Archive for the 'Travel' Category

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.

Omnivore’s Dilemma

Thoughts odbymp by Michael Pollan, Penguin Audio 2006, ~16 hours

Narrated by Scott Brick.

  • National Book Critics Circle 2006 Award Finalist, Nonfiction

“Remarkably clearheaded book….A fascinating journey up and down the food chain.” (Publishers Weekly)

I had a brief and uninteresting post written for an attempt at a review of this book and then I reread Trish’s review from a year ago. I suggest you read that one because I agree with everything she says.

I do know people with secret mushroom foraging spots who are exactly as described in that section of the book. IMG_3025 (photo of mushroom garden art taken at TJ Maxx)


I am glad I can cross this off the tbr. I enjoyed listening to Mr. Brick narrate; I can see why he wins many awards for his audiobook work.


You have reached the end of this review, such as it is. This concludes my post.

Clicking on the book cover will take you to goodreads and/or click –> here <– for the search results for more book blogger reviews.

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.

The Martian

Thoughts tmbyawa by Andy Weir, Audible Audio 2013 (orig 2012), 10 hours 53 minutes

Narrated by R.C. Bray.

Oh dear. How do I begin?

I really did enjoy this and was captivated by what was happening to our friend Mark Watney, Astronaut.

Astronaut … left behind on Mars!

His crewmates thought he had died and retrieving his body would have endangered everyone! So they were not aware that he survives. How could they? Poor guy. But WOW – what a resourceful motivated dude!  And funny. I enjoyed hanging out with him even as my eyes glazed over listening to him do the math. And I love math and science. I did admire the guy’s smarts – I just didn’t calculate along with him when he was doing the cipherin’.

The narration was quite good. The story overall is exciting and funny and tense and OMG!!!  Will he survive? (of course, he will, right?)

I liked it. I just didn’t like it as OMG-ohGOLLY!!! Rah Rah that I did with my previous reads and so the rating looks bad but only in comparison.

THREE slices-O-pie.

If you like sciency and humor-filled life-or-death adventure stories, READ THIS.

I know I would have given it four slices if I had read this after less stellar reads. Just sayin’. IT IS GOOD! You will likely enjoy it!! SMILES


I am SO LOOKING FORWARD to the MOVIE!!! Ridley Scott and Matt Damon? Sure.



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.

The Sparrow

Thoughts tsbymdr The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell, Brilliance Audio 1996, 15 hrs 24 min

Narrated by David Colacci.

There are books that get recommended to you that you squint funny at the person and say,

“Really? You really think this sounds like a book I would like?”

So, you write it in down on a scrap of paper, or add to your tbr in goodreads, or just file it away mentally til that day it somehow finds its way into your hands, on your Kindle, or due to be picked up from the Library On-Hold shelf.

I am pretty sure that it was Jimmi who told me about this book. She seemed surprised I hadn’t heard of it. (Heck, I’m usually mildly surprised that I have never heard of a book when someone recommends such to me.)

It’s about a Jesuit — read “Catholic”, if you’re not Catholic. It’s probably more than that but hey, I’m not Catholic — mission to outerspace. Outer Space?

OK. Still with me?

I actually like science fiction books but I am not drawn to the genre. I might be if it is funny or hailed as super dooper classic that goes beyond genre. Or? I’m not sure. I mean, I haven’t even been able to read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy yet which means I can’t yet be considered a SciFi fan even if I can claim to have read Neuromancer and Snow Crash. (I’ve read A Wrinkle in Time and Ready Player One, too. Woo hoo!)

So this very interesting amazing group of people somehow get to meet and become friends and then be in the RIGHT PLACE at the RIGHT TIME and things fall right in line for them all to take a 17 year (earth years) trip to a planet that has been found to have SINGING. (see: “intelligent life”)

The coincidences cannot be just coincidences; they must have been arranged by God.

What makes this book so excellent and compelling is that you read that above paragraphs and  IT. WORKS.  Sure, coincidence or God. WHO CARES?! The story, people! It’s the story telling and the character building and the WOW!!  You just have to keep reading. Or listening, in my case. The narration is excellent. My only complaint on that is I usually listen at 1.25x speed and this sounded awful when read faster than ‘normal’ and so I had to listen just like it was read. Silly, minor, extremely minor complaint.

I am now recommending this book to many people. Maybe not to Rhonda but I am recommending to Marsha. Pretty sure that Holly would love it, and probably Gail, too. MBR said she loved it. AB wouldn’t go for it but she reads a particularly spicy genre.

This book was just so GOOD. It’s about faith. Faith in yourself, love, reality, purpose, whatever. Faith.

I am giving it 4.5 slices of pie. It might show 5 stars in goodreads, I can’t decide. Most of my goodreads friends gave it 5 stars – that in itself is amazing.

You want me to tell you more? So this Jesuit mission happens to take off for a visit to the planet that has singing. The members of the mission meet a primitive culture and settle in and learn and seem to really be making progress but of course, there must be more advanced cultures otherwise, how could the singing have been broadcast so that Earth could intercept the signals?  Well, if I told you that, I would have to give the spoiler symbol.

