Category Archives: Words

Effin’ Birds

Thoughts by Aaron Reynolds, Ten Speed Press 2019, 208 pages

Challenge: n/a

Genre/Theme: Nonfiction / Postcards / Cursing / Birds

Type/Source: Gift from Stef of blog A Stone in the River

Recommended by: I saw a tweet about this collection and RT’d it; either I @’d Stefanie or she happened to see it… then she ACTED upon it!

What It’s About: A book of 100 postcards encapsulating insults and ventings of frustration.

“… something about or by a pie-eyed bird thinking something fuck-worthily inappropriate…”

– (I mailed it before I wrote it down)

Thoughts: I laughed. I immediately wrote Stef a thank you before I realized that she included a card explaining how and why she sent me this amazing super wonderful thoughtful gift.

SHE MET THE AUTHOR! She had the author sign me a note! too cool.

I posted the pics on Litsy

I immediately thought of 1 or 2 friends that might laugh if I sent. And I shared with my husband who assured me that pretty much everyone I already write letters to would probably survive (and laugh) if I sent. So I did. I am.

I refrained from writing my mother-in-law.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

” …I hate people.”

(I don’t, really…)

Let me know if you want one! Some are… quite spicy. I can put craft tape to cover anything if delicate sensibilities might be offended. (Which is what I did for Stacy Buckeye‘s birthday card! LOL)

 

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.

Hood Feminism

Thoughts by Mikki Kendall, Viking 2020, 267 pages

Challenge: Self-education and Professional

Genre/Theme: Nonfiction / Feminism

Type/Source: eBook and hard cover, both library

Recommended by: [Cover links to gr; this link goes to my review.]

What It’s About: subtitled: Notes From the Women That a Movement Forgot

“There’s nothing feminist about having so many resources at your fingertips and choosing to be ignorant. Nothing empowering or enlightening in deciding that intent trumps impact. Especially when the consequences aren’t going to be experienced by you, but will instead be experienced by someone from a marginalized community.”

– Mikki Kendall

Thoughts: I am not well-read on the foundational readings of feminism. That said, I believe in equal rights equal pay equal respect. I know little of the history of the movement. I choose to not be ignorant. (I am weak and working on the impact over intent consideration. And if you have heard me at my most admonishmenting: I am working on me, to be better.)

What I do have is some experience with less-than-mediocre white men getting ahead and I’ve seen exceptionally bright and capable black women be disregarded. Me, myself, I have privilege; I just want a simple life that is quiet and safe and allows me to read my books and watch my movies and plant my plants and walk my dog. Love and hug the family on holidays and then leave me alone. However and sadly, I have sat back confused and even be frightfully agog with ‘what just happened?’ when personally witnessing or listening to what I consider WRONG THINKING. I’m saddened by this. I’ve experienced blatant misogyny and harassment and survive with mostly confusion, if not lost opportunity and advancement. Perhaps, maybe, I do not want opportunity and advancement, that is likely my own issues to deal with. I get it but I also don’t. But yea, I feel like I’m settling. I’m settling with safety and security in my little bubble.

I also know white privileged women who are far away from understanding and respecting the Notes as explained here by Ms. Kendall. I have had women tell me that it disgusts them to drive by poor houses on the highway like it was a personal insult to them. I’ve seen those posts on FB that express horror, anger, and indignation at what the “libtards are doing to take away their freedoms”. And I don’t confront it – the “it” conflicting image or how or what — that the United States is supposed to be for ALL; that systematically, marginalized people are exploited and stepped on. I don’t have the power inside to formulate the words and argument required to withstand whatever the backlash might be. The backlash of outrage “I’m not racist?!” Oh, but yes, you are – you/we are supporting a racist system.” I am not strong, I’ve never been able. I also fear a fight would not be a process that would get to a successful outcome that would align with the ideas and ideals needed to respect Ms. Kendall’s truth. But I should try.

“No one needs a savior to ride in, take over, and decide for them what would be the best approach to solve a problem. No one has time to play emotional caretaker for allies who would be accomplices, in general, if you have come to these spaces looking to take things away for your benefit instead of looking to contribute, than you’re already doing it wrong.”

I want to contribute.

I want to contribute.

This book has me signing up for the League of Women Voters. It’s my start. And I’ll be buying this book. To share.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

” …the time a guy tried to rob my mother at an ATM and pointed a gun at me to make her comply is as American and mundane as apple pie..”

Do better. Be better.

 

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.

Did That Just Happen?!

Thoughts Beyond “Diversity” – Creating Sustainable and Inclusive Organizations by Dr. Stephanie Pinder-Amaker and Dr. Lauren Wadsworth, Beacon Press 2021, 203 pages

Challenge: Self and Professional

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit

Type/Source: Hard cover, Purchased from an Indie bookstore

What It’s About: This fabulous guide explains everything DEI.

