PopJustice Book Club

Just started reading Julia Armfield’s Our Wives Under The Sea and saw it was dedicated to “Rosalie” which triggered a synapse in my brain that thought Armfield’s name was familiar and sure enough, Rosalie, her girlfriend, is my freshers flatmate from university.

Anyway this is my 5th book of my holiday so far and up to this point nothing has been less than a 4/5 so I hope this keeps up my run of great books!
It’s good and weird and good. I enjoyed it a lot!
 
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It’s good and weird and good. I enjoyed it a lot!

I’ll say that Miri’s chapters really did very little for me for the 1st half but I loved Leah’s POV the entire way through. It really got going for me in the back half when things started to escalate and the mystery started to take more centre-stage. Really enjoyed it overall in the end!

Started Emma Cline’s The Guest next but can’t say I’m loving it so far - feels a bit aimless and lacking in the tension I thought it would have!
 
he/him/basic cishomo
Stolen Focus is becoming one of the most relevant books I've ever consumed. Johann went in on big tech, yes he did. We're feeling inspired to get off the ride and stop being #chainedtotherhythm of enraging engagement that doesn't lead to anything helpful.
 
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I really enjoyed The Guest but be forewarned, the ending feels extremely abrupt.

I didn’t enjoy all that much sadly! The ending was as abrupt as you said but honestly didn’t feel all that satisfying because you just knew it wasn’t going to work out - which I guess isn’t really the point of the book - it’s more of a character/mood piece but there wasn’t really any character development and it never successfully created the tension it was (at times desperately) trying to evoke either. It all felt a little underdeveloped to me!
 
I saw Emma speak a few weeks ago for the book’s launch, and she mentioned wanting to capture the pacing of a short story in a novel’s form. Partially to hold people’s attention, and also because she’s written a lot of short fiction since her first novel came out.

I think The Guest accomplishes it, and I really enjoyed it, but it does end like short fiction often does, which is in the middle of the protagonist’s story, we the readers only being present for a fraction of their life. As someone who loves a mood piece and a little ambivalence in my endings, it worked for me, allowing me to color in the lines, and I do think in this case it belies Alex’s childlike presumption that she’ll be ok she carries through the week leading up to the party.
 
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I saw Emma speak a few weeks ago for the book’s launch, and she mentioned wanting to capture the pacing of a short story in a novel’s form. Partially to hold people’s attention, and also because she’s written a lot of short fiction since her first novel came out.

I think The Guest accomplishes it, and I really enjoyed it, but it does end like short fiction often does, which is in the middle of the protagonist’s story, we the readers only being present for a fraction of their life. As someone who loves a mood piece and a little ambivalence in my endings, it worked for me, allowing me to color in the lines, and I do think in this case it belies Alex’s childlike presumption that she’ll be ok she carries through the week leading up to the party.

I guess this explains my reaction of it feeling a little underdeveloped, it did remind me more of a short story in that sense. The pacing was good also so she certainly achieved that at least!

I’ve started Lapvona next and…
It’s good and weird and good.

Curious to see where it goes!
 
Oh interested in what you'll think of Lapvona @jordxn! It was my first Moshfegh and I was disappointed it wasn't more fucked up nn but I didn't really get her sense of humor until reading more. Been meaning to give it another go with context in mind!

I decided to pivot after Wind-Up Bird Chronicle decimated my momentum nn, Because They Wanted to by Mary Gaitskill is my first time with a short story collection and it's been phenomenal so far.
 
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Oh interested in what you'll think of Lapvona @jordxn! It was my first Moshfegh and I was disappointed it wasn't more fucked up nn but I didn't really get her sense of humor until reading more. Been meaning to give it another go with context in mind!

I decided to pivot after Wind-Up Bird Chronicle decimated my momentum nn, Because They Wanted to by Mary Gaitskill is my first time with a short story collection and it's been phenomenal so far.

I loved it! It was so bizarre and mama, the world building! I had such a clear image of Lapvona and the characters as I read through. A wild and almost absurd read, I was surprised by how funny I found it as most of the stuff I read about it was that it was disturbingly weird - which it certainly is at points but it only served to heighten Moshfegh’s slightly twisted sense of humour.

I’m finally starting Yellowface which I’m itching to read, I still haven’t got to Babel but I’ve heard only great things about both books so expectations are high!
 
I loved it! It was so bizarre and mama, the world building! I had such a clear image of Lapvona and the characters as I read through. A wild and almost absurd read, I was surprised by how funny I found it as most of the stuff I read about it was that it was disturbingly weird - which it certainly is at points but it only served to heighten Moshfegh’s slightly twisted sense of humour.

I’m finally starting Yellowface which I’m itching to read, I still haven’t got to Babel but I’ve heard only great things about both books so expectations are high!

Yes, the ending really stuck with me as well! I read My Year of Rest & Relaxation which put her writing into much better perspective. The entire absurdity of the pea sequence in Lapvona and then the ending really stuck with me so I'd like to give it another go.

And not you also reading Yellowface, I'm about halfway for a book club and it's been a test not to speed ahead. Interested in your thoughts on that one as well!
 
Just finished Swimming In The Dark. What a wonderful novel! A love story, but also about accepting your sexuality and that in Poland in 1980. To me it was simply perfect and had everything I want from a book. I constantly reread sentences because he worded things so beautifully. It's not a thick book which is a shame because I wanted it to go on and on.

When I finished A Song For Achilles I thought nothing could top it. But then there was A Little Life and now Swimming In The Dark. I hope with summer vacation starting I can continue like this.
 
