West With the Night

Thoughts wwtnbybm by Beryl Markham, orig 1942 – rereleased in 1983, 294 pages

BackToTheClassics2016 Adventure Category

Challenge:  Latest Classics Club Spin Selection (But I’m late – it was due by Dec 1st)
Genre:  Adventure, Airplanes/Flying
Type/Source: Tradeback / Local Indie Bookstore
Why I read this now: Was late for the Spin but wanted to read it anyway.

MOTIVATION for READING: I can’t recall why exactly I put this on my Classics Club 50 but I was further enticed by the historical lit recently published by Paula McClain about Ms. Markham. I wanted to read the “true” version first. 

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WHAT’s it ABOUT: These are the stories of Ms. Markham; how she grew up in British East Africa now called Kenya, learned to train race horses, learned to fly airplanes, attempted to be the first to fly East to West from England to the US (managed to ‘safely’ crash in Canda), and and and… Nothing about her husbands and supposed multiple love affairs, darn it.

WHAT’s GOOD: What a way with words! I found it very easy to fall right into like relaxing into a gigantic bean bag to let the world fall away and allow me to be transported to another place and time.

What’s NOT so good:  The prose is beautiful yet she can seem detached and aloof; she barely reflects that she is a woman doing more typical man things. This was both refreshing and almost frustrating. Other things were more frustrating and interesting (racist/classist) view of how the English colonists viewed the Africans. She also seems to scorn the practice of elephant hunting but was a full participant in the profit of it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Not at all the dry and boring text I had imagined. It was lovely and tragic, poetic and appalling all at once. Certainly a remarkable woman.

RATING:  Five slices of pie, of which I noted no mention.

Has anyone read a biography of Beryl Markham? If I enjoy the McClain (and I sincerely hope I do since I did not care for The Paris Wife), I might continue indulging my fascination.

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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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The World According to Garp

Thoughts twatgbyji by John Irving, Random House Audio 2006 (orig 1978), with epilogue read by author dated 1998

Narration by Michael Prichard, 20 hours 26 minutes

Challenge:  Classics Club
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: Finally, its time had come.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have wanted to read this for a long time. Funny, I can’t really remember why I didn’t read it right away when my occasionally demanding father forbade me to read this book. This book in particular. No other books were included nor was a reason given that I recall. And by ‘occasionally demanding’, I mean that he didn’t often tell me what to “do/not do” but when he did, it always seemed random and interesting in comparison to other similar things he didn’t tell me I couldn’t do.

The funny thing to me, is that I don’t think this book was ever on my radar as a teen or young adult (Odd? I would have been 13 when this book was published and 17 when the movie came out — which I also have yet to see). In fact, for a long time, I thought this book was written by John Updike. So, you see, I really didn’t think it was a book for me anyway and rather than rushing to read it to find out why I wasn’t supposed to like any other normal teenager, I filed it away in my head. Wrongly, but still it sat there waiting for me. In fact, it was Dewey, I think, who corrected or suggested that I was probably not referring to John Updike as an author likely to be the degenerate influence I had presumed. I have never read Updike either. Should I?

I was a kid who seriously believed that lightening bolts would strike if I was deliberately disobedient. I believed in that far longer than I ever believed in Santa Claus, if I ever did.

All this to say that it took me a long time out of respect for my father’s wishes, I suppose, for me to ever decide I should read John Irving. I have read A Prayer for Owen Meany thanks to a readalong – loved it. And thanks to Owen Meany, I eventually came around to knowing I would someday read and love Garp. And boy did I! I did. (Now I want to reread Owen. Sigh…)

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  OK, back to Garp… This book is about an interesting woman wanting to live life on her terms. It’s about her son, Garp. It’s about Garp growing up wanting to be a writer. He gets married, has children. He tries to protect his family from the all that could happen in a scary life in the scary world. (Maybe that is what my father was trying to do.) It’s about family, life and death, and dealing with death.

WHAT’s GOOD: The imagination. The deadpan humor. The absurdity. It feels to me like Irving is a master at making the absurd totally believable. When I see that quote of Neil Gaiman: “Things need not have happened to be true.“ — I tend to think of Irving. And WOW people! this is a timely book. A reminder that feminism is just getting started and still has a long way to go. A reminder that in some things, we were ahead of the times AND that we have slipped in our understandings. Feminism, transsexuals, rape culture, politics, open-mindedness, what is “family”? Garp was an authentic passionate talented guy who loved fiercely.

