The Hate U Give

Thoughts  by Angie Thomas, Balzer + Bray 2017,  464 pages + 11 hours 40 minutes

Narrated by Bahni Turpin – excellent.

Genre: YA
Type/Source: eBook and Audio / Amazon
 Why I read this now: It’s a hot book right now!

MOTIVATION for READING:  This story is getting lots of praise and I wanted to get in on that.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Starr is a sixteen year old black girl who lives in a depressed area of a big city and attends a prep school in a predominantly white area. One night after a party, Starr is given a ride home by young black male friend and he is pulled over by the cops. He is shot and killed; Starr has to navigate this event up close and personal. Her cultures clash, her identity is fractured; she is scared and angry.

WHAT’s GOOD:  Thomas decided to give the world this gift of fiction, a story, in response to and an exploration of the Black Lives Matter movement. It isn’t a story specifically addressing the movement, rather a situation that stresses the realities and the complications that many blacks face in our country. Where to live, where to go to school, how to navigate threats to body and soul?

“We have a sustained problem in America,” Thomas said. “When officers take off that uniform they’re no longer a ‘blue life’ – I can’t take my black skin off. I wanted this book to explain why we say those three words.”

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I thought it extremely well done on so many levels – a gripping read, a sympathetic character, believable and complicated supporting cast members, a forceful not-unreasonable emotional tone, great pacing. It offers humor, some punches to the gut, a candid look at humanity.

“Pac said Thug Life stood for “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. T-H-U-G-L-I-F-E. Meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. Get it?” – Angie Thomas

– Link to article explaining the Tupac quote that gives this book its title.

RATING:  Four slices of pizza pie with lots of extra crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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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High Dive

 

Thoughts hdbyjl by Jonathan Lee, Knopf 2016, 321 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books (16 of 18)
Genre: Historical Lit?
Type/Source: Hard Cover/Library
 Why I read this now: next in line (actually shorter of the two I was able to get from the library)

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB… starts March 8… Here’s the link to watch… (aw COOL. They have a countdown clock working. At the moment of my typing this sentence, we have 8 days yet to go.)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: High Dive is about the 1984 bomb that damaged the Grand Hotel, killing 5 and injuring 31. It is a fictional account of Dan who works (volunteers?) for the IRA as an ‘electrician’. He lives with his mother in Belfast Ireland and has two dogs. He has a torturous(-to-read-about) initiation “interview”. He prefers to work on the bomb creation side of the violence. The title High Dive is possibly inferred from the background of the second character we meet, Moose Finch. Mr. Finch used to be a diving instructor and is now Assistant to the General Manager for the fancy Grand Hotel in Brighton UK. He loves working with people, regrets not going to University when he had the chance, and is hoping he will be promoted to GM after the political conference being in October. Mr. Finch has a daughter named Freya. While trying to decide if she should travel the world or go on to Uni, she works the front desk of the Grand.

Dan checks in as a guest of the Grand Hotel three weeks before the conference so that he can plant a bomb under the bathtub in the room that Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, might be staying in. IMG_1665

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s a thoughtful book. It has a melancholy feel. Definitely character-driven not plot-driven.

What’s NOT so good: I kept getting distracted by wanting to look up more about the hotel, the IRA, Belfast, “the troubles”, RUC, maps of Brighton Beach – the Royal Pavilion – the train station. Saracens, Semtex, plimsolls. I slowly, painstakingly dragged myself through these pages at no fault of the book’s but of my distracted scatterbrained lack of ability to concentrate. Once I finally did manage to find focus, I fell into it and loved it.

This quote is on the book jacket:

A bold, astonishingly intimate novel of laughter and heartbreak, High Dive is a moving portrait of clashing loyalties, guilt and regret, and how individuals become the grist of history.

IMG_1659

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’ve been to Brighton. I think this fact kept me dedicated to this book and also could be to blame for the distractedness. I’ve been to the Grand Hotel. I didn’t know it had been the site of an assassination attempt on Thatcher. I only needed find a restroom, as a tourist wandering around the beachfront. My memory of that ‘situation’ is clear; but that it was the Grand Hotel that provided me that sanctuary, I am not entirely positive. I think so, I’m pretty sure (based on location and possible path from the train.) I didn’t take any photos of the place. I remember it was full of people. Full of school-age children. It was a cold brisk but sunny bright day and I have very positive fond thoughts of Brighton. It made me feel off-kilter reading this, knowing I had been there not quite 30 years later. I would have been one year older than Freya in 1984.

