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Joined June 2017

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These Precious Days by Ann Patchett
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Troilus and Criseyde by Geoffrey Chaucer
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Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Old New York | Edith Wharton
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Themes are the stifling culture of NY‘s old elite inter-marrying families, where men control the money, and woman are dependent. Wharton gives us humans within this culture. Overall, the stories benefit from that Wharton prose that makes everything easy and comfortable and interesting. Her writing catches us readers early. You're involved, characters crystallize before your eyes quickly, sometimes many all at once, each distinct.

If I Survive You | Jonathan Escoffery
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I really enjoyed the opening section where he writes about growing up in South Florida as the son of Jamaican parents. Fictional Trelawney has trouble fitting in SFl‘s very inflexible cultural divisions. I'm older than Escoffery, but I grew up that 1980's SFl world too—ethnically diverse, with no mixing.

The book goes much softer after that with less complicated characters and some social-media-meme friendly plot points. So, overall ok.

Graywacke This is a 1st book. So a promising author. #Booker2023 1d
38 likes1 comment
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Surprisingly engaging. It's well written, despite lots of dense info, and also somehow very human focused. It's always interesting and always thorough. Shardlake doesn't just tell you the ways a fungus does and doesn't act similar to a human brain, he goes into the whole theory of anthropomorphizing.

Good group read #naturalitsy

Old New York | Edith Wharton
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New Years Day - our last story

“She was bad …always.”

Like with Hayley, we open with a character assassination, although this time a societal judgment, exposing issues of that society. But this story has a trick to it, a mystery and an unexpected explanation. This wraps up our latest Wharton. What were your thoughts on Lizzie Hazeldean and her story?

Currey @Graywacke I found it difficult to swallow the trick, unlike Ethan Frome, where the trick is simply devastating. 3d
See All 39 Comments
Lcsmcat @Currey Yeah, I felt like where Ethan did the honorable thing, she could have found a better solution than pimping herself out. And what does that say about Wharton‘s views on Women‘s choices? 3d
Leftcoastzen I haven‘t finished yet😒 3d
TheBookHippie 😵‍💫🤦🏻‍♀️ the troupe of Women bartering their bodies 🤦🏻‍♀️ and why?! Left a bad taste in my mouth so to speak. What a mess. 3d
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat 💯💯💯 3d
Currey @Graywacke @Lcsmcat After the ‘trick‘ I did find the character study interesting. How she became a person with interesting people at her parties and then not so interesting people. Of course my conclusion was: READ and the whole world will open up to you. 3d
Currey @Graywacke @Lcsmcat “I have tried - but print makes me sleepy.” 3d
Graywacke See, I‘m on board with the comments here. What was she thinking and how was that a good solution or even ok? I have trouble with it. But that also means … I‘m standing next to the Wessons judging! 🤦🏻‍♂️ @Currey the character study is interesting, how W effectively misleads us on how who Lizzie is. 3d
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen no worries. Take your time. 3d
Graywacke Any thoughts on this: “She had done one great— or abominable— thing; rank it as you please, it had been done heroically.” 3d
batsy I mean the idea of a woman having to do this is obviously horrible, but the story is not celebrating it and neither was Wharton judging. I feel like that is the minor tragedy that Wharton was exploring based on how Lizzie grew up & what society (at that time) valued in a woman. "Ah, as a woman she knew her business..." was both her source of temporary, short-lived power & her fatal flaw, so to speak. 3d
batsy (I found Charlie a compelling, inscrutable character—because even Lizzie found it hard to read him, and we see him through her eyes—but probably one of Wharton's more interesting husband characters and I'm sorry that we didn't get more of him and his interactions with Lizzie.) 3d
Tamra I enjoyed the character & society studies, but this one felt a bit over the top in terms of the twist. (edited) 3d
Tamra I did feel sorry for Lizzie as a widow, her only talent charming men. Empty & vacuous life, which she sadly realized. That would be maddening! Provided great contrast with Charles‘ character, which Wharton suggests is “deep” given his reading choices. (edited) 3d
Tamra @batsy I agree with you, I didn‘t get the impression she was judging & condemning Lizzie. It was all rather acknowledging a fact, as Lizzie does. (edited) 3d
willaful @batsy I completely agree. This was actually my favorite of the stories and the one I found most relatable. 3d
Graywacke @batsy do you think Lizzie was paying price of her culture? (loaded question 😁) 3d
dabbe @batsy and I have already shared with each other that this was one of our faves of the four. I agree with @Graywacke's last statement, too. Women in those days had fewer choices. And Wharton shows that sometimes the most wealthy women had the fewest choices of all. Lizzie had zero talent except when it came to her looks and how to use them. A hero does something for the greater good--even if it might be abominable to society's views as to what ⬇️ 3d
dabbe is/is not appropriate. I think from Lizzie's point of view, she did the only thing she knew how to earn $ for her family. It's impossible to judge her from our 2023 sensibilities. As Atticus Finch in TKAM said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.“ For some reason, Lizzie's character really took hold of my heart (as did Ellen in TAoI).
Lcsmcat @Tamra I felt sorry for Lizzie too. Such a sad empty life and all as a result of her father‘s actions followed by her “heroic” act. I‘m not sure how I feel about that act yet, but it was certainly not easy. 2d
Tamra @Lcsmcat me neither! I‘m also suspicious Charles didn‘t know - if he was as astute & intelligent as Wharton suggested he‘d have to as least find her “luxuries” suspect given the state of their affairs and the comment about how far she stretched her stepmother‘s gift is offered for a reason. I‘m thinking he thought she needed the luxuries to be happy and he accepted the source as a sacrifice to her. (edited) 2d
Lcsmcat @Tamra Agreed! I feel like he had to know, which is why I feel like there had to be another option. 2d
Graywacke @tamra and @Lcsmcat - thinking about it now, he had to know. He seemed to understand and seems be completely forgave her. But surely it hurt him deeply. That‘s tragic on its own. 1d
Graywacke Another thing that struck me here was Lizzie‘s explanation of her sophistication (which was self-deception at work) and sexual power. How she knew how to work men - her one talent. She was a force when she felt the need to be. 1d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @Tamra I wonder if EW was trying to show that he was just as trapped as Lizzie. If she weren‘t decked out the way that was expected, would he have lost his own status? It is tragic, and so few seemed to be able to break out to a place where they could be happy. It reminds me of Theodosia from the Cather novel. So much effort required to leave and then so much is damaged in the effort that you can‘t go back. 1d
Tamra @Graywacke agree, she used the powers she had to navigate her circumstances! 1d
Graywacke @Currey @Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie @batsy @Tamra @willaful @dabbe thanks all for your comments. Wharton discussions always reward here. They‘re fantastic! @Leftcoastzen no pressure, 😁, but I look forward to your comments. And any other that come this way. Cheers all. 1d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I see that there! The trap of wealth culture and its bitter emotional costs. 1d
Graywacke @Tamra yes. It‘s tragically beautiful in some ways. Awfully beautiful? 1d
TheBookHippie This was fun to see everyone‘s take ! All varied! 1d
willaful @Lcsmcat There's no way to know for sure, but it feels like it could be almost a “Gift of the Magi“ situation -- each giving up something for the sake of the other that ironically neither really needed or wanted. His short life might have been happier if they'd just given up all the trappings, but indeed, it was so hard to break out. 1d
dabbe @Graywacke 💯 agree! 1d
dabbe @Graywacke Whew. That sentence just grabbed me by the throat, it was so powerful. Heroes are the ones who dare to do what the ordinary person can't or won't do. And sometimes their decisions could be construed as abominable by us couch potatoes watching the drama unfold. I think of Odysseus now letting 6 of his men die as Scylla's dinner to save most of his men from Charybdis. A horrendous thing to do, but still heroic. 1d
Graywacke @willaful i was thinking O‘Henry! 1d
Graywacke @dabbe hmm. Now if Odysseus had volunteered himself up Scylla, I‘d be more comfortable with this comparison. 🙂 1d
dabbe @Graywacke Excellent point. I stand corrected. 🙂 1d
35 likes39 comments
These Precious Days | Ann Patchett
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Next audiobook. I started this morning and I‘m already emotionally involved, thinking of my relationship with my own dad.

The Polish Boxer | Eduardo Halfon
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A moment in my San Francisco hotel room after dropping my daughter off at college.

I finished this on the plane here and loved it. Literature and life and a dizzying kaleidoscope of cultural clashes and mishmashes. And many beautifully quirky lines. Halfon is a Jewish-born Guatemalan grandson of a Polish Holocaust survivor and writes about himself fictionally or metafictionally, occasionally holding the seams up for us to see.

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Old New York | Edith Wharton
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The Spark - 3rd story in Old New York

A character study of Hayley Delane. But we‘re not in the 1860‘s. Instead we‘re roughly contemporary (1920‘s), looking back at the 1890‘s, and imagining the impact of the 1860‘s American Civil War on HD. Wharton is maybe thinking of WWI, and also of Walt Whitman.

