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violabrain

violabrain

Joined December 2016

I am a professional violist with a background in neuroscience. I love music, I love brains, but I especially love to read! :)
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Salt. by Nayyirah Waheed
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Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
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violabrain
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A friend of mine gave me this mystery book to read, but said I‘m not allowed to know what it is! I hope it‘s good!

Megabooks Wow! That‘s cool! 1w
SarahHarts_books Neat!! 😍 1w
6 likes2 comments
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violabrain
Tipping The Velvet | Sarah Waters
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Pickpick

Liked it but the end felt contrived to me. I read an interview with her that said this is not really based on any historical record (of the LGBTQ community in Victorian London). Glad I read it, but the ending fell flat for me.

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violabrain
Caramelo | Sandra Cisneros
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Truth!

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violabrain
Becoming | Michelle Obama
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Pickpick

Absolutely deserving of all the hype. As many people have said, this book is beautifully written and feels like she is just talking to you as an old friend. Michelle Obama is a national treasure and we are so fortunate to have had her as First Lady for eight years.

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violabrain
Eleanor and Park | Rainbow Rowell
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Pickpick

I‘m a sucker for YA romance novels, so I enjoyed this a lot. But that ending… More in the spoiler comment below👇

violabrain What parent in their right mind lets their 16-year-old son who just got his drivers license drive him and his girlfriend from Omaha to Minneapolis in the middle of the night to get away from her abusive stepfather, instead of just saying she can stay at their house? 2mo
5 likes1 comment
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violabrain
Less: A Novel | Andrew Sean Greer
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Pickpick

Funniest book I‘ve read in a LONG time. I was laughing out loud uncontrollably for most of the book (good thing I read it in the privacy of my own home!). But it‘s also poignant and sweet.

17 likes3 stack adds
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violabrain
The Luminaries | Eleanor Catton
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Pickpick

This book is brilliant! It is intricately plotted according to astrological charts, but you don‘t have to know anything about the zodiac or any of the astrological stuff to enjoy it. I‘m so glad I finally read it!

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violabrain
How It All Began: A Novel | Penelope Lively
Mehso-so

Would have been a pick for sure, but the terrible decision to include an omniscient narrator clumsily at the very beginning and very end (to explain the premise of the novel, as if I were too stupid to get it myself) completely ruined it for me. Nope.

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violabrain
The Luminaries | Eleanor Catton
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I‘ve been reluctant to read this book for years because it is structured around the zodiac, which I know absolutely nothing about. I thought I would be totally lost. But it‘s fantastic! I‘m really enjoying it so far!

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violabrain
Astrid and Veronika | Linda Olsson
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Pickpick

This is the second book I‘ve read by Linda Olsson and both of them made me nostalgic for places I have never actually been. A beautiful, lyrical novel.

7 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
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Pickpick

Great book! I didn‘t read it in one sitting, but it felt pretty close!

12 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
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Pickpick

I loved this book! It reminded me a lot of Ann Patchett in how he looked at all the little details that led up to the cataclysmic event that starts the book, and then the aftermath of that event. It‘s told from multiple perspectives, which isn‘t at all confusing in print, but I imagine it would be as an audiobook. This is a beautiful meditation on love and family and the fact that we are all flawed human beings.

6 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
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Pickpick

This book is incredible and completely devastating. How have I never read James Baldwin before now?

9 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
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Pickpick

This book is incredible and completely devastating. How have I never read James Baldwin before now?

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violabrain
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Pickpick

Not my typical genre (because usually books in this genre are so badly written I can‘t stand to read them), but I really enjoyed this book! It kept me guessing until the end and I really liked the different points of view. Some reviewers on here said it was confusing, but I didn‘t find it confusing at all (but I also really dislike it when authors announce whose point of view they are using. If it‘s written well, it should be clear). Great read!

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violabrain
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Pickpick

This is an amazing first-person account of the journalist who seemingly went psychotic out of nowhere, who was later diagnosed with a treatable illness. The author does an excellent job of describing what it felt like to descend into madness, and she also does a wonderful job of explaining the scientific and medical concepts in a very clear and understandable way.

12 likes2 stack adds
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violabrain
Shotgun Lovesongs | Nickolas Butler
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Pickpick

This book was set in rural Wisconsin outside of Eau Claire, where I have lived for the last five years. He captured what it feels like to live here perfectly. I loved this novel that‘s as much about the power and messiness of friendship as it is a love letter to the author‘s home state and hometown. Pic of my backyard right now. We have been dumped with ~4 feet of snow in the 3 weeks! I thought it was a fitting photo to accompany this review…

Bklover Beautiful! 4mo
9 likes1 comment
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violabrain
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Pickpick

I don‘t care at all about sports or rowing, but I loved this book! I saw some people on here said they skipped the descriptions of the races, so I was expecting them to be super long and tedious to read, but actually I felt that reading about the races really helped illustrate the chemistry that developed between these athletes. As a professional musician, I was continually struck by how much elite rowing is like performing chamber music.

