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ReadingEnvy

ReadingEnvy

Joined May 2016

I'll have what you're reading! goodreads.com/user/show/68030 | readingenvy.com for the podcast
review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

The narrator has noticed the woman in the purple skirt around the neighborhood, from her weekly cream bun in the park to the cafe she uses to look at job ads. At first it seems harmless and then less so, because nobody notices The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan.

This is an award-winning novel in Japan, was originally published in 2019, and the English language version was translated by Lucy North.

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review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

I usually enjoy Elif Shafak but this might be my favorite, a love story from Cyprus but also a tree story from the point of view of a fig tree that has seen some things. I really noticed the writing this time around, how she almost crosses the line of purple prose but then turns the language in interesting ways.

ReadingEnvy This is my third book set in Cyprus in under a year and it's so disheartening how neighbors become enemies. At several points in this novel, characters won't identify people as Cypriot Turkish or Cypriot Greek, but rather as "from the island, like me."

I've marked a bunch of spots and will write a longer review in Goodreads after it's had time to marinate.
3d
tokorowilliamwallace I'm looking forward to seeing your more thorough review! I requested if you want to connect. 3d
Branwen I'm currently reading this one and loving it! It's astounding! 3d
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marleed I anticipate this will remain one of my favorite books of the decade! 2d
ReadingEnvy @marleed I haven't read absolutely everything by her but this is clearly one of the best. 2d
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blurb
ReadingEnvy
Braiding Sweetgrass | Robin Wall Kimmerer
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Reading Envy Podcast Episode 237: Reading Goals 2022

Happy birthday to the podcast, born in January 2014! This is 30 minutes of just my voice.

Jenny talks about her reading goals for 2022, starts thinking about Russian novels, and reflects on reading goals for 2021. Next time we'll be back to our regular episodes!

Listen and subscribe:
https://tinyurl.com/ReadingEnvy237

Ruthiella Congratulations on the podcast anniversary! 🥳 6d
LeahBergen Congratulations! 🎂 6d
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andrew61 Congratulations jenny. 6d
Bianca Amazing! Congrats, Jenny! 6d
Reggie Happy Birthday, Podcast!!! Also, I just want to say I absolve you of Sarah Langan. Lol Try John Langan. The Fisherman or House of Windows. Congrats on keeping the podcast going, Jenny. 11h
44 likes6 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
You Sexy Thing | Cat Rambo
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Pickpick

Former soldiers from the Hive Mind have been running a restaurant together - The Last Chance. The day the top restaurant critic is due for a visit, there is a big explosion and they escape in a bioship owned by an uber wealthy customer. It is space opera, found family, and foodie all together, so I bet this will work for many readers. I'm hoping we get more of the story!

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review
ReadingEnvy
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Panpan

I finally finished this book but it was not at all what I expected. The title and cover are really misleading, actually. This is far more the story of the author going through her PhD program and all the related language learning, research, and travel (mostly to Uzbekistan!) than it has anything to do with Russian books and the people who read them. There are a few highlights of that nature but I was hoping for a book actually about that.

BookNAround Oh no! I have this one on my tbr shelf. Maybe this will change/temper my expectations and I‘ll like it better than you did. 1w
Suet624 Oops! Mine should be arriving in tomorrow's mail. 1w
ReadingEnvy @BookNAround It isn't a terrible read but very obscure in what it focuses on. 1w
ReadingEnvy @Suet624 I hope I didn't steer you terribly wrong. 1w
Suet624 It‘s fine. I had been already been interested in reading it. 1w
54 likes5 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

This novella came out yesterday! One of the students at the Home for Wayward Children transfers to another school dealing in a different with children who have returned from other worlds, because she is desperate to forget. But the school has a dark side....

Don't start here, start at the beginning with Every Heart a Doorway. I like how each volume goes down an unexpected path, even if it took me a while to warm up to it.

thebluestocking I love this series, and I think this is a great addition. Each book leaves me wanting more, which used to kind of irritate me but now I just go with it. 1w
ReadingEnvy @thebluestocking I used to get annoyed because she'd veer off on such tangents and I wanted the magic school feeling but it's like I get it more with each novella. Also how fun is a world where you can write endless what if novellas? 1w
59 likes2 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

Book 1 of 2022 is a mighty tome that I started in late 2021 thanks the chunksterreadathon in Instagram.. and it's really thanks to the public library closing earlier for the holidays than I expected that I ended up reading this book, because I was prepared to bail after not immediately connecting. It deserved another try.

