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The Shadow King
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
81 posts | 40 read | 65 to read
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review
Donna1980
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

This book would not be for everyone, the blurb leads you to expect a different narrative than the one you end up getting. I kept waiting for Hariut to be captured and each time I thought it was about to happen the narrative switched again and it felt quite disjointed. Despite this I enjoyed the multi-layering of voices and the different perspectives gave a richness to the historical aspect of the book. Not an easy read but worth the effort.

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Andrew65
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Starting The Shadow King, which I am reading to cover Ethiopia for #ReadingAfrica2022
#AwesomeApril

TheSpineView I had this book for a bit. Curious to know what you think about it. 1mo
BarbaraBB I found this difficult to read. Good luck! 1mo
Andrew65 @TheSpineView @BarbaraBB I‘d agree no he easiest read, but helps that it is an audiobook. (edited) 1mo
84 likes3 comments
review
Zoes_Human
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

A beautifully written story of Ethiopia's fight against Mussolini's invasion. It is brutal and heartbreaking, but I don't think the truth of war can be told in any other way.

See comments below for content warnings.

Zoes_Human
CONTENT WARNINGS rape, child rape, child abuse, domestic abuse, war violence
1mo
24 likes1 comment
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Zoes_Human
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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“What war ever really ends …”

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Zoes_Human
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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“Girls die from many causes: childbirth, illness, disease, men.”

That is a heavy fucking truth.

WJCintron Agree!! 2mo
BarbaraBB Such a heavy read. Looking forward to your review. 2mo
Zoes_Human @BarbaraBB It is! It's going to take a bit longer, because I'm having to set it aside to read/watch something lighter. It's very good though. 2mo
25 likes3 comments
review
BarbaraBB
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Panpan

I had a hard time with this difficult books about women in #Ethiopia at war against Italy in the 1930s. The characters (Hirut, Kidane and Aster) were introduced well but soon they became mere characters in ongoing descriptions of battles, sieges, and rape. In between we learned about Haile Selassi leaving his country in need, but even this part didn‘t really work for me.

#19822022 #2019 #Booked2022 #AboutAFictionalRoyal #ReadingAfrica2022 🇪🇹

Simona Ha! Your review reminded me that I have still in my TBR pile 4mo
DGRachel She edited Addis Ababa Noir and I was…disappointed in that entire anthology and her short story. Your review confirms that I will not be picking up more of her work. 4mo
squirrelbrain I tried to read this when it was on the Booker list, but hated it and bailed. 4mo
See All 17 Comments
Cinfhen Me too @squirrelbrain !!! I bailed after a few hours of audio listening. I thought it had potential but it was requiring too much from me. Kudos to you, Barbara for sticking with it. 4mo
Librarybelle That‘s a shame! 4mo
Megabooks Skipping this one! Thanks! 4mo
Daisey I listened to this one for FoodAndLit last year and also had a hard time with it. It was difficult content, and it didn‘t live up to the potential I thought it had in the beginning. 4mo
BarbaraBB @Simona That will be much more interesting. I think Selassi was a fascinating man but I didn‘t learn much about him in this book! 4mo
BarbaraBB @DGRachel @squirrelbrain @Cinfhen @Daisey I‘m glad I‘m not the only one struggling! 4mo
BarbaraBB @Megabooks I would! 4mo
StellaB I gave up on this too. 4mo
BarbaraBB @StellaB If I had known so many people had bailed I wouldn‘t have picked it up! 4mo
StellaB I didn‘t get far enough to even put it on here 🙂 4mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage Books about battles are just 😫 and then to add rape on top of it … I just can‘t. Extra kudos to you for prevailing! 4mo
Cinfhen Where is the photo taken ??? So cool 🐑 4mo
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen In the dunes near the beach, about 20 kilometers from where I live! I had been walking along the beach when I came upon them! 4mo
Suet624 How have I missed so many of your posts? Grrr… 4mo
79 likes17 comments
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GatheringBooks
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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#SpringSentiments Day 18: This book is making me feel #disconsolate with all the normalized violence against women, rape, beatings - that I had to discontinue reading and shift to fantasy - Grishaverse, in particular. Maybe I will get back to this after immersing myself in magic. Paired with Greek loukomades with chocolate sauce and Greek coffee.

