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Severance
Severance: A Novel | Ling Ma
Maybe it’s 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 Ma’s 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, she’s had her fill of uncertainty. She’s 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 won’t be able to make it on her own forever, though. Enter a group of survivors, led by the power-hungry IT tech Bob. They’re 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 Ma’s Severance is a moving family story, a quirky coming-of-adulthood tale, and a hilarious, deadpan satire. Most important, it’s a heartfelt tribute to the connections that drive us to do more than survive.
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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. 1d
14 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 2d
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 ⭐️

41 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! 3d
britt_brooke I‘m reading this now, too! 3d
KathyWheeler I hope your headache goes away. 3d
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Kathrin Feel better! I really enjoyed that one! 3d
BookwormAHN I hope you feel better soon 🌺 3d
Chrissyreadit Feel better!!! 3d
wanderinglynn Hope your headache goes away soon! 💚 3d
55 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 😂😂😂 5d
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! 5d
50 likes1 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.

25 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!!! 1mo
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 1mo
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! 2mo
Freespirit Beautiful scenery😍 2mo
batsy Lovely 😍😍 2mo
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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! 2mo
Tanisha_A Looks so serene! 😍 2mo
Reggie So beautiful and I can‘t wait to hear what you think about this book!! I loved it!! 2mo
Cathythoughts Beautiful... love the seashore ♥️♥️♥️ 2mo
86 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. 2mo
11 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. 2mo
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! 2mo
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! ❤️🐱 2mo
34 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 either.

CouronneDhiver I always start out pronouncing that title as if it‘s a French word... 😆 Gets me every time! 2mo
Jaimelire @CouronneDhiver 😂 I do that all the time! 2mo
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Jaimelire
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Official start to March break begins with a trip to the library and a chai tea. This week I plan to ski, go to the hot springs, eat lots of good food and read, read,read♥️⛷📚☕️

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suzisteffen
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#manicmonday @JoScho

📚Severance, by Ling Ma (as above)
🎞 Warm Bodies, completely goofy and sweet zombie movie based on Romeo and Juliet
🎶 Thriller, OBVIOUSLY #genX

monalyisha OBVIOUSLY 😅 2mo
JoScho 🖤🧟‍♀️🖤 2mo
10 likes2 comments
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bookwrm526
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Pickpick

This was my first book of March, and I‘m still thinking about it! I don‘t normally like ambiguous endings because they often feel like the author just ran out of steam, but this one was SO WELL DONE! It took me a bit to get into it, especially with all the time jumps, but it really pulled me in.

Reggie Oof, the little girl behind the curtain...😭 3mo
bookwrm526 @Reggie YES!!!! 3mo
SilversReviews LOVE this photo!! 3mo
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Jaimelire Sounds good. I just placed a hold on it at my library! 3mo
bookwrm526 @SilversReviews Thanks :) I try to drive a lot of backroads when I go places in S.C. and I like taking photos of old houses and abandoned barns and things 3mo
bookwrm526 @Jaimelire I was on hold forever, but it was worth it 3mo
SilversReviews @bookwrm526 Fun thing to do. Thanks for sharing. 3mo
46 likes1 stack add7 comments
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BookishShelly
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Panpan

This seemed good and interesting in the first half, then got really boring.

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Annl
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Pickpick

Based on the recommendation of @Redheadrambles I picked up this book from my library. My only complaint, I want more!

Redheadrambles Awww great I am pleased you enjoyed it and yes I wanted more as well 3mo
33 likes1 comment
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collegecatlady
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Pickpick

I can‘t believe that this is a debut novel. So bitterly poignant in all the right ways. While this is dystopic, this is more about the drone of late stage capitalism and its destruction on millennials. Candace is a character I‘d like to return to in the future. The perfect satire.

Reviewsbylola I loved this so much. 3mo
8little_paws I read this twice last year I loved it so much 3mo
87 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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Redheadrambles
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Well, what can I say, two of my six reads were outstanding and two were a complete disaster ( which unfortunately were the books chosen for #indiebuddyreads this month !) the remaining two were interesting but flawed.
4 / 24 on Read Harder - steady as she goes we are on course :)

#monthlyroundup #monthlywrapup #Februaryreview

ClairesReads Your month was a total mixed bag like mine. Glad we could be grumps together! 3mo
ClairesReads Ps I bought Severance and The Ice Shelf yesterday on your recommendation! 3mo
Redheadrambles @ClairesReads yep it sure was and now I am in a mini slump 🥺. I hope you like both of those books Claire. 3mo
ClairesReads Thanks Trudie- I‘m sure I will! 3mo
ClairesReads @Redheadrambles ps I‘m reading a crime book now to try to get myself going again 3mo
18 likes5 comments
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EKonrad
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Pickpick

