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Asktheletters

Asktheletters

Joined December 2016

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Asktheletters
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Favourites from the first half of 2019...a surprising amount of backlist!

Slightly less thrilling are the curlews that spend the night wailing back and forth at each other - it started off as a single bird, however it‘s now found a friend. 😑

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As Meat Loves Salt | Maria McCann
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An unsettling combination of the brutal, obsessive, beautiful, and tragic...and so very, very good. The protagonist, Jacob Cullen, is a man you‘d sprint a mile from in real life (and bolt the doors behind you, quick smart), but as a character he hooks you in.

TW for sexual violence (and just violence generally, tbh).

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Brideshead Revisited | Evelyn Waugh
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One of my goals this year is to try and reduce the number of unread books I own, because it‘s reaching epidemic proportions. This one has been hanging around for far too long, so the time has come to pick it up.

CarolynM I reread this one last year with some Litsy buddy readers. There's a lot to like about it and quite a bit to think about. You might be interested in some of the discussion under the tag #BridesheadNostalgia 8mo
Asktheletters Ooooh, thanks! I‘ll definitely check that out. 8mo
12 likes2 comments
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Raven Stratagem | Yoon Ha Lee
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#saturdaymorning #yoga 🙃

Now I‘m going to try and finish The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle, which is proving a more arduous endeavour than I initially anticipated.

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A fascinating look at the historical / sociological function of ghosts. So much love for Colin Dickey. Although in my mind, there‘s now a crossover universe between Ghostland and Afterlives of the Saints. The ghosts of early Christian hermits, maybe...that no one quite remembers, because hermits.

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The Unfortunates | Bryan Stanley Johnson
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I don‘t even remember ordering this, but in any event voila! It arrived in the post today - an experimental novel consisting of various parts which are intended to be shuffled and read in random permutations.

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The Binding | Bridget Collins
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I just happened to wander into a bookstore and The Binding followed me home. It‘s found a relation in The Chimes by Anna Smaill.

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The Christmas before last, I gave my mum a Tana French novel, which was a big success. Last Christmas was Ruth Ware...I‘m feeling the pressure for December already 😆

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The Binding | Bridget Collins
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Pickpick

Ugh, now I have such a book hangover (although in the best possible way).

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The Binding | Bridget Collins
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I‘m only halfway through, and I know it‘s *way* too early to be thinking about favourite books of 2019, but I‘m LOVING this. You know those books you read at a feverish pace, unable to stop, while already anxious that in another few hundred pages there won‘t be any more? Yeah, that.

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Friday Black | NANA KWAME. ADJEI-BRENYAH
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Trying to improve my short story game and hoping this one does the trick (aka: I haven‘t read a short story collection in the best part of...15 years? IDEK). Plus, the cover is gorgeous.

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I loved The City & The City and Embassytown, but hit the wall with Perdido Street Station. So I‘m switching gears.

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The Lost Man | Jane Harper
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Just sitting on my bed and listening 😊

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Melmoth | Sarah Perry
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I‘ve been looking forward to this one. And since summer seems to have arrived with an uninvited bang (woe), lying in the shade with a book seems like the perfect activity for this afternoon.

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Binti | Nnedi Okorafor
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I typed “Binti” (by Nnedi Okorafor) into Amazon, which autocorrected to “Hinting”, which in turn produced the hidden gem that is “Guide To Advanced Turkey Hunting”. Not just any old turkey hunting, but *advanced* turkey hunting. If the apocalypse arrives, I‘ll be set.

Kaye Funny. I was wondering who would be into a book on turkey hunting. Better scoop up a copy ! What a bargain price ! 11mo
Asktheletters @Kaye I know, right?! I‘m cackling. 11mo
Kaye Look at the bright side. If you can bag one of those birds, you‘ll have a big old turkey on your table for Thanksgiving. I‘d rather buy mine in the store. Already dead , plucked and clean. No feathers. 11mo
Tamra 😂 11mo
8 likes4 comments
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Rogue Protocol | Martha Wells
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New Murderbot!! 😍🤖

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Mehso-so

A stylised, surreal and gothic ghost story set in a “temporary holding facility with mandatory educational elements” for orphaned boys. Lord of the Flies x The Turn of the Screw x um, Scooby Doo? It didn‘t entirely work for me, but hurrah for a commitment to the weird!

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I‘m only a few chapters in, but so far it‘s quite fascinating. And also a bit alarming, when it dawns that de-extinction may in some cases involve the creation of new hybrid animals. For example, less of a resurrected mammoth and more of a genetically engineered elephant designed to flourish in the wilds of Siberia. 🐘 I‘m not sure that‘s entirely sensible, tbh.

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The Western Wind | Samantha Harvey
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The descriptions in this book are an utter delight. Evocative in a way that has me stopping to re-read, without becoming overblown. Another early favourite is, “[clothes made] of a wool that had never managed to look un-sheeply”.

