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Lcsmcat

Lcsmcat

Joined May 2016

review
Lcsmcat
Sight Hound: A Novel | Pam Houston
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Pickpick

Full of quirky Houston characters, two (or three) dogs, and one sardonic cat, this novel celebrates love, human and canine, without being sappy or emotionally manipulative. Prose that brings the west to life, & a surprise cameo of someone I once knew who is neither fictional nor famous. (Houston once went to the same church as me and knew this man there which makes me wonder if he asked her to write him into one of her stories.) No. 8 #24in2024

Bette What a good tidbit…knowing a character. Great review. 👍😊 1d
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review
Lcsmcat
The Personal Librarian | Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
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Pickpick

This is a very soft pick for me. I think I‘d have preferred a nonfiction account. I finished it because it‘s for my irl book club, and it sent me to the internet to find out more. But the writing itself was at best bland, at worst anachronistic. And the name dropping got tiresome. We know Bernard was a cad - no need to drag Edith Wharton into it.

Amiable Totally agree. I've read another Marie Benedict book and I thought the same thing -- it was dull, surface-level, and made me want to seek out a nonfiction account of the person who was profiled instead. I won't be picking up any more by Benedict --not for me. (edited) 2d
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blurb
Lcsmcat
Untitled | Untitled
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My #bookspin list for March. @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 4d
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review
Lcsmcat
The Mother's Recompense | Edith Wharton
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Pickpick

Wharton messed with us in this book. Kate is both highly frustrating and yet to be pitied. Chris is the worst villain since Lovelace of Clarissa infamy, and Anne strikes me as fairly selfish herself, or at least spoiled and immature. Fred, well Fred just made me sad. He deserved so much better. Yet through it all Wharton‘s wit and humor and sparkling prose make this a pick. If you like moral dilemmas and no easy answers, this one‘s for you.

Daisey Wharton is rather hit or miss for me, but all the reviews I‘ve read today make me curious to read this one. As bad as Lovelace!?! 4d
Lcsmcat @Daisey Almost! 4d
See All 7 Comments
CoverToCoverGirl Great review! My favourite by her is 4d
Suet624 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 to everything you‘ve said. I felt very badly for Fred. And what a fascinating read. 4d
batsy Great summary. I, too, felt for Fred. Something about him—principled and steadfast. 4d
jewright @Daisey This book is so much shorter, and the evil guy isn‘t nearly as evil as Lovelace. 3d
44 likes7 comments
blurb
Lcsmcat
The Mother's Recompense | Edith Wharton
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“His manly chest seemed outspread to receive the pectoral cross, and all his gestures were round and full, like the sleeves for which they were preparing.” I know that the Rev. Dr. Arklow is a minor character, but this quote was too good not to illustrate. (Above is an actual bishop of the era.) As CarolynM points out, this is a book of moral dilemmas. But was Arklow‘s advice moral? Or conventional ? Did Kate do the right thing toward Anne? Frank?

