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UrsulaMonarch

UrsulaMonarch

Joined August 2017

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March: Book Two by Andrew Aydin, John Lewis
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Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez
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UrsulaMonarch
Let Me Not Be Mad | Andrew Mitchell, A. K. Benjamin
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Bailedbailed

Not for me!

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UrsulaMonarch
Bunny: A Novel | Mona Awad
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Pickpick

Loved this book & loved it even more after listening to the book club discussion episode of the (always great) The Librarian Is In podcast. It definitely has spoilers, so finish the book first! 😊😍

Cweeeevs Thanks for this recommendation! I hadn't heard of this podcast, and I'm excited to give it a listen once I finish Bunny on audio! 😄 3mo
Reggie Yeah, Gwen really brought it home for me when she said what she had to say about the mud at the end. I wanted to slow clap for her. Lol 3mo
34 likes2 comments
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UrsulaMonarch
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Pickpick

I highly recommend this book to everyone. Even in just the Foreword, Barres‘ blistering ferocity AND humor comes through clearly.
Barres‘ life is fascinating and I wish it, and the first section of the book, had been longer. The Science section was fairly dry, even as a reader with a minor in neuroscience - I‘d recommend that readers feel free to skip that section, and focus on the first (Life) and third (advocacy) sections.

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UrsulaMonarch
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Pickpick

I was surprised to find parts of this book too extreme for comfort for me - but I don‘t need to made comfortable in all of my reading! The essay that actually hit home for me the hardest was on cynicism.

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Pickpick

Heartbreaking, beautiful, powerful, and as @LauraBeth said, unsettling. A magnificent book.

LauraBeth I‘m so glad that you liked it! @UrsulaMonarch 10mo
52 likes1 comment
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UrsulaMonarch
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Pickpick

I found this fascinating! I liked McCreesh‘s previous book about moving to and living in Yellowknife but was even more intrigued at the end when she mentioned having a baby. Her trek north of 60 deg latitude was intriguing enough, but the work and toddler added was so interesting. The art was so pretty too.

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UrsulaMonarch
The Day You Begin | Jacqueline Woodson
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Pickpick

Beautiful & felt perfect to me. I thought the words were lovely to read myself and to read out loud - I got a little choked up at times! I was pleasantly surprised that my 1 and 3 year olds stayed engaged throughout , too.

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UrsulaMonarch
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

A super fun book and the first I‘ve read by Orlean. The mix of history (of LA, libraries in general, and plenty more), true crime, memoir, and many other topics, notably homelessness, made for an interesting romp, but at times I wished the editor had had a heavier hand. Someone states that library users are 80% male - is that true?! Continued below

UrsulaMonarch A 2010 study is cited that “almost 300 million Americans used one of the country‘s 17,078 public libraries and bookmobiles in the course of the year” - what does that mean? I assume it‘s not that 97% of Americans used a library... Anyway the book is definitely still worth reading, but maybe over a longer period of time (I read it in under a week). 10mo
RachelO Those are some bizarre statistics! 10mo
UrsulaMonarch @RachelO yeah! And some are just surprising but totally check out - like that there are more libraries than McDonald‘s in the United States - but others may be opinions, or require more explanation! 10mo
44 likes3 comments
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UrsulaMonarch
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Pickpick

I had a hard time with this book and would have left it unfinished we‘re it not for the excellent and compelling goodreads reviews. I‘m glad I came back to it, but for me the book stayed a bit “other” throughout, which is a central part of the story/memoir. It‘s really good but not really for me, but I would recommend it to lots of others.

