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O Caledonia
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
67 posts | 11 read | 77 to read
The sixteen years of Janet's life begin on a fogbound winter night in wartime Edinburgh. Her father, home on leave, peering into the blue wicker basket, comments, "It's about the size of a cat." Later, as sibling after sibling appears, Janet finds herself slipping further and further toward the periphery of family life. Brought up in the unrelenting chill of Calvinism and the Scottish climate, she turns from people to animals, to literature, and to her own fertile imagination. Written with lyricism, poignance, and great unexpected flashes of humor, the novel traces the chain of events that, in the dour setting of Scotland in the 1940s and 50s, cause the bizarre death of a young girl. People, birds, and beasts move in a gleeful danse macabre through a lowering landscape in a tale as rich in atmosphere as it is witty and mordant.
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Billypar
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Based on the Litsy reviews it sounds like Janet has a #sweetdisposition - though not because she's nice to everyone. When I hear that a character loves animals, rightfully distrusts many people, and has a unique sense of humor, this sounds like someone I'd like to meet.
#MayMovieMadness @rohit-sawant @Cinfhen

LeahBergen Oh, man!!! I ADORED this book!! 6mo
saresmoore Oh, you made me think of this book and I was instantly transported to it‘s sticky weirdness! So. Good. 6mo
Billypar @LeahBergen @saresmoore I'm excited to try it! I've pushed it to the front of my brain for the next book store trip. 6mo
40 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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emilyhaldi
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Janet might be my all time favorite #heroine 🙌🏻 one of the few books where I underlined something on almost every page.
#maylovesclassics
#litsyclassics

Bambolina_81 Wow, how have I never heard of this?! It sounds fantastic! Stacked! 2y
rubyslippersreads I need to read this; I know it has lots of fans on Litsy. 2y
Cathythoughts ❤️ 2y
See All 11 Comments
BarbaraBB Echoing @Bambolina_81 , how comes I never even heard of this one?! 2y
TrishB I did love this one 💕 2y
LeahBergen One of my FAVES. ❤️❤️ 2y
Sarah83 Great pick. 👍 2y
Reviewsbylola I need to read this. 2y
emilyhaldi @Bambolina_81 @rubyslippersreads @BarbaraBB @Reviewsbylola you MUST!!! It's such an amazing book and you will fall in love with quirky little Janet 🖤 2y
batsy I've stacked this because of all the Litsy love during your readalong ❤️ 2y
Cinfhen Never read this one 2y
90 likes4 stack adds11 comments
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emilyhaldi
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Janet is born into a dark & dreary #cruelworld where she is unwelcome and for the most part, ignored. She finds comfort and a sense of humor in the form of nature and animals, but has a distaste for most humans...I highly recommend this beautifully written gothic tale 🖤
#aprella

LeahBergen I absolutely adore this book. ❤️ 2y
rohit-sawant Stacking! Love the picture! 2y
emilyhaldi Ofcourse you do!! @LeahBergen ☺️ it's one of my favs I think 🖤 2y
See All 10 Comments
Reviewsbylola Where‘d you get the comforter? 2y
Mdargusch Love that photo! 2y
rubyslippersreads I need to move this up my TBR list. 2y
emilyhaldi @Reviewsbylola Anne's room... But before that, Anthropologie. I bought it for my freshman dorm room!! 🖤 2y
Cinfhen Such an awesome photo!! And super excited Anthro is launching in Israel May 2018🙌🏻❣️🎉 2y
emilyhaldi Ooohhhh very exciting!! @Cinfhen I have to admit I never have shopped their clothes too much but I love their home goods 💖💖 2y
Cinfhen I LOVE the store but it‘s already pretty expensive 🤑I can only imagine how crazzzy it‘s gonna be overseas🙄 2y
103 likes8 stack adds10 comments
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SaraBeagle
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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A #blameitonlitsy purchase! Thanks to those of you who posted and put this on my radar!

LeahBergen It‘s so quirky and good. ❤️ 2y
21 likes1 stack add1 comment
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emilyhaldi
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Love this description ❄️
#snow
#quotsydec17

Tanisha_A It's lovely! Makes me want to read further! 2y
Mdargusch Nice ❄️❄️❄️ 2y
79 likes2 comments
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emilyhaldi
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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I love a character that makes me laugh. That's why Gus, Janet, and Ove are three of my #newfavoritecharacters

#allthebooksof2017

Kaye Gosh, Gus is SO cute. ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️ 2y
Reviewsbylola We need to get Gus and Ove in a room together. 😂😂 2y
Mdargusch ❤️❤️gus❤️❤️ 2y
89 likes5 comments
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emilyhaldi
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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LeahBergen ❤️❤️❤️ 2y
85 likes1 comment
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emilyhaldi
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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This book is quickly moving up on my list of favorites ❤️
#study
#quotsydec17

saresmoore Yes! 2y
LeahBergen Yes! ❤️❤️ 2y
Reviewsbylola Maybe I‘ll have to borrow it. 2y
85 likes1 stack add3 comments
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emilyhaldi
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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#FirstNovel of December is 🙌🏻 The first book in a while that has prompted me to underline something on almost every page.
#decktheshelves

LeahBergen Aaaaaa! I hope you love it as much as I did. 😍 2y
Reviewsbylola Never heard of it. The cover is creepy in a good way. 2y
emilyhaldi @LeahBergen love it so far!! @Reviewsbylola it's definitely a #blameitonlitsy random purchase. Definitely not what I was expecting- so much better!!! 2y
79 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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LeahBergen
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Congrats to you, @Booksandcooks for 7777 followers!

