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akaGingerK

akaGingerK

Joined February 2019

“And what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversation?”
blurb
akaGingerK
The Woman in the Library | Sulari Gentill
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I‘m halfway through and somehow more annoyed by Leo with every passing chapter. The picture is from several chapters back, but feels illustrative. Perhaps Hannah‘s side of the correspondence would make less obnoxious the overbearing advice from unpublished man to published woman, but it would not make him less whiny.

Is it terrible that my hopes that something bad happens to him is a major motivators in keeping me reading?

#ARC but post-pub

akaGingerK Yes, it‘s a coincidence that I‘m reading this while JCO is tweeting about how hard it is out here for a white man in publishing. But it does show how deeply unoriginal and shallow that fiction is 3w
ferskner Definitely keep reading! Leo is....something else. 3w
akaGingerK @ferskner I have gotten far enough since posting to agree that yes, he certainly is!! (edited) 3w
3 likes3 comments
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akaGingerK
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Pickpick

I read this in a day. My biggest critique: I hope the finished copy names the source for the stunning stats at the opening frame chapter. This book tells the stories of three love couples in contemporary India, their struggles to stay together, to be recognized - and to avoid being murdered over their romantic choices. The writing is top notch, but the material is pretty heavy.⬇️

akaGingerK I also wonder how the stories would land with someone who grew up with arranged marriages as the norm: do the stories in Newlyweds read like a critique - if so, a fair one? Or do they land more like a cautionary tale? (edited) 3w
8 likes1 comment
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akaGingerK
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Mehso-so

It‘s been awhile since I‘ve read a mystery near the cozy end. Less investigating-with-science! than the cover copy led me to expect; much more wild theorizing and then seeking confirmation. I did enjoy the love story, though.
CW for threatened sexual assault, in the context of campus big name pressuring women with less power - and not taking no for an answer.

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akaGingerK
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Pickpick

I LOVE this ARC! Helen only has a few days left before her death, and she wants to spend them with her girlfriend: kind, beautiful Edith. But a regular client sends her to do some augury & the case she doesn‘t want to take soon proves impossible to ignore. Fantastical 40s noir, with a lesbian PI, magic, demons and angels? Yes, please.

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akaGingerK
Reluctant Immortals | Gwendolyn Kiste
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Pickpick

A fun, horror-adjacent summer read; ARC for August. Lucy from Dracula & Bertha from Jane Eyre have survived the men who ended their lives - Lucy as vampire, Bee as something else. They‘ve moved to California to escape the reach of Rochester and keep Dracula‘s ashes from reassembling, but their pasts won‘t let them go so easily. The metaphors are obvious, but the plot line less so, and I was definitely rooting for Lucy throughout.

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akaGingerK
One's Company: A Novel | Ashley Hutson
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Panpan

The cover copy leans hard into the quirkiness of the POV character‘s coping mechanism. But despite obsessive/loving descriptions of the attempt to recreate a place that never existed, most of the story is bleak description of what drove Bonnie to Three‘s Company. Krystal should be sympathetic, but despite hating Bonnie‘s treatment of her, I disliked her, too. I thought it was going somewhere interesting, but … well.

akaGingerK Although I can add this to my list of books featuring “queer women making bad decisions on a mountain,” that relationship retreated suddenly in importance. The resolution left a lot to be desired- there‘s no true emotional resonance to the ending. People are terrible, escape is impossible, and I guess nothing has meaning? Bleakness is not interesting to me 2mo
5 likes1 comment
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akaGingerK

“written in support of the French Revolution…going on to play a key part in America‘s war for independence”
Today I learned the two revolutions overlapped; I didn‘t realize that the American revolutionary war lasted for more than a decade (a decade seemed enough!), despite being a history fan as a kid.

Weird thing to learn from a book about book exteriors/marketing.

