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rachelk

rachelk

Joined January 2018

My reading buddy is a pooch. 🐶 I‘m ready to go when there‘s a coffee ☕️ in my hand and a book 📖 in my bag. 👜
review
rachelk
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Pickpick

A dark, sex and drug fueled, occasionally gory, coming of age, suspense thriller about rich teens possibly being targeted by a serial killer. It‘s long, but it‘s a page turner. Like Bret Easton Ellis, I too was a teen in L.A. during the 80‘s — he brings the place and time back perfectly. If you liked ‘Less Than Zero‘ and ‘American Psycho‘ you‘ll love this.

Rated X for sex, drugs, violence and a somewhat disaffected Gen X vibe. 🕶️

AmyG Have you read his book Lunar Park? Loved it. Probably my favorite. 3d
rachelk @AmyG No! I‘ll add that to my list right now! Thanks :) 3d
rachelk PS I just went to Spotify to see if anyone made a playlist from all the songs mentioned in the book and sure enough someone did — 144 songs! 🎵 (edited) 2d
Twainy Ooo I have this on loan from Libby! 🎉 1d
rachelk @Twainy Awesome! I love Libby. I‘m waiting in line for the Matthew Perry audio…hopefully soon! :) 1d
44 likes3 stack adds5 comments
review
rachelk
Lucy by the Sea: A Novel | Elizabeth Strout
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At the start of the pandemic Lucy Barton is persuaded to move from her apartment in NYC to a rental house in Maine. Strout captures that first uncertain year of Covid well while providing perspective through the reflective, thoughtful lens of Lucy. It‘s not necessary to read her other books first but for fans it‘s fun to catch up with so many beloved characters.

I love Strout‘s sparse, insightful prose and endearing, believable characters. 🌊

43 likes2 stack adds
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rachelk
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Pickpick

Shunmyō Masuno (a Japanese monk) shares 100 practices that introduce readers to a simpler, more Zen, lifestyle. While not every suggestion appealed to me, the concepts behind them did. For example, I won‘t put calligraphy on my walls as a focal point for reflection, but I would like to make time to reflect.

I like that this book is simply formatted, easy to read and intended to be referred back to. 🧘🏻‍♀️

36 likes1 stack add
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rachelk
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I recommend ‘the definitive edition‘ (pictured above) as never before published entries are included.

This is one of the most worthwhile books I‘ve ever read.💔

51 likes1 stack add
review
rachelk
Silent Spring | Rachel Carson
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Armed with scientific evidence and her ability to simply explain the links between commerce and ecology, Rachel Carson launched the modern environmental movement with this book, resulting in the creation of the EPA and the banning of toxic chemicals such as DDT. Though written 60+ years ago, it‘s clear that science-based policymaking is still necessary.

Carson made me think about the interconnectedness of life and our responsibility to it.💚

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rachelk
Rabbit, Run | John Updike
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Updike‘s writing is so brilliant I could cry. His prose are just packed with observations and insights that I had to ponder and reread. However, I probably won‘t read the other Rabbit books. It seems wrong, but I have enjoyed the personalities of fictional serial killers more than the personality of the selfish man-child that is Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom.

I‘m glad I read but that‘s probably enough Rabbit for me. 🏀

BarbaraBB I read three of them and you are right; you can only have so much Rabbit in your life 😉 3w
Ruthiella Totally agree. 3w
rachelk @Ruthiella GMTA :) 3w
44 likes1 stack add4 comments
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rachelk
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I enjoyed much of this family saga chronicling the love between four siblings (initially marked by the early loss of their father) and the unexpected ways their lives unfold. However, I was much more absorbed reading about their childhoods than the frustrating adult years, which made this a somewhat tepid pick.

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rachelk
Address Unknown | Kathrine Kressmann Taylor
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I read this epistolary novella in an effort to finish up my 2022 Goodreads challenge. Kressman Taylor was from my hometown and I sadly had not heard of her. Written in 1938, the fictional letters between two friends show the growing appeal of Hitler to a previously good person, with horrific consequences. I strongly recommend.

34 likes1 stack add
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rachelk
Annihilation | Jeff VanderMeer
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This imaginative sci-fi novel about a futuristic expedition to the mysterious Area X, told from the POV of the biologist explorer, is unlike anything I‘ve read. I‘d like to watch the movie because I‘m curious if the weirdness I was picturing is at all what was supposed to be happening. Sci-fi is probably my least read genre so I may not be the best judge of what‘s good or unique, but I think this is.

