Home Feed
Home
Search
Search
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Add
Activity
Activity
Profile
Profile
sarahbarnes

sarahbarnes

Joined May 2018

“Books mean all possibilities.” - Ali Smith
reading now icon
Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey
reading now icon
The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk
blurb
sarahbarnes
Remote Sympathy | Catherine Chidgey
post image

My favorite long weekend plans - new books from the library. My current read is at the top, and is so far a chilling, brilliant story.

vivastory Happy weekend 📚📚🍻 2h
10 likes1 comment
review
sarahbarnes
Mirror Made of Rain | Naheed Phiroze Patel
post image
Pickpick

A heart wrenching story of a woman coming to terms with her relationship with her mother and her culture and their impact throughout her life. A difficult journey, but I appreciated the way Patel took the issues in the book head on in this stark but beautiful story.

review
sarahbarnes
post image
Pickpick

I liked this book a lot because I learned so much about Deaf culture. I found the parts of the book that interrogated family dynamics and racism within sign language to be the most powerful parts of the book. I agree with others‘ observations that the characters could‘ve had more depth and the ending was a little unsatisfying. I‘m glad I read it though! #CampLitsy

Megabooks Great review! 2w
EvieBee That is a fab pic! 2w
BarbaraBB Great pic indeed and I agree on all you say in your review 🤍 2w
See All 6 Comments
Leftcoastzen Love the photo! 1w
sarahbarnes @EvieBee @BarbaraBB @Leftcoastzen thank you! It‘s in Taos. 😍 1w
sarahbarnes @Megabooks thank you! 😊 1w
39 likes6 comments
review
sarahbarnes
post image
Panpan

I don‘t read romance, so it may just be that the genre didn‘t sit with me. But for me, this book did not work. I found myself cringing through most of it, at both the story and the writing, and was glad when it was over. I do still want to read the author‘s other work, about which I‘ve heard great things. I‘ll be interested to hear everyone‘s thoughts at #CampLitsy.

Suet624 Yup. I gave it a so-so but mostly because I love the author. But boy, was it hard to get through. 2w
sarahbarnes @Suet624 I thought of your review when I was reading it - I felt the same way. 2w
squirrelbrain I‘ve seen quite a few not-so-good reviews for this. 😬 Interesting to see what our campers think when we get to it! 2w
See All 15 Comments
sarahbarnes @squirrelbrain it may still make for a good discussion! Looking forward to hearing what others think. 2w
squirrelbrain Do you think the book and the blurb are at odds? So many of us picked it from the longlist; I wonder if that was based on the blurb or the author? 2w
sarahbarnes @squirrelbrain it‘s a good question. I think it wasn‘t clear to me from the blurb that it was romance. And their reputation as a writer preceded them at this point, too, so that might have been part of it? 2w
jlhammar Glad I‘m not alone! I‘m impressed you made it through. Yes, I don‘t enjoy romance so wasn‘t surprised for the sex stuff to be a huge turn off, but, for me, there was nothing else. I found the writing basic and shallow and the characters poorly developed. It‘s been fun to read the different reactions to this one. 2w
Megabooks Yikes…y‘all are making me really nervous to lead this! 😬😬😬 I‘m not a romance person either, but I do like *some* literary romances. I hope it can still be a good discussion! 2w
Chelsea.Poole Uh-oh! 2w
sarahbarnes @Megabooks I think it can definitely still be a good discussion! And I will be interested to hear what you think of it! 2w
marleed I did like this book but…. Did you ever go to a comedy show and much of the comedy was lost because the comedian‘s overuse of the word f*ck. Yea, that. 2w
sarahbarnes @marleed yes!! I got hung up on that, too, and I definitely do my share of swearing. 😂 2w
marleed @sarahbarnes haha. Me too - a firm believer in a well placed f-bomb. I think though if in one small paragraph, it‘s used as an adjective, one should pull out a thesaurus to find other words for nouns, verbs, and adverbs! 2w
Hooked_on_books Oh boy, I‘m dreading this one! I don‘t like romance, and I tried this author once before and bailed. Not sure I‘ll get through it, but I‘ll try! 2w
sarahbarnes @Hooked_on_books I‘ll be interested to hear what you think when you read it! 🤔 2w
28 likes15 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Pure Colour | Sheila Heti
post image
Mehso-so

I liked some aspects of this book, and some of the lines stopped me in my tracks so I had to read them over and over to take them in. However, overall I didn‘t love it as much as I‘d hoped. Definitely a creatively written take on life, decisions, regrets and love.

