‘Tis a Good Book

How does self know this is a good book?

Because she’s been praying ever since p. 5 that the love interest hasn’t gone and gotten himself hitched in the two years when he and the main character weren’t speaking to each other.

She’s trying to remember how she first heard about this book. It couldn’t, surely, have been the Wall Street Journal? Or The Economist? Or Locus Magazine? None of those sites ever gives romance recommendations.

Anyhoo, the main character, Poppy, is a little like herself: she’s open to a whole lot of movies:

“I will go anywhere a movie wants to take me, even if that is watching a spy in a fitted suit balance between two speedboats while he shoots at bad guys.”

PWMOV, p. 47

And right away self knows that Poppy’s describing a scene in a James Bond movie (She’s seen them all. Yes, ALL)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Now Reading

Even though self just started reading (last night), she likes the characters already, and that means she’s probably going to enjoy finding out what happens to them. It helps to know the FORMULA, because that is the only way self can stand reading about two likeable people who do not see what is right in front of their noses. Self is not against formula, as long as the writer keeps it fresh.

Take Shakespeare. She can take any Shakespeare, as long as it’s done with energy. Her first Shakespeare at The Globe in London was Titus Andronicus. Buckets of gore, in that one. People walking out, clutching their stomachs. LOVED! And this last Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale at Cal Shakes. She saw it three times. It was absolutely the highlight of her year. Some snob over at Facebook said it looked “awful.” Good! Stay away! Don’t take a seat away from someone who might love it!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

TSD Sentence of the Day

Still from the Colonel Novak point of view, but delving more into his family life, or lack thereof. Self really feels for the man, especially after she reads this, which is the TSD Sentence of the Day, this last Wednesday of September 2021:

  • After he had made a great effort to attend his elder son’s wedding, Ivan, the groom, had shaken his hand and said “Thank you very much for coming, sir,” as if he was just an ordinary guest.

What the — !!!! Holy — !!!!! That’s exactly what son said to self at HIS wedding! During a groom + mother dance during which even the wedding photographers disgustedly turned off their cameras because self, it turned out, was no dancer.

Russian Secret Police, Not To Be Deterred

Take heart, dear blog readers. Self is on p. 374 of The Slaughterman’s Daughter, which means there is a chance she will stop blogging about it, perhaps as soon as tomorrow! (Readers give collective sigh of relief).

Last night, sitting on her bed, she laughed so much and so loud, she’s sure the next-door neighbors heard. She was reading about a poor scarecrow of a man who could easily have stepped out of Don Quixote.

Here we are in a Russian Secret Police/Colonel Piotr Novak section:

God give him strength, he only met the four zyds a week ago. The lady of the group murdered his agents, another member of the group crushed his leg, and their toothpick of a companion wouldn’t stop singing. The one with the most alarming appearance, the scarred-mouth thug, was silent as a rock. None of them would be described as scholarly. If they had worn plain peasant clothes, they could have easily passed as local farmers. The woman was indeed intriguing, a Jewish Joan of Arc, perhaps, but goddamit what woman behaves like a wild beast

The Slaughterman’s Daughter, p. 374

Self knows she should hate Colonel Piotr Novak, but she just can’t. Or, to put it another way, she doesn’t want him to be off-ed until his humiliation is complete.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Whore Addresses Adamsky

Four people are fleeing from the Czar’s secret police and one of them, Adamsky, is, for some reason, wandering around a camp by himself (Maybe because the others are sleeping?). He has lately had to forsake his livelihood (a tavern) and throw in his fortunes with Fanny, Zizev, and a drunken cantor. This intensifies his tendency towards introspection.

He stumbles across a pod of army officers and nondescript women gathered around a bonfire. They invite him to join them, and he accepts.

One of the women gets up and sits next to Adamsky. “You’re really old,” she giggles, but for some reason he is not offended. “You have wrinkles in the corners of your eyes.”