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GatheringBooks
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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#SpringSentiments Day 12: The former President of Addis Ababa is definitely portrayed as a #Disgraced leader in this novel. I have to take a break from reading this one - too many triggers and intensely heavy-going. The calamari and sizzling feta saganaki are absolutely yum.

Daisey I listened to this one recently and I definitely had to space parts out as well rather than listening straight through. 13mo
Eggs Now I‘m hungry! Nicely done ✅ 13mo
39 likes2 comments
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GatheringBooks
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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#SpringSentiments Day 7: there is a #buoyant sensation, after spending a 4 day long weekend at the beach. Hopefully, there will be more days like those.

Eggs 👏🏻🧜🏻‍♀️🧞‍♀️ 🌊📚💙 14mo
53 likes1 comment
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GatheringBooks
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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#SpringSentiments Day 6: It is, indeed, #fatuous to be taking a photo this far away, but teenage daughter cannot help herself, so I do the peace sign while reading and posing. Celebrating spring break over the weekend in Abu Dhabi.

Eggs 👏🏻☀️🌊👏🏻 14mo
48 likes1 comment
review
Daisey
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

I finished this on my drive home tonight. It took longer to listen to than I expected. I feel it‘s an important story and definitely one that made me curious about a time and place in history with which I was completely unfamiliar. However, it‘s got some tough sections, and I was never as fully invested in the characters as I hoped to be. A pick but not an incredibly strong one.

#audiobook #FoodAndLit #Ethiopia #ReadTheWorld #ReadingTheWorld

Daisey @Texreader I read your review as I was getting ready to write mine, and I think we probably feel similarly about this one. So much potential, but it never quite lived up to it for me. 14mo
Texreader @Daisey Agreed. It was barely a pick for me too 14mo
53 likes2 comments
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GatheringBooks
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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#OppositeDay 4: I #love my spot right here - post buffet breakfast, right in front of the glorious beach.

TheKidUpstairs Beautiful 14mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Awesome photo ❤️ 14mo
emilyhaldi The best ☀️🙌🏻 14mo
61 likes3 comments
review
Texreader
The Shadow King: A Novel | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

This book has an excellent premise—women‘s roles in war and in particular during Italy‘s invasion of #Ethiopia during WWII. I wish it were better executed. I never felt invested in the characters although that was clearly what the author intended. I know some Littens loved it and I‘m glad it‘s reaching an audience. But it wasn‘t for me. #foodandlit

Butterfinger Karen, your rating doesn't match your review. Is that a mistake or intentional? 14mo
66 likes1 comment
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GatheringBooks
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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#OppositeDay 3: There is definitely #war in this novel. Struggling with the format (absence of quotation marks), but it‘s growing on me. Very slowly.

TheKidUpstairs I had a hard time getting into this one. Definitely a case of Right book, wrong time. 14mo
54 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Daisey
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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I had planned to finish this audiobook of The Shadow King before the end of March, but it didn‘t quite happen. I‘m getting close, but I can only listen to so much at a time. I also don‘t have time just now to tally stats, but here are the books I finished in March and the four currently on progress. Overall, it was a good month with some fascinating reads!

#BookSpinBingo #MonthlyStats

Texreader I‘m still trying to get through it as well. I have about an hour left. So hard to find that hour! 14mo
Daisey @Texreader I took a break from it for a few days to listen to War & Peace, then listened to a few hours while driving again yesterday. I am appreciating it, but it‘s not one I can listen straight through. 14mo
49 likes2 comments
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Texreader
The Shadow King: A Novel | Maaza Mengiste
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I‘ve finished four cards!! Audiocrafting

Crazeedi Those are beautiful! Did you create the arches piece by piece? They're awesome 14mo
Crazeedi Your cards are so creative 14mo
Jari-chan So beautiful 😍 14mo
Texreader @Jari-chan @crazeedi Thanks y‘all! Diane, I‘d love to say I‘m very creative but these are from a kit. I only make minor adjustments. I cut the gate using a die cut on my sizzix machine (with lots of tiny pieces to glue). That being said, these are the most complex I‘ve ever made. They‘ve taken almost two whole days and I‘m not finished yet. But I think they‘re some of my favorite. (edited) 14mo
57 likes4 comments
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Texreader
The Shadow King: A Novel | Maaza Mengiste
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Audiocrafting

#foodandlit #Ethiopia

TheSpineView 😍😍😍 14mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 💗💗💗 14mo
Catsandbooks So cute! 14mo
68 likes3 comments
review
Jari-chan
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

This is an intense book, beautifully written, very poetic. We learn about WWII, far away from the famous hotspots. We learn about women, who fight for their country and their home. We learn about how war can destroy us. Not an easy to read book, but it's worth it all the while!

