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Billypar

Billypar

Joined February 2017

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Billypar
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merelybookish Totally fine and I don't even remember which are the repeats. 😁 They all sound great but my vote is for 2w
sarahbarnes Fun choices! With a title like That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana, I have to choose that one. 2w
vivastory Great selections 👏My vote goes for That Awful Mess 2w
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batsy Not cheating at all! I'm always hoping the ones we don't pick show up in the next rounds because ALL of the NYRB books sound amazing 😁 My vote is for 2w
Leftcoastzen They all look great ! My pick is 2w
LeahBergen Ooo, let‘s see… I‘ll go for 2w
BarbaraBB Thank you, great choices! I vote for 2w
youneverarrived I‘ll vote for this as I think I own it 2w
GatheringBooks Wow! So happy to see this early! I vote for 2w
quietjenn Such interesting options! I'm voting for (edited) 2w
Billypar Looks like Awful Mess and Radiance are deadlocked at 5-5 votes - who will break the tie? @arubabookwoman @daena @emilyhaldi @Liz_M @Reviewsbylola @readordierachel @saresmoore 6d
36 likes15 comments
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Billypar
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#nyrbbookclub @merelybookish @vivastory
Last month's pick allowed me to appreciate this reference in a Lorrie Moore story I'm reading. Good literary timing is always nice! 🙂

vivastory Jackie Mason 😂 I love Lorrie Moore. I was actually thinking of Freud Archives over the weekend as I was reading JG Ballard stories. He has some unflattering portrayals of psychiatrists in several of his stories. (edited) 3mo
merelybookish Wow b! That is a niche joke! 🤣 Jackie Mason is a pretty obscure reference let alone Jeffrey Masson. 3mo
Leftcoastzen 😄👏I read this years ago! So cool ! Thanks for posting. 3mo
See All 17 Comments
quietjenn 🤣🤣 no doubt that went right over my head even I read that book 3mo
Billypar @vivastory I'm loving this Lorrie Moore collection. And yes, there are a lot of opportunities for humor in therapy. Or for strange psychodramas like the exploits of an unhinged therapist in this one I read in 2020: 3mo
Billypar @merelybookish @quietjenn If I hadn't read Malcolm's book, I probably would have been thinking: "Yeah, Jackie Mason...that sounds right." ? 3mo
Billypar @Leftcoastzen I'm almost halfway through, but I really like Moore's sense of humor - so many great funny and awkward small moments. 3mo
batsy Oh, nice!! I feel a bit smart 😂 3mo
Billypar @batsy Ha - yes, a good feeling when I'm so often clueless about so many references in my reading life 🤓 3mo
Centique Hey Vinny - I miss seeing your posts. Hope everything is going ok in your corner of the world 💕 2mo
Billypar @Centique Thanks Paula - I do miss spending time on Litsy. The last two months have been one of those periods where large portions of my free time have suddenly vanished. But it won't last forever and I'll hopefully get more reading and chatting about reading time back soon. Hope you're doing well - thanks for checking in! 2mo
Nute Missing your thoughts and opinions here on Litsy, Vinny. Hoping that things are okay and that you are well. Take Care, Friend!💕 2w
Billypar @Nute Thanks Kimberley! I have a feeling I'll be returning to Litsy before long. My dad passed away on Tuesday, and the last few months of his illness combined with a poorly timed increase in my workload have been the things pulling me away from both Litsy and reading in general. 2w
Billypar @Nute By the way, that poem you posted "Surprised by Joy" is such a powerful portrait of grief: with my reading time being so limited lately, it feels like exactly what I need right now. Thanks so much for sharing that! 2w
Nute I am so sorry to hear about your father. When I experienced this same loss, I found comfort in books and eventually this community here on Litsy. Thinking of you and your family. Praying for comfort and peace. Sending hugs! 2w
Nute Oh, Vinny! I am months removed from where you are today, yet, reading that poem defines how I continue to feel in this frame of grief. My voice has been silent. Words have felt insufficient. Then I read that poem in the shade of this moment with its message and backstory hitting deeper in the heart than ever before. It comes down to the words. At times, as a gift from another. It was what I needed as well.💕 2w
Billypar @Nute I'm sorry to hear of your loss: I hope you and your family have been able to support each other over the past few months - I know that has made all the difference for me. And it's so true how special this community is: once I have some more space to focus on grief rather than the planning and logistical stuff, I look forward to getting back to reading and chatting on Litsy. Thank you again for your support and encouraging words! 💙 2w
33 likes17 comments
review
Billypar
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Panpan

I'm so upset with this book! It feels like I just ended a dysfunctional relationship 😅 The beginning was so good that when it only got worse and worse, I felt weirdly betrayed. It opens with the narrator being witness to the death of a married woman whom he was just about to sleep with for the first time. He tries to quietly remove himself from the scene but after mysterious circumstances becomes obsessed with observing her family afterwards 👇

Billypar Sounds intriguing right? But instead of pursuing this setup, it devolves into endless philosophizing that became more and more irritating the longer the main plot was delayed. The narrator reveals himself to be a voyeuristic creep but he's not given enough of a character for me to conclude if that's intentional. It ends with a truly disappointing anticlimax. Marías is clearly talented but I can't forgive him for disappointing me like this 😡 (edited) 3mo
Leftcoastzen I think I will start turning books I don‘t like upside down!Great review, it‘s baffling when an author you enjoy & respect seems to go off the rails with one. 3mo
Billypar @Leftcoastzen Yeah, in a weird way, if it hadn't started off so strong, I might not have had as strong of a reaction because it raised my expectations so much 🙃 (edited) 3mo
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Centique @Billypar I know what you mean - I have a couple of books that started as 5 stars, absolutely in my wheelhouse in terms of characters and setting and how I thought the plot was unfolding - and then it becomes a different book. It‘s somehow upsetting because it was going to be wonderful! 3mo
Billypar @Centique Exactly! It doesn't happen too often but it throws me off when it does. While I'm reading those novels it's like my brain won't stop arguing with itself to find the right way to sum up the experience 🤯 3mo
Suet624 There is so little time to read the books that you really look forward to. It's annoying when you get stuck in one that you're not enjoying. 1mo
Billypar @Suet624 Yeah, it is a little annoying. In the last year I think I've had more in that zone where I'm not very invested but also too curious to bail. 1mo
44 likes7 comments
review
Billypar
In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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Pickpick

In All About Eve, an aspiring actress charms her way into the inner circle of star Margo Channing and exploits the connection to launch her career. Malcolm's chronicle of an odd moment in the field of psychology casts unknown Sanskrit scholar Jeffrey Masson in the Eve role as he courts famed psychoanalyst Kurt R. Eissler. Unlike Channing though, Eissler isn't suspicious in the least and takes Masson under his wing, with results that are...weird 👇

Billypar Malcolm's account profiles three intellectuals whose divergent perspectives on Freud lead to all kinds of public and private drama. Their arguments blur the lines between Freud the theorist and Freud the man in fascinating ways. Psychoanalysis' day may have passed, but I found the insights extremely relevant - it doesn't take long to find folks on Twitter whose attempts to defend their ideas reveal more about their character than they intend. 3mo
BarbaraBB You are so right!! 3mo
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Cathythoughts Great picture 💫 3mo
youneverarrived Love this film and love your review! 👌 3mo
merelybookish Great review! I appreciate the distinction you draw between Freud's theories and Freud the man. 3mo
vivastory Fantastic review! I agree with you about certain aspects of the book resonating strongly in the digital age. 3mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB I think we'll have plenty to discuss today with this one 🙂 3mo
Billypar @Cathythoughts @youneverarrived It's not the film parallel I was expecting with this one, but it somehow seems to fit. AAE is a memorable classic! 3mo
Billypar @merelybookish @vivastory Thanks! Looking forward to our own analysis of these case studies of sorts, and how Malcolm brings them to life. 3mo
Leftcoastzen Nice! 3mo
41 likes11 comments
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Billypar
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After realizing two of my current reads feature birds on the cover, I decided to do a little bookshelf birding. A fun activity I'd recommend to other bird and book lovers when it's a little chilly for the outdoor variety. #bookshelfbirding #birdsoflitsy #birds

