Unaccustomed Earth

Thoughts uebyjl by Jhump Lahiri, Random House Vintage Contemporaries 2009 (orig 2008), 333 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:  I have had this copy in my house far too long. I was needing, craving a short story experience. Only fitting it be a collection by such a skilled writer.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Again, I am “Bad, bad Care” because I do not have my copy in my hands for reference. This is particularly tricky when reviewing a collection. I gave this book to my friend in Rhode Island. I am in North Carolina. I could wait but I just want to get this list of review posts DONE already! Nobody reads these anyway, amirite? No, I know that is silly, you are reading this right now, aren’t you? Thank you. Smile and shake your head in disbelief. Lahiri deserves better treatment, I realize.

WHAT’s GOOD: Lahiri amazes me. Some of these stories don’t really even have a plot. Or maybe just not a lot of action. She gets people. She gets in their head and gets right to their core. She is insightful; she finds pain and gently extracts it,unfolds it, examines it. She knows the universal feelings felt by all and yet captures the cultural differences within every day lives against the sameness of emotions. She shines in exploring humanity’s weaknesses against the concept of best selves. OK, I’ll shut up now.

Most impactful story/ies: The young girl who reflects on the older boy and how their families knew each other. The older boy, now in college, reflecting on his relationship with his father. Then, much later, the girl and boy meet up in the most unlikely of places and circumstances.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I never really looked at the cover but it all comes together in the last story. And it just leaves an aching hole in your soul.

Only two (or is it three?) of the stories are linked, but I could be wrong. All the stories do not connect around same characters but they all have a thread of melancholy.

RATING: fourpie of apple pie.

“Today, Paola had mentioned, an American novelist was coming, someone homesick for Thanksgiving and bringing an apple pie.”

 

 

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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.

Is It Me? Or the Books?

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I don’t know if this is a reading slump or I am just reading three unappealing-to-me books all at the same time?

I suppose I would/should like a couple of these if I was in a better frame of mind or perhaps three books all at the same time of this competition is only making them all unpalatable?

Should I power through or give up and start something else?

Let’s chat, shall we?  and please advise.

The current three:  ptlbytc  qbysc hiapwdbysjg

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Prologue To Love is a paperback printed before I was born. The font is tiny, it has the slightly yellowed brittle paper feel and lovely old book scent. I had to tape the cover back on. There are over 750 pages. I’m told that this is loosely based on the true life story of Hetty Green, once the world’s richest woman – I’ve read a book on her and found it fascinating. One of those tales that reinforces the idea that lots of money can’t buy happiness. HUZZAH!

I’m just too turned off by the father of the main character; he is miserly, judgmental, obsessed with the creation of wealth but abhors the idea of spending ANY of it. (He lets his daughter live in a run down house with no heat nor extra blankets and lousy inadequate quantity of food?) I don’t have enough sympathy for him – I don’t get his quick critical thoughts about why he doesn’t like his nephew nor why he doesn’t like his own daughter and I don’t really care to find out. I’m sorry Bybee!

Prologue To Love! –> I declare you DNF’d.

Quiet just isn’t capturing my attention. I decide to go read, sit in a comfy chair or go out to the lounge area of my lovely backyard, and end up playing with Litsy, IG and Facebook on my phone. I’ll probably carry it around the house and misplace it a few more times before I give up on it. However, I’m thinking the reviews I have read have probably given me enough information on the subject.

Quiet! (With a Chainsaw?) –> Vote is still out…

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress is supposed to be a funny feminist book guaranteed to entertain. I’m not entertained. I’m bored. Maybe the narrator’s voice just isn’t quite right? No, she’s doing a fabulous job, but like coconut — you like it or you don’t. It’s possible that I’m still too early into it?  So far, it is still her childhood (the current essay is about her obsession with the Rolling Stones when she was 15.) I don’t know; it’s just not working.

Hypocrite! –> Playing in the background but I’m not listening.

The problem with audiobooked essay collections is that you can’t flip and skip around. Can I suggest that audiobook chapters start showing titles? Which bits of this book are the ones I shouldn’t miss? Should I save it for print? Yea, maybe I should get the book from the library and return this to Audible…

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While these three books are jockeying for some love, I am stalled… Release the guilt, release the books back into the wild or back to the shelf, move on.

Ok, NOW what should I read?!

 

 

 

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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.

The Tsar of Love and Techno

Thoughts tToLaTbyAM by Anthony Marra, Hogart 2015, 352 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books
Genre: Short Story
Type/Source: Audio first, then switched to hardback / library
 Why I read this now: Really? do you have to ask?

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is a linked story collection – my favorite kind, in the vein of Olive Kitteridge (which I adored), that Goon Squad book (which I did NOT adore) and The Imperfectionists (which YOU should read because it is really good.)

