Opening Sentence, The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal

Self has decided to juggle reading Evan Thomas’s First: Sandra Day O’Connor with Stendhal’s The Charterhouse of Parma.

She’s trying to finish writing two novels and they’re both political novels, so reading Stendhal should help.

Chapter One, The Charterhouse of Parma:

On May 15, 1796, General Bonaparte entered Milan at the head of that young army which had lately crossed the Lodi Bridge and taught the world that after so many centuries Caesar and Alexander had a successor.

W.O.W. From the foreword: This tale was written in the winter of 1830 and three hundred leagues from Paris . . .

The translation self is reading is by Richard Howard.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

Sentence of the Day: Evan Thomas

The Lazy B got about ten inches a year, barely enough, and in some years not that.

— p. 9, First: Sandra Day O’Connor

The first female justice on the US Supreme Court grew up on a cattle ranch called the Lazy B in Arizona, and the ranch hands (most from Mexico) named their horses Hysterectomy, Hemorrhoid, Idiot, and in one case, Swastika (in jest, self is sure)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Reading SEAPOWER: THE HISTORY AND GEOPOLITICS OF THE WORLD’S OCEANS

At the heart of the teeming South China Sea is Hong Kong, perhaps the finest natural harbor in the world. The first time I pulled into it was 1977, as an ensign assigned as the anti-submarine warfare officer on a brand-new Spruance-class destroyer named USS Hewitt. The captain, Fritz Gaylord, foolishly let me drive the ship as the junior officer of the deck for the sea and anchor detail. It was a complex mooring to a buoy, a huge floating concrete hulk anchored to the bottom of the harbor. The idea was to nuzzle the pointed nose of the 9,000-ton warship up to the buoy, hold it steady with the engines and rudder, and allow enough time for a handful of stalwart boatswain mates to jump from a small boat and affix our ship’s anchor to a kind of connection link to the buoy.

This was a situation that required great ship handling skills which I did not possess, at least not at that early moment in my career.

— Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.), Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans, p. 169

The Philippines, 1601

An account by Pedro Chirino, S.J. (via Blair & Robertson: A History of the Philippine Islands, vol. 12):

He describes the customs of the natives in bathing, which is a universal and frequent practice among them. On the shore of the lagoon of Bai are hot springs, which have already become a noted health resort.

Francisco Alcina, Augustinian missionary, also describes the Filipino predilection for bathing in his book about the Visayan Islands, early 1600s.

There must have been a number of Spanish missionaries watching the natives bathe “every day.”

lol

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Shadow King, p. 73

Why is self reading so slowly these days? There was a time when she used to average 60 books/year. Anyhoo, she is absolutely enthralled by her current book, a novel by Maaza Mengiste. Set in  1930s (?) Ethiopia. It’s written in impressionistic style, so the dates don’t matter all that much. It feels very much like one flowing river of memory.

A young servant girl feels a strange connection between herself and the man of the house. The cook tries to set her straight. Meanwhile, her mistress rides across the countryside on a horse, dressed in jodhpurs like a man.

We all know that war destroys mankind, and in spite of their differences in race, creed, and religion, women all across the world despise war because the fruit is nothing but destruction.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

Monday Read: THE FILIPINOS: PORTRAIT OF A PEOPLE, by Manuel D. Duldulao

p. 13: “the past comes rushing back . . . ”

  • On election day, in full view of more than 700 foreign and local journalists, and millions of concerned citizens, Marcos’s men ripped up ballots, bought others and muzzled voters. As many as three million names were stricken off the voters’ list.

p. 16 features a description of self’s favorite Filipino dessert, halo-halo (Literal Translation: mix-mix):

  • This delicacy, served in a tall sundae glass, contains diced bananas, sweet mango, chickpeas, kidney beans, strands of macapuno (the succulent meat of a variety of coconut) — all of these in syrup — plus pinipig (kernels of crisp and delectable rice), mongo beans, corn, langka (jackfruit), sweet potato, jello, ube (purple yam preserves), and leche flan.

HUNGRY.

Currently Getting to Know

The enthralling voice of Maaza Mengiste

DSCN0093

Self’s copy is from the Redwood City Public Library.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Aryan Knights of Freedom

Hot, hot day. Still reading Elmore Leonard’s “Fire in the Hole”.

Trigger Warning: white supremacy, ‘niggers,’ spray-painting synagogues. Elmore Leonard could have been writing about today.

  • This Jared had come recommended from an Oklahoma group, the Aryan Knights of Freedom. Jared saying he heard of Crowder’s Commandos he couldn’t wait to drive his new SUV over to Kentucky and join up. Saying he was anxious to get into high explosives ‘stead of chasing niggers down alleys and spray-painting synagogues; shit. He said he was in Oklahoma City for the Murrah Federal Building, got there just a few minutes after she blew. He said it had inspired him to get in the fight. Sometimes talking about the Murrah Buiding it would sound like he had taken part in that mission with Tim and Terry.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

“Fire in the Hole”

The title story:

They had dug coal together as young men and then lost touch over the years. Now it looked like they’d be meeting again, this time as lawman and felon, Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder.

Boyd did six years in a federal penitentiary for refusing to pay his income tax, came out and found religion. He received his ordination by mail order in South Carolina and formed a sect he called Christian Aggression. The next thing he did, Boyd formed the East Kentucky Militia with a cadre of neo-Nazi skinheads, a bunch of boys wearing Doc Martens and swastika tattoos. They were all natural-born racists and haters of authority, but still had to be taught what Boyd called “the laws of White Supremacy as laid down by the Lord,” which he took from Christian identity doctrines. Next thing, he trained these boys in the use of explosives and automatic weapons. He told them they were now members of Crowder’s Commandos, sworn to take up the fight for freedom against the coming Mongrel World Order and the government’s illegal tax laws.

That’s some opening. Probably one of the best short story openings ever.

So Boyd Crowder was a neo-Nazi skinhead? Somehow, this little fact escaped self’s mind when she was watching the show. Or perhaps they downplayed it for the adaptation, to make Boyd more likeable.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Dan Gets Out of His Father-in-Law’s Mercedes: He Is Not a Happy Man

The Snakes (never mind the page, it’s somewhere near the end, that’s all self can give you).

Dan is clearly not a happy man. He even casts shade on what’s become of the old Battersea Power Station.

Battersea Power Station is, in self’s humble opinion, A GREAT RECYCLE OF INDUSTRIAL ARCHITECTURE. It’s now the Tate Modern. OK, maybe it’s a little grim. But that’s just the outside. The art inside is fabulous!

Of course it would go. Everything went. Like Battersea Power Station before it, a place like that was marked for destruction . . . He leaned against a wall and watched the people going by, and the girl cooking the curry in the wok . . . She’d been joined by a friend who had propped up a sign saying ‘vegan.’ She smiled at Dan. He didn’t like white girls with braids . . . He put his hands in his pockets and walked away, out into the noise of Rye Lane, towards the station . . . He was nearly crying when he got to the station, and he didn’t even know why.

Lighten up, Dan!

Self can’t WAIT to see how this novel ends. According to 80% of the people who left reviews on goodreads, it’s going to be terrible.

Self’s next read is an Elmore Leonard short story collection, and those stories will be as far from contemporary London as one can possibly imagine.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

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