Archive for the 'Humor' Category

The Good Lord Bird

Thoughts tglbbyjm The Good Lord Bird by James McBride, (2013,417 pages)

Do you like HISTORICAL FICTION?

Do you appreciate National Book Award Winners?

Did you ever read The Color of Water (and liked it)?

Do you appreciate wry humor and satire?

I recommend this book. Everyone in our club enjoyed it (though our discussion* was a bit boring comparatively.)

This is a fascinating rollicking-good time read that will make you laugh and learn a lot about an interesting event and personality in U.S. History: The Raid on Harpers Ferry by John Brown. You also get cameos of Harriet Tubman (vote for her to be on the $20 bill?) and Frederick Douglass.

I know of John Brown because of this raid but also because he was known for fighting for Kansas’ right to NOT have slaves in the border wars with Missouri before the Civil War. My club asked me if I studied John Brown in my Kansas schooling years but I can’t remember. How/why do I know of John Brown? Not sure.

I do think of a mural in the Kansas State House so maybe I saw it first on a tour? I really don’t remember if I did a school field trip to Topeka while in grade school, but I know I have seen this:

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The narrator of the story is a very young black slave, possibly age ~10, that is “freed” by Brown in one of the Kansas raids and he stays with Brown because he really has no place else to go. The odd thing is, the Brown is confused at the beginning, thinking that our boy named Henry is actually a girl named Henrietta. So Henry keeps up the ruse for a variety of reasons. In fact, one of the themes explored in this, in addition to race and slavery, is identity. McBride is a brilliant author on many levels, in my opinion, and I will now read everything he writes. Or, I want to; he’s now on the list.     image

Do know, I am one of those that laughs when most inappropriate, I see the absurd in the sad situations to thus avoid the crying. So it’s not that I love laughing at serious subjects, but. I do, I guess. I think that is why I like satire. (when I get it!)

If you want something a little different, something historical (researching this, it seems the author was quite attune to many of the true facts while having a creative imagination for the rest of it.) READ this book!

Rating: Five slices of Buttered Apple Pie.

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Other reviews:  Naomi’s at Consumed by Ink and Rory’s at Fourth Street Review.

* Factoid that I didn’t know until book club:  a few of the ladies (of a generation (or two) prior to mine) started to sing a song “John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave” to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Apparently Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics to the Battle Hymn after hearing the John Brown version. Our book club leader passed out paperwork of her research and had us sing a few verses! Too funny.

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.

How To Build a Girl

Thoughts HtBaGbyCM How To Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran, Harper 2014, 352 pages

WHY I read this: I think it might have been on sale. I had it on my Kindle. Amazon tells me when but not how much I spent; the when was January of this year. When we took off for a long weekend to Kentucky, I realized that I hadn’t brought any other books with me besides Pet Sematary. Well. I had been limiting my reading to 30 pages per day of PS and the long car ride meant that I would have more time than book. So upon opening my Kindle app on the iPad, I saw How to Build a Girl. Perfect antidote to King, was my first thought.

Truthfully, I forget about books hiding in the eBook apparatuses.* They are so silent and unobtrusive. I had to move this book to last priority, though, when I realized a book club book that was SITTING in the OBVIOUS SPOT right on the stairs was jumping up and down screaming not to be forgotten like good little visible hard copy BookBooks tend to do (unlike eBooks which hide, do not jump up and down, nor scream.)

Initial CONFUSIONS: However, I was instantly confused because I had it in my head that this book was Moran’s memoir. Funny that the main character was named Johanna and more odd that it started with what it started with. I had to check goodreads to see what was the what. Yep, I had confused this novel with her How to Build a Woman book. Oops.

What It’s ABOUT: Johanna is a mere child with thoughts in her head most unlike any thoughts I had in my head at that age. Oh my. I liked her. I probably had the same tendency to talk too much and talk too much about myself but we did not have similar ideas about what we wanted when we grew up.

She is brave and fearful. She has a positive spirit. She is ambitious and naive (I was naive.) She manages to get a writing gig for a rock and roll magazine. She did things with no moral compass and yet her morality-humanity did suggest an extremely kind soul. Except when she was skewering bands she didn’t like. She was one big fierce imaginative force.

