The Vegetarian

Thoughts tvbyhk by Han King, Hogarth 2015 (orig 2007), 188 pages

Translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith

Winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2015

Challenge:  Prize Winners?  Translated Works?
Genre: Asian Lit
Type/Source: Hardback / Gift from Ruthiella – THANKS!
 Why I read this now: A book in hand will get read.

MOTIVATION for READING: Ruthiella was kind enough to send it to me. I ran out of books on the boat (well, I have two, I think, on my Kindle yet?)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A young woman, Yeong-hye, is assaulted by horrific dreams (and is also married to a cad.) She decides to forego eating meat because of these dreams and this upsets pretty much EVERYONE. Told from three perspectives — the cad of a husband, her sister’s husband and her sister — and not Yeong-hye, though we do see bits of her dreams.

In the words of The Guardian:

“Dark dreams, simmering tensions, chilling violence . . .  This South Korean novel is a feast . . . It is sensual, provocative, and violent, ripe with potent images, startling colors, and disturbing questions. . . Sentence by sentence, The Vegetarian is an extraordinary experience. . . [It] will be hard to beat.”

WHAT’s GOOD: Oh, it is deliciously disturbing. The writing IS lyrical, the images are startling, the mood is darkly apprehensive.

As LINDA says in the blurbs at the beginning of my copy of the book:

“[A] bloodcurdlingly beautiful, sinister book.”

FINAL THOUGHTS: A perfect book for RIP if you don’t get to it before this fall.

RATING: Four slices of pie. No pastries mentioned but I think every fruit available in Korea might make an appearance. Lots of food descriptions.

fourpie

 

pierating

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.

My Name is Lucy Barton

Thoughts mnilbbyes by Elizabeth Strout, Random House 2016, 208 pages

Challenge: “Catching the 2017 TOB Long/Short List”
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Type/Source: Hardback / Concord Bookshop
 Why I read this now:  Wanted a HOT book that was short so I could read quickly and leave at my Auntie’s cabin.

MOTIVATION for READING:  This has been mentioned as an excellent book pub’d in 2016 and I want to be ahead of the anticipated books to possibly make the TOB 2017 list.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  This book is about mother-daughter relationships, growing up in poverty, how childhood can shape adulthood, nature vs nurture, marriage somewhat, a writing guide somewhat…

WHAT’s GOOD:  So many things… I love the tone, I love how the main character (LUCY BARTON) falls in love with the kind people in her life, I loved the courage and the sharing. I loved the authentic feel of it. I suppose I should say ‘I loved the authenticity’ but I think ‘the authentic feel of  of it’ fits better.

What’s NOT so good: Nope, nothin’ wrong with it. Loved it; my kind of book.

I like introspective, quiet, deep, provocative books. This is one of those. This could be called a survivor’s tale.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Before reading this… I was reluctantly interested. Allow me to explain that it was because I fell head-over-heels hard for Olive Kitteridge but was less than overwhelmed (I was only ‘-whelmed) with The Burgess Boys. So, I was nervous, OK? But it seemed that many readers I respect were giving Lucy some praise and it caught my eye when I stopped to visit Dawn at the Concord Bookshop. Do you all know Dawn?  dawnandmeWe’ve had some bookish fun in our book-bloggin’ friendship and I was SO GLAD! SO VERY VERY GLAD to finally get my butt up to her town and into her store.
concordbookshop

So, I saw this book on the shelf and knew I must buy it. I had a feeling my Auntie would like it and that my cousin Linda would like it AND it was short enough that it would be possible for me to read it while visiting in Maine and thus leave it with my Maine Folk for their reading pleasure as well.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

I recorded no mention of pie within the Lucy Barton pages but I did see Elvis there. So let’s go with FIVE slices of Elvis Pie. Just click on this sentence to get to the recipe.

 

 

pierating

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.

Everything She Forgot

Thoughts esfbylb by Lisa Ballantyne, Wm Morrow Imprint of HarperCollinsPubs 2015, 415 of pages

Genre: Thriller
Type/Source: eBook /  Amazon for Kindle
 Why I read this now:  One of the few books on my Kindle.

MOTIVATION for READING: I don’t recall anymore where I heard about this but I think this was a recommendation by a friend in my Mass Book Club.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A teacher is involved in a fiery crash due to winter weather on an interstate. Though relatively free from physical injury, our MC suffers some PTSD and memories from her childhood start bubbling up — she is confused and stressed by her not remembering things. The man who pulled her from the car just in time is in a coma and she is a bit obsessed with visiting him.

Alternately, the story switches to the past when a young girl is kidnapped. Going back and forth in this past time frame is ‘adventure’ of the kidnapper and the girl against the journalist who figures out who has her and where they are going and attempts a ‘rescue’.

WHAT’s GOOD: The pacing is fine, I guess. The setting would be appealing to those who have visited Scotland and England, I suppose.

