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pigeonsandcrows

pigeonsandcrows

Joined September 2016

Just a lonely little bookworm in the middle of the Canadian badlands
review
pigeonsandcrows
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Pickpick

Vivek is dead, but this story isn't really about death and sorrow- it's a celebration of life and love in many forms. I didn't care for Freshwater by the same author but am glad I took another chance with them. The story is well-constructed and multilayered and kept me invested right up to the last page. It was an interesting contrast to and companion for Detransition, Baby, which also worked with themes of identity, love, and belonging. 4*

Suet624 This has been on my dining room table for months. I loved Freshwater and I am prolonging my sense of excitement about reading this one. 2y
pigeonsandcrows @Suet624 I struggled with Freshwater, although I admired it. I found this one to be a much more traditional "story", exploring similar themes to Freshwater, but maintaining a more hopeful tone throughout. 2y
Kenyazero I've been meaning to read this for a while, but haven't yet because I didn't love Freshwater (I didn't hate it, but it wasn't a hit with me). I'll keep your review in mind since you liked it better! 2y
pigeonsandcrows @Kenyazero I also didn't love Freshwater.... this one had some of the elements I liked from Freshwater, but was more of a traditional story with plot twists and structure. Also more uplifting and life-affirming. 2y
39 likes4 comments
quote
pigeonsandcrows
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"Life was like being dragged through concrete in circles, wet and setting concrete that dried with each rotation of my unwilling body. As a child, I was light. It didn't matter too much; I just slid through it, and maybe it even felt like a game, like I was just playing in mud, like nothing about that slipperiness would ever change, not really. But then I got bigger and it started drying on me and eventually I turned into an uneven block..."

review
pigeonsandcrows
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Pickpick

I picked up this book knowing very little about it- my library had it available & I recognized the title from the 2021 Women's Prize longlist. I was drawn in from the first page and read it compulsively to learn more about the two MCs, Reese & Ames & their history. There is a pregnancy involved, but it was more of a plot device to draw the reader deeply into the complex characters. There's not much of a plot per se, but I didn't miss it. 4*

DrexEdit I‘m just reading it now. It‘s really compelling! 2y
40 likes1 stack add1 comment
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pigeonsandcrows
Block Seventeen | Kimiko Guthrie
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Mehso-so

A 1.99 Amazon Kindle purchase. I've found some great books that way, but this sadly wasn't one of them. It had a lot of potential, but needed more polishing and the help of a stronger editor. Our MC Jane is a 30-something Japanese-American living in San Francisco with her boyfriend, Shiro, in 2012 when odd events begin to occur in her world that lead her down a twisted path of personal & family exploration. A very disappointing 2*.

Suet624 Yes, but the cover!! 2y
44 likes1 comment
review
pigeonsandcrows
The Disaster Tourist | YUN. KO-EUN
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Pickpick

Written in 2013 & translated from Korean, a satire of the tourism industry that takes the reader on a wild ride. Our MC Yona works for a disaster tourism company, where tourists can decide between a variety of disaster sites, affected by tsunamis, drought, fires, etc. She is sent to evaluate a poorly performing site, and after a twist, the story drags Yona & the reader into an alternate reality. Lots to sit with in this short, strange book.

review
pigeonsandcrows
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Pickpick

A detailed depiction of a couple of days in the life of Laura, a pediatric nurse working long hours on an inpatient ward at a London hospital. Suffering from sleep deprivation and social isolation, she begins to lose her grip on reality. I didn't enjoy it per se, but it was well written and obviously the author has worked in this environment herself. Thankfully quite short, as I was glad to leave the inside of Laura's head. The end is shocking.

38 likes2 stack adds
review
pigeonsandcrows
The Aosawa Murders | Riku Onda
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Pickpick

All the members of a wealthy family are killed in a mass poisoning except their young daughter, Hisako, who is blind. The story is told from the perspective of multiple characters, and the book is more about the storytelling than about giving the reader an easy solution to the "mystery". It's a book to savor and be patient with, masterfully crafted. I especially recommend it for those with an interest in Japanese culture. 4*.

Buechersuechtling After I was so sucked in by your review but then let down by my library, because they don‘t offer it, I decided to nudge @ju.ca.no – I‘m pretty sure there‘s a good chance she might be interested. 2y
ju.ca.no @Buechersuechtling ooh yes, thank you😍😍 2y
38 likes4 stack adds2 comments
blurb
pigeonsandcrows
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So far, I love this collection of stories by Laura Van den Burg. I just finished "The Pitch"- reminiscent of her novel The Third Hotel, but always something fresh. I'm wondering if others tend to read short story collections straight through, or spread out over a longer time? I'm not much of a short story reader. I'm curious about others' habits.

SamAnne Oh I‘ve been wanting to read this one. Thanks for the reminder. 2y
Centique I struggle with short stories too. I think I usually end up reading two or three and then putting it aside for ages! One that I did read through quickly and loved was 2y
34 likes2 comments
review
pigeonsandcrows
A Fist Or a Heart | Kristn Eirksdttir
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Pickpick

Two lonely & traumatized women in Iceland, one quite old and the other very young, whose lives become entwined. I was drawn in by the writing from the first page and continued feverishly reading in search of answers. This short novel is the author's first work translated into English, and won the Icelandic Literary Prize in 2017. Although some answers are given, not recommended for those who prefer plot driven stories & reliable narrators. 4*

Tamra Sounds great! 2y
33 likes4 stack adds1 comment
blurb
pigeonsandcrows
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I got these from the library today and don't know where to start!

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pigeonsandcrows
Clock Dance | Anne Tyler
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Mehso-so

The success of this novel hinges on how sympathetic of a character you find Willa to be. I typically find Anne Tyler's main characters relatable and can root for them wholeheartedly, but this one was an exception. The writing was as good as usual, but this (her 22nd novel!) just missed the mark for me.