Here are a few of my Brighton photos:

IMG_1672    BristolHorseIMG_1668

RATING: Four slices of shepherd’s pie.

“He could reel off the first 200 digits of pi.”  p.142

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Mr. Splitfoot

Thoughts msfbysh by Samantha Hunt, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2016, 336 pages

fboty

mewithmrspltft

Challenge: TOB Long List
Genre: Contemporary Lit? Not horror, as some have suggested.
Type/Source: eBook / Kindle
 Why I read this now: Only book not yet read on my eReader that is also on the TOB Long List.

MOTIVATION for READING: I downloaded this waaaaay back when. When Julianne of Outlandish Lit had her weird book reading adventure and then the book had a daily deal, I think. I do not usually pay the big bucks for eBooks… I will pay anything to read a Hardcover, it seems.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Cora is an adult and not feeling too ambitious about it all but she loves her mother. Her mother was a foster kid that got out and survived to be a decent mother herself despite not having a good example to follow. We don’t get much of Mom nor Grandma’s stories but we get enough.

So, Cora gets herself in a predicament and her Aunt Ruth, mom’s sister, comes to take her on a little trip, a walking trip. Call this a ROAD TRIP book. We have mistreated foster kids, religious cults, mothers and daughters, attempts at ‘adulting’, talking to the dead, con men, meteorites and Carl Sagan, odd music references that I still want to look up and just might but I’m at work and don’t judge me that I can write book reviews while at work but they don’t have much work-work to give me and I feel I’m doing academic work here in bookbloggerland, couldn’t you agree? I just can’t, however, play videos and listen to tunes. Must be aware

WHAT’s GOOD: I really liked this and though I only gave it 4 slices on goodreads I can only blame that on my rating ability going haywire in December. This book was so much more than I expected and dare I say it was sweet? It had tender moments.

What’s NOT so good: I’m really not sure – it could be that I missed it – but I never quite figured out the title…  I don’t ‘get’ the cover art, either. Maybe I’ll have to reread it. Maybe I should do the audiobook. I bet this would be an awesome audiobook – can anyone testify?

FINAL THOUGHTS: It has humor and light among the dark and gritty. I really liked it. The ending brings it all together AND surprises.

RATING:  Four slices of apple pie with extra whipped cream.

p.301 “…you’re feeling bad about serving your wife up to me like a tasty piece of pie, but that doesn’t mean you can just give her my money.”

I hope this makes the TOB! I will be cheering for it.

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Commonwealth

Thoughts cwbyap by Ann Patchett, Harper 2016, 322 pages Hardback

Challenge: Inaugural Read of my new book club!  BA’s selection.
Genre: Contemporary Lit, Family Drama
Type/Source: Hardback given to me by Katie. Thank you
 Why I read this now: Book club meets 2nd Tuesday of December. I wanted to read it sooner so that someone could borrow if they needed to.

MOTIVATION for READING:  I have a book crush on Ann Patchett.

“Your mom doesn’t know about the movie, does she?”
“My mom doesn’t know about the book,” he said, “It turns out a novel isn’t the worst place to hide things.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The repercussions of adults paying little respect for their marriage vows – two divorces, six little children become step-siblings, they grow up and scatter to the four corners. All the family members get a view and a side to the story. There’s an ‘event’ and of course, the adults and even the kids are not quite sure what was true and what was right. Utterly engrossing!

“Now here he was, as thin and as quiet as a knife.”

WHAT’s GOOD: The opening / the setup / the first chapter is captivating. Enthralling. Exquisitely played. I loved the situational “funny” lines that made me laugh out loud but most people probably would NOT call this a comedy. (Actually, now that I’m reading Irving’s The World According to Garp, I have to say that some of these funny moments are eerily Irving-like.*)

What’s NOT so good: Having to read all the bad reviews on goodreads because I disagree. HA!  No offense to anyone who didn’t like this book – I actually enjoyed every review I read — even the ones who thought it had too many characters or jumped around in time too much or that AP went ‘on and on’ and she is too descriptive. That the chapters were too long. I respectfully disagree. For me, it was none of those things. (I never notice chapter length unless I don’t like the book but even rarely then.)

