Letter Month 2017

It’s February and that means it is Letter Month.


I will be participating. I will answer every letter I receive (and all I received in January – if I haven’t already.)

I have been unable to access my account or create a new one on the lettermo.com website so any attempts to connect with me there will be to no avail.

May you have a blessed February.





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.

Care’s Gift Idea Guide

EXCITING GIFTS to get me YOUR LOVED ONES this Holiday or anytime, really.

  1.  thecommonArrange for a Postcard from a Favorite Author!   The Common Foundation is raising money for a good cause (encouraging emerging novelists, etc.) by arranging personal postcards from a variety of impressive writers. CHECK IT OUT!  (and quickly, this only has a week to go.)


2.  Photo Stamps! oande I have created custom stamps for years and they make great gifts. There are many companies that are licensed to do this but I’ve used PhotoStamps.com and like their simplicity of creating and ordering.

3. Books. Books are always a good idea. Gift cards to bookstores? books


4. Pie supplies. What are “PIE SUPPLIES”, you ask? Well, my favorite are cute mini-pie cropped-img_6296.jpg dishes of ceramic. And I love my flour flourwand shaker wand (I own two so I don’t need another). You could get someone a pastry scissors or cutter tool for making fancy lattice strips. ayofpbyae Or pie books, of course. And gift cards to places like King Arthur Flour…  I have also given “Pie Coupons” away but sadly, rarely ever get them redeemed. I think they forget. Which is why just baking a pie and thrusting it upon others is the best way. That’s how “those people who live near me” get treated in my neighborhood. I also support and recommend Beth Howard’s Pie-Evangelism and she has two books available. Click on her logo to find out more –> twnmp



5. DONATIONS in someone’s name. I have done this, especially when I don’t know if they need anything. I would be honored if someone made a donation to a charity that is close to my heart OR their heart. Just as long as a good deed is made, that’s cool.  I have given to food banks in the towns where my loved ones live so that their town is blessed. And I have purchased water buffaloes and chickens through Heifer waterbuff International. I have given to my parents’ church so they get their name in the bulletin – usually to donate flowers for the alter at their anniversary. I am considering donating to the library that they frequent.



6. Pizza. Pizza is pie, right? Easy-peasy to give online gift certificates from a pizza place in their town so no mailing involved whatsoever. I always think this is a great idea – who doesn’t love a pizza party? Especially good for a family gift all at once.


What kind of gifts do you like to give when thinking of that right something is difficult?






Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Books and Pie aka 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.

Happy Pi Day 2016

Happy  π  Pi Day!

image Getting ready. I usually use the pie dough of butter + crisco from the A Year of Pies cookbook by Ashley English. Do notice Miss Jill, I used King Arthur Flour.


This is what the flour and fat combined looks like before I add the water.



This is me attempting a beautiful crimped edge. I need more practice. hrtbroke


I put my neighbors to work zesting the lemons and limes for the Lemon Lime Chess Pie.


A few (4) eggs, some juice, the zests and more butter  – into the crust and bake. SO simple. ~ 50 minutes at 350 degrees.



After the baking. Oh! The recipe calls for 3 Tbsp of cornmeal and I used a rather grainy one – almost the polenta coarseness. It really gave texture to the pie.


My neighbor insisted on whipping the whipped cream. She eschews such devices as Kitchen Aid mixers. Scoffs, even!



Piping on a bit of the cream for presentation. Wa la!  PIE.



I might try making this:



though I could only find Laffy Taffy rather than true saltwater taffy…




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.

Update on a December’s Eve

My blog is undergoing a transformation or experiencing metamorphosis; perhaps some great cataclysmatic eventing, too. Not sure. YET.

I just decided ‘eventing’ is a word. Deal.

Because I am sitting here facing a challenge at a time of year when I want to both cuddle with my dogs and watch movies while also furiously ranking my best-of lists and getting ready to chunk reading stats and making to-do and goals lists because that is what I love about December. I love the festive hustle-bustle and flipping through my many pie books to decide some new concoction for a Christmas gathering and wrapping of gifts! But I loath getting out the stuff to decorate and worrying about where the tree should go and the pounds I pack on while stressing about what to wear to office ‘parties’ where I have to smile at people who know of me but I don’t know at all. The competing forces of this time of year…

And now, you see, please understand… my blog has been sickly. If you have visited in the last few weeks, you may have noticed that my menu bar had disappeared. This was due to an unsupported theme. A theme that I had been using at least five (six? SEVEN?!) years and loved. I loved the look of my blog. I love(d) the clean-ness, all the white space, the uncluttered, everything-in-its-place feel. I had it just like I liked it, or at least had grown to fondly dismiss any of its weaknesses and those features that I couldn’t change anyway. But now!

