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Babel
Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of The Oxford Translators' Revolution | R. F. Kuang
155 posts | 82 read | 11 reading | 96 to read
From award-winning author R. F. Kuang comes Babel, a thematic response to The Secret History? and a tonal retort to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell that grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of language and translation as the dominating tool of the British empire. Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal. 1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day hell enroll in Oxford Universitys prestigious Royal Institute of Translationalso known as Babel. Babel is the world's center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver workingthe art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver barshas made the British unparalleled in power, as its knowledge serves the Empires quest for colonization. For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?
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Monica5
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I read 8 books in January.
2 5⭐ Babel and The Girl With the Pearl Pin
4 4⭐ The Road Through Wonderland, So Help Me God, The Girl That Vanished, Love Me Fierce in Danger
1 3⭐ 8 Miraculous Months in the Malayan Jungle
1 2⭐ Better the Blood

4 books for #AlphabetChallenge 2023
5 books for #Bookspinbingo
1 book for #SeriesLove2023
3 books for #ISpyBingo
2 books for #OffTheShelf2023
1 book for #Chunkstersof2023

@Andrew65 @Tove_Reads

TheSpineView Well done!💜📖📚📚📚 6d
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! Fabulous month!!! 5d
Clwojick Way to go! 💖 5d
Andrew65 That‘s brilliant, well done 👏👏👏 5d
15 likes5 comments
review
steph_phanie
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️½
This was pretty good, but I wanted to be blown away. The concept is so enticing! A world where translation and the understanding of etymology + linguistics provide actual magical power to a select few! Where a secret society is working to end, or at least redistribute, that power for the good of humanity! Young people leading a revolution! The unmasking of colonial power players! Betrayal! IT HAD SUCH PROMISE!

(Cont'd in comments)

steph_phanie It had such promise but perhaps the author didn't have the creativity or skill to fulfill it.... I'm not sure what the issue is, but Babel fell short for me. I enjoyed it and I read hundreds of pages at a time, but I was always hoping the next page or the one after that had some big reveal I didn't see coming. Instead, I found I had rather well predicted the ending from very early on. (Cont'd) 6d
steph_phanie Thus, I was left hoping to be dazzled by what came in between - the world-building, the employment of language, the commentary on colonial rule etc. And again, nothing extraordinary happened for me here. (Cont'd) 6d
steph_phanie Now, as someone who has spent 10 years as a
volunteer translator and whose favorite classes in college were Spanish Poetry, Translation, and Linguistics, I did appreciate seeing all this theory and etymology etc put into a work of fiction. I enjoyed the recognition of the art of translation + the literal power given to words. But I still found myself wanting more. And I think what I wanted more of was the magic. (Con't)
6d
See All 6 Comments
steph_phanie Not magic à la Harry Potter, but magic in the sense of wonder and awe, specifically when it came to the match-pairs used to power the silver. Instead, it felt quite mechanical. Almost like too much was explained. (Con't) 6d
steph_phanie Overall, I am ranking this as a Pick despite my complaints. I enjoyed it, I am glad I read it. But I don't love it. 6d
BarbaraBB Excellent review! 6d
4 likes6 comments
review
BarbaraBB
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this book more than I expected. In fact it felt a bit like reading Harry Potter to me, with the main character and his friends, college, the teachers and a bit of fantasy. The main difference is this book‘s focus on colonialism, and all its horrible implications. For colonized nations, and especially for linguistics. I enjoyed the latter parts the most, and I learned a lot. A surprising #ToB23 read!

sarahbarnes I just started this last night and am really pleased to see you liked it! 6d
Chelsea.Poole I‘m reading this one now…only 6% in the audiobook but I don‘t hate it so far! 6d
See All 26 Comments
BarbaraBB @Chelsea.Poole I expected to hate it too but it‘s really readable! 6d
Ruthiella I‘m glad you liked it! I certainly became attached to Robin and his cohort. I don‘t think you‘re the first person I heard compare it to HP. 6d
Hooked_on_books I‘m the odd one out! 🤷🏼‍♀️ 6d
squirrelbrain We have pretty much the same opinion on this book - glad you liked it too! 6d
britt_brooke I keep hearing about this one, but yours is the first review that makes want to stack it! 6d
BarbaraBB @Hooked_on_books That‘s what makes the #ToB so nice: all those different opinions! 6d
BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain I thought so too when I read your review. Not a favorite for the Rooster but a solid pick! 6d
BarbaraBB @britt_brooke I hope you‘ll feel the same if you get to it. It‘s not as much fantasy as you might expect (I did). 6d
Cortg I'm looking forward to this book! 6d
Deblovestoread Great review! Starting it this evening and hoping to love it. 6d
Megabooks Great review B! 👍🏻 6d
thewallflower0707 I loved this book, and it also motivated me to pick up her trilogy The Poppy zwar again, which blew me away. 6d
Amor4Libros I‘m a translator and I was curious about this book. Read it last year and loved it! 6d
BarbaraBB @thewallflower0707 Is it better than this one? I am gonna check it out, thanks for bringing it up! 6d
BarbaraBB @Amor4Libros Which language do you translate? 6d
BarbaraBB @Amor4Libros I thought so, according to your handle! 6d
Amor4Libros @BarbaraBB 😅 I knew you‘d figure it out! 6d
Librarybelle So many pick reviews for this one! 6d
MicheleinPhilly I managed to snag this for 99p the other day so I think I‘m going to give it a shot. Your review makes me hopeful! 🤞🏼 6d
RebelReader I‘m looking forward to getting into this one! 6d
98 likes3 stack adds26 comments
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Megabooks
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I‘m updating my #ChunksterChallenge2023 monthly, and in January, I finished two almost chunksters: Babel, which was a surprise hit, and Age of Vice, which was an overhyped disappointment. Onto February! 🎉

