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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
From the acclaimed and bestselling author of The Idiot, the continuation of beloved protagonist Selin's quest for self-knowledge, as she travels abroad and tests the limits of her newfound adulthood Selin is the luckiest person in her family: the only one who was born in America and got to go to Harvard. Now it's sophomore year, 1996, and Selin knows she has to make it count. The first order of business: to figure out the meaning of everything that happened over the summer. Why did Selin's elusive crush, Ivan, find her that job in the Hungarian countryside? What was up with all those other people in the Hungarian countryside? Why is Ivan's weird ex-girlfriend now trying to get in touch with Selin? On the plus side, it feels like the plot of an exciting novel. On the other hand, why do so many novels have crazy abandoned women in them? How does one live a life as interesting as a novel--a life worthy of becoming a novel--without becoming a crazy abandoned woman oneself? Guided by her literature syllabus and by her more worldly and confident peers, Selin reaches certain conclusions about the universal importance of parties, alcohol, and sex, and resolves to execute them in practice--no matter what the cost. Next on the list: international travel. Unfolding with the propulsive logic and intensity of youth, Either/Or is a landmark novel by one of our most brilliant writers. Hilarious, revelatory, and unforgettable, its gripping narrative will confront you with searching questions that persist long after the last page.
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Praise #CampLitsy for teaching me that I love Elif Batuman‘s books! 🙌 I forgot I‘d saved the second half of this and was so excited to return to it (though I seem to enjoy the school year parts more than the summer ones). Selin‘s overthinking is absolutely the worst, but it also manages to produce some deep insights - as I suppose overthinking is wont to do. Anyway, I‘d happily follow her awkward journey through college and beyond.

Ruthiella With any luck, the Junior Year novel will be done by 2027…the question is, what famous novel will lend its name for the title? 🤔 3h
BarbaraBB Great review! 33m
28 likes2 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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I could read about Selin all the time; she reminds me a lot of myself at that particular age, but also not. It's very much like being with a friend. It's neat seeing Selin grapple with the literature she's reading and see how the book we're reading is being transformed; the actual process of art. I adore the underlying premise of the book: how to shape life into art. I think Batuman pulled it off with such aplomb, with wit and skill. I'm jealous!

Cathythoughts Excellent review, I‘m so glad you loved it 👍🏻♥️ 3d
batsy @Cathythoughts Thank you, friend 💜 I totally understand why it might not be for everyone 🙂 3d
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erzascarletbookgasm Stacking because of your review! 3d
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Yay! I do hope you like it but I guess it does have marmite qualities 😁 3d
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Also, definitely read The Idiot first. I found this more tightly structured and less unwieldy than The Idiot, which makes it slightly better, imo. 3d
Lindy I loved The Idiot and have been looking forward to getting my hands on this one too. Suba, your review has made me even more excited 😊 (edited) 3d
BarbaraBB What a review. I appreciate the book even more in hindsight. 3d
batsy @Lindy Oh, I'm so glad! I truly hope you enjoy this one, too 🙂 3d
batsy @BarbaraBB Thank you! I love how she really brought it all together in the ending. 3d
merelybookish Great review! I also love spending time with Selin. I understand how these books could be tedious but I am captivated by them. And I find her hilarious. 3d
squirrelbrain Great review! Looking forward to more discussions at the weekend! 3d
jlhammar Same here! Great review! 3d
Ruthiella I also feel a certain affinity with Selin. I‘d like to think we‘d be friends IRL. Reading these books is kinda like hanging out with a friend. I think she‘s hilarious and smart and I love spending time with her. But sometimes I want to stop her from stupid decisions. 2d
batsy @merelybookish Thanks! And absolutely same. I also like that with this one you can pull back and see what Batuman is trying to give shape to. I hope there's more to come. 2d
batsy @Ruthiella Yes, well put! She sometimes arrives at conclusions that seem too naive, as well, and I just want to tell her that it's not so simple—but of course she gets there herself sooner or later. 2d
merelybookish @batsy Well @Ruthiella has speculated that she might write a book for each year she is at Harvard. And I hope she's right! 2d
Christine @merelybookish @Ruthiella Yes, please let there be junior and senior year books!! 🤞 4h
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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I can see why @Cathythoughts called this a “marmite book”. Selin‘s combination of, as @jlhammar put it so well, “navel-gazing and contemplating the world‘s problems” can be annoying at times, yet I still find her endearing. I did not care for this as much as The Idiot, but it‘s still a pick. I‘m registering for Selin‘s junior year if Batuman writes it. Plus the mid-90s nostalgia is fantastic! #CampLitsy

jlhammar I think I preferred The Idiot too, but I‘m also in for junior year. I‘m really glad #CampLitsy chose this one (I didn‘t even vote for it) or I may never have gotten around to these. I found them smart and funny, but can totally understand why they may seem tedious and boring to others. 3d
Megabooks @jlhammar I am glad we chose it as well because I may very well have not gotten around to them either(/or) 😉🤣 I‘m very much enjoying our discussions, too. 3d
BarbaraBB Gorgeous pick. I ended up enjoying this one quite a lot yet I‘m not sure I‘m in for junior year 3d
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Cinfhen Great review as always, but I‘m still not feeling it! I‘m happy to have opted out of this one and 3d
Cathythoughts Great review Meg! I learned the term ‘ marmite book‘ on Litsy.. like so many things I‘ve learned here … Litsy has been/is a hugs learning curve for me. Like @Cinfhen I‘m glad I opted out as I couldn‘t make head nor tail of it 😃🤷🏼‍♀️ 3d
batsy Great review! This blew me away more than The Idiot but yes, I can understand why people don't get on with the books. Because it's so reliant on a single narrator's tone, it becomes a bit like whether or not you get along with a person 🙂 3d
squirrelbrain Great review Meg! I agree with you @batsy - I preferred this to The Idiot. And also it seems as though most of us identified with Selin, so maybe we‘re not just getting on with her, maybe we *are* her! 3d
batsy @squirrelbrain You might have hit upon the truth there 😂 3d
Megabooks @BarbaraBB thanks! That‘s it my neighbor‘s yard, but I very much enjoy looking at it! Interesting that you‘re on the fence…🤔 3d
Megabooks @Cinfhen not for everyone for sure! 3d
Megabooks @Cathythoughts I‘ve learned so much on litsy, too, and my TBR expands every more quickly, too. I‘m sorry this wasn‘t for you! 😘😘 3d
Megabooks @batsy @squirrelbrain perhaps that is true, Helen! I do relate to Selin strongly and Svetlana as well. Although I must admit I was a bit less awkward!! 🤣🤣 or at least I think I was…🤔🤔 (edited) 3d
batsy @Megabooks @squirrelbrain I loved Svetlana! 3d
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Such a interesting thought: have I chosen an ethical or an aesthetic way of life? I think many of us have asked ourselves while reading this book. Let‘s discuss below for our final question.

