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Gleefulreader

Gleefulreader

Joined May 2016

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Gleefulreader
Like a Sword Wound | Ahmet Altan
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An embarrassment of riches from a trip to the used bookstore. Very excited to read several in here that I had been looking for for a while! #europacollective

jlhammar Wow, what a gorgeous stack! 2w
BarbaraBB That is an incredible bookhaul! 😍 2w
Gleefulreader @BarbaraBB @jlhammar I couldn‘t resist. They are normally $25-29 pre-tax here in Canada. These ranged at the used store for $5-10 at the most! 2w
julieclair Wow…. 1w
13 likes4 comments
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Gleefulreader
Red Crosses | Sasha Filipenko
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Pickpick

Catching up on my recently read posts! I am fortunate enough to have a used bookstore near me that often carries Europa novels - and my daughter and I trekked there on Easter Sunday. I had long been wanting to read this and I ripped through it in a day. It is a story about the brutality of Russia during the 20th century and the horrors inflicted on its own citizens. It is also a story about memory and perseverance and connection. #europacollective

11 likes1 stack add
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Gleefulreader
Hygiene and the Assassin | Amelie Nothomb
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Pickpick

I‘ve had this book sitting on my shelf for ages, so finally decided to dive in. The story definitely went places I wasn‘t expecting and was, frankly, shocking at times. That said, the book is almost entirely dialogue that rips along with a twist at the end. Fair warning, the main character is misogynist and vile and his dialogue is too. It wasn‘t a perfect book, so a low pick. #europacollective

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Gleefulreader
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Pickpick

My Europa journey continues! This jumped into my cart when placing an order on Abe Books. Each story is about finding happiness is an unexpected way. While that may sound twee, it really wasn‘t as the stories are themselves not always happy. A fast and enjoyable read and I‘m loving Carousel of Desire by the same author up my TBR list! #europacollective

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Gleefulreader
Dartmouth Park: A Novel | Rupert Thomson
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Mehso-so

I wanted to enjoy this one more than I did. The writing was lovely written almost as prose poetry, and Thomson can write a beautiful scene, but the story left something to be desired. It aspired to be more but at the end of it all it was just a story of an upper middle class selfish white man who has a midlife crisis and makes an abrupt turn towards extremism. It was hard to feel sympathy and I just didn‘t care about the outcome.

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Gleefulreader
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Mehso-so

Wish I liked this one more but I found it stretched plausibility and was just… meh. The conceit of using emails to tell the story is interesting but the story itself just fell flat and the ending felt forced.

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Gleefulreader
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Pickpick

I finished two very different books yesterday, and this was the second one. Over the course of two years, Sharlet travelled and took photos and interviewed people that live on the margins of society. From Skid Row to the LGTBQ community in Russia, Sharlet has an immense amount of respect and empathy for his subjects, letting them speak in their own words. In many ways a sad book, but also important as our society pushes more people to the edge.

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Gleefulreader
My Husband: A Novel | Maud Ventura
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Pickpick

Books that are described as “psychological thrillers” or like Gone Girl are not normally my wheelhouse but I‘d seen so many good reviews of this and it did not disappoint. It rips along as the interior monologue over the course of a week of a woman obsessed with her husband. While the obsession might be off putting to read there are parts that are genuinely funny ⬇️

Gleefulreader Where the narrator describes something her husband does that drives her nuts (despite her obsession), I think it can be relatable to anyone in a long term relationship. It rips along and then there‘s a great twist in the last chapter. A quick and very fun read about what happens in other people‘s relationships. 1mo
12 likes1 comment
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Gleefulreader
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Pickpick

This one is a low pick for me. I love reading outside North America because of the freedom that authors have to write in ways that likely would not get published here. Sometimes that can also mean the books are more challenging to read, as I found with this Fosse. I really enjoyed parts of this collection - particularly the story of a man whose dog is killed - and overall the challenge was worth it as I am still thinking about the stories.

