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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness | Arundhati Roy
Twenty years ago, Arundhati Roy wrote her Booker-prize winning novel The God Of Small Things, one of the best loved books of our time. June 2017 will see Roy's return to fiction with the most anticipated novel in recent publishing history, The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness. 'How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everybody. No. By slowly becoming everything.' In a snowy valley 'where tombstones grew through the ground like young children's teeth', a father writes to his five-year-old daughter about the number of people that attended her funeral--"How shall I explain one hundred thousand to you? You who could only count to fifty-nine? Shall we try and think about it seasonally? In spring think of how many red poppies blossom in the meadows..." Arundhati Roy's new novel gives us a glorious cast of unforgettable characters, caught up in the tide of history, each in search of a place of safety. It is at once a love story and a provocation, an emotional embrace and a decisive remonstration. It is told with a whisper, with a shout, with tears and with a laugh. Its heroes, both present and departed, human as well as animal, have been broken by the world we live in and then mended by love. And for this reason they will never surrender. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness tells a shattered story, magnificently, without ever trying to make it whole. The scope of the book, its peerless prose and unique, formal inventiveness make this novel new, in the original meaning of novel.
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review
Come-read-with-me
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Mehso-so

I loved The God of Small things and fully expected to feel the same way about this one. I didn‘t. The writing was beautiful and there were characters that could break your heart. Perhaps because there was so much tragedy in the book that it began to feel oppressive.The ending of the book offered a hopeful conclusion that was worth waiting for - sort of.

BarbaraBB I felt the same, also about The God of Small Things! 4w
Come-read-with-me @BarbaraBB Isn‘t funny how one book can be so achingly beautiful and the next not so much. But when the author is on..... it‘s fire! 2w
17 likes2 comments
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Booksnob
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First hour of summer vacation. #teacherlife. Glad to be back in the hammock again.

LiteraryinLititz Congrats on making it to summer!! 2mo
CouronneDhiver 👌🏽 2mo
Bklover 👍🌞🌼🌺 2mo
19 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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Naj
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I have to pick two. The tagged book and Winter by Ali Smith.

#BestBookSoFar2019
@megnews

megnews Wow, this sounds great. Thanks for sharing. I‘m getting some good recommendations! 5mo
Naj @megnews Thanks for creating this tag! I'm using this to get recommendations as well. 5mo
22 likes1 stack add2 comments
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MicheleinPhilly
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SUPER SALE ALERT! #KindleDeal #KindleDailyDeal

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HardcoverHearts
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Sale! I think this book is an exemplar of the rich complexities of women‘s lives. It‘s dense, lush, political, evocative, at times disorienting to a western reader in the way that immersive foreign travel can be, & illuminating. I think the reviews have been polarized by her lack of pandering to the reader. I loved that feeling and googled so many things while I read this book to get the nuance. I hope that more may be willing to take the chance!

Suet624 You‘re right. She is not an easy author to read. She is, however, always worth spending time with. 6mo
HardcoverHearts @Suet624 great way to put it! 6mo
24 likes2 comments
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Dolly
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Bailedbailed

When my mind wanders and I have to keep reviewing chapters over and over it‘s time to bail.

JSW Agreed! 6mo
46 likes1 comment
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Naj
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Pickpick

4.5 ? and one I can see myself rereading many times.
At one point in this book a character thinks, "I would like to write one of those sophisticated stories in which even though nothing happens there's lots to write about ". This is exactly what Roy has written. Do not read this book if you want a structured narrative or a neat "plot". None of that exists here.?

