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The Woman Upstairs
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
51 posts | 72 read | 67 to read
Nora Eldridge, a 37-year-old elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is on the verge of disappearing. Having abandoned her desire to be an artist, she has become the "woman upstairs," a reliable friend and tidy neighbour always on the fringe of others' achievements. Then into her classroom walks a new pupil, Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale. He and his parents--dashing Skandar, a half-Muslim Professor of Ethical History born in Beirut, and Sirena, an effortlessly glamorous Italian artist--have come to America for Skandar to teach at Harvard.But one afternoon, Reza is attacked by schoolyard bullies who punch, push and call him a "terrorist," and Nora is quickly drawn deep into the complex world of the Shahid family. Soon she finds herself falling in love with them, separately and together. Nora's happiness explodes her boundaries--until Sirena's own ambition leads to a shattering betrayal.Written with intimacy and piercing emotion, this urgently dispatched story of obsession and artistic fulfillment explores the thrill--and the devastating cost--of giving in to one's passions. The Woman Upstairs is a masterly story of America today, of being a woman and of the exhilarations of love.
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review
irre
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Pickpick

This was great!

68 likes3 stack adds
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irre
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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The books I ordered with my Christmas gift card came. 😍📚😍

readordierachel Looks like some good ones! 6mo
Ruthiella Nice stack!😀 6mo
85 likes2 comments
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s_hemm19
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud

I can see that it was one small thought among all the other thoughts that drift like dust motes through a cluttered mind. But it was a thought I made an object, and held on to and turned over and over in my hand, as if it were an amulet, as if it gave meaning to what had come before; and holding on to it changed everything again.

CrowCAH Welcome to the Litsy family!!! 📚 7mo
Ericalambbrown Welcome! Hope you love it here! 7mo
Cinfhen I liked this book, even though the MC was really unlikeable 😬 7mo
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CoffeeNBooks Welcome to Litsy! 📚 7mo
TheSpineView Welcome! ❤📘 7mo
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🤗 7mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome to Litsy!! 7mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 📖💙 7mo
deadrabbitsbooks Welcome to Litsy! 7mo
25 likes10 comments
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Blaire
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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“Don‘t ever get yourself stuck like this.” Advice from Nora‘s mother to her daughter about marriage. The protagonist is an angry frustrated single lady. Felt mixed about this book, it did lead to an interesting convo about likeability of characters vs enjoying a book and the difft standards for female characters. #aprella #singleladies (photo credit nyt book review).

Cinfhen Agreed, a very polarizing read and a very unlikable character ~ ending got a little 🙄😳but I thought it made for an interesting book (edited) 1y
Reviewsbylola Sounds intense! 1y
emilyhaldi I‘m intrigued!! 1y
Blaire @Cinfhen @Reviewsbylola @emilyhaldi I can‘t say I loved it, but I am glad I read it - if that makes sense. It was interesting and different and a perspective that is not often given voice in popular literature. Certainly had some very strong parts. 1y
45 likes1 stack add4 comments
review
Mcoun
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Mehso-so

I feel about this book the same way I felt after reading The Emperor‘s Children. It kept me engaged for the most part, although there were parts where I felt it dragged on unnecessarily. In the end, I had very little sympathy for Nora, who was gullible in her neediness.

8little_paws Ditto 1y
67 likes1 stack add1 comment
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alisonrose
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
Mehso-so

I ... am not sure how I feel about this book. I liked the writing style, and I do love me a pissed off, unlikeable female protagonist. But I also found Nora to be a bit too pathetic at times, and the other main characters to be a bit cartoonish & two-dimensional. And the ending felt unfinished. But I did like the exploration of being a middle aged woman (as I'm approaching) who hasn't given the world what it thinks she should've. So ... eh? 3/5 ⭐️

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alisonrose
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud

Above all, in my anger, I was sad. Isn't that always the way, that at the heart of the fire is a frozen kernel of sorrow that the fire is trying--valiantly, fruitlessly--to eradicate.

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alisonrose
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud

Hunger of one kind or another--desire, by another name--is the source of almost every sorrow.