DrexEdit charming! 😍 4mo
LeahBergen Aww, I love this. 🐦 4mo
BarbaraBB Very cool! 4mo
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Chelsea.Poole A great way to go birding 🐦 4mo
Centique That‘s so cool 🕊🦅🦆🦜 4mo
Nute “Bookshelf birding.” Way cool! 3mo
ponyflorist Making me twitch.. 🤪 3mo
49 likes7 comments
review
Billypar
The Intuitionist: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

"Two warring factions in the Department of Elevator Inspectors..." begins the back flap description, which should be enough to pick up this strange and wonderful blend of 'speculative noir'. In this society that looks a lot like Civil Rights era New York, elevators are an academic discipline of sorts and lie at the center of a conspiracy that our elevator inspector hero Lila Mae must unravel. A creative and hilarious spin on the detective novel.

vivastory The only thing better than this pic is your review! I loved this book. Easily one of my favorites by him. 4mo
Leftcoastzen Great photo! 4mo
Billypar @vivastory Thanks! It was actually my first Whitehead, so I'm eager to read more based on everything I've heard about his other work. 4mo
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Billypar @Leftcoastzen Thanks! 🙂 4mo
erzascarletbookgasm Great review. I see what you did with the photo! 👏😁 4mo
jlhammar Such a good book! 4mo
Billypar @erzascarletbookgasm Thanks! Yeah, it was either that or being the weirdo taking a picture of a book inside an elevator (not that I'm above that 😅). 4mo
Billypar @jlhammar It really is - not many authors can interrogate racism while also having a good mystery and plenty of humor at the same time. I was impressed! 4mo
vivastory I think that you would also really like 4mo
Billypar @vivastory Ooh - thanks for that rec! That's not one I hear many people talk about but I like the description. 4mo
vivastory It's been years since I read it, but I remember thinking it was smart & funny. It felt different from his other books (which I also love) 4mo
Billypar @vivastory It is always great when you find an underappreciated gem in a famous author's catalogue. 4mo
55 likes1 stack add12 comments
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Billypar
Memories of the Future | Siri Hustvedt
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I thought it might be interesting to document my current TBR shelf with the start of the New Year. 21 books doesn't seem like a lot but it also seems inevitable that some will be procrastinated on and unread by year's end. They strike me as a strong bunch though from what I've heard so I guess we'll see what happens!

Ruthiella I see a bunch of books in there that I‘ve read and loved: Kintu, Piranesi, The 1000 Autumns of Jakob de Zoet, State of Wonder... 👍 4mo
BarbaraBB Gorgeous shelves! And please make sure you do read Piranesi 😄 4mo
Cathythoughts Piranesi 💔 4mo
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Reggie The Book of Night Women!!!! 💛💚🖤 4mo
Liz_M Deacon King Kong is fabulous. Which Javier Maris is that? 4mo
Billypar @Ruthiella That's encouraging! I think Kintu is going to be coming up soon. 4mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB @Cathythoughts Piranesi is the latest addition to the shelf - I'm definitely looking forward to it based on all of the Litsy raves! 4mo
Billypar @Reggie I'm sooo excited for that one! I also picked up Yo! based on your recommendation when we were talking about favorite overlooked novels by authors famous for other works, so I'm looking forward to that also. 4mo
Billypar @Liz_M Yeah I've heard lots of good things about DKK. The Marías is Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me - I've never read him before, but I think the strange title drew me in. 4mo
Suet624 I can‘t wait for you to read A Tale for the Time Being. And Piranesi. I wish I could read both of them for the first time again. Have fun! 4mo
51 likes10 comments
review
Billypar
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Pickpick

#nyrbbookclub
Dreamy novel about an island in the East Indies during what may be the early 20th century but is absent of historical context. It reads like magical realism except we don't see the magic before our eyes - the island's lore is so vivid through the stories told by its inhabitants that we feel like we've witnessed what we haven't. The style was memorable: it made me feel as if I was reading this on a beach after getting too much sun.

vivastory Great pic! I agree about the lack of historical context. I had to do a bit of Googling. Looking forward to the discussion tomorrow. 4mo
DrexEdit I'm reading the same edition as you. I'm calling it the blurb cover. Love the jellyfish paperweight! 4mo
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Billypar @vivastory Yeah, the lack of references served the magical atmosphere well and I thought it contrasted in an interesting way with the island's truly evil history that is based in history. 4mo
Billypar @DrexEdit I had to laugh when I picked it up from the library: I've never seen an all-blurb cover before 😅 4mo
Centique I love that jellyfish! Have you ever been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where they have floor to ceiling tanks of jellyfish in a big darkened gallery? One of the most beautiful things I‘ve ever seen 😍 4mo
Billypar @Centique I have once, but it was 17 years ago, so my memory of it is a little hazy. But I do love aquariums and the jellyfish always have such a mysterious aura to them. 4mo
54 likes1 stack add7 comments
review
Billypar
Counternarratives | John Keene
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Pickpick

One of my favorites this year was this collection of stories that may be lost from history: tales of runaway slaves or freedmen trying to survive, strange goings-on in monasteries and orphanages, and unexpected encounters with historical figures. They also take on styles that fit their historical settings so they felt extra immersive. I really enjoyed how varied they were: magical realism, satire, suspense - all excellent no matter the genre.

38 likes2 stack adds
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Billypar
Counternarratives | John Keene
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#Top21of21

Thanks for the tags @Centique and @Nute
There were certainly lots of great reads to consider. Unlike other years where I've had one favorite in particular, I think it was a three-way tie between Counternarratives, Written on the Body, and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. Close behind are Gorilla My Love, The True Deceiver, and The Intuitionist.

Tagging any other fellow procrastinators on choosing their year-end picks!

Centique Yay there‘s The Go Between and Lolly Willowes! I have taken a screen shot to add more to my TBR 😍 5mo
BarbaraBB I loved Tove and Olga too but I‘ll have to take a screenshot too! 5mo
Ruthiella Eclectic mix! I read A Grain of Wheat
by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o in 2020 and am keen to read more. Maybe I‘ll make this one the next I read...
5mo
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LeahBergen I see lots of our NYRBs! 👏🏻 5mo
Billypar @Centique Those were both good in very different ways. The Go Between felt like a better version of a familiar setup, and Lolly Willowes wasn't like anything else I've read. 5mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB It was my first read of both of those authors - I can't wait to read more. 5mo
Billypar @Ruthiella Based on your review of A Grain of Wheat, it sounds like that should be my next of his! 5mo
Billypar @LeahBergen Yeah, I really connected with so many of them this year! 5mo
batsy Oooh! This is a great list and I'm definitely taking notes 📝 5mo
Billypar @batsy It's fun to see everyone's NYRB picks on these lists - it looks like we have True Deceiver in common. That one was very memorable. 5mo
merelybookish Great list! The Copenhagen trilogy made my list too! And I'm currently listening to Drive Your Plow. Not far in but it's making me laugh. 5mo
Billypar @merelybookish Yeah, The Copenhagen Trilogy was really excellent, as sad of a story as it was. I was not expecting Drive Your Plow to be so funny. I was laughing out loud at the police letters - I think you'll enjoy those if you haven't reached them yet 🙂 5mo
49 likes12 comments
review
Billypar
Inland | Ta Obreht
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Arizona Territory 1893. Missing family members. Drought. Outlaws. Journey. Ghosts. Camels. Those words should be enough to pick up Inland, especially if you've read Obreht's debut The Tiger's Wife. And if you haven't, you definitely should. I went in expecting to be disappointed as you do when you read an author's next book after one you love. But Inland landed pretty close: it's a magician trick of a novel that seems to hold more than its size.

