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ReadingEnvy

ReadingEnvy

Joined May 2016

I'll have what you're reading! goodreads.com/user/show/68030 | readingenvy.com for the podcast
review
ReadingEnvy
Cleanness | Garth Greenwell
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Pickpick

Much like Garth Greenwell's last novel, What Belongs to You, which I admit I never finished, the narrator feels like the author sharing stories from his time teaching English in Bulgaria. In a few he is quite young, some are during revolution, and in some he is older (but the narrator is the same.) ⤵️

ReadingEnvy His (very explicit and often challenging) sexual encounters, relationships, and friendships are only with first initials, shrouding all stories in a layer of secrecy that suits the plight of a gay man in Bulgaria. The limits he pushes in risktaking behavior, violence, and so on also manage to show how perhaps Americans also aren't as free as they think they are, and how deeply we internalize homophobic narratives and more. 23h
51 likes1 comment
review
ReadingEnvy
Tracks | Louise Erdrich
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Pickpick

Tracks by Louise Erdrich is the first of the Erdrich medicine readalong in Instagram and I have enjoyed the discussion so far, discussing memorable Anishinaabe characters that apparently will be reappearing in several more novels. The two narrators in Tracks - Nanapush and Pauline - are very distinct but Fleur must be the most compelling character.
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review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

I'm not sure if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes I will encounter a recipe, and it will stick with me. This cake is one Turshen makes for her wife. I was intrigued by the simplicity of the recipe and the strange (to me) ingredients in the frosting. I liked that it tasted better cold. The combination of chocolate and raspberry probably moved it up a few notches.

Prairiegirl_reading I keep thinking about the award winning bar in Kitchens of the Great Midwest. I really should just try it. 😄 1d
Simona Nom, nom ... 1d
Lcsmcat So what‘s in the frosting? Inquiring minds want to know. 😀 1d
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Zelma Agreed! I am very curious about the frosting. 1d
MatchlessMarie Very curious since I suck at making frosting no matter how well I stick to the recipe lol 😋 1d
ReadingEnvy @Prairiegirl_reading I think about that a lot too. We all should just make the dang things. 1d
ReadingEnvy @Lcsmcat @MatchlessMarie @Zelma sour cream, melted chocolate, and maple syrup! But it whips up into this amazing consistency and has this tang that pairs well with the raspberry. http://jennybakes.blogspot.com/2020/01/happy-wife-happy-life-chocolate-cake.html 1d
Lcsmcat @ReadingEnvy That sounds delicious! 1d
ReadingEnvy @Prairiegirl_reading I looked up the peanut butter bars and it looks like similar ingredients to peanut butter balls, buckeyes if you're in Ohio, Georgia cookie candy if you're in Georgia, just in bar form. It would be tasty! 1d
Prairiegirl_reading @ReadingEnvy I read that one in October and I‘ve been thinking about it ever since. I read The Lager Queens of Minnesota and I‘ve been craft beers since then so I guess it‘s only fair I try these tasty treats. 😉 I live in Manitoba and I was thinking maybe we would call them peanut butter slice but that‘s the stuff with the marshmallows but regardless we call anything like this dainties. (edited) 23h
ReadingEnvy @Prairiegirl_reading Dainties! I love that. 21h
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review
ReadingEnvy
Guapa | Saleem Haddad
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Pickpick

Guapa was recommended to me by a guest on the Reading Envy Podcast a few years ago (thanks Yanira!) - Rasa is a young gay man in an unnamed Middle Eastern country on the brink of revolution. The story starts with his grandmother catching him in bed with another man and then goes back to tell the story of his parents, his American education (and how he struggled with Muslim and Arab identity), and the underground bar Guapa which is a haven.

HardcoverHearts Sounds great! 5d
Reggie I only wished he wrote 50 more pages to let us know about the mother. 5d
ReadingEnvy @Reggie Yes I would have liked that too. 4d
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blurb
ReadingEnvy
The Odyssey | Homer
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Reading Envy Readalong fans and Audible subscribers - The Odyssey as translated by Emily Wilson will be our first readalong of 2020 and the audiobook is $5.95 this week for subscribers. May be US only. Not a paid advertisement, but I did snap it up myself. Schedule to come and audio is not required!

Jerdencon I was hoping this would be a choice! 6d
rwmg My online reading group is reading the first half (up until Odysseus arrives in Ithaca) in February 6d
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ReadingEnvy @rwmg oh great! Will they go on to read the rest? 6d
rwmg @ReadingEnvy Doing the second half next year. 6d
readordierachel This is an excellent in audio. Danes is a very good narrator. 6d
ReadingEnvy @readordierachel oh good! I think I'll double up with print and audio 5d
51 likes8 comments
blurb
ReadingEnvy
Tracks | Louise Erdrich
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Reading Envy Podcast 177: An Unnamed Middle Eastern Country (Goals 2020)

Jenny starts off the year discussing reading goals - how did her reading goals end up for 2019, what additional goals did she end up adding, and what goals has she set for 2020? As always I love to hear about your goals for the year.

As the Reading Envy Podcast rolls into its sixth year, there are many more reading adventures to explore.

https://tinyurl.com/ReadingEnvy177

JamieArc Some of my favorite books are here - Possession, and Almanac of the Dead had me immersed in a book so much that I forgot it was fiction. 1w
ReadingEnvy @JamieArc oh that‘s good to hear! The podcast i heard about it on made it sound difficult. 1w
61 likes2 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
Every Other Weekend | Abigail Johnson
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Mehso-so

I've had this book on my netgalley backlog for a while now and finally got to it - somehow I requested a YA drama, not my usual fare. And surprise! It's 512 pages. I think that's a bit long! But I did enjoy the story of a friendship that develops over a series of every other weekends, time Jolene and Adam only get because their families are unraveling and parts of each moved into a rundown apartment building. Out Jan 7.

