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About the Night | Anat Talshir
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For the #travelthroughbooks we visit Jerusalem. This is a love story in just about every way. Not a romance story. This is about love and loss and differences. At times it was a really slow going read and it took a bit to connect with Elias and Lila but once I did it was a solid read. #springread #jerusalem #middleeast

Judas | Amos Oz
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It's not a bad idea to read a book by Amos Oz every now and then. So I was quite content with this book, even though it dragged a little at the end. As always, the author talks about important topics and digs deep into them. He makes his readers thinking by themselves. And even though Oz' books mostly revolve around the same topics, he manages it to present them in another way in every book. Yes, it's good to read Amos Oz from time to time.

Jerusalem: A Cookbook | Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi
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Made Sabih tonight and it was amazing. If you are a reader or collector of cookbooks I recommend this one. It‘s beautiful.

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The Land Beyond the Sea | Sharon Kay Penman
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A fantastic Kindle deal today! Sharon Penman is one of my fav writers. Highly recommend for fans of medieval fiction or historical fiction or fans of books!! 😆 Her stories are great to get lost in. 👍

TrishB Great deal 👍🏻 5mo
60 likes1 comment
About the Night | Anat Talshir
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#worstof21 Thanks for the tag Tammy!

-Entwined by Heather Dixon Wallwork
-About the Night by Anat Talshir
-I am not your perfect Mexican daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
-The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell (though I DNFed it)

megnews Thanks for playing! 5mo
Chrissyreadit I did not like entwined very much either. 5mo
Catsandbooks @Chrissyreadit I liked the concept but I think it could have been done better 5mo
35 likes3 comments
School for Love | Olivia Manning
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Felix begins this novel arriving in Jerusalem to live with his aunt (Miss Bohun) after his mother's death and what unfolds is a coming of age story in the extreme. Felix is initially a teenager who acts more like a 10-year-old, but in witnessing his aunt's tendency to exploit her tenants (including Felix), he gets a crash course in greed and hypocrisy that makes his grief for his mother that much more heartbreaking.

Billypar Our kittens are not really fans of sitting in laps like Faro in the novel, but every now and then it happens and we feel special for being chosen for such a rare honor, lol. 6mo
Leftcoastzen Oh wow , very cute ! I never seem to have lap cats either. 😸 6mo
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quietjenn Ah, I love this!!! Our cat is so not a lap cat either, so I very much relate. 6mo
Chrissyreadit I love that you captured the moment 👏🎉🙌😻 6mo
merelybookish Great pic! 😀 6mo
Reggie This is awesome, lol! 5mo
Cathythoughts Great review! I have this one stacked already 👍🏻 5mo
Cathythoughts Love your picture too 5mo
batsy Nice picture! That is indeed an honour 🐱 5mo
vivastory Great pic 🐱I had a Siamese cat for years that I loved. I should dig up a pic & post it 5mo
GatheringBooks Lovely photo!! 5mo
Billypar Thanks all - I'm hoping Scout's social media celebrity doesn't go to his head 😺 @Leftcoastzen @quietjenn @Chrissyreadit @merelybookish @Reggie @Cathythoughts @batsy @vivastory @GatheringBooks 5mo
Billypar @vivastory Definitely - they're gorgeous cats! 5mo
Suet624 💕💕💕 makes me want a kitten! 5mo
Billypar @Suet624 They are very cute and distracting! 5mo
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School for Love | Olivia Manning
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#NYRBBookClub Question 5

