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When Women Were Birds
When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice | Terry Tempest Williams
163 posts | 88 read | 2 reading | 251 to read
The beloved author of Refuge returns with a work that explodes and startles, illuminates and celebratesTerry Tempest Williams's mother told her: "I am leaving you all my journals, but you must promise me you won't look at them until after I'm gone."Readers of Williams's iconic and unconventional memoir, Refuge, well remember that mother. She was one of a large Mormon clan in northern Utah who developed cancer as a result of the nuclear testing in nearby Nevada. It was a shock to Williams to discover that her mother had kept journals. But not as much of a shock as what she found when the time came to read them. "They were exactly where she said they would be: three shelves of beautiful cloth-bound books . . . I opened the first journal. It was empty. I opened the second journal. It was empty. I opened the third. It too was empty . . . Shelf after shelf after shelf, all of my mother's journals were blank." What did Williams's mother mean by that? In fifty-four chapters that unfold like a series of yoga poses, each with its own logic and beauty, Williams creates a lyrical and caring meditation of the mystery of her mother's journals. When Women Were Birds is a kaleidoscope that keeps turning around the question "What does it mean to have a voice?"
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GatheringBooks
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Pickpick

#GratefulReads Day 24: There is a build-up of power in this narrative written by a Mormon woman. While I thought, initially that we had very little in common – her persistence in inviting me over to drink her words has loosened me up, and made me extend my hand in solidarity, in shared womanity, in friendship. This is a #memoir that will stay with me for a long time to come. My review: https://wp.me/pDlzr-l4F #WomenReadWomen2019

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks ❤️❤️❤️ 2w
OriginalCyn620 👍🏻📚 2w
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Julsmarshall
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Lcsmcat
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My lovely assistant will be picking the lucky winners this Sunday, so look up your first book haul on Litsy,, tell us how long ago you posted it, & how many you‘ve read. Use #bookhaulchallenge and tag me for a chance to win a bookmark type prize. Open internationally, winners drawn on Sunday.

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LitsyHappenings
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Repost for @Lcsmcat :
Book haul challenge! Find your oldest #bookhaul post on Litsy, repost the picture saying how old it is and how many of the pictured books you‘ve read. Tag me and use #bookhaulchallenge. A participant will be selected at random for a bookmark prize. And there may be a prize for most or least completed if there‘s enough participation.
Feel free to share. My answers in comments. Contest ends September 1st. Open internationally

Lcsmcat Thanks for the repost! 4mo
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Lcsmcat
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Book haul challenge! Find your oldest #bookhaul post on Litsy, repost the picture saying how old it is and how many of the pictured books you‘ve read. Tag me and use #bookhaulchallenge. A participant will be selected at random for a bookmark prize. And there may be a prize for most or least completed if there‘s enough participation.
Feel free to share. My answers in comments. @LitsyHappenings Contest ends September 1st. Open internationally

Lcsmcat This was from a library sale over three years ago. There are 31 books, of which I‘ve read 15. 4mo
Crazeedi I love the 😽 face! 4mo
Lcsmcat @Crazeedi He was desperate to knock the stack over! 4mo
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Leftcoastzen Kitty face!😻 4mo
merelybookish Fun! And impressive you've read so many. I fear I won't have read any. 🙈 4mo
ValerieAndBooks Although it took time for me to scroll through three years' worth of posts, it was cool seeing some of my early posts -- some books I had forgotten about or didn't realize I read when I actually did (i.e. felt more recent or longer ago). Fun challenge! 4mo
Lcsmcat @ValerieAndBooks Thanks for playing! I liked looking at my old posts too. 4mo
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Monpetitoiseau
Mehso-so

I wanted to like this book. I bought it years ago and finally dove in this holiday. I felt it was too disjointed for my taste, and abstract, unless you are already a fan of the author and know her well.

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Linsy
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Terry Tempest Williams has my heart! 🌿🕊
#bookthatmademecry #riotgrams

emilyjwhit9 One of my favorites. 13mo
Leftcoastzen 👏❤️❤️❤️❤️ 13mo
GatheringBooks i have a copy of when women were birds - but haven‘t heard of all the other titles 13mo
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KarenUK
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#bookhaul post #2.... 3 books from my #tbr that I can‘t get from my local library..... 📫💕

RealLifeReading Pretty books! 1y
LeahBergen Ooooh! 1y
JazzFeathers Oh, what is that book, A Long Way from Verona? I am from Verona (ltaly) 😊 1y
KarenUK @jazzfeathers I heard about it on a BBC books podcast and it sounded like something I‘d like.... 1y
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LWagoner
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Pickpick

Such an incredibly beautiful memoir that speaks to the soul. Soul and heart searching in its scope, insightful and meaningful as a whole. P. 109 “If women are suffering, children are suffering. Empower women and you empower the community.”

