Category Archives: Rooster!

Matrix

Thoughts by Lauren Groff, Penguin Audio 2021, 8 hours 52 minutes, Narrated by Adjoa Andoh

Challenge: TOB2022

Genre/Theme: Historical Fiction

Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible

What It’s About: Oh, Marie. Marie is a force! Lauren Groff is a FORCE for fiercely imagining a life for Marie that is BOLD. Marie is a bastard ugly child of nobility in a family fraught with fighting for control of countries in the 12th century. Poor Marie is never going to be given her due and is banished to a nunnery but she is cunning, she is extremely bright and proud, and she will want. She will never get quite what she thinks she must have but OMG does she ACCOMPLISH. She is always one step ahead and almost there.

She arrives to her post a mere child with nuns dying of starvation and disease. Over her lifetime, she builds the Abbey to be many females strong and to have much wealth garnered by strategy and stealth.

The narration was excellent.

The entire book features female characters. (By which I mean there are NO male ones.)

Thoughts: Marie is actually hard to like, as any megalomaniac can tend to be. But the more I read reviews and think about what this book does, I think it is delicious! I have read criticisms that there’s too much sex. Well, HUH. Deal. And another asked, “what was the POINT of this?” ok, well I think THAT is too much thinking. LG has an imagination of WHAT IF and she went for it. I’ve read that some people don’t like Groff’s writing — now, ok, personal preference can certainly apply, I’m all for that. But I am a fan. I like her. I liked Fates and Furies, and I’m stating now that I hope to read her backlist and everything she writes next. She is FIERCE.

Rating: Four slices of pie. I noticed at least three mentions of pie: maybe even Figgy Pudding Pie?! Definitely Buttery Leek Pie. My Audible account is not showing my notes (?!) so I can’ give the exact quote so I’ve decided to pair in a link to a recipe!

Today, January 23, is National Pie Day, so let’s share what I found for Leek Pie. This one from Smitten Kitchen looks fabulous! click the image to go to Leek & Swiss Chard Tart:

Happy Pie Day!

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

In Concrete

Thoughts by Anne Garrétta, Deep Vellum 2021, 185 pages

Translated by Emma Ramadan, co-owner of one of my favorite indie bookstores: RiffRaff in PVD

Challenge: TOB 2022

Genre/Theme: I have no idea!

Type/Source: Tradeback / Personal purchase from Watermark Books

What It’s About: Two precocious French girls adore their tinkering big-idea whacky fix-it father and help him pour concrete to fix up the summer house amongst other things/places/etc. They defend the honor of neighbors and attempt to ditch school (well, our narrator does) and she tells her little sister stories of the escapades while waiting for rescue when said sister becomes encased in a cement mixing & pouring mishap. FULL of amusing wordplay and punny turns of phrase.

Thoughts: A fun book — if you aren’t trying to rush through it to get it done. Alas!

I really had to force myself to slow down and not rush this. I became enthralled with curiosity for HOW the translator managed to capture and play with the words in English, only assuming the jokes must have been different in the French. My questions were answered; the book includes notes from the translator. Fascinating stuff.

No grout about it!

Very clever, a lot of fun. Their POOR MOTHER! The entire family is quite endearing. I get how some thought it a bit overdone, perhaps; but I decided to relax and go with it and feel rewarded for my effort.

Rating: Four slices of pie. Easy as pie? no way.

“Once little sis and I had unblocked our glands, it was easy as pie.”

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Sentence

Thoughts by Louise Erdrich, Harper 2021, 387 pages

Challenge: TOB 2022

Genre/Theme: Adult Literature

Type/Source: eBook / Library

What It’s About: This is the story of Tookie, a Chippewa woman in Minnesota who works in a bookstore. The book starts with how she came to commit a crime, be sentenced and serve time in prison. A former teacher sends her a dictionary and so begins a love of reading. This same teacher helps her get the job at the bookstore once she is released from prison. This is also the story of how one of the bookstore’s most loyal customers dies and begins to haunt Tookie when she is at work. The story is timely; we see the dates approach March 2020 — the start of the pandemic. And June, when George Floyd is murdered at the hands of the cops. And the subsequent protests.

Thoughts: As I attempt the above paragraph, I find my appreciation growing for how Erdrich accomplished all of the personal and broad storylines, as well as weaving in the love of reading. There is a grappling of balancing political issues and getting involved and this was successfully done (to me) — effectively paced with empathy, love, and respect; everything I love in my literature. I would even say she manages a balanced lightness with heavy topics and was able to bring some humor to the humanity.