BarbaraBB I can see why that could be so but personally I think I‘‘d root for Felix since he has a more complex character - Miss Bohun in the end is a bit one-dimensional. 6mo
Liz_M Miss Bohun certainly seems to be the protagonist in Felix's life. With the exception of Faro, it seems as if his interactions with all the other characters eventually revolve around Miss Bohun. She is his main topic of conversation with the other inhabitants of the house. 6mo
DrexEdit I'd agree with that statement. Sometimes you have to tell a horrible person's story through the eyes of a more innocent person. 6mo
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LeahBergen I can totally see what she means here. Every part of the story pretty much revolved around the machinations of Miss Bohun. The rotten old bag. 🤣 6mo
LeahBergen @DrexEdit I like that idea! Well said. 👍 6mo
Liz_M @DrexEdit Oh, that is a smart way to think of this narrative! 6mo
Leftcoastzen @LeahBergen she is a rotten old bag! 😹One of the parts I love is when they go to pay the Imam , she invites the wives & daughters to come visit, smug in her idea that they won‘t! They show up and she snags Nikkys food to parcel out to the guests! 6mo
LeahBergen @Leftcoastzen I loved that part! 😆 6mo
quietjenn @DrexEdit ah, that's very astute! 6mo
Leftcoastzen @BarbaraBB I think despite everything Felix learns so much and strives to be a decent person. 6mo
quietjenn I could see it! In many ways, she's the most interesting character and the one that whose story we haven't seen as frequently. Like, I've read lots of stories of naïve boys coming of age, and more than a few of pregnant widows, but few of penny-pinching (generously speaking) or avaricious (less so) religious nutters (if she is? Not sure if she is actually believes or if it's just something else to exploit). Like, I so want to know her backstory. 6mo
Billypar I guess I'd have to hear more about what her argument is. To me, Felix seemed like the classic protagonist whose perspective changes from the beginning to the end of the novel. Miss Bohun seemed like the antagonist who thwarts Felix's goals and doesn't change at all. 6mo
arubabookwoman Oh I agree, for me this book was much more Miss Bohun's story than Felix's. She definitely needed a "school for love." Felix, as young and unformed as he was, had already experienced love, and though immature, loved Faro, and Miss Watts, (and maybe Mr. Jewel). 6mo
Leftcoastzen @arubabookwoman I really like how Felix grew to care about others . I think he‘s going to turn out alright & glad he made the effort to take Faro.😄 6mo
batsy @LeahBergen Rotten old bag sums her up, honestly 😅 5mo
batsy I was going to agree with Garman's take, but then @Billypar made a good point about Miss Bohun being the antagonist to Felix 😆 Though it's certainly the case that the events come about entirely through Miss Bohun's dastardly machinations, made particularly worse because she truly seems to fool herself into thinking that this is the only way to help others. 5mo
Reviewsbylola Miss Bohun was the spark that brought the story alive for me. So I don‘t disagree. 5mo
GatheringBooks Hmmm. How about the minor side character - the widowed pregnant woman Felix was infatuated with? She could also be a sort-of main character in a potential spin-off of the novel. Better her than “the rotten old bag” as noted by @LeahBergen 5mo
Leftcoastzen @GatheringBooks That is what I liked so much about the book . The characters were so well realized you could imagine another story or novel about the character you mentioned and about the others . I was speculating forwards & backwards about their lives . 5mo
Leftcoastzen I just have to say what a great book club we are !this book had so many of the themes and amazing characters that you come to expect from a NYRB Classic. My complements to our fearless leader @vivastory 5mo
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School for Love | Olivia Manning
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#NYRBBookClub Question 4