SPOILERs AHEAD?!?!?!?!??!?!

What’s NOT so good: The plot reveal is not rushed but neither is it particularly suspenseful. It’s not too hard to figure out that our MC has suppressed her memories of being kidnapped as a child (doh – it’s the title!) nor is it a big leap to find out that the man who rescues her in the now time is/was the kidnapper (who happens to be her ‘real’ father or — as a friend of mine would say — her ‘bio-dad’.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: I found the book predictable but worse, I found it violent. I did NOT like the journalist and we aren’t supposed to but he was a person I found revolting on every level. And yet, he wasn’t the evil character we were supposed to dislike (like in a King novel). I just didn’t like the story, it wasn’t for me. I know good friends who liked this book very much so I really don’t want to turn anyone away from it as a bad book – it could be a perfectly fine thriller set in the UK. I just didn’t like it.

You know, like how some people LOVE coconut and other don’t like coconut? It’s not that coconut is BAD…

I did finish it and maybe that is another reason I didn’t enjoy – I felt I had to know and kept reading but I really didn’t WANT to keep reading knowing that I didn’t like it. But I had to know if I guessed right. I did.

PIE:  Strawberry tarts, steak and kidney pie, and the ol’ rhyme about Georgie:

Georgie Porgie puddin’ and pie, kiss the girls and made them cry,

When the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away.”

 

pierating

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.

Save

Short Vignette Reviews

Short Vignette Reviews so I Can Be Redundant in a Title

Book Reviews in Few Words!!

The Fireman fma4 could have been called The Nurse. I thought all the cultural references were fun and it had some terrific comic moments but Nurse Harper was at times a dweeb, or naive and stubborn when she shouldn’t have been but I admired her ability to always be true.  The story did feature some really good guys, some really evil dudes, some cute kids and a very interesting premise – the ‘spore’ that once caught, would or could make you burst into flame.  I will refer you to the Twitter hashtag #FiremanAlong to find any reviews that have trickled in so far. We really did have a good time. A huge thank you shout out to all the participants – it was fun. I was excited to encounter a few pie mentions.  fma3 (I listened to AND read my purchased from an indie bookstore hardback.)

13 Little Blue Envelopes tlbebymj by Maureen Johnson. I liked it and I was inclined to like it because I really enjoyed the author’s presentation at the Book Blogger’s Convention in 2010. I suspended all belief and didn’t even realize it until I read a few reviews after – like really, WHERE WERE HER PARENTS!?  I get it, but I didn’t even think it while reading. Too funny. So the issue is a dead aunt sends her 17 yo niece all over the world in order to help her find herself. The kid has a sensible head on her shoulders and is pretty bright so it all works out. I think it was a fun escapist YA book. I want to read the sequel. (Kindle)

The In-Between Hour tibhbybcw by Barbara Claypole White.  I really enjoyed The Perfect Son; I enjoyed meeting BCW and hearing her speak. I bought a few books at the author event and I have purchased a few since. Finally, I’m getting around to reading her books and I bet that I read more books by her soon and in a shorter time frame than I’ve ever read any other author’s books. There is something about her books that I really like and I am trying to figure out what exactly. She has a fearless quality, a wonderful personality unfolding process, great pacing and the occasionally deep thought. She also mentions pie. Fans of Lisa Genova and Liane Moriarity would like Barbara Claypole White. (Kindle)

 

pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Books and Pie aka 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.

Story From a Photo Prompt

Story Prompt

IMG_5371

(Photo taken on Block Island, Rhode Island)

The old dog was waiting for his Master. The lady who also lived in the house with Master and with the dog, in the big house by the sea, had taken the dog to the beach. Without Master. The lady set up her blanket, her beach chair, the cooler with chilled fizzy waters — and was very nice to bring his water bowl and regular non-fizzy water to fill it. She had made a place on the blanket for the dog but he wouldn’t lay on it. He stretched to the length of his leash in the direction of the house where he lived with his master. And with the lady. She was a nice lady. Master seemed to like her, too. The old dog waited patiently, scanning the view in the opposite direction from the view of the sea, looking for his master. The nice lady read a book and would occasionally beckon the dog to join her on the blanket, try to coax him to have a drink of water, to rest on the blanket rather than the sand. She was careful to place the bowl of water in the shade of her beach chair. She would stare fondly, then disappointedly, sadly forlorn at the dog who seemed to ignore her. She would sigh and return to her book, facing in the direction of the water, the opposite direction from the old house. The old dog would stare sadly forlorn in the direction of where he hoped Master would soon appear.

