My favorite was … The City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, followed very VERY closely by The Slow March of Light by Heather B Morris. Chouette was the most artsy (and musical) and creative and just wild! If you like unsettling books, I recommend.
“My tiny important job of the day is to crimp pie crusts.”
Locations and travels:
A few of these were based in the US or England and then traveled around the world
Slow March was set in cold war Berlin
The Last Thing He Told Me started and ended in Sausalito CA with much of the action in Austin TX
City of Girls was NYC
Chouette was CA but also forest fantasyland somewhat.
She was a bright, energetic, pie-faced fourteen-year-old, who always dressed in the most outlandish costumes.
-City of Girls
For challenges, I added one more category for the What’s in a Name 2022 “Speed” with the SLOW in the title, The Slow March of Light by Heather B. Moore – and still hope to add a single post review of this soon. It was a scary book with a hopeful “Wow, good humans DO exist” ending that really touched me.
I’m excited to have completed the personal to me challenge of reading Truth & Beauty with The Autobiography of a Face. Interesting story of friendship, of writing, of memoir and who owns the telling.
As a refrain offered in Chouette, “It’s time to tell.” Ellman’s essays would certainly agree with that.
Pie was mentioned in five of this month’s reads: Things Are Against Us had many pie mentions! Which is not at all surprising if you had read Ellman’s prior book Ducks, Newburyport about a pie baker. And of course, the only reason I have a kids book read was because PIE is in the title. Chouette, City of Girls, and The Last Thing He Told Me round out the pie offerings.
Now it is May and I’m doing a buddy read with Laila of Big Reading Life of The View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor. It is going to be GOOD, I just know. Looking forward to it! This was also a SPIN book for Litsy in May – yay me for having more reasons to read it (besides it being a classic for my Club 50.)
What was YOUR favorite book of April?
May 3 is Raspberry Tart Day, May 8 is Coconut Cream Pie Day, May 13 is Apple Pie Day, and May 20 is Quiche Lorraine Day – which is in a pie crust, so I call it pie.
“Just go sit inside and get yourself a piece of pie, okay?”
“I literally couldn’t want a piece of pie less,” she says.
And BECAUSE, I am out of practice. (see? My first self-doubt question is to wonder if I need that comma after my all-caps “BECAUSE”. I don’t, do I. Not a question, but now I have to leave it or you wouldn’t have much of a clue what I was talking about. )
Because I am out of practice, I need to just open a blank post and start free-associating.
So this is what I am doing!
First (since the above is epilogue) I will shout out a big WOO HOO to Amy for being a super dooper book friend by text.
We just texted and had a lovely conversation about books and doing-what-makes-you-happy and somehow after that, the convo devolved to Twitter and capitalism.
How do you spell SAY-Lah-VEE. ?
How old were you when you discovered that french words were very much not what they looked like spelled?!
I still recall the day when I found out what “hors d’oeuvres” were/was/WHAT?!
I knew then that I would NEVER learn French.
Ok, where were we? Trying to get the CARE back to putting words into the internet! I miss it! Yet everytime I sit to write a post, I just can’t. I can’t remember the steps, I can’t recall the process, I don’t desire the whateveritwas. The ooomph, motivation and the want to… THERE. but not the mechanics, and the overcoming of the hump of just-doing.
I really can’t quite figure it out.
I loved LOVED City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I have loved her authoringabilities since that book that everyone hated that I can’t at this exact moment recall. WHAT IS THAT?! Peace Love Pie? no…. Love Pray Eat? EAT PRAY LOVE! ok, whew
I thought that was total wonderfulness.
SO I especially, vocally veraciously loudly follow Elizabeth Gilbert because she is T.A.L.E.N.T-ed in the kinds of books I like to read. I don’t know how else to describe them but I’m gathering a list of authors that fit my MUST-READS: Ann Patchett, Elizabeth Strout, Rachel Joyce, Kate Atkinson, Liz Moore, Kate DiCamillo, … oh, I’m SURE there are MORE. (Tell me who I’m missing.)
