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#spinsterlit
review
merelybookish
Matrix | Lauren Groff
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Pickpick

Well colour me shocked, but I LOVED this book! 🙌 Just like Marie the character at its center, this book burns. I was swept up in that radiating brilliance that pulsed throughout. It was so immersive and rich and I loved Marie, the nuns, and the abbey. Groff did her homework but to call this historical fiction feels limiting. This is not about recreating a world from the past but imagining something new entirely. Amazing!

vivastory I'm hoping to make this my first book of the new year. Your review has me even more excited to read it 1mo
AmyG Exactly! I felt the same way. 1mo
merelybookish @vivastory I am kind of shocked at how much I liked it. But it was really powerful, but I can see how if it doesn't connect right away, a person might find it meh. Will be interested to see what you make of it! 1mo
See All 17 Comments
JamieArc I really hope I‘m in the same camp with this one. Looking forward to getting to it early next year. 1mo
merelybookish @AmyG Yay! It has a powerful spell, kind of like Marie. 1mo
Ruthiella Excellent review! I am super curious if this will be the book that makes me stop hating Lauren Groff? 😆 I hope so. 🤞 1mo
merelybookish @JamieArc I hope so too! 1mo
merelybookish @Ruthiella I think you'll know in 20 pages. If it doesn't catch you right away, I don't think it will. And I get it. I hated Fates and Furies. Maybe Groff commits so wholeheartedly to a vision that you either get on board or you don't. 1mo
Ruthiella @merelybookish That‘s a good way of thinking about her writing! All in or nothing. 🤔 1mo
merelybookish @Ruthiella I just came up with that theory. 😆 Trying to make sense of what I hated about F&F but loved about this. 1mo
BarbaraBB Fantastic review. I wish I had loved this book as much as you did. But I was in the meh-camp! 1mo
TrishB I loved this too ♥️ 1mo
merelybookish @TrishB It was so good! 1mo
merelybookish @BarbaraBB Thanks! I think I was in the right mood to be swept away. 1mo
batsy Superb review! I've been meaning to read it but you and @Cathythoughts have really sold me on it :) 1mo
merelybookish @batsy Thanks! It definitely qualifies as #spinsterlit. 😁 1mo
Centique I am looking forward to this! Sounds like my kind of book. 💕 1mo
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blurb
Leftcoastzen
School for Love | Olivia Manning
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#NYRBBookClub please join @vivastory and @Leftcoastzen in discussion of the last book of the year!In the club we have had sympathetic & no so nice spinsters #spinsterlit and underdogs like Felix to root for!
This is question 1.

