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Brimful

Brimful

Joined July 2021

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Brimful
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida | Shehan Karunatilaka
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The more I see, the more I am convinced, says the creature. History is people with ships and weapons wiping out those who forgot to invent them. Every civilisation begins with a genocide. It is the rule of the universe. The immutable law of the jungle, even this one made of concrete. You can see it in the movement of the stars and In the dance of every atom. The rich will enslave the penniless. The strong will crush the weak.

BarbaraBB I am so curious about this one. 4mo
rmaclean4 Beautiful cover! 4mo
23 likes1 stack add2 comments
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The Road to Lichfield | Penelope Lively
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Pickpick

This was the first book for adults written by Lively although published much later. It‘s about a forty year old woman who is forced to confront her past and her present as she spends time with her father who is dying in a nursing home some hours drive from her home. It explores our understandings of past and present, family and relationships and the compromises we all make Whilst beautifully written it is not as engaging as her later work

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The Road to Lichfield | Penelope Lively
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Anne groped in her pocket for the car keys, found them, stared down at them, and said to this stranger, “my father‘s going to die”. Yes said David fielding, yes I‘m afraid he is. And he laid his hand for an instant on her arm, removing it almost at once so that it was only later, at another time, that she felt his touch , in the way in which recollection can sometimes be more real than the experience itself.

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Booth | Karen Joy Fowler
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I really enjoyed this immersive story of the very dysfunctional chaotic and creative family of JoHn Wilkes Booth the assassin of Lincoln. I found its account of the history and politics of the time persuasive and moving. The insights into attitudes to slavery and the experiences of the Hall family subtly juxtaposed with the Booths were very powerful. I would be pleased to see this on the Booker 22 shortlist.

JamieArc I don‘t think I will get to this one in the next month so I hope it makes the shortlist too so I can read it then. 4mo
squirrelbrain Great review! I‘m about 20% into this one… liking it so far but not sure it will make my shortlist. 4mo
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Booth | Karen Joy Fowler
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This is my sixth read from what I think is one of the best ever Booker long lists. I am savouring this family history which seems very relevant in its account of radicalisation of susceptible young men.

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The Trees: A Novel | Percival Everett
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I was unfamiliar with Everett‘s work before the Booker long-list. The Trees is an amazing introduction. It begins as a darkly humorous investigation of three gruesome and perplexing murders. The local cops are useless so the charming and thoughtful state investigators take over. But then everything gets out of control and the book turns into a powerful indictment of systemic and murderous racism which requires to be acknowledged and avenged

Suet624 Loved this one. 1mo
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The Trees: A Novel | Percival Everett
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Everyone talks about genocides around the world, but when the killing is slow and spread over a hundred years no one notices. Where there are no mass graves , no one noticed. American outrage is always for show. It has a shelf life. If that griffin book we had been lynched like me, America might have looked up from dinner or baseball or whatever they do now. Twitter?

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Glory | NoViolet Bulawayo
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A feminist and satirical account of the 2017 Zimbabwean coup known as Operation Defend Legacy. Bulawayo draws on Orwell‘s Animal Farm and Ancient Greek traditions as her chorus of oppressed animals, largely femal, expose the unraveling of the promise of the coup. At the heart of the novel is Destiny a young returnee whose family history inspires her to resist the violence of those purporting to defend the revolution. A strong Booker contender

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The Trees: A Novel | Percival Everett
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Thrilled to see After Sappho and The Trees on the Booker long list 2022. Both already on my to be read pile. The Trees because of an enthusiastic review from the lonesome reader, After Sappho because it arrived this month as part of my Faber book subscription which was a gift from my former colleagues. How lucky is that? So looking forward to reading them both!

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The Swimmers | Julie Otsuka
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The swimmers is a devastating account of the decline of Alice, a dementia sufferer. We learn how Alice will experience her care home from the perspective of the commercial provider and how her family deal with her slow disappearance. The story‘s heart and humour lies in the opening of the book when the pool used by swimmers including Alice closes because of an inexplicable crack. That crack frames Alice‘s demise in a moving and powerful way.

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Brimful
The Swimmers | Julie Otsuka
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August begins like a slow shattering dream. Heat rises up from the dusty sidewalks. Lawns bake. Trees droop. The flowers have all lost their smell. A lone Good Humour truck, illegally double parked near the entrance to the school playground, drones it‘s slow maniacal song. But down below, at the pool, we throw ourselves into the cool, clear blue water and we carry on.

