Category Archives: NonFiction

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.

Euphoria

Thoughts by Lily King, Blackstone Audio 2014, 6 hours 53 minutes

Narrated by the Simon Vance and Xe Sands.

Challenge: none

Genre/Theme: Historical Fiction/Jungle anthropology

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible freebie

What It’s About: Imaginary (loosely based on) life of Margaret Mead and her marriage to an Australian anthropologist, while working with an English anthropologist.

The English guy (Bankson or Bateson? I could never tell and am too lazy to look it up) is ready to chuck it all when he meets Nell and Fen. Nell is serious and amazing, dedicated and impressive. Fen is an asshole. (WHY? she ever married him is beyond me.) They have escaped a study assignment where the people were mean and scary and Nell had had to flee. Fen begrudgingly followed her out — because Nell provides the funding, so yea. The English-Anthropologist convinces Nell and Fen to come to his study area of a remote hot tropical island and introduces them to a tribe no one is currently studying so they set up camp.

English-Anthropologist (E-A) is fascinated by how Nell approaches her work and whaddya-know! he falls in love with Nell. Nell isn’t possessive and believes in free-love so she loves E-A back, or at least while Fen is out and about. Eventually Fen does something stupid and they all, Nell and Fen and helped along by E-A, have to escape.

Thoughts: This is mostly about the love triangle and a lot of it is in E-A’s internal monologue. On a story level, it kinda sucked. But I was sucked in by the passions and by the narration. Simon Vance and Xe Sands are excellent; the words they spoke were entrancing to me.

It ends tragically, really REALLY bad. I think I have a another favorite author.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

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.

Vesper Flights

Thoughts by Helen Macdonald, Recorded Books 2020, 10 hours 22 minutes

Narrated by the author. Winner of TOP FIVE Audiobooks by AudioFile magazine.

Challenge: none

Genre/Theme: Nonfiction, essays on nature

Type/Source: Audiobook/Libby

What It’s About: Essays on nature and birds and more nature and other stuff that interests the author. She’s a very good writer. My favorite of this collection has to be the one about her first job out of university, at a falcon incubator (?) farm in Wales.

Thoughts: Macdonald’s previous published title, H is for Hawk , is one of the very best audiobooks I have ever had the privilege of listening to. I read Vesper Flights on the strength of my admiration for Helen Macdonald.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

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.

No One Is Talking About This

Thoughts by Patricia Lockwood, Riverhead Books 2021, 210 pages

Challenge: TOB Summer Camp 2021

Genre/Theme: Internet-novel / family

Type/Source: Hardcover / Riff Raff Books PVD – Indie Bookstore Day purchase

The TOB Summer Camp started today.

What It’s About: It’s been called genre-defying. It’s been forewarned as a book that must be read in totality, recognizing Part One and Part Two are unique to themselves but support each other to complete the book. Its author has been called a genius. She does have a way with words and a fascinating perspective.

This two-part book is first a collection of snippets and deep thoughts relating to our culture’s obsession with the internet. Or the world that exists in “the portal”. Some flashes of keen insight. Some off the wall observations of weird stuff. Can a dog be twins? Why did that take off? Thus, what this is.

I had heard that the second part “makes” the book. I was willing to keep going.

Thoughts: I am not sure the second part was really all that different – not in style but certainly more poignant and sad in a personal way to the author and her family. Love was in full evidence.

“Surely there must be exceptions,” her father ventured, the man who had spent his entire existence crusading against the exception.

He did not want to live in the world he had made,…

Rating: Three slices of pie. Lockwood drops in a pie chart.

…, you would see a little pie chart that told you how much of your life had been spent in the shower arguing with people you had never met.

 

 

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.

