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Billypar

Billypar

Joined February 2017

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Billypar
In Memory | Joshua Sutton
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#TuesdayTunes @TieDyeDude
This is technically the 2nd album from the 90s alt rock band For Squirrels, but I believe it's their first major label release or the first to get some radio play at any rate. Sadly, 2 of the 4 members were killed in a traffic accident right before the album was released. There's a grim irony in the tragedy because the lead single 'Mighty K.C.' was a tribute to Kurt Cobain, who took his life the previous year 👇

Billypar That's a fact I didn't even know until years later, after the internet, and specifically Wikipedia came around: the band was not well known. I only listened to the whole album a handful of times, but I still love the main single. It's steeped in the style of that time, so I'm not sure how it sounds to someone who didn't grow up with 90s alt rock, but I still love it: https://open.spotify.com/track/1abDkawNR5aFFw3gGTBkb8?si=psbKHbF2T2SPH39cS56OuA 18h
vivastory Wow, haven't heard this in a long time. Love this song. 18h
Billypar @vivastory It's one of those where I only remember the song and no other context, but it always stood out a bit from similar stuff. 17h
21 likes3 comments
review
Billypar
Kindred | Octavia Butler
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Pickpick

This has hands down one of the best protagonist- antagonist relationships I've read in recent memory. The main character and her white, slave owning ancestor are two people who shouldn't know each other, and Butler writes their interactions like she is herself curious to find out what would happen if a black woman from modern times had to confront a slave holder. There is something unnerving about this realism in an inherently unreal context 👇

Billypar That quality also extends to the general atmosphere of threat. I've read other novels about slavery that have described more horrific violence, but something about having a modern character travel back in time to be at risk made me feel the main character's vulnerability more intensely. This surprised me: I'm not sure if it's because there's an extra buffer in a standard historical novel, seeing through a person's eyes from that time period? 2d
Billypar In any case, this is my new favorite of Butler's and is very much deserving of its new classic status. 2d
Texreader I loved this book 2d
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KathyWheeler I‘ve always been grateful to my sister, who took an African American Lit class in college and brought this book home for me. It‘s amazing, and I agree with what you said about the mc seeming extra vulnerable because she wasn‘t from that time period. 2d
Ruthiella I love Octavia Butler. She was fearless in her writing. And left us way too soon. 2d
LeahBergen Great review! This was a fantastic book. 2d
batsy Nice review. I definitely have to get to Talents and then this in quick order. 1d
Tamra Definitely memorable storytelling! 1d
Billypar @Texreader @LeahBergen @Tamra I loved it even going in with high expectations. I actually read it months ago but got distracted from posting a review, and it's been lingering on my brain ever since. 21h
Billypar @KathyWheeler It's a big regret of mine that I minored in English but never took a black- or women-centric lit course. And back in 2000-2004, diversity in the other courses was terrible - I can remember just one short story and two plays by black authors. No Butler or Morrison 😮‍💨 21h
Billypar @Ruthiella Way too early, and she was so ahead of her time. I would love to know what kinds of projects she would be working on now. 21h
Billypar @batsy She's one of those authors who can write equally well in a literary or sci-fi fantasy mode. In spite of the time travel device, this one feels to me more like a literary fiction novel compared to Parable/Talents, but it's a little like splitting hairs because of how all three are both, not fully one or the other. 19h
Aimeesue Excellent review - and you nailed the impact of modern day person confronting past atrocities. It really brought something to this story. Octavia B ❤️❤️❤️ 19h
Billypar @Aimeesue Octavia Butler was truly one of a kind - I can't tell if I should lookout for other time travel narratives to try and find the same effect, or if it's simply how good the writing is. 18h
KathyWheeler @Billypar I have a BA and an MA in English. Back in the 70s and 80s there were not many African American Lit courses. My sister, although my age, went to college about a decade after I did, so she was able to take a course. (edited) 16h
Reggie This is one of the first books I read because of Litsy and when I finished it I thought I have to read more of her, hopefully she‘s still writing. Imagine my surprise that Kindred came out the year I was born, and that she died in 2008. Made me so sad. 11h
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Billypar
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#Tuesdaytunes @TieDyeDude
I'm not sure if I'm alone here, but I enjoy a disturbing number of the songs listed today. Not the creepy ones, but still...🤯😂
My vote is for Believer by Imagine Dragons.
But speaking of the creepy theme - my fiancee and I were listening to an ok cover of that Marcy Playground song 'Sex and Candy' and then we wondered who else may have covered it...

Billypar ... and that's how we found this testosterone-soaked version from a band I never heard of that has a very fitting name. I'm going to put it under the Spoiler tag because I do NOT recommend listening to it (trust me, it's not something you want in your brain - particularly the chorus 🤢). 1w
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TieDyeDude Ha, I can't listen to that Imagine Dragons song because I always hear “Belieber,“ slang for fans of Justin Bieber. 🤣
I'll take your suggestion and just assume the worst with the other!

“Thanks“ for playing 😉
1w
Ruthiella You are not alone! I like quite a few of the “worst” songs. 😂 1w
BarbaraBB I agree on all Imagine Dragons. Their music is so bombastic, I can‘t stand the drama. For that reason I‘m not a Coldplay fan either. 1w
RamsFan1963 @Billypar I liked their version of Happy Together 1w
Billypar @TieDyeDude I'm not a Bieber fan either, so that does sound like a bad combo to me. As for the second song - there's actually a twist - see my (soon to be posted) comment below. 1w
Billypar @Ruthiella Oh good - that's a relief! Lol. 1w
Billypar @BarbaraBB Agreed, I don't like Coldplay either. The sound for both seems sterile and bland to me, like they wrung out all the good stuff from rock. 1w
Billypar @RamsFan1963 So, I listened to Happy Together, and I agree - not bad! Then I went back and listened to Sex and Candy, and I still didn't like it, but it was nowhere near what I remembered. The song in my head sounded like Limp Bizkit covering the song, but this sounded more like Jefferson Airplane maybe? I checked a few other covers to see if I had the wrong song, but I don't think so. Memory is very strange! 🤔 1w
BarbaraBB Exactly! 1w
27 likes12 comments
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Billypar
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RIP Paul Auster 1947--2024
After a move, I found my college syllabus, where I was first introduced to Paul Auster. It was a contemporary lit course that seemed to specialize in white male authors writing about violence. Auster's New York Trilogy couldn't have been more different from the rest, so it stood out, but it took years of reading more widely to understand how unique of a writer he was. While others from his generation were focused on 👇

Billypar male professors behaving badly, Auster's formula was to have no formula. He liked to write about people who were captivated by improbable coincidences or sometimes outright magical phenomena, but you could never predict what was going to happen. The novels could turn on a dime and go in completely unexpected directions. He once described his approach as trying to make sure each sentence was "propulsive" - it had to move the story forward ? 3w
SamAnne A loss. 3w
Billypar To me, they reminded me of short stories that used the extra space to have some more fun and see what they could become. He's not the kind of author you go to when you want a complex character study or dialogue that captures many different voices. But when you want a good story that sticks with you long after you finish, there are few better. 3w
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Liz_M 😢 3w
Ruthiella Great tribute. I‘ve only read The New York Trilogy and it was too abstract for me to enjoy, but I definitely want to try some of his other works, because as you point out, he was a versatile writer, always trying different things and styles. 3w
BarbaraBB Great tribute indeed. I feel like I read him throughout all phases in my life and he always brought something different, unexpected. 3w
batsy Intriguing tribute! I'm ashamed to say I've yet to read him (except for the City of Glass graphic novel that I enjoyed). I have The New York trilogy on my shelves; will start with that. 3w
Billypar @Ruthiella @batsy For me, New York Trilogy feels different than his other work, like three short philosophical fantasies more in line with Borges or Calvino. He is a tough writer to compare to others. My top 3 are probably The Book of Illusions, Leviathan, and Mr. Vertigo. Still haven't had the courage to tackle 4321, but will hopefully try it at some point! 3w
Billypar @BarbaraBB I read almost all of his books while in my twenties because I didn't know very many authors at the time, honestly. I hardly ever reread, but I should probably try it with one of his to see how the experience compares now. 3w
BarbaraBB Yes I feel exactly the same! 3w
batsy @Billypar Thanks for sharing your top 3. Taking a screenshot of this to keep in mind when I read Auster 🙂 3w
sarahbarnes Beautiful post. Good to know your favorites. I‘ve only read 4321 and have wanted to read more by him. 1w
Billypar @sarahbarnes Last night I was listening to this Fresh Air compilation with interview clips over the years - I highly recommend! https://www.npr.org/2024/05/03/1248686515/remembering-novelist-screenwriter-and-... 1w
42 likes13 comments
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Billypar
Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 1 | Marguerite Bennett, Cameron Deordio
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#TuesdayTunes @TieDyeDude
We used to go to concerts fairly regularly, but got out of the habit after Covid, even after it became safe to do so. So it feels strange to suddenly have tickets to four this summer after we heard about several that seemed too good to pass up. In June we're seeing Dresden Dolls (upper left) and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists (lower right), and in August Missy Elliott (lower left) and Santigold (upper right). Pretty excited!