Now! I have changed to THIS theme. Whaddya think? It still allows my customizable header photo. My search button is in the same place. And now I get the comment-link at the top. #sadface.  And the tags are at the bottom. #cantrecallifthatiswhatIusedtonotlikeandcouldntchange? And the font is BIG. BIGGER. Whaddya think?

Note: the menu bar is confusing here. You must click on the menu title to see THAT PAGE and not just the links to more pages. SO confusing. For example, if you only hover over the 2015 Challenges, you might think my only Challenge is the Classics Club and that’s not true – it is just one more page of specifics. Am I explaining that clearly?

Maybe this is good for me. Perhaps I *should* start thinking about going WP.org. I have had such good times here, though and I feel like I’m deserting an old friend when the friend just happened to got a new hair cut. And I should. I really should get my fingers into the goo of really owning my own blog; cease my dependency on WP.com. I should. I should think of it as adventure. #braveface

Updates. Here’s one: Welcome to this new theme! Don’t get used to it? Be prepared for an announcement that you will have a new url addy to follow! But don’t worry, I do not anticipate this happening soon what-with Christmas being a quick zoom of two weeks or so? Three? Feels quick. I have real life things to do a lot of in the next two weeks, I’m thinking with a side-glance at my calendar…

Updates, some more: NaNoWriMo. Yes! I didn’t finish with a word count of the goal of 50,000 but I DID write 15,000! I refuse to think of this as a failure even if I really didn’t write anything at all the last two weeks of November. Nor much of the second week. But for the first 10 days, I really applied myself. I had zero ZERO idea of what I was going to write about and I actually had a few characters come to a little bit of life and speak to me with ideas. The ideas didn’t pan out but maybe they needed to go to sleep til a later time. OR maybe I just need to actually take some plot-development courses and see what I got? cibbyiw Sure, I had some blahblahblah words that were typed and sentences strung out to multiply word (oh crap, I can’t think of THE word that should go here!) <— such as; this is a great example. I typed in a TON of notes to myself to “explore this further in detail, etc”. So, true, I didn’t “make it”, but I am not unhappy with my experience and I thank Nancy and Athira for checking in on me. Congratulations to all my buddies for their successful 50K counts!

What else?  Thank you Kim Lulu Becca & DoingDewey (a blog I need to spend more time with) for #NonFicNov! I am deep in my civics lessons still but am glad for the push to devote the reading time I did to these brilliant texts. Also, on Small Business Saturday, I purchased Devil in the White City by Erik Larson so I can jump into that in December, methinks.

Estella’s Revenge is cussing over at her blog… Having just purchased a book that I apparently already had on my shelf, I guess I need to spend some of my time considering this idea, too. ReadMyOwnDamnBooksbutton

On a plus note, I have zero books to hurry!!!-and-read to complete any 2015 challenges and THIS is something to celebrate. Reviews of I am Malala and The Bungalow by Sarah Jio (fiction for neighborhood book club) coming soon. Back to my audio of My Brilliant Friend, oh oh yes. Looking forward to this sinister-feeling Italian escape.

Something else to look forward to? TOMORROW, DEC 1, SHOULD GIVE ME BLOG-SNOW!  Squeeeeeeeeee (It’s the little things, really).

Talk to me! What are YOU up to?


Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Year End Blatherings and Ramblings; 2014 Edition

This might have to be Part 1.

I have so much to do and yet I so want to get this post up and posted. For some odd reason, these stats and the gatherings and subsequent analysis has been on my to do list but not as consuming as times past. I think I’m still in a dither about what to do with myself now that I’m not studying thus I’m doing absolutely nothing. Oh, I’m vacuuming and walking the dogs and roaming the house between rooms thinking I should organize or toss or … But I end up not getting much accomplished. Including these darn stats!

So I’m jumping in and hoping that these lovely fingers tap-dancing on the keyboard will produce something y’all might want to look at. Here goes.

I read 64 books (including “listened to audios”). sixty4

Will be 65 if I can get the rest of Mockingjay done which is actually quite possible because we are going on a road trip this afternoon. (Assuming I get my list of things done like pack…)

Due to the increase in audiobooks, my reading page counts are low?  13500. My audio hours = 248. Let’s blame school…

My FIVE STAR reads:
The Rosie Project
Slaughterhouse Five
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
The Signature of All Things
The Sparrow
Silver Sparrow
The Color of Water
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
East of Eden
The Count of Monte Cristo

TOP book of those above???   oh my. I think I would have to say Gilead. Right now, if you were to ask me, yes, I would say Gilead. Ask me tomorrow, I might say East of Eden. I think the most moving book was The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. The most fascinating was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the most intriguing Color of Water, the most profound was East of Eden. The most amazing was Count, the one that made me laugh the most was Rosie, the one that had me lost in the story – Silver Sparrow, the one that amused me The Signature, the one that had me shaking my head in disbelief – Slaughterhouse, the most what-the-heck-is-going-on?! Sparrow. Many of these appreciations include not just the story, but the experience, the place/setting/mood I was in, or perhaps the back-story, the ongoing continuing stories and the conversations about, the sharing. I actually think I had an amazing reading year. I am getting closer — or farther away! — from knowing what exactly the kinds of books I like to read.

