Category Archives: Travel

The Day the World Came to Town

Thoughts by Jim DeFede, HarperCollins 2021 (orig 2002), 261 pages

Challenge: Book club

Genre/Theme: Nonfiction / September 11th

Type/Source: eBook / Libby to Kindle

What It’s About: This short book is packed with heart-warming stories involving the challenges to the town of Gander, Newfoundland, in dealing with unexpected “guests” due to planes not being able to land in the US when the terrorists attached the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001.

We get a little bit of history on why Gander, an exploration of Newfoundland culture, and glimpses into lives of passengers and residents, all the many varied interactions. We even meet some animals!

Thoughts: I teared up a dozen times or more. This was a wonderful read about the goodness of humanity in facing the consequences of evil tragedies. This edition is great in that it gives updates to the friendships made; a ‘where are they now’ look, 20 years hence.

Rating: Four slices of pie. Homemade pie.



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 Book of Longings

Thoughts by Sue Monk Kidd, Viking 2020, 432 pages

Challenge: For two books clubs in June

Genre/Theme: Imaginative Historical Fiction

Type/Source: eBook / Kindle

What It’s About: Sue Monk Kidd allowed her imagination to spark in this possible version of a wife of Jesus. She drew upon the real setting and times, history – events – culture. And threw in a lot independence and fiery determination.

The reader first meets Ana who is the only child of a high ranking government official who indulges his daughter’s thirst for knowledge. She fights against an arranged marriage to an old schemer, …

“Few girls find happiness in the beginning, but this is a marriage of honor. You will want for nothing.” I will want for everything.

… and meets Jesus in the marketplace. Things happen, etc. and then some, eventually Ana lives a most unusual but not impossible life. Kidd had fun with this and she delivers.

Thoughts: I thought this very well done. I did have a few questions, and warning – these are somewhat spoilery:

  1. What was the reasoning for not having Ana know about Jesus rising from the dead. Obviously, to assume an answer is to suggest it was a good way to end the tale. With Jesus dying, Ana can move on with her life as a widow and be able to pursue a goal to share her voice.
  2. Did Mary NOT tell Jesus about his status – if that is the right word – about how she became pregnant and what the angels told her? She seemed not to be ‘in the know’ like I would expect. I did like Mary, as she was presented as a very kind woman.

According to Judith and Berenice, the only women who write are sinners and necromancers. I ask you, how do they know this?

(For Jeanne of Necromancy Never Pays)

Rating: Four slices of pie. Pie? No mentions that I noticed. Doesn’t fit the time period.


A thin, gray hopelessness crept into the air. I didn’t want them to give up. It was true I no longer believed in the God of rescue, only the God of presence, but I believed in Sophia, who whispered bravery and wisdom in my ear day and night, if I would only listen, and I tried now to do that, to listen.


I bless the largeness within you. I wish nurturing for your creativity and may you be brave.

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.

Proud Shoes

Thoughts by Pauli Murray, Beacon Press 1999 (orig 1956), 282 pages

The Story of an American Family, part of the Black Women Writers Series

Challenge: My own education/ What’s in a Name: Article of Clothing category

Genre/Theme: History, Feminism, Civil Rights

Type/Source: Tradeback, purchased from an Indie bookstore

What It’s About: Pauli explores her ancestors’ lives; shares their struggles and triumphs throughout the 1800s. It is fascinating and a very personal look at the Civil War from a new lens – NOT historian’s but real people. The forward compared it to Alex Haley’s Roots and suggested it as a more important work, certainly as good.

“Slavery had done such violence to the human spirit that the very memory of it was intolerable long after people had outlived it. Even in my time many were trying to grow without roots at all, plucking their sustenance from the air about them.”

Thoughts: Six years ago, I had read John Ehle’s The Free Men about the civil rights campaign in North Carolina. I wish I had read these two books together due to the same setting and only a half generation apart.

“Was it not the promise of America rather than it’s fulfillment which had lured the men and women of so many nations to her Shores? Did not the common love of liberty create a new nation and hold it together in the hour of its greatest need?”

Rating: Fives slices of pie. Apple pie, peach pie, meat pie, pie.

The Big Quarterly… Tables and stands sagged under piles of fried chicken, roasted beef, barbecued pork, smoked ham, meat pies and dumplings, pickled pigs’ feet, fried fish, sausage puddings and scrapple. Almost as many white people came to observe the gaiety and buy meals from the stands as did colored people. It was the one time of the year when slavery and hard times were forgotten, and for a day at least even slaves felt like free men. (Wilmington DE, 1850s)


Link to host of the What’s in a Name Challenge: Caroline Book Nook


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 People in the Trees

Thoughts by Hanya Yanagihara, Doubleday 2013, 512 pages

Challenge: TOB Favorites (coming this fall)

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit

Type/Source: eBook / Kindle-Amazon

What It’s About: Inspired by true events and real people, this story is told via edited memoirs of a Nobel Prize-winning doctor whose first ‘job’ out of Harvard Med was with an expedition to a previously undiscovered peoples living in the jungles of a tiny Micronesian island. What he discovers and how his life travels from there is one heck of an unsettling tale.

