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A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing | Eimear Mcbride
Taking the literary world by storm, Eimear McBrides internationally praised debut is one of the most acclaimed novels in recent years; it is subversive, passionate, and darkly alchemical. Read it and be changed (Eleanor Catton).Eimear McBrides debut tells, with astonishing insight and in riveting detail, the story of a young womans relationship with her brother, the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour, and her harrowing sexual awakening. Not so much a stream-of-consciousness, as an unconscious railing against a life that makes little sense, and a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist, A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing plunges inside its narrators head, exposing her world firsthand. This isnt always comfortablebut it is always a revelation. Touching on everything from family violence to religion to addiction, and the personal struggle to remain intact in times of intense trauma, McBride writes with singular intensity, acute sensitivity, and mordant wit. A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing is moving, funny, and alarming. It is a book you will never forget.
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jhod
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Brilliant lecture by Eimear Mcbride on why the novel matters. She read on both of her audiobooks, I am now going to buy them as she was a fab speaker!

youneverarrived She‘s brilliant 👍 2mo
61 likes1 comment
review
Sarz
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Pickpick

I'm not entirely sure what I just read, and I have no idea how to rate it. It is literally hard to read - it's described as stream of consciousness but from a broken mind. I might have enjoyed that for a couple of pages, but it's the whole book and it's tiring. I think I may have missed what was happening in a lot of parts and I felt dumb for not 'getting it'. The content is also brutal & heartbreaking.

Definitely need something lighthearted now!

Cinfhen I hate when books make me feel like a pre-schooler 🤪 4mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage So frustrating. Good job on making it through! 4mo
16 likes3 comments
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Lindy
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My 5-star reads this month: a Japanese novel by a Nobel-prizewinner, 2 middle-grade audiobooks, everything about falcons, 2 wordless picture books, a comics biography, a sentient robot‘s diary, a historical novel in verse, a writer‘s memoir, fantasy space opera in comics, sad Irish stream-of-consciousness, funny British stream-of-consciousness, food safety history, and a manga by a Nigerian woman about a gay hockey player. I like variety!

TrishB You certainly do 😁 9mo
Suet624 I love how much you read and how much you share with us. 9mo
MelissaSue81 That is a lot of 5 star reads! 9mo
See All 6 Comments
Lindy @MelissaSue81 Yes, I read 49 books so that‘s nearly one out of every three. 9mo
Daisey Wow! Great variety! 9mo
Lindy @Daisey @Suet624 @TrishB Thanks for your comments. 😊 9mo
37 likes6 comments
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Lindy
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Pickpick

Absolutely brilliant and utterly tragic. I tried reading this in paper format when it first came out, but I wasn‘t in the right head space at the time. #Audiobook was definitely the right choice for me, with the Irish author performing her own stream-of-consciousness narrative. No names. No holds barred. Poetic. Gritty. Transcendent.

merelybookish Writing is brilliant. Her ability to leave such gaps and still convey so much amazed me! 10mo
Lindy @merelybookish Yes! I found the narrative easy to follow in audio, even though it‘s told in splinters. She captures the way people talk in unfinished sentences. 10mo
Magslhalliday This has been in my stack for a while! 10mo
See All 6 Comments
Lindy @Magslhalliday When you get to it, you will be rewarded. 10mo
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I love her style. It takes me a few pages to adjust, but then I love it. Have you read her other one? I liked her first one more, but they‘re both really good. 10mo
Lindy @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled This is the first that I‘ve read by McBride. I will happily read more of her work. 😊 10mo
47 likes3 stack adds6 comments
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Bertha_Mason

"Love. Or love waiting for a man to come and take her place. But how would someone fit, I don't know, in between us two."

