October, the Tenth Month, Five More Books

I read books in October. Let me tell ya!

Oct 2017

The Magician’s Assistant / Ann Patchett A (1997,11′) *** 74

Textbook / Amy Krause Rosenthal HB (2016,368) **** 73

Lila / Marilynne Robinson A (2014,9′) **** 72

One Good Turn / Kate Atkinson Tb (2016,448) **** 71

Angle of Repose / Wallace Stegner Tb (1971,569) **** 70

Two audiobooks –  so nice to get back to this medium. My new job often has me traveling so I have some car time. Plus the commute home is 30-40 minutes (which I expect will be on the longer side since I have to traverse the shopping district avenues which get congested this time of year.) With no traffic, I can get TO work in just over 15 minutes!

Let’s start:  I read Angle of Repose because* I so very much enjoyed the first Stegner I treated myself to: (and click on this:  –>  to read my review) Crossing to Safety. AofR won the Pulitzer, doncha know, and as impressive an epic it is, I enjoyed Crossing to Safety more. That said, Angle is impressive. Oh, I said that. It’s full of big ideas and some great fabulous looks into our American History, the western expansion. Recommended if you like amazing writing, complicated characters and sweeping views of history. It was set in the late sixties, yet Stegner writes with a freshness that is … impressive. It felt fresh and not as someone now writing about then. Does that make sense? Hey, it’s my opinion. Golly gee, I miss blogging and putting myself OUT THERE! wee hoo. yee haw. [Rabbit pie and cowpie.]

Stegner is not talked about enough.

*     I also read Angle of Repose because I have an engineering degree and the term suggests ‘engineering‘. Not at all to suggest  to not-engineering geeks (so do not assume!) that this is science-heavy aka boring!! it is not. Please please don’t think that. ugh.

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One Good Turn. I read this because…. LOTS of reasons! I love this author. I really enjoyed her first Brodie book and this is the second with this main character. whoops, maybe only 2 reasons. I found this book at my apartment complex! It was on the community shelf. Had to grab. I returned it (though not to the same spot.)

If you liked Case Histories, I can tell you to go ahead read this, too, if you haven’t  yet. To click on this sentence, you will be transported to my goodreads notes for  Case Histories because I didn’t review it here (on blog.) What a sad blogging summer I had… [I’m counting egg custard as ‘pie’.]

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Lila. Oh Lila! What a fascinating amazing story. This month was chock full of the best author visits; now that I think about it, all return visits to these authors. What a comfortable heart-full reading month I have had this October. If you are like me and appreciate the soul-singing work of Marilynne Robinson (and can I only say to any of you  that don’t have the same kind of spiritual ‘relationship’ that this author might espouse – all cool. I get it. I really don’t either at this moment in my life but wow oh wow do I appreciate what she does in her writing.) I want to put all of MR’s Gilead books on my “to-read-again all-at-once in-order someday list”. I’m mentally creating this list of books to read and probably need to create it in goodreads, right? Right. Will do…

NOT to suggest that listening to Lila‘s side of things was ‘comfortable’. Soul-singing provocative spiritual stuff is never comfortable. [Apple Pie]

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Textbook by Amy Krause.

Dear Reader, do you know of this? Feel free to click on the link just provided and read about it from the goodreads perspective.

I just want to start crying. Whoa.

Thank you Bybee for sending me this. I still have it. I want to send it to SOMEONE but don’t know who. Also, I don’t know if I want it to leave me. It could very well be all gimmick-schmimmick until life(/death) thrusts into the ‘plan’ and shows no guarantees.

Wow.

(sniff, gulp. sob…)

[yes, pie… It was THIS that broke my freakin’ heart.]

Live, people. Don’t watch the crap on the news, hug your loved ones, recognize the humanity in every person, strive to be better and LIVE, goddammit. (talking to myself?)

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The Magician’s Assistant. Ann Patchett you nutty adorable author book-store-owner lovely lady YOU. Love ya. Not your best book but that’s OK, I’m sure you learned much from the experience (of course you did, goofy-me. ha) and so glad you kept after the craft. I am still not sure the narrator captured Nebraska small town, but hey, “Whatever.” This is the author that inspires me, delights me, makes me think and entertains. One of my favorites.

I’ll forgive the no pie thing. This time.

