Tag Archives: classic

Invisible Man

Thoughts by Ralph Ellison, Random House Audio 2010 (orig 1952, 624 pages), 18 hours 36 min

Narration by Joe Morton. Five slices of pie on performance.

Challenge: Classics Club second list of 50, Litsy #BookSpinBINGO!

Genre/Theme: US Black Experience/History

Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible and eBook / Kindle via Libby

What It’s About: OK, this is a complicated plot, if ever there was one. In fact, I wondered, though I’m hardly experienced to even suggest such a thing, if this is an Odyssey-like parallel. (I have NOT read the Odyssey and barely know any mythology). May I say that this is a SERIES of ADVENTURES? (maybeperhaps, Gulliver’s Travels? I haven’t read that, neither. Maybe it is its OWN dang odyssey/travels?!) Anyway. Our narrator begins with an explanation and example of how he is ‘invisible’. Then, he goes back to the beginning, but really it starts with his grandfather, then his yearning to be an educated and worthy person, and wowza,…. ALL the stuff along the way that influences or subverts this dream.

In trying to be “good” to the white man, Mr. Norton, who is a benefactor at his college, and importantly tasked with being his driver while in town (but obviously naive), he takes Norton to the dark sides of town. This gets our college-boy expelled and he still, in trying to do “right”, … yea, NO…; the forces are against him. And this jumps over the “HOW” he got to college story! THAT was not a comfortable experience and once, in NY –> just more NOT-comfortable experiences over and over again.

“But that’s a hundred-dollar bill. I take that an’ try to change it and the white folks’ll want to know my whole life’s history.” She snorted. “They want to know where I was born, where I work, and where I been for the last six months, and when I tell ’em they still gonna think I stole it.

This is a powerful work of literary art.

Rating: Four slices of sweet potato pie. Should I be giving it 5 out of respect and uniqueness/”same-as-it-ever-was” and importance? But golly, is it long. (BOOO! suck it up, buttercup!)

“…hot sweet potato pies… HOT FRIED PIES, I thought sadly, moving away. I would probably have indigestion if at one…”

Some lady in NC successfully got this book banned in a 2013 NC school district because it lacked innocence and was not appropriate for her 11th grade child. ELEVENTH GRADE!? Read article –>here<<–

On the other hand, a commenter to the YouTube Thug Notes for this novel, suggests that this text is perfect for writing AP lit essays and I find this an interesting factoid. Why, I wonder? Hmmmmm. I do appreciate Professor Sparky Sweets.

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.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Thoughts by Lewis Carroll, Aerie Books Ltd 1992 (orig (1871), 112 pages

Challenge: Litsy Book Spin! #DoubleSpin, actually

Genre/Theme: Children’s Book

Type/Source: paperback / used book store $1

What It’s About: A little girl has fantastical adventures with talking animals, size-alternating mushrooms, nonsensical tea parties, and games of croquet with moving parts and beheadings. Yikes!

Thoughts: I really wasn’t all that keen on reading this having attempted it once and for whatever reason just didn’t appeal. But that nagging thought that “I *REALLY* should read this” and maybe even a touch of FOMO had me put it on my second Classic Club 50.

It was better than I thought it would be.

Rating: Fours slices of pie.

” I passed by his garden, and marked, with one eye,

How the Owl and the Panther were sharing a pie”

Ok, so let’s talk Litsy: I’m doing all the things this October! (If you want to know the details of it, I can give you the person who hosts and how to find her explanation page. It’s difficult to find by searching for some odd reason.) The photo above shows my October Book Spin Bingo card. My next post will feature the other spin number that I’ve read. I read the DoubleSpin before the Spin Spin, by mistake.

Once I finish my current audiobook of Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison — I’ve got over 6 hours yet to go — I will have BINGO! and if I can get Ask Again, Yes! by Mary Beth Kean completed, I’ll have another BINGO! woot, woot!


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.

Tender is the Night

Thoughts by F.Scott Fitzgerald, 1934, 356 pages

Challenge:  Classics Club Spin
Genre: Classic
Type/Source: ebook, library
 Why I read this now:  SPIN!   