Ruthiella Have you read other Sheila Heti books? I‘m always curious about her, but not yet tried her stuff. 2w
sarahbarnes @Ruthiella I haven‘t, but this book made me curious about her other books as well. Maybe I‘ll try another one. 2w
24 likes2 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Sorrow and Bliss | Meg Mason
post image
Pickpick

This book packed a real punch for me. It is one of the most authentic stories about mental illness I‘ve read, I think. I alternated between laughing and crying throughout and couldn‘t put it down. It resonated with me in so many ways, and I‘m grateful to Meg Mason for writing it.

jlhammar Same here! Great review. 3w
sarahbarnes @jlhammar ❤️❤️ 3w
Megabooks Agree 💯💯 3w
sarahbarnes @megabooks ❤️❤️ 3w
29 likes4 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
post image
Pickpick

This book! This character! This writer! 😍😍😍 I can‘t really describe what a sheer joy it was to read this book, which is every bit as good as The Idiot. I can only hope that Batuman is planning to write a book for each year of Selin‘s college life. 🤞 Looking forward to discussing this one at #CampLitsy in August!

Hooked_on_books I‘m hopeful for that, too! I‘m guessing since she‘s done the first two years that she intends to do all her college years. We should be so lucky! 3w
Ruthiella I think that is Batuman‘s plan, all the way to senior year! 🤞I can‘t wait to read this. 3w
sarahbarnes @Hooked_on_books @Ruthiella yay what a gift that would be! 3w
See All 10 Comments
jlhammar Now I‘m even more excited to start The Idiot! 3w
sarahbarnes @jlhammar I hope you like it! 3w
Megabooks Yay! I‘m excited! 3w
batsy I love your enthusiasm! I'm super excited to read The Idiot and then this one... Soon I hope 🤞🏾 3w
sarahbarnes @batsy I hope you enjoy them! I really am a fan! 🤩 3w
vivastory What a fantastic review 👏 Exactly what @batsy said! 3w
merelybookish I just started! Excited to see you loved it. 🥰 3w
31 likes2 stack adds10 comments
review
sarahbarnes
post image
Pickpick

This collection of connected stories was a delight to read - bizarre, quirky, and very funny. Kawakami‘s matter of fact narrative style about the events in these stories made me laugh out loud.

@EvieBee I think your review put this book on my radar, so thank you! 😊

EvieBee Yay! I‘m so glad you enjoyed it! 💕 4w
28 likes1 stack add1 comment
quote
sarahbarnes
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
post image

The words “tacos, beige,” written on a piece of looseleaf paper made me feel the foreclosing of every possibility of anything exciting ever happening to me in the rest of my life.

So far this book is every bit as much of a joy to read as The Idiot! 😍

Ruthiella Good to know. I loved The Idiot. 😃 4w
sarahbarnes @Ruthiella I did, too! 😊 4w
28 likes2 comments
blurb
sarahbarnes
post image

Happy PRIDE month y‘all. I‘m excited to try this beer from Fiction Beer Company here in Denver, named after the tagged book. I haven‘t ever read it, but would like to someday. Orange Creamsicle Witbier sounds like early summer to me, and their beers are great. ☀️

merelybookish Happy Pride! I don't even like beer and I'm tempted. 🍻 1mo
21 likes1 comment
review
sarahbarnes
Paradais | Fernanda Melchor
post image
Pickpick

Intense from start to finish, this short novel left me reeling by the end. I absolutely love Melchor‘s narrative style and definitely now want to read Hurricane Season.

merelybookish You are plowing through books! Are you on vacation? 😀 1mo
sarahbarnes @merelybookish no just not sleeping and avoiding life. 😂 1mo
merelybookish @sarahbarnes Well that's less fun but thank gawd for books. 1mo
See All 6 Comments
sarahbarnes @merelybookish Right?! They always come through. 📚 (edited) 1mo
batsy I'm looking forward to reading her! A tiny bit afraid but generally looking forward 😂 1mo
sarahbarnes @batsy I know exactly what you mean! 😂 1mo
31 likes6 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Valleyesque: Stories | Fernando A. Flores
post image
Pickpick

This collection of stories is bizarre and much of the time hilarious - what a fun read! I never knew where the next story in the collection was going to take me. Loved it.

24 likes3 stack adds
review
sarahbarnes
Disorientation | Elaine Hsieh Chou
post image
Pickpick

I really enjoyed this satire on race, racism and whiteness that was also a fabulous page turner. I don‘t always love satire, but this was subtle and smart and a definite pick.

Megabooks Agreed! 1mo
27 likes1 comment
review
sarahbarnes
Acts of Desperation | Megan Nolan
post image
Bailedbailed

I read good reviews of this one, but I had to bail on it. Beautifully written, but it was too painful for me to endure the character‘s way of seeing herself. Maybe it‘s a sign of Nolan‘s talent that the book had such an effect on me.

merelybookish Oof. I just read the description. Sounds kind of brutal. 1mo
22 likes1 comment
blurb
sarahbarnes
post image

Pretty excited about this lovely stack of books that came in at the library! I have Litsy to thank for some of these, and am looking forward to the first #CampLitsy selection as well! 📚

squirrelbrain Great stack - I see a few that were on the #campToB longlist too…. 1mo
vivastory I just received a notification that my hold of Paradais arrived 📚 1mo
Megabooks Fantastic stack!! 😁 1mo
BarbaraBB Great stack. Good you are all set for the first #CampLitsy read! 1mo
merelybookish Omg this stack! Where to begin! (And I miss DPL!) 1mo
34 likes5 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Assembly | Natasha Brown
post image
Pickpick

I loved this short, intense book, which layers the events of a day or two with a powerful depiction of the experience of black women. I hope Natasha Brown continues writing - I‘m excited to see what she does next.

