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Anna40

Anna40

Joined November 2016

blurb
Anna40
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Two photographs taken by Derek Parfit: the photo above was taken in Venice, the one below in St. Petersburg

Graywacke Gorgeous 4d
batsy Lovely. The first one ❤️ 4d
22 likes2 comments
review
Anna40
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Pickpick

Parfit made contributions to questions about equality, altruism,future generations, freedom,identity& morality. Born to missionaries in China,he grew up to become a groundbreaking philosopher,an “eccentric genius” &perfectionist.His mother was one of the first women to study medicine&highly intelligent.He was also an accomplished photographer.I would have loved a more in depth analysis of his work but enjoyed reading this biography immensely.

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Anna40
The Guest Lecture | Martin Riker
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Mehso-so

The reader is in the narrator‘s mind,Abigail a uni professor on tenure track,‘in her house‘ as she ‘walks‘ from room to room accompanied by John Maynard Keynes.She‘s using a method to memorize her lecture she has to deliver the next day in which she assigns a room to each part of her speech.We find out that she was denied tenure.Worried about her future,her mind meanders further from topic.Good premise,but no idea what the novel wants to say.🤷‍♀️

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Anna40
Small Joys | Elvin James Mensah
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Pickpick

21-year-old Harley just dropped out of uni because of mental health issues caused by his strained relationship with his father & returns to Kent to live with a friend.His new roommate is Muddy who is congenial,happy go lucky and kind.They soon connect deeply and Harley falls in love with Muddy who isn‘t interested in sexual relationships.The circle of friends is completed by Noria,Finlay and Chelsea.With their support & love Harley finds healing.

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Anna40
Colony | Audrey Magee
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Pickpick

Set in the 1970s on an isolated island in Ireland an English artist, Mr Lloyd, and a French linguist, JP, spend a summer living within the small island community. Both are exploiting the islanders in different ways. Told mainly through dialogues, inner thoughts of the characters and brief news summaries of killings in Northern Ireland, the novel explores colonialism, language, art and the Troubles.

24 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
Nora Webster | Colm Toibin
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Pickpick

We meet Nora immediately after her husband‘s death. Two daughters are away in school, two boys are with her. Nora now has to navigate life without Maurice, and loses some of her freedom as she starts working and carrying the burden of responsibilities alone. Wonderful, intimate portrayal of a woman in her mid forties whose life is suddenly uprooted by loss. Beautifully read by Fiona Shaw

Gissy Sold! 🙋🏽‍♀️And added it to wish list❤️ (edited) 2w
Anna40 @Gissy 🤓 2w
25 likes2 stack adds2 comments
review
Anna40
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Pickpick

The stories in this collection center on Indian women affected by immigration to the US either because they or one of their relatives emigrated. What binds the stories are themes such as family separation, immigration, dealing with repercussions of leaving/staying behind. Bhanoo is a wonderful writer, I loved every story but my favourite is Malliga Homes.

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Anna40
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Pickpick

Menachem‘s grandfather,a Shoah survivor,fought to reclaim a building the Nazis had taken from his father.Menachem decides to continue the legal battle his grandfather started and embarks on an almost Kaskaesque journey through Polish law.When he comes across Abraham Kaiser his grandfather‘s cousin who was also a survivor,wrote a memoir&is worshipped by Nazi treasure hunters,he gets sucked into their surreal world.I loved this memoir for its depth.

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Anna40
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Pickpick

Hua Hsu writes about growing into autonomy in the late 1990s, about college, art, identity, his parents immigration to the US and the intimacy of friendship. When his friend Ken is murdered, Hsu writes about his grief. And he does it so beautifully. I loved this book so much and it deserves all the praise it received and more.

28 likes6 stack adds
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Anna40
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Pickpick

Keret is hilarious and compassionate in this collection of personal essays. They cover the birth of his son, Israel - where the threats of terror attacks and war dominate daily life -, yoga, trips abroad to writers‘ festivals, the ‘death‘ of his sister and the real death of his father. A wonderful book with sharp insights and many strange but oh so funny moments.