sarahbarnes I will admit, Felix‘s naïveté really annoyed me sometimes. ? But I think he is also grieving and feeling lost, and so maybe he gives her the benefit of the doubt because he is terrified of being alone in the world. 2mo
BarbaraBB I think he‘s quite young and he hasn‘t had a conventional upbringing until his mother died either. I mean to say that he didn‘t really have a reference. 2mo
sarahbarnes @BarbaraBB that‘s a really good point that he didn‘t have a reference for how adults should, or do, act. 2mo
See All 31 Comments
BarbaraBB His mother seems really immature to me @sarahbarnes 2mo
Leftcoastzen I think he wanted to feel loved of course, hoping even a distant relative might care.His mother was almost too close , mother & buddy .It left him unprepared for this type of situation.Mother didn‘t seem very responsible. Maybe if she was, she would have got her shot & not gotten sick. 2mo
Leftcoastzen @BarbaraBB @sarahbarnes There was the thought that his father had that he should have been sent back to school in England. How many of us learned about other families and adults functioned by interactions with kids from school? His mother wasn‘t having it though. 2mo
BarbaraBB @Leftcoastzen “She would have got her shot”: that sounds so relevant as of today! 2mo
Liz_M I think @sarahbarnes and @BarbaraBB have good points -- I think one way of adapting to the hinted at vagabond lifestyle of Felix and his mother is to be easygoing, take things as they come, and look on the bright side. It is a mindset and a way of viewing the world. So I don't think Felix had much experience with being critical or suspicious of other people's intentions. 2mo
DrexEdit I also got the sense that Felix's mother was overprotective and immature and Felix didn't have a strong sense of how an adult world operated. 2mo
sprainedbrain I thought Felix was just super innocent and the only real experience he had with people is his relationship with his mom, so he‘s naive, lonely, and looking for someone to love him that way. Clearly wasn‘t happening with this particular spinster. 2mo
LeahBergen I agree with you, @sprainedbrain ! 2mo
Leftcoastzen I think in a way his wake up call is when he is in conversation with Mrs. Ellis & Nikky . He sees the behavior of Miss Bohun and agrees with her to get along. When he hears those two talk about her he realizes her actions don‘t match her opinion of herself. 2mo
tokorowilliamwallace How does join for next year? 2mo
quietjenn I agree so much with everything that has been said! Felix has gone through so much in a very short time. His somewhat unconventional and quite sheltered upbringing, his father's death, his mother's illness and death, being at the mercy of people who felt obligated to care for him but didn't really want him, being packed up to Jerusalem. I think he craves some convention and stability and a home, which Miss Bohun offers in her own warped way. 2mo
LeahBergen @tokorowilliamwallace You can contact @vivastory to be added the next time the group opens up. We vote as a group on three suggestions by each member but anyone on Litsy can read along and join our discussions each month. 😊 2mo
LeahBergen @quietjenn Yes to everything you said! And he‘s always being told by Miss Bohun herself what a very good person she is. I think he‘s just a gullible, lonely little boy. 2mo
Billypar Great points! It was interesting to me how Felix's apparent desire to see Miss Bohun as a surrogate mother led him to sympathize more with her perspective over disputes with others like Frau Leszno. 2mo
Leftcoastzen @Billypar Great point. 2mo
arubabookwoman I think more than once we were told/shown that Felix's mother didn't like to say/think "mean" things about anyone, and told Felix always to look for the good. I think he was following his mother's advice. And of course Miss Bohun told him (&everyone else) how "good" she was. 2mo
arubabookwoman P.s. sorry for chiming in so late-just returned from some family obligations. I really liked this book! 2mo
Leftcoastzen @arubabookwoman I think the only thing like that his mother said was in regards to visiting Jerusalem when the father was still alive . His mom basically said I don‘t want to encounter Miss Bohun 😄 2mo
Leftcoastzen Glad to have you! Everyone is so busy , I love this casual format . I really liked this book too! 2mo
youneverarrived I ordered this book weeks ago and it never showed up 😔 sorry I couldn‘t join in, really wanted to read this one. 2mo
batsy Sorry to chime in late! I felt that Manning realistically portrayed an adolescent awareness in Felix—he wanted to believe that someone like Miss Bohun was good and on his side, but he's also too young and naive to make full sense of what he's seeing and observing though he's instinctively sensing that things don't add up. I agree with other comments that he also grew up pretty sheltered & fully immersed with his mother's POV on life. 2mo
batsy I am most upset at Miss Bohun giving spinsters a bad name 😤 2mo
Reviewsbylola As usual, I‘m late to the party but I really enjoyed this one (ESPECIALLY the kooky aunt 😆). Will pop back on soon to have a swing at the questions. 2mo
Leftcoastzen @batsy I think Manning wrote that beautifully. The reader is thinking wake up kid, but you feel his need and his inexperience to process some of what‘s happening. 2mo
Leftcoastzen @batsy she is the worst spinster! 2mo
Leftcoastzen @Reviewsbylola looking forward to it. This was a great read. 2mo
Reviewsbylola I think it‘s really easy to not recognize Miss Bohun‘s manipulation tactics as a child. Felix seemed to take things at face value. Mrs Ellis was much more forward and that threw Felix off. I think a lot had to do with his mother—it felt like she showed him the world as she wanted it to be, so looking at everything with rose colored glasses became second nature. 2mo
GatheringBooks Apologies for joining in late as well - Sundays are first day of work week here, and it can be super hectic. Agree with all points raised here especially @quietjenn and @arubabookwoman - Felix strikes me as an eager to please impressionable young man - and with very little options, really, he might as well believe the best in what he has. 😭 2mo
31 likes31 comments
review
Leftcoastzen
School for Love | Olivia Manning
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Pickpick

So this isn‘t the first #NYRBBookClub title with a naive boy &/or a disingenuous boarding house proprietor!😀I loved the book & look forward to our discussion 12/5 MT.
@vivastory