Billypar I was cat sitting for my brother-in-law over Thanksgiving when my Google photos reminded me that I took the top picture exactly three years ago, so I thought this was a good anniversary photo opp. 5mo
vivastory The Tiger's Wife has been on my shelves for awhile now. I've heard nothing but great things. 5mo
Leftcoastzen 😻 5mo
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Nute A few years back, The Tiger‘s Wife, was scheduled to be read in my irl Bookclub, but the member that selected it, read it early, didn‘t like so it got nixed in a no-vote kind of way. Your your review has pushed me into action to request reconsideration. 5mo
Billypar @vivastory @Nute I feel like The Tiger's Wife reached a level of popularity where after it was embraced it started reaching readers outside of the usual audience for a literary novel that takes its time developing the story and who didn't like the pace. It has over 100,000 Goodreads ratings, but only a 3.42 average. But based on both of your tastes, I think you should really enjoy it. 5mo
Ruthiella I also really loved this book. And it‘s SO different from her debut (which I also loved). The Camel Corps (which was real!) and the ultimate fate of Lurie was so bizarre and yet fascinating. This is a western and a ghost story all rolled into one. (edited) 5mo
Billypar @Ruthiella I love how different the two are - the only common thread is how well she can craft a good story that is steeped in folklore. And the Camel Corps - what a fascinating snippet of history I would have never known existed. The ending was definitely memorable! 5mo
Suet624 I didn‘t know she had written another book. I really liked Tiger‘s Wife. 4mo
Billypar @Suet624 Apparently she wrote most of another book after Tiger's Wife only to discover it wasn't working and had to scrap the whole thing, which was why it took so long in between books. 4mo
Suet624 I can‘t imagine having to do that. Heck, I can‘t even imagine writing one book 4mo
ponyflorist Tigers wife rocked, that's why I grabbed this! 🙂 3mo
Billypar @ponyflorist Hope you enjoy it! I don't think it tops Tiger's Wife but not far off either. 3mo
ponyflorist Tigers wife is gunna be hard to beat.. 3mo
39 likes2 stack adds13 comments
review
Billypar
School for Love | Olivia Manning
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#nyrbbookclub
Felix begins this novel arriving in Jerusalem to live with his aunt (Miss Bohun) after his mother's death and what unfolds is a coming of age story in the extreme. Felix is initially a teenager who acts more like a 10-year-old, but in witnessing his aunt's tendency to exploit her tenants (including Felix), he gets a crash course in greed and hypocrisy that makes his grief for his mother that much more heartbreaking.

Billypar Our kittens are not really fans of sitting in laps like Faro in the novel, but every now and then it happens and we feel special for being chosen for such a rare honor, lol. 5mo
Leftcoastzen Oh wow , very cute ! I never seem to have lap cats either. 😸 5mo
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quietjenn Ah, I love this!!! Our cat is so not a lap cat either, so I very much relate. 5mo
Chrissyreadit I love that you captured the moment 👏🎉🙌😻 5mo
merelybookish Great pic! 😀 5mo
Reggie This is awesome, lol! 5mo
Cathythoughts Great review! I have this one stacked already 👍🏻 5mo
Cathythoughts Love your picture too 5mo
batsy Nice picture! That is indeed an honour 🐱 5mo
vivastory Great pic 🐱I had a Siamese cat for years that I loved. I should dig up a pic & post it 5mo
GatheringBooks Lovely photo!! 5mo
Billypar Thanks all - I'm hoping Scout's social media celebrity doesn't go to his head 😺 @Leftcoastzen @quietjenn @Chrissyreadit @merelybookish @Reggie @Cathythoughts @batsy @vivastory @GatheringBooks 5mo
Billypar @vivastory Definitely - they're gorgeous cats! 5mo
Suet624 💕💕💕 makes me want a kitten! 4mo
Billypar @Suet624 They are very cute and distracting! 4mo
48 likes16 comments
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Billypar
The Waves | Virginia Woolf
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#DecemberChill
My dad is cleaning out some old boxes and recently sent me the upper left pic, which shows my favorite place to chill as a kid: on vacation by the beach or pool (often with Agatha Christie novels). As an adult it's been a little different - an Airbnb in upstate New York, a park with a pond in New Jersey, hiking by a Brooklyn marsh, or birding in Cape May. But naturally, nothing beats the reading chair for day to day relaxation.

LeahBergen What a lovely collage! ❤️ 5mo
Cinfhen Fabulous collage😍and beautiful photography❣️❣️ 5mo
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BarbaraBB That‘s a fantastic collage with a bit of your life in it, and books ever present. Thanks for making and sharing these lovely pictures 🥰 5mo
Reggie These are all wonderful! 5mo
Cathythoughts Great pictures ❤️ 5mo
tpixie Great memories 📚💝 5mo
Billypar Thanks @LeahBergen @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB @Reggie @Cathythoughts @tpixie - these are always fun opportunities to go through old photos. 5mo
Centique These are great pictures Vinny! So cool that you read Agatha Christie novels by the pool 😍 5mo
Billypar @Centique Thanks Paula! I think 80% of my reading diet in middle school was Agatha Christie or Michael Crichton. The internet and YA publishing were not what they are today 😅 5mo
Suet624 Thank you for sharing these photos. 4mo
50 likes11 comments
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Billypar
Zits: Chillax | Jerry Scott
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#DecemberChill #MusicalMatters
My favorite playlist when I'm looking for something chill has a mix of soul, jazz, and hip hop. It's a list of full albums, which doesn't lend itself to screenshots, so I created a version with one song from each of the 38 artists: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3goqyM1XPG1ldD1YKqRI22?si=3qeR4VBtTMuTPZYBGKep...

Billypar Here's the full 34 hour version with full albums for anyone so inclined: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/39STukh10nz1Ljmx17SENc?si=gfju3Db4Q1-sutJwXtBa... 5mo
vivastory Excellent playlist. Added to my library. I've met two of the artists on your list 5mo
Billypar @vivastory That's awesome, which two? 5mo
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vivastory I met Tricky as he was walking in between stages at Lollapalooza '97. I remember saying something about how much I liked his music & enjoyed his set. We only talked for a couple of minutes, but he was really laid back. I also met The Roots when they opened for Beck, also in '97. My friends and I arrived to the performance center early and as we were looking for somewhere to eat dinner we happened to drive by their tour bus & they were outside. 5mo
Billypar @vivastory That's so cool! Tricky does seem like he'd be laid back. And I've listened to so many episodes of Questlove's podcast that I feel like we're friends 😅 5mo
BarbaraBB Such a chill list! I‘m definitely adding in to my library! And how cool about Tricky, Scott (and going to Lolapalooza for that matter)! I listened a lot to his album Blowback since RHCP played along on some songs. @vivastory 5mo
vivastory @BarbaraBB I haven't listened to Blowback. I'll definitely check it out! 5mo
Cinfhen Excellent list and 34 additional hours sounds amazing 🤩 so cool @vivastory that you got to chat with The Roots & Tricky. I‘ve met Matisyahu twice!!! Does that count for anything??? 😂😂 5mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB I don't think I've listened to Blowback either - I feel like I would have remembered RHCP. Such an interesting collaboration! 5mo
Billypar @Cinfhen I don't know Matisyahu's music, but he's got 1,432,482 monthly listeners on Spotify, so I'd say that qualifies as a cool celebrity encounter 😎 5mo
32 likes11 comments
review
Billypar
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Pickpick

I read Vol 1 of My Struggle earlier this year and really liked Knausgard's style but wished it were shorter. As it turns out, Ditlevsen's trilogy of short memoirs is exactly what I wanted: hyper-conscious, yet carefully curated recollections. Ditlevsen is brilliant at knowing what moments to focus on and what is most fascinating about her perceptions of experiences with family, writing mentors, romantic partners, or her struggles with addiction.

Billypar (When I listen to audiobooks I never know what to post as the picture besides a screenshot of the cover, so I thought I'd mix it up a little with this aspiring shelf climber) 5mo
Centique Awwww! Best little shelf climber ever 😍 I would stack this from your great review, but I already have. Sounds wonderful. 5mo
Liz_M So cute! 😻😻😻 5mo
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vivastory This has been on my radar, but your review has definitely bumped it up BTW I meant to tell you that I enjoyed your segment on Shawn's BookTube. 5mo
Ruthiella Too cute! 😻😻😻 5mo
Billypar @Centique I love it when I attempt to stack something and find I already did without remembering. It's like added confirmation that I should really read it 🙂 5mo
Billypar @Liz_M @Ruthiella He does seem to like the books, so he'll likely be featured in more posts 😸 5mo
Billypar @vivastory It's funny because this one reminded me of a NYRB work. I think you'll really enjoy it. And glad you liked the bite-size book chat - Shawn's put together a great program and that novella was a fun one to talk about. 5mo
BarbaraBB Such a cute picture and you convinced me to stack the book! 5mo
Cathythoughts I think I have this book .. must have a look. Great review 👍🏻 (edited) 5mo
batsy Fab review! I want to read this for sure but *also* Knausgaard and there's only so many hours in the day 😬 photos of shelf climber always welcome 😍 5mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Excellent - I think it's one you'll enjoy! 5mo
Billypar @Cathythoughts Thanks - hope you find it on your shelf! 5mo
Billypar @batsy Thanks! That's always the truth - I did appreciate that Ditlevsen takes less hours than Knausgard 🙂 5mo
46 likes14 comments
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Billypar
The Giving Tree | Shel Silverstein
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Liz_M Fabulous! 6mo
RaeLovesToRead 😆🤣🤣 6mo
Suet624 Yes please. 5mo
32 likes3 comments
review
Billypar
Harbor | John Ajvide Lindqvist
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Mehso-so

A Halloween read about a missing girl and a nameless, watery horror terrorizing a tiny island town. Lindqvist is compared to Stephen King in eight blurbs, and although I haven't read enough King to judge the accuracy, it has a King-ish length of 500 pages. I would have enjoyed a shorter version more: the problem for me was all the flashbacks ruined the forward momentum. But the writing is excellent - it cultivates a great, haunted atmosphere.

