Ann Glenconner and Imelda

Yes, they were friends. Of course they were.

Proof is in the photo gallery, circa 1978. Which self just paged through this morning.

20191112_115150

Currently Reading Memoir

Next on self’s reading list: Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth (Vol. II of his Book of Dust)

Stay tuned.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Finished The Overstory this morning (Found the ending very sad), and began Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown.

Never in a million years would she have imagined herself reading such a book, but self  happened to catch a hilarious interview with the author, Anne Glenconner, when she was in Dublin. The woman told the funniest stories! When she was on her honeymoon, a virgin bride, her husband booked them into a place called The Naughty Hotel.

Glenconner’s great-great-grandmother had to refer to her husband, the 2nd Earl of Leicester, as ‘Leicester,’ at all times. One day, passing a nurse with a baby in the corridor of his house, the Earl demanded of the nurse: “Whose child is that?” To which the nurse responded, “Yours, my lord!”

Summers were spent in “an old manner by the beach,” for a holiday known as No-Stays Week, when the women “quite literally let their hair down and “took off their corsets.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The San Francisco Bay Area in The Overstory

p. 378:  SPOILER-FREE

Three months later, a machine shed in a lumber yard up near the Olympic Peninsula explodes. Mimi reads about it in the Chronicle. She’s sitting on the grass by the Conservatory of Flowers, in the corner of Golden Gate Park, a ten-minute walk from the hilltop, University of San Francisco, where she’s finishing her master’s degree in rehabilitation and mental health counseling.

Newspaper Sidebar: Timeline of Ecological Terror, 1980 – 1999

Ha! Richard Powers gets the flavor of the San Francisco Bay Area down in spades. Wonder where he lives?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Overstory, p. 288

Hopefully, self will finish reading this book here, in Oxford. Then, she can lug it home to Redwood City, where it belongs. Even though Redwood City has NO actual redwoods any more.

Loggers to Nick Hoel and Olivia Vandergriff, into their second week of sitting on the crest of an ancient redwood:

  • “These trees are going to die and fall over. They should be harvested while they’re ripe, not wasted.”

Nick (or Olivia, it’s not all that clear in this passage):

  • “Great, let’s grind up your grandfather for dinner, while he still has some meat on him.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Happening to Neelay in Redwood City, California: The Overstory, p. 279

Really love these Redwood City scenes (where Neelay bases his electronic game company), just sayin’.

Below, a scene self has just finished reading (Neelay’s just had a telephone conversation with his mother, who’s misconstrued his reference to his female caregiver as a reference to a fiancée):

“Goodness. These things take time, Neelay.”

When they hang up, he raises his hand in the air and slams it down onto the desk’s front edge. There’s a very wrong sound, and a sharp white pain, and he knows he has broken at least one bone.

In blinding pain, he rides his private elevator down into the opulent lobby, the beautiful redwood trim paid for by millions of people’s desire to live anywhere else but here. His eyes stream with tears and rage. But quietly, politely, to the terrified receptionist, he holds up his swollen, snapped claw, and says, “I’m going to have to get to the hospital.”

He knows what’s waiting for him there, after they mend his hand. They will scold him. They’ll put him on a drip and make him swear to eat properly. As the receptionist makes her frantic calls, Neelay glances up at the wall where he has hung those words of Borges, still the guiding principle of his young life:

Every man should be capable of all ideas, and I believe in the future he shall be.

Note to dear blog readers: Never ever let your mother have this kind of an effect on you. Or you may end up like poor Neelay here!

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Patricia Westerford: The Overstory

  • It’s amazing how far a little war chest will go, once you’ve learned how to forage (p. 129)

This character completely breaks self’s heart. She better have a happy ending.

Stay tuned.

Patricia Westerford’s Father Explains Trees: The Overstory, p. 118

Her father explains how the trick is done. “Think about it! They’ve figured out how to live trapped in place, with no other protection, whipped by winds at thirty below zero.”

These magnificent Monterey pines were planted by the original owner of Fowey Hall, in Cornwall. Self encountered them for the first time in May 2019.

She had always thought Monterey pines were found in only two places in the world: California, and Kilkenny Park in Northern Ireland (She contributed a piece about Northern Ireland’s Monterey Pine for a book on Trees of Kilkenny, edited by poet Csilla Toldy and published last year)

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Sentence of the Day: The Overstory, p. 105

The itching is insane. Every spot above his waist is unreachable fire.

Aliens! The Overstory, p. 97

  • Aliens land on earth. They’re little runts, as alien races go. But they metabolize like there’s no tomorrow. They zip around like swarms of gnats, too fast to see — so fast that Earth seconds seem to them like years. To them, humans are nothing but sculptures of immobile meat. The foreigners try to communicate, but there’s no reply. Finding no signs of intelligent life, they tuck into the frozen statues and start curing them like so much jerky, for the long ride home.

Sentence of the Day: Butler’s Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Saints, vol. IV

  • If St. Callixtus was thrown into a pit, as his acts relate, it seems probable that he was put to death in some popular tumult.

(Self is just through reading this super-exciting section in which she tries to piece together exactly what earned St. Callixtus the designation ‘Martyr,’ when she hears KNOCK KNOCK!!! It’s someone from the Main House: The Goblin Emperor, which she ordered from Kenny’s Bookshop in Galway, has arrived! YAY!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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