Second Week of #TOB2019 Recap

Thoughts

Link:   The Morning News Tournament of Books

I am bummed that Milkman is out. Bummer. And I was disappointed in the judge’s decision – seemed dismissive. Oh well. I am fine with a reasoned and balanced comparison but a ‘Hey – I didn’t like it’ for reasons that expressed a lack of trying or any appreciation didn’t sit well with me.  A more gentle way to say the other book just had more appeal to personal taste is a fine argument, but I don’t think Milkman got that treatment.

 

I am thrilled that is ZOMBIE-ING! Not that excited The Overstory is as well.

And I just downloaded There There. I best read it; seems important. For some unknown unexplored reason, I have been avoiding it. (and yes, I do realize the week isn’t over – we’ll hear more about There There tomorrow…)

I am super excited to read The House of Broken Angels!  And I go back and forth on attempting The Dictionary of Animal Languages. I really wasted February not reading these! UGH. Oh well.

OK, that’s my quick recap. And, as in every year. I’m very much enjoying the commentary.

It’s my favorite time of year!

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from BkClubCare aka Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.
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First Week of #TOB2019 Recap

Thoughts

Link:   The Morning News Tournament of Books

I am excited and relieved to see Milkman advance. And I’m thrilled to have the Tournament vibrant and alive in my life. The Commentariat of the TOB is the BEST. I so enjoy reading all the thoughts, comments, opinions, witticisms, and references to other books I Must. Read. Now. (or next, or rather someday!)

I relish finding the words that capture what I like or don’t like about a book — because I don’t have those words myself. And I appreciate when someone clarifies their opinions that I might disagree with what I felt in a reading experience, good and bad.

Did I do The Italian Teacher a disservice when I DNF’d it? No, yes. Can I appreciate when someone said it was a great page-turning read that was highly enjoyable when I couldn’t suffer through the treatment Bear was giving his wife?  Do I think I need to try again reading The Italian Teacher? I doubt I will. Just too many books in the world (and toppling my tower of 2400 books.) And now, after reading all the C&O (comments and opinions), I don’t have to make myself read it – I feel like I already know the plot and characters intimately well enough.

I did struggle to read Milkman; and I hesitate to call it a difficult read but it is not a “sitting down to enjoy” kind of story. It is an experience, an immersion. It was funny, it was scary, it was amazing. Why was it a struggle? It made me think and feel and I had to stop to process the thoughts (which tended to lead to other thoughts and away my mind would chase off in a direction – a matter of distraction vs focus) and to process the feelings. I just changed my rating to a 5 star and someday, I truly want to listen to the audiobook. I am Team-Middle-Sister for the rooster win.

OK, the above was yesterday’s round. The day before was Warlight vs Call Me Zebra and I didn’t have a dog in that hunt.  Still, I very much enjoyed the discussion of the pros and cons of each. I didn’t rush out to change my Want To Read number to a single digit for either. Warlight moves on.

The Play-in Round kicked off the Tourney on Wednesday and I had only read Speak No Evil. It didn’t survive but I am now terribly interested in listening to the audio of A Terrible Country and the winner, America Is Not the Heart, looks like something I will really like if I ever do get my hands on it. Toying with rushing to it before that next appearance hits the calendar but I didn’t read There, There neither and I know I won’t get to both.

HELP:  Do I attempt There, There on audio maybe?  I’m still 2+ hours to finish Washington Black….  I just attempted to library loan the eBook The Mars Room and I’m 29th in line! 

OK, that’s my quick recap. Of the books contesting next week and beyond, there are only two rounds where I’ve read both books. When Census meets The Golden State, I will cheering for the latter. When the higher seed The Overstory is challenged by My Sister, the Serial Killer, you better believe that I will be enthusiastically waving pompons and losing my voice with shouts for MStSK.  Oh yea.  This was my second favorite in the Tournament. THAT day’s commentary is gonna be WILD.

