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jesseastin

jesseastin

Joined December 2016

Trying to make a dent in my ever-growing "books I want to read" list.
review
jesseastin
The Wednesday Wars | Gary D. Schmidt
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Pickpick

I just finished this absolutely wonderful book. It follows a 7th grade boy during 1967-68 and his friends, family and especially a teacher/mentor. It‘s the Vietnam War, Shakespeare, cream puffs, rats and just finding out the person you‘re meant to be. I absolutely loved it and the Shakespeare references. (I‘m trying to be clever and illustrate it with a photo I took of Juliet‘s balcony in Verona last year.) Read this one, please.

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jesseastin
Pay Attention, Carter Jones | Gary D. Schmidt
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This is a humorous and poignant middle reader level book about a 12 yo boy and his family going through some really tough issues when a very British butler shows up on their very American, chaotic doorstep. (Think Mary Poppins, without the magical bits.) I especially loved how the kids adopted the Butler‘s speech patterns.There is a lot of cricket, both being played and used symbolically, to deal with loss, responsibility.A wonderful read.

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jesseastin
Everyone Worth Knowing | Lauren Weisberger
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Mehso-so

I actually made it through this book, hopeful it would improve. I‘ve definitely enjoyed other books by this author, but this one seemed like a light effort. While it was kind of fun to imagine a party lifestyle of a NYC event planner, the characters were very shallow and one dimensional, even the protagonist and her friend. I got really impatient with the repeated stereotypical descriptions of her gay uncle and hippie parents.

jesseastin Note—basil martini from vacation is the closest I can get to trying to illustrate a partying event planner lifestyle.😄 3mo
6 likes1 comment
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jesseastin
Black and Blue Magic | Zilpha K Snyder
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I always get a bit nostalgic for books from my youth after spending time wandering bookshelves at Powell‘s bookstore, so I reread for the umpteenth time, this favorite from my childhood, on my kindle as I flew back from Portland. It‘s a sweet story about Harry Houdini Marco, clumsiest of twelve year olds, who lives in a boardinghouse run by his widowed mom in San Francisco. It‘s about a magical summer,good deeds, and a prophecy. So good.

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jesseastin
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We drove a carful of teenage girls (niece and friends) down to a bubble tea place in the Pearl which conveniently was right near Powell‘s bookstore, so I got to visit my favorite bookstore two days in a row. Picked up a used Sophie Kinsella novel for a few bucks and smiled at this lunchbox before taking the teens home. Back to KC tomorrow.

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jesseastin
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A trip to Portland, Oregon ALWAYS includes a stop at Powell‘s, my favorite bookstore. I was there with one of my sisters, a voracious reader with definite opinions on what she reads. I picked up a used copy of something and wrote out a list of another two dozen “to read” titles. I don‘t have suitcase space to lug home books this time, but it‘s always great to browse. I hope I can manage another visit today.

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jesseastin
An Anonymous Girl | Sarah Pekkanen, Greer Hendricks
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Ooh, this book just dropped as available into my library ebook loans after waiting something like 7 weeks (!) on hold. Is it that good or does my library just not have enough copies in circulation? Have you read it?

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jesseastin
Origin | Dan Brown
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I enjoyed this one, even though the Robert Langdon books are incredibly formulaic. I like that the author truly researches the art and architecture he has his hero dashing past and I find myself repeatedly looking up the different art pieces and sites he mentions, but he definitely has a set pattern for his characters. (Thankfully, Langdon‘s Harris tweed wasn‘t mentioned umpteen times this book.) Less puzzles and codes, but still a fun read.