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Tanner
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Went out and got another 2 tattoos today, one of which is bookish (and reminds me of this wonderful book by Terry Tempest Williams, where I HAD to go out and get my own copy to avoid marking up the library‘s copy I borrowed).
#bookishtattoo

Dr._Who_number10 I love them!!!!! 1y
Linsy Beautiful! 13mo
Tanner @Dr._Who_number10 @Linsy Than you! 13mo
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Kpiper
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I‘m only on page 17, and already this book has been so thought provoking. This passage I find just beautiful.

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peacegypsy
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Isn‘t this an engaging title? So excited to start! 🕊🕊🕊

hilded Beautiful title indeed :) 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage One of my all-time favorites! 2y
Redwritinghood It‘s so good. You‘ll love it. 2y
peacegypsy @gilded @BarbaraTheBibliophage @Redwritinghood Thanks for the feedback! Makes it even more exciting. 😊😊😊 2y
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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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Day 4/7 #7favesin7days

For more info see @lauren.lerner and her original #hostpost. Today I‘m tagging @Coco (random spin of my timeline) to join in the fun.

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Lcsmcat
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theawkwardbooknerd wow! this looks so good! *_* 2y
theawkwardbooknerd @Lcsmcat the cover looks so beautiful. 2y
vkois88 Sounds good! 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @theawkwardbooknerd @vkois88 I second @Lcsmcat — this book is terrific! 2y
53 likes5 comments
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CoffeeK8
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I love the play on words with this coffee cup, and it‘s from the first big vacation we took when my son was a baby. This book is one of my favorites and such a great book for dipping into. What a super fun giveaway you organized! #coffeecoffeecoffee

MinDea Love that mug! 2y
CoffeeK8 @MinDea LOL thanks... do you read it in Joey Tribbiani‘s voice, because I do, every time I use it! 2y
MinDea Isn't that the ONLY way to read it? How you Doin'? 😆😆😆 2y
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callielafleur Siiiiigh I love this book. 💜💜💜 2y
CoffeeK8 @MinDea totally! 2y
CoffeeK8 @callielafleur it is just so amazing! I just bought it for a friend as a gift, I buy it for everyone! 2y
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Lea
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Pickpick

This was an interesting book. The audio version took awhile to get use to, the narrator‘s voice does go with the prose but it wasn‘t to my liking for what I think of TTW in my head. This is part reflection, memoir and remembrance of her mother. #readwomen

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FireHeartRattlerOfStars
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1. My sweet bean Buzz
2. About a month
3. He likes to knead my hair to relax me
4. @the-flashley

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OffTheBeatenShelf.com
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This is the best memoir I‘ve ever read. EVER. The way Terry Tempest Williams is able to weave meditations on nature, grief over her mother‘s death, & memories that shaped her is indescribably beautiful.

As a creative nonfiction writer, this is what I aspire to. I‘d recommend this book to everyone, but especially writers.

That‘s why this book holds the #4 spot on my #top10 of 2017.

Full list: https://www.offthebeatenshelf.com/blog/best-of-2017

BarbaraTheBibliophage Love this one! 2y
Eastbriar Such a great book! 2y
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CoffeeK8
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1. Beatrix Potter Figurines (my great-Aunt would buy them every year for Christmas, I still have them all)
2. When women were birds
3. 38, definitely on the dark side
4. Nope, live 3 states away
5. 💖💖💖 #friyayintro. @jesshowbooks

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underground_bks
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Pickpick

It snowed here in Georgia while I read this, and I think this book will remind me of a snowflake for a long time—intricate, kaleidoscopic, beautiful, enigmatic, a little cold. Have you ever read a book and known you would need to reread it at the right time? That you were a little early reading it and need time to mature for it? ❄️

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Lcsmcat
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Tamra Beautiful! I‘m ashamed to say I haven‘t read anything by her yet. I need to rectify that next year. 2y
TK-421 Beautiful! ❤️ 2y
Kendra.Diane Beautiful quote! 2y
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underground_bks
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Snowy day reading, the hush and slowness of the snow seems perfect for this meditation on voice and silence. ❄️

Lcsmcat ❤️ this beautiful book! 2y
underground_bks @Lcsmcat I‘m already planning to give it to a friend for the holidays! ❄️ 2y
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CoffeeCatsBooks
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Thank you so much @callielafleur !!! I love 💕 everything. You were super generous. The cover for When Women Were Birds is so beautiful, and I haven‘t heard of it so very excited to read it. I‘ve been wanting to read the other two titles for awhile. Everything is so pretty. Love all the great bookmarks I am getting with Litsy. Kitcat also approves of my loot. Paws 🐾 off the chocolate kitty! I‘m going to wear my kitty socks today😻#booktoteswap

