Trifecta: My three new friends Jane + Sarah + Eleanor

Thoughts…

Hello Books and Pie Readers, I appreciate you! Have you missed me? I’ve missed you. I’ve missed writing here and sharing these last few weeks.

We’ve let Coconut Cream Pie Day rush by without a thought (ok, I sent a text and a tweet but not much more) — it was May 8, Tuesday past. 

Thank you for all of you who have stopped by prompted by an email or just a thought or click-back on a comment I may have left on your blog, or tweet, or comment elsewhere/somewhere. How ever you may have found me, please know you are welcome.

Let’s talk about the three books I just read. (or listened to, actually)

If you read my last post, you already know that I loved my experience of listening to Thandie Newton narrating as Jane Eyre. LOVED! Highly most highly recommended.

And then there is the latest book I read:  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

 

 

 

Miss Oliphant tells us that she found comfort in her many readings of Jane Eyre – LINK! and of course, she would! Unwanted as a child, smart as a tack, making her own way in the world and proud to do so. This could be a modern retelling of Jane. Not quite; but similarities and parallels exist. 🔥

I love that Honeyman talks about wanting more of Pilot in Jane Eyre’s story.

“You can’t have too much dog in a book.”
And finally, there’s a real person to talk about and how her story relates to Eleanor: Sarah Hepola and memoir Blackout.
As Discussion Chair of the Tournament of Books Nonfiction Pop-Up for May, Sarah has been keenly insightful and enthusiastic. I have nodded in agreement to most of her thoughts so far. Check it out. I am so glad I read her book to ‘frame’ my appreciation of this month’s conversation on Memoir. I am a fan of this genre and if is seems that I’m rating them all high, let me explain: if I am fascinated, awed, and informed by emotional sharing, I give 5. If the language and eloquence is amazing, I go high. If I’m moved; tears well in my eyes or I shake my head in disbelief – and yet don’t disbelieve that their story is honestly theirs, I rate high.
On the other hand, if I just don’t like the person, don’t like their behaviors, don’t find them to be changed or come across as arrogant, boo hiss. (I suppose I can give some examples of bad memoirs I’ve chucked against the wall. If you want? Nah, let’s only celebrate the good ones today.)
Memoirs this May have been incredible! All have been intriguing and moving. And I always found something to relate to or be amazed by.
Enough of that – how did Blackout relate to Eleanor? Well, Eleanor was a drinker. She poured copious amounts of vodka down her throat to drown her black dreams. Sure, Sarah’s story didn’t quite parallel, but the work to move beyond the consumption of alcohol as a crutch or escape or blind need was extraordinary. Difficult. Life-saving.
Oh, and all three were first person narrative.

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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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Fever Dream

Thoughts  by Samanta Schweblin, Riverhead 2017, 192 pages

Translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell

Challenge: Tournament of Books 2018
Genre: Contemporary Lit?
Type/Source: eBook / Kindle-Amazon
 Why I read this now: It was next on the list with a prominent spot on the bracket chart. 

MOTIVATION for READING: This one has been on my want list for some time now! but I was often deterred by cost per page. Gulp. Please don’t ask how much I’ve spent this TOB.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is an odd fast-paced frantic story of poison.

It’s about … uh,

parents caring for their children, witchcraft, and the fuzzy blurring of dreams and reality? I think. And worms.

No, not really, no worms.

WHAT’s GOOD: The pacing, the atmosphere.

What’s NOT so good: It’s too short! But this likely makes it perfect.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I believe this one the Summer version of TOB which I failed to participate in for whatever reason (the reason was moving from NC to RI; my whole world turned topsy-turvy in a good way). So I missed the wonderful discussion but the few reviews I did read (mostly yesterday!) suggest big themes so if you are curious, read this book and then go find a few reviews.

RATING: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

“Sooner or later something bad is going to happen,” my mother would say. “And when it happens I want to have you close.”

Your mother is not important.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Idaho

Thoughts  by Emily Ruskovich, 2017, _pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books 2018
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: eBook / Library
 Why I read this now: The only ebook available NOW at the library.

