The Hunter

Thoughts  by Richard Stark, Blackstone Audio 2010, 5 hours

Narrated by John Chancer.

Challenge: Classics Club 50  SPIN (I never made an official list for this one due May 1st; I found out to late to post so I used the prior list.)
Genre: Noir Crime Fiction
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: It was in the slot of the latest spin number.

MOTIVATION for READING: Anyone see the movie Payback with Mel Gibson and Maria Bello? It’s based on Stark/Westlake’s book, The Hunter. I wanted to read it because the movie is a favorite.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The Hunter is a character called Parker and he is a small time independent kind of crook. He is not afraid to eliminate anything he disagrees with! This is a violent book.

Parker survives a job-gone-wrong (for him). The others thought they got away with it — unfortunately for them, Parker didn’t die. He comes back for his portion of the take.

WHAT’s GOOD: The language and characters were true to the movie. (How often do we turn that around like that?) Many scenes seemed lifted verbatim.

I was able to disconnect Parker from Mel Gibson in my head as I listened, but I was glad to keep my images of Carter, Bronson and Fairfax. Such a great cast.

What’s NOT so good: I said it was violent, right? The Maria Bello part was altered, as was the ending. You could say that the book inspired the film and the film goes much further (also violent). The tone is similar. The movie might offer a bit more humor. And Lucy Liu.

At five hours, this is a short story (compared to my usual audiobooks).

FINAL THOUGHTS: I enjoyed this adventure to read the book that a fave movie was based on. I’m glad to knock off a classic from the 50 AND that it was a SPIN finished by the deadline. Yay me. And there was pie!

RATING: Three slices.

$90,000 is a nice pie to split.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.
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Summer of My German Soldier

Thoughts  by Bette Greene, Puffin Modern Classics 1973, 230 pages

Challenge: Neighborhood Book Club
Genre: Middle School Lit
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library

MOTIVATION for READING: Our club usually allows hosts to choose the book we read. Rarely are we offered a vote: this was the sole book suggested and thus the book we read. (Which I’m fine with, not saying I don’t like how we pick books. I’ve actually never been in a club that selects an entire year’s slate… Always “as we go.”)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A 12 year old Jewish girl harbors a German POW during WWII.

WHAT’s GOOD/NOT so GOOD:  Apparently, it was a big hit years ago as a middle school read. I don’t know if it is still taught in schools but I thought the main character’s innocence wouldn’t hold up for current 12 yo’s interpretation. But I could be wrong. I found her naïve and annoying. But maybe that’s just me.

She’s smart but she can’t figure out how to shut up. But maybe that’s a good thing for a girl to not learn. We do often learn to shut up and take it and this book is a good reminder of why so many girls do: survival. She had some excellent cheerleaders in her corner so let’s hope she grew up to be a strong take-no-shit woman who lived life on her own terms. Her childhood sucked.

Just being in the same room with you, Mother, is like being feast for a thousand starving insects.

At first, I read too many reviews and was creeped out by the romance idea of a young girl with a 22 year old man. This is a friendship and not more. If I hadn’t been warned about ‘the kiss’, I might have missed it. I “thought too much” rather than read for enjoyment. As the story progressed (I admit I skipped around for the first third), I began to enjoy myself more.

It seems to me that a man who is incapable of humor is capable of cruelty.  

Cruelty is after all, cruelty, and the difference between the two men may have more to do with their degrees of power than their degrees of cruelty.

Trying to calculate different degrees of cruelty is a lot like trying to calculate the different degrees of death.

This is not a happy tale and for a coming of age, I’m not sure how much Patty wised up but I will assume she makes it out. I really do not want to read the sequel. I probably would have loved this book as a kid.

I can’t figure out how her grandparents were so lovely but her parents were despicable people…

Someone else wondered in a goodreads review, how Patty was treated for the first 5 years of her life before her adored perfect angel sister came along. Good question.

