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Billypar

Billypar

Joined February 2017

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Billypar
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#NameChallenge
Thanks for the tag @Aimeesue !
@Leftcoastzen if you want to play, spell your name with the titles of books 🙄

Cathythoughts Nice one Vinny 👍🏻♥️ 17h
Billypar @Cathythoughts Thanks Cathy! ☺ 12h
39 likes2 comments
review
Billypar
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Pickpick

This might be the most popular book on Litsy that I hadn't read until now, which seems ironic at first glance considering this is a work about social outcasts. But maybe it's not so incongruous: as readers in an increasingly non-reading world, it's tempting to want to retreat into our worlds of imagination. We are all of us Constance, wanting to make the effort to connect to others, even as our inner Merricat tempts us to withdraw. Loved it 🖤

Lcsmcat Love that cover! 2d
Aimeesue "Our inner Merricat!" ? Great review! The Backlisted podcast did an episode on Jackson that made me want to reread a lot of her stuff. 2d
erzascarletbookgasm I‘ve not seen this cover! 👌 Nice review! 2d
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LeahBergen Great review! And I just posted about this book (again) the other day. 😆 2d
Billypar @Lcsmcat Right? I'd never seen it before. I really like the more common b&w drawing, but this one is pretty nice too. 2d
Billypar @Aimeesue Thank you! I really like Backlisted- I will definitely check that out. And I need to read more Jackson - I haven't read anything else besides 'The Lottery' in high school. 2d
Billypar @erzascarletbookgasm Thank you! Yeah it was new to me too- it might be what gave me the extra push to finally pick it up. 2d
Billypar @LeahBergen Thanks! I had to seek out your post and it looks like we had similar ideas for the staging (I don't actually eat blackberries - I bought them special anticipating the review post 😁) 2d
LeahBergen Haha! That‘s awesome! 😆😆 2d
ReadingEnvy See it‘s no wonder I kept thinking they were cats and not people, with covers like this around,.... 2d
Billypar @ReadingEnvy Ha- I can understand that. In the beginning I was wondering if a talking cat would show up, like Master & Margarita. 1d
50 likes1 stack add11 comments
review
Billypar
Comemadre | Roque Larraquy
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Pickpick

This strange gem begins in a Buenos Aires asylum in 1907 where a bunch of the doctors are creeping on the head nurse as a series of horrific experiments are undertaken to probe the boundaries of life and death. Not weird enough? Then we flash forward a hundred years to glimpse the life of an artist obsessed with integrating the human body and its various parts into shocking exhibitions. Dark and funny, with a sharp wit underlying the strangeness.

Billypar Photo is from an event at the Community Bookstore in Brooklyn. The author and translator were asking questions of each other, a format I haven't seen before but really enjoyed. 5d
Liz_M I like their shelves by publisher 4d
Billypar @Liz_M Definitely- I actually picked up 'The Other' from their considerable NYRB collection. 4d
30 likes3 comments
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Billypar
Friday Black | NANA KWAME. ADJEI-BRENYAH
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Panpan

#unpopularopinion
I'm not a fan of the kind of satire used in this collection: once I saw what each story was driving at, they just seemed more like dreary exercises, no matter how much violence, fantasy, or dark comedy was piled on. The ones with less overt satirical elements and fantasy were oddly dry, as if they'd been edited to death. I liked one story: 'The Hospital Where', which reads like a real nightmare: wish more were like that one!

ReadingEnvy I bailed on this one. 2d
Billypar @ReadingEnvy I should have. But it's rare that I don't like a story collection. I kept finishing stories and thinking 'but maybe I'll like this next one...' 😁 1d
38 likes2 comments
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Billypar
Bel Canto | Ann Patchett
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Pickpick

Sometimes when words like 'beautiful' get used too often to describe books or movies, I get a little nervous. Is it 'beautiful' because the writer cheated? Bel Canto doesn't cheat: I believed the beauty in this novel. Most are probably familiar with the plot: terrorists take over a private opera performance in the VP's estate in an unnamed South American country. When the takeover gets protracted, a routine establishes itself and...just read it!

ValerieAndBooks Okay, this has been in my TBR for a while— should move it up! If those words sound familiar, it‘s basically what I said about The Secret History when you reviewed it 😂! 7d
Billypar @ValerieAndBooks It was my first from Ann Patchett - I had a feeling I'd like her writing based on all the Litsy love she gets. Can't wait to read more from her! 6d
44 likes2 comments
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Billypar
The Little Prince | Antoine de Saint-Exupry
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Um...okay Goodreads, I guess I'll just have to trust your algorithms on this. Maybe there was some nuance in The Little Prince that I missed?

Chrissyreadit 😆😂🤣 1w
Aimeesue Hahahahaha! 1w
Tanisha_A 🤪 Gosh! 1w
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Bookwomble Ok, let's see what we can do here ... You read "The Little Prince", which is one of David Bowie's top 100 books, so there's a connection to David. David's final album is "Black Star"✴, on which track 2 is " 'Tis a Pity She was a Whore". Loop closed! ??‍? 1w
batsy I am never not curious about how the Goodreads algorithm works 😂 1w
Zelma @Bookwomble 🤔👏 1w
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Are they referring to the rose on asteroid B-612? 1w
LeahBergen Snort! 😆😆 1w
Billypar @Bookwomble I'll bet that makes about as much sense as the actual set of links between the two 😆 1w
Billypar @batsy Yup- there are many that are logical to the point of not being helpful. And then there's ones like this...🤷 1w
Billypar @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Ha- I hope she's not the missing link! She's so devoted to the prince and depends on him...unless it's Goodreads'/Amazon's misogyny coming through? 😸 1w
Centique That is strange! Plus I studied this play in Medieval English in university many years ago and this is the first time I EVER saw anyone mention it since. 😂😂 1w
Billypar @Centique Maybe a Goodreads staff member who just read something a bit obscure goes on a power trip and takes down the algorithm for an hour to make every recommendation for that book 😏 1w
Centique @Billypar I love that idea 😂😂 I‘m picturing some dude rubbing his hands in glee about his literary anarchy. 1w
Billypar @Centique Ha- exactly! It all makes sense now.. 1w
27 likes15 comments
review
Billypar
The Little Prince | Antoine de Saint-Exupry
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Pickpick

