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Billypar

Billypar

Joined February 2017

review
Billypar
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Pickpick

#AuldLangSpine #MLKday
At first I assumed (wrongly) that Clint Smith was a journalist: as he travels to different sites with a link to slavery in the U.S., he asks questions of other visitors and tour guides to hear their views on what the sites (including plantations, museums, a prison, graveyard) reveal about the legacy of slavery. His skill at posing the questions is clear: he neither shys away from creating discomfort nor courts it.👇

DrexEdit This was one of my top books for 2022! 2w
Billypar In doing so, he gets at the heart of why some persist in believing myths that soften or outright distort the history of slavery and its relevance to the racial injustices we regularly witness in the U.S. today. He covers how untruths about slavery came about as they relate to each location he visits, and in the defensiveness of some he interviews, you can start to see why these myths are perpetuated, along with the lies of omission. 2w
Billypar Commitment to historical scholarship is critical, but Smith's skills as a poet are equally essential to this project's success. In describing each place and his own emotional responses, he demonstrates how visiting these sites is an act of perspective-taking that is as important for unpacking slavery's history as what the record has retained. Thanks so much @ncsufoxes for recommending this excellent book! (edited) 2w
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SamAnne Convinced now that I should make this my Black History month read. 2w
ncsufoxes @Billypar I‘m so happy you liked it. It was definitely one of my favorite books that I have read about confronting racism & the enduring presence it has in society. As a person that grew up in the north, then lived in the south for almost 20 years, & then in the west for 12 years his insights definitely make me look at things with a different lens. I think he has a new book coming out this spring, which I‘m looking forward to. 2w
Billypar @DrexEdit One indicator of how good it is: a 4.74 average rating on Goodreads with over 23,000 ratings. Not sure I've seen that level of consensus before! 2w
Billypar @SamAnne It's a perfect read for February - hope you enjoy it! 2w
Billypar @ncsufoxes I'm sure living in all those regions can give you a window into differing perspectives on race and the effects on views of history. It was interesting when some of the sites he visited drew a more diverse audience and you could see some disagreements emerge. Thanks for recommending it! I'll keep an eye out for his new one. 2w
40 likes3 stack adds9 comments
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Billypar
True Biz | Sara Noviac
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I'm not a #botm member but my sister got me a gift certificate, so I picked this bunch from past months. True Biz is one of my #AuldLangSpine picks, so I'll be trying that one pretty soon. Most of my shelves are paperbacks, so it's strange to pick up three hardcovers all of a sudden 📚
I'm looking forward to these - lots of buzz about two of them, but The Verifiers also sounded intriguing.
@ncsufoxes @monalyisha

Cathythoughts Nice stack, I just got Tomorrow Tomorrow, I‘m looking forward to it. 3w
Liz_M I'll be interested in hearing your thoughts on True Biz! 3w
Billypar @Cathythoughts @Liz_M I'm the worst at reading books when they come out (or even within years of coming out really), so it will be nice to be less late to the party with these for a change. 3w
46 likes3 comments
blurb
Billypar
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Look, I appreciate the vote of confidence, Goodreads, but let it go already, IT'S NOT HAPPENING! 😑

Here's to a new year and opportunity for meeting our reading goals (or just being content with wherever we land). Happy New Year everyone! 🥳🎉

LeahBergen Stop trying to make it happen, Goodreads. 😆 1mo
Ruthiella Happy New Year to you too! Gotta love that optimistic algorithm! 😂 1mo
batsy 😆 Happy New Year! 1mo
See All 15 Comments
Liz_M Happy New Year, Billy! 1mo
CuriousG I like the "just be content wherever we land" attitude. The last few years I have probably read half the amount that I did in the few years before that, yet I don't feel I've missed out on anything as I've also started DNFing more ruthlessly. Even reading less, I still read about the same # or 4+ star books. ? 1mo
JamieArc 😂😂 1mo
JamieArc @CuriousG I agree with you. I‘m 4 books from 100 (and have been there for days), and was going to try really hard to finish the last 4, but it‘s not going to happen so I did the unthinkable thing and decided to be okay with that 😂 1mo
Billypar @LeahBergen Goodreads is definitely the Gretchen Wierners of the app world 😅 1mo
Billypar @Ruthiella Happy New Year! Yeah, the algorithm is both optimistic and pretty lazy. Not only is it just one message, but they couldn't even bother to fix the grammar when there's just 1 day remaining 🙄 1mo
Billypar Happy New Year @batsy @Liz_M ! 1mo
Billypar @CuriousG Yeah - it's easy to get into a mentality where you choose a mediocre book over a podcast you really like for the sake of the goal. My count has dipped a bit in recent years since I stopped making that tradeoff. But I'm still so bad at bailing when i should. I bailed on one recently and it was such a relief! 1mo
Reggie Happy New Year! 1mo
Billypar @JamieArc That takes willpower! Probably very tempting to grab four picture books. But when I get that impulse I have to step back and recognize the absurdity of it. I was even trying to figure out how I could get to 50 books, just because it's a nice round number 🙂 1mo
Billypar Happy New Year @Reggie ! 1mo
Megabooks 😂😂 happy new year!! 🎉🎉 1mo
41 likes15 comments
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Billypar
The Graveyard Book | Neil Gaiman
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This is my first time trying the #jolabokaflod tradition. This is the first book up, and it opens with a knife-wielding maniac chasing a toddler after having just murdered his whole family 😨 Not very festive, but enough action to keep me awake, with the help of some gingerbread sandwich treats.

BarbaraBB 🤣🤣 1mo
erzascarletbookgasm I hope you‘ll enjoy. I loved this book. 1mo
batsy Cosy setting for a gruesome book! 😆 Those cookies look delicious. 1mo
See All 8 Comments
LeahBergen 😆😆 1mo
Liz_M Lovely view of the bookshelves and tree! Merry Christmas🎄 1mo
Billypar @erzascarletbookgasm I'm really liking it so far - I'm intrigued by the idea of a whole graveyard community. 1mo
Billypar @batsy The coziness won out over the sugar rush of the cookies - only made it until 2 am 😴 1mo
Billypar @Liz_M This was the first year we actually got a tree and decorated. It was fun and the decor combines nicely with bookshelves. Merry Christmas to you! 🎄🎁 1mo
49 likes1 stack add8 comments
review
Billypar
Piranesi | Susanna Clarke
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Pickpick

I love thinking about what made this novel such a runaway hit. You can enjoy the world of the novel or the philosophical questions it poses. Although I did enjoy thinking up theories, the world drew me in more than anything. It's got so little in it - two people, statues, large rooms, water, birds, fish, a couple skeletons - and that is somehow enough in combination with Clark's storytelling to make for a completely immersive reading experience.

CBee This is the PERFECT review! It sums up just about exactly how I felt about it (I loved it). 🙂 1mo
BarbaraBB What @CBee says! 1mo
CBee @BarbaraBB I remember being at such a loss on how to review this! All I knew was that I loved it 🙂😊 1mo
See All 13 Comments
BarbaraBB Yes and that all I said couldn‘t touch upon all I left unsaid. @CBee (edited) 1mo
CBee @BarbaraBB exactly! ❤️ 1mo
batsy Great review! It felt so pared down and elemental, yet so rich and otherworldly. Love the photos, too! 1mo
Suet624 I‘m so glad you read this. It seemed like a book you would relish. I can still tap into my feelings of wonder as I read it. 1mo
Billypar @CBee @BarbaraBB Thanks! I kind of miss visiting 'the House' since finishing. I was fantasizing a little that someone would make a Piranesi video game - I'm not a gamer, but I would give that one a try! 1mo
Billypar @batsy Thanks! I don't read fantasy novels very often and one reason is I often feel overwhelmed if it's a world that requires endless explanations and descriptions that grind the forward action to a halt. But the fact that this was so pared down meant I could enjoy just being in that strange realm, without having to learn new animals, local customs, the politics of warring factions, etc. 1mo
Billypar @Suet624 I'm not sure if this is what Clark was intending, but it seemed like the wonder you feel and the way you slip into the House-world were reminiscent of the act of reading itself. Definitely glad to have picked it up, even if a little later than most! 1mo
Billypar @batsy Almost forgot - the photos were all from this museum in Frankfurt: https://www.liebieghaus.de/en 1mo
CBee @Billypar I missed it too 😊 And I would TOTALLY play the Piranesi video game!! 1mo
batsy @Billypar Thank you for the link! 1mo
42 likes1 stack add13 comments
review
Billypar
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Pickpick

Even if you're like me and love Jacqueline Woodson's writing, this slim novel from 1995 with a mere 149 ratings on Goodreads is easy to scroll past. But it's no less perfect than her more popular ones: she packs so much into a sentence. One example: in the title story, the narrator looks at an old family photograph and imagines words her sister will say as an adult "are there already, festering inside my sister's brain, waiting to explode."?

Billypar I had to reread that over and over - I found the idea of future words "festering" in a brain so unsettling, but hitting on something real that is hard to explain objectively. Woodson has more freedom to revel in all sorts of similar prose poetry without being saddled with a plot to manage - even though this is called a 'novel', it's more like short stories unfolding chronologically around a central character. 1mo
Billypar Until recently, that was a form I hadn't read before, but for some reason this is the third of that variety I've read this year, along with 1mo
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Texreader Fantastic review 1mo
erzascarletbookgasm I didn‘t know this book exists, will look it up. Great review! 1mo
Billypar @Texreader Thanks! 🙂 1mo
Billypar @erzascarletbookgasm Thanks! I got it from a used bookstore - otherwise, I wouldn't have heard of it. 1mo
37 likes7 comments
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Billypar
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#AboutMe #AuldLangSpine
Here's a few things about me:
-I live with my fiancee of 7 years (yep, that's years not months 😄) in NJ.
-We've got two amazing 1-yr-old brother cats - Jem (middle right) and Scout (bottom right).
-The kids are my nephew and niece (ages 3 & 5).
-My partner and I love going to concerts & museums.
-Music is my favorite hobby next to reading - I love indie rock and hip hop most.
-Have gotten into birding in recent years 🐦‍⬛

GatheringBooks Gorgeous photos! Love knowing more about you, Billy! 🌷 2mo
Reggie Very nice, Billy. 2mo
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LeahBergen Love this! 😀 2mo
Leftcoastzen Cool ! It‘s great to see these wonderful photos! 2mo
BarbaraBB Lovely photos! A lot of love ❤️❤️ 2mo
squirrelbrain Lovely photos! ❤️ 2mo
batsy Love this! So fun to see these photos. And Jem and Scout 😁💕 2mo
RebelReader Well done!! ❤️❤️ 2mo
Reggie Vinny I know you‘re name is not Billy. My goodness. Sorry. 2mo
Billypar @Reggie No worries! As my alter ego on Litsy, 'Billy' works too 🙂 2mo
ncsufoxes ❤️, thanks for sharing. I grew up in NJ. Born in Jersey City but grew up in a tiny town on the PA border near Lafayette College. I love going to museums too, my minor in college was Art History. I‘ve instilled a love in art in my oldest. He‘ll go to museums with me & he even took AP Art History in high school. (edited) 2mo
Billypar @ncsufoxes I actually grew up in PA not too far south of there in Lansdale. Great that your son is so into art! My appreciation for it came much later- my parents only took us to the Philly Museum of Art once and it was for a Cézanne exhibition, which won't win over most kids to art I think 🍐🍇🍎 2mo
Texreader Loved getting to know you! And ❤️🐈‍⬛🐈‍⬛ 1mo
Billypar @Texreader Thanks! I like seeing everyone's photos. And it's funny to me how easy it is to become obsessed with cat pics in just one year 😺 🐈‍⬛ 1mo
Suet624 This post is just the best! Thank you for sharing. 1mo
Billypar @Suet624 Thanks! I'm not on Instagram, so Litsy is my sole photo sharing outlet 🙂 1mo
Suet624 Then you MUST do it more often. ❤️❤️🙂🙂 1mo
56 likes19 comments
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Billypar
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#AuldLangSpine
Very excited to decide how to start off my 2023 reading year based on this excellent list courtesy of @ncsufoxes I might start with the ones pictured, though there are several fiction and nonfiction choices that appeal to me, so this could change. I didn't have the best reading luck in 2022 so I'm hoping these recommendations will get 2023 started off right.
Thanks @monalyisha for arranging this event once again!

