Archive for the 'NonFiction' Category

Happy Pi Day 2014

Happy Pi Day 2014!  IMG_2784

I will make a pie later today, a Beef and Stout Pie* to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day/Weekend. Will you bake a pie? How about eat a slice?

Here’s the photo story of the Grape and Peanut Butter Pie which I dedicate to Rhapsody Jill since she is the ultimate inspiration. She is always sending me pie recipes and I had told her months ago that I wanted to try an idea I had about creating my own Peanut Butter & Jelly concoction in pie form.

My idea was to bake the bottom layer as a traditional double-crust grape pie. I halved the amounts so that I would have room  to add more layers. I have made and loved this Grape Pie many times (click on the photo below of the sliced-in-half grapes in the crust and it will take you to the recipe), though for some reason, this time the red grapes didn’t turn as purple as they did the last time I made this recipe. Maybe a different variety…


Then I borrowed the peanut butter layer from another recipe, mixing PB with cream cheese and a few other things (milk, more sugar) and spreading it as you see here: IMG_2782 and then topping all this with a real whipped cream. Adding some delicately sliced grapes for garnish.


But the best news yet is this! IMG_2799 Beth Howard’s soon-to-be available book of pie HOW-TOs and recipes and good no-fuss advice arrived on my doorstep last night. I can’t wait to dig in and try her crust technique and abide by her “there-are-no-rules!”** tips and tricks. I loved her memoir, Making Piece, which you can read about by clicking this sentence. Clicking on this photo of her new book will take you to where you can access options for getting your own copy.

Celebrate Pi Day with PIE!  and tell me all about it. I hope it is pie-riffic.

Oh, I just started reading Labor Day because I know about the pie scene…



* Beef and Stout Pie from Never Enough Thyme when Lana’s Cooking blog.

** The only real rule is to try not over work the dough.


Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

Super Dooper Mini Reviews for Fun and Entertainment

Trying to get caught up. Here’s what I’ve read lately…

drsleep Doctor Sleep / Stephen King (2013,18.5 hours) ***** #56

Yes, I give this one five slices of pie because I just love King on audio! He always has characters I want to root for and just enough amusing comments to make the scary stuff bearable.

There Goes the Galaxy / Jenn Thorson  (2011,358 pages) **** 55 tgtg

Comedy and Science Fiction! Really quite enjoyable and fun. The satire was spot on but the book suffers from being a bit long. It took me more than few attempts to get started with it and I’m glad I hung in and finished. If you like to laugh at colorfully drawn aliens poking fun at earthlings, give this one a shot.

NOV 2013
Winter's Night Button If on a Winters Night a Traveler / Italo Calvino (1979,260) *** 54

OK, an ambitious read. Amazingly clever and enjoyable unless you need a ‘start and finish’ completion kind of experience. A story about finding/chasing too many unfinished books. That sentence doesn’t do justice to it but I’m not wrong. Read Melissa’s review. YAY for Readalongs and crossing off one more off that 1001 Books to Read Before I Die List.

Mary Poppins / PL Travers (1934,224) **** 53 mpbyplt

Saw the ad for Saving Mr. Banks and got extremely nostalgic. I immediately downloaded and read the original story. I now want to see the original Mary Poppins movie before seeing the Hanks and Emma Thompson flick. (I’m really behind on the movie watching to match the book-reading I did this year… another topic for another day.)

divbyvr  Divergent / Victoria Roth (2011,487) *** 52

Got to read this while substitute teaching! I caught up to the student’s reading schedule then Kindle’d it to finish later that week. It was a fast read, very engaging. But … it had its flaws.

OCT 2013
Unbroken / Laura Hillenbrand (2010,473/14 hrs) ***** SRP HB #51 unbroken

Nonfiction, our local high school’s summer reading program book. I created a website template to explore how to integrate technology into lesson plans across multiple disciplines based on this story. A remarkable read about a hero overcoming adversity.

 taoibyjh The All of It by Jeannette Haien (1986,160 pages) #50

Set in Ireland; sad circumstances and buried secrets come to a head and a priest tries to figure out his own feelings and values; he takes out his frustrations on a fishing excursion in torrential rain. A short book, beautiful powerful writing, and a touch of odd. Most of my book club liked it and remarked it was certainly something they probably wouldn’t have read on their own.