Naj What you do get is a story that is mainly about war —war that people have waged against each other, the Indian State has waged against its own citizens— and the people caught in the midst of this chaos, each of them recognizing their own grief in the other and at last, finding comfort in memory and a derelict graveyard. This is the perfect book for understanding the real, contemporary India. Heartbreaking and beautiful, full of grief and humour. 6mo
TrishB Lovely review 💕 6mo
Emilymdxn I‘m so glad you loved this as much as I did!! I thought it was a total masterpiece. The writing and the concepts were so beautiful I found myself never minding there wasn‘t much of a plot that went anywhere 6mo
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Naj @TrishB Thank you 🤗. I tried keeping it as short as possible, it's a really complex book with so much going on. 6mo
Naj @Emilymdxn Yes, I didn't mind the randomness of the plot as well. The writing was exquisite. One of those books you just want to get lost in. So much tragedy and yet there were parts that made me burst out laughing. My only complaint was there was too little of Anjum, I absolutely loved her! 6mo
Haroon_Ishaq the book for which I waited months and read out within a month, a wonderful journey thru contradictions of a postcolonial society 🙂 5mo
Naj @Haroon_Ishaq A wonderful journey indeed. I didn't want it to end. Have you read her first book? 5mo
25 likes3 stack adds7 comments
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Naj
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1. Tagged book, and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.
2. Winter by Ali Smith.
3. "No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself". – Virginia Woolf

#weekendreads
@rachelsbrittain

Emilymdxn I really want to read the Bluest Eye! Excited for your review of ministry of utmost happiness too 7mo
Naj @Emilymdxn I'm halfway through Ministry of utmost happiness and in love with the writing. It's reminding me of Winter. Bluest Eye I've just started. I've been wanting to read it for sooo long, really excited. 7mo
22 likes2 comments
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Naj
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💖💖💖💖💖
That moment when you see one of your favorite poems in a book! This was so unexpected. The original poem is by Habib Jalib, in Urdu. I can recite almost all of his poetry from memory, so it was such a happy surprise to see these lines.

Emilymdxn I loved this poem when I read the book but didn‘t know any context around it when I came across it! 7mo
Naj @Emilymdxn Habib Jalib was a Marxist Pakistani poet. His poems can be relevant against authoritarianism and oppression anywhere in the world. Do read his poetry if you can find a good translation. 7mo
Emilymdxn I just googled some poems and found online translations but I struggled with finding a published book in English. I read translations of ‘what does Pakistan mean‘ and ‘Islam is not in danger‘ and thought they were incredible! 7mo
Naj @Emilymdxn I don't think there's a translated book. I've also only ever read online translations. Bummer. Would have loved for you to be able to read him. 7mo
17 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Naj
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Starting this tonight! Anybody else read this? Thoughts?

Libby1 Yes! I read it a few months ago. Her writing style is exquisite. I think it‘s a complicated, enriching story but a challenging read. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, and a lot of tragedy and humour. I feel like a learned a lot about certain aspects of life in India and surrounding nations, which I appreciate. 7mo
Naj @Libby1 I'm now almost 150 pages through. Love, love the MC (hopefully she doesn't turn horrible by the end), can feel the sadness, and yes there are many characters but it's manageable so far. Roy's hitting all the right chords so far. Hope it continues. 7mo
20 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Bibliogeekery
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Pickpick

This is honestly the best book I've read in a long time! It's a long, dense, richly descriptive narrative of intersecting lives centred around Delhi and Kashmir in India. Roy combines wonderfully quirky characters with the complex shifting political landscape in India. Such a great read!

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Bibliogeekery
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This book is so great!

Redwritinghood How do you think this book will work as an audiobook? I just checked it out from my library but wasn‘t sure if it was worth the time. 7mo
Bibliogeekery @Redwritinghood honestly it is a very dense book with a lot of rich detail. I think it might be hard as an audiobook. There are a lot of non-english words, place names etc. It might be better in print. I have LOVED it but it's not a light read! 7mo
60 likes3 comments
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ladycarliblack
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The best and most distracting reading buddy. #catsoflitsy

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Bibliogeekery
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Reading this in bed while I wait in an online queue to try to get tickets for Michelle Obama in Toronto. Fingers crossed - it's a perfect gift for my mom!

TrishB Good luck! My son brought me tickets earlier this week. 8mo
Bibliogeekery @TrishB aww, so sweet! 8mo
64 likes2 comments
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Bibliogeekery
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Next up! Been so excited about this one!

60 likes1 stack add
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tina_b.ooks
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One thing I definitely like about my work is that I don't actually have to send "old" books that I'm allowed to return back. This way I can keep whatever I like ?

BridgetteM Nice book stack! 9mo
29 likes1 comment
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Libby1
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Pickpick

Fascinating characters, stunning descriptions, war, conflict, religion, race, intersex characters - this book was brimming over with interest and meaning.