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Billypar
That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana | William Weaver, Carlo Emilio Gadda
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#nyrbbookclub members I'm struggling with my first NYRB selection since the monthly picks. I like a challenge every now and then, but to give you an idea of what this one is like, this single sentence (which is too long to fit in its entirety) contains the phrases: "post-traumatic cicatrization", "passionate peroration", and "an extracting maieutics" ?‍? I'm torn about continuing - not exactly the murder mystery I was hoping for!

Leftcoastzen 🤯 2mo
AlaMich No one should have to work that hard to read a book! 2mo
LeahBergen Oh my … that‘s quite the sentence. 😬 2mo
See All 10 Comments
BarbaraBB That is not very encouraging! I am reading a NYRB at the moment too and it feels different without the group behind me! However it‘s very readable and interesting! 2mo
batsy Oh dear. That's a tough one to parse 😳 2mo
Billypar @Leftcoastzen @AlaMich @LeahBergen @batsy It's not all as bad as this example, but there are so many confusing digressions. Kind of like reading Nabokov but with all the good parts removed. 2mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB I've seen that one before and it did sound like a really interesting story - I'll look out for your review. I have another one by Di Benedetto on my to read shelf that I'm looking forward to picking up in the new year. 2mo
vivastory This one is on my shelves. There's been a few times I've thought of picking it up. 2mo
Billypar @vivastory If you do pick it up, I hope you have better luck with it than I did. I decided to bail at a little past the halfway point, which I almost never do, but after two weeks, my brain couldn't take anymore! 2mo
vivastory I think I will set it aside for when I feel like a challenge! Maybe in the new year. 2mo
25 likes10 comments
review
Billypar
The Only Good Indians | Stephen Graham Jones
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Pickpick

My Halloween read this year was a good one: a very spooky tale involving a vengeful elk spirit. While many horror tales co-opt Native American culture as almost an afterthought, having characters who are part of the same culture makes the novel richer and more interesting. I also enjoyed Graham Jones' dialogue - so good you forget you're reading and not watching a movie. I did have a tough time visualizing some of the lengthy action sequences. 👇

Billypar That's partly because, as a not very visual reader, it's tough for me to 'see' action play out, so the lengthier climactic scene was a bit challenging. Even so, there are some truly excellent horror scenes. One sequence in the middle of the novel was particularly unnerving and memorable. 2mo
Billypar Image (altered) from www.nationalgeographic.com 2mo
Aimeesue Parts of this one were truly shocking. I still think about it. *shudder* 2mo
See All 6 Comments
Reggie Was it with a motorcycle? Lol 2mo
Billypar @Aimeesue I can already tell this is one that will stay in my head. Even some of the smaller touches, like the elk head turning so the eye can focus on its prey - so very creepy! 2mo
Billypar @Reggie That's the one 😬 I also found the whole sequence leading up to that point very suspenseful, like how you know whatever happens isn't going to end well. 2mo
45 likes2 stack adds6 comments
review
Billypar
Animals Strike Curious Poses | Elena Passarello
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Pickpick

Each essay in this collection focuses on a famous animal, spanning from prehistoric times to present day. An essay collection on animals sounds like a light read, but this was easily my most challenging of the year. One reason is that the essays aren't 'about' the animals as much as the animals within the historical contexts they appear, and the entire spectrum of human responses that occur, from reverence to exploitation to downright cruelty 👇

Billypar As if all that wasn't enough, Passarello uses a variety of forms in the collection - some of which are experimental like a lyric poem paying tribute to a beloved cat or a translation of a gorilla's 'joke'. But even the more traditional ones have a lot of layers to them and it really forced me to read slowly and reread sections so as not to not miss anything. This is a perfect book when you need something to break out of a reading slump. 3mo
Billypar I also have to plug Passarello's podcast that she co-hosts with author Justin St. Germain. It's called "I'll Find Myself When I'm Dead" and it's about the literary essay. I know that doesn't sound terribly exciting but it's actually one of the funniest podcasts I listen to. I'm still fairly new to essays in general so it's very friendly to newcomers: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZXNzYXlwb2RjYXN0LmNvbS9mZWVkL3B... 3mo
vivastory This sounds incredible! I have really been enjoying essays lately. I read this one last week. It is slim, but it packs a lot in & is def a literary essay collection. I think you'd like it 3mo
Billypar @vivastory Thanks for the recommendation - I'll have to check it out. Yeah, lately essay collections have jumped ahead of memoirs as my most common nonfiction read. 3mo
42 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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Billypar
Creepshow | Stephen King
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#Fearfulfall #Happyhorror
I'm sorry I won't be joining the group read this time, but how could I not post a creepy playlist? I took some favorites from past Halloween playlists and added some new discoveries. I tried organizing by genre: classical, film scores, rock, hip hop, and electronic.
Happy Halloween all 🎃!
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0eVxzG07soO0ejYFlnMxOb?si=7ZCg1r2nTEycftP5Ff1f...
@Cinfhen @BarbaraBB

Cinfhen We‘ll miss you tomorrow but thanks so much for sharing your musical taste with us!!! 🎶🎧♥️ 3mo
BarbaraBB I LOVE your playlist! Such an eclectic mix between classic and current. I can‘t wait to listen to it. Tomorrow. It‘s bedtime here! 3mo
vivastory This list is so good! I love the inclusion of classic tracks & film scores & am honestly kicking myself for not doing likewise. Night on Bald Mountain, Danse Macabre, Bernard Hermann=perfection! 3mo
See All 6 Comments
Billypar @Cinfhen I'm really enjoying all the posts - I love all things Halloween 🖤🧡🖤🧡 3mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Thanks! And it's true that these playlists are not great to listen to before bed 😬😱 3mo
Billypar @vivastory Thanks! I used to have a couple of Halloween compilation CD's--one of classical music and the other with film scores--that I would always play every October. They always seemed to go so well with the cooler weather and fall scenery. 3mo
30 likes6 comments
review
Billypar
Subdivision: A Novel | J. Robert Lennon
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Pickpick

Take a standard Twilight Zone episode plot, give it an artistic makeover, and you have Subdivision. Things begin in dreamy fashion where a woman whose personal history is never mentioned rents a room from Clara and 'the Judge' (both retired judges named Clara in fact) who are hospitable and advise her on finding work and permanent housing in this unnamed 'Subdivision'. Yet they are also oddly intent on her assembling a mysterious jigsaw puzzle 👇

Billypar Even though the strange events that follow all lead up to a standard Twilight Zone-esque twist, the novel chooses to gradually reveal it somewhere in the middle instead of springing it on us all at once at the end. So instead of spending the novel trying to come up with theories, we can just sit back and enjoy the truly fun dream world on display and not worry about being disappointed by the ending (a la Lost, another TV show this resembles). 3mo
Billypar Not sure if there is a 'literary Twilight Zone' list somewhere, but if so, here's another one that would be on it: https://litsy.com/p/cXdCMzRxUWhx 3mo
Liz_M Nice connection with Invention of Morel! I hadn't made it, but see how it applies. 3mo
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vivastory I agree with @Liz_M Subdivision is a book that has stuck with me since reading it. I also really liked the following & think it'd be a fun one for this time of year 3mo
Ruthiella I think Shirley Jackson‘s The Haunting of Hill House could fit that list. I can imagine Rod Steiger coming out after the last scene saying, “Was this all the imagination of a high strung young woman?” 3mo
Billypar @Liz_M Yeah, I really enjoyed that one too. They're not similar on the surface but they've both got the same kind of world building in an experimental fiction context. 3mo
Billypar @vivastory I think it will stick with me too. There are so many examples of characters dreaming or dream-like sequences in fiction, but this one reminded me of what dreams really feel like. I will definitely be reading more Lennon - I stacked Broken River. 3mo
Billypar @Ruthiella Ha - I could totally see that! "...Or do houses contain within them their own realities that would drive most of us mad to witness? To answer this question, you'll have to enter the house yourself and perhaps cross the threshold into...the Twilight Zone." 3mo
Ruthiella @Billypar Perfect! 👏👏👏 3mo
BarbaraBB This is one of my favorite books this year. I was so pulled into her world and kept speculating about the ending 3mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Yeah, it's a favorite of mine this year too. One of those books that doesn't have any boring parts, just all the good stuff. 3mo
34 likes1 stack add11 comments
review
Billypar
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Mehso-so

I really enjoyed the unique structure and concept - 618 short passages, some authored by Shields, while others are quotations, bits of interviews or other materials to fit each chapter's theme. Those themes also cover interesting intellectual topics on the fraught border between fiction versus nonfiction. But I kept hearing this implication that traditional fiction is tired and some new experimental fictive nonfiction is superior somehow 👇

Billypar It may not have been intended that way, but there seemed to be this repetition of personal preference posing as argument that I found annoying. I had assumed the title Reality Hunger: A Manifesto was meant to be funny, but there was so little humor in the book itself, unless it was supposed to be a self-deprecating nod at his desire to argue for preferences. Even as a flawed effort, I still found it worth reading and puzzling over. 4mo
Billypar The photo is from The German Film Museum in Frankfurt - my partner having fun with an interactive green screen: a little reality mixed with fiction seemed to fit. 4mo
36 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
Billypar
Yo!: A Novel | Julia Alvarez
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Pickpick

Interesting structure where each story is about the main character Yolanda Garcia (Yo) as seen through the eyes of someone in her life. The first one is told from her mom about Yo as a child and they follow her forward into her life as a writer in adulthood. We meet a diverse array of voices throughout, but Yo's character shines in her eagerness to influence the lives of those around her, even while being thwarted by indecision in her own life 👇

