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The Idiot
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
A portrait of the artist as a young woman. A novel about not just discovering but inventing oneself. The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of, befriends her charismatic and worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and, almost by accident, begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. Selin may have barely spoken to Ivan, but with each email they exchange, the act of writing seems to take on new and increasingly mysterious meanings. At the end of the school year, Ivan goes to Budapest for the summer, and Selin heads to the Hungarian countryside, to teach English in a program run by one of Ivan's friends. On the way, she spends two weeks visiting Paris with Svetlana. Selin's summer in Europe does not resonate with anything she has previously heard about the typical experiences of American college students, or indeed of any other kinds of people. For Selin, this is a journey further inside herself: a coming to grips with the ineffable and exhilarating confusion of first love, and with the growing consciousness that she is doomed to become a writer. With superlative emotional and intellectual sensitivity, mordant wit, and pitch-perfect style, Batuman dramatizes the uncertainty of life on the cusp of adulthood. Her prose is a rare and inimitable combination of tenderness and wisdom; its logic as natural and inscrutable as that of memory itself. The Idiot is a heroic yet self-effacing reckoning with the terror and joy of becoming a person in a world that is as intoxicating as it is disquieting. Batuman's fiction is unguarded against both life's affronts and its beauty--and has at its command the complete range of thinking and feeling which they entail.
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BookishTrish
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Seven books I‘d ideally like to read in the next seven weeks #booksIown

SamAnne Oh! That's a great list! You might want to throw in an uplifting or escapist book in there! Have read all except Spring (on my list). Loved Nickel Boys. Not sure I've fully recovered from Black Leopard Red Wolf--so violent and disturbing but beautiful writing. Flights I was mixed about but no doubt the writer is brilliant. Happy reading? (edited) 1w
62 likes1 comment
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RowReads1
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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😸

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derr.liz
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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I ? Loved ? This ? Book ? !!! I related to it on so many levels from linguistics and philosophy to teaching ESL abroad, but most of all I fell in love with Selin's voice. This is one a few dozen passages I highlighted: "It felt amazing to eat anything without having to listen, nod, smile, or do anything with my eyebrows." ?

6 likes1 stack add
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mercinn
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
Pickpick

I've never before been able to relate to any character like I did with Selin. Could not count the number of times The Idiot made me laugh out loud. Go for it if you are a student. Totally go for it if you are a confused student. Go for it if you are one of those people who (unfortunately) never seems to have an opinion on things.

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mercinn
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Oh.

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REPollock
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Next ebook! Lots of differing opinions on this.

SW-T It wasn‘t for me. 3mo
22 likes1 comment
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mercinn
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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mercinn
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Judging a book by its cover, this looks promising yo

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BooksForEmpathy
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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50 local Netherlands beers on tap might give me the motivation to get through this book. I have not been pulled to it the way I was hoping for. I‘m going to keep trying...

Dolly I bailed on this one. Don‘t remember why or what it was about. It‘s gone...gone...gone. 5mo
MellieAntoinette Beautiful pic! 5mo
Lindy I listened to the audio edition, narrated by the author. I'm not sure how she managed to keep me enthralled with all the mundane conversations but it worked for me. I chuckled often. 5mo
53 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Peaceful_Reader
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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I didn‘t know what email was until I got to college. I had heard of email, and knew that in some sense I would “have” it. “You‘ll be so fancy!”

12 likes1 stack add
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BooksForEmpathy
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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An absolutely perfect afternoon spent reading in the Jardin des Tuileries 🌳☀️🌸🌷. I am loving The Idiot so far, although I‘m sure I‘m missing more than a few references...

BarbaraTheBibliophage Looks lovely! 5mo
youneverarrived I‘m jealous. Enjoy 💚 5mo
sparrowssavvy So jealous! This looks amazing! 5mo
sprainedbrain Wonderful photo! ❤️ 5mo
LeahBergen Beautiful photo! 5mo
89 likes5 comments
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plathcamusdostoyevskyjagger
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
Pickpick

Charming.

