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The Christmas Guest | Peter Swanson
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My #CloakAndDaggerChristmas is off to a nice start. I read this for the first prompt, "Do they know it's Christmas". It's a dark and satisfying novella that meshes the Gothic with the contemporary to good effect, and strikes the right tone for both murder and Christmas festivities, somehow! Lol. It's best to go in without knowing anything, and it can be polished off in one sitting, which is what I recommend. 'Tis the season! ?? @Ruthiella

batsy Kind of like A Christmas Carol meets 1980s Northanger Abbey with a dash of The Secret History, in a way? 23h
Ruthiella Looks good! I‘ve read a couple other books from Swanson in the past. 👍 21h
jlhammar Glad to see this is a pick since it is in my December stack. Looking forward to it! 21h
batsy @Ruthiella I have The Kind Worth Killing waiting for me on my shelves. And I'm keen to read Eight Perfect Murders but only after I've read all of the books referenced... 😅 20h
batsy @jlhammar I hope you like it! 20h
64 likes5 comments
Evil Eye | Etaf Rum
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This was heavy, sad, & at times very sluggish & too navel-gazey. It tells the story of a Palestinian-American woman's struggles with trauma. It's not a political book, but it does depict the ways in which our circumstances are shaped by politics. My issue is with the writing, which was clunky at times & at other times overwrought. It also brushed over money issues in a way that was unrealistic. Sometimes it read like YA. I wanted to like it more.

cariashley This sounds very much like how I felt about her first book. Glad I‘m skipping this one. 2d
batsy @cariashley Yeah, I don't think I'll be reading her first. 2d
77 likes2 comments
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Mamdani is a lucid thinker, and writes with great clarity about the world that shaped what is now casually referred to as Islamic terrorism. As an anthropologist and political scientist he lays out the historical contexts of European colonialism and the Cold War to remind us that no situation arises out of thin air, but through careful cultivation by geopolitical superpowers. Informative. This was published in 2004; would love a current follow-up.

batsy This was a reread for me and maybe a lot of it went over my head when I first read it, but for this precise moment in history a lot of things are crystal clear. 4d
Cuilin So much comes down to white colonialism!! Ugh when will we learn from the past? 4d
batsy @Cuilin Pretty devastating that the same things keep repeating. 4d
Reggie I have a coworker who says that every we(the US) bomb someone, future terrorism is born. And that‘s just the obvious stuff we know about. And then I think about Rwanda and their genocide, set into motion years before when they were occupied by Belgium. Stacked. Great review, Suba. 3d
batsy @Reggie Thanks @Reggie. I hope you find it useful if you do check it out. I'm at this point in my life where the more I read and learn, the more enraged I get. 3d
68 likes2 stack adds5 comments
Untitled | Untitled
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Thanks for the tag @Yuki_Onna !

1. Rashid Khalidi's The 100 Years' War on Palestine

2. I'm hoping to join the #CloakandDaggerChristmas challenge in December, and Celia Fremlin's The Long Shadow is my most anticipated read! 🗡️🎄

Feel like playing @Reggie @RaeLovesToRead @erzascarletbookgasm @Smarkies ? 🙂

#two4tuesday @TheSpineView

TheSpineView Thanks for playing!🎄📖📚 6d
48 likes1 comment
Babbacombe's | SUSAN. SCARLETT
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Another lovely treat from Noel Streatfeild aka Susan Scarlett. There's a loving family, a dashing romantic interest, department store intrigue, & intrepid dogs. I adored Scissors ? & his commitment to tail-thumping as a sign that he's listening as his lovelorn human drones on about a girl. I needed David to be a bit more mysterious & angsty, though ? And Dulcie! Oh my. Felt bad about the double standards for women but she was a great "villain"!

Jess_Read_This Good point about needing David to be a bit more angsty! I thought we might see more from him when we learn about his design work and wanting to be separate from the company. But one elevator stop later and he‘s slicing meats in the basement to get a girl 😂 6d
kwmg40 I love the story as it is but I can also see how an angsty David could enhance it! 6d
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Tamra Dulcie made for a fun villain! 6d
Aimeesue Great review! I actually felt a bit sad for Dulcie - so alone and reeking of desperation. Not to excuse her interfering behavior of course, but yikes, what a way to live. 😕 6d
quietjenn I've quite the soft spot for angsty boys, so I would've been ok with that 😉 6d
batsy @Jess_Read_This Hahaha exactly! 6d
batsy @kwmg40 It's just me and my fave trope getting in the way 😂 6d
batsy @Tamra She was a character that was fun to hate but yes @Aimeesue that's what made feel somewhat sad for her, too. To be so disliked... 6d
batsy @quietjenn You get it 😉 6d
jlhammar Oh, Dulcie 😂 Good point about the double standards! 6d
Ruthiella I was hoping that Mrs. Janet would somehow turn Dulcie around…but alas no. 6d
julieclair Great review! And yes, @Ruthiella , I was hoping the same thing, and a bit disappointed when it didn‘t happen. 6d
batsy @jlhammar It just made me a bit sad! And guilty that I was enjoying hating on Dulcie 😅 6d
batsy @Ruthiella @julieclair I know! I was kind of hoping it would work. 6d
willaful @batsy It's okay -- she was named Dulcie, we're supposed to hate her. 😂 6d
LeahBergen Great review! And I‘m ashamed to admit that I very much enjoyed hating on Dulcie. 😂 She felt like the most loathed characters in my old childhood favourites (if that makes sense). She‘s a “Nellie Olsen”. 😆 6d
batsy @LeahBergen Oh yes, I totally get it! Nellie Olsen is a perfect example 😆 5d
72 likes1 stack add19 comments
Rouge | Mona Awad
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This is an unpopular opinion, but in contrast to Bunny which I loved, this one fell short. Awad's writing is mostly beautiful: lush, baroque, & frequently funny in the way it mines the slippages of language & the unconscious. But the novel is overlong, baggy, & convoluted, almost creaking under its own weight of heavy symbolism & myriad references to fairy tales & pop culture. Awad is best when her story is anchored in realism. From the middle 🔽

batsy onward the story starts to go off the rails, which is fine, but it drags because it didn't know which way to take its fantasy slash nightmare, & so it went in all directions. As a result, the prose too starts to get cheesy. Awad is free to do whatever in her bizarre, absurdist tale of mothers & daughters, family trauma, & the beauty industry, but I became quickly tired of The Celeb, the tanned Tad, & the Old Hollywood oddball that is Hud Hudson. 1w
batsy I think it's also because I recently read Natural Beauty by Ling Ling Huang & found it a streamlined, more affecting novel about the beauty industry because it ties it in with the capitalist excess that is our living nightmare, whereas Awad treads old ground with the gothic fairy tale vibe that still pales in comparison to Angela Carter. I think Bunny was effective because the slippage from the real world into a fantasy realm was more restrained. 1w
RaeLovesToRead I shall put Ling Ling Huang and Angela Carter on the TBR 1w
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Suet624 I always love reading your reviews. 1w
squirrelbrain Fabulous review. I didn‘t love Bunny so wasn‘t sure about this one. I‘m getting it from the library (hopefully) so at least I‘m not purchasing it! 1w
batsy @RaeLovesToRead Angela Carter's short stories are definitely worth a try. The fairy tale reworkings are brilliant imo :) 1w
batsy @Suet624 Thank you, Sue! 1w
batsy @squirrelbrain Think I've seen some who didn't like Bunny appreciate this one. Will be interesting to see what you think of it! 1w
RaeLovesToRead I've got the bloody chamber somewhere... and the toyshop one... 1w
Ruthiella Still going to read it, naturally, but it is good to know of a dissenting opinion! Interesting for me is your reference to Angela Carter, whom I want to love but just can‘t warm to. This one is on my TBR still too 1w
The_Book_Ninja Great review 1w
sarahbarnes Great review. I did like this one, but you make very valid points. And I love Angela Carter - I need to reread some of her work. 1w
BarbaraBB Great review. I will read this soon. I wasn‘t a fan of Bunny but enjoyed 1w
batsy @RaeLovesToRead Toyshop still on tbr, heard its a bit bananas but that's the AC experience lol 1w
batsy @Ruthiella @BarbaraBB Yes, I still want to read more of Awad, like All's Well! 1w
batsy @The_Book_Ninja Thank you! 1w
batsy @sarahbarnes Thanks! I think she's a really interesting writer but this one just didn't land for me. Am keen to check out All's Well. 1w
kwmg40 Thanks for the review. I really liked All's Well and will probably give this one a try despite the mixed opinions on it. 1w
batsy @kwmg40 I'm glad to hear that you liked All's Well. I would still like to read it. 1w
youneverarrived I‘ll give this one a miss. I really liked Bunny but I‘m with you - I think it worked so well because it was rooted in realism. 4d
74 likes20 comments
Hospital | Han Song
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This book is wild & out there & unlike anything I've read in awhile, so I'm borrowing from translator Michael Berry's description in his afterword to sum it up: "I prefer to think of Hospital as a Terry Gilliam adaptation of a Franz Kafka story set amid a crazed Chinese Communist Party politburo". The dark undercurrents of the dystopian hellscape that is health care & tech surveillance merge with the speculative scifi of space Buddhism. WHEW ?

batsy It's a tough book to get through & to recommend; the odd bits are really odd, & some of it is very gross, a lot of it is objectionable, & so much that is compelling & relevant. I stuck through because the writing is not well-behaved prose but it throws up some genuine moments of insight & levity, like, "Does the United States really exist? Or had it been created just to scare us?" 2w
jlhammar Cool cover! Sounds kind of crazy, but intriguing. 2w
sarahbarnes Woah. Great review. 2w
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Graywacke Such a captivating review! 2w
Billypar Great review! I can't remember seeing a book in recent memory where the most common Goodreads rating was 1 star. That may be due to the gross/objectionable parts you mentioned, but I wonder also if the haunting and unique cover nudged people to pick it up who maybe didn't know what they were in for? 🦚🤕 2w
batsy @jlhammar The cover is very cool! 2w
batsy @sarahbarnes @Graywacke Thank you! I'm not sure what to say about this. I'm afraid if I nudge people to give it a try they might hate me 😅 2w
batsy @Billypar Yes, I think it could be that. It's also the first in a series (trilogy, iirc) and the first chapter sets the scene in one sense but then the rest of book happens in a different time/space. It's a plot thread that might get picked up in the sequel. So all in all, yeah ... It's a tough book to market 🙃 2w
Tamra Wow, that does sound like a crazy ride. I love Kafka, so perhaps I should give this a try. 2w
Graywacke @batsy reviewing dangerously. 🙂 2w
Reggie Way to review, Suba! Lol, stacked. 2w
batsy @Tamra But it's also super different from Kafka, and the prose is no match for the beauty of Kafka's, admittedly. So you might hate it 😆 2w
batsy @Reggie Hahaha! Eeek I'm nervous if I get people to stack it. A look at other reviews shows you in an outlier 😅 2w
Suet624 You‘ve convinced me not to stack it, but I love this review. 3d
batsy @Suet624 😁❤️ 3d
72 likes6 stack adds15 comments
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I thought I was someone who is easily frightened by horror stuff, but aside from some creepy moments, this was largely mild imo. Being compared to Shirley Jackson is a disservice to any writer, but because this is a spin on Hill House, the comparison will be made. Jackson's novel still gives me a cold feeling when I think about it. She created an unnerving atmosphere that lodges somewhere in your mind without having to use overt horror tropes.

