEY “PERFESSER” LIPPERT with Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN, Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND, and Cassandra Campbell as Your Narrator.

The only voice I recognized was Offerman’s in the beginning — I thought he was Abraham Lincoln (nope, just reading his thoughts) but I eventually was able to connect voice to character and get lost into the story. I had Sedaris’ voice as some other actor I cannot name off the top of my head but I eventually connected voice with Bevans. I picked out Susan Sarandon’s voice right away but the rest – couldn’t identify. (I was never any good at picking the callers on Frasier, either). I am SO glad I found this list! (when I was about 3/4 done). I hope it helps you if you think you might need it.

Or read any of the many wonderful reviews and explanations that I’m finding NOW after I attempted the thing…  Audible has a good review or two, Goodreads has some, too.

WHAT’s GOOD:  A lot to admire here. The phrasing, the wording! Poetic, emphatic, bursting with imagery. I guess the best I can say is that this is a work is art. Writing is truly a creative artistic endeavor and Lincoln in the Bardo is one of the best examples of the art of literature that I’ve enjoyed of late. It’s funny at times, shocking at times, so very very sad sometimes. It has rhythm like music and inspires emotion like a beautiful painting.

But was it really that good? Am I adding to a hype that is starting to saturate the lit-osphere? I don’t know. I really wonder about whether I was ‘getting it’ about 1/3 in but by the end of it, I was mesmerized.

I am considering a re-listen and maybe I will buy the print. I suggest you take a long car trip and enjoy. My 10 minute commute to work twice a day didn’t cut it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think it might be a masterpiece. If you read the print and loved it, I think you might next want to hear it. It’s lyrical, it’s creative. It’s affecting.

RATING: Five slices of 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.

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.

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist

Thoughts yhismtsoafbysy by Sunil Yapa, Little,Brown 2016, 320 pages

Challenge:  Personal Rooster Chase
Genre:  Contemporary Lit
Type/Source:  Hardback/Indie Bookstore purchase
 Why I read this now:  Finally! I have owned this book since January? Now was finally its time.

MOTIVATION for READING:  My attempt to read books published in 2016 that might end up on the short list for the 2017 Rooster.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  The riots protesting the 1999 WTO conference in Seattle.

THREE words:  Intense, intense, intense

Style: Yapa gives seven viewpoints to tell this happens-in-one-day story. It is a woven collection of passion and backgrounds, motivations and futility. It is very descriptive at times, almost to the point of trying too hard but it all works. The characters are fascinating, some more likable than others, some more believable maybe, but still captivating. As someone who is mainstream go-along-to-get-along in my safe suburban America, I get skewered here but I wanted to understand. Why didn’t the delegates just meet at the hotel?  

FINAL THOUGHTS: The world is a hot mess. And I don’t know my proper place within it.

RATING:  Five slices of pie.

“Because how deep the darkness of the heart which longs for control.”

The following is a bit of cinematic history, questioning why movies fail, how a few might actually be masterpieces, and yet it could also be that Americans just can’t handle the truth. Watching this reminded me of Yapa’s book and its themes so I present it here for you to reflect on as well.

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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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Go Tell It on the Mountain

Thoughts gtiotmbyjb by James Baldwin, Blackstone Audio 2013 (orig 1953), 8 hours 45 minutes

Narrated by Adam Lazarre-White.

BackToTheClassics2016

Challenge: Back to the Classics
Genre: American classic, coming of age
Type/Source: Audio/Audible
 Why I read this now: This was the only audiobook I had on my phone at the moment I was ready to listen to a new one.

MOTIVATION for READING: I am curious. Baldwin is mentioned as an important writer and I had yet to read any of his work.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Not at all what I expected. I thought it was a going to be an essay on race relations in America. It’s fiction! I did not know it was fiction. I did not know it was semi-autobiographical. I was not prepared at all for this.

It is a story of a family and an individual family member grappling with his destiny against family history and expectations and cultural storms. It captures a certain place and time but the theme is universal.

WHAT’s GOOD: The writing blew me away. Here’s the blurb from goodreads; bold red font emphasis is mine:

Go Tell It on the Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a semi-autobiographical novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Powerful.