Cathythoughts Great review 👍🏻 1mo
25 likes1 comment
review
sarahbarnes
post image
Pickpick

I love the way Kawakami writes the raw, often painful experiences of her characters in such a quiet way. She is so matter of fact in her descriptions that it makes it a more emotional experience for me to read her work than I think it would be if her style were more dramatic. I loved this story and Fuyoko in her loneliness and struggle to connect with other people.

IuliaC Great review! 1mo
BarbaraBB Yours is the first review I read and I am happy you enjoyed it so much. Can‘t wait to read it myself too. Such a wonderful author! 1mo
batsy So glad to see that you loved it! 1mo
sarahbarnes @luliaC @BarbaraBB @batsy I hope you like it as well! Another beautiful book by this author. ❤️ 1mo
27 likes3 stack adds4 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
post image
Pickpick

I really enjoyed this interior story of a woman‘s search for meaning and happiness. I have so many questions about Shirley, her experiences in the novel, and her account of events. Which means I‘m really looking forward to the discussion! #nyrbbookclub @vivastory

vivastory I'm glad that you enjoyed this one! I'm looking forward to the discussion. 2mo
merelybookish Yes, lots of questions! 1mo
33 likes2 comments
blurb
sarahbarnes
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
post image

Having fun reading this book alone at a bar tonight, just like the main character. 🍷

vivastory I like your style 🍷📚 2mo
sarahbarnes @vivastory I‘m loving this book! 2mo
BarbaraBB Great pic! I‘ll start this week too. 2mo
See All 6 Comments
LeahBergen I‘ll be starting this soon, too! 🍷 2mo
batsy Oh, nice! 2mo
Megabooks I enjoy reading alone at restaurants/bars too. 2mo
27 likes6 comments
blurb
sarahbarnes
Basic Black with Pearls | Helen Weinzweig
post image

Starting this month‘s #nyrbbookclub pick and was happy to see a quote from Ann Quin after reading so much about her in Checkout 19. Love these kinds of book coincidences. 😁 @vivastory

review
sarahbarnes
post image
Pickpick

An eerie, mysterious and mildly disturbing story told through a series of interviews of the inhabitants of a space ship, this book had been on my list since last year‘s international Booker. Very clever and entertaining.

BarbaraBB I have wanted to read this ever since too! 2mo
vivastory Great review and this is a great cover 2mo
27 likes2 stack adds2 comments
review
sarahbarnes
The Fell | SARAH. MOSS
post image
Pickpick

I really enjoy Sarah Moss‘ writing style, and this book was no exception. Similarly to Summerwater, she zooms into the details of her characters‘ inner lives to tell a larger story, in this case the experience of the pandemic.

review
sarahbarnes
Checkout 19: A Novel | Claire-Louise Bennett
post image
Pickpick

This is a fabulous book!! There are stories within stories and such wonderful use of language. I loved it so much and am definitely going to need to read her collection of short stories now. Thanks for putting this one on my radar @Megabooks !

Megabooks You‘re welcome!! 👍🏻 2mo
jlhammar Yes, so fabulous! One of my top reads this year so far. Hope you enjoy Pond. It‘s excellent. 2mo
sarahbarnes @jlhammar it is for me as well! And great to hear you also enjoyed Pond - I‘m looking forward to reading it. 2mo
See All 6 Comments
BarbaraBB I‘ve been wanting to read this too ever since @Megabooks review. Now I want to even more! 2mo
Megabooks @BarbaraBB I think you‘d appreciate/enjoy this one! 😀 2mo
merelybookish So good!! I feel like she pushes the boundaries of fiction. And I love that! 2mo
26 likes1 stack add6 comments
blurb
sarahbarnes
Either/Or | Elif Batuman
post image

Here are six books I‘d love to see in #campToB this summer! All are ones I‘m looking forward to reading. Thanks for the tag @BarbaraBB !

vivastory Excellent choices👏👏 I'm very curious about the Kawakami 2mo
merelybookish I recognize two of these! The rest look great and the cover for Valleyesque is amazing! I feel we are.inevitably going to be disappointed by what gets pick. No way it will live up to any of our lists. 😆 2mo
sarahbarnes @merelybookish it‘s so true!! We are setting ourselves up for disappointment. 😂 2mo
See All 11 Comments
sarahbarnes @vivastory I‘m excited because I‘m picking it up this week! 2mo
Sophronisba How Beautiful We Were would be so interesting to discuss. 2mo
Ruthiella Yours is the third vote I‘ve seen for The Swimmers. I have added it to my list and will read it anyway, even if it doesn‘t get picked. So much good stuff out there. 2mo
Megabooks I think The Swimmers will be chosen for the real camp. I just got the Kawakami from the library tonight! So excited to dive in this week. Great list! Will be glad to see your thoughts. (edited) 2mo
squirrelbrain So many great books! I‘ve been wanting to read the Nolan for a while now. But you‘re so right @merelybookish - we‘re going to be so disappointed when we see the real picks! 😠 2mo
BarbaraBB Great choices! Of course the Kawakami should be included! I forgot about that one. 2mo
BarbaraBB @merelybookish @sarahbarnes @squirrelbrain I hope one of the TOB people is on Litsy and takes note of our lists! 2mo
batsy I agree with @BarbaraBB I can't believe I forgot about the Kawakami 😅 2mo
38 likes11 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Bread the Devil Knead | Lisa Allen-Agostini
post image
Pickpick

