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batsy

batsy

Joined September 2016

Ghost in the bookshelf 👻 Malaysia | http://www.goodreads.com/subabat
review
batsy
After Sappho | Selby Wynn Schwartz
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Mehso-so

This was a weird reading experience for me, because in theory it seems like exactly the kind of novel I would love. Yet reading it felt strangely laborious, almost like a chore. After a point it read like a series of biographical sketches & details thrown together; it felt disjointed without a way for me to enter the text, so to speak, & I got very little out of the writing & language in terms of beauty & pleasure. I was relieved to be done.

vlwelser Everyone seems to be panning this. Thank you for adding to the reasons that I do not need to hunt this one down. 3d
jlhammar Good to know! I don't think I'll be making this one a priority. I've had enough laborious reading to last me for a while thanks to Glory and Seven Moons. 3d
batsy @vlwelser I thought the idea behind it was admirable, but somehow it didn't quite come together for me. 3d
batsy @jlhammar I haven't read those two & this one seems pretty different in style, but yes the "a chore to read" aspect of it was pretty strong for me. I was hoping to hit it off with this book! 3d
nathandrake1997 Something about this book spoke to me in a manner books seldom do. Also, I'm a sucker for fragmented literature. Brilliant review as always ❤️ 14m
66 likes5 comments
review
batsy
Orestes | Euripides
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Pickpick

It's such a wild, uncontainable tragedy full of revenge, pain, guilt, & madness. How are these issues resolved in real life? It's impossible, & makes you understand why the ancient Greeks turned to the plot device of the deux ex machina. The otherworldly ethical solution seems to be the only way to get around the problem of sons killing mothers, wives killing husbands, & daughters either cheering the violence on or being subject to it.

batsy I read the translation by William Arrowsmith. Painting: Orestes Pursued by the Furies by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (I like this painting quite a bit & I feel like I might have used it before 🤔) 6d
murfman @batsy are you going through all of the Greek tragedies, or just Euripides? His next play, The Bacchae, is my absolute favorite. 6d
batsy @murfman I'm reading along with this for the year because I'd always wanted to go through all of them http://wutheringexpectations.blogspot.com/2021/12/the-ancient-greek-plays-in.htm... The Bacchae is up next week! I'm looking forward. 5d
murfman @batsy Oh what luck! That is awesome! I've never read all of the Greek Plays, but have a lot of them here in print. I can't wait for you to read The Bacchae! I've had to rewrite this like 4 times now. I'm finally deciding to not give anything away under the impression you are coming to it blind. I can't wait to hear what you think! 5d
batsy @murfman I've read it once during a classics course in uni but I don't know why I seem to have blocked it out. I do recall I had a week of nightmares when we did this and Medea. I'm greatly looking forward to revisiting this! 4d
71 likes1 stack add5 comments
review
batsy
Marple: Twelve New Mysteries | Agatha Christie, Leigh Bardugo, Elly Griffiths, Ruth Ware, Jean Kwok, Kate Mosse, Val McDermid, Alyssa Cole, Dreda Say Mitchell, Lucy Foley, Naomi Alderman, Natalie Haynes, Karen M McManus
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Mehso-so

I wanted some light short stories in between some of the heavier reading I'm doing, & this seemed to fit the bill. The thing about Christie is that though I enjoy reading her, I also criticise her writing a fair bit—but after reading this, I appreciate how easily she pulls it all off! These writers do their best to imagine Miss Marple in a variety of locales, & thus quite a few stories involve her nephew Raymond as her ticket out of St. Mary Mead.

batsy I found most of these forgettable—I can't remember what the 1st story was about. The handful of tales that stood out is Ruth Ware's pastiche that would have made Christie herself proud, Val McDermid's staging of a second murder at the vicarage, & Jean Kwok's mystery on a cruise ship to HK that had a light touch & made me believe that Miss Marple could indeed enjoy dim sum & tai chi. An adequate collection to pass the time without taxing the brain. 1w
vivastory Did you hear about the cease & desist letter that the Christie estate sent McDermid's publisher?
https://lithub.com/who-is-the-real-queen-of-crime-agatha-christies-estate-sends-...
1w
batsy @vivastory Oh dear, I did not! I feel like this should be settled by seance, because I'd dearly love to know if Dame Agatha feels the same way about this. 1w
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vivastory @batsy Right?! I somehow suspect she wouldn't care too much 🤣 1w
Ruthiella Her ghost might just come back and say to everyone, “Everyone! Stop profiting from my name!” 1w
batsy @Ruthiella This is a likelihood we must prepare for! In which case I'd pretend to not have read this anthology, for starters 🙈 1w
charl08 Tempted by the thought of another murder on the vicarage. I owe AC a significant debt as a sleep aid, I'd nothing else 1w
charl08 *if*, even. Typing pre-coffee never a great idea. 1w
batsy @charl08 😆 1w
79 likes2 stack adds9 comments
review
batsy
Philoctetes | Sophocles
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Pickpick

When Philoctetes was on his way to participate in the Trojan War, he was bitten by a snake. The wound festered & emitted a foul stench, he was in constant agony, & Odysseus, not wanting to be concerned with someone who is injured & disabled, abandoned him on an island. Now Odysseus is back & in desperate need of Philoctetes & his bow of Heracles to win the war. Issues of ethics & justice come to the fore, & it's impossible not to feel for Phil.

batsy This tragedy could be subtitled "Odysseus the Dipshit". Sophocles takes a rather calm, philosophical view compared to the other tragedians though it does require a resolution by way of a god intervening into matters—in this case, Heracles himself. Still, I did like the idea that whenever there's an impasse between two forces (Philoctetes & Odysseus, in this case) there needs to be an intervention committed to justice—godly, or otherwise. 2w
batsy Painting: "Philoctetes" by Jean-Germain Drouais 2w
Graywacke Apt subtitle! 🙂 Great review. I enjoyed this (and loved the suggestion that the actor who played Odysseus must have also played Herakles.) 2w
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Tamra Ha! Fabulous subtitle! 2w
batsy @Graywacke Thank you 🙂 The layers of irony inherent in those tragedies wrt casting because of the limited number of actors! 2w
batsy @Tamra 😁 2w
Kimzey Poor Phil! 🐍 1w
vivastory Odysseus the Dipshit 😅 I was so moved by this play I remember reading both Carl Phillips & Heaney's versions back-to-back 1w
batsy @Kimzey Yes! 😢 1w
batsy @vivastory It is very moving! I didn't know there was a Heaney version; thank you. I see there's a Kindle version available. 1w
murfman @batsy “Odysseus the Dipshit“ might be my favorite re-titling ever. 7d
batsy @murfman Ha! 😆 6d
86 likes12 comments
review
batsy
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Pickpick

This is the second book of Kawakami's I've read after Heaven, & like the previous one it's existential & profound despite it's calm, stoical surface. In describing in wrenching detail the loneliness of a woman in her thirties, Kawakami resists all kinds of easy moralising. She avoids performing a standard psychological deep-dive. We know the protagonist is living through forms of trauma because of her circumscribed life, but not much more.

batsy It's a painful novel because it's much like life, but written with tenderness & care. This book got under my skin so much that I felt nausea when reading about Fuyoku's drinking, & couldn't sleep well if I read it before bed. And yet it's not a book of total despair or nihilism, as Kawakami gently sketches out a possibility of how even a terminally-alone person can forge connections & find reasons to get out of bed. The ending has a spark of hope. 2w
batsy One to be filed under #SpinsterLit ! 2w
erzascarletbookgasm Great review 💙 2w
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BarbaraBB Great review again. She‘s such a good writer! 2w
akshat01 How much time you take to read a complete book;) 2w
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm @BarbaraBB Thank you! 💜 She is such an interesting writer and I hope there's lots more to come from her. 2w
Suet624 Gee, to read or not to read. That is the question. 2w
batsy @Suet624 A tough one to recommend; a pared down writing style and a very lonely subject. 2w
Centique I‘ve got Breasts and Eggs coming up soon on audio - but I absolutely loved 2w
Centique Awesome review 🙌 It‘s a good tip not to read it before bed! These are the kind of tips I need 😬 I was going to get House of Leaves from the library but the GR reviews made it sound like it seeped into peoples dreams so I chickened out. I think I can handle despair and dysfunction better…. we shall see. 2w
batsy Good to know that about Ms Ice Sandwich; I need to read that & Breasts and Eggs, as well! Ooh thanks for mentioning that about House of Leaves. That's something I've had on my TBR for a long time and it's good to know what I'll be getting into 😆 2w
83 likes2 stack adds11 comments
review
batsy
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Pickpick

