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Kempii

Kempii

Joined August 2018

review
Kempii
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Pickpick

This book‘s conclusion resonated so strongly, it brought me to tears: “Identify the one thing that makes you feel powerless and devote your life to fixing it.” After having been stalked, harassed, and assaulted, and knowing so many women whose reports were covered up, dismissed, or derided—I started a Scrabble nonprofit with a core goal to provide a safe and harassment-free environment for women. If you‘ve been hurt, know that you‘re not alone.

Kempii Massive trigger warnings for this book related to sexual assault, stalking, suicide, and general human cruelty. 4mo
3 likes1 comment
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Kempii
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Pickpick

I grew up in a hoarder house and naturally gravitated toward minimalism from a young age. For those looking for a more practical approach than Marie Kondo (whom I adore), this book is among the best. The author so closely articulated what I‘ve long thought. Examples: (1) If it‘s not Hell Yes, it‘s No—that‘s how I feel about stuff. (2) You can free yourself from stuff defining who you are to achieve a healthier relationship with material objects.

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Kempii
Anxious People: A Novel | Fredrik Backman
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Pickpick

Excellent read. I felt that the title was a misnomer, as most characters weren‘t all that anxious. Great pacing and story-telling in a clever style that I found consistently entertaining and engaging. It‘s a book about people, their weaknesses and humanity, and the power of connecting with others.

4 likes1 stack add
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Kempii
Pickpick

My book club found it tragic, and it is, but I mostly found this book to be hilarious. The narration style is original, told like a series of movie scripts, blurring fiction and reality, acting and being. Much of the character‘s wry commentary resonated with me due to similarities in family background.

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Kempii
When Stars Are Scattered | Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed
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Pickpick

Fantastic graphic novel about a young Somali boy growing up with his brother in a refugee camp. It‘s poignant, heartfelt, hopeful, crushing, and beautifully illustrated and written. I enthusiastically recommend it for adults and younger. Definitely read the real paper copy; the ebook version doesn‘t do the vivid colors justice. I am excited to gift this book to my nephew, who loves reading graphic novels.

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Kempii
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Pickpick

I‘m so glad I finally read this book after letting it languish on my shelf. As the daughter of immigrants, the raw and profound thoughts of the fictional immigrants in this book moved me to tears. The gravity of abandoning homeland for hope is so unfathomable. I enjoyed the prose, the narrator, and the calm way the book unfolds. Caution: The one part that struck me as odd was a bizarrely nonchalant sexual assault that passes by without commentary.

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Kempii
How to Walk Away | Katherine Center
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Pickpick

I didn‘t know what this book was about, and found it had the right balance of levity amidst deeply difficult circumstances. I won‘t say tragedy because that seems to shortchange the book‘s main point and cheapen the struggles of the characters. It was an unexpectedly uplifting book with a message of hope and finding joy in acts for others.

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Kempii
The Flatshare: A Novel | Beth O'Leary
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Pickpick

I loved this book more than I expected. It starts as an endearing and innocent little love story. What follows is a portrayal of abusive relationships that rings painfully true without being overly heavy or dark. It captures the sadness, self-questioning, gaslighting, trauma, and terror that escaping an abusive relationship can bring. For escapees left scarred by such relationships, this book gives us hope for better days and caring partners.

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Kempii
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Pickpick

Delightful, heartfelt, sweet book that explores gender norms, childhood, bullying, and how hard it can be to be male or female or anything in-between.

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Kempii
The Queen's Gambit | Walter Tevis
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Mehso-so

As a tournament Scrabble player, I loved the Netflix show because the chess culture‘s obsession, personalities, and competitive scene are so similar. I had a hard time rating this book independently of the show given the heavy overlap in material and dialogue. The book was fine. It did not add much beyond the show, which was a little disappointing for me. It may be the rare case where I liked the TV adaptation more than the book.

