Category Archives: Science-y

Euphoria

Thoughts by Lily King, Blackstone Audio 2014, 6 hours 53 minutes

Narrated by the Simon Vance and Xe Sands.

Challenge: none

Genre/Theme: Historical Fiction/Jungle anthropology

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible freebie

What It’s About: Imaginary (loosely based on) life of Margaret Mead and her marriage to an Australian anthropologist, while working with an English anthropologist.

The English guy (Bankson or Bateson? I could never tell and am too lazy to look it up) is ready to chuck it all when he meets Nell and Fen. Nell is serious and amazing, dedicated and impressive. Fen is an asshole. (WHY? she ever married him is beyond me.) They have escaped a study assignment where the people were mean and scary and Nell had had to flee. Fen begrudgingly followed her out — because Nell provides the funding, so yea. The English-Anthropologist convinces Nell and Fen to come to his study area of a remote hot tropical island and introduces them to a tribe no one is currently studying so they set up camp.

English-Anthropologist (E-A) is fascinated by how Nell approaches her work and whaddya-know! he falls in love with Nell. Nell isn’t possessive and believes in free-love so she loves E-A back, or at least while Fen is out and about. Eventually Fen does something stupid and they all, Nell and Fen and helped along by E-A, have to escape.

Thoughts: This is mostly about the love triangle and a lot of it is in E-A’s internal monologue. On a story level, it kinda sucked. But I was sucked in by the passions and by the narration. Simon Vance and Xe Sands are excellent; the words they spoke were entrancing to me.

It ends tragically, really REALLY bad. I think I have a another favorite author.

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.

Vesper Flights

Thoughts by Helen Macdonald, Recorded Books 2020, 10 hours 22 minutes

Narrated by the author. Winner of TOP FIVE Audiobooks by AudioFile magazine.

Challenge: none

Genre/Theme: Nonfiction, essays on nature

Type/Source: Audiobook/Libby

What It’s About: Essays on nature and birds and more nature and other stuff that interests the author. She’s a very good writer. My favorite of this collection has to be the one about her first job out of university, at a falcon incubator (?) farm in Wales.

Thoughts: Macdonald’s previous published title, H is for Hawk , is one of the very best audiobooks I have ever had the privilege of listening to. I read Vesper Flights on the strength of my admiration for Helen Macdonald.

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.

Skippy Dies

Thoughts by Paul Murray, Audible Studios 2011 orig 2010, 661 pages

Narrated by: Nicola Barber, Fred Berman, Clodagh Bowyer, Terry Donnelly, Sean Gormley, Khristine Hvam, John Keating, Lawrence Lowry, Graeme Malcolm, Paul Nugent, 23.6 hours

Challenge: TOB Favorites

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Li t / Irish Boys, Catholic Boarding School

Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible

What It’s About: We know immediately from the title that Skippy Dies. In fact, he dies in the first scene of the book. It takes the next 23 hours to explain who Skippy is, what demons he was wrestling, and introduce the reader to friends, crushes, bullies, parents, priests, teachers and administrators who orbit our titular Skippy. Before and after.

Thoughts: Unfortunately, as impressive as the telling is, I didn’t get into it. My fault or just another coconut scenario. (I just spent 20 minutes trying to find the post where I talk about coconut* books. Why can’t I find it?!)

It is a great book if you like long books about lots of stuff and lots of 14 year old boys. I liked the parts about Howard’s obsession with WW1 history. In fact, my thoughts were two seconds ahead of one of the characters wondering why he wasn’t yet to the point in the curriculum where they discuss the Easter Rising. I had JUST HAD THAT THOUGHT! (Point for the author.) And I was also pleasantly surprised that they were (somewhat, but way more than I expected!) sympathetic, by saying Skippy was in heaven. Most Catholics, in the US anyway, the ones I know, pretty much believe suicide condemns you to hell. So that was a hiccup, to me. (Just hover over that blank space and highlight the white text so you can read it. I didn’t warn about spoilers. Oops.)

Two of the narrator voices didn’t work for me. First, the main narrator and also how he would say “You open the door. You go through. You are amazed about blah blah blah” So maybe it was the present tense or the speaking to the reader – I was confused and annoyed. Second, I did not like Mario. His voice was like a vampire. And he was a 14 year old always talking about his prowess. Ugh. And only a few sounded Irish to me. The American really sounded non-Irish so maybe my ears just adjusted?

Rating: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned. (LOTS of donuts mentioned.)