Finally, a post-apocalyptic novel that feels fresh and inventive. I've gotten pretty tired of regular ol' zombies, so I loved Ling Ma's creation of "the fevered" - infected people that end up endlessly repeating tasks until they die. The only downside to me was that the jumping around in time frames felt a little disjointed at times. Can‘t wait for more of her work though! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ #Netgalley

C.Perone Interesting 🧐 3mo
42 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Avidreader25
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Pickpick

This is technically a post-apocalyptic book, but the Shen fever that leaves much of the world dead or incapacitated is hardly the point. Candace is the millennial daughter of Chinese immigrants. Her experience both before the outbreak and after reflects on immigration, consumerism, social connection, and so much more. She is oddly detached, but the writing is so enthralling it‘s hard to look away.

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tome.fries
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What do you do when your to-read pile keeps growing and growing and growing but you're also super into Broadchurch?? 😫 I need a vacation just to read.

GingerAntics Oh Broadchurch is worth not reading for, though. Just saying. 3mo
13 likes1 comment
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Redheadrambles
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

I can't get enough of these “Millennial Malaise” novels at the moment. So much so, I really want to host a dinner party with Candace, Janice (The Ice Shelf) and the unnamed protagonist from My Year of Rest and Relaxation.

Is this the most laid back, hipster style apocalypse novel ever written ? This is a millennial era nightmare - folding Juicy Couture T shirts on repeat until someone puts you out of your misery.
Loved it.

Cinfhen Fabulous review 3mo
ClairesReads So keen to read this 3mo
Redheadrambles @Cinfhen thanks :) 3mo
See All 7 Comments
Redheadrambles @ClairesReads if only we had selected this one instead of The Italian Teacher! 3mo
ClairesReads @Redheadrambles oh to be honest I‘m scared to start it now! 3mo
ClairesReads The Hadley better be good! 3mo
Redheadrambles @ClairesReads it has to be right ? She is a serious author ... this one is ... I have sort of found a rhythm I guess and it reads fast. 3mo
29 likes7 comments
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AlizaApp
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Pickpick

A millennial in New York experiences the fall of civilization while thinking about her immigrant parents, the life of a city, and the point of having an unfulfilling office job. Clever and observant. #HalfBloodBingo

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jennw1212
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About to start this one...

Heideschrampf Yay! Hello, Doctor! 3mo
11 likes1 comment
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Owlizabeth
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Pickpick

I finished this last night, but wanted to sleep on my review because this book was really fantastic but the ending. I wanted more, I didn‘t want it to end, especially not so ambiguously. But I realize this morning that it was kind of perfect and we can‘t always know everything. The writing was lovely and I was fully invested in Candace‘s life and experiences. Interesting take on the apocalypse. Do recommend.👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

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Owlizabeth
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Who else is up past their bedtime reading?

I‘m really really liking this one. I hope it sticks the landing.

CouronneDhiver 🙋🏽‍♀️ 3mo
Crazeedi 🖐🖐 its midnight and I am still reading, but my book is so good. I have to get up for church in am!!!! 3mo
abbielistenstobooks Meeeeeeee I gotta finish this ebook before it expires tomorrow! 3mo
See All 10 Comments
CindyRene Yep me too! 🙋🌜📚 3mo
BookishMarginalia 🙋🏻‍♀️ 3mo
Annl Still up reading. 3mo
Bethaj11 I really liked ‘Severance” too, great book!! 3mo
Owlizabeth @CouronneDhiver @Crazeedi @abbielistenstobooks @CindyRene @BookishMarginalia @Annl I hope y‘all got some sleep! The kiddo was up way too early for my liking!! 😴 3mo
CindyRene @Owlizabeth yep this more came quick. Getting ready for church. 💒 3mo
Crazeedi @Owlizabeth I can't drive yet, still recovering, and hubby wasn't feeling well, so I didn't get to church. Probably a good thing since I didn't get much sleep! 3mo
77 likes10 comments
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Owlizabeth
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Up next...

