Category Archives: No Pie Mentioned

The Slow March of Light

Thoughts by Heather B Moore, 2021, 10 hours 54 minutes

Narrated by: Stephen Graybill and Christa Lewis

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Speed category

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction, Berlin/Cold War, Based on a true story. Inspired by real events.

Type/Source: Audiobook, Audible

What It’s About: Bob was a senior in college, majoring in economics with dreams of moving on to law school, when he was drafted into the US Army. The year was 1959. After basics in Oklahoma and proving more than competent in shooting, he is sent to a US base in Germany. He is voluntold into the spy game and is eventually captured, enduring 4-5 months in a GDR communist prison camp.

Before impersonating a US economics student studying post-war economics with a German professor who regularly travels into East Germany, he meets a German nurse named Luisa who through circumstance, personal moral courage, and her determination to get her grandmother out of East Berlin, becomes a resistance fighter.

We get his side of the tale and hers. This is a historical post-WW2 story documenting the building of the Berlin Wall. If communism doesn’t scare you, read this.

Thoughts: Despite the note on my gr progress that I found it to started with few emotional hooks and that it felt rather fact-based more than emotional-story, I ended up liking this very much. I cannot but admire the faith and convictions of Bob and also Luisa; I loved their friendship, I was very touched by the ending. A really lovely story that hit hard in a good way and at the right time.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

 

 

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.

Olga Dies Dreaming

Thoughts by Xóchitl González, Flatiron Books 2022, 349 pages

Challenge: Recommended by a friend.

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction, Puerto Rico Independence, American Dream Pursuit

Type/Source: eBook/Libby Library – 14 day loan

Rather than be irritated, she thought, she should focus on the infallible hilarity of the ultra-wealthy to be penny-wise when it came to compensating human sweat, and dollar-foolish when it came to everything else. She shouldn’t be irritated at all, she counseled herself, and instead laugh her way to the bank.

What It’s About: Olga is a high-achieving owner of a wedding planning business to the wealthy of NYC. Her every move is calculated to take advantage of opportunities to make money and gain status. Her brother is a US Representative from and for Brooklyn. Their father is dead from HIV drug-use and their mom is a fugitive revolutionary-mercenary.

New York had a shocking way of spiraling into chaos whenever met with precipitation, as though the entirety of its infrastructure was actually made of sugar and the water triggered dissolution.

Thoughts: I won’t lie, this was hard to get into. The first third had me pushing myself to keep reading and I wouldn’t give myself permission to DNF because a friend recommended it to me. A friend that I greatly admire. Then I began to wonder, ‘What *IS* this? a love story? A whodunnit tale of treachery? (I was worried that the romantic interest was going to be a bad guy — spoiler: he is a good guy.) A family drama child abandonment story? or an incitation to Revolution, on the part of Puerto Rico?

Yes, and I support PR being granted statehood. The status of this island and these citizens is unjust; to be dependent and taxed, without representation.

She was less uncomfortable than she thought she would be, the realization of which made her uncomfortable.

However, all the stories do come together and I admire this as an author’s strong debut, in mostly– for me– what it accomplishes and addresses, a passionate statement in support of Puerto Rico. I learned a lot more about Puerto Rico.

If your rights are less because you’re born in one place, not another, how meaningful are those rights in the first place?

Rating: Four slices of pie.

 

 

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.

Giovanni’s Room

Thoughts by James Baldwin, Vintage Books/div of Random House 2013 (orig) 1956, 169 pages

Challenge: Classics Club 50, part 2 & #BookSpin for January

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction / Americans in Paris

Type/Source: Tradeback / Purchased Indiebookstore

What It’s About: Wow.

Since I have no idea how to approach a review, I’m going to provide the Jhumpa Lahiri quote on the back of the book:

A novel of unique emotional intensity and exceptional beauty, hypnotic intimate, harrowing. A portrait of a man torn between a woman and another man, groundbreaking for its time, it remains a transcendent novel.”

Thoughts: Gorgeously written. So many layers.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

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.

Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Thoughts by Sally Rooney, Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2021, 356 pages or 10 hours 3 minutes

Narrated by Aoife McMahon.

Challenge: TOB 2022

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction

Type/Source: eBook AND Audiobook from Libby

What It’s About: I’m going to be lazy and share the blurb from goodreads which I might assume is from the publisher? [Yes, I think so?]

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

Thoughts: Do I think they are standing in the last lighted room before darkness? No. Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world. Yes. Yes, I am thinking positive.

