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Megbert

Megbert

Joined August 2022

Chicken psychologist and a fan of historical fiction 🐓
review
Megbert
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Pickpick

Deep, dark, descriptive alleyways of 16th C Italian conniving and court. Sad, magical and mesmerising as we observe the life of the Duchess of Ferrara, trapped inside her husband‘s court while he waits for her to conceive. I loved O‘Farrells metaphor for the back of an embroidery, the messy underneath that those in power do not want us to see. Beautifully researched and wonderfully transporting, #historicalfiction at its best 🖤

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Megbert
Funny Story | Emily Henry
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Cor blimey can‘t go wrong with a sweet rom-com and a bit of steamy make-out time. A charming reprieve (complete with chortles) from some of the historical fiction I‘ve been reading of late. Nicely rounded off by not only sealing the deal (no spoiler alerts here) but also addressing the point that women don‘t need a partner to make them complete. ❣️

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Megbert
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Fabulous to see Trent Dalton in conversation with Bret McKenzie at Te Papa in Wellington a couple of weeks ago. Honestly Trent is such a warm, funny and compassionate guy. He had the craziest upbringing as a kid and somehow he turned out to be a real good egg with a big heart. A very fun night 🎉

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Megbert
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Pickpick

A bit harder to get going on this one, it didn‘t have the magnetic pull of “BSU” or “AOSS” but it got there in the end and when it got going boy did it get going. I think he knows what he‘s doing with his writing here and the uncomfortable start is an honest climb inside the world of those living on the streets. Poignant, funny and also terrifying I really don‘t know how Trent does it. #bigtrentdaltonfan

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Megbert
Prophet Song | Paul Lynch
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So thoroughly horrifying only because it all seems entirely possible as we watch through our screens as the governments swing far right & implement emergency measures to change laws & rape the earth & drop bombs mercilessly on innocent souls ~ so who are we in our safe white suburbs to think we are exempt? The writing is poetic & flows across you like a dark ocean that won‘t stop rolling in & you may drown but the water sparkles nonetheless.

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Megbert
Aue | Becky Manawatu
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Ouch that hurt! One of those stories that hurts to read but it‘s a truth that must be told. An outstanding piece of literary fiction from author Becky Manawatu, drawing on some real life stories and others so cinematically conjured I am certain we‘ll see this on screen soon. Beautiful, raw and #owsie 😓

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Megbert
Tom Lake: A Novel | Ann Patchett
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I loved the plot structure of this book and its slow unravel. Recounted as a story told by a mother to her daughters and layered up with their contemporary opinions all set in the recent timeline of the 2021 pandemic. I particularly loved how the narrator held back some of the more personal truths, precious memories she‘d saved only for herself but lucky you (the reader) is let in on these. 💗

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Megbert
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LOVED THIS! A historical fiction with our lead character set into the recreated world of where our English dictionary began. A delicately woven story with heart & grace that engages with the Suffragette movement and a feminist uprising. Really shines a fresh perspective on the origin of our words and languages, all edited and graded by the patriarchal system.

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Megbert
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Endearing, insightful and fascinating. A rare glimpse into the mind and life of a savant from childhood to adulthood. Told by the author in a chronological fashion with a matter of fact honesty and a child like delight as he learns master the many normal things we take for granted (being in public spaces) and his incredible trip to the US and Iceland for the making of the Brainman documentary.

5 likes1 stack add
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Megbert
The Witching Tide | Margaret Meyer
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I‘d call this more a creative essay than a novel. The story moves slowly & the author invests a lot of time in descriptions, historical detailing & visual overlaps. I loved it because I am interested in #feminist history and the way that religion tried to suppress female knowledge & traditions by casting aspersions on women with the superstition based fear of “witches”. A depiction of what can happen to our communities when we let fear creep in.

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Megbert
Rememberings | Sinad O'Connor
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Mehso-so

A short read chronicling the life of Sinead who had the most appalling upbringing as a child in Ireland. Fascinating to read and learn her story but as much as I love her and her music, the book was a disappointment. It ended up feeling more like a dumping place for journal notes and acknowledgments of those that did and didn‘t help her along the way and was a grind to finish. However I will add that the tale about Prince was rather wild!

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Megbert
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Hilarious, frightening, sad, heartfelt and powerful. I was a bit of a late bloomer with discovering this book but tbh the timing was great for me. Sometimes I wonder how far have we actually come with the #feminist movement and closed this book with a sob and deep cry by thinking not far enough! But onwards and looking forward to watching the tv series now.

