The Disappearing Spoon

Thoughts : And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean, Back Bay Books 2010, 416 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Cutlery Category
Genre: Pop Science
Type/Source:  Tradeback Paperback / Local Indie Bookstore
 Why I read this now: I think it took me all month to read it. I wanted something new and different after all the 2016 pub’d books I had furiously flown through.

MOTIVATION for READING: I like fun science. This satisfied the cutlery challenge and looked interesting. My other option was Consider the Fork about technology and food. (Yep, another nonfiction.) If you want a title with a knife, I only recommend The Knife of Never Letting Go if you have ALL books in the series. I hate cliffhangers.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The author walks the reader through the elements of the Chemistry Periodic Table regaling with history, personalities, OF COURSE some science and other oddball tidbits to fascinate.

Jupiter is a fantasy camp for elements.

WHAT’s GOOD: Easy to understand sections about how they figure the age of the world. I enjoyed the personal anecdotes about the fascinating scientists that worked out these challenges. The author does a fair job of recognizing and discussing privilege in science/history. And how much we still don’t understand – the chapter on the alpha constant! It’s everywhere – totally fascinating. He highlights many recent stories that show how science of the elements is still evolving. [doh. The study of medicine/pharmacology, anyone?!] I know that I have internal bias that science discovery was all done ‘back then’ and when he mentions research and experiments past 2005 — I admit, I am embarrassed to wonder “hey- that is recent!” Maybe it is the realization that I have lived some of this history but how can I be that old already? It really is an odd thing to sense one’s own aging; it still befuddles me.

“If anything runs deeper than a mathematician’s love of variables, it’s a scientist’s love of constants.”

What’s NOT so good: I had to have two bookmarks – one for the text and the other in the footnotes section. I’ll never remember most of it! Only occasionally, the presentation is dense and extremely technical but also easy to skip over and get to the good stuff.

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you like science history, this is a don’t-miss. But then again, if you really love science history, you probably know a lot of it already.

It often reminded me of that episode of the Big Bang Theory when Sheldon adopts the cats…

RATING: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Dublin Literary Pub Crawl

Thoughts          by Colm Quilligan, Writers’ Island 4th Ed 2017 (orig 2008), 160 pages

The story of Dublin pubs and the writers they served.

Challenge: Tour Dublin
Genre: Travel, Literary Travel!!
Type/Source: Tradeback / purchased directly from the author
 Why I read this now: Cuz I bought it from the source AT the source.

MOTIVATION for READING: To see if I really saw Dublin as I hope to have seen it. (yea, not quite, dammit.)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This book is a guide to all the cool literary places to visit in Dublin! It is NOT the thing to buy on your last day in Dublin. It is preferable to read before setting foot in Dublin but not too far in advance probably (based on ME, cuz I am really horrible about reading stuff pre-visit to places. (What is really crazy is that I can replay that in my head in an Irish accent but I suck at an Irish-accent-attempt live.))

WHAT’s GOOD: Pretty pictures! Slick copy! Cool places! MUST. GET. BACK. TO DUBLIN. Guinness really does taste better in Dublin. Sigh.

This book is packed with places (with addresses – good), photos, interesting tidbits, famous people and other people that may not be known to everyone, fascinating history, etc etc etc. The index is extensive, too, which I know will impress the fussiest of nonfiction-lovers. And a bibliography!

If you read yesterday’s post on Delaney’s Dublin book, you’ll know about The Bailey pub and maybe could tell that it doesn’t look ‘old’. Interesting bit: Delaney lamented that 7 Eccles Street was not a stop on any tour (he does give quite a bit of history why Joyce chose that address in Ulysses) and now Quilligan explains more:

The Bailey was part of the Brown Thomas department store building, which was bough by Marks and Spencer in 1994. The pub and landmark restaurant were closed and quickly gutted, prompting a controversy about where to put the door of 7 Eccles Street, the fictional home of Leopold Bloom (the door had been part of the foyer of the Bailey). Thankfully, the door found a new home at the James Joyce Centre on North Great Georges Street, where it enhance the excellent permanent exhibition that transferred there from the National Library.

We didn’t get to the Joyce Centre on Great Georges. #sadface. I also failed to find the statue of Joyce that was supposed to be on one of the main boulevards, according to the map. I was riding the bus, camera ready and failed to spot it, I guess.

What’s NOT so good: That feeling of wanting to turn around and go back to Dublin immediately because I read this on the plane ride back to America. 

