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What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours | Helen Oyeyemi
From the award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird and Mr. Fox comes an enchanting and thought-provoking collection of intertwined stories Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret--Oyeyemi's keys not only unlock elements of her characters' lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. In "Books and Roses" one special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers' fates. "'Sorry' Doesn't Sweeten Her Tea" involves a "house of locks," where doors can be closed only with a key--with surprising, unobservable developments. And in "If a Book Is Locked There's Probably a Good Reason for That Don't You Think," a key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason). As ever, Oyeyemi's creative vision and storytelling are effervescent, wise, and insightful, and her tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation? What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours captivates as it explores the many possible answers.
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Jillybeane
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Huh. I should apply this logic to more interactions.

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MsRadioSilence
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Pickpick

For my first pride month read, I didn‘t actually realize this was as gay as it was, but it was super casual about it and I love that. It‘s heartfelt, beautiful stories with queer people that have nothing to do with them coming out, or anything like every other queer story there is. It‘s so refreshing. I love the tones and atmospheres of the stories too.

Read my full review at: www.rainyreader.com/single-post/what-is-not-yours-is-not-yours
#pride

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JackieGreco
Mehso-so

I enjoyed this book but found some stories difficult to follow. Because this was a book of short stories there was one that I didn‘t like and didn‘t understand so I skipped it. Otherwise the stories were enjoyable but I wouldn‘t rush to read another book like this again soon. 3/5

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Chittavrtti
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DrexEdit I read this and I liked it very much, but it was sort of weird. In that “did I read that right?” Kind of way. 3y
Chittavrtti @DrexEdit that feeling is one of the reasons I like magic realism :) 3y
DrexEdit @Chittavrtti me too! 😊 3y
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Billypar
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Pickpick

It's impossible to know where any of these stories will lead, which is part of their fun. They are winding roads that often veer into spooky territory, and drop as many breadcrumbs behind you as you like, but you can't help but get lost in these. You'll find locked doors everywhere you turn of course. What that means depends on the story, but in all cases, Oyeyemi interrogates what it means to have access and what changes once you turn the key 🗝

vivastory What a great picture & a very thoughtful review! I can't wait for the library to reopen, Oyeyemi's other titles are going to be at the top of my list. In the meantime I have this wonderful collection to reread & think about. It's really helped me deal with the quarantine 3y
Billypar @vivastory Thanks! And thanks too for playing along with my discussion posts- it's fun unpacking stories like these. I placed a book order that included Boy, Snow, Bird so that's probably next up for me. I fully expect to read them all! 3y
Liz_M Btw, how many Oyeyemi books have you read? Do you have a favorite or a recommendation of which to start with? 3y
Billypar @Liz_M I've read three so far and Mr. Fox was my favorite, though the other two, White is for Witching and this collection were both excellent as well. I started with Mr. Fox, though I'm not sure one makes any more sense than others - her style is very distinctive and consistent across all three. 3y
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vivastory
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Pickpick

I first read Oyeyemi in October '16. The book, White Is for Witching, a new favorite I remember vividly my initial encounter with her work. Smart, witty, philosophical, engaging. As Laura Miller wrote, "Oyeyemi is the literary heir of the late, great Angela Carter." I just had a very similar experience with her linked story collection. I'm not one to reread very often, but I will be returning to this gem in the next month or so. Highly recommend!

vivastory Thanks to @Billypar who prompted me to read this one & for the discussions 3y
readordierachel White Is for Witching is so, so good. I need to read more of her stuff. 3y
vivastory @readordierachel The only other one I've read is Mr Fox. It didn't work quite as well as the other 2. I think the next one I'll read is 3y
Cathythoughts Lovely post ✨✨✨✨ 3y
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vivastory
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Billypar "....and posted their stacks on Litsy with the tags #bookhaul #BreakInBookswap." 3y
vivastory @Billypar #WenchReadathon 📚📚📚😆 3y
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vivastory
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Billypar
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Happy St. Jordi's day everyone! If you don't know what that is see @vivastory 's earlier post: https://litsy.com/p/aklwNEp4NEJ6
One more #unlockingOyeyemi discussion prompt in the comments below. This is a cross-time book discussion for all those who love these stories and want to discuss them no matter when everyone else has read them. So feel free to leave a comment whenever - you'll give me an excuse to reread some of this amazing collection!

