Category Archives: Employment

Subdivision

Thoughts by J.Robt Lennon, Graywolf Press 2021, 231 pages

Challenge: TOB

Genre/Theme: Adult Lit / Trauma and Memory

Type/Source: Tradeback / Jessica the Blue Stocking sent it to me and I’m sending to Amy

What It’s About: Our unnamed protagonist finds herself renting a room after moving to a new neighborhood and embarks on finding a job and a place to live. She explores the subdivision, has adventures, purchases a smart device who attempts to keep her out of harms’ way, and she makes friends with a small boy and a crow. Sort of. She and the crow are more like acquaintances. She bluffs her way into a really strange job as a Phenomenon Analyst with experience in quantum tunneling. Then the windy weather picks up and she starts to remember things. It is truly an odd tale told strangely. Like a fever dream.

“Our Lady (of Perpetual Forbearance) shunned any adulation for her good deeds. Her followers took it to heart. They were so devoted to ignoring her achievements that they completely forgot she existed.”

Thoughts: Yet our MC is endearing somehow. I loved the way that her thoughts and actions were often in juxtaposition. Oh yea –there’s a puzzle that the boarding house proprietors want her to work on. The puzzle shifts with her memories. The whole thing was deftly and creatively told. I was along for the ride.

The situations and the memories and the angry fights with the bakemono, as well as the image of the puzzle suggest that she has experienced severe trauma of a car accident and suggests trauma of a failed marriage involving children. At least or at most, that’s what I got. The ending suggests hope but doesn’t offer much explanation.

My initial reaction to this scene was annoyance. How dare these disturbing alternate realities interrupt my seduction of this beautiful, smoky man!

Rating: Four slices of pie. Apple pie

“I left a slice of pie in my desk drawer,“ she said mournfully. “It’s probably halfway to the moon by now.”

 

Try this Roquefort Cheese & Caramelized Onion Tart from the Spruce Eats

 

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 Sentence

Thoughts by Louise Erdrich, Harper 2021, 387 pages

Challenge: TOB 2022

Genre/Theme: Adult Literature

Type/Source: eBook / Library

What It’s About: This is the story of Tookie, a Chippewa woman in Minnesota who works in a bookstore. The book starts with how she came to commit a crime, be sentenced and serve time in prison. A former teacher sends her a dictionary and so begins a love of reading. This same teacher helps her get the job at the bookstore once she is released from prison. This is also the story of how one of the bookstore’s most loyal customers dies and begins to haunt Tookie when she is at work. The story is timely; we see the dates approach March 2020 — the start of the pandemic. And June, when George Floyd is murdered at the hands of the cops. And the subsequent protests.

Thoughts: As I attempt the above paragraph, I find my appreciation growing for how Erdrich accomplished all of the personal and broad storylines, as well as weaving in the love of reading. There is a grappling of balancing political issues and getting involved and this was successfully done (to me) — effectively paced with empathy, love, and respect; everything I love in my literature. I would even say she manages a balanced lightness with heavy topics and was able to bring some humor to the humanity.

I found that I could not read just any book. It had gotten so I could see through books—the little ruses, the hooks, the setup in the beginning, the looming weight of a tragic ending, the way at the last page the author could whisk out the carpet of sorrow and restore a favorite character. I needed the writing to have a certain mineral density. It had to feel naturally meant, but not cynically contrived.

Rating: She even included pie! Rounding up to 5 slices of pie. A book lover’s book: the author provides a list of all the books mentioned in the text.

I grew up in Rondo and that was a warm neighborhood, full of kindness, pie, elderly folks, kids, craziness, and sorrow. It was a place to belong. All my life I’ve missed it, but never understood until now.

 

PS I voted this for my TOB Zombie.

 

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.

Effin’ Birds

Thoughts by Aaron Reynolds, Ten Speed Press 2019, 208 pages

Challenge: n/a

Genre/Theme: Nonfiction / Postcards / Cursing / Birds

Type/Source: Gift from Stef of blog A Stone in the River

Recommended by: I saw a tweet about this collection and RT’d it; either I @’d Stefanie or she happened to see it… then she ACTED upon it!

