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PurityofEssence

PurityofEssence

Joined May 2016

Best reviewed Stand-Up Philosopher in NYC...
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PurityofEssence
Criterion Designs | Eric Skillman
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Oh my god... so many new features added since my last post.

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PurityofEssence
Bacon's Essays | Francis Bacon
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"...for boldness is an ill keeper of promise."

14 likes1 stack add
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PurityofEssence
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Goodbye to a fantastically talented writer. Albee won several pulitzers.

Hobbinol 💔 3y
katedensen 😭💔😭 3y
26 likes2 comments
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PurityofEssence
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Pickpick

Finishing this book, I was left with a web of complicated emotions. First: it's my belief that mostly everyone in this book, with the exception of Elizabeth-Jane, is loathsome. Second: my dislike of the characters did not prevent me from feeling great sympathy for them. This is a profoundly sad book. There's lots to say about Hardy's dense psychological themes, but it's the emotion that left its impression on me; it's close to heartbreaking. 🤘🤘

23 likes1 stack add
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PurityofEssence
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Pickpick

This is a difficult book to describe, for all the best reasons. It's not so much a work of surrealism as it is one of dissociation and paranoia, with the fantastic sprouting up in otherwise completely recognizable settings and scenarios. There's so much to examine and reflect upon when reading this book, and I feel comfortable saying this book is a masterpiece. Before I can say more about it I'll have to read it again; I can't wait. 🤘🤘🤘

17 likes2 stack adds
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PurityofEssence
Dr. Wortle's School (Revised) | Anthony Ed Trollope
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Mehso-so

Dr. Wortle's School is a perfect example of a satisfying and well-written Victorian novel, and were it not for the many other vastly superior Victorian novels, it might be an incredibly exciting book to read. It's a decent character-study, but lacks the ambition and insight present in Trollope's best writing; it's not a very good introduction to his work. If you like Victorian novels, and temper your expectations, you'll likely enjoy this book.🤘

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PurityofEssence
The Peregrine | John Alec Baker
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"There is one book I must ask you to read if you want to make films" - Werner Herzog.

Well if I wasn't excited to read The Peregrine before, I certainly am now.

MrBook Me too! Thanks for the share! 3y
CherylDeFranceschi Yay! I'm going to see the new Werner film tonight! Yay! 3y
PurityofEssence @MrBook let me know Whatchya think if ya wind up reading it. I'm thinking of doing a hawk marathon: The Peregrine, The Goshawk, H is for Hawk. There are probably more too lol. 3y
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PurityofEssence @CherylDeFranceschi Hope ya like it! I won't spoil anything, but I thought Herzog was hilarious during the conversation about colonizing Mars. Those typically "Herzogian" moments are endlessly amusing to me; my favorite is in Encounters at the End of the World, when he asks: do penguins ever go insane? ? 3y
PurityofEssence @CherylDeFranceschi Btw, I should mention that I assumed you were talking about Lo and Behold; I keep forgetting that he has a new narrative film out this year as well. 3y
MrBook Niiice! Will do 😊👍🏻! 3y
Gezemice Interesting! Never heard of it before. 3y
21 likes4 stack adds7 comments
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PurityofEssence
Haunting of Hill House | Shirley Jackson
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Pickpick

I think I'd dismissed Jackson as "middle-brow"; she was a skilled writer who wrote decent stories, but nothing crazy, nothing paradigm-shifting. This beautiful, surprisingly sad book proves exactly how wrong I was; Jackson is an amazing, undervalued writer. THoHH is both a psychological ghost story (in the vein of The Turn of the Screw) and an intense character study, using the genre conventions to explore themes of identity and perception. ???

SusanInTiburon Welcome to the Shirley Jackson camp! 3y
MrBook What @SusanInTiburon said ☝🏻️😊 3y
PurityofEssence @SusanInTiburon @MrBook Took me long enough to realize how great she is! Lol I picked up We Have Always Lived in the Castle yesterday, and I can't wait to jump into it. 😎👍 3y
21 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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PurityofEssence
End of the Affair | Graham Greene
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Pickpick

I first learned about Greene because of his amazing work with Carol Reed; Greene's novels are equally fantastic. This book reads like a beautifully precise and poignant narrative essay on all the various ways in which these characters relate emotionally, addressing the complexity of romantic relationships. Greene doesn't judge his characters, but commits to all their flaws and virtues. The result is a beautiful book. 🤘🤘🤘