This books has many layers and some are difficult to explain...↘️

ReadingEnvy but maybe I'll start by saying that Ozeki bases some of the underlying ideas on Zen Buddhism. So hearing voices has a different meaning for some of the characters, mental illness is seen differently, even inanimate objects may have a life of their own. One type of object is a book - each person has one - a godlike presence reflecting but also gently influencing decisions for dramatic purposes.↘️ 2w
ReadingEnvy Still with me? Okay. So Annabelle was married to Kenji, and had a son Benny. Kenji died young and they are both grieving. Benny, an almost adolescent teen, is trying to mask that he hears voices but it is getting more difficult. Annabelle has anxiety and depression (and/or grief) coming out through hoarding tendencies, although she can't really see it.↘️ 2w
ReadingEnvy The chapters alternate between Annabelle's story (through a Book), Benny's reaction to it, and sometimes chapters of a Marie Kondo style book. Benny also has encountered some interesting off-grid creatures that deepens the reader's assumptions about mental health.↘️ 2w
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ReadingEnvy It's a reading experience for sure, once you get into the rhythm of it. Ozeki has a lot of compassion for her imperfect, lonely characters, and to me that made a significant difference in how the Book resolves. 2w
Suet624 This review! So good! Starting this one now. 3d
ReadingEnvy @Suet624 I hope you like it. 2d
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review
ReadingEnvy
Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
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Pickpick

I have no idea what is going on in this book, and it feels like any ideas I have could be spoilers. But it held my attention despite feeling lost in the surreal subdivision, and I think it will be a good discussion book for the Tournament of Books.

The audiobook narrator was good -I found this in Hoopla - but her somewhat prim tone became confusing in some of the weirder moments (depending on how you interpret these moments, it's probably fine.)

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ReadingEnvy
Stork Mountain: A Novel | Miroslav Penkov
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Pickpick

The narrator is returning home to Bulgaria to find his Grandfather, and hopefully to find his inheritance to pay off his mounting debt. He enters into a more traditional village, still struggling with the Greek-Turkish-Bulgarian political history and the Islam-Christian religious history. ↘️

ReadingEnvy The local women also regularly experience a shared psychological fever that leads them to practice "nestinarstvo," a fire-walking ritual that still takes place in two villages in the country. There is the story of the grandson and a girl he loves, his grandfather's own story, also woven through are folktales and other family stories.
↘️
2w
ReadingEnvy I felt it could be shorter because it could be difficult at times as far as pacing goes (the reason it's closer to so-so for me) but it is also interesting how it intersects with other books I've read from the region, specifically The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova. I'm just glad I finished it before the end of 2021 and my year of reading Europe! 2w
51 likes2 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
The Pastor | Hanne rstavik
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Mehso-so

CW suicide
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I slipped this book in from my eARC backlog. I remember reading a previous novel by this author (Love) with the initial response of frustration with the characters for making bad decisions. Well they are back - not the same characters but new ones, pushing forward through bad times and sometimes pulling people down around them.↘️

ReadingEnvy There is a somewhat strange combination of things going on here. Liv is the central character and she is a pastor. After the loss of her friend to suicide, she has taken a job in a small Norwegian community within eyesight of a fjord. She has frequent flashbacks to her time at a seminary in Germany as well.↘️ 2w
ReadingEnvy Her new gig hasn't gone well - her introductory sermon went an hour and some people stood up and left, and she has already had to deal with too many men who don't think she should be allowed to be a minister. The community she serves is in the midst of a significant legal conflict over land rights with the Sami..↘️ 2w
ReadingEnvy her dissertation is about how language inside a religion effect its practice and understanding, and there is a lot going on about the history of forced conversion, Bible translation, and concepts of justice that she thinks about differently from everyone around her.↘️ 2w
ReadingEnvy And her community is struggling too, including the family she lives with, with one daughter that reminds her of her deceased friend. There is a lot of guilt and distraction over those events that make her not an unreliable narrator but an unfocused one. 2w
36 likes4 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

Toufah Jallow won a scholarship contest in her country that was supposed to be her pathway to an education and a better life. The President/Dictator of The Gambia took an interest in her and when she rejected his advances, raped and humiliated her. As a teenager she fled the country, and in just a few years transformed herself into an activist for women's rights in her country and beyond.↘️

ReadingEnvy She gets referred to as inspiring "West Africa's metoo movement," but I think the truth is more startling because of the lack of conversation and understanding in The Gambia. Toufah explains how there are no words in three languages foe.the act. There were no support services for victims/survivors of sexual assault, and previous victims of the President/Dictator risked their lives and the lives and livelihoods of their families if they spoke up.↘️ 3w
ReadingEnvy The conservative community from which she came also had a pretty firm unspoken agreement that such topics are not discussed, and demonstrate in other ways (arranged marriage etc) that women do not have bodily autonomy. ↘️ 3w
ReadingEnvy In 2008, the UN started redefining rape as an act of war, and you can see that rhetoric here, but she also points out how courts are still demanding higher forms of proof when accusing someone of rape than of other war crimes (a section on the word "alleged" is quite powerful.)↘️ 3w
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ReadingEnvy I also didn't know of the political turmoil in The Gambia in the last five years, despite having read two novels set there during that time. Toufah's story probably could only have happened during this particular upheaval, although I believe she would have fought for women even if she couldn't have returned home. 3w
TheKidUpstairs Should that say "when she rejected his advances"? 3w
ReadingEnvy @TheKidUpstairs yes! Geez sorry fixing 3w
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blurb
ReadingEnvy
Braiding Sweetgrass | Robin Wall Kimmerer
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Reading Envy 236: Best Reads of 2021

Jenny asked previous podcast guests to chat about their top reads of the year, whether or not they were published in 2021. Jenny also chimes in with her own obscure categories. Please enjoy hearing from Tina, Tom, Lindy, Trish, Andrew, Kim, Jeff, Elizabeth, Audrey, Scott, Robin, Mina, Emily, Chris, Nadine, and Ross.

