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Ghost in the bookshelf 👻 Malaysia | http://www.goodreads.com/subabat
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The Morning Star by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Malice Aforethought | Francis Iles
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Trying to kill two challenges with one book here 😅 Mysteries & thrillers tend to be my #guiltypleasure reads so I'm going with Malice Aforethought this month, which is conveniently also the #GoldenAgeCrimeClub pick! Lol.

Debbie Gibson's Out of the Blue album was my obsession when I was 7 or 8. I never grew out of bopping along to some of her songs 😁 'Only In My Dreams' remains a fave 🍭🎶 #TitlesAndTunes @BarbaraBB @Cinfhen

BarbaraBB I‘m off to listen to that song ❤️ 2d
TrishB Blast from the past with that album 😁 2d
Cinfhen I was OBSESSED with this song!! I was probably more like 17/18 😂😂😂 2d
See All 22 Comments
Cinfhen Did you like both like Tiffany too @TrishB - 🎶I think we‘re alone now….the beating of your heart is the only sounnnnd 🎶 2d
batsy @Cinfhen @TrishB Yes!!! Was obsessed with that song ... Thought she was so cool with the red feathered hair and the denim jacket 🤩 2d
batsy @BarbaraBB It's pure bubblegum pop 😁 2d
Cinfhen Definitely Bubblegum pop!!!! 2d
Books_et_al Aah Debbie Gibson! That takes me back 😆 2d
Liz_M Debbie! 2d
erzascarletbookgasm Ahh yes, I remember Debbie Gibson! 😂 2d
sarahbarnes Omg! Debbie Gibson - I saw that face on your post and it transported me back to being 11! I‘m pretty sure she had a perfume that I spritzed all over myself at that age. 😂 2d
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm 🕺🏼🎶 2d
batsy @sarahbarnes OMG, I had no idea there was a perfume! I would have totally been bugging my parents to get it if we had it available here 😂 2d
Bookzombie 💗 For me, it was her Electric Youth album. I wore out my cassette, lol. I also loved Tiffany. 🙂 2d
LeahBergen I loved this book! And now I‘ll be singing this song all day. 😡😆😆 2d
dabbe @Bookzombie Oh, Lordy, me, too! 🤩🤣😍 2d
jlhammar Debbie Gibson! Haven't thought of her for ages. I was also a fan in my girlhood. And that cover of Malice Aforethought is pretty cool. Really looking forward to reading that one later this month. 2d
batsy @Bookzombie That album was so good, too! Electric Youth was such a banger lol. And that was the name of her perfume too (I had to look it up, @sarahbarnes 😂) 2d
batsy @LeahBergen My job here is done 😂😂🎶 2d
batsy @jlhammar It looks like we've all been under the spell of Debbie at some point 😁 The book sounds like it'll be a good one! I'm looking forward to it, too 🙌🏾 2d
sarahbarnes Omg yes! Electric Youth - that was it! It was hot pink of course. 😂 1d
65 likes22 comments
Fear For Miss Betony | Dorothy Bowers
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I enjoyed this quite a bit & it reminded me of Dorothy Sayers' Gaudy Night: the same cloistered environment of women & girls in close quarters & the same kind of simmering psychological motivations for the murder. Bowers' writing is quite delightful; it might seem over-written at first as the pace is slow, but it picks up nicely & provides so many interesting insights into the social & material conditions of the time. #GoldenAgeCrimeClub @Mitch

Cathythoughts Lovely review ❤️ 3d
BarbaraBB Great review an oh that cover 🥰 3d
batsy @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy 😘 3d
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batsy @BarbaraBB Yes, the other titles also have cute covers ❤️ 3d
batsy One for the annals of #spinsterlit I must add! 3d
vivastory I read my first Dorothy Sayers last month. Loved it! 2d
batsy @vivastory Ooh, which one? 2d
vivastory @batsy Murder Must Advertise. While reading it I had the impression that it was a post WW-II novel. I was a bit shocked to find that it was pre-war once I checked. There were entire passages about office politics & the dominance of capitalism that could easily be moved into a contemporary novel. I thought it was brilliant how in the end the financial aspects that Sayer's portrays ties into the mystery itself without feeling manipulative. 9h
batsy @vivastory MMA is one of my faves! Great point about the depiction of the workplace and how the logic of capitalism operates; it struck me when I read it, too, but it was many years ago and your comments are prompting me to revisit it soon 🙂 7h
vivastory Do you have any particular favorites by Sayers? I'm uncertain where to go next. 7h
batsy @vivastory I'm a big fan of all four books where Harriet Vane appears (Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night, and Busman's Honeymoon). Out of the standalone Wimsey ones I've only read MMA, Whose Body (the first one, interesting but also kind of flawed) and The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, which was a lot of fun as I remember! 7h
vivastory Thanks so much for your detailed response! Noting the recommendations. I think I will make Gaudy Night my next one as I have seen it pop up previously & it will be interesting to read about a different character than Wimsey. 6h
vivastory I still need to read Jospehine Tey. I know she was writing around the same time as Christie & Sayers & is generally considered one of the best. 6h
77 likes13 comments
H is for Hawk | Helen Macdonald
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This was beautiful & sad, with an undercurrent of violence that comes with the territory of "taming" a wild animal. I found it moving in a lot of aspects, & appreciated the biographical aspects of White's life as integral to Macdonald's attempt to work things out within herself. The saddest thing was contemplating these hawks & falcons; do humans have to mess with nature in order to heal themselves? All throughout I just wanted Mabel to be free.

batsy A really stirring read, and a heavy one, not least because it brings to light the vulnerabilities of people in terms of grief, isolation, and depression, but also our worst compulsions in relation to the creatures of the wild. And the cost that these creatures—the natural world itself—bears in order for humans to feel whole again. #TBRTarot @CBee 6d
Tamra Oh, you touched on why I bailed. 💜 I can‘t bear the thought of wild birds in captivity, unless they have been rehabilitated and cannot be returned. 😔 6d
squirrelbrain Great review - I have this on my physical TBR shelf and keep meaning to get to it. Your review has bumped it up the list. 6d
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CBee Really fantastic review! 6d
batsy @Tamra I know, right? It was tough to process that part 😓 6d
batsy @squirrelbrain Thank you! I'd love to see what you think of it. 6d
batsy @CBee Thank you! 6d
jlhammar Wonderful review - glad you enjoyed! I just loved her writing. Good point about wishing Mabel freedom. The relationship between these birds and their handlers seems like it could be one of companionship, respect and affection, but there are definitely ethical considerations. Falconry has quite the history and is fascinating, but one does wonder if it is kind to these wild birds. 6d
Suet624 A wonderful review as usual. Now I‘m wondering why I wasn‘t more concerned about Mabel. 5d
batsy @jlhammar Thank you! You bring up a great point that kind of answers @Suet624 - it felt like Macdonald was considerate and careful, which is why you sense that Mabel was in good hands. Yet the underlying question about why this practice exists still troubles me. Her writing was stunning and I appreciate her never taking her eyes off the ugly stuff. 4d
kspenmoll Such a wonderful review-I just loved this book& learned so much! 3d
kspenmoll @batsy Well said. The ethical questions the book poses regarding our relationship with the natural world are necessary & disturbing to contemplate. 3d
batsy @kspenmoll Thank you! I agree, I learned so much as well. I love that the author had could bring so much into the book because of her love of falconry. There's something beautiful and a bit heartbreaking wrt her devotion to Mabel, as well. 3d
78 likes1 stack add13 comments
Under the Lilacs | Louisa May Alcott
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I'm not sure what's up with me these past few weeks; I'm super grumpy & now find myself annoyed with a children's book 😆 I'm blaming it on this awful heatwave. I enjoyed the scenes involving the excellent dog Sancho, but not much else, & I find myself dreading reading even a chapter each night. I think that defeats the purpose of kid's lit so I'm chalking it up to a case of the grumps & bailing. #ChildrensClassicRead2023 @TheBookHippie

SayersLover Under the Lilacs was always my least favorite of Alcott‘s books. Hopefully you‘ll find a better book to pull you through the slump. @batsy 1w
Tamra Wishing you a 5 star read next! ⭐️ 1w
TheBookHippie Beeeen there!!! This isn‘t her best work TBH. 1w
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batsy @SayersLover @Tamra Thank you, my other current read is proving to be good 😁 1w
batsy @TheBookHippie Yes! I'm sure it's a sweet story but it's too episodic to hold my attention at the moment. 1w
dabbe Where's your heatwave? Mine's in Phoenix. My husband just told me we're having a cold spell; it's supposed to hit 99 and not 100. 🙄 #ughmehgrrbleh 🥵 Glad your new book is better! 😍 1w
batsy @dabbe In Malaysia 🙂 It's generally hot and humid all year round, but whew this year we're being pummelled by heat (and still nowhere as bad as what some of our neighbours are experiencing). And the El Nino is yet to arrive... Here's to us staying cool 🧊🧊🧊 1w
CarolynM Hope your next book makes you happy in spite of the heat😘 1w
batsy @CarolynM Thanks, Carolyn ❤️ 1w
dabbe @batsy Shoot; I knew that ... I just forgot! I had no idea how hot and humid it can be there. Here it's supposedly a dry heat, but during the monsoon it can be over 100 F (38 C?) + the humidity. And El Nino is supposed to be a big one this year. Hang in there! 🩵🤍🩵 1w
batsy @dabbe No worries, and thank you! Hope you get cooler weather too 💙 1w
Bookwomble @batsy @dabbe I was practically prostrated with heat exhaustion last week when the temperature in Lancashire hit a sweltering 21°C (61.8F)🌡️🥵 I'd be a puddle in the temperatures you're both enduring! 1w
dabbe @Bookwomble Thank technology for air conditioners. 🥵 to 😍! (edited) 1w
batsy @Bookwomble It is really tough. There is a range of temps beyond which the humidity becomes exhausting. I'm sure it's worse still for people who are used to more temperate climates to suddenly experience a heatwave ... Lots of these extremes cropping up now 😥 1w
Bookwomble @batsy It's all relative, of course, but unjust that the Global North is responsible for the majority of carbon emissions responsible for climate change, while the Global South is feeling most of the effects. I do hope that you get some relief from the heat soon 🩵 1w
batsy @Bookwomble Thank you! There's thankfully been some bouts of rain 🌧️💙 1w
UwannaPublishme Oh my! Hope cooler weather is headed your way soon. Keep those fans going and the ice cream stocked! 🍦 1w
batsy @UwannaPublishme Thank you! I hear you loud and clear on the ice cream 😆🍦🍦 7d
79 likes18 comments
H is for Hawk | Helen Macdonald
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Kind of lovely when book serendipity happens. Randomly picked H is for Hawk for the #TBRtarot this month, but as I see now it will feature T.H. White quite heavily because he wrote The Goshawk. It's something I didn't consciously register when I picked this up. Super illuminating to read this though, after reading The Once and Future King for the first time with the #OAFKingalong group!