Amiable Excellent! Glad to hear you liked Babel—I just put that one on my list. 6d
Megabooks @Amiable enjoy! 👍🏻👍🏻 6d
84 likes2 comments
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annamatopoetry
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"By the time professor Richard Lovell found his way through Canton's narrow alleys to the faded address in his diary, the boy was the only one in the house left alive."

STRONG opening there, Babel.

review
Well-ReadNeck
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Mehso-so

Two more to go for this year‘s #ToB23 Tournament of Books.

Liked but didn‘t love this one, like so many of you.

Ruthiella That‘s where I think I will fall also. Hoping to finish it today. Well done on your progress! Only two to go! 👍 1w
squirrelbrain How odd - those are the same two that I have left…although I bailed on The Passenger and can‘t get hold of the Espach. 1w
Addison_Reads Great job! I have An Island and 2 A.M. left. Neither are available at my local libraries and I haven't decided yet if I want to buy them. 1w
BarbaraBB Doing great! You‘re almost there! I think I feel the same about Babel with 100 more pages to go. 1w
RebelReader @Addison_Reads I bailed on 2am and I just started An Island on audio and it‘s not grabbing me so far 1w
48 likes5 comments
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squirrelbrain
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Pickpick

I think I share the same views as many Littens on this book from the #tob shortlist. I loved the language / linguistics elements (how clever to be able to dream up such a storyline?!) but found the colonialism debate rather heavy-handed.

It did feel a bit YA in places to me, despite all of the deaths, so I‘m not sure it deserves to be on the shortlist. I did thoroughly enjoy it though, which I didn‘t expect to do!

squirrelbrain #pop23 #abooktokrecommendation - I did a search in case this was on #booktok as I don‘t have a clue about such things and yay - it is! https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/sep/08/babel-the-booktok-sensation-that-m... (edited) 1w
See All 19 Comments
BarbaraBB I‘m using it for Booktok as well. Great review. I agree about the YA. It reads abut like Harry Potter with a lot more violence and deaths 1w
Ruthiella I‘m almost finished with it and my assessment mirrors yours: clever but heavy handed. 👍 1w
Megabooks I can see what you‘re saying about YA, but I do think it deserves to be on the shortlist. I certainly enjoyed it more than a lot of the others! 1w
Amiable Well done! 👍🏼👍🏼 1w
TrishB I‘m glad you enjoyed it though, always a plus! 1w
Cortg Great review! I have the audio on hold. I keep pausing the hold though, so hopefully the stars will aline and I'll be able to get to this one sooner than later :) 1w
julesG Good to see you enjoyed it. 1w
kwmg40 Nice review. I agree that it feels a bit YA in places. 1w
Hooked_on_books That‘s great that you enjoyed it! Honestly, with the beating message about violence in the last bit, I almost panned it. That turned my stomach so much. 1w
squirrelbrain Yes! @BarbaraBB - that‘s the perfect description! 1w
squirrelbrain The end felt rather jarring @Hooked_on_books - and rather a personality change for Robin too; it didn‘t quite fit. 1w
Suet624 Glad you enjoyed it. I have this stacked but I just haven't been inspired to find it yet 1w
Cinfhen I just got caught up in the power of words and their meanings, which I thought was both clever and fascinating. Many of the other books from the list are either trying to be different or are so ordinary- I feel like this one is amongst the better contenders🤷🏼‍♀️ 1w
kathedron I've got 🐿️SquirrelMail🐿️! Thank you, Helen ❤️ 1w
squirrelbrain You‘re welcome Kate! I forgot to put the card in the parcel 🤦‍♀️ so you should have a card from me too…! @kathedron 1w
91 likes19 comments
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steph_phanie
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This made me chuckle! I'm very excited for this book!