Billypar 🗝👇👇👇👇🗝 3y
Billypar Did Jacob's 'presence' experiment succeed or fail, and why? What did the experiences of Jill and Jacob during the experiment signify? 3y
vivastory I can't wait to dive back into this brilliant collection. Unfortunately my reading has been derailed recently. Will definitely be finishing this collection this weekend. 3y
Billypar @vivastory The first three stories were probably my favorites, but they were all really good: hope you enjoy the rest! 3y
33 likes4 comments
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Billypar
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#unlockingOyeyemi
@vivastory

I'm a little speechless with this story - read it days ago and I'm still trying to process it. If you've read it in the past, or read it in the future please share your thoughts!

Billypar 👇👇👇🗝 3y
Billypar There's so much that could be discussed, but I think the title is a good place to start. What does it mean and what do you make of the dual narratives providing different answers? And how about the scene with Tyche and her puppet's repeating the question? I keep getting chills when I think about that scene...so creepy. 3y
vivastory I just finished this story & I honestly feel like I need to reread it. There's so much to unpack. It's definitely very creepy, especially when talking about the puppets building other puppets. It made me think of the short films of Jan Sjvankmajer (sp?). 3y
Billypar @vivastory Yeah I felt the same - too much to process in just one read. And you're totally right about Svankmajer - if only he could be persuaded to adapt it into its own short film! I bet Oyeyemi is a fan of his. 3y
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vivastory
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Billypar We can all sympathize 😅 3y
readordierachel I need to read more Oyeyemi stat 3y
Suet624 Love this. 3y
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vivastory
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St. Jordi's (St. George's) Day is mentioned several times in the opening story in my current read. After a quick search, I've decided it's one of the most charming holidays. Celebrated in Barcelona on April 23, it's essentially a combination of Valentine's Day & Jolabokaflod. Literally "books and roses." So, this April 23, treat yourself on St. Jordi's Day to books and roses!
????

ManyWordsLater I worked at a community bookstore for many years and the Sunday around st jordi‘s day Catalan groups would come in with roses for us to give out. I will miss that so much this year (edited) 3y
vivastory @ManyWordsLater That's fantastic! I love that! 3y
Hooked_on_books I can get down with that! 3y
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Billypar
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So, I'm trying this experiment with my #currentread...Helen Oyeyemi is a new favorite author of mine, and as I read her story collection, I'm dying to hear from others about these stories. It's got a locked door theme so I'm calling it #unlockingOyeyemi If you like this author and want to chat about the story pictured (even if you're reading this years later), see the question behind the spoiler door in the comments and let me know your thoughts!

Billypar What do you think about the connection between the House of Locks and the Matyas Füst storylines? Is Ched's mysterious visitor Hecate? If so, why was she there, and what do you think her broader role in the story was (see Tyche's description, page 89 in my paperback)? 3y
Billypar 🏠🔐 3y
vivastory I think Ched's mysterious visitor is def. Hecate! Ched tells the narrator that he has never met the woman & he has never given her keys, but sometimes when he calls she answers. Which could mean this is someone who had broken in, except he then says "I don't think she wants to be seen." He also knows the form that Matyas Füst's "apology" will take, & more convincingly the exact title of the song. 3y
Billypar @vivastory I was curious about what to make of Ched's apology prophecy. I was on the fence between he heard about it from Hecate or it was just Oyeyemi making a wry observation about how predictable some celebrities are about their supposed apologies, and knowing the overly specific name was for comic value. 3y
41 likes4 comments
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Billypar
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I know we've all had that feeling of finishing a book and going crazy because you want to discuss it. Does anyone act on this? Do you pose questions in your reviews and wait patiently? Or go so far as to comment on recent reviews in Goodreads of the same book to ask?
Well I just finished the first story of the tagged collection and I have a big question. I'll post in the comments: if you've read it, feel free to 'unlock' and respond! 🚪🗝

