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psalva

psalva

Joined April 2022

“Tragedy, comedy, valor and truth/Courage, constancy, heroism, failure --/All in the loom, and oh what patterns!“ - Edgar Lee Masters
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psalva
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My internet has been out today, preventing me from watching the new Sandman series. However, this has forced me to break my reading slump. I‘m only through the first chapter of this memoir, yet already enjoying it thoroughly.

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psalva
Maurice | E M Forster
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Pickpick

I had a bit of a reading slump in the middle of reading this, but I‘m glad I persevered. The ending where Maurice confronts Clive and literally has the last laugh was wonderful. It ends happily with hope and possibility, however nebulous, and for that I am glad. I enjoy Forster‘s writing style and I‘m curious to read more of his work and to read about his life.

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psalva
Murder at Monticello | Rita Mae Brown
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Panpan

This is the third book in the Mrs. Murphy series and I find myself disliking it more as I go forward. This one, which centers around a historic victim found in a slave quarters at Monticello, is the hardest to like so far. Characters with sanitized/racist views of slavery in the U.S? Check. Trying to depict a nuanced view but being tone deaf? Check. I want to like this series but it‘s been a downhill ride so far.

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psalva
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Pickpick

Rather than being a traditional biography, this is really a compendium of Freddie Mercury quotes from interviews he gave, organized mostly chronologically but also grouped by theme. It is an invaluable source for Freddie/Queen fans. Drawbacks: sources aren‘t individually cited for each quote, only generally acknowledged in the back of the book. Plus side: the index which helps if you need to find a specific quote about Radio Ga Ga, for example.

psalva It was a pick for me as a Queen fan, but I wouldn‘t recommend it if you‘re looking for a comprehensive biography or narrative of Freddie‘s life. He was notoriously flippant, sometimes contradictory, during interviews and you have to read between the lines quite a bit in order to glean insights into his life. 1mo
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quote
psalva
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I‘ve always wanted to be my own boss and I always felt that I knew best. It sounds very precocious, but I knew what I wanted. And if it all ended tomorrow, I would do it all again on my own terms. I know it‘s all going to come to an end one day, but I won‘t lose sleep over it every night…I‘m in it for the challenge. I don‘t want it made too easy for me and nobody hands it to me on a silver platter. I‘d hate that. And I‘d refuse it anyway.

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psalva
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Pickpick

This was an absolutely stunning YA novel, which had me in tears twice. It tells the story of Jeremy Talbot, an 11-year-old, and his family, as they deal with his father‘s cancer and his eventual death. Unlike some YA, the serious topic is dealt with realistically and honestly, without a trace of saccharine. It doesn‘t shy away from dealing with complex emotions but it‘s also not depressing. This was my first by Little and it won‘t be my last.

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psalva
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“Don‘t lean out too far,” he cautioned. He knew that she wouldn‘t but he said it anyway. It was like saying, “Don‘t forget to wish,” when someone was all set to blow out birthday candles or like Mum calling, “Get that light out,” just after the clock struck nine. It made the moment complete.

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psalva
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Pickpick

Collected here are Alcestis, Medea, Children of Heracles, and Hippolytus. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of them. Euripides has a style that is very accessible and his skill at exploring the motives of actions shines, particularly in Medea. Even if you don‘t agree with the final actions of characters, it is easy to see how they feel forced to act the way they do. The plots were a bit too convenient at times, but that is true to the genre.

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psalva

These stories were my introduction to George Eliot, and it was lackluster at best. I feel that “The Lifted Veil“ was an underdeveloped idea. “Brother Jacob“ had more depth to it, exploring the deplorable behavior of David Faux. It had a real narrative flair to it. Unfortunately, neither of these blew me away. I have a sense that Eliot's longer works will be more worthwhile. Fingers crossed...

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psalva
Mehso-so

The stories in this collection were hit or miss to me. My favorites were “Rovers,” and “A Sudden Displacement of Matter.” The thing that this collection does extremely well is trans/non-binary representation. I can see this being a much loved volume for a young sci-fi fan who misses seeing themself on the page in more mainstream works.

