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CSeydel

CSeydel

Joined February 2018

📝Science writer 🧬 Angeleno 🌴 Library addict 📚
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CSeydel
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March #bookspin roster. Feels a bit cheeky because I‘m so behind on my January and February selections, but March is going to be the month that I get caught up. Yeah, that‘s the ticket…

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CSeydel
The Burden | writing as Mary Westmacott, Agatha Christie
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CSeydel Here we go again with the “interfering always backfires.” I think she‘s right, but I also think it can be taken too far. 4d
CSeydel I‘m also interested in what you all thought of the discussion between Llewellyn and Wilding about human nature. Wilding says, “To believe the best of someone is to call the best into being. People respond to one‘s belief in them.” Llewellyn disagrees: “To keep up being what someone expect you to be is to live under a great strain. Too great a strain leads eventually to collapse.” Which do you believe? Can they both be right? (edited) 4d
Ruthiella Sure, they can both be right. I think everyone needs both, but in different doses and o 100% of one or the other would be harmful. The rehashing of previous themes wearied me a bit in this one, but maybe because we‘ve read them all back to back now. 4d
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BarbaraJean I appreciate what Christie was trying to do here, but I don't think it was executed well. Her insight into human nature is masterful, but the plot elements just didn't work together coherently for me. I agree with the “interfering always backfires,“ to a point, but wasn't the opposite the problem in A Daughter's a Daughter? I don't think it's a universal rule, and I think Christie knows it. She had a hard time communicating that complexity here. 4d
BarbaraJean @CSeydel @Ruthiella Yes, I do think Llewellyn and Wilding can both be right about this. It depends a whole lot on who the person is who's being “believed in.“ Some people will rise to the best that is believed of them, others will collapse under the expectations, and still others will resent and therefore want to go against those expectations. I agree about the repetition of themes--but it's also clear this was the first of these novels she wrote! 4d
quietjenn I agree with what others have said - both can be true to an extent and the balance is the key here, as it is with so many things. Very often, interfering gets you nowhere, but Not Interfering is sometimes easier said than done. I wouldn't say that this book resonated with me particularly. It's probably one of my least favorites and I'm glad it was short. 😅 And I really liked Baldock. 4d
36 likes7 comments
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CSeydel
The Burden | writing as Mary Westmacott, Agatha Christie
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CSeydel Llewellyn and his visions were so strange to me. I‘m still ruminating on what he represents. I thought the religious overtones of Shirley “paying the price” for Laura‘s sin was discomfiting, but perhaps that was the intention. 4d
CSeydel In this one she weaves in a religious dimension, using the story of Job to drive home the point that God has God‘s plan and we are really not capable of understanding God‘s priorities and purposes, only human ones. I think her point here is that when we “try to help” we inevitably fail because we only see from our perspective, not that of the recipient of the help. What do you think? 4d
Ruthiella I think it was in interesting decision to include such a mystical character. I don‘t agree with his interpretation of Laura‘s actions or their results, personally. The story of Job makes me think more of Greek gods, toying with humans for their own amusement. 4d
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BarbaraJean Other than providing a deus ex machina for Laura at the end of the book, and giving us an outside perspective of Shirley and Richard, I didn't think Llewellyn added much to the novel. I felt that last third of the book would have been better from Shirley or even Richard's perspective. I was troubled by the implications of the religious aspect: both Shirley “paying the price“ for Laura's sin, or our helplessness to understand higher purposes. 4d
BarbaraJean I think the idea that help/interference is misguided, because we cannot understand another's perspective, isn't well-supported by the narrative. Mainly because I don't think the problem was Laura “helping,“ it was Henry being an ass, and with Richard, it was Shirley not understanding herself or what she needed. Maybe the problem was the plot Christie chose to explore these ideas! Overall, I thought the message was muddled. 4d
quietjenn It was ... odd? I honestly found the book, overall, a bit disjointed and I definitely was not expecting a televangelist who has had visions of Laura his entire life swooping in to show her what love is! 4d
CSeydel @BarbaraJean I was thinking of Laura killing Henry as her trying to help Shirley be happy, but it backfired. The premise seemed to me to be that Shirley would have been better off continuing to be unhappy caring for Henry rather than the soft, comfortable life she had with Wilding. It was definitely a hard message to accept. 15h
CSeydel @quietjenn Definitely threw me for a loop as well. Not sure if it was just a device to allow a 3rd-party, objective view of Shirley‘s later life, but the visions went over my head - I didn‘t understand why that was necessary 15h
CSeydel @BarbaraJean I agree, the religious angle in this one didn‘t sit well with me either 15h
24 likes9 comments
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CSeydel
The Burden | writing as Mary Westmacott, Agatha Christie
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#westmakittens #LMWBR

Our final selection for the #MaryWestmacottBuddyRead ! Who‘s up for discussion? What did you think? I‘ll put my question under a spoiler tag in case anyone hasn‘t read it yet.

