Bowlaway

Thoughts by Elizabeth McCracken, ecco (Imprint of HarperCollins) 2019, 373 pages

Challenge:  none
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library
 Why I read this now:  This was mentioned as a terrific read by the TOB commentariat so I looked to see if it was available from the library. It was, so I’m reading it. Plus, the author is a fun Twitter follow. 

MOTIVATION for READING:  See why I read this now above.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A candle pin bowling alley. An unusual woman who built and ran the bowling alley and the subsequent family members who trailed after her.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s quirky in all the right and wonderful ways. I really enjoyed it.

What’s NOT so good: I have no complaints.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Has a memorable first sentence/contender for best opening ever.

RATING:  Five slices of pie. LOTS of pie and most pie references are to pie shapes or pie-cut or piebald or . . .

Page 227 – “Sometimes this ghost left the Gearheart to haunt a particular compartment at the Automat, and soured whatever sandwich or soup or slice of pie had been put there.”

Page 240 – “Eskimo Pie.”

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from BkClubCare aka Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Bone Clocks Readalong Wrap up

Thoughts  tbcbydm by David Mitchell, Random House 2014, 624 pages

Narrated by Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, Steven Crossley, Laurel Lefkow, Anna Bentinck; Recorded Books 2014, 24 hours 30 minutes

Challenge: boneclocksbtn
Genre: SciFi
Type/Source: Hardback AND Audio / Library and Audible
 Why I read this now: Melissa and I co-hosted the Readalong! (which I probably wouldn’t have agreed to if I had remembered that January and February are hot times to read the TOB books… But it worked out. Melissa did the heavy lifting. I basically just cheered along.)

MOTIVATION for READING: David Mitchell’s books are best read with friends, in my opinion but I have never tried one alone so I have no idea.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  I’m not going to tell what this is about because Melissa explains it so well at her wrap up post here. Go read that – and do know that it is full of spoilers assuming you’ve read the whole book!

I’m going to offer random thoughts for here on out…

  • I do have to agree with Melissa about Soleil – where did she come from and where did she go?!
  • I thought Hugo Lamb was a great lovable bad guy. And how sweet was he that he was still in love with Holly?!  aw… swoon.
  • Holly was great. However (in only one section) – the voice? I’m not sure which narrators narrated what, but in the Crispin section — the male attempting Holly’s voice was WRONG. Very distracting.
  • The above point was the only issue I had with the narration. Otherwise, I thought all the voices SPOT ON. I enjoyed the audiobook very much. I did also read (went back and forth) to the hardcover from the library.
  • I was impatient to find out about Jacko and was sad that XiLo-Jacko didn’t make it back. Nor Esther.
  • So the different kinds of Horologists…   Funny, huh? The 49-day reincarnators and the body-hoppers?  If they had a term, I missed it.
  • I did kind of like Crispin – that section was too long! But it made me appreciate David Mitchell’s character development skills. And I liked how that section included a Writer’s-How-To manual.
  • Did you catch that part when Mitchell made fun of himself; “Never trust a guy with two first names.”?  Ha.
  • Melissa and I disagree some on the last section. She sensed that she was being preached at concerning environmental issues but I was only fascinated by the  possible scenarios. The Chinese being the world’s caretakers? Young ladies hoping to marry so they could get such luxuries as regular meals and Wifi. And what about Iceland? I have always wanted to go to Iceland.
  • So. Crispin and Holly. Friends. Friends who both wondered “what if?” Both denied acting on a possible ‘extension’ to their friendship to other realms. One, because Crispin KNEW he didn’t deserve Holly; but Holly? She sensed his sensitivity, his intelligence, his success. She recognized his ego in decline? His vulnerability? Did she sense that he was so different from Ed? (Cuz, YEA.) That she was a one-guy-gal? It felt so TRUE to me! That they became friends and wanted more but both doubted it would work, that it would be complicated, ruin a nice friendship, or what? just true. I really was startled when Marinus stated that both wanted love together but failed to even recognize it within themselves! How much do we miss of ourselves and how do we capture/recognize/trust these obvious or not truths about ourselves? I wonder…
  • Ed. Let’s talk about Ed but let’s consider some movies that explore the same stuff that Ed was experiencing. I’m thinking Whiskey Tango Foxtrot starring Tina Fey. I watched this movie today; it was my second viewing and it was just as good. It is not a highly rated movie but it hits a lot of buttons I like in movies. Shrug. The part of about how Ed feels more alive when he is chasing a story in life-threatening situations… I dunno. It stopped me. Had to think about that. I felt for him AND Holly. Poor Holly. Holly was so cool.
  • And here we are, considering fictional characters as real people.
  • I had been waiting for the labyrinth. It was cool that she had a pendant created so she was able to study it. Probably not a hidden hint that the map was going to be important but I was impatient for it and an explanation for whatever happened to Jacko. All those little insertions of story points that we know are bound to be important – like Aunti Eilísh chatting with the not-quite-Jacko and telling Ed about it.