Billypar Who killed Señora Del Olmo? At first, it is implied that Safiye did in revenge if being framed, especially given that even Lucy suspects her of lying. But if that is true, how would Isidoro have known to tell his brother to give the library to the one with the key? If we accept the events in Safiye's letter to her daughter are true (should we?) then Isidoro died before Del Olmo was killed and the key stolen. So maybe it was the ghost of Isidoro? 3y
vivastory Now I'm dying to read this collection 😂 3y
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Billypar @vivastory You should! Then come back here and we will discuss. I'm only two stories in, but I foresee more posts like this. 3y
vivastory I'm sold. I'm going to dive in tonight. 3y
Billypar @vivastory Excellent! I'm interested in hearing your thoughts. Very impressed with the first 2.5 stories that I'm through so far, even with high expectations going in. 3y
vivastory @Billypar I just finished the first story and after thinking about it, I think that Safiye was responsible. When she talks to Lucy, she explains it in the language of a modern fairy tale (the rose was the murder weapon) which entirety fits the language of the story (It begins with "Once upon a time"). It also fits with Del Olmo's harassment of her. 3y
Billypar @vivastory She definitely has motive and a con-artist history. But at minimum, Isidoro has to have some supernatural power to have communicated to his brother about Montse and the key, right? We don't know if he's communicated to Safiyie directly but it seems strange that she would invent a supernatural alibi to Lucy who knows nothing of Isidoro or has shown any interest in that sort of thing. 3y
vivastory @Billypar What Isidoro's brother knows is from Montse's mother's letter. Zacarias writes in the postscript that he found her letter in his papers. 3y
vivastory @Billypar But Lucy's involvement in it is inexplicable... I'll have to reread that part.. 3y
35 likes10 comments
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foxy_frain
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Mehso-so

🗝🔑

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gingerandjazz
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Pickpick

I discovered Helen Oyeyemi earlier this year and now I can‘t stop devouring her books. This short story collection is the first I‘ve given less than 5 stars to (4.5, though, come on), because some of the stories simply aren‘t as effective as others, but even so, her writing shimmers and purrs and twists, it is muscular and delicate and exquisite and sharp, it is a voice that is both intensely powerful and entirely unique.

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CandycaneBelle
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Already enjoying this!!

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ErikaB
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In honor of World Book Day 2019, I present my new favorite Dollar Tree find (narrowly pulling ahead of Marie-Helene Bertino‘s “2 A.M. at the Cat‘s Pajamas” that I stumbled across a few years ago). Just as I was considering investing in hardcover copies of the Helen Oyeyemi books I don‘t have, this beauty greeted me at the end of the aisle!

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dastevensishagain
Pickpick

I must admit there were moments in a few of the stories when I didn't quite comprehend what was going on, but it did nothing to dampen my enjoyment. Oyeyemi's writing is just so damn captivating.

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Cinfhen
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#MusicalNewYear #RingOfKeys Helen Oyeyemi is a visceral writer.Her sentences are lush BUT I do not seem to enjoy her books 😣The tagged book is a short story collection where keys and locks physically and figuratively play into the storytelling but the stories were too dreamy, bizarre , out there for me. And yesterday I bailed on Boy, Snow Bird. I guess I‘ll just have to admire her gorgeous cover art but skip the rest 🤪

Sweettartlaura I liked her short stories but just tried a book by her for the first time. Alas, I, too, had to walk away from it - twice 😞 (edited) 4y
Cinfhen I guess not every writer is for every reader @Sweettartlaura oh well!! We tried 🥺 4y
Sweettartlaura I‘m gonna give her one more try eventually. But yeah... maybe not for us 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4y
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AWahle @Cinfhen & @Sweettartlaura I loved Boy, Snow, Bird, but haven't been able to finish the tagged book. I'll try Gingerbread when it comes out this year - maybe I only like her longer prose? 4y
Kalalalatja I haven‘t tried her writing yet, because she seems to be a hit or miss. But her books sound just like my kind of books, so hopefully they‘ll be a hit for me... when I get to them at some point 😅 4y
Cinfhen I‘m happy to send you Boy, Snow, Bird @Kalalalatja I do think you would like her prose. And I‘m curious about her new book @AWahle but I won‘t be purchasing it😉 4y
Kalalalatja @Cinfhen that would be great! I keep putting off buying her books, because reviews are so mixed. Thanks lovely 💕 4y
rockpools I usually quite like ‘out there‘ - but I didn‘t get through WINYINY either 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4y
TrishB Not for me either! 4y
Cinfhen With pleasure @Kalalalatja I will miss looking at the beautiful cover but I think the book will be much happier with you xx 4y
Cinfhen I‘m glad I‘m not the only one @RachelO @TrishB I‘m happy to be in your company ❤️❤️❤️ (edited) 4y
vivastory I have only read 2 Oyeyemi books: White Is for Witching & Mr. Fox. I loved the first & was a bit disappointed by the second one. You're right, Cindy. She does have amazing covers! 4y
emilyhaldi I didn‘t love Boy Snow Bird either 😛 4y
Megabooks I enjoyed WINYINY, but I‘m worried about reading BSB for the fairytale prompt. As a rule, fantasy is my least favorite genre. As a kid, I never read fairytales. I‘ve never been the princess type. It‘s just not my jam. That‘s the hardest prompt of the year for me. What are you going to try now? 4y
Cinfhen IDK @Megabooks I tried Uprooted and that was a bail too. I found Beauty a freebie on Kindle Unlimited so I‘m gonna give it a try but like u this is outside my comfort zone. There‘s an Atwood I‘m curious about 4y
Megabooks @Cinfhen I saw TRB when I googled “fairytale retellings,” but didn‘t look into it more. I will if BSB doesn‘t work, or you give TRB a great review! 👍🏻 4y
Cinfhen Don‘t hold your breath for me @Megabooks 😘😘but I‘ll keep u in the loop 👍🏻😁💜 4y
Reviewsbylola Ooooh you bailed on BSB? I‘m convinced I would hate it. 😂 4y
121 likes18 comments
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Ncostell
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Pickpick