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I Let You Go | Clare Mackintosh
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First, I had minimal time to read because of work. And then, when work took a breath, I found myself in a reading slump. I‘d read twenty pages of this, that, and the other, and give up on all of them. At which point Clare Mackintosh rode to the rescue. Good old Clare Mackintosh!

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Pickpick

An excellent, investigative account of Theranos, a Silicon Valley startup that had supposedly developed new blood testing tech...only it hadn‘t. And what little it had developed didn‘t work properly! It‘s mind boggling. Completely and utterly BOGGLING.

AmyG Oooo sounds good. 1y
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At around a third of the way in, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, the pages are flying past and the writing style is engaging. On the other are passages like this one. I find it difficult to believe that a 17 year old who‘s just had an argument with her first boyfriend would, in the midst of emotional upset, stop to ponder her response as part of a “predetermined female role”. Ugh.

Notafraidofwords I‘m about 50 pages in and agree 1y
Asktheletters Greer is yet to meet an inner monologue she didn‘t feel the need to share 😂 1y
Notafraidofwords @Asktheletters oh boy that makes me nervous 1y
3 likes3 comments
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1. Okay, so: not a book, but Supernatural fanfic. Yup.
2. Watching the director‘s commentary on Pacific Rim, because Guillermo del Toro, even though I‘ve never actually watched the movie itself...
3. Chips from Red Rooster - all that salty, fatty goodness 😁
4. Anyone who would like to, consider yourself tagged.

And thank you @CarolynM for tagging me! #tuesdaytidbits

CarolynM Love your answers! 1y
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Pickpick

This is just the kind of (truly) peculiar true crime I enjoy: a young flautist breaking into the British Museum of Natural History to steal bird skins. Welcome to the the secretive, underground world of men obsessed with feathers and the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. IDEK.

RaimeyGallant So strange! 1y
Asktheletters Very much so. 1y
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Squeezing in some dinosaur history before heading off to an aerial yoga class. Because dinosaurs.

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Relatively Famous | Roger Averill
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I love this time of year - the weather is cool and the sky stretches huge and blue. I picked up “Relatively Famous” on a whim and at a little over halfway through, am really enjoying it. It‘s a quiet novel about parents and children, and what it means to be present.

CarolynM I've just finished reading Relatively Famous. I enjoyed it very much, there was a lot to think about. How did you feel about it when you finished it? 1y
Asktheletters I felt that it was slightly less compelling in the last quarter, but overall I really enjoyed it. I loved the faux biographical extracts at the start of each chapter, and the contrast between that reconstructed “fictional reality” and the lived (fictional) experience of the protagonist. It didn‘t hurt that I‘m a complete sucker for novels that interweave fiction with Australian art / literary history 😊 1y
12 likes2 comments
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Circe | Madeline Miller
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It‘s a public holiday here, so I‘ve ordered breakfast (sweet potato fritters with avocado and salsa) and am settling in for a day of reading. I adored The Song of Achilles and am so looking forward to this one!

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The Handmaid's Tale | Margaret Atwood
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#newin 😍

Chelsea.Poole Beautiful ♥️ 1y
AmyG Lovely! 1y
Jess7 Omg! I want this edition!!! Wow! @MinDea have you seen this 1y
See All 11 Comments
Jess7 Where is this from?? 1y
Asktheletters @Jess7 It‘s an edition released by Vintage - mine is from Dymocks, an Australian bookstore chain, but I‘m guessing it‘s published internationally. There are matching copies of 1984 and Brave New World, too. 1y
Jess7 Omg I want it!! Was it insanely expensive? 1y
Asktheletters @jess7 No, not at all - $30. I saw it on the shelf and was all grabby hands! 1y
Jess7 I found it on Amazon for $17 +$3.99 shipping. Ordered. Soooo excited! 1y
Asktheletters @jess7 Hurrah! Enjoy! 1y
Jess7 I already own this book in ebook format and paperback. I‘m turning into a crazy person, but this edition is beautiful 1y
Asktheletters @jess7 Lol, you‘re not alone - I have an audio version and also a paperback copy that I‘m now passing on to a co-worker!! 1y
23 likes11 comments
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Rainbirds | Clarissa Goenawan
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Let Me Lie | Clare Mackintosh
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I‘ve had an exhausting week workwise and been binging on Clare Mackintosh. There‘s something weirdly comforting about her books.

Jess7 There a form of escape for me too. You can get lost in them and forget about everything else! 1y
Asktheletters I know, right? Who knew murder and domestic disquiet could be so relaxing. 1y
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I should be working (bleurgh, to quote the 10th Dr), but am instead reading about early Christian saints who had a penchant for climbing up tall pillars or poles and living there. On top of a pole. As you do 😧

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City & the City | China Miville
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Pickpick

I‘d never read Miéville before (how??) and I LOVED this. It took me a moment to get used to the premise of two cities that happen to exist in the same “grosstopical” location, but it‘s fantastically done.

