Review 2018

I read 76 books. Though I’m not sure that some are even “books” — a few were Audible Originals so a print version might not be available. And I count my DNFs.

     Here we go!

Total pages ~16042.

Female/Male:  54/22

Fiction/Non: 54/22 (well, isn’t THAT interesting?!)

New to Me Authors: 63        Repeat Authors: 13

Classics: 10 (See previous post.)

Audiobooks: 28, ~255 hours

Shortest book: A graphic novel,  Adam and Andy by James Asal. I gave it 5 slices of pie!

Longest book: Vanity Fair by Wm Makepeace Thackeray, 32 hours and 18 minutes.

I gave more 5 slice pie ratings than last year and 4 and 5 slicers comprised over 70% of my reads! Not bad.

Audiobooks dominate!

Highlights:

I finished a series! The Broken Earth Series by NK Jemisin. Highlighly recommended.

I didn’t do any readalongs? Huh. I didn’t read any Stephen King?! Wow. I did finally read a book by Tracy Kidder, one of my favorite nonfiction writers. I read two books written by friends.

I did a fair job of reading books for the March Tournament of Books – always a wonderful time of year. I’m not doing so hot this year. I’ve read one and about 1/3 into another one. 

My top favorites to share are:

Jane Eyre narrated by Thandie Newton. Beyond fabulous! 

Circe  by Madeline Miller

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine –  participated in one of the best book club discussions I’ve ever experienced! Very fun.

Anthony Marra’s  A Constellation of Vital Phenomena – the book I’m telling everyone to read.

and PriestDaddy  by Patricia Lockwood, a book I think I want to reread but in print. It was one that stayed with me and still perplexes.

Finally, PIE.

and the WINNER of my best book with pie is  THE IDIOT by Elif Batuman!!!

Honorable Mentions:  Tin Man and Manhattan Beach

 

One more thing:

I read 4 books in 2018 that were on the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die:

2018on1001list

Happy New Year! Read and enjoy a slice of pie – in real life or in a book. pieratingsml

 

Copyright © 2007-2019. 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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A Classic Woulda Coulda Shoulda

This is a 2018 Year End Summary (Sub)Post to provide a record of update on my Classics Club 50 (CC50) but also to bemoan the fact that I never actually entered the Back to the Classics 2018 Challenge. And wouldn’t ya know it?! Yep, I could have met it. I actually achieved 8 of the categories by reading only 10 books that count as classics! LOL

My list:

  • By Our Beginnings by Jean Stubbs 1972 – a new to me  woman author
  • Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons 1932 – CC50, a new to me woman author
  • The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy 1958 – CC50, another new to me author and satisfies the COLOR category as well as a woman author
  • Emma by Austen 1815 – satisfies the REREAD category and a single word title plus a woman author
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brönte 1847 – 19th Century classic, a woman author
  • O Pioneers! by Willa Cather 1912 – a 20th Century classic, and a woman author
  • Stoner by John Williams 1965 – CC50, single word title
  • Vanity Fair – Thackeray 1848 – CC50 and I possibly could fight that it is a travel classic or even maybe a crime classic?  yea, maybe not.
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys 1966 – CC50 and a classic that scared me. and OH YEA– woman author
  • A Wizard of EarthSea by Ursula K LeGuin 1968 – a new to me woman author and totally a children’s classic

I am just shaking my head. I usually NEVER hit enough categories to fulfill the Back to Classics Challenge and so I didn’t enter it for 2018. Go figure.

On the other hand, I am only 3 classics away from having read 50 in 5 years. I have to the end of 2019. Now, don’t get too excited because I have to read 24 from my CC50 list to make it but I never committed to that…   woo hoo!

Next up is my recap post with pie charts.  Enjoy this photo of a pie:


Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Books and Pie aka Cares’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.

Recap of November and the Plan for December

 Hello Book Friends!

I read 9 books in November for a total of 70 for the year. 

