Dark Rooms

Thoughts

3328CC7B-EF2C-4939-82A2-351E6525B4AF by Lili Anolik, Wm Morrow 2015, 323 pages

Review in six words:  sisters, murder, siblings, whodunit, bad parenting

Free flow ramblings:  Grace is the older sister to a cooler more wild, more world-wise Nica who shows up dead by gunshot. Setting is a boarding school so of course, we get class issues, drug use, promiscuity, all of it. Nica is sleeping with everyone, it seems, so we wonder who ISN’t a suspect? But the school and the police conveniently find a suicide with confession note. Gracie isn’t buying it. A few of the situations she gets herself into are almost ridiculous but we buy it because kids are confusing and confused and doubts are huge; motivation-exploration and self-awareness are numbed by drugs and avoidance even as she keeps placing herself into conversations and confrontations to solve her sister’s murder. All is solved in the end and those plot turns and twists are just a part of the ride.

I don’t “get” the title… oh wait! I do!! Ha, ok, took me way waaaay too long, but Mom is a photographer. I guess that’s the connection. Mom is a real peach if you like fiction with icky mother-daughter storylines.

Rating: three slices of pie.

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.
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Wide Sargasso Sea #ccspin

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Norton 2016 (org 1966), 174 Pages

Introduction by Edwidge Danticat (read last, though, of course. I adhere to a strict policy of never reading Intros until I read the text. Ahem)

Challenge: For this month’s Classic Club Spin.

Genre: Fan-Fiction? Carribean Historical Fiction, an Anti-Romance, perhaps.

Type/Source: Tradeback / I finally had the opportunity and forethought to plan for a shopping trip to an Indie Bookstore who to my excitement and delight had a copy for me to purchase!

Will ship to anyone interested – just let me know your opinion of Jane Eyre.

_ ____ ________________

For those book-readers-and-pie-lovers who don’t already know, this work of fiction is the back story to one of the characters in Jane Eyre. Jane is the plucky poor governess who woos Rochester to marriage but then finds out that he is already married. And this first wife is living in his house, chained up in the attic! Sorry if I spoilt that for you, but I am truly shocked when I encounter people who don’t know what Jane Eyre is about. Book readers, even. How, I ask, do some college educated people I am friends with actually not know about Jane Eyre! A diverse world we live in; I keep finding out.

Anyway, Jean Rhys had read Jane Eyre and wanted to know more about this first Mrs. Rochester and so she put her ideas into this short novella.

I probably should reread it. It is atmospheric and confusing. It is stream of consciousness and vivid. It provides narrative on the lady’s childhood (tragic) and then switches to a time right after she is married to an Englishman and is this part is from this unnamed guy’s perspective. We know this is Rochester.

And he comes off as an asshole. The first part is rather straightforward and we sympathize greatly with Miss Antoinette and her sad mother and her scary circumstances – poor and friendless in hostile territory, a failed plantation on a Caribbean island. It is sketchy exactly how her fortunes turn but mother somehow remarries money… more tragedy happens and then Part 2.

Rochester marries Antoinette for her money, but doesn’t really remember everything cuz he gets the fever for a few weeks while all this is happening. Antoinette seems happy and crazy in love but Rochester is bewildered and befuddled and then finds out Antoinette’s true father was a drunk and much worse, her mother is ‘mad’, crazy, a whore. Rochester is filled with rage. He’s been tricked!

Antoinette also becomes enraged to find out this guy is a total jerk. Partly because he starts calling her Bertha – or was that before he got pissed off, I forget; but it was odd to me why he did that (and it is just so hard to think of the name Bertha as a “pretty” pet name – so confusing.) And THEN! He sleeps with a servant, UGH! and basically treats everyone like the asshole he is.

Part 3 is in England, to scenes familiar to those of us who know the setting and storyline of Jane Eyre.

 

Yikes… so rather than reread just yet, I post this and invite any of you to share/correct me on these thoughts.

 

I would love to take a class on Jane combined with discussion of this story, the history it depicts, the themes throughout both, and the motivations of both authors. Fun stuff!

The Introduction is excellent, too!