Billypar Yo's character is also viewed in terms of her identity as a writer - how she navigates taking stories from her life, after learning from an early age that the truth can be dangerous in the wrong hands. For Yo, stories offer a different truth, but also an elusive one: if she knows how her characters grow, shouldn't she know more about the shape of her own life? I never read the Garcia Girls novel but now I want to know more about Yo and her family. 5mo
Billypar Thanks for the recommendation @Reggie ! 5mo
Reggie Yay, I‘m so glad you liked it. In college one of my Chicano lit teachers had us keep a journal and would give us assignments like write down conversations you hear and public. NOTHING, that had to do with Chicano lit. Lol, and it made me think of that story of the student who comes back to college and buys her short story collection to realize his story was in there. Lol But really, I know she‘s not the first to do this but a book about someone 5mo
Reggie told in short stories by the people around them. It was one of the first books I read that showed me how structure can be played with. I love the one about the professor who is mourning his young lover and just says go publish your stories, quit wasting time. There‘s a lot to love in here. 5mo
Billypar @Reggie That's such an interesting assignment - maybe a good way to improve dialogue writing, but it is odd in the context of a Chicano lit course! I did like how we didn't hear much from Yo directly about her process for writing and borrowing from life - it made me more curious to picture how she'd describe it. I liked all the stories - I'm not sure I have a favorite but so many small moments will stick with me (the Mom in the fur coat is one 😅) 5mo
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Billypar
The Book Garden | Frenchtown, New Jersey (Bookstore)
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#bookhaul
Some acquisitions from a first-time visit to Frenchtown Bookshop in New Jersey (formerly The Book Garden). Small shop with lots of interesting selections, and an NYRB bookshelf to top it off.
Not related to these three choices, but I'm always intrigued when I see an author who I haven't heard of with multiple novels in a tiny shop - there must have been six or seven from Rachel Cusk. Is anyone a fan of hers?

JamieArc I wouldn‘t say a fan, but I read the tagged book by her last year when it made the Booker Longlist. It wasn‘t my favorite read, but the story has stayed with me ever since, which says a lot about it. (edited) 5mo
Leftcoastzen I‘ve been meaning to try Cusk , I have one here somewhere!😄 5mo
Billypar @JamieArc That's the one I was really close to buying, but I had to cut myself off at three. Next time I see it, I might have to give it a try. 5mo
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Billypar @Leftcoastzen When it's the right time, I'm sure it will find you! 5mo
Ruthiella I‘ve only read Outline by Cusk and like @JamieArc , it has stayed with me even though I didn‘t love it. I‘ll be curious to see what you think of the Mona Awad title. 🤔 5mo
batsy Some intriguing choices! I've got my eye on the Awad (enjoyed Bunny) and the Di Benedetto (loved Zama!) 5mo
Billypar @Ruthiella Interesting that you had the same reaction and for a different novel of hers. I've had that happen before where I keep thinking about one I didn't like initially. I'm really looking forward to All's Well - hoping for some weird fun! 5mo
Billypar @batsy Yeah, Bunny is what motivated me to pick it up - the style was so distinctive, so I'm curious if that will carry over. They had Zama also and I was going back and forth about which I wanted - I'll have to try that next if I like Silentiary. 5mo
42 likes1 stack add8 comments
review
Billypar
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Pickpick

Saunders presents seven short stories from Russian authors and follows each with an essay that analyzes the story and discusses why stories work in general - what keeps us reading and why a good story ends where it does. I recommend the audiobook - each story has a different celebrity narrator, but I like Saunders' own narration of the essays best. They already have the right mix of scholar and superfan, and his own voice lends a personal touch.

vivastory I haven't read this one yet, but I am really looking forward to Liberation Day. If you ever have the opportunity to see him read, I def recommend. I saw him speak a few years ago & it is easily one of the best live experiences I've attended. (edited) 5mo
Billypar @vivastory Among his story collections, I've only read Pastoralia, so I've got some catching up to do even before the new one. I believe it about his live performance. There is something about his audio narration that I find calming but not in a way that boring readers are calming. It's a terroritory somewhere between interesting, funny, and comforting, and only the first two of those qualities show up in his writing style. 5mo
merelybookish I'm just starting this and excited to see you liked it so much! 5mo
merelybookish And your cat's opinion means a lot too! 😸 5mo
Billypar @merelybookish Hope you enjoy! I liked pretty much all of the Russian stories chosen but I still looked forward to the Saunders' essays the most. And yeah, Jem and I have amazingly similar literary tastes 😹 5mo
43 likes1 stack add5 comments
review
Billypar
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Pickpick

Hi! My name is Nao, and I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is? Well, if you give me a moment, I will tell you.
Reading those opening lines in the book store, I imagined they were spoken by a cheerful alien rather than a suicidal teenager. But their immediacy struck me, and Nao's narrative has an urgency that compels us, just as it does for the fictional Ruth Ozeki who reads it. Magical in spite of large helpings of death and misery.

DivineDiana This was a strange book. At times, it was disturbing. Many layers. Connections. Miraculous. 6mo
Billypar @DivineDiana Agreed - I enjoyed the different layers and how all the varied elements fit together. A very memorable read! 5mo
Suet624 I often recommend this book and I‘ll be hearing Ozeki speak in a few weeks in Vermont. 5mo
Billypar @Suet624 It's very well done - I really like creative spins on the 'found text' literary trope. I'll definitely be reading more of hers! 5mo
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Billypar
Animals Strike Curious Poses | Elena Passarello
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Had I never listened to Elena Passarello's podcast, I might have assumed this was just coincidental and not a Duran Duran reference dropped without comment into an otherwise entirely straight-faced essay. But knowing a little about the author's personality, this was 100% intentional. I've only just started the second essay and I'm hooked. I also recommend the podcast which is about the literary essay - linked in the comments.

mcipher Sold! I‘m not a non fiction person but I love this lush writing and the your comment about the Duran Duran reference ♥️ 6mo
Billypar @mcipher Yeah, fiction will always be my favorite but in the past few years I've been enjoying creative nonfiction more and more. 6mo
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Billypar
The Radiance of the King | Laye Camara, James Kirkup
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Final NYRB Bonus Question!
We've read so many great novels during this book club - do you have a favorite? Or a top 3-5?

Billypar (Image by artist Ismael Hipolito Djata) 6mo
vivastory My top 5: Cassandra at the Wedding, Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, The Go-Between, The Vet's Daughter, Katalin Street. (Hon. mention to During the Reign of Queen of Persia for the impromptu read through of Margaret Laurence w/ the #manawakans ) 6mo
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LeahBergen My top 5 (which I whittled down from 12!): The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, Cassandra at the Wedding, A Month in the Country, School for Love, and Good Behaviour. @vivastory 6mo
LeahBergen My next top 5: The Go-Between, Black Wings Has My Angel, The Vet‘s Daughter, Lolly Willowes, and The Expendable Man. 🤣🤣 6mo
LeahBergen @vivastory Yes! I‘m so thankful the Queen of Persia set us off on that Margaret Laurence buddy read. ❤️❤️ 6mo
Liz_M Some of my favorite discussions were for The True Deceiver, Queen of Persia, Iza's Ballad and The Other 6mo
vivastory @LeahBergen I'd def. put Good Behaviour, Expendable Man, Black Wings Has My Angel & Month in the Country in my next top 5 👏 👏 6mo
vivastory @Liz_M The Other was one that I had read once before & I def enjoyed it more the second time around bc of the discussion 6mo
merelybookish Well this is a tough question! I gave 5 ⭐ s to A Month in the Country, The Hearing Trumpet, Turtle Diary, A Game of Hide & Seek, Cassandra at the Wedding. But I have several others that I gave 4 ⭐ s to that could also qualify as faves. I really appreciate how this book club introduced me to writers I want to read more of (Taylor, Compton-Burnett, Comyns, Hardwick, Keane, etc.) 6mo
merelybookish Thank you Scott for this experience! And my apologies for pooping out on the last book. @vivastory @Billypar 6mo
merelybookish Nicely done @LeahBergen 😆 6mo
vivastory @merelybookish Like I said, if you ever see this one in the wild def grab it. I think you'd find it interesting. I def plan on reading further works by authors that this group introduced me to. 6mo
Liz_M @vivastory Thank you so much for organizing the best bookclub on Litsy! I will miss it even though I often missed the discussions. I read this months selection a few years ago and am traveling today. So sad to not be able to participate fully, @Billypar 6mo
BarbaraBB I already made a collage of my top 5 that I‘ll post now to inspire all who haven‘t read the gems we read with this bookclub! Will tag you all. Thanks Vinny for the thoughtful questions re our final book! 🤍 6mo
BarbaraBB @LeahBergen 🤣❤️ 6mo
GatheringBooks Great Q! In 2019, there were books I couldn‘t read along with you all because of our #WomenReadWomen2019 reading theme. But my faves are still by female authors: Iza‘s Ballad, Katalin Street, The True Deceiver, Free Day, and In The Freud Archives. 6mo
GatheringBooks Thank you, everyone, for making this so memorable and so much fun! Loved our discussions! Thank you to @vivastory most of all for bringing all these readers from across the globe together every month. 6mo
quietjenn I only participated in Round 2, so all my picks are from the last year and a half - During the Reign of the Queen of Persia, Lolly Willowes, The Go-Between, The Vet's Daughter, & Good Behaviour. My list could easily be longer! I so appreciated the discussion of all the books, even ones I didn't love (or totally understand). I'm planning to still try to read at least one NYRB book a month, & will probably start with some of the Round 1 favorites! 6mo
Billypar @vivastory @GatheringBooks @BarbaraBB @Liz_M @merelybookish @LeahBergen This was a tough call, but here goes: 1. The True Deceiver 2. The Dud Avocado 3. Katalin Street 4. Lolly Willowes 5. Hons and Rebels. 6mo
Billypar Cassandra at the Wedding was before I joined, but it sounds like I really need to prioritize that one! 6mo
vivastory @GatheringBooks Great choices! Nearly all of my choices were by female authors. Thank you for your thoughtful contributions each month! 6mo
vivastory @quietjenn Terrific choices! In case I haven't mentioned this I have a bookshelf on my GR account of all of the selections we read since the beginning:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/53745996-scott?ref=nav_mybooks&shelf=nyrbb...
6mo
vivastory @Billypar Thanks for co-hosting this month! Those are wonderful selections. I rec Hons 7 Rebels to someone a couple of months ago & they loved it! I really need to read more work by Jessica Mitford. 6mo
quietjenn @vivastory thanks for sharing the bookshelf! 6mo
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Billypar
The Radiance of the King | Laye Camara, James Kirkup
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Q6: At the end of the novel, Clarence is depressed at being deceived about his role in Aziana and is reluctant to face the king (let alone put on clothes). Was his final meeting with the king what you were expecting? How did you interpret this encounter?