MOTIVATION for READING: I had read somewhere that this was his best work. I may have read that wrong. Could be it is still a topic of debate.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  LOTS going on in this book and to be honest, I didn’t give it my full attention (which might mean that I actually failed to finish. Shame on me! I am still counting it as read…)

Dick Diver is married. He and his wife make a lovely much-admired couple and live in an amazingly glamorous spot on the French Riviera leading a glamorous life. But really, he is a psychoanalyst married to a former patient (named Nicole, who seems perfectly lovely in the first half) and is now attracted (the Dick dude) to a cute young glamorous up&coming actress who throws herself at him. But really, I didn’t get much farther than that. I love that history shocks me – that WHAT?!          WHY young ladies don’t throw themselves at happily married men they meet on the beach AND admire the wives and yet still throw themselves at the husband anyway AND TELL THEIR OWN MOTHER?!  in the late 1920s?!  did they? Do they?

I would have never. (Told my mother.)

I put the book down and ten days later when I had the time and mindspace to jump back in, I found out that it was a 14 day library ebook loan and I FAILED. Oooops. It expired.

So I spent a few hours watching YouTube BookTube videos and caught myself up on the plot of what I missed.

Dick and Nicole’s marriage implodes. He does end up sleeping with the young actress apparently but the book takes a turn and shares how Dick and Nicole met in the first place; then Nicole sleeps with a friend, — apparently, they talk it out “LIKE ADULTS” (whatever that might mean) and it ends ambiguously with Dick being an alcoholic and Nicole hopefully have her HEA. I heard it had an ambiguous ending.

OK, maybe I kept zoning out on the less than 10 minute BookTube reviews. Sue me.

THOUGHTS: This book does seem to have CARE PIE written ALL OVER IT! But no, nope. I just didn’t quite get into that must-finish-keep-reading-it’s-past-my-bedtime-don’t-care state which I was wanting.

Should I have audiobooked it?!

oH yEA.  I will watch the movie. Hopefully sooner than later. Casting looks suspect in my distant future viewpoint yet the pretties and the settings look like it just might deliver.  Jason Robards, Jennifer Jones, Joan Fontaine?! and Jill St John. Adapted to the 1960s and made in 1962. Sign. me. up.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.





Copyright © 2007-2020. 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.

First Book 2020

For Sheila’s Book Journey New Year Reads Initiative. #FirstBook2020




pieratingCopyright © 2007-2020. 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.

Go Tell It on the Mountain

Thoughts gtiotmbyjb by James Baldwin, Blackstone Audio 2013 (orig 1953), 8 hours 45 minutes

Narrated by Adam Lazarre-White.


Challenge: Back to the Classics
Genre: American classic, coming of age
Type/Source: Audio/Audible
 Why I read this now: This was the only audiobook I had on my phone at the moment I was ready to listen to a new one.

MOTIVATION for READING: I am curious. Baldwin is mentioned as an important writer and I had yet to read any of his work.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Not at all what I expected. I thought it was a going to be an essay on race relations in America. It’s fiction! I did not know it was fiction. I did not know it was semi-autobiographical. I was not prepared at all for this.

It is a story of a family and an individual family member grappling with his destiny against family history and expectations and cultural storms. It captures a certain place and time but the theme is universal.

WHAT’s GOOD: The writing blew me away. Here’s the blurb from goodreads; bold red font emphasis is mine:

Go Tell It on the Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a semi-autobiographical novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.


RATING: Four slices of pie. The narration is excellent.

“after dinner, they brought up the pie and coffee and cream…”


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.

Mansfield Park

Thoughts mpbyja Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, Naxos Audio 2007 (orig 1814), 16 hours 49 minutes

Narrated by the incomparable professional Juliet Stevenson.


  “I fancy Miss Price has been more used to deserve praise than to hear it.”

This is the most fun book full of love-to-loath characters! Had a grand time with Jane and her character descriptions of the “too good” (Fanny Price) and deliciously bad (Auntie Mrs. Norris). I even started to admire Lady Bertram at one point. Of course, Edmund was only slightly less annoying than Fanny and the Crawfords!  OH YES!  Miss Mary and her darling flirtatious conniving brother Henry!!!  Such fun. Could NOT understand how Edmund put up with Mary… She was so insulting and it would go right over his head; he thought her heavenly and sweet. (She certainly was neither.)

Jane Austen’s ability to be cool and snide is beyond compare.