Lcsmcat And was the inevitable “sterile pain” the result of her first flight, or her return? #whartonbuddyread (edited) 5d
See All 60 Comments
Lcsmcat Now for all the other quotes. 😂 5d
Lcsmcat “The Drovers and Tresseltons were great at acting in concert, and at pretending that whatever happened was natural, usual, and not of a character to interfere with one‘s lunch.” 5d
Lcsmcat “A real mother is just a habit of thought to her children.” 🤨 5d
Lcsmcat “she had plied him [Frank]with uncomfortable questions, and detected in his kindly eyes the terror of the man who, all his life, has tried to buy off fate by optimistic evasions.” 5d
Lcsmcat “He had overcome his strongest feelings, his most deep-rooted repugnance; he had held out his hand to her, in the extremity of her need, across the whole width of his traditions and his convictions; and she had blessed him for it, and stood fast on her own side.” 5d
Graywacke I‘m struggling with how to process this one. What was Wharton doing? Is this about flawed Kate and/or a condemned Kate? Is Kate a victim or cause? I can‘t imagine abandoning Anne. But she did it twice. So is this her character flaw, to run away? Or are these completely different circumstances? 5d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I too am struggling. I know that in that era children “belonged” to their fathers legally. So had she tried to take Anne they would have hunted her down. But, finding the atmosphere too stifling to abide herself, she left a _daughter_ to be raised in it? And then, by withholding information on Chris, was she saving A or herself from pain? Because I don‘t trust him to keep quiet once the honeymoon is over. 👇🏻 5d
Lcsmcat 👆🏻The first fight they have I can just hear him fling out “You‘re just like your mother was!” And then how doubly betrayed would Anne feel?! 5d
Graywacke Of course, Kate avoided facing that. (But then even Fred said, after he knew, that he wasn‘t worried about Anne. She could take care of herself.) 5d
Graywacke I should add, I‘m struggling to understand what Wharton was doing to us, the reader. She left us in a tough spot. Me can simple say, well Kate was Kate and that‘s what she does. But in doing that, we are making a Kate of ourselves, avoiding all the hard questions in the book about social constrictions, women‘s positions, evolving and lost values, moral responsibilities … So, is she challenging us? Intentionally making us uncomfortable? 5d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke The title makes me think Wharton wants us on Kate‘s side. But was allowing Anne her way and then ducking out truly making amends? I don‘t know. I think Wharton is always trying to make her readers uncomfortable in some fashion, and she raised some serious questions in my mind, but I don‘t have the answers. 5d
batsy I feel that all outcomes would lead to the same situation: Kate alone, unable to be with her daughter. Had she told Anne she would have been banished from Anne's life by Anne herself, and now Kate has had to remove herself from Anne's life by not saying anything. Is this Wharton's way of saying Kate will always be punished for her original mistake—leaving her daughter? Isn't it great that Wharton makes us suffer this way? 🙃 5d
batsy Chris is total red flag. An absolute red flag. Of course he should have walked away regardless of what Anne wants. She'll be heartbroken, and then she'll be fine. I'm sort of aghast at how the circumstances made it so that he "wins". But then again, that's a window into the kind of world Wharton was writing about... 5d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat the title is bitter! 5d
Graywacke @batsy Agree about Chris, a creep. But like Fred, I trust Anne. She‘ll manage. And Kate certainly should have told Anne. Whatever consequences would have been temporary. Anne would forgive. Kate‘s affair wasn‘t criminal in Anne‘s world the way it was in Kate‘s. (Still, i appreciate the minister‘s flexibility, even if maybe being a stern inflexible Catholic priest might have been what Kate really needed.) - oops…too much in one comment 😁 5d
Graywacke Any thoughts on Kate thoroughly breaking her world‘s morality while still clinging desperately to it? 5d
TheBookHippie Not everyone wants to be a mother even when one becomes one- back then what was her choice, even now to say it or leave to pursue a life for yourself is okay for a man, not a woman. Kate would end up alone not fitting anywhere, in all the scenarios, maybe not fitting in anywhere and not longing to is the struggle. But I think Anne would have forgiven her. Shame regret and fear ? A woman‘s struggle.. I‘m still processing obviously ..Chris is 🤮 5d
TheBookHippie @Graywacke desperate for belonging or love ? I‘m still mulling it all over. 5d
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie I think Kate did want to be a mother - just not enough to put up with her husband. She talks about having to fill her mind with other thoughts to avoid thinking about Anne. 5d
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat I wonder though if she had a choice, since she didn‘t like him. At any rate children belonged to the father, probably why so many women left their children, sanity and distance from their husbands. It‘s all awful choices. Some women loved their children so much they put up with anything just to be with them. But she didn‘t. (Not that I would do any better. ) and children were seen differently than now- yes?⬇️ (edited) 5d
TheBookHippie @Graywacke the flexibility was refreshing. 5d
TheBookHippie ⬆️ you can love your child and not want to be a mother. The two aren‘t necessarily connected. I feel sorry for Kate and not Anne I think it‘s what the reader gets from this one is fascinating to me. 😮‍💨 5d
TheBookHippie @batsy did your intro to the book talk about this? Mine did. The window into the world being so accurate. 5d
Lcsmcat @batsy Yes, it felt inevitable that Kate would end up alone again, and (to me at least) that she would hurt others in the process. So is the “recompense” of the title meant to be “this is the thanklessness of being a mother” or “this is what you get as a woman trying to live your own life” or something else entirely? 4d
Currey @Lcsmcat Great discussion. I also was left largely confused about what Wharton wanted from us other than that confusion. Kate seemed to have left Anne twice for what she thought were the right reasons but which, at least the second time, felt totally wrong. Chris is ugly, Anne is tough, if you are going to be alone anyway, why not tell the truth before running? Why did Kate think she had done a noble thing? Punishing herself is a piece of it 4d
Lcsmcat @Currey It didn‘t feel noble to me either. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4d
Graywacke Psst - this was our 18th book by Wharton !! 👍 4d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke She was indeed prolific! 4d
Graywacke @Currey @Lcsmcat i really hope no one thought it was noble. Well, maybe except Kate. Don‘t be a Kate. 🤭 4d
Graywacke @Currey Anne tough - like strong or like you found her difficult? I found her tough in the sense of independent and resolute, and undeterred. I‘m an Anne fan. 🙂 4d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Really? I found her difficult to read. EW kept comparing her to her grandmother and I felt a bit of that selfishness coming through. She was loving and charming- until she wasn‘t getting what she wanted. I‘m Team Frank on this one. 4d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat team Fred? No, I understand Fred. But I‘m team Anne, our stately tough Greek goddess. 4d
CarolynM There‘s a lot to unpick isn‘t there? I‘m with @batsy re Chris - I didn‘t buy the reformed character thing at all. If Kate had accepted Anne‘s money there‘s no way he‘d have come back, reputation be damned. I give it maybe a year before he seduces some other woman & Anne throws him out, because I agree she‘s tough. But I also think Kate had to let Anne find out about him for herself. 4d
Lcsmcat @CarolynM Do you think that if Anne found out on her own after they were married, that she would seek out Kate? Because I don‘t. I think she would be furious that Kate hadn‘t told her and it‘ll be another 20 years before they speak. 4d
CarolynM I think Kate was trying to be noble by shielding Anne from the truth, but as @Lcsmcat said I can also see Chris telling her, especially once he realises she‘s really finished with him. I also think she was trying to be noble in leaving Fred. I kind of think that giving up what he offered her - social position, security, but most of all steadfast love - was the “recompense” of the title. (edited) 4d
CarolynM @Lcsmcat I‘m not sure. It might depend on the circumstances in which he told her, and also what he told her. But I don‘t think she‘d have forgiven Kate any faster if she had told her. 4d
arubabookwoman i think Kate left the 2nd time for 2 reasons. The first and most important was she was trying to follow the reverend's precise advise--if the daughter was not told before the wedding, the mother must be sure to keep her mouth shut forever. Since Kate did not tell Anne, I think she knew that if she had to spend time in the company of Chris & Anne, some word or action would let the truth be out. The only way to follow that advice was to leave 4ever. 4d
arubabookwoman She also left because she could not take Fred's pity. (Despite his sometimes purposeful obliviousness, Fred was my favorite character). I think that's why she rejected Fred, even tho' he was willing to leave NYC and live anywhere with her. 4d
arubabookwoman Does anyone know what "sterile pain" is? I really liked this entry into our Wharton reading. I was kept guessing til the very end about what Kate was going to do, whether the wedding would come off, and so on. I think after her return Kate realized how much she disliked the society & its rules, & the only thing keeping her there was her daughter. If, as it turned out, she lost her daughter there was no reason to stay, with Fred or otherwise. 4d
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman That was one thing she did right (although she ought not to have given him hope in the first place) because no matter how long he‘d been crushing on her, I don‘t think they‘d have been happy together. 4d
batsy @TheBookHippie Sadly, no. I got the ebook off Gutenberg so no intros 🙁 4d
batsy @Currey I agree with you, it's not noble but Kate has that tendency to self-pity in her. My read of her character is that she would enjoy being a kind of martyr, and would want to punish herself whilst thinking it was noble. I don't mean that as a judgement on her character so much as how she has become, under the circumstances. 4d
Lcsmcat @batsy Yes, she does seem a bit martyrish. 4d
batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat I'm not so sure if I'm team Anne, either. Tough yes, and maybe admirable in some ways, but also ruthless in other ways, I think. The potential to be harsh is there. A part of me will forever be curious about how she would have reacted to what Kate told her. I'm not convinced she would have forgiven in time. But it would be nice to be wrong! (🕯️ Edith, we need a sequel 🕯️) 4d
Lcsmcat @batsy Call in the spiritualists! 😂 4d
batsy @Lcsmcat 😁 4d
Graywacke So interesting, the different takes. 4d
Currey @Graywacke Yes, tough as in strong and persevering and quite able to take care of herself. 4d
Currey @batsy but a touch of cold too. I think Anne would have forgiven Kate for the truth but in the same way she forgave the first running away. If Kate comes back and plays the perfect mommy then she will play the perfect daughter. 4d
jewright I feel like Kate leaves Fred to protect him, but she also doesn‘t want to be tied down again to any man. I can‘t decide about Anne and Chris. They do really seem to love each other, but it‘s just so icky. 4d
Graywacke @jewright Kate and Fred has me thinking. She was not attracted to Fred. He represented an ideal she didn‘t actually want. In a way, he was the best the NY crowd had to offer. And spurning him, she was really fully rejecting that whole world. And maybe we can appreciate that. Certainly we must assume Wharton could. 4d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke That‘s an interesting take on Kate and Fred‘s relationship. I tend to agree, although I‘m not sure Kate had anything to replace that world with, which leaves her detached or unmoored, depending on how you look at it. 3d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat that is maybe the main tragedy here (??) 3d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I think it could be. Fred and Anne are hurt by her actions, but they have each other (& the rest of society) but Kate? Only other disconnected people who don‘t seem to have created anything substantial. 3d
Leftcoastzen I think Kate didn‘t have a good choice. If she stayed near Anne & Chris , it would hurt so much if they were happy, and hurt as much if Chris turns out to be a cad , hurts so much as well. Fred‘s gesture was nice, but I feel she had to escape the situation. Back to her comfortable exile! 2d
Leftcoastzen Wharton is such a wonderful writer , I guess I shouldn‘t be surprised that she was up to date with the younger set . You see the old standards seem to still apply to the older generation, the younger ones not so much. 2d
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blurb
Lcsmcat
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My latest #treadmillBook. Read by Anderson Cooper, it‘s off to a great start.

review
Lcsmcat
Wilderness Tips | Margaret Atwood
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Pickpick

Number 6 for#24in2024, this is another set of short stories full of Atwood‘s mischievous humor and prescient insights. Loved it!

