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The Dictionary of Animal Languages
The Dictionary of Animal Languages | Heidi Sopinka
"Always an outsider, and disowned by her bourgeois family, Ivory Frame arrives in Paris to study art, and quickly finds her true home among the avant-garde painters and poets who crowd the city's cafes. In fellow painter Tacita, she finds the sister she never had. In the Zoological Gardens, she finds a subject for her art capable of fascinating her endlessly. And in Lev, the brooding, haunted Russian migr painter fleeing the Revolution and destined for greatness, she finds the love that will mark her life forever. But she loses all this, and more, when the Second World War sweeps away the life she has only just discovered. In her grief, she turns to the project she had begun in Paris, and which will consume the rest of her life: a dictionary of animal languages. Part science, and art, the dictionary strives to transcribe the wordless yearning of animals, the lonely and love-laden cries that expect no response. By nature solitary herself, Ivory withdraws fully into herself as she pursues her life's work. Until the discovery of one of Lev's paintings from 1940, inscribed to Ivory and now worth a fortune, brings to light a secret from her time in Paris that even Ivory could never guess. Now in her nineties, she is forced to acknowledge afresh all she has lost, and also to find meaning and beauty in a world defined by longing."--
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review
Readerann
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Mehso-so

The title intrigued me, so I had high hopes. I never felt I could sink my teeth into it, and was happy to be done. #ToB

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BarbaraBB
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An interesting match today, I think. Both books have got mixed reviews, as far as I‘ve read them and they‘re no favorite for The Rooster. But you never know in the #ToB2019, especially not since Milkman was sent away yesterday!
However, I really liked both books, especially The Golden State, so my vote goes to Lydia Kiesling. How about yours?

Cathythoughts HVnt read either ... must stack Golden State 👍🏻 9mo
BarbaraBB @Cathythoughts I think you‘d like it! 😘 9mo
Redwritinghood I‘m more in favor of Dictionary. 9mo
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BarbaraBB @Redwritinghood Judge just voted for it. I can live with that outcome, the rationale behind it is very good. 9mo
merelybookish No fan of Golden State so this works for me! 9mo
Rachel_nyc I preferred Dictionary for many of the same reasons as the judge. The commentariat is not happy about his comment about Daphne needing an art museum but I though it was spot on! 😂 9mo
BarbaraBB @Rachel_nyc It would have done Daphne so much good 😉 9mo
Ruthiella I really enjoyed The Golden State and felt The Dictionary was overwritten. But what I LOVE about the TOB is gaining an understanding for why one book works for one reader but not another! 😀 9mo
mklong I read both but neither made much of an impression on me. A coin toss had me choose Dictionary in my bracket, so this decision won me a point, wahoo! 9mo
BarbaraBB @Ruthiella Yes that is really cool. I understand why the judge chose Dictionary even though it was not my favorite. 9mo
BkClubCare I can‘t decide if I want to read DoAL. 9mo
56 likes11 comments
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Rachel_nyc
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Pickpick

I was immediately captivated by the beautiful writing and I‘m a sucker for anything set in Paris so this hooked me in quickly. It took awhile before I really connected with the protagonist but I ended up relating to her in so many ways. A beautiful novel and one I doubt I would have read had it not been for #tob2019. Also, I am officially a shortlist completist!

squirrelbrain Yay you! 👍 9mo
Rachel_nyc @squirrelbrain Thanks!!!! 🥰 9mo
BarbaraBB So good that you‘ve read them all! Impressive!! 9mo
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Rachel_nyc @BarbaraBB Thank you! I‘m still surprised I managed it! 9mo
BarbaraBB There are some very good ones among them, that I never would have read without the ToB. It‘s such a great Tournament! 9mo
Rachel_nyc @BarbaraBB So true! Lots of hidden gems that don‘t receive enough attention otherwise. 9mo
Ruthiella Well done on completing the short list!😀 9mo
Mindyrecycles Way to go! 9mo
Rachel_nyc @Mindyrecycles Thanks Mindy! 9mo
15 likes1 stack add10 comments
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BarbaraBB
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Pickpick

