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The Island of Missing Trees
The Island of Missing Trees | Elif Shafak
104 posts | 95 read | 1 reading | 92 to read
A rich, magical new novel from the Booker-shortlisted author of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World - available for pre-order now Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. The taverna is the only place that Kostas and Defne can meet in secret, hidden beneath the blackened beams from which hang garlands of garlic and chilli peppers, creeping honeysuckle, and in the centre, growing through a cavity in the roof, a fig tree. The fig tree witnesses their hushed, happy meetings; their silent, surreptitious departures. The fig tree is there, too, when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes and rubble, when the teenagers vanish. Decades later, Kostas returns - a botanist, looking for native species - looking, really, for Defne. The two lovers return to the taverna to take a clipping from the fig tree and smuggle it into their suitcase, bound for London. Years later, the fig tree in the garden is their daughter Ada's only knowledge of a home she has never visited, as she seeks to untangle years of secrets and silence, and find her place in the world. The Island of Missing Trees is a rich, magical tale of belonging and identity, love and trauma, nature and renewal, from the Booker-shortlisted author of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World. 'One of the best writers in the world today' Hanif Kureishi 'Shafak makes a new home for us in words' Colum McCann
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review
ChaoticMissAdventures
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Pickpick

Day 4 of COVID and starting to finish some books.

This was gorgeous. I loved the setting of Cyprus and the history woven through, the chapters told by the tree gave the book a magical realism quality that fit perfectly into the weaving of the multigenerational story. Normally I am not a fan of back and forth timelines but Shafak does this seamlessly and I was so engrossed in the story I finished in a day.

IuliaC Lovely review! I've got this one stacked too 1w
ChaoticMissAdventures @IuliaC it sat on my shelf for months and months! So many books to read. 1w
IuliaC @ChaoticMissAdventures I know, too many! 😊 1w
28 likes1 stack add3 comments
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ChantalReads
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Pickpick

This book starts off really slowly, and I almost gave up, but I'm glad I didn't. The story is deep and touching, and the story's shifting of perspectives is creative, though I found myself rushing through Fig Tree's parts, as a lot of it is technical botany and didn't always seem connected to the rest of the story. This fades as the story progresses, and the very last chapter brought some needed, satisfying closure.

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NovelNancyM
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Pickpick

This is my fourth book of Shafak's. While the writing is as beautiful as the other books, what made this novel so interesting is many of the chapters are told from the point of view of a fig tree who provides much background as well as an outlet for the humans to express their feelings. Much research went into this & I enjoyed learning about the island of Cyprus & its tumultuous history. Not my favorite novel of the authors but glad I read it.

Hanna-B I didn‘t enjoy it 2w
41 likes1 comment
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StellaB
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Mehso-so

I appreciated how passionately the book explores the painful history of Cyprus. The writing is from an all-knowing perspective, explaining the world with great confidence, and I found that a little boring. But it was great to see animals and plants being valued so much.

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charl08
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The Sentence
The Mirror and the Palette
The Island of Missing Trees
The Book of Form and Emptiness
Small Things Like These
The Trees
Devil in the Grove
In Memory after Memory
Kim JiYoung Born 1982
Horse
After Sappho

#LittensWanttoKnow

Sophronisba Definitely Trust and probably The Marriage Portrait -- I'm not done yet but it's just perfect so far. 3w
charl08 @Sophronisba sounds good! 3w
44 likes2 comments
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TheEllieMo
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Mehso-so

If the evidence of this novel is anything to go by, fig trees make very poor narrators.

I felt disappointed with this book as it doesn‘t seem to know what it wants to achieve. Too many narrative lines fizzle out before they get anywhere. There‘s a nice love story against the back drop of civil war, but it‘s getting lost in the author‘s need to show us how much knowledge she has.

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Viji
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I reminded myself that life was not a trade agreement, a calculated give-and-take, and not every affection needed to be returned in kind…

79 likes1 stack add
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thereflectiveflaneur
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Pickpick

Simply stunning! So many quotable moments! Brilliant prose! Awesome audiobook also!

