Category Archives: Pie

Jack

Thoughts by Marilynne Robinson, Picador 2020, 310 pages

Challenge: personal

Genre/Theme: Faith Family Redemption Despair

Type/Source: eBook / Libby-Kindle

What It’s About: Forbidden love. Why, oh why, do we do things we know we shouldn’t? Uncountenanced.

Yes, I had to look up that word. A word that is defined by its opposite. INFURIATING.

Uncountenanced means not countenanced.

Yea, OK.

ah! but the SYNONYMS tell you: “forbidden, unaccredited, black-market, censor, banish, out, tabu, ostracise, forbidding, banning, smuggled,…”

Thoughts: Jack, a bum, a lowlife, a shiftless fraud, a ne’er-do-well, aimless, lost soul… meets Della, a fine upstanding young Black teacher. They fall in love, despite good intentions? despite seeing all the roadblocks and glaring reasons how it will be a difficult relationship, this being set in the 1950’s where just being seen together could get them arrested. Jack is just so fascinating! He is talented and smart, but just cannot feign interest or trust in ambition, to live on any set path of ‘the straight & narrow’. Oh Della.

Had my heart an unbroken string, your touch would set it trembling.

Rating: Five slices of pie. These books are my favorite FAVORITES.

… she put her hand in the crook of his arm. “I kept a drumstick for you, Mr. Boughton, and some stuffing, and a piece of pie.

 

For other EXCELLENT reviews, visit Ripple Effects by Arti and also Teresa at Shelf Love.

He was undisgraced and she was unoffended, a devout hope more or less fulfilled.

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Klara and the Sun

Thoughts by Kazuo Ishiguro, Random House Audio 2021, 10 hr 16 min

Narrated by Sura Siu

Challenge: TOB Summer Camp

Genre/Theme: Science Fiction / Artificial Intelligence

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible

What It’s About: Rather than tell you what it is about, I will tell you what happens.

SPOILER WARNING?

Klara has been hanging out as merchandise at the Artificial Friend Store, observing the sidewalk crowd and hoping to be chosen by a nice little girl. Klara is of a model that needs the sun’s rays to recharge her batteries.

Josie is a young sickly child who has had some vague something done to her to make her more exceptional and her next door neighbor boy hasn’t had this thing whatever it is. Josie begs her mom for an Artificial Friend.

Josie and Mom take Klara home.

Josie gets real sick, Klara strikes a bargain with the sun (we never get the sun’s perspective) to save Klara because Josie and her neighbor-boy-friend have the truest love and wa la! Klara manages to get a burst of sunshine directly on poor Josie at just the right time and she is saved!

Josie grows up and goes away to college, neighbor-boy goes his way, Klara spends her retirement in a utility closet.

The End.

Thoughts: Blech.

If you love Ishiguro, you’ll likely love this, too. If you don’t like Ishiguro, this won’t convince you that giving him another chance was a good decision.

Rating: But there is pie so maybe two to 2.5 slices of pie.

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Hamnet

Thoughts by Maggie O’Farrell, Knopf/Borzoi Books 2020, 384 pages

Challenge: #20BooksofSummer

Genre/Theme: Historical Fiction / Shakespearean England

Type/Source: eBook/Libby-Kindle

What It’s About: This is an imagined life of the wife and kids of William Shakespeare.

Factually, you can find out that Bill Shakespeare had 3 children, one was a son who died at the age of 11. His name was Hamnet. Apparently Hamnet and Hamlet are names like Bill and Will — nicknames of the ‘same’ name.

His gums are red and sore, the peaks of new teeth poking through, his cheeks livid and hot. He fusses, he squeezes pie between his fingers, he tips over his cup, he leans on Agnes’s shoulder, he grabs at her napkin and drops it to the floor.

The story begins with us meeting Hamnet as he runs all over trying to find his mom, or his grandma, or the servants, or anyone, really, to help his twin sister Judith who has taken ill.

Then we shift back 15 years earlier to when our poet Bill met and fell hard for Agnes, the woman who became his wife, mother to his children. (yea, yea, if you look at Wiki, there’s some chatter about the name Agnes or Anne and if they were the same lady or not, whatever. The author can write her fiction as she sees best.)

Eventually, these time lines meet. Dad has been working in London but receives word that his child is ill and he races home as only one can in the 16th century. By which I mean, tragically, too late.

Then we sadly and quickly jump to ten plus years out to when Will puts on a play, Hamlet.

Thoughts: I liked it but didn’t love it. Not sure why, maybe it was too short? The writing is great. The characters drawn well. The pacing is fine. It has all the components of a fabulous read and it is quite good, so don’t let me talk you out of reading it; read it!

A breeze threads through the room, stirring the air inside it, toying with the wall drapes, the mantel-cloth, carrying with it the scent of the street, dust from the dry road, a hint of a pie baking somewhere nearby, the acrid sweetness of caramelizing apple.

It has LOTS of pie, like a good English novel set in these times would.

Rating: Four slices of pie.

Gone is the jostling, whistling, brawling, pie-chewing mass and in its place a silent, awed congregation.

