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Joined February 2019

I regained the ability to read for fun this year, and am logging the results.
review
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Motherhood | Sheila Heti
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Bailedbailed

I was determined to finish this book but realized somewhere past p.100 that I wasn't just finding Heti's pretentious, insight-sparse navel-gazing annoying, but was physically stressed and seized up by my agitation with her. That was my limit--after all, my leisure time is precious. It is a shame that the first(?) literary exploration of ambiguity in the face of motherhood had to come from someone whose thoughts are so hollow.

academiconbreak To treat her subject as an intellectual exercise rather than a live problem just cannot open a window into a human dilemma. This is what I sensed about Heti's ultimate motivations-- it just didn't seem like she was actually in a place of ambiguity about motherhood. I think many media critics lauded the book simply for the fact that a book like this was written, but that just wasn't enough for me. 11mo
AntoinetteBuchanan Could not agree more! I tried with this one but it was annoyingly contrived. 11mo
12 likes2 comments
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Homes: A Refugee Story | Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, Winnie Yeung
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Pickpick

Homes is told through the five senses--a portrait of everyday life in war-torn Syria made tangibly vivid and immediate. What strikes also is how a child's drive to live his world through the basic need to play can ground the events of war in the normality of experience at the same time as it frames the surreality of brutal violence. Finally, this book reminds us not to turn our backs on refugees in the age of Trump. #canadareads #1bk2moveus

academiconbreak I took the photo with my hand next to the book to show how tiny this volume is-- you'll want to wrap your entire hand around it and clutch it straight to your heart when you are done reading it, which I did, after finishing it in one sitting. 12mo
17 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd | Agatha Christie
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Mehso-so

This was a failure of expectations rather than material. When I heard that this was Christie's most ingenious, I took it to mean novelty of form as well as end. However, the ingenuity is all in the ending (and granted, its concealment throughout). Otherwise a conventional Christie puzzle mystery--I just happened not to be in the mood for more of the same (multiple suspects and plots surrounding a wealthy household told by a Hastings-like narrator)

academiconbreak There are a few entertaining character portraits, e.g. Catherine, the sister. Though in general the woman were drawn through a somewhat sexist lens and it was not enough to feel invested in the characters' fates. 12mo
academiconbreak It's still a landmark in being one of many times in which Christie's ingenuity marked a first in the genre, and more constant fans of murder mystery should enjoy it more than me. 12mo
17 likes2 comments
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Brother | David Chariandy
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Pickpick

As a younger sister to a sister, I did not expect a portrait of masculinity thru a brother's eyes to be so tender, even as it gave lessons on male posturing, and how one's tastes define a man. The book hits tender spots in the heart, spots discovered more than known. It also had my heart in my throat at every turn; reading the black experience, past every corner is the threat of police posturing and its devastating costs. #canadareads #1bk2moveu

16 likes2 stack adds
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Pickpick

Buffy is so inspiring--her songs were so powerful she was blacklisted by two American presidents, and was ahead of her time, time and again. The journalistic prose is just a little stiff and I only wish Warner had taken the personal tone of the last chapter into the whole book. She describes a negotiation between her deconstructive tendency and Buffy's eye for possibility--that frame between indigenous women could have provided a revealing lens.

gradcat Great review! I remember with much fondness the music of Buffy Sainte-Marie...thanks for the post! 12mo
academiconbreak @gradcat You should check out her new albums! I think she just keeps getting better and better. Power in the Blood is my fave. 12mo
gradcat Will do! I didn‘t even realize she was still recording...doh! 12mo
13 likes3 comments
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Pickpick

I've given this book away 2x and now own my 3rd copy. Godfrey-Smith is the kind of academic that can make his topic as engaging for the layman as the specialist. But then, what's more fascinating than octopuses and consciousness? He investigates the history of cephalopod evolution as a way into the philosophy of consciousness on the premise that cephalopods developed intelligence not because they are like us but thru an entirely parallel process.

academiconbreak The diagram shows the vast evolutionary distance between us and octopuses. And yet, they are intelligent in recognizable ways to us. Fascinating. The last chapter is his scuba diving expedition to the underwater city of octopuses. Very cool. 13mo
Crazeedi Welcome to Litsy !!🎉🎉you will love it here 13mo
thereadingowlvina Welcome to Litsy!!! 📚💛🤗 13mo
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome to Litsy!! 13mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 📖💙 13mo
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🌸 12mo
17 likes6 comments
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Exit West: A Novel | Mohsin Hamid
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It is the kind of book that just invites you in. The author wanted to write about the refugee experience, but wanted to cut out the long flight from home and concentrate on culture clash and class conflict in the host country. Hence the magical realist device of doors that transport one instantly, that you have to step into before you know where you will land. This is primarily a love story, and has an economy of language that is Hemingway-esque.

