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The New Year of Yellow | Matthew Lippman
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I went on a girls outing with a friend/cousin to Epilogue Books in Chapel Hill and came back with this haul! The Atwood is signed (squee!); the two on the right are for my husband, and the poets are new-to-me. So I‘m a happy camper this evening. 😀

Centique I loved The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. Hope you enjoy it! 2d
Lcsmcat @Centique That‘s an excellent recommendation! 2d
48 likes2 comments
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#Clarissa sees through Solmes. I just wish she was as clear-headed about Lovelace! I‘m glad she won her postponement on being shipped away, but how could anyone actually force her to say the words necessary to get married? And what clergyman (because they were all men back then) would sanction that?

Jerdencon I agree @Lcsmcat are they going to drag her out of the house and doesn‘t she need to consent to a marriage even back then? And I find it funny that they are mad for her writing all these letters but no one follows her when she goes outside to drop them off? (edited) 5d
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon That does require a little “willing suspension of disbelief!” But they hinted that it‘s the double-agent servant who follows her, so maybe that‘s why? 5d
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Daisey I agree that for her sake, I‘m glad she got a bit of a reprieve, but as a reader I just want to get to the next phase. We‘ve been in this threatening back and forth for long enough! I appreciated her figuring out the servant passing info to Lovelace. 5d
IndoorDame @Jerdencon Usually I think of forced marriage as being coerced into giving mock consent. But she seems too strong willed to be maneuvered into that position, so my prediction is she runs away or something… 5d
Currey @Lcsmcat I am wondering if any one has any historical knowledge about original readership. Was it women who wished they had been able to say “no”? Or was it men who found her obstinate beyond belief? I keep thinking Clarissa is going to be severely punished no matter what she does. 5d
TheEllieMo I think Clarissa does have some idea of Lovelace‘s motives, she‘s not blind to his faults - some comments in Vol 2 Letter 11 suggested this to me at least. And although she arranges a meeting, she cancels it. I think she sees him as a possible way out of the Solmes situation, but not actual marriage material. (edited) 5d
TheEllieMo I did like Clarissa‘s suggestion that Solmes should marry her sister Arabella 😁 “I have no doubt that Mr. Solmes, upon consideration, would greatly prefer my sister to such a strange averse creature as me.” There‘s a certain level of cheekiness that I can‘t help but admire! 5d
AnneCecilie I actually thinks that Clarissa sees Mr Lovelace for what he is, but still see him as better than Mr Solmes/ an escape out. What kind of man wants to marry a woman that has been locked up by her family for almost a month? (Hasn‘t she been locked up since she returned from her friend?) 4d
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo Yes, Arabella deserves him! 4d
Lcsmcat @Currey I‘m not sure, but I think it was both. I‘ll do some digging and get back on that question. 4d
Lcsmcat @Currey So far all I‘ve been able to find is that it was wildly popular, and that some readers so badly wanted a different ending that they wrote letters to Richardson and two women even wrote alternate endings. I‘d love to know more, if anyone‘s edition has information on the original readers. 4d
Currey @Lcsmcat I did find that the literacy rate in England in 1750 is assumed to have been 60% for men and 40% for women. As there was no national school system at that time, most lower and middle class people who learned to read learned from their parents and it was considered a life skill, such as learning basic carpentry or sewing skills. From this assumption, I would guess Samuelson did not have all upper class readers but a mix of readers. 3d
Lcsmcat @Currey I did read something that said “All of England‘s new readers” supporting that idea. And I‘ve seen Lucy Worsley documentaries that say servants were readers because they had more leisure than others of their class. It‘s interesting to ponder. Thanks for raising the question! 3d
BookwormM OMG when is anything going to happen can she just get sent to the uncles so Lovelace can kidnap her on the way or can she lose her cool and stab Betty with a letter opener just anything please 3d
BarbaraJean I got behind last week and had to catch up the last couple days—it‘s funny that while like @Daisey I‘m tired of the back and forth with the family and SO ready to get to the next phase of the narrative, I‘ve also found these last few chapters more engaging and I‘m wanting to keep reading. 2d
BarbaraJean @Jerdencon @Lcsmcat @IndoorDame That‘s been my question all along—how can her family actually force her to marry Solmes if she won‘t say the words in the ceremony? What clergyman would pronounce a marriage as legitimate if the woman absolutely refused? She‘s so afraid of the chapel at Uncle Anthony‘s, but I don‘t understand how she‘s that much at risk unless there were clergyman who would be willing to perform a clearly forced marriage. 2d
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean It‘s like an 18th century soap opera, given the “definition” of a soap opera as where it takes 11 months to have a premature baby. 2d
Daisey @BookwormM This made me laugh out loud! Yes!! 🙌 1d
Currey @BookwormM @Lcsmcat @Daisey Miss Howe and BookwormM are of the same mind. In letter 68 she asks to have Betty sent to her: “Does the Coventry Act extend to women? (The act declared nose slitting and mutilation to be against the law) 1d
Daisey @BarbaraJean I do agree the more recent letters have been easier for me to keep reading, mostly because it‘s more than strictly Clarissa & Anna, but I‘m still so ready for something to actually happen. 1d
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Just going to leave that there. 😂

CarolynM 😆 5d
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My #doublespin written in the late 1600s seems more useful, relevant, and spiritually nourishing than the book written in 1979 that I read before it. This slim volume is full of calm, peaceful, and grounding instruction. @TheAromaofBooks

Suet624 How lovely. 1w
TheAromaofBooks Lovely review ❤ 7d
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Living in the Spirit | Alan W. Jones, Rachel Hosmer
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Written in the late 1970s, parts of this are dated. But there is much that remains relevant and useful, particularly on contemplation. #bookspin #lentenedition @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 1w
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I think Anna has the Harlow family‘s number! They‘re all bullies and I wish Clarissa‘s mother had stood up to them years ago. If she had, this might not be happening this way now. Also, please weigh in on whether this schedule is working or not. #clarissa

IndoorDame I‘m fine with our current schedule 2w
IndoorDame They‘re definitely bullies! It‘s becoming clearer that even more than they want this match because of whatever settlement it brings them, they just don‘t want to give into Clarissa. I find the talk of bringing her to heel just for the sake of it really galling! 2w
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jewright Her family is just so mean! 2w
Jerdencon Terrible people - all of them. I understand back at that time marriage was more a business deal than love matches but they are so mean to her. I‘m curious to see if she is actually dragged to her uncles house or not. Schedule is working for me. 2w
Daisey Absolutely agree about her family! The schedule is fine for me. I actually got complete caught up again this week. 2w
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon I have a sneaking suspicion about the trip to her uncle‘s house, given the letter Lovelace wrote to his friends asking them to be ready. 2w
Lcsmcat Having married my high school sweetheart 38 years ago, this quote jumped out at me: “Few women, child, marry their first loves. That may be the reason there are so few happy marriages.” 2w
Amiable The schedule of approximately 50 pages/week is perfect for me -- it doesn't sound like a lot but those 50 pages take way more concentration than a similar number of pages in any other book I'm reading!
Amiable My thoughts on this week: So. Much. Talking. Dear God. I'm actually growing weary of the back-and-forth sniping -- I'm finding myself rooting for SOMETHING active to happen. Mostly I'm rooting for Clarissa to sneak out at night and run away. But while I am also still of the opinion that Anna Howe is the only one who has the entire lot of them pegged to a tee, I found myself cheering during Vol. II Letter 6, Clarissa's reply to her brother: 2w
Amiable “Give me leave to tell you, Sir, that if humanity were a branch of studies at the university, it has not found a genius in you for mastering it.“ I literally shouted, “YESS!!!“ at that part. 😄 And she follows it up with another gem: “I see you are more and more intent to shew your wit at the expense of justice and compassion.“ (edited) 2w
Lcsmcat @Amiable Me too! Finally someone taking him down a peg! 2w
Amiable James is such a condescending a$$. I think a large part of his bullying and contempt of Clarissa is because he can't best her in a battle of wits -- which wounds his pride because he thinks he is so clever. I also loved Clarissa's comment about turning the tables: “And let me beg of you one favour, Sir -- it is this, That you will not give yourself any concern about a husband for me, till I shall have the forward to propose a wife for you.“ (edited) 2w
Amiable So progressive, Clarissa! You go, girl! 2w
Amiable I am, however, troubled by this comment of James'. If it's Lovelace's true intent, Clarissa is in danger: “The vile wretch you have set your heart upon speaks this plainly to every body... He says you are his, and shall be his, and he will be the death of any man who robs him of his PROPERTY.“ Those are incredibly creepy stalker vibes there. (edited) 2w
Amiable @IndoorDame Agreed -- although I'm very leery of Lovelace, I'm finding myself rooting for Clarissa to defy her family and marry him anyway! Even though that is likely to bite her in the butt if she does. Her family (esp, James and Bella) are just so smug and patronizing and supercilious. I despise them all. (edited) 2w
Lcsmcat @Amiable The property comment, while vile, is no more than EVERYONE is thinking. Clarissa‘s family also treats her like property. And legally, back then, women were chattel - belonging either to their father or their husband. Only widows had any legal existence under the law. 2w
Amiable @Lcsmcat Agreed-- but her family is working themselves into a lather more over Clarissa's obstinacy and her perceived lack of obedience to her father. While they are definitely trying to use her to better their own financial picture, it smacks of an honor/pride thing to me. If Clarissa doesn't do what they say, they are afraid that THEY will lose face. 2w
Lcsmcat @Amiable Oh absolutely. And there‘s a class thing too. They think that, now that they have wealth, her marriage to Solmes can get them closer to aristocracy. So lots of pride and snobbery are involved. 2w
Amiable Plus, Anna sees the danger in Lovelace -- in her letter, she warns Clarissa that he is a violent man. Although I almost forgot about Anna's best line of all: ““All men are monkeys more or less, or else that you and I should have such baboons as these to choose out of, is a mortifying thing, my dear.“ I think I want Anna as my new BFF. 😄 2w
Jerdencon @Amiable I agree with the concentration it takes to read it - and I find myself rushing through at parts waiting for something to happen already!! 2w
Jerdencon @lcsmcat true about the Lovelace part - a “hijacking” or some drama would be great 2w
Currey I too would enjoy something actually happening rather than this prolonged back and forth. And although I thoroughly enjoyed Clarissa‘s defense (especially against her most ugly brother) I am afraid, that given the year this book was published, that she is going to spend the next thousand pages being punished for her obstinate refusal to bend. 2w
Currey @Lcsmcat The schedule is working for me 2w
TheEllieMo We‘re reaching a point where Clarissa‘s family can not back down because it will make them look stupid. Bella is a nasty piece of work (fuelled by jealousy?), and James Jnr is just an absolute bully. I love how Clarissa stands up to him, but he won‘t give in - how could someone like him possibly concede to a woman, even (or especially) his own sister 2w
TheEllieMo Everything James does is to make himself look important - “the big ‘I am‘” as my parents used to say. He really took that defeat at the hands of Lovelace back at the start of the book to heart, didn‘t he? 2w
TheBookHippie Schedule is fine. People are 😵‍💫but Clarissa ✊🏼also PROPERTY 🤬🤢. I agree EGO is also at play. 🥴 2w
BarbaraJean It infuriates me how every time Clarissa says, “You‘re signing away my whole life and future existence to a man I despise,” the family response is: “But think of how RICH you‘ll make us all!!” 🤬 I‘m still impressed by how well Richardson develops each character through their letters. And I‘m really curious what Richardson is up to, overall. Because he‘s building sympathy for Clarissa and making a strong case for female independence so far. (edited) 2w
BarbaraJean Also, the schedule is working well for me! 2w
BarbaraJean @Amiable YES! Those jabs Clarissa makes at James were just perfect. And I am more and more worried about what Lovelace is plotting. His comments about being robbed of his property, besides their vile entitled creepy stalker vibes, also seem designed to manipulate her family into more extreme and desperate action, paving the way for him to do—whatever he‘s plotting. I‘m anxiously awaiting Cousin Morden‘s arrival!! 2w
Currey @BarbaraJean I can not recall why Cousin Morden‘s arrival is so key. Isn‘t he just another voice, that would be drowned out like her good aunt‘s voice even if he was on her side? Is he powerful on a different level for some reason? I am sure this was mentioned but I can not recall. 2w
BarbaraJean @Currey Honestly I‘m not sure why Clarissa thinks his presence will change things even if he does side with her. My guess is that he‘s more reasonable/impartial than the others, and also he‘s male, which likely gives his voice more weight with them. And maybe he could provide a way out for Clarissa. I‘m looking forward to at least having a different voice in the mix—all the same arguments from James, Bella, the mother, etc. are getting old!! 2w
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean Isn‘t Morden a trustee or guardian of some sort on the property she inherited? 2w
Currey @BarbaraJean @Lcsmcat Ah, that may be it 2w
BarbaraJean @Lcsmcat Aha! Yes, that makes a lot of sense. 2w
BookwormM Morden obviously has some kind of power as the family want the deed done before he arrives 1w
BookwormM Schedule working for me 1w
cewilf I haven‘t been on Litsy much but I‘m keeping up! 1w
26 likes38 comments
French Braid | Anne Tyler
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I‘m usually a Tyler fan, but this one fell flat for me. It didn‘t help that I didn‘t like the narrator but I think it was more than that. The family saga just didn‘t quite hold together like hers usually do, and it didn‘t circle back to Serena like I expected, or even tie that first scene in very well. Just a so-so for me.

