Simone2 in 2021

SnakClub Read 2021

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Simone2 in 2021

1Simone2
Redigeret: jan 3, 4:49am

Hi all, I am Barbara and have been keeping track of my reading in Club Read for a few years. I like to follow what others are reading and during the years my tbr has exploded.
I used to be much more active on LT but now I prefer Litsy also because English is not my first language and writing reviews is always a challenge. On Litsy you are only allowed short ones! Looking forward to another year of reading with you!

2Simone2
Redigeret: mar 31, 7:02am

JANUARY - MARCH

JANUARY
1 - Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami: 4*
2 - Jamilia by Chingiz Aïtmatov: 3.5*
3 - Memorial by Bryan Washington: 4.5*
4 - A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki: 4*
5 - Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld: 3.5*
6 - Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saawadi: 3.5*
7 - The Topeka School by Ben Lerner: DNF
8 - The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: 4.5*
9 - Perfect Days by Raphael Montes: 4*
10 - The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson: 5*
11 - The Interpreter from Java by Alfred Birney: 3.5*
12 - Maybe the Horse Will Talk by Elliot Perlman: 4*
13 - Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica: 5*
14 - The Tale of Aypi by Ak Welsapar: 3*
15 - Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss: 2*
16 - The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer: 2*
17 - The Group by Mary McCarthy: 3*

FEBRUARY
18 - Stick Out Your Tongue by Ma Jian: 4*
19 - Deacon King Kong by James McBride: 4*
20 - The Wonder by Emma Donoghue: 4*
21 - The New Me by Halle Butler: 3*
22 - The Plot Against America by Philip Roth: 3.5*
23 - The Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent Lam: 3*
24 - A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet: 3*
25 - Death is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa: 3*
26 - Shuggie Bain by Dougals Stuart: 3.5*
27- Transcedent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi: 5*
28 - The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-Eun: 4*
29 - The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers: 4*
30 - The Beach by Alex Garland: 3.5*
31 - The Victorian Chaise Longue by Marghanita Laski: 4*
32 - West by Carys Davies: 3*

MARCH
33 - Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell: 4*
34 - Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia by Samuel Johnson: 1*
35 -Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler: 3.5*
36 - Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer: 3.5*
37 - QuixotiQ by Ali Al Saeed: DNF
38 - Fingersmith by Sarah Waters: 4.5*
39 - The Absolutist by John Boyne: 4.5*
40 - Fair Play by Tove Jansson: 4.5*
41 - The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector: 3*
42 - The Morbids by Ewa Ramsey: 4.5*
43 - The Blue Sky by Galsan Tschinag: 3.5*
44 - The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington: 3*
45 - In the Language of Miracles by Rajia Hassib: 3.5*
46 - Basti by Intizar Husain: 3*
47 - The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson: 3.5*
48 - The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: 4*

3Simone2
Redigeret: jun 9, 1:53am

APRIL - JUNE

APRIL
49 - Little White Lies by Philippa East: 2.5*
50 - 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff: 4.5*
51 - The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker: 2*
52 - Pain by Zerua Shalev: 3.5*
53 - De fundamenten by Ramsey Nasr (Dutch): 5*
54 - The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan: DNF
55 - The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse: 3*
56 - Treasures of the Thunder Dragon by Ashi Dorji Wangmu Wangchuck: 3.5*
57 - My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee: 3.5*
58 - The Farm by Joanne Ramos: 3.5*
59 - Skylark by Dezsö Kosztolányi: 3.5*
60 - Written in Black by KH Lim: 2.5*
61 - No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood: 4.5*
62 - If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha: 4*
63 - Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon: 4*

MAY
64 - The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam: 3*
65 - We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker: 4.5*
66 - Lot by Bryan Washington: 3*
67 - Bel Canto by Ann Patchett: 4*
68 - Miss Buncle’s Book by DE Stevenson: 4*
69 - Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat: 5*
70 - The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad: 3*
71 - All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage: 4*
72 - Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy: 5*
73 - Wild by Cheryl Strayed: 4*
74 - Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski: 3.5*
75 - The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie: 2*
76 - During the Reign of the Queen of Persia by Joan Chase: DNF
77 - Expecting Adam by Martha Beck: 3.5*
78 - Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Mijaojin: 2.5*
79 - Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler: 3*

JUNE
80 - Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano: 3*
81 - Orkney by Amy Sackville: 3*
82 - Want by Lynn Steger Strong:
83 - Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters:

4Simone2
jan 3, 4:50am

JULY - SEPTEMBER

5Simone2
jan 3, 4:50am

OCTOBER - DECEMBER

6Simone2
Redigeret: jan 3, 4:53am

1 - Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

Although dragging in the middle, I ended up loved this book. Natsuko is an asexual woman with a child wish. Her journey in finding answers regarding this wish, its possibilities and society’s opinion leads through the heart of Japan and Japanese culture and values. I’m both sad and happy after finishing it.

4*

7kidzdoc
jan 3, 12:05pm

Happy New Year, Barbara! I'm glad that you liked Breasts and Eggs, as it's received a good amount of attention in the United States. i'll be on the lookout for it.

8AlisonY
jan 3, 12:43pm

Happy New Year! You're off to a good start already.

9dchaikin
jan 3, 4:08pm

Happy 2021 Barbara! Quick two books. Breast and Eggs sounds terrific. I've had a copy of Jamilla since 2012 (based on a review by avaland), but I haven't read it.

10RidgewayGirl
jan 3, 5:01pm

>6 Simone2: I've ordered this book, but it's on backorder. I'll jump on it as soon as it arrives. It's the most interesting-looking book of the Tournament of Books shortlist.

11Simone2
jan 3, 5:09pm

>10 RidgewayGirl: it is definitely interesting but my favorite is still Interior Chinatown. I have some promising ones to come though!

12Simone2
jan 3, 5:10pm

2 - Jamilia by Chingiz Aïtmatov

When the wounded soldier Daniyar arrives in the Kyrgyzstan village, everything changes. His songs of love, the earth and the steppe are in sharp contrast with the circumstances under which the people in the village live and work. His songs are mesmerizing to those who listen. The narrator does and so does Jamilia. A beautiful love story.

3.5*

13sallypursell
jan 5, 10:44pm

Hi, Barbara, stopping by to drop off a staff, and wish you happy reading this year.

14Simone2
jan 6, 2:46am

>13 sallypursell: thank you! Happy new year!

15Simone2
jan 6, 2:47am

3 - Memorial by Bryan Washington

While Mike leaves his boyfriend Benson to stay with his dying father in Osaka, Benson stays in Houston with Mikes’s mother who just happened to visit from Japan.
While getting settled in a new situation, both explore their not so perfect relationship.

What is perfect is the balance between plot and character development and the way Washington describes the melancholy love between Mike and Benson. Their dialogues, the awkward silences, the questions left unanswered, it is all so good.
Memorial is the love story about these two men but also about parents and children. I am impressed deeply.

