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Joined June 2017

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My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
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Middlemarch by George Eliot
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Nightcrawling: A novel by Leila Mottley
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Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard
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The Book of Flights by J. M. G. Le Clzio, J.M.G. Le
My Name is Lucy Barton | Elizabeth Strout
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My Name is Lucy Barton | Elizabeth Strout
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Started this today. Part of my path to Oh, William! on the #Booker2022 list.

I didn‘t like Olive Kitteridge and I haven‘t read Strout since then, so I was worried I would hate this. I‘m relieved at how much i enjoyed the 1st 25 or so pages.

Ruthiella I also didn‘t love Olive Kitteridge but I loved Lucy Barton. Clearly Strout is hit or miss with me. I also really liked Abide With Me. 3d
BarbaraBB I love anything Lucy - more than Olive! 2d
Graywacke @Ruthiella interesting. I‘m glad it‘s not just me. @BarbaraBB noting! I have at least two more for the Booker, and a new one is out. (fwiw: I liked the character Olive, it‘s the book i had issues with) 2d
38 likes3 comments
Middlemarch | George Eliot
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@vivastory @kspenmoll @erzascarletbookgasm so, remember our little conversation about starting this giant in October, the one we never followed up on? 🙂 Not sure if anyone is still up for it. I‘m planning to start this beat up copy (from 1964 with a 1973 receipt inside) today and try for 100 or so pages a week. Perhaps I can hashtag it #george

kspenmoll I would like to join in. 4d
vivastory I'm definitely still interested! I will be doing a combination of print/audio (I have heard great things about the Stevenson audiobook) 4d
Graywacke @kspenmoll 👍🙂 I don‘t have a plan yet. Page 100 for me is through Chapter 11. 4d
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Graywacke “…so much subtler is a human mind than outside tissues which make a sort of blazonry or clock-face for it.” 4d
erzascarletbookgasm 😎 I‘m in. I don‘t have a plan either. 4d
erzascarletbookgasm I‘ll be reading from a Signet Classics, too though a newer edition 🙂 4d
Graywacke @erzascarletbookgasm i may need a backup plan if my copy falls apart. (It was a library book sale purchase…in 2009, one of 25 books I brought home that day. But I‘ve only read two of them.) 4d
Graywacke @erzascarletbookgasm @vivastory @kspenmoll wow, we‘re all still in! Perhaps we should formalize something? Or maybe it‘s better yo leave it loose ended? 4d
sarahbellum My black spine Penguin edition from college, abandoned about 200 pages in, is currently yelling, “Me, me, me! Put me in, coach!” from my bookcase😂 4d
vivastory @sarahbellum Yes! Please join us 👏 👏 4d
vivastory @Graywacke @erzascarletbookgasm @kspenmoll If I recall we had initially discussed an informal read along of approx 80-100 pages per week with a goal of finishing by Dec 1. I think if we use a hashtag as we post & then use spoilers as needed, an informal post as you read would be good with maybe a final discussion of the book at the beginning of Dec? (Also tagging @sarahbellum ) 4d
Graywacke @vivastory sounds great for me. @sarahbellum yes, please join, and appease that poor forlorn abandoned copy. 🙂 4d
sarahbellum @vivastory @Graywacke so tempting! 😬 I remember enjoying the beginning and feeling bummed that I had to bail (I think I had a competing assignment that needed my attention more at the time). Keep me in the tag list for now- I‘m going to mull it over this weekend and will let you know 4d
vivastory @sarahbellum Sounds good! I plan on starting on Monday 4d
sarahbellum @Graywacke @vivastory *takes deep breath* Okay, I‘m going to join you all on this Middlemarch journey. I‘m going to aim to read 10-20 pages a day🤞 2d
Graywacke @sarahbellum Glad you‘re giving it a go. It‘s been fun for me so far, but i did get a little lost at least once in Dorothea‘s mental wanderings… 2d
51 likes17 comments
Nightcrawling: A novel | Leila Mottley
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My next audiobook, based partly on a true story. I‘ll start tomorrow.

Mottley is 20 and made the #Booker2022 longlist. I enjoyed her interview by Trevor Noah in July: https://youtu.be/eHg9M80GThA

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My 3rd from the #Booker2022 longlist

Lia is a beautiful character. I was worried this would be too much like Sophia Ward‘s applied philosophy in Love and Other Thought Experiments (another 1st novel from the English screen world). But as Lia, still a young mother, faces uncertainty and terminal illness, revisiting her past, I just found I really enjoyed spending time with her, which disarmed my inner critic. It‘s a sad, but still enjoyable novel.

BarbaraBB Excellent review. I rooted for Lia too in this fight she couldn‘t win 💔 5d
Graywacke @BarbaraBB I would have rooted for her too, if hadn‘t all felt so certainly hopeless. But, she kept me curious through the end, through to the last word. Very interesting ending…the blending of voices. 5d
BarbaraBB Extremely well done indeed. The voice that took over. 5d
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squirrelbrain Great review - I loved this one. 5d
jlhammar Lovely review. Glad you enjoyed it. 5d
Graywacke @BarbaraBB completely agree 5d
Graywacke @squirrelbrain @jlhammar thanks. I don‘t know why, but I‘m always so pleasantly surprised when I actually like a book on the Booker longlist. Anyway, I‘m glad this was enjoyable. 5d
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I finished Part 3, the shortest of the 4 volumes. Narrated in April-May-June 1968 New York, with the assassination of Robert Kennedy told through its press lens on TV and in the New York Times. With the backstory now in post-WWII Soviet Germany. What does a communist country do when it conquers a wealthy capitalist country? It‘s a very strange story. The first two parts were easier reads. History is just a little too messy here. #Uwe

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Vol 1, 775 pgs, completed

An unfinished novel of ideas. Musil used satire on Austria before WWI to pursue rapidly changing values & lost foundations, his art/rational divide, and desire. He started in 1920, published these 1st 2 parts in 1930; but to a changed world. It‘s difficult & slow. It gets better as it goes, but I never found it gripping. I imagine I‘ll appreciate it more down the road. But for now I‘m happy I made it through.

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Anna (Seldon) Leath has this rural French Chateau in this novel, with servants and no financial worries. No one in the novel likes it, but i‘ll gladly keep in lived-in for them. #sundayfunday @ozma.of.oz

ozma.of.oz That sounds really relaxing right now! 😅 Thank you for posting! 1w
Graywacke @ozma.of.oz Doesn‘t it? fun question 🙂 1w
35 likes2 comments
By Night in Chile | Roberto Bolao
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A playful/serious look at Bolaño‘s home country and the legacy of Pinochet. The whole short novel is the deathbed raving of a poetic Catholic priest, and literary critic, who found himself, at one point, teaching Communism to Pinochet (who deposed Communist-supported Allende). It‘s oddly real/surreal except that its most surreal moments are factual. It also has some obscure aspects. So I can‘t say I understood this well, but I enjoyed it.

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A snapshot of cultural irrationalism, circa 1930. Happy Sunday.

Hanna-B Makes my brain hurt 2w
Graywacke @Hanna-B out of context, it is a very difficult quote to grasp. Sorry. All his stuff is. But in his mindset, it becomes very clear. 2w
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My current audiobook, from the #booker2022 longlist. I‘m already 5 hours in, and it‘s very intimate so far, in a variety of ways.

BarbaraBB I was deeply impressed by this one. On audio and in print. 3w
Graywacke @BarbaraBB i found myself really resistant to the style (so much like Love and Other Thought Experiments, and similar to Light Perpetual) But I‘ve found I really liked Lia, and really like spending time with her. So I‘m into it now. 3w
BarbaraBB Glad to hear that. I also really liked Lia and her character in both timelines. 2w
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Glory | NoViolet Bulawayo
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My second from the #booker2022 list was a tough one. A heavy satire on Zimbabwe history that I really enjoyed for the 1st 2 hrs. But it‘s 16 hrs, and by 4 hrs I was exhausted and ready to bail. @squirrelbrain encouraged me to keep listening, and I‘m glad I did and glad I met Destiny. It‘s a creative and important work, both moving and exhausting, and a lesson on Zimbabwe and the seriously awful legacy of Robert Mugabe.

BarbaraBB I still don‘t dare trying this one. I really think I won‘t like it… 3w
squirrelbrain Great review - and I‘m glad you persevered (and liked it in the end - I‘d have felt terrible if you didn‘t! ) @BarbaraBB - I think you‘ll feel the same as Dan and me. I really didn‘t want to read it, it was OK to start with then dipped in the middle, then got much better at the end. I think physical maybe better than audio as you could skim read the middle bits! 3w
batsy I've been feeling quite nervous about this one and Seven Moons from the longlist, but I appreciate your review. I'm somewhat prepared for what might be a slog (in parts) but that might also surprise me, in a way! 3w
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BarbaraBB @batsy I am a bit nervous for Seven Moons too but am starting it when I have finished my current book 🤞🏽 3w
BarbaraBB @squirrelbrain Thanks, I‘ll read it that way! 3w
Graywacke @BarbaraBB yeah, what @squirrelbrain said. For what it‘s worth, the beginning is better than you might imagine from these comments. 3w
Graywacke @batsy well, it sounds like you have the right impression. But also you might have a very different reaction. I don‘t know anything about The Seven Moons, so I‘m carelessly curious. I‘m hoping to read it in…January 😁 3w
jlhammar Planning to start this (in print) and Seven Moons soon, but am not overly excited for either. Hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Thanks for the great review! 3w
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By Night in Chile | Roberto Bolao
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Started a new book.