Proud Shoes

Thoughts by Pauli Murray, Beacon Press 1999 (orig 1956), 282 pages

The Story of an American Family, part of the Black Women Writers Series

Challenge: My own education

Genre/Theme: History, Feminism, Civil Rights

Type/Source: Tradeback, purchased from an Indie bookstore

What It’s About: Pauli explores her ancestors’ lives; shares their struggles and triumphs throughout the 1800s. It is fascinating and a very personal look at the Civil War from a new lens – NOT historian’s but real people. The forward compared it to Alex Haley’s Roots and suggested it as a more important work, certainly as good.

“Slavery had done such violence to the human spirit that the very memory of it was intolerable long after people had outlived it. Even in my time many were trying to grow without roots at all, plucking their sustenance from the air about them.”

Thoughts: Six years ago, I had read John Ehle’s The Free Men about the civil rights campaign in North Carolina. I wish I had read these two books together due to the same setting and only a half generation apart.

“Was it not the promise of America rather than it’s fulfillment which had lured the men and women of so many nations to her Shores? Did not the common love of liberty create a new nation and hold it together in the hour of its greatest need?”

Rating: Fives slices of pie. Apple pie, peach pie, meat pie, pie.

The Big Quarterly… Tables and stands sagged under piles of fried chicken, roasted beef, barbecued pork, smoked ham, meat pies and dumplings, pickled pigs’ feet, fried fish, sausage puddings and scrapple. Almost as many white people came to observe the gaiety and buy meals from the stands as did colored people. It was the one time of the year when slavery and hard times were forgotten, and for a day at least even slaves felt like free men. (Wilmington DE, 1850s)

 

 

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 Library Book

Thoughts by Susan Orlean, Simon & Schuster 2018, 317 HC pages

Narrated by the author, 12 hours 9 minutes

Challenge: none

Genre/Theme: NonFiction/History – Libraries, LA Library Fire 1986, more

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible

What It’s About: Orlean talks about libraries in general, a library specific – the fire at the main branch in LA, the people who work there now, the people who worked there then: in 1986, when a fire erupted in the stacks, and her personal memories of using and loving the library. And more! the history of the building itself, the architect, the craziness of some of the former Chief Librarians, the case accusing Harry Peak of arson, the changing landscape of prosecuting the crime of arson, all sorts of good stuff.

Thoughts: I very much enjoyed this. I sped it up to 1.8x because whoa! does Ms. Orlean talk slow. It jumps around, it goes back and forth in time, so in some respects, this is perfect for audio and in others, not great. Very interesting discussion of the male and female in regards to who held the position of LA Librarian over time.

In Senegal, the polite expression for saying someone died is to say his or her library has burned. When I first heard the phrase, I didn’t understand it, but over time I came to realize it was perfect. Our minds and souls contain volumes inscribed by our experiences and emotions; each individual’s consciousness is a collection of memories we’ve cataloged and stored inside us, a private library of a life lived.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

.“librarians should “read as a drunkard drinks or as a bird sings or a cat sleeps or a dog responds to an invitation to go walking, not from conscience or training, but because they’d rather do it than anything else in the world.”

 

 

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.

Blind Dog Stories

Thoughts by Caroline D Levin, 1999, 100 pages

Challenge: Personal
Genre: Nonfiction, Special Needs Dog
Type/Source: Tradeback, Library
 Why I read this now:  Came in to the library

MOTIVATION for READING: Oz, our new baby:

We adopted Oz a few days before Christmas  —  the breed group on Facebook had a post telling of his predicament. His human had died, the widow was unable to care for him. With him only a few hours away, we swooped in and took him home with us.

Come to find out, after treatment for his intense ear infections, after grooming all the mats out of his hair, after his anxiety of being in a new place with new people and with a not-so-welcoming ‘older sister’, he has SARDS. Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome. The vets shrug – nothing to do.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  I read these stories of blind dogs – all sorts of overcoming and inspiration because it was written by the same author, a veterinarian, who has a Guidebook about caring for blind dogs. That one I have to purchase; the library didn’t have a copy.

