Extra Credit

Doing my OWN Nonfiction Pop Up for May. After reading and enjoying Educated, Hunger and PriestDaddy,

I kept going.

I read Sarah Hepola’s Blackout, then Alan Cumming’s Not My Father’s Son; right into I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and now Lit by Mary Karr.

I have to stop! And since I have put-off/avoided/procrastinated on a proper review of Blackout, I have decided to do a few quick mini-reviews just to post something (anything?)

 Writer Sarah started drinking young and enjoyed, nay craved the excitement and confidence that alcohol gave her. But when she woke up to one too many scary incidents, she knew she had to figure out a way to stay in control. But alcoholism is a sneaky beast; the control is slippery and always moving, seemingly out of reach or out of cognitive appreciation. I enjoyed her stories and admire her dedication to a hard-won, now-finally-appreciated sobriety. Via audiobook.

Alan Cumming is an actor. He is such a good actor that I can’t even think what I’ve seen him in. (He is on the show The Good Wife which I have never watched.) I did not know he was Scottish. 

I read this right after Eleanor Oliphant – also set in Scotland. Linky-linky coinky-dinky. His story is quite amazing, really, and he tells it well.  His childhood was bleak, his father was abusive. He describes this past while also sharing about a British show he was invited on that  explores hidden family secrets. Amazing insights, incredible parallels, fascinating and heartfelt. He is very talented. The audiobook is highly recommended.

If you are a True Crime fan, you know about Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I can’t really call myself such a fan, but I do find it all fascinating. This one is tragic and heartbreaking in so many ways; I first heard about it because I follow her husband on Twitter – that is how I found out about this author’s sudden death and then found out about her work. It’s exciting and thrilling that the perp, the Golden State Killer, has been arrested. This case will be fascinating for years as it continues to unfold. McNamara was a skilled writer and it’s sad that she will no longer be here to explore and explain it all in her own words. I enjoyed the audiobook very much.   Click on this book cover to open goodreads to learn more.

I’m not yet done with Lit by Mary Karr but I’ve had her books on my tbr forever it seems. She blurbed on Priestdaddy and is well known for her skill in writing memoir. With my credit-buying glee, I secured this title. Perhaps following on the theme set by Hepola. Shrug. It’s good and she IS a great writer, but it’s so tough to hear about poor parenting choices…  This is a tough one. I probably won’t write more about it. But I will read more of her work. 

 

I’ll be back to fiction soon.

 

 

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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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Priestdaddy

Thoughts  by Patricia Lockwood, Audible Studios 2017, 10 hours 12 minutes

Narrated by the author.

Challenge: TOB Nonfiction May
Genre: Memoir
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible

MOTIVATION for READING: I had heard this one was quite funny. I like funny.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Can I just say that this book is so much more than any synopsis can attempt to share? let’s see what the goodreads blurb has to say:

The childhood of Patricia Lockwood, the poet dubbed “The Smutty-Metaphor Queen of Lawrence, Kansas” by The New York Times, was unusual in many respects. There was the location: an impoverished, nuclear waste-riddled area of the American Midwest. There was her mother, a woman who speaks almost entirely in strange koans and warnings of impending danger. Above all, there was her gun-toting, guitar-riffing, frequently semi-naked father, who underwent a religious conversion on a submarine and discovered a loophole which saw him approved for the Catholic priesthood by the future Pope Benedict XVI – despite already having a wife and children.

When the expense of a medical procedure forces the 30-year-old Patricia to move back in with her parents, husband in tow, she must learn to live again with her family’s simmering madness, and to reckon with the dark side of a childhood spent in the bosom of the Catholic Church. Told with the comic sensibility of a brasher, bluer Waugh or Wodehouse, this is at the same time a lyrical and affecting story of how, having ventured into the underworld, we can emerge with our levity and our sense of justice intact.

Ok, maybe it does. Or maybe you have to READ THIS BOOK and then realize how much you really were forewarned but didn’t quite expect until after. Does that make any sense to anyone?

First, I admit that I was instantly struck with a “Yes-I-Want-To-Read-This-Please” thought when I saw she was from Kansas. I have a big soft spot in my heart for the state of Kansas.

Two, even though I’m not Catholic (I’m Lutheran by upbringing), most if not all of my friends growing up WERE Catholic. SO I *know* enough about that religion to have an understanding – especially in comparison to Lutheranism. Yea, whatever.

Third, I had to find out a few things that struck me odd about this blurb. Um, a priest who is ‘frequently semi-naked’? And… they let her (or disallowed – which could it be?) to put that in a book!? I’m still rather shocked. Did any of his parishioners READ this book!?  yikes.

WHAT’s GOOD: Remember when I said, “this book is so much more”? I fell into the author’s words like a feather into a down pillow. I agree very much with the bit in the blurb that describes this as “a lyrical and affecting story”.

This would be an interesting story to contrast with Educated, for father analysis.

