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Severance
Severance: A Novel | Ling Ma
Maybe its the end of the world, but not for Candace Chen, a millennial, first-generation American and office drone meandering her way into adulthood in Ling Mas offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire, Severance. Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine. With the recent passing of her Chinese immigrant parents, shes had her fill of uncertainty. Shes content just to carry on: She goes to work, troubleshoots the teen-targeted Gemstone Bible, watches movies in a Greenpoint basement with her boyfriend. So Candace barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York. Then Shen Fever spreads. Families flee. Companies halt operations. The subways squeak to a halt. Her bosses enlist her as part of a dwindling skeleton crew with a big end-date payoff. Soon entirely alone, still unfevered, she photographs the eerie, abandoned city as the anonymous blogger NY Ghost. Candace wont be able to make it on her own forever, though. Enter a group of survivors, led by the power-hungry IT tech Bob. Theyre traveling to a place called the Facility, where, Bob promises, they will have everything they need to start society anew. But Candace is carrying a secret she knows Bob will exploit. Should she escape from her rescuers? A send-up and takedown of the rituals, routines, and missed opportunities of contemporary life, Ling Mas Severance is a moving family story, a quirky coming-of-adulthood tale, and a hilarious, deadpan satire. Most important, its a heartfelt tribute to the connections that drive us to do more than survive.
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Angitron
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Pickpick

Totally engrossing story about a young woman who survives the apocalypse. I loved how the book‘s numerous themes (capitalism, work culture, immigration, nostalgia, relationships, city life, family, etc etc) were woven together - it felt like it honestly and accurately reflected the current zeitgeist. I‘ll be following Ling Ma closely - I‘m excited to see what she writes next!

MicheleinPhilly Great review! 3d
Angitron @MicheleinPhilly Thank you!! 😊 3d
23 likes2 comments
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Tiltedwhirled
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Pickpick

What if the apocalypse looked like people continuing with their routines until they die? And what if nostalgia triggered a terrible brain wasting disease? This book centers on a woman tied to her job but with little human connections. Her parents are dead and her friendships and romantic entanglements are shallow. And yet, she lives.

14 likes1 stack add
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lele1432
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Pickpick

Finding this hard to rate! I loved Ma's depictions of NYC, American consumerism, & millennial corporate life. The ennui she portrayed that can result from the mundane tasks of product development was spot on. Even in the midst of Shen fever, corporate climbers tried to hold onto irrational career ambitions. I didn't like the post-apocalyptic storyline as much. It felt like too much going on, & I tired of Bob. Nancy Wu's narration was good. 3.5⭐️s!

24 likes1 comment
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BarbaraBB
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Pickpick

I enjoyed Ling Ma‘s writing, her New York, her main character Candace. Shen Fever is spreading fast, everybody leaves the city or dies, but Candace stays as long as she can, because she lacks other options. When she finally leaves, there is that other storyline, which I thought was less good. It reminded me of many other dystopian novels. However, I am interested in what Ling Ma will write next.

#Booked2019 #genrebusting

Reviewsbylola I really enjoyed this one! 1mo
Megabooks I‘ve taken this on and off my TBR so many times. I really should just read it! Great review!!! 1mo
Ruthiella I liked her take on “zombies” ( sorta right?) in this book. Less terrifying and more just pitiable. 1mo
See All 11 Comments
Cinfhen I‘ve been eyeing this book for awhile too @Megabooks but I just promised my hubby NO new book purchases from now until December 1 🙄😩of course #BOTM & #DailyDeals don‘t count 😜 (edited) 1mo
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen really? Until December? That is so far away! 1mo
Cinfhen @BarbaraBB I KNOW!!!!!!! But my book buying has been a little out of control🙄😜 It‘s good I have a secret cash stash 😉🤫 1mo
Cinfhen I love your wall art!!! 1mo
readordierachel Great review! I loved this one, though I agree that some elements were stronger than others. And like @Ruthiella I really liked her take on zombies. 1mo
BarbaraBB @readordierachel @Ruthiella The take on zombies was really plausible indeed. 1mo
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen I think it may be a good thing to see your tbr actually decline 😀💕 1mo
BarbaraBB @Megabooks Thank you💕 1mo
83 likes1 stack add11 comments
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TheLibrarian
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Mehso-so

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

I had higher hopes for this book and there was a lot going on.