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

 

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August, You Were a Friend of Mine

August, You Were a Friend of Mine

Here’s my list from August:
The Grand Sophy / Georgette Heyer eB (1950,387) ***** 61
The Silent Wife / Kerry Fisher eB (2017,352) ** DNF 60
The Almost Sisters / Joshilyn Jackson ARC Tb (2017,339) **** 59
The Nightingale / Kristin Hannah Tb (2015,440) *** 58
Finders Keepers / Stephen King pb (2015,448) **** 57
Wake in Winter / Ndezhda Belenkaya eB (2016,368) ** DNF 56

Reviews, out of order…

I DNF’d Wake in Winter and The Silent Wife. I remember that Wake in Winter got off to a very clunky start with drastic change of tone and perspective of voice. Is the author talking or the character? Very abrupt. And… as always, when I get that distracting voice in my head that starts to question what is the what, I do looking for reviews. I found many critical negative reviews and it solidified my need to give it up. I can’t even remember what made me give up on The Silent Wife. Wow, nope, I don’t remember and don’t feel necessary to go find out. I’m sure I had good reasons. Feel free to click on the titles to go see the books in goodreads and do your own research.

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I’ve already mentioned elsewhere on the bookish social media outlets that I have an allergy to Kristin Hannah. I’m sure she is lovely and she is obviously held in high esteem by her fans and that is great. I just don’t like her style of writing. I do appreciate her giving attention to the amazing women who resisted the Nazis in WW2 and for that, The Nightingale gets three slices of pie. Bonus Apple Pie.

Another issue I had with The Nightingale was that the copy I purchased from Target had 40 pages missing!!! I kept reading and have decided I didn’t miss a thing. I was able to return the book for credit which I immediately used to buy another book.

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Stephen King’s Finders Keepers was that book. This is second in the Bill Hodges trilogy. I liked it. I tagged it as having a pie mention but will look it up another time.  (I read book #3 in September…)

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I very much enjoyed the humor and writing in The Almost Sisters. I think Joshilyn Jackson has talent. The story, at times, had a few things that made me cringe (like why do we think we have to rush the old people into a home! GEEEEESH) but otherwise, I thought the main character has some fun things going for her and she made me laugh. Maybe made me cry, too. I don’t remember that part but it might have had some heart tugs. Bonus pie mentions: ice pie, church pie, the making of pie crusts.

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And the BEST OF AUGUST! is Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy. Fun stuff and always a vocabulary booster. If you like strong women in times that never expected strong women, these are a treat. Keep in mind, some character depictions will/may offend today’s sensibilities.

 

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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.

July, July! What I’d Give to Be Back in July!

TropStorm Jose won’t leave. He was scheduled to rock Rhode Island on Tuesday but each day the winds seem more gusty and blowy and chilling. I walk the dogs through scattered leaves; I wrap in blankets; I’m sipping hot chocolate.

screech! Cancel that last one. I’m still enjoying beer but we’ve moved from the Shandies to Octoberfests. sigh….

Here’s the quick list of what I read in July:

The Sweet Hereafter / Russell Banks eB (1991,416) **** 55
Perfect / Rachel Joyce eB (2013,401) **** 54
NOS4A2 / Joe Hill eB (2013,704) *** 53
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald / TAFowler Tb (2013,384) **** 52
On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon / Kaye Gibbons eB (1998,304) *** 51
Code Name Verity / Elizabeth Wein eB (2012,452) ***** 50

 

I loved Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein! There’s been some interesting chatter about its being classified as YA which I didn’t get. I always think of YA as being about younger characters and about youngster drama – even if extremely heavy AND also written with a feel like it was written for a younger reader than I am. (cough, cough). Now saying this “didn’t feel YA” is not meant to be any kind of lesser/more qualifier or criticism. I just never got that YA sense from it. Perhaps because it was set in WW2? I would say that The Book Thief – another one I love – IS YA but I wouldn’t say it about Code Name Verity. Yes, the two main characters were youthful but it didn’t feel like a story set up to be told to the YA typical audience.

Here’s more twist to this topic. I did think The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah most certainly had that YA feel. The Nightingale character and her experiences fit the YA criteria to a tee for YA for me. I liked Code Name MUCH MUCH more. I thought the writing quality was much higher but I do not think that has anything to do with any YA classification. Am I fooling myself?

I gave three stars to On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon because I really am not sure what to make of it. Bonus: pie! quote: “I was irritated that it might be the old lady who peddled stale pies.”

