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JSW

JSW

Joined April 2016

Varsity Reading Team Member * Bookshop Santa Cruz Book Group Ambassador 📚👥* Ravenclaw * Reveur *
review
JSW
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
Pickpick

Outstanding. I have no words.

cathysaid I‘ve seen interviews with some of the men that survived the school on which this book is based. Just gut wrenching. And they‘re still digging up graves. 😞 17h
JSW @cathysaid it‘s devastating. I will never get over the lives and promise of greatness that have been lost over the years through individual and institutional acts of colonialism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and humanity‘s desperate need to feel superior. (edited) 12h
20 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
JSW
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Up next! A library find that I hope is not too academic - though I appreciate it‘s coming from a neuroscience perspective!

28 likes1 stack add
review
JSW
Pickpick

I throughly enjoyed this quirky contemporary fairy tale. Lila faces challenges, tasks to complete, temptation, mistakes, and adventures on her quest. Great story if you can roll with its oddities: Lila is not particularly likable, the dialogue and story arcs can be a bit cheesily new age-ish, and the author plays fast and loose with (possibly stereotypical?) concepts of Mexican spiritual realism.

review
JSW
Tenth Muse | Catherine Chung
Pickpick

Really, really, really, really good. But my god, I haven‘t been so aggravated by characters in a long time. The academic professional experiences of Katherine will be recognized by so many hetero, partnered women of a certain age in academia - the push/pull of identity, agency, authenticity, relationship, patriarchy, and institutionalized sexism. This book is about who we are, what defines us, betrayal, longing, and so much more.

JSW The academic in me absolutely cringes at the relationship between faculty mentor/student. And parts of me died to see Katherine‘s work and intellectual potential stolen by trusted mentors. ARGH. 3d
Christine Oh man, this was already on my radar but definitely needs to be stacked after this review! 3d
17 likes2 stack adds2 comments
blurb
JSW
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Yesterday‘s library book haul! I only requested 4 of these titles, the rest were browse finds. 😬 #sorrynotsorry

review
JSW
Burning Chambers | Kate Mosse
Bailedbailed

I have to bail on this one; it‘s moving too slowly for me and has too much historical detail that is bogging me down. If you like a slow burn (ha!) and love European religious and political history you might try it. Mosse is a great writer who tells good stories.

review
JSW
Pickpick

Enjoyable read that‘s a bit history, a bit journalism, and a bit memoir. Good stuff.

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JSW
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Four sentences to convey complete horror.

blurb
JSW
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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The author is coming to town next week so I want to have this done by then. I hear amazing things!

Branwen Omg it's SO GOOD! 😍💕📚 1w
tpixie Awesomeness! Have fun! 1w
Leftcoastzen A great book! 1w
See All 6 Comments
readordierachel Cool! It's really good. 1w
rather_be_reading did u see him tonight?? 21h
JSW @rather_be_reading I see him Thursday! 12h
37 likes6 comments
review
JSW
Mehso-so

Nice palate-cleanser. I loved the 1920‘s sections but cringed a lot in the mawkish 1970‘s sections. Side note: do authors bother to google the names of their characters? They should. There was a real Clara Darden, an artist, But she wasn‘t this character. She was a Native American basket-weaver. It rubbed me wrong that her name was appropriated for this story that has nothing to do with her or her work.

blurb
JSW
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My town has a separate storefront goodwill for books, CDs, records, and DVDs that I keep forgetting about. Super excited to score this haul for $14! Happy reading and listening! The bottom book, Jack Maggs, came recommended by the grey-haired gentleman running the cash register. 👍🏼😀📚❤️

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JSW
Daisy Jones & The Six | Taylor Jenkins Reid
Pickpick

Lots of fun and a perfect farewell-to-summer read.

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JSW
Daisy Jones & The Six | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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Or should I say, great expectations. So much hype about this book!

blurb
JSW
Daisy Jones & The Six | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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Or should I say, great expectations. So much hype about this book!

review
JSW
Pickpick

This book, this epic, tragic, lovely book. How do I begin? As it wrestled with philosophic questions of what life is worth, it maintained a steady quiet tension. I was utterly transfixed. Layers of meaning and history made personal. Gah, I can‘t even describe how good.

JSW I‘m just reduced to staring off into space. It‘s one of THOSE. 2w
JamieArc Moving this up my TBR 😁 2w
JSW @JamieArc I hope you like it. It moves at its own measured pace. The characters are wonderful. 2w
17 likes3 comments
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JSW
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Pickpick

Important and necessary reading for right now. While at times repetitive with ideas and quotes, the writing is impassioned and researched. Let the resistance continue.