BarbaraBB I‘m not sure what he means but Manning knows how to bring her characters alive for sure. 6mo
Liz_M I am not much of a visual reader, so it is a rare author that can evoke strong mental images for me. Manning is not an exception -- I have no pictures of Jerusalem or what the other characters look like. So I guess I disagree. 😂 6mo
DrexEdit I think her character observation is even better than her physical descriptions. You may not know what the characters look like but you have a pretty good idea of how they will act. Her psychological portraits feel very true. I won't soon forget these characters. 6mo
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LeahBergen I agree. I found her writing very evocative. 6mo
Leftcoastzen @Liz_M yes! It was detailed descriptions of household things. You didn‘t get details on the area. 6mo
Leftcoastzen @DrexEdit I think the characters were wonderfully detailed . I think they will stick with me for a long time. 6mo
LeahBergen @Liz_M @Leftcoastzen I wonder if this was because we viewed everything through Felix‘s eyes and he never did any exploring or sightseeing at first? 6mo
quietjenn I think that I agree. Certainly about the characters, as I very much felt that I knew and understanding. As for the city itself, I feel like I got a really strong sense of it without actually getting that much physical knowledge of it, if that makes sense? 6mo
Leftcoastzen @LeahBergen @Liz_M What an interesting time in Jerusalems history. I would like to know more. I imagine that some communities might be quite insular.Not unlike some families who might be stationed at an overseas military base , never leave the base & only socialize with each other. 6mo
Liz_M I can't quite put my finger on what (or how) Manning did that was so effective, but I really struggled with this book at first -- I was so uncomfortable with it. So for me, not exactly sensory, but there was definitely something about how she was conveying characters that was very well done. 6mo
Billypar Like @Liz_M I'm not a visual reader either, so I'm a poor judge of an author's skills with reproducing sensory detail. I definitely agree @DrexEdit that her psychological portraits are where her skills shine the most I like the examples the reviewer provided, I'm just not convinced she's uniquely skilled at sensory imagery: it seems like it could be one of her skills among many. 6mo
batsy @quietjenn I felt the same! I didn't feel like I could see it, but I could sense the place, if that makes sense. Like the way she described the stillness of the streets and the hot weather, the dusty roads, the hum of insects, the "sleepy" houses, when Felix went in search of Madame Sarkis. 5mo
GatheringBooks @DrexEdit ‘s point about psychological portraits is so spot-on. It isn‘t really so much the physical descriptions of the characters but their inner beings brought to the surface in such unflinching unapologetic detail. The hateful characters become real, the sorry state of Felix is laid bare, the poverty, the confusion, the warped sense of morality narrated in such matter-of-fact fashion that leaves an indelible mark, at least for me. 💕 5mo
DrexEdit @GatheringBooks oh I love the way you put this! 💕 5mo
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School for Love | Olivia Manning
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#NYRBBookClub Question 3