I had to check Goodreads to see what the last book was that I actually awarded 5⭐️ and this was it. The excerpt above gives you a little taste of its delightful oddness (and this is page one, so "no spoilers" ?).

Thanks for the #7777Giveaway!

Megabooks Definitely sounds interesting...😉😉 2y
72 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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LeahBergen
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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I started this last night and within the first few pages I was already chortling in delight at the author's brilliant humour and evocative writing. I'm in LOVE.

Thanks to @shawnmooney and @Lindy for bringing this gem to my attention (and to the rest of you, too ... @saresmoore @DeborahSmall @TrishB ).

Lindy Enjoy. 😇 2y
TrishB Awww I will always have a smile for Janet 💝 2y
saresmoore Hooray! 2y
See All 8 Comments
shawnmooney Yay! ❤️❤️ 2y
BooksTeasAndBookishThings @Laalaleighh I have GOT to get this book. Lol it literally had my name all over it. 2y
rubyslippersreads Great cover! This looks intriguing. 2y
Tamra It does sound fun! 2y
97 likes7 stack adds8 comments
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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I'm sure you all – you certainly should – follow @ReadingEnvy already; if not, here is a link to the latest episode of her wonderful podcast. I am the guest! At the beginning, we talk about bailing on books – do you think I know anything about that topic? :-) Enjoy!

http://readingenvy.blogspot.jp/2017/05/reading-envy-086-queen-of-bailing.html

Gezemice You bailing on a book? 😳Nah, never. 😊😉😀 3y
Gezemice I was actually curious about this, and I would like to ask you, how do you pick your books? I completely agree that life is too short to read books you don't enjoy. I bail on those, too. But I tend to spend quite a bit selecting my books, and I rarely bail on one I picked myself. I mostly bail on book club books. It seems like your selection process is mostly, "let's give it a try". Is that perhaps why you dnf so many? 3y
Reggie Oh I can't wait to hear this. 3y
See All 15 Comments
saresmoore 👑 3y
MamaGina I knew as soon as I saw the title who Jenny's special guest was - enjoyed the episode very much and as a fellow, ahem, 50-something, definitely agree with your DNF philosophy🤓 3y
LeahBergen I can't wait! I'm just about to give it a listen... 3y
ReadingEnvy @Gezemice ooh good question for Shawn! 3y
shawnmooney @Gezemice @ReadingEnvy It is a fantastic question! My answer is perhaps less than insightful. I certainly have been trying a lot of books outside my normal comfort zone—literary fiction— often because of various reading challenge tasks. However, I bail on quite a few literary fiction titles as well. I can think of books that I had been looking forward to reading—that'd been on my TBR—for years that I ended up bailing on. 3y
shawnmooney So I think the most important factor in my bailing is that I'm getting fussier and more ruthless as I get older, no matter how carefully I may have chosen the books I want to read… :-) 3y
Gezemice Thanks! I see! That makes sense. I tend to look at reviews and usually can figure out if I am going to like it, but there are misses. I say it is great to get out of your comfort zone but not sticking with it if you don't like it. Although, I must say, there are quite a few books that only come together at the end, some of the best ones I read were like that. (edited) 3y
shawnmooney @Gezemice So interesting! Based on reviews, I can usually decide if the subject matter is interesting to me but not the actual prose, characterization, etc.. I would also say that if a book only comes together at the end, or anywhere past the 20% mark, it is a failed book in my estimation. :-) 3y
shawnmooney @Gezemice I have re-thought my last comment - I don't think 'come together' is what I meant: I'd revise my sentence to "...if a book doesn't grab or hold my interest after the 20% mark it's a failed book." Of course, most books don't come together until the end but if I am interested throughout, that is not a problem at all for me. :) 3y
Gezemice I see your point - and if I don't like the writing, I give up, too - but if I am just not sure where the plot is going, or there is a sluggish part, I stick with it, and mostly I am rewarded. As far as reviews, I usually look at what people liked or did not like. Bad writing comes through the reviews normally. Although you read a lot of new releases where there are fewer reviews, so it is probably harder to tell. (edited) 3y
shawnmooney @Gezemice It's an interesting dialogue! I see little virtue in persevering with a book I'm not enjoying. I know lots of people do. As I said on the podcast, at the point where I decide it's only going to be a three-star read (or less), it's time to throw it away and hope to find the next four- or five-star book. Those are all I'm going to make time for for the rest of my reading days… :-) 3y
Gezemice @shawnmooney The most important is to have fun, and/or feel satisfied with our reading. I am not young any more, either, I very much appreciate the point of too many books - too little time! 😊 3y
55 likes15 comments
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EvieBee
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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I had to bail out of the Jim Jones book after 50 pages. It was engaging but Jones and his mamma annoyed me. Thanks to you Littens, I picked this up from the library earlier this week. Should be a short read. #currentlyreading #dogsoflitsy #dottie