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akaGingerK
Dinosaurs | LYDIA. MILLET
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Pickpick

It took special effort to get this ARC for the store, so I felt I‘d better read it immediately. I enjoyed it, but I don‘t know how to describe it? POV character Gil is odd but slowly charmed me over the course of the book. I‘d say very little happens: except I gasped and nearly cried. A little beauty in the sentences reflecting the natural beauty that drew Gil to AZ. A little sorrow, as current loss tangles with older grief. And a little hope.

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akaGingerK
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Bailedbailed

This has the feel of a book meant to be sold as merch during a speaking tour. A fine message- kindness is important- stretched out for too long & supported only by anecdotes from her life. Honestly, if it were marketed as a memoir, I might have more patience for it. But I do at this point expect personal growth & business books to have some social science underpinning, no matter how tenuous.

41% down w/ 3 hours 21 minutes left- but I‘m done

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akaGingerK
Girls of Riyadh | Rajaa Alsanea
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Mehso-so

Added to my TBR several years, moves & a full state ago, I wish I‘d read it closer to when it was written- it‘s very contemporary to a past decade. I enjoyed the emails-via-Yahoo!groups frame and wanted to know how all the braided stories turned out. Two major caveats though prevent me from recommending it: when encountering their love rivals, one character got real racist, real fast (anti-Asian, specifically) and another became smugly fatphobic.

akaGingerK Overall, it was a gossipy behind-closed-doors of a culture I know very little about, and the frame provides an interesting commentary on the plot/characters. But the racism & fat phobia were both overt and not held out as problems either by the narrative itself nor by the framing commentary - and once my attention was drawn to it, it was hard not to question other moments that I might have otherwise missed 4mo
8 likes1 comment
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akaGingerK
Delphi | Clare Pollard
This post contains spoilers
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Mehso-so

I truly enjoyed the vast majority of this book. While my Covid years contained zero days of actual lockdown (bookselling was declared essential in my state, so we continued working on online orders at an unclear risk to one another), this captured a lot of the strangeness & mundanity of the past 2 years. And then it just- ended. Like, I‘m turning the next page to read the next chapter, only to encounter acknowledgements, abruptly ended. #ARC

akaGingerK The framing of chapters as different styles of prophecy was interesting, and there‘s some interesting play with the text, including nods to how Sappho‘s extant pieces of poetry get presented. 4mo
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akaGingerK
When Women Were Dragons | Kelly Barnhill
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Pickpick

Wow. One day in April, 1955, almost 700k American women turned into dragons and flew away. Some after eating their husbands. Society immediately tries to forget it and say it could only happen once. This is the story of a girl who will eventually be a scientist, growing up in the aftermath of losing an aunt she‘s not allowed to speak of, taught to keep everything- that her sister was her cousin, her thoughts, feelings- tucked close to her chest.

akaGingerK Barnhill is an award winning kids author, and she nails the growing protagonist‘s POV over time, along with the unfortunate lesson that grownups are often less concerned with kids‘ interior lives than on how their behavior reflects on the grownup amongst other adults. (edited) 5mo
akaGingerK And while the concept could veer into gender essentialism, especially given the POV of a child growing up in the 50s & 60s, the author includes excerpts from in-world articles (and testimony to the Committee on un-American activities) that highlighted info she couldn‘t access - including allowing readers to see that while not all women transformed, some who did transform were trans women (the second mention in particular was lovely) 5mo
10 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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akaGingerK
Chef's Kiss: A Novel | TJ Alexander
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Pickpick

#ARC The sales rep was right: I enjoyed this book so much I‘m almost mad about it. Simone‘s a reserved recipe researcher whose dream magazine job pivots to video. Ray is a sunshiney kitchen manager whose accidentally posted video becomes the mag‘s first hit- so they‘re paired up. Despite initial clashes, they become closer with believable conflicts and misunderstandings along the way. Simone‘s adjustment to Ray revealing they‘re nonbinary takes⬇️

akaGingerK a fair amount of page time, but she does her 101 flailing & her commenting on her difficulties swapping to the correct pronouns to her roommate not to Ray - and her roommate has established boundaries & compensation rates around emotional labor.
Conflict arises as they have differing reactions to a workplace more hostile than expected to Ray‘s coming out. But everyone deserving of a happy ending gets one - love, career, and all
(edited) 5mo
6 likes1 comment
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akaGingerK
Siren Queen | Nghi Vo
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Pickpick

