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plemmdog

plemmdog

Joined January 2018

Favorites include literary fiction, nonfiction, science, history, and medicine. Southerner. Bow tie wearer. Pronouns he/him. 🏳️‍🌈
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plemmdog
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Mehso-so

I grew up near Pisgah National Forest and visit frequently, but until recently never realized it was the very first designated National Forest (1916). While Spencer‘s book is probably only of interest to Southern Appalachians, the story involves the Vanderbilts, Biltmore House, and a German who ran the very first forestry school in the US. The pic is from last October at Catawba Falls.

Leftcoastzen So beautiful! 3d
20 likes1 comment
review
plemmdog
Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment | Daniel Kahneman, Cass R Sunstein, Olivier Sibony
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Bailedbailed

I loved Thinking, Fast and Slow, but I have to bail on this follow-up (with the exception of a chapter on medical decision-making). Too esoteric and overly scientific writing which could not keep me engaged. The first one succeeded, I think with plenty of brevity and fun examples. Unfortunately, this one doesn‘t.

16 likes1 stack add
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plemmdog
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First big snow here in Tennessee, an uncommon event. This is my Little Free Library. It appears that the door may need some insulation work 😬

erzascarletbookgasm Pretty sight, but hopefully the door gets fixed soon! 1w
Cathythoughts Beautiful 💫 1w
Chelsea.Poole Lovely! 📚 1w
24 likes3 comments
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plemmdog
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A lyric for 2022 (credit to Wallace Stevens)

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plemmdog
The Angel of History | Rabih Alameddine
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Pickpick

My last completed read of 2022. Heartbreaking, humorous, and elegiac. Now I‘ve got to add Alameddine‘s new one to my TBR list. BTW, my aunt was a bit of an angel nut. Currently hanging out at my Southern Gothic homestead…Happy 2022!

marleed Cool pic and fun angel memories. … I have a friend with a massive angel collection. Years ago I gifted her 3 small ceramic angels that belonged to my mother, Bonnie. Bonnie spent 8 months in the hospital with cancer (I was 2) before succumbing. Apparently visitors would arrive with an angel - thus her collection. …My friend must cycle her angels on display, but the 3 Bonnie angels are always out. It makes me smile to see them so loved. 2w
plemmdog @marleed thanks for sharing. Similar story here (my dad, age 4) but my mom never cared for angels like my aunt did. They seemed really popular in the 90s, I feel like it was a pre-millennial thing. One of my favorite movies is Wings of Desire! Angels in black trench coats… 2w
marleed @plemmdog Haha. I think those of us who parented in the 90s may have scarred our children from nicnak collections. All those beanie babies! And let‘s not forget all the Disney VIDEOS that had to be purchased before the movie was put back in the ‘vault‘ for another 11 years. I knew a woman who bought 3 copies of each video as they were released - one per child and one for mom‘s own vault! Woops - technology! 2w
jlhammar Absolutely loved An Unnecessary Woman. Going to have to check this one out. 2w
13 likes4 comments
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plemmdog
A Christmas Memory | Truman Capote
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Just now coming up for air after a 7-day Christmas stretch on the pediatric ward. A belated thanks for the joy sent to my mailbox! Wishing everyone the best for 2022!

Chrissyreadit Sounds like you have been working hard in vital work. Hope you have some calm and joy in the next few days. 3w
TheBookHippie Awe. I hope you get rest now! 🤍❄️ 3w
Nute Hopefully you can have a time of rest and relaxation now.💚💌💚 3w
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TheSpineView Wishing you a fabulous 2022! 3w
Crazeedi Get some rest and read a good book! Happy new year 🎉🥂 3w
wanderinglynn Happy new year! 🥂 3w
LibrarianRyan 💕 ⭐ 😁 3w
33 likes1 stack add8 comments
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plemmdog
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I‘ve collected U.S. stamps for almost thirty years now. This is my first foreign addition to my collection 😊🇨🇦💌

slategreyskies What a great stamp to start with too! I love it!! 1mo
17 likes1 comment
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plemmdog
The Circle | Dave Eggers
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Mehso-so

How meta to be ranking/posting a review of this book. I‘ve always loved Eggers and after hearing about his new one, felt I needed to read its prequel first. I hate to say this one was a slog for me, in the same way I found 1984 and Brave New World emotionally unengaging. Keen observations, but quite honestly the protagonist never grabbed me.