8 likes1 stack add
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Megbert
Small Things Like These | Claire Keegan
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Perfect read for a short flight, a tender tale set in Ireland mid 80‘s and the plot evolves around the dark history of the Irish catholic magdalene laundries. Heartfelt and raw, this is a snapshot of the human capacity for love & generosity in those toughest of times. Simply a perfect piece of prose. 💗

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Megbert
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Set in a time when the rule of the church was closing in. Women could not live on their own unless as a nun or an outcast. But a small pocket of protection was granted to the beguines, women who lived simply with a spiritual and altruistic focus. That was all too well until Maguerite de Porete published a book of divine spiritual love. This the church took great offense to, she was burnt at the stake & the future of the beguines hangs perilously…

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Megbert
The Axeman's Carnival | Catherine Chidgey
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Had a day sick in bed and this was the most uplifting, well-rounded & charming piece of fiction one could read. Huge applause to the the author for such wonderful character development of Tama the magpie (our story narrator) and perhaps humans might see these clever birds differently from now on. We love you #tama ! 🖤

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Megbert
Birnam Wood | Eleanor Catton
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A right ripping tale awash with politics, psychotic billionaires, virtue signaling conservationists and kiwi identity. It has humour, pace and wonderful character development. Such a fun (and sadly on point) read, I look forward to seeing this developed for the screen.

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Megbert
Wishful Drinking | Carrie Fisher
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Panpan

Tried reading this after my last book and gave up half way. It‘s a stream of consciousness grasp at remembering the past after an unfortunate round of electric convulsion therapy for Carrie Fisher. I do believe she is a witty and talented woman but this read doesn‘t really offer her best work. A bit of a cheek that it even got published.

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Megbert
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I loved this book! A mad window into the world of an eccentric A lister who for a second makes you want to puke cos they have it all but the humanity and connectedness that Byron weaves out of it makes you realise they are still humans with their own core insecurities and problems. It doesn‘t make fun of the mental illness we encounter but rather shows us what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the highs and lows that come with that.

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Megbert
Face of a Stranger | Anne Perry
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Mehso-so

Plenty here to enjoy, historical Victorian murder mystery with a subtext commentary on the British class system and emerging feminism. However I found that it stumbled over itself with too much repetitive navel gazing and no real loveable characters. Great twist to the mystery on conclusion but I doubt I‘ll ever pick up the next book in the series.

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Megbert
Station Eleven: A novel | Emily St. John Mandel
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I enjoyed the TV series so much but felt like there were a few significant gaps in the story. The book of course smooths it all out and fills in the characters so much better. That said I‘d say it‘s still one of my top pick TV watches of this year. It‘s an all round brilliant story, very poetic in a sad bleak world.

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Megbert
Cloisters | Katy Hays
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A really fun ride through a young woman‘s journey as she shakes off some dark shadows and finds her feet in the world of art academia. Well researched and beautifully set in the NY Cloisters, it‘s no wonder it‘s been picked up for TV development. At times the story stumbled and fell a bit flat but the overall plot and setting carried it through. Look forward to seeing the adaptation.
(pic from the violet fox)

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Megbert
Demon Copperhead: A Novel | Barbara Kingsolver
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A great review:
“But Kingsolver does so much more than just use the concept of “David Copperfield” for inspiration. She places the barren tree of Dickens‘ outline on her page and fills in the foliage with the struggles of modern-day Appalachia.”
https://www.ajc.com/life/arts-culture/kingsolver-transforms-dickens-classic-into...

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Megbert
Demon Copperhead: A Novel | Barbara Kingsolver
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I started the year with this novel and it‘s possible it‘ll be the best read of 2023. Written with deft insight into the Appalachian culture so awfully crippled by an opiate crisis - mostly recognized by the drug OxyContin, the story is told from the razor sharp wit and tragedy of young Demon born in Lee County, Virginia. The writing makes you laugh and also cry, there‘s so much depth and character it keeps Kingsolver up there with the best! 5⭐️‘s

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Megbert
Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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A blisteringly great summer read that was a real page turner. Said to be a loose weaving of the lives of Gina Pareño, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardener and Rita Hayworth rolled into one it certainly leaves you with the sense that Evelyn was a real historical figure! Loved the strong #femalecharacters who through the journey told over decades, discover themselves and the real value of life. Great twist at the end, a recommended read!

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Megbert
Overstory | Richard Powers
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Omg fan-girling out, a Barbara Kingsolver review of Richard Powers “Overstory”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/09/books/review/overstory-richard-powers.html

SamAnne I read this and bought The Overstory the next day. Then went around asking everyone if they had read it because I desperately wanted to discuss! LOL. 2y
Megbert It‘s a book worth discussing! So rich and beautifully layered x 2y
14 likes2 comments
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Megbert
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Mehso-so

I really wanted to love this book. The concept is great, the subject matter fascinating, the historical research deep…but it was all undone for me by the two dimensional American housewife Ella. I stuck it out to the finish, hoping the choice she made would redeem her and somehow make it all believable but I was sadly disappointed. That said, there are some beautiful moments and quotes within the subplot & I guess that‘s what got me to the end.

