How About a Pie Post?

My April has been more books than pie but I can share a few photos of what I’ve made …. lately?  For Easter, which already feels weeks and weeks ago (with no improvement to the weather, dare I mention?)

 These are the empty pre-baked pastry shells I readied for two different pie flavors; all in my preferred ~6 inch pie dish style.

I made three Farmers Cheese with Thyme Pie:

Recipe from  The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book… Not quite sweet with only a hint of the added honey. Almost savory, very creamy. I would like to think I would make this again. I usually do make some kind of this for Easter as a tradition.

and I made a Pecan, per my husband’s request:

Keep reading! and may you enjoy a slice of your favorite pie while doing so.

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Together

Thoughts  by Julie Cohen, Orion 2017, 299 pages

Challenge: Book Club
Type/Source: eBook / Amazon for Kindle
 Why I read this now: Choice for my bookclub

MOTIVATION for READING: See above.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Epic LOVE story! swoon. “A secret YOU WON’T SEE COMING!!!!!!!!!’ yea, OK. Bring it.

Bare bones plot: husband and wife have a secret. We go backwards in plot to find out what the secret is.

Let me try again?  Husband has Alzheimer’s and spares his wife the risk that he will blurt out their secret in his dementia.  OOPs – that’s a spoiler, isn’t it?  We go backwards in time and events to explain things we don’t learn about in the first chapter. They have kids – or do they?

Uh….

Robbie and Emily have been intensely in tune and in love with each other since the day they met. Her family has not been supportive. They run away together and live their lives on their own terms. Finally, the risk of their secret catching up to them requires Robbie to take a devastating turn. Whatever will Emily do?!

WHAT’s GOOD: The over-the-top warnings (setup) of surprise!!!!!!

What’s NOT so good: Dialog, heavy handed warnings. Poor dialogue. Plot point setups that cause eye-roll strain, clichés, characters that never convince… Everything but the kitchen sink. My over use of the word ‘ugh’ while reading. Must I go on?

FINAL THOUGHTS: Hey – don’t let me convince you! Read it and see if you like it because plenty of people do. I am in the minority. It’s not THAT bad, apparently.

The gr score is 4.02 out of 1763 ratings! I’m clearly not hurting the overall score. Whew.

It really is the kind of book that makes me smash things in jealousy and wonder if I could/should write a book. But then I think, nope – it’s not in me. I tip my hat to Julie Cohen for all the efforts to write a book and more kudos to getting it published AND sold. Really, I do!

RATING: The one star in goodreads is for “I didn’t like it.” So one star it is has to be, but I do feel bad about it.  A good thing, I guess, is that I am in the minority. Most of my book club is reporting it as a GOOD READ!  Please decide for yourself.

Pecan Pie is mentioned!  One star and a half?

Spoilers:   (just run your cursor over the space below.)

I didn’t figure out the SURPRISE too early, but suspected it when his Dad was in England in the war years. And then when Mom freaked when he arrived to meet the folks, I figured it out – they were half siblings – they had the same papa. 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Priestdaddy

Thoughts  by Patricia Lockwood, Audible Studios 2017, 10 hours 12 minutes

Narrated by the author.

Challenge: TOB Nonfiction May
Genre: Memoir
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible

MOTIVATION for READING: I had heard this one was quite funny. I like funny.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Can I just say that this book is so much more than any synopsis can attempt to share? let’s see what the goodreads blurb has to say:

The childhood of Patricia Lockwood, the poet dubbed “The Smutty-Metaphor Queen of Lawrence, Kansas” by The New York Times, was unusual in many respects. There was the location: an impoverished, nuclear waste-riddled area of the American Midwest. There was her mother, a woman who speaks almost entirely in strange koans and warnings of impending danger. Above all, there was her gun-toting, guitar-riffing, frequently semi-naked father, who underwent a religious conversion on a submarine and discovered a loophole which saw him approved for the Catholic priesthood by the future Pope Benedict XVI – despite already having a wife and children.

When the expense of a medical procedure forces the 30-year-old Patricia to move back in with her parents, husband in tow, she must learn to live again with her family’s simmering madness, and to reckon with the dark side of a childhood spent in the bosom of the Catholic Church. Told with the comic sensibility of a brasher, bluer Waugh or Wodehouse, this is at the same time a lyrical and affecting story of how, having ventured into the underworld, we can emerge with our levity and our sense of justice intact.