Billypar I made a playlist of a few favorites, but it's tough to go wrong with anything these four have released: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/61vaiRSWiUCoFN7Rh4hSap?si=Rme-iXWAQcC2f1Sfz6p5... 3w
TheKidUpstairs Woah, awesome concert line up! I miss going to concerts. I used to go all the time when I lived in Toronto. 3w
vivastory I miss live music, too. All 4 sound like they will be a fantastic time. I saw Dresden Dolls years ago play w/ Sonic Youth. It was a great show! 3w
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BarbaraBB Wow what a lineup you‘ve made for yourself. I luckily live in the center of Amsterdam and go to concerts at least once a month - mostly small venues not the ridiculously expensive stadium tours. 3w
UwannaPublishme I miss live concerts too. 3w
Billypar @TheKidUpstairs @UwannaPublishme I've had stretches where it feels like too many, and then you take it for granted and get jaded. But I do feel lucky to still have the opportunity, even if I have get tired more easily compared to when I was younger! 3w
Billypar @vivastory I've seen the Dresden Dolls a few times, and they always put on a fantastic show. What a great double bill with Sonic Youth headlining - that must have been a great one! 3w
Billypar @BarbaraBB Yeah, I would like to transition to smaller, more local shows. We usually do middle-tier acts that are relatively well known but still reasonably priced. The only larger one for this summer is Missy Elliott, who is on our short list of acts to see at least once. 3w
BarbaraBB She is so cool! 3w
TieDyeDude Great concert lineup! Thanks for the playlist. I like the slightly discordant sound of The Dresden Dolls; they are new to me.
Not a lot of bands come to Alaska (or Western Colorado), so I definitely see less shows than when I was 20 minutes outside of Philly, but one of my favorite bands, Dawes, is coming to AK this summer, and we're not above a trip to WA for the right show :-) There is some good local talent in AK, too. Bar shows have been okay!
3w
UwannaPublishme Oh, you‘re going to have a great summer with this line-up. Rest up now! 😁 3w
Billypar @TieDyeDude There's nothing better than that feeling of a rare concert by a favorite band. For me, that was a Portishead show in 2008. Hope you have a great time seeing Dawes! 3w
Billypar @UwannaPublishme Ha - seriously! 😆 3w
37 likes13 comments
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Billypar
Human Sacrifices | Mara Fernanda Ampuero
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Believe it or not, I wasn't aware of a theme in my two purchases over the weekend. My fiancee took them out of the bag and was like: "Um, should I be concerned?" But in my mind, I was just leaving with a polyphonic novel set in Cuba and a horror anthology in translation from The Feminist Press ????

sarahbarnes I‘ve been curious about Black Cathedral - I‘ll be interested in your thoughts on it. 3w
Billypar @sarahbarnes I never heard of it before - I just picked it up at random. But I've enjoyed the few books I've previously read that are narrated by many voices. 3w
32 likes2 comments
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Billypar
Supernature | Lyall Watson
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#Tuesdaytunes @TieDyeDude
There are so many musical acts that I'm aware of, have listened to a few songs, but haven't really given much thought or attention. Until a few days ago, Goldfrapp was one of those acts for me, but I somehow found myself listening to their album Supernature and wearing out the like button on Spotify. It's got so many attention-grabbing, danceable tracks. Really glad they came up on my streaming roulette!

Bookwomble Goldfrapp are great - glad you've found them. "Seventh Tree" is another brilliant album of theirs, though it's a bit more folky. "Head First" is more similar to "Supernature", but I honestly don't think you can go wrong with any of their albums ? 1mo
Billypar @Bookwomble Thanks for those recommendations - I will definitely be listening to more of theirs! 1mo
TieDyeDude Thanks for sharing. 3w
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review
Billypar
Dr. No | Percival Everett
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Think of that classic Seinfeld conversation where George pitches Jerry a show about nothing. Now picture the novel-length version of that conversation and you have an idea of the humor in Dr. No. I know that sounds terrible. But Everett rightly calculates that making a bad joke multiple times isn't funny unless it's multiple times in every page. It's baked into a weird send-up of Bond films with a heroic neuroatypical math professor in the lead 👇

Billypar And he's also got a one-legged dog who speaks to him in his dreams in the voice of Michael Caine, so that doesn't hurt either 😄 1mo
Ruthiella I was thinking about starting this one soon. Thanks for the encouragement! 👍 1mo
Larkken Man, this was super weird. I really liked it for that 😂 1mo
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squirrelbrain Great review Billy! I liked this too for it‘s super-weirdness @Larkken 🤪 1mo
batsy Nice review! I was a bit apprehensive about this one but I think any Everett will prove to be worth a read 🙂 1mo
vivastory I agree with @batsy 1mo
Billypar @Ruthiella Litsy definitely leads to daily adjustments to our TBR priorities 🙂 1mo
Billypar @Larkken @squirrelbrain Absolutely. For all the intellectual parts, it seemed like he was also having a lot of fun with it - no ideas were too bizarre to include! 1mo
Billypar @batsy @vivastory It was actually my first Everett so I can't compare it to the others, but I thought it struck that sweet spot between philosophical, satirical, and silly that makes it in good company with Saunders or Vonnegut. 1mo
Suet624 I agree with @batsy 1mo
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Billypar
Rabbit Hole | David Lindsay-Abaire
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#Tuesdaytunes (on Wednesday)
@TieDyeDude I still haven't streamed that Philly radio show that you mentioned a few weeks back, but it led to a revelation tonight. I was listening to a favorite artist of mine that I've posted about before - Stas Thee Boss and remembered she is a radio dj on a west coast public radio station, KEXP. But for some reason, it never occurred to me to try to stream her show...until tonight. And it's great! 👇

Billypar https://www.kexp.org/shows/Street-Sounds/ I'm listening to it now - it's on every Saturday night, but they have the last two episodes available. It's a great mix of old and new hip hop, classic and avant garde. Great for finding new artists, and Stas has already introduced me to so much hip hop and soul through a series of playlists she posts on Spotify called Late Night Sauce: https://open.spotify.com/user/1274906161?si=pz_VNCgZQS2FbMMMkcEKpQ 1mo
Billypar And while we're on the topic of music discovery, this week I found out that another British hip hop artist I follow Lex Amor (who I came across via a different hip hop radio-style program on Bandcamp, lol) has a 35 hour (!) playlist on her Spotify page called AMOR that seems amazing. It's more chill and has a blend of hip hop, r&b, and soul. She's also a DJ, but maybe that goes without saying 🎧🎙 1mo
TieDyeDude Oh my, so much to listen to! That's awesome. I've been in the mood for some R&B/soul. Thanks. 1mo
Billypar @TieDyeDude Both of those artist-created playlists have a great variety of R&B and soul, old and new - hope you enjoy! 1mo
33 likes5 comments
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Billypar
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I was blissfully unaware of how small press books were distributed, so I can't claim to contextualize this in any way, but it sounds fairly alarming 😬 :
https://lithub.com/the-small-press-world-is-about-to-fall-apart-on-the-collapse-...

Billypar (Image is by Madeline McMahon from this unrelated article on doomscrolling: https://www.nhmagazine.com/how-to-stop-doomscrolling-and-feel-better/) 1mo
Ruthiella What a sad story. 🙁 1mo
Billypar @Ruthiella I know - the list of presses the article includes at the end is such a long one too 😔 1mo
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vivastory I have no idea what has been going on with SPD for awhile now, but I used to follow them closely. There was a significant period of time when I read mostly poetry & a lot of what I read was distributed by SPD. In fact I used to receive their catalogs & it was always a highpoint to go through & then place my order. I recall that at that time the people at the top of SPD were themselves connected to the indie world, but again this was awhile ago. 1mo
vivastory What I can say, is that this is catastrophic for interesting lit. One year when I went to AWP the SPD booth was the largest & many of the others who were there with booths wouldn't have even been able to be there w/o having SPD as their distributors, It's such a shame. 1mo
Billypar @vivastory That's so interesting- I didn't even know distributors got involved in sending their own catalogues or attending book and writing-centric events like AWP. I'm in the opposite camp where I've only just discovered the wonders of small presses in the past couple of years. I had been looking forward to trying more and seeing if I could identify some favorites, but seems like many will be threatened by this, especially the smallest ones. 1mo
vivastory It's def strange because they when I received their catalogs they would also include a lot of indie presses. So you would see the new releases from publishers like (Copper Canyon, Graywolf, Archipelago) They'll survive this, but it's a shame to see all of the small presses lose distribution. I don't know if you ever listen to Mookse & Gripes podcast, but they often like to spotlight indie & small presses. 1mo
vivastory I *will* add that when I received their catalog it was not a given that certain established presses, esp Archipelago would make it. A lot of the indie presses have thrived thanks to breaking through to the mainstream with a few writers (Thinking of Graywolf w/ Percival Everett; Archipelago w/ Knausgard; Europa w/ Ferrante etc) 1mo
Billypar @vivastory I think a lot of the small press books I own fall into that 'big small' press category you mentioned since I buy so much of my collection from bookstores. Even those get far less shelf space than the big 5, and breakout authors, as you pointed out, probably make that possible in many cases. I definitely need to use that spd list to start introducing myself to more. 1mo
36 likes10 comments
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Billypar
Hound of the Baskervilles | Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
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#TuesdayTunes @TieDyeDude
I've always been a fan of whole albums, enjoying repeat listens from start to fish, figuring out my favorite tracks, and sometimes reevaluating after a few listens. But I'm so distracted nowadays with all the options a streaming world offers that I only just gave a second listen to this recent release from Palehound, an indie rock band I've been following for awhile. And it's probably my favorite of theirs so far.

