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Anna40

Anna40

Joined November 2016

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Un inverno freddissimo by Fausta Cialente
review
Anna40
Fervor: A Novel | Toby Lloyd
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I read this in two days despite my busy ‘kid is out of school‘ schedule.The story is told partly from the perspective of first person narrator Kate,a secular Jewish student at Oxford who befriends Tovyah,from a Jewish observant family,&gets drawn into his grim&dark world.Lloyd leans on classic horror stories (Rosemary‘s baby,Exorcist) but gives it a Jewish twist. More family tragedy than horror though. Impressive debut,well written & compelling.

26 likes1 stack add
blurb
Anna40
The Hebrew Teacher | Maya Arad
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New Vessel Press - publisher of Maya Arad and other wonderful books in translation - have a 40% discount on all books until June 12! Use the code SUMMER24 at checkout! I highly recommend Arad but also enjoy (currently reading) Professor Schiff‘s Guilt by Agur Schiff and just ordered Guys like me by Dominique Fabre.

https://newvesselpress.com

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Anna40
Red Pill | Hari Kunzru
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Mehso-so

Yes,the story drew me in&I wanted to know what would happen next.Yes,it‘s kind of original&clever.But then the story veers off into Stasi recruiting methods&East German punk music&the plot gets weird&the main character‘s descent into paranoia world&identity bla,nervous breakdown&always Kleist committing suicide & right wing& liberal intellectuals & Trump &the narrator‘s privilege&inability to be a father&husband&the whining about it… no,nope,no

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Anna40
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Mehso-so

One of the rare cases of movie is better than book.I saw Juho Kuosmanen‘s adaptation&was not aware that he‘d taken some liberties which make the film compelling&emotionally engaging.The book is not convincing bc the girl character is too aloof&the man-much older than her-a despicable misogynist,antisemitic drunk who beats his wife.In the movie the girl and man are the same age&he‘s rough&rude but also kind&gentle&thus believable that 👇

Anna40 they connect&she‘d develop feelings for him. I wanted to see that tenderness&that bond&connection in the novel but it seems impossible to me that any sane woman could connect with that scumbag. What I really enjoyed was the descriptions of landscape&the Soviet Union,the journey from Moscow to Mongolia was what kept me from bailing. 7d
CogsOfEncouragement I won this book in a readathon years ago and did not like it at all. I didn‘t know there was a movie, but I sure wouldn‘t have wanted to watch it. lol 7d
Anna40 @CogsOfEncouragement I don‘t blame you, I wouldn‘t have bought the book if I‘d known … the film has flaws but I loved the relationship&connection between the characters & was curious to see how the author conveyed that in writing … well she didn‘t. The man is a scumbag I‘d be scared of. I‘d certainly wouldn‘t want to hang out or spend several days&nights! alone in a compartment with him 7d
23 likes3 comments
review
Anna40
The Postcard | Anne Berest
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Mehso-so

Unpopular opinion: I thought this was ok not outstanding. Yes, an important story, especially for the author (this is her family and family history) and the times we‘re living in (antisemitism is on the rise again, Jews and Jewish authors and artists are boycotted - again). But I couldn‘t connect to the characters and the big mystery/the big reveal of who wrote the postcard fell flat for me.

Hooked_on_books I agree. The reveal fell flat for me, too. 1w
Aimeesue Agreed about the reveal. I did think most of the rest of it was very well done, at least the parts about the past. The sections in the present didn‘t work well for me, but thankfully they weren‘t the major part of the book. I‘m just not that into dual timeline stories. 1w
Anna40 @Hooked_on_books @Aimeesue I hate giving it such a low rating but it just wasn‘t the right book for me and that‘s odd because these kinds of books/stories are right up my alley. Maybe it‘s a case of “it‘s me not you” or not the right time to read it… (edited) 1w
28 likes3 comments
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Anna40
The Novices of Lerna | ngel Bonomini
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The stories are original, the images vivid. Bonomini is playful and fearless (there‘s a whole story without punctuation). There‘s unexpectedness, surprise, a unique voice, humour. Perhaps not for everyone but I loved it.