What did you think of Hayley, and his wife Leila and that opening line? Or of our narrator? Or of the impacts of war and poets?

See All 47 Comments
Graywacke One quote i came across: R. W. B. Lewis notes that in this tale “Wharton was combining the war-infested atmosphere of her infancy and her lifelong affection for Whitman with her own Whitmanesque attentions to the homeless, the wounded, and the tubercular in the more recent war” 1w
Currey @Graywacke The twist of it actually being Whitman who nursed Delane was a bit too neat and predictable, but I enjoyed the character study. 1w
jewright I loved this story too. The characters all seem so realistic. While Hayley‘s and Leila‘s marriage wasn‘t perfect, it worked for them. That‘s what is important. I‘m really enjoying this set of stories. 1w
batsy Such an interesting character study, one that reminded me of Cather's The Professor's House with the ages reversed in terms of the POV. I thought of it as a son's interest in a father figure, but then Delane being deemed "queer" (I know she meant odd, or did she) & Walt Whitman thrown into the mix made me wonder if there are other reasons why he's so sanguine about his less than satisfactory marriage. Lots going on under the surface! 1w
AllDebooks I didn't enjoy this as much as the previous 2 stories, mainly because I couldn't connect with the narrator. I found myself irritated by his judgemental, intrusive gaze, but then that's analogous for the society Wharton has under skilful examination. The character study and writing were superb, as you would expect from Wharton. That last line of Hayley's did make me laugh. 1w
batsy Italian art as the guiding image/theme comes up again, and had me looking up the fresco in Siena featuring Guidoriccio da Fogliano. 1w
arubabookwoman It's interesting that 2 of the 3 stories so far have involved a major real artistic icon. This story was my least favorite so far, perhaps b/c it is just a character study as the narrator describes it (and perhaps that's how Wharton herself viewed it). My favorite so far is The Old Maid (w/o the "real" character). It was just so much meatier and complex. 1w
Lcsmcat I loved all the literary references, even though Whitman is not a favorite poet of mine. “when I see the children reading a newspaper-fellow like Kipling I want to tear the rubbish out of their hands.” 1w
Lcsmcat “And they breathed a joint sigh over the vanished “Old New York” of their youth, the exclusive and impenetrable New York to which Rubini and Jenny Lind had sung and Mr. Thackeray lectured, the New York which had declined to receive Charles Dickens, and which, out of revenge, he had so scandalously ridiculed.” 1w
arubabookwoman I've said many times on other forums (LT) that I am not a short story fan. They often feel incomplete to me and/or puzzling. Wharton's short stories are an exception I'm finding. I've been thoroughly engaged with these, and satisfied after they ended. I have also read Wharton's collection of ghost stories and they too were wonderfully satisfying and unique. If anyone does Halloween reads I'd recommend them. 1w
Lcsmcat Also, not literary, but a favorite quote because it‘s so Whartonesque “Almost any man can take a stand on a principle his fellow-citizens are already occupying; but Hayley Delane held out for things his friends could not comprehend, and did it for reasons he could not explain.” 1w
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman Tales of Men and Ghosts is in my eBook Complete Edith Wharton. We‘d talked about doing a nonfiction next, but if the group wants to read that collection in October I‘d be flexible. 1w
TheBookHippie Love Whitman. The Ghost book I just added to my wishlist I‘m fine buying it. I loved this section as it reminded me how much I do love a good short story. My notes aren‘t with me I‘m at XC 🏃🏻 we had to leave at 5 am 😵‍💫😅 but I had many passages that I read more than once. This reminded me of so many ppl 👀😅🤣🤦🏻‍♀️ probably why I enjoyed it. 🤷🏻‍♀️🙃🤯 1w
Graywacke @batsy that line jumped out of me. I was already thinking he must be gay but couldn‘t find any clue. That was word was the only one I found until we learned he got close with Walt Whitman. It‘s important to the story because he colors his marital relationship one way or another, and it leaves implications for the Civil War experience. Walt Whitman -was- gay… (well, that‘s the conventional wisdom) 👇 1w
Graywacke @batsy 👆And it highlights one other obvious/not-obvious question - I suspect our narrator is also gay. (Nothing is the text points to that other than absence of non-necessary opposite sex mentions.) 1w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat love the references. Damn- Kipling! Take that with your Nobel.🙂 1w
Graywacke @Currey @jewright @arubabookwoman @AllDebooks - enjoyed all the reactions. While it wasn‘t my favorite story here, I really enjoyed it, and I‘m enjoying thinking about it. @Lcsmcat I‘m down for ghost stories too. Next or whenever. Anything you choose next (that we haven‘t read 😁) is alright by me. 1w
dabbe @Lcsmcat I'd love to read Wharton's ghost stories in October; plus, it would benefit those of us who are doing #Scarathlon. 👻 1w
Graywacke Any thoughts on this quote: “Exploring him like a geologist, I found, for several layers under the Leila stratum, no trace of any interest in letters; and I concluded that, like other men I knew, his mind had been receptive up to a certain age, and had then snapped shut on what it possessed, like a replete crustacean never reached by another high tide.” 1w
dabbe I force-fed myself and read it all in one sitting last night. For me, that's NOT the way to read Wharton. I need to go back and reread and savor and think. All of you have given me much wisdom for the 2nd read. 🤩 1w
Graywacke I mean, what happened to him in the war? What shut down? And why? And what‘s left in those 1890‘s? 1w
Graywacke @dabbe yeah, she rewards slow lazy reading. 🙂 But glad you fit it in. It‘s the shortest story. (Old Maid was the longest.) 1w
AllDebooks @Lcsmcat good call for October. I'm up for ghosts 1w
willaful The story reminded me a bit of The Great Gatsby, in the narrator's fascination with the distinctiveness of someone else's character. (And that character devoted to an unworthy object.) Interestingly, they were published only a year apart.

@AllDeBooks I laughed too, which I was *not* expecting. 😁
Tamra I rooted for Hayley pummeling Byrne - very satisfying! That was such a powerful scene. 😬 Revealing a depth of emotion for someone so “shut-up.” (edited) 1w
Tamra And I found it comical in the end Hayley found Whitman‘s poem nonsensical & disappointing. Especially since he felt Whitman as his nurse taught him Christian charity - such a serious moral sentiment. (edited) 1w
arubabookwoman @Lcsmcat @Graywacke There are at least two collections of her ghost stories on Amazon as well as an Audible version. The 2 Kindle versions (1 a NYRB edition) have 5 overlapping stories, and 4 afditional stories, different in each version. 1w
Graywacke @arubabookwoman tricky! Ghosts was published in 1937. That might be the version we want. We‘ll have to check contents. 1w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke That crustacean quote was one I marked too. Excellent prose! 1w
Lcsmcat @willaful Interesting observation! 1w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke My Complete Works doesn‘t list that collection, so we‘d need to go story by story. There are ten titled collections and then “Uncollected Stories.” 1w
Lcsmcat Here are the names ones 1w
Graywacke @willaful interesting about The Great Gatsby. It‘s not her first story to make me think of FSF. I wonder about her influence on him. (Also, along with @batsy , this one also had me thinking of some Cather 1st person takes.) 1w
Graywacke @Tamra that‘s funny about rooting “for Hayley pummeling Byrne”. It is a striking seen, especially within the later story context. 1w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @Tamra I too was on Team Hayley. 1w
29 likes47 comments
Old God's Time: A Novel | Sebastian Barry
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Maybe a little of a treat on audio. Tom Kettle, a retired detective and widower, has his memories prompted even as his current reality seems to fit loosely. We follow his thoughts more than any plot line, and then we have to wonder what it added up to. I really enjoyed this interior novel. #booker2023

JamieArc I can see how this one would be great on audio… 2w
Tamra I agree, super listen! I could also easily read it in print for a second go round. 2w
Graywacke @JamieArc it took me a moment because the reader has a take. I get uncomfortable with that. But it ultimately works very well. He had a good take. @Tamra I‘m not up for a reread just yet! 🙂 But yeah, it would reward. And i would also want to reread as text. 2w
Suet624 I really liked this one. 2w
Graywacke @Suet624 👍🙂 2w
45 likes5 comments
The Mansion | William Faulkner
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I finished. Phew. I mean, i made it! This was work. But the trilogy comes with a wonderful ending, and that‘s something. This 3rd book was much better than than the previous one (The Town). There is a larger picture here on small town Mississippi life and its colorful characters, on the ways it‘s impacted by the larger world through changing technology, finances and two world wars.

Suet624 Congrats. That couldn‘t have been easy. 2w
Graywacke @Suet624 no. It was a pain. 🙂 But some people really love this trilogy. 2w
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If I Survive You | Jonathan Escoffery
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My new audiobook. I‘m enjoying being Miami, especially in the 80‘s and 90‘s, which are familiar to me in a way. I recognize those many South Florida
cultural isolations! Phew.

