The Intuitionist

Thoughts  by Colson Whitehead, Anchor Books Doubleday 1999, 255 pages

Challenge: none
Genre: Literary Fiction
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library

When Pie-faced Annie shakes off her stupor, she will recall a strange dream about elevators and falling, and will chalk it up to falling off the toilet, which will happen in about an hour.”

MOTIVATION for READING: With Whitehead winning the Pulitzer for The Underground Railroad, I wanted to try something else he has written. This one appealed to me the most and it was available at my library.

At the pounding of the door, she closes the book (the pages resist each other, so jealous and protective are they of Lila Mae’s touch).”

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Lila Mae Watson is the first black woman Elevator Inspector. She keeps to herself, trusts few, is dedicated to the work. She is on Team-Intuitionism. Most of the old-boys-club members of the Department where Lila Mae works are Team-Empiricism. One day, an elevator crashes in a brand new building just as the Mayor is about to show it off to dignitaries and VIPS. Luckily, no one was inside the box. A cable was cut? broke? what HAPPENED? Unfortunately, Lila Mae was the last person to ‘see’ the elevator in proper working condition. Was it a set up? But why and by whom? Games are afoot, as they say; none are what they seem.

Lila Mae is determined to clear her name and even more than that, to understand what is really important.

Lila Mae’s been a practicing solipsist since before she could walk, and the days’ recent events are doing irreparable damage to her condition.”

WHAT’s GOOD: I really enjoyed the writing and how the story unfolded. Occasionally, we would get flashbacks from Lila Mae’s childhood, her education to be an Inspector, and her first year after moving to the big city. Her father’s ambitions played a role but she is never sentimental. Also fun, is how the story expects you to already have a respect for the importance due the profession of Elevator Inspection, and everything builds upon that. Why, surely everyone wants to grow up and be inspect elevators, right? Of course, we do! It is fascinating how subtle Whitehead creates this world. Language and atmosphere, with odd originality in characters and descriptions.

It’s just darn clever and beautifully expressed.

That the devil still walks the earth and architecture is no substitute for prayer, for cracked knees and desperate barter with the gods.”

What’s NOT so good: Whitehead has the ability to confound me in my wish to have a concrete sense of time and place. He is so vague and loose with any tie downs to such. Bugs me but it is also good for me, I think. Lila Mae takes awhile to warm up to – she’s prickly, and often is accused of being haughty but we know it is armor. I felt her loneliness but I wonder if she felt or recognized it herself.

As the elevator reaches the fifth floor landing, an orange octagon cartwheels into her mind’s frame. It hops up and down, incongruous with the annular aggression of the red spike. Cubes and parallelograms emerge around the eighth floor, but they’re satisfied with half -hearted little jigs and don’t disrupt the proceedings like the mischievous orange octagon. The octagon ricochets into the foreground, famished for attention. She knows what it is. The triad of helical buffers recedes farther from her, ten stories down at the dusty and dark floor of the well.

“I’m going to have to cite you for a faulty overspeed governor,” Lila Mae says.

“But you haven’t even looked at it,” the super says.

FINAL THOUGHTS: A quote inside the book jacket states,

“Whitehead artfully crosses back and forth over racial, political, and artistic borders to create a work of stunning depth, soulfulness, and originality, starring one of the most intriguing heroine in contemporary fiction.”

I would agree.

RATING:  Four slices of pie with extra whipped cream.

The mother thanks him, promises a 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.

What’s Care Been Readin’ Lately?

Thoughts

I have had a slow down. Not a slump! but a definite lack of time spent reading, it seems. I did attempt a re-listen to Lincoln in the Bardo but I didn’t finish it. I was looking listening for a pie mention that I thought happened.  PLEASE ANYONE!! If you read or will read the eBook version — do a search pretty-please?

This week, I have rediscovered my ability to read read read. I am half through the 14 hour audiobook of Warren Zanes’ bio of  Tom Petty. Wow, do I love biographies of interesting artists. I do.  Mr. Zanes is an interesting character himself and he has an appealing literary quality to his writing. He has quoted Karen Blixon and Russell Banks and a few other authors I know of (but haven’t read.)