Billypar (Image by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat) 6mo
GatheringBooks Given all that Clarence has gone through, as he is gradually stripped of complete self-awareness, and at the same time utterly disgraced, it is not surprising that he now sees the King in all his radiance and glory - almost deity-like in his beneficence. What struck me though is how the White man needed to be brought literally to his knees, stripped naked, in total disgrace before he recognizes and acknowledges this. 6mo
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quietjenn I feel like it's a bit more shame than depression? He feels unworthy because - for at least the moment - he recognizes that he is no Great White Saviour, but literally just a cock. And there's shame and embarrassment in being good for nothing except breeding. As to the actual meeting, I didn't know quite what to make of it, especially given those blurbs and things that led me to expect something extraordinary. Which, maybe? 6mo
vivastory @GatheringBooks I was also struck by the mystical aspect of the ending 6mo
Billypar @quietjenn @GatheringBooks @vivastory I was prepared for the king to be a disappointment. The book had a satirical tone for most of it, so to have the king display the kind of warmth that he did was unexpected for me, almost as if he was aligned with Clarence's own fantasy. So I found myself doubting if it actually occurred as recounted or if it was wishful thinking on Clarence's part. 6mo
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Billypar
The Radiance of the King | Laye Camara, James Kirkup
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Q5: Clarence makes many references to odors that make him sleepy, first “the crowd‘s herd-like odor” and later in the forest “the terrible odor of flowers and decay.” When he further considers the forest‘s odor, he thinks, “it is not just an odor of decaying vegetation; it is subtlety itself, a seductive perfume, or rather the seductive mingling of a thousand perfumes […] all of them far too heady, disturbing, caressing, […] far too delectable.”

Billypar (Image by artist Ismael Hipolito Djata) 6mo
vivastory I'm honestly a bit at a loss on the odors, lol. It almost seems like he is using them as an excuse for what he perceives as “less civilized“ behavior. 6mo
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vivastory Also, Clarence throughout the novel is constantly complaining to everyone about his situation but he acts entirely helpless, including anytime he smells these odors. It almost seems like a crutch. 6mo
BarbaraBB I admit I am at loss on the odors too. I interpreted them as prejudices but I am not sure if I‘m right about that. 6mo
Billypar @vivastory @BarbaraBB Ha - I was hoping someone could clue me in on the odor question, but it's pretty strange, right? But it makes sense that it has something to do with his prejudices - like he assumes it's overcoming him and it stops him from being conscious of seeing things as they really are. 6mo
GatheringBooks I agree with you all that this is once again evidence of his prejudice; plus whenever anyone mentions “culture shock” - this typically includes sights, sounds, and SMELLS most of all. His disdain and total disregard commingle with the disgust accompanying smells that he dismisses as repulsive; yet eventually one that he inexplicably gravitates towards; the earthiness dizzying scent of it all that he attributes to be the cause of his primal acts. 6mo
quietjenn I also think it ties into his prejudices. And I think that he uses it as an excuse for his oblivion and his perpetual sleepy state - he was proverbially drugged and drunk on the sensory experiences, as much as by the wine he's constantly drinking. 6mo
vivastory @quietjenn That is an excellent point about the wine! I think that you are right, that it is a way for him to remain in an altered state. It's almost like drug tourism, but instead of using cannabis etc he is using wine & the odors. 6mo
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Billypar
The Radiance of the King | Laye Camara, James Kirkup
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Q4: There is lots of dialogue concerning the difference between ‘favors‘ versus ‘rights‘. At one point, when Clarence asks why the beggar couldn‘t ask the judge to pardon him, he responds, “Can‘t you get it into your thick head that one cannot beg the favor of receiving something that is one‘s ‘right‘?” What is the novel‘s philosophy on justice when it comes to ‘favors‘ versus ‘rights.‘?

Billypar (Image by artist Ismael Hipolito Djata) 6mo
GatheringBooks Clarence‘s “rights” enable him to take whatever he wishes simply because he wants something. He cannot be the object of “favors” - he needs to be the one who dispenses those favors; it is always a matter of power and asserting one‘s sense of ascendancy over another (in this case racial), no matter that perception being totally unfounded and unjustified 6mo
vivastory @GatheringBooks I have nothing to add because you said it perfectly! 6mo
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Billypar
The Radiance of the King | Laye Camara, James Kirkup
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Q3: Clarence is constantly confusing one thing for another—faces look the same, a corridor in Aziana looks like one from the legal offices in Adramé, he believes the path the beggar leads them through the forest is going in circles. Why is Clarence perpetually confused?

Billypar (Image by artist Nu Barreto) 6mo
vivastory I think that on a surface level it is an unfamiliarity with these areas that caused confusion, but I also think that Laye cleverly utilized plot points from Kafka's The Castle to explore Clarence's prejudices. 6mo
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BarbaraBB I think he‘s looking for some standards to hold on to, more or less desperately because all around him is so unknown to him. I know @vivastory compared it to Kafka and read this more often but I tend to agree with @Sapphire who compared Clarence to Ignatius Reilly, a king of caricature (edited) 6mo
Billypar @vivastory The Castle frustrated me so much, lol. I liked this one better but I did recognize the overlap in the style of dialogue. I felt like it was more complex - Clarence isn't an objective perspective from which we're supposed to identify. 6mo
GatheringBooks I think it is a not-too-subtle nod to the fact that most white people purportedly cannot tell people of color apart - add the fact that Clarence could simply not be bothered. Plus I honestly think he is stupid and overconfident - often a lethal combination. He knows he will be recognized everywhere he goes, the onus is on others to remember things for him to retain his perpetual state of obliviousness and total indifference to the people he‘s with 6mo
quietjenn For me, it all ties back with the preconceived ideas he comes to Africa with and Laye is playing with the racist “they all look alike“ sentiment, extended to apply not just to names and faces, but the landscape, the buildings, and pretty much everything he encounters. 6mo
vivastory @BarbaraBB I think that there were plot points in common with Kafka, but as far as Clarence's character, I def. agree with you & @sapphire he is a bit of a caricature! 6mo
vivastory @GatheringBooks Your comment about “Clarence could simply not be bothered“ really gets at the issue. There is an implied sense of safety & aloofness that he carries with him because of his race & his own sense of superiority that greatly impacts how he treats others. (edited) 6mo
vivastory @Billypar I, too was frustrated by The Castle, but it was one of those works that I think I recall because I really struggled with it, lol. It's one of my least fave Kafka works TBH, but the sense of constantly being delayed from reaching a goal is memorable regardless. And I agree, Clarence is not a sympathetic character! 6mo
vivastory @quietjenn One thing that I discussed with Vinny was the fact that there are certain characters that he never even bothers asking their names! We never find out the name of the beggar. This fits your comment about his racist sentiment I think. 6mo
BarbaraBB @GatheringBooks you‘ve nailed it with this comment. 6mo
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Billypar
The Radiance of the King | Laye Camara, James Kirkup
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Q2: Right from the novel‘s opening, Clarence has a belief in white supremacy that guides his actions and observations. How would you describe his journey throughout the novel when it comes to racism? What factors lead to his change?

Billypar (Image by artist Nu Barreto) 6mo
BarbaraBB Because he‘s the only white person his feeling of supremacy goes completely nowhere, no one is treating him the way he expects to be treated. On the contrary, he suddenly experienced how it feels to be the minority where people look down upon, who people judge etc. He becomes the stereotype! 6mo
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Billypar @BarbaraBB It's pretty hilarious how he just assumes he'll be welcomed into the king's service, but his actual usefulness in the village is totally different, even though it still serves that ultimate racist purpose when it comes to the value placed on skin color. 6mo
GatheringBooks It is hilarious (and tragic) how deeply entrenched his feeling of superiority is - the way he treated everyone else with disdain remained constant throughout. While there seems to be a transformation at the very end with his being in the presence of the king, i feel that he will eventually find a way to reframe that later on to his own advantage/benefit, away from the radiance of the king. Maybe I just find him to be without redemption. 🤷🏽‍♀️ 6mo
quietjenn The entitlement is pretty mind-boggling, although completely believable. And his oblivion throughout, because he can't shift to seeing things outside of that mindset. Does he truly shed himself of it, even when he recognizes the true nature of his role in the village and experiences the final radiance? I'm not sure! 6mo
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Billypar
The Radiance of the King | Laye Camara, James Kirkup
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Q1: In the Introduction, Toni Morrison notes that for previous novels by Western authors, “Africa was simultaneously innocent and corrupting, savage and pure, irrational and wise. It was raw matter […] to examine desire and improve character. But what Africa never was, was its own subject.” How does Laye use previous stereotypes about Africa to craft a novel about Africa itself?

LeahBergen I (sadly) didn‘t get around to reading this last pick for our book club this month. 😭 I blame travelling and a bout of Covid! Anyhow, I‘m going to follow this discussion because it‘s our last and I might just get to this book one day. 6mo
Billypar (Image by artist Nu Barreto) 6mo
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vivastory I am woefully under read when it comes to novels written by Africans. I will be interested to see what people say who have been participating in #ReadingAfrica22 I did mention in my review that I was reminded of the fantastical work of Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola while reading this. I don't know if Laye had familiarity with Tutuola's work while writing Radiance or not. (edited) 6mo
Billypar @LeahBergen No worries - if you do end up picking it up later, interested to get your take. It's a trip! 6mo
Billypar @vivastory I only read The Palm Wine Drinkard but parts definitely reminded me of that - especially the more fantastic scenes like the fish women. 6mo
GatheringBooks I loved how the author used some of the stereotypes about Africa to turn the story over on its own head - a literary subversion done masterfully: a few elements that come to mind are the mass of bodies, nudity, the smells, and the human sacrifice - all perceived from the dominant white gaze; except that the gaze is deliberately portrayed as flawed, susceptible, vacuous - despite it being gratuitously entitled. 6mo
BarbaraBB I‘ve read a lot of African books this year and have been pleasantly surprised by the ones written by African writers still living there (unlike many authors now living in the US and Europe). Of course African countries have their own identities, not defined by “us” and our western way of thinking. It‘s so refreshing. This book emphasizes traditional western views and prejudices. @vivastory 6mo
Billypar @GatheringBooks Yeah - I think that's the most interesting part- the main character isn't just a stand-in for the reader and someone whose perspective we're passively assuming. We know from the start that his perspective is suspect, so we see those tropes in a different light. 6mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Right - those authors aren't just authorities on their countries but they also know how foreigners respond due to the colonial history, so you get to see that side represented in the novels. 6mo
quietjenn I feel pretty underread in this area as well, although I've more familiarity with some of the Africa by White (Colonial) writers books, including a few that are mentioned in the introduction. @GatheringBooks puts it wonderfully in saying that Laye “used some of the stereotypes about Africa to turn the story over on its own head“ and slyly subverts them. 6mo
Leftcoastzen What @GatheringBooks said ! It was like seeing a peek at real Africa , then back to Clarence‘s point of view. A very suspect & entitled one. 6mo
batsy I'm so sorry that I wasn't able to squeeze this in in time for the discussion! If I'm able to get to it this month, I'll come back to revisit the discussion... The questions are super interesting. 6mo
Vansa I didn't know this was being read this month, i think I wasn't tagged in the post! This sounds amazing, as @batsy has said above, will revisit the discussion once I read it! 6mo
Billypar @batsy @Vansa If you do pick it up, I'd love to hear your thoughts on such a complex and multilayered read. As @quietjenn mentions, the introduction is very helpful in putting the novel into the context of literary history, so I'd recommend that too (but probably after you finish it because there are spoilers). 6mo
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review
Billypar
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Pickpick

Nothing more or less than a simple summary of the research and what we can expect under different scenarios. Could it have used another editing pass to get rid of some repetition? Sure. Does he spend a weird amount of time dismissing hydrogen fuel cell electric videos? Yeah, a bit. But it was refreshingly straightforward. I'm not sure I left feeling 'hopeful' exactly but informed and not as depressed as with most
#climatechange education.