RATING: Four slices of pie. The narration is excellent.

“after dinner, they brought up the pie and coffee and cream…”

pierating

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.

Recap Day

Day-in-the-Life-Event

I chose to photo-capture my Tuesday through Wednesday (24 hours) of this week.

It was noon when TriniCapini reminded us to do this, so I immediately shot this: IMG_1352 I was multi-tasking at that moment:  Bookmooch searching for Classics (getting Winesburg OH and Cry the Beloved Country), writing letters, tracking my to dos.

I was still doing that an hour later, but then remembered that I had goodies still in the car:  IMG_1353 a quilt for our bed IMG_1357 which I then spent time finding and putting pillows in the shams and then filled some trays to help organize my makeup drawers, and…

IMG_1359 then I wrote a few more letters. Somewhere in that hour, I also folded laundry, took a flower from a bigger vase to this vase (bought at At Home IMG_1358 – the flower was from a modeling gig I had last week…), retrieved a package from the front stoop delivered by UPS, and made more coffee.

I checked on the bank accounts, wrote an email back to my cousin, updated my doggie-daycare-tracking-book: IMG_1364 because BowWowDogCamp  sent me an email reminder, added and crossed off more things from the to do list, and started this post.

And now it’s after 3pm. I’m avoiding the one true MUST do of the day. Might as well get to it.

But NOOOooooooo! By 3:30, I had double-checked Trini’s post to steal the button and link it up and then saw Jilllora’s comment which reminded me that I needed to double-check her blog and then found her #gangstercats post which made me open Twitter to see if anyone had #gangstercat-hashtagged lately and now I’m updating her. No photo.

Then I checked in on The Morning News Tournament of Books and sent an email to our book club book suggestion solicitor of a bunch of books from my tbr.

4pm – at the PC looking over my application for NC Educator Licensure.

5pm – looking at job sites. Finding something very interesting, double check resume, start prepping cover letter.

5:30 – leave to pick up the dogs: IMG_1367 IMG_1368

Then get gas IMG_1370, then feed the dogs IMG_1372, then put on a fun front license plate IMG_1373.

Then add to this post.

NOW, it is 6:30 pm and I’m about to get back to the job application. (but first, let’s check Facebook (nothing), Twitter (nothing), goodreads (nothing), my blog (nothing), Instagram (nothing since I looked while pumping gas, etc…), email (crap! tax paperwork complete: we owe Feds, Mass AND North Carolina.)

Guess I should get that job app filed so I can pay my taxes, so I begin the cover letter.

7:15 pm – Prep dinner (I’ll start and husband will complete), eat dinner, watch TV, chat about stuff.

9 pm – I am gathering materials for our craft group day: IMG_1378 paper, markers, quote books, etc.

10 pm – Taking the pups out before bedtime: IMG_1377

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(sleep… ZZZzzzzzzzzzz)

.

5:45 am – Up to let out the dogs and prepare their breakfast, go back to bed – the dogs take their first nap of the day and I check all the Social Medias and watch the news/weather channel/Mike&Mike in the Morning.

7 am – Make a smoothie for breakfast: IMG_1387 and prep a few packages to mail (the official paperwork to be licensed in NC to teach is now ON its way.)

8 am – Leave for the post office, the bank, the chiro, and the craft group IMG_1390: IMG_1391 We made encouragement cards for the Girls Love Mail organization.

 

For more DAY IN THE LIFEs, Check out Trish’s blog for more.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

January 2015 Recap

My agenda for today’s meeting post is as follows:

Sister Carrie
Book Club/s
Pies
Shakespeare
Gardens
Whatever Else I Think Of That Doesn’t Fit in Any Previously Mentioned Category

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Hello! Hello! Happy SnowStorm up in my ol’ prior place of living!! (They got a storm if you didn’t hear) and I was not sad to miss it. I enjoyed all the Facebook posts and pics, I really did. We had sunshine and almost warm?  It was 45 degrees so it was fine with me.