What It’s About: A book of 100 postcards encapsulating insults and ventings of frustration.

“… something about or by a pie-eyed bird thinking something fuck-worthily inappropriate…”

– (I mailed it before I wrote it down)

Thoughts: I laughed. I immediately wrote Stef a thank you before I realized that she included a card explaining how and why she sent me this amazing super wonderful thoughtful gift.

SHE MET THE AUTHOR! She had the author sign me a note! too cool.

I posted the pics on Litsy

I immediately thought of 1 or 2 friends that might laugh if I sent. And I shared with my husband who assured me that pretty much everyone I already write letters to would probably survive (and laugh) if I sent. So I did. I am.

I refrained from writing my mother-in-law.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

” …I hate people.”

(I don’t, really…)

Let me know if you want one! Some are… quite spicy. I can put craft tape to cover anything if delicate sensibilities might be offended. (Which is what I did for Stacy Buckeye‘s birthday card! LOL)

 

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.

Hood Feminism

Thoughts by Mikki Kendall, Viking 2020, 267 pages

Challenge: Self-education and Professional

Genre/Theme: Nonfiction / Feminism

Type/Source: eBook and hard cover, both library

Recommended by: [Cover links to gr; this link goes to my review.]

What It’s About: subtitled: Notes From the Women That a Movement Forgot

“There’s nothing feminist about having so many resources at your fingertips and choosing to be ignorant. Nothing empowering or enlightening in deciding that intent trumps impact. Especially when the consequences aren’t going to be experienced by you, but will instead be experienced by someone from a marginalized community.”

– Mikki Kendall

Thoughts: I am not well-read on the foundational readings of feminism. That said, I believe in equal rights equal pay equal respect. I know little of the history of the movement. I choose to not be ignorant. (I am weak and working on the impact over intent consideration. And if you have heard me at my most admonishmenting: I am working on me, to be better.)

What I do have is some experience with less-than-mediocre white men getting ahead and I’ve seen exceptionally bright and capable black women be disregarded. Me, myself, I have privilege; I just want a simple life that is quiet and safe and allows me to read my books and watch my movies and plant my plants and walk my dog. Love and hug the family on holidays and then leave me alone. However and sadly, I have sat back confused and even be frightfully agog with ‘what just happened?’ when personally witnessing or listening to what I consider WRONG THINKING. I’m saddened by this. I’ve experienced blatant misogyny and harassment and survive with mostly confusion, if not lost opportunity and advancement. Perhaps, maybe, I do not want opportunity and advancement, that is likely my own issues to deal with. I get it but I also don’t. But yea, I feel like I’m settling. I’m settling with safety and security in my little bubble.

I also know white privileged women who are far away from understanding and respecting the Notes as explained here by Ms. Kendall. I have had women tell me that it disgusts them to drive by poor houses on the highway like it was a personal insult to them. I’ve seen those posts on FB that express horror, anger, and indignation at what the “libtards are doing to take away their freedoms”. And I don’t confront it – the “it” conflicting image or how or what — that the United States is supposed to be for ALL; that systematically, marginalized people are exploited and stepped on. I don’t have the power inside to formulate the words and argument required to withstand whatever the backlash might be. The backlash of outrage “I’m not racist?!” Oh, but yes, you are – you/we are supporting a racist system.” I am not strong, I’ve never been able. I also fear a fight would not be a process that would get to a successful outcome that would align with the ideas and ideals needed to respect Ms. Kendall’s truth. But I should try.

“No one needs a savior to ride in, take over, and decide for them what would be the best approach to solve a problem. No one has time to play emotional caretaker for allies who would be accomplices, in general, if you have come to these spaces looking to take things away for your benefit instead of looking to contribute, than you’re already doing it wrong.”

I want to contribute.

I want to contribute.

