Archive for the 'Travel' Category

H is for Hawk

Thoughts hifhbyhm H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, Random House Audio 2014, 11 hours 6 minutes

I’m already declaring this a TOP READ/LISTEN for 2015!

Anonymous Interviewer aka AI: Care, how did you come to read this?

Care: I saw a tweet announcing it as an Audible special for $2.99. Since, I knew I had only a few hours left of my current audiobook and lots of days left in the month to await my next credit, I jumped.

AI: Did you know anything about it? Had you read any good reviews?

Care: Excellent question because no, I didn’t really know much about it but yes, I do think I had read positive things? I DID know that the title fits the What’s in a Name Challenge for the animal category, so it has that going for it.

AI: I thought you were going to read Elegance of the Hedgehog for WiaN8.

Care: So did I, but it just kept getting passed over by my mood to read something else. I do hope to read Hedgehog someday but maybe not anytime soon, I guess.

AI: So what’s the Hawk book about?

Care: H is for Hawk is a fascinating overlapping memoir — and more! It is part nature book, falconry how-to book, grief exploration book and part biography of TH White, the author of The Once and Future King.

AI: So this is memoir?

Care: Yes, nonfiction. (I admit, I didn’t know this until after I started listening to the book.)

AI: Tell us about the author.

Care: Sure, and I first must say if I haven’t already, that the author does an EXCELLENT job narrating her own book.

AI: Is this unusual?

Care: What, that authors narrate their own books or that they actually do this successfully?

AI: Yea, that.

Care: I think Neil Gaiman is one author that does a great job and I have found that entertainers such as comedians always seem to do a very good job narrating their own books, but I can’t say that Donna Tartt pulled off a successful narration. (I did manage to listen all the way to the end of the 16 hour plus audio of The Secret History! YAY ME.)

Care: May I interrupt to give a NEVERWHERE READALONG SHOUT OUT? Nancy is doing a readalong if anyone has ever wanted to read this – I highly recommend the audiobook. My review is here.

AI: Do you have a button to share or maybe a hashtag for Twitter?

Care: As a matter of fact, I do know the hashtag #NeverwhereRAL, but I don’t know about a button. And if you click on the words a few sentences ago about the readalong shout out, you’ll open a window at Nancy’s blog…

AI: OK, tell us more about Helen Macdonald.

Care: Ms. Macdonald, a British naturalist writer, is a college professor who has also been interested in falconry since a very young age. There is also a terrific photo of Mabel on her blog (which may or may not be active; it looks like the events might be for 2014, a year done passed.)

AI: Um, Mabel? Who is Mabel?

Care: Mabel is her goshawk! Macdonald says in her book that if you give a goshawk a mild meek-sounding name, they usually turn out to be terrific hunters! (and vice versa.) Here’s a photo of another goshawk that I found on the internet:

goshawk <– Sindbad the Goshawk, photo credit to The International Falconry Forum

AI: To be totally honest, this book sounds not only boring but slightly depressing, even with a lovely named bird like Mabel.

Care: And you would be wrong. This book is delightful. It has ALL the feelings. Sure, it is about how she went through the stages of grief after losing her father but it also has many funny almost comic moments – also, angry and frightening. Her writing is beautiful, provocative. She is known as a naturalist writer for good reason. She is just an excellent writer! She is smart, she is tender, she is strong, she is brave and she shares every bit of it with eloquence.

And you learn about so much stuff that you didn’t even know you wanted to know about. THAT is a great book.Helen Macdonald

AI: Care to share a quote or two?


“And I found there were myriad definitions of this thing called tragedy that had wormed its way through the history of literature; and the simplest of all was this: that it is the story of a figure who, through some moral flaw or personal failing, falls through force of circumstance to his doom.”

AI: I have nothing else to ask, maybe your readers will have more questions. This concludes this audiobook review presentation interrogation. Thank you.

Care: Thank YOU.


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.

Station Ten and One Half

Thoughts and Ramblings

I don’t have time to write a review of Station Eleven. OK, I have been avoiding writing a review of Station Eleven.

Bear with me as I share all sorts of other stuff instead.

I had consciously decided that I wanted to read Station Eleven when it came to battle against Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State in the Tournament of Books*. I really was impressed by the phrase ‘higher thread count’ to describe excellent writing. (See the winner and moderator comments here.)