Absolutely delightful: its classic status is well-earned. It reminded me of an inverted Alice in Wonderland: instead of traveling to an imaginary world, the Little Prince comes from a far-away land to look at what hides beneath the surface of our own world. There are great lessons about the power of empathy, devotion, and why you must never catch yourself thinking like a grown-up.

batsy Lovely review! 💙 It's got a strangeness about it that I love, but it's also deeply moving. 1w
Billypar @batsy Thanks! Yeah, it's not easy to be both strange and moving, but I completely agree. The prince's viewpoint is so interesting and you get to know him more than the average children's book character. 1w
Tanisha_A Great review! It's so deeply moving like @batsy said, and definitely something to read over and over to keep in mind the basics of life ('cause sometimes I forget). 1w
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Cathythoughts Beautiful picture & review.... oh I love that little man ♥️ 1w
Billypar @Tanisha_A Thanks! Yes- good way of summarizing the book's wisdom- things that are among the most important in life and still most easily forgotten. 1w
Billypar @Cathythoughts Thank you... Yes, he is still very popular even 7 and a half decades later! 1w
ValerieAndBooks I remember reading this as a child and my dad taking me to see the movie 🥰. — still have our copy from the 70s! 7d
Billypar @ValerieAndBooks I didn't even know there was a movie, though it makes sense given the popularity. Sounds like a childhood treasure to hold onto ☺️ 6d
ValerieAndBooks Yep, it was made in 1974 (I‘m old 👵🏻) and when I looked up the exact year, found that an animated version was made much more recently. 6d
Billypar @ValerieAndBooks Interesting- I was assuming film adaptations would be animated because of the book artwork. But that makes the 1974 film even more interesting- I'll have to check it out. 5d
51 likes10 comments
review
Billypar
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Pickpick

Not what I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it. I thought the humor landed somewhere between Bill Bryson and David Sedaris (but closer to Bryson). But it was also serious at times, reflecting on what it means to be financially successful, male, and white, while living in Maine (evidently not known for its diversity). It felt honest rather than for show, and for all his talk of being a narcissist, the tone is pleasantly self-deprecating.

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Billypar
Blue Nights | Joan Didion
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Pickpick

This is superficially similar to Year of Magical Thinking, both in content, this focusing on her daughter's death 2 years after her husband's, and in style, obsessive spirals of thoughts & memories. But her focus here is new: she searches her memories of Quintana to understand her wisdom. What did her precociousness as a child say about her upbringing? Her comments about death? And what do the answers reveal about her own views on aging and dying?

Cathythoughts Sounds really good. I loved Magical Thinking ♥️stacked 2w
Billypar @Cathythoughts Both are really good, but I think I liked Blue Nights slightly better. Interested to hear your take if you pick it up. 2w
26 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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Billypar
Sleepless Nights | Elizabeth Hardwick
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Mehso-so

Excited to join the #nyrbbookclub this month! I did enjoy this almost-a-pick. As others pointed out, Hardwicke's writing sparkles and made me consider, what does a collection of memories of others say about the memory owner? Or is it a riff on the act of remembering, how it creates these characters, like an author of fiction might? The end struck me as no different from the beginning and the flatness kept it from a pick- otherwise I was intrigued.

vivastory Great review! I agree that the end fell a little flat, but there was enough observational brilliance to make it work for me. 3w
Billypar @vivastory Thanks! Yes, 'observational brilliance' is a good way to describe her writing. I do regret how I read this: too many short sessions where I kept getting interrupted. I think I would have liked it more if I had just a few long, quiet sittings to be more immersed. 3w
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mklong Great review! Looking forward to the discussion. I‘m tagging @youneverarrived since she is September‘s co-host. We take turns each month to co-host with @vivastory 3w
Billypar @mklong Thanks! And whoops...thanks for clarifying- after seeing all the posts for Black Wings Has My Angel I decided I needed to join in the fun ☺️ 3w
mklong So glad you did! 3w
youneverarrived Great review! Interesting you say that about a collection of memories of others because as I was reading it it made me think of how much our memories and the stories we tell really do involve other people. 3w
Billypar @youneverarrived Thanks! And that is very true: given how common this is, you have to wonder what the particular memories we've held onto, even after years have gone by, says about our relationships with those individuals. 3w
BarbaraBB Great review! Will you be joining in the discussion tomorrow? 3w
Billypar @BarbaraBB Thanks! It's looking doubtful unfortunately, but I will if plans change. Is there a link sent out for the discussions via email? If not tomorrow, I definitely want to for a future month. 3w
BarbaraBB I just tagged you in @vivastory ‘s post about the discussion! 3w
Liz_M @Billypar Yes, this is not a good subway book! I could never remember where on the page I stopped reading and inadvertently read many bits over again. 3w
Billypar @Liz_M Yup, same with me, and I did read some of this on the subway. I tend to be stubborn about reading challenging novels on the subway against my better judgement. It's free time, and I want to finish it faster, so I trick myself into believing I can avoid distractions with enough determination 😁 3w
49 likes13 comments
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Billypar
Comemadre | Roque Larraquy
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#brooklynbookfestival #bookhaul
I've always been resolving to try out small presses, so I'm really excited about this haul. Two of these were on my radar- Vesaas' The Birds from Archipelago (and put on my radar by praise from @BarbaraBB ) and Apostol's Insurrecto from Soho. Also picked up Kincaid's Party: A Mystery (Akashic) for my 2-year-old niece, and Larraquy's Comemadre (Coffee House Press), which I am trying to resist reading immediately.

