Tin Man

Thoughts  by Sarah Winman, GPPutnam’s Sons 2017, 214 pages

Challenge: not applicable
Genre: contemporary lit
Type/Source: Tradeback with the cool nifty edges/gift from friend
 Why I read this now: it was top of the stack…

MOTIVATION for READING: Nancy said I would like it. I had already added this to my tbr so some nice blurb somewhere must have caught my attention.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is a story about friendship and love. All the kinds of love. We meet two young boys who both suffer losses and become true friends; then one meets a lovely girl (who runs a bookstore!  squeee – always a bonus in a book, right?) and then the three become great friends and become family. And then…

WHAT’s GOOD: Everything. It’s told well, the imagery and settings across England and Europe, the conversations, the happenings, all touching in all the right ways.

What’s NOT so good: I give this 4 stars and maybe because it can be a sad book. But it can also be a hopeful book, it’s life. Maybe I just didn’t quite get all the buttons pushed when I love a reading experience but this one is delightful and I heartily recommend. Maybe it isn’t a 5 star because I wanted it to be longer?  That’s nuts, but … oh well.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  If you like ART and love your stories to involve grand gorgeous paintings by the master and love that imagery – this is a story for you. If you love love stories, sort of love stories, enjoy your heart getting involved – maybe stomped on a bit, then this is a story for you.

Come on, the title?  TIN MAN. He has a heart…   Now, I’ve piqued your interest. Admit it.

RATING:  Four slices of pie with lots of whipped cream. Or gravy. This book is inspiring me to make more savory pies this fall. Mmmmmmm

“Potatoes, wine, a ham and a pork pie and salad, a feast.”

“But then he said, pie and chips, Janice, please. And she said, pie and chips it is then. There you go, my love.”

“The canteen was busy and smelled of chips and shepherds pie and something over-cooked and green.”

THANKS NANCY!!!

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.
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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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Wide Sargasso Sea #ccspin

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Norton 2016 (org 1966), 174 Pages

Introduction by Edwidge Danticat (read last, though, of course. I adhere to a strict policy of never reading Intros until I read the text. Ahem)

Challenge: For this month’s Classic Club Spin.

Genre: Fan-Fiction? Carribean Historical Fiction, an Anti-Romance, perhaps.

Type/Source: Tradeback / I finally had the opportunity and forethought to plan for a shopping trip to an Indie Bookstore who to my excitement and delight had a copy for me to purchase!

Will ship to anyone interested – just let me know your opinion of Jane Eyre.

_ ____ ________________

For those book-readers-and-pie-lovers who don’t already know, this work of fiction is the back story to one of the characters in Jane Eyre. Jane is the plucky poor governess who woos Rochester to marriage but then finds out that he is already married. And this first wife is living in his house, chained up in the attic! Sorry if I spoilt that for you, but I am truly shocked when I encounter people who don’t know what Jane Eyre is about. Book readers, even. How, I ask, do some college educated people I am friends with actually not know about Jane Eyre! A diverse world we live in; I keep finding out.

Anyway, Jean Rhys had read Jane Eyre and wanted to know more about this first Mrs. Rochester and so she put her ideas into this short novella.

I probably should reread it. It is atmospheric and confusing. It is stream of consciousness and vivid. It provides narrative on the lady’s childhood (tragic) and then switches to a time right after she is married to an Englishman and is this part is from this unnamed guy’s perspective. We know this is Rochester.

And he comes off as an asshole. The first part is rather straightforward and we sympathize greatly with Miss Antoinette and her sad mother and her scary circumstances – poor and friendless in hostile territory, a failed plantation on a Caribbean island. It is sketchy exactly how her fortunes turn but mother somehow remarries money… more tragedy happens and then Part 2.

Rochester marries Antoinette for her money, but doesn’t really remember everything cuz he gets the fever for a few weeks while all this is happening. Antoinette seems happy and crazy in love but Rochester is bewildered and befuddled and then finds out Antoinette’s true father was a drunk and much worse, her mother is ‘mad’, crazy, a whore. Rochester is filled with rage. He’s been tricked!

Antoinette also becomes enraged to find out this guy is a total jerk. Partly because he starts calling her Bertha – or was that before he got pissed off, I forget; but it was odd to me why he did that (and it is just so hard to think of the name Bertha as a “pretty” pet name – so confusing.) And THEN! He sleeps with a servant, UGH! and basically treats everyone like the asshole he is.

Part 3 is in England, to scenes familiar to those of us who know the setting and storyline of Jane Eyre.

