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Mogoeg

Mogoeg

Joined September 2019

Geographer, disaffected academic, GenXer. Black lives matter. Trans lives matter. Always, unequivocally, anti-fascist.
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Pure Heart Enlightened Mind by Maura Soshin O'Halloran, Ruth O'Halloran
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Mogoeg
Early Morning Riser | Katherine Heiny
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Pickpick

It's been a long time since I've flat-out ENJOYED a book as much as this one. Jane moves to a small town in Michigan to teach 2nd grade. She quickly falls for Duncan, the genial town himbo, & then, well, not much happens & yet everything happens. It's a novel about life & making a life, & about the families we have & the families we make. It's (really) funny & often touching & beautifully captures the perfect extraordinariness of ordinary life.

Lesliereadsalot I really liked this book too. Quirky and fun. 2w
Sarahreadstoomuch Yay! My book group is reading this later in the year 2w
70 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Mogoeg
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Pickpick

Fragmented & enigmatic but cumulative in its critique of capitalism & its propensity to turn human(iod)s into 'resources.' Reads almost like poetry & asks the reader to get comfortable with uncertainty & information gaps. I liked it.

64 likes2 stack adds
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Mogoeg
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Pickpick

There are plenty of things to love in this space opera/urban fantasy/portrait of an artist genre mashup - & first and foremost is the focus character - the brave & luminous Katrina. It's also a love letter to LA - & specifically to the food & cultures of Asian Americans living in the Southland. But there is just so much stuffed into it that by the (pleasantly unexpected!) end I felt like I was dragging myself across the finish line. A soft pick.

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Mogoeg
Lady Sunshine (Original) | Amy Mason Doan
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Pickpick

A relaxing end-of-summer book that let me dip my toes into both late 70s and late 90s nostalgia. Doan does a nice job of evoking those certain magical summer days and nights where reality seems both suspended and, at the same time, somehow heightened and enhanced. The playlist at the end was a nice addition as well.

65 likes1 stack add
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Mogoeg
The Change: A Novel | Kirsten Miller
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Pickpick

Can this be the start of a new genre? Menopausal righteous rage vigilante thrillers? Because I'M ALL IN. The Change is pulpy, propulsive, tons of fun & sooo satisfying. The reveal/twist was easy to guess, but it really doesn't matter.

I enjoyed all the characters, but Harriet the botanist witch is clearly the standout. She needs her own book series. And this book would make an excellent limited tv series as well. In fact it seems perfect for it.

DGRachel Yes to all of this!! 1mo
Megabooks 💯💯💯 1mo
81 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Mogoeg
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Pickpick

Burton's book has a lot to recommend it & each of the chapters is uniformly strong. Taken together, her central argument gets a bit repetitive & while I generally agree with it, I do think it lacks nuance in places. That's understandable; it's clearly an adaptation & expansion of her dissertation into a mass market publication, and it mostly works. (continued below)

Mogoeg Since she's a theologian it's probably not too surprising that her argument lacks a bit of depth when it comes to incorporating a political-economy analysis of consumer capitalism & culture industries (to a hammer everything is a nail, etc.). That said, it's very readable, & her explanations of what a religion is, & what it does, along with her analysis of the evolution of fan culture(s) in the age of the internet, are very clear & well done. (edited) 1mo
58 likes1 comment
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Mogoeg
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Pickpick

I am coming at this completely backwards, because while I was peripherally aware of Monae's work, I'm not a big music person & don't tend to keep up w/ new(ish) stuff.*

In any case, I was pretty much blown away with this collection of stories set in her dystopian 'New Dawn' world. Some are better than others, but they all hit hard and left marks on my soul. So now I'm off to listen to Dirty Computer & watch the short films too. What a talent.

Mogoeg * trying to change that by making time to listen to new (to me) stuff on Spotify, but I usually listen to podcasts and, more and more, audiobooks, when I drive or sew, so it's hard to find the time. Still, it's been rewarding. (edited) 1mo
66 likes1 comment
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Mogoeg
Tin Man | Sarah Winman
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Pickpick

Just gorgeous writing - like everyone else, I was absolutely captivated by this beautiful gentle story about how three very ordinary people found and lost and found each other (in a way) again. I'm planning on buying copies as gifts for my MIL and a few of the other literary fiction fans in my life. This one's a keeper.