Schwifty I pretty much agree with this. I liked the idea of the book or rather the commentary the story provided on the confluence of big tech and eroding privacy, but I just didn't get invested in any of the characters. They seemed two-dimensional. (edited) 1mo
14 likes1 stack add1 comment
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plemmdog
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Pickpick

While I was somewhat familiar with the gruesome history of Nazi human experimentation during WWII, I wasn't aware of similar atrocities committed by the Japanese until reading this. A chilling look at how we are all capable of evil, given the circumstances. Endo's clarity of description and prose is powerful. The detachment necessary to become a successful physician or military officer inevitably comes at a cost. Not for the faint-hearted.

stretchkev I still think about this one years after reading it. Endo makes it so clear how easy it is to slip into something evil. 1mo
plemmdog @stretchkev I can‘t believe I discovered Endo until this past year 1mo
13 likes2 comments
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plemmdog
The Great Believers | Rebecca Makkai
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“He was soft, as if his skin had never seen the weather, and when a bone—an elbow, a kneecap, a rib—showed through, it was like a foreign object poking at a piece of silk.”

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plemmdog
The Handmaid's Tale | Margaret Atwood
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It‘s the birthday of Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, born on this day in 1932.

From a 1990 interview about ”The Handmaid‘s Tale” and its reception around the world:

“In Canada, the question always was, Could it happen here? In England, they all said, Jolly good yarn. In the United States, they asked, How long have we got?”

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plemmdog
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Next year will be the 100th anniversary of Kurt Vonnegut, born on this day in 1922.

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plemmdog
Crossroads: A Novel | Jonathan Franzen
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plemmdog
Demonology: Stories | Rick Moody
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plemmdog
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This was a gift for my seventh birthday in 1972. It contains “The Monkey‘s Paw” as well as two short stories by Robert Bloch, who wrote the original screenplay for “Psycho”. Whitman was a publisher of children‘s books till the 1980s. Now, they mostly publish coin and stamp collecting material. Happy Hallo-Weekend! 🎃

9 likes1 stack add
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plemmdog
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Tyler turns 80 today. This was one of my very first hardbacks, purchased circa 1986. I was in college then and I must‘ve picked it up at a bargain table, as money was always tight. I devoured so much of her early work, then stopped after Breathing Lessons. I‘m not quite sure why, except my interests probably turned elsewhere.

CarolynM Happy birthday Anne Tyler! 3mo
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plemmdog
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I took my friend‘s first published chapbook of poetry for a hike on the Appalachian Trail (the new Franzen is way too heavy for my knapsack 😂)

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plemmdog
Crossroads: A Novel | Jonathan Franzen
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Well, here we go.

Megabooks Enjoy! 3mo
plemmdog I‘m really loving it so far…it‘s definitely redeemed Purity 3mo
14 likes1 stack add2 comments
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plemmdog
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Pickpick

“From where I crouched in the laurel, it looked like rust colored everything in the yard burnt red: an old push mower…a children‘s tricycle…a wheelbarrow that had a grate thrown over the bucket for grilling, a hole burnt slap through the bottom. The whole lot was in dire need of a tetanus shot.” Appalachian noir. More blood and grit than I‘m used to (and plenty of smoking) but overall a fine debut by David Joy.

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plemmdog
Rosemary's Baby | Ira Levin
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Mehso-so

This was my book club‘s 🎃 pick. I was excited about the Palahniuk foreword, but it‘s just so-so. Honestly, the book is well-written, but I think the movie spoiled it for me, and man, it hasn‘t aged well. Lots of 1960s references. It‘d be interesting to see a contemporary revision from a more feminist POV. This was definitely written by a man (In the book there are hints to Satan‘s, um, state of endowment) 🙄

Bklover Some books just don‘t age well! 3mo
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plemmdog
My Dark Vanessa | Kate Elizabeth Russell
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Pickpick

While this was a little on the long side, I thought this was a solid and engaging debut, and an excellent portrayal of the lasting effects of trauma. I had no idea about the Twitter feud and controversy until I read Roxanne Gay‘s review on Goodreads.

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plemmdog
Speedboat | Renata Adler
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“Lyda was an exuberant, even a dramatic gardener. She would spend hours in her straw hat and gloves, bending over the soil. When somebody walked past her and her work, she was always holding up a lettuce or a bunch of radishes, with an air of resolute courage, as though she had shot them herself.”

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plemmdog
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It‘s Faulkner's birthday. He was postmaster at the University of Mississippi from 1921-24, neglectful of his duties, and finally resigned. Upon his dismissal, he said: "I reckon I'll be at the beck and call of folks with money all my life, but thank God I won't ever again have to be at the beck and call of every s.o.b. who's got two cents to buy a stamp." He is the only person to have been fired as post master and later receive his own stamp.

