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Bookboss

Bookboss

Joined May 2016

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The Transit of Venus | Shirley Hazzard
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I had the afternoon off, so I did some shopping at two of my favorite independent bookstores!

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Zorrie | Laird Hunt
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I loved this short book that examined a woman‘s long, quiet life. It was reminiscent of Willa Cather‘s novels that demonstrate the depth of ordinary lives. Zorrie comes of age in the Great Depression, and lives through WWII and the subsequent turbulent years in America. She spends most of her life on a farm, but her life is not sheltered. The characters are well-rounded, and Hunt‘s language is descriptive without being overwrought. Lovely.

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I downloaded the audiobook after listening to an interview with Brooks. I was so struck by his joy for life that I wanted to listen to him tell more stories. He was born the same year as my dad, who died 20 years ago. I enjoyed Brooks‘s stories of growing up during the Depression and serving in the military during WWII, just like my dad. Brooks has inspired me to keep going during the rough times, to keep my sense of humor, and to live with joy.

RamsFan1963 I'm going to listen to this after I finish Will. Mel Brooks has always been a favorite. I thought Patrick McGilligan's biography of Brooks, Funny Man, was rather harsh. I'd rather hear it from the horse's mouth. 3w
Bookboss @RamsFan1963 Brooks drops a lot of names in his book, but he only seems to mention people he loves. Everyone is “fantastic and a good friend.” He doesn‘t talk at all about his first two wives except to say that he will always be grateful for his children. He certainly only focuses on the positive aspects of his life, but that joy and positivity is what I need right now! (edited) 3w
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I forgot to post my Christmas book stack! I have read all of the Murderbot books, but I didn‘t own the first four novellas. My husband bought me the boxed set for my shelves!

HeyT I nabbed all the murderbot ebooks when TOR gave them away in the run up to network effect but I was sooooo tempted by the box set when I was spending my giftcards this year. 3w
37 likes1 comment
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Mrs. March: A Novel | Virginia Feito
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Reviews described this novel as Hitchcockian, but I wasn‘t prepared for all of the references to Hitchcock‘s films. I adore those films, and catching the allusions was delightful. This isn‘t so much a thriller as a psychological suspense novel. Mrs. March living in her luxurious apartment in Manhattan is fascinating. I couldn‘t quite pin down the time period, but the sense of place is elegantly created. Loved it!

Ruthiella I totally missed any Hitchcock references! 😂 But I really liked it anyway. 1mo
Christine @ruthiella Same here! 😆 1mo
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This science fiction and fantasy mash-up has a big heart filled with hope. The characters were well developed and engaging, and the message of love and inclusion is inspiring. I did get impatient with the food descriptions, and some of the plotting was a bit all over the place. Overall, I found it memorable and lovely but wished for a bit more editing. The book includes sexual assault, trauma, violence, and transphobia.

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Murder in Chianti | Camilla Trinchieri
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This mystery is only 304 pages, but it seemed to take forever to read. That‘s not a bad thing. I enjoyed leisurely days in Italy, chatting with friends, enjoying good food, and admiring an adorable dog. The mystery is secondary to the atmosphere and the characters‘ interaction. I wasn‘t compelled to work out the whodunnit, but I may try to make a few of the dishes described.

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I enjoyed listening to this thriller about two friends and their relationship. Which one is a murderous sociopath? How reliable is the narrator? Which friend is the controlling force in the relationship? The plot doesn‘t always hold together, but it kept my interest. This will be one of those fun books that I spent some enjoyable hours with, but will soon forget. Does anyone else enjoy thrillers and mysteries as quick comfort reads?

BarbaraBB I definitely do, but I am often disappointed in the end. However I am always on the lookout for thrillers and mysteries! 1mo
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The Prefect | Alastair Reynolds
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Reynolds changed the title after publication, so it is sometimes listed as “Aurora Rising.” This is a fabulous science fiction / police procedural novel. Reynolds drops you right into the action with few info drops. The world building is complex, and you figure it out as you go. The characters are well-drawn and engaging. It took me a while to catch on, but once I was in, I loved it. I will be reading more from this author.

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The Sentence | Louise Erdrich
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I am glad that Louise Erdrich has a large back catalogue, because I am looking forward to reading more of her work. The Sentence is being marketed as a book about bookstores and books, and while that is true, it is also about how human beings survive in the world. It explores love and loss, spirits and cold reality. The writing is clear and beautiful, and the characters are fully formed people. I hope to visit Erdrich‘s bookstore someday.

Tamra Can‘t wait to read over my winter break! 1mo
FelinesAndFelonies I love this review! I am working on it now! 1mo
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Harlem Shuffle: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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I went to the library to pick up my hold, The Inheritance of Orquidea Divination, and found all of these books on the New shelf! So excited!