Billypar I also want to introduce the two distractions to my reading and Litsy posts of late: their names are Jem and Scout, brothers who are 3.5 months old. You will likely be seeing more of them 😺😺 #catsoflitsy 6mo
JenReadsAlot Cute! 6mo
Amiable So much cuteness!! 😻😻 6mo
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DrexEdit So cute! Terrific names! 😻 6mo
Liz_M Hello, boys! 😻 😻 6mo
squirrelbrain Aw, little cuties! And love their names…. 😻😻 6mo
Cathythoughts I love Jem & Scout … how exciting & looks like double trouble 😁🥰 (edited) 6mo
vivastory Furry distractions! 😻 😸 6mo
Leftcoastzen WooHoo ! Reading buddies ! 😻😻 6mo
LeahBergen Hello, Jem and Scout!! ❤️❤️ 6mo
AlaMich Adorable mayhem in store for you! 😻😻 6mo
Suet624 What fun! Thanks for introducing them. 💕 6mo
37 likes12 comments
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Billypar
They Have Fired Her Again | Claudia Hernndez
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@shawnmooney has a great new Booktube program I would recommend: "Bite-sized Book Chats". Shawn has a short conversation with four readers and talks with them about a book they recently read in fun half-hour episodes. They are great for expanding your TBR further via recommendations from readers around the world. I was excited to speak with Shawn in the most recent episode about the tagged book. Check it out here: https://youtu.be/TFC7mIg53Z4

shawnmooney You were a fantastic guest and I‘m really looking forward to you coming back on again! 7mo
vivastory I've been enjoying these episodes! Looking forward to watching this one later today 7mo
TrishB I‘ll be watching over the weekend 👍🏻 7mo
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Cathythoughts Really enjoyed Vinny & Shawn .. book sounds good. I am a fan of magical realism… loved your description of this book Vinny , and loved listening to you talk about it . Well done 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻.. I‘m stacking 7mo
batsy Fun! I'll also be making time for this over the weekend 👌🏾 7mo
Billypar @shawnmooney Thanks and likewise! 🙂 7mo
Billypar Excellent - hope you enjoy it @vivastory @TrishB @batsy ! 7mo
Billypar Glad you liked it @Cathythoughts ! The book is a real headtrip - not even like other magical realist stuff I've read. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you pick it up. 7mo
Reggie Told almost in dialogue but not from the MC lol, that sounds fascinating and challenging. Great talk, Vinny. (edited) 7mo
LeahBergen Wonderful! 👏🏻👏🏻 I can‘t wait to watch! 7mo
Billypar @Reggie Yeah, it was a bold choice - I wish I read widely enough to have another novel to compare it to, but I haven't read anything else like it. 7mo
Billypar @LeahBergen Hope you enjoy! 🙂 7mo
Lindy Well done! You sold me on 7mo
Billypar @Lindy I hope you like it if you pick it up! It is a challenge, but it helps that it's novella length and not 700 pages. 7mo
Lindy @Billypar I will @ you when I read it… if I remember … it might be a while before I get to it. 😊 (edited) 7mo
Centique It was lovely to see you recommending books in person Vinny! You sold me on this one too (although who knows when I‘ll get to it, my TBR is toppling) Hope you are well xx 6mo
Billypar @Centique Thanks Paula - and likewise for Episode 14! You also sold me on a book, but it was actually The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke - I immediately added to my own toppling TBR 🙂 6mo
Suet624 Just came across this post. Now I need to find the episode! Always fun to get to hear/see folks I‘ve been following! 5mo
Billypar @Suet624 Hope you enjoy the episode! I really like Shawn's program and it was great chatting with him about this book. Booktube is totally new to me - I should really explore it more. 5mo
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quote
Billypar
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This is definitely resonating now that the summer weather is on the verge of disappearing.

BkClubCare Such a wonderful story! 7mo
Cathythoughts Great quote! Brilliant book that I must reread 7mo
32 likes2 comments
review
Billypar
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Pickpick

My favorite mysteries are the weird ones. Why have a detective investigate when it could be an elderly woman who takes care of her neighbor's homes during the brutal winters of a remote Polish town? And one who loves astrology, prefers animals to people, gives others names like Oddball or The Gray Lady, and obsesses over William Blake. That's Janina and she's on the case when her neighbor 'Bigfoot' turns up dead. Lively, dark comic perfection.

sarahbarnes Loved this one! 7mo
batsy Nice review and photo 💀 7mo
Cathythoughts Great review! I loved this book too 7mo
See All 11 Comments
BarbaraBB A favorite of mine too 🤍 7mo
Billypar @batsy Thanks! I read this months ago but it worked out that the photo fits with the season ☠☠☠ 7mo
Billypar @sarahbarnes @Cathythoughts @BarbaraBB Glad you all enjoyed this as much as I did! Some who reviewed the book seemed disappointed that it was too easy to guess the murderer, but I think Tokarczuk wants it that way: there are more pleasures in a good mystery than just being surprised by the reveal. 7mo
vivastory I agree about the best mysteries being the weird ones. Did you read Moshfegh's Death in Her Hands? I thought it was similar, although I preferred Tokarczuk 7mo
BarbaraBB I agree with @vivastory that it reminded me of the Moshfegh, which I loved too. In both books the murder is not the point I think. (edited) 7mo
Billypar @vivastory @BarbaraBB I haven't read Death in Her Hands yet, but it's on my shelf - I'm very much looking forward to it. I had a similar experience reading Eileen as Drive Your Plow in that both had first person narrators with a distinct and memorable voice. 7mo
BarbaraBB If you liked Eileen you‘ll probably love Death in her Hands. I certainly hope so! 7mo
Brimful I loved this book! 6mo
45 likes2 stack adds11 comments
review
Billypar
The Slynx | Tatyana Tolstaya
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Pickpick

There's a lot that could be said about a post-apocalyptic novel set in a Russia populated by a society of mutants who subsist on mice and are raised to fear books and a mysterious creature who steals your sanity. But my favorite thing was how Tolstaya created a novel of ideas that still lets itself get carried away by poetic descriptions, no matter how weird things get. I was happy not understanding everything and just hanging on as a passenger.

vivastory I have to admit that I'm really happy you read this one. This seemed like one you would like. I liked this just as much the second time around. I think that you will also dig the October selection. 7mo
Billypar @vivastory Yeah, definitely my kind of novel! Seems like a great one to reread too and maybe appreciate more things you miss the first time. 7mo
See All 9 Comments
batsy I like your description of it being a novel of ideas that still lets itself get carried away by poetic descriptions. I might have liked it less than I expected to, but it's challenging in a thoroughly memorable way. 7mo
youneverarrived You describe it perfectly! Have to admit I think part of the reason I didn‘t gel with it at first was because I didn‘t understand what was going on. Only after reading reviews etc did I really appreciate it. 7mo
Billypar @batsy Yeah, I don't always love satire, but I think the poetic parts and the complexity gave it the right proportions. It didn't feel like Tolstaya was winking at the same joke for the whole novel: it was constantly in motion. 7mo
Billypar @youneverarrived I'm still tempted to flip back through to certain scenes and try to get a better handle on some things. There was that one chapter with Nikita Ivanich, Lev Lvovich, and Benedikt where it seems like they were discussing important stuff thematically, but it gets so crazy and ends with them singing songs, so my tired brain didn't want to make sense of it at the time 😅 7mo
Cathythoughts 😱😱😱 7mo
youneverarrived 😂 yeah I totally get that! 7mo
37 likes9 comments
review
Billypar
They Have Fired Her Again | Claudia Hernndez
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Pickpick

There's a lot packed into the less than 100 pages of this novella. The story of an undocumented Salvadoran immigrant in New York is told through the voices of everyone she encounters: her aunt, cousin, co-workers at the series of jobs she works, and...a stone wolf, crystalline dog, motmot bird...you know, the usual NYC crowd. A transfixing story told almost entirely through dialogue that switches from unvarnished realism to odd fantasy on a dime.

