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Vanessa

Vanessa

Joined April 2016

fueled by books, coffee, and bad puns
review
Vanessa
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Pickpick

I like sci-fi, but especially sci-fi that wrestles with philosophical questions. Dick covers a lot of ground in this relatively short book: religion, fanaticism, empathy and its limits, what makes someone “human,” what constitutes “life,” the value of life. Not a “light” read, but very readable and thought-provoking.

review
Vanessa
Sea of Tranquility: A Novel | Emily St. John Mandel
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Pickpick

There is so much to love here - time travel! moon colonies! - and yet those elements fade into the background of stories about characters who are all lost for various reasons, missing a place or a person they cannot yet return to, if ever.
(continued in comments)

Vanessa I loved the writing and liked the book overall, but there was just something missing for me. I felt like I didn‘t “know” any of the many characters as much as I would have liked. Still, I was invested in the story and would read another by St. John Mandel. 2w
3 likes1 comment
review
Vanessa
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was absolutely not what I expected. I‘ll admit I judged the book by its cover and guessed it to be a meet-cute rom-com heavily leaning on a chem lab setting. There is romance and a chem lab, but that is about all I had right. Fun, entertaining book.

Tamra Yes, the cover does it a disservice! If I hadn‘t read the blurb I would have done a hard pass. 3w
Chelsea.Poole Same here! The cover totally turned me off but it was so unexpected and I really loved it. 3w
9 likes2 comments
quote
Vanessa
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“Friendship,” Marx said, “is kind of like having a Tamagotchi.”

review
Vanessa
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Pickpick

Another hilarious essay by Irby and completely relatable to me and my 2023 refusal to give a f*ck about resolutions or a “Word of the Year.”

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Vanessa
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Pickpick

This is a book of interconnected stories that begin in the 2030s with an Arctic archaeological dig by scientists attempting to solve climate change problems; this leads to the discovery of an ancient child‘s corpse and the unwitting release of a virus from her body, which becomes a global pandemic. The book traces the path and consequences of the virus through various characters over time, but it is not really about the virus. (cont. in comments)

Vanessa It is about the people whose possible life trajectories have been altered by this changing world, as they try to hold on to each other and to love despite their grief. It is about a future world, but it felt close to home with our technology that professes to enable us to be closer together but yet feels like it also creates greater distance than before. (Cont.) 1mo
Vanessa The characters grapple with wanting to be closer but putting it off for another day, or being unable to make the leap from a virtual relationship to a real one. These are today‘s problems, too. (Cont. ) 1mo
Vanessa It‘s beautiful and fascinating. There is always some kind of hope despite the sadness. I somewhat regret that I read it digitally, as I was constantly trying to turn back to other chapters when I realized “Easter egg” connections between characters. **crossposted from Goodreads review** 1mo
3 likes3 comments
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Vanessa
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Happy New Year!

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Vanessa
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This book is equal parts bonkers and tragic. So far, I love it — telepathic pig and all.

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Vanessa
Beartown: A Novel | Fredrik Backman
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Pickpick

Beartown is hanging its last hope for survival on the junior hockey team: if they win, the town stands a chance of not quietly disappearing into the forest. The second half of the book was worth getting through the somewhat sluggish beginning and is a discussion-worthy look at several social issues, including herd mentality: “And when enough people are quiet for long enough, a handful of voices can give the impression that everyone is screaming.”

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Vanessa
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Barnes & Noble book haul - 50% off hardcovers today!

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Vanessa
A Court of Mist and Fury | Sarah J. Maas
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Devoured A Court of Thorns and Roses and then found that the holds list at the library for the next book, digital or physical, was weeks to months long. So of course the sensible thing to do was to just buy the whole damn set.

KateReadsYA Hahaha this is exactly something I would do. It was a very sensible thing to do, I agree 😎 2mo
Vanessa @KateReadsYA Even more sensible since I‘m out of shelf space 😂 2mo
13 likes2 comments
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Vanessa
Dorothy Must Die | Danielle Paige
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Not me randomly finding this book in a thrift shop a couple of weekends ago, thinking my students might like it; then forgetting I bought it and having it returned to me by my daughter today; then thinking I might take a peek at the beginning but actually reading 80 pages of it…

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Vanessa
November 9: A Novel | Colleen Hoover
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Still reading on the road. Unsure about this one — a student kept on me last year about reading it, though, so next time I see her I‘ll be able to say I did.

