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HillsAndHamletsBookshop

HillsAndHamletsBookshop

Joined October 2017

Co-owner of two bookstores in Georgia.
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HillsAndHamletsBookshop
Deluge | Stephen Markley
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This madly ambitious, sprawling, epic work of near future climate fiction packs a serious punch. Yes, it is 900+ pages, and yes it is a little demanding. The emotional depth of the multiple character storylines provides balance for the heavy political themes in a way that really pays off. If you enjoyed The Overstory by Richard Powers, The Ministry For The Future by Kim Stanley Robinson, or Stephen King‘s The Stand then this will knock you out!

Reggie Ughhhh it wasn‘t at my bookstore today!!! 1w
HillsAndHamletsBookshop Hi Reggie! Do you ever use Bookshop to get your books online? It delivers them to your door just like Amazon but it supports local bookstores instead of Jeff Bezos. You can get the Deluge from our Bookshop here if you‘d like: https://bookshop.org/lists/josh-s-staff-picks 1w
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An absolutely epic synthesis of an emerging consensus on mind/body research and it‘s implications for public health. Mate is already a well respected doctor specializing in addiction treatment (see his bestseller In The Realm of a Hungry Ghosts). The impacts of trauma (both major and minor), especially during childhood, cannot be overstated, and we are only beginning to become a “trauma literate”
society. A must read title for a better world.

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HillsAndHamletsBookshop
Animals Strike Curious Poses | Elena Passarello
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The 16 essays in this collection each feature some animal of historical significance, but they sprawl brilliantly across topics as diverse as science, myth, pop culture, poetry, and humor. Slyly subversive, Passarello skewers our modern conceptions of who we are in relation to the natural world by revealing the absurd, careless violence of our historical relations with animals.

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Chrome Valley: Poems | Mahogany L. Browne
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As a longtime fan of the performance poetry of Mahogany L. Browne, it‘s nice to see her written poetry getting prestige from a literary publisher like Liveright. In Chrome Valley she brings her signature balance of anger with humor, sorrow and disappointment with bittersweetness, all grappling with the experience of growing up as a young black girl and woman in America. Thanks to W.W. Norton for the advance review copy.

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The Dawn of Everything blew my mind, and fans of Graeber will find much to appreciate here. One of his major themes is that the European Enlightenment was a collection of ideas stolen from (or very influenced by) various indigenous people. Here he explores how early 18th century pirates fostered radical new social forms (“pirate utopias”) in partnership with local Madagascar cultures, and how tales of these places were influential back in Europe.

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I consider Ross Gay‘s Inciting Joy to be a true masterpiece. Gay repeatedly took my breath away with his quiet emotional power, which dazzles in these essays in a wild, satisfying dance between the personal and political. There were at least a dozen occasions where I wanted to stand up and applaud, or weep, or cheer out loud, or reach out and hug my loved ones. Spend some time hanging out with Ross Gay in these essays, you‘ll be glad you did!

HillsAndHamletsBookshop I especially want everyone I know in academia to read the essay Dispatch From the Ruins. 2mo
underground_bks 👏👏👏👏👏👏 2mo
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The Hidden Life of Trees meets Devil in the White City. This masterpiece of environmentalist true crime writing had me spellbound from start to finish. Lifelong Canadian logger Grant Hadwin experiences a spiritual transformation into an environmental activist. His increasingly quixotic quest to change the industry in the 1990s leads to a bizarre and seemingly inexplicable protest with a truly epic backstory. Hadwin remains missing to this day.

SamAnne This was a good one. 2mo
HillsAndHamletsBookshop Another visiting bookseller from Orcas Island recommended to me when visiting our bookstore here in Georgia. It‘s an older title I hadn‘t even heard of and I just loved it! 2mo
jlhammar Yay! I'm planning to read this in February for #NaturaLitsyBingo. Can't wait! 2mo
HillsAndHamletsBookshop @jlhammar awesome! You are in for a treat! 2mo
underground_bks Sounds so good! 2mo
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Mehso-so

The authors fed this sophisticated articulate intelligence program all of the books of the world‘s great wisdom traditions and related classics. Then they asked it to answer questions about the meaning of life and how we should live as humans. The concept is interesting as a benchmark in story of AI‘s flirtation with sentience, but it mostly falls flat in its attempt to deliver actual meaningful wisdom that doesn‘t occur as awkward regurgitation.