batsy The haunted house in Jackson's book works like a spell. It lingers & unsettles. I like Hand's book as a realist novel, as a look into a group of artists making a play together & the tensions that result as each person tries to give expression to something inside them. As a horror novel, it's overwritten to the point where the small, unnerving moments aren't allowed to accumulate; they're robbed of their power, buried under the plot/narrative. 2w
LiteraryinLawrence Awesome review! 2w
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Aimeesue Nice review! 2w
sarahbarnes I was hesitant to read this because I love Jackson and didn‘t want to read a spin on her work. This is a great review and gives me more insight into this book. 2w
bookandbedandtea Beautiful cover 😍 2w
batsy @Aimeesue Thank you! 2w
batsy @sarahbarnes Thank you, I'm glad it helped. Not a bad novel on its own but yes, it's hard to live up to Shirley Jackson! 2w
batsy @bookandbedandtea It is a compelling cover! 2w
Reggie Have you ever read Waking the Moon by her. I loved it. Great review. 2w
batsy @Reggie Thanks, Reggie! Haven't read that one but will add to the list. I'm also keen to check out Wylding Hall and Hokuloa Road. This too is a good novel, just disappointing in its horror aspect. 2w
83 likes1 stack add11 comments
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Cuilin I saw this on BookTok and put it on my wish list. I‘m not usually great with non-fiction but this seems important. 2w
batsy @Cuilin I wholly recommend it. It can get a bit dry because there's lots of sources to cite, but otherwise his writing style is very lucid and he explains things very well. And yes, hugely important. 2w
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batsy @Cuilin I'm not familiar with that one! Thank you, adding to my list now... Sounds fascinating. 2w
BarbaraBB I read Palestinian Identity. Should read this one too. 2w
batsy @BarbaraBB This is my first book by him. Need to add that to the list! 2w
75 likes2 stack adds6 comments
Untitled | Untitled
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Here are my two picks for January 2024 #furrowedmiddlebrowclub ! Apologies for my delay; I've had to upgrade my Android phone but Litsy isn't available for Android anymore. So I'm hanging on to my old phone for Litsy use.

Kate Hardy is a novelist who arrives at a small village & immediately sets off a kerfuffle. And the other is another Susan Scarlett offering, but let's be honest, who among us doesn't like murder while we work? 😂 Please vote!

LeahBergen Woohoo!! My vote goes to 2w
Ruthiella I also have to pick the fabulously titled Susan Scarlett book 2w
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CarolynM So hard to choose between DE Stevenson and Susan Scarlett! I want to read both but I‘m going to go with Leah and Ruth and vote for 2w
CarolynM What a pain about the android thing! I hope your old phone survives, I‘d hate to loose you from Litsy. 2w
BarbaraBB What @CarolynM says, we can‘t have a Litsy without you. I can‘t believe it doesn‘t work on Android any longer and am seriously shocked about that. 2w
squirrelbrain I *think* @julesG knows how to get Litsy on an android phone. 2w
Smarkies I can't believe they are not maintaining litsy on android. I will also need to give it up if I need to update my phone. 😩 2w
julesG @squirrelbrain is right, I know how to get Litsy onto a new Android phone. 😉 You need to download the APK file from here: https://baixarapk.gratis/en/app/1037017919/litsy You can install Litsy with the file. Your phone might say it's from an unreliable source, but you can turn that off and install the app. I've tried it with two different Android phones and two Litten friends used this to install the app on new phones. 2w
julesG @Smarkies The App is updated and maintained, but I heard a rumour that there was some trouble with the Google App/Play store. 2w
Smarkies @julesG thanks for the information! 2w
Kimzey Well, it‘s hard for me to resist a title with “murder” in it, but, based on plot summaries, I vote for Kate Hardy. 2w
batsy @julesG @squirrelbrain Thank you so much. It worked!! 😘😘 2w
batsy @CarolynM @BarbaraBB Thank you, dear friends ❤️❤️ @squirrelbrain @julesG have helped to save the day 💕 found a way to get the app working on my new phone. 2w
julesG Glad this worked. Enjoy Litsy on your new phone! 2w
batsy @julesG Not having Litsy on it was the only bummer, and I'm so excited now lol. Thanks again 😁 2w
squirrelbrain Hooray - I‘m glad it worked! But I didn‘t do anything…. I just called in the expert! 🤣 @julesG 2w
erzascarletbookgasm Yay! for a new phone! So glad Litsy works on it now 👍 2w
Tamra So glad you can scroll Litsy on your phone with the rest of us now! 😄 Foul play sounds fun! (edited) 2w
quietjenn So annoying about the phone, but glad you got it worked out. I'll have to file this info away for the future! I was lucky in that Google just copied everything over from my old phone. 2w
quietjenn I cannot resist a book called Murder While You Work, especially when it's a Susan Scarlett tinged with mystery, so my vote goes to it. 2w
Aimeesue Glad you got the phone/app conundrum worked out- it‘s so frustrating when stuff doesn‘t work like it‘s supposed to! I‘d happily read either book, but Kate being called a witch pushed the Stevenson over the wire. 2w
jlhammar Fantastic choices! Want to read both, of course, but that Scarlett title is just too good so 2w
elkeOriginal I am in for 2w
rubyslippersreads There have been several times I‘ve wanted to commit murder while I worked, so I‘ll vote for that one. 😂 2w
rubyslippersreads Can you access Litsy through your browser? 2w
batsy @rubyslippersreads Yes! But I just find that cumbersome because of having to transfer the pics to upload; the app is just so easy 😊 (and your murder at work comment, totally relatable 😂) 2w
catebutler My vote is for (edited) 2w
BarbaraBB @julesG I have an iPhone but you‘re the best! 2w
julesG Now I'm blushing ☺️ @squirrelbrain @BarbaraBB 2w
LeahBergen That‘s awesome, @julesG ! 👏👏 2w
julieclair Please add me to the tag list. Am I allowed to vote? If so, I choose 2w
batsy @julieclair So sorry I left you out of the tag list! 2w
julieclair No worries! I joined this group mid-year, so I wasn‘t totally sure what the voting rules were. But I definitely didn‘t want to miss out on the buddy read! 😀 (edited) 2w
Billypar Thanks for that tip @julesG ! Luckily I got my current phone before the problem surfaced, but I just shared your tip with someone who had the same problem and started a Goodreads thread about it. 2w
Graywacke I‘m kind of relieved you resolved this. 🙂 2w
kwmg40 I'd love to be added to the tag list too, and I adore the title of the Scarlett work so my vote would go to 2w
batsy @kwmg40 Great! 2w
batsy @LeahBergen Just to let you know that @julieclair and @kwmg40 would like to be added to the group 🙏🏽 And our winner seems to be 2w
batsy @Sparklemn Would you still liked to be tagged and join in the group reads? 2w
LeahBergen @batsy Thank you! I‘ll go back through our recent posts and (try to!) tag everyone when I do our 2024 reading schedule post. 🤞 2w
batsy @CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian Scroll down the comments and @julesG has posted about how to install the Litsy app on Android phones. It worked for me; hope it does for you too! 4d
Suet624 I could feel my nervousness increasing when I saw you might not be able to stay on Litsy and then miraculously and pretty quickly I saw that you were able to add it on your android. I wish all problems were resolved that quickly. 3d
batsy @Suet624 Thanks Sue, you're sweet. And lol yes, if only more problems could be fixed this easily. 3d
rockpools @Velvetfur ⬆️ somewhere I think. 24h
60 likes48 comments
One of Us Is Lying | Karen M. Mcmanus
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The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars blurb is actually accurate for this one. A fun YA thriller that doesn't insult its characters or the reader. Some pretty heavy themes and the plot does require some suspension of disbelief, but I liked it.

TrishB I liked this one- haven‘t been drawn to the others as yet! 3w
sarahbarnes My daughter has this one on her shelf. Maybe I‘ll check it out at some point. 🤔 3w
Ruthiella I think every thriller I‘ve ever read (albeit not that many) required some suspension of disbelief. The successful ones don‘t pull me out of the story questioning it, I think. 3w
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BarbaraBB Now I feel like I should borrow this one from my daughter too! 3w
Tamra @Ruthiella exactly! It‘s a rarity, but so fun when it‘s successful. 3w
Tamra This sounds fun @batsy ….. will read the blurb to my kids with the hope they might be enticed. They just don‘t choose to read in their free time at this stage. (edited) 3w
batsy @TrishB Same, Trish. I might read it if I'm in the right mood but it's not a major rush for the sequels 😁 3w
batsy @sarahbarnes @BarbaraBB It does depend on your tolerance for YA thrillers 😁 3w
batsy @Tamra I hope it's a strategy that works and this entices them! I know what you mean... My niece was a huge reader until she went to high school and never wanted to read a book during her free time ever again 🙁 3w
batsy @Ruthiella Yes, well put! If the book makes me buy the plot, so to speak, it's worked on that level. 3w
BarbaraBB That‘s not too big I‘m afraid 🤷🏻‍♀️😉 3w
82 likes1 stack add11 comments
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Really glad that #NunLitQuarterly brought me to this book, because I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise. Loved the 1920s Cork setting, and very much liked Mother Aquinas as a character. Found it full of intelligent and thoughtful writing that immerses you in that time and place, and the Aquinas quotes that open each chapter were a bonus in terms of grounding the story in questions of ethics, politics, and morality. @jlhammar

Lindy Oooo, this sounds good! 1mo
batsy @Lindy Nothing flashy, but a very satisfying read, I thought 🙂 1mo
jlhammar I loved the Aquinas quotes setting up each chapter as well. I wonder if she continues that structure with the rest of the series. Wonderful review! 1mo
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Lindy @batsy I‘ve placed a library hold. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. 1mo
batsy @jlhammar Thank you! I'm keen to try the rest in the series, or at least the next one, but I'm not sure how soon that'll happen. Knowing how other books tend to distract me... 😆 1mo
Suet624 Ooohh, Nuns in Cork? Yes please. 3d
batsy @Suet624 Ha, yes! Perfect combo. 3d
Suet624 So I can‘t find book one of the nun series but my libraries have all the books after that. Do you think it matters if I don‘t read the first book? 3d
batsy @Suet624 Hmm, I'm not sure. I've only read the first one. I've no idea if the later books reference characters/incidents from the first and whether that matters... sorry, Sue! 3d
Suet624 Of course, that makes sense. 3d
68 likes3 stack adds10 comments
Ghosts | Edith Wharton
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I loved this collection of stories. Wharton's writing is as beautiful as ever, and although some stories are of course stronger than others, each one is like a perfect little gem. While not horrifying or macabre, the stories are disquieting, unnerving, with a hint of the gothic, and tend to reflect deeper themes involving marital discord, misogyny, and control around power and money. Can't go wrong with this one, imo 👻 #WhartonBuddyRead @Lcsmcat

Liz_M Excellent review! One of these Octobers I will read this and the tagged...... 1mo
dabbe 🤩🤩🤩 1mo
batsy @Liz_M Thank you! I want to read that collection, too! 1mo
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batsy @dabbe 😁 1mo
LeahBergen Great review! I love these stories, too. 1mo
batsy @LeahBergen Thank you! These were such a treat. 1mo
81 likes4 stack adds6 comments
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I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected. In a time period of personal ups and downs and what seems to be the worst period of history to be alive, it was just the balm that I needed. It reminded me of Georgette Heyer, but a lot more feminist (women doing things, with a non-cringey romance in the background...) It was also longer than expected, but if this book is setting up to be the first in a series than I am definitely looking forward to more!