@TheAromaOfBooks #BookSpinBingo
#Ethiopia #FoodandLit @Butterfinger @Texreader

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Stacked 📚 14mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 14mo
Texreader I‘m struggling with this one. I find it very slow and I haven‘t connected with any of the characters. Glad you liked it 14mo
Jari-chan @Texreader I didn't connect with the characters either, but to me the book was about more than that. To me it felt like the characters were only means to an end, and the whole story was more important than the single characters. But I understand the struggling. It's a special book. 14mo
31 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Daisey
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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I made modified doro wat with what I had in the house and mixed my sourdough with teff flour to make injera. It was an interesting cooking experience, but they‘re not recipes I‘ll plan to use again. I‘ve also been listening to this book off and on through the week, but it‘s slow going. Some parts are just difficult, and sometimes I have to backtrack to keep track of characters and events.

#FoodAndLit #Ethiopia #ReadTheWorld #ReadingTheWorld

Texreader I‘m struggling to listen to this one as well. I can‘t find a character I can sympathize with. 14mo
60 likes2 comments
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Texreader
The Shadow King: A Novel | Maaza Mengiste
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I decided on this book from my tbr list as my next audiobook. #Ethiopia #foodandlit

Gogobooks Loved this on audio 1y
Texreader @Gogobooks That's good to hear. 1y
61 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
ElizaMarie
The Shadow King: A Novel | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

Finished this one this morning. It was good but super rough and I don't think this was a good place for me to read it. I need more light and fluffy (COVID year anniversary and I am still burned out!) - I would have picked between “pick“ and “so-so“ but ... I guess I will go with “pick“ (not the book's fault this is a difficult time)

#FoodandLit @Butterfinger @Texreader @jb72
#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaOfBooks

Butterfinger Love your new profile picture. 1y
ElizaMarie @Butterfinger Awe thanks! I figure I should update to a more recent picture me without weird snapchat filters (that I love so much!) 1y
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 1y
28 likes3 comments
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ElizaMarie
The Shadow King: A Novel | Maaza Mengiste
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I am about 80% done with this one (just didn't have time to update my Listy - actually I thought I had updated it but then I didn't) Anyway I am enjoying this listen but the story is so rough (its meant to be of course). Also I am craving Ethiopian food! Ugh! I need some now!!!

#FoodandLit @Butterfinger @Texreader @jb72

TheBookAddict I started reading the book a while back and I couldn‘t finish it because of how rough it was to read it. Like you, I understand it‘s meant to be rough. I just couldn‘t though. I may have to give the audio a try. 1y
ElizaMarie @TheBookAddict I finished it today, but it was super rough. 1y
35 likes1 stack add2 comments
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GatheringBooks
The Shadow King: A Novel | Maaza Mengiste
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#WindsOfMarch Day 11: I have #Clouds next to my fave cheesecake (we do have cheesecake factory in abu dhabi, yay!).

Kdgordon88 I knew that had to be Cheesecake Factory! 💜 1y
Ncostell That looks amazing! 1y
Eggs Yum!!! The book is nice too ...🤣🤣 1y
57 likes3 comments
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Jari-chan
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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I finally got around to test the cosmetics from this months #FoodandLit order. From the beginning you see and smell the difference to the products you buy at the big stores. It's just so much more natural. And after using them, you can also feel the difference on your skin. The peeling is especially nice, but my favourite is the Calendula Cream. After using it, my hands feel like they're protected by the Black Panther.

@Texreader @Butterfinger

Butterfinger I loved your descriptions. 1y
Jari-chan @Butterfinger Thank you 😊 1y
30 likes2 comments
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Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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I picked this up for #foodandlit #Ethiopia and at 6 hours, I just can't continue. It's SLOW and since I'm not jiving with the style or narration, and still don't care about any of these people, I'm out. Life's too short. I'll try Finding Joy from KU instead.

