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[13 Oct 2017 | No Comment | ]
Book Review :: A Little Life

Rare is it that I give a book five stars but readily say, this book isn’t for everyone. But I’m saying that with A Little Life. I loved it. Loved it so much. And typically five stars from me means everyone should read it. Not this one.
A Little Life is the story of four men who meet in college and the friendship that grows among them that carries through the next three decades. As the narrative unfolds, the reader understands that Jude, the central figure, is a damaged soul, having …

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[7 Oct 2017 | No Comment | ]
On Reading :: Changing Things Up

My reading style has changed this year. Not so much what I read, but how I read. I posted a few weeks ago about some of the podcasts that I’ve fallen for and mentioned that listening to podcasts has severely cut into the time I used to spend listening to audio books. A quick glance to compare this year’s reading list to last year’s reading list and the change is obvious.
I’ve pondered this diversion, felt a tinge of guilt about it, and pondered it more. Where I’ve landed is that …

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[17 Sep 2017 | No Comment | ]
Book Review :: Rules of Civility

Twelve pages from the end of Rules of Civility, Amor Towels, in the voice of Tinker Grey, describes Manhattan as “so improbable, so wonderful, so obviously full of promise – that you wanted to approach it for the rest of your life without ever quite arriving.“
This is precisely how I felt while reading Towels’ 2011 debut novel. In fact, after my first sitting, I took to Twitter to try and describe how I already felt:

This will likely be the best book I read in 2017.  I adored A Gentleman in Moscow, and people …

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[22 Jul 2017 | No Comment | ]
Book Clubs :: Year End Wrap Up for 2016-17

I’m a little late, but I’ve just finished the wrap up of our book club’s 2016-17 reading year.
We started doing something a little different in our ratings this year. Occasionally there are books that a member or two doesn’t finish or doesn’t even attempt. (In our very bookish club, this is rare. We’re serious about our reading, people.) In these cases, it is possible that said book could end up with a decent overall score because anyone who was a “DNR” or a “DNF” didn’t get counted, making its comparison with …

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[20 May 2017 | No Comment | ]
Book Review :: A Gentleman in Moscow

Set just after the Russian revolution, a former state sympathizer is sentenced to house arrest in the posh Moscow Metropol hotel. Within these confines the Count meets three women who, in their own way, stretch his assumptions of how rich a life is possible within the walls he’s been sentenced to. Mixed in are endearing hotel staff – a family, really – and a host of characters from the Count’s past and his still very much intact well-regarded reputation.
I first heard of this novel at my book club’s December meeting where we …

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[17 May 2017 | No Comment | ]
Book Clubs :: SOC Sista Short List for 2017-2018

After a record four-phase voting run-off, the SOC Sistas have selected the ten books we’ll be reading from June 2017 – May 2018. Here they are with some thoughts about why these are such fabulous selections.

Brit Marie was Here and My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
We couldn’t decide which one of these we wanted to read, so we decided to include both. Most of our members have read one or the other – if not both – so this seemed manageable.

Killers of the Flower Moon: …

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[28 Apr 2017 | No Comment | ]
Book Clubs :: SOC Sistas Long List 2017-2018

It’s that time of year when my book club is making its selection for the 10 books it will read in the upcoming year. We started this a few years ago, and now it is our favorite night of the year. We think that this year we may have outdone ourselves with the number of incredible options, so much so that we talked about not even making pitches next year & just choosing from the runner-ups. (If you need to catch up on how we do this, go here.)
A Long …

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[7 Jul 2016 | No Comment | ]
Book Review :: Fates and Furies

This is a novel that begs for discussion; that makes me wish I were back in college writing comparative essays; that makes me want to reread Sophocles, Aristophanes, Aeschylus. Mixing both Greek comedy and tragedy, Groff creates a villainous Mathilde reminiscent of Ron Rash’s Serena and Kathy of East of Eden.
I was warned before I started Fates and Furies to give it time. One of my best reading buds and literary soul-mates said it would take at least 100 pages before I was hooked. I appreciate the warning, but for me …

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[2 Jul 2016 | No Comment | ]
Book Clubs :: SOC Sista Short List for 16-17

My apologies. I’ve been remiss in announcing the short list of books selected by the SOC Sistas for 2016-2017. We are already one in – having read The Boys in the Boat for June.
Some firsts about this list: For the first time two books were selected unanimously by the group (The Boys in the Boat and The Handmaid’s Tale). (If you’re just catching up, here’s where I talk about our book selection process.) Also, I had read three of the books selected before we started, which is more than ever …

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[19 Apr 2016 | No Comment | ]
Book Clubs :: SOC Sistas Long List

April is when our book club makes its selections of books for the upcoming year. We started this three years ago, it has worked beautifully and prevents those painful moments at the end of the meeting when someone is trying to think of a great recommendation that they’ve heard of but aren’t sure if they really think it will be good for the group.
If you’re just catching up, here’s where I talk about our process. At the bottom of the post are past years’ long and short lists.
Finally, let me …