I found that I could not read just any book. It had gotten so I could see through books—the little ruses, the hooks, the setup in the beginning, the looming weight of a tragic ending, the way at the last page the author could whisk out the carpet of sorrow and restore a favorite character. I needed the writing to have a certain mineral density. It had to feel naturally meant, but not cynically contrived.

Rating: She even included pie! Rounding up to 5 slices of pie. A book lover’s book: the author provides a list of all the books mentioned in the text.

I grew up in Rondo and that was a warm neighborhood, full of kindness, pie, elderly folks, kids, craziness, and sorrow. It was a place to belong. All my life I’ve missed it, but never understood until now.

 

PS I voted this for my TOB Zombie.

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Thoughts by Sally Rooney, Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2021, 356 pages or 10 hours 3 minutes

Narrated by Aoife McMahon.

Challenge: TOB 2022

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction

Type/Source: eBook AND Audiobook from Libby

What It’s About: I’m going to be lazy and share the blurb from goodreads which I might assume is from the publisher? [Yes, I think so?]

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

Thoughts: Do I think they are standing in the last lighted room before darkness? No. Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world. Yes. Yes, I am thinking positive.

Simon kind of drove me up the wall. Alice was slightly intriguing. Eileen less so. Felix amused me but I am not sure he would be someone I would want to know personally. He does like dogs, so he has that going for him.

I found this very readable. I read it wondering more about why some love it and why some don’t. Lots of sex. Lots of philosophy on morals and how the world-is-going-to-pot. Explores art, the meaning of art and why beauty exists. And yet, it felt like watching someone have those conversations rather than being there experiencing the conversations. It wasn’t transportive. [Huh, I’m being told that isn’t a word.] What do I mean? I mean that it made me feel like an older person watching a different younger generation deal with things without giving me the feeling that I’m right there, too. I can have sympathies, but I wasn’t transported to feel the experience.

…a recondite joke requiring familiarity with several other internet jokes in order to be even vaguely comprehensible,

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

….compassionate attachment to purely fictional people—from whom we obviously can’t expect to derive any material satisfaction or advantage—is a way of understanding the deep complexities of the human condition, and thus the complexities of God’s love for us.

Like good stationery, heavy pens, unlined paper, they represented to her the possibility of imagination, a possibility so much finer in itself and more delicate than anything she had ever managed to imagine.

He stood in the doorway while she went searching in one of the presses. She looked around at him.

huh? how do you “Look around” and also “at”?

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

In Review November 2021

 Monthly Recap Time!

Total of Six:

Number of pages: 2427, number of hours: 30.74 ♦ Total pages for year-to-date: 27,266 ◘ total hours: ~270

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What Kind, Where From:

Tradeback owned + Audio from library Radium Girls by Kate Moore

The Promise eBook by Damon Galgut (Booker Prize)

A Spindle Spintered by Alix Harrow eBook/Libby

Leading with Questions Hardcover/Work-provided by Mark Marquardt

Infinite Country by Patricia Engle eBook/Libby

Cloud Cuckoo Land Audiobook/Audible by Anthony Doerr

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Rather than saying my favorite read of the month, I will wow you with the statement that I gave ALL the fiction 5 slices of pie and one of the Nonfiction. The other only other nonfic I read, I gave 2 slices. (Ugh; it was a slog.)

These books took me on visits to New Jersey near NYC and to a small town in Illinois, NYC and the country of Columbia. The Booker Prize put me in South Africa, the fairy tale was grounded in Pennsylvania (IIRC) and then in the land of princesses and dragons and scary forests to pass through. Cloud Cuckoo Land was in the past in Constantinople — the recent past in Idaho — some Vietnam or was it Korea? — and in the future to an outerspace somewhere sealed away for decades.

Nonfiction November fell a part for me once the TOB Long List hit the newsstand. I became obsessed and abandoned almost the entirety of my Litsy #BookSpinBingo card. I gave up blogging. I could only focus on a few things and that was TOB and family stuff, I guess.

I didn’t even update my book tracker but thankfully I had goodreads. Whew!