9 likes1 stack add
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MysticFaerie
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Pickpick

4⭐/5⭐

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AllDebooks
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Pickpick

This is a truly memorable novel. The descriptions of Cypriot nature, amidst the turmoil of 1974 clashes between Turkish and Greek Cypriots are poignant. The pov of the fig tree as a witness to all that unfolds is very powerful.
Highly recommended

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AllDebooks
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1. Tagged, which is magical as well as moving. Braiding Sweetgrass, A honeybee heart has 5 openings
2. Yes, I love green, it's such a calming colour. I have a whole heap of nature books with green covers. All nabbed by my daughter for her green aesthetic in her room 🙄
3. This is not easy this month as I've read some fantastic books. See comments below
#weekendreads
@rachelsbrittain

AllDebooks Non-fiction - Culture Warlords was a very unpleasant but crucial read with #shesaid group.
Rebirding was the best book I've read on rewilding out of a multitude of titles. It's my theme of the year.
Fiction - tagged,and Giovanni's room. The island of the missing trees too, although still reading, I'm utterly besotted.
2mo
20 likes1 comment
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AllDebooks

"Once upon a time, at the far end of the Mediterranean Sea, there lay an island so beautiful and blue that the many travellers, pilgrims, crusaders and merchants who fell in love with it either wanted never to leave or tried to tow it with hemp ropes all the way back to their own countries.
Legends, perhaps.
But legends are there to tell us what history has forgotten."

Hooked ?

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emmaturi
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Pickpick

I absolutely loved this love story, set in Cyprus and also set in London. It was very moving.

34 likes1 stack add
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Tgbsfk
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“Cartography is another name for stories told by winners.”

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jlhammar
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🍓Yes
🍓 I wasn‘t sure I‘d enjoy the POV of a fig tree, but those sections ended up being my favorite in tagged book.

#Two4Tuesday
@TheSpineView

TheSpineView Thanks for playing! Happy Tuesday! 3mo
30 likes1 comment
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zezeki
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So I am moving out of my childhood home into an apartment with my boyfriend, and the toughest decision I have to make will be choosing which books to bring with me. 😅 Fortunately, I'll be 40 min drive away, so I can easily go home for some more books. 😅😅

P. S. I still have about 30, 40 books on the shelf and under the bed that I don't even want to look into because I know I'll want to bring them all with me. 😅📚📚
⬇️⬇️⬇️

zezeki My initial idea was to bring only those books that fit into this box on the floor, but I also really want to bring this pile on the right. Oh, the difficult decisions bookworms have to make! 😅😄📚📚 3mo
vlwelser Definitely take The Island of Missing Trees! 3mo
Crazeedi I've moved several times and regret leaving books behind, but I always have too many 3mo
Graywacke Surely minimum 3 boxes. 😁 (otherwise you will have to buy more - which is actually maybe a reason to bring less) 3mo
59 likes4 comments
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Eva_B
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Pickpick

This is the second book I‘ve read by this author. I really loved this one. Beautifully written story

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vlwelser
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Pickpick

I also finished this lovely gem. One of the narrators is a fig tree, so extra points for originality. And it's about Cyprus which is super interesting. Now I need to read the book that beat this for the Women's Prize. Because that must be epic.

#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 3mo
44 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Chelsea.Poole
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Pickpick

Vivid in setting, inventive in form, this book was a definite departure from a typical reading experience for me. The cover alone drew me to this, and then I read that a fig tree is a character so I was sold. Lost and found love, family connection, belonging, war, and nature. 🌳

Cortg Sounds great! I always love a book that‘s a bit different. 3mo
Megabooks This was so good! 3mo
93 likes1 stack add2 comments
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jlhammar
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I‘m really hoping one of these is crowned winner later today! Loved them both. #womensprize

squirrelbrain Sorrow and Bliss is my fave, but also wouldn‘t mind The Sentence or Bread… 4mo
jlhammar @squirrelbrain I am a huge Louise Erdrich fan and thought The Bread was very good so wouldn't be too sad if either of those won instead. There was a lot to love (for me) about the Ozeki too. Great Circle is the only shortlisted title that didn't really do it for me. Not bad by any means, but I'll be a little disappointed if that wins over the others. 4mo
squirrelbrain I didn‘t love the Ozeki but can see that it could win. I liked Great Circle when I read it, but now find it a bit bland compared to the others. 4mo
See All 7 Comments
jlhammar @squirrelbrain Wow, I am kind of shocked that Ozeki won! I really liked that book, but didn't think it really had a chance. You just never know! 4mo
squirrelbrain I know, it surprised me too! 4mo
sarahbarnes I‘m a little surprised by the outcome today! 4mo
jlhammar @sarahbarnes Right? I didn‘t see that coming. Good for Ruth though. A Tale for the Time Being is my favorite of hers. 4mo
50 likes7 comments
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Chelsea.Poole
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#BookandBreakfast
My next read is delightful so far!

jlhammar One of my favorites from the Women's Prize shortlist. I was surprised just how much I enjoyed it. And that breakfast looks so good! 4mo
sarahbarnes This one is up next for me too! 4mo
71 likes2 comments
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Leniverse

While religions clash to have the final say, and nationalisms teach a sense of superiority and exclusiveness, superstitions on either side of the border coexist in rare harmony.

quote
Leniverse

People assume it's a matter of personality, the difference between optimists and pessimists. But I believe it all comes down to an inability to forget. The greater your powers of retention, the slimmer your chances of optimism.