My favorite was the Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. It’s terrific. Just so so GOOD. Read it.

Four audiobooks – two were free via Audible, which is appreciated. Two were Kindle ebooks. One was a gift from my Mother-in-Law:  A Captain for Laura Rose. The Jemisin was the second in The Broken Earth series (I’m listening to the final book now, The Stone Sky). Girls & Boys is a one-woman play – which is different. And it delivers a punch. Overall, a fabulous reading month.

So now for December. The time to complete challenges, meet goals (doubtful), bake pies, and write Year End Stats posts!  Woo hoo. 

I have 3 books to read for the What’s in a Name Challenge and don’t even have them in the house. Just realizing this is inspiring me to run to the library and GIT er DONE! 

I am happy with how many classics I’ve read this year but I’m unhappy with how little I unpacked my boxes of books.

We are considering a move to a different apartment in our complex – but dreading the actual “MOVE” of the CRAP part of that project. I also dislike dealing with the updates of utilities, address notices, cable company, etc stuff but …  I don’t know. The pros are that we will have outside access for dogs (no waiting for the elevator), place for a grill and no leaky windows. The cons are doing the physical transfer of stuff, losing square footage and going to one bathroom. Advice? Just talking out loud here. Thanks for listening.

And this completes my post for today! Has to be one of the boringest posts I’ve ever blogged. I do hope to make a banana cream pie this weekend but let’s show you the pies I made and/or enjoyed for Thanksgiving.

  Have a fabulous Month of December! May you meet your reading goals and have a Happy Holiday Season.

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 Dud Avocado

A review and a clarification…

First, the response to the comments on the prior post: I did not mean to imply that WordPress is hard and difficult to figure out. I really REALLY do think it much more preferable than Blogger – especially when I do hear that platform has not been updated ever. Yikes. WP is better at spam filtering, if nothing else.

It was only that I didn’t want to deal with any changes. I want my OLD way I’m used to. If I do take the time to relax into it and deal, I’m sure it will be lovely. I just couldn’t do quick because I couldn’t FIND my tags and categories. Not a big deal. I could have taken the time to ask customer service where they are hiding this feature in the latest upgrade, but I was in a hurry.

That said,

I’m right now typing this on the WRITE-NOW button that is available to me and I’m rolling with it.

READY for my REVIEW?

Cool. Here goes.

by Elaine Dundy, 1958, 260 pages, Kindle Edition

I loved the Introduction to The Dud Avocado.
I actually read it first, too, and I don’t remember why. (I never read the Intro to a classic if I’ve yet to read the story!! What has happened to me?!)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish The Dud Avocado. I did enjoy the breezy style in the beginning and I chuckled in amusement with her observations and challenges of living in Paris as a young lady in the 50s.

But then I put it down and left it a few days and when I did come back to it, I couldn’t figure out where it was going. I put it down again and then, then,

oops. The book expired and I wasn’t able to read on. It was a library eBook and Too-Much-Time-Passed… POOF! It was gone.

DNF and I’m not that sorry. I can always check it out again.

I’m still going to count it for the What’s in a Name Challenge

Fruit or Vegetable Category 

 

And it is on my Classics Club 50 list so WOO HOO!

 

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.

Oh WordPress, How You Vex Me…

So, I open my ADMIN access to write a new post and am presented with “WOO HOO!!! TRY THE NEWEST COOLEST STUFF TO SUPPOSEDLY MAKE BLOGGING FUN AGAIN! and EASY! and COOL!! and…”

Whatever.

I tried going to my “tried and true” which is to Add New Post and copy my template which brings in my copyright at the bottom of every post and 

I’m not sure it worked. 

So I start typing.

I have a few things to share, I guess. I made a pie. (go see my Instagram). I read a books since last post and I’m reading a few so says gr. (that’s goodreads.com, if you don’t know.

What an old curmudgeon I am!  Yikes.