8 likes1 stack add
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jesseastin
Everyone Worth Knowing | Lauren Weisberger
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Ugh. I‘m about halfway through this book and I can‘t stand any of the characters. Talk about superficial, unlikeable types. The protagonist is killing me. She‘s got this little dog that I don‘t think she‘s taken outside of her Manhattan apartment for a walk once on the 200 pages I‘ve read. She‘s got a crush on a total jerk of a man. She knows he‘s a complete ass, yet because he‘s incredibly handsome, she excuses it. Ugh. Ugh.

akckitty This sounds particularly bad.... Lol 4mo
akckitty I'm all for a good "hate to love" romances but no, this just sounds like someone being irresponsible and superficial to like a jerk just bc he's nice to look at. Lol 4mo
jesseastin @akckitty And yet, I‘m still reading it. I‘ve liked this author‘s previous books, but these characters, even the heroine, are so awful. 4mo
7 likes3 comments
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jesseastin
Origin | Dan Brown
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Forgive me for this photo,if you have spider phobias, but I was so tickled that the opening scene of this book is at the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum. I visited this museum two years ago and it was fun to read about some of the modern art exhibits, including Louise Bourgeois‘ giant spider “Maman.” No photos from that museum on my phone, but a similar statue from the less exotic locale of Bentonville, Arkansas, taken a few weeks ago at Crystal Bridges.

TheReadingMermaid That is so cool! 4mo
9 likes1 comment
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jesseastin
Inferno | Brown, Dan
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I‘ve been working my way through the Robert Langdon books and while they‘re a bit formulaic and repetitive with the protagonist characterization, I love the puzzles and “let‘s save the world” excitement. I really love the art history and architecture research and I‘m constantly looking up pieces the author refers to. I especially love that I get to revisit places I‘ve been in my travels, in this book Florence and Istanbul.

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jesseastin
Front Desk | Kelly Yang
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This is a fantastic middle reader book covering a timely subject of immigration. Mia‘s family leaves their professional jobs in China and try to make a new life in the US in the 1990‘s, with little support and poverty. It is remarkably upbeat, even with their challenges and the scariness of the loan sharks. I especially enjoyed the author‘s notes at the end.

10 likes2 stack adds
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jesseastin
Short | Holly Goldberg Sloan
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Pickpick

Middle reader book written in an observation point of view. The voice of Julia is entertaining, as are her observations of the adults and cast of a summer stock play she participates in.

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jesseastin
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I‘m only about halfway through this book and the library is going to grab back my ecopy tonight and then there‘s a four week wait to get it back. I‘ve been distracted with YA books, I guess. I‘m enjoying this book. It‘s written in a very casual style, like a blog. It‘s not about cleaning or organizing, but getting rid of the junk, whether you have five minutes or a long weekend to devote. It reinforces the “less is more” idea in a workable way.

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jesseastin
The Upside of Unrequited | Becky Albertalli
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A book about high school love crushes for Valentine‘s Day, during my current “read all the kids and YA” books phase. This is a cute and funny one, with a refreshing open view. I have to admit, the inappropriate grandma was probably my favorite character. I loved the strong family bonds and the exploration of how sibling relationships ebb and flow when boyfriends/girlfriends enter in.

8 likes1 stack add
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jesseastin
Leah on the Offbeat | Becky Albertalli
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I feel like I‘ve made the reading transition from the slew of middle readers to YA books. One of these days I might actually get back to reading grown up books😄.This is in the “Love, Simon” series, with the same characters, but told from Simon‘s friend, Leah‘s point of view during senior year. Leah is prickly, socially awkward, and honestly less easy to like immediately.Funny prom dinner reservation scene. I enjoyed this one.

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jesseastin
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It took me a while to like this book,probably because the protagonist is so judgmental,I wanted to drop kick her,the people are so dysfunctional,and there‘s no positive family interaction.I may also be coming at my views as a mom,not a teenage girl.I‘m very glad I stuck with it,though.The cover art is gorgeous,there are some wonderful descriptive passages in the writing.I really enjoyed it,even though the characters could all use some therapy

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jesseastin
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This is the third middle reader book I‘ve read in a row, plus I‘m re re listening to a Harry Potter book. I guess it‘s where my head is at this moment. Sweet second book about the Vanderbeeker family in Harlem. Not an original storyline, but the family is loving and it makes me miss all my siblings. Plus, as a lifelong knitter, I was smitten with all the knitting throughout the story. Ten yo boy knitter? Yarn bombings? Endearing.