Rating: fourpie

READ for CITY category for the What’s In a Name Challenge. My SECOND entry. Mansfield is a town in Massachusetts.

READ for CLASSICS CLUB 50 and VERY LONG category of the Classics Challenge.


Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.

Heart of Darkness

Thoughts and Meandering More Thoughts HoDbyJC Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Dover Thrift 2012 (orig 1899), 102 pages Kindle eBook

“I wasn’t arguing with a lunatic. … But his soul was mad.”

This is one story that I will admit I have been intimidated by. Perhaps because some of the synopsis reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver and her heavy novel that I can never remember but allow me to run to goodreads and check . . . (running off to truly go check goodreads…) oh yea! The Poisonwood Bible. I do wonder what Ms. Kingsolver thought of Heart of Darkness – surely she has read it, yes?

Have you read Heart of Darkness?

I chose this for May for a variety of reasons and vying close for the first and second spot are 1) It is SHORT at 200 pages, and 2) Trisha at Eclectic-Eccentric is featuring all sorts of lovely analysis posts. Goodness I do love me some juicy literature analysis!

and 3) What was that third reason? Oh yes, because I happen to already have it loaded on my Kindle.

Finally, 4) It is one of my Classics Club Fifty in Five.

I was pleasantly surprised. (That I liked it (‘it’ being the book, the reading experience.))

I would not call it compelling exactly. Not quite a fast page turner adventure book because it does tend to have dense language but not overly so. It is FULL of emotion.

“It was my imagination that wanted soothing.”

Here’s Crazy-Care’s FIRST attempt to answer your question of “what it is about?”:

The story is set up as a retelling of a sailor’s adventure. This sailing adventure was when Marlowe needed a job so he decides to go to Africa because he hears they are needing river transport captains and he is certain to find work. He does and notes that his assignment and the company that hires him is actually a bit creepy. His assignment is to get a riverboat into the “deepest darkest part of Africa” to either retrieve or supply Mr. Kurtz (I was confused here, too), a guy who is the BEST number one agent of the company and is considered awesome. Our sailor narrator is torn between just completing the job and yet also very intrigued to meet this awesome incredible Mr. Kurtz and find out why he is so awesome — no one knows how he is accomplishing all he is doing! (what he is doing, mind you, is collecting lots and lots of ivory and he is doing it by befriending (I think? Maybe not? Something tells me I really missed something.) the natives.) Others are jealous and others are mesmerized by Mr. Kurtz. He is ill when they finally get up the river and find him. The natives are hostile (but not hostile to Mr. Kurtz?) and our sailor buddy survives the ordeal and lives to tell of it. Thus the telling.

It’s really quite odd. I might have the synopsis skewed. I might have missed something big.

I swear narrator-captain guy was at first ambivalent and then curious and at one point critical of Mr. Kurtz and then somehow instantly was his best friend. THIS is why I need Trisha to explain things to me.

Or go watch Apocalypse Now?

It really did  have beautiful descriptions and I wonder how it would play in audiobook format. I bet it would be awesome.

So. The elephant in the room.

The elephant is…  (the elephant I thought before I read it anyway)… Is Heart of Darkness a BAD racist book? Does it demean and consider African natives as inferior? Is this a “symptom of the times”, a by-product of colonialism? OR does this book actually highlight the EVILS of colonialism and racism and confront the ideas of exploitation?

AND, excuse me while I freak out a bit here. Is this a true story?

I know and fear that I am inadequate to discuss these issues but I do want to support and advocate for a kind world, a civilization of respect for all. I read this book with the lens of it being written in 1899 and yet did not find it to endorse or promote a message that primitive cultures are inferior – I thought it an exploration of one case or specific example of the “empire” mentality of greed to exploit and take. The world is winners and losers, suckers. For me, the story didn’t deliver a succinct message; no obvious moral outrage and no epiphany. Well, other than “THE HORROR!” which I think was masked by considerable vagueness.

Evil exists. Fear exists. We fear what we do not understand. Let us seek to understand. It ain’t easy.

This book is not easy.

Then go read the excellent eclectic eccentric and marvel. You’ll understand then why Crazy-Care didn’t make a second attempt to explain this book. Heart of Darkness: Pro- or Anti-Imperialist – 5/21/15Psychoanalyzing Heart of Darkness – 6-4-15, Deconstructing Heart of Darkness – 6/11/15Queering Heart of Darkness – 6/18/15


“And he was devoted to his books, which were in apple-pie order.”