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VRM1975
Pickpick

.

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Addison_Reads
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I almost filled the board for May. 😁

Maybe I'll get a blackout for June.
#BookSpinBingo #BookSpin #DoubleSpin @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! Fabulous month!!! 4mo
30 likes1 comment
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MegCaldwell
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Pickpick

Absolutely remarkable. Everything about this prose is lush and green and delicate and rough.

9 likes1 stack add
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MinnieTimperley
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Pickpick

This book is powerful in its exposure of the conflict between the Greeks and the Turkish in Cyprus. There is ingenuity with a central voice being given to a fig tree whom is able to observe human folly whilst themselves being uprooted and scarred by the machinations of men. The wider ecological disaster that looms for all of humanity casts a onimious shadow over the Cypriot conflict and it fallout on the lives of the central characters.

MinnieTimperley We experience short visits to 1970s and 1990s in Cyprus and England in 2010. There are some interesting characters, but we don't spend enough time with them to be fully drawn and realised. This is a rare comment to make, but the book would have benefitted from being longer to enable me to know and understand the characters better and make more of an emotional connection with them. (edited) 4mo
MinnieTimperley The whole way through reading, I could not help making comparisons with Richard Powers' Overstory. Knowing that Shafak shared a Booker stage with him the same year she was on the shortlist for 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, made me think his work had inspired her exploring the world of trees, their ability to communicate and their importance. (edited) 4mo
LiteraryinLawrence Awesome review! 4mo
57 likes3 comments
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zezeki
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So, I treated myself with a new book and a book fan! 😅😄📚📚📚

DrexEdit Nice! 😍 4mo
67 likes1 comment
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Oryx
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Pickpick

Loved this. It's beautiful. So moving, and I learned a lot about the history of Cyprus.

I think it might just nudge ahead to be my favorite from the #womensprize shortlist.

squirrelbrain You said you thought it might be your favourite…I‘m so glad you loved it! 4mo
Oryx @squirrelbrain it is very close between this and 4mo
75 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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BarbaraBB
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#BookReport 20/22

From Gabon to Cyprus to Toronto to Sokcho, from noir to YA, from historical to minimal. Is‘t reading rewarding and enlightening?!

TrishB Absolutely!! 4mo
Megabooks 💯💯 4mo
Suet624 It sure is. 🥰 4mo
See All 8 Comments
Cathythoughts Yes 👍🏻❤️ 4mo
Nute Yes! 4mo
sarahbarnes Couldn‘t agree more!! 4mo
Cinfhen So true!!!! 4mo
LeahBergen Pretty photo! 4mo
72 likes8 comments
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TheKidUpstairs
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Pickpick

I liked this one, it is a beautiful book, but I fell short of loving it. I don't know if it was a case of over-hype? The poetic writing was so beautiful, and there are passages that I will carry with me, but I felt the structure distracted from the story. And in many ways I felt that Kostas and Defne's story was not the most interesting one in the book. I'd read the heck out of Yusuf and Yiorgis' story (cont'd in comments under a spoiler alert)

TheKidUpstairs I wish we got a more focused look at Ada and her struggles with her grief. It seemed like she was sort of brushed aside. A teenage girl screams in a classroom like that, and it felt like it was barely addressed by her family? 5mo
BarbaraBB I didn‘t think of that myself but you are right, I would have want to know more about Ada, her grief and return to school and also Meryem whose life not really seemed to matter. 5mo
TheKidUpstairs @BarbaraBB yes, it's unfortunate that Meryem seemed more of a type than a full person. Especially because she did so well with other characters, where you only saw bits and pieces of them but they were so clearly fully realized characters off the pages (like Yusuf and Yiorgis, and even with Defne there was so much of her that you didn't see, but her humanity was still fully apparent). But Meryem, and even Ada, felt more like placeholders 5mo
66 likes3 comments
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BarbaraBB
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Pickpick

This is a wonderful read about Cyprus and love. Greek and Turkish people have lived separately for ages at the island, but Kostas and Isabella know how to find each other across visible and invisible borders. The fig tree is their witness and has always been.
Quite special! Thank you for choosing this book for me Meg!