… by twelve incompetents (one juror, as I recall, was a tollbooth clerk, another a dog-washer),

These memoirs are written while he is in prison for sexually abusing one, or more, of his 43 children. He had on subsequent visits over many years, adopted all of these kids from the island community he originally encountered on that fateful trip. The one resulting in his being first to publish findings of physical longevity attributed to eating a previously unknown variety of turtle. Eventually, the island life is destroyed; the community in shambles, the turtle extinct and no fountain-of-youth elixir.

 At night I dreamed of green, great floating blobs of it, morphing gently from one shade to the next, and in the mornings I woke feeling beaten and exhausted. During the day my thoughts returned to visions of deserts, of cities, of hard surfaces: of glass and concrete.

Thoughts: The last few paragraphs will kick you in the gut. You know it is coming, but the when and what and how is gobsmacking. Yet. Not? We were given all the clues, by the monster himself. I will only say that I found the guy a monster, an ogre, an egotistical misogynistic remorseless abhorrent individual.

So, the writing. She is successful at world-building, character-development, tone, pace, all that stuff. I really did almost give up because I just knew it was bleak but my curiosity won out.

Rating: Four slices of pie. Leech Pie

Owen and I were gathering a bucket of leeches that we planned to bake into a pie and then give to Ida, the part-time cook, a sour woman we both hated. My mother was dangling her feet in the stream.


What’s in a Name – Category Botanical

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.

Red Pill

Thoughts by Hari Kunzru, Knopf 2020, 305 pages

Challenge: TOB

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit

Type/Source: Hardcover/Indie bookstore – signed by the author!

What It’s About: A writer suffering from ennui accepts a 6 months sabbatical in Germany to focus on his next project. He finds himself unable to defend his views and ideas; ultimately his sense of identity begins to crumble. Against more powerful and sinister philosophers (and egos) that come onto his path and also attempting to make a friend who provides warnings of a possible future based on a recent past, he both grasps at diversions and falls into inertia and paranoia. It’s a wild ride in his mind.

Thoughts: I was NOT in the mood for this – or what I *thought* this was. I’m not even sure what I wrote above is accurate. Let’s look at the last sentence on the book jacket:

Red Pill is a poignant reckoning, boldly searching for order in a world that frames madness as truth.

So when this book advanced from the Play-In round and was discussed by much more discerning and eloquent thinkers than me, I decided to keep on and give it room to breathe, rather than rush through to get it done. I liked it, I got into it. I let it lead me on through the angst. The East German surveillance state chapter was terrifying. I am glad to have read it.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

… the whole point of Red Pill was the narrator’s inability to wrestle Anton’s authoritarian bloodlust to the ground and best it. (Quote from TOB Commentariat member @KROConnellNYC)



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.


Thoughts by Susanna Clarke, 2020, 250 pages

Challenge: TOB 
Genre/Theme: Literary Fiction / Fantasy
Type/Source: Hardcover / Purchased online from an Indie
 Why I read this now:  Because Teresa of Shelf Love stated it is her favorite of the TOB list so far.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  We are first introduced to our narrator, our host to the House, which seems to be an endless stone cathedral or castle with connected galleries and courtyards full of statues, linked to staircases and more courtyards, surrounded by tidal pools, by the sea. The Other calls our narrator “Piranesi” but he doesn’t really prefer to have a name. He is the Beloved Child of the House. He is the caretaker, I guess.

THOUGHTS:  So many questions and so many unknowns; it all unspools with tidal storms, unexpected visitors both bird and prey (human), lost journal pages, and drama! You’ll stay up to read it in one sitting, if you can. 

May your Paths be safe, your Floors unbroken and may the House fill your eyes with Beauty.   (p.95)

RATING:   Four slices with heaps of billowy whipped cream.


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.

A Gentleman in Moscow

Thoughts by Amor Towles,  Penguin Books 2016, 462 pages

Challenge: Theta Book Club
Genre: Contemporary Lit, Historical Fiction?
Type/Source: Tradeback; purchased?  I don’t recall how I got this.
 Why I read this now:  Selected Book for October’s Discussion


“To what end, he wondered, had the Divine created the stars in heaven to fill a man with feelings of inspiration one day and insignificance the next?”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Count Rostov, a member of Russian aristocracy, is designated a Non-Person, placed under house-arrest in 1928 and mostly forgotten by the Bolshevik powers that be. He adapts quite well to the decades and makes a new family of everyone he connects with.

