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Anna40

Anna40

Joined November 2016

review
Anna40
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Pickpick

Told mainly from the perspective of the ‘first white black man‘ Anders,the novel centres around the fantasy of everyone turning black.Hamid published this as a short story in the New Yorker that he then turned into a book-length narrative.Thoughts about racism and identity are presented in an original tone, however, the story is a bit too dragged out& the writing annoyed me at the end which is why I think this works better as a short story.

SamAnne I thought his Exit West was much much better. 2d
Anna40 @SamAnne I haven‘t read Exit West. I‘ll try it. Thanks for the tip. I really liked the short story based on Last white man which is why I picked it up and did enjoy it but it was too long and for this kind of length I expected a bit more depth. As a short story it works, it‘s original with a great premise. 2d
SamAnne @anna40 I didn‘t know it was based on a short story. That makes sense. It did lack depth. This one was a so-so read for me. Exit West was a 5 star. So inventive and the magic realism element allows him to tackle aspects of the immigrant experience in better detail, in a new way. 2d
Anna40 @SamAnne I‘m not a big magic realism fan but it does sound like a good book. I‘ll give it a try. I also enjoyed the Reluctant Fundamentalist 2d
SamAnne @Anna40 I've been wanting to try the Reluctant Fundamentalist, but put it on the back burner after reading The Last White Man. I'm not a big magic realism fan either, but it worked for me in Exit West. 2d
22 likes5 comments
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Anna40
Pulse | Julian Barnes
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In these short stories, set in the past and now, Julian Barnes lets his characters grapple with love, loss, grief and relationships. In 4 stories,the witty banter almost resembles a play: a group of friends discusses topics ranging from politics and life to small medical procedures. My favourite was ‘Easy Wind‘: a budding relationship between a divorced English man and a Polish waitress becomes political, current events commentary.

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Anna40
Cat's Eye | Margaret Atwood
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Time, memory and childhood trauma are themes in this disturbing, masterfully written novel. The narrator is now a middle aged successful painter remembering amongst other things the ways her cruel childhood friend and bully tormented her. I don‘t know why, maybe it‘s the distant cool tone, but I found it hard to relate to the narrator and care about her. The writing drew me in, yet the long descriptions were quite boring. Barely a pick for me.

25 likes2 stack adds
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Anna40
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Set in India today,the novel is told mainly from the perspective of the two main characters Sera,a middle class woman and Bhima,her servant.Both women are in their fifties with adult children.In flashbacks we learn about their lives,the hardships they both faced and how they each supported one another throughout the years in different ways.What separates them is class.Story is predictable and could have been cut,writing is beautiful.

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Anna40
The Memory Monster | Yishai Sarid
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The narrator is a historian specialised in the Shoa and a tour guide in the extermination camps in Poland whose initial approach to his job is intellectual and academic but as the book progresses the weight of the horror he recounts every day changes him. Written in epistolary form, the novel is filled with historical events, raises questions that are relevant today and is just … heartbreaking.

24 likes5 stack adds
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Anna40
The Diving Pool | Yoko Ogawa, Stephen Snyder
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The characters in these three novellas are cruel, their evil impulses nauseating. Ogawa‘s prose is distanced but poetic. She uses metaphors such as water, snow or food. I agree with Joanna Briscoe: “To read Yoko Ogawa is to enter a dreamlike state tinged with nightmare.” Original and eerie.

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Anna40
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Mehso-so

I wish I could rate this higher. I love Barry‘s writing style. It‘s witty and unusual, e.g. “looking out at the rain that as sure as Jesus had returned to make another wet joke of the summer.” The stories start of promising but then are either about self loathing or depressing “relationships” or both and are often boring.

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Anna40
Tipping The Velvet | Sarah Waters
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The narrator of this novel,set in Victorian England,is the young working class woman Nan who follows her first love Kitty, a male impersonator popular on local Theater stages, to London.She eventually joins Kitty and the two become famous.It imagines a small lesbian community that Nan briefly becomes part of.Eroticism and passion are themes in the bk.Barely a pick-too much backstory&sex-but an original and passionate debut that deserves praise.

