Sentence of the Day: LEVIATHAN AWAKES

Chapter One: Holden

“If we flip the ship right now and burn like hell for most of two days, I can get us within fifty thousand kilometers, sir.”

Teaching Kindergarten: The Stress!

“I watch them like a hawk, I really do. Well, I try, but I’ve got twenty-eight kids, two with ADHD, one with learning difficulties, two gifted kids, at least four whose parents think they’re gifted, and one who is so allergic I feel like I should have one hand on the EpiPen at all times and — “

Big Little Lies, p. 270

So far, it’s all about Mothers Club. But self is still here! After 270 pages. Liane Moriarty is quite a storyteller. Self just didn’t expect the novel to be so thoroughly satirical.

There are no boring parts. Even though it’s mostly about THE PARENT TRAP, how parents guilt themselves into trying to provide the ‘perfect’ environment for their kids. (A lot of parents must be reading this book and identifying with the characters here)

Also, for some reason, suburban life in Australia is exactly like suburban life in northern California. Who knew?

There are really only two ‘good’ men. Thankfully, one of them is married to a main character. So we get to read a lot about him.

Stay tuned.

Big Little Lies, p. 163: So Many Balls in the Air!

Self began reading this book right after she read the collected short stories of Ernest Hemingway, how she does not get whiplash, she doesn’t know. Things get even more whiplash-y when she begins the next book on her reading list: Outlander.

P. 163: How is Liane Moriarty going to pull all these threads together? She has the ENTIRE Kindergarten Mommies routine down pat.

But there has to be something about this book MORE than just a satire on Kindergarten Mommies, because it did become a huge US bestseller (Self keeps forgetting it’s NOT set in America: the characters don’t speak Aussie patois. They don’t even curse! Not even the bad ones)

“Where’s Jackie today, Jonathan?” asked Gabrielle. The mothers were all mildly obsessed with Jonathan’s wife, ever since she’d been interviewed on the business segment of the evening news a few nights back, sounding terrifyingly precise and clever about a corporate takeover and putting the journalist in his place. Also, Jonathan was very good-looking in a George Clooney-esque way, so constant references to his wife were necessary to show that they hadn’t noticed this and weren’t flirting with him.”

Too. Funny.

Stay tuned.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro: SNARK

A direct quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Diamond As Big as the Ritz appears below. Poor Julian indeed! Hemingway’s contempt is code. The ‘someone’ is probably Hemingway.

  • The rich were dull and they drank too much, or they played too much backgammon. They were dull and they were repetitious. He remembered poor Julian and his romantic awe of them and how he had started a story once that began, “The very rich are different from you and me.” And how someone had said to Julian, Yes, they have more money.

 

Also Still Writing, Ho Hey

To date, novel is 102,663 words (Before corona virus shelter in place, it was around 97k, essentially finished, but anyhoo. There shall be a sequel!)

From a scene between the Governor General of the Filipinas and self’s MC, Matias:

The Governor General smiled. “When I had not heard from you, I knew you must have found a way to keep yourself busy.”

They drank until it grew dark and the fireflies began to dance.

Stay tuned.

The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber

It starts off the collection, and it’s pretty long (for a Hemingway short story). All about a safari in Africa. Interesting, told from the safari guide’s point of view, who OF COURSE finds the wife attractive. The husband, Macomber (only in his mid-30s, but intimidated by the safari guide), is portrayed as a wimp. Despite these clichés of manhood and/or lack thereof, self finds herself empathizing much with Macomber. His reluctance to shoot the lion, for instance.

In this short story, the meal in question is breakfast.

Robert Wilson, the guide, has kippers and coffee.

“Finish your breakfast and we’ll be starting.”

Also, the lion’s point of view is part of this story. Pretty cool, that part. And you will feel, in your bones, how disgusting it is to hunt lions. Feeling and knowing are two different things.

Wife rewards Big Lion-Hunter with a kiss on the mouth, right in front of her husband. Guess Hemingway thinks that’s what all real men deserve, when they’ve finished off a lion. They deserve to be rewarded with a kiss from a beautiful woman. Because — hey! Hunter-killers are rad! Self can’t think of any story she’s ever read that infuriated her so much.

Story becomes very noir-ish towards the end, characters speak very “posh,” in a version of British stiff-upper-lip.

Her sympathies to Macomber.

Stay tuned.

The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: The First Forty-Nine

Not reading in the order in which they appear in the book. Rather, starting with the stories Hemingway wrote while he was marching with The Fifth Column.

DSCN0042

There’s a date in self’s handwriting on the flyleaf: February 1984

Story # 1:  The Killers, p. 279

This story is about dinner.

“Everything we want’s the dinner, eh?”

“I can give you ham and eggs, bacon and eggs, liver — “

“I’ll take ham and eggs,” the man called.

“Give me bacon and eggs,” said the other man.

Which so does not sound like dinner to self, but anyhoo.

Stay tuned.

Waugh’s Dialogue: On Point

Brideshead Revisited, Chapter V

“Members?” asked a stout woman, in evening dress.

“I like that,” said Mulcaster. “You ought to know me by now.”

“Yes, dearie,” said the woman without interest. “Ten bob each.”

The club is hot, noisy and disagreeable but the boys are extremely flattered when, “without its being ordered, the waiter immediately brought a plate of eggs and bacon.”

They immediately fall to.

“That’s another six bob,” said the waiter.

The dialogue is absolutely delicious.

Stay tuned.

Cordelia, Sebastian’s Sister (Age: 10)

“You are fond of wine?”

“Very.”

“I wish I were. It is such a bond with other men. At Magdalen I tried to get drunk more than once, but I did not enjoy it. Beer and whisky I find even less appetizing. Events like this afternoon’s are a torment to me in consequence.”

“I like wine,” said Cordelia.

A Word of Advice, Cousin

Brideshead Revisited, p. 36:

“None of these people you go around with pull any weight in their own colleges, and that’s the real test. They think because they’ve got a lot of money to throw about, they can do anything.

And that’s another thing. I don’t know what allowance my uncle makes you, but I don’t mind betting you’re spending double. All this,” he said, including in a wide sweep of his hand the evidence of profligacy about him. It was true. My room had cast aside its austere winter garments, and by not very slow stages, assumed a richer wardrobe. “Is that paid for?” (the box of a hundred cabinet Partagas on the sideboard) “or those?” (a dozen frivolous, new books on the table) “or those?” (a Lalique decanter and glasses) “or that peculiarly noisome object” (a human skull lately purchased from the School of Medicine, which, resting on a bowl of roses, formed, at the moment, the chief decoration of my table. It bore the motto Et in arcadia ego inscribed on its forehead.)

“Yes,” I said, glad to be clear of one charge. “I had to pay cash for the skull.”

“You can’t be doing any work. Not that that matters particularly if you’re making something of your career elsewhere — but are you? Have you spoken at the Union or at any of the clubs? Are you connected with any of the magazines? And your clothes!”

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