7 likes1 stack add
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GatheringBooks
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#JanuaryJazz Day 26: A #secret society that attempts to take down the monarchy? Yes, please.

thewallflower0707 Babel is amazing! 2w
Eggs 👏🏻📚🥰 2w
61 likes2 comments
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Sophronisba
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After a succession of slim, spare literary novels, Babel is the #tob23 book I've been waiting for. It has been an absolute delight to read. The world-building is excellent, I am enjoying the characters, and the novel itself is the kind of book you can just fall into and immerse yourself. I have about 150 pages left and I'm going to be sad to finish it.

19 likes1 stack add
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BarbaraJean
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And, with my reading of Babel, I‘ve completed the “Almost a Chunkster” level of the #ChunksterChallenge2023! 🎉

Now to pick my next chonky book. I‘m not ready to pick up The Count of Monte Cristo yet, and I definitely don‘t have the emotional fortitude for A Little Life right now. I‘m thinking about Kristin Lavransdatter or The Little Stranger—or maybe I‘ll pick up The Agony & the Ecstasy since it‘s been on my shelf since the early 2000s 😆

Amiable Yay! Congratulations! I read “Kristin Lavransdattar” last year for my chunkster challenge. 2w
40 likes1 comment
review
BarbaraJean
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Pickpick

I finished this a couple nights ago and am still mulling it over. It‘s excellent in so many ways—characters, historical context/world-building, magic system—but it‘s the implications of and responses to colonialism that are going to have me thinking about this one for a while. This was a fantastic #AuldLangSpine pick from @Karisimo — I‘m really enjoying your list!

Karisimo @BarbaraJean yay! I love that it was entertaining yet had depth that requires processing! And I can‘t believe the author has a new one coming out in March! 2w
GondorGirl It's been a few months and I'm STILL thinking about the ending. This is one of those books I wish I could read again for the first time. 2w
BarbaraJean @Karisimo There is so much there to process! I will have to look for her new one. I want to go back and read the Poppy War books now, too. @GondorGirl I think I will be pondering the ending for a while. Looking back, it feels inevitable—but there‘s part of me that wants to believe it wasn‘t the only way. And then I wonder how much of my optimism is due to privilege. (edited) 2w
49 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Bluebird
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Sadness is when you don‘t finish a book before the library snatches it back.

In 7 days I was able to listen to 16 hours. I have about 6 hours left. It‘s a chunkster that could have done with a bit more editing. However I am loving it! Fingers crossed I get it again soon.🤞I need to know how it ends!

TugstenDragon Sometimes it lets you extend your loan 2w
Bluebird @TugstenDragon i wasn‘t able to do that…but I just got the book back for another 7 day loan. Yay! I should finish it before it is due back again 😊 2w
10 likes2 comments
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Moll
Pickpick

This is genuinely one of the best things I've ever read; I'm not even sure how to put it into words. Everything about it is so stunningly powerful; to be honest I'm a bit (read: very much) in awe

25 likes1 stack add
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BarbaraJean
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The bedtime dilemma: I only have 80 pages left in Babel. I really want to know what happens next. But once I dive in, I‘m pretty sure I‘ll NEED to finish it and I should really go to bed sooner than 80 pages from now. So maybe I should just read a reasonable amount of Before Green Gables instead. There are no bad choices here. Just a responsible choice and a less-responsible choice…😁 #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead vs. #ChunksterChallenge2023

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phantomx
Pickpick

Read this for my book club with my co-workers. I enjoyed this novel, especially the footnotes, which are written as facts and personal accounts.

While learning about the fears, joys, struggles, and blind loyalties of the characters, we also learn the prejudices, ignorance, and neglect English nobles and academics uphold in the story.

Readers who love dark academia woven with magic and mystery will find this satisfying from beginning to end.

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Lunakay
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Pickpick

I'll say 3,5 🌟
I loved the idea how language is a resource on its own.
The book tries to capture various points of view but somehow misses some topics completely (sexism in other cultures and its effect on the characters and conflicting religious beliefs are only very remotely touched)
The in depth exploration of what it takes for people to use violence as their last resort is well written and believable.
I strongly recommend the audiobook!

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GatheringBooks
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#JanuaryJazz Day 23: #NationalPieDay reminded me of the spinach pie or spanakopita we had earlier this week - paired with baklava cheesecake in one of our favourite Greek restaurants in Abu Dhabi. 💕 Paired book is fascinating - I feel like such a nerdy student learning about the etymology of words, syntax and morphology, and structure/function of language - and its role in oppression and domination and empire-building.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful 😍 2w
69 likes1 comment
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ImperfectCJ
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Pickpick

In this novel, Kuang does a brilliant job of modifying the history of the industrial revolution just enough to make the effects of colonialism clear. The contrast between personal and communal success/happiness/opportunity is very effective. Although the story drags just a little about fourth-fifths through (where it feels like both the characters and the author aren't quite sure how to proceed), mostly this novel had me by the lapels. #tob2023

