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effani

effani

Joined August 2019

review
effani
The Thread That Binds the Bones | Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Mehso-so

Major content warnings in this book for rape and other violations of consent, which played a big role and weren't handled particularly well, in my opinion.

Other than that, I found the protagonist to be a textbook Gary Stu, and the plot not particularly believable. It kept me entertained while I was reading it but I can't recommend the overall experience.

Published in 1993 and hasn't aged well.

review
effani
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances | Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole, Rose Lerner
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Pickpick

The third story, Alyssa Cole's “That Could Be Enough,“ was the most closely tied to the Hamilton frame story, and as I mentioned I don't really care about Hamilton, so I struggled to connect with it even though I normally love Alyssa Cole.

Overall the collection is definitely worth reading if you like historical romance. “Promised Land“ was the standout for me and the one I'm most likely to come back to.

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effani

I normally don't vote in the #GoodreadsChoiceAwards, because I usually haven't read more than one or two of the nominees. This year the only one I've read is This Is How You Lose the Time War, but I loved it so much that I'll probably make an exception and vote for it.

And while I'm at it, maybe throw in some write-in votes for things I loved in other categories.

Clwojick I agree wholeheartedly! I read A LOT, and have only read one of the books on this years list. I won‘t be voting either... 2w
10 likes1 comment
blurb
effani
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances | Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole, Rose Lerner
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Finished the second novella (Milan's “The Pursuit Of...“) last night. I enjoyed it but not as much as I liked the first one.

The writing in the sex scene felt clunky to me, with a lot of uses of “the other man“ where either a name would have been clearer or a pronoun would have sufficed. I'm not really an m/m reader so maybe I'm missing something, but I found it distracting.

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effani
Life After Life: A Novel | Kate Atkinson
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Pickpick

Beautifully written and deeply researched historical fiction, which is also a meditation on the ways that small changes can ripple through a person's life. I really liked it, but I did have some questions about the ending, which I'll put in a spoiler below.

I wish I still had my old book club, because this would be a great, meaty book for discussion.

effani If the central question of the book is “What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?“ then the beginning leads us to believe that “getting it right“ consists of killing Hitler. But once we get to that point, the story starts over again, suggesting that that's not the “right answer“ after all. Maybe saving Teddy is, but that's valuing one life over millions, and not even directly in Ursula's control. 3w
effani I'm not quite sure what to make of that, or what the book is ultimately trying to say about the idea of “getting it right.“ Maybe there is no right answer, and the loop is just endless, but only Ursula is aware of it? That seems particularly bleak though. 3w
14 likes2 comments
blurb
effani
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances | Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole, Rose Lerner
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I wanted something fluffier, so I picked up this book. I have no particular feelings about Hamilton so the frame story does nothing for me, but I figured I'd give it a shot.

I read the first story, The Promised Land by Rose Lerner, today and loved it. It's an unapologetically Jewish story, and I like that even though I know that, as a non-Jewish outsider, I don't understand everything. I'll be looking up more of Lerner's books.

writerlibrarian All three novellas are pretty good. 3w
effani @writerlibrarian I'm looking forward to the other two! I love just about everything Alyssa Cole has done so I'm sure that one will be a treat, and the Milan sounds good too. 3w
11 likes2 comments
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effani
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Finished three books in October. One spanned 200 years, one spanned untold eons, and one spanned a single semester.

This Is How You Lose the Time War was far and away my favorite, and I want to shout it from the rooftops for everyone to read, or at least everyone who has any tolerance for time travel stories. #OctoberWrapUp #MonthlyWrapUp

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effani
Life After Life: A Novel | Kate Atkinson
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I've just realized I have something like a theme going in the covers of recent reads.

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effani
Life After Life: A Novel | Kate Atkinson
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It's a cold, snowy Samhain and I've just gotten back from vacation, so I would like nothing more than to spend all day curled up under a blanket with a book and a cup of tea. Unfortunately I have errands to run instead.