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Anna40
The End of the Affair | Graham Greene
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Mehso-so

In this novel the narrator Maurice Bendrix is so obsessed with the end of his affair to a married woman, Sarah, that he hires a private detective to follow her. Bendrix is spiteful, conceited and self absorbed. I got extremely frustrated and almost bailed. With the switch to Sarah‘s perspective my frustration grew. The writing is good, some humor and the ending are wonderful, but overall it was tedious and disappointing.

26 likes2 stack adds
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Anna40
A Dream Life | Claire Messud
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Alice, the protagonist in this slim delightful novel, moves with her family from the US to Australia. They rent a luxurious but kitschy “chateau” with a gardener. Set in the 70s, Alice is catapulted into a different country and life - a “dream” life of money, entertaining guests, private schools and looking for a housekeeper. We find out that Alice was an independent woman who worked in publishing. So maybe this isn‘t a dream life? Loved it!

blurb
Anna40
Eine Formalie in Kiew | Dmitrij Kapitelman
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My translation of the first chapter of Eine Formalie in Kiew is in Exchanges: Journal for Literary Translation of the University of Iowa https://exchanges.uiowa.edu/issues/see/from-eine-formalie-in-kiew/

Adventures-of-a-French-Reader 🎉 Congrats 🎉 2mo
Anna40 Merci 😘 2mo
13 likes2 comments
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Anna40
Wild Decembers | Edna O'Brien
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Joseph Brennan and Mick Bugler are neighbours and enemies in an Irish farming community. And then there‘s Breege, Joseph‘s sister, who falls madly in love with Bugler… O‘Brien‘s masterful language, her mesmerising descriptions of wild landscapes and the tragic, passionate story made this a perfect book for my Thanksgiving break.

23 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
Presence of Absence | Simon Van Booy
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I still think about this book and am not sure if I understood it. Meditations on the end of life, after life, your life without you. The last half is poetry. An extraordinary book. Delicately written.

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Anna40
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I enjoyed this children‘s book about a grumpy grandma who connects with her grandson and reconnects with a lost love. We also find out why she‘s grumpy and empathise with her. Lots of Yiddish words in it too. Heartwarming, moving, but also funny.

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Anna40
Us Two Together | Ephameron, Eva Cardon
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A beautiful book about grief, loss and the impermanence of life. I love the artwork. Deeply moving.

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Anna40
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There is good and there is great. Edna O‘Brien‘s short story The love object is great. Her style, the depth, the writing - brilliant.

25 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
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Irankunda writes about the atrocities he witnessed as a child during the Civil war in Burundi.The focus however is not on the violence,but on thoughts on his country, its people and what war did to them.He observes that European colonialism and its annihilation of traditions, culture and the justice system,led by the Bashingantahe,are responsible for the division in his country.He strongly advocates for reviving cultural knowledge and traditions.

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Anna40
Magic Barrel | Bernard Malamud
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Malamud does something used-to-this-fast -paced-world me normally wouldn‘t be able to process: he gives a lot of backstory - but Boy! does he do that well! Loved his writing. Lady of the lake was my favourite - the story explores Jewish identity and concealing it to be accepted in society, in a romantic relationship or to climb the social ladder. The ending packs a punch.

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Anna40
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The anthology of poems, short stories, excerpts of novels and memoirs explores what it‘s like to separate from your home country, your family, culture and language to emigrate to another country. Established authors like Salman Rushdie or Zadie Smith are brought together with - to me - less well known writers such as Eva Hoffman or Sefi Atta. I loved the excerpt from The Bridge of the Golden Horn by Emine Sevgi Özdamar.

17 likes2 stack adds
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Anna40
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Pickpick

Six stories based on notebooks filled with accounts by young Jews in Lithuania translated from Yiddish. They were entries for a prize that was never awarded because Hitler invaded Poland. I liked the art work and the stories. The fact that they were found - they had been hidden for years in a church - is amazing.

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Anna40
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It stirs up a lot of emotions. Infuriating and deeply upsetting. Society is fascinated with the death of Jews but shows no interest in the living, thriving Jewish communities, their traditions, thoughts, literature and culture. Over the last two years I have been told that the “Talmud is a Satanic book”, “the Jews killed Jesus”, and just recently traveling in Italy that “Jews stink, are dirty and cling to their money”.

