Category Archives: John Cusack

What’s in a Name 5 (2012)

I have signed up for the What’s in a Name 5 Challenge!  Clicking on the above button will take you to the official site so you can learn all about it.  But the important stuff is the categories:

  1. A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title: Black Hills, Purgatory Ridge, Emily of Deep Valley
  2. A book with something you’d see in the sky in the title: Moon Called, Seeing Stars, Cloud Atlas
  3. A book with a creepy crawly in the title: Little Bee, Spider Bones, The Witches of Worm
  4. A book with a type of house in the title: The Glass Castle, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Ape House
  5. A book with something you’d carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title: Sarah’s Key, The Scarlet Letter, Devlin Diary
  6. A book with a something you’d find on a calendar in the title: Day of the Jackal, Elegy for April, Freaky Friday, Year of Magical Thinking

So, my options CURRENTLY in my HOUSE for each of these quick cat descriptions are:

TOPOGRAPHY:   Oliver Sacks’ The Island of the Colorblind, I’ve rejected Two Rivers because it technically is not a ‘land formation’ and I have doubts about roads, too, so I’m not choosing Revolutionary Road.  Darn.  A River Runs Through It, however….  The land part is what the river runs through so the topography here is IMPLIED?!  yes?

SKY:  Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – Reading in March with Erin of Erin Reads.  I’m committed here.  Yay!

CREEPY-CRAWLY:   HELP!!!   I hate spiders but I was thinking that Patterson’s Along Came a Spider would work and then I could see the flick. Unfortunately, this is not on the shelf at my local library but I could ILL it.  I’ve already read Little Bee and that other Bee book Secret Life of.

HOUSE:  Lots more here than I thought there would be.  Anyone read any of these?   I might even re-read HOUSE by Tracy Kidder which I will mention is “AAAaaaaawwwwwweeeeesssssssooome”.  I’ve got The Woman on the Roof * by a Nebraskan writer, Mignon Eberhart and there’s also Elizabeth Berg’s Open House.  AND, Daphne DuMaurier’s Jamaica Inn.  I’ve been wanting to read this forever.  I own Ape House, too, but forgot to pull it for the photo.

POCKETABLE:  Nothing on my shelf fits this…   Help requested here, too, please.

CALENDAR:  I’ve got Anita Diamant’s Day After Night so I’m going with that at this time.  But Fire Season might work.  And there’s Rites of Spring which works for my John Cusack Challenge.

OK, your turn!  What are you selecting or what can you recommend?  Throw ’em at me.  

* ROOF is only a ‘piece’ of a house so maybe that won’t qualify…


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Everything Beautiful Began After

Thoughts    Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy, Harper Perennial 2011, 402 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:  Oh boy. I can blame all of this on my good friend Nancy the Bookfool. She’s the one who first told me about SVB and I think she may have even sent my the story collection which I fell hard in love with (for?) and gave a whopping big 5 stars to. AND THEN?! Why she tells me that our SVB will be in Boston in September! OH JOY! So I suggested that she should just come and go WITH me to see Mr. Van Booy at the Boston Public Library and lo-and-behold, she bit. She will be my guest that week as I drop her off in the center of old towns to take millions of pictures of buildings and flowers (and dogs since I don’t have any cats), make her run errands with me, be a taste tester for my wonderful husband’s creative cooking, and who knows what else.

But WAIT!  There’s MORE!

Since all the stuff is being planned to go SEE the author, I suggested to my book club that we READ the book for our September choice (it was my month to pick and since I had to read it anyway…)  I was hoping to invite any/all of my sister-clubbers to attend with us but alas, it is first week of school so I don’t think anyone has the energy to blip in something like this that week. Of course, they are still invited to meet us there. Nancy and I have to take a little detour to Boston College that morning and hurry in for lunch plans.

AND? Yep, more. My parents will be visiting during the week of my book club meeting so I will make Mom read the book and bring her along! My mother is a hit at these things. Should be a quite fun. Right, Mom?  🙂

Which brings me to the part about this book. In one word, EVOCATIVE.

evocative |iˈväkətiv|adjective – bringing strong images, memories, or feelings to mind : powerfully evocative lyrics| the building’s cramped interiors are highly evocative of past centuries.

