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How High We Go in the Dark
How High We Go in the Dark: A Novel | Sequoia Nagamatsu
123 posts | 63 read | 6 reading | 70 to read
"For fans of Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven, a spellbinding and profoundly prescient debut that follows a cast of intricately linked characters over hundreds of years as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague-a daring and deeply heartfelt work of mind-bending imagination from a singular new voice. Beginning in 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus. Once unleashed, the Arctic Plague will reshape life on earth for generations to come, quickly traversing the globe, forcing humanity to devise a myriad of moving and inventive ways to embrace possibility in the face of tragedy. In a theme park designed for terminally ill children, a cynical employee falls in love with a mother desperate to hold on to her infected son. A heartbroken scientist searching for a cure finds a second chance at fatherhood when one of his test subjects-a pig-develops the capacity for human speech. A widowed painter and her teenaged granddaughter embark on a cosmic quest to locate a new home planet. From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead to interstellar starships, Sequoia Nagamatsu takes readers on a wildly original and compassionate journey, spanning continents, centuries, and even celestial bodies to tell a story about the resiliency of the human spirit, our infinite capacity to dream, and the connective threads that tie us all together in the universe"--
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This was mind-bending, ambitious, and intricate. It was a lot - but beautiful. If you're into Cloud Atlas or Station Eleven, this may be for you.

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#BigJuneReadathon #JoysOfJuneReadathon

This one bumped my June #TBR with a skip-the-line-loan for a week & I‘m glad it did. While not perfect, this novel comprised of related stories & set in the future with the world facing a new environmental pandemic was fascinating & at times hard to read. (Too soon COVID😷) Some stories drew me in more & hit harder as happens in a collection, but I liked putting the pieces together of how it all connected.

Clwojick Great review! ❤️ 6d
55 likes1 comment
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Full review (in Italian) on my blog: https://worldofinterestsblogger.wordpress.com/2022/06/19/libri-how-high-we-go-in...

There are many things I liked about this novel, which deals with topics such as death, suicide, a deadly virus... Although How High We Go in the Dark deals mostly sith the relationship between people, be it relatives, neighbors, strangers.
I enjoyed the strucutof the chapters, following a person each⬇️

thereadingpal (cont'd) and I liked how different each character was. I didn't really agree with some of them, but that's beside the point. I also like the Asian/japanese representation. I've noticed I tend to read mostly from my own background and that's something I'm trying to change. 6d
thereadingpal (cont'd) I cried during some chapters, and that emotional pull is something I don't experience a lot with reading. I also liked the writing style despite it being first pov, which I'm not used to. Overall 5/5 stars (edited) 6d
17 likes4 comments
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I didn‘t get as far as reviewing this last week, but I LOVED it! Inventive, thought-provoking and heart-breaking. I wasn‘t 100% sold on the ending, but a resounding pick all the same.

Thank you #CampLitsy for introducing me to this - it‘s not one I‘d have picked up on my own.

squirrelbrain Great review! And I agree, I wouldn‘t have chosen to read it if it wasn‘t for #camplitsy. 7d
53 likes1 comment
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Here's my #bookreport cuz I forgot to do it yesterday.
I finished 3 books, two of which were for exams.
I'll write the review to How High We Go in the Dark today!

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#BigJuneReadathon #JoysofJuneReadathon

I am not sure I am emotionally prepared for this book but my Library Libby had a “skip the line” e-book available (& my hold is at 21 weeks) 😳 & I only have it for a few more days. About half-way through. 🥺

Also, there is nothing at all good/healthy/redeeming in these gummy colas, but I am small kine addicted. I had to grab some “local-style” snacks for swap boxes this week & these are my reward.😋

thereadingpal I loved this book! 1w
Clwojick Yummy. Gummy colas are the best! 7d
Andrew65 Good combination. Well done 👏👏👏 7d
Tera66 Keep some tissues handy. 💔😥 But the writing is beautiful. 6d
69 likes4 comments
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I‘m going to let Gus select the next book I read 😂

EvieBee What‘d he pick?! 1w
Kimbono @EvieBee Foster by Claire Keegan 😻 7d
EvieBee Good taste! 7d
19 likes3 comments
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5th day of the #joysofjunereadathon and as I'm going to bed this is my update. So far I've read for a total of 14h 11min. My goal is 20 hours. I'm almost finished with His High We Go in the Dark. A very sad book, but really interesting. So far I finished 3/4 books tho (Writers on Writing, From Akhenaten to Moses, and Educare nelle Periferie)

Andrew65 You are doing brilliantly 👏👏👏 1w
12 likes1 comment
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Day four of #joysofjunereadathon and I've read for a total of 10h 48 min out of my goal 20 hours. I also started a new book for an exam and I'm still reading How High We Go in the Dark. I'm s really slow reader but I'm really enjoying the book and I've also shred a few tears


Andrew65 Brilliant! Ahead of schedule 👏👏👏 2w
10 likes1 comment
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I'm going to go to bed early because tomorrow I have an exam at 8:40am. So this is my wrap up for the third day of of #joysofjunereadathon : I read for 2h6min today and finished one book. I'm still reading the tagged book... Hope to finish it tomorrow.


Andrew65 Well done, hope the exam goes well. 😊 2w
thereadingpal @Andrew65 it did, thank you! 2w
Andrew65 @thereadingpal Great 😍 2w
18 likes3 comments
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It's my bedtime so this marks the end of the second day of the #joysofjunereadathon for me.
I've finished another book (Educare nelle periferie) and I kept reading another two, for a total of 3 hours and 49 mins. Yesterday i read for 2 hours and 51 mins, making it 6 hours and 40 minutes towards my total goal of 20. I still haven't finished How High We Go In The Dark.



Andrew65 An excellent start to the Readathon 👏👏👏 2w
10 likes1 comment
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I found myself completely immersed in a lot this novel of interconnected stories of a post climate plague world. Lovely writing and imagery, quite arresting at times. Full of compassion and a surprising amount of hope, here and there. But as I often feel, some stories spoke to more than others, and the success overall is often tainted by the stories I DON‘T connect with. The story ‘City of laughter‘ stood out for me. #pop22 #manmadedisaster

Megabooks Insightful review! I connected with CoL too. 💜 2w
squirrelbrain Really insightful review! It seemed as though a lot of people lost their connection with this book in the second half, due to a few of the stories not being as meaningful. 2w
Cinfhen Fantastic review! I agree with everything you wrote 💗 2w
Cortg These types of books are always hit or miss for me. 2w
53 likes4 comments
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This is my #weeklyforecast for this week!

Currently reading:
📖 How High We Go in the Dark
📖 From Akhenaten to Moses
📖 Educare nelle periferie
📖 L'amore nell'ebraismo

Will read:
📖Since Sinai. A Convert's Path to Judaism
📖Fuori dal Silenzio
📖 True Biz

#currentlyreading #nextreads @Cinfhen

Cinfhen You‘ve got a nice assortment of genres 😍Have a great week 📖 2w
15 likes1 comment
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If you're ready for pandemic dystopian fiction, here you go. Some of the interconnected stories were more meaningful to me than others. What I'll take away from it is the importance of not letting relationships with loved ones slip away when times get tough. #camplitsy

KristiAhlers I want to read this but I don‘t. You know? Might give myself a few more months before dealing with a pandemic read. 2w
Sparklemn @KristiAhlers I absolutely understand! 2w
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Very interesting collection of short stories about a pandemic released from the arctic after climate change reveals the body of a 30,000 year old girl.

Death becomes commercialized and normalised as the pandemic takes it toll. The stories are dark but human and I felt a lot of empathy for the characters.

Would recommend if you like dystopian futures with slight sci-fi themes.

Read for #CampLitsy!

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Highly imaginative speculative fiction told in interconnected short stories; surprisingly upbeat even though it‘s about humanity coping with a deadly plague. Very enjoyable, with the added bonus of much Litsy discussion via #CampLitsy.

Megabooks Great review! 👍🏻 2w
squirrelbrain Great review! Are you joining us at #camplitsy for any of the other books? 2w
Lindy @squirrelbrain I might, because I enjoyed everyone‘s comments even though I didn‘t have much to add. I already had a hold on True Biz and I‘m next in line at the library for that one. 2w
Lindy @Megabooks Thanks, Meg. 😘 2w
43 likes4 comments
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Page 219! Key lime pie mention. In the story *Songs of Your Decay* 🥧#CaresPieShow

Any campers notice? It‘s just me, isn‘t it. 😂 #CampLitsy

HOT today in Kansas. Planted a round-the-umbrella-pot today…

BkClubCare Anyone… ? …. On my page 245 after Aubrey‘s letter to Laird, the word REMAIN is bold. I wonder why. Why am I noticing?! 2w
BkClubCare Oh. Gut punch. The Laird chapter has gutted me. 2w
BkClubCare LOL 😂 2w
BkClubCare Page 268, the painter, wife of Cliff, is friends with Val and Dennis?! 🧐 2w
50 likes4 comments
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It's time for me to go to bed, so I thought I'd make a post on how it did with my goals for #joysofjunereadathon
I finished one book out of the four planned (Writers on Writing) and read for 2 hours and 51 minutes out of 20 hours total I plan to read. My third goal is to write two reviews, one of which I'll write tomorrow because I'm way too tired


#readathon #joysofjune

Andrew65 A great start 👏👏👏 2w
thereadingpal @Andrew65 thank you! 2w
15 likes2 comments
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I feel similar to others in that the second part didn‘t grip me as much as the first - some of the stories felt a bit lacklustre & it pulled the rating down for me. Love the way the author came full circle from the beginning story to the last. I went into it expecting it not to really be my thing but I definitely got invested - the author knows how to write believable characters that you feel for/connect with. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ #camplitsy

squirrelbrain Great review! I too had the feeling it wouldn‘t be my thing either, but ended up really liking it. 2w
Suet624 Yes to all of this. 1w
50 likes2 comments
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Our final question of this book is above.

On this post please also feel free to add anything else that you‘d like to discuss with your fellow Campers that we haven‘t already covered.

Tomorrow we‘ll post the schedule for our next book, True Biz, so look out for that. After the next 2 weeks of #camplitsy you‘ll have the opportunity to vote for the first time, at the end of June.