LeahBergen I'm waiting to finish up what I have on the go before starting this one. 👍🏼 3y
EvieBee @LeahBergen It's pretty good! 3y
69 likes2 comments
review
TrishB
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Pickpick

There are far, far better reviews than mine in a previous buddy read of this book that convinced me to read it @shawnmooney @Lindy @DeborahSmall @saresmoore
A lovely, haunting, entertaining and funny novel. Janet is the awkward MC that you couldn't help rooting for.
A wonderful, little gem of a novel, with poetic prose.

LeahBergen I'm still waiting for the perfect moment to read the copy I bought! 👍🏼 3y
TrishB @LeahBergen I got up this morning and my reading brain said today is the day 😀 I have literally just sat on the couch and read in one go. 3y
saresmoore Great review! It is a surprising little book. 3y
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Cinfhen I think your review is pretty awesome 😊 3y
DeborahSmall Glad you enjoyed it x 3y
Lindy Yay! I'm happy that you joined the club. 😊 3y
shawnmooney How did I miss seeing your review until now? 💖💖 2y
TrishB @shawnmooney One of those little books I pass by on the shelf that still makes me smile 😀 2y
87 likes3 stack adds9 comments
review
KellyMuser
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Pickpick

I finished O Caledonia this morning, and was moved to create this photo. It's a composite of a blood super-moon I photographed, a bird and tree I snapped in Yellowstone National Park, and a piece of fabric from one of my dresses. I hope this will serve as my review. This book has ruined all other fiction for me for a while, and my next read will be a running book.
@shawnmooney @Lindy @saresmoore @DeborahSmall

Well-ReadNeck Breathtaking! 💜 3y
TrishB Lovely pic 💗 I have this ready to read - the expectations are getting higher and higher! 3y
saresmoore This is gorgeous! You've certainly depicted the essence of O Caledonia here. 3y
See All 8 Comments
Lindy Brava! 3y
DeborahSmall Beautiful 💙 3y
KellyMuser @Well-ReadNeck @TrishB @saresmoore @Lindy @DeborahSmall Thanks so much for your kind words! 💐 3y
shawnmooney What an image and what a review!! ❤❤ 3y
KellyMuser @shawnmooney Thank you!😊 3y
16 likes1 stack add8 comments
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Lindy
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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The library is 1.3 km from my house and I travel on foot, so my #bookbag has wheels. I'm getting geared up now for my weekly visit. 😀

Lacythebookworm Love it! 3y
cathysaid Hello puppy 👋 3y
Lindy @cathysaid Nenette doesn't get to go on this walk. She's too old and slow for this particular trip; I want to get there before it closes! Plus it's too cold for her to wait outside while I pick up my holds. Poor old pooch! 🙁 3y
Kimzey Great exercise! 3y
Lindy @Kimzey Yes, I love living within walking distance of two important destinations: the grocery store and the library. 😊 (edited) 3y
61 likes5 comments
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LeahBergen
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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TrishB Mine arrived today too 😀 I was seduced by the posts!! 3y
Redwritinghood Me too, but I bought it on Kindle. @TrishB (edited) 3y
Moray_Reads @Redwritinghood i was just about to say the same! 3y
See All 15 Comments
LeahBergen @Moray_Reads @Redwritinghood @TrishB I wonder if someone out there in publishing or book sales is wondering about the sudden interest in a 1991 novel? 😂 3y
saresmoore Bahahaha! Especially considering the geographical disparity of purchases. We'll be flagged by the powers that be! 3y
TrishB @Moray_Reads @LeahBergen @Redwritinghood the power of Litsy 😂😂 3y
DeborahSmall Love that cover ❤️ 3y
Redwritinghood @LeahBergen They must be so confused. 3y
shawnmooney I read it as an ebook so I am drooling over that hardcover edition!! ❤❤ 3y
Lindy I know you will enjoy this. 😀 3y
LeahBergen @saresmoore Isn't it amazing when you think about it? How Litsy can get such a broad group of people to hunt down an older, somewhat obscure book to read? ❤ 3y
LeahBergen @DeborahSmall It's cool, isn't it?? 3y
LeahBergen @shawnmooney It's your fault with all those lovely posts. They made me NEED a nice little copy! 😂 3y
73 likes1 stack add15 comments
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Lindy
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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A mean whipping wind whined and skirmished about the castle, now this way, now that, slamming doors, tearing at hats and scarves, whisking the dogs' ears inside out. The cats refused to go outside at all. Only the wild duck enjoyed themselves, swimming ostentatiously across the lawn or sporting upside down in the lagoons of the drive.
@DuckOfDoom @shawnmooney @saresmoore @DeborahSmall @LeahBergen

