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natashalb

natashalb

Joined September 2021

If you go home with somebody, and they don't have books, don't fuck 'em. (John Waters).
review
natashalb
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Mehso-so

Only 130 odd pages and easily devoured in a day. Kayleigh takes a job as a content moderator for a social media platform whose name she can't mention. All day she and her colleagues review offensive and violent content and decide which to remove and which can remain accordingly to the platform's strict guidelines. How does viewing such content day in day out affect a person?

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natashalb
The Anomaly | Herv Le Tellier
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Pickpick

A plane lands following severe weather related turbulance. Trouble is, the exact same plane, flown by the exact same pilot and containing the exact same passengers landed exacrly 3 months ago....

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natashalb
The Game | Scott Kershaw
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Pickpick

Acroas 3 countries, 5 strangers receive a chilling text message... The person you love is most in danger. To save them, you must play The Game. Interesting twist but not as gruesome overall as I had anticipated, though it was disturbing at the end...

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natashalb
Adults | Emma Jane Unsworth
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Panpan

The maim character was really irritating...

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natashalb
Bullshit Jobs: A Theory | David Graeber
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Pickpick

The rise of pointless work ("bullshit jobs"), how we got there and what can we do about it. Extremely well timed reading as the pandemic has especially pointed out the need for more personal freedom and flexibility in the workplace...

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natashalb
Life After Life: A Novel | Kate Atkinson
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I read this after enjoying the recent BBC adaptation. A baby is born again each time she dies. What would you do with a life that has seemingly endless chances? Set during the pre-WW1 to post WW2 era.

IuliaC I enjoyed this one 4mo
11 likes1 comment
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natashalb
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Mehso-so

A quick read chick-lit exploring the themes of social media and how we portray ourselves online vs in reality and an exploration of a woman's thirties and the ever present ticking of the biological clock.

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natashalb
The Every: A Novel | Dave Eggers
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Pickpick

Imagine Amazon and Facebook combining into one omnipotent and unstopabble force....not too difficult to picture... The sequel to The Circle.

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natashalb
Dare to Know | James Kennedy
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Mehso-so

The narrator works for Dare to Know, a company who pioneered a technology to predict anyone's exact time of death. Employees are forbidden to look up their own death date. When he does though, it says he died 20 minutes ago. I enjoyed it but maybe I didn't quite get the allegories and it got more and more surreal as it went on...

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natashalb
Outbreak | Frank Gardner
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Mehso-so

A genetically engineered form of 2 deadly viruses is found to have caused the death of a man in remote Svalbard. Luke is addigned to track down the origins of the group behind it. Was good but a bit MI5iish secret services heavy for me.

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natashalb
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Pickpick

I like his documentaries so I bought for some easy plane reading. Diary of lockdown times with the family and a lot of booze.

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natashalb
Recursion | Blake Crouch
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I recently read his other book, Dark Matter and quickly wanted to read this, which I thought was even better. As cases of False Memory Syndrome increase globally Detective Barry Sutton and Neuroscientist Helena Smith are drawn into the world of memory, physics, reality and the power of the human mind after Helena invents a powerful chair.

Sharpeipup Love the cover! 6mo
jlhammar So good! Can't wait for his new one. 6mo
natashalb @jlhammar I know I have it on reserve on Amazon! ☺️ 6mo
13 likes3 comments
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natashalb
Departure | A. G. Riddle
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Pickpick

Along the same lines as his usual works, this one I also enjoyed. Begins with a plane crash and when the survivors realise they are in a world quite different from the one they left they set out to figure out the conspiracy and how 5 of them are connected.

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natashalb
The Good Sister | Morgan Jones
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Pickpick

By the time her father reaches Turkey, Sofia is already beginning her new caliphate life in Raqqa. Explores the islamic radicalisation of a young girl and the journey of her father to find her. I read this because I listen to James O'Brien on LBC who recommended as it changed his perspective on radicalisation especially in the wake of new stories like UK teen Shamima Begum.

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natashalb
Dark Matter | Blake Crouch
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A mind boggling journey through physics and an exploration of reality and memory. Physicist Jason Dessen invents a device that allows access to all the other versions of ones life branching off from all the minute choices we make on a daily basis. He needs to discover the truth and find his wife and child in a crazy battle in the metaverse. Hard to explain but a good read, makes you think....

14 likes1 stack add
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natashalb
Cold Storage: A Novel | David Koepp
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Pickpick

Quick read, something different...
A highly mutative killer fungus stored underground for decades finds itself in prime conditions to escape it's underground prison. Former bioterror agent Roberto Diaz comes to the rescue of the now 24 hour storage facilities employees Teacake and Naomi to save the world.

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natashalb
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Pickpick

Following the pandemic, with global debt out of control the world leaders decide to sell Plant Earth to a race of money hungry bankers called the Golgothans. Toby and Co set out to save the planent in 24 hours. Also featuring Carruthers the hedgehog. A bit of a mad space adventure.