I seem to have that ‘distant admiration’ for the author. I recognize how very smart she is and how well she constructs a novel, links complicated plot points believably, builds a world, and develops characters. And yet. I still feel that I am a bit detached. Something bothers me that I can’t explain and even pinpoint. It moves in my brain when I try to focus on it.

I don’t want to see the wizard behind the curtain; but I sense there is one.

I read Mandel’s debut novel The Last Night in Montreal and praised it highly! SO GOOD!!! And yet. Something about that book bugged me even as I recommended it. I now only remember that the ending was POW! and that I considered the author one to watch.

I give Station Eleven 5 stars. And yet … now want to rethink it and pick it apart and possibly downgrade because a few things don’t make sense now that I’m outside of that world and away from the characters.

I do like Roof Beam Reader’s review.

I also like Book Journey’s review (with links to a spoiler page).


To change the subject…

I’m reading/listening to Atlas Shrugged and it is a mind-boggling icky-feeling thought-provoking ordeal. It’s part of Ti’s readalong through August.

I started Lost Lake and just love Sarah Addison Allen! It is always a pleasure to fall into her books.

June ended with me being ahead of my goal of 65 books /year and I’m doing excellent at challenge-accomplishing. I need one more for What’s in a Name – usually in December I’m trying to cram two or three reads in to finish! I only need the animal book.

and CLASSICS!  Oh – just pat me on the back and tell me how awesome I’m doing reading classics! Cuz I am. Awesome.

Was going to make a nectarine lavender pie but I’m running out of time. My first niece is getting married tomorrow and I have things to do to be ready! Like, that idea to give her my personal favorites pie recipe book…   I think she’ll have to get that for Christmas now. SHHHHhhhhhhh, don’t tell her.

Have a great weekend, chat soon and tweet ya on Twitter!






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.

Heart of Darkness

Thoughts and Meandering More Thoughts HoDbyJC Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Dover Thrift 2012 (orig 1899), 102 pages Kindle eBook

“I wasn’t arguing with a lunatic. … But his soul was mad.”

This is one story that I will admit I have been intimidated by. Perhaps because some of the synopsis reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver and her heavy novel that I can never remember but allow me to run to goodreads and check . . . (running off to truly go check goodreads…) oh yea! The Poisonwood Bible. I do wonder what Ms. Kingsolver thought of Heart of Darkness – surely she has read it, yes?

Have you read Heart of Darkness?

I chose this for May for a variety of reasons and vying close for the first and second spot are 1) It is SHORT at 200 pages, and 2) Trisha at Eclectic-Eccentric is featuring all sorts of lovely analysis posts. Goodness I do love me some juicy literature analysis!

and 3) What was that third reason? Oh yes, because I happen to already have it loaded on my Kindle.

Finally, 4) It is one of my Classics Club Fifty in Five.

I was pleasantly surprised. (That I liked it (‘it’ being the book, the reading experience.))

I would not call it compelling exactly. Not quite a fast page turner adventure book because it does tend to have dense language but not overly so. It is FULL of emotion.

“It was my imagination that wanted soothing.”

Here’s Crazy-Care’s FIRST attempt to answer your question of “what it is about?”:

The story is set up as a retelling of a sailor’s adventure. This sailing adventure was when Marlowe needed a job so he decides to go to Africa because he hears they are needing river transport captains and he is certain to find work. He does and notes that his assignment and the company that hires him is actually a bit creepy. His assignment is to get a riverboat into the “deepest darkest part of Africa” to either retrieve or supply Mr. Kurtz (I was confused here, too), a guy who is the BEST number one agent of the company and is considered awesome. Our sailor narrator is torn between just completing the job and yet also very intrigued to meet this awesome incredible Mr. Kurtz and find out why he is so awesome — no one knows how he is accomplishing all he is doing! (what he is doing, mind you, is collecting lots and lots of ivory and he is doing it by befriending (I think? Maybe not? Something tells me I really missed something.) the natives.) Others are jealous and others are mesmerized by Mr. Kurtz. He is ill when they finally get up the river and find him. The natives are hostile (but not hostile to Mr. Kurtz?) and our sailor buddy survives the ordeal and lives to tell of it. Thus the telling.

It’s really quite odd. I might have the synopsis skewed. I might have missed something big.

I swear narrator-captain guy was at first ambivalent and then curious and at one point critical of Mr. Kurtz and then somehow instantly was his best friend. THIS is why I need Trisha to explain things to me.