BkClubCare Yep. And then we finally get Victoire‘s (sp? I listened LOL) story! Think she might have a sequel in the plans? 😱 2w
ImperfectCJ @BkClubCare I was also glad to hear Victoire's perspective finally. I suspect a sequel, too, given the author's previous books and the trends in fantasy at the moment, but I kind of hope she leaves it as a stand-alone. Not every ovation needs to be a standing ovation, and not every book needs to be part of a series. 2w
Megabooks Great review! 2w
kwmg40 Nice review. I too am wondering if there will be a book about Victoire. 2w
66 likes5 comments
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BkClubCare
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this ambitious, carefully constructed, clever work of Historical Fantasy and learned a lot about oppressive colonial capitalism; and even more about language. I loved all the mini word translation lessons. Occasionally heavy-handed? Maybe. Too long? For me, yes. I sped it up to 2x for the second half and the main character‘s inner monologue of doubt and confusion grew tiresome. I did appreciate the ending and occasional flashes of humor.

BarbaraBB Great review. I am halfway and I agree with you so far. 2w
Megabooks I see what you‘re saying about the characters in the second half. 2w
kwmg40 Nice review. I too found the translation lessons really interesting. 2w
55 likes4 comments
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Moll
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Next up! #JumpStart2023

It is bold to start this one so early on in my 100 book challenge but it looks so good and I am determined💪😂

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jenniferw88
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rockpools Oh, that‘s worth considering. I‘ve heard such good things… And such bad things… And I‘m absolutely not buying any books this year… But it‘s 99p 🤔 2w
TrishB @rockpools you‘ll be sorry! 99p 😉 2w
See All 8 Comments
Lunakay I'm 2/3 through the audiobook and it's truly an amazing story, you won't regret this one. Also: there are some strong Harry Potter for adults vibes involved :D 2w
Karons1 Thanks ☺️ @jenniferw88 Iv just bought it ! Wow 🤩 99p and Iv let my bookclub know 😀x x. X 2w
Itchyfeetreader Thanks for pointing this one out 2w
AbigailJaneBlog Thanks for this! 2w
Lucy_Anywhere Thanks for the heads up! My hold of this came in through Libby and I was stressing that I wouldn‘t get through all my other reads before it was due back 😅 2w
56 likes8 comments
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kwmg40
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Pickpick

I absolutely loved this novel, and highly recommend the superbly narrated audiobook version. Kuang did a superb job of integrating the themes of colonialism, racism and language into a page-turning story. I had spent several days in Oxford last summer and my experience with some of the locations made the book even more enjoyable.

#ToB2023
#JoyousJanuary @Andrew65
#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

Ruthiella Excellent! I just downloaded the audio from the library. 👍 2w
BarbaraBB Great review! I am about halfway through and enjoying the audio too. 2w
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2w
See All 13 Comments
Andrew65 Well done, I am in a loooonnngggg list for this at the library. 👏👏👏 2w
kwmg40 @Ruthiella @BarbaraBB I thought that Chris Lew Kum Hoi did an outstanding job with the narration. I recall a narrator of the early Louise Penny books mangling the French Canadian names, so it's good when a narrator is proficient with foreign words used in the text (especially important for this book). 2w
kwmg40 @TheAromaofBooks Thanks for stopping by! 2w
kwmg40 @Andrew65 I had waited for this book for several months myself. It was definitely worth the wait! 2w
ImperfectCJ I, too, loved the audio. I have no idea how authentic the pronunciations are, but hearing them really enhanced my experience (I was a little confused one time when the narrator pronounced "polish" like the nationality "Polish," but when it happens rarely, I kind of like those kinds of oopses in audiobooks). 2w
kwmg40 @ImperfectCJ I'd missed that instance of “Polish“! I speak Chinese (Toisanese), albeit poorly and almost exclusively with my parents. Even though I can't understand much of other dialects, I can sometimes tell if the tones sound off. The audiobook narration sounded authentic to me, even if I couldn't tell for certain. 😄 2w
BkClubCare I loved the footnotes (assuming!) with different voice, that offered explanations, pronunciation differences, etc. AUDIOBOOK definitely added to my enjoyment 💖 (edited) 2w
kwmg40 @BkClubCare Agreed! The footnotes (in the mildly snarky tone) were great. 2w
Andrew65 @kwmg40 That‘s good to hear. 2w
BkClubCare @kwmg40 - yes! I wish I could remember some of the things that made me laugh, too. But I know there were a few comic moments. 2w
53 likes2 stack adds13 comments
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Sophronisba
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“By the time Professor Richard Lovell found his way through Canton‘s narrow alleys to the faded address in his diary, the boy was the only one in the house left alive.“

#FridayReads #FirstLineFriday

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suvata
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Pickpick

#OUABC 2023 Reading Challenge: 40 Prompts (32. A Book set in a school)
#StoryGraph: fantasy historical literary dark emotional | 544 pages

“1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he‘ll enroll in Oxford University‘s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation—also known as Babel.”