Ok, maybe it does. Or maybe you have to READ THIS BOOK and then realize how much you really were forewarned but didn’t quite expect until after. Does that make any sense to anyone?

First, I admit that I was instantly struck with a “Yes-I-Want-To-Read-This-Please” thought when I saw she was from Kansas. I have a big soft spot in my heart for the state of Kansas.

Two, even though I’m not Catholic (I’m Lutheran by upbringing), most if not all of my friends growing up WERE Catholic. SO I *know* enough about that religion to have an understanding – especially in comparison to Lutheranism. Yea, whatever.

Third, I had to find out a few things that struck me odd about this blurb. Um, a priest who is ‘frequently semi-naked’? And… they let her (or disallowed – which could it be?) to put that in a book!? I’m still rather shocked. Did any of his parishioners READ this book!?  yikes.

WHAT’s GOOD: Remember when I said, “this book is so much more”? I fell into the author’s words like a feather into a down pillow. I agree very much with the bit in the blurb that describes this as “a lyrical and affecting story”.

This would be an interesting story to contrast with Educated, for father analysis.

What’s NOT so good:  My midwestern mild-mannered sensibilities were quite offended. No, not offended… What IS the word? I just can’t believe she put this stuff into words and published it! I am so much more private, I suppose. Yikes!!  It’s been enough time away that I can’t even remember the particulars but I remember the shock and awe.

Reminded me of the question in The Animators about using other people in our art.

And… I have to admit that I didn’t think this book was for me at the beginning. The author narrates and this can always be risky. It took me one or two hours to adjust to the tone and what I interpreted as snark in her voice.  But I’m glad I stuck with it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I love that the LOVE in this family is evident. They may not get along but they love fiercely anyway. That is my impression. What a contrast to Idaho, hmmm?

My favorite story – laugh out loud funny – was the one about Patricia and her mother checking into a Hilton Hotel and there was cum on the sheets. I kid you not. OMG.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

It is always tough to catch pie references while listening to an audiobook but I do have these notes to share:

Lots of pie. In the Intro, even. In Ch 2, she mentions working in a diner and the owner looks like he wants to smash pies into faces. Also, a mention that Mrs. Ford got eye surgery and can now read her pie recipes.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Educated

Thoughts  by Tara Westover, Random House 2017, 352 pages

Challenge: TOB Nonfiction May
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Type/Source: Hardcover / Barnes and Noble
 Why I read this now: TOB Nonfiction May

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB Nonfiction May

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is Tara’s story of how she had to sacrifice a relationship with her family to find herself. Upon the urging of a brother, she decided to try to take the ACT. She was 15. She taught herself enough math to pass the exam and on her second attempt to try and raise her score, she succeeded in qualifying for acceptance to BYU. It’s a fascinating story and well told. With some hard work and some luck, a few missteps and some hard choices, she eventually earned her PhD in history and now teaches at Cambridge.

WHAT’s GOOD: Yowza, what an upbringing she endured. Her father is a misogynistic whack job. Her mother survives the best she knows how, I suppose.

She never set foot in a classroom until college.

What’s NOT so good: I had no issues.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I wish Dr. Westover all the best.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Talking as Fast as I Can

Thoughts  by Lauren Graham, Random House Audio 2016, 4 hours 38 minutes

Narrated by the author. And of course, she is awesome.

Challenge: none
Genre: Celebrity Memoir
Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible
 Why I read this now: I had credits to burn and wanted something lively.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have something interesting to admit. I have never watched Gilmore Girls. I’ve never watched Parenthood. Oh, I *know* of Gilmore Girls and I’ve seen bits and pieces and of course, have read many-a-book-blogger post the GG book lists and gush all over about how wonderful the series is, but I don’t watch much TV and I don’t have Netflix. I can’t see myself downloading an entire series of anything to watch. I have placed myself outside of popular culture, it seems.

But I love Lauren Graham. I have seen Bad Santa. 

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Lauren talking about her life, her upbringing, her career…

WHAT’s GOOD: Her charm and sparkle.

What’s NOT so good: I probably should watch Gilmore Girls just so I know all the people she is talking about…

FINAL THOUGHTS: I listen to celebrity memoir audiobooks when I need to get over a reading slump, or to change it up, or to laugh, or to be inspired. This one was perfect for where I was at the end of March – post TOB slumparooza…

RATING: Five slices of pie? Maybe only 4 considering I didn’t relate to about 25% (she goes through and chats about what happened in the original series run – I didn’t know anything/anyone!) but who cares… No pie mentioned, that I recall. Pity. That would have ensured its 5 slice rating.