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Anna40
The Novices of Lerna | ngel Bonomini
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I‘m currently reading The Novices of Lerna with a weird sense of pride because I attended a literary translation workshop with Jordan Landsman and had read and commented on his translation before he found a publisher. When I looked at the back of the book I found my name in the Thank you list! 😍Jordan is a gifted translator, a humble and kind person and I‘m so happy he persevered and got his translation published!

Kristy_K That‘s awesome! 2w
Bookwomble Cool! 😃 4d
Anna40 @Kristy_K @Bookwomble That ‘thank you‘ still makes me happy and it was incredibly generous of him to include me in his list. 4d
24 likes3 comments
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Anna40
Here Is Still Here | Sivan Slapak
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The stories are all told by first person narrator Isabel Rosen.We follow her in Part1 when she‘s in her 20s&30s to Jerusalem where she lives,works,studies.We meet her family,friends,lovers& other people she connects with.Language plays an important part.There‘s the mother tongue English,her grandmother‘s Yiddish,Hebrew&finally Arabic she tries to learn.Part 2 is set in Montreal.It was like listening to a good friend who is an amazing storyteller❤️

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Anna40
Stockholm: A Novel | Noa Yedlin
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4 friends in their 70s hide the death of their friend Avishay because he‘s rumored to receive the Nobel prize&the winner cannot be dead before the committee makes the decision.Announcement is a week away&so they decide to answer Avishay‘s emails and texts,pretend he‘s alive.But keeping a decomposing body hidden is easier said than done.Premise is original,humor didn‘t always work for me 👇

Anna40 secrets&inner lives of characters&description of corpse were too much.low pick 3w
27 likes1 comment
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Anna40
Clear: A Novel | Carys Davies
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This brief novel about two men bonding on an island is just perfect. I loved the plot, characters, writing. Just perfect

33 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
Trespasses | Louise Kennedy
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Bailedbailed

49%in I bail. Audio narration by Bríd Brennan is great, Kennedy an outstanding author. I find the relationship at this point not disturbing but gross. He‘s at least 26 years older, knew her father, some of the sex scenes, although not explicit, feel wrong and I‘ve noticed that in Kennedy‘s short stories as well, some of it sounds more like rape but is almost portrayed as passion? I just can‘t …

dabbe #hailthebail! 🤩🤩🤩 1mo
Hooked_on_books People seemed to love this book and I feel you‘re supposed to cheer for this relationship, and I absolutely could not. The setting of Northern Ireland during the troubles was great and I wanted it to be more about that. 1mo
Anna40 @Hooked_on_books I agree. I didn‘t mind the beginning and him being older but the way she submits to him and some sex scenes and then the combination of all that just felt wrong. The writing is excellent and the setting was intriguing. 1mo
26 likes3 comments
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Anna40
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It‘s incredibly well written but so depressing. Low pick

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Anna40
Baumgartner | Paul Auster
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S.T. Baumgartner and Anna Blume have been married for almost 40 years. The novel starts 9 years after her death, Baumgartner, now in his early seventies, remembers their love story, his parents, thinks about aging, contemplates remarriage and retirement. We follow him throughout his days and Auster takes us into his heart and mind. I wanted to stay with Baumgartner much longer. I loved it.

29 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald: A New Collection | F. Scott Fitzgerald, Matthew J. Bruccoli
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This is a fine collection of about 40 short stories Fitzgerald wrote with a brief introduction when and where they were published and a few lines with fascinating facts about them. I loved Winter Dreams written while he was planning The Great Gatsby and The Swimmers which Fitzgerald described as “the hardest story I ever wrote.”

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Anna40
The Hunter: A Novel | Tana French
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Unpopular opinion. Low pick. Great description of life in a small rural community and I particularly liked the challenges the farmers face because of climate change. Dialogues were too long and too many details I wasn‘t interested in. The second half was better than the first. I listened to it and liked the audio but read a really weird story about the voice actor Roger Clark. That surprised me more than the ending of the book.