Enjoy the second half of the week and we‘ll be back next week to discuss the whole book!

See All 18 Comments
Ruthiella I‘m not really sure most people can make such a stark delineation in their lives. In that sense, Selin is doomed to failure. She needs a balance of both in her life, really. (edited) 5d
BarbaraBB @Ruthiella We probably all do but I can imagine people unknowingly choose one or the other. If you'd asked me at that age, I definitely would have chosen the aesthethical way as well. I was suprised by Svetlana who was so sure about the ethical way while she seemed pretty aesthetical to me as well. 5d
squirrelbrain I agree @Ruthiella - I‘m sure there can‘t be many people who are completely one or the other. For me, this is an example of Selin getting utterly obsessed with ideas (or people) to a ridiculous, unsustainable level. Of course, I can‘t deny that I used to do the same when I was her age! 5d
Megabooks @Ruthiella @squirrelbrain @BarbaraBB I agree that one cannot live that starkly. I think it‘s interesting that she felt like following The Seducers Diary was a good idea. However, I think people try on a lot of identities at that age, and this is probably that. I‘m kind of glad it for her to loosen up a bit. I probably would‘ve been like Svetlana. I relate to her more than Selin anyway. Or at least my 19 year old self does. 4d
merelybookish I found the distinction quite fascinating, if untenable and it could be argued that aesthetics are a form of ethics, blah, blah, blah. But like @Megabooks says, college/uni is a time to try things out. You can be a communist or nihilist or whatever. So her pursuit of an aesthetic life strikes me believable. 4d
jlhammar Yes, I agree with all of you that one isn't really aesthetic or ethical. You can both make great art, seek pleasure and experience and be an ethical person, having a sense of duty and service to others. I think that is the realization Selin is coming to here, that it isn't either/or, that she doesn't necessarily need to fall into a category like that. 4d
Christine @squirrelbrain - Yes, exactly to everything you said! 😄 4d
jlhammar I loved that part where she is baffled as to why more people didn't take a fifth class. I think that really speaks to her aesthetic side. Other students may be more worried more about a fifth course negatively impacting their GPA and extra work/stress, but she just wants all the life experience she can get. It didn't cost extra and she would get to explore something of interest that didn't necessarily fulfill a requirement. 4d
Liz_M @jlhammar I agree with your comment about how Selin is learning that it doesn't have to be either/or 4d
Hooked_on_books I think it‘s funny that she would be applying such a concept to her current life, since in so many ways the college years are artificial. What I mean is for most people, they don‘t represent what your life will look like thereafter, so you can choose to live a certain way during that time, but it‘s unlikely to apply to your life thereafter. So I find it all a bit comical and yet so very real to the mentality at that age. 4d
jlhammar Yes, @Hooked_on_books , such a great point about the artifice of college years! Their insularity does make it all the more comical, but I agree, Batuman does tap into the truth of how many of us thought about things at that age. 4d
batsy I agree with @Hooked_on_books about university life, & being a humanities major in Harvard, as an insular, privileged life. But I find the question about whether it's possible interesting. I think once out of university, becoming an academic or writer might make the aesthetic life possible for Selin. I'd like a post-uni mid-30s Selin to write about how all choices are so compromised in a hyper-capitalist, dystopia-adjacent society we live in! 4d
Ruthiella @jlhammar When I was in college, it seemed that everyone wanted classes only from 8 am to noon so they wouldn‘t “interfere” with their free time. I wasn‘t as intellectually rigorous as Selin (nowhere close) but it did surprise me with students who felt like college was something they had to endure rather than something to enjoy. 4d
Megabooks @merelybookish agreed. I remember a stark change I had at 20 in how I approached people and my life and the friends I had/decisions I made. Neither is exactly like I am in my 40s. I was much more outgoing and gregarious in my early 20s. But I think, like Selin, it was an affectation, and I feel more authentic in my 40s. 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ Life is interesting. 4d
Megabooks @Hooked_on_books 💯💯💯 agree. I wrote the above ⬆️ before I read your comment. 4d
32 likes18 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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The second question is about all the references to other books. We are very curious if you did enjoy this aspect of the book and if you came across quotes or books that have a special meaning to you. Personally I loved how Batuman explained the difference between a good writer and a good novelist, using Ishiguro as an example of the latter 🤍