Alfoster Good to know! Have this in my TBR queue but haven‘t read it yet!👊 1mo
73 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Mogoeg
Sleepwalk: A Novel | Dan Chaon
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Pickpick

A road novel set in the near future with a somewhat shambling & surprisingly naive narrator, despite the fact that he has a job as a henchman (or minion?). This is a story that is all about the journey - the underlying mystery doesn't really pay off, but I didn't mind too much - its full small pleasures & surprisingly touching moments. It reminds me a bit of an early William Gibson, crossed with what I would call redneck-noir. I liked it.

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Mogoeg
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SO GOOD. Jess & her parents move back to Malaysia, and it's a lot: being a dutiful daughter, looking for a job, staying in the closet, & now she's being haunted by her grandmother's *extremely* determined ghost. If you are interested in Chinese-SEA ghost lore - or you think you might be (& why wouldn't you be? - it's so cool!) - I urge you to read it. Zen Cho makes her characters come alive in the best way (even when they are already dead).

Zoes_Human Have you read Cho‘s short story collection? It‘s also excellent. 2mo
CampbellTaraL I too loved this book! I'm surprised it's not more widely raved about here in Litsy. 2mo
75 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Mogoeg
End of the World House | Adrienne Celt
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Pickpick

It's hard to say too much about this novel without spoilers, but time loops are in the description, so I'll say that much. Bertie & Kate are negotiating friendship in a world that is falling apart around them in frighteningly relatable ways. They decide to go on one last vacation while vacations are still a thing that people are able to do. And once in Paris, well, that's when things start to get really weird. Great writing - a pick for me.

56 likes3 stack adds
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Mogoeg
Mercury Rising | R.W.W. Greene
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Pickpick

I loved this - a classic 1970s ‘road‘ story, but in this version of the 70s humans went to space much earlier, & then kept on going. Oh & then aliens arrived & took out Cleveland (or did they?)

Although Greene looks much too young to have lived in the 70s, he captures its essence perfectly* in this speculative scifi yarn, & his love for classic space adventure is obvious. 8 tracks in space!

*(I was a young child in the 70s but it‘s imprinted!)

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Mogoeg
Confessions | Kanae Minato
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Pickpick

This was good but not great. Loved the alternating narrative viewpoints and the twists and turns. Some of the plot machinations are pretty hard to swallow but overall a dark and satisfying tale of revenge. I look forward to watching the inevitable J-drama adaptation when it arrives on our shores via Netflix.

62 likes1 stack add
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Mogoeg
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This book is so good & I feel like it isn‘t getting enough attention, at least in the US. Speculative indigenous (and specifically Métis) futurism - the stories are, to a one, incredible. I can‘t choose a favorite. Even better, Vowel provides some short academic commentary at the end of each story, drawing the reader in further & enhancing the experience. This was a library find & I just ordered a physical copy to own & mark up & share.

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Mogoeg
Tripping Arcadia | Kit Mayquist
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Pickpick

Billed as a 'modern gothic' - I had my doubts, but it really does have all the tropes of a lush & twisty gothic tale! Rich beautiful doomed siblings, a cruel perverse heir-obsessed father, an outsider bent on revenge, a creepy country manor, & even a (wildly improbable) botanist aunt tending to Rappaccini's garden in Italy.

Sort of Crimson Peak meets Succession with a bit of Eyes Wide Shut thrown in for good measure. Emo & excessive - loved it!

62 likes4 stack adds
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Mogoeg
Breasts and Eggs | Mieko Kawakami
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Pickpick

I liked it but I agree with other reviewers - it's too long. It was apparently a novella that was expanded into a novel, but I think it would work better as two shorter novellas. I liked the first half very much, but the second half dragged until coming back around in the end. It is very much a book about the female experience - for better and (more usually) for worse - in contemporary Japan. It left me with a lot to think about.

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Mogoeg
A Lesson in Vengeance | Victoria Lee
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Pickpick

Just barely a pick. This is a pretty good addition to the Dark Academia genre - genuinely creepy and atmospheric. Having the protagonists be in High School rather than college worked against it, imo (I know, it's YA, but still!) & the last 1/3 dragged up to a somewhat rushed resolution.

I just can't resist Dark Academia - yet my cravings are never satisfied. I may have to venture deeper into horror to find that elusive something I'm looking for.