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Heat Wave: A Novel | Penelope Lively
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A short but exquisite read crammed with beautiful writing and sharp observations. Perhaps focused mostly on the boundless love of a mother for her adult daughter it also covers passion, adultery, friendship and family. The remote cottages of Worlds End are fully realised along with some of the contradictions of country life. And whilst very much of its time, the mid 1990s, its themes of betrayal and revenge are timeless.

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Glory | NoViolet Bulawayo
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We hear Nkunzemnyama tell us the dead would like to know where justice is, these decades and decades later. We lower our eyes, we drop down our heads. We hear Nkunzemnyama tell us the dead would like to know what has become of their murderers these decades and decades later. We swallow hard. We hear Nkunzemnyama tell us the dead would like to know when they will be appropriately buried. We swallow hard.

Cathythoughts Great quote ♥️ 4mo
Brimful Thanks. I think it captures the author‘s technique for communicating the horror perpetrated on her country. 4mo
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Heat Wave: A Novel | Penelope Lively
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Pauline remembers the first time she saw Teresa with Luke. She walks down the hospital ward between a double rank of legs - legs ranged carelessly on beds, sticking out below nighties and dressing-gowns. Brown legs, black legs, pale pink legs. An acreage of female flesh, casually exposed, legs, thighs and whole breasts into which are tucked the furry heads of babies. No-one is modest or prudish here, there is a frank acceptance of what is going on

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Glory | NoViolet Bulawayo
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And every time Tuvy heard the phrase that his brilliant team had coined to speak to this new chapter of a new Jidada he felt larger than Jidada‘s debt to the IMF. The phrase made him realise that it was true what those who knew about things said about words - which was that they mattered; you could sell even a cake of soil by simply using the right words, have grown animals pull out forks and chow it down without the use of force whatsoever:

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Heat Wave: A Novel | Penelope Lively
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Just sorted my reading for next week‘s Uk heatwave!

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To Paradise | Hanya Yanagihara
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I loved this book. Yes, at times it was unremitting but it was a thought provoking page turner. It is an important reminder that democracy cannot be taken for granted that inequalities and colonialism have long term consequences and that we should understand the politics of our times even if we appear to have everything we want. I loved the subtle connections and with her readers between the parts and the games yanagihara plays with her readers

TrishB Great review 👍🏻 5mo
sarahbarnes I loved this one, too. 5mo
Brimful I wonder if it will make the Booker long list. Not long before we know! 4mo
mjtwo Love this review 3mo
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To Paradise | Hanya Yanagihara
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You should always have a close friend you‘re slightly afraid of. Why? Because it means that you‘ll have someone in your life that really challenges you, who forces you to become better in some way, in whatever way you‘re most scared of: their approval is what will hold you accountable. But was that really true?

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To Paradise | Hanya Yanagihara
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Now it was time to seek. Now it was time to be brave. Now he must go alone. So he would stand here for another moment, the bag leaden in his hand, and then he would take a breath, and then he would make his first step; his first step to a new life; his first step - to paradise

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Mehso-so

I needed more to make this a pick. More intrigue more nuance more story. That‘s not to say that it was not enjoyable in parts. But so much was not believable and whilst the writing was rich at times it was not convincing as a novel

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Harvest: A Novel | Jim Crace
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A bleak story narrated by Walter a widower who is implicated in the tragic destruction of his village as a consequence of the new lord‘s desire for profit and enterprise. As usual it is the poor who are sacrificed in the name of progress. Accusations of witchcraft and violence complicate the moral landscape but it is clear that apparent progress prevails and that the ordinary people who get in the way have to be removed. A slow but good read.

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Harvest: A Novel | Jim Crace
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But I‘d be lying if it said I felt as dark and gloomy as the clouds. I think I am thrilled in some strange way. The ploughing‘s done The seed is spread. The weather is reminding me that rain or shine , the earth abides, the land endures,the soil will persevere for ever and a day. It‘s smell is pungent and high seasoned. This is happiness.

Cathythoughts Lovely post ❤️ 5mo
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Harvest: A Novel | Jim Crace
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It did not take many working days before I understood that the land itself, from sod to meadow, is inflexible and stern. It is impatient, in fact. It cannot wait. There‘s not a season set aside for pondering and reveries. It will not let us hesitate or rest; it does not wish us to stand back and comment on its comeliness or devise a song for it. It has no time to listen to our song. It will only ask us not to tire in our hard work.

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Pickpick

This book made me laugh out loud as I finished reading it on my train journey to Bath. I don‘t think it is as fine a book as Excellent Women but its eminently quotable shrewd observations on male/female relationships and Jane‘s perplexity at every day conventions were very rewarding and entertaining!

