Category Archives: Science Fiction

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.

All Systems Red

Thoughts Murderbot Diaries #1 by Martha Wells, Tor.com 2017, 155 pages

Challenge: 20 Books of Summer

Genre/Theme: Artificial Intelligence, Humor, Fun Adventure

Type/Source: eBook / Libby-Kindle

What It’s About: We meet “Murderbot”, an artificial intelligence device called a “construct” which is a company-controlled machine, hired to protect. Murderbot is the private name given to themself but is referred to as “SecUnit” by the humans, aka the clients of the company that is on expedition to an unknown planet. Murderbot is the security detail to keep the humans safe from hostile fauna and flora. I had somehow assigned Murderbot a feminine pronoun, others have assumed Murderbot is a he. (I discovered this when I started reading reviews… I found it interesting I assumed Murderbot is a girl.)

The planet has another expedition party on the other side of the planet and when their communications link goes dark, the crew of Murderbot’s party decides to go check out what happened, either to render assistance and/or discover a threat.

In the ensuing survival efforts, the humans and Murderbot, reach new understandings of what it means to be a construct and a human. They become friends. Sort of.

Thoughts: Great fun and lots of laughs. The kind of sly wit and funny asides, under breath mutterings and sarcasm.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

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.

The Resisters

Thoughts by Gish Jen, Knopf 2021 (orig 2020), 305 pages

Challenge: TOB

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit, Dystopia, Baseball, YA?

Type/Source: Tradeback/Indie bookstore

What It’s About: A former college professor and his public aid attorney wife have a baby girl who turns out is a baseball prodigy. They live on ‘the wrong side of the tracks’ in this dystopian former United States that have separated people into two groups of have and have not: the “Netted” and the “Surplus”; the land-dwellers and the swamp or boat people.

The narrator is the father, a tinkerer and baseball coach – not because he knows and loves baseball, but to nurture the gifts that his daughter obviously has and wants to develop. His lawyer wife takes on cases against the government proving that actions of the ‘system’ are detrimental to the Surplus population and violation of “FREEDOM”. The Surplus freedom is limited, let’s say. They are constantly under surveillance, receive no educational opportunities, yet are expected to be grateful because they get housing and free food. But is the food tainted?

Daughter grows up, is recruited to join the Netted’s baseball team, is just about as perfect and lovable and talented as she can be – and I loved it!

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I think it was the tone; rather upbeat for a family that is abused more than most for their efforts to “fight the man”. I loved the family dynamic. I loved Grant’s mother’s little pithy sayings. (Grant is the father/narrator), I loved Gwen being so badass and trusting and nice and still a badass. Her mother, too. She was all business yet had a big heart.

I’ve read that some thought this heavy-handed and the characters flat. But I loved it. Very readable, laugh out loud funny sometimes, drama and excitement – especially if you love baseball. Also, I do want to say, that I think the reader who is not a fan of sports could still find much to enjoy in this. I also want to suggest that if you are a reader who sees words, then the audiobook may not be your best avenue. I needed to SEE the words; Ondi and Auntie sound too much alike and the portmanteau words that describe much of “AutoAmerica” (Automatic America) just didn’t register until I saw the letters.

Rating: Five slices of pie. OH! This book has pie!!! LOTS of pie. I hope Instagrammer Pie and Book Phenom @PieLadyBooks reads this one because I would love to see what she would create.

But later she said that she pictured Eleanor sitting at that big table with the apple pie untouched in front of her, and everything came together.”

and why doesn’t my end quote copyright show up in the tiny print I want??

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.

The Time Machine Audiobook then Film

Thoughts by  HG Wells, Tantor 2008 (orig 1853), ~ 4 hours

Narrated by Scott Brick

Challenge: Classics Club, Back to Classics Genre or Movie Adaption?
Genre: Science Fiction
Type/Source: Audiobook/Library
 Why I read this now:  Hard to say…

MOTIVATION for READING: I love time travel stuff.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A gentleman invents a time machine and jettisons himself off into the far, very far, future.