Is Symposium probably one of the best philosophical accounts of hangover chitchat in existence? 🙂 Plato's dialectical dialogue style of philosophical inquiry is very welcoming for people wading into philosophy, & I was blown away by how Socrates approaches the topic of Eros & beauty. Plato employs the fictional modes of a story within a story, so Socrates is made to share his views by relating his conversation with a seer/priestess, Diotima.

batsy She says: "All men are pregnant Socrates, both in body & in soul; & when they are of a right age, our nature desires to beget. But it cannot beget in an ugly thing, only in a beautiful thing. And this business is divine, & this is something immortal in a mortal creature, breeding, & birth". There is much to unpack in these ideas but there is something profoundly moving about attributing the desire to conceive something beautiful to every human. 3w
batsy All of this happens while the men are gathered together for a night of food & drink, & towards the end Alcibiades' crashes the party & goes on a tirade about his jealous longing for Socrates, while also praising his character. It is a short dialogue, rich in ideas, & also feels like very sophisticated Socrates fanfic. Deeply enjoyable. 3w
andrew61 That is a great review. I have never stuck my toe into philosophy or the Greek myths but your review has intrigued me. Where would a novice start ? 3w
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Graywacke I‘m so scared of philosophical stuff, i have sort of avoided this. But you make it sound delightful. In The Man Without Qualities, one of the main protagonists, the beautiful and chaste wife of an Austrian official, is nicknamed and always referred to as Diotima. 3w
Tamra @Graywacke I was too until it was required and I found it really is accessible and meaningful. Reading it recreationally would remove all the pressure and you can take your time. 3w
Tamra Lovely review! I always worried if I didn‘t “get” everything from these types of texts it wasn‘t worth reading. Not true - now I realize. They are meant to be reread multiple times. 😁 3w
batsy @andrew61 Thank you! I'm a philosophy novice as well, especially with classical stuff. This is my first full-length one & it seems like a good place to start? It feels quite "literary", like a story, & is pretty short. I'm doing the Greek plays chronologically as a year-long readalong based on this http://wutheringexpectations.blogspot.com/2022/09/the-cyclops-by-euripides-only-... & it's been really enjoyable ? 3w
batsy @Graywacke That's super interesting! And it makes sense wrt the "chaste" bit; I was super curious about Diotima & her origins are murky but she's meant to be a seer or a priestess who helped Athens avoid a plague, & thus her essential argument about Eros/love (attributed to Socrates) is that to be at the highest level it has to transcend the physical. 3w
batsy @Tamra Thank you! Yes, excellent point. I used to waste a lot of time thinking about whether or not I "get it" with philosophical or more theoretical texts but now I'm like, I'll just roll with it ? The point is to reread and revisit the arguments, for sure. 3w
80 likes4 stack adds9 comments
review
batsy
Cyclops | Euripides
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Pickpick

When I first encountered Polyphemus the Cyclops in The Odyssey, I pretty much felt like he got what was coming to him. Now that I‘m older & wiser 🙃, I was rooting for the one-eyed giant. His monologue in Euripides' rendering, where he rants about the human civilisation, the gods, & his father's shrines, is too funny. In this only extant satyr play from Greek antiquity, the Cyclops is almost a Rabelaisian philosopher. It's short & entertaining.

batsy I read the translation by William Arrowsmith. Image from Wikipedia: "Late Classical terracotta figure depicting Polyphemos reclining while drinking a bowl of wine." 3w
Graywacke (He‘s quite cute in that statue.) Such an appealing review. It sounds like great fun. 3w
batsy @Graywacke He is, isn't he 😂 It's a short one but engaging, & an interesting contrast to the tragedies! 3w
vivastory The Cyclops episode always struck me as the most gruesome in the Odyssey & Odysseus definitely doesn't come off well as he's sailing away listening to him cry out in torment looking for Nobody 2w
batsy @vivastory I agree, actually! The more I think about it now the more miffed I am at Odysseus about the smug cleverness of it all. In this play he also comes off like a snobby school perfect, so it was easy to be #TeamCyclops 😆 2w
77 likes2 stack adds5 comments
review
batsy
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Pickpick

After a disappointing locked room mystery for adults, this was an absolute treat. Stevens writes precise & puzzle-like mysteries whilst also providing an interesting window into English norms via the "Watson" of this detective pair, Hazel Wong, whose family is from Hong Kong. I like that there are shades of grey in characters' motivations & actions & Hazel feels & acknowledges this stuff without erasing it. 2nd in the series & I'm ready for more!

nathandrake1997 Wow! That title!!!! 3w
batsy @nathandrake1997 Yes! A children's/middle-grade series with some catchy titles 🙂 3w
LeahBergen I enjoyed the first in the series. I should really read some more! 3w
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batsy @LeahBergen It's fun without being too cutesy! Really hits the sweet spot for adults who grew up loving Christie, Sherlock Holmes :) 3w
rwmg Sounds fun. I've wishlisted the first in the series. 3w
rwmg Sounds fun. I've wishlisted the first in the series. 3w
rwmg Sounds fun. I've wishlisted the first in the series. 3w
batsy @rwmg I hope you like it if you decide to give it a go! 3w
94 likes10 stack adds8 comments
review
batsy
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Mehso-so

I wanted to jot down some thoughts I had about the book, but I ended up venting a bit in a long review which you can read on Goodreads, if you're so inclined 😅
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4961153728 This had some good bits, but mainly let me down. It was neither here nor there & didn't fulfill the title's promise. A weird nonfiction book, as some others have pointed out. Thanks for leading the group read, @BarkingMadRun ! #pemberlittens

BarkingMadRun Yessssss well said! 3w
kspenmoll Your review was thought provoking. You write & explain your ideas beautifully. Thank you for your voice- it is illuminating for me. Like you I liked some bits but it felt like the authors were stretching/supposing to meet their preconceived theme/ideas. 3w
batsy @BarkingMadRun Thank you! 3w
batsy @kspenmoll Thank you for your kind word! Yes, that's pretty much my impression of the book, but I think for me the one good thing that came out of reading it is learning that I'll never tire of reading about those writers 🙂 3w
84 likes1 stack add4 comments
review
batsy
The Phoenician Women | Euripides, Peter Burian, Brian Swann
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Pickpick

This tragedy is packed to the brim with the mythological events it references. It takes some of the main concerns of the Aeschylus' play Seven Against Thebes but with key twists; Jocasta is still alive & sees her sons die, then proceeds to kill herself. Oedipus, having blinded himself, is also still alive. Despite the hectic nature of the play, this felt poignant, especially towards the end with Antigone rallying with her cast-out father, Oedipus.

batsy I read the translation by Elizabeth Wyckoff. The painting is "Farewell of Oedipus to the Corpses of His Wife and Sons" by Edouard Toudouze (1871). 4w
83 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
batsy
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Pickpick

I very much enjoyed this fictionalised memoir of the period when Adam, her family, & a group of friends moved into a 33-room country manor in Kent. It's a great window into the post-war years in the UK, & it demystifies the romanticism of country living. The sheer amount of labour! It's poignant & bittersweet; a lot of joy & beauty plus comic moments, but also heartache & sadness. Adam is a thoroughly engaging writer; clever, witty, unsparing.

