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UnabridgedPod

UnabridgedPod

Joined June 2017

Teachers Take on Books
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UnabridgedPod
Gods of Jade and Shadow | Silvia Moreno-Garcia
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Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Gods of Jade and Shadow is just gorgeous. A fantasy novel set during the Jazz Age, Gods of Jade and Shadow uses Mayan mythology as a springboard for its story. Protagonist Casiopea Tun is a type of Cinderella who lives with her mother and her grandfather's family, condemned to servitude after her father's death. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod Her cousin, Martin, torments her because of her intelligence and strength, and Casiopea sees no way out of the drudgery of her life. And then . . . something changes. While I'll avoid spoilers, Casiopea ends up traveling with a god who shows her experiences and a life beyond what she has dreamed. While there were moments when I wished the characters captured me a little more, ultimately, the richness of the narrative kept me entranced.⠀ 22h
18 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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UnabridgedPod
Saints and Misfits | S. K. Ali
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S. K. Ali's Saints and Misfits is a brilliant contemporary YA novel. At its center is Janna Yusuf, a Muslim daughter of divorced parents who is working to understand her place in her family, which includes her older brother who has moved home, and her feelings about her religion. She has chosen to wear the hijab, a visible symbol of her religious faith. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod As she struggles through the typical experiences of any high school student, she also works to figure out how she can be faithful in a way that expresses her true beliefs. Ali's writing is strong, and her characterization is excellent: believable and empathetic. I strongly recommend this novel! 2d
19 likes1 stack add1 comment
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UnabridgedPod
Gulp | Mary Roach
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Mary Roach's Gulp is, as her work always is, fascinating. And funny. Parts of it are deeply disgusting . . . yet, she makes a case for why we shouldn't be disgusted, as she explores all elements, angles, and facets of the alimentary canal, beginning to end. As always, Roach finds unique stories to illustrate the importance of a topic I hadn't thought much about. This was excellent on audiobook!⠀

Who else is a Mary Roach fan? Have you read Gulp?

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UnabridgedPod
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Lauren Willkinson's American Spy stuck with me. An epistolary novel composed of flashbacks and protagonist Marie's letter to her twin sons, it focuses on Marie's development as a spy for the United States in the 1980s, at the height of our fear of Communism. Marie's efforts, embroiled in complex family dynamics, target Thomas Sankara, the charismatic president of Burkina Faso, who the U.S. has deemed a threat. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod The movement through Marie's past, as she tries to make sense of the steps that have brought her to her current life, offer insight into her status as a black, female agent in a government that sees her not as an important person in its service but as a pawn to be sacrificed without a second thought. 4d
UnabridgedPod I was blown away by this brilliant, compelling, and thought-provoking recent-historical novel. (This is another Camp ToB book! I hope it will do well, and I'm eager to read the discussion about it.)⠀

What did you think of American Spy? Which Camp ToB books are you rooting for?
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BarbaraBB I am not participating this Summer, somehow the books didn‘t appeal but now I am a bit regretting my choice. What is your favorite? 4d
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UnabridgedPod @BarbaraBB Hmmm. That‘s tough. Maybe Lost Children Archive. Or Daisy Jones and the Six. But I‘ve enjoyed all of them except Bowlaway. 4d
BarbaraBB Have you read the James yet? 4d
BarbaraBB I am looking forward to Lost Children‘s Archive! 4d
UnabridgedPod @BarbaraBB I did. That was a tough read for me. There were things I LOVED about it...toward the end. Definitely mixed feelings. 4d
BarbaraBB It is the main reason I decided to skip the Summer ToB. Didn‘t feel up to it! 4d
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UnabridgedPod
Time After Time: A Novel | Lisa Grunwald
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Lisa Grunwald's Time After Time is a lovely, gentle romance. (Thanks to Sara for the loan!) It's not the people in the novel who create conflict--each is empathetic to the extreme--it's the circumstances. Joe Reynolds works in Grand Central Station, a solid, faithful employee, brother, and son. On December 5, 1937, he glimpses Nora Lansing and feels an instant connection when they meet. And then she disappears. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod What ensues is a love story divided by time, death, and war. Grunwald has crafted here a historical novel that deals with the importance of love in the face of the rest of one's life. I found these characters to be so believable, so real, and their decisions were just heartbreaking. ⬇️ 5d
UnabridgedPod This is a perfect summer read and brought to mind Fiona Davis's The Masterpiece (because of its connection to Grand Central Station) and Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife (because of the role of time in the central love story).⠀ 5d
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UnabridgedPod
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I absolutely loved this audiobook! Camille Pagán's I'm Fine and Neither Are You is the story of Penelope who is struggling, after a tragedy involving her best friend Jenny, to figure out what is most important to her. Penelope and her husband, Sanjay, consider what each *actually* wants from their marriage, beyond appearances and the initial expectations they've moved beyond. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod Honest and intimate, I'm Fine and Neither Are You resonated soooo much with me in its confrontation of modern marriage. I highly recommend the audiobook (I listened on #kindleunlimited)--the narrator, Amy McFadden, is excellent.⠀

