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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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TheBookDream
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Pickpick

One of the best books I‘ve read in ages. Can‘t recommend enough!

34 likes1 stack add
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TheBookDream
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This was a good weekend 😋

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TheBookDream
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Lunch was great 😋

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TheBookDream
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My bookmarks from @Kayla.Adriena They were pressed into service immediately lol. Thanks!

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sullengirl
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Pickpick

Finished this like a week ago but forgot to write a review.

I couldn‘t put this one down. The weirdly-timed subject matter, the witty prose, and the commentary on life under late capitalism was both a joy and depressing to take in all at once. Candace is a deeply engaging protagonist, and the ending was hopeful. I loved it! Looking forward to more from Ma in the future.

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vlwelser
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Book fair at work today. #Spoiled

This is what I bought with my free credit.

Megabooks This was really interesting! 5mo
vlwelser @Megabooks good. Meg seal of approval ✔. I didn't really do any research. I just picked a vendor and found a book that was already on my wish list. 5mo
48 likes2 comments
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sullengirl
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Absolutely loving this so far. I‘ve had it on my shelf for over a year and finally remembered it. The writing is so funny, and how bizarre is the timing of the subject?

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thewallflower0707
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Pickpick

I‘ve decided to try this book again properly. It‘s about Candace, a Chinese-American, who is one the few to survive a pandemic. Sounds familiar? It‘s eerily how close the author comes to explain how a pandemic 😷 influences our lives & changes our city. I recommend to be in a good headspace for this.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️,5 /5 #severance #lingma

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she.hearts.horror
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I don‘t know to feel ..

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Christinak
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Pickpick

Quirky, dark humor, and zombies.
I read this straight through.
#Februarybookclubpick

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juliehope1019
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Two years ago today, I finished reading this book about a pandemic; blissfully unaware of how the world was about to change.

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MeganAnn
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Pickpick

I was unsure if I wanted to read a book about a pandemic right now… but this was darkly comforting. The story moves back & forth between different parts of Candace‘s which worked well in this case. The parts about wearing masks & how people responded to a pandemic in this book (published in 2018) were eerily accurate. I sort of wish it hadn‘t ended & I could keep reading the rest of her story past where the author left it.
January #roll100 book 2

Nessavamusic Nice job! 8mo
Reggie Omg, the little girl behind the curtain!😭 and that a-hole Bob!!! 8mo
PuddleJumper That's great! 8mo
68 likes4 comments
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Decalino
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Pickpick

It must have been spooky for the author of this 2018 book, set in NY during a devastating epidemic, to see the events of 2020 unfold. Candace Chen keeps showing up to work long after her coworkers have vanished; meanwhile, the "fevered" mindlessly repeat trivial tasks, caught in the grip of a deadly fungal infection. It made me think about Zone One by Colson Whitehead, and the ultimately meaningless tasks that eat up so many of our hours.

readordierachel I loved this one 8mo
21 likes1 comment
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Mskt6891
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Jari-chan
New York Ghost | Ling Ma
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Mehso-so

This book has recently won an award, but I've already forgotten which one. But the prize was the only reason I read it. After finishing it, I can say that I wouldn't have had to. It's just another dystopian book, and the only interesting thing about it is the Chinese background of the MC. The book sort of felt like TWD without the action and boring zombies. Not a pan, but I'm not convinced either.

@TheAromaofBooks #BookSpinBingo

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 11mo
33 likes1 comment
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Amiable
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Awww, thank you so much for the treats package, @Lauram ! Completely unnecessary because I thoroughly enjoyed participating in your #summer2021 giveaway, but totally appreciated all the same!

Lauram I‘m so sorry for the delay! I hope you enjoy your books. 12mo
Amiable @Lauram I'm sure I will! Still baffled by the box being returned to you. The postal service seems to get more unreliable every day, unfortunately. 12mo
49 likes2 comments
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IselaKay
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Pickpick

I decided to squeeze in this read before the end of the month!

Review ⬆️

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KimM
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Pickpick

Post-plague dystopian novel. Well-written though not necessarily unique. I enjoyed it.

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Pedrocamacho
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed Candace‘s story. It manages to be an immigrant story along with being post-apocalyptic…and an interesting/unusual apocalypse to boot. The fever doesn‘t result in ravenous zombies. Rather, bodies “sleepwalking”, mimicking the actions of life.

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AFrostCauseReads
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Pickpick

It‘s unsettling reading about a pandemic these days. At least this one was due to fungus spores.

But it served as a catalyst to talk about the individuals relationship to society through an emotionally detached MC. Do we go to our jobs because it‘s expected of us? Do we have romantic partners because we need them? Do we preform well in society as friends, daughters, mothers?

A big part of this was also about a Chinese immigration experience.