A gut wrenching story with glimmers of hope. I really enjoyed the narrative style and loved the main character so much, and really wanted her to find the freedom and healing she so deserved. ❤️

squirrelbrain Great review. I loved this and really glad it made the #womensprize shortlist. 2mo
sarahbarnes @squirrelbrain I was happy it made it, too! 2mo
jlhammar Hope the copy I ordered arrives soon! Look forward to reading it. 2mo
See All 6 Comments
sarahbarnes @jlhammar I hope you enjoy it! 2mo
BkClubCare Yes! Love to see these books on my timeline 2mo
sarahbarnes @BkClubCare ❤️❤️ 2mo
36 likes3 stack adds6 comments
blurb
sarahbarnes
A School for Fools | Sasha Sokolov
post image
merelybookish That's interesting to think about. @vivastory mentioned how the author wrote this knowing he couldn't publish it. So maybe he didn't censor himself at all. Maybe that is part of the excess - just writing with absolute abandon. 2mo
vivastory There is the incident with Akatav being taken away for publishing an article about the insects living in a specific part of the plants. 2mo
quietjenn I think the reluctance to “name names“ throughout is really indicative. 2mo
See All 8 Comments
Leftcoastzen @quietjenn I agree , the reluctance to “name names “ was an element. 2mo
Leftcoastzen @vivastory I found the insects living in plants & him getting taken away interesting.That science & literature can get you in trouble in this system.Now in our culture , they tweet & Facebook about” Alternative Facts “ 2mo
sarahbarnes Yes to all of these observations. It seems like the exchange with the “author” at the end of the novel is a little bit of a statement about thumbing his nose at being censored - to the point about not intending to be published @vivastory @merelybookish 2mo
batsy It's something I didn't consider too deeply so I appreciate all the thoughtful responses here. I like the idea that knowing in all likelihood he was to be censored, the author wrote with complete abandon. But it's also interesting that the fractured narrative in itself works as a kind of code, protecting the book from being interpreted in any one way. It's a book that defies censorship, in a sense, though I'm sure censors will always find a way! 2mo
GatheringBooks I am grateful to this book club for enriching my understanding of books that simply are beyond me in content, message, meaning. Perhaps the utter incomprehensibility of the narrative is in itself an attempt to code an even more profound message to other spies that ordinary mortals are not ever meant to understand except for other Soviet spies or revolutionaries. 📚💗My facetious way of justifying my inability to understand what I just read. 2mo
16 likes8 comments
blurb
sarahbarnes
A School for Fools | Sasha Sokolov
post image
vivastory The 2 selves of the narrator were speaking to one another, but they were def often addressing others: teachers, parents, Veta etc. 2mo
quietjenn It felt mostly like a conversation with the two selves, even when they seemed to be addressing others, for most of the book. Like, there's only one of me, but I constantly have conversations with others in my head, and that's what this seemed like in a very protracted way (and with another personality engaging). 2mo
sarahbarnes Agreed @quietjenn @vivastory - I think it was mostly a conversation with his two personalities or selves. I read a review that posited the narrator had schizophrenia. 2mo
batsy I agree @quietjenn it was addressed to the self, but the self as multiple (the imaginary audience we have in our head comprising people past and present). 2mo
GatheringBooks Hahahhaa. I had no idea really what I read, so not sure how to answer this question at all. I honestly felt it was an arguably-intelligent (a tad self-indulgent) narrative with too many allusions that needed to be explained through footnotes that removed me from the pleasure of the reading experience as a whole. A book with references that needed to be explained every page or so may definitely be more difficult than Ulysses(!). 2mo
14 likes5 comments
blurb
sarahbarnes
A School for Fools | Sasha Sokolov
post image
vivastory I read several conflicting ideas about the titular institution. Some reviews made it out to be a facility for people with mental health conditions, others said that it was a state run facility for IDD individuals. My guess is that it was a catch all day center, not specializing in one specific type of care. What I found intriguing throughout the book is how the faculty would remark that they too belonged to the school for fools. (edited) 2mo
merelybookish Well I took it to mean the students were all the misfits who dont fit into/behave in Soviet society. And no one really cares about them. But a lot of the book didn't seem to take place at the school. 2mo
vivastory @merelybookish I think you're right, especially considering the comments made by the teachers 2mo
See All 11 Comments
Leftcoastzen It seems the Soviets always tried to institutionalize, or assign to a work camp those who couldn‘t fall in line. 2mo
quietjenn I agree. Despite that director of curriculum or whatever, there didn't seem to be a lot of educational philosophy behind the school, beyond “keep them occupied“ and out of the way of the productive members of society. Actually calling themselves - be they students or teachers - the School for Fools just felt like a bit of black comedy. 2mo
vivastory @quietjenn The part about the slippers was interesting. It was arbitrary but I think that might have been Sokolov's point, that a lot of rules at institutions like school for fools are arbitrary. 2mo
quietjenn @vivastory yes so many arbitrary rules in many institutions! The thing about the slippers that struck me was how they acted as a physical marker that sort of advertised their affiliation with the School. 2mo
sarahbarnes It did seem to be an institution for people who don‘t “fit in,” whether due to mental illness or other reasons. And ironically I think the main character was actually highly intelligent…in some ways similar to the way we don‘t recognize different forms of intelligence here very well. Even if we don‘t always institutionalize. 2mo
vivastory @sarahbarnes I agree with your point about the main character being very intelligent & I def see parallels here 2mo
batsy @sarahbarnes The narrator's voice is very intelligent, I agree. There's both wisdom and curiosity. The school itself seemed to function more as a metaphor, as in a condition of mind more than anything else. As a criticism of a repressive social order. 2mo
GatheringBooks Agree here with @batsy about the metaphorical aspect of the “school for fools” - this book just went way over my head, but the less I understand the more entertained I was - I would even read certain parts aloud to my husband because it was just so nonsensical and absurd - but perhaps there is a deeper more profound aspect to the absurdity that I failed to capture and frankly did not really care enough to understand. 2mo
13 likes11 comments
blurb
sarahbarnes
A School for Fools | Sasha Sokolov
post image