Tamra Fabulous review! 😄 4w
batsy @Tamra Thank you 🙂 4w
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Ann_Reads I really enjoyed your review and added this book to my tbr list. I couldn't imagine to work involved to keep up a country manor with 33 rooms, even if some of them were empty or closed off. Country living during that time period could not have been romantic by any stretch of the imagination. 4w
Ruthiella Great review! I‘m not yet finished but I definitely feel the pull of the beauty and space allowed in county living vs the hard work of the upkeep! In some ways, their communal living seems quite forward thinking but the fact that 99.9% of the burden of the household lies on Ruth‘s shoulders-not so much. 4w
Kimzey Looking forward to getting started on this! Thanks for the review! 4w
elkeOriginal I agree on all points! 💯 4w
batsy @Ann_Reads Thanks! And yes, that's the part that struck me the most. Even with a few people employed, I can't imagine when the work ever stops 😯 4w
batsy @Ruthiella Thank you! That's a great point; it felt progressive in terms of their living arrangements (& also the post-war social changes re: domestic labour) but on the other hand, Ruth being the only wife & mother in the group meant that she became the "housewife" by default, so to speak. Quite revealing. 4w
batsy @Kimzey I hope you enjoy it! 🙂 4w
LeahBergen I‘m coming back to read this when I‘m done! 4w
batsy @LeahBergen I hope you're liking it! 4w
Cathythoughts Nice review 👍🏻♥️ 3w
batsy @Cathythoughts Thank you! ❤️ 3w
LeahBergen Great review! Yes, that demystifying of the country house life made this a very poignant read for me. 3w
batsy @LeahBergen Thank you! I too found it bittersweet. And by the end you can see it had taken its toll on her. 3w
Jess_Read_This Perfect review! You‘ve captured all my feelings on this book too. Well done! 3w
89 likes5 stack adds18 comments
blurb
batsy
Pride and Prejudice | Jane Austen
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This account never misses 😂

#pemberlittens

BiblioLitten Spark notes used to be my go-to for some literary humour😄 1mo
batsy @BiblioLitten Same 😁 1mo
71 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
batsy
Daisy Darker | Alice Feeney
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Panpan

Yeah ... No. I think Feeney is not for me. I gave her debut Sometimes I Lie a 1-star rating, as well, because I was so outraged by the ending. I can't remember it now, but I remember my righteous outrage 😂 I gave this a chance because of the And Then There None comparisons. I can't resist a locked room mystery. But the platitudinous writing was bad. The characters were tediously overwrought. And that twist? It needed an editor's intervention ❌😷

Libby1 Hopefully that lovely coffee and cake will make things better. 😀 1mo
batsy @Libby1 Hahaha, yes! Cake and coffee to save the day 😁 1mo
CarolynM Sounds like one to avoid! 1mo
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TrishB Thanks for taking one for the team 😁 1mo
Leftcoastzen I haven‘t read her so this is just a general comment. I find many real popular authors have their tricks & tropes that excite some people.I usually find fault & start reading that type of book with a book editors eye.😁Suddenly every book they write is a “must read”🙄 (edited) 1mo
batsy @CarolynM I think so! (Though lots of good reviews on GR :) 1mo
batsy @TrishB 😆 1mo
batsy @Leftcoastzen Yes, great point! However my editor's eye was twitching from reading this one 😅 1mo
Daisey Sorry to hear the book was so disappointing, but love the photo! 1mo
batsy @Daisey Thank you 🙂 1mo
erzascarletbookgasm How dare they compare it to ATTWN! 😂 Looks like I‘ll be avoiding this author. 1mo
jlhammar Based on my experience with her last book (Rock Paper Scissors), I don't think she's for me either. 1mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm I know! I'm fully outraged 😂 1mo
batsy @jlhammar Yeah, I think I knew it with that first book, but I cannot resist a "stranded on an island and now they're all dying" mystery ? This book came with a lot of good media and early reviews, which is weird to me. 1mo
Graywacke I‘m sorry about this crappy novel, but the beautiful picture … the coffee and cake look delicious. 1mo
batsy @Graywacke It was indeed! The cheesecake was superb 🙂 1mo
PNWBookseller85 I thought this book was terrible as well. Had the whole twist figured out within the first chapter and spent the rest of the time hoping I was wrong. It was too cutesy…if you can say that about a murder mystery? 4w
batsy @PNWBookseller85 You're right! It was somewhat cloying in tone. The "twist" also felt like a cop out, in the end. 4w
vivastory I've read only one Feeney, Rock Paper Scissors & I had major logistical issues with it. Far beyond what one can safely expect from most contemporary thrillers. 4w
batsy @vivastory Yes, I would say this one had logistical issues too, in a sense. Lol. 3w
94 likes20 comments
quote
batsy
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Too funny that I come across this right after your comment @Leftcoastzen 😆

#furrowedmiddlebrowclub

Ruthiella Wow! How perfect! 😮 1mo
batsy @Ruthiella Isn't it just 🙂 1mo
LeahBergen 😆😆 1mo
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CarolynM 😆 1mo
jlhammar That really is too funny! Love it. 1mo
Jess_Read_This I love this! Honestly, the entire page spoke to me with the description of a lovely meal and evening. Complete with that furrowed brow! 😆 1mo
batsy @jlhammar 😁 1mo
batsy @Jess_Read_This Yes! 💕 I laughed out loud at the later bits where she's trying to manage most of the labour on her own, so it's pretty funny too, imo. 1mo
60 likes8 comments
blurb
batsy
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Getting some #furrowedmiddlebrowclub morning reading in. Got this down from the shelf yesterday & opened it just to have a glance through before I started, but I guess I've started 😁 It immediately drew me in. Adam is a clever & engaging writer & I'm enjoying it so far. Didn't know much about her before I started but looked up her Wiki page & she sounds like she had a fascinating life!

Ruthiella Adding @Sparklemn ! I keep trying to add her to my original post but Litsy won‘t let me! 😩 Love the Snoopy mug! 1mo
Leftcoastzen Love snoopy mug , does he have a furrowed middle brow?😁 1mo
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batsy @Ruthiella Noted and hope you can join us @Sparklemn ! And yes, Litsy has been a tad glitchy for me on and off for about a week now? Especially with posting comments. 1mo
batsy @Leftcoastzen Well played 😁 1mo
Leftcoastzen @batsy 👏😄 1mo
LeahBergen @Leftcoastzen He does! 😆😆 1mo
LeahBergen @Ruthiella I know! I always seem to miss someone in my tags. 😕 1mo
LeahBergen @batsy And now you have me even more excited to pluck it from my shelves. 👏👏 1mo
batsy @LeahBergen Yay! It's very pleasant and absorbing so far. 1mo
Sparklemn Thanks for including me! I plan to start it soon. It sounds like it's starting off good! 1mo
Cathythoughts That‘s all good to hear .. must start soon 👍🏻♥️ 1mo
CarolynM Very good @Leftcoastzen 😂 I think we should adopt this as our #FurrowedMiddlebrowClub logo and get T-shirts made. What do you think @LeahBergen ? 1mo
batsy @Sparklemn @Cathythoughts It's off to a lovely start 🙂 1mo
batsy @CarolynM 😆 1mo
quietjenn Yes to that mug and the suggestion by @CarolynM 😆 1mo
LeahBergen @CarolynM Yes! 🤣🤣🤣 1mo
elkeOriginal HA - me too. Opened for a peek and got sucked in! 1mo
Jess_Read_This Ohh! I love to hear that a club book is good right from the get go! 1mo
batsy @elkeOriginal Love when that happens! 1mo
batsy @Jess_Read_This I hope it stays good and everyone enjoys it 🙂 1mo
nathandrake1997 I want that coffee mug! 1mo
80 likes2 stack adds24 comments
review
batsy
Haven | Emma Donoghue
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Pickpick