FINAL THOUGHTS: Must go back, all there is to it. I follow some cool Twitter pages for promoting Dublin and I just yesterday saw a place I want to go visit that isn’t in this book and now I’m wondering just how big is that town?!

Highly recommended you read this prior to your trip and also enjoy the actual Pub Crawl when you get there.  The Crawl is lively and informative with song and ditties and opportunities to taste a beverage or two; but gives only just a little slice of what can be discovered with this book.

RATING: Four slices of pie; Guinness Beef Pie or and even a Guinness Chocolate Cherry Pie? No pie mentioned (or I missed it?)

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

James Joyce’s Odyssey

Thoughts  by Frank Delaney, Paladin Grafton Books 1987, 191 pages

Challenge: I traveled to Dublin for Spring Break! I brought this along…
Genre: Nonfiction/Literary Analysis/Travel
Type/Source: Tradeback/Sent from a friend

MOTIVATION for READING: Let’s back up to when I first had this book in my hands. It was January 2011 when I signed up for the “Jousting with Joyce” readalong. I never finished Ulysses and I have no record of what page/episode I stopped on.

So anyway, dear friend Jeanne sent me THIS book out of the blue back in 2011 and I have been treasuring it ever since, thinking “Some day, I will conquer Ulysses“. Rather, I was able to make a trip to Dublin happen instead.

Now I am even more eager to read it (Ulysses), to be honest.

Portrait of the Author as an Old Man; from Bailey’s Pub, remodeled.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Delaney chats with obvious affection for Joyce and his tale of Ulysses. He organizes his ‘Odyssey’ by the same structure as Joyce does in Ulysses and walks the reader through the story and what it might mean, then and now. This not a step by step walking tour of Dublin. It’s subtle – and it is also 30 years old so many things have changed from 1904 (year the book is set) and 1922 (year Ulysses was published) and 1987.

FYI, Ulysses follows two characters, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus – not always together, on walkabout through Dublin, basically. Joyce has stated that his book is a blueprint with which to rebuild Dublin if need be. Ready?

A sample of Delany’s words with Joyce’s:
Sandymount Strand, ineluctable as sin, sweeps wide and grey and beige, stippled with gulls and aeroplanes and lighthouses and ships and lone Dedalus-walkers. “Signature of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack the nearing tide, that rusty book.” Most of the thoughts in Stephen’s mind as he walked along Sandymount Strand were triggered by that ineluctable modality of the visible.

So for the ‘now’ of 2017,  many signs and plaques identify Joyce’s locations and landmarks — these are not mentioned in Delaney’s book. Perhaps a map of these IS published by the James Joyce museum which I did not visit. I really let my wanderings and Joyce connections happen rather than seek them out. It was a vacation with the Husband who though sympathetic and/or amused, he did not share my enthusiasm. “He indulged me occasionally” would be the best way to put it. So, it was happenstance and sudden delights, when I found a Joyce marker.

Book pages with little (useless!) map and photos with backdrop of similar photo from a blog post…

WHAT’s GOOD: Photos from turn of the century (late 1800s – early 1900s and some 1987.) Opportunity to consider how Dublin has changed in 30 years and 100+. But the best of the book is the author’s delight in talking about and sharing anecdotes and explanations of what Joyce was attempting with Ulysses.

Another paragraph of Delaney praise for what Joyce attempted in Ulysses:
“The Oxen of the Sun episode is the most difficult to read in Ulysses. All Joyce’s linguistic interests are on exhibition and he gives a foretaste of what was to come in Finnegans Wake. That it exhausted him is certain: in several communications with friends, he referred to “the Oxen of the bloody, bleeding Sun” and he admitted freely that the control of all the ideas, the mathematical nine-part divisions, the embryonic development and the endless parodies were almost as much as he could master. He managed brilliantly.

What’s NOT so good:  Of course, I wanted better maps… LOL.

I failed this book as I do most travel books. Tedious to look at when I can’t relate, and too late for visits once I can. I admit, one of our favorite pub visits was to Bruxelles because it was around during Joyce times and is in a photo of Delaney’s book. I didn’t get any pics of our Guinness nor Irish Whiskey while there, unfortunately.

As typical, I now flip through Delaney’s guide and only want to go back to Dublin and see it all again, find the past anew.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I am more willing to attack Ulysses some day. I do feel that it will require patience and a light touch – not taking it too seriously.

“Joyce said once, not without sadness, to Nora: “The pity is the public will demand and find a moral in my book, or worse, they may take it in some serious way, and on the honor of a gentleman, there is not one serious single line in it.”