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Anna40
The Betrayers: A Novel | David Bezmozgis
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In this novel betrayal is the main source of conflict between the characters.Baruch Kotler,a married Israeli-Russian politician,opposes withdrawal of Israeli settlements from the West Bank&because he refuses to back down from this political stance photos of him&his young mistress Leora are leaked to the press.The novel starts with the couple‘s arrival in Yalta where they want to hide from the press.They happen to rent a room in a B&B👇

Anna40 Run by Tankilevich,the very man who years earlier betrayed Baruch back in Russia,&his wife.Because of him Baruch experienced the horrors of the Gulag.But nothing is as simple as it seems.There are reasons behind the betrayals.A clever,extremely well written story.Bezmozgis is an author I want to read more of. 1mo
Suet624 Great review. Stacked! 1mo
CatLass007 Sounds interesting. Thanks for your review! 1mo
Anna40 @Suet624 Hope you‘ll enjoy reading it! 1mo
31 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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Anna40
Inside | Alix Ohlin
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Mehso-so

This started out so strong&then… the plot is like a bouncy ball,the characters actions don‘t really make sense except Annie/Anne maybe.Why does Mitch leave the love of his life to work in an indigenous community?Why does Grace act unprofessionally& why do Annie‘s parents not sue her?What is going on btw Grace&Mitch?I guess the underlying theme is:can we support one another,trust&let someone in?hence the title Inside?but I don‘t know.Not4me.

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Anna40
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Bailedbailed

I really thought I‘d like this because I loved Rogue Wave which was also the reason why I wanted to read more by Ohlin.She‘s a wonderful writer,very talented,but this collection is not for me.By the forth story I was only annoyed&frustrated by the characters.I found them all extremely unlikeable&I don‘t think it will get better for me.I‘ll try one of her novels or other story collections.

21 likes1 comment
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Anna40
When She Was Good | Michael Robotham
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Book 2 in the Cyrus Haven series.The murder of a retired cop has something to do with Evie.Soon her old tormentors find out where she is&are after her.Evie has to run.It was very satisfying that the author reveals her backstory gradually without slowing down the pace of the main plot.I liked book 2 but didn‘t love it.I don‘t know why.Maybe I should have waited a bit to read it?

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Anna40
Good Girl, Bad Girl: A Novel | Michael Robotham
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Cyrus,a psychologist working with Lenny,the leading detective,investigates the murder of a teenage girl,Jodie,when a former college friend asks him to interview a girl,Evie,who lives in a group home.They become friends.Jodie is the good,Evie the bad girl but both are neither good nor bad,just two young women who experienced violence.Cyrus,too,has a terrible past.I loved the complex characters,writing&case,a bit predictable,but still good.👍

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Anna40
Paper Cage | Tom Baragwanath
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Bailedbailed

This has so much potential:set in New Zealand,the main character,Lorraine,a non-Māori,is the widow of a Māori man&the filing clerk in the police station.When her niece‘s son is one of the missing children in a series of abductions,Lorraine is personally affected&starts investigating as the police can‘t seem to solve the case.Sadly,it‘s slow &the writing at times clunky.I might pick it up again as I want to know what happened

28 likes1 comment
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Anna40
How to Pronounce Knife: Stories | Souvankham Thammavongsa
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I loved these stories about refugees from Laos and their children struggling with poverty, language, adapting to, fitting into, finding a place in Canadian society. The writing is outstanding. The author conveys with seemingly simple language and metaphors complex feelings and issues. To me this is some of the best writing and storytelling I‘ve come across in years. Highly, highly recommend!

Anna40 “The only love Red knew was that simple, uncomplicated, lonely love one feels for oneself in the quiet moments of the day. It was there, steady and solid in the laughter and talk of the television and with her in the grocery aisles on the weekends. It was there, every night, in the dark, spectacular and sprawling in the quiet. And it all belonged to her.” 2mo
30 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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Anna40
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In his poetry, Hass remembers other poets (Eugenio Montale) meditates on death in various stages in life (childhood, youth, middle age), describes nature in detail, reflects on history.
“All you have to do is say the words for some imagined others in a world of words, a lull of world and words that make a world, or makes a seeing in the dark as sheet lightning does, sometimes, at night, in summer fields.”