Books like this remind me that there were no “good ol’ days”; that humans can be vile, have always been vile, will continue to be vile; and yet still, humans can be kind.

What’s NOT so good:  That even though I never saw the movie (yet – maybe even tonight, most likely this weekend), I still kept seeing John Lithgow as Roberta Muldoon. Not all the time, but often enough to hear his voice and see his face, with lipstick and rouge. That really isn’t a criticism and I probably shouldn’t mention it…

No pie was mentioned that was noticed.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Beware the undertoad.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

 

 

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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.

The Girl on the Train

Thoughts tgottbyph by Paula Hawkins, Penguin Random House 2015, 336 pages EBOOK

Challenge: For Neighborhood Bookclub
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Type/Source: eBook/Kindle
 Why I read this now: Club discussion scheduled for Dec 6th.

MOTIVATION for READING: This has been a very hot book and has become a book that ‘everyone’ has read. Except me. Actually, about half our club hadn’t read it and the others voted to read it anyway so it was selected. With the movie out in theatres now, I wanted to read before seeing the film.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A young lady named Rachel rides the train to London everyday to put up the appearance of going to work even though she has been sacked months prior for a drunken mishap with a client. She drinks way too much and is usually snockered on the train ride home and drinks into the evening as well. As her train goes by and is often stopped for a spell right at the spot where she used to live, she views and regrets her old life in her old neighborhood. She can’t let go of her ex-husband who has a new wife and baby. She also imagines a story for a neighbor couple until something happens and she is pulled into the real life mess of this real life couple where the wife goes missing and the husband is suspected. It’s messy, confusing (back and forth in time and has 3 unreliable narrators), and it took me to the half-way point before it wasn’t a ho-hum get-on-with-it-already mystery.  But guessed it, I did! — nothing really surprised me.

WHAT’s GOOD: It was OK. It didn’t suck, but I can’t think of anything brilliant to say here in this spot so I’ll just keep moving on… Oh! Just thought of a compliment! I thought the imaginary names for the neighbor couple would get confusing with the true names and yet it didn’t, so that was a plus. Deftly handled.

What’s NOT so good: It was just really hard to cheer and root for any of the characters. Even the poor girl who goes missing is never really mourned. None of the feels…

FINAL THOUGHTS:  It was OK. I liked Gone Girl much much more. That one had me laughing with all the crazy twists and turns. Train Girl didn’t have any funnies what so ever.

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RATING: Three slices of pie. I was constantly irritated with the dates with each narrator change. I couldn’t remember if we were on the same few days or few months prior and it BUGGED me to no end.

One more thing – I hate reading mystery thrillers on the Kindle. It’s just too hard to flip back and forth when you want to check something.

On the other hand – the Kindle is the EASIEST way to find if any pie was mentioned… 

Pie Mentions:  Only magpies.

A tiding of magpies. One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told.

 

 

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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.

I am almost ready for #FiremanAlong – Day 0

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Hello Everyone!
I had no idea I was going to throw myself into this readalong like I seem to be doing. So exciting to have something to look forward to, would you agree?

Yesterday, I shared a Flares song “Burning Embers” to get everyone jazzed for July and today I appropriately (ahem) posted The Doors “Come On Light My Fire”. Today is Day Zero. Tomorrow is July 1! Fire on Facebook Messenger

You notice that I didn’t link the video songs above because I want to encourage you to go to Twitter and search (and save?) the hashtag #FiremanAlong and remember to look at it often. Share any fun quotes from your reading, RT and “Like” any fun quips that others are sharing. Let’s interact! SPIT SPOT

I have had questions about the LIST. I created a Twitter list of the participants so that you can quickly see who else you may know or not yet know and what they are up to.  This is one way to see people’s tweets without necessarily following (though I hope to follow all of you myself.)

Let me explain – subscribing and VIEWING the list won’t show only #FiremanAlong tweets – only searching and viewing the hashtag will specifically bring up tweets with that reference.

A LIST only displays ALL TWEETS – anything and everything by those people who are members of the list. So, if you are wondering what I am tweeting about when NOT tweeting the readalong stuff, you can see that, too. This saves you going to each member’s tweets individually. It’s a way to group like-minded people’s tweets. Everything but only those people. Does that make sense?