Ann_Reads I like the bookmark, too. 3w
vivastory This was the first Bolano I ever read 3w
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Graywacke @vivastory it‘s only my second. I read The Third Reich several years ago. I found it oddly endearing. 3w
Tamra Wow, the blurb makes it sound fascinating! I‘m anxious to find out what you think. If you like it, I‘ll stack. 3w
Graywacke @Tamra 50 pages in, I‘m happily flushed with Dante and references to major figures in Chilean literature who, outside Pablo Neruda, I‘ve never previously heard of. 3w
vivastory I need to revisit this one. I recall not being terribly impressed by it when I read it but Bolano went on to become a favorite. Savage Detectives is one of my favorites of all time. 3w
Graywacke @vivastory Well this one seems both playful and obscure so far. I‘m enjoying. I definitely want to read more by him, including Savage Detectives. 2666 is so long… 3w
vivastory 2666 is long. I have it in the 3 volume set which helped somehow, but it still took me weeks to read. It's also difficult bc of the subject matter. I also like his short stories. 3w
60 likes9 comments
Me and My Cat | Michael Dahl
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I lost my reading buddy last night.

This chunky cat with beautiful paws and green eyes harassed me every morning for years, attacking my bookmarks and my phone, and sitting on my books. He was there for most of my Shakespeare Sonnet reading recently, and I would read them out loud to him, while he sat on my lap, the book, of course, held out at some weird angle. I miss him. 💔

MicheleinPhilly ☹️ I‘m so sorry. 3w
vlwelser I'm very sorry about your reading buddy. 😢 3w
xicanti I‘m so sorry. 3w
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Jari-chan Sorry for your loss. Feel hugged if you need to. 3w
IuliaC I am so sorry for your loss 😢😔 3w
Simona So sorry … 3w
AmyG Oh no. I am so very sorryfor your loss. 😢 3w
DaveGreen7777 Oh, no! I‘m so sorry for your loss! 😢 3w
Susanita 😢 3w
Liz_M I'm so sorry to hear this. I am going to miss his litsy presence. 3w
Leftcoastzen So sorry for your loss , beautiful boy! 3w
jlhammar So sorry to hear that. My heart goes out to you. 3w
Tonton So very sorry for your loss. 3w
Deblovestoread I‘m so sorry! 3w
batsy Oh no. I'm so sorry 💔 3w
JenReadsAlot I'm so sorry for your loss 3w
squirrelbrain So sorry for your loss 💔 3w
sarahbellum I‘m so sorry! Sounds like he was very lucky to have lived such a comfortable and literary life with you 3w
Ann_Reads I'm so sorry you lost a dear pet and reading pal. What a sweet way to remember him, with a post on Litsy. 🐾 3w
AnneCecilie I‘m so sorry for your loss 💔 3w
psalva I‘m sorry for your loss. 3w
BookwormM So sorry for your loss 3w
Bookwomble What a handsome fellow he was, Dan. Looks like you gave him a happy and contented life 💖 3w
JessClark78 I‘m so sorry for your loss. 💔❤️ 3w
BarbaraBB I am so sorry for the loss of your lovely companion. He will be missed 🤍 3w
Graywacke @BookwormM @JessClark78 @Bookwomble @BarbaraBB thank you, it means a lot to me, especially those who remember his appearances here. @Bookwomble - he was always dressed for the occasion. 🙂 3w
Graywacke @Liz_M that was a really sweet comment. I‘ll miss him when reading and when taking pictures for posting here. 3w
Graywacke @Ann_Reads thanks. He has been part of Litsy posts my whole time here, so it made sense. (I have a lot of pictures of him with books. 🙂) 3w
Graywacke @batsy he was such a part of our sonnet reading! 3w
batsy He was. I'll miss seeing him in your pictures ❤️ 3w
Reggie I‘m so sorry. 3w
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego 💔 I'm so sorry 3w
CarolynM I'm so sorry💔 I always enjoyed seeing him, he looks like a sleeker version of my Leo who is a very old man cat these days. 3w
rabbitprincess I‘m so sorry for your loss. He was a handsome boy 💔❤️ 3w
Currey Oh, I am so sorry. I am sure that you gave him the best life. What cat worth the name wouldn‘t love being read sonnets. 3w
Graywacke @Reggie @StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego @rabbitprincess @CarolynM thank you for these comments. @Currey he would completely agree. 3w
stretchkev Sorry to hear about diesel sounds like a great companion. 3w
Graywacke @stretchkev thanks Kevin. It‘s almost crazy how difficult losing a loved pet is. 3w
vivastory I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. 2w
56 likes40 comments
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Hmm - plotless classic?
Yes and no. It‘s a little difficult to get into and I waver. But it‘s better now, 500 pages (and six weeks?) in than anytime earlier.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I hope you like it!! 4w
Graywacke @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks me too! I hope it turns out worth it. 4w
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#littenswanttoknow @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

I don‘t reread much, but I do actually enjoy it the rare times i do. This stands out because it was my first by Cather, a book I randomly picked up, and which won me over. And then I read it again with the #catherbuddyread, after having read lots of her novels. This second time, with all this Cather behind me, I saw it as absolutely brilliant. Is there anything else out there like it?

Finding the Mother Tree | Suzanne Simard
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Started Finding the Mother Tree today for #naturaLitsy

AllDebooks Yay 🙌 thank you for the tag. Also, I have The Puma Years, you'll have to let me know what you think 😁 1mo
53 likes1 comment
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Another book from my TBR I‘m trying out because I‘m just not really getting into anything. This, however, has been a pleasant surprise - on-sight reporting mixed with history. (And some clueless initiation for me. I thought it would be about India. The Indus is, of course, in Pakistan. 😊☺️😁)

The Book of Flights | J. M. G. Le Clzio, J.M.G. Le
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Struggling to get into any book lately, I‘m trying out some, including this. I love Le Clézio, but this has no plot so far. It‘s his ecstatic writing without any clarity on what he‘s going on about. Not a great fit, but I‘ll press a bit more. I‘m only 50 pages in.

Sparklemn Is this fiction or non-fiction? It's difficult to tell just based on Litsy's summary. 1mo
Graywacke @Sparklemn it‘s purely fiction (but maybe Hogan resembles the author a little?) 1mo
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All the Sonnets of Shakespeare | William Shakespeare
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After I finished the Sonnets, I kept reading this book, rereading the Sonnets in the odd ordering here, but at a rapid pace. I finished this week. #shakespearereadalong

This edition deconstructs the narrative under the sonnets, reordering them in what might be the order of actual composition. And adding sonnets from the plays. It's terribly destructive, but also forces us to look at each sonnet differently, which is actually really nice. 👇

Graywacke The editors do two wonderful things: For each poem they give a one-line explanation/synopsis. And then in the back they present the whole poem in plain words. This is crazy helpful. But, oddly, their notes on specific words and phrases are terribly done. Anyway, I'm glad I had this version, but very grateful I also had a different version too (with the correct ordering and with high-end notes). (edited) 1mo
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Some pearls for this one.

Wharton created a magnificent villain. Undine Spragg is a stunningly beautiful young girl who cannot be satisfied. She is relentless in pursuit of whatever she thinks she wants. And it‘s never enough; and nothing, nor anyone, is sacred. But what does she wants and why? And why doesn‘t there seem to be anything underneath? She is an allegory of our financial world, the perfect goddess of soulless economy. 👇

Graywacke The novel isn‘t perfect IMO, but Undine is a Wharton masterpiece. 1mo
CarolynM Great review, and wonderfully appropriate picture. I won‘t forget Undine in a hurry! 1mo
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batsy Undine is a fantastic creation, from what I recall. Nicely put in your review! 1mo
Ann_Reads @Graywacke Great review and I agree with much of your thoughts, especially the comment about a 'soulless economy.' Well said!

Wharton is a great character driven writer. On the other hand, I was incredibly put off by 99% of the characters, so this was a tough reading experience for me. I don't mind flawed characters but I'm also one of those readers who needs someone to cheer on. Anyway, I hope that makes sense.
Graywacke @Ann_Reads completely understand. I‘m trying to think of any Wharton characters that are likable and not abused by her. Fruit of the Tree is maybe the least brutal in character attacks from what i‘ve read…but still the subtext is very critical. 1mo
Cathythoughts Brilliant review! Undine is indeed a masterpiece of a character, well said 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 4w
Graywacke Thanks. ☺️ Undine is such a memorable force of nature. 4w
47 likes9 comments
The File on H. | Ismail Kadare
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I‘ve wanted to read Kadare for a while. An off-site conversation about the oral tradition behind Homer led me to finally read one of his novels with a Litsy buddyread. #homerinalbania

It‘s a novel on Harvard scholars bringing their first tape recorder to the Albanian highlands to record and study traditional saga singers, their minds on Homer. But it begins so strangely, and then does lots of oddball fun stuff. A strangely terrific little novel.