Lauren890 I‘m not sure if it‘s “dark” enough, but my favorite dark academia book is 3mo
Lauren890 I‘m not sure if it‘s “dark” enough, but my favorite dark academia book is 3mo
74 likes2 comments
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Mogoeg
Big Summer: A Novel | Jennifer Weiner
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I mean, it's a Jennifer Weiner novel. It's not going to be a transcendent literary experience, but like a good home-cooked meal (heavy on the delicious delicious carbs) & a mid-priced bottle of red wine, it's going to satisfy!

This one is an odd duck - Weiner takes on Insta & Influencer culture, with some success; her take on a Gen Z narrator is not *quite* as successful but mostly works - Daphne is an appealing MC.

A soft summer pick.

78 likes1 stack add
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Mogoeg
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Pickpick

Hypnotic and beautifully written, a surreal fever dream full of disturbing details and repeating, reforming, and recursive scenes and stories. Highly experimental, the best analogy I can give is of taking a strong edible and then going to an independent theater on a hot August day to cool your body in AC while melting your brain with some super weird foreign experimental filmmaking. I‘m excited to experience more of Bae Suah‘s work.

Dilara Sounds fantastic! I read - and loved - A Greater Music. 4mo
mcipher Great review!! 4mo
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Mogoeg
Sea of Tranquility: A Novel | Emily St. John Mandel
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This is a very 'meta' novel. Its not-so-subtle subtext is Mandel working through what it means to be a writer writing during a pandemic, when that same writer is the author of a recent (pre-pandemic), incredibly (and unexpectedly) popular, and now very much beloved, novel about the aftermath of a fictional pandemic.

And you know what? Honestly, I'm here for it (continued below).

Mogoeg I'm here for it because Mandel is a beautiful writer & this speculative tale retains the same sci-fi fairytale edge as Station Eleven, the novel that, for better or worse, will forever define her. It's nowhere near as rigorous in terms of world-building as S11, but that's fine - she's doing something quite different here. It's a quick, engrossing, and ultimately somewhat weightless read - very atmospheric & melancholy. (edited) 4mo
Megabooks Great review! 4mo
87 likes2 comments
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Mogoeg
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If you liked Red Shirts, this is pretty much in the same vein - snappy, sarcastic characters doing their best in weird situations.

Scalzi wrote this fun, short, sci-fi workplace comedy after being blocked for much of 2020 (as he outlines in the author's note) & it is both an acknowledgement of the strangeness & derangement of the pandemic & the election, & a nice bit of competence escapism in the face of those (these?) troubled times.

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Mogoeg
Thursday Murder Club | Richard Osman
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This was a delight, but also bittersweet, as I know my mom, a great mystery fan (& who reminds me of the lovely Joyce), would've loved it. Before she passed away last month, she, like the club members of the title, turned her considerable charm & intelligence to keeping track of everything & everyone in the assisted living home where she lived after my father died. Like her, this is also charming & intelligent & the start of a great new series.

LiteraryinLawrence It‘s hard when a book hits home like that. Sending hugs. 💗💗 4mo
mabell A lovely tribute to your Mom 💕 4mo
MaureenMc 💗💗💗 4mo
julieclair Your mom sounds like a very special lady. 💝 4mo
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Mogoeg
Crudrat | Gail Carriger
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A YA space adventure by Gail Carriger? Yes Please. This is a lot of fun and just as warm and witty and action-packed as I would expect. Looking forward to future adventures in The Tinkered Stars universe.

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Mogoeg
The Expected One: A Novel | Kathleen McGowan
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Bailedbailed

I was totally down for this ridiculousness but I just couldn't...

2000 year old conspiracy? YAAAS. Lost gospel of Mary Magdalene? ABSOLUTELY. Cathers persecuted in France? OF COURSE. The holy grail? BRING IT. Templars? Honestly not sure if they show up or not (didn't read that far), but WHY NOT?

Plus a MC named 'Maureen'*?! Chef's kiss!

But this book is TERRIBLE. I mean the writing is truly god-awful (haha), plus Maureen is a TOTAL Mary Sue**.

Mogoeg * in my experience, 'Maureen' is never the name of the main character. She is always the weird aunt, or the co-worker with a drinking problem.