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Erinreadsthebooks
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Hey Group A, here's some options for #lmpbc. Any preferences? Ones you've already read so we should avoid? Thoughts? Looking forward to our reads together!

fandom_hellspawn99 Oh wow all those look great to me! So it's really up to everyone else here, I haven't read any of them 😁 3mo
irre You‘re going to hate me 🤦‍♀️ I read all of them. (And they are all great) 3mo
Erinreadsthebooks @irre 😂😂👍🏼 I'll try again. Be on the lookout for another post tonight or tomorrow. 3mo
irre Thanks 😀 3mo
LMJenkins I‘ve read the two on the left. 🥰 3mo
34 likes5 comments
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cariashley
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Pickpick

This was darker than I was expecting, but immensely readable and engaging. A really smart commentary on consumerist culture and the blind reliance on industry and routine in this country. It was the surprising first pick for my newly created office book club and I‘m really interested in hearing everyone‘s reactions! #BOTM

mdemanatee My book club is meeting about this one Friday! 3mo
cariashley It‘s a really great book club book! 3mo
CouronneDhiver I hate that cover but your review made me super curious! 🤔 3mo
cariashley @CouronneDhiver the cover is slightly better in person than in photos, to me at least. It‘s definitely worth a read though! 3mo
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mdhughes72
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Pickpick

This is such a Rorschach test for so many Littens. I‘ve decided that it‘s not a critique of capitalism or millennials. It‘s a story of the vital importance of PLACE. An immigrant child, now pregnant & alone amidst a zombie apocalypse, the MC just wants to find her place in the world. And it ain‘t the suburbs! She can find culture, calling, & community — & genocidal germs — only in the big city. One of my very top reads of the new year ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

CaitlinR Great book. 3mo
93 likes7 stack adds1 comment
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cariashley
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After a bad night‘s sleep am starting the day right with coffee, a delicious cruller from my favorite local place and my next read. Am about 100 pages in and really liking it so far - I love the multiple timeline structure. #BOTM #coffeecrullerbook

60 likes1 stack add
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akfreeborn
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Pickpick

I actually really enjoyed this dystopian tale. It had a lot of keen commentary on immigration, working, consumerism and belonging. I felt sad for the protagonist and her loneliness. I know some didn‘t like the ending but it really was the best possible.

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Expandingbookshelf
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Pickpick

I was late coming back from lunch because I HAD to know how this book ended. It‘s a well-written post-apocalyptic satire about a woman who survives an epidemic that wipes out most of humanity. The book doesn‘t quite stick the landing, but it was still a unique, unpredictable ride.

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rmaclean4
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Mehso-so

I am torn about this dystopian novel. I found it difficult to relate to the main character and almost DNF'ed this book. But as I got deeper into the writing I started to see what the author was trying to achieve. It is a searing complementary on our shallow consumerist life style. I am glad that I read the entire novel, but I would not say that I really enjoyed it.

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Brooke_H
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Mehso-so

I don't want to say much about this novel because I do think it's best to read it with as few spoilers as possible. I heard a few reviews of this book that talked about how funny it is, and I did not find it funny at all. I thought it was bleak, emotionless, depressing. The premise is excellent, and I really did get sucked in to parts of it. But the ending was the worst, and that really colored my whole reading experience.

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DebinHawaii
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My #soupersundays Bowl this week: Shrimp and Coconut Milk Soup with Rice. Definitely a more exciting Souper Bowl 🍲😋than the one on television. 😉Link to blog post & recipe is below.

With one of my current reads, a recent library pick of a dystopian satire (according to the blurb) that between the description & pink cover, grabbed me. It looks to be a quick read if I can just find the time to fit it in.

How do Sunday nights happen so soon?! 😬

DebinHawaii Link to soup recipe, adapted & souped up from The Gourmet Cookbook: http://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-souper-bowl-of-shrimp-in-coconut-mi... 4mo
TheBookAddict Looks sooo yummy! I‘ll have to check out the recipe. 🙂👍🏽 4mo
Annl I just had the same thought, wasn‘t it Friday like a minute ago? Love all the soup recipes. Soups are my go to food. 4mo
Tamra Souper Bowl for sure! 4mo
122 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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carolynnrising
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End of the world journey story? OKAY. #bestpartofwakingup #coffee #doughnut #mimosa #sundaybrunchandabook

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cinann
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It was a good month for reading. I read ten books in January (two were returned to the library already). I'm halfway through one more, but that will count towards February.

#finale #anewchapter
@vkois88 @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Great stack!!! 4mo
16 likes1 stack add1 comment
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beaconhillbooks
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Pickpick

3.5 stars:

I really had no clue the direction of this novel. Who would think there is a dystopian novel in a pastel pink cover? But it also such an observant look at society especially from an immigrant‘s perspective. I don‘t think this book will be for everyone, and for me, I‘m still not quite sure what I thought of it... but I am continuing to think of it.