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Awk_Word_Smith

Awk_Word_Smith

Joined May 2016

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Awk_Word_Smith
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A little nonfiction to kick off the weekend.

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Awk_Word_Smith
A Shadow Intelligence | Oliver Harris
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Pickpick

I unknowingly read this series out of sequence. I‘m actually glad I did. I liked the second book but, having really enjoyed this one, I might have been disappointed. “The Shadow Intelligence” was a masterfully plotted espionage thriller. The twists were unexpected and pacing increased as the story moved the reader along toward the chaotic, crescendo ending. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

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Awk_Word_Smith
Coffee with Groucho | Simon Louvish
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How did ppl know when to poop before coffee?

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Awk_Word_Smith
Coffee with Einstein | Carlos I. Calle
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Awk_Word_Smith
A Shadow Intelligence | Oliver Harris
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NEXT!

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 💛💙💛 2w
Awk_Word_Smith @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I didn‘t realize it was a series and already read the 2nd one first. 2w
18 likes2 comments
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Awk_Word_Smith
Untitled | Anonymous
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Just sayin‘

julesG I can relate 2w
12 likes1 comment
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Awk_Word_Smith
Untitled | Anonymous
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#BookMadness #MarchMadness #ReadingBracket2024 #TopRead2024

January: The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
February: Dead Wake by Erik Larson
March: View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

Bonus: The Burning God by R.F. Kuang (from January)

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Awk_Word_Smith
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Panpan

Nope

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Awk_Word_Smith
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This “novel” is making me so incredibly mad. 😡

As a writer, it is fascinating to see the work that Harper Lee and Tay Hohoff, Lee‘s editor, put in to mold an American classic into existence. But to market this as anything more than an unedited first draft of “To Kill A Mockingbird” is disingenuous at best.

Apart from the academic, there is no literary value to publishing “Watchman”. It was an obvious cash grab, and a stain upon Lee‘s legacy.

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Awk_Word_Smith
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…but first…

Instead of my annual rereading of “To Kill A Mockingbird”, I thought I‘d finally read the original unpublished first draft of it.

We shall see if this is an abomination or not, whether it should have ever seen the light of day, or is a valuable companion to the original giving more depth to already beloved characters.

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Awk_Word_Smith
Ascension | Oliver Harris
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Pickpick

Very enjoyable espionage thriller. I figured out the twist about 2/3rds into the book, but a fun read nonetheless. Will definitely be going back to read the first in this series, but first…

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

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Awk_Word_Smith
Ascension | Oliver Harris
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Didn‘t realize it was No. 2 in a series until I was knee-deep and could not turn back. 🤣

12 likes1 stack add
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Awk_Word_Smith
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Pickpick

Another solid historical outing from Neal Bascomb. I knew Germany was close to creating an atomic bomb, I just didn‘t realize how close and how many times the Allies had to employee this ragtag unit from Norway thwart the German program. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

13 likes1 stack add
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Awk_Word_Smith
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Grabbing another quick non-fiction read with Neal Bascomb.

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Awk_Word_Smith
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Pickpick

Speeches inspiring art students to create good art. Speeches inspiring comic book creators to create good art. Speeches to inspire comic book dealers to sell good art. Essays about interviewing Lou Reed. Essays about interviewing Stephen King.

Awk_Word_Smith This collection is just as enthralling as “The Neil Gaiman Reader”. The only reason I didn‘t give it my typical 5-star review for all things Neil Gaiman was the article tucked away toward the end of the book chronicling his tour of a refugee camp with Harvey Weinstein. Dated and cringe, so a point deduction. But truth be told, I‘ll probably own at least two copies so I can mark up on of them when he details his writing process. 1mo
19 likes1 comment
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Awk_Word_Smith
Coffee with Oscar Wilde | Merlin Holland
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Water = Coffee. Coffee = Happiness. Water is essential to happiness.

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Neil Gaiman is my favorite hoodie. Baggy, unfashionable (I see the looks I get when I say that my Top 3 authors are Dickens, Gaiman, and whoever I‘m currently reading), and immensely comfortable as well as comforting. Thankful, I‘m not sure that I‘ll ever run out of material.

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Awk_Word_Smith
The Nazi Hunters | Neal Bascomb
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A solid 4 ⭐️ IMO. Bascomb keeps the reader engaged with novel-like pacing and structure. I love history, and I‘m seeing more and more historians embrace this ethos. They are seeing the value in good storytelling, not just in-depth research.

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Anyone else have years like this? Just me? Cool.

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Coffee with Groucho | Simon Louvish
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Well except readers. They are my ppl.
.
📸:: Death Wish Coffee Co.