Quickly, it is about a girl who goes to Athens because Athens is a city with a personality that calls to lost souls.  She befriends one man who falls for her and yet she falls for another man and in the meantime, these two gentlemen become friends and don’t realize their connection and then stuff happens and time goes on and there is MUCH traveling which was one of my favorite parts even though the style of writing was different. Overall? It is short by epic. It is emotional, beautiful, philosophical, quiet and powerful. Then POW!  We are back at the beginning and the urge to start reading it again right away is huge.

I’m now going to pull Nancy’s words off her post first mentioning this novel:

It seems to be a love triangle, at first, and it begins a little slowly. Apart from the beauty of his writing, you may even be tempted to think it’s not going to be anything special. And, then Simon yanks the rug out from you and turns the story on its head. Suddenly, what you thought was a love triangle becomes a story of grief and hope. It’s almost a tapestry — about love and death and friendship, the fleeting nature of life and how much every single moment counts. Everything Beautiful Began After is awe-inspiring, uplifting, authentic, hopeful, beautiful. It’s everything I hoped Simon’s first novel would be. Prepare to have your heart broken and then put back together with sparkles and rainbows. Everything Beautiful Began After is a book you simply must read.

Also, I must bring you to Literate Housewife’s words AND photos her experience reading this book.   Any blogger that brings up John Cusack in a review is tops with me.   So click on the link and read what she has to say.    My favorite?   When she says the important theme is “The hope of love returning.”    Yes.


and finally, I must say again that I am VERY excited to meet Simon Van Booy.  

For my review of SVB’s Love Begins in Winter, click here.

It is likely that I will not post between now and then.   I’ll be back, don’t worry.    Happy Back to School!  Happy September!   Happy Labor Day!   Happy Happy Happy.


Copyright © 2007-2011. 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.

New Books In the House

The Witch of Hebron by James Howard Kunstler – Thank you Alix!

Virginia Woolf bio by Hermione Lee – for Women Unbound Challenge – #fridayreads prize!

Neon Vernacular by Yusef Komunyakaa – Thank you, Lu, for a convincing BBAW Forgotten Treasures post) – #fridayreads prize!

D.V. autobio by Diana Vreeland – #fridayreads prize!

Bob Dylan’s CHRONICLES Volume One – for the  John Cusack Challenge (bookmooched)

How To Grill by Steven Raichlen – with encouragement from BermudaOnion, gift for my husband #fridayreads prize!

I want to especially thank @thebookmaven for giving out prizes to the Twitter “Friday Reads” participants!    If you are on Twitter on Fridays, just use the hashtag #fridayreads (and/or #fridaylistens for audio books) and you just might win a prize!   I did!!    With my Amazon gift certificate plus only a few dollars of my own, I purchased the Raichlen Grilling book, D.V., the Woolf bio and the poetry book.

Read all about Twitter’s #fridayreads here as explained at The Book Maven’s blog.


Copyright © 2010. 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.

Franny & Zooey Part 1

In the article in, we only get one quote by John Cusack of why Salinger’s story collection, Franny & Zooey, is important to him,

“This book was my introduction to theology.”

Thoughts   Franny & Zooey by JD Salinger, Back Bay Books/Little, Brown Company 2001 (orig 1955/57), 201 pages.

MOTIVATION for READING:   Purchased for my John Cusack Reading Challenge.  

WHAT’s it ABOUT:    In the Franny story, a college girl takes a train to meet her Ivy-league boyfriend to attend the Yale football game, but…   well, they don’t quite make it to the football game but do have the chance to share conversation at lunch.    The Zooey story (Zooey is Franny’s older brother) involves Franny once she’s home and how her family deals with the episode in the Franny story.   Is that enough and yet reveals nothing?

