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Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translatorsí Revolution
Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translatorsí Revolution | R.F. Kuang
A new dark academic fantasy by the New York Times bestselling author of The Poppy War
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NikkiCureton
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‚ÄúThere was no straddling the line; he knew that now. No stepping back and forth between two worlds, no seeing and not seeing, no holding a hand over one eye or the other like a child playing a game. You were either a part of this institution, one of the bricks that held it up, or you weren‘t.‚ÄĚ
‚≠źÔłŹ‚≠źÔłŹ‚≠źÔłŹ‚≠źÔłŹ‚≠źÔłŹ

10 likes2 stack adds
review
StaceGhost
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Pickpick

Wow what a fantastic book! Victorian era, revolution, decolonization, and a magic system built on linguistics‚ÄĒ this was all my favorite things mashed up into a powerful, heartbreaking but hopeful story ‚̧ԳŹ

ūüďł from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/11-untranslatable-words-f_b_3817711

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Chelsea.Poole
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Pickpick

I see what all the hype is about with Babel, though it‘s definitely not something I‘d have picked up to read if it weren‘t for #ToB2023. I listened to to audiobook which was well done, though longer than I usually like to listen to, at 22 hours. At points I wished it would get on with it already, but it‘s very atmospheric and I was invested throughout. Serious Harry Potter vibes and I‘d even say Secret History too. Also, #bookspin for February.

Cinfhen It was definitely on the longer side but it moved along pretty quickly. Glad you enjoyed it too!! 1mo
squirrelbrain Glad you enjoyed it! I agree - I wouldn‘t have chosen to read it had it not been for ToB but I‘m glad I did. 1mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1mo
See All 18 Comments
jlhammar Nice review! This one is currently in progress for me. Not something I'd usually be drawn to, but enjoying it so far. I don't think it's going to be a love for me, but based on what I've read so far, probably still a pick. 1mo
kwmg40 I didn't think of Secret History when I'd read this, but now that you mention it, yes, I can see that. Now I want to go reread Secret History! 1mo
DimeryRene I also enjoyed the audio! I really liked how it read the footnotes. 1mo
sarahbarnes I am in the middle of it now and liking it, too! 1mo
Chelsea.Poole @Cinfhen I agree it moved quickly! 1mo
Ruthiella I have heard the author say that The Secret History vibe was intentional. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001hnml 1mo
Chelsea.Poole @squirrelbrain that‘s why I love participating with you all with tob‚Ķalways books on the list I‘d never read otherwise. 1mo
Chelsea.Poole @jlhammar same for me. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it‘s not love for me either. 1mo
Chelsea.Poole @kwmg40 glad I‘m not alone in secret history vibes! @Ruthiella thanks for the link! 1mo
Chelsea.Poole @sarahbarnes it‘s so long, but kept my attention the whole time. 1mo
Chelsea.Poole @DimeryRene yes! Loved those little footnotes on the audio! 1mo
Megabooks I think this is definitely the surprise hit of this year‘s tob! Great review! 1mo
Readerann I think the first comment I read about this was from someone who gave it a DNF, so I wasn‘t sure about starting it. As with so many others, I was pleasantly surprised! I haven‘t read The Secret History yet, but must move it up the TBR. 1mo
Cinfhen Good use of prompt ūü§ď 1mo
97 likes3 stack adds18 comments
blurb
ShelfSpaceIsLimited
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Dark academia gives me serious vibes.
#darkacademia #gothic #booklove

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome to Litsy!! ‚̧ԳŹ‚̧ԳŹ 1mo
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jspoelker
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Pickpick

Very well written and an epic story about language and power. A Must read

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Readerann
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Pickpick

I liked this a lot, despite never having a full grasp on the powers of a match-pair. ūüė¨ Also a tad long.
#ToB2023 #ToB23

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Ruthiella
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Pickpick

