Ducks, Newburyport

Thoughts by Lucy Ellman, Biblioasis 2019, 1001 pages

Challenge: Personal
Genre: Literary Fiction
Type/Source: Purchased Online, probably from Amazon :/  Made up for that by buying one from RiffRaff in PVD.
 Why I read this now:  It had to be read.

MOTIVATION for READING: The Main Character – referred to going forward as “MC” (I don’t even know if we get her name) – bakes pies to sell to local restaurants to help the family finances. Her signature dish is Apple Tarte Tatin – something I have yet to attempt. Apparently they can be tricky.

, according to Stephen Hawking the human world will end within 1000 years, but I think it could be a lot sooner, and my response to this is to make more pies and read recipe books,

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  This book is the streaming consciousness of MC, a mother of 4 who has had some serious health challenges and misses her mother who died when her own daughter, her oldest, was a toddler. Her husband is a professor of structural engineering and is a bridge expert. He is the father to the 3 youngest kids, step to the oldest — of course the first husband is not ideal, though she would never speak ill of him in front of their daughter. MC rambles in her head about her memories of which she constantly claims she cannot remember, her siblings, her upbringing, tragedies that happen in the world, her pies, her mothering challenges, politics, her doubts and fears, her grocery lists, the old movies she watches while she bakes, her chickens, her childhood pets, her childhood travels – all the houses and places she lived in. She hates Trump, is anti-gun, is polite to a fault and is shy around people; cripplingly-shy. She loves her husband dearly – he’s a good man. All the kids are cute as a button and have their own wants, needs, interests which she enumerates for pages at a time. That’s a fact! It’s her day to day to day to day in her head ramblings.

Every so often, the story shifts to a mountain lion momma of three and her travels around the state of Ohio. Lots of geography, topography and history of Ohio. Their paths intersect of course and it was tense, I tell ya!  of exactly HOW that might play out!  oh, it’s a thriller, truly. It was maddening trying to imagine where the book was going.

THOUGHTS: This is not a book I would recommend to just anyone. I only know a few people who would like it, love it, as much as I did. I am pretty sure, my IRL friends now know that I’m a really strange reader when I would LOVINGLY describe the book and how long it was taking me to read. They would back up slowly, wide-eyed, quietly muttering, “hmmm, ok, sounds interesting. not.”  I started it in April. I finished near the end of August. I sometimes would let weeks go by without turning a page. Sometimes, I would read one or two pages a day. Then conquer over 100+ in a weekend.

,the fact that I think a lot of people think all I think about is pie, when really it’s my spinal brain doing most of the peeling and caramelizing and baking and flipping, while I just stand there spiraling into a panic about my mom and animal extinctions and the Second Amendment just like everybody else,

RATING:  So why am I only giving this four slices of pie? I fear that sometimes, I give 5 stars to a book as a reward for getting me to read it. I think we (by which I mean “ME”) get brainwashed that we must actually be loving the experience of submerging so much time and energy into a chunkster that we MUST justify it with a high glowing review.

But I had some issues. I had an issue with the dog and probably should research if this is based in fact. (The fact is…) and I had issue that they – the stupid zoo people – that they didn’t realize or WATCH the     (SPOILER ALERT!!!!  hover over to reveal the white colored text so as not to spoil anything: Really?!  they didn’t realize that this momma was the 3 kittens mother and they didn’t watch the reunion? I don’t believe and if I ever read about a review from a big cat zookeeper reading this book – if you do! please share….)

So four stars for a quibble but I did love it. I will never not associate Ducks, Newburyport with the pandemic. That is reason enough not to give it 5 stars. Or maybe that is reason, actually, to anoint it 5 stars? Whatever.

So much pie. So much wonderful pie! so many terrific pie mentions!!! I probably should give Ellman the coveted Pie in Literature award for 2020 and call it done.

I would HATE it if they ever attempt to make a movie from this book. OMG, I would see it day one if they do. It’s a deceptively simple book in plot but wowza finding it! (Are they making movies yet?!)

The fact that it’s important not to despair though when you’ve got pies in the oven, …, the fact that you have to have mercy on your pies, be there for your pies, and in return they will be good dutiful pies and serve you, …

I really hope I reread this book someday.

pierating

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

Poetry 2020 Edition 4

Poetry Goal 2020:  to read a poem* every day.

