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atla

atla

Joined July 2017

social worker; collector of stories; slow stitcher; maker; mender; animal cuddled; inclusive feminist - fueled by coffee and chocolate.
review
atla
The Wedding Date | Jasmine Guillory
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Pickpick

This was a fun, quick read - though a bit less steamy than I would have preferred.

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atla
How Not to Die Alone | Richard Roper
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Mehso-so

Meh. I finished this one, but I‘m not sure why. I was intrigued by the career of the protagonist (searching homes of recently deceased for any evidence of them having a next of kin or anyone who cares enough about them to pay for their funeral) and by his hinted-at (and later explicitly explained) romantic trauma. But the writing was meh - very much telling rather than showing - and I was never emotionally invested.

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atla
Tenth of December: Stories | George Saunders
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Mehso-so

This book frustrated me; of the first 4 stories in a 10 story collection, 3 of them were fantastic. “Puppy” was my favorite and I would recommend this collection for that story alone. It is a story that shines a light on family and judgment in a way I think fans of Celeste Ng would love. Even though I read this collection over several weeks, Saunders‘ writing style became tiresome and got in the way of my enjoyment of the rest of this collection.

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atla
The Book Supremacy | Kate Carlisle
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Is this actually a thing? Podcasts on “rare books and ephemera, book collecting, [...] book crimes and rip-offs”? I need those in my life.

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atla
The Kiss Quotient | Helen Hoang
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Pickpick

So during the #24in48 read-a-thon, I challenged myself to read a contemporary romance novel: Ayesha at Last. Someone should have warned me it was a gateway book. In the past 2 days, I devoured The Right Swipe (Alisha Rai - so good!) and The Kiss Quotient. All of these were smart, sexy, and diverse! I‘m excited to read more!

..but I feel lost in this newfound world of romance. What should I read next?

bookandcat Helen Hoang has a new one called The Bride Test! I also recommend Alyssa Cole and Jasmine Guillory books. Also 4mo
atla @bookandcat Thank you! I‘ll definitely check out those authors :D. I already have The Bride Test on my library hold list but I may just buy it. I don‘t want to wait! 4mo
KarenUK I loved this one 4mo
12 likes5 comments
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atla
The Lathe Of Heaven: A Novel | Ursula K. Le Guin
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After watching The Jane Austen Book Club yesterday, I was inspired to immediately hit the library to pick up something by Ursula K LeGuin (and a couple of Austen novels I‘ve yet to read). I was thinking maybe The Left Hand of Darkness, but this is the only one they had on the shelf, so I went with it. At about 50%, I‘m definitely enjoying the ethical questions it poses. Still feels relevant.

review
atla
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Pickpick

After reading Celeste Ng‘s “Everything I Never Told You” and LOVING it, I picked this one up right away. At first, it wasn‘t as emotionally gripping as Everything, but that could have been due to my own headspace at the time, but I stuck with it and it totally had me pulled in by the middle. I love how this author explores family dynamics in such a full & gripping way that my heart is given fully to all the characters - even the jerks.

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atla
The Wall | John Lanchester
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Mehso-so

This one, a 2019 Booker longlist title, was... fine. The intense foreshadowing kept me reading, and the writing itself was fine. I liked the way it played with the concept of “othering.” But it didn‘t do much for me emotionally or intellectually. A better examination of walls/borders and the human consequences can be found in another Booker longlist title - Lost Children Archive - which is denser but gives so much more to chew on.

10 likes1 stack add
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atla
The Wall | John Lanchester
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Long-listed for Booker Prize 2019. “Ravaged by the [climate] change, an island nation [...] has built the Wall - an enormous concrete barrier around its entire coastline. Joseph, a new Defender, has 1 task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are trapped amid the rising seas outside and are a constant threat. Failure will result in death or a fate perhaps worse: being put to sea and made an Other himself.”

8little_paws Aww a beautiful fluff 4mo
12 likes1 comment
review
atla
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Pickpick

Y‘all, this is so good. A propulsive, character-driven novel which tackles big issues through the lens in-depth family and personal dynamics. It simultaneously makes you pause to reflect on the characters while also leaving you unable to stop turning pages because you‘re so emotionally invested. Not a sentence is wasted, and the writing is so good. It‘s also a quick read - being only 300 pages and unputdownable.