See All 47 Comments
Bookwormjillk I thought the theme of this book was life goes on. Through everything that happened people found a way to keep going. Some of it was horrible and heart breaking, but they did it. 2w
jlhammar The mystery of life. Things happen beyond the scope of our understanding and we've always told stories to try to make sense of things. I got a kick out of Nagamatsu's elementary school love for the Time-Life Mysteries of the Unknown series (mentioned in the Acknowledgements). But also grief, adaptation, survival, hope and love. You felt the love that the world builder (later Clara) had for humanity and I think that is there throughout the book. 2w
Cathythoughts Themes of love , regrets , hope … and death being a constant in our lives. Regret about lost time and duties unfulfilled towards family … mixed feelings on the authors thoughts on these. 2w
Cathythoughts @jlhammar Yes I agree , another theme , the mystery of life and how we are always looking for another angle , more magic. 2w
TrishB Definitely life goes on, no matter how awful it feels. There‘s always people trying to help and there‘s always people trying to make money and others just trying to muddle along. 2w
MicheleinPhilly I just keep coming back to the theme of death with dignity. When so many millions have lost their lives alone and/or separated from their loved ones, there was something comforting about so many characters having a certain element of control over their destiny. 2w
Megabooks @jlhammar very much agree with your insightful comments!! There is a mystery to life and a lot more to understand about the universe and our place in it. I think that‘s why science excites me so much. Whether it is medicine or astronomy! 2w
MrsV I agree that it definitely stressed that life goes on in stressful times. And I also agree that death with dignity was also a major theme of the book. Even though some things did get too “sciencey” in parts and went over my head, I did really like the book overall. (edited) 2w
Susanita Death and loss play a big part, considering it‘s a “pandemic book,” but I also noticed a strong theme of the lack of reconciliation…basically due to stubbornness. 🤔 2w
batsy Great comments from others above. It's about reckoning with death & the finite amount of time mere mortals have, but also the mystery at the heart of the universe. Why are we here & what's the purpose? I feel like this fundamental sense of mystery is also reflected in the relationships between people; you'll never truly know those whom you love the most, even you want to. The best we can all do is to be with each other. 2w
Ruthiella Agree with all the above. This was a really thought provoking book. And overall I think its message was hopeful. 2w
Soubhiville I like the way you worded that @MicheleinPhilly and agree. The strongest theme for me is dignity in and around death, and the fragile nature of relationships. In some of the stories the characters were sabotaging their relationships, but they could see themselves doing so and made choices that led the way. 2w
Soubhiville I also found the acknowledgments interesting, the background of the author and that this book was so long in the works. I wonder if it would have the same impact if it had been released before COVID hit us. Definitely seems like a timely read that could possibly help process what we‘ve all experienced over the last two years and maybe give insight as we continue to work through adapting to the world as it is now. 2w
MicheleinPhilly @Soubhiville Oh it definitely would not have had the same emotional resonance had I not had some real life experience to draw from. I‘ve read a few books where COVID makes an appearance but this was the first “COVID book” that for me really tapped into what I‘ve been wrestling with these last 2 years. Even though it is the most “unrealistic” one so far. 2w
squirrelbrain It‘s interesting, though, @Soubhiville that the acknowledgements imply that he wrote the book *before* Covid. (He says the deal process was at the start of the pandemic). Does that make this book even more eerily prescient? 2w
squirrelbrain @micheleinphilly Do you think the fact that it is ‘unrealistic‘, allows us to more easily project and consider our own thoughts in relation to the broader experiences in the book? If it had been more realistic but specific there may have been aspects that directly contradicted our own personal Covid histories. (edited) 2w
MicheleinPhilly 🤔 Very good question and an excellent observation. I think a more realistic narrative just would have been depressing AF. By being “unrealistic”, I was able to take from it what I didn‘t know I needed, perhaps. 2w
Megabooks @MicheleinPhilly I agree that by it not being exactly like our experience we had some distance that allowed some reflections I would not have had otherwise. In more real Covid fiction I‘ve been too busy placing it in the context of news or current events or even my personal experience. It can just be overwhelming in a completely different way. @squirrelbrain 2w
Cinfhen Great comments and ideas from everyone- thanks for a wonderful discussion @squirrelbrain @Megabooks @BarbaraBB and I definitely agree with @MicheleinPhilly the timing of this book was absolutely perfect. 2w
Chelsea.Poole @Megabooks @jlhammar great comments! This book definitely had me contemplating the meaning of life, the way humans deal with loss, and inevitably how the world keeps turning — like @trishb said. 2w
Chelsea.Poole Also, I came away with a feeling I often have — we humans are messing up things 😆 This should be an opportunity for us all to reflect upon our actions and the connection between people and the environment. 2w
squirrelbrain It‘s interesting that you picked up on the environmental angle @Chelsea.Poole - last week lots of us said we wanted to see more of that later on, but I personally didn‘t see the environment particularly as a strong theme. Did you feel that it was, or was it more the general theme of humankind messing everything up? 2w
Chelsea.Poole @squirrelbrain it‘s a consequence of what I bring to the table, as a reader. I‘m likely to feel that way, even if it‘s not an intentional theme from the author. But I felt that the beginning which was an impact of climate change (it‘s been months— either it‘s mentioned or I assumed idk) and then the rest of the book shows us up-close and personal ramifications of the pandemic — proving we are not separate from our environment. 2w
Chelsea.Poole @squirrelbrain also I returned my copy to the library months ago and this is all from memory so I could be totally off-base with all of this! 😬 2w
squirrelbrain Oh, it‘s definitely there in the first story @Chelsea.Poole - it‘s so wonderful how we can all read the same stories but have different takeaways, depending on what we bring with us to those stories. 2w
Hooked_on_books For me, this book was mainly about death and quite bleak. All the lessons so many have learned through the pandemic I had already learned while in medicine, so I‘ve not been grappling with those in the same way. But I definitely see how this book would resonate more now. 2w
Kitta I found it interesting how the book dealt differently with euthanasia and suicide, both death and a choice, but one was seen as a forgivable thing to do, understandable under the circumstances and the other was not and was reported in the newspapers. Although both were heavily commercialized and seemed frequent. The mention of suicide was way later in time though so maybe what‘s forgivable during a pandemic is not when the pandemic ends. 2w
BkClubCare @MicheleinPhilly - I appreciate your comment abt control. 2w
Leniverse I didn't really like how both the near destruction of humanity and great human discovery were linked to divine intervention. But I did like that disaster didn't lead to complete collapse of society and people going all Mad Max and Lord of the Flies on each other. The juxtaposition of economic exploitation and community spirit, embracing change and holding on to the past, all seemed surprisingly realistic in the middle of all the weird science. 2w
Sparklemn What will stick with me is the number of characters who had severed relationships with friends and family either pre- or post-plague. So for me, loss of connection was the theme. What I liked about Grave Friends was the hope that these relationships can be mended. 2w
thegreensofa My take-away (amongst my baffled confusion with a lot of the book going over my head) is of it being a reminder about wider ongoing theories of belief we are not alone in combination with exploration of religion vs other worlds. I think that may be why I had a hard time reading and understanding, my logic brain wants proof, I don‘t do well with supposition and I wish I was more open to scientific fantasy and imaginativeness. 2w
BarbaraBB Thank you so much @squirrelbrain and @Megabooks for hosting an amazing discussion. I appreciate the book now so much more. I owe you and will be there next weekend ❤️😘 2w
squirrelbrain Again, I agree @thegreensofa - I‘m much better with plain facts rather than fantasy! 2w
squirrelbrain Two contrasting views here @Leniverse @Sparklemn … Leni, you saw community spirit whilst Lora saw a severing of relationships. It goes back to what @Chelsea.Poole said earlier; it depends what experiences we bring to the story as to what we may take away, and what may help us to make sense of both the book and the world around us. 2w
squirrelbrain @BarbaraBB - we missed you but you don‘t ‘owe‘ us anything! Looking forward to having you back soon. 😘 2w
Leniverse I saw the severing of relationships that @Sparklemn mentioned too. I think because the plague targeted children, and that's hard to come back from. But on a whole, people responded with community and reaching out in ways they never did before. (It always annoys me in post-apocalyptic stories how willing people are to be cruel and burn everything down. (But I also think that's a (white) America expectation/entertainment thing.) 2w
BkClubCare My takeaway theme of this is how much we often want a better sense of community and connection but let fear stop us from being vulnerable and open to any relationships, let alone stronger ones. Like me, here now, feeling really late to the party. But I just finished it; giving it a pick! Still trying to read everyone‘s comments. Cheers for amazing discussions and participation 🤩👏🏕 2w
squirrelbrain Great takeaway @BkClubCare - I‘m glad you enjoyed reading through everyone‘s comments; we had some great discussions. 2w
BkClubCare @squirrelbrain and CHEERS for our Camp Counselors! 2w
squirrelbrain Thanks! @BkClubCare Tagging my fellow counsellors @Megabooks @BarbaraBB 2w
Megabooks I agree that it‘s an excellent takeaway! 👍🏻 2w
Megabooks @BkClubCare and thank you! 🥰 2w
thereadingpal I am so late to this, I just finished the book... Anyway. I do agree with other people, that the main theme of the book was Life and community. Many of the stories revolved around family, either biological or found (I'm thinking about the communities that formed after the pandemic). 1w
squirrelbrain Good to see you! @thereadingpal I hope you enjoyed reading back through the comments. I like your thought about ‘found families‘. 1w
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Our second question is all about your favourite and not-so-favourite parts of the book.

We also noticed in your reviews that many Campers preferred the first half of the book to the second. Was this the case for you and why do you think that was?

Don‘t worry if you haven‘t finished the book yet; you can pop back here any time to post your thoughts and comments.