OK, her best advice? When someone offers you an opportunity and you think you can’t do it, do it anyway!  This bit was meaningful to me right now – when I am both overwhelmed by my new job and what I have to do and my doubts about whether or not I can pull it off. Am I a sham? Or is this imposter-syndrome? What if imposter-syndrome is TRUE? egads. Give me courage, give me strength. Give me a Lauren Graham pep talk.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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 Zero

Thoughts  by Jess Walter, Harper Audio 2006, 10 hours 40 minutes

Narrated by Christopher Graybill

Challenge: What’s in a Name:  Title that starts with the letter Z
Genre: Thriller, 9-11 Aftermath
Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible
 Why I read this now:  Typically, I select an audiobook based on how many hours it will take. Ten seemed a good number. Remember when I used to choose the loooooonnngest ones? yea, those days are gone. I no longer have lengthy chores (no lawn to mow!) nor long drives very often. Bummer.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have been wanting to read more by this author. I really enjoyed Beautiful Ruins – which I also had the pleasure of listening to (the narrator’s voice is gorgeous; Edoardo Ballerini)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Brian Remy is a retired cop and he is having memory gaps. He keeps ‘waking up’ in a new scene of his life and can’t recall how or what happened prior to that moment. For the reader, it is like turning the page and thinking a page has been skipped. Both protag and reader are in the dark as to what the heck is going on. We both attempt to fill in the gaps and create a story, a timeline to what Remy is experiencing. It is quite unsettling.

“Maybe every couple lived in the gaps between conversations, unable to say the important things for fear they had already been said, or couldn’t be said; maybe every relationship started over every time two people came together.”

And darkly funny. But a sad funny because what he is messed up with isn’t going well and lives are at stake.

“Guterak looked over. “Hey, you got your hair cut.” “Yeah.” Remy put the cap back on. “What made you do that?” “I shot myself in the head last night.” “Well.” Paul drove quietly for a moment, staring straight ahead. “It looks good.”

WHAT’s GOOD: We (OK, “me” – the reader) get the idea that Remy might be having split personality syndrome but we root for the guy. The Remy we are privy to is the ‘good’ Remy, and we ache and yearn for him to figure it out so all can end well. But hey – we doubt that will happen. I mean, it is the aftermath of 9-11, so we have all the patriotism, all the say-I-love-you-to-your-loved-ones, the courtesy and slowing down, but also the conspiracy theories, the chase to find the terrorist cells responsible, the aching sadness experienced and shared collectively by those who lost someone, the always-shared stories of where-we-were and somebody-I-know-was-supposed-to-be-there.

All that came back to me as I listened to this story. And, it felt… OK. Okay good.                 I never felt that this story was manipulative or disrespectful. It was vague and confused, like everything was at that time.

There was a lot of imagery and absurdity. Walter is a very good author; he has a deft hand at dark humor without ever being over the top. I look forward to reading more. I had to look if this book was a part of the TOB from the year 2006 but, no. I would have loved to read the commentary and judgments of having this in the Tourney.

What’s NOT so good:  I have nothing to fault, other than I am both glad it was audio and not; knowing that because it was audio, I wonder if I might have missed something. But, I do think it was pretty good at the gap shifts when listened to. Would I recommend this? Yes, to those curious readers who like feeling disoriented while reading. I don’t think I know many of those kinds of readers.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I will read more books written by Jess Walter.

RATING:  Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned that I noticed.

On a different note, here are the audiobooks I just purchased and hope to get to soon:

May brings us the nonfiction mini-TOB by The Morning News. The three books I voted for are the ones they selected so I guess I have to participate. Priestdaddy is one; Hunger by Roxane Gay and Educated by Tara Westover the other two. I thought a quick funny Graham memoir would fill in for when I need snippets of listen…

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Cold Comfort Farm

Thoughts  by Stella Gibbons, Penguin 2006 (orig 1932), 233 pages

Challenge: Classics Club Spin for April
Genre: Satire? “Comic novel”
Type/Source: Tradeback/Library
 Why I read this now: Spin and library had a copy – woo hoo!

MOTIVATION for READING: I originally had this on my Club 50 because it was a book I saw on many people’s done-read list and I wanted to get in on that.

“He was a tree-trunk; a toad on a stone; a pie-thatched owl on a bough.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Supposedly, it makes fun of the classic style of British farm novels? I have not read any British farm novels so I can’t comment to that.