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Anna40
The Hebrew Teacher | Maya Arad
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Told from the perspective of Israeli women in the US, all three novellas center around mother & child (or a similar relationship as in The Hebrew teacher), a disconnect because of generational differences or the distance living in another country. Particularly The Hebrew Teacher is so intelligently crafted, combining the personal with the political, I still think about the novella even though I finished reading it two weeks ago. Highly recommend

31 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
Held: A Novel | Anne Michaels
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I find the genre historical novel, even the word novel misleading.This reads like a long prose poem.Michaels reflects on intimacy,romantic love,trauma & loss.The characters are often connected (parent-child-grandchild).Their stories are not told in chronological order.The writing is at times outstanding & at times I rolled my eyes at the lyrical language. I didn‘t enjoy the audio, the somber monotonous narration was annoying & switched to print.

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Anna40
The Weight of Ink | Rachel Kadish
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Two timelines:London at the beginning of the 21st & London in the 17th century. Characters and story are imagined but historical events (Sabbatean movement, the pest) & philosophers are real and very well researched.I went back&forth btw loved,liked &disliked the book.But overall, I think combining history, Jewish thought&philosophy with an entertaining plot is an amazing achievement and the author rightly received the National Jewish Book Award.

lazydaizee Sounds like an interesting book. 3mo
Anna40 @lazydaizee yes, it is :) 3mo
30 likes2 comments
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Anna40
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A collection of thoughts on disease, death, nature, art. A collection of memories (childhood, living and travelling abroad, love relationships). There‘s also a recurring warning not to bequeath nuclear waste to future generations. Mankell was a man of the highest integrity, one of the finest (crime) writers which shines through in this wonderful book. It was a joy to read and makes me want to explore everything he published.

23 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
The Secret of Luca | Ignazio Silone
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An old man appears in a small town in Abruzzo after WW2.The older locals identify him as Luca who has returned after serving a life sentence in prison for a murder he didn‘t commit.Andrea,a young communist & son of Luca‘s friend, is determined to find out why Luca held on to a secret although revealing it could‘ve set him free.I loved the writing & the way the story is told but found the overall theme - power of love- a bit cheesy.

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Anna40
An Event in Autumn | Henning Mankell
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Wallander found a farmhouse in the country he likes & is about to make an offer to buy it when he stumbles over a human hand in the backyard. The hand belonged to a woman in her fifties but her identity is unknown. Wallander & his colleagues now have to find out who the woman was & who killed her. The fact that she died after WW2 makes that more difficult. The story also focuses on Wallander‘s thoughts on ageing & retirement, end of life.

kspenmoll Wonderful review! 3mo
Anna40 @kspenmoll thank you 💕 3mo
28 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Anna40
Italian Shoes: A Novel | Henning Mankell
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The first person narrator Fredrik lives with his cat,dog&anthill in his grandparents‘ house on an island.The only human he talks to is the hypochondriac mailman until Hariett,a former lover whom he abandoned,shows up&demands he keeps a promise he once made to her&broke by leaving.The 2 embark on a journey&Fredrik on an inner journey that doesn‘t make him a better person but a person who finally starts taking responsibility for his actions.

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Anna40
Exiles | Jane Harper
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Mehso-so

The twists were okish-good but the lovey dovey we‘re all friends and happy family in a beautiful place drinking wine, eating lasagne, cheese from the farmers market and tahini, etc, plus, the endless romance blah blah were just tedious and annoying. Oh dear! What a disappointment after The Dry which I loved.

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Anna40
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I waited a long time to read this because the story sounded like a tearjerker&what a tearjerker it is.But it is so beautifully written,a joy to read each sentence, the characters are all wonderfully developed, deep&rich. The plot draws you in,the ending is satisfying. Themes are love, parenthood, loss,betrayal,war,forgiveness. What a wonderful book but oh so sad, so incredibly sad.

33 likes2 stack adds
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Anna40
Victorious | Yishai Sarid
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Mehso-so

I loved the Memory Monster but Victorious was only ok.It tells the story of Abigail a single mother and military psychologist specialising in making soldiers more efficient killers. When her son enlists in the paratrooper battalion she seems to question some of her beliefs.I disliked Abigail & found her behaviour and actions unprofessional and unlikely. So much was left unanswered.Plus,an unsatisfying ending with too many loose ends.Disappointing!