Aims42 Yes, I finished it and realized it never circled back to the opening scene. Like, what was the point then? What other books by her would you recommend (if any)? 2w
Lcsmcat @Aims42 I really liked The Accidental Tourist and Back When We We‘re Grownups. Saint Maybe was also good. 2w
Aims42 @Lcsmcat awesome! Thank you, I‘ll check those out 😊 2w
willaful Saint Maybe and The Accidental Tourists are my all-time favs. I also loved The Clock Winder. 2w
Lcsmcat @willaful I‘ve not read that one yet. Thanks. 2w
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Began this over lunch for #authoramonth I‘ve read a lot of Steinbeck, but this early set of connected short stories is new to me. @Soubhiville

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Hell of a Book | Jason Mott
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I don‘t want to give anything away, because this book is best gone into cold. But it is so powerful, funny, heavy, funny, important, sad, intriguing, funny. You should read this book!

Tamra Such a great reading experience! 2w
SarahBookInterrupted I completely agree. I went in cold. I didn‘t know anything about the book before reading it. It‘s a excellent book and I highly recommend it too. (edited) 2w
Lcsmcat @Tamra @SarahBookInterrupted I‘m going to be thinking about this one for a long time, which as about as strong a recommendation as I can give. 2w
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Tamra This and Everette‘s novel are so creative they pop into my mind regularly. 2w
Lcsmcat @Tamra I have The Trees on m‘y TBR, but haven‘t gotten to it yet. 2w
akaGingerK I really loved this one 2w
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There‘s been a few questions about the numbering of the letters in #Clarissa. My edition (the one used for the schedule) divides the novel into 9 volumes, and starts the numbering over at 1 in each volume. Above is the number of letters in each volume. I hope this helps.

IndoorDame Thank you!!! 2w
Amiable Oh my god, it looks like soooo many when you list them out like that. 😬😀 2w
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Lcsmcat @IndoorDame You‘re welcome. 2w
Lcsmcat @Amiable It does! But some are quite short. 2w
Currey @Lcsmcat Thank you so much. Very appreciated 2w
lauraisntwilder For anyone reading the Penguin Classics edition, there's a list of all the letters starting on pg 1500, if you want to mark your copy to match @Lcsmcat's list. I'm reading them a little closer to the dates, which means nothing at all on some days and a flurry on others. I still want to be part of the check ins though! 😊 2w
JenniferP @lauraisntwilder I‘m also still reading by date. I‘m kind of enjoying the weird pacing that brings! 2w
Lcsmcat @JenniferP @lauraisntwilder I‘m curious to see how you manage the letters that go backwards in time. Tag me when you get there, please. 2w
Tamra @lauraisntwilder @JenniferP @Lcsmcat - me too. I will try to read the letters within the designated months, whatever that pace turns out to be. (edited) 2w
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I feel like our girl Clarissa is getting closer to talking herself into thinking Lovelace is the answer. And I really find the trope of a good woman saving a bad man to be so disturbing on so many levels. And what of the uncles?? I thought Richardson did a good job of giving them distinct voices, and making the one sound particularly uneducated! Finally, we also got to hear from the dreaded Solmes. Thoughts on him?

Lcsmcat Other quotes I marked. From the mother: “there would not be any merit in your compliance, if it were not to be against your own liking.” 3w
Lcsmcat Clarissa “What, O what, do parents do, when they endeavour to force a child‘s inclination, but make her think better than otherwise she would think of a man obnoxious to themselves, and perhaps whose character will not stand examination?” 3w
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Lcsmcat Solmes: “‘That it was Sir Oliver‘s observation, who knew the world perfectly well, that fear was a better security than love, for a woman‘s good behaviour to her husband; although, for his part, to such a fine creature [truly] he would try what love would do, for a few weeks at least;” 😡 (edited) 3w
IndoorDame Solmes… just as bad as I feared! Since this story stretches on basically forever, I‘m gonna need some more likable characters to balance out the over abundance of detestable ones!!! 3w
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame Right? Sometimes I even wonder about Anna. 😀 3w
IndoorDame @Lcsmcat ditto. She‘s a bit 2d so far. Like she‘s meant to be a foil more than anything… and I get the sense Clarissa herself will be making infuriating decisions before too long… 3w
TheEllieMo My thoughts on Solmes - a belligerent misogynist whose interest in Clarissa extends no further that her grandfather‘s estate and (if you‘ll excuse my language) having a nice bit of totty waiting on him at home. 3w
TheEllieMo On Clarissa - the family are so obsessed with setting her up with Solmes and keeping her away from Lovelace that they are pushing her closer to doing something very stupid with regards to Lovelace. And behind the scenes, Lovelace (with his appearances at their local church and the like) is fuelling the family‘s concerns. Poor Clarissa is naught but a pawn in a game, I fear 3w
TheEllieMo @IndoorDame we see so little from Anna, I feel her purposes is mainly as someone to whom Clarissa can write to tell us the story. 3w
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo I agree that Clarissa is heading towards some bad decisions! They‘re making her desperate, and that‘s never a good thing. 3w
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo @IndoorDame Do you think we‘ll get a more complete view of Anna as the book goes on? We do have a few more pages to go. 😂 I‘d like to know more about her. 3w
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo Perfect definition of Solmes - just add in some stupidity and I think that‘s all there is to him. 3w
IndoorDame @Lcsmcat I hope Anna‘s character gets fleshed out. I‘m betting it does, since we certainly have time for it and this was such a sensation that for all it was the original soap opera, I can‘t imagine it was really predictable or 1 dimensional 3w
Jerdencon @IndoorDame I agree - all the characters are horrible! 3w
Jerdencon And I am the only one bothered by the fact that in Clarissas crazy long letters to Anna she never once asks what‘s up with her?? It‘s all me, me, me! I understand she‘s in crisis but still - lol so I am hoping we learn more about Anna too. (edited) 3w
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon Great observation! And Anna doesn‘t volunteer much either. 3w
TheEllieMo @Lcsmcat @IndoorDame I certainly hope we get to know more about Anna, she seems to be the only person Clarissa can turn to. I‘m not totally convinced that she‘s trustworthy but hope to be proved wrong! 3w
batsy @TheEllieMo This made me LOL! Yes, perfect assessment of Solmes. 3w
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat the quotes 😵‍💫 This is such an old troupe 🤮 reminds me of a bad man because of his wife isn‘t doing her job 🤮🤮🤮. 3w
TheBookHippie @TheEllieMo Pawn is the exact right word. 3w
AnneCecilie I‘m not a fan of Mr Solmes either, what kind of man will let his future wife go through all the things he let Clarissa go through? But I must admit that I‘m very curious about the marriage agreement that is so favorable to the family, what is it terms? 3w
Currey Agree with others that we need a more complete view of Anna but at least she does push back a little on Clarissa. 3w
Currey @Lcsmcat what did people make of the Rosebud letter from Lovelace? Was it as creepy as I thought it was? 3w
Lcsmcat @Currey Yes, Anna strikes me as seeing Clarissa more clearly than anyone else and trying to make C see herself. 3w
Lcsmcat @Currey The Rosebud references made me cringe! 3w
Amiable @IndoorDame @TheEllieMo I am still Team Anna—I had to laugh at her comment in her letter: “What can I write that I haven‘t already written?” She seems as frustrated with Clarissa as the rest of us! And I was like, oh, honey, we‘re only on page 152–there‘s apparently a LOT more to be said! 😄 3w
Amiable Clarissa knows that Lovelace is flawed—she even says she thinks he‘s “a vindictive man.” And she admits that “the persecution” she “labors under” is “inducing” her to like him more. Her family is driving her right into his arms. 3w
Amiable And also? Even Anna tells Clarissa that it will have to be either Solmes or Lovelace in the end. Those are apparently her only options. With Solmes as detestable as he sounds, no wonder she‘s talking herself into Lovelace. 3w
Lcsmcat @Amiable I think, even in that era, she would have a third option. She‘s just too stressed to figure it out. 3w
TheEllieMo @Currey oh, goodness, yes, very creepy. Lovelace‘s letter made it sound like he was doing her a great favour but (maybe I‘m putting my own spin on it as I don‘t trust him) it felt wrong, unwholesome - why did he feel a need to interfere? And call the girl “Rosebud”? 3w
Amiable @Lcsmcat She already has proposed a third option: remaking single. That‘s apparently not going to fly. I can‘t imagine why her family can‘t find another husband for her, though. Her father‘s insistence on Solmes is pathological at this point. 3w
Lcsmcat @Amiable Or enter a convent! The Anglican Church had convents. 3w
Amiable @Lcsmcat Also—I too am awed by how well Richardson manages to write in different voices for each character. I can pick up the book at random, read a few sentences, and know whether it‘s a Clarissa letter or an Anna letter. He‘s good! 3w
Lcsmcat @Amiable He is good. And it‘s all the more impressive to me because novels were so new then. 3w
willaful @TheEllieMo I'm not sure whether to trust Anna either. I hope she's trustworthy, since Clarissa trusts her.