Cpg I‘ve just read your review- I just finished reading it last night and I thought about it several times today....I just felt let down at the end. I always enjoy her characters and storylines. I guess I wanted more of the story. 11mo
35 likes1 comment
review
pigeonsandcrows
No One Is Talking about This | Patricia Lockwood
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Mehso-so

A novel told in a stream of consciousness that reads like a meta Twitter feed recounting the protagonist's observations and reflections on her life, which is deeply entwined with social media. It is an insightful look at the paradoxes of living embedded in the online world, & also a touching reflection on a family tragedy that causes the main character to question the meaning of life, but ultimately it didn't entirely work for me as a whole.

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pigeonsandcrows
The Discomfort of Evening | Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
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Panpan

Wow, that was unpleasant. Winner of the 2020 Booker International Prize, this novel traces in excruciating detail the simultaneously mundane and grotesque happenings on a dairy farm in the Netherlands in the year after the oldest child, 12 year old Matthies, dies in an accident. Relentlessly repulsive and depressing without redemption, and chock full of animal cruelty and incest. Not recommended.

review
pigeonsandcrows
A Man | Keiichir? Hirano
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Pickpick

I loved this book. A middle-aged Japanese lawyer is called to assist his friend when she discovers a bizarre situation regarding her husband. We then follow him through the continually twisting and obsessional path he follows in uncovering the truth about this other man (and simultaneously about himself). Part mystery, part reflection on identity. I am disappointed this is the only one of this author's books translated into English!

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pigeonsandcrows
The Christmasaurus | Tom Fletcher
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StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Merry Christmas to you too Eva! ❤🎁💚🎅🏼 2y
47 likes1 comment
blurb
pigeonsandcrows
Untitled | Anonymous
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Thank you, @StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego ! I was out of town and just got back to your card! I bought myself a book for my birthday 😊
#poutinepenpals

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Yay! Happy Bday! 🥂🎂 3y
NeedsMoreBooks Happy birthday! 🎂 3y
Geenie Happy birthday🎂! 3y
Tanisha_A Happy birthday! 🎂🎈🎉 3y
JessClark78 Happy Birthday! 🎊🎂🎉 3y
36 likes5 comments
blurb
pigeonsandcrows
Untitled | Unknown
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1. I don't really keep up with that specifically, but I'd like to see the new Little Women. Also I'm curious to find out more about the UK TV adaptation of Tana French's novels.
2. Mostly physical books. I'm not an audiobook person.
3. I read a sweet story about a man from Alberta who rescued three little kittens off an icy and snowy service road and found them homes.
4. It's not Friday anymore, but @Susannah if you want to join in.

review
pigeonsandcrows
Light from Other Stars | Erika Swyler
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Pickpick

A very complex and thoughtful book. Definitely partially sci-fi, part family drama, and part historical fiction about 1980s Florida and the space program. I didn't find the characters very engaging- they came across a bit cold and wooden to me- but overall I thought this was a unique and very interesting read.

60 likes2 stack adds
review
pigeonsandcrows
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Pickpick

This book will definitely not be for everyone, but if you like descriptions of nature, eccentric narrators, and to ponder philosophical issues, it may be up your alley. My reading of it may have been enhanced by understanding the role of the Catholic Church in Poland with regard to hunting and ecological issues, as not all the narrator's concerns and actions made automatic sense to my North American brain until I did some background reading.

crazyspine I like this cover. It's a different version than the one I read. 3y
Lizstarks @pigeonsandcrows your review hooked me! 3y
56 likes2 stack adds2 comments
blurb
pigeonsandcrows
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#canuckchristmasswap Thank you, @sherryvdh !! Great books- neither of which I've read yet- and several other lovely little gifts! We are burning the gingerbread candles right now. Merry Christmas!!

@StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego

kelseynicburke I got Milkman in my gift too :) just started it 3y
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Some great gifts!! 💚❤ 3y
Hooked_on_books Cute socks! 🧦 3y
sherryvdh You're very welcome! 3y
54 likes4 comments
review
pigeonsandcrows
The Hunger | Alma Katsu
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Mehso-so

An imaginative retelling of the Donner Party's ill-fated attempt to reach California from Illinois in the 1840s. The set up was strong, although I will admit to some qualms about making up scandalous backstories for the long dead protagonists. My main complaint and reason for not rating it more highly is that things are brought to a rushed and muddled conclusion. It made me want to pick up more Donner Party nonfiction, though!

Pricel101 I was really pumped for this one and ended up disappointed. I agree with your review 💯! 3y
49 likes1 stack add1 comment
blurb
pigeonsandcrows
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@sherryvdh It arrived!! I'm so excited for December 24th! Thank you! @StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego

sherryvdh I'm glad it made it!! 3y
35 likes1 comment
review
pigeonsandcrows
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Panpan

This book really didn't work for me at all. I found the language very stilted and unnecessarily formal. It was supposed to evoke 17th century English, I suppose, but I found it was just a distraction. The story was just gibberish to me, and I like weird, nonsensical books. It's relatively short, so dive in and give it a chance if you like, but there's better and more magical out there IMHO.

Skyrimir My thoughts too. I wasn‘t able to finish it. I do want to go back and try at some point though. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Skyrimir There's certainly a lot of love for it out there. Maybe this was just not the right book at this time for me. I did finish it, at least. It was a book club read. 3y
44 likes2 comments
review
pigeonsandcrows
Prayers for the Stolen | Jennifer Clement
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Pickpick

4.5 stars. I simply can't express how much I appreciate what Clement has done with this short and extremely creative book. Such a unique style. I could read her writing all day long. The book spans years of the life of teenage Ladydi and her mother and friends in an area of Mexico ruled by drug lords. I don't want to preempt any of the clever plotting she's done and give any spoilers, so I'll just say I found this book intriguing and quirky.