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD…

FINAL THOUGHTS: I thought it perfect. Oh well, perfect is a pretty strong word, isn’t it… Let’s see. [Me thinking: thinkingface] Nope, I found it well-done. Perfectly paced. Fascinating and insightful about how little things might ‘ruin’ your life or just take it in a different direction. I loved Frannie and her father Fix. I thought Bert to be jerk. I loved how AP’s characters were real and did interesting things – like one of the daughters was a biomedical engineer. WOMEN IN STEM for the WIN! And how Frannie ran into a guy from law school and they end up getting married. And Holly ends up in Switzerland? That Bert’s ex-wife never gave him a thought after so many years though she spent just as many hating his guts. Loved the book. I can’t figure out how she put all that she did into this in just over 300 pages.

RATING: Five slices of apple pie. “They went back to the kitchen and sliced apples for a pie.” [page 292]

“No stupidity in happiness.”

 

FOR MY BOOKCLUBBERS. CLICK THIS –> LINK <– FOR MORE THOUGHTS (but wait til you finish the book…

*I forgot that I referenced a note, page 127, that Frannie read The World According to Garp and considered it my cue to read it next. Which I am, on audio.

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Thoughts tkambyhl by Harper Lee, Time Warner Books 1989 (orig 1960) 281 pages

Genre: Southern Lit, Classics
Type/Source: Hardback / My school’s English teacher’s shelf
 Why I read this now: for club…

MOTIVATION for READING:  I actually wasn’t that enthusiastic about reading this. Shame on me. I have always TRIED to have high standards about never whining about a book assigned for bookclub because that is the POINT of bookclubs — to read a book you may not be excited about or never heard of. Bookclub ‘entertainment’ is the discussion. And we all know that when everyone loves a book, discussion is boooooorrrrring. And if half love and half hate dislike, WOO-BOYHOWDY = fun discussion.

Ok, the point of this post is my mea culpa: I really loved reading TKAM.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Do I really need to tell you? Young daughter of the upstanding town attorney starts school and learns about injustice and navigating ‘growing up’ in a small town in the 30s with a father who defends a black man accused of a crime where he is accused by a white woman; the white citizens just can’t deal with the situation.

WHAT’s GOOD: Scout is just great. She’s a tough kid, annoyed by the gender expectations being thrust upon her and she’s trying to figure out the big bad world. I loved the neighbor across the street.

What’s NOT so good: We’ve come not far in too much time.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m looking forward to discussion.

Great QUOTES:  “Thus we came to know Dill as a pocket Merlin, whose head teemed with eccentric plans, strange longings, and quaint fancies.”

“I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. Out of what I new not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me.”

“Dill was a villain’s villain: he could get into any character part assigned him, and appear tall if height was part of the devilry required.”

“For reasons unfathomable to the most experienced prophets in Maycombe Çounty, autumn turned to winter that year.”

“It’s not time to worry yet,”

“There was no doubt about it, I must soon enter this world, where on its surface fragrant ladies rock slowly, fanned gently, and drank cool water.”

RATING: 5 slices of pie. Of DEWBERRY TARTS.

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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 Vegetarian

Thoughts tvbyhk by Han Kang, Hogarth 2015 (orig 2007), 188 pages

Translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith

Winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2015

Challenge:  Prize Winners?  Translated Works?
Genre: Asian Lit
Type/Source: Hardback / Gift from Ruthiella – THANKS!
 Why I read this now: A book in hand will get read.

MOTIVATION for READING: Ruthiella was kind enough to send it to me. I ran out of books on the boat (well, I have two, I think, on my Kindle yet?)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A young woman, Yeong-hye, is assaulted by horrific dreams (and is also married to a cad.) She decides to forego eating meat because of these dreams and this upsets pretty much EVERYONE. Told from three perspectives — the cad of a husband, her sister’s husband and her sister — and not Yeong-hye, though we do see bits of her dreams.

In the words of The Guardian:

“Dark dreams, simmering tensions, chilling violence . . .  This South Korean novel is a feast . . . It is sensual, provocative, and violent, ripe with potent images, startling colors, and disturbing questions. . . Sentence by sentence, The Vegetarian is an extraordinary experience. . . [It] will be hard to beat.”

WHAT’s GOOD: Oh, it is deliciously disturbing. The writing IS lyrical, the images are startling, the mood is darkly apprehensive.

As LINDA says in the blurbs at the beginning of my copy of the book:

“[A] bloodcurdlingly beautiful, sinister book.”

FINAL THOUGHTS: A perfect book for RIP if you don’t get to it before this fall.

RATING: Four slices of pie. No pastries mentioned but I think every fruit available in Korea might make an appearance. Lots of food descriptions.

fourpie

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Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

Between the World and Me #NonFicNov

Thoughts btwambytnc by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel & Grau 2015, 152 pages

This book is a letter from Coates to his 15 year old son about what it means to be a black man in America based on his personal experiences and universal studies. Beautifully written, startling, fresh:  POWERFUL.