Billypar It's hard not to fall in love with El Kempner's vocals - both her sound and the lyrics. This is one is Independence Day: https://open.spotify.com/track/5Z2hjkmfCfIG5gKslBs0bd?si=jNo7JfY_SfqCCpNt6b8lKA&... 2mo
AmyG Nice! My daughter saw her open for Sleater-Kinney. 2mo
TheBookHippie Love! 2mo
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BarbaraBB Listening to while albums, those were the days. 2mo
vivastory I have a ton of playlists in my spotify library & I try to not fall in the trap of turning them on all day because it can be easy to do. Will def check this out. Full album listening is def an art! 2mo
TieDyeDude @Billypar Thanks for sharing. I recently turned off the continue playing option on Spotify. I'll start with an album and realize after a while that I have no idea what's playing because Spotify went rogue. This way, after the album is done, I have to consciously choose what to listen to next (but it's usually some auto playlist 😅) 2mo
batsy It's funny that streaming does that, I feel like I struggle to listen to whole albums too because a playlist of songs is easier on the attention span if that makes sense. Like an album requires attention like a book. Definitely feel all of the content now is geared towards a broken attention span 🙃 2mo
Billypar @AmyG That must have been a fantastic show! I saw them open for Speedy Ortiz, but I would like to see them as the main act at some point. 2mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB I haven't given it up, but it's more like many albums once or twice instead of a handful over and over! 2mo
Billypar @vivastory Definitely true. Whether it's playlists or albums, after so long of having it in the background, I stop enjoying it, and I need to unplug for awhile. 2mo
Billypar @TieDyeDude Yeah, I've had the same experience - I don't enjoy the autoplay as much. Though one exception was a few weeks ago when we were recommending Latino artists: I found so many great artists via the autoplay, starting from the recommendations people were sharing. So, if you know next to nothing about a genre, it helps I guess. But usually not otherwise. 2mo
Billypar @batsy A lot of people assume that because I'm a reader, it means I have this great attention span, and...nope! 😆 I've been broken by the internet just like everyone else, and albums do take more attention. Though I like playing old favorites while I work - I will still fire up my iTunes library for that purpose. 2mo
AmyG @batsy When my classic ipod broke, and Apple stopped making them, I had to learn a new way of listening to music. Hence, streaming. I now make playlists of new music by year…and YES, it has affected my attention span. I so get it. But I do listen to albums, though only ones I really love. @vivastory Ha, I have so many playlists now. Playing with Spotify, going down band rabbit holes and playlists are now an “activity”. 2mo
SconsinBookyBadger Back in the days when cassettes were a thing I‘d listen to them to the point of wearing down the tape reel. CDs were the best invention ever & replaced so much ruined cassettes. Once Napster came along & paved the way for Spotify my attention span 📉. Your post sparked an idea to put in more effort to enjoy music fully. 2mo
Billypar @SconsinBookyBadger I still love CD's - I've been buying them more at record shops lately because it's a good way to find 'new' old music you didn't know you needed. My 2012 Civic's mileage is getting on the high side, so I've got to enjoy them now while I still have my car's player! 2mo
TieDyeDude I have listened to this album twice already! Great recommendation 2mo
Billypar @TieDyeDude Glad you liked it! 2mo
38 likes17 comments
review
Billypar
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Whether it's visual art, music, movies, or literature, I love seeing an artist reference their own favorite influences. In Oyeyemi's latest, she mashes up two Calvino novels - If on a winter's night and Invisible Cities (maybe more? - those are the only two I've read) with a few nods to Borges mixed in. It's perfect fuel for this meditation on the infinity of mental representations of the same city that exist in the minds of its visitors 👇

Billypar It's Prague entering a hall of mirrors but one where every image reflects something different back. But her novels are never content to rest on just one focus, so she weaves together reflections on relationships of three's, both literal romantic ones, and the implied author, subject, and reader. I haven't mentioned the plot yet, and if you're a fan of her work, you can probably guess why. It's complicated. But in the best way 🤯😸 2mo
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Billypar
Illiad | Homer
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#TuesdayTunes @TieDyeDude
This week I'm going to recommend Open Mike Eagle's podcast 'What Had Happened Was' where each season he interviews an artist or figure significant to hip hop. Making the interviews season-long instead of varying by episode means you get about a memoir's worth of stories. I found it via a Spotify recommendation because I'm a longtime fan of Questlove's podcast, and he's the interview subject for Season 4 👇

Billypar So I already knew going in that Questlove, who definitely has the gift of the gab, would go into exhaustive detail on the making of The Roots' first four albums, and I was not disappointed. Open Mike Eagle lets him take the reins mostly, but he's got good instincts about when to jump in for a quick clarifying question or reaction. If you're a Roots fan, I highly recommend, and if not, then I recommend first becoming a Roots fan 🎶 🎛🎚🎧🥁🎤🎶 2mo
Billypar I also highly recommend Open Mike Eagle's music: this is my favorite album of his: https://open.spotify.com/album/1VDnqZVFSg0xVF104kaIix?si=ubit5ZU-Rxmm4jxp3D8yOw 2mo
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BarbaraBB I love some hip-hop so will absolutely check this out! 2mo
TieDyeDude That is so cool! I became aware of Open Mike Eagle through his guest appearances on the Thrilling Adventure Hour. He was always a highlight. I will have to check this out; love the Roots and Questlove. Questlove seems like a very interesting individual. His other projects are so diverse. Have you seen the Summer of Soul documentary? 2mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB The Roots reference so many other hip hop acts in their music that the podcast touches on quite a bit - enjoy! 2mo
Billypar @TieDyeDude I didn't know about the TAH but I've also seen him on the Netflix doc History of Swear Words. So he clearly enjoys a variety of projects! Questlove has definitely reached mogul status between okayplayer, his new publishing company, his Oscar, and books. I've seen the first half of SoS but got interrupted and have been meaning to watch the rest. It's great to see how much original footage he was able to use. (edited) 2mo
34 likes7 comments
review
Billypar
Convenience Store Woman | Sayaka Murata
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One of my very favorite kinds of character-driven novels. Murata's title character describes her difficulty relating to other people and how her work in a convenience store became a sort of salvation for her. Many novels would lead someone like this towards making some kind of first-time human connection, but Murata shows how much more interesting it can be to get to know this person instead of portraying her lifestyle as a problem to solve.

Cathythoughts Great review. I recently read and enjoyed this one. I‘d like to read more by this writer 👍🏻❤️ 2mo
batsy Great point about presenting her as a problem to solve. That's what made this unique. She also resists the "redemption" angle. 2mo
Billypar @Cathythoughts Yeah, this was my first of hers, but I definitely want to read more. 2mo
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Billypar @batsy Yeah, I love how it's free of all the usual tropes. And how many literary novels are out there where the lead is truly self-fulfilled right from the start? 2mo
Aimeesue Nice review. I‘ve had this on my Kindle for a while and will have to move it up - so tired of every MC seen as needing to be “fixed.” Currently reading Sherry Thomas‘ Sherlockian series, starting with A Study in Scarlet Women, which has a similar MC. Brilliant, really. Shouldn‘t feel revolutionary, yet somehow it does. 2mo
Billypar @Aimeesue I haven't read that series, but the Sherlock character in central is a good parallel to Murata's Keiko since both are bewildered by societal norms but follow their own passion and unique skill set with great success. No disrespect to Dostoevsky, but this would be the exact sort of novel I would want after Brothers Karamazov: a quick read with a narrow first-person perspective. 2mo
Reggie Awww I felt so bad for her when she couldn‘t hear the store anymore. I loved this book. 2mo
Aimeesue @Billypar Ha! I‘m gonna need a brain relaxing book after TBK! Single perspective would be great after all the chaos. 2mo
Billypar @Reggie I remember your glowing review, and it's stuck in my mind as one I needed to try ever since. So thanks for that! 2mo
51 likes9 comments
review
Billypar
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There's no accounting for taste when it comes to music, right? Actually, music producer Susan Rogers and co-author Ogi Ogas would argue that's not entirely true. They combine research and Rogers' own experiences as a producer of Prince and other bigtime acts to describe 7 dimensions of listener taste that form our 'listener profiles'. And they've got a website with links to all the songs referenced so you can hear the distinctions in real time 👇