Jas16 6! That is incredible! 1w
Lcsmcat @Jas16 I front-loaded it with books I knew I‘d get through so if I get distracted later in the year I can still make it. 😀 1w
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review
Lcsmcat
Chestnut Street | Maeve Binchy
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Pickpick

Like any short story collection, some were stronger than others, but this was a pleasant listen each morning. #treadmillbook

blurb
Lcsmcat
The Mother's Recompense | Edith Wharton
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Post WWI and a couple of affairs, Kate is “allowed” to return home to the US and her daughter. I don‘t think she likes what the US has become, especially the younger generation. They seem to get the most pointed (and witty) comments from Wharton‘s pen. Impressions of Kate? Anne? Chris? I‘ll post some favorite quotes below. #whartonbuddyread

Lcsmcat “They had all, she gathered, far more interests and ideas than had scantily furnished her own youth, but all so broken up, scattered, and perpetually interrupted by the strenuous labour of their endless forms of sport, that they reminded her of a band of young entomologists, equipped with the newest thing in nets, but in far too great a hurry ever to catch anything.” 2w
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Lcsmcat “the little dinner with the Horace Betterlys and their dull noisy friends, who wanted to “see life” and didn‘t know that you can‘t see it unless you‘ve first had the brains to imagine it …” 2w
Lcsmcat “It was one of the young men who came to the house; his fresh blunt face was as inexpressive as a foot-ball; he might have been made by a manufacturer of sporting-goods.” 2w
Lcsmcat “She saw again, with gathering wonder, that one may be young and handsome and healthy and eager, and yet unable, out of such rich elements, to evolve a personality.” 2w
Lcsmcat “Nothing shocks the young people nowadays—not even the Bible.” 2w
Lcsmcat “Every moment of such purposeless lives was portioned out, packed with futilities.” 2w
Lcsmcat “There they all were, the faces that had walled in her youth; she was not sure, at first, if they belonged to the same persons, or had been handed on, as part of the tradition, to a new generation.” 2w
batsy That "inexpressive as a football line" is such a hoot. A perfect description and you immediately know the "type" ? In contrast, I loved this description when Kate sees Anne in person—"Anne was slightly the taller, and her pale face hung over her mother's like a young moon seen through the mist". At the moment, I dislike and don't quite trust Chris, but I've no idea if I'm being fair to him. Kate may be given to self-pity, Anne as yet a mystery... 2w
Graywacke Oh, great quotes. And weird Litsy, I‘m just now seeing this. Book 1 is full of lush prose. I understand Kate so well after this. But it‘s a character attack on Kate, no? 2w
Graywacke @batsy I think Chris is a creep, charming as he may be. 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Yes, Litsy was misbehaving this morning. And it is a character attack on Kate in a way. But a sympathetic one, if that makes sense. 2w
Lcsmcat @batsy I loved that quote about Anne too! It makes her seem so ethereal and a little unreal. Definitely not like her contemporaries. 2w
Currey @batsy @Lcsmcat Wonderful quotes. I found myself happy to be back in Wharton‘s prose if not in her New York world. I also do not trust Chris and Kate is strangely missing some insights into herself which you think she would have acquired after so many years. 2w
Graywacke It‘s interesting how thoroughly Wharton creates Kate‘s background. Her life in Europe. Her re-experiencing New York after her 18 yr absence. The story doesn‘t need this, and yet it‘s so wonderfully done 2w
Graywacke Kate‘s European world: “Not one of them, men or women, if asked where they had come from, where they were going, or why they had done such and such things, or refrained from doing such other, would have answered truthfully; 👇 2w
Lcsmcat @Currey I don‘t trust Chris at all. As soon as he found out whose daughter Anne was he should have disappeared from her life. 2w
Graywacke 👆 not, as Kate knew, from any particular, or at any rate permanent, need of concealment, but because they lived in a chronic state of mental inaccuracy, excitement and inertia,which made it vaguely exhilarating to lie and definitely fatiguing to be truthful.” 2w
Graywacke Fred Landers is interesting too. This poor description could be me! 😁 “As he blinked at her with kindly brotherly eyes she saw in their ingenuous depths the terror of the man who has tried to buy off fate by one optimistic evasion after another, till it has become second nature to hand out his watch and pocket-book whenever reality waylays him.” (edited) 2w
Currey @Graywacke Marvelous quote - that “inaccuracy, excitement and inertia” is such a quirky summation. It is difficult to put excitement and inertia together in the same being but Wharton does it 2w
Graywacke @Currey right. She has a way. Her pen was rolling here. 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Landers is such an innocent, in his way, that I worry about what Wharton has in store for him. 2w
Lcsmcat @Currey I have major jealousy over Wharton‘s prose. She‘s amazingly talented! 2w
Graywacke Chris on Kate: “He told her she had run away from her real duties only for the pleasure of inventing new ones, and that to her they were none the less duties because she imagined them to be defiances. It was one of the paradoxes that most amused him: the picture of her flying from her conscience and always mneeting it again in her path, barely disguised by the audacities she had dressed it up in.” 2w
Graywacke Having said all that, Kate‘s (muted) bond with Anne, and Anne‘s rediscovery of her mother is quite beautiful and moving. Imagine finding your mom again! That‘s special 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke We all know people like that, don‘t we? (At least anyone who raised a teenager does. 😂) (re: the duties quote) (edited) 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i read a spoiler on Fred. 🙁🤐 (edited) 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yes - teenagers! So true. 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I found that the least believable part. I feel like Anne would have absorbed enough of her father and grandmother‘s attitudes to be a bit resentful. And that the feeling of having been abandoned would show up more. I‘m kind of expecting a show-down along those lines in the next bit. Especially if she finds out Chris left at her mother‘s insistence without finding out about his affair with Kate. 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat interesting. I think Anne lived in this rich false NY world and always imagined something pure and associated that with her missing mother. I think she saw Kate as a salve for all that, something she felt she needed desperately. So i bought in! And it worked as long as Kate didn‘t communicate anything…and didn‘t do anything really really destructive 🙈 (edited) 2w
Graywacke So my take at the moment is this is a novel of something beautiful turning bitter. ?? 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Interesting. I can‘t wait to read the rest and see how it shakes out. 😀 2w
TheBookHippie The prose!! She‘s really in her stride. I think Anne had a fairytale version of her mom in her head, which happens a lot in children whose parent is absent, so it‘s not about them. The Bible quote made me giggle hasn‘t that been said every generation? I do not trust Chris. Kate intrigues me. Now I‘m interested to see what happens to Fred! Sorry so late, insomnia and went for a late morning nap. 2w
Suet624 I love all the quotes from the book that folks are posting. I finished the book a while ago and one of the things I still think about is when Kate talks about people filling their days in such a way that they didn‘t have too much free time. I assume they wouldn‘t want to have to think about how vacuous their days were. I was also surprised by Anne‘s complete acceptance of her mother, but a mother‘s love is always sought so I let that slide. 2w
arubabookwoman my computer wasn't working this am so sorry for the delay in posting. The quote about "football faces" tickled me--I saw a lot of the frat boys from my college days. Definitely don't trust Chris. He does not seem like a nice guy. I think Anne is and hopefully continue to be a strong and independent-minded young woman. I'm hoping that if (when?) she learns the truth about Kate, she will still love and accept her. 2w
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman I hope it doesn‘t mess up their relationship too. 2w
Leftcoastzen I am late to post because Litsy was wonky! I couldn‘t help but think of F. Scott Fitzgerald who made so much money writing about the vacuous young things that Wharton describes so well in this book.He was getting 1K each for his Saturday Evening Post stories. 2w
Leftcoastzen I knew that Kate‘s “what happened in Europe stays in Europe “ luck would not last. Don‘t trust Chris either. 2w
Leftcoastzen I can see both sides with a daughter who doesn‘t have her mother. Either wanting to do anything to have her back, like Anne , or a complete rejection, she didn‘t want me so I don‘t want her. Now with Chris in the mix , it could get more complicated. 2w
batsy @Graywacke @Currey Agree about the prose. Felt that immediate comfort of being in a master's hands. "Readable" sounds like faint praise, but that's how good she is at drawing the reader into her world. To succumb to Wharton's narrative powers is always a treat. 2w
batsy @Lcsmcat Yes, there is something ethereal and otherworldly about Anne at the moment. Part of it is the mystique of seeing her through a formerly estranged mother's eyes, but it also lends the character a certain kind of intrigue. It makes me like Anne, even if I don't really know her (yet). 2w
Lcsmcat @batsy Yes, Anne feels like the least known character at this point. I feel like I know Nollie and Lilla better. 2w
batsy @Lcsmcat I read on today & things escalate quickly. And we get to know Anne quickly, too 😅 2w
Lcsmcat @batsy 😀 2w
Graywacke @batsy we certainly do! Phew 2w
jewright I feel super judgmental, but I can‘t imagine leaving my kids, so I judge Kate harshly. That part about her daughter crying for her and her not answering…so sad. And Anne takes her back happily? This is the honeymoon phase. It‘s going to get ugly over a stupid man. They both fell in love with the same man? Yuck. 1w
Lcsmcat @jewright Yeah, I agree. Yuck. (edited) 1w
CarolynM Interesting discussion. I‘m keen to see where this is going. How is Anne going to react when the truth comes out? What attitude will Nollie and Lilla take? 1w
Graywacke @jewright I think that about nails it 1w
Graywacke @CarolynM glad you‘re joining! And no idea (per those questions) 1w
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quote
Lcsmcat
Wilderness Tips | Margaret Atwood
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“Roughing it builds a boy‘s character, but only certain kinds of roughing it.”