This book has me signing up for the League of Women Voters. It’s my start. And I’ll be buying this book. To share.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

” …the time a guy tried to rob my mother at an ATM and pointed a gun at me to make her comply is as American and mundane as apple pie..”

Do better. Be better.

 

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.

Yoga Pant Nation

Thoughts by Laurie Gelman, Henry Holt & Co. 2021, 256 pages

Challenge: Local bookclub pick for October

Genre/Theme: Mom Lit

Type/Source: Hardcover / Library

What It’s About: Jennifer, our main character, wears many hats and has a snarky attitude that makes it all come together. She is class mom to the fifth grade class with her youngest, baby sitter 3 days a week to her oldest daughter’s 2 year old, is trying to keep up with her parents, gets recruited to be the chair of the school fund-raising committee with a goal of $10,000, and is in training to be a spin class instructor at the local gym. She gets lots of curve balls thrown at her like one does as a premier family juggler of the sandwich generation. AND it’s set in a suburb of Kansas City.

Thoughts: It was fun. A VERY fast read. I don’t subscribe to her yoga pant love and I was thrown off by the many ‘ya’ drops in the dialogue, but minor quibbles. I would have gone with the yea or yeah spelling, myself.

And it has pie. She made six pumpkin pies for the Thanksgiving bake sale. I wouldn’t have made six and I don’t have an 1/8th nor 1/16th! going on that she does. Just another proof that the more you have to do, the more you get done.

Rating: Three or four slices of pie. Pumpkin and key lime.

“He just stuck his face in a key lime pie, and we called it a night.”

 

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.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Thoughts by Susanna Clarke, Macmillan Audio 2005 (orig 2004), 32 hours 29 minutes

Narrated by Simon Prebble

Challenge: TOB Faves Long List

Genre/Theme: Historical Lit, Alternative History, Fantasy / Magic

Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible + eBook, Libby via Kindle

What It’s About: Two magicians bring magic back to England. The years is 1810 or so. One is a hoarder of all books on magic – about magic — with magic and the other is one of those guys who is just clueless, finds something he can do and so he does it. The first is miserly and mean and insecure but arrogant. The second is also arrogant. Both are oblivious.

Thoughts: Some readers love the richness of detail and the amazing adventures in this long long book. I get it, but it wasn’t for me. Much to admire but I honestly got to the 3/4 mark, listening to over 20 hours and then couldn’t take it anymore. I was thrilled to see that I could access the eBook from my library so I could skim to the end and find out what happened. I did need that closure but I just couldn’t carve out the 10 hours needed to do it through my ears.

That said, Simon Prebble did a great job. The audiobook was well done and for a book that has many footnotes, many that are stories in themselves, the audio was a great way to digest. Somehow, they didn’t really interrupt the flow. (When I switched to the eBook, I realized I was skipping right over them without even noticing — THAT very much interrupted the flow!)

Clarke must have had much fun writing this and I’m happy for her that it thrilled most of those who managed to read it all the way through. It just bugged me that the magicians would not realize that magic was happening right in front of them and just brush it off without nary a ‘”Huh, that’s weird.” Yay for Stephen – I liked him, the poor guy. And I liked Childemas and Vinculus. Though I did wonder why Childemas put up with Norrell for as long as he did.

And my final thought is best wishes for the fictional Arabella and Miss Flora – may they ever be happy together.

Rating: Two to three slices of pie. Pork pie.

“Pork pies dropped on the heads of the French!”

 

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.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Thoughts by Ottessa Moshfegh, Penguin Press 2018, 289 pages

Challenge: n/a

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit

Type/Source: Hard cover, Library

What It’s About: A 20-something female devastated by both her grief and the lack of emotional response to the death of her parents tries to sleep her way back to a sense of self. She finds the best and worst of psychiatrists whacky enough to prescribe her any assortment of drug cocktails to allow withdrawal from her life. She has one friend she treats miserably, an ex-boyfriend who she allows to treat her miserably, and a miserable job at an art gallery. She loses that job by taking too many sleep breaks in the broom closet. This job does introduce her to some interesting people, one of which sparks her to the one idea: an art project that just might restore her to the fresh start she seeks.