Wait! A tall man was approaching, coming to join them on the beach. Yes, it was him! His Master was coming. The dog glanced at the lady to see if she too noticed Master arriving but she could not see – she was facing the wrong way. And had her nose in a book. The tall man walked to the old dog, bent down and gave him many pats and an ear scratch. “Hello Old Boy! Are you enjoying the beach? Did momma bring you to the beach, Old Man?” Master gave the lady a kiss who by this time had realized his master’s presence and the tall man settled onto the blanket to look out to the sea. The old dog took a drink of water from the bowl in the shade of the lady’s beach chair and then snuggled between them content, happy again. His master was here.

 

 

pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Books and Pie aka 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.

Unpluggity-Pluggity

Blogger-Unplugged-254x300

Yes, yes, I *do* realize that I am somewhat running a readalong this month:  #FiremanAlong

But I am also going to attempt a disconnect from social media a teensy bit and that will mean Facebook, Instagram, Litsy, and Twitter.  (ha – maybe I will attempt snapchat as soon as most of you newbies get old to it!)

Give me 7-10 days off, if that’s OK. Carry on without me, if you can.

You can do that, right?

FWIW, I have 13 hours remaining on my audio of The Fireman which might be ~45% through? — I just got to the part where Harper is visiting John Rookwood to attend to his injuries after going to her house to retrieve the ace bandage. Is that a spoiler?

It is also right after mention of the following which I knew I just had to include somewhere and since youtube song mentions are NOT such a hit on the Twitter feed, I might as well put here:

I am disheartened, disillusioned, frustrated, and scared for my country this election year. I feel the polarization and the lunacy and what seems to be a tendency to be cruel rather than compassionate in relations with ‘others’ and I can’t process. I need some time to  commune with nature.

Call it self-care.

So I’m taking a break from the internet. In some ways, I feel like I know and value a wonderful diverse caring group of friends online but I also am assaulted by persuasiveness that leaves little sympathy and empathy and respect for a different viewpoint. I also suspect that the media is feeding the beast and is not to be trusted.

I’ll shut up now and look to the sunshine. I promise to wear my sunscreen.

loveCare

pierating

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.

Save

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist

Thoughts yhismtsoafbysy by Sunil Yapa, 2016, # of pages

Challenge:  Personal Rooster Chase
Genre:  Contemporary Lit
Type/Source:  Hardback/Indie Bookstore purchase
 Why I read this now:  Finally! I have owned this book since January? Now was finally its time.

MOTIVATION for READING:  My attempt to read books published in 2016 that might end up on the short list for the 2017 Rooster.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  The riots protesting the 1999 WTO conference in Seattle.

THREE words:  Intense, intense, intense

Style: Yapa gives seven viewpoints to tell this happens-in-one-day story. It is a woven collection of passion and backgrounds, motivations and futility. It is very descriptive at times, almost to the point of trying too hard but it all works. The characters are fascinating, some more likable than others, some more believable maybe, but still captivating. As someone who is mainstream go-along-to-get-along in my safe suburban America, I get skewered here but I wanted to understand. Why didn’t the delegates just meet at the hotel?  

FINAL THOUGHTS: The world is a hot mess. And I don’t know my proper place within it.

RATING:  Five slices of pie.

“Because how deep the darkness of the heart which longs for control.”

The following is a bit of cinematic history, questioning why movies fail, how a few might actually be masterpieces, and yet it could also be that Americans just can’t handle the truth. Watching this reminded me of Yapa’s book and its themes so I present it here for you to reflect on as well.

 

pierating

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.

Save

Save

The Abstinence Teacher

Thoughts tatbytp by Tom Perotta, St. Martin’s Griffin, 358 pages

wian2016

Challenge: What’s in a Name 9 : Employment Category
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Tradeback / Used Books Shelf at Indie Store

MOTIVATION for READING:  I mistakenly thought this author was from Nebraska. I had him confused with the guy who made the movie Election. Perotta wrote the book that inspired the movie Election but Alexander Payne adapted the screenplay and directed the 1999 film with Mathew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. Why do I care? I am sure there are plenty of authors from Nebraska but that is always what Perotta reminds me of and now I really don’t have any reason to! Odd, what our brain attaches and jumps to and reminds us of…

WHAT’s it ABOUT:A sexual health teacher has fundamentalist Christians move to town and not be too happy with the what of what she teaches. So she ‘gets’ to teach abstinence to High Schoolers to keep her job. Meanwhile, a former drug addict rock music guitar player finds Jesus and coaches the health teacher’s daughter’s soccer team. There are sparks…

WHAT’s GOOD:I felt Perotta did a mostly good job balancing the viewpoints without bias but it still felt detached. I don’t think this is fair of me because it is difficult to write about a subject when you have opinions one way or the other, but I felt him being careful. I know these fundamentalist types and he wasn’t wrong and I can’t accuse him of portraying them inauthentically. But something didn’t convince me – of either side, really. The teacher also was rather rigid in her thoughts and I found myself not liking her. The soccer coach actually had growth. Not a better but more accurate title: The Born-Again Addict.