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natashalb
The Last Day | Andrew Hunter Murray
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Mehso-so

The world has stopped turning leaving only a sliver of earth inhabitable. Ellen Hopper receives a letter from her dying mentor and sets out to discover a secret that could alter the fate of the world, fighting off government agents along the way. Thought it was okay enough to finish but not riveting enough I would bother with any other books by this author...

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natashalb
The Panic Years | Nell Frizzell
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Mehso-so

Part memior part non-fiction, the Panic Years are that anxious time in your 20's to early 40's where whether you want to have a baby, don't want to or are simply undecided you nevertheless feel that intense pressure to make a decision before mother nature ultimately makes it for you.

3 likes1 stack add
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natashalb
So Lucky | Dawn OPorter
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3 woman. Their lives are not what they outwardly portray. A funny story for the "insta-perfect" generation and a reminder that everyone is facing a battle you know nothing about.

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natashalb
Pretending | Holly Bourne
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After numerous traumatising experiences with men, April decides to take back control in the form of pretending to be carefree Gretel. But how in control can she remain when it turns out Joshua might prove to be one of the good ones. Really heartening, relatable and a great examination of relationships for the MeToo generation.

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natashalb
HAPPINESS IS WASTED ON ME. | KIRKLAND. CICCONE
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Growing up in a dysfunctional family in a council house in Cumberbauld, Scotland with an abusive father, a mother working four jobs and four siblings, Walter Wedgeworth's life changes after he stumbles across a dead baby abandoned in a cardboard box. A coming of age story in the 90's, a lot of books, asexuality, OCD and ultimately coming face to face with a baby killer.

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natashalb
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Pickpick

A touching story about a young housekeeper entrusted to care for a math professor who, after a long ago car accident, is left with only an 80 minute memory. Despite the amount of maths (which I am absolutely abhorrent at) and baseball (which I have absolutely zero interest in) it was a really beautiful story of a lovely relationship between the housekeeper, the professor and her charming young son.

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natashalb
The Glass Hotel | Emily St. John Mandel
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Mehso-so

'Why don't you swallow broken glass' written on a window of a hotel in rural Canada. A chance meeting with a investor and a new opulent way of life for troubled young women. A ponzi scheme revealed. Lives intertwining. I read this because I vaguely remember reading Station Eleven some years ago.

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natashalb
The Last | Hanna Jameson
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Mehso-so

A nuclear war. The end of the world. A group of strangers living in a swiss hotel. A body in a water tank. How to go on...?

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natashalb
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Pickpick

I love Deborah Frances-White's Guilty Feminist podcast so I had to get around to reading her book at some point. One of todays most inspirational and inclusive feminists

3 likes1 stack add
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natashalb
Winter in Sokcho | ELISA. SHUA DUSAPIN
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Mehso-so

A young french-korean woman is working as a receptionist in an old hotel in Sokcho, a border town between North and South Korea. She forms a strange kind of relationship with a French guest, a comic book artist. Kind of strange, but interesting enough and read it in a day...

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natashalb
We All Fall Down | Daniel Kalla
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Mehso-so

Is it just me that has devoured a little too much pandemic fiction over the course of the pandemic? This one was mostly set in Genoa, Italy where a mentally ill monk who believes he is hearing the voice of God releases centuries buried plague ridden rats into the world and it's up to Alana of NATO and the team from the WHO to track the source of the disease before it spreads beyond Italian shores.

SRWCF Interesting! I lived in Genoa for years. 8mo
2 likes1 comment
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natashalb
The Twyford Code | Janice Hallett
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Pickpick

I admit I didn't enjoy it as much as the appeal but it was still an easy and enjoyable read and I look forward to more from Ms Hallett. A newly released prisoner sets about to find out what happens to his old school teacher who went missing during a school trip on the hunt for the legendary Twyford Code contained within a series of Enid Blyton like children's novels...

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natashalb
The Extinction Trials | A.G. Riddle
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I really loved all of his books so far and even though this was a standalone instead of a series and explored much of the same themes as his other books I once again enjoyed the world AG Riddle creates. 6 strangers wake up in a kind of underground bunker after 'the Change' has pretty much detsroyed the world as they know it for good. They learn they are part of a programme designed to save the human race and set out to see what awaits outside...

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natashalb
The Appeal | JANICE. HALLETT
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Pickpick

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, considering i'm not usually one for whodubbits. I think it was especially due to the style. It's like you're the 3rd member of the investigative team helping to solve the mystery by considering the evidence (in the form of notes, emails, pamphlets, texts, etc). Very engaging. I read it in one day and would love to read more books in this type of format.

Aims42 I have this on my TBR list, sounds like I need to move it up 😄 I saw she has a second book 🙌 8mo
7 likes1 comment
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natashalb
Weather: A novel | Jenny Offill
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Panpan

Maybe this just went over my head but can't understand the accolades. Read it in a few hours though. A part time librarian takes a job offer answering questions for a friend's apocolyptic podcast. The standalone paragraphs just didn't add up to a comprehensible story to me personally...

marleed I was not a fan either. 8mo
6 likes1 comment
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natashalb
The End of October: A novel | Lawrence Wright
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A virus outbreak of a virulent strain of influenza in an Indonesian camp becomes a lethal global pandemic. Political tensions escalate. CDC member, the brilliant Henry Parsons tries to find the source of the outbreak and if possible a cure... Very factual and informative too I thought.