In the Spring '83 issue of The Slavic & East European Journal, future translator Alexander Boguslawski writes, "Sokolov's novel is essentially...showing the possibilities & capacities of artistic imagination at work; yet it may also be considered a passionate outcry against the norms & practices of socialist realism..." Do you agree with Boguslawski's statement?

merelybookish Well I agree it's not socialist realism ? and it does seem to push the limits of how deeply you can be within one character's perspective to write a stream of consciousness coming from a character with schizophrenia. Nothing can be read as "fact". 2mo
vivastory Absolutely. If I recall correctly Sokolov didn't even bother with publishing the novel after he'd written it because he knew that it would get him in too much trouble. 2mo
See All 7 Comments
quietjenn Meh? I feel like that overstates and overrates it for me, but I understand how it could be viewed as such, given the context of when and where it was written. 2mo
Leftcoastzen Sometimes I found myself thinking is this just an airing of the grievances dressed up in crazy clothes? 2mo
batsy It reads like it's definitely a counter-argument against social realism politically and aesthetically, but I'm on the fence about what a passionate outcry means. Like I do wonder if the book is overrated precisely because social realism is automatically seen as a restrictive narrative form because it's a political project, while novels like A School for Fools is by default seen as groundbreaking even though it's largely incoherent (to me). 2mo
GatheringBooks I am with @quietjenn here - an overreaching of incoherent ramblings that have been elevated to art/high-brow literature. Perhaps I simply am not patient nor smart enough to truly appreciate it - and felt that I wasted my time doing so. That being said, I still felt the compulsion to plod through regardless, because there were pockets of beauty here and there that I can grasp. The footnotes took me out of the reading experience though. 2mo
12 likes7 comments
blurb
sarahbarnes
A School for Fools | Sasha Sokolov
post image
merelybookish I knew from the translator's intro that there were multiple narrators, although it didn't seem evident in the text to me till later when he started to distinguish between the engineer self and the botanist self. I think what helped me most was just trusting there was some kind of logic that would emerge. Certain things were repeated and eventually I pieced things together. Sort of. 2mo
vivastory I think that it is narrated by multiple narrators. What makes it jarring is the switch from first person POV to a second person POV. This lent it a doppelganger feeling. Another interesting aspect is the lack of a “dominant“ personality that you typically find in books about multiple, or a split, personality. 2mo
quietjenn I think multiple narrators. I initially skipped the translator's note, but some blurbs and other comments clued me in to expect it and I pretty quickly saw the back and forth of one self in dialogue with the other. My challenge was that, maybe because there wasn't a dominant self, the two didn't seem particularly different from one another. I don't even think that the botanist v. engineer self that @merelybookish mentions even really registered. 2mo
See All 8 Comments
Leftcoastzen Sometimes I found the shifts difficult, I would think that I accidentally skipped something , I would go back & reread . I tried to not read it when I was tired !😁 2mo
sarahbarnes I read a review that proposed the narrator had schizophrenia, so I was predisposed to thinking the multiple narrators are actually his different personalities. And I agree that the switches in POV was one of the things that made it such a challenging read. 2mo
BarbaraBB I‘m sorry I can‘t participate since I didn‘t finish the book. I absolutely LOVE the illustrations you use. If they come close to the content of the book I should definitely give it another try 🤍 2mo
batsy I kind of read it as multiple narrators, and because of the translator's intro I read it as the multiple selves. It all doesn't cohere into a proper narrative, though, but that's what made think that it was a fractured narrative reflecting the narrator's mental illness, so there were no easy threads or an overarching narrative to follow. 2mo
GatheringBooks Half of the time, I have no idea what I was reading - which made me indifferent to whether there was a singular or multiple narrators - I just wanted to get it over and done with, like some form of required reading where I will not even get a grade or credit (lols). Love reading all your reflections here, though. As for mental illness, Neal Shusterman‘s “Challenger Deep” offers a more accessible, relatable opportunity to get into another‘s mind. 2mo