When people’s emotions are involved they don’t want to listen.

Tonight is book club, we’ll see what the discussion brings. Shall I take notes and report back? I think I shall!

RATING: Three slices of lemon meringue pie.

After we had eaten out hamburgers and French fried and drunk down our coffee, Mr. Grimes waved to the waitress, “What kind of pie you got?”

She gave her hair, which was the color of brown wrapping paper, a good scratching. “We’re all out of apple.” Nodding in the direction of the counter, she said, “Gave that feller the last piece. “

“What kind have you got left?” asked Mr. Grimes, not bothering to keep the irritation out of his voice.

“‘Bout the only thing I know we got is some sugar doughnuts left over from the morning and some lemon meringue pie.”

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Petty: The Biography

Thoughts  by Warren Zanes, Audible Studios 2015, 14 hours

Narrated by the author

Challenge: none
Genre: Rock Biography
Type/Source: Audioboo / Audible
 Why I read this now: I don’t remember why I purchased when I saw it, but I don’t regret it.

MOTIVATION for READING: I am fascinated by singer/songwriters. It was April. April was Poetry Month.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: All about Tom’s life and his band The Heartbreakers.

WHAT’s GOOD: The literary style. I am craving the music. I also enjoyed the bonus material – the interview at the end where Zanes precisely articulates his motivations and goals for this project. I would read another book by Zanes.

What’s NOT so good: It does not go in chronological order so I would occasionally say to myself, “Hey Self, are we back in the 80s here are the 90s?” and I would answer, “Self, don’t worry about it. Just go with it.”

She’s a good girl, loves her mama
Loves Jesus and America too
She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis
Loves horses and her boyfriend too

It’s a long day living in Reseda
There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard
And I’m a bad boy ’cause I don’t even miss her
I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah, I’m free, free fallin’

And all the vampires walkin’ through the valley
Move west down Ventura Boulevard
And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows
And the good girls are home with broken hearts

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah, I’m free, free fallin’

Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’, now I’m
Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’, now I’m

I wanna glide down over Mulholland
I wanna write her name in the sky
I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for a while

 

FINAL THOUGHTS: I remember listening to Damn the Torpedos because it was an album my brother owned. After that, I must admit, I never listened to a Petty disc again –  only loving the many top hits that the radio would play year after year after year. I really didn’t have a good concept of how long and how strong he has been performing. I’m really not one of these music aficionados. I like what I like when I hear it but I don’t chase it like I do ‘books’.

But for some reason, I like musician biographies. (And comedian memoirs.) I  have read Patti Smith’s Just Kids, I own Bob Dylan’s Chronicles but just haven’t read it yet, I might be interested in Springsteen’s but I have never really jumped onto his bandwagon.

You know sometimes, I don’t know why
But this old town just seems so hopeless
I ain’t really sure, but it seems I remember the good times
Were just a little bit more in focus
But when she puts her arms around me
I can somehow rise above it
Yeah, man when I got that little girl standin’ right by my side
You know, I can tell the whole wide world shove it, hey!

Here comes my girl, here comes my girl
Yeah, and she looks so right, she is all I need tonight

Every now and then I get down to the end of the day
And I have to stop and ask myself why I’ve done it
It just seems so useless to have to work so hard
And nothin’ ever really seems to come from it

And then she looks me in the eye and says,
“We’re gonna last forever”
And man, you know I can’t begin to doubt it
No, ’cause it just feels so good and so free and so right
I know we ain’t never gonna change our minds about it – hey!

I do miss those leisurely days when I would put on an album and listen and listen again. Ya know, preteen and teenage years. I had April Wine (The Nature of the Beast), REO Speedwagon, and Styx (though, that might have been my brother’s too.) I loved Queen’s The Game. Wore that one out. But I was never a collector. True confession, my first album was Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits…

But to hear how many albums Petty made with and without The Heartbreakers and Mudcrutch and The Traveling Wilburys! Wowza. I have a lot of music to listen to.