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Billypar
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#SummerHeat
I'm (once again) behind on my reading and posts so I'm on page 76 of the novel and have no steamy playlist created. So I'm going to cheat and recommend an artist called Stas THEE Boss (Stasia Irons). She is formerly one half of the Seattle-based duo THEESatisfaction and is an exceptional beat maker who really deserves a much wider audience. Her lyrical content is diverse, but when she does a steamier track, trust me, it is 🔥 🔥🔥

Billypar During the pandemic she also started making a series of playlists called 'Late Night Sauce' that are amazing. Great blend of hip hop and soul, popular and underground artists. For some of the playlists she also partnered with other artists to make the selections. They make for great reading soundtracks: https://open.spotify.com/user/1274906161?si=56zsi1AVSO2JCTIGwBpATg&utm_source=co... 7mo
BarbaraBB Wow, I am very interested. I‘m gonna listen to it tomorrow, when I‘m spending time driving! 7mo
SRWCF I am a music fiend 👽 and love finding new artists to listen to. Thanks for the recommend! 7mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Music is what makes long drives tolerable for me - hope you enjoy! 7mo
Billypar @SRWCF Yeah, I'm always looking for the next band or artist I can get excited about. Stas was definitely one of my recent favorites and her playlists introduced me to so many more. 7mo
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review
Billypar
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Pickpick

My favorite book I read last year that I never posted a review on and my new favorite poetry collection. I've still read so little poetry, and barely any complete collections, but this one has a perfect combination of potent imagery and a mix of ideas that run the gamut from satirical to bleak to comic. I discovered this author during a #ReadingEnvy readalong last year and Jenny recommended I read more of Natalie Diaz's work - very glad I did!

Centique I remember this being talked about on the podcast and I meant to read it because the poem sounded so good! I will get to it for sure 💕 8mo
Billypar @Centique That anthology from the readalong put so authors on my radar who I need to seek out to read more of their work. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did! 8mo
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review
Billypar
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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Pickpick

#nyrbbookclub
There's a certain kind of novel about a female heroine with mental health issues who sees the world differently and at first BBwP fits nearly into that literary box. When the novel opens with Shirley decoding messages from her spy lover, it seemed like par for the course. Yet, as it went on I started to question that assumption, almost like the opposite of a novel where you find at the end that a character hallucinated everything 👇

Billypar Shirley has an active imagination that is at the heart of why she leaves her family life of unrelenting routine for her travels with Coenraad, whatever the truth of those adventures entails. She gradually realizes how being trapped in a marriage isn't so different from perpetually waiting for a lover on an adventure. And she glimpses her own struggle in gorgeous, disorienting passages where she imagines the inner lives of women in similar traps. 8mo
Billypar I'm very much looking forward to the discussion today @vivastory ! 8mo
vivastory Excellent review! I couldn't agree more! Yesterday I went back & reread the last half. When I first read it a couple of weeks ago I was a bit distracted by construction outside of my apartment building. I'm so glad that I did. I think there will be a lot to discuss & it seems to be a hidden gem from the NYRB catalog. 8mo
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batsy Nice review! I found this really surprising in how Weinzweig played with the form of the novel and did so much within so few pages. And as Weinman says in the afterword, "interior feminist espionage novel" really captures the mystery; it's the self that's the puzzle that needs unravelling. 8mo
Billypar @vivastory Thanks! I liked seeing everyone thoughts yesterday - I wish I had more time to chat since there is so much to talk about. And I do think distractions can be especially bad for a novel like this. I would have preferred fewer and longer reading sessions given how much concentration was needed, but I still enjoyed it a great deal. 8mo
Billypar @batsy Thanks! I don't always connect as well to novels that are so deep in the character's head, but Weinzweig's experiments with form were done with such precision that I could follow it mostly if I slowed down enough. And it still managed to keep a sense of humor and light touch - you had a good example of that in your review 😅 8mo
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Billypar
Sorrow and Bliss | Meg Mason
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For anyone who was a fan of the #ReadingEnvy podcast and hasn't already heard, I'm sorry to report that Jenny Colvin recently passed away unexpectedly. If you knew her and listened to her show, then you already know how amazing of a human being Jenny was: there is a memorial wall on Goodreads that I have linked in the comments if you'd like to share your memories. If you haven't yet, I'd strongly recommend you try her show, also linked below:

Billypar Memorial wall on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/22225628-remembering-jenny-memorial-wall?co...

Jenny‘s Goodreads profile, which features a huge number of shelves and international selections: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/68030-jenny-reading-envy
8mo
Billypar Reading Envy Podcast: http://readingenvy.blogspot.com/p/podcast_16.html This show takes a simple concept of two readers talking about books and transforms it into a community. If you wanted to be on the show, you could just contact Jenny. Is it for a certain kind of reader? Nope. If you loved books, Jenny wanted to talk to you– she welcomed all. The tagged book was the last Jenny posted, so if you‘re scrolling through, you should give it a listen. 8mo
Billypar On a personal note, Jenny was the one who introduced me to Litsy after mentioning it on her show. For my first posts she was the one and only ‘Like‘, which seems like a small thing, but it‘s not always easy to connect with others at first, and I‘m so thankful to her for introducing me to this community, along with so many books through her show and readalongs, and the memorable conversations that went with them. We will all miss her 💔 (edited) 8mo
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Ruthiella Thank you for doing this. I will miss her a lot. She also introduced me to Litsy. I loved the podcast and interacting with her here and on Goodreads. She was an amazing person. 💔 (edited) 8mo
vivastory Thank you for posting this. I loved her podcast & being able to talk to her. She was a congenial & thoughtful member of the online book community. 8mo
Dragon 💔 well said. 💚🐉 8mo
Megabooks 💜💜💜 she was one in a million, and I loved her ReadingEnvy read alongs, especially when she did The Secret History. Thank you for sharing. 8mo
BarbaraBB Thank you for creating a place on Litsy dedicated to Jenny. I didn‘t know her very well but she was one of the people who formed Litsy and gave it color and character. Wishing all of you strength with the loss of someone dying far too young 🤍 (edited) 8mo
Centique Thank you so much for posting this Vinny. She was such a special person and I feel so shocked. I loved talking to her when I went in her podcast and she was one of my first friends here too. I wish @Reggie was still active so he could chime in too but I will email him with the news 💔 8mo
rockpools Thank you for posting Vinny - this is such sad news. Jenny welcomed me into her GoodReads groups in pre-Litsy days. Her world-reading projects changed the way I read today, inspiring me to seek out authors from beyond the UK/US. Always so supportive and friendly - I loved the warmth and calm enthusiasm of her podcasts. You‘ll be missed, Jenny. My thoughts go out to her family and friends. 💔 8mo
Susanita 😥 8mo
CBee Awful, sad news 🙁💔 8mo
Chelsea.Poole So sorry to hear this!💔 8mo
britt_brooke Such sad news. 😔 Thank you for letting us know. 8mo
Billypar @Ruthiella Yeah, it's rare to find someone who was so influential and accessible at the same time, and with a good heart. 8mo
Billypar @vivastory It's so true - she engaged a lot of readers via Litsy and herself embodied all the qualities that are special about this community. 8mo
Billypar @Megabooks I really enjoyed the readalongs too! The Secret History may have been my first one. She did a wonderful job leading those. 8mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Thanks so much Barbara 💙 Agreed about her lending color and character to this space from its early days. The individuality and creativity of people like Jenny on Litsy are what got me hooked. 8mo
Billypar @Centique She was so great to talk to: she had a way of putting people at ease through something nerve-wracking like recording a podcast episode and making it feel like an ordinary conversation with a friend. That was one of my favorite things about her show. I was thinking about Reggie - I'm glad you can get in touch with him to let him know. 8mo
Billypar @rockpools I was completely inspired by her reading the world project. Her Goodreads shelves are a great resource for reading other cultures that I plan to keep using. It went with the kind of person she was: calm enthusiasm and warmth are great descriptors. She will certainly be missed by a lot of people. 8mo
Cathythoughts Thanks Vinny, I often listened to Jenny‘s podcasts and I really admired and respected her. She also had the most beautiful speaking voice, I loved to listen to her ❤️ May she rest in peace. 8mo
Billypar Thanks for checking in everyone 💙 @Dragon @Susanita @CBee @Chelsea.Poole @britt_brooke 8mo
Billypar @Cathythoughts It's true - she was a natural on the mic and her personality really showed through each episode. We all love books but she really made books feel like a way of getting to know all different kinds of people, both in talking about characters and in learning about her guests. 8mo
batsy Thanks for sharing. She was also one of my first followers here and the first few to "like"—sounds silly but it really makes you feel welcome. I've been unable to stop thinking about her untimely passing since I heard about it. Just a couple weeks or so before she was posting on Litsy ? 8mo
kspenmoll I am so sorry- I enjoyed her podcast & posts. 😢 8mo
Christine Echoing the thanks for posting about this here. Like @batsy I can't stop thinking about Jenny's passing. Though I only knew her from years of listening to her podcast and her presence/our interactions here, she was a meaningful part of my reading life (which I know is true for so many). I'm so sorry that her bright light has left the world. 8mo
Billypar @batsy I've been thinking about it nonstop too. Apart from the tragedy of anyone dying so young, it's an extra layer to process when it's so sudden and unexpected, and to think about what her family must be going through. She's going to be missed by so many people. 8mo
Billypar Thanks @kspenmoll - her presence in these online bookish spaces was truly special and we will all miss her. 8mo
Billypar @Christine Yeah, I got so many great recommendations from Jenny and the podcast and several that became new favorites. And she left behind so much to remember her. I really admire her enthusiasm for chatting with others about books and how welcoming she was in doing so. 8mo
Chrissyreadit Thank you for sharing this. I‘ve enjoyed both Her posts and her podcast and am so very sad to hear this news. 8mo
Reggie @Billypar thanks for letting us know, Vinny. Thanks for the email and the tag, Paula. @Centique This makes me so sad. She‘s one of the first people I met on here back in 2016. She‘s the first bookish podcast I ever listened to. And just like Litsy she introduced me to whole new worlds of books. Talking to her before we turned on record she was just the nicest and listening to her you knew she tried to be her best self. I will miss her so much. 😭 8mo
Billypar @Chrissyreadit Yeah, her contributions to the community were really special: it's very sad and tough to accept. 8mo
Billypar @Reggie In reading people's stories about how they knew her, it's amazing for how many people Jenny was one of the first to reach out and get them engaged in the online book world. I had the same experience as you when I spoke to her for the show - she was so fun to talk to. I really wanted to get in touch about going back on the show later this year. It's tough meeting someone so authentic, kind, and interesting and then losing them so suddenly. 8mo
48 likes33 comments
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Billypar
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
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#nyrbbookclub
I'm really enjoying this one so far! I'm not quite halfway through, but there's a scene involving this Bonnard painting in the Toronto gallery the main character visits that is pretty surreal and, without preempting our eventual discussion where we can dig into its meaning, I'm wondering if those who've read it can confirm if my reading of the basic 'what's happening' level is the same as yours. I'll summarize in the comments...