A spare, quiet novel set in 7th-century Ireland, where a scholar & priest & self-styled saint takes two monks with him—young Trian & elderly Cormac—to set up a monastery in isolation after a dream that he takes as a sign to renounce the world. The book casts a slow but eerie spell. The natural world of the island, the suffering of the monks, & the increasing despotism of the priest brings to the surface questions of faith, fellowship, & existence.

batsy This is a mood novel, & one where the plot builds up slowly & menacingly. It rewards patience. I found it moving & thoughtful, because it's essentially a novel of mental imprisonment—the question being the multiple ways in which imprisonment is self-inflicted, especially in obeisance to authority. "Life is the weightiest of gifts," young Trian says. Listening to Loreena McKennitt's "Skellig" while reading this made it a meditative experience. 1mo
squirrelbrain I‘ve been in two minds about this but your review really makes me want to read it. 1mo
Tamra I am so anxious to read this one! 1mo
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batsy @squirrelbrain @Tamra I hope you both enjoy it! Fair warning that a lot of reviews on GR found it boring 😅 It's why I think it depends on one's mood, to a certain extent. 1mo
Tamra @batsy that doesn‘t put me off. I like spare, quiet, understated…..☺️ 1mo
batsy @Tamra You and me both! 🙂 1mo
Ruthiella Emma Donoghue is such an interesting writer. You can‘t pigeonhole her at all. (edited) 1mo
batsy @Ruthiella Yes! I'm glad I've got quite a few more of hers to read. 1mo
Tamra @batsy if I recall correctly, I‘ve enjoyed each of her novels I‘ve read, so she is one of those authors on my radar. 1mo
batsy @Tamra Me too! I actually liked Room the least, which feels like a hugely unpopular opinion. But I've enjoyed all the rest that I've read, which were mostly historical novels and short story collections. 1mo
Tamra @batsy agreed about Room! 1mo
jlhammar Now I'm even more excited to start this! 1mo
batsy @jlhammar I hope you like it! 1mo
Suet624 I haven‘t enjoyed her later books but this one, because of your review, really piques my interest. 2w
batsy @Suet624 Another tough one to recommend! 😂 It depends on how you find the first couple of chapters—it pretty much sets the tone. 2w
79 likes7 stack adds15 comments
review
batsy
The Thesmophoriazusae | Aristophanes
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Pickpick

We continue on with more madcap hijinks from the master of Old Comedy. This play, variously known as Women at the Thesmophoria, Thesmophoriazusae, or the easier-on-the-tongue The Poet and the Women, is about a group of women using the Thesmophoria (an annual fertility celebration dedicated to Demeter) to tear apart Euripides for his sexist portrayals of women. Cue the subversive flipping of gender roles & the inevitable lewd sexual jokes.

batsy Without fail, the ancient classical texts will have a moment that seems to come straight out of the present. In this case, in a very Twitter moment, a man disguised as a woman insults women in order to defend a famous man (Euripides), & encounters pushback from the women present. He then retorts that his right to free speech should allow him to present his strawman argument. It's honestly too good; Aristophanes would have loved social media. 1mo
batsy The image shows a scene from the play that has a sack of wine disguised as a baby. 1mo
vivastory For some reason this one isn't ringing a bell. I recently checked out a vol. of Aristophanes. I'll have to see if it's in there & I totally agree with you -Aristophanes would get a kick out of Twitter, especially considering the discourse on there lately. 1mo
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batsy @vivastory Feels like I haven't heard of it before, either, which seems weird! Because it's pretty funny and quite pertinent as far as satires go. But it kind of goes off the rails a bit towards the end, but I think that's just how Aristophanes rolls, so... 😆 1mo
Bookwomble @batsy I love that you have a feeling for how Aristophanes rolls! 😃 1mo
batsy @Bookwomble Read a few plays in close succession and now I feel like I might know him too well 😆 1mo
61 likes6 comments
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batsy
The Secret History | Donna Tartt
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This is tough because I like stuff that sometimes seems to be very specific to a person's taste? But looking back on what I've suggested that went well, the three that come to mind:

For entertainment, Donna Tartt's The Secret History
For a warm hug of a book, Tove Jansson's Moomin books (I'm cheating here, I know)
For 🤯 thrills, Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation

Thanks @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks ! Tagging anyone who wants to play! #LittensWantToKnow

45 likes1 comment
review
batsy
The Trees: A Novel | Percival Everett
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Pickpick

Percival Everett's oeuvre is vast & I've only read 2 books, but I hope that's enough to call him one of America's greatest living authors. This raucous & brutal book had me in its thrall, its deadpan dialogue simmering with anger. "63 years of being an American is a pretty slow burn," Everett says in an interview on the Booker website. This book is absolutely a product of that slow burn. "American outrage is always for show. It has a shelf life."

batsy What more can I say? You have to read it. "History is a motherfucker", says one of the characters in the book, & it is gruesome. You can't look away. The hauntings will never end. 1mo
TrishB Great review. I thought this book was brilliant. How could such a subject make you laugh? Genius author. 1mo
Kammbia1 I just read Erasure and posted it. That is my favorite read of the year so far. I‘m looking forward to reading more of Everett‘s work. I will have to check out The Trees. 1mo
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batsy @TrishB Thank you! Yes, genius! The humour packed such a punch. The style was also so different from the other book of his that I loved, So Much Blue. I'm in awe. 1mo
batsy @Kammbia1 I hope you like The Trees, though like is not quite the word for a book like this. I have Erasure and I Am Not Sidney Poitier high on the list! 1mo
Megabooks Great review!!! 1mo
batsy @Megabooks Thank you! 1mo
Suet624 This book was stunning. I couldn‘t believe I was laughing so much. His discourse on America was spot on and so devastating. 1mo
batsy @Suet624 I love how he synthesised all of that information and rage and injustice into this pitch-perfect snappy and funny af dialogue. His "63 years of being an American" comment really stuck with me; this feels like a book that's had to percolate for some time. 1mo
Suet624 I agree! 1mo
Centique I am waiting in the library queue for this. Cant wait! 1mo
batsy @Centique I look forward to seeing what you think! 1mo
JamieArc I finally started this one yesterday and I can‘t put it down! 1mo
batsy @JamieArc Ooh, nice! 🙌🏾 1mo
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batsy
Lysistrata | Aristophanes
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Pickpick

When you start an Aristophanes play, you have to strap yourself in for a wild ride. Lysistrata is perhaps his most famous comedy; the one known as the "sex strike" play, where the clever Athenian lady Lysistrata, with the support of the the brawny Spartan lady Lampito, convince the women to withhold sex in order to make the men stop fighting & end the Peloponnesian War. Hijinks & phallic jokes ensue. Funnier than I remembered.

batsy The older I get, the more I enjoy the bad dad jokes 🙃 1mo
PurpleyPumpkin I haven‘t read this since my university days! And that was a long time ago. 😅 I should read it again without the stress of essays and tests! 1mo
batsy @PurpleyPumpkin Yes! It's more relaxing to re-visit it now without the pressure. Plus, you can bail if it's not your thing 🙂 1mo
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Cathythoughts Great cover and picture 👌🏻 1mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Love a Penguin edition 🤍 1mo
BiblioLitten I need to read Lysistrata again😃 1mo
batsy @BiblioLitten It's great fun to revisit the classics years later, older and wiser 😉 1mo
AvidReader25 I saw this as a play once and it was so fun! 1mo
batsy @AvidReader25 I imagine it would be! 😁 1mo
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batsy
Zama | Antonio Di Benedetto
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter Z

"To the victims of expectations" is the epigraph of this book. A brilliant portrayal of the paranoia & self-loathing that stems from being desperate to get out. A tale of the psychosis of the coloniser. The author lost a year in prison being tortured by the Argentine military junta & underwent mock executions in front of a firing squad. This book feels like it was born out of that experience.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thanks for sharing!! 1mo
batsy @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for hosting; it was fun! 🙂 1mo
Suet624 Wow. 1mo
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batsy
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter Y

I skipped X because the only books that came to mind were a badly-written mystery & an X-Files novel & no one would benefit from reading either one of those 😂

For Y: a Finnish novel that's full of whimsy & wit, a sequence of adventures, & questions about the meaning of life. As a novel it can on first read come off as lightweight or frivolous, but years later I sometimes still think about it... 🐰

Cathythoughts That cover is really something 👌🏻♥️ 1mo
Adventures-of-a-French-Reader I really enjoyed this book too ;) 1mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Yes! And captures the energy of the book 🙂 1mo
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batsy @Adventures-of-a-French-Reader Glad to hear it ☺️ 1mo
Ann_Reads This sounds like a good candidate for the #192025 challenge. Thanks for adding this as your choice for 'Y.' 1mo
batsy @Ann_Reads I hope it works for you! 🙂 1mo
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batsy
Small Things Like These | Claire Keegan
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Pickpick

A small story with big consequences, gracefully told with an economy of prose. Set in the mid-1980s during the Irish Troubles, it does very well in capturing the atmosphere of a small Irish town during Christmas. The place comes alive, & the story initially casts a spell. The Magdalen laundries & the Catholic Church loom large, & this is a morality tale that is a reckoning with its practices. I was somewhat let down by its abruptly mawkish ending.