I might need to take a break from this book - it's good, but it's bleak (and I'm currently reading a section set in Nazi Germany, which doesn't help). I think I'm in the mood for something a bit fluffier.

review
effani
Pickpick

This is a compassionate and balanced look at Evangelical Christianity from an outsider's perspective. It helped explain the attractions of what is to me a rather terrifying belief system, while still acknowledging the dangers. It is hard to read in places if you're sensitive to casual homophobia.

One of the better stunt memoirs I've read, particularly considering the author's youth - the AJ Jacobs influence is obvious.

quote
effani

"Here's what worries me the most: I came to Liberty to humanize people. Because humanizing people is good, right? But what about people with reprehensible views? Do they deserve to be humanized? By giving Jerry Fallwell's moral universe a fair look, am I putting myself in his shoes? Or am I really just validating his worldview?"

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effani

"My boss, the journalist A.J. Jacobs, had taken me to Thomas Road on a research trip for his book, The Year of Living Biblically."

... that explains a lot about the existence of this book.

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effani
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Pickpick

This book was stunningly beautiful and incredibly creepy. I'm not normally particularly susceptible to book-related nightmares, but this one gave me nightmares.

effani Litsy's square cropping forced me to cut the artist's name off the bottom of the photo, but the art makes this book at least as much as the writing, so credit is due to Colleen Doran. I definitely don't want to minimize her contribution. (edited) 4w
6 likes1 comment
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effani
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Pickpick

This book delighted me and then ripped my heart in half. Easily one of my favorite reads of the year. Highly recommended. #queerBooks

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effani

I've decided my goal for the rest of the year is to clear some things off my to-read list. The tagged book had been on the list since 2014, so I requested it from the library. As soon as I had it in my hands I felt a deep sense of ennui at the prospect of reading a 30-year-old horror novel by a white man, so I turned around and checked it straight back in. One book down with minimal effort!

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effani
The Gilda Stories | Jewelle Gomez
Mehso-so

Mixed feelings. There's no question this book was ahead of its time, and (phones aside) the bits set in the future felt prescient. But the writing style was very sparse and I had a hard time understanding the emotional content and the motivations of the characters. It's entirely possible that's a me problem. #queerBooks

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effani
The Gilda Stories | Jewelle Gomez

“Hampton Falls, New Hampshire: 2020

“Gilda dropped the receiver into its cradle. The crash was impersonal, final. She turned the power of the video monitor back and pressed replay in order to see the tape she had made of the national magazine show.“

😂

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effani
Signal to Noise | Silvia Moreno-Garcia
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#SeptemberWrapUp Finished five books in September. Four nonfiction and one fiction, which is unusual for me. I think the tagged book is my favorite if I had to pick one, but I'd also highly recommend Because Internet.

Still looking for the best way to make a cover collage!

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effani
The Gilda Stories | Jewelle Gomez
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I'm not normally one for themed or seasonal reads, but I just so happened to start a vampire novel at the beginning of October, so I guess I'm on trend for once. #queerBooks

4 likes1 stack add
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effani
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Pickpick

This book slips into being more about sociology than linguistics in places. I found it fascinating, but if you're looking for an analysis of meme grammar, you're better off following the author's online writing.

If you're an Internet Person like me, this book may well make you feel seen. If you're worried that technology is destroying young people's communication skills, it might give some comfort or at least a new perspective.

5 likes1 stack add
blurb
effani

In a meeting at work today, someone made a comment about how she thinks overall literacy is declining due to texting and twitter. I really wished I could take her aside and say “Let me tell you about this really interesting book I'm reading!“

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effani

In writing/editing this book, McCulloch says that she tried to use spellings and usages that are most common in online writing, even if dictionaries and style guides haven't caught up. That makes perfect sense to me, and yet I still found it jarring to see “get ahold of“ in a published book. I've spent decades editing that particular construction out of my own writing, even down to text messages.

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effani
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I think by this book's classification system I am an Old Internet Person, teetering on the brink of Full Internet. I came of age in yahoo chatrooms and mailing lists, not on usenet, but I (still!) resent the growth of the real-name internet and especially how difficult it's become to find online communities organized by common interest rather than by pre-existing social ties.