Not sure what to think about Lovelace either. In a modern romance, he would totally be her HEA. 🙄

The pressure being put on Clarissa is so painful to read about. Just excruciating.
IndoorDame @Lcsmcat The e version I‘m reading counts the letters straight through. I found something online that showed 44 letters in volume 1. Does that sync up with your schedule? (edited) 3w
batsy I'm sorry to be so flaky, but I'm going to bow out of this readalong. Having read it once before, I find it extra hard to not be triggered by what's happening this time around since I know how it goes! It's quite tough to endure the relentless patriarchal strictures this time around. I'll check in on your discussions though because I love seeing all of the comments. Thank you 🙂 3w
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame Yes, that‘s how my edition is numbered. 2w
IndoorDame @Lcsmcat thanks! 2w
Lcsmcat @batsy Understood. I feel like it‘s one of those novels we should all read once, but it won‘t necessarily become a favorite. 😂 2w
batsy Yeah, I found there's lots to admire and think about but realising it's tough to go through all of it again! It gets under my skin, the awfulness of Clarissa's situation. 2w
Lcsmcat @batsy Which is, in itself, an indication of Richardson‘s skill as an author. No cartoon cut-out villains here! 2w
BookwormM Rose bud letter was definitely creepy @Currey 2w
Tamra They are all insufferable! 😜 I “loved” as in was entertained by Clarissa‘s postscript to Letter 40 re: Sir Oliver‘s misogyny. She is definitely beginning her justification for escaping with Lovelace. 🫤 2w
Daisey I‘m still catching up with the last few letters for this discussion, but I wanted to take a moment to drop into the discussion and say I agree! I‘m also very glad to be reading this with a group as I‘m not sure I would push on by myself, but I do want to read it. 2w
BarbaraJean I don't have much to add that others haven‘t already said, other than to vent that I don't understand how NO-ONE in the family sees they're effectively pushing Clarissa at Lovelace. And that no-one is willing to stand up to her awful father & brother. L‘s plans are falling right into place. I so feel for Clarissa, caught in the middle of everyone‘s machinations. It's easy to criticize her for talking herself into Lovelace, but I understand why! 2w
Ann_Reads @Lcsmcat - Sorry to drop out, but please remove me from the tag list. I'd like to continue on but I already know how the book ends. In the meantime, the story is just depressing me. 2w
Lcsmcat @Ann_Reads I‘m sorry, but I understand. I‘ll take you off the list. 2w
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This afternoon, after a work event, I discovered Pequot Books and this is the haul, minus one my husband is reading right now and one that‘s a gift. The tagged book is the one with no title on the spine.

Living in the Spirit | Alan W. Jones, Rachel Hosmer
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My #bookspin is Living in the Spirit, and #doublespin is Practicing the Presence of God

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 3w
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Hell of a Book | Jason Mott
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I hope this is a fast read, because it‘s for book club next week. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Tamra I really liked this ride and is one I could take again! (edited) 3w
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The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
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It‘s fascinating what you notice on a slow reread. Above is a “herdic.” A type of carriage I was unaware of before. #whartonbuddyread @Graywacke

Graywacke Cool! (I had to look up a Pompeian Vestibule) 3w
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My newest Collins! Thanks to @CRR for alerting me to its presence.

CRR Hope you like it! I ordered his book “Aimless Love” tonight! 3w
Lcsmcat @CRR That‘s a good sampler, with poems from several of his volumes. More Than a Woman is a particular favorite. 3w
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We finally get a peek at Lovelace in his own words. Today‘s quote expressing his opinion of the “Horrible Harlowes” (nickname courtesy of @Amiable ) I think it‘s fair to say we‘re all well and truly disgusted with them, but is your opinion of Lovelace changing? for better or worse? And what is he up to, holding his buddies in readiness?

IndoorDame Smarmy. I suppose my opinion didn‘t really change since one of my personal pet peeves is men who won‘t take no for an answer as if we don‘t know our own minds and persistence is some sort of virtue (I keep reminding myself this was written in 1747 and it actually was some sort of virtue), so I already wasn‘t a fan… 4w
arubabookwoman I'm almost afraid to comment because I am reading ahead. It moves very slowly, with lots of back and forth, and advances incrementally at a snail's pace, but I want to avoid spoilers (which don't bother me, especially in a book like this, but I know others mind). My opinion of Lovelace has been the same since the beginning--not to be trusted! And overall I don't think Clarissa trusts him. Her family seem to get worse and worse. (I'm in April Vol 3 (edited) 4w
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arubabookwoman One thing I will say is that in college we read an abridged version of Clarissa. As I read this complete version, I'm more and more in favor of a (good) abridgment. There is so much repetition and digression that I could do without. (Sacrilege, I know). For the most part however, I really enjoy Clarissa's clever way with words and her wit. (edited) 4w
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman I‘ve said before that it‘s hard to avoid spoilers with a book this old and this we‘ll known. So I may be seeing things in the letters that I wouldn‘t see if I were reading it in 1747. But even so I think him manipulative and, yes, smarmy @IndoorDame ! So very self-justifying- as are all the characters, even Clarissa to a point. 4w
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman I‘m not sure how I feel about abridged versions. I read an abridged Dickens when I was a kid and it seemed to take all the color out of the prose, and dropped the dialogue. But in an epistolary novel it could work, I suppose. 4w
arubabookwoman @Lcsmcat I agree in general about abridgements. I also once read a very bad abrdigement of Nicholas Nickleby. But as I recall, the abridgement in college was very faithful to the original and the tone was exactly as I'm feeling it now. It was still rather long, I think just some of the repetitious elements were removed. 4w
batsy I'm not sure what I was thinking or even what assortment of dates I was looking at, but I only got to 19 today. And finally realised we're doing up till letter 31 this week 🙈 I'm going to try to catch up ASAP and get back to the comments 😅 4w
Ann_Reads @batsy Please don't feel badly about it. I tried to catch up last night and failed. (I can only take in a few letters at a time, as they are quite wordy and the family members are all abominable at this point.)

@arubabookwoman I understand your point. As awful as it sounds, I'd probably be fine with reading a well done abridged version of this book.
Ann_Reads My opinion of Lovelace is the same. Sometimes he comes across as sincere but I don't trust him one bit. I wish Clarissa would stop writing him back. It seems like she thinks, just one more letter to him and hopefully he'll stop. The plan isn't working. No matter what she writes, it just encourages him. 4w
Lcsmcat @Ann_Reads I‘m not sure if it‘s naïveté or hubris on Clarissa‘s part, but I agree that she shouldn‘t have started writing to him in the first place and should break it off. Richardson worked for a publisher who printed books on proper behavior and it‘s been said he was using Clarissa to teach those precepts. Do you suppose he‘s saying with this, “Don‘t write to a man you‘re not related or engaged to?” 4w
TheBookHippie @Ann_Reads I agree. I wish she‘d stop. Lovelace seems evil to me like a villain in a story 🤷🏻‍♀️👀😳.. something seems off … @batsy I‘ve been catching up waiting at doctor appointments this week so 10-15 min increments all week is a pretty good pace for me for these. 🙃 4w
TheBookHippie @IndoorDame 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼all of what you said. 4w
BarbaraJean @IndoorDame Smarmy is a perfect description. As others have said, I don‘t trust him at all. He‘s manipulative. Am I reading his letter correctly—doesn‘t he imply that he‘s intentionally provoking the Harlowes so they‘ll be harsher with Clarissa & she‘ll eventually be desperate enough to turn to him? Regardless, YES, she needs to stop writing to him! It‘s feeding his ego/hopes to have that attention from her, no matter the content of her letters. (edited) 4w
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean That‘s exactly how I read his letter. “And what my motive, dost thou ask? No less than this. That my beloved shall find no protection out of my family “ 4w
Liz_M 👹 I actually liked Lovelace more reading this letter. I like a well-done villain and he reminds me of Richard III and also a little bit of Vicomte Sébastien de Valmont from Dangerous Liaisons. 4w
Lcsmcat @Liz_M Very much like Valmont! 4w
LeahBergen @batsy I‘m confused, too! 😆 I‘ve been strictly reading the letter that corresponds to our actual date. 4w
Ann_Reads @Lcsmcat You probably are correct about Richardson trying to impart some lesson in etiquette or morality. I also wonder if Anna is actually onto something in her letters. Clarissa has denied feeling any 'throbs' several times but maybe the lady doth protest too much. 4w
Lcsmcat @LeahBergen @batsy Sorry! I thought everyone saw the schedule after we realized that the dates don‘t stay in order. 4w
Lcsmcat @Ann_Reads She definitely protests too much. My only question is whether she‘s successfully deceiving herself. 4w
Amiable My feelings at this point are summed up perfectly by Anna Howe: “I have not patience with any of the people you are with.” 😖 I am totally Team Anna—her March 9 letter was brutally honest when she says: “Do they not make use of your own generosity to oppress you?” And I was struck by her parting shot at marriage: that women are “courted as princesses for a few weeks, in order to be treated as slaves for the rest of our lives.” 😳 4w
Amiable And #Clarissa gets mad at Anna for saying that her mom is yielding to her father because he‘s a tyrant! Which he totally is. Yet Clarissa defends him in her next letter! This makes me have even less respect for her. (edited) 4w
Amiable @Ann_Reads The entire situation with Lovelace reminds me of the girls who are attracted to “bad boys.” I can‘t help but think that this whole relationship would have fizzled out if the Harlowes hadn‘t been so stridently vocal about hating him. It‘s like they are forcing Clarissa to defend him when she was initially not all that into him anyway. And what happens to girls who feel compelled to defend the bad boy? They end up marrying him. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4w
Amiable @Liz_M Ha! @Tamra said the same thing about “Dangerous Liaisons.” 😀 4w
Amiable Re: Lovelace: I think his ugly intentions are perfectly clear: “Then the rewarding end of all! To carry off such a girl as this, in spite of all her watchful and implacable friends; and in spite of a prudence and reserve that I never met with in any of the sex—what a triumph! What a triumph over the whole sex!” It seems like a sick game to him. (edited) 4w
Tamra @Liz_M oh yes indeed - I have been thinking the same thing! I recently rewatched the film. (edited) 4w
Tamra @Amiable 😂 4w
TheEllieMo I agree with @BarbaraJean and @Amiable. Lovelace is manipulating the family and the situation; he‘s stirring up trouble so that he can separate Clarissa from her family and friends and leave her with him as her only option. And I think she has a soft spot for him, despite her protestations otherwise. I‘m worried for her 4w
Tamra @LeahBergen @batsy I haven‘t read this week‘s batch yet either. 😅 Hopefully tomorrow. (edited) 4w
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo I‘m very worried for her too. And like @Amiable said, her family has put her in a position to be his victim. 🙄 4w
BookwormM I liked him slightly for the fact he recognises that the Harlowes have no soul. He also does seem to genuinely like Clarissa but the way he goes about things is definitely creepy and manipulative. 4w
BarbaraJean @Amiable The quote from Anna about having no patience is perfect! And I agree about the whole thing being a game to Lovelace. He‘s obsessed with the challenge of besting Clarissa‘s family & friends. Like @TheEllieMo I‘m worried—she‘s vulnerable in too many ways & he‘s chipping away at those vulnerabilities. I can‘t stand a man who makes a game of “winning” a woman, and adding on his manipulation of her family—ugh. No soft spots here for Lovelace. 4w
IndoorDame @Amiable I completely agree! How many times has her family told her she couldn‘t be indifferent to Lovelace or she‘d be more amenable to what they want? Aside from that being an infuriating position, if they keep telling her she‘s interested in the guy, she‘s going to start believing them! Not smart!!! 4w
IndoorDame As for Lovelace it definitely seems like a sick game. But I‘m not sure I get the motivation. Is he actually interested in her, does he hate her family, is he just screwing with her for fun, does he hate all women…? 4w
Amiable @IndoorDame It really seems like all of the above —which would make him a total sociopath. 😬 4w
IndoorDame @Amiable yikes! 😬 here‘s hoping he‘s slightly redeemed sometime in the next thousand pages 4w
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame It might take all thousand of them! 😳 4w
IndoorDame @Lcsmcat I‘m afraid of that!!! 4w
batsy @Ann_Reads The funny part is I've read this before many years ago and am willingly joining in the reread now 😂 I find the story so compelling (it's kind of a horror story, at times!) but yes the writing style makes it hard to read fast. You really have to focus. 4w
batsy @Lcsmcat No apologies necessary, that set of dates seems to have slipped my mind completely and I was also under the impression that we were reading until December, hence the mix up 😁 4w
batsy @Amiable I've just read until Letter 29 and felt the same—Anne sums it up so well and her intense loathing for her family is basically the thing that is most refreshing. 4w
batsy I've caught up now and having read it before I am trying not to say too much about Lovelace, but his rant in Letter 31 about Clarissa's family—I can't deny, it made me laugh. "Sordid ties, mere cradle prejudices!" lmao. Too funny. 4w
Daisey I have been trying to read an issue in Serial Reader each evening, but it hasn‘t been working well as the repetitiveness has been putting me to sleep. Seeing the post yesterday, I managed to catch up this morning, and I agree so much with everything already said. I definitely don‘t trust Lovelace; his focus clearly seems to be too much on conquest and revenge. 4w
Daisey Quote that has yet to be mentioned, that struck me: “Then there are so many stimulatives to such a spirit as mine in this affair, besides love: such a field of stratagem and contrivance, which thou knowest to be the delight of my heart.” (edited) 4w
JenniferP I'm sticking with the idea of reading the letters by date and knowing that when they come out of order, I will have some big reading days as I “backread“. Just wanted to chime in that I probably won't be ready to comment on our discussion dates since you'll all be ahead, but I'm still reading! 3w
Lcsmcat @JenniferP I had wanted to do that, but my time-traveling skills aren‘t up to snuff. 😂 Tag me when you comment because I want to engage. 3w
Lcsmcat @Daisey I marked that quote too! Lovelace makes me very nervous. 3w
JenniferP @Lcsmcat will do! 3w
Tamra Egads, at this point it‘s a “pissing match”amongst the men over Clarissa and her fortune. 😖 Ego & Vanity do much mischief. (edited) 3w
Jerdencon Finally caught up - what stood out for me was how offended Clarissa got when Anna badmouthed her family - she‘s the only one who can say bad things about them! Lol And I don‘t trust anyone in this book - including Lovelace 3w
willaful I'm confused -- are we supposed to be up to March 13th? I thought we were reading them on the same dates. Oh, I see there was a change because of them being out of order (that was very confusing on the 2nd!) Can someone point me to the new schedule? (edited) 3w
Lcsmcat @willaful See my earlier posts here Lcsmcat's post on Litsy https://litsy.com/p/VTFsWFIzUkpz and here Lcsmcat's post on Litsy https://litsy.com/p/SzJOMFBUZmxC 3w
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I‘ve already read the tagged book, or it would be on this list. My Lenten practice is to take on something, and this year it‘s spiritual reading. So here‘s my #bookspin list for March. @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Yay!! I hope this season opens your heart to something that encourages you. ❤ 4w
Cuilin I just got copy of Clarissa, if I catch up I‘d love to join in the discussion/ buddy read. It‘s on the the dates of the letters correct? 4w
Lcsmcat @Cuilin I‘m sure you can catch up, but we discovered that the letters don‘t stay in order, so we have a schedule Lcsmcat's post on Litsy https://litsy.com/p/SzJOMFBUZmxC 4w
Cuilin @Lcsmcat thank you 🙏 4w
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My latest #treadmillBook didn‘t usually inspire me to walk longer, but was still interesting. It intersects the DNA testing craze and dysfunctional family memoir, and as such hits the mark. I disagree with those who found the mother the star. To me, it was the author who came across as loving both her parents in spite of the horrible start they gave her, and managing to create a stable, loving family for herself.