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Anna40
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Mehso-so

A privileged young narrator lusts after Oliver,a writer a few years older than him who stays with the family in a beautiful house by the Neapolitan seaside.As much as I appreciate some of the writing,most of the smitten swooning sexual thoughts and pseudo poetic ‘language of love‘ are ridiculous,i.e.Oliver‘s ass is an apricot.I didn‘t like any of the intellectual privileged bored and boring characters.Not for me.Repetition of ‘later!‘was annoying!

Ruthiella I rarely DNF but I did this book. I need more plot than this one offered. 2mo
Anna40 @Ruthiella I rolled my eyes and said out loud Really? In annoyance too many times while reading. I see why some people love it but it‘s so dull and boring … not for me 2mo
28 likes2 comments
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Anna40
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Pickpick

The main part of this memoir is about Suleika‘s illness starting with the first symptoms,roughly a year before her diagnosis.Only the last part takes her on a road trip where she visits people she connected with because of her NYTimes column.I didn‘t find her insights inspiring,but it‘s a well written,honest account and I like her.I enjoyed reading her thoughts and self reflection.She experienced so much physical pain,death-it‘s heartrending.

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Anna40
This Sweet Sickness | Patricia Highsmith
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David,the protagonist of this novel that almost reads like a psychological case study,is a talented scientist who is obsessed with an ex-girlfriend,Annabelle,now married.He is convinced she loves him too and tries to win her back with gifts,phone calls,letters and visits and ignores her rejections.David chooses a fantasy world and lives a double life that leads to death and his demise.Highsmith dives deep into the mind of her protagonist.Creepy.

Cathythoughts Great review. I loved this one. Must see how many of hers I have left. 👍🏻♥️ 2mo
Anna40 Thanks @Cathythoughts ! I love her writing. Highsmith is brilliant. I‘m reading Talented Mr. Ripley now. Any others you‘ve read and would recommend? 2mo
Cathythoughts I loved these two , but you can‘t go wrong. She‘s all good 👍🏻😁 2mo
See All 7 Comments
Anna40 Great! Thanks @Cathythoughts 2mo
KathyWheeler @Cathythoughts Strangers on a Train is one of my favorite movies. I need to read the book. 2mo
Cathythoughts @KathyWheeler and I need to see the movie 👍🏻😁 2mo
18 likes7 comments
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Anna40
Three O'Clock in the Morning | Gianrico Carofiglio
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An Italian father and his teenage son are in Marseille to see a specialist.Forced to spend two sleepless days and nights together in order to determine if the son is cured from epilepsy they walk the streets of the city at night,go to a jazz club,explore the surroundings of Marseille,meet people but mainly talk and through their communication find a deep and intimate connection,learn things about one another they otherwise wouldn‘t have.Loved it!

33 likes2 stack adds
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Anna40
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Pickpick

I‘m in awe of the intelligence, wit and emotional depth of these stories. I adored Silence and the title story The empty family.

23 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
Antarctica | Claire Keegan
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Mehso-so

I hated the first story titled Antarctica. The others were ok. Compared to her novels and other short story collection, this felt promising at best. It‘s not the writing, but the content that fell flat for me.

Suet624 That‘s too bad. 🥴 3mo
Anna40 @Suet624 yes, it is. On the other hand this feels like her early work and I was probably a bit harsh in my judgement. Others might enjoy them Many of the stories won prizes. I think I expected something else and then was disappointed. She still is one of my favourite writers :) 2mo
25 likes2 comments
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Anna40
Walk the Blue Fields: Stories | J.K. Rowling , Claire Keegan
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Pickpick

My favourites were the title story: Walk the blue fields and the last story in the collection: Night of the quicken trees.