Beyond ‘microagressions’ – use the term IRA for identity-related aggressions.

Thoughts: I am a corporate learning facilitator which means I am the person who does a lot of the talking in our training workshops. I bought this to not only see if we as a company are on the right track but to see how I can nudge and shift and pay attention to what is truly needed and HOW to deliver.

I very much appreciate the walk-throughs provided in this book, the what to say and the what NOT to say and why things are problematic. This book delivers.

“I’m sorry that happened. That is NOT okay.” No need to fix anything in that moment. Just listen.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”

Toni Morrison

 

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.

Ella Minnow Pea

Thoughts A Novel in Letters by Mark Dun, Anchor 2014 (orig 2001), 208 pages

Challenge: n/a

Genre/Theme: Graphic Memoir, Nonfiction

Type/Source: eBook, Libby

What It’s About: This is another title that has been on my tbr for what feels like forever. This time, I intend to overcome by hesitancy of reviewing due to time away from the habit and give you my synopsis (to the 2 or 3 of you who are sweet enough to visit and read this.)

Ella is a person. (I hadn’t realized this until I encountered in the story – see? I really do NOT read what books are about! I just think, “oooo this is supposed to be good, I should tbr it.”) She lives on a fictional island off the coast of South Carolina.

The story starts when a tile falls from the signage of the Memorial dedicated to the island’s founder and hero – the guy who penned the phrase “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

The leaders of this community thus then decree that the letter that has fallen must cease to be used in the vocabulary, the spoken and written words! of the inhabitants. MAYHEM ENSUES when more letters fall to the ground and are stricken from use on penalty of … public scorn, banishment or death.

“As we were all gathering for breakfast, courtesy of an early-morning raid on the amply stocked Willingham family larder, we learned that Harton Mangrove had again tried to take his own life, this time by repeatedly whacking himself in the head with a heavy wooden rolling pin.”

This story isn’t just about letters but is TOLD in letters! Oh the cleverness! the ability to convey thoughts and feelings via correspondence progressively (?) diminishedly! as the letters are no longer legal.

Thoughts: This was such a fun read. I was quite amazed at the cleverness.

I was sad, though, that the resolution seemed much to be based on LUCK rather than power-of-the-people because YES, this has political overtones of fascism. It is not about character development and nuance. It is about plot plot plot OH NO! finally Ella wins the day!! Of course she does. But it still annoyed me; ever so slightly. DID SHE REALLY WIN? or was she just lucky enough to pay attention? Does it matter – evil was defeated, so YAY.

Rating: Four slices of pie. I count the rolling pin and yes, pizza pie counts.

“Hundreds of words await ostracism from our functional vocabularies: waltz and fizz and squeeze and booze and frozen pizza 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.

Whereabouts

Thoughts by Jhumpa Lahiri, Alfred A. Knopf 2021, 163 pages

Translated from Italian.

Challenge: 20 Books of Summer, TOB Summer Camp

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit, Woman Thinking About Life

Type/Source: Hardcover, Library

What It’s About: Our unnamed main character narrates these vignettes of her days and the places these days take her. She excels at solitude.

“The tenderness he sets aside for me is enough.“

Her father was stingy, stingy at love and felt his family was a burden. Her mother never found her footing and took it out on the daughter. Each chapter seemed to have powerful last lines.

I mourned those wasted tickets, and that trip never taken, more than I mourned for you.

Thoughts: Provocatively written. Is provocative too strong a word? I could not stop reading; it was an insistent little book. It “evok[ed my] interest, attention, or and admiration in a powerfully irresistible way.” (the definition of compelling.)

Disoriented, lost, at sea, at odds, astray, bewildered, confused, uprooted, turned around.

I’m related to these related terms. These words are my abode, my only foothold.

(from Nowhere, page 153)

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned. However, there is a chapter that mentions pastry often and another had me searching for cat’s tongue cookies.

We say goodbye, separate. Then we, too, become two shadows projected onto the wall: a routine spectacle, impossible to capture.

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

A Tale for the Time Being

Thoughts by Ruth Ozeki, Viking 2013, 433 pages

Challenge: TOB Favorites

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit / Time Travel

Type/Source: eBook / Library -Kindle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—D gen Zenji, Uji

 

Up is down. Down is up.

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Library Book

Thoughts by Susan Orlean, Simon & Schuster 2018, 317 HC pages

Narrated by the author, 12 hours 9 minutes

Challenge: none

Genre/Theme: NonFiction/History – Libraries, LA Library Fire 1986, more

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible

What It’s About: Orlean talks about libraries in general, a library specific – the fire at the main branch in LA, the people who work there now, the people who worked there then: in 1986, when a fire erupted in the stacks, and her personal memories of using and loving the library. And more! the history of the building itself, the architect, the craziness of some of the former Chief Librarians, the case accusing Harry Peak of arson, the changing landscape of prosecuting the crime of arson, all sorts of good stuff.