BarbaraBB You‘re in Bath? It‘s on my bucketlist, especially now that Persephone Books moved there 🤍 5mo
Brimful Only passing through I am afraid! Saw Persephone books but had a meeting so no time to stop. Next time though! 5mo
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Oh but it was splendid the things women were doing for men all the time,thought Jane. Making them feel, perhaps sometimes by no more than a casual glance, that they were loved and admired and desired when they weee worthy of none of those things- enabling them to preen themselves and puff out their plumage like birds and bask in the sunshine of love, real or imagined, it didn‘t matter which.

Vansa What an excellent paragraph. I find a lot of writers now don't have this talent for insightful sharp writing. Maybe Louise Knealon, a bit, in Snowflake 5mo
Brimful Her writing sure packs a punch. I haven‘t read snowflake but I shall! 5mo
Cathythoughts Beautiful picture 💫 5mo
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The passion of those early days,the fragments of Donne and Marvell and Jane‘s obscure seventeenth century poets, the objects of her abortive research, all these faded away into mild kindly looks and spectacles. There came a day when one didn‘t quote poetry to one‘s husband anymore. When had that day been? Could she have noted it and mourned it if she had been more observant?

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The Colony | Audrey Magee
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A sad and bleak book which looks at the damage of colonisation through the story of a summer on an island just off the coast of Ireland in a year of murder and mayhem on the mainland. Colonial appropriation of language culture and identity are represented as well as the empty promises of the powerful. Worth reading

Brimful Very glad to see this long listed for the Booker 4mo
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Pickpick

I raced through this well written and clever book which made me think a lot about what it means to be human and live a good life. I was lucky enough to read it without knowing anything of the story so the plot twist had a real impact. Well worth reading!

StellaB I absolutely loved this, too! Such great storytelling 🙂 5mo
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The Shore | Sara Taylor
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Lots of layered stories covering many generations all of which are compelling. They come together in a unique and satisfying way. Women‘s resilience and powers are as important as their vulnerability Very enjoyable

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Excellent Women | Barbara Pym
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Very much enjoyed this anti rom com of excellent women and weak and disappointing men. Mildred Lathbury is unmarried in her thirties living on a small income in post war London. She is an excellent woman, dependable competent and unassuming. She is forced to observe the romantic antics of various men whilst she herself is overlooked and taken for granted. Her sharp observations and wry self deprecations make this both amusing and desperately sad

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Excellent Women | Barbara Pym
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‘I have to share a bathroom‘., I had so often murmured, almost with shame, as if I personally had been found unworthy of a bathroom of my own.

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Strong Poison | Dorothy L. Sayers
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I read this in preparation for reading gaudy night as it is the first of the Harriet Vane series. The plot is obvious and you hear little from Harriet herself other than she is an oddball. But what you get is an insight into womens experiences in post ww1 England. You can tell this is a frustrated clever woman writing about the limits on womens lives with bitter insight. I loved The Cattery. It was just a shame it was set up and funded by a man

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Strong Poison | Dorothy L. Sayers
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The male detective,particularly when dressed as a workman, an errand-boy, or a telegraph-messenger, is favourably placed for ‘shadowing‘. He can loaf without attracting attention. The female detective must not loaf On the other hand she can stare into shop windows for ever.

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Sea of Tranquility: A Novel | Emily St. John Mandel
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I loved this immersive clever and compassionate novel. The wit and generosity of Emily St. John Mandel are extraordinary. She lets the reader share in her self referential humour at the same time as spinning a fantastic time travelling yarn and making thoughtful reflections on covid 19. I loved station eleven and the glass hotel. Sea of tranquility is not only a great read in itself but it also enhances the other two books. How wonderful is that!

Brimful Good to see this on Obama‘s summer reading list 2022 4mo
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Sea of Tranquility: A Novel | Emily St. John Mandel
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‘But all of this raises an interesting question‘ Olive said. ‘What if it always is the end of the world?‘ She paused for effect. Before her, the holographic audience was almost perfectly still. ‘Because we might reasonably think of the end of the world ‘ Olive said ‘as a continuous and never ending process‘.

AmyG I love your plants. What a perfect window! 6mo
SRWCF Gorgeous view! 6mo
Cathythoughts Great quote. ❤️ 6mo
Brimful Glad you like the view and the plants. The bunting you can just make out is in the garden of our village pub and is left over from the jubilee celebrations. 6mo
17 likes4 comments
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Brimful
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Mehso-so

After all of the hype I was a bit disappointed. It was a pretty formulaic oddball girl meets oddball boy story. Tragedy hits and she has the remake her life. And whilst i share the feminist and humanist values there was a lack of empathy with the less clever and the less good. Maggie shipsteads comment on the cover ‘I had no problem choosing a side‘ sums up my problem with the book. Having said that there were some fun scenes.