What’s NOT so good:  My midwestern mild-mannered sensibilities were quite offended. No, not offended… What IS the word? I just can’t believe she put this stuff into words and published it! I am so much more private, I suppose. Yikes!!  It’s been enough time away that I can’t even remember the particulars but I remember the shock and awe.

Reminded me of the question in The Animators about using other people in our art.

And… I have to admit that I didn’t think this book was for me at the beginning. The author narrates and this can always be risky. It took me one or two hours to adjust to the tone and what I interpreted as snark in her voice.  But I’m glad I stuck with it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I love that the LOVE in this family is evident. They may not get along but they love fiercely anyway. That is my impression. What a contrast to Idaho, hmmm?

My favorite story – laugh out loud funny – was the one about Patricia and her mother checking into a Hilton Hotel and there was cum on the sheets. I kid you not. OMG.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

It is always tough to catch pie references while listening to an audiobook but I do have these notes to share:

Lots of pie. In the Intro, even. In Ch 2, she mentions working in a diner and the owner looks like he wants to smash pies into faces. Also, a mention that Mrs. Ford got eye surgery and can now read her pie recipes.

 

 

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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.

Educated

Thoughts  by Tara Westover, Random House 2017, 352 pages

Challenge: TOB Nonfiction May
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Type/Source: Hardcover / Barnes and Noble
 Why I read this now: TOB Nonfiction May

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB Nonfiction May

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is Tara’s story of how she had to sacrifice a relationship with her family to find herself. Upon the urging of a brother, she decided to try to take the ACT. She was 15. She taught herself enough math to pass the exam and on her second attempt to try and raise her score, she succeeded in qualifying for acceptance to BYU. It’s a fascinating story and well told. With some hard work and some luck, a few missteps and some hard choices, she eventually earned her PhD in history and now teaches at Cambridge.

WHAT’s GOOD: Yowza, what an upbringing she endured. Her father is a misogynistic whack job. Her mother survives the best she knows how, I suppose.

She never set foot in a classroom until college.

What’s NOT so good: I had no issues.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I wish Dr. Westover all the best.

RATING: Five 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.

Talking as Fast as I Can

Thoughts  by Lauren Graham, Random House Audio 2016, 4 hours 38 minutes

Narrated by the author. And of course, she is awesome.

Challenge: none
Genre: Celebrity Memoir
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: I had credits to burn and wanted something lively.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have something interesting to admit. I have never watched Gilmore Girls. I’ve never watched Parenthood. Oh, I *know* of Gilmore Girls and I’ve seen bits and pieces and of course, have read many-a-book-blogger post the GG book lists and gush all over about how wonderful the series is, but I don’t watch much TV and I don’t have Netflix. I can’t see myself downloading an entire series of anything to watch. I have placed myself outside of popular culture, it seems.

But I love Lauren Graham. I have seen Bad Santa. 

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Lauren talking about her life, her upbringing, her career…

WHAT’s GOOD: Her charm and sparkle.

What’s NOT so good: I probably should watch Gilmore Girls just so I know all the people she is talking about…

FINAL THOUGHTS: I listen to celebrity memoir audiobooks when I need to get over a reading slump, or to change it up, or to laugh, or to be inspired. This one was perfect for where I was at the end of March – post TOB slumparooza…

RATING: Five slices of pie? Maybe only 4 considering I didn’t relate to about 25% (she goes through and chats about what happened in the original series run – I didn’t know anything/anyone!) but who cares… No pie mentioned, that I recall. Pity. That would have ensured its 5 slice rating.

OK, her best advice? When someone offers you an opportunity and you think you can’t do it, do it anyway!  This bit was meaningful to me right now – when I am both overwhelmed by my new job and what I have to do and my doubts about whether or not I can pull it off. Am I a sham? Or is this imposter-syndrome? What if imposter-syndrome is TRUE? egads. Give me courage, give me strength. Give me a Lauren Graham pep talk.

 

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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.

The Power of a Positive No

Thoughts  How to Say No and Still Get to Yes by William Ury, Random House Audio 2007, 7 hours 15 minutes

Challenge: Company Book Club
Genre: Business/Professional Development
 Why I read this now:  To participate in the company book club.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have always respected those who can say NO without fanfare or excuses. They are being true to themselves. This is a terrific skill to develop.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Ury is a negotiation consultant. He is a co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation and directs the Global Negotiation Initiative. He has a series of books on this topic; basic common sense but very challenging advice on how to be effective in solving conflict.

Find your deeper YES (what you do want!) – state your NO – suggest a yes to negotiate a win-win (yes?)

WHAT’s GOOD: SO so good. Though, at times, the book tends to feel repetitive, that only stresses how hard this stuff is!  To respect and not react, to be centered and grounded and know what we really want for ourselves before we have to work towards agreements with others. Great examples, wonderful stories, terrific suggestions on how to do all of this.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The challenge lies in getting beyond the recognition of how valuable this approach is to actually USING it the precise moment it is needed.