Sometimes I did not really know what I was reading as some of these short stories were a little out there for me but the beauty of the short story is that you can move on quickly to the next one. My favorite story was called “Books and Roses” which makes reference to St. Jordi‘s Day, a holiday in Spain when people exchange books and roses. Sounds like my kind of holiday!

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Lexa.caran
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First time in a long time to post here. I‘m in my safe space and this lil book got my mind painting wondrous sceneries filled with locked doors and rustic keys.

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Lauren_reading
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Mehso-so

I loved some of these stories and just didn‘t get others. The first was my favorite. I found myself 🤷🏻‍♀️ throughout this book, but enjoyed the character connections between the stories.

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CJEskriett
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I'm going with a short story double bill this morning. Greek myths are great for occasional dipping into, and are often bonkers!

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CuriousG
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Out of dozens of shareholders in this property, somehow we are the only ones here today/tonight. I have read on 3 of the 5 docks already today, just because I can. And I have not managed to finish a single book yet because I keep switching between them. 6.5 hours down, 17.5 to go #24in48 #readoutside #readanywhere #silenceisgolden @24in48

Reviewsbylola You win best spot! 😍😍 5y
cocomass Oooh how lovely! I‘m in the same spot. 10 hours in and switching between 5 books 😆 5y
Sace That's lovely! 5y
25 likes3 comments
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CuriousG
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"sorry" doesn't sweeten her tea - AMAZING short story that will likely be haunting my thoughts for a long time #24in48 #readathon @24in48 #24in48readathon #helenoyeyemi

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CuriousG
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So not getting off to a fabulous start with the #24in48readathon Managed to listen to 1.5 hours of Under the Banner of Heaven (Jon Krakauer) this morning while I was driving the trailer to the lake. Just getting back to reading now after set-up and light trail maintenance duties. Fingers crossed for few interruptions! @24in48 #24in48 #readathon

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Sweettartlaura
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A true reader ❤️📚

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Sweettartlaura
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I read about St. Jordi Day in this short story collection - a day for books & roses 🌹📚❤️

I want this to happen everywhere 😍

https://www.spain.info/en_US/reportajes/la_fiesta_sant_jordi.html

rather_be_reading interesting! 5y
44 likes1 comment
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rachelsbrittain
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Good morning, coast

Matilda God I love the ocean. 5y
SledgeReader I‘m with you both @TheLibrarian 5y
rachelsbrittain @Matilda @TheLibrarian @SledgeReader and it's the perfect place to read, too! 5y
38 likes4 comments
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rachelsbrittain
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Short story collection + local, Arkansas beer

stargazerblue49 I‘ve been to that brewery! I brought my husband home some of the barley wine! 5y
rachelsbrittain @stargazerblue49 I just learned about it recently! The honey beer is really good, too. 5y
stargazerblue49 I am not really a beer person unless it is a sour/tart/gose style, but what I remember trying there was good! 5y
36 likes3 comments
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rachelsbrittain
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Friends + books

mrozzz 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻 5y
ahoffkosik Looks heavenly! 5y
31 likes1 stack add2 comments
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rachelsbrittain
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Beach reading courtesy of @TheEmpress

ReadingRobyn Omg yay!!! That looks like fun! I‘m jealous 5y
rachelsbrittain @TheEmpress I'm so excited to finally be reading it! The first story was great and the location definitely doesn't hurt 😅 5y
29 likes2 comments
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rachelsbrittain
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Ready for the beach ⛱

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Linsy
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“A library at night is full of sounds: the unread books can't stand it any longer and announce their contents, some boasting, some shy, some devious.”