It was not easy to read because there was much local context I had to work at to understand. Social issues in India and Kashmir became areas of learning.

Read this if you enjoy a beautifully written challenge with diverse settings & characters.

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Libby1
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I love that in the Acknowledgements Roy lists “Close readers, serious-shit copy-editors and brilliant protagonists in the trans-atlantic comma wars.”

I don‘t know if I‘m more impressed with the prospect of being a Serious-Shit Copy-Editor or if I want to be a Combatant in the Trans-Atlantic Comma Wars.

JennyM Love it! 10mo
kathedron I used to be a freelance copy-editor. I have long since handed in my red pen: my days as a mercenary in the transatlantic comma wars are behind me. 10mo
Libby1 @JennyM - now I know what I want to be when I grow up. 😊 9mo
Libby1 @kathedron - aw - I‘m sure it was difficult to hang up the red pen. 😊 9mo
72 likes4 comments
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Libby1
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At a funeral for Kashmiri victims of a massacre:

“When the sky was full of keening something ignited. Young men began to leap into the air, like flames kindled from smouldering embers. Higher and higher they jumped, as though the ground beneath their feet was sprung, a trampoline. They wore their anguish like armour, their anger slung across their bodies like ammunition belts. At that moment, perhaps because they were thus armed👇

Libby1 “or because they knew they were already dead, they became invincible.” 10mo
TrishB 😢 10mo
Libby1 @TrishB - this book was brimming over with passages like this. 😭 9mo
68 likes3 comments
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Libby1
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About the conflict in Kashmir:

“They stilled the looms on which they had woven the most beautiful carpets and the finest, softest shawls the world had ever seen, and ran gnarled, wondering fingers over the smooth barrels of Kalashnikovs that the strangers who visited them allowed them to touch. They followed the new Pied Pipers up into the high meadows and alpine glades where training camps had been set up. Only after they had been given guns 👇

Libby1 “of their own, after they had curled their fingers around the trigger and felt it give, ever so slightly, after they had weighed the odds and decided it was a viable option, only then did they allow the rage and shame of the subjugation they had endured for decades, for centuries, to course through their bodies and turn the blood in their veins into smoke.” 10mo
54 likes1 comment
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SW-T
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Mehso-so

Liked the cover, and the writing style, but not so much the story itself. Anjun is born a hermaphrodite, and after meeting a group of transgender individuals who share a house, undergoes surgery to become the woman she‘s always felt like. Caste systems, creating family, and a sense of belonging set against political upheaval at the heart of this story.

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Zoe_reads_books
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19 likes1 stack add
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PaperbackPirate
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Panpan

This story has too many characters and too many story lines to be told out of sequence. It was so confusing that I was bored most of the time.
🌈 Kudos though for having a transgender main character and a strong black female main character.

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amyf0x
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Pickpick

Set during the bloody battle for Kashmir, this difficult, beautiful novel weaves together the stories of people on India‘s fringes who find their place living together in an abandoned graveyard.

Read August 5-19
Book 32/50

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PaperbackPirate
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“In what language does rain fall
over tormented cities?”
—Pablo Neruda
🔦 Currently reading by book light during a monsoon storm & loving bookish serendipity.

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thebookishpages
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Pickpick

This is indeed a shattered story, and to narrate this story Roy literally became everything. Maybe that is why the reader too is left shattered after reading this. This book is so hauntingly beautiful that it also teaches you how to settle with these fragments of your shattered soul. Maybe being whole is an illusion, maybe it isn't necessary. Maybe making yourself at home in the graveyard of these fragments is the most sensible thing left to do.

Libby1 This is a beautiful review. 10mo
thebookishpages @Libby1 thankyou 10mo
10 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Bookish_B
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My second free book haul at the music festival yesterday 😊

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rachelwill
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Mehso-so

Book 11: As always, Roy's prose is beautiful - dense yet breaking out into lyricism. Something that definitely helps as you wind through a not insignificant word count and a narrative that seems to almost want you to get lost. It took me a while to get into the book but after reading an interview where she described the book as her questioning 'can a novel be like a city?' everything seemed to fall into place.