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And we‘re back. #clarissa What do you think of Lovelace now? And do you find Clarissa as obedient as she‘s portrayed by her friend, or a little spunkier?
I must say I‘m not liking her family any better!

Currey @lcsmcat still finding Lovelace mysterious although I certainly do not trust him. Clarissa‘s family are all horrible, even the “sweet” conflict avoiding Mother is very manipulative 1mo
Lcsmcat @Currey The mother, while I pity her plight, makes me so angry! It feels like she keeps raising Clarissa‘s hopes just to dash them. 1mo
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Daisey At the moment I don‘t particularly like anyone in this story. I feel her family could do better at presenting their side, and we don‘t have much clear information about Lovelace either. It‘s hard because I can‘t help but think of what I already know about the book as I try to just read. 1mo
Lcsmcat @Daisey It is difficult to avoid spoilers with a book of this age and influence! 1mo
LeahBergen I snorted at the description of Clarissa‘s sister: she has “a plump, high-fed face”. 🤣🤣 Me, too! 🤣 1mo
Amiable Right now I only have positive feelings for Anna Howe. She tells it like it is—although she also recognizes that, as a woman, there aren‘t a lot of great options for Clarissa. I‘m trying not to let my 21st-century feminist ideals overtop a book written in the 18th century, but it‘s difficult to tamp down my outrage at the way Clarissa‘s father and brother think it‘s OK to basically sell her for their own gain. (edited) 1mo
Lcsmcat @LeahBergen What a great description! 1mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable I like Anna too. I feel like she‘s the only one Clarissa can be herself with. 1mo
Ann_Reads Clarissa's family is very manipulative and irritating. Initially I was hopeful her one uncle might talk some sense into the family but in a way he made it worse, because Clarissa's brother is so greedy. I suspect even if Clarissa sticks to her principles about Mr. Solmes, she is still going to be miserable and possibly destitute. I was so frustrated with these chapters, I planned to stop reading but I'll keep with it for a while longer. 1mo
Ann_Reads Given Clarissa's lack of choices, does anyone think she should marry Mr. Solmes, not really to please her greedy family but to protect herself financially? Being an outcast and having her grandfather's inheritance taken away sounds like an unpleasant alternative. 😒😬 1mo
batsy @LeahBergen I thought it was super funny that she's all, "Sorry for this description but... (my sister is being awful so it's deserved)" ? 1mo
batsy The family is awful and I remember now why this book stressed me out immensely. It's kind of a melodrama but also gives insight into how patriarchy operates through almost every member of the family! 1mo
BookwormM I agree I don‘t like any of her family. I think Clarissa has more backbone than she is given credit for but not sure that is a benefit to her. 1mo
BarbaraJean Lovelace seems less of a scoundrel and more of a rogue after this last set of letters, but like @Currey I don‘t trust him. Clarissa—I‘d say she‘s obedient at heart. When the rules are reasonable. I wouldn‘t use the word spunky for someone who bursts into sobs as much as she has since returning home! I don‘t blame her for ALL THE feelings, but I‘d rather see her scheming her way around her siblings the way they‘re scheming away her future. 1mo
BarbaraJean The family is infuriating. I honestly was most frustrated by the mother. She seems sympathetic but it ends up being so manipulative. Going around and around with: “If your heart is not engaged then why wouldn‘t you marry Solmes? And if you refuse to marry Solmes, then you must be in love with Lovelace!” —drove me crazy. @Amiable —I agree, it‘s really difficult to not feel 21st-century outrage at Clarissa‘s treatment here. 1mo
Lcsmcat @Ann_Reads No, I don‘t think she should marry Solmes! But I do wish she could articulate, like Anne Elliott from Persuasion, that it is obedient to not marry someone her father disapproved of, but not to marry against her will. 1mo
Ann_Reads I don't think Clarissa should marry Solmes either but I also think she should cut ties with Lovelace. That would leave her in a really bad position, if her family disowns her though. 1mo
Lcsmcat @batsy It can be very funny at times! But yes, stressful. I deal with that by reading it as melodrama rather than truth. 😀 1mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean I‘m still not sure about Lovelace. I‘m thinking Clarissa is in danger of jumping from the frying pan into the fire. 1mo
Lcsmcat @BookwormM I‘m hoping Clarissa‘s backbone will serve her better in the future. But given how many pages are left, I think we‘re in for some “worse” before we get the “better.” 1mo
TheEllieMo I think the family (who seem to do whatever James Jnr tells them to do) are being really quite horrible to Clarissa; it all seems to stem from financial advantage, gaining access to the estate her grandfather left her in the will. As for Lovelace, his reputation concerns me on Clarissa‘s behalf; I fear she is falling a little bit for a cad! 1mo
IndoorDame I agree w @BarbaraJean & @Amiable I‘m going to have to do better at putting aside my current framework if I‘m going to appreciate this. Maybe I‘ll try to channel my very religious upbringing which, while still suffused with then 20th century values, was very “the man is the head of the household”… I hated it & rebelled as soon as I could, but it was a complex place full of as much beauty & love as ugliness & abuse, and I expect C‘s world is also 1mo
TheBookHippie I'm going to need to play catch up! First book I ordered got lost! Then it went out of stock! New book shipping March 9!! OY Vey! I thought I had an old copy here still have not located it! Please keep me on the list I'll catch up quickly! 1mo
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie If you do eBooks, it‘s available for free on Project Gutenberg. https://gutenberg.org/ebooks/9296 (edited) 1mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat trying to get it to go to my Kindle now -thank you so much. 1mo
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie Any time! It‘s one of my favorite sites. Clarissa is broken into multiple volumes, but it should all be there. 1mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat yay it‘ll do until book arrives! I always forget about this site and I shouldn‘t!!! 1mo
hilded I forgot the date as suspected, lol. But back at it now, thanks for the reminder. I agree with everyones comment, her family seems awful. Difficult to be a woman back then for sure. 1mo
Liz_M Goodness, so much angst in these letters! It seems as if we (Clarissa) are being brought to a crises point. At 100 pages. What are the other 1400 pages going to contain?!?!! 4w
Lcsmcat @Liz_M I had the same thought. I think there may be a roller coaster ride ahead of us! 4w
Jerdencon Can someone clarify which letters we are reading right now - I left the calendar at work and won‘t be back til Monday - is it letters 7 to 19? I read 7 on 2/20 and 8 is dated 2/24 but I put a reminder in my phone for letters 7 to 19 for 2/20 and now im confused lol 😂 (edited) 4w
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon We are discussing 7-19 on this post. The discussion on Letters 20-31 will start Saturday the 25th, and from then on out I‘ll post on Saturdays. But this is all as you can - no pressure. 4w
Jerdencon Playing catch up - but I agree with @BarbaraJean @Amiable @IndoorDame I have to remember the time period. I had a whole separate argument going on in my head with the mother!!! 3w
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon For some reason the mother really angers me! 3w
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Dew has spent over 50 years researching the South and trying to answer the question of how so many people could not see the evil in front of them, first in slavery, and then Jim Crow. A member of my parents‘ generation (born in the 1930s) he was raised with many of the attitudes I saw growing up. The second half is particularly difficult to read, when he uses extensive primary sources to make his case. But you don‘t read this to be comforted. 👇🏻

Lcsmcat 👆🏻You read it to wrestle with the evil at the base of our nation, to shine a light into the dark corners and find a way out. To stop, to paraphrase his beloved Illinois to whom he dedicates this book, putting hate into the children. For anyone who wants to love the South but struggles with its worst aspects. 1mo
Tamra Ooof, the question at the end of the description. 😖 1mo
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Eight Men: Short Stories | Richard Wright
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“Therefore if, within the confines of its present culture, the nation ever seeks to purge itself of its color hate, it will find itself at war with itself, convulsed by a spasm of emotional and moral confusion.” How prescient those words!
Often bleak, sometimes funny, always well written, these 8 stories of 8 black men (or 7 men and one boy) moved me. The final story, which I quote above, was perhaps my favorite. All will stay with me a long time.