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Ruthiella I LOVE all the literary references. When I don‘t know the original book, I‘m fascinated to learn about it and read her interpretation of it. When I am familiar with the work, it adds a layer of understanding to the text. 5d
BarbaraBB @Ruthiella I am almost eager to read Kierkegaard as well! I can't believe how she was able to interpret his work, again remembering that's she's only 19 when she reads the book! 5d
squirrelbrain I find most of the literary references a bit high-brow for me (spell check decided that was high-brie for some reason - that‘s a whole other thing! 🤣) I have found it interesting to read *about* all of these books but I don‘t think I‘d actually want to read them! 5d
BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain Quite a few she mentions are also part of the list of #1001books to read before you die, which I have been obsessively reading for some years, so I did recognize many of them - though not the Kierkegaard! 5d
Megabooks @Ruthiella @squirrelbrain @BarbaraBB I recognized more in the second half, but I am interested in reading Either/Or as well, Barbara! I don‘t have a great foundation in the classics - I read so much more NF as a student/in my 20s - that most of this, especially in the first half, isn‘t ringing bells, but I‘m still enjoying the references. 4d
Bookwormjillk I like them. I haven‘t read any of them but it kind of picks things up when she talks about them. 4d
merelybookish I love it and it's part of why I find Batuman's books so captivating. Selin makes sense of her world through literature and I can appreciate that. I read some Henry James back in the day and so particularly enjoyed how she interpreted him. 4d
jlhammar Yes, exactly @Ruthiella and @merelybookish! I so appreciate Selin's quest to understand life through literature and philosophy. I loved that Ishiguro part too, @BarbaraBB (he's one of my favorite authors)! 4d
jlhammar I felt such nostalgia when she was in the campus bookstore, excited to see “the fat textbooks give way to normal-sized books with interesting covers that looked like a person might actually read them in the course of normal life.“ I used to love browsing the piles of books for courses I wasn't taking. 4d
Christine I second @jlhammar 's seconding of @Ruthiella and @merelybookish 's thoughts! 😄 And OMG I SO want to read Kierkegaard after this! I can't believe I never have, as my undergrad college was WAY into Kierkegaard and has one of the world's foremost libraries of his work! Missed opportunity! Wish I had been a bit more like Selin and less like Svetlana in my approach to choosing college courses. 4d
squirrelbrain @jlhammar - should I admit that I love the fat textbooks too?! 4d
Liz_M I loved the references to literature (and feeling all smug because I knew and have read so many of them). But more importantly, I think it is true to the character and college life. If you're lucky, college is a time when all you have to do is read and stay and think and debate abstract ideas or ethics with friends. 4d
Liz_M Stay=study 4d
BarbaraBB @Liz_M I was thinking of you with all those references to #1001books that you‘ve obviously read! 4d
Larkken @merelybookish I, too liked the conceit of a memoir through a reading list - and that is what this book make me think of. It made Elin and her very adolescent girl fantasies and preoccupations more interesting to me. But I‘ve read few of the books on her list! Lol I agree with @squirrelbrain that they‘re maybe a bit high brow. And, for me, a bit man-view-centric. (edited) 4d
Hooked_on_books I think they really work, considering who and where Selin is. Being in college, you tend to gravitate toward those highbrow, snooty conversations and ways of thinking and revel in the fact that you can do so. So, for me, it really works for the story. 4d
jlhammar I also loved the parts where she talks about music. Hilarious. The Alanis bit that @merelybookish posted about earlier was perfection. And the part where she goes to Tower Records for The Fugees “Killing Me Softly” and “ended up buying the cassette single…because it seemed more honest about just being into the most popular song on the album.” 😂 4d
batsy What @Ruthiella said! I love books that constantly reference other works; it heightens the reading for me here because it's a way of seeing what's shaping Selin's interior life. And agreed @jlhammar the music bits felt even better in parts, because with books Selin is smart and thinks things through, whereas her response to music is more intuitive and allows Batuman to play with her sense of humour more. 4d
Megabooks @jlhammar I wish I had read more books for classes I wasn‘t taking. I love that she does that too. Such a curious mind!! 4d
MrsV I love all the literature references! 4d
BarbaraBB @jlhammar @batsy Yes, the music! It‘s so much more emotional and intuitive, by her choices we get to know another Selin. Have you two listened to Selin‘s playlist that Elif Batuman shared? 4d
BarbaraBB @Megabooks @jlhammar She‘s such a curious mind! I was really impressed by her reading those books. I never would have. I guess there‘s a reason she was accepted by Harvard! 4d
batsy @BarbaraBB Not yet, but I should! 4d
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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I am sorry to post the question a bit later than announced but here I am with out fifth #CampLitsy read.

Either/Or received mixed reviews among our Campers so I am very curious to see what you‘ll make of today‘s questions. We‘ll discuss the first half, so please avoid spoilers and enjoy Selin‘s (inner) world!

