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Howardsimmons

Howardsimmons

Joined May 2016

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Howardsimmons
The Caregiver | Samuel Park
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Pickpick

Sam was one of my professors in grad school before he passed away. He was insightful and encouraging. This book is lovely and compassionate and hopeful and I can‘t recommend it enough.

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Howardsimmons
The Caregiver | Samuel Park

“The night was a vinyl record, dark and full of scratches, in perfect sync with the needle of God. But in the padaria, our bodies were lit up too much under the fluorescent lights, as if none of us had earned the tenderness of shadows.”

6 likes1 stack add
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Howardsimmons
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This book is very...gripping. (Ba-dum-dum. But seriously, it‘s pretty good!)

7 likes1 stack add
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Howardsimmons
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There are some great stories in this mix, but others have just been so-so for me; I think she lays on the message element a little too thickly at times. So far, “Inventory” has been my favorite.

11 likes3 stack adds
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Howardsimmons
Hold the Dark: A Novel | William Giraldi
Bailedbailed

Yeah, I made it to end of first chapter before giving up. Just long enough for grieving mother to climb into bed (naked, I might add) with the protagonist whom she‘d just met.

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Howardsimmons
Hold the Dark: A Novel | William Giraldi
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Ever read a book where the author gives every line of dialogue extreme weight? There‘s a reason why the second definition of the word portentous is “done in a pompously or overly solemn manner so as to impress.”

4 likes2 stack adds
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Howardsimmons
History of Wolves | Emily Fridlund
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Pickpick

The book was completely different from what I expected, but very well-written and compelling. The ending was one of those kind of frustratingly enigmatic endings where you‘re not sure where the character ends up or even who they really were in the first place, but despite that I would still recommend.

9 likes1 stack add
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Howardsimmons
NOS4A2 | Joe Hill
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Mehso-so

There was so much I disliked about this book, yet despite myself I was also really moved at times, particularly with Vic‘s conversations with her parents as an adult and by the tragic Maggie Leigh. However, the sexual violence and the novel‘s unnecessary length (seriously - you could cut 150 pages easy and not lose anything) dropped this down to a so-so. Cover art improvement by @GhostStories

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Howardsimmons
We the Animals | Justin Torres
Pickpick

Beautiful, wrenching, and well worth your time.

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Howardsimmons
Bailedbailed

It was well-written, but the fairy tale/allegory didnt engage me like I thought it would. The fetus-eating was a pretty compelling start, though.

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Howardsimmons
NOS4A2 | Joe Hill
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I am so sick of reading about women being raped or degraded in this book. Not to mention this book is a poor version of a Stephen King book, but like Hill‘s dad, it is weighed down by bloat.

GhostStories A mentally disabled man raping women is a cheap attempt at horror. 2y
Howardsimmons Exactly! 2y
Anna40 Couldn't agree more! 2y
5 likes5 comments
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Howardsimmons

About halfway through and I honestly have no idea where the story is going. I‘m not sure that‘s a good thing, as I can‘t say I‘m invested in any real way.

BookBabe 😕 2y
4 likes1 comment
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Howardsimmons
Ill Will: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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My first Dan Chaon novel and it is not disappointing. So many folks whose taste I admire love him, and I‘m happy to finally be joining the club.

3 likes2 stack adds
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Howardsimmons
Edgar and Lucy | Victor Lodato
Mehso-so

It's impossible not to love Edgar, but the story began to drag when it focused on Lucy, his perpetually angry, terrible mother, and I think it could have used a good trimming. It's about 100 pages too long. And a sudden shift to first-person at the end (only to go back to third) made me groan.

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Howardsimmons
Edgar and Lucy | Victor Lodato

One of those books where it seems the author refused to cut anything out, even if it doesn't move the story or offer insight into its main characters. Way too many pages given to tertiary characters that just make the novel feel bloated. A hundred pages from end and it's barely holding my interest when it should be compelling me to race through its pages.

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Howardsimmons
McGlue | Ottessa Moshfegh
Pickpick

Moshfegh is one of my favorite living writers. She wades into the muck and the mire of being human while also maintaining beautiful language and a slightly dreamy quality to her prose.