Listen and subscribe:
https://tinyurl.com/ReadingEnvy236

review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

I listened to this book read by the author, which of course is the way to go! These are very current essays (this is her third book in four years after all!) Including some pandemic related topics. ↘️

ReadingEnvy One highlight is an examination of being a Black and Female boss, a topic she struggled to find much about when she became one herself (and with her new production company and publishing imprint, she is arguably killing it!) One of the later essays continues her examination of her experience with her hair, which was the topic of a previous book. 3w
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review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

Edelweiss backlog... I don't have any specific interest in Stanley Tucci other than vague awareness of him as an actor. I haven't seen his food or travel shows or used his cookbooks.

Taste is a lighter read combining memoir and food writing. ↘️

ReadingEnvy Tucci spans topics from a childhood spent inside a southern Italian immigrant community all the way up to his personal experience with cancer and the pandemic. The focus is not on his career at all, but sometimes the people and places he encounters because of various roles are pathways to food memories - meals, restaurants, or chefs. ↘️ 3w
ReadingEnvy There are a few recipes scattered throughout the text from drink standards to elaborate holiday dishes like Timpano, but this is not a cookbook. 3w
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blurb
ReadingEnvy
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois | Honore Fanonne Jeffers
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Holiday book haul!

vivastory I love that poetry anthology 3w
Cathythoughts Very nice , I think I‘ll get the LOVE SONGS. It‘s on Obama list of favourites 3w
ReadingEnvy @vivastory oh you've read it? I'm going to read the Russian stuff out of it this year. 3w
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ReadingEnvy @Cathythoughts yes! I usually agree with him or really disagree so I guess we'll see! 3w
vivastory I read it when it was first published. I've been thinking of rereading it. I remember at the time it was one of my fave poetry anthologies & years later several pieces have stuck with me 3w
ReadingEnvy @vivastory I liked that it was edited by ilia kaminsky, whose poetry I've been meaning to try. 3w
vivastory I read the following collection this year by Kaminsky. I really enjoyed it 3w
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review
ReadingEnvy
Tell Me How to Be | NEEL. PATEL
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Pickpick

Another read from my NetGalley backlog! I really like the first cover because it reflects the alternating povs between a recent widow who is moving back to London after a lifetime in Chicago, and her son who is a bit estranged after ruining his brother's wedding.

But the truth is not as it appears. ...↘️

ReadingEnvy The characters appear as Indian American but the Mom (Renu) actually grew up in Tanzania, where she fell in love with a Muslim man who was forbidden but never forgotten. Her son Akash has been pursuing a music career in Los Angeles, but he's in the closet, barely getting by, and (not effectively) hiding his problems with alcohol.↘️ 3w
ReadingEnvy Both are keeping secrets from the other, and first they are revealed to the reader and then they are revealed to the characters - this happened a bit slowly for my tastes but other readers did not find it so. ↘️ 3w
ReadingEnvy It's not that I didn't find the characters engaging, though, just found the pacing slow. I appreciated the nuance and contrast in each character and the hypocrisy of pursuing drama in what is consumed but not wanting it in ones actual life. ↘️ 3w
ReadingEnvy Since the story revolves around the puja marking the one-year anniversary of the father's passing, both characters are reflecting on their lives and identities in ways I found to be authentic, particularly in their ultimate decisions and conclusions, which are best discovered by the reader. 3w
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blurb
ReadingEnvy
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Many of you may not know that this is our first holiday season with two boys we hope to adopt next year so of course today was crazy in good ways.

But I wouldn't want to go without thanking @Blerdgal_Fenix for sending me a book I've wanted to read for forever and a fun assortment of chocolates for #jolabokaflodswap21 - thank you so much! And how I loved the darker skin Santas!

Thanks to @MaleficentBookDragon for organizing everyone.