Kimberlone Totally agree! Nothing wrong with the book, but the performances, directing, and overall period design of the show transcends the source material. 2y
Kempii @Kimberlone Yup, totally agree. I also found that some lines of dialogue that the author attributed to the narrator or to one character made more sense and came out sounding way better in the show when reassigned to another character. 2y
5 likes2 comments
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Kempii
Emma in the Night | Wendy Walker
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Pickpick

Gripping from the get-go. I liked this book a lot and found the pacing, suspense, and psychoanalysis engaging. It did get confusing in the last 20 percent when the story starts to unravel. It‘s not a great sign when I feel the need to reread the last several chapters or read a plot summary to clarify what happened. 8/10.

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Kempii
Ghosted: A Novel | Rosie Walsh
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Panpan

Awful. The plot of the book fell flat for me and the prose was nothing special to compensate for the eye-rolling storyline. Disappointing in plot, character development, narrative, and suspense. Even the big reveals felt trite and unexciting. I didn‘t find myself caring what happened to the characters and the characters seem better off not caring about each other, too.

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Kempii
Such a Fun Age | Kiley Reid
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Pickpick

I was in exactly the right mood for this book. I read it in one day. It was fun, and damn funny at times! Though they were minor characters, the protagonist‘s supportive girlfriends were my favorite part. Every woman should have friends like these. On a bit of a more serious note, I found Alix‘s mothering style resonating with how I expect I‘d approach motherhood, so I was perturbed to learn that maybe she isn‘t the best mother.

14 likes1 stack add
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Kempii
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Pickpick

Phenomenal. She dissects male entitlement in a methodical, logical, powerful way. She illuminates forms of entitlement and misogyny so deeply engrained that I never saw them before for what they are. Nor did I come to terms with how pernicious the impacts of entitlement are on society. Warnings: the book is triggering, sometimes breathtakingly so, and it left me feeling deep despair about the world, especially for women.

2 likes1 stack add
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Kempii
Pickpick

If there was one book that I could make every woman in the world read, it would be this one. "Intuition is knowing without knowing why." This book was incredibly instructive, important, and serious. It discusses how to tune in to our instincts and fear to protect ourselves. From stalkers to strangers to boyfriends, handymen, and partners, it discusses how to listen to your intuition—your fear—and follow it to save your life.

Josee.lit.a.lu.et.lira Looks interesting. 📚 add for me 🙏🏻 2y
Kempii The book‘s lessons apply to men as well, but with women sadly making up the greater majority of victims of violence and harassment, I find it particularly relevant for women. 2y
5 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Kempii
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Pickpick

Terrific book about the last 10 minutes of a prostitute‘s life, as her brain loses consciousness and she relives key encounters with the people who mattered most. Well written, engrossing characters from the underside of society. A loving homage to Turkey's beauty and blasphemy. I enjoyed it very much and found it charming to read. It was sweet and far exceeded my modest expectations.

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Kempii
Made for Love | Alissa Nutting
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Pickpick

If you want unexpected dolphin erotica, look no further. In a world of remakes and recycled tropes, Alissa Nutting‘s writing is consistently original and amazingly funny. The speeches her characters make in the protagonist‘s fantasies are raw satires, sharp and ironic in that they showcase reality posing as fantasy.

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Kempii
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Panpan

AWFUL! The book is very long, overly detailed, and the only new thing I learned about the 1918 influenza was that the Great War‘s troop deployments helped spread the virus. Not surprising. The first third is an exhausting detailed history of U.S. medical schools. The second third is about the evolution of science research institutions. Save yourself 15 hours of life and skip this one. I wish I had bailed!

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Kempii
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Pickpick

Rarely do I encounter a book I love enough to read it again, and find that as time passes I love it even more. This is that rare book. It begins as a smug feud between rivals so skilled they can only rival each other. The book unfolds through time, written through the letters between Red and Blue, written into bee stings, tree rings, and lava flows. Amazing, vivid, creative, beautiful poetry masquerading as prose. I so highly recommend it. Enjoy!