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I truly loved this short, odd little book about two misfit teenagers in the pre-internet 1990s, the art they made, and the town that freaked out about it. It is alternately sad, funny, weird, and deeply moving. If you were a socially awkward, artsy teen in the 1990s you‘ll probably appreciate this book. Kevin Wilson has such a delightfully strange way of seeing the world and I am here for it!

Jas16 Great review! 2mo
HillsAndHamletsBookshop @Jas16 thank you! 🥰 2mo
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This satisfying, well written historical novel is set in a marble mining town in Colorado in the early 20th century. Young Sylvia Pelletier comes of age in the town of Moonstone as her beloved father‘s work to bring a union to the exploited mine workers is raising tensions. A romance with the labor sympathizing mine owners‘ son, and a mentor in the hard drinking news woman KT Redman makes Sylvia‘s story into a genuinely page turning adventure!

underground_bks Great review! 2mo
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The Ferryman: A Novel | Justin Cronin
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The island utopia of Prospera provides its residents with long, fulfilling lives — until the health monitors in their arms fall below 10% and they must take a “retirement” trip off the island on the ferry. Ferryman Proctor Bennett is shaken from his happy somnambulism by a covert resistance movement among the Support Staff (Prospera‘s servant class) and layers of secrets & lies unravel as we barrel toward a shockingly twisty surprise ending.

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Lark Ascending | Silas House
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Lark, now an old man, tells the story of his journey as a young man from America to Ireland, as he and his family sought refuge from a war torn America ravaged by “fundies” (militant Christian fundamentalists). They have a special hate for LGBTQ people (Lark is gay). This dystopian thriller had me on the edge of my seat as Lark encounters relentless violence and tragedy. Relief is found in natural beauty, the love of a dog, and a caring friend.

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This book absolutely consumed me. On the surface, Babel is an alternate historical fantasy about a magical school in Oxford in the nineteenth century. But as Babel‘s layers of complexity unfold, the story confronts us with powerful questions about the nature of colonialism, capitalism, institutional power, comfort & compromise, and our own complicity with injustice. The effect is deeply profound, moving, and unsettling in the very best way.

underground_bks One of the best books of the year, hands down! 3mo
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Kate Beaton‘s heartbreaking graphic memoir about working in Canada‘s infamous oil sands industrial region is a hauntingly beautiful masterpiece. It is an ambitious yet unpretentious wrestling with the big questions of her experiences there — loneliness, depression, misogyny, sexual assault, trauma, class, and complicity. Her justifiable anger at the toxic atmosphere is balanced with a profound empathy for the complicated humanity of her coworkers.

underground_bks Great review! Sounds unique and powerful! 4mo
batsy Nice review! I was super intrigued when I saw a description of it earlier. 4mo
HillsAndHamletsBookshop @batsy thanks! I guess Beaton was already well known for a webcomic series called Hark! A Vagrant, but I‘d never read it or even heard of it. Her work is amazing though! 4mo
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charl08 Looking forward to reading this one. 3mo
CrowCAH Happy Litsyversary! 10/23/22 3mo
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HillsAndHamletsBookshop
Sisters in Arms: A Novel | Kaia Alderson
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Women were allowed a limited role in the US military until WWII when the Women‘s Army Auxillary Corps was formed. Sisters In Arms tells the story of the only black battalion of the WAAC, through the characters of Grace & Eliza. They navigate a segregated army, hostile military leaders, & entrenched racism, not to mention enemy attacks. This compelling, warm-hearted book shines light on the overlooked contributions of these courageous black women.

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An extraordinary exploration of the meaning and nature of intelligence, and its many forms, from an initial out-of-the box take on Artificial Intelligence to the many forms of natural intelligences science is learning more about. Bridle takes you on a wild, bold, and slightly unsettling philosophical adventure with an ultimately (if tentatively) hopeful tone regarding our species‘ future grappling with issues of nature & technology.