Lindy The very next sentence after the passage quoted above is important in retrospect: "Jim was deprived of his usual pursuits, both murderous and horticultural..." 3y
43 likes1 comment
review
saresmoore
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Pickpick

I LOVED this book! Barker somehow managed to simultaneously wrap me up in the comfort of her gorgeous, intentional prose and make me itchy with uncertainty as the story unfolded. I knew what was going to happen because she told me in the very beginning, but it only made me more wary as I steadily fell in love with the protagonist, Janet. Quirky, witty, engrossing, and unbelievably well-written, I won't soon forget this work of literary brilliance.

Moray_Reads Wow, great review! I need to get my hands on this one 3y
saresmoore @Moray_Reads It was under $4 for Kindle in the U.S. I can't imagine it'd be much more for you! 3y
Moray_Reads @saresmoore there goes my book-buying ban! 😉 3y
See All 12 Comments
Lindy @saresmoore Janet is such an outsider, but I like to imagine how it would have been for her to grow into adulthood and find likeminded others. Maybe they would have been people like Fran Lebowitz. 3y
LeahBergen I can't wait for mine to arrive! 3y
BooksForEmpathy Ooooh sold!! 3y
saresmoore @LeahBergen Yay! I will definitely be buying a physical copy, too. I went back to the beginning after I finished it today and I'm already tempted to do some rereading! 3y
saresmoore @BooksForEmpathy It's really that good! See @shawnmooney & @Lindy 's posts in the feed for some fabulous quotes. 3y
LeahBergen I KNEW I wanted my own copy after reading all the blurbs you all were posting! ❤ 3y
shawnmooney How did I miss your lovely review until now? 😘😘 3y
62 likes1 stack add12 comments
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Lindy
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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The salon reminded Janet of the lunatic asylum. People came in, looking normal and cheerful. They were ushered by white-coated, unctuous attendants into a neon-lit inner torture chamber of throbbing machines. There they sat, gowned and scarlet-faced and in no time at all they had lost their identity...

shawnmooney ❤❤ 3y
Sue Such a good description! 3y
saresmoore These few pages of Janet's half-hearted foray into womanhood are just perfect. 3y
52 likes3 comments
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Lindy
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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At St Uncumba's Halloween was not celebrated, for it was an evil, pagan ritual. Instead they lit an enormous bonfire on Guy Fawkes night and burned a human effigy.

Riveted_Reader_Melissa I've always loved the random reasoning that makes one thing taboo but the other acceptable, that are basically the same behavior.... plus the way pagan things were adapted to be Christian and then fully sanctioned! Humans are a weird lot. (edited) 3y
saresmoore I love Barker's style. Every few pages, there's a quiet gut-punch to Calvinism, AND YET, all she's doing is making observations through the eyes of a particularly astute adolescent. 3y
43 likes3 comments
review
shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Pickpick

In sentences bursting with images and perfectly audacious words; in paragraphs that unfurl book-length narratives; with quirky characters deeply familiar as if spun from dreams; Elspeth Barker tells a simple, sad, joyous story of Janet, an odd duck of a Scottish girl, understood by no one, a misfit who only feels truly alive in spasms of communion with books or the natural world. My delight in her was just this side of a cringe. Unforgettable.