Libby1 I‘m dismayed by what has been said to you. I feel the need to do something. 5mo
Libby1 I‘ve just requested it from my work. I work at Waterstones, so all being well I can also try to promote it. 5mo
Anna40 @Libby1 ❤️ 5mo
Graywacke That‘s crazy. I‘m sorry you have dealt with that. 5mo
Anna40 @Graywacke yes, it is. The person who gave his opinion on the Talmud has never read it and doesn‘t know what it‘s about, I asked him. And what I found even more incredible is with how much ease these statements were uttered, how normal it seems to be to people to say these things, they were nonchalant, casual as if commenting on the weather… Absolutely insane. 5mo
22 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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Anna40
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I think this novel works so well for me because of the narrator‘s kindness and empathy, because she opens up and shows how vulnerable she is. But also because the character evolves. I loved this book very much. Even though there is no indication of it in the book, I wonder if Lucy imagined her mother‘s visit.

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Anna40
Kalmann | Joachim B. Schmidt
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Kalmann is one of the last remaining fishermen specialised in hunting sharks in a small remote Icelandic town. An outsider because of his learning difficulties and struggles in social situations, he is often ridiculed but is deeply rooted in the town community. The mystery is only ok, outstanding is the main character and the way the story is told through his perspective, thoughts, observations, comments and memories.

27 likes3 stack adds
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Anna40
Mentre la citt bruciava | Shulim Vogelmann
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19 year old Shulim Vogelmann goes to Israel to learn Hebrew, ends up studying history at Jerusalem university and finally decides to become an Israeli citizen. It reads like a polished diary: Shulim‘s observations of life in Israel and his first love story intermingle with thoughts of what it means to be Jewish, nationality, identity and Israeli politics.

SqueakyChu What is the name of this book in English? 6mo
Anna40 @SqueakyChu I don‘t think it has been translated into English. I found it browsing a bookstore in Italy. Vogelmann is an Italian Jew whose father and grandfather founded the Jewish publishing house Giuntina. They just published the Talmud and mainly publish Israeli literature in Italian translation. Vogelmann translates most of their books https://www.giuntina.it 6mo
SqueakyChu @Anna40. Thank you for the information. I can‘t read these books in Italian, but I do recognize names of some Israeli authors in their catalogue. 5mo
See All 7 Comments
Anna40 @SqueakyChu can you recommend any of the Israeli authors? 5mo
SqueakyChu There are so many I like. Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, Etgar Keret, Sayed Kashua, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, Meir Shalev. That should get you started!! (edited) 5mo
Anna40 @SqueakyChu Thank you 5mo
14 likes1 stack add7 comments
review
Anna40
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I loved how Anderson contextualized T.E. Lawrence‘s story and included Aaron Aaronsohn(brilliant agronomist, Zionist and spy)and his sister Sarah Aaronsohn, Curt Prüfer(German diplomat, who ran a spy ring and operations to sabotage the British, Minna Weizmann‘s lover) and William Yale(oilman and spy)in this detailed biography. Anderson shows Lawrence‘s genius and faults, is an excellent storyteller and makes historic characters come alive.

Oblomov26 This was a great book 5mo
Anna40 @Oblomov26 Yes! The detailed military strategy/battle descriptions were not for me but overall a great book, I agree 5mo
Oblomov26 @Anna40 if you are interested in this place and period can also recommend “A peace to end all peace” by Fromkin which provides a well written and interesting overview of how the Middle East ended like it is. 5mo
Anna40 @Oblomov26 thank you!! 5mo
24 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Anna40
Johannistag: Roman | Charles Lewinsky
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Mehso-so

I didn‘t like this as much as Kastelau. The story centred around the village secrets and the narrator‘s love letters were only ok.

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Anna40
Kastelau | Charles Lewinsky
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Set in 1945: a film crew escapes Berlin by pretending to make a Nazi propaganda movie in the Bavarian Alps. A German actor who becomes a movie star in Hollywood is not the resistance hero he claims to be. A story of lies, deceit and murder told through different perspectives and means of story telling: interview, dissertation, encyclopaedic entries, diary and letters. I bought two other Lewinsky books. Wonderful author!

