Archive for the 'NonFiction' Category

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Thoughts lptnhbyjl Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson – The Bloggess, Amy Einhorn Books/Putman/Penguin 2012, 319 pages

This won’t be a review as such.

I began reading this the day my book club was to discuss it. I finished it the next day – it certainly reads fast! I might have skipped a few chapters and I did read the end before the middle; I kept thinking “Oh, I don’t need to read ALL of it.” But I would often find myself with the book in my hands reading or skimming yet another chapter. So, I feel I read enough of it to count.

It’s funny. It is everything the book jacket says it will be. Over the top, OMG, “no way!!!”,  LOL, etc.

I have only a few things to point out from the reading. Early in the book, she mentions how tough her sister is and there is a reference to squatting and popping out a child while working in the fields. RIGHT OUT OF The Good Earth! Right? Yep. So that is a Copley Connection that thrilled me because our book club had recently read The Good Earth! I have no idea if anyone else noticed this, too, because I was unable to attend the meeting.

And my new book club almost chose to read The Good Earth – but that is too hard of a story to explain. Let’s just say, the title seems to be popping up for me lately.

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And then there is the reference to the Blue Pie Piece from Trivial Pursuit. So with my ever odd idea to track pie references in my reading, I rate this book FOUR

fourpie  slices of blue pie.

The end.

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Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Science Tales

Thoughts stbydc Science Tales: Lies Hoaxes and Scams by Darryl Cunningham, Myriad Editions 2012, 174 pages

a COMIC book? I wouldn’t call it a Graphic Novel because it is not a novel. I’m so out of it on the comic/graphics genre take on books!

And, unfortunately, this book really can’t be praised for helping me figure out if I like this genre or not.

I’m going to say no.

I really have to admit that half way through I realized I was only reading the words and not appraising or appreciating (or even noticing) the illustrations.

Minus:  On a content note, I don’t feel that Cunningham really shared much of the science he was endorsing or refuting on his chapters of  Electroconvulsive Therapy, Homeopathy, Vaccinations, the Moon Hoax, Climate Change, Evolution, Chiropractic Medicine, and Science Denial.

Positive:  I don’t fault the book for attempting to inspire constructive thinking and consideration of the facts. It certainly encourages more research and shares what those sources might be.

So kudos for that.  It’s a quick read, too.

Do please read Debi’s review!

Rating: Two and 1/2 slices of pie. So round up to three.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2015. 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 Importance of Being Oscar

Thoughts IMG_1099 The Importance of Being Oscar: The Life and Wit of Oscar Wilde by Mark Nicholls,  St. Martin’s Press 1980, 238 pages

The Wit and Wisdom of Oscar Wilde Set Against His Life and Times

I suppose I might want to apologize about the snark and harsh tone this review could likely take.

What’s it ABOUT: Apparently the author’s name isn’t really “Mark Nicholls” so I really can’t figure out who he is or what he does other than fawn over how awesome Mr. Wilde is.

I am not trying to imply that Oscar Wilde is not awesome and he certainly said many witty things.

But this book is tedious. Repetitious. And lickspittly.

“Wilde averred.” I lost count how many times Mr. Wilde, His Excellency, averred something extremely witty in response to some boorish comment.

aver  verb \ə-ˈvər\

: to say (something) in a very strong and definite way

 

I had to look it up. Perhaps I am just not smart enough for this book. I looked up a TON of words and because I am now reading Jenny Lawson’s book Let’s Pretend This Didn’t Happen, I am wanting to toss in other choice inappropriate words. or WORD. Ahem.

I suppose you want an example. Great. Now I’m going to have to fetch it from the recycle bin and open it again. [OMG – I now cannot find any of the dreaded avers! Sigh.]

Wilde’s perception of life was remarkable. Listen: “A kiss may ruin a human life . . .” In that single truism is the essence of a million past and present life-dramas, and who but Wilde could have considered its inclusion in a play…?

His sheer audacity was the highlight of his writing: __

Hear the Master again on the wiles of women: __

On the social front, too, he led the field: __

(these are the first sentences of four paragraphs NOT taken at random but one after the other. Pages 88-89)

RATING: Two slices of pie

Book COUNT: Tenth of 2015

Perhaps LICKSPITTLE, defined as “a slimy grovelling and devious person” is too harsh. It was just that the writing style is so very irksome.