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jesseastin
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Pickpick

My friend, a middle school librarian, recommended this good book. It starts with two brothers who trade their baby sister for a bag of fireworks. The story is told through the eyes of one of the brothers, who hero worships the cool and mysterious Styx Malone, overlooking his obvious lies and questionable morals in his admiration. This is a wonderful book for middle readers, well written, funny and a bit poignant.

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jesseastin
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A ten year old recommended this book to me, so I got it out from the library. This is a sweet middle readers book, kind of a Little Women modern day family with twinges of a Hallmark Christmas special. It was definitely a feel-good book with themes of family, friends, neighborhoods and kindness and empathy.

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jesseastin
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I considered walking outside, but opted for the gym when I realized how cold and blustery the wind was while filling up the “squirrel feeder” with sunflower seeds in an attempt to keep those fuzzy bandits off the other bird feeders. #litsywalkers

Kaye 👍🏼🌟 6mo
DarcysMom Good job! 😁 6mo
11 likes2 comments
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jesseastin
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How is it 60 degrees F today when it was the polar vortex a few days ago? I‘m taking advantage of the weather before the snow starts up again this week by walking a trail around this neighborhood lake. It‘s the scary graveyard scene where Voldemort comes back. Poor Cedric. #litsywalkers

Kaye Great weather isn‘t it ? 👍🏼 6mo
DarcysMom Love the picture! How big is the lake? Does the path go all the way around it? 6mo
jesseastin @DarcysMom It does go all the way around the lake, but one side doesn‘t have any tree cover and it was crazy hair-tangling windy there. After getting totally wind blown, I turned around and back tracked, so I‘m not sure how long the trail actually is. I‘ll have to check on a less windy day 😄 6mo
DarcysMom 😁😁😁 6mo
17 likes4 comments
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jesseastin
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I read this book ages ago, but I don‘t think I put it up here. One of my sisters sent a group text(3 sisters and mom)asking if any of us had read it. I have! So had my other sister, but not Mom. I feel so empowered! 😄 They‘re all voracious readers and I can‘t keep up with them. Anyway, the book is on sale Kindle today Although it‘s fiction, it is based on the life of a remarkable sounding woman.

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jesseastin
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Fog, fog, foggy fog, but relatively balmy (34 degrees F) so I got 3 miles in while listening to the beginning of this often read book. I‘d forgotten about the funny forced Dudley diet and Mrs. Weasley‘s stamp covered letter to the Dursley‘s. Arctic temps and snow coming our way, so I got outdoors to walk while I can. #LitsyWalkers

Kaye Good for you ! 6mo
DarcysMom Nice, brisk winter weather! 6mo
15 likes2 comments
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jesseastin
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The snow is gorgeous, but not great for a slip-free work out, so I went to Gym “eau de feet” and did nearly 4 miles to get my steps. Listened to one of the spookiest books of my childhood. I haven‘t seen the movie, but the trailer looks NOTHING like I remember of this book, which my sisters and I reminisce as scaring the poop out of us. The original book with accompanying Edward Gorey illustrations is a wonderful creepy read. #LitsyWalkers

Bklover Pretty photo! Go #Litsywalkers !👏👍 6mo
Kaye 👍🏼 6mo
DarcysMom Smart choice! Sounds like you got plenty of walking in. 6mo
17 likes3 comments
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jesseastin
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There is a trail out there somewhere under the snow. I thought about walking it for a hot minute and then went in to the gym where it smells like feet and did a bit over 3 miles. How many times have I listened/read this series? Jim Dale‘s reading is amazing. This may be my fav of the seven. Listened to Lupin and Sirius “explain all” in the Shrieking Shack while I got my steps in. #LitsyWalkers

Kaye Great job 👍🏼 6mo
DarcysMom Good job! I adore Jim Dale's narration of the series! 6mo
Bklover 👍👍👍 6mo
17 likes3 comments
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jesseastin
Snowed In | Rachel Hawthorne
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Today is a good day to snuggle up with a book.