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Gleefulreader
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Pickpick

A beautiful and heart-wrenching memoir of loss. Amy Lin‘s young husband of only a couple of years unexpectedly dies a few months into the pandemic. What follows is a period of grief and loss and abandonment that is incredibly powerful to read. This is cry against a society that seems to want people to move on as quickly as possible.

merelybookish Great review! Sounds like a good but hard read. 1mo
14 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Gleefulreader
The Postcard | Anne Berest
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Pickpick

I can‘t find the words to describe how profoundly good and important this book is. Told as fiction, it is the story of the author‘s own experience when her family receives an anonymous postcard with the four names of family members that were killed during the Holocaust. #europacollective ⬇️

Gleefulreader It tells their story in the first half then describes trying to find the author of the postcard in the second half. However the deeper story in the second half is the experience of the generational trauma and unique experience of being both Jewish and living in France and what that has meant for this author‘s family. I thought it was exceptional how it explored the impact of the Holocaust on the generations that followed. Important and compelling. 1mo
TheKidUpstairs I have a HUGE stack of library books out right now, but everyone's reviews are making me super itchy to read this one!!! I think I'll have to put aside my #WomensPrize reading to pick this one up tonight :) 1mo
See All 12 Comments
squirrelbrain Great review! I‘m so glad to have read this along with the #europacollective. 1mo
squirrelbrain @TheKidUpstairs - once I started it, it overtook *all* of my Women‘s Prize reading. 1mo
TheKidUpstairs @squirrelbrain from what everyone has said, I feel like even though it's a chunkster, I'll still whip through it in a couple days! 1mo
Gleefulreader @squirrelbrain @TheKidUpstairs it is a super fast read despite its size - and well worth it. 1mo
jlhammar Yes to all of that! Awesome review. 1mo
tpixie @Gleefulreader great review! This was an awesome pick @jlhammar 💗💗💗 1mo
BarbaraBB Wonderful review. And yes, it comes so close to how it must feel to be a descendant of the holocaust 💔 (edited) 1mo
BarbaraBB @TheKidUpstairs echoing @squirrelbrain and @Gleefulreader it is a quick read and so worth it. I‘d read it before continuing the WP longlist! 1mo
Aimeesue Excellent review! An exceptional book, indeed. 1mo
26 likes1 stack add12 comments
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Gleefulreader
The Postcard | Anne Berest
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tpixie So glad you are enjoying it!! I find the true history just astonishing, and she weaves a good story within it. 1mo
jlhammar Same! I was swept up in the story from the get-go. I‘m up to Chapter 25. Can‘t wait to get back to it. Looks like a cozy reading spot. 1mo
julieclair Can‘t wait to start this! 1mo
squirrelbrain I just started it too, and I‘m already up to chapter 19. 1mo
Cathythoughts I must start it soon. 👍🏻❤️ 1mo
20 likes5 comments
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Gleefulreader
The Twyford Code | Janice Hallett
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Mehso-so

Not quite sure how I felt about this one. It felt a bit like a mystery that wasn‘t a mystery and more about the conceit (a series of transcribed audio files) rather than the plot. The ending did more telling than showing and so I came away from this a little unsatisfied, which is disappointing given that it supposedly about a mystery with clues buried in a book. Did enjoy the twitting of Enid Blyton.

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Gleefulreader
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Panpan

Well this book definitely was not for me. A middle aged woman hears an emergency alarm one day and suddenly leaves her husband and young child, flying to Nagasaki where she starts a disturbing relationship with a “youth”. Something about depression and her brother committing suicide and she seems to also be an alcoholic. This felt rambling and indulgent and I could see no larger meaning. #europacollective

dabbe #fanofthepan! 🤩🤩🤩 1mo
BarbaraBB That‘s unexpected. Japanese and Europa are mostly ingredients for good books 🤷🏻‍♀️ 1mo
9 likes2 comments
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Gleefulreader
Our Fathers | Rebecca Wait
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Pickpick

I had seen many good reviews, and this book didn‘t disappoint. This is a harrowing story of family violence and those who are left behind. The way that stories get re-written and memories that we think are real are not. It is about what a community sees or chooses to see and what it deliberately does not see; how it helps and how it hinders. It is not an easy story to read, but it is beautifully written and so important. #europacollective

Texreader Excellent review 2mo
jlhammar I have so much love for this book. Wonderful review! 1mo
17 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Gleefulreader
The Bridesman | Savyon Liebrecht
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Mehso-so

A deeply disquieting book and one in which I enjoyed the first half more than the last half and the ending left me deeply uncomfortable. Adella is a young orphan girl who marries a much older disabled man and faces his dysfunctional family. Told from the perspective of Micha, the young boy who is her “Bridesman” and gives her away, it starts in the past and then moves forward in time to when the two meet 20 years later. #europacollective

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Gleefulreader
Trespasses | Louise Kennedy
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Pickpick

Cushla, a young Catholic woman, starts a relationship with an older married Protestant man during the Troubles in Ireland. Although they don‘t live in the heart of the violence, the relationship is not without danger and a series of seemingly unrelated events creates chaos. I found this a fascinating lens with which to look at how the Troubles and the prejudice affected everyone during the period, even those not in Belfast.