Shortstack I loved the Quiet American but haven't read any more of his work! I will have to check this out! 3y
LitHousewife I love this book so much!!! 3y
CherylDeFranceschi This is my favorite Graham Greene book. 3y
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PurityofEssence @Shortstack Go for it! I'd be curious to hear your opinion. And don't forget to check out his film collaborations with Carol Reed; The Fallen idol, Odd Man Out, and The Third Man are AMAZING movies - I think the last two are two of the best ever. 3y
PurityofEssence @LitHousewife @CherylDeFranceschi When I first read this I was very surprised by Greene's precision: his language is impeccable and communicates so much. Then the second surprise: these characters feel completely fleshed out and real. I love how much he respects his characters in this book, without glossing over their flaws. I could read this book once a month. 3y
CherylDeFranceschi The Third Man is one of my favorite movies ever! 3y
squarepeginroundhole I can't get enough of Carol Reed. He's one of my fave directors, and the 3 u mention are fantastic. He too led me to Greene. End of Affair read by Colin Firth is a great combo too. 3y
20 likes6 stack adds7 comments
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PurityofEssence
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When you watch a movie you really love and realize you've yet to read the book it's adapting... 😳😱 Anyone else got one of these?

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PurityofEssence
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Hope everyone has had a lovely Bloomsday! Reading Ulysses is a commitment and not everyone enjoys it, but it's quite unlike anything else in English literature. I think everyone should try reading it at least once. 🤘🤘🤘

Mayread I play the audiobook on my stereo for the entire neighborhood and then end the night w Kate Bush's Sensual World. My neighbors love me. 3y
20 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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PurityofEssence
The Nick Adams Stories | Ernest Hemingway
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Pickpick

The Nick Adams Stories may be my favorite Hemingway; at the very least, I revisit these stories more often than his novels and other work. These stories exude a form of tenderness that distinguishes them from his other writing, and the beautiful sparsity of his language goes without saying. 🤘

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PurityofEssence
Silas Marner | George Eliot
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Pickpick

Silas Marner lays bare the psychology of the community: Eliot drops countless insights into the folktale-like narrative, revealing ideas about performative identity, social interaction, semiotics - plenty of awesome stuff! It's a beautiful and accessible and smart book, and I totally love it. 🤘🤘🤘

Ms.Story Great review! 3y
PurityofEssence @Brittany's Bookshelf thank you! I'm flattered you think so! 😁 I just hope people read it themselves, as there's no way I can boil down all the things that make it awesome in 300 characters. 3y
Trav I really need to check out some of her other works after reading this. 3y
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PurityofEssence @Trav Middlemarch is one of my favorite books, but aside from that I've read nothing else. But I just picked up The Mill on the Floss and Adam Bede - can't wait to dig into those. 3y
PurityofEssence @Trav Eliot also wrote something called Impressions of Theophratus Such. It's seems really weird and amazing, and I'm particularly excited to get my hands on that. 3y
Trav @PurityofEssence I have Middlemarch on my bookshelf so I will eventually get to it. They have the Complete Works of Eliot for 99c at Kobo bookstore (which is crazy). Never heard of that particular one before. I'll have to do some research. 3y
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PurityofEssence
Orlando: A Biography | Virginia Woolf
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Pickpick

I was completely blindsided by Orlando. It's a rare blend of intelligence and creative formal irreverence, all delivered in Woolf's brilliant prose. Orlando easily stands among Woolf's other incredible literary achievements, and is now one of my favorite books. 🤘🤘🤘

