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Special Topics in Calamity Physics
Special Topics in Calamity Physics | Marisha Pessl
The mesmerizing New York Times bestseller by the author of Night FilmMarisha Pessls dazzling debut sparked raves from critics and heralded the arrival of a vibrant new voice in American fiction. At the center ofSpecial Topics in Calamity Physicsis clever, deadpan Blue van Meer, who has a head full of literary, philosophical, scientific, and cinematic knowledge. But she could use some friends. Upon entering the elite St. Gallway School, she finds somea clique of eccentrics known as the Bluebloods. One drowning and one hanging later, Blue finds herself puzzling out a byzantine murder mystery. Nabokov meets Donna Tartt (then invites the rest of the Western Canon to the party) in this novelwith visual aids drawn by the authorthat has won over readers of all ages.
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Jason7
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Mehso-so

This is a long novel, packed full of allusions, metaphors, similes, and any other type of figurative language you can think of, and author often digresses from the main storyline. This, along with countless references & citations, leads to a fragmented reading/listening experience. At one point I thought I was going to like this novel a lot, but it never caught up to the potential I saw in the beginning. Overall rating: 4.07 stars

debra_a I enjoy your reviews. 1mo
Jason7 Thanks. Where are your reviews? I thought you were reading Commonwealth? 1mo
7 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Emu
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#day7 #7days7covers Post a cover you love each day for 7 days. No explanation needed

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ImperfectCJ
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1. The North Carolina mountains is one of my happy places.
2. Cool in the morning, high near 90, sunny. SoCal weather.☀️
3. Never really dated, just hung out with people until I married one of them.
4. One teen, one tween, and one cat who's nearly old enough to drink.
5. 🌼🏵️💮🌸

#friyayintro @howjessreads

Lynnsoprano Yes to the NC mountains! Love the Asheville area. 3mo
ImperfectCJ @Lynnsoprano Asheville's where I spent my honeymoon 20(gasp!) years ago. It's been discovered since then, but I still love it. My grandma's family has lived in the area since the 1600's, so I guess it's in my blood. :-) 3mo
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Headed to Asheville this December to see the Downton exhibit at the Biltmore 😍 3mo
See All 7 Comments
AmyK1 Love the NC mountains! 3mo
ImperfectCJ @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Probably the best spot in the US for a Downton exhibit! 3mo
BirdsandBelles Hello, fellow homeschool mama! 🥰 3mo
ImperfectCJ @BirdsandBelles And hello back to you! 3mo
26 likes7 comments
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MayJasper
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#LiteraryLove Prompt 15: #flowers @vkois88 @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

The book cover in the middle of the top row is one of my all time favourites 😍
#coversublime

RachelO Gorgeous! 10mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful 💐🌹💕 10mo
Cathythoughts Lots of books I want .... ♥️♥️👍🏻 10mo
See All 7 Comments
vkois88 How lovely! 10mo
CarolynM I have a copy of your favourite but I've never got around to it. I'm going to get it out and give it a go. 10mo
batsy I love that Pessl cover a lot, too! @CarolynM I found it a fun read 🙂 10mo
MayJasper I am happy you enjoyed it @CarolynM 9mo
76 likes7 comments
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emilyesears
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My plan for #deweysreadathon is simple: read the last 70 pages of Special Topics in Calamity Physics, read the entire Giant Days Extra Credit graphic novel, and read the intro and first essay in Reflections on the Psalms. After that (and for the rest of October), I will focus on my magazine reading. My mom is always bringing me magazines and I have an enormous stack of them on my nightstand at the moment.

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Mamashep
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I‘m 15 hours into a 21 hour audiobook and the jury‘s till our on this one. #boutofbook #bob23

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schilller
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Pickpick

I breezed through it in 3 days. it's delightful, tho maybe a teensy bit heavy on the intellectualism of the dad. having picked it up because of a Dark Academia reading list I subconsciously compared it to The Secret History, which it resembles in a few lone points - Calamity Physics feels more alive though, less aesthetic. and it raised a number of personal questions, which I hope I'll be able to answer in time...