No, you cannot tweet just TO the members. It’s more of a way to spy and wonder, “So, what IS Care up to?”

It may or may not be useful to you and that’s cool. Just use the hashtag #FiremanAlong and you’ll be fine. I love lists and have a ton of them. I usually make one for every readalong…  (For example, my #StateOfWonder list only shows me Katie, Debbie and Stacy. Easy peasy to sort what they are up to and if they tweet something interesting.)

Someone asked about a schedule…  Once I get the print copy, I might break it down in weekly chunks – would that be useful? I find that once I start a book like this (and face it — it DOES feel like a King novel. So readable!!) they go SO FAST. Yep, 800 pages in a few days without even trying.

Have fun. If you want discussion, please post on a blog if you think spoilers will happen — and let us know on Twitter. See you on IG and Litsy, too, most likely.

Oh, there is a group on Litsy reading The Fireman for book club. Check it out.

Fire on Facebook Messenger

Tomorrow will be another youtube clip. I’m so excited! You’re gonna love it!!!

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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.

ReadAlong of The Fireman #FiremanAlong in July

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Spontaneous combustion of book thoughts on Twitter resulted in eruption of readalong endorsements for The Fireman by Joe Hill. It’s the hot book right now.tfbyjh

The hardback is 768 pages; the audiobook is 22 hours and 20 minutes.

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Starts in July.

Thus giving you all time to secure a copy? I hereby declare myself as Captain of this Fire Squad with Heather as Co-Command – due to locale (when can we do lunch?) and the fact she just read it but wants to reread it on audio. Ti and Melissa and Jen and Trish are the Platoon Leaders. Michelle and Katie are Advisors (they already read the book!). ALL ARE WELCOME OF COURSE. Just wanted to mention those who participated in the twitter-firestorm about it.

Follow hashtag #FireManAlong

I have also made a list so you can find the entire crew on Twitter. If you want to join us and please do, all are welcome, please let me know your Twitter handle in a comment and/or link to a post or whatever. I might also want your snail mail address if you want correspondence (send me an email or private msg) — I am not promising anything. This is a quick and informal readalong. It’s a “Join in if you want to, no rules” kind of readalong…

I thought better of looking for a hot firefighter person to display, because 1) sexist inclinations and assumptions on my part sad to say, and 2) no legal usage rights to the ones that appealed to me the most. You know how to do your own search so feel free to act on that. OR, to see professionals of all genders, you can click on THIS SEARCH. Not sure what the most ethical of decisions it is to provide a link to all images in a search result with parameter ‘not filtered by license’. Probably not ‘best’. Oh well.

I will be audiobooking. Here’s the link to Audible: fma3                    The bookcover at the top of this post links to goodreads and the Twitter convo links to the hashtag #FiremanAlong. I’ll make a Twitter List, too, so feel free to subscribe to it.

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And please remember to tweet any pie references!!!

 

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.

Notorious RBG

Thoughts nrbgbyicsk by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhinik, Dey St imprint of WmMorrow, 227 pages

Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Type/Source: Hardback, Library

MOTIVATION for READING: This Supreme Court Justice has always interested me. Everyone is raving about this book.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Apparently, and for perfectly wonderful reasons, RBG has captivated the hearts of many for her groundbreaking work in law and her thoughtful and sharp reasonings on cases appearing before the Highest Court. This short book tells a bit about her whole life – how she started and what she is doing now. It doesn’t go into much depth but just enough to get a sense for her character, her smarts, her sense of humor and her incredible work ethic.

RATING: I rated it 5 pie slices because I truly enjoyed learning more about the background and work of this amazing woman.

 

 

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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.

Whatever

Thoughts webymhtph Whatever by Michel Houellebecq / translated by Paul Hammond, Serpent’s Tail / Profile Books Ltd 2011 (orig 1994), 155 pages

Challenge: 1001+ Books to Read Before You Die
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Tradeback / Library 14-day Loan (oops – I started this on the 15th day… So I will owe a bit in late fees.)
 Why I read this now: It called to me when I glanced at the NEW BOOKS shelf at the library. Back in May 2008, I signed up for a challenge to read 1% of the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die and I listed this book solely based on the title. It called to me, but I never got to it. So, of course, when I see this at the library while casually glancing at a shelf – I wasn’t even looking for anything specific! – I had to bring it home with me. And it is short. I’m into the shorties lately…

From Tony Litt’s Introduction:

Houellebecq’s first book was on HP Lovecraft.

