Tag Archives: book cover links to goodreads

Burning Questions and The Candy House

Thoughts by Margaret Atwood, Doubleday 2022, 496 pages

Challenge: n/a

Genre/Theme: Essays

Type/Source: Hardcover / Gift from a friend

What It’s About: Wonderful essays on the climate, politics, book reviews and author tributes, bits about poems; reminisces on her childhood, her marriage, and husband, lectures she has given, etc and more.

“However, this does not make The Handmaid’s Tale a “feminist dystopia” except insofar as giving a woman a voice and an inner life will always be considered “feminist” by those who think women ought not to have these things.”

Thoughts: She’s Margaret Atwood!

“She came by her perky Mom voice and her “Howdy Stranger“ tropes honestly. She was a refugee, not to America but from within America: a mom and Apple Pie America, and America of the past that was being rapidly transformed by material inventions, …”

Rating: Five slices of pie.

“My own mother was of the non-interference school unless it was a matter of life and death. ___ She later said that she had to leave the kitchen when I was making my first pie crust, the sight was so painful to her.”

-Polonia (2005)

 

Thoughts by Jennifer Egan, Scribner 2022, 334 pages

Challenge: TOB Summer Camp

Genre/Theme: Linked Short Stories, 2nd in the Goon Series

Type/Source: Hardcover / Library

What It’s About: These stories continue the looks into the lives of characters touched on in The Visit From the Goon Squad. I can’t even pick a favorite. Actually, some seem abrupt or bring up people I would have hoped to explore more or really taxed my brain power! That said, I loved it. It felt SO GOOD to just read and relax and get lost in a story.

“The fact that so many thoughts could have gone through my head in 3.36 seconds is testament to the infinitude of an individual consciousness. There is no end to it, no way to measure it. Consciousness is like the cosmos multiplied by the number of people alive in the world (assuming that consciousness dies when we do, and it may not) because each of our minds is a cosmos of its own: unknowable, even to ourselves.”

Thoughts: I must link in my review of Goon Squad – because I don’t remember it nor was I able to capture its charms exactly – only entertained myself in the attempt. Others have noted that it is a wise plan to keep notes of characters at the start of BOTH these books, something I did not do but recognize it might be valuable advice. Me, I only hope to reread both of these, back to back. Put it on my ‘Retire-to-a-Deserted-{Desserted?!)-Island-Reading-List’.

My kind of story-telling. Five slices of pecan pie.

“… tweezing forkfuls of turkey or pecan pie through a rectangular mouth slot.”

ARthur p.26

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

A View of the Harbour

Thoughts by Elizabeth Taylor, Virago Modern Classics 2006 (orig 1947), 304 pages

Introduction by Sarah Waters

Challenge: Buddy Read with Laila of Big Reading Life; Set At or By the Sea Category of #ReadICT

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction; quiet small British seaside village post-WW2

Type/Source: Tradeback / Purchased at Watermarks Indie bookstore

What It’s About: This story focuses on the inter-relationships of the neighbors living directly on the harbour; from the doctor’s family, the pub workers, the widowed proprietor of a tourist wax museum, the librarian, the vicar, etc. The pivot view to all begins with Bertram, a painter who has moved to the area for the season: to catch the right light off the sea, to capture the perfect seascape, to be “an artist”. He fancies himself a man-of-the-people as he rudely? comically? insinuates himself into the neighborhood. A lot of life happens in this book.

“Always intelligent, often subversive, and never dull, Elizabeth Taylor is the thinking person’s dangerous housewife. Her sophisticated prose combines elegance, ice wit and freshness in a stimulating cocktail – the perfect toast to the quiet horror of domestic life.”

Valerie martin

Thoughts: I love this author. True, her stories do not have a lot of action exactly, but they have drama! and depth and comedy, beautiful sentences and interesting glimpses into every character – the good and the bad, the endearing, the appalling. Ah, not really! not that much appalling exactly. Well, maybe. (One more reason I love classics – humans have always been dastardly and behaved badly, amiright?)

“I know who to,” Beth said, shocked to find herself ending with a preposition. But she was much thrown out by the surprise of it all.”

Rating: Four slices of pie. LOTS of whipped cream. Shepherd’s Pie mentioned

“Forking up shepherd’s pie with an expression of contempt.”

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Poetry 2021 Edition 4

Poetry Goal 2021:  to read a poem* every day.