46 likes6 stack adds
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pigeonsandcrows
Prayers for the Stolen | Jennifer Clement
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So far this book is amazing! It's the story of a girl, Ladydi, who lives in a rural area of Mexico filled with criminals, kidnappers, and high level drug traffickers. All the good men have left the area to seek work elsewhere with promises to send money to their families. The landscape is fantastic and one review on the back calls it "a glorious fever dream of honesty and love." I'm slightly less than halfway through and excited to keep reading.

43 likes2 stack adds
review
pigeonsandcrows
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Pickpick

It's been a long time since a book creeped me out enough to keep me up at night... and it's nonfiction! Yikes! Thankfully distant history. I have been interested in some of the cases discussed in here for a long time, and I couldn't put this down. I am also extremely impressed with the amount of research that the authors put into this, and their emphasis on understanding the impact of time and place on the crimes and investigations.

ljuliel I really liked this one, and liked how the author almost talks directly to the reader in parts. It was different, but very good. I‘ve read books on Villisca , and I think one of them mentioned there‘d been a few other axe killings around the same time frame. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @ljuliel The one by Troy Taylor, Murdered in Their Beds, talked about a lot of the “subsection“ murders that the Jameses discuss, but the addition of all the other cases they uncovered in their research was so impressive to me. I got interested in Villisca a while back, and kept thinking it had to be a stranger and he couldn't have only done something like this once. So I have been excited to see more books that connect the dots! 3y
55 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
pigeonsandcrows
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Coming to my spooky read for the fall a bit late!

veritysalter This looks interesting, I‘m stacking it📚x 3y
45 likes2 stack adds1 comment
review
pigeonsandcrows
The Overstory: A Novel | Richard Powers
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Bailedbailed

This book is due back at my library tomorrow and 4 people have holds on it behind me. I can't say I'll be rushing to get back in line for it. I love the idea- reimagining the relationship between humans and trees, a new understanding of trees- but after 250 pages, I have become quite bored with the multiple virtually indistinguishable human characters and their stories and there are still another 250 pages to go. Just not a good fit for me. Bail.

merelybookish I found this a slog. 3y
BarbaraBB Me too! 3y
pigeonsandcrows @merelybookish Slog is a great word for my experience with it. 3y
50 likes3 comments
blurb
pigeonsandcrows
Untitled | Unknown
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1. Quirky, dark, experimental or unusual books. Fiction or nonfiction are both great. Poetry, too.
2. Coffee
3. Bookmarks
4. Scented hand creams
5. Fudge and gingerbread.
6. The animatronic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
7. I am very easy to please. I love all things bookish and comfy and soothing things like socks, scented candles, soaps.
#poutinepenpals #canuckchristmasswap #xmasfaves

KarynGood Candles! Must haves for the winter season! 3y
LA_Mead YES that Rudolph is the best! 3y
50 likes3 comments
review
pigeonsandcrows
Eileen: A Novel | Ottessa Moshfegh
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Pickpick

I haven't read anything quite like this before. Dark, humorous, neurotic, at times quite perverse, it's the story of Eileen Dunlop's unexpectedly last week in her New England hometown and the events that were her undoing and salvation. I could see where some people would hate this, but I kind of loved it. It was somewhat reminiscent of Lynda Barry's Cruddy.

Addison_Reads Great review! I will definitely have to check this out. 3y
Megabooks Great review! I love her books! 3y
Margot0817 Dark as in scary, dark humor or other? 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Margot0817 Darkly humorous at times, and also shining a spotlight on some of the darker aspects of humanity (addiction, abuse, greed). It doesn't necessarily make you feel great about the world. 3y
52 likes4 stack adds4 comments
blurb
pigeonsandcrows
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I am super excited to throw this nonfiction into the mix. Right up my alley!!

50 likes1 stack add
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pigeonsandcrows
The Overstory: A Novel | Richard Powers
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I've been struggling with this one for a while. I haven't given up, but it's not getting any easier. The writing is good and the concept is very appealing- trees communicating with humans and whatnot- but it's just not drawing me in by the halfway point.

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pigeonsandcrows
Eileen: A Novel | Ottessa Moshfegh
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So I picked this up at the library. I'm about halfway through and very curious to see where she is headed with it. I am enjoying the dark humor although it is also pretty bleak and deranged.

51 likes1 stack add
review
pigeonsandcrows
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

A fictional representation of the experiences of boys at a juvenile detention center/reform school in 1960s Florida, based on an actual place. Whitehead drew off of various historical sources to keep his version as true to life as possible and honor their experiences. This book is not as intense as other nonfiction I have read on similar topics, and avoids being graphic or gratuitous in its depictions of violence. Recommended.

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pigeonsandcrows
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@KarynGood @StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Thank you!! Getting pretty things in the Canada Post really made my day! #poutinepenpals

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Happy Halloween 💚👻💚 3y
KarynGood Glad it got there! 3y
47 likes2 comments
blurb
pigeonsandcrows
Untitled | Anonymous
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Thanks, @julesG !
❤ Alberta, Canada
🧡 44
💛 I almost exclusively use the public library- I am very lucky to have a good one.
💚 Married for 12 years
💙 she/her/hers
💜 Just a couple of my favorite types of birds 🙂

@Susannah want to participate? @StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego ?

blurb
pigeonsandcrows
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I'm going to have a hard time matching the impression Lincoln in the Bardo made on me, but here's a sampling of the books I got from the library to try. Not sure where to start!