Prairiegirl_reading Wow! Good luck with the adoption! 💜 Merry Christmas!!! 3w
Leftcoastzen Good for you! Hope adoption goes well! 3w
BarbaraBB Merry Christmas 💚 May it be the first of many with the boys! 3w
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Bookzombie I hope everything works out! Merry Christmas! 🎄 3w
Reggie Merry Christmas, Jenny. And as much as Normal People destroyed me, Conversation is my favorite of hers. Hope you like it. 3w
andrew61 Have a wonderful break jenny and I hope Chris goes well for you and that it is very special with the boys . 3w
ReadingEnvy @andrew61 thanks Andrew.. it was a bit overstimulating for them at times but we managed overall. 3w
58 likes7 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
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Mehso-so

The placeness of the Shetland Islands in the first book of this series is well-written and also has a large impact on how characters interact or trust one another, or don't. So when a local young woman's dead body is found, many of the locals can't help but connect it to a child's disappearance that was never solved. Everyone assumes the local loner is the culprit but that might be too easy.

review
ReadingEnvy
The President and the Frog | Carolina De Robertis
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Mehso-so

Carolina de Robertis writes about a retired president of an unnamed country (of course I assume Uruguay,) speaking to a Norwegian reporter about his history first as an insurgent, then as a prisoner, than as the poorest president in the world (as in he lived in his own home and did his own gardening.) ↘️

ReadingEnvy It's definitely a philosophical novel and the entire time he's trying not to tell the reporter about this frog that visited him when he was imprisoned, and... changed his life. They also discuss concern over the direction the USA has taken and what all of it means if you are paying attention.

I loved her novel Cantoras and it's a hard one to beat, but this is good for people who would welcome a quick philosophical or political read.
1mo
bnp This is on my list, but one of many I haven't gotten to yet. 1mo
bnp P.S. Listened to your most recent podcast yesterday & enjoyed your division with Paula. 1mo
bnp Meant discussion 1mo
ReadingEnvy @bnp thanks for listening! And if you haven't read Cantoras, I would read that one first. 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
Soviet Milk | Nora Ikstena
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Pickpick

Another read for my Europe 2021 project, set in Latvia by a Latvian author. It spans roughly 1969-1989 and focuses on a mother and daughter as they navigate the changing political landscape. The daughter has never known Latvia as a country!

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ReadingEnvy
Hell of a Book | Jason Mott
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Mehso-so

This won the National Book Award and was long but not shortlisted for the @tournamentofbooks for 2022 so I decided to go ahead and read it. Previous books have used satire to discuss the Black experience in America. ↘️

ReadingEnvy This book uses what I'm going to call meta-satire to discuss the experience of how we talk about the Black experience in America, particularly around the BLM movement, even more particularly how the media covers the issue in interviews with Black people.↘️ 1mo
ReadingEnvy The narrator is a Black author in his 30s who has written one "hell of a book," or so everyone keeps telling him. He is on book tour and keeps encountering a young boy with very dark skin, who may or may not actually be there. Other details about the boy but also the author's own experiences are revealed as the book progresses.↘️ 1mo
ReadingEnvy There is the focus of the book and then there is the writing style of the book - the first scene is the author escaping an angry husband - he had been sleeping with that man's wife at a hotel - so it starts with a bang with wry humor and self-observation even while in the middle of an action scene. ↘️ 1mo
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ReadingEnvy He reverts to noir-speak with the ladies and the entire book has a strong narrator presence. I liked it in the beginning. But then the author chooses to repeat himself ad nauseum as it reaches the end. I'm sure it was for a good reason but it made the book, especially the ending, too long. By the time I was finished, I was desperate to be at the end. 1mo
BarbaraBB Oh no! I have been looking forward to this one and have it set apart to read in my week off at Christmas. 1mo
ReadingEnvy @BarbaraBB satire and I typically don't get on well though. How do you feel about it? Obviously enough like the book! 1mo
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review
ReadingEnvy
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Mehso-so

This is the December pick for the Sword & Laser book club and podcast, and has magic in the form of family curses, living stars, and generations of a family coming together to witness the death (?) of the matriarch. The author was born in Ecuador and the story is very much nestled inside Ecuadorian places, names, and traditions (it reminds me of the time my book club read The Potbellied Virgin, but that had more Catholic stuff in it.)

Nutmegnc My library hold just came in for this one!! 1mo
ReadingEnvy @Nutmegnc I'll be interested in hearing your thoughts! 1mo
Nutmegnc @ReadingEnvy definitely!! 1mo
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Nutmegnc @ReadingEnvy So far I feel like there is a whole lot of description and not a lot of story? Yet? Maybe that changes? I‘m at a solid “so…so” for now. 4w
ReadingEnvy @Nutmegnc yeah the author could have used some advice on structure,.because she infodumps a lot at the beginning. What's discovered - if someone gets their own intro chapter - they will matter. If they are only mentioned in passing at a funeral - not so much 4w
Nutmegnc @ReadingEnvy Good to know!! 4w
46 likes6 comments
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ReadingEnvy
Icelander | Dustin Long
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My #jolabokaflodswap package came today from @Blerdgal_Fenix - thanks to @MaleficentBookDragon for organizing the #litsylove... And now we wait!