Cathythoughts Great post , sounds crazy & good 8mo
Billypar @Cathythoughts Yes, it was both of those things! A very unique read overall. 8mo
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review
Billypar
Gorilla, My Love | Toni Cade Bambara
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Pickpick

Dialogue is something that can make or break a story for me, and Bambara shines in this area. These stories are filled with memorable characters from New York or the American South, many of them strong-willed girls and teens. At the same time, they and the stories they inhabit are all very different. Bambara isn't content to revisit old terroritory: the styles, themes, and ideas shift in brilliant ways in each of these 15 perfect stories.

merelybookish Great review! More incentive to finally read it! 8mo
Billypar @merelybookish Thanks! I think you'll enjoy it - I'll look it out for your review! 8mo
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Billypar
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I love this: it's a character explaining her ambivalence about befriending writers 🙂

Ruthiella I tried Flights by her and could not get into it , but still want to read her work. Maybe this title would be a good way in. 8mo
BarbaraBB Such a good book 🤍. I should absolutely try this one @Ruthiella I‘m almost sure you‘d love it too. 8mo
IuliaC A very good book 8mo
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Billypar @Ruthiella I'm not yet halfway but I'm enjoying it so far! 8mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB @luliaC I'm excited to find out what happens! Her writing is mesmerizing. 8mo
BarbaraBB It is! It does remind me of 8mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Good to hear because that's waiting on my TBR shelf 🙂 8mo
34 likes7 comments
review
Billypar
Boy Wonder | James Robert Baker
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Pickpick

When a 464-page mockumentary novel goes off the rails before the end of Chapter 1, where can it go from there? When its subject is Hollywood excess in the 1970s and 80s, having no limits when it comes to violence, sex, and general lack of decency, works surprisingly well. This novel mirrors the horrendous B-movies that its controversial filmmaker subject produces, and even when the films get better, it's still Mommie Dearest behind the scenes 👇

Billypar As a result, this is not for the squeamish: no matter how tongue-in-cheek the craziness is, it can be difficult to read at times. But underneath it all is an insightful perspective on how toxic masculinity can combine with Hollywood's portrayal of male obsession disguised as romance to do real damage as life imitates what's on the screen. It's a viewpoint that serves as the moral backbone behind the outsized satire and farce without moralizing. (edited) 8mo
Billypar Thanks again @Reggie for sharing this one with me! 8mo
TrishB Great review 👍🏻 8mo
See All 9 Comments
vivastory I started this as a buddy read with @Reggie & @Michael_Gee but never finished. I enjoyed what I read, but wanted to switch from e-book to a physical copy. Wonderful review! 8mo
Michael_Gee Great review! 8mo
Reggie Can I just say ‘Wow!‘ on this review? I‘m so glad you liked and appreciated it, Vinny. And I know what you mean about the first chapter. I remember reading about the mother in the freezer and thinking, holy hell, this is the beginning?!!!! 8mo
Billypar @vivastory Thanks! I'm interested in your opinion if you pick it back up. In one way, it's a very consistent book - the tone and action are similar across all sections. But Baker makes some critical decisions in the plot arc that made me enjoy it when it could have easily gotten lost in the mess. 8mo
Billypar @Reggie Thanks! There were so many moments where I'd catch myself saying "Whaaaaat?" out loud. After I read it I wondered if 'maximalism' is a thing and it does have a Wikipedia page, but it's a little sparse. This one seems like a great example of it though, used to great effect. 8mo
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review
Billypar
Free Day | Ins Cagnati
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Mehso-so

#nyrbbookclub
Sorry to have missed the discussion, but it was great to read what everyone thought. I was ambivalent: on the one hand, I loved the voice of Galla, sarcasm, bitterness, and all. She was allergic to hypocrisy in adults and even with all of the misfortunes she faced, she still maintained a resilient spirit. I only wished the narrative moved a little more: it had the feel of an overlong short story rather than a short novel.

vivastory Wonderful review. I really hope that NYRB publishes more Cagnati, so I can see what her other work is like. I think you are going to really like the September selection. 8mo
batsy I hear you! I was torn between a so-so and pick for this, but went with the latter because of how the ending made me reconsider certain aspects. 8mo
See All 6 Comments
Billypar @vivastory I would read another Cagnati - I enjoyed her style, so I could imagine really liking one with a little more story to it. Looking forward to September's selection: seems like it couldn't be more different than the one we just finished! 8mo
Billypar @batsy Yes that's true - I did like the ending! I also agree with those comments appreciating how Fanny was really a good friend. It was a relief in a novel so bleak. I didn't think she was imaginary, but I thought it was leading up to some sort of betrayal, which would have been too depressing. 8mo
batsy @Billypar Me too! I was in dread of a potential betrayal 😥 8mo
35 likes6 comments
quote
Billypar
Boy Wonder | James Robert Baker
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@Reggie
Such a great gag 😅

Reggie I‘m so happy you‘re reading it! 9mo
Billypar @Reggie I just started, but really enjoying it already. 9mo
29 likes2 comments
quote
Billypar
Gorilla, My Love | Toni Cade Bambara
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I love the dark humor in this passage and 'dull sofas ' cracked me up 😆

merelybookish You started! I remember we discussed having this on our TBRs. 9mo
Billypar @merelybookish That's right! You're in for a treat - I'm ten stories in, and I've enjoyed them all. I think the title story and Happy Birthday are favorites so far and maybe even the one this quote is taken from, The Survivor, but it's a head trip - way different than the rest. 9mo
30 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
Billypar
The Go-Between | L.P. Hartley
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Pickpick

#nyrbbookclub
The Go-Between's portrayal of a 12-year-old's thought process in its protagonist Leo is so good, it's almost eerie. It made me remember what it was like to be that age: how much you want the respect of adults and feel compelled to trade your child's imagination for obeying rigid social signals (which, honestly, is a pretty bad deal!) And for such a sensitive book, it's got a fair amount of action and mounting suspense.

Billypar Looking forward to talking about this one @sprainedbrain @vivastory ! 10mo
sarahbarnes Great review! I agree! 10mo
vivastory Wonderful review! Agreed, it's definitely a rotten deal 10mo
See All 6 Comments
daena Great review, well said. 9mo
Brimful I read this book when I was very young. It was the book that taught me literature was not just about the story! 6mo
Billypar @Brimful That's so true - the story is usually what gets me to pick up a book, but only one factor in terms of how much I enjoy it. The characters in this one are what stand out. 6mo
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blurb
Billypar
My Struggle: Book One | Karl Knausgaard
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#currentread
It's not that I'm not enjoying it, but I assume everyone who reads this or the later volumes has moments of disbelief that there is still so much more left...

vivastory I *really* liked this one. Especially the ending, which to this day remains one of the most powerful portraits of grief that I've read. Yet, I have yet to read further volumes... 10mo
BarbaraBB I‘ve read them all and wished for more afterwards… 10mo
LeahBergen I‘m like @vivastory - I really liked the first one but never read any more. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 10mo
See All 8 Comments
Liz_M Nice to see you and I guess we won't be seeing you for the long while it takes to read this. 😁 (I am the slacker that owns all six volumes but am too wary of the time commitment to start...) 10mo
Billypar Good to know @vivastory - I can definitely see him handling emotional moments in a powerful way. I've read enough to know that this will likely be a pick, but also that I'll likely be in the one volume camp with you and @LeahBergen for a long while! 10mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB @Leftcoastzen He's definitely an amazing writer. There's got to be some kind of reader continuum: 'tolerance for books lacking in plot/larger narratives.' I suspect I'm squarely in the middle, and even though this is non-fiction, I think where you are determines if you read 6 volumes or 6 pages 🙂 10mo
Billypar @Liz_M It's good to be back on Litsy more regularly: I was definitely missing it and really glad that NYRB helped keep me connected at least monthly. Luckily I'm tackling this on audio so it's my dishwashing soundtrack and won't compete with Litsy time or other reading! 10mo
36 likes8 comments
review
Billypar
Written on the Body | Jeanette Winterson
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Pickpick

Take love poetry that is passionate and desperate, mold it into a novel, and you have Written on the Body. The result isn't exactly romantic. Love is under a microscope in some ways: we witness the main character's obsession in a new light, not even knowing their gender. This choice distinguished it from any other love story I've seen, removing the distraction of male-female or female-female dynamics. It's daring, uncomfortable, brilliant stuff.