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The File on H. | Ismail Kadare
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The File on H. - last discussion. #homerinalbania

This finishes our book. I got nervous thinking up discussion starters and decided I‘ll put them in the comments with a spoiler cover. (But no other comments should need spoiler cover.) But I‘m curious what you all thought, if you enjoyed it or were disappointed.

Graywacke Catastrophe. The book ends where it maybe always hinted it would end. Did you see it coming? If not, what was your reaction? Poor Bill and Max. And poor us for the loss. And poor Albanian with spies that don‘t help anyone, well, except maybe Daisy. 1mo
Graywacke One thing I noticed in these last chapters is the moment of hope - when Bill gets treatment for his glaucoma. The itself gives us just a hint of these songs they recorded, enough to get our imagination going, but not enough to get familiar with their reality. Like the hope, it‘s there, a window, and then snuffed out. 1mo
Graywacke No other comments need a spoiler flag. 1mo
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Ann_Reads Minor spoilers ahead....I kinda had a suspicion things were going to go badly when the monk was introduced into the story. Since there really isn't an absolute 'answer' to the whole Homer conundrum, this seemed like an apt way to end things. I could have done without the Daisy related drama, at least the part that required a trip to the doctor. Overall, I really enjoyed the story though. ⬇⬇⬇ (edited) 1mo
Ann_Reads Before I forget, Graywacke, I want to thank you for your wonderfully informative discussion posts. I really did learn a lot about Albania, the surrounding regions and their epic traditions. Also, Sarah, thanks for your educational and interesting additions to the discussion. Even though initially I thought the book sounded a little odd, I really enjoyed this buddy read and the story. Well done, both of you!
Ann_Reads @Graywacke Btw, love the pic! Perfect choice. 👍🎵🙂 1mo
Graywacke @Ann_Reads I‘m glad you enjoyed. I found it a playful fun novel. The more Bill worshipped the tape recorder the more I felt it had to be doomed. And then Kadare doesn‘t mess with history and Milman Parry‘s legacy 🙂 1mo
Graywacke @Ann_Reads i like your idea the the ending is in tune with the unanswerable Homer conundrum. 1mo
salderson107 I thought it was more fun in the last two thirds, once i understood what it was about for sure! 1mo
Graywacke @salderson107 yay. I really enjoyed it too! I would read more Kadare without hesitating. 1mo
salderson107 I especially enjoyed the foreshadowing with the monkey. When I was reading the monk's description he went from kindly/jolly to evil in this wonderful description. I imagined his face twisting into a look of pure evil for a split second! That description creeped me out, and I just knew the monk was bad news 1mo
Graywacke @salderson107 the monk was something. He‘s a terrific villain. (Part of me is concerned about a Serbian being the ultimate villain in a book by an Albanian. But he was a really good villain.) 1mo
salderson107 He was! And Kadere wrote him so well! I also think that Daisy was meant to make the ridiculous behaviors of the government/governor stand out. 1mo
Graywacke @salderson107 @Ann_Reads thanks all for joining, getting me to finally read Kadare, and for making this little book feel bigger and a lot more fun. I really enjoyed all our discussions. (edited) 1mo
salderson107 @Graywacke @Ann_Reads thank you! This was a lot of fun! I'm glad I read a book that was different than what I usually read 1mo
salderson107 @Graywacke @Ann_Reads I really enjoyed talking about the books as well! 1mo
30 likes16 comments
Summer: A Novel | Edith Wharton
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Looking ahead a bit. For those who want to continue on with, or join the #whartonbuddyread , our next novel will be Summer, and we‘ll start mid-October.

Summer is a novel Edith Wharton liked a lot, but critics often overlook. It‘s an outside-New-York-leisure-class novel, that takes place in New England. Wharton apparently called it her “hot Ethan”.

Leftcoastzen Yay! I‘m in 1mo
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batsy I might try to join in for this one 🙂 Do you happen to have a schedule of what's the next few books after Summer? 1mo
Graywacke @batsy a list, but not a schedule. Next five, maybe: - The Marne, 1918
- The Age of Innocence, 1920 (Pulitzer Prize winner)
- The Glimpses of the Moon, 1922
- A Son at the Front, 1923
- Old New York, 1924
batsy @Graywacke Thank you! Going to try to acquire copies where possible and join in if I can; only have The Age of Innocence out of those. 1mo
Graywacke @batsy the Marne isn‘t too hard to find (well, in the US). Those last three might be, though. 1mo
Cathythoughts Thankyou! I‘ve read this one , so I hope to reread. 1mo
Hanna-B Sounds great! 1mo
Graywacke @Catsandbooks thanks! Did you want to join? 1mo
Currey @Graywacke @Cathythoughts I have read Summer, but I also will reread with everyone 1mo
Graywacke @Hanna-B I‘ll add you to the list. 👍 1mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts @Currey i had never heard of Summer before we started this theme. Glad you‘re both joining! 1mo
sarahbellum Probably won‘t join in again until Age of Innocence, but please continue to tag me. Thanks for organizing! 1mo
CarolynM I‘m in. Looking forward to it. @batsy I downloaded a Complete Works from iBooks when we started because I knew wouldn‘t find them all in the shops. It only cost about $3 - the benefit of being out of copyright 😆 (edited) 1mo
Graywacke @sarahbellum no worries. We‘ll keep you on. AoI might be January or later. 1mo
Graywacke @CarolynM I‘ve thought of picking something like that up. The collected works are not my favorite format, but it will do. 1mo
Ann_Reads I'm going to take a little break from Wharton but do plan to join in for AoI in 2023. Thank you @Graywacke and @Lcsmcat for continuing to host these buddy reads. Much appreciated! 1mo
CarolynM Not my favourite either, but it is convenient 1mo
Hanna-B @Graywacke thanks 1mo
jewright I bought the Kindle complete works for a couple of dollars. I would rather read a different format, but that way I don‘t have to remember to buy the books all the time. 1mo
batsy @CarolynM @Lcsmcat Thank you for that! I totally forgot about out of copyright/Gutenberg 🙂 I love whatever Wharton I've read, so might try to get copies of certain books while using the free ebook for others. 1mo
Catsandbooks No thank you, I just wanted to spread the word and have it posted on Litsy Events so others know about the group ☺️ 1mo
Graywacke @Catsandbooks i thought so, but I wanted to be sure. Thanks! 1mo
Sparklemn I‘m in! 1mo
Louise Would love to participate and will do my best to make it happen. 1mo
Graywacke @Sparklemn @Louise I‘m glad you‘re both joining. 4w
Daisey I‘m hoping to join in for this one as it‘s on the #1001books list. 4w
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Booth | Karen Joy Fowler
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My first from the Booker longlist is a novel on the family of J Wilkes Booth. It‘s not bad, but I wasn‘t a fan, so much so that I‘ve been hesitant to post. I just didn‘t take to it. I found it barely kept my interest through the opening 11 hours on audio, which in hindsight I view as an overly dragged out setting. (It‘s 13 hours) There were other things I didn‘t - see the comments. #booker2022