JamieArc Love that tree skirt! 1mo
ReadingEnvy @JamieArc thanks! It's rumpled because at any given moment, a dog or kid is curling up under the tree. 1mo
42 likes2 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

This book is on the Tournament of Books long but not shortlist. It's about a relationship that ends abruptly when B- dies, and their partner is not allowed in the hospital and then is excluded from the family's ceremonies. So they take on a way to commemorate their partner that has to do with their work/art.↘️

ReadingEnvy There is a back story of foster care that made me pick it up and I think that feeds into the "found family" element in the book as well. I think the pacing is a bit odd at times but the unevenness also feels like a part of it - the grief, the story, the good parts. It felt unique in many ways, and I'm glad I read it. 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
Open Water | Caleb Azumah Nelson
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Reading Envy Podcast Episode 235: Nature of Humanity with Paula. @Centique

Paula is back for the last regular episode of the year and we talk about biography, books from the backlist, and books from countries we don't know much about.

Listen and subscribe:
https://tinyurl.com/ReadingEnvy235

ReadingEnvy With brief shout-out to @Reggie 1mo
Reggie I actually looked for Soviestan at my Barnes and Nobles cause their site said they had it after hearing that best of episode where your friend from the islands talked about it. But it wasn‘t there. And @Centique ❤️ Chronicles of Stone is on my schedule for January. Great show ladies! 1mo
ReadingEnvy Dang! Well it's in Hoopla if your library has it. 1mo
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Centique Thanks @Reggie 💕 Hope you like it! So much fun talking to you about books @ReadingEnvy 1mo
Billypar Just listened to this one - fantastic episode to end 2021! @Centique Paula, I had deja vu at one point because recently I was recommending this one to a friend and also could not remember the author or title offhand: 3w
Centique @Billypar I‘m glad I‘m not the only one! 😂😂😂 I‘ve forgotten it at least 3 times now. That‘s one book where the title doesn‘t link into the content - in my head at least. 3w
35 likes6 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

Dawn Turner goes back in her personal history to explore her life alongside two other women she was close to - her sister Kim and her friend upstairs, Debra. She looks at race and economic stability but also personal choices and sometimes just the luck of the draw. It's also a good look at one specific neighborhood in the south side of Chicago, one that of course has been lost the way she knew it to gentrification. ↘️

ReadingEnvy At the time, some were pushing against desegregation while others were being inventive with neighborhoods for the rising black middle class. 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
Rise the Euphrates | Narrative Library, Carol Edgarian
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Pickpick

The book starts with harrowing scenes from the Armenian Genocide as the grandmother of Seta Loon escapes the country. The story goes on to show how Seta's mother made her way still very much inside the Armenian immigrant community, and how Seta and her siblings/friends move beyond it in some ways but are bound to it by others. ↘️

ReadingEnvy The novel grows increasingly focused on Seta and her small world to where it almost feels like two novels for a while, but I thought the author did a good job connecting her journey back to that of her grandmother's life.

There is heavy reliance on the Armenian storytelling phrase that has siblings in Turkish, Greek, and even Cypriot storytelling - "there was and there was not."
1mo
BarbaraBB I read this so long ago and never heard anyone about it ever since! 1mo
Cathythoughts Beautiful picture 💫 1mo
ReadingEnvy @BarbaraBB it's from 1994 and the author seems to have only written two more.book 1mo
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quote
ReadingEnvy
Rise the Euphrates | Narrative Library, Carol Edgarian

"The daughter assumes what is unfinished in her mother's life. The unanswered questions become her work. She spins, turning the questions upon herself. Generation after generation, it is a spiraling."

review
ReadingEnvy
O Beautiful | Jung Yun
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Pickpick

This story is interesting - Elinor is in her early 40s and back in North Dakota near where she grew up to write a story about the Bakken oil boom. She's been handed preliminary research by her mentor and former lover, but the story feels like it's about something else, especially from her perspective as a Asian-American woman.

ReadingEnvy The story is interesting, but lacks the heightened reality and momentum of Shelter, which was more of an unputdownable book. Still worth a read. 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
Floodtide | Heather Rose Jones
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Beatlefan129 So exciting! I‘ll let you know when it gets here 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

Whoops this doesn't come out until March but you will want this poetry collection. You think you don't recognize the poet's name but most of the words in Beyonce's Lemonade were penned by Warsan Shire.

Poems in this collection range from the refugee experience to the body to love. She's also well known for the poem "Home," which can be found online and starts with this line:
"no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark"
↘️

ReadingEnvy Shire is British, born to Somali parents in Kenya, so many of her poems ponder belonging and place.

I will recommend the audio, read by the poet. Thanks to Random House Audio for an early listen through the #volumesapp
1mo
charl08 Ooh lucky you! I've been listening to her on this radio programme. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00120pz 1mo
ReadingEnvy @charl08 oh great I'll check it out 1mo
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review
ReadingEnvy
Revelator: A novel | Daryl Gregory
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Pickpick

I'd let this book slip by on my eARC list and thought I'd try it and maybe abandon it but NO. This was a riveting novel of southern gothic horror centered around an Appalachian community where there is a "god in the mountains." Select women are the revelators and commune with the god while the men are interpreters and getting ready to introduce the god to the world.↘️

