Poetry 2020 Edition 5

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

Collection #9 break your glass slippers by Amanda Lovelace, Andrews McMeel 2020, 136 pages

sometimes the only difference between not
being meant for something & being meant for
something is the necessary journey it takes for
you to get there.

—replace your self-doubt with patience.

Rating: 3 slices of pie. No pie mentioned. (I am not the ideal audience, methinks)


Collection #10 by Kieran Furey, Longtooth Books 2011, 120 pages

An Old Routine

Trying not to think
what it might mean,
he goes once a week
unbelievingly to Mass,
and once a week too
disbelievingly to another funeral.

At his age, these things are routine.
With one good ear he’s always listening
For the bells to toll for him.

I found this book in the apartment complex shelves. YAY! and they’re good. Lots of poems about family, ancestry, memories, place. I will have to assume it was the right poetry book for the right time in my 2020 poetry adventure.

I’m finding that I really enjoy poems about words and poems and about writing of poems.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

*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.

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.

Heartland

Thoughts hbyss by Sarah Smarsh, 2018, 290 pages

Challenge:  N/A
Genre:  Economics Nonfiction
Type/Source: Hardback / Purchased somewhere books are sold
 Why I read this now:  Finally, it’s time was now.

MOTIVATION for READING: My mom told me that she needed to read this for her book club but the wait list at the library was long. So I bought it for her Mother’s Day present. She read and sent to her sister, who sent it to me. I’ve had it a few months.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  This is Sarah Smarsh’s memoir about working hard and being broke growing up in Kansas. I wanted to read it because Smarsh is from the area of Kansas that I am also from. Or a few miles, anyway. I can’t say I know any of the same people.

THOUGHTS:  Wow, I have fallen out of the review-vibe, once again. I don’t know what to say. I cannot bring myself to be critical but I also can’t find it right to say that this was a great read. It was a fine read. What the hell is the word fine mean but that I can’t or won’t say more?  I did find the talking to her unborn-child a bit odd, but I also didn’t necessarily hate it. I might even have related to it – I think she explained this part well. Her writing skills are evident. It was very readable – I was never tempted to DNF.

Of course, DNF-ing is not always a case of the book not being ‘good’ but that sometimes the right book isn’t being read at the ‘right’ time. FOR ME. 

I knew the landmarks, the physical localities of her life. I recognized her midwestern viewpoints, often. I don’t think I would call her a whiner, like some have accused her of.  She wasn’t really a complainer, as such and she really didn’t lay vicious blame at the feet of “corporations/government/capitalism” and yet she did. She didn’t offer solutions nor suggest that there are certain portions of the US economy that is just not catching the breaks. That you HAVE to catch the breaks, is the point, perhaps. She explained that it took real effort and a fish-out-of-water feeling to break out of the cycle she saw in her family circumstances. I admire her. I wonder. I really just don’t know what to think of this.

What this book really did was heighten my interest in reading Hillbilly Elegy. I have heard this book of Smarsh’s is BETTER than HE. Yet, HE got the kudos, the attention, the movie deal. So I want to find out if it is the same or better. Or worse.

Ah, it shouldn’t be a competition. Was that the point? I don’t know what the point is. She worked hard, wanted DIFFERENT for herself and thus on a typical
success rating, she succeeded.

The pros and cons supporting and dissing this book are fascinating. I, again, have not the capacity to figure it out nor explain it here, that’s for sure.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

Her grandmother made a lot of pie and I can respect that.

Gma Teresa was always in charge of the pies since she bested the other women with her meticulous baking skills.

“Canned pie filling in a bowl”

 

 

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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.

The Dutch House

Thoughts by Ann Patchett, HarperAudio 2019, 9 hours 53 minutes

Narrated by Tom Hanks

Why I listened:  Time for me to choose another audiobook and I had just read JoAnn’s endorsement that Hanks does a fab job with this wonderful story. And she was right.

What’s it about: A pair of siblings are kicked out of the house by the evil stepmom when Dad dies. They obsess about their mother, their father, their upbringing, the house and all of it for most of the rest of their lives.

Questions:  I wanted to know about the book cover. Did AP find a painting and was thus inspired? or what. Well, I found her answer!

Favorite things:  That painting! the humor – so many laugh out loud of the kind of humor that delights me, Tom’s announcements of the chapters and parts, all of it.

Rating:  Five slices of cherry pie.

Future goals: I am hereby committing myself to reading all her books.