**apparently this is true on a whole other level - the author, who physically matches her protagonist very closely 🙄, believes that she is a descendent of Mary Magdalene and these novels are her way of getting the 'truth' out into the world. Gotta love those Magdalena conspiracy theorists - they COMMIT!
5mo
BethM Wow just wow 5mo
68 likes2 comments
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Mogoeg
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Wait, this is the end of the series?! NOOOO!!! OK, I understand that Chambers no doubt has other projects & other worlds to create, but I am a little sad there will be no more Wayfarers novels. Each one is like a warm hug from an old friend and this one is no exception. A Closed and Common Orbit remains my favorite, but they are all great, and this one was lovely too, & I'll gladly reread them all whenever I need some comfort & some good vibes.

charl08 I'm hoping she changes her mind... 5mo
LeeRHarry Love this series - saving the last one as a birthday treat later in the year 😊 5mo
shanaqui Yeah, I felt like that when I learned about this being the last book. :( I have so many things I still want to know about in this world, and so many characters I'd be happy to see more of! 5mo
underground_bks She switched publishers and now has a novella series with Tordotcom publishing! 5mo
80 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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Mogoeg
Rabbits for Food | Binnie Kirshenbaum
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A pick, but with reservations.

Bunny is hard to love, & by her own admission, even harder to like, particularly in the grip of her (severe) mental illness. Yet she never gives up on herself & never stops trying to find her way back to the world.

The novel (& Bunny's personality) really starts to sing once she has her New Year's Eve breakdown & she is hospitalized. But then the book just sort of... ends. And I get it, but still, it's jarring.

merelybookish This made me LOL in spite of the subject matter. 5mo
67 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Mogoeg
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Stories that are sad, beautiful, and suffused with light. Stories that will make you glad to be alive. Happy to discover this author.

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Mogoeg
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I listened to this as an audio book & the narration was fantastic!

Always so satisfying - Aaronovitch keeps the plots fresh & the history lessons engaging while keeping the fans happy. Such a snappy writer, with lots of wit & a great ear & warm heart for his characters. This chapter contains possibly the funniest Monty Python reference I've ever come across (I lol'ed!) & my girl Beverly gets her time in the spotlight - as is only right. LOVE.

Dragon Peter Grant and Beverly- one of my favourite couples 💚🐉 5mo
69 likes1 comment
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Mogoeg
Fauna | Christiane Vadnais
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Mehso-so

Hmm, well. This was very... squelchy. And squicky.

I enjoy experimental fiction, & I enjoy climate fiction, & I get what she's going for here, but it didn't really do it for me. Maybe because biology scifi/body horror stuff is not my cup of tea (tho you DEF shouldn't drink tea made w/ the water in Shivering Heights!).

It wasn't boring though. I'll give it that (& it's pretty short too, so if you think it might be your thing, give it a whirl).

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Mogoeg
Matrix | Lauren Groff
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In this reimagining, Marie - royal bastardess - is brilliant, passionate, ambitious & ferociously ugly. Sent by the queen in 1158 to an abbey, Marie carves out an empire of abundance for herself & her fellow nuns - a place to thrive in safety.

Groff achieves something quite amazing here: not one male character is named, appears, or has a line of dialogue through the entire book. This is entirely a world of women & for women. Utterly engrossing.

Sparklemn Wow, you are absolutely right about the male characters. I didn't catch this when I read it. 5mo
BennettBookworm That‘s so cool! 4mo
76 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Mogoeg
False Inspector Dew | Peter Lovesey
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Pickpick

A clever and eminently readable ‘between the wars‘ mystery set on a 1921 ocean liner voyage across the Atlantic. Really scratches that Agatha Christie itch, if that‘s what you‘re craving.

67 likes1 stack add
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Mogoeg
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This is the one! The 'time management' book we all need AND deserve! Get it, read it, and free yourself from the tyranny of 'productivity culture' for good! (or at least make inroads in that direction - it's a process, at least for me)

“The peace of mind on offer here is of a higher order: it lies in the recognition that being unable to escape from the problems of finitude is not, in itself, a problem.“

Mogoeg A couple of years ago, I wrote in my review of Burnout (also great!) that I'm not much for self-help books. That was a lie (if only to myself)! I'm a sucker for a certain kind of self-help; the kind that skirts right up the edge of 'time management.' And my 'personal journey' over the past few years has been to fully reexamine my relationship with time and my unrelenting & unrealistic expectations for what I could & SHOULD be accomplishing. 5mo
DogMomIrene Looks like a book I really need to read. About 16 weeks for this hold to come to me. 🙂 5mo
81 likes5 stack adds2 comments
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Mogoeg
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For a book about booksellers seeking to find and sell a book about sex magic, there is only a very modest amount of sex, and only slightly more magic in this horror(?) thriller(?). Still I enjoyed it - mostly for descriptions of: delicious meals at fancy restaurants, dinner parties in old houses with interesting people, and long walks around glamorous cities - Paris, New Orleans, New York, etc. Now that's my idea of escapist fiction!