4.5*

16rhian_of_oz
jan 7, 8:01am

>15 Simone2: This sounded interesting so I started reading a preview online and got sucked right in, so onto the wishlist it goes.

17dchaikin
jan 7, 1:53pm

>15 Simone2: Houston? And its small Japanese presence... and maybe it’s gay scene? I’m embarrassed to say that’s a draw. But also it’s a book that sounds good and that you enjoyed. Noting.

18wandering_star
jan 8, 4:23am

>15 Simone2: Oh yes, that does sound great.

19Simone2
Redigeret: jan 8, 2:55pm

>16 rhian_of_oz: >17 dchaikin: >18 wandering_star: I know it got some mixed reviews and maybe it’s a cliche setting (gay scene in Houston? I wouldn’t know), but the dialogue and the silence between is superb! I hope you’ll enjoy it if you get to it!

20Simone2
Redigeret: jan 8, 2:59pm

4 - A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

The time being is deep time, as opposed to linear, chronological time. The time being is a kind of eternal present. A time being is also a being who lives in time, who is alive, and who will therefore die.

The time being leads too at least three different storylines, and a mix of history, contemporary fiction and magical realism. It could have been too much but Ozeki knows how to bring it all together into a wonderful story of coming of age, love, and war. And of Japan.

4*

21lisapeet
jan 9, 8:21am

>4 Simone2: I started this and put it down for some reason, which I can't remember now. So many folks whose reading tastes I share have liked it, though, I feel like I should give it another shot at some point.

22Simone2
jan 9, 5:13pm

>21 lisapeet: if you tried and put it down than read something else. It is good but may not be your kind of book. It’s not a must-read in my opinion!!

23Simone2
jan 9, 5:15pm

5 - Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

In an alternate universe, Hillary doesn’t marry Bill Clinton but remains Hillary Rodham. Liberated from his ambitions and sexual extremities, she can create her own path and follow her own ambitions.

I kept wondering what was true and what was fiction. Hillary felt so real! The one downside for me was the namedropping (a lot!) of politicians I never heard of.

However, for a book about two people I am not that interested in about domestic politics in a country that’s not mine it really was a very engaging read!

3.5*

24Simone2
jan 10, 10:37am

6 - Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi

Not all men are evil and in continuous need of forcing themselves on women. I am sure of that. So I was actually a bit annoyed by Firdaus’s story, in which literally all men she meets take advantage of her body. She is raped and touched again and again until prostitution feels like the only way out and to be in control of her life and body. Yet her story, set in Egypt in the 70s, is a true one. In the Preface of the book, El Saadawi summarizes the book as ‘the story of a woman driven by despair to the darkest of ends.’ And that’s what it is. Dark and shocking.

3.5*

25Simone2
jan 11, 4:50pm

7 - The Topeka School by Ben Lerner

I tried but not very hard. This just isn’t for me. At least not now.

26arubabookwoman
jan 11, 8:51pm

>25 Simone2: I tried very hard to read that too, Barbara, and just couldn’t do it.

27Simone2
jan 13, 4:40pm

>26 arubabookwoman: that is kind of a consolation, to know it’s not just me!

28Simone2
jan 13, 4:41pm

8 - The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

I loved this graphic novel about Iran’s recent history told by a rebellious girl. The format works so well! During the pointless war against Iraq are and while the government restricts individual freedom - especially women’s - Marjane is able to hold on to what she stands for and to keep being true to herself. She has her witty sense of humor and her wonderful and wise family to thank for.

4.5*

29dchaikin
jan 14, 10:20am

>20 Simone2: time being book - Ozeki reads it and ... she’s a terrible reader. So i hated it. Oops

>23 Simone2: Rodham - entertained by your last sentence. This book has never appealed, but now I’m interested.

>24 Simone2: Woman at Point Zero - huh. Interesting

>28 Simone2: Persepolis is a graphic novel classic, one of the absolute best. I adore it. Glad you enjoyed.

30Simone2
jan 15, 5:07pm

>29 dchaikin: Thanks for your comments! I never read graphic novels but adored The Complete Persepolis too.
Funny you mention Ozeki. I liked that she spoke English in a way easy for me to understand, but I can imagine that when English is your first language it may be a bit annoying.

31Simone2
jan 15, 5:08pm

9 - Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

This is the lovestory Raphael Montes promised his mother 😱😱 Let’s say it was a hell of a ride - literally.
Teo is a medical student, unbeknownst to human feelings. It’s all ratio with him. So when he gets obsessed with Clarice, a girl he hardly knows, he just takes her with him, across Brazil. He keeps defending what he’s doing and it’s creepy yet fantastic to be in his mind. The end was disappointing but I had a great time! It reminded me of the great The Collector.

4*

32Simone2
jan 17, 3:54pm

10 - The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson

This book gives such a clear impression. A story set in snow, told in as few words as possible. Below the surface it’s dark though. Ice and snow melt, the earth becomes visible again, as do the deeper layers of Katri’s and Anna’s characters. Are they building a friendship or were they always opponents? It’s hard to decide who to trust and who’s the deceiver. Especially when you’re not sure if you can trust the narrator. So much packed in one little book 🤍

5*

33AlisonY
jan 19, 3:37am

>32 Simone2: Ah, such a special author. Noting this particular title.

34Simone2
jan 19, 8:45am

>33 AlisonY: It is a gem, I hope you'll give it a try one day.

35Simone2
jan 19, 8:47am

11 - The Interpreter from Java by Alfred Birney

This is a book about the colonial past of the Netherlands, a subject that is close to my heart, especially regarding Indonesia. This book is set in the former Dutch East Indies under the Japanese occupation in WWII and afterwards, during the struggle for independence. The story is told by a man who grows up in the Netherlands but whose father was Indonesian and fought on the side of the Dutch. The father's memoirs are full of violence, the murders and torture innumerable. When the father comes to the Netherlands (where he had never been before) after independence, he is severely traumatized, which shows in the upbringing of his children. This second generation is often also very damaged. The son's story is an indictment of his father and the country in which he was born but has never felt at home. I don't know if the book is as interesting for people who have nothing to do with this part of history, but for me personally it was very touching and recognizable.

3.5*

36dchaikin
jan 19, 10:35am

>35 Simone2: sounds fascinating.

37Simone2
jan 20, 5:27pm

>36 dchaikin: It’s tough. It’s not even written that well but it’s a story that needed to be told.

38Simone2
jan 20, 5:29pm

12 - Maybe the Horse Will Talk by Elliot Perlman

I had such a good time with this book. Perlman did deliver again. Set in a legal corporate setting this book is witty and funny and even touching. “Ordinary” lawyer Steven Maserov and his wonderful entourage challenge the giants and tackle some big corporate issues like the so often ignored MeToo claims in these environments.

4*

39Dilara86
jan 21, 7:50am

>35 Simone2: Thank you for this review. I've saved The Interpreter from Java on scribd: I'm interested in colonialism, but I know next to nothing about the Dutch colonial empire, and it looks like this book might remedy this.