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

Thoughts by TJ Klune, A Tom Doherty Associates Book 2020, 394 pages

Challenge: #20BooksofSummer

Genre/Theme: Middle School Fantasy / Magical Children

Type/Source: eBook / Libby app

“I’m told there will be pie for dessert. I do love pie so.”

What It’s About: Linus is a caseworker investigating orphanages for Magical Children. He is super diligent about his job and his duties, very committed. He is sent on a special mission to report on a secretive home, classified Level 4 – where only the most special (scary) magically-gifted children live. Love and just a bit of mayhem ensues. Mostly love.

“Hate is loud, but I think you’ll learn it’s because it’s only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but so long as your remember you’re not alone, you will overcome.”

Thoughts: I had a Linus character in the book I just read previously! LOVE book-coinkydinks.

I believe this book is suitable for the Middle School reader which is fine, but not quite my thing, so any “I LIKED IT” rating (cough, cough, 3 stars) is based on my own personal reaction and should be considered as such. If you adore lovely heart-warming fiction and like these kinds of books, you are SURE TO LOVE THIS ONE; I would bet on it. Just look at all the rave reviews on goodreads! But for me, I was thinking it a bit too twee. Maybe if I had actually read any of the reviews and had my expectations tempered some, I would also have fallen head over heels but I didn’t here.

It’s still quite charming and well done in drawing delightful characters, celebrating and embracing what makes us unique and is an endearing family creation story.

“We should always make time for the things we like. If we don’t, we might forget how to be happy.”

Rating: Three slices of pie. I do say, LOTS of pie quotes to choose from.

“But there is pie,” Zoe said. “Baked especially for you.”

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Stephen Florida

Thoughts by Gabe Habash, Coffee House Press 2017, 304 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Favorites

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Literature / Wrestling and/or Obsession

Type/Source: Tradeback / Indie Bookstore Purchase

What It’s About: A college wrestler in the 133 weight class is determined to win his division at the National competition. He is focused. He is unwavering. He is obsessed. He is lonely. As a friend of mine says, “He ain’t right.”

Life and the human condition are the exact same thing and it makes no difference, the design is sadness, gravitational and old, except the few times it hiccups and it’s not.

Thoughts: Wow.

I am just amazed and in such admiration of the construction of this novel. Tight, always on, never wavering. So many little WTF!s dropped in — did you see that? did that just happen? does he mean ___?!

I had attempted this and read just enough back in 2018 for that year’s Tournament of Books to know I wasn’t going to devote the necessary headspace to finish or give honest credit. So I bailed. Now it is on the list of the Tournament of Favorites so I decided to not only give it a fresh view but purchased it so that the author might know my intent was true (and forgive myself for the abandonment in 2018.)

I can’t really say I enjoyed this. A five slicer usually is one where I am joyously enthralled. That is NOT quite the case. But I did admire this as craft. And I don’t even really know what that means! I just think this is extremely impressive and can recommend to anyone who likes to read books that live in the mind of psychologically unhinged characters.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

“… telling the Minnesota kids ghost stories in exchange for their mom’s cherry pies.”

 

I didn’t learn anything I didn’t want to learn. It was a reality I wasn’t surprised by. When I met you I felt like someone was trying to make it up to me.

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Update May 2021 in Review

 Monthly Recap Time!

I finished _8_ books in May. Total for the year: 48 (19 mention pie)

Total page count (including print page count for books I listen-read) = __3216__, + Q1+ May = 12119 TOTAL pages for the year.

Finished __2__ audiobook (47.13 hours!!) 

Hardcover = 3

eBook (Kindle or Libby) = 3

Tradeback = __0___were paperback

Count from the library =  _2_, TCM and D,T — 5 purchased , 1 given to me (Thanks Ellen!)

pieratingsml

My favorite was The Cold Millions, maybe? Huh, a lot of really good 4 star reads, too. Detransition, Baby was great. Swann was one I was glad to read; Salvage the Bones, too. And The Book of Longings! I really can’t say ANY of these 8 were in any way disappointing.

I visited France and I visited the Middle East at the time of Christ. Mississippi by the coast, Dublin Ireland, Brooklyn NYC, Ontario Canada, Spokane Washington at the turn of the century, and Ohio.

I want to count No One is Talking About This as nonfiction; apparently it is an novel.

Fave quote?

“It isn’t important.” “Everything’s important.” “I can’t remember what I was going to say.” She looked down at her rhubarb pie and pledged herself not to jeopardize what was left of the evening.

from SWANN by Carol shields

It was a good month. Bring on #20BooksofSummer!

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Pie? Swann had pie. So did Salvage the Bones and The Cold Millions. and the Lockwood had a pie chart. It counts.

I made a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with a friend last week. Will have to make another for June 9, this pie’s official day.

pieratingsml

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

No One Is Talking About This

Thoughts by Patricia Lockwood, Riverhead Books 2021, 210 pages

Challenge: TOB Summer Camp 2021

Genre/Theme: Internet-novel / family

Type/Source: Hardcover / Riff Raff Books PVD – Indie Bookstore Day purchase

The TOB Summer Camp started today.

