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Mogoeg

Mogoeg

Joined September 2019

Geographer, disaffected academic, GenXer. Black lives matter. Trans lives matter. Always, unequivocally, anti-fascist.
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Pure Heart Enlightened Mind by Maura Soshin O'Halloran, Ruth O'Halloran
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Mogoeg
My Year Abroad | Chang-rae Lee
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Here's a sample of my inner voice while reading this: 'wow!amazing!...erm.what?ok...WTF!?...brilliant!...hm where is this going?...W.T.ACTUAL.F just happened!?'

Lee is a beautiful & brutal writer & there is no one better at capturing a certain flavor of 21st century experience. But oh boy, there's A LOT to unpack here. Whiteness, masculinity (& white masculinity), orientalism & particularly Asia as a stage for adventure & 'finding yourself.'

Mogoeg In the end I admired this novel more than I enjoyed it. But yeah, Lee is the real deal - he's going to win all the prizes by the time he is done writing. (edited) 1w
84 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Mogoeg
Malibu Rising | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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It took a bit to win me over, but the ending was so damn satisfying that I have to stan. This is going to sound like a diss - it is 100% *not*, I assure you - but I think that Reid may the best middlebrow literary fiction author of her generation.

And I'll eat a bug if this isn't adapted to HBO within 2 years. Are you kidding me?! This has White Lotus Big Little Lies energy all over it! It's set in Malibu. In 1983. Don‘t even try to resist.

Soubhiville Oh this totally should be a movie or a series. 2w
Cinfhen Good call!! 2w
marleed And since at least 3 of her books are already in production, you know Hollywood is eyeing this effort! 2w
PaperbackPirate Haven‘t read this one yet but plan to because she is a new favorite author! 3d
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Mogoeg
The Keep | Jennifer Egan
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Egan is a polarizing writer, but I thought this was terrific. I liked it from the start & I liked it all the way through, but the whole time I was semi-consciously measuring it in the back of my mind against 'A Visit from the Goon Squad' (which is one of my favorite books) & it wasn't quite measuring up. But I finished it a couple of days ago & I can't stop thinking about it. It is still not my favorite of hers, but it's pretty damn good.

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Mogoeg
Pretty as a Picture: A Novel | Elizabeth Little
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I absolutely adored everything about this novel & now I desperately want a sequel. It doesn't even have to be a mystery, just Marissa & Amy making their movie & Isaiah & Marissa carefully finding ways to bridge the neurodivergent divide to gently flirt with each other.

It's funny, it's touching, it's biting, & it is on-the-nose about the movies & #metoo in a way that seems like it would be too obvious, but is actually, exactly, perfect.

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Mogoeg
Magpie Lane | LUCY. ATKINS
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Expertly written thriller/domestic drama that has a surprising amount of emotional heft. Very creepy and atmospheric as well - great for this time of year. Loved the use of Dee, the nanny, as the first person narrative voice telling the story.

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Mogoeg
The Atlas Six | Olivie Blake
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This book is everything that my inner 16yo craves in one place, and fortunately, considerably older me is just satisfied enough to call it a pick. Despite starting off like a cross b/w Gossip Girl and The Magicians, it quickly settles into something considerably more intriguing & thought-provoking. Very angsty, very dark academia by way of K-Drama, by way of well, the Magicians again. Not loving the sorta-cliffhanger ending though.

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Mogoeg
The Scholars of Night | John M. Ford
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If you are looking for a good (now) old-fashioned Cold War spy novel in the manner of LaCarre, this book will delight you. For me, reading it was nostalgic & atmospheric, right down to the double & triple crosses & the multiple overlapping spy characters.

But ultimately, it didn't hold my attention, and I think I was expecting something slightly different with the Kit Marlowe angle - my fault for not reading the description carefully enough.