“This is required reading.” – Toni Morrison

Congratulations Mr. Coates on winning this years National Book Award for nonfiction. nbalogo

“Fear ruled everything around me, and I knew, as all black people do, that this fear was connected to the Dream out there, to the unworried boys, to pie and pot roast, to the white fences and green lawns nightly beamed into our television sets.”

I could mention and include all the quotes that struck me, but perhaps it best to suggest you go read this yourself and mark the quotes that strike you.

On education:  “I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom is a jail of other peoples interests.”

“Schools are not concerned with curiosity – they are concerned with compliance.”

Someone in my bookclub (we were discussing a much different book but her comment was startling) mentioned that she had viewed a documentary on how eerily similar our schools are to prisons.

I know I have biases and unconscious thinking that is reflects my privilege and my own experiences and that these don’t always allow for diverse expression, truth and understanding. I want to do better. This is a powerful read for my powerful November.

OTHER Reviews:  Aarti at BookLust, Page247, Estella’s Revenge, Lakeside Musings

RATING: Five slices of blueberry pie.

“That other world was suburban and endless, organized around pot roasts, blueberry pies, fireworks, ice cream Sundaes, immaculate bathrooms, small toy trucks that were loosed in wooded backyard with streams and glens.”

 

I hope that pie can be connected to a better dream, one of world peace, value and respect for all.

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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 Elegance of the Hedgehog

Thoughts teothbymb The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, Europa Editions 2008 (orig 2006), 325 pages

For wian15 What’s in a Name 8 Reading Challenge

Thank you Holly for giving me this book (in 2012).

Thank you Katie for cheering me along as I read this! So it was somewhat of a buddy read although I was the only one reading/hashtagging (#HedgehogElegance) and Katie was the TWEET-TO for all the fun tweetable quips and quotes that entertained and/or amused me.

“People aim for the stars, and they end up like goldfish in a bowl. I wonder if it wouldn’t be simpler just to teach children right from the start that life is absurd.”

What it’s ABOUT:  A concierge of a high-society apartment complex (of 5 units) keeps to herself and works hard to build an image of the lowly dumb building caretaker stereotype – NOT that I have such. The only concierges I know are for fancy hotels so it was a bit difficult to buy-in to an assumed stereotype when I don’t have it. Still, she is good at explaining herself as hiding her true passions of literature, music and cinema.

“She has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary – and terribly elegant.”

In alternating chapters, we meet a 12 year old resident of the building who feels like she doesn’t belong into the world she is born in, or in any world for that matter and she is extremely bright and thoughtful.

“But if you dread tomorrow, it’s because you don’t know how to build the present, and when you don’t know how to build the present, you tell yourself you can deal with it tomorrow, and it’s a lost cause anyway because tomorrow always ends up becoming today, don’t you see?”

I WAS entertained and amused. I can see why some might think it ‘pretentious’ but I thought it was merely a perfect part of the character descriptions and not of the author nor a story issue.

I had been wanting to read this for a long time and had it often on the NEXT-BOOK shelf but it kept getting shuffled aside for whatever hot glamorous book had to be read. I think I was afraid that I wouldn’t like it because I knew I had high expectations. I waited, also, to let the hype die down in the blogging world and in my brain, hoping to forget anything/everything.

Still, I had still had glimmers of expectation threatening my enjoyment. And I was wrong about a few things. Darn it! I thought it was about an odd  friendship between the caretaker and the little girl. Yes, but NO – it happened SO LATE in the book, I was rather confused!  so do know that going in.

“I have always been fascinated by the abnegation with which we human beings are capable of devoting a great deal of energy to the quest for nothing and to the rehashing of useless and absurd ideas.”

So much good stuff. A favorite book to add to my list.

“We live each day as if it were merely a rehearsal for the  next…”

Rating:  FIVE slices of pie.

TONS of new vocab words, too. I won’t define for you; I only starred these as I read along. A few I did put on Twitter.

Sidereal, deontology, furbelow, consonant, salvo, asthenic, demiurge, exeunt, syncretism, debility, subaltern, factotum*, incunabulum, eructation…

* I plan on using — factotum — in my NaNoWriMo work. Gots to! Definition is: A person whose job involves doing many different types of work. This is me.

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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 Orphans of Race Point

Thoughts toorpbypf The Orphans of Race Point by Patry Francis, HarperCollins 2014, 524 pages.