Trav How uncanny, I just bought this ebook yesterday. 3y
marita This was the first Woolf I ever read and loved it. 3y
PurityofEssence @Trav It would seem we are like-minded readers 😜 (we must have pretty good taste lol.) 3y
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PurityofEssence @marita I knew Woolf was a versatile writer, but Orlando feels so different from her other writing; no wonder she wrote it on a lark. It's truly changed my perspective of her as a writer, and I feel like I should revisit her other books now. I loved Orlando so much! 3y
Trav Ha! It definitely seems that way. I consider myself an eclectic reader but I've always been drawn to the classics. 3y
PurityofEssence @Trav I would agree: your profile includes everything from André Gide to recent graphic novels - it's a wonderful melting pot! ? Do you happen to be in school studying literature? Or teaching it? You definitely have some familiarity with the academic canon haha. 3y
Trav @PurityofEssence I've never studied or taught any English literature (I'm asked that a lot). I did complete my BA degree a few years ago and majored in Science and Technology Studies, Sociology, with a minor in Philosophy (never would have guessed hey?). I just have an appreciation for classic 3y
Trav ... literature. For me it's the closest thing to finding your own time machine. Plus, I think it's important to diversify your reading. There is copious amounts of research which demonstrates the benefits of doing so. I'm going to hazard a guess and assume you're a teacher? Or studying literature? 3y
PurityofEssence @Trav Ahhh so you're some kind of techno-scientist hacker, huh? Very cool 👍. And you're right: diversity is very important. 3y
PurityofEssence @Trav I'm actually something far worse than either of those things: I'm an (aspiring) filmmaker! I'm still an undergrad, too - I try to read like an English major. 3y
Trav @PurityofEssence Ha ha I wish! My aim was to get into social policy research, but now I've decided to become a librarian so back to university for me *sigh*. In my 30's and still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. Ohhh that is so cool! 3y
Trav Are you looking at producing anything in particular - say documentaries - or just movies? You write beautifully by the way. Your reviews are always a pleasure to read. 3y
PurityofEssence @Trav I'm very flattered, and I'm glad you enjoy reading my little posts - sharing a thing I love with other people who will also enjoy it makes me very happy. And honestly, I want to produce anything and everything available to make! Haha 3y
PurityofEssence @Trav Do you have an email or Facebook or anything like that? I'd love to add you to my (rather small) pool of penpals, if you were interested. 👍📨 3y
Trav Sounds great! I'm on Facebook but apparently hard to find - according to my friends. My profile picture is in b&w of my fiancée and I dancing. Let me know how you go ?? 3y
PurityofEssence @Trav I tried! Added someone with a b&w wedding photo lol 3y
Trav Haha I don't think that was me as I'm not married yet... At least not that I know of 😉 I'll see if I can find you. 3y
26 likes8 stack adds17 comments
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PurityofEssence
A Good School: A Novel | Richard Yates
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Pickpick

Yates doesn't throw you any curveballs with this book - A Good School delivers everything you'd expect from his writing: loneliness, compromise and resignation, sorrow - but Yates is such a talented writer that his voice never feels stale to me. This book is brief and bitter, but not without hope.

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PurityofEssence
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Pickpick

One of my absolute favorite books, one that I've read at least a dozen times. Great books often take on a life of their own and transcend their author, but here is something different: Seven Pillars of Wisdom feels like a piece of Lawrence himself. It's beautiful and intelligent; I love it. 🤘🤘🤘

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PurityofEssence
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"He will have no easy life, your Eminence. That country will drink up his youth and strength as it does the rain." I remember reading this line for the first time. Thats when I knew I was in for a treat. ???

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PurityofEssence
Pnin | Vladimir Nabokov
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"He never attempted to sleep on his left side, even in those dismal hours of the night when the insomniac longs for a third side after trying the two he has." Thought this was pretty clever without being too conspicuous. (IG: dedalus_photo)

brittnaypozen Did you take this?? It's beautiful ❤ 4y
PurityofEssence @brittnaypozen Yes, I did take it. Thank you so much for your flattering comment. 😄 4y
brittnaypozen No problem! 😊 4y
17 likes3 comments
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PurityofEssence
Titus Groan | Mervyn Peake
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Pickpick

Reading TG was an amazing experience. The book feels like it's own self-contained ecosystem, both surreal/exotic and familiar, and Peake's writing makes each page interesting. Ultimately, this book is about how people grapple with change, and I consider it an underrated masterpiece. 🤘🤘🤘

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PurityofEssence
Silas Marner | George Eliot
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"A dull mind, once arriving at an inference that flatters a desire, is rarely able to retain the impression that the notion from which the inference started was purely problematic." --- I am loving Silas Marner! Making me want to revisit Middlemarch.

