Category Archives: Library

In Review October 2021

 Monthly Recap Time!

Total of 13…

Count from the library =  SIX, one book was for my monthly Audible credit and finished with Libby; five purchased, and another library for both eBook and Hardcover

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My favorite read of the month is The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor. [Link to Review]

These books took me on visits to Colorado, NYC and outer space. I saw the US and some views into Canada. I was in UK-fantasy land. USA again and a half century away in rural England. OPKS was where I lived in the first book (and I’ve lived there in my history, so YAY KANSAS) and ended up in Sweden for the last book of the month.

Five nonfiction – if I count the poetry?) One of the books I read this month is “loosely-based memoir” fiction: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeannette Winterson. SO GLAD to have enjoyed this which had been on my tbr for a long time.

Two featured LGBTQ+, three by POC, one in translation, four classics. Seven female-identifying authors (I might be guessing/assuming) to six by male-presenting.

and…… The Tournament of Favorites was fabulous! The winner is Tsar of Love and Techno over Version Control in the finals. Great fun, much fun, warms the heart and stimulates the brain. I love the tournaments as much as I love pie. Bring on the Long List! Any day now… I haven’t read too many on on the possibly contenders list. Books pub’d this year include: Fugitive Telemetry SF, Meet Cute Diary TransRomance?, Yoga Pants Nation MomLit, (oh yea, I read all the Summer Camp books, too!)

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Pie! NINE books out of 13 mention pie.

I made Cranberry Pear Pie, Pumpkin, and some Dutch Apple crumb pies.

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What was YOUR favorite book of October?

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.

Yoga Pant Nation

Thoughts by Laurie Gelman, Henry Holt & Co. 2021, 256 pages

Challenge: Local bookclub pick for October

Genre/Theme: Mom Lit

Type/Source: Hardcover / Library

What It’s About: Jennifer, our main character, wears many hats and has a snarky attitude that makes it all come together. She is class mom to the fifth grade class with her youngest, baby sitter 3 days a week to her oldest daughter’s 2 year old, is trying to keep up with her parents, gets recruited to be the chair of the school fund-raising committee with a goal of $10,000, and is in training to be a spin class instructor at the local gym. She gets lots of curve balls thrown at her like one does as a premier family juggler of the sandwich generation. AND it’s set in a suburb of Kansas City.

Thoughts: It was fun. A VERY fast read. I don’t subscribe to her yoga pant love and I was thrown off by the many ‘ya’ drops in the dialogue, but minor quibbles. I would have gone with the yea or yeah spelling, myself.

And it has pie. She made six pumpkin pies for the Thanksgiving bake sale. I wouldn’t have made six and I don’t have an 1/8th nor 1/16th! going on that she does. Just another proof that the more you have to do, the more you get done.

Rating: Three or four slices of pie. Pumpkin and key lime.

“He just stuck his face in a key lime pie, and we called it a night.”

 

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.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Thoughts by Susanna Clarke, Macmillan Audio 2005 (orig 2004), 32 hours 29 minutes

Narrated by Simon Prebble

Challenge: TOB Faves Long List

Genre/Theme: Historical Lit, Alternative History, Fantasy / Magic

Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible + eBook, Libby via Kindle

What It’s About: Two magicians bring magic back to England. The years is 1810 or so. One is a hoarder of all books on magic – about magic — with magic and the other is one of those guys who is just clueless, finds something he can do and so he does it. The first is miserly and mean and insecure but arrogant. The second is also arrogant. Both are oblivious.

Thoughts: Some readers love the richness of detail and the amazing adventures in this long long book. I get it, but it wasn’t for me. Much to admire but I honestly got to the 3/4 mark, listening to over 20 hours and then couldn’t take it anymore. I was thrilled to see that I could access the eBook from my library so I could skim to the end and find out what happened. I did need that closure but I just couldn’t carve out the 10 hours needed to do it through my ears.

That said, Simon Prebble did a great job. The audiobook was well done and for a book that has many footnotes, many that are stories in themselves, the audio was a great way to digest. Somehow, they didn’t really interrupt the flow. (When I switched to the eBook, I realized I was skipping right over them without even noticing — THAT very much interrupted the flow!)