Emilymdxn I loved On Earth We‘re Briefly Gorgeous! 3y
EmilyM The Nickel Boys 👍 3y
merelybookish I couldn't resist the Cusk! But so many good choices! 3y
See All 6 Comments
pigeonsandcrows @EmilyM I settled on the Nickel Boys- 3 chapters in. I can already tell it's going to break my heart! 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Emilymdxn I started this one and the writing is beautiful. It'll definitely be near the top of the list! 3y
pigeonsandcrows @merelybookish It is irresistible! I got pulled into the first chapter and felt like I was chatting with a very clever friend. 3y
51 likes6 comments
review
pigeonsandcrows
Lincoln in the Bardo | George Saunders
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Pickpick

I know there were several people who found the format of this book didn't work for them, so I approached it with trepidation. Happily, it worked for me. I read it in two sittings and couldn't wait to see where Saunders would go next on this surreal, poignant, comically absurd and highly imaginative depiction of Lincoln's heartrending loss of his 11 year old son in the first year of the American Civil War. 4 1/2 stars.

wanderinglynn Thanks for reviewing this book. I too have put off reading it because I had seen so many comments about the format. I will have to move this up on my TBR. 👍🏻 3y
Susannah Excellent! I‘m glad you liked it. 3y
59 likes2 comments
review
pigeonsandcrows
The Good Son: A Novel | You-Jeong Jeong
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Mehso-so

I hesitate to give a truly negative review to a book I read in translation. Maybe this works totally differently in Korean. However, I felt like this one dragged for me, even though it was short. It's very dark. There were parts I liked, but I felt like most of the plot twists had been done elsewhere before, and done better. Plus I got tired of the claustrophobic feel of being in the main character's messed up head for 300 pages.

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pigeonsandcrows
Lincoln in the Bardo | George Saunders
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So far this one has been a punch in the gut with the themes of the death of a child and Lincoln's grieving, but I'm enjoying the format and the whole concept more than I thought I might.

Tanisha_A I loved this. Unique storytelling! 3y
58 likes2 stack adds1 comment
blurb
pigeonsandcrows
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I love the cover, and a location on the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border is integral to the functioning of the time traveling Universe, so it's made a positive impression so far! 3 chapters in.

34 likes1 stack add
review
pigeonsandcrows
Fire Sermon | Jamie Quatro
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Panpan

The story of a neurotic middle aged woman who marries the first man she has sex with in college to make up to God for the fact she's fornicated, then 25 years later tiesherself in psychological knots questioning why God is compelling her to have an affair if He is also prohibiting her from doing so. I found everything about this book questionable, and would've bailed on it if it weren't for my book club (continued in the comments)

pigeonsandcrows ... and, sadly, one that I proposed. I couldn't connect with the protagonist, Maggie, at all, despite being a neurotic married middle aged pseudointellectual myself. We're told she has the prototype of the enviable life, with perfect house, kids, more money than she knows what to do with, good looks, brains, "very fit," but is dissatisfied with all that perfection (largely because she really, really doesn't like having sex with her hot husband... 3y
pigeonsandcrows ...who is an agnostic and she can't talk about God stuff with him). Anyway, Maggie is spineless and never takes personal responsibility for any choice she makes, telling herself that someone (God or her husband, usually) is forcing her to feel or do something. This book is her inner life and thoughts more than it is a traditional novel with things like character development, a plot, or a storyline. 3y
pigeonsandcrows Perhaps I missed something- in fact, it's clear I did, as there are many rave reviews on Goodreads- but I can't in good conscience recommend this book to anyone. 3y
Susannah I agree with your assessment 99%. The only point I‘d argue is that you‘re not a pseudo intellectual. You‘re just a regular one. 😊 3y
Redwritinghood Totally agree. This book was just a whiny woman trying not to take responsibility for her own actions. It was stupid. 3y
36 likes2 stack adds5 comments
review
pigeonsandcrows
Bunny: A Novel | Mona Awad
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Mehso-so

I finished reading Mona Awad's Bunny. I wish I could say I liked this book more than I did. It was different, which I appreciated. It ostensibly follows the trials and tribulations of Samantha, a 25 year old MFA student in creative writing at an elite university, who we are told many times over has a really vivid imagination and uses it to hide from the unpleasantness & demands of the "real world". Part satire, part fantasy (continued in comments)

pigeonsandcrows ...I ultimately found it an unsatisfying imaginative interpretation of Samantha's creative process in writing her thesis. It was not nearly as outrageous or transgressive as I've seen it described. It was overall very juvenile and self-indulgent without much story there. Some parts of it were funny, especially with the Bunnies, but those sections were not nearly enough to carry the novel for me. 2.5 stars. 3y
Aimeesue Really, really hoping that's not a spoiler. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Aimeesue I don't think anything I've said here should be a spoiler. A lot goes on in the book. It's also only my interpretation, and I could see this book being open to many different readings. 3y
See All 11 Comments
Aimeesue Maybe you could leave that interpretation out? It‘s pretty spoilery in that I now know what one interpretation is, and that‘s def going to color how I read the book, if I keep it on my TBR list after knowing that. Clicking the spoiler cover at least gives people who haven‘t read it a choice. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Aimeesue I haven't said anything here about my ultimate interpretation or anything more than is in most blurbs about the book on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. I would encourage you to read it and find out what happens in it and what you think it's about and not rush to a conclusion. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Aimeesue I covered up my initial comment, but nonetheless, don't read too much into it. There is a *lot* in this book and I wouldn't take it off your TBR based on my vague commentary. 3y
Aimeesue I'll try to keep that in mind. But I don't read random reviews of books I want to read, either, for much the same reason. If something's meant to be worked out -or Interpreted - by the reader through reading the book itself, even broad hints can Color the reading, if you know what I mean. I'm going to be looking for that, where I might not have even considered it before. I def had not seen anything that mentioned it before. Thanks! 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Aimeesue I'm not even talking about reviews. I mean the blurb that describes the book for the general public to generate interest. Clearly you've taken something I've said to mean more than what I wrote. I'm not even sure what you're referring to here. My "interpretation" of this book could be thesis length, it's got that much content. But you do what you want here with regard to reading it. 3y
Aimeesue Feel free to read “reviews” as “reviews, blurbs, random internet postings, or whatever” I have literally not read anything beyond the Amazon description and blurbs that talk about her writing. A spoiler doesn‘t have to be major, particularly with books with ambiguous endings or… various interpretations. It‘s likely going to color the way I read it. I would now be looking for indications that what you related is/is not true. That‘s all 🤷🏻‍♀️ (edited) 3y
Aimeesue And I appreciate you spoiler-marking it! 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Aimeesue No problem. I do hope you'll still read it, though. It's a very original book and kooky, even if it was so-so for me. 3y
38 likes11 comments
review
pigeonsandcrows
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Pickpick