Shared joy is double joy, shared sorrow is half sorrow. -Swedish Proverb

THOUGHTS: Yes, I cried. But in a good way. Blind dogs get along fine and they can be trained. The challenge will be worth it.

RATING:  

pierating

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.

Empty Mansions

Thoughts by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr, Ballantine Books 2013, 459 pages

Challenge:  for an online Facebook book club,  (but it might have been canceled – I can’t find it on our upcoming events)
Genre: Nonfiction, “Lives of the Rich & Famous”
Type/Source: Hardcover, don’t recall where I got it (free/borrow shelf at the apt complex, perhaps)
 Why I read this now:  Nonfiction November

MOTIVATION for READING: I do have a little bit obsession with the turn of the century mansions…

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Huguette lived a very long life as the youngest daughter of a very very rich American tycoon. Her last few decades, she had hidden herself away.

THOUGHTS: I thought this book would make me mad – about spoiled rich people and their eccentricities and the descendants who greedily crave access. But that is too simple. Mostly this made me sad. That she probably would have died 20 years or more earlier by wasting away in her apartment alone before finally seeking medical care. That she truly did enrich those she cared for deeply and many gratefully considered her a friend and benefactor. That I do not doubt at all that those who did manage to access her space and thoughts took advantage of her but glad that she was also a shrewd manager of her self and projects.

I will always wonder about her marriage! Yikes. But very cool that she remained friends with her ex over the subsequent decades.

I have soft spot in my heart for her because she was a Gemini and was fond of my favorite art gallery in DC:  The Corcoran. May she rest in peace.

The full title is Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune

RATING:  Four slices of pie.

 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt

Thoughts  by Duchess Goldblatt, 2020, 224 pages

Challenge:  none
Genre: Memoir, Social Media
Type/Source: Hardcover, Scuppernong Books
 Why I read this now: It arrived.

MOTIVATION for READING: I follow Duchess Goldblatt on Twitter. I wish I could remember how and when I found her but when I did, I was enthralled and had that feeling of wanting badly to be one of her pet subjects. I honestly didn’t think I had the writing chops to respond to her appropriately but when she called for dog photos and pie photos, I was IN with abandon.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  from gr blurb:

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblatt herself, a bright light in the darkness of social media. Fans around the world are drawn to Her Grace’s voice, her wit, her life-affirming love for all humanity, and the fun and friendship of the community that’s sprung up around her.

@DuchessGoldblat (81 year-old literary icon, author of An Axe to Grind) brought people together in her name: in bookstores, museums, concerts, and coffee shops, and along the way, brought real friends home—foremost among them, Lyle Lovett.”

THOUGHTS:  I loved it. As much as I had been looking forward to reading this and knowing cerebral-ly what the book was to be about, I was unprepared for the emotional impact and the inspiration, celebration, and relatability I would find within the pages.

RATING:  Five slices of pie. Shout out to Ladybird Diner in Lawrence KS for naming a pie after the Duchess.

Close your eyes and visualize the best possible outcome. When it’s not looking, grasp it by the neck and fling it into reality.

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

So You Want to Talk About Race

Thoughts by Ijeoma Oluo, 2018, 7 hours 41 minutes

Narrated by: Bahni Turpin

Challenge:  Personal Challenge to Get Uncomfortable and Reflect
Genre: Civil Rights
Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible
 Why I read this now: Current BLM Events

MOTIVATION for READING: I follow Oluo on Twitter; this was on the highly recommended for NOW reading list.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Oluo shares personal stories and her work experiences about having difficult conversations on the topic of race and racism. She directs her points to all audiences and explains all dimensions and nuances of the topic.

THOUGHTS: Very good. I am getting my own printed copy and I am getting a copy for our work library. I see it being a fantastic resource to visit again and again.

RATING:  Five slices of pie.

Highly recommended. Highly recommended to not just read but to allow (push?) inspiration of action.

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.