Liz_M I love Archipelago's books. The square size, the covers, the nice paper. 4w
Billypar @Liz_M Agreed- this was my first experience with them- gorgeous books. And great to browse translated literature without needing to look for a specific title or author. The only other place I've done that is McNally Jackson's shelves by country. 4w
Tanisha_A I have never heard of these. Wow! 👏 4w
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batsy Nice haul! All three of these are on my TBR. And I'm sure you'll get to them before I do so I look forward to your thoughts 😆 4w
Billypar @Tanisha_A I hope they're as good as I'm expecting! 🤞 3w
Billypar @batsy Larraquy is giving a reading in NYC on 10/4, so I may expedite that one and read beforehand (it's pretty short too). Insurrecto sounds like a challenge though, so that may take longer (I seem to keep buying these difficult books, so there's a bit of a TBR queue for those 😬). 3w
41 likes6 comments
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Billypar
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Lovely day at the #brooklynbookfestival Took advantage of some small press sales, got to see Edwidge Danticat talk about tragedy & trauma in her work (and 2 new to me authors- David Chariandy & Maria Tumarkin) and ended up in the gorgeous church shown here to see Joyce Carol Oates and Marlon James in conversation about a range of topics relevant to their work. Sorry for the lack of corroborating author photos- you'll have to take my word for it 😉

Aimeesue Hope you could hear Oates - at the National Book Festival she was very soft spoken and mumbly. No one could tell what she was saying! Maybe she was just tired? it was at the end of the day. 4w
Billypar @Aimeesue Ugh, that's the worst - you get a soft-spoken author with a low mic and it's very frustrating. Luckily there weren't problems hearing either one. 4w
41 likes2 comments
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Billypar
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#7covers7days #covercrush Day 7
@merelybookish

Last one: a book of stories that listens back.

This was fun- I didn't really know what my favorite covers in my collection were before choosing them.

@Geeklet feel like playing? Post 7 covers in 7 days, no explanations necessary, and tag a new person each day.

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Billypar
Mr Vertigo | Paul Auster
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#7covers7days #covercrush Day 6
@merelybookish
@JacintaMCarter want to join in? Post 7 covers in 7 days, no explanations needed, and tag someone new each day.

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Billypar
Steppenwolf | Hermann Hesse
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#7days7covers #covercrush Day 5
@merelybookish
@Susanita if you want to play, 7 covers posted in 7 days, no explanations & tag someone new each day.

Cathythoughts Great cover. I remember I read this over 40 years ago .... would definitely need a reread 👍🏻 4w
Billypar @Cathythoughts I love this book: probably read it 6 or 7 years ago but it really stuck with me. 4w
merelybookish What a striking cover! (And maybe creepy? 😬) 4w
merelybookish @Cathythoughts It's been a while for me too! Would be interesting to re-read! 4w
Billypar @merelybookish It is a bit creepy. I think it's the effect of it taking up the entire cover and maybe that you have 'wolf' in your brain, but it's the wrong color. So you don't really know what you're looking at. 4w
51 likes5 comments
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Billypar
The Keep | Jennifer Egan
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#7days7covers #covercrush Day 4
@merelybookish
@GripLitGrl want to play? Post 7 covers in 7 days, no explanation needed, and tag a new person each day.

Leftcoastzen Nice cover. 1mo
47 likes1 comment
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Billypar
The Tenant | Roland Topor, Francis K. Price
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#7covers7days #covercrush Day3
@merelybookish
@Kimberlone feel like playing? Post 7 covers over 7 days, no explanation needed, and tag a new person every day.

Leftcoastzen Pretty cool 1mo
batsy Wow, that's a cover! 1mo
Cathythoughts Wow 😮👍🏻 1mo
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Billypar @Leftcoastzen @batsy @Cathythoughts I think this is the most disturbing cover in my collection. I can't even say exactly why it unnerves me- I guess it speaks for itself 🤷 1mo
Cathythoughts If definitely speaks for itself 1mo
merelybookish Creepy! 1mo
Kimberlone @Billypar thanks for the tag, I was expecting someone would tag me for this before long! I will post when I get home from work tonight :) 1mo
Kimberlone Also, great cover! 1mo
Billypar @Kimberlone Yeah it's really taken over Litsy 😃 I like it- interesting to see the great variety of favorite covers. 1mo
42 likes9 comments
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Billypar
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#7days7covers #covercrush Day 2
@merelybookish
I know @Squidapus enjoys a lot of sci-fi and fantasy books with pretty covers- he's tagged if he wants to post one cover per day, no explanations needed and tag someone new each day.

Squidapus Oooo, this is a pretty neat idea. I'll see if he's up for it! It'll give him something to post since Children of Time is a brick 1mo
55 likes1 comment
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Billypar
White is for Witching | Helen Oyeyemi
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#7covers7days Day 1

Thanks @merelybookish for the tag!

@tournevis not sure if you've already been tagged, but if you want to play, it's 7 covers in 7 days, no explanations needed, & tag someone new each day.

