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Litsi

Litsi

Joined March 2017

I‘m an odd one. I like the classics and experimental fiction. So, tell a good story or advance the art form and you have me at page 1.
review
Litsi
Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton
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Pickpick

Put Age of Innocence and Ethan Fromme down right now. Now! And pick this up. If you want to know why Fitzgerald admired Wharton or want to see my full review go here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/spbookdiscussion/permalink/363344881795995/

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Litsi
The Widows Guild | Anna Castle
Pickpick

This quirky series features the real life 16th C Francis Bacon (an original Renaissance man of philosophy who‘s credited with inventing the scientific method) and repurposes him as a sleuth. He & his merry band of law students from all levels of society uncover crimes that just keep happening around them. A fun take on a cozy mystery with a bit of history. Who in history would you like to see repurposed? Me? Charles Dickens, serial killer.

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Litsi
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Pickpick

This is another review of a book about thinking but it‘s really wonderful. And a grand defense for broad, liberal arts education and experience even in this increasingly technological world. Highly, highly recommended.

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Litsi
The Last Book Party | Karen Dukess
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You have to care about the Ivy League, books, the east coast & I think to be a certain age of reader to appreciate this. But appreciate I did! It was like a rom com and coming of age story with your college and childhood reading list threaded throughout. Deceptively simple & charming. Would love to adapt this into a play.

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Litsi
Fortnight in September | R C Sherriff
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This novel is about the freedom of mind & spirit that blooms when one is not working. In this case it‘s a family in what is probably their last family vacay in 1931 England. It‘s not for everyone, but it has earned space on my shelf. This novel shows that the person next to you isn‘t processing the “same” scene the same way you are. For ex, the mother thinks the daughter has found a new boyfriend, but she‘s actually discovered a new way of life.

marleed I loved this book. It felt the original publication date but at the same time it felt relevant to today. And that cover! 1mo
7 likes1 comment
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Litsi
Untitled | Unknown
Pickpick

My top picks so far this year. ASSEMBLY by Natasha Brown. If Rachel Cusk & Virginia Woolf had a baby, she ( because it certainly would be a she), would have written this. SUBTRACT by Leidy Klotz - you won‘t ever make a decision the same way again. THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY by Matthew Haig - regrets, if you‘ve had a few, read this. Two classics - Romance of the Forest by Anne Radclife and The House on the Strand by Daphne DuMaurier. Reviews below!

Centique They sound so good. Subtract looks fascinating. 2mo
6 likes1 comment
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Litsi
The three clerks | Anthony Trollope
Mehso-so

Interesting to read about a time when your worth was measured by which government office you worked for. For the record, the office of Weights & Measures was the bomb; Internal Navigation not so much. I‘ve read 4 of his novels. They haven‘t had as much fun & criminality as a typical Dickens novel, but they provide a window on the anxieties & calamities of the time. Think I‘ve had my fill of his take on stocks and broken wedding plans.

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Litsi
Pickpick

I love Jean Brodie! But she is an avowed fascist. When does a charming person with a clear point of view that challenges the weaknesses of the norms become a dangerous and divisive demagogue? That is one of mind bending questions posed here. It‘s also a book about feminism, loyalty, global responsibility, revenge, the primacy of art, the strange heirarchy of female society, sexual aggression, unconscious lesbianism &religious devotion.

Centique I loved this one too! 2mo
9 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Litsi
Wessex Tales | Thomas Hardy
Mehso-so

A long time ago in a blue bedroom far away I pledged to read every novel Hardy wrote. (12 down, 2 to go). A great novelist he is for sure, but probably not a great short story writer. Something about the short form reveals his crutches & obsessions. These stories seem like workshop exercises. What‘s baffling is that he wrote Madding Crowd & Return of the Native before this. He had to know these stories weren‘t good. I guess a writer‘s got to eat.

Centique Brilliant last sentence there 😂 I loved Return of the Native and need to get back to him again. Not this one though! 2mo
5 likes1 comment
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Litsi
Mehso-so

For the Love of Books by Graham Tarrant
A compendium of fun and not so fun facts about books, writers, publishers and booksellers. Probably only interesting to big readers who also like to play Trivial Pursuit.

Book 36

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Litsi
The Rosie Project | Simsion, Graeme
Pickpick

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Such a fun and touching read about a man with high functioning autism looking for a wife and learning how to connect.

Book 37

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Litsi
Pickpick

A great take on how less can be more. Klotz is to thinking what Marie Kondo is to decluttering. A perspective changing book for sure.