Four slices of pie. Alas, no pie nor pastry mentioned in Wide Sargasso Sea.

Cross another classic off my 50. Thank you Spin for the prompt to get this read.

I am on to my next: Vanity Fair – a classic I know little about (and what I might think I know seems to be wrong.) I know that Becky Sharpe is a famous conniving female character of literature and so far, Thackeray is entertaining in a Dickens kind of way…

[insert copyright note here and book cover image at top when I get back to a PC – I can’t figure out how to do that with this device…]

Cruel Winter

Thoughts  by Sheila Connolly, Crooked Lane Books 2017, 320 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Season category
Genre: cozy mystery
Type/Source: Tradeback / Barnes & Noble
 Why I read this now: I purchased this as a gift for a friend because I though she might like it. We don’t often share literary tastes. I discovered this book on a library list that Laurie sent me over the Holidays and I liked that the title would satisfy the WiaN Reading Challenge.

MOTIVATION for READING: The title! I needed a season book for the Challenge.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: An American who is new to managing a pub in Ireland that she inherited is stuck with a few of her customers during a threatening snowstorm. While there, they decide to rehash a twenty year old murder case from the area as entertainment. They all manage to survive and live to see another day having made new friends and created more work for the gardaí (police) department with their ideas…

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s a quick read and the main character is likeable.

What’s NOT so good: It’s not that exciting. And it tended to the over-explaining side of telling.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Not my favorite kind of book, though it is pleasant enough. It is part of series which felt obvious with references and hints to other minor character’s bigger stories later or prior;  this story stood well enough alone. I am not a series reader but if you are, check out this author.

RATING:  Three slices of pie. I’m counting the apple crumble which is really just a square (or oblong) crumb-top pie, right?

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

White Tears

Thoughts by Hari Kunzru, Knopf 2017, 288 pages

Distance can create longing. It can open up the gap into which all must fall.

Challenge: Tournament of Books 
Genre: Contemporary Lit, ghost story or time travel or both
Type/Source: eBook/Library to Kindle
 Why I read this now: Available as download

MOTIVATION for READING: Tournament of Books, and Ruthiella being enthusiastic for this title…

Electricity is not digital. It does not come in discrete packets, but floods the air and flows through conductors and shoots from the hands of mad scientists in silent movies. If it is futuristic at all, it is a past version of the future, temperamental, unstable, half-alive.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This will be hard! I am not good at describing (I usually just do not want to tell) plots of stories. So, copy&paste pieces from the goodreads blurb, I will:

Two ambitious young musicians are drawn into the dark underworld of blues record collecting, haunted by the ghosts of a repressive past. It’s a ghost story, a terrifying murder mystery, a timely meditation on race, and a love letter to all the forgotten geniuses of American music.

I would add that it could also be a tale of obsession and revenge or maybe redemption.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s tense. It’s unsettling. On that regard, the author got it right.

Marconi was right and certain phenomena persist through time, then secrets are being told continuously at the edge of perception. All secrets, always being told.

What’s NOT so good:  It’s confusing at times, but that is the point. When you blend timeframes of the past with the now; blend emotions and physicalities of past bodies with those here and now, you are going to get some confusion.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I thought it a fun wild thoughtful horrifying ride.

He becomes theatrically still, even his stillness a form of motion.

RATING: Four slices of pie. Porkpie Hats!

He had been staying with friends in California and was sporting—I think that’s the word—a porkpie hat and an army jacket and vintage Nike sneakers and two fistfuls of silver rings.

VOCAB:
roisterselvedgeabseilingdeliquescing, paletasexophthalmic, punctum

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Must Read in a Lifetime

My friend Sheila over at Book Journey has invited me (and you) to answer this question:

What Do YOU Say Is A Must Read In A Lifetime?

And I couldn’t figure out a quick answer…  If you click on the button above, you can go read her post on her idea to create a list of these books as generated from her book friends. She is allowing us 3 or 4 suggested titles.