Billypar I was especially interested in their analysis because I feel like my own listener profile has done a 180 since my young adulthood when it's supposed to have crystallized. Now I seek out novelty more than ever before and listen more closely to rhythm and timbres (not a term I even knew before - basically the specific qualities of vocals or instrumental sounds). I think this is a must- read for any music fan 🎧🎶🎧🎵 (edited) 2mo
vivastory Will def check this out! 2mo
BarbaraBB Me too. What a great review! 2mo
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batsy This sounds fascinating! Adding to the list. 2mo
Suet624 Definitely stacking. 2mo
SconsinBookyBadger This looks intriguing! I‘m adding book on my list to check out next trip to the library. 2mo
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Billypar
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#AuldLangSpine
@TheBookHippie @monalyisha
I love the concept of a bio that zeros in on an artist's favorite hobby. Something about focusing on something besides her writing made Emily Dickinson feel more like a real person instead of her standard brilliant poet role. The page layouts are gorgeous - McDowell discusses ED's relationship to gardening throughout her life, along with photos, illustrations, poems, and excerpts from letters. 🌺🌻🌼🌷🪻

monalyisha Wow, yeah. What a pretty example of book as visual art! 2mo
TheBookHippie I just LOVE IT! I‘m so happy you did as well!!! 2mo
Texreader How awesome!! Love this post too!! 2mo
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Billypar
Out of Whack | Jeff Strand
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#TuesdayTunes @TieDieDude
The first time I listened to Tierra Whack it wasn't love at first listen - I still haven't fully warmed to the modern trap sound that's become so pervasive. Then I watched the video to Whack World and 😯😮😲. I had to give her music a second listen, and I'm really glad I did. What seems random or goofy at first is full of clever lyricism and the kind of genre-hopping that many of my favorite artists practice.

Billypar I'm liking her latest release so far - here's a favorite from that: https://open.spotify.com/track/4TLZMfVwNScRfkYZ0OkR6G?si=4oVfPe6wSXi1Lz84xIHm_Q&... 2mo
Billypar And here's the video to Whack World, an album of short tracks (you should honestly watch every video she's put out - they're all great): https://youtu.be/EOTebhPy04g?si=oiSHK2L6ZcfhtN1b 2mo
BarbaraBB Thanks for introducing me to her! 2mo
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Billypar
Chemistry | Weike Wang
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#TuesdayTunes @TieDyeDude
Latin music and non-English language music in general is a gaping musical gap for me. But I did recently discover the Chilean artist Mon Laferte and was an instant fan. It's always nice when you find someone who's got a large musical catalog because it's like suddenly stumbling onto this treasure trove of music. This is her song Química Mejor:

TieDyeDude I like it! I'll definitely check out more tomorrow. Thanks for the recommendation! 2mo
BarbaraBB Wow 🤩 🥰 2mo
Billypar @TieDyeDude @BarbaraBB The picks this week have led me down some wonderful musical rabbit holes! 🎶🎧🐇 🎶 (edited) 2mo
TheBookHippie Ooo. ♥️🎶🎵 2mo
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#MissMyDad @Rissreads
My dad wasn't much of a reader, but he was a fan of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits book, and I still think about both it and him when I'm working, even if it couldn't be further from my reading preferences. The odd thing is, I have all these bookish memories linked to him: 1) him wanting to buy me this expensive book when I was a kid but making sure I would read it (I never did), 2) me taking John Dean's memoir from his shelf 👇

Billypar and discussing the Watergate scandal with him while we were at the beach on vacation, 3) trying to find books he might like while bored in the hospital and settling on And Then There Were None, though I'm not sure if he read it. Even without reading much, he always talked about wanting to find the time to relax with a book. He was a sharp writer and a lover of song lyrics, so I think he would have loved reading given the right circumstances. 2mo
LeahBergen These are beautiful memories. ❤️ 2mo
Reggie 🖤🖤🖤 2mo
Rissreads ♥️♥️♥️ 2mo
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Billypar
Kindred | Octavia Butler
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#TuesdayTunes @TieDyeDude
Today was a soul/funk day: highly recommended when you need to reduce work stress but also fight drowsiness. When I was choosing the book for this post, I realized my Rufus listen may have been subconsciously inspired by a character of the same name from Kindred, which I'm reading now. And that, in turn, made me wonder if Octavia Butler was a Rufus fan since the novel was released right around peak Rufus popularity 🤔🤯

TheBookHippie Thelma!!!! 🎶🎵🎶🎵♥️♥️♥️♥️ 3mo
batsy Great tracks, and so intrigued by the Rufus-Kindred connection. I'm moving that Butler book up the tbr but I need to get to Parable of the Talents first. 3mo
Billypar @TheBookHippie So good, right? 🎶🕺🎶💃 3mo
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Billypar @batsy Talents was the last one of hers that I read. I may have liked it even better than Sower - I have a tough time deciding. 3mo
AmyG I had that Rufus album! And Gil-Scott Heron. Good musical memories. 3mo
Billypar @AmyG I was born in 1982, so I just missed out. Of all of these artists, Aretha was the only one who I knew without having to seek out (for Chaka Khan and Gil-Scott, it was just one song for each). Crazy to me how short-lived worldwide fame can be! 3mo
TieDyeDude That's cool. I don't typically associate music to the books I read, so it is interesting that there have been a few people have mentioned that idea.
Chaka Khan's induction into the Rock and Roll HOF was a lot of fun.
The local independent radio station in Philadelphia does Funky Friday every afternoon. I still try to catch it here in Alaska. Such a good pick-me-up.
3mo
Billypar @TieDyeDude I can imagine that induction was amazing. And thanks for the recommendation for Funky Friday - I'll have to give it a listen! 3mo
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Billypar
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Mehso-so

I've heard good things about Charles Baxter, but I should have started with one of the works he's known for instead of his latest, which is one that almost works but not quite. It's got an intriguing plot involving a middle-aged couple concerned for their missing son who may have gotten involved in a group called The Sun Collective, which is split between community service and radical violence. There's a bit of magical realism I also enjoyed 👇

Billypar The biggest problem is how Baxter mistakes the activism of the present younger generation for a thinly disguised version of the 1960s radical left movement, which made the portions focused on the younger main characters ring false. Those characters also seemed thinner in general - it would have been better to stick with the older couple's perspective and get more editorial input on the younger characters from readers of a similar age. 3mo
Billypar It also features some cringy satire involving a president that is a Trump stand-in named...wait for it...Amos Alonzo Thorkelson 😵‍💫 3mo
Leftcoastzen OMG that name! Really?!? 3mo
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Billypar @Leftcoastzen I couldn't make that up. And he wants people to call him 'Coach' as a nickname 😅 3mo
Aimeesue Great review. I started to notice the IRL attempts to paint BLM activists as equivalent to 60‘s radical leftists as soon as the protests started. All the "oh no, antifa" pearl-clutching was ridiculous. Can people really not tell the difference? 3mo
Billypar @Aimeesue Right? It doesn't seem like something you need to squint to distinguish. It's true that Baxter is writing from the left politically, so it comes across a bit like a cautionary tale. But it's pretty clearly set in present-day society, so that makes it seem more like a misread of the current political environment. 3mo
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Tarantula Boo! | Lucy Davey
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#TuesdayTunes @TieDyeDude
I'm a day late, but I wanted to highlight this 2006 album from Robyn Hitchcock that I first listened to sometime in the late 2010s I think. In listening to it again this past week, I had that experience where I had completely forgotten about my favorite song on the album and sang along while riding in my car (but not in San Francisco): https://open.spotify.com/track/4cgltQXyXC4tDGD45xY1Ni?si=4xRH4dahSeu2_rlQT44BtQ

BarbaraBB I must listen to this but it‘s still night here lol, as soon as my man wakes up! 3mo
batsy A name I've heard but am not familiar with! Going to listen later 🎵 3mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Very considerate of you 😄 Hope you enjoy! 3mo
Billypar @batsy I don't think I've listened to much else besides this, but I probably should try more- he's got a ton of material. I first heard him with his former band, The Soft Boys, which I'd also recommend. 3mo
TieDyeDude 🤘 3mo
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Billypar
The Silentiary | Antonio Di Benedetto
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After an auto mechanic shop opens in the main character's backyard, he embarks on an increasingly desperate series of attempts to get some peace from many varieties of noise in modernizing 1950s South American society. It's not as slapstick as it sounds - more like a very long short story with weird character quirks. You feel bad for the guy, but he also reveals himself to be a bit of an oddball, so that adds another dimension to the mix.

