User Profile


Joined 1 year, 8 months ago

dorking around with old books for work and reading new books for fun; you can find me anywhere as wykenhimself; she/her

This link opens in a pop-up window

sarah's books

View all books

User Activity

The Overstory (Paperback, 2019, W. W. Norton & Company) 4 stars

The Overstory is a novel by Richard Powers published in 2018 by W. W. Norton …

let it rewrite your relationship to trees and time

5 stars

This book pulled me into its world of trees and gutted me. I loved the richly drawn human characters and the stories they and the author tell about and learn from trees. I didn’t love the whiteness of the book, but also the relationship Powers describes between people and trees is a particularly white western one—some sense of indigenous stewardship before the end would have made that less irksome. But the book is beautiful and devastating to read, and I can’t stop thinking about trees.

Old books, rare friends (Paperback, 1998, Main Street Books/Doubleday) 4 stars

You'd think a book about antiquarian bookselling wouldn't be loaded with suspense or keep us …

Charming and insidery

4 stars

I’m pretty taken with these women, important rare book dealers and a tightly bound pair of friends. They’re the ones who dug about Louisa Alcott’s sensational pieces! Leona traveled to Strasberg by herself in 1936 to study books after Columbia refused to grant her a PhD! Their accounts of book rummaging and feminist takes on history are fun. Their family stories and their devoted friendship are delightful. Apparently they have a number of other co-written books that cover similar terrain. Good for book nerds and for asexual (and maybe aro?) companionship.

Homicide in hardcover (2009, Wheeler Pub.) 3 stars

murder is always a bestseller...first in the new bibliophile mystery series!The streets of San Francisco …

Ridiculous but fun for bibliophiles

3 stars

Ok I made fun of the glitches but also I had fun reading the book, and that’s the big thing. Details into conservation work! A faux Huntington Library! A commune that sells wine! Ridiculously handsome and gorgeous people! Next up she goes to Scotland so I am of course reading that.

Women Talking (Hardcover, 2019, Bloomsbury Publishing) 5 stars

Gorgeous and complex on an unimaginably horrid situation

5 stars

I’m still wrestling with this! She writes so sensitively and often affectingly obliquely about the tragedy that was forced on these women and their efforts to work through agency and safety and faith and love. I would not recommend this for anyone who has suffered sexual abuse without a great deal of preparation ahead of time

Burning the Books (Hardcover, 2020, Harvard University Press) 3 stars

The director of the famed Bodleian Libraries at Oxford narrates the global history of the …

A good dad book about a mammoth issue

3 stars

Which is to say, wow this book is cramming too much into too little space, and wow is it ever a white western perspective on it all. I suspect folks who are not book historians, librarians, or archivists might enjoy this book more than I did or my book club. There are some great parts about the ways in which knowledge gets destroyed (John Leland and the English Reformation!! YIVO and the Holocaust!!). But, see above re a very western perspective on all of this. (Apologies to all the dads out there who deserve a better book on the topic.)

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Hardcover, 2021, Tordotcom) 5 stars

It's been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; …

cozy sorrows

4 stars

Read this in Teixcalaan recovery mode and loved it. I think I was supposed to find it optimistic and cozy etc etc and I did. But I also found deep sorrows hiding in its slant looks at how we live now. So: it's about stopping to rest but it's also about getting the purpose to do better.

The Lantern Men (Paperback, 2021, Mariner) 3 stars

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway changed her life—until a convicted killer tells her that four of …

not the best of the series, but also not the worst?

3 stars

less soap-opera than it was getting (good), the murder mystery was less great than some of the others (bad), and Ruth is living in Cambridge (wrong), but still pretty delightful

Mutual Aid (2020, Verso) 4 stars

Mutual aid is the radical act of caring for each other while working to change …

great on why mutual aid matters & how to make it work

4 stars

I love the first half of this book as a primer on what mutual aid is and how it’s different from the world of charity (although as an intro to the concept it will play better for lefty readers who already have some inkling of those problems). And I love the second half as a really practical guide to leadership and management, which is key for mutual aid group dynamics but also full of good material to use for reflecting on this in all sorts of dynamics. The book is short, sweet, and I now have a habit of giving it away to mutual aid friends

Beautiful World, Where Are You (Hardcover, 2021, Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 3 stars

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d …

the writing! but the characters!

4 stars

I don’t have to like the characters in the books I read (and actually as a former EngLit prof, find that way of reading for likeability or relatedness to be super limiting). But having said that, with every single Rooney novel, I struggle with frustration and wanting to shake the characters, especially the young women. I think this is probably the point of it all? This is gorgeously written, especially the third-person chapters describing the characters’ actions etc and the cinematic looking-at-ness of those sections (she tells you insistently what it looks like the characters are feeling from their actions rather than telling you how they feel). But I still wondered the whole time, as I have with Normal and Conversations, why I was reading it.

One Last Stop (Paperback, 2021, St. Martin's Griffin) 4 stars

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: …

Goofy paranormal queer romance that mostly works

3 stars

I somehow missed that this was going to have a paranormal element—the protagonist’s love interest really is stuck on the Q—and I didn’t love that element. But I liked the characters and the sex scenes were good and I would definitely date a 1970s punk dyke

Beloved (1987, Alfred A. Knopf) 4 stars

Beloved is a 1987 novel by the American writer Toni Morrison. Set after the American …


5 stars

I don’t think I really grasped all of this when I read it as a 18yo when it was first published. The long histories of trauma and the grip of the past. It’s just a tremendous book and even now I feel like I am barely grasping its glimmers.