I am keeping this book as a guide when I do tackle Ulysses because of the same structure and the explanations, motivations, and landmarks in words.

RATING:  3 slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

Other Resources:  Schmoop / Frank Delaney’s Podcasts

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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 Nix

Thoughts by Nathan Hill, Knopf 2016, 628 pages

Challenge: My last TOB book, I promise

Also…  Satisfies the “Title with an X” category.

Genre: GAN? (why so uncertain? I am ALWAYS uncertain.)
Type/Source: Hardcover / a friend.
 Why I read this now: It was time and possession.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have had this book on my tbr since before the long list was announced, but I’m sure it was the TOB possibility list of 2016 published titles that put it on my radar. [Added to tbr on Nov 11, 2016 – hmmm, this sounds like I did NOT find it before the tob long list date…  darn.]

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The premise is enticing, no? A NIX is something you love that will ultimately destroy you. Or something like that.

It’s 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson—college professor, stalled writer—has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn’t seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she’s re-appeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paint Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: she’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help.

It’s just a fun, plot-ful, charged and funny read. It has internet-gaming addiction, college angst and student-entitlement issues, music + young love + best friend love + frozen TV dinners, history (I love learning about stuff from past real life via fiction), some travel, some odd interesting things about plants. I loved it.

WHAT’s GOOD: It was action-oriented and gave me history of Chicago – a favorite town. It has one of the most heart-breaking (to me) scenes of high school angst via Faye that I’ve ever encountered. It put raw-honesty words to some of my own life. It had many a crazy moments. It has a 13 page run on sentence! I just might re-“read” this by audiobook someday. [OK – you rereaders can go ahead and laugh because I probably never will.]

After today’s commentary, I have been asking myself if I liked this one more than Version Control. I think yes, YES, I did. But they felt similar to me in that they packed a lot of stuff into the plot.

What’s NOT so good: That same HS-angst that Faye felt didn’t quite jive with her freshman year persona. She was afraid of being noticed or thought wrong and yet did crazy-fearless things I would NEVER have done my freshman year in college and I couldn’t quite balance it. But I gave it a pass. People are always surprising. I read some critiques after I finished this book (always a GOOD sign when I read this AFTER – if read DURING, a bad sign…) and I am still thinking about the negatives others have shared. Let’s just say that THIS commentary on TOB round day will be captivating to me. Yes, I said CAPTIVATING.

Was this book sexist and misogynistic?  Gawd, do I have to go there?! I didn’t have those thoughts I.Get.It. if did/didn’t. It’s seriously exhausting to have that lens on all the time, give it a rest?!  Life is so fecking troublematic.

Was it… white bread privilege? Maybe. How could Faye make a living by creating a nonprofit to read books to children? How easy did that happen?! How was Sam going to make a living -*-*-*-*-*-SPOILER ALERT!!! -*-*-*-*-*- in the last half of the book? oh yea, he’s a writer with the best publicist ever.

I didn’t get a good sense of what the 1968ers were protesting, compared to the protests going on now. It definitely had a pre-election feel to it and yet it also grasped that political party struggle of us vs them.

I think I am looking forward to commentary on this. And I seriously also hope that everyone who DOES comments reads the history of the TOB and takes a chill pill. I am totally speaking to those who have newly discovered the TOB and are throwing their opinions about how unfair and seriously flawed the thing is because THAT is the point. Take a step back. Pause, breathe, get a grip, laugh some, realize that I sound absolutely awful and I don’t care, think some about it all and BE KIND. Be kind. Please be kind. Love things, disagree with things, and smile because life can still be beautiful or what’s the point. The point is not which book wins the Rooster but that we have an opportunity to think about what we LIKE about books. Rant over. That is all.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Whew. The Nix. Was this the Next Great Amerian Novel? [I wish all the best to Mr. Hill.] I don’t know. I don’t think so, though.

RATING: I rounded up from 4.5 slices of pie to give this the honored 5-slicer because I enjoyed it.

Have a nice day.

BIG SHOUT OUT TO MY FRIEND Katie! who loves the TOB and reads voraciously and is the person I think about when I see anything related to hedgehogs, who sent me this book.

Here’s a photo from Ireland of a cafe called the Strawberry Hedgehog. Unfortunately, we were unable to stop and check it out.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Born a Crime

Thoughts bacbytn by Trevor Noah, Audible 2016, 8 hours 50 minutes

Challenge:  No challenge involved.
Genre: Memoir
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible (a freebie announcement I happened to catch.)
 Why I read this now: I needed an easy listen that was short.

