In the Middle of 2020 Tournament of Books

It’s my favorite time of the year!  Tournament of Books…

Welp. I began this post the first week of March with the title “So Begins the TOB” and since that was over two weeks ago, I wish I could say only that Time Sure Flies By.  Wish I could say that I only got distracted.

But then the world turned upside down.

Sure, we can be grateful that the Tournament continues! No need to cancel any online gatherings for this joyful reading event. And it has been lovely, that the discussion has mostly focused on the books. I likely bet that the diversion has been most welcome.

So, why not? let’s talk books.

Q: Care, what are your favorites going in to this event? How are your brackets holding up?

A: Thank you for asking, but to be honest, I didn’t even fill out a bracket. I fill in a blank one as the decisions are cast.  But that is neither here nor there. My favorites from this year’s slate are:

Mary Toft; or, the Rabbit Queen by Dexter Palmer

 Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

 

So the Mary is out and so is Your House. Hopes all hinge on the fire children now. Nothing to See Here zombies back to life; or rather has a chance. We have a few more rounds to get through before we see if NtSH truly makes it to the semi-finals.

I truly do NOT think I could stomach the stress and anxiety of being a judge!  Yikes.  I have really admired the thoughtful decisions this year (I probably say this every year).

Ok, let’s talk GWO and LCA:  the latest round of heavyweights. I did not have a preference, having abandoned Lost Children Archive at the change of perspective because it was due back at the library. (And sadly, was not compelled* to try again at a later date.) I skimmed the last third of Girl, Woman, Other because I couldn’t keep anyone straight and was getting severely impatient wondering what and how it was coming together.

OK,  here’s what I want to talk about and also an example of what a coward I am:  a friend tweeted at me that they didn’t read GWO because, and I quote, “whooooooboy the author has problematic views on nonbinary people.” And I was dumbstruck. I did not know how to ask more or challenge or invite explanation. I could not and still don’t find any evidence that Everisto presented anything disrespectful or problematic, in fact, someone -only one! – praised the author for the representation.

I myself, do not have opinion/knowledge how nonbinary “should be or not” but hope to have an openness and discovery to learning more – and that’s where I don’t know what is or is NOT problematic, I mean, I can sense disrespect, of course, but I personally thought GWO was fabulous at presenting individuals living lives their own truthful way. Applause to that.

Whew. I wanted to bring it up in the TOB commentary but I’m not brave. (and am refraining from comments spurred by liquid courage.) Anyway.

Help me be a better ally and reader.

I love the TOB! NOW, let’s talk about Jade Chang, our judge from yesterday and her list of how to decide the worthy book:

  1. Is it a FAST read?
  2. Is it SURPRISING?
  3. Are the characters INTERESTING?
  4. Is it COZY (“…can just sail forward, knowing that I will reach an exciting port”)
  5. Is it about the WORLD RIGHT NOW?
  6. Did it make me FEEL SOMETHING LASTING?

Friends, this post must come to an end. Thanks for spending a few minutes with my words, questions and thoughts. Be safe out there, be kind; let’s get through this with calm resolve.

HAPPY WORLD POETRY DAY!!!!

 

 

 

*   Having read all the debate discussion from Summer TOB, I felt I got enough of the second half to need not read it myself. #shrug

Nothing To See Here

Thoughts by Kevin Wilson, Harper Luxe 2019, 329 pages

Challenge:  Tournament of Books [Bracket]
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source:  Tradeback LP / Library
 Why I read this now:  Came in off hold and had the next due date

MOTIVATION for READING: It’s that time of  year…

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  OK, now this is the fun one!  A non-motivated 28-yo is invited to a friend’s house and given an odd opportunity – take care of the friend’s stepkids, keep them out of sight from the press, and ensure they don’t set anything on fire. Because these two kids are fire children. They can burst into flame when anxious or upset.

THOUGHTS: I enjoyed this odd tale and its odd apathetic narrator who doesn’t know anything about children. It had a few laugh out loud moments and was heart-warming in the end.

RATING:  I might have rated it four slices of pie.,but it is rounded up from 3 1/2.

 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

“I Should Be Reading” – January 2020 Update

I am suffering from “too-many-books-started” paralysis right now so let’s update my January stats, shall we? I combined the results of the poll from previous post. Thanks for playing.

The first book I started to read on January 1, 2020 was Villette. I’m not yet done; put aside for TOB. Gulp. Go ahead and place bets whether or not I ever finish!?

The first book I completed in the new year was Mercy by Toni Morrison – this was part of my Super Rooster catch up. You can read my post here or by clicking on the book cover image. I gave it 4 slices of pie.