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Howardsimmons
The Likeness: A Novel | Tana French
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I'm about 3/4 of the way through and I just don't know. It's the same issue I had with In the Woods. The characters make really stupid decisions or are frustratingly withholding. And on top of it, the books are just a little too long. My interest is waning.

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Howardsimmons
Herzog | Saul Bellow
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Just woke up from a dream where I was walking around reading Herzog. That's it: just me wandering around with my nose in a book. For the record, I've not read Herzog, so maybe it's my subconscious telling me I should?

9 likes1 stack add
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Howardsimmons
The Life of Elves | Muriel Barbery

About 60 pages in and I think I might be with @SavidgeReads on this one. Not sure if I'll keep going.

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Howardsimmons
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Bailedbailed

The whale's face says it all. One of the worst things I've ever read. Ridiculous, overwritten and not anywhere as deep as it thinks it is. Poor Melville and Hawthorne deserve better.

GhostStories And so boring 2y
8 likes1 comment
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Howardsimmons
Ending Up | Kingsley Amis
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Pickpick

This book is alternately humorous and horrifying. And the ending is so bonkers, I just stared at its final page for a few minutes unbelieving. Highly recommended.

8 likes3 stack adds
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Howardsimmons
Essex Serpent | Sarah Perry
Mehso-so

I was enthralled at the beginning, but as the story continued, I never felt the stakes heighten, nor did I worry for the characters. While the first half flew by, the second lagged and I found myself reading just to finish it so I could move on to the next book. Disappointing. Also, the sex scene was 😮😳

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Howardsimmons
Essex Serpent | Sarah Perry
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I'm completely enthralled. One of the most captivating openings I've read in a while.

Tav Yessss! 🐍 3y
9 likes1 comment
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Howardsimmons
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Panpan

I kept waiting for moments that would earn its praise, but they never came. It's Helene ordering a book, being oh-so-American/witty about it & Frank at the bookshop being oh-so-British in response. Then 50+% of the book is her being thanked profusely for all the gifts and goodies she sends. We get it, Helene, you're a wonderful person. Maybe I'm too cynical but I never felt anything deep enough in the exchanges to warrant a reader's interest.

7 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Howardsimmons
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Pickpick

It's been a very long time since I read a short story collection that didn't feel repetitive. Every story in this book is horrifying and compelling and amazingly written. Cannot recommend highly enough.

9 likes3 stack adds
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Howardsimmons
Swann's Way | Marcel Proust
Pickpick

It took me a long time to read this book, as I would occasionally read a few pages before bed. Despite my lazy approach, it still affected me deeply when I'd finished.

Hobbinol His prose style is so rich, a reader can only stand so much in a single sitting. I think he deserves to be savored. I've been reading a volume of his each summer and I'll be finished -- finally-- this year! 3y
Howardsimmons @Hobbinol that's what my partner's doing. He's starting on Sodom and Gomorrah this summer. I'm gonna start Ulysses and when that's over maybe Proust part 2? 3y
9 likes2 comments
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Howardsimmons
The Loved One | Evelyn Waugh
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Pickpick

A nasty little diversion. Short, mean, and funny.

Hobbinol Okay. I had to stack a book with a character name of Mr. Joyboy. 3y
8 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Howardsimmons
Swann's Way | Marcel Proust

"We no longer love anyone else when we are in love"

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Howardsimmons
Through the Woods | Emily Carroll
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Pickpick

Delightfully creepy

6 likes1 stack add
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Howardsimmons
Dream Boy: A Novel | Jim Grimsley
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Pickpick

One of the first books I read with a gay central character. Its melancholy story, set in the south, spoke to me as no book ever had. I still revisit it from time to time, recalling that feeling of connection, understanding that helped shape me into the person I am today.

GhostStories Beautiful 3y
Hobbinol I felt the same way about this book. I'm happy I got a chance to tell him in person how much his work meant to me when he was part of a panel on banned books at a library conference. I loved Winter Birds too. 3y
7 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Howardsimmons
Beautiful Darkness | Fabien Vehlmann, Kerascot
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Pickpick

This is one of the most beautiful, disturbing things I've ever read. Its title is very appropriate, so don't expect some whimsically dark fairy tale; this is nihilism coated in a candy shell.