@ruthiella @KathyWheeler @quietjenn @Librarybelle @kspenmoll @BarbaraJean @peanutnine @Roary47 @willaful @batsy @rubyslippersreads

CSeydel Laura longs to be loved throughout the book, and it‘s only at the end that she feels “the burden” settle on her shoulders - the burden of someone else‘s love. Do you think that‘s a fair description of love? How do you think the burden of Laura‘s love ultimately harmed Shirley? 4d
CSeydel This was not as painful as A Daughter‘s a Daughter, but I still found it a fairly bleak representation of family relationships. 4d
Ruthiella I think the burden goes both ways: the burden of loving and the responsibility of that care and of being loved and the expectations that come with that. I agree it‘s not as bleak as A Daughter‘s a Daughter, but it comes close. However, I think that many, many humans would see love as a privilege and an honor. I wonder how things would have turned out differently if Laura hadn‘t been saddled with a parental role at such a young age. (edited) 4d
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BarbaraJean I'm not sure if I agree with this description of love--I think it's problematic as a description of healthy love! I do think it's a fair description when it's an unequal relationship. And honestly, I don't think the novel does a good job of bearing out the “burden of love“ as a thesis. Shirley supposedly bears the burden of Laura's love, but she doesn't seem stifled by it. She does seem stifled under the burden of Richard's love, but ⬇ 4d
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) I think that burden is due to her own choices & lack of self-knowledge, not Laura's actions. Shirley didn't understand herself well enough to know what she needed when she turned to Richard. Shirley wasn't old enough/experienced enough to gauge Henry's character—I don't think that situation would have turned out any differently regardless of how Laura handled it. And I don't think Shirley would have been better off if Henry had lived! 4d
willaful Sorry, I couldn't find a copy and participate. :-( 4d
quietjenn Love is complicated and I do think that, even in the best of relationships, there are times when it can feel burdensome - especially in those moments that it feels unequal, as others have pointed out. But I think that's only a small part of it, and I think to define it just by that quality is an unfortunate and limited view of things. 4d
19 likes7 comments
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CSeydel
The Bell Jar | Sylvia Plath
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My #Tuesdaytunes is “Cemetery Somewhere” by John Muirhead.

Sylvia Plath wrote:
“I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

CSeydel Reimagining that theme, “Cemetery Somewhere” by John Muirhead describes the cemetery of abandoned dreams, a mourning for all the lives that could have been. I can‘t stop listening to this song; it is simple, compelling and beautiful. 1w
TheBookHippie Love this! 1w
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TieDyeDude A lovely song. Thanks for sharing! Have you heard Jason Isbell "If We Were Vampires"? 1w
CSeydel @TieDyeDude I haven‘t - I‘ll check it out! 1w
CSeydel @TieDyeDude Turns out I actually have heard it, I just didn‘t realize - I‘ve heard the Noah Kahan version 1w
42 likes6 comments
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CSeydel
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AllDebooks Perfect x 1w
kspenmoll Love your mug! 1w
36 likes4 comments
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CSeydel
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#weekendreads

Reading Part-Time Indian for my “Banned Book Club,” but in the end I didn‘t have the energy to go to the meeting this afternoon. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Great book, though I understand why some parents would be bothered by it.

Reading The Postcard for #europacollective

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CSeydel
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#TuesdayTunes I love it!

My current hyperfixation is the band First Aid Kit, two Swedish sisters who sing this achingly beautiful folk rock Americana music. Gorgeous harmonies, contemplative lyrics and lively arrangements make this album emotionally stimulating and just so fun to listen to.

Bonus points from this SoCal listener for their song “29 Palms Highway” 🤩

https://youtu.be/q0QROxhsggA?si=O1W67r5eNz06gY7k

RaeLovesToRead 💕💕💕 2w
TieDyeDude Yes, I love their harmonies! 2w
TheKidUpstairs Love First Aid Kit! I don't know why the Scandinavians really seem to do Americana so well... 2w
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Deblovestoread So good! 💜💜💜 2w
merelybookish Love them! Was obsessed with their song Emmylou for a while! 2w
vivastory Love First Aid Kit! 2w
BarbaraBB Yes, I love them too! Great choice!! 2w
Bookwomble @TieDyeDude Dammit, Andrew! First Beth Gibbons alert from @BarbaraBB , now First Aid Kit from @CSeydel ! This is going to be an expensive hashtag for me! 😄 2w
TieDyeDude @thekidsupstairs They are a little north of Scandinavia, but do you know Of Monsters and Men? 2w
50 likes10 comments
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CSeydel
Neuromancer | William Gibson
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#HyggeHour #AuldLangSpine

Thought I could read this during the game, but it requires intense concentration. Giving myself an hour to really get immersed. I think the plot is picking up and hopefully I‘ll start to understand more of what‘s going on as I become more invested.

CSeydel Update: well, I read one paragraph before I was lassoed to help with homework. While I was helping with homework, kid 2 reported that all the rain last week had caused a major leak in his room that he hadn‘t noticed until now, so I spent the next hour blow drying books and setting up fans to try to dry out the carpet 😩😖 3w
AllDebooks Oh no. Reschedule for tonight x 3w
Chrissyreadit ugh!!! I hope everything is dry now 🩵 3w
CSeydel @AllDebooks I like the way you think! @Chrissyreadit I hope so too! I haven‘t been out there yet today. (His “room” is a little out-building behind our house). 3w
46 likes4 comments
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CSeydel
The Postcard | Anne Berest
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#weekendreads

Still struggling through Neuromancer 😩 #AuldLangSpine

Also reading The Postcard for #EuropaCollective - starting it a little early because it came in on Libby

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CSeydel
Beatlesongs | William J. Dowlding
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#BigFabBeatles

Today‘s the day! On Feb 9, 1964 the Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan Show, watched by 73 million viewers. I‘m celebrating the 60th anniversary with Beatles book bingo! Each square has a Beatles song title. You can fit a book to each square however you want to - be creative and just have fun with it. I‘ll give some examples ⬇️

CSeydel “Yesterday” - can be a book set in the past, a book published in the past, a book that uses flashbacks as a narrative device, etc
“Eleanor Rigby” - a character named Eleanor, author has initials E & R, theme of loneliness, main character is an older woman, etc.
Any way you want to tie it in is fine! This is meant to be casual and fun.
3w
willaful How fun! 3w
LiseWorks It's amazing with each title I actually sing the song. 3w
41 likes3 comments
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CSeydel
Weekly Forecast | Thomas Gibson Inc
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#weeklyforecast

Where did all these books come from??