The Slaughterman’s Daughter, p. 332

Later, Adamsky will fall madly in love with this woman — in fact will crush “seven noses (leaving one man completely snoutless) and tear off twenty-one earlobes” simply to get back to her.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

This One’s a Real Winner

Quote of the Day, Last Monday of September 2021:

Dr. Yakunin administered medicines strictly in inverse proportion to their necessity. He kept chloroform from the dying and let them writhe in agony, whereas patients overcoming mild infections were given sedatives in high doses. Surprisingly, this absurd system worked because all his patients tried to show signs of recovery, to obtain prescriptions if nothing else. This spared Dr. Yakumin from having to deal with the usual charades of screams and groaning, and his clinic was consequently an oasis of tranquillity.

The Slaughterman’s Daughter, p. 258

TSD Quote of the Day, Last Sunday of September 2021

People are pigs. It’s a rotten world.

The Slaughterman’s Daughter, p. 218

Life in Colour Challenge: September 2021

It is almost the end of September! What happened?

The Life in Colour Photo Challenge for this month is GOLD. Jude’s blog has so many striking photographs, wow.

A few days ago, the Anderson Collection on the Stanford Campus finally re-opened to the public (limited capacity: must register on-line first). I focused on pieces that had shades of GOLD:

“Approach” : Helen Frankenthaler, American (1928 – 2011)

“Burn and Glitter” : Jules Olitski, American, born Russia (1922-2007)

“Hostile Terrain 94” : a participatory art exhibition created by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP)

TSD Quote of the Day

Reading The Slaughterman’s Daughter at a snail’s pace. At this rate, should finish by the end of the month. Self loves all the action scenes. She doesn’t think she’s read action scenes like this since The Age of Madness, Joe Abercrombie’a Grimdark series.

  • The grandmother replies, “Not everyone is miserable, Mrs. Speismann, not everyone! There are shades and grades in these matters!” — TSD, p. 171

Quotes of the Day: The Winter’s Tale

“Go rot! Dost thou think I am so muddy?” — Leontes, The Winter’s Tale

Self grew to love Shakespeare only in middle age, and that was entirely because of Cal Shakes, which is in self’s humble opinion the Bay Area’s best theater company. Of course, it didn’t hurt that her first Cal Shakes play was Romeo and Juliet, where Romeo was played by ADAM SCOTT.

Since then, Cal Shakes has become firmly fixed as a rite of summer. Last year they were forced to cancel their entire season and lay off two-thirds of their full-time staff. This year, they came back with one play, The Winter’s Tale.

As soon as it was announced, self e-mailed son. She couldn’t believe it when he said right off that he would pass. Pass? How could he? He practically grew up with Cal Shakes! She used to bring carloads of his friends here! Of course, they’re all married now, but still!

She ended up seeing it with a friend, while it was still in previews. Before seeing it Sept. 12, self had never read the play, didn’t know anything about the play, would probably have gone through the rest of her life not giving a hoot about the play. Then, she saw it. Ummm. She sat stupefieadd and amazed for three hours. How stupefied and amazed? Exactly one week later she was back, by herself. By then, she’d already begun reading a hefty novel called The Slaughterman’s Daughter. She lugged it along, and remained in her seat through intermission, reading.

What’s really good about seeing a play alone is: you can eavesdrop. The person to her left (separated by two seats) was a woman perhaps a decade older than self, who’d come alone, and was wearing the cutest gold sandals. To her right was a family with teen-age girls, who were at Bruns for the first time, probably just to see what all the fuss was all about.

The parents were sitting immediately to self’s right, the daughters several rows behind. At intermission, the mother went to check on the girls. When she came back, the girls were trailing her. The mother told her husband:

“You know what, I just realized everyone thinks the King is an idiot.”

Daughter: “That’s cause he IS.”

Onward!

Self could remember so many more lines, after watching The Winter’s Tale a second time:

“Good Queen, my Lord. GOOD Queen.”

“Gross hag!”

“Oh! She is warm!”

But her favorite line is the last: Hermione tells a repentant Leontes, “Let’s from this place.” And with that, the play ends. If anyone had told self a week ago that she would end up shipping Hermione/Leontes, she would have said, Get out!

This adaptation of The Winter’s Tale was by Cal Shakes Director Eric Ting and Resident Dramaturg Philippa Kelly. Kudos.

Her love for Cal Shakes is undiminished.

Stay tuned.

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