42 likes1 comment
Old New York | Edith Wharton
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The Old Maid

There are a lot of aspects of this story that don‘t sit well with contemporary senses - the racism and perception more intellectual blood lines for one, and the nature of this guilt. That‘s one conversation.

But looking past this is the complicated character of Delia Lovell Ralston. A strange well-meaning villain? Stilted in affluence, and socially agile? Any thoughts on her and other characters, some in TAoI.

Tamra I couldn‘t stop thinking as I read the story about the sorrow & injustice inflicted by varied forms of oppression. While Delia was a victim of oppression, she in turn did the same to Charlotte. In the end I believe she understood it. My favorite line from Charlotte, “My child shall have her life…her own life…whatever if costs me…” Breaking the cycle? (edited) 2w
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Lcsmcat So many thoughts! And lots of recurring characters, which made it interesting. It was like visiting old . . . acquaintances. (Can‘t really say friends 😀) And Wharton‘s writing is sparkling as ever. I‘ve got quotes - like always. I‘m not sure Delia is a villain or not. She was working within the confines of that society- and let‘s not forget it was 1850s, earlier than typical Wharton. So women‘s choices were even more limited. 2w
Lcsmcat (Cont.) and I can‘t imagine Charlotte or especially Tina supporting themselves. They weren‘t given any marketable skills! 2w
Lcsmcat Now the quotes (because I am who I am & can‘t help myself.) “They had not come to the Colonies to die for a creed but to live for a bank-account.” 2w
Lcsmcat “Ralston character was now so congenital that Delia Ralston sometimes asked herself whether, were she to turn her own little boy loose in a wilderness, he would not create a small New York there, and be on all its boards of directors.” 2w
Lcsmcat “And then, the babies; the babies who were supposed to “make up for everything,” and didn‘t—though they were such darlings, and one had no definite notion as to what it was that one had missed, and that they were to make up for.” 2w
Lcsmcat “But she had once learned that one can do almost anything (perhaps even murder) if one does not attempt to explain it;” 2w
Lcsmcat “Old New York always thought away whatever interfered with the perfect propriety of its arrangements.” 2w
Graywacke @Tamra hang on…you have me completely rethinking the story context. Thanks for this perspective. 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I find it hard to grasp this 1850‘s NY context. And I‘m not sure this story helps much, although the context is important to the story. But good points! And great quotes! 2w
Graywacke More quotes: “Sensitive soles of those days were like muted key-boards on which Fate played without sound.” 2w
Graywacke “Yet that tremor of the muted key-board, that secret questioning which sometimes beat in her like wings, would now and then so divide her from them {her children} that for a fleeting moment she could survey them in their relation to other things. The moment was always fleeting; she dropped back from it quickly, breathless and a little pale, to her children, her house-keeping, her new dresses and her kindly Jim.” 2w
Graywacke “…through the bitter brilliant night, they sauntered like lovers in a midsummer glade, and Tina's thin slippers might have been falling on daisies instead of snow.” 2w
batsy I have so many thoughts, too. Don't know where to start! A layered, complex story & Wharton's writing was pitch perfect. I highlighted that quote too @Tamra but "a life of her own" at that time, as Wharton was all too good at showing us, had to be via marriage. I didn't see Delia as a villain but her desire to live through Tina perhaps made her oblivious to her own role & the pain it causes Charlotte. 2w
batsy @Graywacke Loved that passage! Thin slippers "falling on daisies instead of snow". So evocative about how young love can literally transport one to another realm. 2w
batsy Loved this about how experience doesn't necessarily make one "wise" in the expected sense: "But these years of experience weighed down on her like chains binding her down to her narrow plot of life; independent action struck her as more dangerous, less conceivable, than when she had first ventured on it." 2w
batsy @Lcsmcat Yes! Also the sentence that came before: "a week or a month of flushed distress, confusion, embarrassed pleasure; then the growth of habit, the insidious lulling of the matter-of-course"—like wow, Edith, don't hold back. 2w
Tamra @batsy agreed about the complexity. Delia & Charlotte are not mono-dimensional cutouts and are forcefully & painfully shaped by the forces of social mores. 2w
Currey @Tamra @batsy @Lcsmcat @Graywacke l also initially read Delia as a complex but nevertheless the villain of the story, so thank you to Tamra for adjusting my perspective. 2w
Currey @batsy @Lcsmcat @Tamra @Graywacke I was quite moved by Wharton, so methodically, twisting both Delia and Charlotte into quite “ugly” characters although the fault rested almost entirely on their societal rules. Plus, I read it as Tina not breaking the cycle but marrying into it… 2w
Lcsmcat @Currey Yes, poor Tina married into it! And she will be of the generation that works on Lucy and the other more well-known Wharton characters. 2w
TheBookHippie Here‘s my weird thought this is the precursor to The Gilded Age - so these peeps kids and grandkids. So that age is making more sense than ever to me. I read Delia as a villain because I believe you always have choices even if your only choice is kindness and hurt oppressed people don‘t have that as an excuse to do it to others. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2w
Tamra @Currey I wondered because Tina is getting to marry the man she truly loves, unlike Delia & Charlotte. 2w
Lcsmcat @Tamra @Currey That‘s true, Tina is getting her choice, as opposed to Delia & Charlotte. Good point. 2w
dabbe @Tamra YES! That's why this quote struck me: “Social tolerance was not dealt in the same measure to men and to women, and neither Delia nor Charlotte had ever wondered why: like all the young women of their class they simply bowed to the ineluctable.“ 2w
dabbe @TheBookHippie So true! How many times in human nature do we have well-meaning intentions but then warp them into an umbrage of dominance? For some reason, this made me go back to the Puritans who wanted to be a beacon to the world in their freedom to do what they wanted. And what did they do? If you didn't toe their line, you were out. And that idea has been embedded in our country ever since. 2w
Lcsmcat @dabbe Another quote I marked too. And that‘s a common thread in Wharton‘s work, isn‘t it? 2w
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat I underlined all the passages you two quoted while reading @dabbe ✍🏼 2w
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie I feel like Wharton is back on her game in this one. 😀 2w
dabbe @Lcsmcat It truly is! 🤩🤩🤩 2w
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat For sure!!! 2w
Tamra @dabbe spot on! 2w
dabbe @Tamra 🤩🤗😍 2w
Tamra @Lcsmcat I admire her writing! Just so sharply observant. 2w
Graywacke @batsy @tamra @currey @Lcsmcat @dabbe @TheBookHippie Wharton “back on her game”, or “pitch perfect” and all the complexity hinted at and pointed out - I felt too! This was fun to read, characters were tough to pin down, and always had an extra something, a strength or perspective or reserve or human notion i just didn‘t expect. It‘s story that works. I think it‘s also a story that makes us uncomfortable. It does a lot at once. 2w
Tamra @Graywacke so true, Wharton does make readers uncomfortable. Do we recognize parts of ourselves in the characters? I‘d hate to have her examining me & my life! 😬 Yikes 2w
Graywacke @batsy - independence through marriage - phew! ( @Tamra @Currey @Lcsmcat ) “ineluctable” - a very Wharton sense ( @dabbe ). We live in an era when that weirdness is of the past, not exactly present and hopefully not future; but in 1850 and when this was published in 1925…it was understood as true since time. A very strange reality for women through history. Oppressive indeed, @Tamra 2w
Graywacke @Tamra oh dear, i wouldn‘t come out well, in Wharton‘s scrutiny. All these unconscious contradictions of mine dragged through her light. 😁🙉 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Of course to be truly independent a woman had to be a widow. And why that didn‘t scare the bejeebers out of every married man, I will never know. 😏 2w
Tamra @Lcsmcat 🤭😆 2w
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat 🤣💀 and poison so easy to make 🤣🤣🤣 2w
arubabookwoman Great comments all! While I don't see Delia as a villain exactly, I do think she is not honest with herself about her motives, which are not as pristine as she believes. I think Charlotte is close to the truth when she says to Delia "You found your revenge and your triumph in keeping me at your mercy and in taking his child from me." It was several yrs before Tina and Char. came to live with Delia--long enough for a mother???????? 2w
arubabookwoman daughter relationship to be established, so I think Delia wld really have had to work at getting Tina to switch her "daughterly" feelings from Char. to Delia. Wharton tells us it never occurred to Delia that her influence on Tina wld be resented. Why? Is Char. a lesser person b/c she never married? And how was it that Delia whose happiness was so open "so often found herself envying poor Charlotte?"?????? 2w
arubabookwoman Delia is by no means all bad, tho': "There are were moments when she almost hated Char. for being Tina's mother, and others such as this when her heart was wrung by the tragic spectacle of the unnamed bond." (edited) 2w
arubabookwoman While in other Whartons we are in the milieu of the wealthy, I don't recall such disdain for the poor. These early passages struck me: "Poor people were so ignorant and careless, and their children, of course, so perpetually exposed to everything catching." and "Delia was dumb with the horror and amazement of learning that her own blood ran in the veins of the anonymous foundling." 2w
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman I think she touched on it in The Fruit of the Tree, but this time she both is more confident in her skills as a writer, and further removed from those whose attitudes she is criticizing. I can see the wealthy of the 1920‘s thinking themselves so much more liberal than those of the 1850s. 2w
Leftcoastzen I love all the comments! Late to the party , didn‘t finish till the afternoon. I think both Delia & Char. underestimated how difficult this would be .The emotional buttons pushed all around, yet how to abandon her in the orphanage? I agree with the comment Delia could have chosen to be kind even within the difficulties of the restrictions of the times. 2w
Leftcoastzen Wharton writes beautifully as always & those quotes ! She peels back the curtain on how precarious certain elements of society can be. 2w
batsy @arubabookwoman Yes to this! I agree that Delia wasn't honest about her motives. Hence her instant defensiveness when Charlotte spells out some truths. I was also mulling over the depictions of the poor. It felt ironic, a bit of a take on the beliefs of that class on people and a sort of meta-commentary on their attitudes, but I also wonder if I love Wharton's writing so much that I'm giving her too much of the benefit of the doubt? 2w
willaful @arubabookwoman @batsy yes, Delia is pretty good at blocking out what she doesn't want to see, as probably most women in her situation learned to be. I think the situation with Charlotte and Tina kept her somewhat off-balance and made it harder for her to fully live the role she'd accepted.