Mogoeg Although at times this novel resembled a cross between a mid-budget prestige cable show, the Red Shoe Diaries, and an old-school gothic romance, the situation that compels Lily, our protagonist, to pursue the book and seek to change her life is genuinely wrenching. And because the stakes are both high and utterly believable in a very personal psychological sense, Gran really nails the ending, in my opinion.
(edited) 5mo
82 likes1 comment
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Mogoeg
The Cartographers | Peng Shepherd
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Mehso-so

I really debated with myself on how to rate this book because I DID enjoy it, but the more I think about it, the more ambivalent I feel about it. The thing is, I wanted to love it but, at the end of the day, I just … didn‘t.

I found Nell as a main character somewhat lackluster & some of the character motivations were confusing, but my complaints are far more nitpicky, so read on in the comments if you wish, but take it with a grain of sand.

Mogoeg So here‘s the thing - a. I‘m a geographer & b. my specialty area is not remotely cartography adjacent. Not even close. So when Felix (specializing in modern cartography) has to explain to Nell (specializing in historical cartography & who is apparently cartographic royalty🙄) what a ghost settlement is - I don‘t buy it. Even if Nell didn‘t have to sully herself TAing geography 101 like a common grad student, there is NO WAY she wouldn‘t know that. (edited) 5mo
Mogoeg Also, in contemporary geography grad programs the fields of cartography and geographic information systems (GIS) are one in the same. And in the book there is a huge Google-esque company but MAPS - that is 100% a GIS company. Yet the term GIS never appears once in the book. I can‘t adequately explain how maddening that is - it‘s like a novel about anthropologists that never mentions ethnography - it‘s truly bizarre. (edited) 5mo
rockpools The more I read about this one, the more I feel I should find a copy to nitpick/hate-read along with you and @julesG The quibbles are so specific- but so OFF! 5mo
See All 6 Comments
julesG @rockpools Do you really want to go there? You could read so many other books instead. 5mo
KristiAhlers People are truly all over the map with this one. Makes me want to go pick up a copy…probably from the library so I‘m not financially invested. 5mo
TracyReadsBooks I really wanted to like this book, the premise is so good, but in the end I was underwhelmed. It didn‘t leave a lasting impression, that‘s for sure. 5mo
81 likes6 comments
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Mogoeg
Unconquerable Sun | Kate Elliott
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So I signed up for the winter games, then promptly disappeared from Litsy for the last 6 months because fate chose to hand me several major life changes - good & really NOT good, quickly, in succession, & I've just been keeping my head above water.

Anyway, Elliot is great at her job & this book slaps (as the kids say). An audiobook for me & I was enthralled all the way through. Space Opera Excellence for sure & looking forward to the sequel!

Mogoeg Also, did not realize it was a retelling of Alexander the Great's history until I read an author interview afterwards. That made it all the more fascinating in retrospect! (edited) 5mo
Bookwomble I hope life is smoothing out for you a little 💖 5mo
batsy I hope things are little easier now for you 🌻 5mo
Dragon Sounds good 👍 stacking 💚🐉 5mo
MaureenMc 💗💗💗 5mo
74 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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Mogoeg
My Year Abroad | Chang-rae Lee
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Pickpick

Here's a sample of my inner voice while reading this: 'wow!amazing!...erm.what?ok...WTF!?...brilliant!...hm where is this going?...W.T.ACTUAL.F just happened!?'

Lee is a beautiful & brutal writer & there is no one better at capturing a certain flavor of 21st century experience. But oh boy, there's A LOT to unpack here. Whiteness, masculinity (& white masculinity), orientalism & particularly Asia as a stage for adventure & 'finding yourself.'