I’m still trudging through  The Disappearing Spoon and not that it’s not interesting, it’s just that I have been not picking it up. You know what I mean? What interesting characters these scientists can be…

And finally, on the heels of the Pulitzer announcement of Colson Whitehead winning for The Underground Railroad, I decided to check if my library had a copy of The Intuitionist They did and now I’m reading it. It’s got a scientific quirky vibe. Enjoying it very much so far.

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I finally watched Far From the Madding Crowd with Carey Mulligan and Martin Sheen  and it was wonderful! I loved it. If you loved this romantic triangle story with one fabulous independent woman lead, you should read my review of the book/audiobook…  You should read the book first. Film was a fun adaption, in my opinion. And visually stunning. Oh! the costumes!! And I miss reading classics. I need to get back to my Classics Club 50. “It is my intention to astonish you all.”

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I made pie for Easter.

The not so pretty but still rather interesting Carrot Pie and the Italian traditional ricotta cheese pie called Fiadone:

centered?

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I miss not having a book review to post on this now-dusty blog… Soon, though. Hope everyone is reading something good. TELL ME! What are you reading?

 

 

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Home

Thoughts  by Marilynne Robinson, Farrar,Straus and Giroux 2008, 325 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Building category
Genre: Literary Fiction
Type/Source: Hardcover / Used Bookstore Raynham MA
 Why I read this now: Because I wanted to.

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Kindness takes more strength than I have now. I didn’t realize how much effort I used to put into it.

MOTIVATION for READING: Because I loved Gilead. I love the quiet powerful books.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Gilead is a fictional small town in Iowa and the book of the same name is about a Congregationalist minister contemplating some key elements of his life as he looks back on relationships and pivotal events. This book is a companion piece to Gilead, with other characters’ viewpoints and stories featured more prominently. Where Gilead was about Ames, this book is about Jack and his sister Glory, children of Ames’ best friend Robert. I suppose that is more than you need to know and yet doesn’t tell anything at all.

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There was a barely restrained glee about him, as though he felt he had done something, or had done nothing, to excellent effect.

WHAT’s GOOD:    Oh.

Sentences. Provocations? Emotions.

What’s NOT so good: What is not so good for me is having to read all the reviews that say this book is boring. They said that about Gilead, too. I was never bored so that claim rings false. I should respect those who make it but I don’t have to like it.

As a matter of courtesy they treated one another’s deceptions like truth which was a different thing from deceiving or being deceived.

Sure, Jack smiles too much and glances at Glory a lot. But it felt so true. Such a different time. What would a bum son look like in now times? Would such a degenerate be so good to his father? Was he good? What IS good? Takes my breath away. And poor Glory. Ugh. Trapped in our roles, are we? I can’t write a review, I can only ask more questions.

She used to ask yourself, What more could I wish? But she always distrusted that question, because she knew there were limits to her experience that precluded her knowing what there was to be wished.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Beautiful. Sad. Contemplative. Aching.

“She said you hated cream pie, but I was certain I remembered you had a special fondness for it, and she made it on my say-so, despite her reservations.”

“It’s pretty leathery by now,” she said.

“You see, she’s trying to prejudice you against it! You’d think we’d made a wager of some kind!”

Jack said, “I like cream pie.” He glanced at her.

RATING: Five slices of pie. Apple pie.

He asked for a look at the pie before the top crust went on – “more fragrant than flowers!” – And for look at it afterward, on the edge had been fluted and the vents were cut.

The kitchen began to smell of pie baking.

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That odd capacity for destitution, as if by nature we ought to have so much more than nature gives us. As if we are shockingly unclothed when we lack the complacencies of ordinary life. In destitution, even of feeling or purpose, a human being is more hauntingly human and vulnerable to kindnesses because there is the sense that things should be otherwise, and then the thought of what is wanting and what alleviation would be, and how the soul could be put at ease, restored. At home. but the soul finds its own home if it ever has a home at all.

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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.

Lincoln in the Bardo

Thoughts  by George Saunders, Random House Audio 2017, 7 hrs 25 mins

Audiobook  narration by a long list of people!

MOTIVATION for READING:  LISTENING:  I couldn’t resist the high praise and curiosity of so many narrators.