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ReadingEnvy
If Beale Street Could Talk | James A Baldwin
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Pickpick

I listened to this audiobook for several reasons. One of my podcast guests said Bahni Turpin is one of his favorite narrators, James Baldwin is on my list of authors to finally read in 2020, and Audible is giving subscribers $20 in Amazon credit for finishing three books by a date in March. (I hope books we already owned count.)⤵️

ReadingEnvy What is really amazing is how a novel from 1974 is practically a readalike to An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, although the Jones has an extra twist. Suffice to say I believe if you liked one you would like the other, no matter which century you started in. A young black couple, an inequitable ruling, etc. The moments I liked best are when Baldwin writes Tish's father talking on the phone, a great capture of the era. 1w
Reggie Yes!!! I totally thought this was an older relative of American Marriage. 1w
teainthelibrary I‘ve been meaning to read this! If you‘re interested in works by Baldwin, Giovanni‘s Room is my absolute favorite. It‘s amazing 1w
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ReadingEnvy @Reggie It's too close for it not to be on purpose so now I'm intrigued. 1w
ReadingEnvy @teainthelibrary oh thank you, on my list 1w
Lindy I agree with @teainthelibrary : Giovanni‘s Room is haunting. 5d
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review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

Anne Lister is a 19th century lesbian who managed an estate, wooed women, eschewed restrictive clothing, and kept a detailed journal. This historical account includes many excerpts from recently transcribed and decoded journals and letters. I took great joy in the euphemisms in particular. The author does not shy away from Anne's less positive traits such as merciless tenants dealings and interest in eugenics, but celebrates her achievements.

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review
ReadingEnvy
Tender Cuts | Jayne Martin
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Pickpick

This collection of flash fiction is deceptively sweet looking. But if you blink, you'll miss the wicked current underneath. I definitely read most of these twice!
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I received a copy of these from a publicist for
Vine Leaves Press but it came out in November. This would be perfect for readers who are temporarily short on time and need something punchy

Lindy Umm, the cracked and bleeding heart on the cover doesn‘t look so sweet. 🧐 5d
53 likes1 comment
review
ReadingEnvy
The Innocents | Michael Crummey
This post contains spoilers
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Mehso-so

I'm so torn about this book. I love the isolated landscape of northeastern Newfoundland, the historical details of the fishing industry of the 19th century and the use of now obscure language - not so keen on the brother-sister relationship I could see headed to sex from near the beginning.⤵️

ReadingEnvy I listened to an interview with the author where he shared that the core sibling story comes from a historical account he came across in an archive while doing research for another project - a traveling minister encountered an isolated sibling set and the girl was pregnant; the minister condemned them but it stuck with Crummey he finally had to write their story.⤵️ 2w
ReadingEnvy .
The thing is, I felt that so much of the story is in service to their eventual union that other questions go unanswered. What was the situation that landed their parents there in the first place? Why aren't there more people in the same situation? Why do they never journey to the town they know of down the river? Did the pelts pay off the debt? Where did the debt come from? ⤵️
2w
ReadingEnvy Why don't they encounter any indigenous people when there is evidence of them? Why was the mother anti religion? I would feel a little more generous toward the central storyline if these other pieces were tied up or explained.

This novel was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize but I'd recommend one of his other novels first. I had a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss and it came out back in November.
2w
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Redwritinghood I just finished this a few days ago myself and agree with you. I was also conflicted about how to rate it. I wound up making it a pick based on the strength of the writing. 2w
ReadingEnvy @Redwritinghood it‘s so hard... I think it was the unanswered questions that led me closer to three stars. Like I find incest unnecessary but if the rest of it had resolved maybe I‘d feel better about it, I am not sure. It‘s funny because I‘m not sure the author is even a fan, he just couldn‘t get it out of his head. 2w
Lindy @ReadingEnvy Do you mean you aren‘t sure if the author is a fan of incest? Because the answer is no. He isn‘t. He wrote about a true historical event —a tragedy —with such compassion that I felt deeply moved by the plight of this brother and sister. 5d
Lindy @ReadingEnvy Crummey has written about the Indigenous people of Newfoundland, the Beothuk, in an earlier novel. The last Beothuk died in the early 19th century. Some Inuit and Mi‘kmaq people also move through the area but the signs found by the siblings were from an extinct group. 5d
ReadingEnvy @Lindy no, I was referring to an interview I listened to where the author seemed to express some doubt about the book itself. Maybe it was a weird humility thing. It was clear he couldn't get the story out of his head unless he wrote it. Incest aside, I feel my other critiques of the unfinished plotpoints are valid. 5d
ReadingEnvy @Lindy ah interesting thanks 5d
Lindy @ReadingEnvy Regarding the situation that landed the parents there in the first place, I believe that was answered by the story of the two brothers who fought over a woman, one killing the other. I believe the grave that the mother visits is that of her husband‘s brother. The debt is for supplies for living, meager as they are. Independent fishers and farmers still don‘t get paid anywhere near what their work is worth. 5d
Lindy I‘ve heard Crummey talk about this book several times, in interviews and at the VWF. While he expressed discomfort with addressing the topic of incest in this novel, he said he had been haunted by the historical facts. I think he did a good job of exploring what might happen to children who go through puberty without adult guidance. 5d
Lindy @ReadingEnvy I forgot to say that Crummey is indeed very humble and shy. 5d
ReadingEnvy @Lindy I think I would have been more satisfied by more of that backstory. I don't think they come from that area. Do you know if there were a lot of people like their parents, set up in an outpost to process fish on their own? I know about the fur trade quite well from Oregon history but not this. Even the captain of the ship who comes in once a year seemed skeptical they could do it on their own, making me wonder whose idea it was to begin with. 5d
Lindy @ReadingEnvy There used to be hundreds of tiny fishing settlements in Newfoundland, places reached only by sea. (Crummey wrote about resettlement of one in Sweetland; Emma Hooper & Kathleen Winter have also used them as settings for novels.) It isn‘t a stretch to my imagination to picture a couple hiding from murder or social censure to live apart from one of these tiny communities, while continuing with the same kind of subsistence outport life. 5d
ReadingEnvy @Lindy nodding.. yes... I know of these villages but that always felt like the bare minimum to support basic needs. One family alone is pretty rough (as Crummey shows) 5d
5 likes15 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