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB!

WHAT’s it ABOUT: We have a mountain man (was his name Wes? I’ve already forgotten!) with his second wife who was a music teacher, from England or Scotland – her dad was in Scotland, I do remember that. We have the guy’s first wife who is in prison but before her story we meet the woman that she will be cellmates with and we learn how that all got set up. We find out that the guy is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s. And we get the stories of all sorts of other people:  Wes’ dad’s neighbor? Wes’ kids, and a friend of his eldest daughter’s, a sketch artist, a mountain neighbor.

WHAT’s GOOD: The author can write and she can create a mood, a tension. I wanted to read and not stop! Had to figure it out, what the heck is going on?! 

What’s NOT so good: I didn’t like how it jumped back and forth in time. This doesn’t usually bother me but I didn’t ‘get’ it with this one. I also didn’t get some of the odd perspectives that were thrown in. I had many unresolved questions. Maybe it was me and not the book.

FINAL THOUGHTS: It is a book that catches you and you don’t want to put it down. But it left me frustrated at the end and as time goes on, I like it less and less.  I do think this will be a fun discussion for the Tournament — on that note, I’m very glad to have read this and eager for the conversation.

RATING: Three slices of pie.

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Updated to add links to the TOB:

 

 

 

Thoughts  by Jesmyn Ward, Simon Schuster Audio 2017, 8 hours 22 minutes

Narrated by Kelvin Harrison Jr, Chris Chalk, Rutina Wesley – RECOMMENDED

Challenge: Tournament of Book 2018
Genre: Southern Lit, Magic Realism
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: Hot book in the TOB that I had heard of more than some of the others. 

MOTIVATION for READING:  I hadn’t read a Jesmyn Ward book. Am eager still to read everything she produced/s, past and future.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  I will provide the official blurb from the ‘official’ reader’s guide on the publisher’s website:

In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones, she brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle.

Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied Sing is a majestic work that belongs in the canon of American literature.

WHAT’s GOOD: A lot. The writing, the imagery, the connections. Masterful.

What’s NOT so good: Perhaps it was the audio, but it took me a long time to figure out a few things – that is ME, not the fault of the book. (Driving and listening in winter travel conditions might not be the best medium for enjoying a shocking story.) But upon reading other thoughts and reactions, I have come to appreciate what was happening. This is a book that gets better in your mind the more you think about it.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  This would be a great book for wise discussion and I am certain that it could only increase in appreciation. It is a powerful, masterful piece of literature and possibly could be, will be the kind of book taught in high schools for years to come; a classic already.

RATING: Four FIVE slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Merry Christmas 2017

IMG_0796Merry Christmas!

Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas,
Come this way!

Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas,
Christmas Day.

Welcome, Welcome
Fah who rah-moose
Welcome, Welcome
Dah who dah-moose
Christmas day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp

Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas
Bring your cheer

Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome all Who’s
Far and near

Welcome Christmas, fah who rah-moose
Welcome Christmas, dah who dah-moose
Christmas day will always be
Just so long as we have we

Fah who for-aze
Dah who dor-aze
Welcome Christmas
Bring your light
(Bridge (about 65 sec))

Welcome Christmas
Fah who rah-moose!
Welcome Christmas
Dah who dah-moose!

Welcome Christmas
While we stand
Heart to heart
And hand in hand

Fah who for-aze
Dah who dor-aze
Welcome welcome
Christmas
Christmas
Day

What’s in a Name is my Favorite (Challenge)

I completed a reading challenge. I’m quite happy about this. 

I was quite happy… until I realized I didn’t read any – none, nada, not a ONE, of the classics on my Classics 50 Challenge in the entire 12 months of 2017.

What?  HUH?!

Oh well. I don’t know why this really saddens me. But it does. It makes me sad. Not one?  REALLY?

Well. I already know I’m failing miserably at the Tournament of Books Long List. We know my book review posting has been pathetic since May. Yep, Ok. WE KNOW.

