Category Archives: Mystery

Status ⬥ The Month After July ⬥ 2022

 Monthly Recap Time! August

  • 7 books; 72 for the year
  • 2740 pages, 28.5 hours | 21128 total pages, 169.3 hours for the year so far

“… a party being made better because of the pie you brought…”

LESSONS in CHEmistry
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Pie for the win. EVERY BOOK I READ HAD PIE! Pretty impressive..

“Maria helped herself to the last bites of Eddie’s apple pie and unfolded her notes on the table, but instead of Devil’s Bargain she found herself thinking of the scale model of Mercury.”

– MERCURY PICTURES PRESENTS
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And my audiobook game has returned. THREE audiobooks finished and meaty books, too — not just a 1 hour created-for-Audible nibble.

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My favorite was Bonnie Garmus’ Lessons in Chemistry. Hands down, my kind of book. Strong female character, touches all the ugly bits of reality yet balanced with love and humor, plus a cool dog. Some reviews recommend print over the audio, though I didn’t catch the mispronunciations or chemical terms …. oops. I did notice a long “e” sound for the word “been” and something else with an eeeee sound that to me should be more of an “i” sound like “bin”.

I read French’s The Searcher for book club. It was good but not my favorite of hers. And another book that suffered I HOPE! from bad mood and poor timing, was Anthony Marra’s Mercury Pictures Presents. I want to try it again someday.

“He finds a café and gets himself a slice of apple pie and more coffee to pass the time till his laundry is ready.”

the searcher

Perhaps, August was just meant to be devoted to nonfiction? I really liked Destiny of the Republic by Candace Millard. She’s good! and she wrote a lovely tribute to David McCullough, a favorite of mine for readable fascinating enjoyable history, who died August 7. I’ve not read near enough of his oeuvre and now I need to add all of Millard’s.

I read The Sum of Us. Fascinating and sad how systematic racism is sneakily argumented away and seems invisible to sum. Why don’t towns have a city pool? because they didn’t want to share with ALL the citizens of the town. Stupid. Evil.

Which brings me to share that I finally finished brown girl dreaming by the lovely Jacqueline Woodson! Here memoir in verse, my mid-year, many months, poem-a-day project. LOVELY.

“…Remember the time, they ask,
when we stole Miss Carter’s peach pie off her windowsill,…”

brown girl dreaming

Then I listened to Taste by Stanley Tucci, because I think celebrity memoirs are a great way to break a slump. Plus, the lack of audiobooks in prior months meant I had credits to burn. I have a print of this at the library to pick up so I can get the recipes. (His cookbooks have hold lists but this I got right away.)

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What was YOUR favorite book of August?

September has a couple of pie days. The 15th is Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie Day! (A healing pie in the video game UnderTale.) Sept 23 is Pot Pie Day (Lessons in Chemistry has pot pie! and a terrific explanation of pie pastry. KFC’s chicken pot pie is decent, too. Look for a coupon.) Sept 26 is Key Lime Pie Day – read a book set in Florida! LOL — and Raspberry Cream Pie Day is Sept 28.

Today, as I write and prep this post, I’m contemplating a Grape Galette. You can see a photo (it’s readable! perhaps I should add a link to my pie page… Hmmmmm) of my recipe in a post from 2017; enjoy.

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

Status ⬥ July ⬥ 2022

 Monthly Recap Time! JULY

  • 5 books; 65 for the year
  • 1639 pages, ~0 hours | 18388 total pages, 140.8 hours for the year so far
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What a great reading month! Quality over quantity? I think This Time Tomorrow has to be the most-recommendable but I liked Autumn AND Trust, too. Only the Tomorrow books had pie, sadly.

““And I thought ‘it’s the pie, it’s the pie’ so we had to establish a really firm rule about no pie during the week.” -Obama”

– Tomorrow Will Be different
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Still no mood for audiobooks or maybe it is just too damn hot to walk the dog and that very much impacts (negatively) on my audio-listen time.

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Maybe my favorite was Autumn, a buddy read with Nancy the Book Fool. We are avid penpals and both had this book on our shelves. Ali Smith intrigues me; I had quite a Twitter thread going of all the things I googled that were mentioned. It was almost historical fiction! Lots of stuff from a scandal in the 60s (or was it the 70s? either way, I wasn’t aware of any of it but made for interesting rabbit hole travels).