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erinreads
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Finished up two in progress books today, but the others I‘m reading are not what I need right now, so trying a new one? I have an interview at 10:30 tomorrow, so my anxiety is kicking in hardcore right now. 😬😬😬😬 x a million!

Nebklvr You will do great! 1y
JennyM Good luck xxx 😘 1y
mrozzz Good luck! 🍀👍🏻 1y
BarbaraBB 🍀🍀 1y
Lcsmcat Good luck 🍀 on your interview! 1y
82 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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erinreads
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I‘m excited for all of these for the summer season of #Booked2018! First up is Blood in the Water, which I started last week.

📚Beach Read: The Summer Wives
📚Japanese Thriller: The Devotion of Suspect X
📚LGBT MC: We Are Okay
📚Set in School: Special Topics in Calamity Physics
📚Diverse Nonfiction: Blood in the Water
📚Blame it on Litsy: The Dry

teainthelibrary I‘ve started blood in the water.. so far an amazing book! 1y
tammysue 😍 1y
corycatelyn We are okay is good 😊 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage I love planning my reading. And then changing my mind ... 😜 1y
93 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Autumnlong
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Pickpick

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as well as Pessl‘s Night Film. She brings mixed media into her writing in a way that is novel and not heavy handed. (Also, her writing is gorgeous— so much unexpected & vibrant imagery!) This one reminded me of The Secret, a little bit and it was compelling to move through even before it delves into the mysterious aspects of the story. The last chapter disappointed a smidge, but it was a v enjoyable read regardless.

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Shemac77
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Pickpick

This was my second time reading this book; the first was over 10 years ago (I think).
The second read was great, not as enthusiastic as I was the first time and found the writing a little tedious. But. It‘s still one of the best books I‘ve ever read. Blue is a wonderful character and I found the premise so unique. Everyone was so well fleshed. Can‘t wait to see what I think when I read it for a third time.

Cathythoughts I really like the sound of this one ! Stacking 👍🏻 1y
Cathythoughts I see some comparisons to Donna Tartt ... excited to discover a new book 1y
Shemac77 It‘s definitely not for everyone; I can see why people would be frustrated with her writing. But I absolutely loved it. Let me know what you think of it when you‘ve read it! @Cathythoughts 1y
52 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Shemac77
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I read this years ago and remember being blown away by the writing. Hoping I get to revisit that same feeling.

Bookgirl I actually found the writing in this book pretentious, but I was obsessed with the story and it led me to read A Secret History and The Basic Eight, among others. Definitely deserves a reread! 2y
valeriegeary @Bookgirl yeah I couldn't stand the writing of this one either but I loved her other book NIGHT FILM 2y
Bookgirl @valeriegeary Agreed on Night Film!! 2y
52 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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CoffeeAndABook
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Bailedbailed

Nope, not for me!!! I SERIOUSLY wanted to like this book but, alas, DNF!!! Very frustrating!!

I just didn‘t care to spend more time with it, with the pretentious characters & well, honestly, the somewhat pretentious writing.
I did find an online plot summary though, to find out where the story goes.
I can see how this is a matter of taste, it wouldn‘t hurt to give it a chance, the story is quite intriguing & the overall style very original!!

ValerieAndBooks I tried this one quite some time ago, and it started out really promising. Then I ended up bailing (can‘t remember if it was because of some event in the book or because it didn‘t hold my interest anymore). 2y
CoffeeAndABook @ValerieAndBooks Yes, I agree on that it starts out so promising. And then quickly becomes unbearable! 😣 Oh well, bailing was the right decision - so many great books waiting to finally be read by us 👏🏻👏🏻 🎉 2y
26 likes2 comments
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CoffeeAndABook
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Slow morning...
I‘ve got to go to work later but for for now I‘m takin‘ it easy with my delicious first cuppa & giving it a whirl with this new book. With all the mixed reviews I‘m optimistically cautious about it 😁
The first pages are certainly refreshingly different!
And - yeah, the cover is so pretty 🎀