See All 61 Comments
Bookwormjillk I definitely preferred the first half. It was all new and exciting then, while the second half felt a little repetitive to me. 2w
squirrelbrain For me, although the first half was a tougher read there was more of an emotional connection there. The second half was a bit more about the science than the people. 2w
Megabooks City of Laughter about the amusement park was the most interesting to me. As a veterinarian, I have a lot of opinions about euthanasia, and I feel the emotional aspects of it were handled pretty well. My least favorite was Life Around the Event Horizon about the singularity in the scientist‘s head. Idk it just didn‘t work for me. 2w
squirrelbrain My favourite was Speak, Fetch, Say I Love You. (Closely followed by Pig Son). I think both stories were both sad and hopeful at the same time. There were a couple of stories towards the end of the book where I didn‘t make any notes as they weren‘t interesting to me. (Before you Melt into the Sea being one of them) 2w
Oryx Pig Son was my favorite. Why do I always like the heartbreakers? I liked the spaceship one with the art too (don't have my book just now, can't remember the name). 2w
jlhammar I think the first and last stories were my favorite, then Pig Son packed a big punch emotionally as well as City of Laughter. It wasn't a perfect book for me, I felt less invested in some stories, but the overall concept and the way he ended it bumped it back up. I found it to be a very immersive reading experience. Might make it into my best books of the year. We'll see. I definitely want to read whatever he writes next. 2w
Cathythoughts My most memorable story was City of Laughter, @Megabooks I would have strong opinions on euthanasia too. First half definitely better for me. (edited) 2w
Cathythoughts Least favourite story I can‘t say, as in the second half I lost the plot and the stories merged a lot for me. There were a few moments , Like in Grave Friends , when we hear who the baby was from , in Throw the Garden of Memory , that jolted me back into the story. Or when Hollywood reappeared , I also became very interested again. (edited) 2w
BarbaraBB My favorites were the first one (I forgot the title) and City of Laughter. Both so heartbreaking. Interested in your thoughts on euthanasia @Megabooks 🤍 2w
TrishB 2nd half is a confused jumble in my brain. Pig Son was my favourite. I cried for the pig but not the children. There‘s something up with my emotional radar. 2w
MicheleinPhilly @TrishB 😂😂😂 2w
Megabooks @BarbaraBB well, I certainly believe people should have the right to make decisions as to what their end of life care can be, but the thing that struck me in CoL is the anguish of having to make that decision for someone else. I see that with people and beloved pets, so I can only imagine what it must‘ve been like for the parents in the story to make that decision. Also as far as the employees and operating the roller coaster, there is ⬇️ 2w
MicheleinPhilly City of Laughter was probably my favorite as it was the first story in the collection that made me think about the idea of death with dignity. Especially given what we‘ve all endured over the last 2+ years. My least favorite was A Gallery a Century, a Cry a Millennium as it just veered too far into Star Trek territory. That‘s where the collection started to release its grip on me. 2w
Megabooks @BarbaraBB ⬆️ something very deeply emotional about having to end a life. I thought I was prepared having worked as a technician, but there is a different level to it when you‘re the one with the syringe. I thought that was handled fairly well in the book. What are your thoughts @Cathythoughts ? 2w
Megabooks Some of these stories in the second half, I‘m having to look back in the book to see what people are taking about. They just don‘t pack the punch of memory as much. 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ 2w
TrishB @Megabooks @MicheleinPhilly agree- the 2nd half is mainly a fog to me! 2w
Cathythoughts @Megabooks I believe in euthanasia for myself and my pets in terminal illness and old age . When children came into it I got very afraid, its not the natural order, He‘s asking very big questions here, very courageous questions. . I hear you about being the one with the syringe.. that‘s the other side to it. That‘s another level , as you say. 2w
Megabooks @Cathythoughts agree. It is a big life question (children and euthanasia) and one I hope we don‘t come to as a society. I thought it was handled well in the book. 2w
MrsV My favorites were City of Laughter and Pig Son. I agree with those that said the 2nd half was too “sciencey”. My brain just isn‘t equipped to follow along with that 2w
squirrelbrain So many of us seemed to like City of Laughter, even if it was the most challenging read. It certainly gives voice to a subject that isn‘t frequently discussed. I wonder if the author wanted to provoke such discussions by making it so extreme. It wouldn‘t have had the emotional heft had it been about adults. @Oryx @jlhammar @Cathythoughts @BarbaraBB @TrishB @Megabooks @MicheleinPhilly @MrsV 2w
merelybookish My experience is similar to everyone else's. Loved most of the stories in the first half and can't even remember much of the second half. I do think it's interesting how that somewhat mimics what it's like to live through a pandemic. How initially with COVID everything was new and strange and scary and emotional. And how post/not post COVID is wearisome. 2w
youneverarrived Agree with the majority of you City of Laughter was the best chapter - absolutely heartbreaking and hard to read but memorable and so well written. A few of the latter chapters were my least favourite- I didn‘t gel with the second half as much as the first. I think it was just a bit too sci-fiey for me. 2w
jlhammar I think Helen is right. City of Laughter is so charged. I was completely wrecked having to make the decision for my beloved cat several years ago. I can't even wrap my mind around making a choice like that for a child. I think in this story it came across as a very loving choice given the circumstances. 2w
batsy I did have the same experience in the sense that the second half flagged at points, though I did like Songs of Your Decay. The other stories in the 2nd half sort of blended together for me, like @Cathythoughts mentioned. I really liked 30, 000 Years, City of Laughter, & Pig Son. The first set up a premise that I would gladly have seen expand into a novel of its own. City & Pig Son handled really complex, tough emotions without sentimentality, imo 2w
jlhammar And I can't begin to imagine how difficult it is for the ones there supporting, advising, navigating and/or administering euthanasia, even with pets, as you have, @Megabooks . It is a gift in so many ways, but it has to leave scars. CoL made you think about the impact on all involved. 2w
Ruthiella Before You Melt Into the Sea is maybe my least favorite. It could easily have been cut. It was just another example of the funerary biz. I mean, it did have a human aspect to it too, falling for someone you will never meet IRL, but still, it didn‘t add much IMO. Like everyone else, City of Laughter and Pig Son were standouts for me. 2w
jlhammar @merelybookish Yes, such a great observation! I hadn't thought of that, but so true. 2w
Megabooks @jlhammar that‘s the way I had to think about it. Relief of suffering is a gift to both the animal and pet parent, but it can be very emotionally exhausting dealing with it every day because I wanted to give as much respect and care as I could for each family. Some days it was just overwhelming. 2w
Soubhiville @TrishB I‘m 100% with you on Pig Son. I cried for the pig too. It was definitely the story I connected with most. Like @Megabooks I‘m in the animal field and euthanasia is something I‘ve had a lot of experiences with in both work and personally having had lots of pets. I think humane life-ending practices for humans are much too difficult to access. 2w
Kdgordon88 The first half was outstanding. The second half it was harder to feel a connection to the stories. I really lost focus in the story about leaving earth to find a new planet/home. 2w
Megabooks @Soubhiville @TrishB I think one of the things that hit me with pig son was how brave snortorious was to give up his life to save others. It is a really courageous thing to expect of anyone. 2w
squirrelbrain I agree with you @jlhammar - @merelybookish made a great point about the fatigue setting in once we all got used to the ‘newness‘ of the pandemic. 2w
Cinfhen Same same same @jlhammar and I also loved Speak, Fetch @squirrelbrain I can‘t recall the names, but I sort of fast forwarded two stories in the middle of the book. I did enjoy the story when the grandmother took her granddaughter into space to search for a new planet and we were reacquainted with characters from previous stories. Also as difficult as this book was there were some moments of levity, which I appreciated. A very satisfying read 2w
TrishB @Megabooks that bit really got me 💔 2w
TrishB @Soubhiville @Megabooks you‘ve definitely given me food for thought on the animal euthanasia front. Dealing with the animals and the emotional people, must be very hard. Grateful to those that do it ❤️ 2w
squirrelbrain I liked that story too about the grandmother @cinfhen - it started to tie up some of the links between the characters. 2w
squirrelbrain @Kdgordon88 - I agree; I think the second half stories were more science-y and futuristic and therefore there was less of a connection. 2w
Megabooks @TrishB yeah, I think he hit upon something true about domesticated animals. My dogs are much larger-hearted and more forgiving than I. And thank you. 💜 2w
Hooked_on_books I read this back in March, and Pig Son has stuck with me most. It was so compelling and unique. I just loved it. Like many others, I also really liked City of Laughter, both for the chapter itself and how it‘s characters kept popping up through the rest of the book. If anyone‘s interested, this is an interesting book about euthanasia/assisted suicide. It‘s thought provoking. (edited) 2w
Leniverse I think the second half of the book had less of an impact both because the shock had worn off and because the epidemic had mostly worn off. It was more about the way onwards after the apocalypse, and it wasn't a dystopian hellscape (for a change!) and I rather liked that. I enjoyed finding out what happened to the baby from the coma dream. But the best stories were the first few, yes. 2w
Kitta Like @squirrelbrain my favourite was speak, fetch, say I love you. Least favourite was the ending one about the world builder. The one I‘ll remember most is the City of Laughter though. I feel like it really defines the stories as a collection for me. 2w
Kitta @Leniverse I don‘t remember finding out what happened to the baby! What happened? 2w
Leniverse @Kitta Grave Friends. The final story before the reveal of the creator. The grandmother they had the funeral for. She used to tell them about a recurring dream where she was a baby in the dark and was lifted up into the air after crawling through hundreds of arms and legs. 2w
Kitta @Leniverse oooh I must have missed that. I fell asleep reading at one point. Oops. Thank you! 2w
Sparklemn My favorite story was Songs of Your Decay. I loved reading about the music that we all know from real life and how Aubrey and Laird bond by listening. My least favorite was Before You Melt into the Sea. @ruthiella I agree this could be cut and never missed. Overall, I agree with others that the 2nd half had much less impact. When I go back and think about the 2nd half chapters, there were stories I enjoyed but overall, it was too sci-fi for me. 2w