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Mehso-so

Brian Swimme has created an interesting career and body of work by attempting to construct a scientifically informed eco-theology, or a kind of cosmological pantheism. This book is what he calls his “auto-cosmology,” an intellectual autobiography really, about his journey from a professor of theoretical mathematics and physics to spiritual storyteller. While the book is a touch self aggrandizing at times, I found some nuggets of wisdom & insight.

HillsAndHamletsBookshop I would give this an actual thumbs up but only for a very specific reader: if you‘re interested in the last century or so effort among a certain strain of thinkers to combine cutting edge science/evolution/cosmology into what most would call today a new age spiritual worldview then this is very interesting. It traces Swimme‘s ideas through the intellectual heritage especially of Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Berry. 6mo
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A Really Good Day | Ayelet Waldman
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After Michael Pollan‘s book How To Change Your Mind got me interested in the topic I‘ve been reading more books about the emerging field of psychedelics as medicine. I found Waldman‘s blend of memoir and journalism to be especially readable. Her personal storytelling is highly relatable for anyone prone to anxiety, & her reporting on the sad futility of the drug war is especially compelling. She reads the audiobook herself & is a great narrator.

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We Are the Light | Matthew Quick
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We Are The Light is an emotionally riveting novel that will break your heart, then heal it. The town of Majestic, PA is recovering from a tragic massacre in their historic theater, as told in letters from survivor Lucas Goodgame to his Jungian therapist. As Lucas grieves for the loss of his wife, he takes in Eli, a teenager with an unfortunate connection to the shooting. Together they devise an unlikely plan to heal their broken community.

underground_bks Fantastic review! 6mo
HillsAndHamletsBookshop @underground_bks Thank you! 😘❤️😊 (edited) 6mo
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As much nature writing as I read I‘m sorry to admit that I‘ve never read Barry Lopez before this. I had him pigeonholed in my mind as a writer of the western US specifically and he is so much more than that. He is a one of those soulful, virtuosic writers who can effortlessly surf from talking about a penguin to climate policy to childhood trauma to the philosophy of place before bringing you back to the hike he started on. I‘m hooked!

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What would happen if we discovered a species of brilliantly intelligent octopus that had developed its own symbolic language and culture. Oh and also they are deadly dangerous and are actually discovered by the planet‘s biggest and greediest corporation. This is the premise of Ray Nayler‘s The Mountain in the Sea and it is a deeply inventive work of speculative fiction, perfect for readers who enjoy anthropological/ecological/linguistic themes. 🐙

HillsAndHamletsBookshop If you loved The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell then this is a book for you! 7mo
Soubhiville The Sparrow is one of my favorite books, so you‘ve hooked me! This author will be at TX Book Fest in a couple weeks and I‘m looking forward to hearing him speak. 4mo
HillsAndHamletsBookshop @Soubhiville oh nice! I bet that will be a cool talk. I haven‘t seen anyone else compare it to The Sparrow but they both have pretty serious elements of linguistic anthropology, exploring how communicating with “aliens” reveals all kinds of hidden layers of meaning within our own language-worlds. Definitely get him to sign your book, I bet this could be a sleeper for some of the sci-fi awards shortlists, it‘s really good! 4mo
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This was an interesting read, offering an enlightening glimpse into state level progressive political organizing. Cartoonist Sofia Warren spends a year following newly elected NY state senator Julia Salazar, a Democratic Socialist, in her first year in office. An honest yet hopeful and even inspiring read at a moment when our national political atmosphere feels particularly ominous.

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"Good bookstores reflect their communities, exceptional bookstores both reflect and create their communities." Deutsch is an inspirational force in the bookselling industry and his new book is a wonderful read featuring some promisingly fresh perspectives on the indie bookstore movement. "The good bookstore sells books, but its primary product, if you will, is the browsing experience."

Suet624 I find such great surprises when I browse. My favorite book, Fresh Water for Flowers, came to me as a result of a browse. I knew nothing about it and it rocked my world. 7mo
HillsAndHamletsBookshop Yes! Love this ❤️ 7mo
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I loved this strange, powerful little book. It is kind of about mole catching but really about the author‘s perspectives on nature and the world after a life spent living and working outdoors. But this isn‘t your everyday nature writing, Marc Hammer has a unique view on the world and a talent for sharing it.