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natashalb
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Mehso-so

Set in a near distant future Tokyo, the world has been ravaged by man-made disasters and while the elderly generation seemingly live on indefinitely the younger generations are growing exceedingly more feeble and are dying out. The short story follows Mumei, who is looked after by his great grandfather Yoshiro.

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natashalb
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Pickpick

A really interesting, informative and accessible guide to how ordinary Victorians lived, each chapter taking you through an ordinary working day from the first (often freezing) step out of bed to when the lights go out.

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natashalb
The Warehouse | Rob Hart
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Mehso-so

Retail giant Cloud has essentially taken over a future dystopian world which is almost unhabitable. Paxton and Zinnia both have their reasons for applying to their live-work facilities.. parallels to our world of 2021 hit a little close to home...

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natashalb
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Mehso-so

Another short and sweet, quirky book by Kawakami-san. The abundant love life of Nishino-san as told through the stories of the 10 women he meets.

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natashalb
Tender Is the Flesh | Agustina Bazterrica
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Pickpick

In a bleak dystopian future a deadly virus sees all animals gone but the desire for meat remains and the human meat trade is a legitimised industry. Really jarring amd uncomfortable to read at first....

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natashalb
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Pickpick

Francis Fukuyama explores Identity Politics, it's history and it's effect on democracy and themes such as the rise of nationalism in modern times amongst others. Mainly US/Euro centric. A fairly easy to follow read into a very relevant subject.

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natashalb
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Pickpick

Tracing the history of liberal thought in Western democracy from Descartes to the Modern Day rise of right-wing nationalism. Very informative and easy to read.

2 likes1 stack add
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natashalb
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Pickpick

Follows three storylines, eventually interwoven - from Natural Scientist William in England 1851, Beekeeper George in USA 2007 and Tao in a dystopian China of 2098 where bees have died out and tells of relationships between parents and children and humans and nature.

6 likes1 stack add
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natashalb
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Mehso-so

Yeong-hye decides to stop eating meat after experiencing a vivid and violent dream. The story follows her decent into madness, culminating in her desire to leave her physical body in its entirety, in 3 parts, through the eyes of her husband, her brother-in-law and her sister.

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natashalb
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Pickpick

A woman quits her job due to burnout and proceeds to take up one temporary job after another her only stipulation being that it is an easy one. But as she moves from one post to another (survelliance, advertising for a bus company, a cracker company, a hut in a forest) realises you never know what's going to happen whatever you do. You just have to give it your all and hope for the best. After all, there's no such thing as an easy job..

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natashalb
Stop Reading the News | Rolf Dobelli
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Mehso-so

I already try to practise this myself so was keen to read a properly researched take. And while he did have agreeable, well backed up points I couldn't help but feel Mr Dobelli would make a somewhat smug and sanctinmonious dinner guest (or "news lunch" guest ?).

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natashalb
The Great Passage | Shion Miura
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Pickpick

A life dedicated to words and their meanings. Araki, Majime, Matsumoto and their colleagues at Gembu Publishing Dictionary Editing Department and their dedication to lexicography and the completion of The Great Passage, a comprehensive celebration of the Japanese language.

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natashalb
The Disaster Tourist | YUN. KO-EUN
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Pickpick

A bizarre tale about Yona who works as a travel agent for a company specialising in tours to disaster stricken areas and what she uncovers when she herself is bribed to go on one of those tours...

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natashalb
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Mehso-so

A take on the need to channel our outrage productively instead of jumping onto every social media hashtag bandwagon and proclaiming we've done our moral bit for the day.

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natashalb
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Mehso-so

An interesting look at the world of viruses. There's more to these seeingly invisible troublemakers than you imagine. Even though it's written for the average person to read, it's very heavy on genetics etc so can be quite a slow read (at least for me) having to re-read to make sure I understood a few concepts. Overall, an interesting educational read but I won't be in a rush to re-read (as is the case for a lot of non-f I guess...)

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natashalb
The Nakano Thrift Shop | Hiromi Kawakami
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Mehso-so

Another easy read from Kawakami-san. Not as good, imo, as Strange Weather in Tokyo but a nice uncomplicated story. About the life of the owner and staff of a thrift store in Tokyo run by the stingy Nakano-san and mainly focuses on employee Hitomi, her crush on the strange Takeo and the daily goings on in the store. 3.5 out of 5.

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natashalb
Pachinko | Min Jin Lee
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Pickpick

A moving saga starting with Sunja who falls pregnant by a wealthy yakuza in Yeongdo and a Christian Minister who offers to take her with him to Osaka to be his wife and raise the child as his own. The story follows Sunja and the following generations of her family and explores the hardships faced by Zainichi Koreans in Japan.