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rachelk
The Body in the Library | Agatha Christie
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Mehso-so

This book is part of the Miss Marple series and is considered an early ‘cozy mystery‘. It wasn‘t my favorite Agatha Christie. Something about the class distinctions irritated me in this one. Perhaps it was the trivialization of the dead girl from the wrong class by the snobbish well-to-do (possibly to make the story less sad)? That said, it is a clever whodunnit from the master and I‘m sure a good read if you‘re in the right mood.

rwmg I found it fascinating how the story started off sympathetic to the victim and shifted over its course to disdain for her as a gold digger 2mo
rachelk @rwmg Yes! I think I just continued to feel a lot of sympathy for her. 2mo
37 likes2 comments
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rachelk
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Published in 2014 after Tirado wrote a post about poverty on Gawker that went viral, she does a good job of explaining problems of the working poor in America, though her own situation was apparently not as bad as implied (which caused me to waiver on making this a pick). However, I saw a lot of truth in her depiction of low pay service and retail jobs and I do agree poor people are judged and treated badly in our society.

rachelk Later Tirado covered civil unrest as a photojournalist, but lost an eye in 2020 after being shot in the face with a police projectile during the George Floyd police violence protests. She settled with city of Minneapolis in 2022 for $600,000. (edited) 2mo
26 likes1 comment
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rachelk
The Overnight Guest: A Novel | Heather Gudenkauf
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Mehso-so

People on Goodreads apparently love this mystery/thriller but I was irritated by the heavy reliance on coincidence. It‘s possible that I just wasn‘t in the mood, but I also found the big finale too unrealistic.

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rachelk
Hello, Molly!: A Memoir | Sean Wilsey, Molly Shannon
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Molly Shannon survives a tragedy in childhood to become a bad ass force of nature, enthusiastic lover of LIFE (in all caps with jazz hands) and probably your imaginary best friend. You cannot be objective about this book because you love her. At some level you realize the writing isn‘t as great as her ability to perform, but you know it‘s good because you can‘t put it down. ❤️

BookDragonNotWorm Great review! 2mo
42 likes1 stack add2 comments
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rachelk
Ethan Frome | Edith Wharton
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Set in a small, fictional town during the early 1900‘s, Ethan Frome is a man seemingly trapped by unfortunate circumstances into a life very different from the one he wanted. The book is short, beautifully written, romantic and tragic.

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rachelk
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This story takes place in a not so distant dystopian future, told from the pov of an intelligent but naïve robot, Klara, that cares for and makes sacrifices for a girl. The book gives you a lot to think about —transactional relationships, ethics, love, loneliness, humanity and our future. I loved this book but I did wish there had been more about the futuristic world beyond Klara.

Q84 I was surprised that I enjoyed this. Not something I would usually pick up. 2mo
rachelk @Q84 I‘m glad you enjoyed it. This is the third book I‘ve read by Ishiguro and I think it‘s safe to say I‘m a fan. 2mo
Q84 I‘ll have to check out some of the others. 2mo
43 likes4 comments
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rachelk
If It Bleeds | Stephen King
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Four good, creepy (not scary) and very different novellas. ‘Mr. Harrigan's Phone‘ (now on Netflix) struck me as spooky YA. ‘The Life of Chuck‘ was fascinatingly experimental and my personal favorite. ‘If It Bleeds‘ is especially fun for King fans as beloved character Holly Gibney returns as the main character. The final story, ‘Rat‘ gives us King writing fiction about someone writing fiction, which I love.

DivineDiana I watched “Mr. Harrigan‘s Phone” on Netflix, and thought it was well done! 2mo
rachelk @DivineDiana I‘ll have to check that out! 2mo
38 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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rachelk
If You Want to Write | Brenda Ueland
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“During his life he (Van Gogh) made only 109 dollars in all on his paintings. They are now worth about two million dollars.” — Brenda Ueland, 1938

‘The Starry Night‘ alone is worth well over 100 million dollars now, but the point Ueland makes is that true creative impulse (which she believes we all have) comes from passion, enthusiasm, love and a need to express something sincerely — not the desire to impress others or be rewarded.