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Anna40
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Rosenfarb‘s stories explore the life of Shoa survivors emigrated to Canada and how they deal with their traumatic past. Written in Yiddish, Morgentaler,the author‘s daughter, translated her mother‘s complete work and wrote a fascinating foreword. Rosenfarb is a writer I highly recommend & I‘m thrilled to have discovered her work. Her stories&characters are complex, full of twists, inner journeys, her prose is haunting.

Gissy Beautiful cover too! 5mo
30 likes1 comment
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Anna40
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Quoting various thinkers&writers&drawing from religions,Armstrong wrote this beautiful book to impel the reader to repair the damage done to the natural world.She argues that everything is connected,we must overcome selfishness,we must cultivate the conviction that every natural thing is inseparable from our ultimate concern.She gives some practical advice on how to bond with our environment&promotes kindness,empathy&love.Very moving&necessary

31 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
The Tobacconist | Robert Seethaler
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Franzl,a young man from Salzkammergut,leaves his home to become the apprentice of a tobacconist,one of his mother‘s ex lovers.In Vienna he falls in love with a woman who doesn‘t reciprocate his feelings,has conversations with Freud&witnesses how the city changes under Nazi rule which he opposes but can‘t fight.I love how Seethaler writes about the “little” people with warmth,depth&humor without romanticizing working class life or Nazi opposition.

Tamra Seethaler is a fantastic writer! I need to see if there are more translated works published. 5mo
Tamra Shoot, I don‘t see any more listed I haven‘t read. 😒 5mo
Anna40 @Tamra I can read German but have only read Whole life and this one. Am planning on getting his other books in German but I think his latest about the cafe will get translated soon. Would love to read the translations. I wonder how she translated the Viennese and Bohemian accent 5mo
Tamra @Anna40 I hope so! I‘ve only read the three translated works - envy you being able to read the German editions. 5mo
28 likes4 comments
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Anna40
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Boyle‘s stories are playful,inventive,witty.He writes about misogyny,school shootings,teachers who have sexual relations with their students,our relationship with nature,a quarantined cruise ship during Covid etc. in a way that is original&unique.I didn‘t love all stories but appreciated the outstanding plot and writing of every single one.My favourites are the title story&The apartment.Highly recommend!

32 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
Tunnels | Rutu Modan
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Nili,the daughter of an archaeologist,thinks she can find the Ark of the Covenant,too bad it‘s no longer on Israeli territory.With the help of clever Gedanken & his hilltop youths,businessman Abuloff who buys artefacts from Isis,the IDF&2 Palestinians, she digs a tunnel that will hopefully lead to the Ark before her brother& Prof Sarid,the bad guy,get to it first. Modan published this before October 7,during the pandemic. Funny&thought-provoking.

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Anna40
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Debbie starts her first year at college in Dublin&commutes so that she can continue to help on her family‘s farm where she lives with her mother&her alcoholic uncle.She struggles with insecurities&anxiety but soon makes a friend. I enjoyed reading this novel & think I‘d have loved it when I was younger.It‘s a relatable portrayal of a young woman transitioning into adulthood,delightfully written & despite its heavy themes has some light moments.

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Anna40
All Systems Red | Martha Wells
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Murderbot,a “messed-up second-hand SecUnit”-half bot half human- accompanies a team of scientists on a mission to collect data.But something or someone is after them and they don‘t know who&why.Murderbot loves watching TV shows where he learns about human behaviour&feelings.He prefers TV humans&is both annoyed&intrigued by real humans.This is a fun book but AppleTV is turning the books into a show&I‘d rather watch than read this. very original👍

BookmarkTavern This whole series is a delight! 💖 6mo
Anna40 @BookmarkTavern Yes, it is. But I think one book‘s enough for me. I‘ll watch the show. I guess science fiction is not for me 5mo
34 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Anna40
Afterlife | Julia Alvarez
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I enjoyed reading Antonia‘s story focussing on her life after her husband‘s death.Recently retired,she is also “dragged” into caring for an illegal immigrant& struggling with her sister‘s disappearance.The novel deals with love,loss,immigration,mental health,family,privilege. The elegant writing reminded me of Barbara Kingsolver.