Suet624 I‘d forgotten about that! 2w
jlhammar Oh yes, I hadn‘t thought about that. Great timing! 1w
batsy @Suet624 @jlhammar The insights are really interesting. Loving this so far. 1w
66 likes3 comments
War Among Ladies | Eleanor Scott
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The damage to my bank balance felt a lot more significant when I was ordering the books, but apparently these are the last of my final Book Depository haul *sob*

vivastory I haven't used book depository much but I understand it's a huge loss for many. 2w
Tamra 😢 2w
BiblioLitten 😔 2w
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TrishB Picked some good ones 😞 2w
batsy @vivastory Yes! It'll be a big loss. 2w
batsy @Tamra @BiblioLitten @TrishB if I could I would have ordered all of the British Library Women Writers editions I don't have! 2w
BiblioLitten I feel this unexplainable sadness whenever a bookstore closes down. I haven‘t ordered ever from BD but it was my ‘one day I will‘. 😢 2w
jlhammar Great choices! It‘s been so fun seeing all of your final BD order come in. Sad that this is the last of it. I can‘t wait to get to O Caledonia. Hopefully in Oct or Nov. 2w
LeahBergen Such good picks, too! 😭 2w
batsy @jlhammar @LeahBergen Thank you! I've had O Caledonia on my wishlist for years and was stunned I still hadn't bought it. 2w
batsy @BiblioLitten Oh, that's sad. Let's hope we get something similar and not Amazon-affiliated to fill the void for readers all over the world 😢 2w
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H is for Hawk | Helen Macdonald
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Decided on my May pick for #TBRtarot and am very much looking forward to it! @CBee

CBee I‘ve heard good things about this one! 2w
Billypar I thought this was fantastic - hope you like it as much as I did! 2w
batsy @CBee Yes! 2w
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batsy @Billypar So happy to hear that! Just managed the first few pages today and the writing is so good. 2w
jlhammar Loved it. Hope you enjoy! 2w
batsy @jlhammar Thank you! Glad to hear that you liked it. 2w
Suet624 Enjoy! 2w
batsy @Suet624 Thanks! 2w
Fr3NcHtOaSt Love this book and the documentary on PBS was great as well 2w
Goleemn Ohhh, a good book! Enjoy your pick! 2w
batsy @Fr3NcHtOaSt I didn't know there was a documentary! Thank you, I will look it up. 1w
batsy @Goleemn Thank you, I'm finding it quite brilliant! 1w
68 likes12 comments
The Guest: A Novel | Emma Cline
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This is my first Emma Cline, & I'm quite sad that it ends up as a low pick for a book that was so alluring. A Sofia Coppola film in a book, but with a short story ending that felt too easy & didn't pay off for all that went on before. Alex is a sex worker slash grifter, jaded & worn out at 22; self-sabotaging & troubled. Cline builds the sense of dread & anxiety throughout, interspersed with set-pieces simmering with an undercurrent of cruelty.

batsy I was invested in Alex; I thought it was clever how Cline manages the expectations of the reader by always giving us Alex's POV, but when you stop & pull back to gaze at the scene objectively you're like, why is she like this? And there's no backstory, no past trauma to build on; Alex just exists in time & space as a person desperate to outrun both. I see that the media reviews of the book are good; I wonder if I'm being too harsh re: the ending? 2w
batsy But glad we're on the same page about that @squirrelbrain 🙂 2w
jlhammar I tried The Girls a couple of times and just couldn't get into it for some reason. 2w
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squirrelbrain I agree Suba, about the build-up of dread; it was very clever but I felt that the lack of Alex‘s background meant that there wasn‘t enough depth overall. 2w
batsy @jlhammar Oh no, that's unfortunate. I keep putting off reading it, though I am curious about it. 2w
batsy @squirrelbrain I get what you mean, it does feel like this would have been a better short story/novella. 2w
Ruthiella “A Sofia Coppola film of a book.” Perfect! 👌I‘m definitely going to read it. The Girls also had its weaknesses, but overall her portrayal of female adolescence in it was very good, I thought. 2w
batsy @Ruthiella Oh, that's great! I'm happy to hear you liked it—like I mentioned above I'm intrigued by the concept and I think Cline is an interesting writer. 2w
Cathythoughts Great review ♥️ 2w
batsy @Cathythoughts Thank you! 😘 2w
Lesliereadsalot I liked it too. Couldn‘t put it down actually! 1w
batsy @Lesliereadsalot Yes, I felt the same! I have been thinking about the ending... Perhaps no ending would be good enough for a story of this nature, and a resolution would also feel forced. 1w
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A High Wind in Jamaica | Richard Hughes
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A carnivalesque children‘s adventure story of trauma; Freud meets Rabelais. Rebecca West‘s blurb sums it up best: “A hot draught of mad, primal fantasy and poetry”. In tone, reminds me of Unica Zurn‘s Dark Spring. This is gallows humour with a complexity that can‘t be ignored; a grim parody of Victorian adventure stories & the anti-Famous Five. Full review here https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5547619162 Absolutely odd, a surreal fever dream.

batsy Let's just say the #IslandVibes were bananapants for this one 😆🏴‍☠️👦🏼👧🏼🐈🐒🐊🔪☠️ #TitlesAndTunes @BarbaraBB @Cinfhen 2w
BarbaraBB Sounds fun and weird. I have it on my to read list as well 🏝️ 2w
batsy @BarbaraBB Brutal, funny, unlike anything I've read in awhile. It's a strange world, this book. So glad I've ticked it off my TBR thanks to this challenge 🙂 2w
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Aimeesue This has been on my TBR shelf for ages - thanks for the review! 2w
Cinfhen So glad you were able to find a memorable book for this month‘s challenge 😄im a big fan of 🍌👖 2w
LeahBergen Great review! I‘ve had this on my shelves for ages. 2w
batsy @Aimeesue I hope you find it a good read! It's a trip, for sure 2w
batsy @Cinfhen Me too! It's always good when it's a book that's been waiting patiently on my shelves 😆 2w
batsy @LeahBergen Thank you! I hope it works for you, too. Can never really go too far wrong with an NYRB 🙂 2w
76 likes9 comments
Yoked with a Lamb | Molly Clavering
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I liked this, though it improved as the story got going. I agree with others that presenting Lucy as somehow the cause of her husband's infidelity was hard to overlook, while her husband got away with an intact Nice Guy rep. He's so meh. I thought Kate a delightful character, but the narrative was pitting Kate vs. Lucy in terms of women men like to be around, & that was also tiresome. Mrs. Anstruther & Virginia for the win! #FurrowedMiddlebrowClub

batsy The book is more complex than my review, though, in that it tries to show how harmful gossip can be when it's mere entertainment for some, while involving real people's lives. It also I guess tries to show that marriage is more complex on the inside than any judgment that can be made of it from the outside. It's an interesting novel to think about! It just has some aspects that might seem dated. 3w
Tamra Wonderful review! I agree, so far it is more complicated than it may appear on the surface and deals with some heavy themes. 3w
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Cathythoughts Great review! Definitely more complicated than it appears , good point. Yes and I think Mrs. Anstruther has some interesting words of wisdom.. and her name has ‘ truth ‘ in it. ‘ Life is always interesting even at its most disagreeable‘ 3w
Ruthiella Excellent review! I also felt it got better in the second half. It took me a while to figure out Kate was actually the main focus and that this wouldn‘t be a light hearted romance, but had more heft. 3w
Ruthiella @Cathythoughts Great observation about Mrs. Anstruther‘s name! 3w
batsy @Tamra @Ruthiella Thank you! I also didn't realise about Kate being the focus, and thought it'll be a light and sweet family saga, but it went in a different and intriguing direction. 3w
batsy @Cathythoughts Nice point about Mrs Anstruther's name! Yes, I thought that whole scene with Lucy was great and I highlighted that line, too. It would seem like on the surface she was just exhibiting dry wit, but I agree about the wisdom. "Don't tell me any more, or you will be sorry one day. It is a very great mistake to comfide in people" is also something that holds value in that context! 3w
batsy I forgot to tag you, @Aimeesue sorry about that! Tagging is such a chore on the Android app that I have a list of FM participants saved to copy paste, but I never stop to check if I need to update the list 🙈 3w
Tamra @Cathythoughts so observant, yes re: her name. Loved her character. 3w
jlhammar Fantastic review! Just finished and agree completely. @Cathythoughts I hadn't even caught that about Mrs. Anstruther's name - how apt! 3w
CarolynM Great review! I loved the female characters, the males, with the exception of young Henry, not so much. The gossip was awful, but I thought it was quite sad at the end when Miss Milligan thought how dull it would be if there was no-one to talk about. What a very empty life! 3w
batsy @jlhammar Thank you! 3w
batsy @CarolynM Thanks, Carolyn! I felt the same re: Flora. Her joys seem so small; it ranges from potted head to gossip, and the presence of her emotionally overbearing mother made me feel bad. 3w
LeahBergen I hear ya! And I must say, Virginia was one of my favourite characters. 😆 3w
LeahBergen @CarolynM That Miss Milligan was the saddest character of the bunch, wasn‘t she? 3w
batsy @LeahBergen She is such a feisty goof 😆 3w
rubyslippersreads @LeahBergen @Carolyn And her mother was the worst! 1w
86 likes19 comments
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I've had Sarah Bakewell's At the Existentialist Cafe on my TBR for some time but got to this one first. I have to agree with the words of one GR review in that it reads like a "standard issue Western civilization college textbook"; the scope of humanism is broad, & Bakewell just goes through the eras & the familiar thinkers of liberalism. There are some great anecdotes, quotes, & nuggets of information, but it felt like a mere recounting of facts.

batsy I get that Bakewell is passionate about humanism, but very little of that translates into passion for ideas or a philosophical framework beyond that of "forcing ideas & beliefs on others is bad". I mean, even a rabid fascist would probably agree to this sentiment while forcing their ideas upon society. All in all, it had its moments, but I'm not persuaded by "humanism" as an answer to anything in 2023. A low pick, though it has its moments. 3w
79 likes1 comment
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Three books in & these are proving to be reliably fun & clever middle-grade/YA mysteries. I enjoy being in Hazel's head & this is an homage to Christie's Murder on the Orient Express that hits all of the right notes. I just found the cast of characters excessively annoying in this version; it really shouldn't matter, but it got to the point where I was hoping that all of them would perish in some unfortunate way (except for the Junior Pinkerton).