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LeafingThroughLife
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Look! It‘s like a reasonable person‘s book sale haul. Just noticed that literally all the hardcovers are Knopf. #booksale #friendofthelibrary #bookhaul

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melsimpson
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'It was the only place in his world where the air made way for him. When he arrived, it seemed to shift, to slide over, like a school friend making way for him on a classroom bench.'

Sigh...

RaimeyGallant Lovely. 1y
5 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Dhanya2277
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I don't know why but I just love it so much...

jmofo I admire this amazing lady. I haven‘t read this one yet, though! 14mo
Dhanya2277 @jmofo Did you read a god of small things by her ?🍃 14mo
jmofo @Dhanya2277 I did! It was the first thing I heard about that she wrote. I have been meaning to reread it! I also read her shorter books about the political concerns in India and elsewhere. She is so skilled in different kinds of writing. She‘s an incredible human. (edited) 14mo
Dhanya2277 @jmofo yeah, absolutely true... 14mo
14 likes4 comments
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melsimpson
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Pickpick

Really excited to start reading this

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Dhanya2277
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I've wanted to read this for so long and I finally managed to get it today from my school library. The cover is so much more beautiful than I expected. Do this weekend I see a "cup of coffee, rain and this book = perfect day"

10 likes3 stack adds
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ChaitanyaSethi
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Panpan

🌟🌟
This was a huge disappointment. The story starts brilliantly with a enunch, Anjum as the protagonist. Then it devolves into a political rant about everything wrong with the country. I wish more of the story revolved around Anjum. A huge letdown, this one.
#litsy #review #reader

Ruthiella This is still on my list to try! The politics might not grate since I am not Indian. But first I will for sure read The God of Small Things- so much shorter! 1y
ChaitanyaSethi @Ruthiella The God of Small Things is a gorgeous book. You must read it. This one was grating because the political commentary was too much. 1y
39 likes2 comments
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MansiReads
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Pickpick

This book is amazing 🤤💕
It‘s so well written and the most amazing thing about this book is that it‘s from the POV of an Indian transgender and what problems the transgender community faces in India. This book made me tear up a bit ♥️

Megabooks Great review! Welcome to Litsy! 👍🏻🎉👋🏻 1y
DebinHawaii It does sound good. Stacking it! Welcome to Litsy! 🎉📚👍Hope you enjoy it here! 1y
swishandflick Welcome! 🤗 1y
See All 7 Comments
MansiReads @Booksandcooks @DebinHawaii @swishandflick Thank you so much 😇😇♥️ 1y
Jess7 Welcome to Litsy @MansiReads ! Checkout these #Litsytips: http://bit.ly/litsytips and #LitsyHowTo videos: http://bit.ly/litsyvideos - they‘re great for new Littens! #LitsyWelcomeWagon @LitsyWelcomeWagon (edited) 1y
DarcysMom Welcome to Litsy! 🤗 1y
CoffeeK8 Welcome to litsy! 🎉 1y
29 likes3 stack adds7 comments
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Miss__astrid
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@Lacythebookworm Thank you so muck Lacy, I love everything! That mug is so cute and I can‘t wait to start using it! You spoilt me!! #FeedAReader

TricksyTails Wow!! Wonderful goodies!! 👏😊 1y
Lacythebookworm Yay! It was so fun putting everything together! 1y
14 likes2 comments
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Prateek.singal
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RaimeyGallant Good to know. :) And welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. Or if you prefer how-to videos, @chelleo just put some together. 1y
Kanishka Absolutely loved this book. The writing does things to you. And the incidents the book talks about? Loved the humane treatment of politicised issues. Love Anjum ❤️ 1y
10 likes1 stack add2 comments
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BooksAtNight
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Mehso-so

This is definitely what I‘d call a “literature prize book”. The writing is beautiful and Roy often distills human experiences into a few amazing sentences. The plot weaves and meanders around itself, and there really is no climax to speak of. Read it to experience a part of India‘s rich culture and history but expect to work for that experience.

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cdreincarnate
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Pickpick

I had super high expectations for this one, but now that I‘m finished, I‘m not sure what to think. I‘m pretty sure I liked it. There‘s no doubt that Roy is definitely still a phenomenal writer. She packed so much into this book, with a plot that took a lot of detours before everything finally came together. I‘ll need to think about this and get back to you...