57 likes1 stack add
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ImperfectCJ
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That's Camille snuggled against my head as I listened to the beginning of the tagged book instead of sleeping last night. (The light purple band is the headband of my sleep headphones.) So far I'm finding myself totally pulled into Babel. My spouse told me yesterday he might have a work trip to England this spring, and I'm feeling even more jealous now that I'm reading all about London and Oxford. My passport needs some action!

wanderinglynn How sweet! ❤️🐱 3w
BkClubCare Yay! 👏 3w
See All 8 Comments
Ruthiella Adorable! 😻 3w
dabbe Sweetest kitty! ❣️🐾❣️ 3w
Aimeesue Awwwww ❤️❤️ 3w
BarbaraBB It is fo English indeed! I feel like traveling to England too. And I am enjoying the book as well 3w
Megabooks I really enjoyed Babel too! 3w
69 likes8 comments
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Insightsintobooks
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review
Cinfhen
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Pickpick

I went into this book with low expectations and MAJOR trepidation but….I was instantly pulled into this #GaslampFantasy and I never lost interest. Narration was outstanding and really helped to keep me engaged. A story about the power of words, language, heritage, obligations, greed, corruption and institutions. I know, sounds dull but SO captivating. Might be my front runner in the #ToB23 shortlist 🥰

Cuilin I have this on hold from my library. Looking forward to it. 3w
TrishB Well that told me 😁 so glad you enjoyed it though. It was in my top 22 last year. 3w
See All 25 Comments
BarbaraBB You read it fast! Glad it‘s such a winner for you! I am enjoying it too but so far it isn‘t my front runner. However I love those surprises in the #ToB23! 3w
Cinfhen I SURPRISED myself @TrishB @julesG so never say never!! 3w
Cinfhen Can‘t wait to hear your thoughts @BarbaraBB @Cuilin 3w
Hooked_on_books Wow, that‘s great! It‘s so nice to have that experience for a book you “have” to read. 3w
squirrelbrain I‘m looking forward to this now, when I wasn‘t previously. I *may* start it tomorrow but it depends how the traffic is on my commute, as I still have an hour or so to go on 2am In Little America. 3w
Megabooks So glad you enjoyed it so much!! It was a pleasant surprise for me too! 3w
Cinfhen I don‘t want to overhype this book @squirrelbrain and plenty of our wonderful friends didn‘t care for this book 😉 not naming names @Hooked_on_books BUT it surprised me in the best way possible🤷🏼‍♀️I think for someone like me who hardly reads fantasy, I was able to become fully immersed without being overwhelmed by the fantasy elements 3w
Cinfhen @Megabooks I remember being surprised that you enjoyed Babel, but now I see why. It‘s more historical fiction than fantasy I think (edited) 3w
Chelsea.Poole 1. This gives me so much hope! I‘m not fantasy reader either so glad to hear it‘s a pick for you! 2. Lovely flowers 🌸 3w
Hooked_on_books Ha! You named names! 🫣😂 3w
KarenUK It was our runner up for Book of the Year at work…. I‘m looking forward to it even more after your review! 💕 3w
BkClubCare @Cinfhen - thanks for the tag 😉 3w
BkClubCare The audio is well done. But I think it too long. I will finish - I am up to 1.8x speed 3w
Librarybelle Interesting - it‘s not my typical genre, but something to think about for the prompt! 3w
batsy I've been looking forward to read it especially after my sister recommended it. I'm glad to hear that you liked it, as well! 3w
Cinfhen It‘s definitely on the longer side @BkClubCare and like most longer books, I always think a little editing would go far but this one didn‘t bother me as much. I enjoyed the story even though the author‘s intent was a bit heavy handed. I can‘t wait to hear what ya‘ll will make of it @Chelsea.Poole @batsy @KarenUK 3w
Cinfhen There are probably “easier” books out there for this prompt @Librarybelle and I really picked it up only because of Tournament of Books, but I ended up really liking it. LMK if you give it a go. 3w
Bluebird I started this yesterday and am loving it. I got to ‘jump the line‘ on my library hold and have this for 6 more days. Hopefully I can finish it so I don‘t have to wait several weeks to get it again. 🤞 3w
Cinfhen It‘s VERY DENSE @Bluebird but it‘s so engaging!!! Hopefully you can find time over the weekend 🙏🏼 3w
92 likes2 stack adds25 comments
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eraderneely
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Hold finally came in and it‘s goooood!

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Cinfhen
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Just under 5 hours left on audio and im happy to report im still VERY MUCH enjoying this very dense story. The author definitely has an agenda but that‘s ok. Her message about colonialism, greed, war and privilege is a worthy one to write about. There are a few decisions the protagonists make that are highly questionable but this is fiction after all.

