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Karmapen

Karmapen

Joined January 2021

Queer lady trying to ready 50 books in 2021
review
Karmapen
Pickpick

As a person who grew up in an extremely fatphobic household, I found this book nearly excruciating to read. It took me like a week and half to get through, which is forever for me. But it was so important and enlightening— I wish everyone would read it.

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Karmapen
Pickpick

I did not think I was going to like this, despite liking JP Brammer, because the first chapter felt a bit rocky ? But then I really got into the form and then I LOVED it.

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Karmapen
Pickpick

A very engaging memoir.

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Karmapen
Final Girls | Riley Sager
Mehso-so

The writing was aggressively bad, but I never would have guessed the plot twist, so that has to count for something!

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Karmapen
The Five Wounds: A Novel | Kirstin Valdez Quade
Pickpick

This story was at times excruciating to read, because everyone kept making terrible choices. I felt so much empathy for everyone, it was like holding my heart in my hands as I read. Near the end I really thought I‘d have to throw the book across the room but the ending is actually okay.

Karmapen @Reggie I put this on my list because of you like 5 months ago and finally got around to reading it. You were not kidding about how raw it makes you feel. 8mo
Reggie You know what‘s crazy? Is that I never finished it. We had just gone back to work, and we were short staffed but had triple the business. And the book was not the one I needed at the time. I left just as soon as the father started sleeping with her teacher. I don‘t know if I‘ll go back, but I‘m glad you liked it. 8mo
Karmapen @Reggie I totally understand. It‘s not a book you can just pick up, and I definitely felt like it stayed with me for days after. 8mo
4 likes3 comments
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Karmapen
Mehso-so

This one was fine. An interesting concept, I‘ll give you that. But I just wasn‘t… enthralled I guess? I didn‘t BELIEVE the character and her relationship with people at all.

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Karmapen
Panpan

To be honest and with the utmost respect, having read Sally Rooney‘s 3 novels back to back, it kind of feels as though there is only one story she can tell and only two characters she knows how to write. This felt like the least successful application. I knew how it would end. I knew every self-sabotaging thing each character would do. The emails were so tiresome, the drama was tiresome, the sex was tiresome.

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Karmapen
Freshwater | Akwaeke Emezi
Mehso-so

I wish there was an in-between rating, to match this story of a woman who is trapped between the world of flesh and gods. It was my second time reading about obganje, after Blood Honey Pig Bread, which was helpful context. The story was horrifying, the prose was stunning. I‘m not really sure what to walk away with.

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Karmapen
Ask Again, Yes: A Novel | Mary Beth Keane
Mehso-so

I felt like the pacing was off on this one, and quite frankly I just didn‘t really like anyone that much. But the story was engaging enough to keep reading?

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Karmapen
Pickpick

I mean, I liked this, but it‘s really depression lit.

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Karmapen
Butter Honey Pig Bread | Francesca Ekwuyasi
Pickpick

OH MY GOD this was the closest thing to a perfect book I‘ve ever read. Twins, ghosts / spirits, multiple perspectives, rich scenery, PLOT! Oh how I loved it.

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Karmapen
Normal People | Sally Rooney
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Pickpick

I know I‘m like the last person on the planet to read this but WOW it packs a punch. It is like…very upsetting. But I loved it.

Reggie What do you think happens with them? Every time I think about this book I get teary eyed. 9mo
Karmapen To be honest I don‘t think it ends well! I think these short intense relationships when you‘re very young rarely work out. You don‘t want to end up with the person who makes you feel the most intense things. But yeah this book wrecked me. @Reggie (edited) 9mo
15 likes2 comments
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Karmapen
The Veins of the Ocean | Patricia Engel
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Pickpick

In all honesty this story was excruciatingly sad. TW for domestic violence and violence against children. But the characters were complex and vibrant and I was enthralled from the first page.

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Karmapen
Infinite Country: A Novel | Patricia Engel
Pickpick

Wow, I LOVED this book. Even though it spanned more than three decades, you felt so close to the action it was like you felt the character‘s breath on your cheeks. It was also just painfully contemporary without feeling cheap—a little window into how we will all be remembered.

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Karmapen
The Radleys | Matt Haig
Pickpick

This was a fun little addition to the vampire genre.

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Karmapen
The Round House | Louise Erdrich
Pickpick

Can never go wrong with Louise Erdrich. This was so gripping from the first chapter, and the character development was amazing and tragic, and even though you are told what still happen on the first page the ending still comes as a shock.

7 likes1 stack add
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Karmapen
Such a Fun Age | Kiley Reid
Pickpick

Hard to root for anyone in this book, but I really enjoyed it.

Cathythoughts I really enjoyed it too 👏🏻 10mo
6 likes1 comment
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Karmapen
Mean | Myriam Gurba
Pickpick

Just a gut punch of a memoir. Sharp and funny. It made me squeamish.