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shadowspeak17
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How is it September already? O_o

Total books read: 4
Ebooks: 4
Physical books: 0
Borrowed: 3
#booked2019: 1

Average rating: 3.38 stars

#AugustStats #AugustWrapUp

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essayareayaitch
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Panpan

I had high hopes for this book. It sounded right up my apocalyptic alley. Only it for it to be less apocalyptic and more some sort of religious allegory I don't understand.

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MsLeah8417
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Pickpick

🌟🌟🌟🌟

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AutumnRLS
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Finally getting to read this one. Has been on my list since hearing about it on Reading Glasses and Book Riot. My TBR is long ya'll.

ManyWordsLater You can climb that #mounttbr 2mo
17 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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shadowspeak17
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This book wasn‘t what I expected, but I‘m also not entirely sure what I did expect. Regardless, I liked it. There‘s really a lot going on in it, but I think it worked well for the most part.

#catsoflitsy #Ember

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essayareayaitch
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Bob is annoying me. He's got some sort of savior complex.

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essayareayaitch
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Left my iPad at home so that I'm forced to read this book instead of an eBook from the library. Having trouble with focusing

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DyAnne
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No quotation marks were used for dialog in this. Not only did that not bother me at all, but I was several chapters in before I even noticed.

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readordierachel
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Pickpick

Finished this a few weeks back and have been thinking about it since. Ma weaves a unique tapestry: zombies (sorta), dystopia, immigration, capitalism, religion, cult dynamics, workplace ennui, a love story, and a love letter to cities. It's a lot for one book, but for me it all blended so sweetly. Loved this and am looking forward to more from her. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

vivastory Fantastic review. This has been on my TBR. Might need to move it up! 2mo
Nute Love this review! I‘m ready for this type of fresh take with zombies (sorta)!😁 2mo
sarahbarnes This one is definitely on my list! 2mo
See All 18 Comments
batsy I love this review! 💜 2mo
Tanisha_A Sounds a good read. Awesome review! 😀 2mo
BarbaraBB Great review. I must read the book soon! 2mo
sudi Love this review 😊 2mo
britt_brooke I liked this one, too. Nice review! 2mo
readordierachel @vivastory Thanks, friend! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 2mo
readordierachel @Nute Haha! Thanks 😊 2mo
readordierachel @sarahbarnes I hope you love it when you get to it! 2mo
readordierachel @batsy Thanks, friend! ❤ 2mo
readordierachel @Tanisha_A Thanks, friend! 💛 2mo
readordierachel @BarbaraBB Thank you! Look forward to your thoughts on it! 2mo
readordierachel @sudi Thanks, friend! 🧡 2mo
readordierachel @britt_brooke Thanks! I liked how genre busting it felt. Hard to categorize. 2mo
Reggie I put this on everyone‘s review but the part with the little girl behind the curtain....😭😭😭. FU Bob!!! Lol, glad you liked this book. 1mo
readordierachel @Reggie I KNOW. What a monster! 1mo
86 likes6 stack adds18 comments
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conny
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There are no quotation marks in the book, which REALLY peeved me. But the book was great! It was so quintessentially New York; it really is dreary here. 🙃

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Etpayne27
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Pickpick

A gripping, unexpected read. You could knock this book out over a long weekend and you should.

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MelissaSue81
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Pickpick

This was my #booked2019 pick for #genrebusting. I must say, I was skeptical. I shy away from anything apocalyptic. However, I was totally entertained and engrossed by this audiobook. It wasn‘t what I expected, though I am not sure what I did expect. There was a lot going on, and I think I wanted a little more from the end.. but it was a fun listen.

Cinfhen Hmmm, I think I‘ll add this to my #AudioList ~ thanks for the suggestion 💕🎧 3mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage This really does look good. Thanks for the tempting review! 3mo
80 likes1 stack add2 comments
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regvolp
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Pickpick

i‘m no stranger to having a momentary life crisis on the G train, but reading this on my commute sure encouraged them. ma accurately captured what the end of the world will probably feel like—bleak, quiet, just another day at the office

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

emilyhaldi Oooohh your review makes me wanna pick this up stat! 3mo
10 likes1 comment
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Centique
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this. It‘s not a typical plot heavy page turner apocalyptic novel so be warned. It‘s quiet, thoughtful and almost emotionless. It felt quite real - how would a city unravel slowly in the face of an epidemic with no cure? How would lives ruled by corporations slowly grind to a halt? Candace has become almost an automaton in NY, an orphan and a loner, an office worker following routine. Will she grind to a halt too?⬇️