Cathythoughts Great review 👏🏻♥️ 1mo
batsy I might have had different expectations if I had known going in that it was more of an extended story that is a moral tale or fable—sort an updated, Irish-specific version of A Christmas Carol. 1mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy! I hope you're having a lovely holiday 💕 1mo
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Suet624 Now that you say it, I can see how the ending can be seen that way. Maybe I was in a mood to believe in a quiet hero. 😍 1mo
batsy @Suet624 I hear you! With the world being what it is, it's a comfort to find a story about basic human empathy and decency. 1mo
Suet624 No kidding. 1mo
squirrelbrain Great review! 1mo
erzascarletbookgasm Nicely said. 👏 I see what you mean about the ending too, but I was okay with it 😊 1mo
Ruthiella I think it was someone on YouTube who suggested that the ending might just be a figment of Bill‘s imagination…like that is what he wishes he‘d done. 1mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Thank you! I think it's just that I had somewhat different expectations based on some reviews. 1mo
batsy @squirrelbrain Thank you! 1mo
batsy @Ruthiella Oh, that's really interesting to think about actually! 1mo
Ann_Reads You summed up the story well. 🙂 I read this around the holidays in 2021 and was pleasantly surprised. It might be worthy of a reread. 1mo
batsy @Ann_Reads Thanks! I think reading it during the Christmas holidays would have heightened the mood. Perfect seasonal reading. 1mo
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batsy
The Wind in the Willows | Kenneth Grahame
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter W

One of my all-time favourites and a pleasure at any age, though perhaps an adult might get more out of it. This novel about a gentlemen's club of small creatures who enjoy pottering about, thinking, and the finer things in life has some interesting subtexts.

jlhammar Oh, I love this one. I should do a reread soon. 1mo
batsy @jlhammar Such a delight! Can't go wrong with a re-read 🙂 1mo
Ruthiella I love this book too! I‘d love to picnic with Mole and Ratty or spend the night in Mr. Badger‘s burrow! ❤️ 1mo
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Perfect 👍🏻 1mo
batsy @Ruthiella Sorry, I missed this comment earlier but I absolutely agree! I feel like Mr Badger is a potential Litten 😁 1mo
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batsy
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Pickpick

I found Vendler, a Harvard professor & critic, to be a comforting & sensible companion as I made my way through the sonnets. Her close readings are what would be deemed old-school these days, but they are what poetry deserves: the study of its language, the puzzle of its verbal mechanisms. Sometimes the discussion becomes super technical, but she doesn't lose me because she still stays within the poem. This kind of deep reading feels meditative.

Graywacke I wish I had had something like this. 1mo
batsy @Graywacke It was super useful to have her voice in my ear. (And once again grateful for friends with pdfs!) 1mo
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batsy
Villette | Charlotte Bront
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter V

It can only be one of my eternal literary loves, Villette 💜

JamieArc I need to read this. Often throughout the year, I eye it on my bookshelf and feel it trying to lure me in. 1mo
batsy @JamieArc Definitely a book to get stuck in when you want something big and absorbing. Perhaps a nice one when fall or winter 🙂 1mo
JamieArc @batsy I‘m a very seasonal reader, so I‘ll note that. Thanks! 1mo
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sarahbellum I was waiting and waiting, hoping someone would chose Villette. One of my favorite Brontës ? 1mo
batsy @sarahbellum So happy to meet another Villette-lover! 💜 Think it slightly edges out Jane Eyre as my favourite Brontë novel. 1mo
Sophronisba One of my all-time favorites! 1mo
merelybookish Absolutely! 😭 1mo
batsy @Sophronisba 🙌🏾 1mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing 🙌🏻📚 1mo
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batsy
Shakespeare's Sonnets & Poems | William Shakespeare
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Pickpick

Wading through the murky depths of Shakespeare's psyche is like staring into the abyss & having it stare back at you. Not for the faint-hearted, & for this reason I'm so glad to have had the company of the #ShakespeareReadAlong gang as we made our way through the 154 sonnets, in the capable hands of our guide @GingerAntics . I've always known it was about "love" but the sequence of sonnets is divided between those written to a young man & a woman.

batsy I'm partial to the ones written to the young man, which form the majority of the collection. You feel the full breadth & depth of Shakespeare as a person in those sonnets; the charming bits, the tender bits, & the ugly bits. The "Dark Lady" sequence itself becomes repetitious; dredging up Shakey's own lack of self-worth that seems disturbingly predicated on the lady's virtue (& her supposed lasciviousness) & the "dark" features of her appearance. 1mo
batsy All in all, these sonnets are a fantastic workout for the brain & I feel that I will return to the individual poems at different points. Both linguistically & philosophically varied & compelling. Sadly I couldn't get a physical copy in the edition I wanted in time for the group read, but the Folger edition (available on Kindle) was very good, with helpful notes. Thanks for the discussions @Graywacke @MrsMalaprop @TheBookHippie 1mo
Graywacke Kudos @batsy ! Great post. Maybe we all need an easier read next. 1mo
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MrsMalaprop 👏🙌❤️ 1mo
TheBookHippie This was a fantastic synopsis and I agree I stretched my brain!!! 1mo
batsy @Graywacke @MrsMalaprop @TheBookHippie Thank you all for a good time! 🥰 1mo
90 likes6 comments
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batsy
Ulysses | James Joyce
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter U

Slim pickings for my U choices, since I have more U-titled books on my TBR than I have read 🙈

I'm going with Ulysses, which I surprisingly loved and had a lot of fun reading. It's wild and it's a trip!!

erzascarletbookgasm I haven‘t read James Joyce 🤔 1mo
Graywacke Some day. I‘m really intimidated by this, and pleased to know to you liked it so much. 1mo
BarbaraBB You had fun reading Ulysses? I am impressed. I read it but was glad when it was over. I admit it was better than O expected on forehand! 1mo
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batsy @erzascarletbookgasm His short stories probably the best way to see if he's your cup of tea 1mo
batsy @Graywacke I understand being intimidated. I have to say that I read it for the first time over a 6 month seminar course, a real deep dive with two very enthusiastic professors and that definitely helped! 1mo
batsy @BarbaraBB Yes, but as I mentioned to Dan above, studying it in a group was helpful to me. I might have struggled/bailed if I read it at a different time on my own. 1mo
BarbaraBB @Graywacke This site really helped me (I think it was a recommendation by @Liz_M ) : https://www.shmoop.com/study-guides/literature/ulysses-joyce/summary 1mo
BarbaraBB @batsy I used the summary mentioned above, I read a piece after each chapter that I finished to confirm for myself what I‘d been reading 🤣 1mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing 📚 1mo
batsy @BarbaraBB I hear you; I referred to the SparkNotes site when we were doing the Shakespeare plays! 😆 1mo
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batsy
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter T

This book took me by surprise by its fierce, uncompromising feminism. I love Helen's righteous anger. Anne's often the sidelined Brontë sister but this novel shows her to be worthy of as much adulation as Charlotte and Emily.