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Yes, the ending really stuck with me as well! I read My Year of Rest & Relaxation which put her writing into much better perspective. The entire absurdity of the pea sequence in Lapvona and then the ending really stuck with me so I'd like to give it another go.

And not you also reading Yellowface, I'm about halfway for a book club and it's been a test not to speed ahead. Interested in your thoughts on that one as well!

Yellowface is a banger too! Zips along and my god does it make you hate the narrator! June is completely and utterly delusional and deranged. Feels very on the nose but I suppose it works so well because there are so many people like her - think of themselves as progressive and liberal whilst committing micro aggressions daily, privately harbouring racist opinions and falling into white victimhood when challenged.

There’s a lot of smaller details peppered throughout that highlight how much June is cosplaying as Athena beyond just stealing and publishing her manuscript that I really enjoyed.

Will say that I think the ending is a little ??? and requires more suspension of disbelief than anything before it, which felt more grounded in reality. Whilst I think it ultimately works because it ties up the themes effectively, I do think there probably was a better way to achieve it narratively.

I’ve started Flowers for Algernon and…
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God, this is exactly how I felt about Yellowface as well. I think that some of the criticisms are very valid but you right in that it zips along so quickly, and I had just a good time with it that I don't care.

I just finished The Shadow Cabinet and I loved it! Maybe not quite as good Her Majesty's Royal Coven but Juno Dawson is so good at weaving in real life issues into that witchy plot. Can't believe I have to wait a year for the next book!
 
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God, this is exactly how I felt about Yellowface as well. I think that some of the criticisms are very valid but you right in that it zips along so quickly, and I had just a good time with it that I don't care.

I just finished The Shadow Cabinet and I loved it! Maybe not quite as good Her Majesty's Royal Coven but Juno Dawson is so good at weaving in real life issues into that witchy plot. Can't believe I have to wait a year for the next book!

I listened to Her Majesty’s Royal Coven on audiobook last month and loved it!! I’m going to finish Flowers for Algernon and then have a break from physical reading (I read 8.5 books whilst on holiday last week fff) but will get The Shadow Cabinet to listen to on my commute!
 

Sam

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Had a bit of a break from reading after finishing Babel and thought what better way to get back into it than with Kuang’s latest (@jordxn ‘s impact!!!)

Picked it up this afternoon and I’m already 5 chapters in. It’s a much easier read than Babel so far (which completely blew me away, probably one of my favourite novels ever). Excited to see where it goes.

I also picked up a copy of The Bell Jar which I started reading on my iPad years ago but never quite finished. I’m not keen on reading from a screen, I don’t think. Still need to properly get round to A Little Life so planning on that at some point. I’ve got Circe and Everyone in This Room… to read too so looking forward to a book filled summer.
 
I’ve read the Poppy Wats trilogy by Kuang but not Babel or Yellowface. I’ll add those to my reading list for the summer. At the moment I’m rereading Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy which I remember adoring as a teenager. I’ve read a lot of non-fiction recently which I’ve enjoyed but over time it’s also become a bit draining. I fancied a reread of something to get me back into reading.
 
he/him/basic cishomo
I'm logging this conversation in my wishlist. We're gonna start reading books before bed so I'm gonna see if my brain can handle a commute audiobook and a book book. I think it'll be good for my soul.

For my aforementioned audiobook, I'm now on Chelsea Manning's README.TXT. It's self narrated and it really works: her perspective is so nuanced and important as a trans woman. You can tell she's literally just recounting what happened. It's not a particularly dynamic story yet, certainly coming after the genuinely earth shattering shit I learned in my last one, Stolen Focus. Again: hard recommend.

But I think it's very important that I understand better what happened during the Bush years from a voice like hers. She weaves in grappling with her gender identity throughout the narrative and it really just emphasizes that these things matter. We need stories about both aspects the book tackles.

I will say her Oklahoma City life sounds litty.
 
Had a bit of a break from reading after finishing Babel and thought what better way to get back into it than with Kuang’s latest (@jordxn ‘s impact!!!)

Picked it up this afternoon and I’m already 5 chapters in. It’s a much easier read than Babel so far (which completely blew me away, probably one of my favourite novels ever). Excited to see where it goes.

I also picked up a copy of The Bell Jar which I started reading on my iPad years ago but never quite finished. I’m not keen on reading from a screen, I don’t think. Still need to properly get round to A Little Life so planning on that at some point. I’ve got Circe and Everyone in This Room… to read too so looking forward to a book filled summer.

For your own sanity sis I would not recommend The Bell Jar and A Little Life in close proximity nn. Two of my favorite ever reads though, so excited to read your thoughts on either/both!
 
Had a bit of a break from reading after finishing Babel and thought what better way to get back into it than with Kuang’s latest (@jordxn ‘s impact!!!)

Picked it up this afternoon and I’m already 5 chapters in. It’s a much easier read than Babel so far (which completely blew me away, probably one of my favourite novels ever). Excited to see where it goes.

I also picked up a copy of The Bell Jar which I started reading on my iPad years ago but never quite finished. I’m not keen on reading from a screen, I don’t think. Still need to properly get round to A Little Life so planning on that at some point. I’ve got Circe and Everyone in This Room… to read too so looking forward to a book filled summer.
I'm so glad I bought myself an e-reader. I thought I never could enjoy it but I do! The emotions are the same, physical book or not. And I'm reading more than ever. Although from time to time I do kinda miss feeling the book in my hands, browsing it, seeing it on my bookshelf. Little bit like Spotify I guess.

I started reading Circe. Now at chapter 6 or so. It's good. Not as good as Song For Achilles (is that even possible?) but I'm really curious to find out what will happen next.

Babel sounds interesting. Putting it on my to read list.
 
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