sarahbarnes This sounds really interesting. It gives me Bolaño vibes. 3mo
Billypar @sarahbarnes Yeah, I've only read one novel a piece for both authors, but I could see Bolaño being influenced by diBenedetto. Funny too because when I was choosing what to read next, it was between this book and Bolaño's 'The Amulet'. 3mo
sarahbarnes Good to know! I had a big Bolaño phase a few years back. There are still some books of his I want to get to. Meanwhile I‘m stacking this one. 3mo
Billypar @sarahbarnes I really wish I didn't fear long novels and could commit to 2666! 3mo
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#TuesdayTunes @TieDyeDude
There's this podcast from Slate called Hit Parade whose host covers all different eras of pop music by analyzing slices of charts history. This led me to consult Spotify, where helpful users have created Hot 100 year end playlists (as in, one from each year since the charts began), and I've just finished my first decade's worth to find my favorite songs: what I know and love, and what I missed (a lot as it turns out!) 👇

TieDyeDude Ooo, 90s hits! 😁 3mo
BarbaraBB Adding it to my library! 3mo
youneverarrived Ahh love 90s music 🤍 3mo
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Billypar
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#TuesdayTunes
There are a couple decades in between my two most recent favorite albums, and they are not remotely similar except both were clearly labors of love. I also enjoy albums where every song doesn't sound the same - there's a lot of variety in both of these.
Thanks for starting this @TieDyeDude - I'm always curious what people are listening to 🎶

merelybookish I am clearly not her demographic but I love Olivia Rodrigo. My daughter and I listen to this album a lot. 3mo
Billypar @merelybookish Yeah, I'm also a bit far from her demographic I'd say 😅 But I guess that speaks to how good of an album it is. The songs have been playing on repeat in my head for awhile. 3mo
KathyWheeler I love that Arrested Development album. I haven‘t listened to Olivia Rodrigo. 3mo
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BarbaraBB I don‘t know Olivia Rodrigo but coming from you I trust that I‘ll love it. Like I love Arrested Development 🩶 3mo
TieDyeDude Thanks for playing. @WildAlaskaBibliophile is a fan of Arrested Development. I haven't listened to much Olivia Rodrigo (her SNL performances didn't do much for me), but I might try her album. 3mo
Chrissyreadit I loved Arrested Development- and i should listen to Olivia Rodrigo and see what I think. 3mo
Billypar @KathyWheeler @BarbaraBB @Chrissyreadit I missed out on Arrested Development when they were popular but when I got to Tennessee I had one of those 'Ohhh... this song is them?!' moments. 3mo
Billypar @TieDyeDude I didn't see her SNL or Grammy's performances, but it wouldn't shock me if the studio versions are better. Vampire seems to me like a song you probably can't help overdoing live (and at karaoke for sure). 3mo
AmyG I just love her song Bad Idea, Right? She is awesome. (edited) 3mo
TheKidUpstairs Arrested Development is one of those bands that I totally forget just how great they are, and then have so much fun being reminded. What a great album. I only learned recently that Dionne Farris featured on People Everyday! 3mo
TheKidUpstairs And I join you in the Olivia Rodrigo love, her music is perfect for blasting in the car and singing at the top of your lungs! 3mo
Billypar @AmyG Yeah, that's the song that's in my head the most - very addictive! 3mo
Billypar @TheKidUpstairs I don't know Dionne Farris - I'll have to give her a try. I do confess to singing Olivia Rodrigo in my car (I should probably probably not 😅). 3mo
Billypar @TheKidUpstairs Ohhhhh - I love this song! I never knew who did it. Same thing as with Tennessee, actually. 3mo
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Billypar
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#auldlangspine @TheBookHippie @monalyisha
Late as always with finishing this challenge, but I thought this was a very good essay collection. Each confronts aspects of antisemitism in a variety of contexts. My two favorites were on bits of history that aren't that widely known (an early 20th century Russian Jewish community in freezing Harbin, China, and Varian Fry, a journalist who rescued famous artists being persecuted by the Nazis) 👇

Billypar Several others reckon with ongoing violence against Jewish people in the U.S., as well as reasons behind popular indifference to some forms of antisemitism. I've never read the Merchant of Venice, but I liked how she contrasted her son's response to a blatant Jewish stereotype with how society often shrugs and gives Shakespeare a pass. Very thought-provoking throughout, and Horn has also expanded my TBR list. 3mo
TheBookHippie It‘s such an important book. 3mo
TheBookHippie I‘m still working through your list as well. 😅 3mo
Billypar @TheBookHippie Oh wow - I never heard of that series: I'll have to check it out! 3mo
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Billypar
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#AuldLangSpine
This quote is from a family friend of the Dickinson's about visiting and being received by Emily 🍷⚘️
I am loving this so far - I keep trying to ignore the cold weather in my present reality and transport myself into Emily Dickinson's expansive garden @TheBookHippie @monalyisha

TheBookHippie I loved it so very much! ♥️ 4mo
batsy This sounds lovely! Inspired by @vivastory I'm reading through Dickinson's Collected Poems this year. 4mo
Billypar @TheBookHippie It might be the nudge to finally get me into gardening. But failing that, certainly Dickinson's poetry. 🌹🌺🌻🌼🌷🪻🪷 4mo
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TheBookHippie @Billypar I do both June to September every year AKA when there isn‘t snow. I collected Emily Dickinson books. 4mo
TheBookHippie @batsy enjoy I think I‘ve read through them every year since I was 13 😂♥️ 4mo
Billypar @batsy That's a great project - I'd definitely like to read more of her poetry. And just more poetry, period. 4mo
Billypar @TheBookHippie That's great on both counts: you are certainly this book's target audience! 4mo
TheBookHippie @Billypar yes, I actually received two copies as gifts- one I write in one I keep pristine. 😂😅 4mo
batsy @TheBookHippie That's amazing. I certainly need to incorporate more poetry into my daily reading; it requires me to actually pay attention, sit with it for awhile, not rush through. 4mo
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Billypar
The Sense of an Ending | Julian Barnes
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When an insecure character wrongs someone and then tries desperately to get back in their good graces, they usually end up making things even worse in the process. Usually, this is played for comedy, but the Barnes' version is several shades darker and speaks to how easily consciousness makes us the hero of a story vis-à-vis gaps or distortions in our memory. Lots of moral ambiguity arranged in short, crisp sentences that still pull their weight.

Anna40 I love this book. 4mo
Billypar @Anna40 Definitely one that sticks with you! 4mo
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Billypar
Rouge | Mona Awad
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A fantasy about what grief after a parent's death is like when the relationship was complicated: they hurt you, you blame them for things, but you also regret some of your actions. So you cycle between exploring painful memories and shutting them out. Maybe you indulge in things you know are bad for you, or sometimes you just walk around in a fog. Belle cycles between these reactions in a dark alternate reality teaming with fairy tale imagery 👇

Billypar There's plenty of Snow White, a bit of Wizard of Oz, but I enjoyed how the world itself is totally original, and much of the imagery references other pieces of the novel. Belle's lost mother is endlessly refracted throughout, via the sea, violets and smoke, blue-green eyes, red dresses, red shoes (red & black everything really). Throughout it all, Belle has support from others, but it's ultimately up to her to avoid drowning in her grief. 4mo
BarbaraBB Great review. Better than the book in fact, lol, I wish I liked it as much as you did! 4mo
Ruthiella @BarbaraBB Me too! 😆 4mo
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batsy Agree with @BarbaraBB I enjoyed reading your review more than I did the book. Glad you enjoyed it! 4mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB @Ruthiella @batsy Thanks! I think it's one of those cases where I can see both sides of the critique. I found the reading experience most similar to All's Well: I felt a little fatigue at all the repetition about 75% in, but then enjoyed the climax enough to forgive it. 4mo
sarahbarnes Great review. I really liked this one, too. A departure from @BarbaraBB and @batsy in this case! 4mo
Megabooks You captured the book beautifully! I think it was the way grief was portrayed that really sold this one for me, and you expressed exactly what I felt reading it. 4mo
Billypar @sarahbarnes I don't know if @batsy remembers this, but I think we met on Litsy when we almost simultaneously commented on a post for a Salman Rushdie novel with total opposite reactions (I was 'pro' for that too - forever the easy grader 😅) 4mo
Billypar @Megabooks I really liked how she took a funhouse mirror approach with it instead of just something more like a 1:1 grief parable. She didn't try to overexplain the dream logic, but the emotional core of complex grief still felt very authentic. 4mo
sarahbarnes Amazing! 😂 Perhaps I too am an easy grader. 😁 4mo
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Billypar
Foul Lady Fortune | Chloe Gong
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#AuldLangSpine
This inventive spy thriller has a few unique features that really elevate the action: 1) The spy MC is also a famous assassin who uses poison, something her new partner doesn't even know. 2) 1920s Shanghai is an ideal setting for spy noir. 3) The Shakespearean inspiration of As You Like It gives it a nice comic touch. There's also a lot of fantasy elements and references to the prior series, which I haven't read 👇