I know – or think I just MUST have – read one or two books this year that were published over 50 years (ok, maybe 25  years ago – let’s try that?) But I’m afraid to look.

SO, let’s be happy with KINDNESS. Let’s be happy with making a tremendous effort to not get bogged down by ‘the news’ – fake or otherwise (see? I’m already losing it) and let’s think positive fighting RIGHT humanity-minded equality-grounded love-centered thoughts and be kind to every person, every puppy. Cats, too. Why not.

And PIE. Let’s promote PIE because the World can use a PEACE. pieratingsml

Here are the books I read for the 2017 What’s in a Name Challenge:

Title with number (not spelled out): 

Building: 

Title with an X: 

Compass Direction: 

Cutlery: 

Alliteration: 

I love this time of year in blog world. Stats! Pie charts! Picking THE book to be the First of the Year! Going through my books to find ones that fit the next What’s in a Name Challenge!  Cheers

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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.

 

Special Somethings Dec 10

Jenny of Reading the End has a new Sunday meme. The idea is to share good things.

Touched by:  How many participated in yesterday’s post asking for favorite Christmas movies! I have watched Rudolph, Elf (a few times, bits and pieces here and there), Love Actually. I would like to watch Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life, too.

Happy about: I think Oscar is on the mend. He’s been playing more. We have him on the rice diet and will re-introduce him soon back to his food and see if all returns to ‘normal’.

Self-cared for: I’m going to get out my yoga mat as soon as I post this. Then I’m going to re-read this week’s pie recipe. I have pie construction scheduled for Tuesday! A coworker’s birthday…

Proud of: I finished another book! I’m proud that I managed to read as many books this year despite the ‘diversion’ of a job. I think I can manage at least two more by New Years. Should be more but I really haven’t had the reading mojo lately.

I also made a terrific batch of Four Cheese Scalloped Potatoes this afternoon. Mmmmmmm.

Looking forward to: Getting my Rhode Island driver’s license. I will be sure to bring a book with me and enjoy the wait. It took my husband many hours when he did this chore. Ah the joys of moving…

 

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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.

Something for the First Sunday in December 2017

Jenny of Reading the End has a new blog idea for Sundays. The idea is to share good things.

Touched by: The color blue. I just read Percival Everett’s So Much Blue and gave it 5 stars and question why I rated it so high. Oh, I do know what and why I did, but am not confident I can debate it as ‘reasonable’. Whatever. AND THEN! I was reading an article in The Guardian of authors who share their best reads of 2017; one of the authors cited Bluets – a book of poetry I almost purchased! but didn’t. Why did I not? oh well, I didn’t and now I want it more.

Happy about: That I made it home for Thanksgiving and saw so many loved ones and happy that I made it back home to where home is NOW.

Inspired by: Anyone who can be calm and rational and hopeful.

Proud of: Myself that I didn’t say things to loved ones that I would be sad and shamed to have said and equally sad that I didn’t have the courage to say things I might have should have said. Sigh.

People are so damn complicated.

Enjoyed: Husband cooked so many amazing meals tonight and day before yesterday and for Thanksgiving! such yummy food. MMmmmmm

Charmed by: Chip and Joanna Gaines. I won their book  at a holiday party today. Love their show.

Giggling over: Esther talking in her sleep. I really missed my pups while we were away.

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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 Hate U Give

Thoughts  by Angie Thomas, Balzer + Bray 2017,  464 pages + 11 hours 40 minutes

Narrated by Bahni Turpin – excellent.

Genre: YA
Type/Source: eBook and Audio / Amazon
 Why I read this now: It’s a hot book right now!

MOTIVATION for READING:  This story is getting lots of praise and I wanted to get in on that.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Starr is a sixteen year old black girl who lives in a depressed area of a big city and attends a prep school in a predominantly white area. One night after a party, Starr is given a ride home by young black male friend and he is pulled over by the cops. He is shot and killed; Starr has to navigate this event up close and personal. Her cultures clash, her identity is fractured; she is scared and angry.