Graywacke Apologies to those who enjoyed it. I didn‘t buy in. It felt to me like characters from 2020 dropped in a shack in the early 1800‘s. And i didn‘t like how a story about 4 (!) Shakespearean actors failed to bring in Shakespeare‘s language. And I didn‘t understand the novel‘s purpose. Why put the spotlight on such a terrible person? (edited) 1mo
vivastory I don't understand why Fowler focused on his family as though they were somehow a lot more sympathetic. From what I recall in the following nf book, Booth's sister was an unrepentant supporter of JW Booth until the end of her life (edited) 1mo
Graywacke @vivastory No, me neither. Fowler tells us of one of his sisters wrote a biography of him, but didn‘t publish it. It praised John, and criticized Lincoln for being at the theater. (Insert wow/wtf icon here?) I really hope that sister was just ranting. Also, I found it interesting that Fowler tells us she questioned herself about writing this novel that will spotlight him. Because I certainly question it too. I haven‘t resolved that one. 1mo
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vivastory Yeah, I haven't read it, but I think that it would have been much more interesting if Fowler had tackled it as a straightforward true crime novel (ie In Cold Blood) (edited) 1mo
BarbaraBB I am listening to the audio too at the moment. I‘m king of enjoying it although it takes long to get to the point! I am not that familiar with American history, I knew nothing about the murderer and his family. To me this social context is rather interesting but I understand that it‘s a different read for American readers. 1mo
Graywacke @BarbaraBB I‘m hardly the typical American reader, but yes, I think that‘s true that it‘s different for American readers. Lincoln is so iconic. I‘m glad you‘re getting good stuff out of it! 1mo
charl08 I wasn't much of a fan either: I admire her for trying to do something different about the impact of a killer on the family. For me it felt like one of those books where the author has done so much research they can't bear to leave anything out. #Booker2022 1mo
TrishB I‘m just not drawn to reading this one and even less so after this discussion! 1mo
batsy What @TrishB said! Nothing about this was calling out to me and I feel justified after seeing your post and the discussion 😬 1mo
wanderinglynn I read her Beside Ourselves & really enjoyed it, but this one just didn‘t appeal to me. Booth seems like such an odd figure to portray in literature. 1mo
squirrelbrain Great review, and an interesting discussion from everyone. I think I took it as a face-value portrayal of a family, and didn‘t know of any of the facts behind this so this post has been really enlightening for me. (edited) 1mo
BarbaraBB @Graywacke You‘re hardly the typical American reader 😉, I knew that! But you do probably know more about American history than I do! I am not far in yet, let‘s see where it leads! 1mo
Graywacke @charl08 You might be spot on. What she says in the afterward is consistent with that - the need to share what she learned. 1mo
Graywacke @TrishB @batsy please keep in mind I‘m just one silly reader. For what it‘s worth, it would take a lot to get me like a novel that foregrounds the person who killed one of my favorite people in history. 🤷🏻‍♂️ (I‘m definitely not recommending it! ) 1mo
Graywacke @wanderinglynn I‘m also a fan of We Are Completely Beside Ourselves. I thought it was terrific. I was a 1990‘s undergrad and I really liked how she captured aspects of that in the novel. And I thought about that as I kept thinking here that these 19th century characters could be 2020 people. 1mo
Graywacke @squirrelbrain agree. I‘m really enjoying the comments. 1mo
Graywacke @BarbaraBB I had resistance from early on. So you‘re gratefully past that. I‘m so curious on your thoughts. 1mo
jlhammar Great review! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Hoping to make some progress on this over the weekend. Interested to see where I land. 1mo
Graywacke @jlhammar I‘m curious what you think! 1mo
Suet624 I enjoyed reading this one. Long winded, for sure, but the details about the War and the skirmishes within the cities, the Virginia military encircling the White House in protest, the riots when Lincoln instituted the draft, reminded me so much of today but on steroids. Edwin traveling to California through jungles(?!) … there was just enough history in the book to keep me interested. Walt Whitman writing a poem about Booth‘s dad! Who knew! Not I. 4w
Graywacke @Suet624 Thanks for sharing and I‘m glad you enjoyed it. I just couldn‘t connect…well, the NYcity riot was pretty intense. Whoa. 4w
Suet624 @Graywacke that riot! Just a free-for-all of chaos, destruction, and savagery. 4w
Graywacke @Suet624 It‘s so strange that the rioters were essentially southern sympathizers in Civil War Ny. 4w
Suet624 @Graywacke yes and many were just hooligans, in it for the raping and pillaging. 3w
53 likes24 comments
Sand and Sandstone | Raymond Siever, F. J. Pettijohn, Paul E. Potter
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Graywacke is a type of sandstone I dealt with in my geology master‘s thesis. It‘s a very hard muddy sandstone often found in thin layers mixed with soft shale, often tectonically tilted, and sometimes resulting in beautiful outcrops. I like how it sounds and I like the word play in the name. (Although on Goodreads and LibraryThing I used my real name. ☺️)

#littenswanttoknow @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Graywacke Side note: in my profile picture my hand is on a wall of naturally outcropping salt. (From Israel, near the dead sea) In real life I get paid to understand salt on seismic data. 1mo
RaeLovesToRead When I read the word in Bill Bryson's Short History of Nearly Everything, it was the first time I heard it other than as your username! I was like ahhh that's what it means 😁 1mo
Susanita That‘s cool! I minored in geology but don‘t remember much of it, I‘m afraid. 1mo
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Graywacke @RaeLovesToRead oh, I listened to that and I missed the reference. Bummer. I hope he the rock it‘s proper respect. 🙂 1mo
Graywacke @Susanita that‘s really cool about you geology side. 👍 (I won‘t comment on what I‘ve forgotten. 😁) 1mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks So cool!! I always wondered!! 1mo
63 likes6 comments
Untitled | Unknown
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To calm and settle my mind, to give that mind some structure, and because I‘m curious.

No clear inspiration. I wasn‘t a reader as a kid, but somehow I must still have been curious about books.

Best in the morning, before everything else, but with ☕️. But other times too.

#littenswanttoknow @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks (great hashtag)

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you!! 🙌🏻📚💙 1mo
Graywacke @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I‘m enjoying your questions and the posts around them. 🙂 1mo
46 likes2 comments
The File on H. | Ismail Kadare
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The File on H. : Chapters 4-8(second discussion)

“…as if to reward them for their perseverance, it seemed, the mountains were presenting them with living beings, who were walked towards them”

And so the highlanders and rhapsodes of the Accursed Mountains are discovered and recorded. And we‘re out of the farce and into this highland culture, from this academic perspective. What did you think of this section?

Some references in the comments.

Graywacke Slavic video of a singer, circa 1930‘s (?)

Graywacke A modern Albanian performance, with translation: Kosovo | The Legendary Epic of Kosovo | Isa Elezi-Lekgjekaj | The Song of Halil‘s Wedding (vv 1-20) https://youtu.be/yKBlQqn9aB0
See All 43 Comments
Graywacke I really enjoyed this section. The highlanders coming out of the mist like gods or ghosts provided for me a wonderful switch on the what the book is doing. From strained satire to something higher. Anyway I enjoyed it. I‘m curious why the 1st singer was so ill on returning. (edited) 1mo
Graywacke The pictures I posted are all of iffy sources. They might be early 20th century Albanian highlanders with wingtip shoulder padding, which is what I googled, or maybe not. 1mo
Ann_Reads I need to watch all your posted YouTube videos. Thanks for adding the links. Interesting pictures also. It looks like the highlanders had a rough life, given the environmental and political conditions.

Actually, I thought it was was easier to figure out what was going on in this section, compared to Chapters 1-3. Kadare still manages to get in a cameo for Daisy. I'll leave it at that, until Sarah has an opportunity to comment. 🙂
salderson107 Thank you for the pictures, they definitely help put everything in context! 1mo
salderson107 Oops I meant to post more! I really liked this part much better. The image of the two men struggling down the stairs with the unwieldy recording device was my favorite part here. I could see them struggle with it while everyone just sort of.....watched. the imagery really lends to the comedy of the piece. On the subject of comedy, I was wondering what felt so familiar about this book, and then it hit me- the humor is very similar to Farley Mowat's "Never Cry Wolf!" 1mo
salderson107 Also, Ann I agree- this section was so much easier to follow for sure! I felt a little lost before, but now I feel like I understand what's going on. And I really want to know why the first poet disappeared for so long. On another note, the bulk of my thesis was on Bardic culture and it's importance in Welsh society and as past historical sources. I studied Homer as part of my minor field, and one of the main theories was that Homer was just the guy who wrote down the stores that had been sung and told for centuries. I love how our main guys are following that theory. 1mo
Graywacke @salderson107 You remind me of a novel series on Welsh bards in the dark ages that I followed for a bit. The author publishes independently and is active in LibraryThing. I can send details. I enjoyed them in the right state of mind. 1mo
Graywacke @Ann_Reads @salderson107 agree this is much easier now that we kind of know what it‘s (the novel) is doing. Although I have no idea what will happen next. And i feel a lot of distance between the author and the subject, like … he‘s never direct. The storytelling alway has an usual perspective. It‘s curious to me. And yet it seems to work. (I‘m not familiar with Farley Mowat. Noting.) (edited) 1mo
Graywacke @salderson107 do you see similarities/differences between these and the (maybe poorly known?) Welsh bards? How much do we know about Welsh bards? 1mo
Graywacke @Ann_Reads @salderson107 I hope you guys get a chance to watch bard videos. They‘re short, if that helps. The modern version really struck me. 1mo
salderson107 It's really difficult to explain everything about bardic culture in a short amount of space, and I do not claim to know everything. That being said, bards in late antiquity and early Medieval Wales held a lot of power because they were considered to be the holders of History. Many of their poems were considered fact. This is true of most pre-literate cultures. Bards could make or break kingship, as they could sing praises or tear down a king and people would listen. I have a theory (and I don't think I'm alone) that this is all that is left of the pre Roman/pre Christian Druidic Celtic culture. However, after the Norman invasion as we head into the high Middle Ages, the power of bards became as history keepers and story tellers, but with no sway over lordship or princes. I feel like it's the same concept in other areas all over the world. 1mo
salderson107 I'm totally going to watch the videos later tonight! 1mo
salderson107 You should check out Never Cry Wolf- it's a great book about a biologist who travels to the Yukon territory to study wolves because the Canadian government thinks the wolves are killing off the caribou. It's a great book 1mo
Ann_Reads I'm just catching up with the thoughtful comments here. Tomorrow I plan to watch the videos and will post more. 1mo
Graywacke @salderson107 interesting about the Celtic bards and their history. It makes me imagine a very dangerous Homer. Also, I like biology and the Yukon. I should check out Never Cry Wolf. 1mo
Graywacke @Ann_Reads agree, fun conversation. Let us know what you think of the single string singers. 1mo
salderson107 I love Celtic history so much! Definitely check out Never Cry Wolf! I think Homer wrote down the stories that had been passed down, but there are so many theories! He wrote down 16 poems, but only The Odessy and The Illiad survived 1mo
Graywacke @salderson107 16 poems? The Epic Cycle plus the Theban cycle? (All I know about these is that they are lost, and are assumed to have had different authors) 1mo
Ann_Reads Commenting on the videos: I really enjoyed watching these @Graywacke. Thank you so much for taking the time to find them. The drone footage of the Accursed Mountains was beautiful and serene. I'm glad the YouTuber didn't add any voiceover to the video. It brought home just how isolated that area in Albania is, being in a valley and making travel (other than by water) quite difficult.
(con't) ⬇⬇⬇
Ann_Reads “The Legendary Epic of Kosovo“ performance was more polished. The English subtitles, makes one realize they are singing about mundane things like making coffee, lol. I appreciated the more rustic “The Singer of Tales.“ That seems more authentic to the story since it's from Albert Lord. It really is stories set to a melodic tune though my ear isn't accustomed to that type of music. Not something I'd usually seek for entertainment purposes. 🙂 (edited) 1mo
Ann_Reads @salderson107 Really insightful comments about the history of Celtic bards and their level of power in society due to them being the keepers of knowledge. That does make sense.