Zoes_Human I miss usenet sometimes. I made some friends in the Stephen King group I was in. I was also in another group, its name eludes me, but SPATULA! was our battle cry and it was entirely dedicated to talking nonsense. Every once in a while, someone would come in to troll and try to start a flame war there. It was a hilarious waste of their time. We would all just reply “SPATULA!“ in response. 😊 2mo
effani @Zoes_Human I love that. SPATULA! 2mo
2 likes2 comments
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effani
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I guess I'm in the mood for lighthearted, fun nonfiction right now. I grabbed this from the library yesterday and started it as soon as I had finished Spook.

review
effani
Pickpick

I don't think this is Mary Roach's best book, but that's a high bar. This one, like all the others, is laugh-out-loud funny and full of great “hey didja know“ moments to annoy everyone around you with.

review
effani
Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation | Kate Bornstein, S. Bear Bergman
Mehso-so

I'm not exactly sure what I wanted from this book, but for the most part I didn't find it. Some of the essays were great but most were not for me. Overall the book felt very dated, even less than 10 years after publication - this stuff has moved really fast. (And, it turns out, publishing your chat logs was a passing fad that, in my opinion, didn't read well at the time and definitely hasn't aged well.)

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effani

I'm appreciating that you can see the seeds of some of Mary Roach's later books on this one, as well as how this one evolved from Stiff. There's more discussion of digestion and the products thereof than I expected in a book about the afterlife, and that line of thinking clearly evolved into Gulp. I haven't read Bonk yet, but there's one passage in this one so far that would probably fit nicely there as well.

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effani

I may have to get hold of a physical copy of this book at some point, because the kindle edition has a bunch of pages that just say “Images in this book are not displayed owing to permissive issues.“ Weird phrasing and also a bummer.

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effani

I'm traveling this week, and I find Mary Roach's books are perfect for work travel. They're fun and engrossing (emphasis on the GROSS, although this one possibly less than some of her others), easy to read but not such page-turners that they keep me up too late reading and leave me groggy and sleep-deprived the next morning. I know that sounds like a backhanded compliment, but I honestly mean it as a sincere compliment.

review
effani
Signal to Noise | Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Pickpick

Based on the first half, I wasn't expecting to like this book as well as I did. I'm not really into teenage angst or name-dropping of musical artists and songs, and this book has both in spades. But for all that, I ended up enjoying it. I found Meche all too relatable as a character, and I appreciated how the two interlocking timelines worked together to show her personal growth.

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effani
Signal to Noise | Silvia Moreno-Garcia

There's a reviewer on goodreads who said he wanted to read a book set in Mexico but "very little attention was paid to the setting." I hope he also gets mad when he reads books set in New York and the characters don't spend all their time going to Broadway plays and visiting the Statue of Liberty.

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effani
Signal to Noise | Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Starting a new book. I'm a little nervous about this one because the marketing seems to position it as a sort of fantasy High Fidelity, and I hated High Fidelity (the movie; I didn't subject myself to the book). But friends have told me I'd like this one, so I'm trying to put aside my immediate reaction.

Merethebookgal I didn‘t really care for it, but it‘s worth giving a shot 3mo
5 likes1 comment
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effani
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Rereading an old favorite for the holiday weekend. I love Rachel Pollack's writing.

review
effani
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Pickpick

There aren't many surprises here if you've followed the topic at all, but the book was well written and the author has a unique and important perspective. I thought the audio version was well done as well.

BarbaraTheBibliophage I really liked this one! 2mo
5 likes1 comment
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effani
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So how do people make those cool cover collages? Here are all the books I finished in August, but I already turned the tagged book back in to the library, and this wouldn't work if I'd read more than one ebook in the month, as I normally do. #AugustWrapUp #AugustReads #monthlyWrapUp

effani On the other hand, I guess if I still had All You Can Ever Know, it would break the theme of dragons/serpents on the cover that I have going in this picture. 3mo
5 likes1 comment
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effani
The True Queen | Zen Cho
Pickpick

This was enjoyable, if a bit more predictable than I would have liked. I wish I had reread the previous book after all. Still, quite entertaining, and I'll look forward to when more books in the series come out.