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Karmapen
Pickpick

Sometimes I am amazed that women haven‘t set the world absolutely and totally on fire.

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Karmapen
Pickpick

A heavy one.

4 likes1 stack add
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Karmapen
Pickpick

Took me a few chapters to get into but then I was hooked.
I liked the plot twists, even though I guessed both. It was impressive! Monique, our narrator, was not very likable, which was my only complaint. I liked everyone else.

Darkstarx9x Same! 10mo
10 likes1 comment
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Karmapen
The Drowning Kind | Jennifer McMahon
Mehso-so

This was definitely gripping and readable, but several plot points felt like dead ends, and it played into my least favorite trope, which is the estranged beloved sibling / parent / family member dying but all the person‘s recollections of them make them seem awful? I did not feel bad for Lexie.

2 likes1 stack add
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Karmapen
Arsenic and Adobo | Mia P. Manansala
Mehso-so

I can‘t lie, I was entertained. It felt kind of like a telenovela or a crazy-rich-Asians type of story— not much depth, but a lot of fun! Plus lots of good food descriptions, which I enjoyed. But the writing was bad.

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Karmapen
Pickpick

This book was so beautifully written but devastating, each loss the author suffered piling atop another. Absolutely gutting.

SamAnne Loved this one. 11mo
6 likes1 comment
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Karmapen
Dominicana: A Novel | Angie Cruz
Pickpick

I really enjoyed this. I love first person historical novels that teach you about a place or time without preaching, which is what this felt like.

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Karmapen
MY DARK VANESSA. | KATE ELIZABETH. RUSSELL
Pickpick

I really expected to hate this, not least because it‘s about the abuse of a teenage girl by her teacher, but it was so well written, so impeccably plotted, so painfully believable, that I was just really impressed by it in the end. That being said, my skin was CRAWLING the entire time.

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Karmapen
Of Women and Salt | Gabriela Garcia
Panpan

Honestly I was really unimpressed with this book. It felt…unedited. Why start a book with a family tree and put an x in it if you literally never mean to discuss it? Why include a stray cousin in Cuba who gets half of one story and then shunted to the sidelines? Why why why? So much of this book felt like it had potential and then went nowhere.

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Karmapen
Pickpick

My favorite book of the year so far. What a gloriously queer and millennial piece of writing. I remember listening to an interview with comedian Cameron Esposito and she said that there are some things that can only be written by people of a certain experience because “they‘re specific”, and the SPECIFICITY of this book to me was breathtaking. Adored it.

Nutmegnc Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing. I just started this one! 10mo
10 likes1 comment
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Karmapen
Pickpick

The pacing on this one felt really off. The world building here was still incredible but I feel like a huge storyline was just shoved in book 3 and then…left. Tuners to orogones to stones eaters? It was a little much and a lot didn‘t get explained but I still enjoyed the ride. The last couple of chapters felt incredibly rushed.

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Karmapen
Pickpick

Oof, the CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT THO

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Karmapen
Mehso-so

I hated this book, the same way I hated living in San Francisco for three years in my early twenties, the solid mass of gentrified apathy that strangled everything that was ever good about that place. But it was a very accurate portrayal of the place, even if there was no one left to root for at the end.

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Karmapen
Whereabouts | Jhumpa Lahiri
Mehso-so

This was the first Jhumpa Lahiri book I didn‘t absolutely adore and I was surprised. The narrator and the whole story felt distant, clouded, so I didn‘t feel immersed the way I am used to. Still, there were passages that were so beautifully written it was worth to reading just to savor them.

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Karmapen
Pickpick

I really enjoyed this. It was a detailed narrative history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland that was so gripping it felt like watching a TV drama, without ever seeming exploitative or garish. Excellent and I learned a lot.

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Karmapen
Pickpick

Y‘all this one was so messed up and disturbing. I shouldn‘t have read it at night. There‘s a lot of biblical references that went over my head, but the story was dark and compelling and the ending was just WRENCHING. You think things will be ok, but…

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Karmapen
Shout | Laurie Halse Anderson
Panpan

It feels bad to give a low rating to this book given how personal the subject matter is to the author. I think my biggest issue here is that Laurie Halse Anderson is an incredible storyteller…in PROSE. These poems didn‘t feel poemlike at all, just like she split all her sentences in half and called it a day.

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Karmapen
Mehso-so

I love books about the medical profession because truthfully I probably should have been a doctor. This one wasn‘t bad… in fact there were a lot of super interesting parts of it. But it felt impersonal? I always felt at an arms length from the action, if that makes sense.

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Karmapen
Crying in H Mart: A Memoir | Michelle Zauner
Pickpick

I mean…idk what I expected because this is a woman‘s memoir about her mom dying, so like, I was going to cry? It made me sad. It was sad. The writing was good.