It was hard to connect to this book at first, not in the least by its lyrical prose and the lack of quotation marks. The story meanders between the young Ivory, living the bohemian life in Paris between the wars, and the old one, struggling in Canada with her dictionary of animal languages and her memories of things gone by. But when I got the hang of it, I enjoyed it very much. And oh, that love story 💕

#Tob2019 15/18

merelybookish I ended up enjoying this too. It really is a pretty ambitious book. Still, I'll be surprised if it goes far in the tournament. It's the kind of book that requires patience. 9mo
Trashcanman 👁️👁️💖🤗 9mo
Mindyrecycles I was almost halfway through before I started liking it. It was a bit opaque. 9mo
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BarbaraBB @merelybookish I guess so. Yet I hope it‘ll win tomorrow! 9mo
BarbaraBB @Mindyrecycles Yes it took patience! 9mo
merelybookish I haven't heard read Washington Black, but it's had pretty strong critical reception so I'd give it the edge. Did you read it? 9mo
BarbaraBB @merelybookish Yes and I liked it but it‘s a bit of an adventure novel, very easy to read. I preferred the challenge of reading this one! 9mo
merelybookish @BarbaraBB Well, I know @mklong for one is hoping Washington Black will get the boot! 🙂 9mo
BarbaraBB @merelybookish I‘m with her 😉 9mo
Redwritinghood Glad you liked it. I rather enjoyed this one too. 9mo
mklong @merelybookish Haha, yes I was! I feel like it probably isn‘t done yet. I could easily see it as a 🧟‍♀️ 9mo
merelybookish @mklong Ha! Yeah, the ones Ive hated almost always have come back as zombies. 9mo
89 likes4 stack adds12 comments
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Rachel_nyc
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Starting my final book of the #tob2019 shortlist! Just in the nick of time!

Mindyrecycles I am SO impressed! I started Overstory today, which is my last except for Zebra which won‘t happen. Excited for Wednesday. 🙂 9mo
Rachel_nyc @Mindyrecycles Thanks! I made it a major reading priority. You‘re not missing much with Zebra. Very excited for Wednesday as well! This will be my first time following along from the beginning. 9mo
BarbaraBB I just started this one too. How do you like it? I find it hard getting engaged in the story 9mo
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Rachel_nyc @BarbaraBB I am not sure if it‘s the lingering flu/medicinal haze but I‘m enjoying it. I can‘t say I‘m very interested in the dictionary itself but as a sucker for anything set in Paris, I‘m enjoying that part of the story and am intrigued by how everything we are learning about Ivory‘s life will come together. How far in are you? 9mo
BkClubCare Congrats on being a completist! It‘s a satisfying feeling I have only managed once in my years of TOB fandom 9mo
Rachel_nyc @BkClubCare Thank you so much! Definitely a great feeling! 9mo
BkClubCare (And... how is Bernadette going? I really liked it but I read before hype) 9mo
Rachel_nyc @BkClubCare Thanks for the reminder, I need to write a review! I went in without any expectations and really enjoyed it! 9mo
Liz_M Oooh, a whole wall of bookshelves. So jealous. 9mo
Rachel_nyc @Liz_M This is actually my office. Isn‘t it great?! 9mo
15 likes10 comments
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BarbaraBB
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March TBR. I get stress just looking at is. So many pages! A bit too ambitious probably...