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UrsulaMonarch
Hey, Kiddo | Jarrett J. Krosoczka
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Pickpick

Beautiful but devastating, this book defies rating for me. This was not the right time for me to read this, but I can‘t deny that the artwork is fantastic and the author‘s note at the end was hopeful to me. I really enjoyed the pictured moment of levity in his childhood!

emtobiasz Aw, I‘ve seen Jack Gantos speak in a similar situation. He‘s a wonderful speaker if anyone ever gets the chance to see him. 10mo
suzisteffen Literally just grabbed this book from my library TBR pile for “next.” Thanks for the review! 10mo
UrsulaMonarch @suzisteffen looking forward to your thoughts on it! 10mo
48 likes1 stack add3 comments
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UrsulaMonarch
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Pickpick

This book was completely lovely. My favorite parts were Sarton‘s meditations on solitude, nature, and the ranges in her moods. I‘m glad I savored it over the course of a few months. I would recommend the book both to those experiencing solitude and those completely deprived of it (by young children, for example!).
Thanks to Gretchen Rubin‘s Happier podcast for introducing me to the author!

batsy This book is so nourishing, if that's not a weird word to use! It's good for my soul ❤️ 10mo
Suet624 I‘m so happy you found it. A lovely book indeed. 10mo
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UrsulaMonarch
Fox 8: A Story | George Saunders
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Pickpick

Quite a delight, and for better or worse I found that its charm outweighed depressing aspects of the story.

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Pickpick

At times, this collection is less “formal” than some of Le Guin‘s other work, both in subject matter and format (blog posts). However, much of it is on topics just as serious and well thought out as her other work, and feels current and important. I enjoyed reading this in conjunction with May Sarton‘s writing - two brilliant and well-spoken older women, huzzah!

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UrsulaMonarch
Disobedience: A Novel | Naomi Alderman
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Mehso-so

This was a thoughtful book focused on women in an unfamiliar (to me) community- so I don‘t know why I didn‘t like it more! None of the threads of plot, nor the characters, particularly interested me or received enough focus in my opinion.

UrsulaMonarch And/but (?) I loved 10mo
31 likes1 comment
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UrsulaMonarch
Bad Friends | Ancco
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Mehso-so

This book is brutal and depressing in a way that defies rating for me. I didn't like reading it at all, but it was well done. I've certainly read other books about child abuse and sex work, and I'm not sure why this was more off-putting than those. The artwork was particularly effective.
#GraphicNovels #DrawnandQuarterly

batsy I just recently added this to my TBR! But sounds like a tough read :( 10mo
UrsulaMonarch @batsy it DEFINITELY is, so brace yourself- I can see others getting a lot more out of it than I did. I look forward to your thoughts if/when you read it! ☺️ 10mo
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UrsulaMonarch
The Great Believers | Rebecca Makkai
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I loved a lot in this book - storylines, characters, relationships, and geography (so much Door County!). This quote was a favorite.

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UrsulaMonarch
Fifth Risk | Michael Lewis
Pickpick

This book is amazing and terrifying. It served as one of the best civics lessons I've had about what parts of the government do, and I wish I had been taught this information earlier. That makes the current administration the perfect foil for the book, which would be a great writing device if only it were not our reality.

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Pickpick

As a graphic novel, I felt the images were not always clearly assembled and it was sometimes hard to keep track of what was happening. However, as a representation of Syrian refugees, this seemed like a good representation of the tragedy and chaos of the region.

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UrsulaMonarch
Saints | Gene Luen Yang
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Pickpick

I liked this even more than Boxers, although of course they are interdependent. The lead-in to the main character's conversion to Christianity was hilarious (the raccoon! and its end!), while the ending was devastating, and the book covered so many emotions in between. I loved seeing the paired story. Wonderful, if quite sad.

sebrittainclark 100% agree. Boxers was good, but Saints is the one that I'm still thinking about months after reading it. 14mo
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UrsulaMonarch
The Death of Truth | Michiko Kakutani
Pickpick

An excellent book I cannot stop thinking about. Kakutani's explanation of postmodernism and application to current events, and description of its movement from the left to the right, is just fascinating (and terrifying). At times, the book reads like the polemics it derides, which is interesting as well.

