More Hilarity in KUDOS

At home she generally avoided doing housework . . .  because those kinds of chores made her feel so unimportant that she wouldn’t have been able to write anything afterwards.

Kudos, p. 51

Self’s Top Three Reads of 2018

How did self end up selecting these three?

The books may have been far from perfect — self thinks, in particular, of the first two — but they were the books she found herself re-reading, despite their flaws:

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  • Dead Letters, by Caite Dolan-Leach: Bravo, Dolan-Leach. Self has not been able to dislodge the dysfunctional Antipova twins and their yummy boy toy, Wyatt Darling, from her thoughts since she read this, Dolan-Leach’s first novel, mid-November.
  • Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz: Beat out a host of other science fiction self read this year, including All Systems Red, Book 1 of The Murderbot Diaries, by Martha Wells; and Jade City, by Fonda Lee. The book lived because of a character named Threezed.
  • The Subtle Knife, by Philip Pullman: Vol. 2 of His Dark Materials killed self in every way. If not exactly perfect, it was close. Will Parry forever. The book did such a number on her that she went to Oxford to see Will and Lyra’s bench, in the Oxford Botanical Garden.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

KUDOS: Like DEAD LETTERS, But On Menopause

Chortling with glee, self reads:

  • “I’m stifling. It’s probably the menopause,” she said, and made quotation marks in the air with her fingers: “Ice melts as woman writer overheats . . . I’ve been on tour so long I’m starting to pass through the stages of ageing . . . My face hurts from having to smile all the time. I’ve eaten all the weird food and now this dress is the only thing I can fit into. I’ve worn it so many times it’s become like my apartment.” — Kudos, p. 46

Self loves this novel so much. If she hadn’t read Jamaica Inn first, she might have chosen this as her Favorite Novel Read In 2018.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

KUDOS: Hilarity

She talked about a reading she had done in New York with a well-known novelist. They had agreed beforehand how the reading would go, but when they got on stage the novelist announced to the audience that instead of reading they were going to sing. The audience went wild for the idea and the novelist stood up and sang.

Kudos, p. 44

Sentence of the Day: Rachel Cusk

What all publishers were looking for, he went on — the holy grail, as it were, of the modern literary scene — were those writers who performed well in the market while maintaining a connection to the values of literature; in other words, who wrote books that people could actually enjoy without feeling in the least demeaned by being seen reading them.

Kudos, p. 37

Anastasia Ivanovna Medvedkina, Machine Gunner

You’re a writer. Think up something yourself. Something beautiful. Without lice and filth, without vomit . . . Without the smell of vodka and blood . . . Not so frightening as life.

— from The Unwomanly Face of War, by Svetlana Alexievich

Taissia Petrovna Rudenko-Sheveleva, WWII Company Commander, the Moscow Fleet

A woman in the navy . . . that was something forbidden, even unnatural. People thought it would be bad luck for a ship . . .  In our village the women teased my mother to death: what did you give birth to — a girl or a boy? I wrote a letter to Voroshilov himself, asking to be accepted in the Leningrad Artillery School. They accepted me only on his personal order. The only girl.

When I finished the school, they still wanted me to stay on dry land. Then I stopped telling them I was a woman . . . on one occasion, I gave myself away. I was scrubbing the deck, suddenly heard a noise, and turned around: a sailor was chasing a cat that had ended up on the ship, no one knew how. There was a belief, probably from the earliest times, that cats and women bring bad luck at sea. The cat didn’t want to quit the ship, and its dodges would have been the envy of a world-class football player. The whole ship was laughing. But when the cat nearly fell into water, I got frightened and screamed. And it was evidently such a girlish treble that the men’s laughter stopped at once. Silence fell.

I heard the commander’s voice: “Watchman, is there a woman on board?”

“No, sir, Comrade Commander.”

Panic again. There was a woman on board.

. . .  I was the first woman to be a commissioned officer in the navy. During the war I was in charge of arming the ships and the naval infantry.

  • — from an oral interview in Svetlana Alexievich’s The Unwomanly Face of War (Penguin Books), translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

Svetlana Alexievich: Women, War

“I observed more than once how in their conversations the small overrode the great, even history.” — Svetlana Alexievich

“It’s a pity that I was beautiful only during the war . . .  My best years were spent there. Burned up. Afterward I aged quickly . . . ” — Anna Galai, submachine gunner

Antonina Mironovna Lenkova, Car Mechanic

Svetlana Alexievich’s The Unwomanly Face of War is such powerful oral history (It’s taking self forever to get through; she can’t help poring over each interview).

Antonina Mironovna Lenkova:

My passion was books. I sobbed over the novels of Lidia Charskaya, read and re-read Turgenev.

Note by the author:

  • Lidia Charskaya (1875 – 1938) was an actress at the prestigious Alexandrinsky Theater in St. Petersburg and a prolific writer of popular fiction. Her work was officially banned in 1920.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Catching People Unaware (in England)

All gratitude to Cee Neuner, for a prompt that allowed self to share these pictures, taken during her latest trip. She’d never have thought of posting them otherwise.

Traveling in winter is hard, self didn’t know just how hard until she was in the middle of the trip.

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Blackfriar Train Station, London, November 2018

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The Millenium Bridge, London, November 2018

DSCN0092 Oxford Street Market, November 2018

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