Nan2 I agree! I loved this story and was surprised to see such a low recommendation percentage! 1y
Asktheletters Me too! I‘ve since read Embassytown and adored that one as well. 1y
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The positives: really interesting world building. The negatives: Combining magical whimsy with brutal descriptions of murdered children and violent sexual assault isn‘t working for me. At all. Having now reached the point where the protagonist just fantasised about his ex-wife because of her ability to orgasm easily, I no longer care whether this is meant ironically or not. I almost never bail on a book, but I‘m getting damn close...

Kaye Yuk. I would‘ve bailed on this from page one. I admire those of you that can keep on reading something you‘re not enjoying. 1y
Asktheletters Stories that are dark or violent don‘t typically bother me, and this one was original enough to keep me reading. But yeah, I‘m now at the point of 😖 1y
7 likes2 comments
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Annihilation | Jeff VanderMeer
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Untitled | Unknown
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#newin A novel set in Cairo that‘s also a prose poem written in numbered paragraphs. All of which I consider a bonus, because they had me at “secret poetry club”.

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Semiosis | Sue Burke
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Easter is by far and away my favourite holiday of the year - made even better by an excellent four days of reading, interrupted only by time out for eating all the things.

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Untitled | Anonymous
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#currentread A dual timeline mystery that moves between 1930s Australia and an art dealer in 1999, who buys an unknown portrait of the titular Molly and becomes obsessed with discovering the truth of her murder. There‘s a lot to enjoy here - not least the blurred line between fiction, true crime, and art history.

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Sing, Unburied, Sing | Jesmyn Ward
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A+ on audio. Actually, at 3 hours in just A+ altogether.

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The Gone World | Tom Sweterlitsch
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Pickpick

I flippin‘ loved this book. I‘ve seen it referenced as “True Detective meets Inception / Twelve Monkeys” and that‘s kind of accurate: time-travelling-crime-adventure colliding with horror-sci-fi. It kicks off with a bang that‘s just...super creepy and cinematic. If you enjoyed the “omg, what did I just read” aspect of Ninefox Gambit, then give it a go. Although a warning for violence.

East_Of_Imagination Yassss! I just started this book and was hooked from the prologue. I made the mistake of starting it alone at night and now I‘m traumatized 🙈 2y
Asktheletters I had a similar experience lol! That prologue is both brilliant and horrifying. 2y
11 likes1 stack add2 comments
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A quick, entertaining read that succeeds more as family (melo)drama than a mystery. Just heed the warning because, well. There‘s an awful lot going on in this book.

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The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock | Imogen Hermes Gowar
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I decided to dip my toe into some historical fiction and at about a third of the way in, am gearing up for a full blown, rompish paddle.

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The Book of Joan: A Novel | Lidia Yuknavitch
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Panpan

The audio narration was great, but overall this book was just...ugh. All the UGGGHH, with the added bonus of an ending that struck me as “problematic” at best 😑 At least the cover is pretty?

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Bel Canto | Ann Patchett
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TrishB Loved I am.... ❤️ 2y
Asktheletters I‘ve heard such good things about it! 2y
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The Book of Formation | Ross Simonini
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Pickpick

Three things you need to know about this book: One, it‘s truly strange and often disconcerting (TW for abuse and sexual assault). Two, there‘s a whole lot of wonderful mixed in with the weird. It‘s structured through a series of transcribed interviews between an unnamed journalist and Masha (later Marshall), the adopted son of a 90‘s “personality” guru called Mayah - think Oprah crossed with Scientology. Three, it‘s really, really good.

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The Dry | Jane Harper
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Wonderful on audio - I kept looking for things to do that allowed me to keep listening. Housework took on a whole new appeal. “Ooooh, is that some dust on the skirting board? EXCELLENT!”

ReadingSusan 🤣🤣 2y
9 likes1 comment
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Rosewater | Tade Thompson
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The set-up: a future Nigeria over a non-chronological, twenty year period following the arrival of an alien life form that seals itself inside a biodome and releases microscopic fungal spores into the atmosphere, which infect some of the population with telepathic abilities that a secret government organisation wants to control. Whew. Fungal sci-fi is totally a thing 😁

MayJasper 😱 2y
8 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Pickpick

An excellent horror novella about a girl with an unenviable problem: each time she bleeds, a doppelgänger is made. And those copies? Always turn bad. This is probably my favourite type of spec fic - a world that isn‘t ours, but could be. Scenes from the multiverse, vibrating on an adjacent string.

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Found Audio | N. J. Campbell
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In the Woods | Tana French
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From my mum, about the gift I gave her for Christmas *BEAMS*

Kaye That‘s wonderful. You must be pretty good at knowing what type books your mom would like. 2y
11 likes1 comment