Leftcoastzen Pretty! 1mo
merelybookish Her books always have beautiful covers! But this one is so striking! 1mo
Billypar @merelybookish I have it slated for an October read, and the cover is making me extra excited for it, in spite of the popular advice ☺️ 1mo
49 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Billypar
The Nest | Jon Klassen, Kenneth Oppel
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Pickpick

After his newborn brother is diagnosed with a life-threatening genetic condition, a boy begins having dreams where an angel appears, saying they can fix his brother. He is relieved until discovering the 'angels' are actually wasps from a new nest in his backyard and the promise may not be all it appears. As creepy and unnerving as the illustrations suggest. And this is a middle grade book, so parents take note with Halloween coming up 🐝🎃🐝

Billypar Full disclaimer: I am not a parent- the book says ages 10 and up, though I could see it causing nightmares in children as young as 10, 11, or um, 37 😨 1mo
vivastory 😂😂 1mo
saresmoore Ahaha! Love this review! 1mo
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Billypar @saresmoore Thanks! I would be interested to hear a parent's perspective if you ever pick it up. 1mo
erzascarletbookgasm Haha! We have this book but maybe as a parent I should read it first, before my 11 yr old! 1mo
saresmoore I will see if my library has it! @erzascarletbookgasm I think it would scare the pants off of my almost-11-year-old. 🙀 1mo
Billypar @erzascarletbookgasm @saresmoore Yeah, a look through beforehand isn't a bad idea. Their level of insect phobia is probably a big factor- i.e. comfort with reading about bees crawling on a character and stringing, not to spoil anything.. 1mo
ReadingEnvy I heard about this on a podcast where they said it was the scariest book they had ever read 🧐 1mo
Billypar @ReadingEnvy I can definitely see that- it's a pretty frightening concept! 1mo
Suet624 Yikes, I think I‘ll skip this one. 3w
Billypar @Suet624 If you're not a fan of either bees or scary books, that would be wise! 3w
51 likes1 stack add11 comments
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Billypar
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Mehso-so

Tough book to rate. Starts with a bizarre true crime story from 1970s Alabama involving a reverend who killed spouses and family members after taking out life insurance policies in their names. Then...a biography of Harper Lee. Eventually it gets to her work on what would have been her 2nd book, the true story of the murders. But the quick murder mystery start halts too abruptly: I enjoyed learning about Lee's life, but less would have been more.

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Billypar
The Little Prince | Antoine de Saint-Exupry
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My rule for the Cup of Unread Authors is I can't draw a new name until I've read one work from the previous name drawn. And the latest author could not be more different from the last pick of Hunter S. Thompson.
Never came across the tagged book growing up, but looking forward to it from all the love it gets.

thegirlwiththelibrarybag Love the idea! But personally not a fan of the Little Prince. 1mo
Billypar @thegirlwiththelibrarybag It's only my 4th pick, but I haven't had the best luck with my first three. My favorite was Pablo Neruda, and that one was good, not great. 1mo
chaoticgoodhufflepuff I like The Little Prince, but I love it more for the memories of my grandfather reading it to me and seeing the opera with my father. 1mo
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Tanisha_A Oh, yayyy! You will love it! 1mo
Billypar @chaoticgoodhufflepuff That's one of the great things about favorite childhood reads- you remember the experience along with the book. 1mo
Billypar @Tanisha_A I'm looking forward to it! 1mo
tournevis Little Prince is wonderful, but he's written so many others. I also like : 1mo
Billypar @tournevis Thanks for the rec! I'm always torn about whether to start with an author's most famous work. 1mo
tournevis @Billypar I think most of his works were translated. I think. 1mo
CaitlinR I love the idea of the Cup of Unread Authors! 4w
Billypar @CaitlinR The bags from the Strand are covered in famous authors, so I cut one of them up and put maybe 90% of the ones I haven't read into the cup. I'm looking forward to seeing what it chooses for me! 4w
tpixie @Billypar that‘s a great idea! If I ever get to strand maybe I‘ll try this technique!!! 2w
tpixie @chaoticgoodhufflepuff oh! The opera!!! I didn‘t know it existed!! This is my favorite childhood book it still warms my heart even just thinking about it. I‘m not certain why it touched me so and why it still does but it just so moves me. 🤴🏻 ✈️ ☄️ 🦊 🐍 🌹 2w
Billypar @tpixie I actually just finished it an hour ago! It's a beautiful book, I really enjoyed it. There is so much wisdom contained in the Little Prince's story. 2w
tpixie @Billypar I‘m so glad you enjoyed it!! Always remember what is essential! ✈️☄️🤴🏻🌹🦊🐍 2w
59 likes15 comments
review
Billypar
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Panpan

Thompson was 22 when he wrote this but couldn't get it published until he tried again nearly 40 years later in 1998. The sentences aren't bad, but they are put to poor use. The MC gets a job with the only English-language paper in Puerto Rico, and befriends two other talented yet underappreciated young journalists with violent tendencies. They are bonded by their contempt for the paper, Puerto Rico, and other people. Sexist, racist, and angry 👎

saresmoore Eww. 1mo
batsy Ugh. On the bright side, I love a great pan like this one 😁 1mo
Billypar @batsy Thanks! I won't lie, as I was finishing it, I was looking forward to writing the pan 🙄 1mo
43 likes3 comments
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Billypar
Swamplandia! | Karen Russell
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Pickpick

Swamplandia and The World of Darkness are two Florida theme parks in this novel, both given unflattering, behind the scenes portrayals, and somehow I still wanted to visit both. I think Russell's novel explores why we like places like this- how much our imagination can fill in the gaps of what is obviously phony. It's a coming of age novel focusing on the gator-wrestler children of Swamplandia, often funny but also equal parts disturbing 👇