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CSeydel
Neuromancer | William Gibson
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#HyggeHour

Today is certainly the perfect day for #hygge — I‘m in Southern California in the path of the “atmospheric river” bringing major storms. Rain and more rain! All day the phone has been buzzing with weather alerts, flood warnings and advisories to stay off the freeways.

I‘m in my new LLBean flannel pajamas that I got for Christmas 😍 and sipping candy cane green tea. And not thinking about how we‘re going to get to school tomorrow…

TheBookHippie Oy. I‘m glad you‘re safe and dry for now! I totally get the getting to school safely. 4w
CSeydel @TheBookHippie The university is going online tomorrow - I don‘t know why the high schools don‘t do that also! My daughter‘s school always floods! 4w
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TheBookHippie @CSeydel we‘ve had that with ice,fog, snow … it‘s so easy to go online! Ughhh 4w
Amiable I got flannel PJs from LL Bean for Christmas, too! They‘re the bomb. 😍 4w
Chrissyreadit 🤍🤍🤍🤍 4w
54 likes6 comments
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CSeydel
Beatlesongs | William J. Dowlding
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February 2024 is here! Thank you all for joining me in the #bigfabbeatles 12-month reading challenge! This month marks the 60th anniversary (!!!) of the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, kicking off Beatlemania in the US. Since everyone loves BINGO I decided to do a Beatles Bingo this month to cap off our challenge. Stay tuned … 2/9/24 🎶🤩🎶🎸

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CSeydel
Happy Litsyversary! | Special Events
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My 6-year Litsyversary?!?!? Time flies!
#litsyversary @HappyLitsyversary

Thank you all for making this the kindest, most fun, most intellectually stimulating corner of the internet!
Littens 4-ever

LeahBergen Happy Litsyversary! 🎉 4w
Birdsong28 Happy Litsyversary 🎊🎉📚📖 4w
BarbaraBB Glad to have met you here 🤍 4w
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Amiable Woot woot! Congrats! 🎊🍾🎈 4w
quietlycuriouskate Happy Litsyversary! 📚📚📚 4w
JessClark78 Happy Litsyversary! 🎊📚🎉 4w
Chrissyreadit 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉 4w
IndoorDame Happy Litsyversary!!!! 4w
Librarybelle Happy Litsyversary! 4w
La_Cori 🥳📚🎉 Happy Litsyversary!! 🎉📚🥳 4w
TheSpineView Happy Litsyversary! 🥳 🥳🥳 4w
Jas16 Happy Litsyversary!🎉📚🙌🏽 4w
TheBookgeekFrau Happy Litsyversary!! 🎉🎊 4w
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Happy Litsyversary 🩷🎉🎈🎊📚🙌🏻 4w
Ruthiella Happy Litsyversary! 🥳🥳🥳 4w
mrp27 Happy Litsyversary!! 🎉📚🎉📚 4w
Deblovestoread Happy Litsyversary 🎉 4w
dabbe HL! 🖤🩶🖤 4w
Ddzmini Welcome all 😊📚 4w
57 likes20 comments
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CSeydel
Neuromancer | William Gibson
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CSeydel
Other Birds: A Novel | Sarah Addison Allen
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Pickpick

My third #AuldLangSpine book of January! This was a charming story of the residents of a strange little condo on a touristy island in South Carolina. All of the residents (both living and ghostly) had terrible, tragic childhoods, and the story follows their journey to love and healing.

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CSeydel
The Burden | writing as Mary Westmacott, Agatha Christie
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Happy February, #westmakittens! This month we read the sixth and final Mary Westmacott novel. I haven‘t read this one yet and I‘m looking forward to discussing it with you all. I‘ve really enjoyed reading everyone‘s reviews and the good discussions! Thank you for going on this journey with me.
#MaryWestmacottBuddyRead

Librarybelle Got my copy ready to go! 4w
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Ruthiella The last one! 4w
CSeydel I don‘t know what‘s going on with my tag list 🤔 At first it didn‘t work. Now it looks like it showed up twice? Smh 4w
CSeydel @Ruthiella Woohoo! 4w
willaful I don't think I have this one. :-( 4w
rubyslippersreads Looking forward to this. I‘ve enjoyed them all so much, I‘m going to go back and read any I‘ve missed. 4w
BarbaraJean Thank you for organizing and leading this! I have enjoyed all of these so much. Looking forward to this final read and discussion! 4w
40 likes10 comments
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CSeydel
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By request! Here you go, @Littlewolf1 - a bracket to nominate the worst books you read this year.