Houellebecq hates office workers as does ‘the novel’.

The tone of Whatever is ‘beastly tired’.

The original title of Whatever was An Extension of the Domain of the Struggle.

“If you’re in search of page-turning plot-twistiness, fuck off.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT (with spoilers since I doubt anyone I know will ever read this book and/or just might because I spoil the heck out of it): Told in the first person, our protagonist is a computer programmer. Single and lonely. And bitter. He is assigned to train clients on a computer application and has to or gets to travel to other towns in France to do so. A coworker assists in the delivery of the  training. He experiences a mild heart attack. He is only 30 years old. He writes animal stories to amuse himself. He tries to convince the coworker to kill a beautiful young lady who turns him down at a club. The coworker ends up dying in a car crash. Our protag has a nervous breakdown and/or is admitted to a mental hospital. He gets released. The end. Not really. Let’s say it ends ambiguously.

WHAT’s GOOD: At times it is actually funny. Bitter insight to the absurdity of corporate work and the people who ‘work in offices’.  Other times, the reader winces at the misogyny and violent tendencies.

The theme could be summed up as “Life sucks and then you die.”

FINAL THOUGHTS: I guess I have to laugh and agree with these two review quotes:

From the Independent:  “Funny, terrifying and nauseating.”

From the Guardian: “the book slips down easily like a bad oyster.”

RATING:  Three slices of pie; I found mention of apple tart.

“His wife absolutely insisted I taste the apple tart her husband didn’t have the strength to swallow. I accepted; it was delicious.”

For something a little lighter maybe, enjoy this French song (and click here for the words in English):

Houellebecq’s most recent novel submission “is both a devastating satire and a profound meditation on isolation, faith and love. It is a startling new work by one of the most provocative and prescient novelists of today.” So says the goodreads blurb. (Cover links to that site.)

 

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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.

Radio Shangri-La

Thoughts rslbyln1 by Lisa Napoli, Crown Publishers 2010, 279 pages

SUBTITLE: What I learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth

For the What’s in a Name Challenge – Country category

I am having a tough time thinking up what to write. Especially when I agree wholeheartedly with Nancy’s review from 2011.  If you don’t want to click over, she says this:

” Lacking in adventure but fascinating for its analysis of the people and the time, at times uneven but overall a decent memoir.”

Yes. I agree.

I read the very same book that Nancy read! Because she is the generous booklover who gave it to me. And I am willing to send YOU this book if you want to read it, too. Just be the first to request and I will email you for your mailing address and will eventually send it off. Eventually.

It looks like this:  rslbyln2

Also, it’s an ARC. It does have a few misspellings or typos and it got very VERY confusing with what I must assume were name swappings. She would be yapping about Sebastian and then refer to him as Benjamin. And Ngawang would be Pema and then back to Ngawang…  Just sayin’.

One more fun thing…  The author mentions a term familiar to all who loved Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein. Here’s the quote, do you know the word?

“The only not-so-smooth part of the plan came from my father, who couldn’t quite grok the adventure I was about to have.”

All righty, then. Carry on.

RATING:  Three slices of pie. (No pie mentions in this one.)

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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.

What’s in a Name 2016 Challenge #whatsinaname2016

wian2016 Hosted by The Worm Hole blog. The button will take you there.

The CATEGORIES:

  • A country
  • An item of clothing
  • An item of furniture
  • A profession
  • A month of the year
  • A title with the word ‘tree’

My IN THE HOUSE choices are:  wian2016mine

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (also for Classics Club)

The Kingmaker‘s Daughter by Philippa Gregory (a Kingmaker is a profession, yes?)

Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities by Prof. Ian Stewart (ya’ll want this one, too, right?)

All About the Months by Maymie R. Krythe (nonfiction) pub’d 1966

 

What will YOU be reading? and WHAT do you have to suggest for item of clothing?

 I’m thinking Susan Jane Gilman’s Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress and/or Maugham’s The Painted Veil.

 

 

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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.

Heart of Darkness

Thoughts and Meandering More Thoughts HoDbyJC Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Dover Thrift 2012 (orig 1899), 102 pages Kindle eBook


“I wasn’t arguing with a lunatic. … But his soul was mad.”