Just heard that Elizabeth McCracken has a movie rights optioned on her book The Giant’s House which I have yet to read. Might have to put that on my May —- no! June list.
Here is my May list:
OK then myFriends, let’s encourage each other to contribute when we can and validate our thoughts and opinions of beauty and art cuz, GOLLY, it can be a struggle with the evil Putin being evil, and other mind-boggling disregard for humanity.
ok, then. I’m working on finishing 2 more books this month and then writing an April recap. Be kind!
Am inspired to read a new translation of Beowulf by Maria Dahvana Headley, one of the judges this year. MANY if not most of the judgments were excellent.
Pie was mentioned in four of this month’s reads. A history of PYREX mentions pie, all kinds of pie and multiple paragraphs cover a summer expedition to eat pie across the country, squash pie in Parnassus on Wheels and this from WRtT:
April 3 is Chocolate Mousse Pie Day, April 5 is Empanada Day, April 28 is Blueberry Pie Day! I don’t think I made any pie in March. I just wasn’t feelin’ it.
I’m a completist! I finished The Echo Wife and The Confessions of Copeland Cain on the same day last week and I’ve been working on this post ever since. I want to update with my thoughts about all that …
Let’s share my thoughts of the TOB books so that I can remember them at Tourney Time. Which is SOON. It starts on March 8. First, let’s present my list of favorites, best to least: 1. The Sentences by Louise Erdrich 2. The Trees by Percival Everett 3. Matrix by Lauren Groff 4. Subdivision by Robt J Lennon 5. All’s Well by Mona Awad 6. The Book of Form & Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki 7. The Confession of Copeland Cane by Keenan Norris 8. Intimacies by Katie Kitamura 9. In Concrete by Anna Garreta 10. Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke 11. No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood 12. Beautiful World Where Are You by Sally Rooney 13. When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut 14. Nervous System by Lina Meruane 15. Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart 16. Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge 17. The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey 18. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
NOTE: these middle positions shift up and down if I contemplate further. Suffice it to say, I won’t really be upset about any of these winning. For me, the tournament is about how others react (and beautifully explain) these books, the ideas, the craft, the art. THE DISCUSSION. It’s all terribly subjective and I’m here for it. _________________________________________________________________________
The following THOUGHTS are most recent to first read. ________________________________________________
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey, eBook, 253 pages This book was a failure for me. I didn’t care for it. I finished it, but I thought it uneven and not quite believable. Maybe it was that it diverted far from what I was hoping and expecting. For all the moral quandaries on the ethics of cloning, it really didn’t hit hard on the big questions for me. And it seems heavy-handed for what questions it did explore … which now, a few many days later, I forget what they are. Identity, I think. But mostly just more on the never-ending story of how men are pigs. I thought many of the main character’s head-thoughts were said over and over and over again. I get it already. You are upset about your marriage. You are unsure about this clone of yourself, yadayadayada blah blah blah. I’m sure that I’ll totally change my mind when the Commentariat has a go at this one!
The Confession of Copeland Cain by Keenan Norris, audiobook 11.2 hrs
Let me share the blurb:
BOOK BLURB: (Cope) is just a regular teenager coming up in a terrifying world. A slightly eccentric, flip-phone loving kid with analog tendencies and a sideline hustling sneakers, the boundaries of Copeland’s life are demarcated from the jump by urban toxicity, an educational apparatus with confounding intentions, and a police state that has merged with media conglomerates – the highly rated Insurgency Alert Desk that surveils and harasses his neighborhood in the name of anti-terrorism.
Recruited by the nearby private school even as he and his folks face eviction, Copeland is doing his damnedest to do right by himself, for himself. And yet the forces at play entrap him in a reality that chews up his past and obscures his future. Copeland’s wry awareness of the absurd keeps life passable, as do his friends and their surprising array of survival skills. And yet in the aftermath of a protest rally against police violence, everything changes, and Copeland finds himself caught in the flood of history.