saresmoore What a luscious review! 3y
shawnmooney @saresmoore It was quite a challenge to express my reaction in 451 characters, but I perhaps at least hinted at the depth of my love for this book. 😍 3y
LeahBergen Wonderful review! (I can't wait to get my copy 😬) 3y
See All 18 Comments
KellyMuser @shawnmooney I'm so glad you introduced me to this book on Litsy! I've been savoring it for the past few days really taking my time and re-reading a lot of passages which I've found transportive, and sometimes cringe-worthy. Love this book! @saresmoore @Lindy @DeborahSmall (edited) 3y
Lindy I just finished O Caledonia and feel incapable of expressing my admiration for it, especially as you have summed it up so well. A great experience. 3y
MrBook Nice review!! 3y
DeborahSmall Great review. It was treasure to read 3y
shawnmooney @Lindy @saresmoore @DeborahSmall @KellyMuser Thanks everybody! This came to Lindy's and my attention from this NYT article: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/07/books/review/ali-smith-by-the-book.html?smpro.... I'd like to read most of the fiction Smith recommends there, and wonder if any of you'd care to buddy-read this short one off the list with me? If so, I think you'll agree that we must do it in July :) 3y
shawnmooney @MrBook I unintentionally omitted you from the above buddy-read proposal. :) 3y
MrBook Lol, all good, my friend. 3y
Lindy @shawnmooney of everything I've read by Tove Jansson, my favourite is 3y
saresmoore The Summer Book in July sounds perfect to me! 3y
DeborahSmall Sounds great! 3y
KellyMuser Count me in. The Summer Book sounds great for July. 👍 3y
shawnmooney @DeborahSmall Hey there, my memory is that you are Scottish, correct? I am wondering what the correct pronunciation of the fictional castle, Auchnasaugh, would be. Can you help? The two suggestions I've received are "owch-no-sow" and "ock-na-sock" - any help would be appreciated. Thanks! ?? 3y
DeborahSmall It would be "och(k)-na-shaw" ? (edited) 3y
shawnmooney @DeborahSmall Belated thanks! ❤ Which syllable would be stressed? I am guessing the first one: AUCH-na-shaw? 3y
DeborahSmall Yep that's right! ❤️ 3y
43 likes1 stack add18 comments
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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saresmoore We have a mulberry tree in front of our house and I'm watching the wind bend its long branches and make the wide leaves shiver. Barker's nature imagery is sharp and lovely. @KellyMuser @Lindy @DeborahSmall (edited) 3y
30 likes1 comment
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Art: Reader in Purple Sweater, by Rick Beerhorst
http://www.studiobeerhorst.com/figurative-paintings/

Lindy "as though she were rending the limbs of some slaughtered beast" -- that's quite an image, isn't it? And I really like it. (edited) 3y
saresmoore There is so much in this passage! Great image accompaniment, too. 3y
DeborahSmall Definitely my favourite passage 3y
28 likes3 comments
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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DeborahSmall Loved this ❤️ 3y
Suet624 ❤❤ 3y
saresmoore "She also feared that Rosie might lose status to this upstart." I love it! 3y
26 likes3 comments
quote
shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Art: Joan Eardley‘s 1962 masterwork Flood Tide

tpixie Great passage and lovely painting 3y
saresmoore Unbelievable. 3y
MayJasper I like 3y
28 likes3 comments
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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saresmoore I think this is my favorite passage. 3y
LeahBergen I'm still ignoring these posts until my copy arrives. 😂 (I'll catch up on them all while I read it!) 3y
23 likes2 comments
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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This might end up being my favorite sentence in the entire novel...

Lindy Yup. 👍 3y
DeborahSmall I read these few pages a couple of times. Her writing I think is simple yet so descriptive, her words paint a fabulous picture without going over the top. I'm in love with this book ❤️ 3y
27 likes2 comments
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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saresmoore Oof, this part is fabulously disgusting. "Squelching globules"... 3y
18 likes1 comment
review
DeborahSmall
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Pickpick

A beautifully written coming of age story set in the north of Scotland. Very gothic, I started this book thinking it would be some kind of murder mystery, although it starts and ends with a murder, it's really about the life of Janet from an early age until her death at 16. Janet is a wonderful misunderstood young girl, as well as her story I found animals and the countryside to play a big part in this novel 👇🏻

TrishB Very tempted....I mean the author shares my surname, reason enough! 3y
DeborahSmall I'd say the animals and countryside as well as her old family home are her only true friends. Elspeth Barkers prose is beautiful, this book will stay with me for a long time. The pic I posted is of one of my favourite passages in the book. Definitely 5*s 3y
Lindy I don't want it to be over, that's the only reason it is taking me so long to read this beautiful story. ❤️ 3y
See All 8 Comments
DeborahSmall @TrishB you have to! 3y
saresmoore This is a great passage! The contempt Vera (and everyone, it seems) has for her is scathingly evident! I can't imagine Vera would be nearly as put off by her manner if, in fact, it was in eating, rather than in reading. I'm still not finished yet, savoring it and enjoying it thoroughly! I'm so glad you liked it! 3y
Suet624 I love the description of Janet reading. 3y
DeborahSmall @saresmoore it's disturbing the resentment Vera has for her eldest child, this passage highlights her feelings comprehensively towards Janet her whole life (the whole novel) @Suet624 I loved this description as it reminded me of the way I read as a young teenager, I really needed to drink in every word and nothing would break my concentration. Barker paints such beautiful pictures with words. Its definitely a book to savour 3y
TrishB I gave in.....no will power.... 3y
65 likes2 stack adds8 comments
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Lindy
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Once a day was the decree, and once a day they could gain admission to its mysteries. Then they could watch the baby being fed, or bathed, or even hold her. Janet found this boring; it was the sacred atmosphere of the room itself which she enjoyed.
@shawnmooney @saresmoore @DeborahSmall @KellyMuser

shawnmooney I love this one, the entire scene was just amazing! 3y
shawnmooney And then there was the car trip to the dentist… OMG! 3y
Lindy @shawnmooney @saresmoore @DeborahSmall @KellyMuser The scene where Janet is asked to bring the baby in from the garden? Horrifying and hilarious. 3y
saresmoore Yes! I keep anxiously reading these scenes, trying to determine which will be her unforgivable sin. Poor Janet just wants some solitude! 3y
DeborahSmall @shawnmooney @lindy @KellyMuser @saresmoore The scene were Janet and Francis buried Rhona under the wet leaves "A nasty rat has buried your baby. She's gone now" brilliant! 3y
34 likes5 comments
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Lindy
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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'Don't talk such nonsense; you know as well as I do that witches are only in fairy stories; and you read far too many of those, if you'd like my opinion.' The mothers exchanged satisfied glances: they all thought Vera went too far in her choice of children's reading; and she smoked cigarettes and wore slacks.