Poor orphaned Flora finds out that her inheritance will not be quite adequate to live on so she decides to crash on relatives who will have her. They all acquiesce to the idea but she can’t go to them all, right? so she picks the one that will most benefit from her influence:  Cold Comfort Farm. She arranges marriages, lets the bull get some sunshine, finds servants to wash her curtains, gets one cousin to ‘realize his ambition’ which allows another cousin to realize a dream. One cousin is discovered as Star Material for Hollywood talkies and another discovers the health benefits of travel. It’s quite crazy and madcap and all arranged by Flora’s capable hands.

All that and she somehow herself is proposed to; she gets to fly off to live happily ever after.

“Henceforth her life would be one of exquisite sunny natural content.”

WHAT’s GOOD: I did find it funny. Not laugh out loud joke funny but amusing. I loved that every mode of transportation and all mediums for communication are utilized.

What’s NOT so good: Well, it’s an old book set in another time, so it has a few crass mentions of ‘other’ that are stereotypical and insensitive but only a couple. It really isn’t kind to women, either, tbh. And by that, I mean poor women.

I did scratch my head a few times in mild bewilderment and some questions never get answered. Do we really want to know what Aunt Ada Doom saw in the woodshed? No, no we do not. And what exactly did they do to Flora’s father that they had to accept penance of taking in Flora? And who was Adam?  I never did figure out who Adam was but shrug. No matter.

[Updated to add:   I remembered to read the Introduction by Lynne Truss who explains and admires this work in terrific prose. So, anything I didn’t get was because I can be obtuse – ha! The Intro is fab. Be sure to read it; get THIS edition with the cow on the cover so you don’t miss it. And, if you’re like me – you’ll read it after so nothing is spoiled. I would never read an Intro before a book. Why oh why do they want me to read it first?!]

FINAL THOUGHTS: I kind of wish I had a Flora Poste to interfere in my life… She surely would have some sensible advice to provide.

RATING: Five slices of apple pie.

“What they was having themselves proved to be apple tart and vegetables, so Flora did quite well.”

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Something on a Sunday “Almost April” 2018

Last fall, I discovered that Jenny of Reading the End posted a very good blog idea for Sundays. The idea is to share good things. To Quote Miss Gin-Jenny, “to talk about things that kept me moving forward or gave me some joy.” I’m borrowing a few of her categories for inspiration:

Touched by:  I had dinner with a friend last night and she gave me a very sweet compliment.  I told her that I very much treasured her friendship. We are going to start a book club together for the summer! I suggested we start with Tayari Jones’ smash bestseller everyone   seems to be talking about, An American Marriage. 

Proud and Wowed by: All the wit and courage and feistiness of the March For Our Lives citizens. “Guns are not school supplies.”

Happy about: Having this morning to myself. Goals:  blog post, finish my Classics Club Spin book  Cold Comfort Farm, and laundry. Maybe vacuuming.

Sad about: K-State Wildcats lost to Loyola last night. But HEY!  We made the Elite Eight!!!  WOO HOOOOO

Self-cared for:  Uh, does it count in this category that I completed my first 5K yesterday? I had walked in many-a fund-raiser walk but this was the first that I entered that took official times and gave a shirt. I finished in under 1 hour; was 626 our of 636. LOL  (Had to set a baseline.)

Itching to tell you:  I have missed blogging! But I haven’t finished a book in weeks, it seems. My audiobook (The Zero by Jess Walters) is fascinating but I haven’t had long stretches alone in a car to listen.

Excited by: All the people who have asked me about the TOB! I do occasional Facebook updates on it…  AND I think I finally picked my favorite book of the tourney:  Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong. It was knocked out by Exit West – a book that I admired but didn’t get charmed by. GV oozed charm. I read so many books that I liked but couldn’t really choose my bestest favoritist until I watched the booktube commentary by @daejin_v2! (Loved it. Impressive – I want to make a book review video…)

FYI – I downloaded Stephen Florida but I don’t think I will read it. I might open it and look at it…  I never could get my hands on Dear Cyborg – my library didn’t have it. I put a hold on The Book of Joan but it still hasn’t come to me yet. I’ll probably pass on that, too. Otherwise, I read everything! I think.

Also, my book club has selected Together by Julie Cohen.  Anyone read it?

Looking forward to:  SPRING. Warmer temperatures. Longer days of sunshine. Boat season. Common sense in politics. We can hope, yes?

