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Crudo
Crudo: Love in the Apocalypse | Olivia Laing
Kathy is a writer. Kathy is getting married. It’s the summer of 2017 and the whole world is falling apart. From a Tuscan hotel for the super-rich to a Brexit-paralysed UK, Kathy spends the first summer of her 40s trying to adjust to making a lifelong commitment just as Trump is tweeting the world into nuclear war. But it’s not only Kathy who’s changing. Political, social and natural landscapes are all in peril. Fascism is on the rise, truth is dead, the planet is hotting up. Is it really worth learning to love when the end of the world is nigh? And how do you make art, let alone a life, when one rogue tweet could end it all. Olivia Laing radically rewires the novel in a brilliant, funny and emphatically raw account of love in the apocalypse. A Goodbye to Berlin for the 21st century, Crudo charts in real time what it was like to live and love in the horrifying summer of 2017, from the perspective of a commitment-phobic peripatetic artist who may or may not be Kathy Acker . . .
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blurb
sarahbarnes
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This book is intriguing so far. Including the way it casually weaves recent events into the story. “It was the week Obamacare was rolled back, everyone was talking about preexisting conditions. David was wearing a ski jacket zipped to the neck.”

readordierachel I liked that aspect too. 5d
16 likes1 comment
review
Bibliogeekery
Crudo: A Novel | Olivia Laing
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Pickpick

This book was a short, quirky, delightful read. Part memoir woven into a biography of Kathy Acker (I said it was quirky) Crudo takes us through the anxieties of living through Trump's election and the climate breakdown in exquisite, raw and very relatable ways. I already want to read it again.

53 likes1 stack add
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readordierachel
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Pickpick

So, I liked this. I think. I liked the style, I liked the tone, I liked how it glanced off each topic like a pinball, periodically circling back to certain themes. There was a bit of catharsis in reading about the months right after Trump's election, about the fatigue of the every-day-is-somehow-worse-than-the-last-how-is-that-even-possible nature of his presidency. ⬇️

readordierachel I'm unfamiliar with Kathy Acker (and the author for that matter), so I'm sure there are references that I didn't pick up and I can't speak to how effective this was as an experimental pseudo memoir. I did find myself tiring of the character of Kathy, of her wealth and inaction. I'm left wondering it Laing was trying to comment on that, but I'm just not sure. And yet, in spite of that, I found it a pleasure to read. So, yes, I liked it. I think 2w
JSW The fatigue you‘re talking about is REAL. ❤️ 2w
sarahbarnes Great review. This book is on my TBR and I‘m looking forward to it! 2w
See All 19 Comments
Reggie Do you watch SNL? Cause last night their opening skit was supposed to be funny but I just found it depressing. It had a lot to do with what you just mentioned. Nice review. 2w
batsy Thoughtful and intriguing review! This is definitely on my list. 2w
Tanisha_A Love your review. It's on my list. On another note, I know you sent me the book earlier but I haven't got my hands on it yet. I am assuming the post people are taking their sweet time. 🙂 2w
rohit-sawant Terrific review. This sounds like a relatable yet weary read, but also a glad-I-read-it sort of book. 2w
Theaelizabet Yours is the review that makes me want to read this book. I could use a catharsis. 2w
youneverarrived Great review. Been wanting to read this. I love her non-fiction. 2w
readordierachel @JSW It really is. Here's hoping there's an end in sight 🤞🏼 2w
readordierachel @sarahbarnes Thanks! I hope you enjoy it! 2w
readordierachel @Reggie I do, but I haven't watched the latest one yet. I will have to remedy that. I'll think about your response as I'm watching the opening (Tbh, it's opening usually the weakest part of the show for me anyway.) 2w
readordierachel @batsy Thanks! I look forward to you thoughts on it 😁 2w
readordierachel @Tanisha_A Oh shucks! I was hoping it had arrived by now. I will hunt down the tracking number and see if I can see where it is on its journey 😊 2w
readordierachel @rohit-sawant Thanks! Yes, that's a great way to describe it! I should have mentioned that it's funny, too, so that helps break up some of the weariness. 2w
readordierachel @Theaelizabet Thanks! Yep, I wish there was more catharsis to be had too. 2w
readordierachel @youneverarrived Thanks! After this, I'd really like to try her nonfiction. Is there something of hers you recommend in particular? 2w
youneverarrived I‘d recommend The Lonely City 👍 2w
readordierachel @youneverarrived I will check that one out! 2w
77 likes1 stack add19 comments
review
overtheedge
Crudo: A Novel | Olivia Laing
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Pickpick

