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Brass
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
46 posts | 30 read | 73 to read
A fierce debut novel about mothers and daughters, haves and have-nots, and the stark realities behind the American Dream A waitress at the Betsy Ross Diner, Elsie hopes her nickel-and-dime tips will add up to a new life. Then she meets Bashkim, who is at once both worldly and naive, a married man who left Albania to chase his dreams--and wound up working as a line cook in Waterbury, Connecticut. Back when the brass mills were still open, this bustling factory town drew one wave of immigrants after another. Now it's the place they can't seem to leave. Elsie, herself the granddaughter of Lithuanian immigrants, falls in love quickly, but when she learns that she's pregnant, Elsie can't help wondering where Bashkim's heart really lies, and what he'll do about the wife he left behind. Seventeen years later, headstrong and independent Luljeta receives a rejection letter from NYU and her first-ever suspension from school on the same day. Instead of striking out on her own in Manhattan, she's stuck in Connecticut with her mother, Elsie--a fate she refuses to accept. Wondering if the key to her future is unlocking the secrets of the past, Lulu decides to find out what exactly her mother has been hiding about the father she never knew. As she soon discovers, the truth is closer than she ever imagined. Told in equally gripping parallel narratives with biting wit and grace, Brass announces a fearless new voice with a timely, tender, and quintessentially American story. Advance praise for Brass "The unforgettable mother and daughter at the center of Brass are as bright and tough as the metal itself, and Xhenet Aliu depicts their parallel journeys with equal parts grit and tenderness. Brass is a fierce, big-hearted, unflinching debut."--Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You "Xhenet Aliu is ferociously talented. She's written a story so scathingly honest with characters so perfectly real, it left me breathless with admiration. There is no false sentiment here, no misplaced word, just a novel that pulses with a restless energy, a novel that pulses with life."--Cristina Henriquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans
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review
Skygoddess1
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Mehso-so

Finished listening to this today as one of my books for the #24in48readathon. It was an interesting book that looked at the lives of a mother and daughter and the absent father‘s relationship with them. Really enjoyed the audiobook, not sure I would‘ve enjoyed the book as much of I had just read a physical copy.

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Mitch
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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59 likes4 stack adds
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Mitch
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Pickpick

Really liked the industrial setting of this debut novel. The writing was really vivid and thoughtful, the characters complex, & reacting to life with both guts & a sense of desperation. Aliu deals with the immigrant experience, cultural misunderstanding & ethnic mistrust deftly. The political setting, both home & abroad gives the characters a real landscape to play out their domestic drama within. I'm not sure I was convinced by the rapid wrap up.

78 likes2 stack adds
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Mitch
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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When you get home from being away - and there‘s laundry to do, post to sort, stuff to do - but really what‘s more important than catching up with my reading first! A girls gotta have priorities right?! #bookishproblems

Soubhiville Reading in the garden is super important! Gotta recharge a bit before you tackle anything else. 9mo
wanderinglynn And you have that lovely reading spot. 💚 9mo
Tamra Indeed! 9mo
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TrishB Absolutely. 9mo
Mitch @Soubhiville it was a nourishing few hours ! 9mo
Mitch @wanderinglynn thanks - the bench catches the sun really nicely🌟 9mo
rretzler Nothing, but, nothing is more important that catching up on reading (well, except for my family...)😜 9mo
Mitch @rretzler 😜 9mo
80 likes8 comments
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Mitch
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Starting this today. Don‘t be fooled by the sun - I‘m in Finland and have Thermal everything on!