Nute Excellent review! Love that bit...”take love poetry...mold it into a novel.” 10mo
Liz_M Gorgeous picture, worthy of the book! 10mo
Billypar @Nute Thanks! It's a tough book to describe the reading experience, but I really enjoyed its originality. 10mo
Billypar @Liz_M Thanks! I felt like it needed to be a little dramatic 🙂 10mo
38 likes2 stack adds4 comments
review
Billypar
Orkney | Amy Sackville
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Mehso-so

I'm a week late to getting to this #HolidayEscape pick, and after reading the discussions, I'm in agreement with the consensus viewpoint. Even though Sackville's prose casts a mysterious spell that could have worked well for the subject matter, it wasn't enough to compensate for the lack of any real plot development. We're just left with a creepy narrator's obsessive behavior and no way to contextualize it, besides an offstage fantasy theme.

Billypar It was still unique enough to be memorable though - thanks for organizing @Cinfhen and @BarbaraBB My Litsy time has taken a hit in recent months - I hope to be back talking books with everyone before long! 10mo
Cinfhen Thanks for joining us!!! Miss seeing your posts but glad to know you‘re busy and well ☺️ 10mo
BarbaraBB Your review might best describe my feelings about the book - and what it lacked! I too hope you‘ll be back talking books soon. Take care 🍀💚 10mo
Suet624 Nice seeing you again. 10mo
45 likes4 comments
review
Billypar
Lolly Willowes | Sylvia Townsend Warner
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Pickpick

Feminism, witches, repressive 1926 society - the pieces suggest a novel we don't even have to read -- we get the gist from the blurb on the back flap. Except that's just not the case with this novel. It's neither the fantasy novel nor the satire you might expect. The title character spends most of the novel in a realistic world and doesn't spend it fighting against the oppressive forces of a patriarchal society 👇

Billypar Instead, she tries to make sense of how to maintain dignity in such a world, along with a sense of spiritual awe, when the patriarchal structures of family and religion offer neither. She sees the benefits of being a spinster, but also learns the problems of being outside society aren't easily dismissed. This book is not only progressive, it's also wise. I'm indebted to #nyrbbookclub for putting it on my radar even though I missed the discussion! (edited) 11mo
quietjenn Such a great review! Hooray for Lolly (Laura)! 11mo
See All 12 Comments
batsy Fantastic review! I'm so glad you liked it. I love this book for all the reasons you mentioned ❤️ 11mo
JazzFeathers Needs!!!!! 11mo
Billypar @quietjenn Thanks! And thanks for leading this month's pick- the discussion questions were great. 11mo
Billypar @batsy Thanks! This and The True Deceiver from earlier this year are new nyrb favorites for me. 11mo
LeahBergen What a lovely review! 11mo
vivastory Stellar review! Sorry you missed the discussion but I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on it & I'm so happy that this is a new favorite for you. I love it & am looking forward to reading more Warner! 11mo
Billypar @LeahBergen Thanks! 🙂 11mo
Billypar @vivastory Thanks! I'm interested in reading more of her too - I didn't even realize she had another from nyrb (also featuring a memorable title). 11mo
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review
Billypar
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Pickpick

This had the feel of five linked short stories about a family rather than a novel. At first, so much plotless observation left me a bit bored, but the fascinating characters won me over in the end. The complex verbosity of Libby, Elinore, Gram, and Neil is captured perfectly through the collective eyes of the young narrators, and so are the more muted presences of the other members. I've never seen family arguments viewed in quite the same way.

vivastory Great review! This one ended up being a real surprise for me
(edited) 11mo
merelybookish Yes, lots of good characters! 11mo
38 likes2 comments
review
Billypar
Skylark | Dezso Kosztolanyi
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Pickpick

#nyrbbookclub
I didn't finish in time for yesterday's discussion unfortunately, but I enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts. It reminded me of other classics where women cope with the reality of dwindling chances for marriage, except it took the parents' perspective. I thought it nicely dramatized how the family hid from social scrutiny without even realizing it. It struck me as a quiet story that is content with being sad rather than tragic.

Suet624 Great review! 13mo
vivastory You're right, it's interesting how the perspectives are shifted in this one. Great review! 13mo
See All 8 Comments
Leftcoastzen Lovely review! 13mo
Tanisha_A Nice review! Nailed it @vivastory it was definitely different perspectives in here 13mo
youneverarrived I liked how it showed a different perspective. Great review. 13mo
Billypar @Tanisha_A @youneverarrived Thanks! 🙂 It's always interesting to me how that perspective shift makes you think differently about something you've seen portrayed elsewhere. 13mo
55 likes8 comments
quote
Billypar
Geek Love | Katherine Dunn
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#currentread
Background image is courtesy of: https://eidetictraces.wordpress.com/

review
Billypar
The Hearing Trumpet | Leonora Carrington
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Pickpick

There's a kind of older novel about mental institutions that muses over who is more 'insane', the residents or the doctors. This novel began in a similar vein, but morphed into something that might have been written by Umberto Eco on hallucinogenics. I liked seeing the fantastic imagery from her canvasses come to life and how the bizarre events are observed with a deadpan humor, even if I was mystified by the ultra-weird, apocalyptic ending.

Billypar I think this should make for an interesting discussion tomorrow - looking forward to it! #nyrbbookclub @daena @vivastory 14mo
vivastory Eco on hallucinogenics. Perfect! I'm still not sure what to make of the ending, but I can't stop thinking about it. Really looking forward to the discussion 14mo
batsy Great review. A lot of the hidden meanings or playful intertextual experimentations went over my head, I'm sure, but I loved it. So refreshing and the deadpan humour was top notch. 14mo
See All 10 Comments
Cathythoughts Great picture 💫 14mo
BarbaraBB Agree with @batsy regarding the humour. In the end it went over my head but I had a good time with it too! 14mo
Billypar @vivastory From reading the reviews, it seemed like there was a point where things got a little too weird, but where that was maybe differed for everyone? But even the weirdest sections were nothing if not entertaining. I'm eager to hear everyone's takes on it! 14mo
Billypar @batsy Thanks! I couldn't decide whether it was a book with lots of hidden meanings/ symbolism, or whether Carrington just liked following her imagination wherever it took her. I think the humor did hold things together - it was the perfect light touch that it needed. 14mo
Billypar @Cathythoughts If you Google Leonora Carrington and look at the image results, there are so many wonderful, dreamlike paintings. I've lost track of time sifting through them. 14mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB It's nice when you can enjoy a book even when you're not understanding what's going on - definitely the case for this one! 14mo
Suet624 Eco on hallucinogenics! That had me cackling for a while. 14mo
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review
Billypar
The Invention of Morel | Adolfo Bioy Casares, Ruth L.C. Simms
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Pickpick

This absorbing novella is a kind of literary Twilight Zone episode. A fugitive hides out on a deserted island that contains a museum, swimming pool, chapel, and not much else besides a tree-ravaging disease. He's surprised to find he suddenly has visitors, and things get stranger from there. Casares has a gifted storytelling capacity for intriguing the reader with mysteries and resolving them in a way that is surprising but not too complicated.

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blurb
Billypar
Me & Mama | Cozbi A. Cabrera
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I got this book for my sister to read to my niece and nephew. She left it on the couch and then caught my nephew spontaneously having a moment with it 💛

Texreader Awwww! 1y
tpixie Adorable! 1y
AlaMich Wow, that‘s precious! 1y
See All 13 Comments
Julsmarshall That is the cutest thing!! 1y
KVanRead Too cute ☺️ 1y
Reggie That is pretty cute. 1y
batsy Aww! That's adorable 💕 1y
Tanisha_A Cutest 1y
readordierachel Love this 1y
LeahBergen So cute!!! 1y
Cathythoughts Beautiful ❤️ 1y
BeaG So cute !❤️ 1y
Suet624 💕💕💕 14mo
59 likes13 comments
review
Billypar
post image
Mehso-so

#nyrbbookclub
Carr created a world that I truly enjoyed being inside. An old church in the English countryside with a medieval painting being restored? It was like an incredible vacation. I savored the descriptions and the characters were so richly developed that they seemed like friends. But my sense of curiosity began fading after Birkin's routine was established. I wanted more mystery or ambiguity, but I don't think it was that kind of book.