I was going to pick Woolf's To the Lighthouse, another T book that I love a lot, but I've mentioned Woolf once already so I wanted to show Anne some love 💜

erzascarletbookgasm Yes ❤️ 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing 📚 1mo
68 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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batsy
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter S

As a theoretical/philosophical work, it does get dense & hard to parse in places but still worth the effort, I think. The style is short numbered paragraphs; it's easy to pick up anytime & mull over. I just feel it perfectly captures our hypercapitalist present & the "autocratic reign of the market economy" where it feels like commodities have more rights, & freedom of movement, than people...

Leftcoastzen 👍👏 2mo
Bookwomble I really enjoyed reading this - makes a lot of sense. 1mo
batsy @Leftcoastzen 🙌🏾 1mo
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batsy @Bookwomble It does, doesn't it? Put into words the vague sense I had about why things are effed up 🙃 1mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing 📚 1mo
vivastory I read a lot of Situationist texts right when the internet was kicking off. It'd be a trip to revisit them now 1mo
batsy @vivastory This one I think remains particularly relevant. Especially about celebrity and how reality is mediated through the spectacle... Even politics now is a matter of fandom, it feels like! 1mo
53 likes7 comments
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batsy
Helen | Euripides
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Pickpick

Euripides is the king of screwball tragicomedy, & that's a compliment. He is the one tragedian that reads like proto-Shakespeare. I like the screwball element. The twist here is that the Helen that drove foolish men to wars is a mirage, while the real Helen bides her time & reveals a sharp mind by degrees. Helen & Menelaus get to work like a sweeter, nonviolent Bonnie & Clyde, & then Euripides sends in the demi-gods to give us a "happy" ending.

batsy I read the translation by Richmond Lattimore. Image is from Greek pottery c. 450-440 BC showing Helen, centre, with Menelaus on the left. 2mo
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batsy
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Truly a good book day in that I totally forgot about the #treatyoself batch of books I ordered at some point for my birthday month 😂💜

TrishB Love it when that happens! 2mo
batsy @TrishB The best! 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm 👏🎉 Yay! More books! 2mo
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Cathythoughts Exciting ❤️ 2mo
squirrelbrain Always good when you get ‘surprise‘ books…especially when you ordered them yourself! 2mo
batsy @squirrelbrain Exactly 😂 2mo
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batsy
Heaven | Mieko Kawakami
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Fun bookmail to come home to! Thank you so much @BarbaraBB and I adore how the lovely postcard goes with the book 💕

(This short book's not in the database; tagging the other Kawakami I really liked.)

TrishB Lovely ❤️ 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm Oh, a new story from Mieko 👀 2mo
batsy @TrishB ❤️ 2mo
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batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Yes! If I remember correctly is it Breasts and Eggs that you read and liked? 2mo
BarbaraBB That is so fast! I hope you like it. It‘s a story that keeps lingering in the back of my mind! 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB Yes, it was! Way to go international post 😁 2mo
Megabooks So cool that the booklet has made it so far from Kentucky! 2mo
batsy @Megabooks Yes! A travelling book 💕 2mo
59 likes8 comments
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batsy
Rebecca | Daphne Du Maurier
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter R

It has to be Rebecca. I read it for the first time as a teen & was obsessed; I kept reading it over & over for a few years. That haunting opening line; the Gothic atmosphere; the glamour, dread, & mystery. How it shifts from the heady holiday vibes of Monte Carlo to the terrifying yet opulent gloom of Manderley.

Probably worth noting that I was similarly obsessed with Jane Eyre 😆 #sensingatheme

vivastory I know that some people think that the ending is rushed, but IMO the entire book is perfect 2mo
Ann_Reads Great choice, Batsy. 🙂 Rebecca really got me interested in gothic stories. A deserving book I totally forgot to add to my Honorable Mention list. 2mo
AvidReader25 I love this book so much! 2mo
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Cazxxx I picked this too! One of my favs ☺️ 2mo
batsy @vivastory I totally agree! 2mo
batsy @Ann_Reads It's the perfect intro to gothic suspense 💜 2mo
batsy @AvidReader25 @Cazxxx So good! 🙌🏾 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing 📚 2mo
80 likes3 stack adds9 comments
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batsy
Our Wives Under the Sea | Julia Armfield
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Pickpick

Deeply affecting exploration of grief, as well as mental, emotional, & physical alteration & deterioration. The genuine devastation of losing a loved one slowly, right in front of your eyes. I felt for Miri & Leah. It had some really effective moments of eerieness, but here's where I wish it got weirder & creepier than it was. Like @Ruthiella I would have liked some VanderMeer horror, but perhaps that would have made it a different book entirely.

batsy I love Armfield's writing; her sentences are beautifully constructed, & sometimes surprising. The love story between Miri & Leah tugged at my heart, all the more so because it wasn't expressed in grand terms, but grounded in the little things, in the realities of each person. "It is still comforting, of a fashion, to think about my Leah, though such thoughts come attendant on the usual wave of grief that my Leah is not who I have with me now." 2mo
Freespirit Lovely review. Sounds like one to put on the reading list😊 2mo
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squirrelbrain Wonderful review! Looking forward to our #camplitsy discussions. 2mo
jlhammar Awesome review! This was definitely a different kind of horror than I was expecting, but it really worked. Agree about her writing. Only a few pages in I realized I was in good hands when I read “It went on too long and too helplessly. The way that anyone who sneezes more than four times abruptly loses the sympathy of an audience, so it was with me and Leah.“ What an insightful description/comparison! 2mo
Ruthiella I agree, it would have been a different book if the horror aspect had been played differently. Unfortunately the love story angle is just less interesting for me as a reader. 2mo
batsy @Freespirit Thank you! 🙂 2mo
batsy @squirrelbrain Thank you! Yes, it'll be interesting to see what everyone thinks! 2mo
batsy @jlhammar Thank you! Yes, she has a knack for those perceptive insights that arrive quite subtly, without fanfare or a lot of foreshadowing. And I found that quite compelling. 2mo
batsy @Ruthiella I get you! It's a book that sets up different expectations and how someone gets on with it might depend on whether they feel those were fulfilled. I like her writing well enough that I'll gladly read the full weird-horror version if she writes it. 2mo
Megabooks Fantastic review! 🙌🏻 I must admit I‘m more with @Ruthiella though. 👍🏻 2mo
batsy @Megabooks Thank you! It seems to have divided opinion along those lines so the discussion should prove interesting 🙂 2mo
Sparklemn @jlhammar So insightful! Looking forward to this one and catching up with the campers. 2mo
cariashley Finished it this morning and was JUST thinking that it felt like stripped down VanderMeer. Spot on. 2mo
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batsy
Quicksand | Nella Larsen
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter Q

A 1928 novella of quiet devastation that reveals some powerful and horrifying truths about racism, fetishisation of Black people and culture, and also the loneliness that comes from feeling like you don't belong.

Smarkies Need to pick this up. Just read her other novella - Passing. 2mo
batsy @Smarkies I definitely recommend it! Both of these are very good. 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm This would be my choice too! 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing! 2mo
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batsy
Possession | A. S. Byatt
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I was swept away by this novel. Just a big, dramatic story about scholarly passion and obsession, Victorian poets and the making of art, and love, but I think its dry humour goes under the radar.

Other 5 ⭐ reads that come to mind for P are Jane Austen's Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice, and Susanna Clarke's Piranesi.