11 likes8 comments
blurb
sarahbarnes
A School for Fools | Sasha Sokolov
post image
sarahbarnes Photographs used today are credited to Russian street photographer Alexander Petrosyan. 2mo
merelybookish I can see the comparison to Ulysses, although years since I read it. But I guess both layer on subjective sights, sounds, smells, wordplay, etc. Although I think Ulysses is actually easier to understand. 😳 Because it has a more linear time frame (a day) whereas this one subverted any time line. If time & space are the two concepts that ground most novels, I guess this one was more rooted in space? But even that feels hard to say for sure. 🤣 2mo
vivastory It took me a bit to find the rhythm of Sokolv's style, but once I did I really appreciated what he did . I read in a couple of reviews that there was a previous English translation which was largely panned because it failed to capture the linguistic intricacies. 2mo
See All 21 Comments
vivastory I was unfamiliar with Petrosyan's work. Great choice! 2mo
vivastory @merelybookish I have been intimidated to tackle Ulysses, but if it's easier than Sokolov's novel I feel a bit braver 😂 2mo
Leftcoastzen I am a great fan of Ulysses & like @merelybookish think it‘s easier because of the linear time frame .I‘d seem to catch a wave so to speak with the writing & wordplay & be in awe of it . Sometimes I couldn‘t read it , my mind wanders off.love the photos! 2mo
merelybookish @vivastory I'm sure you're up to th challenge! 😁 But you have a character walking around Dublin and so it has more structure than this book. I think. And when another voice takes over, it's clearly another voice. 2mo
vivastory @Leftcoastzen Well, hearing you also say that it's easier has emboldened me to tackle it this year. 👍 2mo
vivastory @merelybookish The narrative switches in Sokolov's novel were both really interesting & really jarring/frustrating. 2mo
merelybookish @vivastory Bloomsday is June 16th 😀 2mo
vivastory @merelybookish Just in time after I finish Moby Dick (I started that today) 🙃 2mo
quietjenn I can certainly see the comparisons with Ulysses, although I agree with @merelybookish and @Leftcoastzen that the linearity of that book makes it easier to grasp and follow, in many ways. But with both books, I found them most pleasurable when I a) “just went with it“ and didn't try to make sense of everything and b) accepted that there were a billion allusions and references I wasn't getting. 😆 2mo
quietjenn @sarahbarnes I love these images! 2mo
Leftcoastzen @vivastory I read Moby Dick recently, was surprised it was so funny in spots . 2mo
vivastory @Leftcoastzen I'm planning on reading at least 50 pages per day, but yes! I couldn't agree more. The first night that Ishmael is in the tavern & the innkeeper starts sanding down the bench for him to sleep on...that made me chuckle 2mo
sarahbarnes I read Ulysses a long time ago, and I don‘t know that I would compare these reading experiences. 2mo
LeahBergen I didn‘t read along with the group this month as I sampled a bit of the book and thought it wasn‘t for me. I‘m certainly enjoying reading through these discussion questions, though! “Ulysses is easier”??? 😆😆 (edited) 2mo
batsy I agree @merelybookish Ulysses was "easier", in a way ? And yes @quietjenn this book worked for me best when I just went along for the ride without thinking too much. I definitely missed a lot of references, for sure. @vivastory I think you'd love Ulysses but it did help that I read it the first time during a two-semester seminar course, so we had lots and lots of supplementary reading material plus discussions ? 2mo
batsy I love the images you've used! I think I can agree with it being called poetry, it feels like prose poetry with a lot of freewheeling allusions and connections that feels like layers of metaphor (as in the reader has to work to find out the meaning, but it also works as a "surface" reading in terms of just enjoying the language...there was a lot of beautiful sentences, I thought.) 2mo
sarahbarnes @LeahBergen yes, definitely a ringing endorsement of the book. 😂😂 2mo
GatheringBooks Haven‘t read ulysses yet - too daunting for me, plus it requires a measure of commitment I don‘t think I will be able to provide. There were poetic elements in this novel for sure, in its cryptic, coded, inaccessible form; not the emotion, affective, engaging nature of poetry that‘s for sure - at least for me. Sorry to be late to this party. 2mo
16 likes21 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Nightbitch | RACHEL. YODER
post image
Pickpick