What It’s About: It’s been called genre-defying. It’s been forewarned as a book that must be read in totality, recognizing Part One and Part Two are unique to themselves but support each other to complete the book. Its author has been called a genius. She does have a way with words and a fascinating perspective.

This two-part book is first a collection of snippets and deep thoughts relating to our culture’s obsession with the internet. Or the world that exists in “the portal”. Some flashes of keen insight. Some off the wall observations of weird stuff. Can a dog be twins? Why did that take off? Thus, what this is.

I had heard that the second part “makes” the book. I was willing to keep going.

Thoughts: I am not sure the second part was really all that different – not in style but certainly more poignant and sad in a personal way to the author and her family. Love was in full evidence.

“Surely there must be exceptions,” her father ventured, the man who had spent his entire existence crusading against the exception.

He did not want to live in the world he had made,…

Rating: Three slices of pie. Lockwood drops in a pie chart.

…, you would see a little pie chart that told you how much of your life had been spent in the shower arguing with people you had never met.

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Swann

Thoughts by Carol Shields, Open Road Media 2013 (orig 1987), 386 pages

Challenge: Readalong with Laila

Genre/Theme: Literary Mystery

Type/Source: eBook / Kindle purchase

What It’s About: Mary Swann was a poor woman who wrote poems in a small town in Ontario Canada. When a literature professor finds an old copy of Swann’s poetry collection, she brings laudatory attention to the work. In her investigation of who this woman could be so that she can shine academic light on its brilliance, she finds out that the poet was violently murdered by her husband on the very day she got the publishing deal.

The academic world sensationalizes and salivates over anything they can find on how Swann could have come into her genius. Items begin to disappear: the only known photograph of the poet goes missing, luggage is lost, the poet’s diary is misplaced. Is something sinister happening?

Thoughts: The reader knows but the characters do not figure out that someone has been pilfering items until near the end of the book when there is an academic symposium and all can compare notes. It’s not like me to figure out the whodunnit but it was pretty obvious. I can’t say I ma happy with the ending but I enjoyed my time with the unraveling and the characters who all loved Mary in their own way. My favorite was the publisher, an editor in his 80s who wrote fun letters.

With it being written in the mid-80s, I was loving the references to politics and cultural touchpoints. And it had pie!

“It isn’t important.” “Everything’s important.” “I can’t remember what I was going to say.” She looked down at her rhubarb pie and pledged herself not to jeopardize what was left of the evening.

Rating: 4 slices of pie.

Readers might be willing to tolerate the new typeface imposed on them, and no one seemed to miss the old “Pie of the Week” feature when it disappeared from the Women’s page, but…

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Cold Millions

Thoughts by Jess Walter, Harper 2020, 351 pages

Challenge: TOB 2021 Long List

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit / Wild West Miner Labor Struggles

Type/Source: ebook / Libby to Kindle

What It’s About: Rye is the main character of this highly researched, creatively constructed story involving the efforts of miners to organize against corrupt law enforcement and the corrupt mining industry leaders of Spokane Washington in the early 1900s. Rye is a teenager hobo-ing the rails with his older brother trying to find honest work. They meet anarchists, actresses, union organizers and everyone in-between. Most have good hearts and some do not. Are we motivated only by a base self-interest and self-preservation?

Thoughts: Maybe it started a bit slow for me but by the end I had been captivated and enthralled by the interesting history, the character development and how much I was rooting for Rye to find a good place to land where might have a chance at American opportunity. I loved it.

And it had lots of pie.

Rating: Five slices of pie. Apple ♦ cherry ♦ mincemeat ♦ rhubarb and “tart” as derogatory term for immoral women.

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Detransition, Baby

Thoughts by Torrey Peters, One World / Random House 2021, 340 pages

Challenge: TOB Summer Camp, Women’s Lit Prize Long List

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit, Trans Women, Motherhood

Type/Source: Hardcover / Library 14 day loan

What It’s About: A well-told well-organized humorous and sympathetic no-holds-barred look at a triad-parenting question. We meet Reese, a trans woman who desperately wants to be a mother, her ex-lover — originally James then Amy now Ames, and Ames’ boss/lover Katrina who in discovering herself pregnant, considers much more than just her future as a parent. What does it mean to be a family? What does it mean to want to be a mother? It’s all quite complicated.

Thoughts: A fascinating look at sex and gender and transsexuality and the human condition. The writing is vivid, it’s very readable – meaning that I didn’t want to put it down. Reese is a very unique multi-faceted character; prickly, wise, troubled and tender.

I only had one quibble about “women” wanting to be mothers or not and saw my own experience briskly dismissed – it’s not worthy mentioning. Of course, we tend to believe things that present as absolute and just are not. Tendencies to make grand statements and quip stereotypes; but that is probably just a reflection of society and reminder that we just can’t make grand statements about what certain people might think and believe. It’s damn complicated.

Rating: Four slices of pie. Lots of pie.

“When they moved to New York from Seattle, they did this thing where they invited other married couples over to watch Cheers and eat pie.”

page 21

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.