What are my TOP TEN? My most favorite books or those books that still delight me when I see on other crazy book lists of must reads?        I can’t decide! Having given myself a few days to think upon this, I’ve still been unable to create a short list of my own. So, I’m just going to start typing titles that pop into my head:

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
The Book Thief by Mark Zusak
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Beloved by Toni Morrison
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (or would it be Cat’s Cradle? I need to reread and find out.)

I would love to say It by Stephen King but I just can’t. I would say the film Shawshank Redemption would be a great one for a movie list like this, though. I haven’t read the short story the movie is based on… But I do think something by Stephen King should be on such a list.

pieratingsmlI have 974 READ books on goodreads. How many of those did I give 5 stars? 205.

From that list, I skim off some more I think could fit this category of MUST READ in a LIFETIME…

Perhaps I should pose the question differently; reframe it as “Which books, had I not read, would have made my life less? less bright, not as enriched?”

pieratingsmlH is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Far From the Madding Crowd by Tom Hardy
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The Count of Monte Cristo – Dumas
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters
Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane! – Kate DiCamillo
The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
The Year of Pies by Ashley English
The Secret Life of Lobsters!!! yes, gotta have this one. Trevor Corson
The Sparrow by Mary Russell Doria
Waiting for Columbus – Tom Trofimuk
Seabiscuit – Laura Hillenbrand
Love Begins in Winter – Simon Booy
James McBride’s The Color of Water
A Tale of Two Cities – Chuck Dickens
Woman by Natalie Angier
Atonement by Ian McEwan

Olive Kittredge by Elizabeth Strout? Or did I love Lucy Barton more?

I’m not even listing those classics EVERYONE assumes are MUSTs…. Pride and Prejudice, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter… yikes.

Which 4 did I end up choosing for BookJourney’s list? Only she and I will know…

(y’all realize right? that whatever 4 I decide on will change tomorrow?!)

What can I say? I have eclectic tastes. AND, I need to read a lot more books.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

What’s in a Name 2018 Kick Off Post

My favorite challenge! This button     will take you to the host blog, The Worm Hole.

Here are the categories (with hyperlinks back to host blog) and my possible choices:

The word ‘the’ used twice – From my Classics Club 50: The House of the Seven Gables by Nat Hawthorne.

A fruit or vegetable – I’m committing to Elaine Dundy‘s The Dud Avocado, also on my Classics Club 50.

A shape – SO EXCITED to announce another Classics Club 50 will fit this one:  The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilberg Clark. An ox-bow is defined as 

  1. a U-shaped bend in the course of a river.
  2. a U-shaped collar of an ox yoke.

A title that begins with Z – Darn that I read Z last year (book about Zelda Fitzgerald) so I’m going to try The Zero by Jess Walter – I absolutely loved his Beautiful Ruins.

A nationality – Not sure here. Had American War for this spot when it was on the TOB long list but since it didn’t make the short. I have a lot of great nonfiction options about women that history forgot and I might go that route. Or perhaps American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang which would be a graphic novel and I want more of these. Any other suggestions?

A seasonCruel Winter by Sheila Connelly. I purchased this book for a friend’s birthday because it sounded like something she would enjoy and she promised to let me read it after (and then I’ll give it back so she can loan to her mom.)

I have created a goodreads list of done-reads and possibles for my 2018 tracking here…

Happy Reading Challenges!  What is the challenge you are MOST looking forward to this year?

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Behind Her Eyes

Thoughts  by Sarah Pinborough, Flatiron Books 2017, 318 pages

Genre:  Mystery Thriller
Type/Source:  eBook / Kindle
 Why I read this now:  For one of my bookclubs (May)

MOTIVATION for READING: One of the book groups I follow on Facebook asked for titles that had the best #WTFending. I think I might have selected it because it was also the least expensive of a list I attempted to put together for a vote. No one wanted to vote so I made a decision.  

Eek! Just realized book club is TOMORROW!

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A single mom named Louise meets what she thinks could be a ‘nice guy’ at a bar and they get along so well — even sharing a good night kiss. However, the next day, she realizes this nice guy is actually the new doctor in the office she works. OOPS. And, he is married. Bummer.