YAY! I’m all caught up now. Next up is my attempt to finish the last book (Wally Lamb’s We Are Water) of 2013 and write the year end wrap up. Merry Christmas!


Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

Request – Please Vote (somewhat #NonficNov related…)

Hello Friends,

I am busy studying and thinking and dreaming and cussing “Educational Technology” this term and have a task to charge you with.  Well, *if* you want to help, that is!

I have created another blog and one of my posts has a poll. Many of you are Nonfiction Aficionados so I hope you will cast a vote.

  JUST CLICK HERE to be directed…

Thanks. (methinks I need a pretty logo but I’m not quite there)


Finished 2013 What’s in a Name 6 Challenge


Yay! After deliberating and asking Twitter friends if The Dinner could qualify for the PARTY category and being told to go for it, I am. Thus, this completes the challenge for the 2013 What’s in a Name!  WOO HOO

The idea is to read books with TITLES that might fit into the six announced categories. This year the categories were FIRE, PARTY of CELEBRATION, KITCHEN, UP or DOWN, LOST or FOUND, and EMOTION. It is up to the reader participant to decide if it fits or not and doesn’t have to have the exact category word in the title but could possibly relate. It’s a year long challenge.

The following is my list in order of when read. The title links to my review and the book cover links to After that in parenthesis, I give year published and page count/hours (if audio). Then my rating in stars, what month I read it, and category for the challenge. The button at the top links to who hosts this challenge.

1. Catching Fire / Suzanne Collins cfbysc (2009,391) *** eBook Feb ♦ FIRE

2. The Dinner / Herman Koch tdbyhk (2009,314/9 hrs)  ***  March ♦ PARTY

3. Kitchen Confidential / Anthony Bourdain kcbyab (2000,312) WiaN6 **** June ♦ KITCHEN

4. Up the Down Staircase / Bel Kaufman utdscbybk (1964,368) *****  June ♦ UP/DOWN

5. Songs for the Missing / Stewart O’Nan sftmbyson (2008,287) **** July ♦ LOST/FOUND

6. Maman’s Homesick Pie  / Donia Bijan mhpiebydb (2011,254) ***** Sept ♦ EMOTION

Two FIVE star, two FOUR star and two THREE star reads! I would say a great year.  Two nonfiction – lovely. This is my favorite year-long reading challenge.

I don’t usually finish the challenge this early in the year. I get very excited when the categories are announced for the next year and rush to my shelves to see what is in-house that I have yet to read that will satisfy the slots. Then I look at my tbr on and to see if anything I’ve already said I want to read will fit and then I post and ask for even more suggestions (as well as offer any). I give myself permission to change my mind. Usually in December, I’m scrambling to read whatever will count and looking back to see if anything I missed assigning to this challenge and have already read might work. My initial post for this challenge gave me all sorts of choices and options.

Why is this my favorite? Because I gets me to read from my shelves or to commit to books previously rather than recently added to my tbr. I like the deliberateness of it but also the freedom and flexibility.  One of these books was for my IRL bookclub. One fit a personal challenge I set to read a book published in my birth year. (Shhhhh). One was to continue with a series and also to satisfy to need to “read the book and see the movie”. I’ve had Kitchen Confidential on my tbr since forever and I have wanted to read anything by O’Nan for just as long. Of course, I love a book with ‘pie’ in the title.


I am now looking forward to the What’s in a Name 7 Challenge for 2014!  I wonder if Beth Fish is requesting category suggestions yet…


Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

Maman’s Homesick Pie

Thoughts mhpiebydb Maman’s Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen by Donia Bijan, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 2011, 254 pages

For the EMOTION category of What’s in a Name 6 Challenge.

OK, Friends, I loved this book! In fact, it must be obvious I loved this book because I loaned it to a very good friend and am anxious to get it back. THAT’s a lot of love for a book. I usually give away my books and rarely recall where I’ve sent them off. This one has an ‘are ya done yet, are ya done yet?!’ urgency plea connected to it. I WANT IT BACK. NOW. (but oh yea, I already promised I’d loan it to another very good friend…)

What? You want to know why exactly I loved it so?

Can I tease you for a few minutes?