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Soozee
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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ephemeralwaltz
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Pickpick

Oops, just realized I forgot to post my review of this this week!
There is so much to unpack here, even if it seems that nothing happens in Selin's day-to-day life at Harvard. There's something about the writing that keeps you going, moving through snapshots of the protagonist's experiences. A novel about the obstacles we face as humans in order to communicate effectively, whether they be language, culture, one's personality or channel/media.

Kalalalatja Yes! Great review 🙌 glad you liked it! 8mo
70 likes1 comment
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kbuggle
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Pickpick

Sly, clever, & sharp. Selin is the type of narrator that is maddeningly frustrating, but I just kept reading.. certainly not for everyone, but I enjoyed this; something about the everyday catalogue of life in the 90s, during the first year of college when you know nothing and everything at the same time.

emilyhaldi Love your review. Makes me want to finally pick this up! 8mo
Hooked_on_books I expected to hate this based on reviews I had read, but I couldn‘t put it down. I feel like she really captured the college experience. I heard a rumor she‘s working on a year 2 book. I hope so. 8mo
kbuggle @emilyhaldi thanks! I hope you enjoy it! 8mo
kbuggle @Hooked_on_books I should have known, with a blurb from Miranda July, that it‘d be whip smart and so dry! I really liked it much more than I expected to, as well. (edited) 8mo
15 likes1 stack add4 comments
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ephemeralwaltz
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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1. Tagged + The Only Story by Julian Barnes + a few others 😝
2. Lean On Pete
3. Hot peppermint tea

ssravp 1. Star Wars: Queen‘s Shadow
2. Captain Marvel
3. Coffee
8mo
57 likes2 comments
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Kalalalatja
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Pickpick

A tentative pick for the dry humour and for compelling me to keep reading. Not much happens in this story of a year in the life of a Harvard student. It gets a bit comtemplative, literary and philosophical at points, which could have been really dry (tbh, sometimes it was), but something about the writing style kept me reading.

I feel like I‘m not really making sense, but this is the best I can do at the moment 😅

JennyM Makes perfect sense...great review, and I‘m curious about this one. Hope work is going well 8mo
Hooked_on_books Yeah, I found this one compulsively readable but couldn‘t really express why. 8mo
Kalalalatja @JennyM it is going really well! Really nice people, exciting tasks, and I got an extension, so I can stay till the beginning of August. However, it is still through the unemployment office, so I‘m not getting a full salary, which is annoying. But I take what I can get! 8mo
JennyM @Kalalalatja Yey - that sounds so good. Congrats xx 8mo
113 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Kalalalatja
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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I have a feeling my Saturday morning is off to a good start with this set up ☕️📖

#currentlyreading

TrishB Enjoy 👍🏻 8mo
tammysue 😊 8mo
ephemeralwaltz I'm currently reading this, too! It is long! 8mo
Kalalalatja @ephemeralwaltz I just finished it, and I can‘t really figure out what I think about it. 🤔 8mo
ephemeralwaltz @Kalalalatja I get what you mean! Share thoughts soon 😘 8mo
103 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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Hooked_on_books
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Pickpick

A year in the life of a Harvard freshman is unveiled in this odd book. Not much happens, other than the typical day to day of college life, and the protagonist remains a bit of a cipher, and yet I found this book compulsively readable and did not want to put it down.

#ReadingUSA2019 #Massachusetts

#dogsofLitsy #Bindi

BarbaraBB I liked this one too but I was a bit annoyed by the conversations, which seemed so grown-up for two young people! 9mo
mreads ❤🐕❤ 9mo
NatalieR You‘re puppy looks comfortable. 🥰 9mo
See All 6 Comments
Librarybelle I keep forgetting about this one...stacking to remember to put it on my to read list! 9mo
Notafraidofwords God i love this book. I heard she‘s doing a sophomore year one. 9mo
Hooked_on_books @Notafraidofwords Interesting! It‘s funny, based on some of the reviews, I kind of thought I would hate this, but I‘m totally in for a next book! I love it when that happens. 9mo
71 likes4 stack adds6 comments
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jlewis
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
Mehso-so

This was a very well crafted book by a writer with a well-developed voice. However, I found it very difficult to relate to or care about the characters in this book. It focused on brilliant and wealthy young Harvard students. The characters had no problems beyond some minor communication issues and didn't offer much self-reflection or insight beyond what one would expect from privileged nineteen year olds.