Soon after, she bumps into not-so-nice guy’s wife. They become friends, against Louise’s better judgement. But Adele is so beautiful and sweet and seems so fragile. Louise is curious; she just can’t help herself.

And then David, the new doctor not-so-nice guy pursues Louise to have an affair and again, Louise can’t help herself.

Danger lurks everywhere! Throw in that Adele wants to rescue Louise – help her quit smoking and start exercising, etc. She also has ideas on how Louise can get better sleep and even manage her nightmares and sleep walking. Adele says to keep it all a secret from David.

WHAT’s GOOD: The author did a commendable job layering the little odd details — of course, most obvious in hindsight now that I think about it. Considering the reader KNOWs about the #WTFending and that the reader MUST pay attention, the introduction of clues was well done. To even mention some of the things I want to say will be spoileriffic – can’t wait for club!

What’s NOT so good: I’m really not the best fan of these and may not be the target audience so take any criticisms with a grain of salt. So if you LOVE thrillers like this, it will likely be one of those books that the sooner you get to, the better. I found the device of self asking questions rather tedious at times.

(Note: I had to get We Were Liars when it was all the rage, and I really did NOT like it. Ugh. This one is better, imo.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you want to know if I agree that the book deserves the hashtag #WTFending, I will tell you, “Yes.” Did I like the book? That’s a more difficult question. These kinds of stories are not my favorite, but I kept reading because I HAD TO KNOW! The writing is fine, I have already praised the construction. Pacing was OK. Characters were OK. The fun will be in discussing and sharing and finding out if you figure it out or if you were gobsmocked.

RATING: Three slices of apple pie.

“I wandered through the house, ate some of my mum’s apple pie that was in the fridge, and then went up to my old room, got into bed, and went to sleep.”

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Girl on the Train

Thoughts tgottbyph by Paula Hawkins, Penguin Random House 2015, 336 pages EBOOK

Challenge: For Neighborhood Bookclub
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Type/Source: eBook/Kindle
 Why I read this now: Club discussion scheduled for Dec 6th.

MOTIVATION for READING: This has been a very hot book and has become a book that ‘everyone’ has read. Except me. Actually, about half our club hadn’t read it and the others voted to read it anyway so it was selected. With the movie out in theatres now, I wanted to read before seeing the film.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A young lady named Rachel rides the train to London everyday to put up the appearance of going to work even though she has been sacked months prior for a drunken mishap with a client. She drinks way too much and is usually snockered on the train ride home and drinks into the evening as well. As her train goes by and is often stopped for a spell right at the spot where she used to live, she views and regrets her old life in her old neighborhood. She can’t let go of her ex-husband who has a new wife and baby. She also imagines a story for a neighbor couple until something happens and she is pulled into the real life mess of this real life couple where the wife goes missing and the husband is suspected. It’s messy, confusing (back and forth in time and has 3 unreliable narrators), and it took me to the half-way point before it wasn’t a ho-hum get-on-with-it-already mystery.  But guessed it, I did! — nothing really surprised me.

WHAT’s GOOD: It was OK. It didn’t suck, but I can’t think of anything brilliant to say here in this spot so I’ll just keep moving on… Oh! Just thought of a compliment! I thought the imaginary names for the neighbor couple would get confusing with the true names and yet it didn’t, so that was a plus. Deftly handled.

What’s NOT so good: It was just really hard to cheer and root for any of the characters. Even the poor girl who goes missing is never really mourned. None of the feels…

FINAL THOUGHTS:  It was OK. I liked Gone Girl much much more. That one had me laughing with all the crazy twists and turns. Train Girl didn’t have any funnies what so ever.

pieratingpieratingpierating

 

 

RATING: Three slices of pie. I was constantly irritated with the dates with each narrator change. I couldn’t remember if we were on the same few days or few months prior and it BUGGED me to no end.

One more thing – I hate reading mystery thrillers on the Kindle. It’s just too hard to flip back and forth when you want to check something.

On the other hand – the Kindle is the EASIEST way to find if any pie was mentioned… 

Pie Mentions:  Only magpies.