BiblioLitten This is a fun series. 3w
batsy @BiblioLitten I'm happy that there's still a number of books left for me to read in the series. Reliably cosy! 3w
86 likes2 comments
Poetics | Aristotle
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One of the earliest examples of literary and aesthetic theory. Short and accessible and lucidly translated by Anthony Kenny. This edition also has some supplementary material at the end, of which Dorothy Sayers' "Aristotle on Detective Fiction" is the most fun: "But what, in his heart of hearts, he desired was a good detective story" she says of Aristotle, and it's hard to disagree with her, reading his theories on plot and action and catharsis.

batsy This was my pick for last month's #TBRTarot (one word title) and finally got to it this month. Better late than never! 🙃 4w
TheBookHippie Well now I need this… 4w
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batsy @TheBookHippie 👍🏾 4w
batsy @rwmg Well well well! I didn't know this exists. Thanks ... I need to read it 😆 4w
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The Maiden | Kate Foster
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An interesting crime story with a modern feminist twist about a real-life 17th-century murder in Scotland. I found the first half to be quite gripping & it made me grateful to be living at a time after the hard-fought gains of feminism, no matter how small, in contrast to the kind of anguish & physical harm that came women's way in matters of sex & reproduction. Yet I found the "whydunnit" aspect here somewhat strange & not fully developed.

Tamra Sounds like a good read, though I wish the second half had held up to the first. I‘ll check it out. 1mo
batsy @Tamra I thought it was so well done for a good 3/4 of the book. Grim and generally strong writing, but the moment after the murder and leading up to the execution felt a bit off and it got a bit repetitive. Otherwise a solid historical crime read with women's issues at the forefront! 1mo
LeahBergen I was just reading about this one! 4w
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batsy @LeahBergen It's a pretty good debut and a page-turner for the most part. I would recommend it for the grimy, crimey historical vibes 😁 4w
LeahBergen I‘m always down for some grimy and crimey! 😆 4w
Rissreads Gorgeous cover! 💜💚 3w
87 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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A compassionate & lucid book that will speak to caregivers of elderly people suffering from cognitive decline. It's not self-help or a solutions-based book, but it's based on the writer's experiences with dementia care as a trained clinical psychologist. The two things I found most helpful was the exploration of how the early stages of cognitive decline can often bring on an *excess* of personality.

batsy This felt very familiar to me, as my siblings & I have often turned to each other to ask: "Is it the dementia/brain illness or is she just being her usual difficult self, but worse?" And the answer, unfortunately, is both. The other helpful thing is the limits of the so-called "healthy" brain, & why the caregiver often feels like they're losing their mind. (They kind of are.) There are no solutions (yet), but it was clarifying to read. 1mo
batsy In the course of reading this, it also made me think of how the conception of the "healthy" brain is already riddled with inconsistencies & flaws. If anything, the brain, being a murky, strange, delicate & also deeply resilient thing, is in itself ridiculous. Just a ridiculous thing, the brain. As Kiper writes, "... I still cannot quite accept the fact that the brain's limitations are *my* limitations". As a caregiver, it is so hard to admit. 1mo
squirrelbrain Wow, Suba, what a wonderful, heartfelt review. I‘m sorry that you‘re going through this, but it sounds like you and your siblings are supporting each other. 1mo
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Cathythoughts Beautiful review ❤️ Mind yourself X 1mo
Suet624 Oh Suba. My heart goes out to you. I can only imagine how difficult it must be. 💕 1mo
batsy @squirrelbrain @Suet624 Thank you for your kind words, Helen and Sue ❤️ I'm grateful to my siblings and glad we have each other and have also managed to engage the services of a caregiver recently. I feel so bad for people who do this alone. It truly takes a village to raise a child, as they say, and to care for our elders. 1mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thank you, Cathy ❤️ 1mo
Aimeesue Lovely review. It‘s such a hard thing, and it can be so reassuring to know that others have been through it and have your experiences validated. Sorry to hear you and your family are going through it. ❤️ 1mo
jlhammar Wow, sounds interesting and important. Excellent review! Sorry to hear this is something you‘re familiar with. So difficult. 1mo
youneverarrived I can only imagine how difficult this must be to go through. Lovely review ❤️ 1mo
batsy @Aimeesue @jlhammar @youneverarrived Thank you ❤️ It's a deeply interesting book that provides so many useful insights. 1mo
LeahBergen A great review on a super important topic. Sending love to you! ❤️ 1mo
batsy @LeahBergen Thank you, Leah ❤️ 1mo
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A High Wind in Jamaica | Richard Hughes
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#TitlesAndTunes This my song+book pick for #IslandVibes A bit of a broad definition of island for the book, which has been on my shelves for some years & that I've been meaning to read! The song is pure Sade bliss. When it starts I am instantly transported to a secluded island, soft wind blowing through the palm trees, a cool drink in my hand & sand under my feet, listening to the waves... 🏝️ https://youtu.be/9WxczfQgMgk

@BarbaraBB @Cinfhen

erzascarletbookgasm I love Sade! And I have the book on my tbr shelves 👌 1mo
merelybookish Sade is always a perfect choice! ♨️ 1mo
Cinfhen Ohhhhh, how did I not think of Sade?!!! Brilliant 🎶❤️‍🔥 1mo
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squirrelbrain Oh, I love Sade too - perfect chill-out music! 1mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm The book sounds so weird and strange! I'm interested to see what it's like 🙂 1mo
batsy @merelybookish @Cinfhen @squirrelbrain Yay for the Sade love! 💖 1mo
Liz_M Ooooh, you have a book that includes two islands (Jamaica and Britain) and PIRATES! 1mo
BarbaraBB Sade! I love her too! So glad you included her in our list 🩵 1mo
Centique Sade! 🙌🙌 1mo
batsy @Liz_M I'm excited! The blurbs for it are pretty interesting 😆 1mo
batsy @BarbaraBB @Centique She's so great 👑 1mo
Rissreads LOVE Sade! ♥️ 1mo
batsy @Rissreads ❤️ 1mo
Reggie Sade! ❤️❤️❤️ I remember his hands. And the way the mountains looked. Light, shot diamonds from his eyes. Hungry for life and thirsty for a distant river. God I love her 1mo
CarolynM Another❤️ for Sade! 1mo
batsy @Reggie That album is gorgeous from start to finish. 1mo
batsy @CarolynM ❤️ 1mo
58 likes17 comments
The Wall | Marlen Haushofer
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A brilliant book that I won't forget easily. I went into it knowing as little as possible about it and I think that's the best way to experience it. Probably one of the best texts around in terms of defining one's humanity as the world ends, so to speak, in relation to kinship with animals. What a feat that Haushofer and translator Shaun Whiteside have pulled off: a book about a woman alone with her family of animals that has tremendous power.

batsy It's a masterclass in writing: there is so little to work on, and yet a whole novel is produced out of a woman's reckoning about the strange things that lead to her current circumstances. But most of all it was achingly tender and sad, but never sentimental, how she existed with the animals in her life and her sense of duty towards them that transformed into dependence and love. The cow is her "sister"; the dog, her trusted "friend" ? 1mo
Tamra Well that sounds interesting! 1mo
Cuilin Intriguing for sure. 1mo
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batsy @Tamra @Cuilin It is definitely that! A 5-star pick for me. 1mo
jlhammar I haven‘t read the book yet, but I loved the 2012 film adaptation (Die Wand starring Martina Gedeck). 1mo
Cuilin @batsy well now it‘s a stack on mount TBR. 1mo
batsy @jlhammar I wasn't aware there was a film adaptation! I will have to look it up. 1mo
sarahbarnes I want to read this! Great review! 1mo
batsy @sarahbarnes I love it so much! I highly recommend. 1mo
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The Franchise Affair | Josephine Tey
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I first read this many years ago & upon this re-read I'm happy to find that the mystery remains excellent. Tey has a great sense of plot & also knows how to unfold the story at a good pace. Her writing is crisp & precise. There is something almost gothic about the "two women in a great, big lonely house out in the country" plot; it's definitely my kind of thing. It's a shame that there are right-wing views about working-class people & women.

batsy I was also more troubled this time around by how quickly the narrator established innocence in the other party based on class affinity and attraction. It's all very cringe-worthy. Still, I find Tey's mysteries a cut above the rest for the way the plot is constructed & unravelled. #GoldenAgeCrimeClub @Mitch 1mo
erzascarletbookgasm My sentiments exactly about the narrator! 1mo
Cathythoughts Great review 👍🏻❤️ stacked. 1mo
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batsy @erzascarletbookgasm I saw that you mentioned something similar! It definitely stood out to me more on this read. 1mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy! 1mo
AmyG Agreed. All the books we have read have been a bit cringeworthy in one way or another. 1mo
Tamra I‘m anxious to read it with all the renewed buzz! 1mo
batsy @AmyG A sadly common feature of detective fiction of this era. 1mo
batsy @Tamra It's a great mystery with no dead bodies, despite its dated elements (or maybe not so dated; views like this remain pretty common!) 1mo
AmyG Exactly. 1mo
willaful This is probably the cringiest of her books in terms of the politics. Love the detail and characterization though. So immersive. She breaks all the “rules“ of the mystery genre in her books and I don't give a hoot. 1mo
batsy @willaful Yes and yes! I thought it was clever that she did also factor in how crime reportage and media coverage works. 1mo
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The Luminaries | Eleanor Catton
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And this one, which was a surprise, so I'm pretty sure is from you @BarbaraBB ! Thank you so much, friend. You're so thoughtful and I'm so happy to finally have this ❤️

squirrelbrain How lovely! ❤️ 1mo
sarahbarnes So lovely! ♥️♥️ And an amazing book! 1mo
BarbaraBB Yay! Glad it made it so fast! I am afraid now for your book @erzascarletbookgasm since I ordered this one much later 😣 1mo
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batsy @BarbaraBB Thank you so much! ❤️ I hope yours arrives soon, Jessie @erzascarletbookgasm 1mo
jlhammar I really need to get to this one of these days. I bought it in hardcover as a new release and it has been waiting patiently ever since! 1mo
AvidReader25 This has been on my TBR for so long! 1mo
batsy @jlhammar @AvidReader25 If Birnam Wood is any indication, I'm guessing I'll have to make time and clear my schedule for this one because her writing is dense but wholly absorbing 🙂 1mo
Cathythoughts Lovely ! Look forward to your thoughts on this one. 1mo
batsy @Cathythoughts I'm looking forward to getting to if when I have lots of time to sink into a chunkster 😁 1mo
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Pensees | Blaise Pascal, A. Krailsheimer
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Two more books from the Book Depository final haul. The #TwoSeriousDudes edition 😆