This book would have been fascinating and scary to discuss for a grade! Thank you so much Professor Eclectic for the thought-provoking experience. I give myself an A for ambition, a B for effort and a C for discourse.

Here’s a flower:  FullSizeRender Flowers make me smile.


Copyright © 2007-2015. 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.


Sister Carrie Readalong Announcement #CarrieAlong

This January, a few of us are committing to reading Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser.

The hashtag will be #CarrieAlong for those who like to discuss books on Twitter.  (That would be me.)

This classic would count for the following challenges (and likely a few more! feel free to add such in the comments)

The What’s in a Name 8 wian15 for the FAMILIAL RELATION category. (Click on the button to learn more.)

The Back to the Classics Challenge backtotheclassics2015BUTTON for any of these categories:

  • 20th Century – Sister Carrie was published in 1900.
  • Very Long – Sister Carrie is over 500 pages.
  • Person’s Name in the Title

This would count for the Victorian Reading Challenge VictorianReadingChallenge(again, the button will link to more details.)


Other interesting facts to entice you…

Sister Carrie is on the 1001+ Books to Read Before You Die.

If you don’t recognize the author, perhaps you know of his most famous book, An American Tragedy? (I have not read this, fyi.)

Mr. Dreiser has been noted for having pioneered “the naturalist school and is known for portraying characters whose value lies not in their moral code, but in their persistence against all obstacles…“, according to Wikipedia. I couldn’t tell you what the naturalist school is, so this should be a FUN learning experience.

Probably would count as a BANNED BOOK though it isn’t the right month for that reading challenge. Dreiser was communist! (gasp.)

and, YES! There has been a movie based on this work of fiction! The studio called it Carrie because otherwise people might think the story was about a nun. (It’s not, in case you were wondering.)

Laurence Olivier and Jennifer Jones! carrie52film <— links to IMDB.com. Nominated for Academy Awards* of Best Costume and Art Direction…

I am curious if Stephen King was aware of Sister Carrie; wondering if we can find any allusions or related themes or ???  — or not.

The cover of the edition I own is NOT in goodreads and I am taking a poll whether or not I should add scbytd since I have the power of being a goodreads editor. What do you think? (Bantam Classic Feb 1982, EL Doctorow Introduction)

Quote on the back cover:

When a girl leaves home at eighteen, she does one of two things.
Either she falls into saving hands and becomes better,
or she rapidly assumes the cosmopolitan standard of virtue and becomes worse.”

Ha, guess which kind of tale THIS is going to be!


Join us?

RULES and REGULATIONS:  none, other than start or finish it in January of 2015 and discuss here or at any of the joiner-in-ers’ blogs. I won’t even do a linky-thing. Just leave a comment. I’ll post on the very last day of January so you can check in here or then. Thanks!

* 1953 Academy Awards for Art Direction AND Best Costumes went to The Bad and the Beautiful.

Copyright © 2007-2015. 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 Sign of Four

Thoughts tsofbysacd The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, BBC Digital 2012 (orig. 1890) 224 pages, eBook/Kindle

Classics Challenge | A Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

What’s it ABOUT: Missing treasure!

What did I NOT know before reading this? That our boy Sherlock is a drug addict? Huh.

What DID I know before reading this? That Robert Downey, Jr. plays Sherlock in the (very enjoyable) movies. Did the movies not explore the cocaine use or did I just miss that?

Sadly, for some reason, I didn’t envision RDJ when I was reading the Sherlock parts but I did see Jude Law as Watson.

I have never watched the BBC versions with the guys you see on the cover above.

I have recently seen pieces of The Hobbit starring Martin Freeman.

Because it was on HBO the other day.

I have only ever watched the other guy in one of the Star Trek movies.

I think he’s rather creepy looking.

I may never read another Sherlock Holmes book; it was only OK. I don’t think I am much of a mystery-thriller genre reader.

I thought this ended very abruptly.

I did love the chase scene with the dog.

RATING: Three slices of pie.

This concludes my attempt at a review.

Any questions?

Copyright © 2007-2014. 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.