Who else has read I'm Fine and Neither Are You? Did you listen or read with your eyes?
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IvoryLunatic I just added it to my list yesterday. It sounds really interesting. 6d
17 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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UnabridgedPod
Swing | Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess
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I'm so glad that I listened to Kwame Alexander read his novel (with Mary Rand Hess), Swing. It's the first time I've experienced his verse via audio, and his reading brought this book to vivid life the story of seventeen-year-old Noah and his best friends Walt and Sam. Walt, who wants to be known as Swing, desires to be a baseball star, loves jazz, and is "famous" for knowing the way that famous people died. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod Noah has loved Sam forever, but she's in a relationship with Cruz, a baseball star at their high school. Walt urges Noah to tell Sam about how he feels, but Noah can't gather the courage. Alexander starts there and then moves through these characters' lives with an eye for the small details that bring them and their friendships to life. Strong, moving novel--this would be a great read (or listen!) for high school students. 7d
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UnabridgedPod
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Roselle Lim's novel Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune is a joy that hearkens back to Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate with its gorgeous depiction of a magical realism-infused world that centers on the joys of food, with a side of music appreciation. It's perfect for this weeks Unabridged Summer Reading Challenge, which is focusing on cookbooks or books about food. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod Protagonist Natalie returns to her home in Chinatown after a long absence that is ended with news of her mother's death. As she mourns her mother, striving to understand the course of their relationship, Natalie again becomes a part of her neighborhood and resolves to re-open her grandmother's restaurant, which has been closed since her death. ⬇️ 1w
UnabridgedPod She thinks that she can be a key part of rejuvenating the street, which has fallen into decay since she left. As she begins to reconnect to her family's story, she also experiences epiphanies about herself that help her find the roots that nourish her. Despite some abrupt attitudinal shifts in characters' attitudes (I found the romance at its heart to be one of the less satisfying parts of the novel), ⬇️ 1w
UnabridgedPod Lim beautifully demonstrates the way that Natalie both comes to recognize the importance of this Chinatown street to her mother and begins to create her own family from what once seemed to be distant neighbors. The novel is completely heartwarming and soooo delicious! (It made me wish I liked to cook. But I would definitely like to eat all of the foods Natalie cooks for her neighborhood family.) 1w
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UnabridgedPod
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Ruth Reichl's narration of her memoir Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table brings to life one of my favorite types of audiobooks: authors reading their own work, their own lives. The book, which covers Reichl's childhood through the beginning of her career as a food critic, provides a brilliant focus on her family, particularly her mother, who suffers from manic depression; her more distant father; and her amazing partner. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod In the midst of these stories, Reichl shares the gradual development of her love for food and cooking, and we see the way all of her experiences move toward her career. Funny, poignant, thoughtful reflection on her early life. 1w
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UnabridgedPod
Giveaway | Carolyn Finlay
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In case you‘re interested, Unabridged (@ unabridgedpod) is having a summer-long reading challenge that culminates in a giveaway. Here are the details for this week if you‘re interested:

For Week 6 of the Unabridged Summer Challenge (#unabridgedpodchallenge), please share your favorite cookbooks OR your favorite books about food, inspired by Episode 68. Be sure to read further for all of the details! ⬇️

UnabridgedPod Details:⠀
*You‘ll receive one entry per post on Instagram, up to 10 entries per week (be sure to use the hashtag #unabridgedpodchallenge and tag us in the image with @unabridgedpod).⠀
*Up to 3 times per week, run the challenge in your stories for an extra entry (tag us and use the hashtag #unabridgedpodchallenge).⠀
*Please tag all your entries #unabridgedpod to help promote the podcast!⠀
1w
8 likes1 comment
review
UnabridgedPod
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I recently listened to a podcast in which the guest talked about abandoning Susan Choi's Trust Exercise because of her negative reaction to the writing style. I found myself having a similarly hesitant reaction to the writing style--it felt overwrought . . . but it also felt deliberate. My faith was restored as the book continued, when I reached section 2. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod I don't want to take away the joy of any reader's discovery because there's a lot here the relies on the experience of reading the novel (and of reflecting on one's own reactions to the reading). It reminded me of a grad school discussion of Lawrence Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet and his deliberate manipulation of the reader's understanding of each character. ⬇️ 1w
UnabridgedPod The novel's focus is the student body of a performing arts school: their relationships, with each other and with their teachers, provide a dramatic tale of adolescence, of innocence and corruption, of coming of age. At any rate, I'll just say: Stick with Trust Exercise. The book is worth the journey. (This is another Camp ToB book!) 1w
14 likes2 comments
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UnabridgedPod
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What a beach read! Riley Sager's Lock Every Door is SUCH a page turner. Focusing on twenty-something Jude, who lands an amazing job as an apartment sitter in the famous New York building the Bartholomew, the novel begins quickly and maintains its pace through every page. Sager excels at building suspense and playing with readers' expectations without cheating. I think this is the strongest of Sager's 3 novels--each has been better than the last.