“Like dropping a pie on the floor as soon as you pull it out of the oven.”

Thoughts: I am glad to have read this. One of those books that you are glad to say ‘yep, I read that’ maybe more than the enjoyment of actually reading of it. The character’s decisions sure made my heart race – like watching someone stand on the edge of a cliff, or on the railing of a high bridge, then doing a pirouette.

Thoughts: Moshfegh is a talented writer. VERY talented.

Rating: Four slices of pie.

“I tried to picture Anthony Michael Hall making an appearance, maybe as the neighbor’s kid coming to pay his condolences with a pie or a casserole.”

 

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.

Did That Just Happen?!

Thoughts Beyond “Diversity” – Creating Sustainable and Inclusive Organizations by Dr. Stephanie Pinder-Amaker and Dr. Lauren Wadsworth, Beacon Press 2021, 203 pages

Challenge: Self and Professional

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit

Type/Source: Hard cover, Purchased from an Indie bookstore

What It’s About: This fabulous guide explains everything DEI.

Beyond ‘microagressions’ – use the term IRA for identity-related aggressions.

Thoughts: I am a corporate learning facilitator which means I am the person who does a lot of the talking in our training workshops. I bought this to not only see if we as a company are on the right track but to see how I can nudge and shift and pay attention to what is truly needed and HOW to deliver.

I very much appreciate the walk-throughs provided in this book, the what to say and the what NOT to say and why things are problematic. This book delivers.

“I’m sorry that happened. That is NOT okay.” No need to fix anything in that moment. Just listen.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”

Toni Morrison

 

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.

Fun Home

Thoughts by Alison Bechdel, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2006, 232 pages

Challenge: n/a

Genre/Theme: Graphic Memoir, Nonfiction

Type/Source: eBook, Libby

What It’s About: I have been wanting to read this for a long time. And in true getting-back-to-blogging-hesitancy, I’ll copy&paste the blurb off of goodreads:

[The author] charts her fraught relationship with her late father.

Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the Fun Home. It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

“I was so consumed by anxiety that she would stop, I couldn‘t enjoy it.”

Thoughts: A VERY fast read! Sure, could be because it was a graphic novel – they just ready speedy to me. I enjoyed this, I enjoyed the art, I enjoyed the tiny amusing details in the panels, I felt for her yearning to connect to both parents and navigate what the heck was going on, and I appreciated her attempts to sort it out from a future place looking back.

This wasn’t at all what I expected and that is not a bad thing. I didn’t realize that “fun home” was a funeral home! I might have known that when I first put this on my tbr and forgot. I never/rarely look at blurbs. It always strikes me funny that I don’t do that.

Rating: Five slices of pie. No pie mentioned that I recall; I forgot that notes weren’t saved when you read a Libby. #sadannoyedlook

 

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 Cold Millions

Thoughts by Jess Walter, Harper 2020, 351 pages

Challenge: TOB 2021 Long List

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit / Wild West Miner Labor Struggles

Type/Source: ebook / Libby to Kindle

What It’s About: Rye is the main character of this highly researched, creatively constructed story involving the efforts of miners to organize against corrupt law enforcement and the corrupt mining industry leaders of Spokane Washington in the early 1900s. Rye is a teenager hobo-ing the rails with his older brother trying to find honest work. They meet anarchists, actresses, union organizers and everyone in-between. Most have good hearts and some do not. Are we motivated only by a base self-interest and self-preservation?

Thoughts: Maybe it started a bit slow for me but by the end I had been captivated and enthralled by the interesting history, the character development and how much I was rooting for Rye to find a good place to land where might have a chance at American opportunity. I loved it.

And it had lots of pie.

Rating: Five slices of pie. Apple ♦ cherry ♦ mincemeat ♦ rhubarb and “tart” as derogatory term for immoral women.

 

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.