Let’s start this nutty review with my suggestions. IF you think you want to do the audio – and I DO suggest you listen to this if you love audiobooks – I must insist on two things,

  1. Read the list of which person reads which character, and
  2. Know what Op. Cit. means. You’ll hear it and if you are like me, you’ll hear the word ‘UPSET’ rather and you’ll be distracted.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Oh, one more thing… KNOW THIS!!! I do think one should KNOW a bit about this book and its format before one embarks. I don’t think going blind or just knowing that it is about Lincoln and his dealing with Willie’s death is enough. I think you might best understand the use of the historical quotes and what/how Mr. Saunders lays out in the telling. Thus, we return to the “Op.Cit.”

I was so wrong to go in blind to this. I think I had read the synopsis way back long time ago and so I was helluva confused at the beginning. I was easily distracted,

so…
If you think attempting to identify which celebrity is speaking which part will be a distraction, I can solve that for you – read on.

I’m sure if I had read this first I would have waded in with more success; do read this from iTunes:

Description

The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

The 166-person full cast features award-winning actors and musicians, as well as a number of Saunders’ family, friends, and members of his publishing team, including, in order of their appearance: Nick Offerman as HANS VOLLMAN David Sedaris as ROGER BEVINS III Carrie Brownstein as ISABELLE PERKINS George Saunders as THE REVEREND EVERLY THOMAS Miranda July as MRS. ELIZABETH CRAWFORD Lena Dunham as ELISE TRAYNOR Ben Stiller as JACK MANDERS Julianne Moore as JANE ELLIS Susan Sarandon as MRS. ABIGAIL BLASS Bradley Whitford as LT. CECIL STONE Bill Hader as EDDIE BARON Megan Mullally as BETSY BARON Rainn Wilson as PERCIVAL “DASH” COLLIER Jeff Tweedy as CAPTAIN WILLIAM PRINCE Kat Dennings as MISS TAMARA DOOLITTLE Jeffrey Tambor as PROFESSOR EDMUND BLOOMER Mike O’Brien as LAWRENCE T. DECROIX Keegan-Michael Key as ELSON FARWELL Don Cheadle as THOMAS HAVENS and Patrick Wilson as STANLEY “PERFESSER” LIPPERT with Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN, Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND, and Cassandra Campbell as Your Narrator.

The only voice I recognized was Offerman’s in the beginning — I thought he was Abraham Lincoln (nope, just reading his thoughts) but I eventually was able to connect voice to character and get lost into the story. I had Sedaris’ voice as some other actor I cannot name off the top of my head but I eventually connected voice with Bevans. I picked out Susan Sarandon’s voice right away but the rest – couldn’t identify. (I was never any good at picking the callers on Frasier, either). I am SO glad I found this list! (when I was about 3/4 done). I hope it helps you if you think you might need it.

Or read any of the many wonderful reviews and explanations that I’m finding NOW after I attempted the thing…  Audible has a good review or two, Goodreads has some, too.

WHAT’s GOOD:  A lot to admire here. The phrasing, the wording! Poetic, emphatic, bursting with imagery. I guess the best I can say is that this is a work is art. Writing is truly a creative artistic endeavor and Lincoln in the Bardo is one of the best examples of the art of literature that I’ve enjoyed of late. It’s funny at times, shocking at times, so very very sad sometimes. It has rhythm like music and inspires emotion like a beautiful painting.

But was it really that good? Am I adding to a hype that is starting to saturate the lit-osphere? I don’t know. I really wonder about whether I was ‘getting it’ about 1/3 in but by the end of it, I was mesmerized.

I am considering a re-listen and maybe I will buy the print. I suggest you take a long car trip and enjoy. My 10 minute commute to work twice a day didn’t cut it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think it might be a masterpiece. If you read the print and loved it, I think you might next want to hear it. It’s lyrical, it’s creative. It’s affecting.

RATING: Five slices of 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.

Links Roundup LitPie-Style

Hello,

I’m going to try and create a links round-up of the fun and feisty articles and posts from around the web.  Scratch that, “there is no try”, let’s do it!

My first entry is from a 7th grade Reading teacher in Wisconsin. She’s a go-getter and I am always inspired by her words and ideas. This time, she’s explaining how she introduces POETRY to her students. And since 2017 is Care’s Year of Poetry, I had to share.