Moving on to books about wives of famous authors… I DNF’d The Paris Wife. Hadley drove me crazy. I loved Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald and when ever Hadley made an appearance — I still found her annoying.  Bonus: Chocolate Cream Pie!

My first read by author Joe Hill was The Fireman and I was eager to try something else. I actually had purchased NOS4A2 for my Kindle months before The Fireman-along was announced and I was eager to get to it because I so enjoyed the readalong. I liked NOS4A2 and it wasn’t quite as scary horrific as I thought it was going to be –  maybe I’m building up some kind of tolerance after so many King books…. (And it was Christmas in July! if you’ve read this, you’ll know what I mean.)    Bonus: Banana Pie!

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Perfect by Rachel Joyce. I really like Rachel Joyce. I had a tough time with Perfect. I ended up giving it 4 stars because of the skill of Rachel Joyce. She had me uncomfortably anxious, a low-level strumming sense of foreboding. This was a sad book. “You have to think bigger than what you know,”           Bonus: Mince pie!

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As I go through this list, I see many sad reads. The Sweet Hereafter was as sad as they come. Read it if you like sad books? if you like how competent some authors are with sad material? I don’t know. It was about a school bus full of children hitting an ice patch while proceeding down a hill and crashing into a pond off a steep embankment. Told from multiple character viewpoints. I’m getting weepy and sad thinking about it again. But Banks has my respect. It was well done. Four slices of pie.

Abbott says, “Biggest … difference … between … people … is … quality … of … attention.” And since a person’s quality of attention is one of the few things about her that a human can control, then she damn well better do it, say I. Put that together with the Golden Rule in a nutshell, and you’ve got my philosophy of life. Abbott’s too. And you don’t need religion for it.


HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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.

Latest and Greatest

Recent Thoughts and Other Things…

I’ve read 4 books since my last review post and finished up May strong with 8 books (one of which was a skim from half point…)

Total for the year so far:  39 books, 9672 pages, ~147 hours

I decided a quick audiobook (< 3 hours) was just the thing to catapult my month’s stats to something I can be proud of and chose Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me It was both unexpected and affirming; she is an eloquent voice for feminism and human rights. I very much enjoyed this. I was also pleased that she lent insight to Virginia Woolf’s Orlando

I DNF’d Orlando Sob, shame, embarrassment. It is NOT a summer beach read; it is dense and though very lively, it takes concentration. I admit I was lost and believe this would be a great book for serious study just not right now in the moment of my crazy life. I had originally attempted the audiobook – nope. Reading the ebook was easier, but… I can’t quite describe the feeling of drowning it gave me. Submerged in what I can only assume is amazing prose but HUH? I need guidance for next time. And I do want to try again. It’s not dry and dusty; it is very lively, but hold on! Goodness.

My neighbor gave me a book written by a friend of hers from a writing group she was involved with. I must say that it was well-written and informative, fascinating even.  I know many will and should enjoy it. It just wasn’t my cup of tea in style and format; I guess genre. I like the heavier serious immersive stuff. (How I can say that I liked The Sport of Kings when I didn’t like it but I can “like” this but not? Does that make any sense whatsoever? Nah, I didn’t think so.) I can find much to admire and can recommend Holly Warah’s debut Where Jasmine Blooms I give it 3 slices of pie. (It did have lots of pie so I could bump up to a 4 slice?)  I now must get my hands on a recipe for SAMBUSIK PIE.

Finally, my MIL gave me  A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly and I read it in one day. What an amazing story! If you have seen or  know about the movie Lion, you know what this is:  young boy finds himself on a train to Calcutta, many MANY miles away from home. He is adopted by a family in Australia and when he is 30, he decides to find out about his birth-family. WOW!!

I’m listening to Everything I Never Told You and honestly, I’m not feeling it. Shrug. I’m about 35% in. Maybe I’m just in a horrible mood this summer!? No, that can’t be all of it — I have Kitchens of the Great Midwest on ebook and I am finding it delightful.

Finally. School is out and we are headed to the boat and the lovely waters of Rhode Island. You may not see me around here much… Wishing everyone a super summer and lots of great reading!

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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 Sport of Kings

Thoughts  by C.E. Morgan, Macmillan Audio, ~23 hours

Narrated by George Newbern.

(After listening for about 10% progress and realizing that I had accidentally skipped a few chapters, I stopped into my local indie bookstore and asked to see a copy of the print version so I could look up how to spell a character’s name (and check if I really did skip a few chapters!) I ended up buying it: Picador 2016, 545 pages.)