CBee Omg LOVE 4w
dabbe 🤩😂🤩 4w
CSeydel 😆😂🤣🙃 4w
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Chelsea.Poole lol!! 😂 4w
Laughterhp 💚🤣😆 4w
vonnie862 Love it! 4w
TheSpineView 😂😂😂 4w
willaful Where has this been all my life?! 🤣 4w
Littlewolf1 😆 I love it… this is so awesome 4w
AmyG The is is GREAT. Ha! 4w
5feet.of.fury Oh yay 😂😂that‘s so funny 4w
DieAReader 🤣❤️‍🔥Omg I love this! @CoverToCoverGirl maybe you‘d like this too?😉 4w
AnnR 🤓😂🙂 4w
BarbaraBB So fun! 4w
julesG I'm going to do this! 4w
Meshell1313 Fun!!! 4w
CoverToCoverGirl What fun! 3w
57 likes17 comments
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CSeydel
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Pickpick

Soft pick. I was hoping for a little more depth from this one. It starts off strong with a British-y, Roald Dahl/JK Rowling vibe, and lots of promising characters, but the plot never really gains any momentum. A sweet, feel-good story of a man who lives his life as a cog in the machine of society waking up to new possibilities and allowing himself to love and be loved. It was pleasant to read, but ultimately a bit treacly. #auldlangspine

TheIntrovertedDodoBird I love TJ Klune! You should check out some of his adult fiction if you're looking for a more gritty read! 😊 1w
CSeydel @TheIntrovertedDodoBird I‘ve heard good things ☺️ is there one you particularly recommend? 1w
TheIntrovertedDodoBird @CSeydel I highly recommend Into This River I Drown and Murmuration. Both are dark and gritty. Also, the Greencreek series and the Immemorial Year duology are absolutely incredible! Then, if you're looking for something entirely different, try How To Be A Normal Person. It's honestly hilarious 😊. I've pretty much read everything he's ever written now 😂. 1w
53 likes4 comments
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CSeydel
Untitled | Unknown
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#bookreport #europacollective #auldlangspine #MaryWestmacottBuddyRead

Reviews incoming, but here‘s the summary:

The Hate U Give - 4.5⭐️
A Daughter‘s a Daughter - 4⭐️
The Thursday Murder Club - 4⭐️
After That Night (Will Trent, 11) - 3.5⭐️
Other Birds - 3.5⭐️
The House in the Cerulean Sea - 3⭐️
A Novel Bookstore - 2.5⭐️
Ether Day - (not finished yet)

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CSeydel
The Hate U Give | Angie Thomas
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I read this for my local “Banned Book Club” and I‘m glad I did. I wasn‘t expecting to like it, but since my daughter is home from college, I invited her to read it too and come to the meeting. I thought it was really well written and not nearly as heavy-handed as I expected. Complex issues of family, race, culture, and policing are handled with nuance and insight. Plus, it was entertaining and compelling as a story. 4.5⭐️

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CSeydel
The Hate U Give | Angie Thomas
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The Hate U Give was the best book I read in January, although if I‘m being honest about my /favorite/ book this month, The Thursday Murder Club was more fun to read. Both of these books surprised me by how well-written they were.

Most looking forward to Neuromancer next month
#Two4Tuesday

TheSpineView Thanks for playing! 1mo
29 likes2 comments
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CSeydel
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TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1mo
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CSeydel
A Daughter's a Daughter | Mary Westmacott
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Happy Saturday #westmakittens! Sorry I‘ve dragged my feet on the discussion for this book. I have to share that I find this one incredibly painful for various reasons. I quite relate to Ann and her preference for self-sacrifice over conflict. Re-reading this book now that I‘m older, it strikes me how many of my worst regrets can be traced back to this tendency.

What about you? What did you see in these characters?
#LMWBR #MaryWestmacottBuddyRead

CSeydel I fiercely hated Sarah and her selfish, bratty behavior. But this time around, reading it as a mother of adult children, I felt more of the blame lay with Richard for forcing a confrontation rather than being patient, and with Ann for not working on Sarah in private to communicate her feelings and try to lessen to conflict or at least get to the real source of it. 1mo
Librarybelle I felt so bad for Ann, sacrificing so much. Sarah and Richard were terrible. They put Ann in a terrible position, and as someone who also tries to keep everyone happy, I can relate to the strain Ann felt as she tried to “referee.” 1mo
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rubyslippersreads @CSeydel Sarah was a brat, but Richard was the adult in the situation and could have behaved better. And Ann was an adult too, and could have communicated better, as you pointed out. An interesting book, but not a comfortable one. 1mo
willaful @CSeydel It was definitely different for me too, reading as the mother of an adult child now. A&R could have done a lot more to defuse the situation.