@Butterfinger @Texreader @Catsandbooks

OutAndAbout That‘s scary to hear. Just started yesterday. It does seem to be one of those books people either love or hate. Fingers crossed. 1y
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick @OutAndAbout I hope you enjoy it! We all have different tastes so perhaps you'll fall into the Love It category. 🤞 1y
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TheEllieMo I finished it but didn‘t enjoy it. It stuck around in my head for a little while afterwards and I thought it was going to be one of those books I appreciate more when I‘ve had some time to ponder on it, but it‘s fading already so don‘t think I‘ll be revising my initial opinion 1y
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 1y
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick @TheEllieMo The premise sounded great, but it seems wrong. Hirut almost took a backseat to Aster and Kidane. Hearing your opinion gives me further peace of mind in my decision. 1y
Catsandbooks That's too bad! I was thinking about reading this one too, but after your review I think I'll pass and read Finding Joy as well 1y
Butterfinger I hope you find a good one. 1y
59 likes8 comments
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GatheringBooks
The Shadow King: A Novel | Maaza Mengiste
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#WindsOfMarch Day 4: I just realized that my birthday month, March, is Women‘s month. And so, I am changing my #MarchTBR to catch up on female authors of color for our #SurvivalStories2021 reading theme as we decolonize our bookshelves.

47 likes1 comment
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Jari-chan
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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My first tries for this months #FoodandLit country, #Ethiopia - coffee! I don't really like coffee, but around here it seems to be the only thing from Ethiopia to get... So I got myself those specially brewed coffees from a new Swiss start-up.
And not only do I really like those coffees, especially the milky one, but for each sold bottle they spend 2.5 days of clean water to Ethiopian farmers.

@Texreader @Butterfinger

Butterfinger What a wonderful way to help. 1y
Jari-chan @Butterfinger It really is! 1y
26 likes2 comments
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RealLifeReading
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Book and breakfast - I‘m having niangao dipped in egg and pan fried. It‘s a sweet sticky cake made of sugar, water, glutinous rice flour. The fourth grader made it (I helped him with the steaming part) for his class assignment.

Texreader Mmm yum 1y
83 likes1 comment
review
Hooked_on_books
The Shadow King: A Novel | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

The Shadow King is about the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in the 1930s, about which I previously knew nothing. While I felt it took a bit too long to find its feet, once the story settled into the invasion itself, I found it griping. I thought it was terrific and love that it is an homage to Ethiopia‘s women. Plus, the audio is read by the incomparable Robin Miles, who absolutely elevates everything, imo.

Currey One of my next up reads. So glad you liked it 📚 1y
65 likes5 stack adds1 comment
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JillR
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Mehso-so

I really struggled with this, as I often do with serious literary fiction. The focus on the women involved was less than I‘d expected. I really struggled to invest in the main characters and I found the writing hard work. The lack of speech marks was also an issue for me. I did find the second half a little easier to read so pushed on to the end. I really wanted to like this but unfortunately overall it wasn‘t for me.

TrishB Lack of speech marks is fashionable (and annoying!) at the moment. 1y
Reviewsbylola My mom and I were just talking about lack of quotations the other day! @TrishB @jillr It doesn‘t bother me but it bothers her. I can‘t always figure out the purpose, and I had supposed it was just a stylistic choice. My current read has no quotations and while I notice it, I don‘t have a preference either way. (edited) 1y
TrishB I think I‘m just getting old! @reviewsbylola 1y
See All 6 Comments
Reviewsbylola Oh I can totally understand why it‘s irritating! Just for some reason my brain doesn‘t really notice. @trishb 1y
JillR @trishb @reviewsbylola on the one hand I really don‘t like it as my thinking is we have speech marks and other punctuation for a reason. On the other I don‘t always mind (it didn‘t bother me at all in Normal People). Here it was noticeable from the start because the way it was done meant I had no idea who was speaking at times 🙈 and so it really did affect my understanding of what I was reading... 1y
Reviewsbylola That‘s unfortunate @jillR If the lack of quotations impacts how you read the story, it definitely can‘t be considered stylistic at that point. 1y
45 likes6 comments
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TheEllieMo
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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I confess I didn‘t enjoy this book when I read it, but it‘s a book that has left a lasting impression on me.