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Bertha_Mason

"And I will not think of your feelings anymore. For it's a bit too much to know."

review
BarbaraBB
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Mehso-so

What a harshness and misery in this book, filled with religion and abuse. Set in a stream-of-conscience style, a girl who only cares for her brother, uses sex for an escape because she thinks she‘s not worthy of love. So much sadness, so much violence. It is written well but I‘d say don‘t read it if you don‘t have to, it‘s one of the most depressing books I‘ve ever read. #1001books

LiteraryinLititz Yikes. With all that‘s happening in the world today, I think I‘ll steer clear of uber-depressing books. Thanks for the review! 13mo
DreeMorris The Lesser Bohemians has essentially the same plot, with the same writing style. 13mo
BarbaraBB @AudreyMorris Really? I have that one on my shelves but I don‘t think I can manage another one very soon. 13mo
See All 9 Comments
Cinfhen Sounds painful 13mo
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen Extremely. I feel literally sick and dirty now 😌 13mo
Cinfhen Ugh!! Those #1001books really suck sometimes 😛 13mo
Daisey Well, good to know I guess. If/when I get around to this one, maybe I‘ll be able to read it with a discussion group. That often helps with the more difficult ones. 13mo
MrsMalaprop It was a so-so for me too. Interesting lyrical style. We did it for bookclub a few years ago @Daisey. I recall some said listening to it on audio was worthwhile. 13mo
youneverarrived I listened to the audio which was narrated brilliantly but not that impressed with the book itself. I usually like dark books but there was no let up in this.. just completely depressing. 13mo
78 likes2 stack adds9 comments
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JenniferP
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Panpan

I just couldn‘t connect with this ambitious debut novel. The disjointed, stream of conscious language combined with a brutally dismal plot was too much for me.

Liz_M Oh no! I'm sorry this wasn't a good experience. 😔 13mo
BarbaraBB I‘m almost finished with this one too. I think I like it a bit more than you. 13mo
BarbaraBB ... although ‘like‘ is definitely not the right word 😱☺️ 13mo
10 likes3 comments
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JenniferP
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Giving this a try but finding the writing style difficult. Anyone else read this?

Emilymdxn I listened to it on audio and found it easier to read that way. I did like it but it was a bit of a challenge even on audio. If you like that kind of writing and read it very slowly I think it‘s great tho 13mo
JenniferP @Emilymdxn thanks! I need to make sure I‘m in the right frame of mind when I pick it up! 13mo
BarbaraBB I‘ ve got this one waiting beside my bed. I was looking forward to it but you‘re scaring me off a bit now 😉. Looking forward to your thoughts! 13mo
12 likes1 stack add3 comments
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BarbaraBB
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#bookhaul Recently there has been an update in the list of #1001books to read before you die. These are the newly added ones that I hadn‘t read yet. I couldn‘t resist buying them all #sorrynotsorry 😉.
Any recommendations on where I should start?

irre I love 14mo
saresmoore Is that a Woolf tucked in there? 14mo
BarbaraBB @saresmoore I don‘t understand? Victoria Woolf? 14mo
See All 12 Comments
saresmoore Oh, sorry! Virginia Woolf—that colorful, watercolor spine looks like one of hers. 14mo
BarbaraBB @saresmoore Ah I see! No it‘s the upperhalf of the Kushner book! (edited) 14mo
Kalalalatja I‘m excited to see what you think of the tagged book. I have heard so many good things, but I‘m still not sure if it is for me or not 🤔 14mo
BarbaraBB @Kalalalatja I had never heard of it. I am glad you say it‘s got good reviews! 14mo
llwheeler When did the 1001 books list get updated again? I didn't hear about this! 14mo
Liz_M Very nice 14mo
llwheeler Thanks for the link! Yeah, seems pretty minor. I've only read one of the new additions though (H is for Hawk). Will have to get the others some time. 14mo
70 likes1 stack add12 comments
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readordierachel
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Pickpick