Vansa Oh,this book was horrible.I thoroughly disliked it.Only geniuses deserve good lives,according to Garmus.Here's my rant review of it!! https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4742117574 6mo
Brimful For me your review nails it! 5mo
Eringogreen I felt the same way. Elizabeth and Calvin were so far on one side of the pendulum that it was unrealistic - they were not layered and had no dimensions to them. And I didn‘t put my finger on the lack of empathy, but that‘s true, too. 5mo
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Passing on | Penelope Lively
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What happens when a bullying mother dies? Things don‘t just get put right. There are consequences. Here siblings Helen, 52 and Edward 49 reflect on life passing them by, the subtle cruelty of their mother and make mistakes as they adjust to life without her. Reflective perceptive and perfectly written.

Nute Nice review. Stacking! 6mo
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Passing on | Penelope Lively
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Mother was not a nice woman. I have always known that, and I can say it ,because I am her daughter and so in the nature of things came nearer to loving her than anyone else ever did.

CarolynM Penelope Lively is so good. Hope to get to this one soon. 7mo
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Elena Knows | Claudia Pieiro
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A brilliant and compassionate book about women‘s bodies,women‘s complicity in the ceding of control over those bodies, but also about how we do lose control through ageing and disease. Bodies prevail. I loved how the novel plays with knowledge and perspective through a very simple well told story. And Elena is a remarkable character. I loved it!

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Brimful
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Half way through this and it‘s an unexpected and highly original journey!

charl08 Agreed! And an amazing cover. 7mo
jlhammar It really is. I recently watched this conversation between Kupersmith and David Mitchell that you might enjoy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=226bo3ggbys
7mo
Brimful Thanks for that. I will watch it! 7mo
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Pickpick

I predict this book will win the women‘s prize. It‘s not a perfect book - at times the writing was clunky and I was not always persuaded by Ada. But this book is so timely. Its themes of love in a time of war and it‘s tender portrayal of the trauma of war and the terrible cost paid by ordinary people could not be more powerfully relevant

charl08 Interesting! I'm still reading this one, but can see it's had plenty of praise here on Litsy. I'm hoping this one gets some attention in the shortlist. 8mo
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Love is the bold affirmation of hope. You don‘t embrace hope when death and destruction are in command. You don‘t put on your best dress and tuck a flower in your hair when you are surrounded by ruins and shards. You don‘t lose your heart at a time when hearts are supposed to remain sealed, especially for those who are not of your religion, not of your language, not of your blood.

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The Sentence | Louise Erdrich
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This was my first Erdrich novel and I am pleased to have been prompted to read it by the women‘s prize. It covered important themes of identity indigeneity abuse and neglect in the context of the pandemic and BLM. It was a good read - I loved the book store setting and the haunting and Tookie is unforgettable. But I felt there was just too much being tackled to make it great.

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That‘s what books are for,after all, to tell your stories,to hold them and keep them safe between our covers for as long as we‘re able. We do our best to bring you pleasure and sustain your belief in the gravity of being human. We care about your feelings and believe in you completely.

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The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois | Honore Fanonne Jeffers
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This book is very good but I don‘t think it is great. It‘s not super original although exploring the lives of an intellectual middle class black family was unusual and rewarding. It‘s beautifully written but I thought dragged a bit towards the end. Nonetheless there is so much to admire and enjoy in this novel

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Sorrow and Bliss | Meg Mason
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This accessible thought provoking account of a woman‘s life and experience of mental illness is uplifting as well as insightful. Absorbing funny and very sad. Surely it will be shortlisted for the women‘s prize

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Pickpick

I thought this book quite brilliant I loved the slipping from first to third person. That is just like what it is to recall the past. Highly recommended

EvieBee This is one of my all-time favorite books! I‘m so glad you liked it, too! 8mo
BarbaraBB Sounds wonderful. Stacked 8mo
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The Bread the Devil Knead | Lisa Allen-Agostini
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Longlisted for the womens prize this is the story of survival despite a lifetime of abuse and lies written in Trinidadian it is a good if tough read

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The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois | Honore Fanonne Jeffers
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I am so looking forward to starting this. 800 pages! A four page family tree! Great Litsy reviews. What‘s not to enjoy?

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The Story of Lucy Gault | William Trevor
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A lyrical and allegorical story deeply rooted in the landscape of rural Ireland this is in many ways the antithesis of a novel From the moment of the initial incident the characters become suffused by trauma and depression that only intensifies as the story progresses. There is passivity and a sense that the characters in some way deserve their fate that is only redeemed finally by acceptance and a small reconciliation. A good but strange read.