Earlier today, after receiving an unexpected gift from my 80 year old, I mean 29+ year old Auntie, I created a video via Facebook Story and then had to leave a FB message telling her I did so… when I get a text that says, “Huh? WHAT AND WHERE is this story thing you speak of?!”  And, sadly, I can’t help her. 

Doesn’t FB notify the tagged person when a story is sent to them?  Facebook is dying, methinks. egads.

(whoa. this editor just put a blue box around a paragraph I just typed and labeled it… wait for it…. PARAGRAPH.  Am I supposed to do something about it?

Ok, book and pie lovers, I am signing off. OH! I will tell you that I read Vanity Fair!  I DNF’d The Dud Avocado which makes me sad but it expired from the library. oh well. And I’m loving Beth Howard’s latest!  She is my pie-inspiration!  The book is about her marriage and moving to Stuttgart to be with Marcus. HE’s German if you didn’t figure that out. It’s good! She’s a good writer and like I said, is a PIE INSPIRER.

Here’s the pie I made the other night: Butterscotch Bourbon.

When I go to post this and want to add tags and comments and can’t figure out WHERE/HOW to do this, I might throw a conniption. Did I spell that right?

xoxoxox

Tin Man

Thoughts  by Sarah Winman, GPPutnam’s Sons 2017, 214 pages

Challenge: not applicable
Genre: contemporary lit
Type/Source: Tradeback with the cool nifty edges/gift from friend
 Why I read this now: it was top of the stack…

MOTIVATION for READING: Nancy said I would like it. I had already added this to my tbr so some nice blurb somewhere must have caught my attention.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is a story about friendship and love. All the kinds of love. We meet two young boys who both suffer losses and become true friends; then one meets a lovely girl (who runs a bookstore!  squeee – always a bonus in a book, right?) and then the three become great friends and become family. And then…

WHAT’s GOOD: Everything. It’s told well, the imagery and settings across England and Europe, the conversations, the happenings, all touching in all the right ways.

What’s NOT so good: I give this 4 stars and maybe because it can be a sad book. But it can also be a hopeful book, it’s life. Maybe I just didn’t quite get all the buttons pushed when I love a reading experience but this one is delightful and I heartily recommend. Maybe it isn’t a 5 star because I wanted it to be longer?  That’s nuts, but … oh well.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  If you like ART and love your stories to involve grand gorgeous paintings by the master and love that imagery – this is a story for you. If you love love stories, sort of love stories, enjoy your heart getting involved – maybe stomped on a bit, then this is a story for you.

Come on, the title?  TIN MAN. He has a heart…   Now, I’ve piqued your interest. Admit it.

RATING:  Four slices of pie with lots of whipped cream. Or gravy. This book is inspiring me to make more savory pies this fall. Mmmmmmm

“Potatoes, wine, a ham and a pork pie and salad, a feast.”

“But then he said, pie and chips, Janice, please. And she said, pie and chips it is then. There you go, my love.”

“The canteen was busy and smelled of chips and shepherds pie and something over-cooked and green.”

THANKS NANCY!!!

pierating

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.

Dark Rooms

Thoughts

3328CC7B-EF2C-4939-82A2-351E6525B4AF by Lili Anolik, Wm Morrow 2015, 323 pages

Review in six words:  sisters, murder, siblings, whodunit, bad parenting

Free flow ramblings:  Grace is the older sister to a cooler more wild, more world-wise Nica who shows up dead by gunshot. Setting is a boarding school so of course, we get class issues, drug use, promiscuity, all of it. Nica is sleeping with everyone, it seems, so we wonder who ISN’t a suspect? But the school and the police conveniently find a suicide with confession note. Gracie isn’t buying it. A few of the situations she gets herself into are almost ridiculous but we buy it because kids are confusing and confused and doubts are huge; motivation-exploration and self-awareness are numbed by drugs and avoidance even as she keeps placing herself into conversations and confrontations to solve her sister’s murder. All is solved in the end and those plot turns and twists are just a part of the ride.