Leftcoastzen 😄excellent! 4mo
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plemmdog
Brat: An '80s Story | Andrew McCarthy
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Pickpick

Confession: I grew up on John Hughes movies and saw St. Elmo‘s Fire at least 3 times in college. When I heard McCarthy would be publishing a memoir of the 80s, I knew it‘d be a must-read ( he may be one of the few celebrities who‘s gone on to have a solid writing career). Not a lot of juicy gossip here, if you‘re looking for a tell-all, But a breezy and engaging read—one of the few that I wish had been longer.

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plemmdog
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I mostly enjoyed this 2006 collection (part-travelogue, part-biography) about Davy Crockett, if it wasn‘t exactly chronological. I had to chuckle at the following: “so many Americans came to Coahuila y Texas—some 30,000 by 1830–that Mexico decided to close its borders, believing that the influence of the former United States citizens was getting too strong.”

14 likes1 stack add
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plemmdog
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Mehso-so

This was a book club pick. Maybe my standards are too high for fantasy—a genre I normally don‘t read—but I didn‘t particularly enjoy this. I felt it overall lacked focus and the peripatetic narrative detracted from any deep exploration of themes, or characters. I realize I may be in the minority here, but It felt superficial in the same way I experienced The Night Circus.

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9 likes1 stack add
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plemmdog
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“With age, many men come down with testosterone autism, the symptoms of which are a gradual decline in social intelligence and capacity for interpersonal communication…The Person beset by this becomes taciturn and appears to be lost in contemplation. He develops an interest in various Tools and machinery, and he‘s drawn to the Second World War…His capacity to read novels almost entirely vanishes.”
I‘m not there yet!

BkClubCare Yikes - sounds like a description of someone I know. Hmmmm 5mo
12 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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plemmdog
Yes, Daddy | Jonathan Parks-Ramage
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Bailedbailed

I rarely bail on books, but life is too short. Maybe I‘m just old and cranky, but I found the protagonist unlikeable and shallow, and the writing wasn‘t enough to compel me to go any further. I think I‘d rather watch Boys In The Band again.

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plemmdog
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Mehso-so

Lured in by the cover and description, I bought this on impulse while browsing antiques. Here‘s the thing: Heinsohn was actually a talented writer (and her depictions of nature and wildlife are excellent) but after reading this, I can only say this is what a memoir by Hilly Holbrook from “The Help” would most likely resemble. Told 100% from a privileged white woman‘s POV, it was still an interesting read. Haven‘t tried the recipes yet.

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plemmdog
Brave New World | Aldous Huxley
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Note

Not exactly my first choice for a hike on the A.T. but my partner just finished it, and I‘m embarrassed I‘ve never read it. This one has a preface by Margaret Atwood!

charl08 Gorgeous setting! 6mo
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plemmdog
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

What a sheer delight this book was. I was a little leery at first, but Orlean‘s combination of a historical event, science, and memoir was completely captivating, from start to finish.

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plemmdog
Gay Bar: Why We Went Out | Jeremy Atherton Lin
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Panpan

Reviews

I was really looking forward to this, but came away disappointed. Perhaps it was the writer‘s voice, but I found it pretentious and off putting, a curious mishmash of personal memoir and gay history which never quite congealed.

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plemmdog
Hide | Matthew Griffin
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“And when we‘re gone, nobody will remember any of it. Nobody will see our photos and marvel that we, too, were young once; nobody will wonder about the things we never told them.” One of my picks for Pride. Griffin‘s story is a devastatingly beautiful portrait of a marriage before gay liberation. The ending wrecked me. There‘s taxidermy, too! I wish this 2015 work would‘ve received as much attention as Mostly Dead Things.

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plemmdog
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Mehso-so

I chickened out this weekend. The title on the left is probably mostly of interest to people from Nashville. It‘s been interesting to hear the discussions lately of cooking, and food, and when the line to cultural appropriation somehow gets crossed…

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plemmdog
The River | Peter Heller
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Pickpick

This book! I haven‘t read anything that combined the lyrical, awful beauty of nature with a gripping story since James Dickey‘s Deliverance. I couldn‘t stop reading. Has anyone read other Heller titles?

bookandbedandtea I loved The River! I've read The Dog Stars too, which I liked, but it but it wasn't as good. I found out this week he has a sequel to The River coming out later this year! 7mo
12 likes1 stack add1 comment
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plemmdog
Tennessee: A History | Wilma Dykeman
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Mehso-so

From what I gather, in 1975, W. W. Norton published individual fairly brief volumes on the history of each of the 50 U.S. states to celebrate the American Bicentennial. Dykeman was an interesting choice, as she was more well known in Western North Carolina. She married a Stokely canning heir, and was also an ardent environmentalist.