review
Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

I loved this quiet, deep, loving look at friendship, love, and age. And I‘ve never been so angry at a character as I was/am with Gene! Five stars! #bookspin @TheAromaofBooks

Crazeedi I must read 2w
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2w
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review
Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

Fourth in my #24in2024, and for my irl book club, which I had to miss for a work trip. It‘s a tear-jerker and I usually don‘t like having my emotions manipulated. But the stories were so engaging and I was rooting for them both to make it to their 100th, so I didn‘t feel manipulated. I‘m just sorry I missed out on the discussion.

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Lcsmcat
The Mother's Recompense | Edith Wharton
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Just a reminder that the #whartonbuddyread of Books I and II is next Saturday the 17th

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review
Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

One of Dickens‘ earlier novels, NN gives me Pickwick vibes, especially with some of the over-the-top humor, and the pathos of The Old Curiosity Shop. Nicholas is a young man‘s hero - brash and hot headed and protective of his and his sister‘s honor. But also likable. And he sticks to his version of honorable behavior even when it goes against his feelings for Madeline. A typical Dickensian ending wraps it all up with a bow for an enjoyable read.

Lcsmcat This is number 3 of #24in2024 2w
Ruthiella I loved how flawed Nicholas is, pretty rare for a Dickens‘ hero. 2w
Lcsmcat @Ruthiella It is, although I find David Copperfield to be flawed, just in a less aggressive way if that makes sense. But children in Dickens? They‘re almost never flawed unless spoiled by a villainous parent. 👼 2w
Pip2 Nice review! You sold me. 2w
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quote
Lcsmcat
Nicholas Nickelby | Charles Dickens
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blurb
Lcsmcat
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My #bookspin and #doublespin for February. Thanks @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Yay!!! Enjoy!! 4w
Deblovestoread Loved Our Souls at Night! 4w
Lcsmcat @Deblovestoread Good to hear! 4w
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review
Lcsmcat
A Week in Winter | Maeve Binchy
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Pickpick

An excellent #treadmillBook with interesting characters and a positive story line.

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blurb
Lcsmcat
Untitled | Untitled
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Here‘s my February #bookspin. Thanks @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1mo
28 likes1 comment
review
Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

It‘s not Shakespeare, but it comes close. There are lots of quotable lines like “Whether we fall by ambition, blood or lust, Like diamonds we are cut with our own dust.” And I liked the Duchess‘s spirit and Bosolo‘s complexity. Looking for videos, as I like to watch plays after I read them, I happened upon an English teacher‘s lectures from lockdown that were really good. (Lucky kids who had her!) 2 for #24in2024 @Jas16

rubyslippersreads I have a reproduction of this hanging on my wall. (My mom found it at a garage sale.) I might have to read the play. (edited) 1mo
Jas16 Great job. 1mo
Lcsmcat @rubyslippersreads The play is based on a real duchess. This is the cover on my edition, but it doesn‘t say who she is. I wonder if it‘s her? 1mo
Lcsmcat @rubyslippersreads Fascinating! Thanks for sharing. The attributes mentioned in the article certainly apply to the character in the play. 1mo
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Lcsmcat
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A very different duchess for my second #24in2024

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Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

This #chunkstermini has been hanging out on my shelves since it came out in the mid 1980s. It shows its age a bit, and by the last section the twists became ridiculous. But it was a fun soap opera of a book and I‘m glad I read it. My favorite character was the Duchess, and this is my image of her, except the facial expression isn‘t quite right. #bookspin for January and 1st #24in2024. @TheAromaofBooks @Jas16 @Amiable

Jas16 Glad it ended up being worth the wait! 1mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 1mo
Amiable I love that you've checked it off your list after all these years! Good job! 1mo
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Lcsmcat
The Mother's Recompense | Edith Wharton
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#Whartonbuddyread February it is. I‘ve got a work trip the first weekend, so the schedule will be:
February 17 - Books I & II
February 24 - Book III

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Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

It‘s always easier to talk about the failings of previous generations than of our own, but if we try we can learn from them. The behavior of the main characters in this novel isn‘t always believable, and Mireille in particular seems to learn and unlearn the same lesson over and over again. The author is skillful at manipulating the reader‘s emotions, and the research is obviously there. My irl book club will discuss this week. 3⭐️

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Lcsmcat
Untitled | Untitled
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I‘m a bit of a mood reader, so I selected 36 books for my #24booksin2024. @Jas16

julieclair What a nice assortment of choices! 2mo
merelybookish Lots of good ones! 🧐 2mo
Jas16 Smart approach and great list. 2mo
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Lcsmcat
Through a Glass Darkly | Karleen Koen
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My copy has a plain cover (the dust jacket was lost ages ago) so here‘s a picture of the beautiful endpapers for my first #bookspin and #chunksterchallenge of 2024. @TheAromaofBooks @Amiable

Amiable Gorgeous! 2mo
TheAromaofBooks Oooo lovely!!! 2mo
Tamra Beautiful! 2mo
Deblovestoread I read this years ago and loved it! 2mo
LeahBergen Oh, I read this years ago! 😍 2mo
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Lcsmcat
The Mother's Recompense | Edith Wharton
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So, #whartonbuddyread crew, this one is up next, since we seem to agree that Wharton is at her best in her novels. This is short (under 300 pages) and divided into 3 “Books” so I anticipate dividing it into 3 discussions. Are we ready? When would you want to start? After a crazy couple of months between work and the holidays when I was pretty absent from Litsy, I‘m rested and ready for 2024! Comment below if you‘re in, and Jan. or Feb. start date.

BookishTrish Feb? 2mo
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Currey In and prefer Feb 2mo
Lcsmcat Sorry if you got triple-tagged. My internet stuttered. 😀 2mo
TheBookHippie Feb! I‘m in. 2mo
Graywacke Any time. 🙂 2mo
Suet624 Any time. 2mo
willaful I think I'm out, have too many books going already. Thanks! 2mo
Lcsmcat @willaful I‘ll take you off the tag list, but let us know if you want to be added back at a later time. 2mo
willaful Thanks @Lcsmcat! 2mo
Leftcoastzen Anytime 2mo
IndoorDame I think I‘m out for now. Trying to take a step back from planned reading for the new year. 2mo
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame I get it. I‘ll remove you from the tag list. But we can add you back if a later volume catches your eye. 2mo
IndoorDame @Lcsmcat perfect, thanks ❤️ 2mo
arubabookwoman February works for me. 2mo
AllDebooks I've got a lot of catching up to do. February would be better for me, too. 2mo
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Lcsmcat
Untitled | Unknown
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Clarissa really increased my page count (but decreased my “books read” number). I‘m keeping my number low for 2024 to encourage myself to read longer books.

Ruthiella Great strategy! 2mo
Daisey My print/ebook to audio ratio down quite a bit this past year, but I‘m also blaming part of that on Clarissa. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Daisey I think Clarissa is to blame for a lot of things. But it‘s big enough to encompass them all. 😂 2mo
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Lcsmcat
Untitled | Unknown
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I couldn‘t decide what to read for the 2024 #chunksterchallenge, so I decided to let #bookspin choose for me. Some of these are “almost a chunkster” or “chunkster minis,” but these are all on my shelves, and, after Clarissa, I think I‘m ok with that. 😀
@TheAromaofBooks @Amiable

Amiable I‘ve read 2, 7, 13 and 16 —good choices! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable Good to know! 2mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2mo
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Lcsmcat
Wildfire at Midnight | Mary Stewart
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When I‘m feeling harried, Mary Stewart is a good nostalgic pick.