Clarke must have had much fun writing this and I’m happy for her that it thrilled most of those who managed to read it all the way through. It just bugged me that the magicians would not realize that magic was happening right in front of them and just brush it off without nary a ‘”Huh, that’s weird.” Yay for Stephen – I liked him, the poor guy. And I liked Childemas and Vinculus. Though I did wonder why Childemas put up with Norrell for as long as he did.

And my final thought is best wishes for the fictional Arabella and Miss Flora – may they ever be happy together.

Rating: Two to three slices of pie. Pork pie.

“Pork pies dropped on the heads of the French!”

 

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 August 2021 in Review with Note on #20BooksofSummer

 Monthly Recap Time!

  • 10 books; 87 for the year (1 book cover not included above – a pie cookbook)
  • 1548 pages, ~14 hours | 19333 total pages, 186 hours
  • Hardcovers – 1, 5 Tradebacks, 0 eBooks, 4 Audiobooks (though 3 would likely be the equivalent of a magazine article?!)
  • 3 from the Library, 2 purchased from an Indie Bookstore, 1 Audible Credit and 3 more Included with Audible Membership, 1 gift
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My favorite was … I don’t have a favorite this month! I can tell you that I voted for Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch for my TOB Summer Camp favorite. And I really did like Housekeeping – it was SO unique! and I really enjoyed Jess Walter’s The Financial Lives of the Poets… Black Gold, too, was a pleasant listen.

I gave 2 slices to The Orphan Collector but left the rating blank on goodreads because I just can’t figure out what didn’t work. I only know that I experienced that “blech, I don’t want to read this” feeling. Maybe it is a coconut book.

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Locations and travels:

  • early 1600s Germany EKYMiaW
  • the Pacific Northwest (specifics unknown, 2 books: TFLotP and Housekeeping)
  • Georgia and the Olympics (basketball, Black Gold)
  • the future I,Autohouse
  • early 1900s Philadelphia TOC
  • 1970s NYC IBSCT
  • on tour with Sting, but mostly England

“If you look steadily into that unblinking blue, into that pinpoint at the center of the eye, you discover a bottomless cruelty, a viciousness, cold and icy.

… if you do exist in the unbelievably frozen winter which lives behind that eye, you are marked, marked, marked.”

If beale street could talk
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UPDATE on #20BooksofSummer:

  • I finished a total of 27 book-books (kicked out the kids books, short audiobooks, and the cookbook)
  • I read 18 of the original 20 books I wanted to read June/July/Aug
  • The two from my original list I did not get to:
    • Up in the Air by Walter Kirn
    • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
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Pie was mentioned in four of this month’s reads. Sweetie pie, a pie seller thrown in jail, all sorts of good fond pie mentions in Housekeeping, and a shop that sold pie and sandwiches. YUM.

August 20 is Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, August 24 is Peach Pie Day; I don’t know if Plum Tart has a day but I had plums on hand so… I made a mini Plum Tart.

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What was YOUR favorite book of August?

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 Day the World Came to Town

Thoughts by Jim DeFede, HarperCollins 2021 (orig 2002), 261 pages

Challenge: Book club

Genre/Theme: Nonfiction / September 11th

Type/Source: eBook / Libby to Kindle

What It’s About: This short book is packed with heart-warming stories involving the challenges to the town of Gander, Newfoundland, in dealing with unexpected “guests” due to planes not being able to land in the US when the terrorists attached the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001.

We get a little bit of history on why Gander, an exploration of Newfoundland culture, and glimpses into lives of passengers and residents, all the many varied interactions. We even meet some animals!

Thoughts: I teared up a dozen times or more. This was a wonderful read about the goodness of humanity in facing the consequences of evil tragedies. This edition is great in that it gives updates to the friendships made; a ‘where are they now’ look, 20 years hence.

Rating: Four slices of pie. Homemade 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.

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.

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.