Centique This made me think about capitalism, consumerism and the loss of individual autonomy. Also the mire that nostalgia can become. Heaps to pick apart for a book club but the loose ends that are left won‘t please a bunch of people! 3mo
Centique Come back @Reggie so we can talk about this book! 3mo
TrishB I really enjoyed this book too and read because of Reggie! Hope he‘s ok. 3mo
See All 16 Comments
Cinfhen I‘ve been missing @Reggie too!!!! 3mo
Centique I know right @TrishB @Cinfhen I might try emailing him. 😕 3mo
TrishB We‘re eagerly awaiting the reviews of the strange and wonderful books 💕 3mo
Aimeesue I really liked this one! But yes, people who don't like ambiguous endings probably won't like it so much. 3mo
Centique @Aimeesue I‘m super aware now (thanks to my old book club) of the many things people don‘t like. Most of them are things I DO like 😂😂 I‘ve given up on the book club now - they hated so many books! 3mo
Hooked_on_books I really liked this one, too! I listened to the audio and found it fascinating. I just love your cover. UK? 3mo
batsy Such an insightful review! I would add it to that ginormous TBR if it wasn't already there 😆 (I miss @Reggie too!) 3mo
Ruthiella I liked this one too! Agree that it was in part commentary on the insidious consumer culture. 3mo
Centique @Hooked_on_books I just checked, it‘s an Australian edition 😊 3mo
Centique @batsy thanks so much! I‘d be so keen to hear your thoughts once you‘ve read it 😊👍 3mo
Reggie “Also, the mire that nostalgia can become.” That‘s so beautiful. I put this on every post of this book but that little girl behind the curtain. 😭. If you haven‘t read it check out Chemistry by Weike Wang. It‘s totally an unintentional companion book to this one. That MC is also an Asian immigrant and her mother is a huge influence as well. So glad you liked this book!!! 3mo
Centique @Reggie I‘ve got it on my TBR but sounds like I should move it up! Oh lord yes, the girl reading😭😭😭 3mo
essayareayaitch That's a good way to summarize the book. 2mo
90 likes4 stack adds16 comments
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Preciouz29
Pickpick

Solid read!

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Copwithabook
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I love reading a passage that isn‘t part of my culture, in a city I have never been to, but something about the order of those words, the feelings they invoke become real. I can feel what the author is reaching for. A memory that is a feeling, but also a smell, a taste. I love when good literature does this.

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Chelsea.Poole
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Pickpick

I liked this so much better after reading the reviews. I was slogging through and got to the abrupt end disappointed, BUT! Reading reviews has changed my perspective of what the author was doing and now I think I'm 'in-like' with this book! Very much a book of our times, or better yet, the past 5-10 years. A study of Consumerism for sure. the #audiobook may have been part of my issue with this one, I didn't enjoy the narration.

93 likes3 stack adds
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Chelsea.Poole
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#currentlyreading and listening to the #audiobook
Some strangeness, but also a whole bunch of truth about the current state of affairs in America. I'm not sure I'm connecting with this as much as I should, but jury's still out.

95 likes2 stack adds
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Aimeesue
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I really enjoyed this one. For fans of satire and critics of rampant capitalism. Anyone solely looking for a great apocalyptic book is likely to be disappointed with the story arc, as there‘s no real definite ending. The audiobook was great.

womenintranslation #wit

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Aimeesue
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#audiobookwalk

NYC millennials slow apocalypse. With Evian!

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mreads
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In this pre to post apocalyptic novel we follow Candace Chen as she eventually ends up on a #roadtonowhere.

#wanderingjune @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB

Cinfhen I‘ve seen mixed reviews but I‘m curious about this one 4mo
BarbaraBB Me too, I‘m gonna read it later this year. Did you like it? (edited) 4mo
mreads @BarbaraBB @Cinfhen I gave it 3⭐, I liked 3/4 of the storytelling and some picky points off for the world building. Would definitely read another book by her. 4mo
Reggie The part with the little girl behind the curtains....😭😭😭. What a douche bag that Bob! 4mo
mreads @Reggie oh Bob 😒 that whole section I could have done without 4mo
63 likes5 comments
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Jesstifies
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Panpan

Perhaps I had misaligned expectations for this book. I was expecting more humor and satire, but what I felt I got instead was a very slow narrative about a young woman with a boring job and crummy boyfriends. Admittedly I only got about 40% through before bailing, so maybe all the good stuff is at the end?