LibrarianJen I like this cover! 2y
CoffeeAndABook @LibrarianJen I know right? Hard to resist 😊 2y
28 likes1 stack add2 comments
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KimmyM
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This book has been on my shelf for ages, and I've enjoyed her other books so I'm thinking about starting to read this today.
#bookandabeverage

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Mamashep
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Finally got to the library book sale for audiobooks. Now what to listen to first? Have you read any of these?

intothehallofbooks I looove Robert Goolrick! I love Heading Out to Wonderful so much. Just, ahhh, emotions. 2y
Mamashep @intothehallofbooks should have started with that one! It‘ll be next! 2y
13 likes2 comments
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mcipher
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Chatting Marisha Pessl with my sister. It‘s so great when you lend someone a favorite book and they love it too. ❤️

batsy That's a great description of Night Film. It's how I felt reading Jennifer Egan's The Keep, as well. I was also in a hotel room alone and had to sleep with a light on 😆 2y
mcipher @batsy oh, that was another creepy one!! 2y
vivastory I wish I could read Night Film for the first time again. Completely brilliant. Will definitely be checking out The Keep! 2y
See All 11 Comments
Avanders Agree with 👆🏽👆🏽 loooved Night Film! 2y
MyNamesParadise Night Film is one of my favorite books!! I wish it would be made into a movie! A new book by Marisha comes out in June! 2y
mcipher @vivastory I was surprised by how awesome my second reading of it was - I still got totally freaked out! The Keep is also good but not as good (sorry). 2y
mcipher @MyNamesParadise It would be such a good movie! I can‘t wait for her new book. 👍 I can‘t imagine she can improve on Night Film (one of my all time favorites too) but if it‘s even half as good... ❤️ 2y
TorieStorieS I loved that book too!!! 💕💕 2y
Autumnlong Yes! I loved this book! And I had no idea she had a new one coming out. Did you read Special Topics in Calamity Physics? I have it on a shelf somewhere, yet to read! 2y
mcipher @Autumnlong Yes! I loved that one, too. But Night Film is my favorite (so far). 2y
72 likes1 stack add11 comments
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MayJasper
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#bookwithabeautifulcover is the #janinbooks18 challenge. I remember picking this book in the library first because of the gorgeous cover then because of the quirky title. It was a good pick as I really enjoyed reading it.
Thanks @bookisglee

Miss_Kim Gorgeous! I would read it based solely on the cover too! 2y
AmyG I read this, but the cover was not this lovely. 2y
batsy I quite liked this, too. 2y
63 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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maggiereadsgood
Pickpick

Astonishingly refreshing, filled to the brim with wit and heart and a twist that'll leave you dumbfounded. Cannot recommend highly enough.

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writerlibrarian
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Was bored. It was supposed to be all I suspect... See there were all these clues I left you reader.. aren't I clever type of ending. The twist at the end was OCC to the power of a 💯. This was more a vanity writing look how cultured I am, see how I read Lolita, type of novel than the father/daughter relationship with a curious mystery type of novel. Very disappointing and definitely a waste of my time which makes me 😡😡😡 #emojinov

suvata I bailed on this book. 2y
writerlibrarian @suvata I did throw it, metaphorically, across the room a few times, I did finish it but I wish I didn't. So much time lost finishing books that I 😡 2y
mjdowens I was so excited to get this one. Got about halfway and was like WTF am I reading?? It would be a good book if it was not written like you were a philosophy professor. 2y
34 likes3 comments
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HyacinthGirl
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Mehso-so

I think there's probably something impressive about this book. But the teenage pretension stopped being charming about halfway through, it stopped being fun hating every single character with absolute fervor, and the climax during which the narrator discovers the secrets of the novel is mind numbingly boring. Still, the format is interesting, and the scope is something to praise.

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ReadingMidwife
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So delightfully meta!! I can't wait!