Soubhiville Why is Rowling‘s name listed on the @litsy title line? Did she write the intro? That‘s annoying. 3mo
Anna40 @Soubhiville I think it‘s weird and annoying too because Claire Keegan is the author and in my edition there is no foreword by Rowling. She‘s nowhere in the collection 😒 3mo
Tamra Yes, that happened to me too. It‘s confusing with Rowling‘s name tagged. 3mo
26 likes3 comments
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Anna40
Mothers and Sons | Colm Toibin
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The relationships of mothers and sons in these stories are not cozy and cuddly, the focus is often on either the mother as in Famous blue raincoat or on the sons, i.e. life after losing her (Three Friends).I loved A priest in the family because of the theme it explores and A Song which was deeply moving.A long winter is the best story in this collection but could have been cut.Tóibín is a fine storyteller and deftly captures loss and longing.

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Anna40
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Bailedbailed

Halfway through, I bail.The dialogues are captivating,the writing concise.There‘s depth and tension in the interaction between characters which kept me interested, the writing is superb. It‘s innovative - I love the idea of the email exchange but that‘s also one of my main issues with the novel: it‘s distracting, the email content condescending and pretentious, preachy even.But what made me bail:I didn‘t like and care about any of the characters.

rachaich I did the same... 3mo
Anna40 @rachaich I don‘t think Rooney is a writer I want to explore more. Perhaps when she‘s older her writing will have more depth (edited) 3mo
25 likes2 comments
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Anna40
Foster | Claire Keegan
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Pickpick

An unnamed girl spends the summer with a couple whom she is related to but has never met.Why she is sent away is never revealed but the reader guesses it‘s for financial reasons.Throughout the summer the girl works side by side with the woman on the farm.Their chores are meticulously listed.The couple don‘t use her as a help,the work makes her part of the family,she experiences love,attention and care.Central themes are loss but mostly love.

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Anna40
Walking on the Ceiling | Aysegl Savas
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Pickpick

Set mainly in Paris and Istanbul, several pasts and present, the narrator a young woman remembers her friendship with a famous writer but also her relationship with her family, in particular her mother. Central are also walks through both cities, food and drink, and then there is London and the ex boyfriend Luke. Poetic, beautiful writing, but a real story is missing.

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Anna40
Small Things Like These | Claire Keegan
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Bill Furlong,born out of wedlock in Ireland‘s 1950s,and his mother are taken in by Mrs. Wilson when everyone else rejects them.She helps him become a kind,hard working man.Set in 1985,Bill-now married and a doting father of 5 daughters-witnesses how “fallen” young women are abused and exploited in the convent.Bill is the only one who decides to act even though this will impact his family‘s life.A brilliant novella about kindness and courage.

plemmdog I love her writing 4mo
Anna40 Yes, waiting times at the library are several weeks to months for her books. This was the first one I read and now I know why. I bought Foster and am waiting for it to arrive in the mail. 4mo
28 likes2 comments
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Anna40
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Pickpick

Told mainly from the perspective of the ‘first white black man‘ Anders,the novel centres around the fantasy of everyone turning black.Hamid published this as a short story in the New Yorker that he then turned into a book-length narrative.Thoughts about racism and identity are presented in an original tone, however, the story is a bit too dragged out& the writing annoyed me at the end which is why I think this works better as a short story.

SamAnne I thought his Exit West was much much better. 4mo
Anna40 @SamAnne I haven‘t read Exit West. I‘ll try it. Thanks for the tip. I really liked the short story based on Last white man which is why I picked it up and did enjoy it but it was too long and for this kind of length I expected a bit more depth. As a short story it works, it‘s original with a great premise. 4mo
SamAnne @anna40 I didn‘t know it was based on a short story. That makes sense. It did lack depth. This one was a so-so read for me. Exit West was a 5 star. So inventive and the magic realism element allows him to tackle aspects of the immigrant experience in better detail, in a new way. 4mo
Anna40 @SamAnne I‘m not a big magic realism fan but it does sound like a good book. I‘ll give it a try. I also enjoyed the Reluctant Fundamentalist 4mo
SamAnne @Anna40 I've been wanting to try the Reluctant Fundamentalist, but put it on the back burner after reading The Last White Man. I'm not a big magic realism fan either, but it worked for me in Exit West. 4mo
24 likes5 comments
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Anna40
Pulse | Julian Barnes
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Pickpick

In these short stories, set in the past and now, Julian Barnes lets his characters grapple with love, loss, grief and relationships. In 4 stories,the witty banter almost resembles a play: a group of friends discusses topics ranging from politics and life to small medical procedures. My favourite was ‘Easy Wind‘: a budding relationship between a divorced English man and a Polish waitress becomes political, current events commentary.