TheBookHippie I love her. 2mo
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Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

My last #bookspin of the year, and what a way to go out! Atwood is amazing as always, and I see myself rereading these stories often. @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2mo
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Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this look at a long life well lived. There was a bit philosophy, a bit of adventure, and an attempt by the author to distill wisdom from this life to pass down to his own children.

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Lcsmcat
Accordion Crimes | Annie Proulx
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Pickpick

I struggle to describe this book in a way that won‘t put you off from reading it. It can be dark (Proulx has the most creative ways to kill and maim her characters!) but it‘s also humorous. Each section has an illustration of a type of accordion, but this is the one the book follows through years and miles, as it is owned by successive players from various immigrant communities. #bookspin @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 3mo
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Lcsmcat
Untitled | Untitled
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My December #bookspin list. Thanks @TheAromaofBooks for all the fun. I can‘t believe 2023 is almost over!

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 3mo
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Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

Both a poignant memoir and a well-researched look at one of the most intractable problems in America, this book made me sad, made me think, and made me want to do better. She doesn‘t offer a simple solution to these complex problems, nor does she blame “the coastal elite” for the problems of rural America. She portrays the people sympathetically as fully human, neither demonizing nor canonizing them. Highly recommended.

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Lcsmcat
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When I need something uplifting, I can‘t go wrong with Bishop Curry. Starting this today.

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Lcsmcat
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Hoping the courage of the authors will rub off on me a bit. I‘m more than a third of the way in, and it is making me hopeful and uncomfortable; angry and shamed; but also energized to seek out my personal next steps.

willaful You might look into SURJ, an organization that encourages white folks to fight against racism. 4mo
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Lcsmcat
Varina | Charles Frazier
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Pickpick

Fighting a cold allowed me to do nothing today but read, and I devoured this in one day. Varina Davis, like most of us, was more complex than either side of the conflict wants to believe. Frazier‘s writing is exquisite, and I learned things I had not known - like the capital of the CSA was briefly in my hometown. Photo is from her New York days. So much of her life was controlled by others, I hope she was happy in those last years. #bookspin

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 4mo
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Lcsmcat
the monkey wrench gang | Edward Abbey
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Mehso-so

I enjoyed revisiting in my mind the western places I love, but I just can‘t get into this era/genre of literature. I can love older works and modern works, but the 60s and 70s style just leaves me cold. But at least I can mark this off my list. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Lcsmcat
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I have issues with the writing and some incidents that I consider lazy plotting, but I must say that this gave me lots to think about. So it‘s a three-star pick. I think it‘s easier to confront our older history (“yes, my ancestors held people in enslavement, but that was so long ago”) than to ponder nearer questions (“Did my grandfather belong to the KKK?”) I‘ve added the tagged nonfiction below to my reading list to work on the “what next?”

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Lcsmcat
Untitled | Unknown
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BarbaraJean This image is so very satisfying to me. 😊 4mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean Somehow it felt like fall. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4mo
BarbaraJean There‘s something about the image in combination with the white text, right-aligned… it‘s just very atmospheric and visually pleasing! 4mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 4mo
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Lcsmcat
Ghosts | Edith Wharton
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The final three stories only have two ghosts - Perrier is more a murder mystery. They were all a bit predictable, but held some sparkling Wharton sentences. I liked how, once Charlotte opened one of the letters, it was too pale to read. And in Mr. Jones, how the only one who could see him was the one who was annoyed by rather than scared of him. Thoughts? Do you think Wharton is as skilled with short stories as novels? #whartonbuddyread

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batsy I enjoyed these stories very much. I think it might not be as scary as some hope it might be but Wharton manages to infuse a sense of dread or anxiety in each one. Like in Pomegranate Seed: "In the deep silence of the room the tearing of the paper as she slit the envelope sounded like a human cry". Or the way she tells her mother-in-law, "I've known for a long time now that everything was possible". Delightfully gothic. 4mo
batsy Perrier was interesting for being a bit like a fairy tale, with some great set pieces with her deftness at description: "To anyone sick of the Western fret and fever the very walls of this desert fortress exuded peace." And this: "Almodham was out there somewhere under that canopy of fire, perhaps, as the servant said, absorbed in his dream. The land was full of spells." 4mo
Lcsmcat @batsy Yes! And this: “the gradual imprisonment in a pose assumed in youth, and into which middle age had slowly stiffened” (edited) 4mo
Currey I rather enjoyed Perrier although there turned out to be no ghosts because as @batsy mentioned, the setting was so well brought to life. I do believe that Wharton does better with anxiety and dread than with actual ghosts. 4mo
Graywacke Well, I really wanted to meet Henry Almodham, our scholar and misogynist in his desert refuge. So I‘m kind of annoyed at Gosling. 🙂 4mo
Graywacke I enjoyed reading all the stories, but didn‘t care for any of their closing twists. I liked the idea of servants running the home their own way in Mr Jones. And i liked the characters in Pomegranates Seed. I think I liked all the characters 4mo
Graywacke I‘m glad I didn‘t drink or bathe in that water… 4mo
Lcsmcat @Currey I think what made these stories was that Wharton focused on the people and their emotions/reactions rather than on the supernatural beings. 4mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I felt like the younger servants were afraid of Mr. Jones but the older ones weren‘t. Like maybe they were using him to keep the young ones in line. 4mo
dabbe @batsy Perrier also made me think of A PASSAGE TO INDIA. I just felt the same deserty-vibe. 4mo
dabbe In looking at all of the stories as a whole, I found Wharton excelled at building the tension and drama, which kept me turning those pages, and then leaving me flustered at the end because most of the endings were not complete resolutions. She made me have to attempt to put the two-and-two together. And her writing ... I just finished TESS OF THE d'URBERVILLES and kept thinking how gorgeous Hardy's writing was--reminding me of Wharton. 4mo
Graywacke @dabbe i went through that process with each story too. Tension and curiosity as i read, and they usually left me a little “flustered”. But then, even knowing this, i‘d hop into the next story happily. 🙂 4mo
Lcsmcat @dabbe I love Hardy‘s prose too, and for his time he held some feminist ideas. So another thing in common with Wharton. 4mo
dabbe @Graywacke Wharton just has that way, doesn't she? I even tried to find some analysis online to help me fill in the pieces, but I didn't find much. 4mo
dabbe @Lcsmcat Exactly! It's hard to read him nowadays because what women had to go through was so damn infuriating, but his prose would get me lost in the story--just like Wharton. 4mo
Lcsmcat @dabbe @Graywacke It felt very Henry James to me. Like Turn of the Screw. 4mo
Graywacke As a side note - looking ahead: We had talked about reading Italian Backgrounds next. It‘s only about 100 pages and would make a nice early December easy group read. However, the series Buccaneers is coming out on Apple TV November 8. So, maybe we sneak _that_ into November. It‘s 400 pages, so, it‘s not really a sneak, but a commitment. Anyway, share your thoughts. I‘m pretty happy any which way. (edited) 4mo
Graywacke (Amazon kindle gives a print length of one page. 🙂) 4mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I‘m happy to go either way - whatever the group wants. 4mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i think squeezing Buccaneers in would take a whole lot of enthusiasm. Based on the response here… 🙂… i‘ll go with Italian Backgrounds for December. I‘m looking forward to it. 4mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke 😂😂Sounds like a plan. 4mo
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Lcsmcat
Dear Edward | Ann Napolitano
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Pickpick

I finished the tagged book and started the next as my #treadmillBook. Dear Edward was a weak pick for me. I could see what the author was trying to do, but for me it fell short. The ending felt rushed. But I cared enough about it to finish it (and keep walking.)

