Everlark Thursday

Twenty years after the demise of President Snow, Peeta starts having nightmares about the Games again. He’s re-called to the Capitol so Dr. Aurelius can help him figure out why. Turns out there is a mysterious Katniss look-alike named Melania who haunts his dreams . . . and who also happens to be on-staff in the hospital where Peeta is currently being treated.

Coincidence? Or evidence of a nefarious conspiracy? Self’s feeling is —

No! Peeta! Stop! Eeeeeeeeek! Go back to 12, pronto!

(To be continued)

Adjusting the Reading List

The Girl On the Train was a very satisfying read! She will keep her eye out for Paula Hawkins’s next book. She hopes that, someday, there will be a sequel to The Girl On the Train.

In the meantime, self got a few pages into Savage Park: A Meditation on Play, Space, and Risk etc. and was quite surprised to find that it is mostly about a playground in Japan, one the author encountered when she accepted the invitation of a friend to visit her in Tokyo. Self doesn’t know what she was expecting, but she knows it wasn’t a meditation on a children’s playground, not with a title like Savage Park.

Since she is still so keyed up after finishing The Girl On the Train, she decides she’s in the thriller-reading mode, so she opts to put aside Savage Park and go for the next book on her reading list: Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart.

The next book after Girl Waits With Gun: The Green Road, by Anne Enright. And after that, a book called Lonely in the City: Adventures in the Art of Living Alone. And after that, a couple of travel books, starting with The Narrow Road to the Deep North: Travel Sketches, by Matsuo Basho. Will I be able to finish more by the end of summer? Hope so.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

FIRE: Sylvain Landry Week 50

This Sylvain Landry photo challenge — FIRE — was unexpectedly challenging!

Self scanned her photo archives and finally came up with the below picture, a window display of the London Review Bookshop, 2015. The David Harvey book has a torch on the cover. Good enough?

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London Review Bookshop, Spring 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Get Out of There, Rachel!

Such is self’s empathy for The Girl on the Train‘s Rachel that she can’t help feeling protective about her.

SPOILER ALERT

Rachel (self feels like screaming) do NOT, Do NOT go into that man’s house!

As if to prove that the problems of self and Rachel do not count for a hill of beans in this crazy world, Rachel never disappoints: she goes into the man’s house.

Given her vulnerability and her need and her alcohol dependency, it’s a wonder she’s remained alive this long. Seriously.

“Come and sit down,” the man says. “Have a drink.”

No, Rachel, do NOT accept a drink from that man!

There’s something unkind about the set of his face (Rachel thinks). The contempt that I saw on Saturday morning, after we slept together, is still there.

Rachel takes a drink. In the very next breath: Outside, I can hear shrieking —

“Sit the fuck down.”

Self knew it! She knew it was a set-up! (Quick check of how many pages till the end. About 50. Maybe in those 50 pages Rachel can get to her cell phone and call the police? Maybe in those 50 pages Rachel will find a weapon of some sort and kill HIM? Maybe in those 50 pages the reader will learn that Rachel is actually a karate black belt? Before she turned into an alcoholic, that is? Maybe the man will turn out to be harmless? Maybe the reader will learn that “Sit the fuck down” is meant as a term of endearment?)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Still Reading THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Gaah, this book. Doling out the suspense in teaspoon-size increments.

Anna is the current wife of Tom, who used to be married to Rachel. These three live near each other (Can you imagine? Bring on the pain!). The women in the story get their own points of view (Is this a feminist novel?) The male characters are either: a) louts; b) stinking ex-es; c) handsome unscrupulous jerks or d) clue-less. Hey, maybe this IS a feminist novel!

One day, when Anna is stuck at home minding the baby, she feels nostalgia: “I miss being a mistress.”

Yes. One day Anna’s flirting with Tom at an office party. Next thing you know, she’s a lonely stay-at-home mom.

On the idea of mistresses: there are a lot of them.

In Manila, self was included in an anthology of short stories all dedicated to “the mistress.” The title was Querida, something like that. (Suddenly, self realizes she never got her contributor copies. Why?)

This was Dearest Mum’s reaction to a short story self had written: “That’s not realistic,” Dearest Mum said. “There’s no such thing as an ugly mistress in Manila.”

Oh, Dearest Mum, you are hysterical!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Partners 3: People

“. . .  give us subjects that are in tune with each other.”

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

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San Marco Square, Venice: November 2015

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San Francisco: October 2015

Joan McGavin, Jenny Lewis, and Jenny's Granddaughter Abigail in Oxford, UK: July 2015

Joan McGavin, Jenny Lewis, and Jenny’s Granddaughter Abigail in Oxford, UK: July 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

GIRL ON THE TRAIN Quote of the Day

This novel is pitch perfect. Absolutely pitch perfect. If Hawkins were ever to offer a master class on switching points of view, self would sign up!

Here we are in Rachel’s head:

  • It’s an odd thing to say, but I think this all the time. I don’t feel bad enough.

Oh no oh no oh no is something bad going to happen to Rachel? Worse, is she going to do something bad to herself?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Partners 2: Summer 2016

Share an image of partners. A pair, a trio, a sextet; people, buildings, plants — whatever you choose to shoot, give us subjects that are in tune with one another.