Or go watch Apocalypse Now?

It really did  have beautiful descriptions and I wonder how it would play in audiobook format. I bet it would be awesome.

So. The elephant in the room.

The elephant is…  (the elephant I thought before I read it anyway)… Is Heart of Darkness a BAD racist book? Does it demean and consider African natives as inferior? Is this a “symptom of the times”, a by-product of colonialism? OR does this book actually highlight the EVILS of colonialism and racism and confront the ideas of exploitation?

AND, excuse me while I freak out a bit here. Is this a true story?

I know and fear that I am inadequate to discuss these issues but I do want to support and advocate for a kind world, a civilization of respect for all. I read this book with the lens of it being written in 1899 and yet did not find it to endorse or promote a message that primitive cultures are inferior – I thought it an exploration of one case or specific example of the “empire” mentality of greed to exploit and take. The world is winners and losers, suckers. For me, the story didn’t deliver a succinct message; no obvious moral outrage and no epiphany. Well, other than “THE HORROR!” which I think was masked by considerable vagueness.

Evil exists. Fear exists. We fear what we do not understand. Let us seek to understand. It ain’t easy.

This book is not easy.

Then go read the excellent eclectic eccentric and marvel. You’ll understand then why Crazy-Care didn’t make a second attempt to explain this book. Heart of Darkness: Pro- or Anti-Imperialist – 5/21/15Psychoanalyzing Heart of Darkness – 6-4-15, Deconstructing Heart of Darkness – 6/11/15Queering Heart of Darkness – 6/18/15


“And he was devoted to his books, which were in apple-pie order.”


This book would have been fascinating and scary to discuss for a grade! Thank you so much Professor Eclectic for the thought-provoking experience. I give myself an A for ambition, a B for effort and a C for discourse.

Here’s a flower:  FullSizeRender Flowers make me smile.


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.


Unplugged Serenity

or madness, take your pick.


I will be taking a break but you have my review of Flowers for Algernon to look forward to and also the kickoff post for MISERY in JUNE.

I will be reading Heart of Darkness (on the advice and guidance of Trisha), Station Eleven because it won the Tournament of Books, Mindset – the New Psychology of Success: How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential by Carol Dweck (because it is THE book mentioned in ed reform and PD lately), and The Aviator’s Wife which was just selected for my book club.

I’m listening to the Selected Readings from the Portable Dorothy Parker.

I need to apply for jobs.

I just might be instagramming with the hashtags #Griffology and #Imonaboat.

Do have a memorable and solemn remembrancing kind of weekend. IMG_2691 IMG_2693 IMG_2687 Be safe.

See you in June.




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.

Even If the Sky Falls Down

Thoughts eitsfdbysb Even If the Sky Falls Down by Susan Jackson Bybee, 2105, 198 pages

What’s it ABOUT:  Lily is an American teaching English in South Korea but she breaks her ankle and gets fired. Apparently, the mothers of kindergarteners don’t trust a teacher who can fall and break her ankle – she is a bad influence? As compared to a YA coming of age story, this is more of a Hi-I’m-Here-in-a-Foreign-Country-to-Teach-English-and-Figure-Out-My-Life kind of way.

Because Lily is wearing a cast, she can’t find another job and ends up working with seniors rather than little kids. At first she is apprehensive but she learns to love these older wonderfully-diverse opinionated varied-background souls.

What’s GOOD:  We get amazing varied personal stories of love and sacrifice, horrors of war and overcoming from all of the seniors because Lily is interviewing them for a project. I learned a lot about South Korea. The author provides a helpful vocab guide, too.

What’s NOT so good:  Lily’s boss is . . . odd?

FINAL THOUGHTS: So many touching scenes…  The pacing is terrific; the even tension propels the story. I look forward to Bybee’s next book.

Please read this review of Bybee’s book and know that I’m not alone in thinking this is an emerging talent on our reading horizon:  Nancy at BookFoolery will convince you this is a MUST READ.

Read this if you are sympathetic to seniors having stories, too. AND are interested in teaching English in a foreign country and you love dogs. I love dogs. The dog piece is great. And read this is you LOVE Bybee’s take on books cuz her book blog is one of my very very favorites. She’s funny and wise and smart and adorable. Her book is also funny and wise and smart.