Simon kind of drove me up the wall. Alice was slightly intriguing. Eileen less so. Felix amused me but I am not sure he would be someone I would want to know personally. He does like dogs, so he has that going for him.

I found this very readable. I read it wondering more about why some love it and why some don’t. Lots of sex. Lots of philosophy on morals and how the world-is-going-to-pot. Explores art, the meaning of art and why beauty exists. And yet, it felt like watching someone have those conversations rather than being there experiencing the conversations. It wasn’t transportive. [Huh, I’m being told that isn’t a word.] What do I mean? I mean that it made me feel like an older person watching a different younger generation deal with things without giving me the feeling that I’m right there, too. I can have sympathies, but I wasn’t transported to feel the experience.

…a recondite joke requiring familiarity with several other internet jokes in order to be even vaguely comprehensible,

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

….compassionate attachment to purely fictional people—from whom we obviously can’t expect to derive any material satisfaction or advantage—is a way of understanding the deep complexities of the human condition, and thus the complexities of God’s love for us.

Like good stationery, heavy pens, unlined paper, they represented to her the possibility of imagination, a possibility so much finer in itself and more delicate than anything she had ever managed to imagine.

He stood in the doorway while she went searching in one of the presses. She looked around at him.

huh? how do you “Look around” and also “at”?

 

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 Mermaid Chair

Thoughts by Sue Monk Kidd, Viking 2005, 336 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Mythical Being or #ReadICT: Mythology (6)

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction

Type/Source: Hardcover / Library Bag Sale 2021

What It’s About: — An empty-nester SAHM is unhappy. She finds her place in the world diminished and unsatisfied. In the process of rescuing her mom who is suffering from odd behaviors, she moves back to her hometown/island, has an odd affair with a monk, solves a mystery or two, and discovers the artist within. Ultimately, she rescues herself and her marriage.

Thoughts: In my quest to read everything by Sue Monk Kidd, because I really enjoyed her thoughts about how she came to write The Book of Longings (my review May2021), I set this book as my First Book this year. Mostly because I had just lifted it off the shelf to fit the WiaN category. It fits my other big challenge so Big YAY.

I couldn’t quite bring myself to go that far — all that paddling around in the alphabet soup of one’s childhood, scooping up letters, hoping to arrange them into enlightening sentences that would explain why things that turned out the way they had. Revoked a certain mutiny in me.”

(early in the book, when her husbands suggests she talk to a therapist.)

Knowing that the reviews on this book are mixed, I went into it with lower expectations, with a certain curiosity versus and hope-to-enjoy, if that makes sense? I did feel to me, that she set up her plot and then made it happen, but it misses that spark of something created out of nothing. It felt like a collection of thoughts and then-this-happened, etc. Plus, the main character is hard to like or feel anything for, unfortunately. Her assisting cast also felt stereotypical. However, it was readable and I didn’t mind my time in the story. I was curious about her mom and what really happened to her father. The spiritual questioning and awakening stuff wasn’t very convincing yet at the same time, I appreciated how she created her sentences. I won’t deny her writing skills.

This is a sophomore effort, coming off her best-selling debut, The Secret Life of Bees, which I read pre-blogging. She has kept at it and, as mentioned above, her latest is terrific and very brave, original. Now I will dive into her memoirs — I think I might enjoy these the best.

Rating: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

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.

 

Anxious People

Thoughts by Fredrik Backman, Atria Books 2020,(orig 2019), 352 pages

Translated from Swedish by Neil Smith.

Challenge: Book Club choice for November

Genre/Theme: uh…. I don’t know. Where do these fit?

Type/Source: Hardcover / Library

What It’s About: It is essentially a down-on-your-luck story that interweaves an entire cast of these stories into a bank-robbery-attempt and then inadvertent-hostage-situation thing. While exploring what drives people to do desperate things while being good people. And maybe, aren’t we all just good people trying to survive? and wouldn’t it be lovely if we remember to be kind?

Ok, the first half or so is tedious. People being tedious and professionals NOT being professional and a lot of the author talking to the reader and LOTS of repetition. Hey this is about a bank-robber! Wait, is it? HEY!! this is about people standing on a bridge!!! Ten years ago! OH, but don’t think about then yet; think about cookies.

Um… OK. Can we get on with this, please?

Eventually, we get to know the hostages and figure out all the details that support what we (the readers) think probably happens/happened. Chapter 58 was good – it had a lot of book references…

Laughter is expressing your defiance against despair.

Rating: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned. (Unless pizza pie will count? This has pizza!)

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.