WHAT’s GOOD/not so GOOD:    The Franny story was slow to get going.  I almost gave up and it was at that time that I thought of this idea to discuss this for my first bookclub choice!    I didn’t want to give up on it, hoping that others might be able to explain what I needed to ‘get’ from this.   Eventually, the suspense began to build of what the heck was going on.  I couldn’t quite figure it out  (OK, I wondered if she was pregnant but somehow suspected that was totally wrong);  but I was distracted by my own assumptions about the 50s and the somesuch pseudo-intellectualism concept.      Actually, the Franny story leaves the reader hanging – we don’t really know what Franny was going through until we get more of her background in the Zooey story.     I loved almost everything in the Zooey part;  the setup and framing of the narrator as the absent oldest brother, the crazy family, the unorthodox education that Franny and Zooey received from the older brothers, and even the endless lighting of cigarettes and ceaseless flicking of ashes.  And the religion.

The existential question:  Why are we here?   For spiritual enlightenment?    Yep, I need to re-read this before tomorrow.

RATING:   Four slices of pie.

REVIEWS:   Citizen Reader, Asylum, the other results from Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search

Part 2 up next…

Copyright © 2010. 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.

Friday Free For All

Hello.   How long has it been since I treated you to a random spouting of whatever is on my mind?    I think I could yap for many words this morning AND still keep it about books.     Got LOTS to say, it seems, and of course, all my sentence/thoughts are TOO LONG for Twitter.  😛   Besides, sometimes yelling into the Twitter void is loneliness-inducing.    I’ll say something and no one reacts.   So I just fell silly.   Like I’m in a room full of people shouting something (not) profound; everyone keeps right on talking.    Even worse, is the feeling that everyone stops for just a silent second to glance at me and then resumes talking.   Twitter CAN be intimidating, admit it. (yes, I do know that I should just jump in and react to someone else’s tweet – gotta be a friend to have a friend…)

See?  I’ve already rambled on and have barely even started.

I am now reading Night by Elie Wiesel;  inspired by my finishing The Book Thief (and the fact that Night is less than 200 pages, who am I kidding?!)       I have a confession.   Of course, I knew this book was about his time in the Nazi concentration camps but I didn’t realize it was about his crisis of faith.    I don’t know why this gives me pause, but it is sobering and somber and quietly dread-full.       I think I might have to seek out Viktor Frankel’s Man’s Search for Meaning as a counterpoint/companion read next.   How did I get on a Holocaust themed book run?

On a lighter note, I decided I could very well pop in an audio book to help Jen celebrate her Audio Week Extravaganza!    So I’m halfway through listening to Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson and I am IN LOVE with the setting!    What a wonderful NYC book!   I’m fond of this book already; fond of the main character and her family.

Which brings me to a question that you may want to address in a comment if you so wish:     Does it intimidate you to see the HOURS of LISTENING on an audio book case as compared to a book’s page count?     It does me.      So, when I saw that Suite Scarlett is NINE hours, I thought “OK, quite do-able.”    and yet, I *know* that I can read about 50-60 pages an hour and could if I wanted to convert a book reading time to hours, but I never do.

On similar note (maybe), I downloaded the audio of The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace and the key-card doesn’t tell me how many hours it is.   WHY do you think I assume it is many?   Many like is LOTS?    I’m scared to look up the page count…    I was about to write another sentence with a form of the word ‘intimidation’ in it and that’s just silly.   I have to get over what that word means!

Which reminds me of that quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

I am hoping to put together a pre-discussion post of  questions for Franny & Zooey – I suppose, I should write a review, too – and just wanted to let you know that I ended up liking it very much.    Not what I was expecting to after the first 40 pages.   In fact, I may have to re-read the Franny section.    I didn’t do a good job of taking notes so I might have to re-read the whole thing…   oh well.

I’m also reminded that I need a button.  and a note in my sidebar.   And I want to thank Florinda for sharing the link to the kickoff in one of her announcement posts!

AND.     For August 10, I hereby announce the book will be Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

Maree is hosting a discussion/readalong of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods on July 10th, too.   I got the book! I’ve been saying I need to read some NG for years now.

Jenny over at Jenny’s Books will be celebrating Diana Wynne Jones (an author I had never heard of until I started to read Jenny’s blog which you should read, too) – check out her announcement of that special week here.   I want to read Howl’s Moving Castle or Eight Days of Luke.