Billypar My main question is the place and time of this experience: I think it's happening in the Toronto gallery but I wasn't 100% sure at times. It begins right after a memory she had at the Frick gallery, but it shifts to the present tense. And I can't find any indication that the Bonnard painting was ever at the AGO, but the prior Marchesa Casati painting is. Still, an inconsistency like that isn't a problem in fiction. But there's another detail... 8mo
Billypar On page 59 of the NYRB edition, the paragraph "In Paris, I was so caught up with waiting each day for Coenraad's arrival..." refers to a possible memory dated in 1967, but in it she describes forgetting a promise made to the girl in the painting she's currently looking at in the late 1970s so there's a time paradox going on if the painting fantasy is happening in the present... 8mo
Billypar And it's even more disorienting since the world of the painting is the 1930s. But maybe that's the point - once she's in the painting she's in that room's time, so she can imagine 1967 is the future and insert that broken promise into her fantasy. Is that the way you were thinking of it? Tagging those who posted reviews to see if you were also puzzling over time traveling matters 🙃 @merelybookish @sarahbarnes @BarbaraBB 8mo
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BarbaraBB I wasn‘t aware of these various time frames but she is not the most reliable narrator, so maybe that can be the reason? 8mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB It's a good question - like, is she faithfully recounting a 'petit mal attack' as she claims, or trying to turn her despair of waiting for Coenraad (both present day and in Paris) into an artistic construction to ward off loneliness? Or maybe somewhere in between. 8mo
merelybookish I think I read it as your last suggestion - that she becomes the vulnerable girl in the painting in her imagination. It's such a disorienting shift, it took a moment to 'get' what was happening. But throughout the book, she seems to recollect a variety of stories about young girls who are violated in some way. She overhears them, reads them in the newspaper, and this one triggered by art. It's something she is very attune to 8mo
Billypar @merelybookish Yeah, it was the dreamiest sequence so far in the novel, and I thought I got what was happening until she brought the Paris thing into it. But I think you're right, she has a real pattern with her responses to these stories and Weinzweig nicely dramatizes how deep in her head she is in reacting to the painting. 8mo
batsy I just finished this scene and have read on for a few more pages, where she once again vividly imagines another woman's reaction (this time to a drunk husband). I'm not sure if she's re-living aspects of her own life through these associations, & the dissolution of time/space seems to be either the workings of her memory. Or is this book a tale of a protracted breakdown, of sorts? I'm not sure but I'm finding it so intriguing. 8mo
batsy A search of this book on Twitter brought this up, because I've not heard much about this book at all, and it's kind of interesting https://twitter.com/AEAkinwumi/status/1363917510626709506?t 8mo
Billypar @batsy Those moments are so intriguing! I love Weinzweig's style in gradually transitioning from what Shirley is seeing to what she's imagining. I think a lot of her own situation comes through in those daydreams. I'm so curious what the group has to say about this one in our discussion. Especially how much of what we're witnessing should be filed under 'mental health' as opposed to a very imaginative person having a mid-life crisis of sorts. 8mo
Billypar @batsy That's a great author quote - I like it when authors give special attention to what books can do that other narrative art forms can't. It's not about just being experimental for the sake of experimenting - there's a specific effect she's going for. 8mo
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Billypar
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merelybookish Totally fine and I don't even remember which are the repeats. 😁 They all sound great but my vote is for 9mo
sarahbarnes Fun choices! With a title like That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana, I have to choose that one. 9mo
vivastory Great selections 👏My vote goes for That Awful Mess 9mo
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batsy Not cheating at all! I'm always hoping the ones we don't pick show up in the next rounds because ALL of the NYRB books sound amazing 😁 My vote is for 9mo
Leftcoastzen They all look great ! My pick is 9mo
LeahBergen Ooo, let‘s see… I‘ll go for 9mo
BarbaraBB Thank you, great choices! I vote for 9mo
youneverarrived I‘ll vote for this as I think I own it 9mo
GatheringBooks Wow! So happy to see this early! I vote for 9mo
quietjenn Such interesting options! I'm voting for (edited) 9mo
Billypar Looks like Awful Mess and Radiance are deadlocked at 5-5 votes - who will break the tie? @arubabookwoman @daena @emilyhaldi @Liz_M @Reviewsbylola @readordierachel @saresmoore 9mo
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Billypar
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#nyrbbookclub @merelybookish @vivastory
Last month's pick allowed me to appreciate this reference in a Lorrie Moore story I'm reading. Good literary timing is always nice! 🙂

vivastory Jackie Mason 😂 I love Lorrie Moore. I was actually thinking of Freud Archives over the weekend as I was reading JG Ballard stories. He has some unflattering portrayals of psychiatrists in several of his stories. (edited) 11mo
merelybookish Wow b! That is a niche joke! 🤣 Jackie Mason is a pretty obscure reference let alone Jeffrey Masson. 11mo
Leftcoastzen 😄👏I read this years ago! So cool ! Thanks for posting. 11mo
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quietjenn 🤣🤣 no doubt that went right over my head even I read that book 11mo
Billypar @vivastory I'm loving this Lorrie Moore collection. And yes, there are a lot of opportunities for humor in therapy. Or for strange psychodramas like the exploits of an unhinged therapist in this one I read in 2020: 11mo
Billypar @merelybookish @quietjenn If I hadn't read Malcolm's book, I probably would have been thinking: "Yeah, Jackie Mason...that sounds right." ? 11mo
Billypar @Leftcoastzen I'm almost halfway through, but I really like Moore's sense of humor - so many great funny and awkward small moments. 11mo
batsy Oh, nice!! I feel a bit smart 😂 11mo
Billypar @batsy Ha - yes, a good feeling when I'm so often clueless about so many references in my reading life 🤓 11mo
Centique Hey Vinny - I miss seeing your posts. Hope everything is going ok in your corner of the world 💕 10mo
Billypar @Centique Thanks Paula - I do miss spending time on Litsy. The last two months have been one of those periods where large portions of my free time have suddenly vanished. But it won't last forever and I'll hopefully get more reading and chatting about reading time back soon. Hope you're doing well - thanks for checking in! 10mo
Nute Missing your thoughts and opinions here on Litsy, Vinny. Hoping that things are okay and that you are well. Take Care, Friend!💕 9mo
Billypar @Nute Thanks Kimberley! I have a feeling I'll be returning to Litsy before long. My dad passed away on Tuesday, and the last few months of his illness combined with a poorly timed increase in my workload have been the things pulling me away from both Litsy and reading in general. 9mo
Billypar @Nute By the way, that poem you posted "Surprised by Joy" is such a powerful portrait of grief: with my reading time being so limited lately, it feels like exactly what I need right now. Thanks so much for sharing that! 9mo
Nute I am so sorry to hear about your father. When I experienced this same loss, I found comfort in books and eventually this community here on Litsy. Thinking of you and your family. Praying for comfort and peace. Sending hugs! 9mo
Nute Oh, Vinny! I am months removed from where you are today, yet, reading that poem defines how I continue to feel in this frame of grief. My voice has been silent. Words have felt insufficient. Then I read that poem in the shade of this moment with its message and backstory hitting deeper in the heart than ever before. It comes down to the words. At times, as a gift from another. It was what I needed as well.💕 9mo
Billypar @Nute I'm sorry to hear of your loss: I hope you and your family have been able to support each other over the past few months - I know that has made all the difference for me. And it's so true how special this community is: once I have some more space to focus on grief rather than the planning and logistical stuff, I look forward to getting back to reading and chatting on Litsy. Thank you again for your support and encouraging words! 💙 9mo
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Billypar
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Panpan

I'm so upset with this book! It feels like I just ended a dysfunctional relationship 😅 The beginning was so good that when it only got worse and worse, I felt weirdly betrayed. It opens with the narrator being witness to the death of a married woman whom he was just about to sleep with for the first time. He tries to quietly remove himself from the scene but after mysterious circumstances becomes obsessed with observing her family afterwards 👇

Billypar Sounds intriguing right? But instead of pursuing this setup, it devolves into endless philosophizing that became more and more irritating the longer the main plot was delayed. The narrator reveals himself to be a voyeuristic creep but he's not given enough of a character for me to conclude if that's intentional. It ends with a truly disappointing anticlimax. Marías is clearly talented but I can't forgive him for disappointing me like this 😡 (edited) 12mo
Leftcoastzen I think I will start turning books I don‘t like upside down!Great review, it‘s baffling when an author you enjoy & respect seems to go off the rails with one. 12mo
Billypar @Leftcoastzen Yeah, in a weird way, if it hadn't started off so strong, I might not have had as strong of a reaction because it raised my expectations so much 🙃 (edited) 11mo
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Centique @Billypar I know what you mean - I have a couple of books that started as 5 stars, absolutely in my wheelhouse in terms of characters and setting and how I thought the plot was unfolding - and then it becomes a different book. It‘s somehow upsetting because it was going to be wonderful! 11mo
Billypar @Centique Exactly! It doesn't happen too often but it throws me off when it does. While I'm reading those novels it's like my brain won't stop arguing with itself to find the right way to sum up the experience 🤯 11mo
Suet624 There is so little time to read the books that you really look forward to. It's annoying when you get stuck in one that you're not enjoying. 10mo
Billypar @Suet624 Yeah, it is a little annoying. In the last year I think I've had more in that zone where I'm not very invested but also too curious to bail. 10mo
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Billypar
In the Freud Archives | Janet Malcolm
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In All About Eve, an aspiring actress charms her way into the inner circle of star Margo Channing and exploits the connection to launch her career. Malcolm's chronicle of an odd moment in the field of psychology casts unknown Sanskrit scholar Jeffrey Masson in the Eve role as he courts famed psychoanalyst Kurt R. Eissler. Unlike Channing though, Eissler isn't suspicious in the least and takes Masson under his wing, with results that are...weird 👇