If you read Trust, stay with it! In fact, I would encourage you to watch some of the interview videos on Youtube of HD discussing his motivations. I like him. I might have to go see if his first book (OMG – he has only written 2 books?!?!?!) is available at the library.

I didn’t make any pie. Can’t even think if I ordered pie in a restaurant. WAIT! Yes, if you count empanadas. AND I DO COUNT THESE AS PIE, yes of course. We drove to Maria Empanadas in Aurora Colorado and picked up a 12 pack. Too hot to bake otherwise.

FYI Today, August 1, is Homemade Pie Day and also Raspberry Cream Pie Day. Get some if you can!

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What was YOUR favorite book of July?

August has a lot of pie days. The 15th is Lemon Meringue Pie Day! One of my favorites, or at least it sounds pretty good right now.

But, maybe instead of pie, we should give $5 – $10 – $15, the price of a pie (or more), to the charities working hard to fight fires, rescue stranded residents of areas affected by floods, and address other wrongs throughout our country and world. On August 2nd in Kansas, I’m voting no. Abortion in healthcare. Do not change our state constitution.

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

Half Done 2022 Six Months to Go

 Monthly Recap Time! JUNE

  • 11 books; 60 for the year
  • 2940 pages, ~3.3 hours | 16749 total pages, 140.8 hours for the year so far
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My favorite was Either/Or. Or, at least according to scores given and slices of pie (and I don’t even think this book HAD pie?!) I also gave 5 slices of pie with no pie mentioned to Choice by Jodi Picoult. I’m just baffled and boggled and sad about what the SCOTUS is up to these days…

Morning is smarter than night.

(Updating this entire post the next morning! LOL had to include this because for me, it is very true.) TRUE BIZ, pg 205
True Biz
The Miranda Obsession
How High We Go in the Dark
Sea of Tranquility
Hearts & Minds
All of the above QUITE GOOD AND I might even say GREAT!
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Sorry Friends, I just haven’t had the motivation to write. I’m sad; I love this blog and I was doing SO WELL through MOST of the pandemic and now? I am feeling the changes. LOL. HA

I didn’t even use my audio credit this month. yikes. If you want to see what I’m hoping to read in July, you’ll just have to visit Litsy. Whatever.

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Same as in May, I read both of the Litsy Spin Books and completed one *BINGO*. My list of 20 for July includes many if not most of the what I had on the last list. Still reading for #CampLitsy.

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“Ms. Sweet Potato Pie costumes wait for no woman.”

True Biz, Pg 203

I don’t even care about checking on how many books had pie. I can’t seem to keep it easy to figure out. Or maybe TRUST that I really accounted and tracked accurately? I would be THE WORST accountant! check again, double check triple check and doubt some more. According to my google sheet tracker, I noted that pie was mentioned in two of this month’s reads. In fact, in How High We Go in the Dark, it was mentioned a LOT. CONTENDER for PIE BOOK OF THE YEAR?! (I also said this in my notes for True Biz! [Updated to Add])

Maybe my favorite was How High We Go? It won #CampLitsy book for June. (nifty)

“- how they’d come to my door with their pies and casseroles, ask for my help capturing their children or spouse as they used to be.”

HHWGitD, pg 285

I made Strawberry Rhubarb Pie as promised in June. I have to! It’s June 9’s Pie Day! Keep watching that hashtag, cuz I continue to use the #CaresPieShow hashtag at Litsy.

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What was YOUR favorite book of June?

June 12 is Pecan Pie Day. My hub’s favorite.

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

Ella Minnow Pea

Thoughts A Novel in Letters by Mark Dun, Anchor 2014 (orig 2001), 208 pages

Challenge: n/a

Genre/Theme: Graphic Memoir, Nonfiction

Type/Source: eBook, Libby

What It’s About: This is another title that has been on my tbr for what feels like forever. This time, I intend to overcome by hesitancy of reviewing due to time away from the habit and give you my synopsis (to the 2 or 3 of you who are sweet enough to visit and read this.)

Ella is a person. (I hadn’t realized this until I encountered in the story – see? I really do NOT read what books are about! I just think, “oooo this is supposed to be good, I should tbr it.”) She lives on a fictional island off the coast of South Carolina.