TOB Favorites – It’s ON!

Blank Brackets — > HERE <–

Explore the Goodreads > Groups –> Tourney Folder HERE <– (not sure if you have to join? I don’t recall how that works but I think it is set to public-view)

I’m so excited!

So far, Pachinko advances over The Animators, Skippy Dies defeats Idaho, Version Control over Girl.Woman.Other (I *hate* commas in book titles), and Homegoing wins over There.There!

That was last week.

This week, so far, A Tale for the Time Being triumphs over Never Let Me Go and The Tsar of Love and Techno narrowly escapes over Nothing to See Here‘s Fire Kids.

This is getting GOOD. All of the judgments have been wonderful to read and cheer for. I can’t argue with any of them. According to my favorites in order (see below), I should be a bit disappointed but let’s remember – -these are FAVORITES! so I can’t be upset.

(Honestly? I had forgotten that I had place Tsar the top of the top. I made this list before the bracket was announced.)

My list track is here — the long list and the short list… with my list in order presented here:

The Tsar of Lovand Techno, Milkman, Life After LifeVersion Control, A Tale for the Time BeingNothing to See Here, Homegoing, The Animators, Pachinko, Idaho, Never Let Me Go, Girl♥Woman♥Other, Stephen Florida, Skippy Dies, Exit West, There♠There

For the rest of the week, I hope Life After Life prevails and Milkman conquers.

*** Updated: Stephen Florida wins over Life After Life.. 10/20/21

*** Updated: Milkman is selected over Exit West 10/21/2021

Then… we’ll just have to see what happens! My vote for top 8:

Which is your favorite?

Are you going to drop everything once the TOB Long List is announced for 2022?!?!?! I will…

 

 

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.

Apologize, Apologize!

Thoughts by Elizabeth Kelly, Twelve/Hachette Book Group 2009, 230 pages

Challenge: 20 books of Summer, What’s in a Name: Double Word

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit/Quirky Family

Type/Source: Tradeback/Gift from a friend

What It’s About: Wealthy family, rebel unconventional parents, two sons and an uncle. MANY many dogs. A house on Martha’s Vineyard Mass and a cold grandfather in Boston. The youngest son is the favorite, the oldest son is trying to find his way.

Thoughts: Sentences are crafty. The characters are quirky but unfortunately, not charming. The plot takes forever to chug into any direction and I got bored. I flipped to the end and found I actually did miss some big developments but couldn’t care enough to go back and find my footing in the story to make the puzzles pieces fit. Abandoned.

Thank you Gail for bringing this to a book club meeting for share. Sad that I couldn’t connect to it. Another one I’ve carried around since 2009.

Rating: __2__slices of pie. I didn’t note any pie mentions. But please, this is only MY reaction – goodreads average score is 3.2 so if you like quirky family drama, give this a try. If Gail doesn’t want the book returned, I am glad to send it on.

 

What’s in a Name host site: Carolina Book Nook

 

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 Smart One and the Pretty One

Thoughts by Claire LaZebnik, 5 Spot/Hachette Book Group 2008, 288 pages

Challenge: 20 books of Summer

Genre/Theme: Fun Fiction/Sisters

Type/Source: Tradeback/Gift from a friend

What It’s About: Two sisters are reunited to take care of their mother’s health challenge and both grow up a bit while learning to appreciate each other.

Thoughts: Wow – that sentence above hurt me to write! Let’s see, let me start over.

The PRETTY-SISTER is irresponsible and unconcerned, loves fashion, has moved home from NYC back to LA and escorts Mom to chemotherapy as she battles a “minor case of breast cancer” (WTF?!)

The SMART-SISTER is overly responsible, hates all things girly, is consumed by being the consummate attorney. Smartie puts Pretty on a budget buying-ban; Pretty fixes sis up with an old family friend. Mayhem ensues.

OK, I do tend to overuse the “mayhem ensues”, I get it. I’ll stop. (no I won’t.) Pretty-Sister realizes she needs to be better with her finances and Smarty-Sis realizes that fashion *CAN* be fun.

It was a light and sexy read and I was glad to escape into the pages after too many months of reading more whacky or serious (or both) so I am happy to finally get to this.

But what happens with Mom? What happens to dud NYC-boy and his mom? A few loose ends, for me.

Thank you Lisa from Omaha for “winning” this book to me in 2009. LOL! 2009…

Rating: __4___slices of pie. I didn’t note any pie mentions. Might have to demote it to 3 slices…

 

What’s in a Name host site: Carolina Book Nook

 

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.