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UnabridgedPod
Hello, Universe | Erin Entrada Kelly
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This adorable, middle-grade read was perfect for the beach (even on a stormy day!). Erin Entrada Kelly's Hello, Universe assembles a fabulous cast of diverse characters to work through shyness, parental expectations, bullying, and beliefs about science and spirituality.

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UnabridgedPod
Hello, Universe | Erin Entrada Kelly
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This adorable, middle-grade read was perfect for the beach (even on a stormy day!). Erin Entrada Kelly's Hello, Universe assembles a fabulous cast of diverse characters to work through shyness, parental expectations, bullying, and beliefs about science and spirituality.

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UnabridgedPod
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Thanks to partner NetGalley for the digital ARC of Amy Reed‘s The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World in exchange for an honest review. The book releases today(!), July 9.⠀

From the opening of Amy Reed‘s The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World, we know that her story will be both firmly rooted in our reality and also slightly off from that reality.

For the rest of my review, head over to unabridgedpod.com!

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UnabridgedPod
The Silent Wife | A.S.A. Harrison
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My first beach read of our vacation earned that categorization. A. S. A. Harrison's The Silent Wife is a page turner that revels in the minds of its two protagonists: Jodi and Todd, a couple for twenty years who may be reaching the end of their relationship. Todd is a serial cheater who relies on Jodi's silent acceptance of his infidelity. Jodi is a psychotherapist who has a less-than-stellar understanding of her own mind and feelings. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod The book alternates between their perspectives, revealing the unraveling of their intertwined lives. Solid suspense novel. 2w
21 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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UnabridgedPod
Saga, Volume 3 | Brian K Vaughan
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Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples's Saga continues to epitomize all that is glorious about fantasy for me: it's so, so real. This series confronts the issues that are super relevant right. now. . . . just in space and with aliens. We're talking abortion and war and violence and screens and love and creation. It's gorgeous and sad and sexy and perfect. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod I don't want to give anything away for someone who hasn't picked up Volume 1 yet, but the saga and the series' heart focuses on the love story between Marko and Alana, an inter-species couple from a warring planet and moon, and their daughter, Hazel. One of my favorite things ever. 2w
15 likes1 comment
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UnabridgedPod
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock | Imogen Hermes Gowar
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I'm a bit perplexed by how to describe Imogen Hermes Gowar's The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock. Told in a sort of Victorian style, it focuses on protagonist Mr. Hancock, the unwilling recipient of a dead, stuffed mermaid creature. Through his ownership of this curiosity, he comes into contact with an array of people his middle-class life had formerly made out of reach. Included in this new crowd is Angelica Neal, (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod a beautiful and glamorous prostitute with whom Mr. Hancock becomes infatuated. What did I like? The characters are complex and sympathetic; I like Victorian novels, so I was mostly in for the style; I appreciated the grotesque strangeness and whimsy of the mermaid sections. I was less sure about the pace--somehow, in a true Victorian novel, everything (even the diversions) feels more purposeful. ⬇️ 2w
UnabridgedPod I like a leisurely pace when it's earned, and I wasn't *quite* there for this one. There were a few times I considered abandoning the book because I just wanted it to move more. Ultimately, I'm glad I didn't because I REALLY appreciated Part III of III and the way that Gowar concludes the stories of Hancock and Neal. 2w
22 likes2 comments
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UnabridgedPod
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock | Imogen Hermes Gowar
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I'm a bit perplexed by how to describe Imogen Hermes Gowar's The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock. Told in a sort of Victorian style, it focuses on protagonist Mr. Hancock, the unwilling recipient of a dead, stuffed mermaid creature. Through his ownership of this curiosity, he comes into contact with an array of people his middle-class life had formerly made out of reach. Included in this new crowd is Angelica Neal, (continued in comments)

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UnabridgedPod
Lost Children Archive | Valeria Luiselli
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Valeria Luiselli's Lost Children Archive in some ways defies description. On one level, it's about a family--a mother, a father, a boy, and a girl--traveling from New York to the Southwest for two purposes. The mother is documenting (via audio) the "lost children" crisis of migrants at the border. The father is documenting (via audio) the horrific past of the Apache tribe. They are also, gradually, (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod beginning to split into the disparate parts from which they originated (the father and the son, the mother and the daughter), floating apart because of their divergent goals. This multigenre novel is also about the stories the family accrues over their journey. They begin with seven archival boxes and add to them over their trip. The book incorporates pieces from those boxes, including lengthy excerpts from Elegies for Lost Children, ⬇️ 3w
UnabridgedPod which follows seven children migrating to the United States by train. As Luiselli weaves the stories together, the echoes compound, each narrative enriching and reinforcing the messages of the others. Luiselli's final notes reinforced, for me, that this is a book that defies easy understanding (there were definitely parts I'd need to re-read to even begin to comprehend fully) but that begins to worm its way into the reader's head and heart. ⬇️ 3w
UnabridgedPod It's a book that's both timely and timeless. This may have moved into first place for me in the summer Tournament of Books competition, Camp ToB. We'll see. 3w
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SamAnne Read a couple of good reviews. Sounds like a must read. 3w
Suet624 @Unabridged I‘m with you on this. 1w
UnabridgedPod @SamAnne Definitely!! 1w
SamAnne @Unabridged will queue it up after The Disappearing Earth 1w
UnabridgedPod @SamAnne How is that? 1w
18 likes2 stack adds9 comments
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UnabridgedPod
Educated: A Memoir | Tara Westover
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Happy Fourth!!!! 🎇 ⠀