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Anna40
The Name of the Rose | Umberto Eco
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Whew!21hours.This is the longest audiobook I‘ve had the patience to listen to.The book&film adaptation are masterpieces.There is so much to discover:scholasticism,the Catholic Church-heretics& the Inquisition,postmodernism,crime&historical novel.So many references to medieval and modern thinkers.The untranslated passages in Latin are a challenge when listening but the audio is a delight especially when Salvatore comes alive.Thanks @rwmg

26 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
Sleepwalkers | Bernie McGill
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I loved this slim collection of short stories so much.I have no favourites,savoured each one.McGill writes about loss,love,travelling,youth,aging and quietly captures intimate moments with simple but powerful prose.Highly recommend!

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Anna40
The Sun Walks Down: A Novel | Fiona McFarlane
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6-year-old Denny goes missing in 1880s South Australia.The novel spans 7 days moving back&forth between the numerous characters:Denny,his family,Aboriginal trackers,other members of the community,a European painter couple&Afghani cameleers.This is not a mystery but a quiet,poetic story that takes the reader to Australia when it was colonised.I felt immersed in the small town as if I was there.

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Anna40
All Systems Red | Martha Wells
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My copy of the first in the Murderbot series has arrived! @Soubhiville @Adventures-of-a-French-Reader and all my Litsy friends who‘ve been praising this book and getting a no science fiction reader to get so excited about reading sci-fi

Anna40 @TheSpineView I have to finish another book first before I get to this one but am very excited to read it 6mo
23 likes2 comments
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Anna40
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I bought this for my nine year old son who didn‘t want to read it. I‘d have loved The letter for the king at his age. Reading it as an adult was enjoyable but only ok. However, considering that Dragt wrote it when she was a child is truly remarkable. That‘s why I gave it a pick. I would say this appeals to kids aged 8-10.

CaramelLunacy Loved it when I read as a child, but hated the Netflix show (unfortunately) 6mo
Anna40 @CaramelLunacy I haven‘t watched the show. That‘s a shame. I think I would have loved reading it as a child too 6mo
25 likes2 comments
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Anna40
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The 10 short stories are set during the Covid pandemic.The writing is a delight,I loved Worms it made me cry but the plots… I wish there was more to what happens in the stories and I feel it‘s generally something that seems to be no longer relevant for prize winning writing.I appreciate the character‘s inner turmoil&thoughts&insights but where is the story?And there‘s only so much older-dude-feeling-sorry-for-himself I can take as a reader.Soft pk

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Anna40
Northern Spy: A Novel | Flynn Berry
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Set in Northern Ireland in the present,Tessa is a young,divorced mother of a baby who works for the BBC.Her world is turned upside down when her sister is caught on camera during an IRA attack&identified as a terrorist.Slowly Tessa gets sucked into the world of the IRA&MI5.This book does something many novels no longer do:entertain&guide the reader through a “world” they‘ll never “see” while addressing universal themes such as motherhood,family.

24 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
The Only Good Indians | Stephen Graham Jones
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4 Blackfeet men kill an elk herd,1 young elk is pregnant&Lewis promises to use the meat¬ let any part of it go to waste but the men get caught&are told to dispose of the animals.10 years later mysterious events kill first Ricky.Is it the elk ghost avenging her calf&herd?It‘s gory but I didn‘t find it spooky or creepy.The story is original,I‘ve never read anything like this.Dialogues are excellent&so is the writing.Great storytelling

Aimeesue Such a great read! 6mo
Anna40 @Aimeesue yes! I agree. I‘m gifting a copy to a good friend this year :) 6mo
26 likes2 comments
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Anna40
The Last Hours | Minette Walters
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Lady Anne rules with reason,logic&wisdom after the outbreak of the plague kills her brutish husband.She isolates her community from the rest of the world&keeps her people safe while many around them die.In quarantine bad things happen within the walls of Develish:a murder,rape allegations.I liked it but wish it was shorter,wish Eleanor was multi-dimensional! &there was a proper ending.Thanks @Chrissyreadit for recommending!

Chrissyreadit I‘m glad you enjoyed it! there is a sequel that ties up the loose ends. 6mo
20 likes1 comment