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#camplitsy
review
Christine
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Pickpick

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? 🤔 2h
BarbaraBB Great review! 14m
28 likes2 comments
review
Cinfhen
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Pickpick

I can‘t believe this is a debut. Really well written, crafted, paced and delivered. It‘s more a literary thriller than mystery. The rise & fall of a local mid coaster from lobsterman to wealthy businessman, much to the bafflement of a long ago classmate. Most of this novel rang true which I appreciated and it beautifully captured the constraints and pleasures of a small town. Not sure who put this on the #CampLitsy longlist but THANK YOU!

Cinfhen And thanks for confirming that this was a winner @Megabooks - I really enjoyed it😍 2d
Ruthiella It took notes on the various six books suggested by every one and it was @Chelsea.Poole who nominated it! 🥳 2d
BarbaraBB Sounds wonderful! Too bad it didn‘t make it to CampLitsy, I really want to read it! 2d
See All 7 Comments
squirrelbrain Can‘t wait to get to this one! I‘m steadily working my way through the long list…. 2d
batsy I have this TBR, it sounds good and I'm bolstered by your positive review. 2d
Cinfhen Thanks @Ruthiella and @Chelsea.Poole Im so glad I read it🤩 it checked all the boxes I like in contemporary fiction @BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain @batsy 2d
Chelsea.Poole Yes…agreed! I liked everything about this. The characters and events were so real! Glad it was a winner 👍 and thanks @Ruthiella 😊 great note taking! 2d
68 likes2 stack adds7 comments
review
Chelsea.Poole
Our Wives Under the Sea | Julia Armfield
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Pickpick

Submarines have always totally creeped me out, so I was uneasy during this whole book. Excellent writing and it‘s short, so I wasn‘t tortured for very long. 😆 Need to think more on this to ponder the themes and meaning behind it all. Spent much of the reading experience feeling claustrophobic. 😬
Looking forward to the #camplitsy discussion! Also this is my #bookspin for August.

Megabooks Thinking of submarines makes me feel claustrophobic too so 😬😬😬 2d
jdiehr I toured a submarine in San Francisco and walked straight through saying, "excuse me, excuse me," in order to get out as fast as I could. 2d
Sparklemn @jdiehr Sounds like me every time I'm in a big crowd. 2d
allureofbeauty I really want to read this one. 2d
TheAromaofBooks I get stressed every time I watch a movie that takes place on a submarine 😂 2d
86 likes5 comments
review
batsy
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Pickpick

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
See All 20 Comments
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
86 likes3 stack adds20 comments
review
Megabooks
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
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Pickpick

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
See All 13 Comments
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
83 likes1 stack add13 comments
blurb
AnneCecilie
Pat of Silver Bush | L.M. Montgomery
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#WeeklyForecast

Continue the tagged #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead and Minor Feelings #SheSaid

Continue A Summer with Proust.

Finish Either/Or #CampLitsy and read as much as possible of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle #BookSpin. This will be my first Murakami and I have no idea if this is a good place to start.

Cinfhen I haven‘t read Murakami either although I have tried a few times but never get past the first few pages 🤷🏼‍♀️ 4d
Cinfhen Good luck 🍀 4d
AnneCecilie @Cinfhen Thanks. That doesn‘t sound too promising. Hopefully I manage to read a few more pages. (edited) 3d
Hanna-B I adore Murakami, this was my first 3d
AnneCecilie @Hanna-B Then it sounds like a good place to start. 3d
51 likes5 comments
review
squirrelbrain
Trust | Hernan Diaz
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Pickpick

This is a cleverly structured book. We learn about a rich financier‘s life (and wife) from 4 differing points of view, but which is real? It brings a bit of sophistication to the ‘unreliable narrator‘ trope. It dipped in places in the 2nd part, but overall a very enjoyable read.

It leaves me with a dilemma though… it‘s not top 3 on my #booker2022 list but it could be on my top 6 shortlist, which means another book may have to drop out. 🤔

Cinfhen Great review! I haven‘t read enough to form a list of top reads yet but I can see this one in the top half for sure!! Do 5 or 6 books go forward?? When is that announcement made?? 4d
Megabooks Okay, okay I think I‘ll read this Helen and @Cinfhen ! Great review, Helen 💜👍🏻 4d
MicheleinPhilly I think I actually voted for this for #camplitsy so I will definitely read it. Will probably skip Sappho though. 4d
See All 13 Comments
squirrelbrain I‘m fairly sure it‘s 6 books @Cinfhen but I can‘t see that confirmed anywhere. The shortlist is early September, so still time! 4d
Brimful Very much looking forward to this one! But I agree choosing a shortlist is going to be tough 4d
Cathythoughts I‘m still only half way with this one , my first one from the list. I really like it. 4d
Ruthiella I‘m looking forward to this one. I do often really appreciate unusual structures in novels. They usually make my brain work is a good way! 4d
Cinfhen I think you‘d like it @Megabooks @MicheleinPhilly - I really enjoyed the multicast narration 4d
BarbaraBB And which one will drop out of your shortlist? 3d
squirrelbrain I think it would have been even better on audio @Cinfhen @Megabooks @MicheleinPhilly 3d
squirrelbrain That is the difficult question @BarbaraBB - I have an inkling but need to have a good think, and who knows if there will be another one or two in contention by the time I‘ve read the whole list?! 3d
BarbaraBB That‘s very true! I‘ll await your verdict eagerly! 3d
Hazel2019 Nice review! I‘ll be done with this one today. Alternating between audio and physical book. Somehow that is working out well for me but I already know I will want to reread this when I have more time to spare! 3d
62 likes1 stack add13 comments
blurb
BarbaraBB
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!

See All 38 Comments
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. 4d
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!
4d
BarbaraBB @Megabooks Loner was such a good book. Way too few people have read it, if you ask me!!
4d
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.
3d
30 likes38 comments
blurb
AnneCecilie
Pat of Silver Bush | L.M. Montgomery
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#BookReport

Started the tagged book #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead and Minor Feelings #SheSaid

I finished The Accidental, and read both Dogs of Summer and Things Are Against Us.

I‘m currently reading Either/ Or #CampLitsy

Cinfhen What did you think of the Ellmann?? 4d
AnneCecilie @Cinfhen I loved it, but then again I‘m a feminist who loves to read about how men/ patriarchy is to blame for everything wrong in this world. She does it with some snark too, and she really lets Trump have it. 3d
Cinfhen Perfect answer 👍🏽💕 3d
58 likes3 comments