BarbaraBB Yesterday I visited a Klimt exhibition in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. There was a painting by Klimt which Oprah bought for 80 million dollars and a few years later sold for 160 million…. 😱 3mo
rachelk @BarbaraBB Wow! I‘ve read that Warren Buffet doesn‘t believe in investing in art as a financial strategy, but I wonder if something like that might give him pause?! 🤯 3mo
DivineDiana Fascinating and @BarbaraBB Fascinating! 3mo
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BarbaraBB For Oprah it did work obviously 😂 I don‘t know if it‘s true but I was told this story by the curator of the exhibition, so I guess it is. So much money!! As if she needed to sell it 😱 @DivineDiana 3mo
rachelk @BarbaraBB Seems like everything she touches turns to gold! @DivineDiana Fascinating indeed! 3mo
DivineDiana @BarbaraBB It is true according to Artnet. How fabulous that you were able to visit the Van Gogh Exhibit! https://news.artnet.com/market/oprah-sells-famed-gustav-klimt-portrait-150-milli... (edited) 3mo
BarbaraBB @DivineDiana I live nearby so it‘s easy for me! Thanks for the research, glad to know it‘s true! 3mo
DivineDiana @BarbaraBB How nice! You‘re welcome! ❤️ 3mo
42 likes1 stack add8 comments
review
rachelk
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Dr. Dispenza proposes that his meditations can activate genes that recondition the mind and body to greatness. A couple of caveats: 1) While he draws on scientific study, it can get a little woo-woo. 2) The meditations are explained but if you want to listen to them, the price isn‘t included with purchase of the book. That said, I think he‘s on to something but I also suspect it involves a lifetime of practice for most people.

DivineDiana I had never heard of Joe Dispenza… until last night! While dining out with friends, one couple talked about going to Denver to see him speak. And here he is again! 3mo
rachelk @DivineDiana Oh wow! I‘d say that‘s a funny coincidence but Dr. Dispenza calls coincidence a breadcrumb from the divine… 3mo
zezeki I have this book on my TBR for so long! 3mo
See All 9 Comments
DivineDiana I like that‘ “a breadcrumb from the divine”. Stacked! ❤️ 3mo
rachelk @DivineDiana @zezeki If you guys do read/practice this I‘d be interested to know what experience you have 3mo
DivineDiana I will gladly share with you! 3mo
zezeki I'd love to share it as well, I hope to read it early next year. 3mo
rachelk @zezeki Sounds good! :) 3mo
37 likes1 stack add9 comments
review
rachelk
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This 1940‘s coming of age story is considered a landmark in gay literature. It‘s well written, sparse, sophisticated and solemn. Vidal edited and updated this book in the 1960‘s, even changing the ending (the version I read) which is widely thought to be an improvement. I was also interested to learn that the character of Maria was based on his long time friend Anais Nin.

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rachelk
Moonflower Murders | Anthony Horowitz
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A quote from this book doubles as the perfect review, “There's something very satisfying about a complicated whodunnit that actually makes sense…” Indeed. ‘Moonflower Murders‘ is a very smart, satisfying, well plotted ‘book within a book‘ mystery that should appeal to fans of Agatha Christie. This is the follow up to ‘Magpie Murders‘ and there are recurring characters.

51 likes1 stack add
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rachelk
Things in Jars | Jess Kidd
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I liked the quirky characters in this gothic detective story as well as the depiction of 1800‘s London and the way Kidd blended fact with fiction, reality with fantasy. I wasn‘t bothered by the creepy, gruesome elements (though I wouldn‘t read it while eating lunch). However, I did occasionally find myself losing the thread of the story and wishing the writing was tightened up a bit. Still, I enjoyed it.

45 likes1 stack add
blurb
rachelk
Unknown Book 7535597 | Unknown Unknown
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Ruthiella 😂😂😂 4mo
35 likes1 comment
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rachelk
I'm Glad My Mom Died | Jennette McCurdy
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When my daughter was young we watched iCarly together and Sam (McCurdy) was our favorite. To hear now what her real life was like (an abusive mother, a vile Nickelodeon boss, eating disorders, alcoholism, troubling romantic relationships, etc.) is horrifying. Thankfully, McCurdy emerged a brave, decisive woman and unflinching writer with an intact sense of humor. You don‘t need to know who she is to find this impactful.

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rachelk
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This horror story mixed with Japanese folklore is so eerily evocative and beautifully written it feels like poetry, but after awhile it‘s almost too much alliteration, individually excellent but taken together it‘s a lot. That said, I did enjoy this creepy novella with the premise of a small destination wedding in a haunted mansion.

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rachelk
The Patient | Jasper DeWitt
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Not to be confused with ‘The Silent Patient‘ this novel is cleverly told from the perspective of a young psychiatrist through a series of online posts. The story itself is fairly simple but sufficiently creepy.

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rachelk
Untitled | Unknown
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Clwojick Awesome list! 4mo
35 likes1 comment
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rachelk
The Turn of the Screw | Henry James
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Mehso-so

For me this wasn‘t a horror story so much as a psychological character study of the protagonist. However, it is told in such a way that where I see a disturbed mind, someone else might see ghosts. I admire the ability of James to keep the suspense up but it was awfully verbose for a novella.