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Remarkably Bright Creatures | Shelby Van Pelt
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This delightfully offbeat novel strikes just the right balance between weird & funny on the one hand & tender & big hearted on the other. Marcellus is a clever giant Pacific Octopus with a slightly misanthropic bent who lives in a public aquarium. Tova is the aquarium‘s recently widowed janitor who‘s stuck in a rut and still mourns the unsolved loss of her son. Tova & Marcellus become best friends and mysteries get solved. What‘s not to love?!

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Red Mars | Kim Stanley Robinson
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I totally loved this but can also understand why lots of people struggle to enjoy KSR. My first read of his was Ministry For the Future, which I also loved, but he definitely has an expansive (some might say… long-winded) way of writing socio-political backdrops that can kind of overshadow the plot and/or the characters. This first book in the Mars series is a treasure for fans of hard sci-fi, but it helps if you like KSR‘s politics, which I do!

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Zevin‘s book The Storied Life of AJ Fikry devastated me in the best way so I was so excited for this new one. Tomorrow does not disappoint, and is a perfectly heartfelt exploration of love, creativity, art, failure, loss, grief, and complicated friendships. While the gaming industry element isn‘t central in a way that would turn off the casual reader, it is bound to be a bonus for those interested in modern gaming. Sure to be a 2022 favorite!

HillsAndHamletsBookshop Picture taken at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg. 10mo
britt_brooke Beautiful photo! 10mo
HillsAndHamletsBookshop Thank you! It was easy in such a beautiful venue! 10mo
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Nightcrawling: A novel | Leila Mottley
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This astonishingly intense debut novel from Leila Mottley (who wrote the book at age SEVENTEEN) follows the story of Kiara, an Oakland teenager whose difficult life circumstances land her in a nightmare of abuse & scandal at the hands of a group of Oakland police officers. Inspired by a real case, Mottley puts her dazzling poetic skills to work (she was the 2018 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate) telling a story as powerful & tender as it is disturbing.

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As a devoted urban planning geek, I‘ve been following Chuck Marohn‘s popular social media pages and blog for awhile, so was excited to read his book. He often has an iconoclastic perspective on popular orthodoxy regarding how cities can thrive through thoughtful planning & design. The book is deeply compelling, and is an important and timely work for anyone working in, or wanting to have an impact on, local government or town planning.

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I LOVED A Gentleman in Moscow and have been so excited to read The Lincoln Highway. IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT! Towles is such a master storyteller, it‘s impossible to not find yourself rooting for every character. It‘s such a different book than his previous work. Lincoln Highway is a fun, fast-paced adventure tale with a lovable cast of characters who exemplify Towles‘ signature wit and charm. Highly recommend!

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Olga Dies Dreaming | Xochitl Gonzalez
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May every activist cause & social justice movement get themselves a Xochitl Gonzalez. It is a rare gift indeed to be able to write a novel that is so incredibly rich, satisfying, and fun to read while also educating the reader about something as complicated as Puerto Rico‘s history of colonial oppression. I rooted for Olga as she fought for her family and to get the life she desires, while taking breaks to google more about Puerto Rican history.

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Groundskeeping | Lee Cole
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I‘ve lived most of my life in southern college towns, where professors & liberals live in tense bubbles in a sea of religious conservatism & working class anti-intellectualism. This is the backdrop of Lee Cole‘s debut novel, about a love story btwn Owen & Alma, from two very different backgrounds, & the way race & class impacts the dynamics of their relationship and their families in the age of Trump. Every character felt like someone I‘ve known.

Christine Great review - a must-stack for me! 13mo
HillsAndHamletsBookshop @Christine thank you! I honestly couldn‘t put it down. It kept resonating with my own experiences over and over, and does a good job of avoiding caricature when handling rural/southern/conservative characters in the story. Also I went to high school and college in KY and it has lots of geographical references that were familiar, which added a nice dimension. The writing about place was almost as good as the characters. 13mo
Christine Thanks for sharing these additional thoughts! Wow - I can't wait for this one. Minus the geography, I feel that much of this will resonate with me, too (and I look forward to that strong southern sense of place you describe!). 13mo
DocBrown Love this review! 1w
HillsAndHamletsBookshop Thank you! ❤️📚 1w
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Smith‘s personal, intimate examination of sites of historical significance to slavery is as soulful and accessible as it is urgent & important. The opening chapter on Jefferson‘s Monticello is one of the best chapters of American historical writing in recent memory, & should be required reading on the legacy of America‘s founders. It‘s rare to encounter a work where every paragraph brims with significance, but Clint Smith does just that.