In general, I wonder how many purposeful alterations were made to oral recitations, for whatever reason, such as to make an important person seem more heroic. Not something that could really be answered but probably in keeping with human nature.
salderson107 @Graywacke Yes I'm pretty sure there are 16. BUT 14 of them were lost amd we have no idea what they are about. In my opinion they are all probably about the Bronze Age collapse and later emergence of the Greek and Roman cultures. I feel like that's what the Odessy and Illiad are about 1mo
salderson107 @Graywacke ooh I don't think they are the Epic Cyles or the Theban Cycle. There are so many works of literature that are lost forever. 1mo
salderson107 @Ann_Reads thanks Ann! There are some hints about how all bards would remember poems. There are patterns. Many songs are changed slightly but the basics stay the same. But since we have no time machines, sadly we are unable to know for sure 1mo
salderson107 @Graywacke thank you for sharing the videos! They were pretty awesome! I really love the Accursed Mountains- I would love to visit them! 1mo
Ann_Reads @salderson107 I guess I was wondering how much of the rhapsodes are actually true to begin with (if based on actual events) versus being exaggerated for specific reasons. As you said, without written documents to compare it to, that makes it difficult to tell. Even written (supposedly nonfiction) accounts can be exaggerated. Different individual's versions of a historical event on Twitter is a prime example. Just thinking out loud here. 1mo
salderson107 @Ann_Reads so true! In college one of the things I learned was that many accounts of battles were exaggerated (10,000 men vs 500, men born from Gods,, etc). Nevermind the fact that history is often written by the victir 1mo
salderson107 @Ann_Reads in any case, I bet some things are true, while others are exaggerations or embellishments, or even poetic license used to make a point 1mo
Graywacke @Ann_Reads @salderson107 my favorite explanation of the Iliad is as an artistic rendition of the cultural clashes when Mediterranean barbarians tried to ransack wealthy west Asian cities. Greeks being the barbarians and Trojans being the cultured Asians. (I also like that Ajax uses an older form of armor than the other soldiers, a curious anachronistic placement.) 👇 1mo
Graywacke These Albanian legends are different. Like Helen, they are focused on infidelity and reinforcing conservative cultural values, but the context is different. The reality behind them is maybe along the lines of Arthurian legend. ?? (edited) 1mo
salderson107 Ooh I love the Arthurian legend connection! What a cool concept! I can see what you mean about the clashes, but I don't agree really. My question would be why would Greeks, who considered themselves the height of civilization, think of the Asian groups to be more cultured? There is a lot of room for questions and interpretation here, though, and I would love to hear more about this theory. 1mo
Graywacke @salderson107 I‘m thinking of a book i read: Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson. He doesn‘t see the Greeks of Classical time as the Greek‘s of the Iliad‘s time. He thinks the Iliad touches on deeper history when there were no cultured Greeks. He‘s imagining a version of the Sea Peoples. (Of course, the Greeks _in_ the Iliad have aspects of barbarian raiders. They are raping, pillaging, killing, and capturing booty from a fortified rich city.) 1mo
salderson107 @Graywacke that's super interesting, I'm going to have to read that! 1mo
Graywacke “The Sea Peoples are a hypothesized seafaring confederation that attacked ancient Egypt and other regions in the East Mediterranean prior to and during the Late Bronze Age collapse (1200–900 BCE).” They are associated with the collapse of Bronze Age civilization, and the Greek Dark Ages: “the period of Greek history from the end of the Mycenaean palatial civilization around 1100 BC to the beginning of the Archaic age around 750 BC.” * 1mo
Graywacke *all from Wikipedia. 😁 1mo
Graywacke @salderson107 Nicolson‘s book is good fun, regardless of its correctness. 🙂 (edited) 1mo
salderson107 @Graywacke I love that you point out he isn't an historian and you got your info from Wikipedia! I'm going to read it and keep an open mind and see what he says 1mo
Graywacke @salderson107 oh, right, he writes on history but is not considered a historian. Read with caution. 1mo
salderson107 @Graywacke I will definitely think about that when I'm reading! Background in the field and peer review is important for sure! 1mo
27 likes43 comments
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#Alphabetgame #LetterZ @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

I listened to Reza as part my prep to read the New Testament. (So, a non-religious Jew, me, used a book by Muslim-turned-Evangelical-Christian-turned-Muslim-again author to prepare to read a Christian religious book in a non-religious way.) Anyway, I found this one really striking and it helped orient me on the gospel (but not really on Paul).

SleepyDragon Sounds complicated. Lol 1mo
Ruthiella You might want to look into books by Gary Wills who is Catholic and a fervent believer. But the tagged book is short and his arguments are clear. (edited) 1mo
Graywacke @SleepyDragon right 🙂 1mo
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Graywacke @Ruthiella thanks! 1mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing!! 1mo
DivineDiana I was not aware of this book until I read your post. Then, I picked up one of my current reads, “Overdue”by Amanda Oliver. Lo and behold on the back of the cover, there was an endorsement by Reza Aslan,author of Zealot! (edited) 1mo
Graywacke @DivineDiana funny how that happens. And interesting endorsement. How is Overdue? 1mo
DivineDiana Yes,I also found it strange that he had endorsed this particular book. As an active volunteer at my local library, I am finding it illuminating. 1mo
Graywacke @DivineDiana my guess is literary nonfiction writers stick together. 🙂 And cool. Overdue sounds fun. 1mo
46 likes9 comments
The Yellow House | Sarah M. Broom
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#Alphabetgame #LetterY @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Taking a moment to think about New Orleans.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I love visiting there!! 1mo
47 likes1 comment
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#Alphabetgame #LetterW @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

I fell under the spell of this novel, an odd romance in a British controlled pre-Israel full of WW2 refugees, cultural mixtures, and all the conflicting unsettled forces.

Other special W‘s:
Ward Six and Other Stories-Anton Chekhov
The Warmth of Other Suns-Isabel Wilkerson
We Have Always Lived in the Castle-Shirley Jackson
Woman of Rome: A Life of Elsa Morante-Lily Tuck

Kitta I almost picked this one too! I loved it. 1mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thanks for playing 🙌🏻📚 1mo
Graywacke @Kitta 👍 I always feel like it‘s a book that should get more attention than it does. 🙂 1mo
46 likes4 comments
Glory | NoViolet Bulawayo
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I started this today, a 16-hour audiobook. So far it seems like an Animal Farm-like take on Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe, but as a rant, if a smart one. I‘m entertained, (and thinking a little about Márquez‘s The Autumn of the Patriarch, and that scene in Parasite where a character imitates Kim Jung-un.)

squirrelbrain I‘ve been listening to this for a while…it‘s a long one! It dipped a bit, as it became rather repetitive but has picked up again now. I‘ve got 6.5 hours left. 1mo
Graywacke @squirrelbrain You made some serious headway. I think it could be shorter but it‘s stretched out a lot because the reader reads as if they are performing on stage. Also - interesting about the repetition (Márquez did the same.) My worry is I feel like I can sum one everything in one sentence and capture the whole. But so far I‘m continually entertained. I‘m only 1 hour in. 1mo
BarbaraBB I‘ve been hesitant about this one but your post is encouraging! 1mo
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Graywacke @BarbaraBB I‘m only 10% in. 🙂 1mo
Graywacke @squirrelbrain I‘m starting to really struggle with this audio. 😐 1mo
squirrelbrain Where are you up to? I think I was at around 30 - 40% when I nearly bailed. It gets better again once you meet Destiny, if you haven‘t got to that point yet. 1mo
Graywacke @squirrelbrain Thanks. I‘ll persevere a bit more. I‘m about 5.5 hours in. Roughly 30%. 1mo
squirrelbrain That sounds about right Dan - you‘ve got a bit more to battle through yet though… 🙄 That‘s the problem with audio - you can‘t really skim read like you can with ‘physical‘ books. 1mo
Graywacke @squirrelbrain I swear the reader gets slower whenever I want to go faster. 😑 1mo
squirrelbrain And the repetition does get worse for a while too…. 1mo
51 likes11 comments
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“But we know the picture art presents today. Fragmentation everywhere; extremes without connections. Stendhal, Balzac, and Flaubert have already created the epic of the new mechanized social and inner life, while the demonic substrata of our lives have been laid bare by Dostoyevsky, Strindberg, and Freud. We who live today have a deep sense that there is nothing left for us to do.”


