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Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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Shirley Kaszenbowski , a Jewish immigrant in Toronto, escapes her “basic black” life for a more exciting one: one with secret rendezvous all over the world with a mysterious lover, who is a spy for the Agency. They communicate by code an this time this leads her to her hometown.
While walking the streets of Toronto it becomes clear how unreliable our narrator is. I can‘t say too much without spoilers but it‘s quite the read!


CarolynM Sounds good🙂 1mo
Sapphire I really enjoyed this one 1mo
merelybookish Great review! 1mo
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Megabooks Excited to read this! 1mo
Suet624 I had some other books I thought I‘d read next (Valerie Perrin … library books!) but fine. Your review sealed the deal. I‘ll pull this one off the shelf and read it next. 1mo
BarbaraBB @Suet624 I feel the pressure! I love that you‘re reading a #NYRB but I can‘t imagine it‘s as good as the new Perrin! 1mo
Suet624 Hmmm…. Very good point. 1mo
vivastory Great review. Looking forward to discussing in a couple of weeks 👏 1mo
82 likes3 stack adds8 comments
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merelybookish Totally fine and I don't even remember which are the repeats. 😁 They all sound great but my vote is for 2mo
sarahbarnes Fun choices! With a title like That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana, I have to choose that one. 2mo
vivastory Great selections 👏My vote goes for That Awful Mess 2mo
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batsy Not cheating at all! I'm always hoping the ones we don't pick show up in the next rounds because ALL of the NYRB books sound amazing 😁 My vote is for 2mo
Leftcoastzen They all look great ! My pick is 2mo
LeahBergen Ooo, let‘s see… I‘ll go for 2mo
BarbaraBB Thank you, great choices! I vote for 2mo
youneverarrived I‘ll vote for this as I think I own it 2mo
GatheringBooks Wow! So happy to see this early! I vote for 2mo
quietjenn Such interesting options! I'm voting for (edited) 2mo
Billypar Looks like Awful Mess and Radiance are deadlocked at 5-5 votes - who will break the tie? @arubabookwoman @daena @emilyhaldi @Liz_M @Reviewsbylola @readordierachel @saresmoore 2mo
36 likes15 comments
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Spine design matters. Case in point: the recently redesigned Penguin Black Classic spines. They have done away with the orange lettering for the author name which is now in white. I hate it. The majority of the time spine design is simply repeating the cover design. The 6 pictured books (Penguin Drop Caps, Harper Perennial Olive Editions, Everyman's Library) are deviations from this & I love them. More of this, please. @leahbergen

Karisa So pretty. I love the stripes 😍 2mo
vivastory @Karisa Same! I love how Everyman's has a different palette for each edition, too 2mo
Gissy 📚 😍❤️❤️❤️ 2mo
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DrexEdit I really dislike it when publishers change the design or trim size part-way through a series. 2mo
Ruthiella I am also unhappy that Penguin Classics changed it‘s design. It was ICONIC! 😔 2mo
LeahBergen Lovely spines! And I‘m with you on the Penguin Blacks. I miss the orange. 😠 2mo
BarbaraBB I‘m with you too. And don‘t you find it annoying that the logo on #NYRB books aren‘t similar positioned? 2mo
Cathythoughts Lovely 💫 2mo
vivastory @Gissy 📚📚💙 2mo
vivastory @DrexEdit Definitely a pet peeve! 2mo
vivastory @Ruthiella Right?!! 2mo
vivastory @LeahBergen We should start a campaign! 🐧 2mo
vivastory @BarbaraBB That bugs me, but they've said that they have to do that for their smaller books 🤷 2mo
vivastory @Cathythoughts 📚📚💙 2mo
BarbaraBB But even in books of a similar size they are all over the place 🤯 2mo
68 likes15 comments
A School for Fools | Sasha Sokolov

I won't be able to join our #NYRB Book Club discussion this week, but pictured is my review from when I read the book a number of years ago. Several members have commented on the difficulty of figuring out what was going on, and I found the intro to my edition very helpful. @batsy @BarbaraBB @sarahbarnes @vivastory ETA For some reason the pictures of my review is not posting. I will try to type it into the comments below:

arubabookwoman My review: To describe this book, I can do no better than to quote this passage from the introduction: 'A School for Fools is a journey through the mental landscape of a nameless, schizophrenic adolescent which he relates with the assistance of an author figure who may be the boy's older self. Through the kaleidoscopic prison of the teenager's schizoid mind, we share his bizarre perceptions and attempts to come to terms with the surrounding world. 2mo
arubabookwoman The boy, who refers to himself as 'we', perceives himself and several other characters as two distinct but related persons, each with his or her own name. Much of the narrative is interior dialogue between the two halves of the boy's mind, or interior monologues ostensibly directed toward often unidentified characters. Nor can the boy perceive time, or events in time, in any fixed order; past, present, and future are random and .... 2mo
arubabookwoman ...intermixed. These aberrations determine the unorthodox form of the novella. There is, in the ordinary sense, no plot, but rather an ever swirling verbal collage." My review then quoted the opening part of the first paragraph of the book, and read in the light of the above--that it is a dialogue--it sort of became understandable, My review ended with the following: 2mo
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arubabookwoman [U]nderstanding that the narrative is primarily an interior dialogue between the two characters the narrator believes himself to be, the novel became a little easier to comprehend. While I think I understood substantial sections of the book, there were still many parts that went over my head. However, I still enjoyed the book, and the journey it took me on. I would recommend the book if you enjoy unconventional, difficult books, and... 2mo
arubabookwoman ...you don't mind being puzzled by what you've read when you finish the book. 2mo
sarahbarnes Thank you for posting this! I will say that I also enjoyed the book although I didn‘t fully understand what was happening at times. And I do love a Russian unreliable narrator and this book was a great example of that. 2mo
vivastory Thank you so much for taking the time to post this! This is helpful, for sure. I typically avoid the introductions until after I finish the book. But I find it helpful to read them beforehand if I feel lost. 2mo
BarbaraBB Thank you so much Deborah, it is very helpful and makes me understand better what the author means to do. 2mo
batsy Thank you for sharing your review! I'm in the 3rd section now and I appreciate the bit about it being a dialogue between selves/characters. I wonder if a key part of this book is just "letting go" the need to understand or for things to make sense and instead just succumb to the wacky journey. (The notes at the end are also really interesting for all of the layers and allusions, metaphors and wordplay... That I'd definitely otherwise miss out on) 2mo
merelybookish Thanks for sharing this! I'm about 40% in and finding it hard. If I get into a rhythm, I'm okay and I start seeing the repetition of images,.etc. but if I lose that, I feel lost again. But plan to soldier on! 2mo
16 likes10 comments
Waiting to Be Read | Jonika Antoinette Haynes
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My plans for March. Some of them I already finished because I‘m reading a lot while I am on vacation. Both my #bookspin and #doublespin are #NYRB books an I certainly hope to read both this month.
Also I need to finish the first quarter of #Booked2022 and I want to keep up with #ReadingAfrica2022!
Laat but not least, it‘s the month of the #ToB22 and I want to read just one more shortlisted book before the tournament starts!

merelybookish Is All's Well what you gave left? 4mo
BarbaraBB @merelybookish That‘s the last one I can fit in. There are two more I haven‘t read but I don‘t have copies of either! 4mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 4mo
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Megabooks Really interested to see what you think of All‘s Well. 💜 4mo
Megabooks @BarbaraBB fantastic! I hope you‘re enjoying it. 4mo
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In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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Here's what happens when you haven't bought books in awhile, and you go online to buy the next book for the #NYRB Book Club.

vivastory Nice! Looking forward to your thoughts on them 5mo
MicheleinPhilly This is why I‘ve stopped trying to do book buying bans. Because when I inevitably fail 3 weeks in, I go whole hog and spend way too much money. 5mo
LeahBergen 😆😆 I love your loss of control! 5mo
BarbaraBB That is a great haul! 😍 5mo
bnp What an interesting mix! 🧵✴️❣️ 5mo
34 likes5 comments
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@JenniferP and friends are starting a year long group read of the tagged book in 2022. There is a discussion thread on LT at https://www.librarything.com/topic/337722 and also posts on Litsy if there is anyone who is interested but not on LibraryThing. Please join us - it looks like a fascinating book! #1001books #nyrb #yearlonggroupread #buddyread

BarbaraBB Thanks for reposting! Merry Christmas 🎄 💚🍀 6mo
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We are starting a year long group read of the tagged book in 2022. I've created a discussion thread on LT at https://www.librarything.com/topic/337722 and I will also post on Litsy if there is anyone who is interested but not on LibraryThing. Please join us - it looks like a fascinating book! #1001books #nyrb #yearlonggroupread

BarbaraBB @LitsyEvents can you repost? Thanks!! (edited) 6mo
BarbaraBB Looking forward to it. I saw the reading schedule on LT. Looking good. 6mo
Graywacke @BarbaraBB @arubabookwoman @bnp @BookwormM I think we need a hashtag. (I kinda like #uwe but probably better #anniversariesbuddyread or something similar. ) Anyway, thoughts? 6mo
BarbaraBB @Graywacke I go for the short one and really like #Uwe! 6mo
JenniferP @Graywacke I like #uwe too! 6mo
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The Complete Wheel of Time | Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson
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Thanks for the tag @RaeLovesToRead ! Here are my top 21 of 21.

Given how Wheel of Time heavy the second half of my year was, I almost forgot how many great books I read during the first half. I had quite a run of 5⭐ reads, from Man Without Qualities to The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne to Masters of Atlantis to We to Stoner. Hard to pick a best overall. Here's hoping next year is just as good!