CoffeeCatsBooks I love the tote too!! 2y
Cinfhen Awesome 2y
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callielafleur Yay!! I had so much fun shopping for you! 😁 2y
idrinkandiknowthings That cold brew chocolate is so good 😍 2y
Mdargusch The Secret History! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2y
ReadingEnvy I loved both The Secret History and When Women Were Birds! 2y
LeahBergen I love the Mark My Words bookmarks! 😮 2y
RaimeyGallant What a great title. 2y
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CKtheLibrarian
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Bestie presents are the best. 💗📚 Thanks @Nat_Reads

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Sydsavvy
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"Mother introduced my brother Steve and me to Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. Whole afternoons were absorbed sitting cross-legged one the floor before our phonograph, listening to this musical tale."

Oh my stars, us, too. Us, too❣️I love this book so much that I must absorb it in bits.

Lcsmcat It really demands to be savored, doesn't it? 2y
Sydsavvy @Lcsmcat oh, yes! Exactly!🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🍷 2y
Nat_Reads ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ 2y
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Joyfulmimi
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Pickpick

Her writing is magnificent. She expresses concepts and ideas in ways that are profound and beautiful. However, I, personally, remain bothered by what her mother did to her. I have a lot more I could say about it. As Terry says: "I will never know her story. I will never know what she was trying to tell me by telling me nothing." Wow!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BarbaraBB I read the blurb of the book after reading your review. Sounds like a must-read. 2y
Joyfulmimi It is @BarbaraBB ! I will be interested in your thoughts. 2y
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Joyfulmimi
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I opened up this book and, no doubt, immediately must begin reading it. Imagine your mother, on her death bed, at age 54, saying, "I am leaving you my 54 journals"; then, upon her death, you find that they are all empty. ? These are her 54 "variations on voice" in response to this incredible experience.

kathedron It's an intriguing premise, to say the least! 2y
Joyfulmimi I am not sure how I feel about what her mother did to her @River_Voice We shall see 🤔 2y
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Jess_Read_This
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When I first saw the #FiveStarPredictions hashtag floating around.. I thought I'd be pretty stumped bc I'm stingy with my stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks for the tag @Riveted_Reader_Melissa I turned to my TBR stack to see if I had some worthy predictions. These are my choices and a range of genres. (I'm biased with original text Nancy Drew editions though) 😉

@elkeo @Andrea4 Which are your five star predictions? I am enjoying seeing the choices!

Riveted_Reader_Melissa When Breath Becomes Air is a great one! 2y
aschermetz I loooooove The Clue in the Diary. One of my all-time faves. And I have When Women Were Birds on my nightstand! (edited) 2y
Jess_Read_This @aschermetz I have started rereading the original text Nancy Drew books and am just falling on love with my favorite sleuth all over again. I'm in the middle of the Tolling Bell now. How cool you have When Women Were Birds on your nightstand too! That's where my copy sits. I started the first part today and think it's going to be good. 2y
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Lcsmcat ❤️ When Women Were Birds! 2y
rmaclean4 When Women Become Birds is great! 2y
Cathythoughts I loved when breath becomes air 💫💫💫 2y
jb72 I'm so stingy with five stars. 2y
Jess_Read_This @Lcsmcat @rmaclean4 I'm really looking forward to this one too! 2y
Jess_Read_This @Cathythoughts I've heard nothing by good things about it! 2y
Jess_Read_This @jb72 It is so rare that I give a book a five star rating! 2y
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Sydsavvy
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What is voice? . . . . [read these words in between!]. I say it is so: My mother's voice is a lullaby in my cells. When I am still, my body feels her breathing.

I miss you Mom. I always said you are like breathing to me. I still don't know how to not breathe you, every moment, every day.

I ❤️❤️❤️ this book. #autumnreads #bookmail #mothers

TrishB 😢😢 hugs 💓 2y
Sydsavvy @TrishB thank you! It's been years; it's been a moment. I just love how this book expresses my feelings about it!!! 2y
Cinfhen 💔 2y
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TrishB @Sydsavvy yes I know that feeling well. 5 years my Mum has been gone, sometimes feels like 5 minutes. I find books like this break my heart. 2y
Sydsavvy @TrishB 💔💔💔 Honestly-five years-that is still too soon. Someday though, you wake up and you realize your heart isn't breaking every single day. (edited) 2y
kspenmoll Thx for quote. It's a year & 8 mths since my mother died. I still catch myself thinking, "remember to tell mom that". Her physical loss still feels raw. She was a mom to 8, and a grandmother to 11 grandkids. She was amazing with my Autistic son, creating an accepting and safe harbor for him since birth. I miss her love when life is tough for him, when he struggles to embrace who he is in a world that feels at times, for him, unaccepting. @TrishB (edited) 2y
Sydsavvy @kspenmoll that breaks my heart! I won't say it gets easier, but somehow with time the sharp edge of pain begins to come less often. 💔😭❤️ 2y
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Sydsavvy
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And this book! How does one come up with this stuff???! So good. ❤️❤️❤️@Nat_reads knew what I needed! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻😎❣️ #anditsaugust