Does art still mainly present “fragmentation everywhere”?

V. | Thomas Pynchon
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#Alphabetgame #LetterV @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

I have a mixed relationship with Pynchon, and actually with this book, but it‘s a wacky, entertaining, fun, oddball, if difficult work (possibly with a heavy play Vladimir Nabokov, by name and by theme in The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, a book also searching for some mysterious thing). So it‘s hung around.

See also Véra-Stacy Schiff (more Nabokov) & Voices from Chernobyl-Svetlana Alexievich.

Ann_Reads I like the gold period you added to the graphic. Nice touch! 👍 1mo
Graywacke @Ann_Reads I‘m unreasonably proud of that dot. ☺️ 1mo
Liz_M So, V. over Gravity's Rainbow? 1mo
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batsy Yes! Agree with @Ann_Reads 🙂 Pynchon also an author I've yet to read. If I'm to read just one to get an idea of him, what would you recommend? 1mo
Graywacke @Liz_M GR is much more ambitious, and wackier and deeper and more serious. But it‘s very hard to read, even the sentences are tough. Also I bought a guidebook and was completely dependent on it. V. reads very nicely. So, in hindsight, I‘m much more attached to V. 🙂 1mo
Liz_M 👍 1mo
Graywacke @batsy I‘m only just seeing your comment. 🙁 The app is acting up. I think V. is the one I would recommend. Of course, GR will get you into a lot more conversation, if you like (with books and people). But V. has some claws on the wonderment part of the brain. (I liked his early short stories too, Slow Learner. By honestly, I didn‘t like the other 3 books I‘ve read by him. He was a theme I quit. He‘s just makes it too hard for me.) 1mo
batsy @Graywacke Thank you! GR is the one I've been contemplating, but I feel more drawn to Crying of Lot 49; those two seem to be his more "popular" works, so to speak. Will add V. to the top of the list though! 1mo
Graywacke @batsy I found The Crying short and decent reading but also incomprehensible. (I read afterwards it was about the jfk assassination. This was news to me, and I still don‘t get it. 🙁) 1mo
batsy @Graywacke Oh dear! That would surely go over my head, as well 🙃 1mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing 🙌🏻📚 1mo
34 likes11 comments
No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency | Alexander McCall Smith
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I picked this up when I couldn‘t concentrate…and found it too slow. But then I kept coming back to it whenever everything else seemed to difficult. And it provided an enjoyable escape every time. So success. It‘s also thoughtful in its sort of simple life wisdom. I‘m not sure I‘ll pursue more books from the series, but I‘m glad I met Mma Ramotswe and read this one.

SqueakyChu Sort of light reading for you, isn‘t it? 😉 1mo
fredamans I read this years ago and loved it. I wish I had read more now the series has so many books. 1mo
Graywacke @SqueakyChu one day I‘ll actually read mysteries. 🙂 This was the lightest book in reach on a bad day, so yes. But also it‘s pretty well done. 1mo
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Graywacke @fredamans yeah, it‘s a huge series long series now. 1mo
SqueakyChu @Graywacke One of my best friends is so devoted to books by this author. I tried one once, but they‘re not for me. 1mo
Graywacke @SqueakyChu I‘m not surprised. It‘s actually a quirky kind of thing, this first book. 1mo
DisneyFan I bought books 1-20 at a library sale for only a few dollars. It was an impulse purchase and I read all twenty over the years. They are charming and the characters and style of writing grows on you. 1mo
Ruthiella I find this series to be very comforting. I‘m up to book 6. 1mo
Graywacke @DisneyFan ok, if i had 1-20 sitting around, i would read more. 🙂 (edited) 1mo
Graywacke @Ruthiella I can see that, and I should keep that in mind 1mo
63 likes2 stack adds10 comments
The Universe in a Nutshell | Stephen W. Hawking
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#Alphabetgame #LetterU @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Honestly I don‘t have many U‘s (and not a single X…looking ahead). But I like Stephen Hawking and this was fun.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing 📚 1mo
35 likes1 comment
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#Alphabetgame #LetterT @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Amos Oz gives us a life and a story of Israel, in fascinating and tragic ways.

Other T‘s:

The Tempest-Shakespeare
Their Eyes Were Watching God-Zora Neale Hurston
A Train in Winter-Caroline Moorehead
The Trophies of Time: English Antiquarians of the Seventeenth Century-Graham Parry (if this title interests, this book is everything that title promises. It‘s terrific.)

SqueakyChu I loved this book!! However, I have been reading and enjoying books by Amos Oz since I lived in Israel in the 1970s. He‘s one of my favorite authors. 1mo
Graywacke @SqueakyChu i love Oz. I‘m hoping to slowly work through his books. I‘ve read… 🤔… I think only 4 so far. 1mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing 📚 1mo
33 likes3 comments
The File on H. | Ismail Kadare
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The File on H. - Chapters 1-3 #homerinalbania

Very unexpected opening for me. All Albanian satire, and very little Homer so far.

We‘re in Albania under King Zog I (ruled 1928-1939). Our researchers, Max Ross and Bill Norton, are fictional parallels to Milman Parry and Albert Lord. But our focus is on Albanian domestic espionage.

So, is this anything like you imagined? Are you into it, or turned off?

Graywacke Parry and Lord were groundbreaking famous Homeric researchers who first recorded saga storytellers in Serb-Croat in Yugoslavia in the 1930‘s, using the new magnetic tape recorders developed ~1930. Of course they were American, not Irish, and they were in a different country. They both were associated with Harvard. 2mo
Graywacke Links to get started with Parry and Lord



See Modern Tape Recorders section here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tape_recorder

Go to History of Homeric Scholarship section- and to the “Modern” subsection here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homer
(edited) 2mo
Ann_Reads Thanks for all the background links, Graywacke. 🙂 I'm going to read that information and then come back and comment again. My initial impressions:
I didn't expect the story to be humorous even though the “book blurb“ said it was. It isn't ha-ha funny but more comical, even with the translation. (The governor and his wife make a great/weird comedy duo.) Any similarities to the 1990s Bosnian political upheaval, are likely going over my head.
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Graywacke @Ann_Reads it‘s a very different kind of thing they I imagined, thinking of Parry and the nature of storytelling. Kadare knows this whole story, but he‘s put it all as a side show. The center of the story is the nature of repressed Albanian. I‘m adapting to that, just different from my expectation. 2mo
Graywacke I do suspect Kadare is actually writing about 1981 Communist Albania (it was published in 1981), and using Zog as a sort of cover. It‘s a self-surveillance society, so sounds more 1981 than 1931. Also, I‘m really entertained the 20th century had a king Zog. 🙂 2mo
Ann_Reads @Graywacke The Bosnian political upheaval, I was referring to was from a really old NPR 1998 book blurb. I think the reviewer's mention of the upheaval in Bosnia was just coincidental timing with the 1998 US publication of The File on H. Sorry, I should have made that clear in my prior message but was edging near the Litsy character limit per post. Should have con't on in another mssg.
Link: https://www.npr.org/1998/01/19/1036394/the-file-on-h
Ann_Reads (Con't) I actually don't know much about communist Albania in the 1930s or 1980s (or the country's general history) so I probably should read up some about that on Wikipedia, too. 🙂🙃 Thanks for all the other info. Wikipedia has some very thorough articles; one of my favorite online reference sources. (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @Ann_Reads thanks for the link! I can see parallels, or at least it‘s a deranged state of affairs in this Albania. 2mo
salderson107 I'm going to be honest and just say I'm super confused as to what is actually happening in the Albanian government at this time. I don't know much about this time period in Albania. That being said, this is my take so far: we are in a tiny town in Albania and 2 Irishmen arrive (but I'm confused because they came from America?) Amd the governor's wife is in love with the idea of foreigners and just wants to have an affair OR the idea of an affair. Then we have the governor who 8s positive they are spies and so he sends out his own spy to spy on them. But really they are studying Ho m er and Homer's Epic Poetry in Albania where there is still Homer's epics. I'm hoping that pieces start to come together soon because I feel a little lost! I will say the have been several points that I found really funny! Especially how tge Irishmen are speaking very stilted Albanian and it's throwing everyone off. 1mo
Graywacke @salderson107 the Irish speaking Albanian is really funny, especially in that context. I‘m confused too. I think I got everything you described. But i have no clue why we are meeting these people, or where this book is headed. 1mo
Graywacke Although Kadare clearly knows what these researchers are up to. 1mo
salderson107 Yes! I think it's on purpose though. I have a feeling that it will start coming together soon. 1mo
Ann_Reads @salderson107 I think you summed it up pretty well! I read chapters 1-3 twice, which helped, especially pgs 44-61 with all the italicized journal entries from Bill Norton. The whole interaction with the governor and his spies taking the (Irish/US) researcher's papers and copying them - Then the governor reading them allows us readers to kinda know what is going on.