Caroline2 I know what you mean, I‘ve stopped making monthly tbr lists now cause I was always too over ambitious then I‘d feel pressure and stress to read them all! 😆 9mo
Lcsmcat Those are some great books. Just read them when you get to them, and don‘t worry about what month it is. 9mo
Suet624 Ummmm... that‘s a lot! Good luck. 😁 9mo
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saresmoore Ambitious, yes, but excellent choices! Except Fight Club—uuuugh. 9mo
TrishB Some great choices 👍🏻 9mo
AndiM Is it your first read of the Book Thief ? That's a book that I want to forget so that I can read it all over again. I LOVED it.❤️❤️❤️📖 9mo
Kalalalatja I haven‘t read a single one, but I‘m looking forward to Fight Club and the Winman book 👌 9mo
BarbaraBB @Caroline2 I should too stop making monthly lists. It is ridiculous making reading stressful instead of relaxing. 9mo
BarbaraBB @Lcsmcat You are so right. I‘m driving myself crazy! 9mo
BarbaraBB @saresmoore Is it so bad? It‘s a buddy read that I‘m joining for fun! 9mo
BarbaraBB @AndiM Yes, I know, I‘m the last one to read it 😁! 9mo
BarbaraBB @Kalalalatja The Winman... I hardly dare reading it because I‘m afraid it won‘t match my expectations after Tin Man! 9mo
saresmoore @BarbaraBB I really dislike Chuck Palahniuk, generally. He admits that he wasn‘t trying to be insightful when he wrote Fight Club. He‘s more of a gratuitous/shock & awe type of writer and that really irks me. 9mo
Rachel_nyc Ooh The Great Believers is one of my favorites from last year! Still bitter it didn‘t make TOB! 9mo
JennyM There are some awesome reads in your pile - many of my faves. If you read all these in March, you are going to have a fantastic month. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 9mo
Simona Nice pile❣️ Bring Up the Bodies is in my near future TBR pile... 9mo
97 likes16 comments
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Mindyrecycles
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I love this. #tob2019

merelybookish Yes, I enjoyed this more than I expected! 9mo
BarbaraBB That‘s good to know. I still need to read it and it didn‘t appeal to me until now! 9mo
Mindyrecycles @merelybookish @BarbaraBB Oh dear—I meant I loved the quote. 😂 I only liked the book. I have some quibbles with the plot, but the writing is gorgeous. 9mo
BarbaraBB Lol! 😀 9mo
66 likes1 stack add4 comments
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RidgewayGirl
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I‘m about halfway through this book and although I should be eating it up, I‘m just finding it fine. I don‘t dislike it, but I‘m not excited to pick it up. I do like the parts set in Paris in the 1930s, where Ivory, the main character, hangs out with artists and has a lover who is just the worst.

BarbaraBB This will be my next ToB book too... 9mo
19 likes1 comment
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Ruthiella
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Went to the big city to sell some books and get some new ones. The tagged book and So Lucky are the only two I need for #TOB2019 that I cannot get from the library. Fire Sermon is not TOB related but equally unavailable for free and I REALLY want to read it! 😀

32 likes1 stack add
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candority
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Of the 95 books I read this year, only one (The Dictionary of Animal Languages) received a one-star rating, while the rest of the pictured books received two-star ratings. For one reason or another, these books were my most disappointing reads of 2018.

#mostdisappointingof2018 #unpopularopinion

ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Good to know! What NOT to read is just as useful as book recs 👍 11mo
Reggie Ohhhh, Katerina. Lol 11mo
candority @Reggie 😂 we can‘t always agree! Ahaha 11mo
donnamartinreads I feel like I‘m one of the only people who liked An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 11mo
90 likes5 comments
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mklong
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Pickpick

Solid three stars. There is nothing really special here, but I enjoyed spending time with these characters. #TOB2019

Redwritinghood Glad you liked it, too. 11mo
AceOnRoam Good to know! 11mo
56 likes2 comments
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Redwritinghood
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Pickpick