I want to be like Stephen King who says that excellent fancy writing need not be required if the story is good. I don’t want to be a book snob, but I still have some of that tendency.

I still don’t have the ability to figure out what doesn’t work when I don’t like a book! I just know it doesn’t work.

OK, I read 11 FIVE stars, 28 FOUR stars, 20 THREE stars, 4 TWO stars and 1 ONE star. I can’t think of any DNFs right now.

(That ONE star was a book that pissed me off because it ended at a cliff-hanger and if you know me, that is an unforgivable offense. I would never have read it if I had known. Which is one of the problems with me going into books blind. Oh well!)

I read books from most of the decades and a considerable amount of books published this year. I missed the 1900-1910 span but otherwise hit the spread of the Twentieth Century. Read 3 from the 1800s and The Art of War is supposedly from the year 512. That is likely the oldest book I’ve read in quite some time.

I am most proud that I tackled The Count of Monte Cristo AND East of Eden.

I didn’t see very many movies based on books this year. Brideshead Revisited for the Classics Challenge might be my only one! Well, except for Catching Fire, but I read that in 2013 and if I get Mockingjay done, the movie won’t be viewed until 2015. Wow, the years fly, huh?

Three translated works. Seems to be what I always read: 3/year.

I read more Sci-Fi this year. I read more classics this year. I am improving on chunksters.

I have read my 11th King book!

I haven’t yet counted how many of these were on the 1001 Books to Read Before I Die and I haven’t even checked my Female to Male ratio.

(scurries off to do that real quick…)

F = 34, so, M = 30.

What else? NONFICTION!  I think it was a really fiction-heavy year for me and I even counted my text book! 13 NF books. ah, 20% isn’t too bad, actually. Thought it was worse.

What other cool stat am I missing?

Onward! Ready for 2015. hnye

Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

Happy Pi Day 2014

Happy Pi Day 2014!  IMG_2784

I will make a pie later today, a Beef and Stout Pie* to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day/Weekend. Will you bake a pie? How about eat a slice?

Here’s the photo story of the Grape and Peanut Butter Pie which I dedicate to Rhapsody Jill since she is the ultimate inspiration. She is always sending me pie recipes and I had told her months ago that I wanted to try an idea I had about creating my own Peanut Butter & Jelly concoction in pie form.

My idea was to bake the bottom layer as a traditional double-crust grape pie. I halved the amounts so that I would have room  to add more layers. I have made and loved this Grape Pie many times (click on the photo below of the sliced-in-half grapes in the crust and it will take you to the recipe), though for some reason, this time the red grapes didn’t turn as purple as they did the last time I made this recipe. Maybe a different variety…


Then I borrowed the peanut butter layer from another recipe, mixing PB with cream cheese and a few other things (milk, more sugar) and spreading it as you see here: IMG_2782 and then topping all this with a real whipped cream. Adding some delicately sliced grapes for garnish.


But the best news yet is this! IMG_2799 Beth Howard’s soon-to-be available book of pie HOW-TOs and recipes and good no-fuss advice arrived on my doorstep last night. I can’t wait to dig in and try her crust technique and abide by her “there-are-no-rules!”** tips and tricks. I loved her memoir, Making Piece, which you can read about by clicking this sentence. Clicking on this photo of her new book will take you to goodreads.com where you can access options for getting your own copy.

Celebrate Pi Day with PIE!  and tell me all about it. I hope it is pie-riffic.

Oh, I just started reading Labor Day because I know about the pie scene…



* Beef and Stout Pie from Never Enough Thyme when Lana’s Cooking blog.

** The only real rule is to try not over work the dough.


Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

Year 2013 Reading Review

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

I read 60 books!! I count my DNFs, but sometimes, I only count the pages that I actually read. Sometimes I don’t. Aint this gonna be fun?

I know this shows that I read 59…  um,


(I can’t remember how I cut just the image above but it was before I finished the 60th book: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt…)

Ratings breakdown:  13 FIVE 22%, 24 FOUR 40%, 16 THREE 27%, 5 TWO 8% and 2 ONE 3%.

