Tag Archives: grief

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

Thoughts by Lori Gottlieb, 2019, 415 pages

Challenge: Duchess Goldblatt Challenge*
Genre: Nonfiction, Self Help (the best kind) disguised as Memoir
Type/Source: Audiobook, Audible
 Why I read this now:  I needed a good audiobook.

MOTIVATION for READING: Recommended by Duchess Goldblatt.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A psychotherapist shares about her life, the path to her chosen career, and an event that sent her to seek therapy to ‘get through’ a crisis.

THOUGHTS: SO GOOD!  Fascinating mix of the personal and the clinical, the nuts and bolts of therapy balanced with the anecdotes and examples of most every challenge to the human experience when it comes to relationships, motivations, and dealing with life’s ups and downs.

I enjoyed this immensely and immediately went online to purchase a print copy I can refer to again and again.

RATING:  Five 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.

H is for Hawk

Thoughts hifhbyhm H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, Random House Audio 2014, 11 hours 6 minutes

I’m already declaring this a TOP READ/LISTEN for 2015!

Anonymous Interviewer aka AI: Care, how did you come to read this?

Care: I saw a tweet announcing it as an Audible special for $2.99. Since, I knew I had only a few hours left of my current audiobook and lots of days left in the month to await my next credit, I jumped.

AI: Did you know anything about it? Had you read any good reviews?

Care: Excellent question because no, I didn’t really know much about it but yes, I do think I had read positive things? I DID know that the title fits the What’s in a Name Challenge for the animal category, so it has that going for it.

AI: I thought you were going to read Elegance of the Hedgehog for WiaN8.

Care: So did I, but it just kept getting passed over by my mood to read something else. I do hope to read Hedgehog someday but maybe not anytime soon, I guess.

AI: So what’s the Hawk book about?

Care: H is for Hawk is a fascinating overlapping memoir — and more! It is part nature book, falconry how-to book, grief exploration book and part biography of TH White, the author of The Once and Future King.

AI: So this is memoir?

Care: Yes, nonfiction. (I admit, I didn’t know this until after I started listening to the book.)

AI: Tell us about the author.

Care: Sure, and I first must say if I haven’t already, that the author does an EXCELLENT job narrating her own book.

AI: Is this unusual?

Care: What, that authors narrate their own books or that they actually do this successfully?

AI: Yea, that.

Care: I think Neil Gaiman is one author that does a great job and I have found that entertainers such as comedians always seem to do a very good job narrating their own books, but I can’t say that Donna Tartt pulled off a successful narration. (I did manage to listen all the way to the end of the 16 hour plus audio of The Secret History! YAY ME.)

Care: May I interrupt to give a NEVERWHERE READALONG SHOUT OUT? Nancy is doing a readalong if anyone has ever wanted to read this – I highly recommend the audiobook. My review is here.

AI: Do you have a button to share or maybe a hashtag for Twitter?

Care: As a matter of fact, I do know the hashtag #NeverwhereRAL, but I don’t know about a button. And if you click on the words a few sentences ago about the readalong shout out, you’ll open a window at Nancy’s blog…

AI: OK, tell us more about Helen Macdonald.

Care: Ms. Macdonald, a British naturalist writer, is a college professor who has also been interested in falconry since a very young age. There is also a terrific photo of Mabel on her blog (which may or may not be active; it looks like the events might be for 2014, a year done passed.)

AI: Um, Mabel? Who is Mabel?

Care: Mabel is her goshawk! Macdonald says in her book that if you give a goshawk a mild meek-sounding name, they usually turn out to be terrific hunters! (and vice versa.) Here’s a photo of another goshawk that I found on the internet:

goshawk <– Sindbad the Goshawk, photo credit to The International Falconry Forum

AI: To be totally honest, this book sounds not only boring but slightly depressing, even with a lovely named bird like Mabel.

Care: And you would be wrong. This book is delightful. It has ALL the feelings. Sure, it is about how she went through the stages of grief after losing her father but it also has many funny almost comic moments – also, angry and frightening. Her writing is beautiful, provocative. She is known as a naturalist writer for good reason. She is just an excellent writer! She is smart, she is tender, she is strong, she is brave and she shares every bit of it with eloquence.

And you learn about so much stuff that you didn’t even know you wanted to know about. THAT is a great book.Helen Macdonald

AI: Care to share a quote or two?


“And I found there were myriad definitions of this thing called tragedy that had wormed its way through the history of literature; and the simplest of all was this: that it is the story of a figure who, through some moral flaw or personal failing, falls through force of circumstance to his doom.”

AI: I have nothing else to ask, maybe your readers will have more questions. This concludes this audiobook review presentation interrogation. Thank you.

Care: Thank YOU.


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.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair

Thoughts tatpcbyns Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch, Harper Perennial 2012 (orig 2011), 240 pages TB

Loaned to me by Holly.