Inspiring and compelling, this is one of those books that make you ponder....
With wit, candor and sarcasm Twitter, Korea, sealife, gender and identity, tRump, nature and wildlife are discussed from Acker point of view through Laings lens.
I like this the more I ponder it...

readordierachel I'm reading this now and loving it! 3w
47 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Kazzie
Pickpick

Interesting ? Autobiographical

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Lindy
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Lots of great reads in February … and I‘m way behind in reviewing them on Litsy. Meanwhile, I‘m preparing to leave Tuesday for a big trip, so reviewing might be left by the wayside. #Februarystats

CouronneDhiver I don‘t know how you do it. 39 😳😃 3mo
Lindy @CouronneDhiver Five children‘s chapter books in audio format this month: they tend to be only 5 or 6 hours long. Also, I can get through a volume of manga pretty quickly, and I read four of those this month. 3mo
Freespirit Amazing stats...have a great holiday😊 3mo
Lindy @Freespirit Thanks! ✈️ 3mo
37 likes4 comments
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sarahbarnes
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A few books I may have accidentally purchased this weekend.... Thanks everyone for your great reviews of these books! I‘m excited to get to them! 😃

jenniferajanes “Accidentally.” 😂😂😂 Happens all the time! Welcome to Litsy! 🎉📚 3mo
29 likes1 comment
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Lindy
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Pickpick

Hip, experimental stream-of-consciousness novels are a joy to read when they are like this one. Kinetic, gifted and stimulating. You are inside the mind of a quick-witted woman, anxious about her upcoming marriage, and maintaining her independent identity and also her search for equanimity amid the bleak world events of 2017. If you enjoy such writers as Sheila Heti, Rachel Cusk or Ali Smith, dive into this.

Lindy Also, Laing is an expert at “stealing like an artist.” 4mo
sarahbarnes Great review, thank you! I‘m excited to read this one for sure. 4mo
Lindy @sarahbarnes My pleasure! When you get to it, I‘d like to know what you think. 4mo
sarahbarnes Absolutely! I love Cusk and Smith, so it sounds right up my alley. 4mo
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Lindy
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Kathy had always had unsatisfactory relationships and her current unsatisfactory relationship was with sleep. Sleep was a withholding lover. She lay there and waited for it, hot and itchy and uncertain.

(Painting is by my friend Gillian Willans. Her work is represented by Scott Gallery: https://www.scottgallery.com/artists/gillian-willans )

Tanisha_A I love the painting. Depicts the state well! 4mo
Lindy @Tanisha_A 😁Gillian often paints interior scenes and she has whole stories that go along with her paintings. 4mo
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Lindy
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Her husband‘s sad eyes upset her but also infuriated her, she detested being responsible for anyone else‘s happiness. Like can‘t you just figure out what you need and get it? Why do you have to keep asking me. Kathy could share, but on her own terms. On the original question, is Kathy nice, it‘s looking like probably no.

saresmoore Hahahaha (uncomfortable laughter from feeling represented a bit too accurately) 4mo
44 likes2 comments
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Lindy
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“They don‘t know where the missiles are Kathy said in a woman‘s voice, which was inaudible in this and many other circumstances.”

Olivia Laing slips into her novel smart comments like this on power dynamics between men and women.

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Lindy
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They were in a hotel of such monumental ugliness it seemed an achievement in its own right.

(Actual hotel website screencap, folks.)