Mogoeg This is a reissue (the original came out very much of-the-time in the 1980s) with an new introduction from Charles Stross. I may use the intro when teaching about US foreign relations and the Cold War. If you want to explain what the atmosphere was like living under the shadow of the Cold War & possible nuclear annihilation, Stross does a terrific job evoking those troubling times. (edited) 2mo
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Mogoeg
Hearts of Oak | Eddie Robson
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First of all - THIS COVER!!! 😍 Second, this book! Unfortunately it is almost impossible to say anything meaningful about the plot of this novella without spoilers, and spoiling anything about it takes away from the singular pleasure of reading & puzzling through it. I will say that it reminded me of a Ted Chiang story crossed with a pulp paperback from a bygone era. Lots to enjoy here, and both the big reveal and the ending are stunners.

Texreader I love this cover!! 2mo
BekahB Oh wow - that‘s gorgeous! Would definitely be a cover buy for me 😀 2mo
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Mogoeg
Dying Day | Vaseem Khan
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A soft pick. I greatly enjoyed the window into a very specific time & place - Mumbai/Bombay around 1950 when India was still newly independent - & the treasure hunt aspects were also fun. But altogether it sometimes felt a little flat; it‘s hard to put my finger on exactly why. Still, if you enjoy historical mysteries, this is an intriguing world to explore.

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Mogoeg
The Last Emperox | John Scalzi
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A satisfying ending to a fun trilogy. Not to get too meta here, but if this series were a tv show, it is the kind of thing that Murderbot would watch repeatedly as one of its entertainments/distractions. It's pure capital S, capital O, Space Opera and the betrayals & twists just keep coming & coming. Honestly I could have used a bit more science/space battles, and a little less scheming/double-crossing, but overall, I'm very satisfied.

Mogoeg And with the new DUNE movie just around the corner, and Foundation premiering on Apple+, I'm pumped! (I don't even really care if Foundation is good - it LOOKS amazing and I am all about that space empire swag). And I probably have time for one more novel to round out 'Space Opera September' - what should it be? 2mo
Traci1 I just finished book 2 and am loving this series. It may be my favorite Scalzi so far. I assume you've read the Expanse books? 2mo
Lucy_Anywhere I really enjoyed this series! Have you tried The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds? 2mo
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Mogoeg
The Consuming Fire | John Scalzi
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Although I was still enjoying it greatly, up to about halfway through this - the middle book of the trilogy - I was thinking that it was suffering from a serious case of book-two-itis. But then some unexpected plot developments came out of left field, and things suddenly got a whole lot more interesting. Still tons of fun with lots to say - and so much intrigue and so many plots within plots - but definitely don't start with this one.

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Mogoeg
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Just great. Newitz is an excellent science journalist: rigorous, accessible, never condescending. I read this slowly - a little before bed each night - & it was both engaging & relaxing.

I loved learning about all 4 cities, but my favorite was probably Cahokia because while I'd heard of this ancient North American metropolis & Mississippian culture, I never learned anything about it. It's crazy, but not surprising, given US history! (cont.)

Mogoeg I also greatly enjoyed their section on Angkor (pictured, but not one of mine sadly) - the only one of the 4 I have visited (it's incredible!) & also because I teach a course on SEA religion & life. Newitz gets their facts right about the culture & economic/political system & I learned a lot about recent archeological theories & discoveries & I appreciate their focus on ordinary people in all 4 cities. (continued more!) (edited) 2mo
Mogoeg The sections on Pompeii and Çatalhöyük are also fascinating, but for different reasons. Pompeii because it is SO recognizable, the Roman Empire really is the blueprint for modern state bureaucracy - the parallels are incredible! It is very easy to imagine yourself experiencing city life in 90 or so CE on the bay of Naples. Çatalhöyük is the opposite, a Neolithic proto-city, I appreciated their efforts to bring this very foreign world to life. (edited) 2mo
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Mogoeg
Collapsing Empire | John Scalzi
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Scalzi is consistently a fun writer, & this series is his best yet, imo (so far - only read the 1st!). Space opera writ large - a reluctant emperox, dueling noble houses, space mutinies, &, naturally, political intrigue up the wazoo! Scalzi (always hilarious) keeps the parts moving & the zingers coming, which makes the meta-commentary here (which is very pointed) go down more smoothly even as the parallels to a certain other 'empire' pile up.