The last third was not as strong, but still a 4 star read for being so hard to put down for the first 2/3. Part courtroom drama, part a reflection on responsibility versus guilt and other complex moral and emotional topics. It would be a great book club read and sure to generate much discussion!

Scochrane26 My book club is reading this month. I haven‘t started it yet. 3y
LaurenELovesToRead Intriguing! 3y
Kaila-ann In the process for reading this one right now for #lmpbc 3y
See All 6 Comments
pigeonsandcrows @Kaila-ann What is lmpbc? I'm pretty new to Litsy, and I've seen this hashtag but I'm not sure what it means. 3y
Kaila-ann @pigeonsandcrows it stands for Litsy markup postal book club and is run by @suvata - sign ups for round 7 just ended but if it‘s your thing, you should definitely keep an eye out for round 8. It‘s a lot of fun. 3y
ClairesReads Totally agree 3y
57 likes6 comments
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pigeonsandcrows
For the Time Being | Annie Dillard
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I thought I was just picking randomly off the shelves at the library earlier this week, but I clearly had a theme I was pondering..."For The Time Being" "The Future of Another Timeline" and "Memories of the Future"! Any other time-related titles that pop to mind, anyone?

KimHM The Once and Future King (TH White) 3y
KimHM Time and Again (Jack Finney) 3y
42 likes2 comments
blurb
pigeonsandcrows
Bunny: A Novel | Mona Awad
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Since I'm reading Bunny on my Kindle, here's a photo of a weird fake bunny to accompany my blurb. I'm about 65% done. It's hard not to feel that Mona Awad has a chip on her shoulder about her experience in the MFA program at Brown, although I am usually hesitant to draw a direct connection between an author's life and writing. This one is just begging to made, though. And that she's using this fantastical satirical style (continued in comments)