I finished Sister Carrie last week and I really enjoyed it. I can tell that Mr. Dreiser was an original thinker – at least compared to my grandparents, maybe? He was bold and he was moralistic but he was also a free-thinker about lots of stuff and I really enjoyed how the story played.

The “Oh Carrie! Oh Carrie!!” at the very end was TERRIFIC!! Am thinking some of that paragraph would make a good epitaph on my pink marble headstone some 40+ years hence. I loved that piece so much that I found the free audiobook online and zoomed forward just to hear the last few paragraphs of the book. This is MY kind of classic:  historical, dramatic, bold. I was surprised. I think I say that a LOT. Why do we think this classics are going to be boring or dry?!?!  Oh We Silly TwentyFirstCenturions….

More on this — I hope!  If somebody wants to volunteer a post for a Sister Carrie #CarrieAlong Readalong Summation — even if in February!!, let me know and we will gather there and share, converse, chat, kibbitz, etc. Or we can set a date and tweet and/or do a watchalong of the movie. It’s on Amazon Prime, fyi…

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I joined a book club. My local library has a book club and I crashed it for January. They were most surprised!  Don’tcha love it?  Of course, they were!!  When I stopped by in December, the librarians thrust Invisible: in my hand and I read it and I really didn’t like it much. But — of course!! — I went to the library chat! That’s how I roll. I was the youngest person there but I am embarrassed* to say that I wasn’t the youngest by much. I’m getting old and I do NOT like it. I just might be the kind of person who boycotts my own surprise birthday party that I plan just in case no one thinks to surprise me with one. Actually one reason why I moved is because I both require and dread a surprise 50th birthday party in equal measure. I am SUCH a Gemini. (insert dramatic sigh here).

This book club had a moderator!  We actually talked about the book!!  Crazy.  Good times. I loved it. We are going to read The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd for next time. The library provides the books! Again, shock and awe. AWESOME. Funny story: the library tried to give the group The Good Earth ** by Pearl S Buck but they insisted that the library had the list wrong or misunderstood. They are certain that the next book was to be The Good _(something I forget)_ by one of those ‘popler’*** authors that I can’t ever remember…

So far, Invention of Wings is really good!!!!  I’m 20% in or so. Also , must say, I really like all the improvements that goodreads.com rolls out. They are working for me.

MORE.  I have two more book clubs I am going to “sample” to see if I like the ladies  – OH! that sounds horrible!  if I ‘click’ with the clubbers?!  can I say that??!!?!   I have to read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry before Feb 5 – yikes!  And also, The Husband’s Secret before Feb 20. THAT I can do because it will be my next audiobook.

yes, yes, I still have to apply for teaching jobs. I’m ON it!!

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Last Friday was PIE DAY. I do hope you all got some pie. I made a coffee pudding with meringue which unfortunately sounds better than it was (but the pudding part was orgasmic – yes I said that.) and I also made a Curry Vegetable Pie which was QUITE GOOD (please say that out loud with a Brit accent) but unfortunately was not photo worthy.

IMG_0883

The next pie day might be March 14… 3.14 National-Pi-Day But I might be missing some important pie days soon…

June 9 is Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day – you all should be aware of this.

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I just finished Shakespeare’s The Winter Tale on audio. I like Shakespeare, I do. I love the flow and rhythm and language of Shakespeare. Remarkable on some many literary levels, it astounds me. I wish I could have cultivated an appreciation for Dear Bill while a teen. But, alas, I did not. (I blame that on the death of my Thespian ambitions in Junior High, oh well.)

First, I know NOTHING about this play. I had to look up what it all meant during listening. I do now want to see a live performance.

I am counting this as my non review and for the Classics Challenge.  I liked it and give it 4 stars. It’s only 3 hours if anyone also needs a good play classic!!!  Actually, it really was well done. Did I mention -oops- Sir John Gielgud.   yes~?~

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I went to a Garden Information Night Event at the library. It was a North Carolina Extension presentation. They told me what plants I can plant when – very exciting! I’m excited!  I want to grow beets and garlic and tomatoes and other yummies.