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Megbert
Still Life | Sarah Winman
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This was my Xmas read, sitting on a NZ beach channeling Florence! A bit of armchair travel, tales of lost love & old friends, art history with a feminist twist, the end of WW11 and a hilarious parrot! Sometimes a little too dialogue heavy for me but in its own sense, the scenes themselves were “still life” moments in time. A beautiful entwining of lives, places and real historical events, a perfect holiday read.

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Megbert
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Nearly a SO-SO as I struggled with the desperately sad circumstances that land the protagonist in the place she begins…inside a dumpster. I pushed through the book hoping some glimmer of good fortune would befall her, but how can it when she starts the book dead? By the end I saw the beauty in her friendships and the commitment those friends held to care for each other, regardless of their differences. A tough but beautiful read.

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Megbert
Overstory | Richard Powers
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A mesmerizing collision of multiple narratives, each all connected to a forest or tree. Powers weaves incredible and sometimes alarming info-metrics into the story, arming the reader with a battalion in favour of our forests and eco-systems. A book that has stayed with me for the years since I last read it. Quite wonderful!

SamAnne One of my favorites I‘ve read in the past 10 years. (edited) 2y
14 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Megbert
The Book of Longings | Sue Monk Kidd
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Such a brilliant read, a tender story told over the last few years of the life of Jesus Christ, narrated by Ana his wife. SMK has imagined a story in which Jesus had a wife & how it was for her to live in this time as woman with her own hopes, dreams and needs. Incredibly well researched story in which she paints a feminist journey that leaves you sitting up in bed at night feeling a tad guilty that you may have fallen in love with the son of god!

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Megbert
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Kind of like a feminist western but the chicks don‘t sling guns (well mostly not) ~ so they sling library books instead and they‘ve got no choice but to take on the baddies - the white, racist, capitalist patriarchal men and their enslaved society. The most fun read, 💯 percent delightful!!

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Megbert
Cloud Cuckoo Land | Anthony Doerr
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There‘s always one gem that stands out above the rest and this year it‘s Cloud Cuckoo Land (followed tightly by Trent Daltons All our Shimmering Skies). Visually rich and chronologically layered this is a transportive journey through time and place that channels the art of myth, love, loss and great hope for our planet.

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Megbert
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This is Miriam‘s account of trekking though European and NZ forests months or years at a time, often just surviving by hunting and foraging. Initially I thought it‘d be boring, kind of diary style journaling but after the 1st chapter I was hooked. It‘s really delightful, very transporting and makes you really consider what life we are living with all our devices and accumulated bits and bobs. She‘s quite the inspirational female huntress! 💚

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Megbert
Dirt Music: A Novel | Tim Winton
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A grungy small town love story that goes off on some deep psychological tangents. Rugged and slightly harrowing but written brilliantly in a style that is strong & unique to Winton.

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Megbert
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We‘d all heard of Rudolph Valentino but what‘s the goss on his missus? Only that Natcha Rambova was a talented set designer, costume designer, dancer, actress, spiritualist and Egyptian symbology decipherer who was completely instrumental in developing Valentino‘s screen persona, negotiating his deals and designing his sets and costumes. The whole story is an eye popping look into one of the great designers and feminists of her time.

2 likes1 stack add
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Megbert
American Dirt | Jeanine Cummins
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A harrowing journey of a Mexican mother and her young son as they run from a cartel that wants them dead. The story brings this plight home hard and gives you a sense of the desperate situation that‘s playing out in reality every day. Intrigued to read the book has become a topic of hot debate in literary circles about appropriation as Cummins is not Mexican herself, but instead spent 4 years researching this book. Not sure I agree, great book!

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Megbert
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Mehso-so

Well the title and the blurb drew me in, a “remarkable piece of historical detective work” about Charlotte Badger. Except that the book begins with a disclaimer that we don‘t really know that much about her and all we can do is piece together what we do know. We know that she happened to be on a boat called the Venus that was stolen in 1806 by Benjamin Kelly, first mate of the captain Chace who was left ashore. Does that really make her a pirate??

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Megbert
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All Our Shimmering Skies is Trent Daltons second book and left me clasping it in silence at the end. A rich and magical fable that describes west coast Australian desert as some kind of mythical Avatar-esque jungle. Very much thé héros journey for a 12 year old gravediggers daughter, spellbinding, terrifying and richly woven. Incredibly visual and I hope we‘ll get to see it on the big screen sometime soon. Def one of my favs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Megbert
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Panpan

Mildly engaging sojourn of 4 characters who aren‘t quite happy with their lives and spend a lot of the book delving into the great philosophical questions of the world. Felt like too much millennial anxiety for me!

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Megbert
And I'd Do It Again | Aime Crocker
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An autobiographical “highlights of my life” by a Aimee Crocker, a woman of means from a wealthy railroad family, California, born 1864. Aimee takes you on incredible (& almost unbelievable) adventure stories of a woman travelling solo through the Eastern continents in the late nineteenth century. She was brave & perhaps a little foolish, but this nonetheless saw her arrive in some magical and perilous situations. Quite a trip!