Yesterday, we re-released an episode about Tara Westover‘s episode, one of my personal favorites that we‘ve talked about on Unabridged. Did you read it? What did you think? Take a listen, and share your thoughts about the memoir!

tpixie I need to !! Then I‘ll listen to your podcast! 🇺🇸🥳📚 🎧 3w
UnabridgedPod @tpixie I hope you love it!! ❤️📚 3w
tpixie @Unabridged I‘ve enjoyed listening to you 3 on #Unabridged. Saw Tara Westover‘s talk on book TV from #Natfest She‘s amazing! 3w
UnabridgedPod @tpixie Oh, thanks so much!! ❤️ And I agree about Westover: she is SO brilliant!! 3w
tpixie ♥️♥️♥️ 3w
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UnabridgedPod
Teen Titans: Raven | Kami Garcia
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Thanks to #Partner @NetGalley for the digital ARC of Kami Garcia‘s Teen Titans: Raven, illustrated by Gabriel Picolo, in exchange for an honest review. The book releases today!!⠀

I know next to nothing about the Teen Titans, other than what I learned when watching of Teen Titans Go! to the Movies with my boys. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod Kami Garcia and illustrator Gabriel Picolo‘s graphic novel Teen Titans: Raven does a beautiful job communicating the backstory of Raven . . . even to the uninitiated like me. Check out my full review on unabridgedpod.com! 3w
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UnabridgedPod
Ask Again, Yes: A Novel | Mary Beth Keane
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Mary Beth Keane's Ask Again, Yes is a deeply powerful novel. There were moments that, for me, were superficially emotional--events that are both joyful or sorrowful abound, in the way that every day holds joys and sorrows. But the deepest parts of the book are beyond those superficial emotions, beyond the easy tears that can be brought forth through any emotionally manipulative book. Keane explores the intertwined lives of two families. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod They're initially brought together by the first generation's fathers, colleagues on the New York police force who move their families to the same suburb as neighbors. As the lives of these families grow together, they rise and fall together as well, driven by their time and its inclination to hide weakness and excuse anomalous behavior. ⬇️ (edited) 3w
UnabridgedPod I don't want to give anything away, so my summary will stop there . . . but it's not in the novel's events that the strength of the book lies. Instead, it's in our deep understanding of these subtle, realistically inconsistent characters. One of my favorite reads of the year so far. 3w
marleed I loved this book. Purchased a physical copy following a library read! I would love to be in a discussion comparing the writing of this to Little Fires Everywhere. 3w
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UnabridgedPod @marleed I love the idea of that pairing!! And yes, it‘s one that I think would definitely hold up to rereading! (edited) 3w
marleed The covers alone are worth comparison! Two families! But the author in LFE wrote Mia as the hero. AAY didn‘t do that - I found myself cheering on everyone when the author wasn‘t telling me what side to choose. 3w
UnabridgedPod @marleed I hadn‘t considered that perspective about Ng telling us who the hero is...fascinating. And I *totally* agree about the covers! 3w
22 likes6 comments
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UnabridgedPod
The River | Peter Heller
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Here's my June Wrap-up! I read some of my favorite books of the year so far during June. ⠀

Here are some stats:⠀
*Fiction - 27⠀
*Nonfiction - 3⠀
*YA & Middle Grade - 10⠀
*Audiobooks - 5⠀
*Graphic Novels/Comic Books - 2⠀

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Reads: The River; Saga; Volume 3; Lost Children Archive; Front Desk; On Earth, We're Briefly Gorgeous; The Marrow Thieves.⠀

Do you see any favorites? or any on your July TBR?