BarbaraBB Such a great question. I can‘t think of anything that‘s not about money for her to be honest! 6mo
Leftcoastzen @BarbaraBB the details ! Like early on when she goes over the list of expenses and even naive Felix noticed she put down kerosene and another item twice! 6mo
Leftcoastzen Every angle of cheapness seems to come up, lights , heating , no meat,can‘t have both coffee and tea! 6mo
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BarbaraBB And how she treats that girl (sorry forgot her name) who rents the room who sees right through her 😂 6mo
Liz_M While money is clearly an underlying motivation, self-image seems to be her focal point. She wants so badly to be _Seen_ as a a good person -- almost all her conversation is in some way about maintaining her self-image -- either variations on “I try to help and people take advantage“ or “what would people think about my allowing immorality in my house“. 6mo
DrexEdit So transparently about money all the time! We know other people saw through her, saw what she was doing, but people just let her get away with it. I guess in a world with no good options, you go with the bird in the hand. 6mo
LeahBergen Her pathological penny-pinching drove me mad! Like @BarbaraBB , I can‘t seem to think of any part of her that wasn‘t completely driven by money. 6mo
LeahBergen @Liz_M Good point about her perceived self-image! 6mo
quietjenn @Leftcoastzen and “dividing“ the milk! 6mo
quietjenn @Liz_M Yes, this is big for her too, I think. That line, something like “I refuse to have myself talked about like that“ and her constantly admonishing people to not discuss this or that with other people. Which is perhaps in part to keep them from comparing stories, but also I think has to do with her obsession over how she is perceived. 6mo
Leftcoastzen @quietjenn @Liz_M My ,wouldn‘t Miss Bohun be amazing if she was as good as she thought she was!😀 6mo
sarahbarnes I agree with all the thoughts here! She seems to be driven by both money - greed I would argue - and what she wants people to think of her. She‘s so manipulative it drove me bonkers. 6mo
Billypar @Liz_M @quietjenn Great examples of Miss Bohun's conscious motivations: it's so true that she considers gaining esteem by others for her good works to be most important. 6mo
Billypar I do think she wasn't very self-aware about her obsession with money - she just saw it as being smart and planning for the future like something everyone does. Jane Smiley's introduction was revealing - that Olivia Manning herself had a reputation of being stingy. I wonder if her portrayal of Miss Bohun was a form of self-criticism. 6mo
Leftcoastzen @Billypar Yes ! Manning buying antiques low & selling high! I know some thought Miss Bohum was kind of a one trick pony but I was amazed about how far she would go thrift wise . 6mo
Billypar Yes and the part at the end where Felix is asking for Faro and thinks he can see her doing calculations in her head cracked me up 😅 She does take thrift to an extreme. 6mo
arubabookwoman It all is about money for her. To a certain extent understandable, given her background (foster family, poverty). But what made her an evil person was not the penny pinching, but her willingness to cheat & steal. The other character trait that made me dislike her so intensely was her self-delusion, although I am not so sure that she didn't know exactly what she was doing & was fully aware of her own lies. 6mo
Leftcoastzen @arubabookwoman her self righteous about not using black market I think , was more a cover for her cheapness rather than morals . I couldn‘t wait for another layer to be revealed. 6mo
batsy I also thought the way she came about the house was absolutely ghastly! Like, she basically just took over another's property in the name of doing good. "... I had the house put into my name to safeguard all of us." Boy does she know how to get her way ? 5mo
Reviewsbylola Miss Bohun is the perfect parody of a self serving Christian. The only one she actually loves is herself, and it shows. The religion was just a facade. 5mo
Leftcoastzen @batsy It‘s Miss Bohuns world , we just live in it! 😀She‘s in charge someway, somehow. 5mo
Leftcoastzen @Reviewsbylola Indeed. I‘ve met some in my life. 5mo
GatheringBooks @Leftcoastzen that was the exact word I was looking for: the self-righteousness, the self-congratulatory sentiment of being such a good person - and yes @batsy the fact that she can justify the stealing of another family‘s property - may also be a metaphor for the larger issue going on in that area. 5mo
batsy @GatheringBooks Right? I felt Manning was kind of situating that kind of blatant property grab within larger political and social contexts in the region. Also touching on the latent imperialist tendencies in these missionary-type groups. 5mo
Leftcoastzen @batsy Great point! Seems like so many groups , refugees, people caught just passing through as well as imperialist land grabbers, diplomats, missionaries we all know whats best! (edited) 5mo
batsy @Leftcoastzen Yes! Without being overtly political in her commentary she managed to depict the situation in a subtle way—a kind of free for all & those who have the power & means will find a way. 5mo
GatheringBooks @batsy precisely! Occupation in microcosm. Nothing political, but just so insidiously personal and real. 5mo
GatheringBooks Opportunism too at its best. 5mo
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School for Love | Olivia Manning
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#NYRBBookClub Question 2.