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

Life is full of little pleasures. And for self’s second post on The Daily Post theme this week, PARTNERS, self decided to focus on three of her favorites: summer; prosciutto; and Chez Mamie in London!

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Summer and Vintage Cars go together like white on rice!

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Prosciutto and Melon: Another Great Summer Pairing

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Mother & Daughter at Self’s Little Piece of Home in London, Chez Mamie! They make their own jam, which are those little bottles in the foreground. Self goes ga-ga over their salads.

P.S. Self saw Independence Day: Resurgence today, and it was pretty good! She was pleasantly surprised at Liam Hemsworth, too. He seemed much looser than he ever was in The Hunger Games movies. So, a good popcorn movie, most definitely.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Random Thoughts on Summer 2016 Movies

SUMMER!  SUMMER IS HERE!  WOOT HOOT AND HIGH FIVES!

Self swore, way back in January, that she would find joy again in watching movies. And she has! She has! Even when she was in venerable Oxford, UK, she managed to watch “X-Men: Apocalypse” and “Captain America: Civil War”! (Which is probably why she ran out of time before she could drop by the Ashmolean. But she is not a complete Philistine: she did spend time in the Bodleian, and took a one-day poetry workshop at Saint Hilde’s)

So, let’s see, here are the list of summer movies she’s seen so far:

  • Me Before You (Emilia Clarke meets Bridget Jones: Clarke is too adorable!)
  • The Shallows (Blake Lively and her cute butt and her long legs and her killer smile meet a totally focused great white in the wilds of — Latin America? Mexico? Where the pretty Texan encounters very chivalrous men. The only un-chivalrous man who comes within Blake’s orbit gets . . . umm, well, let’s just say: Payback’s a bitch)
  • Love & Friendship (Xavier Samuels: What is her life? AAAARGH. When you put a handsome man in period duds, it’s lights out. At least, as far as self is concerned)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (Let us give credit where credit is due: the only reason self watches anymore is Evan Peters)
  • Captain America: Civil War (American snark rules! Especially in this series! YES!)

She will probably end up seeing Independence Day: Resurgence even though it has Liam. And mediocre reviews (Liam, you need a new agent! Pronto! Someone who can find you movies that convince people you can actually move!)

Of the above, the best ‘summer movie’ movie is, in self’s humble opinion, The Shallows. Any movie that can evoke hoots, laughter, and finally a triumphant YEEEES from a California audience has definitely earned its spot in the Best Summer Movie pantheon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN: Train of Thought

Self wants it to NOT be Rachel.

Because Rachel evokes so many feelz in self.

And Rachel’s point of view is the one we’re inside of, mostly.

Somewhere near the halfway point of Girl on the Train, self reads an Anna point of view. Self is usually impatient with multiple point of view narratives: she thinks the switching around is really just a lame excuse for the author not to come up with a tight plot. Like the switch is nothing more than an extended tease. But self really relishes the point-of-view switches in Girl on the Train. The novel presents us with a great puzzle and a great unreliable narrator and the only way the reader can figure out what’s really going down is to hear from all the characters.

Anna (Tom’s current wife) describes seeing Rachel. It’s a scene that we’ve seen earlier, narrated from Rachel’s point of view. All along, self has thought of Rachel as a well-meaning, deluded drunk. Just your typical messed-up anti-heroine. Self absolutely loathes Tom. His diatribes, his abandonment of Rachel. Of course, we aren’t that sympathetic with Anna, Tom’s current wife.

Then, suddenly, we’re inside Anna’s head, Anna watching Rachel. And it is a little un-nerving to read Rachel as giving a sort of sneer at Anna. The sneer of a woman who is absolutely in control of her actions, if not of her emotions. Could Rachel be pulling a fast one on the reader? (And how on earth is Emily Blunt going to play this character, Emily Blunt who is so immensely likeable even when bitchy, as she was in The Devil Wears Prada?)

What’s really interesting is that, despite the fact that Anna is the Other Woman, and of course we would not expect her to have a sympathetic view of Rachel, when she describes sneering Rachel, it makes the reader question her liking of Rachel, instead of making us dislike Anna more.

Why does this happen?

Each switch in point of view is a surprise. In other words, the patterns are unpredictable: we don’t have a uniform order for the switching. It’s not Anna, followed by Rachel, followed by Megan, then back to Anna, followed by Rachel, followed by Megan etc etc

But each switch does carry the story forward. And readers find themselves becoming detectives, constantly testing new theories of who did what.

And such is self’s curiosity that she sometimes cannot wait to resume reading, she grabs the book (which is always in her tote) even if it only means reading a few paragraphs more.

She thinks her seatmate on the plane who much preferred Daniel Silva to Paula Hawkins was so, so wrong.

The Girl on the Train resembles The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, another mystery that asks: Who did it?

The central character has some flaw that makes it difficult for her/him to be taken seriously. In TCIOTDITN, it’s the narrator’s Aspergers. Here, it’s the fact that Rachel is alcoholic and depressed and given to mood swings. Yet, they doggedly persist in their “investigations.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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