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Ruthiella Not particularly! What would help her would be to listen to those telling her he‘s a waste of time? At 19, I know she is an adult, but I was equally clueless at that age. (edited) 5d
BarbaraBB @Ruthiella I was equally clueless and would never listen to people telling me he's not worth it 😉 She is sooo young, even though she seems rather adult because she's so smart. 5d
squirrelbrain @ruthiella @BarbaraBB - I agree that it‘s not particularly useful to Selin‘s situation, but I do think that‘s how we all learn at that age, by observing other people. I feel that Selin is so naive and has such a young mind, though, she doesn‘t know who she should be learning from. She‘s soaking up everything like a sponge, whether it‘s right or wrong. 5d
Megabooks @Ruthiella @BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain I believe we talked about looking up to older adults in regards to the book I‘ll tag, Barbara, but Selin, instead, looks to other undergrads who are equally clueless and socially awkward. I feel like even the upperclassman/graduate students, like Ivan & Juho, aren‘t really any better. Plus, her relationship with Ivan has never seemed on a track to work. They can barely communicate on email for crying out loud! 4d
Megabooks @BarbaraBB Observational students at Harvard will always make me think of this book!! 4d
cariashley Sadly I had to bail on this book so don‘t have too much to contribute to the discussion. I listened to about 15% and just had no interest. It reminded me a bit too much of the most annoying people I went to college with 🫤 4d
Bookwormjillk It might be more useful if Ivan knew there was a relationship 😂 4d
BarbaraBB @Megabooks That is so true!! She does look to other clueless people, which accounts for a kind of wisdom which is no wisdom at all. Interesting!
BarbaraBB @Megabooks Loner was such a good book. Way too few people have read it, if you ask me!!
BarbaraBB @cariashley I don't think I've ever met these kind of people. In my college we were not that involved in our field of study I think, as we were in each other and the night life! 4d
BarbaraBB @Bookwormjillk Lol! I keep wondering what his point of view is indeed! 4d
Megabooks @Bookwormjillk lololol 🤣🤣🤣 4d
merelybookish I feel like she also uses novels as a source of information to understand the relationships she sees around her. I don't think they help her much either. Not sure Henry James is a good place to look relationship guidance. 🙂 4d
BarbaraBB @merelybookish Ha! I'm not sure either, not at all! Nor am I sure about André Breton! 4d
jlhammar Hmmmm, is it perhaps more difficult to be a very thoughtful, hyper-observant, critically thinking person? I think yes. I'm not sure Selin is doing herself any favors here, but it is her nature and I think will only benefit her as a writer moving forward. It is interesting how she is both navel-gazing and contemplating humanity's bigger questions at the same time. It isn't one or the other, but both, playing with the either/or theme. 4d
BarbaraBB @jlhammar It is very interesting the way she combines navel-gazing with humanity as a whole but I have to admit I do wonder at times how much of is is today's Elif instead of her former self, named Selin. Is it possible to remember that much about one's youth? Never mind, it made for very interesting streams of thoughts. 4d
Christine Loving all of these comments! Agreed that her observations did her no favors, and her overthinking about them was even worse! Yet I also totally relate - much of this (and The Idiot) hits too close to home re: my early college self! 🤦‍♀️ I think part of Selin's (Elif's?/college me's?) problem is that when your intellectual/academic self is a huge part of your identity, you often apply it to other aspects of life in ways that aren't the best. 4d
jlhammar @BarbaraBB Oh yes, totally agree. I think these books are very much grown Elif's contemplation and reflection about her younger self. It does make it even more interesting when you see it like that. How much of what Selin is thinking is what Batuman actually thought at the time versus conclusions she has come to in the many years since? Either way, it worked for me! 4d
BarbaraBB @Christine You mean that she considers life in an academic, maybe even scientific way? That is interesting and an explanation for why she makes choices that are not neccessary the best ones - she probably doesn't take non rational emotions into account. 4d
Liz_M So, I didn't read the first book. 🙃 From this perspective, Selin doesn't (and never did) have a relationship with Ivan. It was my main struggle with the first half of the book -- how much time she spends dwelling on a person that isn't present in her life and may never be present again. 4d
Larkken @Christine yes! The cringe for me was definitely in how much I could see myself in her. She obviously is bright, and her observations are usually good, but maybe egg on her obsessive tendencies too much. 4d
Larkken @Liz_M I also didn‘t read the first book! I didn‘t mind her dwelling on him, seemed to fit with her interest in literature-making sense of her life through self-mythologizing in a way, and relating possible readings of Ivan to what she only knows from books. 4d
BarbaraBB @Liz_M that must be weird indeed, when you don‘t even know Ivan. I had a vague memory (read The Idiot at least a year ago) about their “relationship” but when you haven‘t read the book Selin indeed doesn‘t have it! 4d
Liz_M @BarbaraBB There is enough context early on for me to get that the first book covered her connection to Ivan, but obviously I'm missing the details and nuances. 4d
Hooked_on_books I agree with you, Helen, that observing others and applying those “lessons” to oneself is fairly universal at that age. @squirrelbrain And I don‘t think it really helps any of us! Especially since a lot of people never quite find their way out of that mindset. My mom is 74 and in many ways she still does that, to her detriment. Social norms are one thing, but we should all be comfortable being ourselves, even if we‘re different. 4d
Hooked_on_books @Christine I‘m with you. I find Selin so relatable to myself at that age. I think that‘s why I really like these books! 4d
batsy Selin is young, green, & is an overthinker. This makes her fun to be with (imo, bc I'm enjoying the book 😁) but not quite the best judge of character. To be honest, no one is at 19. There is so much to come from experience. The way she talks about wanting to be with people/men who don't play games is laudable, idealistic; disappointment awaits! But the overthinking is not helping her see Ivan realistically; she prefers the version in her head. 4d
Ruthiella @batsy “disappointment awaits!” 😆😭🫣So true! 4d
Ruthiella @Bookwormjillk 😆 Yes! That would probably help. 4d
Megabooks @jlhammar I think it‘s interesting that you point out that it will benefit her as a writer later, especially if it is auto-fictional, which I believe to some degree it is. 4d
Megabooks @Liz_M agree that she spends (and also spent in the first book) a lot of time dwelling on a guy who isn‘t available to her in any way, but perhaps that was a safer option to ease herself into dating. 4d
MrsV I agree with @Hooked_on_books and @Christine, I relate so much with Selin. Although not at Harvard, I too was starting college around this time. And yes, probably seemed just as clueless about everything. I just want to shake her (and my former self). 4d
batsy @Ruthiella Right?! 😆 4d
Christine @BarbaraBB I don't know about her methods, but I do think she tries to work everything in life out in her head to a painful degree!
@batsy said it well, and I share @Ruthiella 's reaction to “disappointment awaits.“ 🤣
@Hooked_on_books 💯! I put off The Idiot for years and I'm so glad to have finally read it!
@MrsV I was most definitely not at Harvard either but started college the same year as Selin - I LOVE the music/pop culture references.
30 likes38 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Then it ended. So did she get out? How was that not something people mentioned, when they said what the book was about?
I turned my copy over to reread the back cover: always a creepy experience once you had finished a book, like getting a message from a dead person.

Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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#CampLitsy It took a while for me to get caught up again in Selin‘s life at Harvard. But then it felt good to observe life with her in a way I never would myself. She really chooses an aesthetical way of life (instead of an ethical) and in line with that makes choices (or rather let things happen) that make her such an interesting person for me as a reader.

