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2019 TOB Shortlist Books > The Dictionary of Animal Languages

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 13, 2018 10:53PM) (new)

This one has good buzz in the group. The author calls it a "coming of death" novel.


message 2: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 766 comments I loved that article, Tina, and with Collin's comments I'm making this my next read. The little I've read so far is beautiful, so I'm looking forward to this one.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Elizabeth Arnold wrote: "I loved that article, Tina, and with Collin's comments I'm making this my next read. The little I've read so far is beautiful, so I'm looking forward to this one."

Same for me. I would have passed on it if not for Collin's comments and the Medium article. It's third in my queue—library books have priority. I'm hoping to get to it next weekend.


message 4: by Neale (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments Oh no! Everybody is going to hate this book now. I have strange eclectic taste in books and am a sucker for beautiful writing. I hope you guys like this book as much as I did.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Ha! Don't worry, Collin. I won't hold it against you if I don't like the book.


message 6: by Neale (last edited Dec 15, 2018 01:51AM) (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments Phew! That's a relief. ;-)


message 7: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 766 comments Collin wrote: "Oh no! Everybody is going to hate this book now. I have strange eclectic taste in books and am a sucker for beautiful writing. I hope you guys like this book as much as I did."

I'm loving it so far, Collin! Reading slowly, so I can absorb it on a sentence level...I'd tried it on audio (Hoopla) last month and realized I was missing too much so ended up getting it in print. It's one of those books (like The Overstory was for me) that's just delicious to read. Thanks for convincing me to give it a try!


message 8: by Neale (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments You are very welcome Elizabeth. I too sometimes appreciate a book just for the writing. I absolutely adored The Overstory, and it is the only Richard Powers I've ever read. I'm going to make a concerted effort to read more of his work in 2019.


message 9: by Carmel (new)

Carmel Hanes | 130 comments Collin wrote: "Oh no! Everybody is going to hate this book now. I have strange eclectic taste in books and am a sucker for beautiful writing. I hope you guys like this book as much as I did."

This made me smile...I have the same anxiety when I love something and that convinces others to give it a shot....what if they hate it??? I have this one on my list, too, but am not sure how soon I will get to it. I've read mixed reactions to it, so I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. But it's nice to know why you liked it. I also appreciate writing that is unusual or more interesting than plain language. Especially if done well. This will simply let me know how aligned our tastes are for literature!


message 10: by Sherri (new)

Sherri (sherribark) | 357 comments Elizabeth Arnold wrote: "Collin wrote: "Oh no! Everybody is going to hate this book now. I have strange eclectic taste in books and am a sucker for beautiful writing. I hope you guys like this book as much as I did."

I'm ..."


I'm listening to it too, and I thought I was missing a lot so I would go back and listen again. I finally realized it was the way she was telling the story -- it's more about memories pouring out of 92 year old Ivory than about constructing a logical timeline. I plan to buy the book and re-read when I'm done. I want to see how it's laid out in the book.

Can anyone tell me if there are illustrations in the book?


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

No illustrations in my Kindle version.


message 12: by Neale (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments Sherri wrote: "Elizabeth Arnold wrote: "Collin wrote: "Oh no! Everybody is going to hate this book now. I have strange eclectic taste in books and am a sucker for beautiful writing. I hope you guys like this book..."

There were none in the paperback library copy I read. I am going to buy a nice hardcover edition. It would be nice to have illustrations. You very rarely see them these days.


message 13: by Karen (new)

Karen Brown (khbrown) | 54 comments Tina wrote: "This one has good buzz in the group. The author calls it a "coming of death" novel."

My library will be hosting an author event with Heidi Sopinka, the evening of January 16 (Mt. Lebanon Public Library - a first-ring suburb of Pittsburgh). It's a free event but you do need to register on line via their Events Calendar. So, if you're in the area you should plan to stop by!


message 14: by Neale (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments Karen wrote: "Tina wrote: "This one has good buzz in the group. The author calls it a "coming of death" novel."

My library will be hosting an author event with Heidi Sopinka, the evening of January 16 (Mt. Leba..."


What a delightful event that will be. I would sell a kidney to be able to get to that. Maybe even both of them!


