Tag Archives: NonFiction

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.

Update March 2022 in Review with Note on #TOB2022

 Monthly Recap Time!

  • 10 books; 32 for the year
  • 2759 pages, ~31.5 hours | 8 597 total pages, 92.5 hours for the year so far
    • By Type:
      Hardcover – 0
      Tradeback 3
      eBooks 3
      Audiobooks 4
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My favorite was … Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore, followed by the delightful Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley, a classic novella from 1917.

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Locations and travels:

  • Odessa TX in the 70s (Valentine)
  • San Francisco, also in the 70s (We Run the Tides, for #readICT)
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks links to WRtT because both were set in exclusive high schools, this one in Massachusetts (#readICT)
  • Parnassus on Wheels traveled New England in the early 1900s
  • London both now and 1700s in The Lost Apothecary (book club)
  • Puerto Rico and Brooklyn NY in Olga Dies Dreaming
  • The Stand-In took me to Toronto
  • Wintering took place in England (WiaN)
  • The Alchemy of Us covered history across many maps

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UPDATE on #TOB2022

  • My least favorite Klara and the Sun took the Rooster in March’s Tournament of Books
  • I can confidently state the The Trees captured the hearts for favorite of the Commentariat so that is the book I’m most recommending as “THE BEST”; my personal favorite is The Sentence
  • I read ALL THE BOOKS! and you can see my rankings in my February recap.
  • Am inspired to read a new translation of Beowulf by Maria Dahvana Headley, one of the judges this year. MANY if not most of the judgments were excellent.
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Pie was mentioned in four of this month’s reads. A history of PYREX mentions pie, all kinds of pie and multiple paragraphs cover a summer expedition to eat pie across the country, squash pie in Parnassus on Wheels and this from WRtT:

piroshkis are meat pie

April 3 is Chocolate Mousse Pie Day, April 5 is Empanada Day, April 28 is Blueberry Pie Day! I don’t think I made any pie in March. I just wasn’t feelin’ it.

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What was YOUR favorite book of March?

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.

Update August 2021 in Review with Note on #20BooksofSummer

 Monthly Recap Time!

  • 10 books; 87 for the year (1 book cover not included above – a pie cookbook)
  • 1548 pages, ~14 hours | 19333 total pages, 186 hours
  • Hardcovers – 1, 5 Tradebacks, 0 eBooks, 4 Audiobooks (though 3 would likely be the equivalent of a magazine article?!)
  • 3 from the Library, 2 purchased from an Indie Bookstore, 1 Audible Credit and 3 more Included with Audible Membership, 1 gift
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My favorite was … I don’t have a favorite this month! I can tell you that I voted for Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch for my TOB Summer Camp favorite. And I really did like Housekeeping – it was SO unique! and I really enjoyed Jess Walter’s The Financial Lives of the Poets… Black Gold, too, was a pleasant listen.

I gave 2 slices to The Orphan Collector but left the rating blank on goodreads because I just can’t figure out what didn’t work. I only know that I experienced that “blech, I don’t want to read this” feeling. Maybe it is a coconut book.

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Locations and travels:

  • early 1600s Germany EKYMiaW
  • the Pacific Northwest (specifics unknown, 2 books: TFLotP and Housekeeping)
  • Georgia and the Olympics (basketball, Black Gold)
  • the future I,Autohouse
  • early 1900s Philadelphia TOC
  • 1970s NYC IBSCT
  • on tour with Sting, but mostly England

“If you look steadily into that unblinking blue, into that pinpoint at the center of the eye, you discover a bottomless cruelty, a viciousness, cold and icy.

… if you do exist in the unbelievably frozen winter which lives behind that eye, you are marked, marked, marked.”

If beale street could talk
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UPDATE on #20BooksofSummer:

  • I finished a total of 27 book-books (kicked out the kids books, short audiobooks, and the cookbook)
  • I read 18 of the original 20 books I wanted to read June/July/Aug
  • The two from my original list I did not get to:
    • Up in the Air by Walter Kirn
    • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
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Pie was mentioned in four of this month’s reads. Sweetie pie, a pie seller thrown in jail, all sorts of good fond pie mentions in Housekeeping, and a shop that sold pie and sandwiches. YUM.

August 20 is Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, August 24 is Peach Pie Day; I don’t know if Plum Tart has a day but I had plums on hand so… I made a mini Plum Tart.

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What was YOUR favorite book of August?

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.

Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go

Thoughts  by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni, Berrett-Koehler Pubs 2012, 144 pages

Challenge:  Personal Professional Development
Genre: Business Improvement, Professional Development, HR
Type/Source: Tradeback, my manager’s bookshelf
 Why I read this now: very timely

MOTIVATION for READING: I have been conducting training sessions this week and last on how to give (and receive) feedback, set goals, and how to have a development mindset when it comes to performance reviews.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: The subtitle for this book is “Career Conversations Employees Want” and that is where this book is strong. Providing not just the WHY this is important but also phrases and language to employ that ease into conversations, asking the right questions, and getting to a give and take flow of discussion so agreement and excitement and proactive feedback is delivered.