I also found it odd that Tina should have spent years with just Charlotte yet gone on to accept Delia as her mother.
willaful I wonder if Delia ever thought about how much harm she'd done Charlotte by ruining her chance for marriage and more children, if she truly believed to the end that she'd done the only right thing. 2w
batsy @willaful I did find it odd that Tina took to Delia as a mother figure, too, and made me wonder what that meant. Was it because of particular affinity of character? The whole "spinster aunt" vibe of Charlotte prevents maternal affection? Like @Graywacke said, this story made me feel so many things. Especially these versions of femininity & even how caregiving is coded as properly maternal or not. 2w
jewright I loved this story. The characters are so complicated and real. You can easily trick yourself into thinking you are doing the right things, but are you? I do believe Delia thought she was being super kind to her cousin. It isn‘t until later that she realized the harm she may have inflicted, but she redeems herself at the end with the request for the last kiss. And the burden and shame of an unplanned pregnancy still falls on women. 2w
jewright @willaful She probably didn‘t have her call her mother or anything because the role of her being a foundling had to be maintained. Yes, she cared for her as a mother, but if she never referred to her as one, Tina could more easily give the name to Delia. 2w
Graywacke Great posts, everyone! I love this group. (And I‘m glad i have one less reason to fear being poisoned!) Fair warning - I‘m traveling next weekend, dropping my daughter off to college out of state. So, my post may come at some weird time. 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @tamra @TheBookHippie i personally hadn‘t fully thought through this precarious husbandhood. 😳(Elsewhere I‘m just reading about all the happy widows in Geoffrey Chaucer‘s England. “They enjoyed financial autonomy” through marital inheritance) 2w
Graywacke @arubabookwoman ( @Leftcoastzen @batsy @willaful @jewright ) I like all these queries into what Delia did. Ultimately she was very cruel, intentionally or not, taking Charlotte‘s daughter away from her, using her financial power over C to do this, (her motivation apparently being her miss with Clementine.) ( @jewright - I found the last kiss a bitter cruelty, a tiny makeup for losing a daughter.) D does this without social stain! 2w
Graywacke One oddity for me was what to make of Charlotte. Was she weak and pathetic or really really strong and sacrificial? She seems very strong at times, but ultimately not up for being who she really needed to be. Does Wharton try to make the point that she was defeated despite being strong? (If you agree she failed at something) 2w
Graywacke @arubabookwoman on the disdain of poverty discussion ( @Lcsmcat @batsy ) - I‘m always looking for Wharton‘s privileged take, a bias but not unfounded, I think. Was it Wharton‘s or Delia‘s disdain? Was it Wharton‘s, or NY‘s racism and sense or blood privilege? 2w
Graywacke @willaful Delia was crazy to destroy that marriage. No? But what an unhappy marriage it would have been. So maybe D justified herself on that. (I‘m tempted to over state that it was no love match, and that Charlotte was hoping to sacrifice herself to a crap marriage for her daughter‘s sake. But I‘m not sure that‘s true or fair.) 2w
TheBookHippie @Graywacke money and no man they more than likely were forced to marry and bear children for. It‘s where the happy widow phrase probably came from 🤣. 2w
TheBookHippie @Graywacke 🤣🤣🤣 no fear of poison!!! I‘ll be at a XC meet like every fall weekend 🏃🏻I get to this when I can generally. 2w
TheBookHippie @Graywacke Charlotte could have been all that I suppose or it‘s for us to decide. I too wonder what is Wharton what is the society at the time. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I think I‘m in the minority on Delia. It was a seeming cruelty to prevent the marriage, but she was young. And everything else was done to protect Tina. It was horribly sad and tragic and all that, but there was no place for Charlotte and Tina to be mother and daughter in 1850 unless they went west where no one knew them. And then, how would they support themselves? They had no skills and no money. 2w
jewright @Graywacke I see it as her trying to make up for hurting Chatty, even though she was trying to help in the beginning. 2w
Graywacke @TheBookHippie “for us to decide” - yes! And, @Lcsmcat and @jewright - we all have different takes and thought processes on this. I‘m glad we have some variety. 🙂 2w
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The things I didn‘t expect in a book on fungi…

AllDebooks Lol 😅 3w
35 likes1 comment
Old New York | Edith Wharton
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Poor little Louisa.

Wharton‘s window into the culture of 1840‘s New York high society. Scathing and tolerant? Was della Francesca really so unknown? What do you think (or know)?

I found I slipped back into this Wharton world effortlessly. She just has a way.

Lcsmcat I loved Mr. Racie‘s religious rant. (It may take multiple comments to post, but here goes.) 3w
See All 95 Comments
Lcsmcat “The Sundays—the Sundays? Well, what of the Sundays? What is there to frighten a good Episcopalian in what we call the Continental Sunday? I presume that we‘re all Churchmen here, eh? No puling Methodists or atheistical Unitarians at my table tonight, that I‘m aware of? Nor will I offend the ladies of my household by assuming that they have secretly lent an ear to the Baptist ranter in the chapel at the foot of our lane. 3w
Lcsmcat No? I thought not! Well, then, I say, what‘s all this flutter about the Papists? Far be it from me to approve of their heathenish doctrines—but, damn it, they go to church, don‘t they? And they have a real service, as we do, don‘t they? 3w
Lcsmcat And real clergy, and not a lot of nondescripts dressed like laymen, and damned badly at that, who chat familiarly with the Almighty in their own vulgar lingo? No, sir”—he swung about on the shrinking Mr. Kent—“it‘s not the Church I‘m afraid of in foreign countries, it‘s the sewers, sir!” 3w
Lcsmcat That made me laugh out loud. 3w
IndoorDame It was plotted so perfectly! I loved the tragedy of it. That the family fortune was actually assured down the road either way - if he followed his artistic passion or his father‘s rigid thinking - but that a falling out between them was actually also assured either way. The family dynamics between everyone were a great mirror for the section of society they were all stuck in. 3w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat that was quite an entertaining rant. (And I think you could contemporarize it… with slightly different emphases. 🙂) 3w
Tamra Ahhhh Wharton‘s devastating way of exposing the marrow of very human character flaws! The first & most obvious of course is Mr. Raycie with his hubris and vanity. The eventual fortune & fame of the family was not what he had in mind. 😅 (edited) 3w
Tamra @Lcsmcat that was a snort out loud rant! 😆 3w
Graywacke @IndoorDame it‘s a really clean story! I loved the dynamics too. I loved how alive all these briefly described characters were. 3w
Currey @IndoorDame Well articulated. The relationship was doomed either way. I was impressed that Wharton had him so self assured even in the face of his father‘s rage (and ignorance). 3w
batsy She definitely has a way! I fell into the rhythm of the narrative so easily. The way I internally yelled when Lewis name-dropped John Ruskin and Dante Rossetti! ? And Poe cast aside by Mr. Raycie! I felt the pain of the effects of Mr. Raycie's hubris as @Tamra said, his conservatism & how he was trying to mold his son's taste. Love how Wharton makes the reader privy to what's coming wrt the art but you're still yelling "Noooooo!“ when it happens. 3w
batsy @IndoorDame Perfectly put! 3w
Tamra So amusing father Raycie is a “monumental man” who aspires to build a “gallery of heirlooms” and for whom blood ties are of most importance, but then Lewis‘ disdained collection is sold off by a quite distant relation. 3w
Currey @Graywacke Ruskin was only in his 20‘s here and his influence on “academic” art in England was not yet felt but certainly the Italian masters were not unknown. Some frescos by Giotto had been painted over and rediscovered. Wharton is pointing out the ignorance and philistinism of the wealthy in New York at the time. They collected names not paintings. On the other hand, if he had come home with a Raphael, it would not have hurt either. 3w
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame Perfect summation! Wharton wrote it so that no other outcome was possible, and it still felt real. 3w
Lcsmcat @Currey Thanks for that. My art history education is sorely lacking! 3w
Tamra @Currey perfect description - collections of names 3w
jewright The moral of the story seems to be accepting your children as they are instead of trying to force them to fit the mold of what you think they should be. 3w
arubabookwoman I loved this! It just so happens that a year or so ago I made a presentation on Piero to my art history group (we've been studying together for many years), and Piero and other late Gothic/early Renaissance painters fell into obscurity and were totally forgotten/ignored for a couple of centuries. They started being "rediscovered" in the early 1800's but still probably wouldn't have been mainstream by the 1840's.???? 3w
arubabookwoman Giotto was another in this category, and another artist I love. I tried googling for a Piero painting close to what Wharton describes Lewis as acquiring, but was unsuccessful. His most famous I think is one of his earliest--the Baptism of Christ which is in the Natl Gallery in London. I don't specifically recall but I believe it was in fact Ruskin who began bringing these artists to the attention of "collectors". So i was interested to see ?? 3w
arubabookwoman his name pop up. Although it was tragic Lewis never got to "prove" himself to his awful father, I'm glad he got to marry Treeshy, and overall they had a good life (altho losing their child young). And in the end his good taste was vindicated, including his choice of Treeshy. ETA When Piero et al we're rediscovered they were deemed the "pre-Raphaelites", perhaps a reference to the ubiquitous popularity of Raphael we see in this piece. (edited) 3w
dabbe “Old“ New York clashes with “New“ New York with the father and the son. And like many artists who die without knowing that their art might become famous after their death, the same thing happened to the art discoverer, Lewis.