(Pic: Venice, Italy)

LeahBergen Venice!! 😭 7d
Cinfhen Gorgeous photo!!! 7d
Cinfhen Glad this book worked for you 😊 7d
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batsy Love that pic! 7d
squirrelbrain It took me less time to get into this one than it did for The Idiot. Glad you enjoyed…. Looking forward to our discussions this weekend! 7d
Megabooks Great picture! I haven‘t finished yet, but I‘m loving it so far. I‘m looking forward to our discussion Saturday! 7d
68 likes7 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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I‘m afraid I‘m bailing. This started off with promice. I was enjoying the different relationships and where they might go… but then the content went more and more out of my reach, and I felt lost in it all. I think it‘s a marmite book. I look forward to the discussion, maybe I will be enlightened and decide to give it another go. ⛺️ #CampLitsy

TrishB I bailed on the first one and I admit I haven‘t started this yet! 1w
Cathythoughts @TrishB I don‘t know if this one will be for you either Trish 🤔 I‘ll be interested to see how you get on with it. (edited) 1w
Cinfhen I bailed on the first one too and decided I wasn‘t going to even attempt this one 🤷🏼‍♀️#SoManyBooksSoLittleTime (edited) 1w
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BarbaraBB I am sorry to miss you in #CampLitsy but I agree this is a Marmite book 😀 1w
Cathythoughts @Cinfhen Yes ! So many books , hopefully the next one will work out better. 👍🏻❤️ 1w
Cathythoughts @BarbaraBB Thanks Barbara, I felt bad bailing , but it wasn‘t making any sense to me 🤷🏼‍♀️. 1w
Megabooks Sorry you won‘t be joining the discussion but def agree re: marmite! Great thought! 💜💜 1w
Cathythoughts @Megabooks Thanks X ♥️ 7d
Tamra 😆 What a great descriptive - marmite book! Though I‘ve never had it, I understand it is one of those love/hate flavors. 5d
54 likes9 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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I had to laugh when I saw The Harvard Crimson calling this “the older and sexier sequel.” There is definitely more sex than in The Idiot, but I‘m not sure you can call any of it “sexy.”

The Idiot and Either/Or aren‘t so much about what is happening as much as they are about what Selin thinks about what is happening. And boy, does she think! I love the philosophical inner monologue and understated, deadpan humor. Really enjoyed. #CampLitsy

Megabooks I am very much enjoying this for the exact same reasons!! 1w
Ruthiella I loved this book, but none of the sex is sexy. Ugh. 1w
BarbaraBB I am glad you enjoyed it so much. I just finished the first half. 1w
57 likes4 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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The difference between a good writer and a good novelist, explained by using Kazuo Ishiguro as an example of the latter. Love it.

plemmdog I read an excerpt in the New Yorker and loved it, and immediately went out and bought The Idiot so I could read it first! 1w
Liz_M I do love how much literature she incorporates! 1w
48 likes2 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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While relaxing on the beach, walking the grounds, mingling with other campers or sipping a cocktail, you can listen to the sounds of Selin‘s somophore year, a playlist compiled by Elif Batuman herself. Selin is the protagonist of Either/Or. #CampLitsy


See All 15 Comments
MrsV I absolutely love this! 1w
BarbaraBB @MrsV it‘s cool right? 1w
Ruthiella Cool! Thanks for sharing! 😃 1w
Addison_Reads Well, I like the music more than the book. 😂 1w
jlhammar Awesome! So much of the music she‘s been mentioning in Either/Or have taken me right back to my last year HS into early college. I listened to lots of Fiona Apple my freshman year. And that Alanis Morissette bit was 😂 1w
JamieArc @jlhammar I‘ve been on the fence about her books, but your comment definitely makes me want to read them now! 1w
Soubhiville Oh cool! Thanks for sharing this. I couldn‘t finish The Idiot so I‘m skipping Either/Or, but I look forward to reading everyone else‘s comments about it! 1w
Megabooks Wow! And I just resubscribed to Spotify this month. 👍🏻👍🏻 1w
batsy Very cool! Thanks for sharing. And I love Selin and loved The Idiot, so Either/Or has started off really well for me 💙 1w
Cinfhen I love when author‘s create a playlist for their book / thanks for sharing 🥰 1w
squirrelbrain Fun! ❤️ 1w
KarenUK Love this 💕 1w
57 likes15 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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It‘s almost August, our third and final #CampLitsy month.

@squirrelbrain and @Megabooks did a great job so far, I‘ll be your host in August.

First we‘ll read Either/Or by Elif Batuman. It‘s a sequel to The Idiot but you should be able to read it as a stand alone book.

Let‘s read Parts 1 and 2 and discuss on Saturday the 6th around 5.30 CET/4.30 BST/10.30 CT. See you there!

See All 24 Comments
Ruthiella Looking forward to this! This is a real marmite book, I think. Discussion should be interesting. 😃 2w
Cinfhen Can‘t believe it‘s the last month of #CampLitsy!!!! So much credit to you and the other camp counselors @Megabooks @squirrelbrain for such enjoyable activities ☺️ 2w
batsy I'll be starting this today! 2w
Cathythoughts Great Barbara 👍🏻 I‘ll be starting about Tuesday. 2w
TrishB Cool 👍🏻 2w
squirrelbrain Looking forward to the discussions! 2w
Megabooks So excited to dive in! I actually have it in my lap to start right now!! 2w
Megabooks @Cinfhen thank you friend!! 😘😘 2w
BarbaraBB @Megabooks I forgot to wait for you posting the vote for the July reads. I am sorry 🤦🏻‍♀️ 2w
BarbaraBB @Ruthiella Marmite is a great comparison I think! 2w
BarbaraBB @batsy @Cathythoughts @Megabooks @TrishB @squirrelbrain I hope we‘ll be in the ‘pick‘ camp! (edited) 2w
Megabooks @BarbaraBB no problem! We‘re just in completely different time zones. About to post now! 2w
BkClubCare @BarbaraBB @Ruthiella - 🤣 I call these coconut 🥥 books (maybe because marmite doesn‘t yet have an emoji?) Well, also because I haven‘t tasted marmite!! 2w
Megabooks I am LOVING this book so far!! 2w
jlhammar Really enjoying Either/Or so far. Can't wait to discuss! 2w
Chelsea.Poole I think I‘m out on Either/Or sadly 😔 remind me again, is the last book this one? 2w
BarbaraBB @Megabooks @jlhammar I am so happy to hear that you‘re loving it! (edited) 2w
BarbaraBB @Chelsea.Poole Yes It is. Hope you‘ll be there! (edited) 2w
Susanita I‘m a bad camper! I lost enthusiasm after June and snuck home. 2w
BarbaraBB @Susanita If you want you are very welcome to return to camp for our last reads‘ (edited) 2w
Ruthiella @BkClubCare I‘ve never had marmite either! 😂 2w
54 likes24 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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I bailed on The Idiot but when my audiobook hold came in for this one I decided to try it for #camplitsy.