Tamra Such a lovely cover! 1mo
Librarybelle I have a copy of this that I am excited to read…hope to get to it soon! 1mo
TrishB Glad a book helped ♥️ 1mo
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batsy @Tamra It is very pretty 💖 1mo
batsy @Librarybelle I hope you enjoy it! It is really well-written. 1mo
batsy @TrishB ❤️ 1mo
Cathythoughts Nice review! I‘m stacking. X 1mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thank you! 😘 I definitely recommend it, but it's not as short as I mistakenly thought it was lol 1mo
Cathythoughts I started a sample on kindle this morning 👍🏻 1mo
kspenmoll Really enjoyable review 1mo
batsy @Cathythoughts 👍🏾 1mo
batsy @kspenmoll Thanks so much! 1mo
sarahbarnes Glad it was what you needed right now. 🩵 1mo
batsy @sarahbarnes ❤️ 1mo
AnnR Adding this to my wishlist. 🙂📚 1mo
batsy @AnnR Hope you enjoy 🙂 1mo
79 likes3 stack adds16 comments
Phoebe's Diary | Phoebe Wahl
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This was a lovely illustrated diary of a teenage girl that writer & artist Phoebe Wahl drew from her actual diaries. It is gorgeously nostalgic & teenage-angsty in a way that felt very relatable, & the artwork is warm & inviting. It's also unabashedly horny & romantic & "I have a crush so intense I will die" in a very organic way & I admire the body-positive message throughout. The music & theatre bits were my fave. Just a sweet & tender read.

DimeryRene This sounds wonderful! I am going to check to see if my library has it. 🧡🧡 2mo
batsy @DimeryRene I hope you enjoy it! 2mo
73 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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This was clearly not for me, but I read till the end to see how it all resolves—and it resolves in a very bad way. Silly, and offensively silly at times. Furthermore, an insult to readers. And the author is proud to tell us it's her twentieth book.

LeahBergen Yikes. 2mo
Aimeesue Thanks for taking one for the team here! I will be on the lookout for this author so I can avoid them. 😁 2mo
BarbaraBB It doesn‘t seem like a Suba book at all! 2mo
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batsy @LeahBergen Pretty much! 2mo
batsy @Aimeesue Haha! I feel so mean, but if it's their 20th book it needs to be a lot better on all fronts 🙈 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB No, not quite 😆 I do love a cheesy thriller but this failed in that regard, so I'm miffed! Lol 2mo
BarbaraBB On to the next! Let me know when you‘ve found a good one! 2mo
Aimeesue @batsy If a book‘s just not good, it‘s not good, no matter who wrote it. Even Stephen King, whom I genuinely like, had some . . . questionable books published. 😂 2mo
Cathythoughts So disappointing! I‘m always on the lookout for a decent thriller. I‘m about to start Kala by Colin Walsh, I hear all good things ! 🤞🏻 2mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Yes, I've heard good things about that one, too! Will look out for your review. 2mo
Reggie I‘m also shocked you picked this up. 2mo
batsy @Reggie 😂 2mo
sarahbarnes Your review made me chuckle. Sometimes I‘m shocked about how some books get published, but I think to each their own? 2mo
batsy @sarahbarnes Me too, I go between these two views regularly 😆 2mo
Centique I love this review!“Furthermore, an insult to readers” - i want that on a tshirt! #thebestkindofsnarky 2mo
batsy @Centique Haha, thank you! 🙈😁 2mo
Suet624 Doesn‘t seem like your style of book. 1mo
batsy @Suet624 I do like a thriller as a popcorn read but it does have to be fun at least if it's going to be totally without logic 😂 1mo
Suet624 @batsy 😂😂😂 1mo
81 likes19 comments
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This is from the author's afterword, which I don't agree with but provides a glimpse into the impetus behind the series. I appreciate his grand, romantic view of science & the wonder it inspires. The novel itself is frustrating & flawed because the writing ranges from the beautiful to the almost prosaic level of a Wikipedia entry. But I am fascinated about the themes that come up & am keen to read the rest before the Netflix series comes out!

AnnR I'm guessing the author isn't a fan of literature. 2mo
batsy @AnnR It appears so! But an interesting claim for him to make, because inevitably he produces literature to convey the magic and wonder of science in his novels 🙂 2mo
AnnR @batsy Good point! 🙂 2mo
61 likes3 comments
The Sleepwalkers | Scarlett Thomas
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It's been a pleasure having plenty of bookish discussions on Litsy with you @BarbaraBB 💙 Congratulations on your milestone and thank you for this generous giveaway #BBgiveaway

Scarlett Thomas is an intriguing author and I'm looking forward to the tagged book coming out in 2024. I'll tag @Centique and @merelybookish 🙂

Ruthiella Oooh! A new Scarlet Thomas book! 2mo
batsy @Ruthiella Yes! I said the same when Oligarchy came out, though, and it remains unread 😂🙈 2mo
Ruthiella @batsy I still have her mystery series to read. And she also wrote a nonfiction book I‘ve not read , have you? 2mo
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BarbaraBB Thank you Suba, I always enjoy our book talks! Thanks for entering the giveaway! 2mo
Centique Thank you for the tag Suba! 2mo
batsy @Ruthiella Me too! I haven't read all of those. Was really keen on reading the mysteries and I remember putting them on my Book Depository wishlist 😢 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB Thank you for the chance! 😘 2mo
batsy @Centique ❤️ 2mo
53 likes8 comments
The Turquoise Shop | Frances Crane
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A 1940s murder mystery set in New Mexico, this was different from the previous #goldenagecrimeclub picks & an enjoyable one in terms of atmosphere & a reliably batshit assortment of artists & wealthy patrons in a small arts community. Probably because of my recent frame of mind (frazzled), I found the mystery itself quite convoluted but enjoyed the book as a period piece & because I liked the vibe between the Jean & Pat. Needs more flirty banter

batsy imo, lol. And for that reason alone I'd like to read a few more in this series, in the hopes that we might get more enjoyable interaction between the sleuthing couple. But, as expected for its time, there were references to Native Americans as well as the usual doses of lowkey sexism that were not fun. Glad to have to squeezed this in before the month ended for the group read & enjoyed looking up the older covers! 2mo
Aimeesue Reliably batshit assortment of artists and wealthy patrons! Exactly! 😂 2mo
jlhammar Batshit indeed! 😂 2mo
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LeahBergen I always love some good flirty banter, too. 😆 2mo
quietjenn 🤣 what an apt description of these characters! 2mo
merelybookish Lol. Great review. (Also initially read 'flirty' banter as 'flinty' and was quite intrigued. 😆) 2mo
Tamra 😆 flirty banter 2mo
batsy @LeahBergen @Tamra Can't go wrong with some flirty banter 😁 Too bad it got spicy on the last page lol 2mo
batsy @merelybookish Ha! Flinty would have been fun, too 😏 And thank you! 2mo
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Old New York | Edith Wharton
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This collection of four novellas showcases Wharton's sublime prose & her psychological insight. All four novellas are special, but the standouts for me were The Old Maid & New Year's Day (the latter, as pointed out by @dabbe that reminds one of The Age of Innocence, as well as The House of Mirth, but somehow with an unexpected twist from Wharton in the sense of a hopeful ending!). It was so easy to fall into the rhythms of Wharton's narratives.

batsy Another great read in the #whartonbuddyread @Graywacke (I read a boring epub, but I love this cover, which matches the sumptuousness of Wharton's style). 2mo
dabbe @batsy I read a boring epub, too! Excellent review! 🤩🤩🤩 Your faves were mine as well. 2mo
Graywacke Ooh. We have some chatting to do tomorrow. I didn‘t take to NYD 🙂😁 2mo
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batsy @dabbe Thank you! Sigh about the boring epubs... Hope to own a nice copy by the time I'm ready to do a re-read 😁 2mo
batsy @Graywacke Oh no! Sorry it didn't work for you as well but I think I might have an idea why. Be interested to see if my guess is right during discussion later 😁 2mo
TheBookHippie I enjoyed it as well but I liked the last story the least! BAHAHAHAHA. Absolutely love her writing though. 2mo
batsy @TheBookHippie Yes, the last story has opinions divided which is really interesting! Her writing is so good ❤️ 2mo
85 likes6 stack adds7 comments
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Devastating, infuriating, & kind of mind-blowing because of the vast machinery in place that makes so many of these deaths open-ended cases. I thought Grann does a great job of trying to put the pieces together to forge a narrative, but it does also feel like there a huge gaps—that he alludes to—because of missing sources. It just made me so mad that it's open knowledge but there's no justice. I'm really looking forward to the movie.

Tamra Great review! This has been on my TBR list for so long and when I saw it‘s been adapted I thought I‘d better hurry up and get it read. 😅 2mo
MicheleinPhilly I just picked this up this weekend. The movie will definitely have to wait for streaming as I am not sitting in a theatre for 3.5+ hours. I am too damn old for that. 2mo
batsy @Tamra Thanks! That's exactly what prompted me to finally get to it 😁 2mo
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batsy @MicheleinPhilly I hear you, it's getting increasingly harder with age 😂 2mo
squirrelbrain I‘d like to watch the film too @MicheleinPhilly but can‘t be bothered to sit still for that long! I don‘t think it‘s one that you *have* to see on a big screen either. 2mo
MicheleinPhilly @batsy @squirrelbrain It‘s getting ridiculous. I went to an advance screening of Tár last year. When I read that the film was like 2 hours, 50 minutes, I stopped drinking anything 2 hours before showtime. ?? 2mo
LeahBergen @MicheleinPhilly @batsy @squirrelbrain 3.5 hrs?? I‘ll be watching it at home, too. 2mo
MicheleinPhilly @LeahBergen @batsy @squirrelbrain “YOU KNOW THIS WOULD MAKE A GREAT TV SERIES!” 2mo
LeahBergen @MicheleinPhilly That‘s exactly what I was thinking 😆 2mo
Aimeesue This was a great book. Gann is so good. Skipping the movie until I can pause it at home. 😁 2mo
jlhammar I loved this book! Great review. Can't wait for the film. I read this Linda Hogan novel shortly afterwards and highly recommend, made a great companion read 2mo
batsy @Aimeesue Ha, I get what you mean! About long movies. But I love the cinema so I'll see if I can bravely soldier through 😆 2mo
batsy @jlhammar Thanks! I see that I have the Hogan novel stacked on Litsy so I should probably get to it sooner rather than later 😊 2mo
Suet624 I listened to this several years ago and I‘m Still aghast and infuriated by what took place. Grann did a great job explaining it all. 1mo
batsy @Suet624 Yes and I thought the movie was brilliant. Implicates the viewer, as well. 1mo
82 likes15 comments
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For #TitlesAndTunes in October my pick for #blues is the tagged. The song is one of my favourites from Fiona Apple's debut album, because when I think of blues, the lyrics play in my head: "And there's too much going on / But it's calm under the waves / In the blue of my oblivion"