40Simone2
jan 23, 3:35am

>39 Dilara86: If you read it you’ll know more about it than most Dutch since it’s a subject (the gruesomeness of it) that is too little acknowledged here.

41Simone2
jan 23, 3:36am

13 - Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

How can I be able to say I loved this book? Yet I did. With all its horror it felt more real and plausible than many other dystopian books. Agustina Bazterrica described the end of humanity extremely well. And that ending. I didn’t see that coming. But looking back and giving it some more thought it probably was inevitable.

5*

42Dilara86
jan 23, 4:36am

>40 Simone2: Yes, it's like the majority of people in former colonising countries actually *want* to push the impact of colonisation out of their consciousness.

43Simone2
jan 24, 4:22pm

14 - The Tale of Aypi by Ak Welsapar

The inhabitants of a small fishing village in Turkmenistan will soon be relocated to a nearby urban center so that their land can be used for construction. They feel their culture and heritage disappear, replaced by modern times and don’t understand why. Their story is interwoven with the fable of Aypi, who haunts the novel. Her presence assumes a greater importance as the story evolves which I found annoying because I was more interested in the story of the villagers.

3*

44Simone2
jan 25, 1:36pm

15 - Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss

The novel begins with the disappearance of Epstein, a rixh Jewish-American in his sixties who one day, after giving away all his earthly possessions, disappears in Israel.The passages about Epstein are interspersed with chapters in which we follow a female writer. Plagued by a writer's block and her disintegrating marriage, she too travels to Israel, looking for inspiration.

Both become increasingly detached from normal life in the course of the novel, which leads to endless musings on life, Judaism and Kafka. I am very interested in all three subjects but this went way over my head and I found myself lose interest.

2*

45dchaikin
jan 26, 8:06pm

You’re cruising through so many books. I struggled with Forrest Dark too (on audio), although I managed to stay intrigued. I should try again...

46Simone2
jan 28, 3:07pm

>45 dchaikin: I wouldn’t hurry to reread it. Unless you are deep into Judaism and philosophy.

47Simone2
jan 28, 3:08pm

16 - The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer

Instead of having a plot, this book is an analysis of the racist policy of Apartheid personified into the life of a white man, Mehring. This character is South Africa in miniature: entitled and privileged and almost completely ignorant of everything around him. He doesn’t understand the black laborers who run his farm and underestimates their foreman who hides his superior intellect whenever the boss is around. While Mehring’s white wife, mistress and son all flee the country, he himself represents the inevitable collapse of Apartheid.

2*

48Simone2
jan 31, 7:21am

17 - The Group by Mary McCarthy

The last few chapters saved this book for me.

It felt very scattered, I still don’t see why the story couldn’t focus on some of the characters instead of the whole group. Some of the girls were so interesting but a lot of pages dealt witch stuff I didn’t care for. Yet the ending made sense. Suddenly the pieces fell into place. And the group.

3*

49Simone2
Redigeret: feb 1, 4:55pm

18 - Stick Out Your Tongue by Ma Jian

“In Tibet, religion permeates every grain of earth. Man and God are inseparable, myth and legend are intertwined. People there have endured sufferings that are beyond the comprehension of the modern world. “

This quote describes perfectly what this little book is about. After 90 pages and 5 short stories, I can smell the earth, see the mountains and feel the harshness of living on the Tibetan plateau. A banned book worth reading!

4*

50RidgewayGirl
feb 1, 7:07pm

>41 Simone2: I'm glad you liked this one. I've got it sitting in my ToB pile and I have been reluctant, but you've made me more eager to get to it.

51Simone2
feb 5, 9:46am

>50 RidgewayGirl: It’s actually one of my favorites! Can’t wait to see what you make of it!

52Simone2
feb 5, 9:46am

19 - Deacon King Kong by James McBride

If this had been a movie and I saw the trailer I’d never watch it, but reading about this mixed bag of people who make up the characters around Sportcoat, (an old drunk who shoots drugsdealer Deems), is wonderful. There is so much more behind the obvious and the prejudice. The setting in the Cause Housing Project in Brooklyn adds a lot to the story, as does McBride’s gift for storytelling. Another ToB win!

4*

53dchaikin
feb 5, 3:05pm

Of course, you’re also doing ToB. I follow it through you and Kay.

>49 Simone2: this sounds good!

54Simone2
feb 8, 1:58am

20 - The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue brings to life the deeply Roman Catholic Ireland of the 19th century. Anna has been fasting for four months and Nurse Lib comes in from England to watch over Anna for a fortnight - just to notice if the girl takes any food at all and to find out if she is indeed a miracle or a fraud. Lib is cynical about everything: Ireland, religion, Anna’s poor family. She is sure the girl is a fraud. She stands by while the girl is slowly dying. The book reads like a thriller in which you want to interfere and warn the involved. I kept thinking “ Eat! Make her eat!”

4*

55dianeham
feb 8, 5:25am

>54 Simone2: That book really put me off of Donoghue. The ignorant Irish saved by the English nurse. I refuse to believe there wasn't anyone among the Irish in that town who had at least an ounce of intelligence.

56Simone2
feb 8, 7:38am

>55 dianeham: I know! She was feeling so superior! I was really annoyed by her during the first half of the book and then suddenly turned around about the moment when she met the (Irish!) journalist who has more sense than she does!

57Simone2
Redigeret: feb 9, 3:15pm

21 - The New Me by Halle Butler

Milly has a depressing temp job in a depressing office. The rest of het life is depressing too. She lives alone, with no friends or hobby’s. So Milly has the right to whine. And whining she does. The comparison with Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation comes up, but that one is much better. Although I did feel sorry for Milly, especially because she wrote such sincere job application emails and was treated unfairly.

3*

58Simone2
feb 10, 2:14pm

22 - The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

The Plot Against America describes an alternate history in which Charles Lindbergh wins the 1940 US elections. It seems plausible enough: Lindbergh was a national hero at the time. However, he sympathized with Hitler and the panic among the Jewish population is told by the young Philip.
The menacing euphemistic talk from the White House, the divided population, the Jewish resistance: Roth’s story is not only easy to imagine, the comparison with contemporary America is unavoidable either.

3.5*

59RidgewayGirl
feb 10, 4:43pm

>57 Simone2: I loved The New Me, but I'm well aware that my love of novels about disastrous women makes me a biased judge.

60kidzdoc
feb 10, 5:31pm

The Plot Against America was chilling when I read it years ago, when the United States was nowhere near as divided and menacing as it is now.

61Simone2
feb 12, 5:13pm

23 - The Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent Lam

This book shows a colourful, suspenseful depiction of Chinese living in Vietnam during the war. Chen Pie Sou (Percival) is a Chinese headmaster of an English school in Saigon. He is able to ignore the war most of the time because with his money he is able to live undisturbed most of the time. However when the hostilities of the war threaten his family, Percival learns that his fortune cannot has its limits.
Lam’s writing about intrigue, political collusion and the clash of cultures is good, his characters are frustratingly one-dimensional.

3*

62RidgewayGirl
feb 12, 8:24pm

>61 Simone2: Oh, that's too bad. I really liked his book of short stories.