Would anyone like me to send along?  JennyTrisha? (on page 2, there is a reference that Oscar’s mother was ‘eclectic and eccentric’!!!)  Anyone else?

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How about a photo of my lovely Oscar?

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Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Color: A Natural History of the Palette

Thoughts cbyvf Color by Victoria Finlay, Random House Trade 2004 (orig 2002), 448 pages

Satisfies the COLOR category of the What’s in a Name 8 Challenge.

“Up until then I had always believed that the world was getting better and better and more and more clever. But that day my tender theory about the Evolution of History fell on its head, and it has – for better or for worse – never been quite right ever since.”  p. 1

Wow – what a wild ride! This book is nuts.

I learned a lot and I marveled at what the author went through to gather stories to fit into this book. She wanted to find India Indigo so she went there. She wanted to find Tyrian Purple, so she went to Lebanon. She just had to see the blue Lapis Lazuli mines of Afghanistan, so off she went. Think about that last one…

She is fearless!

My only complaint might be that she really is all over the place at times and I wondered why she would mention that. (off on a tangent much?)  I had to go look up SO MANY THINGS. It is hard – she mentions this, too – it is very hard to describe colors with words.

This is a 4 slice of pie book. fourpie If you like travel books and author-involved nonfiction adventures, I recommend. If you are an artist and are curious about how artists got their colors, you must read this book.

I still have my receipt from purchasing this in 2010. Why? What prompted this book then? I have no records except the date. HOWEVER, in looking for other reviews out there in blogland, I found that Eva of A Striped Armchair was extremely enthusiastic about this book, so that is a clue. And since I seem to be on a linky-love binge, I should include Fyrefly’s discussion of another Finlay book that am now wanting to read next/soon/someday.

Colors are fascinating; this book makes me crave the colors of the entire world and makes me wonder what others really are looking at – do we see the same thing? Is the blue I see the blue you see? What color of purple do you think Cleopatra dyed her sails? And how exactly did she do it? So many mysteries.

Tyndall’s explanation of why the sky is blue is one of the best ever. Page 305.

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Lots of Copley Connections for me, too.  Of course, she mentions Simon Garfield’s Mauve which I read in 2009. Or the mention of the English town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne being known for its beer exports. (I read all about that in Hops & Glory.) And then on page 384, Finlay describes a cave with a ‘millenia of snail trails'; surely those of you who read All the Light We Cannot See, recognize Marie-Laure and her hiding place?

Do you have any nonfiction books about colors to recommend? Just one more of my favorite things to learn more about, I guess. AND, I will send this book to anyone who comments and says they want it. If more than one person wants it, I will select somebody at random. Must comment before Valentines Day.

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* Copley Connections are the random connections and coincidences that link books that I have read.

 

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Five Days at Memorial

Thoughts fdambysf Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink, Random House Audio 2013, 17 hours 33 minutes

Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

This was selected for January by my Massachusetts Book Club. I was quite excited to read this (even though I will be missing the book club meeting due to my moving south. #sad)

This book is really amazing in depicting the horrors of practicing medicine during Hurricane Katrina. The conditions were awful. No one was prepared. I wanted to cry in the first few chapters. Ok, I admit it, I did cry.

READ THIS if you are curious about what happened at Memorial Hospital and how bad it really was.

READ THIS if you are concerned about Emergency Preparedness.

READ THIS if you enjoy (?) …  fascinated with Medical Quandaries.

Perhaps you saw that I rated this three stars in goodreads; you might be curious what I didn’t like. Relax, I still liked it. Do not think that my three slices of pie means that it was only OK. That would be a two star rating. A three star rating is one where I mostly enjoyed it, was impressed with it overall but just found it didn’t quite knock the socks off.

First, I must state that I wish I hadn’t listened to this. The audiobook format was not the best medium for this book, FOR ME. I usually listen while driving so it is inconvenient and unsafe for me to fiddle with my phone to replay if my attention lapses or I wonder about something; it’s highly unlikely I will replay to find some answer to a question when I get confused. And once confused, I miss the stuff that is playing during the time I was contemplating the stuff I just listened to in the moment just passed.

Sigh.

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Second, I’ve mentioned before that when I start getting that tickle of nagging to wonder what everybody else is saying about a book usually when I’m in the middle of the book and I actually poke around Goodreads and read the reviews LOOKING for the one- and two-star reviews,  you know I’m having doubts.