One member of the mission party makes it back to Earth. He is given time to heal from this ordeal but eventually there must be a reckoning. He must TELL WHAT HAPPENED.

The story begins with him and then goes back and forth between how everyone meets and the trip gets approved and arranged and unfolds. The heartbreaking conclusion is the final pieces of how the mission failed.

OH!  I think it will stay with me a long time. I do love when a story is suggested, and when I’m not quite sold, but I go with it anyway and then I get swept away.

Take the risk and experience The Sparrow.  sparrow2

PS. This happens to be the first in a duo, I think. Not a trilogy, am I right? The Sparrow is quite capable of being considered a stand-alone book and not one that requires anything more. (not like The Knife of Never Letting Go. UGH.) SO then for all of you who have read the second book that MDR wrote (Children of God)… should I?

The Goodreads description of the sequel says this, “… in Children of God, Russell further establishes herself as one of the most innovative, entertaining and philosophically provocative novelists writing today.

I’m more inclinded to read Doc, actually. I do hope I have found another favorite author to explore.




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.

The Death of Bees

Thoughts tdobbylo The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell, Harper Collins 2013, 320 pages. eBook

For my IRL Book Club.

FIRST Sentence: Izzy called me Marnie after her mother.

What’s it ABOUT: Before we read the sentence above, we are introduced to Marnie when she tells us it is Christmas Eve, that it is her 15th birthday and she just buried her parents in the backyard. So we know she must be a scrappy kid and now an orphan. We go on to hear her side of the story as well as her younger sister and also a bit – quite a bit – from the neighbor, Lenny, who takes the risk to care for the girls. It is not a pretty story – one of poverty and crime, drugs and “family gone wrong”, with menacing predators all around. There is hope but it is risky to reach for, or so Marnie believes.

What’s GOOD: Marnie is smart but does not have any examples of how being smart might save her. What she knows about life is to survive it but not how to escape and create something better. She is angry and has zero trust in adults unless they provide access to money. If she didn’t have her odd, musically-talented little sister to care for, she would likely be sunk. Nelly, the sister, craves love and is willing to take chances on those opportunities. I really liked Nelly. Marnie was a lot tougher and was angry with herself when she doubted and sensed her own fear.

“In the end I go to the garden and tell Izzy, she could never keep a secret before, but given her situation she’s great at keeping secrets. So is Gene, but then again always was.”

The tension is remarkable. Being cold in Scotland at the time, the parents have been buried in shallow graves — the dog next door is extremely curious what is under those flower bushes. Certainly has some funny moments but one knows it can’t end well.

What’s NOT so good: It is not a book of butterflies and daisies.

It is always a risky move to make the people you want to cheer for be characters with ugly behaviors but the author somehow succeeds in this. She provides a subtle hope that ‘bad’ people can rise above their poor decisions and change for the good. Some do, some do not, some we may never know. This book has few sentimental waverings, nor is it harshly cynical. This isn’t a criticism so my heading for this paragraph is misleading. I suspect the grittiness is what drove my friend to decide to not finish it. I spent some time trying to figure out what it was the HL found so objectionable and I think it was too dark. I’m thinking that she can’t abide child abuse and the situations like what Marnie and Nelly have to endure. And that’s OK: it aint pretty – just sayin’.

The LitLovers site for this book (the cover links to it) has Discussion Questions which I considered* answering for this post. Let’s discuss the title. The death of honeybees becomes a question and concern for Nelly but her sister Marnie can’t answer it and finally tells her the blunt sad truth that “no one knows!” and to SHUT UP about it. Nelly hates when she can’t get an answer for her questions; Marnie prefers to forget and endure. But Nelly knows this is one more example that the world just doesn’t care. I think the author is telling us that we/people/governments/whoever-is-in-charge don’t have a clue what to do nor how to deal with poverty. Shouldn’t someone figure this out? We are not doing a good job of helping our children.

FINAL thoughts: I liked the telling of this story. It is brutal and unique.

RATING:  Better than a three-slicer and not outstanding enough to be a five. That leaves me with four slices of pie.

Other REVIEWS: Judith at Leeswamme’s Blog has an excellent description of plot, the Literary Feline agrees that “It is dark and at times gritty”, AND  is very good (She also provides excellent plot), Caribousmom can’t quite recommend it and says it is “just too dark and left me feeling disheartened rather than hopeful.” Farmlane Books calls it a strange book, that it provoked strong reactions and she “Recommend(s) to book clubs who’d like an animated discussion!

I think this might be our best book club book discussion yet this year, based on the reviews I have read.  I heartily recommend you click the links above if you are interested in this story.


“Birds keep chirping and music keeps playing. Life continues as another life ebbs away.

We have seen death before, Marnie and I, a mountain of ice melting over time, drops of water freezing at your core reminding you every day of that which has vanished, but the despair we know today is a sadness sailing sorrow through every bone and knuckle.”



* And then I remembered that this blog is supposed to be FUN.




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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Can't wait for club tomorrow. Only 200 pages to go, tho. #wishIcouldreadfaster #muststoplookingupstuffonWiki


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