Cinfhen I‘m still hooked @julesG @TrishB 3w
StaceGhost This one is on my list! 3w
See All 35 Comments
Addison_Reads This was one of my favorite reads last year and I was happy to see it on the #tob23 shortlist. I'm glad you're enjoying it. 3w
Cinfhen I was dreading this book @StaceGhost as fantasy isn‘t really my thing and the length was scaring me too but I must say 15 hours in, im really enjoying 😁 3w
Cinfhen I‘m so happy to see it on the shortlist @Addison_Reads otherwise I NEVER would have attempted to read this book. Do you think this works for #HighFantasy??? 3w
TrishB I‘m so pleased you‘re still enjoying 😁 just shows sometimes we should give things a chance. 3w
Addison_Reads @Cinfhen I definitely think this book could be considered #HighFantasy. The elaborate setting alone would place it in that category, but there are other aspects of high fantasy in this epic story too. 3w
julesG @Addison_Reads I think it's most often filed under Dark Academia and Historical Fantasy. 3w
julesG I agree with @TrishB, glad you are still enjoying it 3w
Cinfhen Since I hardly read any fantasy I might go with @Addison_Reads ☺️ BUT in case I‘m willing to try another fantasy book, what would you recommend for high fantasy @julesG ?? 3w
Cinfhen @TrishB true!! Just goes to show you, sometimes you can teach an old dog some new tricks 3w
julesG High fantasy is the books I tend to avoid, too epic for my 'I need a fast pace and action' tastes. But I think Robin Hobb, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Tolkien, George RR Martin, and Le Guin (Earthsea) have all written High Fantasy. @Trish might recommend Robin Hobb. I've read Sanderson and and Rothfuss and liked them. I'm not a big fan of Tolkien and Martin. I've only read Le Guin's Sci-fi so far. 😬 3w
StaceGhost @Cinfhen awesome! I‘ve been putting it off too even though it‘s definitely in my wheelhouse 3w
Addison_Reads Thank you @JulesG for the information. 😀 @Cinfhen I read a lot of fantasy, including high fantasy, and even though Babel is listed as historical fantasy/dark academia, I still feel you could make a good case that it also has elements of high fantasy. 3w
Cinfhen Thanks @julesG @Addison_Reads I definitely feel like this book captures MY IDEA of HIGH FANTASY 😅so I think I‘ll stick with that 😂 3w
Ruthiella Pigs are still being sighted in the air 🐷 😂. I‘m so glad you‘re enjoying it. 3w
AllDebooks I am excited to be starting this soon. Heard so many good things 3w
MicheleinPhilly I am shocked. SHOCKED I SAY! 3w
sarahbarnes Very excited to try this one! 3w
Cinfhen I like to spice things up @MicheleinPhilly 😉yup @Ruthiella the pigs are getting tired from all their flapping 😂😂😂 3w
Cinfhen It‘s very engaging @sarahbarnes @AllDebooks audio narration is SO GOOD 3w
Centique So glad you‘ve found some fantasy you‘re enjoying! I have this on my TBR, sounds right in my wheel house. Your flowers are gorgeous! 😍 3w
Hooked_on_books I‘m so glad you‘re enjoying this! There‘s a point she hammers away at in the last bit of the book that really rubbed me the wrong way (and almost made this a pan), so I hope you get through that part still enjoying this. 3w
TrishB I wouldn‘t class this one as high fantasy. It has fantasy elements, but it‘s still situated in a world you recognise. To me, high fantasy is set in other universe‘s with other power structures and personal magic etc To me, Hobb is my fave as @julesG says, I‘m not a massive Tolkien fan, but like most of the others mentioned. Sanderson writes HUGE books, even I think they need an editing 😁 3w
Cinfhen BUMMER!!! I‘m keeping it as a high fantasy back-up just in case @TrishB do you think it works as a #gaslampfantasy @julesG @Addison_Reads ???? Also I saw this book mentioned for high fantasy - thoughts 3w
Cinfhen Thanks @Hooked_on_books @Centique 💐I‘m sure I know what you‘re referring to Holly but I still have two hours to go and it‘s not needling me yet!!!! 3w
TrishB That‘s just me though 😁 3w
Cinfhen My son E and I somehow share an Audible account so I own TONS of high fantasy because that‘s the genre he loves. I know I have the Hobb trilogy and some Sanderson & Rothfuss too. So I‘ll give it a go @TrishB @julesG and see how it goes…first I need to finish Babel. 3w
julesG It's set in early Victorian era, so I'd say #gaslampfantasy works. 3w
julesG See, you've got a lot of books at hand already. The Sanderson books can be listened to at 1.75x. You can do chores alongside, take a nap, and, I promise, you won't lose the thread. 😜 3w
Cinfhen Thanks 🙏🏻 @julesG xxx How you feeling? Hope your cold has cleared up xx have a good day 💟 3w
Cinfhen Oh GD….I‘m NOT attempting the Sanderson @julesG I think I‘d lose my mind 🤪 3w
julesG Aw, thanks. The cold is slowly moving out and hay-fever is moving in (hazelnut and birch trees are in bloom already 🙄🙄). Have a good day, too. Hope you get lots of reading in. 💖 3w
Cinfhen Spring allergies in January!!! Crazy @julesG Hope you get some reading in too, although you seem to be on a roll 🫶🏼 3w
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BarbaraBB
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I am listening to this book and am surprised by how readable it is and how much I am actually enjoying it, especially the bits about translation seen in a historical (read: colonial) context. I am at 40% now, and hopeful I‘ll end up with a pick! #Tob23