AutumnRLS I've only read through Zoe's Tale. I need to go back and read the rest in this universe. 2mo
Traci1 I've only read the first one too but really enjoyed it. I'm thinking about getting the second one audible and letting Wil Wheaton read to me. 😁 2mo
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Mogoeg
A Matter of Oaths | Helen S. Wright
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A very strong Space Opera - it feels very contemporary, & aside from the tech which seems a bit quaint now, it's hard to believe it's from 1988. And much like Becky Chambers, who wrote an intro to the reissue, I also wish that I had discovered it back in the day - it would have been a revelation to me then. Now, it is just a well told story with tons of political intrigue and some nice character work. (continued below)

Mogoeg It deserved a much larger audience, but it's clear that the (quite lovely) m/m relationship at its center would've been enough to keep it out of the mainstream sci-fi lists at the time. Much like my favorite sci-fi author of that period, (the also very overlooked) Melissa Scott, it seems that Wright was committed to portraying queer relationships in her work. Also the cover for the initial publication is god-awful (and whitewashed to boot!). (edited) 3mo
rwmg Wishlisted 3mo
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Mogoeg
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😍💚💜💛🧡🤖A lovely fable and a love letter to a future and a way of life that can be real. I really wish tea 🍵 monks were a real thing, that‘s for certain.

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Mogoeg
Sleeping Giants | Sylvain Neuvel
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Lots of fun! A strong, tightly paced sci-fi thriller. Very high concept & cinematic. Looking forward to the sequels & to answers to such questions as: who is the mysterious narrator/interviewer? who is the mysterious stranger that contacts the interviewer & how do they know what they know? And other stuff I won't spoil here.

My unofficial reading theme for September is BIG science fiction (space opera, big ideas) & this kicked things off nicely.

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Mogoeg
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There is a scene in the 1st season of Ted Lasso where Roy finally asks Keely out, & when asked why, answers, 'because I like you more than I hate him [Keely's ex - the delightfully assholeish Jaime Tartt].' He then adds, 'I mean barely, it's very close.'

That's how I feel about this novel. It's a pick because in the end I was charmed, & even moved, more than I was annoyed & bored by its astonishing pretentiousness. But barely, it's very close.

KathyWheeler I think I fell on the other side with this book. Everyone I know loved it, but I was overwhelmed by how boring and pretentious it was. 3mo
Mogoeg @KathyWheeler - I get it! It's a real razor's edge for me. Plus it is hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that it is a book aimed at skewering the pretensions of the French elite that is, nevertheless, itself relentlessly pretentious - almost comically so. That has to be on purpose, right? The writer is in on the joke? Or maybe not? I honestly could not tell! 3mo
JamieArc @KathyWheeler I‘m glad I‘m not alone. I‘m a Francophile so I thought I would obviously love this book, especially after so many sung it‘s praises. I just don‘t get it. I was incredibly bored as well. 3mo
See All 8 Comments
KathyWheeler @Mogoeg The writer doing it on purpose would at least make it better. 3mo
KathyWheeler @JamieArc I don‘t get it either. Absolutely everyone I know just loved it, which is why I kept reading it thinking I‘d eventually stumble on the part where it finally got interesting — never happened. 3mo
Ruthiella Great review! I also found it pretentious and a little dull. If one were to take away all the philosophical musings, there was only thin, maudlin story with an ending engineered to bring tears. 3mo
Larkken “Astonishing pretentiousness” 🤣 no, thank you 3mo
Angeles I loved this novel! It is absolutely pretentious. Eurpean and especially french "literary" authors go for pretentious the way american serious authors go for social issues and melancholy and trauma. It is a lazy, easy way to signal: this is not JUST entertainment. I am very a very serious thinker.... 3mo
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Mogoeg
In the Woods | Tana French
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I can‘t believe I hadn‘t read this one yet! I liked it a lot & it kept me guessing most of the way through. French is a beautiful writer, & her descriptions of childhood are evocative, but I agree with the reviews that note she could use a more ruthless editor - it does drag a bit in the middle.