Jess_Read_This I just picked this one up from the library a few days ago! It looks amazing. ❤️ 2y
SpiderGoddess I adore this book. The stories are so perfectly written! 2y
Loreen She is such a beautiful writer. Have you read 2y
Sydsavvy It's such a cool book. And to think, I would have missed it without @Nat_Reads !! 2y
Nat_Reads I'm so glad you like it!! Reading it I felt like you needed it! 2y
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Sydsavvy
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This amazing box of books from my true literary twin! So many things I have wanted to read that I have not acted on, and now I will!!! You absolutely pegged me, great job! I have to drive more than two hours to find an actual bookstore. Getting books in the mail, especially these, makes that fact so much more bearable. Thank you @natreadsbooks for your thoughtful choices. And thank you @collegecatlady for pairing us! #bibliofilebookexchange

Nat_Reads I hope you enjoy them! I had so much fun shopping for you! There are more I want to get for you... EEEK! You're the most fun to shop for! 2y
Sydsavvy @Nat_Reads you did perfect! 😎🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 2y
51 likes2 comments
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Nat_Reads
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Pickpick

This book is just beautiful. It is also mysterious... who is speaking? What is our destination? Who am I as audience to this introspective meditation on mothers and voice and women? I love this book. I cannot wait to read her others. Thank you to my friend for such a quiet gift at a tumultuous time.

Jess_Read_This The cover and thought provoking title captures my interest. I just ready the synopsis. This sounds like an amazing read. ❤️ 2y
ReadingEnvy I loved this one and read it after my mom had spent two years battling cancer so it was even more poignant. it made me want to get closer to her so I'd have fewer mysteries than Terry was left with. 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage I loved it too. I had a complicated relationship with my mom and so much of Williams writing hit home for me. 2y
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haileybean
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I put the tabbies on the pages I highlighted on the kindle. I ran out of tabs. Oops. 🙊

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Lcsmcat
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Like many well-written #quickreads this slim volume can also be savored slowly. #anditsAugust @RealLifeReading

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Lacythebookworm
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Pickpick

So much love for these short, connected vignettes. I'm very much looking forward to The Hour of Land!

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Lcsmcat
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Terry Tempest-Williams is one of those #attractiveauthors who show that age and beauty are separate characteristics. #JuneBookBugs @RealLifeReading

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chowmeyow
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I wish the diary from my 14th year was this poised, thoughtful, and un-cringeworthy.

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chowmeyow
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Reading in the park. 📚🌳☀️

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Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

What can I say about this rich, powerful book? By turns funny, sad, hopeful, deep, it begs to be read multiple times and ruminated on. Highly recommended.

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Lcsmcat
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Lcsmcat
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"The only things I've done religiously are keep a journal and use birth control." #truth #terrytempestwilliams

Literaryunicorn 🙌🙌🙌 3y
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Lcsmcat
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I started this lovely meditative book today.

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OffTheBeatenShelf.com
Pickpick

I never wanted this book to end. I don't know how to describe it except to say my heart is full and everyone should read it. ❤️📚❤️

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brendanmleonard
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Just wanted to share this - the power of Litsy. I first heard about TTW from @BookishFeminist here and on the ATB podcast and this was one of the best books I read in 2016. It's one I now give as gifts and recommend all over the place. I recently gave it to a friend and this was what they said. Litsy pays it forward- this is such a special place!

LeahBergen ❤️❤️ 3y
Redwritinghood I loved this book as well - beautiful! 💕💕 3y
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Lcsmcat
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Lacythebookworm
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And now for some boat reading 📚🚣🏼‍♀️

vivastory I'm seeing her in July 3y
CareBear Loved that book! So beautiful! 3y
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Julsmarshall
Pickpick

Goodness gracious! What a beautiful, powerful, singularly amazing book! These essays read like poetry, the words fall like sparkling gems from the page. I savored this one, taking my time, and I am as sad about finishing as I knew I would be. I will read it again, I can see this one becoming an annual re-read. Thanks for the recommendation, @rebeccaschinsky

ReadingEnvy I love this one. 3y
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JHgotham
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When asked why her mother had a special framed quilt, this was her answer.

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JHgotham
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I like this

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Juli
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There is a moment when you first start a book and realize you will be forever changed. It does not happen often, but when it does, hold on tight!

Nat_Reads Just finished this and feel the same way--broken open and new. So thankful for this book. 2y
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