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Anna40
Cat's Eye | Margaret Atwood
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Pickpick

Time, memory and childhood trauma are themes in this disturbing, masterfully written novel. The narrator is now a middle aged successful painter remembering amongst other things the ways her cruel childhood friend and bully tormented her. I don‘t know why, maybe it‘s the distant cool tone, but I found it hard to relate to the narrator and care about her. The writing drew me in, yet the long descriptions were quite boring. Barely a pick for me.

26 likes2 stack adds
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Anna40
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Pickpick

Set in India today,the novel is told mainly from the perspective of the two main characters Sera,a middle class woman and Bhima,her servant.Both women are in their fifties with adult children.In flashbacks we learn about their lives,the hardships they both faced and how they each supported one another throughout the years in different ways.What separates them is class.Story is predictable and could have been cut,writing is beautiful.

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Anna40
The Memory Monster | Yishai Sarid
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Pickpick

The narrator is a historian specialised in the Shoa and a tour guide in the extermination camps in Poland whose initial approach to his job is intellectual and academic but as the book progresses the weight of the horror he recounts every day changes him. Written in epistolary form, the novel is filled with historical events, raises questions that are relevant today and is just … heartbreaking.

24 likes4 stack adds
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Anna40
The Diving Pool | Yoko Ogawa, Stephen Snyder
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Pickpick

The characters in these three novellas are cruel, their evil impulses nauseating. Ogawa‘s prose is distanced but poetic. She uses metaphors such as water, snow or food. I agree with Joanna Briscoe: “To read Yoko Ogawa is to enter a dreamlike state tinged with nightmare.” Original and eerie.

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Anna40
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Mehso-so

I wish I could rate this higher. I love Barry‘s writing style. It‘s witty and unusual, e.g. “looking out at the rain that as sure as Jesus had returned to make another wet joke of the summer.” The stories start of promising but then are either about self loathing or depressing “relationships” or both and are often boring.

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Anna40
Tipping The Velvet | Sarah Waters
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Pickpick

The narrator of this novel,set in Victorian England,is the young working class woman Nan who follows her first love Kitty, a male impersonator popular on local Theater stages, to London.She eventually joins Kitty and the two become famous.It imagines a small lesbian community that Nan briefly becomes part of.Eroticism and passion are themes in the bk.Barely a pick-too much backstory&sex-but an original and passionate debut that deserves praise.

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Anna40
The End of the Affair | Graham Greene
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Mehso-so

In this novel the narrator Maurice Bendrix is so obsessed with the end of his affair to a married woman, Sarah, that he hires a private detective to follow her. Bendrix is spiteful, conceited and self absorbed. I got extremely frustrated and almost bailed. With the switch to Sarah‘s perspective my frustration grew. The writing is good, some humor and the ending are wonderful, but overall it was tedious and disappointing.

26 likes2 stack adds
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Anna40
A Dream Life | Claire Messud
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Alice, the protagonist in this slim delightful novel, moves with her family from the US to Australia. They rent a luxurious but kitschy “chateau” with a gardener. Set in the 70s, Alice is catapulted into a different country and life - a “dream” life of money, entertaining guests, private schools and looking for a housekeeper. We find out that Alice was an independent woman who worked in publishing. So maybe this isn‘t a dream life? Loved it!