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Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

This was just what I needed after Clarissa! Light, hope-filled, and fun. With Smiley‘s deft prose to boot. It was also my April #doublespin and I finally got around to it. 😂

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Lcsmcat
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A good book, but not a great one, about a troubled year in the life of a troubled family. #bookspin @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 4mo
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Lcsmcat
Ghosts | Edith Wharton
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Seeing more of the Wharton prose I love in this set. Above is a quote that made me chuckle and rang true too. 😀 MMP was my favorite of the four, although Bewitched was a close second. #whartonbuddyread what did you think? Going to be on the road today (grandson‘s first b-day!) but I‘ll check in when I can.

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Currey @Lcsmcat I enjoyed MMP also because Wharton had me laughing at myself for falling for her tricks but I think I preferred Bewitched with its cold winter setting and the sense of longing for it not to be real throughout. Also liked the dog ghosts in Kerfol 4mo
batsy MMP was great & very unexpected #spinsterlit in the sense that it really shows how existing as a single woman in those times could really render you practically, well, dead. I shouldn't laugh but it was some dark humour there. I loved Kerfol and the dogs getting their revenge... Triumph of the Night probably the weakest of the four but still very much appreciated how it showed the "dark" side of capitalism. 4mo
batsy And Bewitched was so good in terms of setting and atmosphere. Very Ethan Frome in its vibes. And pretty great in showing how far people will reach for a supernatural explanation to avoid confronting what's in front of their eyes. 4mo
Lcsmcat @Currey @batsy The dog Ghosts were great! 4mo
Lcsmcat @batsy Great insights into Wharton‘s commentary on spinsterhood! 4mo
Lcsmcat I confess I‘m having a more difficult time sparking discussion of short stories than I do with novels. I keep hoping for a unifying theme other than, well, ghosts. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4mo
Currey @batsy Yes, loved that insight into the deadly unmarried….they are so frightening 4mo
Graywacke @batsy very interesting on #spinsterlit 4mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat me too - wondering how to respond. For me, on one sense, they are nice stories, but mostly with snack-able themes. But i‘m enjoying being in them, within this story telling. It‘s just a really pleasant place to spend some reading time. MMP made me laugh. The rest was fun enough. What a character Prudence Rutledge is, with her unpainted marble statue closed eyes. 4mo
arubabookwoman I wasn't able to get to this wk's reading. Will catch up next wk. I did read these long ago with little memory of them, but seeing the comments I remember the dog ghosts, and loving that story. @Lcsmcat @Graywacke That is often my problem with books of short stories, but I like these stories because they are each so complete and self-contained. 4mo
batsy @Graywacke What a character Mrs Rutledge is! Looking "as if the stone-Mason had carved her to put atop of Venny's grave"... ? 4mo
batsy @arubabookwoman I agree that each story is complete and self-contained. The common theme is ghosts but even the dog story touches on something deeper, like domestic abuse/tyranny, and each one has something interesting to say. I find that I'm enjoying it more than I expected because short stories do tend to be hit or miss for me sometimes. @Lcsmcat @Graywacke 4mo
TheBookHippie I want the above in a picture frame in my house 😅🤣♥️ 4mo
TheBookHippie I love short stories I was reading these in the morning and switched to dimmer lighting in the evening with tea, it‘s like little visits Mrs Rutledge won the favorite this week. It‘s hard to discuss other than it‘s a good way to pause and immerse. I do feel like this was more “her” as in writing style and spinsterhood still seems to me preferable back then 😵‍💫🤣🤷🏻‍♀️😂. 4mo
Lcsmcat @batsy @Graywacke I‘m enjoying them too. I didn‘t mean to imply that I wasn‘t. More apologizing for not providing very much in the way of discussion prompts. 4mo
Lcsmcat Mrs. Rutledge was a character all right! 4mo
Lcsmcat I find short stories great when my concentration is low, because as @batsy says they are self-contained. Last week‘s set seemed flatter than Wharton‘s usual prose, but these had some great lines. 4mo
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Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

I knew going in some of the plot (it is after all almost 300 years old) but there was still much (1781 pages worth!) to take in. While I vacillated on how to rate it, I‘m glad I stuck it out to the end. I loved thinking about Richardson‘s impact on later authors like Jane Austen. And was disturbed by how little has really changed in regards to men‘s treatment of women. It was easy picture most of the characters ⬇️

Lcsmcat ⬆️ in suits and ties instead of perruques and shoe buckles. My favorite character was Anna, although even she frustrated me at times. And Richardson amused me with his so-obvious insecurities about his writing and the public‘s & critic‘s response to it. 5mo
AnnR Well done! 👏 5mo
Megabooks Awesome job! 5mo
Amiable I‘m so proud of all of us for tackling this chunkster to the ground! 4mo
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Lcsmcat
Ghosts | Edith Wharton
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Apparently there‘s a movie of The Lady‘s Maid‘s Bell, from which I grabbed this still. I may watch it later, but that wasn‘t my favorite of this week‘s 4. I liked Afterward the best. Lots of Henry James echoes, and less of the Wharton prose I‘ve been admiring. But these are early works - all but All Souls published 1910 or before - so I‘ll wait to see if it returns. What‘s everyone thinking? #whartonbuddyread