I've been accompanying major home cleaning projects with audiobooks so my dogs and I both listened to this one, a novel of connected stories from different points of view, most of them from the traditionally Mexican neighborhood of Echo Park, displaced by Dodger Stadium and surrounding gentrification. Strong voice, great in audio, a few racist terms that are uncomfortable.

This is on my January #tbrexplode list and I listened in #hoopla

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blurb
ReadingEnvy
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And if you want to see it, my full list for reading Asia in 2019. 4 of 4.
http://readingenvy.blogspot.com/2020/01/reading-asia-in-2019.html

greenreads 😍 I've been wanting to read more Asian works so thank you! 2w
maich Amazing❤❤ 2w
Palimpsest Thanks, this is fantastic! 2w
Pogue I loved The Circle of Karma. 1w
ReadingEnvy @Pogue it was very good, loved the female protagonist 1w
65 likes5 comments
blurb
ReadingEnvy
Seven Years in Tibet | Heinrich Harrer
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Asia 2019 wrap up - the books I didn't get to. Le sigh.

LeahBergen I really liked Ali and Nino. 👍🏻 2w
ReadingEnvy @LeahBergen I may squeeze it into my reading this year because I can't believe I still haven't read it! 2w
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ReadingEnvy
The Devils' Dance | Hamid Ismailov
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Long overdue wrapup post of my focus on books from Asia in 2019. 2 of 4.

I really noticed the role independent publishers are playing in translating works from other countries (and not pictured are the titles I read from Haymarket, Feminist Press, and more!) A few of these came from subscriptions I have - just complete happenstance that they were putting out titles from countries I was trying to read!

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blurb
ReadingEnvy
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Long overdue wrapup post of my focus on books from Asia in 2019. I read 40 overall, 9 were from countries I hadn't read from yet, so that's pretty good progress. Not all are pictured because I used the library and some ebooks/audiobooks. The first pic are the books I read from the bigger publishers, some of which I'd had on my shelves since I started this Around the World project in 2012. 1/4, bear with.

BarbaraBB Impressive stats! 2w
DGRachel In the Shadow of the Banyan is on my TBR. 😍 2w
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quote
ReadingEnvy

"There is no elegy for those who have been dispossessed of their anger--what remains is a future carved out of banality instead of blood.”

review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

South Carolina writer Julia Koets won the Red Hen Press Nonfiction for this memoir told in essays. The main focus is a girl growing up gay in the south, with themes of the body and the landscape interwoven in various ways. There is intense exploration of female friendship, its permeable boundaries, and how it changes as we age.

readordierachel Sounds great. And that's a gorgeous cover. 3w
ReadingEnvy @readordierachel it‘s also quick, around 150 pages 3w
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review
ReadingEnvy
A Castle in the Clouds | Kerstin Gier
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Pickpick

This is a book I requested in my flurry of trying to read as many holiday reads before the holidays as I could take. I didn't get to this one but since it's set up to New Year's Eve and a bit beyond it still works. Also this is translated YA, which I don't see all that often. (Apparently some know the author from a time travel historical romance series, this seems more contemporary.)⤵️

ReadingEnvy Overall a feel-good read set in a Swiss mountain luxury hotel, with balls and snowstorms and afternoon tea. Sophie is an intern who moves between roles as chambermaid, spa receptionist, childcare, and other duties as assigned. She stumbles into awkward situations like money laundering, jewel heists, kidnapping, and more.

It comes out at the end of January from henry holt books - I had a copy through Edelweiss.
3w
63 likes3 stack adds1 comment
review
ReadingEnvy
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Mehso-so

This book doesn't come out until the end of April but it hit the spot for a different sort of read (and my first read of the year) connecting the Cambodian novel I finished to my new focus on the Middle East. Pictured is the Iraqi Vice-Chairman cutting himself a slice of Saddam Hussein's giant birthday cake in 2001 (the chef who made it is one of the personal chefs interviewed for this book.) ⤵️

ReadingEnvy "Witold Szablowski tracked down the personal chefs of five dictators known for the oppression and massacre of their own citizens: Iraq‘s Saddam Hussein, Uganda‘s Idi Amin, Albania‘s Enver Hoxha, Cuba‘s Fidel Castro, and Cambodia‘s Pol Pot—and listened to their stories over sweet-and-sour soup, goat-meat pilaf, bottles of rum, and games of gin rummy." ⤵️
3w
ReadingEnvy .
The stories are unnerving sometimes in their details but sometimes because of the perspective of the chef (ranging from fear to mental deterioration to complicity to... love?) It's an interesting combination of politics and food. The author provides considerable context in which to understand the situations involved.
3w
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blurb
ReadingEnvy
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#jacaranda
It's back!