Tell me your #backlistgems ☺️

lkurgs I also recommend Little Fires Everywhere, if you haven‘t read it yet. I love Celeste Ng and her writing. 4mo
atla @lkurgs This was my first Celeste Ng but I will definitely be reading more of her work! 4mo
20 likes1 stack add2 comments
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atla
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The audio version of this is on sale for $2.99 on Chirp.com right now (no affiliation). I listened to the sample and was hooked immediately, but I just started a lengthy fantasy series on audio - so I hit the library for this one. At 60 pages in, it‘s a page turner and I can already tell it‘s going to break my heart.

lkurgs It‘s a wonderful but also an emotional read! 4mo
11 likes1 comment
review
atla
Cutting for Stone: A Novel | Abraham Verghese
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Mehso-so

(Author photo from Stanford University blog)

I‘m glad I finished this one, and I went back and forth on whether to rate it “pick” or “so-so” - but ultimately, despite loving the first 100 pages and the last 200, there were 367 pages in the middle that were less emotionally resonant, less gripping, and less interesting. But - still glad I finished it.

Thanks for the encouragement, @auntie_jenn ☺️

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atla
Cutting for Stone: A Novel | Abraham Verghese
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I have heard so many amazing things about this book and it‘s an Anne Bogel favorite (and she and I share similar tastes), so I expected to love it. I don‘t dislike it enough to put it down (especially now that I‘m 492 pages in), but I also don‘t especially look forward to picking it up. It‘s slow moving without the lyrical writing that I adore in long, slow books. Maybe it‘s just not the right book at the right time?

auntie_jenn i had a hard time getting into it too. keep going. i also switched to audio and that helped. it‘s a slow start, but so worth it. 4mo
13 likes1 comment
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atla
City of Girls | Elizabeth Gilbert
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July reads!

The Light Between Oceans -- 4/5 stars
One Amazing Thing -- 3/5 stars
When We Were Orphans -- 2.5/5 stars
Diary of a Murderer and Other Stories -- 2.5/5 stars
Good Morning, Midnight -- 3/5 stars
The Overstory -- 5/5 stars
City of Girls -- 5/5 stars
Lost Children Archive -- 5/5 stars
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill -- 3.5/5 stars
The Lightest Object in the Universe -- 3.5/5 stars
The Emissary -- 2.5/5 stars
Ayesha at Last -- 4/5 stars

marleed CofG was a 5 star for me,as well. I think Ayesha is my favorite P&P reboot! 4mo
atla It‘s the only P&P reboot I‘ve read - other than P&P with Zombies. So it is unquestionably my favorite 🤣 4mo
8 likes2 comments
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atla
The Mistress of Spices: A Novel | Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
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Mehso-so

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has become a go-to author for me when I‘m in a slump, and when I want something lighter but still well-written and emotionally resonant. However, this one is the earliest novel I‘ve read of hers & my least favorite. The insta-love relationship drove me bonkers, and I almost put this down halfway through. I was glad to pick it back up, but the ending wasn‘t redeeming. Maybe I‘ll stick with her novels from 2010+

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atla
The Mistress of Spices: A Novel | Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
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Current reads! I initially put down The Mistress Of Spices at 40% and wasn‘t sure that I‘d finish, so I started Cutting for Stone. But last night, I picked Mistress back up and was so glad I did. Now the question is - which one do I read this evening? #bookwormproblems

Edit: I put them both in front of my cat, and he rubbed his face on Cutting for Stone, so I guess we‘ve got our answer! How do you decide when you‘re reading multiple books?

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atla
Cutting for Stone: A Novel | Abraham Verghese
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“I grew up and I found my purpose and it was to become a physician. My intent wasn‘t to save the world as much as to heal myself. Few doctors will admit this, certainly not young ones, but subconsciously, in entering the profession, we must believe that ministering to others will heal our woundedness. And it can. But it can also deepen the wound.”

Viji I feel the same way about being a nurse. 4mo
13 likes1 comment
review
atla
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Mehso-so

I waited ages for this one to come in from the library and read it right away. It was interesting, but not emotionally resonant. I enjoyed the unreliable narrator of the title story, but didn‘t actually like any of the characters. All in all, it was a bit of a let-down.

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atla
Age of Myth | Michael J. Sullivan
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Wanted something fun and adventurous to listen to, and Michael J Sullivan never lets me down. If you like fantasy even a bit, and haven‘t read his Ryiria Revelations series, I urge you to pick it up. It‘s wonderful on audio, too. 💕

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atla
The Great Alone | Kristin Hannah
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Trigger warnings for (consistent, relatively graphically depicted) domestic violence with this one. I didn‘t really know I was sensitive to this; maybe it‘s more challenging for me on audio. It‘s a good novel so far, but I‘m not sure I‘ll finish it. But maybe. I‘m pretty invested in the main character..