Personally, I think it was very wrong of Ann to make a sacrifice that she couldn't do without bitterness and anger. It wasn't a reasoned choice, but a desperate one and she really did it more for herself than Sarah, and then took it out on her. For years. (Not that Sarah wasn't cruel & awful.)
1mo
quietjenn If like to think that I couldn't really relate to any of them 😅, although that might be denying my worst tendencies. I think they all handled the situation terribly and deserved some blame. 1mo
Ruthiella Dame Laura! The reader can intuit where the plot is going but is powerless to prevent anything. 1mo
willaful @Ruthiella Yes, Dame Laura is a good audience stand-in. She sees it all but no one listens to her. 1mo
CSeydel @willaful she‘s dead-set against giving advice as well 1mo
BarbaraJean @Ruthiella @willaful Yes, I definitely related to Dame Laura as well. She could see all sides, and the inevitability of how it would play out. @CSeydel What did you think of her determination to NOT give advice? I could see why that was her approach, but it also frustrated me that she was so completely hands-off. I wondered how things would have gone with Ann if Laura hadn‘t been away for so long, and/or if she‘d have offered some direction. 1mo
BarbaraJean I unfortunately related to Ann a lot as well. The avoidance of conflict is strong for me!! But there was more going on there than just avoiding conflict. The lack of self-knowledge/failure to understand each other was universal! Sarah was awful, but her selfishness & lack of consideration for others stemmed from immaturity & inexperience. Neither adult seemed able to see her behavior for what it was. Richard‘s behavior was just as bad as Sarah‘s⤵️ 1mo
BarbaraJean I felt he was more culpable, as an adult who should have considered both the source of Sarah‘s behavior as well as how his own actions were exacerbating the situation. Then Ann needed to take responsibility for the choice she made—recognizing her bitterness and resentment and dealing with it rather than burying herself in the constant social whirl. Which is another kind of avoidance, I guess! 1mo
CSeydel @BarbaraJean Yes, I found myself getting very frustrated with Dame Laura! Even Ann was getting frustrated with her refusal to get involved! I agreed with her general principle about not giving advice - people don‘t want to hear it, even if they think they do - but I wish she had been a little less cryptic with Ann and Sarah when she was sharing her thoughts. Or a lot less. 1mo
CSeydel @BarbaraJean And yes, this time around, I felt much more annoyed with Richard for his lack of patience and perspicacity. 1mo
31 likes14 comments
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CSeydel
A Daughter's a Daughter | Mary Westmacott
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#LMWBR #MaryWestmacottBuddyRead

Hey #westmakittens I have unfortunately been under the weather this week and I don‘t have questions prepared. But I wanted to go ahead and make a post for people to share their thoughts about the book. I found this one a very hard read. What did you think of Ann and Sarah‘s relationship?

Ruthiella Sorry you have been feeling unwell. ❤️ I‘m only 1/4 of the way in, but I‘m afraid for Ann. 😬 (edited) 1mo
CSeydel @Ruthiella you are not wrong to feel afraid. I‘m looking forward to your review when you finish! 1mo
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Librarybelle Hope you feel better soon! I‘m still reading this and will hopefully post my thoughts this weekend! 1mo
quietjenn Sorry you aren't feeling well! Hope you improve soon. I've finished and for sure have Thoughts, but will save since others are still reading. 1mo
willaful I have a feeling this book has lurked in my subconscious for decades, because I have a disabled adult child, which has a large impact on my life, but I try to never let myself to get to the point of resenting her for my choices.

1mo
rubyslippersreads I just finished this, and it struck me that, although Christie is synonymous with murder, some of her Westmacott characters can be as cruel as murderers. 1mo
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CSeydel
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I‘ve never related to anything so hard in my life 😆

LiteraryinLawrence Yessssss 2mo
Ruthiella 😂😂😂 2mo
DHill 🤣🤣🤣 2mo
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dabbe 😂 2mo
Leftcoastzen 👏😂 2mo
julesG 🤣🤣🤣 2mo
61 likes6 comments
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CSeydel
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Can you tell I‘m procrastinating? Here‘s my #bookspin wrap-up for 2023. I read 20 out of 24; bailed on one book, and carried three others over to this year. Not too bad 💅🏻

TheAromaofBooks Yay!! Fantastic year!!! 2mo
43 likes1 comment
review
CSeydel
A Novel Bookstore | Laurence Cosse
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Mehso-so

I found this pretty dull, unfortunately. It began well, with a series of mysterious, menacing acts. The bulk of the story concerns the events leading up to the attacks: the birth of the bookstore and a tepid love triangle.

I didn‘t mind the slow build, but it frustrated me that the book never grapples directly with its central question: why are popular books not necessarily quality books? Can there be an objective definition of “a good novel”?

AnnR That's a great question but unfortunately, I'm not sure how to answer it, especially when it comes to historical fiction. It's like The Nightingale vs Wolf Hall. I've probably just offended some readers and I apologize, but arguably one is a better quality historical book overall. Not that there is anything wrong with liking K. Hannah historical fiction. Read what you love. Reading diversity is what it's all about here on Litsy. 2mo
CSeydel Found this line in a review and it definitely reflects how I felt reading this: “Though A Novel Bookstore is charming and compelling and very readable, it has neither the depth nor the beauty of the great books that it dedicates itself to. It makes one wonder if the time might not be better spent reading the greats themselves, rather than this tribute.” 2mo
CSeydel @AnnR I don‘t know how to answer it either. I think the “soil” of my mental & emotional state and my life situation deeply affects how I receive any given book. For instance, I am certain I got a lot more out of The Thursday Murder Club because I happened to read it right after Being Mortal. I was emotionally primed to connect with the elderly characters on a deeper level. A Novel Bookstore treats books as finite objects rather than ideas. 2mo
AnnR @CSeydel I understand what you are saying and very much agree. My emotional, physical state and even age, definitely influences my reaction to a story. I suspect that's true of most readers. 2mo
54 likes5 comments
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CSeydel
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I couldn‘t decide which #AuldLangSpine selection to read first, so I ranked them by their average rating on GR (yes, yes; an imperfect system, but 🤷🏻‍♀️).