44 likes2 stack adds
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rachelk
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Panpan

I liked the idea of this haunted house story a lot but between the clichés, underdeveloped characters and breaking the rule show don‘t tell, I just can‘t pick this one.

35 likes1 stack add
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rachelk
Indignation | Philip Roth
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Marcus, a bright but intense young man leaves home to attend a conservative college in 1951 while fears of the Korean War loom large. Marcus is required (against his beliefs) to attend church services as part of curriculum, becomes entangled with a troubled young woman and has unpleasant dealings with several male students as well as the Dean. Roth packs shocking, ironic, comedic and tragic into one short, engrossing and thought provoking novel.

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rachelk
Vera: A Novel | Carol Edgarian
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I really enjoyed this coming of age story (set in 1906 during The Great San Francisco Earthquake) with an interesting cast of characters, a well researched historical setting and evocative writing. Although the title character seemed a bit mature for a 15 year old and the ending felt slightly rushed, overall it was well worth reading.

52 likes1 stack add
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rachelk
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Isabel Wilkerson‘s ‘Caste‘ belongs alongside Michelle Alexander‘s ‘The New Jim Crow‘ as a must-read for North American people grappling to understand our history and how it continues to impact us today.

43 likes2 stack adds
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rachelk
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This 1938 book that was nearly lost to us (don‘t skip the preface) reads like the best, snappy, rom-com of the era. When a mistake transports a dowdy governess into a world of glamour, witty repartee, makeovers, society, nightclubs, charming friends, romance, a bad guy and more, she discovers what it means to live. As with most older literature there are a few racist and sexist bits. I enjoyed the story while being glad for progress.

47 likes1 stack add
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rachelk
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Crime and surrounding mystery test friendships of close knit college students at an elite arts conservatory. The novel is a bit dark academia, a bit ‘The Secret History‘ and a bit Shakespearean — with many quotes. I enjoyed this book but didn‘t love it as much as the aforementioned novel that Donna Tartt published in 1992.

48 likes1 stack add
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rachelk
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What kind of nightmare scenarios were writers coming up with in 2020? ‘Leave the World Behind‘ for one. This modern story mixes family dynamics, race and social class with a slowly creeping sense of dread. At times the writing was bit pretentious but the story was intriguing and third person omniscient insights were perfect. Read if you‘re in the mood for something unnerving.

This is currently in production as a Netflix movie.

mcctrish This kind of horror is just a bit too close to home. I did really enjoy this 6mo
rachelk @mcctrish I can definitely see that 6mo
Cathythoughts Great review! I really enjoyed this one. 👍🏻 6mo
rachelk @Cathythoughts Thank you! 🙂 6mo
49 likes4 comments
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rachelk
My Life in France | Julia Child, Alex Prud'homme
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Child is so charming that you can‘t help but enjoy spending time with her on a journey to late 1940‘s early 1950‘s France where she finds her true calling. The book reminded me that the political climate of her day (McCarthyism) was awful too. It also reminded me that everyone starts somewhere…and that I‘d love to make something delicious from one of her famous cookbooks. Bon Appétit!

AmyG This book was a surprise for me….how much I enjoyed it. 6mo
rachelk @AmyG That‘s exactly how I felt! 6mo
40 likes1 stack add2 comments
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rachelk
Happy-Go-Lucky | David Sedaris
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Did David Sedaris write funny essays during political turbulence, a pandemic and after the death of his father? Yes. Not as funny as say, “Me Talk Pretty One Day” but worthwhile. I wanted to know his take on everything and I was thrilled to get it. The only caveat is that if you‘re not already a fan you should probably start with his earlier essays and get to know him first.

Megabooks Agree with all of this. Much darker humor. 7mo
rachelk @Megabooks Yes. I think this set of essays finds him in an (understandably) darker, grumpier place than we‘ve seen him before. As a long time fan, I love him but I can see why this might not appeal to everyone. 7mo
rachelk @Megabooks After I said it might not appeal to everyone I saw that as of now it‘s at 95% on Litsy with a 4.27 rating on Goodreads 7mo
42 likes3 comments
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rachelk
Joy For Beginners | Erica Bauermeister
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Mehso-so

This was a pleasant novel about a circle of lovely, supportive friends. Each chapter focuses on a different woman from the group confronting her own special challenge. It was a bit contrived.

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rachelk
Untitled | Unknown
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I‘m feeling indecisive about what my next June read should be, so I‘ll leave it to @TheAromaofBooks #BookSpin 😎

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 8mo
37 likes1 comment
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rachelk
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Dr. van der Kolk is not only a ground breaking researcher with decades of experience both studying trauma and working with trauma patients, he also comes across as a kind and compassionate person. While the subject is difficult, the second half of the book offers hope and innovative ways to heal beyond traditional talk therapy and medication. ❤️

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rachelk
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🌸 At the 40% mark I‘d give ‘The Body Keeps Score‘ four stars. It‘s a fairly depressing nonfiction book about trauma but well researched and likely helpful.