Thoughts: I very much enjoyed this. I sped it up to 1.8x because whoa! does Ms. Orlean talk slow. It jumps around, it goes back and forth in time, so in some respects, this is perfect for audio and in others, not great. Very interesting discussion of the male and female in regards to who held the position of LA Librarian over time.

In Senegal, the polite expression for saying someone died is to say his or her library has burned. When I first heard the phrase, I didn’t understand it, but over time I came to realize it was perfect. Our minds and souls contain volumes inscribed by our experiences and emotions; each individual’s consciousness is a collection of memories we’ve cataloged and stored inside us, a private library of a life lived.

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

.“librarians should “read as a drunkard drinks or as a bird sings or a cat sleeps or a dog responds to an invitation to go walking, not from conscience or training, but because they’d rather do it than anything else in the world.”

 

 

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.

The Resisters

Thoughts by Gish Jen, Knopf 2021 (orig 2020), 305 pages

Challenge: TOB

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit, Dystopia, Baseball, YA?

Type/Source: Tradeback/Indie bookstore

What It’s About: A former college professor and his public aid attorney wife have a baby girl who turns out is a baseball prodigy. They live on ‘the wrong side of the tracks’ in this dystopian former United States that have separated people into two groups of have and have not: the “Netted” and the “Surplus”; the land-dwellers and the swamp or boat people.

The narrator is the father, a tinkerer and baseball coach – not because he knows and loves baseball, but to nurture the gifts that his daughter obviously has and wants to develop. His lawyer wife takes on cases against the government proving that actions of the ‘system’ are detrimental to the Surplus population and violation of “FREEDOM”. The Surplus freedom is limited, let’s say. They are constantly under surveillance, receive no educational opportunities, yet are expected to be grateful because they get housing and free food. But is the food tainted?

Daughter grows up, is recruited to join the Netted’s baseball team, is just about as perfect and lovable and talented as she can be – and I loved it!

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I think it was the tone; rather upbeat for a family that is abused more than most for their efforts to “fight the man”. I loved the family dynamic. I loved Grant’s mother’s little pithy sayings. (Grant is the father/narrator), I loved Gwen being so badass and trusting and nice and still a badass. Her mother, too. She was all business yet had a big heart.

I’ve read that some thought this heavy-handed and the characters flat. But I loved it. Very readable, laugh out loud funny sometimes, drama and excitement – especially if you love baseball. Also, I do want to say, that I think the reader who is not a fan of sports could still find much to enjoy in this. I also want to suggest that if you are a reader who sees words, then the audiobook may not be your best avenue. I needed to SEE the words; Ondi and Auntie sound too much alike and the portmanteau words that describe much of “AutoAmerica” (Automatic America) just didn’t register until I saw the letters.

Rating: Five slices of pie. OH! This book has pie!!! LOTS of pie. I hope Instagrammer Pie and Book Phenom @PieLadyBooks reads this one because I would love to see what she would create.

But later she said that she pictured Eleanor sitting at that big table with the apple pie untouched in front of her, and everything came together.”

and why doesn’t my end quote copyright show up in the tiny print I want??

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.

Tender is the Flesh

Thoughts by Augustina Bazterrica, Scribner 2020, 211 pages

Translated from the Spanish by Sarah Moses

Challenge: TOB

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit, South American Lit, Dystopia, Cannabalism

Type/Source: Tradeback/Indie bookstore

What It’s About: What does cannibalism look like? This book offers imagery and description, a generation after the Transition.

Our protagonist Marcos is skilled at what he does – problem solve. But he hates his job, hates his life, hates the world. He has suffered personal loss – his son has died of what I assume was SIDS, his wife has left — taken her grief home to her mother, his father suffers from dementia in a nursing home. Marcos must work to afford his father’s care and protection.

His job is right hand man to the chief of one of the best of the “special” meat processing plants – humans bred and slaughtered specifically to be a food source. The book explores the language, the conspiracy theories, the adjustment of society to the eradication of diseased animals (or so says the government) to embracing the new protein delicacies, the fear of birds, the need for Scavengers to be a balancing cog in the food chain. It’s all quite revolting.

Thoughts: The author skillfully brings the reader into a sympathy with Marcos; we share his disgust and feelings of being trapped. Will he, can he escape?

Rating: Three slices of pie. Four possibly for story-build but … I just can’t say I enjoyed this one. No pie mentioned.

SO. Possible Spoilers? The other night, we watched an episode of The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, Beyond the Pale, and I reflected on what happens at the end of this book in relation to that story; of a soldier in England who sends for his English wife who cannot have children of her own. The social and cultural entanglements and justifications, surrogate motherhood, acceptance and scandal, bias and deep-seated beliefs concerning classism and race. That’s all, just got me thinking.

and why doesn’t my end quote copyright show up in the tiny print I want??