Lindy Go, team jacaranda! 3w
ReadingEnvy @Lindy in this instance it is a metaphor and everything! 3w
Lindy @ReadingEnvy Please keep a lookout for trepanations and Tim Hortons on my behalf. I will be watching for jacarandas. 💜 3w
ReadingEnvy @Lindy I so will! 3w
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blurb
ReadingEnvy
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Does anyone else use the BookRiot reading log spreadsheet? I didn't use all of it but the year-end charts and graphs were a lot easier than the clunky way I'd get info in Goodreads. I examine the data at length here: http://readingenvy.blogspot.com/2020/01/2019-reading-by-numbers.html

wanderinglynn And the GR data isn‘t entirely accurate. I looked at my 2019 in review, it showed my longest novel had over 600 pages, which was completely wrong. That particular novel might clock in at 300 pages, but not 600+. I‘ll have to check out your post. 👍🏻 3w
judith_reads I didn't do it in 2019, but want to start for 2020 as I find GR to be really unreliable with their stats. They are also not tracking enough metrics. 3w
CocoReads I didn‘t even know about this. I may have to check it out! 3w
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ReadingEnvy @kadeeth I'd try getting around the Goodreads limitations by creating tons of shelves and then combing "read2019" with each shelf at the end of he year to generate numbers.. this is easier!! 3w
ReadingEnvy @CocoReads just Google book riot reading log! 3w
Suet624 I really enjoyed reading your blog post about this. 3w
CocoReads @ReadingEnvy, I have it now. I don‘t know if I‘ll remember to fill things in most of the time but it looks like fun so I‘ll give it a whirl! 3w
ReadingEnvy @Suet624 thank you! 3w
ReadingEnvy @CocoReads I often do a bunch at a time. 3w
judith_reads @ReadingEnvy I did export my data on CSV and was thinking to throw it into Tableau to see what I can do there. I really want to visualise my reading year more! 3w
DGRachel I love it. I‘m trying to tweak the 2020 to suit me better, but I may just update the formulas in the 2019 one so it stays consistent. I don‘t care about most of the options added for 2020. 3w
ReadingEnvy @DGRachel I downloaded it but haven't really looked at it carefully. I saw in their post that they added narrator space which I liked, I thought I'd use it for translator too. 3w
ReadingEnvy @kadeeth ah cool! 3w
DGRachel I do like the narrator/translator field, but there‘s a bunch of fields now for tracking when you bought something, where, and how much you paid for it. I haven‘t really decided what I‘m going to do, yet. I‘m tempted to build something in Excel. I know how to create pie charts in Excel, so I could do it. 🤔 3w
ReadingEnvy Can you just download this one to Excel and just delete the stuff you don't want? 3w
57 likes15 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

This is the last book of 2019, just under the wire to squeeze one more Asian country in there. This incredible and poetic novel is parallel to the author‘s lived experience of an idyllic early childhood descended from royalty in Cambodia cut short by being forced from her home and into work camps, and surviving the genocide that killed 1/4-1/3 of the population in the country. Definitely read the end matter in this book.

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review
ReadingEnvy
Beginner's Greek | James Collins
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Mehso-so

Penultimate book of 2019, with possibly the worst cover. And it felt very familiar especially the begining, but bogged down a bit in the middle. Always interesting to read a flat out romance from a male author, complete with a meet cute, comic bad timing, and of course, happy ending. I listened on #hoopla.

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ReadingEnvy
Metro 2035: Roman | Dmitry Glukhovsky
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Reading Envy Podcast Episode 176: Best of 2019

Jenny divulges her top reads of 2019 and shares the top reads of sixteen other readers. All of us focus on books we read in 2019; they may or may not have been published in 2019. That's how regular readers work! If you listen past that section, there will also be some discussion of the Best of the Decade in reads and reading experiences.

https://tinyurl.com/ReadingEnvy176

BestDogDad The end of year “best of” episodes are always fun! What a great year! 👍🏼 3w
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Prairiegirl_reading Can‘t wait to listen! I love the year end shows. 😄 3w
ReadingEnvy @BestDogDad @Prairiegirl_reading woohoo! And it's not all my voice! 3w
Reggie Great show Jenny! @Centique Asimov is a Jeopardy answer to someone who has won some award in multiple categories, lol. It‘s always nice to hear your voice Paula! @thebluestocking Jessica it was nice to hear your voice for the first time and your passion for Lost Children‘s Archive. It‘s on my TBR but we know how that goes. (edited) 3w
ReadingEnvy @Reggie happy new year Reggie! 3w
Centique @Reggie happy new year @Reggie I was so happy to hear your voice again! Just had my earphones in and listening as our little motorboat skips over the waves 😁 So many books I want to add to my list. That book of essays by Michelle Tea really stuck out to me and White Fragility @ReadingEnvy 3w
ReadingEnvy @Centique it‘s so good! 3w
thebluestocking @Reggie Thanks, Reggie! I haven‘t had time to listen to the whole episode yet, but I‘m excited to hear your pick. 💙 3w
andrew61 A great round up jenny. Some more books to add to my list and i have just reserved at the library Museum of modern love, also great to hear voices of readers i regularly see on litsy. 2w
thebluestocking @ReadingEnvy I just had a chance to finish this episode. It is one of the highlights of my Dec/Jan each year, and this one was no exception. My TBR pile has grown taller as a result. It was especially fun hearing other littens. Thanks for including my favorite book of 2019! 💙 2w
ReadingEnvy @andrew61 I hope you love that book! I think about it all the time. 2w
ReadingEnvy @thebluestocking woohoo thanks again! 2w
42 likes14 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
A Golden Age | Tahmima Anam
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Pickpick