To celebrate April as Poetry Month, here’s the link to the amazingly long list of Tom Petty lyrics.

Well, I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up and the world got still
I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Now the good ol’ days may not return
And the rocks might melt, and the sea may burn

Now some say life will beat you down
Yeah, it will break your heart, steal your crown
So I started out for God knows where
But I guess I’ll know when I get there

I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
But coming down is the hardest thing
Yeah, that’s

I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
(I’ll tell you one thing, baby, I’m gonna learn to fly)
Coming down is the hardest thing
(Yeah, and fly over my troubles, fly over my worries)

I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
(Yes, it is, yes it will, gonna work, fly)
Coming down
Baby, that’s the hardest thing

 

Rating:  Four slices of pie. No clip of pie mention that I could remember.

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What’s your favorite Petty song?

Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Suggestions for a Book Club, 3rd Edition

My Massachusetts Book Club honors me with occasional requests to suggest a title. This is Edition Three!

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The first time, I sug’d some lovely fiction choices and they chose HEFT by Liz Moore. I highly recommend the post about the books if you click on this link HERE. 

The second time, I suggested this list from which they choose State of Wonder.

Now, I get to do it again: Care’s BOOK CLUB FIVE. (Links to my goodreads bookshelf.) Or keep reading.

  1. My current book club is reading Behind Her Eyes  by Sarah Pinborough which I chose because I had heard it has quite the #WTF ending. “…takes the modern day love triangle and not only turns it on its head, but completely reinvents it in a way that will leave readers reeling.” It sounded like a fun one just to have that reaction to discuss. The blurb reads like one crazy dramatic mess. At only 20% in, I’m reserving judgement but it is very much a setup for secrets and manipulation. It’s not quite sweeping me to that can’t-put-it-down place but I’m intrigued enough to finish it.  THIS IS THE BOOK CHOSEN FOR AN END OF JUNE DISCUSSION._______________________________________________
  2. The only nonfiction I’m suggesting this time is Trevor Noah’s  Born a Crime. I’m recommending it all over the place. It’s just fascinating, funny and heartbreaking, and delivered perfectly on audio. I very much recommend you listen to the audiobook – his voice is the whipped cream on that pie. __________________________________________________
  3. They have read The Underground Railroad so why not suggest another excellent slave narrative that was big for 2016:  Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I enjoyed Homegoing more than TUR, I found Homegoing much easier to connect to the characters even if for so few pages each. They were alive to me, they lived and breathed and laughed and cried and I with them. I was into the swing through history and was captivated by the family thread. I recommend . ___________________________________________________
  4. The Mothers  by Brit Bennett was THE book of controversy from 2016 so I must suggest it for any book club. A book that pivots on a personal abortion but that issue is not the driving theme. Would you agree?   __________________________________________________
  5. Finally, I checked into hot reads from a few years back and found this: Station Eleven  by Emily St. John Mandel. Go ahead and laugh at my review (here) because I titled it Station Ten and a Half.  Two years later, I appreciate the book more. I really can’t account how or why. Perhaps I should reread. Here’s a scary thought! I should reread all the books I have ever announced publicly that I want to reread!!!!  LOL. Great quote I grabbed for my 5 slice of pie review: “No one had any idea, it turned out. None of the older Symphony members knew much about science, which was frankly maddening given how much time these people had had to look things up on the Internet before the world ended.” (I just might reread it to see if it mentions pie.) __________________________________________________

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Have you read any of these? Which would you recommend as a book club read? Which would you most like to read? I will share which was chosen by the club as soon as I hear…

 

Copyright © 2007-2016. 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.

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The Disappearing Spoon

Thoughts : And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean, Back Bay Books 2010, 416 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Cutlery Category
Genre: Pop Science
Type/Source:  Tradeback Paperback / Local Indie Bookstore
 Why I read this now: I think it took me all month to read it. I wanted something new and different after all the 2016 pub’d books I had furiously flown through.