Ruthiella No smiling allowed! 😂 1mo
sarahbarnes Ah, Either/Or! Makes me yearn for more time with Selin! 😍 1mo
batsy @Ruthiella 😆 1mo
batsy @sarahbarnes I know! Selin finally prompted me to get this 😁 1mo
E.Bolhafner the sadness over Book Depository closure is real. I have found B&N to be the closest, in US, for showing various editions. The zon likes to throw in too many sponsored or Goodreads not really associated with it choices.
69 likes5 comments
The Glimpses of the Moon | Edith Wharton
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Apologies to @Graywacke & the #whartonbuddyread gang: I couldn't stick to the schedule & found myself unable to stop going once I'd started. Although this seems to have gotten mixed reviews for being a light novel, I was utterly charmed by Wharton's turn towards a screwball romcom. In fact, I found the ending quite delightful & envisioned it in my head as a George Cukor movie (sadly, it never happened). There's plenty of the Wharton cynicism

batsy in the middle sections, but it resolves in a satisfying cheeseball way in the end that made me feel warm inside. 1mo
batsy A Wharton that's hopeful about romance & the possibility of a fulfilling marriage? Hell yeah. I kind of loved that Susy, as she matures, hopes to emulate Grace—in the sense of how Grace raises her kids, & the values that she passes on as important. It's the norms of the materialistic upper-class world that produce cynical & rotten marriages. So Susy & Nick, despite their own hypocrisies & flaws, feel like a corrective to that world. 1mo
willaful Oh, I really want to read this now.
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Leftcoastzen I‘m not done , hoping that‘s the original dust jacket in your post? 1mo
batsy @willaful The GR reviews are mixed but I truly enjoyed it. Wharton does put her characters through it but it's a more hopeful book than her usual. 1mo
batsy @Leftcoastzen My cursory google search indicated that it is, so I hope so! It's gorgeous and captures the mood of the book. 1mo
Leftcoastzen Absolutely love it ! 1mo
CarolynM Saving your spoiler comment until I‘m finished reading🙂 1mo
Graywacke Great review. So glad enjoyed. But i can-not-click-that-spoiler-button (sorry, telling myself that). 1mo
jitteryjane724 I am glad you enjoyed! I struggled to get into it my first time round so I'll have to pick it up and try again! 1mo
batsy @Graywacke Thank you! It's really not much of a thrilling spoiler; once again, simply avoiding saying too much for those who haven't finished 😁 @CarolynM 1mo
batsy @jitteryjane724 Thank you! I hope it works for you the next time you read it. 1mo
Jess_Read_This I just can‘t stop looking at that gorgeous cover. It‘s lovely! 1mo
Daisey I managed to stop at the chapters for this past week before yesterday‘s discussion post, but I finished the rest today and agree whole heartedly with your review. I was cringing through so much of the last few chapters just waiting for something to go wrong again (because it‘s Wharton & I don‘t trust her) while hoping so hard for it to work out. I was very glad to reach a hopeful, happy ending! 1mo
batsy @Jess_Read_This Isn't it beautiful! 1mo
batsy @Daisey Yes! Isn't it nice to have this glimpse of optimism. It's so unlike the sadness of the books I've read so far by her. 1mo
Graywacke @batsy maybe a corrective to our world too. The end leaves a good feeling behind. 1mo
Graywacke @Daisey I expected the worst, almost all the way through. 🤷🏻‍♂️ 1mo
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Books from my final Book Depository orders are coming in 😢 This was a bit of a splurge but it's been something I've wanted for years.

Tamra Yay for you!! 1mo
erzascarletbookgasm It‘s a gorgeous edition❤️. Do show when the rest arrive. I bought a few too.. on the last day 🥺 will share 👌 1mo
paulfrankspencer Mere Orthodoxy has been doing a Divine Comedy read-along. I believe they've finished now, but it might be worthwhile if they have an resources saved out there from it. It was billed as the world's largest Dante read-along. 1mo
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paulfrankspencer 100daysofdante.com Looks like a number of universities participated and hosted conversations. Seems like some decent resources on that site. 1mo
batsy @Tamra 🙂 1mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm I will! And I look forward to seeing yours too. So sad to see the end of BD. 1mo
batsy @paulfrankspencer I didn't know about this. Thank you for sharing! I've bookmarked it for future reference. 1mo
LeahBergen My last few orders are trickling in, too. 😭 1mo
Cathythoughts Beautiful ! So glad you got something you really wanted ♥️ 1mo
Aimeesue Oh, that‘s lovely. 1mo
batsy @LeahBergen Isn't it so sad! 1mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thank you, Cathy ❤️ 1mo
batsy @Aimeesue It reminded me that I love the Everyman's Library editions 🤩 Compact and elegant. 1mo
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Not the sentence I expected to write, but this book would have been a solid 5 stars for its extraordinariness, peculiarity, & postmodern pastiche (before postmodernism was even a thing), but the last book in this edition, The Book of Merlyn, misrepresents Karl Marx's arguments & that stuck in my craw. So yes, one star knocked off for an incorrect representation of Marxism. But otherwise, a book that held me under its strange spell. #OAFKingalong

batsy A book of enchantment, wit & wonder that matures as it progresses into tragedy & wisdom. Some stunning imagery & ideas in relation to magic, where the magic is taken for granted as a function of the world. It's one of the best things about how this book is structured. It is strongly anti-war, & grapples with the nature of rule & authority & service. Though one is unlikely to agree with all of the sentiments, it's brave & strange & very memorable. 1mo
Hamlet That‘s a terrific, pointed review. Thank you! 1mo
Leniverse Great review! This has been on my TBR for ages, mostly because I feel I ought to have read it, but now I actually want to read it. (Although I will also get upset by the misrepresentation of Marxism so I'm glad to be forewarned.) 1mo
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Liz_M Excellent review and gorgeous cover on that edition! 1mo
batsy @Hamlet Thank you! 🙂 1mo
batsy @Leniverse Thank you! I look forward to your thoughts when you get to it. The last book is kind of a philosophical argument, in a way, that looks back on what went on. I know White was very specifically anti-war and pro individual freedom, but I think he mixes up totalitarian state impulses with what Marx wrote. I'm being a bit tongue in cheek but it did get in the way of my enjoyment 😆 1mo
batsy @Liz_M Thank you! It's a great edition and has a fantastic Sylvia Townsend Warner afterword to put a lot of things into context (she wrote a biography of the author). 1mo
Suet624 I got stuck and haven‘t moved on to the second part of this book. Fortunately I own it so I‘ll find the time soon. You‘re giving me the extra push I need. 1mo
rubyslippersreads Love your review. Although I‘ve read the first four books before, I don‘t think I‘ve ever read the fifth one. 1mo
batsy @rubyslippersreads That's so cool that you're doing a reread. Feels like a book that will reward multiple reads! 1mo
batsy @Suet624 The second one is so different from the first so I can understand that it feels like it's taken a different turn entirely. But it's all constructed and set up deliberately as an arc that's quite admirable when you get to the end and look back. 1mo
Suet624 Really good to know. Thank you. 1mo
Graywacke I have a memory at 15 of hacking through this, slowly slowly. I wasn‘t a reader then, and it was a bit much for me. Anyway, terrific review and cool book to read. 1mo
gossamerchild This was a book we read in one of my English classes in high school, and all I remember is being severely ticked off at the absurdity. I'm now thinking I wasn't old enough to read it at that point :-) Your review makes me want to try it again! 1mo
batsy @Graywacke @gossamerchild I imagine it would be a tough one to read when young(er)! The Sword in the Stone is straightforward enough, but the later books feel like they can be best appreciated after the reader has done some living 🙂 1mo
AvidReader25 I love reading your thoughts on this. I am only done with the first three books, but I feel like you‘ve captured the spirit so well for what I‘ve read. Peculiar, but wonderfully immersive, and I love all the philosophical discussion. I agree that the second section lags but you are right, it‘s essential to the arc of the story. I can‘t wait to dive in to the rest and I‘m sure this is when I will return to in future years. 1mo
The_Book_Ninja I don‘t know this book…it‘s Arthurian and Marxist? Sounds wild. I love reviews that make we want to seek out a book. Thank you🙌🏼 1mo
batsy @AvidReader25 Thank you! So glad you guys hosted this buddy read. I find it a uniquely imaginative work even though it's working within the parameters of myth. 1mo
batsy @The_Book_Ninja Thank you! Haha, it is wild, and definitely Arthurian (but probably not as Marxist asi would like 🙂). It feels like several things in one: a romance, a tragedy, a fable, and a philosophical treatise. I definitely recommend it. It charts its own path and doesn't adhere to any genre formula. 1mo
AvidReader25 @batsy I agree! I love that it includes so many familiar characters, but it was also completely surprising and original. So much fun to read together! 1mo
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Roller Skates | Ruth Sawyer
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I found this book, set in late 19th-century NY, to be mostly a delight. During a year when her parents are away in Italy, Lucinda's looked after by two ladies & roller skates her way through the city experiencing new things & people. I loved the details of her love for beauty, tabletop theatre performances, & falling in love with Shakespeare. There's quite a tragic turn towards the end as Lucinda learns about the hardships of life.

batsy I cared much less for the casual racism (during a staging of The Tempest, Caliban is painted a "savage brown"), the exoticism of Asians & the Oriental mystique, etc. #ChildrensClassicRead2023 @TheBookHippie 1mo
batsy I didn't know what to make of the "Princess'" death? Murdered as a result of domestic abuse? A serious & horrifying event, but it was dropped into the narrative and despatched with quickly in a rather bizarre fashion ? 1mo
sarahbarnes It sounds endearing in many ways. It‘s hard to deal with the racism of older books. 1mo
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batsy @sarahbarnes Yes! Especially when the fictional child character is excited about experiencing difference, but the adult author can only frame it in a way that rehashes the bigotry. 1mo
TheBookHippie I notice this even in old television shows. (Racism) it‘s so so awful 😵‍💫. To know it was “normal” speech says so much of where we are now. The death gave me A Tree Grows In Brooklyn vibes… 1mo
batsy @TheBookHippie I haven't read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn! Definitely a classic I should move up the TBR. 1mo
CarolynM I like the sound of this. Stacked🙂 1mo
batsy @CarolynM It's quite fun and with a unique sensibility. But it does have some dated elements. 1mo
DivineDiana Lovely review. I was charmed by this book. 1mo
rubyslippersreads I need to catch up on this before April ends. 1mo
rubyslippersreads @batsy @TheBookHippie A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my favorite books. Although, sadly, it has its casual racism too. 1mo
TheBookHippie @rubyslippersreads this book reminded me of it quite a bit. Same sentiment, delightful but unfortunately casual racism. 1mo
batsy @rubyslippersreads @TheBookHippie Thanks for the warning! I do want to read it but I'll know what to expect going in. 1mo
UwannaPublishme Your review says it all! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 1mo
rubyslippersreads The whole Princess Zayda storyline should have been edited out. 1mo
batsy @UwannaPublishme Thanks! 🙂 1mo
batsy @rubyslippersreads Yes, it truly ended on a grim note on top of the exotification. If it was being reissued this is the kind of thing where judicious editing might be something I'm in support of. Or it should have a thorough afterword to walk it through with the kids... That is if kids even read the supplementary stuff 😬 1mo
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The Land Of Spices | Kate O'Brien
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I have to admit I struggled with this at the start, & had I been reading on my own would have probably bailed. I'm not why I struggled; I just felt stuck & unable to get close to the book, if that makes sense. But others who read it said it gets better in the second part, & they were right. It was at turns deeply moving & reflective, a glimpse into the inner landscape of spiritual life, & somehow also quietly feminist. #nunlitquarterly @jlhammar