BarbaraBB Felix is in need of TLC and Faro is the one giving it to him. It‘s a bit sad to see how Felix relies on Faro and how Miss Bohun even seems a bit jealous of that. 6mo
Leftcoastzen @BarbaraBB You‘re right ! She‘s jealous. There was a part where Miss Bohun is even critical of the cat.Saying something about a good old barn cat being more useful than a Siamese!😸 6mo
BarbaraBB @Leftcoastzen And I think she doesn‘t even call him by his names, she always refers to him as ‘that cat‘! I loved however that Felix could keep Faro ik the end! 6mo
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Liz_M @Leftcoastzen, @BarbaraBB Huh, jealous is not the first word/emotion that came to mind. Miss Bohen only seemed interested in Faro as a possession, an object of value. She didn't want Felix to play with or have the cat because it was HERS. I hadn't thought about her also resenting the attention and emotion Felix lavished on Faro. 6mo
DrexEdit Faro seems to be a very affectionate cat with Felix, but nobody else. Felix definitely needs this affection from Faro, but Faro doesn't always need it from him. It is nice that they can be together in the end. 6mo
LeahBergen I must say… Faro was one of my favourite characters. 😆 6mo
Liz_M @DrexEdit Faro did show some affection for Mrs. Ellis when she first arrived -- sitting in her lap and making Felix jealous. But Faro was smart enough to know that Felix was the person that loved him the most. 6mo
Leftcoastzen @LeahBergen mine too! He poured all his love on Faro.I was going to be really mad if something bad happened to Faro. 6mo
quietjenn @Liz_M yes, I was thinking more along those lines. I think it's tied up in her preoccupation with money. Faro only has value to her when she sees him being valued by others, be it Felix or the lady who she temporarily gives her to so that she can breed. 6mo
quietjenn I do think it's true that Felix needs to feel love and affection, and the only one who really gives it to him is Faro. But conversely, he really needs to give it as well and Faro is the only one who accepts it willingly and unconditionally. He's dealing with a *lot* of emotions and Faro is a bit of a repository for them. 6mo
Liz_M @quietjenn Both your points above are very well-said, particularly “Faro only has value to her when she sees him being valued by others“ 6mo
Leftcoastzen @quietjenn I really like how Felix does grow,at first all his love goes to Faro. He does grow , I think his growing concern for the fate of Mr. Jewel shows he‘s trying to learn to be a good person. 6mo
quietjenn @Leftcoastzen very good point. I almost forgot about Mr. Jewel, which is a shame because I quite liked him, too. 6mo
Leftcoastzen @quietjenn Felix thinks while visiting Mr Jewel he‘s simple because he‘s old , but he seems to take things in stride .They converse about seeing through Miss Bohun , then Mr. Jewel says , “The trouble with her, is no one‘s ever loved her.”I think Mr.Jewel is pretty wise!😀 6mo
Billypar @Leftcoastzen @quietjenn I agree with Mr. Jewel's perspective about Miss Bohun, but I also see why Felix was skeptical. His idea of love includes warmth and affection that only Faro has been able to provide since his mother passed away. But to Miss Bohun, love is more about companionship and gratitude, maybe because she hasn't experienced the real thing. 6mo
quietjenn @Leftcoastzen yes, I found that last scene, when Felix goes to warn him about Miss Bohun/his inheritance to be quite a moving one. @Billypar I like the way you‘ve parsed out the different conceptions of love. 6mo
arubabookwoman Having both his father and mother die so suddenly and recently wild have been extremely traumatic, and Felix was burying a lot of grief & emotion. None of the adults around him were willing or able to give Felix what he needed, so I am glad he had Faro. To a certain extent we can project what we want from our pets. In my conversations with my dog, I have no idea if she really thinks the words I am putting in her mouth. 6mo
arubabookwoman I did like Faro, but I can't help remembering that she bit Felix at one point (to assert her independence?). 6mo
Leftcoastzen @arubabookwoman Faro did bite him! I loved that the author gave such detailed characterization of the cat . 6mo
batsy @quietjenn @arubabookwoman I agree! Wonderfully put. 5mo
batsy Miss Bohun being resentful of the cat, or rather, the way Felix took to the cat, was pretty revealing in the sense that she can't seem able to like a person or be charitable towards them unless she can exert control. As Felix recognises Mr. Jewel sees through it and accepts it, because it's also hard to be old and alone. These are compromises one might not have to make while still young and (relatively) free. 5mo
Reviewsbylola Miss Bohun didn‘t give a shit about that cat. 😂 I think she resented Faro. Whereas Felix finally had a companion that was his equal—he didn‘t have to worry about the cats intentions and manipulations because at the end of the day, it‘s just an animal. 5mo
Leftcoastzen @batsy well said! She is so much about being controlling.Mr. Jewel charmed me because I felt he had a level of acceptance of the hills and valleys of life . He had probably seen all types of people in his life , he could read Miss Bohun like a book! 5mo
Leftcoastzen @Reviewsbylola Remember she even figured out a way to maybe profit from the cat? Sending her to the woman for breeding. Fancy Siamese kittens. 5mo
GatheringBooks Amen, @Reviewsbylola - Faro was simply another pawn for Miss Bohun to use and negotiate with or manipulate the people around her in order for her to promote her own agenda. Cats are also known to be elusive aloof creatures - how sad for Felix that even with animals, he had to take solace and comfort from an animal that is known to be stingy and selective in its affections 5mo
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