I really enjoyed this. Cope is very endearing and thoughtful and working on being his best. It has some comic moments, too. It might need to be said that it is brutal and shines the spotlight on harsh reality, too. Recommended. π
I attempted Libertie via eBook from the library. I just could not get into it. I put aside and then came back to it on Audible audio. I got about half way and skipped to the end. Read others’ reviews. Felt I got it. Call it a partial-DNF. I might have missed the middle to last quarter. I was not a fan. To recap what I think it was about: a young girl whose mother was a black female doctor in a free black town in New York who assisted the Underground Railroad. Libertie grew up with expectations of pursuing her own medical degree and assisting mom. She didn’t subscribe to that plan. Between 2 and 3 slices of pie.
Time to chat about ALL’s WELL! I thought this delicious. BUT ONLY!!!! Only after the horrid hard difficult painful PAINFUL first part that discussed the pain of ongoing cumulative on-going ever-present pain. Did I mention it was sickeningly painful? It was. Just painful; all the reviews talk about how visceral it was. I’m not sure if ‘visceral’ is the right word but it was powerful. But then! the cartoon birds of happiness played and the tone shifted and I thought it was WOW. Fantasy elements aside, I thought it brilliantly executed and was on board for the rest of the show and how it played out. This was very much a book that was felt, both bad and good in the body. Well done Author, Author!
Intimacies by Katie Kitamura, Hardcover (Library) 352 pages Quietly powerful. Our protag moved to The Hague, taking at job interpreting for the international war crimes tribunal. Fascinating! but it was her working through the worlds of being an immigrant, making friends, working at what she was working on, and starting a relationship, etc.; these elements formed the power of the story.
I should have liked When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut and translated by Adrian Nathan West, narrated by Adam Barr, 5 hours and 40 minutes. I appreciate all those who loved it but … I don’t know. Maybe I should have read the print and not listened. It is interesting to me that this and Matrix had lots of fact vs fiction disgruntlement and what that MEANS. (I don’t know what it means!) Three slices of pie. (I don’t know if it mentioned pie, either! If anyone has the eBook… go check real quick, wouldya?)
(Dec 2021) Nervous System / Lina Meruane Tb (2021,228) *** 122 Several People Are Typing / Calvin Kasulke A (2021,3.45) **** 120 The Book of Form and Emptiness / Ruth Ozeki A (2021,18.5) π ***** 118 The Trees / Percival Everett Tb (2021,309) π ***** 117
Number of pages: 3159, number of hours: ~31 ♦ Total pages for year-to-date: 3159 ◘ total hours: ~31
Audiobooks: Five Tuesdays in Winter, Matrix, some of Beautiful World Where Are You? (back and forth with eBook), and When We Cease to Understand the World (4)
Hardcovers: The Sentence, Intimacies, The Mermaid Chair, The World Played Chess (4) Tradeback: Giovanni’s Room, In Concrete (2) Paperback: Sonnets from the Portuguese (1) eBooks: Beautiful World, Our Country Friends (2)
I did not give Our Country Friends good due. In the throes of TOB chasing, I was impatient with what I wanted to read with the timing the library was throwing them at me. I attempted to read the first chapter, read the last chapter and flip through the middle but got lost and then frustrated. I got the sense I was supposed to like Vinod and I did like app developer (though the app? what WAS that? I couldn’t figure out how that was to work. Dark arts or black magic…) The MC, his wife, the Actor — blech. Ed seemed interesting. Long story short, I think I would have liked it if I was sitting by a pool, in a beautiful setting, with all the time in the world… I will have to read another book by this Shteyngart. (I have Lake Success and Absurdistan on my tbr.) Three slices of pie, YES to pie mentions! No flavors – just a “cutie pie” about a pregnant Corgi and a “slice of pie” reference.
I will share thoughts on Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets when I post the first edition of my Poetry Posts for this year. Right after I finish Rachel Long’s My Darling From the Lions.