thegreensofa My favourites were the first one, it was for me the most real/probable. And also the coma one where they were building pyramids and wondering around, it was a somewhat visual chapter and found that one easiest. But I really didn‘t like the kids on the funrides chapter, I was so appalled and kept thinking ‘no no don‘t-but what if!‘. 2w
squirrelbrain Thanks for that book recommendation Holly @Hooked_on_books - another one to add to my list! 😁 2w
squirrelbrain As for least favourite, less people commented and there was a much broader range of answers, with the only consensus being that we didn‘t much like Before You Melt. 2w
BarbaraBB Love your excel 🤓 2w
KarenUK @barbarabb @megabooks @squirrelbrain I truly am the worst buddy reader! Always too slow and behind! I‘m working every weekend long shifts right now, so missed all these questions both weekends, but loved catching up this morning (before heading off to work again!) I just finished the book, and agree with most that the first half spoke to me so, much more than the second half. City of laughter was easily my favorite story. 2w
cariashley Totally agree with others about City of Laughter - it was the most powerful vignette in the collection for me. Chilling in so many ways. 2w
BarbaraBB @KarenUK Take care of yourself, even though you‘re having our dream job 💕💕 (edited) 2w
squirrelbrain @KarenUK - we love having you along anyway! It‘s still great that you can read through everyone else‘s comments, even if you don‘t have time to comment. Don‘t work too hard…😘 2w
squirrelbrain @cariashley - it must say something about the author, that the story we all found the most challenging to read was also our favourite. 2w
BkClubCare I don‘t really have a favorite story, nor a least favorite and my copy doesn‘t have a ToC. 😠 I went back to reread the Life around the Event Horizon (introducing Theresa) to see if she had the pendant. Maybe I should have taken notes. I was excited to catch at least 3 pie mentions! WIN #iLovePie 2w
squirrelbrain It‘s definitely a book where taking notes would help! @BkClubCare 2w
BkClubCare @squirrelbrain - I always wonder if I “should“ but while in the flow, I can't figure out what to make note of. LOL 2w
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Hello campers! We hope you‘ve had a lovely week so far at #camplitsy!

This week we can discuss the whole book, so here‘s the first question of the week to discuss around the campfire. We know many of you had questions left open from the first half of the book, so let us know if your questions were resolved and if you were satisfied with the answers.

Look out for more questions shortly!

See All 45 Comments
Bookwormjillk I feel like some questions were answered and some things probably went over my head so I‘m waiting to hear what the rest of you say 😂 2w
Megabooks I really liked how the last story tied most of the others together. Having read it twice, it was interesting knowing those connections going in. I think that‘s what makes some books extra enjoyable to read again. 2w
squirrelbrain I agree with you @Bookwormjillk - some things I feel like I might have missed. That‘s why I think it may be a good book to read twice @Megabooks ! 2w
jlhammar I loved the ending. I didn't get my story from the neanderthal girl's POV, but close enough and it was very satisfying. Closed the loop, spoke to the mystery of the plague of the past and to humanity's future. I got Arrival vibes (adore that movie, but haven't read the story) with a dash of Battlestar Galactica (the series ending especially, 2004-09 version, a fun binge-watch). 2w
Oryx @jlhammar Yes! Total BSG last episode vibes - I didn't connect that until you mentioned it it. 2w
Cathythoughts The crystal/ pendant reappeared 🤔 Also the final chapter had our traveller hanging out with some of the great minds of history … she was really there at those moments. Not sure how I felt about that. Only because it seemed too much packed into a tiny bit of the story. Still, the book feels like quite an accomplishment.. definitely one to read again @squirrelbrain @Bookwormjillk to get a fuller picture. (edited) 2w
TrishB I‘m pretty sure I didn‘t get everything. The last bit was satisfying, I thought it might have had more religious overtones. 2w
Megabooks @Cathythoughts I liked when the pendant came back as well. Looking back and reading it a second time, it was a big clue. 2w
MrsV I think some things probably went over my head too. I did like how the last story really tied up the book. (edited) 2w
squirrelbrain Yes, I agree @Cathythoughts - that last chapter was much ‘larger‘ and expansive than the rest of the book. It made it feel a bit rushed, I thought. 2w
Susanita I didn‘t really like the ending, but it was interesting that most of the big loose ends were resolved. 2w
youneverarrived I liked how it came full circle at the end. I found myself less intently reading the second half (didn‘t enjoy it as much as the first) so there‘s things I probably missed. It answered a bit about the chapter with the orbs though which was good. 2w
merelybookish Ditto @youneverarrived My interest started to flag considerably in the 2nd half so I was excited when the conclusion brought some things together and connected some dots. (Although some things still eluded me!) It's rare when a conclusion salvages or even elevates a book, but that's what I felt happened here. 2w
Ruthiella I liked the ending, though personally I would have preferred more ambiguity. I like to have my own theories for these kinds of “where did we come from” questions. But I did go back and see who had the second pendant. 2w
batsy I'm not sure how I felt about the ending. Probably because it was too much packed into one story. I liked the audacity of it, the ideas that were being worked through. It was bold. I liked that it was strange & took some risks diving into the more speculative elements of sci-fi, though the latter is not a genre I'm well-versed with, so I'm not sure if it's been done in this way before. But in a way it also felt hollow. Like, is this all it is? 2w
Soubhiville Even though I thought the first half was stronger, I did feel satisfied at the end. Like others have said I thought the last chapter wrapped things together really well. Like @TrishB I felt some either religious or mythology based tingles with the final character. I liked the idea that though she was the creator or molder of the planet, she still could mess up and did in a major way, and that her life wasn‘t satisfying without greater ⬇️ 2w
Soubhiville Connections to the beings. I think I will reread at some point with the overview at the end in mind. 2w
Kdgordon88 Like others I‘m sure I missed things, maybe since I listened? My daughter bought a physical copy so I will reread and see what I missed. I liked the ending. 2w
squirrelbrain Ooh @ruthiella I hadn‘t picked up on a second pendant…(have I missed something really obvious?! 😬) Could you explain? 2w
squirrelbrain @batsy - audacity is a great word for that final chapter. It was such a different style and tone to the rest of the stories though, it was almost a bit jarring. 2w
squirrelbrain @TrishB @Soubhiville - great shout on the religious overtones at the end; I hadn‘t spotted that nuance. Do you think that negates or dilutes the scientific nature of the rest of the book? 2w
Ruthiella The world builders daughter is wearing it but in the pages of the book, they don‘t ever meet on earth (but it could happen outside of the stories; it‘s not precluded). The lady who manages the cafe in “Melancholy Nights in Tokyo Virtual Cafe” is wearing it. But she‘s not the world builder, that‘s Yamato‘s 2nd wife. So she must be the daughter. 2w
Leniverse @Ruthiella @squirrelbrain Yes, the Tokyo VR Café manager says she lost her mother long ago, and that the mother gave her the pendant. So that's Nuri. 2w
Leniverse I'm not a fan of literal Deus ex machina endings, but I think it worked better here than in other books I have read, because the science part was already practically magical realism. I'm glad the strings were tied up, and that it ended on a hopeful but vague note. 2w
Cinfhen I agree first half was stronger but I thought the last chapter really tied up the story in a satisfying way. 2w
Megabooks @Kdgordon88 I read the first time on audio as well, but I read the print edition for camp litsy, and it was easier for me to follow the connections in print. It is a book worth rereading. 2w
TrishB Not being a religious person I find that really hard to answer! But religion and science sit side by side and there are religious scientists 🤷‍♀️ 2w
squirrelbrain Thanks @Ruthiella @Leniverse - that helps! (edited) 2w
squirrelbrain @Leniverse I went into the book expecting magical realism, from other reviews, but I think it‘s the first time it has been mentioned in our discussions this past 2 weeks; sci-fi and apocalyptic fiction has been posited, but not magical realism. What aspects do you think make it so? 2w
Leniverse It's mostly a feeling. I guess it's genre bending, really. The science was bizarre, it's speculative fiction sure but not quite Sci-Fi. And there's that shared coma dream. Everything in the book seems slightly off but everyone and the reader just goes with it. It doesn't feel like horror or paranormal or fantasy, the atmosphere is more lyrical and reminded me of magical realism. 2w
Lindy I LOVED this novel. The 2nd pendant: I thought it was the first pendant and wondered if it had been stolen from Clara‘s dead body and how did it get to Japan… until we learned there were two of them. Sneaky! @Ruthiella @Megabooks @squirrelbrain (edited) 2w
Lindy @Cathythoughts The traveller hanging out with great minds reminded me of 2w
Kitta I actually didn‘t like the last chapter. I would have preferred more ambiguity (something I never say!). It annoyed me to have a god-like character enter and be the reasons for everything. Even if it was a woman when presenting as human. I preferred a scientific explanation for the plague and for mankind‘s discoveries like Isaac Newton‘s. I usually love magical realism but this was off for me. Loved the first half of the book though. 2w
Lindy @Leniverse : you talking about the literal deus ex machina at the end made me smile; Nagamatsu making god a woman made me smile too. @Soubhiville @TrishB 2w
Lindy Several of you including @Megabooks have spoken of rereading this; I would happily reread it and that‘s one of my criteria for giving a book 5 stars on Goodreads. 2w
Megabooks @Lindy yes! This was a strong 4.5⭐️ for me on both audio and print, and I am very stingy with stars. I‘m so glad I read it twice! 2w
thegreensofa I‘m just lost, it all went over my head. I think maybe I‘m too much of a realist. However, I tried and I did enjoy the trying. 2w
squirrelbrain @Leniverse Thank you! I get a bit lost with all of these genres! 2w
squirrelbrain @Kitta - I agree! I usually hate ambiguous endings; I like everything tied up in a neat bow for me… but in this case I felt that it would have been better to leave at least some things unexplained. 2w
squirrelbrain @thegreensofa - a lot of it went over my head too, so I‘m glad we‘ve had these discussions to see other Littens‘ points of view and thoughts. 2w
squirrelbrain @Lindy @Megabooks - I almost never read books twice, but in this case I may come back to it sometime. 2w
cariashley @Megabooks I did it on audio and it lost me in the second half a bit. I think I would have liked it better in print, but not sure. It just went in so many directions and would have benefitted from more connectivity. Agree with your take too @batsy ! 2w
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The 2nd half of this wasn‘t as affecting as the first as it veered a bit too far into sci-fi in a couple of stories. But overall I appreciated what I took from this and am glad I read it. Looking forward to tomorrow‘s discussion. #CampLitsy #CapTOB