 

Yikes… so rather than reread just yet, I post this and invite any of you to share/correct me on these thoughts.

 

I would love to take a class on Jane combined with discussion of this story, the history it depicts, the themes throughout both, and the motivations of both authors. Fun stuff!

The Introduction is excellent, too!

Four slices of pie. Alas, no pie nor pastry mentioned in Wide Sargasso Sea.

Cross another classic off my 50. Thank you Spin for the prompt to get this read.

I am on to my next: Vanity Fair – a classic I know little about (and what I might think I know seems to be wrong.) I know that Becky Sharpe is a famous conniving female character of literature and so far, Thackeray is entertaining in a Dickens kind of way…

[insert copyright note here and book cover image at top when I get back to a PC – I can’t figure out how to do that with this device…]

Pecan Pie Day

Happy Pecan Pie Day! July 12, so they say.

Let’s celebrate! Here is a photo of a Pecan Pie I once made… I only had a quick minute; thought I’d share something…  This is a link to a Pecan Pie post from (more than) a few years ago.

As for any books I’ve read lately that mention Pecan Pie, I can only refer you to Together by Julie Cohen, a book I read in April of this year. I can refer you but I can’t recommend. I thought the story execution was faulty, tbh.

I am behind on posting reviews, alas. I do want to post soon on the great books I’ve read lately; the most top-of-mind being A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore. I’m listening to Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists, narrated by Maggie Hoffman. Can’t say I’m in a slump, exactly, but I’m not tearing it up on the reading efforts. I’m one book behind my 2018 goal…

What’s been happening for you, lately? Any good pies sampled? Any great books to recommend?

 

 

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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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A True Lady

Thoughts  by Edith Layton, Untreed Books 2017 (orig 1995), 301 pages

Genre: Swashbuckling Romance
Type/Source: eBook / Kindle 
 Why I read this now: Oh, I was so ready for something FUN.

MOTIVATION for READING: Another book that came to me and I didn’t note where/how/whom rec’d.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is about a strong independent woman determined to live her life on her own terms despite her father’s fear and objections and meddling. She’s a pirate’s daughter; her mother was a proper English lady. And then, sadly, boys will be boys and girls can’t be as independent as they want (sigh)…

WHAT’s GOOD: All good fun!

What’s NOT so good: Only ‘baked pastry’ mentioned as a pie reference. Ha

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was my 1000th book entered as DONE-READ in goodreads. I know I’ve read more – didn’t have a good tracking system until I started blogging…

RATING: 

 

 

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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.

An American Marriage

Thoughts by Tayari Jones, 2018, 308 pages

Challenge: My Marina Bookclub
Genre: Contemporary Lit?
Type/Source: Hardcover / Barnes & Noble
 Why I read this now:  First book selected to kick off the summer of “Boats and Reading”

MOTIVATION for READING: I really liked Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow novel and this, her first book since, has been eagerly awaited PLUS is being received favorably by many.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A young black married couple don’t have the strongest of trust between them when a tragedy occurs. The husband is mistakenly accused of a horrific crime even though his alibi is verified by his wife at the time of the alleged event. He is sentenced to 15 years in jail in Mississippi; the wife lives in Atlanta. Thus, the marriage is further strained? Is that accurate? I think so.

The story is told through three viewpoints:  the husband, the wife and her childhood friend who introduced them, was the best man at the wedding and has been in love with the wife for years. These two begin a romance but she can’t quite bring herself to serve divorce papers and questions her own loyalties and needs. Then, husband is released from jail and comes home. How will this triangle resolve itself?

THOUGHTS: This book took me a long time to read. I would put it down and just not want to pick it back up. I found it realistically presented and the characters/ situations interesting but I couldn’t invest in the story for some reason. I can only take so much heartbreak and heartache.

RATING: Three slices of pie.

“Cool as icebox 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.

Jane Eyre

Thoughts  by Charlotte Bronte, 2016 (orig 1847), 19 hours 10 minutes

Narrated by Thandie Newton.

Challenge: Personal
Genre: Classics, Feminism, Gothic Romance?
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: #shrug

MOTIVATION for READING: Oh Jane. Jane, I feel like I know you. I have ‘known’ your story for what feels like forever. But, my memory fails me! I’m not really positive that I have met you face-to-face and heard your story from you directly. Perhaps I have only heard talk from other acquaintances, about your Mr. Rochester and his mad wife in the attic. I can’t remember if I was lying when I say I have read your book. Did I? or does it just seem that way because I know of the tale? (I have the same issue/question re: Wuthering Heights.)