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jenniferw88
Pickpick

4 ⭐. It would have been 5 ⭐ but the constant referencing of other media texts started to get annoying.
P for #LitsyAtoZ completed ✅ @BookishMarginalia

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jenniferw88
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60 likes1 stack add
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jenniferw88
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Anyone fancy being reminded of Doctor Who? 😉❤️😍

Kaitlyn.keith.529 I had to check the title to see if it was something Doctor Who related 😂 that was my first thought 2y
TheBookkeepersApprentice One of my favorite books! 2y
70 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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jenniferw88
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Why is it every time I open a book today I get one of the photo challenge prompts? #bugs for #sizzlinsummerreads @Tiffy_Reads. Photo taken on holiday in Crete.

Quote: Nigel was sitting in his chair staring at Hannah, and the way his eyes were buried behind his glasses, reflecting the candles, until he turned his head and they emerged for a moment like beetles in sand, the way he sat so straight, so small yet so substantial, he looked like 👇

jenniferw88 Napoleon, especially the unappealing oil rendering of the diminutive French Emperor on the cover of Dad‘s foundational seminar textbook, Mastering Mankind (Howards & Path, 1994). 2y
58 likes1 stack add1 comment
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HannaPolkadots
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#marchintoreading day 31: #bestofmarch. These are my stats for an amazing book month. A lot of good books. Now I look forward to @RealLifeReading 's book challenge for April and I thank @Simona for inspiration as to how to log my reading progress . 🤗

Simona I like to track this categories , because then I'm more aware of what I'm reading and how. 3y
HannaPolkadots I agree. Especially interesting to track where the authors I read are from, I think. Great idea @Simona ! 3y
BookwormBeth Ooh I have this book notebook from the bookish box. 3y
10 likes3 comments
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Lauren.Archer
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Pretty good month...it started off slow, but finished strong.

britt_brooke Excellent month! 👏🏻 3y
Cinfhen Amazing 💕💕 3y
Allietaylor16 I love this. I'm really considering getting into bullet journaling. 3y
See All 7 Comments
PurpleyPumpkin Great month!👍🏽 3y
MayJasper Love your journalling 👏 3y
Reviewsbylola That's awesome! 👏👏👏 3y
rachellayown 👍👍👍 3y
123 likes1 stack add7 comments
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suvata
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Love this quote.

18 likes1 stack add
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suvata
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I started reading this today. I just love the terminology and book references. Fun read so far.

18 likes1 stack add
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Asktheletters
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Mehso-so

Okay, so: I loved the structural framework, and in places the rococoesque language had a flavour of Richard Calder's "Dead Girls", of which I'm a huge fan. But oh my god, there's not a narrative digression, comma, or parenthesis that hasn't found its way onto the page. I'm almost convinced that, in an alternative universe, there are entire libraries filled with books without punctuation, because it's all been used for this one.

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Lauren.Archer
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Pickpick

This book definitely had some peaks and valleys. I never suspected that ending and it kinda blew my minds. It A Secret History feel to it, but loved this so much more. Highly highly recommend this one.

LeslieO This has been in my TBR forever! Time to pick it up! 3y
Ksvz Weird question - what app is that? I love the layout. 3y
Lauren.Archer @Ksvz it is called bookout 3y
Ksvz @Lauren.Archer, thank you. I too enjoyed Calamity of Physics but I enjoyed the darkness and suspense of Night Film more. 3y
MyNamesParadise I absolutely loved Night Film!! 3y
111 likes6 stack adds5 comments
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Lauren.Archer
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I have never heard of this book until a few weeks ago and now it has popped up on several podcasts as recommendations. One reviewer said it was a cross between Where'd You Go Bernadette and The Help. Sounds good to me.