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AFrostCauseReads
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Hoping for a slightly destructive storm to have a day to myself. I‘ve been in this mood for the past decade.

Living in New England it would occasionally happen. One day a storm got so bad a telephone pole fell over in the parking where I worked. Streetlights at a major intersection started snapping as the roads started flooding. We lost power, but the pizza place across the street was still running. I closed up shop and took my crew out for pizza

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Michael_Gee
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Pickpick

The relatable tale of a young adult coming to terms with America‘s way-of-life (its capitalist system of the few exploiting the young and productive) just when a pandemic comes along to turn the world‘s population into zombies performing the rote day-to-day tasks that consumed their conscious lives. A meditation on city living, of decision making, of looking for a better way of life, always.

Reggie I put this on all the reviews but the little girl behind the curtain with her book…😭😭😭Also Eff, Bob!!! Lol I loved this book. 1y
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Michael_Gee

The city was so big. It lulled you into thinking that there were so many options, but most of the options had to do with buying things: dinner entrees, cocktails, the cover charge to a nightclub.
[…]
Even if a woman doesn‘t have anything, the movies seemed to say, at least there is the city. The city was posited as the ultimate consolation.

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FelinesAndFelonies
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Pickpick

I stumbled across this looking for a BOTM add-on. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it since I have never really seen it discussed. Candace is the last survivor in New York City after a pandemic hits that nearly wipes out mankind. She is taken in by a small group of survivors who are journeying to 'the Facility' just outside of Chicago. The story is told through pre-pandemic memories & her current experience. I'd recommend it as an add-on.⭐⭐⭐⭐

Reggie I put this on all the reviews but that little girl behind the curtains!!! 😭 1y
MaleficentBookDragon I really liked this book even though I was tense the whole time reading it. 1y
FelinesAndFelonies @Reggie I was heartbroken. I figured there was someone else when mom set four place settings but damn. Because it was our first introduction to the fevered, I think I expected them to attack or be threatening in some way. Their lack of aggression made the outcome of their stalk so much harder to process. ☹️ 1y
70 likes3 comments
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FelinesAndFelonies
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Where/when is the strangest place you've read a book?

Finishing up my tattoo & this book tonight.

I picked Severance up a couple of months ago as a #BOTM add-on. It has been a quick read so far & I've enjoyed it. Surprised it hasn't received more attention given the last 18 months of world events. 🌎

Johanna414 I need to read this one! My sister (who almost never gives me book recs) has been raving about it 1y
dylanisreading I read while getting my most recent tattoo. 1y
llcoolnate This is a great idea! 1y
63 likes3 comments
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RyanMHoward
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Pickpick

Yesterday I finished reading Severance by Ling Ma.

A photographer alone in NYC continues her day job as humanity goes extinct from a fungal fever.

This was a cool and fresh take on the post-apocalypse genre, centered more around what daily life during the end of the world might be like, as opposed to the more action-y tropes of the genre.

I found it to be a beautiful and vulnerable story about nostalgia, and letting go.

#ShortReview #LingMa

Reggie Ughhhh the little girl behind the curtain😭. F U Bob! Lol, I liked this one a lot. 1y
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suvata
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Pickpick

I loved this book but it‘s probably not a good idea for anyone who was severely affected by Covid to read it right now.

“Shen Fever slowly obliterates global civilization. Severance [is a satire that] explores themes of nostalgia, modern office culture, monotony, and intimate relationships. The novel, Ma's debut, won the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Fiction and was included on many prominent Best Books of 2018 lists.”

MaleficentBookDragon I recently read this one. I thought it was real, interesting, and really eerie that it was written before covid. (edited) 1y
suvata @MaleficentBookDragon Yes, the COVID connection is what made it even creepier. 1y
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eve
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Pickpick

I‘m glad I didn‘t read this at the beginning of the pandemic... but awfully glad I read it. It‘s not technically about zombies, but it‘s about zombies, but like all content about zombies, it‘s about humans and the awful things we do to one another. And it‘s about connection and disconnection, memory, soulless and unethical work under capitalism, New York City, feeling lost, and ghosts. And it‘s just a really good novel.

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Ang203l
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Too soon for a virus book? Nah!

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Librariana
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Waiting for the hubby while he hangs out at Lowe's 😁

#parkinglotreading

Copwithabook Can‘t wait to see what you think of it; I had to bail on it. 1y
38 likes1 comment
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Erin.Elizabeth10
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Pickpick

Oh. My. Gosh. I have SO many things to say about this book! It blew my mind. Reading it in a COVID world, it was incredible that it was published in 2018. It‘s like totally prophetic! Also I work in Christian publishing, and so the main character‘s job in Bible publishing was kinda eerie. On top of that, the storytelling, characters, and imaginativeness of this book were just so good! Wow.