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atla
Lost Children Archive | Valeria Luiselli
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#bookerprize longlist announced today! So happy to see Lost Children Archive on the list - it was fantastic and heart-breaking. I‘ve read 2 of 13 on the list - and the rest are now on my TBR and/or library hold list.
#bookerprize2019 #bookerprizelonglist

Suet624 I agree. Lost Children Archive was quite good. 4mo
10 likes1 comment
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atla
City of Girls | Elizabeth Gilbert
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Pickpick

There is now a City of Girls shaped hole in my heart. These days, Elizabeth Gilbert could write a dinner menu and I‘d devour it. This is so good. So fierce and delightful. Read it!

auntie_jenn can‘t wait to finish this weekend! 4mo
13 likes1 comment
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atla
City of Girls | Elizabeth Gilbert
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I‘ve been looking forward to this one since I finished The Signature Of All Things a few months ago. Am I enjoying it? You can bet your hat I am! “You don‘t have to be a good girl to be a good person.”

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atla
The Great Alone | Kristin Hannah
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Started this one tonight, and enjoying it so far. Just had to slow it down a wee bit since the narrator is a bit too fast for my taste. Who else has read this? What did you think?
#audiobook #libby

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atla
City of Girls | Elizabeth Gilbert
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That‘s it for me! What a fun weekend :). Enjoying City of Girls so far - not as much as Gilbert‘s “The Signature Of All Things,” but sticking with it.

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atla
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Pickpick

I love that the #24in48readathon has me picking up books outside of my wheelhouse - just cause I‘m not up to a marathon of “literary fiction.” I was dubious about this one for the first few chapters, but it ended up being so much fun! I finally picked up City of Girls from the library... maybe that‘s next up? #24in48

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atla
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“Coming out of a book was always painful. She was surprised to see things had remained in place while she herself had been roaming other towns, other times.”

14:55:14 #24in48

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atla
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Today I had to do all the things I put off yesterday, so I‘m behind with no chance of making 24 hours - but that‘s okay, I just wanted a good excuse to hunker down with books for the weekend. Now that adulting is done, I‘m back to it! #24in48

24in48 It's a great excuse to hunker down with the books! 5mo
15 likes1 comment
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atla
Ayesha at Last | Uzma Jalaluddin
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Pickpick

Finished my 3rd book for #24in48 - the first that was read in one sitting, and I couldn‘t put it down. I‘m usually not a romantic comedy reader, but I wanted something lighter and am so glad I picked this up! Loved the diverse cast of characters grappling with Big Issues but in a fun, unputdownable format. Highly recommended! #24in48readathon

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atla
Ayesha at Last | Uzma Jalaluddin
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On hour 9 of #24in48 — it took me a while after my first 2 finishes, but I‘ve finally gotten sucked in to a new book. Loving the excuse to read all day!

parttimedomestic Oh, I'm looking forward to reading this one! Enjoy! 5mo
11 likes1 comment
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atla
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“Nina worries she liked being alone too much( it was the only time she ever fully relaxed. People were . . . exhausting. They made her anxious. Leaving her apartment every morning was the turning over a giant hourglass, the mental energy she‘d stored up overnight eroding grain by grain.”

Will I finish this one? I don‘t know - it‘s not really my wheelhouse. But this quote (even as a social worker) is oh so #relatable

#24in48 #24in48readthon

9 likes2 stack adds
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atla
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This may be my first DNF for #24in48. This audiobook legit put me to sleep. Another litsy reviewer called it World War ZzzZzZzzzz (an unpopular opinion) and I concur so far. #24in48readathon

twohectobooks Interesting! I‘ve heard tons of great things about this audiobook. I read this one in paperback and liked it pretty well though found the voices blended together too much. The audio was supposed to solve that problem. 5mo
8 likes1 comment
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atla
Gentleman in Moscow | Amor Towles
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Pickpick

Finished the audio version of this one a little bit ago and I‘m kind of sad that it‘s over. I usually listen to my audiobooks in short spurts - so this one kept me company for weeks and I always looked forward to a retreat inside the Hotel Metropol.