Another soft pick. I had a hard time looking at this fantasy novel as an alternative history since it seemed to me that 90% of it was just plain history and it happened without any magic required. And as others have noted, it‘s very heavy handed in its message. The concept of translation/silver magic was neat, however. The end, while not surprising, was still quite emotionally wringing and Kuang really made me care about the characters. #ToB2023

merelybookish I have a few I might skip. This is one of them. ūüėź 2mo
Ruthiella @merelybookish I think I will eventually read the entire shortlist, but maybe not by March? ūü§Ē 2mo
Hooked_on_books I feel like I‘m the only one who truly didn‘t like this! 2mo
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Ruthiella @Hooked_on_books Eh, it was close to a so-so. I did feel like the author didn‘t trust the reader to understand colonialism = bad, which definitely bogged it down for me. That and the unnecessary addition of magic to history. (edited) 2mo
BarbaraBB Exactly, why the magic? I‘ve been wondering that too 2mo
squirrelbrain Great review! I think the magic was just a device to show off the author‘s linguistic skills. I did think that the language aspects were really clever but it did feel a bit ‚Äėtacked on‘. Perhaps should have gone one way or the other; a magical fantasy novel or no magic at all? @BarbaraBB @Ruthiella 2mo
Ruthiella @BarbaraBB The magic does provide the dramatic conclusion, which historically couldn‘t have happened since the British empire‘s power wasn‘t based on a tower in Oxford. 2mo
Ruthiella @squirrelbrain For sure, the research into translation was fascinating. I do think I‘d have enjoyed it more, however, if it had been a less recognizable fantasy world. 2mo
Cinfhen I just enjoyed the time, setting and marvel of linguistics plus there‘s a bit of a biblical background that I enjoyed too. I thought this book was very well researched and written and for someone who really does not enjoy YA or fantasy I was all around intrigued and invested. I would try the audio @merelybookish it might surprise you!! 2mo
Ruthiella @Cinfhen @merelybookish I did an audio/ebook combination since I got lucky that both came in at the same time for me at the library. And the audio was well done, particularly with the different languages. 2mo
sarahbarnes I just picked this up from the library and am interested to try it. Reviews have been so mixed! 2mo
Ruthiella @sarahbarnes Mixed reviews often make me even more curious about a book and what side I‘ll come down on. 2mo
kwmg40 I agree with your comment about mixed reviews. I'm one of the ones who loved this book and our own Litsy debates about it have made me even more eager to see how it will fare in the tournament. 2mo
Ruthiella @kwmg40 Yes, super curious to read the commentary this year since reviews have been mixed for many shortlisted books! 2mo
76 likes14 comments
review
Tea_and_Starstuff
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Pickpick

This book was lovely and painful and heartbreaking and hopeful. A hard read but a good one. Well developed world, fascinating ideas around the magic system development and how it would interact with history. But the fundamental story isn't a magic story. It's a story about Empire and what it takes to break one. Many, many content warnings for the book, but it ends hopefully, in my opinion.

GondorGirl This was such a stunning book. Months later and I still find myself thinking about the ending... 2mo
Tea_and_Starstuff @GondorGirl - firmly agreed! I feel like this is one I'm going to be chewing on for awhile. Feeling very book-hangovery at the moment 2mo
BarbaraJean You finished that so quickly!! I‘m in search of a chunk of time to finish those last 80 pages‚Ķ 2mo
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Tea_and_Starstuff @BarbaraJean - Audiobook + Housecleaning! A good way to channel the Book Stress of that last third or so. Let me know when you finish, I'd love to discuss with you. 2mo
BarbaraJean I will let you know for sure! Hoping I can finish it tonight. We also still need to have our talk about Golden Enclaves ūüėĀ 2mo
BarbaraJean So‚Ķ I‘m still trying to decide whether I find the book hopeful, in the end. Which is interesting, because there are lots of books I find hopeful that most other people find depressing. ūüėÜ We should grab brunch and discuss‚Ķ or I can talk book group into reading this one and then you can join us. Or both! 2mo
Tea_and_Starstuff @BarbaraJean I would love to brunch and talk books with you, that sounds absolutely lovely :D 2mo
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quote
ImperfectCJ
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"That's the great contradiction of colonialism...it's built to destroy that which it praises most."