 

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from BkClubCare aka Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

February 2019: What I Done Did This Month (#LetterMo)

Thoughts . .  .

I read _3_ books this February.

Milkman took me forever to read but I loved it. It will (I wanted to write ’twill’ but it looked wrong, ‘Twill‘) possibly be one of those interesting stories and TELLING of a story that stays with me and grows in the As. (The As are admiration and appreciation.) It was so uniquely crafted!  And involving and absorbing and brain-invasive. You can see that I also loved My Sister, the Serial Killer for 5 slices of pie. So Lucky was intense and had much to admire but elements didn’t tickle the (my) exacting finicky appreciation to the spot of oo-ah-ah. Yet it is still good! I do think it has much in style and topic and pace to admire.

I’m still* listening to Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. I have some issues.

I’m still in the beginning of The Italian Teacher. At this point, I have basically abandoned it. I have basically gotten so annoyed with the idea of trying to read on that I’m blastin and cursing the concept of ebooks. I don’t exactly know why I am so aggrieved nor why I just can’t shrug and say, “meh. I’m done.” I just have decided to not read a damn thing since or instead.

Ok, start of rant. It reminds me a The Paris Wife and I could not abide that book. NO. Something about poor putupon wives with little kids and over the top big personality husbands that just …   annoys the super crap out of me.

And this makes me sad. SAD! because this is a TOB book and it has effectively KILLED my TOB momentum and enthusiasm. AND typing that, realizing that makes me sad and mad. WHY did this book derail my M and E? WHY? And now I am annoyed with myself for being derailed and annoyed and unhappy about it all. UGH.

I was SOOOO excited for this Tom Rachman! I loved The Imperfectionists!

I blame it on what else happened in February:  mild flu, husband catching cold, said cold being caught by me, cold running various versions of its mutations throughout my body over weeks. I am now starting to feel better.  Hub is still doing some cringe-worthy coughing bouts.

Which is the perfect segue to #LetterMO!  Write? right?!

I wrote 100+ letters during the month of February.  I received 46 pieces of fun mail during the month. Twenty-two people mailed me letters or postcards and of course, I wrote them back (if I hadn’t written them first… TAG YOU’RE IT!)  Be warned, my corresponding drops off sharply in Spring. If you want to write me, don’t expect a quick return letter, but do know that I *will* eventually write back. I did try to write all of my book-blogger-penpals once this month. If you wanted a letter and didn’t get one, I’m sure it was lost in the mail. (HA! No, do not let me blame the usps. If you want a letter, please let me know. I apologize and will write you straight away. Or by summer. same thing.)

This was a good #LetterMo. It grounds me in some way I have yet to explore fully.

Time for the TOB part of the post.

I updated my brackets:  Just click on the pic below to access a printable link.

The extended highlights are new from the last post of this pic. I will be following this TOB with regret that I didn’t read more but I’ll end up being wildly enthusiastic about the tourney while I kick myself for not having my own knowledge of what is being discussed. At this point, I’m rooting for Milkman to take the rooster.

Finally, PIE:

Chocolate Cherry Pie. [Cherry Pie Day is Feb 20.]

Are YOU excited for TOB this year? Do you like Cherry Pie? Did you know that March 2nd is Banana Cream Pie Day?!?!

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

January 2019 Mini-Reviews

Thoughts

I’ve read 4 books so far this January.

All of these are for the Tournament of Books. I can’t seem to find a link to that site online. (I wonder what is up with that?)

I did find the brackets:  Just click on the pic below to access a printable link.

The Golden State  by Lydia Kiesling. This is told in a most interestingly delivered present tense style that somehow didn’t bore nor frustrate me but it certainly scares me to how challenging it is raise a toddler. I admit I did love this for the Alice character – even as I was appalled that our narrator referred to her as a crone! What a harsh word. Tons of themes to explore for book clubs.  Mentions pizza pie and probably Honey-Pie.

