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brownekr

brownekr

Joined September 2016

Librarian, knitter, nerd.
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The Iliac Crest | Cristina Rivera Garza
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Yesterday was a snow day (!), so I tore through 3 new/upcoming books:
--Bernice Yeung's IN A DAY'S WORK, about sexual violence against immigrant women in agriculture & domestic work;
--Sandhya Menon's FROM TWINKLE WITH LOVE, which is a delight!;
--the fifth Penderwicks book, which was lovely in many ways & disappointing in one.

So now I'm back to this weirdo, which I started a while ago but really need to concentrate on. Creepy and discomfiting.

7 likes3 comments
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Well, shoot. Just hanging on to this. (from an ARC.)

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I'm pretty sure I've read this particular essay, or a version of it, online--it's about the class Chee took from Annie Dillard. But still, out of nowhere, this paragraph caught me tonight.

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My Friday night reading assortment feels like a 1990s "part of a balanced breakfast!" commercial. We have fun.

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Station Eleven: A novel | Emily St. John Mandel
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Making my way through my TBR; a fellow curler loaned me her copy of STATION ELEVEN when I said I hadn't read it yet, and I guess she'll want it back eventually!

The beginning of chapter 10, which maps out the myriad grudges among the Traveling Symphony, is my most favourite thing as a former band kid, all the more because it ends with one final dig at flutes. (Ugh, flutes.) (Some of my best friends played the flute, but as a group...!)

SheilaChew Love that book! I read it then listened to the audio. So good! 2y
12 likes1 comment
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Poppies of Iraq | Lewis Trondheim, Brigitte Findakly
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Front: snow day reading, morning edition

Back: three (!) tote bags full of library books that need to be returned, foot of snow or not.

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We Were Witches | Ariel Gore
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This book is about 15% too weird for me so far, but in a way I'm into. #queerbooks

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...and just like that, back to another year of committee reading. (And it's my LAST before I roll off this committee!)

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Exit West: A Novel | Mohsin Hamid
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And, with EXIT WEST, my madcap catchup #tob18 reading might be done, unless I can track down GOODBYE VITAMIN this weekend. I do have THE IDIOT on hand to read for round 2.

Right now, I think (maybe?) my personal order of preference is
Exit West
Sing, Unburied, Sing
Fever Dream*
Pachinko
The Animators
The Book of Joan
So Much Blue
The End of Eddy
Idaho
Lucky Boy

*not pictured--already returned

UrsulaMonarch Wow great stack!!! 2y
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The End of Eddy | Edouard Louis
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Mehso-so

Last-minute #tob18 reading continues.

I didn't really care for this one, but I'm interested to talk it out. There were so many strange sentence constructions and syntax choices; I'm not sure whether they're awkward translation or an accurate reflection of the French text. (The author's also a philosopher so it COULD BE ANYTHING.)

That said, this passage floored me, because it puts a careful pin in something very adolescent and true. #queerbooks

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Idaho | Emily Ruskovich
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Mehso-so

It was fine. A very first-novel novel; a very Iowa Writers' Workshop novel.

I read this immediately after finishing Jen Sookfong Lee's THE CONJOINED, which I read after Samanta Schweblin's FEVER DREAM, so I'm ready to read something a little bit more cheerful now. Maybe without Complicated Mothers and dead children.

(I am trying to catch up on #tob18 reading, though, so "cheerful" seems unlikely.)

brownekr Also mentioned: 2y
brownekr Also mentioned: 2y
11 likes2 comments
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Wicked Wonders | Ellen Klages
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This morning's book and breakfast combination.

I bought WICKED WONDERS in Asheville on my way to my parents' earlier this winter as kind of a gentle queer talisman because I had recently finished and adored Klages's PASSING STRANGE. It sat around for a few months because I was afraid it wouldn't live up to my magical hopes.

BUT IT'S SO GOOD; I only have a couple of stories left and I'll miss it when I'm done.

brownekr WELP, should've stopped where I was; Woodsmoke is such a wonderfully atmospheric coming-of-age story completely covered in the pseudo-Indian traditions of white American midcentury summer camps, and then it has a cheap gutpunch of an ending that, in stopping where it does, utterly robs a character of her actual girlhood. 2y
10 likes1 comment
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We Are Okay | Nina LaCour
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I keep feeling like I need to reread WE ARE OKAY over and over. (I read it for the first time a year ago and gave reread it twice since.)