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Gleefulreader
Eva Sleeps | Francesca Melandri
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Pickpick

This was an interesting book because I found myself caring slightly less about the main storyline (unwed South Tyroleon mother in Italy in the 1950-1970s) and more about the history of this now mostly autonomous region. South Tyrol is on the border with Austria and is primarily German speaking and got caught in events of WW1 and WW2 and Italian nationalism. A fascinating part of history that I knew little about. #europacollective

jlhammar Sounds good! 2mo
14 likes1 comment
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Gleefulreader
Saving Mozart | Raphal Jerusalmy
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Pickpick

This was a fast read. Otto is a former music critic who also happens to be Jewish (although not recognized as such) living with tuberculosis in a sanatorium in Austria in 1939. He attempts to take a stance against the Nazis during the annual music festival. It was interesting to view the beginnings of the holocaust through Otto‘s eyes as a child of a Jewish parent who did not see himself as Jewish and I would like to have spent more time there.

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Gleefulreader
Minor Detail | Adania Shibli
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Pickpick

For a little over 100 pages, this is a very heavy, yet timely book. Told in two sections, the first details the Israeli settlements in the Negev and a horrible crime that happens. The second section is a Palestinian narrator many years later who tries to find more information about the incident. It is a story of the ravages and horrors of war and displacement.

Tamra This was a devastatingly well written story. Reminds me I need to get a copy for my shelves. Worthy of a reread. 2mo
BarbaraBB This sounds very timely. Stacking 2mo
13 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Gleefulreader
Still Born | Guadalupe Nettel
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Pickpick

This book was so good and thought provoking, I read it in less than a day. It examines a lot of topics that are fraught, without sentimentality or excessive drama, such as the desire to have children vs the desire not to, what happens if you have a child with a disability, the impact of domestic violence on family relationships and the unexpected relationships and community we sometimes find. Highly recommended but warning for sensitive matter.

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Gleefulreader
The Colony | Audrey Magee
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Pickpick

A quiet but challenging book. Two foreigners - a French linguist and an English painter - arrive on a very small Irish-speaking Irish island in the 1970s, each with their own agenda. The story of the island is interspersed with matter of fact paragraphs of incidents from the Troubles. Asks questions about the impact and demands of foreigners on a small community, and how those butt up against the community‘s own needs and desires.

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Gleefulreader
The Hanged Man of Conakry: A Novel | Jean-Christophe Rufin
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Pickpick

An unusual book that is a mash of up a mystery and a French comedy of manners. Set in French Guinea, it is the story of the very odd duck Romanian-born minor French official who is normally ostracized and given little responsibility who steps up to solve the murder of a tourist. Quirky but I found it very interesting, although sad in parts.

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Gleefulreader
Penance | Eliza Clark
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Pickpick

Can‘t say this was a feel good book, but it examined a lot of interesting issues. It‘s a book within a book telling the “true crime” story of three teenage girls who murder another girl. It gets into many issues including small town communities, the issues with true crime and the people who are part of that industry, teenage bullying and violence, and the early days of internet communities. Disturbing and thoughtful.

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Gleefulreader
The Long Corner | Alexander Maksik
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A lovely day out hunting for books with the besties netted this haul. All of the Europa books were from a used bookstore and I got them for a song - including 3 that were on my wish list! Excited to read the new Geraldine Brooks and yet another Little Clothbound Classic to add to my collection - this one has The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Tamra A Fine Balance is a wonderful, immersive reading experience. 3mo
9 likes1 comment
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Gleefulreader
Bournville | Jonathan Coe
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Pickpick

I‘m a real sucker for a family saga type book, so this just hit right. It follows the life of Mary and her children and grandchildren through a number of key events and issues starting with VE Day, various royal events, touching on Brexit before ending with the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic. An interesting take on what Britain is, and its entrenched challenges.