This is one story that I will admit I have been intimidated by. Perhaps because some of the synopsis reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver and her heavy novel that I can never remember but allow me to run to goodreads and check . . . (running off to truly go check goodreads…) oh yea! The Poisonwood Bible. I do wonder what Ms. Kingsolver thought of Heart of Darkness – surely she has read it, yes?

Have you read Heart of Darkness?

I chose this for May for a variety of reasons and vying close for the first and second spot are 1) It is SHORT at 200 pages, and 2) Trisha at Eclectic-Eccentric is featuring all sorts of lovely analysis posts. Goodness I do love me some juicy literature analysis!

and 3) What was that third reason? Oh yes, because I happen to already have it loaded on my Kindle.

Finally, 4) It is one of my Classics Club Fifty in Five.

I was pleasantly surprised. (That I liked it (‘it’ being the book, the reading experience.))

I would not call it compelling exactly. Not quite a fast page turner adventure book because it does tend to have dense language but not overly so. It is FULL of emotion.

“It was my imagination that wanted soothing.”

Here’s Crazy-Care’s FIRST attempt to answer your question of “what it is about?”:

The story is set up as a retelling of a sailor’s adventure. This sailing adventure was when Marlowe needed a job so he decides to go to Africa because he hears they are needing river transport captains and he is certain to find work. He does and notes that his assignment and the company that hires him is actually a bit creepy. His assignment is to get a riverboat into the “deepest darkest part of Africa” to either retrieve or supply Mr. Kurtz (I was confused here, too), a guy who is the BEST number one agent of the company and is considered awesome. Our sailor narrator is torn between just completing the job and yet also very intrigued to meet this awesome incredible Mr. Kurtz and find out why he is so awesome — no one knows how he is accomplishing all he is doing! (what he is doing, mind you, is collecting lots and lots of ivory and he is doing it by befriending (I think? Maybe not? Something tells me I really missed something.) the natives.) Others are jealous and others are mesmerized by Mr. Kurtz. He is ill when they finally get up the river and find him. The natives are hostile (but not hostile to Mr. Kurtz?) and our sailor buddy survives the ordeal and lives to tell of it. Thus the telling.

It’s really quite odd. I might have the synopsis skewed. I might have missed something big.

I swear narrator-captain guy was at first ambivalent and then curious and at one point critical of Mr. Kurtz and then somehow instantly was his best friend. THIS is why I need Trisha to explain things to me.

Or go watch Apocalypse Now?

It really did  have beautiful descriptions and I wonder how it would play in audiobook format. I bet it would be awesome.

So. The elephant in the room.

The elephant is…  (the elephant I thought before I read it anyway)… Is Heart of Darkness a BAD racist book? Does it demean and consider African natives as inferior? Is this a “symptom of the times”, a by-product of colonialism? OR does this book actually highlight the EVILS of colonialism and racism and confront the ideas of exploitation?

AND, excuse me while I freak out a bit here. Is this a true story?

I know and fear that I am inadequate to discuss these issues but I do want to support and advocate for a kind world, a civilization of respect for all. I read this book with the lens of it being written in 1899 and yet did not find it to endorse or promote a message that primitive cultures are inferior – I thought it an exploration of one case or specific example of the “empire” mentality of greed to exploit and take. The world is winners and losers, suckers. For me, the story didn’t deliver a succinct message; no obvious moral outrage and no epiphany. Well, other than “THE HORROR!” which I think was masked by considerable vagueness.

Evil exists. Fear exists. We fear what we do not understand. Let us seek to understand. It ain’t easy.

This book is not easy.

Then go read the excellent eclectic eccentric and marvel. You’ll understand then why Crazy-Care didn’t make a second attempt to explain this book. Heart of Darkness: Pro- or Anti-Imperialist – 5/21/15Psychoanalyzing Heart of Darkness – 6-4-15, Deconstructing Heart of Darkness – 6/11/15Queering Heart of Darkness – 6/18/15

 

“And he was devoted to his books, which were in apple-pie order.”

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This book would have been fascinating and scary to discuss for a grade! Thank you so much Professor Eclectic for the thought-provoking experience. I give myself an A for ambition, a B for effort and a C for discourse.

Here’s a flower:  FullSizeRender Flowers make me smile.

 

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.