63Simone2
Redigeret: feb 14, 3:35pm

24 - A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet

During a multi family vacation a bunch of kids is frustrated by their extremely self centered parents. Parents who have ruined the planet and don’t care at all about the well-being of their kids. With a lot of humor Millet writes about the kids creating their separate reality until an environmental disaster reaches them. Millet seems to get lost in her own story. New people and situations are introduced halfheartedly and leave me with many questions and a bit disappointed.

3*

64dianeham
feb 15, 1:10am

>63 Simone2: Sorry to hear that. Taking it off my TBR.

65Simone2
feb 16, 4:07pm

25 - Death is Hard Work by Khalid Khalifa

Abdel Latif’s last wish is to be buried next to his sister in another village. His three adult children take him through the ruins of war torn Syria. The siblings reminisce about their lost hopes and dreams. So many lives lost. Friends turned opponents.

Unfortunately the book didn’t touch me as I thought it would. I’ve read better books about current Syria.

3*

66Simone2
feb 18, 7:08am

26 - Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

It is impossible to rate this book negatively. It is so well written and Douglas Stuart deserves all the praise to be able to write this story.
I am glad it won the Booker and if the author is anything like Shuggie himself, he deserves all the luck in the world.
Having said that, I didn’t enjoy the book. Its repetitiveness was exhausting: the ongoing misery, never a break or some humor. I was even a bit annoyed by it (just one example: the one time Shuggie takes a taxi, the driver abuses him; what are the odds?).
I am glad I read it and glad it’s done.

3.5*

67lisapeet
feb 19, 8:31am

>66 Simone2: Hmmm... did you read Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life? I've got Shuggie Bain on the shelf but your review made me think of the other book, which I found incredibly manipulative and could never get past that aspect. I'll still probably try for Shuggie for myself, though, to satisfy my curiosity.

68Simone2
feb 20, 3:09am

>67 lisapeet: I have to admit I loved A Little Life though it is a lot of misery too and quite exhausting too. This one reminded me of Angela’s Ashes although better.

69Simone2
feb 20, 3:10am

27 - Transcedent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Gifty is someone’s sister and someone’s daughter. But who is Gifty herself? She is a scientist so she tries to make sense of it all: death, religion, grief, addiction, her sexuality, het Ghanaian descent. However some things are too transcendent to make sense of. Knowing this, how hard is it to become yourself.

I loved this book and it might be my favorite for the ToB21. Again I am in awe how Gyasi can write.

5*

70Simone2
feb 22, 5:04pm

28 - The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-Eun

“Jungle” is a Korean travel agency specializing in tourism to destinations devastated by disaster and climate change. Employee Yona goes on a
business trip to the fictional island of Mui, to determine whether or not to keep it on the program. The islanders’ stories of trauma and grief raise nothing but a feeling of boredom in Yona and her fellow travelers. The disaster Mui has experienced is just not that shocking. This is the beginning of an original and entertaining eco-thriller.

4*

71RidgewayGirl
feb 22, 7:15pm

>63 Simone2: I liked A Children's Bible a lot, and am a huge fan of Lydia Millet but there is no question that she's an acquired taste.

>67 lisapeet: Lisa, I felt manipulated by A Little Life, but not by Shuggie. There was enough hope and bits of joy in Shuggie.

>69 Simone2: Oh, it's just such a fantastic, rich book.

72Simone2
Redigeret: feb 25, 4:14pm

29 - The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

“Goodbye Sana’a, Mokthar thought. He was sure it would be there when he returned but there was no guarantee what the Saudis would do, what the Houthis would do. Yemen could become Syria.”

This book taught me so much. About coffee, about Yemen and about companies with a purpose. Mokthar is such an inspiring person and really a man with a mission.

4*

73Simone2
feb 26, 4:21am

30 - The Beach by Alex Garland

Searching for adventure and for a place not yet spoilt by other backpackers, narrator Richard and some other backpackers strand on an unknown island off the coast from Thailand. Other people are already living there, all in search of some kind of Utopia. Things go smoothy for a while but then Lord of the Flies meets Lost and things start falling apart. Fun read, nothing special.

3.5*

74Simone2
feb 27, 9:05am

31 - The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski

Young wife Melanie falls asleep on a Victorian chaise-longue she and her husband picked out in a junk shop and wakes up 80 years earlier in 1864, unable to rise from the couch or to make anyone understand who she really is. Melanie is now Milly, a dying TB sufferer.

She recognises things, and feels instinctively emotional towards people, all of which, if she were Melanie in someone else’s body, she shouldn’t recognise or feel at all. In 99 pages this is a small book with a powerful message and an interesting and terrifying plot.

4*

75dianeham
feb 27, 11:11pm

>74 Simone2: I have a memory from my childhood where I was watching something on tv about a girl who woke up in a Victorian past. My brother changed the channel to watch sports and I never found out what happened.

76dianeham
feb 27, 11:19pm

>74 Simone2: I think this is what the show I watched was based on. I looked it up on imdb.com and there was a tv play on studio 4 in 1962. I've carried this in my head for almost 60 years. I've even thought of writing it myself. I am very excited.

77Simone2
feb 28, 4:24am

>76 dianeham: That is so cool, to finally discover what you were watching all those years ago!! You should try to see the tv play again or at least read the book!

78Simone2
Redigeret: feb 28, 4:27am

>76 dianeham: I think I found the play on YouTube!! https://youtu.be/OL6jR9ZucLc

79Simone2
feb 28, 4:33am

32 - West by Carys Davies

n 1815 a widower leaves behind his home in Pennsylvania, to travel west in search of the giant animals he heard about.
He leaves behind his 10 years old daughter who is certain he’ll return and keeps waiting for him.

This is quite an atmospheric read about the early days of the US. I felt for the daughter, not the silly father.

3*

80japaul22
feb 28, 8:39am

>74 Simone2: Is that a persephone title? I know they publish some of Marghanita Laski's books.

81Dilara86
feb 28, 11:09am

>74 Simone2: That is a book I really want to read!

82Simone2
feb 28, 2:12pm

>80 japaul22: Yes it is. A very slim one!

83dianeham
feb 28, 2:29pm

>77 Simone2: I read the book last night. Thank you so much. Will check out the video.

84Simone2
mar 2, 5:36am

>83 dianeham: And was it the story you remembered?

85dianeham
mar 2, 7:57pm

>84 Simone2: yes, it was! I am so amazed. Might have been good I didn't see it in 1963.

86Simone2
mar 3, 2:06am

33 - Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

Despite its ugly cover this is another wonderful story by Maggie O’Farrell and exactly what I needed. It’s a family drama at its best. A mother and her three adult children come together when their father goes missing. Each has their own secrets and stuff to deal with. An intelligent pageturner. Loved it!