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Boxers | Gene Luen Yang, Lark Pien
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Pickpick

Just as great as everyone says, albeit violent and with troubled (but I imagine accurate) gender dynamics. An exceptional window in a different time, place, and worldview. Starting the “next” one now!

Heideschrampf Love the illustration! 14mo
UrsulaMonarch @Heideschrampf I did too, and then I was rewarded with the paired illustration I just posted from the “sequel “ 14mo
34 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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UrsulaMonarch
Complete book of marvels | Richard Halliburton
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Pickpick

I LOVED THIS BOOK!

Which is all the more amazing because this was one of my mom's favorite & treasured childhood books, and she always wanted my sister and me to read it when we were kids. We never did (until now). It became family shorthand for lovingly attempting & failing to force something on someone.

Did you have a family book like this? Did you end up reading it?

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Why Art? | Eleanor Davis
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Pickpick

I don‘t think I got this book, but I really liked he narrative turn it seemed to take in the last third. A quick read worth picking up.

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Coyote Doggirl | Lisa Hanawalt
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Pickpick

While this is impossible to actually know, this book feels like such a portal into Hanawalt's humor, personality, and interests - at least what's on display from her other works (books as well as BoJack Hoseman) and her podcast Baby Geniuses. So it was interesting to read a book that felt so familiar, and yet is entirely different from her other work due to the Western genre.

Great author reading last night in San Francisco!

2BR02B I absolutely adore Lisa Hanawalt. I need to check this out! 14mo
UrsulaMonarch @2BR02B I‘ll be interested in what you think of it! I‘m feeling differently about it as it sits with me more. The Western genre rubs me the wrong way generally, but I like some of its subversions here, mainly by having a female main character. 14mo
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Pickpick

A heartrending account of a relationship cut short by cancer. The intimate ephemera of postcards and photos intermingled with drawings was a bittersweet way to convey the potential and loss in their time together.
When the title alone makes me well up, I know I‘m in for something...

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Pickpick

I loved this book. For me, it was just the right mix of fun, gross, creepy, sinister, and light-hearted! My favorite part was the intense focus on female friendship. Also the very ending was surprisingly touching.

Reggie I totally agree. I was totally invested in the well being of Abby and Gretchen. I didn‘t think their friendship would mean so much to me but it did. 14mo
UrsulaMonarch @Reggie yeah! A possession is such a good way to explore the limits of friendship! 14mo
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Heart Berries: A Memoir | Terese Mailhot
Pickpick

I didn't really like this book and I'm really glad I read it. It was not what I expected, which forced me to confront what I HAD expected, and why. The writing itself is an entire additional sphere to appreciate.

The part I found most enlightening was the afterword. I saw an interview in the LA Times where the author said "I can't wait for the new editions. The new editions of the book is just my text, no foreword or afterword."

BarbaraBB Such an intriguing review! 1y
UrsulaMonarch @BarbaraBB it was short, very thought-provoking, and available on #hoopla - so that‘s pretty much a recommendation from me! ☺️ 1y
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UrsulaMonarch
From Lone Mountain | John Porcellino
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Pickpick

I have pretty mixed feelings on this collection. It is heartfelt and genuine - but also not really for me, in spite of elements that really hit home (particularly feelings about the Midwest while leaving it). I don't love Porcellino's artistic style but I do like his meditations on aspects of life.

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UrsulaMonarch
Good Trouble: Stories | Joseph O'Neill
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Pickpick

While I haven't been a big fan of O'Neill's novels, I'm generally impressed by his short stories. My favorites tended toward what might be seen as showing off, especially in the first story, Pardon Edward Snowden. My least favorite featured bro-ish characters, and most of the collection does have a decidedly male slant.