I still wasn't a big fan, but this second book was at least more interesting than the first one. Hopefully the discussion will help me appreciate it more.

Megabooks I‘m interested to see what the discussion will bring too… 🤔🤔🤔 2w
BarbaraBB Me too! 2w
Cathythoughts I‘m looking forward to starting it soon on audio 🤞🏻😁 2w
38 likes3 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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I preferred this to The Idiot (which I also enjoyed). With The Idiot, it took me about 25% of the book to really get into it, whereas I was straight back in to Selin‘s life with this one. This also benefitted from the wide cast of supporting characters being given more equal balance, rather than just Ivan. As a result it was a bit less angsty.

Now to see if I can hang onto it until Aug for #camplitsy, without anyone else wanting to borrow it!

BarbaraBB Glad you liked it! Encouraging! 3w
Megabooks I‘m excited! Glad you enjoyed it! 3w
rockpools Hmm. We‘ll see. I‘m hoping you prove me wrong 🫣 3w
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batsy Happy to hear that you enjoyed it! I'm looking forward to being in Selin's mind again 🙂 3w
MicheleinPhilly I really need to get cracking on The Idiot. Do you know if this will be the first or second book in August? #camplitsy 3w
squirrelbrain It‘s scheduled to be the first @MicheleinPhilly - best get a wriggle on! 😁 3w
Cathythoughts Nice review! I‘ll give it a go soon. 👍🏻 3w
71 likes7 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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August #CampLitsy reads have arrived! Can‘t wait to spend more time with Selin (Either/Or) and really excited for Our Wives. #bookmail

sarahbarnes Woohoo! I loved Either/Or and am loving Wives so far! 3w
Ruthiella Exciting book mail! 3w
Megabooks Yay!! 🎉🎉 3w
BarbaraBB Excited for both too. I am about to start Either/Or! 2w
44 likes4 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Thank you so much, Soubhi! I too am thoroughly enjoying #CampLitsy! I‘m cautiously optimistic about this one. 😉

Soubhiville Glad it arrived safely! I hope you do like it. 4w
49 likes1 comment
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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I picked these up for #CampToB #CampLitsy, but quit about a third of the way through The Idiot. Any Campers in the US want them?

Can one of our fearless leaders tag everyone for me?

(Edit- Either/Or has found a home but The Idiot is still up for grabs.)

MicheleinPhilly I would love Either/Or! 1mo
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Megabooks It‘s nice of you to find them new homes! Thank you! 1mo
Chelsea.Poole I tried The Idiot a while ago and it didn‘t work for me either 😔 1mo
Desha I couldn‘t finish The Idiot either…I made it about a third of the way through as well. I‘m still going to try Either/Or and see if I can finish it! 🤪😊 1mo
Soubhiville @MicheleinPhilly awesome, email me your address: magicbelly@gmail. I probably won‘t get to the post office til Friday. I hope you‘ll like it! 1mo
Soubhiville Thank you @Megabooks for tagging folks. 1mo
MicheleinPhilly Will do! Thanks! 1mo
ItsAnotherJen I'd love to read The Idiot! 1mo
BarbaraBB It‘s so nice of you to share them! 1mo
Soubhiville @ItsAnotherJen great! Email me your address magicbelly@gmail. 😊 1mo
Cinfhen 👋🏽 Another person who bailed on The Idiot!! I love that you shared both books!! I donated my copy to the charity bookshop I volunteer in…it still hasn‘t sold 🙄🤣 1mo
squirrelbrain Glad you found good homes for both books! 1mo
Larkken I never tried the idiot. Either or was cringy but felt like a pretty good mirror for being a stupid adolescent into books and wondering why boys are difficult, so I felt like I HAD to stick with it but don‘t feel I need to read it again 😂 thanks for the tag! I‘m glad they found good homes. 1mo
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Some parts I loved, some parts I didn‘t…but Selin is an interesting, observant, train-wrecky, endearing, literary, and creative character. Hats off to Batuman for creating such a character.

Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Wow. This follow up to The Idiot is similarly funny in Batuman‘s trademark dry, deadpan style, but at about the 2/3 mark it got dark and sad for me. The protagonist, Selin lives her life as if she were a heroine in a 19th century novel and my heart ached for every stupid decision she made. Batuman is such a smart writer. I think she is doing something big and Proustian with these books.

1st book finished for #JoyousJune & also read for #CampLitsy

Cathythoughts Excellent review! I‘m looking forward to giving it a go now 👍🏻♥️ 2mo
Ruthiella @Cathythoughts I would love to know your thoughts! 2mo
Andrew65 Great 👏👏👏 2mo
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Oh Alanis! There's a gem like this on every page. 😂
(I think part of my love for this book & the Idiot is because I was also a college student in the 90s.)

LeahBergen 😆 2mo
JamieArc I‘ve been going through an Alamo‘s phase during the pandemic, listening to JLP a LOT! 2mo
Leftcoastzen Love that album, I haven‘t read this one yet 2mo
batsy Love this 😆 2mo
jlhammar Yes! I just read this part. Perfect example of why these Selin books have me cracking-up throughout. So good. 2w
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Taking my sweet time with this book. I was lucky enough to have finished The Idiot right after Either/Or came out, and I don‘t want to let go of Selin anytime soon.

There are so many amazing artistic, literary, and academic references in this series, but the one that had me jumping up and down was the Fiona Apple discourse. Apple is my greatest creative inspiration, and the fact that Selin connected with her as well… Gives me goosebumps ♥️

Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Thank you for the tag @Roary47 and @MoonWitch94 ! 😊 #WondrousWednesday

1. The tagged book is set mainly at 1997 Harvard (Massachusetts, USA) but with side trips to Turkey and Russia.

2. Last 5 ⭐️ read was a re-visit of The Hobbit.

3. I‘ve preordered Kate Atkinson‘s upcoming novel Shrines of Gaiety.

jlhammar Can't wait for the new Atkinson! Love her. 2mo
Ruthiella @jlhammar Me either! She‘s one of my favorites! 2mo
Eggs ❤️ Kate Atkinson ❤️ 2mo
Ruthiella @Eggs One of the few authors I will preorder! 2mo
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Loved The Idiot and this is NOT a disappointment!! (Not yet anyway.)