What’s NOT so good: The more time away from this book, the less I liked it and question the point. Was it hypocrisy? Was it “be careful what you believe it cuz someone somewhere will knock your feet out from under you?” I dunno.

FINAL THOUGHTS: For a book that seemed to attempt a showing of both sides of an issue in a fair and unbiased manner, it definitely had liberal-leaning tendencies. I struggle with wondering what was the moral.

Shall I just suggest that this is not Perotta’s strongest book? He’s a good writer and he had excellent character development; plot progression and pace were fine. I think I will give him another chance or two. I will read Election next.

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

 

 

pierating

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.

Savewian2016

I am almost ready for #FiremanAlong – Day 0

fma4

Hello Everyone!
I had no idea I was going to throw myself into this readalong like I seem to be doing. So exciting to have something to look forward to, would you agree?

Yesterday, I shared a Flares song “Burning Embers” to get everyone jazzed for July and today I appropriately (ahem) posted The Doors “Come On Light My Fire”. Today is Day Zero. Tomorrow is July 1! Fire on Facebook Messenger

You notice that I didn’t link the video songs above because I want to encourage you to go to Twitter and search (and save?) the hashtag #FiremanAlong and remember to look at it often. Share any fun quotes from your reading, RT and “Like” any fun quips that others are sharing. Let’s interact! SPIT SPOT

I have had questions about the LIST. I created a Twitter list of the participants so that you can quickly see who else you may know or not yet know and what they are up to.  This is one way to see people’s tweets without necessarily following (though I hope to follow all of you myself.)

Let me explain – subscribing and VIEWING the list won’t show only #FiremanAlong tweets – only searching and viewing the hashtag will specifically bring up tweets with that reference.

A LIST only displays ALL TWEETS – anything and everything by those people who are members of the list. So, if you are wondering what I am tweeting about when NOT tweeting the readalong stuff, you can see that, too. This saves you going to each member’s tweets individually. It’s a way to group like-minded people’s tweets. Everything but only those people. Does that make sense?

No, you cannot tweet just TO the members. It’s more of a way to spy and wonder, “So, what IS Care up to?”

It may or may not be useful to you and that’s cool. Just use the hashtag #FiremanAlong and you’ll be fine. I love lists and have a ton of them. I usually make one for every readalong…  (For example, my #StateOfWonder list only shows me Katie, Debbie and Stacy. Easy peasy to sort what they are up to and if they tweet something interesting.)

Someone asked about a schedule…  Once I get the print copy, I might break it down in weekly chunks – would that be useful? I find that once I start a book like this (and face it — it DOES feel like a King novel. So readable!!) they go SO FAST. Yep, 800 pages in a few days without even trying.

Have fun. If you want discussion, please post on a blog if you think spoilers will happen — and let us know on Twitter. See you on IG and Litsy, too, most likely.

Oh, there is a group on Litsy reading The Fireman for book club. Check it out.

Fire on Facebook Messenger

Tomorrow will be another youtube clip. I’m so excited! You’re gonna love it!!!

pierating

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.

Unaccustomed Earth

Thoughts uebyjl by Jhump Lahiri, Random House Vintage Contemporaries 2009 (orig 2008), 333 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:  I have had this copy in my house far too long. I was needing, craving a short story experience. Only fitting it be a collection by such a skilled writer.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Again, I am “Bad, bad Care” because I do not have my copy in my hands for reference. This is particularly tricky when reviewing a collection. I gave this book to my friend in Rhode Island. I am in North Carolina. I could wait but I just want to get this list of review posts DONE already! Nobody reads these anyway, amirite? No, I know that is silly, you are reading this right now, aren’t you? Thank you. Smile and shake your head in disbelief. Lahiri deserves better treatment, I realize.

WHAT’s GOOD: Lahiri amazes me. Some of these stories don’t really even have a plot. Or maybe just not a lot of action. She gets people. She gets in their head and gets right to their core. She is insightful; she finds pain and gently extracts it,unfolds it, examines it. She knows the universal feelings felt by all and yet captures the cultural differences within every day lives against the sameness of emotions. She shines in exploring humanity’s weaknesses against the concept of best selves. OK, I’ll shut up now.

Most impactful story/ies: The young girl who reflects on the older boy and how their families knew each other. The older boy, now in college, reflecting on his relationship with his father. Then, much later, the girl and boy meet up in the most unlikely of places and circumstances.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I never really looked at the cover but it all comes together in the last story. And it just leaves an aching hole in your soul.

Only two (or is it three?) of the stories are linked, but I could be wrong. All the stories do not connect around same characters but they all have a thread of melancholy.

RATING: fourpie of apple pie.

“Today, Paola had mentioned, an American novelist was coming, someone homesick for Thanksgiving and bringing an apple pie.”

 

 

pierating

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.