ReadingEnvy Also there are moonshiners with far too many distillation jokes (the author really doubled down on those for some reason). This is set in the 1930s and 1940s so the other background issue going on is the same families losing their land due to eminent domain (and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.) ↘️ 1mo
ReadingEnvy Most of the people living in this area are very religious (primitive Baptist!) and very white. It's interesting to see a cult-like religion around the god in the mountain be absorbed into such people and how they justify it to themselves. 1mo
Pogue One of my Favorite podcasts is Old Gods of Appalachia. This book sounds like the podcast. 1mo
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ReadingEnvy @Pogue ah I'll have to check that out! The author has family from Cades Cove. 1mo
Reggie I thought the book was missing 300 pages in the end. But I loved it up until then. 1mo
ReadingEnvy @Reggie missing 300 pages? Were you wanting more than the dynamite and new god reveal? Or a pacing problem? 1mo
Reggie Have you ever watched the movie Species? Where the little blond girl who is the alien escapes and jumps on a train and kills the Black lady conductor. Well I feel like we got a very wonderful story of the conductor. But the movie itself keeps going for another 1 1/2 hrs so we can find out what happens to the alien. Lol It was a great book. I‘m just being curmudgeonly. 1mo
ReadingEnvy @Reggie I get what you are saying but to me it was enough to know it would continue, whatever that will look like. Except maybe she could have killed her and it's done! 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
Reparations Now! | Ashley M. Jones
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Pickpick

Ashley M. Jones officially became Alabama's Poet Laureate this week!

One poem directly confronts past leadership in Alabama including a governor who promised segregation forever. Her poems demand that racial injustice be addressed (no surprise from the title) in specific ways, and she writes about her own experiences with being black and female and southern and still excluded or attacked or disenfranchised because of it.

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review
ReadingEnvy
Last Summer in the City: A Novel | Gianfranco Calligarich
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Mehso-so

This book was on my radar after Ed discussed it on episode 227 of the podcast.
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I'm not sure it has aged well. The women are all described body parts first, and the narrator for the audiobook has an old-fashioned voice that made me keep upping the speed. It's like Patricia Highsmith Ripley novels without the high stakes or sociopaths. I'd choose Highsmith first every time!
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So this was a miss for me

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ReadingEnvy
Mistletoe Christmas: An Anthology | Eloisa James, Erica Ridley, Christi Caldwell, Janna MacGregor
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It's December! And I read a bunch of seasonal books ahead of time so you didn't have to. Recommendations from this year and a few from previous years are on my blog:
http://readingenvy.blogspot.com/2021/12/holiday-reading-recommendations-2021.htm...

Before you @ me, I know Hanukkah and Christmas are not the same. But the protagonist is a romance novelist who loves Christmas until her publisher asks for something different.

MeganAnn Great list! I‘m adding several of these to my TBR📚❤️✨ 2mo
ReadingEnvy @MeganAnn it's nice to have feel good reads for the holidays! 2mo
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ReadingEnvy
The Women's Coffee Shop | Andriana Ierodiaconou
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Mehso-so

Angelou is a single woman in Cyprus who runs a "coffee shop" for women. The story starts with the death of her friend, Avraam Salih, a man born to a Christian and a Muslim and thus widely ostracized on the island.↘️

Lindy @ReadingEnvy Did you intend to write a longer review? 1mo
ReadingEnvy @Lindy ha, yes! I am easily distracted right now. See below. 1mo
ReadingEnvy I like that the author is Cypriot but the contents are better suited to a short story. Lines and scenes are repeated frequently for no apparent reason and this made it a bit of a slog to read. I appreciate that she had people along a sex and gender spectrum and navigating religious difference in different ways, and the scene where she confronts a priest is pretty great. 1mo
Lindy @ReadingEnvy I‘m glad you added the second part to your review, because now I‘m intrigued, even though you don‘t fully endorse the book. 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
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Reading Envy Podcast Episode 234: Punctuation Marks with Nadine

Jenny and Nadine reconvene to talk about reasons not to set reading goals, look back on the year, and discuss which books we've read and enjoyed lately.

Listen and subscribe:
https://tinyurl.com/ReadingEnvy234

Suet624 Can‘t wait to listen! 2mo
Lindy Jenny, I was so happy to hear you talk about 1mo
Lindy Also, I do the same thing as Nadine: towards the end of the year, I look at reading challenges from various sources (Read Harder, Reading Women) for the first time, just to see if I happened to read books that would fit their prompts over the past year. 1mo
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ReadingEnvy @Lindy I don't think it got nearly enough attention in the US. 1mo
ReadingEnvy @Lindy I vaguely track them but don't go out of my way to meet a category. Most of the time I find I've covered most of them! 1mo
Lindy @ReadingEnvy I looked at the Reading Women challenge and have nothing for the first category: a book longlisted for the JCB Prize. But it did get me to look at those titles (none of which are available to me). 1mo
ReadingEnvy @Lindy I wonder if you could count previous years because I do see some familiar titles - The Far Field and Djinn Patrol... Both of which I haven't read but I've heard good things about! 1mo
Lindy @ReadingEnvy Ah! I only thought to look at the current year. Silly me. 1mo
37 likes8 comments
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ReadingEnvy
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Mehso-so