LeahBergen 🤔 4mo
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Lindy
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There was a deer park outside, maybe 100 little deer with spots on their sides, exactly like Bambi except tick-infested & real, engaging in play antler-wrestling & trotting races & kneeling down to chew & all kinds of other extremely interesting & distinctive deer behaviour. Oaks too, an impeccable landscape that at once depended on & concealed all kinds of colonial atrocities, seemingly natural but totally false, ⬇️

Lindy (Cont.) anyway it was beautiful & she was in it & newly awake & disinclined to have to grapple with the potential end of all life. (Internet photo) 4mo
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Lindy
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She tries on her wedding dress. There is something about it that reminds her of a dinosaur, probably a stegosaurus, a sort of inutile frill, not that any frill was exactly utile, but this one was exceptionally pointless, like a dinosaur‘s spine. Well, there it was: she‘d marry in a dinosaur suit with uneven eyes.

Tanisha_A 🤣 4mo
48 likes1 comment
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Lindy
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No one Kathy actually liked had a stable gender identity, not really. Transitioning, she loved the word, with its sense of constant emergence and zero arrival.

PacingTheCage And now I want cake! 😊🍰 4mo
GatheringBooks nice quotes! now i am intrigued by the novel. 4mo
Lindy @GatheringBooks Her style and content reminds me a bit of Rachel Cusk and a bit of Ali Smith, but mostly quite unique. 4mo
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Lindy
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Then the New England novelist made an astounding statement. He said that the only good novels were written by gay men and women, that they‘re streets—whole boulevards!—ahead. The gaiety was how he referred to the homosexual community, which suggested he didn‘t know many of them. However, Kathy agreed. What‘s the novel about if not getting fucked.

CarolynM Interesting thought. There certainly do seem to be high proportion of excellent novels written by nonstraights 4mo
43 likes1 comment
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Lindy
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What a waste, what a crime, to wreck a world so abundantly full of different kinds of flowers. Kathy hated it, living at the end of the world, but then she couldn‘t help but find it interesting, watching people herself included compulsively foul their nest.

CouronneDhiver Do you and Shawn normally agree or disagree? I just saw his feedback on this one 😏 4mo
Lindy @CouronneDhiver We totally agree on loving some books (ie Do Not Say We Have Nothing; The Wind-up Bird Chronicle; Ministry of Utmost Happiness) but our tastes diverge on others. Shawn loved Inoue‘s The Hunting Gun and I found it just ok. I‘m 40 pages into Crudo and find it delightful. 4mo
46 likes2 comments
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Lindy
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“What she really liked was lizards, not just their tiny dashing feet but the way they were exceptionally dry.”

Me too, Olivia Laing! 🙋‍♀️

(Internet photo)

48 likes1 stack add
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shawnmooney
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Bailedbailed

Willa Cather, by which I mean I, was getting revolted. Willa, by which I mean I, had just ordered a cafe latte, she was feeling fancy, she read the first six pages of Crudo. Willa bailed. I mean I.

LeahBergen 😂😂😂 I‘ve heard how this writing style is so off-putting! 4mo
Redwritinghood Good choice. I doesn‘t get better. 4mo
arubabookwoman But what happened next? What was the “abrupt turn” Kathy-I-mean-I‘s life took? 4mo
readordierachel 😆😆 4mo
48 likes4 comments
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Moray_Reads
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readingjedi Oh, that's good 🤣 5mo
LauraBeth 😂🦊 5mo
MCYmermaid Nice! 5mo
See All 8 Comments
HufflepuffGirl90 Love it!! 💛🦊 5mo
CoffeeNBooks 🦊😂🤣🤣🦊 5mo
BethM That's great! 5mo
readordierachel Haha! 5mo
63 likes8 comments
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mauveandrosysky
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Mehso-so

This short, experimental novel is a snapshot of a specific time period. It‘s 2017, in the midst of Brexit and Trump‘s presidency and the rise of fascism worldwide. Laing certainly succeeds in conveying the numbness and bemused surrealism of how bad things are, just a constant barrage of shit. But for the most part it just didn‘t work for me, with its stream-of-consciousness prose and strange narrative choices, the meaning of which was lost on me.