I give this quote:

The great problem today is that we have divorced our Yeses from our Nos. Yes without No is appeasement, whereas No without Yes is war. Yes without No destroys one’s own satisfaction, whereas No without Yes destroys one’s relationship with others. We need both Yes and No together. Yes is the key word of community. No, the key word of individuality. Yes is the key word of connection, No the key word of protection. Yes is the key word of peace, No the key word of justice.

RATING: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

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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.

The Last Lecture

Thoughts  by Randy Pausch, Hachette Books 2008, 206 pages

Challenge:  not applicable
Genre: Memoir
Type/Source: Hardcover, a coworker’s library
 Why I read this now:  This caught my eye and fit my schedule.

MOTIVATION for READING: I didn’t realize he was a computer science professor. I probably knew this once but hadn’t gone out of my way to put this on my read-now list until the opportunity was thrust upon me.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Randy Pausch had a charmed life andorbu he designed his life to be wonderful; until and despite and through being diagnosed with cancer. This is the book encapsulating the presentation he gave near the end of his life.

WHAT’s GOOD: He seemed to be a pretty cool guy overall and presented much to admire.

What’s NOT so good: I was curious based on other reviews just how privileged-white-male he would come across and yes, he did: but he was, so. He had sound principles to live by and defended them well; he took good advantage of his ‘luck’ and also understood the responsibility side of the equation.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Lots of good nuggets of wisdom, inspirational.

RATING:  Four and 1/2 slices, no pie mentioned.

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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.

Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go

Thoughts  by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni, Berrett-Koehler Pubs 2012, 144 pages

Challenge:  Personal Professional Development
Genre: Business Improvement, Professional Development, HR
Type/Source: Tradeback, my manager’s bookshelf
 Why I read this now: very timely

MOTIVATION for READING: I have been conducting training sessions this week and last on how to give (and receive) feedback, set goals, and how to have a development mindset when it comes to performance reviews.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The subtitle for this book is “Career Conversations Employees Want” and that is where this book is strong. Providing not just the WHY this is important but also phrases and language to employ that ease into conversations, asking the right questions, and getting to a give and take flow of discussion so agreement and excitement and proactive feedback is delivered.

WHAT’s GOOD: It is short but hard-hitting. This stuff – giving employee feedback for growth — is the stuff easily ignored or brushed off but when sincere and forthright, it is powerful.  This book is colorful and superbly organized; it is easy to use for reference as well as engaging enough to sit down and devour the whole thing. A practical guidebook for anyone who is responsible for team work.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Highly recommended for any manager who has to give performance reviews. It will provide not only the impactful reasons for doing such but gives the hope and tools to engage team members in discussing futures and growth opportunities.

RATING: Five slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

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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.

Reset

Reset:  My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao, Spiegel & Grau / New York 2017, 274 pages

pieratingsmlOne stranger wrote to me during the hardest part of the trial, telling me how, too often, “positive comments we receive we deflect like Teflon, while negative comments we hang on to like Velcro.”

Challenge: First Book
Genre: Nonfiction, Gender Discrimination, Tech Industry
Type/Source: Hardback / Purchased

Motivation for Reading: One aspect of my job is the opportunity to facilitate workshops on Respect in the Workplace, which, as you may assume, includes how our company addresses Sexual Harassment. I have been drawn to the stories in the news reporting and responding to the #metoo campaign to keep apprised and ready for how to answer questions and ask the questions so participants understand the pervasive and subtle aspects of this issue.

Which is why I wanted to read this book. Ellen Pao is a dynamo, her credentials are astounding: Electrical Engineering from Princeton, MBA Harvard, Law degree Harvard; I am grateful to her that she didn’t ‘settle’ her case and that she kept her independence in order to share her story.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: If you don’t know who she is, and I am not one of those who followed this story in detail as it was happening,  Pao worked as a Venture Capitalist in the Technology industry and sued her employer for discrimination. Why were males who were at a junior level to her responsibilities and had worked there less time promoted when she was not? She described the old boys club to a tee.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s not tell-all with respect and dignity and humility. Maybe with that tag, it didn’t really feel TELL ALL. But do we really need to hear more crap with a mean gossipy tone? no. And she doesn’t. She comes across sincere and respectful.

While reading this, I was so saddened; that there is nothing new, there is no new layer of nuance to explore. It is a story of a company culture of entitled white men behaving badly. And then having the financial resources to win lawsuits. It’s disgusting. It’s just another story that money can buy a version of justice that is not truth; that our court systems are not perfect. 

What is encouraging is that Pao is actively working on how to create inclusive workplaces and supporting women and POC to achieve. Thus her title, let’s keep working towards a better future.

Ellen Pao has courage. I will follow and cheer her accomplishments going forward. I want to help hit Reset in my work, within my sphere of influence.

Rating: four slices of pie.

No pie mentioned.

The next book on this theme I hope to read soon:   Speaking Truth to Power by Anita Hill.

 

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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.