On reflection, I think I enjoyed The Likeness more, even though it‘s wildly implausible, but then I‘m a sucker for anything in the dark academia genre!

Susanita The Likeness is my favorite. 3mo
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Mogoeg
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Wonderfully creepy interlocking stories that twist into each other like mobius strips. Ogawa conveys a lot of information with few unsettling details, a turn of phrase, a slip of dialogue - it all adds up to an atmospheric post-modern gothic tale.

Reggie The one where the woman who drives over tomatoes and gets lost but witness the tiger‘s passing is my favorite. 4mo
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Mogoeg
The Summer We Ran Away | Jenny Oliver
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A feel-good book that delivers the goods. I DO feel good after reading it, and now I REALLY want to go to France!

This is a summer by the pool (or sitting on your deck/fire escape/roof) book - gentle life lessons will be learned, croissants will be eaten, annoying instagram influencers will be muted, everyone will find their way back to each other and to their best selves. Just what I needed.

BookishBelle That sounds good! Maybe just what I need right now too. 🤔 4mo
Cupcake12 I love Jenny Oliver books, a great way to escape. Enjoy x 4mo
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Mogoeg
City of Girls | Elizabeth Gilbert
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This was so good! Somehow the Eat, Pray, Love moment passed me by, so I was only vaguely aware of Elizabeth Gilbert & didn't know anything about her as a writer. What a great storyteller!

It's hard not to compare this with Rules of Civility (also great). Towles gets credit for writing a fully dimensional female MC, but Gilbert, wow, Gilbert KNOWS what it is to live as a woman. There were more than a few scenes that took my breath away.

Mogoeg So many moments & situations & lines that have the ring of lived experience - for example this aside: “He and I had been talking about jazz (which is to say that HE had been talking about jazz, and I had been listening, because that is how you talk to a man about jazz)....“ The truth & the SHADE of it all! Who told Ms. Gilbert about my 20s?! 4mo
Leftcoastzen Lovely review! Need to move it up the pile 4mo
esurient Nice! I also passed by Eat, Pray, Love, but I loved her first novel : 4mo
BkClubCare I love her writing (I read Eat Pray Love *BEFORE* everyone started to hate it!) - The Signature of All Things is great, too 4mo
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Mogoeg
Agency | William Gibson
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Sigh. Gibson is an important author for me & Pattern Recognition holds a special place in my heart & my life, but is anyone else finding his Jackpot novels... really boring?

Part of the problem is that Agency makes zero sense if you haven't read The Peripheral, which I have, but it's been a minute, & I can't muster the energy to remind myself who all these people are & why I should care.

Meh. Hopefully the rumored Amazon series will be good!

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Mogoeg
Walkaway | Cory Doctorow
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Hard to review because Doctorow doesn't really write novels, he writes thought-experiments & manifestos in novel-like forms. As an intellectual experience, Walkaway is exhilarating & deeply thought-provoking. The world of the novel is scarily prescient - the logical (and horrific) continuation our current societal path of deepening inequality & kleptocapitalism. Doctorow is the Black Mirror of writers in this regard. (continued)

Mogoeg But the real power of the book is in Doctorow's exploration of what building a truly different type of economy & society, one based on mutual aid and abundance (rather than zero-sum competition, false scarcity & a carceral state) would entail. Here Doctorow doesn't shy away from how difficult it would be, or how necessary it WILL be. At it's best Walkaway will have you questioning your basic values & understandings of the world. (edited) 4mo
Mogoeg (continued some more!) That said, as a novel, it suffers from a lot of problems. Flat characters, clunky 'dialogue' (hope you like monologuing & exposition dumps!) & a few excruciating sex scenes that go on FOREVER. It is not that these sex scenes are, on the face of it, bad, they are just weirdly clinical in a way that drains them of any actual sexiness. So yeah, a mixed bag for sure, but worth checking out if this sort of futurism interests you! 4mo
RamsFan1963 I will have to give this one another try. It's the only book by Doctorow, I've read about 6 others, that I had to DNF. I didn't feel like the story was going anywhere after 100 pages. 4mo
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Mogoeg
U Up? | Catie Disabato
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I think that Disabato is the kind of writer you either click with or you don‘t - I‘m a fan but it takes a while to settle into her style. I think U Up? Is a significantly more mature work than The Ghost Network (which I also enjoyed) & once it gets rolling it packs quite an emotional punch.