I‘m really surprised that this book has such a low rating here on Litsy! The writing is gorgeous, but it is a bit winding and the pace is slow, but even. My library only had this available as an audiobook, so I‘ve ordered a hard copy so I can read it in print. It is a fascinating story about a female artist turned scientist and her love affair with a Russian painter in pre-WW2 Paris. #TOB #Hoopla

batsy It sounds fascinating! 12mo
merelybookish I liked it too, although the narrative is very winding. But I agree that the writing is beautiful! 12mo
merelybookish I also feel like something about the description is a bit misleading, like it highlights such a small part of the overall story which is maybe why others have been disappointed. 12mo
Redwritinghood @merelybookish I hadn‘t read the description before and just went back to do so. I agree that it doesn‘t quite capture the book. 12mo
69 likes5 stack adds4 comments
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ReadingEnvy
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I was trying to do holiday cards and listen to an audiobook but my brain can't. Ha!

vivastory Any jacaranda holiday cards? 12mo
LeafingThroughLife Cute cards!! 12mo
ReadingEnvy @vivastory nope but even more surprising is the absence of squirrels in this package of woodland creatures 12mo
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vivastory That's really surprising. Still, they're neat cards 12mo
Christine Love the cards! 12mo
Ruthiella I can‘t do “words” and listen to words either! 😀 12mo
Centique I can‘t do that either. @Ruthiella Its so bad that I can only listen to classical music (no words) even if I‘m only doing boring number or database stuff. Bah, dumb brain! 12mo
60 likes7 comments
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merelybookish
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This book currently has a 0% approval rating on Litsy. 😯 So I might be looking at a quick bail. #tob.

Beckys_Books Good luck 12mo
vivastory I hope you made it home safely! 12mo
merelybookish @vivastory Hey Scott! I've been meaning to message you. Sorry I didn't get in touch. Originally I thought I'd be in KC on Tuesday but we went Thurs and came back yesterday, so a pretty fast trip. I still hope we can coordinate a get together! Has the snow started there? 12mo
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merelybookish @Beckys_Books Thanks! The upside is I can bail quickly if need be and without much guilt. 12mo
vivastory It started a couple of hours ago. No problem! My holiday shifted around a bit too, so today has actually really been the first day I haven't spent with family since Thursday. I don't know if you are thinking of visiting around Xmas, but I'm hoping to take off for a week. 12mo
merelybookish @vivastory We are going to BC for Xmas but I did talk with my friends about a January visit to KC. If that happens, I'll let you know. I do get there a few times a year. I'm sure we can figure something out eventually! 🙂 12mo
vivastory Sounds good! Hopefully the book is not too bad! 12mo
Cinfhen Awww, too bad the coffee date didn‘t happen @vivastory @merelybookish #NextTime 12mo
merelybookish @Cinfhen We're waiting till you can join us! 😉 12mo
Cinfhen Hmmmm, Kansas is a little bit out of my stomping grounds but you never know😁 How‘s the book?? Did u bail?? 12mo
merelybookish @Cinfhen Not yet, although it is frustrating. But I'm curious to see where it goes. The style is really weird, almost like it was written 100 years ago. 12mo
51 likes11 comments
review
Emilymdxn
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Panpan

I hate to do an unremittingly negative review but this might be one of the worst books I‘ve ever read and there‘s just nothing good to say about it. Every paragraph was pretentious, the plot was meandering without being insightful, the protagonist was awful but never in an interesting way. Have some quotes:

“[she walked] like clipped wings against the bitten moon”

“Each breath is the dark corner of an echo”

I just have nothing to say.

Emilymdxn Disclaimer the quotes should be mostly accurate, i was transcribing from audio so not as exact as a photo 1y
23 likes1 comment
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TheSpineView
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#bookmail Today's book mail! I was intrigued by the synopsis and hope it lives up to it. The cover leaves a little to be desired.

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Emilymdxn
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I‘m less than halfway through this book still and trying to keep an open mind but it‘s not everything I hoped and I‘m kind of struggling to enjoy it. The characters and plot are super interesting and have potential but one of my biggest pet peeves is when every paragraph of a book shouts ‘look at me I‘m saying something profound about humanity‘. I find it fake and overwritten in q a few places which is a pity cause it has some amazing ideas.