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Lcsmcat From “The Eyes” - His stupidity was a natural grace—it was as beautiful, really, as his eye-lashes. 5mo
Graywacke I‘m behind. Sorry, rough week. I‘ll try to catch up. I‘ve read All Souls, The Eyes and the wonderful little preface. I encourage everyone to search out the preface if you don‘t have it. Probably a free Amazon sample will include it. It‘s about 5 pages. 5mo
batsy Afterward was my favourite, too. Something about it lingers, stays with you. Apt title! Loved this line: "Lyng was not one of the garrulous old houses that betray secrets entrusted to them. It's very legend proved that it had always been the mute accomplice, the incorruptible custodian, of the mysteries it had surprised." All Souls is my next fave, though I have to say I enjoyed them all. The Lady's Maid's Bell left me with a lot of questions. 5mo
Lcsmcat @batsy I had a lot of questions on LMB too, it felt not quite complete. I was enjoying All Souls until the end, which felt awkward to me, like she wasn‘t fully committed. 5mo
Currey @batsy @Lcsmcat Yes I also liked Afterward the best. It truly ended but with many unanswered questions that stay with you. LMB crafted as if it was a classic ghost story but with no where to go once it was established. To be honest, I didn‘t really understand the eyes. Feeling stupid about that. Did the last young man sees the old man‘s eyes in his dreams? 5mo
Currey @Graywacke The preface was excellent! 5mo
Lcsmcat @Currey I wasn‘t sure if the eyes were “passed on” to the young man or if the old man _was_ the eyes? I have questions too and haven‘t researched it. 5mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Understood. Take care and check in when you can. That‘s the beauty of short stories. 5mo
arubabookwoman @Graywacke Yes, the preface was excellent. My favorite too was "Afterward" with "All Souls" just slightly behind. I think it was because with those 2 stories, the supernatural doesn't appear. immediately and jump out at you--there's a possible explanation from the "real" world, even if it may be horrific. As when Mrs. Clayburn searching the deserted house wonders if she will find "her dead servants, mown down by a homicidal maniac." The ???? 5mo
arubabookwoman immediate immersion into the supernatural bothers me. I guess I like my ghost stories grounded in the real world. I found it interesting that "All Souls" echoed some of Wharton's preface in denouncing the thought that ghosts stories went out when electric lights came in, and also echoing that a good ghost story should send a chill down your spine. Both these stories did that for me. I liked the other 2 stories less. "ThEyes" was fine as far ?? 5mo
willaful TLMB reminded me of what in improv theater is called a “passenger scene“ -- when a character is thrust willy nilly into the middle of other people's story for the ride -- and it stuck me that a lot of older ghost stories have this sense of distance. In “All Souls“ too, most of what's really happening is elsewhere, and I kind of thought it might have been scarier not to even have it explained. 5mo
arubabookwoman as it goes, but I have the same question as above. After the story was told why did young Phil react as he did? Why did it take Culwin so long to recognize this? I am really puzzled by this. I also have a lot of questions about "The Lady's Maid's Bell." I'm usually puzzled by short stories, but this one particularly puzzles me. Was Mrs. Brampton having an affair with Mr. Ranford? Why did the ghost (Emma) lead the narrator to Mr Ranford's? ???? 5mo
Lcsmcat @willaful That‘s a good description! I would have liked All Souls much better without the “it could have been witches” ending, which felt awkward and unconvincing to me. 5mo
arubabookwoman Why was there a rule never to ring the bell? When the bell did ring, who rang it? Why could only the narrator see the ghost? What was the ghost trying to tell the narrator about Mr. Ranford? Was Mr. Ranford in the house the night Mr. Brimford returned and Mrs. Brimford died? Why did Mrs. Brimford drop dead? What was the red spot on Mr. B's forehead. And did anyone else notice that in 3 of the 4 stories there were maids named Agnes? 5mo
arubabookwoman @Lcsmcat I agree the story would have been better without that ending. 5mo
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman I have the same questions! I watched the Granada adaptation that this picture is from and that screen writer / director implied that when the bell rings Emma is ringing it, so Mrs. B doesn‘t want anyone else doing it. That made sense to me. The affair/no affair question was just as vague in that one and no explanation was given for Emma leading her to Mr. R. I kind of think she was having an “emotional affair.” 5mo
arubabookwoman @Lcsmcat As I was thinking it over, I was starting to believe Emma was ringing the bell, and that she rang it when she thought Mrs. Brimford was in danger (from Mr. B. ?), or otherwise needed help that Emma, as a ghost, couldn't give her. Emma was there as a ghost protector for Mrs. B. And maybe Emma led her to Ranford to warn him, or have him come try to save Mrs. B. 5mo
dabbe I'm behind but hope to catch up today. Lots of excellent posts to read here; I'm saving it for happy hour! 🤩 5mo
Graywacke Ok, just caught up. I enjoyed them all, with The Eyes feeling a little weaker, and I didn‘t get the end (Was it Murchand‘s own elderly face he had been confronting all those years ago? And was there a gay love interest?) The 4th, TLMB, being fresh in my head, I think had the most suspense. It‘s a pleasure to read Wharton. She overcomes all distractions and wins me over early in each story. 5mo
Currey @Graywacke I did think there was an implied gay love interest but I was not sure about the eyes….were they shared or were they Murchand‘s own old eyes? Not sure but that probably makes the most sense 5mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @Currey I agree that a gay relationship was implied. But the eyes themselves? I‘m not sure about them. 5mo
Graywacke Preface quotes: "Do you believe in ghosts?" is the pointless question often addressed by those who are incapable of feeling ghostly influences to…The celebrated reply (I forget whose): "No, I don't believe in ghosts, but I'm afraid of them," is much more than the cheap paradox it seems to many. ? 5mo
Graywacke ? To “believe," in that sense, is a conscious act of the intellect, and it is in the warm darkness of the pre-natal fluid far below our conscious reason that the faculty dwells with which we apprehend the ghosts we may not be endowed with the gift of seeing. 5mo
Graywacke Quote 2: for deep within us as the ghost-instinct lurks, I seem to see it being gradually atrophied by those two world-wide enemies of the imagination, the wireless and the cinema. To a generation for whom everything which used to nourish the imagination because it had to be won by an effort, and then slowly assimilated, is now served up cooked, seasoned and chopped into little bits, the creative faculty 👇 5mo
Graywacke ? (for reading should be a creative act as well as writing) is rapidly withering, together with the power of sustained attention; and the world which used to be so grand à la clarté des lampes (google tr: great for the brightness of lamps) is diminishing in inverse ratio to the new means of spanning it; so that the more we add to its surface the smaller it becomes. 5mo
Graywacke Quote 3: Ghosts, to make themselves manifest, require two conditions abhorrent to the modern mind: silence and continuity. 5mo
Graywacke @Currey i‘m not sure it makes sense about the eyes. It might be a very misleading suggestion. One thing that puzzles me is what the parallel was. (My mind thinks these are two situations in which he avoided doing what he should have done in order to not upset anyone. That his conscience was confronting him about his weakness.) 5mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke She sounds like us Boomers today talking about the internet 😆 5mo
Graywacke @batsy I love that line about the Lyng house. (Did anyone else see Heart of Darkness elements in Afterward? The whole far-off dreamy experience and back to reality aspect, and the way it‘s conveyed…maybe just my own random brain association? Dorset would be an awkward Congo.) 5mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat the wireless and cinema! And I‘m posting about this on my iPhone! 😳 Feeling very seasoned and chopped into little bits… 5mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I didn‘t think of Heart of Darkness, but now that you say it, I think you‘re right. It would have been 11 years old when she wrote Afterward, so around long enough for people to get the reference. 5mo
Graywacke @arubabookwoman i do prefer the plausible explanations over actual ghosts (well, except in Ghost Busters!…or Discworld) Only TLMB really pushes that. I just told myself she‘s real. It almost worked for me. 5mo
Graywacke @arubabookwoman on Mr. Ranford - certainly it wasn‘t a torrid affair. More like an affinity. But who knows how far it went. I felt terrible for Ranford at the end. I also don‘t know why she died, or what the cause was, or if it was bound to happen anyway (in which case Emma was giving Ranford one last visit). @Lcsmcat Interesting about Emma ringing the bell. I couldn‘t puzzle that out. 5mo
Graywacke @willaful interesting about “passenger scene” On a different note, one thing I really liked about All Souls‘ is that we don‘t really need to have anything weird going on. Could all be (mis)perception. 5mo
Graywacke What I kept thinking about while reading was trying to imagine life with servants, or being a servant (I loved Mr. Wace!). Such a different world. And the mistress, already captive to female expectations, is captive a second time to the will and feelings and abilities of her own servants. Men are captive to them too. It seems like such an odd lack of privacy and control. 5mo
batsy @Lcsmcat "if the old man was the eyes" that's the kind of thing I was going with, too @Currey I too didn't feel like I totally got this story, but the ambiguity of it it all worked for me (although I do think it's probably my least favourite out of the four). 5mo
batsy @Graywacke I need to read Heart of Darkness! 🙈 But I like that you found parallels... This story seems to work on multiple levels. I liked the suspense of the questions in TLMB too, to the point where I don't know if I necessarily wanted them all answered. 5mo
batsy @Graywacke Love that quote from the Preface. 5mo
batsy @Lcsmcat I agree about the witch aspect robbing All Souls of some of its supernatural power, for some reason. The story also struck me as one of those "last person on the planet" type stories, particularly resonant for our era, and underneath it all a kind of reckoning with death. 5mo
batsy @arubabookwoman I had all the same questions as you and I also wondered if it was Emma ringing the bell, but then I wondered would Emma be also exiting her room right before Hartley is getting ready to come out of her own, but I just chalked it up to ghostly behaviour I don't quite understand 😅 @Graywacke I loved Mr Wace too! 5mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I don‘t think I could have stood having servants. My mother hired a housecleaning service for us after my 1st kid was born and it made me so uncomfortable to sit there with the baby while she cleaned! 5mo
batsy @Graywacke The bit about servant life and life with servants really stuck with me. And the way the husband was like, "How many of there are you anyway?" put me squarely in Sarah Waters territory and I anticipated if we were perhaps going to get some sapphic undertones (sadly, none). It's actually a great story about the precariousness of a maid's life, with all the menace and unease coming from the conditions of their life in a strange place. 5mo
TheBookHippie Catching up today! I‘ll report back 😵‍💫😅 4mo
dabbe RE: TLMB: some of the analysis I looked at has Emma possibly helping with the “affair“ between Ranford and Mrs. B; the entire staff hated Mr. B, and there is the hint that Mr. B may have abused Mrs. B as well as had numerous affairs (the maid even states that he looked her over and was not moved). Emma's room seems to be the gateway between life and death as no one goes into that room at all, and Emma is only seen at the doorstop or in the ⬇️ 4mo
dabbe hallway. She also may have been trying to send the message about the relationship between Ranford and Mrs. B (what do you suppose was in the letter that she wrote to him?) so that the new maid could protect Mrs. B and keep helping to hide the relationship from Mr. B. Also there's the idea that the narrator is not reliable (1st person POV's usually imply that) ... she was recovering from a severe sickness and was referred to as being pale (even ⬇️ 4mo
dabbe fainting in front of Ranford and his house). The fact that Mr. B sees Emma at the climatic ending shows there must be the paranormal going on here. What did Mrs. B die from? Maybe a heart attack (it was mentioned she had a weak heart) at the whole climatic scene? Similar to Mrs. Mallard dropping dead at the sight of her husband in “The Story of an Hour“ by K. Chopin? I loved that the story left so many questions--that makes for great discussions! 4mo
dabbe Found this interesting article about Wharton's ghost stories in THE NEW YORKER if anyone's interested:
https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/edith-whartons-bewitching-long-lost-...
4mo
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Lcsmcat
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We did it! Time for final thought on #Clarissa as we all gain back hours in our reading lives. Thanks for keeping me company for this marathon. I may post some quotes below, but Richardson‘s whining wasn‘t how I was feeling this week. How are you feeling about the futures he gave each character? About his answers to the critics? (Especially as regards the length! 😂) Glad you read it, or sorry?