@BarbaraBB @Cinfhen

Cinfhen Beautiful choices 💙🩵 2mo
youneverarrived I haven‘t got around to posting mine yet but we‘ve chosen the same book - I‘ve wanted to read it for years. I‘ve listened to Sullen Girl countless times, love her 🖤 2mo
BarbaraBB Those lyrics 🥰, thanks so much for adding Fiona! 2mo
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Billypar Great song! I think I'm overdue for another Tidal listen - it's one of the best debuts of the 90s. And William Gass is one of those authors that I haven't tried but is on my list to get to at some point. 2mo
batsy @youneverarrived Great minds! 😊 Like @Billypar Gass is one of those authors I've been meaning to read so this seems like the right time! Happy that you both love Fiona, too—Tidal is definitely up there among the best debuts. I haven't listened to it for so long but listened to it straight through just now and it's perfect 🌟 2mo
jlhammar Such a great album! Definitely want to try Gass. I bought this one when it was a new release (10 years ago already!) and have yet to read it 2mo
batsy @jlhammar That's on my list, too! But I'm pretty intimidated 😅 2mo
Suet624 Fiona ❤️ 2mo
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Natural Beauty: A Novel | Ling Ling Huang
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"At least she was beautiful while it lasted. She was really very ordinary before..." This, in an essence, sums up this strange, beautiful, body-horror novel of the wellness & skincare industry. Things get gross, graphic, & very brutal, but it's all for that transient spell of beauty. How is beauty so soul-affirming when pursued through creative means (the arts) but so damaging when it's about manipulating insecurities via potions & procedures?

batsy The author is a violinist & brings her experience & knowledge of the world of classical music to the book, but she also has a musical facility with words & the prose is lush & descriptive. There is an element of both horror & science fiction, a little speculative what-the-fuckery, that makes the whole thing unnerving. The fictional "wellness" company feels entirely too real, actually. I don't think we're too far off what's imagined here. 2mo
youneverarrived Great review! I‘m intrigued. 2mo
BarbaraBB I need to stack now! 2mo
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batsy @youneverarrived Thanks! It was a memorable read for sure @BarbaraBB 2mo
sarahbarnes Oh wow, adding this to my list! Great review. 2mo
batsy @sarahbarnes It's different from the usual & I thought her writing was lovely 🙂 2mo
BookLineNSinker I'm intrigued! About to start this one and I'm hoping it's less monster horror and more psychological horror, if that makes any sense lol. 2mo
77 likes7 stack adds7 comments
City Under One Roof | Iris Yamashita
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This was surprisingly solid & effective, with a kind of ending foreshadowing a series that I didn't mind at all. The author fictionalises the town of Whittier in Alaska, where the majority of the residents live in one building. It's a neat "locked room" concept to play around with, & I found the multiplicity of POVs interesting. Although, as is often the case, I do wish the strong & silent female leads in these books have more humour/personality.

LeahBergen Great review! I‘ve been reading about this one. 3mo
batsy @LeahBergen Thank you! It's a satisfying crimey mystery + bonus intriguing setting 🙂 3mo
72 likes3 stack adds2 comments
All Done by Kindness: A Novel | Doris Langley Moore
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This was such a treat, and it affirmed my belief that most things can be overcome if you assemble a little Scooby-Doo gang with which to do it! I liked the underdog elements of Stephanie and Arnold, and the good doctor at the cusp of being defrauded came off like a Trollope character. The romance angle made me root for the two in question—a rare feat, now that I'm old and cynical! Witty, but also sweet and tender. #FurrowedMiddlebrowClub

Kimzey Great review! Thanks! 3mo
Tamra I‘m behind, but enjoying it nonetheless! Definitely love the underdog element. 😁 3mo
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jlhammar Scooby-Doo gang 😂- love it. I, too, was surprised to find myself rooting for the romance. Fab review! 3mo
batsy @Kimzey Thank you! 3mo
batsy @Tamra That's my favourite bit! Enjoy the rest of the book 😁 3mo
batsy @jlhammar 😆 Yes, the romance bit was sweet and mature, nothing too cloying. 3mo
LeahBergen They ARE like a Scooby Doo gang! 😆 I should be finishing it today. 3mo
Ruthiella Scooby Doo! 😂😂😂 He would have gotten away with it, if it weren‘t for those meddling kids. 😜 3mo
Cathythoughts Lovely review 👍🏻❤️ The good doctor ❤️ I really enjoyed, must put up my review too X 3mo
quietjenn Indeed - every underdog needs a gang of conspirators 😅 3mo
Itchyfeetreader What a great review - stacking on principle ! 3mo
Aimeesue Scooby Doo gang! Exactly! 😄 3mo
elkeOriginal Love this review! 3mo
batsy @LeahBergen @Ruthiella @quietjenn @Aimeesue I'm glad we're all on the same page re: the necessity of a Scooby gang 😁 3mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Yes, the good doctor! Glad you enjoyed it too, Cathy. Look forward to your review ❤️ 3mo
catebutler Love your review and tie to Trollope! I definitely agree!! 3mo
batsy @catebutler Thank you! As @Cathythoughts said, the good doctor ... it feels so Trollopeian 😁 3mo
Suet624 All of the reviews on this one make me want to read it! 3mo
batsy @Suet624 It's a cute book. A bit slow to start but it gets going once it does. 3mo
CarolynM Lovely review 💕 I didn‘t think of it at the time, but you‘re right, Dr Sandilands was quite reminiscent of the Warden. 2mo
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Disorientation | Elaine Hsieh Chou
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I thought this was terrific. It's a weird book that has its flaws, but I think it's a lot more interesting on racism & yellowface than, well, Yellowface. I feel that the stakes are higher in that everyone is implicated in this narrative, & it showed through slapstick set-pieces how racism actually works through institutions & people. There were little clever bits that had me snorting (the whole Japanese autofiction thing!). Odd, fun, compelling.

sarahbarnes I remember really liking this one! I agree - I remember it really hit the mark in its commentary on racism and was a good page turner, too. 3mo
batsy @sarahbarnes Happy to hear you liked it, too! I think it went a bit under the radar upon its release. 3mo
squirrelbrain Oh, good to hear you liked it! I have it on Kindle - actually it was a #netgalley request that I never got round to reading. I may bump it up the list a bit now. 3mo
batsy @squirrelbrain I hope you like it! It has mixed reviews and is maybe slightly longer than expected, but I liked what the author was doing. 3mo
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Just found out that there's a biography of Will Cather coming out in November! So exciting. Thought this would be of interest to the #catherbuddyread gang 🙂


Lcsmcat Cool! Thanks for sharing! 3mo
sisilia Wow! I‘ve only read one of her books (The Professor‘s House). Which is your fav? 3mo
batsy @sisilia There were v few misses during the buddy read. I liked The Professor's House but I have a soft spot for O Pioneers, The Song of the Lark, and Death Comes for the Archbishop. 3mo
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batsy @Lcsmcat my pleasure! 3mo
batsy @Graywacke tagging in case you missed this 🙂 3mo
Graywacke Yes, i did miss. Thanks for the tag. This looks good! 3mo
Suet624 I‘ll be curious to read it. My mother contributed to a biography of Willa because her aunt lived with Cather for 40 years. It‘s pretty comprehensive. 3mo
batsy @Suet624 I think I recall you mentioning it before! That's very cool. I have it on my list. 3mo
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BarbaraBB Thanks Suba! Checking out right now the ones I haven‘t read yet! 3mo
jlhammar So many good ones! 3mo
Cinfhen Ohhhh, intriguing covers and titles! Definitely will be adding to my TBR - thanks for tagging & sharing 🤩 3mo
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KT1432 Your list has a lot of titles I haven't seen before! More to add to my TBR! 3mo
youneverarrived Really want to read Greek Lessons and Simple Passion. And a few I haven‘t heard of but will have to check out 🤍 3mo
merelybookish Dammit do I need to read more Knaussgaard? 😜😆 Lots of other intriguing titles too! 3mo
Cathythoughts Great post. I must investigate. Thankyou for the tag 😘 3mo
Leftcoastzen I have the Morning Star on the TBR. The only Kim Stanley Robinson I read was ok. These all look interesting. 3mo
72 likes8 comments
The Ministry for the Future | Kim Stanley Robinson
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I thought this was terrific. It is utopian, & firmly in the category of science fiction, because it suggests that there will be a consensus to adopt hard measures to overcome the planetary wreckage brought about by capitalist development. It starts off as a horror story but ends in a manner that's both beautiful & earnest in a way that my fiction reading self wants to believe in, but my cynical side says is impossible to achieve in the real world.

batsy I understand why the cover has a blurb by Jonathan Lethem calling it a "science fiction nonfiction novel" because it is in a sense nonfiction, while also doing some kooky things like allowing stuff like carbon, for instance, to "narrate" brief chapters. I thought the structure inventive, a bit playful, & worked well for what the book is trying to do. 3mo
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Untitled | Untitled
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It's already Friday morning but I thought I'll squeeze this in! Thanks for the tag @dabbe

1) Peter Wimsey & Bunter from the Dorothy L. Sayers' mysteries
2) Tracy & Dexter played by Katharine Hepburn & Cary Grant in The Philadelphia Story
3) Jess & Jules played by Parminder Nagra & Keira Knightley in Bend It Like Beckham (idc they should have been the couple! 💘)

#TLT Tagging anyone who would like to play!

batsy Sorry this is more filmic than literary; I tend to favour the doom & gloom books & #spinsterlit so fave couples didn't jump to mind lol. Special mention to Emma & Mr. Knightley in Jane Austen's Emma, especially as portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy & Johnny Flynn in the 2020 movie. Also, Will Darling & Kim Secretan in KJ Charles' Will Darling Adventures 🔥 OK, I'll stop now 😆 3mo
dabbe 1. I have only read THE NINE TAYLORS by Sayers; I'll have to read more! 🤩
2. Oh, lordy, yes! What an incredible movie! 😍
3. Can you believe I've never seen this? On my to-view list! 🤗
Thanks for playing! 💜🧡💜
dabbe @batsy I know about EMMA (but not that version, so I'll be watching that) and am adding the Will Darling Adventures to my list! 🤩 3mo
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Leftcoastzen Love your picks! 3mo
batsy @dabbe I hope you enjoy the books and movies if you do check them out! 💜 3mo
dabbe @batsy If they made it on my lists and I don't die soon, I'm sure I will enjoy all of them! 🤣😍🤗 3mo
Centique I second The Philadelphia Story 🙌🙌 plus Ana Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn were just adorable together. I think i could watch Ana in any movie though - did you watch Queens Gambit - my god, the wardrobe and staging was fantastic 😍😍 3mo
Centique Ooh just realised Johnny Flynn was in The Dig as well. I may have a crush…. 😂 3mo
batsy @Centique No, I haven't watched it! It's on my list. My "to-watch" is gonna rival my TBR soon ? And yes, I love Johnny Flynn! ? That's going to motivate me to get to The Dig quicker, lol. Did you watch Lovesick (though I much prefer its original name, Scrotal Recall ?) 3mo
Centique @batsy only just saw this sorry! I watched one episode of Lovesick yonks ago and meant to go back to it. Never knew it was originally Scrotal Recall. That‘s hilarious- and Johnny Flynn again 🙌🙌 3mo
50 likes11 comments
Watson's Choice | Gladys Mitchell
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This was my first Mrs. Bradley mystery, & I wasn't really expecting anything in particular so I liked it. Light, witty, & nothing to be taken seriously. It's best to simply surrender to the Sherlockian theme & try not to think too much about continuity or realism. I can imagine that these were written for holidays or train rides; nothing too taxing. Props to the "Hound of the Baskervilles" in this; can't go wrong with that! Lol #GoldenAgeCrimeClub