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Looks like some fabulous reads, many of these are on my tbr. 💖📖💖 3w
Spillmrj Wow, that‘s a lot of books 3w
UnabridgedPod @StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego I loved sooo many of them!! 3w
UnabridgedPod @Spillmrj ❤️📚 3w
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UnabridgedPod
The Bridge Home | Padma Venkatraman
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Padma Venkatraman's The Bridge Home, the middle school book for this year's Global Read Aloud, is a stunning examination of the plight of two sisters who run away from their home because of abuse. Viji and Rukku, who end up in Channai, India, struggle to find food, shelter, and work in the city until they meet two boys, Muthi and Arul, who mentor them and help them care for the dog, Kutti, that they adopt. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod The children work as rag pickers, braving the trash heaps to find valuable material they can sell. Venkatraman provides a vivid account of their lives that would be relatable for middle-grade readers. The author's portrayal of Rukku, who is developmentally disabled, is particularly empathetic as we see Rukku serve as a pillar of strength for her sister. ⬇️ 3w
UnabridgedPod Throughout the novel, the importance of stories, of imagination, and of hope serves as a thread uniting the sections of their lives. Can't wait to discuss this one in season 3 of the podcast! 3w
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UnabridgedPod
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In this nonfiction account of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life, Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik provide an overview of Ginsburg's life, family, and work, as well as her place in Supreme Court and United States history. I was fascinated to learn about her education and her early career, particularly the cases dealing with gender equality. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod I listened to the audiobook version of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Scribd and highly recommend it! The narrator (Andi Arndt) is fabulous. 3w
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UnabridgedPod
Front Desk | Kelly Yang
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I could not love Front Desk more. I was trying to explain to my husband all of the elements that made me love it--Mia's determination and resilience, her resistance of racism, her ceaseless efforts to help others, her maintenance of her own identity--and found myself gushing over almost every detail. There is SOOO much in Mia's story that speaks to the immigrant experience, to systemic poverty (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod (two roller coasters! those of you who've read the book know what I'm talking about), to people who will think outside the system and refuse compliance to do what is right. I'll be sharing this book ASAP with my twelve year old and can NOT wait to talk about it on the podcast for our Global Read Aloud episode (which is shaping up to be a long one--I have a lot to say!).⠀ 4w
LibrarianRyan I‘m 1/2 way through and I agree. 4w
12 likes3 comments
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UnabridgedPod
Underworld: A Novel | Don DeLillo
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Our newest episode caused equal parts excitement and anxiety: I could NOT wait to hear what Sara and Ashley would recommend for me, but I was quite nervous about how they would receive my recommendations. Take a listen, and let us know what you think—are there any books you'd add?

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March: Book One | John Robert Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
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The March trilogy, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, is a stunning account of the Civil Rights movement from the perspective of John Lewis. These graphic novels cover the contemporary historical moment--when President Obama is in office--and then flashes back to Lewis's childhood. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod As it moves forward, the art and story work together to create a vivid portrayal of the hope that launches and sustains the movement, along with the chill-inducing inclusion of well-known Civil Rights figures, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Amazing graphic novel series!⠀

Have you read this series? What other graphic novels or comic book collections would you recommend?
4w
Kristy_K I believe Lewis is coming out with a follow up graphic novel series to this. I think it‘s called Run. 4w
UnabridgedPod @Kristy_K That‘s exciting! 4w
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UnabridgedPod
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Oh my, this book is beautiful. I'm not sure how to describe it because it's about so much more than any plot at its center. Ocean Vuong's On Earth, We're Briefly Gorgeous is poetic, immersive, and fragmented in the most perfect way. Its beauty lies both in individual lines and in their accumulated value. The book is told as a letter from Little Dog to his mother, Rose, who are Vietnamese immigrants to the United States with Roses's mother, Lan. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod Little Dog's meditation on their lives together and apart moves through three parts. Here's a partial list of what it's "about":⠀

Beauty. Love. Immigration. Mothers and sons. Abuse. Addiction. Writing. Language. Small towns. Leaving home. Fathers. Nature. Daughters. Sexuality. Storytelling. Identity. War. Poverty. Mental illness. Memory. Grief. Healing. ⬇️
4w
UnabridgedPod I found myself noting lines like this one--“Too much joy, I swear is lost in our desperation to keep it"--throughout, driven both to understand them on their own and the way they contribute to the story as a whole. I think I'll return to the novel as it's not a book that yields everything on a first read. 4w
BarbaraTheBibliophage Great review. This one‘s getting stronger on my radar. 4w
UnabridgedPod @BarbaraTheBibliophage The praise is well earned. ❤️ 4w
18 likes4 comments
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UnabridgedPod
Ghosts of the Shadow Market | Kelly Link, Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman
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I have been in a Shadowhunters kind of mood recently, so this short story collection hit the right spot. Jem/Brother Zachariah was a thread woven through the stories, which visited other familiar characters from Cassandra Clare's novels. She co-authored the stories with other authors, and the tone of each varies. I love that feeling of stepping into the reliable and larger narrative of a series like this one.