The novel starts on the eve of war for Bangladesh's independence in 1971 (instigated by genocide against Bengali by West Pakistan, which is puzzling looking at geography but not so puzzling if you know about Partition.) A widow, Rehana, is the central character, suddenly having to navigate revolutionary children, a sudden turn against Bengali nationalism, and an opportunistic brother in law. ⤵️

ReadingEnvy Apparently this is the first of a trilogy about Bangladesh. It is the penultimate book of my #re_asia2019 goal. 3w
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review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

JoJo Moyes writes a novel based around the WPA horseback librarians on Kentucky who delivered books in the mountains from the 1930s to 1943. Mountain culture, mining, family feuds - it's all in here! And this is a region of the world I know and love. ⤵️

ReadingEnvy This came out October 8th and I'm shamefully just now reading it, but I'm glad I did. It's a nice backstory for my profession especially if they also played the additional roles Moyes includes in the novel (which I will leave the reader to discover.) 3w
Ms_T I really enjoyed this too and found out yesterday that it‘s being made into a movie. 3w
ReadingEnvy @Ms_T oh good, it will be great on screen! 3w
Ms_T @ReadingEnvy I agree! 3w
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review
ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

I was feeling a little too much reality in my end of year Asian focused reading and came across a review of this novella in Litsy from @Lindy . An interesting kingdom in the clouds where gender is decided by each person upon reaching adulthood, if ever, and these twins have to come to terms with the ramifications of their gifts. I think this is one of two novellas by this Singaporean author to introduce this universe.

Lindy Yay! I have now read three novellas in the Tensorate series, which has been described as “silkpunk.” My experience with volumes 2 & 3 was even better than the first, perhaps because I already had a grounding in the world and its characters. There‘s a fourth volume that I have yet to read: (edited) 3w
ReadingEnvy @Lindy it's an interesting strategy, to go all novella 3w
Lindy @ReadingEnvy They seem to have an affinity for the form, because the stories seem to be exactly the right length. 3w
53 likes3 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
The Devils' Dance | Hamid Ismailov
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Mehso-so

The Devil's Dance by Hamid Ismailov was a challenging read for a number of reasons. It is a story within a story, of the historical 19th Uzbek female poet who is forcibly married to three Khans in a row, as told by Abdulla Qordiriy, an Uzbek writer who has been imprisoned in a Soviet (NKVD) facility in 1938. ⤵️

ReadingEnvy This is a translated novel, translated from the Uzbek which the translator isn't trained in, but the Soviet translation was too full of problems. There is poetry on almost every page, also translated, and most assuredly full of layers of meaning that I grasped only some of the time.⤵️ 3w
ReadingEnvy Just reading it, dense prose and long chapters, proved a challenge. But also the way violent acts are mentioned in passing can get hard to deal with as a reader, the violence against women but also the mind games in the prison.

But I can now say I have read a novel from Uzbekistan, and this translation won a major translation award. It must have been quite the feat.
3w
47 likes2 comments
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ReadingEnvy
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Christmas bookish gifts! Two of them give away my region of focus for 2020. The Instant Pot title is from my in-laws and comes with an instant pot so if you have any favorite tips or recipes, I'm all ears.

rethier1 Hard/soft-boiled eggs, homemade yogurt, whole chickens, chicken and dumplings, and beef stroganoff are all wonderful in the instant pot (as are many other things!) 4w
Bookwormjillk I love to cook dried beans in mine 4w
Nute Ooooh, I desire that trilogy (Outline-Transit-Kudos) by Rachel Cusk!😍 4w
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Mitch Ohh - we‘re new to the world of instant pot too and have been loving it! Chicken biryani has been great! 4w
cathipink That trilogy set is fantastic 🙂 I'm not the primary instant pot user in our house but for veggies, err on the side of larger pieces as stir frys can get a little wilty at times. 4w
LauraBeth I just got an instant pot a few weeks ago and I love it! I use a lot of recipes for it found on Skinnytaste.com. I wish I had gotten one years ago. 4w
kyraleseberg Love my instant pot! Halfbakedharvest.com has some excellent IP recipes 4w
ReadingEnvy @rethier1 ooh eggs would be nice, thanks! 4w
ReadingEnvy @Bookwormjillk yes definitely on my list! 4w
ReadingEnvy @cathipink good tip thanks! 4w
ReadingEnvy @LauraBeth ooh noted thanks 4w
ReadingEnvy @Nute I'm not sure my husband understands why I want books I've already read but they'll be a great reread 4w
Christine I was gifted an IP a while back and was a reluctant user at first, but I‘ve come to love it. I highly, highly recommend Melissa Clark‘s two IP cookbooks (I‘m guessing you may love some of her other cookbooks already like I do). Every single thing I‘ve made from those books has been great. 4w
ReadingEnvy @Christine oh I don't think I know her so I'll look into it. I'm hoping to get intoba groove where o can understand and adapt on my own. 4w
Christine She is fantastic, writes recipes for NYT, cowrote a ton of chef cookbooks, and has several excellent cookbooks of her own. I love her IP recipes because they are slightly more complex (often involve sautéing ingredients at first, etc.) and therefore always have great depth of flavor. Could work well for your adaptation goals since she focuses a lot on techniques. :) 4w
ReadingEnvy @Christine awesome! I found one in the Libby app. 4w
52 likes18 comments
review
ReadingEnvy
Secrets We Kept | Lara Prescott
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The female typists of the Cold War often played much more important roles, and those are here alongside the story of the publication of Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, and the surrounding intrigue. This was a far more complex read than I expected but very interesting and well-researched.
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This was published mid-October but was stuck in mY eARC backlog.