Penny_LiteraryHoarders I hear you sister! I said this one was so deep into its own head that it was near impossible to enjoy. 😊 1y
Emilymdxn @Penny_LiteraryHoarders I have no idea how I‘m gonna finish it to be honest. I fell so in love with the cover and title I didn‘t really look at what it was about before I started it :/ 1y
Penny_LiteraryHoarders @Emilymdxn yes! I'm guilty of the same! So disappointed it wasn't a better reading experience. I see from others that have reviewed it here have the same reactions. 😕 1y
Emilymdxn @Penny_LiteraryHoarders yeah I worried I was the only person who didn‘t get something about it and was satisfied to see it wasn‘t just me from the other reviews! 1y
41 likes1 stack add4 comments
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EMWF
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"I wonder if because I had only brothers I have never really understood why people choose to determine women by their outsides, and not by their brains or hearts. I don't want to be admired like Ulyana. I want to be given space so that I can paint and record and unfold into what I'm making." Heidi Sopinka will be at #emwf18 to read from her novel of love, longing, and art set in interwar Paris. bit.ly/2tlgoAw @PenguinRandomCa #canlit

42 likes1 stack add
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candority
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Bailedbailed

I‘m 58% through this book, but I can‘t find any desire to continue. I find the story very slow moving and a bit confusing due to the lack of quotation marks around dialogue and the various points in time that it jumps between. And the part of the description that hooked me into reading it has barely been mentioned. Such a beautiful cover (and an intriguing description), but this book is officially my first DNF of 2018.

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candority
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Both my boyfriend and myself have the day off, which is a rare occurrence. I‘m starting it by reading while waiting for him to get ready, then we‘re going for breakfast. We don‘t have any solid plans for the rest of the day, but we might go canoeing later! Enjoy your day Littens, the weekend is almost here 😊☀️

GrilledCheeseSamurai Nothing beats a nice laid back paddle! 👍 1y
61 likes1 comment
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whatrebeccasread
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Bailedbailed

I gave up on this book having found myself completely lost and I don't feel that I've missed out in doing so. It's 1 star for "The Dictionary of Animal Languages"

My full (but very short) review is now up on my blog ? #thedictionaryofanimallanguages #heidisopinka

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Penny_LiteraryHoarders
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Panpan

Oh dear, oh dear another Pan. 😭😭😭😭 This is not At All what I expected when I started The Dictionary of Animal Languages. It sounded like it was going to be so wonderful. Instead it was too deep inside its own head despite many moments of beautiful and lyrical language. But that wasn‘t enough to get me through this rather dry book. 🙁🙁

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Penny_LiteraryHoarders
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Started this one last night to push aside The Black Painting for the time being.

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BookishTrish
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The writing keeps sucking me out of the story... #goodreadsgiveaway #tobailornottobail

66 likes1 stack add
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BookishTrish
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Morning reading view #sickkid edition

cobwebmoth Hope the kid feels better soon! 2y
LauraBrook Nice view (except for sick kid, of course)! 2y
aprilpohren Hope she feels better! 2y
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[DELETED] 3803335244 Feel better soon! 2y
dragondrool Feel better wishes from Montana! 2y
BookishTrish @cobwebmoth @aprilpohren @ForeverNerdy @dragondrool Thanks all! ''Tis the season for illness 😜 2y
82 likes6 comments
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BookishTrish
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I love days when I wake up a #winner #goodreadsgiveaway

Drnkpnkprincess Congrats!!!!!! 2y
Lizpixie Congratulations!🎉 2y
TricksyTails Woohoo! That's awesome! 🎉👏😁 2y
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bookloo 🎉🎉🎉🎉 2y
BookishTrish @Drnkpnkprincess @Lizpixie @TricksyTails @bookloo Thanks, guys! Goodreads wins always feel so special! 2y
71 likes6 comments