Bookwomble Sounds interesting, and chimes with my own reading today 😊 3mo
sarahbarnes This sounds lovely actually. 3mo
batsy @Bookwomble Nice! I had to read a Sherlock Holmes story today too after this book 😁 3mo
batsy @sarahbarnes Perfect for a vacation read, I think! Or when your mind is on vacation mode 😆 3mo
sarahbarnes Which is me a lot of the time. 😂 3mo
80 likes5 comments
I'm Glad My Mom Died | Jennette McCurdy
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It's hard to read about what was going on behind-the-scenes with Jennette McCurdy in contrast to the bubblegum tone of a show like iCarly (that I recall watching with my nephews), & the kind of abuse that no one can tell is abuse because it passes off as helicopter parenting. Learning about the conditions of labour for child actors & the general factory-line methods at Nickelodeon was also rage-inducing. So much of everything is just so awful.

batsy The title & Babysitters Club-esque cover, which I love, belie a genuinely sad narrative about being under someone's control so totally that one's whole life seems like a lie. It sounds horrible to say but considering what her mom did, I'm glad her mom died too. Because sometimes that's what it takes for the child to survive, and hopefully one day, thrive. 3mo
kspenmoll Another thoughtful & thought provoking review. Thank you! 3mo
MidnightBookGirl You nailed it with your review!
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Centique I dont usually read celebrity memoirs but this one just blew my mind. Im glad she told her story because its so hard to comprehend what this level of dysfunction looks and feels like if youve never been there (which is the case for me). Im sure some other young people will read this and feel seen and hopefully be able to get support. Wonderful review @batsy 💕 3mo
Kenyazero Abuse that is passed off as helicopter parenting is a good way to describe a lot of this book. 3mo
batsy @Centique Thanks, Paula! Yes I'm really glad she risked telling her story and was brave about telling all of the "ugly" parts. 3mo
batsy @Kenyazero Yeah, I was so stressed reading it because you get the sense that this kind of stuff is normalised in the entertainment industry, but also that maybe no one around them spoke up about something being wrong even if they had a sense about it. 3mo
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Lady Chatterley's Lover | D. H. Lawrence
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This book is such a muddle. Some passages of truly beautiful prose & lucid insight into the human condition, marred by a terribly ugly & reactionary worldview that made me feel trapped by a heavy sense of desolation as I read it. It's definitely a glimpse into the tortured psyche of D.H. Lawrence. But ultimately what comes through is a general hatred of people, especially "weak" people, & the types of difference that make people human & flawed.

batsy Thanks to the #SundayBuddyRead for giving me a reason to read a book that's been on my shelves for so long. I've enjoyed the discussions & it helps to see what others make of it. I liked the searing criticism of industrial modernity & its excesses & brutalities, but couldn't reconcile it with Lawrence's general aversion for anyone that wasn't pure, whole, able-bodied, with a sexual mysticism rooted in heterosexuality. 3mo
Aimeesue Great review! Nailed it. 3mo
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AmyG Agreed. Great review. 3mo
batsy @Aimeesue @AmyG Thank you! 3mo
TheBookHippie 🏆 that‘s it exactly !!!!!! Phew. 3mo
batsy @TheBookHippie Medals for us all for making it through 😁 3mo
TheBookHippie @batsy seriously ! 3mo
quietlycuriouskate Great review: definitely won't be stacking this one! 3mo
batsy @quietlycuriouskate Thank you! Worth reading if you're curious but if not, yeah. Lol. 3mo
Graywacke Such an interesting review. I‘m intrigued. 3mo
batsy @Graywacke Very much glad I read it, but also very glad it's over. A most intriguing book because it is basically a display of Lawrence's psychological obsessions, I think. 3mo
UwannaPublishme I love reading your reviews! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 3mo
batsy @UwannaPublishme Thanks so much 🙂 3mo
83 likes14 comments
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A timely & horrifying book. Vaillant depicts with intensity & vividness the 2016 wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alberta that overtook the city. He described the hours leading up to it in great detail & I almost felt sick knowing what was coming. The picture inserts has one from someone who took it from his car as he & his family fled the town, & it was an infernal scene. The latter half of the book outlines our economic system's path of destruction.

batsy Really a hard book to sit with as more & more destruction from wildfires "colliding" with cities & towns become almost everyday news at this point. Also pretty mind-blowing was learning about how much stuff is petroleum-based, & the difference between older furniture & flammability compared to modern houses (literally takes only minutes to completely go up in flames). 3mo
Graywacke That‘s a little freaky about modern homes. (Great review!) 3mo
jlhammar Yes, so intense! Great review. 3mo
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batsy @Graywacke Thank you! I was freaked out to read about it, as well. Generally a lot of freaking out throughout the entire book. 3mo
batsy @jlhammar Thank you! He's a good writer who's able to put a lot of dense info into a readable narrative for a general audience. I was impressed. 3mo
LeahBergen Great review! 3mo
Leftcoastzen Great review!there are so many factors now involved in ramping up intensity of fires. 3mo
batsy @LeahBergen Thank you! 3mo
batsy @Leftcoastzen Thanks! And yes, it's actually so scary 😟 3mo
Leftcoastzen My friend lost power for a week , lucky he‘s not actually in the 57k acre smith river complex fire near California /Oregon border. Started because dry lightning started 13 fires in rural areas. It hasn‘t been in the news , started around time of Hurricane turned tropical storm hitting Southern California 3mo
merelybookish Totally off topic but saw that there's a #spinsterseptember reading challenge running on IG. 👵Thought of you! 😃 3mo
batsy @Leftcoastzen Goodness, that is scary. Yeah I do wonder what other extreme climate incidents are going unreported. Is your friend OK and do they have power now? 3mo
batsy @merelybookish Aaah! I didn't know this was a thing; thank you for letting me know! I'm following the challenge on IG now & am definitely going to try to read at least one #spinsterlit book 🤓 3mo
Leftcoastzen They are ok, he‘s taking care of his 97 year old mother . They had a small generator, the fire , though growing is not headed their way. The power company did a work around with their large generators.Still to dangerous to check the transmission lines through the fire area. 3mo
batsy @Leftcoastzen With an elderly mum too 😟 that is scary. I hope it remains safe and they are OK 🙏🏾 3mo
rubyslippersreads @merelybookish I thought of @batsy too when I saw the #spinsterseptember tag. 🙂 3mo
merelybookish @rubyslippersreads Great minds! 😀 3mo
78 likes2 stack adds18 comments
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People. Somehow the wrong ones are always the loudest.

(This book is eye-opening.)

AnnR That does seem to be the case, @Batsy. The loud ones get all the attention and backing, even when incorrect. 3mo
TrishB I think this is also every scientific breakthrough ever 😞 3mo
DivineDiana Amazing! 🥲 3mo
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Ruthiella I listen to a podcast called This Podcast Will Kill You and according to the hosts and their research, the medical community can still be very conservative and suspicious of new ideas. Some of my own reading bears this out, like 3mo
batsy @Ann_Reads @TrishB Sadly all too true. 3mo
batsy @DivineDiana Just mind-blowing how the person saving patient's lives was the one seen as silly. 3mo
batsy @Ruthiella Thanks for the book rec. In this book Vaillant makes a passing mention about how Reagan ignored the AIDS epidemic until he couldn't. Would be good to get more insight into what was going on. 3mo
TrishB @Ruthiella that book blew my mind. Heart breaking and infuriating. 3mo
52 likes8 comments
The Nigerwife: A Novel | Vanessa Walters
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This is marketed as a thriller, plus the cover & the title do the book a disservice. Through the story of one "Nigerwife" (ugh), a term used to describe the foreign wife of a Nigerian man, Walters deftly explores class & ethnic issues in contemporary Lagos & sheds some light on the varied experiences of British Jamaicans. It starts slow, & is more thoughtful than I expected. The insight into the Lagos super-rich is both compelling & depressing.

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Sometimes all you need is someone like Uncle Carlo to hold your hand via these crônicas & reintroduce you to the wonder & strangeness of the world. These are short, brief pieces that reflect his belief in the marriage of science & arts, on the wholeness of disciplines in order to marvel at the complexity of life. I read a couple every morning to start my day & it was the perfect fit for #TheWorldIsMyOyster for #TitlesAndTunes @BarbaraBB @Cinfhen

Cinfhen Lovely 😊 3mo
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Witness: Stories | Jamel Brinkley
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"Exhaustion can drain your willingness to entertain the marvelous. But that unwillingness can provoke exhaustion too." Jamel Brinkley's collection of stories provide plenty of these moments, where a way of seeing the world is upturned in the next sentence. These stories are quiet & self-contained, but hold all of the potent force of what it means to make & live a life (as a Black person in the US). A delicate, masterly collection of stories.

jlhammar Love a good story collection. Sounds good! 4mo
Liz_M I own, and still haven't read 🤦, his other collection 4mo
batsy @jlhammar I hope you like it if you give it a try! 4mo
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batsy @Liz_M I've heard good things about that one, too! 4mo
Megabooks Stacked! 4mo
batsy @Megabooks 👍🏾🙂 4mo
Suet624 Okey-dokey. Stacked! 3mo
sarahbarnes Wow. Adding this to my list. 3mo
batsy @Suet624 @sarahbarnes I tend to forget a lot of stories from some contemporary collections I've read, but so many of these seem to have stuck. 3mo
77 likes6 stack adds9 comments
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I thought this was good & ambitious, but a low pick because the length of the book, with the story being extremely drawn-out, isn't really worth what little it finally ends up saying about most things. This is an "issues" book, but for a terminally online person like me it feels like a rehash of a twitter thread or an online article, without a satisfying payoff. Litfic writers doing genre shouldn't be afraid to go big with plot like Birnam Wood!