This memoir explores one woman’s challenge to herself to read a book a day in order to slow herself down enough to experience the grief of losing her oldest sister to cancer. It is full of quotes and insights and personal sharings. All kinds of goodness and touching moments that usually provoke me to tears. And it did; I had moist eyes a few times.

I cannot think of anything bad to say about this book; it was fine. She writes beautifully, I agreed with most everything she shared, the book delivers what it says it will. But it didn’t quite stir my soul to sing to the high heavens as I was expecting. I mean, come on! It’s a book about books and reading!

I did add a few more books to my tbr:

In the Land of the Living by Austin Ratner

Man in the Dark by Paul Auster

Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago

Edith Wharton’s The Touchstone

The Quincunx by Charles Palliser

Alice Hoffman’s The Third Angel

The Open Door by Elizabeth Macguire (and also anything by Constance Fenimore Woolson)

and The Assault by Harry Mulisch

Why these were the only books that I tagged, I really am not sure. She does mention books from the year but also books from her childhood and other influential writing she shared with her sister.

I really enjoyed her chapter on the vulnerability of loaning AND accepting books from friends. I’m curious about her next book:  Signed, Sealed, Delivered expected in April of 2014. Not too surprising, since I love writing letters.


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.

Songs for the Missing

Readalong Thoughts sftmbyson Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan, Viking 2008, 287 pages Hardback

for the What’s in a Name 6 Challenge: Lost or Found

READALONG!  with Judith and Laurie!!  possibly (likely) spoilers ahead. Links at end of post…

from the Penguin’s Reader’s Guide website:

In his twelfth novel, following the critically acclaimed bestseller Last Night at the Lobster, Stewart O’Nan demonstrates an uncanny ability to delve into the lives of ordinary, well-meaning people confronting tragedy. Here, in a story of a girl gone missing, he finds the quieter emotional narrative behind the sensational events. O’Nan’s clear, sharp prose and tremendous empathy yields flawed yet heroic characters whose every word and gesture rings true. Defying genre, Songs for the Missing is a remarkable novel that begins as a thriller and widens into an elegiac examination of family, love, and longing.


1.  Was this a first read of this author?  If yes, will you read more and why?  If not, how would you describe his style – is it recognizable? does he work with similar themes or …

This was my first time to read Stewart O’Nan and I’ve been wanting to since I heard about his book Last Night at the Lobster.  Somehow, this is his book that fell into my hands and it still took me a few years to get to it. When I was embarking on my trip to the Netherlands, I wanted to bring a book for Judith and this is the one that jumped into my suitcase. You see, I somehow acquired two copies – so I had one to give and one to keep. I talked into this readalong and my favorite local librarian Laurie joined us.
I am very much looking forward to reading more, if not all, of O’Nan’s books. I was expecting a fabulous author experience and I was not disappointed. 
2. I tried to convince a friend – who has two daughters of college age – to read this and she said, “NO WAY”.  Is there anything I could have said that would have made her consider this book?  
I should note that this friend and I rarely like the same kind of book. So I probably should have known better than to suggest it.
However, this book is not about all the horrible stuff – or let me rephrase: this book is not about describing the situation of the missing girl and what happens to her. It is about how her family deals with it. SO in one way, this book is actually more frightening because it forces the reader to wonder how one’s own family would deal with the imagined horror and the unknown. Rather than experience the pain and fear of the victim. 
3.  From Judith:    What did you guys think of Kim? Likeable, untrustworthy, etc.

I didn’t really like her, to be honest.  I do think the author was very skilled to present her as he did; she was what I felt to be a typical teenage girl with the Attitude: a prickly attitude towards her parents, especially. She seemed restless and scared but wouldn’t dare tell anyone she had fears – of the future, leaving home, etc.

4. How would you describe Kim and her boyfriend’s relationship? Did you find it realistic?
I really liked JP and thought it very interesting that Kim had the power in that relationship. I have no idea if it was ‘realistic’ in terms of today’s youth but I believed it even if I might even suggest it wasn’t typical. 
5. Did you have a favorite character?
I liked the little sister and again, felt the author captured a realistic response on her part for how to deal with the tragedy. She turned inward, wondered if her parents would have had a different response if she had gone missing instead, fell for Kim’s boyfriend, considered herself all the horrible things that befell missing girls. I was so relieved when she wanted to go away from school and actually became more brave about her choice to really live her life. Brings up questions of how she would have been different if Kim had been around. How you can ask the What Ifs but we just can’t know, we can’t do what Ursula does in Life After Life (which I loved.)
I was also intrigued by Kim’s best friend becoming a conscientious student, growing up, when she got to college and how she, too, thought it interesting that she had made those choices as if she really didn’t contemplate them at the time.  While JP went the other way and sadly, just couldn’t take school seriously but seemed to really want to.
6. Did you have any preconceived notions about this book and were they realized?