saresmoore This is one of my favorite quotes. 3y
shawnmooney I was obsessed with paranormal and supernatural stuff as a preteen and when I tried to check a book about witchcraft out of the local library when I was around 10 years old, the librarian refused and contacted my mom to express her disapproval of my reading choices. My mom told her where to go! 3y
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DeborahSmall @Lindy loved this quote too. Was at this point I knew there'd be good humour in her writing 3y
Lindy @DeborahSmall @saresmoore @shawnmooney Well, I'm glad we are all on the same page, figuratively, even though not literally. 😊 3y
saresmoore @shawnmooney I had that fascination, too. (Maybe still do a bit?) But, my mom was the one with a fear of all things "evil." I was forced to sneak around the stacks and read in secret corners of the library after school. 3y
Lindy @saresmoore @shawnmooney My mom let us read whatever we wanted, and we never ran into trouble with restrictive librarians, fortunately. I remember wandering around the entire (small!) public library in my hometown and picking up whatever looked interesting from anywhere, including lots of nonfiction. 3y
saresmoore @Lindy @shawnmooney I think the little public library in my hometown is one of three places I remember fondly from my childhood and in which I spent the majority of my time. The other two were a large oak tree near a lake with a perfect low reading branch and the community theatre/playhouse. The rest of it I'd rather forget. 3y
moranadatter @shawnmooney Yikes! I guess I was super lucky. Our local librarians didn't bat an eye when I was a preteen checking out all of the John Saul and Dean Koontz novels. 3y
DeborahSmall @saresmoore my dad didn't allow us to celebrate or dress up for Halloween; the epitome of all things evil. Is it any wonder I have a fascination with the macabre! 3y
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Lindy Foreshadowing. 👻 3y
saresmoore @Lindy It's sort of an interesting device, knowing our heroine's fate from the beginning. I seek out bits of prescience like this. @shawnmooney That's a beautiful painting you found! Any idea of the original source? 3y
saresmoore Also, in reference to the color symbolism throughout the story and the accompanying painting you've picked, green has been coming up a lot lately. In the book, Barker refers to it as being about life and death, etc. and otherwise, I've learned of it as a color representing sanity—ha! 3y
saresmoore @shawnmooney Thank you! 3y
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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saresmoore I'm actually a bit relieved to know that Barker didn't create that disturbing legend! 3y
DeborahSmall @shawnmooney @saresmoore I love reading about places you know well in any book so it was great last night when reading, she was talking about Glasgow and mentioned Pollockshields, it's were I lived before moving to Ireland and also were my my mum currently lives so I know the place Intimately ❤️️ 3y
saresmoore @DeborahSmall That is really neat & I must say I am envious of that association! The settings I know are usually American cities, which are kind of depressing. 3y
DeborahSmall @saresmoore I love when I read about somewhere I've been in US. Most common and still my favourite is New Orleans as its easy to remember the street names around the French Quarter. I rarely read books based in Glasgow as they're depressing but this was a pleasant association 3y
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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LeahBergen My copy has shipped but who knows when it will get here from the US. 😩 3y
saresmoore @LeahBergen I'm reading about a bagillion books at the moment, so it will still be fresh, if not unfinished for me when you get your copy! 3y
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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(sigh)

shawnmooney So glad that @KellyMuser has now joined our buddy read! 3y
DeborahSmall *sigh* is just the perfect response to this captivating writing. Lovely graphics too ❤️️ 3y
KellyMuser Thanks @shawnmooney! This is my first ever buddy read!😃👍 I scrolled down your feed to catch up on what's happened already. 3y
shawnmooney @KellyMuser Welcome! As you have probably already noticed, we buddies are all reading at our own individual pace. Look forward to hearing your thoughts! 3y
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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This is a spoiler-free tease of an excerpt from an incredible story embedded in just one, long paragraph that is quite simply a tour de force!