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psalva
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Pickpick

This was a reread for me, for maybe the third time. I love this book! Hurston is a master of imagery, which is what kept jumping out to me during this reread. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. writes in the afterward, “She is ‘naming‘ emotions…in language both deeply personal and culturally specific.” Though he is referring to a different piece, I think this statement also applies to the style Hurston uses here. 100%, 5 star, pick.

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psalva
Disoriental | Ngar Djavadi
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This is a multi-generational story set against Kimia‘s experience trying to get pregnant. It is told in memories and time jumps which remind me of Garcia Marquez without the magical realism. The character list in the back is helpful. All of the novel leads up to “The EVENT,” a mysterious plot point left untold until the end. Overall, this is a novel which grapples with complexities of family/how we become who we are. I highly recommend it.

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psalva
Reflections in a Golden Eye | Carson McCullers
Mehso-so

I‘m not sure this was for me. There was a psychological suspense element that was well done but, beyond that, there wasn‘t much here. The writing was good enough to keep me going but it was a short book so that wasn‘t really an issue. This was my first McCullers so I may give her more famous novel a shot and see if that agrees with me more.

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psalva
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Pickpick

Finn says, “Read this book. It‘s got so many birds in it!” — I couldn‘t resist adding a cat photo to this post. Honestly, this was a treasure of a read. The split narrative reminded me of a tapestry and the way the ornithological symbolism was woven throughout was lovely. There was so much depth to this novel that I know it will end up being a reread for me, maybe even later this year.

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psalva
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I‘ve been having a slow start to my reading month, and this book is part of the reason. Don‘t get me wrong. I‘m thoroughly enjoying it so far. However, it‘s got this narrative style that just makes me slow down, wanting to savor it. In addition, it‘s been hard to get into anything else because this story is just inhabiting my mind. I have about 60 pages left so I‘m going to try to finish this today.

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psalva
Trash | Dorothy Allison
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I have been overly zealous in my recent library hauls, but hopefully I can get through a few of these this weekend. The tagged book is a collection of highly autobiographical short stories which deal with abuse, poverty, and a number of other difficult topics, but the first few have been well written. I may drag that one out since the stories are so heavy and prioritize some of the others. We shall see.

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psalva
Nervous Conditions | Tsitsi Dangarembga
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This was a stunning novel, the first in a trilogy. I was impressed with Tambu's character and the narration she provides. This is a coming of age story, and while reading you can really see the processing she does as she describes how she felt at the time and how her perceptions are different now. Stellar writing! All the characters are fleshed-out humans with many facets. I can't wait to buy a copy of each of the sequels.

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psalva
Nervous Conditions | Tsitsi Dangarembga
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I‘m really enjoying this novel. Tstsi Dangarembga was recently awarded the Windham-Campbell Award for fiction. Finding out about that brought to my attention that this is the first book in a trilogy which follows the main character Tambu throughout life. I‘m pretty certain that I‘ll enjoy this and continue with the other books if I can find them. Also, I really love the painting on the cover of this edition.

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psalva
Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms | Crystal Frasier
Pickpick

This was a sweet high school love story. Perfect for when you just want to read something short and cute with good representation.

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psalva
The Seep | Chana Porter
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Panpan

This started out with so much promise. I was here for the alien invasion utopia and Deeba wanting to be reborn as a baby- so much potential for a longer deeply rich sci-fi novel. I was fully engrossed at first. But then it started to get a bit silly when we started hearing more from the aliens and shifted focus to the aliens not understanding what humans wanted or needed and the “vengeance quest” of Trina. I was disappointed overall.