A great quote: “You are a 10-year-old explaining to a theoretical physicist how time travel might work.” Did you know I can’t resist a good time-travel book?  Now go read this article if you are interested in actively participating in the Anti-Racism Campaign.

Favorite book bloggers who post about pie!  Rhapsody Jill and Stefanie of So Many Books. Did I miss anyone?

Another fun pi + pie video.

Link to The Morning News Tournament of Books 2017 because I can’t get enough of it so there.

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE ANNOUNCES WINNERS FOR 2016 AWARDS!!!!!   (Link to Finalists Announcement. Curious that there were two books about loneliness in the Criticism category? I am. Has anyone read a book in this category? Again, me = curious)

Occasionally, I’ll google-search for “Pies in Literature” or some such nonsense just to see what comes up. This blog (ME!) shows up in SECOND SPOT for today’s look-see at what the webs are finding. Nothing too recent, but there are actual articles from 2015 about finding pie in a certain book. Fun, right? oh yea.

Savvy Verse and Wit has the Monthly Poetry Challenge Sign Up ready. I admit, I’m delighted every time I see a bit of poetry somewhere, here and there. I still don’t quite know how I should track my 100 poems in 2017 but I am proud of what progress I am building towards an awareness and appreciation for how poetry can impact a day in a good way.

Shout out to other bloggers who do EXCELLENT with providing Link Up posts:  Jenny who always reads the ends of books first, and, and, and…  I couldn’t find any recents ones so please provide me your suggestions!  Thanks.

Finally, a poem about pie:

(click on the image to go to the poet’s Twitter page…)

Have a great weekend!  I’ll have Dublin and Joyce books to chat about next week. I need to get back to reading books…  I need to read The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George by Tuesday.
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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.

Pi Day Pie Day and #TOB17 Check

I had friends over to celebrate Pi Day on Tuesday. We made pie.  I failed to get a photo of the pies that everyone made! I don’t know how I forgot to do that. I’m hoping someone did…

I made an apple pie and I made a grape pie. The grape pie, being a novelty, was a devoured! Nothing left of that one. I think everyone loved it. Here’s the before the grape pie went in the oven – so you can easily see the design of the kite and the Greek letters for our sorority: Kappa Alpha Theta. This was an official (fun) meeting for my local Alumnae Chapter. It’s a great group – we have a lot of fun. [If you want to support a REALLY GREAT CAUSE to help children be fully represented in the courts, our philanthropy is CASA/GAL, please click on this link.]

 

ok. That’s done. [Claps the flour off my hands… I looked for the right GIF but alas, nope.]

To the TOB:

I have decided to attempt a ranking of the 17 books I read for TOB. A snapshot of my favorites as of today, because I find my appreciations are changing as the rounds play out.

FAVORITE to LEAST:

  1. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout – voted out on 3/13
  2. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – moving to next round 3/16
  3. Black Wave by Michelle Tea – out on 3/9 (this was the take-me-by-surprise, loved-it-at-the-end book. PIE!)
  4. The Nix by Nathan Hill – a fun one for St. Patrick’s Day
  5. Mister Monkey by Francine Prose – battles Sudden Death 3/20
  6. Version Control / Dexter Palmer – kicks out my fave 3/13
  7. Grief is the Thing With Feathers – Max Porter – UNDERDOG? 3/15
  8. The Mothers – Brit Bennett – Mothers continues 3.14 (lots of pie 🙂 )
  9. High Dive By Jonathon Lee – out to the Mothers 3/14
  10. The Vegetarian by Han Kang – loses to the Birds 3/10
  11. Underground Railroad by Whitehead – steamrolling along 3/9
  12. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders – loved it and also seemed to fizzle out. Moving up the bracket 3/10
  13. Sudden Death by Alvaro Enrigue – Play-in round winner! 3/8
  14. The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder – had some beautiful sentences. Bounced out in play-in round 3/8
  15. We Love You Charlie Freeman by Kathleen Greenridge – too much and too little.
  16. Sweet Lamb of Heaven by L Millet – wanted to love but just puzzled me. Had lots of pie! Voted off the island 3/16
  17. Moonglow by Chabon – the more I think about it, the less I liked it; me being curmudgeony.
  18. The Sport of Kings by CEMorgan – sadly didn’t read, might try via aBook

I’m enjoying AND participating some in the comments! YAY ME. I have added a few books mentioned to the towering toppling tbr, too.