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violabrain
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Mehso-so

An extremely eccentric book that‘s not for everyone. Some parts were laugh-out-loud funny, other parts I felt like I was completely missing what she was alluding to. A little too meandering and disjointed for my taste, but I‘m glad I read it.

14 likes1 stack add
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ColleenIsReading
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
Mehso-so

It was okay. Parts were amusing and vividly described, but the main characters all irritated me and the plot just meandered. But I‘m finished my first book for 2019 and I finished the #24b419 readathon!

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 📖💙 11mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome to Litsy!! 11mo
29 likes2 comments
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ColleenIsReading
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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This took me by surprise! I was in this very program in 1983. It was at Lawrenceville School, a boarding school near Princeton. The topic changed every year; the year I went it was about Russia. Funky to see this as a casual aside in the midst of this book!

25 likes1 stack add
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ColleenIsReading
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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My inelegant scrawl tracking my progress on the Readathon today. Translated, I spent about 30 min listening to an audiobook, 2 hours reading The Idiot, 30 min on Everything Trump Touches Dies, and around 4.5 hours working on various LibriVox recordings, which boils down to about 2 hours of actual reading time. So I have just over 5 hours for today. I‘ll get a little more before sleep but count it tomorrow! #24b42019 @TheReadingMermaid @Andrew65

TheReadingMermaid Very nice start! Way to go!👍🏻 11mo
Andrew65 Well done 🙌 11mo
40 likes3 comments
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erinreads
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Here‘s my #18in2018! I‘m currently rereading a book to end my year, so this is my final list. All in all a good year! A few I‘ll probably revisit at some point in my life, which is always a sign of a great book for me! Can‘t wait to see what makes my list next year. 💕

OhNoMersault I loved The Idiot! 11mo
KarenUK This is a great list 👍💕 11mo
britt_brooke Excellent list! 11mo
96 likes5 comments
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ColleenIsReading
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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I discovered that this book had shown up in my Overdrive/Libby reserves and I need to read it before it goes back, so it has jumped the line in front of the rest of my current stack. I like it so far—meandering story of a Turkish-American girl‘s freshman year at Harvard. Often funny, not much plot but nice character observations and some lovely bits of description. #24b42019

erinreads One of my favorite reads this year! 11mo
31 likes1 stack add1 comment
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erinreads
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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If you want to read one of my favorite books of 2018, this is a real sweet deal for Kindle! 🙌🏻 #kindledeal

saresmoore I loved this book, too! 11mo
sprainedbrain Oooooh. That is a deal! Thanks for the tip. 11mo
EH2018 Thanks for sharing! Just boght a copy! ❄ 11mo
72 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Phoebusito
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
Pickpick

It took a while for me to get into this but once I did I really enjoyed it especially the second half which brought back memories from my year abroad at uni.

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TheBookstorePodcast
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Don‘t tell her what the title says. 😂 This was our first read for the podcast and one of my favorite reads from the last few years. The episode was rough - we were podcast idiots at the time, but I was still very excited to find a used copy for my own.

39 likes1 stack add
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JanJan
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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This book is keeping me from the math I should be studying.

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muoixse
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
Pickpick

Absolutely fantastic read. Clever, odd, unique, refreshing, hilarious, insightful. Philosophy wrapped in dry, frank, and endearing humor.

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erinreads
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Congratulations @EH2018! What a fun number to catch! 💃🏼 Tagging one of my surprise favorites from this year (though it was hard to choose just one!). 💕

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Pen_Meets_Paper
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Mehso-so

Batuman intends to chronicle a fledgling adult, developing a nascent relationship as an early adopter of the internet. The Idiot maps a year in the life of a freshman Harvard student. The classes, the extra curricular, and the online romance. Batuman succeeds in her attempt at showing the circularity of youth, believing so much is possible in the world and yet achieving so little. And yet, the book never quite struck a chord with me.