Luli Wei decides to become a star in the early days of talkies, in a Hollywood studio system run by Fae. She‘s determined to do it on her own terms, not discovered by someone who‘ll use her up, not relegated to “maids, funny talking or fainting flowers” - but if ambition in any woman is seen as monstrous, that perception is magnified if the woman isn‘t white.
Full of magic, very queer, and will not hold readers‘ hands for world-building. #ARC

akaGingerK A coworker is also reading this, and we were talking yesterday about something that is metaphorical in the real world but clearly literal in the book, and how we were trying to wrap our heads around it. Definitely worth rolling with it in the end! (edited) 6mo
10 likes1 stack add1 comment
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akaGingerK
Nora Goes Off Script | Annabel Monaghan
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Pickpick

Nora‘s scriptwriting career allows the author to lampshade the moment that per narrative convention Leo is supposed to return... and doesn't. Her greater heartbreak over a short relationship than the long death of her marriage and her unsuccessful attempts to hide her heartache from her kids establishes interesting interior conflicts and a resolution that feels more earned than the version where the hero always returns after the commercial break

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akaGingerK
Cat Who Saved Books | S?suke Natsukawa
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“I think the power of books is that- that they teach us to care about others. It‘s a power that gives people courage and also supports them in turn.”
Finished this today - a quick read, heavy-handed on the allegory but in an enjoyable way for readers… but I‘ve got reservations/questions about the translation decisions, and the #ARC doesn‘t contain the translator‘s note. So I‘m going to check out the finished copy before choosing a rating.

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akaGingerK
Vladimir | Julia May Jonas
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Mehso-so

A pretty messed up female narrator, lots of literati references, hints at potentially dark directions for the plot.

Just the worst cover. I was told the inspiration was reversing the male gaze of a book cover like Lolita, but it really lands at “dated romance,” which isn‘t necessarily the same reader #ARC

akaGingerK Despite the initial Taddeo‘s-Animal pull of the compellingly awful main character, this book ultimately shies away from the darker outcomes, but also didn‘t give the catharsis of ‘getting away with it.‘ I became invested, but I don‘t feel like it quite stuck the landing. 7mo
9 likes1 comment
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akaGingerK
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Pickpick

I loved the characters and the initial complication, I got a bit thrown by the business model of the hero‘s company (that is… not how social media revenue works), and I was a bit concerned that some of the hijinks well into the book would cause me to tap out from second hand embarrassment (I do better with rom than romcom) - but I stuck it out, and the author stuck the HEA. Would recommend!

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akaGingerK
A Holly Jolly Diwali | Sonya Lalli
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Pickpick

A fairly satisfying romance with good supporting characters. I appreciated that the happily ever after required both characters to work on pieces of their lives beyond the relationship itself. This romance bucks the alternating POV trend- we only ever know what Niki is thinking, not Sam.

6 likes1 stack add
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akaGingerK
A Holly Jolly Diwali | Sonya Lalli
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Happy Diwali! Let‘s see if I can finish this romance *before* the holiday ends!

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akaGingerK
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Pickpick

The author really makes all the difference in a book like this. Despite urban legends, the majority of books confirmed to be made from humans were created by 19th c doctors during the rise of clinical distance - the idea that the body on the autopsy table is an object to be studied rather than a human. In the author‘s attempts to identify, respect, and re-humanize the people behind the books, she also provides hope in our capacity for empathy.