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violabrain
Bel Canto | Ann Patchett
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1. Ann Patchett
2. Jhumpa Lahiri
3. John Irving
4. Margaret Atwood
5. Daniel Pink (a stand-in for smart science writing)

britt_brooke Nice list! 4mo
PassionatelyCurious 1. Chimamandra Ngozie Adichie 2. Yaa Gyasi 3. Jean Rhys 4. Thomas Hardy 5. James Joyce (Also, up-and-coming Tommy Orange and the so-classic Jane Austen. I could probably keep going.) 4mo
13 likes2 comments
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violabrain
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Pickpick

This was a #BlameItOnLitsy book that has been on my shelf for a couple years now. What a strange, wonderful, distressing book. The character of Simon will stay with me for a long, long time.

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violabrain
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Mehso-so

I really wanted to like this book because I loved A Long Way Gone and Ishmael Beah was at Oberlin at the same time as me. But the structure of the book just didn‘t work for me. It felt like it was supposed to be inspired by storytelling traditions, but most of the book felt formless and meandering without much focus or narrative arc.

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violabrain
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Pickpick

What a book to read at this juncture in US history... (also, why was the spelling sometimes “pajamas” and other times “pyjamas” in my edition of the book??)

Cconnolly I saw the movie, then listened to the audiobook later, and still was moved. I think it‘s time to read the print version. Sometimes we read of past horrors and wonder how much have we really learned? 5mo
14 likes1 stack add1 comment
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violabrain
The Idiot | Elif Batuman
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Mehso-so

An extremely eccentric book that‘s not for everyone. Some parts were laugh-out-loud funny, other parts I felt like I was completely missing what she was alluding to. A little too meandering and disjointed for my taste, but I‘m glad I read it.

13 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
A God in Ruins | Kate Atkinson
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I haven‘t read Life After Life. Should I read that before I read this one? Or does this one stand on its own?

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violabrain
Stone Mattress: Nine Tales | Margaret Atwood
Pickpick

An odd little book of short stories, but I definitely enjoyed them (even though short stories aren‘t really my thing). Everything Margaret Atwood writes is fantastic!

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violabrain
What We Lose | Zinzi Clemmons
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Pickpick

Depressing (dealing with the death of a parent, marrying the wrong person), but well done and effective.

PassionatelyCurious @violabrain This one got to me. Loved this book. 4mo
8 likes1 comment
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violabrain
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Pickpick

Definitely one if the best books of the year or maybe ever! I am going to steal what @MicheleinPhilly said about this book because she said it so perfectly:
If you are pro-death penalty, please read this book.
If you are anti-death penalty, read this book.
If you have read Just Mercy, read this book.
If you haven‘t read Just Mercy, read this book (and read that one, too!)
If you want to be inspired, read this amazing book!!

MicheleinPhilly I‘m flattered! Thank you! And I reiterate my plea for folks to read this book. It is one of the most affecting things I have EVER read. 6mo
violabrain @MicheleinPhilly Yes, I agree! I think everyone should read this book and 6mo
15 likes1 stack add2 comments
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violabrain
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Christmas book haul! The political books are all from my Republican uncle who voted Democrat for the first time in his life in the midterms!

vivastory Excellent stack! 6mo
12 likes1 comment
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violabrain
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Pickpick

Fascinating and full of whimsy, despite being a science book. I loved it!

11 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
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I can‘t stop laughing about this! 😂😂 He is describing names of the different octopuses (octopi?) in a lab that studies symbiotic microorganisms. I just love that he indicated the gender of Yuk the Octopus by putting “Mr” in parentheses! 😂😍😂😍 This whole book is delightful so far. I‘m loving it!

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violabrain
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Mehso-so

I‘ll admit this is not my typical genre. Some of the writing was great, but artists and art lovers not knowing the term chiaroscuro and otherwise intelligent, well-informed people seemingly completely unaware of how AA works…? It‘s a little bit too much for me to swallow.

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violabrain
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Pickpick

If you don‘t understand why saying “All Lives Matter“ or “Blue Lives Matter“ is so unbelievably offensive and tone deaf, you need to read this book. An amazing memoir by one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Riveted_Reader_Melissa It‘s a great read! I‘ll second that recommendation!! 6mo
dogra Great rec! 6mo
12 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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violabrain
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Pickpick

A huge thank you to Litsy introducing me to this book! It is Jung Chang‘s memoir of her life, her mother‘s life, and her grandmother‘s life in China. I learned so much about Communist China that I never knew before. I was also struck by the similarities between Mao and Donald Trump… Fantastic read!

RachelAmphlett I read that for the first time about 20 years ago and still remember it vividly. Glad you enjoyed it 7mo
violabrain @RachelAmphlett I have a feeling it will stay with me for a very long time, too. I had never even heard of it before I saw somebody post about it on here a couple months back. 7mo
17 likes2 comments
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violabrain
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Sounds like modern-day Republicans in the US…

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violabrain
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Pickpick

Fantasy is really not my genre, but I absolutely loved these two books! I read Strange the Dreamer this summer on my iPad and loved it so much that I immediately went and bought a physical copy of the book and pre-ordered Muse of Nightmares. How can you not love a book where the hero is a lover of books?

