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reciprokate

reciprokate

Joined December 2017

“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” - Robert Louis Stevenson
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reciprokate

For war was really at the heart of all of this. It was war that had bundled him away from his life in the north, leaving the examination for the University of London forever unsat, his apprenticeship forever uncompleted, and his library copy of 'Bleak House' forever abandoned at chapter 5.

reciprokate "War had interrupted that paragraph of a life, made of it merely a preamble to some greater, unrelated history. War had ended everything, and yet not everything, for it was war that had brought him to her." 1y
reciprokate "It made her reel a little to hear him, in his approximate Italian, describe this war in the same way she had always thought of it: as a great monster that had swallowed cities, islands, men, and then, in the end, given one thing back only - the Englishman, appearing like a strange blessing out of the sea. War had ended everything, and war had brought him to her.: 1y
3 likes2 comments
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reciprokate
Pickpick

Pairs well with: vacation, Italian anything, restless in a small town.
I almost passed on this after reading the hohum reviews; phew, glad I didn't! Salty, sensuous, angst-ridden - I have to admit that I couldn't believe the prim woman on the jacket had written a sweeping saga with such depth and feeling. Bravo!

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The Miniaturist | Jessie Burton

"Johannes bestows his honesty on her like another unexpected gift. The open channel between them can be so clear and crystalline, but when Nella closes her eyes all she sees is a stagnant stream...
"Marin believes love is better in the chase than caught," she says. He raises his eyebrows. "That does not surprise me. It is not better. But it is easier. One's imagination is always more reliable. And yet, the chase always tires you out in the end."

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The Girl Below: A Novel | Bianca Zander
Mehso-so

Another departure for me. The writing is magnetic, drawing you in from the start. The author dances a fine line between reality, time travel, and suspense. The possibilities for a plot twist or a dramatic culmination of metaphysical threads seemed inevitable...and never happened. Flop.
My advice - read up until the main character is set to travel to Greece. Imagine your own ending, and enjoy looking over your shoulder at night for a few days.

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Remembering Laughter | Wallace Stegner
Pickpick

I've been on a Wendell Berry kick; this was a perfect accompaniment. Berry even reviewed this short novel that was Stegner's first book (originally the winner of a novellete prize): "clean, swift, and assured, and I can still feel the weight of the disaster in it."
Rich farmland descriptions, vivid characters, and brutal despair that weaves itself into a cautionary tale.

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Hannah Coulter: A Novel | Wendell Berry
Pickpick

Notes: book club read
Pairs well with: front/sleeping porch, a pitcher of something cold and homemade, a hard or restless season of life

Slow and steady, healing stuff. A reflection and meditation on farming life, marriage, and community in a small town. Brought my own life and troubles into perspective. I'm planning to collect the rest in the series, although this book stands alone.

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Song of a Captive Bird | Jasmin Darznik

Love is another country. No, I'd go further than that. The difference between foreign countries is never so great as the difference between being in love and not being in love. Not only does the world around you seem changed when you are in love -bright where it once was dull, lively and varied where it was once routine-but people are different, not least of all you yourself, though the difference might be that you've returned to your native self.

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Song of a Captive Bird | Jasmin Darznik

"If I'd chosen to confide in anyone - and I didn't - there was no complaint that wouldn't sound trite. 'Besooz o bezaaz' went the timeworn injunction to brides. Burn inwardly and accommodate."

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I've never been able to relate much to that reviewer that says they "read it in one sitting". If you had an uninterrupted day, this could be a one-sitting book. Fun. Easy. Enough depth to keep your interest, no snags to slow you down.

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Educated: A Memoir | Tara Westover
Pickpick

Pairs well with: Augusten Borroughs memoirs, composition notebooks, Netflix and chill

Absorbing. The adrenaline you feel after reading about this family's near brushes with death and their flirtation with insanity is balanced well with the author's reflections on racism, feminism, religion, and poverty.