Humanity splits into good and bad?  leisure class and workers – lots to dissect here if I was feeling academic, which today I am not. But, even as I reflected its place as commentary on society and its juxtaposition with what is going on now in relation to capitalism, etc, I just don’t have the energy to do more than recognize it likely has something to say that I might want to pay attention to?

THOUGHTS: It was OK. Some of these old-timey books, I just love and get right into the rhythm. This one had me a bit impatient. I now know what Morlocks are. I certainly can appreciate the classic and the WOW! factor this has enjoyed over the years.

I was more excited to read somewhere that the 1960 film version was considered quite cool; the special effects still impress. So we watched it and it was a fun.

With so many classics, the fun is saying “Yep, read it.” and I am glad to be able to say so now. Check it off the list.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

 

 

 

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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.

Getting Ready for LetterMo 2019

I am bizzy-bizzy going through my stationery getting ready for February 2019’s Month of Letters.

If you are unaware of the initiative AND you love to send written correspondence through the postal service, please visit the official website LetterMo.com.

I’ve been participating since 2012 when author Mary Robinette Kowal started it as a way to encourage more pen to paper and enjoying connections via that medium. Sadly, my original account at the website has been lost and I had to re-sign up; thus I don’t have any of the same penpals from those early days but if you want to friend me there, just look for Care_BooksandPie.

In the meantime, I will share one of the books I am very excited to experience this 2019 that happens to be Ms. Kowal’s latest endeavor:

It looks awesome!  Anyone want to ReadAlong it with me in February? Just throwing it out there. Preparation, people; it’s all in the prep!  I have the audiobook queued up and waiting. As soon as I listen to Michelle Obama’s Becoming

OK, then. I’m back to prepping February birthday cards, stamping postcards, and deciding on my absolute must-write-to list… (Are YOU on that list? just know – one of the rules of Letter Mo is I must reply to any letter I receive.)

 

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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.

Version Control

Thoughts vcbydp by Dexter Palmer, Vintage 2016, 512 pages

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Science Fiction
Type/Source: Tradeback / Local Indie Bookstore
 Why I read this now:  Book trade with Katie!

MOTIVATION for READING: I tbr’d this book back in November and I’m not sure if that is when the TOB Long List was published? but I know I had interest in this book before the short list was announced. I’m just getting to it now.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Rebecca is a young wife, recovering from a tragedy a few years back and is married to a physicist working on a causality violation device (do NOT call it a time machine!) She suspects that something is ‘off’, things just aren’t quite right, normal feels vaguely odd. Gee, whatever could it be?

WHAT’s GOOD: This is a meaty story with lots of interesting characters and details and tension. A bit of foreshadowing and a few teasers are dropped in and the slow build really keeps the interest going.

The drop in conversations with The President were very creepy. The autonomous automobiles were cool.

What’s NOT so good: Though I loved the sly political commentary on person rights versus data collection and the analysis of how computer dating systems are designed to be financially viable, I was not so comfortable or convinced on a few plot points.

FINAL THOUGHTS: In the beginning, I had that eager anticipation that this book was going to be SOMETHING, a book of heft and weight and delight in its unfolding. And not that it wasn’t, but it arc’d. Though it ended satisfactorily, it wasn’t the five slicer I had initially thought it could be.

RATING: A solid four slice of pie thriller.

 

 

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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.

The Bone Clocks … Mid-Read Thoughts

Lookie!!  So exciting:

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Yes. The famous author actually tweeted at our readalong and the fan girls went crazy.

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OK, that’s all I got. I’m a bad readalong host. I’m listening to the audiobook and am still not to the end of the Ed Brubeck – part 3 section… Great Auntie knows what’s up but will Ed play along or will he be an ass?

I really liked Holly – part 1 and Hugo – part 2 was very entertaining. Where this evil goddess Miss Constantin will come into play next, who knows?!

Lots and lots of pie. Mitchell is on the short list for the 2017 Pie in Lit Award, but it IS only January.

I’ll keep listening…  Go read Melissa’s thoughts –> here <–.

 

 

 

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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.

Upcoming! and pie…

It’s that time of year; start watching for countdowns and best-of lists!