Skippy Dies

Thoughts by Paul Murray, Audible Studios 2011 orig 2010, 661 pages

Narrated by: Nicola Barber, Fred Berman, Clodagh Bowyer, Terry Donnelly, Sean Gormley, Khristine Hvam, John Keating, Lawrence Lowry, Graeme Malcolm, Paul Nugent, 23.6 hours

Challenge: TOB Favorites

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Li t / Irish Boys, Catholic Boarding School

Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible

What It’s About: We know immediately from the title that Skippy Dies. In fact, he dies in the first scene of the book. It takes the next 23 hours to explain who Skippy is, what demons he was wrestling, and introduce the reader to friends, crushes, bullies, parents, priests, teachers and administrators who orbit our titular Skippy. Before and after.

Thoughts: Unfortunately, as impressive as the telling is, I didn’t get into it. My fault or just another coconut scenario. (I just spent 20 minutes trying to find the post where I talk about coconut* books. Why can’t I find it?!)

It is a great book if you like long books about lots of stuff and lots of 14 year old boys. I liked the parts about Howard’s obsession with WW1 history. In fact, my thoughts were two seconds ahead of one of the characters wondering why he wasn’t yet to the point in the curriculum where they discuss the Easter Rising. I had JUST HAD THAT THOUGHT! (Point for the author.) And I was also pleasantly surprised that they were (somewhat, but way more than I expected!) sympathetic, by saying Skippy was in heaven. Most Catholics, in the US anyway, the ones I know, pretty much believe suicide condemns you to hell. So that was a hiccup, to me. (Just hover over that blank space and highlight the white text so you can read it. I didn’t warn about spoilers. Oops.)

Two of the narrator voices didn’t work for me. First, the main narrator and also how he would say “You open the door. You go through. You are amazed about blah blah blah” So maybe it was the present tense or the speaking to the reader – I was confused and annoyed. Second, I did not like Mario. His voice was like a vampire. And he was a 14 year old always talking about his prowess. Ugh. And only a few sounded Irish to me. The American really sounded non-Irish so maybe my ears just adjusted?

Rating: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned. (LOTS of donuts mentioned.)

 

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The label “Coconut Book” references my idea that some books are just not to my taste. Like how some people just do not like coconut and it doesn’t matter if the coconut is awesome and tastes fabulous to those people who DO like coconut.

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.

A Tale for the Time Being

Thoughts by Ruth Ozeki, Viking 2013, 433 pages

Challenge: TOB Favorites

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit / Time Travel

Type/Source: eBook / Library -Kindle

What It’s About: A fascinating story that interweaves across time and distance and offers up a few mind-benders and reality-suspension moments. A writer named Ruth, experiencing a lack of motivation in her current project, finds a package washed up on the beach of her remote Pacific Canadian island. Inside is a journal, a watch and a collection of letters written in French. I think the language is English essentially, but culturally Japanese ; the journal-ist is a young Japanese girl suffering from a tumultuous change in her standard of living and location. Her father lost his silicon-valley job in California and uprooted Nao to Japan – a foreign world to her. She writes as if she knows the reader, addresses her directly, tells her all about her life, her horrid school and the bullies there and also her great-grandmother, a 104 yo Buddhist nun. Ruth is the reader and takes on the challenge of being Nao’s friend. Across time, across the ocean, across practicality.

For the time being, Words scatter . . . Are they fallen leaves?

Thoughts: It’s a wonder it works. I’m sure for many, it doesn’t; but for me it does. There’s word play, dream movement, thoughts on the precarious nature of our world and the environment. There’s history, there’s violence, brutal brutal violence, and yet there is zen, and hopeful hope. I just adored Jika! I wasn’t so sure about Ruth, but she is going through her own growth spurt through doubt with Nao so it made sense to me. Oliver is a treat.

I keep thinking about this story. I think it will be one of those I remember and think about and grow more fond of as time goes on.

“She wasn’t crying. They were just the memories, leaking out.”

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned. (French pastry, however…)

To grasp this truly, every being that exists in the entire world is linked together as moments in time, and at the same time they exist as individual moments of time. Because all moments are the time being, they are your time being.

—D gen Zenji, Uji

 

Up is down. Down is up.

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.