batsy I feel like this is my issue with a lot of "issues" contemporary fiction, ha! A lot of of the narratives focus on trying to make social justice points, but we can get that from nonfiction, or from daily life & activism & political engagement? In fiction it's time to make the story count for something significant. I guess? 4mo
The_Penniless_Author ?☝️ Why choose fiction as your method to get across a particular point if you aren't going to focus on the things that make for good fiction - plot, descriptive language, sharp dialogue, well-developed characters, etc.? I have the same problem with a lot of conceptual art. If the aesthetics suck and the piece isn't technically skillful, then what was the point? May as well just write the "concept" on a 3x5 card and be done with it. 4mo
batsy @The_Penniless_Author Good point! I have some contradictory (perhaps 😅) ideas about this. I love authors experimenting & doing plotless novels; if it works, it works. But I think when it's litfic borrowing genre tropes (like say from crime fiction, in this one) but somehow thinking it can be a series of incidents with no actual plot, then it becomes a bit... Hmm. Lazy? At times. 4mo
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The_Penniless_Author Oh, I agree totally. I enjoy experimentation and don't think plot necessarily needs to be the primary focus of a book. But the book has to succeed as a work of art on its own merits. If the only positive one can name is the underlying social/political message, then it's not a good book. Like if the theme of a book is "racism is bad", well, great, I agree, but why convey that through a poorly executed novel? Why not just tweet it? ? 4mo
batsy @The_Penniless_Author Yes, absolutely! 4mo
squirrelbrain Great review! I felt that this one was too long, as well as lazy in places. 4mo
Billypar Yeah, I see something similar to what you're describing in some nonfiction too - I had to reconsider reading an essay collection recently. With NF it's not the same problem as having a fictional narrative to do justice, but I prefer essays where the author is grappling with a challenging issue from many angles, not just delivering a screed against the prevailing political climate (no matter how much I agree with the sentiment). 4mo
BarbaraBB I haven‘t read this book yet but I couldn‘t agree more with the topic you state. Social justice issues just for the sake of it feels lazy and I often feel like “oh I should like this because of this theme but I didn‘t, does that make me bad?!” I love more subtlety like Birnam Wood indeed and Migrations. 4mo
batsy @squirrelbrain Thank you! I did get antsy towards the last quarter and that's when I felt like it was not going anywhere particularly revelatory. 4mo
batsy @Billypar Yeah, totally. With nonfiction I'd like to see some thinking through the issue that isn't already cookie-cutter and media-ready. With fiction I think just making us feel for the character and situation can count for something, but this book had so many things going on it became diffuse. 4mo
batsy @BarbaraBB Oh yeah, great point. I've felt that. The flipside makes me wonder if a book becomes overpraised because even though it might not be a good book, people don't want to say they didn't like it in case others misconstrue then as being against the subject 🥴 4mo
BarbaraBB I am almost sure about that unfortunately 4mo
sarahbarnes I love this review so much! I‘ve avoided this book due to mixed reviews on it. I think your review is one of the most informative I‘ve seen, so if I do decide to read it I‘ll know what I‘m getting into. 3mo
batsy @sarahbarnes Thank you! Makkai sets up the story really well, and I couldn't put it down for the first half, but I felt it was a rehash of themes to say "Life is bad and unfair and all these things exist" when I was expecting a satisfying story. 3mo
100 likes14 comments
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This is the grump checking in again for another #camplitsy23 review lol. I was utterly bored with this one until the end, & but unfortunately, being the end, it ended when I got interested 🙃 I found the entire narrative of this book flat, listless, lacking invention or energy. Life as we know it right now is a lot scarier than whatever this book tried to depict. The memory flashbacks were a snooze; the letters to the octopus felt like a gimmick.

batsy I guess I think Fuller was attempting something interesting that largely failed in its execution (imo) and it made me wonder if old-school editors are a dying breed in the current model of publishing. Because an editor could have helped shape this into a better story? I'm still interested in reading some of her other books, like Unsettled Ground and Bitter Orange. 4mo
keithmalek This sounds a little bit like the T.C. Boyle short story "The Relive Box." 4mo
rmaclean4 So sorry this did not work for you. I loved Unsettled Ground and went into this book expecting to love it. The pacing was off in the novel, but the flashbacks worked for me. 4mo
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Tamra Definitely give Unsettled Ground a try - I loved it. A very different story. 4mo
erzascarletbookgasm That‘s disappointing, the blurb sounds interesting..but I‘ll probably not pick this up, I didn‘t really like Unsettled Ground. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4mo
batsy @keithmalek I know of T.C. Boyle but have yet to read any of his work! 4mo
batsy @rmaclean4 I'm glad you liked it. I think I couldn't feel a connection to Neffy at all, so that's why her flashbacks meant very little. I did feel a pang about what happened with her father but I felt like the narrative dithered too much on trying to create a mysterious mood and as a result failed in truly conveying the emotions. 4mo
batsy @Tamra I will! The story appeals to me so I'd like to give her another chance. 4mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm I don't want to dissuade people; all the other reviews are positive. I'm not sure what it adds to either pandemic or dystopian fiction that you don't already see by reading the news 😬 Sorry to hear that Unsettled Ground didn't work for you! 4mo
keithmalek @batsy I prefer his short stories over his novels. The story I was referring to is in his collection "The Relive Box and Other Stories." 4mo
AmyG I am reading this now and struggling a bit. Not ready to bail…yet. 4mo
jlhammar Oh no, I have such high hopes for this! I loved Unsettled Ground. Our Endless Numbered Days was also good. 4mo
batsy @keithmalek Thanks for the rec! 4mo
batsy @AmyG I hope it works for you! 4mo
batsy @jlhammar I would have done better to bail than give this a pan; it just really wasn't for me but I wanted to finish it for camp. I'm glad to hear that you like some of her others! 4mo
Suet624 I giggled while I was sitting in my car reading your review. I love your exasperated grumpy self. 4mo
squirrelbrain Oh dear. 😬 Hopefully you‘ll still join in the discussions later in the month anyway. 🤞 4mo
Ruthiella I can‘t get this from the library at all, but I‘ve not liked the other two books by Fuller that I‘ve tried/read so I decided to skip it. 4mo
Megabooks Agree! The Revisitor was the worst plot device I‘ve read so far this year. I think multiple perspectives from the other folks could‘ve punched this up a bit, and so little action. Dull, dull, dull. And I didn‘t appreciate her particular brand of animal rights activism, but I have strong opinions about that, so maybe it‘s a me thing. I just emailed @squirrelbrain and @BarbaraBB yesterday that this was my least favorite book from CL. Great review!! 4mo
Megabooks I read unsettled ground and our endless numbered days earlier this year and both were picks, but I didn‘t care for swimming lessons when I read it in 2017. 4mo
BarbaraBB I‘ll get back to you once I am a bit further in the book. I liked the beginning (the pandemic setting) but have now arrived at those revisitor scenes and am not enjoying them. Same goes for the letters 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4mo
batsy @Suet624 Thanks, Sue 😅 I have a decent radar in terms of knowing what books I want to read or avoid, but I've meaning to read this author and was excited to try it, plus the reviews are almost uniformly positive. So I was pretty surprised by how much of a meh this was. 4mo
batsy @squirrelbrain I will! It will be interesting to see what everyone liked about it 😆 4mo
batsy @Ruthiella Oh, good to know! I'm getting the sense that her books can be hit or miss. 4mo
batsy @Megabooks Thank you! And I'm so glad you said it re: the Revisitor plot device. It added nothing, didn't really make me think about anything differently re: memory. Also the octopus... That poor octopus... I felt like it was a "token" animal just thrown in there because octopus are having a cool moment ? 4mo
Rissreads Yes Octopuses are very cool! 🩵💙 4mo
sisilia Nice cover, though 3mo
batsy @Rissreads Agreed! 3mo
batsy @sisilia Yeah, it is! 3mo
Kenyazero "Lacking innovation and energy" migyt be the most scathing thing I've read in reviews recently! ? 3mo
batsy @Kenyazero 😆 I just felt that maybe the author got tired of her own book/premise. 3mo
95 likes31 comments
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Thank you so much for these lovely birthday presents and your beautiful note, Jessie! @erzascarletbookgasm I treasure your friendship and kindness ❤️ I haven't read both books; both are authors I've been meaning to read. And I absolutely adore the Snoopy "Joe Cool" pin! ?

CarolynM Lovely 🥰 I just bought a copy of that edition of The Blue Flower today. Maybe the universe is telling us there‘s a buddy read in our future… 4mo
erzascarletbookgasm You‘re welcome! ❤️ Happy Birthday! 🎈🎉🎂 4mo
squirrelbrain Lovely gifts! ❤️ 4mo
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vivastory I aspire to be as hip as Snoopy 🕶️ 4mo
batsy @CarolynM Ooh, nice! I think all signs do point to it 😁 4mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Thank you, friend! ❤️ 4mo
batsy @squirrelbrain Yes! 🥰 4mo
batsy @vivastory Snoopy is #goals for sure! 4mo
jlhammar How lovely! Happy Birthday! 4mo
Bookzombie Happy Birthday!! 🥳🧁 4mo
batsy @jlhammar @Bookzombie Thank you! 🙂 4mo
quietjenn Happy birthday! Wonderful gifts 😊 4mo
batsy @quietjenn Thank you! 🙂 4mo
erzascarletbookgasm Hahahaha Snoopy is simply the best! Enjoy! 😘 4mo
UwannaPublishme Cool Snoopy pin! Have a Happy Birthday! 🥳❤️🎂🎉 4mo
batsy @UwannaPublishme Isn't he the best! Thank you! 4mo
sarahbarnes Happy belated birthday! 😊 4mo
batsy @sarahbarnes Thank you! 🙂 4mo
kspenmoll Happy belated birthday! 4mo
batsy @kspenmoll Thank you! 4mo
LeahBergen Happy belated birthday!! 😘😘 4mo
batsy @LeahBergen Thank you, Leah! ❤️ 4mo
74 likes22 comments
Miss Carter and the Ifrit | Susan Alice Kerby
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I was worried that this tale of fantasy might come off twee; a spinster & a genie made me somewhat nervous! But I needn't have worried; the writer is extremely witty & had me laughing out loud from the start. There are tiny bits of Orientalism that are also self-critical & ironic, & Miss Carter's inner thoughts were a treat. As fellow #FurrowedMiddlebrowClub members have pointed out, this would have been delightful escapism for postwar readers.