 

But first, a pie photo. A gratuitous pie photo that helps justify the blog name:

taffypie These are taffy pies. Yep, that’s meringue…

Here are the Top 20 Movies to See Before Awards Season Summarized from Elle Magazine article dated Oct 11, 2016:

The Girl on the Train – No, have yet to read! I know, right? What’s up with that? I’ve just not gotten around to it. Actually had a friend loan me her Kindle but had to return it before reading the book. oops.

The Birth of a Nation – as far as I could tell, Nate Parker wrote this about Nat Turner as an original screenplay. You may be interested in The Confessions of Nat Turner, supposedly or ‘sold as’ a primary account but even this is controversial.

Moonlight – coming of age story, original screenplay.

Hacksaw Ridge – WW2. Mel Gibson.

Loving – such a sad story about brave people.

Arrival – “A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.”  Go ahead, tell me what this sort of reminds you of. THE SPARROW! Yea, a little different but still. Linguistics and space aliens! Renner plays a mathematician.

Elle – French revenge. Based on a novel by Philippe Djian.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – based on the book by Ben Fountain I have yet to read.

Manchester by the Sea – Casey Affleck. Looks heart-wrenching. Original screenplay.

Nocturnal Animals – Tom Ford wrote and directed Nocturnal Animals, which is based on Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan. Tom Ford makes visually beautiful films. Or the one I’ve seen was gorgeous anyway.

Allied – WW2. Original screenplay.

Lion – Based on A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley. I’m hoping it is happy.

Jackie – Natalie Portman as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

Miss Sloane – Gun control politics. Jessica Chastain.

La La Land – it’s a MUSICAL PEOPLE! Can’t wait.

Patriot’s Day – I’ll watch it for sure. Boston Strong.

Passengers – love story in space. Actually, when I first saw the photo that accompanied this story, I couldn’t help thinking about that Julia Roberts rom com movie where she plays an actress that goes to space…

Silence – Based on Shusaku Endo’s novel of the same name. Might as well add it to my Classics list (1966).

Hidden Figures – YES! And click here to go to goodreads and put the book by Margot Lee Shetterley on your tbr. Mathematicians.  <— MATHS PEOPLE.

Fences – Adapted screenplay based on a play? Great cast.

BLUE titles based on books as far as I could tell.  I hope to see at least one or two before the Oscars and maybe read one, or two.

 

I’m just going to leave this here… and walk away.

gratuitious

 

 

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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.

Stranger in a Strange Land

Thoughts siaslbyrh by Robert Heinlein, Blackstone Audio 2009 (orig 1961), 16 hours 21 minutes

Narrated by Christopher Hurt.

FOR CLASSIC CLUB – might fit the humor category of the the Classics Challenge, too?  (or maybe not)

What is this ABOUT:  A child had been born to a Mars Exploration team and was eventually brought back to Earth – he really does not have any idea of his Earthly human heritage but once secured into a place with humans who allow him to thrive and learn, he manages to REALLY get carried away with combining his Mars knowledge with what it means to be human.

It’s a wild ride and after reading Atlas Shrugged immediately prior, it was especially philosophically wild.

I am still trying to wrestle with the concepts and ideas between the two books AND the idea that the books were written a few years apart. Honestly, Atlas Shrugged holds up better. Stranger definitely had a 60s feel to it.

How lucky for our Martian friend that he met Jubal Harshaw! Otherwise, the story would be vastly different. In fact, this book is more a book about Jubal than Michael from Mars.

Finally, a science fiction book about space travel and aliens! I listened to this on a trip from North Carolina to Rhode Island. I didn’t quite have enough road to finish the book, but walking the pups around Newport afforded me the opportunity to finish the book without too much delay.

The first third is rollicking fun!

The next third was rather tedious when it gets bogged down in religion – though very cleverly explained.

The last third was the eye-rolling WTH!? free-love craziness and to be totally honest, I don’t even remember how it ends. Happy ever after? Golly, I really do not recall.