WHAT’s GOOD:  Thomas decided to give the world this gift of fiction, a story, in response to and an exploration of the Black Lives Matter movement. It isn’t a story specifically addressing the movement, rather a situation that stresses the realities and the complications that many blacks face in our country. Where to live, where to go to school, how to navigate threats to body and soul?

“We have a sustained problem in America,” Thomas said. “When officers take off that uniform they’re no longer a ‘blue life’ – I can’t take my black skin off. I wanted this book to explain why we say those three words.”

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I thought it extremely well done on so many levels – a gripping read, a sympathetic character, believable and complicated supporting cast members, a forceful not-unreasonable emotional tone, great pacing. It offers humor, some punches to the gut, a candid look at humanity.

“Pac said Thug Life stood for “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. T-H-U-G-L-I-F-E. Meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. Get it?” – Angie Thomas

– Link to article explaining the Tupac quote that gives this book its title.

RATING:  Four slices of pizza pie with lots of extra crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese.

 

 

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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.

High Dive

 

Thoughts hdbyjl by Jonathan Lee, Knopf 2016, 321 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books (16 of 18)
Genre: Historical Lit?
Type/Source: Hard Cover/Library
 Why I read this now: next in line (actually shorter of the two I was able to get from the library)

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB… starts March 8… Here’s the link to watch… (aw COOL. They have a countdown clock working. At the moment of my typing this sentence, we have 8 days yet to go.)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: High Dive is about the 1984 bomb that damaged the Grand Hotel, killing 5 and injuring 31. It is a fictional account of Dan who works (volunteers?) for the IRA as an ‘electrician’. He lives with his mother in Belfast Ireland and has two dogs. He has a torturous(-to-read-about) initiation “interview”. He prefers to work on the bomb creation side of the violence. The title High Dive is possibly inferred from the background of the second character we meet, Moose Finch. Mr. Finch used to be a diving instructor and is now Assistant to the General Manager for the fancy Grand Hotel in Brighton UK. He loves working with people, regrets not going to University when he had the chance, and is hoping he will be promoted to GM after the political conference being in October. Mr. Finch has a daughter named Freya. While trying to decide if she should travel the world or go on to Uni, she works the front desk of the Grand.

Dan checks in as a guest of the Grand Hotel three weeks before the conference so that he can plant a bomb under the bathtub in the room that Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, might be staying in. IMG_1665

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s a thoughtful book. It has a melancholy feel. Definitely character-driven not plot-driven.

What’s NOT so good: I kept getting distracted by wanting to look up more about the hotel, the IRA, Belfast, “the troubles”, RUC, maps of Brighton Beach – the Royal Pavilion – the train station. Saracens, Semtex, plimsolls. I slowly, painstakingly dragged myself through these pages at no fault of the book’s but of my distracted scatterbrained lack of ability to concentrate. Once I finally did manage to find focus, I fell into it and loved it.

This quote is on the book jacket:

A bold, astonishingly intimate novel of laughter and heartbreak, High Dive is a moving portrait of clashing loyalties, guilt and regret, and how individuals become the grist of history.

IMG_1659

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’ve been to Brighton. I think this fact kept me dedicated to this book and also could be to blame for the distractedness. I’ve been to the Grand Hotel. I didn’t know it had been the site of an assassination attempt on Thatcher. I only needed find a restroom, as a tourist wandering around the beachfront. My memory of that ‘situation’ is clear; but that it was the Grand Hotel that provided me that sanctuary, I am not entirely positive. I think so, I’m pretty sure (based on location and possible path from the train.) I didn’t take any photos of the place. I remember it was full of people. Full of school-age children. It was a cold brisk but sunny bright day and I have very positive fond thoughts of Brighton. It made me feel off-kilter reading this, knowing I had been there not quite 30 years later. I would have been one year older than Freya in 1984.

Here are a few of my Brighton photos:

IMG_1672    BristolHorseIMG_1668

RATING: Four slices of shepherd’s pie.

“He could reel off the first 200 digits of pi.”  p.142

 

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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.