Billypar Malcolm's account profiles three intellectuals whose divergent perspectives on Freud lead to all kinds of public and private drama. Their arguments blur the lines between Freud the theorist and Freud the man in fascinating ways. Psychoanalysis' day may have passed, but I found the insights extremely relevant - it doesn't take long to find folks on Twitter whose attempts to defend their ideas reveal more about their character than they intend. 12mo
BarbaraBB You are so right!! 12mo
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Cathythoughts Great picture 💫 12mo
youneverarrived Love this film and love your review! 👌 12mo
merelybookish Great review! I appreciate the distinction you draw between Freud's theories and Freud the man. 12mo
vivastory Fantastic review! I agree with you about certain aspects of the book resonating strongly in the digital age. 12mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB I think we'll have plenty to discuss today with this one 🙂 12mo
Billypar @Cathythoughts @youneverarrived It's not the film parallel I was expecting with this one, but it somehow seems to fit. AAE is a memorable classic! 12mo
Billypar @merelybookish @vivastory Thanks! Looking forward to our own analysis of these case studies of sorts, and how Malcolm brings them to life. 12mo
Leftcoastzen Nice! 12mo
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Billypar
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After realizing two of my current reads feature birds on the cover, I decided to do a little bookshelf birding. A fun activity I'd recommend to other bird and book lovers when it's a little chilly for the outdoor variety. #bookshelfbirding #birdsoflitsy #birds

DrexEdit charming! 😍 13mo
LeahBergen Aww, I love this. 🐦 13mo
BarbaraBB Very cool! 13mo
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Chelsea.Poole A great way to go birding 🐦 13mo
Centique That‘s so cool 🕊🦅🦆🦜 13mo
Nute “Bookshelf birding.” Way cool! 12mo
ponyflorist Making me twitch.. 🤪 11mo
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Billypar
The Intuitionist: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

"Two warring factions in the Department of Elevator Inspectors..." begins the back flap description, which should be enough to pick up this strange and wonderful blend of 'speculative noir'. In this society that looks a lot like Civil Rights era New York, elevators are an academic discipline of sorts and lie at the center of a conspiracy that our elevator inspector hero Lila Mae must unravel. A creative and hilarious spin on the detective novel.

vivastory The only thing better than this pic is your review! I loved this book. Easily one of my favorites by him. 13mo
Leftcoastzen Great photo! 13mo
Billypar @vivastory Thanks! It was actually my first Whitehead, so I'm eager to read more based on everything I've heard about his other work. 13mo
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Billypar @Leftcoastzen Thanks! 🙂 13mo
erzascarletbookgasm Great review. I see what you did with the photo! 👏😁 13mo
jlhammar Such a good book! 13mo
Billypar @erzascarletbookgasm Thanks! Yeah, it was either that or being the weirdo taking a picture of a book inside an elevator (not that I'm above that 😅). 13mo
Billypar @jlhammar It really is - not many authors can interrogate racism while also having a good mystery and plenty of humor at the same time. I was impressed! 13mo
vivastory I think that you would also really like 13mo
Billypar @vivastory Ooh - thanks for that rec! That's not one I hear many people talk about but I like the description. 13mo
vivastory It's been years since I read it, but I remember thinking it was smart & funny. It felt different from his other books (which I also love) 13mo
Billypar @vivastory It is always great when you find an underappreciated gem in a famous author's catalogue. 13mo
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Billypar
Memories of the Future | Siri Hustvedt
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I thought it might be interesting to document my current TBR shelf with the start of the New Year. 21 books doesn't seem like a lot but it also seems inevitable that some will be procrastinated on and unread by year's end. They strike me as a strong bunch though from what I've heard so I guess we'll see what happens!

Ruthiella I see a bunch of books in there that I‘ve read and loved: Kintu, Piranesi, The 1000 Autumns of Jakob de Zoet, State of Wonder... 👍 13mo
BarbaraBB Gorgeous shelves! And please make sure you do read Piranesi 😄 13mo
Cathythoughts Piranesi 💔 13mo
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Reggie The Book of Night Women!!!! 💛💚🖤 13mo
Liz_M Deacon King Kong is fabulous. Which Javier Maris is that? 13mo
Billypar @Ruthiella That's encouraging! I think Kintu is going to be coming up soon. 13mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB @Cathythoughts Piranesi is the latest addition to the shelf - I'm definitely looking forward to it based on all of the Litsy raves! 13mo
Billypar @Reggie I'm sooo excited for that one! I also picked up Yo! based on your recommendation when we were talking about favorite overlooked novels by authors famous for other works, so I'm looking forward to that also. 13mo
Billypar @Liz_M Yeah I've heard lots of good things about DKK. The Marías is Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me - I've never read him before, but I think the strange title drew me in. 13mo
Suet624 I can‘t wait for you to read A Tale for the Time Being. And Piranesi. I wish I could read both of them for the first time again. Have fun! 13mo
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Billypar
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#nyrbbookclub
Dreamy novel about an island in the East Indies during what may be the early 20th century but is absent of historical context. It reads like magical realism except we don't see the magic before our eyes - the island's lore is so vivid through the stories told by its inhabitants that we feel like we've witnessed what we haven't. The style was memorable: it made me feel as if I was reading this on a beach after getting too much sun.

vivastory Great pic! I agree about the lack of historical context. I had to do a bit of Googling. Looking forward to the discussion tomorrow. 13mo
DrexEdit I'm reading the same edition as you. I'm calling it the blurb cover. Love the jellyfish paperweight! 13mo
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Billypar @vivastory Yeah, the lack of references served the magical atmosphere well and I thought it contrasted in an interesting way with the island's truly evil history that is based in history. 13mo
Billypar @DrexEdit I had to laugh when I picked it up from the library: I've never seen an all-blurb cover before 😅 13mo
Centique I love that jellyfish! Have you ever been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where they have floor to ceiling tanks of jellyfish in a big darkened gallery? One of the most beautiful things I‘ve ever seen 😍 13mo
Billypar @Centique I have once, but it was 17 years ago, so my memory of it is a little hazy. But I do love aquariums and the jellyfish always have such a mysterious aura to them. 13mo
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Billypar
Counternarratives | John Keene
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Pickpick

One of my favorites this year was this collection of stories that may be lost from history: tales of runaway slaves or freedmen trying to survive, strange goings-on in monasteries and orphanages, and unexpected encounters with historical figures. They also take on styles that fit their historical settings so they felt extra immersive. I really enjoyed how varied they were: magical realism, satire, suspense - all excellent no matter the genre.

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Billypar
Counternarratives | John Keene
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#Top21of21

Thanks for the tags @Centique and @Nute
There were certainly lots of great reads to consider. Unlike other years where I've had one favorite in particular, I think it was a three-way tie between Counternarratives, Written on the Body, and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. Close behind are Gorilla My Love, The True Deceiver, and The Intuitionist.

Tagging any other fellow procrastinators on choosing their year-end picks!

Centique Yay there‘s The Go Between and Lolly Willowes! I have taken a screen shot to add more to my TBR 😍 13mo
BarbaraBB I loved Tove and Olga too but I‘ll have to take a screenshot too! 13mo
Ruthiella Eclectic mix! I read A Grain of Wheat
by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o in 2020 and am keen to read more. Maybe I‘ll make this one the next I read...
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LeahBergen I see lots of our NYRBs! 👏🏻 13mo
Billypar @Centique Those were both good in very different ways. The Go Between felt like a better version of a familiar setup, and Lolly Willowes wasn't like anything else I've read. 13mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB It was my first read of both of those authors - I can't wait to read more. 13mo
Billypar @Ruthiella Based on your review of A Grain of Wheat, it sounds like that should be my next of his! 13mo
Billypar @LeahBergen Yeah, I really connected with so many of them this year! 13mo
batsy Oooh! This is a great list and I'm definitely taking notes 📝 13mo
Billypar @batsy It's fun to see everyone's NYRB picks on these lists - it looks like we have True Deceiver in common. That one was very memorable. 13mo
merelybookish Great list! The Copenhagen trilogy made my list too! And I'm currently listening to Drive Your Plow. Not far in but it's making me laugh. 13mo
Billypar @merelybookish Yeah, The Copenhagen Trilogy was really excellent, as sad of a story as it was. I was not expecting Drive Your Plow to be so funny. I was laughing out loud at the police letters - I think you'll enjoy those if you haven't reached them yet 🙂 13mo
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Billypar
Inland | Ta Obreht
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Arizona Territory 1893. Missing family members. Drought. Outlaws. Journey. Ghosts. Camels. Those words should be enough to pick up Inland, especially if you've read Obreht's debut The Tiger's Wife. And if you haven't, you definitely should. I went in expecting to be disappointed as you do when you read an author's next book after one you love. But Inland landed pretty close: it's a magician trick of a novel that seems to hold more than its size.

Billypar I was cat sitting for my brother-in-law over Thanksgiving when my Google photos reminded me that I took the top picture exactly three years ago, so I thought this was a good anniversary photo opp. 14mo
vivastory The Tiger's Wife has been on my shelves for awhile now. I've heard nothing but great things. 14mo
Leftcoastzen 😻 14mo
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Nute A few years back, The Tiger‘s Wife, was scheduled to be read in my irl Bookclub, but the member that selected it, read it early, didn‘t like so it got nixed in a no-vote kind of way. Your your review has pushed me into action to request reconsideration. 14mo
Billypar @vivastory @Nute I feel like The Tiger's Wife reached a level of popularity where after it was embraced it started reaching readers outside of the usual audience for a literary novel that takes its time developing the story and who didn't like the pace. It has over 100,000 Goodreads ratings, but only a 3.42 average. But based on both of your tastes, I think you should really enjoy it. 14mo
Ruthiella I also really loved this book. And it‘s SO different from her debut (which I also loved). The Camel Corps (which was real!) and the ultimate fate of Lurie was so bizarre and yet fascinating. This is a western and a ghost story all rolled into one. (edited) 14mo
Billypar @Ruthiella I love how different the two are - the only common thread is how well she can craft a good story that is steeped in folklore. And the Camel Corps - what a fascinating snippet of history I would have never known existed. The ending was definitely memorable! 14mo
Suet624 I didn‘t know she had written another book. I really liked Tiger‘s Wife. 13mo
Billypar @Suet624 Apparently she wrote most of another book after Tiger's Wife only to discover it wasn't working and had to scrap the whole thing, which was why it took so long in between books. 13mo
Suet624 I can‘t imagine having to do that. Heck, I can‘t even imagine writing one book 13mo
ponyflorist Tigers wife rocked, that's why I grabbed this! 🙂 11mo
Billypar @ponyflorist Hope you enjoy it! I don't think it tops Tiger's Wife but not far off either. 11mo
ponyflorist Tigers wife is gunna be hard to beat.. 11mo
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Billypar
School for Love | Olivia Manning
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#nyrbbookclub
Felix begins this novel arriving in Jerusalem to live with his aunt (Miss Bohun) after his mother's death and what unfolds is a coming of age story in the extreme. Felix is initially a teenager who acts more like a 10-year-old, but in witnessing his aunt's tendency to exploit her tenants (including Felix), he gets a crash course in greed and hypocrisy that makes his grief for his mother that much more heartbreaking.