MOTIVATION for READING: I like fun science. This satisfied the cutlery challenge and looked interesting. My other option was Consider the Fork about technology and food. (Yep, another nonfiction.) If you want a title with a knife, I only recommend The Knife of Never Letting Go if you have ALL books in the series. I hate cliffhangers.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The author walks the reader through the elements of the Chemistry Periodic Table regaling with history, personalities, OF COURSE some science and other oddball tidbits to fascinate.

Jupiter is a fantasy camp for elements.

WHAT’s GOOD: Easy to understand sections about how they figure the age of the world. I enjoyed the personal anecdotes about the fascinating scientists that worked out these challenges. The author does a fair job of recognizing and discussing privilege in science/history. And how much we still don’t understand – the chapter on the alpha constant! It’s everywhere – totally fascinating. He highlights many recent stories that show how science of the elements is still evolving. [doh. The study of medicine/pharmacology, anyone?!] I know that I have internal bias that science discovery was all done ‘back then’ and when he mentions research and experiments past 2005 — I admit, I am embarrassed to wonder “hey- that is recent!” Maybe it is the realization that I have lived some of this history but how can I be that old already? It really is an odd thing to sense one’s own aging; it still befuddles me.

“If anything runs deeper than a mathematician’s love of variables, it’s a scientist’s love of constants.”

What’s NOT so good: I had to have two bookmarks – one for the text and the other in the footnotes section. I’ll never remember most of it! Only occasionally, the presentation is dense and extremely technical but also easy to skip over and get to the good stuff.

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you like science history, this is a don’t-miss. But then again, if you really love science history, you probably know a lot of it already.

It often reminded me of that episode of the Big Bang Theory when Sheldon adopts the cats…

RATING: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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 Intuitionist

Thoughts  by Colson Whitehead, Anchor Books Doubleday 1999, 255 pages

Challenge: none
Genre: Literary Fiction
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library

When Pie-faced Annie shakes off her stupor, she will recall a strange dream about elevators and falling, and will chalk it up to falling off the toilet, which will happen in about an hour.”

MOTIVATION for READING: With Whitehead winning the Pulitzer for The Underground Railroad, I wanted to try something else he has written. This one appealed to me the most and it was available at my library.

At the pounding of the door, she closes the book (the pages resist each other, so jealous and protective are they of Lila Mae’s touch).”

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Lila Mae Watson is the first black woman Elevator Inspector. She keeps to herself, trusts few, is dedicated to the work. She is on Team-Intuitionism. Most of the old-boys-club members of the Department where Lila Mae works are Team-Empiricism. One day, an elevator crashes in a brand new building just as the Mayor is about to show it off to dignitaries and VIPS. Luckily, no one was inside the box. A cable was cut? broke? what HAPPENED? Unfortunately, Lila Mae was the last person to ‘see’ the elevator in proper working condition. Was it a set up? But why and by whom? Games are afoot, as they say; none are what they seem.

Lila Mae is determined to clear her name and even more than that, to understand what is really important.

Lila Mae’s been a practicing solipsist since before she could walk, and the days’ recent events are doing irreparable damage to her condition.”

WHAT’s GOOD: I really enjoyed the writing and how the story unfolded. Occasionally, we would get flashbacks from Lila Mae’s childhood, her education to be an Inspector, and her first year after moving to the big city. Her father’s ambitions played a role but she is never sentimental. Also fun, is how the story expects you to already have a respect for the importance due the profession of Elevator Inspection, and everything builds upon that. Why, surely everyone wants to grow up and be inspect elevators, right? Of course, we do! It is fascinating how subtle Whitehead creates this world. Language and atmosphere, with odd originality in characters and descriptions.

It’s just darn clever and beautifully expressed.

That the devil still walks the earth and architecture is no substitute for prayer, for cracked knees and desperate barter with the gods.”