When I started this book, I was so confused, I had to go back once I had a better handle on the characters. Chapters alternate between narration of events and emails about the same events, but it always takes a while to figure out which female character is writing, because, I'll say it, they sound so much the same. Probably not so much different from the author's own voice.↘️

ReadingEnvy I liked the idea of friends staying connected with long, philosophical emails, like back in early email days or when everyone had a Livejournal. But in this case their forms of communication almost serve to isolate them from one another, to excuse their introversion, and this does lead to some pretty significant misunderstandings and hurt feelings.↘️ 2mo
ReadingEnvy I'm one of the people who loved Normal People and didn't care about all the people who hated it. Still I waited a good bit of time before reading this one so I could enjoy it in my own corner. But then I didn't really enjoy it that much. There are a lot of pieces here but not really a structured plot.↘️ 2mo
ReadingEnvy Events happen but they aren't the central events of their lives, although we do get a hint of those. I also feel like Eileen reads like a variation of Marianne from Normal People. Marianne is actually more social!

Still, it's not often I find a book about friendship between people in their 30s and 40s and at least that's part of it. There is also an epilogue of sorts that places the characters during the pandemic. Was that needed?
2mo
Suet624 Great review. Thank you. I'm in the midst of reading it and I agree with everything you've said. 1mo
ReadingEnvy @Suet624 it will be interesting to see your verdict in the end 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
Damnation Spring | Ash Davidson
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Pickpick

This novel took me a long time to read..I first started it while I was reading Barkskins and the subject matter was too similar. And then the emphasis on miscarriage was a lot. I finally pushed through and felt like it was worth it, and overall it has a strong ending.
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It takes place along the Klamath River, a river that ends at the Pacific Ocean, and the forests that were so heavily logged in the 1960s and 1970s on both sides, ↘️

ReadingEnvy so southern Oregon and northern California..the novel looks at the effects of overloading and herbicides before those things were better regulated. The two central characters - Rich and Colleen - have had hard lives, but it's what they know, and they come to it through several generations. 2mo
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ReadingEnvy
The Santa Suit: A Novella | Mary Kay Andrews
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Pickpick

This is my last pre-holiday read! It is a much more expected romance with the storyline trope of a woman, freshly single, moving to a small (NC) town to restart her life. And as with most small town romances, there are quirky townspeople, blue-collar love interests, and a bit of holiday magic. #romantsy

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ReadingEnvy
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Panpan

Um, how should I put this, it's kind of a spoiler. Don't call a book a romance if it doesn't have an HEA. If you go in looking for a light feel-good read but leave it sobbing, what has been accomplished? I didn't sob, I was just disgusted. I outgrew the Lurlene McDaniel bullsh!t as a teen.

Strong opinions but that's how I roll.

Prairiegirl_reading With no happy ending it‘s absolutely NOT a romance!!! 2mo
StayCurious Boo. With no HEA what‘s the point? Thanks for the warning 2mo
ReadingEnvy @Prairiegirl_reading exactly!! It's against the contract! 2mo
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ReadingEnvy @StayCurious I was so mad, lok 2mo
EvieBee Okay, I had to google HEA. And now that I have, I‘d be just as mad! I still haven‘t fully recovered from Crash Landing on You. Ugh. 2mo
ReadingEnvy @EvieBee when something is marketed as romance it's only requirement is that happily ever after, so I was annoyed, clearly. 2mo
CarolynM I don't mind a HFN, but if there's no H it's no #romantsy 😆 2mo
CoffeeAndABook Ha! Love this review 😂 I saw the cover and was about to hit „stack“ when I read the review. Pooh! No HEA - that‘s no good at all!!! 2mo
ReadingEnvy @CarolynM precisely 2mo
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ReadingEnvy
Embers | Sandor Marai
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Panpan

Oof, well this novel is a very slow burn, about two men in their 70s meeting again after 40 years apart. The meeting is in 1942 but they were soldiers together for the Austro-Hungarian empire until something happens, something which the author takes the entire book to excruciatingly reveal.

The author was born in what is now Slovakia so I'll either count the book for there or Hungary for my Europe 2021 reading project.

Prairiegirl_reading I know a lot of people are hesitant to post negative reviews but I honestly really appreciate this. Thanks for sharing! 2mo
ReadingEnvy @Prairiegirl_reading oh sure. Plus the authors been dead for a while! 2mo
Prairiegirl_reading @ReadingEnvy lol! I didn‘t know that but also I think some people don‘t want to insult other readers either. 2mo
46 likes3 comments
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ReadingEnvy
Meet Me in London | Georgia Toffolo
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Pickpick

Another one in my holiday pre-reading, but this is set during the holidays without really being about them.

If You've Got Mail were about clothing/fabrics rather than books, that would be the first part of this book. Add a fake relationship and a reluctant love interest and that's the rest!

An enjoyable HEA light read!