BarbaraBB It‘s a typical #NYRB book and I love that! 2mo
Leftcoastzen @BarbaraBB I agree ! 😄 2mo
Liz_M #SpinsterLit in the second degree! 2mo
61 likes3 comments
blurb
Centique
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So I did a chat with Shawn about this book on his YouTube channel if anyone is interested in watching me gush and gesticulate 😄. (You should also follow Shawn, he has strong opinions which makes for interesting reviews but he‘s also smart and kind and thoughtful) @shawnmooney

https://youtu.be/PadbFMEPXAQ

rockpools Oh that‘s fun! And so nice to see you 😊. I‘m quite sold on the book as well… 3mo
Centique @rockpools thank you! I‘m getting braver in my old age 😜 3mo
LeahBergen Oh, that @shawnmooney ! ❤️❤️❤️ I can‘t wait to watch. 😘 3mo
See All 15 Comments
Reggie Paula, you‘re such a great guest. This was interesting and I can‘t wait to hear about the Frame on the podcast. 3mo
batsy Ooh! I'm looking forward to watching ❤️ 3mo
Centique @LeahBergen I asked him when he‘ll get you on there! 😘 3mo
Centique @Reggie thank you my friend! It‘s funny to see myself pulling faces as I speak 🤪😂 Yes I have to prep for my talk with Jenny on that one! 3mo
Centique @batsy and Margot is on there too! I just watched her talk about A Jest of God and she‘s inspired me again to read it @merelybookish 3mo
merelybookish It was so fun to see you Paula! It's like @shawnmooney is bringing us all a bit closer together! 🥰 And @batsy, I mentioned #spinsterlit and felt afterwards I should have credited you with coining the term. 3mo
merelybookish @Reggie I listened to you on Reading Envy. I have no interest in horror but it was fun to hear you talk about it. 🙂 3mo
Reggie @merelybookish ☺️thanks! I‘m sorry I didn‘t even know you were on here because I saw Centique and just fast forwarded to watch her only. Lol, but I went back now and you did great. I like that you mentioned Scott and Suba. Even though reading Laurence isn‘t my thing I like to read ya‘lls comments for the passion of reading something ya‘ll have. Same with the reading the Shakespeare read along. Same with Sprainedbrain and her pemberlitten crew👇🏼 3mo
Reggie I may never have read Jane Austen but seeing DebinHawaii make a meme collage and a haiku chapter roundup because she feels passionately about it makes my day. Such is the allure of Litsy for me. Lol great job, Margot, is what I meant to say. 3mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage Love it!! We both got to be his guest. I need to do better about BookTube listening! 2mo
Centique @BarbaraTheBibliophage I am going to go watch yours too! I struggle to keep up with book tube and podcasts, but now that I‘ve kind of “met” Shawn, and liked him so much, I‘m trying to watch all of his. 2mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Centique #thestruggleisreal Now that I‘m not driving as much, my podcast / audiobook time is limited. And BookTube even more so … not enough hours in the day!! 2mo
56 likes15 comments
quote
batsy
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This book is lowkey striving for #spinsterlit status and I respect it 🧙🏾‍♀️

#CampTOB

saresmoore THIS IS WHAT I‘VE BEEN SAYING 🙃😜 5mo
Lindy She‘s such a great character! 5mo
Suet624 Darn it. Now I have to read it. 5mo
See All 8 Comments
batsy @saresmoore I know right 😅 5mo
batsy @Lindy She's fantastic! I enjoy being inside her head. 5mo
batsy @Suet624 Yep! 😆 5mo
Cathythoughts Brilliant 5mo
batsy @Cathythoughts I love the writing! 5mo
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review
batsy
A Jest of God | Margaret Laurence
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Pickpick

Rachel is an unforgettable protagonist. Her voice is sharp, self-effacing, astute, & clever. Through a very careful depiction of an interior life, Laurence delves deep into the lives of an ordinary woman with breathtaking intimacy. Through her thoughts & fantasies & actions, we get a sense of how restrictive life can be for a single woman living with an overbearing mother in a small town, & the burdens of simply trying to exist as a Normal Person.