TheReadingMermaid Agreed ❄️☃️❄️ 6mo
DarcysMom Wow! What an amazing picture. Is that your view today? 6mo
jesseastin @DarcysMom It‘s even deeper today! 6mo
DarcysMom 🙀🙀🙀 6mo
7 likes4 comments
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jesseastin
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Pickpick

Sweet, cute, romantic. It practically screams “rom-com” and you can see it as a movie as you read it. If you enjoyed the movie “Love Actually”, this one is for you.

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jesseastin
Heretics Anonymous | Katie Henry
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I put this book on hold at my library, sight unseen. I‘m assuming it was recommended based on previous reads. I started it without knowing a thing about it. I‘m perhaps a fourth into it. It seems to be a look into faith among high schoolers. An atheist is enrolled at a Catholic high school. So far, I‘m enjoying it.

JanuarieTimewalker13 I‘ve heard great things about this one on booktube..Emmabooks loved it, I think. 10mo
6 likes1 comment
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jesseastin
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My friend highly recommended this book and as the kindle deal of the day, I'm not resisting. Anyone read it?

TrishB Yes, I really liked it. 11mo
DarcysMom Yes - I loved the audiobook. 6mo
9 likes2 comments
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jesseastin
None of the Above | I. W. Gregorio
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This is a YA book about a popular high school girl who discovers through a doctor‘s examination that she is actually intersex and the hateful responses that occur when others find out about it. While the author does a good job of explaining the medical conditions, the characters themselves seem a bit flat, like Hallmark-channel characters. It was a bit appalling how transphobic and ignorant the majority of them are.

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jesseastin
When Life Gives You Lululemons | Lauren Weisberger
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This is a fun, light read, a sort of spin off from “The Devil Wears Prada.” It‘s amusing and full of pop culture and luxury brand name-dropping. The three main characters are very likable, even though they‘re much thinner and richer than I‘ll ever be.

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jesseastin
I Hate Everyone But You | Gaby Dunn, Allison Raskin
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“I buried the f#$&@ing lead! Even Midwestern moms know not to do that!” Okay, as an actual Midwestern mom, I may not be the target audience of this YA book, but I have been a college freshman (albeit in a long ago era) and I have super close girlfriends, so so far, I‘m really enjoying this book. It‘s taken me a bit to get used to the book being entirely text and email driven, but so far it‘s amusing and feels real.

9 likes1 stack add
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jesseastin
Untitled | Anonymous
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A visit to see my family in Portland, Oregon ALWAYS includes at least one visit to Powell‘s Bookstore. I managed to get out of there with only five books, but a list of maybe two dozen more for later.

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jesseastin
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I loved this book. It‘s written as a series of letters, which give the characters their voice. It takes place right after WWII and speaks of the challenge of living in the occupied Guernsey island during the war. It had a charming feel and fun characters.

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jesseastin
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I‘m halfway through this book and loving it so far. It takes place just after WWII, when England is coming to terms with the aftermath of the war. Told in letter form, which works here, it‘s brought a part of history that I wasn‘t familiar with, the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands, more in focus for me. The characters are charming and I love the idea of books bringing us together.

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jesseastin
Dying for Chocolate | Diane Mott Davidson
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Quick, enjoyable mystery read that features a caterer in Colorado. The book has a few recipes interspersed. This is the second book in the series—I‘m not sure why I started with the 2nd book. I think I thought I‘d already read the first. One thing I noticed about this book was how awful and mean everyone around the heroine, except for the male detective, is. A town full of hateful people. Even the teenagers and her child were sullen & rude.

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jesseastin
Ann of Green Gables | Lucy Maud Montgomery
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A super big thank you to the Litsy reader who mentioned the Serial Reader app on my Litsy timeline. It seems like a collection of classic literature that comes to you in little snippets each day. So far it‘s been great fun to just grab a few minutes of a story each day. Did I read Ann of Green Gables as a girl? I can‘t remember. It‘s charming so far.