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Rissreads
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Pickpick

This book was sad, sad, sad from beginning to end but god it was good! The similarities with its depictions of a pandemic were spooky, especially because it was written in 2018. There are so many scenes that will stick with me, especially to do with Candace wondering around a deserted New York City taking photos for her blog page. It‘s just helped cement my desire to visit NY one day.
Apocalyptic fiction is my jam!

Reggie Awww, the part that made me cry was the girl behind the curtain. And then I got angry cause Bob was an *******. Glad you liked this book! 1y
Rissreads @Reggie yep that scene really got me too, how she was shredding hair in her mouth! 1y
33 likes2 comments
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Twainy
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Mehso-so

🎧 So confusing as the timeline is constantly shifting from childhood memories to pre-pandemic to early days of the pandemic to current day.

Candice‘s parents died pre-pandemic, she‘s living off her inheritance in NYC in a dead end job, she‘s basically entitled clueless & aimless, her BF tells her that he‘s leaving NYC for WA due to the cost of living, she finds out she‘s pregnant.

⭐️⭐️⭐️👇🏻

Twainy Then the Shen Fever (pandemic) which originated in China hits killing almost everyone. (Written in 2019, creepy).

This illness basically makes you the walking dead, pointlessly reliving your most predominant habits over & over until you die.

Not a fast paced zombie horror story at all! I didn‘t like the MC & only barely liked a few supporting characters. It‘s not bad just not what I expected. It has something to say, you may want to read it? 😁
1y
25 likes1 comment
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MaleficentBookDragon
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It‘s hard to believe this was written pre-COVID. Some passages felt creepy and eerie..

Reggie Cue Twilight Zone music. I loved this book but kinda hated the ending. 2y
64 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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MaleficentBookDragon
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I‘m FINALLY starting a book that @CaringLoudly loaned me about 3 years ago. 😬

NikkiM5 I enjoyed Severance, can‘t wait to hear what you think 2y
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Emilymdxn
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Pickpick

This was a difficult, poignant read during the pandemic, but I thought it was pretty flawless around that or maybe because of that. It was weird reading a book from 2018 about bickering over N95 masks and watching workplaces empty out around you slowly. I loved comparing Candace‘s unmoored, unfulfilling millennial life before the pandemic end then drifting between cities during it

Angitron I absolutely loved this one! I read it a couple of years ago, and I agree - it‘s a weird feeling to kinda see the things she talks about in the book happening all around us! 2y
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Annie1215
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this. Aside from the obvious connection to the pandemic, I enjoyed the overall theme.

The tone and flow of the story was so easy and engaging.

Got my first full read off of my February #bookspinbingo board!

Reggie I put this on everybody‘s post of this book but the little girl behind the curtains...😭 2y
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!!! 2y
67 likes2 comments
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candority
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Pickpick

Another night, another vibrant bath bomb! This one is Roar! 🦖 from Lush. I love the green, but wasn‘t a fan of all the brown powder that coated my bathtub 😂

I thought Severance was an interesting read, but the ending felt so rushed and underwhelming. This is a low pick for me. 3.5⭐️

Kappadeemom I need to try that one! 2y
batsy Love the pink and green! 2y
candority @batsy Me too! It strangely works 😊 2y
114 likes1 stack add4 comments
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NikkiM5
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Pickpick

Severance was an interesting pre/post-apocalyptic story. The book relates so well to our current pandemic situation, that it is actually scary. It made me check the publishing date (2018). The main character‘s backstory and her family history makes up a large portion of the book. So if you are looking for a post-apocalyptic story, Severance is not heavy on that. This is a pick for me 👍🏾

Reggie The little girl behind the curtains...😭 and also eff Bob! 2y
NikkiM5 @Reggie for real. He is the classic “I‘m a good guy” villain 2y
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qchammer
Pickpick

It has all the elements I like: an Asian perspective in America, an apocalyptic plot (that feels like the doomsday path of covid!), and its sci-fi that‘s not sci-fi. Who would have thought a society ending pandemic would highlight the monotony of both living and surviving? Really nice moments about the wtf of capitalism. Weak ending, but overall had a good time getting there

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NikkiM5

1. Severance
2. Yes, I have prioritized reading. A lot less social media and more reading.
3. The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson thanks @Reggie

Reggie 🤗I hope you like it! 2y
ozma.of.oz Your tagged book for 1 sounds like an intense read! Thanks for posting! (edited) 2y
14 likes2 comments
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theshrinkette
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Pickpick

Maybe not the best idea to have read this while we're literally in a pandemic? The novel walks a fine line between lit and genre fic, and I had to keep reminding myself it was satire. I devoured it in one sitting but the ending was underwhelming. I'd like to read more of her work though.