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psalva
Before Night Falls | Reinaldo Arenas
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Mehso-so

First of all, I'm glad to have read this. However, it was a very challenging book to get through. Arenas, who was a gay writer in Cuba during the Batista and Castro regimes and a survivor of an impoverished youth, writes about his life candidly. His descriptions of childhood were often disturbing. The anecdotes of his sexual encounters bored me to death. These were sometimes peppered with braggadocio, and an often machismo tone, which didn't help.

psalva However, it's important to remember that this was someone who grew up in impoverished conditions and was continually oppressed. In his own words, “I had never been allowed to be a real human being in the fullest sense of the word.“ With that in mind, it becomes understandable that he would focus on what brought him the most joy in life, his sexual encounters, as well as relationship with literature and the sea. 3mo
psalva In fact, when you look closer at this book, you become aware of the lyrical and melancholic tones that Arenas is evoking, and those moments become quite poignant. Overall, he seems to have had an unfulfilled and tragic life. I would recommend this book to those who want to learn more about Arenas as a writer and to those who would like to know more about gay culture in Cuba during this time, especially in the literary world. 3mo
psalva Just know going in that his was not a happy life, nor a full one, and be mindful of the context of his situation as you read. 3mo
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psalva
Before Night Falls | Reinaldo Arenas

I'm reading this for LGBTQ Books in Translation, but I'm finding it very difficult to finish. With only 50 pages left, it's become a drag. I'm tired of the machismo quality in the narrative. The difficulty with this book is trying to remember the context in which it was written. From page one this has been a challenge, as Arenas' earliest memories are disturbing to read about. I think I'll be glad to finish this and be done with it.

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psalva
Flamer | Mike Curato
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Pickpick

This won the Lammy in 2020 for LGBTQ Young Adult. Having grown up queer and closeted in scouting in the late 90s through the 2000s, I related to a lot that happened in this graphic novel, and I think others might too. Curato also does a good job capturing the internal conflicts Aiden has because of his Catholicism. The ending might be seen as too abrupt/tidy by some. However, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of this book overall.

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psalva
Skye Falling: A Novel | Mia McKenzie
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Mehso-so

I had a difficult time getting into this due to the 1st Person Present narration, which I usually hate. However, the story premise intrigued me enough to keep going. The plot did not disappoint, continuing to entice me forward. In the end, I stopped caring as much about the 1st person and enjoyed the story overall, enough to now go back and check out McKenzie's previous novel, The Summer We Got Free.

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psalva
Pickpick

I found this cycle of plays to be quite profound for what it has to say about breaking a cycle of violence and revenge. The exploration of what justice is can also be seen as the plays progress. I think this is a classic that I will be revisiting again.

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psalva
Thirsty Mermaids | Kat Leyh
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Mehso-so

This was fun. The colorful art, the often hilarious antics, and the queer representation made this a joy to read. I honestly didn't think I was going to enjoy the mermaids turned to humans plot, but it grew on me. The thing that brought my rating down was that I thought it ended too soon. I would have liked to see Pearl, Tooth, and Eez as mermaids interacting with their new-found friends more after turning back. Maybe there's room for a sequel.

Kenyazero I've been seeing this at my local comic store and have been thinking about getting it! I picked up an RPG book a while ago called Thirsty Sword Lesbians, which I suspect is by the same person (but of course I haven't checked yet 😏). Sounds like I'll be picking this one up next time I see it at the shop! (I finally did check and it's not the same person! I just happened to come across these two similar titles close together) (edited) 3mo
psalva @Kenyazero Awesome! I hope you enjoy it. It's up for a Lambda Literary Award in Comics for 2022, but it's up against some pretty tough competition. I'm not sure if it'll win, but I still think it's worth picking up. (edited) 3mo
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psalva
The Cybernetic Tea Shop | Meredith Katz
Pickpick

This was a cute, wholesome novella. Clara is a technician who repairs AIs. In Seattle, she meets Sal, an autonomous robot who's been running a tea shop for nearing 300 years. They develop a romantic partnership (Clara is asexual), and Clara helps Sal deal with increasingly frequent attacks on the tea shop from anti-robot criminals.
Overall, this was a light read. It was breath of fresh air and a great night-time read to wind down before bed.