Billypar Our kittens are not really fans of sitting in laps like Faro in the novel, but every now and then it happens and we feel special for being chosen for such a rare honor, lol. 14mo
Leftcoastzen Oh wow , very cute ! I never seem to have lap cats either. 😸 14mo
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quietjenn Ah, I love this!!! Our cat is so not a lap cat either, so I very much relate. 14mo
Chrissyreadit I love that you captured the moment 👏🎉🙌😻 14mo
merelybookish Great pic! 😀 14mo
Reggie This is awesome, lol! 14mo
Cathythoughts Great review! I have this one stacked already 👍🏻 14mo
Cathythoughts Love your picture too 14mo
batsy Nice picture! That is indeed an honour 🐱 14mo
vivastory Great pic 🐱I had a Siamese cat for years that I loved. I should dig up a pic & post it 14mo
GatheringBooks Lovely photo!! 14mo
Billypar Thanks all - I'm hoping Scout's social media celebrity doesn't go to his head 😺 @Leftcoastzen @quietjenn @Chrissyreadit @merelybookish @Reggie @Cathythoughts @batsy @vivastory @GatheringBooks 14mo
Billypar @vivastory Definitely - they're gorgeous cats! 14mo
Suet624 💕💕💕 makes me want a kitten! 13mo
Billypar @Suet624 They are very cute and distracting! 13mo
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Billypar
The Waves | Virginia Woolf
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#DecemberChill
My dad is cleaning out some old boxes and recently sent me the upper left pic, which shows my favorite place to chill as a kid: on vacation by the beach or pool (often with Agatha Christie novels). As an adult it's been a little different - an Airbnb in upstate New York, a park with a pond in New Jersey, hiking by a Brooklyn marsh, or birding in Cape May. But naturally, nothing beats the reading chair for day to day relaxation.

LeahBergen What a lovely collage! ❤️ 14mo
Cinfhen Fabulous collage😍and beautiful photography❣️❣️ 14mo
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BarbaraBB That‘s a fantastic collage with a bit of your life in it, and books ever present. Thanks for making and sharing these lovely pictures 🥰 14mo
Reggie These are all wonderful! 14mo
Cathythoughts Great pictures ❤️ 14mo
tpixie Great memories 📚💝 14mo
Billypar Thanks @LeahBergen @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB @Reggie @Cathythoughts @tpixie - these are always fun opportunities to go through old photos. 14mo
Centique These are great pictures Vinny! So cool that you read Agatha Christie novels by the pool 😍 14mo
Billypar @Centique Thanks Paula! I think 80% of my reading diet in middle school was Agatha Christie or Michael Crichton. The internet and YA publishing were not what they are today 😅 14mo
Suet624 Thank you for sharing these photos. 13mo
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Billypar
Zits: Chillax | Jerry Scott
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#DecemberChill #MusicalMatters
My favorite playlist when I'm looking for something chill has a mix of soul, jazz, and hip hop. It's a list of full albums, which doesn't lend itself to screenshots, so I created a version with one song from each of the 38 artists: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3goqyM1XPG1ldD1YKqRI22?si=3qeR4VBtTMuTPZYBGKep...

Billypar Here's the full 34 hour version with full albums for anyone so inclined: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/39STukh10nz1Ljmx17SENc?si=gfju3Db4Q1-sutJwXtBa... 14mo
vivastory Excellent playlist. Added to my library. I've met two of the artists on your list 14mo
Billypar @vivastory That's awesome, which two? 14mo
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vivastory I met Tricky as he was walking in between stages at Lollapalooza '97. I remember saying something about how much I liked his music & enjoyed his set. We only talked for a couple of minutes, but he was really laid back. I also met The Roots when they opened for Beck, also in '97. My friends and I arrived to the performance center early and as we were looking for somewhere to eat dinner we happened to drive by their tour bus & they were outside. 14mo
Billypar @vivastory That's so cool! Tricky does seem like he'd be laid back. And I've listened to so many episodes of Questlove's podcast that I feel like we're friends 😅 14mo
BarbaraBB Such a chill list! I‘m definitely adding in to my library! And how cool about Tricky, Scott (and going to Lolapalooza for that matter)! I listened a lot to his album Blowback since RHCP played along on some songs. @vivastory 14mo
vivastory @BarbaraBB I haven't listened to Blowback. I'll definitely check it out! 14mo
Cinfhen Excellent list and 34 additional hours sounds amazing 🤩 so cool @vivastory that you got to chat with The Roots & Tricky. I‘ve met Matisyahu twice!!! Does that count for anything??? 😂😂 14mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB I don't think I've listened to Blowback either - I feel like I would have remembered RHCP. Such an interesting collaboration! 14mo
Billypar @Cinfhen I don't know Matisyahu's music, but he's got 1,432,482 monthly listeners on Spotify, so I'd say that qualifies as a cool celebrity encounter 😎 14mo
32 likes11 comments
review
Billypar
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Pickpick

I read Vol 1 of My Struggle earlier this year and really liked Knausgard's style but wished it were shorter. As it turns out, Ditlevsen's trilogy of short memoirs is exactly what I wanted: hyper-conscious, yet carefully curated recollections. Ditlevsen is brilliant at knowing what moments to focus on and what is most fascinating about her perceptions of experiences with family, writing mentors, romantic partners, or her struggles with addiction.

Billypar (When I listen to audiobooks I never know what to post as the picture besides a screenshot of the cover, so I thought I'd mix it up a little with this aspiring shelf climber) 14mo
Centique Awwww! Best little shelf climber ever 😍 I would stack this from your great review, but I already have. Sounds wonderful. 14mo
Liz_M So cute! 😻😻😻 14mo
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vivastory This has been on my radar, but your review has definitely bumped it up BTW I meant to tell you that I enjoyed your segment on Shawn's BookTube. 14mo
Ruthiella Too cute! 😻😻😻 14mo
Billypar @Centique I love it when I attempt to stack something and find I already did without remembering. It's like added confirmation that I should really read it 🙂 14mo
Billypar @Liz_M @Ruthiella He does seem to like the books, so he'll likely be featured in more posts 😸 14mo
Billypar @vivastory It's funny because this one reminded me of a NYRB work. I think you'll really enjoy it. And glad you liked the bite-size book chat - Shawn's put together a great program and that novella was a fun one to talk about. 14mo
BarbaraBB Such a cute picture and you convinced me to stack the book! 14mo
Cathythoughts I think I have this book .. must have a look. Great review 👍🏻 (edited) 14mo
batsy Fab review! I want to read this for sure but *also* Knausgaard and there's only so many hours in the day 😬 photos of shelf climber always welcome 😍 14mo
Billypar @BarbaraBB Excellent - I think it's one you'll enjoy! 14mo
Billypar @Cathythoughts Thanks - hope you find it on your shelf! 14mo
Billypar @batsy Thanks! That's always the truth - I did appreciate that Ditlevsen takes less hours than Knausgard 🙂 14mo
46 likes14 comments
blurb
Billypar
The Giving Tree | Shel Silverstein
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Liz_M Fabulous! 1y
RaeLovesToRead 😆🤣🤣 1y
Suet624 Yes please. 14mo
32 likes3 comments
review
Billypar
Harbor | John Ajvide Lindqvist
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Mehso-so

A Halloween read about a missing girl and a nameless, watery horror terrorizing a tiny island town. Lindqvist is compared to Stephen King in eight blurbs, and although I haven't read enough King to judge the accuracy, it has a King-ish length of 500 pages. I would have enjoyed a shorter version more: the problem for me was all the flashbacks ruined the forward momentum. But the writing is excellent - it cultivates a great, haunted atmosphere.

Billypar I also want to introduce the two distractions to my reading and Litsy posts of late: their names are Jem and Scout, brothers who are 3.5 months old. You will likely be seeing more of them 😺😺 #catsoflitsy 1y
JenReadsAlot Cute! 1y
Amiable So much cuteness!! 😻😻 1y
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DrexEdit So cute! Terrific names! 😻 1y
Liz_M Hello, boys! 😻 😻 1y
squirrelbrain Aw, little cuties! And love their names…. 😻😻 1y
Cathythoughts I love Jem & Scout … how exciting & looks like double trouble 😁🥰 (edited) 1y
vivastory Furry distractions! 😻 😸 1y
Leftcoastzen WooHoo ! Reading buddies ! 😻😻 1y
LeahBergen Hello, Jem and Scout!! ❤️❤️ 1y
AlaMich Adorable mayhem in store for you! 😻😻 1y
Suet624 What fun! Thanks for introducing them. 💕 1y
37 likes12 comments
blurb
Billypar
They Have Fired Her Again | Claudia Hernndez
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@shawnmooney has a great new Booktube program I would recommend: "Bite-sized Book Chats". Shawn has a short conversation with four readers and talks with them about a book they recently read in fun half-hour episodes. They are great for expanding your TBR further via recommendations from readers around the world. I was excited to speak with Shawn in the most recent episode about the tagged book. Check it out here: https://youtu.be/TFC7mIg53Z4

shawnmooney You were a fantastic guest and I‘m really looking forward to you coming back on again! 1y
vivastory I've been enjoying these episodes! Looking forward to watching this one later today 1y
TrishB I‘ll be watching over the weekend 👍🏻 1y
See All 19 Comments
Cathythoughts Really enjoyed Vinny & Shawn .. book sounds good. I am a fan of magical realism… loved your description of this book Vinny , and loved listening to you talk about it . Well done 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻.. I‘m stacking 1y
batsy Fun! I'll also be making time for this over the weekend 👌🏾 1y
Billypar @shawnmooney Thanks and likewise! 🙂 1y
Billypar Excellent - hope you enjoy it @vivastory @TrishB @batsy ! 1y
Billypar Glad you liked it @Cathythoughts ! The book is a real headtrip - not even like other magical realist stuff I've read. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you pick it up. 1y
Reggie Told almost in dialogue but not from the MC lol, that sounds fascinating and challenging. Great talk, Vinny. (edited) 1y
LeahBergen Wonderful! 👏🏻👏🏻 I can‘t wait to watch! 1y
Billypar @Reggie Yeah, it was a bold choice - I wish I read widely enough to have another novel to compare it to, but I haven't read anything else like it. 1y
Billypar @LeahBergen Hope you enjoy! 🙂 1y
Lindy Well done! You sold me on 1y
Billypar @Lindy I hope you like it if you pick it up! It is a challenge, but it helps that it's novella length and not 700 pages. 1y
Lindy @Billypar I will @ you when I read it… if I remember … it might be a while before I get to it. 😊 (edited) 1y
Centique It was lovely to see you recommending books in person Vinny! You sold me on this one too (although who knows when I‘ll get to it, my TBR is toppling) Hope you are well xx 1y
Billypar @Centique Thanks Paula - and likewise for Episode 14! You also sold me on a book, but it was actually The Imaginary Lives of James Poneke - I immediately added to my own toppling TBR 🙂 1y
Suet624 Just came across this post. Now I need to find the episode! Always fun to get to hear/see folks I‘ve been following! 14mo
Billypar @Suet624 Hope you enjoy the episode! I really like Shawn's program and it was great chatting with him about this book. Booktube is totally new to me - I should really explore it more. 14mo
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