#pop22 #BookTokRecommendation

KarenUK Glad you loved it. I did too… just lovely. 5mo
sarahbarnes Excited to read this one! 5mo
Megabooks So glad you loved it! 💜💜 5mo
See All 6 Comments
BarbaraBB @Megabooks Yes! You knew I would! 🤍 5mo
squirrelbrain I loved this one too! 5mo
youneverarrived I‘m glad you enjoyed it too! Beautiful photo. 5mo
91 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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TheKidUpstairs
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"How I lamented that I could not turn my branches into arms to embrace him, my twigs into fingers to caress him, my leaves into a thousand tongues to whisper back his words, and my trunk into a heart to take him in."

BarbaraBB Just started this! 5mo
TheKidUpstairs @BarbaraBB I'm trying to read the Women's Prize Shortlist before the winner is announced. This is my third read from the list, so far so good but I'm only about 50 pages into it. I haven't had any good no distractions reading time over the last couple days to really sink my teeth into it. What are your thoughts so far? 5mo
BarbaraBB I‘m only 50 pages in too but I like the setup and am curious to see where it goes! 5mo
67 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Hazel2019
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This book was perfect. At first I felt some some parts were too dense and skipped over too quickly, not exploring the complex issues sufficiently. But in the end, it just felt right. It taught me a lot about Cyprus and some of its tragedies that happened in not too distant past and the pain that lives on in peoples hearts.

#WomensPrize2022

Addison_Reads Great review. I just finished this one too and loved it. 5mo
sarahbarnes Great review! Waiting on this one from the library. 5mo
Brimful I think this will win the women prize 5mo
87 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Addison_Reads
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Pickpick

One of my favorite reads this year!

At first I wasn't sure about a book where a fig tree acted as a character, but the perspective of the tree held some of my favorite sections of this book.

This is a beautiful story of love, family, acceptance, and how decisions from the past play a role in the future. It was a true delight to read. 💚

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youneverarrived
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Tagged book was my favourite of the month and The Crimson Petal and the White my favourite of the year so far! #readingbracket2022

vivastory I hope everything is going well with you, Katie. Hopefully you can squeeze in another book or two before your new release 😉 5mo
youneverarrived @vivastory 😂😂 I‘m reading every chance I get 5mo
43 likes2 comments
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youneverarrived
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Pickpick

A beautiful book. Slow at times but so poetic and just lovely. I wouldn‘t have thought chapters from the perspective of a fig tree would be for me but it worked, they were some of my favourite chapters. Loved the atmosphere and the characters. A memorable read 💕 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

squirrelbrain I really liked this one too! 5mo
BarbaraBB Great review. I have this one on my tbr this month. How are you doing? I forgot when you are due… 5mo
Megabooks So glad you loved this too! Great review 💜 5mo
youneverarrived @squirrelbrain @Megabooks it was a great read. Been recommending it to everyone 🤍 5mo
youneverarrived @BarbaraBB I hope you enjoy it too! I‘m good thank you 😘 due next month so only a few weeks to go. 5mo
59 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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JillR
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Pickpick

A sweet sad love story set amongst war ravaged Cyprus, which is in part narrated by a fig tree (this is not as weird as it sounds!) I enjoyed it yet for some reason it didn‘t quite capture my heart, not even that beautiful fig 👇

JillR Many elements of this to me felt like mix between a Victoria Hislop book and Richard Powers‘ The Overstory (which I absolutely loved) and I think that influenced my overall view… 5mo
squirrelbrain Definitely felt a bit Hislop-y to me too! 5mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful cover 💙💛 5mo
See All 6 Comments
JillR @squirrelbrain I‘m glad you think that too. Having read it, as much as I enjoyed it, I‘m a little surprised it made the shortlist… 5mo
JillR @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I always fall for a good cover! 5mo
44 likes6 comments
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charl08
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Woo! I've read five of the six, and loved all five!