This novel is about the all-consuming intensity of friendships in your 20s. And about ghosts. Actual ghosts. Ghosts who text (because of course they do).

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Mogoeg
Unity | Elly Bangs
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This novel should be right in my sweet spot: a post-apocalyptic cyber-punkish thriller described as somewhere between Mad Max & Sense8. But at about 1/3 in, it was too grim even for me (so grim!), so I decided to bail. I guess I was hoping for more Sens8* and less Mad Max. I need my dystopian wasteland future-punk mixed with a little more hope & joy apparently, and maybe an occasional dance party/orgy thrown in for good measure!

Mogoeg * A brief sidebar on Sens8 (the Netflix show created by the Wachowskis - mostly Lana). It is, of course, over-the-top & utterly ridiculous and if you spend more than 5 minutes thinking about the plot, your brain will explode. It is also wonderful & magical and emotionally perfect (& full of the MOST beautiful people you have ever feasted your eyes on) & you should watch it and treasure it if you haven't already. Gone too soon, but not forgotten! (edited) 4mo
xicanti I miss Sens8 so much. 4mo
Kimberlone @Mogoeg I loved the first season of Sens8 (watched it multiple times!) but for whatever reason didn‘t like the 2nd as much and never even finished the series… 4mo
Mogoeg @Kimberlone - I ended up loving the 2nd season as well, although the plotting went completely off the rails (tbf it was never exactly ON the rails, but you know what I mean!). Mostly because I loved both Lito & Capheus's arcs (& I really liked the new Capheus) & the Sun stuff was hella fun. The finale movie is a complete mess (obviously put together in a hurry with spit & chewing gum) but I don't really care - Nomi & Amanita 4eva! (edited) 4mo
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Mogoeg
A Desolation Called Peace | Arkady Martine
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I think I liked this one better than the 1st one! Martine's meticulous work in 'A Memory Called Empire' really pays off. This follow-up has multiple POVs, introduces some great new characters and has plenty of action. Throw in fascinating & terrifying aliens, a meditation on the meaning of 'self,' an intrepid 11 year old emperor-to-be, & the continuation of Mahit & Three Seagrass's love story, put it all together & you have a great Space Opera!

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Mogoeg
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Loved it! I‘m a huge fan of the Machineries of Empire series, but it is dense and confusing & Lee never lets up with the (amazing, mind blowing) world building in the main trilogy. This prequel short story/novella is an amuse bouche - a delightful snack - action, innuendo, military space-stuff. Just what I was hoping for.

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Mogoeg
The Au Pair | Emma Rous
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Solid thriller. I figured out the general outline of the twist/reveal about halfway through, but there were a lot of details that still surprised me in the end.

The writing is competent, but isn't going to win any awards (lots of descriptions of dilated pupils - weird, but whatever). Still, it was enjoyable way to pass the time as I sat in the jury pool room for a few hours on a cloudy Wednesday morning!

SilversReviews Ohhhh….this was good. 5mo
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Mogoeg
Rules for Visiting: A Novel | Jessica Francis Kane
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This is a very quiet book about a very introverted person & about halfway through I wasn‘t sure if it was going to be a so-so or a pick. But then the book, like its MC & narrator, seemed to find its footing & I enjoyed it more & more. So a solid pick although it took me a while to get there.

A book about friendship, the families we have & the families we make, what makes a home, and trees 🌲🌳🌲🌳🌲.

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Mogoeg
Questland | Carrie Vaughn
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The last few days here in the PNW have been awful - just brutally hot with temperatures of 115F/45C both yesterday & today. I needed something pulpy & not too challenging to read & this was perfect. I really enjoy Vaughn‘s writing & this is obviously her love letter to fantasy fandoms 🦄🧝‍♀️🏰🐲. A lot of fun 🤩

CW: the main character has PTSD from gun violence, & while it is handled well (& realistically), it is a major part of the plot.