#24in48readathon #24in48

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atla
The Light Between Oceans | M. L. Stedman
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Pickpick

Slept late so got a slow start on #24in48readathon —- This book gave me all the feels - so good! Next up is finishing the audio version of A Gentleman in Moscow, while my SO hits the library for me ☺️

#24in48

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atla
The Light Between Oceans | M. L. Stedman
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Just signed up for #24in48readathon on a whim - and this is my kick-off book! But I got a library hold notification for City if Girls which I‘ll pick up tomorrow - and I‘m stoked! #24in48

MellieAntoinette Loved this book! 5mo
10 likes1 comment
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atla
The Overstory | Richard Powers
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“We‘re cashing in a billion years of planetary savings bonds and blowing it on assorted bling. And what [he] wants to know is why this is so easy to see when you‘re by yourself in a cabin on a hillside, and almost impossible to believe once you step out of the house and join several billion folks doubling down on the status quo.”

Thoughts in comments...

atla I began reading this thoughtful, angry novel while on vacation - in an isolated cabin, on a hillside, in a Nataional Forest. And this created a dichotomy inside of me - while I felt so at peace in the forest, present and able to appreciate the biodiversity, the amazing teeming of life after a rainstorm, the balance, the scope of life present (from seedling to a log so decayed it is almost soil again); I also ⬇️ 5mo
atla became aware and discomfited by the huge number of species lost to us, the miles and miles of forest lost to clear-cutting, the vast absence we have created. ⬇️ (edited) 5mo
atla This novel describes the way trees in a forest behave differently than trees in a park, neighborhood, or orchard - just as animals behave differently in a jungle than in a zoo. Balance is lost, connections are missing, logs cleared before they can provide life to millions of species. This book, combined with my week on the edge of the forest, made me mourn despite my awe. 5mo
Simona The power of the extraordinary, excellent story❣️ 5mo
Leftcoastzen One of the most powerful books I‘ve ever read.🌲 5mo
11 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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atla
Lost Children Archive | Valeria Luiselli
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Can I just say - yes - this. All this. And more. I know I‘m not the only one who feels powerless and heartbroken by current events in the USA, and this passage begins to touch on the complexities of trying - in whatever way one knows how - to do something, to do anything, to help others be heard and acknowledged and treated like an actual human being.

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atla
River | Peter Heller
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Mehso-so

I‘ve been dying to read The Dog Stars - but any book with even a hint that the dog might die, and I‘m not into it. So I was psyched when this was one released - and I was expecting great things after hearing Anne gush about it on WSIRN. And the writing was fine, the story was fine - but it didn‘t capture me, didn‘t keep me turning pages late into the night. Maybe just not the right book at the right time.

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atla
Elizabeth Is Missing | Emma Healey
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Pickpick

A woman in mid-stage dementia believes her friend to be missing, and sets about to find her - while also trying to keep the details straight from the case of her sister who went missing in childhood. I loved this one so much. The author brilliantly captured the tangles of memory and thought in a brain damaged by disease but struggling to make sense of it all, and having a great mystery (or 2) alongside made it unputdownable.

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atla
Dry | Neal Shusterman
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Pickpick

I have a curious fascination with disaster stories -apocalypse, plagues, droughts, manmade, environmental, whatever - I‘ll take them all, assuming they‘re well written. I imagine it‘s the way some feel when opening a new true crime novel - slightly disturbed, but giddily fascinated. This tale of the disastrous consequences of a California drought and water-outage fit the bill and I couldn‘t put it down. Also frighteningly plausible. #clifi

readordierachel I'm fascinated by those kinds of stories too. Stacking this one! 5mo
9 likes1 stack add1 comment
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atla
On the Beach | Nevil Shute
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Pickpick

Set in the 1960‘s (the near future when this was published) aftermath of a nuclear World War III, most of the globe has already died of radiation sickness. Being informed that they have only a few months to live, the survivors remaining in Australia set about the quiet business of waiting to die - while also caring for families, falling in love, and planting gardens. Folks seem to love or hate this book - I adored it while also being terrified.

Leftcoastzen One of my best friends favorites that I haven‘t read yet. 5mo
atla @Leftcoastzen oh, you must! It may be a classic, but it‘s not at all dense or unapproachable. The narrative draws the reader in immediately and doesn‘t let go. 5mo
Leftcoastzen Cute pup!🐶 5mo
9 likes3 comments
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atla
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

1) I‘ve read so many good books this year, but if pressed I‘ll call Once Upon a River (Diane Setterfield) my favorite. An amazing audio experience - magical & atmospheric.
2) Melmoth by Sarah Perry. After loving The Essex Serpent so much, this one came across as scattered and just okay.
3) About to dive into Peter Heller‘s The River and so exited!
4) This is the 1st year I didn‘t set a goal & I‘ve read way more this year than ever!