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jesseastin
Class Mom | Laurie Gelman
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Sigh. Just a smidge over “so-so”. Probably the most enjoyable part to me is that it takes place in Kansas City, where I live, so I recognize a lot of the restaurants she mentions. Protagonist is an older mom who is occasionally funny, but often comes off as rude and even racist. The character stereotyping in the book is pretty tired, too. The places and things the author tries to make sound hip are just...not. It‘s a mildly amusing, quick read.

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jesseastin
Young Jane Young | Gabrielle Zevin
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Marvelous read. For all of us who have been infuriated by slut-shaming or for those of us who have made a dumb decision when we were young and had to deal with the aftermath. This book is told effectively from multiple points of view, from strong, yet flawed women. It‘s a smart and funny book.

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jesseastin
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This was the third book in the Peculiar Children series. It was exciting and imaginative with a satisfactory happy ending. I really enjoyed the whole series.

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jesseastin
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Weird and spooky. I flew through this one and now will have to read the tire in the series to see how this all turns out.

jesseastin Argh. THIRD in the series. 1y
7 likes1 stack add1 comment
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jesseastin
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I read this one after watching the movie with my family. (I liked the book better.) It was a fun, imaginative and spooky read. I loved the seriously creepy old photos that were interspersed throughout the book. That may have been one of my favorite parts. (I‘m illustrating this post with a photo of my father-in-law and his sister/cousins as children.Not creepy, but the oldest photo I‘ve got handy.)

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jesseastin
Standard Deviation | Katherine Heiny
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I enjoyed this book and found it very funny, but I can see how it might not appeal to everyone. The characters are quirky and self-absorbed. I found them amusing, my mom found them annoying. She was reading this book at the same time I did and would text me things like “Are these people for real?” We had similar reactions to the movie “When Harry Met Sally”, which this reminded me of in some ways. I found the life observations funny and very apt.

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jesseastin
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Yes, I realize that it‘s New Year‘s Eve and I‘m getting sentimental about a hilarious children‘s Christmas story, but I had forgotten about this gem until my mom visited at Christmas and was laughing at the memory of it. I had to wait till now until the ebook became available from my library to borrow. I‘d forgotten how much I love this story. Memo to self: read every year at Christmas.

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jesseastin
The Weight of Ink | Rachel Kadish
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I‘m sharing my well-read mother‘s wisdom with you. First text this morning—“Jessie, this book is only $2.99 on Kindle today. It‘s a good one. You‘d be foolish not to get it.” There you go. Mom has spoken.

BarbaraTheBibliophage I listened to your mom! 📚📚👏🏻👏🏻❤️❤️ 2y
jesseastin @BarbaraTheBibliophage My mom will be so happy--she generally is very wise!❤️ 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage That‘s the best kind of mom! 😀 2y
8 likes1 stack add4 comments
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jesseastin
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These were my Christmas book gifts--two Italy travel guides, an interesting cookbook and a Nordic knitting book I can't wait to explore.

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jesseastin
A Christmas Carol | Charles Dickens
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Ooh, Audible has a free performance of this classic on their "Channels" section. I'm only on the first of five parts, but it seems really well done so far.

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jesseastin
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Pickpick

This was a good thriller. Told by three unreliable witnesses, this might be a tough audio book to follow, as the time frame hops around a bit. Full disclosure, I read this book immediately after watching the movie, so I knew who the killer was and couldn‘t visualize the alcoholic protagonist as anyone other than the actress Emily Blunt, who was excellent. Terrifically fun thriller of a book.(PS Train ornament was painted by Mom in the late ‘60‘s)

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jesseastin
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This was a fun thriller, written from the point of view of three unreliable witnesses. Full disclosure, I read this one immediately after watching the movie, so I went into the book knowing who the killer was and unable to visualize the alcoholic protagonist as anyone other than the actress Emily Blunt, who was pretty terrific in the movie. This book might be difficult to follow as an audio because of the multiple non-chronological time frame.