HeatherBookNerd I loved Mrs. March! 2mo
rmaclean4 Mrs March is a ride!! 👍 2mo
Suet624 I love when that happens 2mo
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Infested | Carol Gore
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This is a book I read after listening to episode 231 of the Reading Envy podcast, which featured Reggie talking about horror fiction. It‘s a fun old-fashioned creature feature about big bugs that want to eat you. This book is from the Rewind or Die series. I believe each book in the series is a stand-alone, but they are connected by keeping a video-cassette-tape-of-a-70s-80s- horror-movie vibe. This was a nostalgic romp through the horror genre.

Reggie @Suet624 ❤️ I honestly thought people were going to hear horror themed, skip it, and wait until the next episode. Turns out. Not the case. Yay! Glad you liked it @Bookboss 2mo
Bookboss @Reggie @Suet624 It was one of my favorite episodes! 2mo
ReadingEnvy *shudder* 2mo
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This book has been marketed as a horror novel or as a thriller. I found it to be more of a psychological suspense story. The author describes horrific instances of child abuse and death, but the overall atmosphere is not frightening, just sad and creepy. The audiobook narration does a fabulous job with the multiple perspectives in the novel. I enjoyed the twists and turns, but I am concerned about the portrayal of mental illness.

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Library haul!

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I listened to this on Hoopla, and although the narrator was excellent, I still would like to reread it in print. The author tells stories of famous scientists and their discoveries. Parts of the stories are true, but other parts are invented. I kept wanting to stop and search for the factual stories. The author‘s method does have much to say about the pursuit of knowledge. Very absorbing.

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Bewilderment | Richard Powers
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I finished Powers‘s The Overstory, then I picked this up because it is short-listed for the Booker Prize. Both novels are a plea to humans to wake up to environmental destruction. The story references Flowers for Algernon, and it is a retelling of that story with a twist. Instead of the large cast of The Overstory, this novel centered on Theo and his son after the death of Theo‘s wife. I was invested in this story about loss and grief.

BarbaraBB Which one did you prefer? 3mo
Bookboss @BarbaraBB It‘s hard to say, because they are so different. Bewilderment is more compact and tightly written. The Overstory is a sprawling epic. 3w
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The Overstory: A Novel | Richard Powers
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This novel begins almost as a series of short stories. Each character gets their own story, then the characters start to come together and interact. I found the beginning to be fairly fast-paced, but then the pace slows down as the characters meet each other. Powers does an excellent job of showing the interconnections between all living things, plants and animals. I didn‘t like all the characters, but they each one gave me things to think about.

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Oh William!: A Novel | Elizabeth Strout
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Elizabeth Strout was the last author I saw at an in-person event before COVID. Strout is delightful:funny, smart, and humble. I loved Oh, William. The book features Lucy Barton from My Name is Lucy Barton and focuses on her relationship with her ex husband, William. Strout captures all of the small comments and gestures in a relationship that can inflict both pain and tenderness. No one writes about the everyday interior life as well as Strout.

CarolynM Lovely review. I'm really looking forward to this one🙂 3mo
Bookboss @CarolynM Thank you! I really loved it! 3mo
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Great finds at the library today!

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This is a compelling story full of heartache. Once I was three-quarters of they way through, I began to feel it was too much. If you can think of a traumatic domestic situation, it is here. While I found no relief from the horrors in this book, my heart went out to those whose lives are like this. The characters are well drawn, and the setting is beautifully rendered. This is not for readers who are sensitive to domestic and sexual violence.

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NOS4A2 | Joe Hill
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This was the October pick for the Sword and Laser podcast. I was glad to have the push to pick it up after purchasing the hardcover years ago. The story is not for sensitive readers! Child murder, domestic abuse, animal abuse - it‘s full of all the violent horrors. I read it for the complex characters and their challenges. Hill includes many references to his father‘s books, which was delightful. I also listened to the audio, which is stunning.

jessinikkip I had someone who doesnt like Stephen King ask if they'd like Joe Hill. I had to be like "well he learned to write from one of them and it wasnt his mama!" The two are very similar in style and I love it 3mo
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Great Circle | Maggie Shipstead
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This was quite an adventure. The story follows Marion Graves from birth to death. We see her through Prohibition, the Great Depression, WWII, and beyond. Her story is interlaced with that of the actress who is portraying her in modern times, which was engaging but unnecessary. I was engrossed in the plot, and interested in the fully formed characters. This is the first book by Shipstead that I have read, and I look forward to reading more.

Lindy I can recommend 3mo
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Oh William!: A Novel | Elizabeth Strout
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Book mail is the best mail!