jlhammar Nice review! Glad you enjoyed it. 4mo
Kimzey Thanks for the review! I‘ve been distracted by audio books, but plan to settle in and finish this week. 4mo
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batsy @jlhammar Thank you! I think I was definitely in the mood for some madcap antics & the humour helped 🙂 4mo
batsy @Kimzey My pleasure! I hope you enjoy it when you can get to it. 4mo
Ruthiella Great review. This could have been very cringy given the subject matter and era in which it was written. But I think she pulled it off. 4mo
rubyslippersreads I was worried this might be “I Dream of Jeannie,” but I really liked the relationship between the title characters. Great review. 4mo
CarolynM Great review. I‘m a bit bothered by the politics. The evil Ifrit with Hitler, her Ifrit named for Stalin and then him going off to “Bigger events - bigger people - waiting and able to do more.” when she sets him free. Is this some sort of naive communist parable or am I overthinking it? 4mo
batsy @Ruthiella Thank you! I agree, it could have gone wrong in so many ways but she managed to hit all of the right notes. 4mo
batsy @rubyslippersreads Thank you! And same 🙂 I was so worried that Joe would be an awful caricature but he wasn't. It was interesting to learn that the author was born in Cairo (and likely lived there in her early years?) 4mo
batsy @CarolynM I'm not sure, but I didn't get that impression. I might be wrong but I think there was a kind of tentative alliance between the US, UK, and USSR for a tiny bit to defeat Hitler? I imagine at that point in history that would have been a singular relief for most living through the war regardless of political leanings, so to me that was all it was. 4mo
CarolynM The USSR was an ally during WWII, certainly, but there was still a lot of suspicion about them. There were also people, often intellectual, arty types, who were communists or very sympathetic to communism and very pro USSR. I'm not meaning to criticise (bothered was an unfortunate word to use🥴) I'm just interested in what she was thinking. 4mo
Cathythoughts Great review! And we‘ll done 👍🏻❤️ you read it. I was a bit worried about the twee myself, but your review is reassuring X 4mo
batsy @CarolynM You're right and it's an interesting question! I just didn't think too much of it because Miss Carter herself seemed solidly of the English values and Churchill type 🙂 But it is clear that the author was kind of thinking out loud a bit with the political situation and the Ifrit meeting Hitler. I feel like Kerby (née Burton) might be a fascinating person to read about. 4mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy! I hope you like it too when you have the time to get to it. It's a nice bit of amusing fluff, imo 🙂 4mo
86 likes2 stack adds15 comments
Fell Murder | E.C.R. Lorac
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This is my first ECR Lorac mystery & it won't be my last! It's set towards the end of WW2 in a Lancashire farming community, & I delighted in all of the lovely details of the countryside as well as the farm routines. This is like if Succession was a murder mystery set in 1940s rural England. There is an irascible patriarch, and an assortment of troubled children. Clever, well-written & with sound pace & structure; I enjoyed it. #GoldenAgeCrimeClub

charl08 Sounds good! 4mo
jlhammar Succession - great comparison! 😂 4mo
batsy @charl08 It is! 👍🏾 4mo
batsy @jlhammar 😁 4mo
86 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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Apologies if someone has already picked this song or if my choice is too obvious, but it's the most beautiful song to me about being at home in the world/making the world your oyster (in a different sense). Plus, it will always remind me of my dad ❤️ Carlo Rovelli is an Italian physicist I've been meaning to read (his books on time, & physics for a general audience) but I thought I'll start with this for #theworldismyoyster theme! #TitlesAndTunes

BarbaraBB You are the first to choose the song and it‘s a great addition to the playlist. Love it! 4mo
TrishB It‘s a great song 😁 4mo
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Cuilin I sang this song once at nap time in my classroom and it was requested every day for a whole year. I still love it. 4mo
Cinfhen Beautiful musical choice and wonderful book choice! Once again our playlists are shaping up into something magical 🪄✨💖 4mo
merelybookish Great picks! ❤️ 4mo
Deblovestoread Perfect song choice! And the book looks great 💜 4mo
Centique This is the BEST song. Love Louis Armstrong and so much heart in his voice as he sings this ♥️💙💜 4mo
batsy @Cuilin Aww! Kids have great taste ❤️ 4mo
Rissreads This song also reminds me of my Dad. ♥️ 4mo
batsy @Rissreads ❤️❤️ 4mo
64 likes12 comments
Romantic Comedy | Curtis Sittenfeld
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Sorry to be a #camplitsy23 grump but this was not for me. I probably should have bailed, but read on for camp & because I was curious about the romance. I've never been an SNL fan, so maybe the allure of that was lost on me, & the character of Noah felt totally empty & vacuous; a straight woman's wish fulfillment of a smoking hot male celeb with admirable, correct politics who's adept at therapy speak 😴 I couldn't take the character seriously.

batsy I found Sittenfeld's chatty, verbose style grating; I sense that she's going for something Austen-y, but in this novel with the first-person POV it just felt like I had travelled back in time to 2010 reading an overly-long personal essay on Jezebel. I liked elements of Sally's character, & there were little details about her that were endearing & relatable (pooping anxiety when at a lover's house) but it wasn't enough to carry the book for me. 4mo
squirrelbrain Looking forward to your responses to our questions…(I think! 🤣) 😘 4mo
batsy @squirrelbrain 😂 🙊 4mo
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plemmdog I‘ve yet to read Sittenfeld. Any recommendations? 4mo
Cuilin When I read the blurb I felt it wasn‘t for me, so I feel relieved now. Thanks for posting 😆 4mo
batsy @plemmdog I might not be the right person to answer this 😅 But I read Prep when it came out (mid-2000s I think?) and really enjoyed it then! 4mo
batsy @Cuilin My pleasure, thanks for reading since I enjoyed venting maybe a little too much 😂 4mo
jlhammar Well, this fellow grump loves this review! 😂 I wouldn't have bothered with this one if not for #CampLitsy23. I had a feeling it wouldn't be for me. It would have been nice to be pleasantly surprised, but it's also gratifying to know yourself as a reader. I think I'm done with Sittenfeld. 4mo
batsy @jlhammar Thank you 😁 I nominated this because I found the premise really intriguing, & was interested to see how it would be handled in fiction (hot guy, ordinary girl trope). But Noah is such a bore that any romance or chemistry that it was meant to evoke was a damp squib 😆 I agree though, think I'm done with Sittenfeld. 4mo
SamAnne Hah! I love your review. I went in with very low expectations and enjoyed it way more than I expected. I enjoyed the audio as I was running around finishing chores and errands for a big trip. But agree. I am an SNL fan, depending on the season hah! 4mo
batsy @SamAnne Thank you! Yeah, I think expectations will alter the experience; mine were perhaps too high. Also, though I'm not a huge SNL fan the bits where she talked about how things worked behind the scenes were perhaps my fave bits. I was nerding out on the details of her working schedule 😆 4mo
batsy @SamAnne *work schedule 4mo
merelybookish Haha. Grump.away! I also rated it so-so but probably a pan would be more accurate! This book just felt unnecessary. Better romances, books about SNL, and romantic comedy movies all exist! And Noah as wish-fulfillment...SO true! 4mo
batsy @merelybookish Ha yes, I was close to giving it a pan! Saved a little by the fact that I didn't mind Sally in small doses. #GrumpsUnite 4mo
87 likes14 comments
Less Than Zero | Bret Easton Ellis
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This is such a bleak, nihilistic novel & I think when it arrived on the scene in 1985 it would have caused shock waves. The 80s I recall as a toddler was full of campy excess; this is resoundingly minimalist, with a young narrator already jaded beyond imagination. The events & actions around him are horrifying as hell; sex & drugs are mainly means of enacting violence or avoiding life. A good, scary read. #TitlesAndTunes #SexDrugsAndRockandRoll

SamAnne This has been on my list for….a few decades. 4mo
Ruthiella Great review. I found this book to be really disturbing but still compulsively readable…😬 I‘ve not read any more BEE yet but I feel like I should at least try 4mo
BarbaraBB Great choice for the prompt. I remember this one as extremely bleak too. Did you choose a song already (I may have forgotten l🙈) 4mo
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batsy @SamAnne Ha, yes I know how that goes 😁 4mo
batsy @Ruthiella I very much "enjoyed" American Psycho ? Very disturbing but the satire was also extremely funny re: his takes on pop music. 4mo
batsy @BarbaraBB Yes, I went with NIN's Closer for this prompt! Quite well suited to the book. I haven't had time to think much about August's picks yet but I should have more time to myself after Tuesday! 4mo
BarbaraBB Of course! You were the one adding NiN 😎🤍 4mo
76 likes7 comments
Getting Lost | Annie Ernaux
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I gained such admiration for writers & the act of constructing a book in reading this; Ernaux's elegant A Simple Passion is lovely, erudite, & concise, & it came out of a period of sexual & romantic obsession which is chronicled in great detail in Getting Lost, her unedited journal from that time. Reading the journal can often be boring & tiresome (it is so hard, from the outside, to understand a person's specific desire for someone who seems

batsy so tediously ordinary, as S, Ernaux's married Russian lover, is.) As such, I find it hard to rate journals. But while I was impatient at the start of it, it was the perfect book to read in snippets in hotel rooms & the beach, & it got better as the affair inevitably came to its end lol. I loved it when Ernaux stepped outside of herself & S to ruminate: "Love and writing are the only two things in the world that I can bear, the rest is darkness". 5mo
Suet624 Lovely review and I‘m glad you enjoyed it. 5mo
andrew61 Great review. I have the years somewhere so will dig it out . 5mo
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sarahbarnes Great review. I really liked this one too. I want to read more by her. 5mo
batsy @Suet624 Thanks, Sue! 5mo
batsy @andrew61 Thank you! I'm excited to read The Years, too. 5mo
batsy @sarahbarnes Thank you! I'm keen to read more by her, as well. The Years and I Remain in Darkness in particular. 5mo
kspenmoll Wonderful thoughtful review. 4mo
batsy @kspenmoll Thank you! 4mo
92 likes9 comments
The Sea, The Sea | Iris Murdoch
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I've fallen super behind on my reading (and buddy reads!) as my sister and niece are visiting from abroad and it's been really a lovely and busy time so far. Plus we made a little trip to Penang and I haven't been near the sea in so long—it was definitely what I needed! Something about the water ... restorative 💗

TrishB Beautiful ❤️ 5mo
Cathythoughts The sea ❤️❤️❤️ 5mo
Ruthiella Lovely! Enjoy your time with family. The books will keep. 😃 5mo
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Cuilin Enjoy, nothing like a good dose of vitamin sea 🌊 5mo
batsy @Ruthiella @Cuilin Thank you! 😁 5mo
dabbe 🤩🤩🤩 5mo
Leftcoastzen Beautiful! Even better with family. 5mo
squirrelbrain How lovely to spend family time in such a beautiful place! ❤️ 5mo
pr.alm That‘s gorgeous! Enjoy! 🤘🏼 5mo
Tamra How awesome! 😍 5mo
LeahBergen Lucky you! I hope you‘ve been having a well-deserved lovely time. ❤️ 5mo
jlhammar Gorgeous! 5mo
Liz_M Gorgeous picture (and you tagged a wonderful book 😆) 5mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful 🌊 5mo
batsy @dabbe 😁 5mo
batsy @pr.alm @LeahBergen Thank you! It was wonderful ❤️ 5mo
batsy @Liz_M Thanks! And I'm so glad to hear that about the book. Been meaning to read Murdoch and I have this waiting on my shelves 🙂 5mo
Liz_M @batsy it was my first by her, and my favorite. A jerk of a main character but not every goes as he planned and then there is a little bit of unexplained weird thrown in, apparently just because. 5mo
batsy @Liz_M OK, I'm totally sold! Lol. Sign me up for unexplained weird and main characters that are jerks 🤩 5mo
Suet624 The ocean always changes things in my life. I‘m so happy for you. 5mo
batsy @Suet624 Thank you, Sue! I know exactly what you mean 💗 5mo
erzascarletbookgasm How wonderful! Hope you all are having a fabulous time, catching up news and holidaying 🥰. I need to get to the beach too! 5mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Thanks, Jessie! It has been lovely ❤️ 4mo
Centique How beautiful! The sea is so important to me too. During lockdowns being able to go watch the tide coming in and out was incredibly healing 💕 4mo
kspenmoll I am so happy for you! The sea is in my blood… restorative too. Enjoy your visit! 4mo
batsy @Centique @kspenmoll Thank you! Yes, something about the sea just fixes everything. I'm already thinking of ways to go back soon ❤️ 4mo
Rissreads I am always soothed by hearing the ocean and the waves. I‘m happy you had gorgeous family time. 4mo
batsy @Rissreads Thank you! It's the best 💙 4mo
102 likes30 comments
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This is such a fantastic book to read after being blown away by Freshwater (You Made a Fool of Death was not for me). It's a memoir in letters & details the process Emeze went through in writing Freshwater, but it's also so much more: a document of queer life, of embodying Igbo ontology, the publishing industry, survival. So much was relatable, but it also taught me a lot. Like with Freshwater, I felt gifted with the ability to see differently.