Tamra Congratulations! 🎉 5mo
Librarybelle I am very far behind but have enjoyed reading the thoughts of everyone. It‘s my goal to be completed by the end of the year. Thank you for hosting! 5mo
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Lcsmcat @Librarybelle You can do it! Feel free to tag me if you post your thoughts. I‘m glad to have finished, but I‘ll be thinking about this one for a while. 5mo
Lcsmcat Some quotes: this one says so much about Richardson! “For there is an injustice in being moved at the afflictions of those who deserve to be miserable.” (Who gets to decide?…) 5mo
Lcsmcat R insulting his readers: “A few observations are thrown in by way of note in the present edition, at proper places to obviate this objection, or rather to bespeak the attention of hasty readers to what lies obviously before them.” 5mo
Lcsmcat R insults his critics: “The author thinks he ought not to prescribe to the taste of others; but imagined himself at liberty to follow his own.” 5mo
AnneCecilie I‘m glad you initiated this and that I joined in. I never would have read it otherwise. Off course it got too long at times, but I‘m glad I read it. I will never look at a rake in the same way again. They always comes up in romance novel/ series with a certain romantic air around them, but after reading about Mr Lovelace, I will no longer look at them in a romantic way. 5mo
Jerdencon Thanks for taking us on this trip! @Lcsmcat I never would have read it otherwise even if it felt like homework some weeks! Lol 5mo
Jerdencon As for how he played out everyone‘s lives - I think I was most happy that Clarissas brother was so miserable! He deserved it - although I wish Lovelace had a more miserable ending. And I‘m glad Belford and Charlotte ended up together. 5mo
Lcsmcat @AnneCecilie Thanks for joining in! I agree that, while his idea of the “perfect woman” felt preachy, his depiction of a rake/libertine felt spot on. 5mo
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon Yes! James deserved to be miserable. I felt he was the catalyst that set the evil in motion. And it did feel like work some weeks, but I‘m glad I stuck with it. 5mo
Amiable I wasn‘t sure at first, but I ended up being glad that I read this one. I grew to appreciate Richardson‘s writing strategy and how he skillfully used the epistolary format to tell multiple sides of the story. It‘s funny —today I was reading another book and had a brief flash of “wait, I have to log at least 10 pages of Clarissa first!” I‘m not used to my freedom yet. 😄 5mo
Amiable Thank you, @Lcsmcat, for hosting and keeping us on track! 5mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable I‘ve had that same reaction! I feel a little untethered. 😂 I haven‘t posted a review yet because I was waiting for today‘s discussion, but I have gone back and forth on a rating, but always glad we stuck with it and finished. 5mo
Amiable @Lcsmcat The bragging rights alone are worth it! 😀 5mo
BookwormM Glad I read it so now I never have to read it again 🤣🤣this group definitely made it easier 5mo
Lcsmcat @BookwormM 😂🤣😂 5mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable We need those “Learned Slattern” T-shirts! 5mo
Jerdencon @Amiable that was me this morning - I was like let me catch up but I didn‘t have to! @BookwormM I am so glad I never have to read Richardson again too! Lol 5mo
TheEllieMo I‘m glad I read Clarissa, it was tough going at times just because the story took such a long time to move forward, but I feel a sense of accomplishment at having finished. I completely lost interest in the Postscript though, I felt Richardson was being awfully pompous, though I did agree with him that a man like Lovelace having a conversion would be improbable (edited) 5mo
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo Pompous is a very good description of Richardson! It really got to be funny to me how he answered each criticism so pedantically. 5mo
Currey @Lcsmcat Thank you for leading us along and thank you to the whole group for persevering and making reading this chunkster barely doable. Could not have done it without you! 5mo
Daisey @Lcsmcat Thanks so much for leading this read. I‘m glad to have accomplished it and there are definitely aspects I could appreciate, but it‘s also one of the hardest books I‘ve ever kept reading and I don‘t think I‘ll ever actually recommend it. As for the characters‘ endings, I thought most were appropriate and enjoyed reading that section for the most part. 5mo
BarbaraJean I‘m glad I read it for multiple reasons—understanding its influence on later authors, bragging rights, the group experience—but also, I DID want to know how things turned out: to see the villains punished & to see where everyone ended up. Each character‘s voice was so individual: it says a lot about Richardson‘s skill that I could see each of these characters so distinctly. @Amiable I was definitely impressed at his usage of the epistolary format! 5mo
BarbaraJean The future of Clarissa‘s family was satisfying in some ways, but also, her parents dying fairly soon, and her siblings having miserable marriages felt a little too on the nose. Anna‘s future was a little disappointing, but expected. I need Anna fanfic!! @TheEllieMo YES—pompous is exactly the word I‘d use for the Postscript! R's answers to the critics were annoying (protesting too much?!), and it all felt far too self-congratulatory. 5mo
BarbaraJean I‘m SO glad you initiated this. I loved the reading support from the posts & discussions along the way. That kept me going & immeasurably increased my enjoyment of the book. I wouldn‘t have read this without the buddy read, and wouldn‘t have enjoyed it nearly as much without our weekly rants! @Lcsmcat @Amiable I‘m dying for a “Learned Slattern” shirt! Any graphic designers out there? Or anyone savvy with quick online methods for t-shirt designing? 5mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean Clarissa‘s parents dying so soon did feel a little too easy, didn‘t it? Like R couldn‘t figure out how culpable they should be and therefore how miserable they deserved to be. Thanks for joining us on this journey! I wouldn‘t have kept going without you all and the input each week! 5mo
TheBookHippie Thank you so much for leading and the group effort. I‘m glad that although difficult at times it stretched us to be uncomfortable … these atrocities still happen to women and to see it in print has hopefully helped women feel seen. As for the author I find him to be an arrogant prick 😵‍💫😅😅😅💙😂🤣😝. The literature influence, bragging rights and solidarity we gained is something I am so proud of! Go us! 4mo
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Lcsmcat
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Somehow I ended up with two books about unhappy preteen boys going at the same time. Tagged book is my #bookspin and Dear Edward is my current treadmill book. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Lcsmcat
Ghosts | Edith Wharton
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A reminder to the #whartonbuddyread that the first discussion for Ghosts is next Saturday. The collection each story was originally published in is in parentheses for those of us reading from The Complete Works eBook.

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