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Mehso-so

I'm impressed that the author was able to put together what felt like a tricky story, explaining a lot of history, biology, psychology, and criminal processing. Some aspects may be beyond my understanding, namely the all-consuming nature of fly tying for artistic (?) purposes. While that may be a lack of imagination on my part, even as a scientist, I didn't always find the argument of keeping so many birds in a museum to be so compelling!

sprainedbrain I‘m 😂 at your image. 1y
UrsulaMonarch @sprainedbrain right?! 😂 I did love the many random tidbits in this book! 1y
35 likes2 comments
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UrsulaMonarch
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Pickpick

A beautiful collection, appropriate both for children and adults. While I liked individual poems a lot, I found the overall structure and arc to be the most powerful and satisfying aspect of the book.
So glad to have heard about this book from @thereadingwomen podcast!

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Pickpick

Moments of this book were beautiful or highly insightful, and all the writing slipped along smoothly. The discussion of wealth was particularly interesting, and I loved the very ending - but there was something that kept the bulk of the story and characters at arm's length from me.
Having said that, I guess I liked this a lot more than many Littens!

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UrsulaMonarch
The Kiss Quotient | Helen Hoang
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Pickpick

I haven‘t read many rom coms (if that‘s what this is?) and I thought it was pretty fun, plus there‘s a twist near the end that I didn‘t see coming at all!

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Pickpick

An interesting and beautiful portrayal of a conflict I had little knowledge of. The child's perspective was effective in conveying a mix of banality, sudden fear, and creeping dread, while also showing small pleasures. I loved the illustration style.

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UrsulaMonarch
The Dark Net | Benjamin Percy
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Panpan

I‘ve enjoyed multiple books by Percy and the premise of this one sounded fun, but I thought this book was pretty bad. The plot is scattered and doesn‘t make good use of the ideas haphazardly laid out. It‘s gratuitously gory and gruesome. There are multiple female characters, which is great, but the book‘s treatment of them makes it hard to tell if it‘s misogyny or misanthropy at work.

Funny book pair but maybe horror is hygge for some??

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UrsulaMonarch
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Pickpick

I thought this book was pretty poorly written and I disagreed with a fair amount of it. I also can't stop thinking about it.

(Continued below)

UrsulaMonarch My experience with social media hasn't been the negative morass that Lanier generally (but not always) describes. Additionally, I don't agree that thinking and acting in a pack rather than solitarily is always so bad - to me, it seems like it could be a description of civilization. However, once I started reading the book as a prescription of how OTHER people should use social media, I found it more understandable (and hypocritical). 1y
UrsulaMonarch The bad writing was an annoyance (can anyone say what BUMMER stands for?), but I did appreciate the bite-sized summaries throughout. The book definitely seemed to be written to be accessible and memorable, even if it only occasionally achieved those goals. 1y
UrsulaMonarch BUT the book was helpful for thinking about current events, elections, and movements. After reading it, I felt like I should have been thinking about repercussions from social media earlier. I would say better late than never, but who knows. 1y
See All 6 Comments
Laura317 I guess it depends on how social media is used. I‘ve seen good and bad in it, but then all I really use it for is recipes and cat videos. What do I know? 🤷🏻‍♀️ 1y
UrsulaMonarch @Laura317 I totally agree - I feel like I use it for things that make me happy (too)! But I think we have to make an effort to engage in actively positive places - like Litsy! ☺️ 1y
Karkar I can see how it can be bad. I used to love Facebook where I could catch up with old friends or family. But now I cannot go on it without getting angry. 1y
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“Revert back” drives me crazy, but do you think it‘s just becoming standard usage?

Brooke_H I‘m an editor, and I would definitely delete the “back” every time! 1y
kgriffith It has, and it‘s definitely one of the ones that irk me. Language evolves, yes, but it should be to clarify and further define, not DEvolve to accommodate error. 1y
sisilia Oh gosh, I clinch whenever I hear/see the use of “revert” this way. It is so wrong! And there‘s “irregardless” 🙄 1y
See All 6 Comments
UrsulaMonarch @Brooke_H 👏 keep up the good work!!💚 1y
UrsulaMonarch @kgriffith great point! I like that direction... as opposed to redundancy 😣 1y
UrsulaMonarch @sisilia YES!!! I haven‘t seen that one in published work... yet?!😱 1y
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UrsulaMonarch
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Pickpick

I‘m glad I stuck with this, as I found everything from the birth story onward excellent. Some descriptions gave me insight into experiences very different from my own, while others were strikingly familiar. However, the beginning of the book, focusing on pregnancy, did not resonate with me.