Cathythoughts Nice review. I have this it s on kindle .... looking forward to getting to it now 👍🏻❤️ 4w
ReadingEnvy @Cathythoughts it goes in such a different direction from where it starts that it took me a while to get into the groove, but ultimately I thought it was worth it. 4w
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ReadingEnvy
Broken Verses | Kamila Shamsie
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Pakistani activist Samina Akram disappeared. Two years earlier, her lover, Pakistan's greatest poet, was beaten to death by government thugs. In present-day Karachi, her daughter Aasmaani has just discovered a letter in the couple's private code—a letter that could only have been written recently."

Pictured with our lime tree, inside for the winter and confused about what season it is.⤵️

ReadingEnvy This book has many layers but I was also interested in the portrayal of modern day Pakistan - one woman is an activist, another an actress, another works for a TV station. Aasmaani was never her mother's priority but she is still searching for her and it is heartbreaking. 4w
ReadingEnvy I had previously read Home Fires by the same author, which was largely set outside of Pakistan, and wanted to read something set in the country for my Around the World reading project. Most of this novel is set in Karachi but some characters also go to Islamabad. Ramzan (we sometimes call it Ramadan) is also observed during the novel, which is interesting when everyone "should" be observing it. 4w
Lindy This sounds really good. I enjoyed Shamsie‘s Home Fire and also Burnt Shadows (which is also set outside Pakistan). The most memorable book I‘ve read set in Pakistan is 4w
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BarbaraBB I‘ve read the same ones @Lindy did and really want to read more by her. This book sounds great! 4w
ju.ca.no @ReadingEnvy Home Fire was such a good book- this one sounds intriguing again! 4w
ReadingEnvy @Lindy oh thanks hadn't heard of that one. 4w
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ReadingEnvy
Felon: Poems | Reginald Dwayne Betts
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These poems tell the truth about how prison changes you, how it never leaves you, and what relationships are like afterward, particularly if you are also black and recently incarcerated. It is its own form of PTSD.

Bookwormjillk Thanks for reviewing. Just stacked. 4w
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ReadingEnvy
The Factory | Hiroko Oyamada
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Well, I hate the word Kafkaesque except in this case it really is appropriate - this slim translated novel is about three people recently hired to work at a sprawling, city-dwarfing factory, the kind that has bus routes and restaurants to support the workers (or is it to keep them there?) ⤵️

ReadingEnvy One woman shreds paper at a job she is overqualified for, one man is proofreading documents by hand and battling sleep, and one bryologist has been tasked with something both impossible and that don't seem to actually want him to accomplish.⤵️ 1mo
ReadingEnvy I've always felt the series of short novels from Japan speak to one another and had to laugh when one character, after thinking negatively about their job, counters with "at least they aren't working at a convenience store." (If you know the novel CONVENIENCE STORE WOMAN you will get what I'm saying.)⤵️ 1mo
ReadingEnvy The concept of senseless work is heavy with dread but feels even worse in this setting. There are other things going on that are a bit confusing - animals that may or may not exist, a dangerous forest on the grounds of the factory, and the sense that in the overwhelming vastness of the factory, there are as many ways to inadvertently violate expectations in each little microcosm. The author communicates the stress of that very well. 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
A Christmas Carol | Charles Dickens
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My Dad used to read us A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens every year when I was a kid. Now that he's gone I'm lucky to have other readers to listen to. The NYPL put on a live reading with Neil Gaiman with the sole remaining "prompt" copy of the tale, with Dickens' own markings for live readings. I took this picture from their website. https://www.nypl.org/blog/2014/12/19/podcast-neil-gaiman-christmas

Fridameetslucy Sending you a HUGE ty for this. I belong to a NYC Friends of Charles Dickens book group that meets once a month. We real one book a year and each month somebody facilitates a discussion of 10 chapters - this year its The Old Curiosity Shop and on Jan 4th I‘m facilitating a discussion of Dickens use of fairy tale motifs and a Jungian approach toward analyzing this story. Inviting any NYC Littens to be my guest 1mo
ReadingEnvy @Fridameetslucy sounds great! 1mo
Billypar Thanks for recommending this: I played it on Christmas with my family while my parents were cooking. I always get excited when certain lines come up - it's my favorite Christmas story by far. Great reading by Gaiman, though for some reason everyone assumed it was Alan Rickman narrating 😁 3w
ReadingEnvy @Billypar he does have a bit of the sandy nasal quality. 3w
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ReadingEnvy
The Bromance Book Club | Lyssa Kay Adams
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Gavin and Thea's marriage is on the brink of disaster and his baseball teammates pull him into a secret club that uses romance novels to understand and romance their wives. It could have been hokey but instead I found this author to have incredible comic timing (including writing a very realistic deteriorating sex scene between married people who are upset with each other.) ⤵️