Chelsea.Poole I need to get to this soon! Glad to see it‘s working for you 😊 3w
squirrelbrain Yay - glad it‘s working for you; I‘m looking forward to it much more now. 3w
sarahbarnes This makes me even more eager to have this one come in for me at the library! 3w
BarbaraBB @Chelsea.Poole @squirrelbrain @sarahbarnes I hope you‘ll like it too. It‘s definitely not my favorite but I am glad it‘s so engaging! 3w
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GatheringBooks
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#JanuaryJazz Day 17: Homemade iced #Cafe and freshly baked Reese‘s coffee cake with peanut butter chips and brown sugar streusel topping plus a subversive linguist/translator. 💕☕️

Tonton That‘s pretty close to heaven! 3w
Eggs 📚😊☕️ 3w
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bookish6
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I enjoyed this book. I learned a lot of things about languages I never even thought about before.
I had no idea what this was about when I chose it to be my book of the month.
I thought the ending dragged on a tiny bit but it is worth a read if you have the time, it is a long one!

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Robotswithpersonality
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Pickpick

When a book has garnered such attention and praise, I feel like any personal opinion partially to the contrary should begin with an acknowledgement and an apology. I recognize the accomplishment that is this book. How fluidly it conveys the breadth and depth of the wrongs wrought by colonialism and racism; how irrepressible the enthusiasm for language and etymology is despite how dark the circumstances. 1/?

Robotswithpersonality This is a long book and yet the pace is flawless, the quotes are on point. I'll admit, the hype train came with a spoiler for me, so I can't say for certain how I would have received this work without some inkling of the eventual ending. I think it might be more of a personal failing than the book, but I have an issue with books that are so unrelentingly focused on making a point that the entire story is grimly shadowed with misery or tragedy. 2/? 3w
Robotswithpersonality This book provides intelligent arguments that I appreciated the articulation of, but the neverending bleakness has been a disengagement trigger for me since high school English. 3/4 3w
Robotswithpersonality I did weep for Robin in the end and it felt earned, not cheap emotional manipulation, but I fear that the overall tone of this book means my mental health defense system will work on forgetting rather than remembering it, even given exceptional writing and important discussions involved. I think on these issues, I'm better off reading non-fiction, forewarned as to what the tone will be. 4/4 3w
bnp I have been on the fence about reading this because I'm afraid it will be an issue book rather than a story. I will probably try it at the library after the fuss has died down. 3w
Robotswithpersonality @bnp Solid plan! That's how I accessed the ebook. 3w
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Cinfhen
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Pigs must be flying @julesG @TrishB because I‘m really enjoying this #GasLightFantasy story - really sharp but accessible
A love letter to linguistics, language, learning, cultures, identities and Oxford. I‘m only a little bit in so I‘m hoping my admiration doesn‘t begin to fizzle out. Audio narration is OUTSTANDING 🙌🏻🎧💟 #ToB23 shortlist