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Dangerous Talent | Aaron Elkins, Charlotte Elkins
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A Dangerous Talent was a pleasant surprise--I didn't really know what to expect. The book focuses on Alix London, an art connoisseur whose father was disgraced a decade ago at the center of an art forgery scandal. Alix is struggling to make her away in the art world while living down her father's corruption. She is hired by Chris, who needs her advice about a priceless work by Georgia O'Keeffe. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod As Alix works to determine whether the work is genuine, she comes into contact with a host of unusual characters, including a boozy gallery owner, an eccentric museum curator, and an obnoxious, wealthy agent. Narrator Kate Rudd (I listened on Scribd) is great, and the story was engaging and fast-paced. A strong start to an ongoing series. 1mo
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UnabridgedPod
The Birdwatcher | William McInnes
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I absolutely adored The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson. She paints a vivid portrait of late-1490s Spain (before everyone accepts that new name) as the Spanish Inquisition is spreading Catholicism to new territories. Protagonist Fatima is a concubine to the Sultan who yearns for freedom and choice. Her best friend Hassan is a cartographer whose maps can change the world into the image he creates. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod As their Muslim culture meets a contingent from Ferdinand and Isabella, the details of their lifestyle make them a target. The friends flee, ill-equipped for life outside the palace, and discover a world that exists outside the reality they understood to be true. Each new setting offers fantastic world building, and the character arcs reveal the strength and fragility of Fatima and her companions on the journey. 1mo
Freespirit A great review. It sounds like a must read!🤗 1mo
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UnabridgedPod
The Marrow Thieves | Cherie Dimaline
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Cherie Dimaline's The Marrow Thieves blew me away. @teachingtheapocalypse sent it my way so we can discuss it on our @unabridgedpod episode focusing on Global Read Aloud selections. Those choices are typically great, but this book . . . wow. Dimaline has woven a book of equal parts gorgeous writing, Indian culture, and an all-too-realistic, post-apocalyptic world. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod I wrote down quotations from nearly every page, gasping in astonishment at each new revelation. The protagonist, Frenchie, is wrested from everything in his past as his brother Mitch is taken by The Recruiters, representatives of the new society hungry for the ability to dream, found only in the marrow of Indians. The book is horrifying and hopeful and spun through with stories of past and present. I can't wait to talk about it on the podcast. 1mo
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I picked up Bryn Greenwood's All the Ugly and Wonderful Things with the intention of reviewing it briefly for book club (it's been 2 years since I first read it). Hours later, I moved to the last page on my Kindle, my brain and heart engaged once again by the questions it asks and the challenges it offers to my understanding. Greenwood is, simply, brilliant at building a story that makes you think you know where you stand . . . until you don't. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod On Unabridged, we call these books that we don't recommend . . . but would love to discuss. Others talk about them with allll the trigger warnings.⠀

Have you read Bryn Greenwood's novel? What did you think? (And did you know she has another one coming out this fall? It's called The Reckless Oath We Made and is climbing my "must buy" list.)
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Suet624 Inhaled this book and loved it. 1mo
Freespirit I haven't read this, but I want to now after reading your review. Thank you! 1mo
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UnabridgedPod @Freespirit I‘ll be interested to know what you think. It was quite unexpected for me. 1mo
shellleigh33 I thought this was a great read and makes a great book for a book club discussion read!!! 1mo
UnabridgedPod @shellleigh33 Yes!! We had a fabulous discussion about the book—its complexity makes it a good choice. 1mo
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UnabridgedPod
Shout | Laurie Halse Anderson
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In Wednesday's episode, we discuss Laurie Halse Anderson--I so enjoyed delving into her influence on literature, her new memoir in verse Shout, and her YA backlist. Listen to the episode via your favorite podcast catcher, and then share your thoughts on Anderson's work.⠀

What's your favorite Laurie Halse Anderson book?

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Recursion | Blake Crouch
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Blake Crouch's Recursion is an amazingly mind-twisty novel. I've seen it compared to Inception, and yes, I felt my brain expanding, my understanding falling away, and the epiphanies hitting in just the same way (love it!). Somehow, this book bridges sooo many genres while still holding together beautifully. The alternating perspectives of Barry and Helena, police detective and scientist, unveil the truth of False Memory Syndrome, ⬇️

UnabridgedPod an affliction in which people suddenly hold memories of two equally vivid lives, two timelines. The story moves between past and present, Barry and Helena, until we feel that we're beginning to understand the mystery at its center . . . and then it shifts. Utterly brilliant, utterly compelling. I wanted to pick it up as soon as I finished so I could understand more (but, of course, that TBR calls!). ⬇️ 1mo
UnabridgedPod As I was reading, I thought of other works--books and movies--that play with time or memory or our understanding. Here's what I came up with: Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall, Kristin Cashore's Jane, Unlimited, Groundhog Day, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Edge of Tomorrow, and (again) Inception. What would you add to the list? I know there are others! 1mo
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Laila Lalami's The Other Americans spirals from a central event: the death, in a hit-and-run accident, of Driss Guerraoui. Driss and his wife Maryam immigrated from Morocco when their eldest daughter was young; their younger daughter, Nora, is the protagonist, along with Jeremy, her friend from high school and a current police officer. They are, however, accompanied by dozens of other narrators as we see the accident and the history of Driss ⬇️