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Mogoeg
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The English-language marketing of this book really leans into the 'Weird Japan' stereotype, which is too bad IMO. The story of a woman who takes on a series of random jobs does have its moments of 'weirdness' but I would I would describe it less as 'surreal & unsettling' & more as quirky & life-affirming. At most, it exudes a gentle air of magical realism - particularly the end. Anyone who has had much work experience knows, work is weird! (cont.)

Mogoeg I once worked for at a hobby farm and one of my jobs was to use a dentist drill & bicycle pump to blow out ostrich & emu eggs to sell to diorama hobbyists. My husband briefly worked at a toy store where the owner conducted the job interview with the 'help' of a giant stuffed gorilla. Weird coincidences & strange co-workers are a part of most people's working lives! In any case, I loved this book & do recommend it! (edited) 5mo
erzascarletbookgasm Interesting jobs. That bagel head trend is really weird! 5mo
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Mogoeg
Piranesi | Susanna Clarke
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This was lovely and haunting. Scholarship and madness. British Magick like only Clarke can do it. I thought the ending was beautiful and very satisfying. Although her reputation as a master fantasy novelist is sealed with Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, I hope she continues to write more (short) fiction.

Ruthiella I would love for her to continue writing books about other worlds accessible via The House. 5mo
NikkiM5 I loved Piranesi too and I am looking forward to the other books you mentioned 5mo
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Mogoeg
Fugitive Telemetry | Martha Wells
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Absolutely DEVOURED this one in a single sitting - so whoever's next in the library queue - you're welcome!

In this novella we get to know Preservation Station &, by extension, the wider universe both inside & outside the Corporation Rim, a bit better.

And while this chapter wraps up neatly, things are increasingly ominous in the background & around the edges. Murderbot senses it & knows that the sh*t's going to hit the fan sooner or later.

Riveted_Reader_Melissa I LOVE this series! 5mo
Ruthiella Plenty of stupid humans to keep our favorite SecUnit busy! 😂 5mo
rachelm I‘m in line for this!!! 5mo
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Mogoeg
Fresh Water for Flowers | Valrie Perrin
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This book starts off gently and almost dreamily & while it never really loses that quality, the emotional stakes build & build until you are fully invested in Violette's emotional life & those around her.

It's a story about death & grief & coming to life again after the death of those we love & it is beautifully written & oh so very French (I don't know how else to describe it, but it is a very distinct quality of the writing).

Mogoeg There is also a mystery at the heart of the book that is slowly peeled away until - unexpectedly - it becomes a page-turner towards the end. I don't want to give anything away, but CW for death, lots of death (as you might expect, given that the main character is the caretaker of a cemetery). I found it to be quite a cathartic and meditative read as the fourth anniversary of my father's death approaches in a couple of weeks. (edited) 5mo
TrishB I loved this book. And you‘re spot on about still being very French, the translation was excellent. (edited) 5mo
runswithscissors007 I was just about to post about this book. Anchored in grief was all I could come up with. A hard milestone for you take care @Mogoeg 5mo
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Mogoeg
The Echo Wife | Sarah Gailey
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This is a hell of a book. Not only is it an incredible thriller, but somewhere the ghost of Mary Shelley is pumping her fist & saying ‘YES!‘ A story of monsters & the monsters they create - this is the best riff on Frankenstein I‘ve read in ages.

I‘m not surprised the film rights were snapped up - with the right cast & a female director (please) it has the potential to be a future sci-fi classic.

Absolutely searing. Highly recommended.

Cinfhen Wonderful review!! #stacked 7mo
eeclayton Sounds intriguing! Stacked. 7mo
ElizaMarie Also had to #stack this one!!! Thanks for posting it! 7mo
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Mogoeg
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I treated myself to a COVID-safe book browse and splurge at the Eastside Powell‘s today. Excited about all these but especially the tagged book!