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akaGingerK
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Pickpick

A coworker has been recommending this one; another warned me about eugenics part of the story (which… it‘s about a taxonomist from the turn of the previous century-I am unsurprised by the racism, but Jordan *actively campaigning* for eugenics laws was more than I‘d have braced for) and I STILL hopped on twitter twice to exclaim about this book. Thanks, Libro.fm for the comp copy!
CW: extensive talk of suicidal ideation, eugenics/racism/ableism

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akaGingerK

“By embracing our supposed hypocrisies, we undermine the argument of our opponents- those who would use our shortcomings as an excuse for doing nothing.”

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akaGingerK
Comfort Me With Apples | Catherynne M. Valente
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Pickpick

The ominous excerpts from the beyond-restrictive Arcadia Gardens Homeowners Association continuously ramp up the tension in this quick read about Sophia, her husband, and her nearly perfect house. #ARC

9 likes1 stack add
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akaGingerK
How To Be a Stoic | Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus
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This cover design is so good it makes me angry.

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akaGingerK
The Beatryce Prophecy | Kate DiCamillo
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Pickpick

I am crying over how perfect this book is. It hooked me with the hilariously terrifying goat (“Answelica was a goat with teeth that were the mirror of her soul — large, sharp, and uncompromising”) and tricked me into big feelings.
Pretend you‘re getting it for your child, niece, nephew if you feel too old for a kids‘ book, but read it before you pass it to someone the ‘right‘ age - you won‘t regret it. #ARC

4 likes1 stack add
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akaGingerK
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Pickpick

“It‘s in our bones, our blood. More than that, it‘s in the questions we need answered. The secrets, traumas, and legacies that we don‘t know we‘ve inherited, even if we don‘t want them.”
Family, finding your place in the world - and a LOT of magic. #ARC

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akaGingerK
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Pickpick

So this book has been handed around the store like the most clandestine of book clubs. It needs every content warning, just all of them… but I‘ve somehow ended up on team “and yet it‘s strangely compelling even though every character is abhorrent.” Which brings us to four people who enjoyed it - and one who wanted to throw it *through* a wall. 😅 Taking it back in for the next reader!

Hazel2019 I‘ll be reading this one next! I‘m really intrigued by your review… (edited) 1y
8 likes1 comment
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akaGingerK
Crying in H Mart: A Memoir | Michelle Zauner
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Pickpick

Where to start? Beautifully written exploration of grief and love that digs into the complexity of her relationship with her mother. Food stands in as a shared language, and a point of connection even through their most difficult years. At one point I started crying over kimchi, which I don‘t (in my extremely limited experience) even particularly like. The author also digs into the difficulties of growing up 1/2 Korean, 1/2 white …⬇️

akaGingerK in an American city, the potential for rejection due to differences from peers on either side of her heritage, and the fear that losing her mother will mean losing her connection to the Korean part of her identity. (I love that she turns to Maangchi to reclaim the recipes her mother didn‘t get to teach her - I know how important this YouTube channel has been to friends seeking a similar connection to family history) 1y
MallenNC I just got this one! Hoping to start soon. 1y
akaGingerK @MallenNC I hope you enjoy it! 1y
7 likes3 comments
blurb
akaGingerK
Firestorm Books & Coffee | Asheville, North Carolina (Bookstore)
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Buying something at the store that employs me on Independent Bookstore Day in order to get a free audiobook from Libro.fm felt like cheating… so I ordered something from Firestorm.

Then I ended up giving the audiobook to my sister. 🤷‍♀️

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akaGingerK
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Pickpick

1) Why does the word “hilarious” appear on all the marketing for the #ARC?
2) I really did enjoy this, though it took awhile to get the hang of the narrator‘s swings in time in & out of flashbacks
3) CW: animal harm. I would steer a couple friends away from this book: most emphatically the one who lost a pet in a house fire, as that‘s a repeated intrusive thought. But also my emetophobic friend would have a bad time.