What’s GOOD: Many laugh out loud passages. Many keen observations about how life could/should be approached.

What’s NOT so good: The jarring switch in viewpoint from her teen self to her smarter older self, every so often.

FINAL Thoughts: The goodreads reviews that hated this are an interesting contrast to the ones that loved it. I just really liked Johanna, a refreshing bold new character to cheer for.

RATING: Four slices of Shepherd’s Pie.

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“I’m going to need a bigger boat. This is my recurrent problem.”  p.75

“We must away, to pastures new.” also p.75

DODDLE – easy

SCALLY – a low life loser

Book Connection- Links to Dept. of Speculation!  “I resolve that for the rest of my life, at least once a day, I wil remember this. I think it must be most cheering thought I have ever had.” p.143 [Both books try to savor and file away a happy memory for possible reference at a later time as needed.]

Book Reference – Norwegian Wood (I have no idea nor do I think I want to know what this really was a reference to…) p.149

“I think I cry for at least half an hour – the kind of crying that is like rain where it starts without warning, and violently, but eases off into sudden rainbows, and blackbirds calling out in gratitude as they swoop across wet lawns. The weeping of relief.” p.154

“For someone who lives in a house without mirrors, seeing yourself talked about by others is exhilariing. I’d alwasy had a slight worry that I might not exist – that I was a very long dream I was having.”  p.207

“”I keep breaking penises,” I think to myself dolorously on the 37 heading toward Euston station.” p.239

SCOPEY – “I simply wept, exhaustedly, in the bath, feeling very, very scopey.” p.256

“Pain has made me older and wiser. Yesterday, when I found this house messy, I cleanedit from top to bottom, like a good girl. Today, they can all go fuck themselves. Housework is endless. I am never opting in again.” p. 258

“we are all breakable. So just be kind.” p.262

“This is the terrible thing about learning everything from books – sometimes you don’t know how to say the words.” p.289

“The point of life is joy – to make it, to receive it.” p.304

“Pig Pye (14th century): Flea Pyg and cut him in pieces. Practically nothing is wasted in a good pig. A pig killed in November would still provide fresh meat, brawn and pie until Christmas.” p.311

“There is a leaving party for me, at Uncle Jim’s house – “Because we’re not having a party here,” my mother says, firmly, dishing out shepherd’s pie in the front room.” p.326

* The interwebs are frowning on my plural use of apparatus. Nope, not apparati but pieces of apparatus. Whatever. My blog, my misuse of the English language. I own it.

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.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Thoughts lptnhbyjl Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson – The Bloggess, Amy Einhorn Books/Putman/Penguin 2012, 319 pages

This won’t be a review as such.

I began reading this the day my book club was to discuss it. I finished it the next day – it certainly reads fast! I might have skipped a few chapters and I did read the end before the middle; I kept thinking “Oh, I don’t need to read ALL of it.” But I would often find myself with the book in my hands reading or skimming yet another chapter. So, I feel I read enough of it to count.

It’s funny. It is everything the book jacket says it will be. Over the top, OMG, “no way!!!”,  LOL, etc.

I have only a few things to point out from the reading. Early in the book, she mentions how tough her sister is and there is a reference to squatting and popping out a child while working in the fields. RIGHT OUT OF The Good Earth! Right? Yep. So that is a Copley Connection that thrilled me because our book club had recently read The Good Earth! I have no idea if anyone else noticed this, too, because I was unable to attend the meeting.

And my new book club almost chose to read The Good Earth – but that is too hard of a story to explain. Let’s just say, the title seems to be popping up for me lately.

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And then there is the reference to the Blue Pie Piece from Trivial Pursuit. So with my ever odd idea to track pie references in my reading, I rate this book FOUR

fourpie  slices of blue pie.

The end.

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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.

Still Here…

Hello,

I’ve missed you, my little blog…

IMG_3520 IMG_3524 IMG_3522  Newport RI.