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atla
Theory of Bastards | Audrey Schulman
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Pickpick

It took me a while to get into this, but I‘m so glad I stuck with it. @readordierachel posted a great review that had me rushing to pick this up & she encouraged me to keep going - reassuring me that the novel swiftly changes & becomes something else entirely, & boy was she right. It became amazing. This novel has so much heart, in a package with a little bit of evolutionary science, climate change, chronic illness, and dystopia. Thanks Rachel!

readordierachel Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! 6mo
7 likes1 comment
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atla
Theory of Bastards | Audrey Schulman
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It‘s not often that I get 100 pages into a book without knowing how I feel about it. At 100 pages, I‘ve either decided it‘s wonderful or I‘ve cast it aside 75 pages ago. But This book has done it. I‘m intrigued by the premise, and so rarely do we get to read work which features women with chronic illnesses that I want to keep reading. On the other hand, I don‘t feel any emotional connection with the characters or story yet. Ugh, do I keep going?

readordierachel I would say keep going! But I loved it, so I'm biased. If it helps, it becomes a very different book as it continues. 6mo
atla @readordierachel Thanks! I‘m going to keep at it for a bit. I actually selected it and immediately ran to pick it up from the library based on your review :) 6mo
readordierachel I hope it clicks for you! 🤞🏼 6mo
3 likes3 comments
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atla
The Binding | Bridget Collins
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Pickpick

Picked this up at the library based on the cover alone, and so glad I did. This was so well-written and magical, and I was sucked in from the first few pages and then couldn‘t turn the pages fast enough. If you love books about books, a bit of fantasy and a pinch of dystopia - you will adore this.

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atla
Tinkers | Paul Harding
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Pickpick

I loved this book - luscious descriptions of nature and character. This was my final push to break up with Goodreads. I picked this up from a Little Free Library and took a chance on it. Goodreads rating is only 3.38. Later, on Indie Bookstore Day, I found myself checking Goodreads ratings on every book I picked up, passing on most due to the rating. Goodreads has led to me not trusting my literary intuition and losing the joy of the unexpected.

BarbaraBB Trust your intuition 👍🏼💜 7mo
stephothebesto I know what you mean about Goodreads- it seems like everything is either a 3.4-3.8 or a rabid 5 stars from the fandom (no shade, I'm occasionally one of those...). One of my recent favs (tagged) comes in at a 3.7, which sounds low. 6mo
4 likes2 comments
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atla
The Orphan of Salt Winds | Elizabeth Brooks
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Picked this up from my local bookshop for #IndependentBookstoreDay. I just love love love the cover and I can‘t wait to dive in.
#indiebookstoreday #readbetweenthelynes #shoplocal

rmaclean4 I really enjoyed this!! 7mo
atla @rmaclean4 I started reading it tonight, and I‘m loving it so far :). And I‘m a sucker for a beautiful cover. 7mo
7 likes2 comments
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atla
Tinkers | Paul Harding
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“A move of the head, a step to the left or right, and we change [...] Light changes, and our eyes blink and see the world from the slightest difference of perspective and our place in it had changed infinitely: [...] His despair had not come from the fact that he was a fool; he knew he was a fool. His despair came from the fact that his wife saw him as a fool [...] and could find no reason to turn her head and see him as something better.”

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atla
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“To talk about arson is to talk about buildings burning down. To talk about the term ‘pyromania‘ is really to talk about the unfathomable mysteries of the human brain and the human heart: Why do we do things? Why do we want things? What moves us, and stirs us, and why are some people moved by the things that the rest of us find inexplicable or abhorrent?”

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atla
Olive Kitteridge | Elizabeth Strout
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“He wanted to put his arms around her, but she has a darkness that seemed to stand beside her like an acquaintance that would not go away.”
(See Comments for more..)

atla One of my favorites of all time. Within the first pages, we get a sense of Olive as a curmudgeon. But this is the outsider‘s perspective. As we get deeper info this magnificent collection, we begin to see Olive for all that she is - tired and beat down from disappointment, vulnerable and afraid, lonely, and we empathize with wanting more along with the fear of dropping old, long-serving defenses. Oh Olive, it‘s okay. I‘m here for you, my friend. 7mo
BarbaraBB Olive is such an interesting character 💜 7mo
4 likes2 comments