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Gleefulreader
Shelter in Place | David Leavitt
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Pickpick

An unusual novel about mental illness and family, violence and revenge, love and secrets. It had a usual structure, cutting back and forth in time and the narrator occasionally speaks directly to the reader. Lots to think about in this book.

15 likes1 stack add
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Gleefulreader
Held: A Novel | Anne Michaels
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Pickpick

Absolutely gorgeous meditation on memory and loss and connection and meaning that I read in a single sitting. The book involves a large cast of characters and sometimes it can be difficult to see the how they are related. It asks questions about the limits of human experience and knowledge. I definitely will be picking this up again as I think a deeper second reading will have a lot to offer.

BarbaraBB I think so too but I also know I probably never will. So many books to read… but I enjoyed it the first time too! 3mo
13 likes1 comment
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Gleefulreader
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Pickpick

Seriously - anyone with any sense should definitely avoid Three Pines. It does not matter how picturesque it is 😂

These books definitely push the boundaries of believability and the motivations of humans, and all the characters are that little bit *extra* including the too-perfect Gamache… and yet I can‘t stop reading. Delightful for a cold afternoon.

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Gleefulreader
Day | Michael Cunningham
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Mehso-so

I enjoyed the central conceit of this book - one day told three years apart, one year in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. However, I felt that the characters themselves just fell sort of flat and it was too difficult to find sympathy with what felt like overprivileged hipster problems. It‘s one of the first batch of novels that deals with the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic yet felt forgettable.

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Gleefulreader
Day | Michael Cunningham
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Ouch - two pages in and I‘m feeling very seen with this sentence.

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Gleefulreader
The Thursday Murder Club | Richard Osman
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Pickpick

I wasn‘t sure about this book when I first started it, and set it aside for some time. When I resumed it I was clearly in the right space and time and ended up really loving this unlikely band of friends. I think what I most liked is that it sees seniors as having full and imperfect lives, still having the same hopes and dreams as those much younger. I will definitely be reading the follow up as I want to rejoin these characters.

25 likes1 stack add
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Gleefulreader
The Nutcracker | E.T.A. Hoffman
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Mehso-so

This is the first of the Penguin Little Clothbound Classics that I‘ve read and it won‘t be the last. I‘ve attended The Nutcracker many times but have, oddly, never read the story it is based on. I can say that I didn‘t enjoy the story as much as the ballet, but am still glad I read it. The other two stories in this book all deal with similar themes of imagination and seeing what isn‘t there/ghost stories.

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Gleefulreader
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Pickpick

This was a pick with the caveat that it may not be for everyone, as the writing style could be difficult. There are shifting narratives, sometimes within the same sentence, and lots of extended paragraphs of text where ideas loop back and are repeated. It‘s a story of loneliness and grief and the repeated trauma of generations. Definitely will need a reread to capture what I missed in the first reading.

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Gleefulreader
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this story about a single female writer who seems to be in her mid-60s during the early days of the pandemic. It is a pandemic novel without being a pandemic novel and perfectly captured the feeling of those early days, particularly in a large city (it is set in NYC). It touches on the topics of loneliness and writers block and unexpected connections. It also ponders the meaning of writing and what an over is. Lovely.

Megabooks Agree! 3mo
11 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Gleefulreader
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Mehso-so

Kind of twee story about five somewhat lost people who meet with a mysterious librarian who offers book suggestions that unexpectedly point their lives in new directions. I can see why many people found this gentle and heartwarming but for me it fell flat and has ultimately been forgettable. Not quite a pan as I‘m too attached to the idea of finding meaning and direction in books :)

Lindy I‘ve been wondering if this might be too twee for me. Thanks for this review. 3mo
11 likes1 comment
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Gleefulreader
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Pickpick

I really love Claire Keegan‘s work and how she manages to convey so much of the human condition in only a few pages. This book is only a single short story but it is a perfect examination of the way in which men can fail women in relationships.

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Gleefulreader
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Pickpick

First time ever reading this. A perfect parable for the times we are living through.

Goodness I love the Clothbound Editions!