Collection #6 by Maggie Smith, Tupelo Press 2017, 100 pages

From the blurb at goodreads.com: Poems written out of the experience of motherhood, inspired by the poet watching her own children trying to read the world like a book they’ve just opened, knowing nothing of the characters or plot.

 Past

 What is the past?

We need a word for everything before,

See how my saying this is already there, and there

for good ̶ no fishing it out of that deep water,

the deepest there is. The past is a tide that drags out

but won’t return to shore: even your question has been

carried off. Look, you can see it floating.

(only the first half of the poem, get the book to read the rest.)

Four slices of pie.


Collection #7 by Rita Dove, WW Norton 1999, 96 pages

from the poem on page 76

“The situation is intolerable”

Hush, now. Assay

the terrain: all around us dark

and the perimeter in flames,

but the stars—

tiny, missionary stars—

on high, serene, studding

the inky brow of heaven.

. . .

Our situation is intolerable, but what’s worse

is to sit here and do nothing.

O yes. O mercy on our souls.

I found these poems accessible and confident, powerful. Five slices of pie.

*Or more. I’m not tracking, I’m just reading. I’m not limiting this experience to one poem a day – that is only the minimum.

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

 

Hood Feminism

Thoughts by Mikki Kendall, Viking 2020, 267 pages

Challenge: Self-education and Professional

Genre/Theme: Nonfiction / Feminism

Type/Source: eBook and hard cover, both library

Recommended by: [Cover links to gr; this link goes to my review.]

What It’s About: subtitled: Notes From the Women That a Movement Forgot

“There’s nothing feminist about having so many resources at your fingertips and choosing to be ignorant. Nothing empowering or enlightening in deciding that intent trumps impact. Especially when the consequences aren’t going to be experienced by you, but will instead be experienced by someone from a marginalized community.”

– Mikki Kendall

Thoughts: I am not well-read on the foundational readings of feminism. That said, I believe in equal rights equal pay equal respect. I know little of the history of the movement. I choose to not be ignorant. (I am weak and working on the impact over intent consideration. And if you have heard me at my most admonishmenting: I am working on me, to be better.)

What I do have is some experience with less-than-mediocre white men getting ahead and I’ve seen exceptionally bright and capable black women be disregarded. Me, myself, I have privilege; I just want a simple life that is quiet and safe and allows me to read my books and watch my movies and plant my plants and walk my dog. Love and hug the family on holidays and then leave me alone. However and sadly, I have sat back confused and even be frightfully agog with ‘what just happened?’ when personally witnessing or listening to what I consider WRONG THINKING. I’m saddened by this. I’ve experienced blatant misogyny and harassment and survive with mostly confusion, if not lost opportunity and advancement. Perhaps, maybe, I do not want opportunity and advancement, that is likely my own issues to deal with. I get it but I also don’t. But yea, I feel like I’m settling. I’m settling with safety and security in my little bubble.

I also know white privileged women who are far away from understanding and respecting the Notes as explained here by Ms. Kendall. I have had women tell me that it disgusts them to drive by poor houses on the highway like it was a personal insult to them. I’ve seen those posts on FB that express horror, anger, and indignation at what the “libtards are doing to take away their freedoms”. And I don’t confront it – the “it” conflicting image or how or what — that the United States is supposed to be for ALL; that systematically, marginalized people are exploited and stepped on. I don’t have the power inside to formulate the words and argument required to withstand whatever the backlash might be. The backlash of outrage “I’m not racist?!” Oh, but yes, you are – you/we are supporting a racist system.” I am not strong, I’ve never been able. I also fear a fight would not be a process that would get to a successful outcome that would align with the ideas and ideals needed to respect Ms. Kendall’s truth. But I should try.

“No one needs a savior to ride in, take over, and decide for them what would be the best approach to solve a problem. No one has time to play emotional caretaker for allies who would be accomplices, in general, if you have come to these spaces looking to take things away for your benefit instead of looking to contribute, than you’re already doing it wrong.”

I want to contribute.

I want to contribute.

This book has me signing up for the League of Women Voters. It’s my start. And I’ll be buying this book. To share.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

” …the time a guy tried to rob my mother at an ATM and pointed a gun at me to make her comply is as American and mundane as apple pie..”

Do better. Be better.

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Thoughts by Jeanette Winterson, Grove Press 1985, 176 pages

Fruit salad, fruit pie, fruit for fools, fruited punch.”