squirrelbrain Lots of reviews agree with you on the second half, I think! 2w
TrishB I definitely skim read a lot of the 2nd half. 2w
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The kittens are now bigger than a book! They are growing so fast. #catsoflitsy #MonaLisa #kittensoflitsy

I didn‘t know a lot about this book going in, which I think is a good thing. This collection of stories, all interconnected in some way, examine the effect of a virus released from the melting Arctic permafrost, and it‘s devastating impact around the world. I can‘t wait to discuss the 2nd half in a few days with #CampLitsy.

squirrelbrain Gosh, that little cutie is growing so fast! Looking forward to your thoughts at the weekend. 2w
squirrelbrain Ooh, and didn‘t think about that #pop22 prompt - thanks! 😁 2w
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samantharoberts I love that cover! 2w
TheSpineView So cute! 2w
Ruthiella I think going on blind is going for this particular book too. It‘s a bit like a puzzle. You don‘t want too much of the picture until you figure it out for yourself. 2w
Teresereading Cute cat 2w
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Good timezone! I'm having breakfast and will continue reading How High We Go In The Dark.

Also, since I just joined the #LitsyLove bandwagon... Would anyone be interested in writing letters to each other? ☺️

StayCurious Absolutely! Did you get access to the address spreadsheet? I‘m on there 2w
thereadingpal @StayCurious I did! But I guess I want people's permission before sending something xD I'm awkward like that 2w
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Me 🙋🏻‍♀️ 2w
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thereadingpal @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks yay! I'll write the letter this week :D 2w
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Everyone is really responsive so don‘t hesitate ❤️ 2w
Teresereading It‘s a great group 2w
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Today's been a fruitful enough reading day and the day is not finished yet.
I really need to read more of How High Go In The Dark though

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Got it! Reading as much as I can today and tomorrow to catch up with my campmates 🏕 #campLitsy

BkClubCare AND… do you not love it when the praise by another author is someone whose books you‘ve read?! 2w
Megabooks Yay! Glad you can join in! 2w
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1. 🧬🔬🧫👩‍🔬
2. Mmmh a sequel to a standalone... Right now I cannot think of any lmao it's like I only read series (not true, but my mind is fried)
3. Adorare Aten - Marco Zecchi 5⭐ :D


Tagging anyone who wants to play!!!

Eggs Thanks for playing along🤩📚👏🏻 2w
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I don‘t want to say too much since we‘ll be discussing on Saturday for #CampLitsy, but I did really like this.

The format works so well for me, which is a surprise as I‘m not a short story fan generally, but not a surprise as I have liked other novels with similar structure. In the end it does feel like a novel to me.

Like a few others have already said, I liked the first half more, but the second half has a lot to think about too. ⬇️

Soubhiville I expect I‘ll be thinking about this book for a long time, and definitely will recommend it to others. It will make my best of list for the year. @squirrelbrain @Megabooks @BarbaraBB Thanks for hosting CampLitsy and putting this book in my hands! 3w
Soubhiville @alysonimagines you have to read this. I can loan it to you if you like. It could work for the SS/essay topic later this year for LARS. 3w
Megabooks @Soubhiville so glad you enjoyed it so much! It is in my possible NYWD list for next year and may make my top 22 of 22 as well. 😁🏕 3w
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RaeLovesToRead Aww Venkman all snoodled! 🥰🥰 3w
MicheleinPhilly Happy Birthday! 2w
Hooked_on_books The pig chapter/story is hard to beat, in my opinion. 2w
alysonimagines @Soubhiville Ooh thanks for the rec! I‘ve been curious about it but not sure if I would get it (I mean, understand it). I‘d love to borrow your copy! (edited) 6d
Soubhiville @alysonimagines definitely. Let me know when you want it and we‘ll set up a meeting. 😊 6d
alysonimagines @Soubhiville Ok cool, thanks! I have a few titles to donate to your LFL too, so I‘ll let you know when I‘m ready and we can figure out a day/time. 6d
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I'm waiting for my physiotherapy and electrostimulation sessions and decided to read a bit.
I'm enjoying it so far but I'm finding it hard to concentrate 🤔

#camplitsy @squirrelbrain

squirrelbrain It does take little while to get into, probably because it‘s short stories and the links between them can be a bit tenuous. 2w
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Well that was interesting , thought provoking. I preferred the first half , or maybe I just gave it more attention. Looking forward to the discussion #CampLitsy, some questions were answered 🤔.
I‘ve started another book , not sci fi, and it feels kind of flat after all the searching and magical elements in How High … might take awhile to come down. Also having just read Sea of Tranquility, which was one of my favourites this year.

squirrelbrain Great review Cathy! Looking forward to your thoughts at the weekend. 3w
Megabooks Lovely review! I‘m excited for the discussion as well. 3w
Ruthiella I think the stories in the 1st half were more intriguing, for sure. 2w
Cathythoughts @Ruthiella I think so too. And an awful lot was packed into that last story in the second half 😳😁 2w
Cathythoughts @squirrelbrain @Megabooks Thanks, and I‘m so glad I read it , I might never have only for 🏕 Litsy. 👍🏻 2w
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It's currently 7am and I just made my Pages Read page for the day. Left one space open because I plan to finish one of the books I need to study and start another.
Anyway, before studying, let's read a bit of How High We Go In The Dark!


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#Two4Tuesday @TheSpineView 📚
1. It was a pretty cover, but not really. The book was much darker and sadder than the cover indicated.
2. No, it was a Literati book club pick.

TheSpineView Thanks for playing! 3w
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Huh. This went in a different direction than I expected when I started reading it. I like the interwoven-stories format, but I'm not sure if it accomplishes all that Nagamatsu intends it to, which is a lot. It seems at the same time depressing and unrealistically optimistic. I couldn't help but think there would be some major supply chain issues that the novel doesn't address at all, but I like the sense of unity, even if I don't quite buy it.

ImperfectCJ I'm having trouble finding the discussion posts for this for #camplitsy again, so hopefully I get another tag for this weekend's discussion (although I probably won't have time to participate with as busy as things are looking to be). 3w
Soubhiville @squirrelbrain posted them, so if you go to her page you‘ll see them a few posts down 😊 3w
ImperfectCJ @Soubhiville Thank you, that worked! I forgot who was leading this discussion and the hashtag gave me too much to scroll through. 3w
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squirrelbrain Great review - looking forward to hearing more at the weekend. We‘ll continue to tag everyone anyway. There are so many #camplitsy posts aren‘t there?! I‘m hosting the first two books in June, followed by @Megabooks in July and @BarbaraBB in August. 3w
squirrelbrain Thanks @Soubhiville - you can be my Camp Cabin assistant if you like?! 🤣 3w
Soubhiville @squirrelbrain I‘ll be in charge of tiki torches and the first aid kit? 😆 3w
Megabooks I will double check your handle is correct on the master tag list. If you have a chance, I‘d love for you to elaborate on your thoughts ⬆️. I remember thinking about supply chain when I first read it in April, so thank you for jogging my memory! I think there were some blind spots, but he also created a really compelling world. 3w
squirrelbrain Sounds perfect! @Soubhiville 🏕 ⛑ 2w
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Okay, starting this. Of course I'm late as hell, but I hope to finish it in time!

#camplitsy @squirrelbrain

Tera66 I think I cried at every chapter of this one.😭 3w
thereadingpal @Tera66 is it that sad??? 3w
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What a profound and hard book to listen to after having lived through a pandemic, this book of interconnected short stories is poignant and thought provoking. Amazing as an Audiobook, heavy at times, hopeful at others. Highly recommend. #CampLitsy

squirrelbrain Glad you liked it, even though it‘s tough. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Saturday. 3w
Megabooks Great review! 3w
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I really have enjoyed rereading this with the #CampLitsy gang, and our first discussion Saturday brought up so many ideas that I hadn‘t thought about. I can‘t wait to talk about the whole book Saturday!

Also this cover! 🤩

squirrelbrain I thought I liked the UK cover better, but now I‘m not so sure. Does that one have cut-outs? 3w
thereadingpal Can't way to start this book - I joined Camp Litsy late xD (edited) 3w
Megabooks @squirrelbrain they‘re 3Dish but not cutouts. I didn‘t know there was one with cutouts! The book itself is sky blue. 3w
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BarbaraBB I love your cover too! 3w
Megabooks @thereadingpal fantastic! Looking forward to having you in the discussion Saturday. 😁🏕 3w
Megabooks @BarbaraBB 😁🤩💜 3w
BarbaraBB @thereadingpal good to have you joining anyway! And you have a few more days to finish and discuss the book! 3w
squirrelbrain I don‘t know that there is one with cutouts… it just looked like that one did! 🤣 3w
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Each table was contained inside its own little plastic bubble latticed with fairy lights, a throwback to earlier plague days, the fear that it was airborne. Many public spaces now kept these around for ambiance.

