Breaking Down Self’s 2019 Reading List

Most of Self’s favorite reads so far 2019 were novels (six out of 10).

Three of her favorite reads of 2019 were memoirs written by doctors.

One of her favorite reads of 2019 was a book about the environment.

Five of her six favorite novels were written by women.

This year she attended the Fowey Festival of the Arts (in honor of Daphne du Maurier) and during the festival, she bought a copy of Jane Austen‘s Northanger Abbey from Bookends of Fowey. She loved loved loved it.

None of the books she read in January and April ended up making much of an impression.

One of her six favorite novels has been optioned for the movies by Lawrence Kasdan.

One of her six favorite novels won a prize.

One of her six favorite novels is a finalist for a Kirkus Prize.

Her 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge was to read 34 books.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

3 CALIFORNIA CITIES (Tuesday Photo Challenge)

Self loves whenever viveka of my guilty pleasures posts for a new photo challenge.

Yesterday she posted on Tuesday Photo Challenge’s prompt: CITY. She has pictures of Chicago, Seattle, Hong Kong, Stockholm, and several others.

Self took the picture below last Saturday, during the Palo Alto Art & Wine Festival.

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Here’s a picture of Courthouse Square in self’s very own Redwood City:

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Friday, Just before an evening concert, July 2019

Self gave a reading at Philippine Expressions in Long Beach in March 2018. The naval yards are huge. This is the marina at sunset. I have never seen so many boats gathered in one place, virtually stretching to the horizon. My feeling was awe:

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Long Beach, California, March 2018

MsAligned 3, Women Writing About Men: COMING SOON

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This is ONE FIERCE ANTHOLOGY SERIES.

The List of Contributors to the 3rd volume in the series has just been announced.

Gulls and the Pagophilics

from the Dictionary of Birds (1985):

  • a ‘large, homogeneous, successful group probably at the summit of another evolutionary line.’

from Birds of the Western Palearctic (Unforgivable, in self’s view, that Dee fails to provide a date of publication):

  • ‘Predator, scavenger, food-pirate … taking almost anything available of suitable size, texture, etc’

Self’s horror story The Rorqual (currently 51 pages — self is so out of control!) uses exactly these kinds of dictionary definitions (in self’s case, pages long) to describe her ‘pagos’ and her ‘longnecks’ and her other what-not. She birthed this horror in Tyrone Guthrie. She can’t seem to write any of it until she returns to Annaghmakerrig. California is just too dry, too intensely hot, too savagely suburban.

Stay tuned.

California: The Light

California light is harsh. There are no subtleties between light and dark.

You’re young and then you’re suddenly old. It just happens.

We’re at the very middle of summer. After tomorrow, the days will get shorter. Self is sorry that she didn’t enjoy the summer as much as she should have. The weather every day was so unsettling: some days cool, like early spring. And then, the very next day, intensely hot.

She loves watching CNN: that succession of animatronic talking heads. The best moments of the Democratic Campaign so far have been: 1) Pete Buttigieg being confronted by a crowd of angry black citizens of South Bend, asking him if he believed in Black Lives Matter (“Are you asking me if black lives matter?” Buttigieg asked. “Of course they do.” A woman yelled: SAY IT. WE WANT TO HEAR YOU SAY IT. High drama, self loved it. Buttigieg did not back down. 2) Michael Bennett’s speech highlights, shown this morning before he came on The View. Until this morning, she barely registered a thought about him. WOW, that speech they aired this morning was a scorcher.

Both Buttigieg and Bennet are long shots, but they each represent a uniquely American energy. Which is COMPLETELY LACKING in the GOP.

She watched both Democratic debates. She was not enthused by Kamala’s unleashing on Biden. Self means, someone had to go after Biden, and no one was doing it, good for Kamala for having the keenest ambition of all the candidates. But really, it felt almost too easy. She won’t find it that easy to go after POTUS the same way.

Self tries to imagine a presidential debate between Trump and Kamala. She doesn’t think he’ll go for creepily stalking her across the stage, as he did with Hillary (Or maybe he will. Who knows? He’s clearly used that tactic before. On someone. Alas, Hillary was completely unprepared for the grotesque gesture)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Book Greed”: James P. Blaylock in POETS & WRITERS July/August 2019

  • A writer’s library is more than just a collection of books. It is also a piecemeal biography of that writer’s life, and measurably so, as most have writers have spent countless hours reading the books that they now own or have borrowed, hours that add up to years, perhaps decades, given a long enough life.