Ruthiella Not at all a disappointment! I‘m at 65% and loving it. I think Batuman is doing something big here and the next two books will be integral to the larger work... 2mo
BarbaraBB @Ruthiella The next two books???! 2mo
Ruthiella @BarbaraBB Selin‘s junior (book 3) and senior (book 4) years at Harvard hopefully! 🤞 2mo
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BarbaraBB You‘re probably right @Ruthiella 2mo
squirrelbrain I‘ve only just started The Idiot but liking it so far…. 2mo
merelybookish @Ruthiella Oh wow! That's such an exciting theory. I hope you're right! And I agree that she's doing something big! 2mo
merelybookish @squirrelbrain That's a good sign! It doesn't seem to be everyone's cup of tea. 2mo
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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So, that's how it ends? I feel like this novel never got up to speed. The narrator is the same age I am, or the same age I was at the time the narrator is that age, and I relate to her in a lot of ways, particularly in her attempts to decode the world and in her unsuccessful but persistent attempts to be straightforward. But I can't say I found the aimlessness or the hanging out in her head very enjoyable most of the time.

Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Pardon me while I drop all three planned books for #JoysofJune and instead start Batuman‘s sequel to The Idiot for #CampLitsy!

Honestly, I only read up to page four and was already laughing. 😂

BkClubCare Woottttttt!!!!!!! 🌟 2mo
MoonWitch94 😂😂😂😂😂😂 this is great 2mo
suvata Hahaha 🤣 2mo
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merelybookish Excellent!! 2mo
Cathythoughts Love this 👍🏻😂 2mo
bthegood 🤣🤣 2mo
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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This book! This character! This writer! 😍😍😍 I can‘t really describe what a sheer joy it was to read this book, which is every bit as good as The Idiot. I can only hope that Batuman is planning to write a book for each year of Selin‘s college life. 🤞 Looking forward to discussing this one at #CampLitsy in August!

Hooked_on_books I‘m hopeful for that, too! I‘m guessing since she‘s done the first two years that she intends to do all her college years. We should be so lucky! 2mo
Ruthiella I think that is Batuman‘s plan, all the way to senior year! 🤞I can‘t wait to read this. 2mo
sarahbarnes @Hooked_on_books @Ruthiella yay what a gift that would be! 2mo
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jlhammar Now I‘m even more excited to start The Idiot! 2mo
sarahbarnes @jlhammar I hope you like it! 2mo
Megabooks Yay! I‘m excited! 2mo
batsy I love your enthusiasm! I'm super excited to read The Idiot and then this one... Soon I hope 🤞🏾 2mo
sarahbarnes @batsy I hope you enjoy them! I really am a fan! 🤩 2mo
vivastory What a fantastic review 👏 Exactly what @batsy said! 2mo
merelybookish I just started! Excited to see you loved it. 🥰 2mo
BarbaraBB You make me excited to start this one. Which I will do right now! 2w
sarahbarnes @BarbaraBB I really hope you enjoy it! 2w
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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I am happy to host the August reads of #CampLitsy!

We will discuss the first half of Either/Or on August 6th, the remainder on August 13th.

Then the first half of Our Wives Under the Sea on August 20th, and the second half on August 27th.

@Megabooks @squirrelbrain and I are looking forward to seeing you there.

LitsyEvents After the final discussion you all can vote for your winner and we will have our #CampLitsy Summer champion! 2mo
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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The words “tacos, beige,” written on a piece of looseleaf paper made me feel the foreclosing of every possibility of anything exciting ever happening to me in the rest of my life.

So far this book is every bit as much of a joy to read as The Idiot! 😍

Ruthiella Good to know. I loved The Idiot. 😃 2mo
sarahbarnes @Ruthiella I did, too! 😊 2mo
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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I loved this. I can‘t describe what exactly but hanging out with Selin is always an adventure; an intellectual discussion about humanity. Loved the ending - so hopeful!

Quote: “… The concept of “important” itself faded away like an expiring firework that glittering against the sky.” 🎆

#CaresPieShow #MulberryPie #CampLitsy #TOBCamp

Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Two books I pre-ordered back in January arrived this week. Very different, and yet they kind of match. 😀

sarahbarnes Just got Either/Or from the library today finally! And I haven‘t heard of the other one but I‘m intrigued! 2mo
jlhammar Ooooh, fun, they really do! I just ordered The Idiot so that I can read it before Either/Or. 2mo
LeahBergen I‘m looking forward to Sally on the Rocks! 👍 2mo
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merelybookish @sarahbarnes I hope its half as good as Idiot. 2mo
merelybookish @jlhammar The Idiot is wonderful! 2mo
merelybookish @LeahBergen Have you read many of the British Library series? 2mo
LeahBergen Only a few … but I own them all, of course. 😆 2mo
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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I have read several excellent books this year, but this is easily my favorite so far. As I was immensely enjoying it halfway through, I found myself hoping that Batuman would continue the series and let us follow Selin all the way through college, but after that ending, I‘m okay if it‘s goodbye for Selin and me.

Looking forward to the #CampLitsy discussion!

mklong And #CampLitsy friends, I would strongly recommend reading The Idiot first. I think it would be difficult to appreciate where Selin ends up at the end of this one without the full picture… 2mo
Megabooks So glad you loved it! I have not read the idiot, but I have it set up to go in June before we discuss either/or in august. 👍🏻 thanks for the tip! 🏕 2mo
mklong @Megabooks I hope you love them as much as I did! One more tip is to stay away from the audio version. The author reads them herself in a monotone voice, and it‘s not great. 2mo
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Megabooks I noticed that about the audiobook. I usually hate authors reading their own fiction. (NF is different.) I ended up getting a paperback copy. 👍🏻👍🏻 2mo
BarbaraBB The book sounds good! I did read The Idiot but I can‘t remember much. Do you think I should reread? 2mo
squirrelbrain Great review; sounds fabulous! I‘ve just borrowed Either / Or from the library…. 2mo
mklong @BarbaraBB If you have time, I would reread. Instead of a book and a sequel, they really read like one long book. 2mo
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Either/Or follows Selin from The Idiot into her sophomore year at Harvard. She‘s now trying to understand the events of the past summer, move forward with a designed sexual awakening (there is nothing funnier than her intellectualizing her first sexual experience while it‘s happening), and continue her own march forward. I really enjoyed this one and look forward to discussing it in #CampTOB.