4thhouseontheleft They line brought back some memories of 2020/2021. 3w
Lindy @4thhouseontheleft Have you eaten in a bubble? I haven‘t (yet) but I‘ve seen them and, like you, found that passage brought back 2021 days. 3w
Sparklemn The ones in the pic look appealing. I'd like to eat in one. The ones in my city that sit on the edge of the sidewalk? Not as appealing. I guess I shouldn't knock it until I try it! 3w
Lindy @Sparklemn Yeah, location makes all the difference. 3w
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Thanks to #camplitsy! Not sure if I would have picked this one up on my own. Absolutely loved it. Can‘t wait for the discussion on the 2nd half!!

squirrelbrain Looking forward to your thoughts on Saturday. 3w
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This was incredible. I resisted reading past midway before yesterday‘s (wonderful!) #CampLitsy discussions, but then I could wait no longer to finish! “The Scope of Possibility” blew me away, and now I kind of want to go back and reread right away (in print - I did the audio and loved the cast of narrators). Has anyone found a map of the characters and their connections? I would love to pore over that. Looking forward to next weekend's discussion!

Suet624 Yes! That chapter! I adored it and brought it to a place that I needed it to go. 3w
Suet624 And the printed version has no map. 3w
Oryx I'd love to see the connections mapped out! 3w
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Ruthiella I don‘t know if a character map. I took a few notes as I went along but for sure didn‘t catch them all. 3w
Megabooks Such wonderful connections in this book! A map would be great. I‘m glad you enjoyed it. 3w
Christine @Suet624 Yes, well said! Same. Guess I get why there would not be a character map in the book, but I still want one! 😁 3w
Christine @Oryx Right? Surely some fellow book nerd out there will take the time to make one...🤞 3w
Christine @Ruthiella You did better than me in taking notes! I'm sure I missed plenty. 3w
Christine @Megabooks Yes re: the connections, and I do hold out hope for someone making such a map! #CampLitsy is really great and definitely enhanced my experience of reading this! Thanks for your part in making it that way. ❤ 3w
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Here is the first part of our schedule for #CampLitsy!

We will discuss the first half of How High We Go In The Dark on June 4th, then the remainder on June 11th.

Then the first half of True Biz will be June 18th, and the second half on June 25th.

I‘m excited to be your host for June, alongside @BarbaraBB and @Megabooks !

LitsyEvents Look out for their posts later today with the remainder of the schedule. 3w
squirrelbrain Thanks for the repost! @LitsyEvents 3w
squirrelbrain First part of the schedule @Magpiegem 2w
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Got the last 6 chapters/short stories(?) to read! Hoping to finish tonight if not tomorrow. #camplitsy

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I enjoyed this novel in short stories about a plague that ravages the earth‘s population, an earth already like our own, beginning to show the consequences of environmental abuse caused by humans. It‘s not a cheerful book by any means, but it‘s also not completely devoid of hope. Some chapters were stronger than others, but on the whole, this is a solid pick. 👍


sarahbarnes Great review. I agree. I thought the beginning and ending were the best parts. 3w
Ruthiella @sarahbarnes Yes, he does manage to bring it full circle! I think Pig Son and City of Laughter are the chapters that will stay with me most. 3w
sarahbarnes Those parts broke my heart for sure! 💔 3w
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Megabooks Excellent review! 3w
Cinfhen City of Laughter will stay with me for a very long time!!!! Great review 🥰agreed, some stories were better than others but overall a solid collection. Im thinking of using this for #HopePunk / thoughts??? 3w
Ruthiella @Megabooks Thanks! 😊 3w
Ruthiella @Cinfhen I think it‘d work in that category. 👍 3w
Cathythoughts Great review! I still have the second half to go. 3w
Ruthiella @Cathythoughts I am curious to hear what everyone will make of the end story. 🤔 3w
60 likes9 comments
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Did anyone else at #CampLitsy cry over the Stay, Fetch, Say I love you story? Because I did. 😭

This book is so hopeful and sad at the same time. It‘s short stories set in a pandemic in a sort of dystopian world where people have capitalized on death and the industry is booming as the pandemic ravages the world.

I‘m halfway through and loving the stories so far. Great choice for a discussion!

Soubhiville I had a harder time with Snortorious, that one made me cry. I wasn‘t quite there with the robot dogs. 3w
Kitta @Soubhiville I read the first half in one sitting and I think I just held it in until the end. Snortorious was very sad too but also kind of comedic? 3w
Megabooks That was a really moving story. It is a lovely combination of sadness and hope in this one. (edited) 3w
9 likes3 comments
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Gather round the campfire 🔥, everyone, it‘s time for our final question of this week.

... Even more difficult with this question not to reveal any spoilers for the end of the book – the schedule is to read up to the end of ‘Speak, Fetch, Say I Love You‘ so please take care!

See you next Saturday for more questions on the second half of the book!

See All 59 Comments
squirrelbrain In the first story I wonder if the tattoo on the girl may be significant, particularly as it‘s on the front cover of the UK edition of the book. I also didn‘t understand much of ‘Through the Garden of Memory‘, with the orbs – is it real or is it someone‘s weird fever dream? I‘m hoping we‘ll get an explanation later on! 3w
Oryx Agree, the Garden of Memory raises a lot of questions (mostly wtf? 😁) 3w
Megabooks Yes, I read Garden of Memory as some kind of psychic connections between victims, but perhaps it is the narrator feeling alone in her suffering and her mind creating worlds where she is not alone. I think there‘s a thread of loneliness through these stories, and I wonder if the pandemic will abate and allow people to reconnect physically in the second half? And I wonder about the same thing @squirrelbrain @Oryx (edited) 3w
TrishB Of course I didn‘t follow instructions and have read to the end! So I can‘t remember what I thought mid way. 3w
merelybookish Same as @TrishB although I know I wondered about Clara's necklace that was missing. It felt like a significant detail. 3w
Soubhiville @squirrelbrain @Oryx @Megabooks the orbs! That was the story I connected the least with. It felt after-life-ish to me? Like a kind of purgatory they‘re trying to move on from one way or another. I hope we‘ll see an end to the sickness and an emerging to a new and somehow better world, though I‘d be ok with a darker ending too. I hope there is a thread that pulls all the stories together a bit more, as I love an “a-ha!” Moment at the end. 3w
MicheleinPhilly As someone who doesn‘t at all mind darkness (I mean, my “comfort” reads are serial killer thrillers for pete‘s sake), I find myself wanting some measure of hope and lightness in the back half. I think because this is a dystopia that feels more “real” in much the same way “The Power” did. 3w
Susanita It seems the first story doesn‘t have any narrative connections to the others, while there are Easter eggs among the rest of them. Unless I‘m missing something, which is entirely possible. 3w
sarahbarnes Like many of you, I really hope to understand more about the “purgatory” chapter with the orbs. What was that about? Also, Clara‘s necklace @merelybookish and the body they found with the strange tattoos @squirrelbrain 3w
Megabooks @MicheleinPhilly that‘s an interesting connection to The Power that I hadn‘t considered. That book has really stuck with me in the 5 years since I read it as I think this one will. 3w
Megabooks @Soubhiville it could very well be a purgatory! Interesting thought. 3w
Suet624 @TrishB Same here. Finished the book. But if I remember correctly, I really liked the concept of this story. This is the story where they are in darkness floating around, right? Where despite their confusion they all band together to push a baby up and out of that darkness? I saw that as such a hopeful and positive thing to do. 3w
Suet624 @Megabooks @soubhiville I imagined it was an image of what purgatory would feel like, but the fact that they were able to band together and help release a baby from that location brought me so much hope. 3w
BarbaraBB I finished the book too but I kept hoping that we would return to the people from the first chapters because I cared so much for them. I mean Clara and Fitch especially 3w
jlhammar Once I realized it wasn't a traditional novel structure, I found myself hoping for and excited by the prospect of a section/story from the POV of the neanderthal girl they found in the ice who died from the plague 30,000 years earlier. I won't speak to whether or not we actually get that in the second half (we can talk about that next week), but the first story set the stage in such a way that I was yearning to get back to the mystery of it. 3w
batsy Like @jlhammar I wanted more of the first story and for the book to dwell more on the mystery and the sense of both dread and possibility that it evoked. The virus, the tattoos, the etchings on the stone circle that was "related to cuneiform" or "something akin to high-level math". I loved that aspect of ancient civilisations, how consciousness evolved, and the mystery of our world and other possibilities; I wanted the book to be more about that. 3w
youneverarrived I‘m wondering if the link between climate change and the plague/pandemic (at least I think that‘s what was being said in the first chapter?) will be in the latter half of the book. I felt the same about that chapter with the orbs @squirrelbrain. 3w
Kdgordon88 I feel like the title is from The Garden of Memory, the banding together, building the human pyramid, saving the baby (hopefully) so there must be more explanation of what that place is later in the book. It feels so unresolved. And like @batsy I would like more about the beginning. 3w
MrsV I absolutely want to know more about Clara and Fitch‘s stories. Does Clara‘s daughter Yumi somehow come back into the story to help with the Arctic plague. Fitch‘s story broke my heart, I want good things for him. I didn‘t connect a Purgatory location with the orbs, but I want to know more about them. 3w
Ruthiella @Kdgordon88 I agree, the book title comes from “The Garden of Memory”. I really had no expectations of where the book would go so I just read each story looking for clues. And there are obvious connections between “Pig Son” and “City of Laughter” but also between “City of Laughter” and “Through the Garden of Memory”. 3w
MicheleinPhilly @Megabooks This is hitting me in the same way because it doesn‘t *QUITE* feel so fantastical. It hit way too close to home and I‘m getting some of those same feelings of dread from this. 3w
squirrelbrain I didn‘t see your comment here first @Kdgordon88 @ruthiella and just wrote this on the other thread, as I agree that the title must be something to do with saving the baby. (edited) 3w
squirrelbrain @MicheleinPhilly @Megabooks Realistic dystopia is always more terrifying. This one also felt scarily ‘near‘ 3w
Megabooks @squirrelbrain @MicheleinPhilly oooh yes, that one as well Helen! I can definitely see some dread and all three of these books make me look critically at our real world. 3w
MicheleinPhilly OMG, Red Clocks is the novel I was thinking of! I don‘t even think I‘ve read The Power. 🤦🏻‍♀️ I told you I had Swiss cheese brain, Helen. 🤪 3w
squirrelbrain Oh dear! @MicheleinPhilly It happens to us all! 3w
Chelsea.Poole Oh this is difficult because I read this awhile ago and I can‘t remember what if felt at the beginning, other than hoping the first chapter would be explained better/be continued. 3w
Chelsea.Poole @squirrelbrain @Megabooks @MicheleinPhilly loving this thread about being more disturbed by novels that are more feasible. I need to read Red Clocks still, but I always think of The Handmaid‘s Tale…the scene from the series where women suddenly have no bank accounts/credit cards and cannot work. 😱 3w
Megabooks @Chelsea.Poole @squirrelbrain @MicheleinPhilly yes, Chelsea, I had forgotten that scene. It‘s interesting we‘re talking about books that affect women disproportionately when, in the early years of How High‘s pandemic, kids were disproportionately affected. Of course since caregiving falls mainly to women, one would think they are disproportionately affected in the book (as it was with our real pandemic). 🤔⬇️ (edited) 3w
Megabooks Of course the mother‘s dilemma in City of Laughter was heartbreaking and probably replicated many times throughout the fictional world. Invisible labor is quite real in fiction, too. (edited) 3w
Chelsea.Poole @Megabooks excellent point! It‘s interesting because of the way the elderly were more impacted by COVID. I have made the comment often during the pandemic that if children were dying at the same rate people would be more willing to wear masks/get the vaccine/otherwise take measures to protect children but I now have to wonder if that‘s a correct assumption. (edited) 3w
squirrelbrain Oh, @Chelsea.Poole excellent point. And I think you‘re right in your initial statement - heartbreakingly we treated the elderly as dispensable and I do think that if it had impacted children, or even younger adults in the same way, the outcome may have been very different. 3w
Megabooks @Chelsea.Poole @squirrelbrain 💯💯 agree that the mask wearing and other protective measures would‘ve been much more accepted/less challenged if it had been children. And that‘s such a terrible hypocrisy to think about. 3w
Kitta Just adding to the discussion late: I thought the orbs were what people would describe as their life flashing before their eyes before death, and the dark place was a kind of purgatory. That releasing the baby was hopefully returning it to life. I totally forgot about the tattoos on the girl and the shells. Would be interesting if that came up again! (edited) 3w
Hooked_on_books @Chelsea.Poole If the most impacted were rich people, I think you‘d see a bigger push for compliance. (I‘m so cynical.) 3w
Hooked_on_books @Chelsea.Poole @squirrelbrain @Megabooks @MicheleinPhilly I love a good dystopia. And I think the best ones are those in which you only have to squint a little bit to see our society. Because it can so quickly go there if we aren‘t paying attention (and even if we are). Those books show us all the possibilities that could be where we‘re headed. They really work for me. 3w
Christine @Chelsea.Poole I do believe/want to believe that‘s true re: children - but like @Hooked_on_books (good point re: the rich!) I have a cynical voice on my other shoulder, which in my case keeps saying “Do you really believe people are willing to give up any ‘freedoms‘ and/or endure minor inconveniences to save even children‘s lives?” Sadly the events of the past few weeks have fed into that uncertainty for me. 😣 (edited) 3w
Suet624 @Christine I'm with you. 3w
Chelsea.Poole @Christine Yesssss!! Just UNREAL. 3w
Chelsea.Poole @Hooked_on_books yes, and that‘s why it‘s hugely important to stay vigilant, always! 3w
Chelsea.Poole @Hooked_on_books yep, if the rich were impacted disproportionately, it would be a different ballgame. You‘re totally right. 3w
thegreensofa I‘m like @Susanita , in that I am hoping for a revisit to the first chapter‘s questions it raised. I think for me because it was scene-setting, and being an Enneagram 5 (sorry!) I just want to delve into facts behind where the virus came from. I hope to find out the virus background, I guess. 3w
Megabooks @thegreensofa it is hard not to know why it happened. 🤞🏻 we get some answers! 3w
Megabooks @Hooked_on_books that‘s an excellent point about vigilance in regards to these issues and other ones raised irl. And even awareness isn‘t enough. It seems there is so little action around things like climate change, gun control, or reproductive rights. (As far as enacted legislation. I know lots of individuals and groups are trying to change things.) It can be very frustrating. (edited) 3w
Megabooks @Christine 💯💯💯 agree unfortunately ☹️ 3w
Sparklemn Maybe this isn't a specify question to answer, but I'm hoping they address what their “new normal“ society looks like. This includes what the economy would look like if a cure/vaccine/treatments are developed and death no longer pervades day-to-day activities. 3w
squirrelbrain Great point re the rich @Hooked_on_books - and yes, @Christine - you‘re so right about the events of the past few weeks. It must make us wonder if anyone ‘in charge‘ cares about anything these days, as @Megabooks says. 3w
squirrelbrain @thegreensofa - I agree, I hope we get a return to the first chapter. At the moment that chapter seems to stand on its own so I think we need to circle back round to it. 3w
squirrelbrain I‘m hoping that they do that too @Sparklemn - I think the book would be totally devoid of hope if they did anything else. 🤞 3w
4thhouseontheleft The biggest question I have is the mystery around the girl they found in the first chapter, Anna. The tattoo and similar carvings on the walls of the cavern that are described as “akin to high-level math”, I hope we get an explanation. I also hope there will be some connection made between Clara‘s fascination with the sky and the work she did. Also, the orb chapter like others, I want to know what happened to the baby. 3w
4thhouseontheleft @Megabooks I was struck by the similarities between Clara and Fitch‘s dad. Both basically abandoned their children in the name of saving their life or making the future better for their child. 3w
Megabooks @4thhouseontheleft very true! There is a thread of abandonment through this as well. I think that goes hand in hand with some of the loneliness too. 3w
Lindy @4thhouseontheleft @sarahbarnes @merelybookish @squirrelbrain @batsy @jlhammar @thegreensofa @Susanita As many of you have said, I have been hoping there will be a return to questions raised in the first chapter: Clara‘s necklace; the girl‘s tattoos & matching design on stone. Also, since this story sets the stage, I hope it will circle back to something about it at the end. 3w
squirrelbrain @Lindy - so many of us are hoping for answers from that first chapter… let‘s hope we‘re not disappointed! 3w
AnneCecilie I‘m wondering if all of the chapters will be connected somehow, that several of the people are related to each other/ married/ friends. Since it has already happened once. 3d
squirrelbrain Good thinking! @AnneCecilie 3d
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We hope that you‘ve all remembered your sleeping bags, and that there‘s no arguing over who has which bed!