12Booksof2020

@Andrew65

Andrew65 Added to my TBR 1y
28 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
Heideschrampf
The Shadow King: A Novel | Maaza Mengiste
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Mehso-so

I knew this was a powerful and beautifully written story full of nuance and inhabited by interesting characters. Nevertheless I was utterly unable to be drawn in by the narrative. I guess this was just the wrong book at the wrong time for me 🤷‍♀️ +16

Cathythoughts I‘m not at all drawn to this one 🤷🏼‍♀️ 1y
Heideschrampf @Cathythoughts i‘d have thought this would be right up my alley: strong women in diverse settings. But somehow it didn‘t grip me. I had trouble concentrating, but i‘m super exhausted from work at the moment. That might have been it. It was interesting to learn about Ethiopias history though. I hadn‘t even known they has such a history with italy! 🙈 1y
43 likes2 comments
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ReadingEnvy
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Reading Envy Podcast Episode 206: Black Sheep with Tina Porubsky (@Godmotherx5)

Jenny welcomes a new guest - Tina - and we chat about reading more books from our own shelves and great books we've read recently. You will also hear about Tina's knitting, a new hobby she enjoys alongside reading.

https://tinyurl.com/ReadingEnvy206

38 likes1 comment
review
Abailliekaras
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

Beautifully crafted, interesting & cinematic story with carefully drawn characters. Good sense of place & landscape, with food, weapons, myth & the use of Amharic & Italian language adding texture. It moved slowly for me & despite the wartime setting, it lacked dramatic tension. I wasn‘t sure what to make of Kidane & Aster (an unlikeable heroine?). Great portrayal of the regal but cowardly Emperor. Hirut & Ettore‘s story poignant, but subtly told.

Reviewsbylola Lovely review! 2y
LeeRHarry Fab review - I had to put this one down as I was finding it a struggle, I want to read it as the subject sounds fascinating. 2y
Freespirit Agree lovely review! 2y
43 likes4 comments
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sarahbarnes
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

My favorite of the Booker nominations I‘ve read. Such a complex, harrowing story of invasion and cruelty, but also of courage especially of Ethiopian women. A part of history I knew little about and I learned a lot. This is an incredible book.

BarbaraBB This is a surprise. I have read such mixed reviews on this one but that it is your favorite means a lot. 2y
Cathythoughts Yes I‘ve read lots of mixed reviews too ... I‘m interested again now 👍🏻❤️ 2y
sarahbarnes @BarbaraBB @Cathythoughts It was definitely hard to read at times, but I still really loved it. 2y
See All 6 Comments
JillR I‘m just starting this and feeling a bit daunted as I just read a few mixed reviews, so I‘m pleased to see yours! 1y
sarahbarnes @JillR it is definitely a heavy read, but I loved the writing and the story. I‘ll be interested to hear your thoughts! 1y
JillR @sarahbarnes I‘ll try and remember to tag you when I finish it 😊 1y
23 likes1 stack add6 comments
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ReadingEnvy
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

I ended this book in tears and I'm not sure I can articulate why. It starts and ends in 1974, with an old woman walking with a box of letters and photographs. The majority of the book is about the second Italian invasion of Ethiopia in the 1930s, the emperor living in exile, and the women who fought to protect the shadow king. This is on the shortlist for the Booker Prize and is a strong contender.

andrew61 Glad you enjoyed it jenny. I may give it a reread next year. As it's the only one I've read from the shortlist this year I will be keeping my fingers crossed. 2y
ReadingEnvy @andrew61 do check out her talk from the New York Society Library, it adds a lot of useful context! 2y
59 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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sarahbarnes
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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This book is SO GOOD.

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sarahbarnes
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Just starting this book but it is SO GOOD so far. I love it. ❤️ Also, one of my favorite local breweries is selling this beer right now. Vote!!

merelybookish Looks like a good Saturday night! 👍 2y
sarahbarnes @merelybookish it definitely was! And now tonight it‘s so windy! 🌬 2y
28 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
Graywacke
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Mehso-so

This was interesting. A focus on the second Italio-Ethiopian war partially through the eyes of the women soldiers. I never did take to the style, so I can‘t say I personally liked it all that much. But I know very little about all this, or Haile Selassie, and so it was rewarding just to learn a bit. (I do wonder if the shadow king is at all a play on Dante‘s shades in Inferno.)