Longest book read and longest book title:   SAME BOOK!  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, clocking in at 875 pages.

Over 60% of my books this year were penned by female authors. Female 37 to Male 23.

The 11 chunksters (>450 pages) comprised 7677 pages or 41% of total pages read  —  18,621.

I read 6 books less than 200 pages. I averaged 358 pages a week; 310 pages per book. I tell ya, The Goldfinch in 5 days helped a LOT.

I read 8 more books on the 1001+ Books To Read Before I Die List. I only read 5 last year.

I listened to 14 audiobooks, two more than last year but only 10 more hours. I listened to 241 hours!!

Three books were translated from another language;  Italian, Swedish and Dutch. I read a book set in Amsterdam and visited Amsterdam.

Highlight of my book blogging experiences involved travel – I bought a book at the Persephone Bookstore in London and I had lunch with Judith in Amsterdam.

TOO many books set in the United States?  Other exotic locales I visited were Wales, Ireland, Canada (surprisingly, only 1), Australia (twice), North Korea, Italy, Antarctica, Iran, France, Japan, Sweden, somewhere nondescript in Europe (Calvino’s IoaWNaT). I covered a lot of ocean water with Moby Dick and Unbroken, I suffered war in Ancient Greece/Persia (The Song of Achilles), and I spent some time traveling the galaxies.

I read only 9 nonfiction books compared to 17 last year! yikes.

Stephen King and JK Rowling competed for most books read by same author with THREE. Rowling won with pages numbers; I finished the Harry Potter series for a total of 2281 pages read but King only got 2065. He would have won with hours listened to since I audiobooked ALL of his. I just love to listen to his words and the narrators chosen to read them.

I FINISHED THE HARRY POTTER SERIES!!!!  Now I finally get all the references…

And how about MOBY DICK? Just how many books do you read that reference Herm’s masterpiece? a LOT.  Including The Goldfinch, by the way… This is the book that I was most surprised with. I liked it much more than I ever expected to. It’s really quite a treat to the senses.

I think I read 20 books as part of a readalong and/or book clubs.  The Shining was the most fun because of everyone who tweeted and sent gifts. GIFTS!

Again, I did a horrible job tracking debuts but I know I read some astonishingly good ones:  The Light Between Oceans, The Orchardist, The Good House, The Song of Achilles.

I read 42 new to me authors. Yikes!  The ones I hope to repeat on that list?  Beth Howard, Donna Tartt, Kate Atkinson, Maria Semple, and SJ Gilman.

2013 was a great reading year for me – diverse, chunkster-full and classic-surprising. For my next year’s reading goals, I do hope to visit a few more worldly spots and enjoy some more nonfiction. Bring it on.

Thank you for allowing me to share my bookish thoughts with you. I appreciate you!


Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

Happy Pi Day 2013

I’ve got pies to create!

So in the meantime, go read Jill’s post for today at Rhapsody in Books

Will be using the pie crust recipe from this book.
Will be using the pie crust recipe from this book.
Will be using the recipes for Key Lime and also the Mint Chocolate Cream from this book.
This book uses more lime juice for the Key Lime recipe than the Year of Pie book but I did consult…



Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

National Pie Day Jan 23rd, 2013 #ilovepie

January 23 is National Pie Day according to the American Pie Council. I wonder if other countries celebrate a pie day? I wonder if I could find a pie day in every month? Of course, March 14 is a pie day as is the 22nd of July. And be sure to put March 14 in the year 2015 on your calendar as a pie day because the date is most like the pi number:  3.1415926 – so let’s all be eating pie at 9:26 am that day to truly celebrate.


Today I will be making A Year of Pie‘s Rum Shoofly Buttered Rum Shoofly Mini and also Sour Cream Apple which I had hoped to make at Christmas but was just feeling lousy that week so I didn’t. It has been on my mind every since Jill posted about it. Sour Cream Apple

Happy Pie Day!



Copyright © 2007-2013. 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 to Bleak House for the Holidays

Actually, I am hoping that I am on pace to finish Bleak House before December 25. I am on page 593 and am listening in the car on my way to and fro from the High School. And on the drive to my tutoring gig. And on errands. Like picking up the dogs from daycare.

So I have approximately 238 pages to go! I follow along with the book after listening so I know where I am and how the dialects are spelled. Jo’s words are especially hard to discern on the audio. Not blaming the excellent Simon Vance narration! Just that it is quite challenging and I’m much more a visual learner than auditory.

I hope to visit blogs more this weekend! Until then, see me occasionally on Twitter with hashtag #bleakalong. Toodles!



Copyright © 2007-2012. 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.