Billypar It wasn't hard to follow, but I wish I was the kind of reader who could get immersed in these kinds of series because they seem like a lot of fun. But I definitely enjoyed the twists and turns in this entry - thanks @TheBookHippie for recommending! 4mo
TheBookHippie I‘ve been invested for 5 books 😂😅 it‘s so out of character for me but I love Shakespeare and I love history which is how she got me with the first book!!! I‘m so glad you could enjoy it. It‘s very smart. The author is early 20s 😳🤯. 4mo
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monalyisha So happy this worked for you! 4mo
Billypar @TheBookHippie I really want to go back and read more about the history. It's crazy how much she's written already at that age! 4mo
Billypar @monalyisha @TheBookHippie One great thing about this challenge is how varied the lists can be - like now I'm going to leave 1920s fantasy Shanghai and check in on Emily Dickinson's garden 😅 4mo
monalyisha @Billypar Yes! I love how much fun everyone has with their lists. And I‘m looking forward to your review of that one; I was hoping you‘d read it! 4mo
TheBookHippie @Billypar after her first book I took every Shanghai history book out of the library!!! 😂😅 4mo
TheBookHippie @Billypar 🙃♥️ 4mo
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Billypar
We Run the Tides | Vendela Vida
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Books like this are satisfying for me on the basis of writing style alone. The plot is almost besides the point - descriptors like 'missing girl' and 'coming of age' are true for countless novels. Vida makes this one memorable through her wry humor and keen observations for how teenagers interact. And there are moments that crystallize just how awful those teenage years can truly be.

Billypar This photo is not the San Francisco coast but a gorgeous nature preserve in Bradenton, Florida. 5mo
Ruthiella This one is on my list! 5mo
Kappadeemom Right down the road from me 😁 5mo
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Billypar @Ruthiella Vida is 2 for 2 for me: I really liked The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty as well. 4mo
Billypar @Kappadeemom What a great place to have nearby - so many pelicans and other birds! Just got back to NJ and greeted by rain and 30 degree weather 🫤 4mo
Ruthiella The Diver‘s Clothes is also on my (very long) list. 😆 4mo
Cathythoughts Stacking 👍🏻♥️ 4mo
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Billypar
My Name Is Red | Orhan Pamuk
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#AuldLangSpine
Here are a few things about me @TheBookHippie Excited for January to start!
@monalyisha

TheBookHippie I started out in Harrisburg ! My dad was in Army ! 5mo
TheBookHippie I love Jazz and Art Museums. 5mo
TheBookHippie I use to dance in the clubs to Donna Summer. Why yes this dates me 🤣😅🪩 (edited) 5mo
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Billypar @TheBookHippie I visited Harrisburg a few years ago, and they have one of the best bookstores I've ever seen. I was from Lansdale, closer to Philly. My dad was Coast Guard but he left after I was born so we didn't move around. 5mo
Billypar @TheBookHippie I was born in the 80s, and I grew up hearing all the lies about how bad disco was supposed to be, lol. That must have been incredible to experience it on the dance floor! 🕺💃 5mo
TheBookHippie @Billypar it was a beautiful time in my life. They lied because they didn‘t like gay people, it had nothing to do with the music . The music was everything. 🪩 5mo
TheKidUpstairs What's your favourite bird you've spotted in the wild? 5mo
Billypar @TheKidUpstairs It might be this brown creeper I saw once. I couldn't get enough of its strange waddle up and down the tree trunk. You? 5mo
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Billypar
Foul Lady Fortune | Chloe Gong
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#AuldLangSpine
Thanks @TheBookHippie for sharing this list! I've only read the Hardwick. After I finished it, I thought it was just ok, but I kept thinking about it after - it really stuck with me. So I'm going to revisit a couple of its essays. I'll be pairing the Rich and McDowell with poetry from Rich/Dickinson. I'm kicking off the year with Foul Lady, which is soo far outside my wheelhouse, but that's part of the fun of this exchange.

Billypar Can't wait to get started - thanks again @monalyisha for organizing! 5mo
TheBookHippie ♥️ I hope you find you like one! 5mo
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Billypar
The Buried Giant: A novel | Kazuo Ishiguro
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#Top23of23
It worked out that I had 22 5-star reads this year (I was tempted to bump one of the ratings up 🤓). Here they are in rough order of enthusiasm and broken down by fiction and nonfiction (+1 poetry).
-The Buried Giant wins for my favorite of the year, as I knew it would immediately after finishing it.
-Strangest Read: Stranger to the Moon
-Best Essay Collection: Pulphead
-Best Memoir: The Man Who Could Move Clouds
Happy reading in 2024!!

Ruthiella Such an eclectic list! Love it‘ 👍 5mo
sarahbarnes I still really want to read Buried Giant! Great list! 5mo
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merelybookish Great list! I have that Dorthe Nors book on my tbr. 5mo
BarbaraBB The Buried Giant. Such a lovely book. I also loved The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Dept of Speculation! 5mo
Billypar @Ruthiella Yeah, I enjoyed the variety - it was a good reading year! 5mo
Billypar @sarahbarnes I was looking forward to it, but I never imagined going in that it would be my favorite of the year. I still have a lot more Ishiguro to read - that was only my second one. 5mo
Billypar @merelybookish I really liked it - the kind of essays that blend descriptions of the landscape with history and personal experiences in a way that's totally seamless. 5mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Both DoS and RF have such daring styles. They're not going to be for everyone, but they really sold me. 5mo
Megabooks 📸 5mo
Megabooks @BarbaraBB I need to get to both Buried Giant and Reluctant Fundamentalist. Fantastic list @Billypar ! 5mo
Billypar @Megabooks Both of those were my second read from each author. I think the other two were 5 stars also, so I should definitely check out some more from them! 5mo
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Billypar
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Mehso-so

A frustrating book! Frustrating because it's like an unfinished sculpture: inside there is a true fantasy classic, where dreamy depictions of the spirit world lay aside comical satire of a community in the grip of 'progress', yet undone by greed and thirst for power. But there needs to be 100-200 pages chiseled away from neverending scenes of partying, fighting, more partying, more fighting, dragging on indefinitely.

Tamra Shoot, I have had this TBR for a long time. Might need to remove it. ✔️ Took it off shelf and onto donation it goes. (edited) 5mo
Billypar @Tamra It's a shame because there are a lot of great scenes too. It might be better enjoyed by someone who reads faster than I do, so the dull parts move more quickly. 5mo
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Billypar
The Underneath | Melanie Finn
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Melanie Finn strikes me as one of those wonderful anomalies among authors. Are her books thrillers? Or literary fiction? Some people dismiss these as empty marketing terms, but most of us have our favorites, and how rare is it to find an author who isn't more one than the other? Both this and The Gloaming are steeped in an atmosphere of dread and feel a bit unreal even if nothing impossible happens. But they're also slow burns, so patience is key.

sarahbarnes This sounds very good. I haven‘t heard of this writer but this one sounds very intriguing. And a comparison to Patricia Highsmith. 5mo
batsy Great review. I've been meaning to read The Gloaming and this is another reminder! 5mo
Billypar @sarahbarnes The comparison to Highsmith is a good one - I can definitely see the similarities. 5mo
Billypar @batsy I liked this one, but The Gloaming is still my favorite of the two. I remember being very tense in some spots due to the suspense 😬 5mo
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Billypar
The Underneath | Melanie Finn
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That moment when your book calls you out 😳

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Billypar
Sing, Unburied, Sing | Jesmyn Ward
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#TitlesandTunes #Blue
Happy publication day to Jesmyn Ward for her latest! I'm always about 5 years behind, so I just finished SUS. I'd heard it described as a road novel, and it technically is, but didn't feel like one. The journey matters less than the fact that the family must share tight quarters when they'd previously been drifting apart. I spent the whole novel concerned for them all: the entire novel is located on the brink of disaster.