 

*

The label “Coconut Book” references my idea that some books are just not to my taste. Like how some people just do not like coconut and it doesn’t matter if the coconut is awesome and tastes fabulous to those people who DO like coconut.

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.

Detransition, Baby

Thoughts by Torrey Peters, One World / Random House 2021, 340 pages

Challenge: TOB Summer Camp, Women’s Lit Prize Long List

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit, Trans Women, Motherhood

Type/Source: Hardcover / Library 14 day loan

What It’s About: A well-told well-organized humorous and sympathetic no-holds-barred look at a triad-parenting question. We meet Reese, a trans woman who desperately wants to be a mother, her ex-lover — originally James then Amy now Ames, and Ames’ boss/lover Katrina who in discovering herself pregnant, considers much more than just her future as a parent. What does it mean to be a family? What does it mean to want to be a mother? It’s all quite complicated.

Thoughts: A fascinating look at sex and gender and transsexuality and the human condition. The writing is vivid, it’s very readable – meaning that I didn’t want to put it down. Reese is a very unique multi-faceted character; prickly, wise, troubled and tender.

I only had one quibble about “women” wanting to be mothers or not and saw my own experience briskly dismissed – it’s not worthy mentioning. Of course, we tend to believe things that present as absolute and just are not. Tendencies to make grand statements and quip stereotypes; but that is probably just a reflection of society and reminder that we just can’t make grand statements about what certain people might think and believe. It’s damn complicated.

Rating: Four slices of pie. Lots of pie.

“When they moved to New York from Seattle, they did this thing where they invited other married couples over to watch Cheers and eat pie.”

page 21

 

 

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.

A Tale for the Time Being

Thoughts by Ruth Ozeki, Viking 2013, 433 pages

Challenge: TOB Favorites

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit / Time Travel

Type/Source: eBook / Library -Kindle

What It’s About: A fascinating story that interweaves across time and distance and offers up a few mind-benders and reality-suspension moments. A writer named Ruth, experiencing a lack of motivation in her current project, finds a package washed up on the beach of her remote Pacific Canadian island. Inside is a journal, a watch and a collection of letters written in French. I think the language is English essentially, but culturally Japanese ; the journal-ist is a young Japanese girl suffering from a tumultuous change in her standard of living and location. Her father lost his silicon-valley job in California and uprooted Nao to Japan – a foreign world to her. She writes as if she knows the reader, addresses her directly, tells her all about her life, her horrid school and the bullies there and also her great-grandmother, a 104 yo Buddhist nun. Ruth is the reader and takes on the challenge of being Nao’s friend. Across time, across the ocean, across practicality.

For the time being, Words scatter . . . Are they fallen leaves?

Thoughts: It’s a wonder it works. I’m sure for many, it doesn’t; but for me it does. There’s word play, dream movement, thoughts on the precarious nature of our world and the environment. There’s history, there’s violence, brutal brutal violence, and yet there is zen, and hopeful hope. I just adored Jika! I wasn’t so sure about Ruth, but she is going through her own growth spurt through doubt with Nao so it made sense to me. Oliver is a treat.

I keep thinking about this story. I think it will be one of those I remember and think about and grow more fond of as time goes on.

“She wasn’t crying. They were just the memories, leaking out.”

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned. (French pastry, however…)

To grasp this truly, every being that exists in the entire world is linked together as moments in time, and at the same time they exist as individual moments of time. Because all moments are the time being, they are your time being.

—D gen Zenji, Uji

 

Up is down. Down is up.

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.

A Children’s Bible

Thoughts by Lydia Millet, 2020, 225 pages

Challenge: TOB and the What’s in a Name: Possessive Noun category
Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: eBook/Library to Kindle
 Why I read this now:  Came off hold at the library

MOTIVATION for READING:  I liked the last book I read by Millet. She is an author that brings attitude to her work. I describe it as very slight sarcastic sardonic tone, not sure it is accurate, but that’s what I picture when I think of her – that she writes with a sly smile on her face all the while.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  As goodreads quickly blurbs:  An indelible novel of teenage alienation and adult complacency in an unraveling world, I say this. This is a story about a collection of families that attempt to vacation together in a huge house on a lake, on the ocean and how the kids prove to be more sane and mature than the parents. It’s a short tale, maybe too short? I liked Evie, our narrator; she’s gritty and contemplative, trying to make the best choices to take care of her little brother and to survive a hurricane and then a disintegrating world.

I agree with Ruthiella’s assessment, “Huh?”