MandyJohnson It is weird and excellent. 3y
valeriegeary I couldn't get through this one. I got about halfway before I put it back on my shelf. I loved her other book Night Film but this one just didn't click for me. 3y
redphoto3 This is one of my most favorite books of all time!!! I hope you love this!!! 3y
See All 12 Comments
Nuwanda I want to revisit this one. I liked it the first time I read it, but I don't think I fully "got it." 3y
minkyb Will want to hear what you think. 3y
katelizabee This is one of my all-time favorites! 3y
MyNamesParadise Have you read her book Night Film? One of my all time favorite! I have not read this book. 3y
cariashley LOVE this book. It was one that got me back into reading after a long post-college slump, years ago. 3y
Cathleennh This is a fabulous book!!!! 3y
Hooked_on_books Honestly it was meh for me. In some ways I was completely riveted, but there is a key point wherein you really have to go with it and I just couldn't. 3y
Hedwig I had a lot of problems with this book... But I did read it in just a few days. As hooked_on_books says above, it has a point at which it either loses you or grabs you. It lost me. 3y
Loretta I really enjoyed this, but I didn't get echoes of The Help in it. 3y
117 likes12 stack adds12 comments
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Imagineannie
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Part one of my #februaryreads. I think this represents the most non-fiction I've read in a month since I was in school.

britt_brooke 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 3y
Reviewsbylola I read The Blood of Emmett Till as well. 3y
Imagineannie @Reviewsbylola still recovering from that one. 3y
Gezemice I just listened to You Can't Touch My Hair, too. She is funny and educational. 3y
25 likes4 comments
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mjdowens
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Considering how much I hated Night Film, I hesitantly went into this book. I had to try it though because it has the word "physics" in the title and that alone draws me in. Only on page 28, but pretty good so far. Love the artist drawings all titled Visual Aides.

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Imagineannie
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Pickpick

This isn't for everyone, but it was totally my groove. It is, like The Goldfinch (which I also love) a book with radically different parts. It's a coming-of-age story, a mystery, a Secret History-esque school clique story, a book about books and scholarship, and by turns very funny and terrifically sad. Oh, and Pessl writes similes that are like shining stars in the firmament of novel writing. ;-)

Josie I loved this book!!!! It's time for a reread 3y
cariashley Looove this book. 3y
27 likes2 comments
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Imagineannie
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So far, I am loving this. A lot. Thanks to @annebogel for recommending it with a great sales pitch on her most recent "What Should I Read Next" podcast. She made it clear that it was something I would love.

christineandbooks I've heard her talk about it a couple of times now... it's definitely on my tbr list! 3y
Lauren.Archer Funny I heard about another podcast, and ordered it. I plan to read it next Month. 3y
Shemac77 Loved this book so much! 3y
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Imagineannie @christineandbooks I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It left me feeling shattered, but in that "oh no, it's over!" Kind of way. If that makes sense. 3y
Imagineannie @Lauren.Archer it was so good. So very good. 3y
Imagineannie @Shemac77 but what do I do with my life now?! 3y
Shemac77 Ha! I actually read Juniper Tree Burning by Goldberry Long around the same time and found that they were both somewhat complementary to each other. Different books but had a similar feel. 3y
31 likes4 stack adds7 comments
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hes7
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Part of my #TBR this month. #feistyfeb

britt_brooke Nice photo! 📷👌🏻 3y
Reviewsbylola The Red Tent is soooooooo good. 3y
hes7 @britt_brooke Thanks! 3y
See All 6 Comments
hes7 @Reviewsbylola Glad to hear it! I'm excited to read it soon. 3y
RealLifeReading Lovely photo! 3y
27 likes6 comments
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Hooked_on_books
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Mehso-so

Very mixed feelings about this one. Some great lines and enjoyable characters, but it took a strange turn that really didn't work for me. It kind of made my experience come to a screeching halt. There were also numerous citations in the text that I think were intended to make the protagonist seem intellectual, but it really didn't work for me.

ValerieAndBooks I tried to read this a few years ago but bailed. What I did read was clever, but I felt it tried too hard to be that way. 3y
49 likes1 comment
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Reita325
Pickpick

This isn't as good as 'Night Film' and it is slow to put its affairs in order, but once it begins to move, I was intrigued.

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broomperson
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Pickpick

it's like if Pynchon and dfw had written secret history but set it in a high school.

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swishandflick
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My very first Litsy post! Time flies when you're having fun ✌🏽📚 #booktober

16 likes2 stack adds
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broomperson
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debut novel for #booktober. just started reading this today; picked it up at a second hand store while traveling.