Billypar The funny parts are very funny and the disturbing parts very disturbing (TW's under the spoiler mask below). This contrast highlights how drastically a child's world of imagination can clash with harsh reality. Russell also has a keen sense of how kids speak to each other and how they think. This book is a true journey- I finished it a week ago and I still feel like I'm in the Florida swamp with Ava. In my top 3 favorites of the year. 1mo
Billypar TW: a rape scene 1mo
Chrissyreadit Yes- I thought well written, but overall it was too disturbing for me to enjoy. 1mo
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Cathythoughts To stack 🤔or not to stack ... not sure 1mo
Billypar @Chrissyreadit I definitely get that- a rough read in many spots, but it doesn't seem like that starting out. 1mo
Billypar @Cathythoughts Unfortunately, I don't know if this is one you can know ahead of time if it's for you. Opinion is pretty divided and I can see why you can like her writing and even her stories but not this novel. Not to undermine my gushing opinion, but I don't want to mislead either ☺️ 1mo
ReadingEnvy I was first introduced to the characters in this via 1mo
Billypar @ReadingEnvy I've only read Vampires in the Lemon Grove, but look forward to trying St. Lucy's and the new one. Swamplandia is a great one to discuss and unpack- lots to digest! 1mo
52 likes4 stack adds8 comments
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Billypar
The Waves | Virginia Woolf
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Pickpick

A completely unique reading experience. We meet six friends as children and the perspective wanders between each of them, who think in poetic soliloquies about what they see in nature and how they see their own personalities compared to the others. We follow them into adulthood for select scenes and they do the same sort of thing with adult subjects. The title is well-chosen: Woolf is fascinated by the rhythms of daily life and its repetitions 👇

Billypar It's got some interesting observations about how different individuals respond to social expectations. The more extraverted characters wonder why they only feel like themselves around others, and the more withdrawn are alienated by social experiences- they immerse themselves in their work or imagination. I won't pretend I understood everything- I had to give up on some passages that weren't clicking- but i loved everything I could decipher. 1mo
JenniferP I also loved this book. I‘ve read all of Woolf‘s novels and I think it is the one I connected with most. Agree that I didn‘t understand every passage but the overall book still really worked for me. 1mo
Billypar @JenniferP This was my third- Orlando is one of my favorite novels, so that will be tough to top, but this was a close second. I hope to read them all eventually- will probably go with Mrs. Dalloway next. 1mo
JenniferP I‘d say To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway are my other favorites. Enjoy! 1mo
49 likes4 comments
review
Billypar
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Pickpick

Although this technically follows a linear timeline starting with the night her husband dies, Didion writes it in spirals, returning over and over to thoughts and memories she had at the time. In doing so, she captures the mental life of grief in exacting detail--all the guilt, detachment, and fantasies that the death is somehow temporary. That Didion was able to write with such insight and clarity about this experience is pretty incredible.

Cathythoughts Great review! You explain it very well 👍🏻♥️ 1mo
Tanisha_A Gosh! This is also super on my list. Love your review! 1mo
Leftcoastzen What a wonderful review of an amazing book. 1mo
52 likes4 comments
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Billypar
Swamplandia! | Karen Russell
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Is it possible this is the first time I've seen 'Na-uh' in print?
I have so many questions:
1) I'm not around kids much...do they still say this?
2) If the answer to #1 is yes, is there common advice to writers to avoid kid-slang? Is there even much other kid-slang that isn't just errors in grammar? I was trying to think of examples but I'm drawing a blank.
3) Is the accepted spelling for the common reply, 'Ya-huh'? Or 'Yuh-huh'?

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Billypar
Swamplandia! | Karen Russell
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#Star #AyUpAugust
Hilola Bigtree was a star alligator wrestler and the biggest draw for the gator island theme park of the title. But her death from cancer left the novel's 14-year-old protagonist Ava without a mother and the family's park in danger of bankruptcy. I'm only 77 pages in, but loving this one so far. A little uneasy about the somewhat low Litsy & Goodreads ratings though- hope it doesn't lose steam as it goes 🤞

Cathythoughts Sounds good. And great pic 👍🏻 2mo
saresmoore Love the photo, hated the book. I can‘t remember why, exactly, but it felt sort of contrived and gratuitous to me. Or maybe I was just resentful, being a Floridian. 🙃 2mo
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Cinfhen This book is odd, but wonderful all the same! I‘m glad you‘re enjoying 😊great pic 2mo
Billypar @Cathythoughts @saresmoore @Cinfhen Thanks- the photo is courtesy of my fiancee/commuting companion/personal paparazzi 📸😎 2mo
Billypar @saresmoore Ah, good to know- I think I'm through enough that I know I won't hate it, but it could still turn south, and I get what you mean about how it could be contrived in some ways. I do like a good polarizing book! 2mo
squirrelbrain Ooh personal paparazzi makes you sound soooo important! Great pic though! 2mo
saresmoore I do, too! Actually, how much you‘re enjoying it makes me want to give it another go. 😂 It‘s been a long time since I read it. 2mo
Billypar @squirrelbrain Ha- I know, makes me feel special. 2mo
Billypar @saresmoore I reread so rarely that I've never given a book I didn't like a 2nd chance, but I'd like to try that one day. One reading goal among so many though 😬 2mo
LeahBergen @saresmoore I didn‘t like it either. 🤫 2mo
44 likes13 comments
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Billypar
Persepolis | Marjane Satrapi
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Pickpick

#womenintranslationmonth gave me the kick I needed to finally read this. I fell in love with the movie, so I wasn't surprised to love the book too. Satrapi vividly imagines her childhood in a series of meaningful episodes that alternate between humor and horror. For all the heartache of seeing revolution and war through a child's eyes, the soul of the book is the love she and her parents exchange through it all. The artwork is creative perfection.