shawnmooney One of hers I never got to. There's no time like the present, hey? 4y
Trav I bought this the other day! I'm really looking forward to reading it now. 4y
PurityofEssence @shawnmooney I'd say so! especially with this book. I was quite surprised by how accessible and easy to read it is; I actually finished it yesterday, and decided to start reading it again because I enjoyed it so much. Once you get used to colloquial dialogue, I think it's a pretty smooth read. 👍 4y
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shawnmooney Adam Bede was my first. My first George Eliot novel, I mean! 😍 Then the whopping Daniel Deronda. Many years later I read & loved Middlemarch. I'll put Silas Marner on my list! 4y
PurityofEssence @Trav You should! It reads like a fable and a narrative essay, delivering a stream of insights into human thought-process, social interaction and the idea of community, and even semiotics. There are scores of aphoristic quotes like this one that I considered posting; the book is full of 'em. 4y
PurityofEssence @shawnmooney Apart from SM, I've only read Middlemarch, which I absolutely love; I feel somewhat guilty about this, as I'm actually related to George Eliot. But now I've been galvanized into gobbling up the rest of her work, along with a decent biography. I am stupidly excited to read the rest. 4y
shawnmooney You are related to George Eliot? Wow!!! 4y
PurityofEssence @shawnmooney Yup! My dad is very preoccupied with ancestral history, and not so long ago he showed me all the obscure and distant connections that link us to several dozen famous people, a decent number of them writers. 4y
Trav Ahhhh sounds delightful. Your description of the book is like music to my ears. There is nothing I love more than a book which thereafter upon reading, prompts bouts of introspection. I suspect this book will do the same. 4y
PurityofEssence @Trav I hope you enjoy Silas Marner as much as I have! You picked it up recently, right? I'll be keeping my eye out for any thoughts you post on it, as I'm eager to hear your opinions. 😌👍 4y
Trav I did! At a recent book-fair, along with a few other classics. I'm going to start reading SM tonight so I will keep you posted. I'm really eager to read this now after your review! 4y
13 likes1 stack add11 comments
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Pickpick

This is a book of immense importance. Not only is it immaculately written, but Du Bois recognizes the insidious challenges of Post-Emancipation racism with astounding precision. He wrote this book in 1903, and we struggle with the same issues to this very day. Everyone should read this book. 🤘🤘🤘

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Fat City | Leonard Gardner
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"'Manny Chaves,' he whispered, 'had the clearest piss of any man I ever seen. He'd take a specimen and the piss in that bottle would be just as clean and pure as fresh drinking water'" (34). There's a reason we all love Gardner's dialogue. Pic: John Huston on the set of Fat City (1972).

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PurityofEssence
Orientalism | Edward W. Said
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Pickpick

Orientalism signifies the arrival of post-colonial studies, and remains, as far as I'm concerned, one of the most important works of criticism in recent history. This book is not only profoundly insightful but deeply engrossing, and it's been crucial to my growth as a reader. 🤘🤘🤘

Zakia I love Edward Said. Be sure to check out his other books, especially his biography. I suggested it to one of my colleagues and they adore it. 4y
PurityofEssence @Zakia Are you referring to Out of Place? I have had it on my nightstand for nearly a year but just haven't cracked it open. I'm saving it for a rainy date. And you must have a pretty interesting workplace! I'm jealous haha😝👍 4y
Zakia @PurityofEssence We are English teachers, and no, don't be jealous - I wish my job was talking books all day but it isn't. 4y
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Pickpick

This collection of essays is astounding! Leys' brilliance lies within his ability to maintain a very high level of discourse without alienating the reader with erudite terminology. His writing is smart and accessible to everyone. Every type of reader can enjoy these essays. 🤘🤘🤘

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PurityofEssence
The Bloody Crown of Conan | Robert E. Howard
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Pickpick

Let's be clear: this is not high-literature. However, there's still plenty of enjoyment to be had. Howard's writing is visceral and intense, and his stories are so much fun to read. Now and then I always feel the need to return to Howard's writing to watch Conan kick some ass. 🤘🤘🤘

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PurityofEssence
Aleph and Other Stories | Jorge Luis Borges
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Pickpick

This collection of stories introduced me to Borges, and I knew immediately that I needed to read everything the man had ever published. He demolished my expectations of what could be done with genre fiction, and has become one of my favorite writers. This collection is prime Borges. 🤘🤘🤘

ReadingOver50 Such an interesting cover. 4y
Zakia I ❤️ your review sooo much! Exactly how I felt too... Everything he has ever written MUST be read. The man gives me goosebumps 😱😱 4y
Zakia What's your favourite story of his? 4y
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PurityofEssence @Zakia That's such a difficult question, but if I had to name some: The South (El Sur), The Immortal, The Aleph, The Theologians. There are just so many amazing short stories of his, I just love them all hahaha. 4y
PurityofEssence @Zakia Do you have any favorites? 4y
Zakia @PurityofEssence Mine have to be The Garden of Forking Paths and The Library of Babel. There are so many that are equally good. Very hard to choose. Blue Tigers also gave me goosebumps. 4y
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(Inferno 24.43-60) Perhaps my favorite canto in the entire Divine Comedy. Virgil's address to Dante is amazing, and effective: this is the moment where the pilgrim starts to become the poet, where Dante begins to stand apart from his guide and become his own autonomous being.