pigeonsandcrows ... suggests that being an outsider at a pretentious New England school with a group of wealthy, privileged students was an Owie (to borrow a term from the novel). I hope churning out this novel led to some catharsis via chaos if that was her experience. I'm still waiting to see where the ending goes and definitely enjoying Part 2 more than I did the beginning. @Susannah 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I will just add at this point that my neighborhood is overrun with bunnies, and I can't see one without thinking about what sort of "draft" of a person I could make out of it! I am wondering if you're enjoying the second part any better, especially after listening to the podcast? 3y
Susannah I‘ve finished Part Two now, and I thought it was a good setup for Part Three but not much more. It read a little more like a middle part usually does—cleaning up Part One and prepping the last part. Samantha really frustrates me. This is terribly judgmental (surprise, surprise), but I wish she wouldn‘t be so weak! I feel bad for thinking that, but reading Part Two, I was just, like, Ugh, GROW UP! 3y
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Susannah It continues to feel really high school to me, with Samantha simultaneously hating the Bunnies and desperate to be one of them. And I was pissed when no one realized that Samantha had transformed the stag. I think I‘ll be very satisfied by the end, based on what we learned from the podcast. And speaking of the podcast, I actually have very little sympathy for Mona Awad, if our takeaway is that this is a roman a clef. 3y
Susannah Like, Samantha is in pain for a myriad of reasons and struggling, but everyone else—who doesn‘t know—is just supposed to figure it out? I know in Part Two, Samantha comments on how she had gone to Fosco to tell her that she wasn‘t doing well in her cohort, but she said it was because the Bunnies were all in the same clique. It‘s like she doesn‘t know how to explain her alienation and loneliness. And she‘s supposed to be a writer! 3y
Susannah I feel like she should be able to express herself better, you know? I‘m frustrated, obviously, but with myself for my lack of sympathy as well as the character for her lack of insight. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I've been wondering that... is "Samantha" Mona Awad just as "Warren" is clearly Brown? Are these portraits of specific people that would be recognizable to people who attended the MFA program? That takes it to a different level. 3y
Susannah I‘ve been assuming that it is, but that‘s based on the podcast, not on my own knowledge. The woman on The Librarian Is In episode seemed to think Awad was putting some (significant) degree of her experience at Brown into the book. I admit that I‘ve picked that up and run with it in my comments.... Tell me more about your response to Part Two. You said you were responding more positively than you had to Part One. (edited) 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I was just perusing some interviews with Awad to get a sense of how much she openly admits to modeling her novel after her time at Brown. I don't think it's quite at the level of being strictly autobiographical. More satirical than a roman a clef as I understand it. She was in her 30s and already had a Master's in English (from the U of Edinburgh!) and was halfway done with her first novel when she attended Brown. That being said... 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah ...although I think she overall sounds like she got a lot out of her time in the MFA program, I think she clearly identifies with the role of the outsider and that Bunny was a chance to explore all the insecurities, uncertainties, and maybe resentments that came to the surface while she was at Brown. I am basing this both on reading the book and on various interviews I was looking at. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I think I have just settled into or embraced the weirdness of the novel more than I did at first, at least in part because of the podcast giving me a framework for it. It still strikes me as very childish and (so far) I do not find it very disturbing or violent. I think her tongue is firmly planted in her cheek, and so the over the top cartoonish gore aspect really isn't bothering me. I have started to enjoy the descriptions more. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I highlighted a couple of passages I enjoyed reading in my Kindle...let me see if I can find them.... 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah From when Samantha's riding a city bus with the Bunnies & they see a homeless man & are trying to process the experience: “Our mothers always said to look hard at the things of this world that are owies on the eyes because they will put more colors in your inner rainbow.“ That cracked me up. Or when they run into Ava on the same trip: “All of this goop we rubbed into our bodies has run, has slid off of our skin because of her slut rain.“ (edited) 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah As juvenile as it is, I enjoyed that section, where Samantha is group thinking with the Bunnies. It was so ridiculous. So. Also, I agree with the podcasters that I like Jonah and his 90 page poem about Alaska that he can't stop writing, as well as the spoof of what I assume was Whole Foods or something similar, and the horrible Yule party where she and Jonah are the only people there (aside from the server who is also a Bunny hybrid). (edited) 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah And did you know Mona Awad is Canadian? 3y
Susannah Oh, I‘m really glad you‘ve been able to embrace it more. I‘m irritated that I cannot. I mean, I assume we‘re not supposed to think the Bunnies are empowered, regardless of how much they think they are (and especially after we see their response to the man Samantha makes out of the stag). I feel a little like, I don‘t get it. Maybe I don‘t want to get it? 🤷‍♀️🙄 3y
Susannah I didn‘t know she was Canadian! 3y
Susannah At this point, what‘s your perspective on all this? Do you think it‘s all happening in Samantha‘s head? Or some things are not real and the things that are real are exaggerated (like the Bunnies)? The way Ava will appear and disappear, and the way Samantha‘s stag-transformation will show up randomly makes me think they are hallucinations. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah She was born & raised in Montreal, and attended college in Ontario. I guess she got her PhD at the U of Denver & now lives in Colorado! 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah Hmmm, if I were to try to summarize my perspective in terms of what's “really“ happening, I think there are many clues that Samantha is imagining a lot of it. Like she's this totally underdeveloped personality who can't cope with the real world and so projects this kind of cool, outsider persona that people initially buy into, but in reality her coping skills are totally inadequate to deal with the stress of attending this MFA program. (edited) 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah It would not surprise me if that part is not really resolved by the end of the novel and we're left hanging as readers as to what is “real“ and what is not. Maybe a really close reading would reveal more clues as to the author's intent, but I don't think I'm up for that! 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I don't know if I totally “get“ it, but some parts of it resonate with much earlier parts of my life. Like being an outsider poor kid among rich kids who don't know how privileged they are and who think you're cool and deep and intellectual when you're really just broke. I don't think I was as desperate to be liked as Samantha is except maybe in junior high school, though. She's more like a 15 year old than a 25 year old. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah The skewering of the pretensions of New England liberal arts programs I totally get, with their insider intellectual jargon. 🙄 Watching people blow huge amounts of money on frivolous stuff without a second thought while you're trying to buy 20$ worth of groceries at the poor people's grocery store you rode the bus to get to. I get that. People vacationing in exotic spots while you're the only person staying on campus for the holidays. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah So I understand the kind of childish, hateful, chip on the shoulder vibe she has at times. One interview alluded to how there are a lot of class issues brought up in the novel- also in the lurid descriptions of the city's poor- and also how, although it's never stated what race Samantha is, she dwells on how the Bunnies are very white and blonde and that perhaps some racial tensions could be read into it, too. (edited) 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I am totally not sure if anything I am typing constitutes a spoiler anymore. Anyway, the way she goes after the Bunnies who think they're really deep when they're actually very sheltered is pretty spot on in terms of mocking rich kids at liberal arts schools who think they've had profound experiences- owies that have added colors to their inner rainbows. I guess I like that aspect of it. I like the lush descriptions of cuteness, too. (edited) 3y
Susannah Oh dear, I totally read Samantha as white. 🤦‍♀️ That‘s my projection, but I also think that a person of color wouldn‘t have such poor coping skills. I can totally buy that Samantha would struggle with class differences as a poorer white woman, and, I feel like since class issues are raised explicitly, we‘d know if she weren‘t white (that is, race issues would have been raised explicitly too). 3y
Susannah I get that appeal, though I actually thought you *wouldn‘t* want to read this book because of your not-so-happy history with small, east coast, liberal arts colleges. Thinking on it, I am wondering if I‘ll be able to overcome my feelings about Samantha‘s juvenile behavior w/r/t the Bunnies.... Do you think Awad is trying to skewer herself too by giving so little credit to Samantha? 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I read her as white as well, and it didn't occur to me to read her in any other way until I saw a review where someone pointed out Mona Awad is Arab-Canadian and that Samantha is never described (other than tall and smelly) and was left deliberately ambiguous while the Bunnies are ultra white. (edited) 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah Someone suggested that Awad is constantly having Samantha describe herself in a mocking, self-aware way and making her behavior so overtly childish and pathetic as a way to preempt serious criticism of the character's motivations by making her too ridiculous to take seriously. Is it a way of putting emotional distance there and keeping us from getting too close to Samantha? 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I am mostly removed enough from Hampshire now that I don't think I have enough residual emotion left for it to resonate on a deeper level. The beauties of getting old...you just stop caring about a lot of it. Dysfunctional family stories can still wound me, but this book is too over the top silly in any case to evoke much visceral emotion. I am amused by it and curious about it but not getting any feels of any kind. 3y
Susannah Ooh, that comment about making Samantha intentionally ridiculous is interesting. It reminds me of what the guy on The Librarian Is In (Frank?) said about how he doesn‘t like satire because it seems like an attempt to distance a reader from a story. 3y
Susannah Do you think Awad doesn‘t want readers to get too close to Samantha because it would be too close to her (Awad)? Hmm, apparently, I‘m not going to let the roman a clef thing go. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I think Frank was onto something. I think possibly the experience of the MFA program brought some shameful, unpleasant emotions to the surface for the author and she wants to use that as material, but she doesn't want us to get too close. Because it's satirical, Samantha is a farcical, overdrawn portrait of an emotionally damaged, insecure, and misunderstood scholarship student. She's the embodiment of feeling of being excluded. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah She's a caricature, as are the Bunnies. Awad is mocking all of them, and there's definitely a sense that she's showing that she knows that Samantha's reactions, behavior, thoughts, & motivations are juvenile. Maybe we get something different in Part 3, but that's my take right now. 3y
Susannah Interesting. So it‘s a Grad Student Bites Back kind of thing. 😉 I‘ll approach Part Three with this in mind. (edited) 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah Are you ready to move on to Part 3? Or do you want to read our IRL book club book and then move on? I can do either.... not sure how your week is looking. 3y
Susannah I‘m ready to move to Part Three. I‘m happy to do both. 3y
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review
pigeonsandcrows
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Pickpick