Challenge: Tournament of Books 2017 (yes, I am late; last one)
Genre: Epic Family Drama, Literary Fiction°
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible (later Tradeback/Indie bookstore)
 Why I read listened this now: Ready for a sprawling drama delivered over many hours.

MOTIVATION for READING: After skipping this during TOB, I realized during the discussion that it might be just my kind of book. I have a fondness for long audiobooks and now that it is lawn mowing season, I have more time and chores to listen through. Also, I admit that finding out that C.E. Morgan is a woman piques my interest.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  This book is about a family who claimed property in Kentucky by way of Virginia and established their dynasty. Family name and heritage was everything. Until the father and son dispute just how to carry on.

Father says “Stay the course. Grow corn. Drink bourbon.” Son says, “Kentucky means Thoroughbreds. We need to breed horses.”

Father dies, son carries on as he sees fit and the family dynasty only grows in wealth and prestige. To be great, is the goal.

And then a daughter is born and she has her own ideas. We meet a few other characters, of course – this is a beast of a book.

WHAT’s GOOD: Drama!

What’s NOT so good: Near the end of the book, when the intensity was getting too intense, I tweeted for help. I was scared to read further, to find out what the characters were going to do.

I steeled myself and continued. It was as bad as I feared.

Then the Epilogue really screwed with my head, but after reading it again and listening to those 10+ minutes, I’m ok now. All O.K.

Reeling, but I’m a gonna be fine.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Racism, classism, plant and animal classification systems, genealogy, the color green, the word ‘karst’.

I had to know how it ended. I was bothered, at times, with tedious use of words-a-plenty and the over descriptions and the heavy import weightiness of many paragraphs. But the action and the drama were on a high level so I kept at it.

RATING: Four slices of Derby Pie.

“There was some poison in the pie; she wanted the treacly sweet of determinism with its aftertaste of martyrdom, but that came at too high a cost.”

“Hush, my sweet little horseypie,”

 

 

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 °  “The main reason for a person to read Genre Fiction is for entertainment, for a riveting story, an escape from reality. Literary Fiction separates itself from Genre because it is not about escaping from reality, instead, it provides a means to better understand the world and delivers real emotional responses.”

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.

Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie

Thoughts  by Jordan Sonnenblick, Brilliance Audio 2011 (orig 2004), 4 hours 31 minutes

Narrated by Joel Johnstone – great job!

Genre: YA/Middle School Fiction
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: It was short.

MOTIVATION for READING: I don’t often remember by motivations, I sometimes just read things, buy books, let the mood and whim drive me. That said, I do know that I bought this purely because it had PIE in the title. Audible sent me an email specifically targeting my pie obsession and I didn’t think twice. Probably didn’t think once.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: When I hit play on my phone to start this audiobook, I didn’t have one clue what it was about. I didn’t know it was kid lit. I only expected drums, girls and pie. Sure, I suppose I could have guessed that a book with this title could be about a teen boy who plays the drums and chases girl. Shrug. I didn’t really think about it at all. I just hit PLAY.

And what I found out was that Steven is in a middle school jazz band and he is a very good drummer. He is infatuated with the prettiest girl in class and has a girl best friend that he really doesn’t treat very well. We (yes, I just switched to the plural all of us, ‘we’) learn that Steven has an annoying little kid brother named Jeffrey, age 5,  who — of course — knows just how to annoy his big brother, whom he idolizes, of course.

Then we find out that Jeffrey has leukemia.

WHAT’s GOOD: Kick in the gut good. Heartfelt and compassionate. And it’s FUNNY! Yes, there is humor.

What’s NOT so good: As a teacher, I found myself getting very emotional to those suggestive thoughts that we never quite know how to help our students and don’t often know what hard things they are dealing with. This hit close to home for me. I feel like I didn’t do enough for my students this year and I also don’t know what I could have done but there is always ‘never enough’. This isn’t a complaint or criticism of the book but I actually wish I had listened to it before May. I don’t have time to fix any of the never enough cases I want to attempt to help with. Prayers will have to do at this point in the school year.

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you are a middle school teacher or any teacher who appreciates a funny and loving book that has teacher-student interactions, I recommend.

As a goodreads friend reviewed, “Very very sweet. And it’s even a cancer book.

RATING: Four slices of apple pie. (The dangerous pie isn’t edible.)

“… and what of the classic apple pie?”