Lindy There are fantastic characterizations in this novel. 👍 3y
shawnmooney @lindy UNBELIEVABLY so... 3y
DeborahSmall I'm loving it and being Scottish I'm imagining a northern accent or East Lothian. Great so far. I think I'll have it finished today. Hard one to take slow 3y
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shawnmooney @DeborahSmall So interesting! When I'm enjoying a book this much, I tend to slow right down and savor it. I will probably draw this one out till the end of the month. ❤ 3y
saresmoore @Lindy @shawnmooney @DeborahSmall Oh, yes! Even the minor characters are memorable, like the Dibdins. I just finished reading a portion from Vera's perspective, which was illuminating. @LeahBergen I'm so glad you succumbed to the peer pressure! 3y
KellyMuser This sounds great! I didn't want to wait so I just downloaded it. Thanks! 3y
DeborahSmall @shawnmooney I wish I could show the same restraint. I will try. I'm desperate to start 'Stop That Girl' my recommended by.....choice in the Litsy bingo challenge 3y
saresmoore @DeborahSmall I'll be reading Stop That Girl soon, too! I just got it in the mail yesterday. 3y
DeborahSmall @saresmoore brilliant, I was planning on reading it after last book but when O Caledonia came in the post I went with it while you guys were reading it but it's definitely up next 💕 3y
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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I just went down a Google rabbit hole about Elspeth Barker, and discovered a fascinating biographical connection between her and a Canadian lit classic. I'll leave it mysteriously ambiguous, thinking that you might enjoy finding it yourselves… :-) If anybody can't find it, let me know and of course I will reveal all! 💜

DeborahSmall Great minds!! I did this today too mainly because of her first name. It's the name of a favourite Scottish authors first wife.... but then I read more about her husband who wasn't who I hoped but just as interesting. I do this with most authors. Love finding out as much history and info as possible 3y
LeahBergen Ooo! 3y
LeahBergen And just so you all know ... yes, I ordered this book. I couldn't take it anymore. 😂 3y
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DeborahSmall @lindy @saresmoore @LeahBergen @shawnmooney I think Dogs Days will be and excellent read at some stage 3y
shawnmooney @DeborahSmall Dog Days? There are several books of that title, mostly for children. 3y
shawnmooney @DeborahSmall Wonderful! Stacked! 3y
saresmoore @shawnmooney This is dangerous... When I go down the Google rabbit hole, I emerge—sometimes hours later—with empty pockets and a bag full of musty, out-of-print editions by authors that no one has heard of. That being said, I can't wait! @DeborahSmall I am definitely interested in Dog Days, thank you for sharing! 3y
DeborahSmall @shawnmooney @saresmoore she talks about her marriage, her life in Scotland and Norfolk. She's also edited and contributed to a book about grieving and loss 3y
DeborahSmall @saresmoore I'm exactly the same, when an author references books that they researched in the writing of a novel, I have to buy the those books and go down that rabbit hole too.... So glad to have company 😘 3y
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saresmoore
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker

"The lions stiffened, moved forward to their fence; suddenly they were alert and purposeful. Perhaps it was feeding time. Janet turned to see what they were watching. A group of nuns were coming along the path, their black habits billowing against the leaden sky. Were ancestral voices whispering to these lions, reminding them of what might be done with missionaries? Cheered by this thought, she moved on."

saresmoore @shawnmooney @Lindy @DeborahSmall Sorry if I'm a bit ahead, but this was too good not to share! 3y
Lindy @saresmoore I will look forward to this part, as soon as I'm done with 3y
Suet624 Quite the image!! 3y
saresmoore @Suet624 Isn't it?! Animals are far better companions (& preferable company) for Janet than any humans. It's one of the major motifs of the story and I find it really interesting! 3y
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Lindy I really love this. 🌱🌱🌱 3y
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Lindy
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Her name was dreadful too; all the others had names with some romance about them; even Rhona had a suggestion of inappropriate turbulence, a tawny river in flood rushing and foaming about its boulders. But Janet had nothing; its only possible association was with junket.

@shawnmooney @saresmoore @DeborahSmall

shawnmooney Ooh missed that linkage! 3y
saresmoore Yes! Good on spotting that connection! 3y
shawnmooney I correct that: I had not come to that quote yet – now I have! 3y
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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ReadingEnvy Oh goodness! 🐰 3y
Lindy @shawnmooney You beat me to it. I'll post one of many other flagged passages from this book instead. The other junket one, I guess. (edited) 3y
saresmoore ❤️ So glad you found a good picture for it! There's a later passage describing Lila's attire as she's about to leave on a trip (I put it that way to avoid mild spoilers). I'm really hoping it warrants a picture-quote pairing, but I can't imagine Google finding anything sufficient for the absurdity! @shawnmooney @Lindy @DeborahSmall 3y
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DeborahSmall
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Up next! ❤️📚 @saresmoore @shawnmooney