I don’t “get” the title… oh wait! I do!! Ha, ok, took me way waaaay too long, but Mom is a photographer. I guess that’s the connection. Mom is a real peach if you like fiction with icky mother-daughter storylines.

Rating: three slices of pie.

 

 

 

pieratingsml

 

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.

Wide Sargasso Sea #ccspin

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Norton 2016 (org 1966), 174 Pages

Introduction by Edwidge Danticat (read last, though, of course. I adhere to a strict policy of never reading Intros until I read the text. Ahem)

Challenge: For this month’s Classic Club Spin.

Genre: Fan-Fiction? Carribean Historical Fiction, an Anti-Romance, perhaps.

Type/Source: Tradeback / I finally had the opportunity and forethought to plan for a shopping trip to an Indie Bookstore who to my excitement and delight had a copy for me to purchase!

Will ship to anyone interested – just let me know your opinion of Jane Eyre.

_ ____ ________________

For those book-readers-and-pie-lovers who don’t already know, this work of fiction is the back story to one of the characters in Jane Eyre. Jane is the plucky poor governess who woos Rochester to marriage but then finds out that he is already married. And this first wife is living in his house, chained up in the attic! Sorry if I spoilt that for you, but I am truly shocked when I encounter people who don’t know what Jane Eyre is about. Book readers, even. How, I ask, do some college educated people I am friends with actually not know about Jane Eyre! A diverse world we live in; I keep finding out.

Anyway, Jean Rhys had read Jane Eyre and wanted to know more about this first Mrs. Rochester and so she put her ideas into this short novella.

I probably should reread it. It is atmospheric and confusing. It is stream of consciousness and vivid. It provides narrative on the lady’s childhood (tragic) and then switches to a time right after she is married to an Englishman and is this part is from this unnamed guy’s perspective. We know this is Rochester.

And he comes off as an asshole. The first part is rather straightforward and we sympathize greatly with Miss Antoinette and her sad mother and her scary circumstances – poor and friendless in hostile territory, a failed plantation on a Caribbean island. It is sketchy exactly how her fortunes turn but mother somehow remarries money… more tragedy happens and then Part 2.

Rochester marries Antoinette for her money, but doesn’t really remember everything cuz he gets the fever for a few weeks while all this is happening. Antoinette seems happy and crazy in love but Rochester is bewildered and befuddled and then finds out Antoinette’s true father was a drunk and much worse, her mother is ‘mad’, crazy, a whore. Rochester is filled with rage. He’s been tricked!

Antoinette also becomes enraged to find out this guy is a total jerk. Partly because he starts calling her Bertha – or was that before he got pissed off, I forget; but it was odd to me why he did that (and it is just so hard to think of the name Bertha as a “pretty” pet name – so confusing.) And THEN! He sleeps with a servant, UGH! and basically treats everyone like the asshole he is.

Part 3 is in England, to scenes familiar to those of us who know the setting and storyline of Jane Eyre.

 

Yikes… so rather than reread just yet, I post this and invite any of you to share/correct me on these thoughts.

 

I would love to take a class on Jane combined with discussion of this story, the history it depicts, the themes throughout both, and the motivations of both authors. Fun stuff!

The Introduction is excellent, too!

Four slices of pie. Alas, no pie nor pastry mentioned in Wide Sargasso Sea.

Cross another classic off my 50. Thank you Spin for the prompt to get this read.

I am on to my next: Vanity Fair – a classic I know little about (and what I might think I know seems to be wrong.) I know that Becky Sharpe is a famous conniving female character of literature and so far, Thackeray is entertaining in a Dickens kind of way…

[insert copyright note here and book cover image at top when I get back to a PC – I can’t figure out how to do that with this device…]

July Reviews Written in 15 Minutes… Go!