Two books that were fun to read in succession, as stories of women finding their power and wielding it in unexpected, at times uncomfortable, ways. Both were picks for me. 💪🏼

BarbaraBB This will please @Megabooks both are favorites of her 😀 2mo
Megabooks I does please me!! 👍🏻💯 @BarbaraBB 2mo
Megabooks Excellent observation about these books! Glad you enjoyed both. 2mo
vivastory I read both of these in January as they were on my #NewYearWhoDis list that I got matched with @megabooks & I loved both 2mo
sarahbarnes @Megabooks @vivastory glad to hear you both loved these as well! It was a happy accident that I read them together. 2mo
27 likes5 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Elena Knows | Claudia Pieiro
post image
Pickpick

This book broke my heart. 💔 Elena is such an incredible character, and the painstaking account of her physical and emotional journey over the course of a day is why I read books. Based on the books I‘ve read on the Booker shortlist, I‘d love for this one to win.

Megabooks I had apparently already stacked this. I‘m always up for a good character driven novel! 2mo
vivastory I'm expecting to receive this one in the mail tomorrow 🙌 2mo
vivastory @Megabooks Just a heads up, this is on backorder everywhere but I was able to order it on B&N 2mo
See All 8 Comments
Megabooks @vivastory thanks for the heads up! 👍🏻 2mo
batsy It's so good ❤️ It's devastating but I love how it doesn't pull any punches. 2mo
sarahbarnes @Megabooks @vivastory Looking forward to hearing what you think of it! 2mo
sarahbarnes @batsy so good! ❤️ 2mo
BookwormM Me too I love this one 2mo
33 likes1 stack add8 comments
review
sarahbarnes
After the Sun | Jonas Eika
post image
Pickpick

Very unsettling - I feel like I read most of the book on edge, waiting for something terrible to happen. Loosely connected stories that are bookended by two halves of the same story, exploring technology, human desires and how power dynamics impact interactions. I think he seems to want to keep the reader on her toes, and he definitely succeeded in doing that for me.

BarbaraBB I am glad you enjoyed this one. I couldn‘t get into it. 2mo
sarahbarnes @BarbaraBB it was definitely bizarre and pretty far outside of my comfort zone. 2mo
Megabooks Sounds interesting. I‘m stacking. 2mo
sarahbarnes @Megabooks I‘ll be interested to hear what you think of it. 2mo
25 likes1 stack add4 comments
review
sarahbarnes
The Book of Mother: A Novel | Violaine Huisman
post image
Pickpick

Such a beautiful book. As a daughter and a mother to a daughter, I think this story depicts so well the complexities and heartache of that relationship - which seem universal even though the details are unique.

BarbaraBB Great review. I enjoyed it too. 2mo
26 likes1 comment
review
sarahbarnes
Heaven | Mieko Kawakami
post image
Pickpick

This beautiful book was really difficult to read at times, although I‘m glad I did. Kawakami deftly captured the experiences of the young characters, and I think did justice to the complexity of thoughts and emotions of youth. She doesn‘t oversimplify. It is a heartbreaking story in many ways, and a solid pick.

BarbaraBB Great review, it says it all. An important book! 3mo
sarahbarnes @BarbaraBB ❤️💔 3mo
vivastory Terrific review! Looking forward to reading this 3mo
BkClubCare Stacked! 2mo
32 likes1 stack add4 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Skin in the Game | Paulo Scott
post image
Pickpick

This was a fabulous read. I love the paragraph-long sentences that capture the thought and speech patterns of the characters so well. Time runs in loops and sometimes you can‘t tell immediately when in the past/present something is happening. But it works so well to build the story of the MC‘s grappling with his identity and his family‘s place in Brazil.

sarahbarnes I‘m not sure why this book is listed as Skin in the Game here rather than Phenotypes. 3mo
Lindy I wonder if Skin in the Game was an early title for this translation? 3mo
sarahbarnes @lindy that is very possible! 3mo
charl08 Just picked this up for #Borderless bookclub - looking forward to hearing more from the translator next week, intrigued re the title. 2mo
30 likes4 comments
review
sarahbarnes
The Answers: A Novel | Catherine Lacey
post image
Pickpick

Somewhere between a pick and a so-so. I was mildly annoyed by the first half of the story, but got much more interested in the second half. An interesting take on human relationships and what love is, exactly, or what it is motivated by.

review
sarahbarnes
The Sentence | Louise Erdrich
post image
Pickpick

I loved this book. ❤️ The weaving together of all the threads of identity, past, the uncertainty of the future, and how it might be best to just stay in it with each other and not give up on searching for humanity. I wasn‘t sure what it would be like to read a book set in part during the pandemic, but I actually found it strangely therapeutic. Now I‘m even more disappointed that this book didn‘t make it in the tournament.