You take a little unplanned break and then come back to find a new WordPress editor. Let’s see what happens. I can share a few thoughts on the books I’ve managed to read lately. I’ll tell you that my audiobook-listening has ground to a halt – but I can explain, I think. And just say howdy.

Plus send a big hearty welcome to SomeWhereInABook! I hope I can soon find a few past blog posts to re-link to, if that’s not too much to ask. (Specifically, the Gone Girl one…)

Um, where’s the SAVE-DRAFT button?!

Moving on, just keep going, right?

A Walk in the Woods awitwbybb by Bill Bryson – I liked it very much. Learned a lot about trees and flora and geology, too. Recommended.

 

Out of My Mind oommbysd by Sharon M Draper – Loaned to me from a friend, very apropos of my latest class for school. This is the story from the viewpoint of a 5th grader with cerebral palsy who is very smart but cannot communicate her smarts until she finds an Assistive Technology device that allows her a voice. The book has some very good points to share and perhaps some misses in the delivery and odd plot points. Read through the goodreads.com reviews for examples. I enjoyed meeting Melody and reminded again that we all want to belong and contribute. Respect.

fourpie

 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy hhgttg by Douglas Adams is exactly what I feared it might be. Sadly, I feel too late to the introduction of it in my life with the story over-hyped for me to truly appreciate its brilliance. Overall, a fun read. 42 (And I think I should plug Jenn Thorson’s There Goes the Galaxy which I read last December and which (now I realize) obviously took inspiration from Adams and his famous book/series. I gave that 4 stars.)

And now, obviously, I recognize that I have been too long away from blabbing about books. I’ll try to do better with my next East Of Eden post. Whoops – that was probably due today?

Carry on. Toodles.

loveCare

I really can’t explain why I haven’t been in the mood to listen to a book. I’ve been BUSY? and got out of the habit. I’ll mow the lawn tomorrow, plug in to The Count of Monte Cristo and see if I remember much. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

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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.

The Humans

Very Quick Thoughts thbymh by Matt Haig, Canongate Books 2013, 304 pages, eBook

I liked this very much.

It had a fun premise – alien must come to earth and destroy some information that earthlings are not yet ready for. The alien decides that he actually likes these primitive people and must make a choice.

I really liked the philosophy. It was witty and warm and wise.

I loved the dog.

I appreciate my friend Nancy who told me to read this. You can read her review here.

Life is crazy for me right now; ask any questions if you have any. For example, QUESTION: ‘Hey Care, is this science fiction?’ ANSWER: ‘Ya know, I have such a tough time that question because I don’t know what frame of reference you are asking that question through. I can tell you that it is a very HUMAN book, more than a book about aliens.’

The book cover above (another cute dog on a cover!!) will link you to goodreads, if you need to know more.

Have a nice day!

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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.

Books in the House

I thought I posted this! Oooops. I’m going through my post drafts.

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – FINALLY. And links well to my Bryson A Walk in the Woods (doh – hiking.)

James and the Giant Peach – gift from a friend, read and probably won’t review

Out of My Mind by Sharon M Draper – YA, loaned by a friend

Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Winner The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Thanks Fizzy! I’m a bit intimidated, actually.

Home by Marilynn Robinson, because I was so impressed with Gilead. Purchased at an Independent Book Store Bargain Shelf “Previously Read”.

East of Eden – Readalong!!!

The Secret Life of Violet Grant – selected solely on loving the name/color Violet.

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More random stuff about books and reading:

I have pushed on with my audiobook of The Count of Monte Cristo and despite the. halting. odd intonations. of. the narrATOR! I am quite swept up in the story and even dreamed about Royalist vs Bonapartist ideology. Yikes, right?

“Oh the heartless scoundrels!  … Is the world filled with tigers and crocodiles?!”

I downloaded the audiobook for East of Eden. Ready to go!

A long time ago which I failed to note with my not quite established habit to secure a post-it note in the front cover of books loaned to me, MBR gave me Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. I have dipped into it often but it never ‘took’. Finally, I left it at the treadmill and have been regularly reading as I walk the Weight Loss 2 setting (30 minutes, ~1.72 miles) and now I’m on a push to finish the damn thing. I’m on to the Massachusetts chapter, about 25% remains. Though I have heard it is SO FUNNY, I’m actually finding it quite sad. The Park Service has limited funds or misuses it, the aphids are eating the hemlocks, unsolved brutal murders…  I have no ambitions to hike the AT but I am inspired to visit Mt. Greylock in Mass.