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katedensen
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For #day6 of #booktober: some really excellent #debutnovels. Which of these have you read?

BeckyMerilatt Special Topics! 🎉 3y
katedensen @BeckyMerilatt Isn't it great? I loved Night Film too. Seems to me that we're due for another Pessl novel... 3y
MMenefee The Art of Fielding. Loved it! 3y
See All 9 Comments
katedensen @MMenefee Me too! I can't believe it's Harbach's only novel. 3y
rach_simone Everything I Never Told You and The Art of Fielding. Both were amazing!! 3y
sparklemotion I have Everything I Never Told You in my tbr 🙊 3y
katedensen @rach_simone Agreed! @heartlesstree Looking forward to hearing what you think when you read it! 3y
katedensen @MrBook Thanks! 3y
42 likes9 comments
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hellocorriny
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Pickpick

I wasn't sure this story could ever be tied up as neatly as I wanted it to be, but I think the ending was mostly satisfying. Blue was really funny, and somewhat socially awkward, but relatable.

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BookThia
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Mehso-so

A fairly decent story ruined by trying-to-be-clever writing. Overuse of parenthetical asides and show-offish annotations ruins what could be a clever yarn. Plus the Dad is a moron.

8 likes3 stack adds
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BeckyMerilatt
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Pickpick

It's like Gilmore Girls meets the Secret History. I know I'm mixing my medias, but I thought about that one for a while. I might be recommending a book that everyone read when it came out, but if you missed it, and you love a good mystery, or a good pretentious private school saga (and who doesn't?) then check it out.

AmyS Gilmore Girls? Sold! 3y
PenguinInFlight That's a pretty apt description, LOL! I liked it, but didn't love it...not because it was badly written (the writing was fantastic) but because it was equal parts fascinating and infuriating. 3y
Anton I had mixed feelings on her last book, Night Film, but I've heard good things about this one. 3y
See All 16 Comments
Laalaleighh Omg. I've had that on my TBR forever but The Secret History times Gilmore Girls? You just said two of my favorite things! 3y
AnnieMay Those are two of my favourite ever things right there, so this is suddenly a must read 3y
Pinkmeghan You had me at Gilmore Girls 💜 3y
LitHousewife I loved this book so much. Great recommendation! 3y
JPrecht I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! 3y
katedensen I remember reading this book when it was published--loved loved loved it. Highly recommend Pessl's second book as well: 3y
Jaimie One of my favorite books of all time. 3y
anrobe I loved Night Film so I need to read this one! 3y
Hazel0303 I'm so glad to see this. Night Film was one of my favorite books in the past year and I wasn't too sure about her first. Will move it up on the TBR! 3y
BeckyMerilatt @Hazel0303 @Anton @anrobe I liked it better than Night Film. It has a very different tone. @PenguinInFlight I hear you! Lol. Love it for the writing and style and voice. And I kinda liked how infuriating it was. 3y
Hazel0303 Is this a book you could listen to on audiobook? I wasn't sure since Night Film you really needed the book to get the full experience. 3y
BeckyMerilatt @Hazel0303 I wouldn't recommend it. There are really cool illustrations in the book and the format is pretty important. 3y
Hazel0303 Good to know! Thank you @BeckyMerilatt ! 3y
117 likes44 stack adds16 comments
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Ksvz
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Pickpick

Audio. The story meandered and I frequently wondered why I was continuing. I stayed with it for the word craft, esoteric references, slightly unbelievable yet reluctantly plausible events, and the characters. If this is a glimpse into the author's mind, I want to burrow deep and befriend darkness

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PenguinInFlight
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Mehso-so

I don't think I've ever read a book that intrigued and infuriated me in equal measures. The story is a bit slow to get underway, but then it catapults forward, and I could hardly turn the pages fast enough. Unusual, but definitely worth a read.

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epicbookclub

FINALLY I'm starting this one! I can't find it in shops anywhere because apparently it's out of print, but I've managed to snag an audiobook version 😁