4 likes1 stack add
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Litsi
Pickpick

A good read for lovers of old Hollywood.

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Litsi
Pickpick

Have read 3 books Vanderbilts. The special sauce here is that it‘s told by an honest family member. There‘s something to be said for how family memory stretches the narrative with little details that aren‘t deemed worthy of being placed into history but which provide the background fabric for the embroidery of Big History moments. A good read if you like this topic, otherwise details of the Vanderbilt ball that broke the Astors will be a snore.

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Litsi
Lives of Houses | Kate Kennedy
Panpan

Started strong, but the essays for the most part were off the mark. I did learn things about the history of moving. But since my minimum demand for a book is to give me at least one idea, I must pan this.

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Litsi
Assembly | Natasha Brown
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Pickpick


A 103 page masterpiece
A+
I have settle down to write a review but don‘t wait for me - read it!

Book 32

10 likes1 stack add
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Litsi
Mydworth Mysteries - London Calling! | Neil Richards, Matthew Costello
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Panpan

Not much of a story and absolutely nothing new - which always means that the character development was insufficient. And trust me, I like historical, couple detectives, British, light mystery as much as anyone. But not this. Any Nancy Drew is better, by a lot.

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Litsi
House on the Strand | Daphne Du Maurier
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Pickpick

Oh. My. Goodness! I was floored by the innovative time travel mechanism and blown away by the modern and medieval stories and gobsmacked by the social message. She was one heck of a writer. I wish she had spent more time figuring out the end. It was campy when it should have been poignant.

4 likes1 stack add
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Litsi
Pickpick

Is living one way versus the other going to put more points on the board by the end of your life? And if there are more does that mean you won at life? These are the questions Haig poses. So worth a read because it seems that everyone could benefit from knowing their personal answer to this. There‘s a reason it‘s hanging around one the best seller list, even though it is of modest literary skill.

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Litsi
Pickpick

Often redundant but worthy because it helps one understand the confluence of race and class - caste. It makes it clear that this tightly joined pair are responsible for stagnation of the American Dream.

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Litsi
Luster: A Novel | Raven Leilani
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Panpan

This super talented writer allows the narrative in her debut novel to slip and slide on her glossy prose. Reminds me of the lack of restraint in Truman Capote‘s debut. Some readers acknowledge her skill and hope for easier subject matter next time. But a person who writes about a young, black, masochistic sex addict who moves into her older, white lovers‘ house with his wife & his elementary school child is unlikely to step back from the edge..

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Litsi
Seating Arrangements | Maggie Shipstead
Pickpick

This novel is a series of linked observations, like literary pointalism. The characters touch the bondaries of their bubble in society - prep school, college, clubs and wealty ennui but never burst it. The sole character of color is used to give a distanced & morally correct pov. I can‘t wait for the book that shows a black person happily drinking & swimming in the lemonade. If you liked The Nest, you‘ll like this, but there are no surprises.

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Litsi
Ace of Spades | Faridah Abike-Iyimide
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Pickpick

So much to say about this. Think “Get Out” meets “Riverdale”. This novel is soaked in YA funk. I could tell the author was writing from that sunken place that is the particular province of teenagers. Akibe-Iyimide gets it so right where it counts, like exploring the undeserved shame of not being popular. I expect Abike-Iyimide to write great things in the future. But today she has a hit on her hands.

3 likes1 stack add
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Litsi
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Mehso-so

Capote‘s penchant for imagery runs a muck: “a night bird whistled in the fig leaves, a whippoorwill, & fireflies sprinkled the blue flooded air, rode the dark like ship lights.” If you like to read the 1st try of great authors &/or want to know what the Southern Gothic genre is, pick this up. Like many 1st novels, it‘s about love & the writer figuring out himself. The depiction of black life is shocking; it felt like it‘s set in 1848, not 1948.

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Litsi
Other People's Pets | R.L. Maizes
Mehso-so

A young woman vet student who is a burglar and an empath with animals ( except the humankind ) makes a long journey towards adulthood. Her father thieves to pay her tuition; her mother abandoned her as a child; and her backstory is too much for the boyfriend. This novel allows the chips to fall as they do in real life- with clatter and chaos and uncertainty.
This is an unusual story, brightly told, but a tad shallow.

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Litsi
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Pickpick

Byron, Nabokov, Highsmith, Le Carre, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Borges, Maugham, Rousseau, Shelley, Thomas Mann, Ian Fleming, Conan Doyle, & Joyce were inspired by Switzerland - a country of dual character. It‘s a place of health spas & money laundering; refuge from Nazis & a vault of Calvinism; a hot bed of espionage; a place where poets & bankers feel at home. A Disneyland for those who like to roam & have slightly ungovernable spirits.