With a random picture of our recent high surf (usually there's a beach there, but for the past couple of weeks, it's been all ocean and cliffs).

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful ūüĆä 2mo
SamAnne Oh I want to read this! 2mo
69 likes2 comments
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Lexeegee
Pickpick

I loved this book! I am a big fan of the Poppy Wars Trilogy, but this book topped that. It did get a little wordy at times, but it was so detailed it was worth it! Five stars

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Readerann
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Weird and fascinating and I‘m loving it so far!
#ToB2023 #ToB23

BarbaraBB I am reading this one too now and am pleasantly surprised so far! 2mo
Readerann @BarbaraBB Me too! I was afraid it might be a slog. 2mo
BkClubCare I‘ve still got HOURS to go on this and am losing enthusiasm (audiobook) 2mo
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Readerann @BkClubCare I‘m thinking this is better in print. Some sections I race through, but others I like to ponder a bit. 2mo
BkClubCare @Readerann - and yet, the footnotes!! I assume there are footnotes? These are done REALLY well in the audio and I super-appreciate the pronunciations ūüėä 2mo
BkClubCare I bet the print + audio might be the best way to get through this ūü§£ 2mo
Readerann @BkClubCare I‘m actually reading it on Kindle (the only library format available). Luckily, I can just touch the footnote to read it. 2mo
20 likes7 comments
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Rissreads
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Pickpick

This book was ‚ÄėWOW‘! Bloody brilliant! I learnt a lot! Anyone who loves language and fantasy will love this book. This next passage is so profound and one of my favourites.
‚ÄúI think translation can be much harder than original composition in many ways. The poet is free to say whatever he likes, you see - he can choose from any number of linguistic tricks in the language he‘s composing in. Word choice, word order, sound ‚¨áÔłŹ

Rissreads - they all matter, and without any one of them the whole thing falls apart. So the translator needs to be translator, literary critic, and poet all at once - he must read the original well enough to understand all the machinery at play, to convey its meaning with as much accuracy as possible, then rearrange the translated meaning ‚¨áÔłŹ (edited) 3mo
Rissreads Into an aesthetically pleasing structure in the target language that, by his judgment, matches the original. The poet runs untrammelled across the meadow. The translator dances in shackles.‚ÄĚ ‚ô•ÔłŹ Isn‘t that just beautifully explained?!?!?!? ‚ô•ÔłŹ I should also add that this book is also brilliant in the way that it explains colonisation. It paints such a clear picture of how and why it happens. It also speaks of gender, race and class bias. (edited) 3mo
CarolynM That‘s a wonderful quote! Stackedūüôā 3mo
Rissreads @CarolynM I‘m glad someone else appreciated it! 3mo
BarbaraBB Wonderful quote and review indeed. I hope I will enjoy the book as much as you did! 3mo
36 likes4 stack adds5 comments
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HeatherBlue
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Good morning ūüĆě ūüíõ

wanderinglynn Ooh, I just added Babel to my TBR after seeing a book Tok on it. I hope you enjoy! 3mo
35 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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HeatherBlue
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This Fairy Loot edition is so beautiful, I‘m almost afraid to read it ūüėā

ozma.of.oz ūü§©ūü§©ūü§© 3mo
Soubhiville Wow! ūüė≤ 3mo
RaeLovesToRead Yaaaarrrgh so amazing!!!! ūü•įūü•į 3mo
See All 6 Comments
TheDaysGoBy Pretty! 3mo
TheSpineView Gorgeous! 3mo
Rissreads I‘ve just started this! 3mo
44 likes6 comments
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BookBosomed1
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December‘s #botm choices. I earned a badge, so more reading-themed socks for me! I‘m thinking of ending BOTM after December. Does anyone have any recommendations for other book-themed subscription boxes? #botm