MOTIVATION for READING: I love comedian memoirs on audio.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A coming of age tale a few years before Apartheid in South Africa and years following.

WHAT’s GOOD: Fascinating look at a life and cultures of which I know little.

What’s NOT so good: I wanted to know more about how he came to America and got his start in television. Guess that part will be in his next book. Trust me, the ‘early years’ of Trevor Noah have plenty of drama!

FINAL THOUGHTS: Highly recommended. Narration is terrific.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Sudden Death

Thoughts sdbyae by Álvaro Enrigue, Riverhead 2016, 264 pages

Translated from Spanish to English by Natasha Wimmer.

Audiobook published by Tantor Audio, narration by Robert Fass, 6 hours 57 minutes.

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Historical Fiction / Tennis Lit
Type/Source: Hardback AND Audio / Library
 Why I read this now: Selected due to shortness of the audiobook, in hopes that I could finish in January to be my 12th book of the month.

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB…

WHAT’s it ABOUT: I’m going to copy and paste one of the goodreads blurbs.

A funny and mind-bending novel about the clash of empires and ideas in the sixteenth century, told over the course of one dazzling tennis match

A brutal tennis match in Rome.

Two formidable opponents: the wild Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and the loutish Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo.

Galileo, Saint Matthew and Mary Magdalene heckle from the sidelines.

In England, Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII execute Anne Boleyn, and her executioner transforms her legendary locks into the most sought-after tennis balls of the time.

Across the ocean in Mexico, the last Aztec emperors play their own games, as Hernán Cortés and his Mayan translator and lover scheme and conquer, fight and fuck, not knowing that their domestic comedy will change the course of history.

Over the course of one dazzling tennis match – through assassinations and executions, carnal liaisons and papal dramas, artistic and religious revolutions, love and war – Sudden Death tells the grand adventure of the clash of empires and the dawn of the modern era.

WHAT’s GOOD: It really is fascinating. And has its funny moments.

What’s NOT so good: It’s also too difficult to keep track of in my current end-of-month scramble to finish a book (impatience) and the wrestling with reading books I feel “I have to” and not what “I want to” — which I realize is messed-up thinking so let’s throw in the current state of the world affairs, my own crazy messy life stuff, and realizing I have a book club book to read by next week.

Allow me to share a few thoughts from my reader friends:

sdbyaegr

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m skimming the rest of this and do not think I will be missing anything (actually, as I miss EVERYTHING!) – in other words, I will be able to follow the upcoming TOB commentary and likely agree with everyone. If you are reading this, let me know if it has any pie.

RATING: Three slices of pie! I liked it, I’m just needing to move on. It does deserve more time and fuller attention than I care to give it at this time. I have my regrets and may I only mutter, someday…

Highly recommended for fans of lively history and TENNIS.

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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 Throwback Special

Thoughts ttsbycb by Chris Bachelder, WWNorton 2016, 213 pages

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Adult Fic
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library
 Why I read this now: Two books came off hold the same day, this is the shorter.

MOTIVATION for READING:  I like football?

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Twenty-two guys get together every year to reenact the football play that broke QB Joe Theisman’s leg. You read that right: twenty-two characters, all but one middle-aged white guys. And then some, when you throw in the hotel clerk and a few of the other guests at the hotel.

WHAT’s GOOD:  It’s short. It’s impressive as a collective character study. It has some great sentences, occasional sharp social commentary, a bit of wit.

What’s NOT so good: I’ve already forgotten what I liked about it. Wow, I feel horrible saying that, but it’s true.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I like football. I’m of the era so I remember Joe and that horrible play. Another admission of honesty – I’ve never watched it closely. It starts and I cover my eyes. Golly, I can’t think of a think to write up here. I’m reading too fast; like I’m at a food competition (taste this taste that move on) – did I like it? sure. Did I love it? Ummmm, not really. Is it worthy? – well the folks who selected it for the TOB seem to think it has something fun to discuss and I don’t doubt that. I’m sure someone somewhere will be able to think of something profound to praise.

RATING: I gave it 4 slices of pie immediately after reading it, might as well keep it. No pie was mentioned.

 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Grief is the Thing With Feathers

Thoughts gittwfbymp Graywolf Press 2016, 114 pages

JUST ANNOUNCED! This is on the TOB Short List!