WHAT’s GOOD: It is short but hard-hitting. This stuff – giving employee feedback for growth — is the stuff easily ignored or brushed off but when sincere and forthright, it is powerful.  This book is colorful and superbly organized; it is easy to use for reference as well as engaging enough to sit down and devour the whole thing. A practical guidebook for anyone who is responsible for team work.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Highly recommended for any manager who has to give performance reviews. It will provide not only the impactful reasons for doing such but gives the hope and tools to engage team members in discussing futures and growth opportunities.

RATING: Five slices of pie. No pie mentioned.

 

 

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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.

West With the Night

Thoughts wwtnbybm by Beryl Markham, orig 1942 – rereleased in 1983, 294 pages

BackToTheClassics2016 Adventure Category

Challenge:  Latest Classics Club Spin Selection (But I’m late – it was due by Dec 1st)
Genre:  Adventure, Airplanes/Flying
Type/Source: Tradeback / Local Indie Bookstore
Why I read this now: Was late for the Spin but wanted to read it anyway.

MOTIVATION for READING: I can’t recall why exactly I put this on my Classics Club 50 but I was further enticed by the historical lit recently published by Paula McClain about Ms. Markham. I wanted to read the “true” version first. 

ctsbypm

WHAT’s it ABOUT: These are the stories of Ms. Markham; how she grew up in British East Africa now called Kenya, learned to train race horses, learned to fly airplanes, attempted to be the first to fly East to West from England to the US (managed to ‘safely’ crash in Canda), and and and… Nothing about her husbands and supposed multiple love affairs, darn it.

WHAT’s GOOD: What a way with words! I found it very easy to fall right into like relaxing into a gigantic bean bag to let the world fall away and allow me to be transported to another place and time.

What’s NOT so good:  The prose is beautiful yet she can seem detached and aloof; she barely reflects that she is a woman doing more typical man things. This was both refreshing and almost frustrating. Other things were more frustrating and interesting (racist/classist) view of how the English colonists viewed the Africans. She also seems to scorn the practice of elephant hunting but was a full participant in the profit of it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Not at all the dry and boring text I had imagined. It was lovely and tragic, poetic and appalling all at once. Certainly a remarkable woman.

RATING:  Five slices of pie, of which I noted no mention.

Has anyone read a biography of Beryl Markham? If I enjoy the McClain (and I sincerely hope I do since I did not care for The Paris Wife), I might continue indulging my fascination.

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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.

All About the Months

Thoughts aatmbymrk by Maymie R Krythe, Harper and Row 1966, 222 pages

Challenge:  What’s in a Name Challenge : Month Category
Genre:  Reference/Nonfiction
Type/Source:  Hardback / from a discarded book bin
 Why I read this now: Had to finish up the Challenge!

wian2016

MOTIVATION for READING:   Again, for the Challenge.

Here’s what goodreads.com has to say (and it is noted that it is from the book jacket which has been lost with my edition.)

After exploring every possible source of information–fact and fable–on the months, Mrs. Krythe writes as authoritatively about this subject as she did about Christmas and American holidays in two earlier books. In her own pithy prose, and with borrowed lines from early and contemporary poets, the author gives the special characteristics of each month, such as how it was named, the number of days it originally contained, and when and how changes came about.
Much of the book is devoted to the months’ symbolic jewels, from precious stones to the fabulous 44.5 carat “Hope” diamond; and flowers, from the common little field daisy to the most resplendent rose. Their origins and their often bewitching roles in history are all here.
Important events that have taken place in each century and in every country are related here. Famous statesmen, royalty, dignitaries, actors, sports figures, and other personalities whose birthdays fall in a given month are mentioned. All about the Months is a storehouse of information that makes fascinating reading for everyone, and will surely prove a boon to those who plan programs built around the months of the year.

WHAT’s GOOD:  I think it fun to read books from earlier times (pub’d in 1966, mind you) to reflect on what has changed. And what hasn’t. She actually mentions what we would now call climate change!

Even though for centuries December has been regarded as a time of hard frosts and heavy snowstorms, in recent years conditions have changed in some localities, and milder weather has prevailed.

What’s NOT so good: It was a slog to sit and attempt to read as a straight-through text, but enjoyable enough to dip in a little at a time and check out month by month as the mood hit. It was interesting to see who she considered ‘famous people’ in the listings for each month’s birthdays and notable happenings:

… and in February 1962, the orbital flight of Lt. Col. John H. Glenn made news.  (RIP John Glenn, American Hero of the Space Age)

The only U.S. President born in June was George HW Bush… Whatever that might mean, but I had to look. When Mrs. Krythe wrote this book, she states, “June is the only month of the twelve in which no President was born.” And we will soon get to add Donald Trump (born June 14). Of which I am still in utter disbelief.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I admit to being fascinated by this “Mrs. Krythe” and was inspired to search for more author information; only to find… nothing. Absolutely nothing. I suppose I need the skills of a librarian and more than just Google. Maymie R. written other books that explore holidays, specific holidays and songs (probably holiday songs!) and I even found a reference to an article she wrote for the Historical Society of Southern California. She had to have been a hit at parties. But where is she now? Who was she married to? Did she have any children? Why do I care?