The Overstory  by Richard Powers. I knew straightaway that this author was going to be impressive but unfortunately, it was too long and by the end of it? Not sure I care to ever read another book by him. THAT SAID, ahem, I did love the story, the words, the themes, the characters explored in this!  with extra whipped cream. (However, no pie referenced so thus a half a slice demerit…)

The Parking Lot Attendant  by Nafkote Tamirat. A coming of age story, an immigrant story, a utopia exploration story? Set in Massachusetts and an unknown island; about Ethiopian-Americans. Leftover apple pie! Highly impressive and confident writing style. 

The Parking Lot Attendant might be my favorite. Census (my review post) by Jesse Ball was my least favorite for this month. It was just unsettling odd and I couldn’t enjoy it. I gave it three slices of pie despite some fun pie mentions. Maybe audio was not the best medium. I’m glad I read it so now I don’t have to read anything else by this author.

I read Speak No Evil by Uzodinmo Iweala — actually, I listened to it, in December.
Heartbreaking story; or a duo story since this follows two high school friends, a switch in the narrative. I don’t even want to share more because I feel I would give too much away.  Mentions pizza pie.

 

I’m still working on Milkman by Anna Burns. Thing is DENSE. Just sayin’.

The titles I hope to get to next are So Lucky, Washington Black, My Sister the Serial Killer, The Italian Teacher, Mars Room and maybe There There… I don’t have any in hand yet; waiting on the library.

Are YOU excited for TOB this year?

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Census

Thoughts  by Jesse Ball, HarperAudio 2018, 4 hours 52 minutes

Challenge:  Tournament of Books 
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now:  Looking at my list, this was a short one. 

MOTIVATION for READING:  Winner of the 2018 Summer TOB

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A physician discovers he is suffering from a terminal heart condition and so he takes a job as a census taker; he muses philosophically on this father-son adventure. The author’s note in the preface states this is in homage to his brother who had Downs Syndrome.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s well-told and interestingly odd. Or oddly interesting?

What’s NOT so good: I didn’t get it. I am going to need to do my review-research to find out why exactly this is such an awesome tale. I was not overwhelmed with admiration and joy but it had its amusing and thoughtful, insightful and dare I say? quirky moments. Definitely ODD.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Not the book’s fault but I am only giving this

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

The book DOES mention pie!  and I highlighted a few texts that I am hoping will come over from Audible?  Hope so.

Chapter 7 – “Win my tart of a sister…”

Chapter 10 – “Perhaps some pie.”

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from BkClubCare aka Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Something on a Sunday “Almost April” 2018

Last fall, I discovered that Jenny of Reading the End posted a very good blog idea for Sundays. The idea is to share good things. To Quote Miss Gin-Jenny, “to talk about things that kept me moving forward or gave me some joy.” I’m borrowing a few of her categories for inspiration:

Touched by:  I had dinner with a friend last night and she gave me a very sweet compliment.  I told her that I very much treasured her friendship. We are going to start a book club together for the summer! I suggested we start with Tayari Jones’ smash bestseller everyone   seems to be talking about, An American Marriage. 

Proud and Wowed by: All the wit and courage and feistiness of the March For Our Lives citizens. “Guns are not school supplies.”

Happy about: Having this morning to myself. Goals:  blog post, finish my Classics Club Spin book  Cold Comfort Farm, and laundry. Maybe vacuuming.

Sad about: K-State Wildcats lost to Loyola last night. But HEY!  We made the Elite Eight!!!  WOO HOOOOO

Self-cared for:  Uh, does it count in this category that I completed my first 5K yesterday? I had walked in many-a fund-raiser walk but this was the first that I entered that took official times and gave a shirt. I finished in under 1 hour; was 626 our of 636. LOL  (Had to set a baseline.)

Itching to tell you:  I have missed blogging! But I haven’t finished a book in weeks, it seems. My audiobook (The Zero by Jess Walters) is fascinating but I haven’t had long stretches alone in a car to listen.