BiblioLitten My dream destination! Enjoy😊 10mo
JacqMac Lovely! 10mo
RidgewayGirl I enjoyed this book so much. Hope you love it, too. 10mo
Jee_HookedOnBookz Beeeautiful! 😍😍 10mo
103 likes4 comments
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Shhh...IAmReading
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Decided to participate in this year‘s “Blind Date with a Book” at my local library 😬 Surprise! The novel “Brass” was unveiled! Let‘s see how this goes :) #February #LibraryPicks

RaimeyGallant Let us 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 put some together at the link in her bio. @LitsyWelcomeWagon 12mo
Chelleo Welcome 🤗 12mo
ProfReader Welcome to Litsy!!! :) 12mo
See All 8 Comments
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🤗 12mo
Shhh...IAmReading Thank you @RaimeyGallant and everyone else :) I‘ll try to be as active as possible. I‘m excited! :) 12mo
DarcysMom Welcome to Litsy! 🤩 12mo
Kaylamburson Welcome to Litsy!!!! 10mo
10 likes8 comments
review
Abby2
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Pickpick

Great writing, clever, honest and authentic. The story covers many themes but life is like that.

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RidgewayGirl
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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I loved this book about a teenage girl hoping for a better life, and then her daughter hoping for the same thing.

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overtheedge
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Pickpick

Elise a Lithuanian meets Bashkim, married man from Albania, while working as waitress in Diner in Waterbury Conn. daughter, Luljeta,dreams of Manhattan&NYU. However, Lulu is suspended and receives a rejection letter from NYU the same day, returns to Waterbury, very unhappy. Once home decides to learn history and past of her father.The wit, candor and spunk take this novel to the perfect level I loved it. Great story pace awesome humor.

Reggie Sounds pretty good. 2y
80 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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overtheedge
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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I've been waiting for this to come in at the library....can't wait to start it!

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RidgewayGirl
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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This is why I always, always carry a book around with me. A few minutes waiting for my new glasses were not wasted. And I was happy to read a bit more of Brass, because it‘s amazing.

11 likes1 stack add
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Colly_Beau
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Pickpick

There are parts of this novel I love: the alternating point-of-view between the mother and daughter, their voices, and the character driven plot that dives into themes of immigrant life, the working class, and the relationship between mother and daughter.

As a writer/library student, I also love that this debut novel comes from Xhenet Aliu who is both a writer and an academic librarian.

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Colly_Beau
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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1. We added this handsome cat to our fur baby family.
2. No. #providence or #boston
3. Mac n cheese!
4. Green
5. 16ish... This list really isn't my jam. It reminds me of high school. 😇

@MinDea #humpdaypost #catsoflitsy

MinDea So cute! What is his name? Congratulations on your newest member! 2y
Colly_Beau @MinDea Thank you! His name is Maui. My friend's family named him after the character on Moana. I feel funny changing his name on him, so we kept it. 2y
MinDea Such a cute name! Look forward to more #Maui posts! 2y
alisahar Hey just saw your #Boston hashtag! I‘m looking for Litsyers interested in doing a themed book club in Boston. My latest post has the details. 😊 2y
11 likes4 comments
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Colly_Beau
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Colly_Beau
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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1. My shower-loving tabby cat. I adore her, but she transforms into a mop each morning.
2. Altered Carbon.
3. White. Her name is Claudia.
4. Pasta salad.
5. The Carrying by Ada Limon. Due out in August!

#humpdaypost @MinDea

2BR02B So cute! 😻 2y
Colly_Beau @2BR02B Thank you! 2y
MinDea Awww! My #Shadow is a shower lover too! Such a weirdo! 2y
Colly_Beau @MinDea I find it awesome that we both have shower-loving kitty companions! 2y
MinDea 😀 It is definitely not the norm to have a cat that likes showers! 2y
9 likes5 comments
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sherri
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Book club tonight. I confess I did not read the book this time. Still, meeting with this group is always engaging. Based on their assessment of the book — that it was tragic — I think I‘ll skip it.

JanuarieTimewalker13 I thought this was a study in body language at first, lol 2y
sherri @JanuarieTimewalker13 Well, NOW it is! What can we learn? 2y
JanuarieTimewalker13 Hahahaha, well, I think when a person points their toe toward another, they are fond or close to the other...I need to get a book on body language. There‘s one out by a former FBI agent, I‘ll try to find the title (edited) 2y
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sherri @JanuarieTimewalker13 I will definitely check that out. 2y
11 likes6 comments
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LauraBeth
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Pickpick

Thoroughly enjoyable. A refreshing read about the struggles of first and second generation American immigrants in working-class Connecticut. Beautifully written.