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psalva
100 Boyfriends | Brontez Purnell
Bailedbailed

I‘m bailing at around 50%. There were some vignettes/stories that worked for me, but I am finding myself losing interest in all the dysfunction without a through-plot. The writing is good so I may come back to this or read some of the author‘s other work at some point.

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psalva
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I tend to have a difficult time writing about/reviewing poetry. I'll say that I enjoyed this collection. Enjoying the process of reading is enough for me, without expanding on the meanings/themes of the poems. I think this is a collection I will revisit, and I will certainly seek out more of Adrienne Rich's works.

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psalva
Rocannon's World | Ursula K. LeGuin
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More fantasy than sci-fi, this book seems to have its roots in Middle Earth. There are creatures that resemble dwarves, elves, ring wraiths, and even hobbits. Nonetheless, the story, even with the fantasy elements, does have a sci-fi flair. Here is the basis for the Ekumen, the ansible, and NAFAL (nearly as fast as light) travel. In other words, the fantasy and sci-fi work side by side to make something quite unique. Overall, I enjoyed this.

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psalva
Pickpick

This was such an affirming book. It discusses the spectrum of issues that aces experience and is a well-rounded introduction for those new to the topic. I am grateful to have found it and would recommend it highly.

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psalva
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I‘m continually learning how to read poetry. I‘m grateful when I find these access points that jump out and speak to me.
-Picture from “The Desert as Garden of Paradise”

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psalva
Stone fruit | Lee Lai
Pickpick

This was an emotional rollercoaster, but all in a good way. Even though there is a lot of sadness/depression in this story, I think it is hopeful in the end. I love how Nessie's character ties the other characters together and the role that the spectrum of imagination plays in the story. There is also much to be said for the complicated families that the characters have and how they navigate family in their lives. Love the artwork as well!

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psalva
Shadow Life | Hiromi Goto
Pickpick

This is such a beautiful book. Kumiko is a valiant, tough woman who embodies fighting for what you want, fighting for life. I loved reading this!

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psalva
The Subtweet: A Novel | Vivek Shraya
Pickpick

This was a wonderful novel. It dealt with relationships in a social media age and the challenge of navigating social justice issues and celebrity online versus in real life in nuanced ways with beautiful writing. I'm going to seek out more by Vivek Shraya for sure.

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psalva
Finna | Nino Cipri
Mehso-so

This was a cute sci-fi/fantasy romp. The reviews that compare it to Hitchhiker's Guide are apt. It has a similar feel where sci-fi elements encroach on the lives of the characters in humorous ways. I like the multiverse premise and enjoyed some of the humor. The characters weren't super compelling to me, but they worked well enough. I related to the retail IKEA-like setting as well. I might read more in this series if I stumble upon them.

shanaqui I hadn't thought about that comparison, but it totally fits! 4mo
3 likes1 comment
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psalva
Pickpick

There are some gems in these graduation speeches. Really honest talk. This is certainly a book that I will be revisiting from time to time.

britt_brooke I loved this collection, too! Vonnegut is my favorite. 💚 4mo
1 like1 comment
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psalva
Loveless | Alice Oseman
Mehso-so

The story was a bit too quaint for my taste, but had a good development and good asexual representation in my opinion. I would definitely recommend this for young adult readers. Heartstopper is still my favorite of Oseman's work.

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psalva
Recitatif | Toni Morrison
Pickpick

This was a most thought provoking short story, the only one Morrison ever wrote, and the introduction by Zadie Smith was excellent. The concept of writing a story without racial coding about two characters of different race, for whom race is vital, makes for a very interesting reading experience. Morrison's writing can't be beat, and I loved the ending.

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psalva
The Left Hand of Darkness | Ursula K. LeGuin
Pickpick

This was beautiful, one of the best sci-fi novels I've read in recent years. The world building is almost like a fantasy novel. There is a mythology and a rich history, all explained poetically by Le Guin. The writing of the relationship between the lead characters of Genly Ai and Estraven is extraordinary. This is the fourth book in the Hainish Cycle and, though you don't need to read them in order, I do plan to go back and read more Le Guin.