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gimmeabook
Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Current Read :)

monalyisha This one‘s on my list! Looking forward to your review. 🙌🏻 13mo
21 likes1 comment
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Phoebusito
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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So far so good. Think I‘m going to enjoy this one 😊

rather_be_reading welcome to litsy!! 📚☕📚 11mo
2 likes1 comment
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Dolly
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Bailedbailed

I just had to bail. The audio had me bored to death even when I sped up the slow reading author/narrator. Life is too short and other books are waiting.

Cathythoughts Interesting... on my TBR. 🤔 13mo
Dolly @Cathythoughts You may like it, others did. 🤞🏼 13mo
45 likes2 comments
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Pen_Meets_Paper
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Up next.

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Augustdana
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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I didn‘t get to finish the idiot before it had to go back to the library 😭😭 but such is life. It‘s been crazy these first two weeks of school. Hopefully I can get back to some reading.

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emmaturi
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Not even half way through yet, bit of a slow start for me! #book #currentread #theidiot

Cathythoughts I hope it picks up for you .. it‘s heading towards the top of my TBR 1y
24 likes1 comment
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gottabechispa
The Idiot | Elif Batuman

"He was becoming almost a parody of a love interest."

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Augustdana
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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It‘s 19 degrees here, and I‘m living my best life before going back to school. Thanks again to my local library! I‘m almost done Jonny Appleseed and I‘ve got another book lined up! I‘ve heard good things!!

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rachelwill
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Pickpick

Book 21: What a corker. A relatable and charming protagonist leads us through the trials and turbulence of college, new friends, new love and new languages. Selin's study of language becomes a way of understanding the strangeness of the world and the relationships we make within it.

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bookitaabuku
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Suddenly it occurred to me that maybe the point of writing wasn‘t just to record something past but also to prolong the present, like in One Thousand and One Nights, to stretch out the time until the next thing happened...

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LaviniaG
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Absolutely love it so far. It has a lot of my fav ingredients I'm looking for in a book: a quirky main character, a chatty best friend, a probably failed romance, academia, linguistics, literature and arts in general.

7 likes2 stack adds
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erinreads
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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When your cat thinks you‘re reading your own memoir. #kingcyress #catsoflitsy

knittedgnome 🤣😻🤣 1y
tracey38 😂😂😂 1y
jillannjohn 😹😹 1y
See All 8 Comments
rubyslippersreads Yep! 😹😹😹 1y
Joy0201 Pretty kitty!! 1y
Christine 😂❤️ 1y
JennyM 😂😜🤪😄 1y
Karkar 😂😂😂 1y
99 likes8 comments
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erinreads
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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It doesn‘t get any more 90s than this, am I right? 😂

Readage You are so right Lol 1y
ReadingEnvy So true 1y
saresmoore For real. Cuz I like coffee and I like tea! 1y
See All 10 Comments
erinreads @saresmoore 😂😂😂 Also thanks for swaying my decision to buy this book! I looked it up at Litsy at the store and saw your slew of posts on it, so I went for it. Loving it a lot so far! 1y
saresmoore Yay! I‘m so glad! 1y
Zelma Now I have a list of purely 90s bands running through my head. 😆 1y
erinreads @Zelma 90s music is the best music! 1y
Leftcoastzen Discman!👍😂I still have one! 1y
Kimberlone I loved all the 90s references in that book! 1y
readordierachel 😆😆 1y
81 likes10 comments
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erinreads
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Staycation vibes on this gloomy Monday. ✌🏻

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Rcoco
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Pickpick

Selin is the most self-conscious college student I‘ve come across in literature. Some of the email exchanges between her and Ivan went over my head...but otherwise liked this read. Her adventure in Hungary is particularly entertaining and I laughed out loud several times. Rozsa was a great, well-drawn character.

BarbaraBB Nice review! 1y
31 likes1 comment
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plaid
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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"don't let any of this lower your mirth index"

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Lindy
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Pickpick

I don‘t know how Batuman did it, because this entire story is made up of mundane conversations and the observations of an awkward and naïve first-year university student, yet it kept me chuckling through this entire #audiobook, which is narrated by the author. I kept thinking, “Oh, Selin, I‘ve been there. You will be fine.”

54 likes1 stack add