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Dept. of Speculation
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
Dept. of Speculation is a portrait of a marriage. It is also a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all. Jenny Offills heroine, referred to in these pages as simply the wife, once exchanged love letters with her husband postmarked Dept. of Speculation, their code name for all the uncertainty that inheres in life and in the strangely fluid confines of a long relationship. As they confront an array of common catastrophesa colicky baby, a faltering marriage, stalled ambitionsthe wife analyzes her predicament, invoking everything from Keats and Kafka to the thought experiments of the Stoics to the lessons of doomed Russian cosmonauts. She muses on the consuming, capacious experience of maternal love, and the near total destruction of the self that ensues from it as she confronts the friction between domestic life and the seductions and demands of art. With cool precision, in language that shimmers with rage and wit and fierce longing, Jenny Offill has crafted an exquisitely suspenseful love story that has the velocity of a train hurtling through the night at top speed. Exceptionally lean and compact, Dept. of Speculation is a novel to be devoured in a single sitting, though its bracing emotional insights and piercing meditations on despair and love will linger long after the last page.
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review
Kazzie
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
Pickpick

I liked it. Quick read but sharp and well observed. Some bits date the novel somewhat, but overall the story is good

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Gissy
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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What I found inside of my sssss box @SpeculativeSpringSwap box 🤗📚❤️

@kdgordon88
@Avanders

Gissy @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks So pretty! She just chose the perfect colors😍for the wrapping paper 8mo
Avanders So pretty! 8mo
54 likes3 comments
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vivastory
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

Pub. in 2014 Offill's novel in fragments containing minimal (zero?) recorded dialogue has influenced several novels since publication. Goodbye Vitamin & No One Is Talking About This both come to mind. Often witty & wise, Offill narrates the story of a marriage & the attending domestic difficulties when love becomes a habit & life does not turn out as expected. I found Dept. of Speculation to be most interesting & lovely when different spheres

vivastory intersected: the artistic & the domestic, the scientific & the romantic. Although I would say that I enjoyed both novels I cited above more (the Khong & the Lockwood) I can understand Offill's influence & see why it was considered groundbreaking at the time. As a side note: I love that the wife (we are not provided a name) in the novel prays to Rilke. Relatable. (edited) 8mo
Leftcoastzen Wow , I like the other 2 books , maybe I‘d like this one. Nice review! 8mo
vivastory @Leftcoastzen Thanks! It's a quick read. 8mo
See All 7 Comments
Graywacke Terrific and really helpful review 8mo
batsy The bit about the wife praying to Rilke! 💜 I have this one but I've yet to read it and it's short enough that I really should. 8mo
Megabooks Great review! 8mo
vivastory @batsy It's def. a quick read. There are excerpts from other poets, too. Especially John Berryman. In one passage she talks about lines of poetry sticking to her like burs. 8mo
78 likes2 stack adds7 comments
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vivastory
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Whenever the wife wants to do drugs, she thinks about Sartre. One bad trip and then a giant lobster followed him around for the rest of his days.

BkClubCare Wow - I should reread this. I recall nothing. 🦞 8mo
vivastory @BkClubCare There were some real gems in it! 8mo
batsy Oh no! 😆 8mo
70 likes1 stack add3 comments
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vivastory
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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HeatherBookNerd
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Mehso-so

A strange little book about a marriage and motherhood and the loss of self. Interesting and odd.

34 likes1 stack add
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HeatherBookNerd
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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American fortune cookies.

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PlobyR
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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andioop
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
Mehso-so

I didn‘t hate this but i‘ve taken Offill‘s other works off my tbr. I think she‘s just not for me. This is very abstract and somewhat enjoyable but the abstraction felt almost haphazard.

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momchalance
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

I was sure I wouldn't like it, I didn't think the structure was something I could get on board with, but I quickly realized I was wrong. Quick bursts of thoughts, sometimes random to each other but never random to the overall story. Loved it!

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Kiralyn
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Such a simple sentence but it stuck with me because it resonated. Made me smile.

Caroline2 😆 👍 1y
8 likes1 comment
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MrsV
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

Finished this morning just in time to return to the library before the due date. Love that I‘m “rediscovering” my love of libraries.

Clare-Dragonfly 🥰libraries 🥰 1y
27 likes1 comment
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jenniferw88
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Eggs Sounds intriguing ⚪️🔘⚪️ 2y
BookishClaire LOVE this one! 2y
54 likes2 comments
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WarandWar
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
Pickpick

A fresh take on how to do a book, the writing is broken up into stanzas, making it a extended poem in feel. The skill needed to do so is only out done by the wonderful characters involved in this story about a marriage on the rocks, and the attempt s to fix it.

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Caryl
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

Yup, this one is just as good as I remembered.