Billypar I might be the odd one out not giving it a pick, but there was lots to appreciate about the writing: I'm looking forward to the discussion! @catebutler @vivastory 1y
vivastory I can appreciate wanting a bit more ambiguity. Nice review. 1y
catebutler I too was swept up in the story of the painting, I do wish there would have been more to it as well. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the discussion. 1y
arubabookwoman I would probably put it in the so-so category, or just a bit above. It‘s one I had been anticipating immensely, and I‘d heard great things about it. But I never felt fully engaged with it; It was competent, had some good parts, but I didn‘t find it special. I agree with @catebutler & wanted more to the story—with the art or perhaps even with the relationship with Alice. (edited) 1y
Billypar @vivastory @catebutler @arubabookwoman I may have to up my rating - I kept thinking about the painting and posted a new idea that occurred to me in question 6. I feel like Carr buried a clever mystery in this that I didn't consider until now. That's why I love these discussions - I would have otherwise just set this aside and not even thought about it again! 1y
36 likes5 comments
review
Billypar
Skin Folk | Nalo Hopkinson
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Pickpick

"Throughout the Caribbean, under different names, you'll find stories about people who aren't what they seem. Skin gives these skin folk their human shape. When the skin comes off, their true selves emerge." I love this premise for a story collection - the skins and what's underneath varies a great deal. Some are inspired by folk tales involving mythical creatures and others have speculative or sci-fi themes. Dreamy and weird in the best way.

BarbaraBB Off topic: I finally listened to your podcast with @ReadingEnvy. You did so good! You are so insightful! I must read the El Salvador book. 1y
Cathythoughts I didn‘t realize you did a podcast with @ReadingEnvy ... I must look it up later .. looking forward to it 👍🏻 1y
ReadingEnvy @Cathythoughts tinyurl.com/ReadingEnvy212 1y
See All 7 Comments
Billypar @BarbaraBB Glad you liked it! I think you'll really enjoy the memoir. And actually, not completely off topic that you bring up @ReadingEnvy since I first heard about Hopkinson on an RE episode (Jenny, that was for The Salt Roads). 1y
Billypar @Cathythoughts It was really fun - hope you like it! 🙂 1y
ReadingEnvy @Billypar I just saw a new cover for that novel today and it made me want to buy it all over again. 1y
Suet624 This sounds wonderful! 14mo
43 likes1 stack add7 comments
review
Billypar
Shit, Actually | Lindy West
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Pickpick

You can love bad movies - Lindy West won't judge you, she'll even join you in some cases. But you should appreciate just how full of sh🎬t they are. Sometimes for benign suspension of disbelief reasons but often due to massive amounts of misogyny and fat-shaming. She had me cracking up at some of her plot descriptions of popular Hollywood blockbusters. I didn't enjoy the millennial-speak shtick which was a little grating but otherwise I was a fan.

KVanRead This particular scene is so cringey to me I can barely watch this move anymore 🤪 1y
Billypar @KVanRead Agreed - very cringey! Her Love Actually piece was the only one I read previously and it's still my favorite of the bunch. I think it's worth watching the movie just to read it and know the scenes being referenced. 1y
zezeki @KVanRead I hate this scene too! 1y
See All 7 Comments
batsy @zezeki @KVanRead Me three! So cringe. 1y
Billypar @KVanRead @zezeki @batsy And there's lots more to hate! 😅 Here's the article if you haven't read it already: https://www.google.com/amp/s/jezebel.com/i-rewatched-love-actually-and-am-here-t... 1y
KVanRead Thanks for the link! 1y
mcipher I hated that movie. And I loved Lindy‘s review 😆 1y
45 likes2 stack adds7 comments
review
Billypar
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Pickpick

Kendi's focus on the details of how trends in racist thought evolved over U.S. history is important given the absence of its coverage in our education system. He connects some patterns of racism to the present, even if the form changes. Examples of well-intentioned anti-slavery advocates like William Lloyd Garrison nevertheless spreading racist ideas are particularly critical to grasp. A meticulously researched history that everyone should read.

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review
Billypar
The Group: A Novel | Mary McCarthy
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Pickpick

One of my favorite things about this novel is the idea at its core - what happens when you follow a group of eight friends after college graduation, but focus on each separately as individuals? I struggle with long novels that lack a central plot but McCarthy's vivid characterizations kept me engaged. It was revealing to witness the seeds of modern feminism in the 1930s, even as all the negative "-isms" were thriving in New York high society.

Billypar I really enjoyed reading all the comments on the discussion posts @Cinfhen and @BarbaraBB Sorry to have missed it, but looking forward to July's read! 1y
Cinfhen Wonderful review. Sorry you “missed” the discussion but looking forward to discussing our next book with you 😊 1y
BarbaraBB Glad you enjoyed it and happy to know you‘ll join again in June! 1y
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Cathythoughts Great review! I really enjoyed this too 1y
Billypar @Cinfhen Thanks! 🙂 1y
Billypar @BarbaraBB Whoops- thank you, *June* not July. 1y
Billypar @Cathythoughts Thanks! 🙂 Glad you liked it also. 1y
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review
Billypar
The True Deceiver | Tove Jansson
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Pickpick

#nyrbbookclub
The calculating and impassive Katri moves in on innocent artist Anna, eyeing her poorly managed wealth. The setup made me think a grim duel was ahead. I wasn't ruling out violence. But it slowly morphed into this weird, fascinating interplay between the clashing personalities. It made me think how people try to ward off loneliness in radically different ways, but neither making art nor rigid pragmatism really does the trick.

BarbaraBB What a wonderful review. I immediately feel the atmosphere again 🤍 1y
batsy Excellent review! I'm almost towards the end. I feel like it's such a cool, uncompromising novel and perfectly structured ... I'm in awe, Tove 🙌🏽 1y
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Billypar @BarbaraBB Thanks! I think we'll have lots to talk about on Sunday. 1y
Billypar @batsy Thanks! I too was in awe of her talents in making her characters' story so intriguing without much in the way of big plot developments. 1y
youneverarrived Your last sentence 👌 I never even thought about that! But it‘s spot on. 1y
merelybookish Yes! There was an innocence and limitations that came with both those approaches. 1y
Billypar @youneverarrived It's not too common that I finish a book and find I'm still curious about the characters, but I definitely am for this one. I'm interested in hearing everyone's perspectives on them! 1y
Billypar @merelybookish Yeah and neither of those limitations were clear to me for most of the book: it seemed like there were critical moments near the end that clarified a lot about how they related to other people. 1y
vivastory Great review. I wasn't really sure what to expect either. Jansson managed to surprise me until the end. 1y
Billypar @vivastory Thanks! The ability for a book to surprise me ranks pretty high on my list of favorite qualities, so this one easily passed that test, without even having anything that qualifies as a 'twist'. 1y
Suet624 That last line in your review. 👍❤️ 1y
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blurb
Billypar
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I was excited to have the opportunity to talk books with Jenny from the Reading Envy podcast - you can check out the episode here:
http://readingenvy.blogspot.com/2021/01/reading-envy-212-subtly-fascinating.html...
If you're new to ReadingEnvy, it's fantastic: Jenny and her guests trade off in discussing recent reads - a perfect podcast for readers basically. There's also readalongs and other themed activities and challenges to try.
@ReadingEnvy