Challenge: n/a

Genre/Theme: LGBTQIA+ coming of age

Type/Source: Tradeback / Used Book Store Purchase

It is not the one thing nor the other that leads to madness, but the space in between them.

What It’s About: Jeanette is a young girl being groomed to be a missionary. She’s the adopted daughter of a very headstrong woman and an inconsequential father. Jeanette loves the Lord and loves the church and is OK with being considered odd because she has a purpose.

If the demons lie within they travel with you.

Eventually, however, she begins to have doubts. Especially when her friendship with Melanie blossoms into a special love. The church disapproves.

People do go back, but they don’t survive, because two realities are claiming them at the same time. Such things are too much. You can salt your heart, or kill your heart, or you can choose between the two realities. There is much pain here. Some people think you can have your cake and eat it. The cake goes mouldy and they choke on what’s left. Going back after a long time will make you mad, because the people you left behind do not like to think of you changed, will treat you as they always did, accuse you of being indifferent, when you are only different.

Winterson weaves parables and fantasy stories of wizards and King Arthur into this semi-autobiographical tale and I enjoyed the heck out of her voice, her turn of phrase, her interesting thoughts on how the world works.

“She asked if it was the woman who served pie and peas in the pub; Doreen didn’t know, but now that she thought of it that would explain why he always smelled of gravy when he came home late.”

Thoughts: It all worked for me. Enjoyed this very much.

“Best thing to come out of France,” the woman declared, biting her Bourbon.

“What about quiche?“ I reminded her.

“Right, that’s right,” she nodded.

Rating: Five slices of pie. Mince pie! and quiche.

“I have a theory that every time you make an important choice, the part of you left behind continues the other life you could have had.”

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Meet Cute Diary

Thoughts by Emery Lee, Quill Tree Books 2021, 400 pages

Challenge: Recommended by a friend

Genre/Theme: LGBTQIA+ YA

Type/Source: eBook / Kindle sale

What It’s About: Noah is 17 and blogger of ‘meet cute’ stories for trans youth. Noah was identified as female at birth and is now identifying as male, with respectful acceptance by his family; he spends the summer in Colorado with his college-age brother as his parents find a house in California, moving from Florida.

Updated 24+ hours later: It seems I missed a key plot element in how Noah’s brothers’ girlfriend, Maggie, misgendered Noah when they met and this understandably set Noah to dislike her with a furious intensity. Apologies for my careless reading attention to this event.

Thoughts: Noah has a lot of growing up to do; this could be a coming of age story, I guess. He was both so gosh darn earnest AND set in his (wrong?) opinions. For example, he did NOT like his brother’s girlfriend but never really convinced me, no analysis. He was such a slacker, it annoyed me. Basically, I am NOT the right age or target audience for this book to appreciate the vagaries of youth. However, I did learn a few things about pronouns and that is a good thing.

I can’t bring myself to write in the Diary. It’s probably just shooting myself in the foot since really, I should be online proving to people that love is real, but I can’t work past the churning in my stomach. I just want to go to sleep forever, or at least until my mom restores my credit card.

The book has pie and pastry baking, so it has that going for it.

Rating: Two or three slices of pie.

“I jolt back at the sound of laughter, whipping around to find Maggie standing in the kitchen, a plate full of pastelitos balanced in one hand.”

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Yoga Pant Nation

Thoughts by Laurie Gelman, Henry Holt & Co. 2021, 256 pages

Challenge: Local bookclub pick for October

Genre/Theme: Mom Lit

Type/Source: Hardcover / Library

What It’s About: Jennifer, our main character, wears many hats and has a snarky attitude that makes it all come together. She is class mom to the fifth grade class with her youngest, baby sitter 3 days a week to her oldest daughter’s 2 year old, is trying to keep up with her parents, gets recruited to be the chair of the school fund-raising committee with a goal of $10,000, and is in training to be a spin class instructor at the local gym. She gets lots of curve balls thrown at her like one does as a premier family juggler of the sandwich generation. AND it’s set in a suburb of Kansas City.

Thoughts: It was fun. A VERY fast read. I don’t subscribe to her yoga pant love and I was thrown off by the many ‘ya’ drops in the dialogue, but minor quibbles. I would have gone with the yea or yeah spelling, myself.

And it has pie. She made six pumpkin pies for the Thanksgiving bake sale. I wouldn’t have made six and I don’t have an 1/8th nor 1/16th! going on that she does. Just another proof that the more you have to do, the more you get done.