#WomensPrize #Shortlist2022

vivastory Do you have a favorite? 5mo
Megabooks I‘ve read all but one too! (edited) 5mo
Megabooks @vivastory the island of missing trees was my fav. I didn‘t care for great circle. 5mo
See All 11 Comments
vivastory @Megabooks Really? I haven't read Great Circle, but for some reason I'm surprised! I've heard only good things about the Shafak 5mo
Vansa @Megabooks didn't like Great Circle at all either! Meandered a lot. 5mo
charl08 @vivastory depends on the day! A bit gutted that wasn't shortlisted. 5mo
charl08 @Megabooks makes reading the shortlist before the announcement of the winner a bit easier! 😀 5mo
charl08 @Megabooks oh, I took a bit to get into it, but then loved it. I generally am interested in the stories of those early flyers though. 5mo
charl08 @vivastory I think the Shafak will win. But I generally don't predict these things well! 5mo
charl08 @Vansa oh dear. That's a long book to stick with if you didn't like it. 5mo
Megabooks @Vansa 💯💯 agree that Great Circle wandered. Last year I loved listening to long audiobooks, but that one really frustrated me. Even with excellent narration @charl08 I read a lot of reviews last year that expressed similar sentiments to yours. @vivastory I‘m not sure where you‘ll fall if you decide to tackle it. Sometimes when I don‘t care for a book, I have trouble figuring out how others might feel. 5mo
68 likes11 comments
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jlhammar
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Pickpick

My ninth read from the #womensprize longlist and one of my favorites.

Grief, war, identity, home, food, family, inherited trauma, ecology—this novel is about so much. The fig tree sections connect the human story to the natural world in such a wise and beautiful way. Really liked it.

63 likes1 stack add
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rachaich
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Pickpick

Well, I truly loved much of this, her way of wrapping around narrators and time. I read some large chunks which got me into the feel.
I trailed off around the last third or quarter, I'm unsure if it was the story or the lengths of time. I did find some of the aunt and Ada sections a little basic. Maybe it was supposed to be entirely teenage girl perspective at times.
However, a genuinely interesting read about Cyprus, trees and relationships.

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EJG31
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Pickpick

Elif Shafak has a way with words. This book was absolutely wonderful and full of warmth, humour and sadness. Her eloquent writing and the nuances of the story left me in awe. It's the first book of hers I've read. I hope the rest are as wonderful.

Smrloomis I still haven‘t read her but your review makes me think I should! 5mo
22 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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charl08
Pickpick

Lovely book, managing to be both full of grief and hopeful about the future. I know little or nothing about the civil war and partition of Cyprus, so hope this book will prompt me to do more reading too.

#WomensPrize #Longlist

YasmiNova Ooh stacking this one definitely! I grew up in Cyprus and have been wanting to read something by Elif Shafak for a while now, so a twofer! 😁 5mo
charl08 @YasmiNova hope you like it! I keep recommending it. 5mo
55 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Follow.my.read
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Absolutely my favorite author! And a beautiful cover for the WIN! #ElifShafak#TheIslandofMissingTrees

Beachbum Love love love this cover 🧿 5mo
61 likes1 comment
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charl08
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Like many others, this particular painted lady had journeyed all the way from North Africa, As she gave me an account of her travels, 1 listened to her with respect, knowing what resilient migrants they are, seen almost everywhere across the globe. They can fly for an impressive 2.500 miles. I have never understood why humans regard butterflies as fragile Optimists they may be, but fragile, never!

Suet624 They are truly remarkable. 5mo
74 likes1 stack add1 comment
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charl08
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... experts believed it was just 'paper agitation', the tension and violence that seized our land; they said it was a storm in a teacup and it would be over soon....how could there be civil war on such a pretty, picturesque island of blooming flowers and rolling hills?...These politicians and pundits seemed to assume that civilized humans could not slaughter each other, not against an idyllic backdrop of verdant hills and golden beaches

charl08 Photo via Unsplash 5mo
63 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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jlhammar
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“Once upon a memory, at the far end of the Mediterranean Sea, there lay an island so beautiful and blue that the many travellers, pilgrims, crusaders and merchants who fell in love with it either wanted never to leave or tried to tow it with hemp ropes all the way back to their own countries.”

#FirstLineFridays

EvieBee Nice! I‘d love to read this but my holds keep lapsing. Might have to buy. 5mo
charl08 Love the butterflies 🦋 5mo
45 likes1 stack add2 comments
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rachaich
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Oooh, what a cover and title... I've read three of her books and they've each had such fascinating tales in them.
I waited for the paperback edition after debating whether to get on the kindle or not.
Book club for the end of the month.

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charl08
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To finish this week: #Borderlessbook club tomorrow and the shortlist for the Women's Prize is coming up on the 27th!

rockpools Gorgeous picture. And Fitzcarraldo seem to be churning them out at the moment - hope you‘re enjoying! 5mo
LeahBergen What a lovely photo! 5mo
Cathythoughts Beautiful 💫 5mo
charl08 @rockpools I love a photo with a path. I wasn't aware of F until recently, have read some good ones so will be tempted to get more! 5mo
charl08 @LeahBergen @cathythoughts Thank you. One of those places where it is impossible to take a bad picture. 5mo
71 likes5 comments