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Cinfhen
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Been awake for hours...caught a stormy sunrise as I listen to a new audiobook on the terrace🎧Book is disturbing so far, but in a good way💔

BarbaraTheBibliophage I'm glad you made it to FL but sorry about the jet lag! 💝 2y
Cinfhen Thanks my lovely friend/ happy to be here @BarbaraTheBibliophage 😘 2y
TrishB Lovely pic though ❤️ 2y
See All 18 Comments
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Cinfhen I'm sure the family time will do you good. Just ... oooof ... all the crazy virus-ignoring behavior in Florida ... worries me for you and everyone I love down there. 2y
la_rose_noire What a nice view! 2y
Megabooks Great picture!! I miss those florida sunrises! 2y
Megabooks I‘m guessing you‘re on the Atlantic side?? My grandparents were on the gulf side in Sarasota. They had east and west balconies, so we got to see both, but obviously the sunset was over the gulf and sunrise was over island. 2y
Cinfhen Thanks @la_rose_noire @TrishB We‘ve been quarantining since we landed on Thursday @BarbaraTheBibliophage so I‘m not sure what‘s going on outside my little bubble 2y
Cinfhen Yes, I‘m on the Atlantic side @Megabooks 💜 2y
BarbaraBB Listening to an audiobook sitting on a terrace watching the ocean and the palms. Wow 🤩 2y
Velvetfur Yeah, what @BarbaraBB said! I love that gorgeous photo 💜 Stay safe out there, we're all thinking of you xxx 2y
squirrelbrain Gorgeous picture! ❤️ 2y
AmyG Beautiful photo. Enjoy your trip. (edited) 2y
KarenUK I wish the weather was better, but those stormy skies are so beautiful! 💕 2y
Cinfhen That‘s true @BarbaraBB I really should be enjoying more my current situation xx Thanks @AmyG @squirrelbrain @Velvetfur I‘m not too bummed about the weather @KarenUK Just wish it wasn‘t so humid 🥵 2y
Kalalalatja Beautiful! When do you get to go out and see your family? 💕 2y
Cinfhen Tuesday will be 5 full days @Kalalalatja if we are all feeling symptom free we will see our parents ♥️ 2y
Kalalalatja Fingers crossed 🤞 2y
95 likes18 comments
review
TheEllieMo
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Mehso-so

Managed to squeeze one more finish into September, and was I glad to get to the end of this one. For me, this Booker shortlisted novel was hard going. I can see why it‘s winning many plaudits, and its subject matter is something I knew nothing about, so it had some interest, but the style of writing just isn‘t my cup of tea. I wouldn‘t say I didn‘t like it, but I wouldn‘t say I enjoyed it either. I would still recommend it, though.

squirrelbrain I bailed on this one - I just couldn‘t get into it. 🙁 2y
TheEllieMo @squirrelbrain I probably would have bailed tbh, if it hadn‘t been a book club choice. 2y
29 likes1 stack add2 comments
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thevagabondlawyer
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

This is my first #BookerPrize read this year! The Shadow King is epic in scope, sprawling in scale. You have a bloody war between the colonizer and the colonized, struggles of women in paternalistic society - this is a story wrapped in a historical setting. But I also understand the pitfalls of this book: it is quite wordy, perhaps too poetic and just ballooned with strained metaphors. A contender, no doubt! Read it, it is maybe for you! 👏😊

MsMelissa I bailed on this. Wrong time for me to attempt to read it. I‘m going to try again though as it should be the type of book I would enjoy. I just need to wait to be in the right reading mood for it. 2y
thevagabondlawyer @Book_Fiend_Melissa I feel you. I almost bailed but I am really close at finishing so I persevered. The premise is really good but maybe the execution is not for me. 😊 2y
Nag1 I just finished reading it and loved it 2y
thevagabondlawyer @Nag1 Good for you. The message of this book is powerful 👏 2y
51 likes1 stack add4 comments
review
AnneCecilie
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

I‘m so glad this book made it to this year‘s Booker Longlist (and now Shortlist) because I‘m not sure I would have read it otherwise, and that would have been a shame. This is a great book that deserves all the readers.

A book about Mussolini‘s war in Ethiopia between 1935 and 1941, and it focuses on its female warriors. I so felt for Hirut on several occasions.

This is a part of history I didn‘t know about.