 

 

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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 Hate U Give

Thoughts  by Angie Thomas, Balzer + Bray 2017,  464 pages + 11 hours 40 minutes

Narrated by Bahni Turpin – excellent.

Genre: YA
Type/Source: eBook and Audio / Amazon
 Why I read this now: It’s a hot book right now!

MOTIVATION for READING:  This story is getting lots of praise and I wanted to get in on that.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Starr is a sixteen year old black girl who lives in a depressed area of a big city and attends a prep school in a predominantly white area. One night after a party, Starr is given a ride home by young black male friend and he is pulled over by the cops. He is shot and killed; Starr has to navigate this event up close and personal. Her cultures clash, her identity is fractured; she is scared and angry.

WHAT’s GOOD:  Thomas decided to give the world this gift of fiction, a story, in response to and an exploration of the Black Lives Matter movement. It isn’t a story specifically addressing the movement, rather a situation that stresses the realities and the complications that many blacks face in our country. Where to live, where to go to school, how to navigate threats to body and soul?

“We have a sustained problem in America,” Thomas said. “When officers take off that uniform they’re no longer a ‘blue life’ – I can’t take my black skin off. I wanted this book to explain why we say those three words.”

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I thought it extremely well done on so many levels – a gripping read, a sympathetic character, believable and complicated supporting cast members, a forceful not-unreasonable emotional tone, great pacing. It offers humor, some punches to the gut, a candid look at humanity.

“Pac said Thug Life stood for “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. T-H-U-G-L-I-F-E. Meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. Get it?” – Angie Thomas

– Link to article explaining the Tupac quote that gives this book its title.

RATING:  Four slices of pizza pie with lots of extra crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese.

 

 

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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.

Behind Her Eyes

Thoughts  by Sarah Pinborough, Flatiron Books 2017, 318 pages

Genre:  Mystery Thriller
Type/Source:  eBook / Kindle
 Why I read this now:  For one of my bookclubs (May)

MOTIVATION for READING: One of the book groups I follow on Facebook asked for titles that had the best #WTFending. I think I might have selected it because it was also the least expensive of a list I attempted to put together for a vote. No one wanted to vote so I made a decision.  

Eek! Just realized book club is TOMORROW!

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A single mom named Louise meets what she thinks could be a ‘nice guy’ at a bar and they get along so well — even sharing a good night kiss. However, the next day, she realizes this nice guy is actually the new doctor in the office she works. OOPS. And, he is married. Bummer.

Soon after, she bumps into not-so-nice guy’s wife. They become friends, against Louise’s better judgement. But Adele is so beautiful and sweet and seems so fragile. Louise is curious; she just can’t help herself.

And then David, the new doctor not-so-nice guy pursues Louise to have an affair and again, Louise can’t help herself.

Danger lurks everywhere! Throw in that Adele wants to rescue Louise – help her quit smoking and start exercising, etc. She also has ideas on how Louise can get better sleep and even manage her nightmares and sleep walking. Adele says to keep it all a secret from David.

WHAT’s GOOD: The author did a commendable job layering the little odd details — of course, most obvious in hindsight now that I think about it. Considering the reader KNOWs about the #WTFending and that the reader MUST pay attention, the introduction of clues was well done. To even mention some of the things I want to say will be spoileriffic – can’t wait for club!

What’s NOT so good: I’m really not the best fan of these and may not be the target audience so take any criticisms with a grain of salt. So if you LOVE thrillers like this, it will likely be one of those books that the sooner you get to, the better. I found the device of self asking questions rather tedious at times.

(Note: I had to get We Were Liars when it was all the rage, and I really did NOT like it. Ugh. This one is better, imo.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you want to know if I agree that the book deserves the hashtag #WTFending, I will tell you, “Yes.” Did I like the book? That’s a more difficult question. These kinds of stories are not my favorite, but I kept reading because I HAD TO KNOW! The writing is fine, I have already praised the construction. Pacing was OK. Characters were OK. The fun will be in discussing and sharing and finding out if you figure it out or if you were gobsmocked.

RATING: Three slices of apple pie.

“I wandered through the house, ate some of my mum’s apple pie that was in the fridge, and then went up to my old room, got into bed, and went to sleep.”

 

 

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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 Hunter

Thoughts  by Richard Stark, Blackstone Audio 2010, 5 hours

Narrated by John Chancer.