SO. Here’s the review of the book that I would wish to write if it wasn’t already eloquently and succinctly written:  One Minute Book Reviews.

You can find LOTS of five star and four star reviews here by clicking on this line. Or read Kim the Sophisticated Dork’s 4.5 star review here. Or you can check out Ti’s review which mentions great book club discussion points. Finally, this was my favorite review: Teresa’s at ShelfLove. HIGHLY recommended.

I invite you to read through the one and two star reviews on Goodreads; I found ‘em very interesting. We can’t all agree. We all have different perspectives and take-aways.

I respect everyone’s opinion.

Please, and as much as this has been seen lately, it works:

kcaco

What really sucked (not the book — the situation) is that the horrors continue – legal, reputation, stress, health problems, grief – for many MANY people long beyond those five days.

Final thoughts – I found the book sort of confusing and disjointed and varying in tone. I don’t think Fink was unbiased even as she fails to share what she really thought about some issues.  Kudos for the atrocities described and the multitude of perspectives shared and the evident thoroughness involved in the research = amazing.  I was enthralled for the first third and so ready for the book to be done by the last third.

Three slices of pie.

Nurses ROCK.

 

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

A More Diverse Universe 2014

This.

amdubanner-col2

Click the button above to sign up.

Do it. Read a book by an author of color. Celebrate diversity!

I want to read amlwbycw about the 1957 Integration of Little Rock Central High School.

and something fiction, preferably fantasy. Taking recommendations. Goodreads offers a Speculative Fiction list for choices, too.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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.

Ms. American Pie

Thoughts IMG_2799 Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bold Tales From the American Gothic House by Beth Howard, Race Point Publishing 2014, 207 pages

[I was given this book by the publisher. I was going to buy it anyway and I knew I was going to LOVE it; I am a big fan of the author. I recommend her first book, a memoir. About grief and how pie heals. Click here to read my review of Making Piece, 2013]

Ms. Howard is no-nonsense. She doesn’t believe in tiptoe-ing around any delicate or fussy  ideas of the RIGHT way to make a pie.” JUST DO IT” is more her motto and her cookbook reflects this. So if you are intimidated by pie making but want or need some of that tough love to just jump into a bowl of flour and (quickly, gently) work in that butter, THIS is the cookbook for you.

AND she is nice about it, she can put one at ease. It just doesn’t matter how the pie might look! Pie is NOT fussy, pie doesn’t have to be pretty-pretty. Pies (almost) always taste fabulous. Ms. Howard gives all the right pointers to ensure you have fun while putting that pie together and tells you not to worry, it will all be fine.

Early in this book, we get Howard’s PIE-OLOGY which lists many lofty, true and good things about pie, finally stating, “Pie makes people happy and happy people make the world a better place.” She also busts most of myths surrounding pie lore. She answers a ton of often asked questions and offers plenty of how-to photos.

Pie is good.

So far, I have made the Apple (Pies to Heal, p. 45 for Memorial Day with using the Hand Pie technique described on p. 190) – I even made the caramel sauce. YUM! photo 4

I made the Cherry (another Pie to Heal, p. 50) IMG_3021 with the Gluten Free Pie Crust (p. 33) and it was fabulous! The Strawberry Rhubarb (p. 83) I made for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day (June 9) was absolutely perfect. I took the Shaker Lemon (Pie Recipes of the Pitchfork Pie Stand, p. 90) IMG_3123 to the boat crowd and everyone loved it. (I am embarrassed to admit that I’m somewhat proud of my edges on these two – you all know I’ve been making pies a long time and I give talk about how I should try to make the perfect crimp but then I think it wouldn’t look like a Care-Pie…)

My friend made the Spaghetti Pie on p.180 and RAVED about how awesome it was.

I have many many more to try.  pierating1
Rating: Five slices of pie.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PIE BOOK!

loveCare

 

 

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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.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Thoughts ikwtcbsbyma by Maya Angelou, Random House Audio 2011 (1970 orig) 10 hours 12 minutes

Narrated by Maya Angelou.

Um, I had thought this book was a book of poetry. Perhaps because all I really thought I knew about Maya Angelou is that she was a poet? I really am not that familiar with her but have no reason not to admire her. This book proves that she is the product of some fabulous female influences and strong personal will to survive horrific and unfortunate experiences.

This is a memoir of her first 18 years. (In case anyone else also thought it was a book of poetry.)

I may not go out of my way to listen to her narrate any other works of literature but having her read her own words was just fine for me.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

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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.