4*

87Simone2
mar 4, 4:01am

34 - Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia by Samuel Johnson

Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, lives in complete happiness in an Ethiopian valley and discovers that is boring. ‘You find it boring because you have never known misery’, someone says to him and this leads Rasselas to go in search of the meaning of life, misery and happiness.
These two sentences sum up the content of this book pretty good actually. Samuel Johnson needed a lot more pages though. Very boring, however it’s another one of the 1001 books list ticked off.

1*

88Simone2
Redigeret: mar 7, 2:41am

35 - Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

In a near future America has collapsed into a state of anarchy with danger everywhere. Lauren Olamina is a young girl leading a group of people across California, meanwhile inventing a new religion, Earthseed. It’s an unpopular opinion but I didn’t like this book as others seem to. It reminded me of The Stand, The Road and Station Eleven, and didn’t stood out amongst them.

3.5*

89Simone2
mar 8, 12:07pm

36 - Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

I read parts of this book but mostly listened to it. Krakauer himself reads his account of the infamous 1996 Everest expedition that resulted in a tragedy. Through most of the story he remains the journalist and although that’s admirable at times felt a bit too much like a report instead of a NF novel. Too many facts and figures to my taste but other than that a sad and fascinating story.

3.5*

90AlisonY
mar 10, 3:42am

>89 Simone2: Hmm - shame. I've had this on my TBR shelf for so long it's not even on the TBR shelf, but I expected it to be a great read when I eventually got round to reading it. Maybe no rush just yet.

91Simone2
mar 10, 6:04am

>90 AlisonY: Most people love it I think so please don’t avoid it because of me!

92Simone2
mar 10, 6:05am

37 - QuixotiQ by Ali Al Saeed

The grammatica of this book, written in English by an author of #Bahrain, is so bad even I (as a non native English speaker) can’t miss it. Worse - I can’t even concentrate on the storyline while the language keeps distracting me. I’m sorry to say I bailed and learned nothing about the country - where the story isn’t even set...

93Nickelini
mar 13, 5:46pm

>90 AlisonY:

I thought Into Thin Air was amazing. I read it when my daughter was little and I remember caring for a baby with one hand, and carrying the book with my other and reading it all in one go. It was a day when she had her needs met, but nothing extra! Thankfully, I didn't find another book like that until she was much older. :-D

94baswood
mar 13, 6:47pm

Another vote for Into the Air from me

95RidgewayGirl
mar 13, 7:01pm

>86 Simone2: Maggie O'Farrell writes what I can only describe as escapist novels for people who usually read literary novels. She's moved on to more substantial work and so I'm doling out the few I haven't read as slowly as possible.

96Simone2
mar 14, 6:00am

>95 RidgewayGirl: That is exactly it. I cherish the ones I haven’t read too. I do coincidentally the same about Sarah Waters (see my review below). Have you read her? If not I can absolutely recommend it!

97Simone2
mar 14, 6:00am

38- Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

What a read. I already knew Sarah Waters is quite the storyteller but this one surprised me again and again. The suspense, the twists, the cleverness, the atmosphere of 19th century London. It left me breathless. Such a satisfying read!

4.5*

98Simone2
Redigeret: mar 14, 4:58pm

39 - The Absolutist by John Boyne

That ending. Books about WWI are always sad (the trenches, No Man’s Land 🥲) but I could have known John Boyne would add a little extra. This is the heartbreaking story of Tristan Sadler, gay and soldier and ever lonely.

4.5*

99AlisonY
mar 14, 7:05pm

>93 Nickelini:, >94 baswood: Thanks. I must give Into Thin Air a go then. Tragedy aside, I do like books about people taking on immense physical challenges anyway.

>97 Simone2: It's been a while since I read Fingersmith, but I do remember loving it too.

>98 Simone2: John Boyne's another of those authors that I can't believe I've not got to yet. I need to up my reading game to get to all these titles.

100gsm235
mar 14, 11:04pm

>93 Nickelini: I read Into Thin Air more than twenty years ago. It was great story of a horrible event.

101Nickelini
Redigeret: mar 14, 11:14pm

>100 gsm235:
Yes, over 20 years ago for me too -- that baby is now 24 years old and has been living on another continent since 2018. But I still remember what a good read it was.

102sallypursell
mar 15, 1:49am

>89 Simone2: I loved Into Thin Air, but it was a bit of a trauma to read. Trying to share some of it vicariously was a serious one for me, anyway, but I'm so glad I had the experience. And I learned a lot about Everest. I think it would be hard to visualize the details of the journey without the map of the approach.

103bragan
mar 15, 8:01pm

>102 sallypursell: I remember Into Thin Air making me feel weirdly short of breath a lot of the time I was reading it. :)

104Simone2
mar 15, 11:34pm

40 - Fair Play by Tove Jansson

It takes some time to get used to the relationship between two artists, Mari and Jonna (mainly because of the sparsity of words Jansson uses) but when I did, I loved it. They have lived and worked together for so long, and are not always loving towards eachother and yet they are - so very much.
Nature, art, aging, jealousy, repetitiveness, death: each story touches upon subjects that add to their joint journey. Together apart. Or apart together.

4.5*

105Simone2
mar 17, 7:29am

41 - The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Liespector

This is a hard book to read. G.H. is a Brazilian artist who is experiencing a breakdown after discovering a big cockroach in the otherwise extremely clean room of her maid. What follows is a monologue about this mystical crisis. Eliz_M already warned me for the ending and I felt sorry I was just having breakfast when I came to it. This book will linger in the back of my mind forever I think and I’m not exactly happy with that.
Not a recommendation thus, but I completely see the reason for it being one of the 1001 books to read before you die.

3*

106Simone2
mar 19, 9:30am

42 - The Morbids by Ewa Ramsey

This book… I am so fortunate that I have never known the kind of anxiety described in this book. Caitlin is afraid of dying. She is sure she will, anytime now, because she made this one mistake in life: being careless. Out of guilt she now tries to cope by being careful, always careful.

The Morbids captures the experience of severe anxiety with nuance and skill and so much empathy. There is friendship and love and fun too in the book. I cried and I smiled and I’ll recommend it highly.

4.5*

107japaul22
mar 19, 9:58am

>106 Simone2: I've never heard of this one. Where did you find it?

And I also loved Fair Play and Into Thin Air (wildly different books!)

108Simone2
mar 22, 8:24am

>107 japaul22: It’s new and Australian. It is hard to get a copy in Europe and I think the US as well. I was fortunate to receive one from a Litsy friend. You could try Amazon or BookDepository but for me it was too expensive to order from them.

I loved Fair Play too - almost as much as The True Deceiver. My favorite Krakauer still is Under the Banner of Heaven.

109Simone2
Redigeret: mar 22, 8:25am

43 - The Blue Sky by Galsan Tachinag

This is the first instalment of Galsan Tschinag’s memoirs and it shows a peek into the lives of the nomadic Aruban people, living in the high Altai Mountains of Mongolia. It is a hard and ancient way of life, determined by the seasons and the ubiquitous blue sky.
I learned a lot and was touched by the story.