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Anna40
Eine Formalie in Kiew | Dmitrij Kapitelman
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My translation of the first chapter of Eine Formalie in Kiew is in Exchanges: Journal for Literary Translation of the University of Iowa https://exchanges.uiowa.edu/issues/see/from-eine-formalie-in-kiew/

Adventures-of-a-French-Reader 🎉 Congrats 🎉 6mo
Anna40 Merci 😘 6mo
13 likes2 comments
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Anna40
Wild Decembers | Edna O'Brien
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Joseph Brennan and Mick Bugler are neighbours and enemies in an Irish farming community. And then there‘s Breege, Joseph‘s sister, who falls madly in love with Bugler… O‘Brien‘s masterful language, her mesmerising descriptions of wild landscapes and the tragic, passionate story made this a perfect book for my Thanksgiving break.

23 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
Presence of Absence | Simon Van Booy
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I still think about this book and am not sure if I understood it. Meditations on the end of life, after life, your life without you. The last half is poetry. An extraordinary book. Delicately written.

21 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this children‘s book about a grumpy grandma who connects with her grandson and reconnects with a lost love. We also find out why she‘s grumpy and empathise with her. Lots of Yiddish words in it too. Heartwarming, moving, but also funny.

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Anna40
Us Two Together | Ephameron, Eva Cardon
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Pickpick

A beautiful book about grief, loss and the impermanence of life. I love the artwork. Deeply moving.

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Anna40
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Pickpick

There is good and there is great. Edna O‘Brien‘s short story The love object is great. Her style, the depth, the writing - brilliant.

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Anna40
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Irankunda writes about the atrocities he witnessed as a child during the Civil war in Burundi.The focus however is not on the violence,but on thoughts on his country, its people and what war did to them.He observes that European colonialism and its annihilation of traditions, culture and the justice system,led by the Bashingantahe,are responsible for the division in his country.He strongly advocates for reviving cultural knowledge and traditions.

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Anna40
Magic Barrel | Bernard Malamud
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Malamud does something used-to-this-fast -paced-world me normally wouldn‘t be able to process: he gives a lot of backstory - but Boy! does he do that well! Loved his writing. Lady of the lake was my favourite - the story explores Jewish identity and concealing it to be accepted in society, in a romantic relationship or to climb the social ladder. The ending packs a punch.

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Anna40
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Pickpick

The anthology of poems, short stories, excerpts of novels and memoirs explores what it‘s like to separate from your home country, your family, culture and language to emigrate to another country. Established authors like Salman Rushdie or Zadie Smith are brought together with - to me - less well known writers such as Eva Hoffman or Sefi Atta. I loved the excerpt from The Bridge of the Golden Horn by Emine Sevgi Özdamar.

17 likes2 stack adds
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Anna40
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Pickpick

Six stories based on notebooks filled with accounts by young Jews in Lithuania translated from Yiddish. They were entries for a prize that was never awarded because Hitler invaded Poland. I liked the art work and the stories. The fact that they were found - they had been hidden for years in a church - is amazing.

25 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
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Pickpick

It stirs up a lot of emotions. Infuriating and deeply upsetting. Society is fascinated with the death of Jews but shows no interest in the living, thriving Jewish communities, their traditions, thoughts, literature and culture. Over the last two years I have been told that the “Talmud is a Satanic book”, “the Jews killed Jesus”, and just recently traveling in Italy that “Jews stink, are dirty and cling to their money”.

Libby1 I‘m dismayed by what has been said to you. I feel the need to do something. 9mo
Libby1 I‘ve just requested it from my work. I work at Waterstones, so all being well I can also try to promote it. 9mo
Anna40 @Libby1 ❤️ 9mo
Graywacke That‘s crazy. I‘m sorry you have dealt with that. 9mo
Anna40 @Graywacke yes, it is. The person who gave his opinion on the Talmud has never read it and doesn‘t know what it‘s about, I asked him. And what I found even more incredible is with how much ease these statements were uttered, how normal it seems to be to people to say these things, they were nonchalant, casual as if commenting on the weather… Absolutely insane. 9mo
22 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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Anna40
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Pickpick

I think this novel works so well for me because of the narrator‘s kindness and empathy, because she opens up and shows how vulnerable she is. But also because the character evolves. I loved this book very much. Even though there is no indication of it in the book, I wonder if Lucy imagined her mother‘s visit.