I expect a lit class on this text would be enlightening and hot with discussion. I almost stopped the car on one tiny but powerful little hiccup about rape but I had to just power through and though not forgive – I am just trying (and obviously failing) to pretend he really didn’t say that. Ugh. Heinlein seems to say that women can be smart and do whatever they want; of course, they are quite capable but they really only want to be loved, be pretty and have babies. Despite that…

RATING:  I rate it 4 stars. I don’t think this book would appeal to many of my friends but it was fascinating and it is one more title I am glad to say that I finally ‘know’ and can say, “Yep, read it.”

 

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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.

Final Thoughts — Flowers for Algernon #MayFFA

Thoughts ffabydk Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Bantam Books 1968 (orig 1959), 216

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So much for trying not to be SPOILED and thus it was ruined anyway. This would be the BEST book to have been warned thoroughly about what it IS about. (Maybe? Jenny could/should have sent me an all-caps email that said PLEASE YOU MUST READ THE ENDING FIRST! YOU WILL THANK ME.) This is NOT one to be in the dark for. Now, you want a totally-blind know-nothing-read then go try Life After Life by Kate Atkinson or We Were Liars by E.Lockhart. These two should definitely be books to go in COLD.

But NOT Flowers!

This is a cautionary tale of how an incorrect misleading spoiler (or just an untruth!) was misunderstood and how my over-imagination caused much confusion.

It’s just too hard to have classics be totally spoiler-free and over-hyped. I shouldn’t try. It also did not help that I had this confused with Harrison’s Flowers because I seriously SERIOUSLY had thought for many years that it was a war torn love story. And when that bubble burst, I somehow got the impression this TRULY had space aliens!  I thought I accidentally saw a spoiler that the mouse was an intelligent space alien!!! Where I got this, I can no longer ascertain. Apparently, I was hoping for Ralph of The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

So, yea. DISAPPOINTED.

I’m thinking I need to write some fanfic for this book involving mice-driven spaceships and romances ripped apart by the savageness of war.

ncspaceshiphouse  Outer Space or Outer Banks NC House… Supposedly the 2nd most photographed building in North Carolina)

According to Wiki, Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginative content such as futuristic settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes and extraterrestrial life.  Come on, Care, you are SMARTER than to assume all SciFi is aliens and outer space. IKR!?  Well, this did not feel like science fiction. Perhaps because it was based in the past? I’m so out of my league when discussing the SF genre, right? Just because I’ve read Neuromancer and Snow Crash and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I *think* have a grasp on this slippery genre?! Go ahead, banish me from the club. I deserve it. I wish I hadn’t known that it won the Hugo award nor the Nebula Award. Pretty cool that it won, but I wish I didn’t know it.

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OK, then. What is this about? It’s about how a science/medical team attempted to ‘fix’ a low IQ in order to make a human being smarter but they all failed to grasp the consequences on an emotional level. Sometimes, I thought this was expressed well and was quite nuanced in the telling. Other times, I was annoyed at Charlie and often thought he was rude and disrespectful, to women especially; but I have to realize that he learned too much, too fast and the whole point was that he didn’t have the gradual maturing to navigate and understand relationships. Life is complicated… yes, it’s extremely complicated. The story IS sad.

Please read Bellezza’s review, and/or Athira’s Halfway Post.

Two or three slices of pie depending on how I feel when you ask me. I don’t recall any pie mentions.

BIG THANK YOU to ATHIRA and TRISH for reading & tweeting along with me!

freprosys

Sickness Quotient: 76% — Your “Sickness Quotient” of 76% indicates therapy may be useful.
Detailed Diagnosis

  • Interpersonal Insights: Your sense of self-entitlement means you’re probably the kind of person that pulled the wings off of butterflies when you were little. You think everyone is out to get you, and you’re absolutely right. It’s because you’re an awful person without any redeeming qualities.
  • Job Performance & Attitude: Your work is of so little value they should just put a shredder in place of your Out basket You frequently mention terms like “core competencies” and “paradigm shifts” while at work. Stop acting like such a tool.
  • Personality Insight: Your personal motto is “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” You must not have been saying this for very long.

ouch.

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.