ReadingEnvy This might be the romance novel I assign to my reading class because it's a regency inside a contemporary, with men who have something to learn (and help each other to learn it!) #romantsy 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
Nothing to See Here | Kevin Wilson
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Mehso-so

Lillian and Madison were friends for a short time in private school when Madison's father used his money to ensure his daughter didn't get kicked out, but set Lillian's life in a different direction. Now Madison is married to a wealthy and aspiring politician, but needs someone to take care of her stepchildren who have a unique health challenge - they catch on fire. ⤵️

ReadingEnvy Class and money and privilege are clearly themes throughout the novel but still it makes me feel similarly to when I read other novels by this author (and I'm not sure why they are such a disconnect for me) - I enjoy them, maybe even find them clever or funny - but wouldn't be able to tell you a thing about them a month from now. So like, it's enjoyable enough, but I feel the same as I would if I rewatched a guilty pleasure tv show.
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1mo
ReadingEnvy

Since the hold queue at my public library was so long, I used an Audible credit for the audio version, and was listening at 2x by the end just to get it done.
1mo
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Mehso-so

This book isn't really about what you'd think from the title or cover. It's about a woman named Maeve who finally learns her origin story when her birth mother dies. There is a tiny bit of romance, a tiny bit of danger, and a tiny bit about pets. But the St Francis Society is pretty minor.

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ReadingEnvy
Jamila | Chingiz A?tmatov
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Chingiz Aitmatov is a Kyrgyz author who wrote in Kyrgyz and Russian. Although Jamila was published in Russian, I'm going to count it for Kyrgyzstan for my ongoing Around the World reading challenge. ⤵️

ReadingEnvy Set during the long period of collectivism as a Soviet state, in the village where Jamila lives with her in-laws (her husband is a soldier on the front but is delayed in his return because of an injury, and in fact most of the able-bodied men are absent for the same reason.) ⤵️ 1mo
ReadingEnvy Her brother in law, too young to fight, is the narrator of the story. He and Jamila harvest wheat together (to be sent to the front) and he is the witness to her interactions with others. He is also coming into his own artistic sensibilities. ⤵️ 1mo
ReadingEnvy As in most books I have read set in this area, the landscape of the steppes require a lot of hard work, isolation, and horses are central to daily life. Jamila's father was a known horse trainer so she has skills in that area as well. 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
In the Dream House: A Memoir | Carmen Maria Machado
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TW for domestic violence, emotional manipulation, physical threats, inability to escape.

Carmen Maria Machado writes in a creative way about her own experience in an abusive relationship, and also within the broader context of lesbian and/or queer domestic abuse. All the pieces of her life, experiences, and relationships create this Dream House that also in some ways creates a structure that surrounds the experience. ⤵️

ReadingEnvy Some of the sections are just one page, exploring a fragment of an idea that connects; she eventually explains why the book is written this way.⤵️ 1mo
ReadingEnvy Many of the sections connect to the Motif-Index of Folk Literature put out by Indiana University, which was uncanny to me because in my year in their Folklore PhD program, this is something we used often and comes from their scholarship. Her girlfriend from this violent time also lived in Bloomington and was doing a writing program there. ⤵️ 1mo
ReadingEnvy If you know Machado's previous works, which were dark fairy tales and dark folktale retellings, it is an unnerving connection to the life experience she was having while she wrote those stories, something she connects inside this memoir in the struggle to understand how in some ways this violent relationship fueled her writing but of course she couldn't say so at the time.⤵️ 1mo
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ReadingEnvy I couldn't read this all at once. It creates a feeling of claustrophobia. Her use of the occasional second person pulls the reader into the lived experience and I actually felt a little panicky at times (particularly in the Choose Your Own Adventure section.) ⤵️ 1mo
ReadingEnvy I'm glad she was able to write about it, it's important for people in the lgbtq+ community to have resources if they encounter abusive relationships, and it points to the importance of understanding domestic violence beyond visible bruising and the old "battered woman" stereotypes. 1mo
Reggie I really appreciated the chapter on queer villainy. And the other one that had me go down the rabbit hole of watching Voices Carry on Youtube, lol. 1mo
ReadingEnvy @Reggie ha! I listened to that again this morning! 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
Ghost | Jason Reynolds
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I am posting this review late because I read it earlier in the year for a postal bookswap,

I've always heard of Jason Reynolds in the context of being a good choice for "reluctant readers." I can definitely see the appeal here with sports, single parent, outsider, urban, black representation and more. I loved that Ghost isn't perfect but that the consequences take a while to show up. I love the "found family" element.

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ReadingEnvy
The Starless Sea | Erin Morgenstern
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This book took me a while to read but even the worlds inside are smeared with gold, drowning in honey, or covered in snow and ice. This is the elaborate dream of any child who ever thought they belonged more inside the world of a book, maybe even spent time looking for the way in. Time and characters move in non linear ways, and there is a lot about how stories are created and live on. ⤵️

ReadingEnvy It all starts with a college student who comes across a book he remembers from childhood, or maybe that's the middle of the story. Anyone who loves early Catherynne Valente (Orphan Tales, Palimpsest) will be the perfect reader for this book. 1mo
RowReads1 I‘m about to start either this one or “The Dutch House”. 1mo
ReadingEnvy @RowReads1 ah I haven't read that one yet! 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
The Guest Cat | Takashi Hiraide
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I am cycling off a Postal Book Group I participated in from 2015-2019, and The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide was my last read.(I need to mail it tomorrow!) It started through the Books on the Nightstand Goodreads group, and if you listened to that podcast (R.I.P.) you know that started a while ago! ⤵️