Suet624 Wow. Thanks for sharing this quote. 1mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 1mo
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The Pull of the Stars | Emma Donoghue Ltd
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#bookmail! Mostly these are for my irl book club, but the top one is just because it seems interesting. #thriftbooks

Bookwormjillk I love thriftbooks.com They have such a great selection. 1mo
Lcsmcat @Bookwormjillk Me too. It‘s one of my go-to places to buy books. That and betterworldbooks.com, from whom I‘m also expecting a shipment. #sorrynotsorry 1mo
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Wow. From the opening sentence where she thanks her dear friend Ann Patchett (who knew?) to the backstage “tour” of the Met, this was a delight. I knew I loved her voice. I had no idea she was so funny. Every soprano should read this, but so should anyone else who loves music. #bookspin @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1mo
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My #bookspin for February is on the left, and #doublespin on the right. Thanks for all the effort you put into this Sarah! @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2mo
jlhammar Love Fleming! Such a gorgeous voice. Enjoyed her memoir. 2mo
Lcsmcat @jlhammar I‘m looking forward to it! 2mo
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There‘s so much to think about in this book! The early chapters are the most difficult, but persevere- it‘s ultimately a hopeful book. I love that Gawande doesn‘t offer easy fixes, or proclaim that we need to go back to the “good old days.” And he is global in his views, not elevating one culture over another. My elderly mother has read this, as has my sister. Now we just have to start having the difficult conversations. Not my family‘s forte!

Graywacke An incredible, perspective changing book. 1mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke It is! And while I‘m recommending it to people, I have a hard time explaining it. 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat oh, me too. We don‘t associate talking about death with anything positive. But this is an oddly uplifting look at death. 1mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke And not just death, but frailty. People I‘ve tried to explain this to think it‘s all about funeral plans and DNRs. And what I found so gripping was thinking about how to give our elders a dignified life of their own choosing, while not being neglectful. It‘s a fine line. 1mo
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The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
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East meets West (US, at least); modern meets ancient; living meet dead. So many comings together, but also some moving apart. Erdrich paints a picture neither romanticized nor bleak. We love her characters for their noble actions and in spite of their foibles. I love immersing myself in her worlds. #authoramonth @Soubhiville

Currey I just finished The Sentence and was delighted by all the references to books I love. She is an American treasure 2mo
Lcsmcat @Currey I can‘t say there‘s any book by her that I haven‘t liked. Some more than others, but all are amazing. 2mo
Suet624 I agree that she has never disappointed me. Such good stories. If you like her, have you tried her non-fiction book? I thought it was beautiful. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Suet624 I haven‘t read that one, but I did enjoy the nonfiction 2mo
Suet624 Oh that looks interesting... 2mo
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Untitled | Unknown
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I can‘t believe it‘s almost February! But it is, so here‘s my list. @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2mo
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The Painted Drum: A Novel | Louise Erdrich
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Trying to squeeze one more Erdrich into January. #authoramonth

Soubhiville This sounds really good! I look forward to your review 😁 2mo
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The Lioness: A Novel | Chris Bohjalian
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My latest treadmill audio is not inspiring me to walk more. Anachronisms like a 35 year old man in 1964 using the term “meet cute” and the level of graphic violence aren‘t helping. Only 8 chapters in. Does it get better, or do I bail? Does anyone who listened to this as an audiobook have an opinion?

Graywacke I can‘t help you, but I wish you a better audiobook 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Thanks. Any recommendations? 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat well, I spent over an hour last night looking for an audiobook on audible and ended up choosing a free Great Courses book, so, unfortunately, I‘m not full of recommendations. Favorites last year on audible included Memento Mori, Reading Lolita in Tehran, Nightcrawling, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain and Afterlives. I would most recommend : 2mo
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lynneamch I usually like his novels, but see I only gave this one a so-so. I did really enjoy listening to 2mo
Lcsmcat @lynneamch Me too. I read Flight Attendant but listened to several of his, and they were great. My favorite was 2mo
lynneamch Oooh, thanks @Lcsmcat . I'll put that on my list! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke My public library has none of your recommendations. (I so miss the great library in Salt Lake!!!) But I may put some of those on my TBR anyway. 2mo
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This was so funny, and touching at the same time. Quotes like “I thought finding your ancestors meant you had to dig up the remains of tsars and put hair follicles into little ziplock plastic bags using tweezers, but it‘s now all online. The day can‘t be far away when the police can solve crime using Google Felony” are sprinkled throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Trying to be true to my word that our next discussion would be Feb. 20th, take everyone‘s opinions into consideration, and keep close to the seasons (depending on what part of the world you are in) without time traveling, I‘ve come up with a schedule for discussions. Note, you can read at your own pace and post whenever. The letters are different lengths and the above schedule is about 50 pages per week on average. ⬇️

Lcsmcat ⬆️ Fewer pages during Holy Week because I am slammed then. More the week after to make the divisions neater. I will still try to read on the “right” day (when it doesn‘t involve time travel) and I know myself - I will speed up as the end nears. But I‘ll try to stick to this schedule for discussions. For those whose edition is different or who didn‘t get the calendar, Roman numerals are the volume and Arabic numerals the letter number. #clarissa 2mo
Tamra Thank you for the organization! 2mo
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Lcsmcat @Tamra you‘re welcome! I was a teacher, then a paralegal, now a municipal clerk. Organization is what I do. 😀 2mo
IndoorDame Thank you! 2mo
TheBookHippie Oh my word! 🏆 THANKYOU! 2mo
Amiable Wow, this is great! Thank you for taking this on! 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat it shows! 👏🏾 2mo
Librarybelle Thank you!!! 2mo
batsy Thank you for this precise and thoughtful coordination! You're a star ⭐ 2mo
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame @TheBookHippie @Amiable @Librarybelle You‘re welcome. I‘m sorry it‘s not as straightforward as Penguin led me to believe, but I‘m happy to be finally reading this classic. 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy You‘re too kind! I‘m glad you‘re joining in. 2mo
Currey @Lcsmcat incredible. Thank you 2mo
Ann_Reads Thank you for taking the time to make up a schedule. Wonderful! @Lcsmcat 2mo
lauraisntwilder Sounds great! Thank you! 2mo
BarbaraJean Oh, this is fantastic! Thank you so much! 2mo
hilded Wonderful, thank you so much! 2mo
Jerdencon Thanks for this!! 2mo
AnneCecilie Thank you. I think we were several that started to wonder about the dates for the letters when there suddenly was a 4 week break. Thank you so much for organizing this. 2mo
CoverToCoverGirl I‘m going to take advantage to get caught up! Life has been throwing curveballs at me lately. 🙄🙂 2mo
BookwormM Great thank you 2mo
Lcsmcat @CoverToCoverGirl So the long break is a good thing. 😉 2mo
arubabookwoman @Liz_M Thanks for tagging me Liz. @Lcsmcat Could you add me to the list of people tagged for discussion etc. of Clarissa. I wasn't aware of the Litsy buddy read, and coincidentally I started Clarissa 1/10, thinking a letter a day. But as we've all seen the letters aren't daily, and I was hooked and kept reading. I'm on Letter 23, 3/5. 2mo
arubabookwoman BTW the plot moves VERY slowly, so I don't think there will be too many worries about spoilers! 2mo
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman Absolutely. I‘m happy to have you along for the ride! 2mo
Ann_Reads @Lcsmcat Could you please remove me from the tag list? I read through Chapter 20 but don't think I'll continue on with the book. Thank you and I hope you all enjoy the story. 1mo
Lcsmcat @Ann_Reads Will do. 1mo
Currey @Lcsmcat I just realized the schedule is for a different edition than mine. My numbers just continue without going to a second book and then starting over with lI L1. Does your edition‘s first book end at 46? If so I can figure out next week‘s reading from there. Thank you 3w
Lcsmcat @Currey Yes, my edition splits the novel into 9 books and starts the letter numbering over at 1 for each book. Sorry for the confusion! 3w
Currey @Lcsmcat okay, can you let us know the number of the last letter from each book as it comes up. That way we can keep in sync. Book one has 46 letters in it? 3w
Lcsmcat @Currey Volume 1 has 44 letters in my edition. 3w
Currey Great. Thank you 3w
Lcsmcat @Currey You‘re welcome. I‘ll post the others later. (I‘m on the road right now.) 3w
45 likes34 comments
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As I was discussing our “real time” read of #Clarissa with my husband he said “What if the letters aren‘t in order? Are you going to go back in time?” I told him the Penguin blog had suggested this reading strategy, so I was sure they were in order. (https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2021/03/how-to-make-time-to-read-the-classics ) Some of us were discussing how we didn‘t know the dates until we turned the page, so I decided to list them out. And?

Lcsmcat He was right. It was incredibly complex and they don‘t stay in order. 🤦🏻‍♀️ I‘ve put each letter on a calendar which I‘ll mail to anyone who sends their email address to mischalynx AT msn DOT com. At first I thought we could go to each Saturday and discuss a week‘s batch, but in some places (April, & late June/ early July in particular) they jump more than that. November & December have only 2 letters each. Aug 23 has 8 letters. 2mo
Lcsmcat So it‘s not as simple as Penguin made it seem. We could agree on a set number of letters per day or week, or read in order knowing some letters will be from dates in the past. Thoughts? In the meantime, here‘s a cool introductory video on reading Clarissa with no real spoilers https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wnk0FYFxjPI 2mo
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TheBookHippie I just bought the book to join and catch up if that‘s ok. 👀 2mo
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie Of course. We‘ve read the first six letters so far, and the next is February 20th. But see above for the complication. 😀 2mo
Tamra The simplest is to read as printed - I don‘t mind. My life has too many moving parts to keep track of anything else. 😜 I‘ll plan on that for myself, but I‘m very happy to follow & read Litsy commentary on the book regardless. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra I absolutely want to read the letters in the order Richardson wrote them! The main question I guess is the timing of discussions? 2mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat OY vey. I‘ll go along with whatever. Simple is best I imagine but 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat ahhhh, yes I see. Perhaps monthly? I am willing to follow whatever prompts you post. Whatever is most convenient for everyone, especially you. Low stress! (edited) 2mo
IndoorDame I‘m also voting for simple and in order. Monthly makes some sense to me since it‘s so sporadic sometimes, but I‘ll happily go along with whatever schedule the group decides. 2mo
Currey @Lcsmcat Same here. I would like to read them in the order written and would like the plan to be straightforward. Maybe once every two week prompts? Once a month doesn‘t feel like enough for such a large book. 2mo
batsy I'm with the rest in going with whatever is the least amount of stress for you in terms of posting discussion prompts and what is most straightforward for the group read schedule. I've sent you an email and will check out that video soon—thanks for sharing! Tbh when I read it the first time I did not pay attention to the dates at all 😆 2mo
Lcsmcat @Currey I agree that monthly seems too far apart. I‘ll wait til Feb. 20th for the next post since I already announced that. But as we go along we might revisit how often we discuss? 2mo
BarbaraJean Oh noooo! I didn‘t even think about the fact that they might skip around as far as timing. I also definitely want to read them in the order as presented in the book. I‘m up for doing discussions however is simplest for you and the group, and I‘m okay with foregoing the “real time” strategy if that would make it simpler—maybe doing a certain number of letters each week. 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy I just sent you the calendar. 2mo
Jerdencon @Lcsmcat I will email you for the calendar and I agree with whatever is simplest for you. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon Just sent you the calendar. 2mo
Librarybelle Whatever is the simplest works for me! 2mo
batsy Thanks for the calendar. I see what you mean. If we do the real time schedule it gets messy because we'll have to jump ahead to letters at certain points. And that interferes with the narrative. Perhaps then we should forego the real time schedule and read along with a number of letters assigned per day till the end of the year? 2mo
Daisey I‘m so glad you checked this. I was beginning to wonder just a bit with some comments I had read and the number of Serial Reader issues with so few through January & February. I‘ll go along with whatever, but I think every 2 weeks or monthly for discussions might be most workable. 2mo
hilded Thanks for compiling the data, I sent you an e-mail now. I have no preference, but from what you and @batsy are saying, agreeing on a number of letters per day/week/month might work? 2mo
Lcsmcat @Daisey @hilded I just sent you each the calendar. I‘m still pondering the frequency of posts, but whatever we decide will be flexible. The point is to have fun getting through this door stop. 😀 2mo
hilded Thanks, sounds good:) 2mo
JenniferP I'm good with anything! I just want some company to get through this book. 2mo
lauraisntwilder As @Daisey said, I'm so glad you checked. Emailing you now. I wish we knew why they aren't printed in order, but there's probably a good reason. 2mo
Liz_M There are 537 letters. Reading each on it's day might have been unsustainable -- it looks like there are about 90 letters written in May and again in July! I'd prefer to forgo the “read it on it's date“ and instead read 11 letters a week, which means we'd be done right around Christmas time (up to letter 534 on Dec. 23rd). I'd prefer to have discussions more often than monthly. 2mo
Lcsmcat @lauraisntwilder I just sent you the calendar. I agree that Richardson must have had a reason for the order. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Liz_M The article that suggested reading that way also mentioned reading Ulysses in one day, so maybe not too practical. But I‘m going to try to at least keep the season appropriate. I‘ll put something out after everyone has had a chance to weigh in and I have a chance to study the calendar. 2mo
Lcsmcat If anyone emailed me but didn‘t get a reply, let me know here. A few have ended up in my junk file and I don‘t want to accidentally miss someone. 2mo
rubyslippersreads I‘ll email you for the calendar. I like @batsy ‘s idea of reading an assigned number of letters per day, in the order they appear in the book. 2mo
rubyslippersreads Thanks for sending the calendar. (So nice to see someone using Pages instead of Word. 😃) 2mo
Lcsmcat @rubyslippersreads I‘m bi-software: Windows at work and Mac at home. 😂 2mo
Amiable Just emailed you! I'm fine with whatever is easiest for all. When I'm reading my annual super-chunksters, I set a specific page goal per week. So I'm totally fine with setting a goal of a certain number of letters per week/month and reading/discussing those on a schedule. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable Just emailed you the calendar. 2mo
IndoorDame I actually emailed you but didn‘t get the calendar. Should I resend? 2mo
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame No need. I searched my spam folder again and found it. The calendar is on its way. 2mo
IndoorDame @Lcsmcat awesome! Thanks! 2mo
40 likes37 comments
The Sentence | Louise Erdrich
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My second book for #authoramonth and so good! (I‘m happy to say that I bought it at an indie book store.) The early pandemic and George Floyd chapters were difficult to get through, but so well handled. Tookie and Pollux stole my heart. A solid pick. @Soubhiville