Mogoeg In the end I admired this novel more than I enjoyed it. But yeah, Lee is the real deal - he's going to win all the prizes by the time he is done writing. (edited) 11mo
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Mogoeg
Malibu Rising | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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Pickpick

It took a bit to win me over, but the ending was so damn satisfying that I have to stan. This is going to sound like a diss - it is 100% *not*, I assure you - but I think that Reid may the best middlebrow literary fiction author of her generation.

And I'll eat a bug if this isn't adapted to HBO within 2 years. Are you kidding me?! This has White Lotus Big Little Lies energy all over it! It's set in Malibu. In 1983. Don‘t even try to resist.

Soubhiville Oh this totally should be a movie or a series. 11mo
Cinfhen Good call!! 11mo
marleed And since at least 3 of her books are already in production, you know Hollywood is eyeing this effort! 11mo
PaperbackPirate Haven‘t read this one yet but plan to because she is a new favorite author! 10mo
93 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Mogoeg
The Keep | Jennifer Egan
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Pickpick

Egan is a polarizing writer, but I thought this was terrific. I liked it from the start & I liked it all the way through, but the whole time I was semi-consciously measuring it in the back of my mind against 'A Visit from the Goon Squad' (which is one of my favorite books) & it wasn't quite measuring up. But I finished it a couple of days ago & I can't stop thinking about it. It is still not my favorite of hers, but it's pretty damn good.

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Mogoeg
Pretty as a Picture: A Novel | Elizabeth Little
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Pickpick

I absolutely adored everything about this novel & now I desperately want a sequel. It doesn't even have to be a mystery, just Marissa & Amy making their movie & Isaiah & Marissa carefully finding ways to bridge the neurodivergent divide to gently flirt with each other.

It's funny, it's touching, it's biting, & it is on-the-nose about the movies & #metoo in a way that seems like it would be too obvious, but is actually, exactly, perfect.

70 likes3 stack adds
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Mogoeg
Magpie Lane | LUCY. ATKINS
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Pickpick

Expertly written thriller/domestic drama that has a surprising amount of emotional heft. Very creepy and atmospheric as well - great for this time of year. Loved the use of Dee, the nanny, as the first person narrative voice telling the story.

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Mogoeg
The Atlas Six | Olivie Blake
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Pickpick

This book is everything that my inner 16yo craves in one place, and fortunately, considerably older me is just satisfied enough to call it a pick. Despite starting off like a cross b/w Gossip Girl and The Magicians, it quickly settles into something considerably more intriguing & thought-provoking. Very angsty, very dark academia by way of K-Drama, by way of well, the Magicians again. Not loving the sorta-cliffhanger ending though.

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Mogoeg
The Scholars of Night | John M. Ford
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Bailedbailed

If you are looking for a good (now) old-fashioned Cold War spy novel in the manner of LaCarre, this book will delight you. For me, reading it was nostalgic & atmospheric, right down to the double & triple crosses & the multiple overlapping spy characters.

But ultimately, it didn't hold my attention, and I think I was expecting something slightly different with the Kit Marlowe angle - my fault for not reading the description carefully enough.

Mogoeg This is a reissue (the original came out very much of-the-time in the 1980s) with an new introduction from Charles Stross. I may use the intro when teaching about US foreign relations and the Cold War. If you want to explain what the atmosphere was like living under the shadow of the Cold War & possible nuclear annihilation, Stross does a terrific job evoking those troubling times. (edited) 12mo
75 likes1 comment
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Mogoeg
Hearts of Oak | Eddie Robson
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Pickpick

First of all - THIS COVER!!! 😍 Second, this book! Unfortunately it is almost impossible to say anything meaningful about the plot of this novella without spoilers, and spoiling anything about it takes away from the singular pleasure of reading & puzzling through it. I will say that it reminded me of a Ted Chiang story crossed with a pulp paperback from a bygone era. Lots to enjoy here, and both the big reveal and the ending are stunners.

Texreader I love this cover!! 12mo
BekahB Oh wow - that‘s gorgeous! Would definitely be a cover buy for me 😀 12mo
85 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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Mogoeg
Dying Day | Vaseem Khan
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Pickpick

A soft pick. I greatly enjoyed the window into a very specific time & place - Mumbai/Bombay around 1950 when India was still newly independent - & the treasure hunt aspects were also fun. But altogether it sometimes felt a little flat; it‘s hard to put my finger on exactly why. Still, if you enjoy historical mysteries, this is an intriguing world to explore.