batsy "Thank God, I have won, thought Reverend Mother. By my mean understanding of meanness. But still, thank God." That's the line that really struck me; it made me love the character a lot more, especially in light of what she was fighting for, & also the unflinching honesty. 1mo
KathyWheeler It‘s been slow reading for me; I might not finish it this month. I will finish it though because it‘s picked up a bit. 1mo
jlhammar Glad you were able to finish. Great review! I also appreciated her deep and honest self-reflection. Really liked getting the dynamics of an early 20th century Catholic boarding school as well. I think it really helped me to read most of this in one go. It took me a bit to sink in to her writing style and then I could just enjoy. Thanks so much for reading with us! 1mo
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Tamra @batsy Agreed! It is feminist. I‘m glad you made it to the end, there are some gem insights. (edited) 1mo
batsy @KathyWheeler Yes, it picks up energy and pace quite a bit as it goes on. 1mo
batsy @jlhammar Thank you! I agree, the school elements and the politics were super interesting. The contrast between the nun life and the girl life, so to speak. And yes, it did flow better when I had more time to sit with it and sink into its atmosphere—not the book to read in bits and pieces, for sure! 1mo
batsy @Tamra There were! I felt for Anna and I'm glad she had Helen on her side. 1mo
LeahBergen I‘m still reading and will come back to comment. 😃 1mo
batsy @LeahBergen 👍🏾 1mo
LeahBergen I‘m totally with you here! It was super slow for me at the beginning but I forced myself to plug away at it and was ultimately rewarded with a moving and lovely read. I‘m glad I stuck with it! 1mo
batsy @LeahBergen So happy to hear that! It's great that we read it as a group and had an idea that it would shift in tone as it goes on. 1mo
79 likes11 comments
Confidence | Rafael Frumkin
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These are my nominations for #camplitsy2023 There's so many that others picked that I would love to read and tried not to nominate again (the new Han Kang, RF Kuang, Emma Cline & Deepti Kapoor, among some!) but I think there's some overlap here and there 🙂

Thanks again for organising @BarbaraBB @Megabooks @squirrelbrain !

BarbaraBB Great choices Suba, I want to read them all! 2mo
Ruthiella Another vote for Romantic Comedy! I knew someone would nominate the new Brandon Taylor…I didn‘t read Real Life but do want to give him a try.? 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB I'm so excited about what we'll read at camp 💜 2mo
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batsy @Ruthiella I loved Real Life. And I love following Brandon on twitter and he was recently swooning over Romantic Comedy 😊 2mo
sarahbarnes Yes! The Late Americans is on my list, too! 2mo
squirrelbrain Romantic Comedy and The Late Americans nearly made it on to my list too! 2mo
Cinfhen Fab suggestions 🥳 2mo
jlhammar It‘s going to be impossible to vote! So many great choices. Very intrigued by the new Levy. 2mo
batsy @sarahbarnes @squirrelbrain I'd love to see how Brandon Taylor does with his new book! 1mo
batsy @Cinfhen Thanks! I've had a blast seeing everyone's picks and adding basically everything to my list lol 🤩 1mo
batsy @jlhammar I know! I'm going to lose my mind when it's time to vote 😁 1mo
Magpiegem Such good recommendations, my tbr overfloweth! 1mo
batsy @Magpiegem So is mine 😁 1mo
Lindy Ooo! I didn‘t know that Levy has a new book coming out. 🤩 1mo
71 likes14 comments
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Here we go! My Kindle Fire is coming along! Why? Because apocalyptic miracles can happen and my friend is a genius who can figure things out 😆 @RaeLovesToRead #ihavequestions #belovedbooks

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
The Owl Service - Alan Garner
Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones
Villette - Charlotte Bronte
Middlemarch - George Eliot
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
Crime and Punishment - Dostoevsky
To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf

batsy The Secret History - Donna Tartt
Tam Lin - Pamela Dean
Complete Poems - Emily Dickinson
The Lost Garden - Helen Humphreys
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Midsummer Night's Dream - Shakespeare
Selected Poems - Walt Whitman
Ruthiella Nice choices! Classics hold up, don‘t they. 👍 2mo
batsy @Ruthiella Yes, they do 💜 And it occurred to me that I'm likely to buy physical copies of classics while I access a lot of contemporary fiction via Libby and ebooks. 2mo
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BarbaraBB I‘d take classics too! 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB They do stand up to the rereads 💜 2mo
RaeLovesToRead So many classics that I need to read... 🥰🥰🥰 Great list!! 😄 2mo
batsy @RaeLovesToRead Thanks! So many books to discover ❤️ 2mo
Tamra Oh, such a tough decision! 2mo
dabbe We have a few in common! 🤗 2mo
batsy @Tamra Too hard! Already mad at the apocalypse for the books I left behind 😆 2mo
batsy @dabbe Nice! 🙌🏾 2mo
Tamra @batsy 😆 2mo
LeahBergen I like your choices! 👏 2mo
batsy @LeahBergen Thanks, Leah 🙂 2mo
Centique I approve these choices! 🙌 1mo
batsy @Centique 😁 1mo
Rissreads Damn that apocalypse! 🤣 1mo
batsy @Rissreads Right? Totally getting in the way of my reading 😆 1mo
74 likes18 comments
Big Swiss: A Novel | Jen Beagin
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Oh, man. I'm so JEALOUS of how Jen Beagin writes such clever lines that are consistently snort-out-loud funny without it becoming a flippant kind of farce. This is deranged, sexy, weird, & tender. I love Greta so much; I've never related more to a character. I saw someone describe Beagin as having a soft spot for the wayward soul. And oh my god, the dog & the mini donkeys were so beautifully brought to life. Top-notch #spinsterlit , I must say.

Cathythoughts Exciting review !! Stacked 👍🏻❤️ 2mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thank you! Maybe a Marmite book? 😁 But you'll know from the first few pages if it's something you'd like. 2mo
BarbaraBB What a recommendation! Now I feel I must read it, while until now I‘ve been stacking and unstacking it! 2mo
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youneverarrived I‘m all for spinsterlit! Brill review 🖤 2mo
Amiable Love this review!
Tamra Laugh out loud is difficult to write! 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB 😆 I hope it works for you if you do read it! 2mo
batsy @youneverarrived @Amiable Thank you! 💜 2mo
batsy @Tamra It is! She really pulls it off so well. 2mo
sarahbarnes Great review! This one is on my list. Glad to see you liked it! 2mo
HardcoverHearts Deranged! Great descriptor. 👌🏻 2mo
gossamerchild That cover, too 🤩🤩 2mo
batsy @sarahbarnes Thank you! I really hope you like it! 2mo
batsy @HardcoverHearts Ha! It's so unabashedly unruly in its own way and I love it. 2mo
batsy @gossamerchild It's so great! 2mo
LeahBergen What a great review! I must check this one out now. 2mo
batsy @LeahBergen Thanks, Leah! I think the humour might be something you'd enjoy 🙂 2mo
Centique Like @BarbaraBB I‘ve been stacking and unstacking this! But this is my final call - if you liked it and it‘s #spinsterlit I‘m sure I will 🙌 2mo
batsy @Centique It's a tough one to recommend! But it is the kind of book where you'll know by the initial pages if it's something for you! 2mo
BarbaraBB @Centique I already purchased a copy 🤷🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️😉 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB 😁👌🏾 2mo
Suet624 It‘s true that it‘s a hard one to recommend. Just no idea how people will take some of it. But I loved it too. I even loved the chicken that shows up every now and again. 2mo
batsy @Suet624 Oh god, yes! All of the animals were just the best. I don't think I'll ever forget Piñon. 2mo
Rissreads This sounds bat shit crazy! Stacked! 1mo
batsy @Rissreads It's a bit off the rails, but you'll know if it's for you early on. Loved the humour! 1mo
Rissreads I think I‘ve just found my next bookclub pick. I wanted something contemporary and literary and surprising. Apparently this is being made into a HBO series with Jodie Comer. 1mo
102 likes12 stack adds26 comments
Forbidden Notebook | Alba de Cspedes
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What happens when a working wife and mother finds a room of her own in the pages of a notebook and starts writing for the first time? This post-war Italian novel, translated by Ann Goldstein, is brilliant. The style is raw and intimate but expressed with such clarity of thought. The facts of a woman's life laid bare is one aspect, but the thing that disturbs and haunts me is what happens when someone starts writing and thinking about their life.

batsy So many lines just stopped me short, like the passage above in the image. "To return to the self I've always thought I was, I have to avoid being alone"—this was another. The more the protagonist writes, the more she discovers herself (or multiple selves?) and they upend the structure of her life, which as she admits, is built upon not knowing too much, by cultivating a sense of ignorance and downplaying intelligence. Devastating! And that ending! 2mo
jlhammar Sounds so good! It was already on my wishlist, but I might need to get myself a copy sooner rather than later. 2mo
batsy @jlhammar I'm so glad I read it! I hope you like it, too. 2mo
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BarbaraBB Ooh this sounds so good. Fab review. I have to stack 2mo
LeahBergen I‘m intrigued! 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB Thanks! I hope it's something you find worthwhile. 2mo
batsy @LeahBergen It's a really interesting look at post-war Italian life and norms. 2mo
CarolynM Great review. 2mo
batsy @CarolynM Thank you! 2mo
Centique Fabulous review Suba! 2mo
batsy @Centique Thank you! 2mo
merelybookish I just started! Excited to see your positive review! 1mo
batsy @merelybookish I hope you like it! One for the feminist canon, imo. 1mo
BekaReid @batsy Great review! I just finished reading it this weekend and could echo this! Also, this is one of my favorite quotes (of many) from the book. 3d
batsy @BekaReid Thank you! There were so many great lines in this one. So much to think about. 3d
81 likes7 stack adds15 comments
Is Mother Dead | Vigdis Hjorth
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"Marguerite Duras writes somewhere that every mother in every childhood represents madness. That your mother is and always will be the strangest person you will ever meet, I think she's right." I'll be thinking about this book for a long time. It feels so personal and is filled with disconcerting insights about the protagonist's estranged, disturbed "relationship" with her mother. Another person's mind is always the most chilling mystery.

batsy This is a novel of interiors that holds up a mirror to a troubled psyche. Johanna is an artist who for some reason has long since lost contact with her family, & who is now back at her home town. Her father is dead & her mother refuses to speak to her; her sister sends her terse messages that revolve around telling her to stay away. It is filled with beautiful descriptions of nature & chilling revelations that feel emotionally true. So good. 2mo
Cathythoughts Great review 👏🏻 I usually shy away from the International Booker books , but I‘m stacking this one. Love that quote about the mother being the strangest person you‘ll ever meet. ❤️ 2mo
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batsy @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy! It is such an interesting book and yes, that quote really struck me. Her style is very different but the story reminds me of Dostoevsky a bit, in that the "thriller" aspect is related to the psyche and is wholly psychological. 2mo
sarahbarnes Great review! I‘m looking forward to reading this one! 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm I‘m intrigued, and stacking. Great review! 2mo
Suet624 Sounds so interesting! 2mo
batsy @sarahbarnes Thank you! I hope you like it. I'm not sure what I was expecting from this going in but it was so unexpected. I initially found the style (excessive comma splices) a bit weird, but then you sort of get into the rhythm of the narrator's thoughts. 2mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Thanks, Jessie! 2mo
batsy @Suet624 A book that made me sit up and think hard, lol. I'm keen to read her other books. 2mo
sarahbarnes Thank you! The topic is definitely something I‘m drawn to. And appreciate the heads up on the style. 2mo
batsy @sarahbarnes I'm glad I said something of use there because I just realised I typed, "I didn't know what I was expecting but it was unexpected" which isn't helpful at all, sorry ? 2mo
sarahbarnes I sort of talk like that most of the time so it made perfect sense to me. 😂 2mo
91 likes14 stack adds13 comments
Sadness | Donald Barthelme
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I'm about to lose my mind. I can't get books by Furrowed Middebrow or the British Library Crime Classics and from various other publishers and imprints locally, and Amazon is crazy expensive once shipping to Malaysia is factored in. This is so bad 😭 https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/apr/04/amazon-to-close-book-depository-on...