8 likes1 stack add
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akaGingerK
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“[I]n fact, it was demoralizing.... What I really wanted everyone to understand is that Black thoughts, like Black lives, matter.” #ARC

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akaGingerK

“They were first noticed in 1967 by Jocelyn Bell Burnell- when she was still just a grad student! - and her PhD adviser Antony Hewish. In 1974, Hewish was awarded a Nobel Prize for their work and Burnell was not.”
... quotes like this are why it‘s taking me forever to read this book. I have to take a moment to go be angry. #ARC

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akaGingerK
Psalm for the Wild-Built | Becky Chambers
This post contains spoilers
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If you want to do things that are meaningful to others, fine! Good! So do I! But if I wanted to crawl into a cave and watch stalagmites with Frostfrog for the remainder of my days, that would also be both fine and good. You keep asking why your work is not enough, and I don‘t know how to answer that, because it is enough to exist in this world and marvel at it. You don‘t need to justify that, or earn it. You are allowed to just live. #ARC

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akaGingerK
Psalm for the Wild-Built | Becky Chambers
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Pickpick

Another right book at the right time situation. A young monk, Dex, decides to leave the City & become a tea monk-something between bartender & itinerant therapist. When they lose their sense of purpose & venture into the actual Wild, they meet a robot. Since the era that robots left for the wild, they‘d become almost legendary. Mosscap has come to ask “What do humans want?”- a question Dex doesn‘t feel qualified to answer. ⬇️ #ARC

akaGingerK Mosscap is curious & empathetic- an interesting glimpse into an extremely loose society of wild-built robots who roam the wilds of the moon, observing nature and carried along by their individual deep curiosity. 1y
BekaReid I cannot wait to read this. I will read anything Becky Chambers writes!! 1y
akaGingerK @BekaReid - it‘s really good! I love her Record of a Spaceborn Few so much that I will also always pick her books up. 1y
7 likes1 stack add3 comments
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akaGingerK
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Pickpick

Everything I‘ve read by Emezi is good, including this memoir in letters. I could have flooded my feed with quotes- the sentences sing. It was also difficult for me, because their way of looking at themself, the world, & their embodiment is so very different from my own experiences & understanding. Which is intentional- “The only map I am making is the one within myself. I am translating less and less, and my writing is better for it.” #ARC

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akaGingerK
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Pickpick

A memoir filled with considerations of identity & authenticity - as a boy, as a gay man, as Mexican-American, as someone with depression - framed as advice column answers. I‘ve followed the author on twitter for a while. Like all my favorite agony aunts, his approach is empathetic & a touch humorous, with the occasional perfect phrase I didn‘t know I needed - all of which shines through in his memoir. #ARC

8 likes2 stack adds
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akaGingerK
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“Oh goodness, screw life.... I‘ve triangulated mine in such a way that the sex app I got addicted to shortly after coming out became my freelance employer when I accidentally became an advice columnist under the racialized moniker that white dudes liked to throw at me when they were horny.” #ARC

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akaGingerK
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Today‘s breakroom reading has tricked me into reading still more early-universe physics. #ARC

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akaGingerK
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Mehso-so

I enjoyed the memoir-ish start to the book. The author makes explicit the parallels & connections between the injustices of Ida‘s time and those of our current era, so the book may be a good intro to civil rights for some readers. The structure, on the other hand, remained hard to follow on audio, and I‘m not sure how much I learned about Ida B Wells herself. It was.... fine. #ALC

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akaGingerK
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Pickpick

A young woman who burned out after 14 years in her career takes short contract jobs through an employment agency. The jobs are unusual, but plausible- but as each contract goes on & she becomes more invested in her ‘easy‘ job, the stranger each job becomes. Light surreal/confabulist touches plus the occasional meditation on work & meaning tie her various job adventures together in a fairly quick & enjoyable read. #ARC

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akaGingerK
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I really appreciate shorter audiobooks, since it takes me forever to dedicate 6+ hours to listening. This is < 4, and so is perfect for me. Michelle Duster is one of Ida B‘s descendants & has an interesting, non chronological approach- but even though I‘m enjoying her narration, the way the bio skips around is much harder to follow without visual cues in the book. Which I say having just listened to a timeline being read aloud. #ALC from Libro.fm