4 likes1 stack add
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Litsi
Pickpick


I think I forgot how big of a star he was. Each time I drive by his house on Pacific Coast Highway Old Hollywood blooms again. I can imagine people turning into the driveway. Anywho- this lost focus in some parts but was overall a reminder of the creatives who didn‘t change the game, but built it. After reading this I feel like he was like the characters he played - a somewhat smug man who isn‘t dangerous but is not quite who he appears to be.

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Litsi
Other People's Pets | R.L. Maizes
Bailedbailed

After five decades of reading I believe I have bailed on only 10 books. While I cannot say that this was a horrible book since I didn‘t finish it I can‘t say that I could never get to the point where I trust that what it had to say would matter. No patience left for mediocrity.

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Litsi
Pickpick

This is not a story about an extraordinary life. It‘s about an ordinary life during an extraordinary event: the Holocaust. Because Albright didn‘t learn how her family was affected by the war until she was middle aged, this has neither that explanatory or nostalgic feel of a memoir. Instead it‘s captivating to follow her her discovery of her past and her simultaneous musings about it. Read it & the name “Bohemia” will mean so much more to you.

5 likes1 stack add
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Litsi
Three O'Clock in the Morning | Gianrico Carofiglio
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Verisimilitude. What every author is after. This novel about a son getting to know his father on a 2 day all - nighter is fully engaging. It felt so real that I kept forgetting that it wasn‘t a memoir. All parents crave this revelatory 48 hours to get to know our kids. It‘s done gently via the son‘s nostalgic look back. And then there‘s all the atmospheric walking day & night through a seedy and romantic Marseille which somehow is refreshing.

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Litsi
Thank You for the Light | F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pickpick

SPOLIER!!!
This 1-pager is about a woman, seeking to engage in her vice of smoking. At the end, God may or may not have given her a light. This is Fitz at his best. Though writing uncharacteristically in the space between essay and poetry, his story DNA is evident - the double entendre of the title and a brief flight of fancy; the beautiful complication of indulging a poor soul‘s weakness.

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Litsi
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Pickpick

There‘s a cottage industry around visiting the sites that inspired authors & the places they lived / worked. IDK what causes the fevered interest to get into their minds through what they saw, where they sat, what pens they used. But it‘s a real affliction & one that is salved by this guidebook. No need to review this: you already know whether you want to read it. I also suggest the travel essays “In the Footsteps”. Yes, I am one of the afflicted.

5 likes1 stack add
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Litsi
Panpan

You can learn everything you need to know about this book by reading the title. And, no, that is not a compliment. The Shakespeare connections were weak. I now have new awareness of tantalizing events - like a deadly riot in NY between fans of various Shakespeare thespians - but no understanding of its significance. So I am not sure there‘s much of a thesis here other than the annoying idea that all the world‘s a Shakespeare play. Total pan.

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Litsi
Pickpick

These are stories about the void that the safe, select, suburban life can be.
Writing a masterpiece, just one, is a miracle. There are a few here. If you ever get the chance to read “The Swimmer” or “The Death of Justina” read them. Many of the other stories stop short of greatness. It feels like he didn‘t realize how good of a writer he was. Or he was just frequently bad at endings.

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Litsi
The Love Proof: A Novel | Madeleine Henry
Pickpick

A romance novel for thinkers. Spare but oddly emotional writing style. The characters are refreshingly distinct. They are realistically flawed meaning that their faults are both many and unrelated to each other. They do not feel processed, or cleverly designed by the author- yet, of course they were. That‘s a sleight of hand only skilled writers can do. I do wish she had thrown in more New Haven/Yale specifics - and had just a bit more story.

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Litsi
Pickpick

No, this isn‘t the most captivating mystery, but I like the intermingled motives, the use of a community to solve the murder instead of a single, quirky detective and a surprisong ending. Love thinking about where it fits in the development of the mystery novel. BTW, I have a hunch that Jessica Fletcher of Murder She Wrote was an homage to this author.

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Litsi
Mehso-so

This is a rather simple reflection of the mad dash for marriage. Now I know why Jane Austen matters. This lacks the subtlety and depth that she brings forth just in titles alone.

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Litsi
Midnight Library | Matt Haig
Pickpick

At first I thought this book had chickened out by saying that no matter what choices you make your life will balance out the same. But on reflection I see that the author‘s after bigger game. He challenges the embedded idea that living life one way will score you more points than living it another way. The overall message is that ALL the diverging roads in the woods make a difference. Just take one & move on.