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jenniferheidi
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Mehso-so

I think Olivia Laing‘s writing is really exciting. It‘s playful and powerful and you can see the influence of Kathy Acker, the (possible) subject of this novel, if she‘d lived to experience everything 2017 had to throw at us. I didn‘t love Crudo but it‘s a very good book.

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Redwritinghood
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Mehso-so

At the risk of sounding old, I‘m not liking the recent spate of stream-of-consciousnesses novels. They make me feel like the author just threw up all over me. The style aside, this book gives some interesting commentary on the current state of the world and the urgency and helplessness a lot of people are feeling. 2.5⭐️

susanw I‘m with ya. I keep thinking I will like stream of consciousness but then I read it, and never do. 6mo
BookNAround I have never liked stream of consciousness writing and it is one of the phrases on a book jacket that will get me to put a book back on the table or shelf faster than anything. 6mo
ravenlee I have always had a problem with stream of consciousness style. Often it seems to be an excuse for poor self-editing. 6mo
Redwritinghood @susanw @BookNAround @ravenlee I‘m glad it‘s not just me! 6mo
readordierachel Lol! I read a sample and I see what you mean. 6mo
63 likes5 comments
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rmaclean4
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Pickpick

You have to relax and go with the stream of consciousness nature of this novel. It is very of this moment. I heard someone compare this to Mrs Dalloway. I am glad that I read it, I wonder how much will stick with me.

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rmaclean4
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Saturday chores done. Now for some afternoon reading!!

JennyM Yey...feet up and relax 📚 8mo
13 likes1 stack add1 comment
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AnneCecilie
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Pickpick

Since I can‘t describe this book any better than the blurb, I‘m going with that.

A couple of months ago I read Laing‘s “The Lonely City” and that blew me away. This isn‘t that good, but again what will be?

This book is very of the moment, with references to things happening in 2017.

I will definitely read her back list.

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AnneCecilie
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Final time for #24B4Monday.

I read 180p in Les Miserables. I also started and finished the tagged book yesterday.

Really happy about my reading. Only wished I had time for more reading. Hopefully next time

TheReadingMermaid You did great sweetheart! Much congrats! 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 8mo
AnneCecilie @TheReadingMermaid thanks, but I wouldn‘t have been a reader if I didn‘t want to read mire 😉 8mo
34 likes2 comments
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Emilymdxn
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#septemberroundup part 1/2!! 28 books finished this month. Been a weird month for me, unemployed for the first half and very busy with a new job for the second half (yay!). I read some very good but also quite disappointing books this month, standouts of this first half were Crudo and Song of Achilles, with Bone Clocks and Heat Wave as very honorable mentions.

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AnneCecilie
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Starting my fourth book for the #BookAWeekChallenge.

I‘ve just passed 7 hrs of reading for #24B4Monday and have already read more today than I did yesterday

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Emilymdxn
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Pickpick

Really outstandingly written. The characters were just perfectly done, not a word was boring or over-wrought. I normally don‘t like novels that try to fit large scale politics in with a personal story but this was just incredibly well done. Nothing ever felt forced, it just carried me through. Both very personal and very universal. I could have written down a quote from almost every page. So excited to see Olivia Laing tomorrow!

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Emilymdxn
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Only got two days to read Crudo before seeing Olivia Laing at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road! Anyone else going??

I got the ticket fairly last minute so I haven‘t actually read the book yet! I also have a job interview on Tuesday to prepare for so I‘m hoping to spend tomorrow in a cafe doing my interview prep and reading Crudo 🌺☺️🌺

Simona Good luck with interview 🤞🤞🤞 9mo
Emilymdxn @Simona thank you lovely!! 9mo
28 likes2 comments
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HardcoverHearts
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Just looked down and realized that my cozy romper and blanket matches the book I just started. Coincidence?! 🤷🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

30 likes1 stack add
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AnneCecilie
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I‘ve my tbr ready for the #BookAWeek hosted by @TheReadingMermaid in September.