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The Nazi Hunters | Neal Bascomb
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Bite-sized WWII nonfiction about the capture of one of Germany‘s most infamous SS officer, Adolf Eichmann, in Argentina.

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Awk_Word_Smith
Small Things Like These | Claire Keegan
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Pickpick

Powerful and beautiful. A lovely Irish Christmas story—a remarkable tale for the zealots and heathens alike. Claire Keegan well earned every accolade garnered for this novella. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ / 5

14 likes1 stack add
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Awk_Word_Smith
Small Things Like These | Claire Keegan
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I know nothing of this book except that BooksAreSick on IG absolutely loved it. Looks like it is only about a 2-hour read so I should knock it out today!

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Awk_Word_Smith
Assassination Vacation | Sarah Vowell
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REREAD: Sarah Vowell is a Gen X historian with a Gen X wit, which is to say this book is a dark, wisecracking comedic take on U.S. history. While Vowell very much shows her personal interest in the Lincoln assassination, she also reminds us that Garfield and McKinley were assassinated as well, you know. And one of the assassins even had ties to a 19th Century biblical sex cult-turned-kitchenwares company. But we already knew that. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Librarybelle This one is my favorite by her! 2mo
Awk_Word_Smith @Librarybelle Amen! It was definitely the most Gen X snarky. And as a Gen Xer, I hardily approve. 2mo
Librarybelle I‘m one of those “millennials” that just missed the Gen X cutoff and better identify with the X‘ers than the millennials. Give me snarkiness any day! 😂 2mo
Awk_Word_Smith @Librarybelle honorary Gen X 🙌 2mo
14 likes4 comments
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Awk_Word_Smith
Assassination Vacation | Sarah Vowell
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Rereading because Sarah Vowell is hilarious and super American history nerdy. 😂 🤣 😂

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Awk_Word_Smith
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Pickpick

“Dead Wake” by Erik Larson is an exhilarating journey through history, written with the finesse of a master storyteller akin to Tom Clancy, Ian Fleming, or Robert Ludlum. Larson skillfully navigates between the roles of hunter and hunted, immersing readers in the heart-pounding suspense of the era.

Awk_Word_Smith With its blend of glamour, suspense, and historical significance, “Dead Wake” captures the essence of a pivotal moment in WWI history, revealing untold truths about the English Admiralty with gripping intensity. This book is a captivating read and an essential exploration of a disaster shrouded in mystery, brought to life with unparalleled aplomb. (edited) 2mo
18 likes1 comment
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Back to some good old non-fiction. This Erik Larson book has been on my TBR List for some time. Bon voyage!

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Mehso-so

M‘eh. Just wasn‘t my cup of tea. But I‘m not a Lovecraft fan, so maybe I‘m just not familiar enough with the mythology of Cthulhu. I very much enjoyed the way James Lovegrove wrote Holmes and Watson. ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

julesG Have you read the other books in the series? I know they are loosely connected and can be read as a standalone, but might be more fun when you've read them "in order". First one's: 2mo
Awk_Word_Smith @julesG I have not 👍. I requested them all from NYPL digital stacks and this was the first one that became available. I may go back and read the other ones when I have a reading gap. 2mo
16 likes2 comments
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Awk_Word_Smith
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Next up… since no one—not even Xiran Jay Zhao—knows when Iron Tyranny will come out.

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Awk_Word_Smith
Fourth Wing | Rebecca Yarros
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Pickpick

This was a very fun read. "Fourth Wing" offers an enjoyable dragon-riding fantasy, but the intense love story occasionally feels excessive, lingering too long across multiple chapters. While crucial to the plot, it becomes a bit gratuitous. Fortunately, the narrative regains momentum with a thrilling battle and a surprising cliffhanger, redeeming the overall experience. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Awk_Word_Smith And normally I loathe cliffhangers. 🤣 3mo
22 likes1 comment
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Awk_Word_Smith
Fourth Wing | Rebecca Yarros
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I guess I‘m doing this.

TheSpineView Enjoy! 3mo
Awk_Word_Smith @TheSpineView I hope so. It always worries me when a book gets this much hype. Already a chapter in: so far, so good. 3mo
19 likes2 comments
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Awk_Word_Smith
The Burning God | R. F. Kuang
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Pickpick

This modern masterpiece of military fantasy seamlessly blends intricate storytelling with historical inspiration, immersing readers in Fang Runin's transformative journey from a war orphan to a powerful shaman. Kuang skillfully navigates the complexities of war, trauma, and revolution, drawing parallels to the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. I mourned each chapter as it brought closer to the inevitable, gut-wrenching end.

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The Burning God | R. F. Kuang
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Started this trilogy last year, so let‘s knock it out now!