squirrelbrain One of my favourites too; I didn‘t expect to like it so much either. 3mo
Ruthiella Had you read any Erdrich before? 3mo
sarahbarnes @Ruthiella I read The Round House and have had Love Medicine on my shelf forever. I‘m going to read it soon. 3mo
See All 6 Comments
Ruthiella @sarahbarnes I have The Plague Doves and The Last Report on the Miracle at Little No Horse, both also since forever! I‘ll hopefully read one of these next. 3mo
sarahbarnes @Ruthiella looking forward to hearing your thoughts when you do! 3mo
BkClubCare I love how many different books of hers are listed as people state their favorites. I will definitely read many more of her books and not sure which will be next for me! 2mo
32 likes6 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Cursed Bunny | Bora Chung
post image
Mehso-so

These stories are wild. I liked some of them and others felt like a bridge too far for me. The title story was one of my favorites. For me it was a mixed bag, but it was worth the read for the ones I enjoyed.

blurb
sarahbarnes
Virginia Woolf in Richmond | Virginia Woolf, Leonard Woolf, Peter Fullagar
post image

I‘m pretty excited about my new Virginia Woolf phone case. 🤩

EvieBee So cool! 3mo
sarahbarnes @EvieBee it‘s so fun! 3mo
See All 6 Comments
readordierachel Oooh! 3mo
batsy Oh, that is fab! 😍 3mo
merelybookish Wow! I love it! 3mo
28 likes6 comments
review
sarahbarnes
White is for Witching | Helen Oyeyemi
post image
Pickpick

Oyeyemi writes my favorite kind of creepy fiction. I love the way the back of my neck tingled while I read this story of a haunted house and its doomed inhabitants. Can‘t wait to read more of her work.

readordierachel Yes! I loved this one, too. 3mo
34 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
sarahbarnes
post image
Pickpick

I was happy this finally came in at the library so I could read it, and was glad it made the first #ToB cut. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It sucked me in and I liked the blurred lines between fact and story. The ending was pretty phenomenal.

Chelsea.Poole Also loved the end! 3mo
BarbaraBB That first chapter was so good too! 3mo
batsy I loved it too! And that ending was truly something. 3mo
sarahbarnes @BarbaraBB yes, the first chapter pulled me in immediately! 3mo
30 likes2 stack adds4 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Cloud Cuckoo Land | Anthony Doerr
post image
Pickpick

An epic story. I was swept along by the interwoven story lines and loved the culmination of it all. I haven‘t read his other famed book, but I did love this one.

review
sarahbarnes
Ghost Wall | Sarah Moss
post image
Pickpick

Moss drops us into the unexpected setting of an Iron Age re-enactment camp to tell a story of a young girl grappling with male chauvinism, disturbing family dynamics, and how to find her voice. Brilliant.

jlhammar Yes, totally agree! So good. 4mo
TrishB Loved this 👍🏻 4mo
batsy Brilliant indeed! ❤️ 4mo
38 likes3 comments
review
sarahbarnes
To Paradise | Hanya Yanagihara
post image
Pickpick

What can I say, I‘m a huge fan of Yanigahara and this book didn‘t disappoint. Despite the length I flew through it. I loved the clever threads woven through the three stories and the variations on themes of race, colonialism, sexuality. I think my favorite was book 3, set in a very believable future.

TrishB Book 3 was my fave too ❤️ 4mo
AmyG Yep, Book 3 was my favorite, too. 4mo
Minervasbutler Mine too. Charlie broke my heart 4mo
32 likes3 comments
review
sarahbarnes
Katalin Street | Magda Szabo
post image
Pickpick

I had to miss the discussion yesterday, but I loved this beautiful book that shows how tragedy and devastating loss can change the trajectory of our lives forever. I‘m a fan of both books I‘ve read by this author now. Thanks for the great selection @GatheringBooks ❤️

review
sarahbarnes
post image
Pickpick

A phenomenal book. I feel like the blurb about this one doesn‘t do it justice and I almost skipped it. It‘s a powerful, incredibly written labyrinth of a story complete with disturbing asterisks and very accurate commentary on the state of America. #ToB2022

Megabooks This was a good one. Very creative. 4mo
BarbaraBB I haven‘t read this one and until now felt there was no need to. Now I want to! 4mo
BkClubCare Great review 4mo
34 likes2 stack adds3 comments
blurb
sarahbarnes
A School for Fools | Sasha Sokolov
post image
batsy Looking forward! 5mo
vivastory These all sounded good. Looking forward to reading this one & co-hosting with you! 5mo
Liz_M Oh good, the one I forgot to vote for won. 😁 5mo
See All 7 Comments
youneverarrived Looking forward to it 😁 5mo
BarbaraBB Thanks Sarah! A great choice! 5mo
LeahBergen I‘m looking forward to it! 5mo
emilyhaldi Sorry I missed voting 🙃 sounds like a good pick! 5mo
34 likes7 comments
review
sarahbarnes
A Door Behind a Door | Yelena Moskovich
post image
Mehso-so

An interesting book. I appreciated the style the text was written in and the creativity of the story. I didn‘t love it but I‘m glad I read it.