What I really want, though, are recommendations for adult fiction (not YA; I discover that already for work) where queer women fall in love with one another and are mostly happy. Help me out, #queerbooks readers?

My platonic ideal here is probably something like Emma Donoghue's LANDING.

swishandflick I recommend The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo 💚 2y
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I've been in a real reading slump the past couple of weeks--probably helped along by some traveling and then some post-travel illness.

But I've still got Scaachi Koul's essay collection in my bedside bookshelf, so I'm seeing if I can chip away at it and get back on track.

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Dreadnought | April Daniels
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With all the talk of being invisible, mythmaking, secrets, hidden truths, "I don't believe people ever change, but I've changed", etc., this is a more effective reading/listening combo than I expected.

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As the Crow Flies | Melanie Gillman
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I read the first 2/3 of this as a web comic but finally bought the book today! I have really loved the recent wave of church camp books, and I'm dazzled by what Mel Gillman does with coloured pencils.

BookInMyHands This is on my list! 2y
9 likes1 comment
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I'm impressed that the local coffee shop gave me a plate that matches the book cover almost exactly!

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Misfit City | Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith, Kurt Lustgarten
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Finished my #lastbookof2017 right before midnight. Happy new year and best wishes for 2018, everyone! 🎉

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Alias Grace: A Novel | Margaret Atwood
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Just the traditional reading-about-Canadian-murderesses while we wait for the rest of the family to arrive for Christmas.

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Hooray, I'm actually around for #friyayintro this week!

🍪At Christmas, my favourites are pfeffernusse.
🚗I'm usually the traveler, and I like it!
📚I'm at about 250 right now and still reading... should finish LOVE, HATE, AND OTHER FILTERS today.
⁉️Have never (!) seen Home Alone. Our Christmas pair are Charlie Brown Christmas and the original Grinch.
🏆This year, I asked for curling equipment! And world peace, of course.

@jesshowbooks

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Pickpick

Today's reading can pretty much be summarized so far as "families: they're complicated."

SandyW Hah! My brother says that if family's involved, alcohol must be consumed. (I should probably be offended, but 🍸🍷🍹) 2y
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I love a religious-seeking memoir from time to time, even though I'm not seeking myself.

It surprises me that Anjali never really gets into service and mutual aid as an aspect of belief-engagement. Her whole search is focused much more on mystical spirituality than religious community, which is really opposite to my own priorities about religion and faith.

So this isn't a review! The book is... fine? But I'll be thinking about it for a while.

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A Hope Divided | Alyssa Cole
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Read most of this last night, finished it after running errands today.

Overall: engaging and a good level of suspense for a war romance. I appreciate war books that don't make combat seem easy, or pretend a region was a monolith of support and sentiment, or that defecting was easy.

That said: I used to live very close to where this is set, so there were some TINY localisms that seemed weird to me. But I don't know--they may be period-accurate.

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Well, this was where I decided to start with my reading tonight, and a good choice it was. Trying to decide which of my parents to buy a copy for...

LitsyGetsGraphic Join us in the discussion about this book on 4/29 2y
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Delighted by today's library haul; utterly unsure where to start.

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Whittling down my "started & put down" TBR. Bought this one over the summer, stopped because it was A Lot. It's certainly not any less of A Lot now? I'm about 150 pages in & wondering how seriously we're going to take Andrew's HS experience as a parallel predatory situation.

It is funny to me how clearly Avalon Hills is an "American" community written by a Canadian. Every time the text mentions that they're in Connecticut, I'm a little surprised.

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I'm not good at finishing short story collections but I finished this one! I don't generally choose horror, but "the horror of being a queer woman with a body" is an exception.

Favourites: The Husband Stitch, The Resident, Inventory

Special mention for being its absolute own weird thing: Especially Heinous

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The First Rule of Punk | Celia C. Perez
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Last book of September, sneaking in just under the wire, and a TRUE DELIGHT.

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Tove Jansson: Work and Love | Tuula Karjalainen
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Style icon: Tove Jansson, very pose-y young painter.