I then finished Treasure Island on audio. Again, an so on, click the cover Four slices.

Followed by The Day the World Ends poems (3 slices) and Heartland (3 1/2 slices). Click the book covers to see my posts.

Now for the non-reviewed and my favorites.  Jumping from poetry and nonfiction, I enjoyed Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous on eBook. Four slices. It was beautifully evocative. Such imagery! And enjoyed less Normal People by Sally Rooney. Three slices. The characters annoyed me and I just didn’t grasp what everyone seemed to love about this one. I can appreciate the writing but I couldn’t invest in the story. (Book covers do not link…)

I was captivated by the audiobook The Water Dancer  by Ta-Nahisi Coates – four slices and was even more enthusiastic for ebook Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha. This was my favorite fiction read and earned 5 slices of pie.

My last read of January was the poetry collection Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower because it was whimsical and science-y. The title comes from a celebration of a deep ocean worm called by its Latin name Osedax mucofloris and if you have even less than middling knowledge of Latin you might see the translation, yes?

Nine books – 1 nonfiction, 2 poetry, 6 fiction

3 Audiobooks, 3 Tradebacks, 2 eBooks, 1 Hardcover

27 hours 3 minutes

1393 pages

Only two with PIE:   

I made black bean and sweet potato empanadas:

 

 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

Wolf Hall

Thoughts by Hilary Mantel, Macmillan Audio 2009, 24 hours 14 minutes

Narrated by Simon Slater

Genre: Historical Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook, Audible
 Why I read this now:  Reading this for both TOB and to satisfy my own curiosity. I want to be ready for the 3rd in the series which is due in March.

MOTIVATION for READING: Super Rooster Chase <– see post. This edition of the TOB is to be held sometime in 2020. The March 202o edition will be just another regular TOB, I think.  The Long List for that is due next week! (I’ll update a link when I have it.) #SuperRoosterTOB

I really enjoyed listening to Wolf Hall and was wowed by the dialogue, the drama, the layers and depths to Cromwell’s persona.

Mantel was able to make him a sympathetic character! I like history, I do. I just don’t know as much as I think I should. Prior to this, I really didn’t have much knowledge other than the popular image of King Henry VIII and all his wives. I would say I thought Cromwell to be a shrewd, cruel man involved in some way with that period of English history. But this story does NOT portray him as particularly evil or mean, but rather quietly ambitious, loyal, fatherly, community-minded and very very thoughtful. I wasn’t sure what to do with this gentle, considerate and — oh sure, scheming  — person.

Was he scheming or just very very good at being flexible and adept at taking advantage of the opportunities presented?

So, I liked Cromwell. I did. Sigh. After finishing this book, I googled what might happen next and…. huh.  Well.

I’m not going to give a review of what happens in this book. It’s about Tom C and his rise to power, basically. And all THAT  is very dependent on the relationship with Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Anne is fascinating; very very fascinating…  OH, the whole thing is just DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA. I love how Hilary imagined it might have gone down. And I was amazed at how subtle and slippery it was. In fact, truly, I missed the milestones in the day to day to day – wait. WHAT happened? What did I miss?!

OFF WITH THEIR HEAD!

I googled SO MANY names! so many histories so many s/he begat so-and-so.

I googled Rafe Sadler. I googled his son Gregory. I googled “Is Oliver Cromwell related to Thomas Cromwell?” Such history! I can see why some people get obsessed with all things Royal.  It’s just fascinating for some reason. (I’ve googled descendants of our Founding Fathers, too, to see if any have popped up famous…) Family histories fascinate me, what can I say. You might wonder if I’m agog with the Kennedys but actually, I’m only mildly interested in them… The Vanderbilts tho? OH YEA.

I can’t wait to do the next in the series; will probably do the audiobook.

From a #SuperRooster perspective, this is not my favorite to win but I’m glad to finally read it and I’m psyched to be ready for the Champion TOB when it happens.

Your turn. Thoughts? Do share!

 

 

Ch 19 42:28         “Like he was a lid to a pie,”

Four slices of pie.

 

 

 

Up next: the Accidental by Ali Smith. Discussion 12/15/2019

My copy just arrived… This will be my first Ali Smith!

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2019. 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.

June oh June JUNE (in Review)

Review

I read a few books in June.

Actually? I didn’t. Wow. this really sucks.

Wow.

I think I have to turn in my reader card.

But I did make a pie this weekend!

 

pieratingsml

 

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.

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!

 

 

pierating

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

pierating

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?

 

pieratingsml

 

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.”

 

 

 

pierating

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.