Thoughts on Recent Books

Thoughts on Recent Books and Typed Up Fast

or…  All the Books I Read or Attempted in July of 2018.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Despite all the authors who don’t want readers to give books poor ratings and how much I really do want to participate in that when I can appreciate that some books just don’t meet the needs of all readers, I do also want to say that SOMETIMES a low-rating or a ‘dislike’ can actually help a book because sometimes, a review reader will say to themselves, “Hey – those things you didn’t like are things I often DO like so I’m going to give it a try.”  or, they might appreciate that some books have detractors which is good because a book that is universally liked by seemingly everyone must be suspect. It’s good to find that some people didn’t find it awesome like everyone else. It makes people curious. Right?

I did not like The Immortalists. It was not for me. I just didn’t buy some of the characters’ behavior and thought it tried to cram everything and the kitchen sink into the plot line. If it had been just the first 25%, I might have really liked it. But the 3rd and 4th parts didn’t work. Too much. Too unbelievable. Wearying. But hey; LOTS of people loved it so give it a try if it sounds good to you. Maybe you’ll love it. In fact, I hope you do. Caveat – I didn’t like the narration so maybe try the print.

By Our Beginnings by Jean Stubbs

A gem! a true and lovely literary wonder!  It checked all the boxes for me. Set in England, romance between mature and smart individuals, family saga, historical, clash of classes and culture, story swept me away…  

AND, to be totally honest, I expected it to be boring boorish dull. So a pleasant surprise! I was captivated within the first two pages. 

My mother-in-law got me this for my birthday. xoxoxox

Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand 

I doubt I ever read another book by Hilderbrand. But I do like and enjoy and admire this author based on her Twitter presence. 

Brief Encounters with Che Guevara by Ben Fountain DNF – I’m going to have to try this again sometime. I didn’t capture me.

A Brief History of Seven Killings by  Marlon James – FASCINATING!  Too long, though, and very violent. I just couldn’t bring myself to continue the audiobook and wanted to cry. 

A Gate at the Stairs / Lorrie Moore 

I’ve heard SO MANY interesting things about Lorrie Moore and every interesting thing makes me think I would love her books. I discovered this book was in my immediate possession so I read it and I enjoyed it very much if enjoyment is the right word. She tackles tough stuff. I wish I could articulate my thoughts but I’m a coward when it comes to crazy good stuff and my inadequacies of explaining what exactly I found impressive or thought-provoking. 

My 15 minutes are up.

Have you read any of these? Do share!

 

 

 

 

pieratingsml

 

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.

Classics Club Spin! August 2018

So.   I saw on Twitter this morning that the latest SPIN! number was about to be announced and then…

I missed the interim window to make my list because I saw that the SPIN! number was published!  Ooops. whoops. I hadn’t made my list yet.

So I entered 20 books into a random list order generator and so I could still be surprised by whichever book landed on the SPIN.

Here’s the list BEFORE I entered them into the randomizer:

The Three Musketeers – Alex Dumas
Jude the Obscure – Hardy
the Woodlanders – Hardy
Rabbit, Run – Updike
Naked Lunch – Wm Burroughs
Love in a Cold Climate – Nancy Mitford
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
The House of the Seven Gables – Hawthorne
Vanity Fair – Thackeray
Dead Souls – Nikolay Gogol
Candide – Voltaire
The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon
Confederacy of Dunces – JKToole
Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup
The Way We Live Now – Trollope
the Counterfeiters – A. Gide
A Handful of Dust – Waugh
The Ox-bow Incident – Walter Van Tilberg Clark
Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City

and here’s the results UP to the SPIN NUMBER of 9:

  1. the Woodlanders – Hardy
  2. The Way We Live Now – Trollope
  3. Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City
  4. The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
  5. Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup
  6. Rabbit, Run – Updike
  7. Love in a Cold Climate – Nancy Mitford
  8. Jude the Obscure – Hardy
  9. Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys

 

Alrighty then! Off to the library website to order the book. Or go to Audible and check if the narration is highly rated? Maybe. I have a credit to use…

 

pieratingsml

 

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.