Wow. That was very dark, very sad, but also, somehow, beautiful. This is another of those books that is billed a “novel” but is really more of a long, strange poem. It‘s a format that really works for me, but I see why some don‘t care for it.
It definitely isn‘t the most accessible book. In the beginning I was confused and adrift, but once I caught the current I was completely immersed and couldn‘t stop listening. 👇🏽

readordierachel Eimear McBride performs (the only word for it) the audiobook herself and does an incredible job. If you are interested in this book, do yourself a favor and listen to it, let her rhythms and her Irish lilt wash over you. It‘s a completely different experience than trying to read it.
TW: pretty visceral sexual assault and abuse
2y
merelybookish I loved this when I read it a few years back. Once I got the flow of the voice, I was okay. Actually amazed at how she was able to write like that! 2y
readordierachel @merelybookish Seriously! It's quite a feat. I read a couple pages of her second book and it seemed to have a similar style too. Did you happen to read that one? 2y
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heikemarie I wasn‘t able to get there with this. Maybe I will try the audio. 2y
readordierachel @heikemarie Might be worth a shot. She knows exactly how to inflect and pace the reading, since she wrote it. It flows really well. 2y
youneverarrived I agree she does an amazing job of narrating! I wasn‘t a massive fan of the book but was worth it for the audio. Her accent ❤️ 2y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I liked it too - it‘s challenging both due to the writing style and the subject matter. 2y
merelybookish @ReadOrDieRachel No, I haven't tried it yet but would like to someday. 2y
readordierachel @youneverarrived I know! I could listen to read just about anything with that accent. It was just a bonus that I quite liked the book :) 2y
readordierachel @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Challenging is a great word for it. Worth it, I think. 2y
Cathythoughts “A long strange poem “ great description 2y
RaimeyGallant The cover isn't very accessible, for me. 2y
readordierachel @RaimeyGallant Yeah, I've stared at it quite a bit and can't decide what to make of it 🤔 2y
RaimeyGallant It's bad marketing, for one. 2y
90 likes3 stack adds15 comments
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roneea
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Book mail! Finished Freshwater last night and was wondering what to start next. Looking forward to digging in ;)

12 likes1 comment
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Crofty
Pickpick

Once you get to grips with the writing style it was a very gripping book. The emotional turns you go through of sadness for the character due to the lack of compassion and love in her life from the people who should be there to support her. It really does give an insight in to how important parental guidance and love is from a young age and aftermath of not receiving it.

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jemmahoughton

"But suddenly it's clawing all over me. Like flesh. Terror. Vast and alive. I think I know it. Something terrible is. The world's about to. The world's about to. Tip. No it isn't. Ha. Don't be silly. Stupid. Fine. Fine. Everything will be. Fine. Chew it lurks me. See and smell. In the corner of my eye. What? Something not so good." pg 120

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Peaslady
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Mehso-so

This book was intense. It‘s difficult to adjust to the stream of existence style, with no names and erratic punctuation, but if you let go of trying to understand every sentence and let it wash over you it becomes this swell of raw emotion and experience that‘s compelling. Her relationships with her mother, brother and uncle are twisted by religion, control and dependence, whilst the narrator seems chillingly unaware of the abuse she suffers 😢

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Peaslady

“They pray to God and pray and pray for God‘s sake to be saved.” p25

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youneverarrived
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1. Reading, library & meal and drinks out with the other half 🍻
2. 4‘11” (hope I don‘t start shrinking when I‘m older 😆)
3. In this house nearly 2 year and in the city 8 year
4. Tagged book, Euphoria, The Beggar King & Books vs. Cigarettes
5. Whenever me and my Mam meet up we always have a selfie 😀

#friyayintro

Cathythoughts Well , you look just beautiful ❤️ 2y
youneverarrived @Cathythoughts you are lovely 😘😘 2y
61 likes2 comments
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youneverarrived
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1. Walking & housework, sometimes in bed before I go to sleep
2. Audible
3. Original pace generally
4. I haven‘t listened to enough to have any but I always listen to a sample before deciding on a book and I‘m pretty fussy about which ones I‘ll be able to listen to
5. I absolutely loved Born a Crime! & the tagged book I‘ve just recently started and it‘s so good - the author narrates it and she‘s great & the writing is 🙌

#audiobookinquiry

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TheAnitaAlvarez
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Pickpick

This book broke my heart in a million different ways and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I love when writers dare to explore the limits of language and thought and what Eimear McBride does here is fantastic, beautifully written, and an interesting exploration of the violence millions of women grow up with. It‘s such an amazing book, and I‘ve gone over it a couple more times to get the feel of the words.