ReadingEnvy A married couple lives in a guest house on a larger estate and the slim novel is more about how they relate to the architecture and light of their house, the seasons, other people, Chibi the cat, and so on. 1mo
Cathythoughts Sounds really good 👍🏻❤️stacking 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
Memory and Dream | Charles de Lint
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Reading Envy Podcast Episode 175: Reading on Impulse with Marion Hill
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The last regular episode of the year brings author and reader Marion Hill. We talk about the books that work for us and some great reads we've had recently. Marion also talks about his recent trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair.

https://tinyurl.com/ReadingEnvy175

merelybookish I just finished the collection by Bob-Waksberg. I really enjoyed it! 1mo
ReadingEnvy @merelybookish did you listen to the audio? 1mo
merelybookish @ReadingEnvy Yes! It was so entertaining. And I thought the absurdity really worked! 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
The City Son | Samrat Upadhyay
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Panpan

I read The City Son by Samrat Upadhyay for Nepal in my endless quest to read a book from or set in every country. The author was born in Nepal and writes in English. But would I recommend? ⤵️

ReadingEnvy Phew, okay. Major trigger warning here for pervasive child sexual assault. Tarun is the "city son" because his father has had a child with a woman in the city, and when his non-city wife finds out, she turns her abusive focus on the son, starting a very uncomfortable pattern that continues into his teens and even his adult life. I wish the author could have left more of it off the page, and I wish the story could have been about more than this. 1mo
lele1432 Oh wow.. 😕 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
Best-loved Cat Stories | Leslie O'Mara
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I tried working on a best of the decade list but I just can't do it, as I rarely read books just from the current year. How can I look at 2009 and not talk about Justine (1960s) or Cloud Atlas (2004)? Instead I'm thinking about a list of my best reading experiences of the decade. stay tuned! (Random image of books)

Chab256 That's why I chose to go with best books I read in the last decade rather than best books I read solely published in the last decade. 1mo
Sace Looking forward to it. I'm the same way. I'm sure I still have some books lying around that I purchased in the 1980s that I still haven't read. 1mo
ReadingEnvy @Chab256 ah well I suppose I could do that! :) 1mo
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JacqMac I haven‘t been able to make a list either. It‘s hard!! 1mo
Branwen I think this is an impossible list to make! Cloud Atlas is one of my favorite books of all time! 💕📚 1mo
Erin01 That sounds like a good idea, I know I always like doing my 'best of list' based on when I read something as well 1mo
Reggie I say make up your own rules and post the best that you‘ve read in this decade. That‘s what I‘m gonna do. P.s. I meant to send you my best of the year only to find out that the e-mail sat in my outbox instead of being sent but if you don‘t mind I would like to be a guest on again. 1mo
ReadingEnvy @Reggie I got it! Did you see my email? I‘ll send you my openings for 2020. 1mo
Reggie @ReadingEnvy Thank you, I guess when I updated my pc email I didn‘t know I had to sign in to my phone e-mail again. Found it. 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
Alone | Christophe Chabout
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Alone by Christophe Chabouté, translated from the French, is a graphic novel about difference and isolation. The man who lives alone in a lighthouse has lived there since birth, and the last 15 years of it completely alone. The images show the life around him and pieces of his daily life. I thought it was beautiful and I loved his dictionary ritual.

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ReadingEnvy
Olive, Again | Elizabeth Strout
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I was inspired to read "Olive, Again" after listening to an interview with the author on the Guardian Books podcast. I liked Olive Kitteridge, and Olive, Again is on the Tournament of Books longlist so it didn't take a lot to convince me.⤵️

ReadingEnvy It might be better than the original because of the way the author captured aging and changing politics and relationships. It's full of northeastern sensibilities, which I like. It is funny to realize you are finding a character refreshing because they are direct - that's when you know you've been in the south too long! But even in her directness, Olive is really a singular and memorable character. 1mo
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Meg and Jo | Virginia Kantra
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A modern day retelling of Little Women, partially (there is an upcoming novel called Beth & Amy that I'm sure will advance the story.) - I have to be honest when I say I never gave Meg one moment of thought, always seeing Jo as the central character, so Meg's story was interesting to me with her epic sense of responsibility. ⤵️

ReadingEnvy Jo's story was also interesting as a food blogger in NYC, with a pretty memorable love scene, but it was a little hard for me to think of the March sisters as anything but chaste! The relocation to NC instead of Concord was an interesting choice, and the modernization of the father was pretty realistic. One big difference for me is that I root for Laurie in the original, but not here (he's called Trey in this retelling.) 1mo
Sace This review makes me 1.want to read the original (which I've never done) and 2. Immediately read this! 😁 1mo
ReadingEnvy @Sace yes! Read the original. I haven't in years and years but it was a childhood fave. 1mo
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ReadingEnvy
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The more romance I read, the more I start to learn about the tropes. I haven't read a lot of male/female regency romance but apparently this counts as regency, between a countess widow and a female astronomer who is also skilled at translating. There is a thread in this story about artistic embroidery that may have been my favorite part (and not just one character doing it!) ⤵️
#romantsy

ReadingEnvy I then read an overall positive but fact-checking review from another romance writer, KJ Charles, who pointed out that in this era there was a quite famous lady astronomer in the UK, and she is never mentioned in this book. So perhaps the historical fiction elements are more fantasy than factual, but it is still an enjoyable read. I also like the beautiful cover even if it doesn't really match the character descriptions. 1mo
Cathythoughts It is a beautiful cover ✨❤️ 1mo
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