 

Collection #7  by Billy Collins, Random House Trade Paperbacks 2002, 173 pages

Budapest

My pen moves along the page
like a snout of a strange animal
shaped like a human arm
and dressed in the sleeve of a loose green sweater.

I watch it sniffing the paper ceaselessly,
intent as any forager that has nothing
on its mind but the grubs and insects
that will allow it to live another day.

It wants only to be here tomorrow,
dressed perhaps in the sleeve of a plaid shirt,
nose pressed against the page,
writing a few more dutiful lines

while I gaze out the window and image Budapest
or some other city where I have never been.

 

SO GOOD. I had misgivings and incorrect assumptions about Billy Collins “the famous poet”; he is too famous. But I had not experienced his work, his poems, with just me sitting with each one. I love his stuff! Mostly, I love the devotion he shows to the time it takes, allows. The time a poem bakes, crafts, comes into being, as if he and he alone, is the messenger, or person only to deliver the package. He sits and waits and plays and writes and then a poem emerges. He makes it seem effortless and yet like he doesn’t really have any choice in the matter. I am grateful that he allows the poems to come to him and then shares them. I very much love his poems about poems.

(Believe it or not, there is a 1-star review on goodreads; very entertaining.)

Rating: FIVE SLICES


Collection #8 by Lisa J. Starr, Beautifully Produced by the Poet 2008, 116 pages

Other People’s Poems

Perhaps I should leave other people’s poems to other people,
but I am afraid that left unsaid, they grow, they thicken,’
never mind how they accumulate.
The poems of others—this one’s my brother’s.

.
.
.

Your poem, then, my brother—the weariness of knowing
that what’s done is done, except that then it’s yours forever.
It takes twenty years sometimes to discover it’s not that your secret
is so dark; it’s that it’s always with you.

 

I am contacting the poet to see what is the best way to purchase a copy of this. (I don’t want to use the big A place… I suppose I should check if the indie bookstore on Block Island has a copy.) I thought this poems impactful, poignant, and relatable to the point that I want to have them to share. Poems about the joys of childhood, and how childhood pain is long-lasting; poems about taking care of parents and old dogs, poems of recognition.

Rating:  Five Slices of Pie. Quiche Lorraine and Pumpkin Pie

 

 

*Or more. I’m not tracking, I’m just reading. I’m not limiting this experience to one poem a day – that is only the minimum.

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Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Books and Pie aka 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.

One Fine Day

Thoughts   by Mollie Panter-Downes, Virago 2003 (orig 1947), 179 pages

Challenge:  Classic Club 50

classicsclub1

**AND** What’s in a Name 
Challenge 2019Month/Day Category
Genre: Post WW2
Type/Source: Tradeback, purchased online
 Why I read this now:  Classics Club 50! and one more for this WiaN category.

MOTIVATION for READING:  I might have put this on my Classics Club 50 list because it happens in a single day. I have an informal personal challenge to read such stories. Blame Mrs. Dalloway.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Copied from the goodreads.com description: It’s a summer’s day in 1946. The English village of Wealding is no longer troubled by distant sirens, yet the rustling coils of barbed wire are a reminder that something, some quality of life, has evaporated. Together again after years of separation, Laura and Stephen Marshall and their daughter Victoria are forced to manage without “those anonymous caps and aprons who lived out of sight and pulled the strings.” Their rambling garden refuses to be tamed, the house seems perceptibly to crumble. But alone on a hillside, as evening falls, Laura comes to see what it would have meant if the war had been lost, and looks to the future with a new hope and optimism. First published in 1947, this subtle, finely wrought novel presents a memorable portrait of the aftermath of war, its effect upon a marriage, and the gradual but significant change in the nature of English middle-class life.

THOUGHTS: So much goes right with this book. I can’t do it justice; will only say IN MY OPINION, this is flawless in construction, in pacing, in tone, in style, in characterization, everything. An utter delight.

And it had pie.

 

Page 55: “How sadly, thought Laura, odours of Mrs. Vyner’s frozen-cod pie clung to the rep curtains which should have shut out the night on porty stuffiness and spilled candlelight.”

pieratingFive slices of pie.