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Vanessa
The Painter: A novel | Peter Heller
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Pickpick

Peter Heller is a stunning writer. This book has it all: beautiful prose, but also suspense. Character development that blurs the line between light and dark in one man‘s soul. Philosophical musings on art, life, and grief. I think I‘m going to have to read anything else he writes.

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Vanessa
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Pickpick

Finished this on the road just after visiting the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest in Arizona.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Cute. Funny in places. Predictable ending. Quick summer read. Reminded me of You‘ve Got Mail, but more “adult” - some eye-rolling here with those scenes, and the writing was cringe-worthy at times, but it was entertaining otherwise.

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Vanessa
The Painter: A novel | Peter Heller
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Choosing the next book can be hard, but this one was easy —
Daughter: Why are you staring at your books?
Me: Trying to decide what to read next.
Daughter: *grabs book* You‘re reading this one because you‘ve been painting things!

Picture is the shelves I repainted. ❤️

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Vanessa
The Hidden Palace | Helene Wecker
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Pickpick

Finished this sequel to The Golem and the Jinni last night. I hadn‘t intended to read this right after finishing Golem, but I really just wanted to stay in this world with these characters. I liked it a bit less than the first book, but nonetheless it did not disappoint! ❤️

DisneyFan Didn‘t realize there was a sequel! 8mo
Vanessa @Quixote1 I found out kind of by accident. I finished Golem and was looking to see if the author had written anything else… 8mo
5 likes2 comments
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Vanessa
Pet | Akwaeke Emezi
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I just grabbed whatever I had in my nightstand for a bookmark, haven‘t bothered to swap it out. 🤷‍♀️

8 likes1 stack add
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Vanessa
Golem and the Jinni | Helene Wecker
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Sunday morning.

12 likes1 stack add
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Vanessa
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I have students who think I just come home and read all day. Some days, that‘s true. But it‘s only because I literally don‘t have the energy to do anything else.

Anyway, this book is pretty good so far.

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Vanessa
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Pickpick

I had intentions yesterday to do All the Things. Instead, I spent the day unable to tear myself away from this. I know quite a few did not like the turn this took or the way it ended, but I did. I think it gives the overall story arc and the main character so much more complexity to talk about.

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Vanessa
Good Girl, Bad Blood | Holly Jackson
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So thirty minutes after I finished A Good Girl‘s Guide to Murder, I ran to the bookstore and bought the other two in the series, plus two more books. 😂 Daughter is 100 pages into Good Girl, Bad Blood… I‘m gonna catch up. 😎 #motherdaughterbookclub

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Vanessa
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Pickpick

Hustled through this as fast as I could at the prodding of my impatient teen daughter, who *needed* me to read it so she‘d have someone to talk about it with. I don‘t tend to gravitate to mysteries, but I loved this one. #motherdaughterbookclub

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Vanessa
A Painted House | John Grisham
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Sunday vibes while reading my first Grisham book — a Christmas gift from a friend. 200 pages in and pleasantly surprised so far.

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Vanessa
Cloud Cuckoo Land | Anthony Doerr
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Thanksgiving break, Day One! I was honestly a little afraid to start this book right now because of its length and knowing that this is a really busy time of year — I don‘t need to spend a month on one book right now. But so far, I don‘t think that‘s going to happen. It‘s lovely, and I‘m hooked.

Chelsea.Poole I loved this one! 1y
13 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Vanessa
Don't Look Back | Jennifer L. Armentrout
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I know it‘s early, but I had to try out this cute Christmas cup we found last weekend!

A student borrowed this book from the library & then told me I *have* to read it. So I am. After the distance-learning debacle of last year, I‘ve found it more difficult this year to get students invested in reading, so moments like this are less common than usual. Once I‘m done with it, this copy will go on my classroom shelves for other students to enjoy.

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Vanessa
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Picked these up at a library sale yesterday even though I have eleventy billion unread books at home. Why am I like this?