The top three are:
The House in the Cerulean Sea
After That Night (Will Trent #11)
DUNE

A nice mix! Can‘t wait to get reading! (Yes I spent too long making this graphic 😂)

monalyisha Bold of you to read Dune; it‘s so long! I‘m full of admiration. 2mo
CSeydel @monalyisha I definitely won‘t finish it in January, but I‘ve been meaning to read it for years, so this is the perfect opportunity. Everyone says it‘s so good! 2mo
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CSeydel
Thursday Murder Club | Richard Osman
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Pickpick

Agatha Christie meets Carl Hiaasen in this fun little mystery which manages to be extremely British and extremely cozy while also populated by a zany cast, including crooked developers, mysterious priests, ex-prize fighters, and drug dealers gone straight (unless…?) I avoided this for a long time, but the mystery felt well plotted and the interactions among the various characters tapped into honest emotion that exceeded my expectations. Very fun.

BarbaraBB Great photo 🥰 2mo
Smarkies This also took me by surprise. I am now reading the rest of the series. 2mo
Ruthiella These books just get better and better. 2mo
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CSeydel
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“Our most cruel failure in how we treat the sick and the aged is the failure to recognize that they have priorities beyond merely being safe and living longer.”

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CSeydel
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#Top23of23

It was so tough to choose. Every time I do this, it comes out different!

BarbaraBB Great list! I notice a few favorites of mine and will screenshot the rest! 2mo
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CSeydel
A Daughter's a Daughter | Mary Westmacott
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Happy new year, #westmakittens! Great discussion last month about the Rose and the Yew Tree. I appreciated reading everyone‘s responses even though I didn‘t always acknowledge them when I did not have anything more to add. Our book for January is A Daughter‘s a Daughter. I‘ll try to post some prompts for discussion on Jan 20!

Librarybelle Yay!! 2mo
BarbaraJean Looking forward to it! 2mo
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Ruthiella I‘m on it. I read somewhere that Christie‘s daughter was uncomfortable with this one because she felt it was about her (and maybe not flattering…we‘ll find out!) 2mo
CSeydel @Ruthiella oh no! I hope it isn‘t too close to the truth - it is definitely NOT flattering. The first time I read it, I was emotionally wrecked. I‘m kind of not looking forward to revisiting it, but I‘m also curious what will come across different this time. 2mo
willaful @Cseydel I also remember it as an upsetting read. And I didn't even have a daughter then. 👀 2mo
quietjenn @CSeydel @Ruthiella @willaful interesting! I shipped last month because December was busy and I'd read that one before, but looking forward to diving into this one, with all is unflattering bits 2mo
CSeydel @quietjenn Yay! There will certainly be a lot to discuss. 2mo
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CSeydel
Demon Copperhead: A Novel | Barbara Kingsolver
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Turns out I‘m pretty sparing with the 5-⭐️ ratings.

A Christmas Carol
Demon Copperhead
So Many Steves
Giant‘s Bread
Absent in the Spring

Here‘s to a great 2024 of books!

willaful I had 8, of which 3 were rereads of old favs, so basically the same. 2mo
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CSeydel
Untitled | Unknown
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For 2024, I made myself a bracket with spaces for one bonus book each quarter. This serves not only to even up the matches by starting with 16 contenders instead of 12, but it also provides for months with more than one 4-5 star book. I decided to post it just in case anyone else feels the same way - help yourself! #readingbracket2024

hes7 ooh, good idea! 2mo
dabbe OMG; I love it and stole it! Thanks! 🤩😍😘 2mo
Meshell1313 Love! Thanks for sharing!! 2mo
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AnnR Wow! Thanks for sharing. 2mo
DieAReader Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing❤️‍🔥 @TheSpineView I came across this & thought you might be interested😉 2mo
TheSpineView @DieAReader Yes! Thank you! 2mo
DieAReader @TheSpineView 😏❤️‍🔥 2mo
DieAReader @CSeydel Absolutely!🤓📚 2mo
CoffeeNBooks Thank you so much for doing this! 2mo
Soubhiville Thank you, I love the idea of bonus books! @MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm would you be interested in using this? 2mo
Deblovestoread Fantastic! Thank you! 2mo
MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm @Soubhiville This is PERFECT! Thank you for remembering! 🥰 2mo
rachelsbrittain I love this!! Definitely gonna use it for a bracket this year 2mo
peanutnine Oooh love the idea of bonus books! Thanks for sharing! ☺️ 2mo
Amiable Yay! So glad to see this! Thank you! So the bonus books are like wild card slots? (edited) 1mo
CSeydel @Amiable haha, you are correct, I should have kept in the tournament theme! Wild card slots is exactly what they are. Any month that it feels too difficult to pick a clear winner, you can use the bonus book/wild card slot to include an extra title. 1mo
CSeydel @Catsandbooks I like how you arranged the months on your bracket - so Jan doesn‘t compete with Feb, etc. I thought about doing that, but by the time I had all the boxes where I wanted them, I forgot to change the month labels 🙃 1mo
Catsandbooks @CSeydel thanks! I totally didn't even see your bracket until I had posted mine or I probably wouldn't have even made one cause yours is great! I like all the bonus books! 1mo
CSeydel @Catsandbooks Aw thanks! Can‘t have too many bracket templates - it‘s nice to have options ☺️ 1mo
Catsandbooks @CSeydel Absolutely! 📚🩷 1mo
BookwormAHN Thank you 🩷 1mo
monalyisha Just adding my voice to the chorus of those who appreciate the option of adding bonus books! 🙌🏻 1mo
CSeydel @monalyisha Thanks! Glad you like it! 1mo
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CSeydel
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Nonfiction bracket. My only nonfiction of the month, and my final read of 2023. Incredible book. Anyone with aging parents or who plans to get old themselves should read this. Equal parts medicine, psychology, history, and philosophy. It was so hard to choose an overall winner here.