JamieArc I loved this book, and it was a delight to hear her speak some years ago. 2mo
LeeRHarry This is a fave of mine too - great choice 😊 2mo
BarbaraBB Oh yes, another good one! 2mo
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AllDebooks Very good choice 2mo
Ruthiella Loved this one too, as well as all your other choices! 👍 2mo
quietjenn I feel like this is one I should revisit. 2mo
batsy @JamieArc That must have been wonderful. She seems so intelligent. 2mo
batsy @LeeRHarry @BarbaraBB @AllDebooks @Ruthiella So glad I'm in good company 🙂 2mo
batsy @quietjenn It's the type of book that rewards re-reading, for sure! 2mo
Centique Such a good book - and a recent read for me! 2mo
Suet624 Piranesi!!! 💕💕 2mo
batsy @Centique I keep having this urge to re-read it and I keep putting it aside because of all my unread books! #ReaderProblems 2mo
batsy @Suet624 So good! ❤️ 2mo
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batsy
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Pickpick

When I was a kid I was super enthralled with this book, but reading it now I'm noticing stuff that I'm less enamoured with. Chiefly, it's the traditional politics & the takes on foreigners. It is a product of its time. Younger me would have given this 4 or 5 stars, adult me is thinking this is more of a 3. But I'll let nostalgia win because I still found it an immensely comforting read, with pie for breakfast, children triumphing & a happy ending.

batsy A perfect book for summer/long holidays in the sun! #ChildrensClassicRead2022 @TheBookHippie 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm True, just like those Enid Blyton books are products of the time, but we loved them so much then. ❤️ Nice review, I better get started on this. 2mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm So true! I hope you enjoy this 💕 2mo
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Ann_Reads I'm about halfway through the book and totally understand your perspective. There are some “iffy“ parts but I usually try to set that aside the best I can when reading classic children's stories. (Easier said than done sometimes.) The same goes for some books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Frances Hodgson Burnett. 2mo
batsy @Ann_Reads Oh, yes! I know what you mean. I turn to a lot of those books because they remind me of how much I loved reading them as a child but there's stuff that's hard to ignore or brush over at times. 2mo
Centique I sometimes wish that those books existed “the way I remember them” and not the actual reality. That childhood eye that just gleaned the good bits! But of course I appreciate we need to face up to all the problems within them and critique them too. Thank goodness we have a lot of authors writing new fabulous and inclusive childrens books 🙌 2mo
Centique By which I mean… I reread some and can‘t get over the problematic parts either 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2mo
batsy @Centique Exactly! You said it so well. When I read them now I'd like to retreat to that same comfort they provided as a kid, but if course it'll never quite be the same. 2mo
TheBookHippie I totally agree. I very much enjoyed it as an adult and realized the times it was written in and why. 1mo
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batsy
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter O

I'm going with Oedipus the King by Sophocles, a stunning play that feels very modern, like a detective story in some ways, a thriller in others, & a psychological novel—all in one.

Another O play that deserves a mention is Shakespeare's Othello, & also Aeschylus's Oresteia, though I'm cheating with the latter because it's a sequence of three plays :)

merelybookish I taught this a few times and was so blown away by it. I think the students thought I was nuts. 🤣 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing! 2mo
batsy @merelybookish That's so great! As an adult I look back and realise my best learning experiences were with teachers who couldn't restrain their enthusiasm 😁 2mo
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batsy @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks You're welcome! 2mo
vivastory Oedipus & Oresteia are both favorites. I have greatly enjoyed revisiting the tragedies, inspired by your posts. 2mo
batsy @vivastory I am so glad! These plays will never get "old", so to speak ? 2mo
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batsy
Notes of a Crocodile | Qiu Miaojin
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter N

I really liked this introspective, edgy book about queer youth in late 1980s Taipei. There were some great lines and observations, a lot of it relatable precisely because of how it highlights gender norms in Asia. The disaffected lesbian narrator was an intriguing voice throughout.

And really, who among us hasn't felt like a crocodile in a human suit?

Translated from the Chinese by Bonnie Huie.

Graywacke So many of your titles are new to me 2mo
vivastory I love yr line about a crocodile in a human suit! This is one of my TBR NYRB & I have always loved the cover 2mo
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batsy @Graywacke @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thanks to a fun game that allows me to share the more offbeat favourites I've read 😊 2mo
batsy @vivastory That's from the book if I recall correctly. It's a pretty great read but it has mixed reviews, as I've seen. The crocodile in a human suit was an analogy about queer people in a heteronormative society. 2mo
vivastory @batsy That analogy makes sense. I noticed the mixed reviews, but I have to say that I have yet to read a NYRB that I actively loathed, So, I'm going in with an open mind when I read it. 2mo
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batsy
Middlemarch | George Elliot
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter M

It has to be my eternal love, Middlemarch! A book that I never stop learning from. Also, chanced upon this edition only just now & MUST have it 😍

Another one I was thinking about is Shakespeare's Macbeth, a magnificent play of darkness & witchery & obsession. Shakespeare hit it out of the park with the M plays; two of my other favourites are Much Ado About Nothing & A Midsummer Night's Dream 💫

BarbaraBB Middlemarch is fantastic 🤍 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful edition 💛 2mo
Graywacke WS has good M‘s. 🙂 I haven‘t read Middlemarch yet. 😕 2mo
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batsy @BarbaraBB It is! 2mo
batsy @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Looks so pretty, doesn't it 😍 2mo
batsy @Graywacke You must! 😉 And I hope you enjoy if as much as I do. 2mo
JenDR MiddleMarch is the only book that I deliberately reread every year. 2mo
batsy @JenDR That's fantastic. I've always meant to do the same but I'm always so easily distracted by other books. That said it's one of the chunksters that I've re-read the most, I'm sure 🙂 2mo
JenDR @batsy Lately it has been a relisten every year, but I count that as reading. 2mo
merelybookish @Graywacke Agree with @batsy! I think you'd love it! @jenDR that is seriously impressive. I manage maybe once per decade. 2mo
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batsy
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That's so fucked up. Hope he's OK.

vivastory I was on a call when I saw this & I literally hung up bc I was stunned. Just terrible. 2mo
batsy @vivastory it's so awful 😔 2mo
Leftcoastzen My heart is broken! I remember the death threats after publication of 2mo
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Kammbia1 That is awful. I hope he is okay. 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm OMG! Hope he will be okay 2mo
CoffeeAndABook Oh no 😔 hope he will pull through. 2mo
AllDebooks Just read news reports saying he was stabbed in the neck. Really hope he's ok 2mo
AnneCecilie This is unbelievable. (edited) 2mo
jlhammar Shocking and terrible. Hope we get some good news about how he's doing soon. 2mo
AmyG Stabbed in the neck? Insanity 2mo
kspenmoll It‘s so horrible. 2mo
kwmg40 Sad and horrifying! 2mo
sprainedbrain 😢 2mo
Meshell1313 Heartbreaking 💔 2mo
AllDebooks Oh crap, this is horrendous. What a savage attack. All the more heartbreaking, after all this time, as you say @batsy 💔 2mo
Tera66 So horrible! 2mo
Kammbia1 This is awful news! I‘m very sad. 2mo
BarbaraBB All the hate in this world. The man has been dealing with the fatwa and its aftermath for 30 years. So sad. 2mo
CarolynM What can you say about something like this? It‘s horrific. 2mo
Suet624 I still am shaken. This poor man. 2mo
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batsy
Electra | Euripides
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Pickpick

This is a really interesting version of Electra by the youngest of the three tragedians (the other two being Aeschylus & Sophocles). It's hard not to psychologise these characters based on our modern tendencies but this Electra does *feel* modern, in a way: the twist here is that Electra has been married off to a farmer, & the matricide plays out like a 21st-century rural noir. How I can best describe Euripides: more human folly, less godliness.

batsy I read the translation by Emily Townsend Vermeule. Image above is of a Roman marble sculpture of Orestes and Electra, 1st cent. BCE. 2mo
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batsy
Lolly Willowes | Sylvia Townsend Warner
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter L

It has to be Lolly for me 🖤 #spinsterlit

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batsy
Kitchen | Banana Yoshimoto
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter K

I stumbled upon this book many moons ago at a used bookstore & bought it on a whim without knowing anything about it (the pre-social media days!). I found myself charmed & moved by this quiet story about grief & improvised families. It's very understated in its English translation & I've told others to read it & some have been like, "What is even the point of this" but it remains dear to my heart.