I’m also obsessed with house plants. I had to give most of mine away in the move because it was too much stress to move them. I deposited many with good friends. Hope they are adjusted and loved. I’m accumulating more and hope I can do well. I don’t have the best of a green thumb but I do love house plants. You are supposed to have a house plant for every 10 square feet of house, you know. Best for clean air.

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I really thought I had more to say. Guess not. Anyone have any questions? Any motions to adjourn?

g’Night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Should be embarrassed to even to attempt bragging about being the youngest – what does this mean?!

** “There’s a life force to this book that a review can’t capture.”  <– I said that in my review. Huh.

*** POPLER = popular. Something adorable my cute second cousin uttered when she was about 9 yo and telling her mother that everyone just seemed to like her….

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Well, hello there…

Hi.

I’m juggling and balancing and whining and trying NOT to whine and running ‘hither and thither’ and watching things fall into place and not getting too crazed when (little) things go awry. (Admit it: Ain’t ‘awry’ an awesome word?!)

I am listening to The Count of Monte Cristo and may even have a tiny crush on him. But still have many hours to go and I screwed up and peeked at Wikipedia and SPOILED everything! But am still very much enjoying it immensely. I don’t know what happened to me with these nutty LONG classics.

I can’t wait to hear if Trish LOVES The Sparrow!  ?

I am collecting books about English Language Learners for a paper I need to write by Oct 10 and I am jumping in 110% to situations where I don’t have a clue but enthusiasm wins, right? And I’m totally positive that I’m being 150% obnoxious about not being shy and bothering people while being sensitive that they are WAY TOO BUSY to have me all ‘Energizer-Bunny’ on their B@$$ when they had no idea they were going to supervise a ‘Student Teacher’ like person. So. “Clinical Experience” is going awesome and also overwhelming. I swing between excited and terrified a few times every day. TEACHING AINT EASY and if I ever hear you dismissing these professionals for having summers off and ‘playing with kids all day’, I will be upset. (I typed something else but since I will soon be interviewing as such a professional, it will go unsaid.)

I’m actually making myself dinner tonight. wow.

It’s only spaghetti. But it’s HOT!  That’s something. I usually roll up some turkey and spinach in a flour tortilla.

I’m still around. I’m trying to read your blogs even if I’m not commenting. I’m thinking about you and hoping you are having a lovely fall. I’ll be around more by Christmas time.

GROUP HUG!

loveCare

The Dinner (eBook & Audio)

[Updated a few hours after posting when I thought of something I meant to add…]

Thoughts tdbyhk The Dinner by Herman Koch, Hogarth · Imprint of Crown Publishing Group Ltd / Random House 2013 (orig 2009), Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett, 304 pages eBook

tdbyhkaudio AudioGo 2013, Narrated by Clive Mantle, 8 Hours 55 Minutes

For the PARTY category of What’s in a Name 6 Challenge.

Three words:  Disturbing, Alarming, Haughty (not sure a book can be haughty but the main character/narrator certainly could be described as ‘blatantly and disdainfully proud’.)

When Marie told me via Twitter that this is a ‘tough read’ and ‘is disturbing’, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. And when I had heard comparisons to Gone Girl, I was most intrigued. I loved Gone Girl!

Well, this one I did NOT love. Yes, it IS disturbing. The narrator of the story (not the narrator of the audio!  The fictional character) is condescending and thoroughly unlikable. He comes across very angry, in a way that you know he admires himself on how well he keeps himself in control.

Yea, well. I didn’t like him.

So it was hard to like the book. I would not say I enjoyed it. In fact, for some parts, I felt physically ill.

None of the characters have much going for them, in my opinion.

(Marie’s review is excellent, by the way. She says it is ‘masterfully written’. In fact, she argues for ONE sympathetic character and I will grant her the explanation as valid.)

As for the audio… Narrator is British and did an excellent job. He certainly was able to sound haughty and condescending. I wasn’t too impressed with one of his female voices but it was near the end of the book when I noticed it. Whispersync only worked about half the time, but it IS cool to bounce back and forth from audio to print and be immediately at the spot where you left off. I went back and forth a LOT. Sometimes, the audio was too slow for the pace of the story, if that makes sense. I kept wanting Mr. Lohman (did we ever get his first name? Serge’s brother, Claire’s husband, Michel’s father) to STOP thinking outloud and tell me what is GOING ON.