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Mogoeg
The Last Emperox | John Scalzi
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Pickpick

A satisfying ending to a fun trilogy. Not to get too meta here, but if this series were a tv show, it is the kind of thing that Murderbot would watch repeatedly as one of its entertainments/distractions. It's pure capital S, capital O, Space Opera and the betrayals & twists just keep coming & coming. Honestly I could have used a bit more science/space battles, and a little less scheming/double-crossing, but overall, I'm very satisfied.

Mogoeg And with the new DUNE movie just around the corner, and Foundation premiering on Apple+, I'm pumped! (I don't even really care if Foundation is good - it LOOKS amazing and I am all about that space empire swag). And I probably have time for one more novel to round out 'Space Opera September' - what should it be? 12mo
Traci1 I just finished book 2 and am loving this series. It may be my favorite Scalzi so far. I assume you've read the Expanse books? 12mo
Lucy_Anywhere I really enjoyed this series! Have you tried The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds? 12mo
65 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Mogoeg
The Consuming Fire | John Scalzi
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Pickpick

Although I was still enjoying it greatly, up to about halfway through this - the middle book of the trilogy - I was thinking that it was suffering from a serious case of book-two-itis. But then some unexpected plot developments came out of left field, and things suddenly got a whole lot more interesting. Still tons of fun with lots to say - and so much intrigue and so many plots within plots - but definitely don't start with this one.

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Mogoeg
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Pickpick

Just great. Newitz is an excellent science journalist: rigorous, accessible, never condescending. I read this slowly - a little before bed each night - & it was both engaging & relaxing.

I loved learning about all 4 cities, but my favorite was probably Cahokia because while I'd heard of this ancient North American metropolis & Mississippian culture, I never learned anything about it. It's crazy, but not surprising, given US history! (cont.)

Mogoeg I also greatly enjoyed their section on Angkor (pictured, but not one of mine sadly) - the only one of the 4 I have visited (it's incredible!) & also because I teach a course on SEA religion & life. Newitz gets their facts right about the culture & economic/political system & I learned a lot about recent archeological theories & discoveries & I appreciate their focus on ordinary people in all 4 cities. (continued more!) (edited) 13mo
Mogoeg The sections on Pompeii and Çatalhöyük are also fascinating, but for different reasons. Pompeii because it is SO recognizable, the Roman Empire really is the blueprint for modern state bureaucracy - the parallels are incredible! It is very easy to imagine yourself experiencing city life in 90 or so CE on the bay of Naples. Çatalhöyük is the opposite, a Neolithic proto-city, I appreciated their efforts to bring this very foreign world to life. (edited) 13mo
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Mogoeg
Collapsing Empire | John Scalzi
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Pickpick

Scalzi is consistently a fun writer, & this series is his best yet, imo (so far - only read the 1st!). Space opera writ large - a reluctant emperox, dueling noble houses, space mutinies, &, naturally, political intrigue up the wazoo! Scalzi (always hilarious) keeps the parts moving & the zingers coming, which makes the meta-commentary here (which is very pointed) go down more smoothly even as the parallels to a certain other 'empire' pile up.

AutumnRLS I've only read through Zoe's Tale. I need to go back and read the rest in this universe. 13mo
Traci1 I've only read the first one too but really enjoyed it. I'm thinking about getting the second one audible and letting Wil Wheaton read to me. 😁 13mo
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Mogoeg
A Matter of Oaths | Helen S. Wright
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Pickpick

A very strong Space Opera - it feels very contemporary, & aside from the tech which seems a bit quaint now, it's hard to believe it's from 1988. And much like Becky Chambers, who wrote an intro to the reissue, I also wish that I had discovered it back in the day - it would have been a revelation to me then. Now, it is just a well told story with tons of political intrigue and some nice character work. (continued below)

Mogoeg It deserved a much larger audience, but it's clear that the (quite lovely) m/m relationship at its center would've been enough to keep it out of the mainstream sci-fi lists at the time. Much like my favorite sci-fi author of that period, (the also very overlooked) Melissa Scott, it seems that Wright was committed to portraying queer relationships in her work. Also the cover for the initial publication is god-awful (and whitewashed to boot!). (edited) 13mo
rwmg Wishlisted 13mo
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Mogoeg
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Pickpick

😍💚💜💛🧡🤖A lovely fable and a love letter to a future and a way of life that can be real. I really wish tea 🍵 monks were a real thing, that‘s for certain.

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