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alisonrose
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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LOLOL well hey, this is a good start, at least 🖕🏻😝🖕🏻

23 likes1 stack add
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alisonrose
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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I have no idea what this is about other than the vague synopsis on the back, so hopefully it won't totally suck. #nowreading

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jhod
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Pickpick

I'd only read about a fifth of this before today (busy month) but raced through the rest of it now I'm on holiday and it's great - anger, love, jealousy - really raw, bitter emotions. Loved it.
And also am sooooo excited about a lie-in tomorrow :-)

Rcoco Awesome expression of anger in this book. 2y
105 likes1 comment
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jhod
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Ouch! Bit close to home, ha!

MyBookLife Haha, right!!? 2y
BookishBelle Yep. A little too close. 2y
Nute Maybe I‘ll give this author another go. I tried reading The Emperor‘s Children a few years ago and just could not get into it. However, this story sounds interesting based on the passages you‘ve selected. 2y
79 likes1 stack add3 comments
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jhod
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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What a first page!
#newbook
#currentlyreading

ClairesReads Just read my first Messud and loved it 2y
Rcoco This book is pretty unforgettable 😳 2y
batsy Oh wow. 2y
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BarbaraBB Wow, I hope the rest is just as good. Let us know! 2y
nomadreader I loved this one! 2y
TheAliceEvers Sounds fantastic! 2y
MicheleinPhilly I ADORED this book! 2y
SilversReviews I like the title...sounds good. 2y
minkyb Wow! 2y
Kristyngansen I loved the writing in this book. I do t know if the story was my absolute favorite, but I was blown away by the change in the writing matter the event that made the main character this angry. Loved that part. 2y
jhod @Kristyngansen it's taking me an age to read - busy month - but am looking forward to getting stuck in over the weekend. Will let you know how I get on :-) 2y
85 likes16 stack adds11 comments
blurb
Cinfhen
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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#Rocktober Nora leads a quiet life at 42 years old, a schoolteacher & part time artist. And then into her life comes a family: Reza Shahid, a beautiful young boy of exotic background joins her class. As Nora becomes infatuated with the boy & his family she finds she's #InTooDeep

BarbaraBB Sounds like a book I must read! 2y
105 likes2 stack adds1 comment
review
Well-ReadNeck
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Panpan

🤷🏽‍♀️

I just didn‘t not get it. Started with a bang, but slowed to a snail‘s crawl early. I enjoyed The Emperor‘s Children and The Burning Girl, but this one didn‘t do it for me.

AmyG Agreed! I just couldn't get into this one. 2y
DivineDiana Too bad. Sounds interesting! 2y
75 likes2 comments
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mrozzz
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Ended my book-venture with a latte and some of the backlist of 2 renowned authors I have yet to read (shocking I know but Underground Railroad is still waiting on my TBR).
#BookHaul

After this I SERIOUSLY NEED TO GET IN ON THE BOOK BAN BINGO GAME (that's what I'll labor through on Labor Day tomorrow 🤞🏻)

#LitsyPartyOfOne

Lmstraubie Not shocking - still on mine too 😣 2y
mrozzz @Lmstraubie now I don't know if I want to read Underground Railroad first or one of these! 2y
mrozzz Ugh totally. Maybe I'll go backwards. Maybe I'll change my mind again next week 🤷🏼‍♀️ 2y
84 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Liberty
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Evening reading. 📚

MicheleinPhilly YAASS! 🙌🏼 2y
LauraBeth 🙌🙌 I just posted about The Emperor's Children before seeing this 😂 we're having a Claire Messud moment on Litsy 2y
Liberty @LauraBeth @MicheleinPhilly New Messud next week! 2y
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Leanney I feel this font was a deliberate choice. The same as "The Woman in Cabin 10" 2y
SharonSmith I got to page 184 before i finally have up - it began well, but it took a while to get going, and when it eventually did, the story was fairly unbelievable, irritating and childish. 2y
Lindy I've never read anything else that beats the pure rage that opens this novel. The ending is excellent also! 2y
susanw Loved this one!! 2y
nomadreader I love this one so much. 2y
150 likes16 stack adds9 comments
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LeslieO
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Oooo! Good one! 2y
Laalaleighh So basically Bertha Rochester. 2y
LeslieO Oh I didn't even think of that @Laalaleighh ! 2y
Laalaleighh Your subconscious knew what was going on haha. 2y
38 likes4 comments
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DoraSantosMarques
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Bailedbailed

Ditched it 😤

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JenFowler
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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"The apartment was entirely, was only, for her: a wall of books, both read and unread, all of them dear to her not only in themselves, their tender spines, but in the moments or periods they evoked… Her self, then, was represented in her books; her times in her records; and the rest of the room she thought of as a pure, blank slate."
#Obsession #MayBookFlowers

Cinfhen Good one!!!! 2y
zsuzsanna_reads Great quote! 2y
106 likes5 stack adds2 comments
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jfount
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
Bailedbailed

Time to admit that I'm probably not coming back to this one...