Tomorrow is The Nix vs. We Love You Charlie Freeman! and be sure to wear green, it’s St. Patrick’s Day…
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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.

Taking a Break

Taking a break from the digital world and all you lovely imaginary friends to explore some new-to-me physical world. Green things! Trees! Flowers! and maybe some old buildings! See you in a few days or longer. I’ll be back for Pi Day. Keep reading, keep learning, keep exploring. Be safe, be fierce.

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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.

Banana Cream Pie Day 2017

Happy Banana Cream Pie Day!  March 2nd…

Now, I know you all think I do everything by scratch but I don’t.

Here’s the before: img_6692 (yea, I had already deleted the pic from my phone and had to save the image off IG. I’m a dork.)

The after: img_6701

However, I can show off the pie I made yesterday for a friend’s birthday. This was my own pastry dough and I peeled/cut the apples and wove the lattice top, so YEA. Sometimes, I do it all.

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The next pie day is, of course, Pi Day, March 14. Then, the 4th of April brings us Chocolate Mousse Pie Day. Plan accordingly.

 

 

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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.

High Dive

 

Thoughts hdbyjl by Jonathan Lee, Knopf 2016, 321 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books (16 of 18)
Genre: Historical Lit?
Type/Source: Hard Cover/Library
 Why I read this now: next in line (actually shorter of the two I was able to get from the library)

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB… starts March 8… Here’s the link to watch… (aw COOL. They have a countdown clock working. At the moment of my typing this sentence, we have 8 days yet to go.)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: High Dive is about the 1984 bomb that damaged the Grand Hotel, killing 5 and injuring 31. It is a fictional account of Dan who works (volunteers?) for the IRA as an ‘electrician’. He lives with his mother in Belfast Ireland and has two dogs. He has a torturous(-to-read-about) initiation “interview”. He prefers to work on the bomb creation side of the violence. The title High Dive is possibly inferred from the background of the second character we meet, Moose Finch. Mr. Finch used to be a diving instructor and is now Assistant to the General Manager for the fancy Grand Hotel in Brighton UK. He loves working with people, regrets not going to University when he had the chance, and is hoping he will be promoted to GM after the political conference being in October. Mr. Finch has a daughter named Freya. While trying to decide if she should travel the world or go on to Uni, she works the front desk of the Grand.

Dan checks in as a guest of the Grand Hotel three weeks before the conference so that he can plant a bomb under the bathtub in the room that Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, might be staying in. IMG_1665

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s a thoughtful book. It has a melancholy feel. Definitely character-driven not plot-driven.

What’s NOT so good: I kept getting distracted by wanting to look up more about the hotel, the IRA, Belfast, “the troubles”, RUC, maps of Brighton Beach – the Royal Pavilion – the train station. Saracens, Semtex, plimsolls. I slowly, painstakingly dragged myself through these pages at no fault of the book’s but of my distracted scatterbrained lack of ability to concentrate. Once I finally did manage to find focus, I fell into it and loved it.

This quote is on the book jacket:

A bold, astonishingly intimate novel of laughter and heartbreak, High Dive is a moving portrait of clashing loyalties, guilt and regret, and how individuals become the grist of history.

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FINAL THOUGHTS: I’ve been to Brighton. I think this fact kept me dedicated to this book and also could be to blame for the distractedness. I’ve been to the Grand Hotel. I didn’t know it had been the site of an assassination attempt on Thatcher. I only needed find a restroom, as a tourist wandering around the beachfront. My memory of that ‘situation’ is clear; but that it was the Grand Hotel that provided me that sanctuary, I am not entirely positive. I think so, I’m pretty sure (based on location and possible path from the train.) I didn’t take any photos of the place. I remember it was full of people. Full of school-age children. It was a cold brisk but sunny bright day and I have very positive fond thoughts of Brighton. It made me feel off-kilter reading this, knowing I had been there not quite 30 years later. I would have been one year older than Freya in 1984.

Here are a few of my Brighton photos:

IMG_1672    BristolHorseIMG_1668

RATING: Four slices of shepherd’s pie.

“He could reel off the first 200 digits of pi.”  p.142

 

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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.