I also loved the solid relationship with Lewis and Treeshy; it seems that quite a few of Wharton's novels do not have the happily-married trope.
willaful This reminded me of the one Wharton story I remember reading, which was about a woman whose tragedy also came from being ahead of her time, and even though she lived to see society change, it didn't help her. Wharton's cynicism and bitterness still rings very true today. 3w
Leftcoastzen Love everyone‘s comments. Mr. Raycie didn‘t think very much of his son, that he seemed to even be critical of his physical attributes, hey it‘s your genetics father! (edited) 3w
Leftcoastzen Wharton so good pointing out how a certain level of society think they are arbiters of taste,often in many areas they are behind the times.Since this was written in 1924 couldn‘t help but wonder if she had read the papers about the Armory show.While many works were breakthrough icons of modern art,some people went to point and laugh.Leo & Gertrude Stein collected many great pieces , had a keen eye for the modern.Gertrude was friends with Picasso! 3w
Graywacke @arubabookwoman this is really helpful info. Thanks. I was especially surprised about Giotto, since Dante raved about him way back in ~1300 (a pre-Raphaelite commentary, of course) 3w
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen just want to echo, i‘m also loving all this commentary and Wharton response. 3w
Leftcoastzen I went back to reread Mr.Raycies reaction to the pictures. His father saying basically come on they cheated you out of the money at cards or you spent it on a woman! Made me wonder how many young men on the Grand Tour went off the rails , got swindled or seduced. (edited) 3w
Graywacke @IndoorDame “a falling out between them was actually also assured” - this is a great observation and one I didn‘t fully pick up on. Halston‘s “hubris and vanity” ( @Tamra ) really may have made him practically impossible to please (and not without manipulation). But…the daughters both managed this, with different personalities. Hmm. So does a son able to play his role better, avoid this falling out? 3w
Graywacke @Tamra i love your comment! “exposing the marrow of very human character flaws”, and “his hubris and vanity” are clarifying and spot on descriptions. And that ironic Raycie collection, a tragic fame. 🙂🙁 3w
Tamra @Leftcoastzen I bet quite a few went astray! 😉 3w
Graywacke @Currey “they collected names” - indeed. (She‘s reminding us how regular and common the wealthy are.) Thanks for the note on Ruskin in the 1940‘s. 3w
Graywacke @jewright was she too heavy handed on that lesson? 🙂 3w
Graywacke @arubabookwoman i was wondering if the exact paintings exist. I did some googling, but there are limited parameters outside the names, and i came up empty. Lewis and Treeshy were a nice pair, but tragic ultimately. Maybe, like Beatrice, they had it better in posthumous memory with the “Raycie collection” 3w
Graywacke @batsy there‘s some real charm in being doomed by an unknown Ruskin. Is Ruskin playing a devil here, opening and corrupting an impressionable mind? 🙂 I was wondering who that artist was, but when Wharton name-dropped Ruskin, my 1st thought was, “did she really just go there? Yes, yea she did”. Then Dante Rossetti right after. Sometimes i want to give Wharton a wink and quiet high five. 3w
Graywacke @dabbe you‘re right, the marriage is uncharacteristically happy for Wharton. The warmth of limited means? And Lewis‘s posthumous fame aligns well with the artists he collected. 3w
arubabookwoman @Graywacke So many (nearly all) of his paintings were religious. As I recall there was a mention of flowers (columbine?) in the background, so I was looking for a female saint in a garden. Unsuccessful. There were several paintings/frescoes by Fra Angelico of beautiful females in a garden setting that might have fit the bill when I first started looking, and I was thinking I might find something like that. 3w
Graywacke @willaful do you remember the story title? This is my first look at a Wharton short story (arguably a novella). We‘ve been reading through Wharton‘s novels in order, and one lesson is how she adapts her cynicism into her work. She got less overt, without really losing that. (edited) 3w
Graywacke @willaful i meant to add, the story you describe sounds potentially a little autobiographical. 3w
Graywacke @Currey “on the other hand, if he had come home with a Raphael, it would not have hurt either.” - 🙂 Good point! 3w
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen funny about criticizing his own genes. I was thinking about the Impressionists while reading this, written in the era where they were only just gaining wider appreciation. Where was Wharton‘s awareness of this? Could it be an intentional parallel? (I‘m not familiar with the Armory show.) Also, no clue how well all these wealthy young boys (men?) managed across the pond overall. 3w
Graywacke @arubabookwoman i searched columbines and came up empty. 3w
arubabookwoman @Graywacke and @Leftcoastzen It's funny you should mention the Impressionists. Cezanne, in developing cubism rediscovered Piero all over again. There is an early Piero landscape (actually in one of his backgrounds) which was done as a landscape by Cezanne & which at a quick glance is nearly identical. For some readon neither my phone nor ipad is letting me post pics on Litsy but if you google Piero & Cezanne both images come up. 3w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @IndoorDame Or we‘re the expectations for daughters so different that they could please him because he didn‘t expect anything from them? 3w
willaful @Lcsmcat they both married the type of men they were supposed to marry, that was probably sufficient. 3w
IndoorDame @Lcsmcat @Graywacke I think his lack of expectations for the daughters are a big factor. Also their comparatively limited freedoms. And Lewis‘s artistic passions mean if he‘d chosen to placate his father the way the girls did resentment would have likely built up and boiled over at some point. 3w
Graywacke @arubabookwoman how cool! If you find the painting titles, please share (googling overwhelmed me with unrelated stuff) 3w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @willaful @IndoorDame i think Halston had some King Lear elements. His daughter‘s marriages - they were appropriate, but Wharton doesn‘t seem to tell us how happy they were (maybe we can read something between the lines.) What were their lives like? (edited) 3w
arubabookwoman The Cezanne painting is Garganne (1885-6) wh is at the Met NYC. The Piero is from his Arrezzo fresco cycle, the painting showing The Discovery of the True Cross. It's in the background--a geometric looking city on a hill. (Piero was known for using math in his paintings & in fact authored a math treatise). @Graywacke (edited) 3w
arubabookwoman @Graywacke I came across my notes from my Piero presentation, most about the paintings themselves, but I ended by saying yhat after the Renaissance Piero sank into obscurity. Interest in him began reviving at the beginning of the Victorian era, partially b/c of interest in Urbino, birthplace of Raphael (P. Painted a lot in Urbino as well). So there was a Raphael connection. 3w
arubabookwoman @Graywacke My notes end by saying by the turn of the 20th century Piero was almost a patron saint of modern art. 3w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @willaful @IndoorDame I get the definite impression that the daughters are more “satisfied” than “happy.” And Lewis, in spite of the tragedy of the paintings, does seem domestically happy. 3w
Currey @arubabookwoman @Graywacke @Lcsmcat I can imagine with Wharton‘s deep knowledge of Italian art and architecture that she could easily have experienced something not unlike what she depicts Lewis experiencing when it came to contemporary art. Thank you very much for the Piero/Cezzane notes. That was great! 3w
batsy @arubabookwoman @Graywacke Thank you for the notes and links on the art. There's so much for me to look up. I also wonder if this collection of nonfiction might give more insight into Wharton's perspectives on Italian art and architecture https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/54932 3w
Graywacke @batsy I think we might enjoy one of her travel books. We have skipped over them. 3w
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat that had me in fits of giggles 🤣 SUNDAYS! 3w
TheBookHippie @IndoorDame This exactly. I loved it. 3w
batsy @Graywacke Definitely a wink and a high-five. Also love the simplicity with which Wharton shows how Lewis's mind was set on fire after meeting with Ruskin, where in conversation with him "each commonplace item of experience became a many-faceted crystal flashing with unexpected fires". Lewis "had been given all the openings he wanted". And yet, after all that, to come home to Papa Raycie ? 3w
TheBookHippie As for the artist you questioned -my daughter took a The Math of Art course and it was fascinating. I know his art fell to obscurity and then revived but I believe it was deeply religious and he was very well know as a mathematic genius. Very fascinating man. I did a fair amount of phone calls to her while reading as she majored and minored in art! 3w
TheBookHippie Sorry so late- I‘m the only healthy one in a house full of COVID. I did think while reading many men got seduced and taken on their romps or tours before marriage. And the control of the ones with money and the character of those under them is always fascinating to me. This author weaves a tale so easily & brilliant you‘re sucked in by the second sentence and immediately you‘re in their world. I love it. I laughed way more than I thought I would! 3w
TheBookHippie @willaful agree they did their job married appropriately. 3w
willaful @graywacke I'm sorry, I can't track down the story. It was about divorce and Wharton has written so much about that! As I remember it, the main character is a divorced woman who was ostracized, and she's utterly horrified to discover her own daughter (?) is getting divorced. It turns out that times have changed and no one cares anymore... yet it's impossible for her reputation to be repaired, even though the cause of it is no longer meaningful. 3w
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie I‘m sorry your people are sick! I hope they get better soon and you stay healthy! 3w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @batsy We can always do some of her nonfiction as part of this. 3w
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat ♥️🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻 3w
Graywacke @batsy she made Ruskin sound really special. 3w
Graywacke @TheBookHippie oye, covid. A new wave going around the US. I‘m glad you‘ve avoided it, but sorry about your family. Thanks for chiming in. And yeah, Wharton gets us in stride quickly. (All those young moneyed clueless American lads parent-free in Europe… what could go wrong?) 3w
Graywacke @willaful no worries. It sounds like a terrific Wharton story! 3w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie @batsy - maybe we should do something nonfiction next? I‘m all in. 3w
TheBookHippie @Graywacke oh I‘m all in!!!! 3w
TheBookHippie @Graywacke I‘m 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻 it‘s all through our schools here. 😵‍💫🫣 3w
Graywacke The options