I have a TBR pile a mile high right now, but a few more won‘t hurt! 😁📚

Ruthiella They don‘t have an expiration date! 😅 7mo
TrishB @Ruthiella that‘s always one of my excuses! 7mo
PurpleTulipGirl I missed my February staycation in Portland, with my annual trip to Powell‘s and Voodoo Donuts. 😒 Maybe next year… 7mo
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Mogoeg
Heartburn | Nora Ephron
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Out of the blue last night my husband turns to me and asks “Would you rather have dinner with Woodward or Bernstein?“ (great random question BTW)

My answer: Woodward, because if I had dinner with Bernstein I wouldn't be able to stop myself from asking him if he was as horrible as he seems in this dishy book!

Now I have to dig out my copy (with this cover) and read this gem again!

Leftcoastzen 👏😄 7mo
Ruthiella I only saw the movie, but he must have had something charming about him that she fell for in the first place? 7mo
Mogoeg @Ruthiella I'm sure he was (and is) very charming! It is more a comment about my innate inability NOT to ask one half of the Watergate duo about the bestselling Roman a Clef that his ex-wife - one of America's most beloved humorists & screenwriters (RIP) - wrote to skewer him for being a cheater (and a pompous self-righteous one at that)! 7mo
Ruthiella @Mogoeg 😂😂😂 7mo
Vansa I absolutely LOVE this book. I don't know many other books that combine heartbreaking poignancy and humour as well as this does. 7mo
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Mogoeg
Palimpsest | Catherynne Valente
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This book is extremely weird & cool & also kind of terrifying. Rarely have I read something that so accurately captures dream geography - in this case a beautiful, opulent, pitiless & terrifying city of sex and dread - the eponymous Palimpsest. If that sounds appealing to you, it is definitely worth checking out. I guess I've been sleeping on Valente - her imagination is 🔥 I'm excited to read more of her work. Let me know if you have any recs!

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Mogoeg
Black Sun | Rebecca Roanhorse
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Forget Game of Thrones spinoffs - Black Sun should be the next fantasy prestige cable drama sensation! This is epic high fantasy - magic, intrigue, multiple POV, the works - set in a world based on Meso-American mythology. And much like GRRMartin, there is nothing so easy as 'good' & 'bad guys.' It took me a while to get into it, but once it gets going it is gripping. I mean really: hot shirtless warriors, blood magic & GIANT CROWS. Get on it HBO!

Ruthiella But is it finished? Will the author promise not to poop out before the series is completed? 😬 7mo
Mogoeg UNLIKE GRR Martin this story has queer, trans & disabled characters at the center of the story and is decidedly not rapey- which I GREATLY appreciate. It‘s fantasy, after all - dare to stretch & create a world where women are respected as actual people. (edited) 7mo
Mogoeg @Ruthiella I think she will! I hope so! 7mo
LeeRHarry Have to take this back to the library tomorrow before I can read it as I can‘t renew it 😩 have to put it on request again 😊 7mo
69 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Mogoeg
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Pickpick

This book is the best. Adorable wholesome goodness from start to finish. What else is there to say? I read it as an e-book and have already ordered paperback copies for my teen, my two nieces and for one of my best friends. An instant classic.

107 likes1 stack add
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Mogoeg
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Pickpick

A good old-fashioned NYC novel with a heroine who's just a skoosh too witty, pretty, bookish & level-headed too be believable, but that's part of the fun. It's the start of 1938 and over the course of a year, 24yo Kate will launch herself from the secretarial pool into a world of glamour, art, jazz, & society. Kate is a quintessential 1930s working girl - a cross between an early Hepburn & the titular 'Golddiggers' of the 1930s films. Delightful.

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Mogoeg
Take Me Apart | Sara Sligar
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Pickpick

This book strikes me as an update of a certain type of second wave feminist novel - shades of Cat‘s Eye or one of Marge Piercy‘s realistic novels. Kate flees NY in the wake of a #metoo situation for a job cataloging the papers of Miranda Brand, a celebrated photographer of the 1980s. A women‘s novel about living in a misogynist world,married to a domestic thriller. It doesn‘t all quite work but was still thought-provoking & well-written.