The weird relationship between the governor and his wife? Comedy? I'm not sure.
Graywacke @salderson107 I hope you‘re right and it will make more sense soon. But I think I‘m into it now regardless. 1mo
Ann_Reads Surely the story will transition sometime soon to the actual study of the Homer epic oral traditions. If I'm understanding things correctly (maybe???) it sounds like Max and Bill plan to move onto a more remote place called the Buffalo Inn, soon.

Graywacke @Ann_Reads admiring you read it twice. The governor‘s wife …she is comedy. I also wonder if we should also see her as a kind of mythological element. 1mo
Graywacke @Ann_Reads we‘ll find out. 🙂 1mo
salderson107 I really like Daisy a lot! I think the governor is super odd! The 1mo
Ann_Reads I think Kadare is poking fun at the governor and perhaps a certain segment of male society by making him completely insecure and jealous. Foreign spies are out to invade the country, enemies are lurking in the shadows and every man's goal is to sleep with his wife. He seems controlling and Daisy seems bored out of her mind. (edited) 1mo
Ann_Reads @Graywacke, a really interesting thought about out Daisy possibly representing a mythological element. I'm intrigued but cannot quite puzzle it out on my own. 🤔 1mo
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The File on H. | Ismail Kadare
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The diplomatic bag from the Royal Albanian Legation in Washington, D. C., arrived on a gloomy winter‘s day, of the kind that nature bestows with particular prodigality on the capital cities of small backward states.

@ShyBookOwl #FirstLineFridays

Ann_Reads Excellent! 👍🙂 2mo
38 likes2 comments
The Pelican Shakespeare: Sonnets | William Shakespeare
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I kind a feel like I completed a marathon. I made it! Following our map laid by @GingerAntics of 22 a week, my mornings for 7 weeks have been working through these 154 sonnets. They‘re difficult, but as you work through them they open themselves up with so much language play.

I like this Pelican edition, the one in front. The notes were curt, but smart and insightful. It doesn‘t have any real analysis.

Loved our little #shakespearerealong team

MrsMalaprop 🙌 It‘s been so fun 🤩🙏 2mo
TheBookHippie I'm finishing tomorrow and I agree it has been so much fun!! ALSO THE PLANNED PARENTHOOD!!! 💙 💙 💙 💙 💙 💙 💙 2mo
batsy I hope to finish by tomorrow. It's been a fantastic ride reading it with you guys—really feels like we took a deep dive into Will's psyche with this one 😆 2mo
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I finished the 2nd book, so half way home, but also a month behind my year plan.

Bk2 has changes from Bk1. It‘s more distinctly Gesine‘s voice, but at the cost of much of the eerie feel of this climactic time, which he created by paraphrasing the NY Times. (An unfortunate cost) Also it covers all of WW2, so the backstory takes priority over the then contemporary NYC, excepting MLK‘s assassination. I did get really into it eventually.

BarbaraBB I am sorry to miss this buddyread 2mo
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Song of Solomon | Toni Morrison
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Morrison was, in my imagination, very angry writer in a good way, and I‘ve felt that always comes throug in her writing. Here she found a creative balance, a playful way to express that anger, making this, for me, the most enjoyable of her terrific novels.

I came across so many terrific S‘s, I made categories! See the comments.

#Alphabetgame #LetterS @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Graywacke So many wonderful S‘s, I grouped them:

Terrific Literary novels:
Second Place-Rachel Cusk
Shosha-Isaac Bashevis Singer
Sula-Toni Morrison

Really fun genre novels:
Small Gods-Terry Pratchett
Snow Crash-Neal Stephenson

Poetry that makes you want to read poetry:
Strike Sparks: Selected Poems, 1990-2002-Sharon Olds
Graywacke Nonfiction biblical gems:
Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible-Karel van der Toorn
Stories from Ancient Canaan-(Michael David Coogan translation)

And a nonfictional hidden gem:
Stonehenge-Rosemary Hill (it‘s a history of the cultural response to Stonehenge, including a tracking of the whole wonderfully botched evolution of science in England. Made John Aubrey a hero for me.)
Graywacke Inspirational pseudo-nonfiction novel (a spiritual center for me):
The Songlines-Bruce Chatwin

Note that I could have gone with this as my actual S choice. I hesitated between it and SoS.
See All 14 Comments
Kammbia1 I would respectfully disagree that Morrison was an angry writer. I‘ve read Song of Solomon, Jazz, & Paradise and anger was the emotion I got from any of those novels. She wanted to the black American experience in its fullest range possible. 2mo
Graywacke @Kammbia1 fair enough. I mention it as a strength. But it‘s still an interpretation (and over the writer‘s own claims.) 2mo
Kammbia1 @Graywacke Of course…I was not trying to be contentious or argumentative. Your comment just got my attention and I just shared my interpretation. 2mo
Graywacke @Kammbia1 I modified my post to make it clear it‘s my own perception, and not an objective description. 2mo
Graywacke @Kammbia1 I appreciate your sharing it. It came across to me in a good way. 🙂 2mo
Kammbia1 @Graywacke It‘s all good. Reading is subjective and we all bring our own experience to a book. No worries! 👍🏿 2mo
batsy Taking notes—lots I haven't read, including both Morrisons. Stonehenge sounds excellent. 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm So many interesting S favourites! 2mo
Graywacke @Kammbia1 yes, we do. Thankfully. 🙂 2mo
Graywacke @batsy 🙂 These two Morrisons are terrific dynamic works. 2mo
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Richard III | William Shakespeare
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#Alphabetgame #LetterR @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Shakespeare‘s cycle of English kings are definitely not my favorites of his, except R3. I love awful Richard and his dialogues with the audience.

Other Rs that I adore:
- Radioactive-Lauen Redniss (fantastic GN)
- Religion and the Decline of Magic-Keith Thomas
- A River Runs Through It-Normal Maclean (an old favorite)
- Running After Antelope-Scott Carrier* (see comment.)

Graywacke Running After Antelope is an odd, semi-poetic, interior head problem late 1990‘s mindset novel (pub 2001). It had some life on NPR‘s This American Life, where I discovered and got attached to it. But I have not come across any readers elsewhere since. It‘s absolutely terrific of you like that kind of thing. (edited) 2mo
rabbitprincess Excellent choice of actor photo for this one 😍 2mo
KathyWheeler Richard III is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. 2mo
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vivastory IMO Richard II is one of his more underrated plays. I love the Henriad, esp. those featuring Falstaff. I have been meaning to read the War of the Roses tetralogy. Once I do so I will def watch Hollow Crown series 2. The first series remains to this day one of my fave Shakespeare adaptations. 2mo
Liz_M Dick III is my favorite bad guy! 2mo
Graywacke @rabbitprincess he does everything so well. 🙂 2mo
Graywacke @KathyWheeler @Liz_M some bad guys are just fantastic 😁 2mo
Graywacke @vivastory I haven‘t read R2 yet. Falstaff is crazy. I would like to see a performance so i can appreciate him more. I didn‘t like reading h5 much, and yet it‘s the one I think about the most, besides R3. 2mo
vivastory I loathed the ending of H5, but I actually have a conspiratorial crackpot theory about the Henriad 🙃 2mo
Graywacke @vivastory not just a theory, but a conspiratorial crackpot one. I‘m curious. 2mo
vivastory Lol. Again, disclaimer: this is 100% a conspiratorial crackpot theory. My theory is that the secret hero of the Henriad is NOT Prince Hal, but rather Falstaff & Prince Hal is the ambitious villain who banishes Falstaff & eventually kills his true friend. 2mo
Graywacke @vivastory No, you‘re definitely on to something there. (You have me waxing thoughts - the psychology in there. 🙂 The unflattering idea of murdering one‘s impractical youthful fanciful (if morally reproachable) self to acquiesce oneself to the hard heartless practical needs of life. Henry‘s relationship with Falstaff is really quite disconcerting, both in embracing the temptations, and later skewering the partner in them. I better stop myself her 2mo
vivastory I DO think that Prince Hal is portrayed as the hero at the end of H5, but it feels like an uneasy portrayal to me due to the coldblooded ambition of it. I can't help but think that Shakespeare had something else up his sleeve. At least a little. 2mo
batsy @vivastory I'm on board with this theory! I couldn't quite put my finger on it when I read it but I think this is what I was leaning toward. I definitely need to re-read this at some point. 2mo
vivastory @batsy I was *just* about to tag you to ask you to weigh in & see if I was crazy or not 😂 I have found a couple of articles that actually kind of back up the same idea online. Like you I would be interested to revisit it. 2mo
Graywacke @vivastory @batsy WS begs us to search for subtexts. (I have more plays to read before I revisit. 🙂) 2mo
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Quichotte | Salman Rushdie
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A little shoutout to Rushdie. I hope he is recovering ok.