- The Decoration of Houses, 1897
- Italian Villas and Their Gardens, 1904
- Italian Backgrounds, 1905
- A Motor-Flight Through France, 1908
- Fighting France, from Dunkerque to Belfort, 1915
- French Ways and Their Meaning, 1919
- In Morocco, 1920
- The Writing of Fiction, 1925
- A Backward Glance, 1934 (autobiography)
TheBookHippie It ALLLL looks good. I‘m saying we read it all 🤣 I‘ve been needing a Shakespeare replacement 💕 3w
arubabookwoman I'm probably not in for Wharton's nonfiction. Will continue with her fiction. There's still some good ones to come, but I'm not sure I can be a completist. 3w
Tamra @Graywacke I‘ll pass - feeling the squeeze with reading commitments. But thank you for inviting me. I‘m already enjoying the next short story in this collection. 😁 3w
dabbe @TheBookHippie Sending hugs to you and your family. I hope everyone recovers quickly. 🧡💜💛 3w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @batsy @TheBookHippie I‘d vote for one of the travel books. I know she‘s justly famous for decorating but that holds less interest to me to read about. 3w
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat @Graywacke @batsy I‘m not fussy and I love travel! 3w
Graywacke @TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat Italian Backgrounds, the one @Batsy suggested?/brought up is a travel book 3w
TheBookHippie @Graywacke Sounds good to me! 3w
batsy @Graywacke @TheBookHippie I'm definitely in for Italian Backgrounds and maybe the Fiction book. Not so keen on the interior decor ones, either @Lcsmcat 🙂 3w
jewright @Graywacke—I‘m in as long as I can locate a copy. I usually enjoy nonfiction. 3w
jewright @TheBookHippie—I miss the Shakespeare reading. 3w
AllDebooks Late to the oarty. I just started last night and I'm racing through it. Wharton never fails to impress me with her characters and vivid descriptions of everyday life. 3w
AllDebooks @Graywacke I'm up for a non-fiction. Italian Backgrounds sounds perfect 3w
Graywacke @AllDebooks glad you‘ve jumped in. No rush. Enjoy 🙂 3w
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Troilus and Criseyde | Geoffrey Chaucer
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Finally starting this - a Broadview press edition.

dabbe I spy a sleepy gal! 🖤🐾🖤 4w
46 likes1 comment
Old New York | Edith Wharton
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Ok, I‘ve started. And I already feel very at home with like ten different characters. #whartonbuddyread

Tamra Enjoy!! 1mo
Lcsmcat Nice cover. And yes, we‘re seeing some Standard Wharton Characters aren‘t we? 1mo
batsy I hope to start tonight! 🤩 1mo
42 likes3 comments
A Spell of Good Things | Ayobami Adebayo
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Opens as a quilt of Nigerian life that crawls along with problems and subtleties, and for 2 hours of audio time I was kind of bored, but then it came alive for me. Suddenly i somehow became invested these characters and their families and problems. The book escalates more, becoming a satisfying and striking novel. #booker2023

Graywacke One of the awkward lessons of this book for me was a different understanding of the title. A spell is "a state or period of enchantment", which, by definition, comes to an end. So this optimistic sounding title is actually very bitter. 1mo
50 likes1 comment
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Ok, I‘ve begun. #naturalitsy

Chelsea.Poole Me too! 1mo
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Old God's Time: A Novel | Sebastian Barry
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New audiobook. #booker2023

Old New York | Edith Wharton
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Just a reminder - #whartonbuddyread in September - which starts Friday !

batsy Yay! 1mo
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Leftcoastzen I second that Yay! 1mo
TheBookHippie Yay!!!! 1mo
TheBookHippie @batsy this classic should read better 🤣 1mo
Lcsmcat I‘m looking forward to this, but I CAN‘T BELIEVE SEPTEMBER IS ALMOST HERE!!!!! 😱 1mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat I‘m in denial… 1mo
Graywacke @batsy @Leftcoastzen @TheBookHippie yes! (And I‘m wondering what classic you‘re referring to) 1mo
batsy @TheBookHippie Lol! @Graywacke in comparison to Lady Chatterley's Lover ... We just read it for the #SundayBuddyRead and it was 😵🤕🤯 1mo
Graywacke @batsy ouch! …and, interesting. I‘ve never read it. ( @TheBookHippie ) 1mo
TheBookHippie @Graywacke It is NOTHING like you think it‘s going to be that‘s for sure. @batsy has a spot on review posted on her page. It was a job to read 😵‍💫. I‘m glad we did read it but phew 😅. 1mo
jewright @batsy—It‘s quite the book! I didn‘t take the class that read it while I was in grad school, but I sure heard about it. I had to read it later to understand the fuss. 1mo
jewright I need to get started on this. School is going again, so I have less reading time. 1mo
willaful I'd like to join in if I may. 1mo
batsy @jewright "Quite the book" sums it up, for sure! ? 1mo
Graywacke @willaful certainly! Welcome 1mo
Daisey You can take my name out of the tag list for this one. It‘s not going to fit in my September reading. Thanks! 3w
Graywacke @Daisey will do. Have a great reading month 🙂 3w
37 likes21 comments
The Mansion | William Faulkner
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Glutton for punishment, I‘ve started the 3rd and final Snopes novel.

Fatelessness | Imre Kertesz
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Really powerful, but hard to review, especially in this condensed context. Kertész, a non-religious Jewish Hungarian, was a concentration camp survivor, entering the camps at age 14 (and lying about his age). This is a fictional parallel experience, deviant in that our narrator doesn‘t judge as we do, but takes things as they come, processing them in his own practical way. He‘s young enough that this is, in a way, his only reality.

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A Spell of Good Things | Ayobami Adebayo
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My latest audiobook, on different economic worlds in Nigeria. Started slow and plain, for like 2 hours, but then it picked up. I‘m really into it now, about half way through. #booker2023

In Ascension | Martin MacInnes
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So many comments say boring. Well, it was one of my favorite audiobook experiences. 🙂 I loved it.