RaimeyGallant Enjoying your reviews. And welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. Or if you prefer how-to videos, @chelleo put some together at the link in her bio. @LitsyWelcomeWagon 13mo
academiconbreak @RaimeyGallant Thanks so much Raimey! That's really helpful. I'll definitely check those out. 13mo
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🌺 13mo
27 likes1 stack add4 comments
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The Haunting of Hill House | Shirley Jackson

I put this on my to read list ever since I read some brilliant pans of the new Netflix version. This article on the genius of Shirley Jackson is brill:
"Jackson was the first author to understand that “houses aren‘t haunted – people are”, " https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/oct/11/textbook-terror-how-the-haunting-o...

academiconbreak Thank you for the welcome! 13mo
Crazeedi Welcome to litsy!🎉🎉🎉 13mo
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academiconbreak Thank you! 13mo
ProfReader Welcome to Litsy!!!💜💙♥️💕💚 13mo
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🌺 13mo
31 likes6 comments
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Pickpick

A vivid memoir of her time in China from my fave cookbook author. I almost bailed the first time due to the unavoidably western lens that sets the tone. Knowing her better now as a true advocate for a much prejudiced cuisine, I was able to get past that. Her writing is alive (and so, often, is the subject matter!) and ultimately fair. If you only read the chs abt her training at the Sichuan Culinary Institute, it is worth the book price.

24 likes1 stack add
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Fledgling: A Novel | Octavia E. Butler
Mehso-so

I wanted so much to love this mother of Afrofuturism. This was the book in her oeuvre whose premise spoke the most to me in terms of a more subtle weaving of the black experience into a conventional spec fic theme. It is certainly a brilliant take on vampires and she definitely shows her worldbuilding abilities. But why, WHY the gratuitous pedophiliac theme?!? I can think of a dozen other ways to explore the theme of sexual power dynamics.

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Motherhood | Sheila Heti

I'd been avoiding Heti but this book abt ambiguity in the face of motherhood hits close to home. It's now on hold at the library. However... I was in a book shop and read: "...there was half a hotdog on the table and I called it a banana"... I found it annoying on the first page! Reminded of this crotchety article about today's self-congratulatory literary stars: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/07/a-readers-manifesto/302270/

candority There were definitely some good things in Motherhood, but it wasn‘t what I expected. 13mo
academiconbreak I will definitely still give it a more concerted chance when I get it from the library! Curious... What were you expecting? @candority 13mo
candority @academiconbreak Hopefully you like it! I found Heti‘s writing style a bit difficult to immerse myself in (it was often circular and rambled too much). There were lines and ideas that resonated with me, but I‘m not sure it was worth the time and effort of reading the entire book for the few scraps of brilliance. 13mo
academiconbreak That sounds fair! Thanks for sharing! 13mo
13 likes4 comments
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And Then There Were None | Agatha Christie
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The Dame is so plot-driven that reading her is often unnecessary when good screen adaptations exist. This one is worth the read. AllAboutAgatha the podcast gives the best review of this psychological thriller. My favourite passage (Christie shines suspicion on everyone in turn): "Carefully, Justice Wargrave removed his false teeth and dropped them into a glass of water. The shrunken lips fell in. It was a cruel mouth now, cruel and predatory."

ValkyrieAndHerBooks This is my absolute favorite Agatha Christie! 13mo
ValkyrieAndHerBooks And welcome to Litsy!🎉📚💕 13mo
academiconbreak Thank you so much!! I'm excited about being here. 13mo
14 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Full Disclosure: A Novel | Beverley McLachlin
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Mehso-so

I like the idea that this book exists more than the execution. You will smile though, at some meta self referential winks that Her Worship adds in. This was my summer reading book last summer. Good porch company.

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The Break | Katherena Vermette
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I finally picked up this book again after starting it last Canada Reads. It is a near perfectly conceived book, one that feels fresh at the same time as it makes you wonder how it hadn't yet been written before this. It is a slow build which is why it took me a while to read, but the last third of the book is exquisite. The vignettes of the lives of these women are luminous here, vivid, subtle and alive. This book should have won Canada Reads.

academiconbreak I was angry finishing this book reminded how it got voted off Canada Reads for "underrepresenting the male perspective" last year, and the sentiment is more absurd the further in you read. People imagine and read into a premise that is about women and their experiences within a cycle of abuse and automatically that equates to "man hating" in their minds. I knew it before but I know it authoritatively now, this book should have won Canada Reads. 13mo
ReadingEnvy "Underrepresenting the male perspective" is insane! Heaven forbid! 13mo
academiconbreak I know, right? Many Canadians marched out and bought the book in protest to those comments during the televised debates, which was beautiful, though. 13mo
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xicanti I'll never, ever stop being mad about this book's early elimination, or the comments that led to it. 13mo
academiconbreak Canada reads makes me angrier each year the more aware I become of the politics. I'm trying to focus on the productivity of the conversation among Canadians reading along rather than the panelists in order to feel more hopeful about things. (The social media response to The Break's elimination, for example!) 13mo
rather_be_reading welcome to litsy! 📚☕📚 13mo
19 likes3 stack adds6 comments