Challenge: Classics Club 50  SPIN (I never made an official list for this one due May 1st; I found out to late to post so I used the prior list.)
Genre: Noir Crime Fiction
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: It was in the slot of the latest spin number.

MOTIVATION for READING: Anyone see the movie Payback with Mel Gibson and Maria Bello? It’s based on Stark/Westlake’s book, The Hunter. I wanted to read it because the movie is a favorite.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The Hunter is a character called Parker and he is a small time independent kind of crook. He is not afraid to eliminate anything he disagrees with! This is a violent book.

Parker survives a job-gone-wrong (for him). The others thought they got away with it — unfortunately for them, Parker didn’t die. He comes back for his portion of the take.

WHAT’s GOOD: The language and characters were true to the movie. (How often do we turn that around like that?) Many scenes seemed lifted verbatim.

I was able to disconnect Parker from Mel Gibson in my head as I listened, but I was glad to keep my images of Carter, Bronson and Fairfax. Such a great cast.

What’s NOT so good: I said it was violent, right? The Maria Bello part was altered, as was the ending. You could say that the book inspired the film and the film goes much further (also violent). The tone is similar. The movie might offer a bit more humor. And Lucy Liu.

At five hours, this is a short story (compared to my usual audiobooks).

FINAL THOUGHTS: I enjoyed this adventure to read the book that a fave movie was based on. I’m glad to knock off a classic from the 50 AND that it was a SPIN finished by the deadline. Yay me. And there was pie!

RATING: Three slices.

$90,000 is a nice pie to split.

 

 

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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.

Summer of My German Soldier

Thoughts  by Bette Greene, Puffin Modern Classics 1973, 230 pages

Challenge: Neighborhood Book Club
Genre: Middle School Lit
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library

MOTIVATION for READING: Our club usually allows hosts to choose the book we read. Rarely are we offered a vote: this was the sole book suggested and thus the book we read. (Which I’m fine with, not saying I don’t like how we pick books. I’ve actually never been in a club that selects an entire year’s slate… Always “as we go.”)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A 12 year old Jewish girl harbors a German POW during WWII.

WHAT’s GOOD/NOT so GOOD:  Apparently, it was a big hit years ago as a middle school read. I don’t know if it is still taught in schools but I thought the main character’s innocence wouldn’t hold up for current 12 yo’s interpretation. But I could be wrong. I found her naïve and annoying. But maybe that’s just me.

She’s smart but she can’t figure out how to shut up. But maybe that’s a good thing for a girl to not learn. We do often learn to shut up and take it and this book is a good reminder of why so many girls do: survival. She had some excellent cheerleaders in her corner so let’s hope she grew up to be a strong take-no-shit woman who lived life on her own terms. Her childhood sucked.

Just being in the same room with you, Mother, is like being feast for a thousand starving insects.

At first, I read too many reviews and was creeped out by the romance idea of a young girl with a 22 year old man. This is a friendship and not more. If I hadn’t been warned about ‘the kiss’, I might have missed it. I “thought too much” rather than read for enjoyment. As the story progressed (I admit I skipped around for the first third), I began to enjoy myself more.

It seems to me that a man who is incapable of humor is capable of cruelty.  

Cruelty is after all, cruelty, and the difference between the two men may have more to do with their degrees of power than their degrees of cruelty.

Trying to calculate different degrees of cruelty is a lot like trying to calculate the different degrees of death.

This is not a happy tale and for a coming of age, I’m not sure how much Patty wised up but I will assume she makes it out. I really do not want to read the sequel. I probably would have loved this book as a kid.

I can’t figure out how her grandparents were so lovely but her parents were despicable people…

Someone else wondered in a goodreads review, how Patty was treated for the first 5 years of her life before her adored perfect angel sister came along. Good question.

When people’s emotions are involved they don’t want to listen.

Tonight is book club, we’ll see what the discussion brings. Shall I take notes and report back? I think I shall!

RATING: Three slices of lemon meringue pie.

After we had eaten out hamburgers and French fried and drunk down our coffee, Mr. Grimes waved to the waitress, “What kind of pie you got?”

She gave her hair, which was the color of brown wrapping paper, a good scratching. “We’re all out of apple.” Nodding in the direction of the counter, she said, “Gave that feller the last piece. “

“What kind have you got left?” asked Mr. Grimes, not bothering to keep the irritation out of his voice.

“‘Bout the only thing I know we got is some sugar doughnuts left over from the morning and some lemon meringue pie.”

 

 

pierating

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