Cathythoughts Great review ✨✨✨ 2y
callielafleur Beautiful review. Added to my TBR!! ❤️ 2y
BarbaraBB Great review. I still need to read the tagged book by him. Did you read that one as well? 2y
See All 8 Comments
TheAnitaAlvarez @callielafleur it‘s so good! 2y
TheAnitaAlvarez @BarbaraBB I bought it a couple of weeks ago, I‘ll probably get to it by February 2y
ApoptyGina69 Wow! Totally different cover than mine. 2y
TheAnitaAlvarez @ApoptyGina69 I got it in Scotland, maybe it‘s the UK version? 2y
111 likes12 stack adds8 comments
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Sweettartlaura
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Pickpick

Now THIS is a debut! And my first 5 ⭐️ book of 2018.
McBride makes the reader be this girl, by going deep in her head, to feel her confusion & anger & fear. She makes them ask the questions the protagonist must be asking. It‘s hard work, but the answers - or, some answers - are there. What you find for this girl is probably what you‘d find for yourself when facing death, mortality, illness.
Such heavy things carried by such a slim book.
Bravo.

43 likes5 stack adds
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shawnmooney
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Bailedbailed

Bailed at the 20% mark. The grammar-free fragmented prose—which was somewhat effective as the voice of a narrator who‘s a wee tot—became pointless, gimmicky, and irritating when it continued unaltered into her adolescence.

Cinfhen Oy! 2y
Dorianna It took me forever to read that book. I ended up liking it in the end but I totally get bailing. The choice of writing style is a bit much to say the least. 2y
BookHermit Yeah, not my style either. 2y
42 likes3 comments
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sisilia
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I ❤️ McNally Jackson. New finds; books that I‘ve never heard before. I struggle to keep my purchases minimal.

batsy So amazing that they have Grace Paley and Simone de Beauvoir displayed 😍 Can never find those books in local bookstores. 2y
sisilia @batsy That was exactly my thought. I wanted to hug the people who curated the display over here. They are amazing!!! 2y
mrozzz Yay you made it!!! 2y
sisilia I love that store @mrozzz ❤️ 2y
87 likes4 comments
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JillR
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Bailedbailed

I had to bail on this. It is written as a stream of consciousness, starting when the main character is a very young girl and I just couldn‘t do it. I might have got used to the writing style if I‘d given it more time, but given that I understand the book covers some quite brutal things, I wasn‘t sure I could give it the attention it needed.

MrsMalaprop We did this for book club a couple of years ago. I recall discussing the idea that it might have worked better in audio book format. It was hard work in print! 2y
emmaturi I tried another one of her books. Also didn't like the style of writing and stopped reading 2y
JillR @MrsMalaprop @emmaturi I did read some reviews in advance (which I don‘t normally do) & did think this might not be for me so bailed earlier than I might have done otherwise. I agree it might work in audio, & I wonder if with perseverance I might have accepted the style more. I do hate giving up, but I guess sometimes you have to! 2y
DivineDiana Thank you. Not really a fan of stream of consciousness writing. 2y
46 likes4 comments
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Phinfluenza
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Pickpick

Not an easy read or the the faint of heart. Beautifully written and filled with tragedy this novel of experimental fiction is well worth the time. I can't recommend it enough and I will never read it again. 😁

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Jokila
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Save ten dollars on Eimear McBride ☺️

ohyeahthatgirl This book is one of my all time favorites. I thought I wouldn't get it at first, but by the end I was uglycrying. 2y
28 likes1 stack add1 comment
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vivastory
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Just grabbed this deal

ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Good book! Takes some concentration, but it's worth it 2y
vivastory @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I've heard that. Looking forward to it 2y
38 likes1 stack add2 comments
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NCNY
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@inwhichHeikereadsharder It came!! Thanks so much for the book and the goodies!!