I’m honored you’re telling me all this, Eilísh, honestly – but why are you telling me all this?
I’m being told to.
Who . . . who by?
By the Script.
What script?

  • Who wrote the Script??!??!?!?!  It did come up again, didn’t it? or is my memory faulty already?
  • I always rate good books higher when I’ve enjoyed a terrific readalong experience. This is no different. And I’m also going to rate this higher because of the many excellent pie references. MANY. LOTS. STRATEGIC. PLOT-PIVOTAL. Entertaining PIE REFERENCES. This David Mitchell guy might be studying Stephen King (#ifyouknowhatImean #butofcourseyoudon’tsoletmetellyou. King always has great pie quotes in his books.) I’ll just share ’em. Some are unpleasant but still awesome. Here they are!  The last one is AMAZING!
  • But wait — before I start the pie quotes, I want to disavow any hint I might have dropped that this isn’t a great book unless it has pie and was read as a readalong. I rate books by my reaction to them and so this is my rating. I do think it a really good book.
  • Who’s up for SLADE HOUSE? (Who has read this far?)

The PIE

page 13 2.08% “I’ll make scones and plum pies and coffee cakes and Vinny’ll be all, “Jesus, Holly, how did I ever get by without you?”
page 17 2.72% “Mam’ll make me steaming shit pie, dripping in shit gravy, and sit there smug as hell watching me eat every shitty morsel, and from now until the end of time, if ever I’m anything less than yes – sir – no – sir – three – bags – full – sir, she’ll bring up the Vinny Costello Incident.”
page 40 6.41%American Pie” song
page 68 10.9% “Somewhere in the July 2 bit of the A Hot Spell chapter is a reference to a “pie in the sky“. Too busy walking two dogs listening to audiobook to clip/note.
page 149 23.88% “Chetwynd-Pitt, Quinn and Fitzimmons have eaten – – Günter’s daube, a beef stew, and a wedge of apple pie with cinnamon sauce – and have started on the cocktails which, thanks to my lost bet, I have the honor of buying for Chetwynd-Pitt.”
page 446 71.4% “Do you remember, Doctor, we grew rhubarb at Dawkins Hospital? I remember the pies,” I tell him.
page 540 86.5% “Holly drops the thing. ‘Rolling pin’. Where did you find a rolling pin in here? ‘I nicked it from your kitchen at 119A.’
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RATING: Five slices of pie.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Sweet Lamb of Heaven

Thoughts slohbylmby Lydia Millet, WWNorton&Co 2016, 250 pages

Challenge: Rooster 2017
Genre: Adult Lit
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library
 Why I read this now: Came off hold before the others…

MOTIVATION for READING: The Tournament of Books by the Morning News – I have a shot at reading ALL the books on the short list. This is the 7th.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: In one sense, this is a story of a woman with a young daughter who realizes her marriage is a sham and flees her husband. But there is so much more that boggles the brain that I can’t even begin to describe it all. The fact that all of this is shared in less than 300 pages is amazing. It is about language and communication. It is dystopic and end-of-the-world fears. It is about us versus them. It’s quite freaky actually, but also extremely composed. Not tense, really, just shaky and slightly off-key. Everything is not quite right but not unbelievable even when reality REALLY gets distorted. It’s all a dream, right? Just a bad dream.