TobeyTheScavengerMonk This book is just the best. 2y
7 likes1 comment
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Kempii
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Pickpick

Wonderful and wrenching memoir about a woman‘s struggle with terminal cancer. Her book was unique to me for its unvarnished and honest personal perspective. Shrinking from the “You can beat it! You have to fight!” drumbeat, the book discusses the pain, what motivates a patient to keep living or not, and the miracle of both life and death.

7 likes1 stack add
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Kempii
Cherry: A novel | Nico Walker
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Pickpick

Imagine your most unflappable friend as a cocaine addict who unintentionally deploys to Iraq and then returns to his life of nonchalant, graphic sex. That‘s this book. It‘s entertaining, easy to read, and muses profoundly on anal sex and true love, often in the same sentence.

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Kempii
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Mehso-so

It's an okay book about middle life and the many signs that you're in your 40s. It wasn't overly poignant or wise. Good enough to not bail, but not good enough for me to recommend or remember it.

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Kempii
When Breath Becomes Air | Paul Kalanithi
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Panpan

It feels unkind to pan a memoir written by a doctor dying of cancer, but after hearing the high praise for this book, I was disappointed. I thought it would be more poignant. There was an element of missed futility for me in the harshness of a doctor who trains his whole career to be a neurosurgeon only to have that life paused indefinitely due to illness. I didn‘t feel that the memoir well explored living in the present.

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Kempii
Tampa | Alissa Nutting
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Pickpick

Yikes! This disturbing, yet riveting book ejaculates on societal boundaries with total disregard. There are few books I've read that are this original or written with such abandon, and for that I give it much credit. I‘ll remember this one for a long time.

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Kempii
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Mehso-so

As a former Obama staffer, I found this book slightly better than the pile of other Obama staffer books, but it‘s missable without much fuss. Nothing surprised me and I didn‘t learn anything new. The lessons he discusses for Democrats to draw from Hillary Clinton‘s loss were the most interesting parts of the book, but he poses those lessons largely as unanswered questions.

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Kempii
Istanbul | Orhan Pamuk
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Pickpick

100! This was the 100th book I read this year. Lovely memoir about Istanbul, its history, uniqueness, melancholy, struggles, and changes. I have read other books by this author and always enjoy reading his prose. It is poetic, creative, even, and enjoyable like a steady, soft breeze ruffling tree leaves. That's the sensation reading his books makes me feel.

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Kempii
Motherhood | Sheila Heti
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Bailedbailed

Horrible. It‘s a short book, but even then I could not force myself to finish it. It presents what I would guess it considers maternal wisdom though a long series of Yes/No questions answered arbitrarily by a coin flip. I don‘t understand the structure or purpose of the book.

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Kempii
Dance Dance Dance | Haruki Murakami
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Pickpick

Steady and solidly enjoyable all the way through. This is one of my two favorite Murakami books. It is surreal, but more grounded than his other books, and less weird. It's a great accessible first Murakami book and was calm and pleasing to read. There was nothing remarkable about it, but it was really enjoyable.

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Kempii
Radical Acceptance | Tara Brach
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Bailedbailed

The premise of accepting and showing compassion for yourself is valid, but I‘ve read far better books by Brene Brown and others on similar topics. I bailed in chapter two.

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Kempii
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Mehso-so

Having worked in the Trump White House as an Obama holdover, there was nothing new or surprising here. When the noblest human in your administration resigns for domestic abuse, it is not a good sign. Practices like the staff stealing memos off the President‘s desk before Trump could sign crazy orders would be humorous if they were not terrifying and sad. The message: Trump is a pathological liar with no compassion for others. But we knew that.

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Kempii
War Storm | Victoria Aveyard
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Mehso-so

It was fine. The ending was a bit anticlimactic and confusing. I had to reread the final chapters to understand how it ended. It concluded the tales of the major characters, but I was not very satisfied. It just kind of ended without serious closure, which may be the best it could do for a four-book series. I think a more experienced author could have written a more satisfying ending.