batsy Great review! I love this book ❤️ 2mo
Tanisha_A Favourite! Awesome review! 2mo
Billypar @batsy @Tanisha_A Thanks! I will definitely be trying the sequel soon. 2mo
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Billypar
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Final outcome of weekend project to double our bookshelves. Not pictured in the 'before' shot: additional piles of books that were multiplying around the apartment.
#tinyapartmentbiglibrary

vivastory Nice! Now think of all of the floor space you've cleared up for more! 😄 2mo
Billypar @vivastory Ha- truth! I had this crazy idea that I'd have extra shelf space for the collection to grow, but not so much. The floor is clear for now anyway 😀 2mo
Liz_M You have enough space to add two more shelves on top of the bookcases! 😁 2mo
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Billypar @Liz_M Brilliant! Then I can install one of those sliding ladders - I'll have to see if IKEA has those 😂 2mo
Suet624 It always feels good to get the books off the floor. 2mo
Billypar @Suet624 Definitely. I try to be artful in those impromptu stacks, but there's only so much you can do. 2mo
Suet624 Exactly. 2mo
46 likes7 comments
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Billypar
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I enjoyed Laing's approach to this part-memoir, part-mini bios on loneliness. It's difficult to do the topic justice without appearing self-pitying. Instead, her account of moving to NYC after a breakup and dealing with loneliness is frank and insightful. She threads her own experiences with those of artists like Hopper, Warhol, Wojnarowicz, and others. An interesting exploration into why a feeling that is so universal causes so much shame.

47 likes2 stack adds
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Billypar
The Collected Stories | Grace Paley
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I didn't have the easiest time with this collection, but I respected Paley's writing, very dense but funny too. The stories are slices of life, often involving reoccurring characters, a group of women from New York who are friends and activists, though the stories are less concerned with politics than their relationships. Despite the realist overtones, conversations often veer into strange philosophical territory that isn't easy to parse.

review
Billypar
A Small Place | Jamaica Kincaid
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"You are not an ugly person all the time; you are not an ugly person ordinarily; you are not an ugly person day to day."
Kincaid opens this extended essay by gently chiding a tourist in Antigua for their ignorance and follows with a description of how Antigua's history with colonialism and slavery led to its present issues with government corruption. The tone is punchy, sarcastic, and light, without making light of an important subject.

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Billypar
Notes of a Native Son | James Baldwin
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Pickpick

Excellent collection of essays. It's easy to understand the fame of the title essay, in which Baldwin reflects on his recently deceased father's life and their relationship. He is equally good at presenting lengthy, well-reasoned arguments and in providing lyrical descriptions of past events from his life. A lot of essays seem to be better at one or the other, but it's rare to find both working so well together.

Cathythoughts Brilliant photo 2mo
40 likes1 comment
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Billypar
Inquiring Minds (New Paltz, NY) | New Paltz, New York (Bookstore)
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4 of the books pictured are from yesterday's #bookhaul at Inquiring Minds, a very cute bookshop in New Paltz, NY with the kind of rambling shelves that leave you pleasantly disoriented. A nearby record shop had an impressive book selection, so I picked up Hopscotch there.
Photo was taken at our AirBNB, a home that was converted from a train station built in 1902. The sliding panel at the top was the ticket window.

Aimeesue Nice stack! 2mo
LauraBeth Trying to discern whether I‘m more wowed by the book selection or the Airbnb. 🤔 2mo
Billypar @Aimeesue I'm looking forward to them- wouldn't be surprised if one of them jumped my TBR line 😁 2mo
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Billypar @LauraBeth I can't vouch for the books yet, but this AirBNB is perfect for just about anyone on Litsy. It's full of antiques and rustic decor, artwork, and books naturally. The listing is under High Falls, NY. 2mo
Liz_M I'm so intimidated by Hopscotch. I look forward to your convincing me is worth it. 😁 2mo
Billypar @Liz_M Ha- we will see if I'm able to oblige 😬 I just finished what had been the most intimidating book on my TBR shelf (tagged) and even though the outcome was good, I'm going to need some less demanding fare for awhile! 2mo
Liz_M @Billypar I loved sort of floating along in that book, but I barely understood the plot, let alone any deeper meanings. 2mo
Billypar @Liz_M Yeah it reminded me more of poetry than prose, so I didn't feel too bad not understanding everything. Still sorting out my thoughts before I post my review. 2mo
Suet624 I read Hopscotch ages ago. I loved that when you‘re done reading it the author suggests reading the chapters in a different order. It makes for 2 stories in one. 2mo
Billypar @Suet624 Interesting- did you go back and re-read the 2nd way, and if so, did it change your view of it? I would be curious to try the other way, but will also likely be a little fatigued by the end! 2mo
Suet624 From what I remember it just added more nuance to it and was Intriguing because of the effort in put into making it work both ways. 2mo
Billypar @Suet624 Good to know: I'm definitely curious! 2mo
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Billypar
The Waves | Virginia Woolf
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To start Day 2 of our mini vacation in the Catskills, this was the lovely wooded backdrop to my morning reading. Woolf has an abundance of quotable poetry that would perfectly complement the scene, but I had to go with this passage of one of the children listening to a sermon in church. "His rough and hairy voice is like an unshaven chin" cracked me up ?

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Billypar
The White Tiger: A Novel | Aravind Adiga
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#Animal #AyUpAugust
A few of the fierce creatures lurking in my TBR shelf.. 😨🐊🐍🐯
@squirrelbrain @Cinfhen

Cinfhen 🙌🏻💗 2mo
RealBooks4ever 😍💜 2mo
squirrelbrain They are all rather fierce - nothing fluffy and cuddly there! 🤣 2mo
51 likes3 comments
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Billypar
Beloved | Toni Morrison
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Hauntings are often explained as a spirit returning because of an earthly trauma so intense that the sheer force of it propels the wronged soul back to life. This novel doesn't just reference that lore, it inhabits every part of it: how it feels for both the soul and the haunted. And Morrison also depicts how the living can be said to be haunted by their own past traumas, in this case, those suffered while enslaved.👇

Billypar These are not contained by flashback chapters, but they interrupt the present story in the same way that memories intrude in daily life. The traumas appear in fragments that haunt the characters, who fight to shut them out. The poetry of this novel is so powerful that I constantly found myself rereading passages, and the full meaning would reveal itself slowly, but with a ghostly force in its own right that mirrored the events being described. 2mo
Cathythoughts 👍🏻♥️💔 2mo
cherinium I really like the way you describe the memories in this book. I really struggled to get through this book because of these interruptions. Thinking of it as you have described actually helps it to make more sense to me. Thank you! 💕 2mo
Billypar @cherinium Thanks! ☺️ It's tough to do her style justice in a short review, but she's an author I can't read slowly enough or I miss things (and inevitably still do even when going slow). I don't reread books often but I hope I read this one again. 2mo
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Billypar
Beloved | Toni Morrison
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I'll join the chorus in mourning Toni Morrison's passing, and remembering her incredible career. She is truly one of the all-time greats of literature. I can say that with confidence after just 4.5 books of hers: I can't wait to read them all. I'm about halfway through Beloved and am completely under its spell.