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In The Dawn of Everything Davids Graeber and Wengrow have packed the foundations of modern political philosophy with dynamite and lit the fuse. They accomplish this by synthesizing and sharing recent advances in the fields of archaeology and anthropology which show a truly dizzying diversity of sophisticated models of human social organization among indigenous peoples the world over, spanning tens of thousands of years. (Cnt‘d in comments)

HillsAndHamletsBookshop Why are these recent archaeological revelations so important? They undermine our temporal bias toward recent European based ideas of social progress. 14mo
HillsAndHamletsBookshop The basic premise is that we currently suffer from a catastrophically crippled political imagination, due largely to the myth of linear historical progress. If we believe that things HAD to be how they are today because history was leading inevitably toward US, then it means there could be no other way for things to end up. 14mo
HillsAndHamletsBookshop Graeber and Wengrow‘s meticulously researched and sourced masterpiece transforms you into a kind of sociological time traveler, dipping in and out of the vibrant social worlds of ancient cities and cultures in such a way to vividly remind us that
— despite the invisible hum of our culture telling us otherwise — other wiser, richer, saner ways of life remain possible.
14mo
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Great Circle | Maggie Shipstead
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I loved this incredible epic novel, definitely making my top 10 list for 2021! Some reviewers didn‘t like the modern thread of the historical/modern dual narrative, and it isn‘t as strong as the historical thread, but I still enjoyed it all. Definitely my favorite of this year‘s Booker nominees. The fictional tale of the lives of aviator Marian Graves and her artist brother Jamie makes for a damn fine yarn. Thanks to Libro.fm for the ALC!

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The Beatryce Prophecy | Kate DiCamillo
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I don‘t typically read much middle grade fiction but I absolutely LOVED The Beatryce Prophecy! Thanks to Libro.fm for the ALC!

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Revelator: A novel | Daryl Gregory
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Revelator is a delightfully creepy Appalachian folk-gothic-horror novel about a mountain family and the strange, vaguely sinister god they worship. Think H.P. Lovecraft meets V.C. Andrews meets Mexican Gothic. Not my normal fare but I really enjoyed it! Thanks to Libro.fm for the complimentary listening copy!

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Bewilderment | Richard Powers
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Bewilderment is powerful environmental & social criticism masquerading as an emotionally devastating novel. Powers‘ follow up to his Pulitzer Prize winner The Overstory continues his tradition of no holds barred environmentalist fiction, this time through the lens of childhood mental health, astrobiology, & American political dysfunction. I found myself longing for a comforting sentimentality, but Powers‘ brilliance is psychologically relentless.

underground_bks Fantastic review! This sounds INTENSE. 2y
HillsAndHamletsBookshop It is! I don‘t think the Trump years did anything to improve Powers‘ optimism. There is a kind of seething anger underlying this book that one can‘t help but feel is deeply justified. 2y
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Matrix | Lauren Groff
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Lumbering & enigmatic Marie de France is cast out of the 12th century royal court of Eleanor of Aquitaine as too coarse & spends her life building a small empire as an Abbess at a rural abbey. I can‘t say I ever love Groff‘s books, but I always *respect* them. They are so sharp, and the line-by-line writing is euphoric, virtuosic even. Matrix is like this. It is a smart if peculiar exploration of power, womanhood, faith, ambition, and sensuality.

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The Ministry for the Future | Kim Stanley Robinson
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This hearty work of hard science fiction has been the antidote to my climate change despair. As a novel it is good. As a thought experiment imagining a near future in which humanity averts complete disaster and begins the transformation into an ecologically humane civilization — it is a masterpiece. If we‘re going to overcome the converging catastrophes of our century we‘ll need powerful and well researched stories like this to help find the way.