3.5*

110Simone2
mar 24, 1:37pm

44 - The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington

This is a wild tale about an eccentric old lady living in an eccentric home for the elderly with a bunch of eccentric people. Marian with her hearing trumpet is hilarious, as are her best friend Carmella and the winking Abbess. I could have spend hours with them but suddenly there was the apocalypse. I know of Carrington’s love for absurdity and surrealism but personally I preferred the first half of the book.

3*

111Simone2
mar 26, 12:40pm

45 - In the Language of Miracles by Rajiv Hassing

The Al-Menshawys are an Egyptian immigrants family living in a small New Jersey town. They’ve lived there for twenty years when tragedy strikes. Their eldest son kills his ex-girlfriend and himself. The community’s prejudice is relentless. It’s ever there but Hassib’s story mainly shows how grief and guilt isolate one from another.
The point of view switches between the father, the mother, the brother and sister and the grandmother of the dead boy in a beautiful way. Set in the year following the tragic event, this is an emotional and very nuanced debut.

3.5*

112Simone2
Redigeret: mar 28, 7:39am

46 - Basti by Intizar Husain

This is a very difficult book about the early days of Pakistan as an independent country. The story switches in time, narrator style, POV, and between dream and reality. What I’ll remember is how cruel reality is for Pakistani in those days.

3*

113Simone2
mar 29, 1:56pm

47 - The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

This was the intriguing story of Jun Do, aka Commander Ga, the son of the orphan master and the husband of opera singer Sun Moon. Oh, and a close ally of The Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il too. It’s a good story with lots of twists. Yet I do prefer non fiction in a book about a country as isolated and unknown as North Korea.

3.5*

114Simone2
mar 31, 7:02am

48 - The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My problem with short stories is always that I don't take enough time to let them sink in. I usually go straight on to the next one and forget about them soon.
This time too, I kept on reading, but I weren’t able to forget about the ones I’d finished. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wouldn’t let me. She’s is so good! I think they’ll linger in the back of my mind forever.

4*

115Simone2
apr 3, 1:30pm

49 - Little White Lies by Philippa East

Another disappointing thriller. A weak plot, too slow paced, and too predictable. I kept hoping for something clever or unexpected in this book about a girl who escapes after 7 years from the man who kidnapped her. In vain.

2.5*

116dchaikin
apr 4, 1:07am

I caught with you on Litsy first, then came here. Amazed how many books you read...how many great ones too.

117Simone2
apr 4, 10:56am

>116 dchaikin: We are still in lockdown so I am
either working or reading most of the time. I feel blessed that I always have a book to escape in! I hope you are doing well. Vaccination is going fast in the US, I hope you can go back to normal soon.

118Simone2
apr 4, 10:57am

50 - 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

I flew through this delightful read. It’s the correspondence between the bold American author and the super polite English bookstore employee. In the sober fifties she starts ordering special books from Marks & Co and he is always trying to please her. Their letters and relationship is hilarious at times, polite at others but always touching and filled with love and respect for books and the love of books. A must read for all book lovers.

4.5*

119japaul22
apr 4, 2:25pm

>118 Simone2: Loved this book and I'm due for a reread!

120lisapeet
apr 4, 3:40pm

>118 Simone2: I've been meaning to read this for the longest time. I love epistolaries, and I've heard nothing but good about this one.

121AlisonY
apr 4, 4:16pm

Adding this one to my list too. I've not heard of this author before.

122sallypursell
apr 4, 8:48pm

>129 I love epistolaries, too, and I actually found a good contemporary romance of that type that I loved. I don't read many of that genre. This was written by Meg Cabot and was called The Boy Next Door.

123Simone2
apr 7, 5:19am

>120 lisapeet: >121 AlisonY: >122 sallypursell: I can wholeheartedly recommend it. It is lovely and very short made for us booklovers!

124Simone2
apr 7, 5:28am

51 - The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

This book started interesting because it felt so similar to the start of our very own pandemic Written in 2019, it seemed as if Walker had had a premonition of what was about to happen to the world. She wrote about a virus causing people to fall asleep in a Californian university town, complete with face masks and quarantine. However, the plot soon became a mess and not an interesting one. No need to read it, if you want my opinion.

2*

125Simone2
apr 10, 4:27pm

52 - Pain by Zeruya Shalev

Zeruya Shalev writes so well about love, marriage and family. In this novel there’s also pain. The narrator was involved in a terrorist attack on a bus in Jerusalem. Ten years later, the pain returns. So does her first love. An intense book.

3.5*

126Simone2
Redigeret: apr 11, 5:21am

53 - De fundamenten by Ramsey Nasr (Dutch)

Not often do I read a book I want everyone to read. My friends, my kids, my co-workers, our clients. You all. But it’s Dutch. Ramsey Nasr wrote three essays in the past year. About Corona, about time to reflect, about out national politicians who are extremely liberal but ignore that they should lead us towards a sustainable future. Dutch kids are the happiest in the world but the clock is ticking. And we know it but don’t change it. We should look at the world in a radically different way. Like the Dutch painter Van Gogh did. Ramsey Nasr writes what I’m thinking of so often but couldn’t find words for. He should be our leader but he is an artist. A great one.

5*

127Simone2
apr 13, 11:03am

54 - The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

I feel ashamed of myself but I can’t focus on this book at the moment. Too much going on in real life to be able to concentrate on the horror of Australian POWs working the Burma Railroad in what’s now called Myanmar. I don’t bail, I want to read it one day. Just not now.

128Simone2
apr 13, 5:23pm

55 - The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

I loved the setting (a deserted sanatorium in the Swiss Alps turned into a top-end design hotel) but I didn’t care for any of the characters and I wasn’t blown away by the plot. It was all a bit obvious although I am not sure what the Epilogue meant. An okay thriller.

3*

129AlisonY
apr 13, 5:49pm

>128 Simone2: Ah, shame. I agree that setting had so much potential.

130Simone2
apr 14, 3:05pm

56 - Treasures of the Thunder Dragon by Ashi Dorji Wangmu Wangchuck

A fascinating read about Bhutan. It reads a bit like the Lonely Planet (it really is a travelling guide) but the author knows so much about local nature, traditions, spirituality and politics: she opens a world I knew nothing about. This book should be obliged for everyone travelling to this mysterious and isolated country in the Himalaya where national progress is measured by gross national happiness instead of gross national product.

3.5*

131kidzdoc
apr 19, 1:13pm

>127 Simone2: FWIW I liked The Narrow Road to the Deep North, although I wasn't blown away by it.

132Simone2
apr 19, 1:43pm

>131 kidzdoc: That is definitely worth a lot, thanks!

133Simone2
apr 19, 1:44pm

57 - My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee

The young Tiller is mesmerized by businessman Pong. The feeling seems mutual and Pong takes him on a business trip to China. A second storyline is set afterwards, while Tiller is living with a woman under witness protection and her young son. Unfortunately the book didn’t grab me as much as I expected to. In parts it’s brilliant but it is sooo much. The endings of both storylines are memorable though!