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Anna40
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Biller is a ‘controversial‘ Jewish writer who lives in Germany. Der gebrauchte Jude is part essay part memoir. Biller relives his student years in the 1980s in Munich, describes Jewish life and friendships with other Jews in Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin or Hamburg, encounters with the literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki and renders clear how difficult and complex it is to be a Jewish author writing in German in the country of the perpetrators.

Adventures-of-a-French-Reader It sounds very interesting. I should try and find it in French or in English... Unfortunately, my German is not good enough anymore to read... 6mo
Anna40 @Adventures-of-a-French-Reader I‘m not sure it has been translated. Maybe into French but not English. It is definitely worth reading and his sentences aren‘t long and convoluted because he wants to distance himself from German authors such as Thomas Mann. 6mo
19 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Anna40
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The focus is on 7 women representing 7 forms of resistance against Hitler, how the resistance of men differed from that of women. Meticulously researched it also documents everyday life in Nazi Germany and doesn‘t end in 1945 but briefly paints a picture of Germany and its relationship with the resistance fighters after the war. Annedore Leber was the most prominent but is forgotten today like all the other women. Not available in English.

KathyWheeler Now I wish I could read German. This book sounds fascinating. 6mo
Anna40 @KathyWheeler it‘s a shame that it hasn‘t been translated yet. I translated the introduction and am going to try to find a publisher who wants to buy the English rights. But I‘m not sure if they‘ll hire me as the translator for the book. There is a book about Mildred Harnack in English. I started reading it. 6mo
Anna40 @KathyWheeler but it‘s not about Annedore Leber who must have been a fascinating person, so was her husband Julius Leber. (edited) 6mo
KathyWheeler @Anna40 thank you! 6mo
27 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Anna40
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Schatz, former SS now police officer in 1960s Germany, is haunted by the ghost of a Jewish comedian he murdered. Cohn is his conscience and constant companion. Schatz has to solve crimes committed by a serial killer and that‘s when the story becomes insane and obscene. It‘s hard to describe this book because it is so weird, but also brilliant and even funny. The humor is cruel and savage. I‘ve never read anything like it.

Gissy Sounds interesting. Never heard of it. Let‘s try it🤗 7mo
Anna40 @Gissy let me know what you think if you read it 6mo
Gissy @Anna40 Trying to find a copy but they are a little expensive. I think is out of print. I will try Amazon second hand vendors. I like to read physical books. 6mo
Anna40 @Gissy I got a copy on Thriftbooks which was about 10 $ 6mo
Gissy @Anna40 I will check, thank you🤗 6mo
16 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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Anna40
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I loved this book; essays centred around the theme losing yourself, finding yourself. “As you step up to the ridgeline, the world to the west suddenly appears before you, a colossal expanse even more wild and remote than the east, a surprise, a gift, a revelation. The world doubles in size. Something like that happens when you really see someone …”

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Anna40
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Based on research, her own observations and experiences Tishby wrote this book about and for Israel. I found her colloquial tone a bit annoying, but it serves a purpose - reaching a bigger audience. The book succeeds in giving an overview of Israel‘s history, society and covers the settlements, BDS or the Charedim. It‘s a a good starting point, if you want to explore some topics in more detail.

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Anna40
The Lost Man | Jane Harper
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Really enjoyed this mystery set in the heat and dry landscape of the Australian Outback. It could work well as a movie or miniseries. Entertaining, with twists and turns and even some romance.