UnabridgedPod and Maryam's family through almost every perspective. This novel is, simply, gorgeous. Its fragmentation brings eloquence to the story, layering truth over truth and revealing, ultimately, that everyone's story has a meaning, that all truths have relevance. And yet, there's a central truth in the weighing of stories, of privileging those who strive for improvement, who fail and move forward. This makes me SOOO want to read Lalami's earlier works. 1mo
Freespirit That's a great review😊 1mo
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UnabridgedPod
The Red Scrolls of Magic | Cassandra Clare, Wesley Chu
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Cassandra Clare is SUCH a storyteller. After indulging in the series finale of the Shadowhunters television series, I was definitely in the mood for more Alec and Magnus, and this fabulous adventure novel, which Clare co-wrote with Wesley Chu, satisfied that craving. The couple is so sweet, and I loved the way the book dovetailed with the rest of Clare's work. (continued in comments)

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Have you read this novel? How are you dealing with the end of Shadowhunters? (And, somewhat related, what did you think of the tv series?)
1mo
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UnabridgedPod
The Girl He Used to Know | Tracey Garvis Graves
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My friend Sara let me borrow Tracey Garvis Graves's The Girl He Used to Know after posting a fabulous review of the book on her blog (check it out here: https://buff.ly/2WA61tf). I agree with *almost* all of her review: the relationship between Annika and Jonathan is compelling and believable, (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod and Graves's decision to alternate both perspectives and timelines worked beautifully to help us understand each character and the complex evolution of their relationship. I do, however, have some mixed feelings about the twist that my friend references. No spoilers here, but if you want to talk about the twist, DM me! I'd love to know what you think. 1mo
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UnabridgedPod
All's Faire in Middle School | Victoria Jamieson
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Victoria Jamieson's second book, All's Faire in Middle School, is a joy. Both of my boys loved. Jamieson, the author of Roller Girl, is back with Imogene who is beginning middle school after having been homeschooled all her life. Imogene's parents work at a Renaissance Faire, and her life takes a great turn when she becomes a squire in the Renaissance show every weekend. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod When she enters school for the first time, Imogene discovers that she doesn't understand the rules of middle school, and she makes some mistakes on the way toward achieving knighthood in both spheres of her life. Fabulous middle-grade read. 1mo
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UnabridgedPod
Sleeping Beauties | Stephen King, Owen King
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Yesterday on @unabridgedpod, we released our episode revealing each of our summer TBR lists. This is always hard for me since I want to read ALLLL the things, but I do think we each came up with some compelling reads to look forward to (and some interesting reasons for our choices). Check out the episode, and then let us know: what's on your summer TBR?