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Pickpick

This author popped up repeatedly in my reading about positive parenting, so I bought her books.

Look beyond: her dramatic writing style, the middle class suburbia that is her context

To find the substance: timely and wise strategies for connecting with loved ones, esp children. Much of the book is a reflection on mindfulness, aka Hands Free Living. A great read for anyone that feels distracted or overwhelmed by tech, schedules, or a busy life.

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A reflection titled "Notice the Good"

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Crossing to Safety | Wallace Stegner
Pickpick

Pairs well with: summer home; anniversary or reunion
Stegner's writing style reveals his age (born in the 30s) and intellect (lots of literary references). This exploration of lifelong friends and their marriages is not a story with a beginning-middle-end, more progression of life ages/stages. There was a sentence or paragraph to read aloud or circle on every page: a description of a picnic or waterfall, a brutally honest conversation about death.

reciprokate "In that fine place, in the ripened Indian summer weather, those two once again choose us. And circumstances where smaller spirits might let envy corrode liking, they declare their generous pleasure in our company and our good luck...We have been invited into their lives, from which we will never be evicted, or evict ourselves." 2y
6 likes1 comment
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Pickpick

Notes: Read for book club.
Pairs well with: Southern summers, muggy; jambalaya; the sound of water lapping the shore

Written for the big screen? The dramatic scenes that unfolded were gripping, sometimes twisting my stomach into knots. The fictionalized account of real life horrors did not transition well; the author portrayed the victims as fully functioning, unscathed adults after a childhood kidnapping, abuse, and neglect. Too tidy...

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Crossing to Safety | Wallace Stegner

"I believe that most people have some degree of talent for something - forms, colors, words, sounds. Talent lies around in us like kindling waiting for a match, but some people, just as gifted as others, are less lucky. Fate never drops a match on them. The times are wrong, or their health is poor, or their energy low, or their obligations too many. Something."

reciprokate "Talent, I tell him, believing what I say, is at least half luck. It isn't as if our baby lips were touched with a live coal, and thereafter we lisp in numbers or talk in tongues. We are lucky in our parents, teachers, experience, circumstances, friends, times, physical and mental endowment, or we are not."
2y
6 likes1 comment
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I had to take a break from the Tearling series; too heavy. This did the trick.

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Invasion of the Tearling | Erika Johansen

Years ago, in Venezuela, homesick and wanting to hear some English, I went to see 'Kill Bill'. I walked out after the rape scene. I retain visual images; they show up in dreams and haunt my thoughts.
This book has left me with the same feeling of sensory assault - rape, domestic violence, torture, murder, in detail. I'm a bit resentful. The first book hooked me, invested in the characters...the second led me down a path I was not prepared for.

Mommamanzi Ugh this makes me so sad. I was looking forward to an awesome part 2. 2y
5 likes1 stack add1 comment
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The Queen of the Tearling | Johansen, Erika
Pickpick

Notes: First fantasy novel I have read in at least 5 years. Themes from this book showed up in my dreams several nights in a row, very rare for me.

The author is genius; sure to have a loyal following when the heroine queen is a plain, pudgy girl that loves to read (and therefore intelligent, with a mind of her own). She has probably described a large portion of her readers. I was swept along on this tale, a fun read with plenty of suspense.

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"She was a rich mine of life, like the founders of early races."

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The Arrangement | Ashley Warlick
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The writing life. I recognize myself in this blurb.

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Mehso-so

Pairs well with: 90s alternative rock, weekend farm stands

300 pages, almost bailed after 200. This book is like that brilliant boyfriend you had that sometimes ignored you in front of his mates, swore and drank too much, but then played those deep, vulnerable songs to you late at night that kept you hanging on. 2/3 of this book was spent swaggering and fronting its way to the heartwarming, anticlimactic finish. Should we have broken up sooner?