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Abby2
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Pickpick

Epic and fantastically written

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BooksAtNight
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I just found a new reason to love #Libby. The Define function comes in handy when my ignorance about other cultures rears its ugly head. I am learning so much already.

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cdreincarnate
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Hello, gorgeous.

#24in48

@24in48

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cdreincarnate
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She‘s still got it.

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cdreincarnate
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It‘s almost that time RIGHT NOW as I‘m starting this book! Totally unplanned.

#24in48

@24in48

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ThePallaviMohan
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A very Singaporean winter.

3 likes1 stack add
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Howseldomtheydo
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Done shoveling, now I can read. #litsypartyofone #currentlyreading #poc

tjwill This book is on my #TBR. Are you enjoying it? 2y
BookMaven407 Beautiful picture 💙 2y
Howseldomtheydo @tjwill Too soon to tell for sure. #sofar! #fingerscrossed 2y
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MicheleinPhilly WOW! This is gorgeous! 2y
kezzlou85 Wow what a view. I so wish we had snow here. 2y
tjwill 🤞🏼🍀 2y
Howseldomtheydo @kezzlou85 I‘m ready for spring! 2y
BarbaraBB Beautiful picture! Enjoy the book! 2y
kezzlou85 @Howseldomtheydo yeah I bet. We've had no snow here. Just cold rain and wind. 💜 2y
rachelk I just followed you on Instagram too, I love your photos! 2y
QuoteQueen So pretty!!! ❄️🌨☃️ 2y
145 likes1 stack add13 comments
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Hooked_on_books
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Mehso-so

So, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, there is lovely writing here and an unveiling of Indian life which is by turns tragic, horrifying, and humorous. On the other hand, it follows varying story lines and goes off on tangents in a way that made it hard to follow. I appreciate that Roy read the audio if at least for the pronunciations. 3 stars

Mixedreader Agree! I like the first section of the book, then it wandered for me too. 2y
57 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Lacythebookworm
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Jennifer‘s thoughtfulness has blown me away! A hand crafted #secretsanta gift! She made all the gifts based on the book - a calendar, journal, bookmark, and tote! All personalized! And see the little bird tag?! Her mom painted that! Incredible! Thank you so much! I can‘t wait to start this book in 2018 😊 #litsygoespostalog

LitHousewife I‘m son glad you love it!!! 2y
AmyG That‘s truly awesome. 2y
Lacythebookworm @AmyG Yes!! This is such an amazing community 😊 2y
See All 8 Comments
BookNAround Gorgeous!!! (edited) 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks So beautiful ❤️❤️ 2y
Moray_Reads Utter Happiness Calendar, what a lovely idea 2y
LeahBergen Beautiful! 😍😍 2y
112 likes1 stack add8 comments
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BarbaraBB
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Another great prompt by @Cinfhen
Here are my #17in2017 favourite books of the year, which was not easy as I read many good books this year, thanks to all of you!

batsy Nice! 🙌 I loved the Roy book, as well. 2y
Kalalalatja Great list! 2y
emilyhaldi I need to get to this one!! 2y
See All 12 Comments
merelybookish Lots of good ones! I loved Grief is a Thing with Feathers! 2y
Sills Little fires everywhere👍👍 2y
batsy @merelybookish I really need to read that! And find a way to watch the theatrical adaptation that my on again/off again boyfriend is going to star in... https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/stage/2017/nov/30/cillian-murph... 2y
Cinfhen Love your list and the graphics 💚I'm with @emilyhaldi ~ can't wait to read that book and of course Tin Man 😁Happy New Year 😘 2y
Cinfhen 😂😂 @batsy as long as you keep away from Trevor... 2y
batsy @Cinfhen Alright... My resolution is to be less greedy 😂😂 2y
merelybookish @batsy I will totally join you. 😍(He looks hawt in that picture at the top of the link!) 2y
batsy @merelybookish Right? Now we just have to figure out how to get to Ireland 💰💰💰🛫 2y
78 likes12 comments
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BriBie8888
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FINALLY starting this BOTM I got this summer...... love hair salon time! Perfect place to read.....

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