Challenge: TOB Long List and also counting for Poetry 100
Genre: Poetry, Adult Fiction
Type/Source: Tradeback / Library
 Why I read this now: It’s short!

MOTIVATION for READING: I’ve heard good things about this moving story.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A man loses his wife, his two sons lose a mother. A crow moves in to help them grieve.

WHAT’s GOOD:  The style, the cadence, the imagery.

What’s NOT so good: I admit that I am not much of a Ted Hughes fan but that is probably because the only thing I know about him is that he was Sylvia Platt’s husband. But I tried to drop my bias because I’m not sure I have given him proper consideration. That said, this book is somewhat based — I’m assuming – on a Hughes’ Crow poem. (I had to google that. Could have been part of the fiction for all I know.)

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I really did enjoy this sad yet hopeful poetic work. It reads very fast. It begs to be read aloud, as I assume poetic works do.

RATING: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

A sample:

Crow

Look at that, look, did I or did I not, oi, look, stab it.
Good book, funny bodies, open door, slam door, spit this, lick that, lift, oi, look, stop it.

Tender opportunity. Never mind, every evening, crack of dawn, all change, all meat this, all meat that, separate the reek. Did I or did I not, ooh, tarmac, macadam. Edible, sticky, bad camouflage.

Strap me to the  mast or I’ll bang her until my mathematics poke out her sorry, sorry, sorry, look! A severed hand, bramble, box of swans, box of stories, piss-arc, better off, must stop shaking, must stay still, mast stay still.

I also wrote down more poets to investigate:  Ibn ‘Arabi, Shostakovich, Osip Mandelstam, R.S.Thomas.
pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Going Gray

Thoughts ggbyak by Anne Kreamer, Little,Brown&Co 2007, 206 pages

Full Title:  Going Gray: What I Learned About Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters

wian2017

Challenge: What’s in a Name – Alliteration Category (two words in a title have same starting letter)
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir? Aging, Fashion
Type/Source: Hard cover / Bookmooch…
 Why I read this now: It’s short!

MOTIVATION for READING: I somewhat remember an article or a review that suggested this book and since it was available on BookMooch, I scooped it up.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  One woman’s decision to stop dying her hair and how she navigated through all her notions about aging, fashion, attractiveness, and her role in the world now that she was approaching ‘middle age’. It really is mostly her research on gray hair and what it means and not so much personal sharing on all that ‘everything else’ she lists in the extended title.

WHAT’s GOOD:  She does do a bit of research but it is also conducted in a personal way – which I guess is more fun, so I wouldn’t call it an academic study.  It did confirm for me that a female attempting to get a new job after age 50 is S.O.L. It is so sad how we don’t consider and value experience and society wants to ignore old people. Terribly sad.

In fact, she seems to conclude that gray hair is certainly NOT less sexy so we all can feel good about that. But finding a new job will be impossible. New lover? not a problem. Impressive to anyone hiring? not a chance.

What’s NOT so good:  She tends to make a few blanket statements that some careers are more youth-oriented than others but I think it is every job category out there.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I really need to figure out how to write a best-seller…  or even a moderate-seller. I really am well-suited to the working conditions of being a writer. Now I just need to figure out how to produce something.  Maybe I should write a nonfiction memoir study on some odd topic and then write some self-help books… Do I sound bitter?

RATING:  Two to three slices. It was short, not really memorable and no pie was mentioned.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Pie Charts Tables Stats Words, Part 1 2016

myyrinbooks2016

The “IN WORDS” Recap

Books I was excited about and thought I was going to love more: Quiet, Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress, Murder Must Advertise, The Devil in the White City, The Abstinence Teacher.

Most surprising book: The Tsar of Love and Techno. LOVED. And the audio narration was not great so I switched to print and am SO GLAD. So very glad. Also, Germinal, State of Wonder, and I Capture the Castle.

Book I pushed the most people to read: Probably The Painted Veil. Perhaps I Capture the Castle – talked my book club into reading it! Crossing to Safety made the rounds at the marina this summer. Am now recommending Homegoing. (READ IT.)

Diversity: I am humbled by what I’ve read to expand the world I know:  some James Baldwin, Paul Beatty’s Man Booker Award and TOB Rooster winner The Sellout (OMG – must read! want to read again), Pulitzer for Fiction winner The Sympathizer, authors: Turner, Rankin, Robinson, Woodson, Gyasi, Bennett. It continues.