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Cinfhen
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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#ReadJanuary Most of the books I own, I haven't read, so I'm not sure if the covers make sense😒but these two deserve better covers! Is that meant to be a bird cage on An Untamed State?!? Because that would actually make some sense...

LauraBrook Same here, most of the books I own I haven't read. Trying to work on that this year. 2y
115 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Theliterarystew
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Pickpick

The best books I read in 2016. #bestbooks #bestbooks2016

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Kelreads
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Pickpick

Loved this book . The writing is great!

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JenGirl
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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[DELETED] 4184155464
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Panpan

I thought I was going to like this book. I mean, this opening was a bang. But the more I got into it, the more confusing and weird it got. The protagonist is blasé with life and a big Negative Nellie. And openly admits she falls in love (in various ways) with a student's family members. Some passages were written lavishly, but ultimately, I don't get it.
#thewomanupstairs #clairemessud #maybeImnotsophisticatedenough

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thefictionalreader
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
Panpan

Someone please explain the point of this book to me, because I clearly didn't get it.

insanitysandwich I haven't read it so can't help. I can give you some support by saying it looked rubbish when I saw it in the library 😆 3y
[DELETED] 4184155464 I just finished this book and I'm glad I'm not the only person scratching her head about it. 🤔 3y
3 likes3 comments
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Ammie
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
Pickpick

I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. SO REAL. SO RAGE. SO GOOD.

review
Ais
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
Panpan

Oof, this was a tiring read. The protagonist was a passenger in her own life looking for outside validation the whole time and became consumed by either real or imagined feelings. The plot was quite thin, but in my opinion didn't have the powerful prose needed when this is the route an author goes down. I now understand why it had such mixed reviews.

shawnmooney I hated this one of hers, too: 3y
Ais I doubt I'll read anything else by her! It was very underwhelming @shawnmooney! Too many other great books out there! 3y
19 likes2 comments
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Janitor
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Ammie
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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I'm enjoying this SO much. Thanks for the recommendation on Get Booked, @Amanda and @jennirl !

Notafraidofwords I never get my question answered lol. But congrats to you! 3y
Ammie @Notafraidofwords oh me either, haha. I asked almost a year ago. This is one from a lucky listener this past week. 3y
Notafraidofwords @Ammie oh okay. Lol. 3y
Ammie @Notafraidofwords what did you ask? I asked about short stories similar to as king and Aimee Bender's "the particular sadness of lemon cake" but I feel like since Kelly Link dropped Get In Trouble, they were like "eh, she's fine". 3y
Notafraidofwords @Ammie lol that's funny. I asked about books with beautiful sentences and underline tension. 3y
10 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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Ais
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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This one is getting mixed reviews, hopefully it lives up to some of my expectations! Happy Saturday😍

Sweettartlaura I wound up really liking it - enjoy! 3y
susanw I really liked it too! 3y
25 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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JenGirl
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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I enjoyed "The Emperor's Children," so now it's time for the next book in my to-read stack.

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BillKathyWms
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Mehso-so

This novel was said to be a "psychological & intellectual thriller".. I didn't find it to be either. Solid writing. I found the plot to be a little thin. Story of a frustrated middle aged school teacher who cannot stand up for herself. I got frustrated with the main character and didn't think much of the others..

jessberk13 I didn't like one of her other books either. I've heard that a lot about this author 😐 3y
JoeStalksBeck I just downloaded this one. I had a feeling it would be as you described when I read the summary 3y
8 likes2 comments
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Rebekah2327
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
Mehso-so