BrittanyReads Aardvark Book Club! @AardvarkBookClub 4mo
BookBosomed1 @BrittanyReads I‘ve been looking at that one! 4mo
BrittanyReads They have hit a few bumps in their first two months in business, especially with shipping, but they have been great with communicating issues and are fixing them. I've been happy with their book choices so far and I'm excited to see what they have in December! 4mo
ICantImReading I have really liked #AuthenticBooks! I only get boxes every now and then since it‘s a bit more expensive, but it‘s easy to skip. They do a wonderful job curating self care items from small businesses that go along with the book to really immerse yourself in the atmosphere. It‘s a fun treat! 4mo
ICantImReading Oh and the books are usually signed and come with an exclusive author‘s note! They also send a customized Spotify playlist to listen to while you read ‚ėļÔłŹ 4mo
30 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Beachesnbooks
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My #botm picks for December! Seeing them posted so early was a great surprise.

AmyG Babel. NICE. Thanks for the heads up. I chose that one and am excited to read it. (edited) 4mo
JamieArc Whoa! No idea they were up! 4mo
ErikasMindfulShelf The Light Pirate was really good. I picked Babel. 4mo
Beachesnbooks @AmyG I was shocked Babel was a pick! 4mo
28 likes4 comments
review
rachelsbrittain
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Pickpick

What a wonderful dark academia novel for fall! A boy from Canton is taken to England to study languages and become a student at Babel in Oxford where his fluency in multiple languages will help with their primary area study: silverworking, which utilizes etomolygy and translation to create something akin to magic. The story delves deep into empire and colonialism and the ways languages/ translation are influenced by them.

45 likes3 stack adds
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julesG
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Pickpick

Huge thank you, @TrishB for getting me a signed copy.

After putting this down and picking it up again over and over, I've eventually finished.

It was good. I liked it. The subtitle was enough of a pre-warning but somehow the violence still put me off a bit. Not to mention the constant reminders that colonialism is bad.

Low pick - 3.5/5 stars

Last book for #OutstandingOctober @Andrew65

TrishB Glad you finally got to the end! My violence-ometer definitely doesn‘t work‚Ķ‚Ķ 5mo
julesG @TrishB I think it was just the accumulation of different things. I had watched Derry Girls with E2, talked about terrorism with both E1+E2, add what goes on in the world at the moment,... It kind of got to me more than it would 'usually' do. 5mo
squirrelbrain Great review! 5mo
73 likes1 stack add4 comments
review
BookishlyPleasant
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Pickpick

As a biracial woman, I really identified with the Babblers, particularly Robin and grappling with the realization that you will never truly belong to either side... Kuang highlights the history of colonization and the utter detriment of native civilizations all while appropriating languages and culture. All in all, a beautiful story that moved me to tears in the end.

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StellarDoc
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StellarDoc
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Back to your regularly scheduled programming of book and cat.

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StellarDoc
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6 likes1 stack add
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StellarDoc
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britgetslit
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#Scarathlon2022 Day 1.

Hopefully I will get this book read at some point this month!

#TeamSlaughter
@Clwojick

Clwojick SO STUNNING! ūüĖ§ 6mo
britgetslit Thanks!! I borrowed the library book for reading because I don't want to ruin it! 6mo
13 likes1 stack add2 comments
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AlaMich
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The narrator for this is fabulous!! I would like him to read all the books, please.

The book itself is pretty good, too!

#audiobooks #newbooks

LeahBergen Happy Birthday!! ūüďö‚̧ԳŹūüďö‚̧ԳŹ 6mo
AlaMich @LeahBergen Thank you! 6mo
39 likes1 stack add2 comments