The story starts when a tile falls from the signage of the Memorial dedicated to the island’s founder and hero – the guy who penned the phrase “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

The leaders of this community thus then decree that the letter that has fallen must cease to be used in the vocabulary, the spoken and written words! of the inhabitants. MAYHEM ENSUES when more letters fall to the ground and are stricken from use on penalty of … public scorn, banishment or death.

“As we were all gathering for breakfast, courtesy of an early-morning raid on the amply stocked Willingham family larder, we learned that Harton Mangrove had again tried to take his own life, this time by repeatedly whacking himself in the head with a heavy wooden rolling pin.”

This story isn’t just about letters but is TOLD in letters! Oh the cleverness! the ability to convey thoughts and feelings via correspondence progressively (?) diminishedly! as the letters are no longer legal.

Thoughts: This was such a fun read. I was quite amazed at the cleverness.

I was sad, though, that the resolution seemed much to be based on LUCK rather than power-of-the-people because YES, this has political overtones of fascism. It is not about character development and nuance. It is about plot plot plot OH NO! finally Ella wins the day!! Of course she does. But it still annoyed me; ever so slightly. DID SHE REALLY WIN? or was she just lucky enough to pay attention? Does it matter – evil was defeated, so YAY.

Rating: Four slices of pie. I count the rolling pin and yes, pizza pie counts.

“Hundreds of words await ostracism from our functional vocabularies: waltz and fizz and squeeze and booze and frozen pizza pie,…”

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

Swann

Thoughts by Carol Shields, Open Road Media 2013 (orig 1987), 386 pages

Challenge: Readalong with Laila

Genre/Theme: Literary Mystery

Type/Source: eBook / Kindle purchase

What It’s About: Mary Swann was a poor woman who wrote poems in a small town in Ontario Canada. When a literature professor finds an old copy of Swann’s poetry collection, she brings laudatory attention to the work. In her investigation of who this woman could be so that she can shine academic light on its brilliance, she finds out that the poet was violently murdered by her husband on the very day she got the publishing deal.

The academic world sensationalizes and salivates over anything they can find on how Swann could have come into her genius. Items begin to disappear: the only known photograph of the poet goes missing, luggage is lost, the poet’s diary is misplaced. Is something sinister happening?

Thoughts: The reader knows but the characters do not figure out that someone has been pilfering items until near the end of the book when there is an academic symposium and all can compare notes. It’s not like me to figure out the whodunnit but it was pretty obvious. I can’t say I ma happy with the ending but I enjoyed my time with the unraveling and the characters who all loved Mary in their own way. My favorite was the publisher, an editor in his 80s who wrote fun letters.

With it being written in the mid-80s, I was loving the references to politics and cultural touchpoints. And it had pie!

“It isn’t important.” “Everything’s important.” “I can’t remember what I was going to say.” She looked down at her rhubarb pie and pledged herself not to jeopardize what was left of the evening.

Rating: 4 slices of pie.

Readers might be willing to tolerate the new typeface imposed on them, and no one seemed to miss the old “Pie of the Week” feature when it disappeared from the Women’s page, but…

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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 © 2007-2022. 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 Tenth Muse

Thoughts by Catherine Chung, Ecco 2019, 291 pages

Challenge: Personal; I added this to my tbr after reading her lovely judgment in the TOB that advanced a book over my favorite. THAT was how lovely it was.

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit / Feminism, Mathematics

Type/Source: Hardback / Library

What It’s About: The chase for a not-quite-yet solved math puzzle as well as love and identity. Kat is a woman mathematician born in the WW2 years; the story unfolds as she chronicles her life and her search for self — her parents (seem to?) fail her, the education system fails her, her mentors fail to understand her quest for respect. She is undeterred. She sets challengingly high goals career goals to prove to the worlds and herself her own worth. Puzzle pieces fall into place but then never quite fit. Eventually she learns to trust others AND herself.

I couldn’t help but wonder why so many intelligent men aren’t more embarrassed to speak on topics they know nothing about…

Thoughts: Kat is Chinese American and confused as a child because NO ONE will explain anything to her. She has a fierce attitude and determination and this tone is present throughout the narrative. I feared for her and didn’t like a few of her decisions but that is part of the mystery. I was kept guessing what was the true story. As for her heritage and consideration of other paths not taken, I so wish Henry would have come around! Such is life; this ain’t no HEA romance, but I did fall for our heroine a little bit.