Have a great Easter! I’m thankful for this blog, this little corner that is mine, but mostly for the kind and caring book blogging community and the opportunity to be a part of it. Thank you for visiting. I appreciate you.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

Lucky Boy

Thoughts  by Shanthi Skaran, GP Putnam’s Sons 2017, 472 pages

Challenge: Tournament of Books 2018
Genre: Hmmmmm…. I guess that catchall “contemporary lit”
Type/Source: eBook / Borrowed from library, read on my Kindle
 Why I read this now: Available from the library

MOTIVATION for READING: TOB. Today is actually the decision day for this book. It is going against The End of Eddy which I listened to. I’m hurrying to post this before the judgment is announced.

He asked for her story, he wanted to know how she’d arrived on his shores, and what had happened to her on the journey. Soli, without papers and pregnant, and hanging by a thread to this happy, healthy place, considered telling the truth. With a sharp slap to her inner chismosa, she slowed down and shut her mouth.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Two sides of a story. One, a young illegal immigrant from Mexico who is ‘bio-mom’ of the lucky boy named Ignatio, and the other, a second-generation in America couple (heritage India) who want to adopt the lucky boy whom they call Iggy. Bio-mom Solimar is fierce in her love and dedication to her son and she is trying to survive and adjust to the promises of a life in the U.S. But then she is caught; she is undocumented. Kavya and Rishi have their own expectations of how their lives should be and when they can’t get pregnant, they move to adopt a baby, starting with fostering Ignatio who is now a ‘ward of the state’ while Soli languishes in ‘custody’. Worlds collide. Sort of.

WHAT’s GOOD: Well-researched scenarios and portrayals of true American stories and the immigration policies and systems in place – and are in flux and in the news even more now. Lucky Boy explores parental rights, wealth and poverty, immigration, the courts.

I highlighted a few wonderful sentences, but I never got swept up into any of it.

She’d never had to truly give up on herself before, having always had a trust fund of potential—untapped, hidden, wasted—to fall back on.

What’s NOT so good: I didn’t feel it. Something was off. I didn’t care for Kavya and her petty jealousies. It just didn’t carry the spark it needed.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This book is going to get skewered in the commentary today; I do feel that. I wish I could articulate the unsettling I feel about how the story was constructed and how the plot unfolded. I found it predictable, almost boring. “The U.S. Immigration Policy is bad.” The checks and balances of the systems for handling immigrants is in failure mode. Yep, I get it. How do we fix it?

I read (rēēd) the wonderful insightful pro and con thoughts on all these books and I nod my head, yes! I can see that, or Really?! no, I didn’t get that… but I can’t find those words of my own to reason through my thoughts and feelings. But I do so love the TOB. It’s been a wild ride so far (and I’m actually glad I haven’t found my darling.)

If you read everything – you’ll know why I post this quote: “She ran until the dogs in her head stopped barking. And then she stopped and turned and found that she was alone.

TOB:  I will chose The End of Eddy in this round. I listened to TEoE and I didn’t listen well. But it had a punch and a rawness that was evident as art. They are saying we are in Bizarro-World this year so it is possible that Lucky Boy might take it. But I don’t think so…

RATING: Three slices of apple pie.

Silvia picked up tamales and an apple pie and a liter of fancy-looking soda from the expensive supermarket, the one they never went to.

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“Can you smell that apple pie?” Eva Cabral stood and cranked open her window. “They drive me crazy with that apple pie!” She had the spangle-toothed smile of a PTA president.

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Copyright © 2007-2018. 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.

It’s On! #TOB18

DD6C3A25-EDDE-4695-A8D5-69E447393C54I am on vacation and today kicks off the Tournament,

Round 1. 

(Edited that 3/7 was Play-in Round; Opening Round is 3/8)

I am writing this on my phone so I might be challenged with links and stuff. (No, looks like I managed it, click on “Round 1”.)

I managed to read the first third of Lucky Boy and am enjoying it. Gotta love ✈️ travel for dedicated reading time.

And, sorry Ruthiella – I might (probably) DNF Savage Theories. It’s entertaining in a way but also exhausting. Since it won’t be advancing…

The Idiot moves on!

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I managed to read all but Joan, Cyborgs, Steve FLORIDA (where I am right now, escaping Storm Quinn), and DNFing Savage. I’m OK with it. You? Did you read ‘em all and if not, are you OK?

I didn’t fill out a bracket…

See ya in the commentary!