🌼 So far my favorite book this year has been ‘The Tsar of Love and Techno‘ by Anthony Marra. I think he‘s absolutely brilliant.

🌺 I‘m grateful for my sweet family.

Sorry I‘m late! #wondrouswednesday @Yuki_Onna @Eggs

Yuki_Onna Beautiful answers, Rachel! 🌸🌺 8mo
Eggs Lovely post💕!! And thanks for joining in 👏🏻👏🏻 8mo
27 likes2 comments
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rachelk
Woman No. 17 | Edan Lepucki
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Even though I didn‘t particularly like these characters I was invested in the story and really enjoyed the dark humor. The chapters are narrated by ‘Lady‘ (a rich woman that recently kicked out her husband) and ‘S‘ (her secretive live in nanny). The questions the author examines about motherhood, identity, performance and art are really interesting but more than that, I just wanted to know what would happen next.

rachelk P.S. I don‘t understand why the book blurb calls this a “sinister, sexy noir”. It‘s not at all. 8mo
35 likes1 comment
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rachelk
Duplicate Keys | Jane Smiley
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‘Duplicate Keys‘ is a who done it character study of friends, with a bit of thriller at the end. While I enjoyed the story, motivations didn‘t seem very realistic, nor did the (mostly unexplored) music scene. I did appreciate descriptions of early 80‘s life in NYC, including dinner prices and salaries ($30 take out dinner for five is expensive, a 17,000 salary is enough to live alone in a nice apartment). This was probably a 3-3.5 star for me.

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rachelk
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In this unusual work of fiction (not really short stories, not a traditional novel) interconnecting characters and stories spanning 75 years explore bonds of family and political hardships in an ever changing Russia. Marra‘s incredible writing has been compared to Tolstoy.

Ruthiella I loved this one too. ❤️ 9mo
rachelk @Ruthiella Now I need to go back and read his book 9mo
42 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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rachelk
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“I am an artist first, a censor second.”

Running a little late on this but I was reading it last night as well. I think it‘s about to be my first 5 star read of the year.

#FirstLineFridays @ShyBookOwl

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rachelk
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This is Mayte Garcia‘s life story that Prince was part of for 11 years. It seems Garcia tried to put him in a positive light when possible, but I doubt anyone reading will wish they‘d been married to him. It‘s a fascinating (but not salacious) autobiography.

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rachelk
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In this short novel Anne Brontë drew on her personal experiences as a governess. Her descriptions of the young people in her care (and their awful parents) are relatable 175 years later. The novel includes a cautionary tale and a love story. The plain but virtuous heroine, Agnes Grey, seems a bit of a precursor to her sister Charlotte‘s better known Jane Eyre. The narration here is straight forward, witty and a bit snarky, which I liked.

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rachelk
Of Love and Other Demons | Gabriel Garcia Marquez
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Mehso-so

This short, often humorous, complex and dramatic story told simply takes you to eighteenth-century South America where a twelve year old girl is mistakenly thought to be possessed. Unfortunately I didn‘t connect with the story or characters and found the love between this girl and a middle aged man disgusting. It‘s well written and I can understand why it‘s highly rated, but it just wasn‘t for me.

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rachelk
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Biss writes short, smart chapters that ask basic questions about capitalism while offering insight into everything from social class to Scooby-Doo. I really enjoyed this book. #nonfiction

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rachelk
Me (Moth) | Amber McBride
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This stunning YA novel is a debut for Amber McBride.

A teenaged girl, Moth, is mourning the loss of her family when she meets a teenaged boy, Sani, searching for his place in the world. Their sweet love story and shared interest in African and Native American religious traditions is beautifully written in verse.

The ending is unforgettable. I loved this on audio but I‘m thinking about getting the book and reading it with my eyes too.

Addison_Reads Great review! I loved this one. 11mo
rachelk @Addison_Reads Thank you! This was a rare book for me in that I immediately knew I‘d want to read it again. 11mo
50 likes1 stack add2 comments
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rachelk
The Water Dancer: A Novel | Ta-Nehisi Coates
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I was curious about this novel as Ta-Nehisi Coates is primarily known for his award winning nonfiction. Here, Coates uses both historical fiction and magical realism to tell a harrowing and very original story of slavery in America. There‘s a lot to keep up with but I loved the gorgeous writing and unexpected adventure.