The Color of Water

Thoughts tcowbyjm by James McBride, Sceptre 1997, 291 pages, tradeback

Bookmooched and sent via seamail from a generous Australian – I kept the stamps portion of the package as a bookmark: photo-80

I really enjoyed and was fascinated by this look into an unusual family and growing up experience. James McBride was born in 1957, the 8th of 12 kids with a black father and a white mother. It took him a long time to discover his mother’s background and heritage as a Polish Jewish woman — she wasn’t too keen on telling him about her childhood.

His look at the contrasts between his mother’s life and his life in the mid twentieth century: New York City and small town Virginia, black and white, Christian and Jewish, poor and (by extension, not quite her immediate experience) rich – are very startling and mind-boggling. James questioned it all and explored all the depths and backs and forths to emerge/survive from a scary path of possible crime to educated musician and writer; telling his story between the unfolding of how his mother rejected her Jewish life to find love and fulfillment on the ‘black side’.

I found the mother to be thoroughly amazing in her approach to life, her fearlessness and fierce spirit. I am thrilled to know Mr. McBride had such a strong support system to get himself back to school as a teen.

 


Within the family, questions about racial identity were answered with loving circumspection. When James asked his mother about why she was different from her children, she would say only, “I’m light-skinned.”

When he asked if he was black or white, she said, “You’re a human being.”

And what about God?

“God is the color of water.”

 – excerpt from NYTimes review

(I found an interesting connection to water in my current read (Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, p.23): “Water is the purest, clearest of liquids; in virtue of this its natural character it is the image of the spotless nature of the Divine Spirit…” – Ludwig Feuerbach)

And then to realize that the author of The Good Lord Bird, which won the National Book Award for Fiction 2013 and took top honors at last spring’s Tournament of Books, is the SAME JAMES McBRIDE who wrote this. I am so looking forward to reading TGLB – a historical fiction that explores slavery against the backdrop of John Brown’s adventures at Harper’s Ferry.

Maybe I should rec The Good Lord Bird for book club. Not sure how many of them will like the satire, but I know many will be intrigued by the author.

One more note: The Color of Water is on my school’s Summer Reading List.

Who is up for a Read-Along of The Good Lord Bird?  

 

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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.

Hops and Glory

Thoughts hagbypb One Man’s Search for the Beer that Built the British Empire by Pete Brown, Macmillan 2009, 458 pages, tradeback

I like beer.

I like IPAs.

IPA  =  India Pale Ale

I have always explained to my friends that IPAs are a style of beer that the Brits developed to survive the trip to India so the boys there could enjoy their favorite beverage. You know, way back before refrigeration. When transport was on the Tall Ships.

Europa <– click here to book your adventure on this gorgeous vessel, the Europa….

I did not realize that we Americans and our craze for craft beer started the trend to brew IPAs once again, I just know that I like the hoppy robust REAL beer taste.

I am a big fan of almost all the Sam Adams’ IPAs, Loose Cannon, Harpoon, and the latest purchase of Boulevard’s Pop-Up Session IPA. (Boulevard is in Kansas City; I am a fan of many of Boulevard’s beer and am excited I can now buy it in Massachusetts.)

If it says IPA on the board and/or label, I will try it. I know a few I don’t like (looking at you Mayflower.) I adore both Cape Cod Beer’s IPA and Racecourse IPA from Goodfellows – both locally brewed.

Some of the fun of drinking craft beer is that you can’t get all the beers because of liquor laws and traveling distances required to maintain quality. Which means when I travel, I get to drink MORE BEER!

This book was a birthday gift from a dear friend. I read it on a Beer Festival trip to Philadelphia earlier this month. IMG_3077 (from Varga Bar – one of my favorites, had to get a shot of the ceiling…)

I had a good time.

Part of the reason I had a good time was because I enjoyed this book. It’s the tale of the author’s attempt to recreate the voyage of a keg of IPA on the same route from Burton on Trent to Calcutta.

And I rate this book FOUR slices of pie: British Meat Pie since I have a photo: IMG_1652 and this book is most definitely geared to a British sensibility. I think. Sadly, I didn’t keep track of all the terms/slang I didn’t know.

fourpie

If you like IPAs and like history and enjoy a good travel/adventure book, this book shouldn’t disappoint.

I just wish it had more pictures…

Cheers!

beercopley

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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.

I prefer pi.

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