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Speaking of THANKFUL and since it’s November’s recap… let’s talk Pie! All of the books I enjoyed mention pie. One was “a slice of pie” (a slice of RADIUM pie!), one mentions a pie pan, and one used the word “piebald” — hey, it counts. One features empanadas, one said something about “hand-raised pie” or somethingsomething British-Baking-Show (and now my count is off), but finally! one discusses milk tart – has to be a custard and I need to search more, and also CHICKEN PIE.

I myself made Pecan. Oh. and…. Lyle Lovett liked my tweet of the pic of my Pecan pie for #SecularPieThursday. SQUEEEEEEEEEE!

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And rather than ask you what your fave was for the month already 8+ days ago, I will point you to JoAnn’s Gulfside Musings Nonfiction November final post that features some really enticing reads that maybe I can get to next year?

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

In Review October 2021

 Monthly Recap Time!

Total of 13…

Count from the library =  SIX, one book was for my monthly Audible credit and finished with Libby; five purchased, and another library for both eBook and Hardcover

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My favorite read of the month is The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor. [Link to Review]

These books took me on visits to Colorado, NYC and outer space. I saw the US and some views into Canada. I was in UK-fantasy land. USA again and a half century away in rural England. OPKS was where I lived in the first book (and I’ve lived there in my history, so YAY KANSAS) and ended up in Sweden for the last book of the month.

Five nonfiction – if I count the poetry?) One of the books I read this month is “loosely-based memoir” fiction: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeannette Winterson. SO GLAD to have enjoyed this which had been on my tbr for a long time.

Two featured LGBTQ+, three by POC, one in translation, four classics. Seven female-identifying authors (I might be guessing/assuming) to six by male-presenting.

and…… The Tournament of Favorites was fabulous! The winner is Tsar of Love and Techno over Version Control in the finals. Great fun, much fun, warms the heart and stimulates the brain. I love the tournaments as much as I love pie. Bring on the Long List! Any day now… I haven’t read too many on on the possibly contenders list. Books pub’d this year include: Fugitive Telemetry SF, Meet Cute Diary TransRomance?, Yoga Pants Nation MomLit, (oh yea, I read all the Summer Camp books, too!)

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Pie! NINE books out of 13 mention pie.

I made Cranberry Pear Pie, Pumpkin, and some Dutch Apple crumb pies.

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What was YOUR favorite book of October?

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

TOB Favorites – It’s ON!

Blank Brackets — > HERE <–

Explore the Goodreads > Groups –> Tourney Folder HERE <– (not sure if you have to join? I don’t recall how that works but I think it is set to public-view)

I’m so excited!

So far, Pachinko advances over The Animators, Skippy Dies defeats Idaho, Version Control over Girl.Woman.Other (I *hate* commas in book titles), and Homegoing wins over There.There!

That was last week.

This week, so far, A Tale for the Time Being triumphs over Never Let Me Go and The Tsar of Love and Techno narrowly escapes over Nothing to See Here‘s Fire Kids.

This is getting GOOD. All of the judgments have been wonderful to read and cheer for. I can’t argue with any of them. According to my favorites in order (see below), I should be a bit disappointed but let’s remember – -these are FAVORITES! so I can’t be upset.

(Honestly? I had forgotten that I had place Tsar the top of the top. I made this list before the bracket was announced.)

My list track is here — the long list and the short list… with my list in order presented here:

The Tsar of Lovand Techno, Milkman, Life After LifeVersion Control, A Tale for the Time BeingNothing to See Here, Homegoing, The Animators, Pachinko, Idaho, Never Let Me Go, Girl♥Woman♥Other, Stephen Florida, Skippy Dies, Exit West, There♠There

For the rest of the week, I hope Life After Life prevails and Milkman conquers.

*** Updated: Stephen Florida wins over Life After Life.. 10/20/21

*** Updated: Milkman is selected over Exit West 10/21/2021

Then… we’ll just have to see what happens! My vote for top 8:

Which is your favorite?

Are you going to drop everything once the TOB Long List is announced for 2022?!?!?! I will…

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Update August 2021 in Review with Note on #20BooksofSummer

 Monthly Recap Time!

  • 10 books; 87 for the year (1 book cover not included above – a pie cookbook)
  • 1548 pages, ~14 hours | 19333 total pages, 186 hours
  • Hardcovers – 1, 5 Tradebacks, 0 eBooks, 4 Audiobooks (though 3 would likely be the equivalent of a magazine article?!)
  • 3 from the Library, 2 purchased from an Indie Bookstore, 1 Audible Credit and 3 more Included with Audible Membership, 1 gift
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My favorite was … I don’t have a favorite this month! I can tell you that I voted for Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch for my TOB Summer Camp favorite. And I really did like Housekeeping – it was SO unique! and I really enjoyed Jess Walter’s The Financial Lives of the Poets… Black Gold, too, was a pleasant listen.