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Litsi
The Swimmer | John Cheever
Pickpick

Read my first story by John Cheever
“The Swimmer”
Wow. Just wow.
Utterly blown away by the sentences - crisp, clean, clear and yet somehow quiet and unrushed.
His focus on wealthy, eastern, whites is way out of fashion. Who cares about them? What worries do they have?
Plenty. They have plenty.
Excessive day drinking by the pool is not all it‘s cracked up to be.

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Litsi
Greenlights | Matthew McConaughey
Mehso-so

You either love him or ... dismiss him. See capsule review below Full review here https://www.facebook.com/1082882538/posts/10222571912181520/

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Litsi
Greenlights | Matthew McConaughey
Mehso-so

To be fair, I did laugh out loud and picked up some advice. But then there are a whole lot of things like this: “There‘s no ‘g‘ at the end of ‘livin‘ because life is a verb.” Overall, it was fun to romp through the mind of someone whose life has gone extraordinarily well with seemingly little effort. Though he would say that he has caught many greenlights in his life by actively avoiding/eliminating the red ones. Cannot really argue with that.

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Litsi
Untitled (Untitled #1) | Laura Brooke Robson
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1. Tess of the D‘ Urbervilles 2. Hmm. A Separate Peace 3. The Midnight Library

mandarchy You did it! 10mo
5 likes1 comment
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Litsi
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Pickpick

Reviews are split between “worst book ever”, “poor writing” “terrible ending” and “Fresh”, “Superb”, Couldn‘t put it down!” Normally I notice the nuance & novelty of an author‘s craft. But I only got it (sort of) when I was told to see it as an experimental suspense novel. There‘s truly some awful writing & some inspired writing & I really couldn‘t put it down even when I wanted to. I don‘t know where I land. Pretty sure that means it‘s worthy.

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Litsi
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Pickpick

This is a strong reference book about life during the early to mid 19th C London. It will add depth and color to your next Victorian novel read. You‘ll have a sense of just what it meant to go to a club or avoid the runaway pig on your walk to Covent Garden. It references contemporaneous books: London at Night, Life in London and the Rambles and Adventures of Rob Tallyho that seem worth reading. They appear to be the real Pickwicks. #classics

6 likes1 stack add
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Litsi
Fire Next Time | James Baldwin
Pickpick

“I know it is said that history doesn‘t repeat itself, but rhymes. After reading this 60 year old essay on race relations in America, it feels like racial history gongs. Same hit. Same subject. Same effect. Ta- nahisi Coates‘ book, Between the World and Me, is an echo of this.

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Litsi
Pickpick

So I don‘t know why I read this, BUT it was eye opening. Someone should write a fictional version of the differences between Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret. One is all wellies, head scarves, mud and horses. The other is drinking and parties and well- heeled bohemians. One projects the picture of decorum; the other will invite someone to a party just for the oppty to humiliate them publicly. “Frozen” has nothing on this pair.

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Litsi
Want | Lynn Steger Strong
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Panpan

This follows an educated, but downwardly mobile, couple. There‘s a lot of crying. Everything‘s super crappy. The main character hates her job. She can‘t just have a cavity but needs 2 root canals, and (of course) has no insurance. Her mother wants to take her kids away (of course). So, more crying. There‘s a subplot about a black teen girl in danger who (miraculously) never cries. Pretty cover/ no guts. Maybe that‘s what all the crying is about.

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Litsi
Mehso-so

Doerr won the Pulitzer for “All the Light We Cannot See” - which I will never read because I have a bias against books with “light” in the title.
This is a very light read about, well, a year spent in Rome. It had little meaning except it was fun to hear a writer‘s daily neurosis and flights of fancy and terror. I used to think it was just me, but now I think writers just think differently.

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Litsi
Romance of the Forest | Ann Radcliffe
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J.K. Rowling hid her gender so readers would trust the author‘s ability to deliver a magic, adventure and action novel. That is astounding when you read 18 C female authors. Radcliffe wrote novels of castles, chevaliers, and criminals. It‘s breathtaking and one reason that she was the - the — highest paid writer of the 1790s. It was published under her own name. Review: https://www.facebook.com/1082882538/posts/10222230587968628/

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Litsi
Untitled | Unknown
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Hey, hey, hey! Proud to announce another publication. My take on the Alice in Wonderland story is published here. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1098353226/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_api_glt_fabc_J3D5YX2MAWD1MPQ...