Oyeyemi‘s writing feels like a wonderful dream at times, just tempting you to read on.

#dream #fairytales #coolbooks #quote

Reviewsbylola Such a great cover. 5y
margreads Love that quote 5y
117 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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LaLove
Bailedbailed

I didn‘t finish it. The first story was fine, but not enough to hold my interest when there are other books on my bedside table.

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WhereTheBooksGo
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I love short stories! Anyone else? Here are some of the collections on my TBR - are any of these on your pile?

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LibrarianRenee
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Great collection of short stories.

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TracyReadsBooks
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Pickpick

Excellent. Gorgeous writing—something quotable & thought-provoking on every page—along with a strong narrative thread (characters appear in multiple stories) & a mix of genres make this a compelling & enjoyable read. I enjoyed all the stories, though at least twice I paused, scratched my head & said, “Huh?” but favorites include ‘books and roses,‘ ‘presence,‘ & ‘a brief history of the homely wench society.‘ Really enjoying short stories lately.

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TracyReadsBooks
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TracyReadsBooks
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TracyReadsBooks
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“She preferred rooms with a minimum of two doorways, so you had options.”

RaimeyGallant Nice! 5y
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TracyReadsBooks
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TracyReadsBooks
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Wow. Absolutely blown away by the first story, ‘books and roses.‘ Bodes well for the remainder of the book.

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TracyReadsBooks
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And because it‘s the weekend and why read ONE book when you can read TWO (or maybe more), I‘m also going to start this one. Short stories, a little coffee and a great start to the day.

BookaholicNatty Our book club just read this..it‘s was good but you do have to pay close attention to the characters! 5y
TracyReadsBooks @BookaholicNatty Good to know. So, coffee first and then a little reading! ☕️📖☕️ 5y
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rachelsbrittain
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@TheEmpress i feel so thoroughly spoiled! I've been desperately wanting to read What Is Yours is Not Yours (and Helen Oyeyemi in general) but my library doesn't have it-- you really hit it out of the park with the books!! I'm in love with the Wonder Woman pop, and I can't believe we both got each other Nifflers 😂 Great minds haha. It's just all so perfect, thank you thank you thank you! 😊❤

#funkopopswap #fps

ReadingRobyn You are welcome!! Lol, see why the niffler was fun! 5y
rachelsbrittain @TheEmpress haha yes I laughed out loud when I opened it! Too funny 5y
JenlovesJT47 Awesome! 💚 5y
Gissy 👏👏👏😍📚 5y
38 likes4 comments
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Sio
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed the variety and the writing!

BookaholicNatty ❤️❤️It was a good book club read!!! 5y
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8leagueboot
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I keep coming back to the opening of this short story.

batsy ❤️ 5y
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BookaholicNatty
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Starting this February book club pick today!!! Haven‘t heard much about it and I‘m just now realizing I think it‘s short stories. That‘s what I love about book clubs, you read things Your wouldn‘t normally read. I just recently heard about postal book clubs and have been searching for one to join so, if anyone knows of one that‘s open or has a space please let me know!!!! #bookclubjunkie

BookaholicNatty If your looking for a postal book club @suvata is hosting one starting March 1 and I think there are like 3 US. spots left and possibly some Canadians spots left! Click here to check out all the details! https://m.signupgenius.com/#!/showSignUp/5080444aead2ca0ff2-l... 5y
Lcsmcat Welcome to Litsy! 5y
robinb Welcome to the wonderful world of Litsy! 😊 5y
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CrowCAH Welcome to the Litsy family!!! 5y
Kmmsellers Welcome to Litsy! 😊🎈 5y
Buddys_Momma Welcome to Litsy! 😁💜 5y
Bookladylinda Welcome to Litsy!!!!! 5y
mcipher Welcome to Litsy! @suvata has a postal markup book club that is very cool. I think there are still openings if you check her page! 👍 5y
Karkar If you watch the @LitsyHappenings they will repost them too 5y
70 likes3 stack adds9 comments
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dreabooksit

I love Helen Oyeyemi and even though I'm not a fan of short stories, I am really liking this book. Her writing is so mystical and fantastical yet I feel like I could be a character in her books sometimes.

Maybe I can only read magical realism short stories? Lol