3.5*

134Simone2
Redigeret: apr 21, 1:50pm

58 - The Farm by Joanne Ramos

When I managed to get by the seemingly endless chapters about breastfeeding I did enjoy this book. The Farm is an interesting concept - it could be out there somewhere - where poor immigrant are payed to be pregnant for rich career women who don’t have time to get pregnant. A lot of ethical topics are are touched upon but that’s about it. A fun read, no more no less.

3.5*

135Simone2
apr 21, 4:34pm

59 - Skylark by Dezsö Kosztolányi

Full of guild and hesitation father and mother Vajkaj discover there is a life without their daughter Skylark. She 36 year old, unattractive and unmarried and they love but above all pity her.
Skylark leaves them for a week to stay with family and instead of missing her terribly, her parents sort of flourish. Yet they feel ashamed and wait eagerly for Skylark’s return to retreat in their joint loneliness.

Once again an unpredictable and satisfying NYRB book.

3.5*

136Simone2
apr 24, 1:09pm

60 - Written in Black by KH Lim

Not sure what was the point but I did learn a bit about Brunei along the way. Jonathan is a 10-year old boy and is on a mission to find his estranged brother for the funeral of his grandfather. That’s about it.

2.5*

137Simone2
apr 25, 2:15pm

61 - No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

“Why were we all writing like this now? Because a new kind of connection had to be made,” the narrator mentions in this book, while being some kind of influencer, ever present on “the platform” and travelling the world to talk about it. And then the world turns silent in the second half. A world without social media and with a completely different kind of connection. A very emotional book. It touched me deeply.

4.5*

138Simone2
apr 28, 1:30pm

62 - If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

In South Korea plastic surgery seems almost necessary among young women to build their careers. Under this kind of pressure four women try to succeed in modern day Seoul where misogyny and class tensions still are common. Shocking and grim.

4*

139Simone2
apr 29, 8:38am

63 - Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon

David and Mary Rose are happily married and are completely in sync, at least that’s what David thinks. When Mary Rose tragically dies he revisits their favourite holiday spot on the Costa Brava in Spain. He tries his best and his grief is heartfelt. So is his acknowledgment that things weren’t always as good as he thought. I understand that this book didn’t made the shortlist of the Women’s Prize but it is a wonderful novel about grief, marriage and regret about things that happened along the way. Words that were said or left unsaid.

4*

140Nickelini
apr 30, 1:59am

>139 Simone2:
I'm more interested in Nothing But Blue Sky than most of the books that made the Women's Prize short list.

141Simone2
maj 1, 2:54pm

>140 Nickelini: I was too and it’s really good. I can definitely recommend it. I think it was just too conventional in its style to make it to the shortlist. There are some real experimental novels selected now. I can see why but personally I enjoyed this one a lot.

142Simone2
maj 1, 2:55pm

64 - The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam

Its independence war leaves Bangladesh torn apart - the country and its people. Maya and her brother Sohail have become estranged during the years. He has become a devote Muslim, she a fighter for justice and freedom. Their mother tries to keep the family together.

I enjoyed the glimpses into the Bangladeshi way of life and I learned a bit about the country. An okay read.

3*

143Simone2
maj 3, 1:32am

65 - We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Exactly the book I was looking for to spend a lazy Sunday with. It’s so much more than a crime novel. Outlaw Duchess is such an amazing character, as are police officer Walk for that matter. And grandfather Hal. And Vincent King. They are bound together in an amazing plot, filled with twists that made me hold my breath and shed a tear.

4.5*

144dchaikin
maj 3, 11:29am

Just another stop to catch up here and in Litsy, and wave hello. Hope you’re well.

145Simone2
maj 5, 5:16pm

>144 dchaikin: That is so kind of you Dan! I am doing well. Reading keeps me sane in sometimes crazy times but that goed for most of us I think. I do hope you are well too and that we can read Lolita later this year!

146Simone2
maj 5, 5:16pm

66 - Lot by Bryan Washington

Me and this book, we were not a good match. I didn’t get the structure. Short stories alternate with the coming of age of a young man in Houston (drugs, sex, violence, poverty, a broken family, racism, you name it, it’s there). I would have preferred a book just about the narrator and his family. Parts were so promising and then didn’t deliver.
I guess I wanted Bryan Washington to do what he did in Memorial!

3*

147dchaikin
maj 5, 8:47pm

Sorry about Lot and thanks and yes it definitely does go for a lot of us and - yeah, Lolita. I should come up with a date suggestion for that.

I like the title Lot for a book in Houston, surrounded by salt domes.

148Simone2
maj 7, 2:43pm

>147 dchaikin: I didn’t make that connection but it’s a good one!

149Simone2
maj 7, 2:44pm

67 - Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

I’m not a real fan of Patchett. That might be why I waited so long to read this. Now I wonder why. It’s a unique book about a group of people taken hostage in a Latin American villa. After a while the lines between the terrorists and the hostages fade and unusual relationships arise. The ending is one that’ll stay with me for a while. My favorite Patchett so far.

4*

150Simone2
Redigeret: maj 8, 9:35am

68 - Miss Buncle’s Book by DE Stevenson

This is the delightful read about Miss Buncle who writes about the people in the English village she lives in. When the book is published most recognize themselves and are not amused to say the least. Miss Buncle may not look very sharp, her pen is.
Comfort reading at it best!

4*

151Simone2
maj 10, 6:30am

69 - Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat

Loss and grief are the central themes in each of the stories that make up this book. Loss of memory, of a homeland (Haiti), a life, a loved one, an illusion, a dream. Followed by the grief of how to deal with this loss, this book really tells everything there is inside. And as if that’s not enough, Edwidge Danticat knows how to bring her characters to life in just a few pages. I literally came to love them and felt like I understood each one of them. What an achievement. All the stars for this wonderful book.

5*

152RidgewayGirl
maj 10, 10:10am

>151 Simone2: I have been meaning to read something by Danticat for years. Thanks for the reminder!

153Simone2
maj 10, 10:55am

>152 RidgewayGirl: If you do, read this one, it's definitely worth it.

154Simone2
maj 12, 6:19am

70 - The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

I am very interested in Afghanistan and normally love a journalistic approach to read about a country. This book however, didn’t quite work for me. It can be because the book is from 2002 and brought little that I didn’t already know of Afghanistan’s 20th century history, Islam or family life. I’m not sure, but I was bored a bit.

3*

155sallypursell
maj 13, 11:50pm

Stopping by to catch up. Lots of really interesting fare.

156Simone2
maj 14, 8:36am

>155 sallypursell: Thank you for catching up!

157Simone2
maj 14, 8:37am

71 - All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage

Catherine is murdered and the focus of the book is more a whydunnit than a whodunnit. It’s the story of the events leading up to the murder. It’s the story of an unhappy woman doing the best she can, lonely in a rural community in upstate NY. It’s the story of her husband who reminds me of Mr Ripley. And it’s the sad story of the family who lived in their house before them. A riveting psychological and literary thriller. With a few ghosts.

4*

158sallypursell
maj 14, 12:35pm

>157 Simone2: I also love ghosts ... but not real ones, I hasten to add.