I gave three stars to the translated work When We Cease to Understand the World. It’s supposed to be fiction but reads LIKE history, nonfiction. I listened to the audio which I believe helped me get through it. I may have struggled with print. BUT, that said, I might have rushed through the listen as I was wondering “what the heck *IS* this?” Pretty sure my spoof attempt of a review on goodreads was cynical and disrespectful. Maybe I was looking for the awe in all the wrong places. It’s a wild ride, for sure! Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned.
Intimacies by Katie Kitamura was a quiet introspective novel set in The Hague. I thought it captured a mystery of place, of people, of relationships, of risk in an off-balance slightly tense way. I’m not sure how memorable it will be in a few months, I’m still perplexed about some things. But I did not mind reading it. I did not need to jump to the end, jump around the middle, etc. I was a straightforward read. Whew! I’m sure I totally missed a ton of stuff and the TOB will set me straight. LOL. Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.
But When the World Played was a read-the-first-then-the last attempt and it fit that method well enough. This was a book club book about a father that receives a diary from a Vietnam Vet that he met 20 years prior when he was in high school working construction. He reads the diary, reads about the horrors and the loss of faith the man experiences and at the same time, he is helping his son, a college freshman, deal with tragedy. I just didn’t have the time to read all the books from the library by their due dates. Giving this one three stars and don’t know if any pie was mentioned.
February is LetterMo. I’m thinking of applying an alphabet theme to each day required to send a note. I’m committing to using only paper/stationery/postcards in house. Additionally, I’m taking a Facebook/Instagram break. I have the TOB books and a Classic that came through from the ILL which I didn’t expect so soon, They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple. (YAY! but WHY NOW?!?!)
Currently listening to Libertie, currently reading All’s Well. Have Subdivision in the house (Thanks Jessica!), assuming I can get The Echo Wife easy enough (on hold at Libby, will probably drop tomorrow?), and will likely have to burn my Audible credit on The Confession ofCopeland Cane. Should be able to be a #TOBCompletist, no problem.
Ten years ago, about this time, I discovered a PROJECT that aligned nicely with that year’s goal of writing a letter every day. I succeeded on that project and I’m excited to share that I will be participating in this February’s Month of Letters aka/hashtag #LetterMo again. TEN YEARS! So this year is actually my 11th year. WOW.
Volunteers keep the website going; it’s changed some over the decade. Author Mary Robinette Kowal (Twitter link) started it all and since abdicated it to the universe. I’ve read 2 of her books:
I reviewed Shades of Milk & Honey in a roundup post 2014 and never got around to writing many reviews at all of books read in 2018, such as Calculating Stars.
Rules to #LetterMo are simple – I actually do the deluxe version and write every single day, but I think the stated guidelines suggest sending something in the mail every day the mail runs. Thus, if in the US, this means only Monday thru Saturday. The website community awards badges for certain challenges and has virtual stickers, buttons and more.
OH yea! Another rule is to reply to any letter received in February… which takew me into March.
So… if I have your address, I will probably drop you a snailmail note next month. If you would like me to send a postcard or letter, please tell me your address in an email to BkClubCare [at] Gmail.
Tis the time of year to think fondly upon the end of the current year and all the amazing books that moved us in some way. Tis also the time to set goals for the upcoming year.
But all that stuff takes time and thought and sifting through data to make pie charts….
FIRST! We must pick that one book we will read or start on the first day, January 1.
Having begun the consideration list for the 2022 What’s in a Name Challenge, I’m going to pause my mad dash at the TOB Short List and read what I hope will be a fast feel-good tale by an admired author.
(I have a dear friend who did not give it high marks on goodreads but that now only makes me more curious.)