BookishMarginalia I also felt it was a mistake to read it during the pandemic. I was quite underwhelmed too. 2y
26 likes1 comment
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theshrinkette
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Anyone else balk at fictional pandemic descriptions or is it just me?

Librariana This one is, of course, on the TBR along with 2y
Librariana My last post about "The Dreamers" is from several months back when the pandemic had been declared and I had to take a break from art imitating life! 2y
24 likes3 comments
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theshrinkette
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Vacation has officially ended. Over the last couple weeks, I've rekindled the habit of starting off my day with reading. I'm hoping to keep this up. Just this hour to myself, when I'm feeling relatively fresh, before my calendar takes over my day.

MatchlessMarie I used to start my day reading for an hour too. It‘s a great habit that I never should have stopped. 2y
theshrinkette @MatchlessMarie Same! 2019-2020 got away from me in big ways so I'm eager to keep this going now. 2y
Suet624 Yes, I do the same way. Coffee and a book in bed for an hour. 2y
BarbaraBB I have introduced that habit too since a few years ago. It‘s the best way to start the day! 2y
Curiouser_and_curiouser If I can wake up early enough, I'm finding it certainly is the best way to begin the day 😊 2y
38 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Karmapen
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Mehso-so

I feel like this book was on the verge of being excellent. There were moments—especially once the fever hit and Candace joins the band led by Bob— that were truly intriguing and perfectly paced. Overall, though, I was disappointed; it felt like the moral of the story was that everyone you love will leave you or die.

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NikkiM5
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This book looks awesome; I hope to get some reading in tonight. Also, I get to enjoy Ghirardelli from the source and a local bookstore bookmark ❤️Thank you so much derr.liz

Reggie Ohhhh I loved this book. I hope you enjoy it and the chocolate! Merry Christmas. 2y
NikkiM5 @Reggie started it last night and I am already into it. Merry Christmas to you too 😊 2y
Gissy I have that one, need to read it! 2y
NikkiM5 @Gissy I am more than half way through, it‘s pretty good 2y
Gissy Maybe I can read it in Asian readathon hosted by a YouTuber called Cindy. She recommended it last year but I‘m a slow reader, I couldn‘t complete all the challenges. 2y
24 likes5 comments
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Lauren890
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I really enjoyed Severance and thought it was well written and absorbing. A few parts were downright creepy. It‘s such a odd time to read a book about a pandemic and it gave me a lot to think about. It‘s good to be reminded of the things I just do automatically without thinking. 😳 I‘d definitely be interested in reading another book by this author.

Reggie Ughhh the little girl behind the curtain...😭 Lol FU Bob! 2y
Lauren890 Right?! So creepy!! 2y
18 likes2 comments
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Well-ReadNeck
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Panpan

I‘m blown away that this book has been so highly touted. I found it to be an absolute 🥱

Ruthiella I really liked it in the same way I liked The New Me or Bunny or The Pisces...this sort of young woman adrift storylines... 2y
BarbaraBB What @Ruthiella says, plus maybe Station Eleven. I didn‘t go in with high expectations. 2y
Dogearedcopy This was a selection for my workplace book club and I struggled mightily to find something, *anything* engaging about it. Months now since I‘ve read it and I cannot recall why I would have given it a “thumbs up!” Correcting that now... 2y
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Dogearedcopy Lol, I think I originally gave it a “Pick” rating because I had just finished reading *another* book club title that was just not very good at all— so ‘Severance‘ probably felt like a masterwork in comparison! (edited) 2y
Well-ReadNeck @Ruthiella @barbarabb @dogearedcopy Was talking to someone who has been recommending it as good pandemic reading and they told me that they found it to be spot on with the uncertainty, living in your head, and boredom of the pandemic. Which I agree with and it‘s interesting that this was written before. But, dang, I really just need some plot. Also, I recently read Leave the World Behind which I thought was 💯 So true @ comparisons!!!! 2y
BarbaraBB I wasn‘t a fan of this one either but I love a good dystopian so will check out 2y
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shaynarae
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Pickpick

A post-apocalyptic story about an epidemic spread globally was exactly what I knew I was getting into, but felt a but a little too unnervingly close to reality. Only slightly zombie-esque, this was one of the smartest post-apocalyptic stories I‘ve read. It‘s about nostalgia and repetitive comforts, challenging the reader to discern the difference in life vs a zombie-ish existence.

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CandiReadsBooks
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Pickpick

Reading a novel about a pandemic that started in China while living through a pandemic that started in China! I read this book simply because the main character and I share a name. It was eerie to read this book as the nature of the book‘s pandemic is similar to current events. We‘re nearing 200,000 deaths — in the book 237,000. It‘s crazy to read what happens when a small amount of people survive and want to continue living.