159Simone2
maj 16, 3:23am

>158 sallypursell: Their presence in this book is very subtle yet it adds to the story!

160Simone2
Redigeret: maj 18, 2:30pm

72 - Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

This book broke my heart again and again. For the state of the world, for one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read, for Franny, the narrator.

She sails on one of the few remaining fishing boats from the Arctic to the Antarctic to follow the last Arctic terns in their final migration in a world where wildlife’s extinction is everywhere. The journey, the wildness, the loneliness. I can’t praise this book enough.

5*

161RidgewayGirl
maj 16, 12:39pm

>160 Simone2: I keep eyeing this book. I may have to just go ahead and snag a copy.

162rocketjk
maj 16, 12:43pm

Just spend some time reading through your last couple of months of reading. Thanks for all the reviews and perspectives on a whole stack of fascinating books. Cheers!

163AlisonY
maj 16, 12:50pm

>160 Simone2: I thought I had this one on my wish list already, but I can't find it. On it goes now anyway.

164Simone2
maj 17, 5:02am

>161 RidgewayGirl: >162 rocketjk: >163 AlisonY: Thank you all for stepping by. I can wholeheartedly recommend Migrations, it might very well end up being my favorite of the year. So good!

165Simone2
maj 17, 5:07am

73 - Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I am in awe of how Cheryl faces the challenges in both her personal life as well as while hiking 1,700 kilometers along the Pacific Crest Trail. She is wild and naive but also so tough. She dares to do something that I can only dream of. I enjoyed this book a lot.

4*

166AlisonY
maj 17, 7:25am

>165 Simone2: I enjoyed this a lot too. I find these types of books very inspirational; even though I remain firmly sat on my own armchair, I like the idea of taking on an epic challenge like this.

167Simone2
maj 17, 10:42am

>166 AlisonY: Lol, me too! Especially in times of covid, armchair travelling is the best!

168sallypursell
maj 17, 6:12pm

>160 Simone2: You've sold me on this book. But you seem to have the wrong touchstone.

169Simone2
maj 18, 2:30pm

>168 sallypursell: Thanks for noticing Sally, I changed it. I hope you’ll get to it!

170Simone2
maj 18, 2:31pm

74 - Little Boy Lost by Margarita Laski

Hilary travels to post war France to look for his 5 year old son, who he has last seen when the boy was just a baby. In an orphanage he will meet a little boy who might be his son. Shall he recognize him? Shall he know whether the boy is indeed his son when he sees him? Shall he be able to love the child?

A portrait of France in ruins and of a man who thinks he can’t love anymore after the years of the war.

3.5*

171japaul22
maj 18, 8:31pm

Definitely adding Migrations to my list - sounds fantastic!

172Simone2
maj 20, 1:25am

>171 japaul22: You’ll love it. I hope you will get to it one day!

173Simone2
maj 20, 1:27am

75 - During the Reign of the Queen of Persia by Joan Chase

I’m sorry to say I didn’t like this one at all. After 50 pages I was so bored I decided to put it away for now. It’s my impatience I’m sure. I often can’t deal with this kind of book. So homey. Am not a fan of Marilynne Robinson either for that matter. Oh and the dense type didn’t help either.

DNF

174Simone2
maj 23, 10:09am

76 - Expecting Adam by Martha Beck

Martha Beck and her husband John live according to plan, led by the rules of Harvard and the implicit ones of growing up in Mormon Utah. Everything changes when Martha gets pregnant with Adam. All ratio must make room for angels and miracles. Everyday magic, as Martha calls it is this memoir, alternates by extreme anxiousness I don’t know what to believe but it’s a unique story about love and motherhood.

I Googled Martha afterwards and she is quite a special woman, controversial even maybe, but I enjoyed getting to know her. And who would ever want to go to Harvard after reading this book?!

3*

175Simone2
maj 24, 9:48pm

77 - Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin

A crocodile hides most of itself underwater, with only eyes and nose breaking the surface. University student Lazi and her queer friends live like crocodiles, as their sexuality forces them to present a face to the world that looks nothing like their entire selves.

That is a great starting point for a book about coming of age, queer identity and self-loathing in Taiwan in the 1980s.

The writing style is very aloof and the snippets that made up the story are lacking coherence.

I think this is exactly what Qiu intended but for me it was hard to connect to the book and its message.

2.5*

176Simone2
maj 28, 4:21pm

78 - The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

Just no. I was such a fan of Agatha Christie in my teens. Now It just is meh for me. Especially Miss Marple. I am willing to give Poirot another chance though.

2*

177japaul22
maj 28, 5:13pm

>176 Simone2: I also loved Agatha Christie in my teens. I'm always tempted to reread some and my mom owns them all, but I never get to it. I wonder what I'd think now!

178Nickelini
maj 28, 7:26pm

>176 Simone2:, >177 japaul22:

Me too! I loved Agatha Christie in my teens, especially Miss Marple. And then when I was 19 I was in Papua New Guinea mostly just hanging out, and I read what feels like a hundred Agatha Christie novels from the library. The library was made up 100% of donations from missionaries, so there wasn't a lot of selection. I loved the AC at the time though. I've been thinking of rereading some of them. NOT The Murder of Roger Ackroyd or Murder on the Orient Express though. Those two annoyed me.

179Simone2
maj 29, 2:30am

>177 japaul22: >178 Nickelini: I shouldn’t reread them now if I were you. In my memory they were so good. I am really sorry I tried again! Hanging out in Papua New Guinea when you’re 19 sounds so cool! There’s a story there! The ones you mention I never liked either, nor And Then There Were None.

180Simone2
maj 30, 4:16am

79 - Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler

The Guardian states in a review of this book: ‘This is a self-involved novel, for self-involved readers in a self-involved age.’ That is so true, and it’s the strength of this book while also tiresome.
It started out strong with a lot of social media, a fake account of course, Trump’s inauguration and the women’s march the next day. Unfortunately then the novel lost pace: the sharp observations made place for random meetings in Berlin that didn’t add much to the story- because the narrator is ultimately just self-involved. Not sure how to rate this.

3*

181Simone2
jun 6, 8:41am

80 - Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

An okay read about a 13 year old boy who is the only survivor of a plane crash. The book is a bit too YA to my taste but it suited my bit-of-a-reading-slump. It’s easy to read and the emotions were oddly satisfying.

3*

182WelshBookworm
jun 8, 4:29pm

>181 Simone2: My bookclub is reading this one next month.

183Simone2
Redigeret: jun 9, 1:52am

81 - Orkney by Amy Sackville

He is 40 years her senior and while they honeymoon on an Orkney island he watches her every little detail while she’s standing by the sea and he pretends to work. Each day seems the same. Waiting for something inevitable to happen, waiting for the storm.

This book could have been so good and I LOVED the setting. Yet it became a bit too much of the same in the second half.

3*

184Simone2
jun 9, 1:50am

>182 WelshBookworm: I hope you’ll like it!

185AlisonY
jun 9, 7:20am

>183 Simone2: That's a shamed. This one sounded like it could have been right up my street.