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Gleefulreader
Lesser Islands | Lorenza Pieri
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Sometimes you go to the used bookstore and hit the jackpot. Snagged all these Europa editions this weekend plus a mint condition/brand new Penguin Clothbound edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Merry Christmas to me!

#europacollective

jlhammar Wow, gorgeous haul! I haven't read any of those Europas yet. I can't believe they had so many! 4mo
Chelsea.Poole Nice stack! 4mo
11 likes2 comments
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Gleefulreader
Middlemarch (Revised) | George Eliot
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Pickpick

Pulled this off my pile of partially finished books and so happy I did. This story was an absolute delight. The many trials and small victories of the residents of Middlemarch, it is a perfect window into early 19th century England with all its contradictions.

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Gleefulreader
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Pickpick

I recently saw the ballet Emma Bovary (divine!) and decided to re-read this as I last read it some 30 odd years ago.

There are many books about the repercussions of trying to shake off the unfair strict social strictures of a woman‘s lot in the 18th and 19th centuries. This book is not that. Emma Bovary is a selfish, nonsensical brat and I spent most of the book wanting to shake her.

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Gleefulreader
Learned by Heart | Emma Donoghue
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Mehso-so

I‘ve read many books by Emma Donoghue and for some reason this just didn‘t land with me. While I enjoyed the descriptions of life within an early 19th century girls boarding school (rules rules rules!) I just found I didn‘t fully engage with the characters. That said, Donoghue is a master of writing a story in which the characters are constrained to a very small physical location.

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Gleefulreader
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Pickpick

A quiet and gentle story that asks a lot of big questions. Agatha is a sister in a holy order who starts to question her future. It looks at faith and meaning, what is sisterhood and what is loneliness. How do we help other people and what that looks like from a religious order. It also touches on the issues of faith when the men in your church have done such wrong, and the continued suppression of women. Highly recommended!

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Gleefulreader
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
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Pickpick

Absolutely stunning and thought provoking. Set in the town near the Nazi camp of Buchenwald, it is the intersecting stories of an SS officer, his ill wife and a physician who is a prisoner of the camp. It is a story of the lies we tell others and that we tell ourselves and offers no easy answers.

11 likes1 stack add
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Gleefulreader
Kids Run the Show | Deplhine de Vigan
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Pickpick

Was very excited to read this and it didn‘t disappoint. A fictional examination of the impact on children living a life under the microscope of their “influencer” parents. While some parts may have been exaggerated for effect, I think it raised a lot of questions about these children‘s lives and the complicity of the public that consumers family influencer content. Highly recommended.

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Gleefulreader
Mr Wilder and Me | Jonathan Coe
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Pickpick

Really enjoyed this quiet book about a young woman‘s unexpected adventure working on one of Billy Wilder‘s last films and her personal growth during that period, offset by Wilder‘s realization that his star is fading. Lovely and meditative.

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Gleefulreader
The Fraud | Zadie Smith
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Pickpick

Really enjoyed this one! Felt like a modernized Dickens. Lots to think about here but filled with humour.

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Gleefulreader
Happy Place | Emily Henry
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Panpan

I‘m normally a big fan of Henry‘s book‘s as they strike that perfect balance between romance/fun summer read with a bit extra, but this one, unfortunately, felt remarkably contrived. Everything felt like it was just trying too hard here with no real depth, and stretching the limits of believability of how people actually relate to each other. Definitely seems like this was the result of Henry now being on an annual summer pub schedule.

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Gleefulreader
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Pickpick

A comfort re-read from years ago. Some of George‘s older books will feel a bit dated because although they seem to be set in the late 80s/early 90s, they often can feel much more dated than that based on the language and mannerisms she gives her main characters. That said I still enjoy the journey of these longer reads (even if I do want to tell Deborah to stop being such an insufferable sulky pants.)

dabbe “insufferable sulky pants“ ... 🤣🤣🤣 Totally agree! 8mo
8 likes1 comment
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Gleefulreader
Barbara Isn't Dying | Alina Bronsky
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Pickpick

This was a lovely little book I read on a flight. An examination of an older couple‘s long and, at times, imperfect relationship and the effect of years of repressed feelings. Makes you think about what love is over a long time when you may not be the best at showing it.

Cinfhen This sounds great! 8mo
8 likes1 stack add1 comment