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Peaslady

Peaslady

Joined January 2017

review
Peaslady
An American Marriage | Tayari Jones
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Mehso-so

This was good, just not great. Felt at points it got a bit laboured, found myself almost skimming. Pace wise it started so quick and then slowed a lot, so perhaps that was it. The story of the impact of the wrongful conviction on not just Roy but the others in his life was very moving. And there was a lot in there about the significance and divergence in parenting from both sides I found interesting. But perhaps not one I‘d rush to recommend.

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Peaslady
The Mothers: A Novel | Brit Bennett
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Pickpick

Highly recommend. I enjoyed this more than the Vanishing Half. Really appreciated the interesting and unpredictable human characters, who found themselves in situations we‘ve read about a hundred times but didn‘t follow up with the expected reactions or responses. The narration split between the main characters but also an amorphous ‘mothers‘ of the church with their gossipy style judgement was uniquely intriguing without feeling trite.

BarbaraBB I preferred this one too! 11mo
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Peaslady
The Poet | Michael Connelly
Mehso-so

Good crime thriller. Though not overly keen on the actual topic of the crime. Will definitely try another of his books though when I‘m in need of a page turner.

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Peaslady
Hannibal | Thomas Harris
Panpan

Decided to read this after I enjoyed silence of the lambs so much, but really didn‘t do it for me. The depth of characterisation I loved about silence of the lambs was missing, replaced with ready-for-film gory descriptions and vile characters that felt gratuitously hideous. Will be sending this to the second hand store in my next clear out.

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Peaslady
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Pickpick

This story hangs off such a complex construct - separated twins, one who chooses to live as black, the other white - and the impact this has on their lives and families. And yet it flows brilliantly and allows Bennett to explore race and racism with an almost side-by-side comparison of experiences where the only differentiator is self and others‘ *perception* of race (not even the colour of their skin). Very powerful.

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Peaslady
The Silence of the Lambs | Thomas Harris
Pickpick

Really really enjoyed this book. So ahead of its time with such a strong female lead. I remembered the film being good, but the characterisation in the book is even more powerful. Excellent thriller.

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Peaslady
Midnight Library | Matt Haig
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Panpan

Also predictable. This was an enjoyable but uninspiring read. I‘d be happy to pass it on and not worry about it coming back. Can imagine it would make a good romcom.

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Peaslady
The Familiars | Stacey Halls
Panpan

Not bad exactly. Just predictable and not particularly well written, in my opinion. The pendle witches was a true event I think. I‘m interested in that from a gender history perspective, but this didn‘t really do more than scratch the surface and was full of anachronistic expectations of marriage and motherhood. Can imagine it doing well as a modern styled period drama on TV.

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Peaslady
Daisy Jones & The Six | Taylor Jenkins Reid
Mehso-so

Very enjoyable. Very believable. Found myself trying to find them on Spotify at one point 🙈 But surely a true story on lots of levels. The lives of the famous are always fascinating and the interview style worked well for this fake band biography. Obviously it‘s the dangerous chemistry and what-will-become-of-them of the front stars that really draws you in. I‘d recommend for a satisfying holiday read.

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Peaslady
The Hungover Games | Sophie Heawood
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Bailedbailed

Ach. Heawood is a funny writer, no doubt, but I‘m a bit maxed out on the quirky, cool, middle class white girl self-deprecating vibe right now. Her experience of pregnancy doesn‘t resonate with me and life‘s too short to finish books that feel a little obvious and predictable. I‘m guessing she ends up loving the baby and it all being a good thing in the end??

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Peaslady
Such a Fun Age | KILEY. REID
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Pickpick

Something about this was reminiscent of Little Fires Everywhere. Maybe the white saviour character. But a completely different story and brilliantly written dialogue. I loved how complicated all the characters were and the brutal honesty of their interior monologues. Though was slightly irked by the less nuanced assumption of what it means to be a ‘good mother‘.

Cathythoughts Nice review 👍🏻 I loved this one ... maybe I should try Little Fires then ?! 2y
Peaslady @Cathythoughts yes, definitely! 2y
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Peaslady
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Pickpick

A review on the back calls this 'the Grapes of Wrath for our times' and I agree. Not the literary style, this is significantly more of a page turner (though still well written), but the topic. The impact of the cartels and war on drugs on Central America - this individual story brings the broader migrant crisis to life so vividly. I was captivated.