A taxi driver in modern times in Beijing begins receiving letters and stories from an obsessed person claiming to be his soulmate who has been reincarnated with him multiple other times, detailing their previous lives together but refusing to reveal his or her identity. We learn about these past lives and betrayals as well as the dark secrets in the current life of Driver Wang. The writing is lush and descriptive (continued in comments)

pigeonsandcrows ... although the storylines are cruel and show the worst sides of humanity. So much to discuss and think about here if you can wade through the darkness. 3y
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blurb
pigeonsandcrows
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It's been a while since a book has been truly hard for me to put down and I find myself wondering about where it's going throughout the day. I am pleasantly surprised to find that's the case with this book! (Black cat included in photo in honor of October 1!)

Redwritinghood I really liked this one too. Under appreciated, I think. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Redwritinghood Yes, I can't believe I haven't heard more praise of this book. So far I'm finding it dark but so lush and complex. 3y
Susannah Wow, you read fast! I need to prioritize better and stop spending my evenings watching news shows regarding the latest s***storm in US government. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I honestly just can't stand the TV anymore... books give me a more palatable alternative reality. I'm a low stimulation kind of gal. I also find this book to be hard to put down, and Pedro also really enjoyed it. I'm not sure why it hasn't gotten more press. Maybe because it's a bit dark and violent... but still better than the American government! 3y
Susannah Most things are better than the US government. Remember the good old days when we could just kind of passively engage with the government? I miss that. 3y
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blurb
pigeonsandcrows
Bunny: A Novel | Mona Awad
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I'm reading Bunny on my Kindle so here's a photo of some actual bunnies to accompany my blurb. I'm about 12 chapters in and so far it is an easy read but perhaps a bit sophomoric? I was expecting dark and subversive but am underwhelmed at about 30% in. Keeping an open mind, though! Buddy read with @Susannah