Ruthiella Totally. That novel made me so tense! 😬 7mo
dabbe Hello there, sweet kitty! 🖤🐾🖤 7mo
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sarahbarnes Great review! And photo. 🩵 7mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks One of my favorites ❤️ 7mo
Billypar @Ruthiella @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Part of the suspense for me was due to how much I cared about the characters - they're all so well-drawn and nuanced. 7mo
Billypar @dabbe @sarahbarnes I sat down to figure out what kind of picture I was going to use, and then Jem hopped on my lap and solved that question for me 😸 7mo
dabbe What a Jem! 🤩🤩🤩 7mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @Billypar I love Jojo and Kayla ❤️ I rarely reread books, but I‘ve read this one 3 times 💔 7mo
Reggie The part where the grandma is dying always reminds of Poltergeist the movie. Also, Jojo, Kayla, and Pops. Hope they‘re still ok somewhere. 7mo
Billypar @Reggie Great comparison: that part surprised me. I like how Ward handles the ghosts and spiritual portions. They're legit ghosts, not mere literary devices. It was one of the things I liked about Beloved also. 7mo
Centique You summed it up so well! This was so good and in looking forward to her new one. I think its the Oprah pick too, so should get Ward lots of new readers. 7mo
Billypar @Centique I actually had no idea she was coming out with a new book until my Google feed alerted me to it after I finished this one. I'm pretty bad at paying attention to upcoming releases, but then it is a nice surprise when they happen 😀 7mo
52 likes13 comments
blurb
Billypar
Rouge | Mona Awad
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My local bookshop hosted this reading last night from Mona Awad and Laura Sims: Sims read from 'How Can I Help You' which I still need to read and Awad from her latest Rouge, which I only found out about last week after finishing her previous novel. Apparently, the two authors have been friends since 2018, which came through as they posed questions to each other about their work. A fun night of reflections on serial killers and dark fairy tales 😈

Billypar Awad mentioned two horror movies that influenced her in writing Rouge: Suspiria and In Fabric, which I hadn't heard of but think I need to check out: https://m.imdb.com/title/tt7464188/ 8mo
LeahBergen That sounds like a fantastic event! 8mo
GondorGirl I just finished Rouge and loved it. It was the literary equivalent of a fever dream, with twisted words and an unreliable narrator. 8mo
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Billypar @LeahBergen Yeah, it was a lot of fun! 8mo
Billypar @GondorGirl The portion she read was where the main character is first going to the beauty spa place in the creepy waiting room. I'm already hooked - can't wait to pick it up! 8mo
Reggie I have that new Sims books. Her book, The Looker, I thought it was great. And never has someone turned such a scene such as setting down a potluck dish into something so nail biting. So good. 8mo
Billypar @Reggie That one sounds great as well. For her most recent one she mentioned trying to do a serial killer story but coming at it 'sideways', so I'm wondering if Looker was doing something similar with the typical stalker character. 8mo
sarahbarnes Wow, this must‘ve been so cool! 8mo
Billypar @sarahbarnes It was! The part that Mona read from Rouge definitely matched your review - sinister indeed 😨 8mo
Suet624 It‘s so fun to go to book events. 💕 7mo
Billypar @Suet625 Agreed! I wish I could remember to look for upcoming events more often. 7mo
52 likes11 comments
review
Billypar
All's Well | Mona Awad
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Pickpick

Nothing like a good book and a glass of the golden remedy to ease your mind, am I right? If you've read this, you'll know this last phrase is repeated over and over. After a while, I was repeating it to my cats ('That's some yummy food, am I right?'). It's one of many careless phrases uttered by the happy that serve to irritate the miserable in Awad's theater of the absurd. A perfect dark comic meditation on the gulf between sickness and wellness.

Ruthiella I loved this one too. I‘m very excited for her newest and have it on hold at the library 8mo
Billypar @Ruthiella Yeah, the new one sounds great. Mona Awad is actually doing a reading at my local bookstore along with Laura Sims this Friday, so I'm really looking forward to that! 8mo
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BarbaraBB How cool to meet her Friday. I liked this one too. Your review is fantastic! 8mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Thanks! Yeah, I don't always pay close attention to my local bookstore events, but I'm glad I noticed this one. 8mo
batsy I'm looking forward to reading this, too! Great picture... That's the ideal combo 😆 8mo
Cinfhen I just read two books by Laura Simms and they were SO GOOD!!! Friday‘s event should be AMAZING!!!! I enjoyed this book but Awad‘s newest is my favorite 8mo
sarahbarnes What a cool book event! Loved this one and am currently reading Rouge and agree with @Cinfhen so far it‘s my favorite of hers. I love her writing. 8mo
Cinfhen Yay @sarahbarnes !!!! Rouge was “almost” sane 😁😉 (edited) 8mo
Billypar @batsy The picture was one of those situations that was accidentally book-relevant, so no staging required 😄 8mo
Billypar @Cinfhen I'll be forever grateful to you and @BarbaraBB for introducing me to Awad via the Bunny readalong. And I can't believe Rouge is even better given the strength of her last two! But I will trust you and @sarahbarnes and maybe skip my usual year-plus delay on reading new releases. And now it also sounds like I'll have to make time for Laura Sims at some point! 📚📚📚 8mo
BarbaraBB If you make that exception on new releases you can probably get a signed copy of Rouge! That‘d be great! 8mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Yeah, I'll definitely be getting a copy, hopefully signed. But it faces stiff competition on my TBR bookshelf once it arrives there 🙂 8mo
BarbaraBB I know what you mean 😀 8mo
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Billypar
Sing, Unburied, Sing | Jesmyn Ward
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#TitlesAndTunes #Blues
From the synopsis, SUS sounds like a road novel that is steeped in loss and haunted characters (maybe literally?). The perfect pairing with this Lurrie Bell album I picked up at a record shop recently. I'd never heard of Bell before, but his guitar riffs are a joy, the kind of blues that take you on a journey, which is perfect for an emotionally charged road novel. And it certainly channels its own ghosts of blues legends.

Billypar I chose the album opener - Givin' Me a Hard Time for the playlist: https://spotify.link/tO2khtN2hDb @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB 8mo
BarbaraBB I don‘t know the artist but your description is very attractive. Glad to add him to our playlist. 8mo
Cinfhen This book remains among my favorites and your song choice sounds perfect 🤩 8mo
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Billypar @BarbaraBB Hope you enjoy as much as I have. I like getting recommendations from Spotify algorithms, but there's still no substitute for record stores for finding new artists imo. 8mo
Billypar @Cinfhen I'm so excited to finally read it after all I've heard! 8mo
Centique Such a fantastic book - hope you enjoy it! 8mo
Billypar @Centique Very much looking forward to it! 🙂 8mo
40 likes7 comments
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Billypar
The Dreams | Naguib Mahfouz
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What if you turned your dreams into short stories? Such a simple concept, but one I hadn't seen until I picked up Naguib Mahfouz's The Dreams. The content varies a great deal, and even though this one could be considered a nightmare, it made me laugh out loud just because of how ridiculous yet terrifying it became in just a few sentences 😨😲😆

Centique Oooh i read his book Palace Walk and it has stayed with me ever since. This looks interesting and freaky 😳 8mo
Billypar @Centique Good to know - I haven't read any others of his, so I was wondering what to start with, novel-wise. I added it to my TBR. 8mo
Centique @Billypar it took me a while to get into the flow of his writing. It felt like he described almost every movement of each character - like someone capturing movie scenes in detail. But after a few chapters of me faltering my way through that, it made everything very vivid. 8mo
Billypar @Centique I think it's so interesting when something about a novel's style feels a little off-putting at first, but winds up being what makes it stick with you - I've definitely had that experience. 8mo
28 likes4 comments
review
Billypar
This Side of Paradise | F Scott Fitzgerald
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Mehso-so

#TitlesandTunes #TheWorldismyOyster
My favorite almost-pick of the year? Fitzgerald's inventive writing saves this story of a Princeton student 'finding himself' from being boring. But it also seems meandering and uneven - not like Gatsby at all in that respect. For all the strangeness of the lost social norms of the period, it's crazy to me how similar the mc's character is to a contemporary college intellectual dude. @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB

BarbaraBB Love your drawing 😂 and am intrigued by the premise of the book. 8mo
Cinfhen That is really crazy / goes to show not much has changed when it comes to privileged white kids at Princeton 😉 8mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Ha - thanks! It's not what I was expecting - sometimes with good results, but other times not. 8mo
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Billypar @Cinfhen Yeah, he does have some character progression but it's something like 'aspiring snob with dreams of fame' to 'opinionated intellectual who refuses to get a job on principle'. 8mo
Cinfhen So basically this was autobiographical for Scott 😁😜 8mo
Billypar @Cinfhen He was the same age as the main character when he wrote it, so I wouldn't be shocked 😄 8mo
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Billypar
Just Kids | Patti Smith
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...or just open your eyes and look at the picture? 🙈

Joking aside about People's attempt at click-bait, I do like how many celebrity book clubs there are now. Seems like a great way to attract new readers. All that said, I've never actually participated in a celebrity book club - does anyone have a favorite they would recommend? I'm curious what the discussions are like.