Have I also shared that we are planning on vacation for July 10th (the F&Z discussion) and it is extremely possible that I won’t have internet access on that date?!?!??!?!?     I’m sticking my head in the sand and refusing to acknowledge this possibility.   DRAT IT ALL.    I can’t go and tell the Hub to cancel vacation because I screwed up and scheduled an internet chat, now can I?     Well, I wish I could but he’ll just turn around and ask me how much money I’m making on this blog-thing and ha-ha…   I’ll see what I can do.   Maybe I can get that I-Pad thingy figured out by then?   It’s on my list of to-do’s before July 4th.

What else, what else?    I had a brain full of topics to address!  Where did they go?

I received Making the Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa, MD from my new-friend-from-BEA Esme at Chocolate & Croissants (thank you!) which she was so wonderfully generous to send me because I was complaining that I couldn’t find this book in LARGE PRINT.    (The one she sent isn’t in large print, either – I don’t think they printed an LP edition.)   My desire was that I wanted to get this for the library at the HOME FOR THE AGED where I volunteer and the residents prefer Large Print.     (It’s the largest Large Print library on the southcoast of Massachusetts!)

Finally, I leave you with a photo of a DOG named Oscar.


Copyright © 2010. 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.

Preview: Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72

Preview   Fear and Loathing:  On the Campaign Trail ’72 by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Grand Central Publishing First Paperback Printing 1983 (originally published 1973), 508 pages

Part 1: Kim’s Exploration of the New Journalism Movement.

The following should be considered Part 2.

I am reading this for my John Cusack Reading Challenge (and Kim is reading for the Sophisticated-Dorkiness-Quest to be a well-informed reader/writer/critic of journalism.)

Where I am in the process so far:        Kim and I have not formally set a time table but I’m already on page 129.     I was already starting to jot down a plethora of notes and questions that I thought it might be a good idea to study up on who the main players are and get a grasp of what the political climate was when Mr. Thompson decided to write this book.     To say I started blind, is not an exaggeration.    I was in First Grade in the Fall of 1971 (Kim wasn’t even born, if I assume correctly based on where she is on the educational-path.)     Only a few names are recognizable and I wouldn’t attempt to win any guessing games if pressed for more details.    This is my attempt to give myself a better pre-understanding;  to ‘set the stage’ not only for myself but for Kim and anyone who wasn’t around for the 1972 American Presidential Election.   If you don’t care, believe me – I won’t be offended if you skip this post and wait for something more fun!

But fun, it is – I am most happy to report that the reading is zooming along quite speedily, despite not really knowing who is who and all the times I have to stop and write down a question.

WHO/WHAT – Kim does a great job explaining who Thompson is and why he wrote this, so start there.  I won’t repeat it.

but I will expound a bit:     Thompson wrote on the campaigns of Nixon and the hopeful Democratic challengers for Rolling Stone Magazine and these articles were combined to create this book.    It is chaptered by time, usually by  month, but some months are broken up.   It covers his reasons for joining the various campaign trails, through primary states, the convention, the election and after.      For everything that follows, I referenced Wikipedia almost exclusively – which is to mean that it can’t be trusted?   I don’t intend to go into depth; bear with me.


1963-68:   When President Kennedy was shot and killed in 1963, Lyndon B Johnson assumed the office of US President.    He then won the 1964 Election and served to 1968.    He chose not to run for another term due to turmoil within the Democratic party and the escalating Vietnam War.

June 1968:  Robert Kennedy assassinated.   He possibly would have been the leading Democratic candidate for the US Presidency in the 1968 elections.

1968:  Republican Richard Nixon wins the Election;   Hubert Humphrey (Lyndon’s VP and a Senator from Minnesota) was the Democratic candidate.   George Wallace, Alabama Governor, ran as an Independent.

1972:  Election – Nixon wins second term (to read abt the whole thing, click this line); George McGovern (Senator from South Dakota) was the Democratic candidate.

NIXON, Richard  – Republican.   US President seeking re-election in 1972.    Click here for more on his terms of service posted at the Nixon Library website.