Since I‘m buddy reading the chunkster Les Miserables, I‘ve chosen thin books for this challenge. Hopefully I‘ll manage to read them over the weekends starting next weekend.

Except for the book in Norwegian, all of these were bought in London. I can‘t wait to read them all.

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jhod
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Home made pan con tomate and black coffee
Why doesn't the UK serve it more? Best breakfast ever!
Great food descriptions in Crudo so far nom nom
#bookandbreakfast

Oryx Looks good! 9mo
Reecaspieces Coffee!! 9mo
eraderneely Mmm, how is that seasoned? 9mo
jhod @eraderneely just salt, black pepper and olive oil. Simple but delicious 😁 9mo
eraderneely Yum! 9mo
108 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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Well-ReadNeck
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Bailedbailed

#netgalley

The form of this novel feels so fresh and I wanted to grab hold of it with both hands. But, ultimately, the style really got in the way of the story for me and I found it difficult to find a flow to reading this one. The form got in the way of substance for me.

But, ❤️ this cover!!!

Biensoul Got to know! It showed up in one of my ARC piles. I love the cover, but will skip ahead and come back to it another time. 9mo
89 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Well-ReadNeck
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#TBRTuesday

Here‘s what I‘ll be reading this week!

LMJenkins I have in my pile too. 9mo
LMJenkins Okay, WHAT am I doing wrong that can‘t get the name of the book in the middle of my sentence? 😧 9mo
Well-ReadNeck @LMJenkins Neither can I?! 9mo
lauren.lerner Litsy doesn‘t allow that kind of tagging for books, unfortunately @Well-ReadNeck & @LMJenkins — drives me bananas!! 9mo
Smangela From Twinkle With Love has been giving me the eyes every time I step into our library! 9mo
93 likes5 comments
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MeikeReads
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Pickpick

Did Olivia Laing just invent the "biographical pastiche"? In #Crudo, she cross-fades her bio with that of punk poet and feminist icon #KathyAcker, thus offering an equally innovative and disturbing look at our current state of affairs. This might well get nominated for the next #Goldsmiths or #WomensPrize.

23 likes3 stack adds
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awonderinglife
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Pickpick

Not sure I quite got the concept of this one but loved the writing and the main character

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bedandabook
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I‘ve said it before and I‘ll say it again: bookshops in train stations are dangerous things! I‘ve heard rave reviews about this one, so gave into temptation today.

KateFulfordAuthor When you are next tempted ;-). May I point you to my People‘s Book Prize nominated debut? Sassy female narrative, laugh out dialogue and a pacy plot. Check the link in the bio for 2 free chapters, reviews and more. 10mo
Emilymdxn I‘ve seen such good things about this! And the cover just keeps me looking at it every time I go past a bookshop it‘s only a matter of time before I buy it too... 10mo
bedandabook Give in, @Emilymdxn, give in...😉 10mo
Bookcation74 That vase is gorgeous! 10mo
bedandabook Thanks, @Bookcation74! It‘s my mum‘s. Staying with her for a few days; lots of reading time! 10mo
47 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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Abailliekaras
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Pickpick

A tour de force. Kathy, fiercely independent, is getting married. She describes this time of change with honesty & wit: She has doubts, fears becoming mellow, loves her husband but fights & screams at him too. Laing juxtaposes this with world events of 2017. Thus Kathy enters the comfort of marriage as the world becomes unsettled & apocalyptic. The idea that we fret about climate change but at the same time eat lobster for dinner, resonates.

ReadingEnvy Sounds good! 11mo
43 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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Abailliekaras
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Up next! 📚

36 likes1 stack add
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mr_annie
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Pickpick

This is the most invigorating book I‘ve read in ages. Laing chews up the trashfire of a year that was 2017 and digests it into an urgent, funny and profound novel. Kathy Acker is dragged kicking and screaming into the present moment (back from the dead) - the book is an homage to her life and work, as well as many other New York artists. Crudo made me laugh, gasp and roll my eyes into the back of my head - plus, the sentences are just delicious.

Abailliekaras Sounds like a must-read! 12mo
9 likes1 stack add1 comment