Megabooks Great book! 2y
readordierachel Loved this one! 2y
Caryl @Megabooks @readordierachel Jenny Offill‘s the best, isn‘t she? 💕 2y
31 likes3 comments
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NikkiKey94
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

I wouldn‘t have read this book on my own, but it was the first pick from Susan Orlean through the new Literati Book Club for adults. It was a fast read and I really enjoyed it! 🌟🌟🌟🌟!

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Emilymdxn
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

Oddly structured, which I can imagine being divisive, but I am so here for this. It paints a picture of a marriage with lots of detailed, miniature portraits of ‘everyday‘ issues and what they mean. The prose was effortless and I read it in almost one sitting

Blaire I loved this book! 2y
70 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Rissreads
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed some of the authors insights into marriage, relationships and love. But the reason I read this book is because it said multiple times it was funny! I didn‘t find it funny, I just found it sad.
It is so hard to find a book that actually makes you laugh!

MrsMalaprop Sure is! 2y
43 likes1 comment
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eraderneely
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Oh my god! The baby‘s asleep and it‘s still warm/light enough to read outside! Miracle of all miracles!

TrishB Enjoy 😘 2y
Cathythoughts I hear your excitement ✨ go for it 2y
kspenmoll Enjoy your “treat”!!!! 2y
Caroline2 Lovely! 😊 2y
CarolynM Enjoy! 2y
21 likes5 comments
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Megabooks
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

This book is beautifully strange. Told in snippets that can seem a bit random, but they come together to tell the story of a marriage that I‘m sure a lot can relate to. If you appreciate literary fiction and complex interpersonal relationships, this one‘s for you. 4⭐️

Now, I want my library to buy Weather, her latest.

Cinfhen I love the photo, beautiful to see you 💜 3y
Cinfhen This book pissed me off / I can‘t remember specifically why but I remember just being pissed 😡 3y
Megabooks @Cinfhen thanks! 🤗 Apparently I didn‘t like it the first time either but I really don‘t remember reading and am so glad I reread it. 👍🏻 (edited) 3y
BarbaraBB Love your new profile pic 💕 and the book also. It‘s better than Weather I think. 3y
Megabooks @BarbaraBB I‘ve heard good and bad things about Weather. I‘d like my library to get it! I‘ve requested. And thank you! 💖🥰 3y
103 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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Jen2
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
Pickpick

Still processing this one!

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megnews
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

Read by the author, this novella comes in at about 3 hours.
A story of a woman, a wife, a mother, her struggles, her thoughts, a marriage, a life. An honest look at the interior reaction to challenges of life. Feels like a friend sitting down to give you a glimpse of her story.
I would recommend it.

47 likes1 stack add
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megnews
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Next up for my #audiocommute

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LauraBrook
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

An unusual, short book about marriage and love and parenting and philosophy and life and space. Unexpected - and somehow strangely haunting and familiar.
Book 3 of the #readathon #deweyapril

Suet624 Yes, exactly how I felt after reading this one. 3y
56 likes1 comment
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WhiskeyMistress
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Three questions from my daughter.
Why is there salt in the sea?
Will you die before me?
Do you know how many dogs George Washington had?

Don‘t know.
Yes. Please.
36.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

44 likes1 stack add
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batsy
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Thank you so much @BarbaraBB for passing on your copy of Dept. of Speculation! I'm looking forward to discovering Offill. I love the gorgeous bookmark and the card ❤️❤️ Thank you!! 😘

TrishB Lovely ❤️ 3y
Cinfhen 💙💙💙 3y
BarbaraBB Glad it reached you, I hope you‘ll like it! 3y
See All 12 Comments
AmyG Good book! 3y
batsy @BarbaraBB Thank you! ❤️ 3y
batsy @AmyG Glad to hear it 🙂 3y
readordierachel Yay! I loved this one. Look forward to your thoughts! 3y
Centique What a beautiful card too 😍 3y
Moray_Reads It's brilliant, I hope you enjoy it 3y
95 likes12 comments
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mklong
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

This was a re-read for me and I thought it was pretty much perfect the first time. I liked it even more this time. Can‘t wait to meet her in April!