Lindy Sad news 2mo
batsy @Lindy Truly 😢 2mo
TheBookHippie We posted together!!! 2mo
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eeclayton 😭 2mo
jlhammar This is very bad news 😭 2mo
batsy @TheBookHippie @eeclayton @jlhammar It's really been my life line for books 😭😭 2mo
TheBookHippie @batsy 😭😭😭😭😭 2mo
BarbaraBB I didn‘t know and I am shocked. And I feel so sorry for you. 2mo
quietjenn I just saw this in a Goodreads group. It's super depressing and I'm only a casual user. I can only imagine how you are feeling. 😞 2mo
CSeydel Oh no! 2mo
JamieArc Oh no. I am so sad for you! I loved using it for UK editions, and Booker nominees that hadn‘t been released in the US yet. 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB @quietjenn @CSeydel @JamieArc It's a huge loss. I can only hope a similar alternative might come into existence 😢 I'm also surprised that we didn't at least get some advance notice of at least a few months. 2mo
dabbe That, for lack of a better word, SUCKS. Hopefully Amazon will be as slow as Google when announcing their plans to end/close something. 🤗 2mo
LeahBergen I know!!! 😭😭😭😭 Try Blackwell‘s. They ship worldwide for free. blackwells.co.uk 2mo
Jas16 Oh this is terrible 2mo
Aimeesue ☹️ 2mo
batsy @LeahBergen Oh, thank you! I didn't know that. I see that they don't have the stock available online like BD 😢 but the free shipping will be helpful 🙏🏽 2mo
BarbaraBB I wanted to make use of BookDepository as much as possible and ordered some books. One is coming your way. One I think you will like and you might guess what book it is 😃 anyhow, something is on its way 🤍 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB You are too kind, Barbara! Thank you so much ❤️ 2mo
Centique This was a nasty ending for me too. I relied on it for any books I couldn‘t get from the library - lesser known authors and translated works. 😨 Thank you @LeahBergen for mentioning Blackwells! Will try it for sure. 2mo
LeahBergen @Centique I‘ve been really happy with my orders from Blackwell‘s but they do take a wee bit longer to reach me here in Canada (compared to BD, that is). 2mo
batsy @Centique Isn't it devastating! It's really going to hit me when it closes 😢 2mo
61 likes23 comments
Knight Owl | Christopher Denise
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This delightful picture book tells the tale of a medieval-era owlet who dreams of becoming a knight. He is accepted into knight school, is an outstanding student (of course), and begins to serve in the Knight Night Watch. But one night the biggest test in the little owl's life arrives. Can this adorable lil guy prevail with ingenuity and an instinctive sense of fellowship? Oh god, this was so cute. Sweet, heartwarming, and beautifully illustrated.

mabell This was so cute! I gave it to my niece for her birthday last year ❤️ 2mo
Tamra Looks adorable! 2mo
batsy @mabell Aww! It makes the perfect present 🦉 Such a sweet story. 2mo
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batsy @Tamra Truly! 2mo
BekaReid Loved this book and gave it to my niece recently 2mo
SayersLover Isn‘t it great! The full spread illustrations gave me Maurice Sendak vibes. I‘m glad you liked it! @batsy 2mo
batsy @BekaReid Isn't it just the perfect gift for little readers ❤️ 2mo
batsy @SayersLover I loved the colour palette to give it a "medieval" feel and the use of shadows. 2mo
mrp27 This was so cute! 2mo
sarahbarnes Omg I can‘t even stand it! ♥️♥️♥️ 2mo
LeahBergen How cute!! 2mo
tpixie Im sold! 🦉 2mo
batsy @mrp27 It was 🥰 2mo
batsy @sarahbarnes @LeahBergen @tpixie I know right 🦉🥺 2mo
rubyslippersreads Owldorable! 😁 2mo
batsy @rubyslippersreads Truly! 🥰 2mo
74 likes6 stack adds16 comments
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"It was nice for the dogs to have their god with them, in visible form." Some lovely, unexpected images, ideas, and turns of phrase so far and I've only just started! #OAFKingalong

@AvidReader25 @BkClubCare

Amiable I‘ve had this book on my TBR for forever. 😬 2mo
batsy @Amiable Me too! Hence jumped at the buddy read... Join us 😁 2mo
Amiable @batsy Fun! I didn‘t see the posts about the buddy read—I‘ll look for them! Although I‘m just barely keeping up with the “Clarissa” read and AuthorAMonth as it is, so adding another to my pile might push me over the edge. 😬😖 2mo
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batsy @Amiable Haha, I totally understand. We're starting this for April and I decided to get a headstart because it's a chunkster 😅 2mo
Aimeesue "not in baby talk like a maiden lady". Well, then! ? I love this book. 2mo
batsy @Aimeesue It's really different and unique so far. He's playing around with the idea of time so there's anachronisms in the text in subtle ways. 2mo
AvidReader25 I‘m surprised by how funny and playful it is so far! 2mo
BkClubCare @batsy SO MANY MADE UP WORDS, yes?! Or at least, unfindable definitions 🧐 2mo
tpixie Love that!! I read this ages ago. Maybe a rereading is in order someday 2mo
batsy @AvidReader25 Me too! 2mo
batsy @BkClubCare Yes! Both playful and inventive; interesting! 2mo
batsy @tpixie It's a big book that will take time but yes, I imagine it will be different with each re-read 🙂 2mo
Suet624 @AvidReader25 that was my thought too! I hadn‘t expected the playfulness. 2mo
tpixie @batsy i seem to keep telling myself, I‘ll read all of these big books when I retire! Lol 😂 2mo
AvidReader25 @batsy @tpixie Sometimes it‘s delightful to sink into a big book. 2mo
Bertha_Mason Awwww 😭 2mo
tpixie @AvidReader25 yes! You don‘t have to leave its world so fast! 2mo
batsy @Bertha_Mason "came to him with their troubles at once" ? 2mo
batsy @AvidReader25 @tpixie I agree! This one feels so epic and yet down to earth so far. 2mo
tpixie @batsy 💚💚💚 2mo
73 likes20 comments
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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I finished this yesterday & have been thinking about it since. It's my first encounter with Catton & she comes off as a brilliant writer & assured novelist. As I mentioned before there's something Austen-esque about the way she comfortably & skillfully adopts the 3rd person POV to give us insight into multiple characters. It sounds weird but there's something old-fashioned, in the best way, about the intersection of plot & character in this book.

batsy I was reminded at times of Dickens & Eliot; a tighter, contemporary version. Cracking political arguments. I read the end of the book in public & had to control myself from, like, waving my hands about to argue with the characters lol. Tony, to me, felt like the most tragic character because of how *close* he came to the truth. Still thinking about parallels to Macbeth, as well as the climate catastrophe. Birnam Wood is coming ever closer. 2mo
Aimeesue Excellent review. Spot on. 2mo
TheKidUpstairs I read an interview with Catton where she talked about wanting to subvert the expectations of Shakespeare by writiing a book where every MC was, at some point, the "MacBeth" character. Everyone in the book makes the wrong choices to try and grasp some form of power, and the result is the complete and utter chaos of that ending. 2mo
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CarolynM I haven‘t had much luck with Eleanor Catton. I couldn‘t get into The Rehearsal and The Luminaries really put me off her (I couldn‘t stand the cod Victorian writing style) but maybe I will have to reconsider this one. 2mo
batsy @Aimeesue Thank you! 2mo
batsy @TheKidUpstairs I read that interview, too! And I think it worked. Every character had that fatal flaw in them, so to speak, where they misjudged what could be coming their way. The ending made me go NO! but it was very fitting. 2mo
batsy @CarolynM That's interesting! All of her books seem so different, which is really intriguing to me. I'm really keen to try The Luminaries but a little nervous precisely because it's a Victorian pastiche 2mo
Cathythoughts Great review ! What a book , I loved it. Shakespearean 💫 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm Fabulous review! 👏 2mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy! I'm missing the feeling of reading this book... More contemporary fiction should be like this ❤️ 2mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Thanks, J! 😘 2mo
Cathythoughts @batsy Absolutely!! More contemporary fiction like this please 🙏 2mo
UwannaPublishme What a beautiful tree! 2mo
LeahBergen Great review! 👏 I enjoyed The Luminaries. 2mo
batsy @UwannaPublishme A search online led me to this; a Birnam Oak as I think it's known 🙂 2mo
batsy @LeahBergen Thank you! 😘 I'm happy to hear you enjoyed that one; moving it up the TBR. 2mo
BarbaraBB Great review. I just finished the book and am feeling quite empty. What you and @TheKidUpstairs mention about all the characters making the wrong choices. So true. And yet I wish it never ended. I could have go on reading about them. And I wanted to warn them and interfere. Loved it. And you must read The Luminaries. Don‘t hesitate. It‘s fantastic too 💕 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB Thank you! And I'm extra excited to learn that you too enjoyed The Luminaries—I'm definitely going to read it. Hopefully soon lol 🤞🏾 2mo
86 likes3 stack adds18 comments
A Finder's Magic | Philippa Pearce
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This is a little gem of a book. Magical and strange. It leaves a lot to the imagination and I think children need that; to not have everything explained to them, and to be left with lingering questions and a sense of enchantment & wonder. The illustrations are beautiful and the biographical note tells us that Pearce and the illustrator Helen Craig shared two grandsons, and that the main character is an anagram of the names of the grandsons 💚

batsy Hooray #TBRTarot for once again making me dust off what's been on my shelf for some time and discovering that it's something definitely worth reading! @CBee 2mo
CBee Sounds lovely 💚 2mo
batsy @CBee It is! A short and sweet read. 2mo
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LeahBergen This sounds lovely! Tom‘s Midnight Garden is one of my all-time faves and yet I don‘t think I‘ve read any of her other books. 🤔 2mo
Cathythoughts Lovely review ❤️Stacking for my granddaughters and their imaginations X 2mo
batsy @LeahBergen I want to read Tom's Midnight Garden! I *think* I have a copy somewhere 🙈 2mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thank you! I hope it's something they both love. The illustrations are so wonderful. 2mo
81 likes5 stack adds7 comments
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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Birnam Wood is my first novel by Eleanor Catton and I just started it yesterday. I keep thinking wow, so far so Austen. I wondered if I was a bit nutty in feeling a bit of an Austen vibe in the style of the prose, so I did a bit of googling. And lo! I learned that Austen was indeed an influence and that Catton adapted Emma for the 2020 film! Which I adored! So that's very cool 🤩