Still, I wonder now why it had been necessary, and why my teacher disliked me so much — whether it was because I was a girl, or my family wasn’t from [the town], or because I was half Chinese. But it occurs to me now that even if those were not the reasons she treated me badly, they were the conditions that made it possible to do so.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

Leave the World Behind

Thoughts by Rumaan Alam, 2020, 256 pages

Challenge: TOB 
Genre/Theme: Literary Fiction / Dystopia
Type/Source: eBook / Amazon Kindle
 Why I read this now:  I don’t know.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A family rents a vacation home. The owners show up way before for the arranged time period end date so the vacationers let them in. Seems the power grid has collapsed everywhere but at the house. They ask to be let in. They endure oddities; herds of deer, falling out teeth, a disappearance. With no broadcast news, they really don’t know (and neither does the reader know) what has happened ‘out there’.  Then the book ends.

THOUGHTS:  I wasn’t even on page 2 when I started questioning word choice. Too many pretentious orotund words and phrases. By page 10, I was at risk of injury from excessive eye-rolling. I began to exhibit that twitchy behavior that signifies the kiss of death, a likely DNF:  scrambling to look for critical reviews on goodreads to find out if anyone else was experiencing this same mania. Sure enough.

She bought two tumescent zucchini…  

So, yea, I missed the dread-building, the unease and scary buildup. I decided to skip and read the ending — came in at the point of the disappearance and the chatter about who would go look, then the going & not going to the hospital and the run in with the neighbor who didn’t say anything but assumed they knew everything and nobody was the wiser. Then after a scavenging scene (sorry! spoiler?),  it ended. I felt no dread. I was just glad I didn’t see anymore words that provoked an eye-roll.

“Get something sweet? Like . . . a pie. Get a pie. And maybe some more ice cream?”

RATING:   Two slices. I could be talked into NO RATING since I totally failed to connect with it and thus missed the intended effect or maybe giving it a 3 slice since it DOES HAVE PIE!  That is always admirable.

Remember, two slices means “it was ok”.

When the lights came back on, he had baked an apple pie.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2021. 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.

Piranesi

Thoughts by Susanna Clarke, 2020, 250 pages

Challenge: TOB 
Genre/Theme: Literary Fiction / Fantasy
Type/Source: Hardcover / Purchased online from an Indie
 Why I read this now:  Because Teresa of Shelf Love stated it is her favorite of the TOB list so far.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  We are first introduced to our narrator, our host to the House, which seems to be an endless stone cathedral or castle with connected galleries and courtyards full of statues, linked to staircases and more courtyards, surrounded by tidal pools, by the sea. The Other calls our narrator “Piranesi” but he doesn’t really prefer to have a name. He is the Beloved Child of the House. He is the caretaker, I guess.

THOUGHTS:  So many questions and so many unknowns; it all unspools with tidal storms, unexpected visitors both bird and prey (human), lost journal pages, and drama! You’ll stay up to read it in one sitting, if you can. 

May your Paths be safe, your Floors unbroken and may the House fill your eyes with Beauty.   (p.95)

RATING:   Four slices with heaps of billowy whipped cream.

 

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Long Bright River

Thoughts by Liz Moore, 2020, 482 pages

Challenge: TOB Long List, Theta Friends Book Read
Genre: Thriller
Type/Source: Hardcover, purchased from an Indie
 Why I read this now:  First Book of 2020 Selection

MOTIVATION for READING: I really like Liz Moore.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Mickey is a cop, a beat cop on the streets of a poor neighborhood in Philly. She comes from impoverished family circumstances. Her sister, same genes + same environment, takes the other turn in life and is a drug addict prostitute.

Young prostitute drug-addicted women start turning up dead and Mickey’s sister goes missing. Mickey is compelled to find out what is happening but gets involved in things beyond her scope and support system. A support system that is questionable, at best.

THOUGHTS: The “something elusive” that makes me really fall hard for a story didn’t happen with this one. But as I now have a few days away to ponder my reactions, I wonder if that is the point of it. Our MC is shyly prickly and doesn’t want to need people. She has no friends and doesn’t even realize it! THAT is what is weird to me, I think? She is heads-down, do the job, do right and don’t call attention. But humans can’t operate well being so alone – we need other people. When she realizes this, she is caught up in her confusion and fear of trust and what it all means, to have any good sense on what to do. It comes across as naiveté and it just seemed so out of sorts for her career as a police officer. Again, it takes all kinds and this is a story that confronts many biases.

RATING:  Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

 

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