So far, I’ve read                                                                  Need to read
Bel Canto                                                                        Taft
State of Wonder                                                                Truth & Beauty
Commonwealth                                                                The Autobio of a Face
Run                                                                                  The Patron Saint of Liars
The Dutch House
The Magician’s Assistant
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The House of the Seven Gables

Thoughts by Nate Hawthorne, Kindle edition (orig 1851), 290 pages

Category  1. 19th Century Classic

I loved this!  The more I think about this wild tale, I fondly smile and reflect and think, “YEA!”

I had no idea. To be perfectly honest, (what a NUTTY turn of phrase is “perfectly honest…”), the first 20-25% should be considered an Introduction and read AFTER not before.

The story and the characters are quite endearing! Let’s see how much I recall from October . .  .

Old lady nearing the state of being house-rich + cash poor and …    tenuous at best. A dear sweet scary looking old lady who just needs a friend for pete’s sake!  (I know I would have LOVED her and could have made her a fast-friend) anyway…   Dear-sweet-old-lady opens a shop in her old house to sell crap and confectioneries to adorable little kids (ok, one kid – but what a lovely little rake, he is!) when “Distant Adorable Cousin” shows up to help and move in and get away from the country.

(This is obviously a condition of the times….  sweet cousin shows up and says “HI! can I stay here?” and they all say, “Sure, why not…”)

OH!  but drama.  And it was … cute!  fun! I don’t know…  not as scary as T-rumpville?!

Anyway, there’s a ghost, there’s family history, there’s house-history, there’s devious family members trying to usurp other poor family members and it was

a fun read.

But. WOW was that first quarter part a slog.

(Even if, in hindsight, it kinda sorta helped set up the fun of the rest of it…)

 

I rated this 4 stars.

“The wrongdoing of one generation lives into the successive ones and… becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief.”

This just might have been my favorite of the books I read that count for the Back to the Classics Challenge…   maybe

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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.

Now in November

Thoughts   by Josephine Johnson, Simon and Schuster 1934, 231 pages

Challenge:  Classic Club
and
Back to the Classics Challenge PLACES I HAVE LIVED (Missouri)

BTCC Berlin Booksclassicsclub1

**AND** What’s in a Name 
Challenge 2019Month/Day Category
Genre: Depression Era, Pulitzer Winners
Type/Source: Library
 Why I read this now:  I was trying to find something for this WiaN category – come to end up reading 3 books to satisfy. #whatever #shrug

MOTIVATION for READING: I saw this on my tbr and it fit the category and the library had a copy – possibly a first edition copy? (I was having a hard time finding a copy of One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes which IS in my cc50. This just happens to be a classic; NOT on my cc50…)

Page 144: “When everything was finally dead, I thought that relief from hope would come, but hope’s an obsession that never dies.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A family trying to eke a living out of the ground in the midst of the depression. Older sister is a fish out of water, the youngest sister and mother are inspirations, Dad is wearily lost and angry about it all and our narrator just aches with  feelings and thoughts that only confound.

What gr says: “Brilliant, evocative, poetic, savage, this Pulitzer Prize-winning first novel (1934) written when Josephine Winslow Johnson was only 24, depicts a white, middle-class urban family that is turned into dirt-poor farmers by the Depression and the great drought of the thirties. The novel moves through a single year and, at the same time, a decade of years, from the spring arrival of the family at their mortgaged farm to the winter 10 years later, when the ravages of drought, fire, and personal anguish have led to the deaths of two of the five. Like Ethan Frome, the relatively brief, intense story evokes the torment possible among people isolated and driven by strong feelings of love and hate that, unexpressed, lead inevitably to doom. Reviewers in the thirties praised the novel, calling its prose “profoundly moving music,” expressing incredulity “that this mature style and this mature point of view are those of a young women in her twenties,” comparing the book to “the luminous work of Willa Cather,” and, with prescience, suggesting that it “has that rare quality of timelessness which is the mark of first-rate fiction.””

THOUGHTS:  I would NEVER have compared this to Ethan Frome, but yea. I guess I could go there. (I shudder.)

Such pain. Such loss. I worry about our world now and how much we use and discard, in our disposable society. If I had to live simply and off the land, giving every extra penny to my mortgage, thinking of it as a terrifying weight that could drag me to my death with any next scratch of a pen; … Anyway, it is a sobering look at how people managed, or didn’t, in that awful time.

The descriptions of nature offer some glimmer of love and sunshine. But even the sun gets cursed in this one.

Brilliant, evocative, poetic, savage.

Four slices of pie.

Page 28: “He cut us big slices, firm and wedge-shaped like the tall pieces of a pie, and a bigger one for mother, and then we thought it was time for the presents to be given.”