Billypar I should also mention that Litsy introduced me to 2 of the 3 books I discuss, so thanks to @Suet624 and @BarbaraBB for giving me two of my favorite 2020 reads! #blameitonlitsy 1y
Nute I love the Reading Envy Podcast! I am so exited for you to be a guest reader there, Vinny. Listening to your episode is a priority today! 1y
Billypar @Nute I hope you enjoy it Kimberley! 🙂 1y
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ReadingEnvy Thanks for being a great guest! I really noticed that the majority of our books were by and about women, with faces on the covers. 1y
vivastory Can't wait to give this one a listen! 1y
readordierachel Listening now! 1y
BarbaraBB The Birds 🦅 💜. I am happy to have a fellow lover of the book and will definitely listen to the podcast! Which one was recommended by @Suet624 ? I know I need to read that one too 😉🤍 1y
Suet624 The tagged book. @BarbaraBB and now I need to find the book you recommended (edited) 1y
Suet624 I‘m so glad you loved that book as much as I did. Can‘t wait to listen to the podcast. (edited) 1y
BarbaraBB @Suet624 Thanks! I‘ll go after it! And I‘m sure you‘d love 1y
Billypar @ReadingEnvy Ha- that's true, like we gathered an interesting audience to sit in on the discussion 🙂 1y
Billypar @vivastory Hope you enjoy it! 1y
Billypar @readordierachel Nice - hope it provided a good bookish break in your day! 1y
Billypar @BarbaraBB The brother depending on sister situation in True Deceiver at first reminded me of The Birds, but the similarities sort of end there. Two different gems of books - I'm looking forward to the TD discussion! 1y
Billypar @Suet624 I started listening to it again just to prep for the podcast, but after a certain point I just accepted I was rereading the whole thing. It holds up the second time around! 1y
Suet624 Wow! Impressive. I‘m a bit envious. Such a good book. 1y
ReadingEnvy @Suet624 I definitely want to read it too, so thanks second removed! 1y
RobinGustafson Really enjoyed this episode. Already put What You Have Heard Is True on my TBR! 1y
Reggie Great show, Vinny! You made me want to read the first book you talked about and reminded me to check out Kelly Link‘s other works. 1y
Billypar @RobinGustafson Glad you enjoyed it - hope you like Forché's memoir when you pick it up! 1y
Billypar @Reggie Thanks Reggie! I think you'll like the memoir. I also plan to seek out Kelly Link's other work - she's too good to leave anything unread. 1y
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review
Billypar
The Changeling | Victor LaValle
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Pickpick

LaValle's take on the 'modern fairytale ' restores some of the original purposes of the traditional variety: reenvisioning a societal problem using a story that seamlessly blends reality, fantasy, and horror. Our hero is Apollo, a young parent who joins the ranks of modern, involved fathers, even as his personal history of fatherly abandonment and the U.S. history of racism and patriarchal dominance threaten his family's survival in varied ways 👇

Billypar Apollo criss-crosses remote corners of New York to confront the truth of what threatens his family, while beset by magic, witches, and trolls, all with elusive motives. Modern technology is equally ambiguous, serving as both an invasive villain and a hero's weapon. At times I found the balance between fantasy and social metaphor veering too much toward either pole, but overall it was a satisfying blend, full of rich imagery and propulsive action. 1y
Billypar Thanks @batsy for joining me on this strange journey - it was a fun and spooky trip! 😨 1y
Suet624 I love your review. 1y
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batsy Excellent review! Thank you for prompting me to go on this journey; I appreciated having someone to talk with through this wild ride 🙂 1y
Billypar @Suet624 Thank you! 🙂 1y
Billypar @batsy Thanks! And that is definitely true- no shortage of things to discuss for this one 😁 1y
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blurb
Billypar
The Changeling | Victor LaValle
This post contains spoilers
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@batsy
As I look back at the events, there's a lot packed into these final sections!
👹The graveyard scene was so creepy- probably one of my favorites in the novel. For all of the gross parts, there was something very moving about Apollo's coming to grips with not having truly known his own child. I was trying to think of how this fact and the blood feeding fits into the larger themes, but was struggling a little 👇

Billypar 👹 The Forest Park sequences are another great way of taking an actual local setting and making it magical - I love the adventure around New York that LaValle crafted. 👹 Jorgen kind of picks up the backstory where Cal left off. This part was...odd. The sheep's head and wall of child pictures made it more surreal and I was surprised by the sudden killing when it happened. 👹 There was some dark humor in the Kindergarten confrontation that I liked. 1y
Billypar 👹 I mentioned some of my response to the troll parts already and some of the symbolism. One part I did like during the final battle was the chapter that ended with the troll suddenly tossing Brian into his mouth and swallowing him. I'm pretty sure I was responding out loud to that part! 😮😮😮 1y
batsy Nice summary! Especially about the bits you liked, which I enjoyed too. I inadvertently left those out in my word vomit of questions in my review 😆 I found the sheep's head bit so weirdly menacing, & though it didn't really go anywhere it made me want to read LaValle's horror writing. The violence of the killing of Jorgen but also what Emma did to Apollo! Very unsettling & effective. I did indeed yelp when Brian ended up in the troll's mouth 😫 1y
Billypar @batsy Agreed - I'm curious to read more of LaValle: there was lots to appreciate but the horror portions usually ended up being my favorites. 1y
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Billypar
Source of Knowledge | Newark, NJ (Bookstore)
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#bookhaul
Haven't been out very much since moving to New Jersey due to covid, but with the #MLK holiday, I thought it was a good opportunity to try a bookshop/community center in Newark that specializes in Black authors and African art. The owners were so friendly - they loved talking books, and hand-sold us the bottom two of the stack. I've been starved for a bookstore experience like this: looking forward to that changing this year.

vivastory Excellent haul! 1y
batsy Nice stack! The Zora and Langston one looks good 🤩 1y
readordierachel Great choices! 1y
Billypar @vivastory @readordierachel I'm very much looking forward to all of them! 1y
Billypar @batsy Not sure if this is common literary knowledge but I never even knew the two had a falling out - I'm interested in learning more about that, and just the Harlem Renaissance period overall. 1y
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Billypar
The Changeling | Victor LaValle
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@batsy
My pace slowed a little after a busy week, but here are some reactions to Parts 4 & 5:
-I was surprised at the events behind Apollo getting sent to Rikers. Given the strange circumstances of the loss, I was expecting more of a shocked/depressed reaction than vengeance. But as things unfold, seems like there may be a reason for this choice.
- I enjoyed watching the paranoid mystery build: lots of unexpected turns!
Part 5 spoilers below 👇

BarbaraBB I am surprised how much you two get out of this book and admit I had looked forward to it but was disappointed while reading it. Now I feel I missed out on a lot of things and should reread it! @batsy 1y
Billypar William Wheeler's transformation from a kind of goofy average guy to a crazed villain was fun to watch 💀The East River island excursion was a nice touch. I was afraid meeting The Wise Ones would lead to a ton of explanatory backstory but not really - still lots to uncover about the central mystery💀If Cal and her 'witches' are the heroes, I'm curious what they're combating and how phony infant deaths and a murderous giant are linked? 😨 1y
readordierachel I really enjoyed this book. Felt so fresh. I could never guess quite where it was going. 1y
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Billypar @BarbaraBB I'd like to reread books more often: it's rare enough that I do it with ones that I like, and I haven't given any second chances to the ones I don't! 1y
Billypar @readordierachel Yeah, I feel the same: I'm getting close to the end and I still have no idea what to expect. 1y
batsy So sorry for the late response. I just finished these parts tonight because things in my country lately have been not great, Covid & politics wise, & reading has gone off the rails. I found the mood & momentum of these sections to be up & down. But many things are intriguing & remain so: the nature of the monster(s), Patrice's role, & William's transformation. I'm a bit wary if all this plays out as a metaphor for a gender war. But I'm intrigued! 1y
Billypar @batsy I can only imagine: it sounds like such a scary situation to be in, especially on top of covid fears. I hope things get resolved without too much time going by. Hopefully the conclusion of this novel can provide some good escapism. It seems like there are a few social metaphors woven in, but I hope they remain as thematic layers and don't overwhelm the story. 1y
batsy @Billypar Thank you! I can only hope things improve for all of us 🤞🏽The book has the strange effect of both providing escapism/fantasy yet being incredibly real in terms of reminding you how scary the world can be. So I kind of have a push-pull relationship with it every time I pick it up. In that sense, I think, it speaks to LaValle's storytelling skills and craft. 1y
Billypar @batsy Agreed! He blends realism and fantasy very seamlessly - each mode seems to set up and enhance the other. 1y
Billypar @batsy Tonight I discovered in scrolling through my song list on Spotify that Part 4's title is taken from a D'Angelo song 😅 1y
batsy @Billypar Oh, that's interesting! 😆 I don't think I've listened to that one & I'm going to have to. I also wonder if LaValle has a playlist for the book. (I finished it yesterday ... Have been mulling it over since.) 1y
Billypar @batsy It's a good song too - I'm surprised I didn't remember it with a title like that. I would love to see that playlist! As for the book, I really enjoyed it overall - I'll be posting about the remaining parts and my review this weekend. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! 1y
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