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Peaslady
Bailedbailed

Hmmmm, had this on my 'favourites' shelf since reading when I was a lot younger. Chose it to reread as part of a book club and ended up bailing and changing my choice. Not sure if I didn't give it enough of a chance or if my tastes have changed a lot over the years. Perhaps something I need to try and pick up again at some point when life is less hectic.

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Peaslady
Mehso-so

It was nice to read a non fiction book. I listen to a lot of non fiction podcasts and read long form journalism for that fix usually. Found this from her podcast 'the high low' and borrowed from a friend. It wasn't exactly groundbreaking and I found her stream of consciousness style and repetitiveness a little irksome, but also acknowledge I've referenced it in conversation many times since reading and a few of her chosen quotes were poignant.

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Peaslady
Girl, Woman, Other | Bernardine Evaristo
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this book. Another one of those each chapter, new character but with a connection style (seem to have read a lot of these in recent years). It ranged over a few generations and across some very different personalities and perspectives. It's one of the reasons I love to read - to learn about other people's lives and experiences, so this ticked my boxes, and I enjoyed the strong feminist and racial commentary.

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Peaslady
Cat's Eye | Margaret Atwood
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Panpan

I ground through this. Took me ages because, like with all Atwood's novels, I found this hard to read. There's something about her style that's almost science fiction-y. Short sentences, lots of descriptive digressions. They feel oddly unemotional. I know I could pick any paragraph from any of her books and write an essay about it. And I'm genuinely awed at how beautiful and insightful some of her writing is, but I just don't enjoy her stories.

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Peaslady
Diary Of An Ordinary Woman | Margaret Forster
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Pickpick

Particularly interesting to be reading this at this time and in light of COVID-19. So many parallels between today and the events surrounding both world wars. The true contemporary aspect of these diaries and the lack of self consciousness that comes from not expecting to have a reader is fascinating. Perhaps her story was ordinary for the times, but it feels extraordinary now. I wonder if that's how others will read our diaries in the future.

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Peaslady
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Pickpick

So painful to read a story of abandonment as a new mum, but worth the heartache to appreciate this unique and beautifully written tale. Owens skillfully uses the marsh girl's knowledge of nature to foreshadow events, explain relationships and comment on human love. At times it's really hard to decide whether to see Kya as victim or protagonist. Perhaps survivor, with all its connotations, fits best? And what kind of justice is the trial verdict?

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Peaslady
The Snow Child | Eowyn Ivey
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Pickpick

First book club book with a new group and this was sensational! The descriptions of such an alien landscape are so vivid and I loved the way she created such a compelling story with so few characters. The thing that was so unique though was the way I was never quite sure if I was reading fantasy or just fiction. At times, like the protagonists, I wondered if the snow child was real. Was this a story of madness? What happened to her in the end?

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Peaslady
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Mehso-so

Argh, I love Mantel, but find her books very hit or miss depending on her editor's ability to reign in the literary for the sake of the story. This one was compelling, but I found the poetry references somewhat ostentatious and was irritated by the lack of delivery on what felt foreshadowed in the childhood story. To me it was never clear what bound Carmel and Karina in the first place. And I didn't recognise love anywhere in this book.

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Peaslady
Pickpick

The goon squad refers to the passage of time and its effect on us all. I wanted and expected to return to the early characters, but once I settled into the short stories connected by threads style I enjoyed it a lot. Things got very weird at the end - a PowerPoint chapter??! - and I'm not sure the author should take up sci fi as a genre. But even despite these oddities I would still recommend it. Good for a book club read!

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Peaslady
The Confession | Jessie Burton
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Pickpick

Very unconventional and overtly feminist. Unexpected. Burton doesn't shrink from writing true female characters - ones who are strong and weak in terrible combinations. Motherhood is explored with a searing honesty around sensitive topics such as post natal depression, abortion, miscarriage, conception that I found refreshing. At times it felt as though it could be leading to a thriller type twist, but it's ending is more mature and I was glad.

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Peaslady
The Testaments: A Novel | Margaret Atwood
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this even more than the handmaid's tale! Having created a world so rich in detail in the first book and via the TV series Atwood was free to concentrate on a flowing story in a way that was so readable. The way the stories were woven together worked beautifully and their different experiences of Gilead were enriching. Worth the wait.