RATING:  Four slices of pie. fourpie



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.

Color: A Natural History of the Palette

Thoughts cbyvf Color by Victoria Finlay, Random House Trade 2004 (orig 2002), 448 pages

Satisfies the COLOR category of the What’s in a Name 8 Challenge.

“Up until then I had always believed that the world was getting better and better and more and more clever. But that day my tender theory about the Evolution of History fell on its head, and it has – for better or for worse – never been quite right ever since.”  p. 1

Wow – what a wild ride! This book is nuts.

I learned a lot and I marveled at what the author went through to gather stories to fit into this book. She wanted to find India Indigo so she went there. She wanted to find Tyrian Purple, so she went to Lebanon. She just had to see the blue Lapis Lazuli mines of Afghanistan, so off she went. Think about that last one…

She is fearless!

My only complaint might be that she really is all over the place at times and I wondered why she would mention that. (off on a tangent much?)  I had to go look up SO MANY THINGS. It is hard – she mentions this, too – it is very hard to describe colors with words.

This is a 4 slice of pie book. fourpie If you like travel books and author-involved nonfiction adventures, I recommend. If you are an artist and are curious about how artists got their colors, you must read this book.

I still have my receipt from purchasing this in 2010. Why? What prompted this book then? I have no records except the date. HOWEVER, in looking for other reviews out there in blogland, I found that Eva of A Striped Armchair was extremely enthusiastic about this book, so that is a clue. And since I seem to be on a linky-love binge, I should include Fyrefly’s discussion of another Finlay book that am now wanting to read next/soon/someday.

Colors are fascinating; this book makes me crave the colors of the entire world and makes me wonder what others really are looking at – do we see the same thing? Is the blue I see the blue you see? What color of purple do you think Cleopatra dyed her sails? And how exactly did she do it? So many mysteries.

Tyndall’s explanation of why the sky is blue is one of the best ever. Page 305.


Lots of Copley Connections for me, too.  Of course, she mentions Simon Garfield’s Mauve which I read in 2009. Or the mention of the English town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne being known for its beer exports. (I read all about that in Hops & Glory.) And then on page 384, Finlay describes a cave with a ‘millenia of snail trails’; surely those of you who read All the Light We Cannot See, recognize Marie-Laure and her hiding place?

Do you have any nonfiction books about colors to recommend? Just one more of my favorite things to learn more about, I guess. AND, I will send this book to anyone who comments and says they want it. If more than one person wants it, I will select somebody at random. Must comment before Valentines Day.





* Copley Connections are the random connections and coincidences that link books that I have read.


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.

The Vacationers

Thoughts tvbyes by Emma Straub,Riverhead Hardcover 2014, 292 pages

Audiobook narrated by Kristen Sieh  tvanbyks 6 hours, 39 minutes

For IRL Book Club.

What’s it ABOUT: a dysfunctional family goes on vacation for two weeks in Mallorca Spain.

mallorca Image from Links to more google images…

Read Meg’s thoughts – I agree with her 100%, though I gave it 3 stars for that middle of the road, oh well, it was “OK”. The narration was quite good.

Performance Rating: 4 slices of pie, Story Rating: 2 slices of pie,        OVERALL RATING: 3 slices of pie.

Peace out.


Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

Still Here…


I’ve missed you, my little blog…

IMG_3520 IMG_3524 IMG_3522  Newport RI.

You take a little unplanned break and then come back to find a new WordPress editor. Let’s see what happens. I can share a few thoughts on the books I’ve managed to read lately. I’ll tell you that my audiobook-listening has ground to a halt – but I can explain, I think. And just say howdy.

Plus send a big hearty welcome to SomeWhereInABook! I hope I can soon find a few past blog posts to re-link to, if that’s not too much to ask. (Specifically, the Gone Girl one…)

Um, where’s the SAVE-DRAFT button?!

Moving on, just keep going, right?

A Walk in the Woods awitwbybb by Bill Bryson – I liked it very much. Learned a lot about trees and flora and geology, too. Recommended.


Out of My Mind oommbysd by Sharon M Draper – Loaned to me from a friend, very apropos of my latest class for school. This is the story from the viewpoint of a 5th grader with cerebral palsy who is very smart but cannot communicate her smarts until she finds an Assistive Technology device that allows her a voice. The book has some very good points to share and perhaps some misses in the delivery and odd plot points. Read through the reviews for examples. I enjoyed meeting Melody and reminded again that we all want to belong and contribute. Respect.