“There’s a difference between being resigned to a situation and reconciled to it.”

THOUGHTS: One of my favorite things to do is to read reviews that vary from my personal reaction. Most reviews LOVE this story. However, a few readers found it ‘twee’. This word dismays me. I don’t quite have a definition set solid for what TWEE means. (Kind of like ska* music. I have NO IDEA.) If this was twee, it was smarter and more sharp-humor than I think of when something is called that descriptor. That could be my snobbery; Twee things aren’t smart, right?

I liked this story. I was caught up in how the Count was “making the best of it”. I was quite touched that he was all-in immediately to the surprise request of taking care of an 8  year old girl, “Sure, why not?” No protests, only a tiny touch of self-doubt or misunderstanding of what he (and the entire hotel staff, of course) was about to hide and handle.

And of course, she became a lovely accomplished young woman.

But what actually happens at the end? I’m not sure…

“The surest sign of wisdom is cheerfulness.? – Montaigne

I learned a lot or was given new things to think about on the history of Russia that was playing out on the streets outside of the hotel. It felt surreal, as do times now, actually. Is what is really going on in the US really happening?! How can the two sides’ perspective, the violence the anger the ‘fake news’ the accusations, be REAL?!  Ugh, it is frightening and I wonder if we will survive to see the historical perspective on it in 20 years time.

RATING:  I gave this 5 slices of pie. Because it was well written, I enjoyed it, I needed just this right now.

“I love your funny alphabet and those little pastries stuffed with meat.”



* Ska is unique because it really emphasizes the offbeats of the guitar; combines Jamaican drum sounds and jazz beats…

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.

Tender is the Night

Thoughts by F.Scott Fitzgerald, 1934, 356 pages

Challenge:  Classics Club Spin
Genre: Classic
Type/Source: ebook, library
 Why I read this now:  SPIN!   

MOTIVATION for READING: I had read somewhere that this was his best work. I may have read that wrong. Could be it is still a topic of debate.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  LOTS going on in this book and to be honest, I didn’t give it my full attention (which might mean that I actually failed to finish. Shame on me! I am still counting it as read…)

Dick Diver is married. He and his wife make a lovely much-admired couple and live in an amazingly glamorous spot on the French Riviera leading a glamorous life. But really, he is a psychoanalyst married to a former patient (named Nicole, who seems perfectly lovely in the first half) and is now attracted (the Dick dude) to a cute young glamorous up&coming actress who throws herself at him. But really, I didn’t get much farther than that. I love that history shocks me – that WHAT?!          WHY young ladies don’t throw themselves at happily married men they meet on the beach AND admire the wives and yet still throw themselves at the husband anyway AND TELL THEIR OWN MOTHER?!  in the late 1920s?!  did they? Do they?

I would have never. (Told my mother.)

I put the book down and ten days later when I had the time and mindspace to jump back in, I found out that it was a 14 day library ebook loan and I FAILED. Oooops. It expired.

So I spent a few hours watching YouTube BookTube videos and caught myself up on the plot of what I missed.

Dick and Nicole’s marriage implodes. He does end up sleeping with the young actress apparently but the book takes a turn and shares how Dick and Nicole met in the first place; then Nicole sleeps with a friend, — apparently, they talk it out “LIKE ADULTS” (whatever that might mean) and it ends ambiguously with Dick being an alcoholic and Nicole hopefully have her HEA. I heard it had an ambiguous ending.

OK, maybe I kept zoning out on the less than 10 minute BookTube reviews. Sue me.

THOUGHTS: This book does seem to have CARE PIE written ALL OVER IT! But no, nope. I just didn’t quite get into that must-finish-keep-reading-it’s-past-my-bedtime-don’t-care state which I was wanting.

Should I have audiobooked it?!

oH yEA.  I will watch the movie. Hopefully sooner than later. Casting looks suspect in my distant future viewpoint yet the pretties and the settings look like it just might deliver.  Jason Robards, Jennifer Jones, Joan Fontaine?! and Jill St John. Adapted to the 1960s and made in 1962. Sign. me. up.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.





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.

Ducks, Newburyport

Thoughts by Lucy Ellman, Biblioasis 2019, 1001 pages

Challenge: Personal
Genre: Literary Fiction
Type/Source: Purchased Online, probably from Amazon :/  Made up for that by buying one from RiffRaff in PVD.
 Why I read this now:  It had to be read.

MOTIVATION for READING: The Main Character – referred to going forward as “MC” (I don’t even know if we get her name) – bakes pies to sell to local restaurants to help the family finances. Her signature dish is Apple Tarte Tatin – something I have yet to attempt. Apparently they can be tricky.