#romantay

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ReadingEnvy
Afterparties: Stories | Anthony Veasna So
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Pickpick

Here is my first read from the Tournament of Books 2022 long list!

Afterparties is very strong in voice, stories flitting between Cambodian American characters in Stockton, CA. A lot about family, identity, sexuality, and generational difference (one coming from a genocide, one being lazy in the suburbs.) ↘️

BeckyRoy I have this book and am waiting for the perfect time to read it….looks like it might be now:) (edited) 2mo
BarbaraBB I love this cover so much. Now that it made it to the ToB longlist I think I must read it! 2mo
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ReadingEnvy
Bewilderment | Richard Powers
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Reading Envy Podcast Episode 233: Get Into Trouble with Ruth @Ruthiella

Jenny starts off the episode by announcing a big project for 2022! Ruth teaches her a new word and we discuss a recent Tournament of Favorites, plus as always, books we've read and liked lately.

Listen and subscribe:
https://tinyurl.com/ReadingEnvy233

Reggie @Ruthiella methinks you did so great!😜And Jenny it was so nice to hear you laugh so much and have so much fun. The Love Hypothesis is high on my radar. And now I can go in with my Star Wars eyes open. Lol 2mo
Ruthiella @Reggie Thank you for saying so Reggie. I find the experience fun but also nerve wracking. 😰 2mo
ReadingEnvy @Reggie It's a fun read! (Most of the time I edit out most of my laughter haha!) 2mo
BeckyRoy @ReadingEnvy I can‘t wait to listen to hear what the big project is. I was surprised at how much I loved The Love Hypothesis, but it was so good. 2mo
ReadingEnvy @BeckyRoy it was good! I gave it five stars for sure. 2mo
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ReadingEnvy
Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships | Sarah Grunder Ruiz
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Pickpick

This is a fun read that is half "women's fiction" (ie: Jo has her own issues and relationships that aren't romantic) and half romance. It would have made a great beach read if it came out a bit earlier in the year! #romantsy

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ReadingEnvy
Matrix | Lauren Groff
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Mehso-so

Lauren Groff writes in many different genres and suddenly her most recent novel, on the National Book Award finalists list and the ToB long list, is historical fiction. Marie de France is removed from her parents' court to go join and run an impoverished abbey. Most of the story focuses on the 12th century and the characters found there, with some threads of mysticism, romance between women, and feminism. ↘️

ReadingEnvy These sound like themes I would enjoy but I felt disconnected or maybe underwhelmed by the book itself. Or maybe I was distracted by the audio. Either way, it wasn't really for me, but it can be for you. 2mo
Ruthiella I‘m definitely going to wait to see if this makes the TOB 2022 shortlist before I take the plunge. 3rd time might be the charm...🤔? 2mo
ReadingEnvy @Ruthiella that's how I feel about that random 700+ page book that seems to be in almost no libraries.... 2mo
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Chelsea.Poole Your review sums it up well. I felt the same, pretty much! 2mo
ReadingEnvy @Chelsea.Poole it's not how I wanted to feel! 2mo
Chelsea.Poole @ReadingEnvy same here! I loved fates & furies, was hoping to love this one too 2mo
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ReadingEnvy
Once There Were Wolves | Charlotte McConaghy
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Pickpick

This book has a density to it because there isn't a lot of dialogue and the narrator spends a lot of time describing how others' touch feels because of her mirror-touch synesthesia. All while she is leading a team to rewild a group of wolves in Scotland.

Where this author's previous book Migrations was depressing from an environmental perspective, it was more about isolation. This book has a more violent streak and also a bit of a murder mystery.

EvieBee You had me at murder. 2mo
Cathythoughts Great review.. stacked 👍🏻 me too @EvieBee .. Murder & violent streak (edited) 2mo
51 likes2 comments
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ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

I didn't catch this book when it was on the International Booker list, but when it was named a finalist for the translated lit category of the National Book Award, I finally decided to give it a go, especially once I found the audio in Hoopla and it was under 6 hours.↘️

ReadingEnvy At first, it feels like non-fiction, well researched information about science and math, death and destruction, the usual. It slowly morphs to include details about the characters that might be true, I guess, but would he unlikely to be known without a detailed journal or analysis records. And as it nears the end, the stories start linking and it feels more like a fictional experience.↘️ 2mo
ReadingEnvy I always enjoy books that take me on a journey. The characters do not have to be on a journey, but I like the author to have a clear goal in mind even if I don't know what it is... It's one of those undefinable things that I like and is present here. I also am a sucker for books about math and mathematicians and boy did this qualify. I wish it had won the International Booker and I hope it wins the National Book Award for translation. 2mo
Cathythoughts Great review 👍🏻❤️ 2mo
51 likes3 comments
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ReadingEnvy
The Legend of the Christmas Witch | Dan Murphy, Aubrey Plaza
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Pickpick

This was under an hour in audio, the long forgotten tale of Kris Kringle's sister, known as the Christmas Witch. Written by and read by Aubrey Plaza.

47 likes4 stack adds