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JSW
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#ShelfieSunday!! Here‘s my one bookshelf that I allow myself (space issues!). But my books overflow, of course, so I keep my signed copies in a separate stack on top of the photos/craft shelf.

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JSW
Mehso-so

Cheesy but sweet. Very much a soap opera of a book. Quick read for your last few beach days.

blurb
JSW
Daisy Jones & The Six | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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Library book haul!

review
JSW
Disappearing Earth | Julia Phillips
Bailedbailed

Not for me. Quality writing but it‘s not connecting in any way.

Tamra I started the audio and it didn‘t keep me engaged so I didn‘t go back to it. I chalked it up to vacation distractions, but maybe not. 3w
JSW @Tamra I didn‘t care about any of the characters. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 3w
20 likes2 comments
review
JSW
Magic for Liars | Sarah Gailey
Pickpick

I‘m going with pick. The characterizations sold it for me. The insight Ivy has into others, while ignoring her own complexities, was a fascinating contrast. I‘ve been reading more books lately where characters are LGBTQ and it‘s just one aspect of who they are, just part of the fabric of community, and that was cool about this book too. However, solid, if not predictable, mystery, and the premise wasn‘t as cool as I hoped.

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JSW
Magic for Liars | Sarah Gailey
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Hahahaha!!! What a great description. “I had an immediate fantasy of shoving him aside on the train so I could sit.” 😂😂😂

review
JSW
Hollow Kingdom | Kira Jane Buxton
Pickpick

I absolutely loved it. Original, unique. Humor meets zombie apocalypse meets natural world, told by animal narrators. I hugged it when I finished. Just wonderful.

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JSW
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If racism is understood not just as an affair of the heart but about material advantage and personal comfort, then the remedy is much different because it means it will cost something to alter.

25 likes3 stack adds
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JSW
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By making racism only about bombing, blocking, and spitting, the nation gets off easy.

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JSW
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Silence is comfortable. “It is easier to cast protesters as reckless and dangerous than face the comfort and cruel convenience of those on the sidelines of injustice.” Do not be silent.

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JSW
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“And besides, it is easier to build monuments/Than to build a better world.” Damn.

25 likes1 stack add
blurb
JSW
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Up next, and just from the preface, required reading.

25 likes1 stack add
review
JSW
Secrets We Kept | Lara Prescott
Pickpick

Compulsively readable and so good. Great book club pick! 📚👥❤️ Alternating between the story of Doctor Zhivago and its controversy, and the story of women working espionage for “the Agency”, this book held me in thrall. Coming soon from Knopf.

review
JSW
Pickpick

Steampunk, queer, witty, and fantastical homage to Sherlock Holmes. This book is wacky and original and creative and a mind-bending blast. #queerbooks #holmes

RaimeyGallant Sounds great! 3w
19 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
JSW
Pickpick

I never got to take anthropology in college, and I found this book a good introduction to many of the key concepts that anthropology studies and discusses. It is a Western viewpoint, and a summary/intro, so for those reasons limited in scope. However, the author does look critically at the field and its origins. Good place to start.

Tamra I loved the Anthro courses I took and would have been happy majoring in it! 👍🏾 3w
19 likes1 comment
blurb
JSW
Hollow Kingdom | Kira Jane Buxton
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Laughing so much that Mr JSW came out of his hobby room and asked me what I was reading. 😂😂😂

Booknerd222 I just got the book a few days ago and I read the first few chapters in the store before I bought it and I laughed so much! 1mo
MellieAntoinette I read the first chapter in the store...and sold the remaining 5 copies to people asking, “What on earth is she reading!” 1mo
JSW @Booknerd222 @MellieAntoinette depending on your comfort level of laughing in public, this *might* not be good subway/bus reading 😂😂😂 1mo
27 likes2 stack adds3 comments
review
JSW
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Pickpick

This book is not for everyone, though I recommend it. It may be triggering or painful to anyone who has suffered for generations at the hands of white supremacy and nationalism. Please take care of yourself. But white people - I‘m talking to you. You should read this, because we are all complicit. Work on your internalized racism. Find the ways you can speak out or act out against WN and white supremacy. (Cont in comments)

JSW You might not be able to befriend someone like Derek, or engage in civil conversation with someone, or write on forums, or publically address WN. But I guarantee you can do something to counter the surge of WN that‘s happening. Travel. Read. Engage with people. Enlighten yourself. In reading this book I‘ve recommitted to how I can impact the world and be anti-racist. It‘s going to take all of us doing what we can. Very important read. (edited) 1mo
JSW Please note that I am not at all suggesting that any one way (travel! Engage with others!) is *the* answer. I‘m not that naive. But if we benefit from white supremacy, we each must do *something* to combat white supremacy. I‘m also not giving gold stars out to white folks for doing the right thing in small ways. We must seek justice. We must chip away at injustice. I‘m saying that we start with small actions and we must continue to evolve. 1mo
JSW Basically this: You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. 1mo
14 likes3 comments
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JSW
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Wow.