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.

Wolf Hall

Thoughts by Hilary Mantel, Macmillan Audio 2009, 24 hours 14 minutes

Narrated by Simon Slater

Genre: Historical Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook, Audible
 Why I read this now:  Reading this for both TOB and to satisfy my own curiosity. I want to be ready for the 3rd in the series which is due in March.

MOTIVATION for READING: Super Rooster Chase <– see post. This edition of the TOB is to be held sometime in 2020. The March 202o edition will be just another regular TOB, I think.  The Long List for that is due next week! (I’ll update a link when I have it.) #SuperRoosterTOB

I really enjoyed listening to Wolf Hall and was wowed by the dialogue, the drama, the layers and depths to Cromwell’s persona.

Mantel was able to make him a sympathetic character! I like history, I do. I just don’t know as much as I think I should. Prior to this, I really didn’t have much knowledge other than the popular image of King Henry VIII and all his wives. I would say I thought Cromwell to be a shrewd, cruel man involved in some way with that period of English history. But this story does NOT portray him as particularly evil or mean, but rather quietly ambitious, loyal, fatherly, community-minded and very very thoughtful. I wasn’t sure what to do with this gentle, considerate and — oh sure, scheming  — person.

Was he scheming or just very very good at being flexible and adept at taking advantage of the opportunities presented?

So, I liked Cromwell. I did. Sigh. After finishing this book, I googled what might happen next and…. huh.  Well.

I’m not going to give a review of what happens in this book. It’s about Tom C and his rise to power, basically. And all THAT  is very dependent on the relationship with Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Anne is fascinating; very very fascinating…  OH, the whole thing is just DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA. I love how Hilary imagined it might have gone down. And I was amazed at how subtle and slippery it was. In fact, truly, I missed the milestones in the day to day to day – wait. WHAT happened? What did I miss?!

OFF WITH THEIR HEAD!

I googled SO MANY names! so many histories so many s/he begat so-and-so.

I googled Rafe Sadler. I googled his son Gregory. I googled “Is Oliver Cromwell related to Thomas Cromwell?” Such history! I can see why some people get obsessed with all things Royal.  It’s just fascinating for some reason. (I’ve googled descendants of our Founding Fathers, too, to see if any have popped up famous…) Family histories fascinate me, what can I say. You might wonder if I’m agog with the Kennedys but actually, I’m only mildly interested in them… The Vanderbilts tho? OH YEA.

I can’t wait to do the next in the series; will probably do the audiobook.

From a #SuperRooster perspective, this is not my favorite to win but I’m glad to finally read it and I’m psyched to be ready for the Champion TOB when it happens.

Your turn. Thoughts? Do share!

 

 

Ch 19 42:28         “Like he was a lid to a pie,”

Four slices of pie.

 

 

 

Up next: the Accidental by Ali Smith. Discussion 12/15/2019

My copy just arrived… This will be my first Ali Smith!

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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.

Standard Deviation

Happy Day!  Happy 4th of July! Happy Birthday USA!! Happy4th

Thoughts  by Katherine Heiny, Vintage 2017, 322 pages

Challenge: Personal, just a whim
Genre: non-plot driven family focused comedy?
Type/Source: Tradeback/can’t recall
 Why I read this now: not sure about this, either

MOTIVATION for READING: Somewhere I read a positive rec on this and it landed in my lap. Jumped into my book-buying basket somehow. I don’t remember! I could possibly have been swayed by the mathematical-ish title.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  I have another video to share. Crazy, right? I do these with zero planning and then they make it into a post here while I probably should be doing other things. Like vacuuming.

WHAT’s GOOD: It *is* funny, but not wildly funny. (Why do we always have to qualify what is funny? such a personal odd thing: humor…) It has funny moments and witty insights and nutty characters.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Oh just watch this. See how I try to bury these so you have to read to the end of the post before you realize I have a video? Is this passive aggressive? I’m asking too many self-consciousy questions.

RATING: I give this 4 slices of pie – I enjoyed it. I’ve been reading too many heavy books. This fit me right when I needed it.

Well, wasn’t she the sneaky one with that cottage pie!”

 

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.

 

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.

pieratingsml

 

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.

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