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I wish I shared your enthusiasm, Collin—for this book, not selling kidneys! I liked it well enough (3-stars), but I was hoping for more.


message 16: by Neale (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments Well at least you liked it enough for 3 stars. Yes you are right about the kidneys, I need to keep at least one. I would like to meet Heide Sopinka though.


message 17: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Sevitt | 81 comments Spent Friday night and most of Saturday morning finishing this and I think it's magnificent. This is the reason I still read first novels even as so many of them disappoint.

Sentence for sentence this is beautifully composed and Ivory Frame is one of the most intriguing, independent and immensely pleasurable creations of recent years.

I see that Milkman is getting a ton of pushback and The Dictionary of Animal Languages is currently competing with that for my book of the year.


message 18: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Oertel | 832 comments I'm listening to it now, and I agree with the sentence-by-sentence mentions here. There are some exceptionally beautiful ones in this book!


message 19: by Lljones (new)

Lljones | 172 comments I'm paging thru LitHub's 2019 Anticipated books (I know, we're not done with 2018 yet!), and was confused to find:

The Study of Animal Languages

Weird.


message 20: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 441 comments I just finished it as an audiobook and am considering restarting it or rereading it in print since I felt like I missed a lot, too. It took me a while to get into until really the very end, which makes me think I'd appreciate it more re-reading it.

I love Ivory and would re-read it just to spend more time with her. :)


message 21: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Oertel | 832 comments Bretnie wrote: "I just finished it as an audiobook and am considering restarting it or rereading it in print since I felt like I missed a lot, too. It took me a while to get into until really the very end, which m..."

Yes, I kind of wish I had read it on kindle to highlight all those great passages. But the only way to get through most of this list by March is to do most of these on audio, since I'm in a few book clubs where I need to keep up with those books too.


message 22: by Neale (last edited Jan 09, 2019 07:25PM) (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments Bretnie wrote: "I just finished it as an audiobook and am considering restarting it or rereading it in print since I felt like I missed a lot, too. It took me a while to get into until really the very end, which m..."

I think Ivory is close to my most loved character in all of the books I read last year. She virtually makes the book for me. Wonderful character. Plus the gorgeous writing.


message 23: by Alison (new)

Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 450 comments I came over here to see how the audiobook of this is, since hoopla has it in audio and my library does not carry it.

Sounds like I should buy a copy.


message 24: by Janet (new)

Janet (justjanet) | 634 comments I can't believe how much difficulty I had finding a library print copy of this book. It became a personal challenge and I ended up requesting it be purchased. I ended up doing a combination of audio and print....I often switch back and forth if I have access to both. Narrator Elizabeth Proud was the perfect voice for a 92yo woman. Thank s to Collin for bringing this to our attention.


message 25: by Neale (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments Thankyou Janet and you are very welcome. I am having the same trouble here obtaining a copy of The Golden State. Both libraries here don't have a copy, I can't get it on kindle. Looks like I might have to order a copy online.


message 26: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Oertel | 832 comments Yes, I think Golden State was one that I got stuck on as well. I still have a few others to get through before I move onto the "difficult to access" ones though. ;)


message 27: by Saya (new)

Saya (motheroftherevolution) | 42 comments Okay, so I'm half way through this one, so take this comment with a grain of salt...

I know it's almost impossible, but I'd like this book to go up against There, There. Seems to me like the matchup would be ripe with discussion about disappearing languages/culture being a theme between the two books.

I'm really enjoying this one, glad it made the ToB or else it never would have been on my radar.


message 28: by Neale (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments Saya wrote: "Okay, so I'm half way through this one, so take this comment with a grain of salt...

I know it's almost impossible, but I'd like this book to go up against There, There. Seems to me like the match..."


Yes, I would have missed it as well. I love this book. I voted it my zombie pick. I just wish it wasn't matched with Washington Black.


message 29: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 766 comments Collin wrote: "Saya wrote: "Okay, so I'm half way through this one, so take this comment with a grain of salt...

I know it's almost impossible, but I'd like this book to go up against There, There. Seems to me l..."