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Kempii
The Unconsoled | Kazuo Ishiguro
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Pickpick

I think I would recognize all Ishiguro books by the strange events, characters, and narration style common to all his books that I've read. I enjoyed this one and its very subtle situational oddities. I don't know what grand message to draw from the book, but found that it unfolded steadily through a simple story like a slow-blossoming flower.

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Kempii
The Kiss Quotient | Helen Hoang
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Pickpick

Predictable romantic book that was surprisingly erotic. Concerns an autistic woman who hires a male escort. Misunderstanding and romance ensues. It reads easily and was a light diversion from the more serious books I‘ve read recently (like Madeline Albright‘s sober book on fascism). The behavior of the parents to me was unrealistic in how supportive, trusting, and non-judgmental they were of their Asian children, but I enjoyed the book anyway.

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Kempii
Fascism: A Warning | Madeleine Albright
Pickpick

Historical book about famous past and current fascists, what they have in common, and what traits of a fascist Donald Trump exhibits. The eeriest part was the analogy to plucking feathers off a chicken, one at a time--taking steps toward greater consolidation of power so gradually that the people don't realize what's happening until it's too late.

Shawn898 Sounds a lot like what Obama was doing. Seems odd because trump holds the record for the highest amount of deregulation submitted by a president AKA taking power away from the government but hell, in a world uneducated and told how to think by every MSM new source, rich liberal shill, and moronic celebrity out there how could you really blame people for believing such absurd statements as trump is a fascist. Few people think with their own mind. (edited) 4y
Kempii I worked for both President Obama and President Trump. My opinion is shaped by my direct experience working for both presidents. 4y
9 likes2 comments
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Kempii
The Immortalists | Chloe Benjamin
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Mehso-so

I enjoyed this book, but had heard a lot of rave reviews and did not feel it lived up to the hype. It had a mild element of magic, but focused more on what people live and die for and what forces people choose to let shape their lives. I‘d read another book by the author, but am ambivalent about recommending this one highly.

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Kempii
Circe | Madeline Miller
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Panpan

It was okay. If you like mythology, you might enjoy it more than I did. It didn't seem that interesting and not much happened. The book seems to show that gods are jerks and humans are jerks and gods are a bit unkind.

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Kempii
Stiletto: A Novel | Daniel O'Malley
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Mehso-so

This book was the sequel to The Rook. It was similar, and good, but there are other, better books about magical individuals living in a mundane world that are better and more surprising. The book had some twists, but there was never a moment of relevation that shocked or delighted me. Overall, kind of blah, though I appreciated the narrator‘s wit and humor.

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Kempii
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Pickpick

Excellent short book with simple lessons about how to live a happier, kinder, simpler life with less stress. It presents straightforward tips and advice on how to approach stressful situations, disapproving comments, rejection, road rage, and the many annoyances and frustrations that arise at home and at work.

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Kempii
Cruel Crown | Victoria Aveyard
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Pickpick

Read it if you like the Red Queen series. The first novella, Queen Song, was great to learn more about Queen Corianne's story and was told in a traditional narrative manner. The second novella, Steel Scars, was told through a series of military reports. I did not find that method great over audiobook because it kept repeating the header information. I didn‘t like Steel Scars and didn't learn a lot I cared about from the characters in that novella.

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Kempii
Pachinko | Min Jin Lee
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Mehso-so

I could love a book by this author, but not this one. Regrettably, I had to read it at a crazy pace to finish it for book club. Multi-generational sagas aren‘t typically my favorite, but the writing was lovely and subtle. My friend said it well in commenting that the author shows, rather than tells. I agree, but would have appreciated more plot. Plot was not the point here, though, and I could easily see others loving it.