I won this book an embarrassingly long time ago and it is embarrassing because you all know I love pie and you would think I would have read it immediately. In fact, I suspect that I “won” this book because the pie-gods know that I love pie and somehow pulled the right levers in the universe so that my name was pulled as the winner and thus that is how I got it into my flour-covered cold-buttered little hands, right?

And it took me a few months. *cough, cough*

OK. YEARS… not quite two which in book-blog-world-time of winning a book to reading it could be interpretted to be rather… yea, late.

Almost two years. Sigh…

Anyway, where was I?  I loved the sharing, I loved the drama, I loved the recipes – though I have yet to cook anything. I SO WANT TO and I will.*

I think I related most to the fact that Donia and I are of a similar age. I was right there with her (sort of; not really) in 1978. I could relate to her wanting to fit in, to pay attention to her life and what she wanted of her life rather than ‘current events’.

I had great respect for her mother. I think I understood her father. Life sucks, sometimes. I laughed and I cried. What more do you want from a memoir?

Recipes?!  yep, recipes.

APPLE PIE, Baby. Five slicer.

Recommended for purchase for the recipes. Really, I’m eager to try many of the recipes…





* Or I will make the Hub make something. He’s the real cook in the family.


Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

Thoughts umittohbyajga  Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven ABRIDGED by Susan Gilman, narrated by Susan Jane Gilman, 7 hrs 32 min

I really enjoyed this one. Gilman did a fabulous job narrating.

Susan and her friend Claire are new graduates from Brown University and since they crave adventure, they decide to take off for a year long trip around the world. They start in Hong Kong with the mission to explore China. The year is 1986 and China is only newly open for tourism.

Claire has to pump up and support Susan at the very beginning who is unprepared for the homesickness and strangeness of what they’ve gotten themselves into but by the end, it is Susan who rescues and supports Claire.

Truthfully, a lot of the story reinforces my faith in humanity. There are good people OUT THERE.

If you like books about crazy travel adventures, you can’t miss this one.

Rating:  Four slices of pie. fourpie


Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair

Thoughts tatpcbyns Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch, Harper Perennial 2012 (orig 2011), 240 pages TB

Loaned to me by Holly.

This memoir explores one woman’s challenge to herself to read a book a day in order to slow herself down enough to experience the grief of losing her oldest sister to cancer. It is full of quotes and insights and personal sharings. All kinds of goodness and touching moments that usually provoke me to tears. And it did; I had moist eyes a few times.

I cannot think of anything bad to say about this book; it was fine. She writes beautifully, I agreed with most everything she shared, the book delivers what it says it will. But it didn’t quite stir my soul to sing to the high heavens as I was expecting. I mean, come on! It’s a book about books and reading!

I did add a few more books to my tbr:

In the Land of the Living by Austin Ratner

Man in the Dark by Paul Auster

Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago

Edith Wharton’s The Touchstone

The Quincunx by Charles Palliser

Alice Hoffman’s The Third Angel

The Open Door by Elizabeth Macguire (and also anything by Constance Fenimore Woolson)

and The Assault by Harry Mulisch

Why these were the only books that I tagged, I really am not sure. She does mention books from the year but also books from her childhood and other influential writing she shared with her sister.

I really enjoyed her chapter on the vulnerability of loaning AND accepting books from friends. I’m curious about her next book:  Signed, Sealed, Delivered expected in April of 2014. Not too surprising, since I love writing letters.


Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.


Thoughts atfetroomgmbymcc Asleep:  The Forgotten Epidemic That Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries by Molly Caldwell Crosby, Berkley Books 2011 Tradeback (orig 2010), 291 pages including Bibliography

Loaned to me by Ree.

I was disappointed with this book. The premise is fascinating but the execution of the narrative left me confused, bored and thus unimpressed.


Please click on the book cover to learn more at the site AND see other reviews of a mixed bag – some loved it, some not. If you love books about medical science & diseases, I suppose you might want to look into this one. It just didn’t work for me on the day I attempted it.



Copyright © 2007-2013. 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 Orphan Master’s Son

Thoughts tomsbyaj The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, Random House Trade Paperback 2012, 443 pages

Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction 2013

FIRST Line:  “Citizens, gather ’round your loudspeaker, for we bring important updates!”