LaurenELovesToRead Trust me, it only gets better! You‘ll love it! 3y
Emilymdxn It changes a lot as it goes on I found and I definitely thought it got weirder and weirder 3y
Redwritinghood I recommend to keep reading. It does get darker. 3y
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Lcsmcat Cute 🐰! 3y
Susannah Adorable 🐰🐰 3y
Susannah I‘m trying to figure out how it gets darker, and my imagination is running amok. Still on Chapter 11, but something is definitely up with the dudes all wearing . 3y
Susannah I finished Part One and have just started the first chapter of Part Two. Are we meant to think that all the violence in the town is due to the Bunnies abandoned hybrids? Why do you think they wanted Samantha? Do you think they continually drug her, and that‘s why she is with them? And why do they care so much about having Samantha with them? SO MANY QUESTIONS. 3y
Susannah I get the feeling that the author wants us to think the Bunnies are subversive feminists because they allude to the patriarchy and empowerment of women, but I‘m not buying it. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I stopped at the end of part one...do you want to move ahead with part 2? When do you want to plan to finish it by? That's a good question about the violence in town. I hadn't considered what they did with their “hybrids“ when they were through with them, I mean, aside from the ones who have to be killed because they won't stop screaming. (edited) 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I'm still waiting for this book to declare itself in terms of if it has any kind of “message.“ So far my take is that the Bunnies want Samantha with them because she has rejected them up until now. They see her pretensions to gritty “outsider-ness“ as her trying to set herself up as better than them. I think a lot of the things the Rob Valencia hybrid was yelling before his head exploded were their thoughts about Samantha, (edited) 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah To save you the trouble of looking Rob's quote up, essentially he rants that Samantha thinks she's too good for the rest of the world, that she acts like a princess, that she thinks her poverty makes her deep when it actually just makes her smelly, that she thinks she understands everything about the human heart but that she fails to understand the depths of the Bunnies' hearts. (edited) 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I'm not sure what the author wants us to think so far, except that she's spoofing how ridiculous MFA programs can be. In terms of the story, I still get the feeling that all of this could just be occurring in Samantha's head, with her vivid imagination and tendency for lying and her lack of connections to the real world. Like, the whole thing, including Ava and possibly even including the existence of this specific MFA program. (edited) 3y
Susannah Sorry! My question about the hybrids was the result of something the Bunnies do in the first couple pages of the first chapter of Part Two. Yes, let's do the same thing with Part Two that we did with Part One. I should be done with Part Two by Saturday at the latest. (edited) 3y
Susannah To me, so far, the satire of academia is not sharp. These women behave like they are in high school, not graduate school. I mean, there were cliques in grad school, but not like sorority cliques, which is what the Bunnies remind me of. I get the heightened language about literature--that works, but it's such a small element of the story that it doesn't read as satire. It feels like a poorly developed Ryan Murphy show. 3y
Susannah I remember Rob Valencia's rant, yes. And I had figured that everything he said was what the Bunnies were thinking about Samantha. I can see where they want to prove to Samantha that she is not better than they are, but I also wonder at something one of the Bunnies said about the hybrids being better created since Samantha was with them, so it seems like they want her for something related to that. 3y
Susannah I don't know. The book is just really weird but also muddled, which makes me cranky. I mean, if you're going to walk out on a limb like this, at least know what story you want to tell, you know? I'm with you: the message is lost in all the STUFF we have to wade through. 3y
Susannah Is this satirical horror? Is it psychological horror (all in Samantha's head because she's had a break with reality)? Is it an academic satire, and Samantha has written herself into her story? Any one of these things would be fine, but I'm not sure the writer knows, and so has kept it a mystery as part of her “style,“ which unfortunately isn't really working for me so far. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah Satirical academic psychological horror? I am totally not sure. I agree that it reads more like high school or maybe undergrad interpersonal interactions than like a bunch of people in their mid-twenties. Samantha the goth girl versus the Bunnies/popular clique. It took quite a while to build up to anything dark or truly creepy, and the buildup was juvenile and didn't grab me. But I'm trying to keep an open mind going into part 2... (edited) 3y
Susannah I totally agree with your comment about the buildup being juvenile. I'm not sure if I believe that the story getting darker is going to make me like it more. I'm curious to see if the author slaps on more grotesquerie to distract us from the fact that she doesn't really have a handle on her own story. Maybe she should have killed a few more of her darlings before she called this book complete. 🤷‍♀️ (edited) 3y
Susannah Ok, I listened to whole episode of The Librarian Is In about this book, and I'm actually really glad to be spoiled. Now I can sit back and enjoy the journey instead of just pondering the destination the whole time. I really appreciated what they said on the podcast about satire. I agreed with the assertion Frank made that satire distances you from the story, or, in this case, the narrator. Maybe the satire didn't work so well for me because ... 3y
Susannah all I could think about was how lonely Samantha was. But, objectively, I realize that the way the Bunnies behave and the way they take creation and destruction to this whole other level (the impact isn't quite so profound if they're just crossing sections out of their story drafts) is very satirical. I think the problem is that I often associate satire with humor, and that's a mistake. I mean, I heard My Sister, the Serial Killer ... 3y
Susannah referred to as satire and being very funny, and I *guess* it was satire, but I didn't find it funny at all. It makes me wonder if other people make the same mistake I did by conflating satire and humor.

Anyway, I have been babbling on at length, but I think I'm starting to get this book more, which is good. What do you think of it? I've been yammering on about my response to it, but you've been a bit quiet about your overall response ...
3y
Susannah which makes me worry that I'm being too aggressive in my dislike and consequently taking up all the air in the room. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah You are absolutely not yammering on! I enjoy hearing your thoughts. I'm only about 20 minutes into the Bunny podcast and am glad to know the spoilers didn't spoil anything for you in the reading experience. I think I've also been struggling with how to "take" this book, so knowing where we're going might help me to understand or appreciate the journey. So far (& I'm only now beginning pt 2) I think my response has been... underwhelming. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I just finished the podcast. I think we often expect satire to be funny, but it requires certain conditions to be funny to a particular reader or viewer. It relies on them having enough knowledge of the original subject to recognize when exaggeration is meant to ridicule or criticize a specific group or situation. But then again, if it's too close to home, it just becomes distressing to have the truth out out there in satirical form... 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I also just want to say that I feel so vindicated that Ava is not a real person! I've been getting "not real" vibes off her from the start! Ok, back to reading... 3y
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review
pigeonsandcrows
Gingerbread: A Novel | Helen Oyeyemi
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Pickpick

I'm not sure what I just read here, but it was certainly different. I've heard it referred to as magical realism, but there was no consensus reality operating here at baseline. It was like reading a transcription of a night's worth of dreaming, with people, locations, ideas all flowing in and out with no purpose. The writing is beautiful and Oyeyemi is clearly brilliant, but if you want a book with an actual plot, I would not pick this one up.

pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I'm ready for Bunny now! I got it on my Kindle last night 😁 3y
Susannah Yay! I‘ve just started it myself, and I‘ve got five words for you: “Lipstick is for whores, Bunny.” I already have thoughts. (edited) 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I'm at about the same place, and one of the questions that immediately jumps to my mind is if Ava is an imaginary friend. I have no specific reason to think this, though. 3y
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Susannah There‘s a definite fantastical vibe, especially with all the Alice references (the flask that says “Drink Me,” the note from the Bunnies that says “Open Me,” the, you know, *Bunnies*). It‘s kind of clever but mostly obvious?... I‘m so judgy. 3y
pigeonsandcrows @Susannah I keep hoping it's going to turn out that she's being playful with all this and it's going to turn in a different, less predictable direction...we shall see. 3y
Susannah Just got to the part where Samantha‘s best friend in high school was named Alice. 🤦‍♀️ 3y
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