So, no. I guess I won’t tell you anything. Cover links to goodreads.

WHAT’s GOOD: Everything. The writing, the construction, the descriptions, the wry observations about life and stuff.

What’s NOT so good: The audio was NOT that great. I realized when I switched to print that I missed a LOT, a TON! And I blame it on the narrators – there were three. I probably bear some of that burden, but I don’t claim it. It was the accents. Perhaps it was my prejudice on how I heard the voice – one of the guys just sounded ‘not right’ or ‘not too bright’, if that makes any sense. I apologize. Oh well. Avoid the audiobook, in my opinion.

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you like a book that makes you laugh while you cry, this might do it for ya.

RATING: Five slices of pie! Seriously, this may go down as a top 5 favorite over many years.

PIE
p.6 “The coin could have bought a meat pie, a sketch pad, a confectionery, a bar of soap; pressed into someone else’s palm it could have become the bright spot in a dull day, but coins cannot choose their fate.”

71% – ???? – I couldn’t find it. SO hard to bookmark an audio. Especially if driving a car responsibly. IF ANYONE HAS THIS AS eBOOK, please let me know! Thanks.

 

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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.

The Red Shoes

Thoughts trsbydh The Red Shoes by Dorte Hummelshoj, 2012, publisher date, 33 pages

Challenge:  Read My Own Damn Books and What’s in a Name: CLOTHING
Genre: Mystery
Type/Source: eBook, Amazon
 Why I read this now: ReadMyOwnDamnBooksbutton Well so, I realized that I had forgotten about my Kindle and how many books lay hidden inside this device. I’m good – I have less than ten! Now I have only eight…

MOTIVATION for READING: Length. It was short!

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is a story collection and let me share the warning:

HIGH RISK OF TOXIC HUMOUR AND SEVERED LIMBS!

I couldn’t resist.

WHAT’s GOOD: These are fun. and short. The character names were great. (Like Rhapsody Gershwin.)

What’s NOT so good: I’m not sure how suspenseful I would rate these but they definitely have dark humor.

FINAL THOUGHTS: My favorite was the Green Acres story that was set in a nursing home (and had an adorable dog as foil.)

RATING: Three slices of pie.

Vocabulary:  Grotty – unpleasant and of poor quality. (not in any way meant to describe these stories; only a word IN the stories that I did not know.)

 

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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.

Tenth of December

 

Thoughts todbygs by George Saunders, Random House 2013, 254 pages

STORY COLLECTION

Highly praised; LOTS of literary awards including: nomination for Goodreads Choice for Fiction 2013, Paris Review Best of the Best 2013, Folio Prize 2014, Story Prize 2013, and National Book Award Finalist for Fiction 2013 (WOW! I’ve read the winner for 2013: The Good Lord Bird! woo hoo)

My favorite was the title story “Tenth of December”. In less than 40 pages, I was blubbering. Very moving, very touching.

My least favorite was one of the longest stories and to be honest:  I skipped the middle, reread the first few pages too many times and couldn’t make sense of the last 4 pages. That one was “The Semplica Girl Diary” – failure all mine; it has been critically acclaimed.

I do not read story collections in order.

I usually read the shortest stories first.

If there is a theme here, I will borrow/steal from Greg of The New Dork Review and say “the moving target of morality”. His thoughts and reactions (not a review?) are worth reading if you are intrigued.

It has been said in the blogosphere that these are rather depressing stories. Note.

I read this because The Socratic Salon mentions it. Click on this sentence to see their discussion of “Can You Learn to Love Short Stories?”

When I do bother to read a short story collection, I tend to LOVE most of the stories.

I don’t expect to like all of them. I just need to find some gold and some sparkle and some heartfelt provoked reaction.

Short stories are all good by me.

Four Slice of Pie fourpie

Pie Quote: “Guy never works a day in his life, just goes around stealing pies off windowsills, then starts yelping about his rights?”

Past Story Collections I Have Recommended:

Dorothy Parker!

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Simon Van Booy’s Love Begins in Winter

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

 

Click –> HERE <– for more reviews.

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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.

Bad Feminist

Thoughts bfbyrg Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Harper 2014, 320 pages

I often feel like a bad feminist. I’m not doing it right. My example is piss poor. I often feel unworthy to declare my feminist label.

Which is why this book is fabulous. No one can be the ultimate perfect feminist!

I know many Christians who certainly aren’t perfect and yet have no doubts to claim being Christian. It really is almost the second line of the ‘faith profession’ if you think about it. “I have sinned; forgive me.” and wa la! GRACE. And not to say this excuses bad behavior, I know. This post isn’t to defend my Christianity (and I am one), the point is that I should NOT be embarrassed to stand up and say,

“Yes, I’m a feminist.”