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Tonight's book & music combo.

I'm not crying; you're crying.

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HA! I was a very specific kid who was, for a while, VERY CLEAR that my favourite colour wasn't "blue," it was CERULEAN, the best blue. A pleasure to find a kindred spirit!

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So I'm generally skeptical of self-help books and the writing style in this one is driving me up a wall, but I'm reading it because Sarah Wendell spoke well of it and I mostly trust her.

If nothing else, this overbuyer/underbuyer dichotomy is useful in naming how I differ from my dad, who's otherwise VERY similar to me in personality.

(Me: does not own an umbrella.
My dad: owns every gadget ever made.)

Jess7 I straddle both worlds, but when I get into something I tend to be an #overbuyer. For the longest time I only borrowed books from the library (and I still do get most books there), but I have an ever increased TBR list of books that I have purchased as a kindle deal bc I'm on a kick with it. 📚🤣 2y
brownekr Haha, @Jess7 , I don't buy ebooks AT ALL because I know it would be an endless TBR hole for me. (I do read library ebooks and already have that problem there!) 2y
2 likes2 comments
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Akata Warrior | Nnedi Okorafor
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This beaut showed up in a committee submissions box today and I simultaneously want to read it all immediately and want to dole it out over weeks. Aughghghhhhhhhhhh.

Possibly my most anticipated book of the year--I love Akata Witch A LOT.

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Rock Star #1 | Kelly Starling Lyons
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a) I always enjoy early readers about kids with Very Kid hobbies (in this case, looking for rocks)

b) SUPER into the use of spot purple in Vanessa Brantley-Newton's illustrations

EchoLogical My daughter picked this one up from her school‘s book fair and I loved it. 2y
4 likes1 comment
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Tarry This Night | Kristyn Dunnion
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Over the past few years, I've read A LOT of unchecked-patriarch dystopias. I also know a fair amount about the Bible, real Biblical patriarchy movements, and NRMs.

My thoughts on this aren't fully formed, still. But:
--we get a lot of books that spend a lot of time just wallowing in absolute grotesqueness
--TO ME, the transition from "pretty okay" to "cannibalism and child rape" is the most compelling part. Show me THAT, or show me post-escape.

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Weekend lakeside reading:

"it's an exciting time to be a vulture lover."

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Passing Strange | Ellen Klages
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I haven't posted #readingstats in a while, so here's a summer summary!

I had a BUNCH of assigned stuff to read this summer, mostly by white ladies, plus I got on a Louise Penny kick for a while. I am very proud of myself for slightly exceeding a book-a-day average in June!

CouronneDhiver Woohoo! This is great 2y
9 likes1 comment
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Sunday morning #queerbooks and breakfast on a cloudy day.

(It takes a certain queer book to introduce AN ENTIRE HOUSE OF RUGBY PLAYERS. 😉)

MrBook Nice! That looks yum! 😁👍🏻 2y
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Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America | Roger Tory Peterson, Virginia Marie Peterson
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Well, now I want to incorporate "Assiduously I consulted them all and intentionally ignored none" into every piece of research I write.

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Mehso-so

I KEEP READING THESE AND THEY KEEP IRRITATING ME.

--You can't use a word as a Caesar Shift key if it has repeated letters.

--The whole "Clara decides whether to confront Fortin" plot was so drawn out and vaguely useless.

--The whole MYSTERY was pretty convoluted; I get the impression it continues in the next book? But holy smokes.

--I don't really care about the new villagers?

BUT I'LL ALMOST CERTAINLY GET TO THE NEXT ONE, eventually.

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Well, I guess maybe the "Ruth's been cribbing from other poets" plot I thought I had seen foreshadowed throughout the series is never coming? (I caught it for sure in the second book because I know Margaret Atwood's "A Sad Child" almost by heart.)

Maybe don't steal moderately well-known poems to ascribe to your characters? Or does this only bug me?

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Pickpick

Another generally interesting mystery but UGH LOUISE PENNY, stop doing this thing where everyone in the scene can see who "the murderer" is but the narrator plays coy. I DO NOT LIKE IT.

I also thought that the resolution to the emotional family plot was weak, but I liked learning more about Peter.