Lindy Loved this. I‘ve read it twice so far. 2mo
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CSeydel
Starter Villain | John Scalzi
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I only read 4 books in December. It‘s been busy here between work, and fixing up the house for holiday company, and then actually having the company here. I was looking forward to this week between Christmas and New Year‘s as prime reading time, but I‘ve been listless. I‘m still struggling through A Novel Bookstore (#europacollective) and I haven‘t even started More Than Human (#ClassicLSFBC). Starter Villain was a quick and fun read, though.

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CSeydel
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January #bookspin roster, selected from my 24in2024 list. I typically make a short list for bookspin and assign each book 2 numbers. (I don‘t know if I‘ll get to *any* of these in January, though, because I‘ll be reading my AuldLangSpine list, plus 2 in-person book clubs 😆)

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2mo
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CSeydel
Untitled | Unknown
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Here‘s my #24in2024 challenge list. It will also serve as my #bookspin list for the year! Many of these titles have previously appeared on my Roll100, bookspin, 14weeks, and MountTBR challenges - but several are 2023 acquisitions. Perhaps this is the year I‘ll get through my whole list!

Jas16 There are some books I really loved on your list! 2mo
CSeydel @Jas16 Woohoo 2mo
dabbe I loved AKATA WITCH! 💙🖤💙 2mo
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CSeydel @dabbe I am eager to read it! 2mo
Ruthiella You can do it! 👍 2mo
CSeydel @Ruthiella this is the year! (edited) 2mo
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CSeydel
The Terraformers | Annalee Newitz
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Here is my #AuldLangSpine list from @Lizpixie

Several of these are part of series, so I‘m wondering whether I can just jump in and read them or start with book 1? For the Shelley Burr, I already checked out book 1 (WAKE) because RIPPER isn‘t available at any of my libraries. Also, I‘ve been trying to read The Terraformers for #LitsySciFiBookClub on and off for weeks, so maybe I‘ll finally get into in January. 🤷🏻‍♀️

CSeydel Pictures are the books I was able to download onto my kindle already. I own a physical copy of Dune, and several others I have holds on physical copies from the library. I know I won‘t read all of them in January but I can at least collect them 😂 2mo
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CSeydel
Coronation Year: A Novel | Jennifer Robson
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#jolabokaflod23

Merry Christmas! Sorry for the delay - we had a party Christmas Eve, and I didn‘t open my package until this morning. I love it! The chocolates are delightful and I can‘t wait to read both of these books! And that turtle bookmark is adorable - I‘ve never seen one like it before. Thank you, Julie!

Julsmarshall I‘m so glad you enjoyed everything, @CSeydel ! Have the merriest of holidays! 2mo
CSeydel @Julsmarshall same to you! 2mo
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CSeydel
The Rose and the Yew Tree | Mary Westmacott
This post contains spoilers
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What does this mean? Do you think Teresa is right about Isabella “knowing her own design” for life, as opposed to the design Hugh wants to fit her into?

Ruthiella I do think Teresa is right here. She followed her passion instead of taking the expected course. 2mo
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CSeydel
The Rose and the Yew Tree | Mary Westmacott
This post contains spoilers
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#LMWBR #MaryWestmacottBuddyRead

I have to honest here, I didn‘t fully understand the attraction between Isabella and Gabriel. I understood why Gabriel wanted to possess her, but I couldn‘t fathom what Isabella was feeling.

Ruthiella Was she drawn to his energy and drive? She was very passive. I think her sacrifice is what jolted Gabriel and made him devote his energies towards trying to make a difference for good in the world with no thought of remuneration or recognition. We saw that in his final action with Millie Burt and how he did the right thing, even if it cost him his ambitions. 2mo
willaful It's a fascinating relationship. At first I read it as similar to a Jane Austen runaway couple, just based on physical attraction, but obviously there was a lot more there.

I think Gabriel had a basic goodness that had been corrupted by his class hatred and ambition. The fact that Isabella, the “princess,“ would sacrifice herself for him perhaps made him value his own potential more. He couldn't bring her to his level; he had to reach for hers.
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BarbaraJean I found the ending very unsatisfying, because I don't think Gabriel's transformation was believable. I feel like I need to hear more about the intervening years in order to decide how I feel about how or if he really changed! The Isabella/Gabriel attraction didn't make sense to me, and neither did their relationship--other than that they stayed together because they were each so puzzled by the other and by their attraction! 2mo
Ruthiella @BarbaraJean I feel that maybe a life of self sacrifice, but surrounded by adoring acolytes like Catherine Yougoubian, probably appealed to Gabriel‘s ego. So he didn‘t change so much as his ambitions changed. 2mo
CSeydel @BarbaraJean I totally agree! Very curious about Gabriel‘s later years. @Ruthiella that is an excellent point. 2mo
CSeydel @willaful I think you‘re totally right about that! I wonder if Isabella‘s love helped him let go of that defensiveness and that accounts for his transformation, allowing him to be more gracious and generous in later life. 2mo
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CSeydel
The Rose and the Yew Tree | Mary Westmacott
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Ruthiella I do believe in evil. Not in a religious sense, but as part of the human spectrum. But I don‘t agree with Teresa fully (though she is absolutely my favorite character). I think she is perhaps referencing the banality of evil and how most humans (myself included) are quite complacent. 2mo
BarbaraJean @Ruthiella I don't agree with Teresa here, either. This sounds like “well, everyone means well...“ and I very much disagree with that! I agree that a lot of harm is caused by the weak--people not getting involved, or indeed having good intent but bad outcomes. But there are so many who act with ill intent. Motives are certainly mixed, and Gabriel is a prime example of that, but harm is certainly often caused by those who very much mean to do so. 2mo
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CSeydel
The Rose and the Yew Tree | Mary Westmacott
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#LMWBR #MaryWestmacottBuddyRead