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JSW
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This is why more people don‘t change their mindsets (or leave abusive situations, or make different choices, or any of the other judgments we who are “morally superior” ascribe to those who don‘t think as we do or do what we do). This is intense and traumatic.

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JSW
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There‘s a lot of thoughts that this book is inspiring in me, but this is one of the ones that‘s rising to the top. People‘s ideologies aren‘t just “intellectual” or “emotional” without a relational context. The most meaningful elements holding us in places are often loyalty, belonging, sense of family, and identity. Any efforts to change hearts MUST incorporate ways people can establish new connections with others.

Emilymdxn Stacked so fast! What a great thoughtful way of writing about this 1mo
JSW @Emilymdxn this book is stunning. I am going to be recommending it to everyone. 1mo
14 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
JSW
Olive, Again | Elizabeth Strout
Mehso-so

Here‘s the thing. If you loved Olive Kitteridge (which I did not), you will love this book (which I did not). Strout writes amazing contemporary realism, but I can‘t stand her characters and the naked emotions of their stories. I find these books depressing, and heartbreaking, and irritating. So i can‘t give a full pick even though the writing is superb. 🤷🏻‍♀️

review
JSW
Fled: A Novel | Meg Keneally
Pickpick

There have been other books that have imagined the life of Mary Bryant, here Jenny Gwyn but her story is new to me. I definitely enjoyed this one. I appreciated the portrayal of her tenacity and unwillingness to give up what little agency she had. This isn‘t really a feel good book but I was definitely hooked.

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JSW
Hollow Kingdom | Kira Jane Buxton
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Great reading tonight for @bookshopsc Summer Books & Brews series. Kira Buxton is a fabulous host - great stories and she really nails a Scottish accent. 😂😂😂 📚🍺 ps Her manicure matches the book cover ❤️❤️

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JSW
Fled: A Novel | Meg Keneally
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Next up! The book feels so new, I think I may be the first to read it, which makes me irrationally happy. Part of the joy of reading for me (and why I love buying new hardbacks) is that sense of discovery. Does that make sense?

readordierachel Makes total sense. It's a personal connection between you and the book 🙂 1mo
JSW @readordierachel it was difficult for me to articulate. Thanks for validation!!! 😘 1mo
27 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
JSW
Light from Other Stars | Erika Swyler
Pickpick

Is this sci-fi? Yes. Is this a book about family? Yes. Is it a study of human dynamics? Yes. Speculative, alternative fiction? Yes. Is it excellent and trippy and poignant and immersive? Yes. Highly recommend for book groups! 📚👥

23 likes1 stack add
review
JSW
The Mars Room: A Novel | Rachel Kushner
Pickpick

I could not put this one down. Riveting and heartbreaking and raw. Such tragedy surrounds us in people‘s lives.

readordierachel I just started this one! I definitely see what you mean. 1mo
21 likes1 comment
blurb
JSW
Olive, Again | Elizabeth Strout
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Fans of Olive Kitteridge, you‘re in luck! She‘s coming back this fall! Working on this ARC for the Winter newsletter and book group recommendations. #bookgroupambassador 📚👥

review
JSW
Pickpick

Intriguing history. Detailed but clear, Cep walks us through a geographical area, politics, history, people, murder, and Harper Lee. Well-organized and absent from didacticism and judgment.

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JSW
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We have lost one of our dearest Elders. Rest, Queen. ❤️📚

Suet624 💕💕 1mo
Bibliogeekery 💔 Huge loss! 1mo
readordierachel 💔❤ 1mo
35 likes3 comments
review
JSW
Last Song Before Night | Ilana C. Myer
Bailedbailed

I‘m on page 145 and I still don‘t feel like the book‘s plot has started. Bailing.

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JSW
Mozart's Starling | Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Pickpick

Delightful book that weaves several narrative threads together - the titular story of Star and Mozart, the author‘s story of her starling Carmen, and a larger story of ecology, nature, sentience, and music. Beautifully written and a joy to read.

review
JSW
Pickpick

Good stuff. Just enough gossip to satisfy my voyeuristic soul, but also lots of Hollywood history too, and the history of the buildings and property and neighborhood. I would have liked more pictures of the rooms and architecture. Must read for anyone interested in Los Angeles.

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JSW
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Thrilled to find this one on the shelf at the library!

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JSW
El Deafo | Cece Bell
Pickpick

I loved this sweet book about CeCe. I could relate to a lot of her struggles with friends. So much heart and soul in this graphic novel. Great for younger kids with advanced reading skills, too.