What’s NOT so good: Whitehead has the ability to confound me in my wish to have a concrete sense of time and place. He is so vague and loose with any tie downs to such. Bugs me but it is also good for me, I think. Lila Mae takes awhile to warm up to – she’s prickly, and often is accused of being haughty but we know it is armor. I felt her loneliness but I wonder if she felt or recognized it herself.

As the elevator reaches the fifth floor landing, an orange octagon cartwheels into her mind’s frame. It hops up and down, incongruous with the annular aggression of the red spike. Cubes and parallelograms emerge around the eighth floor, but they’re satisfied with half -hearted little jigs and don’t disrupt the proceedings like the mischievous orange octagon. The octagon ricochets into the foreground, famished for attention. She knows what it is. The triad of helical buffers recedes farther from her, ten stories down at the dusty and dark floor of the well.

“I’m going to have to cite you for a faulty overspeed governor,” Lila Mae says.

“But you haven’t even looked at it,” the super says.

FINAL THOUGHTS: A quote inside the book jacket states,

“Whitehead artfully crosses back and forth over racial, political, and artistic borders to create a work of stunning depth, soulfulness, and originality, starring one of the most intriguing heroine in contemporary fiction.”

I would agree.

RATING:  Four slices of pie with extra whipped cream.

The mother thanks him, promises a pie.”

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

What’s Care Been Readin’ Lately?

Thoughts

I have had a slow down. Not a slump! but a definite lack of time spent reading, it seems. I did attempt a re-listen to Lincoln in the Bardo but I didn’t finish it. I was looking listening for a pie mention that I thought happened.  PLEASE ANYONE!! If you read or will read the eBook version — do a search pretty-please?

This week, I have rediscovered my ability to read read read. I am half through the 14 hour audiobook of Warren Zanes’ bio of  Tom Petty. Wow, do I love biographies of interesting artists. I do.  Mr. Zanes is an interesting character himself and he has an appealing literary quality to his writing. He has quoted Karen Blixon and Russell Banks and a few other authors I know of (but haven’t read.)

I’m still trudging through  The Disappearing Spoon and not that it’s not interesting, it’s just that I have been not picking it up. You know what I mean? What interesting characters these scientists can be…

And finally, on the heels of the Pulitzer announcement of Colson Whitehead winning for The Underground Railroad, I decided to check if my library had a copy of The Intuitionist They did and now I’m reading it. It’s got a scientific quirky vibe. Enjoying it very much so far.

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I finally watched Far From the Madding Crowd with Carey Mulligan and Martin Sheen  and it was wonderful! I loved it. If you loved this romantic triangle story with one fabulous independent woman lead, you should read my review of the book/audiobook…  You should read the book first. Film was a fun adaption, in my opinion. And visually stunning. Oh! the costumes!! And I miss reading classics. I need to get back to my Classics Club 50. “It is my intention to astonish you all.”

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I made pie for Easter.

The not so pretty but still rather interesting Carrot Pie and the Italian traditional ricotta cheese pie called Fiadone:

centered?

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I miss not having a book review to post on this now-dusty blog… Soon, though. Hope everyone is reading something good. TELL ME! What are you reading?

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

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Thoughts  by Marilynne Robinson, Farrar,Straus and Giroux 2008, 325 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name: Building category
Genre: Literary Fiction
Type/Source: Hardcover / Used Bookstore Raynham MA
 Why I read this now: Because I wanted to.

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Kindness takes more strength than I have now. I didn’t realize how much effort I used to put into it.

MOTIVATION for READING: Because I loved Gilead. I love the quiet powerful books.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Gilead is a fictional small town in Iowa and the book of the same name is about a Congregationalist minister contemplating some key elements of his life as he looks back on relationships and pivotal events. This book is a companion piece to Gilead, with other characters’ viewpoints and stories featured more prominently. Where Gilead was about Ames, this book is about Jack and his sister Glory, children of Ames’ best friend Robert. I suppose that is more than you need to know and yet doesn’t tell anything at all.