“It is a world of calculation of effect, of persuasion, of a thousand small subtleties, coupled with that large amount of sheer, uninteresting drudgery that is, again, the female quota to existence.”

Ruthiella I know very little about politics. I avoid them whenever possible. So I can‘t say if this observation is accurate or even what Christie meant by it. 2mo
willaful Shoot, I missed that we were reading this. I'll try to catch up and answer soon. 2mo
BarbaraJean The political subplot was fascinating--so many parallels to current politics. I kind of see what Christie was getting at by saying the political world of St. Loo was “essentially female“--but I don't know if I agree. The “drudgery“ part of it (I'm assuming canvassing, behind the scenes work, etc.) makes sense, for the time, to characterize as female, but there was so much calculation and persuasion being done, on all sides, regardless of gender. 2mo
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CSeydel
The Rose and the Yew Tree | Mary Westmacott
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Hugh, Teresa and Robert have a lengthy conversation about Isabella, comparing her with Fortinbras from Hamlet. What did you think of Isabella? Do you think she would be perceived as strange today, or was she merely strange for the context in which she lived?

#LMWBR #MaryWestmacottBuddyRead

Ruthiella First I had to look up Fortinbras! 😂 I think she‘s a realistic character. Plenty of people are exceptionally smart in one area or another but not so much in another. I do think, were she a man, her intellectual capability might‘ve been more encouraged by her family. She‘s unusual in that she doesn‘t care what others think-that‘s still pretty uncommon, IMO. (edited) 2mo
willaful I got a sense that she might be neurodiverse in some way, though hard to put a finger or a diagnosis on it. Her directness and tendency towards the literal are indicitive.

I think she fit in well with her world, because of her ease with acceptance and would probably continue to fit in well.
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BarbaraJean @willaful - Yes, she would definitely make sense as neurodiverse! She was such a unique character and I could never quite figure her out, or figure out how I felt about her. I don't think she was unrealistic, but she was very very specific. Hugh's characterization of her as a “lazy thinker“ made so much sense, but it also didn't quite fit--she wasn't lazy per se, just uninterested in examining her emotions and reactions. She was fascinating to me. 2mo
willaful @BarbaraJean “Very specific“ -- an excellent way to put it. And kind of unusual for Christie, who tended towards types. I guess she got to play around more with character in her Westmacott books. 2mo
BarbaraJean @willaful I think you're right, that she plays with character more in these books. What has stood out to me with every one of the Westmacott novels is how richly the characters are drawn. Which feels like a feature of her fiction across the board, but it's much more complex in these books. 2mo
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CSeydel
The Rose and the Yew Tree | Mary Westmacott
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#LMWBR #MaryWestmacottBuddyRead

Most of the book takes place during the election season at St Lol, but Hugh‘s character is set up with a backstory about his romance with Jennifer, which ended after a car accident leaves him disabled. What did you think that added?

Ruthiella I think Jennifer was there to better enable Hugh to understand Milly Burt and her situation and John Gabriel‘s desire to ameliorate it. I don‘t think all humans fit into limited psychological patterns-each person is complex. But I have met plenty of people who seem to be wedded to their suffering. 2mo
rubyslippersreads I‘m behind again, but will catch up soon. 2mo
willaful it's an opportunity to show how out of touch Hugh can be with his own feelings, and his tendency to romanticize 2mo
BarbaraJean I agree with both @Ruthiella and @willaful - the romance with Jennifer deepens Hugh's understanding of other people, and it also deepens the reader's understanding of Hugh's blind spots. Hugh's backstory made him more than just a handy invalid who can be a sounding board/sort-of impartial observer--and it gives us context for the person who's our filter throughout the events of the novel. 2mo
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CSeydel
The Rose and the Yew Tree | Mary Westmacott
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Hey #westmakittens

Just wanted to let you know I haven‘t forgotten about this month‘s discussion—today has been busy, but I‘ll post the questions later tonight or tomorrow. If you‘ve finished the book please do post your own reviews and tag the group! I am eager to hear what everyone thought of this one.

#MaryWestmacottBuddyRead #LMWBR

BarbaraJean I just started reading yesterday, but will jump in as soon as I can! I also realized I never got back to last month‘s discussion when I finished the book 🤦🏻‍♀️ I‘ll be catching up with both this week! 2mo
CSeydel Anytime! The posts stay up! Maybe I should hide them behind spoiler tags though - I hadn‘t thought of that 2mo
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CSeydel
Untitled | Unknown
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I didn‘t get a photo in the post office, but the #jolabokaflod package went out today. Once again I ended up putting the box inside a Priority Mail envelope, so there‘s no markings on the outside of the package 🤦🏻‍♀️

Should arrive by the end of the week