From my 2019 review: I was entertained before Rushdie gets serious with the Oxycontin epidemic and American racism, and I was thoroughly involved when he toyed, semi-seriously, with Indian spiritual mythology, the American physical and psychic landscape, love and obsession, and finally mortality and the fabric of reality.

#Alphabetgame #LetterQ @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks So sad 💔 2mo
vivastory I haven't read this one, but I know several people said it was one of his best in years 2mo
Graywacke @vivastory it‘s the only one of his novels I have read. If nothing else, it was a really fun novel, like thoughtful fun. 2mo
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Paradise | Abdulrazak Gurnah
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#Alphabetgame #LetterP @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

I finally read this novel last year, after Gurnah won the Nobel Prize. I loved it. It‘s a perfect P recommendation.

Other terrific P‘s:
Persepolis-Marjane Satrapi
Persuasion & Pride and Prejudice-Austen
Pnin-Vladimir Nabokov (his most charming novel)
Poetry Magazine 75th anniversary edition (October-November 1987)-this is a special edition
The Prospector-J-M G. le Clézio (my intro to his magic)

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing!! 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm Austen of course ❤️ 2mo
Graywacke @erzascarletbookgasm those are the only two Austen‘s I have read. 🙈 @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks thanks! 2mo
batsy Persepolis! Yes! So good. 2mo
vivastory One of your selections might be my choice for P. Great choices & I've added a few to my TBR 2mo
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Outer Dark | Cormac McCarthy
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Yes, McCarthy has better stuff, like Blood Meridian and All the Pretty Horses, but it all starts here in this terrific early novel. Here he first creates that dark strange compelling narrative, and here the structure and the mindset are all laid out. The sparse dialogue, curious surreal oddities, and the gore - the realization that yes, he‘s going to go there.

See a lot more O‘s in the comments.

#Alphabetgame #LetterO @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Graywacke A miscellany of terrific O‘s: O Pioneers!-with Willa Cather‘s wonderful Alexandra; The Odyssey; Of Love and Other Demons (a Rapunzel retelling) and also One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez; Omeros-Derek Walcott; One Summer: America 1927-one of the best by Bill Bryson; An Orchestra of Minorities-Chigozie Obioma… ? (edited) 2mo
Graywacke One more O: Our Parents Lives: The Americanization of Eastern European Jews-Neil and Ruth Cowan. This is an oral history of the children of Jewish immigrants (my grandparents‘s generation). It‘s not all immigrant struggle, but more insatiable youth. An eye-opening gem. 2mo
vivastory To say that I am looking forward to the 2 forthcoming McCarthy novels is an understatement. He is my frontrunner for American to win the Nobel. Great post! 2mo
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Graywacke @vivastory yeah, 2. Nice to find another McCarthy fan. He‘s an author I love but don‘t often recommend (and yet here I posted a recommendation). I don‘t know how I feel about these new two. First, do I want to go back into that mindset again? 🙂 And second, can he pull it off again, twice? I‘ll have to disarm that second question before I read them. 2mo
batsy It seems wrong that I've gone this long without reading him. Feels like some of these are my kind of gloom and doom... 😅 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm Same here @batsy 😂. Seems a bit violent too.. 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing! 2mo
Graywacke @batsy I think you could tolerate CM. 🙂 @erzascarletbookgasm perhaps a bit (but he hardly peaks here!) @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks thanks! 2mo
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The File on H. | Ismail Kadare
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Ann_Reads Thank you! I was just looking at your prior post as I couldn't recall the reading schedule. What timing! 😁 2mo
Graywacke @Ann_Reads Our telepathy is working. 🙂 2mo
salderson107 I'm glad you posted this because I was als9 wondering about the timing! 2mo
Graywacke @salderson107 👍 I‘m looking forward to our chat coming up. 2mo
salderson107 Me too! 2mo
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#Alphabetgame #LetterN @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

When that unstable nut-head became the US president my disillusionment was so intense that reading became hard. I needed an escape. This series, beginning with My Brilliant Friend, swept me away unlike anything else has. I adored Ferrante‘s Neapolitan Quartet - my N.

More N‘s in the comments.

Graywacke My shortlist includes the wonderful Zimbabwean novel Nervous Conditions, by Tsitsi Dangarembga, and a book of interviews of literary nonfiction authors: The New New Journalism by Robert Boynton. Also: The Name of the Rose-Umberto Eco; Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass & No One is Talking About This-Patricia Lockwood 2mo
IuliaC This tetralogy is great indeed! 2mo
Bookwomble Thank you for mentioning "Nervous Conditions", which I've reserved at the library for my #ReadingAfrica2022 challenge. Thank you, also, for "unstable nut-head" ? 2mo
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batsy Great post! Out of these I've only read The Name of the Rose and I agree it's excellent! 2mo
Graywacke @IuliaC 😍👍 2mo
Graywacke @Bookwomble I hope you enjoy Nervous Conditions. I read the trilogy for the Booker 2020 longlist and this was better than anything actually on the list. (As was the second book in the trilogy - The Book of Not) … i‘m so done with nut-heads 🤢 (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @batsy i had a great experience with The Name of the Rose, which I read blind, knowing nothing of the book or Eco (I picked it up for it‘s curious medieval cover). I‘m going to be bold and recommend specifically to you My Brilliant Friend. (A future NYRB classic?) We should alter-buddy read. I‘ll read Middlemarch and you Ferrante. 🙂 2mo
Bookwomble @Graywacke Let's hope the nut-heads are done with us 😊✊🏻 2mo
batsy Perfect alter-buddy read! Turns out I have the Neapolitan quartet waiting for me on my shelves 😁 I had a similar experience with the Eco. I'd heard it mentioned a lot but I had no idea what it was exactly about and I love how it surprised me. Due for a re-read I think; feel I'd missed out on a bit back then. 2mo
Graywacke @batsy i have Middlemarch around here somewhere too. Let me know how your October or November or December look. 🙂 2mo
Ann_Reads Great introductory post! (I still feel the need for reading escapism due to all the ongoing related drama that still deeply concerns me for 2024.) Also, I think you'll be in for a treat with Middlemarch. At least I hope so! 2mo
Graywacke @Ann_Reads thanks! I‘m a lot worried about all future elections, including especially the next one. 2mo
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Memories of the Future | Siri Hustvedt
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Hustvedt is a terrific author and I couldn‘t help admiring how fun her feminist diatribe is here. I really enjoyed and was inspired by this oddly structured novel and its appreciation for Sherlock Holmes and the passion under the modern occult. (Although it might only be me. Litsy gives it a lowly 17% rating)

There are so many really good M‘s. I‘ll put a list in the comments.

#Alphabetgame #LetterM @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Graywacke Other adored M‘s: Macbeth
Maus-Art Spiegelman
A Midsummer Night‘s Dream
Milkman-Anna Burns
Moby Dick-Melville
Moon Tiger-Penelope Lively
The Mutability Cantos-Edmund Spenser
My Ántonia-Willa Cather
My Michael-Amos Oz
My Mortal Enemy-Willa Cather
(edited) 2mo
vlwelser 😍 Milkman 2mo
Billypar This one is on my to be read shelf, so glad to see a positive review, even if you're in the minority. I really liked 2 of the 3 Hustvedt's I've read (What I Loved and The Blazing World). 2mo
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Nutmegnc I loved another book by this author 2mo
Graywacke @Billypar @Nutmegnc I loved The Blazing World. But I haven‘t read these other two. Noting! 2mo
vivastory I haven't read this one, it's on my TBR. I loved The Blazing World. I have a signed slipcase edition that I prize in my collection 2mo
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All the Sonnets of Shakespeare | William Shakespeare
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Sonnet 124* - another on the permanence of love, here against time and chance. I love the phrase “Weeds among weeds, or flowers with flowers gathered” for a metaphor for our fate‘s chances. And i love the phrase “Under the blow of thrallèd discontent”, warning us not be slaves to discontent, how easy it is.

(*I would say for the morning, but we are fairly balanced on opposite sides of this ?)


MrsMalaprop How cool is it that we are working our way through these together, from all around the world, 400-odd years after they were penned?! 2mo
Graywacke @MrsMalaprop it‘s a beautiful thing. The power of Litsy! 💙 (and Shakespeare 🙂) 2mo
batsy @MrsMalaprop Pretty wonderful 💕 2mo
batsy Bonus points for paws and whiskers 😍🐈 2mo
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