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violabrain

Vote vote vote vote vote vote!!!!

CouronneDhiver 👏🏽👏🏽 7mo
11 likes1 comment
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violabrain
Olive Kitteridge | Elizabeth Strout
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Some great lines at the end of this book! 😂😂 (talking about George W. Bush)

rachaich Love all her books :) 8mo
13 likes1 comment
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violabrain
Olive Kitteridge | Elizabeth Strout
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This book came out in 2008, so she‘s talking about George W. Bush. Who would‘ve thought then that things could reach the point they are now. Please vote (and vote for Dems) on Tuesday!

Lcsmcat 🌊 8mo
4 likes1 stack add1 comment
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violabrain
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Panpan

Okay, no. Why is this book so popular? To me, the recipes and home remedies seemed like clunky product placement. And the story itself read like it was written by a child (I‘m not talking about the magical realism). And what in the world is up with the ending?!? Worst book I‘ve read in a long time.

Lcsmcat Right there with you! I was underwhelmed by this one too. 8mo
12 likes1 comment
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violabrain
The Color Purple | Alice Walker
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Pickpick

How have I never read this amazing book before!? There‘s so much in here, I don‘t even know where to start! If this book has been on your TBR list for years (like mine), move it up to the top!

Joyfulmimi Thanks! I can‘t believe I have not read this yet 5mo
12 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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violabrain
Never Let Me Go | Kazuo Ishiguro
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Pickpick

OK, so I totally didn‘t expect this to be a dystopian novel when I started it! I thought it was going to be more like The Remains of the Day. That being said, I thought it was very effective.

19 likes2 stack adds
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violabrain
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Pickpick

Is it possible to be nostalgic for a place you‘ve never been? That is how I felt reading this book. I actually read it twice in a row because the first time around I thought I had missed things. Turns out I hadn‘t, she just leaves a lot unsaid. It took me twice through to really understand everything. Also, as a professional musician, I am always wary of books that have musician characters, but she does a great job with the musical parts!

Nute Going one step further...I‘ve actually missed fictional places!😳 6mo
11 likes1 comment
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violabrain
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Just came back from my favorite annual used book sale! I got these nine for $15. Who of you has read any of these? Which should I read first? (not that I don‘t already have a TBR stack 100+ books high!)

AmyG I just loved A Map of the World. Great haul! 8mo
Lcsmcat I‘ve read Killers of the Flower Moon, and several others in your stack are on my TBR. Great haul! 8mo
Nute Several of the books are very good, but Carlos Ruiz Zafon gets my vote. However, that is book two. Have you read Shadow of the Wind? 6mo
violabrain @Nute Yes, I read Shadow of the Wind a couple years ago and loved it!! 6mo
16 likes4 comments
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violabrain
The Fight to Vote | Michael Waldman
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This was an interesting footnote to come across this week...

Well-ReadNeck 😳 9mo
9 likes1 comment
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violabrain
The Fight to Vote | Michael Waldman
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Pickpick

I‘m surprised I‘m the first to post about this book. It is a succinct, yet informative and interesting history of voting rights in United States. Highly recommended, especially at this juncture in our history!

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violabrain
The Miniaturist | Jessie Burton
Mehso-so

I really wanted to love this book, but a lot of it came across as contrived to me. I agree with one reviewer on here who said the character of the miniaturist was completely unnecessary to the story. It also didn‘t feel like historical fiction to me. I felt like this could‘ve taken place literally anywhere in the world anywhere in time. Disappointing.

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violabrain
Alias Grace: A Novel | Margaret Atwood
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Pickpick

Another masterpiece by Margaret Atwood. How had I not read anything by her but The Handmaid‘s Tale until this year!?

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego So. Good. I was an Atwood late bloomer as well. But I think I appreciate her more now anyways. 9mo
violabrain @StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Yes, I agree. I don‘t know if I really would have understood or appreciated her books as much if I had read her when I was younger. What‘s your favorite of her books? 9mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego So far Alias Grace. The only other's I've read are, Handmaid's Tale, Cats Eye, and the first two in the MadAddam trilogy. They're all quite different. 9mo
18 likes1 stack add3 comments
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violabrain
Akata Witch | Nnedi Okorafor
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Pickpick

Fantasy isn‘t usually my thing, but I really enjoyed this book! It‘s kind of like Harry Potter, but set in Nigeria with a different kind of magic…. The ending felt a bit rushed to me, but other than that it was a great read!

13 likes1 stack add
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violabrain
Uncanny! | Paul Jennings
Pickpick

For some reason, this book just popped into my head. I loved this book so much when I was around 13 years old. I don‘t remember what I loved so much about it, but it was my favorite book for several years!

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violabrain
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Pickpick

She is such an inspiring young woman! I had read a little bit about her dad, but I didn‘t realize the extent and the uniqueness of the support she got from her parents. I also learned a lot about the rise of the Taliban in Pakistan from reading this book.

britt_brooke Loved this book! 10mo
12 likes1 stack add1 comment