That was how we could tell it was serious. Because they were obviously lying.

THOUGHTS:  I highlight a theme I am seeing in this year’s TOB contenders:  the breakdown of trust in authority. Luster has it – I provided a quote on it!, The Vanishing Half has it, Shuggie Bain has spades of it. Memorial has it in breakdown of faith in their fathers. Maybe all books everywhere have it and I’m just noticing.

Our parents, those so-called figures of authority, roamed its rooms in vague circuits beneath the broad beams, their objectives murky. And of no general interest.

RATING:   Three generous slices of a latticed pie.

The pattern reminded me of pies we used to eat at Thanksgiving, each with a lattice of crust on top. What kind of pies had they been? Apple? Blueberry?

I would love a pie right now, I thought.

Who wouldn’t love a pie right now,  Evie? We all want pie.

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2021. 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.

Transcendent Kingdom

Thoughts by Yaa Gyasi, 2020, 8 hours 40 minutes

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Audiobook, Audible
 Why I read this now:  It was next up in the queue.

MOTIVATION for READING: I enjoyed Gyasi’s debut and this one is getting great reviews. Plus, you know, the T. O. B.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Gifty is a scientist, a daughter of immigrants from Ghana, reflecting on her childhood as the little sister to a brother who died of a heroine overdose, her religious upbringing and how her mother suffers from mental illness, while conducting research on addiction so she can understand her own pain.

THOUGHTS:  This was a time/place of being in Gifty’s head as she explains and sorts through her thoughts and reactions and movement through many years, many relationships. Lots of religion and philosophy, but mostly religion and God and understanding and reconciling faith with science, science versus faith. It was really quite beautiful. NOT pushy at all. I think this could be a valuable reference for any religious study.

I liked Gifty. She was so well presented and fleshed out – her wants, needs, goals, dreams. Was there even a plot?

RATING:  Four slices of pie.   Apple pie mention and a bit about a friend who offers baked goods, including pie. YAY!

Quote lifted from a review in The Dartmouth, America’s Oldest College Newspaper:

Grappling with Gifty’s experiences growing up “sticking out like a sore thumb” in her predominantly-white town and “as Ghanaian as apple pie,” the novel is both accessible and urgent. 

 

 

pierating

Copyright © 2007-2021. 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.)

 

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.

The Last Sunday Before Christmas Eve

Jenny of Reading the End has a terrific meme 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.”

Impassioned by:  Pie. SO, here’s what I did:  I gave away a gift certificate for a pie of choice for my work department’s Yankee Swap. The person who won was confused but once explained, she seemed quite thrilled by the idea. She asked for Dutch Apple Pie. “Great!” I said. “Yay!!” I thought, as I rushed home to pull out all my pie books and look for a good Dutch Apple Pie. But then I got confused because some have raisins, some have egg in the crust, some have pastry topping when I thought the Crumb Topping was what made it ‘Dutch Apple’. Sigh, what IS a Dutch Apple Pie? I did some #scientific-based research (I posted a poll) and then just asked the recipient what she expects for Dutch Apple. That should clear up this confusion. I know it will have apples and butter and cinnamon and sugar. All good.

Happy about: I found my Pecan Pie recipe! I have this crazy loose leaf recipe collection barely stuffed into a three ring binder and the sugar-splattered copy of my Cook’s Country Pecan was missing. Is missing still. But the husband has a digital copy (it’s his favorite and he never fails to remind me that I didn’t make it for his birthday last year for whatever reason I can’t recall) and I also found it in my emails to my friend Karen many years ago. I wonder if she ever made it?

And if you want to see my Old Fashioned Pecan Pie recipe, I’ve loaded into Google Docs.

(Jeanne helped me out with a link lookup request which has been fixed by the above sentence… Thanks NonNecromancer!)

Super charmed by: My friend Heather asked me about Christmas Pie and we had a lovely FB-Messenger chat about Pumpkin (Dec 25 has been designated “Pumpkin Pie Day”) and Apple and a Crustless Cranberry. Let me know if you, too, would like me to post this recipe. I think I best start creating my resource online. Might as well be here at Care’s Books and Pie, right?

Excited for: Winter Solstice is coming. The shortest day of the year. Which means the days start to get longer. and longer and LONGER! and then it will be spring!

Enjoying: I’m enjoying researching and searching for where to give some of our charity dollars most needed, most effective.

and pie. This WILL be a pie-riffic week!

 

pieratingsml

 

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.