Megabooks You‘re in good company at least! 😉 1y
Leftcoastzen We are all like this !😄 1y
10 likes2 comments
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Vanessa
The Genius of Birds | Jennifer Ackerman
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Report at 9:00. Wait for 30 minutes. Get told to come back in an hour. Welcome to jury duty, Day 2. 🤦‍♀️

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Vanessa
Untitled | Unknown
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Not home today to make anything better than a note on my phone for my August list 😅
#bookspin #bookspinbingo @TheAromaofBooks

Singout 1, 3, and 17 are great! 2y
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2y
4 likes2 comments
review
Vanessa
Shadow and Bone | Leigh Bardugo
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Pickpick

Another July #bookspinbingo book - this one is my #doublespin .
Finished this a couple of days ago. While reading this book, I was reminded at varying points of Harry Potter, City of Bones, and Twilight. ⬇️

Vanessa So, with all this similarity to books I‘ve already read, why would I call it a “pick”? Because it still has originality, and it‘s so fun that I was mad I didn‘t have the second book on hand to start immediately (and I‘m vacationing in a place where I can‘t get it from a bookstore). My YA-loving students are going to eat this one up.
@TheAromaofBooks
(edited) 2y
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2y
9 likes2 comments
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Vanessa
Wide Sargasso Sea | Jean Rhys
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Pickpick

My #bookspin book for #bookspinbingo @TheAromaofBooks

I was supposed to have read this years ago when I was working on my masters‘s degree in Comparative Lit. Unfortunately, there was not enough time in any day to both read all the books I was assigned and write all the papers, and I had to skip a couple. This was one of those, and it has been glaring at me from a shelf ever since. 😅 ⬇️

Vanessa I hadn‘t read Jane Eyre yet by that point, so I figured I would be missing some context, anyway. If I‘d had the time, I could definitely have read this without having first read Jane; it is interesting on its own as a picture of 19th century West Indies society. I felt more appreciation for the book once I finished it than while reading. Rhys expertly paints a picture of a place and of characters that I‘ll not likely soon forget. ⬇️
(edited) 2y
Vanessa I have visited Jamaica once and Rhys‘ depiction of it is what I remember it to be: hot, beautiful sky shimmering with humidity; flower-scented air; lurid green vegetation and vivid blue ocean; evenings full of moths (and other bugs). Beautiful and yet at times oppressive. As the book goes on, the increasingly dream-like descriptions of the place mirror what is happening to Antoinette‘s mental state. (edited) 2y
Vanessa My memory of Jane Eyre is fuzzy in general, but Rhys‘ portrayal of young Mr. Rochester and his bride leaves me full of disgust for him and sympathy for her. Rochester takes everything from Antoinette: her wealth, her independence, her identity, her home, and finally her sanity; he breaks her like a toy and then refuses to let her go.
2y
TheAromaofBooks Great review!!! 2y
12 likes4 comments
review
Vanessa
The Bone Clocks: A Novel | David Mitchell
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Pickpick

Probably the fastest I‘ve ever read a book of this length. Compared to my usual speed, I basically inhaled it. Yay, summer and free time and most of all, David Mitchell! Still one of my favorites.

So good. What an adventure. 💙

ReadingEnvy I love him 2y
TrishB I loved this one 👍🏻 2y
Cathythoughts I love him too .. I‘ve only read this one so far though 2y
Vanessa @Cathythoughts If you read more, enjoy! I love how he tries different genres across his books and sprinkles in Easter eggs. :) Cloud Atlas was my first and I found that one more challenging than this, but it‘s amazing. 2y
14 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Vanessa
The Bone Clocks: A Novel | David Mitchell
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Different book, same difficulty with reading. 😜

Halfway through, still loving it.

odeofrhythm Haha so cute 😍 2y
Vanessa @irhythm thanks! 😊 2y
11 likes2 comments
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Vanessa
The Bone Clocks: A Novel | David Mitchell
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What better time than summer vacation to read a 600+ page book? 😆 100 pages in and loving it so far.

Cathythoughts It‘s very good , I recently reread. That‘s a lovely cover too 2y
odeofrhythm I'm interested...I'll go read synopsis. Thanks for this!🍀 2y
Vanessa @irhythm I just finished last night - so good! 2y
12 likes3 comments
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Vanessa
Untitled | Unknown
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…and my July bingo card. Took ages to get it right. 🤦‍♀️😂 #BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! Looks great!! 2y
2 likes2 comments
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Vanessa
Untitled | Unknown
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I‘d never heard of #bookspinbingo until today, (a day late 🤷‍♀️) but I‘ll give it a try! @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Yay!!! I drew the numbers today, so just let me know if you have any questions!! Be sure to tag me in your reviews for the BookSpin & DoubleSpin reads - those count as entries for an end-of-the-year giveaway!!! 2y
Vanessa Oohhh, I didn‘t realize that. Thank you! @TheAromaofBooks 2y
TheAromaofBooks Yes!! Participants can only earn up to 2 entries per month (just for the BookSpin & DoubleSpin reads) so that way the bingo people don't get an unfair advantage haha You can tag me in your reviews or just let me know at the end of the month if you read them!! And if you don't get to those reads this month, you can even read them later in the year & still get credit if you let me know they were for July!! 2y
Vanessa Oh, wow! That‘s so flexible. 😎 Well, hopefully I get to both this month, anyway. I‘ve been itching to read Shadow & Bone, and Wide Sargasso Sea is one I was supposed to read years ago for one of my postgrad classes. 😂 Thank you!! @TheAromaofBooks 2y
2 likes4 comments
review
Vanessa
84 Charing Cross Road | Helene Hanff
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Pickpick

