Category Archives: Words

Subdivision

Thoughts by J.Robt Lennon, Graywolf Press 2021, 231 pages

Challenge: TOB

Genre/Theme: Adult Lit / Trauma and Memory

Type/Source: Tradeback / Jessica the Blue Stocking sent it to me and I’m sending to Amy

What It’s About: Our unnamed protagonist finds herself renting a room after moving to a new neighborhood and embarks on finding a job and a place to live. She explores the subdivision, has adventures, purchases a smart device who attempts to keep her out of harms’ way, and she makes friends with a small boy and a crow. Sort of. She and the crow are more like acquaintances. She bluffs her way into a really strange job as a Phenomenon Analyst with experience in quantum tunneling. Then the windy weather picks up and she starts to remember things. It is truly an odd tale told strangely. Like a fever dream.

“Our Lady (of Perpetual Forbearance) shunned any adulation for her good deeds. Her followers took it to heart. They were so devoted to ignoring her achievements that they completely forgot she existed.”

Thoughts: Yet our MC is endearing somehow. I loved the way that her thoughts and actions were often in juxtaposition. Oh yea –there’s a puzzle that the boarding house proprietors want her to work on. The puzzle shifts with her memories. The whole thing was deftly and creatively told. I was along for the ride.

The situations and the memories and the angry fights with the bakemono, as well as the image of the puzzle suggest that she has experienced severe trauma of a car accident and suggests trauma of a failed marriage involving children. At least or at most, that’s what I got. The ending suggests hope but doesn’t offer much explanation.

My initial reaction to this scene was annoyance. How dare these disturbing alternate realities interrupt my seduction of this beautiful, smoky man!

Rating: Four slices of pie. Apple pie

“I left a slice of pie in my desk drawer,“ she said mournfully. “It’s probably halfway to the moon by now.”

 

Try this Roquefort Cheese & Caramelized Onion Tart from the Spruce Eats

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

In Concrete

Thoughts by Anne Garrétta, Deep Vellum 2021, 185 pages

Translated by Emma Ramadan, co-owner of one of my favorite indie bookstores: RiffRaff in PVD

Challenge: TOB 2022

Genre/Theme: I have no idea!

Type/Source: Tradeback / Personal purchase from Watermark Books

What It’s About: Two precocious French girls adore their tinkering big-idea whacky fix-it father and help him pour concrete to fix up the summer house amongst other things/places/etc. They defend the honor of neighbors and attempt to ditch school (well, our narrator does) and she tells her little sister stories of the escapades while waiting for rescue when said sister becomes encased in a cement mixing & pouring mishap. FULL of amusing wordplay and punny turns of phrase.

Thoughts: A fun book — if you aren’t trying to rush through it to get it done. Alas!

I really had to force myself to slow down and not rush this. I became enthralled with curiosity for HOW the translator managed to capture and play with the words in English, only assuming the jokes must have been different in the French. My questions were answered; the book includes notes from the translator. Fascinating stuff.

No grout about it!

Very clever, a lot of fun. Their POOR MOTHER! The entire family is quite endearing. I get how some thought it a bit overdone, perhaps; but I decided to relax and go with it and feel rewarded for my effort.

Rating: Four slices of pie. Easy as pie? no way.

“Once little sis and I had unblocked our glands, it was easy as pie.”

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

Invisible Man

Thoughts by Ralph Ellison, Random House Audio 2010 (orig 1952, 624 pages), 18 hours 36 min

Narration by Joe Morton. Five slices of pie on performance.

Challenge: Classics Club second list of 50, Litsy #BookSpinBINGO!

Genre/Theme: US Black Experience/History

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible and eBook / Kindle via Libby

What It’s About: OK, this is a complicated plot, if ever there was one. In fact, I wondered, though I’m hardly experienced to even suggest such a thing, if this is an Odyssey-like parallel. (I have NOT read the Odyssey and barely know any mythology). May I say that this is a SERIES of ADVENTURES? (maybeperhaps, Gulliver’s Travels? I haven’t read that, neither. Maybe it is its OWN dang odyssey/travels?!) Anyway. Our narrator begins with an explanation and example of how he is ‘invisible’. Then, he goes back to the beginning, but really it starts with his grandfather, then his yearning to be an educated and worthy person, and wowza,…. ALL the stuff along the way that influences or subverts this dream.

In trying to be “good” to the white man, Mr. Norton, who is a benefactor at his college, and importantly tasked with being his driver while in town (but obviously naive), he takes Norton to the dark sides of town. This gets our college-boy expelled and he still, in trying to do “right”, … yea, NO…; the forces are against him. And this jumps over the “HOW” he got to college story! THAT was not a comfortable experience and once, in NY –> just more NOT-comfortable experiences over and over again.

“But that’s a hundred-dollar bill. I take that an’ try to change it and the white folks’ll want to know my whole life’s history.” She snorted. “They want to know where I was born, where I work, and where I been for the last six months, and when I tell ’em they still gonna think I stole it.