Page 115: “He did it because he liked pies, he said, and was fearful that M would fall asleep and put away God knows what in the jars.”

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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.

Love in a Cold Climate

Thoughts by Nancy Mitford, Hamish Hamilton 1995 (orig 1949), 343 pages

Challenge:  Classic Club 50 and Back to the Classics 2019 – By a Woman Category

BTCC Berlin Booksclassicsclub1

**AND** What’s in a Name 
Challenge 2019Temperature
Genre: British Class Capers?
Type/Source: Library
 Why I read this now:  Classics Club Spin October 2019

MOTIVATION for READING: Curiosity about the Mitfords

Page 33: “… and everything too much in apple-pie order,”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A rich society girl with a scheming mother and dutiful father decides not to do as expected.

What gr says: “Polly Hampton has long been groomed for the perfect marriage by her mother, the fearsome and ambitious Lady Montdore. But Polly, with her stunning good looks and impeccable connections, is bored by the monotony of her glittering debut season in London. Having just come from India, where her father served as Viceroy, she claims to have hoped that society in a colder climate would be less obsessed with love affairs. The apparently aloof and indifferent Polly has a long-held secret, however, one that leads to the shattering of her mother’s dreams and her own disinheritance. When an elderly duke begins pursuing the disgraced Polly and a callow potential heir curries favor with her parents, nothing goes as expected, but in the end all find happiness in their own unconventional ways.”

THOUGHTS: 

Yea, let’s discuss the “in the end, all find happiness” – really?  I thought the ending SO abrupt!  I’m left shaking my head, “what did I just read?” “what IS this?” Who really was this Polly girl – so truly naive?” Oh goodness me. Maybe just like her mother?

In some ways, this book was extremely fascinating.

I really liked Fanny. I thought she was beautifully written into life. I enjoyed her very much.

I think I am just glad the book is done. I can say I read it. I now have an inkling about who was Nancy Mitford, I am not at all opposed to reading more by her and about her, and this book suffered from being the book I read immediately after A Handful of Dust.

Dust was another tragedy/comedy of the Brits and their moneyed ranks, just set  a generation or so prior. And much more tragic and not very funny. Dark funny not silly funny.

I really say “really” too much and I really am spending too much time with the British upper crust these days!

Three slices of pie.

Page 109: “several wheelbarrows were filled and the contents taken off to be used as manure for cottage gardens or chubb pie, according to taste.”

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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.

Census

Thoughts  by Jesse Ball, HarperAudio 2018, 4 hours 52 minutes

Challenge:  Tournament of Books 
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now:  Looking at my list, this was a short one. 

MOTIVATION for READING:  Winner of the 2018 Summer TOB

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A physician discovers he is suffering from a terminal heart condition and so he takes a job as a census taker; he muses philosophically on this father-son adventure. The author’s note in the preface states this is in homage to his brother who had Downs Syndrome.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s well-told and interestingly odd. Or oddly interesting?

What’s NOT so good: I didn’t get it. I am going to need to do my review-research to find out why exactly this is such an awesome tale. I was not overwhelmed with admiration and joy but it had its amusing and thoughtful, insightful and dare I say? quirky moments. Definitely ODD.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Not the book’s fault but I am only giving this

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

The book DOES mention pie!  and I highlighted a few texts that I am hoping will come over from Audible?  Hope so.

Chapter 7 – “Win my tart of a sister…”

Chapter 10 – “Perhaps some pie.”

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from BkClubCare aka Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Dark Rooms

Thoughts

3328CC7B-EF2C-4939-82A2-351E6525B4AF by Lili Anolik, Wm Morrow 2015, 323 pages

Review in six words:  sisters, murder, siblings, whodunit, bad parenting

Free flow ramblings:  Grace is the older sister to a cooler more wild, more world-wise Nica who shows up dead by gunshot. Setting is a boarding school so of course, we get class issues, drug use, promiscuity, all of it. Nica is sleeping with everyone, it seems, so we wonder who ISN’t a suspect? But the school and the police conveniently find a suicide with confession note. Gracie isn’t buying it. A few of the situations she gets herself into are almost ridiculous but we buy it because kids are confusing and confused and doubts are huge; motivation-exploration and self-awareness are numbed by drugs and avoidance even as she keeps placing herself into conversations and confrontations to solve her sister’s murder. All is solved in the end and those plot turns and twists are just a part of the ride.

I don’t “get” the title… oh wait! I do!! Ha, ok, took me way waaaay too long, but Mom is a photographer. I guess that’s the connection. Mom is a real peach if you like fiction with icky mother-daughter storylines.

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.

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!”

 

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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.