A tiding of magpies. One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Murder Must Advertise

Thoughts mmabyds by Dorothy Sayers, Harper & Brothers 1933, 344 pages

Challenge: Classics Club 50
Genre: Murder Mystery
Type/Source: Hardback / Library
 Why I read this now:  I think because it felt like a good companion read to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Maybe.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: I think I’ll share the official blurb from goodreads. Oh – do know if you don’t already, the book cover above links to goodreads.com…

When advertising executive Victor Dean dies from a fall down the stairs at Pym’s Publicity, Lord Peter Wimsey is asked to investigate. It seems that, before he died, Dean had begun a letter to Mr. Pym suggesting some very unethical dealings at the posh London ad agency. Wimsey goes undercover and discovers that Dean was part of the fast crowd at Pym’s, a group taken to partying and doing drugs. Wimsey and his brother-in-law, Chief-Inspector Parker, rush to discover who is running London’s cocaine trade and how Pym’s fits into the picture–all before Wimsey’s cover is blown.

WHAT’s GOOD:  The energy, the cleverness, the humor. The dashing always amiable and capable Lord Wimsey. The setting of London and the descriptions of what life was like after World War I but before the Great Depression. It’s quite daring and had much to reflect on for how times are now as well as consideration of what is different in law enforcement these days compared to then. But who knew ‘drugs’ were so ‘bad’ then – if felt very modern.

p.78 “Everybody is picking up the body and exclaiming over it, when in walks our friend, innocently, from the lav. It’s as simple as pie.”

What’s NOT so good: I do think this wasn’t the best book FOR ME to be introduced to Lord Wimsey – I knew nothing other than he is beloved. I wish I had more background to his ‘story’ and that is my fault because I generally eschew ‘knowing too much’. I also have trouble relating to the ‘charm’ if you will of the class system in England as humor. (I have trouble with PG Wodehouse, too – just don’t think his madcap hilarity is all that funny.)

FINAL THOUGHTS:  It was a fun read and I thought I knew whodunit but didn’t really, it was almost like the big reveal was a slow realization that you doubt than wonder why – it was all spelled out, really. I guess that means that I thought it fell flat at the end but really, I did enjoy my time with this book and could be talked into having a bit of a crush on Wimsey – he is a charmer.

RATING: Three slices of  GOOSEBERRY pie.

Another “simple as pie” and a humble pie; quite a few lobster mentions, too.

p.84 “She thinks I’m the world’s eighth wonder. Absolutely the lobster’s dress-shirt.”

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

And Then There Were None

Thoughts attwnbyac by Agatha Christie, Harper 2011 (orig 1939), 300 pages

BackToTheClassics2016

Challenge: Classics Club 50 in 5 Years (I’m in Year 2)
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Type/Source: Paperback / Used Bookstore
Why I read this now: The itch to read a mystery and get back to my classics list lead me to search for it at my local used bookstore and I found it.

MOTIVATION for READING: I purchased three books at the bookstore and put it up for a vote a few posts ago. I started reading March before all the votes were in and Agatha was enthusiastically cheered for as my next book. I read it in one day. I didn’t think it would be that short and fast!

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Ten people are invited to an island for ‘holiday’ but the hosts are no-shows. Then someone dies! And another and another. They realize that the murderer must be one of them. Search parties, alliances and trust-not-trust dilemmas only add to the confusion. Guests keep dying! and finally, they are ALL dead. WHO was the culprit?

WHAT’s GOOD:  Very clever, very suspenseful, interesting back-stories and motives.

What’s NOT so good: I just am not that thrilled anymore about these kinds of books — I did have that dejavu feeling and I KNOW I did read it in High School or even Middle School — but I loved that this was short and easy/fast to read.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m glad of the ‘explanation’ letter in a bottle but sad that the last death had to happen. I was cheering for that person. It’s not that I figured out or remembered who it was but that it all felt familiar and not that startling once revealed. Still a fun whodunit, for sure.

RATING: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned. Plenty of tinned tongue, though. Ew…

tonguetin

 

VOCAB
p. 41 – cairngorm – “…, she pinned a cairngorm brooch at her neck,” – another term for smoky quartz

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.