Also - the Amazon A3 box is THE perfect size for most cats. 😹

rubyslippersreads I spy kitty ears! 😹 2y
LeahBergen 😂😂 2y
JosieG Cat life is SO rough. 😂 Finding that perfect resting spot deserves a reward of a long rest. 😉 2y
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DGRachel I think gray cat has the right idea. I‘m all for relaxing after relaxing. 😂😂 2y
saresmoore My cat loves that box, too! 😹 2y
mcipher Being a cat is HARD work. All that resting and napping. Full-time job. 2y
erzascarletbookgasm 😂 I love it! 🐱 🐶 2y
LauraBeth @LeahBergen their last days without another sibling 😹 2y
LauraBeth @JosieG she has it tough! 😹 2y
LauraBeth @DGRachel and relaxing before relaxing 😹 2y
LauraBeth @saresmoore there‘s something about the depth and width that is perfect! 2y
LauraBeth @mcipher and pretending like you‘re starving when you already have food in the bowl...😹 2y
122 likes3 stack adds14 comments
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Bevita
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Pickpick

Slightly hard to read story about Lithuanian and Albanian immigrant families in Waterbury, CT. Luljeta and Elsie are compelling characters but hard to love. I enjoyed it, though, and picked it up at every opportunity.

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LauraBeth
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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That‘s some hard hate for DD. ☕️

sisilia I heard that their coffee is good. As for doughnuts, I‘d gobble anything, DD or others ✌🏻 (edited) 2y
Redwritinghood But I love DD! ☹️ 2y
HFoster I wonder where the author is from? 🤔❤ I've noticed a significant quality difference with DD in more rural areas everywhere and even in big cities in the South (USA). However, I am amazed here in New England and even parts of NYC... the coffee is good and the doughnuts aren't stale. Cheers to a book with a paragraph about DD. ☕❤ 2y
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LauraBeth @sisilia Why would anyone discriminate against a doughnut?! 🍩🍩 2y
LauraBeth @Redwritinghood I like it too! After this section in the book, there‘s a part where the MC and her boyfriend have sex in a car. Guess what they used to clean up with? DD napkins! 😂😂 I mean... 2y
LauraBeth @HFoster I like that you‘re a DD connoisseur! I think you make a valid point - DD does tend to taste better in larger cities like NYC than in rural areas. 2y
HFoster @LauraBeth Between my partner's addiction to DD's coffee and my coworkers' children working there (we get 3 boxes of doughnuts several times a week at the office)... I am definitely pretty close to a DD connoisseur. I have a good mind to gift my partner this book. 2y
92 likes7 comments
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merelybookish
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Mehso-so

A mother/daughter story told in alternating p.o.vs Mid 1990s, Elsie is 20 and trying to figure out life in rundown Waterbury, CT. Seventeen years later, Elsie's daughter Lillyetta wants to find her father.
Family bonds, working class USA, cross cultural relationships and single parenthood, a lot is covered in this novel. But it's all riding on the voices of Elsie and Lulu, and they fell short for me. What was meant as brassy rang tinny to my ear

77 likes1 stack add
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Megabooks
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Pickpick

This book was a slow burn for me. I‘d greedily snap up a few chapters then leave it alone for a day or two.

The book is alternately narrated by a mother recounting her daughter‘s early life story & her daughter seeking out a father she never knew after life-shaking rejection from NYU. Interestingly, the mother‘s chapters are in the first person & her daughter‘s are in the second.

Overall, a mild pick. I‘d definitely read her next book. 3.5⭐️

Reviewsbylola Sounds intriguing. Sometimes I love books like this but it takes some convincing so keep going back and picking it up. 2y
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola I can see you liking this one. Maybe library it sometime 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2y
96 likes1 stack add2 comments
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TheJOMOreader
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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The excitement I felt when the badass, awesome aunt in this book is A PUBLIC LIBRARIAN made me squeal right out loud. It‘s how I want my nieces and nephews to think of me, but I‘ve misused slang and danced in front of them one too many times.