Side note: yesterday, I read about his visit to Harper’s Ferry and, of course, the name John Brown was mentioned. That is more motivation or a clue to get McBride’s The Good Lord Bird. (If any of my family is reading this, think Christmas present.)

School started two days ago. I will be alternating between feeling successful that I finished a project on time and stressing about doing such  — over the next four weeks. Right now I’m on the happy side of that pendulum. I have nothing due for two days and it is only commenting/responding. I suppose I should read what will come after that…

I got me a new laptop! A Microsoft Lenovo ThinkPad just so I can practice on this style – nothing more embarrassing than to sit at somebody’s computer and not know how to work that crazy mouse. I need to be fluent in all kinds computers for my job. I’m excited to play with it. I will create a nutty picture doing my homework surrounded by a Macbook, a ThinkPad, two iPads and an iPhone just to search the internet. I’m SO prepared. Bring it on.

Also yesterday (yesterday was a kick ass day overall – did lots of good things), I read on Iris’ blog that she has exceeded the 100 book count on the list of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die and it occurred to me that I didn’t know MY count. According to my shelf in goodreads, I’m at 50. But that might not be all on the READ shelf, so I am astonished at 100+. Way to go!

OK, this was supposed to be a short update post. Gotta run.

loveCare

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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.

Ms. American Pie

Thoughts IMG_2799 Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bold Tales From the American Gothic House by Beth Howard, Race Point Publishing 2014, 207 pages

[I was given this book by the publisher. I was going to buy it anyway and I knew I was going to LOVE it; I am a big fan of the author. I recommend her first book, a memoir. About grief and how pie heals. Click here to read my review of Making Piece, 2013]

Ms. Howard is no-nonsense. She doesn’t believe in tiptoe-ing around any delicate or fussy  ideas of the RIGHT way to make a pie.” JUST DO IT” is more her motto and her cookbook reflects this. So if you are intimidated by pie making but want or need some of that tough love to just jump into a bowl of flour and (quickly, gently) work in that butter, THIS is the cookbook for you.

AND she is nice about it, she can put one at ease. It just doesn’t matter how the pie might look! Pie is NOT fussy, pie doesn’t have to be pretty-pretty. Pies (almost) always taste fabulous. Ms. Howard gives all the right pointers to ensure you have fun while putting that pie together and tells you not to worry, it will all be fine.

Early in this book, we get Howard’s PIE-OLOGY which lists many lofty, true and good things about pie, finally stating, “Pie makes people happy and happy people make the world a better place.” She also busts most of myths surrounding pie lore. She answers a ton of often asked questions and offers plenty of how-to photos.

Pie is good.

So far, I have made the Apple (Pies to Heal, p. 45 for Memorial Day with using the Hand Pie technique described on p. 190) – I even made the caramel sauce. YUM! photo 4

I made the Cherry (another Pie to Heal, p. 50) IMG_3021 with the Gluten Free Pie Crust (p. 33) and it was fabulous! The Strawberry Rhubarb (p. 83) I made for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day (June 9) was absolutely perfect. I took the Shaker Lemon (Pie Recipes of the Pitchfork Pie Stand, p. 90) IMG_3123 to the boat crowd and everyone loved it. (I am embarrassed to admit that I’m somewhat proud of my edges on these two – you all know I’ve been making pies a long time and I give talk about how I should try to make the perfect crimp but then I think it wouldn’t look like a Care-Pie…)

My friend made the Spaghetti Pie on p.180 and RAVED about how awesome it was.

I have many many more to try.  pierating1
Rating: Five slices of pie.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PIE BOOK!

loveCare

 

 

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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.