Trav This is one of my favourite books. I want to learn Italian purely so I can read it in its unadulterated form. 4y
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Pickpick

I, Claudius is just so much damn fun. Graves takes us through complex Roman history, balancing the exposition and characterization through the strength and consistency of Claudius' voice. It's very exciting, and makes this book one of my favorite pieces of historical fiction.🤘🤘🤘

Gezemice This is one of my top five books. Read it multiple times. 4y
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PurityofEssence
Passing | Nella Larsen
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Pickpick

Passing may be the most underrated book I have ever read; its relevance has grown, rather than diminished, since its publication in 1929. You must read this book. Larsen confronts you with the contradictory and performative dimensions of racial identity, and I think she deserves more recognition. 🤘

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PurityofEssence
Titus Groan | Mervyn Peake
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Mervyn Peake was not only a brilliant writer, but was quite talented in the visual arts. Here's a drawing he made of Steerpike!

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PurityofEssence
Henry and June | Anas Nin
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"Her role in life alone preoccupies her. I knew the reasons: her beauty brings dramas and events to her. Ideas mean little. I saw in her a caricature of the theatrical and dramatic personage. Costume, attitudes, talk. She is a superb actress. No more. I could not grasp her core." (IG: dedalus_photo)

Zakia I adore Nin! Glad someone else finds her words inspirational ❤️ 4y
PurityofEssence @Zakia Nin is one of my absolute favorites! She captures the psychological complexity of sexuality and sexual objectification without sacrificing accessibility. It's absolutely amazing. She was a person of rare skill and intelligence, and I admire her greatly. 4y
Zakia @PurityofEssence I agree. Her form and style are so effortless. I have yet to treat myself to her exquisite diaries. Her novels were my favourite at Uni. 4y
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PurityofEssence
Red Harvest | Dashiell Hammett
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Pickpick

Am I really the first to post about this amazing book? 😱 Get off your ass and get Red Harvest! I'm always amazed by Hammett's ability to weave exposition into the rich voice of the protagonist, his ability to conjure visuals. This is the essence of hard-boiled detective fiction. 🚬🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘

brittnaypozen Omg I haven't read this in so long! 4y
PurityofEssence @brittnaypozen It's so awesome! And because of Hammett's writing style you can burn through it in a single evening. It's just so much fun to read, I revisit it several times a year. 🤘🤘🤘 4y
Zakia Haven't read it - but will give it a go once I clear my current reads :) Thanks for the review 4y
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PurityofEssence
The Lover | Marguerite Duras
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Pickpick

This fantastic little book can be read in one sitting, and deftly plays on some of Duras' pet themes, namely memory and sex. It's a swift and atmospheric story that I often feel compelled to revisit. Also make sure to check out Hiroshima Mon Amour after you finish. 🤘🤘🤘

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PurityofEssence
White Noise | Don DeLillo
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Pickpick

I read White Noise for the first time recently: it's an incredibly entertaining and fun book, despite its heavy subject matter. DeLillo recycles the language and signifiers of American consumerism and skillfully weaves them into the story and speech of his characters. A funny and enjoyable read. 👍

kdwinchester Loved this book. Incredibly weird in the best way possible. 4y
PurityofEssence @kdwinchester Agreed! Incredibly weird, but never gratuitously so, and never without providing the reader with a recognizable point of reference in our reality. It's beautiful, and DD's skill certainly can't be fully examined in 300 characters 😂👍. 4y
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PurityofEssence
A Handful of Dust | Evelyn Waugh
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Pickpick

Equal parts acerbic and hilarious, Waugh's writing exemplifies a triumph of style; the sentences are so smooth, almost aerodynamic. A Handful of Dust is razor-sharp, and I was choking on my laughter all the way through. A fantastic introduction to Waugh's writing. 👍👍👍

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