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Anna40
Kalmann | Joachim B. Schmidt
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Kalmann is one of the last remaining fishermen specialised in hunting sharks in a small remote Icelandic town. An outsider because of his learning difficulties and struggles in social situations, he is often ridiculed but is deeply rooted in the town community. The mystery is only ok, outstanding is the main character and the way the story is told through his perspective, thoughts, observations, comments and memories.

27 likes3 stack adds
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Anna40
Mentre la citt bruciava | Shulim Vogelmann
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19 year old Shulim Vogelmann goes to Israel to learn Hebrew, ends up studying history at Jerusalem university and finally decides to become an Israeli citizen. It reads like a polished diary: Shulim‘s observations of life in Israel and his first love story intermingle with thoughts of what it means to be Jewish, nationality, identity and Israeli politics.

SqueakyChu What is the name of this book in English? 10mo
Anna40 @SqueakyChu I don‘t think it has been translated into English. I found it browsing a bookstore in Italy. Vogelmann is an Italian Jew whose father and grandfather founded the Jewish publishing house Giuntina. They just published the Talmud and mainly publish Israeli literature in Italian translation. Vogelmann translates most of their books https://www.giuntina.it 10mo
SqueakyChu @Anna40. Thank you for the information. I can‘t read these books in Italian, but I do recognize names of some Israeli authors in their catalogue. 10mo
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Anna40 @SqueakyChu can you recommend any of the Israeli authors? 10mo
SqueakyChu There are so many I like. Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, Etgar Keret, Sayed Kashua, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, Meir Shalev. That should get you started!! (edited) 10mo
Anna40 @SqueakyChu Thank you 9mo
14 likes1 stack add7 comments
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Anna40
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Pickpick

I loved how Anderson contextualized T.E. Lawrence‘s story and included Aaron Aaronsohn(brilliant agronomist, Zionist and spy)and his sister Sarah Aaronsohn, Curt Prüfer(German diplomat, who ran a spy ring and operations to sabotage the British, Minna Weizmann‘s lover) and William Yale(oilman and spy)in this detailed biography. Anderson shows Lawrence‘s genius and faults, is an excellent storyteller and makes historic characters come alive.

Oblomov26 This was a great book 9mo
Anna40 @Oblomov26 Yes! The detailed military strategy/battle descriptions were not for me but overall a great book, I agree 9mo
Oblomov26 @Anna40 if you are interested in this place and period can also recommend “A peace to end all peace” by Fromkin which provides a well written and interesting overview of how the Middle East ended like it is. 9mo
Anna40 @Oblomov26 thank you!! 9mo
24 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Anna40
Johannistag: Roman | Charles Lewinsky
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Mehso-so

I didn‘t like this as much as Kastelau. The story centred around the village secrets and the narrator‘s love letters were only ok.

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Anna40
Kastelau | Charles Lewinsky
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Set in 1945: a film crew escapes Berlin by pretending to make a Nazi propaganda movie in the Bavarian Alps. A German actor who becomes a movie star in Hollywood is not the resistance hero he claims to be. A story of lies, deceit and murder told through different perspectives and means of story telling: interview, dissertation, encyclopaedic entries, diary and letters. I bought two other Lewinsky books. Wonderful author!

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Anna40
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Biller is a ‘controversial‘ Jewish writer who lives in Germany. Der gebrauchte Jude is part essay part memoir. Biller relives his student years in the 1980s in Munich, describes Jewish life and friendships with other Jews in Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin or Hamburg, encounters with the literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki and renders clear how difficult and complex it is to be a Jewish author writing in German in the country of the perpetrators.

Adventures-of-a-French-Reader It sounds very interesting. I should try and find it in French or in English... Unfortunately, my German is not good enough anymore to read... 10mo
Anna40 @Adventures-of-a-French-Reader I‘m not sure it has been translated. Maybe into French but not English. It is definitely worth reading and his sentences aren‘t long and convoluted because he wants to distance himself from German authors such as Thomas Mann. 10mo
19 likes1 stack add2 comments