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Kate Quinn's The Alice Network was a pleasant surprise. I read about it when my book club chose it but somehow thought it was a WWII novel (and I'm still in the grasp of some WWII fatigue after over-reading books from that time period a couple of years ago). It takes, therefore, a special book set during that time period to knock me out of my aversion. Quinn's book was the perfect remedy, perhaps because it's WWII adjacent. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod The two narratives acutally take place in WWI, when we learn of Evelyn Gardiner's experiences as a spy, and right after WWII, as we see Charlotte St. Claire recruit Eve and her man-of-all-work Finn to locate her cousin Rose, lost during the war. These women are strong and layered characters, and the complexity of their development over the narrative is fascinating, with a perfect balance of character and plot. Can't wait to talk about it! 1mo
marleed I loved this book as well as her new book The Huntress. And this after suffering he same fatigue as you. 1mo
UnabridgedPod @marleed I‘ll have to try The Huntress then! 1mo
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Freespirit Wow great review! 😍 1mo
Daisey I also really enjoyed this and am looking forward to reading The Huntress. 1mo
UnabridgedPod @Daisey Me too! It looks great. 1mo
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Bowlaway: A Novel | Elizabeth McCracken
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Bowlaway is my first Elizabeth McCracken novel. I've heard some great things, but ultimately, I was disappointed. I definitely enjoyed some elements of the novel--the quirky narrative reminded me of John Irving's work, and McCracken's writing has moments of great beauty and terrific humor. I also enjoy multi-generational novels, so this fits right in. Ultimately, I just didn't find Bowlaway compelling *enough*, (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod and just when I would become intrigued by a character and his/her story, the narrative moved on. I would be interested in trying one of McCracken's earlier novels to see if those strengths I identified grabbed my attention more. I read this one for Camp TOB from the Morning News, and I already know I have other books that will come out on top for me. 1mo
Kaye I read this one a long time ago and really liked it. Hopefully it might be a better read for you if you decide to try it. 1mo
UnabridgedPod @Kaye Stacked! 1mo
UnabridgedPod @Kaye Thanks for the recommendation.❤️ 1mo
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I don't know why I waited so long to read this #botm pick from October 2018! I love the Green brothers and, of course, John Green's work. While An Absolutely Remarkable Thing definitely has a distinct voice (and it's nothing really like any of John Green's books), the voice and focus are consistent with what I love from Hank and John's videos together. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod The novel is witty and dry and brilliant and invested in the essential goodness of humanity, even when humans do evil things. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing focuses on April May, a graphic designer in NYC who discovers, on her way home from work in the middle of the night, a huge, intriguing sculpture that looks Transformer-ish. ⬇️ 1mo
UnabridgedPod She calls her friend Andy, and they make a quick YouTube video that becomes one of the first artifacts detailing an alien invasion in which April, Andy, and a host of other brilliant secondary characters become embroiled. I loved watching April come to terms with her sudden fame, with her attempts to do the right thing in response, and with her narration--looking backward--of the mistakes she made, lessons learned, and regrets. 1mo
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The Good Girl | Mary Kubica
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Mary Kubica's The Good Girl was *great* on audio--I listened on Audible, which featured a full cast reading--as it unraveled the story of Mia's kidnapping by Owen. The book alternates between past and present ("before" and "after") and a series of points of view through different narrators. There's a mystery in what happened when, in who is at fault, but there's a deeper mystery at the center of Mia's family: (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod her sister Grace, her father James, and her mother Eve, all of whom have a different view of who Mia is both before and after the kidnapping. As the story circles around the truth, spiraling toward a center, the tension increases, and I as a reader/listener felt I might truly undersatnd these characters. And then, another truth is revealed. Strong, compelling, and suspenseful thriller. 1mo
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Slayer | Kiersten White
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As an enthusiastic Buffy fan, I opened White's novel with excitement and trepidation. I hoped that the book could recapture the Buffy magic but feared that nothing could. Both of my inclinations were right. Is this Buffy-the-series level? Not quite. But it's really great. Athena (Nina) and Artemis are twins born to Watcher parents. As they've grown, Artemis has been the chosen one, stronger both physically and mentally. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod Nina, on the other hand, is the healer, the medic, the one too weak to fight or to really be a part of the last generations of Watchers. Artemis has taken on the role as Nina's protector who is willing to sacrifice anything to keep her sister safe. All of that changes when it becomes clear that Nina isn't as weak as everyone had thought. ⬇️ 1mo
UnabridgedPod The process of discovery as Nina discovers who she really is--this is a fabulous origin story--is authentic, fast paced, and fraught with danger . . . and with plenty of awkwardness as Nina begins to establish her new identity. While this book has some great call backs to the Buffy television show, it would also work for newbies--can't wait for the second in the series! 1mo
wanderinglynn Great review. Stacked! 1mo
UnabridgedPod @wanderinglynn I hope you love it!! ❤️ 1mo
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The River | Peter Heller
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Oh, this book. It's just perfection. I'm a fan of Heller's earlier books The Dog Stars and The Painter, but I think The River may be my favorite yet. Heller's gorgeously understated writing and subtly developed, deep characters drew me in from page one. Despite the fact that a mere accounting of events can't account for the novel's magic, here goes . . . In The River, best friends Jack and Wynn (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod are taking advantage of their time off from school to enjoy a trip down the river when they become aware of a massive forest fire moving toward them. Though the friends have been alone for most of their trip, they try to warn the two pairs they see on their journey: two drunk men who blow off their warnings and a couple they hear arguing. ⬇️ 2mo
UnabridgedPod As Jack and Wynn strive to escape the encroaching fire, their commitment to doing what is right means that they become tangled in the others' conflicts. I'll leave my summary there so that you, too, can have the experience of this book for yourself. One of my favorite books this year for sure. 2mo
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Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy epitomizes why I love nonfiction so much: it unveils the inner workings of one of our societal institutions, it provides a deep look at a human being who is committed to making the world better, and it elicits all of the emotion of the best of fiction. Check out our Unabridged June Book Club episode to hear our thoughts about Just Mercy and then head on over to @unabridgedpod to let us know what you think!

EadieB I just started listening to this today. It's very interesting and sad about how the police treated black people in the south. 1mo
UnabridgedPod @EadieB Agreed! Thanks for the response. ❤️ 1mo
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UnabridgedPod
The Silent Patient | Alex Michaelides
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I first heard about The Silent Patient during an interview on the @justtherightbook podcast with the editors of @celadonbooks when they described why they chose this novel as the first on the imprint; then, Roxane Coady interviewed Michaelides himself. They talked about the book as a slow build, and it is, but it also sweeps the reader along as the mystery develops. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod The book focuses on Alicia Berenson, an artist who has been silent since she was convicted of her husband‘s murder. Theo Faber is a psychotherapist at the mental hospital where Berenson was sentenced. Faber thjnks he can convince her to speak. Michaelides tells the story through Faber's narration and Berenson's diary entries from the summer of her husband Gabriel's death. The book's dark, psychological focus is brilliant and captivating. 2mo
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