It‘s a literary sci-fi book of tone. What I mean is that if you take to the language, a cold, careful, logical tone that can bring out something both distant and beautiful, then this book is a 5-star listen. The plot is almost secondary, and really not a draw.

(It's read beautifully on audio by Freya Miller.)

batsy Nice review! Sounds like the kind of boring I could be into 🤓 1mo
squirrelbrain I expected it to be boring so wasn‘t looking forward to it, but I found it really compelling- almost unputdownable. 1mo
Graywacke @batsy you might really like it. (I didn‘t find it boring at all. 🙂) 1mo
Graywacke @squirrelbrain yeah, that. Actually I listened and it became a comfort zone just to have it playing. 1mo
55 likes4 comments
The Town | William Faulkner
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I‘m not going to pan this, but I didn‘t like the sequel to The Hamlet (and to practically everything else Faulkner wrote). I just found this tough. Not difficult tough, just not catching. Wandering monologues around an ok story. Still, I‘ve started The Mansion, to complete the Snopes trilogy. Only myself to blame, i guess…

Ruthiella Well, Faulkner is a little to blame too. 🤣 1mo
Graywacke @Ruthiella ok, fair enough. 🙂 1mo
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Fatelessness | Imre Kertesz
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Started this next

dabbe Love the cover! 🤩 2mo
JenP Great book. I hope you like it 2mo
Graywacke @JenP thanks. I‘ve wanted to read it for a while. 2mo
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Graywacke @dabbe I‘m not sure how i feel about the cover. It fits so far, in a way. 2mo
dabbe @Graywacke I look forward to your final thoughts once you read it. I just thought the ending of the road/pier fit perfectly with the title. 2mo
BarbaraBB Very curious about this one 2mo
BookwormM Amazing book I loved it 2mo
Graywacke @dabbe it does! @BarbaraBB me too ☺️ I think it‘s an important work. But also I read one or two really nice Club Read reviews, and that‘s what caught my interest. @BookwormM great to hear! 2mo
40 likes8 comments
Migrations: A Novel | Charlotte McConaghy
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Sorry #naturalitsy, I bailed.

I read 81 pages. I liked the setting, i was ok with the tone. I didn‘t like the (cardboard cutout?) characters, didn‘t like the development and all the things that I didn‘t buy. I felt it wasn‘t holding together and it got to me. Hopefully i‘ll take more to our next book.

jlhammar Good call - I think 81 pages is more than a fair shake! Sorry it didn't work for you. I haven't started it yet, but I did enjoy Once There Were Wolves so my hopes are high. 2mo
BarbaraBB That is surprising. I absolutely LOVED this one and normally we seem to have pretty similar taste! 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2mo
Graywacke @jlhammar @BarbaraBB might have just been me. I was enjoying it for a while, and then suddenly I wasn‘t. 2mo
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BarbaraBB It happens 😉 2mo
AllDebooks Well, you gave it a good go. Sorry it wasn't for you x 2mo
SamAnne I‘m a fellow traveler who also disliked this book. I have a hard time with stories involving environmental themes, nature backgrounds that are so off base from reality. And the fishing descriptions were also off base. The characters weren‘t enough to keep me in the story. 2mo
Graywacke @SamAnne “so off base with reality” - that caught up to me too. 2mo
Graywacke @BarbaraBB yeah, I guess it does. 2mo
Graywacke @AllDebooks yeah, too bad. But there are more books to try… 2mo
AllDebooks @Graywacke exactly x 2mo
Suet624 Oh dear... I really liked this one. 1mo
Graywacke @Suet624 a lot of readers like it a lot. 1mo
42 likes12 comments
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My current book of poetry. I‘ve had this sitting around some 20 years now.

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She makes a nice model.

This a gorgeous book. The sense, while reading, is visual. The poems are all so short, a compression of multi-meaning sparse impressions. Rexroth includes mini-biographies of each author in the back, which adds some needed weight for lost a reader like me. I don't know anything about Japanese, its poetry, or ancient history. I had no context for these. I enjoyed them, even if they didn't stick. I enjoyed looking at them.

TheBookHippie I read for FOODANDLIT JAPAN this tagged book I was fascinated with it! 2mo
Leftcoastzen Love Rextoth! Great doggie model! 🐶 2mo
batsy What a beautiful face 🐶 2mo
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dabbe Hello, gorgeous book-tolerating-on-my-side pup! 🖤🐾🖤 2mo
SqueakyChu Love the pic! 😂 2mo
Graywacke @TheBookHippie looks lovely 2mo
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen @batsy @dabbe @SqueakyChu Pepper thanks you all. And, @dabbe , she does tolerate a lot. 🙂 @Leftcoastzen - this book is about all I know about Rexroth. 2mo
dabbe She's a Precious Pepper! 💙🖤🩵 2mo
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A bit of work, but there is a whole lot of interesting information and it‘s very thorough. Roberts brings in ideas and hunts down perspectives, and it left me feeling very up-to-date. I‘m left thinking about about how evolution works, and about our pronate knees, twisting forearms (which the dog and cat lack), and all the intricate movements behind throwing - something we do really well.

AllDebooks That's a great review. 👍 2mo
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Ōtomo No Yakamochi lived from 718 to 785.

This is a gorgeous book i‘ve had for ages and am finally working through. I don‘t have any context. I haven‘t read any Japanese poetry, and I have no clue what was happening in Japan when these poems were written.

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An excellent biography of a difficult, unpleasant, but important American figure. It's a tough read in that Hoover is a tough person to spend a lot of time with. He wasn't all bad, and never saw himself as doing anything wrong in his 48 years as FBI director. He was of his era. But the crimes he did add up, and they got very hard to read about.

Suet624 He scared the shit out of me when I was a young teenager. 2mo
Graywacke @Suet624 you were a smart teenager 2mo
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I read this in 10 to 15-minute sittings over 3.5 months

This is an oddball collection. There is one poem from every chancellor, fellow and award winner of the Academy of American Poets as of 1996 (The academy was founded in a 1934). But who selected them? It comes across as a very haphazard anthology from a wonderful body of poets. So interesting, sometimes wonderful, many times really wonderful, but mostly curious and interesting.

Suet624 I bet Richard Eberhart has a poem in there. I just finished reading a book about him written by his daughter. I knew nothing about him before that but he received a Pulitzer and lots of accolades. 2mo
Graywacke @Suet624 please don‘t expect me to remember that one poem! 🙂 But he does have an entry. 2mo
Suet624 @Graywacke haha. No, I don‘t expect you to remember and, in fact, I don‘t like the guy after reading his daughter‘s book. 2mo
50 likes4 comments
The Town | William Faulkner
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I have been trying to get into this since early July. I‘m about halfway through. (It‘s a 1957 printing, but not a 1st edition)

jewright It‘s a beautiful book. 2mo
55 likes1 comment
In Ascension | Martin MacInnes
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#Booker2023 longlist is out. I‘m starting here, on audio. (Audible reviews call it boring. 1st 20 minutes have been gorgeous. But it‘s 13 plus hours long.)

jlhammar This was one of the ones that really jumped out at me. Look forward to your thoughts! 2mo
batsy I have this and his previous one TBR! 2mo
Cathythoughts I have the book. Looking forward to it… 2mo
BarbaraBB I really want to read this too (all of them actually) and am very curious about what you will think! 2mo
Graywacke @jlhammar @batsy @Cathythoughts @BarbaraBB it‘s nice to see all this interest in this book. I hadn‘t heard anything about it, or the author, before. 2mo
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Old New York | Edith Wharton
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How does a September of Wharton sound?

This is collection of four novellas that all tie into The Age Innocence, first published together in 1924. Each is about 100 pages. I think one per week will work nicely.