Tamra I listened the audio and loved it as well, so immersive. I thought Erdrich did a marvelous job writing about both in such a natural, organic way. I intend to get to her bookstore and buy a print copy very soon. 2mo
45 likes1 comment
The Marne | Wharton, Edith
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The quote above is from Edith Wharton‘s report from May 13, 1915. She stayed in France during the war, working with the French Red Cross and writing for American newspapers urging American involvement in the war. The Marne has been described as “guilt propaganda” aimed not at men of fighting age, but at the wealthy and power who make the decisions. There are glimpses of her writing prowess, and she takes aim again at the wealthy. But.

Lcsmcat Does it hold up as a novella on its own? Had anyone but Wharton written it, would it be read today? On the other hand, I saw connections to the present with Ukraine. Thoughts? Quotes? #whartonbuddyread (edited) 2mo
Graywacke Well, it evolves into an odd work of propaganda. Troy‘s experience at the front is momentary and not inspiring. It‘s pointless. Her focus on ambulances and hospitals makes sense, because it was her own experience. But obviously she filtered out all the awful stuff… 2mo
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Graywacke If I didn‘t know anything about the context, I would assume this was a book for young readers that intentionally filtered out bad or naughty stuff. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I‘ve been thinking how difficult it was for me as a woman to know how accurately Troy was portrayed. But filtering out all the awful stuff - I can think of several reasons. 1. She hadn‘t actually been in battle and wasn‘t a young man; 2. She couldn‘t put the real truth and still get it published; 3. The real awfulness of war would defeat her purpose of getting America involved. It could be all of those reasons or none of them. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat hmm. I need to both think it through more and explain my thinking better. I think the “filtering” fits for a propaganda as well as for young readers. But the overall result has me wondering who she was writing this for, and how successful it might be. I might also worry about how comfortable I was with her effort. But her critique by nationality killed that. She lost me when she criticized “Germans” in general. Anyway your comment that … 2mo
Graywacke …she was writing for American financiers has me trying to rethink it. It‘s different inspiring the privileged to pay up vs inspiring the masses to die trying to kill. Is the former ethically less reprehensible? 2mo
Tamra This was my least favorite of her work I‘ve read. It felt rushed and ended abruptly, almost as if this was an unfinished work. Definitely a work of its time and as war propaganda it was difficult for me to empathize as a 21st C person. I can‘t erase what I know and the fear I feel from the threat & consequences of modern warfare. (edited) 2mo
Tamra @Graywacke not different. The end is the same. 😒 2mo
Currey @Tamra @Graywacke @Lcsmcat I concur. It left me quite irritated. It did not feel complete and what ending there was did not seem directed at her goal (if her goal was to get more money and resources for the war effort). I can imagine she wanted her own crowd back home to care and to be part of what she was going through in France but this did not capture much of her experience (Red Cross). 2mo
Currey @Lcsmcat @Graywacke Perhaps the ambiguity of Troy‘s heroism, which was all intent and no effect, reflected what Wharton was really attempting to say. That the heroics are for naught if the people with the money and power are not making the right decisions. At any rate, it is my least favorite of her books so far. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Currey I didn‘t see Troy‘s joining the battle as heroic until he tried to remove the fallen soldier from the battlefield. Even as an ambulance driver he came off as bumbling and inept to me. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra @Graywacke I‘m an uneasy pacifist. (Let someone point out the holocaust and I tend to sputter about what less lethal action earlier might have done.) But I agree with @Tamra that financing a war is still war. People, mostly the young and otherwise powerless, are going to die. That said, I don‘t claim to have the answer. But does Wharton also seem a little uneasy? Or is she a total war hawk? 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat completely agree about the unease. I recognize force is sometimes necessary, but it‘s ugly. Glorifying it and/or using it for the sake of revenge makes me uncomfortable too. My impression is for Troy, it became in the end a personal battle to avenge his friend. Whether on a individual or societal level, that gives me pause. Lots to think about for certain! (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Tamra I‘m not really a pacifist except that I find wars terrible. In wwi there were no victim countries, except Belgium. (The victims were the machine-gun fodder, who probably largely died of other causes.) So I‘m really uncomfortable taking sides. All sides were culpable (and only the US came out well). In wwii Germany was really a terror. 2mo
Graywacke Anyway if I can get past the “Germans” thing I can see that Wharton‘s book deserves a little attention. So I appreciate your flagging that. She‘s not gung-ho war. She‘s taking a perspectives and ultimately exposing the boring parts of war and the unromantic injuries. That is a little interesting. But it‘s a rushed sloppy, under-thought, under-meditated, work (edited) 2mo
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Two letters today and then none until February 20th! I feel like all we‘ve gotten so far is background. These two letters further define the character of Clarissa‘s family. And drops the little bomb that her friend was set to become her sister-in-law until something happened. (Quote below) I wonder when we‘ll learn more about that? Start chiming in, but hey, we have a month to chew on all this! #Clarissa

Lcsmcat “Once, my dear, it was perhaps in your power to have moulded him as you pleased. — Could you have been my sister! — Then had I friend in a sister. — But no wonder that he does not love you now; who could nip in the bud, and that with a disdain, let me say, too much of kin to his haughtiness, a passion that would not have wanted a fervour worthy of the object; and which possibly would have made him worthy.” 2mo
IndoorDame I am super curious what happened there, but it definitely seems like she dodged a bullet there. I definitely wouldn‘t wish marriage to C‘s brother on one of my friends! 2mo
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Ann_Reads Well said @IndoorDame . At least Clarissa and Anna managed to remain friends. I do hope whatever caused the relationship between C's brother and Anna to fall apart, is expanded upon. 2mo
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame Definitely dodged a bullet! And @Ann_Reads I hope so too. I‘m very curious. 2mo
BookwormM Yes I was curious about that what did she do and what other family does she not like as C hints it is not just the one member. Feel sad for C that she doesn‘t feel able to enjoy her inheritance due to resentment from her siblings. 20th Feb 😱😱loooong time 2mo
Liz_M I know I can Google this, but with all these references to a virtuous woman being able to reform a rake, I really think one of these matches -- C &L or A & the brother -- will be the climax of this very long book. 2mo
Lcsmcat Has anyone looked up the dates for each letter? I think I might do that during this break and post a list, if it will fit in a square picture. 😀 2mo
Lcsmcat @BookwormM I wouldn‘t be surprised if it was ALL the family members! The mother is the best, but she‘s weak. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Liz_M Knowing how long this read will take, it‘s tempting. But I‘m going to resist and try to let this play out in “real” time. 2mo
AnneCecilie Does anyone else think it strange that Clarissa doesn‘t write to any family member (her mum) while she visits her friend? I just finished Jane Austen‘s letters and she sent a letter to Cassandra (her sister) every 3rd day and started a new one as soon as one was finished. 4 weeks seems a little long. 2mo
Lcsmcat @AnneCecilie Yes, I do! I was expecting a slightly new perspective on things as she wrote to different people. Maybe we‘ll get that later? 2mo
AnneCecilie I hope so. It seemed from the short introduction that I read, that we would. 2mo
Jerdencon What a big break - but I‘m guessing whatever comes next might explain it - maybe? I‘ve set a reminder on my phone for 2/20! 2mo
Currey @Jerdencon Good idea about setting a reminder. I really do not want to wait but I am going to. 2mo
lauraisntwilder @AnneCecilie Yes, I'm surprised she wouldn't write to her mother. I think she's mad at just about everyone else though! 2mo
BarbaraJean @AnneCecilie I agree that it seems like a long time to not write to her family. Although @lauraisntwilder has a good point that there may not be any family members she wants to communicate with! 😂 I‘m hooked and want to know what happens next! @Lcsmcat A list of all the dates would be fantastic! I could mark my calendar and look forward to “opening” the next letter 😁 2mo
hilded Looking forward to get more backstory to what happened in the next letter hopefully. I would love a list of all the dates as well. I‘m currently reading it on #serialreader and there you don‘t see the next date unless you open the next issue. 2mo
Lcsmcat @BarbaraJean @hilded I‘ll work on that list this afternoon. 2mo
Tamra Can anyone imagine having every family member intimately involved in all aspects of your life? 😬 🔎 (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra OMG, that makes me shudder. Although we did once have a sale of a house fall through because the buyers had their entire extended family show up for the second viewing - parents, grandparents, uncles, and siblings. 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat oh good grief - crazy! 2mo
Amiable @Tamra I had the same thought! I have 4 brothers, and the thought that one or all of them would have any say in who I married makes me cringe! I was struck by Clarissa's comment about talking to her brother: “I would be glad, Sir, said I, to understand that you are my brother; -- and that you would understand that you are only my brother.“ I practically cheered at that. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable I loved that line! Go Clarissa! 2mo
Amiable As much of a jerk as the brother seems to be, I still am wondering why Clarissa continues to maintain any communication with Lovelace. Because he does not sound like a peach, either.
(edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable I want to tell her to RUN. I‘m so afraid she‘ll do something stupid just to spite her brother. 2mo
Amiable And the mother! Clarissa has her pegged as well. I highlighted this line: “Would she but exert that authority which the superiority of her fine talents gives her, all these family feuds might perhaps be extinguished in their but yet beginnings ... it is my opinion, that had she been of a temper that would have borne less, she would have had ten times less to bear, than she had had.“ Wow! How powerful is that sentiment? 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable I highlighted that as well, and almost used it instead of the above quote. 2mo
Amiable @Lcsmcat I have to say, these two letters packed a punch! I probably highlighted about a third of the text. LOL 2mo
Tamra @Amiable I know, that line was fabulous! Ouch! 😉 (edited) 2mo
46 likes30 comments
The Sentence | Louise Erdrich
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“When a baby falls asleep in your arms you are absolved. The purest creature alive has chosen you. There‘s nothing else.” #authoramonth @Soubhiville