Here's the little interview clip https://youtu.be/67gJuSi_3OI

tpixie Fun info! Good instincts! 2mo
Cathythoughts Interesting! Thanks Suba ! I‘m excited your reading it now. 2mo
Cathythoughts And thanks for the link. 👏🏻❤️ 2mo
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LeahBergen Oh, cool! 2mo
Aimeesue I‘m reading BW now too, and really enjoying it. Catton did an interview with Radio 4 that i listened to this morning. Good stuff! https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/books-and-authors/id331296649?i=1000604856... 2mo
TrishB Hoping to get to this one soon! 2mo
Tamra How fun! 2mo
batsy @tpixie @Tamra @LeahBergen Yes, I loved finding this out! I enjoyed the Emma adaptation 🙂 2mo
batsy @Cathythoughts My pleasure! I'm really enjoying it so far 👍🏾 @TrishB 2mo
batsy @Aimeesue Oh, cool! Thank you for that. I'll give it a listen soon! 2mo
BarbaraBB How cool that you noticed by yourself! I am enjoying the book a lot so far! 2mo
batsy @Aimeesue I enjoyed that interview very much! Especially her thoughts on character and third person pov. Really interesting. Thanks again! 2mo
Aimeesue @batsy You are most welcome! From listening to this, I also learned that I‘d been pronouncing Mira wrong in my head. It‘s like Myra, not Meer-ah. 😂 2mo
batsy @Aimeesue Yes, I was thinking the same, but I noticed it's the interviewer who says Myra. When Catton reads an excerpt, I'm pretty sure she says Meer-uh 😀 2mo
Aimeesue Oh, good. Thought I was losing my mind! 😂 2mo
92 likes2 stack adds15 comments
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This has four dialogues that take us through, as the title reveals, Socrates's trial & final days. Euthyphro is a debate on the nature of piety as Socrates waits outside the courthouse, while Apology is a one-man monologue where a feisty Socrates argues against the charges brought upon him. Crito sees him in prison arguing with his rich pal on the nature of justice, while Phaedo is the longest, densest dialogue here, on the nature of the soul.

batsy All of these are brilliant in their own way & definitely require rereading. In an ideal world there would be plenty of time to engage with the ethical arguments brought forth in these dialogues. I have a soft spot for the Apology because of the dramatic nature of Socrates defending himself. As he says, if he's being condemned for anything, it's for not presenting himself to authority in the toadying manner of those who are subservient to power. 2mo
Bookwomble Hmmm, I have this on my shelf from last year (recent purchase), and your review tempts me to start reading it, but I really must finish at least one of the books I'm already reading first! 2mo
batsy @Bookwomble I hope you find it worthwhile! If you're in no rush I'd recommend taking breaks between the dialogues and not necessarily read the book in one go 🙂 2mo
81 likes3 comments
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This feels like the essence of 21st-century labour distilled into a novel. It's about the absurdity of work & the grim, tedious Sisyphean nature of repetition & lack of meaning. The mood is like if you were laughing while screaming on the inside. It's like if The Office met The X-Files with a dash of Authority, the 2nd book from Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy. The slow ennui of psychosis & alienation. Full of dread! And so damn funny.

batsy This is not plot-driven at all and offers no answers, so if that kind of thing irritates you, it might not be up your street. But the ending I found somewhat triumphant. To that end I hope that there's a sequel because like every character in the book, and probably every person who read this, I *do* want to know more! About the Thing. In the snow 😆 2mo
Suet624 Fantastic review. And sure, I'm a sucker for this kind of thing. 2mo
TrishB Sounds very intriguing! 2mo
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Liz_M Oooh, interesting! 2mo
Cathythoughts Great review 👍🏻 Sounds intriguing ! 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm Great review and intriguing indeed! 2mo
BarbaraBB Intriguing 🤔 2mo
batsy @Suet624 @Cathythoughts @erzascarletbookgasm Thank you! It's a book that I'm afraid to recommend because I know it can be a divisive one 😆 2mo
batsy @TrishB @Liz_M @BarbaraBB Yes! The definition of a Marmite book, I think 😁 2mo
Aimeesue Great review! 2mo
Reggie How can I NOT stack this? 2mo
batsy @Aimeesue Thank you! 2mo
batsy @Reggie Reggie I was thinking this is a you type of book! But that it probably needs more horror lol 😁 2mo
85 likes10 stack adds13 comments
The Life of the Mind: A Novel | Christine Smallwood
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I really enjoyed this sharp, darkly funny novel of one woman's interior life. Dorothy is an adjunct professor of literature who has recently had an incomplete miscarriage. There's a bleak, grimy feel to it that brings into relief the state of precarious labour & deromanticises academia & the "life of the mind", as well as being uncompromising about what it is to have a body. It's a novel for our time, I think; disillusionment & static despair.

batsy In some small way, it reminded me of Dostoevsky. The anguish of overthinking, which is the fate of the scholar, & a scholar who barely has access to the department office printers & no office in which to rest between classes, to boot. It was especially ironic to read this as I make my way through Plato's The Last Days of Socrates, where in one of the dialogues, Phaedo, Socrates argues for precisely this life of the mind over everything else. 2mo
batsy (Socrates made this argument as he awaited his execution. The life of the mind as refuge from his imminent death, with the mind making its home in the soul.) 2mo
kspenmoll You write the best reviews! It always I want to read what you review. Too many books. I should get to Socrates execution today I am behind on reading the googolplex. 2mo
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Cathythoughts Brilliant review💫 2mo
batsy @kspenmoll Thank you! You're too kind. Plato's Socratic dialogues are both challenging and fun; on one level, it's like reading a play, but when Socrates goes on a roll with his questions it can get a bit brain-scrambling 😁 2mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thank you! ❤️ 2mo
jlhammar Sounds good. Great review! 2mo
TrishB Another brilliant review! 2mo
Tamra Must check it out! 😃 2mo
batsy @jlhammar @TrishB Thank you! ❤️ 2mo
batsy @Tamra I hope you like it! Like all novels of interior life, it does depend a lot on whether the reader gets on with the narrator's voice 🙂 2mo
CarolynM Sounds wonderful. Stacked🙂 2mo
batsy @CarolynM 👍🏾🙂 2mo
75 likes10 stack adds13 comments
Death of Jezebel | Christianna Brand
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This was my first Christianna Brand & I thoroughly enjoyed it. Snarky humour, lots of witticisms, unlikeable characters losing their shit—all of this combined is apparently my cup of tea. I didn't quite see the solution coming, although I was feeling pretty smug with myself for thinking I had it figured out with one of the false solutions 😂 The depiction of the pageant & the nuttiness on display were very entertaining. #GoldenAgeCrimeClub @Mitch

Billypar That happens to me so much with mysteries. And then I'll start arguing with the book in my head about how my ending would have been so much better 😆 2mo
batsy @Billypar Haha, yes! I have to say in this case too I prefer my favoured false solution 😆 2mo
jlhammar Love your review. Just finished this yesterday. So much nuttiness! It was a fun one. 2mo
88 likes3 stack adds3 comments
Death of Jezebel | Christianna Brand
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I was interested to learn that Brand was born in colonial Malaya. And I appreciate the gentle skewering of Isabel of someone who's so narcissistic and provincial and so keeps saying "out there in the Malay or wherever it was" because "in the Malay" is genuinely too funny.


tphil10283 I guess it‘s one of those things that goes over my head. 2mo
jlhammar Can't wait to get started on this! 2mo
batsy @jlhammar I'm only a couple chapters in but it's started off on a promising note! 2mo
53 likes3 comments
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The negative reviews had me anticipating a bananapants book. Like a less literary, locked room Bunny crossed with the wackiness of Behind Her Eyes. Sadly, while I did find this entertaining & I kept turning the pages saying, "She did WHAT now", I wish the author had taken it a notch higher & gone wild. I got a kick out of the skewering of the publishing industry & writerly egos though. Silly yet entertaining. Leave your little grey cells behind ?

84 likes1 stack add
The Four Humors | Mina Seckin
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I was afraid that this was going to be a novel of millennial reticence, where a grieving, disenchanted 20-something Turkish-American goes to Turkey for the summer with her American boyfriend & tries to feel things. But it unspools into something weirder & more tender, & I loved the wry, irreverent tone. There's a cast of troubled, wayward women, old & young, & compelling asides into Turkish politics & classical theories about the body. Enjoyed it!

kspenmoll Great review. 3mo
batsy @kspenmoll Thank you! 3mo
Megabooks Sounds interesting! 3mo
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batsy @Megabooks Yes, it was 👍🏾 3mo
CarolynM Sounds good. Stacked🙂 3mo
batsy @CarolynM 🙂👍🏾 3mo
78 likes6 stack adds6 comments
Wine of Honour | Barbara Beauchamp
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This was an interesting look at the post-war upheavals & effects on a cast of characters in a British village. It is ironic how something so disruptive to life & wellbeing—war—was the one way for most middle & upper class British women to imagine different possibilities beyond their role at home. Although the writing here didn't quite sparkle, I enjoyed how the book gently looked into all these altered lives. #FurrowedMiddlebrowClub