julesG The audio is great. Made me want to get the physical copy. I struggled with the last part(s) of the book. 3w
Cinfhen Uh oh @julesG maybe I‘ll continue to surprise myself!!! The physical copy is GORGEOUS but I don‘t think I would have liked this book in print. There‘s something about the narration that is SO soothing & lulling. I want to see what else the reader narrates. (edited) 3w
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IndoorDame I‘m glad to hear the audio is great! I‘ve been toying with using my next audible credit on this since my library hold is still 19 weeks away and I‘m feeling impatient 3w
Cinfhen I was lucky to be able to borrow @IndoorDame BUT I would have been VERY SATISFIED if I had used an Audible credit 3w
LeeRHarry I was needing a book for Gaslamp fantasy and I didn‘t even think of Babel, a book I definitely want to read, so thanks 😊 glad you‘re enjoying it! 3w
Cinfhen I have to give credit to @Megabooks for that prompt idea 💡 🙌🏻 @LeeRHarry 3w
MicheleinPhilly Oh I‘ll be VERY curious to see what you think of this. 3w
Cinfhen I‘m not sure if you‘ll like Babel @MicheleinPhilly but meanwhile I‘ve been sidetracked by this audio….phenomenal (edited) 3w
MicheleinPhilly I don‘t know that I will either but I‘m always curious to hear what non-fantasy readers like me think of it. I adored Nanette! Enjoy! 3w
merelybookish I feel resistant to this one...maybe you'll convert me @Cinfhen 😄 3w
Cinfhen I‘ll let you know @merelybookish hoping it stays engaging 🤞🏼I sort of put it on the side burner as I picked up a new Libby hold 3w
BarbaraBB I am about a third in now and still enjoying it too. Who would have thought?! It reads a bit YA even! 3w
Cinfhen You‘re reading Babel too @BarbaraBB ?!? It does feel a bit YA but it‘s really engaging 3w
BarbaraBB I listen to it on audio. @RidgewayGirl recommended that and it really works for me. But it will take a while because I only listen to audiobooks when driving or walking. 3w
Ruthiella It‘s great when a book surprises one like that! 3w
Cinfhen Narration is SO GOOD @BarbaraBB and definitely so true @Ruthiella expectations works both ways! 3w
squirrelbrain Ooh it‘s good that it works for #gaslampfantasy. I‘m actually quite looking forward to it, even though @julesG and @TrishB thought I might not like it either. 3w
Cinfhen I do think you‘re gonna like this @squirrelbrain GO AUDIO if you can. I‘m listening via #scribd 3w
TrishB @squirrelbrain @Cinfhen I‘m liking the pigs flying 😉 3w
squirrelbrain I can get it on Scribd audio Cindy, but I‘m also getting a digital library copy this coming weekend. I just don‘t get that much time to listen to audio and it‘s SO long! 3w
Megabooks You can do it! The plot is really propulsive and doesn‘t feel as long as it is. 3w
Cinfhen It is long @squirrelbrain but like @Megabooks said - it moves quickly & @BarbaraBB mentioned it feels YA and it‘s true but that‘s not bugging me either @TrishB I feel like Alice, I must have taken some mushroom tea 🍄🫖 3w
Well-ReadNeck Just picked this up today on Kindle Daily Deal. Going to read as soon as I finish 3w
Cinfhen Ohhhhh!!! That‘s a GREAT price @Well-ReadNeck !!!!! I ended up loving Babel 😃 3w
86 likes25 comments
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KimchiPiglet
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Pickpick

I have mixed feelings. During this journey, I experienced the extraordinary and the mundane. Perhaps my expectations were too lofty, or perhaps that was the point. Anywho overall this read was fascinating, and shouldn‘t be missed. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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tphil10283
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Pickpick

It‘s a brilliant book that is a historical fantasy. It‘s written almost like a history book with footnotes that sometimes are true but mostly not. It had me looking at certain things in a different perspective and I always enjoy books that do that. Kuang is only 26 and has accomplished enough that anyone would be proud of in a lifetime. I wonder how she‘s going to be able to top what she‘s already done.

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rachelsbrittain
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My obsession with Babel 100% inspired this entire list 😂

bookriot.com/dark-academia-science-fiction-and-fantasy/

RaeLovesToRead I have bookmarked this list! Thank you 🥰 3w
julesG Looked at it earlier. 😍 3w
thewallflower0707 Babel 🥰 one of my top books in 2022 3w
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Robotswithpersonality
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Loving the etymology tidbits found along the way...

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BkClubCare
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Listening to audio, especially while driving! Makes it particularly difficult to capture quotes. But I caught a pie mention this morning on my second drive in to work (ahem), at about 35% in:
“Professor Playfair looked as though he got caught with his thumb in a pie.” (Scene before he explained which words to NEVER ever ever use in a silver wordsmithing charm. )

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Bklover
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Between my buddyreads and challenges I haven‘t had time to read anything else. My goal for this readathon is to read Babel, which I just want to read.
#joyousjanuaryreadathon

Andrew65 Great to have you with us, I am on a looonnngg waiting list for this at the library. Enjoy! 4w
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KimchiPiglet
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Starting 3..2..1 🎬

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Monica5
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I'm so goofy 😜. It dawned on me today I could finish Babel on phone🤦

This was amazing. I think I covered every emotion during this book. Now, I want to read her other books, and I usually don't do fiction.

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perfectlywinged
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Was a little nervous with the comparison to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (an excellent book but a slog) but this is has the same elevated tone while being totally readable/ bingeable. It‘s literary fiction / alternate history fantasy and I am completely drawn in!

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tessavi
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Mehso-so

I loved the setting and world building. The story started of good but the last third was a drag and took me ages to get through.

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Monica5

Ugh! My Kindle won't charge. It's my charger and I like 25% in my book. My charger is supposed to be here the 9th, but I hope I get it before then.

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tessavi
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Not even close to my goal this year. I hardly read at all the last 3 months. Setting the same goal for 2023, let's see!

Jas16 We all have months like that. 35 is still a great number! 1mo
tessavi @Jas16 thanks! I hope to get back into the flow soon. 1mo
31 likes2 comments
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TrishB
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#12 booksof2022 October
I loved this one.

sarahbarnes Really excited to give this one a try. 1mo
75 likes1 comment