BkClubCare The best! 3mo
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As a kid, I was fascinated with Bigfoot and Nessie. As a young adult, I was obsessed with the X-files. Although I enjoyed the stories, I have never really believed any of them. Real discoveries of new species and actual missions to space are amazing. The unexplained phenomenon that Dickey explores is the attraction of conspiracy theories that defy science. I would have like more research into the psychology of the attraction, but I enjoyed it.

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Address Unknown | Kathrine Kressmann Taylor
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This short story is bound as a book, which is perfect because this story is as powerful as any novel. The story was published in 1938, and takes the form of letters between two owners of an art gallery. Max remains in the U.S. while his German partner, Martin, moves back to Germany in 1932. The letters reveal the horror of Martin‘s indoctrination into the Nazi party. It only took a half an hour to read, but this story will stay with me always.

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I had a grand time listening to this collection of short stories. I expected it to deal with hypocrisy in the church, but the stories had a much broader reach. They delved into all of the important relationships: romance, friendship, and family. The narrator is excellent!

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Crying in H Mart: A Memoir | Michelle Zauner
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This memoir describes Zauner‘s relationship with her mother through their relationship with food. Her mother has a long battle with cancer, and Zauner struggles to support her, and then grieves her death. Having lost both of my parents, this book resonated with me. It may be too much for those currently going through similar situations. I am not a person who deeply connects with food and cooking, but This book helped me understand those who do.

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I just adored this! I recommend that you read the first in the series, The Thursday Murder Club, first. You will be able to follow the plot of this book without having read the first book, but you will want to know these characters. This group of elderly friends could have been a bunch of stereotypes, but the author rounds them out into real people. The chapters are short, and the plot races along. Loved it, and can‘t wait for the next!

Brewychock48 I just requested The Thursday Murder Club from my library today 3mo
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Olympus, Texas | Stacey Swann
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Library stack!

Megabooks Charles Yu is great! 4mo
Megabooks So is Fuzz! 4mo
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Terra Nullius: a novel | Claire G. Coleman
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This book is the September pick for the Sword and Laser book club. It starts as a straight historical fiction of the invasion of Australia by the Europeans. The science fiction elements are introduced later on in the novel. I can see how this blending of genres might put off some people. I was captivated by the historical and the science fiction elements. It was not as face-paced as I would have liked, but overall it was engaging and thoughtful.

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My Heart Is a Chainsaw | Stephen Graham Jones
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Interesting that both Stephen Graham Jones and Grady Hendrix released slasher- movie based books this summer. This horror novel is told from the third person point of view, but is limited to the main character, Jade. I wish I could have seen Jade from the perspective of the other characters. She is obsessed with the slasher genre, and is convinced that that the rules of the slasher plot apply to real life. The ending is poignant, yet untidy.

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Wanderers: A Novel | Chuck Wendig
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Lovely afternoon at the library!

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Braiding Sweetgrass | Robin Wall Kimmerer
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I had expected this book to be narrative nonfiction, but it reads as a collection of essays. Some of the essays are more engaging than others, and the book is slow-paced and contemplative. This is a good thing because Kimmerer gives her readers much to think about as she explains the natural world.

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Betty: A novel | Tiffany McDaniel
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I love book mail!

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Bookboss
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Hannah‘s husband disappears leaving her a note that says “Protect her.” Hannah concludes that the “her” is her teenage stepdaughter, Bailey. Hannah and Bailey team up to search for the missing man and to uncover his secrets. I enjoyed the characters and the story, although I was a bit disappointed in the reveal. The plot moves along at a good pace, and I happily painted my son‘s room while listening. A good listening experience!

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This is a gripping novel about poverty, forgiveness, and acceptance. The scenes of violence, abuse, and grief are incredibly painful, but the characters are real people with the inevitable mixture of good and bad. The character of Duchess reminded me of Mattie from True Grit. She doesn‘t always behave or speak as you would expect her to, but I always believed in her character. This is a sad, dark book, and I loved it.

kplovesbooks I'm looking forward to reading this one!!! 4mo
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This is a wonderful novel about friendship, family, and forgiveness. The bright cover is misleading because the author describes dark, violent scenes from the Jeju April 4 incident in which hundreds of men, women, and children were murdered. This book had me searching the internet for the history behind the fiction. I finished this book a few weeks ago, and it has stayed with me. This is historical fiction at its best.

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The Current: A Novel | Tim Johnston
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Two college girls are driving to Minnesota in the winter when the car leaves the road and almost slides onto a frozen river. Just as they exhale a sigh of relief, headlights appear in their back window. The car that they think is there to rescue them pushes them into the river. This gripping premise kept me going, but I wished for some edits. Long descriptions of dreams and interior monologues bogged down the story, but I enjoyed the characters.