SamAnne Oh I need to read this. I work in conservation and it‘s been a rough week. Year? 2y
HillsAndHamletsBookshop I can only imagine! It really is good, and manages to be hopeful without being pollyannish, if that‘s a word, haha. 2y
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My biggest problem with the book was that I listened to the audiobook and wish there had been a professional reader rather than the author. I finally got used to his voice, and was able to enjoy the content, but I wish more space had been given to two things: 1. a deeper understanding of indigenous attitudes toward land “ownership” and 2. more attention to radical/alternative/visionary models of land ownership/stewardship. Overall still 4 stars.

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Ecotopia | Ernest Callenbach
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Mehso-so

What are some books you like that explore positive visions of the future? Ecotopia was just okay, with a lot of dated perspectives on gender, sexuality, and race. I‘m interested in the concept though, using fiction to imagine positive or utopian futures (that don‘t always just devolve into dystopias). I‘m hearing more about the emerging genres of “solarpunk” or “hopepunk” and am looking for recommendations if anyone has any! 🤓📚💚

SamAnne Oh blast from the past. Yes it is very outdated. But one I read in my late teens. 2y
HillsAndHamletsBookshop It had been on my TBR for a long time, and I‘m glad I read it. 🙂 2y
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I read about 60 books a year. If Becky Chambers had 60 books out already I would happily stop all all other reading and spend a year immersed in her universe. This fourth, and apparently final, book in her Wayfarers Chronicles series continues her tradition of writing characters that are so rich, relationships with such emotional depth, world building that is so imaginative, that you don‘t even care that the plot feels like an afterthought.

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This short and sweet, charming and funny, and quite educational book about the curious love lives of birds is the perfect little gift book for bird lovers or the bird-curious. I listened to the audiobook on Libro but we have physical copies for sale in our bookstore, and it is a beautiful book inside and out.

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Overall really enjoyed this, though as others have pointed out, it is far from a perfect novel, with a few flat, or eye-roll inducing moments. Still, I liked the concept and apothecary/poison themes, and the audiobook narrator did a great job of giving life to the 3 main characters. I would put this in the category of a fun & smart beach read, nothing too heavy but not totally lacking substance either.

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As an avid reader of nature writing, I found World of Wonders a pure delight, and the beautiful cover and illustrations throughout don‘t hurt. Each bite-sized essay has a specific plant or animal theme, many drawn from the poet‘s experiences as a child. The writing is personal, tender, at times funny, always thoughtful, and tinged with a kind of prescient, soulful mourning for the looming collapse of species diversity on our tiny precious planet.

Chelsea.Poole I loved this one. Great photo! 🌿 2y
HillsAndHamletsBookshop @Chelsea.Poole thank you!! 😊 2y
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Michaela Carter‘s spellbinding work of historical fiction about the Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington had me spending hours scouring the internet looking at the artist‘s paintings. A perfect book for anyone interested in the 20th century‘s modernist avant-garde art movements (the book also features POV chapters from Max Ernst and Peggy Guggenheim), the book tells a compelling story while also elevating the profile of lesser known women artists.

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I devoured This clever, entertaining, and thought provoking memoir. Perfect for fans of magic, illusion, gambling, philosophy, performance art, or just plain good storytelling! DelGaudio‘s tale of how an adolescent obsession with sleight-of-hand eventually landed him a job as a cheating card dealer for a high stakes Hollywood poker game is more than just a solid page-turning yarn. It‘s a complex meditation on deception in all its varied forms.

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A quietly devastating masterpiece! Ishiguro‘s layers of emotional nuance pair well with his explorations of the profound ethical and metaphysical quandaries posed by our near future‘s AI technologies.

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The Four Winds: A Novel | Kristin Hannah
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I devoured Kristin Hannah‘s masterful work of historical fiction. I found myself desperately rooting for the Martinelli family as they face a persistent series of crises during the Great Depression & the Dust Bowl. This is character driven storytelling at its best — each time I stepped away from it I couldn‘t stop thinking about them. The Four Winds is a deeply moving story about a particularly dark era of profoundly relevant American history.

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