Tag Archives: cain

Mini Reviews: books by John Waters and José Saramago

Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across AmericaCarsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America by John Waters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I downloaded this book on a whim, as part of a goodreads challenge. I needed a travel book and I didn’t really pay attention to the details.

It’s by freaking John Waters! Director of Hairspray! And he reads the audiobook version!

John Waters at the Edinburgh International Fil...
Photo credit: Wikipedia

He decides to try to get a book deal about hitchhiking across America, from Baltimore to SanFrancisco. He takes a small travel bag (including La Mer face cream, but forgetting the wee scissors to keep his signature ‘stache trimmed.) He has a sign. He had an orange rain poncho.

The book is really in three main parts: the first two are fantasy. Great RIdes and Bad Rides. Fun-ny. The last third contains the deets on the actual rides.

It’s actually a kind of heartwarming book. He finds out that most people in flyover country are really nice. He meets a young republican in khakis. Sex fantasies, food fantasies, boredom, how to find the best places to grab a ride. It’s all here.

Highly recommended for the not-easily-shocked.

CainCain by José Saramago
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quite a thrilling piece of writing. Despite being only about 160 pages, it was a long read. I know the early creation stories/myths reasonably well, and Saramago retells them from the point of view of Cain, Adam and Eve’s first son and the one who kills his brother. It feels long because there is so much to think about as you read. Not overly serious, there are bits that sound like they’re from Old Jews Telling Jokes.

Saramago asks a lot of tough questions of God, some of which don’t have very compelling answers (at least in this book.)

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Mid-way through the readathon…

…and i’m watching TV.

We’re eating dinner and I agreed to start watching The Fifth Estate with my husband, but I’m going to escape to the bedroom to read momentarily.

It’s hour 12 and we have a little survey for the current challenge:

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now?

How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest et al. This was in our Airbnb apartment in Paris last month and I had to have it. My new lifestyle guide.

2. How many books have you read so far?

I’m on my third book, but I’ve only finished one (Cain by Jose Saramago.) I’m also listening to the audiobook of A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, but this is a fill-in book for when I”m cooking, walking the dog, or folding laundry and can’t read a regular book. It’s also a great read.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Iris and Her Friends: A Memoir of Memory and Desire by John Bayley.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

Mainly as above, and i’ve used an audiobook. Plus I felt for my dear husband and agreed to watch a movie with him for a few minutes.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

How difficult it is to stay off social media. Monitor me at FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and tell me to get reading!

Back to my book!

Readathon: Nice to Meetcha!

It’s the beginning of the challenge and my hours of reading bliss await. The fireplace is on, the coffee is made, and my first book is chosen:  Cain by Jose Saramago.


One of the first mini-challenges posted by our hosts is an introduction questionnaire.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? 

Toronto, Canada (home of the Blue Jays #cometogether)

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

This is a hard one but probably John Mortimer’s autobiographical Summer Of A Dormouse will provide some comic relief.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Anything with avocado on it. I’ve got some whole ones for chopping onto pinto bean soup and some pre-made guac for dipping.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I’m a 55 year old empty-nester. The only things that stop me from reading all the time are domestic chores, genealogy, choral singing, and arts events (opera, theatre, music, galleries.) And I listen to audiobooks while I do chores.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

It’s my first. Guilt-free reading!