Almost epic in scale, this interesting look at love versus romance versus obsession gives the full panorama of emotions, good and bad, and highlights all that is admirable about the human spirit while showing its ugly sides, too.

What’s it ABOUT: A pretty smart 9 yo girl helps a classmate find himself after a devastating tragedy — the effect of which they can never quite outrun. Or maybe, they do? I don’t think I can begin to tell you or figure out how to describe this! I was swept into this and in over my head very quickly.

The kids grow up. Things happen. Actions have consequences. Secrets are found out. Shit happens. Etc. Families are often created by love not blood. There are dogs to love and run the beach with. Who doesn’t like running the beach with a dog?

It didn’t hurt that I lived near this area of Massachusetts and it felt very Massachusettsian. If that isn’t a real word, too bad.

This book is good; the story is riveting and well-paced. It deserves more attention. I’ve read much worse books that got way too much attention; read this to fall in love with the kind of book that you want to tell more people about. I’ve already told Holly and I bet Gail would love this and probably MBR – shoot, I should get ALL of my Mass book club pals to read it!

I read this because another Mass book friend read and recommended but that doesn’t mean that you must be from or need to know about Cape Cod – I’m NOT saying that at all. It just has such a good sense of place, I guess.

Here are a few pictures I took myself of Race Point near Provincetown MA:

IMG_2338 IMG_2344 IMG_2351 IMG_2358  IMG_2364

I’m challenging myself to come up with THREE WORDS for every book. These are the first that popped into my mind. Probably not the best, but the first, so: gritty, sweeping, emotional.

RATING:  fourpie

Other REVIEWs:  Laurie at Bay State Advisory – “It’s literary fiction with a strong story line that touches on big ideas but focuses on the personal.”

SADLY, I only recorded that page 33 has a pie reference. I’ve already returned the book to the library (what was I thinking?!)

Here are two quotes to describe a FIRST KISS:

On page 96: “He took her by the shoulders and kissed her right there in the middle of the street. It was the shortest gentlest kiss imaginable but it pricked her, infected her, forever altered the colors of the landscape where she’d spent her whole life.”

On page 413: “Then he kisses me; even though neither of us have much experience, it’s the kind of perfect knock your bright yellow socks off kiss that changes everything. It happens right there in broad daylight.”

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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 Talented Mr. Ripley

Thoughts and unrelated random bits tTMRbyPHa The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, Audible 2012 (orig 1955), 9 hrs 35 min

Narrated by Kevin Kenerly – admirable job. He definitely had the creepy voice to go with the creepy thoughts.

“Anticipation! It occurred to him that his anticipation was more pleasant to him than the experiencing.”

The Admission:  This book is much more sinister and creepy than the the last few Stephen King books I’ve read. THERE. I said it.

Oh, Tom Ripley! You are scary. And yet, so much more tolerable – which scares me, too – than Bateman of Am. Psycho. Shudder.

“Tom laughed at the phrase “sexual deviation.” Where was the sex? Where was the deviation? He looked at Freddie and said low and bitterly: “Freddie Miles, you’re a victim of your own dirty mind.”

They have the same in-my-head crazy. They have the same, “OH! WHAT will he do NEXT?!” fear; palpable FEAR.

I listened to this. I bought it when Audible offered a BOGO* deal.

What’s it ABOUT:  Tom Ripley has issues. THEN, he gets an opportunity to go to Europe on another’s dime. He schemes a way to get more of that dime in a sinister way. And he takes on a lovely tour of Italy! The issue is that he really does have pangs of guilt, sort of. He just prefers not to be Tom Ripley. This is one creepy dude!

“Tom envied him with a heartbreaking surge of envy and self-pity.”

The Question: Will I read more? This is the first in a series. Hmmmmm.

Another Question: Did I even see the movie? I thought I did but the whole time I listened to this book, I was imagining Leo DiCaprio as Tom and yet THE MOVIE HAS IT AS MATT DAMON! So now I must see the movie because my thinking I had seen it has me all confused.

FINALLY:  Don’t go see Kingsman. Disappointing.

And an admonition:  All of you who have read Bad Feminist, why have you not told me about Kate Zembrano? I want to read her books! Anyone up for a readalong of Heroines or Green Girl?

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* The other audiobook I chose was Heft by Liz Moore but I don’t think I will be listening to this until after Atlas Shrugged. IKR!?  What the heck am I doing attempting a 63 hour audiobook? Well, you know I love ’em. The longer the better.

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.