Cathythoughts ♥️♥️💔 2mo
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Billypar
Beloved | Toni Morrison
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Denver being a bit of a #MardyBum . But it's understandable, after losing ghostly company to her mom's new boyfriend.
#AyUpAugust
@squirrelbrain @Cinfhen

squirrelbrain 👍😁Good one! 2mo
Cinfhen Nice find!! 2mo
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Billypar
Alice in Wonderland | Lewis Carroll
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#CryMeARiver #AyUpAugust

A bit on the nose, I know. Though it's described as just a pool- maybe she would have had to shed a few more, or have grown even larger to deliver a river? 😧🏊

@squirrelbrain @Cinfhen

squirrelbrain So clever! 😁👍 3mo
KarenUK 👏👏👏👏👏 3mo
Cinfhen 😂♥️ 3mo
38 likes3 comments
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Billypar
The Savage Detectives | Roberto Bolao
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A long, disorienting novel about members of an obscure group of young poets in Mexico called the 'visceral realists' that is as unique a reading experience as you can hope for in a novel. It's got an odd structure- three parts, 1 and 3 from the diary of a newcomer to the poetry group from 1975-1976, and then part 2 455 pages from countless POV's over two decades (1976-1996), all being interviewed about the 2 young founders of the group.👇

Billypar Some of Part 1 and the first half of Part 2 struck me as dull and a bit pedantic, but the writing consistently made me curious about its direction. Part 2 really picks up steam as it goes- some narrators have stories to tell that are compelling as standalones, and also serve larger explorations of heady territory that is difficult to sum up, but about how an artist's identity is glimpsed by what they say about art and what others say about them.👇 3mo
Billypar And these questions often percolate in long meandering journeys on the road, that figure prominently throughout the novel, culminating in a thrilling third act. Not sold all the time while reading it but I was by the end- still turning it over in my brain. 🏜️🚗🏜️ 3mo
Suet624 That‘s one well-read book. Dogeared and all. 2mo
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Billypar @Suet624 I got it used and it had water damage too. At one point in the book one of the characters talks about reading in the shower and I wondered if that gave the previous owner ideas 😀 2mo
the_real_archimboldi One of those books that comes back to you. The images and ideas appear shaper in your mind after they‘ve had a while to sit and contextualize. Belano is a master of writing unsettling stuff. One of the of scenes my mind always returns to is when Joaquin is describing a person he knew that he thought couldn‘t speak. It turns out the guy could speak but was just pulling some kind of twisted trick all that time on Joaquin. Creepy. 2mo
Billypar @the_real_archimboldi It was my first Belano and I'm looking forward to reading more. You're right that he does veer into the unsettling, especially with a character like Joaquim: you're never quite sure how strong his grip on reality is! 2mo
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Billypar
Love Medicine: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
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This felt more like a series of linked short stories than a novel. Although there are many common circumstances between the two families joined by marriages and adoptions, there is no overarching plot binding the different accounts. It doesn't need one: each chapter stands on its own- the writing can be dreamy, comic, or tragic, and it builds to intense places. Erdrich is 3/3 for me, and I can't wait to follow these characters into other novels.

jveezer Sooooooo good‼️📖🤓❤️ 3mo
Suet624 This was the first book of hers that I read many years ago. When I finished it I read it again immediately. I wrote up a family tree along the way. It holds a very special spot in my heart. 2mo
Billypar @Suet624 I didn't read it again, but after I finished I couldn't stop sifting back through it and looking for any connections between the stories I might have missed. I can certainly see why it's a favorite! 2mo
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Billypar
Closer | Patrick Marber
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#SweetJane #LilithJuly
First thing I thought of for 'Jane': I've only seen the film adaptation, but would love to see a production. Great performances all around in the film, but am I alone in thinking that Alice is the only one of the bunch I'd actually like to meet in real life? The rest bugged me for different reasons, but they were still good characters.
@Cinfhen @KarenUK @kindalim

Cinfhen Need to check out book & film!! 3mo
KarenUK What a great choice...... such a good play/movie.... but yes, interesting but not exactly likable characters! 😂 3mo
39 likes2 comments
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Billypar
Moonglow | Michael Chabon
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Lots of jokes before page 1, huh Mr. Chabon?
This isn't quite as metafictional as it sounds going in, but it is a phony memoir in the vein of Roth's Operation Shylock. The key difference is, instead of Chabon going on some kind of crazy adventure, he's relaying #thestory of his grandparents, as told to him by his dying grandfather. Like the other Chabon's I've read, I didn't gobble this up, just savored every word. Thanks for the rec @Cinfhen !