Excited by: All the people who have asked me about the TOB! I do occasional Facebook updates on it…  AND I think I finally picked my favorite book of the tourney:  Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong. It was knocked out by Exit West – a book that I admired but didn’t get charmed by. GV oozed charm. I read so many books that I liked but couldn’t really choose my bestest favoritist until I watched the booktube commentary by @daejin_v2! (Loved it. Impressive – I want to make a book review video…)

FYI – I downloaded Stephen Florida but I don’t think I will read it. I might open it and look at it…  I never could get my hands on Dear Cyborg – my library didn’t have it. I put a hold on The Book of Joan but it still hasn’t come to me yet. I’ll probably pass on that, too. Otherwise, I read everything! I think.

Also, my book club has selected Together by Julie Cohen.  Anyone read it?

Looking forward to:  SPRING. Warmer temperatures. Longer days of sunshine. Boat season. Common sense in politics. We can hope, yes?

Have a great Easter! I’m thankful for this blog, this little corner that is mine, but mostly for the kind and caring book blogging community and the opportunity to be a part of it. Thank you for visiting. I appreciate you.

 

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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.

Lucky Boy

Thoughts  by Shanthi Skaran, GP Putnam’s Sons 2017, 472 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books 2018
Genre: Hmmmmm…. I guess that catchall “contemporary lit”
Type/Source: eBook / Borrowed from library, read on my Kindle
 Why I read this now: Available from the library

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB. Today is actually the decision day for this book. It is going against The End of Eddy which I listened to. I’m hurrying to post this before the judgment is announced.

He asked for her story, he wanted to know how she’d arrived on his shores, and what had happened to her on the journey. Soli, without papers and pregnant, and hanging by a thread to this happy, healthy place, considered telling the truth. With a sharp slap to her inner chismosa, she slowed down and shut her mouth.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Two sides of a story. One, a young illegal immigrant from Mexico who is ‘bio-mom’ of the lucky boy named Ignatio, and the other, a second-generation in America couple (heritage India) who want to adopt the lucky boy whom they call Iggy. Bio-mom Solimar is fierce in her love and dedication to her son and she is trying to survive and adjust to the promises of a life in the U.S. But then she is caught; she is undocumented. Kavya and Rishi have their own expectations of how their lives should be and when they can’t get pregnant, they move to adopt a baby, starting with fostering Ignatio who is now a ‘ward of the state’ while Soli languishes in ‘custody’. Worlds collide. Sort of.

WHAT’s GOOD: Well-researched scenarios and portrayals of true American stories and the immigration policies and systems in place – and are in flux and in the news even more now. Lucky Boy explores parental rights, wealth and poverty, immigration, the courts.

I highlighted a few wonderful sentences, but I never got swept up into any of it.

She’d never had to truly give up on herself before, having always had a trust fund of potential—untapped, hidden, wasted—to fall back on.

What’s NOT so good: I didn’t feel it. Something was off. I didn’t care for Kavya and her petty jealousies. It just didn’t carry the spark it needed.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This book is going to get skewered in the commentary today; I do feel that. I wish I could articulate the unsettling I feel about how the story was constructed and how the plot unfolded. I found it predictable, almost boring. “The U.S. Immigration Policy is bad.” The checks and balances of the systems for handling immigrants is in failure mode. Yep, I get it. How do we fix it?

I read (rēēd) the wonderful insightful pro and con thoughts on all these books and I nod my head, yes! I can see that, or Really?! no, I didn’t get that… but I can’t find those words of my own to reason through my thoughts and feelings. But I do so love the TOB. It’s been a wild ride so far (and I’m actually glad I haven’t found my darling.)

If you read everything – you’ll know why I post this quote: “She ran until the dogs in her head stopped barking. And then she stopped and turned and found that she was alone.

TOB:  I will chose The End of Eddy in this round. I listened to TEoE and I didn’t listen well. But it had a punch and a rawness that was evident as art. They are saying we are in Bizarro-World this year so it is possible that Lucky Boy might take it. But I don’t think so…

RATING: Three slices of apple pie.