batsy I read it on Libby but am contemplating getting a copy because I kept highlighting so many passages and taking screenshots. I love their writing; I'm definitely going to check out The Death of Vivek Oji and Pet next. 5mo
Ruthiella Good to know! I need to give them another go. I only read this and I really disliked it. 5mo
batsy @Ruthiella I disliked it, too. It's not the best display of Emezi's talent, I think. I love Freshwater and this one, but it is pretty cool that they write in multiple genres (like romance, and YA with Pet) and are ambitious about displaying their range. 5mo
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sarahbarnes I have a copy of Death of Vivek Oji on myself and want to get to it! 5mo
Kitta I too liked freshwater but was disappointed by You made a fool, I want to read all their stuff! I just got Death of Vivek Oji and I‘ll add this one to the tbr list! 5mo
batsy @sarahbarnes It does sound good! I'm looking forward. 5mo
batsy @Kitta Same! I'm keen for Vivek Oji too! 5mo
Suet624 I‘m so glad to hear you enjoyed this. I‘m with you on Freshwater. That blew my mind and I gushed about it. But then I didn‘t like Fool which was so disappointing. I‘ll have to look for this one. 5mo
batsy @Suet624 Yeah, I think Fool was just a departure in terms of style and genre and those of us who aren't into romance didn't quite get along with that 😆 I hope you enjoy Senthuran if you decide to read it! 5mo
Bookwomble I loved Freshwater, but then most reviews of their other books were lukewarm. Good to know this one's better (I trust your judgement 😁) 5mo
batsy @Bookwomble Oh, I'm nervous now 😆 I hope you like this too if you give it a try. Freshwater was so good! 5mo
73 likes2 stack adds11 comments
Yellowface | R F Kuang
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I guess I kind of gobbled this up because it's fast-paced, & goes down easy, & I wanted to know what happens in the end. I found the ending sort of meh. After Babel, the book also confirms that Kuang is good at conveying social media-level political points & setting a scene, but can't quite depict psychological depth. It feels like a safe book in how it critiques everyone, so everyone is implicated, & the unlikeable narrator suffers. #camplitsy23

batsy It surprised me, because I thought I would really enjoy it. I also thought it was going to be deeper. It just felt like a novel that rehashed familiar literary twitter discourse. (Granted, I'm extremely online.) My main issue with the book is summed up here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5666951421 I think this review is very good on the issues that bothered me https://www.washingtonpost.com/books/2023/05/12/yellowface-kuang-book-review/ 5mo
Tamra It felt superficial to me, so I bailed. All the hype didn‘t help - thought I might try again later. Maybe not…… 5mo
JamieArc I do agree that it mostly just included discourse that‘s already been talked about. For me it was a cathartic read as we are having a similar situation happening in an org that I work with. I‘m curious what it was like for the author to write it. The ending wasn‘t satisfying for me either, but I‘m not sure what would have been. Looking forward to next week‘s discussions. 5mo
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Cathythoughts Hmmmm, I did really enjoy Yellowface. I was going to try Babel, but it‘s long. Did you enjoy Babel ? I have high hopes for Babel ( for some reason 🤷🏼‍♀️) I was really hoping it would be good. She says in an interview that her newest book ( not out yet ) is about love ?! More depth ? I could see Yellowface , as she spoke in that interview as a money making book. (A book that I loved ) ! Still , the money making implications, upset me. 5mo
rubyslippersreads I also found it so-so, mainly because I hated June. Not that any of the other characters were particularly likeable either. Plus I figured out the “mystery” early on. My favorite moment was June picking out this line from a student‘s story: “She let out a breath she didn‘t know she was holding.” I don‘t know how many times I‘ve read that (or a variation of it) in a YA book. 😂 5mo
jlhammar Great points about the lack of psychological depth and rehashing familiar literary discourse. I felt much the same. I think I also like more humor in my satire (The Trees and The Netanyahus being two I loved somewhat recently). This didn't really have that element for me. I did appreciate it though for being a timely, quick-and-easy summer read that is also good discussion fodder. 5mo
dabbe @jlhammar I totally agree. The satire was biting, more Juvenalian than Horatian. Too much nastiness is harder to read, especially during the carefree days of summer! 😎🤩😍 5mo
CSeydel Excellent review! 5mo
CSeydel @Tamra Yes, very superficial treatment of legitimate issues in publishing, online discourse, and society overall. I expected sharp satire but this felt really murky to me, and as Suba pointed out, the characters weren‘t well developed enough to support a nuanced reading. 5mo
LiteraryinLawrence I appreciate hearing the ways that people are finding it lacking, or places where it could have gone further. I‘ve mostly heard positive reviews so far. Eventually when my library hold comes in I‘ll be excited to read it! 5mo
BarbaraBB That Washington Post article is very on point indeed about the lack of depth of June‘s and Athena‘s characters 5mo
TrishB I love that we all have different views and approaches to this one. I think it was superficial on purpose 🤷‍♀️ I think the author know exactly where she was going with it. @Cathythoughts I loved Babel- but it‘s nothing like Yellowface and it‘s actually something I admire, that she can write so differently. 5mo
batsy @Tamra Oh, that's interesting! I've only seen the hype, so it's good to hear that it didn't strike everyone the same way 😁 You could try again if you want when you're in the mood for something fast-paced. Like, to me, it falls in the popcorn read category and there's nothing wrong with that. It was just marketed to be more serious than it was, I think? 5mo
batsy @JamieArc Yeah, there's never going to be an ideal ending. Endings are tough! I will comment more on why it was unsatisfactory for next week's spoiler filled discussion 🙂 I did see your comment earlier about why you could relate! Indeed I think this is more common than most people are aware of and it's pretty depressing 😟 5mo
batsy @Cathythoughts I didn't see that comment about a money-making book, Cathy! I will look up more interviews. I don't blame her for wanting to do that, tbh. Though it also makes me uncomfortable. It's complicated! I enjoyed Babel quite a bit, but it's a lot more dense. It has the same flaws re: depth and characterisation, imo, but it was pretty ambitious & creative in setting up its world & I admired that in Babel. 5mo
batsy @rubyslippersreads Yeah, I enjoyed that line too. There were some good lines! I thought there were moments where June became very relatable and it felt like Kuang's own frustrations with the industry coming through. But at the same time, she was making sure June remained ignorantly racist. It was the weird push and pull between how June was characterised; perhaps Kuang struggled with making June a likeable unlikeable narrator. 5mo
batsy @jlhammar Yeah, great summing up in that last line! That's what the book is. I too felt the satire in The Trees was funnier and more brutal. Ofc it covered a much more violent topic, but Everett has mastered writing. I have added The Netanyahus to the list! @dabbe Nice! You're sending me back to google more about types of satire 😁 5mo
batsy @CSeydel Thank you! 5mo
batsy @LiteraryinLawrence It's getting total positive buzz! As @jlhammar says though it's an ideal summer read that gets people talking. It's quite a fun read on that level 🙂 5mo
batsy @BarbaraBB Such a good piece of criticism! 5mo
batsy @TrishB Yeah, definitely. There was an element of purpose to it to show just how deluded June was, to depict her lack of skill. But it made me wonder if that lets the author off the hook, bc there was no other voice in the book to add more complexity. There was a bit when June complained about being a "white girl" who wasn't diverse enough, then a page later she was characterising her own mum as a "type" of suburban white mum that made me go hmm. 5mo
CarolynM Great review. I‘m almost half way through, so keen to see where she‘s going. So far I‘m seeing it as a criticism of the publishing industry in the way they influence both the content of stories & the positioning of them in the market & therefore what writers have to do to reach an audience. Maybe that‘s also a criticism of the reading public. 5mo
Reggie Have you read Bliss Montage by Ling Ma? There is a story in there called Peking Duck where something happens to the mother and the daughter grows up and writes about it and it gets cringey when the mother caller her own daughter out saying that happened to me not you. It was not your story to tell. That story came up in here for me. Also, I felt a little bad for June, thinking she was so alone but she failed us at every turn. Her description 👇🏼 5mo
Reggie of her niece m. Jeez! Nice review, Suba! 5mo
CarolynM I‘ve just got to the meeting with Hollywood. At least they are honest about “packaging things more attractively … to broaden the audience” ie sell it to the mass market white audience, which is exactly what the publisher was doing. I think June was (at least partly) seduced by the publisher, I‘m guessing she‘ll be willing to go along with this more obvious manipulation too. 5mo
batsy @CarolynM It's also a criticism of the reading public, yep. That's where it gets a bit weird for me. I've learned that some of the criticism that comes up in the book in the sense of a self-absorbed author like June being bothered by them is some of the criticism Kuang received for her genre fiction. I've just seen comments through discussions but apparently Kuang's reaction was that "this is all part of the point", which is, well. Interesting! 5mo
batsy @Reggie I have not read it, Reggie. But now I'll push it up my TBR. That story story sounds so interesting, and probably a good one to read on the heels of Yellowface. Thank you! 5mo
Cathythoughts I don‘t have any issues with the money making either .. writers have to live. It was more her attitude towards the money making side of it 👍🏻 5mo
Cathythoughts @TrishB Good to hear you liked Babel. I m looking forward to getting to it … 👍🏻❤️ 5mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Yeah, I get what you mean 5mo
Reggie Hey Suba I just watched this and thought you might be interested. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JUdFkRdgPDU&pp=ygUJd2l0aGNpbmR5 4mo
batsy @Reggie Omg Reggie thank you for this! I laughed so hard and was also yelling out loud because I agreed with everything. I've been out of the Booktuber loop for awhile so I've not seen her videos before but immediately clicked subscribe. And my mind is blown re: Lisa See 🤯 4mo
Reggie @batsy i appreciated her breakdown of the class and privilege aspect. She is hilarious. Yeah! And who knew about Lisa See. I always saw those books and just pictured some Asian woman. 4mo
Rissreads @CarolynM you have nailed it on the head. I found all of this extremely interesting! Everything is influenced by who has the most money and influence etc, the bigger platform. Apparently it‘s the same with awards like the Oscars. 4mo
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