#litsypenpals

heikemarie Thank goodness because I was about to converse with my mail carrier!! I hope you enjoy! 2y
47 likes1 comment
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Booksy
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Even years after reading it, my mind randomly goes to this book for no apparent reason. That's how you know it's a really good one

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BekaReid
Pickpick

While I found the stream of consciousness narrative challenging, it conveys the confusion, the struggle, & terror better than coherent paragraphs. The novel is not one I'd recommend lightly or for everyone as it deals with some serious subject matter namely the abuse of the unnamed narrator and her attempt to cope. Due to it's seriousness, not the most enjoyable read but well worth the investment of time, energy, and emotional rawness.

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BekaReid
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May need a coffee refill to tackle some tough morning reading. I'm finding this book difficult on multiple levels - stream of consciousness narrative, intense subject matter - but still early and I have hopes for it.

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sisilia
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Just arrived: the beautiful booksleeve from @bookgogo 😍Perfect!
Thank you for the extra goodies 😘😘😘

LeahBergen It's so pretty! 😍 3y
Michelle_mck YAY! 3y
BookGoGo So happy it got there safely and hope you love using it 😊 3y
minkyb Great pattern! 3y
34 likes4 comments
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Magslhalliday
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No library trip yesterday but a trip to the book sale there today. I've wanted to try Slightly Foxed for a while so 3 issues for Q9 was perfect.

LeahBergen Yay!! I love #SlightlyFoxed ❤️ 3y
16 likes1 stack add1 comment
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JessReads
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Waiting for my friend to show up like...

(This is why the book life is the best life.)

31 likes1 stack add
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wellitworkedlasttime
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Having a bit of trouble concentrating on one book at the moment. I had a massive binge read last month and long days recently. I'm putting it down to the long days.

3 likes1 stack add
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mrsh62010
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Only posting about it so that I have a fresh chance to tell you this book is utterly awful in every way. Don't waste your time. It's written in garbled up "prose" and is just sick and disturbing. I'm not a fan of sexual assault, especially of a child, and people for whatever reason don't feel the need to tell you right off the bat that abuse of all kinds is the *entire theme* of this book. It's gross and upsetting. #girlinthetitle #readjanuary

ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Hmm. I liked this one. I enjoyed her unusual writing style - it was perplexing but made my brain work hard (in a good way). 3y
mrsh62010 @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I find it repulsive to enjoy a story about a girl's life of being sexually and emotionally and physically abused, a story in which, in the end, the victim of the abuse commits suicide and the abuser suffers no consequence. The writing was the least of my issues with this book. It's not enjoyable to me. I don't need a happy ending in every book, but I can't tolerate the normalization of sexually abusing a child. Or anyone. 3y
29 likes2 comments
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Weaponxgirl
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After seeing @Simona post about book subscriptions I thought I'd share what my local bookshop is offering. How amazing are these options? Indie press box, women writers and fiction in translation. I literally can't choose. The book hive in Norwich is amazing and I don't go in very often as it is too dangerous for me. Check them out here http://www.thebookhive.co.uk
#independantbookshops

RanaElizabeth Love the fiction in translation option! 3y
Weaponxgirl @RanaElizabeth I know! I can't really afford any option without dipping into my savings but in a dream world I would have a women's fiction and a nonfiction box , then the translation and indie choices. I wish I worked in a area with better pay so I could spend it on books 3y
saresmoore This is fantastic! 3y
Weaponxgirl @saresmoore i know, only discovered it yesterday and now all willpower is focuses on resistance 3y
Simona Well, I want all.... temptation, temptations... thanks for link, I need to have some serious talk with myself 🤔 3y
28 likes5 comments
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beckygracelea
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Looooooong day, but starting this tonight. I love Galley Beggar Press' covers. Beauty in simplicity.