Thoughts by Ann Patchett, HarperCollins 2021, 320 pages
Challenge: I have love and adoration for AP
Type/Source: Hardcover / Purchased as a ticket for a virtual event (which I missed…)
WHAT’s it ABOUT: Ann Patchett is a successful prize-winning novelist (Her latest, The Dutch House, was nominated for the Pulitzer) who also owns a bookstore in Nashville TN. This writer-plus-bookshop-proprietor was a magazine article writer in order to support her fiction writing habit; she published a collection of these called This is the Story of a Happy Marriage in 2013 between two best-sellers State of Wonder (2011) and Commonwealth(2016). She pub’d this one, this year and it’s a heartbreaker, consisting of goodness.
WHAT’s GOOD: I love her.
Here’s what I said in my review of This … Happy Marriage: “From word one, I fell hard into this and couldn’t stop enjoying, thinking, relating, pondering. I had no idea what to expect; I really didn’t know anything more about Ann Patchett other than the first fact: 1) she wrote Bel Canto and the second, that 2) she owns a bookstore. I am now a fan . . . “
So this new collection is also just a few random essays but the title one refers to her friendship with an artist, a friendship that began slowly and by a series of cogs, levers, acts of this and then that and THEN the pandemic. I cried with this essay, but I also cried on the very first essay and it was about .. oh, well, OK. It was about death. That essays don’t die. I cried at a few other lovely essays, too.
Maybe I should get my thyroid checked again. I cried lovingly.
What’s NOT so good: I have no criticisms.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I find AP inspiring. I want to reread this book already. I’ve put Updike on my tbr. I have added Eudora Welty to my tbr. I have placed a book called Barking to the Choir by Gregory Boyle on my tbr.
RATING: Five slices of pie.
“That was when I started cutting frozen butter into pea sized chunks with a frozen knife in my frozen hands to make a pie crust..”
Number of pages: 2427, number of hours: 30.74 ♦ Total pages for year-to-date: 27,266 ◘ total hours: ~270
What Kind, Where From:
Tradeback owned + Audio from library Radium Girls by Kate Moore
The Promise eBook by Damon Galgut (Booker Prize)
A Spindle Spintered by Alix Harrow eBook/Libby
Leading with Questions Hardcover/Work-provided by Mark Marquardt
Infinite Country by Patricia Engle eBook/Libby
Cloud Cuckoo Land Audiobook/Audible by Anthony Doerr
Rather than saying my favorite read of the month, I will wow you with the statement that I gave ALL the fiction 5 slices of pie and one of the Nonfiction. The other only other nonfic I read, I gave 2 slices. (Ugh; it was a slog.)
These books took me on visits to New Jersey near NYC and to a small town in Illinois, NYC and the country of Columbia. The Booker Prize put me in South Africa, the fairy tale was grounded in Pennsylvania (IIRC) and then in the land of princesses and dragons and scary forests to pass through. Cloud Cuckoo Land was in the past in Constantinople — the recent past in Idaho — some Vietnam or was it Korea? — and in the future to an outerspace somewhere sealed away for decades.
Nonfiction November fell a part for me once the TOB Long List hit the newsstand. I became obsessed and abandoned almost the entirety of my Litsy #BookSpinBingo card. I gave up blogging. I could only focus on a few things and that was TOB and family stuff, I guess.
I didn’t even update my book tracker but thankfully I had goodreads. Whew!
Speaking of THANKFUL and since it’s November’s recap… let’s talk Pie! All of the books I enjoyed mention pie. One was “a slice of pie” (a slice of RADIUM pie!), one mentions a pie pan, and one used the word “piebald” — hey, it counts. One features empanadas, one said something about “hand-raised pie” or somethingsomething British-Baking-Show (and now my count is off), but finally! one discusses milk tart – has to be a custard and I need to search more, and also CHICKEN PIE.
I myself made Pecan. Oh. and…. Lyle Lovett liked my tweet of the pic of my Pecan pie for #SecularPieThursday. SQUEEEEEEEEEE!
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
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!)
Pie! NINE books out of 13 mention pie.
I made Cranberry Pear Pie, Pumpkin, and some Dutch Apple crumb pies.