DivineDiana I too like that there are more celebrities forming Book Clubs. Thank you Oprah for leading the way! I read one book for Caitriona Balfe‘s Book Club. There was an interesting online discussion. Disappointed that she did not participate. There were a few facilitators. Book tagged. (edited) 9mo
Billypar @DivineDiana Yeah, I doubt that any celebrity will come anywhere close to the institution that is Oprah's Bookclub. I've never seen Outlander so this one was not on my radar but it sounds pretty good! I never thought about there being facilitators. Not as exciting as the celebrity host taking part but still better than nothing. 9mo
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Graywacke She chose a terrific book. Also, I‘m intrigued that celebrity book clubs are a thing. 9mo
Ruthiella I actually shy away from Oprah picks because she seems to really enjoy depressingly sad stories. 😂 9mo
tpixie @Ruthiella yes! I agree!!! 9mo
tpixie @Graciouswarriorprincess reads Reece Witherspoon‘s books 9mo
Billypar @Graywacke Yeah, it's an interesting choice given how different Patti Smith is from Dua Lipa. I wonder whether she was a fan going in. It would be fun to see more musical celebrities with book clubs for their perspective on other musicians' memoirs. 9mo
Billypar @Ruthiella I never thought about that - I only really know the books I've read that are Oprah picks, but yeah, I think they have fit that description 🤔 9mo
Billypar @tpixie Of all of the clubs, it seems to me that hers has the most devoted following. I'd like to try it at some point. 9mo
tpixie @Billypar 👍🏻🩷📚 9mo
31 likes11 comments
blurb
Billypar
All's Well | Mona Awad
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#DramaQueen #Titlesandtunes
What a great opportunity for me to read my most anticipated selection from my shelf (I'm weirdly proud I lasted a year for it to 'wait its turn', even though that makes no sense 🤷🏻). After Bunny, I can only assume this story of a director staging All's Well That Ends Well will have some bizarre complications. I think it's 'the drama I've been craving', as Sleater Kinney sing on one of my all-time favorite albums.

Cinfhen Fabulous choice!!! Happy you waited for the right time to read the book!!! 9mo
Cinfhen Perfect pairing 🎶✅❣️ 9mo
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Billypar @Cinfhen I'm excited already! 🎭 9mo
batsy Nice! I want to read this, too. Great pick for the prompt. And now I've gotta crank up some Sleater Kinney 🙌🏾 9mo
BarbaraBB Great choice for the book, it had drama queen all over it! 9mo
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review
Billypar
Art & Lies | Jeanette Winterson
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Pickpick

Some books you read and know exactly what you think of them. Others you read, puzzle, struggle over, and consider bailing on and off for four months, with final ratings of 0-5 all seeming equally plausible. That was Art and Lies for me. I went with a cautious '4 stars' because it has undeniably beautiful sentences and stretches of ecstatic musings. But it's tough going - like Virginia Woolf, not sure I even know what's going on at times, tough 👇

Billypar Plot? No not really. Three characters with artist names take the train and do lots of thinking, reflecting on their pasts. Handel is a doctor and ex-priest. Picasso is a painter with family problems. Sappho may actually be Sappho reincarnated, but I'm not 100% sure. And if you enjoy poetry about light, you've come to the right place. 9mo
Billypar (TW for sexual abuse and rape) 9mo
Cinfhen Wonderful review 😁 9mo
Centique Yes! I know what you mean - these complicated books with which you end up having both positive and negative experiences. Im like that with To The Lighthouse. Such a good review 🙌 9mo
Billypar @Centique Thanks Paula! Yeah, I really enjoyed To the Lighthouse and The Waves overall, but did I enjoy them every time I sat down to read them? Definitely not 🙃 But when they're good, they're very, very good. 9mo
32 likes5 comments
review
Billypar
We Sold Our Souls | Grady Hendrix
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Pickpick

#TitlesandTunes #SexDrugsandRockandRoll
A Faustian tale that isn't really about Faust so much as his bandmate who has to live with the aftermath of his bargain. It's not really about the tragedy of giving into temptation so much as the vacuum of being 'soulless'. When heavy metal becomes nu metal and gets taken over by corporate overlords, it's not mortal sin, just sad. Thankfully this novel has plenty of soul: it's darkly funny and fast-paced 👇

Billypar The ending makes sense logically and isn't weak, but the horror scenes are so unique and effective, I was hoping for a little more of that in the climax. But that's a small point - there's lots to appreciate, including the book itself, all decked out in black pages and red interiors. I'm liking all my picks so far for this series and plan to finally get back on track this month and read the book in its intended month 😸 @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB 9mo
Megabooks Agree! I love how he explored the bargain not from the bargainer‘s perspective. Unique take. 👍🏻 9mo
Billypar @Megabooks Yeah, it didn't even dawn on me until I was writing this review that this was what made it feel so unique. I also enjoyed the special kind of 'punishment' bestowed on Terry in the final pages. 9mo
21 likes3 comments
blurb
Billypar
This Side of Paradise | F Scott Fitzgerald
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#Titlesandtunes #TheWorldIsMyOyster
I've never read anything else by Fitzgerald except the one we all read. While that novel is about someone looking back on his youth, his debut is about a young scholar who's looking ahead to his future with great zeal as he attends Princeton. Nas must have had a similar perspective when he made his debut album Illmatic, and I thought The World Is Yours is perfect for the theme. @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB

Cinfhen Brilliant! Once again you‘ve raised the bar ❤️🎶🙌🏻can‘t wait to see what you do with next month‘s prompt #DramaQueen 😂 10mo
BarbaraBB I‘ve only read that one too 😊, looking forward to your review of this one. And I saw NAS live last year and he was so good, glad to add him to the list! 10mo
Billypar @Cinfhen It took me awhile to come up with the choices for this month's prompt, but I thought of both a book and song for DramaQueen pretty quickly. Looking forward to it! 10mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Wow, that must have been an incredible show! 10mo
29 likes5 comments
review
Billypar
The Buried Giant: A novel | Kazuo Ishiguro
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Pickpick

I'm not usually a fan of fantasy novels, and I don't usually cry from books, but this one broke both of those trends. I enjoy fantasy landscapes and themes, but I'm a poor visualizer of action sequences and prefer simpler world building. So Ishiguro's brand of fantasy that brings imagery to life through dialogue is perfect for me. The action is short and memorable, much of it being described through one character relaying a tale to another 👇

Billypar This brand of storytelling is crucial for the novel's themes of aging, memory, guilt, and regret. Again, not the usual stuff of an exciting adventure: the two main characters are an elderly couple beginning a quest to find their son, even as a dragon's enchanted breath has stolen their memories. They do meet a more conventional warrior hero, but his role is more complicated to say the least. Although there are many surprises along the way...👇 10mo
Billypar ... the ending is not one of them - you can guess it pretty early on. Yet, that turns out to be a strength rather than a failing because when it finally does come, it's all the more emotional and devastating based on how the story builds and how expertly Ishiguro renders the final pages. Sometimes you finish a novel that's a favorite of the year so far, but this is one of those reads where I'm quite sure I won't read a better one all year 🥇🏆 10mo
Ruthiella I loved this one too. So many readers were unhappy with its slow pace, but that didn‘t bother me. My favorite character was Wistan. I thought it was a complex and sad book, with no easy answers. 10mo
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Billypar @Ruthiella Yeah, it's not as action-packed as some fantasies, but it still has plenty of memorable sequences. The pixies in the river? Terrifying. It would have been easier to nudge Wistan's character more clearly into hero or villain territory, but that complexity makes it a stronger novel. 10mo
Cathythoughts Beautiful review and picture ♥️ 10mo
Billypar @Cathythoughts Thanks! I wish I could more information about the picture itself, besides that it portrays Charon. I got it from this site: https://bodyandface.ru/en/excretory/kto-perepravlyaet-dushi-cherez-reku-stiks-re... 10mo
Suet624 Hmmm…I don‘t usually read this kind of book but you‘re making me curious … 9mo
Billypar @Suet624 I think the higher talking to action ratio was a big plus for me, even though it may be a drawback for other readers. And how many fantasy novels do you get about aging? 9mo
Suet624 @Billypar The aging part is what really interested me... 9mo
31 likes4 stack adds9 comments
review
Billypar
Death in Her Hands | Ottessa Moshfegh
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Pickpick

This novel opens with Vesta, an elderly widow, finding this note in the woods behind the remote lakeside cottage she recently moved into with her dog Charlie. If you think that this sounds like an intriguing opening to a mystery, you should know from the start that this is not that novel. Because it is initially disappointing to find this isn't the mystery you think you're getting. But the odd character study that emerges is truly unique 👇

Billypar In some ways it's a portrait of loneliness, but also what happens when you have complicated feelings about the person you're missing. I'm going to end this review with something I liked that isn't all that important but still gave me a strange delight - the wonderful place names referenced: Levant, Monlith, Bethsmane, Dratchkill, Valtura, Bahl, Port Mary, St. Viceroy. 10mo
Ruthiella I‘ve only read Eileen but I really must read more from Moshfegh. 10mo
Reggie @Ruthiella I will never forget her talking about popping the pimples on her Russian exbf‘s back. Blughhh. 10mo
Billypar @Ruthiella Eileen was the only other one I read also. That will be a tough one to top for me - it's my favorite kind of novel - so unpredictable, funny, and dark. 10mo
Billypar @Reggie Moshfegh does seem to revel in dropping some memorably gross passages 🤢😄 10mo
43 likes5 comments