Literary Road Trip

I had the pleasure of attending a poetry reading in a lovely setting last week:  IMG_3199 The Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington CT. The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival is held Wednesday evenings throughout the summer. We enjoyed headliner IMG_3210 Frank Bidart, opening poet Benjamin Grossberg and music entertainment IMG_3192 Alien Folk Music.

“then the voice in my head said

WHETHER YOU LOVE WHAT YOU LOVE

OR LIVE IN DIVIDED CEASELESS
REVOLT AGAINST IT

WHAT YOU LOVE IS YOUR FATE ”
― Frank BidartIn the Western Night: Collected Poems, 1965-1990

Unfortunately, I didn’t take the opportunity to purchase Bidart’s book but it is on my wishlist and I encourage anyone to seek out and attend such an event with this poet. Mr. Bidart was fabulous at reading his poems and was a delight to experience in this beautiful setting. We had a lovely lovely time.

The next day, I visited the Mark Twain House in Hartford. IMG_3216 IMG_3217 IMG_3218 Now I’m inspired to read a Mark Twain. I *think* I have read Tom Sawyer but I really am not sure about that and probably should attempt Huck Finn but does anyone have a suggestion? He is one of those great American authors whose works are so familiar that it is difficult to decide what to read. I’m thinking that an audio experience might be the way to go.

“Go to heaven for the climate and hell for the company.”  (so many great quotes from Sam, yes?!)

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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.

Hops and Glory

Thoughts hagbypb One Man’s Search for the Beer that Built the British Empire by Pete Brown, Macmillan 2009, 458 pages, tradeback

I like beer.

I like IPAs.

IPA  =  India Pale Ale

I have always explained to my friends that IPAs are a style of beer that the Brits developed to survive the trip to India so the boys there could enjoy their favorite beverage. You know, way back before refrigeration. When transport was on the Tall Ships.

Europa <– click here to book your adventure on this gorgeous vessel, the Europa….

I did not realize that we Americans and our craze for craft beer started the trend to brew IPAs once again, I just know that I like the hoppy robust REAL beer taste.

I am a big fan of almost all the Sam Adams’ IPAs, Loose Cannon, Harpoon, and the latest purchase of Boulevard’s Pop-Up Session IPA. (Boulevard is in Kansas City; I am a fan of many of Boulevard’s beer and am excited I can now buy it in Massachusetts.)

If it says IPA on the board and/or label, I will try it. I know a few I don’t like (looking at you Mayflower.) I adore both Cape Cod Beer’s IPA and Racecourse IPA from Goodfellows – both locally brewed.

Some of the fun of drinking craft beer is that you can’t get all the beers because of liquor laws and traveling distances required to maintain quality. Which means when I travel, I get to drink MORE BEER!

This book was a birthday gift from a dear friend. I read it on a Beer Festival trip to Philadelphia earlier this month. IMG_3077 (from Varga Bar – one of my favorites, had to get a shot of the ceiling…)

I had a good time.

Part of the reason I had a good time was because I enjoyed this book. It’s the tale of the author’s attempt to recreate the voyage of a keg of IPA on the same route from Burton on Trent to Calcutta.

And I rate this book FOUR slices of pie: British Meat Pie since I have a photo: IMG_1652 and this book is most definitely geared to a British sensibility. I think. Sadly, I didn’t keep track of all the terms/slang I didn’t know.

fourpie

If you like IPAs and like history and enjoy a good travel/adventure book, this book shouldn’t disappoint.

I just wish it had more pictures…

Cheers!

beercopley

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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.

Washing Cars and Wasting Time

Thoughts wcawtbyjco Misadventures at a Family-Run Car Wash by John C. Oliva, Orange Hat Publishing 2013, 144 pages, tradeback

Gift from Jennifer of Relentless Reading (or perhaps I won it in a giveaway?)

This is exactly what the title and subtitle suggest – short vignettes about what it meant to own a car wash in the 70s. Nothing too outstanding, not terribly exciting, either. He met interesting people, both horrid and wonderful; the stories offer views of ‘slice of life’, coming of age, and challenges in running a small-business. Well-written, plenty of absurdity and told with a touch of humor.

Rating: Three slices of pie. No pie was mentioned in the course of the book.
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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.

I prefer pi.

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