Texreader ❤️❤️❤️ 2mo
Cathythoughts Beautiful ♥️ 2mo
NovelNancyM Great photo to tie in with the book!
Lcsmcat @NovelNancyM @Cathythoughts @Texreader Thanks. He‘s my grandson. 1mo
67 likes4 comments
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We get more insight into Lovelace in today‘s letter. (I can‘t say I‘m liking him more, but I‘m not impressed with brother James either.) And we get to see the will. What think you, fellow travelers along this long road? #Clarissa

Lcsmcat Did anyone else find it odd that a letter written on a Sunday, in this era, makes no mention of going to church? Next letter is Friday. 2mo
IndoorDame I was struck by how meekly Clarissa recounted her own behavior in this letter. It seemed such a contrast with the girl I‘ve been imagining based on the strength in her writing. 2mo
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IndoorDame @Lcsmcat my copy doesn‘t include the days of the week. Are we in a calendar year that exactly matches this one? So cool! 2mo
Amiable After this letter methinks Clarissa should free herself from the entire bunch of them. Brother James sounds like a pretentious ass…but why would Mr. Lovelace continue to push himself into a situation where he is clearly not wanted? Is it really worth it? And then …aha! We find that Clarissa is her granddad‘s sole heir. And the plot thickens… 2mo
Amiable @Lcsmcat I think maybe church is not mentioned because Clarissa is recounting events that already happened, not talking about what‘s going on today? 2mo
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame My copy doesn‘t either, but it‘s supposed to take place in 1747, and the days of the week in 2023 line up with 1747. It‘s why I chose this year to read it. 2mo
IndoorDame @Lcsmcat I love that! Makes the real time experience even more intense! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable True, she recounting a particular history and not being chatty. I just know I would write “Off to church. I‘ll finish this later.” 😀 And she would be well rid of both brother and sister! 2mo
Liz_M I'm curious to see where this goes next. Clarissa says she is not interested in Lovelace and he says he will do what she says. So in theory one letter should wrap it up, but there are a gazillion pages to go! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Liz_M Yeah, I don‘t believe a word Lovelace says. 2mo
Liz_M Also (having recently reached season one), I am getting some Bridgerton vibes, especially in the belief that "a reformed rake makes the best husband" quoted in both. 2mo
hilded I found the disclosure of the will the most interesting about today‘s letter! And a good explanation of the interest shown by Mr Lovelace. But as of now, my least favourite person is her brother. Next letter not until the 20th, feels like a long time 😆 (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Liz_M That seems a common misconception. At least the belief that “a good woman” could reform a bad man. 🙄 2mo
Lcsmcat @hilded In the age of email it really feels long! But not knowing how far apart they are, I‘ve no idea if it‘s a reasonable time for a letter to take. 2mo
hilded True! And busy work week ahead, so the next days will fly away. 2mo
TheEllieMo I do not trust Lovelace at all! Despite Clarissa making clear that she has no romantic feelings towards him, he‘s persisting. I actually feel some warmth towards James for trying to steer Lovelace away from Clarissa 2mo
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo That is a point in his favor. I‘m wondering though, how much has to do with Lovelace and how much with trying to keep some level of control of Clarissa‘s inheritance. He did try to get her to marry two of his friends, right? 2mo
TheEllieMo @Lcsmcat yes, the inheritance will, I think, feature large in the coming story 2mo
Liz_M @Lcsmcat Huh, I didn't see this at all. The grandfather's will makes clear James is already the sole inheritor of a grandmother's multiple estates and possibly his parents. So why would he need to control Clarissa's? 2mo
Lcsmcat @Liz_M Greed. Have you never met someone who had a lot but wanted more? 2mo
BookwormM So far disliking all the men apart from good old Grandad. Does anyone else want a diary/dairy house I sure do. 2mo
Tamra @BookwormM 😆 I most definitely want a dairy house! Maybe I could read in peace. 2mo
Tamra Lovelace is a cad, insofar as Clarissa has described him. Anyone with sense would realize he‘s unwelcome, even violently unwelcome. It‘s an insult to his ego to be dismissed and now a challenge to possess Clarissa and her pending legacy. That‘s how it appears to me at the moment, at this VERY early stage. 😉 (edited) 2mo
Tamra @hilded will this be a lesson in $ is the root of all evil?! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra 🙋🏻‍♀️ I want a dairy house - as long as someone else milks the cows. 😂 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat 😜 I thought that was funny and gave me pause when I ran across it. 2mo
BarbaraJean Also not impressed with brother James. I was expecting to dislike Lovelace; I wasn't expecting to dislike Clarissa's family so much! I'm with @BookwormM - Grandad seems like the only decent man around at this point. @IndoorDame - Given her writing voice I'd also have expected her behavior to be more assertive, but I can also see that as the difference between a letter to a close friend and “public“ behavior toward family/guests. 2mo
BarbaraJean @Liz_M @Lcsmcat The double standard of excusing a man's bad behavior and then assuming that a good woman can/should reform him (and that she'll enjoy the endeavor) is one of my least favorite tropes in fiction! Definitely getting a bit of that vibe here. 😠 2mo
Jerdencon I don‘t like any of them lol!! Lovelace is a jerk! But I found the will interesting too - im guessing he‘s after Clarissa‘s money? 2mo
Currey @Lcsmcat @BookwormM finally got to my letter today and I agree with others that I need a dairy house and really dislike James. Clearly greed is going to be a theme going forward 2mo
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The Marne | Wharton, Edith
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I pondered using a French graveyard to illustrate this week‘s section, because of that one moving scene. But looking at the quotes I highlighted, decided to go with WWI propaganda posters instead. Wharton‘s writing is powerful and I was arrested by several beautifully crafted phrases. But she leaves one in no doubt of what the “correct” response to war is. Dolce et decorum est and all that. I was surprised that 21 was the age to enlist ⬇️

Lcsmcat ⬆️ but a quick internet search showed it was the lower end of the draft age until just months before the end of the war. I also looked up the Plattsburg reference. They were like summer camps for grown men to train for war “just in case” starting in 1915. #whartonbuddyread (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat “The choristers were all good and kindly persons, shaken out of the rut of right feeling by the first real fright of their lives.” 2mo
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Lcsmcat “while, even among the right-minded, there subsisted a vague feeling that war was an avoidable thing, which one had only to reprobate enough to prevent its recurrence.” 2mo
Lcsmcat “No one was listened to for long, and the most eagerly-sought-for were like the figures in a movy-show, forever breathlessly whisking past to make way for others.” 2mo
Lcsmcat “Troy, listening to the heated talk at his parents‘ table, perceived with disgust and wonder that at the bottom of the anti-war sentiment, whatever specious impartiality it put on, there was always the odd belief that life-in-itself—just the mere raw fact of being alive—was the one thing that mattered, and getting killed the one thing to be avoided.” 2mo
Lcsmcat And some random phrases that grabbed my attention: “gag of neutrality” “The pacifists crept into their holes,”and “keeping up a kind of continuous picnic on the ruins of civilization.” 2mo
Graywacke “to disappear … into the black gulf of this unfathomable thing called War, that seemed suddenly to have escaped out of the history books like a dangerous lunatic escaping from the asylum in which he was supposed to be securely confined” 2mo
Currey @Lcsmcat I am happy to be back reading Wharton. However, I agree it does lean rather heavily toward “we have to get into this fight”. I do love the way she mocked the rich for doing their bit for the war effort by not being able to get home fast enough and having to have tea with a wounded soldier or a nurse or two. 2mo
Graywacke I was really uncomfortable with the generic “Germans” are bad. In WWI every leader of every country was bad and every person was subject to where they happened to live. And in the US, anti-German _immigrant_ sentiment was a real hurtful problem. Unfortunately that colored everything for me. It‘s clearly a work of propaganda and as terrible as any other. I‘m obviously having trouble with that. (Although I probably should take a more distant view.) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Currey I‘m trying to appreciate her ability to craft a beautiful sentence, and skewer the privileged, but I‘ll admit this isn‘t my favorite of hers. 2mo
Louise Good morning, reading friends. Unfortunately, I‘ll need to skip this book and hope to join in for the next. I have just begun intensive physical therapy for chronic pain and find I‘m utterly exhausted between sessions. Reading your comments and quotes is helping me to gain a sense of the book vicariously. Thank you for that! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Another great quote! And I too am taking it personally. Not because of my German ancestors (who mostly arrived here pre-revolution). But you‘re not wrong about the anti-immigrant sentiment- Cather pointed that out too. For me, however, it‘s the anti-pacifist contempt. As if being anti-war made one automatically a bad person. I‘m having to work to see the good writing behind the dogma. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Louise I‘m so sorry. I hope the physical therapy works, but I know in the short-term it can really take it out of you. Keeping you in my thoughts. 2mo
Louise @Lcsmcat Thank you so much, Linda. 💗 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat it was tricky, being a pacifist during wwi (or ii) 2mo
Graywacke @Louise wish you well! 2mo
arubabookwoman @Graywacke It very much has the feel of propaganda to me. Although we are at the halfway point in the book, I feel not far enough along in the book to make any comments. I'm wondering if the book was written too soon after the war (published 1918) to provide perspective. 2mo
Graywacke @arubabookwoman i understand it was written during the war to help inspire US action and US troops. But was published too late to have possible impact. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Yes, we don‘t talk about it much in the US, but it was to the extent that the Episcopal Bishop of Utah was forced to resign because he didn‘t support WWI. So even clergy were supposed to support war. (That whole “thou shalt not kill” thing was just a suggestion?) 2mo
Currey @Lcsmcat @Graywacke The human capacity to quickly identify “other” and turn them into the enemy is a root cause of so much of the wrongs in this world. Wharton could have been pro-French and even supportive of defending the French people without making monsters of the other side 2mo
Currey @Lcsmcat I am finding some intellectual stimulation in watching Wharton build a male character who has difficulty making himself understood (a common characteristic for Wharton) and who she wants us to sympathize with. What exactly makes him sympathetic? That he is sensitive enough to see the beauty of the French countryside or that he wants to fight for the French people? That he sits at the feet of the one girl who doesn‘t want war? 2mo
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman I do think it was too soon for perspective. But Wharton was too good f an author for that to be accidental. She wasn‘t trying to write history, but propaganda. We, knowing when the war ended, marvel at how “late” it was, but we have to remember that, in the thick of it, no one knew where the end would be. It had dragged on for years and could continue to do so. 2mo
Louise @Graywacke Thanks, Dan! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Currey I struggle with Troy. He‘s so young that I get that he doesn‘t understand the horrors of war and only sees the “glory.” But he seemed to have more of an internal, intellectual personality at the beginning that his sudden macho “gotta go fight” side is jarring. I‘m curious to see how he develops in the second half of the book. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat anyone see wharton in Troy? And what do we make of the name Troy Belknap. Let‘s let Troy be our Trojan. But am I reading too much into the idea that bells wake you up from a nap? Our woke Trojan (but 1918 version)? (apologies for any goofball vibes here) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Interesting thoughts about the name. Wharton has certainly used names to illustrate characters before. And yes, I think Troy‘s opinions are Wharton‘s. 2mo
Leftcoastzen It is such a propaganda piece. I do love how in the beginning she still skewers her class , as the characters at first, seem just so put out by having their travel messed up than pondering the significance of the war. 2mo
Leftcoastzen Also found it interesting that Troy wants to drive an ambulance. Both Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos did that.The U.S.didn‘t really join the war till April of 1917 and it was over in November 1918. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Leftcoastzen My brain went straight to Hemingway too. Was he known enough at this point, or was ambulance driving just what young men did to be part of the war? 2mo
Leftcoastzen It was young men trying to help.I think he was writing then but unpublished. 2mo
jewright I see Troy as feeling as if he belongs to France. It‘s another home for him. I can totally see why he feels he needs to go help. Teenage boys are still this way. At that age, they still feel invincible. Yes, people die in wars, but that won‘t happen to them. 2mo
Lcsmcat @jewright So true! Both about Troy‘s feelings for France and the invincible teenage boy. 😀 2mo
CarolynM I‘m on holiday and I haven‘t managed to start this one yet, I probably won‘t get there until you‘ve all finished but I‘ll come back and look at the comments later. 2mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM Enjoy your holiday! 2mo
Tamra @Leftcoastzen Wharton had such a deft way of skewering! 😉 It‘s one of the things I love about her writing. 2mo
Tamra Finishing Chapter 6, I am left wondering just how we‘re supposed to feel about Troy. I‘m rather ambivalent, which is no doubt intentional. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra It‘s like he‘s supposed to be “Everyman” so we don‘t get him as a distinct person. 2mo
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We meet our eponymous heroine for the first time in this letter. I think there may be more humor in her than the preface let on. What‘s everyone thinking so far? How about that sister?!? #Clarissa