Well, that was delightful.

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Vanessa
Crazy Rich Asians | Kevin Kwan
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It‘s fine. I wasn‘t trying to read.

Leftcoastzen What a cutie!🐶 2y
15 likes1 comment
review
Vanessa
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Panpan

If you loved or even liked RP1 — don‘t mess it up by reading the sequel. I don‘t understand how the same person wrote both of these. I made myself finish RP2 because we got it for Christmas. Santa must hate me... I hope he‘ll forgive me now that I‘ve done my penance. (continued in comments)

Vanessa After about 3000 pages of “I‘m Wade, this is what happened before and why I suck, blah blah,” this becomes a “tell-not-show” plot dump of every ridiculous techno-twist imaginable so that it can be made into another 80s/future mash-up film. Quest after quest after quest for the seven Siren‘s shards, each of which is won by characters having just the right tool in their inventory or just the right knowledge of useless trivia/skill, often at the last (edited) 2y
Vanessa minute.

It was more tedious than suspenseful. I feel like I just listened to one of my kids narrate 18 hours of Minecraft in excruciating detail.
(edited) 2y
TheSpineView I also was not a fan of book 2. Big disappointment!😕 2y
4 likes3 comments
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Vanessa
The History of Love | Nicole Krauss
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Pickpick

Randomly grabbed this from a shelf. Couldn‘t remember why I bought it, or who I heard about it from. Loved it.

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Vanessa
The Happiness Project | Gretchen Rubin
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We bought a Roomba at a discount, and then it sat there for two years because I didn‘t want to take it apart to clean it, and nobody else was willing to do it, either. Then I finally just did it.
Will I sit on my butt and read this book about happiness while I sip wine and a machine vacuums for me? Yes, I think I will.

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Vanessa
Hamnet | Maggie O'Farrell
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Mehso-so

I feel like I‘ve been in a reading slump since the pandemic started, and given the rave reviews, I was hoping this one would pull me out of it. Nope. I do like O‘Farrell‘s writing, and I wouldn‘t say I didn‘t enjoy the book at all, but it was hard for me to feel anything much about the plot or characters. It just fell flat for me, overall.

BarbaraBB I liked it but can imagine it‘s not the best book to get you out of your reading slump. It didn‘t read like other O‘Farrells! 2y
Vanessa @BarbaraBB I read another one of hers years ago that I remember loving. I‘m hoping this is just a one-off. 2y
10 likes2 comments
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Vanessa
Kindred | Octavia Butler
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Got my little #bookhaul from Vroman‘s Bookstore in today‘s mail!

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Vanessa
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I don‘t know if it‘s the book or me, but I was struggling to begin with... though I am enjoying this more now.
Made a #bookbento as an example for my students. This was fun - I might do it more often. Can‘t wait to see what they come up with next week!

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Vanessa
Nothing to See Here | Kevin Wilson
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About an hour into the audiobook and enjoying it so far 👍🎧

Megabooks Great book! 3y
2 likes1 comment
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Vanessa
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Saturday. I‘m 24 pages in and not sure if I‘m going to like this one...

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Vanessa
Hot Zone | Richard Preston
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Welp, now I am properly terrified of Ebola.

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Vanessa
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I LOVE this new podcast by Marlon James and Jake Morrisey. If you are after some erudite book banter... check it out. It‘s not stuffy by any means — they curse and everything. 😅 Super fun.

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Vanessa
Hidden Bodies | Caroline Kepnes
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Listened to four hours of this while cleaning today... so far, so good.

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Vanessa
Golden Compass | Philip Pullman
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I have had this trilogy in my TBR FOREVER.

Happy Saturday!

15 likes1 stack add