shawnmooney Yay! 3y
DeborahSmall @shawnmooney it's so good! I didn't realise it was going to be so funny! 3y
saresmoore @DeborahSmall Just the right combination of funny & awkward, beautiful & painful, with a touch of the macabre. Perfect for a Bildungsroman! 3y
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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shawnmooney @Lindy @saresmoore I just finished preparing and posting this, and then read the next paragraph, itself equally quotable/memorable! 3y
Lindy @shawnmooney @saresmoore I noted the passage outlining Janet's strategy with junket (tiny bites etc) because I did the same thing with eggs and meat as a child. (Now, I just don't eat them.) 3y
saresmoore @Lindy @shawnmooney I was struck by this portion, as well. Is it common practice to force a child to eat something she genuinely loathes? I didn't experience this. Although, my dad did use to tell me that a bug in my drink was added protein. 🤔 3y
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Lindy @saresmoore @shawnmooney My mom didn't force us, beyond the rule of eating one small bite. Even if we had tried it and hadn't liked it previously. Turns out, this kind of exposure is the best way to develop a liking for a new food. 3y
Lindy @saresmoore @shawnmooney One of my aunts had a different approach. I remember being forced to sit at her table for what felt like hours, tears rolling down my cheeks, because there was no way I could eat the spam sandwich in front of me. She tried to cajole me with the reward of a peanut butter and banana sandwich... which sounded equally revolting to me. 3y
saresmoore @Lindy @shawnmooney That's true! (At least from what I've read.) It takes something like 14 tries to determine whether or not you genuinely like a food & children's tastebuds change as they grow. For babies, an aversion to bitterness is something of an evolutionary survival trait! In the case of Janet, though, her elders are pretty immovable and aloof. I doubt the purpose of any rule is her character development as much as it is to keep her quiet. 3y
saresmoore @Lindy Haha! What choices! Did your aunt have children of her own? 3y
Lindy @saresmoore Yes, she had 6. I remember her youngest was really fussy and when he stayed with us, he got Froot Loops cereal and none of the rest of us could have any (because it didn't meet my mother's nutrition standards) and we were so envious. 3y
shawnmooney @Lindy @saresmoore Yup, I had to eat liver, and also brussel sprouts ("Taste just like candy," my dad would say about the awful green testicle veggies) - all these years later, I don't mind liver at all, and brussel sprouts are near the top of my vegetable fave list... :) 3y
saresmoore @shawnmooney @Lindy I had never made the Brussels sprouts/testicles comparison before, but 😳! I happen to love them and so do my children. I'll be sure not to pass along that apt comparison... 3y
Lindy @shawnmooney @saresmoore Memorable first taste of Brussels sprouts - 😠 - I had thought they were tiny cabbage rolls (which I loved). 3y
DeborahSmall @shawnmooney lmao. I do my brussels with crispy fried bacon and NUTmeg 😂 3y
DeborahSmall And this passage reminds me of the few years we had with my stepdaughter; suffering from anorexia for over 2 years from she was 13. She ended up hospitalised. In the early days before we really didn't let her out our sight, I'd find food in the strangest places. Often chewed and spat out into the folds of her pjs or dressing gown. Now that we can talk about it she told me she scolded herself once throwing a meal down her trousers!! 3y
DeborahSmall @saresmoore @shawnmooney Looking forward to getting few pages started. It's almost 3am but I can't go to bed without starting a new book 😘 night all 3y
saresmoore @DeborahSmall I've had quite a few friends who struggled with eating disorders. Shame is a wily & powerful enemy. 3y
shawnmooney @DeborahSmall Wow, I had only noticed the first and third of your comments, not the longer personal the one in the middle until just now. What a harrowing experience with your stepdaughter – glad that it sounds like she's on the other side of much of that now! 3y
DeborahSmall @shawnmooney @saresmoore she is great now but not after extensive heartbreak to our family and her mums. But we got through it. She looks back on the things she done, as though talking about an old anecdote. Like "dad remember I threw that plate at you with the pork fillet" or "remember Deborah was scared when it was her turn to sit with me at dinner...." yep I hated those times she got away with more. But happy it's over! 3y
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shawnmooney
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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Lindy
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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In one corner of the room a low archway led into a turret where Lila's cat Mouflon slept on a pile of old fur coats draped ineffectually over a stack of empty whisky bottles. The aromas of ancient tom and evaporating spirits combined with Schiaparelli's Shocking and Craven A tobacco to create an aura of risqué clubland.

saresmoore I highlighted this passage, too. Lila is such an intriguing character to me. 3y
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Lindy
O Caledonia | Elspeth Barker
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- Were there any good hymns?
- We had 'Work, for the night is coming' and 'There is a fountain filled with blood'

[The title of that last hymn gave me pause, and then brought back a memory of words to a hymn from my childhood that our congregation sang with chirpy gusto: "Eat his body, drink his blood, and we'll sing a song of love."]

saresmoore Many of the hymns I remember from childhood were gory and militant. It makes me wonder whether the writers were interpreting the Bible or perpetuating a political agenda. Well, no, I don't actually wonder... 3y
Lindy @saresmoore Exactly! 3y
ReadingEnvy "I'm in the lord's army, yessir" was one of the children's hymns in my church... 3y
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