TheBookHippie Ohhhhh yes! I just found a fun copy thrifting!!! 2mo
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Graywacke @TheBookHippie perfect timing 💚 2mo
AllDebooks It sounds absolutely perfect, count me in 😊 2mo
jewright I‘m in! 2mo
Tamra I will look to see whether I have a copy of this collection - thanks for the tag! 2mo
dabbe I'll give 'er a go! 2mo
batsy Yessss! I'm in! 2mo
IndoorDame I‘m in! 2mo
Cathythoughts I‘ll give it my best shot 👍🏻❤️ September is back to school time , so hopefully I can settle down. 2mo
CarolynM I‘d like to try. I haven‘t had a lot of reading time lately and I still haven‘t got to A Son at the Front. Hopefully things will be more settled in September and I‘ll be able to read with you. 2mo
Currey I‘m in. 2mo
Louise I hope to carve out more Wharton time. My out-loud sessions lately have tended toward poetry and children‘s books. Will see how things look as September approaches. 💁🏻‍♀️ 2mo
arubabookwoman I will try to join in. We will be moved into our new house by then. 2mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts if you can, awesome. School is stressful 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM wish you well 2mo
Graywacke @Louise you‘re reading poetry to your mom? That sounds lovely. 2mo
Graywacke @arubabookwoman wish you well with your move! 2mo
Cathythoughts Im not in school 😊 my grandkids are. I should have explained better. I just mean school/autumn is a quieter time. A time for settling back into a routine. 2mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts I thought you must be a teacher, which is crazy stressful. That sounds way more pleasant! 2mo
Cathythoughts Absolutely 😁 2mo
jewright @arubabookwoman Good luck on the move. It‘s so much work. 2mo
Leftcoastzen Yay! I‘m slow, still reading the last one! 2mo
CarolynM Thanks, Dan 2mo
Tamra My copy in the mail - looking forward to this buddy read. 2mo
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen A Soldier was slow me. Hope you enjoy! 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra Wish your copy safe travels. 🙂 I‘m really happy you can join. 2mo
LitStephanie Can you please add me to the tag list for this read? 2mo
Louise @Graywacke Thank you, Dan! Yes, it really is lovely to share poetry with my mom. Reading poetry out loud helps us to appreciate the cadences, internal rhymes, and other magical little things one might otherwise gloss over. 2mo
Graywacke @LitStephanie oh definitely. (yay 🙂) 2mo
Graywacke @Louise I always mean to read poetry out loud, then chicken out. Anyway, i agree that it gives poetry a new appreciation. 2mo
Lcsmcat How‘d I miss this?!?! My head has been buried in some lost minutes that were recently recovered, ironically enough, from this era - 1909 to 1927. But I‘m definitely in! 😀 (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat ha! Welcome back to our time. Glad you found this post. 2mo
Sparklemn I'd like to join in!
37 likes38 comments
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Oddly centered on an unpleasant main character. Wharton‘s novel on (wealthy) American expats in Paris during WWI focuses on an artist and divorced father who put his art before his family. When he tries to finally connect with his son, WWI intervenes. The novel lingers a bit plotless at times, but makes for a very interesting perspective on the war experience. And it has that Wharton prose. #whartonbuddyread

The Hamlet | William Faulkner
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My first Faulkner. Not typically a favorite. It‘s self-indulgent and scatter shot. There‘s no plot drive. And sections can run on and on. But Faulkner had his rhythm, which gives the book a flow and a draw. And I liked VK Ratcliff, the sewing machine salesman who responds to everything with, “Sholy”.

dabbe I've always had a hard time with Faulkner's novels, especially AS I LAY DYING. I still remember one whole chapter in Vardaman's head: “My mother was a fish.“ That's it. 😳 One of my favorite short stories, though, is by him: “A Rose for Emily.“ LOVED that one! 😀 3mo
Graywacke @dabbe I‘m toying with the idea of reading through his novels next year, or getting a start, anyway. (Currently I‘m reading the Snopes trilogy with a small group on LibraryThing.) 3mo
jewright As I Lay Dying is my favorite Faulkner novel. You should start a Faulkner reading group! 3mo
Graywacke @jewright huh. Do you think it would take? 3mo
dabbe @Graywacke @jewwright I should give him another try and AS I LAY DYING. I was “forced“ to read it in AP English as a senior; maybe I was just too damn young to appreciate it let alone understand it! 🤣🤩🤣 3mo
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Ok, #naturalitsy , I‘ve started.

Tamra This looks great - anxious to find out what you think! 3mo
34 likes1 comment
Invisible Man | Ralph Ellison
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Took me some time, but I did enjoy this. A monster of a book. It goes every which way, rolling as it wants, until suddenly there is structure and its gradually comes to a reality, and then stays there a long time, but not entirely. It pushes a little surreal one way, a little the other, wobbly between literary states. Quite a book and quite an experience.

dabbe Kudos to you! This novel has been on the AP Literature exam more than any other piece of literature: a whopping 29 times! 🤩 3mo
Aimeesue Excellent pic! 3mo
Suet624 Great photo to go with the book. 3mo
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Graywacke @dabbe thanks. Not sure i could pass that exam! 3mo
Graywacke @Aimeesue @Suet624 the picture is of a memorial to Ralph Ellison by sculptor Elizabeth Catlett. 3mo
vivastory One of my favorite books 3mo
dabbe @Graywacke Me either, and I taught English for 30 years! 🤣🤣🤣 3mo
48 likes7 comments
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Alright, #whartonbuddyread , I‘ve started. On chapter 2. Divorce a theme.

Florence: The Biography of a City | Christopher Hibbert
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I‘m giving this a pick because it fit my mood. Chronological. The writing is really only ok, and I encourage readers to explore other options. But ok can work when the story is this fantastic, and the presentation is clear. It took me over 18 hours to slog through, but I was motivated and forced it in before our trip (and then forgot to review it).

BarbaraBB Fantastic photo of Florence! 3mo
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So, this old prose translation was fun enough. But I love that I read most if it, and the heart of it, in Florence. (The epilogue ties the story into the foundation of Florence)

arubabookwoman Is that your photo? It's lovely. I'm dying to go to Florence, especially to see the Fra Angelicos. 4mo
BarbaraBB Perfect photo of Florence. I think you took it from Fiesole indeed? 4mo
batsy That's beautiful! 4mo
Graywacke @arubabookwoman yes. We saw something by Fra Angelica, but i lost it amongst all the other stuff in the Uffizi. I do really really like him. @barbarabb From Boboli Gardens. 🙂 Fiesole would have been more appropriate. @batsy yeah… isn‘t it? I love Florence. My second time here. First was my honeymoon in 2000. (edited) 4mo
59 likes4 comments
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This book was a really nice companion for a day here.

LeahBergen Beautiful! I love Venice SO MUCH. 4mo
Cathythoughts How lovely 🥰 4mo
batsy Gosh! 😍 4mo
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Tamra Gorgeousness! 4mo
Graywacke @LeahBergen @Cathythoughts @batsy @Tamra It was a very good day. 🙂 (family trip) 4mo
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On flight one I switched to this.

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Heard one calling from my bookshelves.

Invisible Man | Ralph Ellison
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I‘ve been working through this. About half way now. (Although usually without this little purring helper)

dabbe Not an invisible kitty! Sweet face, and that eye! 💙🐾💚 4mo
TiredLibrarian Excellent helper! 😻 4mo
Graywacke @dabbe She‘s definitely focused in being noticed! We always know when she comes around, because she sings to us (usually in inappropriate language) @TiredLibrarian hmm. Not sure helpful is one of her character traits. “unhelper”? 🙂 4mo
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dabbe @Graywacke She matches the book colors perfectly! 🤣😍🤩 4mo
DrSabrinaMoldenReads Surprisingly, I did not like this book. I wanted to 3mo
Graywacke @DrSabrinaMoldenReads oh, bummer. I took to it. It wasn‘t easy reading, but it‘s a dynamic oddity. (I need to post my review here). 3mo
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Entertaining and recommended if you want a fun book. It‘s surprisingly fun, also serious, ranting and thoughtful. He covers Africa's tragic colonial history, then the surprising realities of various African countries - the arbitrary borders, tensions from colonial divisions, their youth and variability, and success and failures and new successes. And he has fun ranting on the western perspectives.

BarbaraBB Glad you enjoyed it 4mo
58 likes1 comment
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I sampled this one this morning, and it opens really nicely. So now I‘m 36 minutes into a 36 hour audiobook, and I‘m fascinated. Hadn‘t really processed that J Edgar Hoover was a Roosevelt big government guy before he went all COINTELPRO. Didn‘t know he was gay, or anti-right wing. But, of course, he was racist and anti-liberal, and powerful enough (for 48 yrs) to be really destructive. Anyway, I‘m all-in so far.

Suet624 Ooohhhh, he is quite the complicated guy. And mean. Can‘t wait to hear how you like it. 4mo
Graywacke @Suet624 this author has me really intrigued by him 4mo
Suet624 36 hours though!!! Yikes!! 4mo
Graywacke @Suet624 it‘s a lot of 30-minute commutes. ☺️ (edited) 4mo
Hooked_on_books Sounds fascinating! 4mo
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Thin stuff, but this Pulitzer Prize winner comes around and ended up a nice audiobook. Hua Hsu is the son of Taiwanese immigrants who came to the US to study. He was born in Illinois. The book is mostly about his days at UC Berkley in the late 1990's, and the lessons he learned there about life. Of course, he has to make it do a bit more than that for the book be any good. He does.

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Apparently when my brain needs a rest, this is what I go to. A 1965 biography?/study?/hagiography? of Princeton basketball star Bill Bradley. Bradley would go on to a Rhodes scholarship, an NBA career with the Knicks, a long period as a US senator and a serious president candidacy. But that all happened after McPhee‘s awe-filled exploration of a then young mr. perfect. What weird? It works. It‘s a terrific book.

Currey I have loved many a McPhee 4mo
Graywacke @Currey yeah…he‘s such a great writer. I picked this up at the library $1-a-book shelf last week…along with 3 others by him. ☺️ 4mo
52 likes2 comments