8 likes2 stack adds
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Howardsimmons
Beautiful Darkness | Fabien Vehlmann, Kerascot
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Howardsimmons
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Desha True...I've read that a high percentage of our communication comes from body language and not words...it's much different to say "I'm sorry you had a bad day" with true empathy versus saying "I'm sorry you had a bad day" with stinging sarcasm! Great quote choice!! ☺??? 3y
4 likes1 comment
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Howardsimmons
The Sparrow: A Novel | Mary Doria Russell
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Bailedbailed

I know some folks who absolutely love this book, but after 145 pages I wasn't into it and I was beginning to hate all the characters, particularly Anne.

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Howardsimmons
Universal Harvester | John Darnielle
Panpan

Painfully overwritten at times with a mystery that turns out to not be so mysterious after all.

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Howardsimmons
Lincoln in the Bardo | George Saunders
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Pickpick

This book was a delightful read.
Howard

But passed much too quickly.
Howard, again

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Howardsimmons
Eileen: A Novel | Ottessa Moshfegh
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Pickpick

Amazing. This book inhabits the dirty crevices of the mind, wallows in the muck and mire of the body, stews in the filth of humanity. Yet it is also hopeful and even slightly sweet at times. Loved almost every word.

8 likes2 stack adds
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Howardsimmons
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For all the horror contained in this novel, it's McCarthy's beautiful prose and haunted imagery that holds me captive.

7 likes1 stack add
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Howardsimmons
Hangsaman | Shirley Jackson
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Pickpick

I love Shirley Jackson, and this book was a fun read. But it's obvious why it's one of her lesser known books - it can't compare to The Haunting of Hill House or We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Still worth a read, though!

Amyegia I'm loving this cover! I have to borrow this someday... I'll trade you for something? 3y
12 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Howardsimmons
Hangsaman | Shirley Jackson
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Howardsimmons
Under the Skin | Michel Faber
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Pickpick

I'm not sure how Faber manages to address so much in this book: the meat industry, class structure, environmentalism, gender, speciesism, trauma survival, on and on. Ambitious and beautiful, disturbing and dreamy.

10 likes1 stack add
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Howardsimmons
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Pickpick

We listened to this tender, interior story while driving to visit family. Commemorated its bittersweet ending with a visit to the Lobster.

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Howardsimmons
Under the Skin | Michel Faber
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I think I've said "oh my god" out loud at least a half dozen times since starting this book and I'm only about 1/3 of the way through. Also: I loved the movie by Jonathan Glazer (no one can make me feel as emotionally shredded as that man can), but the book is completely different. They're almost two completely different stories.

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Howardsimmons
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Pickpick

I had to read the final page four times before I was willing to let this story go.

Amyegia I didn't make it to this final one! The ending of the third book tore me up too much. I have to go back to it. 3y
6 likes1 comment
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Howardsimmons
Life After Life: A Novel | Kate Atkinson
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This book is definitely unputdownable. (That's a word, right?)

GhostStories Absolutely agree! 3y
11 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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Howardsimmons
Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel | Helen Oyeyemi
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Pickpick

I'm a devotee of Oyeyemi. Her stories are compelling, strange, and familiar in unfamiliar ways. (Was gonna try to take picture with mirror, but unlike Bird, I always seem to show up in them.)

10 likes1 stack add
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Howardsimmons
Bel Canto | Ann Patchett
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Pickpick

Beautiful and moving. Can't wait to see the opera that it inspired.

8 likes3 stack adds
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Howardsimmons
Bel Canto | Ann Patchett
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Everyone I know who has read this book absolutely loves it, so I'm giving it a go. My first Ann Patchett book!

LeeRHarry I had to bail on this one, it just didn't hold my attention, but it seems like I'm definitely in the minority, hope you enjoy it 😊 3y
Howardsimmons It took me a while to get into it, honestly. But about 1/3 of the way through it finally clicked. 3y
10 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Howardsimmons
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Bailedbailed

Mailer is dismissive of pretty much every other writer and work that isn't his and oh geez, is he sexist. I'm out.

Amyegia Haha yeah I agree! Although sometimes I found his cockiness amusing, like... almost refreshing. I mean he owns it. 3y
8 likes1 comment
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Howardsimmons
Sharp Objects: A Novel | Gillian Flynn
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Pickpick

It's strange to call such a dark book a "fun" read, but it was. Disturbing and suspenseful.