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KimmyM
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Pickpick

I'm not even sure how to review this book, but I really liked it. Great concept, beautifully written, and I love the cover.
4 / 5 ⭐

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lele1432
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"Everything was a status symbol and everything cost too much. There were so many on-trend consumers, standing in line for blocks to experience a fad dessert, gimmicky art exhibits, a new retail concept store."

Pretty much my thoughts on modern-day U.S. consumerism lol. #dystopia #dystopian #satire #botm

24 likes1 stack add
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britt_brooke
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Mehso-so

⭐️⭐️⭐️ Apocalyptic satire, docile zombies, millennial corporate monotony, and an immigrant story? Oh, and a love story. There was just WAY too much going on here. Plus, the timeline is nonlinear and sometimes confusing. I liked Ling Ma‘s writing style and she is obviously talented, but this story just wasn‘t for me.

Megabooks I‘ve been putting this one off for awhile...hmmm. Great review! 5mo
CoverToCoverGirl Great review! 5mo
britt_brooke @Megabooks Thanks! She had a lot of good ideas, but I didn‘t think they necessarily worked well together. 5mo
See All 6 Comments
britt_brooke @CoverToCoverGirl Thank you! ☺️ 5mo
QuintusMarcus I really liked the book, but your points are totally accurate. Just a little more discipline would have made this a fantastic novel. 5mo
britt_brooke @QuintusMarcus Thank you! That‘s a great way to put it and I think you‘re right. 5mo
124 likes1 stack add6 comments
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KimmyM
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I love getting to pick my next book to read. I've had this on my shelf for months and started it last night. I can't wait to have some more reading time this weekend so I can really get into it!
#currentlyreading

Jaimelire I enjoyed this one. 5mo
17 likes1 comment
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Caterina
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I've spent today going through boxes. My parents moved while I was living in Palestine, so there's a chaotic horde of things from my former pack-rat self. I'm committed to KonMari-ing it all before moving to California in August, so that my parents will only have a few boxes of mine to hold onto. As breaks from the dust and tiring emotions of this project, I've loved settling in with Severance today for the #24B4Monday #readathon. I'm at 3 hours.

Cathythoughts Great pic 5mo
52 likes1 stack add1 comment
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alisonrose
Pickpick

Though I‘m usually begging for more standalones, this is a case where I hope we get a follow up, but I‘d understand if the author didn‘t want to add on to where she left things. I really enjoyed this, I thought the use of time jumps was great, also the specific use of language & emotion—or lack thereof when appropriate. It manages to be a commentary on capitalism & society that doesn‘t feel heavy handed or trite. Unsettling in the best way. 4/5 ⭐️

43 likes1 stack add
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Caterina
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I've spent the afternoon and evening fighting off a bad headache, so instead of an evening walk I'm enjoying an evening porch reading. I already got plenty of working out in this morning, so it's nice to be "lazy" guilt-free. ? Now if only my headache would go away... #BOTM #bookofthemonth #BookFitnessChallenge #BFC @wanderinglynn

baes I hope you feel better soon! 5mo
britt_brooke I‘m reading this now, too! 5mo
KathyWheeler I hope your headache goes away. 5mo
See All 7 Comments
Kathrin Feel better! I really enjoyed that one! 5mo
BookwormAHN I hope you feel better soon 🌺 5mo
Chrissyreadit Feel better!!! 5mo
wanderinglynn Hope your headache goes away soon! 💚 5mo
56 likes7 comments
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alisonrose

It is too depressing, too soul-crushingly sad, to reminisce. The past is a black hole, cut into the present day like a wound, and if you come to close, you can get sucked in. You have to keep moving.

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alisonrose

At work, they knew me to be capable but fragile. Quiet, clouded up with daydreams. Usually diligent, though sometimes inconsistent, moody.

[Didn‘t realize I was the inspiration for this character.]

Cinfhen 😂😂😂 5mo
38 likes1 comment
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alisonrose
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Honestly, these days, a plague would probably only land at like 9 on a top ten list of shitty things happening in the country. 😣

Jee_HookedOnBookz Can't wait to read this book one day! 5mo
51 likes1 stack add1 comment
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GivenLemons
Pickpick

A really interesting look at modern life with its productivity fetish and routine through the lens of a post apocalyptic novel. It‘s really more about Candace as a microcosm of modern life than survival without contemporary society, which I liked!