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JEMoutrageous
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Mehso-so

This book was interesting. The author used stream of consciousness to show how the main character's mind worked. This, and a bit of Irish slang, made for a difficult read. Some of the action was a bit difficult as well. I picked this up on Nook for a couple of bucks, so keep an eye out for it. I am glad I read it, but I definitely do not want to read it again.

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JEMoutrageous
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Just started this book on the way home from the gym. It is going to take some concentration to get through the language. I wonder if I had children it would be easier to understand.

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BooksForYears
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#Booktober Day 15 - Award-Winning

These five books were all previous winners of the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction/Women's Prize for Fiction/Orange Prize for Fiction/Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction - given to a female author, of any nationality, for the best original, English-written novel published in the UK in the previous year.

#femaleauthors #baileysprize #awardwinning

53 likes3 stack adds
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mrsh62010
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Panpan

I hated this, possibly more than I've ever hated any book. Very depressing, difficult to read in so many ways. Here's a pic of Simon, who also looks traumatized, contemplating life and stuff after supporting me through the chore of this book. Btw, I feel like the whole cover should be trigger warning: sexual assault.

6 likes1 stack add
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mrsh62010
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Not my cup of tea so far, but I'm going to stick with it and see where it goes. Definitely going to pick something much lighter for my next read. This story revolves around a theme of a dark and disturbing sexual nature, and I'm finding it difficult to read due to that, and the choppy, stream-of-consciousness freestyle prose. Even my sweet pup is depressed. He stuck out his back leg & kicked my Kindle... #petsoflitsy

11 likes1 stack add
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mrsh62010
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Wow, this book is weird. I *think* I'm following it so far...

(please excuse the little "beauty mark" on my kindle haha)

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ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled
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My choice for 👍 debut novel. Stream-of-consciousness writing style. Not unlike reading an entire novel written by e e cummings. BUT WELL WORTH IT!! The book cover illustration looks like how my brain felt while reading it. ❤️ #booktober

Marchpane Great choice! 3y
Onioons I'd love to read this but it feels like it would be hard work! 3y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled @Onioons It definitely takes some concentrating - but after a while you just get in the groove. Kinda just gotta accept that it's different and let your mind absorb it. I sound like some kind of book-hippie. 😂 3y
See All 7 Comments
Onioons Thanks @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled.com, I normally love your book choices so I'm going to give this a go 😊 3y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled @Onioons Good luck! There are some pretty heavy issues in this book too, so just a heads up. It's definitely unusual. Let me know what you think! 3y
apaolaCMU This debut novel has stuck with me since i completed it last year. Ms. McBride's syntax definitely takes a couple of chapters to understand. But once it does, the prose flows lucidly and to great effect! 3y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled @apaolaCMU Exactly! Once you get in the groove it does get easier. I enjoyed it mostly because of the syntax. 3y
37 likes7 comments
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yasmien88
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Dylangrrl
Pickpick

McBride's style is probably not for everyone. Very experimental. But when it works, it's like being in the character's head and filled with raw emotion. Exposed in emotion and action, from birth to young adulthood, snapshots of life pass through. This is the second book of hers I have read and although the cadence is not super easy to slip into, it can be a visceral experience.

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echristopherclark
Bailedbailed

The prose style feels deliberately antagonistic toward the reader and that's just one of those things I can't stomach in big doses. 14 pages in and I wanted to hurl it through the window and into the thunderstorm outside.

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echristopherclark
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Up next…

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Wendirella
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I think I need to up my reading goal for the year!! 😂😂

Reviewsbylola I had almost completed mine so I upped my goal a few weeks ago. 3y
3 likes1 comment
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Wendirella
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I was super excited to get my hands on this book. However, this is my 2nd attempt and I'm considering bailing which makes me sad because I really wanted to read this! Thoughts, insights? Should I stick it out? Is it worth it?