This book counts as one that happens on ONE DAY. I’m sort of collecting them.

I wrestled with giving it a two stars but also wavered with 4 stars precisely because I do think a book that provokes me so much has something powerful to credit. So I compromised with three. Three slices of CREAM pie. With blackberries, since a dessert in the story provokes one of the characters to push it away.

“Even if this head were to be pelted with rotten eggs, the smile had to remain intact. Even behind the remains of a cream pie pressed into his face by an angry activist, the smile could never, ever fade from the voters’ view.”  -p.33, 12%

Also, another reason this book hit me a bit hard was due to a post I read (and reposted) on Facebook and linked here from the blog source:  Accidental Devotional’s “The Day I Taught How Not to Rape”. Thank you Jeanne for sharing.

The post talks about how we think teenagers should KNOW about respect. And sex. And what is rape. And all the other things we think nice responsible people should  know. And this book also addresses this exact question of whether or not teenagers are CHILDREN or ADULTS. We want to assume they ‘know better’; how do we handle these tough situations when they do not ‘know better’.

WORDS
p.63 – CHANSONS – song, specifically a music-hall or cabaret song
p.64 – FRÈRE – French for ‘brother’ (figured it out from context but like to make sure)
p.76 – SLIP DE BAIN – French for ‘swim suit’
p.285 – EXCRESCENCES – disfiguring, extraneous or unwanted marks or parts

Question for my Dutch friends – The audio says something that the book wouldn’t clarify but it translated as GAS CAN. It sounded like JELLY can. Explain? Thanks!  ***THANKS Laurie! The answer is JERRYCAN. I am a much more visual learner and really needed to see how the word was spelled so I could accurately hear it. NOW I get it!

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

Instagram and Photos Every Day

I’ve enjoyed seeing everyone’s tweets and photos for the monthly Photo-A-Day prompts and so I asked SuziQ about it. Turns out she posted earlier today how to get involved and what the plan is for August. So I’m in.

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CREDIT:  fat mum slim has the how-to-play here.

This might also be a good writing prompt for my year of letter writing. I wasn’t very diligent in July. Let’s hope August is better.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2012. 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 Uninvited Guests

Thoughts  The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones, HARPER and Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers 2012, 259 pages Hardcover

I liked this story. When I read Jeanne’s review that this book had gobsmacking properties, I had to have it. And when gobsmacking reviews coincide with my ordering books online, the potential is high that such will get ordered. Sure enough, that’s what happened.

gobsmacked |ˈgäbˌsmakt|adjective Brit., informal – utterly astonished; astounded.

I liked it. I was amused. My friend Amused, however, was not. You can read her review here.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  The guests that show up unexpected (and uninvited) to the manse in horrible weather, early twentieth century England were victims of a train wreck. The railways asked our Swift family (if we can call them that?) to put them up for the night until the railway company had the means to fetch and deal. Of course, our Swift family and the guests that WERE invited were not quite sure how to entertain these unwanted wretches. They happened to crash (ha!) and shall I surmise? thus WRECK Miss Emerald’s birthday party. She was celebrating turning twenty.

The Swifts are not wealthy but wanted to make that appearance. Or they HAD been wealthy but lost their fortune and were soon to lose the manor, too.

Let’s see, what else is relevant…

Emerald has two suitors at the party and not quite sure she wanted either or any.

Emerald’s mother has a past.

Emerald’s brother needs to be slapped and told to grow up.

Emerald’s little sister just needs some loving attention.

Yep, this was as an odd little story. Parties, horses, crazy wild-ideas of a child who lacked attention, spoiled insolent sons, mothers who are also spoiled and a bit insolent, and a house full of people that need food and shelter and, shall I suggest, a schedule to use the facilities?

Hijinks ensue.

Dark menacing thunderstorms, parlor games, sinister motivations, much confusion,

and _____ a ghost story even. AND yes, a happy ending! _______.

I really was quite entertained.

RATING:  Four slices of rabbit pie.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2012. 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.