AnneCecilie Another library book read for #BookSpinBingo. This will feel the square for book no. 1 @TheAromaofBooks (edited) 2y
BookNAround I just got this one today so it‘s good to hear it‘s definitely a worthwhile read. 2y
vivastory I agree. I was happy to see this one make the shortlist. 2y
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review
vivastory
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Pickpick

I am a firm believer in the multifarious capacities of fiction, as in the case of Mengiste's novel which illuminates & corrects the historical record of wartime events in Ethiopia. Mengiste writes in the Author's Note, “The Shadow King tells the story of those Ethiopian women who fought alongside men, who even today have remained no more than errant lines in faded documents. What I have come to understand is this: The story of war has always👇

vivastory been a masculine story, but this was not true for Ethiopia & it has never been that way in any form of struggle. Women have been there, we are here now.“ I read the first 50 pages of this book about a week & a half ago & didn't come back to it until yesterday due to the general state of the world & doomscrolling. When I picked it up last night I just couldn't stop & I finished it in 2 sittings. The narrative begins slightly before the (edited) 2y
vivastory Italian invasion & the reader's sympathies for certain characters shifts as the story progresses, although there's no doubt that our sympathies are with the resistance fighters, not all of the fighters are characters one can easily root for. This is a lyrical, & at times brutal, novel with an intriguing structure. Interspersed throughout the chapters are a chorus that comments on events, esp. on the two main women Aster & Hirut. Mengiste has much 2y
vivastory to say & raises questions about complicity & the demands of a historical moment. Out of the 5 books I have read from the MB Longlist, this is the first one that I would have been sincerely angry if it had not made the shortlist. 2y
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KVanRead Wow, riveting review! Must read this now. 2y
vivastory @KVanRead Thanks! I think this one might be an interesting one on audio. I will probably read this one again a few months down the road 2y
KVanRead Good to know, thanks! 2y
MsMelissa Okay fine, you‘ve convinced me to unbail on this one when I‘m in a better reading frame of mine (I was going to do so anyway, I‘m too drawn to the subject matter not to). The idea of women soldiers always reminds me of a former French instructor I had, who used to tell me stories of one of his great grandmothers who was a Dahomey Amazon in what is now-Benin. They were part of the inspiration for some of the female warriors in Black Panther. 2y
batsy Fab review! I was on the fence about this but this year's Booker shortlist is intriguing and I would like to go through most of it, if I can. 2y
vivastory @batsy I think it's a really intriguing shortlist! I just ordered Burnt Sugar, which I've heard rave reviews for. 2y
vivastory @Book_Fiend_Melissa I'm curious to see what you think of it when you read it. I bet your teacher had some great stories! 2y
batsy @vivastory Yes, Burnt Sugar is on the top of my list because of its comparison to Hot Milk. Unfortunately it's not available locally and Book Depository hasn't resumed shipping to my area yet 😢 2y
vivastory @batsy That's terrible about BD! I had to order a copy through eBay. It's not being published here until next year. 2y
Hooked_on_books It‘s so true that the history of war excludes women. But I think that‘s largely because it‘s written by men, who leave women‘s stories out. If you haven‘t read it, Svetlana Alexievich‘s collection of Russian women‘s stories from war is terrific and allows these women to take some control of their own stories. 2y
BarbaraBB Great review. I am horrible slow this year with getting to the Booker nominees. I hope to read the shortlist. Just started 2y
vivastory @Hooked_on_books I have that one on my TBR shelves. Sounds interesting 2y
vivastory @BarbaraBB Looking forward to your thoughts on that one. I'm really looking forward to reading it. 2y
readordierachel Fantastic review. Looking forward to it even more now. 2y
80 likes6 stack adds17 comments
blurb
Tonton
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste

Hey there, been away but back again to my favorite place.
Will be putting up reviews over the weekend but here‘s the Booker short list for now: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/sep/15/most-diverse-booker-prize-shortlis...

Sace Hi! Happy to see you again! 2y
LeahBergen Hello, again! 2y
batsy Nice to see you back! 2y
CarolynM 👋 Nice to see you again. 2y
Tonton @Sace @LeahBergen @batsy @CarolynM Hey there ! So good to be back❣️😎😊 2y
24 likes5 comments
review
MsMelissa
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Bailedbailed

Can someone please remind me that unless the author is Hilary Mantel, I should avoid any novels up for major literary awards? I want to like them, I really do, but I have to accept the fact that literary fiction is just not my thing.