— James P. Blaylock, My Life in Books

Love this essay, which echoes so many of self’s feelings about her own library. Just recently, self decided to start reading some of her collection. Books she’s picked up from author’s readings, and then stashed away on a shelf, in the fond hope she’d get to them “someday.”

Someday is here!

Two of the books she’s owned for years but never got around to reading:

  • Carlos Bulosan’s story collection, The Laughter of My Father
  • Kelly Link’s short story collection, Get In Trouble (She read a couple of stories, not the whole collection)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Her 2019 Reading Year

Top reading year, this is turning out to be.

Her Favorites, by Month:

  • February: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and November Road by Lou Berney.
  • March: Becky Chambers’ Record of a Spaceborn Few.
  • April: Milkman by Anna Burns; Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday; and Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush.
  • May: Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges by Antony Beevor and Northanger Abbey.
  • June: Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lily: ONCE UPON A RIVER, p. 153

Lily is rather simple, and self is moving slow as slow through this deliciously rich narrative (which means, she is enjoying this novel immensely):

When she had done the laundry (and ironed the sheets and scrubbed the tiles and filled the log baskets and got the soot off the hearth and polished the furniture and shaken the curtains and knocked air into the cushions and gone round all the picture and mirror frames with a feather duster and put a shine on all the taps with vinegar and cooked the parson’s dinner and set it ready on the table under a cloth, and washed up and cleaned the stove and left everything in the kitchen neat and tidy), Lily went and knocked again at the study door.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Henry Tilney, The End of Daenerys

It’s nearly the end of Northanger Abbey, Henry Tilney still hasn’t declared any feelings for Catherine Morland, but self loves loves loves this him: his diffidence, his wit, his tenderness towards his sister Eleanor. So far, this is her favorite Jane Austen ever (a close second: Emma)

Still reading about Game of Thrones‘ final season because it hurt self to the core. Still more from yesterday’s USA Today (the first thing self grabbed during afternoon tea at the hotel yesterday):

  • Much like Cersei’s death last week, Dany’s demise felt like a dull, anticlimactic end.
  • Bran “hasn’t had a personality since Season 6 and is the least-helpful all-seeing magical reason ever.”

Self is still bitter that they brought Gendry back in Season 7 just to function as Arya’s boy toy in Season 8 (also, if you really want to know, she thinks Ed Sheeran’s pointless cameo in Season 7 should have warned her: You’re not going to like the way this ends.) Cleganebowl happened too late to really matter. Bronn stayed on-brand as the No. 1 Advocate for Brothels. Nice job, Sansa Stark, becoming Queen of the North. The melting down of the Iron Throne was whatever. Jon got to keep his melancholy look. And Davos was sitting right next to Gendry during the gathering of all the remaining families of Westeros, so these two will get to become each other’s family.

Self thinks the wriers’ interest in the story ended with Season 6. After, they were just making sure they dotted their “i’s” and crossed their “t’s” per contractual basis.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

.

Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature, Day 2

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Fowey: Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Have attended two talks, both of them brilliant. The one this morning was delivered by Kate Aspengren, an American playwright (from Iowa!): Where’s the Fire? A Playwright Considers the Plays of Daphne du Maurier.

Loved knowing about this other aspect of du Maurier. The woman tried her hand at everything: novels, short stories, plays — even poetry!

Aspengren talked about three du Maurier plays:

  • The Years Between (first staged 1944, in Manchester)
  • September Tide (first staged 1948, in Oxford)
  • her own adaptation of Rebecca

Because self has read Tatiana de Rosnay’s Manderley Forever (one of her favorite reads of 2018), she knows of Daphne’s fraught marriage. Her husband was General “Boy” Browning who was mentioned (not flatteringly lol) in the book self just finished reading, Antony Beevor’s Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, 1944. It was a very strained marriage, exacerbated by long absences. And du Maurier seems to have drawn on that for The Years Between.

As for September Tide, trust du Maurier to come up with this wickedly entertaining plot: A woman falls in love with her daughter’s husband. According to Aspengren, “the mother and son-in-law have an instant attraction to each other” despite an age gap of seven years.

Daphne du Maurier brings it.

Stay tuned.

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