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nikirtehsuxlol
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Big oof. #marriage

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nikirtehsuxlol
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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This book is set up with short chapters and paragraphs that read like their own little book, interesting and I love the main characters inner talk. #terribleatbookreviews

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CarolynM
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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1. Mostly physical books but some e-books (most of my romance reading is in e-book format)
2. My name is Carolyn, I am a bookshopaholic
3. Occasionally
4. Audible
5. Tagged book was the last one I picked up in the bookshop yesterday

#thursdaysurvey

blank Hi Carolyn, I'm Lauren and I have the same problem! Even though I just got a Kindle, I still love going to book stores! Thanks for playing! 3y
CarolynM @laurenslibrary We sufferers should start a self-help group ... wait a minute, I think there is one, it's called Litsy😂😂😂 3y
Centique #2 made me laugh! 😂😂 3y
Rissreads You are not alone! 🤣 2y
49 likes4 comments
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Jenken1998
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

Took my breath away. This style of writing won't be for everyone one but i adored it. I felt like i was reading someone's journal. You follow unnamed characters through the ups and dkwns of their relationship.

readordierachel I adored it too! 3y
ImperfectCJ I loved this one! Looking forward to Weather. 3y
58 likes2 comments
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Abailliekaras
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

Great short novel of a marriage, told with unflinching honesty. It describes beautifully being single, to marriage, to disenchantment. The narrator is unsympathetic & the story depressing at times but it‘s told with great skill, unswerving truth & dark humour. Not a word is wasted, every aspect rings painfully true & it‘s layered with repeating themes & motifs. Much is left unsaid, but you can imagine her eye roll t times. Feels fresh & original.

jhod I hear she has a new one out this year! 3y
Abailliekaras @jhod yes that‘s what prompted me to read this one finally! It‘s been on my list for ages. 😉 3y
Reggie The part where she goes to meet the woman at his work and he comes down saying WE feel ambushed. There was a knife in my heart for her. And I was so angry!!!! Lol 3y
Abailliekaras @Reggie it all sounds very (painfully) real! 3y
39 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Vandy
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
Pickpick

A beautifully written, often very humorous, stream of consciousness about a marriage. I loved this.

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samizdat
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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BarbaraBB That‘s cool, the title of her new book. I am looking forward to it. 3y
samizdat @BarbaraBB yeah I thought it was pretty interesting! and me too! 3y
3 likes2 comments
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Cweeeevs
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

"The reason to have a home is to keep certain people in and everyone else out."

While sparse, this book is at times funny, wise, heart-breaking, sharp, and poignant... which is no mean feat!

It has a strange way of tapping into some wonderfully observed truths about life, and at the same time I feel as though we're only privy to brief glimpses of the characters.

It's a definite pick, and I'd give it a solid 4 stars!

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Cweeeevs
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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I'm a sucker for a Donald Barthelme reference! It reminds me that I should delve back into Sixty Stories soon- it's one of my favourite collections and I haven't revisited it for a long time.

As for the tagged book: I love Jenny Offill's distinct style. Insights are gleaned from succinct vignettes that are brief little windows into these characters' lives at various different stages.

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Cweeeevs
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Third page in and I can't stop giggling... I think I'm really going to enjoy this one! 😂👌

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rockpools
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Mehso-so

I‘m so divided over this book. It‘s a beautifully written story of a relationship, but...

Initially it reminded me of that TV licensing advert that rattles thro from first date to dividing up the CD collection, in the course of one meal.

When I settled into the pace and style of it, it‘s almost like the meditation exercise where you watch your thoughts floating through your brain, and send them off again. An entire novel of puffs of thought. 👇

rockpools Inventive, sometimes funny, sometimes relatable, but ultimately I really wanted something solid to hold onto.

Thanks for sending this to me @Cinfhen - it was an interesting read!
3y
rockpools This is number 4 in my #readinggifts2019 challenge- I really need to step things up a bit - I‘d hoped to reach 20 this year! @velvetfur 3y
Cinfhen Great photo and review!! I did not care for this book either. Like you said, It lacked substance 3y
Velvetfur @RachelO I know what you mean, my goal is 20 but I've only read 7 so far! You're getting there though, we're only half way through the year.... 😁👍 3y
56 likes4 comments
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OhNoMersault
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Bingo

BarbaraBB I loved this book ❤️ 4y
22 likes1 comment
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OhNoMersault
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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11 pages in and I‘m sold.

20 likes2 stack adds
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Reggie
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

I‘m so sorry, Metaphor, I forgot how much you could make me feel. How in a book told through the woman in a marriage how you could be used through proverbs and little stories for readers to glean all the feelings one might feel in the arc of a relationship. From meeting, to falling in love, marriage, becoming parents, infidelity, and survival. The lust, the infatuation, the fear, the loneliness, the sheer out of your fcking mindedness. A pick!!!