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There was a barely restrained glee about him, as though he felt he had done something, or had done nothing, to excellent effect.

WHAT’s GOOD:    Oh.

Sentences. Provocations? Emotions.

What’s NOT so good: What is not so good for me is having to read all the reviews that say this book is boring. They said that about Gilead, too. I was never bored so that claim rings false. I should respect those who make it but I don’t have to like it.

As a matter of courtesy they treated one another’s deceptions like truth which was a different thing from deceiving or being deceived.

Sure, Jack smiles too much and glances at Glory a lot. But it felt so true. Such a different time. What would a bum son look like in now times? Would such a degenerate be so good to his father? Was he good? What IS good? Takes my breath away. And poor Glory. Ugh. Trapped in our roles, are we? I can’t write a review, I can only ask more questions.

She used to ask yourself, What more could I wish? But she always distrusted that question, because she knew there were limits to her experience that precluded her knowing what there was to be wished.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Beautiful. Sad. Contemplative. Aching.

“She said you hated cream pie, but I was certain I remembered you had a special fondness for it, and she made it on my say-so, despite her reservations.”

“It’s pretty leathery by now,” she said.

“You see, she’s trying to prejudice you against it! You’d think we’d made a wager of some kind!”

Jack said, “I like cream pie.” He glanced at her.

RATING: Five slices of pie. Apple pie.

He asked for a look at the pie before the top crust went on – “more fragrant than flowers!” – And for look at it afterward, on the edge had been fluted and the vents were cut.

The kitchen began to smell of pie baking.

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That odd capacity for destitution, as if by nature we ought to have so much more than nature gives us. As if we are shockingly unclothed when we lack the complacencies of ordinary life. In destitution, even of feeling or purpose, a human being is more hauntingly human and vulnerable to kindnesses because there is the sense that things should be otherwise, and then the thought of what is wanting and what alleviation would be, and how the soul could be put at ease, restored. At home. but the soul finds its own home if it ever has a home at all.

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Lincoln in the Bardo

Thoughts  by George Saunders, Random House Audio 2017, 7 hrs 25 mins

Audiobook  narration by a long list of people!

MOTIVATION for READING:  LISTENING:  I couldn’t resist the high praise and curiosity of so many narrators.

Let’s start this nutty review with my suggestions. IF you think you want to do the audio – and I DO suggest you listen to this if you love audiobooks – I must insist on two things,

  1. Read the list of which person reads which character, and
  2. Know what Op. Cit. means. You’ll hear it and if you are like me, you’ll hear the word ‘UPSET’ rather and you’ll be distracted.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Oh, one more thing… KNOW THIS!!! I do think one should KNOW a bit about this book and its format before one embarks. I don’t think going blind or just knowing that it is about Lincoln and his dealing with Willie’s death is enough. I think you might best understand the use of the historical quotes and what/how Mr. Saunders lays out in the telling. Thus, we return to the “Op.Cit.”

I was so wrong to go in blind to this. I think I had read the synopsis way back long time ago and so I was helluva confused at the beginning. I was easily distracted,

so…
If you think attempting to identify which celebrity is speaking which part will be a distraction, I can solve that for you – read on.

I’m sure if I had read this first I would have waded in with more success; do read this from iTunes:

Description

The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

The 166-person full cast features award-winning actors and musicians, as well as a number of Saunders’ family, friends, and members of his publishing team, including, in order of their appearance: Nick Offerman as HANS VOLLMAN David Sedaris as ROGER BEVINS III Carrie Brownstein as ISABELLE PERKINS George Saunders as THE REVEREND EVERLY THOMAS Miranda July as MRS. ELIZABETH CRAWFORD Lena Dunham as ELISE TRAYNOR Ben Stiller as JACK MANDERS Julianne Moore as JANE ELLIS Susan Sarandon as MRS. ABIGAIL BLASS Bradley Whitford as LT. CECIL STONE Bill Hader as EDDIE BARON Megan Mullally as BETSY BARON Rainn Wilson as PERCIVAL “DASH” COLLIER Jeff Tweedy as CAPTAIN WILLIAM PRINCE Kat Dennings as MISS TAMARA DOOLITTLE Jeffrey Tambor as PROFESSOR EDMUND BLOOMER Mike O’Brien as LAWRENCE T. DECROIX Keegan-Michael Key as ELSON FARWELL Don Cheadle as THOMAS HAVENS and Patrick Wilson as STANLEY “PERFESSER” LIPPERT with Kirby Heyborne as WILLIE LINCOLN, Mary Karr as MRS. ROSE MILLAND, and Cassandra Campbell as Your Narrator.

The only voice I recognized was Offerman’s in the beginning — I thought he was Abraham Lincoln (nope, just reading his thoughts) but I eventually was able to connect voice to character and get lost into the story. I had Sedaris’ voice as some other actor I cannot name off the top of my head but I eventually connected voice with Bevans. I picked out Susan Sarandon’s voice right away but the rest – couldn’t identify. (I was never any good at picking the callers on Frasier, either). I am SO glad I found this list! (when I was about 3/4 done). I hope it helps you if you think you might need it.

Or read any of the many wonderful reviews and explanations that I’m finding NOW after I attempted the thing…  Audible has a good review or two, Goodreads has some, too.

WHAT’s GOOD:  A lot to admire here. The phrasing, the wording! Poetic, emphatic, bursting with imagery. I guess the best I can say is that this is a work is art. Writing is truly a creative artistic endeavor and Lincoln in the Bardo is one of the best examples of the art of literature that I’ve enjoyed of late. It’s funny at times, shocking at times, so very very sad sometimes. It has rhythm like music and inspires emotion like a beautiful painting.

But was it really that good? Am I adding to a hype that is starting to saturate the lit-osphere? I don’t know. I really wonder about whether I was ‘getting it’ about 1/3 in but by the end of it, I was mesmerized.

I am considering a re-listen and maybe I will buy the print. I suggest you take a long car trip and enjoy. My 10 minute commute to work twice a day didn’t cut it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think it might be a masterpiece. If you read the print and loved it, I think you might next want to hear it. It’s lyrical, it’s creative. It’s affecting.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

March 2017 Recap

Collection of various thoughts…

The Winner of the Rooster! The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead over Homegoing by Gyasi Yaa. Bracket image below will take you to the final judgements.

This concludes the Tournament of Books.

Now, maybe, I can get back to real life.  My brackets; my list of favorites.

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Mini Review! a DNF (sorry Mary!) rather and a recap of our book club meeting: no one had read the book. Or, no one who showed to the meeting read the book! And, everyone had a good excuse so not a big deal, things happen, I get it. So the two of us there decided to go out to dinner instead…

The Little Paris Bookshop  by Nina George. I just couldn’t quite grasp my problems with it but it was cringe-worthy many times. The premise sounded just lovely: set in Paris on a barge setup as a book store! Nifty, right? and the proprietor has a knack of recommending just the right book. Aw… but he can’t fix his own life. OK. The barge becomes unmoored and so does the tale. THEN, killer to book-malaise when in mid-stream, I read a negative review. Done; moving on. I wanted to like it but I am no longer interested in finding out what happens. Two slice of freshly baked plum tart.

We also didn’t pick a book for next month. My little afternoon club might not make it. Sniff, sniff.

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Pie Chart Time


Number of books read:  5
Number of audiobooks listened:  0
Related themes:  Set in Dublin, Literary: 2
Number of TOB books read:  1
Ratio Female:Male  1 : 4
Translated works:  2, German and Swedish
Number of books with pie:  2, an Apple and a Plum

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.