IndoorDame Agreed. I found her funny too so I‘m feeling optimistic about her! 2mo
Jerdencon I liked her voice too - and like her take on the situation 2mo
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Librarybelle Yes - I enjoyed reading the letter! 2mo
hilded I am feeling optimistic about her as well:) 2mo
BarbaraJean I like her, too—I was getting a bit of a response-to-frenemy vibe in her first paragraph! And I‘m interested to hear how she continues her side of the story in the next letter. 2mo
batsy I'd forgotten that she presents a very appealing front in her first letter, so it was nice to be reminded! 2mo
Amiable “What can any young creature in the like circumstances say, when she is not sure but a too-ready consent may subject her to the slights of a sex that generally values a blessing either more or less as it is obtained with difficulty or ease?” 1748? This could have been written last week. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable Human nature doesn‘t change that much, does it? 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy “a very appealing front?” You have me intrigued. 😀 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat Sorry 😆 I realised as soon as I typed it that it's a misleading way of putting it. It's not what it implies—Clarissa is a pretty straightforward character. I just didn't remember liking her from the start the previous time I read it 😁 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy No apology needed. Reading slowly like this makes me read more, how shall I put it, suspiciously. I look for the little details I might overlook normally. It‘s part of the pleasure. 2mo
Currey @batsy @Lcsmcat yes, suspiciously is the word. I wondered if Clarissa was being snide but on a reread ( of just todays letter) it did seem just straight forward 2mo
BookwormM I like Clarissa and I like her take on events looking forward to finding out more tomorrow. Also like the hint that the family is upset by Clarissa‘s share of the inheritance 2mo
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A Good Neighborhood | Therese Anne Fowler
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I‘m having issues with Litsy. Posted last night, it didn‘t show up so I tried again. Then it was there twice. Tried to delete one post and it wouldn‘t go. Woke up this morning to find both posts gone! 🤦🏻‍♀️ This book isn‘t worth this much trouble! Short version- too much telling instead of showing, too much self-hyping. Bailed before 100 pages, which is not my norm. #doublespin

IndoorDame Exactly the same thing happened with a post of mine last night! But it seems to be sorted now 2mo
JamieArc I woke up to duplicate posts that had disappeared last night too 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2mo
Ruthiella Yes, Litsy has been on the fritz the last few days! 😕 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Same!! They are supposed to be looking into it! 2mo
Lcsmcat @IndoorDame @JamieArc @Ruthiella @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I‘m glad it‘s not just me. I was starting to worry. 2mo
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My book haul from the #betterworldbooks New Years sale. There are three more coming. #nocontrol #sorrynotsorry

Ruthiella Nice! 👍 2mo
Centique I loved She has her Mothers Laugh. Long but so fascinating! 2d
Lcsmcat @Centique Good to hear. I was surprised at how long it was, having ordered it rather than picking it out in person. 2d
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Well, Miss Anna has some definite opinions! What do you think, sympathetic friend, or gossip-gathering frenemy? We get Clarissa‘s reply on Friday. #clarissa

mamareading Today is the day! Excited to start! 2mo
Librarybelle I‘m trying to figure out the best way to hold my book, without damaging the spine, to read it! 😂 Big book problems… 2mo
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Lcsmcat @Librarybelle That can be difficult- especially if it‘s a paperback. But who could hold this in hard copy? You‘d need a book stand like libraries have for the OED. 😂 (edited) 2mo
TheEllieMo @Librarybelle I cheated, I got the Kindle version 😉 2mo
Jerdencon I did find Miss Anna a bit pushy!! lol 😂 2mo
JenniferP I'm using both a paperback and kindle version. Paperback for when I'm able to read at home and kindle for times I'm traveling or out and about. Excited to start! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Jerdencon I‘m trying to reserve judgment, but I found her a bit so too. More interested in the gossip than her friend‘s feelings. But we‘ll see what the next letters bring. 2mo
BookwormM I want to know about the inheritance 2mo
Lcsmcat @BookwormM Yes! An intriguing detail. 2mo
TheEllieMo Was it normal practice to ask for a copy of bits of a will that your friend benefits from? Seems a little… pushy? Rude? Downright objectionable??! 2mo
AnneCecilie I just find this to be a really good start to the novel. Maybe a little pushy, but I thought that was a writing device the author used to be able to start more in the story and give us the backstory afterwards. 2mo
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo I agree it‘s an odd thing to ask in a letter, but as @AnneCecilie says, it‘s a plot device to provide exposition. Which is why I‘m withholding judgment on Anna for the moment. 2mo
Liz_M Is it awful to hope for frenemy? That would be more fun than if Anna was sincere... I'm curious about the framing. I don't understand why the need to start in the middle and have a character ask for an explanation than to just start at the beginning? 2mo
hilded @Liz_M Haha, I also secretely hope for frenemy, we need some amusement for this chonk of a book😆 2mo
Tamra At first blush Anna comes across as a gossip dying to know all the gory details, especially since Clarissa is the “subject of public talk” and “every eye” is upon her. National Inquirer style! (I want to know too! 😅) (edited) 2mo
Tamra @Liz_M I hope so too, it would lend to the intrigue. It reminds of me Dangerous Liaisons. You never know who you can trust. (edited) 2mo
Daisey It definitely came across more as frenemy in this first letter, but I‘m trying to wait a bit to pass judgment. 2mo
Tamra @BookwormM yes! 2mo
Amiable Well, boy howdy, there‘s apparently a lot to unpack based those first 2 pages! No wonder the book is so long. 😀 2mo
Lcsmcat @Amiable And we haven‘t even touched on the second quote. Is it a reflection on Clarissa‘s mom, her father, or society in general? 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra There is a Dangerous Liaisons vibe, isn‘t there? 2mo
lauraisntwilder I read all the introductory material today, before reading the first letter, and this book is SO large! I think I've settled on reading it while it rests on a pillow in my lap. 2mo
Lcsmcat @lauraisntwilder Good plan! 2mo
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I think I already know who my favorite characters will be. 😉 #clarissa

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Tuesday is the first letter, but there is a Preface (6 pages in my edition) so feel free to read that ahead. #clarissa Let me know if I missed you in the tag list.

mamareading I‘m on a trip and hoping my book has arrived when I get home tomorrow! I plan to have the digital book too so maybe I‘ll start there tonight 2mo
Lcsmcat @mamareading Digital is much easier to haul around. And easier on the wrists too. 😂 2mo
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Librarybelle My copy just arrived - I knew it was a huge book, but I was still a bit surprised by the size! 😂 2mo
LeahBergen My copy should arrive by Tuesday! 👍 2mo
Jerdencon I have it on kindle and will read the preface today. Excited to start this with everyone! (edited) 2mo
Tamra Thanks for the reminder! The tome is keeping my nightstand firmly rooted on the floor. 😜 (edited) 2mo
CoverToCoverGirl Thanks for the reminder! Looking forward to this read. 2mo
CoverToCoverGirl @Tamra it definitely a very large brick! Lol 2mo
cewilf I need to find my copy! Looking forward to finally reading this 2mo
hilded I am starting on #serialreader with a backup on my kindle. First five issues ready to go:) 2mo
Liz_M Thanks for the reminder! It took some googling, but I found a free ebook version and have it ready to go. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Liz_M I love those free books for out-of-copyright classics! 2mo
TheEllieMo I want to try and join in on this 2mo
Lcsmcat @TheEllieMo Great! I‘ve added you to the tag list. 2mo
TheEllieMo @Lcsmcat thank you! ☺️ 2mo
BookwormM I have read the intro 👍 2mo
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I have admired Gorman since she read at the inauguration, but reading this collection makes it clear that she‘s a poet to watch. Her playfulness with words leads the reader into a place they might not otherwise be willing to go. A solid pick.

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I was so close to the end when I had to get off the treadmill and get ready for work, 13 minutes to go! So I finished it on my commute home. Tomorrow I start the next, but I‘m getting close to running out of them. 🙀

Aimeesue Now that is superhuman strength, pausing a book with only pages to go! I would have crumbled and claimed traffic problems. 😂 (edited) 3mo
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A Good Neighborhood | Therese Anne Fowler
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Started my #doublespin book today. January is off to a good start.

Tracks | Louise Erdrich
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My last day of Christmas vacation, and I celebrated by reading this in practically one sitting. (One day, anyway.) I have loved Erdrich‘s writing since a friend gifted me with The Roundhouse years ago. And this installment in the Nanapush / Kashpaw / Morrissey families was a treat. #bookspin #authoramonth @TheAromaofBooks @Soubhiville

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 3mo
Soubhiville Glad you enjoyed it! 3mo
SamAnne I‘ve been wanting to reread this one-and all her early books. 3mo
Lcsmcat @SamAnne @Soubhiville This might be a month where I read more than one for this challenge as I have so many on my TBR! 3mo
Centique I love these books so much! 2mo
42 likes5 comments
Tracks | Louise Erdrich
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A little over a year ago I was at Mr. Mike‘s Used Books and found a large collection of Erdrich books. So of course I bought them all. 🤷🏻‍♀️ This is my #bookspin for January and also my first #authoramonth selection.

Tamra My favorites of hers so far are The Sentence and this one, which I‘ve read twice if not three times. 3mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra I loved Last Report too! The Sentence is waiting still, but maybe this month? I loved The Roundhouse, and basically everything by her that I‘ve read. (edited) 3mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat ❤️ I was trying to describe how well she captured living thru the pandemic & the George Floyd outrage without the book necessarily being about those things to my husband last night. It is about the characters and community experiencing & feeling them while trying to live their daily lives. Hard for me to explain. I hope you like to too! (edited) 3mo
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