LiteraryinLawrence Really helpful review! 4y
11 likes1 comment
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Kempii
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Panpan

I know it‘s highly acclaimed, but I just didn‘t like it. I started off not liking it, then was intrigued by the twisted friendship, then was bored, then was intrigued again, and ended impatient to be done with it. The last 20% of the book was not enjoyable for me and I would have bailed if I had not been close to finishing. The author explores female friendship with nuance, but I did not care for the characters or what was happening for them.

morgan_lionheart I didn't like this either. I didn't even finish it. 4y
superswank I completely agree with this review but my friend urged me to keep reading and the second book is much better. 4y
10 likes2 comments
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Kempii
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Panpan

Revels in the mundane matters of marriage, baldness, and common obliviousness to the reactions of others. The writing style had understated wit that triggered many slight smiles from me. I lost interest halfway through, though, and didn't find it unique.

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Kempii
Mem | Bethany C Morrow
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Panpan

It's not a good sign when you reach the end and double-check to make sure you didn't miss a chunk or misunderstand that it is not the first book in a series. I kept thinking the book must have more coming because it set up the story and character on an intriguing premise about an extracted memory fragment who becomes her own being. But then it sputters along and just ends. It read like a long pitch proposal that had not developed into a novel.

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Kempii
The Rook: A Novel | Daniel O'Malley
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Pickpick

It was solid, and I liked it, but there are other books with similar magical powers that I found more exciting or compelling, like the Red Queen series and the Darker Shade of Magic series. I will read the sequel and recommend the book for people who enjoy books about magic or secret government organizations. It was solidly above average in expression, plot, and characters, but not special.

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Kempii
Tenth of December: Stories | George Saunders
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Mehso-so

The halting style of speech is odd, but works. The twisted trains of thought are both familiar and neurotic, with long leaps into tangents and unlikely, but understandable contemplations of consequences. The father‘s lamentations of the impacts on his children are funny while ringing true in their absurdity. The style reminds me somewhat of David Foster Wallace. Short, but enjoyable for a quick read.

9 likes1 stack add
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Kempii
Red Queen #3 | Victoria Aveyard
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Pickpick

Loved it. This was the third book in the Red Queen series. I thought it was the best so far, better than the second in its unexpected turns and in the depth of exploration the author does with each character. I enjoyed the heightened detail and time spent with side characters to supplement the storyline of the main characters. Exciting battles and excruciating choices abound.

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Kempii
Educated: A Memoir | Tara Westover
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Pickpick

Powerful and disturbing memoir from a woman who grew up in a devout, abusive family with a paranoid father. She returns to their abuse over and over again, initially lacking the education and understanding to know her world was not normal or healthy. Even after realizing it‘s bad, she falls back into the hard-formed habits of self-doubt, gaslighting, and betrayal. The book is excellent, but wrenching to read. I was aghast.

LiteraryinLawrence Great review, Jen! 4y
13 likes1 comment
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Kempii
The Hate U Give | Angie Thomas
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Mehso-so

I‘m torn. I liked the first quarter of the book and thought it explored complex themes of race, equity, and social justice in a skillful and subtle way. But then the book kept going without evolving into much more and felt repetitive. It seemed like it aimed to provide tough social commentary and advocate for change, but the last half stagnated and it wasn‘t clear what the author wanted me to draw from it. Overall, disappointing.

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Kempii
Glass Sword | Victoria Aveyard
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Pickpick

It was good, but not as good as the prequel. This second novel in the series is darker and has a more predictable plot with less character development and surprises. Though it was solid, I was a little disappointed coming off the enjoyment high of the first book. Still worth reading, and I will finish out the series, but I loved the Darker Shade of Magic series more and felt it was tighter in plot and characters.

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Kempii
Red Queen | Victoria Aveyard
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Pickpick

So good! I can‘t wait to read the sequel. This is the first in a 4-part series about elemental-wielding Silver-bloods and the red-blooded people they dominate. Great female protagonist and satisfying twists and betrayal and excitement throughout the book. Lots of action, but never excessive or poorly paced. I recommend it highly.

6 likes1 stack add