PopJustice Book Club

Hello, this was the year I finally got back into reading and have been enjoying the journey. I just finished A Little Life and it might be my favorite read so far this year but I also have no fucking clue where to go from here. Probably going to pick up either The People in the Trees or To Paradise and just continue my descent into Hanya's quite frankly incredible prose.
 
I… dropped To Paradise about 100 pages in, and haven’t looked backed!
It is undeniably beautifully written but I could feel the reading slump coming on. It needs some heavy editing IMHO.

I’m currently reading Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors and enjoying it well enough.
Also might be my favourite cover of the year!
 
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I finished The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez. A great little collection of short stories! Favourites were probably Where Are You, Dear Heart? and Kids Who Come Back.

I’ve started Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin next, has been on my list since I saw @Mr.Arroz mention it in the Frank Ocean thread. Yes, I shall be listening to Blonde whilst I read.
 

LTG

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The Street by Ann Petry is another favorite you may enjoy as well!
I’ve got a copy of this gorgeous Virago edition I need to get round to:

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Try Orlando. I adored that book and think about it often. The film too.



I've always read a lot but in very recent years I've made an effort to hunt down books (especially new ones) that I might enjoy rather than just picking something at random that was sitting on my shelf and it's made things much more enjoyable for me.
Mrs. Dalloway grew on me by the end. I still prefer To the Lighthouse, but it gave me enough faith in Virginia to keep pushing onward--I'll add Orlando to my list. (Though taking a break from Virginia, for the moment; I sometimes get the sense that girlfriend really just needed an Ativan.)

Moving on to Trust right now. Fingers crossed it lives up to the hype. The structure so far is pretty interesting.
 
My reading habit this year has really sucked. I said I'd read 25 books this year and I've only managed 10 so far. Yesterday I finally finished This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub - it took me over a month because so much crap was going on that I couldn't allocate reading time. But overall, it was a lovely book about relationships and time travel. I just wish I could have read it quicker.

I started The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Philyaw Deesha yesterday and managed to finish it this morning. Such an easy, quick collection of short stories. Highly recommend.
 
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It’s so rare that a US cover is better than a UK cover, but the vibrant, emerald green of Trust in the States compared to that black and white and red atrocity in the UK is definitely an exception.
This made me order the US version. It just arrived today and it’s lovely. Thank you for the heads up!

I’ve settled on just reading Trust, Spectacular Bodies and The Trees from the Booker long list. Maybe I’ll read Case Study as well, and I’m interested in Small Things Like These and Nightcrawling, but plan to wait for the paperbacks.

Everything else I’m not too interested in, but I’ll wait and see what makes the shortlist.
 
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Toyed with becoming a proper collector for exactly one afternoon, when I discovered I love ALL covers of Angela Carter's Bloody Chamber, but mainly the first edition.

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Sense prevailed though.

I'll take more recommendations for short stories, I can't get enough. (Also let's celebrate the word 'novelette'.)
 
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I'm about to start One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and I'm scared nn it's been almost two years since I last read a book over 400 pages.

Let's talk about re-reading! It's always on my mind, but where would I find the time? This one would be first on my list though (mainly because there's a probably improved new translation in my language).
 
During the school year, I don't read as much but, with idle time in planes and no lesson planning needed to be done, I've been able to get into a few books these past 2 months:
  • No Mud, Not Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh (a helpful read if you're going through it and need a little boost to help you work your way through it)
  • Saint Young Men by Hikaru Nakamura (a funny take on Jesus and Buddha living in present-day Tokyo as humans; I'm not religious by any means but I was raised Catholic and, being Vietnamese, Buddha has always had some presence in my life -regardless, this was still very enjoyable and silly!)
  • The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa (a tale about a boy who is dealing with the death of his grandpa as he takes on the responsibilities of his grandpa's book shop; the main character's personality reminded me of ex so much but this story has so much charm and sweetness to it)
  • The Leather Boys by Gilian Freeman (a subtle, queer fictional book about two dudes who are unhappy with their lives but find comfort in each other)
I have about a week or so of vacation left so I have some more books to dive into!
 
I’m back in a Toni Morrison phase, happily.

The Bluest Eye is just about the saddest book ever written and astoundingly risky/brave for a debut novel. She plumbs the depths of human psychology in such a frightening, potent way.

Obviously all of the above went on to become Toni Morrison hallmarks, which is why Song of Solomon surprised me so much. Yes, it’s emotionally complex, culturally significant etc. etc. but it’s also like, a wildly entertaining, old-fashioned adventure story. It has buried treasure, ghosts, doomed love stories and family secrets by the dozen, a squad of vengeful assassins, more than a hint of magic - truly a book that has it all. It works on multiple levels and manages to be rich and dense with history and myth while also being a zippy, wild joyride. Amazing, in short.

Next up? Tar Baby (one of her only novels set in the contemporary world, I think?) and I pledge to tackle Jazz again and finally make some headway.
 
The only positive thing that military service has had for me is that it connected me to books again after a few years of being lazy to read more than 2 books per year. These are the novels that I've read there so far. Those in bold are the ones that I enjoyed the most and would recommend to others.

1984
Blindness
Demonata Series (I've read 4 books so far)
Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon
Letter to a Child Never Born
The Blue Castle
The Book Thief
The Chanel Sisters
The Forty Rules of Love
The Girl With Seven Names
The Kiterunner
The Midnight Library
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Secret Garden
The Selection Series
The Thursday Murder Club
When Patty Went to College
 

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