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UrsulaMonarch
Your Black Friend | Ben Passmore
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Pickpick

I loved the first half - thought provoking, measured yet passionate, and brilliantly cutting. I was less interested in the more fantastical and less political (to me anyway) second half.

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UrsulaMonarch
Feynman | Jim Ottaviani, Leland Myrick
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Pickpick

This was a fun biography; my favorite part was when his lectures were (finally) illustrated. In my opinion it too too long to get to the science. I don‘t think Feynman‘s flirtations/womanizing age well, but the portrait of his first wife was lovely, and he seemed to hold scientists in high regard without consideration of gender. The illustrations were a bit bland and hard to follow at times; many people weren‘t distinctive!

UrsulaMonarch Thanks to @LitsyGetsGraphic for selecting this one! 1y
LitsyGetsGraphic We glad you like it❤️❤️❤️ 1y
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Mehso-so

I found the three storylines a bit challenging to follow and never really got the hang of them. The modern-day story also felt a bit out of place until it was hammered home without much nuance. I wasn‘t wild about the drawing style but the coloring was unique, beautiful, and well-suited to the settings. And the feel and desperation of arctic exploration definitely came through.
Kind of between so-so & a pick for me...

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UrsulaMonarch
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Pickpick

I found this book fascinating, frustrating, beautiful, and unbelievable. The author shows so many facets of living with a chronic illness while owning her own unreliability and lack of clarity. While I was tempted at times to put the book down, I always found the writing too captivating to abandon.

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UrsulaMonarch
The Argonauts | Maggie Nelson
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Pickpick

It took me a while to get into this book, but I'm glad I did. There's so much here in terms of gender, literature, and relationships. I feel inarticulate trying to express it!

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Florida | Lauren Groff
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Groff's writing is so beautiful and unique!

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Sabrina | Nick Drnaso
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Pickpick

This book felt both profoundly disturbing and real. The portraits of all the characters are quite warm and human while also depicting a terrible and delusional reality. The deceptively simplistic drawing style also brought a lot to the individuals and there were a few very pretty scenes - I especially liked how dreams were drawn. I was surprised by my reaction to the book as I hadn't much liked Drnaso's previous book.

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Pickpick

I spent the first 2/3 thinking about how sweet this is, and the last 1/3 wondering if it's actually creepy?! Am I the only one? Either way, I liked it!

vuhlrybyhn I am so happy that you loved it! This book is so adorable! ❤ 1y
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UrsulaMonarch
Pashmina | Nidhi Chanani
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Pickpick

It took me a bit to get into this book as I found the plot a bit disjointed and strained at first. But it grew much richer and I enjoyed the use of color throughout. Plus, great snacks!

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Pickpick

This book had plenty of interesting facts about the media throughout history, and the drawings were generally entertaining and helped move the text along. The book was quite thought-provoking, although also scattered, too broad, and frequently played devil's advocate (which Gladstone addressed in media coverage).

As it was published in 2011, I would LOVE to see an updated edition. Would Gladstone still say "we get the media we deserve"?

Ddzmini Sad truth 😧 1y
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UrsulaMonarch
The Friend | Sigrid Nunez
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Pickpick

I enjoyed the humor and intelligence of the writing more than anything in particular about the dog or its former owner. This is the first book I've read by Nunez and I'm intrigued to read more of her writing.
I agree with some others that there's more about the travails and pains of being a writer than I'm into, but I enjoyed how the author undercut old-fashioned male writer.

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Pickpick

I love the author's illustrations and enjoyed the text overall. There were a few misses for me, but overall I found the book thought-inspiring for any stage of meditative practition.