The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy hhgttg by Douglas Adams is exactly what I feared it might be. Sadly, I feel too late to the introduction of it in my life with the story over-hyped for me to truly appreciate its brilliance. Overall, a fun read. 42 (And I think I should plug Jenn Thorson’s There Goes the Galaxy which I read last December and which (now I realize) obviously took inspiration from Adams and his famous book/series. I gave that 4 stars.)

And now, obviously, I recognize that I have been too long away from blabbing about books. I’ll try to do better with my next East Of Eden post. Whoops – that was probably due today?

Carry on. Toodles.


I really can’t explain why I haven’t been in the mood to listen to a book. I’ve been BUSY? and got out of the habit. I’ll mow the lawn tomorrow, plug in to The Count of Monte Cristo and see if I remember much. I’ll let you know how it goes.


I HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

Literary Road Trip

I had the pleasure of attending a poetry reading in a lovely setting last week:  IMG_3199 The Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington CT. The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival is held Wednesday evenings throughout the summer. We enjoyed headliner IMG_3210 Frank Bidart, opening poet Benjamin Grossberg and music entertainment IMG_3192 Alien Folk Music.

“then the voice in my head said



― Frank BidartIn the Western Night: Collected Poems, 1965-1990

Unfortunately, I didn’t take the opportunity to purchase Bidart’s book but it is on my wishlist and I encourage anyone to seek out and attend such an event with this poet. Mr. Bidart was fabulous at reading his poems and was a delight to experience in this beautiful setting. We had a lovely lovely time.

The next day, I visited the Mark Twain House in Hartford. IMG_3216 IMG_3217 IMG_3218 Now I’m inspired to read a Mark Twain. I *think* I have read Tom Sawyer but I really am not sure about that and probably should attempt Huck Finn but does anyone have a suggestion? He is one of those great American authors whose works are so familiar that it is difficult to decide what to read. I’m thinking that an audio experience might be the way to go.

“Go to heaven for the climate and hell for the company.”  (so many great quotes from Sam, yes?!)


Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

Hops and Glory

Thoughts hagbypb One Man’s Search for the Beer that Built the British Empire by Pete Brown, Macmillan 2009, 458 pages, tradeback

I like beer.

I like IPAs.

IPA  =  India Pale Ale

I have always explained to my friends that IPAs are a style of beer that the Brits developed to survive the trip to India so the boys there could enjoy their favorite beverage. You know, way back before refrigeration. When transport was on the Tall Ships.

Europa <– click here to book your adventure on this gorgeous vessel, the Europa….

I did not realize that we Americans and our craze for craft beer started the trend to brew IPAs once again, I just know that I like the hoppy robust REAL beer taste.

I am a big fan of almost all the Sam Adams’ IPAs, Loose Cannon, Harpoon, and the latest purchase of Boulevard’s Pop-Up Session IPA. (Boulevard is in Kansas City; I am a fan of many of Boulevard’s beer and am excited I can now buy it in Massachusetts.)

If it says IPA on the board and/or label, I will try it. I know a few I don’t like (looking at you Mayflower.) I adore both Cape Cod Beer’s IPA and Racecourse IPA from Goodfellows – both locally brewed.

Some of the fun of drinking craft beer is that you can’t get all the beers because of liquor laws and traveling distances required to maintain quality. Which means when I travel, I get to drink MORE BEER!

This book was a birthday gift from a dear friend. I read it on a Beer Festival trip to Philadelphia earlier this month. IMG_3077 (from Varga Bar – one of my favorites, had to get a shot of the ceiling…)

I had a good time.

Part of the reason I had a good time was because I enjoyed this book. It’s the tale of the author’s attempt to recreate the voyage of a keg of IPA on the same route from Burton on Trent to Calcutta.

And I rate this book FOUR slices of pie: British Meat Pie since I have a photo: IMG_1652 and this book is most definitely geared to a British sensibility. I think. Sadly, I didn’t keep track of all the terms/slang I didn’t know.


If you like IPAs and like history and enjoy a good travel/adventure book, this book shouldn’t disappoint.

I just wish it had more pictures…




Copyright © 2007-2014. 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 prefer pi.


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My first attempt at cinnamon rolls. They don't look perfect but the taste is.


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