, according to Stephen Hawking the human world will end within 1000 years, but I think it could be a lot sooner, and my response to this is to make more pies and read recipe books,

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  This book is the streaming consciousness of MC, a mother of 4 who has had some serious health challenges and misses her mother who died when her own daughter, her oldest, was a toddler. Her husband is a professor of structural engineering and is a bridge expert. He is the father to the 3 youngest kids, step to the oldest — of course the first husband is not ideal, though she would never speak ill of him in front of their daughter. MC rambles in her head about her memories of which she constantly claims she cannot remember, her siblings, her upbringing, tragedies that happen in the world, her pies, her mothering challenges, politics, her doubts and fears, her grocery lists, the old movies she watches while she bakes, her chickens, her childhood pets, her childhood travels – all the houses and places she lived in. She hates Trump, is anti-gun, is polite to a fault and is shy around people; cripplingly-shy. She loves her husband dearly – he’s a good man. All the kids are cute as a button and have their own wants, needs, interests which she enumerates for pages at a time. That’s a fact! It’s her day to day to day to day in her head ramblings.

Every so often, the story shifts to a mountain lion momma of three and her travels around the state of Ohio. Lots of geography, topography and history of Ohio. Their paths intersect of course and it was tense, I tell ya!  of exactly HOW that might play out!  oh, it’s a thriller, truly. It was maddening trying to imagine where the book was going.

THOUGHTS: This is not a book I would recommend to just anyone. I only know a few people who would like it, love it, as much as I did. I am pretty sure, my IRL friends now know that I’m a really strange reader when I would LOVINGLY describe the book and how long it was taking me to read. They would back up slowly, wide-eyed, quietly muttering, “hmmm, ok, sounds interesting. not.”  I started it in April. I finished near the end of August. I sometimes would let weeks go by without turning a page. Sometimes, I would read one or two pages a day. Then conquer over 100+ in a weekend.

,the fact that I think a lot of people think all I think about is pie, when really it’s my spinal brain doing most of the peeling and caramelizing and baking and flipping, while I just stand there spiraling into a panic about my mom and animal extinctions and the Second Amendment just like everybody else,

RATING:  So why am I only giving this four slices of pie? I fear that sometimes, I give 5 stars to a book as a reward for getting me to read it. I think we (by which I mean “ME”) get brainwashed that we must actually be loving the experience of submerging so much time and energy into a chunkster that we MUST justify it with a high glowing review.

But I had some issues. I had an issue with the dog and probably should research if this is based in fact. (The fact is…) and I had issue that they – the stupid zoo people – that they didn’t realize or WATCH the     (SPOILER ALERT!!!!  hover over to reveal the white colored text so as not to spoil anything: Really?!  they didn’t realize that this momma was the 3 kittens mother and they didn’t watch the reunion? I don’t believe and if I ever read about a review from a big cat zookeeper reading this book – if you do! please share….)

So four stars for a quibble but I did love it. I will never not associate Ducks, Newburyport with the pandemic. That is reason enough not to give it 5 stars. Or maybe that is reason, actually, to anoint it 5 stars? Whatever.

So much pie. So much wonderful pie! so many terrific pie mentions!!! I probably should give Ellman the coveted Pie in Literature award for 2020 and call it done.

I would HATE it if they ever attempt to make a movie from this book. OMG, I would see it day one if they do. It’s a deceptively simple book in plot but wowza finding it! (Are they making movies yet?!)

The fact that it’s important not to despair though when you’ve got pies in the oven, …, the fact that you have to have mercy on your pies, be there for your pies, and in return they will be good dutiful pies and serve you, …

I really hope I reread this book someday.




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.

Poetry 2020 Edition 5

Poetry Goal 2020:  to read a poem* every day.

Collection #9 break your glass slippers by Amanda Lovelace, Andrews McMeel 2020, 136 pages

sometimes the only difference between not
being meant for something & being meant for
something is the necessary journey it takes for
you to get there.

—replace your self-doubt with patience.

Rating: 3 slices of pie. No pie mentioned. (I am not the ideal audience, methinks)

Collection #10 by Kieran Furey, Longtooth Books 2011, 120 pages

An Old Routine

Trying not to think
what it might mean,
he goes once a week
unbelievingly to Mass,
and once a week too
disbelievingly to another funeral.

At his age, these things are routine.
With one good ear he’s always listening
For the bells to toll for him.

I found this book in the apartment complex shelves. YAY! and they’re good. Lots of poems about family, ancestry, memories, place. I will have to assume it was the right poetry book for the right time in my 2020 poetry adventure.

I’m finding that I really enjoy poems about words and poems and about writing of poems.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

*Or more. I’m not tracking, I’m just reading. I’m not limiting this experience to one poem a day – that is only the minimum.


Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Books and Pie aka 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.