BarbaraTheBibliophage Great review!! 4y
Suet624 A great read. 4y
merelybookish Awesome! Reunited and it feels so good! 😀♥️🎶 (I really liked this book!) 4y
See All 19 Comments
AmyG Very good book. 4y
Bookzombie I love your review! 4y
batsy Love this review ❤️ 4y
Reggie @merelybookish cause there‘s one perfect fit and sugar this one is it... we are both so excited cause we‘re reunited🎶 lol yeah I ended up liking it a lot. 4y
Reggie @Suet624 @AmyG I was iffy on it in the beginning and then it turned gripping. I really liked it. 4y
BarbaraBB Great review. Loved the book! 4y
Tanisha_A Review! 👌👌👌 4y
Cathythoughts Brilliant review ✨✨✨✨✨ 4y
Blaire This.book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4y
readordierachel Fantastic review, and book! 4y
kspenmoll Great review of a book I loved! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4y
Reggie @BarbaraBB @Tanisha_A @Cathythoughts @Blaire @readordierachel @kspenmoll Thanks, yesterday some guy at work asked me what I had just read and when I told him about this book it sent all of our dept. into the “what would we do” discussion. I didn‘t know some of my coworkers as well as I thought. 4y
GatheringBooks i have this book waiting to be read for the longest time! thanks to you, i will most likely move it up my to-read stack. 4y
chapter_fifty2017 I loved this book too !! No one has reviewed so perfectly cheers Leonie 🥂 4y
Rissreads Another stack add, thanks Reggie ❤️ 2y
97 likes4 stack adds19 comments
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Reggie
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Last month, Metaphor, I had this epiphany where I realized I loved authors who were poets because what they couldn‘t explicitly say outright they conveyed through you. At first, I thought this was lovely but last month I read Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Baldwin, and Joan Morgan, masters of using exact language to tell intricate hows and whys. Now, I resent you a little and it seems, with the tagged book, to have grown into full blown hatred. 👇🏼

Reggie Goodbye, Metaphor. P.s. please forgive the hypocrisy of using you to visually convey how I feel about you. Lol (edited) 4y
AmyG Ha! 4y
merelybookish 😆 Poor metaphor! Maybe eventually you guys can be friends. 4y
See All 11 Comments
batsy 😂 4y
Cathythoughts Ah Metaphor , left on her own ! My husband has this corny joke ( which doesn‘t even make sense) if I say “ it‘s a metaphor” ..... he says “ Yeah 🤷🏻‍♀️ whatcha think I met her for “ ...... maybe everyone says that 🤷🏻‍♀️.... anyway I hope you & Metaphor make it up some day .... Remember in Il Postino & the young postman doesn‘t understand metaphor .. but he is sad & says “ the fishing nets are sad “ ..... it‘s his first metaphor !!! 👇🏻 4y
Cathythoughts The he says .... “ maybe the whole world is a Metaphor for something else “ ..... I think that‘s what he says ! An amazing thought 4y
Reggie @Cathythoughts ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ 4y
Cathythoughts Is it like Pablo Neruda says ... “ when you explain poetry it becomes banal. Better than any explanation is the experience of feelings that poetry can reveal to a nature open enough to understand it “ ...... sorry , I‘ll stop now. Getting carried away (edited) 4y
Reggie @Cathythoughts no, these are awesome. Thank you!!! 4y
Cathythoughts 👍🏻♥️😘 4y
72 likes11 comments
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Valink
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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When I follow up happy hour with the book store I try to stick to the remnants section! I have officially run out of space on my bookshelf, so I need to read some things quick and pass them on so I have room for these and my #BOTM books that should be coming soon!

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Howseldomtheydo
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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1. Love the Merriam word of the day!
2. Added the tagged book to my wishlist
3. 20, adding Colorado this year!!
4. No
5. Someday...
#HumpDayPost #tbr

Tex2Flo Omg! My other made slumgullion all the time! Didn‘t look like this but every area has a different recipe. 💕🦴🥘 4y
Howseldomtheydo @Tex2Flo Ha! I had never heard this term before. I will have to look up some recipes! 4y
laytonwoman3rd Slumgullion was one of my dad's favorite words...for a long time we thought he made it up! 4y
97 likes4 comments
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razmanda
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Pickpick

A darkly comic drama of a marriage and a life and of dreams unfulfilled. It‘s a slim book but one that will pickle in my brain, I think. Offill‘s language is sparse but very specific, charming at turns but also frustrating for its singular point of view. More of an academic read than one for fun but that‘s not a bad thing.

32 likes1 stack add
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razmanda
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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I mean, where is the lie?! 😂😂😂

CorLie Reason #7436 to stay single... 4y
23 likes1 comment
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RiaWritten
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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I have been in an atrocious reading slump for quite a while. So today I decided to go to the library to get some short and/or easy books. I may have gone a bit overboard... #bookhaul #library

Amandajoy At least you have options! 😉 4y
Clwojick CRANK ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 4y
RiaWritten @Clwojick I know! I felt like there was a huge gap in my YA education not having read it. 4y
Clwojick You‘ll love it! To this day, Ellen Hopkins if the only author that I keep. After reading all my other books I always pass them along, but I ALWAYS keep my Hopkins Hardcovers. 😉 4y
28 likes4 comments
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Morgan7r
Dept. of Speculation | Jenny Offill
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Panpan

The layout and idea was different but not effective.