batsy Thanks again for passing on your extra copy @CarolynM 😘 3mo
jlhammar The writing didn‘t quite sparkle for me either (great way to put that!), but I did really enjoy it for what it was, for that fly-on-the-wall experience. Great review! 3mo
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Tamra My recreational reading is on hold, but what little I did get to didn‘t grab me with a capital G. 3mo
batsy @jlhammar Thank you! Yes, it's the kind of narrative that grows on you and by the end it's nice to see how it all sort of ties together. 3mo
batsy @Tamra I struggled when I read it in bits at the start but it got better when I finally sat down and polished off most of it. Hope you have more time for fun reading soon 🙂 3mo
Ruthiella Great review! I was luckily able to read it in a couple of larger chunks and I agree that helped in my enjoyment of it. 3mo
LeahBergen Yes, I found the writing didn‘t immediately grab me either. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 3mo
CarolynM Great review. Definitely a case of the total being greater than the sum of the parts. And you‘re very welcome😘 3mo
erzascarletbookgasm Nice review. Sounds like a very interesting book. 3mo
Cathythoughts Nice review! Yes I agree it was an interesting look at these altered lives. 👍🏻 3mo
batsy @LeahBergen Glad I'm not the only one! 😁 I think the shift in POV also took some adjusting to at the start. 3mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Thanks, Jessie! Will be happy to send it to you so you get a chance to read it, too. It'll be a #furrowedmiddlebrowclub travelling book 🙂 3mo
willaful Finished today and it resonated emotionally a lot with me, post-lockdown. Somehow the human experience really doesn't change much. 2mo
willaful I thought it was interesting that Helen's narration was in first person present tense. I don't recall ever seeing that in an older book before. 2mo
Jess_Read_This Great review! Thanks for setting the expectation that the writing doesn‘t “sparkle” but is still enjoyable. I‘m starting it Saturday and I think I might be bring up the last of the group members in reading it 😂 (edited) 2mo
batsy @willaful That's a great point about resonating post-lockdown. There is something about emerging into what should be a new world but with old roles depressingly intact that has parallels to the post-war situation. And yes about Helen's pov; made the book seem very contemporary. 2mo
batsy @Jess_Read_This Thank you! As you can see the book has generated some interesting comments and reviews from those who have read it. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to your thoughts! 2mo
willaful @batsy I also related to those missing the war... there was a simplicity about knowing exactly what your priorities were, and a comradeship in the shared experience, at least in the early days. 2mo
93 likes2 stack adds20 comments
Pyre | Perumal Murugan
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sarahbarnes Omg yes 😂😂 3mo
Lindy I feel you 😁 3mo
MicheleinPhilly 🤣🤣🤣 3mo
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LeahBergen 😆😆 3mo
Aimeesue 😂😂😂 3mo
batsy @LeahBergen @Aimeesue I'll never learn 🙈 3mo
rockpools 😂😂 Loads I hadn‘t heard of! Any particular taking your fancy? 3mo
batsy @rockpools The tagged book and Mauvignier and Nettel! Merve Emre who was last year's judge and a few others were raving about the Mauvignier so I'm super curious. I've also seen twitter buzz for the underdog in there, Standing Heavy by GauZ. And I have Bricks and Mortar by Clemens Myer (that I've yet to read 🙈) so I also had this one on my radar. 3mo
Centique So funny and so true! 3mo
ju.ca.no Accurate 😅 2mo
80 likes11 comments
Stone Cold Fox | Rachel Koller Croft
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I can't deny it, this was a deliciously wicked popcorn read. I wanted something propulsive & page-turning & it delivered. The narrator Bea is utterly bitchy but is also depicted in a way that makes her a singularly likeable unlikeable narrator. Moreover it's undeniably dark, raising questions about class, cishet alpha femininity (for lack of a better term) or toxic femininity, & abusive mothers. This darkness makes for an uncomfortable read.

batsy As far as thrillers go this was well-written & well-structured, with a narrative that took unexpected turns without having to deliver a OH MY GOD YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT ludicrous twist. I think that a book like this--one that comes directly from a narcissistic, emotionally-damaged narrator's head--needs to convey the tone perfectly so that the reader buys into the whole thing, & I thought this was done well. A polished effort. 3mo
TrishB Great review 👍🏻 3mo
batsy @TrishB Thanks, Trish! 3mo
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Ruthiella I already stacked this on Goodreads because of your comments there. I‘m here for the darkness and narrative turns! 👍 3mo
Christine Sold by this fantastic review! 3mo
batsy @Ruthiella I hope you like it! It's very much in the domestic thriller genre (though I think some criticism of it was that it wasn't thrilling enough, though I didn't mind it) but I quite like an engaging antihero. 3mo
batsy @Christine Thank you, and I hope it works for you if you give it a try 🙂 3mo
Cathythoughts Great review! And stacked 3mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy 😘 3mo
nathandrake1997 Brilliant review ❤️ 3mo
batsy @nathandrake1997 Thank you!! 😘 3mo
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There's much that I found useful in this book. The more I read bits of classical philosophy, the more it seems that the ethical questions raised in the past have bearing on the present. I deeply appreciated how Setiya thinks through the meaning of a good life vs. "the meaning of life", or concepts like atelic & telic activities in terms of living a meaningful life. The text is sprinkled liberally with quotes that inspire you to go to the source.

batsy The main issue is that when I expected Setiya to delve deeper into a philosophical idea or theory, he stops just short. Part of the reason is because he's writing this for a general audience, & I think there's a sense throughout the book that he needs to keep it simple to prevent it from becoming too dense. Because of that, a bit of a self-help vibe creeps into the prose at times & I have a knee-jerk aversion to that. Still, highly recommended. 3mo
TrishB I have a knee jerk aversion to self help too! Great review ❤️ 3mo
batsy @TrishB Thank you 😘 3mo
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vivastory Ditto the self-help reaction. I have recently been reading through the tagged book and have had a somewhat similar experience 3mo
batsy @vivastory The title is interesting! I read one Alain de Botton book many years ago & his prose does have a tendency to veer into the soothing, self-help tone doesn't it? 😆 3mo
charl08 Tempting. I've been reading a lot about grief which has a similar issue - so might wait a bit to pick this up. 3mo
batsy @charl08 I hope this will be of some comfort. It's short, and the chapters are also short and concise, so it's easy to juggle this in between other books. 3mo
kspenmoll This sounds interesting! 3mo
batsy @kspenmoll It is! Mileage may vary with the style but the content of it is likely to be of use to many :) 3mo
Centique I definitely need a beginners course in philosophy, so thanks for putting this on my radar! I dabbled a bit in University, but I think it was hit and miss. Seems a good way to question my own philosophies, which have been very much in flux in a post pandemic world 😬 3mo
batsy @Centique Yes, if academic philosophy wasn't your cup of tea this might be a more useful introduction! If you do give it a try, I hope you find something worthwhile. He argues back with classical philosophers, too, which is great (and exactly how it should be! Lol) 3mo
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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This book is a sad, beautiful masterpiece. Newland‘s life! May‘s life! It looks like something from the outside, but what was it like from the inside? Wharton‘s gorgeous prose, as clear as crystal, sees right through the hypocrisies of moneyed society. It‘s an incredible feat to create an ironic character in Newland who nonetheless appears as a tragic figure, along with May, because of the value of appearing to have lived well. #whartonbuddyread

batsy But the deeper question is if form becomes content i.e. if you only value appearances, how do you know if you really want what you claim to want? The ending here is as perfect as an ending could be. On this reread I was astonished at how Ellen appears to me now; as far as anyone could have said to have had a happy ending, it's her. Wharton ended it with her live having been lived away from the reader's eye. There's something triumphant about that. 3mo
erzascarletbookgasm Beautiful review 💫 3mo
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batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Thank you 😘 3mo
nathandrake1997 Exquisite review ❤️ 3mo
sarahbarnes I remember loving this when I read it! I might have to do a reread someday. 3mo
BarbaraBB Such a memorable read. 3mo
batsy @nathandrake1997 Thank you! ❤️ 3mo
batsy @sarahbarnes I hope you do! It felt even richer and more layered this time around. Feels like a book that gets better with time 🙂 3mo
batsy @BarbaraBB Truly! 3mo
marleed This had been on my TBR gos so long and when Anderson Cooper referred to it a couple times in his memoir, I moved it to a current read. And it turned out to be a 5* read! 3mo
Graywacke Terrific review, especially the extra comment. What we or someone wants has a different context within some social structures. Very interesting point about Ellen (and her very Wharton-like single life). 3mo
Cathythoughts Great review. I love this book. 3mo
batsy @marleed That's cool! He has good taste in books, then 🙂 3mo
batsy @Graywacke Thank you! Yes, there was something Wharton-like in both Ellen and Newland, I felt. 3mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy! It's such a brilliant book. 3mo
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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"... the book was published by instalments in the Pictorial Review amid advertisements for soap flakes and lavatory cleaners and is generally regarded as one of her best." How masterpieces come to exist will never not be fascinating.

This is from Penelope Lively's intro to the Virago edition. #whartonbuddyread @Graywacke

Graywacke That whole paragraph is fascinating. I‘m struck by the comment that she needed the cash. 3mo
batsy @Graywacke Me, too. Very Dostoevskian. Needing the cash and accidentally writing masterpieces along the way! 3mo
Graywacke @batsy 🙂 There‘s an interesting pairing. I think he was maybe a little more desperate for money. But also I think he had a full-time free assistant, his wife. 3mo
Graywacke @batsy oh…. wow. That sounds fascinating 3mo
71 likes5 comments
An Island | Karen Jennings
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A lighthouse keeper living alone on an island finds a body washed ashore. The body is that of a younger man still alive. Set over four days, the book tackles heavy themes: xenophobia, postcolonial politics, & poverty, yet at no point did I see or expect what was coming next. Up to the last page, I felt unmoored & unsettled, sad & filled with dread. Jennings' language is clean & precise. It's a short, taut book that feels so much larger. #ToB2023

batsy The way the psychological tension builds & gives way to the older man's memories & buried trauma is rendered with great skill. It's as short as a fable, as searing as a tragedy, & as capacious as a historical novel, but doesn't ever feel weighed down. There's a timeless quality to its central question of how to be a friend to a stranger when you're an island unto yourself. One of those rare books that show how the personal & the political clash. 3mo
Suet624 Holy Toledo. Now I just have to read this. Thank you for this brilliant review. 3mo
paulfrankspencer No man is an island... 3mo
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MicheleinPhilly Thanks for picking my next book to read! What a review! 3mo
jlhammar Great review! I think I should have gone for print on this one instead of audio. 3mo
Tamra So many TBR - including this one! 😬 3mo
batsy @Suet624 @MicheleinPhilly Thank you! I found it powerful and affecting for such a short book—hope it works for you, too. 3mo
batsy @paulfrankspencer I went to look at the poem again 👌🏾 3mo
batsy @jlhammar Thank you! It does work well in print; there are those sudden shifts in time within the same page that might not translate as well on audio, I think? 3mo
batsy @Tamra Oh, yes! Far too many 😆 3mo
Ruthiella “How to be a friend to a stranger when you are an island to yourself” 👍 I too really liked this book although it was so very sad. 3mo
Reggie Great review, Batsy. And you‘re right it‘s definitely a house that‘s larger on the inside than it is on the outside. 3mo
batsy @Ruthiella It was! Like you said the moment the red hen was mentioned it was an indication of the way it was going to go. 3mo
batsy @Reggie Thanks, Reggie! 3mo
BarbaraBB Excellent review. This book has been staying with me since I finished it. My favorite of the play-ins for the #ToB23 3mo
batsy @BarbaraBB Thank you! So glad you liked it, as well. It's definitely something that will stay with me for a long time. 3mo
kwmg40 Great review! I wasn't very enthusiastic about the book myself when I was reading it, but now I find I'm still thinking about it. Well, it's not unusual for me to get a better appreciation for a book after I see others' comments and insights! 3mo
batsy @kwmg40 Thank you! That's like me and the Book of Goose—I wasn't totally sold on it but reading others' thoughts on it has made me re-think some aspects 🙂 3mo
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