batsy I'm so glad I read it with you guys @leahbergen @merelybookish @vivastory and I have to deem it a new #spinsterlit classic! 😆 5mo
merelybookish Lovely review! It seems many #spinsterlit classics are not about ordinary women or they cope by being eccentric or extraordinary. Whereas Rachel really is a very normal person! 5mo
nathandrake1997 Brilliant review ❤️ Can't wait to read this! 5mo
See All 15 Comments
BarbaraBB I definitely want to read this now, after your review and having just finished 5mo
vivastory I'm so glad you liked it & it is def a #spinsterlit classic IMO Are you interested in joining @merelybookish & @leahbergen & I for The Fire-Dwellers? (edited) 5mo
vivastory @BarbaraBB I will be reading The Fire-Dwellers in September. Feel free to join! 5mo
batsy @merelybookish @nathandrake1997 Thank you! ❤️❤️ 5mo
batsy @BarbaraBB I'm a bit bummed that I didn't read it in order. I've got The Stone Angel high on the tbr 🙂 5mo
batsy @vivastory Yes, I can't wait! I've ordered my copy and I hope it arrives on time 🤞🏾 5mo
vivastory @batsy I think that I am going to push it back a bit. I know that @merelybookish is going to be busy getting settled into her new place. So, I was thinking maybe starting around the 13th? @leahbergen @barbarabb 5mo
BarbaraBB @vivastory I‘m in! Thanks for thinking of me. Now I just need to get a copy ij time! 5mo
vivastory @BarbaraBB Wonderful! Glad that you will be joining us 5mo
batsy @vivastory No problem at all! I'm happy to start when we're all ready. 5mo
shawnmooney Lovely review! I read it as a precocious teenager and all I remember is that I liked it. I want to read the entire Manawaka series in sequence one of these days! 5mo
batsy @shawnmooney Thank you! And I regret not reading it in order, as well. I read The Diviners for a CanLit course years ago. I want to read the whole sequence too. 5mo
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batsy
A Jest of God | Margaret Laurence
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Oh, Rachel 💔

I'm almost towards the end but I don't want to finish it tonight—I'm a bit nervous about how it'll end. It turns out I'm getting softer with age and need my #spinsterlit anti-heroines to thrive 😭

@LeahBergen @merelybookish @vivastory

vivastory Same, same ...it looks like you're almost at the end 5mo
merelybookish Her situation feels impossible at times! 5mo
LeahBergen I know!!! 😩😩 5mo
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batsy I finally finished and like @LeahBergen said I didn't see that ending coming! A triumph for Rachel, imo—plus what she said to her mother 🙌🏾 @merelybookish @vivastory 5mo
merelybookish @batsy I'm glad you finished and had your fears are put to rest. The ending is great and makes so much sense for Rachel but didnt even seen like a possibility until the very end. So yes a triumph! 5mo
vivastory @batsy @merelybookish @LeahBergen Over the past year I've noticed more & more how tricky a good ending is, especially one where there's a change for the MC & it's convincing. The more I think about it, this is my favorite ending of the year 5mo
merelybookish @vivastory Most good books have okay conclusions. A good conclusion is rare, and one that actually makes the book better is even more rare. I think the ending to Jest of God is that rare exception! 5mo
batsy @vivastory @merelybookish I agree! My main issue with Moshfegh's Eileen was the ending. Laurence just pulls it all off in a very realistic and low-key way and it feels totally *right*. 5mo
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review
LeahBergen
A Jest of God | Margaret Laurence
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Pickpick

Oh, how I loved this Canadian modern classic (and spinster-lit classic, too, if I may 😉).

Rachel Cameron, forced home from university in her younger years to be her widowed mother‘s caretaker, is stuck in her elementary school teacher rut with only her fantasies (and anxieties) to keep her company. When an old acquaintance returns to town one summer, she embarks on a second coming-of-age.

Thanks for the buddy read!

LeahBergen @vivastory @merelybookish @batsy I didn‘t see that ending coming!! I was cheering! 6mo
merelybookish I like that you mentioned her fantasies! Because they were a bit jarring at first but really are key to her character. It is like a belated coming-of-age. She became the mother. 🙂 6mo
batsy Feel like it's definitely heading towards #spinsterlit classic status! I'm the slowest in this speedy group but I'm itching to come back and check on your spoiler once I'm done 😆 6mo
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rubyslippersreads This sounds intriguing. 6mo
vivastory The ending is standing ovation perfect. I reread the final couple of pages a few times. Loved, loved it. 6mo
vivastory Agree with @merelybookish that I'm glad that you mention her fantasies. Really were a key aspect of her character 6mo
vivastory @batsy I'm curious to see what you make of it! Please tag us when you finish 6mo
LeahBergen @vivastory It totally was! The way she finally talked to her mother? Oh, man. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 6mo
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