This is a powerful work of literary art.

Rating: Four slices of sweet potato pie. Should I be giving it 5 out of respect and uniqueness/”same-as-it-ever-was” and importance? But golly, is it long. (BOOO! suck it up, buttercup!)

“…hot sweet potato pies… HOT FRIED PIES, I thought sadly, moving away. I would probably have indigestion if at one…”

Some lady in NC successfully got this book banned in a 2013 NC school district because it lacked innocence and was not appropriate for her 11th grade child. ELEVENTH GRADE!? Read article –>here<<–

On the other hand, a commenter to the YouTube Thug Notes for this novel, suggests that this text is perfect for writing AP lit essays and I find this an interesting factoid. Why, I wonder? Hmmmmm. I do appreciate Professor Sparky Sweets.

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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 Soul of Kindness

Thoughts by Elizabeth Taylor, Hachette Digital 2010 (orig 1964), 223 pages

Challenge: Classics Club second list of 50

Genre/Theme: Six Degrees of Separation?

Type/Source: eBook / Kindle sale

What It’s About: This is about connections and people who influence by those connections though some never meet. It’s about how ‘nice’ isn’t really nice, after all. There is SO MUCH going on and yet, there is little plot. My jam, for sure.

She always brought Alice from her pram or cradle when Ba and Meg called, behaving, with self-conscious generosity, like a nice child with a special toy to share.

Flora is so nice and she just wants everyone to be happy. She, of course, knows what is the best for everyone and believes the best for everyone and just knows, that if this-then-that, then all would be happy. Yet, she also believes that she is the sun and all should revolve around her in her magnificence happy-attention sunshine. Life doesn’t work that way, however, and some planets orbit a different rotational path.

…the book by Henry Miller Patrick Barlow had lent her, which she was reading with such mild surprise. (‘What does this word mean, Richard?’ ‘Truly? Well I suppose it had to be called something.’ How had she lived so long without knowing? he wondered.)

Wow. I must read everything now.

Rating: Five slices of gooseberry pie.  LOTS of pie mentions!

Today would be the longest time she had ever spent with him, and her happiness brimmed over. It was bliss to have this lying ahead of her – the train journey, his company all the time, the Vivaldi records perhaps, and Mrs Clarke’s cold game pie.

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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 Partly Cloudy Patriot

Thoughts by Sarah Vowell, Simon & Schuster 2002, 197 pages

Challenge: Litsy Book Spin Bingo

Genre/Theme: Nonfiction / Politics and Citizenship, History

Type/Source: Hardcover / used book store $1

What It’s About: Essays on politics, former presidents and their libraries, some travel, some celebrity commentary, some US to Canada comparison, and more.

Thoughts: I have read two more of her books – her first was published prior to this: Take the Cannoli in 2000 and the second one after The Wordy Shipment 2008 having somehow missed Assassination Vacation from 2005. She produces a new collection every 2-4 years, it seems. She is on the radio and probably is a guest on bunches of podcasts? maybe? but otherwise, I don’t know what she’s up to. She’s not on Twitter, which is a shame but I totally understand.

Reading about voter restrictions, election fraud accusations, assaults on democracy… and realizing she is referencing the political climate of the turn of the decade (century!) into the 2000s — makes me both annoyed and fearful and weirdly relieved; things never change, nothing is new.

Rating: Three slices of cherry pie.  

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Thoughts by Lewis Carroll, Aerie Books Ltd 1992 (orig (1871), 112 pages

Challenge: Litsy Book Spin! #DoubleSpin, actually

Genre/Theme: Children’s Book

Type/Source: paperback / used book store $1

What It’s About: A little girl has fantastical adventures with talking animals, size-alternating mushrooms, nonsensical tea parties, and games of croquet with moving parts and beheadings. Yikes!

Thoughts: I really wasn’t all that keen on reading this having attempted it once and for whatever reason just didn’t appeal. But that nagging thought that “I *REALLY* should read this” and maybe even a touch of FOMO had me put it on my second Classic Club 50.

It was better than I thought it would be.

Rating: Fours slices of pie.

” I passed by his garden, and marked, with one eye,

How the Owl and the Panther were sharing a pie”

Ok, so let’s talk Litsy: I’m doing all the things this October! (If you want to know the details of it, I can give you the person who hosts and how to find her explanation page. It’s difficult to find by searching for some odd reason.) The photo above shows my October Book Spin Bingo card. My next post will feature the other spin number that I’ve read. I read the DoubleSpin before the Spin Spin, by mistake.

Once I finish my current audiobook of Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison — I’ve got over 6 hours yet to go — I will have BINGO! and if I can get Ask Again, Yes! by Mary Beth Kean completed, I’ll have another BINGO! woot, woot!

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. 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.

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 © 2007-2022. 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 © 2007-2022. 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 © 2007-2022. 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 © 2007-2022. 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.