Recommended as a reference text, for quips and historical notes, especially any information about flowers and jewels relative to their calendar importance and then some. (Though, I got confused reading about the Hope Diamond.)

RATING:  Three slices of pie (I didn’t find any mention of pie but that’s because I am grossly over-exaggerating my claim to have COMPLETED this…  oh well. Sue me.)

 

 

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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.

The Double Helix: Annotated and Illustrated

Thoughts dhbyjw by Dr. James Watson, Simon and Schuster 2012 (orig 1968), 368 pages [Edited by Alexander Gann and Jan Witkowski]

Challenge: Classics Club 50
Genre: Science History
Type/Source: Hardback / Library

MOTIVATION for READING: I love science.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: How Watson and Crick used models to figure out how DNA was structured.

WHAT’s GOOD: I did not expect the breezy style. It is very readable.

What’s NOT so good:  Well, you may or may not like Dr. Watson at the end but he does tell a fun story, even if bits are regrettable. He was young and determined. He shares more than just the science, but also other activities these youthful scientists were up to – where and what they ate (gooseberry pie has a mention!), the girls they tried to meet, the famous people they encountered and traveled to visit. He talks about his troubles with the sponsor for his time abroad and quite a bit about the personalities of everyone he works with.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I am so glad to have read this. The big question:  did Rosalind Franklin get screwed out of the discovery and subsequent Nobel Prize. Question Mark. Let’s just say, it’s complicated and that I could say yes, but. It very much feels like facts happened and one’s viewpoint is X and the other is Y. This and that. Perspectives. And when you start to get snarky, it gets very ugly fast. Did circumstances make it difficult and thus makes it a helluva story? Oh yes.

She deserved more accolades and unfortunately she is getting it now and not in her lifetime. It is sad that she died so young. Was Watson a _____ (insert whatever nasty/relevant word you want here, but my answer is “he was a man”.)

And NOW:  I get to read more about Rosalind Franklin:

rftdlodnabybm

RATING: Four slices of gooseberry pie. If you are going to read this, I suggest the annotated illustrated edition.

fourpie

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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.

Asleep

Thoughts atfetroomgmbymcc Asleep:  The Forgotten Epidemic That Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries by Molly Caldwell Crosby, Berkley Books 2011 Tradeback (orig 2010), 291 pages including Bibliography

Loaned to me by Ree.

I was disappointed with this book. The premise is fascinating but the execution of the narrative left me confused, bored and thus unimpressed.

DNF

Please click on the book cover to learn more at the goodreads.com site AND see other reviews of a mixed bag – some loved it, some not. If you love books about medical science & diseases, I suppose you might want to look into this one. It just didn’t work for me on the day I attempted it.

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HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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Private Demons

Thoughts  Private Demons: The Life of Shirley Jackson by Judy Oppenheimer, GP Putnam’s Sons 1988, 304 pages Hardcover

I had no idea.

What an interesting life! and yet, I don’t think that says anything at all. You might think by my saying she had an interesting life that she traveled and did amazing things. But no, not really. She was a mom. She was a wife. She wrote books. She collected things.

but WOWZA!

She had agoraphobia. She was a partier and also extremely private. She resented and rejected her mother and also earnestly wanted to please her.

She was complicated!

RATING: 

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Copyright © 2007-2012. 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.

Life Among the Savages

Thoughts  Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson, Academy Chicago 1990 (orig 1948), 241 pages Tradeback offsize

Memoir, Nonfiction

Delightfully charming! You get a sense of how terrific a mom Shirley was by how she truly listens to her kids and encourages their imagination.

It’s been said that these essays of domestic hilarity are what inspired the genre most think of when you say the name Erma Bombeck, but it wouldn’t be something Ms. Jackson would have been too thrilled with, I don’t think. I bet she often thought this audience of her ‘stories’ beneath her contempt. But they sold and sold well. What’s an author to do?

It almost breaks your heart to read this and then right after, read her biography. No wait. It DID break my heart to read the bio right after enjoying these madcap loving little tales.

If you want to immerse yourself into fascinating and extremely talented writings of a complicated artist, study Shirley Jackson. First read her infamous short story The Lottery and then read this or Raising Demons (I haven’t read), then read We’ve Always Lived in the Castle (a favorite of mine; I want to read it again, especially after reading her biography), and then read Oppenheimer’s bio. And then, if you are like me, you’ll seek out everything Jackson ever wrote.

I am in the middle – and I jump around, as always – of her collection Just An Ordinary Day. Then I want to read The Road Through the Wall and then The Bird’s Nest and then…

Which Shirley Jackson book will YOU read next?

BOOK MENAGE scheduled for the week of December 3rd over at Citizen Reader.

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