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Dianeham
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Next pick for my book group.

7 likes1 stack add
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kdwinchester
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Pickpick

Brass features two young women‘s coming-of-age stories, one mother and one daughter each discovering her own place in the world. You can find out more about BRASS in @thereadingwomen‘s Q&A with Aliu, where she discusses some of her inspiration for the novel and the importance of featuring working-class characters.

https://www.readingwomenpodcast.com/blog/2018/02/23/qa-xhenet-aliu

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thereadingwomen
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Pickpick

NEW Q&A
Today on the blog we have a Q&A with Xhenet Aliu, author of BRASS. It's the story of a mother and daughter as they each come of age in small-town Connecticut. Both want to leave their hometown, but the trials of young adulthood make their dreams feel so much farther away. Aliu talked with us about her inspiration for her debut novel and the importance of featuring working-class Americans in contemporary literature.
https://t.co/nPdzeRLv6y

101 likes12 stack adds
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mdemanatee
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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When you have to replace your library card because your wallet was stolen and your physical holds transfer but this is what Overdrive looks like. And then you get an email that a book was automatically checked out to you but you have no way to access. Sent in a “help me” but I really hope I have some good luck coming my way soon.

LauraBeth Oh no! 🙀 2y
JoScho 😕 2y
megt Oh no! So sorry to hear about your wallet. I hope they‘re able to help you get your holds back. 2y
17 likes3 comments
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Lauren.Archer
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
Mehso-so

A book with two parallel stories of a mother daughter. The writing was beautiful, but the story was just ok.

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Lauren.Archer
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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I have heard such good things about this from multiple sources. Excited to start this.

Bookishthoughts Oh my...the highlight for the book is really really long! I think I've figured out the book already😂 2y
93 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Megabooks
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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I found it!! I thought I had lost my favorite #booksleeve, but it was in some luggage I finally got put away. Yayayay!!

Now to work on reading this great novel, which I‘m enjoying except for the jarring second person in Lulu‘s chapters. 👍🏻

MissAimz_55 Beautiful 2y
Cathythoughts Pretty 2y
Gayan I have to get one of those. So pretty. 2y
See All 6 Comments
Jabberwocky LOVE 2y
RealLifeReading It's so cute 2y
Megabooks Thanks you all! @MissAimz_55 @Cathythoughts @Gayan (if you want some Etsy shop recs, let me know) @Jabberwocky @RealLifeReading 💜👍🏻😊 2y
116 likes6 comments
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Megabooks
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Brass is sporting my other FunUsual Suspects sushi bookmark 🍣📚 Really enjoying this cross-cultural coming-of-age story so far!

There‘s a smiley face in the nori, but I couldn‘t quite capture it on film.

mrp27 Love the sushi bookmarks! 2y
Megabooks @mrp27 Thanks! 😊 2y
Reviewsbylola 🍣🍣 2y
108 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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ElizabethSensa
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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"It's not that ignorance has been bliss for you, really, but it's been okay. It's been a low-fat pound cake, not entirely satisfying but better than bread and water." P 14

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balletbookworm
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Pickpick

After a whole zoo of being halfway thru the digital galley, having a problem with the file, the galley expiring, etc I have finally finished the last 70 pages of Brass. One of the few books to use a 2nd person POV narrator (Lulu) to good effect and in contrast to a 1st person POV (Elsie). It was very hard to predict how Aliu was going to wind up the narrative. Another knockout book from editor Andrea Walker at Random House.

30 likes3 stack adds
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Nickinpa
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Making my way through Zadie Smith‘s essay collection and the novel Brass

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Megabooks
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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So I picked up a new release and two bargain books at B&N today!! 🎉💃🏻💃🏻🎉 Fortune is an old fav that I‘ve been looking for in hardback. Plus I get to try a new author, Aliu, (and an old fav, Quindlen). Good day!