This is not my kind of book. The plot was buried in subtext, and I'm sure the book could have been a chapter long had the author written in third person. I wanted to climb out of the protagonist's head to just find out where the story was going. I found myself skimming just to expedite the pace. The narrator did not endear me to her, and I found myself profoundly saddened by her negativity and disappointment in life. #24in48

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Rebekah2327
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud

"But do you know this idea of the imaginary homeland? Once you set out from shore on your little boat, once you embark, you‘ll never truly be at home again. What you‘ve left behind exists only in your memory, and your ideal place becomes some strange imaginary concoction of all you‘ve left behind at every stop.” #24in48

CynCruz23 Love this book - it hit home for me on so many levels 3y
3 likes1 comment
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jfount
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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"...slightly too close to unbearable"

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jfount
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud

"...maybe it was about an unconsummated love affair after all, maybe about a flirtatious exchange with a stranger in a train station, or an unanswered letter from a college sweetheart, one of those secret moments when you think that now your life will have to change, only it doesn't."

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jfount
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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I don't even remember why I wanted to read this, but it's been on the list forever.

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Mamashep
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud

Ever had a paragraph take you straight out of a book? There's a scene where 1 teacher is helping 10 kids making paper mache masks over a bent coat hanger frame. Most 8yo's cannot bend a coat hanger into any kind of mask shape without a lot of help. No way a teacher thinks this is a 45 min deal.

BkClubCare Lol! 3y
MrBook I've been transported back Memory Lane not infrequently, lol. 3y
15 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Mamashep
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Cassandra Campbell people! So glad I picked up the audio even though I have it in print.

MyBookLife I didn't know if I should giva it a pick or a so-so, but I'm in a good mood today :) 3y
15 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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Yamich49
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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The rest of my birthday book haul. A few from a friend and a few I found when discovering a new used bookstore!!

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Litchick33
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
Pickpick

Whoa. As I began this book, I felt myself nodding along, feeling just the way Nora does. For almost the entire book, I felt close to the same types of emotions-- life, potential, all wasted; the need to make something of yourself. Becoming attached to those whom you envy. Brilliant writing!

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Dolly
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
Pickpick

Simple but interesting and worth the time spent reading.

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Christine89
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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"Inside, we registered the blow as silence falling, as if outside the world in chorus took a breath, as if a curtain fell upon the scene."

3 likes3 stack adds
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bookninja
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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This book makes you think. About life and how the world functions. And you know how life seems so good from the outside but something else is going on in the inside. Claire writes about the inside story.

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nikirtehsuxlol
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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2 likes1 stack add
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missykemp
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud
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Almost finished. So so troubling and good.

kerigentrywelch It's always exciting when you get to the very end of a book! 3y
LitsyWelcomeWagon Welcome to to the #LitsyFamily ! We‘re so glad you‘re here! Checkout these #Litsytips: http://bit.ly/litsytips and #LitsyHowTo videos: http://bit.ly/litsyvideos There‘s so many fun things to do: book exchanges, buddy reads, photo challenges and more! Check out @LitsyHappenings for details. 1y
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome to Litsy!!! You will love it!! ❤️💕📚🎉🎊 1y
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 🖐 1y
OrangeMooseReads Welcome to Litsy! Thank you @RaimeyGallant for the tag 1y
Jess7 Welcome to Litsy! So glad you‘re here! Just passing some info along that you may or may not already know @Litsy will be offline tomorrow from about 3 am to 11 am EST for scheduled maintenance. Checkout @kgriffith for details about a chatroom you can join on LT during the downtime. 1y
Jess7 I love my paperwhite too!! 1y
RainyDayReading Welcome to Litsy! Thanks for the tag @RaimeyGallant 1y
asiriusreader Welcome to Litsy! 1y
10 likes2 stack adds10 comments
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estellasrevenge
The Woman Upstairs | Claire Messud

...I'm angry enough, at last, to stop being afraid of life, and angry enough--finally, God willing, with my mother's anger also on my shoulders, a great boil of rage like the sun's fire in me--before I die to fucking well live. Just watch me.

BookishClaire Been meaning to read this for ages 3y
estellasrevenge It got off to a strong start, slowed in the middle a bit, and the end rocked the thing. So worthwhile. 3y
Lakesidemusing Loved it! 3y
estellasrevenge It hit me right in the gut! 3y
18 likes5 stack adds4 comments