So, I‘m sorry The Shadow King. It‘s not you. It‘s totally me.

I‘m going to go read some lowbrow fiction. Life is too short to read boring (to me) books, even if they are considered worthy of a literary prize!

MsMelissa @vivastory Scott, I‘m quite sure you are having a much better experience with this one 😂 2y
BiblioLitten I felt the same about 2y
MsMelissa @BiblioLitten I‘ll stay away from that one 😂 I wonder if it‘s my age. I read a lot of literary fiction and classics in my late teens/20s, but I have little patience for them anymore. I don‘t want slowly unfolding narratives, or overly eloquent prose. I just want something well-written, fast-paced, and, most importantly, entertaining! 2y
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Lucy_Anywhere Me too! Every so often I try to read more literary fiction and rarely actually enjoy it 🙈 I‘d much rather escape into sff and thrillers! 2y
JamieArc I try to make it through the Booker nominees and am always surprised when there‘s one I actually really enjoy reading. I always end up appreciating a few, but rarely really enjoy them. 2y
Revenge4bess If it‘s “low brow” fiction you‘re after, try The Undomestic Goddess, and The Nanny Diaries 2y
MsMelissa @Lucy_Anywhere yup. I might as well just accept the fact that when it comes to fiction I‘d like to be entertained more than anything else. 2y
MsMelissa @JamieArc that‘s a really good way of putting it. I can appreciate good literature and excellent writing, but there are few books like that that also highly enjoyable. I‘m in the mood for literary fiction from time to time, but my reading time is precious and these days I really need stuff I can just enjoy. 2y
MsMelissa @Revenge4bess I have read both of those 👍🏻 I have literally hundreds of unread books around the house, most of which are historical fiction, fantasy, and thrillers, so I‘m good to go. I‘ll just let the unread literary fiction on my shelves wait a little longer before I pick anything up from my selection. 2y
vivastory I started it last Tuesday and read about 50 pages but had to set it aside and haven't picked it up again. I liked what I read, but the world is so stressful right now I need more comfort reads (ie mystery & horror books for me) I agree with the thread that I have a great appreciation for lit fic but it's definitely more demanding especially when the world is a dumpster fire. 2y
MsMelissa @vivastory you‘ve made me feel better! I‘m glad it‘s not just me. I‘d rather bail, even if it ends up only being temporarily, then force my way through begrudgingly and end up hating the book. The whole situation with the world right now really is affecting my reading tastes. 2y
Caroline2 Yep! I‘m with you there. I‘m done with high brow, awarding books for a while now. 👍 2y
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blurb
Graywacke
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Started this yesterday. Wondering where the author is headed. And so far - um, I want to know more about what the characters are wearing. ☺️ I know, trite! But we are in 1930‘s Ethiopia and I can‘t picture wardrobes 😑☺️

review
squirrelbrain
The Shadow King | Maaza Mengiste
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Bailedbailed

Not necessarily bailed.... but hibernated for now.

It has some beautiful writing, but it‘s just a bit too brutal for me right now (women fighting a war in Africa).

If it makes the #bookerprize shortlist then I may pick it up again.

MsMelissa I‘m reading this one right now. I‘ve read about 70 pages. Not sure what I think to be honest, but your bailing on it doesn‘t leave me hopeful. (edited) 2y
squirrelbrain I didn‘t make it much further than you @Book_Fiend_Melissa - to about 100 pages. They had hardly got to the war by then, but it was the treatment of Hirut.... I just couldn‘t read any more. I think it may get more interesting later on as well.... 2y
rockpools These lists really aren‘t easy reads, are they? 2y
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Graywacke Oye. I started on audio this morning. 2y
squirrelbrain @rockpools - no they‘re not.... which is why I‘m a bit confused with the inclusion of Such a Fun Age, in particular. It just doesn‘t seem very Booker-ish. 2y
squirrelbrain Hopefully you‘ll like it @Graywacke - it might be another of those that‘s better on audio. I couldn‘t get it on audio so mine is a library e-book. 2y
MsMelissa Yup, I‘ve bailed too 🤷🏻‍♀️ Just not for me. 2y
squirrelbrain Glad it‘s not just me! @Book_Fiend_Melissa 2y
67 likes8 comments