Having this book as your only read on a deserted island would NOT be recommended.

WHAT’s GOOD: The ability of the author to successfully make you doubt everything along with the narrator and yet also be separate.

What’s NOT so good: I can’t put my finger on why I didn’t ‘enjoy’ this more. It is that vague unsettling that makes it good. But.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think I’m just perplexed and left disillusioned. I am glad it’s over. It reminds me of a book somewhere that discussed the basics of the word ‘disease’: dis- the opposite of or absence of, -ease freedom from pain or trouble of the body or mind.  I am willing to read something else by Ms Millet. Any suggestions?

If you love the concepts and mysteries of language, you might want to consider this. If you are at all enraged by politics at the moment, you might want to skip this.

RATING: Three slices of pie.

LOTS of pie mentioned:  pumpkin, fake mincemeat, and pecan; cherry pie, berry pie, honey pie and chicken pot pie. Pie dough, too.

PS There is a fascinating 5 star review on goodreads by “Jill” (I only follow her) who described the story as “like a Rubik’s cube.” If you are interested in her thoughts, I suggest you go find her post.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. 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.

Echoes of Family

Thoughts eofbybcw by Barbara Claypole White, ARC Lake Union Publishing 2016 (expected Sept 27), 440 pages

Challenge: Reading books pub’d in current year. Actually, OFFICIAL PUBLISH date is one month away.
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Tradeback / the author offered me a copy
 Why I read this now: I wanted to.

MOTIVATION for READING:  It seems that I am attempting to read all of BCW’s books as fast a possible.

Sometimes the only way through darkness is to return to where it began.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  We have a strong woman named Marianne who is “bi-polar”and manages to not only run a successful recording studio business but has also created a program to assist young female runaways. She has a big heart. We meet her husband Darius who is fiercely in love with her and her ‘daughter’ Jade who was a ‘rescued’ teen and is now the right-hand more-than-competent “capital A” Assistant in support of all things Marianne. Of course, we meet others of consequence, too: her childhood BFF Gabriel.

However strong Marianne is, she does have lapses and this latest one takes her to England and into her past. In her manic moments, she is “whirlwind action” of turmoil and love — some of it works, some does not. She has to learn to deal with her memories of family gone, her place in the world, and her family now.

WHAT’s GOOD:  Claypole White can write an engaging character. Her descriptions of Marianne’s extremes on that bi-polar spectrum are high-spirited and then turn to low-energy —  just like the mental illness she is capturing. I was amazed how my heart raced through the mania!

Knowing what I do know of this North Carolinian author, I delighted in the places mentioned that I know and many smatterings of native birds and flowers. She is excellent at referencing her known world. I am not as familiar with the English setting but Claypole White has a eye for authentic detail and sharing it with her words.

What’s NOT so good: I thought it took a bit to get into but I was confident I would be in for a well-rounded interesting and lively tale if I stuck with it and I was not disappointed at the end.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I am excited to continue working through all of BCW’s books; I have in-house The Unfinished Garden on the docket soon. What I might have to consider is that she is only just starting her fifth novel and I might get impatient!

Since God hadn’t listened when she’d asked Him, sweet as pie, to lobotomize the part of her brain that insisted she was in love, Jade had developed a new ploy…

RATING:  Three and one-half slices of pie, rounding up to four.

bcwpie

Oh yes, she may have forgotten about all her pie references, but the reading did not disappoint! We had mini-tarts of bourbon pecan, we had (of course, duh – set in England) steak and kidney pie, and most unexpected but extremely delightful: orange-and-rhubarb pie! I will have to make this. And treacle tart. I am on the search for a bottle of treacle so that I can perfect this treat before the Scuppernong Books’ event promoting Barbara Claypole White’s Echoes of Family.

 

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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.