BarbaraBB Eager to read this one too! 2mo
Megabooks Looking forward to this one! It‘s getting great reviews. 2mo
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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PERFIDY is one of those words that I know, but I doubt I know so I look it up. Often. Anyway… when Svetlana said this to Selin, I had the same thoughts! “Seeing someone” = relationship (not therapist.)

BkClubCare Page 50: conversation starters?! 2mo
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Looking forward to this. I loved The Idiot. #campLitsy #campTOB

Bought another hanging flower 🌸 basket. These purple flowers are truly astonishing.

Soubhiville I love them! 2mo
BarbaraBB Looking forward to it too, eagerly awaiting my copy 😄 2mo
Cathythoughts Looking forward to it too 👍🏻😁 2mo
Megabooks Those flowers are gorgeous! 2mo
Megabooks I‘m excited to read both the idiot and either/or. I have never read her before. So glad you‘re joining us! 2mo
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Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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I am happy to host the August reads of #CampLitsy!

We will discuss the first half of Either/Or on August 6th, the remainder on August 13th.

Then the first half of Our Wives Under the Sea on August 20th, and the second half on August 27th.

@Megabooks @squirrelbrain and I are looking forward to seeing you there.

After the final discussion you all can vote for your winner and we will have our #CampLitsy Summer champion!

See All 20 Comments
mklong Yay! Either/Or is the one I‘m most looking forward to 3mo
BarbaraBB @mklong I am looking forward to it too but I am also very intrigued by that cover of 3mo
squirrelbrain I too love the cover of Our Wives Barbara. @Oryx has read that one already…. 3mo
Oryx @BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain It's a strange book Our Wives - I'm looking forward to hearing what others think of it. 3mo
Leniverse These two both look suitably weird. I look forward to them, but I'm also glad for the time to read the Idiot before Either/Or. 3mo
BkClubCare @Leniverse - I proudly state that I loved The Idiot ✋ (edited) 3mo
BkClubCare @mklong - ditto, I am definitely going to break my budget to buy E/O 3mo
BarbaraBB @Leniverse We did that on purpose. @batsy too mentioned that she hoped to read The Idiot first. We thought it best therefore to wait with E/O until August! 3mo
batsy Oh, nice! Thank you for the thoughtful planning 💜 I definitely plan to do my homework first and read The Idiot before August 🤞🏾😆 3mo
Megabooks I also have to read The Idiot first as well @batsy and @leniverse . I‘m going to look for it used when I sell several books…I‘m certainly not going to get anything else..😉😁 So glad to have everyone excited with us!! 3mo
Hooked_on_books Nice! I really look forward to both of these reads and discussions! 3mo
Desha I‘m another one who has to read The Idiot first so it‘s on hold at the library and I bought my copy of Either/Or! I‘m so looking forward to these!! Thank you so much for hosting Camp Litsy! (edited) 3mo
BarbaraBB @Desha I hope you‘ll like both of them and we‘re happy you‘ve joined us 🤍 3mo
Simona Thanks for tagging me @BarbaraBB in voting post, and you had the list with a lot of the books which are in my TBR pile. I would be happy to participate in CampLitsy. 3mo
BarbaraBB @Simona That makes me happy too. We‘ll tag you in future posts! @Megabooks @squirrelbrain 3mo
Megabooks @Simona added you to the list. Welcome to camp! Glad to have you. 📚🏕 3mo
54 likes20 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Here are six books I‘d love to see in #campToB this summer! All are ones I‘m looking forward to reading. Thanks for the tag @BarbaraBB !

vivastory Excellent choices👏👏 I'm very curious about the Kawakami 3mo
merelybookish I recognize two of these! The rest look great and the cover for Valleyesque is amazing! I feel we are.inevitably going to be disappointed by what gets pick. No way it will live up to any of our lists. 😆 3mo
sarahbarnes @merelybookish it‘s so true!! We are setting ourselves up for disappointment. 😂 3mo
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sarahbarnes @vivastory I‘m excited because I‘m picking it up this week! 3mo
Sophronisba How Beautiful We Were would be so interesting to discuss. 3mo
Ruthiella Yours is the third vote I‘ve seen for The Swimmers. I have added it to my list and will read it anyway, even if it doesn‘t get picked. So much good stuff out there. 3mo
Megabooks I think The Swimmers will be chosen for the real camp. I just got the Kawakami from the library tonight! So excited to dive in this week. Great list! Will be glad to see your thoughts. (edited) 3mo
squirrelbrain So many great books! I‘ve been wanting to read the Nolan for a while now. But you‘re so right @merelybookish - we‘re going to be so disappointed when we see the real picks! 😠 3mo
BarbaraBB Great choices! Of course the Kawakami should be included! I forgot about that one. 3mo
BarbaraBB @merelybookish @sarahbarnes @squirrelbrain I hope one of the TOB people is on Litsy and takes note of our lists! 3mo
batsy I agree with @BarbaraBB I can't believe I forgot about the Kawakami 😅 3mo
38 likes11 comments
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Batuman‘s last book, The Idiot, has been a favorite of mine for years so I was ecstatic to find an ARC of her new book, a sequel of sorts at work. It doesn‘t disappoint. It has the same self-deprecating, self conscious tone of the first. It‘s a bit more meandering and philosophical, but no less hilarious. If you read and liked The Idiot, you‘ll love this one too. Out in May.

Either/Or | Elif Batuman

Wow this Bookclubs' Leo sign rec gets me thinking of John Barth's Giles Goat Boy and Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons. Might have to check this out, it sounds epic. Has anyone here read it?

'Of course, one of the pleasures of reading is learning how great you are.'