I had known that the book was not just a ‘horror about story about what happens to a missing teenaged girl’ but more the reaction from those left behind so I thought it very much delivered what I was expecting. I do think I was afraid the parents might end up on different pages, ie divorce, but I think they were successful with their marriage. They certainly had two approaches to what to do and how to feel but they seemed to be able to respect those differences.

7. Ultimately,O’Nan doesn’t really focus on what happens to Kim; what do you think happened? Were you frustrated with the beginning of the search, the police response, etc?

Right, so I knew that O’Nan wasn’t going to focus on the Kim side of the story but I also wasn’t prepared with how it started with her and then shifted totally, almost away from her for the rest of the book.  I was not frustrated with the search, I let it play out. I believe I would likely be the type to trust the authorities and/or be in a state of shock and uncertainty to all of it. Then again… It would be so hard not to DO SOMETHING and want the whole world to stop and find the fix, find the girl, make it all OK. So scary.

I could have questions but have actually stopped my mind from going there. But I’ll try here, now. I expect that she came home from the river, took a shower and got ready for work and then drove to the place. It was here that she met the wrong type of asshole and away they went. It must have been timed right after the previous shift left and right before her friend got to work. Which is why I wouldn’t want my daughter to work at any highway roadside convenience mart. Too many skeevy people; too much easy exit access. I bet there is a policy of workers never ever to be alone on the premises and that she likely sent the first shift guy away saying she could handle it. 

8. Did you highlight any quotes?  Anything else to share?

Excellent character study. Excellent pacing and style. This book has a vague longing, of remembered sadness, a tinge of nostalgia, of hot hazy dusty weather of late summer when you hear the cicadas buzzing…  All the little things carried weight; and the reverse as well: the big things that were only sketched out briefly like the drug use issue. He lightly touches on few details here, thereby giving it more attention when the kids thought they had to cover it up.

I did have a few quotes! I love to highlight things that strike me for powerful sentences, oddities, pies &/or lobsters or connections to other books. Here are just a few or you can click on my link to goodreads.com where I store them (so easy to do from the app on my iPhone):

“The detective had asked him if he loved Kim. Immediately JP said yes, on the strength of those feelings, but was that love?”   -p.62

“He hadn’t taken off for either of her mistakes, and she felt cheated.”   -p.172

“Like every bureaucracy, they protected their own from those they were supposed to serve.”  -p.174

“She had no memory of last night’s anxieties, or of Ed coming to bed, just a visceral appreciation for the blank, restorative hours in between.”  -p.179

“The most terrible thing in the world, she thought, was how easy it was to forget.”   -p. 208

RATING:   fourpieMaybe even a five. Not sure why I am not giving it five slices. I think this might be one that I hang onto where some books fade away.  This one will stay with me.

Please click over and read Judith’s thoughts at her Books Books and Books blog as well as Laurie’s thoughts at her Bay State Reader’s Advisory blog.

More from book blogger reviews can be found —->here<—–


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.

Making Piece

Thoughts mpbybh Making Piece: a memoir of love, loss and pie by Beth M. Howard, Harlequin 2012, 310 pages, Hardback, includes pie recipes

I was on a plane when I first found out about Beth Howard. She must have been featured in the Southwest Airlines magazine. I was reminded again of Beth Howard and her pie book when no less than 3 friends snail-mailed me the ripped out pages of the article from Real Simple about Beth Howard and her pie book. My husband also saw mention of Beth Howard and her pie book in a newspaper article he saw while traveling for work. I’m thinking another friend might have emailed me about Beth Howard and her book about pie after seeing a newspaper clip. It was destiny. The universe wanted me to read this book.

Finally, I asked for it for Christmas and Santa delivered. (Why did I wait that long? I dunno. Some things should be allowed to come to you in the right time.)

Of course, I would love this book. The fear was knowing that I *should* love this book, but would I really and truly?

I did.

But the question I might ask is, “WILL YOU?” If you like memoirs, appreciate humor and love and baked goods, recognize fine writing, and love pie, the answer is likely YES. But you’ll have to get your own book. I’m keeping this one.


RATING: Five slices of apple pie. The kind of apple pie I prefer to have a true pie baker bake rather than me make (I need more practice.) The kind of apple pie that is heaped tall and full of apples and the perfect balance of sugar and cinnamon, served warm with a huge scoop of the best vanilla ice cream.

“Beth Howard describes with warmth and wit how the bitter events in life are set off by the sweet ones – much like a the ingredients of a good recipe. Making Piece is a moving account of love and loss.” -Jeannette Walls

IMG_0846Scrumptious Apple Pie from Christmas Dinner 2012, baked by my friend Lisa


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.