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Peaslady
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Pickpick

I read this shortly after 'Everything you never told me' and found it so much more enjoyable. The characters felt much more rounded - flawed and interesting. The plotline was more unique and I got much more engrossed in the story overall. Though reading it as a new mum was tough at times.

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Peaslady
Never Let Me Go | Kazuo Ishiguro
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Panpan

I'm brutal about my reviews. This wasn't bad exactly; it just never got going. I expected something more to happen. I love sci-fi and speculative fiction because so often you get introduced to a world different from ours that ultimately reveals something fundamental about what it means to be human. For me this just remained a flat description of that horrible alternate reality. Ishiguro should stick to historical fiction in my opinion.

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Peaslady
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Panpan

Controversial I know, as this seems to be a popular book, but I didn't rate this story. It felt quite predictable. At no point did it surprise or excite me. The characters were very stereotypical and one-dimensional. Whilst it was interesting reading about a chinese-american couple and their different perspectives on the bi-racial aspect of their relationship I didn't find them very believable.

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Peaslady

'I could have done that, Marilyn thought, and the words clicked into place like puzzle pieces, shocking her with their rightness. The hypothetical past perfect, the tense of missed chances.' p. 96

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Peaslady
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Bailedbailed

Oh how disappointing! I've loved many of McEwan's books, adore speculative fiction and was excited for his take on AI, but I only made it halfway. It was BORING. Writing a sci-fi novel is harder than he thought (he's shunned the genre but really, it's about robots?!). He spends too much time explaining his alternative reality via clumsy dialogue or the narrator's voice. He's so caught up with how clever he's being he forgot to tell a good story.

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Peaslady
Panpan

I bailed on this originally but revisited it at the behest of my husband, who thought I'd enjoy it because it's prizewinning modern literature. I just didn't. The incredibly stylised narration by the college roommate irked me, as did the fact that the title suggests Oscar will be your main character when in reality it's a story of the whole family - I was always impatient to get back to him when actually his tale was the least interesting.

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Peaslady
Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel
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Pickpick

This is one of my all time favourite books! Even better than Wolf Hall in my opinion. Mantel's turn of phrase is so unique, she uses punctuation and metaphors like a poet. And the way she evokes this period in history so faithfully, whilst keeping the writing and dialogue modern, is masterful. I particularly love how she brings characters to life, often using a small action, like their entrance into a room, to reveal some of their personality.

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Peaslady
Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel

'Sir Nicholas Carew has made an entrance. He does not come into a room like lesser men, but rolls in, like a siege engine or some formidable hurling device: and now, halting before Cromwell, he looks as though he wishes to bombard him.' p. 310

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Peaslady
Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel
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p. 106

BarbaraBB Is it as good as 3y
Peaslady @BarbaraBB yes! Even better! 3y
BarbaraBB That is so good to know, thanks! 💕 3y
4 likes3 comments
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Peaslady
American Wife | Curtis Sittenfeld
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Pickpick

This fictional biography, loosely based on the life of George W Bush's wife, wasn't what I expected. I thought it would focus on the presidential years, but the clue was in the title - the majority of the book is dedicated to an honest retrospective appraisal of the life and marriage of the narrator, Alice Blackwell. I enjoyed the way Sittenfeld portrayed Alice's perspective - her doubts and internal conflicts. Very readable for such a big book.

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Peaslady
American Wife | Curtis Sittenfeld

'...after all these years, my faith remained decidedly shaky. That the world was miraculous, frequently in inexplicable ways, I would not argue. That these miracles had any relationship to the buildings we called churches, to the sequences of words we called prayers - that I was less sure of.' p.369

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Peaslady
American Wife | Curtis Sittenfeld

'Because then the situation could, at core, be my fault instead of his, and I could feel guilt instead of anger. And wasn't guilt much more ladylike, didn't it fit me far more comfortably?' p. 164

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Peaslady
Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel

'There is a pause, while she turns the great pages of her volume of rage, and puts her finger on just the right word. 'What you say, Cromwell, is... contemptible.'' p. 89

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Peaslady
Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel

'Just a staircase: and there, with the light of a sconce lapping at its gold trim, is the stiff new doublet of Mark Smeaton. Mark himself is lurking inside it.' p.74

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Peaslady
Bring Up the Bodies | Hilary Mantel