And I usually do, but…

I REALLY enjoyed Gay’s collection of essays on her life and her thoughts, her complications and her contradictions. Her courage to say these things loudly and proudly.

This book made me think about a lot of things. Maybe ALL of the things. I didn’t always agree but I appreciate the new viewpoints on the issues. I learned a few words, I learned much more about Scrabble than I knew I needed to know, I was introduced to many cool sounding books* that have made it to my tbr, and thus,

FIVE SLICES of PIE.

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* Kate Zambreno’s Green Girl or Heroines, anyone?

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.

Winesburg, Ohio

Thoughts wohbysa Winesburg Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, Compass Books – Viking Press 1958/1960/1967 15th ed (orig 1919), 247 pages, tradeback

DNF

These stories are deep. They are of the bare but insightful style of character studies that just might bore one to tears until someone explains it all. But since no one is here to explain it to me (I should take that back –> there is an Introduction I have yet to be bothered to read) and I would much rather read something else, I’m going to put this back on my shelf and maybe read more on another day. I made it more than half way.

Thankfully, the stories are short. But it’s not enough.

I hope I can still count this for my Classics Club 50?

 

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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.

Appears to be August Already

Hello Dearies,

I haven’t done a what-up post in awhile and thought, why not? I certainly would rather do this then actually do the vacuuming (like I just texted to my husband when he asked me what’s on today’s agenda?)

I am reading:   The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. I am really enjoying it. If ‘enjoying’ is the right word since it does describe the assumed horrific situations of being a citizen of North Korea. It does so with the kind of humor that really appeals to me. Satire, anyone?

and I’m listening to METAtropolis compiled by John Scalzi. I’ve only listened to the first story but I was impressed with the world building even if the ending felt abrupt and deflated. This was a freebie from Audible to thank me for being a good customer. I know some people find audible to be expensive but I think I’m getting my money’s worth. I usually use my credit on the LOOOoonnnnnggest books (many hours long) so when/if I do buy something, I don’t mind the cost.

I have Infinite Jest both audio and ebook versions ready to go.

I’m thinking that I should read a Nonfiction book soon.

On Tuesday, I will have a review post of questions I asked fellow readalongers of Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan. I can’t wait to read Last Night at the Lobster next.  Oh, that reminds me…  I read Songs for the Missing for the What’s in a Name Challenge 6 and I need to update the post to say so.

Eventually, I will review Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. I laughed out loud a lot.

I made ricotta cookies instead of pie this week.

IMG_1991

I am spending most of my days on the boat, recovering from the boat and then packing to go back to the boat.

And prepping for school. I will take two classes this fall:  Foundations of Instructional Technology and Information Access and the Internet. Whoop!  I think I’m finally registered. (With that, can you hear the frustrations of trying to get this back-to-school thing figured out!?!)

That’s about it.

Hope all is well with you!  What are YOU reading?  

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.

Life Among the Savages

Thoughts  Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson, Academy Chicago 1990 (orig 1948), 241 pages Tradeback offsize

Memoir, Nonfiction

Delightfully charming! You get a sense of how terrific a mom Shirley was by how she truly listens to her kids and encourages their imagination.

It’s been said that these essays of domestic hilarity are what inspired the genre most think of when you say the name Erma Bombeck, but it wouldn’t be something Ms. Jackson would have been too thrilled with, I don’t think. I bet she often thought this audience of her ‘stories’ beneath her contempt. But they sold and sold well. What’s an author to do?

It almost breaks your heart to read this and then right after, read her biography. No wait. It DID break my heart to read the bio right after enjoying these madcap loving little tales.

If you want to immerse yourself into fascinating and extremely talented writings of a complicated artist, study Shirley Jackson. First read her infamous short story The Lottery and then read this or Raising Demons (I haven’t read), then read We’ve Always Lived in the Castle (a favorite of mine; I want to read it again, especially after reading her biography), and then read Oppenheimer’s bio. And then, if you are like me, you’ll seek out everything Jackson ever wrote.

I am in the middle – and I jump around, as always – of her collection Just An Ordinary Day. Then I want to read The Road Through the Wall and then The Bird’s Nest and then…

Which Shirley Jackson book will YOU read next?

BOOK MENAGE scheduled for the week of December 3rd over at Citizen Reader.

.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2012. 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.

This Is How You Lose Her

Thoughts  This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz, Penguin Audi0 2012, 5 hrs14 min, narrated by the author

From goodreads.com:

On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness–and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of his life, whose heartbreak ultimately becomes his own. In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.”

I really enjoyed this. Díaz is an impressive talent.

Thank you, Lakeside Musing for offering me the opportunity to listen to this collection. I intend to continue the sharing spirit by passing it along to Laurie at Bay State Advisory.

RATING: 

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2012. 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.