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effani
The True Queen | Zen Cho

And now on to something better! It's been a while since I read the first one so I hope I don't have to remember it too well.

3 likes1 stack add
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effani
The Worm Ouroboros | E.R. Eddison

Come to think of it, this book makes me think it is the game the author used to play with his toy soldiers when he was a kid. That would explain some of the character names (Fax Fay Faz?!), the way the narrative just skips over anything he doesn't find interesting at the moment, and most importantly, the ending.

review
effani
The Worm Ouroboros | E.R. Eddison
Panpan

The prose is positively ultraviolet, there are plot holes big enough to march an army through, the author has an exceedingly poor grasp on the concept that women are people, and occasionally a nasty racist stereotype hits you over the head. At a bare minimum it desperately needed another pass by a good editor. It had a certain propulsive energy that kept me reading to the end, but I don't recommend the experience.

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effani
The Worm Ouroboros | E.R. Eddison

Topics of conversation among women, according to this book:

1. I am very pretty. Isn't my husband fortunate?
2. Who is the best man in all the land? (I'll be mad if you don't say my husband, even though I know you don't like him.)
3. That other woman is a shameless hussy.

sprainedbrain Oh boy... this sounds challenging. 😬 3mo
effani @sprainedbrain It is so bad! I'm looking forward to finishing it so I can get back to reading enjoyable things. 3mo
sprainedbrain @effani I get that! I very rarely bail on books, so occasionally end up hate-reading through one. 😂 3mo
effani @sprainedbrain I'm normally pretty quick to bail and encourage others to do the same, but for whatever reason this book grabbed me just enough to want to keep going. 3mo
Nute Whoa! This book must have been excruciating to plow through! 2mo
3 likes5 comments
blurb
effani
The Worm Ouroboros | E.R. Eddison

On page 464, less than 50 pages from the end, this book finally passes the Bechdel test. Partly with two women gossiping negatively about another woman, lest you give it too much credit.

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effani
The Worm Ouroboros | E.R. Eddison
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Got a lot of reading done on a camping trip this weekend, away from the distractions of home. I took along a backup book in case I got too fed up with this one, but I ended up just powering through. I'm so close to finished I can almost taste it...

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effani
The Worm Ouroboros | E.R. Eddison

I am really mad at this book right now and contemplating bailing, except that I've been slogging through it for a month and a half and I'm over halfway through so the sunk costs are significant. I'm not going to be able to take much more of this misogynist section though. It's much better (“better“) when it's ignoring the existence of women.

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effani
The Worm Ouroboros | E.R. Eddison
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The book is no better than it's ever been, but at least I got to read in a beautiful location for a while.

readingjedi That view is amazing! 3mo
3 likes1 comment
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effani
The Worm Ouroboros | E.R. Eddison

If the audio version of this book has a good narrator, I bet it would make an excellent sleep aid.

If not, someone is missing out on a real opportunity.

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effani
Pickpick

Poignant and compassionate.

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effani

Looking at my bewildered child, I was suddenly reminded of the time she had asked me how airplanes stayed up in the air. I told her I would need to look it up to be able to fully understand and explain it to her, and she exclaimed, almost scandalized, “But you're a grown-up! You've had your whole LIFE to learn everything!“

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effani
The Worm Ouroboros | E.R. Eddison

I would very much like some explanation of the naming convention that led to the brothers Juss, Goldry Bluszco, and Spitfire.

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effani
The Worm Ouroboros | E.R. Eddison

And a man might make a garment for the moon sooner than fit the o'er-leaping actions of great Jalcanaius, who now leaveth but his body to bedung that earth that was lately shaken at his terror.

effani I hope somebody uses the word “bedung“ in my eulogy when I die 3mo
1 comment
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effani
The Worm Ouroboros | E.R. Eddison

Dismal and fearsome to view was this strong place of Carcë, most like to the embodied soul of dreadful night brooding on the waters of that sluggish river: by day a shadow in broad sunshine, the likeness of pitiless violence sitting in the place of power, darkening the desolation of the mournful fen; by night, a blackness more black than night herself.

effani This is the most metal thing I've ever read. 3mo
1 comment