I had to be sure. I decided that experiencing Jane Eyre via audiobook was the way to go (a first-read or reread – who cares? I suspected I would enjoy it – I love long classics on audio.) Lucky for me, I was able to select THIS edition.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Hmmmm, dare I spoil it? Have I already?!  EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT JANE EYRE IS ABOUT, right?

Actually, no. One of my best friends asked me yesterday, what is about? Crazy, huh? She’s such a good egg but is she plugged into the world of literature-mania like me? She is NOT.

And I had hard time telling her. How much to tell? I shrugged and told her she wouldn’t like it and would probably DNF it. I know her well enough.

WHAT’s GOOD: Thandie Newton is a dream. She is PERFECTION. She made every line beautiful and dreamy; she delivered the exact amount of emotion to every sentence. Fraught or loving, scary or forcefully independent.

Listen to Thandie’s voice and her thoughts on doing the narration:

What’s NOT so good:  Bronte can go on and on with descriptions but I enjoyed it. (I suspect my friend would roll her eyes in weariness. I also suspect she wouldn’t like the old language.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you want to audiobook a classic, choose this one.

RATING: Five slices of gooseberry pie.

“I have kept myself; and, I trust, shall keep myself again. What are you going to do with these gooseberries?” I inquired, as she brought out a basket of the fruit.

“Mak’ ’em into pies.”

“Give them to me and I’ll pick them.”

“Nay; I dunnut want ye to do nought.”

“But I must do something. Let me have them.”

She consented; and she even brought me a clean towel to spread over my dress, “lest,” as she said, “I should mucky it.”

 

 

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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.

Hunger

Updated to add the link to the TOB Nonfiction Pop up.

Undestroying Myself. Revel in my freedom. Terribly Human. Truth to Creation.

Thoughts  by Roxane Gay, HarperAudio 2017, 5 hours 57 minutes

Narrated by the author and admirably so.

Challenge: TOB nonfiction MAY
Genre: Nonfiction. Memoir.
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: TOB

MOTIVATION for READING: I have had this book on my tbr since I first heard of it. I enjoyed the raw honesty of Bad Feminist. I still have yet and want to read her fiction.

I went with the audiobook because it seemed right to her own voice to her words. Others agreed and announced it a good way to experience.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Ms. Gay tells all about her struggle with her self-image, her self reality, and what is to blame. It’s raw, it’s intense.

WHAT’s GOOD: I like how she simply and powerfully states her truth.

What’s NOT so good: There’s so much ache. How can you dare judge? It’s her story. You might not do or react the same. You might make different choices but what  is the point of considering? It’s so complex, so difficult; hard.

I like these memoirs because of the honesty and raw truth. Don’t like it or do admire it but it’s a contrast to consider how one might react – the same or different and why it might be important. It’s not important; there is not better best yes. It just is.

I’ve always thought Roxane Gay to be brave – she is outspoken and opinionated and dares express it on Twitter which we all know tends to gather the worst of humanity in response.

This book testifies that she is courageous and brave and forceful and doing her as best as her can be a-doin’ it.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I thought it interesting that I had in the past considered an idea that I would be a terrific technical writer and here is RG, a writer who fell into a tech-writing job. Just one of those odd pauses in my life when I wondered, what if? What if I had pursued it rather than wished it? And how can some people just find themselves doing things that I was to scared to ask if I could do?  Again, “Huh.”

As for “fat” books as a genre? Eek, that sounds… wrong but also great. Anyway, if you like this book, I recommend Shrill – which I just heard has been optioned for some kind of film!  OH YEA. Shrill was quite powerful on the Fat and Feminist genre niches.

RATING: Five slices of pie. Cherry pie and brownie pie.

Come on, Ina! Invite RG to be a guest on your show!!  (Has she already invited her?! did I miss it?)

I am excited to see what TOB does with these three books. I just downloaded the audiobook of Blackout by Sarah Hepola to round out this Nonfiction-full discussion event in May.

SCHEDULE:

Tuesday, May 1: Introduction
Friday, May 4: Hunger, first half
Tuesday, May 8: Hunger, second half
Friday, May 11: Educated, first half
Tuesday, May 15: Educated, second half
Friday, May 18: Priestdaddy, first half
Tuesday, May 22: Priestdaddy, second half
Friday, May 25: Wrap-up

 

Audible hopes you’ve enjoyed this program.

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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.