JamieArc Understated writing is my favorite! 2mo
Ann_Reads That's a spot-on description of the writing, Batsy. I didn't add this to my “K“ list because while I liked Kitchen, which is the first story, I was completely thrown off by Moonlight Shadow, which is the second story in my copy. 2mo
BarbaraJean I loved this one and found both stories calming and comforting. I read Kitchen just before reading Crying in H Mart, and it was a lovely pairing—with the way food plays a central role in both books, alongside the exploration of a daughter grieving the loss of a mother/grandmother. 2mo
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TheKidUpstairs Sometimes the best books have no obvious "point," just studies of genuine humanity. 2mo
BarbaraBB Loooved this book! 2mo
batsy @JamieArc Then you might enjoy this one! 😊 2mo
batsy @Ann_Reads My edition had that second story, too. I remember vaguely liking it but read it so long ago that I actually can't remember much 😆 It's Kitchen that has stuck with me. 2mo
batsy @BarbaraJean That sounds like a lovely reading experience. It's nice when books sync that way. I have Crying in H Mart on my wishlist and hope to get to it soon. 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB 💜 2mo
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review
batsy
Maud Martha | Gwendolyn Brooks
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Pickpick

One of my favourite forms: a novel of vignettes. It's so effortlessly pulled off here that I wonder why more writers don't write novels in this way, but of course this is Brooks's writing with a poet's eye. It's easier to fill a book to the brim with superfluous details than it is to pare each sentence down like a fine-cut jewel. And what a gem this is about a working class Black woman's life in 1940s Chicago. I love that it's a book that doesn't

batsy see the need to over-explain, with an eye towards tugging at the reader's heartstrings, about the realities of racism, or the colourism that permeates the Black community. Brooks confidently stages the scene without delving into Maud Martha's state of being in a maudlin way, & trusts that the reader can make the leap. As Margo Jefferson says in her elegant intro: "Maud Martha doesn't deny racism's power, but she denies its power to rule her life." 2mo
Cathythoughts What a beautiful description ‘ pare each sentence down like a fine cut jewel‘ Stunning review ❤️ 2mo
batsy @Cathythoughts Thank you, Cathy 😘 2mo
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Leftcoastzen Great review! I felt the same way about it , especially the beauty of the writing & trusting the reader to understand without over explaining.Brooks was amazing. 2mo
Tamra Must check out! 😃 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm Wonderful review! I must look this up too! 2mo
batsy @Leftcoastzen Thank you! It's sad to think there's just this one novel. I've read a bit of her poetry but not enough; I'll be sure to fix that! 2mo
batsy @Tamra @erzascarletbookgasm Thank you! It's beautiful but spare, and goes by quickly. 2mo
Ruthiella Great review! I suspect writers don‘t give us novels in vignettes more often because it is probably more difficult than it seems! 2mo
Bookwomble This was an impulse read for me earlier in the year, and I thought it was fantastic, too 😊 2mo
batsy @Ruthiella Yes! It requires great skill and discipline; a genuine ability with words. 2mo
batsy @Bookwomble Yes, I remember seeing that you liked it! 💜 2mo
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batsy
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Starting #ChildrensClassicRead2022 August selection with my treasured copy that I read as a child 💚

@TheBookHippie

TheBookHippie ♥️♥️♥️ 2mo
Ann_Reads Love the Snoopy coffee cup! 2mo
mabell And a Trixie Belden peeking out! 2mo
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erzascarletbookgasm I love Snoopy!! My Trixie Beldens and Nancy Drews were all eaten by silverfish! 😭 2mo
LeahBergen Aww! ❤️❤️ 2mo
Sparklemn The Trixie Belden looks like it's in great condition. Most of mine are “gently used“...but loved. 2mo
batsy @Ann_Reads I was so happy to find it! He totally makes my day 😆 2mo
batsy @mabell 😁 2mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Oh no, I'm sorry about that! It's so hard to maintain a collection of books over years in our climate 😢 I'm just clinging on to all my foxed copies as long as I can. 2mo
batsy @Sparklemn Haha, yes most of mine from when I was a kid are "gently used" too, and in different paperback editions. These are fairly new that I picked up at a discount store—can't resist a Trixie Belden! 2mo
TheLudicReader Omg, Trixie Beldon! I also love The Railway Children. The movie makes me cry every time. 2mo
batsy @TheLudicReader I've not watched any adaptations! I know the 1970 one seems well regarded. I'm going to try to after this re-read. 2mo
TheLudicReader @batsy…that version, with Jenny Agutter, is lovely. 2mo
batsy @TheLudicReader I have only heard good things about it; it appears to be well-loved :) 2mo
UwannaPublishme Snoopy! 😍🙌🏻 2mo
batsy @UwannaPublishme The best! ❤️ 2mo
sisilia The Snoopy mug! 😍 2mo
batsy @sisilia ❤️ 2mo
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batsy
Jacob's Room | Virginia Woolf
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter J

I remember when I started this I thought that I wouldn't like it, but it turned out to be a really moving exploration of one man's life as seen through the eyes of others. You can sort of see Woolf experimenting with the form, yet it all somehow comes together and rearranges your perspective like an Impressionist painting.

DivineDiana Wonderful review! 2mo
batsy @DivineDiana Thanks! 💕 2mo
LeahBergen I‘ll have that edition, please. 😉 2mo
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing! 2mo
batsy @LeahBergen Right? The best covers 😍 2mo
Graywacke Wow, a full thoughtful revealing review! Terrific post. Woolf - I will get there! 2mo
batsy @Graywacke Thank you! And I hope you enjoy the experience when you do 🙂 2mo
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review
batsy
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Pickpick

This volume doesn't have much continuity between the different stories, but I still found it beguiling for the most part. Two of it I really liked because of how offbeat they were: precisely the kind of bizarre stuff that takes hold of your imagination. One of it involved a cat entering the Dreaming, the other is about Shakespeare & his troupe's first performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Morpheus shows up, in his usual way, in each story.

Enchanted_Bibliophile In the end all these stories that don't make sense now form part of the big ending 2mo
batsy @Enchanted_Bibliophile Ah, that's good to know! I read most of these before, but a long time ago, and not all of the volumes. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all comes together. 2mo
Enchanted_Bibliophile Enjoy, It's a magnificent piece of work! 2mo
batsy @Enchanted_Bibliophile It really is! I love that this edition had Gaiman's script at the end to show how a comic comes to be. I was blown away by the actual work and the force of imagination that went into all of it. 2mo
Enchanted_Bibliophile It is pretty spectacular, seeing how it all comes together. It is so different from novels. The whole thought process behind it amazed me the first time I saw how it was done. 2mo
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batsy
I Am the Brother of XX | Fleur Jaeggy
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#AlphabetGame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
Letter I

Pared down, minimalist, glacial stories about love and especially its absence, madness, and loneliness. I know, here I go again ? At some point I'll try to think of a "happy" book.

A quote from one of Jaeggy's stories, translated from the Italian by Gini Alhadeff:

"Families are so strong. They have all of advertising on their side. But a person alone is nothing but a shipwreck."

Graywacke Another new to me. Noting! 2mo
Lindy I‘m sold on the quote alone. 👍 2mo
batsy @Graywacke I am really drawn to her style. I've got this one waiting for me 2mo
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batsy @Lindy It's something, isn't it? Every story has sentences that just make you sit up and stop for a bit. 2mo
Lindy @batsy my favourite kind of writing 👍 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks ❤️❤️❤️ 2mo
BarbaraBB This one is new to me too. Stacking of course! 2mo
batsy @BarbaraBB The good thing is that they're really short short stories! A bit like poetry to be read bit by bit imo 🙂 2mo
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