I've been trying to decide which to root for...Honestly, although enjoyed WB more while I was reading it, as time goes on I feel like it had too many flaws, especially in the second half, for me to really fall in love...Maybe my expectations were too high, it had too much hype around it. Whereas Dictionary...not that it was a perfect book, but I had no expectations going in, and I was surprised by it. I think it must have been the harder book to write, and was certainly more unique. So I think this is the book I'd rather see go forward.


message 30: by Neale (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments Elizabeth Arnold wrote: "Collin wrote: "Saya wrote: "Okay, so I'm half way through this one, so take this comment with a grain of salt...

I know it's almost impossible, but I'd like this book to go up against There, There..."


The more I think about it, I am finding myself leaning the same way. Which, I must say, is quite a surprise to me because Washington Black, with There There, are my favourite books in the shortlist, I have not read The Golden State yet. There is something about TDoAL that has stayed with me since I read it, and it was one of the first books in the shortlist that I read. I think that's why I said it was going to be the dark horse of the Tournament. Beautiful writing and Ivory is just sublime. I'm still on the fence but tilting ever so slightly towards TDoAL. :)


message 31: by Karen (last edited Jan 26, 2019 04:01PM) (new)

Karen Brown (khbrown) | 54 comments Collin wrote: "Saya wrote: "Okay, so I'm half way through this one, so take this comment with a grain of salt...

I know it's almost impossible, but I'd like this book to go up against There, There. Seems to me l..."


Collin, this is my hidden gem of the tournament this year. Found TDoAL on the TOB longlist and ordered a paperback copy from Canada. Was surprised to later discover that my library was hosting an author event with her January 16. The event was well attended. One attendee discovered that she was related to Ms. Sopinka! While in the book signing line I asked her if she was excited to be participating in this year's TOB. She said she didn't know anything about it! When the brackets were released a week or so later, I was disappointed to find that she was going up against 'Washington Black', a book she mentioned to a colleague that she wanted to read. Rooting for both of them, if that's possible.


message 32: by Neale (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments Karen wrote: "Collin wrote: "Saya wrote: "Okay, so I'm half way through this one, so take this comment with a grain of salt...

I know it's almost impossible, but I'd like this book to go up against There, There..."


Karen, that is an amazing story. She didn't know that her book was in the shortlist. Wow! I wish I could have been there at that signing. This is my first ToB, not sure how it will go. I suppose it goes down to the judges of that matchup.


message 33: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 766 comments Collin wrote: "Elizabeth Arnold wrote: "Collin wrote: "Saya wrote: "Okay, so I'm half way through this one, so take this comment with a grain of salt...

I know it's almost impossible, but I'd like this book to g..."


Collin, are you following the tournament? (I haven't seen you around here lately.) The judge agreed... :)


message 34: by Carmel (new)

Carmel Hanes | 130 comments Elizabeth Arnold wrote: "Collin wrote: "Elizabeth Arnold wrote: "Collin wrote: "Saya wrote: "Okay, so I'm half way through this one, so take this comment with a grain of salt...

I know it's almost impossible, but I'd like..."


I was just about to ask the same thing....Collin should be happy this morning! I have yet to read this one, but it awaits in my pile.


message 35: by Neale (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments Hi Elizabeth and Carmel. I am happy. There is something about The Dictionary. I still don't have a copy of it yet and I want to read it again.

I am still following the tournament Elizabeth. It's exciting! :)


message 36: by Jason (new)

Jason Perdue | 596 comments Book vs audio?


message 37: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1655 comments so I was going to check this one out regardless due to the interesting thread here, but now I have to bump it up to this week because it just blew up my bracket (I had Washington Black making it all the way to semi's despite not thinking it's the strongest on the left side of the bracket).


message 38: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 766 comments Amy wrote: "so I was going to check this one out regardless due to the interesting thread here, but now I have to bump it up to this week because it just blew up my bracket (I had Washington Black making it al..."

I’m at 100% in my dream bracket, and I think that streak might continue through tomorrow. This shocks and delights me. I feel like popping a champagne cork or something.


message 39: by Neale (new)

Neale  (collincollinsbookblogcom) | 122 comments Amy wrote: "so I was going to check this one out regardless due to the interesting thread here, but now I have to bump it up to this week because it just blew up my bracket (I had Washington Black making it al..."

I felt the same. I was sure Washington Black would win, but secretly hoping The Dictionary would. I zombied The Dictionary thinking that it would go out quickly for sure.


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