Tag @MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm @IuliaC

BarbaraBB I loved most of your #NYRB choices too. 6mo
Vansa Wow! You've really had a year of doorstoppers!! 6mo
RaeLovesToRead Awesome!! 😊 I'm hoping to read Stoner soon; I've heard nothing but good things. I have the first Wheel of Time book on my shelf, but got a couple more series to read before I get round to it! 😄 6mo
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Liz_M 💕 all the nyrb books! And it's good to know that Must is worth it! 😁 6mo
Liz_M Musil 6mo
The_Penniless_Author @BarbaraBB @Liz_M Yes, every NYRB book I read this year was a 4 or 5⭐ pick. I think from now on, whenever I'm stumped for what to read next, I'm just going to go down the NYRB list and pick something at random. 6mo
The_Penniless_Author @RaeLovesToRead Stoner was fantastic. Describing the plot makes it sound like the most mundane story imaginable, but the execution is so good it transforms into something incredible. 6mo
The_Penniless_Author @Vansa Tell me about it! And next up in the queue is The Pillars of the Earth 🤣 6mo
Vansa 😀😀nice! As long as they justify the number of pages! 6mo
IuliaC Great choices! Thanks for the tag! I'm so late on this one 😁 6mo
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Untitled | Unknown
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This was a lot more difficult than I anticipated! Although I read several amazing nonfiction books, I did not include any of them on this list with the exception of Night as that was one of my most recently read works of nf that has left a deep mark on me. These were all, without exception, 5 star reads for me. Two of them were rereads for #NYRBBookClub & I enjoyed them even more the second time around. These are not really ranked in any👇

vivastory certain order, although since I included two books by Laurence it is safe to say that she is my fave new to me author of the year. Thanks again to my fellow #manawkans for the several months journey through her books. It was a wonderful experience! Thanks to the people who have tagged me to post my favorites! If you have yet to post your favorites, consider yourself tagged. 6mo
EvieBee Sleep No More was so good! 6mo
vivastory @EvieBee It was my first PD James. I'm looking forward to reading more of her work 6mo
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Ruthiella Lots of short stories and NYRB editions! Interesting to see the trends when they are all side by side. 6mo
vivastory @Ruthiella I didn't notice that about the short stories, but you're right. They were helpful this year in providing substantial works when my time/attention was limited 6mo
LeahBergen I‘m going to work on mine soon but I know it‘s going to be tricky 😆 6mo
vivastory @LeahBergen I can't wait to see your list! At first I was like, “Oh, 21, that'll be no problem!“ Not so much... 😂 6mo
Leftcoastzen Wow , Red Harvest & Last Exit , I loved them ! But , it‘s been awhile since I read them 6mo
vivastory @Leftcoastzen I have been meaning to read more Selby since I read it. 6mo
Leftcoastzen Passing is so good as well. I‘m straining my brain to remember if I read more Selby or not . 6mo
RaeLovesToRead Of these, I've only read The Martian Chronicles (which I loved).. screenshotted for later perusal! 6mo
vivastory @RaeLovesToRead It's so hard to pick, even now I'm having regrets about not including king's firestarter or any books by cr Howard or any graphic memoirs.. 6mo
Twainy But but there‘s still 2 weeks LOL I‘m seeing tons of top 21 of 21 …. I still have 14 books to read. Nice selections sir. 6mo
vivastory @Twainy Honestly I look at this as a potential best of the year list. I didn't include any of the amazing nonfiction I read & who knows what great books I'll read in the next 2 weeks. I might do like a final top 30 in the new year 6mo
Twainy 😁💯 6mo
Megabooks Glad to see these and also glad, like mine, they don‘t completely overlap with your nywd. Always interested to see what you‘re reading. 6mo
sarahbarnes Such a great list! George Saunders! ❤️ I really want to read something from Strout in 2022 - I hear such good things. 6mo
vivastory @Megabooks Thanks! I think my list would look slightly different day to day, but these were all 5 star reads. I just read so many great books this year!! 6mo
vivastory @sarahbarnes Thank you! I really need to get around to Lincoln in the Bardo. I think you'd really like Strout. 6mo
batsy Lolly Willows! Yaaaaaas! 🙌🏽 Can't wait to read The Stone Angel. 6mo
merelybookish So many good books on here! Some I got to read with you! And others I will stack for later. 🙂 (Really need to read 10th of December!) 6mo
vivastory @merelybookish There are several stories in the Saunders that I still think about often. I was talking about it with my cousin over thanksgiving break. I'm looking forward to the #NYRBBookClub discussions next year! 6mo
BarbaraBB Great list, which I only discovered right now (I have been scrolling the hashtag). So many great reads. And yes to #manawakans and #nyrb. I need to read that Saunders too. Who wrote Ghost Stories? I can‘t read the name! 6mo
BarbaraBB @Leftcoastzen I read this Selby and loved it 6mo
vivastory @BarbaraBB Thanks! I'll be interested to see how you like Saunders. Ghost Stories is an anthology edited by Peter Washington 6mo
BarbaraBB Thanks! 6mo
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