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Awk_Word_Smith
Lightlark | Alex Aster
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Mehso-so

Look, I am well aware that I am not the target audience for this novel. But I follow the author on social media, and I love her content and how much she loves her fans. The writing was good. The story was good. The plot twist at the end was excellent. I can understand why her fans love this book. I may even eventually pick up and read the second book in the series, but it‘s a beach read for me.

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Lightlark | Alex Aster
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I follow the author on #bookstagram and #booktok. So I am finally going to grab it off my formidable TBR list.

12 likes1 stack add
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Awk_Word_Smith
The Dragon Republic | R. F. Kuang
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Pickpick

An utterly enthralling and dizzying story of plot twists and betrayal for the heroine. Rin escaped her poverty-stricken youth to become a soldier at the nation‘s military academy. When thrown into a war, she discovered a power that turned her into a weapon. As Rin learns a jaded lesson in the corruption of power, she finds herself slowly discovering a path for herself—a path where she controls her destiny rather than being a pawn in her own life.

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The Dragon Republic | R. F. Kuang
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Third checkout is a charm. I only have a quarter of the book left. Hopefully, life will settle enough for me to knock this one out in a couple of nights.

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The Asset | Shane Kuhn
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Pickpick

Another fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride from Shane Kuhn. Loved “The Intern‘s Handbook” series and really wish Kuhn would write more. It was a quick-read for sure and the plot twists definitely kept the reader guessing. Jason Bourne, James Bond, or the Gray Man fans would enjoy this novel. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

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Awk_Word_Smith
The Asset | Shane Kuhn
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Will I or won‘t I finish just one more book this year?

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Pickpick

An excellent debut nonfiction book from an established historical fiction author who already knew his way around the library stacks and primary sources. Don‘t skip on the Author‘s Note at the end better understand the difficulties in sourcing an historical account of the American expansion, especially when focusing on a specific historical story such as the kidnapping of Jemima Boone.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3980645611

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I absolutely loved Matthew Pearl‘s historical fiction, and have had this nonfiction book on my TBR for a while. Let‘s see how many extra books I can cram in before the new year.

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Pickpick

Another masterclass in the spy procedural by le Carré. I have genuinely loved every book he‘s written except “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” So very odd.

This one, however, restored my faith and enjoyment of John le Carré‘s writing. Was very interesting to see how the Brits viewed Trump even in the midst of their own ultra conservative party enjoying a renaissance at the same time. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

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Let‘s read another John le Carré spy novel.

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Awk_Word_Smith
Terciel & Elinor | Garth Nix
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I love that Nix‘s Old Kingdom series isn‘t a chronological series but allows him the freedom to bounce around in time. Book 6: Terciel & Elinor jumps some 30 years prior to the birth of Sabriel, the main character of the first book in the series. He also has managed to produce six books in the series that can be read independently of the series and in any order. The creative freedom absolutely shows in each book, a tremendous gift for the reader.

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Awk_Word_Smith
Terciel & Elinor | Garth Nix
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I started this series last December. Might as well finish it this December.

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Bailedbailed

I. Can‘t. Even.

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POV: nonfiction author losing credibility by the fourth paragraph after stating he was a comic book fan since the 60s, yet didn‘t know that the comic book Steve Rogers grew up in the Irish neighborhoods of the Lower East Side. The author was obviously not a Capt America fan until 2011 when the movies inexplicably moved Steve Rogers to Brooklyn. 🤷‍♂️

CSeydel 😵 5mo
julesG 🤭🤣🤣🤣 Now we all know just how much research went into the book. 5mo
Awk_Word_Smith @julesG I mean that was literally the first thing that I thought when I read it. I know I‘m a comic book nerd, but if you spend the three previous paragraphs and the first four of your book trying to convince the reader you know what you‘re talking about—please know what you‘re talking about. 😂 5mo
11 likes3 comments
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Awk_Word_Smith
The Dragon Republic | R. F. Kuang
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Finally, the hold came in.

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Awk_Word_Smith
The Expats: A Novel | Chris Pavone
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Pickpick

Oh so close! I started reading this and about halfway through I was not sure I even liked the MC, Kate Moore, an ex-CIA agent, who literally becomes so sloppy that even through her suspicions doesn‘t see red flags all around. Then the suspense really amps up in the final third and the book went from a 3-star to a 5-star, but in the final pages the ending fell flat for me. I did like the book so I give it 4-stars.

Awk_Word_Smith P.S. I listened to the audiobook and found the jumps in time a bit confusing as there were multiple timelines and no audio queue indicating the jump—other than the final timeline. I can‘t say if the printed editions mark these or not. 5mo
25 likes1 comment
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Awk_Word_Smith
Untitled | Unknown
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I don‘t mean to pile on during #NaNoWriMo, but how‘s your #Goodreads #ReadingChallenge going this year?