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akaGingerK
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Bailedbailed

Entertaining narrative voice, and the author put in some fun research to take “having peacocks” to “knowing enough about peacocks in history/culture to justify writing a book.” But before the halfway point I‘d hit two animal deaths, and from skimming ahead discovered a later chapter is entirely about the end of a pet‘s life. Not the right book for me! #ARC

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akaGingerK
Edge Case | Yz Chin
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Pickpick

Ok. So. I really enjoyed this book about a Malaysian immigrant to the US, whose husband (also an immigrant, also working towards a green card) leaves without a note. Mostly bc of the narrative frame- she‘s telling the story of the end of her marriage to someone who is a therapist. Well, “iteratively” a therapist. A few chapters later, we learn that the you she‘s speaking to is someone she met on an app. It‘s engaging! BUT there‘s a hugely gross⬇️

akaGingerK scene, only a page long, and I know -KNOW- that a decade from now it‘s the only part I‘ll remember bc that‘s happened with other books. So. Pick, but with caveat. 2y
4 likes1 comment
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akaGingerK
Edge Case | Yz Chin

Ok. Well. That just got gross. #ARC

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akaGingerK
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It‘s very difficult not to fall into the trap of taking these short stories as autobiographical. Except for the ones with the supernatural/confabulist elements.
#ARC

Bradleygirl is that a matt fraction hawkeye background 👀 2y
akaGingerK @Bradleygirl Well spotted - it absolutely is! 2y
Bradleygirl @akaGingerK 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻👏🏻👏🏻 2y
4 likes3 comments
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akaGingerK
Liar's Dictionary | Eley Williams
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Pickpick

Greatly enjoyed this read- a treat for word-lovers. Present-day intern Mallory & her girlfriend Pip were a delight. Mallory‘s unwillingness to be out at work is a major point of contention- and doesn‘t protect her from threatening calls due to the dictionary‘s newly gender-neutral definition of marriage. Nineteenth-c lexicographer Winceworth‘s story has more absurdity, but also lots of charm & consideration of the meaning of fixing words in place.

akaGingerK Per family tradition, the pictured dictionary is the reason behind my name - which is, occasionally, a verb. 2y
akaGingerK Also: ARC 2y
10 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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akaGingerK
Liar's Dictionary | Eley Williams
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“Let us imagine you possess a perfect personal dictionary. A, the, whatever. ...

“The dictionary‘s title would be stamped in gold across the spine. Its paper would have a pleasant creaminess and weight, with a typeface implying elegance, an undeniably suave firmness or firm suaveness. A typeface that would be played by Jeremy Brett or Romaine Brooks — a typeface with cheekbones.” #ARC

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akaGingerK
Bone Shard Daughter | Andrea Stewart
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Pickpick

Creepy af magic system, world-building that unfolded organically and continuously surprised me, and a multitude of POV characters whose stories were well-paced/well-balanced against each other (I was never irritated by the cut to another island, even when action or tension was running high in the chapter left behind) + a wlw romance. Thoroughly enjoyed it- but I did not realize it‘s the start of a series until I started running out of pages. #ARC

CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian Great review! This one is high on my TBR. 2y
4 likes1 stack add1 comment
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akaGingerK
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Pickpick

I finally really finished it! I‘d been dragging my feet, because I didn‘t want it to end. Dr. Katie Mack has penned an enjoyable, funny, sometimes touching pop-sci intro to cosmology/physics that explores the various theories of how it the universe might end. I also learned the author & I have overlapping tastes in scifi/fantasy, based on the chapter epigraphs and use of Star Trek:The Next Generation to illustrate a concept. #ARC

akaGingerK I bought both my dad and my sister their own copies for Christmas, and I seriously considered it for one of the cousins. It‘s really good! 2y
5 likes1 comment