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Karmapen
The Fifth Season | N. K. Jemisin
Pickpick

This came to me with near universal acclaim so I was pretty sure I‘d like it, and I did, but it was SO grim and violent, and the violence was usually against children, which is just extremely not what I want to read about? I figured out the spoiler of how people were linked pretty early on but I still couldn‘t put it down, and I still want to read the next two. The world building was incredible.

Nutmegnc It was def not an easy read. 10mo
11 likes1 comment
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Karmapen
Milk Blood Heat | Dantiel W. Moniz
Pickpick

I LOVED this collection. Every single one of these stories was sharp and visceral and disturbing. I didn‘t know how anything would live up to the first story but they kept delivering, I cannot wait to read more from this author.

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Karmapen
Homeland Elegies | Ayad Akhtar
Mehso-so

I think I just didn‘t buy into this book‘s central conceit, which is that the author couldn‘t decide if he wanted to write a memoir or tell a good story. So while I definitely learned something and some passages were intriguing and enlightening, overall I felt underwhelmed.

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Karmapen
The Night Watchman | Louise Erdrich
Pickpick

Louise Erdrich never disappoints me. I‘m always fascinated and horrified to learn a little more of the history of native Americans, and how the American government has tried to systematically erase them, through her stories.

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Karmapen
Long Division | Kiese Laymon
Mehso-so

This book was just too dark for me, although it added to my theory that time travel automatically makes a book creepy. Maybe I just wasn‘t in the right headspace because I could tell that it was a good story and the novel-within-a-novel worked really well, but it just left me with a heavy feeling in my gut.

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Karmapen
Pickpick

I get the hype! I liked this book a lot. The only thing I feel like I didn‘t really understand / wanted more of was Stella- I didn‘t build enough empathy for her at the beginning to later understand her choices, whereas Desiree I felt a lot of empathy for and got way more interior dialogue back from when she was young. Still, I really enjoyed this book.

allthatjas Exactly how I felt! I found myself having close to zero empathy for Stella. I actually really disliked her. Whereas with Desiree, I sympathized with everything she went through and every choice she made. Idk. I loved the book but I agree. Also, I wanted to seeped build between the cousins because that was one of my favorite elements of the plot. 12mo
5 likes1 comment
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Karmapen
Dear Edward: A Novel | Ann Napolitano
Panpan

This book was easy to read but not good. It was trying to do way too many things, and I don‘t know why it kept going back to why the plane crashed when there wasn‘t even a big reveal about what happened? Plus, I always bristle when an author sprinkles in italicized Spanish dialogue for absolutely no reason. Like, what was the point?

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Karmapen
Pickpick

I feel like this was the most important book I read this year. Certainly the most eye opening to me, an American Jew, who grew up visiting my grandparents in Israel. I don‘t know how Dr. Abuelaish was able to write with such grace about the stifling poverty and restrictions that he experienced as a Palestinian civilian living in Gaza, and about the cruel and senseless loss of his three daughters during an Israeli air strike in 2008.

Karmapen I was sobbing for him and his family at points at the book because they seem like such good people in such a hopeless situation. I really want the whole world but really our lawmakers and politicians to read this book and then try to change the situation in Gaza, which is truly unbearable for then innocent people there. 12mo
2 likes1 comment
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Karmapen
Pickpick

It‘s hard to “like” a book like this, which is just a chronicle of tragedies— but it was so close and intimate and didn‘t pretend to be anything it wasn‘t. It spent time with the people affected and let them say their piece and didn‘t try to lionize or demonize them. I was impressed and sad. I wanted to keep reading forever.

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Karmapen
Mehso-so

I struggled with this book. It was engaging and well written but at times relentlessly academic in its discussion of art, writing and philosophy, which sometimes felt hard to follow amongst the other contexts of the book (mainly historical and autobiographical.) Its definitely an important read, but maybe better suited to the classroom environment.

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Karmapen
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Pickpick

From the first page of this book I was hooked. Every character gets to be complicated. I had a lump in my throat the whole time. It‘s really sexy, which is confusing because it‘s also extremely maddening and violent and devastating. MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS PLS.

batsy I felt the same! There's so much within it. So rich and chaotic and complex. 13mo
5 likes1 comment
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Karmapen
Born a Crime | Trevor Noah
Pickpick

The best memoir I have ever read. It was gripping and sad and hilarious. I learned so much about apartheid without it ever feeling instructional. Trevor Noah is such a gifted comedian and his voice shines through the whole book. I really really REALLY liked this.

Smrloomis Totally agree! ❤️ 13mo
Leftcoastzen It is amazing. 13mo
11 likes2 comments
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Karmapen
The Test | Sylvain Neuvel
Pickpick

The entire hour it took me to read this, I kept saying “what the fuck” to myself under my breath. A perfect little slice of dystopia.

tpixie Yes! 8mo
5 likes1 comment