Above is our second question for this week. Again, remember that many Littens will have only read the first part of the book so no spoilers please for the remainder; that can come next week!

See All 78 Comments
squirrelbrain One quote that felt particularly pertinent to me came in City of Laughter, when Dorrie says ‘We‘ve gotten so used to keeping to ourselves, surviving‘. I think most people struggled with the isolation but then it did become the ‘norm‘ and we then struggled to go back out into society. 3w
Megabooks I think the mix of Hope and hopelessness resonates with me. Hope is something I‘m really attuned to in books, and there are some very hopeless moments in City of Laughter, but while the story with Notorious Pig was sad as well, I think there was A LOT of hope in it too. Belief that the scientists are working on a way to save humanity. 3w
TrishB The scientists bit did resonate- always in the background looking for new ways to help. Unsung heroes generally. 3w
Soubhiville @squirrelbrain I feel that quote too. Although for me isolating wasn‘t hard, it‘s felt slightly taboo going back into the world after a prolonged period of staying mostly home. 3w
Soubhiville Having lost loved ones over the last couple years, the ideas of finding ways to preserve memories touched me. Also the park- humane end-of-life care for humans- it‘s something I‘ve thought about a lot. 3w
merelybookish Sadly what resonated for me was how death became another avenue for capitalism to exploit. Not quite the same, but I feel like capitalism has also shaped our pandemic experience. 3w
MicheleinPhilly City of Laughter hit me like a ton of bricks. The first story didn‘t have a ton of emotional resonance for me so I was unprepared for how deeply I felt for Fitch. 3w
Cathythoughts I felt life became more simple, more basic during our pandemic, and our close relationships became more important… as the relationships in this book. The focus is more on relationships and how important they are, how deep they run. 3w
4thhouseontheleft One thing that‘s struck me is that despite being HEAVY in subject matter, there is also a tender, meditative aspect in many of the chapters. I think it also helps that this pandemic is nothing like the Covid pandemic, and like @TrishB the scientist bits resonated as well. 3w
Cathythoughts @Megabooks Yes I felt the mix of hope and , for me , fear too. Hope and fear. 3w
Susanita Obviously, death is a constant companion. I thought it was interesting (if that‘s the right word) how death was handled. More specifically, what to do with the deceased. 3w
Megabooks @Cathythoughts oh yes, fear definitely. 3w
Megabooks @Susanita I‘ve read a couple of books on funeral customs around the world, and I found it interesting in this book as well. There is a longer story in the second half about this that I think you will find interesting. (If indeed that is the right word.) No spoilers here, though. 3w
sarahbarnes I also felt the mix of hope and hopelessness @megabooks and also I found myself getting so angry as I often do when I read dystopian stories like this - that as humans we just keep adapting. Scientists can tell us that something terrible is going to happen and like you said @merelybookish we just find ways to capitalize on death. So I guess it struck a chord with me. 😬 Maybe more hope in the second half? 3w
Suet624 A random thought: I kind of wish they had a roller coaster way of dealing with end of life stuff now. 3w
Suet624 The randomness of who survives and who is lucky enough - for any number of societal reasons - to escape the virus feels very similar to the COVID pandemic. I have to say how impressed I am with the imagination involved in writing all of these stories. While some lagged for me, a week after finishing the book the imagery of some of these stories continue to pop up.
(edited) 3w
jlhammar Yes to what all of you have said so far. So many good parallels. While the Arctic Plague is very different from Covid, the human ability to adapt to a “new normal“ really resonated with me. 3w
BarbaraBB So many things said here do resonate but I couldn‘t have said so well myself. @TrishB ‘s unsung heroes, @Megabooks and @Cathythoughts hope and fear, @merelybookish ‘s on exploiting the pandemic, @sarahbarnes on our adaptive ability and for sure @Suet624 ‘s remark on the randomness of the virus. 3w
squirrelbrain I agree @Soubhiville - the humane end-of-life care element and having a ‘good death‘ is something I‘ve thought about a lot too recently. In fact, @Megabooks and I had a brief chat about it on email when developing these questions. I think we as a society are starting to talk about death a lot more anyway, but the pandemic showed us the importance of compassion and humanity when we get to the end. @Susanita @suet624 (edited) 3w
squirrelbrain I hadn‘t considered that side of it @merelybookish but I completely see it now you‘ve mentioned it. Do you think the elegy hotels were solely capitalism or purely about making memories, or a mixture of both? @sarahbarnes (edited) 3w
squirrelbrain I felt like some of the stories about the scientists showed a slightly futile side to the science @TrishB - they never quite seemed to get the answer in time. 3w
Suet624 @squirrelbrain Good point about the scientists. :)
batsy I agree with @merelybookish — the aspect of how capitalism finds a way to monetise everything, even death, is the one that resonated strongly with me because I feel like that's always been the case, but the last two years of the pandemic has really brought it home. What made me sad is that in these stories there were ways to imagine different kinds of being & existence, but not a different less exploitative economic system. 3w
batsy @squirrelbrain I thought the elegy hotels bit was interesting because the owners probably saw how to make the most of sentiment & empathy & still make a profit off it—much like corporations do now. But for the workers in the hotel it was a different story—they did it for different reasons; for many it was a form of service to people who have suffered. 3w
squirrelbrain Do you think that is true of many services today? @batsy @merelybookish I‘m thinking of elderly care homes in the UK, where companies make profits but the employees earn minimum wage. I think we learned the value of such underpaid workers in the pandemic. 3w
batsy @squirrelbrain You're right, it has many parallels with our current world. Care homes and care work primarily, but also health workers, and various forms of service work. The privatisation of medicine and care work in our present time, if left unchecked, seems like it would lead to exactly more of this type of a hellish dystopia (euthanasia parks, elegy hotels). 3w
Suet624 @batsy you really hit a home run with your comments about the elegy hotel. Capitalism alongside compassion. So glaring in its opposition. 3w
Kdgordon88 I thought about the capitalism as well. There will always be someone to find a way to profit from any situation but the opposite side is the guy who did everything he could to fix the robo dogs for customers. I think we need to have more conversations on “right to die”. 3w
MrsV I agree that unfortunately capitalism often chases these type of events to enrich themselves off the tragedy of others. That being said, I do like the idea of the elegy hotels, but as noted previously it is too easy to exploit just to make a quick buck. 3w
TrishB I love the way this talk has gone! So many interesting points. 3w
sarahbarnes @squirrelbrain I think you‘re right that it‘s probably some of both. It might be overly cynical to say it‘s only about profit; I think it is also maybe about how we try to make sense of the world and events in our lives. Our human response. 3w
MicheleinPhilly @squirrelbrain Did you watch the recent film Help? I caught it via Acorn (I think it was a Channel 4 production) and I‘m still thinking about it months later. 3w
squirrelbrain I loved that story @Kdgordon88 - it was very sad, almost pathetic, but kind of hopeful as well. 3w
squirrelbrain @MrsV @sarahbarnes I wonder if we somehow enable the capitalism by feeling that the way to ‘solve‘ difficult emotions is to throw money at them? Or are we encouraged to think that way by capitalism? You‘re so right @TrishB - so many interesting discussions have branched off from these questions. 3w
squirrelbrain I didn‘t watch it @MicheleinPhilly - I felt it would be too tough. It one loads of TV awards over here though. Did you see it Trish? @TrishB It‘s the one with Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham. 3w
MicheleinPhilly It was a difficult watch but it was so well done. @TrishB doesn‘t watch television! Although she should watch this as it is filled with Scousers. ☺️ 3w
squirrelbrain That‘s why I thought @TrishB may have watched it! @MicheleinPhilly 3w
TrishB @MicheleinPhilly obviously I haven‘t watched it 😁 and sadly one of those scousers wrote for the scum…..unfortunately the biggest no no ever for Liverpool fans! (It‘s not actually called that but years of conditioning means I can‘t call it it‘s proper name without spontaneously combusting 😁) 3w
Ruthiella I think Nagamatsu got it exactly right with how capitalism would co-opt death and grief. They are doing it now with sustainability. Every thing can be monetized. 3w
Chelsea.Poole I agree with @merelybookish and others who mentioned the shock of reading about capitalizing on death in the midst of a pandemic. Which reminds me of the news articles I‘ve read about people being prosecuted for Covid related schemes. 3w
Chelsea.Poole Also, I have two young children and the amusement park chapter was nearly too much, thinking of myself in those parents‘ shoes. 😭 3w
squirrelbrain @ruthiella @Chelsea.Poole @merelybookish In the UK the government gave PPE contracts etc to their cronies, and many companies misappropriated COVID loans and grants, which of course ultimately comes out of our pockets. 3w
Bookwormjillk The thing I keep thinking about is how the scientists went to Siberia to save the world from global warming and ended up unleashing this terrible disease. So many good thoughts about economics and capitalism that I didn‘t catch. 3w
squirrelbrain I too missed a lot of these fascinating ideas and thoughts @Bookwormjillk - that‘s why it‘s so good to have these discussions; we learn so much! 3w
Kitta This was interesting to read as a scientist because although I obviously identify with the scientists, some of their practices are definitely questionable. 🤨 It can feel both hopeful and futile at times (real science and the book). Hard not to relate to the pandemic aspects, and comparing between our worlds. 3w
Kitta @MicheleinPhilly what is Help about? I missed it in the discussion somewhere. I have Acorn so I‘d be interested to watch if it‘s good. 3w
squirrelbrain @Kitta , jumping in here about Help, even though I didn‘t watch it, I saw all the (excellent) reviews. It‘s set in a UK care home at the start of the pandemic where a new carer looks after a man with early-onset Alzheimer‘s. It looks very emotional and challenging. 3w
squirrelbrain @Kitta - did you identify with anything that the scientists did, or did it all sound unrealistic? 3w
Kitta @squirrelbrain oh sounds hard to watch but good. I‘ll check it out. 3w
MicheleinPhilly @Kitta It‘s definitely worth watching even though it is tough to stomach. Really well done. 3w
Kitta @squirrelbrain I identified with the living conditions and drinking games, we definitely do that when out on field work 😆 the hope and idealism as well. But I‘ve got friends who work on infectious diseases and their labs are strictly controlled! We would never be so relaxed or careless. I kind of got from reading it that it wasn‘t the scientists who spread it though, it was in the arctic ice which melted and contaminated the water supply. 3w
Hooked_on_books What resonates for me in most apocalyptic fiction (which I love) is that humans are humans, with all our good and bad stuff. So there will always be both greed and profound selflessness, depending on the person and the circumstance. A book like this that captures human nature correctly is so much more profound than one that doesn‘t get people right. 3w
Christine Well said, @Hooked_on_books - and everyone! What a rich thread with an attention to systems and their messy relationship with individual experience that I am LOVING. @sarahbarnes Your comment about feeling anger over human adaptability is sticking with me big time. So often we think about adaptability as an unmitigated strength, but oh how something like a pandemic reveals that adapting to/accepting current conditions has its complications… 3w
rockpools Fantastic discussion! @batsy used the term ‘emotional truth‘ in her review and that really struck me - there‘s so much in here that resonates! 3w
Suet624 @Hooked_on_books Really well said. Humans. (sigh) 3w
thegreensofa This was the first pandemic novel/story I‘ve read. It was a far enough removed pandemic, clinically, from our current one for me to read still as fiction. I love everyone‘s comments and points, I don‘t understand much sci-fi and the deeper issues it seems to bring up go right over my head. What a great discussion! 3w
Sparklemn The comments here about capitalism reminded me of the saying from the Hunger Games -- “Remember who the real enemy is.“ In this case, is the real enemy the virus or those who choose to profit from it? 3w
squirrelbrain I couldn‘t agree more @Christine @thegreensofa - I‘ve learnt so much from the discussions we‘ve had on this and the two other threads. (edited) 3w
squirrelbrain @Hooked_on_books - when I think of ‘sci-fi‘ I don‘t imagine books like this, so I‘m intrigued to learn which other apocalyptic fiction you would recommend, that focuses on the human angle. 3w
squirrelbrain @Sparklemn - such a good quote, and I wonder if we‘ll get the answer to your question in this book? 3w
Hooked_on_books I think of this as more dystopia than sci-fi, though there are some elements of the latter. One of my favorites was Moon of the Crusted Snow, which is similar to this one in that whatever is happening is just starting to happen, and you‘re experiencing it with the characters. 3w
Hooked_on_books I loved The Passage. It absolutely knocked my socks off. I read the whole trilogy and the final two books aren‘t quite as good, but the focus on certain characters in the first book as things are unfolding was really compelling to me. 3w
Hooked_on_books Severance was polarizing, but I loved it. It helps that I felt I really understood the protagonist, and it‘s really her story as the world is ending around her, so it‘s more a character study. I found it fascinating. 3w
Hooked_on_books The Dog Stars is another character study, this one post-apocalyptic, and it‘s really absorbing. 3w
Hooked_on_books And there‘s one I‘m reading now which I‘m finding really intriguing, though this one is less of a focus on the human angle and more me trying to figure out what the heck is going on. But I‘m 40% in and loving it. 3w
squirrelbrain Wow, thank you Holly! @Hooked_on_books I didn‘t realise Severance was classed as this genre although I‘ve heard a lot about it before. Someone else on here recently mentioned End of The World House too… I‘ve stacked them all! 3w
Hooked_on_books You‘re welcome! I hope at least one of them ends up speaking to you. I was worried maybe I hadn‘t come up with enough options. 🤔😂 3w
squirrelbrain LOL @Hooked_on_books - @oryx is going to do me a list of sci-fi books too! My TBR shelf is going to explode! 🤯 3w
Oryx @Hooked_on_books The Passage is incredible - one of the few books I've read multiple times as an adult. 3w
Sparklemn @Hooked_on_books I can't believe I've never heard of The Passage. Definitely going on my list! Thanks for the recommendation. 3w
Hooked_on_books I have another one for you! I read it almost 10 years ago and a podcast just reminded me about it. In this one, the rotation of the earth is slowing. The author chooses to follow just one family, so you know on a larger scale what‘s happening, but the impact is really personalized. It‘s fantastic. 2w
squirrelbrain Thanks Holly @Hooked_on_books - another one added to the list! 😁 2w
AnneCecilie I finally has the book out from the library and has made it halfway. My first thought to this was none. Then I went and read the comments. For me the pandemic in the book was different from Covid. I see that several mention isolation, but no one in the book was alone. They had friends, family and colleagues around them pretty much all the time even if they didn‘t interact outside a certain group. I spent must of Covid totally alone 3d
AnneCecilie and only seeing friends/ families when it was allowed by the government/ city and when it was planned in advance. So a different Civid experience than maybe some others. I also see comments about capitalizing on death. In Norway must things is publicly owned so maybe a little naive of me, but it never crossed my mind that someone would make money in the elegy hotels. 3d
squirrelbrain Interesting thoughts @AnneCecilie - I‘m not sure we spotted that before; that no-one in the stories was ever alone. Everyone‘s thoughts on the monetisation of the pandemic were really interesting weren‘t they and it‘s interesting to hear your perspective from Norway. 3d
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Barbara, Meg and I are delighted to welcome you to the first day of #camplitsy. We hope you‘ll enjoy catching up with old friends and meeting many new ones!

Each Saturday we‘ll post a few questions to discuss on that week‘s book; above is our first question. As we‘re discussing the first part of HHWGITD only this week,up to the end of ‘Speak, Fetch, Say I Love You‘, please take care not to reveal any spoilers if you‘ve already read ahead!