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plemmdog
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Pickpick

I tend to avoid most books on recent current events, but this was an impulse buy and just published. Lewis actually starts his story in the early 2000s. I can‘t believe I haven‘t read his other books! Quite Entertaining and devoured in a weekend. A less than flattering portrait of the CDC. The other surprise was a somewhat positive spin on George W. Bush.

Leftcoastzen 😂Yep , the obvious joke , I didn‘t know George ever read books.I am loving it too .Lewis writes so well. 8mo
8 likes1 comment
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plemmdog
Silence | Shusaku Endo
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Pickpick

Although I‘ve only seen photos of Japan, there‘s something about the flora and topography of the Southern Appalachians which feels kindred. Just finished this, which is easily one of the top novels I‘ve read in the last five years, which is saying a lot since I‘m not a super fan of historical fiction. Devastating and kept me suspenseful till the end.

11 likes1 stack add
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plemmdog
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Mehso-so

Finished a short bio on Moonlight Graham, the character portrayed by Burt Lancaster in “Field of Dreams” (and based on W.P. Kinsella‘s book “Shoeless Joe”). Clunky but informative. It never really answers why this former Tar Heel ended up in Minnesota. Graham‘s brother was President of UNC and turned down the Vice-Presidency from FDR in 1936.

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plemmdog
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“We‘ve accepted data as though it presents undeniable truth about human worth. We‘ve entrusted it to tell us who eats, who has medical care, ...which families stay together. But if we don‘t design our systems—whether digital, political, or legal—from an unshakable belief that everyone deserves these basic rights, we are doomed to repeat the oppressive patterns of the past.”

12 likes2 stack adds
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plemmdog
This is How It Always Is | Laurie Frankel
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Mehso-so

This will be an unpopular opinion, and while I think it is still a good book for a club discussion, I still found this a bit of a slog. Affirming and feel-good, yes. And that was the problem—not enough tension or conflict to keep me interested, with several plot events which didn‘t feel quite authentic. Curious what others thought.

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plemmdog
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Pickpick

I‘m beyond lucky to live in a town which has a James Turrell installation, and I brought along my copy of Kevin Young‘s tremendous new anthology of elegiac poems.

The_Penniless_Author Very cool. Turrell had an exhibition in Pittsburgh about 20 years ago, when I still lived there, at a gallery called The Mattress Factory. I love his stuff! 9mo
plemmdog @The_Penniless_Author he‘s the best. I just googled and saw that the crater he bought is planned to open to the public in 2024! 9mo
10 likes2 comments
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plemmdog
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Pickpick

Easter-themed in title only! This is my fourth Rash. I liked it more than The Cove, but Serena‘s still my favorite. This one‘s also dark. What can I say—I‘m a sucker for novels with doctors as villains...Happy Easter for those who celebrate it!!

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plemmdog
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Pickpick

This was a quick little read, easily accessible and thought-provoking. Karen Tongson is a queer lesbian Filipino professor of English, gender, and sexuality studies at USC, who was actually named after Karen Carpenter, and explains the appeal of the Carpenters across multiple dimensions.

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plemmdog
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Pickpick

Unless you're a Gen Xer from the Carolina Piedmont, you've never heard of Jackson's Station. Full disclaimer: I grew up here. For a brief period in the 1980s, an out-of-the-way blues and rock club run by two out gay men in the rural South not only existed but became the brief stuff of legend, hosting such diverse acts as Koko Taylor and Widespread Panic. This book is a love story--between people and music, and the forever complicated South. Loved!

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plemmdog
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It‘s the birthday of Mary Flannery O‘Connor (my phone wanted to autocorrect Flannery to Flaubert!), born on this day in 1925. PBS premiered an American Masters episode on her this week, which is wonderful. It‘s free for streaming till 4/21.

MySharonaK What a wonderful author ❤️ 10mo
12 likes1 stack add1 comment
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plemmdog
Ways of Hearing | Damon Krukowski
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Pickpick

This was my last in-store impulse buy before the pandemic, and the first book I‘ve read which is derived from a podcast. It‘s essentially a eulogy for what the world lost when we went from analog to digital. You can finish it in an hour, or just listen to the podcast.

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plemmdog
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Pickpick

Embarrassed to admit I‘ve never read LeCarre until now, as spy and espionage books have never been my cup of tea. But I‘m hooked. Terrific suspense and impeccable prose, and much is coming out now about how LeCarre‘s spouse was crucial to shaping and crafting his narratives. I found this first American edition cheap(!) on Biblio.

Leftcoastzen Nice copy ! I haven‘t read him either. Need to change that. 10mo
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plemmdog
How to Be an Antiracist | Ibram X. Kendi
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Pickpick

It seemed like everyone was reading this, last summer. I finally caught up and found it engaging, particularly how Kendi was able to blend personal memoir with history