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A promising start, perfect for the day after Valentine's: "By this time, he was 28, growing a pale hairy inner tube around his waist, and already going bald. Even though she had an overbite and the shakes, she was six feet tall and beautiful, and not like a statue or a perfume advertisement, but in a realistic way, like how a truck or a pizza is beautiful at the moment you want it most. This, to Lars, made her feel approachable."

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Satanic Mechanic | Sally Andrew
Mehso-so

Oh, please read the first book in the series, or you may not care enough to make it through this one. While there was a murder or two to solve, the bulk of the book focuses on character development. Tannie Maria, as it turns out, is not a Mary Poppins cook that can cure whatever ails you...she is suffering from PTSD, and food is her escape. The author seems set on revealing the darker, human elements of the characters...for better or worse.

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Pickpick

Pairs well with: comfort food (try a recipe from the back!!), sturdy leather shoes (shop Oliberte), tailgate picnics, truck preferred.

Small town mystery with riveting characters, twists and turns, decadent food writing, an unexpected finale, and a love interest on the side. The author has some tricks up her sleeve, a few were overused (Tannie Maria's constant referral to food in a crisis). A bit like a modern female-driven Sherlock and Holmes.

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This is where I decided to bail. I just can't.

RaimeyGallant Haha. 2y
RaimeyGallant And welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. 2y
6 likes1 stack add2 comments
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The Tea Planter's Wife | Dinah Jefferies
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Pairs well with: a fragrant spicy soap that lingers on your skin, a restless stretch of summer when you wish you were vacationing

This won't be your favorite book, but it does promise to transport you to an exotic tropical setting with the wistful nostalgia of hi-fi. There is a ribbon of mystery wound through the story that pulls all the stops at the end (in a faintly ridiculous but satisfying turn).

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Pickpick

Pairs well with: cold weather, long walks, bright lipstick, your favorite neighborhood hole-in-the-wall.

Lillian is an evolving character; I love the woman she becomes as her life takes its twists and turns. Following her NYE walk in NYC, both a tour of the city and a glimpse into her past. Her wit and descriptions are sharp, cracking. I especially enjoyed her connections with strangers met along the way. Time for a long walk with fresh eyes...

VioletBramble I like your review. I enjoyed this book for the story and the setting. I'm so glad Lillian evolved over time because I didn't like young Lillian very much. 2y
VioletBramble Oh, welcome to Litsy! 2y
reciprokate @VioletBramble Thank you! I agree, I don't think I would be a likely friend for young Lillian. And yet she turned out to be such a delight. Maybe there's a lesson there: once the rat race slows, we are more apt to see others and enjoy them. Cheers! 2y
4 likes3 comments
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Pickpick

Pairs well with: "Monsoon Wedding" soundtrack, girls night in, red wine, fountain pens

Regrettable cover, unforgettable storyline. One author review said she read once through quickly, to find out what happens, then again to savor the rich descriptions. I agree.
I purchased this book after reading so that I could highlight sections that would transport me back to a time and place where women gathered to share ancient traditions.

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Housemaid's Daughter | Barbara Mutch
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On judging a book by its cover:
2 covers for a recent read. Mine had the cover on the right. I almost didn't choose it because the picture looked more "romance novel" than my interests lean. As it turns out, the housemaid's daughter is black. She is the sole narrator of the book. I wish I'd gotten the cover on the left. The protagonist is so endearing; I wanted her to be honored with a cover that gave her voice a tangible presence.

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Italian Wife | Ann Hood
Mehso-so

Pairs well with: fast food, whiskey sours

Rating: If Hood's descriptions and sentences were not strung together with skill, I would have set this aside early on. The characters were a batch of bad apples.

Trigger warnings: date rape, molestation, PTSD, drug use, unplanned pregnancy. Most of these topics are presented within time periods that did not have these terms or public awareness of them - which made it even more uncomfortable to read.

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Housemaid's Daughter | Barbara Mutch
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