What’s is ABOUT:  Pak Jun Do is an orphan, except his father runs the orphanage so he technically isn’t but his dad doesn’t want to treat him any more special than the other boys. The first half of the book is his biography from his childhood on until he disappears into a prison camp after some crazy adventures on a ship and a special trip to Texas. The second half of the book he assumes the identity of one of the most powerful men in North Korea.  Ooops – that might be a spoiler, but probably not. We are ‘treated’ to the lifestyles and culture of what it means to live in North Korea. It aint pretty.

“Nobody’s ever safe.”  -p.163

What’s GOOD: Satire. To me it means putting horrible things into a funny this-is-crazy gotta-laugh-or-I’ll scream kind of way. And I laughed. A lot. Jun Do was adorable and sweet and had a great heart. He carried out his awful orders but he didn’t let it diminish his light.

What’s maybe NOT so good:  It just takes a bit to get into. It is told in such a straight-forward almost non-emotional way, so matter of fact, that it makes it hard to care about the characters until some point you do and then, of course,  you keep reading.  Also, there is a scene out of order – somewhere when Dear Leader is talking about a woman making it into the corps of bully interrogators but she hadn’t been invited into the ‘club’ until after that part of the story had occurred. Extremely minor but it bothered me. I could be wrong, of course.

FINAL Thoughts:  I really was impressed with how the story unfolded and how much I cared about Jun Do. The characters were quirky and believable when what they endure is totally UNbelievable. And yet the author uses true stories as source for this novel! It’s crazy. Scary and crazy.

RATING: Four and half slices of pie:  PEACH PIE! But of course. So here’s a picture of a couple of Peach Pie Crumbles with little Cherry Vanilla Pot Pies as sidekicks:


Other REVIEWS:   Caribou’s MomBookChatter, Leeswammes’ Blog, and the results of Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search for lots more.

“Someone will save you, he thought… If you just hold tight long enough someone is bound to.”   -p. 76


Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

Kitchen Confidential

Thoughts kcbyab Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain, ecco An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers 2007 (orig 2000), 312 pages

For the What’s In a Name 6 Challenge: Kitchen

SO good! and why did it take me over two months to work my way through this? Dunno. But that’s OK. It is a great book for setting down and coming back to at a later time with no feel of annoying detrimental interruption.

I can always tell when a person doesn’t watch TV when they claim they have never heard of Anthony Bourdain. I could understand if someone doesn’t like him but if you *do* like him, why haven’t you read this book yet?  It’s just fascinating. And fun. And bat shit crazy!

No way my personality could ever lead me to a career as a chef. Now, I loved LOVED working in the restaurant* biz and I can legitimately claim to have worked in the trenches – hospitality side and kitchen side as well as at the corporate level watching the whole thing operate from the ‘upstairs’ view and I do get how people can love the industry. But it is hard work.

So a big thank you to Bourdain for deciding to write this book. Thank you for the eye-opening adventures, the advice on careers and how/when to choose a restaurant or a knife to buy, and for the encouragement to eat and appreciate food.

One crazy lovely sentence:

“I’m a bony whippet-thin, gristly, tendony strip of humanity, and after weeks running up and down the steps at Teatro from prep kitchen to a la carte kitchen – like some hyperactive forest ranger, always trying to put out brush fires to avoid actual conflagerations – I looked as if I’d been breathing pure crack in some VC tiger cage for the last ten years.”

Rating:  Four slices of pie. With lots of alcohol-laden whipped cream. REAL whipped cream not the fake crap in a tub. Just put your metal mixing bowl in the freezer with the whippers for a few minutes till appropriately chilled, then pour in heavy cream and set to whip on your fancy* colored KitchenAid, drizzle some bourbon in and dollop from a big spoon onto that piece of pie. Those four slices of pie. I don’t care what kind of pie.

My KitchenAid is white, thankyouverymuch. And I use it almost exclusively for whipped cream.



* My very first job, age 15, was Hostess at Red Lobster and I continued to work there summers during college. I also worked at the corporate offices Houlihans. Best job I’ve ever had.

** Thank you to everyone who wished me a Happy Lobster Day! Apparently, June 15 has been designated such and I hope to be better prepared for it next year.


Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

I prefer pi.


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