Translated works:  3 – Han King’s The Vegetarian from Korean by Deborah Smith, Whatever by Houllebecq’s French by Paul Hammond, Germinal written by Zola and translated from French by Roger Pearson.

I read EIGHT books from the list of 1001+ Books to Read Before I Die. I read 8 last year, too.

Readalongs:  Last year at this post time, I reiterated my interest in reading Germinal and so we did in September – we had a great time! I also bullied my way into a buddy-along for Amsterdam and The Fireman was our almost King-along for 2016. Andi and I ended up reading The Painted Veil (“riggle in amidst the heart strings”) and then right after I tried to read A Little Life with a few bloggers who were also reading it (but I think it fizzled.) Ti of Book Chatter and I read the really strange The New Worlds. Just so you know – The Bone Clocks is happening NOW, The Green Mile postponed indefinitely (but still entertaining the idea), a Trollope of some sort is upcoming and… I’m sure I’ll get wrapped into something else. That Green Mile one will likely happen, I’m sure of it.

The Fireman was a win. Germinal was EXCELLENT. Good times…

HERE IS WHERE I THANK ALL OF YOU READERS AND READALONG PARTICIPANTS AND CHEERLEADERS AND COMMENTERS OF MY BLOG! YOU ROCK!  SMOOCHES AND KISSES AND HUGS {{{XOXOXO}}}

If I convinced you to read something and you loved it, YAY!!!  and if you convinced me to read something, THANK YOU.

pieratingsml

Most Read Author:  Barbara Claypole White – a new friend; I’m a big fan. I read her ENTIRE oeuvre Last year it was Rachel Joyce.

Fifty-eight authors were NEW to me. Of the others, 11 were a third (or more, but 3 was majority) time to sample. I read (possibly reread) an Agatha Christie; I read a ton of her stuff years ago. I reread To Kill a Mockinbird – and could have counted it as my reread of a HS classic but decided to use it in the BANNED BOOK category slot instead.

I fell in love with Ann Patchett, Anthony Marra, Wallace Stegner, and apparently Barbara Claypole White. (She’s adorable and spunky and lives in NC.)

I ended up reading three books by Ann Patchett in 2016:  Happy Marriage, State of Wonder, Commonwealth.

Challenges: I continue to rock out on my Classics Club 50, finishing year 2 of 5 very strong. I completed 9 of the 12 in the Back to the Classics Challenge and am happy with it. I completed the What’s in a Name and will continue with all of these in 2017. I am adding the Poetry Challenge.

Debuts: I did a crappy job of keeping track of this. I can say that I enjoyed new fiction by Angela Flournoy, Brit Bennett, Yaa Gyasi, and Scott Hawkins.

Raspberries to my efforts to watch and report on Books to Movie. I did enjoy The Painted Veil and recommend it highly – book and film. I did manage to watch The Book Thief and thought it well done.

Pie Mentions: Lots! I failed to track [snow day! guess what I’ve been doing!!] in my spreadsheet by book title (nor very accurately or collectably in goodreads) but only recorded in my reviews. Which means I need to go through all of these reviews [now done!] to see which books or how many mention pie. Maybe. Maybe I will do that or only vow to do better going forward.  ==>  57% of the books I read this year mention pie.

Crossing to Safety wins the PIE IN LITERATURE Award:

“When you’re nailing a custard pie to the wall, and it starts to wilt, it doesn’t do any good to hammer in more nails.”

If I were to guess, apple pie was mentioned more than any other kind of pie. I love Barbara Claypole White for the many pies she mentions, especially Orange-Rhubarb. Fate and Furies had some terrific pie mentions. Bennett’s The Mothers had a great pie scene and Germinal had more pie mentions than one might expect.

germpie

Unintended Themes in my Readings:  I didn’t / can’t identify anything. Other than maybe my obsession with the Tournament of Books?  [Updated now that I’ve looked at EVERY book review post.] I had more than a few books with thought-provoking looks at the concept of death and dying. I might want to consider that I read more than a few odd or quirky books this year, too.

Interesting aka Odd Tidbit:  I didn’t read ANYTHING by Stephen King. I did read a book by his son Joe Hill though, and had a very funny exchange with my Auntie when I gave her my copy of The Fireman. My Auntie lives in Maine – this might be important or give credence to this situation. Auntie did not realize that the author of The Fireman was the son of King. I didn’t think to tell her! She accused me of holding out and NOT telling her. It amused me… I’m still rather shocked that I didn’t get any King read in 2016.

pieratingsml

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.