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Kathrin
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I am really enjoying this even though I wished the past and present scenes would be organized a little different.

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JulAnna
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Mehso-so

Not quite a pick for me. I like quotation marks—enough said? 🤔

I like the cover on the right better.

26 likes1 stack add
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MrBook
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Image 12/~15 of shots of #NYC‘s Amazon bookstore.

This isn‘t a display, this is a regular bookcase area. All their books are face out. I like it better that way, but it does take up more shelf area making for less available titles.

If you can make them out, lol, have you read any of these? I‘ll see if I can share some close-ups later.

TheBookHippie Yes! I‘ve read a few of those!!! 6mo
Emilymdxn This is such a fascinating concept. I don‘t think I‘d actually shop there but it‘s so different I‘m loving your pics and reading about it 6mo
62 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Mem_ugh
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Pickpick

A friend recommended this book to me and holy crap is it a good one!! I was for sure hesitant upon reading the synopsis but I‘m glad I went for it. Ling Ma‘s meandering style of writing is probably not for everyone but if that‘s something you can get past it‘s a very enjoyable story of a dystopian world.

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Centique
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#audiowalking Listening to Bookriot‘s SFFYeah and checking out some more of my local beaches. Immediately inspired to read more SFF - it is my year of SFF after all 😂 - so I really want my hold on this book to come in!

merelybookish So pretty! 6mo
Freespirit Beautiful scenery😍 6mo
batsy Lovely 😍😍 6mo
See All 7 Comments
Centique @merelybookish @Freespirit @batsy thanks guys! I never get tired of these views - I‘m such a shoreline lover - rocks, rock pools, tides and caves - #shouldabeenamermaid 😂 hope I don‘t bore anyone to death with them! 6mo
Tanisha_A Looks so serene! 😍 6mo
Reggie So beautiful and I can‘t wait to hear what you think about this book!! I loved it!! 6mo
Cathythoughts Beautiful... love the seashore ♥️♥️♥️ 6mo
88 likes7 comments
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fleeting
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Pickpick

Unmoored, untethered, Candace continues on when fever descends, decimating the population. Because routine is what keeps you alive when there's nothing left to live for. But there's a flicker; so she roams, taking photos of abandoned places. Eventually it's time to go,but where? With a group of survivors to the Facility, a utopia envisioned by their self-appointed leader. She's held captive, but how do you keep one whose life is locked in routine?

fleeting She talks of the artists who make us see the "idealized NY in their images" instead of the real thing. The real fever is the modern-day malaise of having enough time while never having enough at the same time; the addiction to know yourself & yet never being able to. In the end, you walk somewhere, wanting it to be home, yet knowing it's only a pitstop in the constant movement you are all too familiar with. My 5 star read of the decade. 6mo
12 likes1 comment
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fleeting
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I'm loving this book so much I don't know why and it hurts.

Forget work (for a little bit) when you have a book like this.

suzisteffen Definitely loved this one, and the end ... whew. 6mo
fleeting @suzisteffen ughhhh I just finished and I. Want. More. Not that I felt shortchanged; I just wanted to savor this novel and really feel it. So much love for this! 6mo
11 likes2 comments
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fleeting
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Really into these apocalyptic novels as of late. Excited for this!

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aeeklund
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Pickpick

I‘ve been meaning to read this book for forever. Today was the day! I devoured it in basically one sitting (aside from when a certain Floof decided I was too engrossed). Beautifully written, engaging, and all-too-plausible. Really made me think about how much time and energy I invest in work vs. home/fulfillment. Definitely worth the attention it‘s receiving!

#miyacatsprite #miyareads #catsoflitsh

wanderinglynn What a beautiful cat! ❤️🐱 7mo
35 likes2 comments
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Jaimelire
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Pickpick

Great book. I enjoyed the main character‘s perspective on the gradual downfall of civilization. It was not as violent or as disturbing as some other books in this genre. The ending left things unresolved, but that did not bother me.

CouronneDhiver I always start out pronouncing that title as if it‘s a French word... 😆 Gets me every time! 7mo
Jaimelire @CouronneDhiver 😂 I do that all the time! 7mo
29 likes1 stack add2 comments