I gave 2 slices to The Orphan Collector but left the rating blank on goodreads because I just can’t figure out what didn’t work. I only know that I experienced that “blech, I don’t want to read this” feeling. Maybe it is a coconut book.

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Locations and travels:

  • early 1600s Germany EKYMiaW
  • the Pacific Northwest (specifics unknown, 2 books: TFLotP and Housekeeping)
  • Georgia and the Olympics (basketball, Black Gold)
  • the future I,Autohouse
  • early 1900s Philadelphia TOC
  • 1970s NYC IBSCT
  • on tour with Sting, but mostly England

“If you look steadily into that unblinking blue, into that pinpoint at the center of the eye, you discover a bottomless cruelty, a viciousness, cold and icy.

… if you do exist in the unbelievably frozen winter which lives behind that eye, you are marked, marked, marked.”

If beale street could talk
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UPDATE on #20BooksofSummer:

  • I finished a total of 27 book-books (kicked out the kids books, short audiobooks, and the cookbook)
  • I read 18 of the original 20 books I wanted to read June/July/Aug
  • The two from my original list I did not get to:
    • Up in the Air by Walter Kirn
    • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
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Pie was mentioned in four of this month’s reads. Sweetie pie, a pie seller thrown in jail, all sorts of good fond pie mentions in Housekeeping, and a shop that sold pie and sandwiches. YUM.

August 20 is Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, August 24 is Peach Pie Day; I don’t know if Plum Tart has a day but I had plums on hand so… I made a mini Plum Tart.

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What was YOUR favorite book of August?

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch

Thoughts by Rivka Galchen, Macmillan Audio 2021, 8 hours 47 minutes

Narrated by Natasha Soudek.

Challenge: 20 Books of Summer, TOB Summer Camp

Genre/Theme: Historical Lit, a Witch Trial

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible (cover above links to more)

What It’s About: The author discovers the true fact that the mother of renowned astronomer, Johannes Kepler*, had been accused to being a witch. She vibrantly brings it all to life. I’ve added all her books to my tbr.

Set in early 1600s. Trades people are working, soldiers are off fighting, the bureaucrats are doing what bureaucrats do, the plague is happening, etc. And Frau Kepler is just trying to be a good citizen and neighbor, tend her garden and take care of her cow. But some neighbors are not so happy with her and it snowballs. Katherine Kepler at first dismisses the original charge with a rolling of the eyes but then realizes NO! she will not tolerate lies nor her character being besmirched. And her kids support her, which was sweet. Fascinating, stuff! at least to me.

“…it’s a prime example of the mash-up genre tragicomedy. Katharina’s circumstances are dire and discouraging at best, but her tone and observations about the people she encounters and the situations she finds herself in give the narration an undercurrent of humor..“

Week 11 of Summer Camp TOB: Activity Leader Jessica Klahr

Thoughts: Well done. Well researched and fabulously presented (AND narrated!) Though I did feel that the ending fizzled out and lost some of the sparkle that enthralled me in the middle.

Rating: Four slices of pie. With lots of whipped cream.

The next (story) was that of a pie seller…

Apple Tarts were also mentioned

 

Discuss: 1) Do you have any favorite tragicomedies to recommend?

2) Do you enjoy Historical Fiction? I do, but I don’t necessarily seek it out. Do you? Any favorites from the Renaissance Period?

3) If anyone had casually mentioned Kepler to me, I’m not sure I would reflect on what makes him ‘famous’ – perhaps I would wonder if his name on a math theorem comes to mind? How about you? Are you All IN and knowledgeable about Kepler’s contributions to astronomy/optics/geometry? (I am not. And I recently read a book featuring German mathematicians! But they were 20th century…)

 * Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician and astronomer who discovered that the Earth and planets travel about the sun in elliptical orbits. He gave three fundamental laws of planetary motion. He also did important work in optics and geometry.

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

No One Is Talking About This

Thoughts by Patricia Lockwood, Riverhead Books 2021, 210 pages

Challenge: TOB Summer Camp 2021

Genre/Theme: Internet-novel / family

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

The TOB Summer Camp started today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.