Mrs. Craddock

Thoughts mcbwsm Mrs. Craddock by W. Somerset Maugham, Penguin 1979 (orig 1902) 255 pages

My cover is different, however. Allow Esther and Oscar to present a pic of my copy:


What goodreads.com has to say:

Bertha Ley is mistress of Court Ley, a great spread of land. She marries Edward Craddock, a man beneath her station, but quite the essence of new order. A gentleman farmer, he is steady and a doer who turns Court Ley into an efficient farm. But Bertha wants passion and ardor: she gets reality.

I love that last phrase. What makes this a fun book is that Maugham uses disguised humor and interesting quips about humanity, genders, the classes, the English vs the French and yes, even passion.

Mrs. Craddock wants passion. She thinks she finds it when she woos or is wooed by – somewhat hard to tell – a fabulous hunk of a man (I was envisioning this guy:)


and gets a steadfast, entrepreneurial, too-perfect gentleman even though he comes (gasp!) from the working class. Personally, she couldn’t have married better. But she wants him to wallow away his days kissing her hands and telling her how lovely she is and how he just can’t stand to be apart from her. BORING. He would rather plow the fields, tend the flocks, hunt with his dogs and make some money the honest way – by hard work and forthright attention to important matters. He thinks she is silly. And she is!

This book reminded me of a triptych. We have three characters:  Bertha (the Mrs.) Craddock, Mr. Edward Craddock, and Bertha’s Aunt Miss Ley. Miss Ley is sharp and observant and quite interesting. Edward is TOO good. And Bertha is wearying but she has a few interesting thoughts and adventures.

The story arc (?) is a triptych of how the marriage plays out:  the romance newlywed phase, the attempts at running away and realization of reality, and third is a settling in to what it is. Not necessarily a happy book but it is not unhappily portrayed, either. OH, I go back and forth on this – maybe because I had so much to fault Bertha and her ideas on what should make her happy. Much could be said to be profoundly sad and yet, it had many amusing parts and certainly MUCH drama. It was the author’s look at the beginning of the end of the English class system, specifically the landed gentry in the last decade of the 19th century.

Finally, my favorite part was the Introduction itself, written by the author 50 years later as if the original author was dead and he had to edit the manuscript. It was funny. For example,

I omitted the rows of dots with which he sought to draw the reader’s attention to the elegance of a sentiment or the subtleties of an observation and I replace with a full stop the marks of exclamation that stood all over the page, like telegraph poles, apparently to emphasize the author’s astonishment at his own acumen.

He is aghast at how the author actually takes a step out of the story to talk to the reader; he goes on to question his youth and ego at the time he wrote it. He even claims if he had met the man, he would have taken an instant dislike.

A little observation on my part: Something bothered (intrigued?) me about how inconsequential the idea of legacy and having children was explored, or not explored. Truthfully, the descriptions of her pain of childbirth was amazing — especially for being written in 1900, or my ideas of propriety then? — but how the question of how having or not having children weighed on the marriage was barely touched on. I thought this odd.

I bookmooched this and it arrived as a copy printed by Penguin books in the late 70s. Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

Extemely daring was the publisher’s verdict in 1900. Today’s readers, though they are unlikely to share that opinion, will certainly find Somerset Maugham’s story of a woman who ‘marries beneath her’ still has the power to move and surprise. ..

Rating:  Four slice of Apple Pie since it is that season and he mentions apple pie on page 150.  fourpie

LOTS of great words and quotes, too!
Otiose, Intro – serving no practical purpose.
Emendations, Intro – make corrections and improvements to.
Transpontine, p.153 – on or from the other side of an ocean, in particular the Atlantic or on or from the other side of a bridge. “… the pathos of transpontine melodrama made him cough and blow his nose.”
Offtish, p.198 – “It’s no good scrapping with the governor, he’s got the ooftish.” (assuming WSM’s variation of OOFISH – unfriendly.)
p.194 – “Death is hideous, but life is always triumphant.”
p.196 – “Be not deceived gentle reader, no self-respecting writer cares a twopenny damn for you.”


Do you want a copy that has the Author’s Intro?

I am willing to send my copy to the first person who tells me YES YES, they would indeed like me to send them my copy of my battered, somewhat torn and yellowed paperback…  Leave a comment, I’ll find you and we can exchange deets (if I don’t already have.)


Copyright © 2007-2013. 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.