Silvia picked up tamales and an apple pie and a liter of fancy-looking soda from the expensive supermarket, the one they never went to.

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“Can you smell that apple pie?” Eva Cabral stood and cranked open her window. “They drive me crazy with that apple pie!” She had the spangle-toothed smile of a PTA president.

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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.

It’s On! #TOB18

DD6C3A25-EDDE-4695-A8D5-69E447393C54I am on vacation and today kicks off the Tournament,

Round 1. 

(Edited that 3/7 was Play-in Round; Opening Round is 3/8)

I am writing this on my phone so I might be challenged with links and stuff. (No, looks like I managed it, click on “Round 1”.)

I managed to read the first third of Lucky Boy and am enjoying it. Gotta love ✈️ travel for dedicated reading time.

And, sorry Ruthiella – I might (probably) DNF Savage Theories. It’s entertaining in a way but also exhausting. Since it won’t be advancing…

The Idiot moves on!

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I managed to read all but Joan, Cyborgs, Steve FLORIDA (where I am right now, escaping Storm Quinn), and DNFing Savage. I’m OK with it. You? Did you read ‘em all and if not, are you OK?

I didn’t fill out a bracket…

See ya in the commentary!

The Animators

Thoughts tabykrw by Kayla Rae Whitaker, Random House 2016, 372 pages

Challenge:  Tournament of Books 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction – I hate that this is a genre! Wait… IS “contemporary fiction’ actually a GENRE? Surely a better response would be ‘fiction that involves creative arts’, perhaps maybe  ‘fiction relating to dysfunctional families impact on friendships/partnerships’, then there could be this ‘fiction that features lots of drug use into adulthood’. Surely I am missing many many more subgenres…
Type/Source: Hardback / Library
 Why I read this now: The library called. My hold was available.

MOTIVATION for READING: Have I got a story to tell! Well, ok. It’s exciting to me, so…  Bear with me.

Last December, I responded to a tweet suggesting that if you wanted a book recommendation, just respond with the last thing you ate and what you were wearing.

Here’s the exchange:

and she responded with this:

So I put it on my tbr. (I must have known it was on the long list for TOB. right?)

THEN!!!   It made the short list for the TOB. Oh YEA.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Well, this part aint so easy.

I’ve mentioned that it involves creative arts, dysfunctional families and the impact of such on friendships and partnerships – both love and work, then that it features lots of drug use into adulthood?

Sharon Kisses, who considers herself heterosexual, meets Mel Vaughn, a rude crude lesbian who is basically a raging horndog drug addict (or IS she?!), and they form an amazing collaborative creative team for visual story-telling.

Questions pop up. How important is ‘permission’ when another’s life story is part of the “YOUR STORY” you want to share in a very public way? How much of the overlap is your story versus their story?

How much of the story and the subsequent story is MINE, ours, YOURS?

What’s NOT so good: Ah. Ah, yes. . . I’m sorry, can you repeat the question?

I would feel for Sharon and then wonder, “Uh what happened? Crap, she’s an asshole.”  I always liked Mel, but she was always painted as the sympathetic to-be-sympathized-with-nut crazy, so you would forgive her. She was very well-drawn. Sharon, who truly is the primary character, thus PROTAGONIST of this drama life tale, is a slippery one. To me. She would surprise me and usually NOT in a good way. Yet. She was ALMOST empathized with? maybe?

FINAL THOUGHTS: I liked this, I did. And there were a ton of pie mentions so I was often validated in my quest to find a pie mention in my literature (#selfishmaybecertainlystrange). I read some really-not-good reviews and some praising reviews and overall, I liked this very much. So… with all the terrific pie that our characters eat, I give this

RATING: Four slices of pie! I will go with strawberry pie.

I’m glad to have read this. It was different and I learned a lot about lots of things – mostly the creative collaborative animated cartoon concepts and maybe living in NYC. I look forward to spirited debate on this crazy tale.

 

 

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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.