(I had to skip The Cruellest Month for now because none of my libraries had copies available.)

brownekr This isn't SUPER spoilery, but I'm choosing to read Bean as some kind of nonbinary since they're clearly old enough to be forcefully asserting their gender if that were important to them. It didn't seem like Marianna was constantly policing their speech. So, stealth #queerbooks ? 3y
Rcoco Totally agree with your criticism about the narrator. Not sure what “nonbinary” means in this context....doesn‘t identify with male or female? 🤷🏼‍♀️ 2y
1 like2 comments
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Blackout | Connie Willis
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I have checked this out from libraries SEVERAL times and never read more than about twenty pages--I generally like Connie Willis and wanted to have time to really dig in. A rainy week at the cottage was exactly what I needed--almost done! Went on a long canoe trip today, so I'm ready to chill and finish it.

My one concern is that ALL CLEAR wasn't in at the library when I got this one...

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Pickpick

I think I mostly liked this one? But
a) I could've had 100% less of the narrator telling us how "grotesque" the victim's fat daughter looked;
b) I'm still waiting to find out what the hell is going on with "Ruth's" poetry;
c) I haaaaaaaate the thing in the picture above, where things intentionally fade out/elide conversations we should be hearing that contain crucial information.

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Swing It, Sunny | Jennifer L Holm
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This started out REALLY disjointed and seemed like just a collection of Very Seventies Things. It did cohere into a couple of storylines by about halfway through, but I think the first Sunny book was stronger overall.

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Once and for All | Sarah Dessen
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Snagged this one at the library today--I'm pretty sure I've read every Sarah Dessen book. Some have taught me some problematic stuff--I loved KEEPING THE MOON maybe too much? because there was some Fantasy Of Being Thin stuff going on there (same, SAINT ANYTHING). And the Perfect Boy in THIS LULLABY was suddenly really creepy when I got to grad school.

But she taught me about North Carolina before I lived there, and I'll probably always go back.

Notafraidofwords I didn't realize the problematic stuff until later on in my life. Lol. 3y
brownekr @Notafraidofwords oh, same! And in many ways it was good practice in the art of realizing a fave is problematic. She's great at knowing what t(w)eens will connect to. 3y
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Every Heart a Doorway | Seanan McGuire
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Pickpick

Reread, prompted by reading DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES. I definitely noticed Jack and Jill a lot more this time, and I think my mental images of them had changed quite a bit.

Still a near-perfect execution of many things, including the specific adolescent/young adult world of having parents who want their "real child" back, which you know you can never actually be.

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Coming Up for Air | Miranda Kenneally
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Pickpick

Most importantly: I am jealous of a town-wide pajama party.

(Light spoilers, but it's romance, these are the tropes)
This is maybe the first YA I've read that's both friends-to-lovers AND sex-to-feelings?

An interesting read after AMERICAN HOOKUP, since Maggie's decision is motivated in large part by the belief that EVERYONE IN COLLEGE HOOKS UP.

I also always appreciate that Kenneally's teen athletes spend ALL THEIR TIME sportsing and eating.

brownekr Oh, also: for a book about a girl's sexual initiation (by a more experienced male friend), I appreciated that it was pretty free of gross virginity-culture stuff about him being ~~~her first~~~ and ~~~her only.~~~ 3y
4 likes1 comment
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Eliza and Her Monsters | Francesca Zappia
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Mehso-so

Most of this was... fine. I'm still not sure whether most of the Monstrous Sea inserts were supposed to be an image from the comic plus text from Wallace's transcription, or Eliza's notes, or the comic itself (which then would be so text-heavy it wouldn't need a novelization?).

In the real world, I would be FURIOUS about Wallace getting a novelization of Eliza's original work published.

But the thing that disappointed me is spoilered in comments

brownekr I had really, really hoped we were done with the YA trope of "my boyfriend will come around and love me again if he thinks I'm going to commit suicide and then has to realize I'm worthwhile." It's a GARBAGE mechanism for reconciliation, particularly in a book that was otherwise caring in its depiction of mental health ups and downs. (edited) 3y
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Brave | Svetlana Chmakova
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"I'm just going to run in the library to pick up a movie," I said.