'Troubled men both, he thinks, Wriothesley and Riche, and alike in some ways, sidling around the peripheries of their own souls, tapping at the walls: oh, what is that hollow sound?' p. 60

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Peaslady
American Wife | Curtis Sittenfeld

'There we're so many terrible moments, a lifetime of terrible moments, really, which is not the same as a terrible lifetime.' p. 83

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Peaslady
American Wife | Curtis Sittenfeld

'What other people think has never made a situation right or wrong.' p.61 Alice's grandmother was ahead of her time

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Peaslady
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Pickpick

I've not read a Lisa Jewel since I was a teenager and the book I did read was a trashy chick lit that didn't inspire me to read more. But someone I trust lent me their copy of this book and I've got to admit I really enjoyed it. It's still an easy read, but it's well written for its genre and a gripping and unusual story. It flits between past and present, exploring the lives of a family whose mother is a hoarder from their different perspectives.

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Peaslady
House Rules | Jodi Picoult
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Panpan

Shame. I usually like Jodi Picoult books. But this one was too long, very repetitive, and predictable. The review on the back promised 'a strong whodunnit element' but it was obvious what happened and the avoidance of solving the crime felt manufactured and out of character. The voices in the story weren't differentiated enough and Jacob's in particular had a self awareness and analysis that didn't fit with his diagnosis of Asperger's.

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Peaslady
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Panpan

Very disappointed. Loved her first, liked her second, but had to force my way through Angelou's third autobiography. I think the problem was a lack of character development. Whilst undeniably an incredible story it read like a list of roles she performed, countries she visited and people she met. Other characters were given mere hints of personality through an affectation or fashion choice, but I struggle to remember a single name in retrospect.

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Peaslady
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Mehso-so

I didn't enjoy this as much as Normal People. It's funny how often the joy of a book is becoming immersed in a character's life and their different perspective, and yet sometimes that other perspective just doesn't resonate. I couldn't connect with Frances or understand her relationships with Nick/Bobbi/Melissa/her parents. I don't think this was because they were atypical or far from my own experiences, but perhaps to do with her as a narrator?

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Peaslady

'Now, lying on my own in the silent house, I felt I'd lost control of everything. All I could decide was whether or not to have sex with Nick; I couldn't decide how to feel about it, or what it meant. And although I could decide to fight with him, and what we would fight about, I couldn't decide what he would say, or how much it would hurt me.' p. 134

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Peaslady
A Little Life: A Novel | Hanya Yanagihara
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Pickpick

This was without doubt a fantastic book. I don't know how Yanagihara managed to mix chronology, narrator and subject so thoroughly (often not in line with sections, chapters or even paragraphs) without ever confusing the reader. And her ability to get inside the head of someone so completely broken and tell his story over 720 pages without it ever feeling repetitive. I'm in awe. Just don't expect it to be joyful.

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Peaslady

'Now we are two foreign countries and we simply have our embassies in the same house. Relations are friendly but strictly diplomatic. There is an underlying sense of rumour, of judgement, of memory, like two peoples that have once committed great crimes against each other, but in another generation.' p.48

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Peaslady
Mrs Dalloway | Virginia Woolf
Bailedbailed

Embarrassed to admit I've bailed on this book. First time in a long time I've done that, but it's reconfirmed for me that pre 20th century classics aren't my thing. When I am reading a book I don't enjoy it stops me reading anything else and I've decided it's just not worth doing that. Too many good ones out there to get started on!

quanners Try the audiobook. I‘m listening to it now...it is this far -only 5% into the story. 4y
1 like1 comment
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Peaslady
Mrs Dalloway | Virginia Woolf
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It's hard to fit a Virginia Woolf quote into the Litsy character limit. Her stream of consciousness style is verbose and sometimes hard to follow, but when she tackles a vivid emotion like this it can be really powerful.

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Peaslady
Mrs Dalloway | Virginia Woolf

'Was Evelyn ill again? Evelyn was a good deal out of sorts, said Hugh, intimating by a kind of pout or swell of his very well-covered, manly, extremely handsome, perfectly upholstered body (he was almost too well dressed always, but presumably had to be, with his little job at Court) that his wife had some internal ailment, nothing serious, which, as an old friend, Clarissa Dalloway would quite understand without requiring him to specify.' p.6