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Mogoeg
The Fat Years: A Novel | Koonchung Chan
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Mehso-so

I don‘t know how to review this book! Part character study, part historical overview, and a whole lot of political polemic, it will most likely baffle & annoy those not interested in Chinese history & geopolitics.

For those who ARE interested in these topics, it is worth a read, but it will still be a lot of work to get through it - particularly the epilogue/monologue at the end! I recommend reading the forward & translator notes first.

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Mogoeg
Catherine House: A Novel | Elisabeth Thomas
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Pickpick

While ultimately somewhat insubstantial, this is atmospheric & lushly written, with some genuinely creepy moments. A solid addition to any dark academia reading list, but at the end I was left with the nagging feeling of wanting to reread The Secret History - is that a good or bad sign? I‘m not sure.

Texreader Beautiful cover!! 9mo
78 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Mogoeg
The Fortune Teller: A Novel | Gwendolyn Womack
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Pickpick

Total popcorn book - the mashup of an early Mary Stewart gothic with a Dan Brown web of ANCIENT MYSTERY(!) that I didn't know I needed in my life. Among the many elements I relished:
- the mysterious Egyptian origins of the Tarot!
- the library of Alexandria!
- a mysterious heir with a rare manuscript collection!
- a heroine who happens to be a world-class manuscript specialist!
- Other stuff I won't spoil!
So yeah, deeply silly & tons of fun.

80 likes2 stack adds
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Mogoeg
The Last Book Party | Karen Dukess
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Pickpick

This was an enjoyable, easy read. A familiar story but deftly told, if a little weightless somehow. Somewhere between a so-so and a pick for me, but I‘ll give it a thumbs up for the perfectly understated 80s of it all. Exhibit A: the font chosen for this particular cover. If you were around in 1987 & reading lots of books as, oh I don‘t know, let‘s say as a pretentious 18 year old for instance, then you know it‘s absolutely dead accurate.

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Mogoeg
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Pickpick

Overall a compelling read - I was very attached to the characters by the end & sad to say goodbye. It pulls no punches in its depiction of the lives of four young women scraping by in Seoul, struggling to survive in a world of impossible standards and cruel men. In the end, they have each other & while it doesn't seem like enough, I was still reassured that they would be OK, they would keep on striving, heads held high, knowing their own worth.

Cathythoughts Great review! I thought it was very good too 10mo
102 likes5 stack adds1 comment
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Mogoeg
A Memory Called Empire | Arkady Martine
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Pickpick

As a Space Opera that combines palace/political intrigue with a stranger in a strange land tale, this book is extremely my jam. Martine trained as a historian and it shows, as the empire of the title echoes both Byzantium (her area) & the pre-Colombian Aztec empires. The pacing drags at times but there are plenty of big ideas and fascinating details* to carry the reader through. Looking forward to the sequel!

Mogoeg * if you are anything like me, once you get the hang of the naming system you will spend plenty of time contemplating what sort of Teixcalaanli name you would have. Here is a fun link to aid you in this pursuit! https://www.torforgeblog.com/2020/02/06/whats-in-a-teixcalaanli-name/ 10mo
Lucy_Anywhere This was one of my top reads last year - I loved it! 10mo
71 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Mogoeg
The Scholar | Dervla McTiernan
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Pickpick

Solid! I haven‘t read the first of this series but I enjoyed this one. Well paced and an interesting mystery at the center. Strong ending as well. I liked the multiple perspectives.

Not much more to say, really. If you like this sort of mystery thriller you will probably enjoy it!

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Mogoeg
Driftwood | Marie Brennan
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Pickpick

As my reading history shows, I am a big fan of world building & although sci-fi is my sandbox of choice, I‘ve been branching out lately. Driftwood is a bit hard to describe - a world made up of dying worlds, drawn together from around the multiverse & eventually torn apart in ‘The Crush.‘ Beautiful & thought-provoking, it got under my skin & made me think about worlds lost & worlds destroyed everyday as time & history march inexorably forward.

67 likes4 stack adds