KarenUK I love the sound of this.... thanks for sharing. Stacked! 📚 3mo
Cinfhen I kind of got lost in the world of his grandfather ~ this was a strange one but I really liked it. I‘m glad it was a pick for you. 3mo
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Billypar @KarenUK Hope you like it! 3mo
Billypar @Cinfhen There's definitely many strange and memorable moments to get lost in. I also feel like he really nailed the voice of a certain kind of surly male personality of that generation- some parts reminded me of my own grandfather. 3mo
Cinfhen Same!! His grandpa reminded me a bit of Leo G. from 3mo
Suet624 This book sits on my shelf winking at me. It's coming close to the time that I read it. 3mo
Billypar @Suet624 That's an apt metaphor for this one- it winks at you while you read it too! 😉 3mo
Aimeesue 😂😂😂 3mo
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Billypar
Mr. Fox | Helen Oyeyemi
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#Top6Reads @Cinfhen
My favorites of the year so far- I got bored of the usual stacks so I made a monument of my fiction picks, next to a nonfiction audio tower. I think Mr. Fox is my favorite, followed by Invisible Cities and A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon.
Honorable mentions to Station Eleven and Stiff.

Leftcoastzen Garp!😂👏 4mo
Cinfhen I like your use of honorable mentions 😂😂😂🙌🏻❣️ 4mo
Cinfhen And nice book tower 🥰 4mo
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Cathythoughts Station Eleven ♥️♥️♥️♥️👏🏻 4mo
BarbaraBB 💜💜😂 3mo
Billypar @Cinfhen Yeah, the honorable mentions are kind of a compromise to avoid making hard choices 😀 3mo
keepingupwiththepenguins Both Stiff, and I Am I Am I Am, are high on my TBR - they sound fantastic! 😍 😍 3mo
Billypar @keepingupwiththepenguins They are indeed- hope you enjoy! 3mo
Suet624 No one has mentioned Constellation of Vital Phenomena yet! I simply cannot adequately express my deep and abiding love and appreciation for this book. i am careful who I give the book to because I want them to love it as much as I do. His other works are quite good as well. 3mo
Billypar @Suet624 So true- I loved everything about it, and I read going in with high expectations already. I think I want to try this collection next. 3mo
Suet624 That book is really good too. I would wait just a little bit before reading it though. It's very similar but different than Constellation. You may need a tiny break from the relentless heart-tugging. I can't wait to read whatever his next book is. 3mo
Billypar @Suet624 Ah, good to know. I only read a few story collections a year, so it will probably take some time to get to it. He does do heart-tugging well! 3mo
Suet624 The stories are interconnected so you still feel like you‘re reading a novel. 3mo
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Billypar
Invisible Cities | Italo Calvino
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#GetOuttheMap #LillithJuly
There are no maps for the cities Marco Polo describes to Kublai Khan in this dreamy, unconventional masterpiece. His tales of city after imaginary city are beautifully written, but also feel like philosophical mysteries to solve. Not sure what Calvino had in mind, but it felt like a struggle to grasp all the dichotomies the world gets split into, and what they share in common.
@KarenUK @Cinfhen

KarenUK What beautiful illustrations! Just gorgeous 😍😍😍 4mo
Cinfhen Strongly agree with my lovely cohost 💜 4mo
Billypar @KarenUK @Cinfhen They're from a box of postcards that we decided to hang on our wall- every now and then they find there way into a Litsy post (as is the case for most of our apartment 🙂). 4mo
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Billypar
Heart of Darkness | Conrad, Joseph
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#GoodnightSaigon #WanderingJune
I have many humbling moments when it comes to literary stuff. This novella came to mind for today's prompt because of the film adaptation, and I needed Wikipedia to explain that the location was changed in the film...and that Conrad died about four decades before the Vietnam war 😳 (does this also mean the novel lacks a surfing aficionado U.S. army lieutenant who loves the smell of napalm in the morning? 😂).

BarbaraBB Isn‘t that Apocalypse Now? 4mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Yes- clearly more of an 'inspired by' adaptation. I didn't realize this before, but apparently there was also a 1993 adaptation with the same name and original setting starring Tim Roth and John Malkovich (!) 4mo
Leftcoastzen Charlie Don‘t Surf !Love the Book and Apocalypse Now. 4mo
Billypar @Leftcoastzen Robert Duvall is so gifted at playing the worst kind of American male characters- I'm thinking of both Kilgore and his role in Network as the arrogant and combative (putting it mildly) network executive, Frank Hackett. 4mo
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Billypar
The Blindfold | Siri Hustvedt
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Mehso-so

After being blown away by What I Loved and The Blazing World, my expectations may have been a tad high going in. This has 4 parts that take place while the MC Iris is in grad school, but they aren't chronological and feel more like linked short stories. For me, Pt 1 was the most interesting and it was a little disappointing that nothing from it reemerges later. Lots of intriguing ideas, but some parts dragged and it didn't quite hang together.

Suet624 Oh, that's too bad. I've liked the ones I've read of hers. 3mo
Billypar @Suet624 I'd hasten to add that her 'not so great' is still probably better than many authors' best. 3mo
Suet624 Good point. 3mo
37 likes3 comments
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Billypar
Midtown Scholar Bookstore | Harrisburg, PA (Bookstore)
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Post 2/2 The basement level boasts large historical, academic, and children's sections. Interspersed with the winding shelves are local art pieces and displays of local artifacts with historical notes. As if all this weren't enough there is a rare book room with all kinds of gorgeous old tomes (including the Daisy Miller pictured). AND an entire shop selling prints of lithograph and woodcut art where we got the top three pictures👇

Billypar And naturally, we got a sizable bookhaul: the top three are my fiancee's and the bottom three are mine. If you're ever even somewhat near Harrisburg, be sure to make the trek. I lived in Pennsylvania the first 24 years of my life and am just discovering this now 😃 4mo
LeahBergen Wow! It sounds like such a great bookshop! 4mo
Cathythoughts Sounds like a great discovery 👍🏻 4mo
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Tanisha_A Oh the thrill! 4mo
batsy Oooh 😍 4mo
Theaelizabet Sounds terrific! 4mo
53 likes7 comments