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Anna40
Second Edition Books - Columbia | Columbia, MD (Bookstore)
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I got new (old) books :)

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Anna40
Malice: A Mystery | Keigo Higashino
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Read it in one sitting. Intelligent crime fiction with lots of twists. Loved it

Cathythoughts I remember loving it too 👍🏻 8mo
EvieBee Yay! I really love Higashino. 8mo
Anna40 @Cathythoughts @EvieBee I saw that it‘s the first book in a series. Will get the next one :). I read Devotion of Suspect x and really liked that one too 8mo
See All 6 Comments
EvieBee That‘s a great one! I just started the Detective Kaga series last year, and now need to read The Newcomer. Because there‘s not a ton of his work available I space them out TOO far apart! 🫣😂 8mo
Anna40 @EvieBee I just ordered the Newcomer too :)! 8mo
jlhammar Yes, loved this one too! 8mo
19 likes6 comments
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Anna40
Tin Man | Sarah Winman
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I love the way Winman writes about longing and loss. The language is simple yet lyrical and beautiful. The book explores different types of love/relationships - first love, friendship, marriage. Winman also writes about the AIDS epidemic. The first part that centers around Ellis drew me in but I felt less connected to Michael and Annie. It‘s 3 out of 5 stars for me.

31 likes3 stack adds
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Anna40
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@britt_brooke When I suggested the reading group to my son, he was so excited, he cleaned up his room, organised books and read from two of them. We had chocolate and started a reading log. He said it was so much fun. Not sure if the enthusiasm will last, but this was a great start :)

Alfoster Awww, so sweet!🥰 8mo
britt_brooke Oh, this makes me so happy!! 🤩 8mo
Smrloomis 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 Awesome!!! 8mo
31 likes4 comments
review
Anna40
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Mehso-so

I tend to shy away from thinking about what life without my mother would be like. I don‘t want to think about this separation because the bond is so strong but it‘s inevitable. I love the idea of writing a book focusing on a mother‘s death and her advice, it‘s light-hearted, at times funny, good illustrations but that‘s the problem, it is too sweet, trying too hard to make you feel better when in reality after this loss nothing will.

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Anna40
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Mehso-so

The book focuses on Randy Gray‘s search for his son Jacob but Billman also writes about others who went missing in the wild, some never found.It is a compelling read but would work better as a collection of individual missing people and their stories or even focusing only on Jacob.Sensationalist are: - the ‘unexplained cases‘ hinting at people being abducted by Sasquatch or aliens? - we should all be scared when we hike, “lest you be next”.Really?

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Anna40
Death and the Seaside | Alison Moore
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A weird twisted story of deceit and manipulation. I liked the different perspectives and the story within the story. Compelling and well crafted.

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Anna40
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Pickpick

I loved these stories so much. Beautifully written. My favourite are The Pigeon and The Hitchhiker.

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Anna40
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Bailedbailed

Bailing at page 58. Too claustrophobic and creepy.

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Anna40
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A trip to the library ended in this and now I don‘t know which one to read first? Marwood, Moor, Kitamura or Krakauer? 🥴

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Anna40
The Minders | John Marrs
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Mehso-so

I appreciate the originality of the premise and criticism of modern society. But there was too much going on for me: Hackers, use of DNA to store information and data in humans, DNA matchmaking, manipulative husbands, corrupt governments, conspiracy theories, murder…. Just too much for one book.

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Anna40
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The book is about life in a cult preparing its members for the apocalypse and what happens when those who grew up in the cult are confronted with the outside world - what started out as a group of people training for survival turns into manipulation, power struggles, rape and murder. I liked the different perspectives and timelines, especially Romy‘s viewpoint. Interesting premise, dark and sad but also thought-provoking.Marwood is a good writer.

21 likes1 stack add
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Anna40
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Pennsylvania 1835, the young sheriff Gideon Stoltz is considered an outsider and stranger in the Irish-Scottish settlement - he‘s a Pennsylvania Dutchman, who left his town to escape visions of his murdered mother. When the local judge commits suicide, Gideon starts investigating and finds out things about the town‘s past that many want to keep hidden. Brilliant murder mystery that takes the reader back in time to a place and life unknown to us.

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Anna40
Almost Entirely: Poems | Jennifer Wallace
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Anna40
Almost Entirely: Poems | Jennifer Wallace
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Anna40
Almost Entirely: Poems | Jennifer Wallace
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Pickpick

I enjoyed reading poetry by a local author - main themes are nature and everyday life.

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Anna40
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Mehso-so

It‘s a sweet book. I enjoyed reading about how the cat and Satoru met and their friendship developed. Once they started travelling I got bored and found the story a bit dull and sentimental. If you‘re a cat lover, you might enjoy it.

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