TrishB The actual storyline sounds like it should be great! 4mo
TheLudicReader Have you read his fantastic novel 4mo
Bookboss @TheLudicReader I have not! 4mo
TheLudicReader @Bookboss I highly recommend it. It‘s faster moving than The Current, and pretty devastating. 4mo
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I had the great pleasure of meeting the author at a book event. He is an engaging speaker! I have read some of his fiction and loved it. This nonfiction account of the tragic deaths of immigrants crossing the southern border is excellent. Urrea describes the people who make the dangerous crossing with insight and compassion. This is a powerful book.

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This was the July pick for the Sword and Laser book club. Banks‘s Culture novels have been on my TBR for years, so I was happy to have the push to get started. It begins with a torture scene that almost prompted me to bail, but I persevered. This is almost a series of violent adventures in space rather than a coherent novel, but I enjoyed the world building and the characters. I will probably continue with the series, but I am in no rush.

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I put off reading this book because despite all of the rave reviews, I thought it sounded too sweet for me. The last few weeks several of the book podcasts that I listen to have mentioned this novel. I felt that the universe was telling me that it was time to read it. I enjoyed the first half of the book, but the second half was a little too sentimental for me. I loved the book references, not the romance. I did finish it, but it wasn‘t for me.

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What a devastatingly gorgeous book! Flanagan faces the end of life, parenting, climate change, mental health, and alienation in this novel. The prose is sometimes fragmented to mirror the characters‘ fragmented attention to what is important in life. I read the hardback edition, and I would hesitate to recommend it on audio. This is a book to read slowly and carefully. It is very dark and heartbreaking, but beautiful.

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Final Girl Support Group | Grady Hendrix
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This is an interesting send-up of the 80s slasher genre. Although the book has many descriptions of murder and violence, it is not in itself a slasher story. I did get a bit impatient with the first person narrator. She is well-drawn, but being in her head for the entire book is exhausting. The plot is unnecessarily complicated and does not hold up to scrutiny. Overall, I enjoyed the story, and I raced through it.

KathyWheeler It‘s definitely exhausting being in her head all the time. That‘s why this book has been taking me longer to read than is the case for most of his books. 5mo
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For Your Own Good | Samantha Downing
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I have heard that detectives do not care for television programs and books about their profession because of the inaccuracies: DNA test results within minutes, police officials breaking the law without consequence, etc. As an English teacher, I felt the same about this book with an English teacher as the main character. I was able to overlook the discrepancies and go along with the compelling, if preposterous plot. Very entertaining.

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Billy Summers | Steven King
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Uncle Stevie‘s new story is a crime novel, more particularly the “one last job” novel. Billy is a hired killer, and this is the story of his last kill. With the exception of a brief nod to one of King‘s previous horror novels, this book does not contain supernatural elements. It does have the horror that bad people can produce. I will not rate this book as one of my favorites of King‘s, but I had a good time reading it.

Leftcoastzen Nice review! I‘m about half way through. 5mo
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Doc | Mary Doria Russell
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Westerns are not one of my go-to genres, but I enjoy an occasional one. The Sparrow by this author is one of my favorite books, and I met the author at Booktopia Petoskey a number of years ago. She is a fascinating person and an excellent writer. This book will not tell you the story of the shootout in Tombstone, instead it tells the story of Doc‘s early days in Dodge. This is an absorbing character study rather than an adventure novel. Very good.

Bookwormjillk Booktopia! I miss that podcast. 5mo
Bookboss @Bookwormjillk Me too! Ann and Michael are the best! 5mo
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Hostage | Clare Mackintosh
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Are two books a trend? This is the second book I have read in the last few weeks that has hijackers taking over a plane by threatening the crews‘ loved ones at home. I was interested enough to keep turning the pages, but the plot holes were hard to ignore. The characters were well-drawn, but not very sympathetic. The high point of the book is the epilogue. I preferred this author‘s previous books, but this one is worth it for the ending.

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The Other Black Girl | Zakiya Dalila Harris
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This novel is a fascinating look at the very white world of publishing. I was invested in Nella‘s story of being the only Black woman in the office until the arrival of Hazel, the other Black girl. I struggled with the flashback/alternate perspective sections of the book, which brought the action to a halt rather than increasing the tension. Other reviewers have disliked the ending, which changes the tone of the book, but I thought it worked.

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Home Fire: A Novel | Kamila Shamsie
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I loved this retelling of Antigone that explores questions of love and loyalty. The characters were fully developed and the prose was lovely. The novels changes narrative viewpoints, but each one was engaging. I read the paperback and also listened to the audiobook. The audio is excellent.

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Snow: A Novel | John Banville
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This is a traditional literary mystery set in Ireland in the 1950s. The detective is interesting, but the descriptions of the setting were the most engaging. The plot is very predictable once the murder victim‘s identity and means of death are revealed. Banville has interesting insights into class and the Catholic Church in Ireland. One caution: I am not squeamish, but the descriptions of violent sexual abuse were too graphic for me.

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