TobeyTheScavengerMonk Just gave my mom Brass for her birthday this past weekend! Our family has a lot of emotional ties to Waterbury, CT where the book is set and where the author is from. 2y
Megabooks @TobeyTheScavengerMonk Cool! I haven‘t started it yet, but I‘m sure it will be an interesting read for her either way because of the ties. 2y
Reviewsbylola I‘ve been meaning to read more Quindlen. I absolutely loved 2y
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola Me too! I‘ll let you know how this one is! 2y
118 likes4 comments
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Cydster61
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Pickpick

I loved this book about a mother and daughter trying to work their way(s) up from the lower rungs of post-industrial Waterbury, CT.

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Kelly
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Morning read.

AThousandLives87 I got this one on audiobook...haven‘t started it yet though. 2y
Kelly @AThousandLives87 I'm really digging it so far! 2y
balletbookworm My galley expired with 60 p to go :( 2y
Kelly @balletbookworm pick it up again!! It was so good. 2y
balletbookworm @Kelly I plan to ;) I‘ll probably borrow a copy from work when we‘re done with inventory 2y
29 likes1 stack add5 comments
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readingallthetime
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Another of my recent audio books.

5 likes1 stack add
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Sheryl63
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
Pickpick

What I liked about this book was the way the author would alternate between the narrators. There is Elsie, who after graduating from high School has no choice but to take a third shift waitressing job working at an Albanian diner to the present time when her Daughter, Luljeta who is about to graduate High School and blames all of her short comings on her mom. It comes together when Elsie‘s past and Luljeta‘s present collide in an unexpected way.

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LMJenkins
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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One of life‘s little pleasures for me is the First Editions Club from Parnassus Books in Nashville. Every month I get an autographed, first-edition hardcover and most of their choices go on to be award winners and bestsellers. This month is Brass. Pretty cool to have Tom Hanks‘ autograph! 🖌📕⭐️

GypsyKat That‘s awesome!!! 2y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled May need to sign up!! I already belong to the Odyssey Bookshop first editions club, but just one more can‘t hurt, right? 2y
Sheryl63 That‘s so neat, I need to sign up for a club like that. 2y
27 likes3 comments
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Sumi
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Finished!!!
#24in48
I read Brass, Winter, Summer of the Dead, Double Dog Dare, Legends ll: Shadows, Gods and Demons, Into The Water, The King of Bones and Ashes, much of What Happened and some of Wild Ride, The Miracle if Mindfulness and Cloudbound.

ghosthost Wow! 🙌 2y
14 likes1 comment
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Booksnchill
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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#ParnassusFirstEditionsClub Bookmail arrived today in time for #Femmuary reading!

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courtsandcastles
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Mehso-so

The middle of this book felt very long though by the end I really liked it!

Sheryl63 I‘m glad I wasn‘t the only one who felt that way. It was a bit slow going there for awhile for me too. I hardly ever bail on a book, and I‘m glad because I always end up liking it. 2y
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Well-ReadNeck
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Pickpick

I love this book so hard!! 💕 Told in alternating chapters in POV of mother (in first person addressing daughter) and daughter (in second person. Yeah, I know! But it completely works here). Beautifully written and so much to say about class and choice and belonging and just living hard in the US. #netgalley

99 likes11 stack adds
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Well-ReadNeck
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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SWEEEEEEEET! Cleared my netgalley shelf at the end of 2017, and promptly requested tons of books from the Most Anticipated Books lists 😝

I love that folks at the publishing houses are busy approving lots of requests (and granting wishes) in the first week of the new year!

So excited for all of these titles! #netgalley

minkyb 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 2y
Lindy ❤️Tom Rachman 2y
105 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Michellesibs
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Panpan

I really tried to like this but I found it a struggle, I just couldn‘t relate or connect to any of the characters or the plot. Well written but didn‘t hold my interest unfortunately.

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Schlinkles
Brass | Xhenet Aliu
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Meet this lovely author at #siba17 and have been looking forward to starting her book!