Rating: Three or four slices of pie. Pumpkin and key lime.

“He just stuck his face in a key lime pie, and we called it a night.”

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Thoughts by Susanna Clarke, Macmillan Audio 2005 (orig 2004), 32 hours 29 minutes

Narrated by Simon Prebble

Challenge: TOB Faves Long List

Genre/Theme: Historical Lit, Alternative History, Fantasy / Magic

Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible + eBook, Libby via Kindle

What It’s About: Two magicians bring magic back to England. The years is 1810 or so. One is a hoarder of all books on magic – about magic — with magic and the other is one of those guys who is just clueless, finds something he can do and so he does it. The first is miserly and mean and insecure but arrogant. The second is also arrogant. Both are oblivious.

Thoughts: Some readers love the richness of detail and the amazing adventures in this long long book. I get it, but it wasn’t for me. Much to admire but I honestly got to the 3/4 mark, listening to over 20 hours and then couldn’t take it anymore. I was thrilled to see that I could access the eBook from my library so I could skim to the end and find out what happened. I did need that closure but I just couldn’t carve out the 10 hours needed to do it through my ears.

That said, Simon Prebble did a great job. The audiobook was well done and for a book that has many footnotes, many that are stories in themselves, the audio was a great way to digest. Somehow, they didn’t really interrupt the flow. (When I switched to the eBook, I realized I was skipping right over them without even noticing — THAT very much interrupted the flow!)

Clarke must have had much fun writing this and I’m happy for her that it thrilled most of those who managed to read it all the way through. It just bugged me that the magicians would not realize that magic was happening right in front of them and just brush it off without nary a ‘”Huh, that’s weird.” Yay for Stephen – I liked him, the poor guy. And I liked Childemas and Vinculus. Though I did wonder why Childemas put up with Norrell for as long as he did.

And my final thought is best wishes for the fictional Arabella and Miss Flora – may they ever be happy together.

Rating: Two to three slices of pie. Pork pie.

“Pork pies dropped on the heads of the French!”

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Thoughts by Ottessa Moshfegh, Penguin Press 2018, 289 pages

Challenge: n/a

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit

Type/Source: Hard cover, Library

What It’s About: A 20-something female devastated by both her grief and the lack of emotional response to the death of her parents tries to sleep her way back to a sense of self. She finds the best and worst of psychiatrists whacky enough to prescribe her any assortment of drug cocktails to allow withdrawal from her life. She has one friend she treats miserably, an ex-boyfriend who she allows to treat her miserably, and a miserable job at an art gallery. She loses that job by taking too many sleep breaks in the broom closet. This job does introduce her to some interesting people, one of which sparks her to the one idea: an art project that just might restore her to the fresh start she seeks.

“Like dropping a pie on the floor as soon as you pull it out of the oven.”

Thoughts: I am glad to have read this. One of those books that you are glad to say ‘yep, I read that’ maybe more than the enjoyment of actually reading of it. The character’s decisions sure made my heart race – like watching someone stand on the edge of a cliff, or on the railing of a high bridge, then doing a pirouette.

Thoughts: Moshfegh is a talented writer. VERY talented.

Rating: Four slices of pie.

“I tried to picture Anthony Michael Hall making an appearance, maybe as the neighbor’s kid coming to pay his condolences with a pie or a casserole.”

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Did That Just Happen?!

Thoughts Beyond “Diversity” – Creating Sustainable and Inclusive Organizations by Dr. Stephanie Pinder-Amaker and Dr. Lauren Wadsworth, Beacon Press 2021, 203 pages

Challenge: Self and Professional

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit

Type/Source: Hard cover, Purchased from an Indie bookstore

What It’s About: This fabulous guide explains everything DEI.

Beyond ‘microagressions’ – use the term IRA for identity-related aggressions.

Thoughts: I am a corporate learning facilitator which means I am the person who does a lot of the talking in our training workshops. I bought this to not only see if we as a company are on the right track but to see how I can nudge and shift and pay attention to what is truly needed and HOW to deliver.

I very much appreciate the walk-throughs provided in this book, the what to say and the what NOT to say and why things are problematic. This book delivers.

“I’m sorry that happened. That is NOT okay.” No need to fix anything in that moment. Just listen.

Rating: Five slices of pie.

“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”

Toni Morrison

 

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.