The Dems:
MUSKIE, Edmund – Democrat, Governor and Senator from Maine, candidate for president 1972 – a frontrunner for the nom in August 1971.
McGOVERN, Geo. – When front-runner Muskie didn’t show as hot as expected in the NH primary, McGovern was the next big choice.      He ran on a platform of withdrawing from the Vietnam War.
HUMPHREY, Hubert – Ran in 1968 but just couldn’t pull in enough support to win the 72 Democratic National Convention.
WALLACE, Geo – won 42% of the vote in the Florida Primary, but….   Went back to being Gov.
McCARTHY, Eugene – Challenged Johnson back in 1968 for the Democratic nom which resulted in Johnson bowing out but Robt Kennedy had most support and then he was killed but somehow Humphrey got the nom.     I think.   The sequence and timing of that is off but so shows the political whims of popularity in politics!    (Do not confuse with Joseph who was extremely anti-communist and died in 1957 – different guy)
CHISHOLM, Shirley – NY Congresswoman – First major-party black candidate for the presidency.

Clifford Irving? – an author who wrote a ‘fake’ autobiography of Howard Hughes
Tons and tons of names that I don’t even know if should follow-up on…   So I won’t.


“I feel like I’m reading a Vanity Fair article – tons of references I suppose I should know and the author assumes I do.  But all very playful, sarcastic and somewhat snobbish.”

Most of my scratchings request clarification of the above who and when stuff.   But Thompson does like to use the term ‘waterheads’ which I am unfamiliar with.   It is similar to ‘knucklehead’;  so I get it…

“Objective journalism is a pompous contradiction in terms.”

p. 48

We are in for a wild ride.   I intend to enjoy it and not get too upset with what I don’t know.   But if it strikes me, I will jot down notes and collect them here – or will if they continue to interest me at that time I finish the book.

AND, for your musical enjoyment, I thought it might be fun to find a hit song from 1972 – I thought I would see a few more political ones but perhaps they weren’t pop or HIT enough to claim the billboard top spots, so I choose this:  LEAN ON ME.

I have a memory where I met the songwriter of this song at a Lutheran Youth Convention;  I would have been in High School.  HOWEVER, the research is telling me that Bill Withers authored and performed this and yet, I recall the guy saying he was a Kindergarten teacher!   I can’t verify this…


Copyright © 2010. 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.

John Cusack Reading Challenge

***** UPdated in 2011 to make this a perpetual challenge! I have created a PAGE (see banner header, far right) and sign up if interested in joining along. *****************************************************************************************


I believe it was a Twitter Tweet that announced that Oprah Magazine had an article listing books that influenced John Cusack .    Come to find out that I had only read ONE of these books!    [Guess which one?   To Kill a Mockingbird.]

I have had a crush on John Cusack since the movie Say Anything 1989.     We are about the same age, so I have always assumed that he and I would have been friends if we had gone to the same high school.   He’s that smart guy who doesn’t run for class officer but hangs at the fringes and knows everyone but you can’t tell what clique he belongs to.    He’s too cool to be one of the popular kids.    Too edgy to be in the smart college prep group.    (I was a college prep geek.  I think.)

After reading this article, I am assuming that if he and I bump into each other at a party, I wouldn’t be able to talk books with him unless it was TKAM.     And that would be a shame.

I’m personally challenging myself to read the other seven books sometime in 2010.   Join me?   no prizes, no rules, no Mr. Linky, extremely informal.

Until I get this list read, I’ll have to avoid going to any Hollywood parties, I guess.   (Though, come to think of it, he doesn’t seem to be the Hollywood party type, does he?)

Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72
By Hunter S. Thompson

To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee

Chronicles: Volume One
By Bob Dylan

The Great Thoughts
Compiled by George Seldes

The Shock Doctrine
By Naomi Klein

Franny and Zooey
By J.D. Salinger

Tropic of Cancer
By Henry Miller

Rites of Spring
By Modris Eksteins


Thank you to the Novel Challenge Blog for listing this challenge and thus making it ‘official’!