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squirrelbrain I certainly didn‘t expect a series of interlinked short stories; I was expecting a more ‘traditional‘ novel. I also had in my head that it was magical realism and, for that reason, I was prepared to dislike it. I also didn‘t realise, until it started to move up our voting rankings and I did some more research, that it was pandemic-related. Another reason to dislike it, for me, but I‘ve found myself thoroughly engrossed so far 3w
rsteve388 I can't say I had any predictions about this book at all, I am listening to it as a audiobook and I am actually behind I am only up to track 5. But the first three short stories of this book do a great job, laying the foundation on the cause of the pandemic and the ways in which different segments of society respond to it. The second shirt story was heart breaking and really made me question our own response to our pandemic. 3w
Simona As you @squirrelbrain I didn‘t expect interlinked short stories, but I didn‘t do my homework and literally, I didn‘t know nothing about content. When I started realising that this book is more on the futuristic nature I was on dislike side … but what a surprise! I finished it in two sitting and I really, really liked it. (edited) 3w
Laughterhp I didn‘t think they were going to interlinked short stories, but that honestly made me like it more. I also had no idea it was so pandemic related. I think I read the back cover but didn‘t absorb the information. I think it was better that I had no expectations. 3w
Oryx I didn't realize it would have such a strong classic sci-fi dystopia element - the pig, the robot dogs, the theme park - I thought it would be closer to something like Bewilderment. But I like it even more for that sci-fi aspect - I'm interested to see what people think about that - especially if you think you don't like sci-fi. 3w
Caroline2 I‘m starting tonight! 😃 👍 3w
youneverarrived I read a comment before I started the book by @vivastory I think that mentioned it wasn‘t so much a novel as interlinked short stories but I definitely would have been confused at first had I not read that! I‘m sort of the opposite of @Oryx I was expecting it to be MORE sci-fi than how it reads to me. I‘m actually always surprised whenever I read a book that‘s labelled sci-fi by how much I enjoy it; I always think it‘s not a genre for me. (edited) 3w
Megabooks I also went in thinking it was more a traditional novel. I don‘t particularly like the trend of authors not calling books story or novella collections. (I‘ve read two others with the same issue recently.) But I feel the audiobook is extremely well done for a story collection, and I‘m not always a fan of story collections on audio. 3w
Megabooks @Oryx @youneverarrived it‘s interesting that you talk about sci-fi elements. It hits the sweet spot of sci fi for me where the elements are there but very much grounded in a world I can understand easily. And yes, very dystopian as well. It will be interesting to see how that plays out as time matches on through the second half. Will the world be less recognizable? 3w
Cathythoughts @Oryx I havnt read much sci- fi at all , and like @youneverarrived I‘m surprised that I like it so much. I found the pig , the robot dogs ,the theme part made for a gripping read. I wouldn‘t be as put off by the idea of sci-fi in the future. 3w
TrishB I originally brought it because the blurb sounded good and I liked the cover. Then someone said it was interlinked short stories and it put me off because it‘s my least favourite read. I picked it up to read along with you and was pleasantly surprised. 3w
Soubhiville I also went in blind, so was surprised to find short stories as opposed to a novel. I did see the comparison to Station Eleven so I expected I‘d enjoy it, and I really have so far. I had a hard time putting it down at the halfway mark! Looking forward to diving back in to it! 3w
merelybookish I knew nothing going in beyond disliking the title (which I find cumbersome & difficult to read.) But like others was pleasantly surprised by how much I was into it. There is a confidence to the writing that I found reassuring. I felt like I was in good hands as a reader. 3w
merelybookish *I find the title difficult to remember 3w
MicheleinPhilly I‘m not a huge fan of short stories and sci fi is not a genre I read AT ALL so I was sort of dreading this one. I‘m amazed at how much I am enjoying this even though it is breaking my heart. 3w
4thhouseontheleft Like others, I was not expecting the short story format. I almost never read short stories, but am captivated by this book. I think the fact that it starts in the near future, rather than a distant future, really makes it more impactful. 3w
Susanita I probably wouldn‘t have picked this up on my own, so I‘m just along for the ride! 3w
KarenUK Just starting today, but I‘ve got to go to work! Hopefully I‘ll catch up by next weekend! 🤦‍♀️ 3w
jlhammar I think I was expecting more of a bleak, dystopian read. Maybe more apocalyptic with the Station Eleven comparisons? I'm glad it isn't though. While it is heavy and devastating in parts, it was also feels very hopeful and highlights the good of humanity. I didn't know we were getting stories either, but I'm excited by that structure and think it works well here (I'm a big short story fan though). 3w
BarbaraBB I had read many great reviews and expected a kind of Migrations (my favorite book of 21). The first chapter lived up to that expectation but I was a little disappointed when the novel turned sci-fi, which I hadn‘t expected! 3w
Suet624 @merelybookish I definitely won't remember the title of this book. That's for sure. 3w
squirrelbrain It‘s interesting how many of us didn‘t expect the interlinked short stories, isn‘t it?! I wonder if that would have put people off reading it had they known, and therefore made it more ‘enjoyable‘ as a result? Perhaps why the publishers have been so oblique in the blurb? Simona @Laughterhp @youneverarrived @Megabooks @TrishB @Soubhiville @MicheleinPhilly @4thhouseontheleft 3w
Suet624 I had grabbed this book from the library several months back because it was on a reading list. After realizing it was pandemic-related and sci-fi I took it back to the library unread. I'm so glad this group encouraged me to pick it up again. I love the imaginative potentials and the generational interrelated pieces. While reading it I thought it was primarily a sad book, but now in retrospect I think there were a lot of hopeful pieces to it. 3w
squirrelbrain I also didn‘t expect the sci-fi element and, like you, @MicheleinPhilly it‘s a genre I actively avoid so I‘m surprised I‘m enjoying it so much. Dystopian fiction, I read a bit more than I used to do, but it‘s still not top of my list! @Oryx @youneverarrived @Megabooks @Cathythoughts @jlhammar 3w
squirrelbrain @Caroline2 @KarenUK - I‘m sure you‘ll both catch up soon! 3w
Cinfhen Very much like @Simona all I knew was that it was interconnected stories ( which I love) but I disliked the first story so much I thought I wouldn‘t make it through to the next story. Turns out I couldn‘t stop listening and finished the book in 2 seatings. Still not sure how to categorize this novel. 3w
squirrelbrain It‘s interesting that so many people have commented on the hopefulness in the book, both in this thread and the second question too. @Suet624 @jlhammar 3w
squirrelbrain @merelybookish @Suet624 And we have another really long title later on too! 🤣 3w
Lindy I adore interconnected short stories and I am also drawn to science fiction, so that‘s why I picked up this book. So far, it has exceeded my expectations. 😁 3w
Megabooks @BarbaraBB that‘s an interesting comparison to the first chapter. I did expect it to be much more about extinction and environmental consequences based upon that chapter. It seemed to be dropped though in favor of focusing on human connections (or lack thereof). Interesting… 3w
AnneCecilie I‘m still waiting on this from the library. Hopefully it will arrive soon. I haven‘t read the blurb, so I don‘t know anything. From the comments here I understand that it‘s interlinked short stories and I tend to love those. Then the pandemic and sci-fi elements can sway both ways, guess I‘ll find out when it arrives. 3w
batsy I also didn't expect it to be interconnected stories, but I had read about it being about an Arctic plague. So I kinda expected a novel about the dystopian elements of the plague taking hold. It was a surprise to see where these stories went, which was interesting and kept things unpredictable on a plot level. 3w
squirrelbrain I hope your book comes soon! @AnneCecilie 3w
squirrelbrain I‘m so glad you‘re enjoying it! @Lindy 3w
squirrelbrain There were so many different ‘variations on a theme‘, weren‘t there? @batsy 3w
Chelsea.Poole @BarbaraBB exactly!! I was so jazzed after reading the first chapter. I was geared up for a similar story to Migrations (also a favorite of mine 😍) I would love to read a full novel continuing the first chapter. I was jolted out of that in the second chapter though. Also, no idea that it was connected short stories. @squirrelbrain I think you‘re right—I would have been less likely to pick this up had I known, and I think it was intentional. 3w
Kdgordon88 I picked this up because of the cover and title…I‘m in the minority liking the title I think. I didn‘t expect short stories, which aren‘t my thing, but am loving the audio. I like dystopian fiction and it usually feels like it is so far off in the future that I won‘t be around to see it. This one feels closer. 3w
MrsV As others have said, I wasn‘t expecting the interconnecting stories. Even though several pandemic books are on my TBR, I haven‘t read any yet. I didn‘t have too many expectations on this theme. 3w
squirrelbrain I too loved Migrations @BarbaraBB @Chelsea.Poole I hadn‘t seen the connection to Migrations until you pointed it out Barbara, but I do hope we come back to it later. There‘s not many of us liked the first chapter, or at least felt a connection to it. 3w
squirrelbrain @Kdgordon88 - your comment has just made me think about the title and wonder if it has anything to do with the ‘orbs‘ story, where they were lifting up the baby. Or it may just be an overarching comment on how we behave in dark times. 3w
squirrelbrain Would you have read this, your first pandemic book, without our ‘encouragement‘?! @MrsV 3w
BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain @Chelsea.Poole I loved the first chapter too! The most even maybe! 3w
MrsV @squirrelbrain probably not, but I‘m glad I am reading it! 3w
Chelsea.Poole @Kdgordon88 I like the title too. And I have to say, love the cover art of the edition I read, the US. 3w
Bookwormjillk Like many others I went into this one blind, and I probably would have put it off if I knew it was interconnected short stories. I like it though, especially the heart wrenching second chapter. It reminds me a bit of 3w
squirrelbrain That sounds good too @Bookwormjillk - I‘ve stacked it. 3w
Kitta I read the description and decided it should go on my TBR, then totally forgot what it was about when I came to read it! I‘m loving it so far though, I really wanted to read ahead but stopped myself for this discussion. 3w
squirrelbrain You can carry on reading now! @Kitta 😁 3w
Hooked_on_books I read this back in March, so it‘s a little less fresh. Like so many others, I was a bit surprised at the format when I arrived at the second chapter. I adjusted to it and ending up feeling the format served the story really well, and I did find it cohesive enough to call it a novel. 3w
Christine So fun reading this thread! I‘m totally captivated by the book and can‘t wait to continue (forced myself to pause to stay fully in the #CampLitsy moment!). Thanks @BarbaraBB @Chelsea.Poole & @squirrelbrain for the reminder that I need to pick up Migrations soon! 3w
rockpools I‘d heard mention of short stories, which I‘m more than happy to read, but like @Hooked_on_books it‘s working as a novel for me. It‘s possible I‘m really really bad at categorising books. I was quite surprised when you mentioned sci-fi @Oryx - I suppose it is, but I‘m not sure I‘d have recognised it as such. And in my head, the book takes its name from Orbs @squirrelbrain - looking back I was really surprised it was actually called something else 3w
thegreensofa I went in blind and just loving the title. My expectations I suppose were nil and just looking forward to the ride and doing a buddy read. I enjoyed the first chapter, but the total change in the second got me thinking, “what?”. Then during the third chapter, and realising they were actually interconnected stories, I was more interested in the format than the actual story😬 3w
Well-ReadNeck I wasn‘t expecting a pandemic novel and I‘m glad I didn‘t know going in. 3w
Sparklemn I was envisioning a tropical plague, not arctic. Maybe it's the cover; I see it as warm sky. @rockpools - also surprised to see it described as sci-fi, although now looking back, I see it. Maybe I'm not tying it to sci-fi in my mind because it all seems sadly possible. Ok, maybe not the pig. 3w
squirrelbrain I think of sci-fi as being all about robots and space @rockpools @Sparklemn so I‘m surprised too that a book with such a human element can be categorised as such. But then I think that Flowers for Algernon is classed as sci-fi and the Snortorious story really reminded me of that. 3w
Oryx @squirrelbrain @rockpools Flowers for Algernon is always the example I give to people who don't think they like sci fi (and think it's all space and laser guns). There are so many amazing books in the genre - I think it lets authors play with big ideas and push them as far as they can. I love that this book might have opened up sci fi to a few more people. 3w
squirrelbrain It certainly opened up this genre for me! @Oryx 3w
Oryx @squirrelbrain I'll make you list 😉 3w
squirrelbrain Noooo! @oryx Think of my poor TBR shelf! Only kidding, that would be great. @Hooked_on_books has just given me some great apocalyptic recommendations on the second thread too. 3w
Hooked_on_books @Oryx I can‘t wait to see your list! I would definitely include Blake Crouch. I love how his books twist up my brain! 3w
Soubhiville @Bookwormjillk now you mention it I do see the similarity of form to Disappearing Earth, which I loved. @BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain @Chelsea.Poole I loved the first chapter too. I have been reading a lot in the last few years about post-death traditions and just finished this book about mummies, so that part resonated strongly for me. 3w
squirrelbrain I just looked at your Mummy book post @Soubhiville - sounds fascinating! 3w
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I gave this 3 stars on GR, but that's not an accurate reflection of what this book is: bold, fresh, yet familiar. I wasn't quite aware it was a book of linked stories when I started; for some reason, that's my least favourite structure. Certain stories were devastating in their emotional truth, & I liked the more speculative elements here, but there were a couple stories that felt superfluous. The ending is strange, in a way that I think I liked.

batsy It will be really interesting to see the comments from everyone else during #CampLitsy 🪐 @sprainedbrain 3w
batsy Image: The Bubble Nebula from Hubble 3w
batsy Sorry @sprainedbrain I meant to tag @squirrelbrain 🙈 3w
squirrelbrain Great review @batsy! As you‘ll no doubt have seen already, many people were surprised by the short story element! 3w
batsy @squirrelbrain Thank you! Yes, I noticed that—glad I wasn't the only one 😁 3w
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Starting the first #CampLitsy book, but my heart may be too heavy for this one right now.

It‘s also my choice for #RememberingJenny. @ReadingEnvy gave it 5 ⭐️ in February, but the last sentence of her review has me 😢: “There is a lot in death and dying in here, so treat yourself with care, as it might not be the right time.”

BeckyWithTheGoodBooks Could you fill me in on #CampLitsy? What is it and who is leading it? 3w
squirrelbrain That‘s a heartbreaking quote, isn‘t it Alisia? 💔 It is a tough read, I think the second story is the most difficult. 3w
squirrelbrain @BeckyWithTheGoodBooks - #camplitsy is our version of the mini Tournament of Books that takes place each summer. This year, Littens voted for the 6 books that we wanted to read. @BarbaraBB runs the Litsy #ToB each year, and this time @Megabooks and I are assisting. Here‘s a post telling you more about it. https://www.litsy.com/web/tag/camplitsy I‘ll tag you on the schedule too. Let us know if you want to be included on the tag list. (edited) 3w
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squirrelbrain @BeckyWithTheGoodBooks just realised the link didn‘t work; try this one instead https://litsy.com/p/UzVHWHNSSWFN I‘ll post the schedule next. (edited) 3w
squirrelbrain @BeckyWithTheGoodBooks June - How High We Go in the Dark and True Biz. July - You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty and This Time Tomorrow. August - Either / Or and Our Wives Under the Sea 3w
Christine It‘s impossibly heavy, but I‘m also loving it (and sitting with the heavy is working for me right now, I guess). I had that exact same experience this morning of reading Jenny‘s review and being heartbroken by that last line. 3w
batsy I just saw Jenny's review on GR too 💔 3w
Centique Oh that review is heart breaking 😥 3w
BeckyWithTheGoodBooks @squirrelbrain Thank you! I will plan to join! 😀 3w
BiblioLitten 💔 4d
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Decided to check this out on the basis of comparisons to Station Eleven. I‘m ~60 pages in so far and not sure how I feel — I know most of the book was written in the Beforetimes, but there‘s something a little too on-the-nose about much of the descriptions of pandemic-era life and loss, which at times can feel a bit like trauma porn. Perhaps this is a less than generous assessment, and there‘s a lot to love here. My mind may change as I read on.